Making Braille Holiday Gifts

Hadley Learner Darrin Cheney presented on making braille holiday gifts and cards. He also shared how to mail items using Free Matter for the Blind.

October 17, 2019

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Audio Transcript


Embracing Braille – Making Braille Holiday Gifts

Presented by Vileen Shah

October 17, 2019

Vileen S: Good morning, everybody. I hope you can all hear me. This is Vileen Shah, your host for the Embracing Braille and today is October 17, 2019. We are going to talk about preparing braille cards and gifts for the holidays. Friends, when we talk about holidays, we have to make a reference to religion. Having lived in this country for long, I know that religion is such a sensitive issue, and we should be talking obliquely. I will try to avoid as much as I can, but whenever we talk about holidays, you can say, you may agree with me, that most holidays are determined by religion, that has some connection with religion. So, without saying anything good or bad, don't get [inaudible] if you think that, that's not the issue, but I think the holidays are around for many religions.

All right. So, keeping that aside, as we said, this is the time for holidays to come in and celebrate, so let's celebrate our braille making cards, but before going to that, I do want to mention about a specific holiday that touches us all; and, although it has nothing to do with religion, and therefore it is not widely publicized, and I call it a holiday, and that is the White Cane Day, which was October 15.

Hadley actively participated in this. I'm not at Hadley, so I do not have all information, but probably Elyse by chance has something. Let us speak, before we switch over to Darrin, our guest speaker today.

So, White Cane Day is like a holiday for us who are blind and visually impaired, and also for people like Elyse who have professionally accepted work for the BVI, Blind and Visually Impaired community. So, you don't have to Elyse, but by chance, do you have little more information about Hadley's participation in White Cane Day?

Elyse H: Yes. This is Elyse. Hadley had posted and shared some different tips and information about using the white cane: a long white cane or an identifier cane on their social media sites. Also, myself and another co-worker with Hadley were able to attend an information fair that was hosted on the 15th locally here in Wisconsin, and we had over 100 participants come and learn about White Cane Day, and different organizations locally that serve adults with vision loss, or who are blind.

I had a great time, and like Vileen said, working in the profession with adults who are blind or visually impaired, White Cane Day is very near and dear to my heart, and I love supporting and seeing people being independent, and using their white cane as a tool to traveling, whether to the store, or to work, or somewhere fun if they want to go. That was my experience for White Cane Day.

Vileen S: Great. And I love to hear that the white cane is so dear and near to your heart, and that tells how deeply you are involved with the cause of serving the blind and visually impaired community. Thank you so much.

Now, we will definitely go to Darrin. My association with Darrin goes back to 2014 when he was one of the keynote speakers in a seminar that I conducted. So, I have known Dennis- I'm sorry, Darrin as a speaker since then, and this is the third time that he is going to do his presentation when I'm conducting some group. He will tell you more about himself, and we go from there. And most of you heard him before, and you liked it. I got some email how you liked Darrin's presentation, so I am more than confident that you will like his presentation today.

So, let's learn how to make braille cards for our dear ones and how to customize some of the commercial cards for our dear ones. Over to Darrin.

Darrin: Thanks, Vileen. Actually I've known Vileen a little bit longer than that. You're actually the person who read and approved my application to become a Hadley student.

Vileen S: Oh!

Darrin: So I bet you didn't even remember that one, but, anyway.

Vileen S: Okay, no thousands of people I did, so, yeah, good to know. Thank you.

Darrin: Oh, sure. Well, hey everybody. I thought today what we might want to do, is just to kind of have a fun time, a chance to explore some different things, and learn some fun ways of actually how you can apply braille. And this is for everybody. I mean, everybody who's just getting started to figure out what is a full cell compared to an “o.” All the way up to people who have finished the Lit series and are reading and doing some of those fun things.

It's another way how you can actually apply braille in your life. Essentially what I'm going to talk about today is how you can add braille to holiday greeting cards, you can also apply the same skills and techniques to other things: gifts and gift note tags, and a variety of different things that way.

Just to kind of get started here, I am going to be talking about cards, so if you have handy a piece of 8.5 by 11 piece of paper or a piece of paper that you've got handy, I'm going to kind of walk and talk some things through to kind of show you a couple of things that you might want to, if you want to have something in your hand or if you just want to listen, that's fine too, okay?

