Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Resolutions

I know that creating a New Year's resolution is cliché, but if it makes me a slightly better person I am all for it! Making a list allows us to strip away our bad habits and develop new good ones. 

  1. One Photo A Day: I want to make photography my priority this year, because without practice I cannot improve myself. By forcing myself to take photos everyday I can develop habits that encourage the ability to be observant and use photo-editing tools.

  2. Exercise: the most cliché resolution of all, but it is a good one. Like many Americans I have a very sedentary lifestyle. I drive 30 minutes to work, sit for 9 hours straight, drive 30 minutes back home, and then sit for the rest of the night in front of my computer. I need to take some time out and be more ACTIVE for my health and well-being.  My goal? Exercise more. I am hoping an easy goal like this will make it easier for me to keep up with it, instead of dropping it a couple weeks later.

  3. Take a Break: I am naturally a hard working and overly stressed person, who finds it difficult to take breaks or slow down. Often times, I find that since my "to do list" isn't complete that I don't have the time or don't deserve giving myself a break. With more research I have read that taking breaks is essential to being a more productive being and happier as well. 

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    Holiday Joy

    I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday. I know I did. My husband said it was a good idea to take a break this holiday, and NOT follow everyone around with a camera. I couldn't resist entirely, but I enjoyed myself that I could actually have a conversation with my family. Here are a few of my exploits over my little break.

    Take time to enjoy the season and your loved ones.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    Engagement Season

    The Holiday season marks the beginning of engagement season. My sister-in-law and a child hood friend of mine just got engaged, and quickly following has been 3 additional engagements. I am sure there will be more in the next few weeks until Valentines. Weddings are often stressful and dramatic events, but there are some that provide some beautiful creative inspiration.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Happy Holidays

    I hope everyone enjoys this holiday time and the end of the year, and can look back at what this year has been and can say it was awesome! I have had a lot of up and downs, but I am happy that I am where I am. I know that I will end up where I need to be...time to get started thinking about those shiny new resolutions.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Photography Inspiration: Diane Arbus

    A very well-known American photography for capturing images of "freaks". Arbus' images have always inspired me by their ability to break down barriers and break through comfort zones. Her images are often edgy or oddly discomforting. She managed to reject societies comfort with people who were considered unusual, she discomforts her viewers by the essence and subject matter of the photography, and often times she invaded these people's homes and taking multitudes of photos invading their own comfort level. I wish I had her ability to leave my discomforts behind and because an artist behind the camera lens. I am too shy to jump in and take the photo, but Diane Arbus was brave.

    "Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They are aristocrats" - Diane Arbus

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Kitchen Adventure - Gingerbread Cookies

    This was my first time making gingerbread cookies, especially since I thought I did not like gingerbread. This was also my first time using Molasses: a by-product of sugar that is sweet, yet bitter. I was not a good blogger, and failed to take photos during the process. I found this recipe at Bakerella, and they have wonderful images demonstrating the process. This recipe was very easy to make with step-by-step instructions at the link above. Then you can decorate them any way you choose. 

    Cookies can be a great holiday gift, because they do not linger and it is easy to put them in a cute bag and take them to friends, neighbors, and family. I hope you share some cookies or candies this season.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Puppy Love

    My last dog died in 2008, and it did take time for me to be ready for a new pet. But it as been two years since I have felt the itch for a new dog. The desperation has only grown now that I have a house with yard. Dogs are what I think about most days, even though I know that currently my house is not ready to add this furry friend. Tools everywhere and the fence will bow down in a single Kansas wind. We often find neighborhood pets in our yard from the weak fence.

    Waiting is truly the hardest part, but I am hoping that by the time my birthday rolls around we might get the funds to build a fence and get a puppy. What breed should I get?

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Exercising and Relaxing

    Work and home work are taking away from my time to relax creatively. I used to relish in my hobbies: paint, printing, design, website, photography, drawing, and even just having the time to take a walk! I have said this before but if you don't exercise your skills you loose them. You will have to build them up again, just like a muscle. I am lucky enough to have a career that allows me to be creative on a daily basis (for the most part). I still am anxiously awaiting for work and family events to settle down after the holiday and I make take some time to enjoy some personal creative pursuits.

