Tiny Tip: Design cards with the envelope in mind

A trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

If you are creating cards or invitations, it’s helpful to know the sizes of standard envelopes so that once you have finished all that hard work, it’s possible to actually mail them.

You could, of course, create your own envelope, but if you are doing invitations or a mass of thank you cards after an event, you’ll probably want to stick to the sizes easiest to find at the stores.

One other quick card size tip – you’ll also want to consider the size of the sheet of paper you are printing them on. One of my favorite sizes is the A2 insert size – at 4.25 x 5.5, you can get four out of a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (or two if they fold over).

Web Wednesday: June 14, 2017

Editing Auto-Complete Addresses, Weather Forecasting and Space Station Sightings

  • Every time we have a change of staff at work I have to look this up to remember how to stop Mac OS Mail from using an old auto-complete entry in email. It occurs to me I might not be the only one who needs a refresher course.
  • Seems to me that the mainstream weather websites  are more panic and hype (not to mention pop-up ads) than actual weather. This one just gives you the data and you get to play weatherman.
  • A super nerdy thing we enjoy at SuzerSpace is watching the skies for the International Space Station. It’s a tiny, really really fast moving speck of light in the sky. Check here for a date and time near you.

None of the links in this post are affiliate; they are all just interesting things that caught my eye.

Teeny Tiny Tip: Marker Storage

A trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

With absolutely no scientific proof to back up my claims, this week’s tip is about marker storage.

I keep my markers in a glass jar, tip side down. The glass jar part isn’t important, we just generate a lot of them from pickles/mayo/hot peppers.

The tip-side-down part is the key here. My theory is this keeps the tip in contact with the ink and lets it last longer.

The Interwebs appear to be split into the “tip down” and “horizontal” camps among the marker fanatics.

Horizontal doesn’t work for me because I don’t have enough drawer space in my craft area.

Does anyone have enough drawer space in their craft area?

 

Teeny Tiny Tip: Visually Reinforce a New Habit

A quick trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

I’ve reached that age where my doctor is aggressively encouraging me (as in threatening me with lab tests) to take a Calcium supplement.

I’m apparently also at that age where it’s getting harder to take on new habits, in that I failed to remember to take it 3 times in the first 5 days.

Mr. SuzerSpace came up with the trick of putting the bottle in front of the cereal boxes in the cabinet.

MEGA BIG DISCLAIMER TIME: This would be a terrible idea if we had children in the house.

I’m supposed to take it with food, and literally having the bottle in front of me when I go to make my breakfast has given me a 30-day no fail record so far.

Teeny Tiny Tip: Better Buns

A quick trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

Low-carb life has it’s challenges.

Take hamburger buns. They aren’t very good for you – white flour is pretty much persona non grata in a Type-2 Diabetes household.

The special low-carb versions? Not very much taste, super expensive and when you read the label, not really impressively better for you.

We swapped to Whole Wheat English Muffins. Technically, because we like the Trader Joe’s brand (not a paid endorsement – just our favorite), they are called “British Muffins”.

The nutrition* is better where it counts.

Whole Wheat muffins have better nutrition than standard hamburger buns.
Nutrition info from Myfitnesspal.com

And they are more flexible – if you have a surplus of hamburger buns in the house, your choices are pretty much hamburgers. If you have a surplus of British Muffins, you can always use them for as a base for quick pizzas, sandwiches or, I suppose, breakfast.

 

*I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. You should never take advice from a paper crafter without consulting an actual professional.

Nerd Tip: Exporting A DXF File

Use Adobe Illustrator to create DXF files for cutting with Silhouette Studio

This week’s tip isn’t tiny (it has a lot of photos) and I’m classifying it as a nerd edition in that it will only appeal to a small segment of the world – crafters who use Adobe Illustrator and Silhouette Studio software. 

The basic version of Silhouette Studio cannot open or import a native file from Adobe Illustrator (those files that end in “.ai”). Or an EPS file. Or a SVG file, or a PDF file.

You’d need to upgrade to one of the paid versions to be able to do that. And there is nothing wrong with that – the upgrade versions also come with other features.

BUT…

If you already have Illustrator, you can export your files as a DXF file and you can open those in the basic Silhouette Studio version.

And it’s easy. I’m on a Mac, so your screens may look different if you are not.

In Silhouette Studio

First off, there is a change you need to make in Silhouette Studio to make this work as expected.

Under Silhouette Studio (the very left corner of the screen) choose Preferences.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

And on the far right side of the screen the Preferences choices will appear – choose Import Options

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

When the panel expands down, make sure “As Is” is selected. If “Fit to Page” is selected, then the artwork will always scale when imported. Nobody has time for that.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

You only need to do this once.

