Design

Holy Cow, Time Flies!

Well, I guess it has been awhile since the last blog post…since August of 2014? Oops!

What have I been up to since then? Mostly working on projects, some of my own, several for design and content writing clients; traveled a bit, but not enough; met and greeted Josh Groban a couple more times (pictures for another day); helped plan and put on a 20-year high school reunion (WTF?!?!?)…so, taking time to write about life has sort of been a non-priority. I thought it might be a good idea to just quickly post here so 2015 doesn’t feel too left out, so a longer post will have to wait!

As for those things that made me realize my life needed redirection, and in following my own calling, I realize some things are just best left in the past. As time passes, people and situations that have caused unhappiness and unbearable stress aren’t worth worrying about anymore. People and environments sometimes change for the better, others don’t, and as it turns out, our being present or absent has little or nothing to do with it. Sometimes to walk away and keep one’s distance is the best, healthiest thing you can do for your own sake. If people don’t like what you do or how you do things, why worry; put those feelings into something more worthwhile, always. Honestly, if nothing’s going to change in the here and now, and you realize separating yourself from those unhappy/unpleasant places is what you need to finally land where you belong, whether it’s leaving a “dead-end” job, breaking off a toxic relationship, or overcoming a persistent roadblock in life (or all of the above), push forward with no regrets and don’t look back – let the messes you can’t fix fall onto someone else’s lap, focus on your dreams and goals, and keep looking up. Enough said there.

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“Keep Looking Up” – Watercolor painting by Jill M. Sheehan, available as a print and in other formats on Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle.

Things to Come in 2016:

  • Taking on more design and writing projects for clients;
  • Finally getting my JillthePill Design site launched beyond a “landing page” state;
  • More personal artwork projects; you’ll find several designs are currently available as high-quality art prints, stationery and personalizable housewares on Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle. (<–Shameless plugs)
  • Working on developing more handmade pieces – some previous work is available on Etsy, but I’ll be adding new designs as I hone my artsy-fartsy skills!

And beyond that, I just have to see where things go, because holy cow, time flies.

Stay tuned – have a happy, healthy 2016 and beyond! Carpe diem! 😀

2013 – My How You’ve Flown.

Well how about that, the year’s over, just like that. The past few months have been busy for me – finally opened up my Etsy shop – here’s a little preview – go check it out when you have a chance!

JillthePillDesign on Etsy

Just Joshin’

In October, I got to meet Josh Groban at his Seattle show (these pics come from my Instagram):

The Breaking Bad inspired Meet & Greet Pass.

The Breaking Bad inspired Meet & Greet Pass.

 

Me, Josh Groban, and a Box of Salonpas.

Me, Josh Groban, and a Box of Salonpas.

 

Sorry, you had to be there to get this joke. ;)

Sorry, you had to be there to get this joke. 😉

It was a brief meeting & greeting, but he was a hoot to talk to, and is always witty and entertaining during his concerts. For those of you wondering why the box of Salonpas, check Josh’s Twitter archives for background on that. 😉 Thank you, FOJG – it was a pleasant surprise to be one of the Seattle M&G drawing winners! Also saw his show in Salt Lake City, thanks to an online friend!

Old School Memories…

I revisited my old stomping grounds to say goodbye to the “Little Theater” that’s being demolished for the new FWHS, which was bittersweet, like stepping back in time where little has changed, venue-wise, but in other ways nearly unrecognizable elsewhere on campus. It was a great opportunity to say hello to my former drama teacher and let her know I’m still keeping the creative endeavors going to this day. If you ever have the chance, you should go back and thank those teachers who left an impression on you in life; it means a lot to them!

