Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas!

> I love Christmas tree ornaments! I actually have some "ornament" traditions. I buy at LEAST one new ornament for our tree each year, (but it's usually more than one). One of my friends and I live far from each other, and each December, we exchange an ornament. It's a treat for both of us to find the "perfect ornament", and also to receive it—and I've learned that her kids love being a part of selecting what gets sent to me, and get just as excited to see what I send for their tree. With another friend, we digitally share ornaments for every day in December until Christmas. We started doing this a couple years ago, and I LOVE looking online for funny, cool, unique ornaments to email to her, and I'm excited to check my email each morning to see what she's sent to me. In fact, once Christmas day passes, I kind of have a let-down feeling, knowing the digital ornament exchange is over.
> In fact, it was while I was searching for some of the digital ornaments that I got my inspiration for this year's holiday promotional gift. A few years ago, I created business card sized calendars printed onto thin sheets of wood. I wondered if they had a precut shape in my budget that would work well for an ornament—they did!
> Both of my ornament-loving friends—as well as clients, vendors, family and friends—received a custom-designed ornament. I still have a few left...if you love ornaments and don't mind a little bit of branding on it, send me your address and I'll get one to you.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The M Wall

> The "m" wall is finally complete! (well, I shouldn't say complete—because there's always room for more m's—but, the ones I have are now hanging). I STILL haven't picked up my art from my parents' basement, so the walls in the rest of the room aren't complete yet, but this is the most important wall!
> Check out the transformation—you can see how badly the walls needed a fresh coat of paint! and bam!! that bold spring green (aka Maralee green, but WAY bolder than I've ever had before). Then, m's and finishing touches. Totally in love with it.

Did you notice:
- the "O" (a tribute to my maiden name)
- the "N" (serendipitous! I found it at an awesome antique store in Seattle, before I was a Nelson. It was the only letter they had, and even though I had no reason to think I'd ever need an "N", I was in love with it so I got it anyway. Now it's perfect!
- the empty cubby in the cube shelves (you can see it in the last photo). (I have 2 kitties sharing my office space, and I left it open thinking it would be fun if they liked to hang out there, but I have yet to see either of them enjoying it, so it'll get "repurposed").

> The arrangement is quite a bit different from my last office—but I love the super bold color, and I really love how much more space there is for adding to my collection!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gargoyles on Green

> Last time I posted, we had just spent a month with my sister and brother-in-law after having sold our house, while waiting til we were able to move into our new home. And now we've been in our new house for a month. 
> Despite 2 unexpected surgeries for kidney stones and way too many days on serious pain and anti-nausea meds, and trying to get the anesthesia out of my system, almost everything is put away. 
> I feel pretty good about that progress because it turns out we have a LOT of stuff! We're down to decor, and art. Sounds like we're really close, but if you could take a peek at the room in my parents' basement where the art is all being safely stored, you'd realize I've still got a pretty big task ahead of me. But the hardest part will be choosing what things NOT to hang. Turns out we have less "hangable" wall space in this house than our last one, and not everything was hanging there either (hubby says maybe it's time to sell some pieces...however, we disagree!)
> Luckily, some things don't require much thinking...like some of the small things in my studio. The m's (of course), and these "office gargoyles". Aren't they awesome? Several years ago, my family had a reunion on the Oregon Coast (I'd love to go back!) and there was this wonderful eclectic shop that had a wall covered with these hand-crafted little clay faces. Some were creepy, some were funny, and some were just sweet. These guys have hung in my office—wherever it's been—ever since.
> I've had a few people ask for before and after pics of my studio...I promise it's coming! Once I get the art hung in here, the "after" will be complete, and I can photo-document the awesomeness that is my new, really green office.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


> I've already written a couple of posts about our trip to New York City last year (here, here, and here), and still have lots more photos to share. I hadn't specifically intended on saving these pics for today, but since I finally carved out a little time to devote to a post, and considering that today is 9-11, well, what could be more appropriate.
> There was a lot on our to-do list while there, but we both agreed we HAD to visit the 9/11 Memorial. We had to pre-arrange for tickets since they only allow a certain number of people in the area at a time—which is actually great so it's not over-crowded for the space. It was easy to take the photos I wanted, and while there were lots of people, there was still such a feeling of peace, reverence, respect—which I was glad for. I hope it always maintains that kind of feeling. It means people still remember.
> For me personally, I still get emotional when I think about that day, and the days that followed. In my personal life, my own world was coming apart at the seams. I had found out just weeks earlier that what I thought was "solid ground" was not only not solid, but that it hadn't been for a long time. As I was exposed to my new reality more and more each day, it became harder and harder for me to do more than simply function. Then came the early morning phone calls from friends on the east coast who called to tell us what was happening in Manhattan. All of a sudden it felt there was no solid ground anywhere, and I wondered if things would ever be okay again—for me—for all those people who had lost loved ones—for anyone.
> All these years later, I still avoid watching any news that shows footage of what happened, or the emotions of that time seem very close again. Some things will always be "too real". You know? But thankfully, time helps. And healing occurs. And we are able to do things that make the ground a little more solid again.
> I was so glad to be able to visit the Memorial (the museum was still under construction at the time—it's the building that looks like it's on its side. Appropriate, right?) There was a lot of building going on in the area. Regrowth is a good thing. The memorial is  beautiful. It's peaceful. And it's on very solid ground.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Virginia City - Churches

