I have moved my blog over to my other site, Living A Creative Life, where I write about anything and everything having to do with (ahem) living a creative life, and where I’m on a mission to empower people to follow their creative callings. Click here to follow me there.
Internet connections can lead to wonderful things.
Um, no brainer!
I must admit it’s a little… amusing to see this Jewish girl’s work on the home page above the title “Christ reigns.” But hey, one of the most fun art directors I ever worked with was at an evangelical publishing company that commissioned me to create a ketubah for one of their book covers.
Yes, I designed the whole kit and caboodle, including the hand-lettered title, and chapter titles throughout the book.
Notice the cross at the bottom of the paper cut. The irony of this job is that the only reason I accepted the project (for significantly less than what I would normally charge), was because the contract gave me the rights to reproduce it for my own use. I planned to create a ketubah print from the finished artwork.
It didn’t occur to me to insist on veto power over the imagery included in the design.
Needless to say, a ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) with a cross in it is a bit of a hard-sell. Though I suppose there’s probably a market with the Jews for Jesus.
Maybe someday I’ll redo the paper cut without the cross. (On my mile-long list of things to do…)
I was in New York last weekend, first participating in a panel on the business of calligraphy on Friday night [the video on this link is not currently working, stay tuned], and then spending ten hours on Saturday and Sunday teaching an enthusiastic group of calligraphers from the Society of Scribes everything I know about making a ketubah. We covered:
- deciding on a design and lettering styles
- laying out and copyfitting the text
- collage, painting, drawing, paper cutting, paper sculpture and gilding techniques
And a whole bunch more!
I love love love to teach, so this trip was a real treat. I’ll admit I was anxious about this class – I really wanted it to go well, and it was challenging to figure out how best to structure the info. But if the feedback I got is any indication, the students got a lot out of it.
Today I got this lovely note from the VP of the group, who was also my gracious hostess for the weekend:
I wanted to send a note and tell you that I have received many positive comments in reference to your weekend workshop (Big Text Blocks, Borders and Letters, Oh My!). You did a wonderful job explaining detailed tools and techniques so that we could understand the processes you use to create your amazing art. However, the biggest impact of this workshop on the class was the expansion of artistic possibilities for the calligraphers. Most of the class has been involved with the art of beautiful writing for years. This experience allowed the group to focus on complementary decoration and layout of written text blocks instead of practicing letter forms.
We enjoyed the computer e-presentation of your work, detailed answers to all of our questions, your preparedness for the class, and the bonus of hearing your jazz DVD while we worked. Thank you again Melissa, your workshop has been a wonderful addition to our class offerings.
Society of Scribes, Ltd.
New York, New York
All in all, a fabulous weekend! I look forward to my next itinerant teaching opportunity.
What a treat to find my article, Variations on Modern Ketubah Texts: Reform/Egalitarian, Interfaith and Same Sex Wording, on 10,000 Couples!
10,000 Couples was created in October 2009 “as an online magazine dedicated to celebrating, affirming, and strengthening the commitment of gay and lesbian couples to one another and to their relationships. From that first encounter with ‘the one’ to child-proofing your kitchen right through to financing your retirement, we strive to give each matter the seriousness and the humor you deserve.”
I’m so honored that the editors selected my article for publication.
I love making ketubot, invitations, chuppah canopies and other artwork to celebrate gay and lesbian unions. Of course, I love all of my clients, but my gay and lesbian couples get hit with so much prejudice that when they encounter someone who supports them, they practically glow with appreciation!
It just makes me feel all warm and gooey inside!
As a way to ease the challenging process of planning a wedding in a world that doesn’t always support it, I offer a special discount for same gender couples.
If you know of any other great same gender resources, please let me know!
The lesson for the day is BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP! And did I mention backup?
Seriously, as soon as you’re done reading this scintillating bit of Pullitzer-worthy writing, walk your mouse over to your own website or blog, and BACK IT UP!
I learned the hard way: Ketubahworks.com, the website from which I derive my livelihood, was completely shut down for close to a month due to a malware attack (no, nothing personal against me, just some hacker somewhere, out to wreak general havoc, and I got lucky – ha!)
On the one hand, this is historically a slow time of year for my mostly-wedding-related business, so it probably could have been worse, but on the other hand, during the slowest time of the year is when I can use all the sales I can get! So having NO WEBSITE was a real problem, to say the least.
