CategoryJust for Fun

Summer Flowers 2015

I usually share my gardening adventures each summer. Here’s a peek at this year’s flowers.

We had a weird, cold entire month of May, and it left me not in the mood for gardening. I went really simple this year, mostly sticking with pansies and petunias. They are sure pretty now, though.

I also tore out a big weedy/grassy chunk in the middle of my flowerbed. The ground was so wet from our cold rainy May that it was easy. I decided to leave it bare for this summer and keep pulling the weeds from that area. Hopefully next summer it will be ready for something new.

My designer takeaway: This summer’s lessons were (1) to just keep going (when I really didn’t feel like planting because the effort was worth it in time), and (2) it’s okay to rip it all out and start over!

Second Class – Flower Arranging

flower-arrangement

I just took my second flower arranging class, and I love how much it overlaps with graphic design. This class was part of the “Life Enrichment” class offered by our local community college, and the teacher is also from the community college. He’s very excited and passionate about good flower design. It’s really fun and eye opening.

This class was based on a design for a mason jar. All the flowers and tools were provided. The the theme was doing a “hand tie” design. It took me a bit to get this meaning, but it shouldn’t have. 🙂 It just meant we started with a bunch “tied” together like a bride’s bouquet. We took that bunch and inserted it in the center and then built around it.

He talked about building vertical and horizontal lines for visual interest. Although this style of bouquet is more symmetrical, he assured us it would have plenty of visual interest.

We worked in layers after that. He’d give us one type of greenery and suggest the area for it’s use, like around the bottom edge or immediately around the center to help hold it upright. This is where everyone’s started to take its own shape.

We talked about how much interest the greenery adds with all the different textures. It builds a lot of depth into the arrangement.

Then we added three long grass blades. This felt like such a funny step to me, but they made a big impact. Mine arched outward. Others’ stood up nice and tall. He had me work mine so they arched at three different heights.

The second to last step was to insert the second row of flowers. I did mine all about the same height and in between the grasses. Others did theirs in a spiral, or stair step, around it.

Lastly, we checked for holes or areas that needed a little more greenery for balance.

flower-arrangement2

I could tell that I felt much more comfortable this class than the first one. I just might develop an eye for this. Time will tell. I think there will be more classes in my future, though.

My designer takeaway: Texture and layers are always a good thing!

Holiday Card Challenge – Post 4

holiday-card-challenge-7-10

Here are the last three designs in my holiday card challenge = 50 cards total, 10 designs, 5 of each design. In case you missed my first three posts with cards one through seven, they are here, here and here.

This week, I went for variations of the traditional rich holiday color tones, the red, green and gold. And I also wanted to use some of brad/eyelet stash. 🙂

holiday-card-challenge-7

This first card uses on the techniques I love, creating visual texture with words and fonts. Here it’s a nice layer that you almost don’t notice, but makes a really simple card a little more interesting.

holiday-card-challenge-10

For the second card, I decided to use some kind of phrase on it, since I really haven’t done that on any of the others. I did a little online search and found one I liked. I highlighted some words with a typeface change. Here I also used symmetry, which is not something I normally do, but it’s playful in this instance with the bright colors and contemporary shapes. Layering the text and adding the eyelets gives this some dimension.

holiday-card-challenge-8

The third card I created based on my snowflake brads. I thought it would be fun just to cover the whole card in snowflakes, which was actually a bit time consuming as I played around with what size/rotation should go where. I could have spent more time adjusting all of these! The I picked three spots, deleted my vector snowflake and left a spot for the brad. My hope was that the brads would sort of blend in, but then add a surprise 3D visual. This may or may not have been successful, but it was still fun.

My designer takeaway: Playfulness can be a good design element: play with your typefaces, play with your colors and play with the arrangement!

Holiday Card Challenge – Post 3

reindeer-one

Here are designs six and seven in my holiday card challenge = 50 cards total, 10 designs, 5 of each design. In case you missed my first two posts with cards one through five, they are here and here.

My theme for this week was something out of the ordinary.

circle-card-all

With this first card, I wanted to use non-traditional colors for the card. I went with orange and blue. Then I played with layering patterns, color and paper.

reindeer-card-all

For the second card, I decided to go for something playful. I have these fantastic eyeball brads. I thought it would be great to add them to a card because they give it a 3D element and focal point. I decided a reindeer would be fun to create, and when I discovered the eyes were way larger than I thought, I fell in love with the cuteness/unexpectedness they brought.

My designer takeaway: For this week, try to create something with elements out of the ordinary, unusual colors, patterns or features.

