Tag Archives: Techy Tuesday

I *heart* the Bookmarklet and other Techy Geek Stuff

I have been reluctant to update the layout here on Read and Tell Me for some time.  Why? Primarily because I found began to use Google Reader so not to miss anything on my favorite blogs…..you know, all 100+ of them.  I started using G Reader after I found this happy thing….Byline.  For almost a year, I have kept up with my blogs in very little time by flipping through them like a magazine.  Byline has a button that with one touch you can send it to email, Instapaper (if you don’t know about Instapaper you are MISSING OUT), Twitter or just open in Safari.  You can categorize blogs in folders and it syncs directly with Google Reader.  Amazing?!?!

Here is the rub…..well, I guess there are several.

1.  You miss out on the ambiance of the art and design of the blog.  When you are reading content using Byline, you are looking at a white screen with words and pictures only.  If you follow a blog that does not have the appropriate settings, then you only get words and no pictures.

2.  You do not show up as having visited the site.  For a fellow Blogger, this is really frustrating.  I like to know that people are reading.  Numbers are just numbers, but they do keep me motivated.  Comments are best, but I have a lot of shy readers.  I know you are reading because you ask me about things I post on my blog all over town and Law Man now has quite a following of people downtown who address him as such.  THAT IS AWESOME, by the way….keep it up.  I love it when he comes home and reports that ‘so and so’ called him Law Man.  **BTW, I know you can change settings on your blog so that it forces you to “jump” to the actual post on the web, but that makes me feel like I am being told what to do and I despise being told what to do.

3.  Finally, I find it hard to comment using your mobile device.  It is possible, but depending on the blog, the security settings and your mobile device typing ability commenting can be anywhere from tedious to impossible.

Long story a little bit shorter, when people have asked me how I keep up with the blogs that I do, I gave them a very vague answer to avoid them falling into the number of lurkers who read my blog and I have no idea they are out there.

A few weeks ago I discovered something that has apparently been out since 2007. Someone really should have told me this, I feel betrayed.  I will not betray you.  Here is the secret.

Step 1:  Set up an account with Google Reader.

Step 2:  Go to upper right hand corner of Google Reader home screen and click on the settings button.

Step 3:  Go to the Goodies Tab

Step 4:  Add Subscribe Bookmarklet

If you find yourself repeatedly visiting a website to check for updates, or if you just stumble across a page you want to keep track of, you can easily subscribe to it in Google Reader using the subscribe bookmark.

To use the subscribe bookmark, simply drag the link below to your bookmarks bar. Then, when you’re on a web page, you can click the bookmark to view it in Google Reader.

Once you see the feed preview, confirm your subscription by clicking the “Subscribe” button within Reader

Step 5:  Add Next Bookmarklet

The next bookmark is an innovative way to read your subscriptions. It allows you to use Google Reader through just one link – clicking on it takes you to the next unread item, marking it as read in the process. It is particularly useful for subscriptions which only include snippets or when you want to read an article in context.

To use the next bookmark, simply drag the link below to your bookmark bar.

You can also create a next bookmark for a specific tag. To do so, select a tag below and drag the resulting link to your bookmark bar.

You are set.  Now you can keep up with all of the blogs your heart desires, comment and participate and get the full experience of the art and design on each site.  It will continue to sync with Byline or any and all other Google Reader apps you have on your computer and mobile devices.  Yay!!!  Problem solved.  I love it.

By the way, Instapaper and Pinterest both have Bookmarklets too in their Goodie Section.  I also have one for Ravelry and Ziplist.  Check them out and let me know what you think.  If you have any technical questions or problems leave them in the comment section or shoot me an email.
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Typography is my Love Language

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  I do love a great picture visual or conceptual….but for me, the typeface is where it is at.  I obsess over the type used in on billboards, magazine ads, stationary, and logos.  Logos……now that is a whole different matter….I love a great logo.  I even stalk a few advertising websites just to check out the latest and greatest company emblem.

I have also used Logos as a pre-reading tool for my little guys.  I am always pointing out a logo around town and asking them to tell me what they think they are trying to sell or market.  Now, they point them out to me.  Sorry…..I digress.  Back to typography.

I guess I can categorize my Logo Love in to three areas….

1.  Script typography….I abhor my own handwriting.  I am not sure why, but I do.  It keeps me from a lot of things, especially hand written notes, but with the perfect font, I can almost express the same sentiment.  I especially like the Pea Gretchie it is so much like my mother’s handwriting it creeps me out sometimes.  Creeps me out in a good way.

2.  Ampersands…. &&&  I just love the ampersand.  Perhaps it is because I always have more to say about everything, or maybe it is just because I like how it sounds when you say the word.  Either way, I search and search for fonts with a great ampersand.

3.  Creative Ornamental Typeface….these are what I use in a lot of the themed birthday parties.  Some examples are:

I used Comic Book when I did the Superhero Theme.  And several Dr. Seuss inspired fonts for the Dr. Seuss Party and to add text to the Classic Children Stories themed nursery/playroom at our old house.  Click on the examples and you can download them free for your personal use.

If you have a similar adoration for typography, you will love this video.  Enjoy and happy Techy Tuesday!

Erik Spiekermann – Putting Back the Face into Typeface from Gestalten on Vimeo.

