Jul 29 2014

Tech Tuesday: Another Fabric Printing Service Review

Pixelkris
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Wow, it finally happened. A company read one of our blog entries and thought we needed to review their company as well, so here you go! After Modern Yardage.com read our fabric printing review, they asked if they could print our test sample for a comparison. We thought, why not, and sent off our file with really no expectation of getting anything back, let alone a great piece. But we were wrong on both counts. We’ll go over the same areas we covered in the first review: website ease of use, black, color, fabric, service.

Website – Ease of use
We have to admit, we didn’t even look at the website until they came to us. However, there is no automated system with Modern Yardage. They just tell you to send them a low-resolution image, and they’ll work with you from there. Modern Yardage is owned by April and Jay Cobb, so if it sounds like a mom-and-pop operation, it is. But let’s get to that under service.

Black
OMG! Do they get a crisp, black black! That was our first comment to one another. You know how many times we tell everyone that black is the key element in fabric printing. Modern Yardage hits the bullseye. Not much more to say here other than wow. Here’s their sample:

ModernYardage

Color
Like we said, once you get black, everything else follows. We were very pleased with the photo of ourselves. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. What we mean to say is the flesh tones were the best of all the companies we reviewed. Color will always vary because you know what you see on your monitor is going to be different than what I see on my monitor, and ultimately, what color prints out on the fabric. Modern Yardage scores high here, too.

Fabric
Well, there’s always a catch, isn’t there? When I talked with April the other day, she said they have plans to expand to canvas, but for now they are only printing 100% cotton poplin. It’s lighter weight than what Deb would consider a poplin (and Kris trusts Deb on all things fabric – beer ratings, not so much), and that’s a good thing. I ran a sewing needle through it and thought it sewed well. I did tell April I thought a sheer would be the next great fabric. Let’s hope they have the success with the cotton to add more fabrics to their line.

Service
Remember the remark about Modern Yardage being a mom-and-pop operation? It is, but in the best sense of the word. Being able to just call them up and discuss all manner of printing questions (droplet size, humidity factors, etc.) just really gave us the feeling that April and Jay know what they’re doing and watch over their printing projects like babies. In other words, great, personal service. We like that.

Our Overall Recommendation
A winner! If you’re ordering cotton (fat quarter minimum), you’ll like what you get from Modern Yardage.


Jul 15 2014

Tech Tuesdays: The Color Red And Printer Woes

Pixelkris
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Those of you who follow us on Facebook know that we have been living without a wide-format printer for months now. Our tech guru, Fadi, found us a used Epson 9880. (We highly recommend Fadi and Pacific Office Equipment for those of you in the Sacramento, California area – Tel. 916. 334.7875). All of our dyes printed just fine . . . with the exception of magenta. We knew when we strained our dyes before putting them in the cartridges (yes, we strain our dyes – you never know what you’ll find!) that something was not quite right with magenta. It just didn’t strain easily like all the other colors. Well, to make a long story short, we contacted our supplier, and they’re going to order a new batch of magenta. That should do the trick . . . we hope. Anyway, this whole disaster got me to remembering a great book I read this year (I guess it was just a harbinger of our current color woes):  “A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire,” by Amy Butler Greenfield (2005). It’s almost ten years old, but it’s still a fine read. Greenfield makes history exciting, and I have a new appreciation for dyeing and painting. As Deb likes to say, “Damn those fugitive reds!”

APerfectRed

I think the book’s cover says it all. You can still find it online at Powell’s Books.


Jul 1 2014

Tech Tuesday: Sending Word Documents with Gmail instead of Outlook

deb-of-pixeladies
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Here it is. One of my pet peeves: I want to email a Word or Excel file to a friend. Click File > Save and Send > Send using E-Mail > Send as attachment. Then the dreaded message appears: “You can’t do this because you haven’t installed Outlook, and since I’m a Microsoft Product, like Word and Excel, you must use me, and only me. Sincerely, the Mighty, Omnipresent Outlook.”
I hate Outlook. I don’t use Internet Explorer. But, I still want to press that one Save and Send button and have the file magically open my Gmail (or Yahoo, etc.) account, attach the file, add the appropriate subject line, and prompt me to enter recipients’ names. Is that too much to ask? I keep telling myself I’ll Google it. After spending a couple hours reading about how I can set Gmail to open whenever I click on a link to email (That’s not what I’m looking for – I can already do that!), I read about a free little program called Affixa. Affixa did exactly what I wanted it to do – send my files while I’m in the program – and took less time to install and get running than it did to comb through all the Google links to find it.
So here it is:

http://www.affixa.com/features/

Affixa Web Page

Affixa Web Page

I hope you find it as helpful as I do.

P.S. From Kris. You must set up your email account before starting, but you get prompted to do so in case you’ve forgotten, so that’s okay. You also need to add the browser plug-in, but again, you’re prompted to do so. The free version allows you to have one email account “affixed.” You have to pay for more accounts.

Deb’s P.S. to Kris’ P.S.
Warning! Only read if this part if you are really interested in this stuff: I have numerous email accounts, but I “fetch” them all into my Google App “Gmail” account(which happens to be my pixeladies.com email address). So I don’t need to have more than one email “affixed.” You would only need to pay for more accounts if you wanted to have more than one option as your “send from” address. If you get a message from me, no matter what email address you send it to, you will probably receive a reply from my pixeladies.com email address.
Just follow the prompts as Kris said, and everything works hunky-dory. Can you tell we’re not working together today? We have to converse with each other through our blog. 😉