Monday, March 31, 2014

Another Busy Weekend

That was another busy weekend, with lots accomplished.

Friday night I got another 3 or 4 little square soft pouches ready to lace. 

Saturday morning we temporarily misplaced our marbles, and went to Ikea for a bench for the not-yet-purchased proof press. It was busy. Fortunately, we knew what we wanted and where in the warehouse it was, so Ron dropped me off at the door, I commando-shopped, and he met me at the loading area. 

While Ron put the bench together after lunch (preceded by a stop at the grocery store),  I messed around with bottles - I figured out the dimensions for the parts for some triangular bottles I got ages ago, and modified the design for the square, spherical, and cylindrical bottles so the straps come down and are independently riveted to a bottom piece, instead of all 3 or 4 being attached together with one rivet. Yes, it uses more rivets, but they'll sit better this way. Drew the new parts in CAD, cut out the parts, assembled, did a test-fit, then adjusted the designs slightly, re-printed, covered the new patterns in clear contact paper, and cut them out. 

Coming up with patterns is tedious. Really tedious. After that Ron and I went into production mode. I cut and marked pieces, Ron punched holes and cut points on strap ends (with an end punch), and punched out 1-1/2" circles with the biggest self-centering punch, I put rivets in place, and Ron set rivets. I think we got the parts cut and assembled for a dozen spherical bottles in the same time I did coming up with the parts for two triangular bottles and modifying/making the new designs for one each of the sphere/square/cylinder. Or maybe faster.

After that we went out to Emmett's Brewing Co. in Palatine and had drinks and snacks. 

Sunday morning we repeated the process for a dozen of the cylindrical bottles, and put snaps in everything from both days. So now one of the Max's drawers is fairly full of bottles that need their leather collars hand-stitched and trimmed. That will finish them off. Of each dozen we did 8 black, and then 4 browns (2 golden, 2 red-brown). It seems like an awful lot of bottles, and a lot of black ones, but we think they'll go well at ACen, and we usually sell more black of whatever than brown whatever.

Then we worked on hanging pouches. We knocked the corners off of edges of the backs, dyed the edges, and then used the new cordless Dremel tool to round off/burnish the edges. I started while Ron cut leather and thinned it for belt loop-ish tabs, then Robin cut tabs out with a die on the big press. Mark and punch holes in the belt-loop-ish tabs and the places where they go on the backs, attach studs (which hold the parts together, then I went out to the machine and sewed them together, and sewed the flaps onto some. We did the edging and put tabs on 8 hanging pouch backs, and flaps on three of those.  

Then we did some more shopping, looking for an easier way to trim hard pouches, after gluing the fronts and backs together. We looked at Ace Hardware, then went to Menard's. We narrowed it down to oscillating saws, like this one from Dremel, or this little Dremel scroll saw, which packs down into a carrying case and can clamp onto a workbench. We decided we'd have more control with the scroll saw. The oscillating saws are big and chunky, even to Ron, and there's not a lot in the way of guards near the blades.  

Got it home, Ron tried it with some scraps while I glued hanging hard pouches together, then turned me loose, after warning me the saw pulled to the left. I did a couple little test cuts, then had at it. 

Not the best idea. Results were not good. Let me clarify - the cuts were fine, not any rougher than a knife cut, but control was the problem. The saw did indeed pull left, probably exacerbated by me trying to cut to fast. Ron did better than I did, and probably will be taking over sawing pouches. We should have practiced more. One of the pouches was salvageable, and will be laced. The other two were cut too close to the body of the pouch for lacing, but they can be hand-stitched. I got all three ready for stitching/lacing (marking and punching holes, marking and setting latch locations), which included fussing around with the cleaning up and burnishing the cut edges (hello again, Mr. Cordless Dremel) on the two that will be hand-stitched. 

Got the lacing about 2/3 of the way around the pouch that wasn't a complete cutting fail. Fortunately, lacing hides a number of sins, and cleaning up the edges on the stitched pouches helped them a lot, too. I think all three will be fine. 

I found a flap for another hanging pouch that I'd missed when sewing yesterday, and finished lacing two more flaps today (which I'd started last night by doing some fussy bits on), so maybe Ron can try the saw again tonight. 