In Adobe Illustrator

Open or create your file in Illustrator. Save your file as an Illustrator file so you have it to go back to later. Convert all your type to outlines, and flatten all your layers. And then, under File, choose Export > Export As…  and a dialog window will show up.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

In the Format box at the bottom, choose AutoCad Interchange File (dxf)

The next box that pops up I just click OK. I don’t really know what these items mean, but I’ve never changed anything and it always works. One day, one of my files won’t open and then I’ll learn what these options are and I’ll create a new post.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio
I don’t change any settings here – I don’t know what they do

And you are set!

These files can be opened or imported in the basic version of Silhouette Studio.

 

Teeny Tiny Tip: Orange Cubes

A quick trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

At work, we somehow wandered down a conversational path that took us from fruits we don’t like to eat (canned fruit cocktail) to fruits that are good frozen, and most of the ideas offered were ones I already knew.

Someone threw out the idea of frozen orange slices in drinks for the summer.

It was late on Friday afternoon. I was already looking forward to Happy Hour. Suddenly I couldn’t hear anything else anymore because frozen orange cubes in a cocktail just sounded amazing.

Repeated testing throughout the weekend proved that to be correct.

Two tips:

  1. Remove as much of the white part of the orange as possible (it gets weird when frozen). Supreming them is an option; I just peeled them very close.
  2. Separate the slices slightly when freezing so they don’t form a frozen orange ball.

Teeny Tiny Tip: Snack Smarter

A quick trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

An obvious choice for eating healthier is to is to change out high calorie, low nutrition snacks for their better versions.

I really like crunchy snacks, but chips or crackers can go wrong really quickly. They are a lot of empty calories. There are alternatives at the store, but many are a little pricey and portion control is still tricky for me.

Enter the easy swap – healthy cereal. A little label reading goes a long way here. High fiber, vitamin enriched cereal like wheat squares or fiber twigs are two that we like. Crunchy, a little sweet but not too sugary, and very filling. I can easily eat an entire box of Cheese-Its. There’s no way I can eat an entire box of Wheat Chex.

To make it even easier to stick to the plan, I put the cereal that’s for snacking into containers on the counter, right where the crackers used to live.

Teeny Tiny Tip: Double Sided Tape

A quick trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

Double sided tape is a great weapon for a crafter.

It’s perfect for quick assembly.

But it can be frustrating if you don’t know a few tricks:

  1. Don’t be me, and buy 1″ wide tape. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but in reality, glue flaps on paper boxes are more normally in the 1/4 to 1/2″ range. I can’t wait until I use it up and can get a better size. Until then, I’m left to cut what I need, which is a sticky situation (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun 😉 )
  2. If you do need to cut your double stick tape, dedicate a cheap pair of scissors to the job. They will get gummed up and unusable, but at least this way you are not gumming up all of your good scissors.
  3. The best tool for removing the carrier (that part that isn’t sticky) from double stick tape is the hook from the Silhouette. I pick at the corner with the sharp point and then slide the hook underneath to pull it free.

Foolproof rice

A super easy method for cooking a main dish staple

I’m not sure if this is a recipe or a teeny tiny tip, so I’ll categorize it as both.

Making rice always seems more difficult than it should be. There’s that magic formula of water vs. rice and cooking time with the lid on that generally didn’t really work out that well for me. So I bought a rice cooker, and for about 10 years never gave rice a second thought.

Then last summer, a co-worker gifted me a box from one of the meal subscription services, and it contained a stuffed pepper recipe that featured a new-to-me method of rice cooking. And I’ve never gone back to the rice cooker – in fact, it has moved from the kitchen to the basement, along with other one-trick appliances that aren’t earning their keep.

The technique is ridiculously simple – you just prepare rice as if it were pasta.

Cook rice like pasta for a foolproof dish

Bring a pot of water to boil, add rice, continue to boil uncovered until the rice is cooked to your desired finish. Drain and serve.

Never too crunchy or too soggy. The only caveat on this method is to make sure the holes in your colander are small enough to catch the rice and not let it all go down the drain.

Foolproof Rice

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice

Directions

  1. Bring a medium to large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add rice to pot, reduce heat slightly so it doesn’t boil over and stir.
  3. Keep rice cooking at a boil, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Test occasionally beginning at about the 15 minute mark (longer if you are using brown rice).
  5. Remove from heat when rice is cooked to your desired finish. Drain and serve. Don’t forget to freeze the leftovers.