INSPIRE


Isn’t this the most unique Xmas card?? We got this in the mail and was instantly inspired. They are an engraving company so the card speaks a lot about their company; great way to market your company! . I thought it was one of the prettiest cards and of course had to share it with you on the blog.

I LOVE this site Czar Press. They sent me these samples, they are an awesome paper company and I can’t wait to work with them. I have a few ideas in the making and might use these pretty papers in the future.

These are just a few online shopping companies that give back with your purchase. I was shocked by some of the organizations that are giving back with big hearts. I think it would be great if we could create a list of places that are giving a little back. Comment back if you have a name of a company / organization. How cool to be giving at the same time buying for someone on your christmas list.


Get your holiday cards ordered from Paper Culture. They will plant a tree in your honor with every order, all cards & envelopes are 100% recycled plus they are a Carbon-Free company.


31 Bits Jewelry each piece of jewelry is handmade with 100% recycled paper and other material by women in the Uganda community. Every piece has a genuine and unique quality. I love this site & the jewelry pieces!

What are some others sites that are in giving mood??

LISA’S HOPE

First a BIG Thanks to everyone who came out and supported Lisa’s Hope. Everyone worked so hard and it was such a great day.

I was so glad to be a part of the benefit. I LOVED seeing the friends and family that showed up, so awesome!
Personal shout out to my family/friends that came out. Good to see everyone.
Thanks for the support!!

I know Lisa appreciates it. Get well soon Lisa!!


DIY LAMP SHADE MAKING

From the previous post PART 1 LAMP SHADE, this is the finishing touches to making a lamp shade.

Materials
– Super Glue
– Strong Black Tape
– Hardware from a spare lamp shade

Start by gluing the seams of the acetate. The piece of mylar with the graphic print is between the acetate pieces. I used super glue, they have a brand of super glue that has a brush to apply the glue. Makes it very easy to use. The sticks used help keep it held together until the glue is dry.

Take a part the spare lamp shade and use the hardware for the new shade. Start taping the hardware to the acetate with super tacky tape. Go around the edges very smoothly. Do both the top and bottom sides of the shade. For this part it makes it a lot easier to have an extra hand, to help out.

Thats it! Finish putting the shade on the lamp and turn it on. I loved doing this project and I wanted to share the inspiration. This is the first one that I have ever made and I would do it again.

DIY MASK MAKING

Todays post is going be both Photo Friday and a quick DIY. To get in the Halloween spirit this year, I didn’t carve any pumpkins but I’ve always wanted to make my own mask. It’s a masquerade mask that’s Halloween inspired.

There are a ton of different ways you can design your mask, I’m going to share a process that will hopefully inspire you to make one. There is no right or wrong answer to make a mask, you just need to be creative.

Materials:
Mask
Feathers
Paint / Spray & Acrylic
Glitter
Sequins / Jewels
Hot Glue & Glitter Glue

Start out doing some sketches, add marker to your sketches to get an idea of colors. I refined my sketch to get a better idea of what materials to use. It helped me understand what materials I wanted to use.

Start to mask out the design using tape. After the details are taped out, use spray paint to cover the areas with the most color. The other areas can be painted with a brush, using either acrylic paint or enamels.

I love sparkle so I used sprayed glitter over the whole mask. The last paint spray before applying the feathers, jewels and sequins.


Pick out the colors for feathers you want to use and get ready to hot glue them to the back of the mask. I used hot glue for the major gluing and glitter glue for the smaller details.

I started with gluing the feathers and then the sequins. I used glitter glue for all the sequins, it blended well with the paint on the mask. Keep doing that until you are happy with the end result. I became addicted to adding feathers. Just remember to do that if you want a full layout of feathers.

What do you think? I am so excited to use my mask this weekend. I almost forgot, there isn’t a tie strap to keep it on. I am using a stick to hold it up to my face. Also I plan to cover the back of the mask with some fabric.
I hope enjoyed todays DIY / Photo Friday post.
Happy Halloween!


THE BEST INSPIRATIONAL READ

I love this book. I couldn’t stop reading it. I’m not a big reader but this book kept my attention. A lot of it made some much sense and most of it I am ready doing. It is very up to date on the current trends in the business world. So much of it stood out to me, especially since I’m a newbie to running my freelance business it’s the best resource.

One of the topics I loved the most: Don’t Copy / It’s a formula for failure. What a friendly reminder to myself not to look so much at all the competitors out there. So many times I find myself wanting to do something I saw because I loved it so much and I have to remind myself DON’T FOLLOW. I would miss all the process behind the work. Copycats can never get ahead if they are to busy following and never thinking forward.

Another thing I have to remind myself that is another topic in the book. Don’t be so afraid of your work being stolen. Pour yourself into your work, no one can copy that. Share your story; great chefs share their recipes because they know it takes more than copying a recipe to become a famous chef.

