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? 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughtful Links

Since I am busy with hammer and nails I want to provide you with some links to other blogs that have done some interesting work lately:

  •  With Halloween coming up I looking for new creative ways to create sweets ( I don't know if I will have time to make these creepy cake pops, but I hope I do).
  • Paint it Black: and interesting view on creating packaging and design for a male audience.
  •  Upholstery Basics: With the possibility of a lot of DIY coming I hope I can test out this upholstery tip.
Halloween is getting so close. Anyone doing anything for this fantastic holiday?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is Print Dead?

The topic of print vs digital comes up a lot in the graphic design community. It comes up in popular society as well. More and more people are using internet as a means of communication and self promotion. Digital has its good and bad. With so many people using the internet you can grasp a variety of audience and try to attract them to your site, but with some many people it can be hard to target your specific niche (that is getting easier as coders are learning about seo and internet marketing). Social Media and blogs help direct companies to specific targets, but internet ads are easy to ignore and not very personal. (this could change in time)

With print is much more personal, and can be easier to target depending on the information you take from your customers. Print is very personal something you can touch and experience. I get a lot of junk mail, but I still have to hold it and physically take it to the recycle bin. I guarantee I spent more time with it than my junk emails. But If you create a well designed, postcard, brochure, or catalog I am much more likely to onto it. Getting mail, even more promotional, is more special and intimate experience than email. One mail piece I enjoy every time I get it in my mail is my Paper Source catalog. Everything has been thought out from products to design and color to paper choice. They took care to make this something that I want to hold onto and reference. Print costs more, but if you put in the effort you can get a more genuine and longer-lasting experience with clients.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Writer's Block

This blog writer's blog has come at inopportune time, since I am very busy in my personal life. I know I have talked a lot about inspiration, perhaps because continually being inspired seems to be an issue for me. I have also have a problem with my ability to celebrate Halloween this year, because I made a disicion to move at the end of this month, I had to pack up all my Halloween decor. This year I won't have the ability to have party or create festive foods. My big life decision always seem to put a damper on my favorite celebration. I always have next year to look forward to: (these images can be found on my pinterest)

I miss Halloween greatly this year, but if everything works out I should get my very own batch of trick-or-treaters at my door. Now what candy to buy to fill the wallets of dentists everywhere?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Little Trees

Bob Ross is most well known for his happy little trees on his PBS Show "the Joy of Painting". I remember watching him as a child and the soothing presence of this voice, and I remember speeding time in college watching him paint so joyfully. He made it look so easy, but it wasn't. Recently I came across a quote from him that inspired me: "Imagination is like a muscle. You must exercise it daily, and keep at it to stay at peak performance" and "we don't have mistakes here, we just have happy accidents".

So remember to work your imagination daily to keep yourself at peak performance.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wonder of Pathfinder

In the past year I have discovered the wonder of the pathfinder tool. I can not pin point when I discovered how wonderful it was, but I am sure I found it by accident. It typically saves me at 3 steps compared to what I used to do before.Software is constantly changing (thanks Adobe for my empty wallet). Pathfinder tool enables to me to create unique vector illustrations. I included a quick illustration that uses my favorite tool:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

Patience is a virtue that I was born without. My husband would probably tell you that I am the least patient person he knows. Sitting and waiting for others to complete their part of the project. Waiting is nothing shorty of torture. While I am waiting to hear back from a loan officer. I have been trying to come up with ways to distract myself from the important task that I can't do anything about.

  • Halloween Card: This card will be hitting mailboxes at the end of this month.
  • Ripping down wallpaper at my parents house.
  • Camping! Being broke and having to keep a strict work schedule. I do not make it out of my apartment very often. when a friend offered to take me camping. 
  • Pinning on pinterest has become my new distraction, but at least its a controlled distraction.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

♥♥ Firsts ♥♥

Today is my first anniversary with my husband. This past year has felt like forever, yet has sped right by. We had a lot firsts this past year: first grown-up apartment, first garden, first grown-up job, and ect. One of the most exciting parts of the wedding was that creating a system of designs that were sent out to friends and family. It was one of my first experiences in a semi-professional way. Weddings can be a designer's crack. It's addicting to create all the pieces to the wedding, and it can be hard to stop from designing every single part of the event. Today, I am only thinking of good parts of my wedding: like the simple joy I got from taking the extra effort to make envelope liners for every single one of my invitations that I sent out. Yes, I did like doing that, and I took the extra time to punch out cards for all of my wedding favors, which my husband did not enjoy at all (because I made him help buy punching them out while I tied the tags to the jar). We are both glad that we got to share in the experience of bringing our wedding together, and supporting my crazy ideas.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Festivity

My coworkers called me crazy for creating this bat garland with--black paper, no. 11 exacto blade, and some thread; but it imbued the office with holiday spirit. The spirit filled my boss, and she began remmuaging around to find her halloween bowl, and went out at lunch to fill it with candy. Which is currently causing a problem with its proximity with my desk.