So, the total for the weekend was:
  • Bottle wraps re-designed
  • 29 bottles mostly-done, necks to be stitched up over several evenings soonish
  • Cordless Dremel bought last weekend used for an extended period, definitely approved
  • Dremel scroll saw bought, tested, operator skill found deficient, but tool should work
  • 8 hard hanging pouches worked on
  • 3 or 4 soft pouches ready to lace
  • Bits of lacing done in odds and ends of time  

A shorter set of bullet-points than last weekend, but we weren't any less busy. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Extended Weekend Wrap-Up

By the time I finished blogging yesterday (posting here and a long one to the personal blog), I had a very sore lower back. Partly just from lots of working on lots of things over the weekend, but mostly because when I was sorting through the scrap pile, and to a lesser extent working on belt loops and straps for bottles, I spent a lot of time sitting in a chair, and reaching down to the floor. Bad idea. My body may not like sitting on the floor, but it would have been less bad than what I did. Getting chilled while sitting at the computer, and the thermostat rolling back to the "nobody home" setting probably didn't help. A hot shower and Alleve seem to have mostly taken care of it.

Things we accomplished over the 3-day weekend:
  • Scrap pile sorted
  • One sub-pile reduced to belt loops
  • Another sub-pile prepped for wrapping around bottles, and other uses
  • Belt loops and bottle, etc. scraps put away neatly/compactly
  • Rest of the scrap sorted into two categories and contained
  • Several drawers neatened up
  • Latch supply inventoried, nothing needed at the moment
  • Determined we have Stupid Amounts of copper rivets (which we don't use much any more)
  • Supply of belt tabs for hanging pouches assessed (insufficient)
  • Some of the hanging pouch flaps laced
  • A bunch of soft pouches ready to lace
  • Some soft pouches sent off with Xap to get some of the lacing done
  • Sewing machine power switch replaced
  • Cool little LED light bar and power switch added to sewing machine
  • iPad bracket put on shelves  
  • Multi-meter located, and then put away in its case after use
  • Cordless rechargeable Dremel tool bought, tested, and approved
  • Corded Dremel tool hiding place located
  • Rubber cement and thinner obtained (supply of rubber cement was getting grim, and what we had was rather thick/sticky)
  • Hanging pouch ordered at Reenactor Fest completed, in transit
  • Started lacing the bottom seams and belt loops on soft pouches
  • Worked on updating the visual catalog of letterpress blocks - all images imported, still need final arranging on pages and labels (back was starting to kvetch)
  • Have a pile of pouches to lace tonight at motel in Springfield  
  • Bitched about overnight trip to Springfield
  • Sent a bunch of my knitting stuff up to live with the rest of the knitting stash, allowing . .. 
  • Unearthed the tool bag that lives near the couch, so I could . . . 
  • Put pouches being worked on in it.
  • Kitchen cupboard re-organization initiated

Things not accomplished:
  • Didn't get the business tax returns finished off
  • Didn't get as far as I'd hoped on the rest of the hanging pouches
  • Didn't get anything done with the hard pouch fronts molded last week
  • Didn't get any more hard pouch fronts cut out or molded
Considering how much we did accomplish, a bunch which can be summed up as "the dining room is usable again", I'm not complaining. 

More things to do and/or get (by ACen):
  • Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, er, making pouches
  • (Funky-) Colored (ie: not black/brown) soft pouches 
  • Potion bottles
  • Bandolier(s)
  • Another map case
  • Finish valise?
  • More tails 
  • Machine-sewn pouches/satchels
  • Inventory of not-belts - notes on inventory done at Reenactor Fest have been lost (except for belts and possibly hardware)
  • Quite probably other things I'm forgetting

Monday, March 24, 2014

Plans? What are These "Plans" of Which You Speak?

Yes, still more not-according-to-plan yesterday. 

In the morning Ron and Robin replaced the power switch on the big sewing machine, and installed the cool little LED light bar I'd gotten, which turned out to be a bigger job than expected (the light bar has a magnet, but I'd forgetten about routing the cord). Fortunately, Ron found one of the two multi-meters that were hiding, so a trip to get yet another one was averted (multi-meter needed to ensure that the correct bits were connected between the switch and machine motor). While they were doing that I got some more little half-soft pouches ready to lace.