This is such a great book and the last page is my inspiration. In one of my previous posts, Positive Thinking Energy, I was posting about the yoga bag that had sayings all over it. One of them; the world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement change will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW! When I read the last page of the book I was reminded of that blog post . Inspiration is motivation. In the book they say ideas are immortal and inspiration has an expiration date. When you have the inspiration you are pumped up about the project. If the project is put on hold then you wont have the motivation to get the best out of the project later on. This is so true? What do you think? Do you plan on reading the book?

I highly suggest reading this book because it is so up to date with today’s world and it’s so simple to read. A great resource and filled with inspiration.

BLOG ACTION DAY

Today’s post is taking part in the Blog Action Day; that unites the worlds bloggers in posting about the same issue, water. Photo Friday is taking a little spin today and I thought it would be a challenge to participate in Blog Action Day. Sparking a global discussion, mine topic is Bottled water. They are everywhere and sometimes its just convenient to have around at certain times but there is a lot of bad press about bottle water.

Almost 86% of those bottles will never be recycled. It seems like such a waste, think about it. Have you ever seen the commercials with all the bottles floating around in the ocean or the commercial with the bottles that are able to make it around the circumference of the world a few times. That’s crazy! I guess having water bottles are fine if you have the intentions of recycling it.

Instead of bottled water how about water bottles? Reusable, eco-friendly and these are totally stylin! I love the new designs on the reusable bottles, I catch myself looking at them in the store every time.

People in the US have access to clean water and water filters. The Britta filters are great and last a long time, I think our last filter lasted almost 3 months. I keep my water bottle with me more than half the time, it has took a beating but I love it.

MY FIRST PHOTOS

Have you ever came across old work or something you created a long time ago and think wow I can’t believe I did that!?! These are my first black and white photos taken at my first college class. Using a 35mm film camera, dark room and B&W film.

I remember taking these photos and also thinking I have no idea what I am doing. haha The dark room was such a challenge and reward, developing your own photos. The first thing I remember is learning the F stop and shutter speed. We had to show the series of F stops from F11 to F2 in the first assignment.

These were also my first portraits I did for an assignment and show.

Another assignment was buildings/architecture. I had a series of photos from Detroit, including the Renaissance Center.

I love that even in my first photography class I was taking pictures of Detroit.

I love these photos probably because I didn’t know anything. haha Everybody has to start somewhere. Personally I love to look back and see how far I’ve come.

I also love to encourage people that want to do photography. Keep SHOOTING! Practice makes perfect. Ask your friends to model for you and maybe set up website or blog.

Hope you enjoyed! I would love to see your first photoshoots. Link up with your firsts!

DIY LAMP SHADE

During my recent move one of my lamp shades broke. I was pretty bummed because I knew it would be difficult to find a replacement. We really couldn’t find anything on the market and because the hardware on the lamp didn’t fit all the shades that are out there, it made it hard to buy anything. So being the designers we are, we are making one of our own.

This is Part 1 or Part 2

MATERIALS
Lamp Shade
Acetate
Mylar or Fabric

We found a shade that will fit the lamp and with the right hardware.

Measure your lamp shade and apply the measurements to your materials that need to be cut.

Cut the Mylar and prepare to print your design on the sheet. I’ve been in a Detroit theme lately, maybe because of my photo book that is coming out soon.

So this design is from one of the photos that I took of Detroit and in the background is a faded map of Detroit.

You could probably use any kind of material for this part if you don’t want to print out a design. I’m sure you could find some really neat paper or fabric to cover the shade.


Make sure your print dries thoroughly; depending on how much ink is used it could take a little while.

Stay tuned for part 2 – I’ll have the steps that will finish this project up.

DIY SLIPCASE
A slipcase provides a strong protective box for your books or portfolio. I made one to protect my portfolio and it worked out perfectly. It can be covered in paper, cloth, textured paper or even pleather. I know I have posted photos before on the slipcase and the portfolio. I have had some questions about how I made the case and some people have been searching for ways to protect their portfolio. This is the second time I have made one of these slipcases, the other one was for a photo book I made.

Materials
Greyboard
Cover Paper or book cloth
Lining Paper
Craft Glue
Masking Tape

1. To estimate the amount of paper needed, measure twice the height of the book and add on 2 inches and the width plus twice the thickness of the book adding 2 to 2 ¼ inches.
2. Measure the book for the slipcase from head to tail and from the spine to fore edge. Also measure the thickness.
3. Cut the boards from the lined greyboard.

Box sides cut 2
Height = height of the book plus 2 board thickness plus 2 thickness of covering material.
Width = Width of book plus 1 board thickness.

Long wall = cut 1
Height = same height as box sides
Width = thickness of book plus 2 thickness of covering material.

