Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fingers Crossed

So, after 4 months, offers on SIX properties, and at the end of our First Time Homeowner timeline, an offer has FINALLY been accepted. We're tentatively excited, it's a short-sale that must be approved by the seller's bank. But lordy, I love that little house.

We'll see.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kitchen Inspiration via Nate Berkus

Okay, so here's the deal with me and the Nate Berkus show: I love it. Adore it! But it's "daytime TV". Right? I don't have time in my busy working-mom/first-tim-homebuyer schedule to sit down and watch it. Also, I'm a little ashamed when T is home…he usually wants to catch up on our more "acceptable" shows, like Top Chef or Boardwalk Empire or RHOC. Yeah….

Anyway, today I watched an ENTIRE EPISODE. And it was truly meant to be, because I love love love the kitchen he did for that little family.

First off, Trev and I have come to some consensus that we LOVE this white shaker style cabinet. Classic, will stand the test of time. The marble counter-tops are probably too expensive for our (future) budget, but that amour there is ALL the counter space in the kitchen. So, I guess with a smaller kitchen you can splurge a little. The backsplash is awesome, and could easily be combined with Corian or something cheaper than granite for the same effect. The warm color on the wall keeps it from being washed out, and is the perfect cozy mocha. Porque no gas stove?

Ugh, isn't that banquet amazing?? I have a family friend/design client who has a banquet in their kitchen, and I could sit there and talk logos all day with him. Nate hasd a great idea of using outdoor fabric for durability - there's so many sweet options out there, and this brown stripe is perfect. Great use of storage space with the pantry cabinet - could easily be an armoire or something else for some more character - but I think it works great in this space. The wood table top is to die for, and works with that brown on the wall to keep everything warm, and not too prissy white.

Nate had some more great ideas (gee, they should give that guy a daytime show!) for using 15" cabinets as the base of the banquet - I've always seen DIY shows make a box w/ hinged lid - the drawer/cabinet idea is genius. Watch the full segment here.

File this away under the "If We Ever Buy An F-ing House" file.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MyColor inspired by Pantone

I've broken my self-inflicted blogging hiatus (the usual excuses…daylight work, moonlighting work, working out, family, home shopping) to come back and gush about the newest, most amazing, perfect-timing product out there.

MyColor inspired by Pantone paint! At Lowe's of all places!

For those not in the know, Pantone is a company that, simply put, organized, categorizes, and standardizes color. Many for printers and designers, but it's quickly starting to dabble in home, and this print-rep-by-day/4th-generation-graphic-designer-by-night couldn't be more excited. ESPECIALLY since they were just announced as our home search is ramping back up thanks to the help of a new mortgage lender.

My favorites

The best thing is that these paints are "grab n' go". No mixing, no worrying about getting the wrong color, they're SELF PRIMING - I mean, seriously? 48 colors, ranging from bright Tomato to moody Cloudburst, in 35oz jars that just beg you to open them and slap some paint on the wall.

Now I just need to find a house to buy, and I'm good to go.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

She works hard for it, honey

Though my posts don't indicate it, I've actually been very busy knocking things off my Big Ass Summer List. I've done the dishes EVERY DAY for the past month (a big deal w/o a dishwasher), Jeni Olsen Design hired me as a Junior Designer (!!), Trevor's weekends off means we're able to spend more much time together as a family, we've been knocking BS items off our credit reports, I've signed up for 3 classes (all online!) in the fall, aaaaand we're back in the house hunt!

Yep. We have to buy this year to take advantage of a bunch of programs, so it's needless to say that I'm hustlin'. In addition to my 30hrs / week at the print shop, I've racked up an additional 15hrs per week between Strong Creative and JOD items. Not getting much sleep, but it's so worth it! I'd rather break up my work day this way, than work 8hrs straight and only have enough time to feed Delaney before getting her ready for bed.

So, some recent projects, fresh from my inspiration board:

Logo and collateral for David Aten Events
Logo and business cards (and brochure and signage!) for Revive Skin Spa
Logo and business cards for Denny Design

Painted pallet for Jeni and her kitty (he's a big fan of my work) photo from JO

With school starting in two weeks, I REALLY need to knock out this last quilt. It's kinda due in 11 days. Luckily, it's pieced in strips, I just need to piece the strips together, then, you know, actually quilt the beast, bind, and deliver. No pressure.