After that I went through the big pile of straps for putting on/around bottles, split them down, sorted them by color and size, coiled them up in a bunch of zippy bags, packed them in a Rubbermaid container (without a top), stuck a label in the container for future ease of identification, and put it up out of the way on a shelf.  Its probably more of some of the size straps than I need, but it made sense to split it all down, as it was to a thickness I use for other things, like holding dees on the back of pouches for use as sporrans. And it cleaned up the dining room some more.

Then I went out with Ron and Robin to get coffee beans, and when we stopped at Crate and Barrel for canisters for the coffee, and that quick stop went off the rails, with further not-as-planned when we got home to put new stuff away, pack old things, and re-organized kitchen cupboards (last quarter of linked blog post).  Oops. Then it was time to make dinner.

While dinner cooked, and after, I got the pouch that was ordered last month ready to lace. Actually, lacing around the body is the last step, and not necessarily the biggest one. I'll finish that up today, and it can go out tomorrow, or even today, since the US mail doesn't come until 3-4-ish - taking today off as a sanity work-on-things day. If I ever quit blogging and go back upstairs to get a shower. 

I like my new cordless Dremel tool. And I found the old one yesterday, it showed up when I went looking for it because I thought I needed a bigger collet (which I didn't), and Ace Hardware was closed, so I couldn't just run out and get one. The cordless one is chunkier, but my hands are large enough that it isn't a problem. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Working, Not Quite as Planned

Things have not quite gone as planned yesterday and today.

Last night after dinner we went to Target to get Robin new headphones and a new CD player. Except Target had almost nothing in the way of CD players, so Robin got an MP3-Player-Player instead. But when we got home I worked on pouches. I got the medium vertical soft pouches ready to lace (actually did that while dinner was cooking), and got most of the flaps for the hanging pouches ready to lace.

This morning it was back to Target to return the MP3-Player-Player, because it was broken out of the box. On the way there, we realized that Robin's iPod had also died. Convenient timing, actually, since the new iPods use a different connector than the older ones. On the way to the vet's to get heartworm pills, we got a flat tire, so there was a delay there while Ron and Robin changed the tire. Then we got to kill about an hour and a half (mostly at GFS) while the tire was repaired (warranty at Discount Tire FTW, and they do the final tightening by hand, with a torque wrench, so you can actually get lug nuts off). Then to Berland's House of Tools to look for possible benches for the new press (struck out), and at a cordless Dremel tool that was on sale (which followed us home, particularly since our corded Dremel is hiding). Then to Best Buy for a new iPod, iPod player/sound dock, and a couple other odds and ends. Then lunch, because by then we were getting hungry, and finally back home.

So much for a quick couple errands this morning. Oddly enough, the Dremel-in-hiding did not jump out and show itself as soon as we opened the new one. 

This afternoon I started by sorting the scrap pile: Straps for belt loops, straps for bottles, other straps, and all other scrap. 

After that, I decided to process the belt loop to-be pile, so it wouldn't try to masquerade as general scrap again (I found a bunch of chunks that I think were just such a pile previously). 

Here's the pile:

The stack on/in the Rubbermaid container is about to be split down to the right thickness. The smaller pile to the upper right is already thin enough. 

Here's the end result:

They take up much less space - that's the same Rubbermaid container that the straps were piled on/in.

Putting the belt loops away and determining how many of the pieces we had for hanging pouch belt loop tabs led to sorting and re-organizing the drawer in the tool cabinet where I keep them. 

That led to checking to see how the latch supply was, and cleaning up part of that drawer. 

Things went downhill from there. I ended up sorting and re-organizing all three of the drawers in that set of tool drawers (upper right black unit) Which was useful, but sorting rivets is pretty high on the list of boring things to do. OTOH, I now know that we're in pretty good shape for latches, I can find things in the drawers, and the burrs (washers) for all the copper and brass rivets aren't mixed into the rivets. These are all good things, even if it wasn't how I planned to spend the afternoon. 

