Archive | July, 2011

Happy Friday!

29 Jul

Around here, it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s Friday. The apartment is a mess, we have a ton of vegetables from our produce box, and I no longer have any clean clothes because I haven’t done laundry in a month. (Or something.) This particular Friday is especially welcome, as I’m operating on not too much sleep. My friends and I decided to throw back to elementary school days and have a sleepover, complete with snacks, girly movies, and lots of talking. Unfortunately, the elementary school throwback didn’t last until morning, as we all had to be up for work nice and early. Needless to say, I’m looking forward tomorrow, a day when you are allowed and encouraged to nap.

I have big plans for this weekend. I’m going to:

+ Do this to my (ugly ugly ugly) fan.

+ Make some unusually flavored ice cream.

+ DIY a chalkboard for my office.

+ Infuse some vodka (with skittles, nobody think I’m too fancy.)

+ Watch Harry Potter 7.2 again, maybe..?

+ Hang out with David! I have barely seen him all week.

+ Drink a lot of bloody marys. I’ve decided they are the best weekend drink, and maybe the best drink ever. They combine two of my favorite foods, tomato soup, and girly drinks.

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend! See you on Monday.

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Lost Type Co-op

28 Jul

As a type nerd, I spend a lot of time looking for new typefaces that don’t break the bank. This can be hard, as cheaper fonts usually mean poor quality. This is where the Lost Type Co-op comes in.

 

Co-founders Riley Cran and Tyler Galpin wanted to provide excellent fonts based on a pay-what-you-want system. The best part is, 100% of what you choose to pay goes to the designer. Designing typefaces is super hard you guys. It’s one of my favorite things to do – but I’ve never been able to completely finish a design. It seems right that the person putting in the hours of hard, nitpicky work gets to keep the money.

The selection isn’t extensive yet, but I have no doubt that this is going to be huge. The site is already making the rounds in the major design blogs. I love ideas like this – making great design accessible.

I picked out two of my favorite faces:

 

click through to visit the site

I am having a real western moment, and I love how this takes the typical ‘cowboy’ typeface, and puts intricate detail on top of it.

 

This is so nice and structural. It also looks manly, I think. Sometimes people tell me my style is too ‘girly’, so I am always trying to find things that are a little more macho.

 

Anyway, hooray for the lost type co-op! Maybe someday I will be a contributor… you never know.

27 Jul

My cutting machine supplies! I have fresh blades! I have sweet markers that I can use in my cutting machine, essentially allowing me to print white on black, and metallic (heck. yes.) I am ON TRACK for my shop relaunch. It’s a relaunch because I’m going to have a ton of new stuff, + a new brand, + actually send my email newsletter.

BRB, cutting paper forever.

While I was taking this photo, I also found this beauty:

 

You guys, what the hell am I doing here? I have absolutely no memory of taking this. I have no idea what was in my mouth, although I can only assume it was chocolate of some sort. Why did I take this? Even though we may never know the answers to those questions, I think it pretty well exemplifies how I’m dealing with the whole being alone for 8 hours a day.

Everyday Design

26 Jul

The first time I saw siggi’s yogurt in the store, I stopped in my tracks. It seemed to glow on the shelf, its simple design and non-shiny packaging setting it apart from all of the other, much uglier yogurt containers.

Now, I hate yogurt. Even though I am a friend to most dairy products (if by ‘friend’ you mean someone who wants to eat you), there is just something about yogurt I cannot get behind. It has a weird, slimy texture and I have yet to find a flavor that appeals to me. But I really, really wanted to buy this yogurt. That speaks for the appeal of a truly well designed product.

The packaging looks like a work of art. It has the name nice and bold, so it is easy to read from the aisle. There is a brief explanation, and it has a drawing of the flavor, so it’s very easy to distinguish.  It has everything you need, and nothing else.

Here is a similar type of packaging,  that is much more typical. Look at this guy. There is so much crap on this. It has some weird super photoshopped plastic strawberries, at least four different fonts, that crazy whips! which is competing with the yoplait logo, and there’s a ribbon?  What is the deal with that strange swirling background? I don’t want to put that in my mouth.

I will bet you anything that there was a large group of people who decided on this packaging, and none of them could agree on what the most important part of the message should be. I bet that the designer was forced to add all of the extra flair, so it would ‘stand out on the shelf’.  This yoplait container is an effective illustration of how if there is not an established visual hierarchy, and everything needs to stand out, nothing will. Adding miscellaneous crap to make it ‘pop’ is a bad idea. It clutters the design, and makes it harder for the user to get to the real information: What this is, and why you want to eat it.

