Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Birds made of legos

Now this is just adorable! I'm a huge fan of birds and legos. :) 

Go here to see more.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Illustration Friday - ONOMATOPEIA

My submission for Illustration Friday. The subject this week was "ONOMATOPEIA"

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Creating a SHELL laptop for easy recovery

Since the last time I lost my laptop hard-drive (and some very important design files), I have been working on researching ways to make sure this does not happen again. I want to make sure I have a process for backing up my data and streamlining everything for easy recovery if I ever do have to switch machines again mid-project. When you are a business owner or freelancer your computer is essential and downtime is going to cost YOU missing hours you would be working on a paid project.

Your really need to view your laptop or phone as an expendable device. At any time it could be damaged or stolen. The more you travel the more this is likely to happen. So you need to think of these devices as a SHELL. It only connects to all of your files which are stored safely on a cloud server. So it also makes sense to save time in the future and have a template for how you set up your computer. I want to save as much time as possible so I can be back up in running in no time. I have clients depending on me! As I'm setting up this new computer (See previous post about my hard-drive) I'm keeping a list of all my changes so I can have a "laptop setup template" to use whenever I need to switch laptops and start from scratch again. Here is what I came up with. This might help you think of some ideas for how you want to set up your computer. 

Setting up a shell laptop

1. Have a template for desktop icons and shortcuts. I created a set of folders for my desktop and then took a screenshot so I would know what location I want to keep them in. It's all about staying productive and when you change up your workflow that can really slow you down. I'm all about speed and efficiency! No time to waste trying to find folders every time! (on a side note.. Adventure time wallpaper! yeah!)

 2. Create a standard start menu set up. I moved all of my favorite programs to the top of the start menu and then took a screenshot so I will have record of this as well.

3. Create a folder template. This you can archive away and just copy and paste it on over when setting up a new computer. That way all of your folder naming conventions stay the same. That will make it so much easier to archive as well. Same folders to archive, same location. Easy to find and maintain your workflow!

4. Write a list of all your programs. Keep a note someone online - I use evernote to back this up. So the next time you have to set up a computer from scratch you will have a list of all the software you need to track down and re-install. It's so easy to miss one crucial software install and it always comes up at the most inconvenient time. For me it was when trying open a pdf document. I didn't have adobe reader install! ack! Never will I forget again!

 This is still a work in progress and I hope to refine it as I go. I believe this should make my next laptop setup go even smoother. Hopefully this will help you as well. If you have suggestions for me please leave a comment below. I would love to add more tips!

 - Mary

Friday, April 12, 2013

One Simple Idea - Book Review

This book is definitely making it into my library. It's full of so much information about licensing that it's going to be my go-to reference for any licensing projects going forward. The advice might be a little too general to give you SPECIFIC advice for your industry but it does give you all the tools necessary to know WHERE to find the contacts you need and how to search for the right kind of information.

It's a bit of a heavy read. It's more of a book packed full of information. Stephen Key is a guy that is actually doing this and making a living off of it so it's like getting advice from a trusted mentor. Pure gold!

Here are his 4 Characteristics of a good idea:
1. Does it solve a common problem?
2. Does it have a WOW factor?
3. Does it have a large market?
4. Does it use common production methods and materials?

He goes over the important details like identifying if your idea will work first before investing too much time and money.

He explains prototyping and different options to manufacture your prototype (something really important for inventors to know)

There is information on how to safeguard your idea by NDAs and patents and explains your rights with intellectual property.

The book is packed full of contacts in the industry and explains how to sell your idea and cut a great deal. So it takes your idea from beginning to end and walks you through the entire process.

So buy this book if you are looking to get into any kind of licensing or selling creative content. It will be your go-to reference guide! One Simple Idea by Stephen Key

I'm so glad I came across this book. Just another reason to keep up with your reading list because sometimes you come across gold like this! I'm working on a goal this year to try and read over 100 books on my list. This one is #7 so far this year. I am way behind!

Happy Reading
- Mary

Friday Favorites - Dinos!

I'm totally in love with this Steagaruous wall sign from SlippinSouthern.

I want this on my wall! - Triceratops Brooch from HungryDesigns.

Lovely silver dino earrings from TheLysineContingency.