Currently waiting for calzones for dinner.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Still Working

Monday night was pretty much a loss, as Mondays tend to be. Tuesday night we were going to mold another batch of pouch fronts, but the batch on the molds weren't quite dry.

The leather I'd ordered Monday arrived Tuesday, and was the wrong weight, and way undersized for the price I paid (I prefer to pay for leather by the square foot, not per piece, since cows are not uniform in size). OTOH, one of the advantages of being a regular customer somewhere is that the problem was fixed without fuss, and in a generous manner. 

Wednesday night Ron made a belt to deliver at the regular Wednesday night thing, and we got the pouches molded. And then Elrond promptly stepped on one of them with a muddy paw while playing with Pippin (a damp rag took care of it the mud).

Last night I worked on soft pouches while watching "Castle". I got three of the small square ones ready to lace, and two of the medium vertical ones almost there - they probably need about another 10 minutes work.  

This morning I paid the sales tax bills, and got a couple flaps for hanging shield pouches ready to lace. And then at lunch I got the lacing done. I was going to copy Otter's tax returns (I refuse to pay several/many tens of dollars for the version of TurboTax that will fill in mostly-zeroes for me), but found some bits that need to be filled in. Most of it I could have done by hand, but I'd rather send legible copies.

The plan for tonight is to finish off the little bit of prep work on the soft pouches from last night, then get lacing holes in the rest of the flaps for hanging pouches, as well as put latches on them.

The plan for the rest of the weekend is to work on hanging pouches and bottles. There's actually a method to that plan - I think I can reduce the size of the scrap pile in front of the sewing machine by going through it for the straps to put on bottles, or at least consolidate/re-locate it. That will make it easier for Ron to replace the power switch on the sewing machine, so I can sew the flaps onto the hard pouches, after the flaps are laced. 

Heard back on the footprint of the proof press we're starting to save for, looks like it will fit on the smaller (and less expensive) kitchen workbench we were looking at. 

Ordered black lace yesterday, and found another source for colored lace. Still need to order latches. I haven't checked what the stock on hand is like, but I think "need more" is a safe assumption. I just need to check which I'm most in need of.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Measure a Belt

A drawing of how/where to measure a belt:

You measure from where the tongue crosses the outer bar of the buckle, to the comfortable hole. If you have a trophy/hook buckle, measure from the hook to the comfortable hole.  

Pants size is not useful, as women's clothing sizes bear no relation to measurements, and men's clothing sizes aren't much better.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Working working working!

Finally back to Otter Necessities work this weekend.

Saturday I started out by cutting out backs for the hanging hard pouches I had fronts for - 8 in all, and an extra for a shield pouch, because oops. Plus a pile of vaguely-rectangular-ish blobs that are hard pouch fronts.

In the afternoon I cut out flaps for them (including the oops), from some nice thick pebbled soft black leather (this batch is all going to be black). Then while I had the soft leather out, I cut out a bunch of little square 1/2 soft pouches - 7 of those.

Meanwhile, Ron was working on taxes. He plowed through the business taxes, then after our lunch break (see below), he did our personal taxes. Yay, done!  I assisted at a few points, but I don't think he cursed at the computer much more than I did. 

I was working on cutting in the living room, so less yelling from room to room was required when Ron wanted my input or had questions.  Before cutting, while excavating my cutting bench, I started loading up the new shelves. They're Elfa shelves, which use vertical standards mounted on a top hanging bar. We'd gotten a pair of stock standards, which didn't come down as far as optimal. So, at lunchtime we went to the Container Store and got a longer pair (and had them trim a couple inches off so that they'd still fit above the book case), and also got lunch.

In the afternoon Robin set up the airbrush outside, and dyed most of the pouch fronts and backs black - most, because 2 of the fronts were dyed and waxed in the past, and also because he ran out of dye. Marmaduke was over, so got an airbrushing lesson, rather in the vein of Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence.

Yesterday morning we unloaded the shelves, disassembled, reassembled with the new standards, and re-loaded. The medium density fiberboard for the actual shelves were originally in the spare bedroom, cut down for the new use in the dining room:

Still space, and my plan is to work on all those clear glass bottles on the middle-ish shelf (where the blue bottles are) next weekend. But they're off the floor for now. I think some of the leatherworking books that currently live in our bedroom are going to come down to the new shelves. Patterns and templates are moving from their scattered piles to those white metal file-ish trays on top of the white bookshelf under the new shelves.

