When did you Last see a Paper Doll?

The last time I can remember seeing a book of paper dolls was on the shelves of a thrift shop, a second hand store. I’ve attempted to make my own, long ago. I have admiration for the people who accomplish all the precise cutting and planning to make a paper doll and her wardrobe.

Original Paper Doll Artist Guild
Organization of artists and collectors who promote the art and hobby of paper dolls.

An Interview with Joan Stark (Archived)

I knew Joan from the newsgroup but I have not found her online since she left the ASCII art newsgroup/ community. I think of her often, at least as often as I still see her ASCII art ripped off online. She has a style I can almost always spot, even if someone has removed or changed the artist initials with her art.

Her kids will be grown up now and she won’t be fighting for computer time. I hope life has gone along well for her, where ever she is.

Joan G. Stark’s Original ASCII

Believe it or not, I “discovered” ASCII art in winter of 1995. I think I saw a tiny bicycle made in ascii characters and was totally amazed by it. I joked that someone must have had too much time on their hands! But still I was in awe of it… I didn’t even know what it was called. After e-mailing several friends, I found out that it was called “ASCII art”. It was then that I found the USENET newsgroup alt.ascii-art and started lurking to find more of these computer pictures.

I then started collecting as much of the ASCII art as I could. I began wandering through the internet and realized that there was way too much to save. I would forget my idea of having a huge collection… I know where to find the pictures if I want something.

Being a “crafty” type person, I decided that I would try to make the ASCII pictures myself. I’ve always like to doodle on paper, so I figured it couldn’t be that much different. My first project was to make a signature for me to use. I started diddling around with the keyboard in May/June of 1996 by doing lettering. Someone then told me about “FIGLET”. For those of you who don’t know, FIGLET is a computer program that creates fancy lettering from text. Hearing about figlet took the thrill away from making the fonts- I could spend an hour creating an alphabet by hand and someone else could just press a computer key and have the letters pop up “pre-made”.

And so I went on to the pictures… I know that there are programs available to create ASCII art — (I don’t know that much about them…) — but the programs usually create solid-type ASCII art. Even then, the pictures still are pretty rough and need touch-ups to make them aesthetically correct. I have collected some conversion software information from alt.ascii-art and offer them to you– no guarantees– .

I make the line-style ASCII pictures and I don’t believe that there are programs for this style. Basically I sit down at the keyboard and start typing.

OK– so I can’t consider myself a “newbie” at ASCII art any more. The honeymoon is over! I’ve been making the pics since 1996. Some people are anticipating my “burn-out”– but I continue to make the ASCII art pictures and I still look forward to improving. I’d like to be able to look at each of my creations and say “wow!”– there are some that I like a lot and there are some that I consider “ok”. Most of the crummy ones have met their demise at the hands of the delete button. Despite this, I’ve included some of my early works in this gallery so you can see how my artwork has evolved. Perhaps I may inspire other budding ascii artists…

I am just amazed at all ASCII artwork. There are a limited number of characters available on the keyboard and they are all fixed. Considering this fact, it is truly remarkable that there are so many different ASCII art pictures.

I don’t know how long ASCII art has been around. I’ve been told that it dates back at least to the 1960s when computers consisted only of large main frames. There were no PCs and no monitors. Transmissions were done through terminals that were very much like electric typewriters. Games and pictures were done in ASCII. (Remember the original “Zork”?) Some of the pictures passed around then are still being passed around today. See History of ASCII Art.

For me, the ASCII art is still pretty new … although I remember as a kid, my father would take me to work with him on an occasional Saturday. While there, I would play on the secretary’s typewriter and make pictures on a sheet of paper using commas and lines– my “first” ASCII drawings!. (I would also link all of her paper clips together– shhh, don’t tell my dad!). I had a lot of fun those weekend mornings… I guess you could say that I’ve been making text art — even before computers! 🙂

But times have changed! Gone are the typewriters, papers, and carbon copies. I doodle as I did as a child… but now I don’t need a new sheet of paper or white-out when I make a mistake. Sigh… and my children have already connected my paper clips together! 🙁 But that’s OK, I don’t need them! 🙂 I just have to fight the kids for computer time!

