web development


October Goals

green and orange pumpkinsSeptember felt kind of long! I wasn’t wishing it away or anything, it just felt like I got a lot done. We also had a couple busy weeks of hosting. It was really great to host people in the new house, and to have an actual guest bedroom in which to host them. Chrystina came to visit for a weekend, and then my mother-in-law stopped by for a few days. Chad’s brothers also each dropped in separately for a bit.

I submitted two posts to Town Dish, and I got to interview the chef behind Lancaster’s new favorite restaurant, and the designers and builders behind some of the beautiful restaurant interiors in downtown Lancaster. I also wrapped up a couple web projects and lined up a few more that should keep me busy for awhile.

In addition to all that, here’s how my goals for September went:

1. Get through chapter 3 of Data Visualization with JavaScript. So close. Chapter 2 turned out to be hefty, and I really started to dive into the interactive pieces of data visualization, which has been fun but tricky.

2. Have a new heating system installation underway. Done. I mean, my part is done. We’re waiting six to eight weeks for the gas company to run the gas line in. I really hope it doesn’t get too cold by then.

3. Hang art in the newly painted living room and bedroom! I’m excited to take stock of all of the art we have and maybe mix it up a bit as far as what pieces go in what room. Done-ish! We hung some paintings in the living room, but nothing in the bedroom. It’s still kind of in progress, because we still don’t have a bedframe. We also ended up painting the dining room in September, and it makes all the difference! It feels great to have almost the whole downstairs cleaned up and painted. It’s like a whole different house.

4. Dig out my calligraphy stuff and spend a few minutes playing with it a few times a week. I’m registered for a handlettering class at PCAD starting next week, so I feel like that will be motivational. Done-ish! I’ve been spending a chunk of time about three or four days a week playing with brush pens. I did haul out my calligraphy stuff, and I feel like getting better at one will also make me better at the other.

5. Post here regularly. Take time to write, photograph, and share. I want this space to be a community and a record of the story I’m living, more than it has been lately. Done-ish! I feel better about this month than I have for awhile. This is something I want to continue, though, so it’ll stay as an ongoing goal, just not in this list every month.

On to October!

1. Get a bedframe, settle on a mattress, and hang art in the bedroom. This bedroom has been a saga, y’all. A marathon, not a sprint. We’re not totally sold on the Helix mattress we bought, but I want to try it on an actual bedframe and not just on the floor. I don’t understand how people keep mattresses on the floor. It doesn’t look bohemian and carefree in our room, it just looks like a mess. It’s hard to get in and out of (also hi, I’m getting old apparently), and the cats drag dirt in and out of it. So once we get a bedframe, we’ll decide if we’re sending the mattress back and going with a conventional pillowtop. I just really love pillowtops. I’m not so into the foam. And I’m dying to see how this fence panel will do as a headboard.

2. Do an outfit post here! Part of me really wants to do an occasional outfit post, but another part of me is scared to come off as annoying and vain and like I’m vying for attention. But I like other people’s outfit posts, so I’m gonna try to get over my complex! Chad got me a remote so I can start playing around with taking my own photos without running back and forth to the camera, like we did here.

3. Finish my first go at rebuilding this site from scratch. Between work stuff, freelance stuff, finding and buying a house, moving, and some unfortunate life/health stuff, this has fallen off big time. After a ton of experimentation and testing different things out, I’ve been building my own custom WordPress theme. No framework, no parent theme. I really like it. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, and it’s been a really valuable experience. I can already tell that it could be my favorite way to work going forward.

4. Take some photos of the house and start sharing the process. It’s against my nature to show in-progress things as opposed to the finished product, but I’m realizing I may never feel like I’m finished with house stuff. Better to share along the way than to wait for someday that may never come.

5. Feel relaxed and at home in my space and life. I have some major things coming up this fall that I’ll hopefully be able to share about down the road, but for now I need to focus on taking care of myself and feeling like I’m set up well for dealing with them. Specific things that will help: A tidy space, minimizing stressful social situations, keeping the kitchen stocked, books to read, exercising regularly, and a creative endeavor, such as journaling, practicing brush lettering, or taking photos.

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Lunchtime Reads 5.16 Edition

Centre Hall, PAI hope everyone is having a lovely week! I finally feel like I’m a little bit back on track after a particularly trying month or so. I got to go back to the farm last weekend for my little brother’s graduation, and I’m looking forward to heading back home this weekend for a family wedding. It’s such a quiet and calming place. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading around the web over the past few weeks.

This is a great reminder from Jo Pincushion that came across the Indy Hall Groupbuzz a few weeks ago. It’s especially relevant to the blogging world and creative fields: If You Like It, Share It

As a follow up to my last post, I really love what Bethany has to say about creativity, scarcity, perfection, and abundance. I want to read this post over and over again until it’s how I live: What Creativity Really Demands.

