Monday, November 30, 2009

Ocean Drop

At sunset (of course).

Today's Gratitude Item: DVD's on "Space" that magically appeared from a colleague's drawer. Long story short, my "Space" unit is laptop based. My students have to give in their laptops on Friday but we only finish classes the following Wednesday. That's where the DVD's come in! Needless to say I am unimpressed by the need for student laptops to be handed in so early - especially as we were not warned well in advance that this would happen and are expected to continue with "meaningful learning" until our very last session.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sun Drop

Featuring the last of my Yacht illustrations.

Today's Gratitude Item: Being appreciated :) The library where I volunteer once a month gave me a beautiful thank you card and $60.00 gift voucher for my efforts to date! This was unexpected but deeply appreciated. Getting gifts is always lovely, and being thanked / acknowledged is priceless.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Heart Strings

The heart that appeared on the ball was a rather pleasant surprise :)

Today's Gratitude Item: Free 500mm pencils :) No, that is not a misprint, said pencils are extremely long and are basically useless for writing. They were giving them away for free at one of the stores I visited today as a Christmas thing for kids. The reason I'm so excited about said pencils is that they are perfect for orienting the electronic whiteboards at school. The problem is that I'm short and our lab design is slightly tragic meaning that I can't reach the top of the electronic whiteboards to orient them in two of the rooms where my classes meet. Not orienting said boards is not an option as if you don't orient them when you plug in your laptop, then they don't work properly. The solution is to use the eraser on the end of my *new* super long pencil to reach the top of the board. No jumping required. The pencils came in packs of 3 and I snagged two lots, meaning that my short colleagues will benefit as well.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rose Windmill

The clipart was inspired by the fractal. Both turned out well.

Today's Gratitude Item: Good weather for our field trip. The kids all worked hard and we had a brilliant day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Strung Out Flower

When flowers get stressed, they appear to be "Strung Out".

Today's Gratitude Item: Guaranteed muffins tomorrow for morning tea. Said muffins are guaranteed because I bought them on the way home today! Tomorrow everyone in the middle school is "out" on Community and Service day which means muffins for morning tea for the staff and a great day out for our students.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Coffee Storm

This is an experiment that went somewhat awry. This one is so bad that I thought twice about blogging it, but its late and I'm tired so here it is.

Today's Gratitude Item: Completing my last "Unit Plan" for the year. Said plans are really teaching materials that I create electronically and share with my colleagues. Whilst they are useful and convenient, they take a *very* long time to create as the process involves finding resources (videos / animations / simulations), decided on practical experiments and writing / sourcing worksheets.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Philipines Flagship

Dedicated to all those who live in the Philippines.

Today's Gratitude Item: Discovering how easy it is to use master pages and their associated guides in InDesign :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fa'a Samoa

In memory of all those who perished in the Tsunami Tragedy.*

*Both ship and ocean were created before the Tsunami struck. The colours of the sea were selected so that they would match the ship and no other meaning should be read into them.

Today's Gratitude Item: That our scheduled staff meeting was canceled meaning that I could go home an hour earlier than originally anticipated!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lots of Yarn

Seen as this picture appears to be made up of yarn, it seemed appropriate to put a sheep on it!

Today's Gratitude Item: Taking care of a myriad of small odd jobs that needed to be done. Being "ready" for the week to come is a good feeling.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cog Storm

This one came out of the blue! Its the result of some random experimenting on my part.

Today's Gratitude Item: Managing to fold over 60 small boxes using squares of silver and red paper. Fifty of these boxes contain magnets so they stick to the fridge and with a small bow on the top, they look great. The plan is to give these to my students who did a good job on their "Magnets" assignment. Those who only did a "half job" will get the pretty box, sans magnet. My boss did not have a problem with my plan and hopefully it will be a creative way of telling students that "half jobs" are not really satisfactory. The magnets cost about 20c each and our $2.00 store used to sell the small bows in packs of 40 for $2.00 - so the entire project should cost less than $15.00.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pure Wool

The symbol in the middle of the disc reminds me of the symbol for pure wool. In retrospect I don't like the image at all, its horrible - much like my week has been. I'm feeling increasingly frustrated with the uncertainty surrounding my work situation :(

Today's Gratitude Item: The Microbe Magic website. It has everything I need for the upcoming unit on Microbes and it means that I don't need to do too much to prepare. This site has activities, practical experiments and loads of information. All I'll do is write down some instructions for my students and decide which activities we will do as a group. Having it all there for one is so much easier than re-inventing the wheel.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woven Waves

The name of the ship, Tangata Whenua is slightly ironic as it is Maori for "People of the Land".

