Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Three bitcoins in the Fountain

What kind of happily-ever-after is there for the bitcoin?
"Three Coins in the Fountain" was a regular post-war, classic oldie, on late night television when I was growing up. When it's heroines, Frances, Anita, and Maria tossed their lucky coins into the Trevi Fountain, they were wishing for diamond rings. Actually, they were supposed to be wishing to return to Rome, but every popcorn snacker in the 50's theaters knew they were intent on love - the kind of love that ends in marriage. A girl of that time wasn't supposed to have much on her mind other than traditional marriage.

With all that "glorious technicolor",  and the romantic lure of handsome fellas like Louis Jourdan and Rossano Brazzi (yes, the ultra-suave Emile De Becque in South Pacific), viewers 
just knew any coin - whether it was American quarter or a five lire piece - that got pitched into that much-visited Roman landmark 
was a guarantee of a happily-ever-after ending.

Not so much with todays not-quite-mainstream bitcoin. 

With twelve and a half million bitcoins in circulation, however, we've come to a point where it's not just a select group of digital know-it-all, hacker types controlling this crytopcurrency. Nowadays, the IRS and Wall Street are taking an interest. The IRS has issued tax guidelines for virtual currencies. Agencies in other countries are making similar moves. Banks and speculators are investing in Bitcoins*.

Oh and various criminal types are focusing 
on bitcoin transactions as well. Gotten in on any good Ponzi schemes lately? Ponzi masters are only one style of robber barons misusing Bitcoin technology. Who knows what other trolls are hanging out under bridges, persuing bitcoins on the dark side of the web.

Government agencies, financial mavens, and calculating criminals are all interested in 
getting, keeping and enhancing the value of Bitcoins. Well we all know who comes next. Yup, us regular folks just may be thinking about slipping bitcoins into our virtual wallets any day now. I'm starting to get a vision....

There I am, hopping up on the elliptical at the gym, strapping on my Oculus glasses for that virtual ride through Disneyland, an experience that's bound to keep me entertained while I pedal the virtual miles away. Just up ahead is Snow White's wishing well. 

I'd really love to see the monthly sales figures go up on My Heart Beats Faster  ebook at amazon.  What could be a better investment in my sales futures than a Disneyland wish?

Is my digital bitcoin, like it's more traditional 1954 cousin,  going to guarantee me my own happy ever after ? Let me just reach  on down into that digital wallet.....

* Note the capital "B" - which 
refers to the technology and management of the currency, versus 'bitcoin' - the actual currency.
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Web Resources

Three Coins in the Fountain - The movie

What's a bitcoin?

San Francisco Chronicle Bitcoin Politics and Business Changes

Facebook and Oculus - What about those 3D glasses?

What's Crytopcurrency?

Where might digital trolls hang out? Dark Web/ Deep Web -

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hiking Edgewood:Western Bluebird Succeeds

 Before the 1940's, Western Bluebirds were a common sight in places like Edgewood .
After WWII, large-scale building development seriously impacted the ability of these avians to reproduce. Back in the 1960's and 1970's, it was rare to spot a bluebird around here.

 In the 1970's people across the western United States, began efforts to bring bluebirds back. Edgewood is one of a number of places where nesting boxes help this effort. There are currently twenty three nesting boxes for Western Bluebirds in the area of Edgewood Preserve. Bluebirds nests are monitored by Friends of Edgewood volunteers in conjunction with the Sequoia Audobon Society. In 2013, 77 baby bluebirds were born in nests their parents built in park bluebird boxes. 
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 Wikipedia: Western Bluebird - 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ench By Sew-018 Boning Up on Bustiers: Part 1

I printed a bunch of this image
on postcard stock to make
bookmark/luggage tags I
slipped in big bags and pattern bags
associated with this project
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!
Two Ways to Listen
Option I)You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 

OR ~
Option ii)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me EnchantedBySewing AT gmail DOT com
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A bustier is an alluring garment, one many women would like to wear - if they dare. When I began to notice that women of all shapes, sizes and ages sewed and wore their bustiers with pleasure and pride, I decided to take a chance and learn to sew this very structured garment, that can be designed to flatter a wide variety of figure types.

