Ouch!!! There is an error in the post you received this morning! The correct link to the new home page is here. My apologies. Hope to see you over there.
Now that the archives have been moved over to my new home, I’ll be blogging from there exclusively, effectively immediately. If you’d like to continue following photos and words all about my pursuit of an artful life, please hop on over, read today’s post, and subscribe anew. And, thank you for following MyArtfulLife — it’s been a pleasure having you here.
I hope you won’t consider it too far to travel (too many clicks to get there?!), but MyArtfulLife is spreading her wings and moving over here. There’s more to do yet, like wrangling the archives from this site and transferring the files to the new place, but there’s a fresh post ready and waiting. The subscription sign-up form is up and running, and I decided there is no time like the present to invite you in.
Welcome to my new internet home – please make yourself comfortable and register for blog updates!
Sorry for the misfire. I was trying to reblog this post from a terrific blog run by a group of writers. If you’re writing something – anything – with dreams of sharing it with the world some day, you’ll want to click the link and see what my friend Wendy has to say.
See that book title, “WordPress 3”? Now that I’ve invested in some new real estate — virtual, that is — I’m putting my DIY inclinations to work. Learning how to maneuver in the backend of a privately hosted WordPress site is a little trickier than expected, but I’m making progress. As soon as the floors are swept and the pillows are fluffed I’ll let you know the address so that you can come on over and have a look-see.
On a more immediate front, I played with some older photography in my favorite-but-about-to-disappear-forever online photo application, picnik, and made a stack of cards for my Thank You Project.
It’s been fun sending them out.
The beauty of the software from the folks at Blurb is that you don’t have to know how to write code, or even have a background in layout design, to join in the immediate gratification of bookmaking. My experience with print production goes back to my early twenties, when I learned how to set type on keyboards that evolved into desktop publishing computers. Bottom line, I love typography and I love the process of assembling images and words into books. Eating Clean was my first formal bookmaking project, but that was in 2002, before the wide popularity of print-on-demand, not to mention digital book formats. There are no wholesale rates for the books made on Blurb, but if you’re not interested in the expense of inventory and relinquishing storage space to boxes of books-that-are-yet-unsold, the 1-by-1 pricing might just work for you. For now, that suits me just fine. I can keep playing and doing, which is where the joy in POD is for me. Have you tried an online POD bookmaking service? Love to hear about it and hear your thoughts.
I took a stand yesterday. It wasn’t comfortable but it was necessary. Patty Perfect — that would be my very lively inner critic — was harping in my mind’s ear, but instead of giving in, I ignored her. In a single bold move to rescue my gasping-for-breath creativity, I barred myself from logging in to work-related email and gave myself the gift of time. What to do? Play with the oh-so-fun online bookmaking application, blurb, and my collection of Nantucket Island photos.
I love writing, drawing or doodling on graph paper, so this was my paper of choice for the notebook’s blank pages. Eighteen summertime captures of favorite island nooks and krannies are staggered throughout 104 pages.
Time evaporated as eight hours flew by. Bliss reigned; I reviewed dozens of photo files, cropped, and tested selections. Utterly joyful.
The learning curve for Blurb’s bookmaking software is fairly easy to overcome. There are lots of formatting choices: ebook, softcover, hardcover, hardcover with wrapped image book jacket. The menu of sizes has something for everyone. Curious? Click the graphic above and browse the results of my day.
We had an esteemed houseguest recently, but someone wasn’t pleased. Beware of the calico personality! Our visitor, Ann, is the author of the lighthearted-with-serious-subtext novel, On Maggie’s Watch. Ann makes me laugh more than almost anyone, but Corabelle fails to appreciate the humor. “How long is she staying?” she seemed to be asking.
Before Cora’s patience was stretched to dangerous limits, Ann and I left for New Hampshire’s north country. The MFA winter residency — a week-long gathering of students and faculty for workshops, readings and community — is always intense, and for me, a 24/7 responsibility. Ann’s on faculty; I work behind the scenes and help to keep things running on schedule. There was no time for outdoor exploration, but I managed to capture a few scenic shots from the hotel.
