Archive for the ‘Work Life’ Category

When you spend a considerable portion (ok, almost all of it) of your waking hours by your computer, the comfort of your work station becomes important. The angle of your chair has to be just so. The phone has to be reachable. The background music can make or break your day. It was therefor incomprehensible that I let my mousepad bother me for so long. It had served me well for many years, but the corners had ripped, the edges scratched my wrist and some kind of plastic residue seemed to collect under the mouse. It was clearly time to let go.

Commercially available options didn't appeal to me. They just seemed, well, too commercial or at least impersonal. As a crafty designer, I needed to tackle the issue hands on. For materials, I chose felt and leather and got them laser cut to size. The beauty of laser is that you can also cut the holes for stitches. It is then easy to glue and backstitch the pieces together.

Even if my waking hours are mostly spent with the computer, there is something incredibly satisfying to touch needle and embroidery floss. It made me miss my knitting. It is also nice to look at and feel my hand stitched mouse pad every time I work.



We were together since the very dawn of internet. We shared projects and raised website babies together. Some of them have already left the nest, but there were always supposed to be new ideas and seedlings to keep us busy. My web hosting company, NS, and I were in a solid marriage, which wasn’t always the most exciting or most romantic of the relationships, but seemed to work and serve its purpose.

Then came the day when convenience just wasn’t enough any longer. I started sneaking around and recommending other hosting companies to my clients. “Under no circumstances should you choose NS for your hosting needs”, I even said. NS had cheated me also. The initially free mobile email was now a paid add-on. Even the old-fashioned POP and IMAP emails brought lot of frustration. Seriously, is syncing between devices so hard? It’s not like we were trying to figure out how to squeeze toothpaste properly.

Truth to be told, the relationship had already turned stale, perhaps even moldy, a long time ago. Though it was increasingly difficult to have a real conversation and talk to an actual person, the tech support calls became more frequent. Oh yes -and I’m not proud to tell you this - there once was the dramatic slamming-the-phone-down-incident. Or maybe in this case it was the grant gesture of pressing the red button of my cell phone. It wasn't my lack of effort. I wanted to keep the communication lines open. NS didn't even bother to update the PHP version to 5.4.

There were other trust issues, of course. I wasn’t given access to key controls of the back end code. The little hidden php.ini file proved to be the last straw for the already dissatisfied me. Php.ini is like a checking account or r-rated movie; for responsible adults or experienced coders only. It controls the php memory, which is necessary for Wordpress plug-ins, the very wonderful essence of the WP web sites. NS didn’t let me touch it. True lack of respect! It seemed that NS and I were finally through.

I had already scouted my new shiny armored knight, BH! BH and I were going to ride to the sunset and bright future together. I was initially seduced by the promises for the smooth transfer. I was just supposed to just relax and float from one cloud server-home to the next. I should have known better, with NS things always get messy. Name servers pointed to blank pages, pictures vanished from my blog and I was awfully grumpy for a few days. Truth to be told, also BH and the its migration team should be partly blamed for the mess. It was necessary to have a little fling with the nifty Velvet Blues -plug-in, which repaired some broken links.

After all, I must say: the grass really is greener on the other side.  Life is now full of simple pleasures. Can't stop staring at how the email accounts sync in real time through all my devices. DH gave me a full access to the php.ini. I look forward to never dealing with my ex again.





The editor at MJSA Custom Jeweler called for an interview about my business insights and advice. At first, I thought I have nothing to say. Really, I should be selling a lot more jewelry than I do now. Turns out, I have a lot to say. People even commented on the story at the recent industry conference, MJSA ConFab.

See the digital edition here

Download the PDF here


I work alone most of the day. Interruptions come frequently and consist mainly of family members seeking attention. Sometimes I miss the social and collaborative aspect of creative team. Other times, I truly enjoy the creative freedom of an independent designer. Mainly, I would like to have a conversation that doesn't include words "mama",  "need" and "now". NY Times recently published an interesting analysis of introverts in corporate group environments. It didn't help me to resolve my dilemmas, but made me think. I think I can symphatize with Steve Wozniak, a brilliant introvert who missed sharing donuts with his co-workers.

 The Rise of the New Groupthink.