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The Big Book of Maker Skills - Trove of useful tips

The Big Book of Maker Skills: Tools & Techniques for Building Great Tech Projects
by Chris Hackett
Weldon Owen
2014, 208 pages, 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.5 inches (paperback)
$26 Buy a copy on Amazon

I know Chris Hackett from my days as editor-in-chief of MAKE. This guy knows his stuff. He can make almost anything, and I’ve long hoped he’d write a book encapsulating his wide-ranging practical knowledge of welding, electronics, metalwork, sewing, workshop practices, and tips for getting stuff done on the cheap. The Big Book of Maker Skills is it! With lots of full color photos and clear illustrations, Hackett delivers a great deal of hard-won knowledge in a 200-page book.

Most of the book is dedicated to describing useful hand and power tools for your workshop, ranging from screwdrivers and wrenches to laser cutters and microcontrollers. Hackett also shows you how to use these tools, sometimes in ways that the manufacturer did not intend but nevertheless get the job done.

Hackett also includes a number of how-to projects, like a foundry for melting aluminum beer cans, and a human-powered electrical generator. (You can see some of these projects on his Science Channel Show, Stuck With Hackett.) 

No matter what your maker skill level is, Hackett’s book will up your game. – Mark Frauenfelder

January 26, 2015

Dream Recall – Remembering your dreams [P2]

Hello again!

Whereas part one contains all the tips on dream recall itself this second post will be looking at common questions that I’ve been having through and offering some solutions.

There’s some interesting points here so well worth reading through.

Is it common that people simply don’t remember dreams?

From my own experience how well people remember their dreams is dependent on a lot of factors but none more than how much they talk about them. Asking somebody who never really talked (or even thought about) dreams how many they do remember usually yields a blank. So it’s likely that dream recall is something that comes naturally to those who have more experience with dreams.

If dreaming is something you never really paid much mind to then your dream recall will be relatively poor. So saying if bad dream recall is common is something I can’t really do, mainly because it’s very much dependant on the dreamers themselves. I was brought up in a very western culture where dreams were never really discussed so most of the people from my childhood remembered very few dreams. Saying this, it doesn’t take long practicing lucid dreaming to have the dream recall required.

I get dreams confused with memories?

This is something that is easily done. With dream mimicking reality it can be easy to get confused with small things. Recording dreams down is a good idea for once you remember them in the morning as ‘being a dream’ then it’s easy to be able to then differentiate these dreams from real life. Also dreams commonly have a certain ‘feel’ to them. For me this means that when recalling a past event I can separate memories from dream memories simply by the ‘feeling’ created when remembering them.

It’s important to remember that how we remember dreams is the same way we remember things in waking life. So experiencing something in a dream has the same impact as if you had experienced something in waking life as the memory of the experience would appear to be the same.

But dreams vary a lot from person to person and differentiating dreams comes from experience. Not only through developing to recognize the ‘feel’ of dreams but also spotting the inconstancies present. Dreams are never perfect but spotting the differences can be as hard as it gets if you’re in something like a false awakening.      

How many dreams should you remember before starting lucid dreaming?

Before you start seriously considering lucid dreaming it’s important that you will be remembering the dreams you’ll getting lucid in. I’d recommend that you remember at least a couple of dreams clearly each night, or on a weekly bases around 10 is a good starting point. Even so, dream recall should come with time and if you’re starting out with dream recall and lucid dreaming at the same time, it’s likely that you’ll be remembering enough dreams when you have your first lucid dream.

We’re all different though and how well we remember our dream varies based on many external factors from waking life like stress and lack of sleep. So consistency is what you should really be going for – its all well and good remembering five dreams one night but having none the next won’t help at all.

Do you only remember dreams from the REM-cycle before or can you recall dreams from the whole night?

Typically the dreams you remember are the ones from the REM period before but that doesn’t mean that you cannot recall dreams from all your REM periods upon waking.

Typically we forget most dreams from the REM period before when we go into the next but remembering dreams from all REM dreaming periods is something most defiantly possible. How this is done exactly I am unsure of and it’s something I’m going to research further. During good periods I can remember more dreams than a single REM period can provide though this might be due to more awareness during micro-awakenings after REM periods. Remembering dreams during this time might form them in a more accessible part of your memory able to be accessed in the morning rather than them being forgotten overnight.

