Sunday, October 30, 2011

Google Image Search on Travel Soap Bag

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of the soap totes showed up in a Google image search for "travel soap bag" Even my avatar from the Scraplab design contest.

I was just saying to my husband, "If I can keep just one bar of hotel soap out of the landfill, it will all have been worthwhile." :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Goldfish Decal

The PC I use to print decals is not attached to anything, so it's a bit of a production to transfer files from one place to another. I didn't want to be bothered with transferring my recently-created TouchDraw app goldfish outline to the PC.

Instead I just drew a few shapes in Illustrator, ovals and triangles, combined them and converted a few anchor points here and there and voila! A simplified fish.

Maybe if I'm a little less apathetic I'll add a few scales. Nah.

Decalwork is War

I have a new appreciation for those sign companies who do adhesive decal work. Worth what you pay for it, most likely! This particular decal is almost too fine to work. It is a gradual process to lift up the masking tape and make sure that the parts you don't want are removed. And then to get the decal to stick back down without rips or wrinkles.

I've worked hard at the soap bag design to get it to be as efficient as possible. But this decal stuff is still a challenge. I'm using recycled margins from actual sign companies. Sometimes the decal material off-cuts don't work -- not adhesive enough, or the wrong kind of material --and I have to recut.

However, now I can boast that the soap bags are 100% glue free! Also, I'm sewing the velcro closures instead of gluing them.

(Previously I had a trial batch of soap bags rejected because I used to glue the decals on with Vynabond. The potential reseller didn't like that and asked if the glue seepage could be removed. That would have been impossible, it would have lifted up the underlying ink. What a disheartening request, I didn't feel like continuing the joint venture after that. I paid to have them shipped back to me. That glue seepage was barely detectable, only visible at certain angles, and all of the bags I eventually sold with no complaints whatsoever by the customers. So I guess it was one of those agree to disagree situations.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Card slot wallet

Here's another 12-slot folding wallet. Here you can see the pieces as they are now. I make notches so that the slots will align perfectly.  Also so that I can get the upper thread, which is more attractive, onto the outside of the wallet. You can see on this wallet there's one seam that's a bobbin seam, not so attractive.

The other thing that occurred to me is that I can put card slots into other jobs that have extra space. So I can accumulate a bunch of slots in different colors as I am doing other jobs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trifold, 12-slot wallet

 This is a prototype for a 12-slot wallet for my iPad art buddy Susan Murtaugh. I have devised a construction method to make the slots line up in perfect parallel configuration. I'm not satisfied with the appearance of the thread in the bobbin. Perhaps the tension or the thread itself needs adjustment. I tried covering up the threads with some adhesive-backed vinyl, but I don't think that's going to work.

What I like about the cut file for this particular design is that it fits nicely on my 12X24" cutting surface.

I'm going to tweak the cut file design so that I can put the good looking threads onto the outside. The industrial machine I have sews nicely, but I need to drive it some more to get used to it, as it, being an industrial machine, is designed to sew very fast.

Update: I change the title of this post to trifold wallet, because that's how they are known in the industry. Even though there are only two folds! 

Front Page of Etsy

My soap tote made it onto a treasury that was featured on the front page of Etsy today.  This is the second time I've made it to the front page, last time was July 1, 2010.  Treasuries are collections curated by members, and they usually follow a color theme. This one was browns and blues, looks like. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Steve Jobs' Quote

I loved this quote from Steve Jobs' Sanford Commencement address from 2005:

"I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

I love how in another part of his speech he talked about how the calligraphy class he took purely for interests' sake inspired him to put beautiful typography into the Mac. It's neat how the education can come back in unexpected and creative ways. I'm so delighted that my first class of my certificate was Adobe Illustrator, I used it to make presentations, and to design my billboard vinyl cut files. 

I am only now finding out what I love. I knew I didn't love what I did for my previous career.  I guess for me that first career was a 12-year brick in the head. Except for the last couple of years thanks to the great folks at Petro-Canada. And while I make the effort with the house and family, to suggest that I be fulfilled as a 50's-Style housewife? Please! I'd need a lobotomy first. I have to have something creative or challenging to work on. So I decided to get more education on the side while raising my children. The vinyl stuff was so I had something to show for my new certificate.  And the blog is something like a how-to book for working with the material. 

Being unsuccessful in sales had a certain advantage, also. I learned to make videos, to tweet, to blog, make a website, and a boatload of other ways that didn't work, but imparted useful skills. I also learned that there's a lot of folks out there who don't keep their word. Who drop communication as if that was perfectly OK, there's not another human being at the other end. And that there's some customers who will choose to stay mad at you even after you have more than addressed your mistake.

But! Aside from the benefit of a thicker hide, I've also made great new friends in the arts community, and had lots of compliments and encouragement on my soap bag.  My wallet ended up in a book! What great fun it was pointing it out to people in the library checkout line. More than once people have suggested I go on Dragon's Den. (I think I'll just stick to design contests and calls for contributions, I'm not up for any abusive-style scrutiny. Fair criticism, OK.)

So yes, I think I will keep on keeping on.  "Stay hungry; stay foolish" as Steve Jobs concluded.  Thanks Steve for the great speech, and for my iPad.