Cute dino vinyl wall decals from Styleywalls

Dinos.. great for all ages. :)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Hard Drive Fail

photo credit: Images by John 'K' via photopin cc

In a blink of an eye it was all over. My laptop refused to boot up and suddenly it would no long recognize my hard drive. It took a while for it to sink. Yes this was really happening. Yes I probably just lost everything. Even though my BF tried with valiant efforts to recover my lost data in the end there was nothing else we could do. This sucker was toast.

Lesson learned? Always back up your business files. Yes I should know this. I had already started backing up everything else in my life. I was just a long time since I had backed anything up. Normally it wouldn't be so much of an issue if it wasn't three months of design and illustration work. I had re-designed my business cards and website with a whole new look and feel. I had also spent every lunch for the last two months working on an illustration promo for my design portfolio. It was fantastic! It was all finished! I was prepping the files to print and planning to sit down the very next day to back everything up. NOT FAST ENOUGH!

The promo project lost forever.

Now it's all gone. Three months of weekends and lunch breaks wasted. Three months of brilliance just lost forever.

There is a bright side to this though. The day before my hard drive died I used my lunch break to upload my business card files and ordered them from my printer. So even though the file is lost I have a printed version that I can copy! I also remembered all the font names for the fonts I used in my design and found them online to re-download again. So there is hope. I can rebuild the files and most likely they will be better than they were before. Besides you always need to re-design and re-fresh your business card every now and then. So maybe when I'm ready for more cards I'll just do another design entirely.

The business cards ordered online right before the hard drive crash. Also since this was online I can re-order and the pdf files are backed up on the website!
Then there are the website files. I was also thinking ahead and managed to upload my ENTIRE NEW WEBSITE which was fully launched right before my drive crashed. Also another piece of sunshine in this horrible mishap. I also uploaded my updated resume so I have that backed up as well! Woo! Also don't forget that your web hosting site can also host a backup of your important files. Don't overlook that option! On a side note - check out my new website!

My new website design. Love it!
Now for the promo I was working on. That's the hardest blow because I did not have a backup of these files. I do have photos I took and posted to facebook. So MAYBE some day when I'm not all sad about this I can attempt to re-draw this project. For now I had to move on with my job search without it.

Promo project gone! But maybe files can be re-drawn from screenshots and photos?
First there is the shock, then there is the sobbing, then there is the sinking feeling that everything is really gone. I guess I've been in the last stages for the past two months.. mourning.

Where do you go from there? That's what I have been figuring out. I guess this was a hard lesson that I needed to learn. Creative content is precious and not easy to replicate again. It's hours and hours of creative that that would take weeks and months to do again. When you are also dealing with working full time and trying to fit in design time and illustration in your free time it's even more precious to you.

So lesson Learned. I need to set up a backup process. So how do other creatives do it? What's their process for backing up their creative work? What's your process?

This handy little portable hard drive is going to be my life saver. I love this thing. It's 1TB which means I am nowhere even close to filling it up even with my giant music and audio book collection. Now all I gotta do is REMEMBER to back up my files.

1TB of raw power!
It's only $94.99 right now with free shipping. That's a pretty good deal when you look at the other hard drives on the market. It comes with a lot of good reviews too and sounds really stable. The cord fits into the side so it's all contained and doesn't require a big long cord to wind up. Pretty portable!

Here are some articles I came across in my search for a new backup process. Don't be like me! Learn your lesson. Don't put this off. It's nearly impossible to recover data this precious. Protect your creative content!

So there is hope even if you manage to loose all of your files. You will survive! You will move on! Life will be different now but maybe you needed a fresh new start right? Forget all those bookmarks. You didn't need to waste time on the Internet like that anyways! Photos lost? Go out and take new ones. You are still alive.. the world still turns and there are MANY other people with bigger problems that that. That's what I keep telling myself at least. ha ha.

Lesson learned - SAVE YOUR FILES. Do it right now. :)


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Western Digital - My Book Essential 3TB USB 3.0 Black External Hard Drive WDBACW0030HBK-NESN (Google Affiliate Ad)
Toshiba Canvio 3TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive HDWC130XK3J1 (Google Affiliate Ad)
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Friday, April 05, 2013

Friday Favorites

In love with this brooch collection from The Dainty Squid