The white metal shelf on the bottom has a rim on all four sides, and its holding my stylus, pens, and other things I want regularly when working at the bench. Next shelf up has a bunch of small containers with hardware, tools, and other things that get used reasonably often and also go to events in the tool bag. And binder clips in the small cardboard box (and another bin that's out in the living room at the moment). Ron even found a spot to put my iPad holder. Now I qust need to figure out where to put my magnetic knife blocks, which I use to hold my round/head knife and small square when doing layout and cutting. 

After rearranging the shelves we got distracted with getting Ron the paraphernalia for brewing copy for much of the morning, and there was a break for a MuseCon meeting. But I did manage to go through the stash of soft pouch parts I'd cut out in the past, and cut out some more. In all I ended up with 10 more 1/2 soft pouches in various colors, 4 medium sized horizontal soft pouches, and 2 vertical soft pouches. Plus a couple-few more partials. 

After the MuseCon meeting Robin finished dyeing pouch parts, and Ron waxed the hard fronts, and some soft pouch parts I wanted lightly waxed (for color). In the late afternoon/evening I started marking all the soft pouch parts - belt loop locations, guide lines for the lacing holes, and latch locations, as well as trimming corners on flaps. I made it through all the 16 pouches that I'd found or cut out Sunday, but declared myself done before getting to the seven I cut out Saturday. It helped that a bunch of parts had been marked previously. And I binder-clipped pairs of pieces together. Here's the pile of all the soft pouch parts - that's 23 in all:

A surprisingly small pile, actually.

Add in the parts for 9 "hanging" hard pouches, and molding 4 more fronts last night, that's, um, 36 pouches worked on. Oh, wait. On Saturday I'd cut out more than just the 4 fronts we molded last night. I think another 4-6?  So, 40-ish pouches in all?  Call it Stupid Amounts and leave it at that.

And now that I've gotten over the getting-started hump, I should be better at working on things in the evenings.

This morning I ordered another half-cow of the leather we use for pouch fronts and hanging pouch backs (at least the black ones), since we're down to a piece big enough for one, maybe two things. This week I need to look at where we are for latches, we're going to be putting rather a dent in the supply, I'm pretty sure we're going to need more. 

I think tonight I'll either work on the flaps for the hanging pouches, or see what I can do about belt loops and the belt loop-ish tabs for hanging pouches. For regular belt loops, that means pawing through the scrap pile for anything the right weight (or heavier, that can be split down) big enough to cut 1-1/8" x 5-1/2" pieces from, that isn't big enough for some other parts. I may also end up cutting some strips just for belt loops, because I've got a lot of pouches underway. Tabs for hanging pouches are bigger than I can usually get out of scrap, so we'll cut some strips, split down to the right thickness, and die-cut them.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Catching Up

This post is going to have a certain amount of personal natter rolled up into it, because that's how the cookie crumbles. 


I did hear back from TeslaCon in a reasonable amount of time, and they do have our vendor application.

Floodplain Managers' Conference Program Book

The floodplain managers' conference was Wednesday and Thursday. I got compliments on the book, and the co-worker who is on the board didn't hear any complaints. 

Rearranging the Bedrooms

Not surprisingly, Ron and I have been eyeballing larger printing presses. A couple weeks ago Ron found the proof press on this page, which is probably going to be our next press (and I'm eyeballing some of the bookbinding tools). Its large and heavy, but is something we can get up to the spare bedroom, and not have to worry about the floor, unlike some of the big-brother floor versions of our tabletop presses. But that means finding room in the spare bedroom, which Ron had some ideas about.

A week ago Ron and I abandoned Robin and went out to dinner by ourselves.  After dinner we stopped at Ikea to look at things-to-put-a-proof-press-on options. We found a couple, which one we'll end up will depend on the actual footprint of the press (we have a PDF of the users' manual, which is very helpful in some regards, but not when it comes to that particular piece of information). 

