My sister and I are suckers for sign blocks. We gift them to each other all the time and our husbands often complain that we have too many around our houses, but in our opinion that just can’t be possible. The ones I have around my home make me laugh absolutely every time I read them and that’s worth holding valuable real estate in our homes as far as I’m concerned.
Here are just a few signs I saw in stores the other day and a couple from my house that I think are awesome! Hopefully you’ll see one too that makes you smile!
Roman Mars, of “99% Invisible” radio show fame (subscribe on iTunes), spoke recently on TED Talks about the art (or lack thereof) of good flag design both locally and abroad. You might laugh at the specificity of this focus, but if you follow his show you’d see that no topic about design is too narrow to analyze or discern. If you want something random and fun to watch check out his talk. I’m definitely looking at flags in a new way. Plus, I learned a new word – Vexillology. You’re going to have to watch the TED Talk to learn what that word means.
This past weekend my husband and I hit the Spring show of “Artisanal LA”. It was such a fun day and an utter treat (literally since it was a foodie’s paradise). I wanted to give a few shout outs and link love to some amazing artists and creatives who have worked very hard to produce amazing products! Please go and check them out.
(and save the dates – the Fall Show is Oct 10-11 @ The Reef LA, & the Holiday Show Dec 5 @ Old Pasadena)
I have a love affair with cool looking bottles, packaging, labels, etc… I appreciate amazing packaging and love to see when creativity and humor merge to help promote or sell a product. I have been loving the return of many (dare I say “retro”) packaging from my youth, as well as today’s neoteric take on the retro packaging look. Above right is one of my favorite wine bottle labels of all time, and to the left are some classic and new classic ways to sell soda. From caps to boxes, there are so many ways to find inspiration in these items that often just get thrown in the recycle bin.
Take a moment today to study the items in your home that sing to the look of your vibe. It is there that you just might find your muse.
Thank you to my world traveling niece for sending me a plethora of gorgeous inspiration pattern and texture photos from her recent travels in Hungary, Slovakia, and Germany. I’ve got a lot more to share, so stay tuned!
The above color palette is from a ceiling detail at a castle in Bojnice, Slovakia. I can’t imagine how this room must have glowed, shimmered, and sparkled back in the day when it was illuminated by a room full of candle chandeliers and sconces. It must have been breathtaking! Below are a few more patterns and textures from the same castle. Learning the artistry of design from the Masters of the past is truly a blessing. And to imagine they did all this without the aide of modern technology and equipment!
I’ve been cleaning house, streamlining my life, getting inspired, and basically revisiting a lot of ‘to-do’ lists and re-evaluating whether I want to do them or ditch them. It feels good and I thought I’d share my top 12 list of stuff I’m loving at the moment…
1. Technology Streamlining
If you happen to run a WordPress blog, website, or both you will love ManageWP. My amazing Web guru, Kim Beasley, has been working on my websites to update and optimize them, and she introduced me to ManageWP. It allows you to streamline and manage multiple WordPress websites and blogs with increased security, saving valuable time and money!
2. Design Inspiration
Pantone’s Spring 2015 Fashion Color Report! I’m not a big fashion follower but I love seeing what is being projected for the upcoming Season(s). It helps me calculate my own trend predictions for my work, not to mention I just plain love pretty things. The short video attached to this color palette explaining why each hue was selected is interesting to watch too. It makes me appreciate how much work goes in to color forecasting.
3. Photography Fun
I found this plugin, Perfect Photo Suite by onOne Software, a few months ago and I absolutely love it. It is a fantastic photo editing program that works with Photoshop and allows you to do all sorts of fun photo filters, effects, alterations, and resizing.
4. Expanding my World
I just started getting Smithsonian Magazine again and I am SO happy to have it in my life once more! I’ll admit that one of my streamlining goals was not to accumulate more stuff (magazines being one of them), but Smithsonian is a cut above the rest. What an amazing magazine, I feel smarter just looking at it!