Back to my friend siggi. He even has a beautiful back. Notice the nice type hierarchy, and it gives you a little more information about this mysteriously beautiful foreign yogurt. Please notice the pull tab to the left of the bar code. That is for recycling purposes. You can recycle the printed packaging. I think that’s so clever.

This is probably the last time I’ll ever be enthusiastic about a yogurt product, but I’ve been admiring siggi’s in the store for months now. I hope that other products will take note.

Can’t Help Myself..

25 Jul

I have to say, I had a great weekend. After having such a busy month, I really enjoyed the chance to just stay at home and not have plans. This somehow translated into doing some decorating projects. I relax best by cleaning/making things, and lately I’ve been in a MAJOR redecorating phase.

I suppose it’s been a long time coming – I like to DIY whenever I can, and make sure I’ve considered all my options before I commit to anything. This results in bursts of activity punctuated by long periods of planning. Since I’ve been working in my office full time, I’ve been thinking a lot more about how to best use that space, which has resulted in an impromptu let’s move all the things around party, as well as the purchase of some of those flat pack bookshelves, and some fabric bins that were completely the wrong size, unfortunately.

I also spent an embarrassing amount of time this weekend moving pictures around, trying to obey the rule in this blog post and being completely inspired by this office redesign (I may have said to David, “I know I told you an all white office was the way to go…. but what if we painted a wall seafoam?” I am the worlds biggest waffler).

The most exciting part of my weekend was when I built a headboard! For my bed! Like an adult! Okay, actually my mom came over and helped (by helped I mean she did most of the work while I danced around squealing about how great it was going to look)  because she’s the one with all of the expertise and the sweet power tools, but it was totally my idea, and I definitely found the how-to blog post.

I’ve wanted a headboard like this one ever since I saw Betty Draper’s but I knew that it would be way easier and cheaper to make my own. It was definitely cheaper, and it didn’t take as long as I thought to actually make it, maybe 2 hours. The total cost of the headboard came out to almost exactly $100, which is far cheaper than anything I could find in a store that I liked. The biggest money-saving trick I used was to buy a canvas dropcloth from Home Depot for the fabric. It was $20 and twice the amount of fabric we actually needed, which means that I now have some left over for pillows. I was worried it might look too cheap, but I’m actually so pleased with how it turned out. It looks very fancy, and way more expensive than it actually was.

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We basically followed the steps listed in the blog post I linked to above, and I think it looks great. It makes our room look one thousand times more polished, and all I have to do now is figure out how to arrange the pillows on the bed so they don’t look weird with the headboard. This is harder than you might think.

The best part about this weekend is that I feel like I’m essentially re-training my creative muscles. I’ve felt blocked for the past couple of months, and with each day that goes by I am getting more and more ideas, and my creative energy is growing. Sometimes I think the best thing you can do is stop trying to force things, and just follow what you’re feeling for a little bit.

My next big home project is my office. It’s been slowly evolving, as I try to figure out ways for it to be as functional as is possible for an 8 x 10 foot space shared by two people and a dog to be. I can’t wait to show you pictures!

Friday Fix

22 Jul

It was my mom’s birthday yesterday (happy birthday mom!) so I’m in the birthday mood…

inkpetals, Etsy

TableTop Made, Etsy

Egg Press - I am obsessed with their shop!

Egg Press - Seriously, how cute is this?

Egg Press - BIRTHDAY BEAR? They're killing me!

ragamuffin press - Etsy, via PaperCrave

It is just too damn hot…

21 Jul

To be anywhere but here.

20110721-024316.jpg

Here Comes The Wedding Stationery

20 Jul

I have had weddings on the brain lately. My childhood best friend recently asked me to be in her wedding, and two of my cousins just got engaged over the past weekend. (Another cousin had a baby, and we had a family reunion. It was a big week for our family!) I am designing invitations for two of these weddings, and I am so excited. These are people that I’ve grown up with, and I hope that some of the affection I feel for them will come through in my designs. Luckily, the internet is full of inspiration. Below are a few of my favorites. Please click through the photos to see more pictures on the original blogs.

via Hello Tenfold

These are so fresh and modern, and tongue in cheek. I love an invitation that doesn’t take itself too seriously. After all, weddings are joyous occasions, so why all the serious stationery?

via Oh So Beautiful Paper, image by Kate Gabriel

This is just a gorgeous invitation suite. Click through to see the whole thing. I love the simple color palette, and the restrained design. Also, you can’t go wrong with kraft paper, it seems.