I dream a lot about violence, survival and lust though I am never like this in real life?

What we dream about varies a lot (whether that’s because they based on waking life or not). Most of all it’s worth noting that how you act in a dream varies simply because you lack the waking awareness of your actions.  It’s our consciousness that gives us the ability to judge right and wrong, make moral decisions and for things like power of will. In a dream these aspects can be replaced with a more crude understanding of the world without the logic that defines human awareness when awake.

Saying this, how you behave in your dreams isn’t something you should be worried about, but should be something you are aware of. How we act in dreams and the dreams themselves are based on many of our past experiences, thoughts and emotions from waking life. Frequent dreams of violence might indicate that you naturally associate certain situations with violent outcomes (such as seeing dream-strangers in a street in a dream carrying a knife rather than being a passing friend).

Dreams are built upon our associations between people, object, environments and emotions all of which are created when awake. It might be worth seeing if you can pick up hints of these similar associations in your daily life – Maybe it’s a recent book you’ve been reading or a film even?

How much should I write in my dream journal?

You should be writing as much as you feel works for you. It’s worth recording every dream you can remember but what detail you use (whether that’s full paragraphs or just bulletpoints) is up to you. I try to place as much as I can in my journal simply as a way of recording dreams as accurately as possible. It might be worth prioritising lucid or interesting dreams and then bulletpointing the rest.

The best thing to do would be to set yourself a good ten to fifteen minutes in the morning to recall dreams without feeling rushed. This should give you time enough to write down everything you feel would be helpful.

I have periods where I either remember lots of dreams or none at all – How can I improve so I can remember dreams all the time?

This can and will happen depending firstly on the effort you are putting in but also due to other factors from waking life. Things like stress, depression, changes in diet, changes in sleep pattern, tiredness and many others issues can have an effect. For example, if during the week you’re going to bed while thinking of worries from work or school you might not remember any dreams compared to at the weekend where you might remember ten times as many (not to mention changes in sleep pattern and lie-ins).

Improving dream recall comes from trying to remove some of these factors from affecting your sleep. Try to add a good ten minutes of time before bed where you take the time to meditate or at least to relax. Dreaming should always be a priority when going to sleep so remove all waking worries and allot the time when you’re sleeping for dream recall and lucid dreams.

So all in all I hope that helps out. I’m still trying to plough through all the other questions in my inbox so either expect another tutorial like this soon-ish or a few more private questions answered over the coming weeks!

Thanks for all the feedback, questions, ideas and the general friendliness from you all (and as always),

Sweet lucid dreams!

RTW

#DIY #crafts #doityourself #tutorials #recipe #recipes #lifehack #lifehacks #howto #nailart #lifestyle #parenting #cupcakes #kitchen #food #foodporn #picoftheday #inspiration #photooftheday #makeup #kids #mother #cooking #beforenafter #homestead #cookies

To celebrate our blog reaching 6k followers, here is a masterpost of tutorials and resources specific to anime/manga editing.

Anime

  • Download/convert 1 2 3
  • Anime screencaps 1 2 3
  • How to makes GIFs 1 2 3
  • How to colour anime scenes 1 2 3 
  • How to combine GIFs 1 2
  • Popular anime fonts 1
  • How to make anime icons 1

Manga

  • How to clean manga caps 1 2 3 4
  • How to colour manga 1 2 3 4
  • Convert to transparent 1
  • Screentones 1 2 
  • Manga fonts 1 2 3 4
  • How to ‘animate’ manga 1 2
Dream Recall – Remembering your dreams [P1]

Hello there dreamers!

This is going to be a quick two-part post on dream recall for all of those people that have sent in question as of recent. Hopefully it’s going to cover all the common questions and misconceptions – so this is an all-in-one tutorial which I hope will resolve all of your queries.

This first part will look at dream recall and how I classify dreams. I’ve put together everything that has worked for me so far as well as tutorials use the methods for yourself. The second post will answer all the common questions I get through regarding things such as poor dream recall and the use of a dream journal. So apologies for the massive, ugly posts (around 2.7k words in all) but it should cover everything you need to know at this level.

Classifying dreams – What is a dream?

Classifying what dreams are is difficult mainly because nobody really knows what they are or why we have them. I’ll just discuss their classification based on my model which I use as a reference throughout my own tutorials.

