Posts made in July, 2014

#MakersWednesday: Baby Sack

#MakersWednesday: Baby Sack

Posted By on Jul 30, 2014

Welcome to Makers Wednesday, where makers of all levels and backgrounds come together to share their creativity!

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This week, I’ve got a handmade baby gift to share! My best friend from high school just had her first baby. When my first son was born, this particular friend knitted him a hat that he wore all through his first winter, I loved it so much! So of course I had to reciprocate!

When another friend of mine had a baby about a year ago, she knitted an Owlie Sleep Sack for that baby, so I got to see first-hand what a convenient little contraption it is! Basically, it works like a swaddling blanket but without the blanket – you just pull it up over Baby’s legs and torso and it snuggles him in – with his arms tucked down inside or left free on the outside.

So I used a skein of my handspun yarn (meaning I spun this yarn on a spinning wheel from wool) to knit a modified version of that sleep sack for my best friend’s baby. I modified it to remove the owl details because this yarn is so busy that the owls wouldn’t show up anyway. Here it is:


I can picture my friend snuggling her little man in this cozy little sack – I hope it helps him feel the love that went into every stitch. 🙂

So, what’s YOUR favorite handmade gift for a new baby? Share with us in the comments below! And don’t forget to show us YOUR Makers Wednesday projects on social media with the hashtag #MakersWednesday!

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“Ask Penny” is the place to come with all of your tech-related questions. Want to know how to tweak your web site without hiring professional help, or when is the right time to get that type of help? Bring your questions right here to the comments! Once a month Penny will be back to answer a few more.

Ask Penny

Penny Shima Glanz is a computer scientist with a passion for information management and how we interact with technology. She started PennyWise Consulting, LLC to help solo and small businesses figure out how to make the most of their technology needs and budgets. When not wrangling technology she can be found knitting, snuggling with her cats and reading, or out on a muddy trail run at sunrise.          

Today’s Question: How do I make changes without crashing everything?

Penny’s Answer:

Backup! Backup! Backup!

Then verify your backup. How? At the very least, make sure that the file was successfully created and is accessible to you. If you are comfortable with what you think should be in the backup (such as a database backup), open the file and confirm the general content. If the backup is of files: look in the directories, make sure the files exist and that you can open a few of them.

When you are ready to make changes to your website or computer, only make them one small step at a time. Review what you changed to see if it worked. Make a new backup and remember to keep the previous backup. Repeat until all your changes are completed.

Does your computer say you have 42 updates to do? Instead of running them all at once, step through them one at a time.
Do you have lots of WordPress updates? Don’t select-all and update; again, step through them one at a time.

By incrementally stepping through each intended change, while there are still lots of moving parts and it might not be easy to see what exact change is causing something to crash, knowing that things went haywire after you upgraded plugin X will give you a starting point to fixing it.

Let’s look at a specific example, making changes to part of your website, such as to a WordPress widget. What can you do to make sure that little piece of code doesn’t cause a train wreck? While WordPress creates versions of posts, it doesn’t currently do so for widgets.

For times like this I make a quick temporary backup copy. If it’s for a large text area that has HTML code too, such as for a text widget on a WordPress site, I open up a plain text editor such as TextEdit on Mac or Notepad on Windows and copy and paste. If you have another application you prefer (I am partial to TextWrangler on Mac and Notepad++ for Windows) feel free to use them; the key is to copy and paste in plain text because there’s some code that needs to be maintained.

Then I make my changes step by step. If it’s completely messed up, it’s easy to revert back to the original by opening the text file that was saved earlier and copying and pasting it into the widget form. Are there other ways to do this? Yes! However, this is a simple quick way to make some small changes without completely messing up.

If it’s a more complicated form, for example, such as a widget that has various configuration options and multiple fields, then I’ll take a screenshot of the settings before I make changes. The image isn’t as easy to revert back to, but it does give me a quick record of what the settings were before I started making changes.

Please see this post for a few more tips about backing up a (self-hosted) WordPress.

