Wow. It’s been quiet around here for quite some time. I’ve alluded in (my few) recent posts that there are changes afoot in my world, and I can finally unveil the one that has been consuming my waking hours for these past 6 weeks. Huzzah!
“Serious Creatures” is a web store I’ve been creating that uses the Dude’s illustrations in fun ways for parents and kids. Currently this is expressed in “Creature Card Printables,” which have a hand-illustration and room to write a short note (or to/from or whatever) on the same side of the card. We have a lot more ideas up our sleeves for the future, but one. thing. at. a time.
Last year a friend of ours asked the Dude if he could create cards for her that she could use for the notes she puts in her kids lunch boxes, and since then we’ve been working on making it a reality that could be shared with more families than just hers. The Dude LOVES to make people happy with his illustrations, and the way kids respond to them is just magical. So being able to create something that can be reasonably priced for everyday use and (hopefully) incite lots of joy was a perfect fit for him.
We’ve been working on putting the business idea together since last summer, but the website has just come together in these past few weeks. And since I’m not a web designer, or developer, or whatever it is we say when we use a WordPress template and make it to enough good things to get you by, it was all-consuming.
And of course no project is complete without that moment near the end where you’re so excited and ready to go and proud of all the problem-solving you’ve done and ready to share it with the world and you discover… your payment solution isn’t working.
Like you, that is absolutely my favorite part.
I’m nine parts elated and nine parts exhausted. Or however that works. And my days are entirely disoriented now that they aren’t filled with putting out fires and writing copy and reading incomprehensible Paypal IT technical documents. So I’m pounding coffee and Snickers and getting back to blogging.
One of the most surprising things about putting this site live is the sense of accomplishment that has come along with it. Do you ever wake up one day and realize you’ve actually learned something that you didn’t know you were learning? Or find yourself proficient at something you didn’t used to be? It’s felt like that. And I kind of like it.
If you have a sec, check out the new store and let me know what you think. You can also get a free Sampler Printable here, or take advantage of the half-off sale (ends Tuesday, May 21) here.
But what about you?
What is it that you’ve been actively or passively learning over the past few years that you’re now proficient in? Parenting? A new job or position? Keeping a regular routine? I suspect for all of us there is something we’re now capable of that we once weren’t, and we don’t always see it happening. But it’s worth celebrating, no?
April has been full of little joys and big excitements.
Little joys like being bowled over with cleverness (see #3). Or eating my FAVORITE sugar cookies (pre-whole30, of course). Or becoming more intimately acquainted with an author I love through his diaries. Or a friend sharing his view on our place in the world, and saying something much more important in the process.
As for big excitements, I can’t share juuuuust yet, but it won’t be far now, hobbitses. Not far. Not far.
So here’s to joys and excitements big and small, and a glass of sparkling water (darn you whole30!!) raised to my April Faves.
I discovered 8tracks through Kacie’s blog this month, and am loving it! I know everyone is so into Spotify right now, but it hasn’t wooed me. And when I sampled 8tracks I discovered why. It’s because I’m a music moron, that’s why. I go to Spotify and have no idea what to listen to and am so overwhelmed by choices. I need a radio station that will introduce me to new bands and songs, without me having to do the decision-making.
Enter 8tracks. As far as I can tell, it’s the infinite mix-tape collection of the interwebs. Anyone can put together a mix, which is then listenable in its entirety. For free. Kacie linked to this playlist which is an example of the perfect antedote to my moronitry. I loved the mix, but would have never found these bands otherwise.
And now I know what to do with Spotify. Double win!
It sounds like a mind-mapping technique but is actually a pre-fab home manufacturer in Salem, Oregon. The dude and I are considering options for places to land when we’re stateside, and these environmentally friendly homes arrive with everything installed and ready to drop on your lot. Or in the backyard of a friend’s lot. Hypothetically.
I was turned off by them at first, for sure. Every model looked like a mobile home, which isn’t exactly what we’re going for when escaping the barrenness of the desert.