On the Creative Front…

Creatively, I’ve been juggling various projects in these final months of 2013 – new items for the Etsy shop, for one, and lots on the table for the coming year! I didn’t get everything I wanted to accomplish done just yet, some things shifted on the burners a bit, but I guess I should pace myself instead of racing myself. This has been a good year for taking time to nurture my creativity, learn new things, and journey ahead without looking back. It started out with greatly mixed feelings (as earlier posts indicate), but I’m glad I took this leap of faith. If I hadn’t taken a chance on new adventures, I know I wouldn’t be on the path to where I’m meant to be in life, so no regrets there. 🙂

That’s really about it – details on the mundane things in life aren’t worth going on about anyway, so these are just a few highlights until I post again. (This is mostly for me anyway, to look back and see the growth in myself, and share how life’s treating me for those stalkers curious folks out there.) 2014 has more in store, and I look forward to it!

May all be well with those reading this – and remember, it’s never too late to drop everything you know in favor of new, enlightening life adventures. 😀

Until we meet again – Happy New Year!

Preparing to Launch.

Hello! Consider this my August/September post, because I’ve been a busy bee as of late!

While I have been working on various projects for others this year, I have also been slowly tinkering away at getting my own “brand,” if you will, up and running as well. Just a few more details left to finish – the fun, business-side of things: loading up the online shop, writing up product descriptions and going over shop policies, making sure everything works properly, etc.. Yes, this means finally, for those who have been wondering when it’d happen, I have actual products in my hands, and just in time for those who might want to buy a few things as holiday gifts. You only have a few months left! 😉

It always feels good to be productive working for others, but it’s definitely another challenge altogether when it’s your own brand identity, that’s for sure. I am such a stickler for quality when it comes to my own work, though I am learning to go with the flow and not worry too much about perfection, focusing more on the art and craft of making each creation my own. I hope this will reflect in the works I will be selling – I’ve taken advantage of working outside on beautiful sunny days, and toiled into the wee hours over the past several months, and I feel like I have works of art people will really like. The hardest critic to please, as always, is the inner critic of the artist themselves, so you know if I’m content with my work, that’s saying something. I have learned and grown creatively, not just emotionally, and I am eager to share the fruits of my labor. Here’s a little sneak peek at a couple sticky note designs that will be available at launch (click the image to embiggen):

Sticky note design preview.

Tell someone to “stick it” with these notes! 🙂

My illustrative style is more on the cutesy side, although I am capable of doing sophisticated designs if people are interested. Being a smartass-at-heart, I can’t help being a little sarcastic and having fun with these initial designs, something you will definitely see regularly in my “Zom-Bee” creations. So, hang in there, it’s almost ready (I really mean it this time!), and if you have ideas of things you’d like to see, leave a comment here or drop me a note. 😀 You can “like” the page on Facebook, and comment there, too.

I’ve plugged it before, but in case you didn’t know, the design site can be found on JillthePill Design – that’s where you’ll be able to find a portfolio of my work, hire me to work on your own projects (I specialize in print design, but I can do more than that, just ask), and buy my creations as well. It’s not 100% ready, so just drop your E-mail into the form on the landing page there, and you’ll be notified when it launches – if you need incentive, I’ll be rewarding early adopters with a discount code!

Thanks for tuning in; things are getting exciting here! -Jill 🙂

P.S. – Here is a shameless plug for one of my client projects – my mom is also about to launch her fine jewelry design shop and site, VerLen & Sydney. It’s still in landing page phase as well, but you can sign up for updates, and “like” her page on Facebook, too. Thanks! 🙂

Time Marches On.

Wow, June has come to an end already. Half the year gone POOF? What is with that? Seriously, time…just slips away, no matter where you are or what you do. Let this serve as a reminder that life and time is short, so make the most of it! 🙂

So many things as usual on the mind, recently lost a beloved furry friend (R.I.P., Mr. Biddles), but I am finding, as time marches on, that things that were giving me worries and regrets earlier this year are no longer important enough to fret over, or rather, have faded into the past where they belong. Feelings of anxiety, emptiness, anger, frustration, sadness, all that is no longer hounding me, or very rarely these days. The time I have had to focus on finding myself in my element again has been good medicine, and surely a few of those who have been following along don’t want to hear that, but perhaps the problem isn’t really me, in that case. 😉 Finding what is going to make my life the best it can be (while the show is just me) is the main task for my life. While I am here to support and care for those in need (ALWAYS), and even those who don’t need it at this time, we have to look out for ourselves first and foremost; if you lose yourself in trying too hard to please everyone else, avoiding making waves to a point you become a pushover, blankly going through the motions, getting back to YOU can be a difficult journey. But honestly, I need not go on about that, because I have found peace in the process of moving ahead, and that is giving me motivation to tackle the things I had pushed aside for a long time. Don’t like that? Too bad; nobody’s making you read this anyway, and my give-a-damn’s busted. 😛

