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No time to write

Sorry, it has been a little while. I’d hoped to post a little more regularly than this but life has been a little bit crazy lately.

First of all, I joined a creative writing group so I’ve been focussed on getting my first exercise for that done. It spawned a bit project so I have been writing like mad, just not here.

Secondly, all our stuff from the UK showed up Friday night. Our apartment went from pristine minimalism to a cardboard jungle. I’ve been working non-stop to put things away. We bought a chest of drawers from Ikea and spent most of the afternoon and evening assembling it. We didn’t finish it so I did that while Paul was at work today. I then spent the rest of the day putting more things away. We had about 30 boxes and we are down to 4 now so progress has been made! The bedroom is great but the living room is still looking kind of rough. It’ll be better when I get rid of all the paper and garbage bags that we have been using. I’ve got all the boxes on the patio right now and those will have to go too.

I’ve been looking at doing some freelance work too. I’ve applied for a few things on odesk but I think I’m kind of expensive for a lot of the employers there. There are lots of writing jobs where it’s $1-$2 per 300 word article and you have to do the research on every article. I just don’t know how I could make that work. I will keep looking I guess.

Maybe I should just start buying lottery tickets huh? I think the jackpot is over $200 million or something like that. that would be nice. 😉

(don’t worry; I’m just being silly)

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Let’s get real

I have been blogging for a long time. However, this blog is a big departure for me. My old blog has been a place for me to talk about anything without editing myself at all. This is not to say I have been saying anything bad or negative but it is not a “professional” blog. As you may have guessed, the purpose of this blog is definitely professional. However, I still want it to contain compelling content. I want people to engage with what I write and give me feedback. I realize that if I edit myself too much, I’m removing the heart and soul of what I write and I’m not making much of an impact. I’ve been thinking about that a lot for the past week. I just read this post at babble and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I realize that creating a portfolio site for my writing means I have to blog more candidly. This blog needs to be telling a story and I need to figure out what that story is.

So why is this so difficult for me? I think I can sum up the answer to this question by saying that I just want to make the best impression that I can. I don’t want people to visit this site and get the wrong idea about me. I am a hard worker. I am creative. I am practical. But guess what? I have my worries and my issues. I have never liked broadcasting those things in such a public manner but I need to find the balance. Otherwise, anyone who reads this is not getting an accurate reflection of who I am.

I want to be “real”. I want to be “professional”. Is it possible to be both? I know that this is definitely possible in a working environment. I think it is much more challenging to find this balance online. It is much easier for people to misunderstand one another based solely on reading one another’s words. I just don’t want that to happen here.

Any advice? I’d love to hear it!

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Being unemployed is a full-time job!

Well, it isn’t really but I have been kind of busy. Paul has just started his job downtown so I have to get up and drive him downtown every day. This means I’m actually getting up in the morning! While he is at work, I’m trying to get all the crummy errands done so we can enjoy our evenings together instead of just doing chores. So far it is working pretty well.

In addition to various chores, I’ve been visiting the pool every morning to do some aqua aerobics and I’ve been doing various job-related research. If I have a little time after all that, I read or work on my jewelry.

At the moment, I’m also trying to come up with some interesting topics to write about instead of just what’s going on day-to-day.  Hopefully that will generate another post in the near future!

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New section!

I’m creating an online portfolio of stuff that I have designed, written or photographed. This is a work in progress and will be updated frequently as I track down all the stuff I’ve stored in the various corners of my hard-drive! 😉

Please let me know if you have any questions about any of the documents I’ve posted in my portfolio or if you would like other examples of my work. Additionally, I would appreciate your feedback about this page. Do you feel it is presented in a clear manner? Do you like the brief paragraphs regarding each document or would you rather just see a list of documents and perhaps a designation for each item? (i.e. “photograph”, “logo”, “brochure”, etc)

Thanks! 🙂

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staying up late icing my foot

I don’t know what I did to my foot but apparently I’ve sprained it somehow. Wonderful! So here I am and it’s a quarter to 1 in the morning. My husband, Paul has just started another episode of Glee Season 2 (We’re up to the Christmas Special).

