Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New year - what's the word?

A friend of mine started a tradition a few years ago that I've completely co-opted. Instead of coming up with a list of new year's resolutions pick one word that will help define the experiences you want for the year. I love this idea as opposed to a list of resolutions I probably won't keep. A single word to push me to focus on what I think is important for the year.

I don't remember every word I've picked over the last few years, but do remember "Bold" and "Create". I think I used something akin to "Do" a few years ago as well.

For 2010?

I've chosen "Learn" as my guiding word. I'm excited about this and am already thinking about all of the things I want to focus on learning:

  • I'm going to be a new mom. Being a parent is going to be a daily exercise in learning new skills and patience.

  • I want to enhance my design skills on the web side. The basics? No problem. But I want to learn to do thing so I don't feel held back when designing for the web.

  • I want to expand my knowledge of papercraft - always!

  • I want to read, read, read.

  • I want to relearn drawing by hand, so I don't feel so bogged down when I want to produce a sketch.

  • I want to learn more on the technical side of renewable energy to understand available technologies better.

But, it's all about learning.

What's your word for 2010?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas to all

After some serious scrambling, I managed to get my holiday cards out in the mail on the 23rd of December. At this point, I think they might be New Years cards.

This was my first attempt at using my die cut machine (KNK Groove-e) I purchased way back in late June. It definitely takes some trial and error to get the hang of it. But, luckily, the software is compatible with Illustrator, so so far I’ve only had to learn the basics of the cumbersome software that comes with the cutter. I can do all my actual drawing in Illy.

I’m happy with the results, if more time consuming than I’d hoped. Everything was done with papers and coverstock I had on hand, using up extras of papers I purchased for other projects. The design was originally freehand drawn, then scanned, and finally traced in Illy. The card is two sheets – an overlay with the diecut pattern and an internal coverstock card, attached to each other via a string binding.

Enjoy! And for those of you who celebrate Christmas: have a safe and merry one! For those of you who don’t: have a lovely, quiet 25th.

Learn more about the KNK from the online expert - Sandy McCauley

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Custom boxes as gifts

I love making custom boxes for gifts. The packaging becomes part of the gift itself. I've had people tell me that they display their boxes long after the gift itself is gone. They use the box for regifts (which is my favorite use for them), with the boxes often reappearing year after year within a family. Not only can I customize the size of the box to fit the contents, but I can customize the paper and design to fit the recipient(s).

But, of course, making these boxes is time consuming. I wish I could take the time to make them for all gifts, especially at Christmas, but there just aren't enough hours in the day. So, I often pick one or two gifts that get a custom box, rotating through family and friends.

Here's one I made for a gift of wine this year:

When it was done, I used a lovely red ribbon to tie it closed. Green and red – hard to get more Christmasy than that.

Interested in a custom box for your gifts? Email me or convo me via my Etsy store.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Viney sketch

I've been enjoying drawing some more abstract patterns lately. When I draw, I'm very slow and get frustrated quickly. But, for some reason, I don't get irritated when working on something more abstract like the above, even if it takes as long or longer than sketching a realistic scene.

To draw the vine pattern above, I freehand sketched the pattern, then scanned it in and redrew over it in Illy, giving me vector art I can resize, change color, etc.