The coming months will be busier yet; over the past months, I’ve been working gradually toward making art my (eventual) full-time life; it takes time to get everything just right, with projects and client work on all sides, but it will be worthwhile for those who have been waiting ever-so-patiently to get things launched and up for sale in my design business. If you haven’t hopped over there yet, check out my business site at JillthePill Design (currently a landing page), and track the progress, answer polls and “like” the page over at Facebook; it’s nearly launch time, but before I unwrap the site, I’m working on getting physical goods made and assembled, while also helping my mom get her stuff going, too. (If you like one-of-a-kind, fine jewelry pieces, her stuff will be right up your alley!) My aim is to avoid any bumps in the road upon opening the virtual shop doors, so fingers crossed that works out!

Spring? Plants? I hate them. I made my zom-bees months before Grumpy Cat became a thing, but if the shoe fits, Tardar would hate these, too.

This is a Zom-BEE™. Don’t you want to own one of these “happy” fellas? I think you do…

Other than that, nothing of terrible importance to report at this time; once things have officially launched, I intend to get back into tackling those personal projects that have languished for far too long…yes, that means you guys, Mathnet fans. In fact, Mental_Floss recently posted an article that pays homage to the show, and we have dropped the ball a bit with keeping things updated. Enjoy things as they are now, and know that they will be revamped one of these days…we (the fans) really want to inspire enough confidence in the folks at Sesame Workshop so maybe they’ll finally bring Square One TV back – the youth of today could certainly use it!

Okay, that’s it for this month, since it’s essentially over now. Enjoy the summer (or winter, depending where you are), and I’ll be here to yap at nobody in particular (probably just myself at this point) at some point in July. Take care! 😀

Learning and Growing.

I have found, since walking away from the old job, that I have learned and grown so much in my thirty-something years, and truly I was at a point in time where I got as far as I was going to without taking flight on my own to seek my true calling in life. The “old” me, the insecure one of years ago who had little confidence in herself, would never thought this possible. Thanks to good friends, supportive parents, and just plain looking inside myself to realize my potential, that little frightened bird has made it. However, for those following along here, please don’t tell me I should just let go, move on, and walk away from something when I’ve committed myself a great deal to at least trying to do my part, with a load of feelings and thoughts that go with it, when I’ve been doing the best I can, take it or leave it. It’s just not that simple – these experiences, feelings and thoughts are a large part of what has built me up to who I am today. Hear me out for a little background on my life, why don’t you?

There are a few situations I have had to go through in the past to realize sometimes you have to “just keep swimming” and not look back when something has helped you grow, but only held you back for whatever reasons after a time; sometimes it’s not agreeing or meshing with people and situations that have become dysfunctional, futile or feed negativity into an environment while you try to keep your eyes on the prize, whatever it may be. You become broken inside, discouraged, losing heart, losing focus. For so many reasons it can happen, and not just at any one time or place in your life. There will be people who misconstrue your words, don’t listen to your advice (or that of others), rush to keep you quiet, cut you out of the picture or threaten and intimidate you for daring to speak up, and in that, seemingly refusing to validate your feelings and input. And there are those who do not see things eye-to-eye with you, or simply aren’t in an ideal place themselves, whatever it may be, and in dealing with this realization sometimes you have to leave behind or cut out those parts that aren’t healthy in order to remain strong yourself.  You can’t change other people, after all; you can try to affect change, but we’re not designed to fix other people’s problems, only work on ourselves and do the best we can to make our existence the best it can be.  But for all the parts that make it difficult, realizing this is a sign of growth, especially when you muster the courage to break through the haze and see you are still that same person you used to be, still full of hope and potential, still wanting everything you always have, only now you’re stronger, braver, more prepared for the journey ahead. 