I am in no way a dancer but this past year I discovered Zumba and I love it! I never miss a class. If you are someone who has seen those crazy Zumba people at your gym and said, “there is no way I’m going to do that”, think again. Please. I was you and I never knew what I was missing out. It’s just plain fun, and you don’t even realize you’re getting such an intense workout!
I am in love with Lodge Cast Iron products! As far as I’m concerned there is no better cookware out there, and you can’t beat the price! This Christmas Santa brought me a Lodge Dutch Oven. It is the BEST!
Every week I am trying to do one of the many Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials on the Digital Arts site. It is a wonderful way to keep growing as an artist.
If you’re a Monty Python fan and a lover of quirky musical comedies, ABC’s “Galavant” is for you! It is such a fun escape from reality.
I discovered the tiny buddha website a couple of years ago. It is now a daily go-to for me.
… and most important
12. Making Time
My goal this year is to make time for myself, make time for my family, and make time for friends. I want to do more coffee and lunch dates, go for a walk someplace pretty every day, try and go to the gym 2-3 times a week, and make the time to quiet my mind with meditation. Work is always going to be there, whether at an office or at home, but even so we all can make time for peace.
Over the summer I was reading Issue 22 of my favorite magazine, Uppercase, and became utterly entranced with Indigo dyeing and I set out to learn as much as I could. Lucky for me there have been many centuries of experts sharing their wealth of knowledge, and modern-day masters who are kind enough to post videos online. At this stage of my learning I am at the skill level of a kindergartner, but on my bucket list now is to become skilled at the art of the Shibori technique (see video at the end of this post!). Even though I’m definitely an Indigo novice, I had a blast making Christmas gifts this year (SPOILER ALERT – to my family and friends reading this post).
There is so much to learn about dyeing with Indigo, and I don’t want to bore you with too much detail, but below are some tips I picked up through my experience. Hopefully they help you out too:
****** INDIGO DYEING TIPS & TRICKS ******
* Allow 2 full days in a row to dye (you can’t rush Indigo dyeing). There is a lot of prep and set up involved and for best results you want to make sure you’re not rushed.
* Plan to dye a lot of pieces. You’re going to have a huge Vat of dye to work with and once you get going you’re not going to want to stop. Also, make sure that you prewash everything you plan to dye (don’t cheat on this step – the desired end result really depends on working with clean and sizing-free fabric).
* Read cover to cover the information booklet and instructions/tips paperwork provided in the Indigo dye kit. I must confess that I often skim or overlook small print paperwork, but in this case I didn’t and I’m SO grateful for that! There is so much valuable information to learn and tips on how to avoid huge messes or mistakes.
* Find a corner of your yard or an open area to work in (if possible don’t do your dyeing inside your house). I watched one tutorial from a woman who lives in an apartment and did her dyeing in her bathtub. That is definitely possible, but I am afraid the dye would permanently stain my tub, so if possible do your dyeing outside. Also, take the time to fully set up your work areas before you dive into actually dying. Set up a table for a tying area and tarps on the ground where you plan to do your dyeing. I also set up my camping clothesline across the back of my yard to hang all the pieces to oxidize. SIDE NOTE: The clothesline I used is now stained and I think I’m going to have to purchase a new one before we go camping again so I don’t have any indigo residual getting on our clothing. Nothing will go to waste, however, because I plan to store this clothesline, as well as the clothespins used, for the next time I dye with Indigo.
* Don’t use the gloves the kit provides (they’re too thin and tear easily) – I had the blue finger for a week to attest to that! A lot of the tutorials I watched on YouTube showed people using heavy duty gloves, but I actually found them cumbersome – especially if I needed to tie a section while the fabric was partially dyed. What I found worked best was to buy a box of latex standard gloves and layer two to three gloves on each hand. It allowed me dexterity in tying but also provided the protection from the dye.
* After your pieces are oxidized I left them outside for 24 hours before rinsing them with water and washing them. Plan to launder your pieces at least 4x times to insure you get all the excess dye out. No one likes to receive a gift that runs color the first time they wash it.