Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My name is Joy, and I might be a Luddite

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am a bit of a Luddite. And what, some of you may ask, exactly is a Luddite? According to the Oxford English Dictionary (that's the OED to its closest friends), a Luddite is "one who opposes the introduction of new technology, esp. into a place of work." A group of manufacturers were given this name after following one Captain Ludd in protests during the Industrial Revolution. They essentially tried to stop the march of progress by destroying the machines that were replacing them in the factories. Obviously, they weren't successful, but the name stuck. So that's something they accomplished.

It's not that I don't appreciate technology. Hey, I'm using a blog. I have a Facebook account. Email rocks. Twitter and LinkedIn may grow on me. We just bought a tablet (but I hate (!!) mobile apps. I want to see all of the options, not just the ones your choose for me). And the Internet, well, it's pretty cool.

The Internet: it's bigger on the inside (who's a Doctor Who fan out there?).

Love the IT Crowd.

Sorry. Back to the main topic.

It's just the rate that technology and gadgets are changing can be a bit mind numbing at times. Being in the information profession (that's fancy speak for librarianship), I think that I see so much more of the new technologies, and even what I see is only the tip of the ice burg. My position in the Tower does keep me a bit insulated from many new fangled notions since I'm just trying to pull us past the mid-1990's (I'm getting a new scanner!!). I just find myself thinking I wish I could just give it all up, plow an acre of land, make my own clothes, and coordinate an old fashioned book exchange for the other homesteaders nearby.

So what prompted this oh so very philosophical post? As I may have mentioned, I'm running for an office on the Board of SLA (that's Special Libraries Association). As part of the campaign process, we have to answer questions periodically to help the members get to know us. You can see my most recent post here. The question about techie gadgets just irked me a bit. I really had to tone down my snark. Again, it's not that I have anything wrong with techie gadgets, but they are certainly not the end all be all of helping people in a library or information resource or research setting (and I don't really think the question implied that, it's just where my mind went this evening).

Here was my work for the last two weeks: listening to recordings of carillon concerts (good, actually very enjoyable) combined with trying to get my computer to do something else so I could multitask (not so good) all the while trying to find carillon music appropriate to play during a 5K race (you can still participate). Today, I had 4 hours to actually burn the CD. Between the additional editing that needed to be done, the rare visitor that came to see me in the library, and my super slow computer, it took me 5 hours to accomplish this task. Yes, my computer is that slow. Really. It's not that I was just impatient. It took an hour and a half to burn 66 minutes worth of music to a CD today. What new techie gadget do I want? A computer that works faster than a snail's pace. A scanner with a wide enough bed to capture 8.5 x 11" paper (who buys a scanner made for A4 paper in the US?). A phone that doesn't get all static when a storm is approaching. Reliable electricity and temperature control (historic buildings are a bit of a bummer about things like that). Running water (I kid not). There are librarians out in the world doing what they can with a whole lot less. Tablets, smart phones, apps, blah, blah, blah. Let's make sure everyone has the basics before we go all crazy. The good news is that I should be getting a newer computer, scanner, and other 21st century computer equipment next week!! Eeee!

Call me a Luddite. It's ok. I'd even wear the t-shirt.

If I start a tech-free commune, who wants a plot of land?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crafting is good for the soul

We'll just ignore that once again I have seriously neglected this blog. I'll say that life has been consumed by many things. I'm running for an office on the international board of SLA, serving my regional SLA chapter as president,  planning some trips to conferences, and crafting away. I've been working on a really large project that I'll be able to share soon (but not yet) and some smaller projects in between.

Last weekend, I facilitated a Bible study for my church's women's retreat. We evaluated our thought closets, considering how it is that we as women talk to ourselves, what takes up the most space in our thoughts, and how God would actually like us to talk to ourselves and prioritize our thoughts. I had my doubts about the format (we watched several videos in the Jennifer Rothschild study Me, Myself, and Lies: A Thought Closet Makeover) since we were trying to cram the lessons of a 6 week study into a weekend, but I think it went well. Our church is planning on doing the rest of the study this summer, and I really can't wait.

So, what does this have to do with crafting? Crafty woman that I am, I couldn't miss out on an opportunity to make a little something for the ladies that attended the event. A few months ago, I saw a blog post about making journal jars, and I stuck it on the back burner of my mind. When I started studying for this event, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity.

Step one: gather jars of all shapes and sizes. Why buy jars when we empty jars all the time? The size of the jars ranged from a small jam jar up to a spaghetti sauce jar. It really made no difference, but I think I liked the odd shaped jelly jars the best. Make sure the lids fit snugly on the jars. I found metal worked better than plastic in terms of holding the paint. I did use one canning jar, and I just glued the two pieces of the lid together with tacky glue.

Step two: make sure the jars and lids are nice and clean, clear of all labels and glue, and don't smell funny (like one pickle jar I wanted to use). A nice long soak in warm soapy water worked well for most, but you may need to pull out the Goo-gone on the tougher labels.

Step three: I painted the jar lids to make them look less like discarded food jars and more like a crafty item. I painted both the outside and inside of the lids to give them a more finished look. This was the part that took the longest since you need to let the paint dry completely between coats. The outside of the lids took about three coats, depending on the lid material (plastic, metal, shiny metal). The insides only took about two (mostly because I was lazy).

Step four: jazz them up! I found a super cute dress form graphic over at the Graphics Fairy, my go-to site for license free graphics. Book mark it. Now. After some consultation with my DH, we agreed that I should color them to match the lids. I think that it added a very nice touch. I used my Crayola True to Life crayons that have complimenting colors mixed into one crayon (they are my most favorite crayons which is why it is so sad they were discontinued). For the inside of the lid, I made a little reminder of the Bible verse that was the focus of our study.

Step five: I attached the graphics to the lids using Mod Podge which is always super fun to use. It took about two coats to cover the graphics and make it smooth enough. I am also hoping that this step will help protect the paint from chipping. Let the lids dry completely before placing them back onto the jars (the point is to be able to reopen them after all).

Step six: fill the jars with journal prompts. I used a bunch of thoughts from our study and then when I gave the jars to the ladies, I encouraged them to continue filling them with favorite Bible verses and other prompts that will remind them of God's will for their lives. I colored the back of the paper to match the lids and dress forms.

If you had a journal jar, what would you put in it?