To get started, I think it's pretty special to receive a greeting card or a holiday card in the mail, yeah? It's fun when you get one at Christmas time, or one from a pen pal or a friend for your birthday. It's even better when you can read the braille inside and then have that extra surprise, which is an embossed braille drawing. It's always fun to try and figure those things out.

So, what we're going to talk about is how we can actually apply that, and how you can use your braille to enhance those things, as well as to make some other simple gifts, and I'll also share a little bit how you can actually mail these for free as well if you're not doing that already, okay?

So, if we take a look at what is a greeting card and its importance, right? And I decided to look this up, and according to Merriam Webster, a greeting card is defined as "a piece of paper or thin cardboard having any of a variety of shapes and formats and bearing a greeting or message of sentiment."

Essentially, it's a piece of paper or something that you hold in your hand that pretty much conveys a message, something that you want to get across: Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday. Any of those particular things.

Now, a lot of people are going "Why do you even want to send someone a card? Why can't I just go ahead and send you an email?" Well, I did this little experiment with my son the other day, and he’s sighted and I'm not, and I said "Why don't you send me something fun?" And so he sent me an animated gif that has a picture of a dancing walrus with some words on it. So I got it and he goes, "Hey, did you get that? It's pretty cool," and I said "Yeah. Let me send you back one for what I got," and I put in quotes "dancing walrus with animated text." In other words, I couldn't see it, I couldn't read it, I couldn't understand it.

So if you take a look at just sending it through email or that, yes you can have the computer read it to you, it kind of loses that message, it loses those things. And along the way, in the last several years, you know, decades, we've lost the notion of actually sending a card to someone. We think email is fine. To me, I think it's pretty special when you get the card, because it takes somebody time to pick that one out, and they take time to mail it, and they take time to do all the different things you need to. That's what makes it special.

So, what I'm going to suggest, then, is that let's make them that you can enjoy them. Let's take a look at how we can add braille if we want to, or if we want to add an embossed picture, or we want to do something in that regard, okay?

And if I'm holding an actual greeting card and I turn it all the way to the right, the back of my left hand is the cover, right? And flip it all the way to the left, and the back of my right hand now is the back of the card. If I put it back into the position like I'm praying, and I open it up, there's the inside. Makes sense?

So how does this apply, then, to a particular card? Well the back of my left hand, since that is the cover, is that if you'll notice that that would be where text could possibly be, and on the inside on my right hand, my right palm, that's a possibility where text could be. So in other words, if we take a look at it- we'll explore it a little bit further, is that if you do that, the front to the card, essentially? Remember, the back of your left hand, that is to convey a purpose of a card, right? What it is, what you're trying to celebrate or share: Happy Halloween, Happy Valentine's Day, Merry Christmas. So it's supposed to convey a purpose, and then to draw you into the message that you get inside, and that's where we can do some things.

So if we open up our hands again, now we've got our palms, our left palm and our right palm, on the right palm is typically where that you would actually have the message, and so then you typically would have all of the, you know, "Happy Birthday. Glad you're having a great birthday, Darrin. Birthday wishes," whatever else is on. That's the good part, and then, essentially, on the back side, you might add a surprise or close.

Now I also take a look at this, too, as a slightly different way of looking at it, is that it's almost like telling a story. The cover is actually the beginning of the story, on the inside is what happens, and on the back, it's possibly the end. That's one way to think about it. So, you can buy cards that way. Now if you start to think of how they're designed, and how they're utilized that way, then you can go "Oh. Wait a second here. I might be able to do some things with that." So then, I can actually go ahead, and I can buy a card and cards basically come on stock that's slick. They're pre-printed with the picture, graphics, with everything else, because in the sighted world, that's how they convey the message.

In our particular case, we're conveying things through braille, and through other tactile means. Essentially, then, we could take a card, a brand-new card, and then we could actually braille anywhere on the front whatever our message is. “Happy Birthday,” anything that we want for that particular card. Then on the inside, then you could actually put in your specific message, and any information that you particularly want. You can also add art to that as well, and you can emboss either with your embosser slate and stylus to be able to get that information across.