- FIRST What is a bustier? It's not a corset, for one thing.
 • A soft torsolette is a bandeau
A long torsolette is a corselette

   Class I’m taking is from Lynda Maynard, an instructor at Cañada College, San Francisco City College and also an instructor at Craftsy.

Lynda’s “Fit” Class on Craftsy, which I plan to take.

This posting I wrote for Me Encanta Coser, includes a number of links to
other bustier posts I wrote about this project, in the Web Resources section

- NEXT Pensimientos Primero:  Who might wear a bustier? Who do I want to create one?
- ENTONCES/THEN Where I am,  in the process of creating one. How long it’s taking me
- FOLLOWED BY Technicos: Cut, Cloth, Construction

o CUT Pattern Selection and Alteration
Simplicity 5006
Can’t skip the muslin stage
Fit  No 1 the pattern
The squish factor – add one inch, ¼ inch up from waistline to new pattern
New paper I’ve found  for pattern paper – not tissue now but artists tracing paper. Mostly Transparant .
          Not Tissue. Kind of like waxed paper. I use it with a soft lead pencil (#1?) – also an artist supply.
Staedtler Artists/Draftsperson’s Sketch Paper Rolls,
    Also found a brand by Bee

 o Cloth – 4 kinds of fabric, some choices – definite types, NO WOVENS

Review warp and weft
Why warp and weft are especially important for Bustiers
Stay stich – Why not just skip it?
The layers
What each layer is
Why certain fabrics are important

1) Lining (bottom layer) must be super soft on your skin comfortable. You don't wear with an undergarment
My Lining is vintage Liberty of London Tana Lawn
I love Tana Lawn so much, I have a Pinterest Board just for that !

Lynda Maynard likes silk charmeuse for lining bustiers

2) Coutil provides support for boning
Where to buy coutil

o Richard the Thread - Mail Order. Our fabric came really fast
Rumors - Minimum order 5 yards? Will they sell you less if you call?
o Brittex - Field Trip To Brittext
o Lacis -  Field Trip to Lacis

3) 100% cotton flannel protects against bones pushing through to top layer
4) Fashion Fabric (top layer). What people see. Denim for me! Duchesses Satin?
Silk Dupioni? Men's Wear Woolen? Find the perfect fabric.

One of these images I"ve pinned on Pinterest may give you ideas for that perfect fabric

o Construction
Dem Bones Gonna Walk Around - Focus on Boning
Thanks to my study partner "Dave" for providing the music :-)
NEXT MONTH I will summarize construction more

- Completion and goal setting tie in with other non-sewing projects
- Less temptation to stray :-)
- The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter  by Susan Wittig Albert
"Many a little makes a mickle, many a mickle makes a mile"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Edgewood Rocks! (Geology)

Geology is key to the diversity of habitats and the success of Edgewood as a nature preserve.
Because of the specialized geologic makeup of this 467 acre site, rarely seen native California wildflowers and other plants have maintained a toehold.

Because of Edgewood geology, animals dependent on plants that grow in this specialized area find a home.

Because of Edgewood geology's contributions to rare and endangered plant and animal communities, local citizens preserved this area as a natural space for future use by plants and all animals (including humans)

Key Components of Edgewood Geology

  1. Tectonic Plate* Boundary
    • The North American Plate
    • Edgewood lies along the western edge of this formidable slab of rock, that floats over the Earth's mantle in much of North America.
    • The Pacific Plate
    • This plate is the largest of the tectonic plates. Though it's not beneath Edgewood, it does provide a foundation for the Santa Cruz Mountains, which can be viewed from the western side of the park.
    • The San Andreas Fault
    • This fault marks the border between the North American and Pacific plates. Evidence of this junction can be seen in the valley covered by the Crystal Springs Reservoir, beyond the 280 freeway on the western side of Edgewood preserve. Many earthquakes in the area are due to movement of these two great plates along this boundary.
  2. Rock Types
  3. All the rocks at Edgewood started out on the ocean-floor. They arrived in the preserve via subduction**, the movement of one tectonic plate beneath another, and were later recycled as continental crust. Much of the rock within the park is part of the Franciscan Complex.
    1. Serpentinite/Serpentine
    2. A particularly significant rock in the Franciscan Complex when it comes to the success of Edgewood meadow and chaparral plants, and the survival of the Bay Area Checkerspot Butterfly. Serpentine rock, and the soils and plants it contributes to, are found on the Clarkia and Serpentine Loop Trails. Only 1% of CA rock is serpentine. It breaks down into soils that produce masses of flowers, and other plants adapted to it's unique composition.
    3. Other Rocks in the Franciscan Complex
    4. These rocks include greywacke, melange, and greenstone. They contribute to soils, and therefore plant and animal life, in the central ridge (Ridgeview Trails) area and upper oak woodlands of the popular Sylvan Trail.
    5. Whiskey Hill Formation
    6. This sandstone occurs in the woodland area of Old Stage picnic grounds. It extends into areas beyond the preserve, notably in Pulgas Ridge Open Space (Dogs not allowed at Edgewood are permitted at Pulgas Ridge!). Handley Rock , a popular local rock-climbing site and an intriguing view from Edgewood, is composed of Whiskey Hill 