I'll get into how we're buying a house in another post…it's pretty awesome :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

nothing like a fresh press sheet

Finally, my recent Strong Creative design work went to press this week! I'm working on photos - but here's a press sheet of the business cards I did for a local Napa aesthetician, Katy at Revive Skin Spa. Katy is young, bubbly, pretty, and serious about her work. I was blown away by her professionalism, especially when I found out she was younger than me! So her design had to match her attitude, but also fit within the branding of the salon she's partnered with.

We kept her business cards two-color to cut down on cost, and used a fun metallic purple to add some personality. (Printer Tip of the Day, metallic ink costs the same as flat ink!). She was torn between the green and purple body - and obviously ultimately decided to go with the green as her main card. This will look right at home when displayed at the classy salon downstairs, and she can keep her purple cards for more special potential clients.

I also just printed a gorgeous silver foil + emboss job that I need to take photos of as well. It's nice to have my own designs, printed and tacked up to my inspiration board :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kitchen Bling

I might not be able to do a whole lot in terms of decorating my kitchen (rental, limited wall space, etc) but I do have this to welcome me every time I reheat my coffee in the morning:

Succulents from Home Depot, brass letters from Shabbylull on Etsy

Friday, July 1, 2011


I'm back with a quickie little update, as I check things off my Big Ass List of things to do this summer.

Trevor recently switched his schedule around, so he officially has weekends off for the first time since 2007! As you can imagine, my head is spinning with all the things we could do. Dates, yardwork, day trips, dog park, house work, etc etc. However, he of course has his own ideas of what he's going to do, and he's finally going to finish his arcade refab. I mentioned this a MILLION years ago, but for the past year or so, that monstrosity has been sitting in my garage, taking up room from MY neglected projects. Hmph.

Anyway, he needs a place to sand/paint/build, right? Great! Lets clean the garage. Check.. Lets go to Home Depot and buy a palm sander, shop vac, and fertilizer while we're at it! Check, check, check. Guess I can't complain if I get to benefit from his purchases too!

Speaking of fertilizer, I've been working on my backyard for what seems forever (Here's an intervention-ish post froma year ago in …usually in fits and spurts and sunburns, only to get too busy to even go outside some weeks. Well, since it's on my Big Ass List, I have to put some serious effort into it, and it's looking better! Last week I mowed (twice in a month, getting more consistent!) and pruned the lemon tree.

This is what it looks like today, out my kitchen window as I did dishes:

It's definitely getting better…tonight, I'll be spreading some of this stuff on the front lawn, to get it nice and dark green.

Soon, I'll have office updates for you…an IKEA trip is in my very near future!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

DIY: Typographic Pallet Art

I know I've mentioned a million times that I work for a print company. What I haven't embellished on, is that paper is shipped on pallets, so there's a TON of pallets in all shapes and sizes behind our shop. Seriously. And with this whole ReduceReuseRecycle fad officially a "lifestyle movement", I couldn't help but be inspired.

I've always been a lover of typographic art, but since the last month of Strong Creative has been all about graphic design, rather than the tactile arts, I couldn't help but be inspired.

A quick print out of our favorite song lyric in Arial at 150pts, cut out with an Exacto blade, made a perfect stencil. Note, I didn't say the stenciling itself was perfect…all these years of watching HGTV, and I forgot to stipple with a dry brush, rather than paint it on.

I have to say tho, I love the "perfectly-non-perfect" effect, and even better, my Trevor LOVES it. He's always proud of my work, but this is the first decor-y item he's been completely blown away and thrilled by. So, they'll be for sale in my Etsy shop shortly. (Edit: For sale now in my Etsy Shop!) Pick your own meaningful quote, of course ;)

Also, not too shabby, that the blue matches my new-to-me lamps from Napa's newest consignment store, Roost.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Truth Time

I'm kinda totally in love with brass right now. Last winter there was a post somewhere in BlogLand where some girl had turned an ugly 90's builder grade brass pendant upside down, filled it with sand, and used as a votive holder.

Now, I've looked high and low for that image, so I can credit the inspired gal, but I can't find it! Anyway, my whole point is that I want little bits of tarnish brass sprinkled all over my home, mixing in with the colder silver accents I've grown up with. (No joke, for a 5yr period my mom spray painted EVERYTHING silver. Even the bathtub tiles.)