Dreaming happens in something known as a ‘REM’ stage of sleep with the imagery formed from an accumulation of past experiences, emotions, memories and expectations. Throughout this the dreamer is unconscious (or unaware they are dreaming). The phenomenon known as ‘dreaming’ happens throughout these REM periods but seems to be split up into smaller episodes which I’ll go ahead and call ‘dreams’. Different dreams are separated by shifts in scenery and storylines, so it’s possible to remember a whole REM periods worth of individual dreams indentified separately by major changes in the dreamscape.

I’ve also categorized dreams into two separate groups for convenience.

FORMAL dreams are your typical dreams and appear in the first few REM periods most typically during the night. The dream imagery follows your own thought patterns and perceptions. These are usually complex and fleeting with flashes of emotion rather than any developed story line.

INFORMAL dreams happen (most usually) during the later stages of the night where your presence in the dream becomes greater. You appear more detached, with the dream appearing separate from your own senses like in waking life. Dreams have apparent storylines with more developed associations.

Classifying dreams is important as it helps to distinguish and understand what’s really going on. I place dreams into these two types to somehow describe the imagery taking place, which are the most prominent features of my dreams.

Having a dream journal

The best tool for dream recall is the famous dream-journal. What form this takes depends on you the dreamer but most commonly it’ll be a simple notebook for writing in each morning (though you could try a voice recorder or typing).

The aim of keeping a journal is to be able to remember, record and then flick back through the dreams you’ve had without having to rely on memory alone. Commonly this is done with the aim of finding your own personal ‘dream-signs’ which are common things you dream a lot about (seeing a dream sign in the future will then indicate that you are dreaming). It’s also a good method for improving dream recall. The conscious act of writing down the dreams you remember each morning encourages you to naturally remember even more dreams.

Most of all a dream journal is helpful as a way of keeping all the dreams you’ve had for future reference. You can learn a lot about yourself by reading back through past dreams and but also use them as a tool for recognizing and understanding dreams in general whether that’s for gaining awareness (lucidity) or simply for personal interest.

Preparing to dream – Setting up a healthy dream environment

Dream recall is something which is very much affected by our waking lives and because of this we have to put some effort into creating some ‘good habits’ for improving dream memory.

The first focus should always be on your sleep pattern. Ideally an adult should be getting around 8 hours of sleep a night and be continually going to bed and waking at the same approximate times. In reality this can be difficult so I’d recommend sticking to it for about 4-5 nights a week. To put it simply, this should get you sleeping more naturally and help your body into a cycle where it knows when it’s going to sleep and what time it’s going to wake. Not only this, but it should help in boosting your dream recall (as well as helping to get regular REM periods which, if you’re interested in Wake-Back-To-Beds, you can set an alarm to wake you up during REM dreaming periods so you can return to sleep and a lucid dream).

Dreaming happens at its best if you’re having a good night’s sleep so take some time to relax yourself before bed, don’t drink too much alcohol and invest in a good pillow. You want an environment in which you’re comfortable to maximise your chance of remembering dreams.

Intention setting – ‘Willing’ yourself to remember your dreams

As with many things in life (and dreaming especially) people achieve things if they put their mind to it. When asleep (and in a world where we lack conscious awareness) we have no real input on dream recall and so have to rely on the small amount of control we can exhibit on dreams in waking life.

This comes in the form of intention setting. Dreams are naturally built upon our own experiences, expectations and perceptions from waking life – So if you make dream recall something you think about, care about and want to do, then this will carry over into the dream (and you’ll thus remember your dreams). Commonly this is done within the few minutes before going to be each night, whereby you firmly set the idea that you want to remember your dreams with the hope that such a thought will become prominent during the night.

In general, intention setting is a very successful and simple method to use within lucid dreaming and well worth researching further.   

General tips for remembering dreams

Other than the above there are three tricks which I commonly use to boost dream recall. There are of course many more tips out there that work for different people though I’ve tried to do put some together that are trusted favourites for beginners.

1) How you wake is quite important when looking at dream recall. Dreams are usually forgotten within the first few minutes of waking as our minds quickly come to life with thoughts of the day ahead. So, to boost how many dreams you remember upon waking remain still and try not to move too much. Think of all the dreams you can remember and visualize them, coming up with the way you will write them in your dream journal. If you can’t remember anything stay still anyway and think very hard on the types of things you usually dream about or whatever random thoughts float into your mind. Work off dreams you can remember and try and work backwards from there to recall more.

