This is my first year to participate in the Boylan Street Art Walk. I have been busy trying to get things ready for the event, printing calendars and note cards, limited edition prints and small framed pieces. It looks like a lot of fun so come on out. December 2, 2012 from noon to 5:00 pm. For more information visit the Boylan ArtWalk website.
You can see the final result at http://wp.shopdineglenwoodsouth.com/. Just a few more tweaks and I’ll be jumping into the next project!
I guess no website is ever complete, every time I go back through it I see something else I can improve upon! Right now I am celebrating though – the site is up and running and it looks pretty good if I do say so myself. I tried to write blog posts as I went through the process; it was such a long and laborious process, the blogs weren’t very interesting so they stayed on the test site.
This is my first WordPress site that is not straight out of the box. I decided to use the Toolbox Theme so that I could be in control of my design and get a more complete working knowledge of how things go together. Working with CSS, I was able to set up the primary parts of the site without a lot of problems. I did have to figure out how to create the template I wanted for my static pages which took a little research. The problems started with the plugins.
I wanted a slideshow at the bottom of each portfolio page that would link to the portfolio posts about the individual images. This sounds like a simple task…. I uploaded probably a dozen plugins that promised to do what I wanted, I even bought one that seemed perfect. I started working seriously with the plugin I purchased because it was exactly what I envisioned. Unfortunately it doesn’t show up on Localhost. What good is a plugin if you can’t see it while you are creating the site? I shifted to several other plugins I’d downloaded; some I couldn’t figure out how to use while others ‘worked’ but I had no control. To solve my problem, I decided to take the site live using a subdomain and give up on Localhost.
When you are working with Dreamweaver, the files are very accessible. I can create a page and move it to the server or remove a page from the server with either an FTP or directly through Dreamweaver. The files are easy for me to navigate and I can see everything I am working with. I knew that moving my WordPress site would not be as easy, but I was not prepared for the headache…I googled migrating WordPress and found a lot of helpful articles, each giving a slightly different way to go about it. I tried several ways to no avail,then I found Backup Buddy. It promises to make moving sites from Localhost to the server easy as pie. As I look back on the process, it is fairly easy but it took me a day to figure out how to use it. Directions are not always as specific as I need them to be! I read through several articles online before I found the step-by-step directions that made sense to me. I have my site hosted with GoDaddy; when I set up my sub-domain, they had me go ahead and install WordPress but Backup Buddy doesn’t want WordPress installed before the migration – ( don’t know how the backup works then). I uninstalled and installed WordPress 3 times trying to work through all the error messages. The guys at GoDaddy were very helpful with the troubleshooting process, they weren’t familiar with Backup Buddy but they were able to help me get my sub-domain set up and my database transferred once I got my site backed up.
Once the site was live, I was able to see the slideshow I’d created with the purchased plugin. I set up links to all the individual posts; things were moving right along. Then I told a friend about the wonderful plugin I was using for my navigation – she went online to look and nothing was there! The slideshow didn’t work in IE. I began researching all over again! In my research, I found an article on the NextGen ScrollGallery that explained new ways to use it in a section called Notes. It works in Firefox and IE! I like the way the slide show navigation works.
Fine tuning the layout requires patience. I swear that there is magic behind the scenes!I began using FireBug to help me with the class names and ids but that didn’t always mean that I would find the same class names or ids in my WordPress CSS. It is frustrating to want to change the color or size of something, see what it looks like in FireBug, like it, and never be able to find it in the CSS. I have decided that options made in the dashboard must be stored in MySQL and no amount of rule setting in CSS is going to change things! (Now where do they hide the HTML!) That’s for another day!
I walk down Fayetteville Street every morning and see 7 cows. They are a beautiful site and it’s fun to see people stop to have their picture made with the girls. When people find out that I created a cow, they are full of questions, the primary one being “What are they for?” I give them information about the Children’s Hospital and the upcoming Gala, a bit of the history of The Cow Parade and where the cows are located; all the while wishing my girls were close by so I could show them off.
I have been to visit them and while I was photographing WiFi outside the Wells Fargo Bank in RTP, a woman stopped and asked me what the cow was for and I gave her my standard reply; she asked me again. I tried to think of what else to add when she demanded to know what it did! On the surface, the answer to that question is “nothing” – the keys don’t respond to the touch and the monitor stays the same. What I wanted to explain was that it is sculpture, a piece of public art, and it is meant to be enjoyed and provoke thought. “What does she do?” She brings a smile to your face!
WiFi is in the center of Research Triangle Park where everyone that goes by is very familiar with computers and far greater technological advances. I hope they take a moment to reflect on the craziness of a cow with a solar panel to keep her connected to the world; no longer just peacefully grazing in the field.
