All posts in personal projects


One of the ways I support Oakland’s AXIS Dance Company as President of the Board of Directors is to provide pro bono design services from time to time. Designing pro bono work for AXIS is a satisfying way to use my professional skills to serve the community.

Most years, I design a series of promotional pieces for their Home Season, and this year I had the pleasure of creating a poster, postcard, program cover and BART poster to inform the Bay Area about their upcoming performances at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, including work by Joe Goode, Alex Ketley, Bobbi Jene Smith, and Sonya Delwaide.

Here’s a peek at the BART poster, soon to be seen in East Bay stations:


AXIS Dance Company, Home Season 2015 / Onward, BART poster

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors is currently accepting applications for a cohort of new members set to begin in June, and it was time to refresh our recruiting materials. We decided to replace a lengthy booklet with volumes of content that could already be found on the organization’s website with a concise marketing piece with basic facts about AXIS’s global and local impact as well as the requirements of Board membership presented in bullet points for easy reading.

The finished product is a 5×7 folded piece on card stock, that also can be downloaded as a PDF. Here are the front and back, and below, the inside spread of the piece:

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AXIS Dance Company Board of Directors Membership Guide (cover)

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AXIS Dance Company Board of Directors Membership Guide (inside)

If you’d like more information about serving on the board, visit our website at



For the past four weeks I’ve been taking an online course through HOW Design University, based on Jim Krause’s excellent book of the same name, D30: Exercises for Designers. “D30” refers to thirty days of hands-on exercises for designers and other creative professionals or fans to fine tune their skills and re-invigorate their connection with love of design—that childlike desire to play with art that we can lose touch with over years of dealing with the grown-up realities of deadlines and clients and billing.

For this course, we focused on three or four exercises a week. On the playful, getting in touch with your inner kindergartener side, projects ranged from making paper mâché balloon bowls, to creating designs on paper with uncooked pasta, to drawing stylized “swirling swirls” on paper napkins; on the more technical honing side, exercises included drawing the negative space of a chair or other simple object, playing with the macro settings on your DSLR in a simple homemade photo studio, and creating a short stop motion movie with photos of circles.

I found it really fun and refreshing to lose myself in these projects—a great reset on my own engagement with love of design and arts and crafts. Highly recommended for designers and artists looking to reconnect with the basics. Here’s a selection of the wide-ranging projects I tackled this month.


Three Horizon Interactive Awards, WordPress vs Custom Website Design, and Best Practices for Social Media Marketing

The past month has been a busy one, starting with a guest presentation on best practices for social media marketing for Placemaking Group president, Dennis Erokan’s PR class at Saint Mary’s College.


Within 24 hours prior to the talk, we learned not only about LinkedIn killing its products and services promotion for companies, but also about Facebook throttling organic reach of posts to brand pages, so we had lots to discuss. Read more…


This year marks the 25th anniversary of an arts organization that’s near to my heart, AXIS Dance Company.

For a quarter century, AXIS has been an incredible asset to the local community — and far beyond. They provide engaging, inspirational educational programs on dance and collaboration and disability to local schools, outreach programs to community centers, independent living centers and other organizations, and in-house workshops to students of all ages and abilities. Whether on tour or right here at home at Oakland’s Malonga Casquelourd Theater, they move audiences with their powerful performances featuring both able-bodied and disabled dancers, and their repertoire of dazzling contemporary choreography.

Here’s what some critics have had to say about AXIS:

“…magnificently powerful and unlike what you’ll see elsewhere.” – Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune

“AXIS’ work instructs the viewer in how to appreciate it and the lesson is delivered with cogent force: sympathy is irrelevant. Forget what isn’t there and focus on what is.” – Bruce Weber, New York Times

“…the quality of the dancing takes your breath away.” – Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle

Dancers Sonsherée Giles and Joel Brown.

Last week, after over two and a half years serving on their board of directors (and a few more as a volunteer), I was delighted to be elected to serve as President for the Board of AXIS Dance Company. It’s truly an exciting time to be stepping into the role, with AXIS’ Home Season 25th Anniversary performances approaching this April, a couple terrific new dancers on board, and incredible choreographers working with the company to revitalize older pieces (Marc Brew) and to create new ones (Victoria Marks, Amy Seiwert and Sonya Delwaide).

