Thursday, August 11, 2011

App Store Tuesday

After listening to this week's "Quilting...for the rest of us" podcast Episode 057 "In Which We De-Clutter" I know EXACTLY which app(s) to feature this week on "App Store Tuesday"!  I know I only usually do one - but the apps I want to feature fall into the same catagory to a degree - and you don't need all of them - choose the ones that will suit YOUR needs.

Some time ago, a woman walked into a local quilt shop where I worked for a short period of time and whipped out her iPod, quickly swiped through a few screens and showed me a picture of a pile of fabric and asked me to help her find a coordinate.    She had the manufacturer and the name of the line as well.  I thought it was so cool that she was that organized (and that techy!) and had this all in her pocket!   I inquired more about what she was using and it was an app to catalog the projects she had going in her sewing room! 

This started me down the path of hunting for any and all apps that would do this and review them!  At the time - I found 3 to speak of.   Each one has similar functionality, downsides and upsides.  I really wanted one that was ALL encompassing - that could track my projects, what I have, give me a shopping list, do the dishes, feed the cat....you know...everything!  Be sure to get to the end of my post before you start downloading, for my FEATURED FAVORITE!  Here we go....


First Up:   Project Quilt: Organizer By Koma Kode    Thumbs UP from me!

This app is for exactly what it's named...tracking EVERY little detail (and cost) of each individual project you are working on.   You can take pictures, write notes, record as many attributes as you wish (style, embroideries, threads, fabrics), but most importantly plan and track costs & materials.  MY favorite use for this app goes something like this - You're walking through the park and you see an old iron gate – you're suddenly inspired, you see the quilt in front of your eyes but you have your kids, appointments, work, the dog, and a guild meeting that night. You also have two other projects that must come first, but if you don’t get your inspiration written down you may never think of it again. The solution is this app.  BINGO!  This was exactly what I needed to "track inspiration".   So many times, something will spark my creative juices and a quilt or embroidery project will start bubbling up in my mind.  I'll snap a picture, grab a post-it or corner of an envelope, and chicken scratch some notes so I don't lose the idea!   By the time I find that scrap piece of paper.....or I'm flipping through my digital pictures....I vaguely remember something about the spark...but not enough to make any sense out of what I've got.  So I track my quilting "dreams" in this app.   Pictures get to stay WITH the notes.   The downside?  The "cost" feature is not hideable...so it's always staring you in the face.  Some people might LOVE this feature - especially if you are doing custom work for others.   Think Long-Armer....tracking their hours and materials!  Viola!  Perfect app!


Next Up: iSewingRoom By SpecterWeb.com      Thumbs DOWN from me!

This app was one of the first ones out there and unfortunately appears to have been abandoned by the developers after release.   It's buggy, hasn't gotten great reviews and I never got it to work the way I wanted.   There's a Lite version and a full, but if you decide to try it out - there's no response from support.  Forewarning.


Next Up: Sewing Kit By Vesta Software, LLC      Thumbs UP\Down from me!

This little beauty is perfect for the "Garment Sewer". Which I am not.  LOL Sewing Kit lets you search through all of your patterns, fabrics, projects, and people to make sure you are not buying something twice, or getting home and finding out you forgot to get something you really needed!  With Sewing Kit you can store and search on all of your:  - patterns - fabrics - projects - measurements for people.   For each pattern from Butterick, Kwik Sew, McCall’s, Neue Mode, Simplicity or Vogue, Sewing Kit will try to auto-download the envelope images (including the back panel) if they are available on the company’s public web site! For fabrics, each entry has: name, color, material, amount, been ironed?, been washed?, where you bought it, where it’s stored, “unlimited” photos, and more! For projects, each entry has: name, who its for, notes, “unlimited” photos, pattern being used, status, type, and more! For people, each entry has: person’s name, “unlimited” photos, and “unlimited” measurements!
My rating for this app (Up\Down) is because of lack of developer interaction.  There hasn't been an update in a long time, and it is a tiny bit buggy.   You have to take pictures outside of the app and then load them in as opposed to taking them within the app like it advertises.   Can be a bit cumbersome, but it has a nice view of everything once it's in there.   I've personally wiped out all the garment sewing settings that I could, and just store pics of the fabrics I have yardage of, and have all my UFO's listed.  There's a place for notes, dates, and I can list the things I still need to buy for a project.  I like it, was worth the purchase.

And now (drum roll please)....my newest, favoritest, bestest, amazingest app.......

