December 21, 2011

Okay I just have to sneak this in

Can I just tell you that I've missed blogging. I miss it when I bring up the tab in Firefox and I see the date...and I automatically calculate how many days have passed since the last post.

I'm terribly behind in reading my favorite blogs too. I guess that's okay. Who needs to read to be inspired? Seeing Christmas decor/gift ideas make me excited and longing for more time. But I need to start writing down project ideas- so maybe I can work on more handmade gifts for next Christmas, right? Right.

Soon I will have pictures to post and projects to write about. But for now I will continue to move forward and kick these deadlines in the bum.

December 9, 2011

Ready for real life again

Good-bye 2.5 days of my life. I had my wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday morning, and so my waking hours have been very limited. It's the oddest feeling lying in bed- not having to worry about work, not working on the house, not having the energy to even sit at the computer (until now).

The above is a fairly accurate representation of my last three days. I say "representation" because of course I didn't spring for the name brand chocolate fudge pudding.

My aunt graciously drove into town to take me to my appointment and make stops after the surgery for something cold to eat/drink, my prescription, and frozen peas for my puffy chipmunk cheeks. We caught the holiday movie on the Hallmark channel (I may or may not have stayed awake during the whole thing).

Ben had yesterday afternoon and this afternoon off, so he constantly switched out my frozen peas, made sure I stayed on top of the pain, and reminded me to drink more water. Oh and he even watched part of an old movie with me (he didn't even try to change the channel while I dozed off!).

December 5, 2011


Remember how much I love simplicity? Especially, for example, when making birthday cards for kids. They aren't going to be impressed. The parents aren't going to keep them. Why not just make a tag but add a little something fun? Washi tape!

It's all the rage on the blogs I follow for DIY (do it yourself) bridal and baby showers. I finally ordered something similar through and this is my first application. Maybe I'll try something more adventurous next time. For this tag, simple is good.

December 4, 2011

Welcome to the Wedding Weekend

I have to admit this is one project that almost got the best of me. After a smooth start, I encountered a couple of tension issues (ones that I could now solve much quicker, after much more experience with this little craft sewing machine!), plus a few logistical problems that slowed me down. Yes, there was some cursing. I had my doubts I could complete it without throwing the machine and/or the project against a wall.

But I just kept going, "30 Rock" on in the background and coffee by my side. The banner is not perfect, but I was so proud to see it finished, considering my little experience with machine sewing. I love the imperfections and the texture of the thread binding the different fabric letters with the canvas. I love the ribbon ties that I added and reinforced the very last minute before heading out the door for the wedding weekend. Oh, and, yes, I love the reaction I got from the Bride, who had no idea what it would look like.

December 1, 2011

Totally worth it

Most of the time I do not get to see a client receive the final project. Typically photography clients receive a disc in the mail. Brochures, postcards, etc. for design clients are generally delivered via the mail as well.

In this instance, however, I was able to see the Bride's initial reaction to one of my projects. (No, this is not staged! Love it!) I'll post what she's looking at next time.

November 28, 2011

Mine Mine Mine

I love the steps behind my work. Even if I am the only person who knows that I took a staged an item, photographed it, manipulated the photo and created my own graphic- I don't care. The fact that these (enjoyable) steps help make the project all mine is worth it to me.

Okay, I'll shut up.

November 27, 2011

Blogging in "Contagion"

One of the doctors in the movie said this to Jude Law's journalist character:

"Blogging isn't writing. It's graffiti with punctuation."

November 21, 2011

All my little pretties

Working on library book invitations for a client. Love the rich colors!

November 16, 2011


I am glowing. Since I have been home tonight, I have been in contact with three different clients- and all three have been pleased with the work I have produced and very complimentary.

I love doing what I do. Don't get me wrong, there are times I hit a rut during a project or stress/lose sleep because of a timeline. You can't escape those moments in any field. But reading words of affirmation in an e-mail or hearing them straight from the mouth of the client is so rewarding.

From customer service to producing creative work, I grow from one project to the next.

November 14, 2011

Invitation- Assembly

I still have more elements of the library book invitations that I want to touch on, but I feel like I've been yabbering on- we need a picture break!

