A lot has been going on here lately. Some good, some not so good. I'm still trying to get my feet back under me and my head wrapped around everything but I'm getting there. A few weeks ago I hurt my back, or my neck, I'm still not quite sure which. The result was stabbing, shooting pains from my shoulder blade through to my chest and also straight down my left arm from my shoulder, into my fingers. I couldn't stand or sit up for more than about 5 minutes before I couldn't take the pain anymore. Sigh. All I could do to get any comfort was to lay on my back, with a pillow under my head and shoulders.
Me, lying on the couch.
Funny. I used to see one of our cats lying around all day and think, wow. That must be the life. Just lounge around all day, eat and go back to lying down. No one expecting you to do anything. No one asking you what we're doing for dinner. Just lounge around. Boy was I wrong! I had that exact situation for almost three weeks and I hated every last second of it! Well, almost every second. I'll get to that in a sec.
I spent the first few days in bed watching tv. That got old really quick. I didn't like being away from the kids and tv was SO boring so I set up out on the couch instead. Again, watching hour after hour of brain numbing television. I was bored to tears. Until I got an idea.
I started a group for Doll Artists back in 2010 on Facebook called Art Doll Artists or ADA. Facebook is ridiculous when it comes to trying to organize anything for groups so I let it just be a show and tell kind of group for almost 2 years. I even handed it over to my friend Jen for awhile and left the group myself. Eventually, I came back and while I was laid up with nothing to do I decided this would be a great time to move the group off of Facebook and onto it's very own website. I had nothing but time on my hands and desperately needed something to work on to save me from yet another hour of watching Hoarders.
I grabbed my husband's laptop and the laptop tray and set up ADA central command right in my living room. :)
I thought of all of the things I wanted to do in the group and how I could make a site to accommodate it all. I made some sketches and decided on what would be for members only and what would be public. I was SO grateful for the distraction from my back and for having something creative to do.
Once I figured out what I wanted to make it look like, I had to figure out how to make it happen. I have limited web design skills. I use a drag and drop kind of web design software and it just wouldn't cut it for what I had planned. I didn't have time to learn some complicated program either so I headed over to Google and started researching what my options were in the open source programs department.
I came across some social networking software that sounded like exactly what I needed. Then I found a web host that offered seamless installation from their CPanel with pretty good rates per month so I signed up and got busy installing. The end result, after tweaking everything and adding all of the group content was a pretty awesome little member's only area where everything I wanted to do could be in one place, easy to find and easy to use. Rock on! Here's a peek at what it looks like:
Not too shabby, eh? I'm pretty darn happy with it!
Next I decided I needed some public pages so I could share information about the site, what we do in the group, who we are and how to join. I also wanted to create a blog so outsiders could keep up with us. I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with all of this myself so I brought on my good friend, Jen, once again.
We did some brainstorming and decided on a blog schedule and Jen headed up our Facebook Fan Page. I got busy designing the blog and making some blog badges for members to place on their blogs. My husband's poor laptop took such a beating!
Hour after hour, day after day, all I did was work on the website. There's no way I would have been able to do all of that had I not been laid up. I simply would not have had the time. BUT, as luck (or bad luck) would have it, I was in a position to make it happen and make it happen quick. I am super proud of it and I'm super thankful to Jen and the handful of members I brought in early to test everything. They were such a great help.
Here's what the front page looks like:
That's Ayala's Art Dolls' Ringmaster doll. You may remember seeing him here on my blog last year. He was one of the dolls I was lucky enough to have arrive at my door for the ADO Traveling Doll Project that I participated in last year.
Pretty awesome, I think. I love, love, love this site and Jen and I have so many great plans for this group. We are still in the process of getting all of the ADA Facebook Group members moved over to the new site. At the end of April we will close down the Facebook portion of the group and finally settle into our new digs, once and for all. We're pretty excited about the whole thing.
Oh, and before I forget, Jen and I would love to invite all of you doll artists out there to come join us. The only requirements we have are that you make dolls, that you have somewhere online that we can see your dolls and that you're nice to other members. That's it. Really! What's that? Does it cost money to join, you ask? Absolutely not. All areas of the site are free. Once we're settled different members will be offering workshops which won't be free but everything else will be. No membership fees. Not now, not ever.
If you want to find out more about ADA, head on over to the website and check it out. If you'd like to join, the instructions for that are on the website as well, or you can just click the badge below. I hope to see you there!
Thankfully, I am back on my feet and moving around again. I managed to get all of the commissioned orders finished and have started making new pendants too. I'm also working on a doll for the ADA Spring Challenge. The theme is Vintage Circus/Sideshow and I have a bearded lady screaming to get out. :) I try not to push it too much though. I don't want to re-injure myself just because I'm impatient. So, I do what I want but when I start to feel a pull in my shoulder, I stop and relax for a few hours. Each day I can go longer and longer without a break. I am thrilled to be able to work again and to move my body again. YAY!
Today, be thankful for being able to do the things you love to do. Create something, anything. Oh yeah, and if you're a doll maker, get your hiney on over to ADA and join in the fun! That's an order! ;)
A finally back on her feet,