branching out

A large branch fell into my backyard last night. We’re having a lot of rain, remnants of tropical storm so and so. Even though I was still in my pajamas, I decided the branch was not too large for me to drag out to the edge of the yard and heave over the chain link fence. Branches like this tend to be wonky and I was maybe a little outmatched. Eventually the branch came to rest just outside the fence. I was satisfied with myself and lucky not to have lost an eye – when the branch smacked me in the face while I was shoving it over the fence. Once I got dressed and made it to work I found two tiny twigs embedded in my hair.

Typical.

At first, I thought the twigs were from the wreath I made over the weekend. I’d caught my hair on it at least three times the same day I displayed it on the front door. Then I remembered that I removed the wreath from the door once the storms began. So, I’d apparently forgotten about the a.m. wrestling match and that there was no longer a wreath hanging on my door.

wreath-summerI’m counting this wreath as one of my B-okays. Since my allergies are raging, I’ve not brought any new live flowers into the house. For the time being, it’s in my living room and can stay there until the sun comes out. We are in hurricane season though…which I also forgot about.

While talking to a friend over the weekend I mentioned feeling a bit lost. This morning I felt that way too. This tends to happen when I’m not being fully present; when I’d rather be in my aimeecave, or when I’d rather not be anywhere at all. Obviously, I’m still fending off depression; forcing myself to complete projects, leave the house, eat my vegetables, etc.

And completely clueless as to the proper – or at least consistent – use of commas.

I do like how the wreath turned out. Eucalyptus is a favorite. My Mom always kept it in the house along with peacock feathers (my Aunt had a few peacocks.) I thought about adding some feathers to the wreath but I didn’t want it getting crazy. I mean, as it is, things are crazy enough over here what with the daily anxiety attacks, tropical storms and tree wrestling. Oh, and I just now remembered there’s a GIANT spiderweb on my back steps. I nearly walked into it after dispatching the branch.

Lord.

In other weirdness: I googled Wyoming today…seemed a decent distance from where I’m at…to maybe start over…raise some peacocks of my own. You know – things people think about doing once they win the lottery…even though, like me, they never seem to remember in order to win the lottery you actually have to play the lottery.

ugly babies

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.  –LLOYD DOBLER, Say Anything

I recently watched the movie  Say Anything, in which John Cusak is impossibly young and whatever happened to Ione Skye? It’s okay, I googled and she seems to be doing just fine. Hoo.Ray.

Over the weekend I rebooted my Whole30, which was derailed by that flu/bronchitis thing I had for a month. It’s day 2 and I am nauseous, tired and headachey. Which means I’m right on schedule!

mackenzieisfourThere’s not been much (web development) learnin’ going on the last week or so, I’ve been working on some freelance jobs and spending quality time with my dog who turned four years old on Friday.  He seemed a bit disgruntled this morning when I got up for work, refusing to leave his crate, then refusing to eat breakfast. I felt guilty leaving him. Yes, I’m very attached to my animals.  We talk constantly. I tell them jokes, ask them questions, use them for pillows to hide my eyes during scary movies. Mac hates dancing so don’t even try dancing with him. Misha loves it though (gawd, I’m lonely). My elderly cat has taken over the office (parked it on the storage ottoman under the heat vent) and even made a play for the sunny corner of the bed on Sunday (little rebel). He’s been acting strangely for a while now and I’m guessing he is in the early stages of feline dementia. Poor old thing.

kitty

In other news…Pinterest killed my Etsy shop. Not really. But, kinda. If you want printables…FREE printables, Pinterest is probably the best tool to search for decent quality free printables. I SELL printables and some of the stuff I see for FREE (by way of Pinterest) is comparable, if not BETTER than what I offer. So, for now, the shop is just on vacation. I love Pinterest, so I can’t feel too bitter about this. And, I can’t blame the slow business entirely on Pinterest. Etsy has changed. I’m not sure how any shop gets noticed anymore – unless it’s just through relentless self-promotion, which I don’t take part in.  I also admit I have not dedicated enough time to creating new work for the shop since my day job took a left turn in August. My current workload leaves me feeling drained and uncreative.

Oh, and there’s something I’ve been wanting to post about for a while now and I figure I should just come out and say it: There is a lot of TERRIBLE design mucking up the internet. And, not JUST the internet. It’s something I see in my day-to-day as well, in printed materials. I believe DIY design can be fantastic, but poor design contributes to the propagation of poor design: People see crap print collateral and poorly executed web design on a consistent basis, it’s everywhere. Then they get a computer and they need a sign, or a business card, brochure or a website and they try to make it look “right”. Of course they have no idea what “right” is. **Familiar** is not the same as **right**. I’m tired just typing about it.

