29 September 2015

Molkky Barrage

So I've been playing a Finnish lawn game called Molkky this summer. It's vaguely related to bowling in that there are pins (skittles) you try to knock over, but they are numbered and you stand them up where they've fallen. The initial setup gets spread out pretty quickly.

I'm not sure I'm getting any better at it, but it's fun.

Lately though, it's become more treacherous to play. Acorns have been raining down with surprising force and frequency. When they hit the deck or bench, it's with a loud thwack. Even when they hit the ground, they often bounce several feet.

I've taken to covering my head as best I can when I set pins back up. Luck's been with me so far though one did bounce right past me.

Are you having crazy amounts of acorns this year?

10 years ago on TTaT: Short people may cause skin cancer

28 September 2015


All of a sudden there were lots of excited greetings being exchanged. In my peripheral vision, I saw a girl seated on the inside of the booth across from us climb over a sibling next to her so she could greet her friend who'd just come into the restaurant.

They gave each other a big hug and then sat across from each other at the next table over, swapping details from the games they'd played today. The Mom who'd walked in with the second girl chatted a bit with the first's family and then sat down at another booth with her two younger daughters.

I glanced over and saw the girls were both wearing soccer jerseys. Different colors (and games based on the conversation), so different teams, but clearly they knew each other somehow.

8th or 9th graders maybe?

No rivalry, just the sharing of battle stories.

One described a hit she'd taken that slammed her down on her knee. Inwardly, I winced thinking of my own past knee injuries. "I don't know how it's going to be on varsity," she said.

The other girl's mom said, "I'm afraid for varsity," which made me laugh as I walked past because those girls sounded like they'd be ready when made it.

Enthusiastic, tough girls.

Did my heart good to see them.

10 years ago on TTaT: Geek slip

27 September 2015

Tonight's Noteworthy Sightings

Tonight's Sightings: gasoline for less than $2 per gallon, huzzah ($1.97 to be exact); 2 pygmy goats, 5 ponies; The Black, The Blonde, and The Brunette; a llama, sheep, and horse; a Super Moon Lunar Eclipse that made the full moon look a dark brownish red; Cassiopeia; and my breath backlit by the deck lights before they went out.

Go look at that moon! There won't be another super moon lunar eclipse until 2033.

10 years ago on TTaT: When ordering goes horribly awry

26 September 2015

Evening Entertainment

After dinner at Panera with my parents, Mom suggested we stop by the local grocery store that had recently been re-branded. I knew they'd changed the name and the facade of the store, but did not realize they'd completely remodeled the interior as well.

Holy cow!

They ripped out the dropped ceilings so you can see all the way up to the metal girders and completely redid all the display cases and counters. It's soooo spacious now.

My initial reaction was, Wow, this looks like we live somewhere that people have money. There's a very metropolitan, luxurious feel to the store, except that it's probably more spacious than it would be in an actual metropolis.

Right as you walk in, there's a glass wall full of floral displays on one side and a bit further in on the other side, a freestanding dessert counter rectangle about 15 feet long and 8 feet wide. Everything in the cases looks so amazing!

The dining area has gentle lighting and floor to ceiling windows. Granted, you're looking out over the parking lot, but at this time of evening, the cars were dark and the sky above them was spectacular.

There's a sushi bar, a massive cheese counter, a whole section of individual bottles of specialty beers.

And I knew all the music from my youth, so they're probably targeting people my age.

Love it and hope the area can sustain it.

9 years ago on TTaT: Rick Sixty-Two

25 September 2015

Life of Art SitRep #294 Super Cool

Just today (Thursday) watched Beyond Macro Photography: Into the Microscopic World with Charles Krebs on Creative Live. So super cool! Have a new set of camera parameters to consider.

Also watched a class on Cinemagraphs, also as part of Photo Week, but it was kind of meh. I've got my eye on a youtube tutorial for it that I'll watch when I get a chance.

In other super coolness this week, I went to Olana, home of Frederic Edwin Church. He's a famous Hudson River School painter that I know pretty well from high school Humanities. In fact, I had to do reports on both he and Thomas Cole. Anyway, it lowered my patience for the guided tour, but that's the only way you can see the second story of the house. And it's an amazing house that Church designed with lots of Middle Eastern influences. Lots of his paintings throughout as well as a contemporary art exhibit. All with a view of the Hudson River. Such a spectacular location, but then he designed the grounds of his estate as well: planting trees, creating a lake and carriage paths (well, undoubtedly his staff did the hard labor). Highly recommended! You can't photograph inside, but I shot a lot outside.

