Bizarre Behavior (on blocklotto.com)

In the middle of creating the post about setting a Featured Image, I became disconnected from Blocklotto.com, with the error that said the  server was not responding. I was a little freaked out because of the timing as we are on the brink of the end-of-the-month/beginning-of-the-month rush and I worried what would happen if the site was down for long. I checked with our hosting company and couldn’t find any notice of maintenance or outages.  I went to my dashboard for the site and didn’t find anything there, either.  I thought about going upstairs to grab my iPad and see if it would make a difference (which, as it turns out, it might have …) I contacted the online help and found out that my IP (associated with my Mac) had been blocked while I was in the middle of creating an article. I mention my bizarre experience in case any of you find yourselves unable to bring up block lotto.com … be sure to let me know via email so I can follow-up and figure out why … and get your IP unblocked if you have a similar experience to mine...

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Selecting a Featured Image (and Why You Might Want to Select One)

Selecting a Featured Image (and Why You Might Want to Select One)

When you create a post, you can choose a featured image for it.  There are a few reasons why you might want to take the time to set the featured image: Show and Tell Posts When you create a post in the show and tell category, it is featured at the top of the home page where images (with links) from the 7 most recent show & tell posts are displayed in the slider in the top half of the page.  If you don’t choose a featured image, the image will not be resized to fit the space. For example, an image from Dena’s post with her latest incredible Woven Bars pillow looked like this earlier today:       If you select the featured image, it will crop the image so that it expands to fill the space in the home page slider,  like this:     Note that the process will not make a small photo bigger and that’s why you sometimes see blank space in the slider. FYI, the slider is 800 pixels wide.   Posts With Multiple Photos If you create a post in any category with multiple photos in it, selecting the featured image will allow you to specify which of the photos you want to appear: In the home page slider (for show and tell category) In the Recent Work section on the home page (for block category) which shows the block photo from the three most recent posts In the Recent posts on the home page (for all categories) which shows the most recent posts (all categories) On the main Blog page (for all categories), Community page, and Help which display the list of bog posts with a single photo and excerpt On the main gallery page (for show and tell category)   How to Set the Featured Image When you are creating your blog post, on the right side of the screen, there is a section titled Featured Image, below Tags and above Publish and Categories. After you have created your post, including uploading your image(s), click the link “Set featured image.” It will take you to a view of the Media Library, where you click to select the image you want and then click the blue button in the bottom right of the screen, labeled Set Featured Image   You will then return to your post, with the image you have chosen now being displayed in the Featured image section, like this:   I often edit show and tell posts for which a Featured Image has not been set so that the image, if large enough, will fill the slider … but MY choice may not be yours and so I...

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Reminders about the Rules

There is a link to the Block Lotto Basics on the home page. I also include the link in the email I send to everyone who expresses interest in joining the Block Lotto. It’s not a long list and yet a couple of the rules never quite seem to stick with everyone. If things don’t seem to be working the way you expect, please take a moment and review the basics.  I have updated the page with the acceptable range of block measurements for this year’s blocks and a more explicit statement about posting photos of your blocks in a blog post authored by you in order to count in the drawing. I know it seems a small thing to those of you who expect me to post/count your blocks for you, chase you down when you win, or chase the blocks you fail to mail … and if the Block Lotto were my JOB, I might agree.  I do this for fun and there are already quite a few tasks to keep things humming month after month. If you are unwilling to follow the rules, figure it out and do your part (including making blocks that others will be happy to win), then the Block Lotto may not be the group for...

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Do you know?

Not sure if it is ok to ask this question on Block Lotto so I am going to go ahead and ask. I absolutely love to pick out fabric and piece quilts and on the throw size I quilt myself but on larger ones I have someone local quilt them. My question is…. Does anyone know a good way for me to list and sell them? I have about 13 quilts right now for sale at excellent prices. They are beautiful too! Quilting is my therapy and my hubby tells me I need to get rid of some! Thanks all!...

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Printing Templates

Printing  Templates

If–like Cathy and Toni–you are having problems printing the GIF version of the templates on the Quilter’s Cache … try this PDF one: sweet_dreams_template-converted I simply converted Marcia’s image to a PDF file format that will print at the correct size IF YOU DO NOT LET YOUR COMPUTER SCALE IT. The dialogue box you see when printing will likely look different than mine (on a Mac), depending on the computer/operating system and printer you are using, but the things you are looking for are any indication that it will scale to fit or a percentage that is anything except 100%.  As an example, here’s what I see. The options I care about are in the lower right of the window.       Without any intervention from me, my Mac will (un)helpfully chose to Scale to Fit and enlarge the template 109%.  I have to  click the Scale option and set it to 100% to print the templates the correct...