2) Keep an eye out for dream memories during the day. If you dream a lot about things from your waking life it could be possible that things in real life will stimulate a memory of a dream from the night before. Remember to record all of these dreams as well, even if it’s just a short sentence in your dream journal!

3) If you’re really struggling try waking yourself directly from a dream in a REM dreaming period. You can do this by setting your alarm an hour early or so – or even by regularly waking yourself during the night. A good trick is to listen to music when asleep as this will wake you more during your micro-awakenings (periods of semi-wakefulness after REM periods) meaning you’re more likely to remember your dreams!

What’s really important here is that you put some effort into remembering your dreams. It’s easy to give up quickly because dream recall works on a steep learning curve. To start off with it’s going to be a struggle, but more time you spend trying to remember your dreams the more dreams you’ll remember (and with better clarity).

So I think that covers the basics when looking at dream recall and tips for remembering dreams. Part two of this tutorial will look at some common questions, problems and solutions to dream recall which I hope should clear up any remaining issues!

[And if that wasn’t enough for you, you can see my older post on dream recall that I wrote about a year ago here (though it should contain similar sorts of information!]

RTW

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I can’t believe that just a few weeks ago I started patreon and already we have reached the first goal, definitely a new experience working with the system, I’m still getting used to it as well as of how produce the content for the supporters, so far I have uploaded high resolution files, process images, weekly drawings etc. but as a second goal I’m going to shoot for a new set of tutorials focused on drawing the figure, explaining the use of gesture, pose, construction and anatomy, what do you guys think?

I think fans are more interested in this kind of content and I think its fair to bring something good online as well. The tutorials will be posted as usual on my youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/Reiqws the high resolution video files plus all the material used to produce them will be available on the patreon site including the brushes I used for drawing. I hope this becomes an easy goal to reach with your help!

Please check my patreon here and let’s rock!

www.patreon.com/reiq

My Ultimate Shea Moisture Hair Masque Guide

Over the course of my four year long natural hair journey, I have tried to control my “product junkie” habits by finding a brand that works best, whose values I know and trust, and has products that are widely available to me. Shea Moisture fit the bill for my impulsive hair product shopper morals and I have made an effort to try all of their lines, especially their deep treatments (I go through mine fairly quickly). As of today, I have used 6 out of 7 of their deep treatment masques and I can honestly say that there isn’t one that I wouldn’t repurchase. Shea Moisture’s formulas always seem to work for my curls so they have found a customer for life in me.

After trying each deep treatment several times (although only once for the JBCO treatment since it is a recent addition) and passing my judgements, I believe it’s safe to say that I have the ability to provide the ultimate guide for Shea Moisture’s hair masques to help you in your search for a great deep conditioner. Keep reading below for my mini reviews of each masque!

Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque

Benefits - Gently provides strength and nourishment to hair via keratin, peptides, and botanical extracts. Aims to make hair feel stronger while also providing moisture.

Consistency/Scent -This is a very, very thick masque with a clean scent.

Post-Treatment Effects - After use, hair feels stronger without feeling hard or stiff and slightly moisturized.

Suggested Hair Condition For Best Results - Damaged, color-treated, frizzy, or weak hair.

My Review -  In my experience, this deep treatment definitely provides the most strengthening capabilities out of all of Shea Moisture’s hair masque offerings. If your hair is protein sensitive, I suggest pairing this deep treatment with a masque that aims to restore moisture (i.e., the Deep Treatment Masque) by adding a bit to your hair after applying the Tahitian Noni & Monoi treatment. See my past review of this mask here.

Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque

Benefits - Provides deep hydration for tresses with an added benefit of African Rock Fig and Baobab Oil. Aims to soften hair and restore moisture.

Consistency/Scent - This is a thick, yet creamy masque with a sweet, non-overbearing scent.

Post-Treatment Effects - After use, hair feels moisturized and soft while giving curls added definition.

Suggested Hair Condition For Best Results - All hair types - Healthy, damaged, color-treated, chemically treated, frizzy, or dry hair.