Today's Gratitude Item: Managing to find some great, cheap smiley faced magnets. I'm planning on giving them to my students who completed a task on the topic. Those who did not submit anything don't get the cool magnet :) It will be interesting to see the reactions.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


This is what happens when things at sea get slightly out of kilter. The name of the boat alludes to the current lack of democracy in Fiji. If you look closely, you'll see a bunch of bananas on their flag. Don't believe me? Look at the bottom right corner of the crest on this Fijian Flag.

Today's Gratitude Item: Realising that I don't see my "dodgy" class tomorrow because of assembly! Normally I don't mind teaching them but having an unscheduled break from a difficult task is always nice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shining Dawn

The tiling in this one was done "manually". I think it turned out rather well.

Today's Gratitude Item: Getting the first draft of my student's reports done. I still have far too much work to do but at least that major task is out of the way.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ocean Rain

The background reminded me of what happens when giant raindrops hit swirling water.

Today's Gratitude Item: Science aptitude tests :) As in my Head of Faculty asked us to get our students to do said test which takes about a period. I was not expecting to see my class tomorrow due to "Beach Day", but they only leave for the beach after morning tea meaning that I get to see them after all. At least now I have something to keep them busy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Roughing It

Historically, the British have been able sailors, so I figured that putting their ship on rough sea would not be too much of a problem.

Today's Gratitude Item: A client liked the logo I designed. That's the good news. Bad news is that they are one of those non-paying clients. As in I stupidly agreed to do the work "pro bono" - must really learn not to do that. At least I can use the logo as part of my portfolio so not all is lost.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wave Geometry

Dedicated to all those South Africans out there. The ship is named after one of my favourite Johnny Clegg songs.

Today's Gratitude Item: Leaving my mark-book at school. I was meant to bring it home so that I could get some reports written but left it at school by accident. This means being unable to do school work tomorrow - which is as it should be.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Swiring Sea

Dedicated to my Dutch colleagues and friends. I recycled one of my old flags to make the sail.

Today's Gratitude Item: Not having to do the reader / writer thing! I was asked to do it a while back and agreed but the student concerned opted to "go it alone" giving me two precious hours to do vital work. Stuff at school continues to be relentless. In addition to preparing units for the next three topics for three different year groups, I'm also meant to have my end of year reports done in the near future. The reporting thing is slightly insane as we still have four long weeks of term to go and the kids only get their reports at the end of the year - at which point our comments may not be that current.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sea Floor

As in the sea in this image looks a lot like a funky kitchen floor. Flag is that of New Zealand (as in home, sweet home!)

Today's Gratitude Item: Recyclable resources. Teaching the "Earth and Space" topic last year means having resources that can be reused for this year. Its amazing how much interactive "stuff" is out there on this particular topic. Of all the science topics, outer space is the one which seems to have captured "Joe Public's" imagination the most.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sea Chef

The sails are the flag of the Cook Islands, the name of the boat is a touch of whimsy on my part.

Today's Gratitude Item: Being able to edit clipart quickly and easily in Illustrator. Perhaps "cheap and nasty" would be a better description but it does work. Generally, I prefer to use my own illustrations to avoid copyright issues but for personal use, editing clipart will do the trick.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rising Sun

I was particularly pleased with how this one turned out. The detailed work on the Japanese map for the one sail was absolutely worth it.

Today's Gratitude Item: Getting an "Enhanced" sale over at Shutterstock. This is rare enough to merit a mention and the $28.00 is a massive boost to this month's sales! To be blunt, its about time something really nice happened to me on the financial side of things. I've been working like a dog for relatively little reward and not having a place to work next year (?yet) has been incredibly demotivating. Problem is that I'm an "all or nothing" sort of person and I'm doing too much "all" and not enough "nothing".

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sea Guardian

I read somewhere that dragons are land / sea guardians - hence the name of the ship. The dragon has been recycled from a previous piece.

