We Need (to count) Change

<p>It’s easy to say that kids today are too dependent on technology. But is it really their fault? This year’s high school freshman really have never known a world where people don’t carry cell phones everywhere. I got my own cell phone when those kids would have been three, but my parents and grandparents had them since the late 90s, along with a lot of other people. So┬áit’s understandable that they think they won’t need to know certain things. The title has probably already given away where I am going with this.</p>

<p>I took the boys to the sandwich shop Sunday and the total came up to $16.06. Not wanting to get a bunch of change back, I gave the girl $20 and a quarter. Now, before you retail workers start groaning about getting change after typing in the cash, I handed her both things at the same time. She was impatient and pushed the button before I even handed her the money.</p>

<p>She turned to the girl next to her who was making the sandwiches and said, “I don’t know how to make the change now with the quarter.” To which the girl replied,” I don’t either. I think there’s a calculator here somewhere.” Eventually the cashier got a piece of paper and wrote out the math, twice.</p>

<p>I guess I should be impressed that she could actually do the math to figure out the change. But it makes me question why no one knows how to count back change anymore. Seriously, they teach how to count money in school. Why is the counting back of change not part of that? It’s relevant whether you ever have a cashier job or not. It helps to make sure you are getting back the correct change.</p>

<p>On Friday I went to the gas station and the man at the counter actually counted my change back to me. I thought it was nice, and something that rarely happens anymore. Then I got to see why it really needs to happen. if we don’t teach it in schools, it at least should be part of the training manual. How can employers send out cashier’s who can’t do such a crucial part of their job as making change without the computer? Just makes the whole business look bad when it happens.</p>

From Concept to Entry

My email reminded me this morning that it was the last day of a t-shirt design contest from Wet Seal. So I decided that my Inktober drawing this morning would be a concept drawing for it.

Then, me being the lazy person I am, I decided it would also be my post for today. So here is my process of getting from preliminary drawing to finished file for submission.

Step 1

I start by scanning my original image. It usually comes out upside down because I am not good at remembering which way it goes and my printer is on a shelf above eye-level.

Step 2

Once I get it turned the right direction and cropped to just the image I want, I open illustrator and place is in a new artboard as layer 1. Then I immediately lock the layer so I don’t accidentally move it around while I am working. Then it’s time for digitizing the piece.

Step 3

Now is the time for outlining. I used my drawing tablet to trace the letters using the pencil tool, then traced the outlines of the animals with the pen tool. Even when I’m making outlines, I like to use “closed object” as much as possible. So I use the pathfinder tools to create the smaller areas.

Before After

Step 4

For this step, I copy the outlines to a new layer (each outline is already on its own layer) and create a main outline for each animal. Then, using the pathfinder divide function, I separate them for each color and place the pieces for each color in separate layers. Then its a simple change of the fill and outline colors to create the pattern.

Step 5

Now it’s time to put everything together like a puzzle and remove the original artwork from the back. You can export it straight from Illustrator into a jpeg, but I prefer to save the file and open it in Photoshop before creating the file. It makes it easier to just get the image that way, without a bunch of unnecessary white space.

Anyone have a different method they use for creating digital art files? Any tips for being able to use the drawing tablet more instead of reverting back to the mouse for most steps?

3/4 Finished

Three months left in 2015 (and only 86 days to Christmas. Not to induce panic in anyone who may be ill-prepared for the “making season”…I should start some things), so it’s a good time for me to start panicking taking stock of where I am sitting with my goals for the year.*

You can read all about the original list here, but I’m just going to jump into the ones I have actually done something about.


IN nine months I have filmed and uploaded a grand total of…one video. Not looking very good for hitting my goal of ten videos this year. The videos I am wanting to make are going to take time and thus keep getting pushed aside for my other projects that keep coming up and take priority.


I am doing much better on this goal because the quicker projects average out nicely with the longer ones. Official count is 51:

  • 10 Sewing repairs of clothes/toys
  • 8 Baked goods
  • 7 Knitting projects
  • 6 Newly sewn items
  • 5 Beading projects
  • 4 Cross-stitch pieces
  • 2 Rubberband loom guys
  • 2 Paper projects
  • 2 Crochet projects
  • 2 Painted shirts
  • 2 “Building” (as in furniture-putting-together) projects
  • and

  • 1 Set of Woven coasters

I think next year I will break that category into its sub-categories. It’s obviously a lot quicker to patch a shirt (most of the time) than it is to make a new one.


This is the easiest one to keep track of, especially with the handy new chart on the stats page:

I’ve done well for a couple months at a time, then basically not posted for a month at a time.

All this reflecting brings up the question: How do you stay motivated to try to finish a project as the deadline approaches? Specifically when you are pretty sure there is no way you will meet the deadline?