Mookey lives outside the Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill. My hope for her is that the children who are patients at the hospital will bring their sock monkeys to see her. To a child, she is larger than life; maybe they’ll even get to sit on her back!
It feels great to have the girls on the road at last! It’s been a long week with all the finishing touches and fixing the little things that go wrong. I spent Wednesday night sanding Mookey’s hat so that I could spray paint it…the resin doesn’t dry clear so the hat was a dismal shade of yuck! We got the cords wrapped on WiFi last night – she’s looking real good! Here’s Mookey sporting her new hat.
It takes a family to move a cow! Lee’s uncle loaned the trailer, her dad drove the truck, Bob helped load everything on, and Lee’s mom was in charge of the kids. It was an early start to the day but everyone was psyched – no sleepy heads.
The girls are bolted to the bed of the trailer with a few ties to help keep them stable and nothing flying off!
WiFi looks very patient; she got loaded first.
She actually looks a little sad to be leaving!
Tonight is a celebration to kick off the Roundup; the sponsors and artists will get to meet – it should be awesome! Saturday, the cows will be on display to the public from 10-4 so head on over to the Golden Belt in Durham.
Mookey arrived last Wednesday and spent the day grazing on my patio. We brought her around to the front porch, our work station, and unpacked her Friday evening. She fills up the porch!
Bob helped me prime her Friday night so that we could get a full day in starting early Saturday morning. This project is mostly a painting one; there is some fiber art thrown in. I spent my ‘tutorial video time’ at work watching web design videos and knitting a cow hat, then Saturday I needlepointed the eyes while the hat felted; all the rest is painting! We found out quickly that our brush strokes did not look anything alike so Lee took over the painting of the brown knit pattern. It’s was impossible to keep the stitches uniform even with one person doing them all! Painting the brown under layer took 8 hours! So, while Lee painted the brown, I painted everything else. Mookey looks a little like Rudolph with her bright shiny nose!
It began to get dark before we were finished so Bob set us up lights. He was a great critic – trying to do this size project in 2 days, it’s hard to step back and see what’s going right or wrong – he was our extra set of eyes as well as our cook and waiter. Thanks dear!
This is a very daunting project for such a short time span but this lady represents an important part of the UNC Healthcare’s work with their young patients. Not only do we love sock monkeys; it’s great to create something especially for the children. The UNC Healthcare volunteers make one-of-a-kind monkeys for the children – “When the kids get them the rec therapists help them write on them to show what the procedures are that they will have. Patients have brought them with them when they return to become volunteers and we know of several who were buried with their monkey companion.” says Linda Bowles, Director of Volunteer Services.
We covered a lot of territory in 2 days. I will start putting on the varnish tonight while Lee gathers the ribbon and bows that Mookey will sport; we’ll also put the finishing touches on WiFi. Tomorrow, I finish the varnish and we resin the hat and eyes. Wednesday they both get delivered to the Roundup!
Mookey gets to come inside in the evenings, NCSU students are back in town and we’re afraid she might just be too tempting to for an Ag school!
Check back for pictures of the finished girls and the Roundup Event this Saturday from 10-4, Artists at Golden Belt, 807 East Main Street, Durham, North Carolina 27701.
The general idea behind the blue panels is to have them backlit like a computer screen. We have a solar panel donated by the NCSU Solar House that works – hooking it up is another matter! If it’s not hooked up with matching amps etc., it can explode! We gave up that idea and decided to use it as a prop; we purchased a kit of fairy lights with a small solar panel. The lights are strung around the inside of the monitor frame and are bright enough for the writing to be legible in the dark.
Collecting street sign pictures took a lot more time than I anticipated! After 6 hours of driving, I had 14 signs! That doesn’t count the hours I spent plotting the route….I never did make it to Durham and Chapel Hill! The time paid off, the Mooopedia pages look really good! You may notice that there is a black box where an image is missing – believe it or not – it’s Waldo! (Waldo’s been found!)
WiFi is in such tight quarters that we can’t get great pictures of her finished so we will take pictures on moooving day!
Stay tuned for Mookey’s story.
In the summer of 2000, I happened to be in New York City. Everywhere we went, there were cows! I was fascinated and photographed as many as I could. As an artist, I really wanted to create a cow! This year, the Cow Parade is coming to Raleigh and the Triangle. http://cowparadenc.com/
My studio mate, Lee Ball, and I heard about the cows and spent an afternoon brainstorming designs; we came up with 4 pretty good ideas and submitted them. Time went by without word and another call for artists came out – we got industrious and submitted 12 more. Of the 16 submitted, we were awarded a cow – Wi-Fi Cowspot!