~ ~ ~

Web Resources

*What is a tectonic plate?
Geologic Timeline of Western North America
The North American (Tectonic) PlateThe Pacific (Tectonic) Plate
Friends Of Edgewood: This site is an excellent source for everything from docent hike schedules to Edgewood wildflower search (Use the Photos tab in the upper right hand corner, to figure out what kind of flower you saw).
Edgewood Quick Facts

Sunday, March 23, 2014

An Eye On that New Smart Phone Star in the Sky

Has the smart phone market bubble gone bust?

I read this week, that companies like Apple, HP, and Intel may need to take things down a notch, when it comes to smartphone production. They don't doubt their popularity. Folks continue to enjoy these devices,  it's just that sales aren't growing like they once were. Oh, and they may not be able to charge as much for them. Of course I also read about the market in China heating up for Apple, so I don't think that fruit stand down the street is going to be suffering too much. For those of us without investments in these companies, is a price break a bad thing?  

My main concern is built in obsolescence. Like that stove top we had to replace in less than ten years, whereas the ones I remember from my childhood had been around since the 1930's, and may still be in use somewhere today. If those big companies decide they want to sell me on wearables, instead of a phone, you know I'll be stuck. Although it sure would be awesome to be able to just look down at my wrist to see what time it is, instead of having to get out my phone. Oh wait, isn't that what we all used to do?

I do notice a strong desire to have the latest and greatest smart phone, don't you? Mobile devices seem to have replaced changing fashions in clothes. Yes, believe it or not there was a time before we all wore tee shirts and jeans to work. Hemlines went up one year, down the next, and no gal wanted to be seen dead in last years skirt. Of course men could get by with just switching out the wide tee for the narrow one. Oh a tie, let me try and explain what that was.... 

I wonder who figured out they'd do better selling us on keeping up with the phonies down the street, than getting us to simply fill our wardrobes? I know it's going to cost me more in the long run. I tend to sew my own clothes, but I strongly doubt I'm going to be rolling my own mobile devices.

Built in obsolescence is a big help to mobile device manufacturers - not so much for me.
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Apple, HP, Intel may be hit by slowdown in growth of smartphone sales

Music to Apple's Ears: the iPhone is Mobile China's Leading 4G Smartphone

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Confusing the Censors. Google on a White Horse?

Articles in this news this week, in regards to new encryption techniques, paint Google in a very chivalrous role. I was tempted to illustrate this post with an Arthurian knight on a milk-white steed. However, the real hero here may well be the patient end-user who works around censorship on a day-to-day basis.

How might  this weeks move by Google to encrypt searches, impact regular folks here and in China?

For me... nothing much. If I want to search for information about Mao Hengfeng, a woman human rights activist in China, I can do so here in the San Francisco Bay Area. But very likely I won't get any results with the same search in mainland China.

Google's new implementation of search encryption could mean that my search will no longer be waylaid by government censors. Whether at home or abroad, I should now be able to bring up her wikipedia, and other, web pages.

But there's another way to carry out this search in China, and it uses techniques (Do we notice the connection to technology?)  that have been in use since power struggling between people first began. Anybody whose ever read Sherlock Holmes or a WWII spy-thriller knows how this works. The method involves someone in or outside of the community setting up coded words and phrases. If I want to search on Mao Hengfeng in Peking, very likely I know, or I ask around, until I find out her alternate name. And once the censors figure out the code and ban it by digital censorship, than the word gets out in the underground about a new name or phrase that brings up the same information.

