Archive | August, 2011

Taking Things Slow

31 Aug

This has been a slow week for me so far. A combination of finishing some things up, and just getting going on some other things has resulted in something of a lull for me, and I have to say I can’t complain. There is a special kind of stress that comes with not having a steady paycheck, and going into this I knew that I wanted to avoid the common complaint of freelancers working all the time. Don’t get me wrong, if I am in the depths of a project, and on a roll, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than working late to capitalize on that designer’s high, but I don’t want to default all of my free time to working (or staring at the computer feeling like I’m working, while actually not getting much done at all) and end up burnt out and stressed.

That’s why I haven’t worried about my weird lull week. It’s the last week of summer, for all intents and purposes. The pool is closing soon, there’s a chill in the air in the mornings, and the back to school section at Target is being replaced with Halloween stuff. I’ll be excited about fall soon – and next week it is back to nose to the grindstone, all cylinders firing as usual – but this week I am soaking up the last bit of summer, getting my stuff done in the mornings, lazing by the pool in the afternoons, and appreciating the flexibility this lifestyle is giving me.

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What’s your color vision?

30 Aug

This test made the rounds when I was still in design school, and a twitter friend dug it up today. I’m pleased to announce that according to this test I have:

 

That will come in handy, seeing as I’m a designer and all. What’s your score?

 

 

HurriCRAFTS

29 Aug

My interest in the weather was much higher than usual this weekend. As the hurricane made its way up the coast, we expected the worst, (we even made a hurricane survival box) but actually we were lucky and only got a lot of rain and some wind.

Because of the weather, I basically didn’t leave my apartment all weekend. That would have been relaxing and great, except I had spent a lot of time at my apartment last week, and I had nothing to do. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, and if I’m not up to my eyeballs in some sort of project, I’m usually relaxing pretty hardcore. But by day two of my  stay-inside-watch-tv-don’t-do-anything weekend, I was going a little stir crazy, and I decided that I need a hobby. There are a lot of skills I want to learn, and my interests are pretty varied, but I need something to do with my hands that doesn’t take my full concentration (so I can talk to David, or watch TV, or whatever) and isn’t messy or expensive.

My mom has been telling me for years that I should take up knitting. I used to be into it, but there are only so many scarves a girl can make before she has enough scarves, you know what I’m saying? Any time she would mention that, I would be like oh Mom, you obviously have no idea what my interests are. I am way too cool for knitting.

Mom, I would like to formally apologize to you because this weekend, when I was bleaching my bathtub because I had run out of things to do, I realized something. I can knit a lot cooler things than scarves. I found this blanket

 

Via April & May

 

on the internet, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of interior products that I can make myself. I literally spent 30 minutes standing in front of the Peaches and Cream yarn section in Wal Mart at 10 PM last night trying to figure out a good color combination for a project. I was initially going to make the above blanket, but I couldn’t find the colors I wanted, and if I am going to be making a freaking bedspread, I’m not settling on the colors. Instead, I’m making a blue striped throw. I worked on it for a while last night, and let me tell you I slept like a baby. David and I stayed up till 2 in the morning watching Seinfeld and working on projects like the nerds we are, but we didn’t even notice. Also, David forgot that today was Monday so I think that had something to do with his willingness to skip his bedtime.

Anyway, I was looking around on the internet today, and I found some great projects that I’d like to try.

+ Zig Zag pattern This color combination is not my style, but I think it would look really nice and textural in just a soft white or grey.

+ Stars and Stripes Trivets I need more trivets.

+ Striped Baby Blanket This would look nice on my couch, twice as big.

+ Fruity Trivets

+ Giant Granny Square Blanket I’m undecided if this would be cute or not. The pattern reminds me of those big acrylic blankets, but I’m thinking in a grey/lime color combination it could look pretty sweet.

+ Home Sweet Home Pillow This is ingenious.

+ Granny Bedspread You guys. This bedspread pattern was made for me. I am going to make it, it is going to go on my bed, and it is going to blow your mind.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you, like me, have specific hobby needs? I like knitting/crocheting because it’s something I can do without feeling like I’m sacrificing hang-out time with David.

