Website Redesign

Artwork
gouache painting of a tree frog on a leaf

I finally did it…I switched my website over from a self-hosted site to a WordPress.com site. My old site needed an update…badly! The unfortunate thing that I learned from my last update, is that unless I buy a theme from the exact same developer, things will break when switching over because developers may code things differently. And learning how someone set up their new code and how to fix it to do what I wanted it to do was not interesting to me. Maybe another time, but not now. Now I want to create and post and not worry about the code. And I have had so many posts that I wanted to make, but since I was first planning and then in mid-switch, I didn’t want to take the time to post on two sites while they were simultaneously existing. And, I thought this was going to go a lot faster than what it did. So I just didn’t post.

The switch to WordPress.com was easy, but difficult. The easy part was backing everything up and porting it over. The difficult part was deciding which pricing tier to pay for and which theme to get. I was torn. One thing that drives me crazy about the new site is how it says, “Home” on the front page. But…I have to upgrade to the next tier in order to be able to get rid of that. Is it worth it to pay $4 extra per month on a website I don’t make any money off of, just to get rid of this ugliness? I wish I could tell you it was a no-brainer, and I quickly got over it. But it really bugged me! Eventually, my voice of reason won out, and I reminded myself that it isn’t as important what the site looks like. The content is what’s really important. Of course, if it looked like a site from the 90s, that would not be ok. But the WordPress free themes are ok for the most part, and I’m pleased with the overall look. And, all the other stuff that I really don’t like, I’m learning to deal with it. Because it’s not just the word “Home” that I don’t like…

I chose this specific theme because it takes advantage of the Portfolio feature in WordPress. I’m hoping that eventually more themes will use this feature, and when I need to update the site again, it will seamlessly switch. But we’ll see. Who knows? When I need to update again, maybe I’ll be all fired up to code again, and I’ll head back to self-hosting. You never know.

Wow! I just checked, and my last post was September of 2019! That was awhile ago. You may think that I haven’t been doing anything, and that’s why I haven’t posted, but that’s not true. I’ve been trying to spend at least one day per month creating art. For awhile I was doing a lot of gouache paintings. Then I moved on to painting some miniatures. I tried some digital painting as well. And work has been really busy. I’ve been working on some booth designing and learning 3D, which has been a challenge, but fun. And my newest endeavor has been learning to play the guitar! I’ve only been at it for about 2 months now, and I still sound horrible! But I am getting better. That’s good news for Nick, who sometimes hears me practicing!

The painting above is a gouache painting I did of a tree frog photo that I found online. It’s the most recent painting that I did, so I thought I would share it now.

I’m going to wrap this up now, but I’ll be back soon to share some of the stuff I’ve been doing and keep you updated with anything new I’ve gone on to! I hope you have all been well and are keeping yourselves safe.

Cloudspire

Design

For about a year, I was working on the board game Cloudspire at work. It’s complete, and the staff just got their copies recently! Not only is this the first big game that I’ve worked on with the company, it’s also the first game where I’ve been involved right at the beginning. It has been a good learning project and a lot of fun! And to date, it’s my best work yet!

It was a completely different experience to be involved in the game from the very beginning. When I worked on Too Many Bones, there was already a design aesthetic set up, and I had to make sure that everything I did matched up with what was already in place. With Cloudspire, I had a part in shaping how the game would end up looking, which was very rewarding, but also very challenging.

The most difficult part is getting everything to fit on a chip and be legible. Every chip has at least nine different pieces of information on it. And because the main artist, Anthony LeTourneau does such a great job on the art, we try our best to keep it as large as it can possibly be. But since playing the game is the most important part, every symbol and piece of game information needs to also be clear and legible.

This was also the first project that I managed multiple artists. In addition to Anthony, we also had Jared Blando working on all of the neoprene hex art. His art is beautiful and bright and vibrant. The biggest challenge was making sure that both of the artists’ work looked coherent and seamlessly fit together. Since their styles are different, it was not the easiest task. But I think it also helped that the only place where their art was merged was on the neoprene fortresses.

My favorite pieces are the covers for the solo and cooperative scenario books. They were some of the last designs that I did for the game, and I love how the scratches worked with the background art. It added a grunge that gives you an idea of what is back there, but really calls more attention to the art and makes it stand out. The only thing that makes me sad is that the covers were printed so dark. (You can’t tell this in the photos because I lightened them to look as I had intended.)

I liked the cover art so much, that I used the same effects when I designed the booth panels. (I’ll write a separate design post for that at another time.)

This was by far the most difficult game for me to photograph. There are so many pieces to the game, I couldn’t get a photo of everything without the edges of my photo setup showing up (which is why I have a lot of detail shots below). Plus, we went with a matte finish on the chips this time, which is absolutely beautiful, but has to be photographed at specific angles in order to not cause a huge glare!

Now the only thing left is for me to learn how to play the game! We were so busy putting together all of the content that went into this game, that I never had a chance to playtest. And since I’ll be explaining the game at Essen this year, it would be helpful to know the intricacies of it!