I’ve added some more pictures to my photo stream. They’re from the IGDA Annual Picnic which was held last weekend. It was a great event although I managed to get heat stroke. I’m still getting used to the heat I guess.  I really enjoyed the band and the paddle boats! Sadly I realized while I was there that my camera flash is broken. What a bummer. 😦

Wow, it is really strange listening to Christmas Carols at this time of year…

Anyway, yesterday I went to downtown Austin which was fun. I found the new Lush store on West Sixth Street. I visited Whole Foods for the first time. I stopped by Anthropologie and visited Book People to check out their bead books. I was seriously tempted by a few but I need to wait for some income to start happening! I also visited Precision Cameras to see about what repairs would be required for my camera. The news wasn’t great. The part required was really cheap but the labor involved to take the entire top of the camera apart to GET at the part? Yeah.. $130! Ouch. They recommended just buying a new flash gun and just bypassing the built-in flash. I’ve been thinking about that for a while but I guess this will speed up that decision… orrr I just won’t take pictures after sunset until I do something about it… 😦

After all that, Paul and I went to Casino El Camino for burgers and they were awesome! Then we went home and watched Glee.

I guess that is all I have to say. Time to cast my full attention to a Glee Christmas. lol!

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Updating the site- art commissions

Hopefully you will be able to see my newest feature on the site, a Flickr photo stream. All of the photos are from the three art commissions that I have been involved in. Two of those commissions were split into two phases. I’ve decided to summarize them all in this post so you get a better understand of what you are looking at!

My first art commission was at Adelaide Health Centre, Millbrook. The facility is located on the west side of Southampton in England. During the first phase of artwork, I worked with an Arts Advisory Committee to advertise our commission, shortlist and interview artists and finally to work with the two selected artists. It was decided that the first phase of graphics needed to be installed in time for the handing over ceremony in October 2009. I worked with the artist, Kiran Chahal, to set up community workshops throughout July and August 2009. Participants took mono-coloured pictures of various objects which were used in the final artwork design. The artwork was installed in the central atrium of the health centre in late September. It is made of vinyl squares which are designed to lead the viewers towards the various color-coded departments. From far away, the artwork appears to be a band of graduating colors but as you approach the designs, you can see they are made up of many individual photographs.

During the second phase, I worked with Kiran on the second lot of graphics and with David Appleyard– the sculptor commissioned to create some outside artwork. Kiran worked with staff members to create more vinyl artwork in GP surgery part of the building. She also used the pictures from the earlier workshops to create large perspex pieces which are installed throughout the two upstairs departments. The artwork in the GP area concentrates on a consulting room which is used for treating children. Meanwhile David worked with the arts advisory committee to create artwork to be installed at the main entrance to the building. The sculpture is a series of wavy metal pieces which were inspired by the buildings namesake a ship that was used as a floating hospital.

My second commission was at a new adult mental health facility in Southampton called Antelope House. I worked with the construction team, architects and staff members to develop artwork that would enjoyed by staff and patients. The architects had designed the building to have a large light feature outside and I worked with them, a sign-making company and the staff to develop the water pattern featured on the fixture. I selected a new graphics artist to develop the bar code design on the wavy wall. This was another feature developed from the architect proposals. The artist worked with the staff to develop the color theme that was used and then created the design. I sourced a painter who worked with the construction crew to apply the design as specified by the artist, Peter Smart. The other part of the commission was a water feature which is enclosed in a sealed courtyard. I worked with water landscaping company, Aqua Landscaping, who created a low-maintenance design which is beautiful to watch and listen to. The main fountain creates a constant burbling noise with minimal splash. The two other fountains feature jumping jets of water which are lit with small lasers. There are also several strategically placed spot lights. The bottom of the pool is covered in pebbles with a few larger rocks.

The third commission I worked on was also split into two phases. Once again, I had the opportunity to work with Kiran Chahal. I set up a new arts advisory hospital for Fareham Community Hospital which was made up of staff, local public sector figures and a representative from the LIFT company in charge of the building. They worked with the artist to decide where they would like the graphics to be installed and set a deadline for the first phase in time for the Grand Opening of the building. I set up a number of community workshops where Kiran worked with Fareham residents to develop themes for the artwork. Participants created color columns which described a favorite memory or location of somewhere nearby. We located historical photos from the County Archive and also took pictures of the locations specified. Kiran used the written memories and the pictures we collected to create the large perspex pieces which are located in each of the four departments. The pieces use the color-coding in the departments which makes them integrate seamlessly with their environments. Kiran combined the color themes in the children’s area to create a colorful environment with a matching shapes activity. We finished the first two departments and the children’s area in time for the grand opening.

During the second phase, while Kiran finished the graphics for the remaining departments, I worked on a photography competition. It was advertised at the hospital, at a local camera club, with a nearby school, with the local Tourism department and at a local camera shop. The enthusiasm from the school was amazing and over 90% of the submissions came from them. 6 of the 7 winning photos were taken by local students aged 16 and under! They were also produced in perspex as it is easy to clean and the colors look so vibrant!