 

26 Aug

If you know me at all, you probably know that I like clothes and fashion. Although maybe not, once a friend told me that based on how I dressed (I assume), she thought I wasn’t into fashion… Ouch. I’ve been rocking the college student (non-existent) budget for quite a while now, so I’ve fallen out of the habit of clothes shopping, but I have been shopping my closet, and trying to experiment with accessories and making new outfits.

Now that I’m freelancing, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for outfits, and I’m pretty excited. I’m definitely going to treat myself to some new clothes at some point, as I currently count pajamas as ‘work wear’, and I’m just not ready to be that girl who only wears mismatched pajamas. Another fun aspect of the not actually going shopping ever situation is that I am great at internet window shopping. I made this board to show what I think the perfect freelance outfit would be.

Weekday Outfit

 


Racerback tank
$18 – modcloth.com

Acne biker jacket
$307 – my-wardrobe.com

All Saints super skinny jeans
$120 – allsaints.com

Alexander McQueen high heels
580 – harveynichols.com

MICHAEL Michael Kors leather tote
$512 – my-wardrobe.com

Drop earrings
$78 – piperlime.gap.com

Gorjana wrap bracelet
$55 – charmandchain.com

TopShop wire wrapped ring
$15 – topshop.com
It’s comfortable enough to sit at a computer with your legs crossed, but you can throw on your sweet accessories and look like you tried when meeting friends for lunch. The bag is big enough to hold my laptop (in my dream world), which is perfect for heading to the coffee shop to knock out a few hours of work. I’ve been looking for a jacket like the red one for years – something about the asymetrical zipper makes me really happy.
That was fun. Now it’s back to the real world, where jammies and out of control hair are what’s actually going on here today. Perfect for taking your dog out at 4 in the afternoon and letting your neighbors wonder if you actually know what a shower is.
I hope you have a good weekend, and that this stupid hurricane gets the hint and heads right back out to sea!

OMG Ya’ll!

25 Aug

This is a pretty exciting day for me. I am finally ready to start rolling out my new LoveCitron products that I’ve been working so hard on! Beyond my excitement to show off my stuff to people other than my dog, I feel this represents a new and exciting step in my freelance journey. I am finally on my way to actually growing my shop. I only have one new product today, but keep watching the space over the next couple of weeks to see what else I have in store!

 

 

This is one of my favorite cards. It features a punchy blue striped exterior, and this fun pop up! You can’t see it from the photo, but the cloud is actually faintly iridescent paper, adding a unique depth. Click the image to see the full listing, and stay tuned.

I feel the Earth move..

24 Aug

Yesterday, my mom took me to Costco so I could stock up on double stick tape and lightbulbs. Unfortunately, Costco doesn’t carry these items, but it was still fun. We were driving home, stopped at a red light, when the car started shaking. It felt like someone was standing on the back bumper, bouncing up and down. It kept on the whole time we were at the red light, but it stopped when we drove away. I thought it was the engine being weird or something, but it turns out it was just a minor NATURAL DISASTER. It didn’t even occur to me that it could be an earthquake until David texted me from work asking if I’d felt it.

You guys. I was so pumped.

First of all, I’m never alert enough to catch the big group experience things. We’ve had minor tremors before that I don’t feel, once there was an EXPLOSION right down the street from where I lived and I didn’t even notice. (Nobody was hurt, I’m not a total monster.) So to be able to say yes. Yes I did feel that and it was crazy, is super exciting. Especially because it didn’t adversely affect anyone.

I have this weird love affair with natural disasters. I wouldn’t wish the devastation they cause on anyone, but I think they are just fascinating. I wanted to be a volcanologist for a while, because I love volcanoes so hard. That idea came to an abrupt end when I realized how many math and science courses I’d have to take.  I have recurring dreams about tornadoes, and it’s on my bucket list to see one. A small one. From a safe distance. I don’t think I can go about arranging that, I just have to hope for the best. I’ve been in several bad hurricanes as a kid, and for the most part, stuff like this doesn’t faze me. Because, isn’t it so cool? Doesn’t it just blow your mind that we hurtling through space on a rock that is made up of big plates floating around on LIQUID FIRE? And sometimes they move and twitter blows up, because seemingly everyone on the East Coast felt it?

