Welcome to America.

It makes me particularly proud to be an American when I see our citizens come together like we do when tragedy strikes.

I am not sure what the motive of the suspects in the Boston terror attacks was at this moment, surely details will come out in the coming days.  No matter their intention a latent consequence of the bombing was the outpouring of support for the people of Boston. pledgeI can confidently assert that as Americans, wherever mass acts of violence or hardship occur we will always be here to support one another.

 It is clear that we have serious moments of division whether it be political, spiritual or any other issues that foster a disconnect.  Despite those divisions in moments like these we stand together as one people and it truly makes me feel fortunate to be a part of this great country.  No matter the adversity we face  we remain strong and we soldier on. This is what we will always do. Welcome to America.


Netflix on a Sunday

I don’t have cable. I don’t really watch movies. I have about 7 basic over the air channels, which normally sustain any needs I have for television.  Ahh but I do have Netflix, and it fills in the gaps my sad amount of channels leaves.

My general strategy for the ‘flix is to choose a show and watch the entire series in a weekend.  This particular Sunday while I was busy doing various things around my house I chose “Lockdown” which is a series of mini prison documentaries at various infamous prisons around the country.

I took a class in college that was centered around the sociology of prisons and the subject has always interested me, so this was a natural choice.  I have watched a number of ‘Lockdown’ episodes today and it has prompted me to think only one thing: our prison system is broken and seemingly ineffective.   According to the Bureau of Justice statistics the recidivism rates of prisoners in the U.S. hovers around 67%.  That statistic is staggering to me. It is a clear sign that the current prison system in America is not working as it is intended to.

That begs the question, how do we fix it? This is no simple task. One prison in the series ‘Lockdown’ offered classes, and you would think why the heck should taxpayers foot the bill so a convicted felon can take classes? Well they laid it out in that episode, the cost of housing an inmate is in the 40-thousands, the cost to educate one is $800.  So rather than tossing them out at the end of their sentence with no skills or direction the degree obtained gives them a skill, and they have something to use upon returning to society. Also just a little cherry on top, the recidivism rates of inmates that went through an education is much lower than that of other inmates. However getting inmates to put classes & edcation above their various prison gang affiliations is another issue in and of itself.

Clearly education would not be a cure all for the American Prison System, but we have to start somewhere.  CNN sited the nicest prison in the world as Bastoy Prison in Norway. Prisoners at Bastoy enjoy freedoms that others can only dream of, keys to their own cells, good meals, pay and a monthly stipend. This sounds outrageous right? The recidivism rate at Bastoy Prison is 16%. Just a small reminder the recidivism rate in The United States is nearly 70%.  That figure is almost unbelievable to me.

Is the key to reforming criminals structured freedom within prisons? I don’t have all of the answers, not by a long shot, but I can see that there is something wrong and it pains me to think that the American prison system is cycling inmates in and out of their doors without really looking at the cause and effect of incarceration.

Tear….My last blog for capstone

Ah the sweet relief of rounding third base and almost having one foot on home.  This week I did a lot of tying of loose ends on the Ribbons & Stitches website.  There are now items to purchase on the shop page, as well as items listed on Etsy.  The shop page is actually really cool you can add things to a cart and I made a customized ‘add to cart’ button that matches the rest of the site.  The shopping cart is all linked to PayPal and if someone buys something I will be alerted and the money would go into my PayPal account.  I am sure I will expand on this page of the site later, but for now it is rather basic just because of time constraints and the fact that I have been concentrating more on the videos and the look of the site in general.

Monday I will be sending out the invitations for people to join the site (I put the invitation in a previous blog post).  Everything will be totally done by Friday, but I am thinking that sending it out on a Friday might be less effective than a Monday, in that people will forget about it over the weekend.  My hope is to have a little bit of activity on the site before the exhibition, even if I have to force my fellow classmates to participate.

I knew pretty early on that I wanted to make textures a big part of the site.  With that in mind I took many different pictures of all the fabrics I have and set the header of the site to change every time the page refreshes.  So every time a person goes to the site they will see a different texture close up of fabric. The picture here is a screenshot of the home page with my favorite picture.  I am really happy with all of the photographs on the site, I think it really drives the aesthetic quality. 

As for a background texture image I think I have given up on that dream.  Every time I tried to put one up it was too busy along with the pictures for each individual post.  I also wanted to keep the picture really light, because (in my opinion) it looks better with a lighter color on the background, and every background picture I put up was way to dark.  So for the moment that idea is scrapped, but I guess all it takes is one cool picture to change it all,  and the ‘needles’ picture that is on my portfolio was a total fluke.  Perhaps lightning will strike again while I am taking pictures.

I think I am going to use this blog to continue blogging for Ribbons & Stitches, just because I have it all set up already.  I do plan on keeping up with the site, just as a hobby and a creative outlet for myself, and perhaps it will turn into something more, perhaps not.  I enjoy doing it so I am going to keep it up.

I also found some footage I forgot I had, so I made another video today about how to hem pants, I now have a grand total of ten videos.  I totally forgot I even shot that segment, but I was happy to have the extra footage. The funny thing is I was just thinking that I should have made a video about hemming pants because it is really easy and it is something that people often have trouble with.  It was a nice surprise when I was looking through all my SD cards.

I am happy with everything I have done thus far.  I guess looking back I wish the lighting had been better for some of the videos, but there is nothing I can do about it now except learn from it and move forward.  I think the site looks great over all and I am glad I did it on WordPress, I have actually had a friend ask me to make them a site on WordPress so I am glad to have the experience.  But anyway, I am excited about the exhibition and I am going to bring a bunch of the things I have made so that people can see what I have done.  To sum it all up please give me an H (I’m just joking (or am I? (I think I am (I probably am (but I’m not (so lets see an H)))))).