I’ve been getting lots of questions lately, even from people I haven’t met yet (but I’ll get coffee with anyone who emails me!), about how to go about learning web development and landing your first job. Zoe handles this really well in a blog post she wrote after a conversation we had at a meetup awhile back: The Things You Really Need to Become a Front-End Developer (Hint: Not Just Code Skills) 

In the same vein, I wrote a guest post over at Studio 404 about some of the things I did to learn and get enough experience to get hired: Five Non-Technical Traits That Helped Me Land a Technical Job   Bonus: Angel of Studio 404 also featured an interview with Chad & me last month! Check that one out while you’re at it, too!



Introducing Tiny Fireworks

Tiny Fireworks website screenshot

I’ve finally put together a site for my independent web development work, Tiny Fireworks! Sure, I’ve been on GitHub for awhile now, but for designers who are looking for a developer to work with, it’s nicer to see exactly what I’ve worked on.

I forced a deadline on getting this done by getting the url printed on my business cards for Alt Summit. So I needed to get something up before, well, today. I’m going to keep iterating on the design and adding content, but I’m happy enough with it for now to share.

Though I’m starting at Urban Outfitters in February, I really want to use Tiny Fireworks as a way to work on a variety of projects. I want to be clear that I am still going to be freelancing, and I’m still interested in working with designers, bloggers, writers, small businesses, and makers of all kinds. I’m looking forward to organizing my independent work so that it is harmonious with my new job. Hopefully I can share a little bit about what that looks like along the way.

If you’re interested in front-end web development in WordPress, Shopify, or just static sites, feel free to shoot me an email.


The cat is out of the proverbial bag…

…thanks to this Technically Philly article about me and a bunch of my friends.

Lisa Yoder, junior front end web developer Urban OutfittersSo here’s the deal: I’ll be starting as a junior front-end web developer on Urban Outfitters’ ecommerce team on February 10. I’m incredibly excited to learn from the team I’ll be working with and continue to grow as a developer.

None of this would have been possible without the outrageous support I’ve had from Philadelphia’s tech community and especially Girl Develop It. I’ve had a whole slew of people surrounding me, teaching me, and cheering me on, especially for the past year and a half since I left my proofreading job.

I still plan to keep nurturing my humble freelance business so that I can work on a variety of projects with a bunch of different people. It’s been so fun to work with the clients I’ve had so far, and I look forward to keeping those relationships alive. I have an announcement about that coming tomorrow. Stay tuned!


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Lunchtime Reads 11.4.13

Fall DahliasBringing Art Home: What is the fruit of creativity worth to us? We are totally blessed to have been gifted with tons of art for our wedding, but I understand the hesitation to spend money on art. I think many people probably focus on the practical necessities (especially those with Mennonite/Anabaptist backgrounds, and probably other specific backgrounds as well), but what if art is also a necessity? What is the worth and role of beauty, art, and creativity?

Get Specific about your dreams. Sure, you can say you want a more interesting and inspiring life, but what does that specifically look like? Kathleen reminds us that if we want to move in the direction of our dream job, dream life, or dream travels, we need to take action. Dreaming vaguely doesn’t get ish done. Getting specific does. This is definitely something I need to work on, though I’ve certainly improved over the past year.

Quilts, maps, history, and more. This is rad & makes me want to quilt more than ever. Pouring my love, time, and self into something so practical & beautiful (I clearly love the marriage of form and function, practicality and art — see above!), is super appealing to me. Alas, it’s also super time consuming. I can do it all, just not all at once. Learning to quilt will have to wait.

I’ll admit, I’m biased, but I’m incredibly proud of Chad for writing this post: Subconscious Life Lessons: My (White, Male) Narrative is More Important Than Yours. One of the things that I love about him is his willingness to accept criticism, improve, and evolve. He’s bravely and publicly taken time to reflect and examine his own privilege as a white male: “It’s awful to think but doubtlessly true that people who are not white or male learn the same lesson in our culture: That the white male narrative is the main story arc, and everyone else plays a supporting role.” But he points out that if those of us who aren’t part of the main white male story arc don’t speak up, the world is missing out on a multitude of stories and perspectives.

Likewise, Garann Means encourages non white non male humans to blog about code & give zero fucks. Her words, not mine, though I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. I’ve struggled with this personally & will be thinking about venues to practice writing about code. Hesitating to write about code is doing me no favors, no matter how little experience I have. There’s still people who know less than I do and could learn from something I share.

What interesting things have you been reading ’round the interwebs lately? I want to know!