So let's take a look at what kinds of braille and things that you can include. Now, remember, some of you this might be your first time that you're trying to learn this or you're trying to apply some of your skills, and you don't know that much about braille, or that you've done it a lot. The cool thing is that you can use whatever skills or whatever level that you have. So, if all you know is grade one braille, then you can braille that out, because it doesn't matter what you know, it depends on what the person you're going to send it to, what they'll know.

You have the choice between using both of those real simple, or not, and just have someone give you the dot combinations to be able to say "Happy Birthday" is pretty simple to do, too. So then you can choose to "How am I going to go ahead and modify the card," and you got a variety of different choices.

If I'm in Lit 2 and I haven't seen a slate and stylus or braille writer, don't even know what those are, but I got in my kit the braille labeler that comes with so that you can start labeling things around your house, you can also make labels that way that says "Happy Birthday" or "Hi Darrin", and then you can actually attach those or glue those into the card. So you don't have to actually emboss the card, you can actually use that particular part.

Now, if you don't want to be able to do anything with the card, because it gets a bit complicated that way, but you can go ahead and braille a card or something else that way, you can create the braille on something else, even a sticky note, and then you can actually attach it on the card. And in fact, if you use either a glue stick or what my wife likes to use, which is the glue for creating books and those kinds of things, then you can actually create it elsewhere, and then glue it on. So you don't even have to have, essentially, those particular things as well, and in fact, you can actually buy "Happy Birthday" stickers and that in braille. Now, if you want to go ahead and to do things further from there, let's say that you do know how to use a slate and stylus or braille writer, you can actually insert the card into the braille writer and be able to emboss your message and whatever else in there, okay?

So, where the fold is really kind of depends where you want to be able to add some things and where you want to be able manipulate it in the moment. Now the thing to kind of consider, too, at this point, is that, what I going to do with the card? How am I going to give it to whoever I'm going to give it to? Am I going to just hand it to them, or am I going to mail it? In which, you can mail things Free Matter for the Blind. And so the thought is that, "Okay, with a purchased card, they usually come with an envelope."

In some cases, if you're only going to emboss the card or add something to it, shouldn't be any problem to be able to put the card back in the envelope the purchased one came with, and then you can go ahead and you can address it, put on your return address, put Free Matter for the Blind, and then you can send it.

But if you're going to create a card from scratch like what we just described, you'll probably want to put that into a manila envelope. You could even add a piece of cardboard with it to be able to make sure that the dots don't get smashed from there. That's kind of important there, too.

So what have we done so far? We've learned a little bit about what a card is, we've had a little bit better understanding about what the orientation of a card is, we've talked a little bit about how I can apply braille and different things to it. Where do we go from here?

Well, I want to talk a little bit about how you can actually go one step further from just actually taking a card, and don't get me wrong, it's nice when I get a birthday card from a friend every year that says "Happy Birthday" that I can read. I'm excited, but I get more excited, too, at Christmas time I get a card from a friend that not only had a message in the card, but it actually had candles, and I had to figure out where the candles were, and how that worked on there, and that was pretty cool. So how do I get those particular things?

Well that's what's called a drawing, or a braille drawing. I understand a couple weeks ago that Dennis showed you how to do a sailboat. There are a couple books, some for free, that will actually allow you to- teach you how to create a braille drawing, which essentially is that you follow a pattern with braille contractions, line by line by line, and then a tactile image appears.

So yesterday, what I wanted to do for my Christmas card, was I wanted to create a Christmas tree. So I put together a Christmas tree that's five lines down and six lines across, and it uses one, two, three, four, five contractions and if I put them in a certain pattern, then I get my Christmas tree. So you use a resource like that.

So I could, if I've got my card in front of me, and I put my cover- I open it up, and I put it in my braille writer, I could actually then emboss my image, say, on the lower left part of the cover; and what the purpose of my card is or "Happy Birthday" or "Merry Christmas" to the right.

Now what I'm thinking to add is I'm looking at design. I'm looking at where I'm going to place things. And you're got to know, too, that within braille, that's a Unicode, so that there are only so many cells that could go across that page, so you've got to kind of figure out where you're going to get either your emboss head off of your braille writer or your slate and stylus into the right spot where you can actually add some of the text. Hence the idea of actually, if you wanted to, is to do this on separate pieces of paper and then glue them onto the card. It's a whole lot easier. And also a lot quicker.