Source: About Joan Stark

Christmas Card Trees

xmascardtree

These free-standing paper Christmas trees add colorful, country charm to your Christmas decor. Cut various size circles out of Christmas cards, scalloping the edges of some. From the center of each circle cut out a 3/16-inch pie-shaped wedge. Curl the circle into a cone shape (pattern side up), overlap the ends, and tape the back.

To make the base, cut a 2-inch foam ball in half and a 1/8-inch dowel to desired height. Place the foam ball flat side down, add a drop of hot glue to an end of the dowel, and push the dowel through the foam ball until it stops. Slide the largest cone shape down the dowel, and then twist a small rubber band around the dowel; continue alternating progressively smaller cone shapes with rubber bands. Top the paper Christmas tree with the smallest cone shape and a ribbon.

via Christmas Card Projects: Decorative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards.

The Grass On the Other Side was Greener

Being Green (reprinted from Facebook)

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f or
future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person.

This is Simon’s Cat

simoncatCats are funny. Whether we laugh at their misguided dignity, their stealth, or their casual use of human “owners”, cats can make us laugh.

Simon’s Cat began as an animated video on YouTube (2008, I think) and grew from there. Now you can find an online shop, print books and a lot more YouTube videos.

If you don’t know about Simon’s Cat yet, take a look. Start at the YouTube source. You’ll be awhile… from the first video (Cat Man Do) a few years ago Simon’s Cat has grown into a web empire and there are now four real cats living with the real Simon Tofield.

You can do so much to tease a cat. I like setting out a paper bag and watch them hide in it. Just getting inside the bag is funny to watch. Of course, you don’t make it too easy, crumple it up at the open end first. Cats will chase small things like a laser pointer, but tuck something under a rug and you can drive your cat crazy. They will sneak up and pounce on it and stalk it, my cat would reach a paw under the rug to try to grab whatever I had moving under there.

It’s a shame for cats to be indoors and become fat. They can be so active and sleek looking if they get exercise and aren’t over fed. It’s a bit of a myth that cats sleep more than they are awake. We just aren’t up to their schedule. Anyway, relaxing in a sunny window isn’t the same as sleeping the day away.

Regifting: Reuse, Reduce, Repurpose and Recycle for Christmas

Why Should you Regift?

There are good reasons to be a regifter.

First, if you know you won’t use it, can’t wear it, don’t have room for it, then don’t stick it on a shelf, at the back of a closet or somewhere else it will be forgotten and just take up space. Pick someone who will really want it, can use it. This way you don’t have clutter and someone else gets a gift they can use.

Second, it saves you money and time. Instead of buying more gifts or spending time making gifts (which can end up costing more than buying a gift) you can regift something you already have.

Third, it saves all those gifts from being added to the landfill. Not many gifts are made from 100% recyclable materials and most could be used by someone if you take the time to figure out just the right person.

The Five Golden Rules for Good Regifters

The item must be kept in brand new condition. You can’t have unpacked it to try it or use a little. If there is a guarantee or instructions they should be with the item. If you did open the packaging to take care in closing it up again. Dust it off, don’t regift an item that looks like it sat on a shelf for a year, or longer. If a book has an inscription you can’t regift it.

Wrap the item all over again with fresh paper, bows and whatever accessories and extras you usually use. Also, don’t mess up and leave the old gift card on or inside the gift. Some of the simplest things are the easiest to overlook.

Don’t regift the item to the same people who gave it to you. This is a reason for not hanging on to a gift for very long. You may forget who it came from. Also, you don’t want to send it to anyone the original sender knows, especially if it is easily identifiable, unique.

Never regift a handmade/ homemade gift. If it really is something you can’t use (wrong size, for example) find a gentle way to let the gifter know. Make sure they understand you value their work, their thoughtfulness and the time, energy and resources that went into the gift.

The gift should be desired and suit the person you are giving it to. If something really is unwanted by yourself or anyone else you can think of take it to the thrift store, or try selling it online. What you give to others is a reflection on yourself. Don’t regift something you know will be unwanted, just to get rid of it or save a buck. Consider age, gender, style, size, etc. when choosing who will get your regift.

National Regifting Day