Although I’m on a Mac (which I had thought meant I was immune to viruses, etc.), I learned in my desperate attempts to get my site back up again that 99% of all website hacks are actually Trojan horses or similar code that finds its way onto the site’s server via the owner or admin’s own computer.
So, being just a tad interested in having my livelihood back TO STAY (yes, Virginia, that is sarcasm), I invested in three different virus/spyware protection programs: MacScan, Avast! and VirusBarrier X5 by Intego. Avast!, though it received excellent reviews from what I could find online, made my system horribly boggy. Basically unusable, as a matter of fact. This was a problem. A big problem. If I’m not able to use my computer I can’t make a living. On the other hand, it found, and eliminated, 64 (sixty-four!) viruses on my system!
VirusBarrier X5 is a dream – it runs in the background, checking every file as it’s opened or closed, and has no effect on my system that I can detect. Great! But… it declared my system free of viruses before Avast! found the veritable snakepit of viruses it did. Not good!
That “all clear” report did not give me a lot of confidence in the software, but by then it was bought and paid for. (And twelve days later I received notice that the new version, VirusBarrier X6, is now available, and after already paying a hundred bucks for InternetSecurity Barrier (a bundled version of the software which also includes NetBarrier 5 and a backup software that I haven’t managed to try yet), I’m now required to pay another $50 to get the upgrade. Can you say “the universe is laughing at you”?)
Sigh… The problem is, the software that found the viruses is impossible to run while I’m using the computer, and extremely opaque and non-intuitive to boot. (When it finds a virus, you have to select it from a list of files and isolate it in the Virus Chest, but sometimes the option to do this is greyed out, and then what am I supposed to do??!!) The software that is a breeze to use and makes sense (obviously designed by Mac folk!) is not reliable!
So I’ve come up with a protocol: I run VirusBarrier X5 whenever I’m working on my computer, and when I’m ready to shut down for the day, instead of actually shutting down I quit VirusBarrier X5 and open Avast!, which I set to scan my system while I sleep. In the morning it’s invariably not through scanning my entire system, but it’s gotten through my hard disk and the only files it hasn’t made it through are Time Machine backups, which are copies of whatever’s on the hard disk, so I think I’m safe (though as soon as I type this no doubt some techie will tell me why I’m wrong….) If there are any new viruses (which there haven’t been since the snake pit was cleaned out weeks ago), I deal with them, then reboot my machine and fire up VirusBarrier X5 again.
Whew! Kind of a lot of trouble, but NOTHING compared to the trouble of having no website!
Meanwhile, I learned the hard way that another essential protocol is to BACK UP EVERYTHING! Thankfully, I had a backup of Ketubahworks, which I finally got re-installed yesterday. (I kept expecting that the sister site I’ve been working on would be done soon, so I could forward Ketubahworks to it, but that project keeps dragging on.. I seriously need a new webmaster.. Anyone know of any good webmasters?) Unfortunately, the backup was a few months old, so hours and hours and HOURS of work were lost – poof! – just like that.
And then, in the process of restoring the Ketubahworks backup, somehow KetubahDiva, my blog, this blog, disappeared! Again, I did have a backup, but it was about a month old, and several posts were lost – poof! – just like that.
In fact, this post that I’m tapping away at right now is a redo of another post that I wrote last night, relating my tale of woe and lessons learned. But that post got lost – poof! – when my webmaster somehow reinstalled the original blog, and in the process lost the replacement/backup blog that I’d installed.
All that brilliant writing, gone.. (And believe me, it was probably the most brilliant writing I’ve ever done. Really. Award-winning material.)
Anyway, the point of all this rambling is this: get yourself some good virus/spyware protection, and establish a backup protocol, and USE IT! Seriously. It really, really, REALLY sucks to lose all your hard work, and if you’ve got a backup you can be up and running again with a helluva lot less trauma than if you have no backup.
In fact, I’m off to make yet another backup of my sites.
Calling all Brides and Grooms!
I’m offering a special promotion for brides and grooms who visit me this Sunday, January 10th, at the Modern Bridal wedding faire at the Ritz-Carleton in San Francisco. I’d love to see you there, and you can get a FREE GIFT and up to $425 (or more) in savings! Read on for details…
As my New Year’s gift, I’m giving away a free set of fine art greeting cards to the first 10 brides (or grooms!) who visit my booth, and I’ll continue to give away free individual cards while supplies last.