Likewise if I opened it up so that the message portion of the card, I can go ahead and I can braille on that, and then I could actually add my message across those kind of things, as well as another possibility of a drawing or something else in there, too. It's important to kind of get a feel for what you want the card to do, where things that you think that they're going to go, and then you can actually design these, as I said, even if you want to use sticky notes, how far you want to do that. So that's taking it one step further than just buying a regular card.

Now, in my household, at Christmas time, what we usually do is that we'll actually either punch a hole in the card and hang it with a ribbon across a string so that all of our Christmas cards are displayed, whatever that you want to from there. You could add some of those things, too.

All right. Let's take it one step further from there. So you decide that you wanna create a custom braille card. And so then you start with card stock, and you figure out what your cover is going to be, and what your message is going to be, and then what I like to do is I like to take a look at this and see what story I want to share, or memory that I want to share of something that we've done together. And in this particular case, it may be a trip to the beach, or something that we really enjoyed. And I'm thinking "Okay, you could convey that in words, but why not doing it with something a little bit more than that?"

So maybe what I might do is on my covers, I have a little bit of beach area. And in order to create my hand, I'm not actually going to glue sand on there, but I'm going to take some pieces of sandpaper, and I'm going to cut out kind of a beachy kind of pattern, and I'm going to put that, with a glue stick, on the cover, and then I might have something I want to create with waves. That might be kind of a different texture. I might have a sun, I might have some of those kinds of things. But I'm using different elements, okay? Textures and depths to be able to express those kinds of things, so that when I actually feel the card, it's not a picture of a walrus, it's a walrus. It's something I can feel, it's something that I can connect to.

Now, there's a couple different things, too, that when you use some of those things to add some of the depth, you can use cloth, different types of cloth, burlap; different things you might have around. Ribbons, string, twine, any of those kind of things. Just remember, you can mail this as long as it has braille on it. You can add texture with paper, as I said, sandpaper is actually a really interesting one. You can create the braille not only in using emboss, but you can actually create it with small beans, with beads, M&Ms, whatever you want to, just to say hi. Whatever you want to from there.

And the other one that I've been toying with is actually attaching Legos to card. And you'd go "Why?" And you go well, "You get two three by three, one by three, Legos together, that's a full cell." So you can do some different things that way. You can do anything that you want to. That's what the fun part is. That's what gets the message across. The important part is that it's something that you both get to share, that you both get a benefit from there.

Now, once I have my card all set, ready to go, I can send it through Matter for the Blind and I have actually what the limitations are, the guidelines from USPS, United States Postal Service, what you can actually send through the mail, whatever from there. The main things that you have to have when you mail it is that you have to have text that's either 14 point font or larger, no advertising, or it has to have braille, and then in the address part you put "Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped" and place it with a stamp, and then if it's a card, don't seal it. You can use a piece of tape to do it so that they can open it up and inspect it if they need to.

And then the other thing is, too, if you have any questions, you can always talk to your postmaster, because they're the ones that actually approves what you get and then what you send out.

What you can do is that you can create and send braille cards, not only to share a message, share a memory, enjoy a holiday, but it also gets to enhance your braille skills, whatever level those are. And the important thing is that you can have fun by doing it.

And so, think about it as far as what you should get ready for the holidays, for Christmas or whatever from there, is to send out some braille greeting cards. You can either buy some through Hadley, you can actually get some and emboss those and send them out, or you can create custom ones on your own, and any of the techniques that I showed you with the card, all you have to do, essentially, is use, instead of a full piece of paper, you can use a part of a piece of paper, you can create name tags, you can create gift tags, you can great a variety of different things. It's just up to you. Let your imagination run wild. That's what I've got for today. If we've got questions, I'd be happy to answer them and discuss.

Vileen S: Great. Thank you so much, Darrin. I was wondering all the time what in the world you will tell about making braille cards, but you made your presentation so interesting, informative, and easy to understand. Great. Thank you so much, and I'm keeping this floor open for participation.

Elyse H: And I see a few are raised already.

Vileen S: Yes.

Elyse H: Let's see. Beth, you are first in line. Go ahead.