The story behind the design – In December I was out Christmas shopping at REI and overheard a sales pitch for a portable solar panel to carry hiking so you would always be connected. This is probably a great safety measure but it struck me as funny. I go hiking to get away from it all; taking it with me seems to defeat the purpose.
The second call for cow designs mentioned a marketing company’s desire to have something innovative, not just a painting and since we wanted to do structural things to a cow, we focused on computer and networking oriented designs. Having a solar panel would allow Bessie to stay connected while she was out in the field – that was just the beginning! The design incorporates a CPU to feed the brain and the solar panel to keep the brain running.
We picked up our cow one Saturday. Lee’s father drove us in his truck with a nice trailer to haul a cow. The cows were wrapped in bubble wrap with card board fitted to protect the face and tail. For some reason they reminded me of Egyptian art. Luckily the cows only weigh around 120 lbs so we can lift her easily. The drive home was uneventful thank goodness! Our original plan was to board her on Lee’s parent’s farm. She looks pretty good heading into the barn. The farm ended up being too far away for our work schedule, it’s so hot and the storms curtail working on her, so we moved her to Cary. The work began once she arrived in Cary.
Taking the bubble wrap off was awesome! She’s beautiful! The first thing we did was paint her with a coat of primer and then drew on the spots. The work was going to mess up the paint job but painting her was our first priority. We researched dairy cows to pick up on the nuances of their coats. It was a tough decision: paint her realistically or paint her as a network of shapes. Shapes seemed to be in keeping with the subject matter. Once we got her spots painted she came to life!
Painting the nose and mouth and the utter set us up for the technical design implementation. The first step in applying the design was to mark out the area for the monitors. We had monitors to use for Bessie but it became apparent that taking a monitor apart to use for our purposes wasn’t the best idea. Boxes with Plexiglas seem much more practical.
Here’s Bessie prepped for surgery and the final moments of the removal.
You can see the grid drawn out on Bessie’s right shoulder above. There are 4 grids which will be used for the word search puzzles. Two 10x10s and two 12x12s – that’s 488 holes! I’d never used an electric drill before; they look easy to use and since they’re electric, seemed pretty effortless… 488 hole in a fiberglass cow is work!!
It took me 3 evenings to drill all those hole. After the first day, my hands and shoulder were so sore, it was slow going. The first grid has a few out- of-sink holes, then I got the bright idea to draw the grid out. Positioning was pretty easy once they were drawn; drawing them was a challenge since Bessie is such a curvaceous bovine.
While I was drilling holes, Lee was shaping the CPU to fit Bessie’s neck. That had also seemed like a straight forward task! Lee used a Dremel tool to cut with. It took 2 1/2 packages of discs to make the first cut. CPU cases are double layers that are extremely tough! The final fitting took metal shears and some pounding and then some more Dremel-ing. The box is held into place with epoxy and is being shaped to blend into her neck with Bondo. She will forever be burdened with extra memory.
Her horns are wrapped with stereo wire. Wires are one of those unavoidable components of our technological age so they will be an integral part of her design. The wire on the horns adds color and texture; it’s hard to keep from rubbing them. We are planning to have wire as a part of the design of her tail and to also have her tangled in wire, we’ll see! If you look at her left shoulder, you can see the keyboard keys inset into all those holes I drilled!
Once again our methods were challenged. The plan was to use stamps to apply the letters to the keys for the word search puzzles. Paint and uneven surfaces don’t work well with stamps! I’d spent 2 days watching instructional videos on typography; I was primed to draw letters! Lee couldn’t work directly on the cow while I worked on the lettering, any movement and I had to wipe off and start over! She built the second monitor box and fed her children while I did the first 2 puzzles. She will finish the sanding and Bondoing while I am at work so that we can both be painting tonight.
A word about the Word Search Puzzles.
Choosing a topic for the puzzles was a bit overwhelming at first. There are so many things to draw from. Technology seemed like the place to start but that turned out to be rather boring. We settled on the Triangle as our first parameter. I started looking at street names. I got maps of the Triangle from AAA and spent the better part of 2 days going through all the names and picking out names that seemed to fit into nice categories. Street names range from numbers to the generic Main or Broad St. They are named after people, trees, plants, birds, and animals. They are also named after far away lands, alcohol, and artillery. I decided to group the names into categories that had something to do with North Carolina and the Triangle and then names that were just plain out fun. We have 4 puzzles: RTP, Just for Fun, Just for Kids, and Famous People. The words will be listed on the monitor screens and the solutions will be in the Moooepedia that Bessie is reading.
You can come and see all the cows in the Cow Parade on August 18th, see the invitation: http://cowparadenc.com/wp-content/uploads/RoundUpInvite-lr.pdf
Check back for updates, it will be a busy few weeks, we have a Sock Monkey Cow to do after this one is finished!