    Here is what has been inspiring me lately at pinterest:

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    DIY Gift Tags

    I finished up most of my Christmas shopping this weekend, which means it is time for my favorite part of Christmas—wrapping presents! There is a very simple DIY activity that you can do to make unique tags for each of gifts. This project is almost free—you need only 3 items:

    1. Hole Punch: any hole punch is fine this one is from Paper Source and it is a special craft punch I had lying around.

    2. Tag Punch: you could use a scissors or an exacto blade to cut out tags, but I had this special tag cutter from the 200 tags I had to cut for my wedding.

    3. Old Christmas Cards: reuse those cards that you receive every year. These cards can now be reused in a unique and attractive way.

     Just use your punch or cutting tool to cut out any shape you would like. Then right your message on "interior side of the card". This project cost me nothing, and help me use old cards that I saved.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Inspired by William Eggleston

    I have been inspired by William Eggleston for years. His snap-shot-like photography captures his subjects in dramatic pose. All of his color photographs impress me with their brilliant color in their ordinariness. Normal people and ordinary places are given a new creepiness or edginess by pose, placement, and color. William Eggleston is my photographer inspiration for now. Do you have a favorite photographer.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Coke Goes White...and Then Back Again!

    I was so excited at Thanksgiving to see my Coca Cola can had a white-out, a nice break break from the typical red. It was so striking that I actually checked the went to to find out what is the point of this special can. It turns out I am enjoying it almost too late. Coca Cola just announced that because of the backlash from consumers.

    I will truly miss it. It makes Coca Cola feel more special, and it helps draw attention to the melting polar ice caps. I thought it was a smart choice by Coca Cola. A 3 color can has a beautiful simplicity that is very appropriate for the sparse modern style of today. Coca Cola backing down on these eco-friendly principles and going back to boring old red. Consumers fear of change has ruined this beautfiul can for me.

    So do you love it or hate? 

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Keeping in Shape

    No I am not talking about going to the gym, but practicing photography. Being busy is no excuse, and I neglected my photography skills.

    "You will never play really well, unless you practice" - Pride and Prejudice

    In school I would take photos everyday, but I have really neglected this artistic outlet. "If you don't use it, you will lose it." Okay, I guess I am full of clichés today, but its true. Perhaps my problem is I have too many hobbies, and too little time. Photography is essential to my job. From understanding equipment and light, taking photos, photo arrangement, and editing.

    Each photograph you take is a practice for your next one...and the next one. Improvement comes from inspiration, practice, and the software to editing the digital photos.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Inspired by Gwen Stefani

    I have been a fan of Gwen Stefani since I pursued the racks of CDs at ShopKo. Return of Saturn featured Gwen Stefani with bright pink hair. I fell in love with her style first, and then the music. (I know, I know; so uncool!) Her styles have changed, but you always new it was true Gwen no matter the era. A stylish mom with edge. She inspires me in fashion and design.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    My Starred List

    I am stilling gathering the pieces of my life back together after my move. Part of that life is the blogs that I read daily, that I don't have as much time for right now. I have been starring items that interest me and I may want to go and read later. Here are some of the blog posts that I am looking forward to reading further:

    Films of William James Murray: Fun Iconography
    Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake: What's not to love?
    The Perfect Paragraph: I love type.
    Tad Carpenter Holiday Cards: I am a big fan of his work and was a former student of his.
    Gingerbread Faces: So cute I could 'em!
    DIY Present Tags: Just the DIY project to get me in the holiday spirit.

    Our work in progress kitchen, but it is getting there!

    Monday, November 28, 2011


    It's cool and kind of fun! Not in the eating disorder kind of way, but in the event of when you are moving and deciding what stays and what goes. I always feel really good after I let something go that has been burdening me for a long time. When the stuff begins to relieve the clutter in my home there is more space and room to breathe. Purging is great with junk food and carb filled cabinets, overfilled "storage" spaces, "friends" lists, hard drives, and you guess it design!

    Sometimes due to our clients' demands or our own faults, design and layouts become cluttered and overworked. Once you start removing the extraneous "fluff", designers have more space to stand out and become more modern and sophisticated. Helping clients and ourselves see that will a little room that their/our message can really stand apart (loud and clear!)

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Design Trends: Glitter

    Glitter, Glitter everywhere. 

    I might have said 'tis the season, but this trend has been going on for months. It is not just graphic design that is getting the sparkle effect. This past Halloween do you remember all the glitter pumpkins and decor that were filling the shelves? Glitter is big with big clunky jewelry that women are accessorizing with. The sparkle is fun trend and easy to do. Add it to your designs and too your wardrobe and sparkle this holiday season!