After Ikea, we went to The Container Store, for more small flat-files for storing blocks. The 10-drawer units were on sale, for about 3/4 the price of two 5-drawer units, so a white one followed us home, since The Container Store doesn't carry the 10-drawer units in orange (the other color choices were black and dark gray). Here it is in place. Yes, drawers have been swapped around, as its easier to shift drawers to keep types of things together than to shift a bunch of blocks from one drawer to the other:

Ron's cunning plan to make room for the proof press was to move a set of shelving out of  the spare bedroom. I volunteered that the desk that I got in grade school could be evicted from our bedroom, and the shelves put in its place, and also that the closet on my side of the room could also be used to store optics equipment, rather than taking it to the storage locker. So bright and early Saturday morning Ron started poking at my side of the bedroom. And I mean early. 

The end result was throwing out most of the contents of a 4.5 cubic foot moving box, re-packing the closet with things we'd actually want to keep, and packing the closet more sensibly, re-packing and consolidating my yarn stash, emptying out my old desk, re-packing the attic stair closet, and bringing the shelves into our room from the spare bedroom:
The new-to-this-room shelves are the ones in front of the windows. They're bigger than the desk, but re-organizing the stash and the attic-stair closet (the door in the corner to on the right) included moving a stack of bins of yarn stash into the closet. The other closet is behind the tall shelves on the left edge of the picture. And the room looks better in reality than the picture, which loses all the space between the bed and the shelves.

Robin was planning to go to Games Plus and actually, y'know, play wargames with gaming miniatures, but when he was detailed with taking the desk out to the curb, he decided to appropriate it instead. In the process he cleaned his room, getting rid of an old dresser that was originally mine, and a small cabinet that started out as the base to a changing table. The dresser was passed on to a friend, the cabinet went out to the curb.

Here's the desk, in its new habitat under his loft. Yes, that's another piece of Metro-clone shelving. We've got a bunch of it in the house. Sorry about the weird flare, I think its from the Otter case on my phone, which includes a clear cover over the flash:

And look!  OPEN FLOOR SPACE! In Robin's room!  Will Cecils never wonder? Wonders never cease? Whatever! He has a FLOOR!
Mom or Chere, if you're reading this, yes, that is one of the very old orange couch cushions from the house in Stevensville...

That thing on the left side of the photo is the ladder to the loft. The picture of the desk was taken through the ladder.

Death and Taxes

Saturday afternoon while Ron was at the Capricon wrap-up meeting, I threw myself at taxes. I got the sales taxes done, but trying to get sanity in my summary page of sales records defeated me, and I didn't even try to attack purchases. 

Ron managed to bring order out of that chaos Sunday morning, and has volunteered to work on doing the taxes this weekend while I work on the dining room and making pouches. 

Graphic Design-Ish Stuff

I should have worked on the dining room and leatherworking on Sunday, but was entirely not-motivated. So after Ron resolved my spreadsheet disasters, we went upstairs, and I set type from the big red cabinet, while Ron updated the spreadsheet listing all the blocks we have, and printed proofs. We got four fonts proofed, one of which we already had a name for, and I've identified one of the unknowns. 

Yesterday Linotype (.com) sent me an offer I failed to resist. I got a new font, or the basics of it. $99 instead of $806 for 14 styles (7 weights, regular and italic of each). There's also extended and condensed members of the family, that weren't part of the deal. I can pick those up as onesies or in packages, too. At least this was a 24-hour sale. There have been a couple sales of the first X people get the font for really-good-price, one of which I would have bought, but I was too late. 


I knew there was something else!

Circling back to last Friday night, after stops at Office Whatsit (for tax software) and Ace hardware, we went to Menard's. We were looking for one thing, but I decided to look at something else, which Xap had pointed out to me the previous weekend.

Then I called Robin, to bring the truck, because it was following us home:

This is The Grinch's assistant (and Elrond, looking very odd due to foreshortening). As The Grinch's assistant, its name is, of course, Max. 

The Grinch is full, and there's overflow in the Things, hence Max. Max is only 30" wide (without handle), The Grinch is something like 42" wide. I think Max is also shorter than The Grinch. Ron assures me that Max will fit into the trailer, although he's not certain how Max will be strapped in, and the handtruck will probably ride on top of the Things.