I was inspired to make this bat garland because of Paper Source. I do not have one locally, so I have to make my own fun. Knowing that I have my "bat cave" to look forward to in the morning makes it that much better when I show up to work.


Have you been inspired to create anything this week?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Purple Food

I was thinking about purple food today:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kitchen Adventure #4

The first baozi I had was in San Francisco in China Town. It was part of a delicious dim sum. My addiction was fueled again in Lawrence, Kansas with sha bao from the Plum Tree, but that closed my junior year. I enjoyed my last baozi in China Town in Yokohama, Japan. I have wanted more ever since. I have been amassing cooking gear for awhile: stock pot (typically you would use a wok, but I don't have one) bamboo steamers and since those steamers didn't quite fit any of my pans I bought a steamer ring. The recipe i used can be found at allrecipes. These take a long time due to the rising time, but if you have a vaction day or a weekend free it can a be a good side to dinner. Typically baozi has a meat filling, but I didn't have the ingredients so I just made the steamed buns, and served it with a sweet chili sauce. A tip: if you want the buns to stay white put a little vinegar in the boiling water.

I made 2 dozen, but I snuff these down so fast I have 1 dozen left. yum!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cooking & Design

Cooking and Design are not foreign enemies, and for me they have a symbiotic relationship. It is no surprise that cookbooks are the most commonly designed books. From the recipe to the beautiful image cooking controls the push and pull of form and function. There are many food makers, whether chef or the at home type that want it to taste great and plate beautifully. If recipes are not well organized it can become a nightmare to work with. Some recipes start with information but forget to tell you until a paragraph later that you were supposed to let the eggplant sweat before you put it in the marinara.

Plating is no different. Just like on Top Chef and Iron Chef presentation is part of the battle. Imagery is only a minute portion of design. Taste and sustenance are the functionality that makes cooking not an art but design.

The I Know How to Cook book that I added to this collage was a cookbook I bought at the Border's clearance because it is beautifully designed and has wonderful  illustrations. This book is more than a pretty cover (which the dust jacket could be a poster if you wanted); it's recipes are well organized and provide good information too! I love my new cookbook.

All of these images and more can be found on my pinterest.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Learning to Write

There are many skills I would like to become more proficient in; one of these is copy-writing. A wonderful aspect of my job is the variety it enables me to practice. Most of the time I am pushing pixels and organizing my designs. Sometimes I get to venture into photography, printing, data entry, marketing, and copy-writing. I have not developed anything profound, such as Nike's "Just Do it" campaign, but I have added lines that have enhanced a project. Copy-writing is very much intertwined in the design process, which is why I want to gain a greater skill-set in this area. In large agencies copy-writing is its own full-time profession. In a smaller office its just a bunch of creative people talking together to come up with the best idea.

One way that I am building on my copy-writing skill is by using this blog on a frequent basis. Here I am able to collect my thoughts and let my ideas come across in a clear and concise way (hopefully). This may help practice writing, but this does not help me to create liners or tags to pull in a reader/consumer and make them want to participate/buy the client's product or event. How can I become better and delivery concise statements that are attractive to a vast audience? Is it just something you are born with? I have found a few things that improve my writing.

  • Writing Drafts: similar to sketching for designers, the best idea won't necessarily be the first one that comes to mind, so keep trying. I do not always write drafts for this blog, but when I do my writing seems better written.
  • Think about the audience: the look and feel of any design has to appeal to the consumer/reader; it is the same for writing. I wouldn't use difficult scientific language to write a children's book. In the same respect, I wouldn't want to offend my consumer/reader by speaking down to them. 
  • Find a voice, and stick to it. Writing is the voice of any design/brand/company/product so keep that voice consistent.
  • WRITE IT OUT: I find this one to be the most useful for me. There have been studies that show that printing by hand improves language fluency, spelling, and have more developed sentence structure and story-line. At the very least writing it out first puts at least two drafts to go through my writing before it ends up on my blog.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Idle Hands

"Idle hands are the devil's play things" Work has an ebb and a flow. There are times that are very busy that require long hours and caffeinated beverages, and then there are other times when there is a definite lull. I usually fill those times with cleaning my desk, going through old paperwork that I ignore most of the time. That barely takes an hour. What to do? I have found a new way to make this time more profitable by refueling my creative juices. This new tool is Pinterest. I love being able to pin images from anywhere and categorizing for when I want to access them later. I can look for inspiration or help develop my ideas for this blog. I know I have a lot of fun hours ahead of me repositioning my multitudes of bookmarks into workable image boards.

Of course this also might just be another digital life distraction! Especially since it can connect with your fackbook and twitter. Happy pinning!