Anyway, that is my art commissioning history in a nutshell. Please have a look at the pictures and let me know what you think! I’d be happy to answer any questions.

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Creative endeavors

So… since I last blogged I finally managed to finish my scarf and I finished my first knitted wire bracelet. I’ll have to take some pictures. I’m still not happy with the end of the scarf but have something in mind to make it look a little better. It’s the first thing I’ve ever knitted and it has taken me well over a year to finish. In my defense, it is enormous! I cast too many stitches to start with so the rows were really wide!

In other creative-related stuff, I’m planning to visit the monthly Art Space gallery opening in Round Rock on Thursday (It’s put on by the Round Rock Area Arts Council). I’m hoping to meet some great people and maybe even find someone who could use some of my skills!

I also received a list of area networking activities that I requested from someone who spoke at a seminar I recently attended. I need to look through those and see what is coming up soon. In the last few years I’ve really discovered how important these sort of events are. Connecting with people is so important, both professionally and personally. I’m glad there are so many opportunities here to do just that!

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Cowboy boots, bluegrass and board games

As you might gather from my title, it’s been a pretty eclectic few days since I last posted. I’ve sat in Star Co Coffee in Round Rock listening to a blue grass jam session. I’ve tried on a pair of $500 cowboy boots at Allen Boots on South Congress Boulevard in Austin. I’ve played Carcassone at Applebees in Round Rock.  All fun stuff and those are only a few of the activities I’ve done!

I recently picked up a book about jewelry making and decided to get some materials for a project at Bead It on South Lamar. There is a really neat excercise in the book involving knitting wire. I learned to knit a little while ago so I am intrigued by this idea. However I need to finish my scarf that I’ve been working on so I can use my needles! This is definitely good incentive to get that finished. It is my first project and I’ve been working on it for over a year. The scarf is enormous with a medium-sized stitch which is why it has taken me so long.

I’ve also been reading a lot since I got signed up at the Round Rock library. I’ve revisited a few books that I read some time ago and read some new ones as well. It’s great to have such a nice library nearby. Plus, I’ve signed up for the Austin libraries which gives me access to sooo many books. I’ve never had so many great libraries available to me and as a total book nerd, I’m in heaven!

We’ve still got some stuff to do around the house (we need more storage for our books which are arriving from overseas) but everything is looking pretty good. I’m trying to get myself out there more in the hopes of fielding some great career opportunities.  I’ve already met some really neat people and I’m excited for what life has in store for me!

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job-hunting

Now that I’m getting pretty settled in here, I’ve begun to step-up my job search. I’ve been looking for a few weeks and applying for things that I am interested in. A big reason for this blog is to give prospective employers an idea of my writing style. So if you are visiting me from linked in or I gave you a business card at some point, welcome to my blog!

I’m considering uploading some other examples of my work  but I have to figure out what is the most integrated way they can be included here. I’m still finding my way around WordPress so I expect I will come up with a solution to this pretty soon. In the meantime, if you are a visiting prospective employer and would like some specific examples of my writing (such as what I’ve written for previous employers or some of my fictional stuff) please let me know. I’ve also spent a lot of time learning how to design documents on Microsoft Publisher and I’ve done some basic graphic design in Inkscape. I’ve got digital copies of all that stuff as well!

I know I’ve said this before, but I am just going to keep on saying it. I am so happy to be back in the USA! I am also really happy to be here in Round Rock. My husband and I are really pleased we landed where we did. I rented the apartment sight unseen which was a big risk and it has turned out really well for us. We love the place. We love the complex. The staff there are great. What more could we ask for? I know… WORK!  😉

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can’t sleep so I’ll write.

I have no idea why I am so awake right now. I think my late start this morning is to blame. Paul and I spent quite a bit of time at home today. HIs power cord for the Xbox 360 was delivered to the apartment complex office yesterday and he got to pick it up today. We can now play games and movies again. Hooray! We both spent some time playing a dance game which turned out to be pretty good exercise.

This evening we both decided we had enough of the apartment. We ended up visiting 5 Guys at the Arboretum in Austin. I hadn’t been there before so we walked around the place to see what was there. There was a really beautiful park with lots of water features and artwork. Paul also got to practice driving for his Texas Drivers License test. (he has a UK driving license).

Anyway, tomorrow we’re planning to visit the Bob Bullock Texas State Museum to see the space shuttle. That will be our second trip to downtown Austin since we arrived! I still want to visit south Austin at some point in the next few weeks. I’ve got a networking thing on Friday downtown as well so I guess that will be another opportunity to explore.

Well Monsters Inc is calling my name! Gotta go 🙂

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