Robin asked how long Max was going to be hanging around the living room, I said at least until the yard isn't squishy, possibly until ACen . . . which is only 2 months away. Eeep! I figure I'll pack as much new merchandise as I can into Max, and Xap can re-pack Max with belts at ACen.

And now, I think, that really is everything.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

TeslaCon, Program Book, and other Tangential Natter

TeslaCon - Ish

Nothing from TeslaCon, so this morning I went looking for a contact e-mail address to try to get confirmation that the vendor application was received. The options are . . . not encouraging: Facebook, and the Eventbrite "contact the organizer" form from the tickets section of the TeslaCon website. I used the on-line form, which once again did not echo to the e-mail address it required, sigh. 

Here's a hint to event organizers: Don't rely on web forms. Supply an e-mail address.  Yes, that means you're going to get some spam. The most I've ever gotten from the e-mail contact on is one or two in a single day. Most of the time I get one or two per week, if that.  Enable spam filters, deal with it, and quit frustrating your attendees/vendors/panelists/whatevers.

The City of Lockport I forget if that's far south Cook Co. or actually into Will Co.) has a Summer Arts Series, this year the theme is "The Visionaries", aka Steampunk, and they're looking for vendors for the "Celebration Weekend".  Unfortunately, the Celebration Weekend is July 25-27th. One week before MuseCon. Insert rantlet here. Woe. Found that by looking at the Steampunk Chicago website, which I found looking for contact information for TeslaCon. 

Other Natter, Mostly Letterpress

 I think it was Sunday that Ron got the hardware installed for the new Elfa shelving in the dining room. Now I need to get him or Robin to cut down the shelves, so I can attack the disaster area. 

On the letterpress front, we sorted some type last night - we'd gotten Ron some more Cloister Black, a couple/few weeks ago I got a set of figures to add to my 18-point Parsons and another set of 24-point Parsons figures, and finally a set of @ symbols in various sizes. I sorted out the 18-pt Parson and the @s, made labels, and updated my type spreadsheet, and Ron did the Cloister Black and put away new blocks, demonstrating that we need another set of the small flat-file drawers, we've filled the first two.

Ron's working on some MuseCon business cards for Xap, which he can finish now that we have the @s. We also need to work on printing Otter Necessities business card coasters, and printing proofs of the new type we got in the big red cabinet, which will help in identifying what they are. 

Program Book

The Long Grim Slog of Doom wasn't too bad. I worked on it Friday night, and pretty much all Saturday. I got the last major piece (attendee list) by midday Saturday. Using the powers of intelligent importing from a spreadsheet, find-and-replace, and clever "paragraph" (clump of text) formatting rules that InDesign has, formatting the attendee list (12 pages or so) was fairly quick and painless. So by Saturday dinnertime I declared the book almost-but-not-quite-totally-done, and sent a PDF out for review. 

Not surprisingly, there were corrections to make. Most were easy/relatively minor: mis-spelled names, etc., but somehow a handful of speaker bios (about a paragraph each) had fallen out of the document. I remember formatting at least one (my boss!), so I have no clue what happened. Fitting those back in wasn't trivial, but it wasn't too hard. I finished making corrections by about 10 am, then ran away from home (ie: went with Ron and Robin to Cabela's, to get Robin a new pair of boots), and generally ignored the book for most of the day.

Sunday evening Ron and I went through the book one more time and poked at some word/line breaks, then I exported a press-quality PDF to send to the printer. I uploaded it Monday morning (somewhere in the last paragraph or two I'd sent off another PDF for review, IIRC), supplied web PDFs for on-line use, and then went off to work. The finished page count was 82 pages, plus front cover, which is my longest book yet, and done in the shortest time frame.  

I didn't do as much re-writing and proofreading as I usually do, but the text that I got was more consistent than I usually get. I'm sure there's at least a couple typos that will LEAP off the page at me once I see a hard copy, but that's normal. Very little ranting at the computer. Yes, I'm willing to do this one again. The conference chair has asked for suggestions for next year, which I've been pondering.