Christopher Lowell’s 7 Layers of Design

Back in 1999, we were on vacation and watch the ____ show (can’t remember the name of the show, but it because the Christopher Lowell Show), and Christopher went over his general steps for redesigning a room.  We wrote them down then, and recently came across them again, so rather than keep the random piece of paper for another 9 years, I figured I’d blog it.  Obviously, this is already online at, but following is the basics:

  1. Paint and Architecture (moldings, mantel)
  2. Installed Flooring (any floor surface that is wall to wall)
  3. High Ticket Upholstery Items (sofa, love seat)
  4. Accent Fabrics (area rugs and drapes)
  5. Non-upholstered Furnishings (the work horses of the room, end tables, chairs, coffee tables)
  6. Accessories (pictures, mirrors, candlesticks)
  7. Plants and Lighting

Less is (not) More

The <!––less––> tag is the opposite of the <!––more––> tag. Where the <!––more––> tag hides all content that follows it when viewing the post on multi-post pages, the <!––less––> tag shows content preceding the tag when viewing the post on multi-post pages and hides that content (with the exception of a <p> if necessary) when viewing the whole post.  This gives a way of adding content for an excerpt in the Visual Editor without having to use the Excerpt box.  When used in conjunction with the <!––more––> tag, it gives greater flexiblity to create an dynamic excerpt without having to repeat content in the Excerpt box.


Note on “Requires at least”: The Visual Editor button works with TinyMCE version 3.x, which is in WordPress 2.5.  So the main functionality may work in previous versions, but the <!––less––> tag will have to be manually entered in the Code Editor.



  1. Copy ‘less’ folder to the `/wp-content/plugins/` directory
  2. Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress
  3. When editing a post, click the Less button in the Visual Editor, or insert <!––less––> in the code where you want it.


Q: When would I use this?

A: One example of a time to use this is if you have a gallery in your post.  You may not want the full gallery on multi-post pages, but one image for those pages would be nice.  Conversely, once viewing the whole post, that introduction image would now get in the way, and would be better off gone.


Plugin’s WordPress Page | Download plugin

Low-Score Yahztee

Peggy and I came up with an interesting variation of the Yahtzee card game, try to get the lowest score. In order to keep from just burning (taking a 0) every score we made some additional rules:

  1. Unless required to play a hand by following rules, you must use all three rolls.
  2. If a hand meets the minimum requirements for a score in the Lower Section (3 or 4 of-a-kind, or Small Straight) that has not been filled yet, than those dice must be held.
  3. If you roll a Full House, Large Straight, or a Yahtzee, you must place the score accordingly, if you can.
  4. You must place a hand where it gives you the highest score, except for Chance.
  5. If your final roll in a hand cannot be played for any points, then you burn from the top down: Upper section – Aces, Twos, Threes, etc. then Lower Section – 3-of-a-kind, 4-of-a-kind, etc.
  6. Chance is the last hand played.

Give it a go, and let me know if you can think of additional rules. 


(This is a re-post from my old blogspot account)

The Movie Game

The Movie Game is something that my friends and I play to pass the time, and test our knowledge of movies and actors. It works by making links between actors using movies they were in, as follows:
The first player states two actors and the movie they were in together, “Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford in ‘Star Wars: A New Hope'”.
The next player states the second actor, names a new actor and the movie they were in together, “Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman in ‘Air Force One'”.
Repeat without reusing actors or movies.
PASSING: If a player can’t make a link, (s)he passes (and drinks if you’re playing it as a drinking game).
WINNING: If every other player passes and the stating player can make a link, the game is over and (s)he wins.
DEAD-END: If that player also cannot make a link, then (s)he must make a different link from the original actor given to them (and drink), “Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in ‘The Fugitive'”.

ELIMINATION: Instead of passing, if a player (named C) cannot make a link, (s)he can issue a “Challenge” to the previous player (B) to prove that player B can make a link. If (s)he proves it, then player C is eliminated and the actor from the challenge link goes to the next player. If player B cannot prove it, the (s)he is eliminated and the actor given to her/him from the previous player (A) goes to the next player (C).
KEVIN BACON: In homage to the basis for the game (The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon) you cannot pass or challenge if you are given Kevin Bacon as your actor.
POLITE START: In the first time around, a player can force the previous player to give them a different actor to link off of instead of passing/challenging.

Sources: The sources used for links can be a contentious subject. How do you define a “movie”? Does it have to have been a nation-wide release? Do TV-movies count? What about mini-series and TV shows? We play that if you can rent it at the video store (or Netflix), it’s fair game. You could also use IMDB (maybe we should call this “The Actor Game” since the term “movie” is being used so loosely).

Additional suggestions welcome.


(This is a re-post from my old blogspot account)

Recent By Author

This WordPress plugin is an amalgam of two other plugins, WP-Authors and Recent Posts.  It shows a list of authors with options to show their total number of posts, and their most recent posts.

