Smugglers, baking and boot camp

TiVo, get your act together!

I have to get this one off my chest. Has anyone else ever felt insulted by the ‘suggested recordings’ choices of their TiVo box? The TiVo has only been installed for a couple of years, and the instruction manual was never read because the gizmo worked and there are many more fun things to do with an afternoon. So the fact that there were suggested recordings at all, was something of a surprise. At first I thought it rather sweet that the blinking box in the corner would think of you throughout the day, get to know you a little and consider what TV treats you might like to enjoy later. Even going ‘off piste’ a bit and perhaps selecting something you may not have considered for yourself, but you end up loving. Similar to being given olives to try again, because although you claim not to like them, you like salty things, for example.

In the ‘getting to know you’ stage the suggested programmes were baffling. But early on in a relationship you can easily get the wrong signals, or send mixed messages. So, it proffered the local news programmes, and the BBC News, and the ITV News…. Well, news is fine, but watching it back at a later date is generally not so interesting. Really I have no idea how these things work but figured it would take time to somehow recognise what was watched and build a kind of profile. But then the random selections started to kick in. I can‘t remember specifically what, but they were not impressive.

Why wasn’t it trying harder? Why was it recording shows about border control and smugglers when such programmes were never actually watched, and should surely never be part of the viewing profile?

Then the ‘thumbs’ were discovered. Yes, perhaps this should have happened earlier. For anyone who doesn’t know, you have a green ‘thumbs up’ to say you like a programme, and a red ‘thumbs down’ to show your displeasure. You can hit the button up to three times, presumably to indicate your strength of feeling either way. Now, I get why up to three thumbs-worth of happy viewing might be useful information: I hope that if there was a recording clash between a one-thumb and a three-thumb the lovely considerate box would prioritise. This is an optimistic theory, not yet tested.

But why bother giving any more than one thumb of disapproval? Surely the TiVo is not going to think ‘Hmmn, well, there is very little of interest at the moment, so I’ll just record a single-thumbs-down programme. Can’t sit here doing nothing can I?’ Well, yes actually, you can. If you can’t record something good, don’t bother recording anything at all…

In an effort to train the beast, every time the TiVo is caught red handed i.e. recording something undesirable, the red thumb is pushed three times, still with little idea of why three is necessary but we are sending a clear message here. Same if it does good, although sadly this is less often. So now the on-screen TV guide has more up and down thumbs than a busy day at the Colosseum.

Today, late morning, the box pinged up a message to say it wanted to switch from the current programme (you know, the one you have actually chosen to watch) and record Mary Berry doing some cooking instead. Interesting. Not the choice of programme – for once it was a good choice – but that meant it was sneakily off recording another couple of shows, because it can only record three things if you are watching one of them. On further investigation these turned out to be Police Interceptors (or something like that) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Excuse me?? I honestly don’t think ANY of the viewing history would suggest these as likely to meet with approval. Knowledge of the Ninjas is sketchy, but a programme about the real Donatello or Raphael would stand a better chance!

I have just deleted more suggestions of yet more border control programmes, ones about sheriffs and debt collectors, gadget reviews, and a marriage boot camp, all of which would never have been watched. This feels more like a marriage of convenience, or of one where apathy has taken over. Like those who shop for their spouse’s or partner’s gift in the last hour on Christmas Eve. Just get something, no matter what. Who cares if it is the wrong size and wrong colour? It’s the thought that counts right?

Wrong, Mr TiVo, wrong.

Neither of these cards are for you. We are not friends and you are not awesome.

halftone and super scripthalftone super script 2

I have used current stash from Altenew plus a guilty purchase of a stencil. It cost under a fiver so I don’t feel too bad. Sometimes you just need something new to freshen things up a bit. These cards are very similar to one of the marketing shots, but it is kind of an obvious thing to do and I was just itching to use it! I blended three different colours of Altenew inks onto my base card, then stamped and die cut the Super Script words and cut out the Label Love sentiment. I love the look of the spotty symmetry!

 

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3D Thursday: on a Friday. Because thinking can be dangerous.

Yes, I am a day late with this post. May the gods of Blogland forgive me. Apparently there are one or two other things going on at this time of year….

Christmas cards are finally finished (hurrah!!), including some last minute ones for my sister. I was happy to make them for her, until there was another cat-and-die related incident. As I was cutting out 60 individual fairy lights with the smallest die known to man (1cm x 1.5cm, and a tiny part of a much larger set) I randomly thought ’How awful would it be if I lost this die? I wonder do craft companies ever let you buy replacements for individual dies? If not, they really should….’. Then the cat decided to jump up on my desk, at the opposite end to where I was working. Normally this is fine, but this one time he got the maths wrong and launched himself and several small ink pads I was using onto the floor. In my haste to make sure no inks opened and stained the carpet, and that the cat was ok (only his dignity was ruffled) somehow I lost the tiny, tiny bulb die. And spent TWO HOURS looking for it. Eventually I found it of course, several feet away from where I had been, in a box of cards that were finished and ready to go. I really should learn to think less, because the consequences can be dire.