Ribbons & Stitches is on Etsy!

Today I opened an Etsy shop and listed my first item (yes I only have one so far, but I have a bunch of things ready to be photographed). The official name of the Etsy shop is RibbonsAndStitches (you should go there and buy things), I was hoping to use an ampersand because I think it just looks good, but I wasn’t able to, so that name will just have to do.  I am hoping that this will lead to more traffic to the site in general and it will surely get the Ribbons & Stitches name out there.  I was also able to connect the account to @RibbonsStitches on Twitter, so that will again hopefully lead to the name getting out there more.

The site is nearly complete, I just have some more photographs to take for each of the posts and then just general tinkering. I would like to put this logo on the site, in lieu of the plain text that is there now, but I am afraid to mess with the php, I will get around to it though.  I still do not have a background image, but hopefully I will just take a fluke image like I did for my portfolio.  If worst comes to worst I will just go with a plain color background or I will make some kind of background in illustrator.  I am trying not to stress out about the background image because that is something that can wait until the day of the exhibition, and I will probably change it a few times before I get it right anyway.  I want it to come off vintage, but modern at the same time and I guess I am just having a difficult time making that happen.  Which is really frustrating because the portfolio picture just happened and I have taken so many pictures that just wont work for this.

Once the site is done I am going to send out the invitations via email to a list of people I compiled.  I will probably do that sometime next week once all of the videos are embedded.  I have a really strong group of people and I think it will not only get them into it but hopefully that will help it to travel by word of mouth.  All and all I am really excited about my project and I am happy with how it is turning out.  I am definitely going to continue with it after graduation, and I think it is only going to get better as my skills get better, so check back in six months and it is going to be even better than it is now!


It is almost over

I am getting so much done with Ribbons & Stitches, most of the videos are up, and there are a few more than I had anticipated.  I am glad I have more than I thought I would though because it has just given me a good amount of content to start with.  I am not sure how I am going to continue to do video once I no longer have access to the Elon equipment, so having more videos than I bargained for is fine with me, I may even delay posting one or two just so I have things to post.

I have also been tweeting a lot from @RibbonsStitches, every time I am doing something I take a picture and tweet it.  I am however struggling with finding an appropriate background picture.  I know I want it to be a texture but as of yet I have not taken the right picture for it. I have tried out a lot of different options and I haven’t found the right one yet.

On a different note I have decided to send out an invitation (pictured) to about 50 people inviting them to join Ribbons & Stitches.  I think this is going to help it to get out there a little but, and hopefully travel by word of mouth to start. Now that I have done all of this work it would be nice if people actually went to the site.  I may tweak this invitation further, but I am really liking the old-style font along with the Helvetica Neue, it is how the fonts are on the website.

I am also toying with the idea of making an Etsy Store, because that will also help get the word out there, and again I think it is a good place to start.  I do not have a ton of things to sell, but I think I will start with around five, and once I have time to make things I will.  Hopefully I will be able to have a few extra things up there by the exhibition.  I am really looking forward to IMX, I think that my project is coming out really well and it is going to be fun to see it all finished!

Chipping away at capstone

So this week I decided that I want to add a texture to the background of the Ribbons & Stitches website.  I have a beautiful white lace that I have taken a few shots of with my camera I plan on doing more because I want to have options when I begin to decide on the final texture, and I do not want to reuse the picture from my portfolio.  I would like to separate the sites a little bit, I think it will allow Ribbons & Stitches to be its own thing.

I am also almost ready to put the videos up on the site.  It is a little nerve wracking to me to finally put them up there because I keep tweaking them every time I look at them.  I am happy with how they have all turned out and I will have eight total on there at the end of the semester.  Unless by some miracle time to do extra things comes out of thin air.  We do have a week off between the end of classes and graduation, I have thought about doing a few more things during that week so that I can start off with a lot of content.

When one of my classmates pointed out to me that I do not have anyone to join the ‘community’ yet I started recruiting my friends.  I am also going to send off the link to the site to a few other creative contacts I have and urge them to pass it along.  I am going to stay invested in the project during the summer and try to grow it as much as possible during that time.  I am hoping that will prompt people to give me ideas and feedback as to what they would like to see next.

Ribbons & Stitches is live! (and it has actual content)

I again have to credit one Mr. Kirkham with helping me get R & S up and running.  WordPress is now installed, R & S has a theme, and I have tinkered with said theme quite a bit over the weekend. Please take the time to visit us http://www.ribbonsandstitches.com I am going for a sort of artsy logo with serif letters, and as for all the written content, that is anything other than an h1 or h2 tag is a font that can be likened to Helvetica Neue Ultralight. I am really pleased with how it is coming together, and I really enjoy playing around with WordPress.

R & S also now has a twitter! Follow us @RibbonsStitches, I am planning on following a lot of the people and companies I follow on my personal Twitter, ie American Apparel, ModCloth etc.I am hoping that this will generate some people visiting the site and hopefully watching my videos and perhaps even learning from them!

I am really confident about the progress I have been making and for the first time in a few weeks I am right on schedule. On my schedule I have that all of the bugs/ issues with the site will be dealt with by April 20, that is Friday and I am expecting to fall behind on that a little bit but I think if I just keep a steady pace of working I will not have a problem.  I am really looking forward to the final product.  I really like everything I have created so far and I think it is going to end up being really unique and interesting.