Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Computer Scrapbooks

Computer Scrapbooks
by: Barbara Miller

When digital cameras were first released on the market, everyone was excited. Finally, here was an easy way to take and store photos. No more would our closets be plagued with boxes and envelopes housing a hodgepodge of unorganized photographs. What we didn't realize was that soon, our computers would be filled with a hodgepodge of unorganized photographs.

The explosion of home computers and the Internet has led to an increased need for people to organize computer scrapbooks. It's easy to accumulate literally thousands of digital pictures, and it's just as easy to get them all mixed up. Try finding a favorite photo as you're scanning through a list of numbers and letters. Creating computer scrapbooks makes it quick and easy to locate the photographs, as soon as you want to see them.

When preparing your computer scrapbooks, the first step should always be renaming your photos. You should use file names that are easy to understand and organize, rather than keeping the default names set by your digital photography software. Anyone who has used a digital camera or camera phone knows just how hard it can be to decipher the file names, let alone selecting the photographs. Proper titles listed in computer scrapbooks make it easy to remember which pictures you have.

One key point to remember is that all of your computer scrapbook files will be sorted in alphabetical order. This can get confusing, particularly if you're naming pictures by date. Rather than call your photos 'January10', 'April21' etc, use the numerical format year, month and then day. Those same files will now be called 20050110Baby and 20050421Baby. In doing so, your computer will display them in the correct date order for you.

After your photo files have been renamed, you need to create folders to store the different types of photo files. Try organizing your computer scrapbooks by subject, theme or occasion. This will allow you to find your photos much easier later on. For example, create a folder called 'Baby Pictures' and save all of your baby photographs in that folder. By setting up and following a naming system, you'll soon have the most well organized computer scrapbooks around.

Whether or not you print your digital photos, always create backups of all your computer scrapbook files. There are many archiving programs that can be used to compress large files, enabling them to be stored on a CD or other removable disk. It is essential that you label your CDs to keep your computer scrapbook backups as organized as the originals. You can write the title on the CD itself, but you should also remember to alter the name of the CD as read by the computer. Most CD writing software automatically prompts you to give the CD a title, but check the instructions before you start the burning process so you, and your computer, will be able to clearly identify the CDs.

Digital cameras make it easy to take and save pictures. Computer scrapbooks make it easy to find the pictures anytime you're ready to take a trip down memory lane or share the digital images with your friends.

About The Author
Barbara Miller writes for several popular web sites, including (close new window/tab to get back to this page).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Fabric Stores: The Nuts and Bolts

Fabric Stores: The Nuts and Bolts
by: Heather Larson

There was a time when going to the fabric store meant you were looking for material to make a dress. No longer is this true. Today, beautiful fabrics by the bolt are available to everyone who has designs on reupholstering their furniture. When you visit the fabric store it can be a bit overwhelming. Your mind will go from not being sure of what you want to recover your furniture with, to having so many options it seems like a daunting task to make a decision. Be prepared for the myriad of choices you will have.

The first thing that you need to do is make a list of the furniture that you would like to recover. Have an upholsterer visit your home and give you measurements for all of the pieces you would like to have recovered; they should happily do this in anticipation of the business it will bring them. Typically, you will be given a measurement in yards. This is the number you will want to take with you to the fabric store because, upon finding the perfect material, a store representative will ask how many yards you would like to have cut from the bolt.

Next, you will want to take some small things from home, that will give you an idea of the color for which you are looking. You might have a favorite accessory that would assist you in matching fabrics to your room. One helpful tip is to take color chips from the paint store with you. These can easily be taken in your tote bag and will be invaluable in selecting your fabric.

Make a game plan as to how you navigate the stores. Most fabric stores have a very deliberate way that they organize their bolts. A particular arrangement is the store’s method of enriching a customer’s experience for them. Upon arriving at the store ask about the store’s sample policy. Most fabric stores have a specific sample policy which they will ask that you adhere to because you are sampling their inventory and cut after cut slowly but surely costs the store money which raises the prices for you. So sample lightly! Here are three sample policies from around the Atlanta area.

1. Samples have been cut and are provided on a safety pin attached to the bolt.

2. You can obtain a pair of fabric scissors from the desk and cut your own samples. When doing this make sure the sample is smaller than a dollar bill.

3. A store representative will cut the sample for you.

Keep in mind that more expensive fabrics, such as silks, will require a store representative to assist you or have samples already available.

After learning about the stores sample policy, you must then determine how the store is organized. You may also want to ask someone from the desk about this when you are inquiring about sampling. Most likely you will find the fabrics have been organized in one of the following ways.

1. By Color: Solids and patterns of the same color will be grouped together.

2. By Pattern: Solids will be separated from stripes without regard to color, etc.

3. By Fabric Type: Silks will be separated from chenilles, etc.

Once you have determined the layout of the store, pull out your accessories and color chips and begin your search. There will be an overwhelming amount of fabric from which to choose. Do not let that intimidate you. Once you have chosen your color, material or pattern of choice, begin looking in the appropriate section. Decide what attracts you to particular fabrics. What is the most important thing in making your decision? Is your room in need of glamour, or do you need a sturdy, durable weave to withstand the children? In general, lighter weight fabrics will be less durable that weighty fabrics. When selecting a fabric, also pay attention to the weave. Is it dense? The denser a fabric is, the more durable it is. Thick and tightly woven fabrics are great for the years when you are raising a family, while silks add glamour and are far more delicate and difficult to clean.

Whatever your goal in selecting fabrics, you can be sure that you will find the perfect one at a local fabric store. Surprisingly, they are very reasonably priced and you can take your selection home with you the same day. You will love your reupholstered furniture all the more because you selected the material on your own. Have fun shopping for fabric. It will bring out the designer in you.

About The Author
Heather Larson works as a home stager for various real estate companies and individuals in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a contributing writer for Atlanta Design Directory.

Copyright © 2006 Heather Larson.