Blue Skies Above Us

Just here to have fun.


6-Minute Read

The goal here is to filter OpenStreetMap data extracts to only the features you need to use. The result is a smaller, more manageable dataset.

For my map wall art I’m making maps of many of the major cities in the United States (and will do other areas once I’m done with that). To be efficient, I’m using continent-wide datasets from OpenStreetMap (so I can just zoom to an area and export PDFs). My maps are fairly minimal, and the datasets contain a lot of data that I don’t need. This post is a simple tutorial about how to do an SQL query of the data as you convert it to…


2-Minute Read

I realized the other day that I made those fart earth stickers two years ago, and hardly anyone has bought any. My primary method of promotion was via @fartearth on Twitter. But it can be very challenging to start from scratch on Twitter, get attention, and build a following. Incidentally, as I made this, there happened to be a blossoming “______ Earth Society” movement on Twitter, with tons of accounts parodying the Flat Earthers. I hadn’t really thought of myself as a parody of Flat Earth, given that I started with a sticker design that’s parodying Art Earth. But then on my fart earth website I happened to add “Society” to the story, just because I thought it would be fun to sell a “membership” and not merely a sticker. My Twitter account, of course, got lumped in with those funny folks. However, I didn’t have the time or energy to keep up with them and really make a name for myself. I still post sometimes, but I’m not really on-brand. I might change that in the future by using my handy ruby bot to pre-load a bunch of tweets (with periodic links to where you can buy products with the design). That would help keep the account active without me having to login regularly. I am very bad at logging in regularly to social media.

Anyway, now I’m giving Redbubble a try. Redbubble is a print on demand website, where you can quickly apply your designs to dozens of things - shirts, stickers, mugs, phone cases, etc. So now the Fart Earth design is on 48 products!! Pretty hilarious to see all these happy models wearing the design. I also put them up on Teespring. And I plan to put the stickers up on Etsy, too, since I still have a stack of physical stickers. I’ll edit this post with the link once I do that.

It was simple and fun to add the designs to Redbubble and Teespring. And it makes me want to create other designs. I don’t really have any hope that they will sell… but you never know until you try!


4-Minute Read

I’ve been operating this blog since 2005 (with only 14 posts in the last 5 years), and it’s been a wordpress blog the entire time. But, to put it succinctly, I don’t really like wordpress! I’m fairly adept at making websites, and yet wordpress manages to baffle and confuse me. At one point I had three separate wordpress installations on this domain (main blog, cartoon blog, music blog) just because… I don’t know really. Mostly because I couldn’t structure and design it how I envisioned, and it was simpler just to split the categories into separate…


1-Minute Read

I’ve expanded my coloring page maps shop, and am now producing wall art. I’ve basically spent all my evenings for the past month developing and producing these designs. And this is just the start! As of now, I have produced maps for 10 cities in the US, and each city has from 3 to 7 different variations. These are all digital downloads, meaning that buyers will get a file, and will then print and frame it on their own.

I have designed 11 colorways – all are stylish and modern, ranging from neutral to more vibrant – and I pick and choose which colorways look best for that particular city. Some cities have more water and fewer roads, some have less water and more roads, etc. I have 33 more US cities to cover, and then I’ll expand and go international.

This time around I did not make my own mockups. I bought the mockups.

Here’s my shop! Coloring Maps. (I might change the name)

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Founded 2005. Over the years I've posted writing, comics, ringtones, and stuff about maps, bikes, programming, pinball. And I had a robust music blog mostly about '90s hardcore punk (category = music).