MonthJune 2013

The Ninja Party

Recently, I held a “ninja” party for my newly five-year-old son. This party was compiled completely from ideas I found on, and it was great! Now, I’ve heard people complain that is just one more way to feel like a failure (or at least a slacker) as a parent. While I get that, for this party, I made it work for me. For example, I found an activity I liked, but I didn’t have the energy to do it they way it was done on the blog I read. My solution, search Pinterest for that activity. And I found a great alternative that was easy for me, and a big hit with the kids.

Since these are all ideas that I borrowed from others (and of course changed to meet my needs), I’ll just share some photos and tips. Every event is a learning experience.

My designer takeaway: Instead of letting make you feel like you need to do more, make it work for you. Can it help you solve a problem or provide some alternative ideas?

Design Inspiration Favorites

I think non-designers, and probably aspiring designers in particular, have this glamorous perception of the life of a graphic designer. It’s not all beautiful and inspirational! Sometimes, it feels like pulling teeth to complete (or even start) a project. With deadlines, it can feel like someone walking into your office and saying, “And go! Be creative this very minute.”

Usually, we can pull it off, and that’s because we’ve stockpiled some inspirational pieces in our mind or can reach out and find inspiration. While I think this is an area I need to expand, here are some of my go-to places:


In print:

    How magazine
    Family Fun magazine
    My stash of design books and old college textbooks (like the Idea Index and Color Index, Graphic Design Communications Today)
    My inspirational stash (folder with pieces I’ve collected from travels or junk mail)
    My old college projects (sometimes I’m really impressed with my inexperienced self)

In the environment:

    Library and Barnes & Noble
    Local Needlepoint Store (especially during her football sale where I search through crates of knitting magazines and patterns)
    Museum exhibits
    Trade Shows, like our Home and Garden Show (booths and materials can be inspiring)
    Stores, especially boutique-like stores

My Designer Takeaway: This time I’m asking for help. What sources of inspiration do you love? What’s your go-to place for inspiration?

Retirement Readiness Project

This is just a fun little project I created more for the purpose of counting down to my mother’s retirement rather than actually preparing, but if it helps with that also we’ll call it a win.

I made her a planning list for each month of her last year of employment. These lists are centered around things I know she likes to do or wants to do. I kept the lists to just eight items; it’s enough to be a challenge, but not so many that it takes away the fun.

I printed these all off on scrapbook paper, stuck them in a clear sleeve, and gave her a fabulous binder I found with a wonderful quote (yay for inspiring quotes). I deliver each one in a 9 x 12 envelope, to keep them private, with a bundle of flowers. Since it’s still a secret at her office, it’s a fun little event for just us at the beginning of each month.

Some of the list pages

Some of the list pages

My designer takeaway: As a designer, we’re frequently ‘behind the scenes’ on projects. Every now and then, it’s good to see the results first hand, especially when celebrating.

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