Thanks so much to Penny for popping in here at Patterned to share her wisdom with our readers! Are there ways that the technology you have (or the technology you’re scared to start using) is holding you back in your business? Is there something you would like to be able to do, but you’re not sure how to make it happen with technology? Ask Penny! Leave a comment below, and she’ll be back to answer YOUR questions next time!

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Welcome to #ThinkCreateReflect, where we slow down at the end of the week and take the time to work through a creative or business-related prompt (or both!). We’re glad you’re here to join us!

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With this week’s prompt, you get to think like a villain!

If you could have a set of minions for a week, what would you do with them?
If you’d like to share your response with us, post a link on Twitter or Instagram and tag it #ThinkCreateReflect!
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#MakersWednesday: More Socks

#MakersWednesday: More Socks

Posted By on Jul 23, 2014

Welcome to Makers Wednesday, our favorite day of the week here at Patterned HQ! We love Wednesday because that’s the day we take a moment to celebrate the Maker in all of us. Wont’ you join us?

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This week, it should come as no surprise that I’m knitting another pair of socks. What can I say? They’re the perfect knit for summer – small enough that they don’t drape my lap with unwanted heat in this sweltering Tennessee weather, and also easily portable. I have knit on this particular pair at the library, the pool, and even waiting at the pharmacy to fill a prescription! Plus, my goal is to have a sock drawer full of hand knit beauties by winter, so I may as well keep on stitching!

The pair I’m knitting now is Hermione’s Everyday Socks, inspired by one of the main characters in the Harry Potter novels. The yarn is some that I dyed myself, also inspired by Hermione. Practical and lovely, just like Hermione, these socks hit the spot for me (which requires a pattern other than plain knitting that isn’t too complicated):

As is my usual custom now, I’m knitting them both at one time on the same pair of needles so as to avoid “second sock syndrome” (a condition some knitters experience – myself included – when they finish one sock and for some reason can’t bring themselves to cast on for the second one because it feels like they just made one!).

So, what are YOU making this week? Share it with us in the comments, or post on social media with the tag #MakersWednesday!

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Do you ever wonder what sets some creative entrepreneurs apart from the rest of their peers? Why do they seem to pluck success out of thin air, and run with it like the wind? All metaphors aside, there probably isn’t one universal answer to the question of why some people succeed where others fail. But there is a key that we can all employ in unlocking that secret – and that key involves building the habits of creative people.


Your creativity can be the thing that gets you through life – if you think about it, having confidence in your creativity helps you know a few important things about yourself:

  • You can think “outside the box.”
  • You can come up with new solutions to problems.
  • You can improvise.
  • You know how to fix mistakes and improve the original situation as a result.
  • You can make things that other people can’t make.

Having these qualities in your back pocket can get you through a variety of challenges. According to Business News Daily, creativity is probably even more valuable than intelligence – it’s just not as easy to quantify. Having creativity is an asset to entrepreneurs in all fields, because they’re able to capitalize on their own potential rather than waiting for someone else to hand them opportunities.

Being creative also means being able to adapt and change as needed. Sometimes when you’re making a piece of art, it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to at first – but if you can adapt to that difference and follow your inspiration where it takes you, you just might find that the finished piece works out better than you had hoped. If you can apply this adaptability in other areas of life, you can turn failure into success time and time again. Lateral Action advises combining your creativity with your business savvy to make the most of any opportunities that come along (and they’ve got an inspiring story of a famous entrepreneur to illustrate their point).

Creativity by itself may not be enough to ensure success, but it can certainly apply to all of the other areas that are necessary for success. Use your creativity to come up with your product, to find your customers, to open new doors of opportunity and to connect with other people who can help you grow your business. Having the ability to think creatively about any situation is one way to develop the habits of a person who is strong and resilient; and it’s that type of person who is going to succeed in today’s entrepreneurial world.

What about you – how do you use creativity to build successful habits? Share with us in the comments below!

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