Monday, March 25, 2013

The Basement

Craft Room : Beginning
In October we moved to a lovely little house that we're renting in the Mission. There is a dark, dank, low ceilinged basement which Adam has generously "given" over to me to do with as I wish. Of the two rooms, I originally claimed the larger one till flooding and ants chased me out of it. Now I'm in the smaller section, near the door, with the window. Not bad. The whole "unpacking" thing still hasn't finished and I've not enough carpet to cover the floor... but despite that, I have begun to "move in" and make the space feel more like my own.

I'm quite fond of my growing wall 'o things. Pictures, a skull, some bullet bugs, fabric creatures, things. Since the basement wall is unfinished I feel no qualms about sticking a hundred and one nails into it. Craft Room : beginning The only thing holding me up is my lack of frames (apparently only Ikea has non-tacky yet still cheap frames! Curses! I had hoped not to need to return so soon!) and the knowledge that I want to have some sort of ... useful tool hanging "things" above the desk. I've ideas & supplies, just not the time to pull it together.

Having my sewing machine out is pleasing, along with all my books and thread available. My fabric and yarn collections are still abandoned in the other room, which needs to be corrected. I've been making good use of the desk though, cluttering it up with pins and soldering supplies. My old iMac is practically useless (I can upgrade no further) but it does at least play music and let me search for reference photos. You can't really tell from the top photo, but beyond the ironing board (which I was using to iron plastic, thread, beads, and wire together to make wings!) is my lovely futon bed for those who are bave enough to stay over.

Craft Room : tiny monsters
If we owned the place I'd put forward efforts to actually improve the basement (like finishing the fucking walls!) but we don't and so I can only hope to cover and work around its "quirks". One thing that isn't horrible is the metal pipe? that runs over the wall and on the ceiling for the SINGLE outlet in the room. Sticking monsters to it via magnets makes me happy.

So, yeah. Some horrible photos of my "crafting cave".

Dr Sketchy's Alotta Boutte
Other things: I've been playing the Starcraft Campaign! I <3 Abathur! Expect to see related crafts soon. I had my butt handed to me at Dr. Sketchy's last week, could not get in the grove. I appear to be momentarily tapped out on the letter writing front. Need to recharge. Have been crafting a magnetic wall butterfly monster... thing... educational, but it's not quite coming together as I had hoped. I bought the thumb drive of stock poses from Senshi Stock but haven't found the chance to sketch anything from it yet. Am excited to do so at some point. Went to Angel Island for the first time and loved it. Saw the movie Stoker. It was... kind of fun? Watched Strage Days again, it was also rather fun. Both have horrible dark parts to them though so I can't broadly recommend. Also saw Pitch Perfect which was delightfully silly & fun. Have been quite enchanted with one of the songs from it. I was compelled to sketch the scene it's from and you can listen to it below.
Pitch Perfect : Cups Song

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Doing Good

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence : Yellow
Dr. Sketchy's tonight! Woot! Disclaimer: images scattered through post have nothing to do with following topic other then the Sisters falling under the banner of "doing good"--

I really enjoyed attending W3Conf last month. It was an ideal first conference since there was only one track and the subjects were very focused. One of the talks that really struck me, and those I was with, was LĂ©onie Watson's "Design like you give a damn: Practical accessibility for web pros" (which is available on YouTube, 40 min long). The talk itself was rather simple but the Q&A afterwards was informative and the subject itself sort of startling. My coworker, Matt, and I both found the title of the talk appropriately... harsh? Why of course we should make our site not shitty for those who might need to navigate it differently.

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence : Orange

This last Friday was my first Hack Day at Rdio (got a sweet t-shirt out of it!) and I happily poked at the issue of accessibility. Turns out doing it "right" is hard... and rather stupid because the ARIA spec uses IDs for a lot of stuff, which isn't great for reusable components. Yes, yes, obviously something can be figured out. But for a one-day-at-work project, wrestling with that was more then I wanted to do. Some take-away thoughts:

  • OMG use alt="" if your image is just decorative! If it's not, put some damn text in the attribute.
  • VoiceOver on Mac might not be the hottest screen reader around, but it's so easy to run you have no excuse not to at least try
  • Using buttons or divs with with just a background image for a button is lovely and totally not accessible to screen readers. The aria-label="Button Name" and role="button" attributes are so easy and make a big difference!
  • Handling focus with popup divs is not instantly obvious (I flailed for most of the end Friday with it, got it working for < 2 minutes on Monday, and cannot figure out how I did so nor return to that state since)
Because it was just a one-day hack, no code is really fit to be rolled out... but it's something that will probably be coming soon.

Jumping topics- Dr. Sketchy's was a joy tonight. Our models were several of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, which is my second time drawing them and the fourth time they've modeled for Dr. Sketchy's. I'm thrilled that I got first place in the contest tonight, whose theme was "Draw the new pope". My entry was the following image:

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence : Pope

I used construction paper today because I knew the Sisters would have lots of black & white... totally wasn't prepared for the amount of pink though. Luckily a kind lady next to me let me borrow hers. The gentlemen to my right (a former art teacher?) also helped me out with drawing some sparkles. Another lady lent me her light blue pencil, which I sadly Sweet Dr. Sketchy's prize! failed to return before she left. What I'm trying to say is that everyone at Dr. Sketchy's is awesome. Also, I must give a shout-out for one of the sponsors Utrecht- the paper (toned gray) and pencils (graphite aquarelle) I won tonight are exciting and I'm looking forward to using them soon. I also won a lovely lei which looks perfect wrapped around my bun.

And just so everyone's aware of it, the Sisters do a big Easter even in Dolores Park every year. They have posted the event calendar and it should be noted that the Hunky Jesus Contest starts at 3:45. I'm not sure if it's my kinda' event, but I've heard good things.

In closing, I just wanted to add that I've finally found a use for my pile o' Dr. Sketchy's doodles (aside from scanning them). The Month of Letters may be over (I bombed the last week) but I am still writing letters (at a far, far slower paces). For several letters now I've been using sketch pages as stationary and winding my words around model's form, scribbled across the page. It hurts less then tossing the scraps and yet gets them off the desk & outa' the house, which Adam approves of. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence : Banana