I can only hope for a volcano to pop up near my home soon.

More about Calligraphy

23 Aug

Just a few thoughts as I am beginning my journey in calligraphy.

1) It’s a really broad term that basically means fancy handwriting.

2) I don’t think I’m interested in learning traditional calligraphy. I think I just want to be better at hand lettering things.

3) It’s really frustrating to learn how to write all over again.

4) Doing a simple google search for ‘learn calligraphy’ opens up just a wealth of super ugly websites.

5) I’m definitely going to get ink on something valuable, like my couch.

6) I’m already daydreaming about doing something in white ink. I have a problem.

 

End of Summer

22 Aug

I had a really nice weekend. It was so fun to see my family, especially my cousin and her baby. He is just delightful to be around. My favorite part of the visits, though, was watching my parents flip out for him. My mom is a friend to all babies, so that is to be expected, but this particular baby is the only one we have ever met who ISNT’ afraid of my dad, and actually likes him. So Dad was right there with Mom, taking pictures and videos, and trying to make him laugh. David and I  went to my parent’s house for breakfast  yesterday, and when I walked in my mom was like oh yeah, we thought you could make the eggs. I’ll be over here, with the baby.

Isn’t it really sad that summer is almost over?  I look forward to its arrival every year, and then I blink, and it’s over. There’s always a moment around the 4th of July when I notice how quickly it’s slipping away, and reassure myself that there are still two months left. Now, here I am in late August, and I’m not sure where all that time went. Logically, this shouldn’t be sad, since it’s been a great summer, full of fun stuff. But I can’t shake my summer traditions that I didn’t do.

I’ve barely made it to the pool (which makes me so, so sad), I’ve only been to two movies at the art museum, where usually I only miss one or two, and I’m eating far too many of my meals indoors. I have good reasons for these things: I’ve been too busy starting my business to spend time at the pool during the day like I used to (when I didn’t have a job), and in the evenings I try to go to yoga class or cook good meals, two things that are helping me feel healthier and better about myself than I ever have before. I’d say that’s a positive change. All of the missed movies at the art museum have been because we were either out of town or had plans with friends. That’s better than sitting at those movies and wishing I had a group of friends like all of the other moviegoers.

Despite knowing that it’s okay, I still feel sad that these things are wrapping up, and I haven’t been a part of them.

Life is just this series of fleeting moments that seem permanent. When we’re kids, the years seem to stretch out so long – 13 years old feels ancient to an 8 year old – but then, one day you look up and 10 years have gone by, and you’re the boring older person you used to dread visiting because they didn’t have any cool toys.  Some day the babies I  play with now will be graduating from high school, and what seems so permanent now will just be the good old days. The pictures I take now will be the pictures these kids look at, and laugh at my weird hair and propensity for turning everything sepia.

There’s an internal conflict that I struggle with. This time is so precious, and it is so important to appreciate every moment of it before it’s gone forever, like this summer. But it’s not possible to be in the moment and fully appreciate my life if I’m always worrying about living life to the fullest.

I guess going forward, I just have to remember what’s important to me. Just because this summer didn’t turn out exactly like I planned doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great summer. It was a huge improvement over last year, that’s for sure. I still have a couple weeks left – I should just make time for the things I want to do, instead of bemoaning the things I missed.  This fall is going to be great, I can already tell. And, there’s something I should keep in mind.

 

There’s always next summer.

 

Whoops

19 Aug

So I forgot to post yesterday! I don’t have a reason why, other than I have been unable to focus this week. I think I’m getting adult-onset ADD. That’s a thing, right?