Beth: Yeah. I was gonna ask… I have made cards before just with the message, but I was wondering, because some of the cards, I noticed that the paper is a little heavier so the braille doesn't come on. Then I can put on a separate piece of paper? [inaudible]. Over.

Vileen S: Great.

Darrin: Yes. You can. If it's a little bit too difficult to emboss on that thick stock, go ahead and use another type of paper, and put your braille on it, and then, as I said, use a glue stick. It's actually pretty easy, then, to apply it and then stick the piece of paper to it. It'll adhere just fine, work just fine. And in fact, it's even better, too, if your hands aren't actually able to emboss or be able to punch things that way, it's a whole lot easier to make it happen.

Vileen S: And there is one more advantage here.

Beth: Oh-

Vileen S: If you happen to make an error, you can throw that piece, and pick another one, and do it right, and then paste it on the actual card. So that gives you room for corrections.

Beth: Oh, and another question. Where do you get the books with the pictures? If I want to learn pictures.

Darrin: There are a couple of different places that you can go. In fact, one of them I'll share with you which is free. Actually, I've got two places, and I'll send these resources to Vileen that they can include with the seminar, but there's actually a book that was written by Marie Porter from the Guilds for the Blind, it's called So What About Drawing? And it's a book full of about 30 different drawings of everything that you can imagine, from sailboats to jack-o-lanterns, to Christmas trees, whatever. To Santa Clauses.

Elyse H: Okay. Thanks, Beth. Sue's hand was up. Let's see if she's still with our group.

Sue: Yeah, I just wanted to thank him. I found it very informative. I'm a braille literalist, too, and I correspond with my cousin who lives up in Washington, and I got a Halloween card, regular one, I'm legally blind, for her yesterday, and I thought of using my braille labeler and putting her name in there, "Dear Lisa," and just inform her that I'm progressing and just tell her about learning braille. Might be kind of interesting. Thank you. That's all.

Darrin: That's a great way to do that. And just as a hint, if you're going use the little labeler, you want to have a space before you put in her name, and then put the braille in, Elyse or whatever her name is, and then add a space or two at the end, and then go ahead and print it off, or cut it. That way when you actually tear the tape off to be able to stick it, you have something to be able to hold onto with the middle of your fingers, and then you can trim it if you want to, and in fact you can actually braille all the characters that you want, and then cut them apart and put them on. So, it's just a tip. An easy way to do that.

Sue: Oh, good. She might find it interesting to see her name in braille. Thank you.

Darrin: And what might be fun, too, is if you send it to her in braille, maybe... As my son got really interested when I started learning braille, he goes "Well, how are you doing that?" And I showed him and he learned the code, and then we were able to send notes back and forth. Granted, it was all grade 1 braille, but I didn't care. I could read it [inaudible], so that's something to think about, too, to encourage that on the other side, too.

Sue: I will do that. That would be fun with the family just the alphabet.

Vileen S: Isn't it great?

Sue: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Vileen S: Yeah.

Elyse H: Great ideas. We have another guest. Their phone number starts 516. You tell us your name, please?

Jonathan: Oh. Hello. My name is Jonathan. Thank you. This is a fun subject. I missed the very beginning of the meeting, so I'm not sure whether this might have been mentioned already, but I was wondering if there are different kinds of slates available for making pictures? I have just the regular slate and stylus, but it leaves that slight space between cells. I was wondering if there's a slate that doesn't have any spaces between the cells.

Elyse H: Jonathan has a great question about the slate and stylus. Anybody in our community can refer to that? Over.

Darrin: Well, what I would suggest, if you take a look at different slates and those kinds of things, like the slate that you get from Hadley when you get into Lit 3 is a 40-cell slate and you can get it to different sizes and those things, but then that's where you start to run into trouble, is, as I mentioned, if you actually try to braille a card, is that you'll run out of real estate space on your slate, and you'll have the extra holes that'll be punched in on the card, which may or may not be as important to you.

So my suggestion is, yes, you could try a full-page slate. There might be some other things, but I would actually take a look at the possibility of doing the card and putting your information in in portrait mode, where it's about the same width as a slate, and then that way you can actually utilize it on the card. Now, if you're sighted and you can read braille and you can read the card, it might look kind of funny, but for those of us who aren't sighted, it doesn't matter where you put the braille, anyway, on the card. So some things to think about.