A New Skirt

Miscellaneous

Last year, I bought some new fabric to make myself a classy pencil skirt. I don’t know that I’ve ever owned a pencil skirt, so I was excited to add one to my collection. Since I planned on wearing it in colder weather, I also decided to line it, which proved to be pretty difficult!

I got the fabric from S.R. Harris, and I love it! It’s recycled, so it’s a little different from anything I’ve worked with before, but it’s nice because it’s hefty and looks classy.

I didn’t have a regular pattern for this skirt. I used the book Flirt Skirts to draft one by measuring out the pattern in the back of the book and recreating it on a large sheet of paper. The original size that I drafted wasn’t fitting right, so I put it on inside out and did some alterations. In my altering, I tapered the skirt in a little more near the hem, since the shape looked more pleasing. I didn’t realize until wearing the skirt to work one day, that my tapering was too much, and I now have to unzip the skirt to use the bathroom, since I can’t bring it up over my hips! Oops!

As I mentioned above, the lining was difficult for me. I’ve never lined anything before, and the book didn’t have instructions for it. So I searched the internet, watched some YouTube videos, and got started creating the lining. I’m not exactly sure what I did wrong, but the lining is much smaller than the skirt. So it’s a little tight in some areas that would not be tight if it were just the skirt. I also had a hard time making the waistband of the skirt because the lining was so slippery. I put the skirt on and folded the waistband, since that seemed to be the easiest way for me to figure out how to get it to work. But that caused its own problems, and now the zipper is not lined up correctly. But on the good side, the skirt feels pretty hefty, and the lining is nice.

If I were to make this skirt again, I would also have added a kickpleat. Not having one makes it difficult to get in and out of the car. And I’m a tall person and take large steps, and without a kickpleat, I feel like I’m being restricted to walking slowly, which I don’t love.

So, overall, I’m pleased with the skirt. As long as I wear a longer shirt to cover up the zipper, it looks nice and is a great new piece for my wardrobe!

It’s Been Awhile…

Miscellaneous

It has been so long since I’ve posted anything…too long. I’ve never been a really consistent poster, but I’ve always tried to at least post once a month. Part of the reason I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been trying to decide if I should stick with WordPress or go back to Squarespace, where they take care of everything in the background for me. For some reason, this has been a really difficult decision. On the one hand, letting someone else take care of all the back-end stuff, all the coding, and all the keeping up with the newest trends sounds so appealing. Then I can just focus on making art, designing things, and writing. But then on the other hand, there is no reason I can’t learn how to set all this stuff up, and the thought of paying for a website when it doesn’t make me any money, seems silly. And if you know me, the thought of learning how to do something is soooo appealing! But this time, I took too long to decide, so the decision ended up being made for me, and it’s WordPress now for a little while longer.

A lot has also been going on in my life that I really need to spend more time focusing on. So that has meant my blog has had to suffer. On the good side, while I’ve been silent, I haven’t been sitting idle. I’ve made at least two pieces of artwork every month, did some sewing, and was busy at work getting our latest title, Cloudspire, ready to print. I also went to Origins again this year.

I am planning to post my backlog of things that I’ve been up to. And, for those of you who have been checking, updating my portfolio. I haven’t put anything that I’ve worked on in there since I started at Chip Theory. So you will be hearing from me more in the coming weeks as I post everything from my backlog.

The photo for this post is our cat, Johnny. Sadly, he is no longer with us, after his battle with kidney failure. But I had to share this photo because it’s one of my favorites, and he looks so happy! Even though things were a bit rough in the end and incredibly sad, a photo like this makes me feel like he enjoyed his time with us as much as we did with him…or he just really wants to go outside…I’m going with the first idea!

Another Year Down…

Miscellaneous

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great New Year’s, even if you spent it going to bed early. I was happy to ring in the New Year by belting out songs with some friends and Nick in a basement while playing Rock Band. Good times!

I’m not really a New Year’s resolution person, since I think if you want to make a change in your life, it’s better to just do it right away versus waiting for a magical date (if you don’t actually want to make the change, no specific time is ever going to be the right time), but I do think the new year is a good time to look back at your past year, see how you did, and set new goals.

So how did I do last year? Goal-wise, not so great. Out of the four goals that I had, I didn’t complete any of them. Mid-year, I had re-evaluated my goals and deleted three of them. Two were very time intensive, and after starting a new job and having travel as a new thing in my life, I was not dedicating the time needed.

Work-wise, things were good. A new, fun job! Travel! Conventions! Lots of design! Working with creative people! Things were very good on the work-front. I’m definitely looking forward to what 2019 will bring.

General-overall-life-wise, ok. There were some really great times and some really horrible times. Overall though, if I look at the entire year, the positive outweighs the negative, so that’s good! And the horrible times helped to remind me what an amazing man I married! He’s so supportive and funny and sweet! I’m lucky to have him in my life helping to make it great and pushing me to be the best I can be!

And now for 2019. What do I have in store? Art, sewing, and photography! I’ve already completed a painting, sewn a skirt, and taken some photographs. The year is off to a good start, and I hope to continue this forward momentum! This year will be better!