This whole mixed-metal thang is definitely not a new, or particularly novel, idea, but it's a big deal to the girl who finally bought skinny jeans yesterday, two years into the trend. I've convinced myself that a more eclectic look fits into our messy busy lifestyle and thriftstore budget. After seeing that inspiration image that eludes me now, I went right down to Goodwill, and bought a brass and smoked glass vanity. I took the mirror off, and used it as my mini-Christmas Tree table. I just haven't figured out a way to work it back into the house since then :-/

Emily Henderson uses brass A LOT. I'm kinda in love with the girl, and um hi hello, she used to have a blog CALLED The Brass Petal

I'm also totally into the random art wall. Again, fits into our wonderfully un-perfect life.

(this one is actually pinned up to my new awesome inspiration board)

This doesn't mean I'm doing away will all my silver pieces, no no. I think they can absolutely be combined to reinforce that "collected over time" feel.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Office Progress!

Well, today I've been able to cross, not one, but TWO things off my Big Ass Summer To-Do List (as it's been referenced to on FB).

You remember the chaos and general ugliness that was my office/dining room before, right? Well, here's a reminder:

Yeah. Not good. Did I mention earlier that that printer has been without black ink, and therefore unusable since before we even moved into this place, 2.5yrs ago? I work at a print shop, so I don't panic when I have Hancock or Michael's coupons to print.

Here we are today, with "inspiration board" and "paint and hang green Ikea LACK shelf" crossed off the BASTDL.

Still a whole lot to do, and items to buy for styling, but I'm heading there. And I promise, decent "after" photos (like, not using my iPhone). Hey, if Emily Henderson can do it, so can I! Getting those hard drives and modem out of my working zone makes the space seem so much bigger already!

Mood board coming soon, as I price and measure out all my options. I DO know I'll be getting one of those $59 IKEA counter tops to cover my existing desk. It'll go all the way to the window, giving us more surface AND storage space (bye bye Booda Dome!)

PS, last week we went to Monterey for some awesome family time. Four generations, from 18mo to 89yrs. Can't resist some motherly bragging! Who's this pretty girl?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Things to do this summer

Because after all, there's nothing like a list. And just for fun, I've listed 24 things to do (or start) before I turn 24 at the end of September.

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

1. Take Delaney to feed the ducks

2. Get the backyard in friends-over-for-BBQ state
- more lawn, less blackberry rambles
- prune lemon tree Done 6/26 while on the phone with Best Friend Kelly
- paint old patio furniture and grill

3. Clean out garage Finished 7/1 with Trev, so he'd have room to finish his arcade machine

4. Pull together our bedroom
- upholstered headboard
- paint nightstands
- retrofit/refinish existing dresser
- reupholster ottoman
- area rug from estate sale
- curtains
- duvet cover and bed styling
- paint walls and ceiling to match the rest of the house

5. Go to the beach once a month with Kelly and our girls

6. Update the office into a functional, inspirational space
- paint existing desk/shelf - Finished 6/18 - not hung because apparently drilling through exterior-now-interior-thanks-to-a-sunroom-addition 1934 stucco is hard. Took 15min and lots of sparks to do ONE hole.
- ikea wood counter top
- inspiration board - Finished 6/18
- litterbox solution
- curtains
- dining room cohesion - effing mouse pad for my spazzy optical mouse - Finished 7/15.

7. Get business license for StrongCreative

8. Establish dish-washing routine - Finished 7/30. It's official, I've done dishes EVERY DAY for the past month. Looking forward to my future dishwasher, ugh.

9. Lose 25lbs by August 17th

10. Finish upholstering couch, add new feet.

11. Get Delaney potty trained

12. Get Delaney in her big-girl bed (and big girl bed out of garage, see item 3)

13. Run an 8min mile

14. Find affordable, reliable daycare so I can work 8hrs a day

15. Boost my credit score to 600 (or higher!)

16. Five new StrongCreative clients - Finished 8/1 Okay, so I've just added 3 Strong Creative clients, but I was hired by Jeni @ Jeni Olsen Design as her Junior Designer! Now I get to work on awesome, big-name-client projects, and have the best mentor/boss lady/friend to learn from.

17. Finish my MIL's quilt (by Aug 11)

18. Go on a date with Trevor once a month (or more!)

19. Take Allie to the dog park once a week

20. Pay down family debts by half - Finished 8/1

21. Refresh living room
- reupholster waiting room chair in something bright
- Bring in teak shelving units
- area rug (estate sale)
- rearrange for optimum comfort/entertaining.
- rotate photo frames (and finally take the provided "fake family portraits" out of a few of them)

22. Limit coffee intake to cups brewed at home or work.

Sign up for (and eventually pass) two more classes towards BA degree - Finished 7/15, taking THREE classes!