Vileen S: One option for you is that you can use, I don't know the word. When I was in school, I was doing the geometry class, and we had a kind of a wheel that you could move over the paper. There used to be rubber mat under the paper so that you can still draw the lines and you can make shapes the way you want. I used to draw a circle, never saw such a good circle, but yeah, I used to do that, and rectangle, and square. Probably, that might help. It's still a raised line. You can feel it, and you don't need cells, you don't need a slate. You can make shapes the way you want, and you may want to try on blank braille sheets and do that.

I do not have the information where you can get, but you can check with APH, which is American Printing House for the Blind. That’s one source. So, let's see, first of all.

Jonathan: Thank you.

Vileen S: Anyone who has more information about this kind of tools, geometric tools or geometric kit, please raise your hand, and then we'll take another question later, but let's say more input on this issue.

Elyse H: Cheyenne. You have a comment to share with our group?

Cheyenne: Yes, I do. So, there is a tool you can get to produce raised line pictures and it is from the Braille Superstore, and I think if you google "Braille Superstore" you can probably find it. It's a raised line drawing board, and you can actually use it with a regular pen and paper. I haven't tried it on braille paper yet, but I have done regular paper. Like $14. So, that might be something to check out.

And I also wanted to add one more thing. Sighted people also like raised pictures. Whether you do it by braille drawing or raised line drawing. [inaudible] still like to feel your pictures. I've given my family braille pictures for Christmas, and they loved them. So that's my comment. Over.

Vileen S: That's very encouraging. Thank you so much.

Jonathan: Thank you, Darrin.

Elyse H: Beth, you have a comment about raised lines?

Beth: Oh. Oh, that's right. About raised lines, I had a comment about raised line paper. Yeah, we used to have the raised line paper where blind people could learn signatures, but I had a question of how they made that? It wasn't braille, it was just raised lines.

Elyse H: Okay. So you're wondering about dark lined raised line paper.

Beth: Yeah.

Elyse H: Okay.

Beth: Yeah, yeah.

Darrin: Actually you can make your own as well. Like with the braille geometry kit, which, yes, you can get from the Braille Superstore. They've got it listed for $50. I was looking it up while I was listening here, so that you can get that. All that essentially is that you're bending or folding or manipulating the paper to create those lines.

Beth: Okay.

Darrin: So if you take a look at the geometry kit to do that, or something else. If you have a scrapbooking kit, or that you want to go ahead and get yourself a rotary cutter, as long as you don't cut through the entire paper, you can actually create your lines yourself and a variety of different things.

Beth: Okay.

Darrin: And in fact the Lighthouse in San Francisco, what they're doing is that using a lot of these tactile drawings and different things, by creating maps. And I went to one of the national conventions, and at the [inaudible] convention, and I talked to them, and they said “We can give you a free map of your neighborhood," and I'm like "Okay. This is interesting." They went ahead and they actually embossed a one-page map that included four square blocks from my house with where my house was. So I could actually feel where the streets were.

Beth: Oh wow.

Darrin: They're doing that with different maps within other things, too. Again, it's another way of actually how that you can do that. And essentially all you're doing is that you're manipulating the paper in some way or the other. So sometimes you don't have to have an expensive tool to do it. There just might be another way.

Vileen S: Great.

Beth: Okay. Yeah. Thank you.

Vileen S: Are you happy?

Beth: Yes.

Vileen S: Okay. Let's move to the next one.

Elyse H: Dorothy, can you hear us?

Dorothy: Okay. I just wanted to say, Darrin and Vileen, thank you so much for presenting this. This is so interesting, and I know that those of us who have been around in braille classes for a while have seen some of this work come across from fellow students, and it's really fun and interesting. So thanks for saying more about this.