> I recently shared a post about the "find I left behind" when I visited Virginia City during my trip to Lake Tahoe. Luckily, I didn't have any other regrets about my visit. I had plenty of time to take photographs of the historic churches, and the amazing cemetery there.
> As you arrive in Virginia City, you see the rolling hills spotted with quaint old buildings, and the one that stands out the most is a gorgeous churchJust across the street is a smaller, more rustic church that is just as gorgeous.
> I couldn't wait to get up close with my camera. You'll see why.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rusty Metal Stuff

> Just returned Sunday evening from a week in Lake Tahoe. It was WONderful! We had a few days to explore on our own, then we were joined mid-week by (most of) the rest of my family for our annual reunion. 
> We spent some time in Virginia City, NV—a mining boomtown. It's a Victorian-era tourist town with historic churches, a beautiful cemetery, Old West saloons, museums, antique shops, etc.
> I love looking in antique stores, and I have specific things I always look for...old printing items, like metal or wood block type...are you surprised?), and rusty metal stuff.
> We scoped out the place one day before everyone arrived just to see if there was enough there to entertain our large group with all our different interests, ages, and attention spans (there was). While browsing, I found a treasure...see the "rusty metal thing" in the center of the picture? I assume it's some kind of door latch. Isn't it cool? Anyway, we had just arrived, and I wasn't sure what else I might find, so I took a photo of it, knowing we'd be back with the whole fam in a few days, and I could always get it then. But, I didn't. And now I'm kicking myself. 
> Even my husband just looked at the photo as I'm typing, and said "$20 bucks? If I knew it was only $20 bucks, I'd have pushed you into getting it, because you'd regret it if you didn't." He's right. I regret it. Especially now with a little PhotoShop magic to adjust the contrast, and I can see the scroll details that look like m's! It was supposed to be mine!
> Why can't I be more impulsive?!

Monday, May 6, 2013

When it's Time to Change

> I've been running my own business for...well...the fact that I can't pinpoint exactly how long without taking a minute to think about it indicates that it's been a long time! One thing I know: when you're a freelancer, you have to make time to update your web site/portfolio, and keep your brand looking fresh and current, while maintaining continuity and consistency. Seriously, if you don't do it for your own business, how can your clients know and trust you to do it for them?
> Confession: I'm guilty of not updating my web site as often as I'd like. Yeah, I know how important it is, but frankly, during the times that my client work slows down, I catch up on other things first, then more work comes in, and it's on the back burner again.
> Recently, I was doing some research for a project, and ended up bookmarking a couple sites to go back to, because it got me thinking about how I could remedy my own web presence. 

Here's what I'm considering:
  • It's been almost 3 years since my last web design overhaul. It's time to completely update/redesign/refresh my web site
  • Integrating my web site and blog would be a great way to make regular changes and updates to both, a LOT more easily
  • I've got another blog, Q-cards, where I post a new quote design each week. I'm weighing whether to incorporate it into the new mGraphicDesign blog/web as a featured weekly blog post, or to keep it as an individual entity. Because I was invited to post the designs to a very popular Pinterest page, and my designs get a lot of repins I wonder if it might may be a new way to bring in new blog followers, and with an integrated blog and web site, perhaps new clients as well. What do you think? Can't hurt, right?
> So, now the fun part begins. What will it look like? What things will change? What things will stay, but with a facelift? That will all be be part of the surprise. However, I know you won't be surprised to hear this: expect green, and at least one oversized "m".

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Inspired by...Fold

> Creativity takes a lot of forms—even those others would consider scraps. I LOVE the little creations shared on the blog called "fold." Miro Chun creates custom greeting cards fabricated with bits of wire, snips of thread, and colorful scraps of paper.
> I'd love to have any of the cards she creates—but these are not your "Hallmark variety" greeting cards (at best, those are put in a drawer never to be seen again). These little treasures deserve to be in a frame and hung on the wall, enjoyed every day.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Post Promo

> I wish I could say I've just enjoyed the longest holiday break ever known to man...however the time was spent doing something much less exciting...I had surgery at the beginning of December, and spent the holidays recovering. It's taken me much longer to be able to return to work than I had hoped, but I'm finally back.
> Just before my surgery, I mailed out my annual holiday promotion (and yes, the timing was intentional!) I've never been so on-the-ball for the holidays. I don't plan on an annual surgery, but I did like having everything done so far ahead of time!
> I sent these to my clients, vendors, and contacts, as well as family and friends who are interested in what I do. And I made sure to have extras so I can give them out to new business contacts throughout the coming year (minus the holiday greeting portion of it).
> I really had a hard time deciding if I wanted to use the pun or not...was it unprofessional...silly...witty...you never know how it's going to come off, but I got enough positive feedback about doing it that I went with it. Hopefully it's more clever than cheesy.

> If you didn't get any encourage-mints and would like them, just subscribe to my (usually) monthly email newsletter (a couple months behind for the above reason), or like me on Facebook, then email me your mailing address. If you already do both and didn't receive one, email me to let me know, and include your address.