Moving in a New Direction

I’m studying code now. My goal is to be a web designer/developer. I have been taking courses online at They have all kinds of courses and you can choose a “path” for a goal like web design or front stack developer, etc. You can even get on a path to become a song writer or a photographer. It costs ~ $25 a month to subscribe to LYNDA (well worth it!) but I get it free through my local library.

When I lived in a different town, the library there gave access to courses. Those are nice too. They have creative writing and TESOL courses along with a lot of other subjects. So if you are wanting to learn a new skill by taking a online course, I suggest you check your library to see what they offer.

Watching videos to learn things has its advantages since you can stop and go back at any point as many times as you need to, to understand the material.

I have bought a few books and got some more from the library. The main book I’m studying now is Sam’s Teach Yourself HTML, CSS & JavaScript Web Publishing. I’m at Lesson 7 today. It’s on formatting text with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Each lesson is only supposed to take you an hour to do (25 lessons in the book, total). I’m here to tell you they lie about that! The sixth lesson on links took me several hours and I skipped the last exercise.

I’m in my late fifties so I go slower, and I wonder if this will be folly. What company would hire someone my age? Don’t know but decided if I continue with this, something very good will come of it. I will probably freelance. I think I will end up with plenty of work. I just hope I will have the confidence to charge appropriately for my services. I have shortchanged myself in the past with other ventures.

I read that having a blog about learning this stuff is a good idea. But the idea of starting a new one, when I have this neglected one (and a couple of others!), didn’t appeal. So, I will write about my adventures here.




Making a Midori Style Travelor’s Notebook

Made myself a “Faux-Dori” today. It’s a knockoff from a Japanese style notebook called a Midori. It’s very cool. Essentially a piece of leather cut to size and elastic thread to hold several notebooks together like a graph paper one, a calendar, a plain paper one….Whatever one’s imagination can come up with. There is a center elastic inside to slip a notebook in by opening the notebook to the middle and slipping it into the elastic. More notebooks can be added by using another elastic to put in the centers of the other two notebooks, closing them and slipping one of them under the original notebook and on the side of it.

There are several videos on Youtube about making them and the notebooks to go inside them. Midori can be viewed and ordered from the Goulet Pen Co. and they offer all sorts of accessories.

This Youtube video is a great demonstration for making your own:

This video has an excellent tutorial for making notebook inserts:

I used a piece of gold colored leather that I bought at a local Hobby Lobby. After completing most of the steps, I felt my notebook cover was too flimsy. So I cut and fitted some tan colored 1/8″ foam sheet inserts for the front and back, leaving a 1/2 inch in the middle, and glued them in. This gave my notebook the perfect stiffness it needed. My daughter Karen donated a couple of charms for my book marks. I think it adds a little class.

I made some special notebooks for my faux-dori using the instructions in the second video. I made one with graph paper for Notes, Thoughts, & Ideas and one with ivory 100% cotton rag paper for Sketching. I made my cover a size that would accommodate the small moleskine notebooks that come 3 in a pack with cardboard covers, so I have put one of those as well in the notebook for Journaling. I added a pen holder that attaches to the back with adhesive that I purchased at Dick Blick’s. I will probably add other things as I figure out how to accomplish it.

If one would make a faux-dori one of the sizes of the Midori Traveling books, he or she could order accessories for it from the company. They offer a small “passport” size probably 4″x 5″ and the regular size that looks to be 10″x6.5″. I’m just guessing from the pictures I saw of them. It would be best to go to the Goulet Pen company website and check them out. They have all sorts of neat things like a detachable pen holder, credit card holder, plastic pockets, elastics etc.




