Friday, March 30, 2012

New design: Zentangle-inspired Art

Wow it's Friday! Wherever has my week gone? Time flies when you're on Spring Break!!

Yesterday I discovered a very fascinating art form called Zentangle. It's basically divvying up shapes into sections and then adding a basic repetitive pattern to each section. You can find out a lot about different pattern options on YouTube, or you can just make up your own!

Here's the first one I did. It took about three hours and was done mostly with fine-tip Sharpie.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Are you a Mac person or a PC person?

So basically what they're saying is...
Mac people tend to be smarter and more artistic...

Yeah, I'd have to agree w/ that. ;)

via: Geek System

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meet Someone New Mondays - Week 4 - GIVEAWAY Edition!

Hey everyone, it's that time again! :) This week we've got a special Meet Someone New Monday - we're linking up GIVEAWAYS!!! Do you have a giveaway on your blog or know of one that you're participating in? Link up below!

Take a look around at my fellow hosts' blogs, if you have a moment. They're all great ladies and deserve a FOLLOW!
{Lily} {Tranae} {Gina}

And as always, here are my favorite posts from last week. Don't forget to grab a button from the sidebar if you've been featured!! :)

Jess is Mor: 25 Before 25

Pink Lemonade: 10 Ways to Have a Great Day

Framed Frosting: Jewelry Deli Giveaway

Friday, March 23, 2012

How you can get better sleep tonight!


My mom told me about this theory she heard on tv about how having a cell phone within 5 feet of your head while sleeping affects your brainwaves somehow and keeps you from entering a deep sleep. Always one to test out a theory on myself, I decided I'd try it out and see. I've used my cell phone as an alarm clock for probably 10 years but had never put that together with my sleeplessness tendencies. I wasn't sure that it would make a difference, but... it was an interesting theory so I thought I'd test it out.

This afternoon I was sleepy and since I'm now on Spring Break, I decided to take a nap. I purposefully set my phone about 6 feet away from my bed (up on my desk instead of right on my bed-table, where it usually lives). I kid you not, I could feel myself drifting off to sleep almost instantly. I can't remember the last time that has happened - usually I toss and turn for hours first, before falling asleep, but I just figured that was something weird about me and nothing that I could do anything about.

Four hours later, I woke from a super deep, restful, vividly-dream-filled sleep. I think that's the best sleep I've had in years!! I also woke up immediately and non-groggily, which is nearly unheard of for me (just ask any of my family members or former roommates!)

My mom and I were comparing notes and realized we've both suffered from restless sleep and also an inability to fall asleep very quickly for years, both of us dismissing it for different reasons. Then when she started trying the cell phone thing two weeks ago, she noticed quite an improvement! Last night she put it by her head again to see what would happen and both her and my dad didn't sleep as well! Crazy, huh? (I should mention that my dad didn't even believe her theory, but still experienced less sleep that night!)

I'm definitely a believer in this theory now. I know I've only tested it for one nap, but it was crazy how much more rested I felt and also how much more quickly I feel asleep in the first place!

*****
Do you sleep poorly? Do you also happen to sleep with your cell phone near your head? I'm curious if anyone else tests out this theory, and sleeps with their phone further away, if it'll make a difference for them too. Let me know what you find out!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: The Long Walk

A very strange story, but I liked it overall.

Ray Garraty and 99 other teenage boys are on The Long Walk, a 5-day walk to the death, with only one winner. Last one standing wins.

The weird thing about this book was that I never did figure out why they were walking in the first place. Why were they motivated to volunteer for a suicide march? What were they hoping to gain, or possibly, to escape from? I could imagine the government from The Hunger Games coming up with such a competition, but King never specifies or clarifies such a backstory, or any backstory for that matter.

Besides the fact that there was absolutely no known motivation for the characters to be doing what they were doing, the story was quite intriguing. The characters were well-written and made me care what happened to them. I could feel every step that Ray took on this Walk, every friend he made and lost, every thought he had along the way. It was a very interesting piece of literature, that's for sure.