My Review - Shea Moisture hit the nail on the head with this deep treatment. It provides substantial moisture and the lingering scent is so lovely. Once applied, you instantly feel your hair melting and softening under the effects of the masque which makes for easy detangling. Curls are shiny and defined upon rinse. Also, this line is part of Shea Moisture’s Community Commerce initiative and 10% of proceeds go towards the cause. See how I use this masque in my wash ’n go routine here and my review of the product here.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow, & Restore Treatment Masque

Benefits - Strengthens hair while promoting hair growth and restoration via moisturizing benefits of shea butter and Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Aims to invigorate scalp and hair follicles with peppermint oil while increasing elasticity for breakage minimization.

Consistency/Scent - This is a creamy masque with a sweet scent.

Post-Treatment Effects - After use, hair feels well-moisturized and slightly strengthened thanks to the keratin traces in the formula.

Suggested Hair Condition For Best Results - All hair types - Healthy, damaged, color-treated, chemically treated, frizzy, or dry hair.

My Review - This deep treatment may very well become a staple for many due to it’s combined benefits. In my opinion, the benefits of this product are a combination of that of the Tahitian Noni & Monoi, Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil, Raw Shea Butter, and Yucca & Plantain masques thanks to the ingredients and strengthening, thickening, moisturizing, restoring, and growth properties. A full review of this single product will be available soon on this blog.

Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

Benefits - Provides deep moisture, increased elasticity, and softens curls via shea butter and Argan Oil while sea kelp helps to seal hair.

Consistency/Scent - This is a very, very thick masque with a sweet, delicious scent.

Post-Treatment Effects - After use, hair is softened and has restored moisture.

Suggested Hair Condition For Best Results - Dry, damaged, color-treated, chemically-treated, frizzy, or transitioning hair.

My Review - This masque was the first I ever tried from the Shea Moisture line four years ago while I began transitioning to natural and it is still in rotation among my staple masques. Hair can be easily detangled while the product is on and feels moisturized upon rinse out. Although it can be used alone, I prefer to use this as an addition to another deep treatment since the consistency is so thick and doesn’t do as well to provide intense moisturize to my thin strands as a creamier treatment would. Those with thicker hair may find this more beneficial as a standalone treatment.

African Black Soap Purification Masque

Benefits - Seeks to clarify impurities in hair and calm irritations on scalp for a rejuvenated feeling while providing moisture.

Consistency/Scent - This is the most watery and slightly thin masque out of these reviewed masques and has an interesting sweet scent.

Post-Treatment Effects - Hair feels clean but not stripped due to the moisturizing properties of the masque.

Suggested Hair Condition For Best Results - All hair types - Healthy, damaged, color-treated, chemically treated, frizzy, or dry hair/scalp. Added conditions specific for this product: Eczema, dandruff, psoriasis.

My Review -  When I need to provide intense clarification to my hair after co-washing, I follow up with this masque. The cleansing capabilities of this masque outweigh it’s moisturizing properties, so if you need additional moisturize I suggest adding a bit of the Deep Treatment Masque to this Purification Masque. See how I use this deep treatment in my clarification routine here.

Yucca & Plantain Anti-Breakage Masque

Benefits - Smooths strands by restoring strength to hair and mending split ends. Aims to make hair more resilient and stronger without stiffening or hardening hair in the process.

Consistency/Scent - This is a thick masque with a clean scent.

Post-Treatment Effects - Hair feels stronger and more durable post-rinse with slight added moisture.

Suggested Hair Condition For Best Results - Dry, damaged, color-treated, frizzy, or weak hair.

My Review - This masque definitely restores strength to hair and you can feel that your tresses have been rejuvenated afterwards. I would say this is a rung below the Tahitian Noni and Monoi deep treatment masque for strengthening properties although keratin isn’t an ingredient in the formula. The Baobab Oil and it’s many benefits do well to fortify strength on its own. The only downside to the Anti-Breakage Masque is that it isn’t too moisturizing which is a primary aspect for me when looking for deep conditioners. But for those seeking a treatment to mend weak strands without stiffening, this masque is recommended. I used to use this in my old wash ‘n go routine - see here.

Not reviewed: 10-in-1 Superfruit Complex masque

Thus concludes my Shea Moisture hair masque guide based on my tried and true experiences! I hope this is helpful for those of you looking to try one of Shea Moisture’s masques or simply looking for a new deep conditioner. Feel free to hit up my ask box if you have any questions!

- Sherelle

*Note: Photo above was featured on my natural hair Instagram: Sherelle_NaturelleBe sure to follow for more updated pictures of products and personal hair styles!