Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Tis the SEASON to design a NEW frock.


I was busy changing into my Holiday Outfit, here at Pearson Report, and thought I'd share my wardrobe secrets.


Header and Background fun - what does your blog wear? Original post: Nov. 9, 2012.

If you frequent Pearson Report you will undoubtedly have noticed I like playing dress up with my blog.

Since this is my blog it will be addressed in the feminine. 

She, that would be my blog, likes to be seen in custom designed hats (Headers) with matching outerwear (Backgrounds) and I like to oblige. (yes, some bolts are not completely tight, but then if this is as bad as it gets I’d say I’m in pretty good shape)

Here is a peek at some of her outfits…

City Skyline, Vancouver

Dandelion Farm, in the Cariboo

Hubbard Glacier - Alaska

Jericho Beach, Vancouver

Lake in the Cariboo

Lizard (Header only, background is a Little Black Dress)

Lost and Found (Header only - Background: LBD)

Sunset Beach, Vancouver

I have discovered a few things while creating these looks. I’m going to share what I’ve learned because that’s just the kind of gal I am...always willing to share a few of my spare bolts! (if you really “read” my blog you’ll get the reference)

Although I work with a Mac I’m sure this bit of info can be translated easily for Windows users.

Here we go…

I start by creating a folder on my desktop called Blog Header and BG sets.

I then go looking for photos (I use all my own pictures) in my photo library. 

I decide on a background; when I find a photo I like I crop it. I pay attention to the “width” of my photo as I crop it. I don't want it any smaller in width than1800 pixels - I use 2100 or 2200, unless (as in the case of the Dandelion set) the photo is maxed out at 1800 pixels already.

Once I've cropped my photo I Export it to a desktop folder. (this makes life easier when I want to change my blog’s look as often as I change my lacy bits, or boxers...depends on my mood!)

When exporting in iPhotos, I get this box: 
I always select the smallest size for the JPEG quality as this will keeps my picture below 300k, which is the maximum size allowed for Backgrounds on Blogger. 

Next, I need to specify a “size” for my photo; I select Custom and then choose “width” and type in 2100 or larger, but 2100 pixels wide seems to do the trick for even the larger monitors, right Dezmond!

Thanks to earlier feedback, from good friends like Dezz, I was able to determine the right pixel size so someone with a big monitor would get to enjoy a decent sized background.

However, there is a limit to how far 2100px will stretch so I always select an actual Background colour (in the Template area) then if my picture is not wide enough a matching, complementary colour will be visible.

Like this…

I have stretched my blog (pulled it from one side) and exceeded my actual picture width; this is what you would then see:

Once I have exported my Background, to my desktop folder, the upload is straight forward but I do have to remind myself to pay attention to this area: 

I choose to align my photo in the centre, I don’t tile it and I don’t have it scroll with the blog - my Background is static.  You can play with this area, and depending on your photo and your intentions you may wish to have different settings.

Now for the Header...

Again, I select a photo and crop it. Here I want the width to be no greater than 1000 px (again, this may vary depending the page layout) but for me this works and in any event, Blogger scales it down further to fit the Template size.

In iPhoto I do a custom crop and select 1000 x 300, I like to keep my Header on the smaller side in height. Once cropped I go through the same Export step, only I select 1000px for the width, and I still use the smallest JPEG size.

I like a custom Header and to that end, once I’ve Exported my picture I use the Preview option, with my Mac, to add my blog name, and a border, to my picture. (poor woman’s Photoshop - yeah, go me!!! It's how I do all the writing on these screenshots as well!)

When I want to upload my Header I go to Layout and click on the Header tab.

Note: I click “Shrink to Fit” otherwise my picture will be the width I cropped it to. That's to say, 1000 x 300 would show as 1000 pixels wide and would exceed the width of my post area and sidebar combined.

Also, since I do a custom Header and have added my blog's name to my photo I need to pay attention to the Placement area, shown here, so I don't get a second Blog Title showing up:

And that's about it!

Okay, I don’t really know how necessary it was to "share" this because I love what you all do out there already. Mighty fine looking blogs I follow, I can tell you that!