24. Spend as much time outside with my family as our schedules and daylight allow.

25. Go on IKEA (and Urban Ore??) field trip with BCE Jeni Olsen - added 6/17 because she basically demanded it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Completely Uninspired

Yep, I discovered Pinterest, just like everyone else recently. (follow me?) While the photos are totally inspiring, when I sit down to create (bags, quilts, logos), I'm just completely devoid of any creativity. Hi, Strong Creative not-so-much.

However, tonight in a cleaning frenzy, I think I figured it out. Welcome to my office(slash-diningroom-slash-cat bathroom):

Some things seriously need to change. That broken Dell, the pile of bills to file, the excess of wires, the hidden chaos behind the curtain, the exposed litter box (DIY suggestions?) I need places to stash papers and crap, with labels, so things aren't arbitrarily shoved in boxes when guests come over. I LOVE the wood art piece, it's actually a coffee table my grandpa (graphic artist and jewelry designer) designed and built. I need color, calm, a mouse pad, and a place to jot notes to myself. Also, while we're at it, maybe I should replace the print cartridges in my printer? It's been two years, but I work for a print shop, so it isn't exactly first priority. I also have a old, HUGE cork board in the garage, just waiting for spray paint and a fabric background.

Luckily, our dear Pinterest (no, really, follow me) has some awesome work spaces.

Source: None via Rachel on Pinterest

Source: None via Ariel on Pinterest

Source: via eqart on Pinterest

Love the frames, and the bookshelf, carving out a little colorful workspace.

LOVE that yellow fireplace in the background! Colorful spaces like this blend well into my kid-toy cluttered life.

Small, but functional.

Source: via Mel on Pinterest

Love the elastic memo board!

Clearly, I'm not into "fussy". More controlled, colorful chaos. (say that 3x fast). White background, with pops of color…I love the idea of keeping the organizational tools (shelves, boxes, etc) the same color as the wall, to let everything that's hidden in the boxes just disappear into thin air. Yep, I like that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mo' projects, mo' problems!

I guess the more I create, the less I blog! Sorry about that…I'm in the midst of a million things right now. Tell people you're making your Creative company legit, and requests come from all over the place!

First and foremost, I've come up with my logo! Drum roll please……

Oh yeah, totally legit. As my awesome-designer-friend-slash-best-client Jeni and I agreed, the sketched "SC" evokes the handmade quality of the craftier side of my business, while the black+grey, text only logo keeps everything serious enough for the design and marketing consulting aspect of the business (while yet still to come).

Being a print rep in my real life, I designed the business card first, then decided on my logo….keep things 2-color or less, people! Mo' colors, mo' money!! Use fewer colors, and you'll be able to get more expensive paper…if you're doing a short business card run, the super fancy, expensive paper is SUPER affordable, since you only need a few sheets. Aaaand that was my Printer Tip of The Day.

Next most awesome thing, is that I finished the prototype tote bag to sell at Pilates Napa Valley, my mom's Pilates studio. I was able to whip it up in one Saturday, while Delaney learned how to climb on top of the coffee table. Hey, I have my priorities in check, people. I showed her how to get down on her own ;)

Prototype Tote in the window of Pilates Napa Valley!

Anyway, back to the bag. It's awesome. And I'm selling this smaller size for $45. After I emailed Jeni an iPhone picture at midnight after I finished it, she ordered TWO tote bags (laptop tote, and general toting) in the same fabric as her yoga bag. This is not a week after I finished her Bed Suite (duvet, shams, accent pillows). We're kinda obsessed with finding what else I can come up with for her.

THEN! After seeing my bag at Pilates Napa Valley, one of the pilatistas ordered a custom tote! I also did some other throw pillows for a coworker last weekend, and another friend has ordered a business card holder. Time to set up my Etsy store, and a biz checking account, don't you think? My biggest issue now is finding the time to get everything done….

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mom's Quilt

Sorry if this is a bit redundant, but I haven't posted a full picture of this quilt yet! Now that my sissy is home safe and sound, it's perfectly appropriate to get back to the more superficial Mother's Day presents. :)

This quilt was based off of Fabric Worm's 5-Points Quilt, made from the excessive fabric bundles I bought a few months ago (from who else? FabricWorm. Duh.)

I used a light blue flannel from Hancock, and Kona Snow for the white bits. Now I'm working on a similar quilt for my mother-in-law, using Trevor's old dress shirts! Stay tuned....