Friday, May 29, 2009

40% off = new toy

I am so excited about the new easel that I got from Hobby Lobby. I got an amazing deal because I used a 40% off coupon that I found on their website. Today's lesson......don't ever go to a craft store without a 40% off coupon. Most of them even accept competitor's coupons so you can take a Micheal's coupon (sign up to receive them via email) to Joanne's (coupons also sent via email) and still use it. I love coupons!!

I did the painting sometime last year. It's just basic acrylics on canvas. I think it would look great in a nursery. Why do I always end up making stuff that would be perfect for babies and children?

One more thing: I am heading to New Orleans for a magazine design/publishing conference tomorrow so I will not be posting for a few days. Yes, there are still people in the world who design and publish magazines.

And yet another thing: I am going to be changing the name of my blog. Lots of change is in the air...so many plans being made (not enough time to get them all done). Have any of you pulled of a name and web address change successfully? Please share!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

cultivating talent

I hope I take a photo as beautiful as this one day.
Image Source: Clione's Flickr photostream.

I am a designer. I design for print, web, video, etc. I have been doing this type of work for 8 years and you would think it would come pretty naturally to me at this point in my life. No. Not the case. Actually, I don't think it has ever felt "easy"to me. Today I sat for hours in front of the computer and attempted to design a new website. It just didn't happen. I couldn't design a single thing. Nothing. So this got me thinking...why? What is the deal? When I couldn't come up with a logical answer my mind went to thoughts that actually made sense to me....."you suck" and "you are a phony"and "you should be ashamed of yourself"...rational solutions right?? And then, like always, I ended up thinking back to the amazing designers that I have had the opportunity to work around in the past and began the whole "you will never be as good as them so you might as well just quit now."

This happens often. It sucks.

Literally moments - not minutes, but moments - after beating myself to a pulp with my brain the DailyOM appeared in my inbox and had this to say......

"Throughout our lives, we glimpse only the outer hull of others’ life experiences, so it’s tempting to presuppose that the abundance they enjoy is the result of luck rather than diligent effort. In a small number of cases, our assumptions may mirror reality. But very few people “have it easy.” Everyone must overcome difficulties and everyone has been granted a distinctive set of talents with which to do so. An individual who is highly gifted may nonetheless have to practice industriously and correct themselves repeatedly in order to cultivate their talents. Their myriad accomplishments are more likely than not the result of ongoing hard work and sacrifice. You, no doubt, have natural abilities that you have nurtured and your gifts may be the very reason you strive as tirelessly as you do. Yet others see only the outcome of your efforts and not the efforts themselves"

Clearly the Universe had something to say to me today.

The whole article was amazing, click here if you want to read it.

p.s. The image in this post has no correlation to the words. I just thought it was too beautiful not to share with my friends.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

wood grain wall art hanging

I know it's a reality of being an artist but doesn't it suck to work so long on something and then not like it?? That's kind of how I feel about my latest project. Maybe it's not that I don't like it, maybe it's just that I don't like it for my living room. It might be perfect for a nursery or play room. What do you think?

I had the idea in my head and needed to find the right supplies at the right price. I ended up purchasing packs of thin cutting boards at Walmart. I'm sure there is a much better solution than the one I came up with, especially since the paint didn't stick to the plastic very well. But since I got new orange curtains I needed to paint the surfaces to match. After I painted them with cheap acrylics I measured and punched holes in each one and then connected them together with S hooks. I need to figure out a better way to hang the whole piece but first I wanted to see how it would look so I just used nails for now.

I cut the design elements out of wood grained contact paper that I found for $1. That was the fun part. I am really into organic shapes right now...have you noticed?

So that's my latest project. What do you think? There are so many stinkin things on my to do list and all I want to do right now is lay on the couch and watch Deadliest Catch. Seriously, what is up with that???

Friday, May 22, 2009

the fabric of my life

This week I have been trying to pay close attention to the tangible things in my life that are really important to me and that I love. Fabric is one of those things. I especially love fabric made up of bold graphic design elements.

From my closet to my couch, these are a few samples of fabric that you will find in my home.

One day I will design my own fabric line. I will. I promise.

edit: crap, I just realized that two of those swatches above are not fabric (the orange and green dots)...they are metal tins from Ikea. oops! They would make cool fabric, don't you think??

