Saturday, January 16, 2016

Out of the Box Saturday

One thing I've always been fascinated with are maps. I like them more for their shapes and details than the directions that they lead. I'm actually horrible with directions. Without my husband I don't think I could get from one state to the next. Once I know my area I pick the most logical route; when my husband picks a route that may take him much longer.

Do you consider maps art? 

There's a designer in New York at Pentagram named Paula Scher. She's done designs for Swatch Watch, the New York Theater Company, Citibank and more. She hand paints maps on the side. These painting are really large! It's what's left of craft for her.

All images were gotten here and here.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Casiii Silicon Acer Chromebook Keyboard Cover Review

I got a Casiii Silicon Acer Chromebook Keyboard Cover to review.

It's made by Casiii.

Casiii packaged it really well. It came in a hard cardboard package. That way it wouldn't tear, or get bent up.

  • Black (the color I like)
  • Plum Purple
  • Turquoise
  • Blue

I kind of wish it came in more colors. My favorite colors are orange and red. They don't sell either of color.


No more dirt or dust between the keys! I tend to work and snack at the same time. Now I can't get crumbs in the keys. I don't drink anything open, but it would protect the computer from drinks to.


It's made with a high-grade silicone. I thought it might smell like plastic, or rubber. I really didn't smell anything. It's soft to touch, and easy to type on.


This ultra-thin cover is molded to fit each key precisely with keywords printed on for convenience and is hand washable for easy cleaning. I did try cleaning it. I just washed it in water, let it drip dry all the way and applied it back on my computer. I love that you can disinfect the keyboard when someone is sick to.

Cost: It's sold on Amazon right now for $9.95. The retail price is $14.95, so buy it while it's on sale.

Compatible Device: Acer Chromebook CB3-111-C670 and CB3-111-C8UB.

Do you have a keyboard cover?

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for a discounted rate in exchange for a review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Random Tid Bits

  1. I made the boys tuna melts on pita bread. It's not something we have often. I said, "Guess what it is?" Isaak said, "I know! It's Tina Fish." He meant "Tuna Fish". 

  2. This time of year makes me about as mad crazy as before Christmas. First - we're starting a new semester. Second - around here camps for the summer time start to have sign ups. If I don't get the boys signed up I loose a spot. Anyhow I have trouble thinking that far in advance. Some camps have sign-ups already, and others aren't open for sign-up yet. Coordinating them becomes difficult. I signed Isaak up for a camp at a college here called Totally Cool Math and Science, and Mica up for Powering the Future and Stack it Up! Lego Structural Engineering. Of course signing up more than one kid was confusing. Isaak's information went bye bye, I entered it again, then it registered him twice. That was a mess to deal with. I like to keep the boys busy during the summer!

    I can't wait for the day where Mica can stay home alone. He's only 10. How old do you leave a kid home alone? 12 seems like the magical age around here. I started babysitting the summer before 5th grade. I had a June birthday, so I was pretty young! So far Mica's a good kid. It's leaving him alone with Isaak that I could not see! I could just see it - they'd have wrestle matches that would go bad! 

  3. On Tuesday I ran all around town for Thursdays events. Either I got the days mixed up, or I was on the wrong month with my computer calendar.  

  4. You know how there's a Mrs. Clean Freak here at my work? Well there's a Mrs. Bossy Pants to. I don't have a problem with people telling me what to do. I think it's how they tell me. Heck Travis tells me stuff all the time. It doesn't bother me. Mrs. Bossy Pants bothers a lot of people.

    We have to do a design event every year. Like go to a speaker, or listen to a conference, go to a seminar, participate in a webinar, or listen to an online tutorial. Groovy. So many that I pick she's like, "Um no that won't work." I did one she sent my way. I took notes. She's like, "You need to answer my questions I sent you!" Later she came at me with something else. I responded with, "What did I do now?" Seriously! She's claimed that I've put something on the master calendar like 5 times over again. Each time I'm like, "Nope!" Instead of asking me it's like a jolt of attack. You did it didn't you!? I replied with, "I haven't done that since way back when when you first accused me of doing that. Do you think I want to get in trouble?" She left my office area. 

  5. So my phone wouldn't ring for like the longest time. It turned out that I had it on, Do Not Disturb. Travis figured it out. I told him that I knew I married him for a reason. So true. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Another Artist is Gone

The ten + years I've been teaching I've had some artists I talk about in class pass. It happens. More and more are leaving the scene.