My Inventory Manager (PRO VERSION) - trust me, just buy it!  Forget the limited Free Version


Wow....I can't even begin to describe all the uses for this app.   It's my new best friend.  Without a doubt.   You won't find it in any "quilting" or "sewing" Catagory - it's a productivity app.    The hunt began because of a sale on Accuquilt dies.  People were RUNNING for them, and I wasn't sure which dies I had already!!  Also, Sandy, from Quilting... for the Rest of Us, once again, made me think of hunting for this app.   (I know!!, Lots of mention of Sandy and her podcasts and her blogs huh? - you'd think we were channeling each other!).   In one of Sandy's recent podcasts, she mentioned being in a store, wanting a Creative Grids ruler and wondering if she had it at home or not.  The agonizing call to the NON-Quilter at home (may it be a daughter, husband, son, PICK any family member that wants nothing at all to do with venturing into the sewing CAVE) and trying to identify whatever thing you are trying to describe on the phone as your voice goes up several octaves in frustration because there's a SALE....and you don't have time to go home and check!!    Lo and behold, even with remote assistance from her daughter - she ended up with TWO of the same ruler.   Oh Sandy, I feel for you.   That has happened to me with patterns and books too.    Well NO more!   Now that this handy dandy little app has entered my life!

Organize your possessions fast, simply and comfortably. Always maintain an overview of all your stored objects.  The app was born to catalog boxes in the attic, or bins in the garage.  Which is ALSO a great feature.   But the first thing I added...was my Sewing Room as a location, my Accuquilt as an asset, and all the dies I have as content!   Then...Sandy got me adding "Rulers" as a catagory.  Yep!  I now know EVERY ruler I already own....in my pocket.    Books are next - I have half of them in there.  Then things got REALLY crazy.....I added the rooms in my house....each dresser, each closet, each drawer.  PURGING as I sorted through.... You create REAL storage locations and organize your inventory by defining them. Eg. "locations > house > garage > red box".  Get this - there's a bar code scanner too!   If it has a bar code...you do NOTHING...enter the bar code...badabing!  It's in there!  Serial numbers, model #'s EVERYTHING!  I know, starting to sound a little crazy right?    Let's go back to the sewing room.....the BINS - are getting numbers.....what's in Bin #4...yep....contents are listed, photographed....   Thread boxes....yep.....colors, manufacturer....this is BEYOND crazy right??.........

The BEST feature of this app???   Ready?     It INTEGRATES WITH EBAY!!     ...........(HUGE GASP from the Audience!!!!!!!!!)


Oh yeah baby....we are in FULL SWING for "Operation Downsize!!!''

(HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE!!!)


So it gets better the more I use this thing.  I'm hauling garbage bags to the curb EVERY weekend, dropping off donations at the Salvation Army on the way to work...oh yeah..this feels GOOD! 

I'm a computer field engineer by trade.   On "Install" days, I often have to share space (and tools) with other contractors.   A quick swipe of my iPhone, click "tool bag"..... Front pouch.....sorry buddy, that is DEFINITELY my socket set...see?.....nice try.  Tools won't be disappearing anymore!   I have boatloads of computer tools, cables, AC Adapters, parts, memory modules, hard drives......the list goes on.   This stuff is FINALLY getting inventoried instead of filling closets and drawers!!  And as I go through...if I have 3 or 4 of something, and I'm never going to use that many....*CLICK*....up on Ebay baby....and the description is READY!   Oh yeah....I'm in love with this app....can you tell?!?   Sandy.....I think I love you.  :-)

Now let's get serious for a minute and think of the possibilities.   
* Quilts - their stories, their meanings, how they started, where they came from.....their VALUE... 
* Electronic equipment in the house - their serial numbers...when their warranties expire
* As you're walking through Staples - Printer Ink is on sale.....and you are out of it....and the store closes in 20 minutes.....  The model # that you NEVER remember....is in your pocket.
* Do you loan things to friends all the time, and forget where everything went when you need it?   Mark it down in the inventory!!  You know exactly who has it!
*Search and tags (headwords) - With the search function you can quickly and painlessly find what your looking for, without searching for hours in the cellar or in the attic. The search accesses the name of the object and the tags (headwords) which you assign to the object initially.

....As soon as I get my house in order....guess who's next......

(Rrrriiingg......Rrrrriinnngg....)   Hi Mom......guess what we are going to start doing once a week?   <grin>

De-Clutter baby....here we come!!

3 comments:

  1. I think I need to get an I phone, just for this app..OMG, I used to keep several excel worksheets with my cross stitch inventory of charts, floss and speciality threads. That was back in the day I cross stitched. Now that I'm quilting, I'm always sewing, no time for organizing. I've never set anything up for my quilt books and rulers. I need to, because I've bought many, many duplicates of expensive books and rulers. Gosh, I just may have to upgrade my cheesy trac phone! Maybe after Christmas. Thanks Jan Michele Gailey

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  2. Like I needed another reason to drool over iPads.... You're right--the Inventory Manager would be great for tracking rulers and books, the two things I tend to inadvertantly duplicate!

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  3. BTW...buying apps today, thanks to you.

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