Lucky for me, the weekend is coming, so I just have to try to get through today. I’m really excited about this weekend for a couple of reasons. The first is that because I had a friend date come over last night, I spent some time cleaning up the apartment, so I don’t have to do that over the weekend like I normally do. It’s nice to have that out of the way. The second reason is because my parents have family coming to visit, so I am excited to see them, and fight with my mom over who gets to hold the baby. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually win that one because she’s crafty.

I am also hoping to start learning calligraphy. I’ve always wanted to be good at drawing type, and after seeing all of the beautiful hand lettered invitations/envelopes on the internet, I think that this specific skill would be beneficial. I found this lesson online , so I think that would be a good place to start. I have a feeling this is going to be something I practice a LOT.

I hope everyone has a good weekend! See ya Monday.

Internships, Experience, and Discouraging People

17 Aug

I was taking a quick twitter break from a project, and I came across this article.

Jessica Hische basically sums up everything I wanted to write about unpaid internships. I never took an unpaid internship in school. And I held 4 separate internships during my 4 years in design school. I simply couldn’t afford to spend my time ALSO working for free. While the places I interned might not have been the most exciting or glamorous companies out there, they offered a way to make some money while I learned more about what I loved, and they all provided me with invaluable experience. Almost any job will teach you a lesson, if you want it to.

I lowered my standards after I graduated, and I took an unpaid internship. At the time, I remember thinking ‘this is dumb, I have a degree in design,’ but I was so desperate to have a job at a real agency. They told me that they were preparing to hire another designer, and I thought that it would be way better to have a foot in the door. Imagine my surprise when I showed up for my first day at work, and there was a brand new, paid designer working there. I stuck it out for a couple of months, and I learned that the atmosphere was pretty unprofessional, I was just as qualified as the people I worked for, and if I wanted relationships with these people, I was going to have to do all the work. I was also given very little work. I would have welcomed the typical intern duties, making proofs, making coffee, preparing files for print. Anything would have been better than sitting in my secluded corner with my computer that I brought from home, wishing someone would throw me a bone.

There was a valuable lesson in that experience, and it was that if I don’t value my time, other people won’t either. Why would that agency exert itself to find projects for me, when it wasn’t costing them anything to have me sit in their office, just on the off chance they could find something unimportant enough to give me? And I had a degree, and a fair amount of experience at that point! It wasn’t like I was incompetent.

Anyway, all of this made me think about how about a year ago, my friend and I were thinking about just starting our own design studio. We emailed some of our old professors to see if they could give us any wisdom, and one of them got back to me with the advice to work at an established firm to see how they do things before we get any crazy ideas. That’s a great plan! Except most established firms are looking for creative directors with 10 years of experience, or unpaid interns.

We ended up not moving forward with that idea, but here I am, a year later, and working on my own. I only wish that I had started on this path sooner. The traditional path seems to be: graduate school, get a lowly job, and work your way up to glory, gaining valuable experience and work along the way.

I’m pretty sure this idea is turning into a myth as opposed to a legitimate life plan. My graduating class graduated with 1 person immediately moving on to a full time job in their field. I don’t know how many people from this year had jobs right out of college, but I’m willing it bet it wasn’t many.

Sometimes I feel badly because I never got a traditional job. But I’m not a traditional person. I was homeschooled for most of my school years, and instead of getting an hourly job, I capitalized on the fact that I was one of the few older kids in my neighborhood, and ran a small babysitting empire. When it looked like I might not get into design school, I scheduled a meeting with the dean to convince him I was a good fit. I didn’t do things the way other people did, simply because I didn’t know what they were doing. Penelope Trunk says that homeschoolers are going to run the world, and I don’t think that’s a crazy thought. We aren’t all scary weird!

The world of employment is rapidly changing, and my generation is bearing the brunt of this. The fact that jobs are so scarce means that people are finding newer, more unusual ways to employ themselves. I think that for my field, this means a lot more freelancing and contract work, with designers employing themselves, and seeking out projects, because companies are less willing to have a dedicated designer full time. I also think that sounds incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.