Where Hobbies & Career Meet

Just a few things that excite me, light me up, that I truly enjoy and where they cross the boundaries from Hobby to potential Career. There’s a lot more than this but charts and graphs can only handle so much information!

 

Where do I or have I used these programs?

CMS: WordPress, Drupal, Dreamweaver,  Joomla

 WordPress, install via cpanel and manually via FTP. Configure basic settings, install theme and plugins. Troubleshoot conflicts and custom changes to HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP researching for additional information as needed. Total current number of sites is 14 with subdomains. I personally use Infinite WordPress to manage updates, themes, plugins and backups.

 

Samples Collage

Prior to using WordPress for all of the sites I used Joomla or Drupal as well as hand coding in HTML CSS and using Dreamweaver for development. I currently use VS Code for all my hand coded sites and work.

Databases: Azure, SharePoint, MMIS, DS3, Citrix, Access, Enterprise, COGNOS, MYSQL, PHPMyAdmin, CPanel

The robust Azure & SharePoint system used by Microsoft in combination with Excel and Power BI was a great system to work with for modifying accounts and tracking data. 

Citrix was a database that was used to track various types of data for the clients that Nine Star served.

 

web management 2020

 

DS3 is the main database currently in use with Senior and Disability Services but it is in the process of being replaced. DS3 originally was a Cold Fusion based system but has migrated to a .NET framework.  The replacement system is named Harmony and went live in the winter of 2018.

 MMIS or Medicaid Medical Information System has been replaced by Enterprise and is a good system that Harmony will eventually interface with. This system’s report manager, COGNOS provides a robust system to track data.

Graphic Art Suites: Corel Draw, Inscape, Gimp, Paint Shop Pro, Visio, Star UML, Dia, Freemind

Battle Plan

The Corel Draw Suite is a main tool for my drafting and design work for sewing patterns and technical writing. Inkscape is the Open Source version of it and is used to do various drawings in .svg formats.

Umls are used to diagram processes in Visio and Star Uml.

One of my main tools is Freemind, Freeplane and now Scapple for mind mapping ideas and outlining books.

Office Suites: Office 365, Master Certified Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office 95-2016, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft SharePoint 2007-2016, OneNote, Open Office, Adobe Pro, Adobe DC

I use or have used all of these office suites heavily. They are the main stay of my workflows.

I am certified in MS Office and have continued my education using State of Alaska Trainings for SharePoint eventually earning the respect of the IT administration team and 

open-office

granted my own sandbox to work in as well as full control over the Provider Certification Unit site and the Division’s Archiving site.

I used OneNote to compile a reference manual of all of the procedures for the Certification unit.

Word and Excel were used heavily to do mail merges as well as many other tasks including checklists and data tracking as well as graphs and charts for reports up to the Federal level.

Adobe Pro was used to “jailbreak” documents into Word and Excel, date stamp incoming certification applications and many other tasks including as a pivotal tool in a massive mail merge. I also used it to create the Certification Application and add fill in fields to ensure that applications were legible and data entry was accurate.

This is but a small portion of the variety of software and tools I use or have used on a daily basis. The list could go on and on!

History of Websites

With all this as my experience I am ready to jump into a career in front end web development.

2019

I have spent 2019 updating, maintaining and adding to the sites. I also took on the professional upkeep of the AKCTT Website as part of my duties as the Secretary of the Board.

I also added a few small projects to Lady Code Monkey and became more active on Git Hub thanks to my Harvard CS50  EdX course.

2020

In 2020 I plan to continue to add mini projects to Lady Code Monkey, expanding my repository on Git Hub. In addition I plan to complete my A+, Net+ and Security+ certifications

2017

Started seriously seeking to move from administrative work into website development.

2018

photos

Recently I have started a site for my landscape photography, since I live in the beautiful Mat-Su Valley of Alaska. It is hard to resist the urge to take a photo of snow capped peaks or the occasional moose in the yard.

I’ve also started a second site for a client, in fact my first website client from 1995. Happily the site seems to also be doing well.

Wanting to continue my web development learning I found a few online videos and sites to continue to read up on web technologies when I found time. I started once more taking classes in 2015 and 2016 on many topics and adding to my knowledge base.

2015

Started taking online courses in a variety of programming languages and technologies from Unity to SQL to HTML5 and CSS3 as a refresher

API JSON XML Class Certificate
Lady Code Monkey

2016

I split my portfolio domain into Code Monkey and Lady Code Monkey, one for developing WordPress plugins and themes (not much done with it yet) and the other for advanced web development topics.

Code Monkey

My love of web development languished for a couple years but was renewed in 2014 when I decided I needed a way to manage all my sites instead of logging in to each one at a time to update them. I found and implemented Infinite WP which allows me one place to see all my sites, update them and even manage plugins and themes.