Butt (big butt, yes two t's *giggle* cause it's late and I'm in need of sustenance - liquid preferred) just in case my millions of readers (reading is good, commenting is better...butt nothing, comment trumps reading, ask Donald, he comments without reading!) wanted to know how I work my magic, here at Pearson Report, well, now you know! 

It’s all about lacy bits and boxers...or, Headers and Backgrounds - take your pic(ture) and run with it!

How do you create your Header and/or Background? Any tips you care to share? 

Cheers, Jenny

Friday, November 28, 2014


IT is in my screen shot, can you see it - there… wrapped in red.

It's the Next Blog button… and I pressed it.

On my first hit I found this wonderful blog… ZEPHYR'S ZOO

Talk about Lucky - in more ways than one. Not only do I love dogs but my dear, sweet, little Lucky Lucky Pow Pow was an ace at Agility in her younger years.

This video was shot back in 2007; my daughter and Lucky loved their time together taking Agility Classes.

So I'm doing a little sharing - if you love dogs than you've got to check this site out.

And, as a bonus - if you'd love to see some really fun Agility videos then check out this blog (sister blog to ZEPHYR'S ZOO) called Art of Dog.

Plus - yes, there's more - the photography is stunning - some of the best I've seen. Some photos clear took my breath away.

This blog was worth adding to MY BLOGS OF NOTE (new addition) LIST! 

Well, I just thought you all might like to know CLICKING on Next Blog wasn't a half bad idea - wouldn't you agree.

Have YOU ever CLICKED on IT?

Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The KINDNESS of strangers...

Linda (not a stranger, but very kind) sent this link to me.

And now, I'm sharing it with you.

You may have seen it - you may not. Either way it's worth looking at more than once.

I know, because I've enjoyed it several times.  It's called "Unsung Hero".

(You might want to view in full screen mode to read the captions)

On Sunday I met such a Hero.

Per my last post I'm in the market for laundry machines but while I'm renovating a portion of my house where the washer and dryer reside I am without these life altering appliances so I made a trip to my local laundromat.

I arrived early - so I thought, 10ish - the place hopping. I needed four machines; the fellow running the place, a mild mannered middle-aged Asian man, pointed me to some that were available. 

I needed coins too, a dollar fifty per washer, and I needed laundry detergent because, yup, I forgot to bring some with.

As I asked the owner about detergent and its cost (Tide, a dollar a box, single use size) the customer, a little Vietnamese woman,  he had just given coins to turned to me and said, "You can use mine - I have lots. I just filled up my bottle." She then held up a big dark blue bottle.

Now, okay, laundry snob that I am, I thought, "What did she fill that bottle up with?" It was labelled Tide something-or-other (you know Tide has many options) but I asked her what was in it anyway. 

"Purex, I like Purex, I get the big bottle at Costco." she pipes up. Then adds, "This morning I added more because something tells me today I would share it." She grinned, ear to ear, as if I had done the right thing by forgetting my detergent.

My reply was simply, "Thank you. That is so sweet, and so kind of you to share you detergent." It's important to receive graciously - it's the karmic wheel turning. What goes around, comes around; today it was my turn to receive.

My kind detergent benefactor stood by as I poured a half capful into each load encouraging me to use more, after all she had lots she reminded me. Not a Purex user I erred on less being more.

That done I sat and waited - thirty minutes - during which time I watched the people at this laundromat, and do you know what I saw…

People helping people. An air of kindness and patience.  Voices were gentle and soft and people waited patiently for machines to come available and for table to fold laundry on.

A young boy, accompanying his father (his mother works Sunday's) was sitting quietly playing a handheld game. I took out mine and he came to see what I was playing - we compared notes, and laughed. His father came over to apologize thinking his son was disturbing me.
When I told him what a good boy he had he smiled and told me he was proud of him - all this in broken English. I figured he's new to the country but willing to try his hand at the language - kudos to him. I appreciated the effort - and I think it indeed was an effort, but he smiled all the while.