Is poor design running rampant throughout print and web too large a problem for me to solve? Yes, probably. I have a friend who acts like every critique I offer (example: a decal on the back of a truck with no less than 6 different typefaces used) is the equivalent of calling someone’s baby ugly.

Really? But what do I know, I’m not a landscaper.

Maybe I should start offering critique/constructive criticism as a service? Writers need editors, so  why wouldn’t designers need honest and objective feedback? Would that even be feasible given the overgrown egos insecure designers tend to develop? What I’m describing sounds like art direction, huh?  How about DESIGN COACH? I’ll have to think on this one a bit. Apparently,  I’ve got to reposition myself and “leverage the internet”…you’ll be hearing that phrase a lot this year…I’ve heard it three times in the last week and while I agree with the concept…

I’ve been observing trends in blogs and websites for a while and it seems the “best” way to be “successful” is to offer services to people (the masses) who want the secret to being successful. Let that twirl around in your head for a while. Content, knowledge, checklists, step-by-steps, worksheets, inspirational lingo, do what you love…it all appeals so much to the DIY-er turned entrepreneur. Nobody wants to work for a company and remain faceless anymore. They want their own show, damn it.

I love hearing success stories from indie business; *regular people* that make their own way and create a thriving business. I love it as much as the next person, but as an observer I can’t help but notice that, that lovely Stylist/Blogger/DIY-er/Jewelry designer that made a ton of money last year by teaching “how to be a successful Stylist/Creative Professional/Crafter/Inventor…” she’s not making her living being a Stylist, she’s selling you back your own dreams…and smiling all the way to the bank.

Learning how to be savvy, market yourself (your business), connect to your audience, your people, and create a business platform that’s scalable (i.e. that Pinterest cannot MURDER). ALL GOOD THINGS TO LEARN. I just think there’s a wee bit of an issue of transparency with all the “coaches” flooding the internet and our inboxes.

And, yet, I remain optimistic…and so should we all.

image credits: © Aimee McEwen, if shared please link back to this post.

reboot

I’ve typed out this post twice three times (so far). I had a clear thought about what I wanted to say, but somehow it got fuzzy. I stepped away from the computer, made dinner, washed dishes, made granola (burned it), made more granola (burned it less) and managed a half-hearted workout (it still counts!).

I believe that long pauses can help us “reboot” so I’m going to take a short break from being online (you know social media, blog grazing, and FOMO). It’s just for a week. During that time I will create things, read a book, and refocus. I’ll report back, of course. Until then…

You can’t have everything.
Where would you put it?

~Steven Wright

credits:
image © Aimee McEwen

spring ahead

I managed to make cookies last night without burning them. Quite an accomplishment, if you’re ME. My poor little beagle is almost healed, he had a tiny relapse a couple weeks ago with his ear infection. Back to the vet we went, we’ve got new meds and so far everything looks great. Lately, I’ve been busy with some contract work and the day job along with working on new printable projects for the shop. Almost ready to post some new printable projects. Almost.

I am glad that February is over and Spring is on its way!

more best year EVER printables

the2014mealsFor the last 3 months I fell off the wagon (so to speak) eating gluten and pretty much anythng else that was put in front of me. Long story short, I’ve been suffering… a lot. The BEST way to ensure that I do not fall into any gluten traps is to plan all my meals. Okay, MOST of my meals. To help me with this, I’ve created a meal planner worksheet and some grocery lists. They match the other best year EVER printables in the series and I hope that you find them useful. Download yours by clicking the image above or the link below. PDF is two, 8.5″ x 11″ pages. The grocery list is arranged 2 up on the page, just print and trim down the middle.

There’s more printables, discussion, recipes and tutorials on the way in this series so check back often or follow/subscribe to the blog if you don’t want to miss anything!

2014 Meal Planner
credits:
Artworks © Aimee McEwen. Not for commercial use. Personal use only.
If shared, please link back to this post.

lumi

Lumi

I sooooo want to be knitting right now. There’s a few reasons that’s not happening. The first is it’s 80 degrees here in Florida. Happy Christmas! The second reason is I have a kitten that has never seen yarn and two other animals that have (and LOVE to eat it). Third, I’m still prepping things for the new shop and managing my printables shop, and coordinating Christmas shopping/crafting… oh yeah and there’s the day job…

I’m a bit over scheduled.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t take a break from time to time and “window shop” all the knitty goodness on Etsy. That’s where I found the-most-adorable-cutie-in-a-scarf-evah! Specifically, I found her at Lumi, a UK based shop that sells accessories and childrenswear. This little darling was so cute that I could not resist adding a little snow to finish off her look.