Holiday Card Challenge – Post 1

I really enjoyed the 100 Card Challenge I did a few years ago, and I’ve toyed with giving myself a repeat of that. So this year, I decided I would make all of my holiday cards. Notice I’ve started really early! 🙂

I usually send out about 50 cards. So I decided a good challenge would be to make 10 different designs and do 5 of each design.

Here are my first three designs.

These two are ones I’m reusing from my previous designs because I like them. Plus it’s a good way to use up some of my brad/eyelet stash (because if I use them up, I get to shop for more!).

card_xmas_gift_eyelets

card2

The third is one I saw on Pinterest and really wanted to try my hand at making. It’s simple and yet really stunning. (I’ll admit that was a lot of scoring and cutting for five cards, though!)

card3

Stay tuned for more cards!

My designer takeaway: Reuse ideas when you can, especially when they’re good ones!

Sack O’ Love Gift Tutorial

sack-o-love-image

A few years ago, my husband and I were invited to a wedding where everything on their registry was taken! So we came up with a silly way to give them money. I thought this would be a fun tutorial for you because there are many times where money is the best gift to give (e.g. for honeymoon cash, teens’ gifts).

Here’s what we did:
I took a plain paper bag and made a fun paper label to attach to the side. Then we filled it with shredded paper, Hersheys Hugs and Kisses and money (bills) folded into the origami hearts.

Here’s what you need:
1. Bag – paper or fabric
2. Label – Free Printable here or make your own

sack-o-love

3. Money in bills and quarters (to insert, if desired)

heart-dollars

Here is the tutorial for folding your money hearts!

4. Chocolate Hersheys Hugs and Kisses

My designer takeaway: A little creativity can make a boring gift memorable (especially unfolding all those bills to spend!)

Let Them Eat Silly Cakes

We’ve been celebrating a few birthdays in my family. We’ve gotten into a groove of silly cakes for everyone, young and old. Here are the latest tasty treats we made:

fish-cupcakes

Fish
I did a little search for birthday cake ideas, and I fell in love with these cute little fish. The bonus was that they looked super easy, and they were! My preschooler even helped me sort M&Ms by color for the scales.

camo-cake-cut

Camoflauge
This cake was a lot of fun to make! We used this tutorial to get us going. It was a great project for little ones to help with, too. My only warning is it makes a lot of cake. Have a plan for who is eating all that cake/cupcakes!

My designer takeaway: We all need a little silly every now and then!

Word Search Card

This was a fun birthday card I came up with for my six-year-old’s friend. It was so easy and very personalized. Who wouldn’t love it!

word-search-birthday-card

I started by using this tool to create the word search. This is a tool I’ve used many times for kids activity books for work, and at home, I sometimes put my son’s spelling words in there to give him some extra practice that’s a little different. I just typed in the name, “happy” and “birthday”. I played with the size of the puzzle until I liked it. I ended up using an 8 x 8 letter puzzle because I wanted it simple. See what you like.

Then I copied the word search into Illustrator (but you could certainly do this step in something like Word). I changed the font, added some color to call out the three words and printed it. I attached it to a glitter cardstock card and ta-da! It’s really that simple.

My designer takeaway: Think of new ways to use your old tools.

Collage Wall

Here is a quick peek at a recent project, a collage wall (welcome to the club, right). It was a lot fun. I’m not quite done. A thermostat left me with an awkward spot, and I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with it. I think it will just have to blend it, in the end.

collage-wall

The fun part of this collage wall was that these were framed things that were already in my house! I didn’t have to buy or find any of them. They’ve just been chillin in my basement or other rooms for way too long. Of course, that gave them an instant eclectic look, which I enjoy. It was also low cost, which I also enjoy. 🙂

I started by laying these out on the floor. I moved things around trying to balance the brown and black frames, the large and small pieces, and the photos and other artwork. I enjoy the variety. I hope I can keep that balance as we finish it up.

Then we decided a middle height for everything. We debated about the best place to start. In the end, we started on an edge. After those, we hung the biggest pieces and filled in, evening out all the spaces.

My designer takeaway: This was a good little design test of both visual balance and using a grid to make unrelated items fit together.

Happy New Year – Free Printable Card

new-years-card-front

I’m celebrating the New Year with a free printable New Year’s card!

new-years-card-2014

Print on cardstock. Score on dotted line. Card folds to 4 x 5.5 inches, and fits in an A2 or 5 1/2 Baronial envelope. Enjoy!

Download the PDF.

Happy 2015!

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