This year, won’t you join me in supporting this unique and vital arts organization? I invite you to come to a performance this spring, consider getting involved, or commit to donating $25 to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Dance Access Studio Program

Your contribution will allow AXIS to continue creating and delivering mind-blowing performances and touching the lives of kids and adults alike in the Bay Area and beyond. I hope to see you at the Home Season 25th Anniversary shows in Oakland this April—prepare for an incredible evening!


In 2008 I joined a Taproot Foundation team of marketing professionals to create a brochure for AXIS Dance Company. Little did I know then that it would be the start of a great working relationship, both as a volunteer donating my time and skills to help with various marketing campaigns, and later, as a board member.

Earlier this week AXIS posted an interview with me about why I joined the board. I hope it inspires people to volunteer their own time and professional skills to support an arts organization in their communities.

And if your community happens to be here in the Bay Area, perhaps you’ll be moved to apply to join the AXIS board—we’re excited to be working to recruit new board members this fall.

Please share the AXIS posts with your friends and colleagues who might be interested in this great professional opportunity to make a difference in supporting the arts right here in Oakland, and feel free to ask me more about AXIS in the comments.

Above, video of AXIS performing on So You Think You Can Dance earlier this week.


Knitting is the perfect pastime for a web designer.

At the end of the day—or month, or several! depending on the complexity of the project—you’ve got a beautiful, functional thing that not only shows off your sense of design and style, but also your technical ability: to know your way around assorted stitches, follow, modify or create a pattern, and troubleshoot along the way (the analogy isn’t perfect, but I think of dropped stitches like html tags that haven’t been properly closed).

Knitting satisfies both my creative side and my inner math geek, neither of which I could do without in my career creating websites.

Usually I have one or two projects going at a time, and when I over-knit for myself, I give away the goods. Most of them go to my husband and kids, but I also have donated several pieces to fundraising auctions for AXIS Dance Company and OUSD’s Joaquin Miller Elementary School.

If you’re interested in starting to knit, I’d recommend a couple books for beginners. Stitch ’n Bitch: the Knitter’s Handbook, by Debbie Stoller, got me started, with its designs that would make any hipster, would-be yarn-bomber or once-upon-a-time post-punk like me proud to be a knitter. The substantially more milquetoast 1-2-3 Knit: Beginner’s Guide, was actually quite helpful with some of the basics as well.

For knitters who are pretty comfortable with the basics, Chronicle Books has some beautifully designed knitting books with great projects. I started with the Hats, Mittens, & Scarves deck, 25 Cool and Cozy Projects by Andrea Tung.

I’ve found YouTube to be an amazing resource as well. There are tons of tutorials on stitches there, and nothing really is better than having someone show you how it’s done.

You can find me on Ravelry, a really great online knitting community, right here.


California was a great place to be for spectacular views of the annular solar eclipse yesterday. We transformed our living room into a giant pinhole camera so we could safely watch it indoors, though it was a beautiful day and at the height of the eclipse we went outside to enjoy the display of glimmering crescents playing upon the street and the side of our house.

In the house, we taped cardboard, poster board, and large sheets of paper (just whatever was readily available from our recycling and art supplies) to cover a window facing the sun, blocking out as much incoming light as we could. Through one piece of the poster board we made a single pinhole using a thumbtack. On the other side of the room, we held up a pad of white paper to the light shining through the pinhole. That’s it—really simple.

Sun shining through the holes formed by spaces in between the leaves of our cherry tree and redwoods also formed these cool patterns shaped like the eclipse itself on the street.

This eclipse maxed out at about 90% coverage of the sun, with a “ring of fire” visible around the perimeter of the moon. Because the moon’s orbit around Earth is elliptical, as is Earth’s around the sun, their distance from us and therefore their appearance in size varies. Annular eclipses happen when the sun and moon are precisely lined up, but the moon appears smaller than the sun. In a total eclipse, a larger-appearing moon completely obscures the sun.

The next annular eclipse is on May 10, 2013.


At home with Malcolm and Nora has won a Bronze Horizon Interactive Award for Blog design. It was up against blogs designed for Nike (for the Women’s World Cup), ABC Family, and Sony, so it was flattering to be the lone individual designer standing out in the crowd.

Last year, my popular Radiohead fansite, How to Be Like Colin Greenwood in Ten Easy Steps earned a Silver, while the website designed for Streetside Stories as a Taproot Foundation volunteer got a Bronze. An earlier version of this portfolio site was given an honorable mention in 2005.