frequently asked questions

January 6, 2007

I get lots of nice email with lots of good questions, but I don’t always have the time to answer them. This is a list of the most popular questions about my little space on the Web. If there are any I didn’t answer that you think I should add to this page, email me at christine[at] Thank you.

The Questions
What happened to the six colored squares?
How do you build and maintain this web site?
I want a web site, too. How do I get started?
Can you build my web site for me?
How do you make the graphics?
Can I use your photos and/or illustration(s) on my web site?
How do you get those footnote doodads and random link thingies?
Can I link to and will you link back?
Where do you find the inspiration?
Where do you find the time?
What is this Good Things list I keep hearing about?
Don’t you ever, you know, get sick of being so goddamn happy all the time?

What happened to the six colored squares?
Once upon a time (Fall of 1999, actually), I registered the domain and built my first web site. I had an ancient computer with almost no software, but a whole lot to say. Color and HTML tables were the only things I knew how to manipulate back then, but I made it work. The six-colored squares were born. The minimalist design garnered a lot of recognition, including a Webby Award nomination in the personal web site category and a couple mentions in college composition textbooks, all of which came as a complete shock and huge honor to me.

But one of the reasons I fell in love with the Web in the first place is that it suits each whim and fancy. I wanted to play again. That’s when I moved the journal to and started incorporating my artwork.

Years later, I am still playing and learning.

How do you build and maintain this web site?
I have a lovely little Macbook that I adore. It has a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, 160 GB of hard drive space and the latest Mac operating system, Leopard. It’s zippy. I handcode my HTML in Text Wrangler. Then, I upload the files via an FTP client called Transmit FTP or modify templates within a beautiful publishing tool called WordPress. I constantly listen to music and drink an awful lot of coffee.

I want a web site, too. How do I get started?
There are many ways to make your mark on the Web. Hopefully, these tips will help you begin. Find the header that best describes you.

» I just want a place to write
If you want a place to write and you’re not concerned much with learning HTML or web design, I recommend signing up for a free web journal at, or There are dozens of other places, but I am personally familiar with those three and I think they’re fantastic. For free, you can get a little web space of your own, archiving capabilities and access to a community of the hundreds of thousands of people who also keep journals at these sites. For a small fee, you can get even more features, like a place to store those cute photos of your cat.

» I want a space of my own
If you are ready for a space of your own, the first thing you need to do is decide whether you’re willing to pay for it. If you’re not, you can sign up at Geocities for free web space. If you are willing to pay, you need to decide on a web domain and register it. There are dozens of places to do that, but I like Dotster. Cheap. Easy.

One step ahead of me? Good. Once you have your domain name, you need to find a host. I think Dreamhost is the bee’s knees. For $10 a month, you get more storage than you may ever use, e-mail, autoresponders, mailing lists and form mails. I highly recommend them. If you do sign up, please tell them sent you!

» I’m ready to start building
Good for you! Anyone can learn HTML. If you are the sort who learns well by reading books, I recommend Learning Web Design by the fabulous Jennifer Niederst and HTML for the World Wide Web: The Visual Quickstart Guide. I also recommend the online tutorials at Once you start building your site, you may find that the following resources come in handy: NYPL Style Guide and Scripty Goddess.

Good luck and have fun!

Can you build my web site for me?
I do do freelance web design, production and consulting for small businesses and independent boutiques. Check out my portfolio for samples and more information. When you’re ready to talk, email me at info[at]

How do you make the graphics and where did you get those fonts?
The illustrations are hand drawn, watercolored and scanned in. The black inky font that appears on a lot of my drawings is made with rubber type. I’m sure there are fonts that look like that, but I don’t know what they are.

All digital photos are taken with a Canon S-50 Canon SD450. I like it because it fits in my tiniest handbag and takes decent pictures. On occasion, I still take my polaroid, Lomo LC-A and Holga out for a spin.

The font I use for the navigation is called Skryptaag.

Can I use your photos and/or illustration(s) on my web site?
Not without asking. Please email me at christine[at] before using any of my photos or illustrations. It’s very likely I’ll let you use it. I just would like to know, first. If you want something special drawn up just for you, let me know! I love that kind of thing.

How do you get those footnote doodads and random link thingies?
This funny little code called Javascript. I barely understand it myself, but you’re welcome to borrow the code if you want. That’s what I did.

Can I link to, and will you link back?
Of course you can, but I only link back to sites I actually visit or people that I know.

Where do you find the inspiration?
Everywhere. Seriously.

From the people I come across to the places I go, just around the corner or 1,000 miles away.

There is beauty all around you. You just have to look.

Where do you find the time?
I don’t take as many naps as I would like.

What’s this Good Things list I keep hearing about?
The Good Things list is an email newsletter I’ve been sending for a couple years now. I started keeping the lists in my journal during a bleak time in my life. I had gotten so used to seeing the bad stuff — too used to it — that I was losing sight of the good. Making a conscious effort to list them down every week helped me snap out of it. Soon, I realized there were far more blessings than curses in my life.

If you want a semiweeklyish dose of goodness (like this) in your life, enter your email address in this handy little form and click “yes, please.”

Don’t you ever, you know, get sick of being so goddamn happy all the time?
No, because I’m not. I’m not happy all the time.

Yes, I love life. I see the positive. I am optimistic. But I also have bad days. I get cranky. I feel disillusioned. But I make the decision to write more about the positive than the negative. Don’t you think there’s enough of that out there?

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  • I'm Christine, and this is a slice of my life—a sweet, rich, wildly indulgent slice that would taste really good with a scoop of Breyers vanilla bean ice cream. Read more >>

  • I run a darling, friendly, little graphic design studio.
    I look on the bright side.
    I take photos. Lots of photos.
    I wish on stars and on websites.

  • I built my first web site 7 years ago and got 15 seconds of fame. (It changed my life.)
    I launched, then relaunched, an online magazine.
    I admitted to several embarrassing crushes.
    I consumed more bacon than any human should and lived to tell the tales.

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