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

take back

have you ever said something and really, really, really wish you could go back in time and take it back? have you ever done that in a business meeting? have you ever done it TWICE in the same meeting?

and then after that have you ever driven to the gym and when you got to the parking lot just kept going? and then somehow immediately end up at Papa John's? and then eat 4 slices of pizza?

thank god I can tell you guys about this stuff.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

reflections and painted mirrors

This week I have been doing a photographic study on reflections. During the study I learned a couple of things...1. I hate looking in mirrors and do so as little as possible 2. i didn't have a full length mirror in my house. So naturally, since I hate looking in mirrors, I decided to buy one. And also, since my life seems to be filled with one project after another I decided to turn my new mirror into a project. So I painted it.

I went to Target and bought a cheap beveled edge mirror. Then I cleaned it and painted it with acrylics. It was hard to find a neutral place to take photos of it and I ended up in the bathroom. Taking photos of mirrors is challenging because you have to make sure there isn't a ton of crap in the reflection distracting from the actual mirror!

Apparently my repulsion for the color yellow is changing. I'm even wearing it now.

Honestly, I don't think painting a mirror is practical at all, at least not with basic acrylic paints. I probably won't be able to clean it very often, if at all. But it sure is pretty, right???

You can see more reflection photos in my Flickr photostream.

Friday, May 15, 2009

self-portrait collage

I am not in the writing mood today so I have been procrastinating on this post. But I have a goal of posting every other day and I am trying my best to stay on track. In my past I have always had a tendency to give up when things don't feel good. Now I am at a point in my life where I am understanding the power and importance of persistence and dedication and commitment. So here I am whether you like it or not!


See that picture of me above? I made that. It is the only project from my years in college that I framed. I am kind of proud of it. You know why? It's because of how it was made. I cut out a bagillion pieces of magazine in all the perfect shades of black and grey and white. Don't you think it looks just like me? You can't see it in this picture but even the white around my head is pieces of magazine.

Here is a little closer look...


On another note: I am putting this out there because when I write about things on my blog it becomes more real to me....I am opening an Etsy shop. It's only in the beginning stages but I just wanted to let my friends know. I value each of you and am so grateful to have you in my little world. Thank you for your constant support and encouragement. You all help me to keep calm and carry on.

Any suggestions on what I should sell in the shop??

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

eklektick's wreck this journal

Have you guys heard of the book Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith? You will probably either think it is really cool or really stupid. I am going to try to convince you that it is really cool. (captions are above the photos for this post - don't mean to confuse anyone)

Let me introduce you to the artist Kristin Krause (eklektick). This is her book on day one. This is what you start out with......


Then you follow the instructions on each page in your own creative way. Like on the page below it says to "fill this page with circles"....


And on this page you "pour, spill, drip, spit, fling your coffee here". Kristin made coffee splattering a true work of art.

image source: Eklektick's Flickr photostream

On this page the instructions are to write one word over and over again. Remember, this started out as a blank page with only the words of the instructions.

image source: Eklektick's Flickr photostream

Check out the "later" version of the book. Its all just so beautiful to me.

I am a fan of Kristin's work. She has some amazing photos in her flickr photostream. Be sure to check out her monthly "making the bed". Her bed gets a new outfit every month. So inspiring!

Here are a few more of her Wreck This Journal pages....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Painting

I love to paint. I will slap some paint on pretty much anything. I even painted the shoes that I wore to my senior prom because I couldn't find any in exactly the right color.

I just bought some new orange curtains for my living room so the last painting that I did (see below) is going to have to come down. Time for a new one!


I haven't been painting much lately but I can feel it calling me back. I love that. Going back to my roots.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Unravelling: Feet

So I have been loving the online class I have been taking with Susannah from the blog Ink on my Fingers. This first week has taken us all on an adventure with our feet.

While explaining the first assignment Susannah said "it’s our feet that carry us through life; if our feet hurt we can’t walk, and if we can’t get about we can’t live." I am not a huge shoe girl and I have gotten a pedicure once in my life (it was a bridesmaid thingy - I'll probably never do it again) so I have never really given much thought to how my feet play such a huge role in my life. It is kind of embarrassing to admit that, especially since I was a dancer for so many years and have a cousin who has Cerebral Palsy and can't walk without canes. I have completely taken advantage of the fact that my feet work perfectly. So, as I went through the daily ins and outs of the week I constantly had my feet in the back of my mind (figuratively - of course). I also have been lugging my good camera around with me everywhere to capture it all. And though I have gotten some bizarre looks from these southerners down here I have really learned a lot while focusing on my feet....as weird as that sounds.

Here are a few of my favorite shots.....