East Coast Vs. West Coast Designers

Okay I've never been to the East Coast, so I can't speak to that, but the West Coast stereotype is pretty right on. ;) What do you think?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meet Someone New Monday - Week #3

Welcome to another week of Meet Someone New Mondays! It's been fun to get to know some new bloggers and see what they're about!

Here are some of my favorite links from last week's entries (in no particular order). If you've been featured, grab a button from the sidebar! :)

Pink Lemonade: Dear Heart,

Framed Frosting: My First Shopping Haul

Silo Tree Farm: Ribbon Shamrock



And without further ado, here is this week's blog hop! Please follow the host blogs (and any others that you like!) and link up your own favorite post of the week so we can come visit you!

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 Blogging Misnomers

There are so many blogging "rules" out there, and while a lot of them are really good advice, some of them make me really wonder about them. Here are some of my ideas on how to throw out the rule book.

Misnomer #1: Have something important to say.
Not true. Or rather... it is true, but not in the way you might think. Everything you say is important, whether you realize it or not, because you're uniquely you and there's no one else who can say things in just the same way you can! Some people are really good at writing tutorials or doing "vlogs". That may not be you, but that doesn't make what you have to say any less important. We do want to see what your messy living room looks like because it makes us feel like we're not the only ones who have one. Lol. And if that's "all" you have to post, that's more than enough. ;)

Misnomer #2: Include a photo in every post.
Okay I actually do follow this rule. However... I don't think it's vital to your getting traffic. I follow some very amazing bloggers who don't post photos every day, but their writing is AMAZING!! (Hello... have you ever read Meg's blog? Best blog writing ever!) There's definitely something to be said for pulling your readers in with a photo, but if that's not you, don't sweat it. Write, pin, link, and photograph your best and that's what will pull people in.

Misnomer #3: Post no more (or less) than once a day.
Okay that's all well and good in a perfect world, but... that's not where we live. Some days just need two posts. And other days are WAY too busy to worry about posting anything. Personally, I blog because it feels like breathing to me. I used to keep a journal. Now I blog. That's just me. But making it a thing you HAVE to do every day is too much pressure. Just blog when you have something to say. Don't blog when you don't. Keep it simple and stop feeling guilty when you miss a day or two or ten.

Misnomer #4: Blog at the same time every day.
This is ridiculous. People have blog readers, you know. Your post is going to show up when they log in at midnight whether or not you posted your post at 6am or 6pm. It doesn't matter what time of day you post your post. Nobody cares. Really. Don't get me wrong... people LOVE your posts, I'm sure... they just have no clue what time of day you posted them. Don't get so hung up about that. Just blog. Blog to your heart's content. Blog whenever YOU feel like it. It'll feel more authentic that way.

Misnomer #5: You must be creative.
Trust me, you ARE creative or you wouldn't be blogging, so stop thinking that you're not. I know it's easy to compare yourself to all the creative geniuses out there, but STOP! Just be yourself and that's good enough. That being said, you might want to put in SOME amount of effort and get rid of that default template you have going on there. At the very least, put up a custom banner. That right there shows us your personality! Don't worry if you qualify as being "creative", just give us an idea of what makes you you!

Misnomer #6: Have a repeating topic for every day of the week.
So not true. A lot of bloggers do this, but frankly, it gets old really fast. One or two repeating topics a week is plenty, and sometimes even that is too much. It just depends. If you're someone who thrives creatively by having a prompt every day, then go for it! However, I think for a lot of us, having a specific topic to wedge a post into only manages to create stale, uninspired posts. Do what feels natural to you, not what you think you SHOULD be doing. If posting to certain repeating topics helps you, great, if not, move on. Don't force it.