Short walls cut 2
Length – same as box side minus 1 board thickness
Width – same as width of long wall

4. Attach the long wall with small pieces of tape and using a paintbrush coat the edges with glue. I actually used spray glue on the material I used. Repeat with the remaining short walls.

5. Attach the 2nd box side with glue & tape in place. When the glue is all dry remove all the tape.
6. Be sure all the edges are even & smooth. Any rough edges will show through. Use medium grit sandpaper to smooth the edges before covering with your paper.
7. Cut enough paper to cover the box. Leaving ¾ inches for the turn in. Coat one side of the box with glue. Coat the spine with glue and fold the material around. Finally coat the 2nd box side with glue and wrap the material around, leaving no air bubbles.

8. Crease the covering material where it folds around the spine. Trim the spine and angle the corners, and glue down.

9. Cut the flaps at the end of the box to fit the width of the short wall. Coat with glue and stick down. Repeat the other end.

10. Cut the small tabs in each corner to 1/24 inch and glue down.

11. Crease the material from the corners of the box at the open end. Cut along the line, coat the turn-ins and glue. Fold them over the board edges.

12. Leave the box to dry before slipping your book in.

POSITIVE THINKING ENERGY

The canvas shopping bags are really making an impact in shopping stores. The graphics are really becoming a big deal too. Almost every store as them now and most have some really awesome graphics on them. I had to share the one I got in the mail with the yoga clothes I ordered. They gave me a little bag and on the outside it has a ton of type, all has something to say about living a better life. My favorite line on the bag and I really think that its a good piece of advice – The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW! That is so true, I feel this way when I have creative ideas and I wait because its not the right time or because of other ideas and then the idea is gone. So many times its either forgot about or the energy of the idea has faded.

I know the bag is kinda girly but the sayings are so true and I love the type layout. Its a good way to remind myself and others reading on ways to live more effectively. Wouldn’t you agree?

PORTFOLIO BOOK

This is my portfolio book for 2010. I designed the book myself with the work from 2009. VERY HAPPY with the print. I even made a case for it, protects it while on the book shelf. These are some close up shoots, I didn’t include all the pages. This is actually the second series of photos I shot of the book. Coming up this fall I have another book coming out that I designed and shot photos for. I love hearing your comments. Would want to see a post on the making of the portfolio case? While posting the photos I thought it would be a good idea to have a DIY post on the case. What do you think?

DIY / WATER COLOR TEXTURES

This is post for all the Photoshop junkies. I’ve found it very rewarding to create my own textures and brushes for my designs. I want to share some of the details about using watercolor for a technique.

Materials
Cold Press Illustration Board or Watercolor paper, brushes and water colors

Color – Add water on the paper and drop in some color. Control the splashes of color by moving the paper around or with the brush.

Manipulate the amount of water and move it around the paper. Thin layers of ink create great layers of splash. Before adding another layer of color, let it dry. Mix up the color. Let the different colors flow freely around the paper.

I added a little stronger detail with some watercolor pencils. Just so I had some strong definition.

You can either capture the layers with your camera of scan the paper after its dry.

Create your own photos, your art, or your textures from scratch. Its fun to create these kind of projects and experiment with different styles. In Photoshop use it as a layer with the blending mode. Now we have our own textures and they can be used for any illustration.

I had a lot of fun putting this post together. I hope you can enjoy it. This is my final abstract drawing with the use of my bright pink watercolor painting. What do you think?

PLANS IN THE MAKING

Taking the blog to the next level: This post is actually about some of the upcoming plans to grow the blog community. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topics.

Recently visiting some other blogs, gala darling I have noticed that one popular blog posting; Things that I love or 5 things that I love. It’s a healthy way to show gratitude. Research has shown that people who keep a gratitude journal, who write at least five things for which they are grateful, big things or little things, are happier, more optimistic, more successful, and strengthens your whole being. (Source.)
Sounds good right? I have thought about making it the next topic on the blog.

Also some plans are coming together to start taking sponsor ads on the blog. The ad will be on right side column, on all pages and last for a month or weekly. Some advertisements that would fit the blog: Etsy shop, web/blog design service, artist, photographer, nonprofit, art gallery, creative online community, photo actions, software, applications, inspirational online shops…etc.

Please contact me if you are interested in placing an ad on the blog. Paypal is the preferred payment method. I’m currently accepting advertisers at very reasonable rates, shoot me an email and we can discuss your ad.

Another topic for the blog is interviews. I am currently looking for designers, artists or photographers that would be interested in a blog feature. Do you want to be the next interview?

I always love hearing from everyone! Do you have an ideas or comments? What do you think about the blog so far? It’s a growing blog and I’m so surprised how much it has grown and the readers that follow.