One of the unofficial perks of the job is that on occasion I am able to attend a writing craft workshop, as if I were still a student. Wiley Cash’s session on “place” let loose a watershed of revision inspiration for that manuscript of mine that has been accumulating dust in the closet.
Now that I’ve had a week to catch up on post-event administrative tasks, it’s time to get back to my own projects. It feels great to be back. Happy New Year!
1. zig zags and dots, 2. Anthony Hat, 3. knitting dots , 4. hope, 5. Pedigree Pooch, 6. wkshp_shawlette, 7. Blanket Squares, 8. Oceanic Hotel, Star Island, NH, 9. Windowsill in Bloom, 10. Benefits of Worm Castings as Fertilizer, 11. Photo Award Button 200×157, 12. Spring, 13. I made it within the deadline!, 14. Creamsicle Smoothie, 15. February Lady FRONT, 16. Friday afternoon, 17. Miniature Holiday Art display, 18. snowflakes in my window, 19. Miss Marple, 20. Snow flakes
Everyone’s talking about it: acknowledge the past year’s accomplishments before looking forward. Prevailing wisdom advises that writing ideas down facilitates bringing them to fruition. But for a look back, I began with a visual list. Nothing like a bit of photo fun with the mosaic tool over on BigHugeLabs. Here are a few crafty highlights from my year:
- an afternoon spent under the tutelage of professional photographer, Gale Zucker, during which she taught knitters about photographing fiber objects (photo #6)
- a winning entry in Southern New Hampshire’s 24-hour A Day in the Life photography contest (#11)
- a roaring good time as online voting took my quilted Spring Runner into the top tier (#13) of the sew-along challenge
- the inclusion of a brief memory narrative and accompanying photo in an upcoming book by friend and entrepreneur (#14)
- a terrifically successful birthday gift for my mother, a knitted dog (#5). Jacqueline Russell, as I named her, was delivered to the birthday girl with an authentic birth certificate, and I don’t think my mother has ever been so enthusiastic about one of my gifts. That feels like an accomplishment worth noting!
- Handmade Holiday gift-giving (#1-3) dominated my list this year, with hats, felted bags, and homemade cocoa mix with marshmallows; sadly, I never got around to photo’ing the Cocoa Kits.
My blog host, Word Press, surprised me with a summary of the year’s activity on “My Artful Life.” Thank you — for reading, subscribing, taking the time to comment, and being on the other end of my keyboard every time I click the ‘publish’ button. Here’s to another year — !
Nary a photo or word written in weeks. As rewarding as teaching is, I have yet to master the balance between work-work and personal work.
The holiday season drew me into a handmade mood, though. Thoughts of a holiday greeting had me scouting the internet for a mac- and pocketbook-friendly alternative to Photoshop or Illustrator, with layers, for image and text combining. The free option at Picnik gives generous — but limited — tools. I’ve been using this site for a while and have found it easy to navigate with enough font variety to keep me happy. (Yes, I am like a kid in a penny candy store when it comes to a list of font choices, and forget all the rules of design simplicity.) And who wouldn’t love Picnik’s little messages that accompany a page or image upload? “Mowing the grass” or “picking blueberries,” to name two.
Picnik’s upgrade ($24.95/year) gives access to all sorts of fun tools and effects. I had a ball making the collage above. With a vintage cherub from the Graphics Fairy as my base, I was off and running. Do you remember the thrill of a new box of Crayola crayons? All those colors to choose from? The smell of the wax? I can’t say digital collage is a tactile experience, but I like the immediacy of sharing the results online. And it feels like play. Here’s a short article on the stress-relieving benefits of play for adults. In fact, I had so much fun I decided to give the blog a new look with a fresh banner.
What are your strategies for work-life balance?