  I am pretty sure I discovered this video from Christopher over at Midwest Media.  He is doing some really cool things here in the Oklahoma City area.  Check him out.

Laugh at yourself first,…

I love birds….which is ironic since I suffer from a bit of ornithophobia that I developed standing in the middle of St. Mark’s Square in Venice watching parents place pigeons all over the arms, legs and head of a toddler….who was crying. Seriously, I still have nightmares.  My love of birds is exclusive to the two dimensional type, but I do love them so.  I paint them, I collect them, I eat on them, I sew them, I hoard fabric with them, I sleep on them, I give them as gifts, I mark them as favorites….the list goes on and on.

So, you can imagine, when I saw this video posted on Design*Sponge by Portlandia….well, I had to laugh at myself.  And then, go on, still loving birds.

And, for Techy Tuesday….there is even an app to actually “Put a bird on it”! And it works…..

I Steal Them

I recently heard and interview with some creative type on a podcast, I assume.  Yes, that is all I remember about where I heard this….but, the comment that stuck with me was in response to, “Where do you get your ideas?” the creative type said….I steal them from others….is there really such thing as a completely original idea?”  I am still not sure that I totally agree with this, but I think it is something to consider.

Since I have had the boys, I had set out on all types of creative endeavors.  Some have worked out…..others have not.  I have enjoyed the ride, none the less.  One thing that has not changed is that when someone comments to me something to the effect of “You are so creative!”, I still think, “Man..I really have them fooled.”  This recent interview has caused me to think about things in a different light.

I do not think of everything I do completely on my own.  I have a lot of venues that give me inspiration.  One that I use a lot are other blogs.  I especially use these when I am planning an event like a birthday celebration, dinner party, or a wedding/baby shower.  I try to post about these events as I go….although I still have not posted on the the awesome Bug Birthday party from December…..soon, very soon.  When I post, I always try to link to the specific ideas I use, borrow, steal.  But…those of you who are faithfully following me, my blog, etc.  Here are my absolute favorite blogs by which to glean party ideas.

Hostess with the Mostess

One Charming Party

Living Locurto

Chicabug

Tom Kat Studio

I use countless more, but these are on the top of my list.  Sometimes I just use them for ideas…other times I use a lot of what I find.  What I have found the most rewarding is to take a small aspect of a party I love and form an event around that with my own flair.

Where do you get your ideas?

An idea is never given to you without you being given the power to make it reality. You must, nevertheless, suffer for it.

–Richard Bach


Lego Party

IMG_5957 One of my favorite things to do each year with the boys is work with them to plan and throw their own unique birthday party.  This started when I went a little over the top with the Big Guy’s 1st party and has continued for 5 years now.

Since they could talk or really communicate at all, I work with the boys to figure out what “they are in to” and we make the whole event to reflect this theme.  My only rule….nothing violent.  I guess this is a boy thing, but we have had to have friendly pirates and smiley robots in the past. This year’s theme:

LEGO’s

In the past we have done all kinds of crazy things to develop an invitation.  This year…I found a template that I loved, so I purchased it for the invitation, bookmark, thank you, etc.

The templates were downloadable .pdf format documents that were easily customized in Photoshop.  I think you could use any of them without Photoshop, but this is what I used.

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IMG_5886 (A neighbor and fellow Lego Fanatic brought over some of his models to show the kids and display!)

Next, to keep the Birthday Boy engaged in the planning of the party, found an idea from one of my favorite Podcast/Blogger and we made a Lego Bingo Game.  He built 20+ Lego “Model’s” and I photographed them, and photoshoped (yes, that is a word….if not, it should be) them into a grid.  I used the Living Locurto template for a door sign for a background. And voila….after some tedious mixing of the grid to have different bingo cards…..we had a custom game for our party.

I suggested to the Birthday Boy that for favors, we give each party-goer a bag of Lego pieces that they could use to make a car.  He helped me pick out all of the pieces from the Giant Lego Wall and then suggested they all have drivers….I did not have a strong argument against the idea and decided that including pieces to make a driver for the car would be less expensive than renting a princess for a day….so, there you have it….favor bags with Lego pieces that were used first as bingo chips, then to build cars and drivers….and, of course they had to race.

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Birthday Boy designed a track, I painted it, Law Man Built it…..in that order, and the party was a huge success.

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I will say it was one of the hottest (as in temperature) morning birthday parties I have ever been to.  In fact, I was a little disappointed in the pictures…or lack there of….I was so hot and concerned that the kids might get sick…..apparently I missed a lot of great shots.

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(See the plain kitchen napkins in the picture?….I forgot to grab some coordinating napkins at the store, so the morning of the party I told the Birthday Boy that I needed to run out and get some.  He said, “Oh, Mom, just use plain ones…it’s no big deal.”  It doesn’t get much better than that.)

On a side note…..in the past, I have invited everyone in school, church, neighbors and family with kids…..along with Grandparents.  This has led to some VERY chaotic parties.  (The chaos doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to bother some of the past guests.)  This year, I decided to take a different approach and limit the number to a few of the Birthday Boy’s classmates, family with kids, and a couple of neighbor kids…..and Grandparents….I would not ever hear the end of that.  I think I offended people who normally are invited.  Completely unintentional, but I felt terrible just the same.

***How do you handle invitation lists to your kids parties???***