For the first time in several years I’m blogging again. Let’s talk about the why, the how and what to expect.

The Why

I’m a little tired of contributing to platforms I don’t own, and in the last few months I’ve started to draw away from as many of them as is feasible. I don’t mind using Twitter or Instagram, but I don’t want them to be my sole way of showing off creative things I’m doing. Their support for categorizing and displaying content is not congruous with what I want to do.

And I have been doing creative things! Getting into woodworking last year was the most satisfying thing I’ve done in awhile, as its so different from my career in software development. The satisfaction of holding something physical you just designed and built scratched an itch for me, and I want to continue doing it.

Putting those two things together made it obvious to me that I wanted to bootstrap a new personal platform for documenting the projects I’m working on and what I’m learning as I proceed.

The How

I thought long and hard about how to host this thing. I wanted to get technology out of the way as much as possible and focus on content and delivery of said content. I wanted a fast, reliable base to build this on.

I considered Wordpress and some other CMS options like Ghost or Contentful but in the end I fell back to Jekyll. I like the static site generator approach to what is primarily/solely a content site, and most importantly I didn’t want to get bogged down in building javascript apps or fiddling with wordpress themes. Jekyll gave me just enough of a bare bones theme to build a simple site layout on top of it, customizing everything as I saw fit.

I’m hosting on a pre-existing Digital Ocean droplet I had, and this is giving me a chance to try out two things I’d heretofore not worked with: SSL via Let’s Encrypt and CDN distribution via Cloudflare.

I’m also prioritizing distribution via RSS as I’m trying to get back to my own roots of choosing for myself what content I want to read, instead of some fucking social network algorithm.

What to Expect

My plan for the site is to gradually work through the backlog of woodworking projects I’ve finished in the last year, creating a project page/gallery for each one. I’m focusing the content on how I approached each project at a high level, along with a list of learnings I had along the way. If my learning helps no one else it’s at least a diary for me to look back on later, but hopefully others will find it useful too.

With the imminent arrival of Kid #2, I’m also getting my photography workflow out of mothballs and tuning it up, so this site will be a testbed for me using and learning Lightroom and Photoshop. I’m shooting for lots of photo content to accompany my project posts, and eventually videos as well.

As I get back into miniature painting I’d like to add project content for those as well; I miss painting minis.

Finally, we’re launching today with pages for my two most recent projects: the changing table build and the Valentine’s Day box.

make » learn » repeat

I’ve been doing this long enough now to know that while I think I’m learning when I read about other people’s projects or watch YouTube videos, it doesn’t sink in until I fail myself and then learn how to improve next time.

That’s why I built this site: it will help me; here’s to it helping you too!.

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