via Invitation Crush via Benign Objects, image by Andy Luce

The teal and red color combination is one of my favorites right now. I know that this wouldn’t be for everyone, but I love how bold and graphic the suite is. The transparent ink is such a subtly beautiful touch.

but this is definitely worth a click. I know I’ve mentioned my obsession with watercolor, but I think that this takes it to the next level. The soft fades of color are absolutely breathtaking, and the hand drawn typography is far and away better than any stock script. I am a big believer in drawing your own stuff. If you want something to look like calligraphy, or hand drawn, just do it yourself! It is so easy to tell when it’s a digital font, and I think it really takes away from the design.

via Oh So Beautiful Paper, image by Betsy Dunlap

You should really just go poke around Oh So Beautiful Paper. So many of my favorite invitations come through that website, it was a struggle to only post two from their blog. My takeaway is that I really need to learn calligraphy like, yesterday, and I think the vintage stamp look is my favorite trend right now. Who wouldn’t love to receive a nice big envelope covered in beautiful stamps? Monsters, that’s who.

via Martha Stewart Weddings

Finally, I’d like to show an inspiration from Martha Stewart. She is basically my homemaking hero, (it was definitely the highlight of my month when I was 10 years old and her magazines would arrive in the mail… nerd alert!) and of course her wedding stuff is also beautiful. My cousin sent this to me when we were brainstorming for her wedding invitations, and I have to say I love the simplicity of this. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in making the best, most special, most intricate invitations ever, but this tone on tone, calligraphic beauty is breathtaking in its simplicity.

In closing, if you need invitations designed, shoot me an email (alison.citron {at} gmail {dot} com). I have a lot of ideas!

I’m Home!

19 Jul

For good this time. As much as I would like to travel the world, the truth of it is that I am a huge homebody. I think you have to be to even consider working from home. I was so happy to get back last night, and see my dog (he was pretty psyched too – he did this wheezing cough thing I’d never heard before..) and make dinner with David and sit on the couch and be boring for a change.  Of course, since I was visiting my family (and their beautiful homes) I came back with a renewed inspiration for decorating, but I thought today I’d share a few snaps of my favorite parts of my home – as they usually are.

This is one of the very few frames that actually have a photo in them. I love this picture because it was my first white Christmas – and my first Christmas with Caspian! We went on a walk in the snow, and I left him off leash for the first (and only) time, and he loved it! He was so bouncy. It was great, until he ran away after some deer and disappeared for a good 10 minutes. Oh, dogs. Full of surprises.

David and I have a very well stocked bar, something that just sort of happened when he moved in. My favorite part of the whole thing, however, is the shot glass full of paper umbrellas. They are so unnecessary – and so fun to include in a drink!

I found these letterpress blocks at the flea market one day, and I just love them.

I am proudest of my bookshelves. We have a TON of books, so I really had to pack them into our limited shelf space. I think they are interesting and beautiful to look at, and even though nobody else ever notices the way they are stacked, it makes me smile every time I sit on the couch.

I’ve had this lamp for years and I still love it. I also love how one night our friends decided to mix things up in the empty picture frames, and this is the result. I should really put some pictures in these frames.

This is a picture of my brother that I found when I was cleaning out a closet. He was so darn cute, I had to put it up!

There can be something really beautiful in the draping of an unmade bed.

Stressbusters

13 Jul

These past couple of days have been, for the most part, great. I am happy to be finally getting started, and I love the relaxed schedule, as well as the fact that I don’t have to wear pants or makeup if I don’t want to.

Despite all of that, I’ve been feeling some free floating anxiety. Some of that is due to the fact that change stresses me out, as well as the fact that I’m going out of town AGAIN, and I was feeling blocked on the project I was working on. Even though I’m really looking forward to this weekend, I wish that I would have had a longer stretch of time to get into a routine before I left (again).

The anxious feeling got a little out of control last night. I was up late finishing up some stuff, and I crawled into bed after a quick session picking at my face. Look, I know it’s bad for your face, but I can’t help it. Anyway, as I was laying there, a thought floated into my head. My dad told me once about some girl who was squeezing her face, and it was in the ‘danger triangle’, and some pus or something got shot into her bloodstream, and ended up in her brain and she died. I was convinced, at 3 in the morning, that was what was happening to me. As I was falling asleep, I was doing that sleep jerk thing, but I was sure that actually it was just my body preparing itself for sudden, zit related death.

I woke up this morning, so I guess I made it. This time.

I don’t like feeling anxious, but I could see how it could become a way of life for me, since freelancers usually have to be fairly comfortable with uncertainty about the future. I guess I will have to find some ways to beat the stress!