The cards are perfect to use yourself – as thank you notes or attendant gift notes – or give them away as a special present.
Just visit the Wedding Artworks booth and bring a copy of this post, and you can select from a variety of designs. Quantities are limited; design selection is first-come, first-served, so show up early for the best selection.
I specialize in personalized, one-on-one attention with every bride and groom I work with. You’ll be able to see a good sampling of my invitations and wedding artworks at the faire, but in order to really discuss your dream wedding, we’ll need to sit down and talk.
Schedule a personal visit with me at the faire and I’ll give you FREE THANK YOU NOTES with any invitation order (up to $250 value or more, depending on how many invitations you order), PLUS FREE PERSONALIZATION on one of my wedding artwork or ketubah prints (a $75 value!).
BRING A FRIEND PROMOTION
Even better, bring a friend to the wedding faire and she can save $50, and you can save up to $100! Here’s how it works:
* when you and your friend each schedule a personal visit with me at the faire, I will give you each a date and time reminder card with a voucher for $50 off your order
* if your friend orders invitations or wedding artwork from me, I’ll pay YOU back an additional $50 – either by taking it off your final balance payment, or by sending you a check if your balance is already paid.
Minimum order size is $300 to take advantage of this promotion. Promotion is valid only for attendees of the January 10 Modern Bridal Faire, and may be terminated at any time.
So don’t miss your opportunity – come to the Modern Bridal Faire at the Ritz-Carleton in San Franciso on Sunday and you can get a free gift, up to $250 worth of free thank you notes, $75 worth of free personalization, and up to $100 off your order! That’s up to $425 or more in savings!
Of course, I’d be happy to speak with you anytime to discuss your plans for your wedding, so even if you can’t make it to the faire, just give me a call at 650-938-3939 and we can schedule a vist. You can also view my work at Wedding Wire and Envelopments (my website is undergoing extensive maintenance, but I’ll let you know when it’s live again).
I look forward to seeing you at the faire!
Finally, after much slitting of shrink wrap (note to self: next time, have replicators leave 200 CDs UNshrinkwrapped…), and signing and packaging of CDs, all pre-orders have been shipped off to my wonderful supporters and “Executive Producers”!
All that mailing costs money, but I recently discovered a cache (read: a messy, uncleaned drawer) of old stamps, so my “actual” CD mailing costs are effectively just for the bubble wrap packaging. Sweet!
The downside: since the stamps ranged in value from 1 cent to 87 cents, with a lot of 37, 34, 33 and 32 cents in there (and the actual postage costs are $1.56, $1.90, $2.24 or $2.75 for one, two, three or four CDs respectively), I had to spend a lot of time with a calculator. I can add, but a math savant I am not.
The upside: assembling the aforementioned wide-variety-of-values stamps to create the appropriate value turned out to be kinda fun, and resulted in some rather pretty stamp collages. Here a few of my favorites:
I’ve got lots of stamps left, so until they run out, if you order any CDs from me, you can be the proud owner of a lovely stamp collage, in addition to the fabulous CD. Just click here to place your order.
After being up and running for less than 24 hours, Ketubahworks has been hacked AGAIN, and is down until further notice. My apologies for the inconvenience.
Please contact me directly for info about my ketubot, wedding certificates, wedding invitations, baby name certificates, birth announcements, bar/bat mitzvah invitations, keepsakes and certificates.
Studio phone: 650-938-3939 or 866-KETUBOT (866-538-8268)
December 21, 2009
The darkest day of the year started darkly for me: Ketubahworks.com is shut down for at least 48 hours due to a malicious attack.
If you’re interested in a ketubah, invitations, fine art prints, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah invitations, baby name prints or anything else, please contact me directly via the contact form on this site, or give me a call at 866-538-8268 (866-KETUBOT)
A pox on all malicious hackers, and my apologies for any inconvenience!
Happy Solstice, Christmas, or whatever you celebrate, and Happy New Year to all!
UPDATE: December 23, 2009
As of 6:10pm, Ketubahworks is back online! Thanks for your patience and support.
Thank you to Susan Southerland for a beautiful write-up of my work on her wedding blog!