November 12, 2011

Invitation- THEIR tree

After the seeing the Cherry Blossom invitation and discussing the inspiring Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations, we just had to have a tree in the library book invitations. I knew exactly where it would go. BUT I couldn't draw just any old tree.

The bride and groom visited the wedding weekend location, and the Maid of Honor and I joined them. They were tackling the logistics of the ceremony and reception, and I took photos and contemplated the design aspects.

The path the bridal party changed- so the the bride and groom would be meeting the pastor (the bride's uncle) in front of this little grove of trees:

November 11, 2011

Invitation- bringing everything together

I was ecstatic to develop the remaining elements for the invitation. Next up- how to assemble the invitations.

I had taped a piece of ribbon in between the "pages" to emulate a bookmark; I also taped decorative scrapbook paper to the outside of the "cover" for the binding. I thought about all of the tape we would have to purchase; how many pieces of tape we would need to cut and place; and I was also thinking about how time-consuming and disastrous the process could turn out to be.

Considering I was designing the piece, I wanted the execution to go smoothly and, quite honestly, I wanted the invitations to be as perfect as possible.

Before my ah-ha! moment, I had been doing research online to find inspiration for a unique invitation design. I loved the idea of fabric and stitching...and the idea stayed in my mind when I realized the library book was a go. As much as fabric would have been fun, I knew the scrapbook paper would be much simpler and faster, and would provide enough detail- especially if we stitched the paper together.

Hours of research and pondering later (I found a blog post about sewing with a craft machine that generated over 200 comments!) I decided on the Janome Sew Mini. I was able to pick up my new investment at Hancock Fabrics just five minutes from my house.

November 6, 2011

Invitation- We have a winner!

I don't know why I was so nervous about showing the book prototype. I created the cover and inside pages with text, including the font and layout I wanted, just copying and pasting info from the bride's wedding website.

Spending the time on the piece was well worth it, because it gave her a good idea of what I was going for. And really, not many changes had to be made on the inside after that. I knew I wanted the binding, but I needed to do more research to decide how to approach it. We found the library pockets that same day on Etsy, and everything was falling into place. What a relief to know we had made a decision, and what excitement to know the final details were in the works!

Nice balance

What a perfect day- I got chores done at home, worked on some freelance work and enjoyed some downtime as well. I love these productive, balanced weekends.

I have been very grateful for a balance in my freelance work as well. I had a spurt of photography jobs, which have overlapped with graphic design projects- and also a request for wedding invitations like Amanda's! I worked on the sewing portion today and will start the illustrations tomorrow. I wrestled a bit with the machine, but got the tension issues figured out. Always learning, I love it!

November 4, 2011

Invitation- aha! moment aka "duh"

Amanda is an avid reader and the Winnie-the-Pooh book elements were just so fitting to her and what she wanted for the wedding- comfortable, familiar, simplistic, idyllic. I decided to create an invitation that looked like a page out of a book, and started working on a layout in Photoshop.

But there were so many aspects of a book that I wanted to include. How could I fit all the aspects of a book onto the front and back of a single piece of paper? It finally hit me- I had to create an actual book with multiple pages, so we could include all the necessary components (aka the layouts, design, wording, etc that make a "book" a book!). Plus, having multiple pages would allow all of the actual wedding information to be organized for the "reader" aka wedding guests.

This thought hit me and I couldn't stop working, I was too excited. I needed to create a prototype right then to satisfy my creative jitters!

October 25, 2011

No, I'm not just being lazy

Three weeks of no blogging? I've surprised myself. I'm going to interrupt my wedding/invitation series to post something!

I am so grateful for the last weeks where I have been busy with both photography and graphic design freelance work. Here is one of the seniors:

Now that James has the pictures, I will hopefully post a few more on my Facebook Page soon.

October 4, 2011

Invitation- great minds think alike

After Amanda showed me the Cherry Blossom design, I started sketching. Blue ballpoint ink on computer paper. Black pigment ink on watercolor paper. I loved the idea of quick drawings- I could still incorporate my initial ideas of simplicity (versus computer/graphic design) and intimacy.

