Machines that Changed my Life Part I: The Printer

I can’t remember what I paid for my Lexmark  X3350 printer five years ago, but I think that even back then it was less than a hundred bucks. The sheet feeder is starting to fail so I know that pretty soon I’m going to replace it with something even cheaper with more features.

But I’m still amazed at how many tasks this cheapo inkjet can perform right there on my windowsill– tasks that even twenty years ago would been have  unimaginable.

The odd thing is that I rarely use it to print anything from the internet: I think we’ve all become more sophisticated about bookmarking and opening tabs and using search engines. I remember that when my Mother got her first PC she printed out every email I sent her, pulled out her three hole punch and filed them in a binder. If she were alive today I’m sure she’d move them to an email file called Family, as I do.

But, the joy of not having to feed dimes into the machine at the library to make copies of our tax returns! The convenience of being able to scan Lou’s time sheet, save it, and email it to his boss! Most of the banners on this blog are pieces of (cheep and cheerful) origami paper I’ve scanned and downloaded. Just a few minutes ago I copied a ninth grade photo of “Little D’s’ ninth grade picture, stuck it to a card and stamped the background with little “d”s. (I’ve known Dale Simpson Jr. since he was four. He turns 32 tonight.)

It’s also a fax, but we don’t have the telecom hardware to set it up. Hmmm. Are there fax machines that can use a wireless connection?

But here’s the fun fabric/paper geek application that I doubt I invented which gave me a  mini-Martha eureka! moment. If you press a piece of your favourite fabric on the platen, pop down the lid, and press COLOR COPY you get: a piece of paper that looks like your fabric!

I love color, print and design, which is one reason I work  mostly with printed fabric. I mean, I like solid colors and all — I even wear them — but the pretty pictures grab me every time. Liberty prints, Toile de Jouy with all those shepherdesses and French towns, calicoes, Marimekko, Hello Kitty, ikat …

And now I can transfer them to an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper!

I can hear some of you whispering “Um. Why?”Well,  let me tell you it’s a cheap source of cool origami paper, especially if you use a smallish print:

And it could be gift wrap for a small knife for a macho cook friend:

If the fabric was kinda wrinkly when it was copied, it could still be the inside of an envelope. (Yes I’m the kind of freak who likes making envelopes.)

Or maybe I could  make the copy, find the three hole punch, and store it in a binder, as a sort of design library/inspiration book and a record of all those pretty prints long since cut, stitched,pressed,worn, tossed or given away.



Filed under A yard of fabric, Art, Free, Home, Machines, Origami, Paper, Scent

8 responses to “Machines that Changed my Life Part I: The Printer

  1. I recognize that skull and crossbones print!

    There are lots of internet faxing options that offer 30 day trials. But who uses faxes anymore?

  2. Gretchen

    I really like your ideas with the fabric turned paper. I may just find a use for it myself!

  3. absurdoldbird

    You can also print (direct) onto fabric transfer paper and then either iron or sew it onto tea-shirts, etc. I’ve been meaning to do some fabrics from some designs I made a long time ago in Photoshop, and print them up as fabrics for miniatures (1:12th scale) but I get caught up doing other things… one day it might happen!

    And yeah, I remember printing out all my emails. I still do very occasionally, but most of them go – as do yours – into a bookmarked/favourited folder!

  4. Kim Shook

    Liberty prints!!! Did you know that Target is selling Liberty print stuff? Gift cards and candles and stationery and all in cool printed boxes. (Also, I noticed, bras and garter belts!!!) I had to practice the utmost restraint.

  5. Alex

    A traditional-type fax machine works via a standard phone jack, so you’d need a land line. However, you can fax for free from your computer. There’s Microsoft Fax, which comes with XP and Vista (and, I assume, 7, but I haven’t checked that out yet), along with other services such as

    (It’s possible to fax from your smartphone, but you’d have to get an app (e.g., MyFax) and, of course, figure out how to get the document into your phone.)

    Re Microsoft Fax, if you go here — Start, All Programs, Accessories, Communications, Fax — and you don’t see “Fax Console,” you’ll have to install it. Here’s a good guide to installing and using the program:

    There are some very good and inexpensive wireless printer/scanners; for example, this one from Canon for about $80:

  6. Welcome Alex — how great to see you here. Thanks especially for the tip about the Canon wireless jobbie — I will check it out fer sher.

    Smartphone? Moi? I don’t even own a Jitterbug.

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