Letting Go and Moving On.

So, a major step in my future plans happened this week: I submitted my Letter of Resignation at my current job, which happens to be the family business. I am starting 2013 anew with a new venture: my own business. *GASP* Why? How can someone just walk away from their family? Well, it’s not walking away forever, it’s not disloyalty, I will still be related to many of those with whom I’ve worked for over a decade now, but it’s time. I have spent too much time setting my own interests and needs aside to please others, and I realize it’ll never be enough and only burns a person out.

How selfish of me, right? How dare I decide I want to do something else with my life. Most people seem to be supportive, while others seem quick to judge me and everything I’ve ever done, as if they knew me all that well, as if I’ve never done anything for them or contributed anything of worth to the business. At least, that’s how I see it. (Maybe I’m wrong, but this is not the place to delve into further thoughts that benefit nobody.) I suppose it’s to be expected, people don’t think you’ll walk away from something that may very well be a lifetime commitment to them. It’s not like I am unwilling to be supportive or never plan to do anything for my family’s business again; quite on the contrary. But for me, my life is meant to be so much more than it is now, and in order to move forward, I have to let go, to free myself so I can achieve everything I have set out to do from here. They will be fine without me if they’re willing to stay the course, so I hope to see things continue into the future, for everyone’s benefit.

Leaps of Faith (Whee!)

Oh hey there, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Well (deep subject), I’m still juggling a whole bunch of stuff at the moment: helping put on an auction (see my previous post about Gloria’s Angels), plus the big screenplay rewrite (we’re on track to be done by year’s end, with casting to begin in early 2013), and just plain working at the ol’ jobby job. Plus, I have been mulling over and finally decided to take the plunge and strike out on my own, full-time, by starting my own freelance design/copywriting business. I’ve been dabbling in design more as a hobby with little projects here and there, and using my skills on the job for many years, but I want to give it my full focus now, while continuing to follow my various creative pursuits. Never a dull moment; I can’t imagine just doing any one thing forever; I’m a free spirit who wants to embrace as much as I can while I still can. It’s requiring a lot of leaps of faith, but I am at a point where I feel I can trust my abilities and believe in myself, knowing I will land on my feet.

The Overhaul Begins…

I had a bit of time today to actually buckle down and start redesigning my site – this is something I have tried to do several times over the years; it’s easy to do this for anyone else but yourself, you know? Seriously. It’s nothing fancy; not meant to be, but I’ve got the “splash page” done and I’ll slowly get things updated on pages and sorted into sub-domains that are going to be kept alive. The others will still be out there, but you may find they sort of get buried amongst the old material and won’t be updated again. Aww, how sad. 🙁 Such is life, my friends.

Anyway, this is a big step! I just have to start something and really mean it, then the inspiration to keep it going isn’t much of a problem. I can be quite the procrastinator, but with the right motivation, I can become quite passionate about what I’m doing. But, aren’t we all like that? No, just me? Ah well, whatever. I am human (I think – sometimes I feel so different from those around me, that I’m not entirely sure). 😛

That’s it for now – I’ll be back. Really, I will. I mean, I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath, but checking back at some point won’t hurt you. 🙂

P.S. – May the Fourth Be With You. Always. Or at least one day out of the lot of ’em. 😉

Where Have You Been?

Yes, I’m sure many of you are wondering where I’ve been (okay, so maybe only a small sampling of you), why did I just leave my Website all sad, lonely and unloved for…er…6+ years or so? Has it been that long? Wow. And yes, it’s time for an overhaul…in Internet and Technology time, that’s several shiny devices that have come and gone! Let us mourn those old toys for a few moments…okay, done.