As I doodled and scratched, my mind went immediately to Winnie-the-Pooh. I played a couple of days without showing anything to the Bride...and then she e-mailed me. She mentioned that her copy of Winnie-the-Pooh was inspiring her a bit. WHAT? I couldn't believe my eyes. I wrote back right away and told her that the drawings were in the back of mind too. She lent me her book so I could look at the pictures.

We had been discussing the theme of Fall before, and now the Cherry Blossom invitation inspired trees, as did the Pooh Bear book. I pictured a tree with a banner...pendants, probably (they are very popular right now for DIY showers and weddings). Light watercolor accents on sepia background.

September 28, 2011

Invitation- turning point

What I love about my freelance work is that I am always, always challenged.

I found it to be so ironic how long the process for developing Amanda's invitations took. Because I knew my "client" so well personally and we chatted so much about ideas and inspiration, I figured the process, while overwhelming, would move at a much faster pace. How could I be stumped?

We went back and forth with sketches, themes, descriptive words. Finally an e-mail with some visuals from the bride added new energy:

We discussed her favorite images, found at, via e-mail and on the phone. While I was excited at the inspiration, the images conflicted. We figured out what she liked about each invitation, including colors, fonts, layout.

We both shared the most love for this invitation:

That's when the brainstorming began again.

September 27, 2011

Invitation- initial inspiration

Even before the engagement, the bride had talked about a fall wedding, and possibly incorporating a leaf theme.

The engagement ring itself had a bit of a leaf motif in the band, and I wanted to replicate the simplistic shape to bring extra meaning to the invitations.

The idea of Fall, leaves, nature--I planned on earthen tones and creating texture in Photoshop. The Bride was not as enamored as I hoped when I showed her the first back to the Drawing Board.

I drew ink leaves and later added some watercolor for dimension and played with a different layout.

September 26, 2011


I am so excited that I can finally post some photos that have been restless just sitting on my computer. Now that the wedding is over, I can show some behind-the-scenes pictures of preparation.

After much searching online and in stores for bridesmaid dresses, the Bride was inspired by multiple etsy sites--and suggested we all have our dresses made to fit us. She found a print she loved, and we were allowed to pick out our own patterns.

Irma made my dress pretty much in one day. She and I met up and cut out the pieces. My MIL came over after work and the two of them sewed and sewed! I helped by ironing and cutting out the fabric for the pockets- yes, I had pockets!

I know my own grandma would have loved to be here to help. She was ecstatic to hear Amanda and Chris were engaged, and each time we visited she wanted to know more details about the dresses, decor, everything. While I am sad she couldn't be here, I can also be grateful and thankful for the family that did help so much! I would have had to find a seamstress to make my dress, and would have missed out on the fun and learning experience with family.

September 25, 2011

Just the start

What a weekend! My dear friend got married yesterday, and the event was was quite the production- I am grateful and proud to say that I did the design work for the printed items, as well as other display items for the ceremony and reception site. I was a bridesmaid and my husband was the best man. Having the honor to play an integral role also means I have a lot to share here on this blog about the event, some regarding the design work and much of it personal.

August 21, 2011


Finally, a little update! I know it's not much of an improvement, but I like to see the differences in the front porch area. At the beginning of June, I posted some photos after a few chores outside. Later, we did get to see the flowers in the very front bloom. I'm ashamed that my poor plants have not received a lot of attention (ie regular watering), so they're a little burnt out.

I waited too long to purchase a decent shepherd's hook at Hobby Lobby, but I did find one later at Ace Hardware by our house.

The flowers were another little challenge. According to somebody helping us at Earl May's, most places are in limbo and are starting to order plants for the fall, so hanging baskets with colorful flowers are hard to find.

We ended up going to Wal-Mart and buying a basket, as well as a few extra mini-fences that matched what came with the house...oh a lots of red mulch. Those pictures are a complete post in themselves.

In other plant news: I'm taking good care of my peace lilies! The house plant was a gift from my co-workers from Fremont as a memorial for my Grandma Skelton, who passed away in May.