Misnomer #7: Blogging is hard work.
Bologne. It all depends on how/why you blog. You can absolutely make a 40-hour-a-week day job out of your blogging if you wanted to, but that's a little overkill, don't you think? Blog if and when you feel inspired. Blog because you have something to share or because you have a question for the blog world. Blog because you can't imagine doing anything else with your time. If it starts to feel like work, you're doing something wrong. Take a step back and find the fun in it again.

****
What misnomers would you add to the list?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A coffee break for you and me!

Let's grab some coffee, blogger friend of mine. You and I. You and me? I'm not sure which one is correct.

Anyway, come in, sit down, let me brew some coffee for you. Have I mentioned that one of my old roommates sent me this French Press from Denmark? How cool is that?

So if we were really sitting down for coffee, I'd ask you about how your life was going. How is your life going, by the way? Has it been as busy as mine has been lately?

I'd laugh as my cat jumped up on your lap. Which she would, by the way. If you were here.

I'd tell you that I'm almost done with my second term of classes! How time flies! I've got a project due tomorrow, a project and final on Monday, and another final on Wednesday. Crazy times. Then I'll actually get a Spring Break! Haven't had one of those in awhile. Tell me, why is it that adults don't get Spring Break? Because they should. Everybody should.

Then maybe we'd talk about the latest books we're reading. What have you been reading lately?

I'm about 160 pages into The Long Walk, a short story by Stephen King. So far I'm not entirely sure what the point of the story is yet, but he is an excellent writer so it doesn't really matter.

SPOILER... 

So far it's about this kid who apparently lives in a somewhat-dystopian future version of 1960's Maine. He's one of 100 teenage guys who are walking until they die. Literally. That's pretty much it so far. They just walk and walk and walk...  so far they've walked about 94 miles in 24 hours. If anyone stops, they get a warning, after a minute they get another warning, on the 3rd warning they get shot by some soldiers who are monitoring them. Cheerful, huh?

The actual writing reminds me of that movie Stand By Me, which is only appropriate since Stephen King wrote that one too. But what I can't figure out is why they're walking and also, where they are walking to. I can't figure out if there's just one winner or if there's a finish line and whoever passes it wins. The premise kind of reminds me of The Hunger Games, actually, except in that book they actually explained why the kids have to fight to the death.

This book was written when he was in college and probably not as good of a writer yet. That's the only thing that I can think of. I figure he'll get to the point eventually. Hopefully. Still, he does have a way of creating believable characters, which is a pretty remarkable feat in this book since they aren't really doing anything except walking and dying.

END OF SPOILER...


So anyway...

Do you need a refill on coffee? Oh, speaking of coffee, I was watching a biography about Starbucks the other day. Did you know that Seattle really didn't have ANY good coffee shops before Starbucks became a thing? Weird, huh? Coffee is pretty much what Seattle is known for these days.

Have you ever driven cross-country? I've been following the tweets of Kelsey and Nicholas as they've been driving from the East Coast to Portland, Oregon this week. She's moving here. Not sure what he's doing. Anyway, it's been thoroughly fascinating to follow their adventures West since I've been reading Kelsey's blog for awhile and since I used to live in Portland. As much as I don't really even know Kelsey at all, since we've never actually met, I think she will love living there! I did, anyway.

Traveling vicariously with Kelsey across the country this week made me wonder what it would be like to actually do a cross-country trip like that. I really have no desire to drive long distances, like at all, but the idea of seeing all there is to see along the way really appeals to me. You learn so much more about a place by seeing it slowly. Sure I could hop a plane and be on the East Coast in a matter of hours, but would I really get a sense of what this country's about? Maybe I'll have to drive coast to coast someday, just to say that I have. It'd be a great story to tell my grandkids, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why I won't be switching to a GoPhone quite yet.

Well after 2 days of searching, I finally found my cell phone's contract end-date! (they sure make it impossible to find!). My contract doesn't expire until August, although they'd be more than willing to let me upgrade to a new iPhone w/ no extra fee. Lol. Switching to a GoPhone would be a break in contract though, of course. They just want to make sure they get every last drop of money out of me!

