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Category: Web Design


So, I talked a little about this comic project I want to make. Originally I thought I was going to build the entire back-end from scratch like I did with E.R.A. but after falling down a google rabbit hole I found Refinery CMS, which is a Ruby on Rails CMS where you can add extensions which means….


Instead of putting most of my time and energy into creating a backend that does basically the same thing refinery does, I can just make the comic extension and put all of my effort into that!

People who don’t program probably don’t understand the excitement I’m feeling right now, but it’s pretty huge. Building your own CMS from scratch is HARD (good to do at least once, but still, hard), there are still things I could improve with E.R.A. changes I was planning on having to make and setup with what I’ve been calling “RubyArt”, which, for just wanting a comic platform…involves so much more than you would imagine.

It’s an interesting mind shift – I mean, I have to do my own tweaking and setup with the CMS, get the gem that imports wordpress xml files, but for the most part I can focus on the actual functionality I want to add with the comic feature (the fun part) instead of building an entire system over again.

But still! I’m excited to try this out. I’ll be putting it on github and stuff when I’m done and sharing it with the refinery people so other cartoonists can use it too.


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Early Art

I’m trying to pare down on the amount of random bulk that I/we have in preparation for moving to Seattle next summer(!!!!) and sell as much as we can to help with the move. I’m also trying to distribute all of my art that is not on my walls. All of it is circa 2010-2012 – the earlllly stuff, from when I just started re-learning drawing and painting, and I’m “selling” it for the cost of shipping.

If you’re interested in peeking at what all that looks like, or getting your hands on some really cheap fairy paintings, check out my Art Sale.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 3.26.02 PM

(I was up until 4am last night building this from scratch with Ruby and Rails and I’m very proud, so)

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Yesterday, the second website I created (and now, manage) went live! I made it for a local non-profit I worked with over Christmas last year (and hope to continue to work there in the winter, because it’s the best job ever) called Bruce Roberts Toy Fund.

Check it out at!

Besides that and Freeport Creative Arts, I’ve been working on revamping and monetizing youtube for the next season of KieryGeek. It’s sort of a happy/sad thing – because ads are sad, but stuff is fun! And as my job-that-gives-me-a-paycheck at the moment is in winter, it’d be nice to be able to raise a little money to help with production costs and the adventures that entails. So, I’m introducing my cafepress shop featuring KieryGeek and Kiery’s Fake Empire Merchandise!

I spent hours trying to custom design my cafepress storefront and I think it looks pretty good. Eventually, I think this will be integrated with my youtube channel like GeekandSundry’s.

I’ll have links to everything up on the sidebar, but you can see my Cafepress store at!


Skill Set

I’ve set out to do several things this year. I’ve listed twenty-one of them, but I have a few things that aren’t specifically on my list. Much of that includes things I’m trying to learn and skills I’d like to develop. I feel that I am uniquely qualified for some things because of how my life is and the time I was born.

I’ve essentially lived on the internet since I was 14. My friendships were kept and often times made online, my social outlet was primarily online, my access to the outside world was (and still is) primarily online, and I’ve been blogging since late 2005. I started out using xanga and moved to blogger where I learned html and css while trying to tweak my theme. My best friend and his best friend started a company doing web design around the same time. Alex taught me xhtml, css, and gave me a start with PHP in 2007 just after I switched to wordpress. I made a few sample sites, and themed and provided tech support for the local chapter of a Teenage Republicans website from 2008 to 2009.

If the internet exploded

So, to say that the internet comes naturally to me is an understatement; in many ways it is and has been my home. Sad as that may be, I feel this puts myself and others like me in a unique position. As citizens of the internet we quite possibly understand it better than people who have had to adapt to the new technology. What is second nature to me, could be very valuable to others.

This in part is why I decided to use Team Treehouse to get back up to speed with HTML5, CSS3, and learn a new language. I would eventually like to make a wordpress plugin and ideally get paid for part time website management services – where I would tweak, support, and manage a website for a client; similar to what I do now.

I like Team Treehouse and find them better than college courses is for two reasons:

First, they’re current. They are constantly evolving and adding new information as time goes on, which is crucial to internet related work as the nature of it is constantly growing.

Secondly, their format is bite sized, easy to follow, and encouraging. Every so often I’ll unlock a special video, and every set that I do completes a badge. Paired with my nerd-brain, the unlocking of badges offers motivation – much like leveling up.