Supplies To make Faux-Dori Cover:

* Thick piece of Leather, Cowhide or Suede big enough to cover the dimensions desired (~$7)
* Black elastic thread ($1.50)
* Leather Thread or cord for bookmark(s) ($1.50)–This is optional.
* Sturdy Large eyed needle and a piece of strong thread.
* A healable mat for working surface.
* Sturdy Olfa Knife or Box Cutter or X-Acto knife and blades
* Metal ruler
* Sharpie Pen
* Scissors
* Optional: Bead or Charm for Book Mark
* Piece of 1/8″ foam sheet for adding bulk and stiffness to leather cover if desired, in matching color and Glue. I used spray adhesive and worked to get any creases out. Cut to size. One for front and one for back but 1/2″ narrower than front/back for more “give” room in the middle (spine).
* Optional: Pen Holder(Not shown in Pictures): $4 for adhesive elastic attachment

Supplies for Notebooks:

Card Stock for covers
Heavy Thread
Large Eyed Needle
Healable surface to work on
Paper Cutter/Trimmer and Metal Ruler (Olfa Knife/Box Cutter/X-Acto Knife if no paper cutter is handy)
Desired Paper

I spent about $11 (leather, elastic, leather thread, foam sheet) to make the cover. I already had everything else to make it with. Buying the Midori would have set me back $50 and I would need to buy their specially sized notebooks to go in it. Whether you buy their book or make your own, I still think it is a pretty good investment and something a person would enjoy for a lifetime.

Rocky Mtn Stream Painting. 8″x10″

Rocky Mountain Stream 1

Did this from photo references taken during my trip out west. I learned something about paper while doing this painting and the first mountain picture. I used Canson XL Acrylic Paper (136 lb/290g) for the first one and Strathmore Acrylic Paper (246 lb/400g/m) for the one pictured in this post. Big Difference! I will always use the Strathmore from now on for anything I intend to spend some time and effort on.

After I photographed the first one I put Acrylic GLOSS Medium (Liquitex) on it. This darkened all the colors and I regretted it when it dried. On this one I had some Golden SATIN Medium & Varnish so I used that to protect it instead. This also was much better.

Also figured out that for taking reference photos and for photographing artwork to make sure the date feature is turned off!

*On both photos, some colors jump out like a couple of orange spots in this one and some bright green places on the other. These are not like that in the original paintings. Got to figure out how to avoid that!

California Trip 2

2Rocky Mountains 1 Painting

I went on a trip out to California from July 9th to July 22. I wanted to join up with the Urban Sketchers out there in San Francisco and also visit some relatives and to take pictures for paintings later. I will posting more about it. Above is an 8″x10″ acrylic painting (on Paper) I did of the Rocky Mountains in the National Park in Colorado. I’m working on another mountain picture from there with a stream in it now. I thought I’d work on paper till I gain more confidence and speed.

*The greens in the painting are integrated better in the painting than the photo shows. The photo makes them look out of place, like I randomly put bright green blobs here and there.

California Trip 2013

I’ve learned to take these things on long car trips: A windbreaker or some other jacket because weather is fickle and it can be cold driving through mountains no matter what time of year, even down in NM…Long Pants, socks, reg. walking shoes for same or similar reasons, lots of water, salt packets, a swimming suit in case one of your friends installed a hot tub in your absence and you want to sit in it properly attired holding some goofy looking drink with them, and a towel so you won’t get their floors wet. One time my late husband and I walked to a beautiful waterfall and pond another traveler told us about and swam in it. Actually a towel and face cloth come in handy for lots of stuff.

Yesterday I was taking off from a rest stop and hit the edge of the road too fast and blew out a tire. So I changed my tire, and wished for the days when I was younger and cuter and never had to. But there I was and I did it! I think that’s the second time I have and I was proud of my competence. But as I was finishing up I started feeling sick and lightheaded. I put my tools and old tire away and got in the car. For a moment I felt scared because my cell was having no bars in this Nevada desert. I drank a lot of water and ate some salt and gradually began to feel better with the air on.

So far on this trip I’ve used just about every necessity: Salt, Water, Walking Shoes & Socks, Jacket, Towel…Still haven’t found a friend with a hot tub…but hey, the trip isn’t over and there is hope yet.