Oh well, I tried to be fiscally responsible. That counts for something, right? Hopefully by August I'll be raking in the dough with a graphic design Etsy shop and it won't matter anyway that I own the most expensive phone on the planet. ;P

*****
Have you linked up this week?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Learning to think through drawing.

One of our professors was practically chaining us to our desks today (not literally) to get us to draw out thumbnail sketches for a project we're doing before he'd let us go work at the computer. We literally had to sit there for over an hour and draw and draw and draw. It was driving me crazy! I felt like I was being made to eat with my toes or something. It just didn't feel natural to brainstorm on a sketchpad.

I realize that most designers start with putting pencil to paper, but that's still quite a foreign concept to me. I think much better on the computer than I do on paper, that's for sure. I don't know if this is because I've never really done much sketching before or if it's just a product of my being a digital native? Hmm...

*****
Do you have any tips for getting used to thinking with my pencil? Should I just start drawing more or are there exercises I can do to get my brain into that mode?

Meet Someone New Mondays #2

It's that time again! Meet Someone New Monday is here! Link up with your favorite post from the previous week and then hop around and meet some new friends! Don't forget to subscribe to the Host blogs, and maybe a few others as well. :)

As promised, here are some of my favorite links from last week's hop! Grab a button on the sidebar if you like, to show your own readers that you've been featured!! :)

The In-Between: Friday Five

a la Mode: Wanderlust
{WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS AUTO-PLAYING MUSIC}

Vanisha's Life in Australia: Weekend Getaway

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why I might give up my iPhone for a GoPhone.

So... here's what I'm pondering...

What if I sold my iPhone (the iPhone 4 is going for around $300-400 on eBay), purchased an iPod Touch instead to use as wifi-internet access / media player (brand new would cost $200-300 from Apple), and then bought a pre-paid flip-phone to have on hand if I ever actually need a phone (which is a rare occasion these days - I think I called someone maybe twice last month).

Crazy?

I LOOOOOOVE my iPhone, but the truth is, I rarely ever use it as a phone. Instead, I'm paying through the nose to have instant access to the internet wherever and whenever I want. Which I suppose is slightly ironic since most of the places I go have wifi access.

So I'm asking myself... WHY am I still paying monthly for my iPhone?? Is the convenience nice? Absolutely. Is it worth it when I don't currently have a steady income? I'm beginning to wonder. That $70+ a month could buy an awful lot of gas for my commute to school.

And really... the primary thing I use my iPhone for is to listen to music and podcasts. If I had an iPod Touch for that, I doubt I would even remember half the time that it wasn't an iPhone.

Hmmm...

What do you think? Great idea? Terrible idea?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

How to Cut a Matte Board

I used to wonder about matte-cutting professionals. Have you ever seen their offices in craft or frame stores? I wondered if cutting mattes was hard and decided that it probably was if they needed professionals to do it. I also used to wonder if it was something worth learning to do and thinking that it might actually be kind of fun.

Turns out I was right on all accounts! We learned how to cut mattes in our typography class recently, and while most of my class seems a little annoyed by the process, I've actually been enjoying it!

I guess it's not hard so much as it is slightly tedious and time-consuming. Basically you just have to double- and triple-check your measurements before you cut or you've ruined the matte board that you just bought!

1.
First you start by marking out the back of your matte. Measure, measure, and measure again! Make absolutely sure that your marks are correct and that the windows you're cutting are the correct size. Make sure you've considered any extra widths that are going to be added between your artwork and the matte board, such as liner paper. Use a triangle and t-square to ensure that your marks are perfectly squared off.


2.
Next, get one of these circle thingys (I don't know the technical name for it). For the matte cutter we have at school, we need to use the 15/64th circle, but it will depend on your machine. When you're cutting on a cutter that has a beveled edge, you need to mark out where your blade will enter and exit the matte. Basically you're cutting at an angle, so when the blade swings down, it will exit the front side of your matte further in than where you put your blade in on the back. The circle marks make sure that the blade comes out exactly in the corner of the window that you've measured out.