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The Deadlines are Always the Same

The Deadlines are Always the Same

Someone recently emailed me to ask what the deadline is and I realized that I probably should include the deadlines in the first post of the month and on the At-a-Glance page, even though the deadlines are always the same: Post a photo of your blocks by 12 PM (Noon)  on the US East Coast of the last day of the month to be included in the drawing. If you are unsure of when that is wherever you are, here’s a link to a pretty easy to use Time Zone Converter. Keep in mind that not everyone everywhere switches to Daylight Savings Time and back and those that do Spring forward and Fall back don’t all do so at the same time. The other deadline for us is for the sneak peek. If you post a photo of your blocks by noon at least one week before the end of the month,  then you are eligible to receive the sneak peek email with advance information about the next month’s block.  For example, In months with 31 days, the deadline for qualifying to receive the sneak peek is the 24th of the...

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Deadline for Posting

Deadline for Posting

There always seems to be some uncertainty about when the deadline for posting/entering blocks for the drawing. The deadline is always at NOON (US eastern time) on the last day of the month … or a little more than an hour from now. Today, Debbie will be picking the winners (using the random.org random integer generator) and posting the...

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Printing the Sunrise Templates

Printing the Sunrise Templates

I’ve had a couple of email messages from people about printing and sizes and measurements today … and I thought others might also have questions. This is what the print options look like when I print (from an iMac).  You may have to change the orientation from portrait to landscape so that it fits on the page in a way that it nearly FILLS the page.  In the bottom half of the screen, you can see that I have the Auto Rotate option checked and it takes care of that for me. I have to explicitly set the SCALE option to 100%. Once printed, the measurement from the point of one half-ray across the foundation to the tip of the half-ray on the other side (or top and bottom) should be 10 inches. The measurement does not include the seam allowance. The measurement across the space where the center half-circle will fit, not including the seam allowance should be 3 3/4 inches. If you measure the templates for the background and the center, not including the seam allowances, you should have the same two measurements.   As Deanna noticed (in her comment on this post), the drawn seam allowance on the foundation template is NOT 1/4 inch.  It was created by resizing a template I found online (and then putting two of them together to form the half-sun shape).  A side effect of my process is that the drawn seam allowance was also resized.  This is why all the measurements I have supplied do not include the seam...

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A Reminder about Categories

A Reminder about Categories

When you are posting a photo of your blocks to enter the drawing, use the category blocks. When you are posting an update saying that you have mailed your blocks or received blocks in the mail, select the category sent and received. When you put your post in the category blocks, your post is featured on the home page in the recent work section. When you put a sent and received update post in the blocks category instead, here’s what the Recent Work section looks like.         The Recent Work section is intended to feature the photos of the latest blocks posted for the Block Lotto. The most recent blog posts in ALL categories appear on the home page just below, in the Recent Blog Posts section … without the ugly empty image boxes for posts without images. If the check box for the blocks category is automatically checked for you, you may have to Uncheck it and select the correct category for posts that aren’t about posting your blocks to enter the drawing. I usually edit posts with the wrong categories–I will change these two after I post this–but I really appreciate it when I don’t need to do...

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WordPress App problems on iPad/iPhone

WordPress App problems on iPad/iPhone

Helen discovered a problem with the WordPress App for iPad.  When you try to add a post, you’ll see an error like this: If you can access our site from a browser, you’ll see it IS accessible. After a quick look around online, it looks like the issue is related to the secure connection being used by the app.  I will need to make a change (or purchase an upgrade) on the site to support the increased security in the WordPress app … but it will take some time for me to figure out the details of what and how  … or for WordPress to send out another upgrade for their app that will, perhaps, fix the problem from their side. In the meantime, if you usually post from iPad/iPhone and are stuck, email me with the photo of your blocks and I’ll post it for...

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Please Measure your Blocks

One of our January winners received a chevron block that is ALMOST AN INCH TOO SMALL in one direction and a HALF INCH TOO SMALL in the other.  It’s hard for me to imagine that the maker didn’t know she was sending an unusable block, but, I will suspend disbelief and remind everyone that the last step of making your blocks is MEASURING THEM to make sure they fit within the guidelines for the Block Lotto. Blocks for the lotto must be no more than 1/4 inch larger or 1/4 inch smaller than the specified size.  For 2014, this means that: 7-inch square blocks must measure between 7 1/4 – 7 3/4 inches square, 7 by 14-inch rectangle blocks must measure between 7 1/4 – 7 3/4 inches by something between 14 1/4 – 14 3/4 inches, and 14-inch square blocks must measure between between 14 1/4 – 14 3/4 inches You can find the guidelines that apply to all lotto blocks here: Block Lotto Basics And more information about the general rules for the Block Lotto here: Why the Rules Matter The Block Lotto is intended to be beginner-friendly and so there is no expectation that blocks must be perfectly made … but they should fit within the guidelines to make them usable by those that win them (or else, what’s the...

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