Chinese censors are probably already at work figuring out a way around Google's encrypted searches, but regular people, using technology as old as the hills, are one step ahead of Google's white horse.
~ ~ ~ 
Web Resources

NPR Avoiding the Great Firewall Internet Censors:

Mao Hengfeng:

Silicon Valley Tech News

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Feels Lichen You Are Givin' Me the GOLD Eye (Hiking Edgewood)

Edgewood Gold Eye Lichen
Teloschistes chrysophthalmus
Freddie Fungus and Alice Algae took a lichen to each other.
It was an old-style relationship.
Freddie provided the house.
Alice made all the food.

* * *

Fungus can't photosynthesize, but they can make structures.

Algae are great at photosynthesizing, converting  solar energy and carbon dioxide into food. They need a place to hang out.

Lichen, like the Edgewood Gold Eye above, are a combination of fungus and algae. The fungus provides a place for the algae to live, and the algae makes nourishment for both of them. 

It's symbiosis at it's best.

~ ~ ~
Web Resources
Really good Explanation of Lichens and discussion of the impact of pollution and toxins on them  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hiking Edgewood: A Mule Deer Strolls Past

Click on the illustration above to enjoy more details
Though a common sight,
My heart stands still, when mule deer
Stroll across my path.

~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crow Talk (haiku)

Crows are regular, though temporary ,neighbors in my hood
Birds chatting on high,
Discuss other times and places.
Corvus - Stinking smart.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Crow Talk

Crows are regular, though temporary ,neighbors in my hood
Birds chatting on high,
Discuss other times and places.
Corvus - Stinking smart.

Correct Me If I'm Wrong:-) Semi-Bilingual Sewing

I added a new spanish word*
to my knowledge-base-
while enjoying the historic
pictorial street signs I
walking through Madrid
When we share an enchantment for sewing, whether or not we speak the same language, we still want to communicate about our passion with the needle, the thread and the tela.

I may not be fluent in languages other than English, but it doesn't keep me from using them when I get the chance. Sometimes, of course, I mess up. But I can communicate with others, and often follow simple, or even more complicated, directions using pictures and words in context. For any of you who've ever helped a child learn to read, that's how you begin to read, or read things that are beyond your level. And, of course, it's how we can continue to learn as adults.

My spanish isn't fluent, but I use it whenever I get the chance. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, many people speak spanish, and it's just plain fun to make the world my language professor. Who knows when I'll get a chance to shop for material in a Latin American country or go back for another visit to Spain?

Here are a few words and phrases I find useful when it comes to chatting about sewing in spanish.

(la) costura(1): sewing, couture, fashion
costura, puntadas (2):seam
sin costura: seamless
sentar las costuras: press the seams
(el) bordado: embroidery
* bordadores: Embroiderers (profession)

alta costura: high fashion
la costura italiana: Italian fashion

At the Store
yarda: yard (of fabric)
tejido,tela, fieltro: fabric
material de uso o de adorno: material/ material for use or adornment

Tools of the Trade

maquina de coser: sewing machine
las tijeras de costura: sewing scissors
(el) hilo: thread
ua aguja e/y hilo: a needle and thread
hilo de algodón/nylon: cotton nylon thread
hilo de hebra: silk thread
hilo de bordar: embroidery thread/silk/floss

necesser de costura: sewing kit
el cesto de la costura: sewing basket

The Process
to sew or do needlework: hacer costura (also referred to simply as labor - as we might say in English when we say I'm taking my work to do while I'm listening at the meeting)

ester a punt de reventar pro las costuras: When a garment is bursting at the seams (hummmm.... how could that happen? :-)
Enctonces/ Then we need to.....
soitar una costura: let out the seams

confección: dressmaking

Another nice sample from Collins Spanish English dictionary that puts a few words together

Una chaqueta con cordoncillo azul en las costar: A jacket piped with blue at the seams

     (Náut)   seam

Listening Practice
Mi Tiempo Entre Costuras/ My Time Between the Seams (a Video Log/Vlog)

My Time Between The Seams - I'd love to find an episode of this show to watch!

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