Today's Gratitude Item: That I managed to complete my marking! It has taken forever but its finally done. Next comes the fun task of writing reports (insert deep sigh here).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dawn Mystery

Another Incendia piece. This one rendered overnight I stopped it after about 9 hours. Thing was still not finished and I had to post process it in PSP to get rid of the "jaggies". I love that Incendia does 3D so well - the infinite render times are starting to grate.

Today's Gratitude Item: Big brother fixing the check boxes on a form that I created. I use the word "created" in its loosest possible sense because my .php skills are limited to taking a form that does work (originally created by big brother) and then changing it as needed. The funny bit came when big brother informed me that the code I was using was not all that great - and I told him that it was his stuff in the first place. We'd both care a lot more about this if the client was paying for the work! I'm really starting to hate it that people are happy to take my work for free but don't seem to be able to recommend paying clients! This "recession" seems to be an excuse for people to ask for volunteers because they "don't have the money". Maybe I need to learn to say "No" from time to time.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Dark Sun

For those who don't recognise the on the sail, its from the Island of Niue.

Today's Gratitude Item: Making Mandelbrot (literally "almond bread" ie: twice baked almond biscuits similar, but better than biscotti). I'm half way through the process having baked the loaf. Tomorrow I will cut it up and then finish making the biscuits by drying them out in the oven. So far, it tastes really good. Recipe called for ground almonds, chopped almonds, almond essence, lemon rind, flour, castor sugar and eggs etc. Was dead easy to make although I should have used smaller eggs as the giant ones I used meant that the dough I ended up was too soft / sticky. I love the idea of making Mandelbrot because not only is it traditional Jewish fare, it shares its name with one of my favourite mathematicians.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Knowledge Fountain

This one looks like a teacup / saucer on LSD.

Today's Gratitude Item: The electromagnet that I made today worked really well - which means that I'm ready to do that practical with my students. Its really fun and should help them understand how the whole process works.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sea Angel

The "Lost Princess" is a tribute to those who died in the Princess Ashika tragedy.

Today's Gratitude Item: Getting feedback after applying for a job and not getting it! I replied to the person who sent through the "thanks, but no thanks" email asking them a series of questions to improve my chances next time around. They were super quick in their response and it was very useful seeing the process from their perspective. With that thought in mind, I rejigged my Design Portfolio to make it more eye-catching. There's a fair bit of action on the second page of said portfolio and hopefully the changes help. Originally it was all hyperlinks to .pdf files which, in retrospect was a really dumb idea. When 70 designers apply for one job, the person wading through portfolios does not have time to click on hyperlinks! Next job will be to fix up my my CV. The current version has a number of issues, such as the colour, background and the fact that it is totally forgettable and does not show case my skills effectively. If anyone out there has sage advice, feel free to share!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Circle Sea

Dedicated to all those Aussies out there! Name of the ship comes from that classic Aussie bush ballad, Waltzing Mathilda.

Today's Gratitude Item: Not having to do a Physical Education relief this morning. I was scheduled to do said relief as my regular class had sports meaning that the sports staff needed cover. Happily, one of my PE colleagues decided to combine classes letting me off the hook and giving me a free hour to do other stuff.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Star of David Rose

Some sheep will eat just about anything!

Today's Gratitude Item: Tomorrow is the last time "Maths Club" for the year. Our senior students go on study leave on Friday which means that after tomorrow, my Wednesday afternoons will be a lot less busy!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Psalm 23

What more can I say?

Today's Gratitude Item: Realising that I can edit .pdf files using Illustrator. More specifically, being able to edit a logo that a client sent through with ease (their regular designer has done a runner and so they asked for my help - job was quick and easy to do).

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Sheep are not very bright - which is why spiky shapes don't bother them. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Today's Gratitude Item: Bad television! The programming was so awful that it was to eschew it for something useful instead.


This one is for Zeev who suggested creating a compass using a Star of David a very long time ago.

Today's Gratitude Item: The coffee thing happened this morning! It was tasty, fun and different. I also managed to get InDesign to hyperlink to references in my CV. Turns out that at present, my teaching contract at school will not be renewed in 2010 so I'm looking for work. Perhaps this time round, I'll be able to find something in the design industry!