In less exciting news, I continued updating descriptions and tags and furthered my selective culling of products. It's all coming along albeit more slowly than I'd like.

Remade the following paper plate when I noticed it hadn't gone through with editable template fields initially:

How was your week?

TEN years ago on TTaT: Supporting Slacker

24 September 2015

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)69. You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a great read. I knew she'd been homeschooled but had not envisioned how off the wall that experience was for her.

Then there was a great deal I related to, including double-majoring (one of mine was math too!), rampant perfectionism, and more. (Rest easy, Felicia. I got a stray B or two in college, and it did not abate my pursuit of perfection. *sigh*)

There's behind the scenes of her acting career, making The Guild, and then Geek & Sundry. For any writer or creative who's struggled with the blank page, self-doubt, Impostor Syndrome, this book is for you. She shares her vulnerability through that process.

And that period of time she was honestly addicted to World of Warcraft.

There's humor and deeper truths.

Depression, anxiety, and inspiration and encouragement.

Thank you, Felicia Day, for sharing so much of yourself in your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wish you all the best.

ETA: I forgot to mention that her book provides a great snapshot of the evolution of the internet over the past ~20 years. I can imagine students in the future using it as a first person account of how it was.

TEN years ago on TTaT: Scenes from the afternoon

18 September 2015

Life of Art SitRep #293 Customizable Calendar Magnets and Mousepads

This week was largely focused on behind-the-scenes efforts again. It was The Great Culling. I deleted outdated and less suitable product lines with a vengeance and will likely weed more in the coming week. One could look at it as undoing months of work over years in a matter of hours and days, but I see it as an opportunity to improve the search ranking of my best items and store. The previous work wasn't wasted, it was research. The culling will also make what I like best easier to find.

Rewrote my Rocklawn Arts store description. It shows up on my main store page now. Stop by for a look at the new layout if you haven't yet and let me know what you think.

To entice you to take a look, there's a Talk Like a Pirate Day Sale going on:
Get 19% Off All Orders with code: YOHOTREASURE
Offer is valid through September 20, 2015 at 11:59PM PT.

Updated descriptions and tags for 16 image lines and a variety of individual products. I finished the photographs and am now into the designs, huzzah!

Created some simple backgrounds for template versions of 2016 calendars on flexible magnets and mousepads to make them easy to customize:

Updated their collections:

How was your week?

7 years ago on TTaT: Money, Integrity, Practicality, and Self-Sabotage

14 September 2015

Insult, meet Injury

Like so many times before, I did my laps around the main floor and 30 jumping jacks to warm up for my bodyweight workout.

I went into my first squat and was suddenly in so much pain, I wondered if I'd ever stand up straight again. I carefully unfolded part way up which was also painful. Tested going back down. Nope. Stood up as much as I could and hobbled back upstairs.

That's enough of that.

Instead, I went to the floor and tried to roll out my lower back, but my body wasn't having it.

I hate that I don't know what triggered it, what was different this time versus all the other times I was fine.

It's been a few days at this point, and my back is doing much better (heating pad, rolling on Yoga Tuneup Therapy balls). By the time this posts next week, I hope I'm back to the status quo.

Fingers crossed.

10 years ago on TTaT: It'd be nice...

13 September 2015

Days and Daze

After I finished lunch, I walked towards the kitchen. Mom and Dad were still at the table and she said, "Claire, speaking of old age..."

I sighed and wondered, What now?

As I set my plate in the dishwasher, Mom called after me, "Do you know what today is?"

"Thursday," I replied.


Clearly not what she was going for. Grandparents Day? I think that's in the spring sometime. For once I actually knew the date. As it came to me, I called out, "Happy Anniversary!"

"Very good," Mom said, "Thank you. I'd forgotten it too."

A year ago on TTaT: Evening Snack

12 September 2015

Batgirl, Vol. 5: Deadline

Batgirl, Vol. 5: Deadline67. Batgirl, Vol. 5: Deadline by Gail Simone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A meaty read with a lot of issues and a variety of stories. Lots of great female characters with some of my favorites back including Black Canary and The Huntress.

One of my favorite graphic novel reads this year.

A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #240 Wrong tool for the job, argh

11 September 2015

Life of Art SitRep #292 The Back End

The mysterious changes I alluded to a couple week's ago are now live. Please stop by my store, Rocklawn Arts, and let me know what you think of the redesign. Do you like the order of the sections? Or would something else be better on top?

It's a significant shift to the layout but should be mobile-optimized and also shows my curated collections of items. E.g.,

Realizing that if I only updated one design description a day, I wouldn't be done until well into next year, I decided to up my pace this week. It's still taking longer than anticipated but I'm nearly done with phase one for all of my photographs. (Alas, I'm sure I have at least 3 times as many pattern descriptions yet to do.)