Now Grandma had the green thumb and loved spending hours outside on her vegetable and flower gardens. Me? Not so much...but I am learning, and have been working hard at taking care of the lilies. I gathered some simple information online, and so far this fairly heavy-duty plant has been doing well.

August 19, 2011

Looking the part

Well I have used my golf clubs a couple times this summer, and have still failed to get a picture as proof. So instead, I can at least show you my appropriately-picked wardrobe for these outings.

Plaid Bermuda shorts- Aeropostale
White V-Neck Slubbed Tee- Kohl's

And although you should keep accessories minimal (simple jewelry, bobby pins), of course you can't forget a few items:

Ladie's Golf Glove- Target
Flashy Fuschia Sally Hansen Insta-Dri nailcolor- Target
Pink golf clubs- wherever my husband found them online

August 17, 2011

Inside and Out

Rachel and I had a few vacation days overlapping, so yesterday we visited the Joslyn Museum in Omaha. Our friend Kyle, also a Midland alum, works at the Museum and was able to give us a behind-the-scenes tour. We had a lovely morning and afternoon walking around--plus we were able to hold one of the Chihuly glass sculptures.

If you're not familiar with Dale Chihuly's "Inside and Out," check out this link. I really don't think photos do the sculpture as a whole justice, because it is comprised of so many pieces. About a year ago I did some research on the artist, who is based in Seattle, and it was amazing to read about and view his work. (The Big Gig invitations I designed were inspired by "Inside and Out.")

So Kyle allowed us to hold this piece- with both hands!- and it was just so cool! I know how juvenile it sounds, and I wish I could be more eloquent, but it's true--it was just plain cool to be able to see it and hold it in my own hands.

August 15, 2011

Moo-ve over, teacups!

So my salt and pepper shaker collection is rapidly growing.

My mother-in-law, cousin and Grandma Irma stopped by Aunt Judy's place before coming to the jewelry party yesterday.

(Judy owns storage units and has given us many items since we've moved to Lincoln- I've showcased some items here before.)

This time, Jan brought me three sets of salt and pepper shakers. Here is the first set.

August 14, 2011

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Growing up, I was always good about hand-drawn signs, posters etc. Think: Garage Sale signs for Grandma; "Happy Birthday" cards and decorations for high school lockers; Volleyball spirit cards; Father's day and other holiday cards.

As much as I still enjoy breaking out the Crayola markers and colored pencils now and then, I love the looks I can achieve using the computer. Whether it is simply printing and framing a menu to add to the mood...

I've quickly printed and framed a menu many times before.

or spending more time developing a design theme...

This framed sign design corresponded with the advertising posters/invitations and other signs for the event.

I think little touches likes these can make a difference. That's why today I spent an extra minute to label my treats at a party I hosted:

Please note the Trajan Pro font I've featured before- it was a Premier Designs Jewelry party

August 3, 2011


Today I painted. And I played with my new toy.

July 30, 2011

Finishing touch

We had a family wedding last night, and I was lucky enough to work on the design for the invitations, programs, and the last piece- thank you cards. Shhh, the cards were a surprise! But I'm sure the couple is too busy honeymooning it up to check this blog...

July 29, 2011

Okay, I was wrong, I'm not ready for doing. I've still been reading, researching and planning.

July 27, 2011

Orange and Black

I forgot about the design/layout work I did for this CD. I remember the deadline being really short for this project. Summer 2008. Midland Design Studio-when it existed. Oh, and the school colors were still orange and black.

I was working full-time as a teller, part-time in the Marketing department at the bank and part-time as a Design intern. I loved the job and creative director, though I typically worked by myself, since I was working around my bank schedule.

I had two roommates and another close friend in the choir, so naturally I was at most concerts- so I used one of my own photographs for the disc label.

July 22, 2011

Catch up

Whether it's photography or graphic design, I typically wait until the client has published/shared the product before I do; or if it's for a specific event, I like to wait until after the event to post anything.

I almost forgot about these- quick invitations for my sister-in-law's sorority event last May. As in, she needed them the next morning. I did a quick layout that allowed three invitations per 8.5x11 cardstock (she could print on her home printer), so it was easy and cost-effective for her.