Installation is pretty straight forward:  Make sure your theme is widget-ready, upload “recent-by-author.php” to the “/wp-content/plugins/” directory, activate in Plugins menu, and the add it to your sidebar in Design>Widgets menu 

Here is the admin box:

Title: – Like most widgets, there is an option for a custom title.

Show post counts – Shows the total post count next to the authors name.

Number of recent posts to show: – When greater than 0, a sublist is displayed under an author’s name with up to the set number of posts.

Show full names – Displays the authors first and last name instead of their chosen public name.

Hide empty authors – If an author has no posts, then they are not shown in the sidebar.

Exclude admin – Hides the admin from being shown in the sidebar.

Plugin’s WordPress PageDownload plugin

How to Hem Pants – 101

Hemming Pants:

ok- the main problem is that people make them too short- if you do this, you’re screwed. So- here is my basic hemming 101:

Plug in the iron– set it to cotton. Ironing makes hemming tremendously easier.

Put the pants on with the shoes that you think you’d wear with them. Roll them up to where you want the actual final hem to be- mark it with chalk or a pin. You only need to do this on one leg.

Take pants off and lay flat- both legs together, flat; one on top of the other. From where the Mark is, take a ruler and draw a straight line AT THE SAME PARALLEL ANGLE AS THE CURRENT HEM. This may not look straight to you, but the pants are cut a certain way– keep the angle, whatever it is.

Ok- the math part.

You’ll add 1.5″ for a 1″ hem. Here’s my reason:

an average hem is 1/2″. But, a good hem is rolled twice, so that there is no raw edge of fabic on the inside of the hem. So, you need to add 1″. But, you don’t want your pants to be too short, and do you really trust where you put the Mark on the pants when you tried them on? so add another 1/2″. Ok- now you have your math: 1.5″ (If you’re really unsure, make it 2″ down)

So you measure down, towards the current hem, 1.5″ and make new marks- make about 3 or 4 of them, and then draw a new Line, Still Parallel to other Line and Current Hem- hitting as many of the 3 to 4 new marks as you can.

This New Line is where you Cut. If your scissors are good enough, cut both legs at the same time- that way if they get all funky-like, at least both legs will be that way. If your scissors aren’t good enough, then cut the leg with the line, then use the scrap you just cut off as a guide on the other leg.

Now you have unhemmed pants that are 1.5″ too long. yey.

You take your ruler or Hem Guide (black and silver measurer thing with a sliding blue triangle?) and with the pants inside out, fold hem at 1/2″, pinning every 2 or 3 inches along. You will be pinning to the inside (wrong side) of fabric, so, folding fabric towards you. USING ALL METAL PINS IS EASIER!

Do that to both legs, and lay pant leg flat and iron directly over hem. DO NOT “run” iron along fabric- the pins *will* scratch iron’s surface. Lift and Press. Lots of steam helps. If you are using pins with plastic balls, don’t iron over them- the plastic *will* melt and get very icky. Iron until hem is creased to the point where it will stay without the pins in place.

Remove pins.

Fold over hem one time, and pin again. You shouldn’t need to measure again- you know it’s a 1/2″. Folding up one more time now means you have your 1″ of fabric folded up in the hem.

Iron the new folded hem. If it will not stay in place without pins, leave them in- but make sure they are PERPENDICULAR to hem-line-to-be, so, running up and down the length of the pantleg.

Ok- Sewing time!!!

You will need a needle of at least a 90 strength (the equivelant is, I think, a 14 in euro sizes). The thread doesn’t really make that much of a difference. You can buy Denim thread- the yellowy-gold stuff- but you can use any threat which is hard to break between your hands when pulling. Poly-cotton threads are good.

Put the needle in. Thread the Machine.

Put the setting to a straight-basic stitch, not too short, not too long– mid-range. If your machine can, put it so that the needle is not centered in the hole in the foot, but off to the left.

Ok- visualize with me: machine in front of you. Pants laying on table to your Left. Put pants in machine, so that pantleg is to LEFT, and future hem is to your RIGHT. You want to position the pants so that the stitch is going to be on the LEFT edge of the hem. This ensures that the hem doesn’t unfold.

Now sew! It’s best not to sew over pins, but if you do, do it slowly. Removing them right before you go over them works well, too.

When you get to the seams in the pantleg, they will be thicker and the machine may not like them. So, when you get to that, you can either advance the stitch by hand, turning the wheel towards you- or you can stop the stitch WITH THE NEEDLE IN THE FABRIC raise the foot, and kida wiggle the fabric a bit- or you can combine the two. Just make sure you put the foot back down before you start to sew again.

Remove all pins, clip off excess thread, and iron again.

Try them on:

– if they’re too long– repeat whole damn process.

– if they’re too short– call me- it *can* be fixed, but it’s tricky

– if they’re perfect, you’re perfect & you’re done!!

tra la la la la!

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