The problem that I face, is reminding myself that there is value in developing my skill set. I have a tendency to feel guilty about spending money to learn things when there’s no immediate payoff even though I know that it’s the wise, and “grown up” thing to do. When I go for periods of time when I’m not immersed in learning this new skill, the voice inside my head starts berating – telling me it’s not worth completing.

Logically, I know this voice is wrong. Developing my skill set is a good decision for the long term and the immediate future.

It is in learning new things that we’re better equipped to deal with life and find solutions to problems even if the topics are unrelated.

I have learned to overcome the negativity by reminding myself that I am worth it, that learning is worth it, and the unknown opportunities are worth seeing it through. I remind myself of that with every new endeavor, not just web design. Motivation is hard to come by with an internal art/writing/development/brainstorming/acting/rude-and-not-ginger critic.

The one issue that I haven’t addressed so far is portfolios. Or what you have to present before you get paid. It’s difficult. I’ve been spending time brainstorming different ways to market myself – and while I haven’t done a whole lot professionally, I do have experience behind me. It’s complicated in a world where it’s hard to find any job, let alone a good paying one, or one that is sort of niché and would allow me to work very part time so I could pursue the other things that I have going on.

I decided last month, that after I watched all the videos and unlocked all (excluding the iOS) badges, I would make myself a website that was essentially a living-breathing-portfolio. A site that showed my skill and ingenuity and creative thinking; I still plan on creating.

As I was planning, an opportunity to add to my portfolio arrived out of the blue. My strategy for making portfolio pieces, which I’ll share (and still produce) consists of the following:

  1. Make a lovely site with lovely functionality
  2. Make another lovely site with different lovely functionality
  3. Make yet another lovely site, with lovely functionality that I could actually use (probably a book site that’s slightly better than the current splash page I whipped up in 10 minutes).
  4. Rinse, repeat, learn new things.

I’ve also contemplated recording an interview to go along with my resumé and portfolio.

In the meantime, I will enjoy this bit of inspirational perfection and take it to heart.




Web design is out for today, but Alex set up a subdomain for me last night so you can play around with what I’ve got so far. Just hit up  and play around if you feel inclined. The form doesn’t actually do anything, but you can click all the buttons and write in the box. 🙂

I suppose I’ll go back to cleaning. I was working on my kitchen and cleaned out the litterbox (long overdue) so I’ll probably go back to the kitchen and find one last piece of art (or something) to exchange and put the fairies away.

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In which I finish the HTML videos

I finished all the HTML videos on Team Tree House, made three pages, an input form, iframe box, chart, lists, various linkage and made my little inner geek happy. Actually ended up learning some things my husband didn’t know about which was also kind of fun. Posting screenshots because, well, I can’t link to any of my clever bits. This is the finished bit of everything I did today from the index page. I have a link to an alternate page (that hops to a different folder) and then a box (there’s also a link to that in the shot, it’s the “fun page”) with the third page (that isn’t in a folder) and the cool little input thingy I made up.

So much HTML learning

And the screenshot of the finished form – I wish I had a dev site open so you could click on it, because all the buttons work (though nothing is process-able, it’s all clickable and labeled).


Companion App

The next set of videos will take me into CSS3, more of HTML5, some javascript and I think some PHP too. I’m very excited about those…


Team Treehouse

I found this really great video tutorial on Web Design and Development by Team Treehouse. I’ve been watching them and all of the things I forgot about web design I’m now remembering. The beautiful thing about their videos though, is that 1) they start off with the current versions of html and css (HTML 5 and CSS 3) and 2) they INDENT!

Nothing is more annoying than un-indented and hard to read code. Maybe it’s because my husband writes lovely code and he’s the one who taught me, but when I view the source of pages and it’s all over the place and there aren’t any indents or easy ways to find what belongs where it’s really irritating. Admittedly, I don’t do this as much as I used to, but still.

Anyway, I watched the intro and the text series so far, and HTML 4/5 is much more simple than what I was writing a few years ago (xhtml). The videos are *really* basic too. Sometimes annoyingly so, because I already have a grasp on the language, but if someone is just starting out, they would be absolutely perfect (and hey, I love them) because they’re so easy to follow. Interestingly, they give a bit of background on the history of it too, which I found fascinating.

I downloaded MAMP and Alex did the thingy to connect it to my sites folder so I can practice locally, which is handy, but unfortunately, because it’s local, I can’t actually share linkage to my clever bits so a screenshot will have to suffice (it’s only HTML, nothing fancy at all).


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