    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Small Business Saturday

    Small Business Saturday  is coming up with weekend. In a effort to boost local business American Express is helping small businesses get its own day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Small businesses provide the most jobs in the United States, so do some good business and support your favorite local shop. Wichita has a lot of great shops to support this weekend:

    • Bluebird Arthouse: a LARGE selection of artist supplies that you can't get anywhere else in Wichita. 
    • Avivo: delicious brick oven pizzas.
    • Kanai: my favorite sushi place in Wichita.
    • Wichita Art Museum gift shop: they sell art from local artists at a variety of prices  It is free to visit the museum on Saturdays, so why not look around, get inspired, and buy a gift.
    Shopping season has begun, so why not spend your dollars in the community. What are your favorite local spots?

    Monday, November 21, 2011


    I knew there was a reason that my year of design fundamentals included 2 semesters of drawing and my major required another semester of developing my drawing skills. Computes are fast pace and the programs more sophisticated. Sketching is becoming less common for a starting point. It had been grilled into us at school that all projects begin with a design brief and then beginning with sketches that fit the needs outlined in the brief. I have a plethora of sketch books filled with minute sketches.

    One of our early projects in Visual Communications was the task to create symbols. The first day we had to do 400 sketches and 400 more each day after that. This grilled into us that sketching was essential, because it is not always your first one that is best. As i began professional work I used to sketch more often, but as months have gone by i find I am sketching less. I am not sure why, since sketching has a lot of benefits:

    • It's Fast! Faster than "computer sketching. You can quickly see if a layout will work rather than wasting time building something a computer that may not work. 
    • Sketching is not biased. When you work on the computer it is to tempting to add color and make work more complicated even before the layout is realized.
    • It activates a different part of the brain, and can re-inveterate your creative juices.
    • Rest for your eyes. Even if you don't sketch it is a good idea to take a break from the computer screen and give your eyes rest from those little lights.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Getting Inspired

    My motivation has flown out the window lately, and I have been trying to get inspired:

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    The Family Cookbook

    So many people talk about, and many people probably have a family cookbook or notecard set that was put together by Word Art and Kinkos. Tyler has one like that. For years Tyler and I have discussed creating our own cookbook, "but not in a sucky way". It came up again, recently, and I am just churning with ideas.

    Ideas for recipes, organization, and illustrations. Nothing will probably come of it, but it would be fun to have a beautiful cookbook full of our favorite recipes.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Looking Forward to Being Creative Again

    Since I am trying to make my house fit to live in, most of my creative mojo after work has to be pushed aside to paint, install laminate floors, of some other necessary task. I am l poking forward to November 26 when I officially have to be moved out. Once I can settle into my new home, I will have the chance to draw on my creative roots and have fun.

    I feel stifled and that my skill sets are fading, just because I don't have the time to devote to them. I want to immediately get back to improving/relearning web design as well as trying to improve illustration skills.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Students' Creativity

    I follow quite a few design blogs, and I am constantly surprised how often student work is prsented. Often these design are more attractive than working professionals.

    Why is that?

    Are students just better at keeping their work updated? Perhaps it's the tough market that makes students aware that they need to get work constantly up-to-date to fight for a job. Those of us lucky enough to be employed might be willing to stay in the same firm or agency with the unsteady market. And since we aren't cramming into the market, there doesn't seem a need to keep up a website with time and money.

    I think it is more likely that as a student we were given a lot of opportunities thay we didnt realize that would be so helpful to our body work. So while you're still a student:

    1) Use your teacher's in class, but also in their office hours. You are paying these people to help you be the best you can be. Take advantage of it now, because your bosses our art directors don't have the time to give you that one on one advice on type, style, and tips. You are the one now who is being paid.

    2) Use your time wisely. Typical project in school was due every four or five weeks. Now I occasionally get a couple weeks, other times I have to meet an immediate turn around. I hardly gave the chance to sketch out my layouts or develop a clear design idea. I just have to run with it, and hope for the best.

    3) Enjoy the freedom and experiment. In the real world you are constantly beibg art directed eother by a boss or a client. In school you have the great opportunity to create whatever you want. This is a great chance to experience different mediums. They can give you a great new idea or texture to your designs.