*In case you haven’t noticed, these posts are my way of putting something up when I can’t really be bothered to write something. Or when I don’t have pictures for what I wanted to write. Because they are stuck in the computer that is currently unplugged and my laptop doesn’t have the right program to use that library.


I have a lot of it. Mostly on my head:Sorry for the selfie. I was being lazy and didn’t want to set up an actual camera to take a good picture of my hair.

I’ve been thinking a lot about hair lately. Mostly that I need to cut mine. Because it is still a million degrees outside and my hair spends most of the time looking like this:I also realized through taking these pictures that I need to color it again. Hard to see what color it is when it’s in a knot at the top of my head.

The other reason is the inevitable back-to-school lice outbreak. Big brother has been sitting between two other kids who have been diagnosed, and then had a playdate with someone who was diagnosed right after. So the house now smells like a strange mix of tea tree oil and peppermint. My head included. It’s our best efforts to keep the bugs at bay.

I’ve found some really good information on preventatives measures aside from what to put on your head as well. Apparently the freezer is your friend in preventing the spread. Putting hair brushes and accessories in a plastic bag in the freezer can kill any lice that may be there. Which is why I’ve just done that with the kids’ brushes. I didn’t bother with mine since I shove my hair up into a ponytail/bun and rarely actually brush it anyway. Maybe now isn’t the best time to cut my hair…

Pups Save A Cake

The little one has become obsessed with the show Paw Patrol over the summer. And with an end of summer birthday, that meant he knew just what he wanted for his birthday cake (instead of the “George and the man with the yellow hat” cake he had been asking for since his brother’s birthday): “Paw ‘trol wit Rubble sleeping on da grass and da Pup Pup Boogie Monster.”

I used the frozen buttercream transfer method to create the pieces. I found pictures from Google and put them together like that in Photoshop, created the “Happy Birthday” shield, then flipped it all so it would turn out the right side up.

I got a bit creative with mixing the colors so I only had to make one batch of icing for the decoration. I also baked a strawberry cake from this recipe, which is the only one I could find that didn’t use strawberry Jello. Then I had to make a second cake to turn it into a full cake because:

Once that was solved, and the cake was frosted, I pulled the tray from the freezer, flipped it over on top of the cake, and peeled off the parchment paper. All I had to do after that was add the smaller details and it was ready for the party.

Making the cake this way was super simple and created some really nice decorations. Way better than it would’ve turned out had I tried to draw them all on with icing.

Have you ever used icing transfers? Do you bake birthday cakes, or just order them from the store?

The Single Almost Ruined It

It happens once in a while that a relatively “unknown” (to the mainstream audience, doesn’t mean they don’t have a large following necessarily) band gains traction with a radio single. It used to happen a lot more often when people actually listened to the radio. You know, back in the ’00s, ’90s, and before, when people actually listened to radio.

There have been a lot of bands I’ve loved from the very first single. Or music video (back when television music stations actually played music videos). But, there have been some I’ve found out I liked in spite of that radio single. Because sometimes record companies choose the one song on the album that appeals to the masses, but doesn’t necessarily sound like any of the rest of the album.

Take the Plain White T’s for example. This is the song that introduced them to the mainstream audience:

It was ok, but it doesn’t really sound like the rest of their stuff. It’s more “radio-friendly,” I guess you could say. For the record, this is one of my favorites of theirs:

That was from the album before “Hey There Delilah,” but a lot of the other songs from that same album sound like that, too. It seems the taste of fame from that song got to them a bit, because they released a couple other songs in that same vein. But for the most part they went back to making music that sounds like their own music. Unfortunately, many other bands tend to start homogenizing their music when their popularity starts slipping (*cough* Maroon 5 *cough*). Many newer bands just start out that way in hopes of becoming famous. But I don’t want to hear the same thing from every band out there.

Musicians, keep your individuality and style. The reality show, mass produced music may make you fans for a minute, but giving them something unique will bring you dedicated fans who will support you way past your fifteen minutes of fame.

Have you ever been turned off by a song you heard on the radio, only to find out the band or artist had better music? Do you think all the songs on the radio are starting to blend together? Or have I just been listening to rock/punk music way too long to appreciate the differences in today’s pop?

That’s Where It Started

I love when I’m listening to music and a particular song strikes me as, “Hey! That’s the first song I ever heard from this band.”

Sometimes I will just start wondering, “What was the first song from this band?” It will bug me until I finally hear the song and have that epiphany.

Of course, most of the time I can’t be bothered to actually look it up. I end up wondering for days until I actually hear the song.

I can’t be the only one who does this, right? Or am I just crazy?

Do you ever find yourself recognizing songs as the first you heard from a band? What about looking it up to see what it was?