I always like to THANK everyone for stopping by and leaving a comment!

LINK LOVE / GRAPHIC DESIGN BLENDER

After the post of the designer interview with Jeremy Rolfs, I was reading an article about “How sketching will take your design process to the next level” written by Lou Levit.

In the interview, Jeremy mentioned how important it is to sketch out our ideas and I thought it would good to add the article as a follow-up on that topic. Take a look at the article its a great read.

Plus the article comes from a really great site called Graphic Design Blender / GDB

Check them out and sign up for monthly emails and get a free e-booklet!
It’s a AWESOME little reference!

CAMERA PHONE LENSES

Do you like to take photos with your phone? I found this to be really cool! These are fish eye lenses for your camera phone. Check it out!

I want to try one out. A lot of times my phone doesn’t take bad photos for a quick snap shot. I would LOVE to play around with these lenses. It works with any camera phone.

BUYING A NEW CAMERA
Lately I have been asked about how to buy a new camera. Weather its for more professional use or just a simple point and shoot camera. I have a few tips that hopefully helps research a camera. Really its up to user, I can’t tell you which one to buy but I have some great resources. There are so many brands out there but these are the names I highly recommend Nikon, Canon, Sony or Olympus. I had an Olympus for my first digital camera and it was great. If you really care about what your photos look like and enjoy editing, then I would suggest spending a little bit of money on a camera around $300 to $500. Thats if you have no experience with digital SLR cameras and still want a high quality point and shoot camera. Some of the point and shoot cameras put out great quality with out spending a ton of money on a digital SLR.

This is an Olympus E-P1. I love this camera, the lens are interchangeable, its a high definition camcorder plus its so cute in its retro compact body.

One of the best resources I have found is going to Borders and picking up a photography buying magazine. It breaks down all the highlights of each camera and compares each one. Adorama is an online photography store that is great to buy from, they have a ton to choose from.

This magazine is a huge inspiration for camera buyers

Also I suggest playing with some cameras and trying it out. Best buy or any electronic store that have cameras out on display. Borrowlenses.com will let you rent out the DSLR cameras and lens if you plan on buying something a little more professional.

Hopefully this is helpful. Go ahead and comment with any questions. Are you planning on buying a camera soon? What kind of camera do you have?

DIY – CD PACKAGE

On this post I wanted to share an awesome way to package mix cds. I saw this idea done from an musician, she would make the package out of a paper bag and write her information on the front and pass them out. Its an inexpensive and fun way to be creative with your cds. I wanted to take it a little farther and design the labels. I designed some brushes in photoshop and created a couple different designs for photo packages and music.

SUPPLIES – Small paper bags, string or yarn, cds and printable sticker paper.

1. Place the CD in the paper bag and fold in half to the size of the CD.

2. Print the design and place on paper bag.

3. Doodles on Design. I draw some doodles on the paper to enhance the design.

4. Wrap the CD with twine or string. This secures the cd and design.

5. Protect the Design. Place cd in a clear wrap for extra effect.

All done. Pretty simple to create and fun. Link up and comment, do you plan to try it out?

DIY – JEWERLY CHARMS
I was going to save this post for tomorrow but I couldn’t wait to share plus I have something else fun for tomorrow. If you know me well, you know I LOVE jewelry. There isn’t much instruction for this DIY, its simple enough to do on your own. These are charms from old necklaces that I put together with a different chain. I recycled some parts from other necklaces.

My dad actually made a few of these charms, I’ve kept them in my jewelry box for a long time because I didn’t want anything to happen to them. I couldn’t resist anymore, I added them to my collection of charms.

This is one of my coolest charms, my dad made this one years ago, its made from layers of real car paint. How cool is that!?! I LOVE the layers of color.

All you need is a long chain, I got mine from Michael’s. Some jump rings and charms. These are few from my charm collection.

INSPIRE & LEARN


I definitely have a desire to learn and inspire especially with other artists/designers. On this post I wanted to share my experience with the new CS5 tool. This is an example of an old photo and using the content aware tool I was able to remove the kid on the left. Since there is another need for this photo, I was able to make it work with the new cool tool. Kinda neat, right?

Everyday I get website links emailed to me. Thats one way I am inspired by my wonderful boy boy – Mr. Rolfs. ha! This is something I kept on my desktop, I think they are so cute and I love the graphics. They are bottle openers, so simple and fun!

A FUN THANKS!
This post is a dedication for all the support I have received during the first stage of getting the freelance business off and running. Thank you to everyone for checking out my work, all the awesome comments and help I have received. Im overwhelmed by how supportive people have been, a BIG round of applause!

Every so often I pull out my book full of quotes from successful people, I wanted to share the one that caught my eye. I also felt it was fitting for this post.
I know the price of success: dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen. -Frank Lloud Wright, architect

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