July 21, 2011

Let's focus

I spent an hour at Hobby Lobby this afternoon, and as leisurely as it was, my mind still was going in a million directions. Every section is alluring, and I probably visited each aisle with one intention and leaving with a different idea. Personal projects, potential money-making plans, bridal shower and wedding reception decorating, home decor, birthday gifts. I know I go through phases, but right now I'm trying to attack all of them at once.

My RSS feed has exploded, and as of the last few weeks, the first links I visit are the most recent additions:

What is a girl to do? I can't just sit at a computer, browsing blogs with all of my free time (although it would be very easy). I don't visit my photography and home decorating blogs as long or as much anymore, but that's okay for now.

The goal now is to start researching less and doing more.

July 20, 2011

It's the least I can do

Well I thought I would post some photos of my dad with his work on display at the Fremont Art Association. After all, that is why we stopped by- to check out his pieces. Plus, it was his birthday and that is what he wanted to do.

Anyway, I was going to make some kind of crack about how much he owes me for doing a little plug for his work (ie. promoting his website and Facebook page). Then I realized all the comebacks and laments he would have. And then we would start a punning contest. And it would be all downhill from there.

So without any further ado, here are the pictures:

Scratchboard prints available

Thor poster for Las Vegas premier

40th High School reunion pamphlet cover/poster

July 19, 2011

Eye candy

So I now believe my parents when they say that time goes by faster the older you get.

Here are a few photos from my phone camera- pieces on display at the Fremont Art Association over John C. Fremont Days this year. Next post I'll feature my dad's work.

This piece was done by Tracy Shell, my adviser at Midland. I recognized her work instantly, and was pleased to see her participating in Fremont:

This mixed media piece caught my eye. I loved the color and the mix of metallic as well:

July 11, 2011

Jumping on the bandwagon

I helped out with a bridal shower this last weekend. I didn't make the brownies, but the little flags were my contribution. I've been following a few favorite wedding blogs lately, and flags are everywhere! Considering I just used a regular word processor and cardstock, I was pretty pleased. Little touches like that make me happy.

July 2, 2011

Meet the newest member of the family

This is my new little buddy. It's a good little investment, because:
  • it was inexpensive
  • it's super lightweight and easy to tote around
  • it's simple to operate but still has a few options for settings
  • it's a sewing machine specifically for crafts, paper (and small cloth projects)

I did a bit of research after being inspired online by wedding invitations that involved stitching. My project (Amanda's wedding invitations) is completely different from the projects I saw, but the blogs I found were very helpful in suggestions for machines.

June 30, 2011

Welcome to Lincoln

The garage sale customer came back on Monday to deposit her earnings. During our conversation the week before, she learned I came to Lincoln because my husband started Dental College. It's a small world, of course, and it turns out she works on campus. We chatted, and she told me a little bit about her work. So Monday she came in with a gift bag- she called it a "Welcome to Lincoln" present:

How sweet! I absolutely love the pieces visually for my collection- but mostly it is nice to make a connection with a customer and start to build more relationships here. And every one of my sets in my tea collection has a story, including this one.

June 29, 2011

I'm on a roll

Almost a week after my 25 cent treasure, I waited on a customer who needed change for her garage sale. She was getting together with 30 other people- and said she had teacups for sale! This sounded too good to be true! So I thought maybe I would stop by on my way to work the next day.

Unfortunately, the location was too far west and would have meant a lot of extra driving.
I tried not to be too bummed. On my way home the next day, I passed by several signs and finally decided to stop by a house.

There was actually a bunch on one block, so I meandered around for a little.
I was super excited when I found a jewelry armoir! I saw it first thing, but hesitated. Then I was walking back to the car and realized it was too good to pass up- but I still didn't want to pay full price. I grabbed some cash out of my wallet and offered seven dollars, instead of the marked ten. SOLD! I paid the lady, and had to tell a couple that was picking it up that I had just bought it.

I didn't realize til after I got home and started to vacuum the inside drawers that it smells faintly of cigarette smoke. I'm working on deodorizing the fabric, and will work on the wood next, after I buy some supplies at the store.