So, my schedule was thrown out a bit. But, as I was clearing my workspace up I decided to use some of the card making leftovers to make bottle tags, rather than just throw them away. It is probably a crime against glitter paper to send it straight to recycling without ever being given its moment reflected in the twinkle of a Christmas light.

xmas-bottle-tags-trio

These are the same measurements as I used for the male bottle tags I posted before. So. 6cm wide, 21 cm long (which is the width of A4 card); score at 6cm from the top and die cut or punch a hole in the 6cm square you have made with your fold line. Super simple. I ran a couple of them through an embossing folder and cut a pennant shape at the bottom. Then just chuck on anything you have carefully select your embellishments and sentiments, a bit of the sticky stuff and you have busted some scraps in no time at all.

xmas-bottle-tag-santaxmas-bottle-tag-goldxmas-bottle-tag-reindeer

Cheers! I could do with opening that fizzy stuff right now!

 

3D Thursday: Chirps, cheap as chips!

This is a quick project as I have not had time to make much this week. I did though have time to pay a visit to The Works, a shop I have only relatively recently discovered has a selection of craft items, often at really good prices. Amongst other things, I bought a birdcage die. I know birdcage imagery has been around for a long time and is probably out of fashion again now, but I have always liked ornate wire cages: whether fashionable or not, I just think they are very pretty. And at only £3 for a die which is nearly 10cm (4”) tall, well it would have been rude not to make a purchase. Of course I overdid the politeness and bought a lot more besides but we will gloss over that.

So, today I needed to make something for 3D Thursday. I had a few ideas in my head but all were quite time-consuming, then I thought about trying to 3D the birdcage. It is symmetrical apart from the bird on the top (I am glad he is sitting on the cage and not in it!) so in theory it should work. And guess what? This time the theory was right!

birdcage-lumiere

I cut the image four times for each cage from decently thick card, one lot in white and the other in silver, then folded back the small curlicues at the sides on the lower sections. I then glued these together to form the basic ‘square’ shape. Next came some semi-complicated and totally unnecessary faffing about with the tops of the cages: I cut the bird off the back one as it pointed in the opposite direction and looked odd in a photo. I also cut the bird and curlicues off the two side pieces, then pinched and glued them together to make a kind of dome. In practice this makes them look a bit complicated in the photo, although they do make interesting shadows. What I really should have done for an easy life is just cut the tapering top section off all but the front piece. Never mind, I know now!

Once this was done I die cut the bird only from silver glitter card and stuck it over the plain bird. He even has a little wing you can fold out. Nice to know he is capable of escape should he wish. Also a pearl for an eye as we don’t want him crashing into the furniture. I could have gone on and decorated the cage more, but I had no time.

To make them each into a lumiere I rustled up a quick sleeve for the battery tea light from white vellum, just to diffuse the light a bit. They could though also be used for tree decorations. For a quick project I am pretty happy with the results!

 

 

2 bees, or not 2 bees…..

Well, only one ‘bees’ at the moment. As in a card featuring bees. The second card is buzzing around (sorry) in my head and is mid-construction, but I’m not sure that what I want to do is actually possible. Which means it goes onto the ‘when I have more time’ pile, or to that farm in the country…..

I have seen a few people embossing patterned paper and thought it looked pretty interesting, and this bee print from Craftwork Cards seemed like a perfect match for my Crafter’s Companion honeycomb folder, alongside the FREE hexagonal dies I used a few weeks ago for my ‘Quilty as charged’ post.

It’s interesting, because embossing printed paper seems to change the texture in a way that embossing plain paper, well, doesn’t really! It feels softer, more pliable. If you remember ever coming across those small leaves of face powder that had been transferred in a really thin layer onto a matchbook size sheet of paper (probably in the 1950s), to deal with the dreaded shiny nose, it feels a bit like that!

Other than that, I have added wellies, a watering can and greeting and a bit of baker’s twine. A totally flat and very easy card.

CWC potting shed bees and wellies card

 

Here’s a bit of detail, should you be keen for a close-up!

CWC potting shed bees and wellies detail

 

A happy accident

Today, inconveniently whilst at work, a card idea popped into my head and just would not quit. I could picture it clearly, albeit in a few different variations, and I knew it was achievable and would look pretty, if I did it justice. Once home I set about making it. It was going to take a while as there are quite a few different elements – some of which I have to go on the now daily hunt for – so it was not going to get done today. Who cares? This occurs so rarely I have to make the most of it!

But, having stamped my roses and started to do my die cutting, as I was setting things aside, this more or less happened. And I quite liked it. So, the intended card(s) will have to wait another day or two, but in the meantime I have something unexpected, and quick to boot!

AN rose silver card

The rose and single leaf are stamps and dies from Altenew. I also used Altenew inks. The leafy sprig die is part of a set from Tattered Lace. All the leaves have been cut from Woodware White Shade vellum.

AN rose  silver card detail