I am very fortunate to be able to spend part of each summer sharing photography with middle school age children. The object of Level 1 is learning how to see. Maybe I should restate that, the object of camp is having fun! In the process, I am trying to teach them how to see. In return, they teach me new ways of seeing. We work on lines and grids,
reflections and perspective,
balance and scale,
color theory and repetition.
The Level 2 camp is centered around documentary photography. We travel around the Triangle, looking for similarities and differences between Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary NC. We went to NCSU, UNC, and Duke; the farmer’s market, a Hindu Temple, historic sites, parks, cemeteries, museums and Krispy Kreme. The favorite site turned out to be The Free Expression Tunnel on NCSU campus.
When the temperatures reached 105, the best place was the fountain!
Summer camp is always interesting. This year the temperatures were great the first 2 weeks but it rained and got humid. The 3rd week was beautiful but recording setting hot! There’s one more week of camp in August – I wonder…..
During tax season this year, I treated myself to a WordPress class at the local community college . The class was supposed to use Dreamweaver as a text editor. Very exciting stuff when you want to make a few changes to your site! The class description was wrong – very frustrating… You’ve probably heard of Lynda.com; they have tutorials in every imaginable programming language and how to use tons of software. I decided to add Lynda to my Safari Books On-line educational program and start from the beginning (or almost!).
The first step in learning how to be creative with WordPress is setting up a local server on your computer. This seems pretty straight forward and I really didn’t have any trouble setting one up on my husbands laptop. The books and videos tend to either teach you the complicated method of installing Apache, MySQL and PHP individually or they tell you about MAMP, WAMP or XAMPP. In the class I took, the professor preferred XAMPP. If you want to set up your own local server, here is a link to a great step – by – step guide to installing and setting up your server.
As I mentioned, this worked great on my husband’s laptop but I wasn’t so fortunate with my desktop… Some pitfalls that about did me in:
- be sure that you have no previous installations of MySQL on your computer. MySQL is a very important part of WordPress and I had taken a MySQL class in the fall to get a better understanding of the way WordPress works. I installed MySQL on my computer and my homework went smoothly. When I tried to install XAMPP, I got repeated messages about my databases (which are what MySQL is all about). I don’t remember how many times I uninstalled and re-installed XAMPP and every MySQL file I could find but I can tell you that after 2 intense days of this, my brain was pretty fried! What I learned on the 3rd day was that my computer had hidden files and that MySQL had a folder in there! Once the hidden folder was deleted, XAMPP installed beautifully but the weekend was over.
- install WordPress directly from WordPress.org. I choose to have GoDaddy install WordPress for me as part of their hosting package which means that I didn’t have to get ‘dirty’ in the set up. It also means that my site lives totally out there in cyber space! This is a very new concept for me – I’m used to working in Dreamweaver where I know the layout of my file structure. I have yet to discover how to get my files to my desktop computer but that seems to be caused by another problem…having a purchased theme.
- I purchased a theme. It has a lot of different template styles, some flexibility in the styling but it has a lot of those hidden files. My objective was to set up an art site quickly believing that I could take my time to learn how to tweak the code to get the font I wanted and my logo clickable, just a few small things. The CSS files were nowhere to be seen and the code that I could find was all PHP, no friendly HTML, just Get that and Echo this, it was like reading a foreign language! My suggestion is to purchase a theme only when they have exactly what you want; that you are happy with it exactly the way it is. If it’s not perfect, don’t waste the money because your ability to edit it is very limited.
What I’m doing now that I am older and wiser:
- I am treating WordPress as a foreign language; I am starting with learning the parts of speech (PHP and MySQL).
- I jumped into HeadFirst’s book on PHP and MySQL. Since I am not interested in writing code from scratch, I then moved into books that gave an overview of PHP like “I Hate PHP” and videos like PHP with MySQL Essential Training.
- As my language skills have improved, I’m going back to revisit ‘Dreamweaver, The Missing Manual’ and watching the video, ‘Dreamweaver and WordPress:Core Concepts’
- I am learning how to create child themes. This sounded much harder than tweaking my purchased theme but I think it’s overall, the best way to go. Start with a free theme from the WordPress site that has the elements that you want and then create new files to make adjustments to the theme; save the adjusted theme under a different name and viola! Of course there is a lot more depth to it than that…Some good videos on Lynda.com are ‘Start with a Theme: Photography Portfolios in WordPress’, ‘WordPress 3: Building Child Themes’ and ‘WordPress 3: Creating and Editing Custom Themes’.
I am looking forward to applying my new skills; I’m starting with a pencil and paper, laying out a visual just like I would with Dreamweaver.