Maybe this means I'm getting old, or it could be that the artists just left the scene way to early.

I talk about Robert Rauschenberg. I don't talk about him because his work is amazing. There are some pieces he did that I love, and others that I roll my eyes at. The pieces that are all one color are the one color I roll my eyes at. The Erased de Kooning was an interesting story. At least there was a solid point to it. He wanted to erase a master's work to call that art. You can argue if that's art, or simply an act of destruction. De Kooning was looked up to at the time. Rauschenberg took a bottle of Jack Daniels to his house, knocked on the door, and hoped de Kooning wasn't home. He was. Rauschenberg asked if he could erase one of his works, and call that art. De Kooning said, "Yes, but it has to be a difficult thing to erase, and one that I'll miss." Rauschenberg took weeks erasing something that had all kinds of colors, and media. It's hanging in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

I talk about Rauschenberg because he was a problem solver. He was the type of artist that didn't start with much. When you have nothing, you have nothing to loose. He was willing to take risks. That's what I admired about him. He talks in the video Man At Work about walking 1 block around New York to find supplies. When he couldn't find enough he'd walk another block. From Rauschenberg and my own father I learned that you don't need fancy things to create. It helps, but it's not necessary. He went from a nobody to having his work in Guggenheim Museum. In his later years he traveled the world to work with other artists. He decided that the world we live in is too divine and small. "We have to start thinking globally." - Rauschenberg said

Another artist I talk a lot about is David Bowie. I teach hands on art and design, but his thought process was amazing. If you've never watched it, watch the movie Inspirations. It's expensive because it's not being made anymore, there are clips on YouTube, and they have ones that are used on Amazon that are more affordable. It doesn't just feature Bowie. There's Chihuly (glass blowing guy), Lichtenstein (pop-art dot guy), Tadao Ando (Japanese architect), a famous dancer, a famous choreographer, and Nora Naranjo-Morse (a Native American artist). Listening to these artist talk about how they get inspired makes me feel inspired EVERY TIME I watch it. It's so sad that Lichtenstein and Bowie have both passed away. They had such drive to make work. Not for others, but for themselves.

Mica checking out a Lichtenstein in Chicago. His work is so amazing in person!
Part of the movie Inspirations:

David Bowie played Andy Warhol in the movie Basquiat. He sure did a great job! I like some of his music to. I don't listen to it all the time, but my favorite song is Under Pressure with Freddie Mercury. 

Who inspires you and why? They can be alive, or no longer living.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

WW: Almost Finished {Linky}

My first painting in January is pretty much done. I put a raven in the sky last night, but forgot to re-shoot it.

It's a tepee with a cityscape taking it over. Did you know that tepee can be spelled teepee and tipi as well?

Medias: Acrylic paint on canvas mostly painted with a plastic bag, thread stitching, Isaak's old pants were dipped in Gesso and used for the tepee, toothpicks, vinyl triangles, and pencil shavings out of the pencil sharpener. Very much mixed media.

Update: Here's the finished version I hope. I added lavender triangles, and the raven in the sky to stand for destruction.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Super Fisheye Camera Lens Kit 3 in 1 by Zeso Review

I got to review some iPhone lenses from Zeso. The camera lenses include: Super Fisheye, Wide Angle and a Macro.

198 Fisheye Lens: let you enjoy the world in the "fisheye". It will give your images a round, fish bowl effect while also acting as a wide angle lens. 15X

Macro Lens: amazing lens to explore the invisible world. It takes a very close & deep look. You can take very sharp pictures as close as 50mm from the subject (perfect for flowers, coins, insects, etc.). 0.63X

Wide Angle Lens: Lens allows you to have more of the scene to be included in the photograph. This lens is useful in architectural, interior and landscape photography, long cityscapes & large group shots and more.

Note: Macro Lens 15X and 0.63 Wide Angel Lens should be screwed gently together.

I didn't know what to expect. I'm pretty new to having a smart phone and instagram. I fell in love with this set right away!


  • 1 x 198 Fish Eye Lens 
  • 1 x 15X Macro Lens 
  • 1 x 0.63X Wide Angle Lens 
  • 3 x Lens Cover (plastic) 
  • 1 x Universal bag Holder/clip
  • 1x luxury protective carrying case
  • 1X e-book

The clip that attaches to my iPhone comes in 5 colors: 

  1. Gold
  2. Silver
  3. Red
  4. Blue
  5. Hot Pink
I debated back and forth between Gold and Red. I didn't see Blue offered on Amazon at the time. Red is what I ended up with.