Now, shoo and check out the rest of the shop; I’ve got work to do!

credits:image links to source

making christmas :: faux globe

christmastimeinabottleIt was a crafty weekend for me. Well, at least Saturday was. Sunday was lay-on-the-couch-and-eat-all-the-chocolate day. And, how do you know when egg nog is expired? (urp)

I’ll recount my projects here up until Christmas, since none of the recipients are likely to read this. And IF they do… well they can just act surprised. Being obsessed with “gifts in a jar” this year, the faux snow globe was my first project. It’s a quart size mason jar (smooth sides), some silver spray glitter, buffalo snow, bottle brush tree, pewter lid (jar comes with a gold lid but I replaced it with a distressed pewter lid) e6000 holds it all together and then a ribbon and glitter snowflake helps reinforce the vintage sparkle. There is no liquid in this project and the only mess you’ll have is from the buffalo snow (which acts more like a translucent silver leaf once it makes friends with the spray glitter inside the jar, so leaf…I mean LEAVE a bare spot for the tree to show through).  I ended up adding the snow then wiping some out of the tree area. It reminds me a little bit of mercury glass (mirrored glass), now that I look at it. I’m quite pleased with the result, even if it was an experiment this go ’round.

There are SO many tutorials for this type of project on the web that I’m not going to break it down again here. I’m calling mine “Christmastime in a Bottle“, though… in case anyone asks. I have more trees and snow so I’ll make at least two more. They might even make their way into the new shop or at least some version of them. If you MUST have a tutorial you can search “Anthropologie inspired jar snow globe”. That should yield a good bit of results. Some people have used epsom salts for snow, which I think is brilliant! My goal was to have a “frosted” looking jar and lonely little tree, which I find more “quiet” feeling than the larger trees (or group of trees) and calming to look at.

credits:
image © Aimee McEwen

Trepuntozero civette sul comò

 

Trepuntozero civette sul comò, that means “Threedotzero little owls on the dresser”

This shop has been on my radar for a couple months. ADORABLE. I love the Jackalope to pieces! Pretty much anything tiny and felt and freakishly adorkable is going to get my vote. But, hey… I’m socially and politically conscientious that way. (woohoo! 2 points to me for spelling conscientious correctly the FIRST time)

Hey, it’s Friday, any small victory accepted.

credits:
gallery links to source.

art feelings by ArtMind

 

Mitsy Sleur’s Art feelings are very smart and sensitive. I probably like them so much because I am such a “moody” person, but still. You can even order a custom Art Feeling; mine would be a frankensteinesque art feeling called “mixed”. But you already knew that. Watch Mitsy’s Handmade Portrait below and then go check out her shop, ArtMind.

credit:
image links to source

Animography

“As a sideproject next to commercial work, Calango also runs a peculiar typefoundry, called Animography. It specialises in animated typefaces in the form of neatly organized Adobe After Effects files. Animography distributes animated typefaces by Calango and other designers as well. 

Franchise Animated

Unlike our other typefaces, Franchise Animated is an animated typeface by 1 type designer and 110 animators. For this specific animated typeface we have round up 110 talented animators from all over the world. We asked each one to pick a glyph and animate it using no more than 4 colors, 25 frames and a 500 x 600 px canvas in Adobe After Effects. The animators had complete freedom to work their magic within those 25 frames. The result is a wide variety of styles and techniques. The color palette and letterforms tie it all together. 

The file contains all the keyframes, expressions and artwork from the artists. This makes it a great learning source for motion students and professionals.”

… to read more, click here …

KRIELAARSanimography

I remember being in college (a hundred years ago) and wanting to learn animation (Flash, Dreamweaver, After Effects etc.) after a presentation given by my Intro to Web Design professor. It was fourth year and I was starving… with no money for additional classes (or RENT for that matter) so, I pressed on…got my degree and hoped somehow I’d fall into a job that paid the bills (Oh, hello school loan payments!) and learn the software on my own… which after 7 years, a divorce and an additional 8 years (but who’s counting…) still has yet to happen.

Yeah, I’m a print designer / illustrator with only a small (microscopic) amount of experience with web stuff. But, I’m already making plans for the new year… lots of learnin’ to do. There are so many more opportunities now to teach yourself just about anything. From sites like Skillshare, endless blog tutorials, even YouTube. Everything I need is right here in front of me, so no excuses! Over the next few months I will be creating my “core curriculum” for 2014. My list / chart / mindmap making addiction continues…

credits
images link to source