3.
Finally, you take your matte to the matte cutting machine! It kind of looks like a giant paper cutter, but it uses a razor blade to slice through the matte. Always put a scrap matte board underneath where you're cutting and never re-cut in the same groove on the scrap board. This will keep your cuts clean and without little nubbins on them. It can also help to cut a practice cut on another scrap to make sure your blade is sharp. A sharp blade will leave a smooth, clean cut! Trust me, it's easier and cheaper to buy a new blade than to ruin a matte with a dull blade.


4.
Okay, so now that your cutter is set up, make sure that your board is FACE DOWN and that the window where your art will be is lying AWAY from you when you make the cut (if you cut a matte backwards, the bevel will come out backwards!). Take your time lining everything up perfectly, lightly tapping down the blade on either end of your pencil line to make sure that when the blade swings down that it's going to cut exactly on your line. Adjust as necessary.

5.
When everything's perfectly lined up, press your blade down all the way through your matte in the outer edge of the first circle. Pull the blade along your matte until you get to the outer edge of the second circle. Repeat this on all four sides of the window, rotating your matte so the window is AWAY from you at all times! If the window doesn't fall out when you're done, carefully use an exacto knife at the same angle as your cut to notch out the corners. Be careful not to tear your matte!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

20 Pictures of My Cat

Well, since no one wanted to play along with "I Love My Cat" Day, you are going to get a million pictures of MY cat!!! Mwa ha ha ha ha...

She's sleeping in most of them because that's when she's easiest to take pictures of! If anyone wants to buy me a really fast camera lens, I won't turn it down. ;P




















Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Remembering my First Apartment



My iPod shuffled onto this song yesterday when I was driving to school and it made me smile! It reminds me of my first apartment, when I was about 20 or so, living in Portland. My two friends, Jessica and Sharisa, and I found a little place a block from campus and we moved in there about a month before school ended for the term. It was so exciting!

I've since lived in about a million generic apartments, but that first one felt the most special. That's probably true of a lot of firsts. They just stick in your head and heart for some reason!

Pinch Me by Barenaked Ladies on Grooveshark

*****
Do you remember your first apartment? Do you have fond memories of it or are you glad you don't live there anymore?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meet Someone New Mondays!

I'm excited to bring you my first ever Blog Hop, co-hosted by my new blog friend, Lily, over at As She Writes! Meeting new bloggers is part of the fun of blogging. I've met quite a few kindred spirits since I started blogging, and now it's your turn!

Link up below, using your favorite post from the past week. Put your best foot forward and show people what makes you you! Hop around to find some more fun blogs to follow!

If you would like to help Co-Host this hop, grab the link below the hop and paste it into a blog post on your own blog! (The same list will appear on every blog.)

Next week I'll feature five of my favorite links, so check back to see if you've been featured! I also have buttons for you that you can grab if you like, to advertise the blog hop or to show off that you've been featured!! This blog hop expires in one week, so get hopping!



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Club Book #1: The Bachman Stories

My book-club book arrived!! Yeah!!! I've been meaning to read more Stephen King (more than the one whole book of his that I've read so far), so this is perfect!

I can't remember if I've mentioned it earlier, but I'm joining Sian and a few other lovely ladies across the US and UK for a Blogger Book Club!

Basically how it goes is, we've been sorted into groups of five, then we each pass around our favorite book so that everyone in the group has a chance to read it. I send a book to Jess, who sends one to Jen, who sends one to Jess, who sends one to Becca, who sends one to me. When I'm done with Becca's book (preferably each cycle should take a month), I then pass Becca's book along to Jess, and round and round the circle it goes, until 5 months later when I get my own book back!

Sounds like a super way to find new books, no? I love the idea that I'm not choosing these books. I tend towards the same sections whenever I browse a bookstore or library, so this will help me branch out a little. Works for me!

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