Actually, it hasn’t been that long in some aspects; I’ve been actively using my domain for file storage, occasional micro-updates of sections on the site, but most of that has gone unnoticed to the world-at-large. Well, isn’t that life, though? Get all tied up in life, work, all that fun stuff. I have been quite productive and social in that time, however;  if you know me well enough, you know where I tend to lurk and post regularly. If you don’t know me well, that means absolutely nothing. 😛

In this time, I have also been getting educated! As in, schooled! I decided to invest in myself and my creative skills (that whole “figuring out what I want to do with my life” thing) and studied subjects of interest like Playwriting, Screenwriting and Graphic Design. And in doing so, have really stretched my mind and my talents and have essentially found things that make me happy and that I’d like to spend more of my life doing. So, see, this “hiatus” has been a good thing, and good things come to those who wait, or whatever cliché you’d like to apply to that.

Anyway, without going on too long here (too late), I do promise more updates. More details on my future plans and where things on this site will be going. And yes, this includes an update, or at least a minor overhaul of sorts on what’s probably the most popular part of this domain: The Mathnet Website. Oh yes, there wasn’t much going on for many years, and I feel terrible about letting it just sit, but the need, and time, to update content wasn’t really there (plus the whole having a job and going to school business sidelined my efforts somewhat, too). I’m also a part of the efforts over at SquareOneTV.org, so it’s not like the fandom has dropped off the planet; in fact, we’ve been doing a lot of interacting with former cast members recently and are celebrating 25 years since the show debuted as of 2012. Not to mention in the time since I last overhauled, wonderful sites such as YouTube and Facebook have come along and are still going strong, making it easier than ever to share clips and gather fans in larger groups and all that fun stuff. And because of that, Sesame Workshop has been paying attention and are now taking a DVD release into consideration. So, this is the best time to be reviving those efforts! Stay tuned, I promise you won’t be disappointed. 😉 And on that note, before I let anyone leave, please take the time, if you could, to “like” the official Square One Television page on Facebook – Sesame is using this as an indicator of interest by the fans. Tell your friends! Tell their friends! If you honestly want to see the show gain a pulse in the media again, and hey, it worked for The Electric Company, this is the best way to do it!

Okay, I’m done for now. A lot to digest, but I hope y’all are still with me. Take care, and much love! -Jill 🙂

My First WordPress Blog…Aww.

A lot of what I do, design-wise, tends to be inspired by stuff I find online or through just plain experimentation. This blog is part of that process; while I have taken classes for graphic design and writing and whatnot, most of the “Web Monkey” stuff came through trial and error. I’ve been on the Internet awhile (since 1996), but given not many around me at the time had a clue about technology in general, I was pretty much on my own figuring out how to code HTML, CSS, etc. Looking back on some of it, it’s embarrassing just how BAD previous versions of my existence were – NO, I’m not linking to them! However, it’s made my skill set well-rounded over time, though, and as technology evolves, so am I. Given how long it’s been since I last overhauled my site, you could say a lot of nothing has gone on, but actually, a lot of learning has gone on during the hiatus! Yay! 😀

As for this blog, fortunately, my Web host has “one-click install” features that allowed me to set this up pretty quickly, right here on my own domain. But, I like to customize things and make them my own, so I sought out more information on the subject. Anyway, as I’ve been slowly learning more about WordPress, I came across an ongoing tutorial from HOW Design (an invaluable site and magazine for designers) for building a WordPress site in 30 minutes a day over 21 days (your mileage may vary; given I already have quite the background in editing and tinkering with code and graphics, plus maintaining my own site, the first couple of steps weren’t needed). Just in a couple day’s time I’ve learned a few valuable tidbits, and plan to follow along with the rest of the series.

Here’s where you, too, dear reader, can learn about one of the most widely-used pieces of blogging software out there right now, and how to make it your own, too. (I’m not being compensated for this plug, I simply find it very useful and worth sharing.) I am linking to the author’s page, as it’s easier to find all the parts in one spot:

Jesse Friedman’s Guide to Building Your First WordPress Blog

Anyway, as time goes on, so should this blog, I hope. Stay tuned…

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