Also for the first time I'm actively culling certain product types that are dated (like old phone cases) or no longer seem like a good fit for my images. Previously it hadn't been worth the time, but I believe it will ultimately help optimize my store and items in search. Here's hoping less is truly more.

Finished reading The Small Business Online Marketing Handbook: Converting Online Conversations to Offline Sales.

How was your week?

A whopping EIGHT years ago on TTaT: Floor time
(Apt this week as I have been spending time on the floor since I threw out my back.)

10 September 2015

The Small Business Online Marketing Handbook: Converting Online Conversations to Offline Sales

The Small Business Online Marketing Handbook: Converting Online Conversations to Offline Sales66. The Small Business Online Marketing Handbook: Converting Online Conversations to Offline Sales by Annie Tsai

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The subtitle is key in this case as it really is focused on brick & mortar businesses that want to develop an online presence. If that's you, I'd give it a 3 or 4.

If you're strictly online, chapter 5: Optimization Tips for Email and Social Marketing is worth a look. There's also an index in the back so you can pinpoint bits that might be useful to you.

A good intro to social media and email marketing if you're totally new to the space. Also several tips for service based businesses that use appointments.

Two years ago on TTaT: Best voices from television

04 September 2015

Life of Art SitRep #291 Headway Against Prevailing Winds

No matter what I decide regarding tags and descriptions, it seems as soon as I've starting making headway, I learn something new that means what I've done should be yet different again. Ah, the zigs and zags. This time I'm continuing forward because I already know there will be much individualization to be done after I finish this lengthy pass.

I did update info on 7 photographs, and 11 before that which I'll need to take another crack at... or not if I don't want to keep spinning my wheels.

In more productive news, I shot 144 photographs over 4 consecutive days. 145 if you count the shot I took of two old women who asked if I would take their picture. And why wouldn't you count that?

Saw two cool art exhibits at a museum.

Finished creating iPad Cases. (There's no direct link to all of the iPad Air 2/iPad Air Folio Cases I've been adding at the moment, but they are currently the Newest additions and will therefore show at the top of the page on that link.) Each of the iPad Air 2/iPad Air cases is also available as cases for the iPad Mini, iPad 2/3/4, and Kindle Fire HD/HDX. Just select the appropriate model in the sidebar of the product's page.
Rainbow Polka Dots on Black
Rainbow Polka Dots on Black by RocklawnArts
Find more Protective Cases at Zazzle
Faded White Stripe on Black
Faded White Stripe on Black by RocklawnArts
Shop for Black Cases online at Zazzle.com

Finished creating Pillowcases:
Red Polka Dots on White Pillowcase
Red Polka Dots on White Pillowcase by RocklawnArts
View other Red polka dots Pillowcases at Zazzle.com

Rocklawn Arts blogged New iPad Air 2/iPad Air Folio Cases at Rocklawn Arts! and New Pillowcases at Rocklawn Arts!

Updated LOA for end of month.

Streamlined the back end of my store some.

Made monthly backups. When was the last time you backed up?

A year ago on TTaT: Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

03 September 2015

Stranger Portrait

Recently, I was at an art museum with a Van Gogh exhibit. In the area preceding the exhibit, they had a huge reproduction of one of his paintings that took up a whole wall. Probably 15 feet high and 20 feet wide. People were regularly taking their pictures in front of it as I'd done with my parents a while before.

My dad and I were walking past the wall to meet up with mom at the gift shop when two old women asked, "Excuse me, would one of you take our picture with my camera?"

Historically that would've stressed me out, but knowing how notoriously bad my dad is at capturing good expressions on people (always about 5 seconds too late), I said, "Sure."

"You look like you could have photography experience," the woman with the camera said.

I gave a half shrug and nod as she held out her camera. Portraits aren't my forte.

I was about to take it when she said, "No, put your hand through the strap."

"OK," I said. I appreciate her not wanting me to drop her camera but thought, This strap is so loose it's doubtful it'd do any good. Whatever.

I gave her little compact camera a quick once-over: it was set to auto mode and I tested the half-press focus and saw a big green box appear on the LCD. I smiled at them to cue their expressions and took the shot.

"Is it perfect?" the camera woman's friend asked.

"You can check," I said, handing the first her camera back. I wasn't sure what constituted "perfect."

She pulled up the image and they both looked at it and smiled. The first said, "I think you've got potential."

I smiled and continued on my way.

A year ago on TTaT: Scott and Bailey