And I also wanted to add that if you're sending these to a younger person, as I did make the sailboat drawing that Dennis did a couple of weeks ago, that design. I gave that to a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old, and I ask, my great-grandson is who it was, "Are you going to take that to school so your teacher can see it?" And he said "No, she can't read braille," and so I had to explain it to him that this is a drawing. And then because I couldn't see the outcome of my work, and I had trouble with a couple of the lines, I had to ask someone else "Does this look like a sailboat?" Because I thought "Well, maybe the problem is he can't see the sailboat," and both of these kids are visually impaired already, and so it could be that that was a little flag also that he could not make out the image himself. So I did use that with his mom to say "Make sure that he understands that this is a drawing," and I did also mention to him to feel it with his fingers, just in case his impairment is not allowing him to see that it is a sailboat. Over.

Vileen S: Oh. Terrific. And that is kind of creating awareness among more people. This is fantastic. Thank you. Yeah. [inaudible].

Dorothy: Yes.

Elyse H: Okay. Thanks, Dorothy. I wouldn't have thought about it if "Here I made this picture and now you got to use your fingers to look at it as well."

Vileen S: [crosstalk]

Dorothy: Exactly.

Darrin: You know, it's interesting how that goes, because you take a look at what is your frame of reference, where are you coming from. I was sighted and lost my sight.

Vileen S: Yeah.

Darrin: So I have a lot of memories, a lot of expectations, things that are in my head already. If somebody says "sailboat" I'll go "I've seen a sailboat." They say "sun", I know what a sun is. If it's a dog, I got a general idea of what a dog is. I've seen those things before, and what the challenge is that I'm going from sighted to blind, is that you struggle trying to figure out how do you do to retain what you've done, and to be able to understand that as you move forward; whereas if I'm visually impaired, and I've never, ever seen a sailboat in my entire life, I'm not going to understand what it's going to be, and that's when you started to break it down of "Here's the sail, here's the boat, here's the different things," and then try to put that picture together in my mind. So again, that's an interesting part with all this is which way do you go, because it's a challenge.

The best thing to do is that I would suggest is that you go through drawings that you say "This is a picture of a sailboat. Now, let's take a look at this. Let's explore this together for a quick minute," and then do that, and go through the different parts; just like I went through a card with you, so that you can kind of get a feel for actually are they actually designed and set up because if you go "I get a greeting card," well, okay, but do you really know what it is and how they're designed? And [inaudible] things you wanted to be able to know when you create your own. That's that frame of reference: how do you tie that in? How do you explain that? How do you move forward? It's all about a learning and sharing process on both sides. Over.

Vileen S: Sure. Sure. By all means. Thank you. Okay. We have time. We can take more questions.

Elyse H: Okay, Beth. I see your hand is up. Go ahead.

Beth: Yes.

Vileen S: Yes, Beth.

Beth: I have a couple questions. Do they still have those, I think they're called WikkiStix? They're kind of like sticky and-

Elyse H: Yup. I've seen them at craft stores and some home supply stores. They can be bent and molded into different shapes, and then put on paper or a plastic cap, or canned goods for labeling. I suppose you could use them for-

Beth: Oh, okay.

Elyse H: [crosstalk] designs.

Vileen S: Yeah, [crosstalk].

Elyse H: I'm not sure how well they would be mailed. They might wiggle in the envelope or get dislodged in transit. But if it's a hand-delivered card, it might be a little better on the WikkiStix. Unless, I suppose, you could glue them, and then they'd stay in the shape or the format that you want them in.

Beth: And also, like Darrin was just saying, if you've never seen a sailboat... Those books with the drawing, do they have... Like to say if they drew a picture of a dog, do they have the braille word "dog" underneath it so you can kind of be able to tell?

Darrin: Yes.

Beth: I’ve been blind all my life. Over.

Darrin: It'll actually show on the instructions it'll say [inaudible] for a sailboat. One of the things I think is lacking in the star one that I put together for a project, I put some instructions to give it a little bit more explanation to it, so that you would actually know what it is, so that you know it's going to be this number of cells wide, it's going to be this number lines high. Here's some key things that you wanna watch out for to be able to know.

That piece isn't necessarily there, but that's something that, if you work with someone else, or description, or you wanted to create some of your own, or as part of this community that you wanted to share those, I think that'd be a great idea.

Vileen S: So, okay. All right. I would like to thank you all for joining us today, and my special thanks go to Darrin Cheney, who did a great presentation once again, and I'm pretty certain you all enjoyed it. I wish you all a great week ahead, and great weekend, and hope to see you all next Thursday. Take care, and bye now.