But the more I looked, the more I couldn’t stop looking. I perused the new concepts and customizations on the facebook page. I read nearly every word on the website. And I found myself hooked.
Ideabox homes are created with mega-energy-efficiency in mind, and the shotgun shape means big views from every room. And on a nice day? Just open the sliding doors on the parallel walls and fill your home with fresh air.
And mosquitos. But still.
I have plentiful ideas for ideabox. Too bad I’m not stateside to execute them.
3) Survivor. And its fans.
Yes, “that show” is still on the air. And it’s still fantastic. It’s brilliant concept of politicizing people who only just met keeps delivering season after season. New surprises happen every season, even though the concept has stayed the same for 26 seasons. This reality show outlasts them all.
Because of the casting choices, season 26 hasn’t been my favorite. But April’s episodes brought a few pretty fantastic moments, one which inspired this musical number with Lego choreography:
Am I the only one who hasn’t seen something choreographed in Legos before? Because this. was. awesome. it’s probably only really great if you’ve been watching Survivor, but any parody-fiend is bound to enjoy it.
Megathanks, Lisa Ferreira, for immortalizing this Surivivor moment.
Asana is an online project management application that enables groups of any size to collaborate on projects.
I first tried Asana a year or two ago as a personal task management option, and it just didn’t work for me. It still doesn’t work for me in that capacity, actually. But recently I’ve needed to coordinate with other people more extensively on a few projects, and I returned to Asana to see if it might be able to help.
Cue knight in shining sans-serif.
Asana is organized into workspaces (think spheres-of-activity or teams), projects (projects within said spheres), and tasks (tasks toward completing said projects). You can grow the team for any workspace or project independently and can make projects private (your eyes only) as well.
But the sweetness is in the execution. Any member of a project can tweak any element: creating tasks, assigning them to members, commenting on tasks, marking them complete, etc. And files can be uploaded to tasks, too. (Real handy when I have an explanatory screencast to share.) Tasks also have comment threads to track discussions, which means all communications are self contained within the application. (No more hunting through a slew of emails!!!)
On top of all of that, Asana will send you email notifications reminders of new things assigned to you, upcoming deadlines and others’ activity on shared projects. So you get notified, but can freely delete the email because it’s all saved in Asana anyway.
It has its limitations, for sure. But it’s a fantastic tool for collaborating. Next time you have an event to plan or are working on a project with a friend, try it out and let me know how it goes!
5) Zach Braff’s Kickstarter Project
I love Zach Braff, and I love Kickstarter, so Zach Braff + Kickstarter? Ummmm… falling all over myself. Let’s just say I’ve read the Kickstarter page more than a time or two. There are lots of large “rewards” like movie premiers and such, and the $10 option gets you weekly insider bits from the set as the movie progresses. I mean that’s just good fun, right?
My favorite part, though, is the terms of the Voice Greeting “reward”:
If you’re a Zach Braff fan, be sure to check it out. And of course I’ll help get you started.
Oh, friends. April has been BIZZZZZ-y. Busy. There are lots of things going on in our day-to-day life this month. Things like teen-and-house-sitting while our friends are on vacay and working on a BIG new project I’ll share one day soon. We’ve also intentionally taken breaks in the midst of it all for a little decompression. [...]
Yes I know. It’s nearly the second week of April. But I’m going to be completely self-indulgent and share my March favorites, even if I’m a little late with it. Homemade Cake Doughnuts Stumbling upon this cookbook from Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts may prove life-changing. Their great recipes and detailed instructions made for a very [...]
Here’s a little something you may not know about this blog: though it is about my growing-up project (Year of the Grownup), it also is itself a part of my growing-up project. I retain a strong number of childish tendencies. Not doing things I don’t feel like doing, for example. Or not following through on [...]
Have you ever made granola from scratch? Did you have to buy new ingredients or stay glued to the recipe to do it? Happily, there’s another way. And it’s easy! Here’s How to make granola. Right now. With what’s in your pantry. Learning the technique this way (instead of following a recipe) will let you: [...]