I once was a ballerina.

yes, my third toe on my left foot is longer than any other.

I love it when cats do this.

I wonder what it is about feet that cats love? My cat Reece is obsessed with both feet and shoes.

My parents always have the prettiest yard in the neighborhood. Hey mom, did the flowers here ever go back to normal after I squashed them?

One of my most favorite places to be with him.


We live at a very beautiful beach. Sugar white sands, a salty breeze and warm water.

The veins in my feet are kind of freaky looking.


Spence and I love to bowl. We do it a lot.

So those are some of the places my feet have been this week. After all of that I broke down and bought some nail polish. I'm gonna try it out tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

Edit: the toenail polishing was a success! It might become a new obsession for me.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

pretty little paintings


Painted these simple little ditties for my mom. She has a very "cottage" style home with very beachy colors. Love you mom!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

beaded flower clips

Do you want to know what Spencer and I chose to spend our money on while on vacation? Books. Yeah...I drug Spence around to Anthropology and Paper Source and Urban Outfitters and a multitude of beautiful stores....and we ended up with books. I have been that way since I was a kid (Baby Sitter's Club anyone??) so it shouldn't surprise me now.

We took full advantage of being in a "real" city and went to a total of FIVE different Borders bookstores. Five...in 3 days.
One of my favorite purchases is that big, thick Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts book. Holy crap it's got so much cool stuff in it.

I made my first Martha project.....beaded hair clips.

For the past couple of days I have been feeling completely boring and uninteresting so I needed a project that I knew I could complete in one sitting and then use immediately. Those kinds of projects make me feel good.

Back to the books....a few others that made their way into my home via the real city:
Spencer bought 3 or 4 Piano books because he just got a great new weighted keyboard for his birthday. He is crazy like that. He just decides he wants to play an instrument and then goes and does it like it's no big deal. He is way cooler than me.

Good lord i am blabbering.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

gem stone trees

When I was young my most favorite time of the year was the ten days spent at summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina. And I think one of my most favorite parts of summer camp was arts and crafts. Actually, I eventually became the arts and crafts director at that very same summer camp. One of the crafts that I will never forget doing was the gem tree....my mom still has the one I made for her 20 years ago. I decided it was time to revisit those summer camp days with a 2009 version of the gem tree....except it ended up being about 20 versions....once I started I couldn't stop.


I can think of so many ways these could be used....as a baby gift, using the baby's birthstone....as a wedding gift, using the couples birthstones or wedding colors (usually the invitation is a good hint), mother's day gift, father's day....oh i could go on forever.

They require minimal materials:
  • floral wire
  • craft glue
  • "chip" beads
  • a rock
A good place to order the chip beads is Fire Mountain Gems (actually, a good place to order any kind of jewelry making supplies). But you can also find them at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore and sometimes Walmart.

When I lived in Vermont I could just walk outside and find perfect rocks for the trees (the flat ones work the best), but here in Alabama I had to go to a nursery and purchase them for a few cents each.

These are adorable when you add a little tag with a quote or verse or name on them. They are the perfect gift to personalize.

On another note: Today was the first day of the Unraveling class I am taking with Susannah from one of my favorite blogs, Ink on my Fingers. If you aren't aware of the class you should check it out. I feel like I am on a constant learning adventure in my life. The day I quit learning is the day that someone needs to check my pulse.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

cool baby stuff from Brella Baby


Are you pregnant? If not, more than likely your sister is, or your co-worker is, or you cousin is or your neighbor is. Seriously, sometimes it seems like a contagious disease.

I have two very cool friends, Holly and Sarah, who run a very cool business. Brella Baby. They design and sell adorable and modern baby books, journals, birth announcements, calling cards, holiday cards and stationary. They offer pre-designed templates and they also do really beautiful custom orders.

I wanted to let you all know about these fine ladies because, if you are pregnant you are aware that the market for these products is completely saturated. It can be overwhelming to know who to trust and who will make sure that you get exactly what you were expecting. I have complete confidence that Holly and Sarah will meet your expectations and even go beyond. I have known them for over 15 years and personally worked with both of them and would trust them with any project that I needed help with...which is rare because I am a bit of a control freak.


One really cool product that they sell is their modern baby book. For anyone who just isn't interested in teddy bears or Dora this is seriously the perfect solution. Not only is each page beautifully illustrated but they are also completely practical. Its actually stuff you would want to fill out about the new little person in your life (none of that fluffy crap).

Also, right now they are having a major sale so check em out. Tell them Ashley sent you!