Here's how it works:

You clip it on your phone, so that the iPhone lens shows through.

You attach a lens. I just leave the lens cap on until I've screwed it on. It screws on really easy! That way my fingers are less likely to hit the lens.

Take the lens cap off, and you can take a picture with it.

There are two possible negatives:
  1. I noticed when I hit the flip button I couldn't take photos with the cool lens. It's just the camera at that point in time. I don't think this could be fixed. 
  2. The set could come with a cleaning cloth. I'd rather have a cleaning cloth over a bag because it already has a nice hard case that everything fits into. 

You can certainly explore the world with this set of lenses!

My Dad got a kick out of playing with the lenses. Here's the fisheye.

Here's the macro. No worries - he didn't care that I captured his wrinkles.

Isaak and I being goofy!

We took the boys to an art library/gallery over the weekend. I thought this photo turned out great!

This set is compatible with:

  • Phone 6s: 6s Plus / 6 / 5s
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 / S5
  • All Cell Phones
  • Laptops
  • IPads made of upgraded high-class optical glass made of top-grade aluminum

Cost and Warranty:

12 month Warranty
60 days Money-Back Guarantee

Retail Price: $29.99
Discounted Price: $24.90

Have you ever played with different lenses on your camera, or on you phone?

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for a discounted rate in exchange for a review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Starting Fresh

As you can tell I have a new header, social media buttons, and domain name. Behind the scenes I've been wanting a new look for awhile.

I took photos in the fall of my kids eating apples. I had pictured what I wanted in my mind. Per usual the situation was not perfect. I got them to stop pestering each other long enough to snap some photos by letting them eat apples.

Ok all was good. I knew I'd have to merge two photos together to get what I wanted -done. One kid always looks better in a photo, when the other one looks wacky. That's why I take several photos. I was ok with the turn out. That was until I uploaded the photos, and saw on my big screen that Isaak's fingers were gross - see below. My cute 7 year old had been digging in the dirt when I was setting thing up.

I was thinking I'd have to reshoot. But...fall was pretty much over. I wanted the lighting of late fall. Sunlight beaming, not the dead look of winter.

Then I had problems with my computer. It was making all the lights in my pictures pixelated. It kept happening off and on. You know when your car acts up, it's not consistent, so they can't fix it?  It was like that. 

Finally my computer took a long break of pixelating images. I felt like I was out of the 80s, and into the now. Isaak's fingers weren't as hard to fix as a I thought they would be. What you see on the banner is a cleaned up image. It's not perfect, but it's far from his messy little self. Truth be told: Isaak is the kid that always has messy fingers, and holes in the knees. He'll put holes in his knees in a months time of just getting new pants. He's a true boy with that. 

I played with an apple logo for our name. Our name Apel is actually pronounced A-Pull - not Apple. I often call Apples Apels in our house. I wanted something from before to be a part of our branding. I had to move away from Planet of the Apels because that already exists. I didn't know that it existed before I came up with that. Travis said, "Don't put our name in an apple!" I didn't. 

Despite Isaak's dirty fingers, and the pixelating images from my computer, the most stressful part was getting a domain name. I kept thinking, What if I buy my name, and then can't get it to work? Of course I kept getting an error when I tried uploading my new domain on blogger. BUT...I found out that error was common place. It's what I was supposed to get. Imagine that. Things can never be easy. 

Why stay on blogger? I know wordpress is the shebang of the blogging world. I had a few reasons I didn't switch: 
  1. My work at times blocks wordpress and facebook. On my lunch hour I blog at times. I teach my students to make a blog for their nonprofit campaign on blogger because of wordpress being blocked at times. 

  2. I'm not putting anyone down that has a wordpress blog, but I hate how the comments take so long to go through. It really is slower. 

  3. I was afraid if I transitioned to wordpress I'd stop blogging altogether. I've known bloggers that made too many changes at once, and now blog very little or not at all. 

  4. The learning curb is a lot. It's not that I'm unwilling to learn, it's just that it's a lot right now. 
The social media buttons on the top were fun, but tedious to make. Do I make the icons teal, or white? What icons do I include? I use more than I wanted up there. Decisions!

Things are fairly consistent. I did have to go through and resize all my buttons for my facebook page. They have to be a certain size in there. It's done. YAY!

My goal for 2015 was a little late - rebranding my blog and getting a domain name, but it's nice to start out 2016 with a cool new look!


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