INTHEGLOAM and Art fairs !

Just a reminder, you can find my current posts at In the Gloam, including a few photos from only two Chicago art fairs.


A home(page) of my own (again)

Last year I bought a domain as a refresher on the process in case I taught more “introduction to websites” classes. Though the classes focused on drag and drop website publishers, I wanted to update my basic coding skills with FreeCodecamp, which introduced me to, a neat tool and community. With a free Codepen account, you can create easily create webpages, fork them for variations, and share them to get help or  show (off) your work. CSS had come a long way in 10 years. In Inkscape, I had been tinkering with a color palette I called Rumination, and thought it might make for a good background image.

Draft One: Floaty Triangles

CSS: Bootstrap

Font face: Mada

Background image: Floaty Triangles, which has a stained glass window effect I like.


It didn’t take me long to get the (new to me) Bootstrap responsive layout working. Look ma, no tables! Like a beginner in a new app, I pored over the fonts available via Google Fonts. Hadn’t this been harder?! Now that I had containers, what should go in them?

Draft Two: Ruminations Glacier


CSS: Grid

Font: Dosis

Background image: Ruminations Glacier, a mirrored and reversed set of triangles meeting at a point.

For source material, I incorporated making things and solving problems with colleagues at work, and a bio I wrote during the Fast.Co Creativity Challenge and used for a speaking engagement. I tried another background image and was obligated to try another font. I attempted a one page website, but hit a wall trying to pair in each row an image and text with alternating divs (still not sure if this is possible?). It was a limitation in experience and understanding that I overcame two days ago.

Draft Three: Sherbet Splash


Font: PT Sans

Background image: Hero Sunset 2, flowers in my yard in pinks and purples.


The background image started in blue and purple. I experimented with a sunset (because GLOAM!) gradient, and absolutely had to add pink to the image. I copied the sticky navigation bar at WCSchools. In trying to put all content on one page, I ended up with unique divs for each item in the grid, which is counterproductive.

Draft Three Point One: Window

It looks the same as Hero Sunset 2, the difference is in the CSS. Seeing that all divs behaved the same, I reduced them to one div called “window” reused for each “cell.” I applied HSLA color format throughout, and for the background gradient. Images are SVGs for anything that isn’t a JPG/PNG. Eventually I’ll add some of my instructional makes, descriptive image accessibility text, and a contact form.

It only took 14 months or so.

A Holiday Challenge

At the library Maker Lab I have been experimenting with paper cutting.

Before I show you my holiday card, browse Colossal or Instagram for examples of stunning paper craft. The projects I’ve started are modest in comparison, but as you can see, there are many possibilities.

With access to a library laser cutter and electronic cutter, I can cut acrylic, wood, vinyl, and cardstock. Cardstock is fast, easily replenished, and inexpensive. When you make a mistake in cardstock, it’s easy to try, try, try again. Cardstock can be layered for a pop of color or contrast.

Now, I usually nab holiday cards in the post-season sales and forgot to do that after Christmas 2016. I said so online, and was instantly challenged by my craftiest buddy to laser cut a card. (If you are familiar with Gretchin Rubin’s Four Tendencies, you may know this is the best way to get an Obliger to challenge themselves — by throwing them a gauntlet.)

So what’s involved with laser cutting your own card?

You need a design, then a digital file, which I create in Inkscape, and testing the concept. My decision tree was something like: folded versus not folded, if text then stencil or vinyl, if image then stencil or vinyl, laser cut versus ecutter.


At the end of the tree you see “laser cut: can’t use white” versus “e cutter: can use white,” and that is how I ended up using the e cutter, so I wouldn’t have to worry about smearing laser ash on snow white paper. And because I tape holiday cards onto a wall, a folded card seemed like a waste of space.

My first design employed pattern and vinyl. On the left is the digital design, and on the right is a simplified sample, after I realized how time-consuming peeling a contrasting chevron pattern would be. It was back to the drawing board.


After some thought about this Christmas, and buying my first tree, I sketched a Christmas tree. In white and bright blue, the tree also gives the impression of a ski slope. I liked the look of “happy holidays” and moved the inner circle of the letters A, P, O and D to create a stencil effect, and cut out round ornament silhouettes from the H, Y, and S. As a last touch, I added a few red vinyl sticker ornaments to create a tricolor card.


And below, what they looked like in paper and vinyl.


You’ll see there are some unique variations, like the spacing between the Ps where the e cutter slid, or the placement of the ornaments. I like to think of them as limited edition.

Now that these are complete, I can start working on 2018, which I’m sure will look very different from the pink and blue snowflake I started this week.



Over our heads: the ride


You have earned: The Tilta Whirl badge! Created in Inkscape.

Red nose, black maw, red lips, and small eyes kept me off the Tilta Whirl for two carnival seasons until my brother and I finally step in line, excitement and dread swirling in our guts. The music starts, then the motors. The car seats three to four, a bar above our thighs to keep us from flying or leaping out. The car spins 360 degrees, sometimes slow, sometimes quick, as it circles a track that rises and falls on a gentle slope. If it stalls, everyone starts to shift their weight and rock in unison, accelerating the spin.

The Gravitron is the superior sweep you off your feet spin. From the outside, it looks like a movie spaceship. You enter a doorway and step onto a track. You pick a vinyl-covered wall mat, leaving space between you and your neighbor, and wait. “Here we go,” a fuzzy voice announces over the speaker. The lights of the mad carousel flash and flicker and the spinning accelerates. The mat, on rollers, slides up the wall and your feet dangle, first six, now twelve inches from the floor. You raise an arm, a leg, and the force pulls you back. You lose the struggle, helpless, and strangely unafraid.

We were young and there were other rides to try. Our final daring attempt was the Zipper. The yellow lights glinted against the dark sky. He and I hopped into the cage, nervous and excited. The Zipper is a compact Ferris Wheel, each car a cage with a vinyl seat. The car rotates 360 degrees and at times, your feet are above your head. We poked our fingers through the grate and waved to our mom. The other cars filled up and the ride started in earnest, track turning and cars spinning. In over our heads, my brother and I clung to the cage as the car spun. We tumbled and cried and wanted out. We yelled and waved our hands, but the ride kept going. Is there better advertising than the screams of children? When the ride stopped on our car and the cage was opened, we flew out, faces wet, shaking with adrenaline. Never did we ride the Zipper again. Our carnival days were numbered.