When it came time to use the dryers - my little Vietnamese friend, Loang, gave me the lowdown. I acquired more quarters and went to town. What huge dryers too - two washer loads can go in one. And fast too. Twenty-five cents for five minutes, but in twenty minutes my two loads of bedding were done. I gave the towels an extra five minutes.

All in all - what I came away with, besides clean clothing, was a feeling that kindness is alive and well in my corner of the planet. My entire day was impacted by this experience.

It was on the next day my friend, Linda, sent the video. It made be think about the Unsung Heroes in my world.

How about you? 
Do you encounter random acts of kindness coming your way?

Cheers, Jenny

Monday, November 03, 2014

It’s a FULL LOAD… but no BULL…

Hey… time for the “what have I been up to” report.

Yes, I see you sitting there with bated breath going… “ah, no, too busy with my own load of bull, but, okay, give ‘er a go - I’ve got, like, a minute”.

What BRAND is your WASHER and DRYER?

Yes, I do wear heels and an apron when I do laundry!
What? You don't? My, my… tsk, tsk. 

I’m in the market and need a new set - you know, a washer that can actually take a full load and “wash” it, and a dryer that doesn’t groan as the door opens, then continues groaning for the duration. (Like some old guy wishing his dose of Viagra would finally wear off - really, four hours, come on, who are we kidding - even as a young buck he’d be lucky to hang in for 10 minutes.)

Consumer Report was rather useless - only big ticket brands seemed to warrant their time and attention.

Here’s what I want in a washer and dryer.

SIMPLICITY - no fancy computer dashboard. I want nobs, just ordinary, simple nobs! The kind that do their job for at least two decades. (My nobs still work by the way, it's everything else that's on the fritz.)

And, doesn't dear Bettie Wallace just lay it out for us… see… she's HAPPY - gotta go with the happy folks on this one!

(BW is a Speed Queen success story - for real!)
I enjoyed reading the "success" stories featured on the Speed Queen site - click HERE if your up to some honesty.

GOOD AGITATION - this is one of those times when being an agitator is essential and in washing machines it’s a must. (There was soooo much potential to add my penny's worth about good agitation, but… you've only got a minute, remember!)

TIME FACTOR - I don’t want to stand around (or sit watching TV and thinking about my laundry) for an hour and a half - which seems to be the time HE (high efficiency) front loaders take to wash a load. Now that’s a full load of bull right there!

Last, but equally important is COST - they should be affordable. (I don’t want to sell the first born (my only born) as I’m thinking she might come in handy down the road when I can’t find my dentures or my wig!)

Anyway - I’m leaning toward SPEED QUEEN. They’ve been around since before electricity - well, close - 1908! Wow! And, they are the major supplier of commercial machines. And, (yes, another and) they use the same industrial grade components for their retail line.

So, after reading THIS C/NET ARTICLE (particularly the comments, which are way more informative than Consumer Report) and watching the following video I think I’m making a wise choice.


This first confirmed my fears that front loaders "could" have their share of problems. The comment had a lot more chronology but this will give you the gist - plus the author has a link to her complaint website if you really have that much extra time. (Like, what happened to only having a minute, eh?)


In this next comment, it was the bit about Speed Queen which spurred me on the path of due diligence and do it I did.

A FURTHER BONUS - their warranty is three years, parts and labour - that’s right THREE years - not the piddly one year that is the norm. Well, that speaks volumes too!

Here’s that video that sold me…

Another thing that worked in Speed Queen’s favour, while calling around, was the recognition HUEBSCH (Speed Queen’s name for their product in Canada) received when I asked about it at three different stores. 
And… (yes, yes, the stand alone, out front, and) one of the sales folks even owns a set - well… that’s it for me. I use the face product I sell and believe if it’s good sales folks will use their best products too.


My circuitous ramblings are now complete, I am back to where I started...

What BRAND is your WASHER and DRYER?

And… do you love them!

Would you recommend them?

Cheers, Jenny
PS - A post-post note. Here in Canada the set retails for $1659-1798 + tax. Delivery is $60-80, removal of old W/D is $20-30.