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Tag "tuesday"

climbing to get the camera

Working for myself means that it’s way too easy to work all day (and all night, and all weekend …) without coming up for much air. Sure, we eat lunch together as a family and try to take a walk and I put Elisha down for a nap during the day, but I can still seriously just get in the zone and work without thinking about my time. One of the reasons I wanted to work for myself was to be with my family, and if I let myself get caught up in too much work, I miss out on the whole point of being self-employed.

Finding this balance in my life has been one of the most difficult parts of my freelance career. It’s a double-edged sword, though, for when I’m interrupted too often while working (or trying to work) on a project, I lose my train of thought and any creative muse flies out of my brain only to be lost until I can get some quiet time to myself again. With a toddler in the house, my muse is often hiding until the wee hours of the night when everyone is in bed instead of during the day when there are games to play and books to read.

veggie

This delicate balance is precious—I love that I’m not missing out on the early years with Elisha and I love that I’m finally able to choose my own clients and nurture my own creative style once again.

I’m still in the process of figuring out what my work day and work week look like, even 11 months into working for myself. Settling into a routine has always been hard for me, and as Elisha grows and as our business grows and as we hope to eventually continue to grow our family, I have to constantly evaluate how I work and when I work and where I work. Every day is different in some ways—Mondays are errand days and Wednesday are late nap days because of Bible study.

face

These past few weeks have been crazy busy with client work, which is good for the bank account, but difficult for me to manage in terms of balancing my time. I finally had a moment to catch my breath with the boy today, and it felt nice.

drawing

drawing

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We have a big pile of clothes and other junk from our closets taking up a lot of space in our bedroom right now; it’s all waiting for that trip to Goodwill that we haven’t taken yet. I recently went through the mound of clothes and dug up a bunch of old tshirts that Justin and I don’t wear anymore. I cut them up and made scarves out of them. Eventually, I’ll probably list them up on my Etsy shop.

Because I’m so much in love with Pinterest, I’ve found a lot of great, crafty tutorials there. So, if you have a bunch of t-shirts that you don’t wear, give some of these a try. Oh, and if your shirts are stained, why not hand dye them or dip-dye them while you’re at it?

Here are some of my favorite tutorials for reusing old t-shirts:

So, yeah, if you get the itch to clean out your closets like we did, you don’t have to send all your t-shirts to Goodwill!

 

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if i could just manage to carve out enough time to myself, i’d be writing more about bad typography instead of just bad type. however, today just isn’t that day. so, in honor of my usual typography tuesday, here are some fonts that need to be retired, be it from print or web or both.

1. papyrus. as a Christian, this font really should be added to the 10 commandments. thou shalt not overuse this font would’ve been a fantastic warning. it’s everywhere—on the web and in print and on buildings and tshirts and … ugh. you name it and papyrus has been there. there’s even websites entirely devoted to cataloging each of its new and equally painful applications.

2. comic sans. people were hating on this font before they were complaining about papyrus, and yet … it’s still just as overused. well, i suppose that’s a matter of opinion, because one could simply argue that comic sans is used improperly more than it’s abused. heh. whichever.

3. brush script. the font on everyone’s high school sports team jersey. the font i trimmed out of large sheets of vinyl for application on vans and other vehicles. the cursive but not too illegible font that doesn’t quite look like handwriting but looks like handwriting just enough to be cool … it could use a break.

those are the top three to me, but there are so many more. yes, hobo. yes, eurostile. yes, bank gothic. some of these still have uses, when used well. there are plenty of good fonts out there, type that can be used more effectively to accomplish something than whatever everyone else has used before. often, it’s the application of the type that’s just as wrong as the font choice.

but, that’s the stuff of another post.

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there are some really great sites devoted to typographic theory on the web as well as in print. some sites address one over the other or both, but all of them are also great places to see examples of well-used typography:

five simple steps to better typography by mark bouillon, whose entire five-step guide is a good read:

type theory is a well-designed site with lots of great type resources:

five simple ways to improve web typography by webdesigner depot, which is an all-around nice resource for web design, not just typography.

12 examples of paragraph technology by jon tan, who always has great links and interesting articles.

i love typography is, obviously, for people like me.

typographic offers reviews of both type and books, interviews designers, and has its own foundry.

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Drop Cap Page

drop caps

drop caps: those giant, sometimes fancy letters that come at the beginning of paragraphs (think medieval literature and art history textbooks). still in use today, even on the web, drop caps are easily programmable using CSS or jquery.

recently (or not so recently depending on your view of internet time), Jessica Hische made drop caps famous with her lovely, free-to-use daily drop caps. gorgeous examples include:

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Japanese calligraphy / 行書(gyousyo)

Vertical panels

when i lived in Japan, my first year there was spent on a bunka or culture visa. i studied shuuji (Japanese calligraphy) in the little local town i lived in. i’m left-handed, but traditional Japanese can only be written right handed with a brush. trust me, i tried over and over to get some of the strokes to bend to my will, but it just didn’t happen. there are some things that simply can only be done right with the right hand, and even stubborn me must admit it. it’s hard, but it’s true.

Calligraphy Five Elements - Water

SHODÔ

my first day meeting my calligraphy teacher who had kindly offered to sponsor my visa without even meeting me told me (though my friend’s translating, as i didn’t speak Japanese very well at all when i first arrived) that he had dreamed that i, “the American,” was left-handed. he asked if it was true and i answered it was.

he laughed and said i’d have to start over, i’d have to learn to write with my right hand.

so we started big—big brush, big paper, big characters. i wrote one (ichi) over and over again. i wrote river (kawa) over and over. and slowly i moved onto other characters, more and more complicated. by the end of my two years in Japan, i was ni dan, the first teaching level. it was quite an accomplishment, i guess, for a south-pawed foreigner like myself, and i suppose i have my fine art school background to tip my hat to. and my stubbornness.

i have since let myself get a little rusty, but i’d like to pick it back up again some day. it was relaxing and rewarding. it felt good and i created some lovely works of art.

not all typography is as straightforward as our Western characters—Japanese and many other Eastern languages have stroke order in addition to all of the other necessities of proper shape, sizing, kerning, etc. when writing by hand, typographic layout is very different. when writing calligraphy, there is some artistic freedom allowed that makes it fun and visually interesting, but only to a point.

Good luck and happiness

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i have a confession—i could spend hours browsing etsy for absolutely no reason. i love to find unique things there, even if i never buy them. one of these days, i suppose i should start making treasuries of my favorite items and sharing them with you.

for today’s typography tuesday, i’m going to share some of the special, handmade examples of type-inspired-ness all themed around the word love.

why? because i like you.

of course, there is so much more out there on etsy, but i thought i’d share just a bit of what i enjoy. stay tuned for next week—i think there will be a tutorial! look out!

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