2009

Coffee Institute

For fun I added Coffee Institute as a place for my love of coffee. I wrote a little but ultimately it is becoming an affiliate niche site for coffee.

2014

Researched managing multiple sites as maintenance was time consuming and implemented Infinite WP which allows me to keep all of my sites updated and ready at all times. Started watching more current videos and reading more on website development as well as what new technologies were becoming available.

iwp
Sue A Darby Portfolio

2008

I then added Sue A Darby, my portfolio site to the collection to use as a place to showcase my work for my Capstone.

2008

Alaska Office Specialists

Towards the end of my second round of college in 2008, I started Alaska Office Specialists as part of a college class in web development.

2005

sera

 I added Sera and Justice Together to my now growing list of domains so that my young children would have the option of learning to develop websites. This was where I learned how to use my hosting to split my sites into sub domains.

justice
mom

In 2006 my love of books and music led me to try my hand at a site called Books, Music & More and attempt to monetize it but with competing priorities it has been a slow process building it.

2006​

Books Music & More

Summer 1995

Shirley’s Creative Designs was started.

Shirley's Creative Designs

Fall 1995

Sue’s Tiny Costumes was started.

Sue's Tiny Costumes

In the summer of 1995 I became interested in creating websites and started developing Shirley’s Creative Designs. In the fall of the same year I started Sue’s Tiny Costumes. I started out on the infancy of the internet using an old site, Xoom.com which is no longer online. From there I moved to a Geocities site for a number of years. I developed in the browser using the WYSIWYG editor until I learned Dreamweaver and HTML. I did all my own photography with a film camera and scanned photos before doing general editing. Eventually, I purchased a digital camera.

In 2002 I was convinced by my mentor to purchase a domain name for myself and use hosting for my site. It was at this time I learned FTP. With hosting I also learned SEO and CSS as well as how to optimize images as my site had grown to 200 hand coded pages. I continued to revise my site by hand until 2005 when I started to learn about content management systems and discovered Drupal, Joomla and ultimately WordPress.

My Doll Business

I get a lot of questions and funny looks when I mention that my small business which was started in 1995 is focused solely on dolls. You see my original college major was Fashion Design and I focused on dolls as they are fun and easy to make a wide variety of garments for. 

When I talk about the size range I get more incredulous looks since the smallest doll I have and have actually designed, drafted and sewn for is a 1/2″ baby doll. 

The next largest is 2 1/2″ tall and has a hand beaded gown. From there I move to 1″ scale dolls and go larger still into 6-8″ children dolls, 10 1/2″ lady dolls, Barbie of course along with Gene, Kitty Collier and finally my beloved Letha Marie who is 3 ft 10″ tall and wears a child size 3 shoe. A couple of my dolls I literally poured the porcelain for and created from scratch before I dressed them.

If asked in an interview about my dolls I will brag on them never ending as I LOVE my dolls and my sewing work in all those scales. Letha placed 2nd at the Anaheim Doll show, several outfits for my 1″ and 1/2″ scale dolls have been featured in magazines as well as my larger dolls. Two of my dolls won 1st and 2nd place at the Alaska State Fair and were featured in a magazine.

Why am I so proud of the doll business overall though? Each pattern, and there are 100 and counting, takes a large amount of project management. Choosing resources, designs, colors, dolls, fabrics and trims takes time. Budgeting for a costume plus determining the shapes of pieces, testing patterns, technical writing is involved in each pattern for step by step instructions. Some designs were done as custom items for customers and thus I had to work closely with each one to get the tiny details right.

Over the years I also had to learn photography as well as web design and development. I started by scanning my dolls since I didn’t own a camera but I had a scanner. Once I had a camera I started working on my still life portrait skills, they are dolls! I had to learn to edit photos and add them manually to a website. My original site was 50 megs and over 200 hand coded pages. I taught myself SEO,  Drupal, Joomla and eventually learned WordPress.

As for my books, those were herculean for me as I was also a new parent to an infant and then toddler which required a lot of time management and multi-tasking skills to go with the technical skills and all the testing and even book layout and production of the hard copies at first.

Why am I not still at this? I do it as a hobby now as it just will not support a family. I have totes of dolls and fabric and ideas filed away and when I find time I dig out a doll and start making something. I still work on my website when I can get a chance as well since I have photos and such that I still have not shared with the world.

Yes, my business is based on dolls but the skills used to create products as a one man shop are very transferable to a workplace. I use many of my time, task and project skills all the time at my previous job as well as at my current job.

Some examples of the results of these skills show up in the Compliance Checklist and the Certification Checklists which were projects for the State of Alaska.

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    All image on this site are ©2019 Sue Darby.

    Photographs are taken by Sue Darby please ask for permission and link to this site if you wish to use one.

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