    4) Take the advantage of working with your fellow students. I work at a small agency where client work is divided between me and the other designer. There is no chance for collaboration. I never realized how important my fellow classmates were for developing my designs and pushing me to be better.
    There are great things about my life now that beat school (such as: not taking my work home with me, printing and cutting at all hours of the night, and being completely broke). Even with all of that, I still miss school and wish I could go back and take another class.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Goal Check-In

    • I thought I would let you all know how I am doing on my goals. I did get out of Wichita; I went to Cheney Lake. That counts right? 
    • My second goal, because of some personal and financial matters my website is down at the moment. I hope in a couple months I can have it back up and running. 
    • I have been have at least 1 cooking adventure in the kitchen every month. In October I made eyeball cake pops. It was pretty exciting. 
    • Some days I struggle but I have been able to post often. 
    • Doing something engaging everyday? EPIC FAIL! I also have not been doing as well as I would like to actively observing everything around me.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Crowdsourcing: The Effect on Design

    The act of crowdsourcing has increased with expanding digital social networking. It has caused outrage with many on the design community. Some say that there is a time and a place for crowdsourcing. Ehat defines this moment? Certainly not when it is large corporations or groups with large funds, but there are many with deep pockets trying get creatives to work for free:

    • Obama 2012 Jobs Poster Contest: There are funds available that could hire designers, instead of having creatives working for free. Jobs are needed in all sectors, and with this type of promotion I would think creating jobs would be a priority!
    •  AIGA has a few ideas about crowd sourcing and spec work. This is how designers should work with clients to provide the best work possible.

    AIGA is committed to supporting the interests of professional designers and strives to play an authoritative role in promoting and communicating standards for ethical conduct and professional practice in the design community.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    I Need a Vacation

    VACATION: A period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday. I need a vacation or at least a break. With a day-in and day-out grind from work to working on a house i have had little chance to recharge from my day. My creative juices have been tapped and I feel completely drained of the essence that makes me--me. I need a vacation from work and from my personal time. I am incapable of having a break from work because my personal time is devoted to something so consuming with physical labor. I can't possible take a break from the house because I have to move out soon and I have to make this new location fit to live in.

    Any spare time that I find I try to spend working on this blog or taking the time to veg with TV to ebb part of my anxiety from work and personal pressures. So how do I gain the necessary break I need? Really, do you know a good way for me to relax when my days are so full? Or do I just need to sleep less?

    Until then I am dreaming of visiting....TWO RIVERS, WISCONSIN


    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Recent Happenings

    My time away from work is more exhausting than my 8 to 5 job. I have not been able to spend the time that I would like on my blog lately, so i wanted to share with you what was stealing all my time form you. I have done things I never thought I would be able to do. (like using a table saw).

    Taking more time and more money than is we planned of course, but slowly but surely our house is coming together.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    DIY Links

    I have been getting inspired to create my house more into a home, so I have been taking a look at links to help me to make my home beautiful for cheap! Plus it gets me away from the computer:

    • Custom Cutting Boards: as long as you own these tools or has a friend who does these make an affordable addition to your home or as a gift.
    •  Lighting Up Your Kitchen: I like this idea for giving my kitchen a little more light. My kitchen has no windows and no direct lighting.
    •  Design Sponge at Home: I have almost enough money saved up to buy this book, and I can't wait to devour all the DIY projects inside.

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Happy Halloween!

    Today is my favorite holiday. Even thought it's a Monday I hope everyone gets out and has a very festive Halloween. I am dressing up at work and bring sweeties. What are you doing today?

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Making Budgets Go Farther

    Yes, typically I am a design blog. Recently I have had a greater needs to make my funds stretch father. My husband is still and school, and I have to provide for all the bills. WE do not have room for splurging on fun. But on occasion I can get a little fun or save a little more by:

    • Plan your Meals around what is on sale at the grocery store.
    •  Save money, energy, and water by taking "Navy Showers". Basically you shut the water off when you are not using the water in the shower.
    • Make a budget when shopping, and then keep a running total while you shop. It will help you track spending and stay on budget.
    • Inbox Dollars: I earn money at the slowest rate on this site. Mostly money is earned through surverys, emails, and watch ads. The great part of this site is that it gives actual money, not gift cards.
    • MyPoints: This site has you earn money through web searches, surveys, emails, and online shopping. You can do the shopping that you were going to do already, but just get points back on it. You redeem points for gift cards, and you have to wait for them to be mailed to you.
    • Swagbucks: I earn money through surveys, polls, watching ads, and web searches. The points rack up most quickly on this site. I use those points to buy Amazon gift cards (which can buy almost anything.)
    Do you have any secrets you use to save/provide more money for yourself?