Friday, July 29, 2005

color, color everywhere

after having an e-mail conversation with one of my reps about color, i got inspired to write about the impact of color on design. color is a major element in any design. the same mediocre design can become a masterpiece just by changing the colors. are the colors new and fresh? or are the old and out of date? being on the cutting edge of color can be made much easier with some research. i have found a few great site that inspire me when it comes to color. here is a list of a few of them.

get inspire by paint colors. who says paint colors are just for walls? behr's online color selector is a great tool when looking for specific colors. you can fine tune colors, find coordinating colors and even view pre-selected coordinating colors. just click on the link below and then select the "color smart" palette. and play your little heart away! and don't forget, you can always go to your local paint store and pick up swatches for inspiration!
behr paint

this might be one of the greatest resources ever. have you ever wondered how designers know which colors are going to be the most popular this fall? well, it's all because of the people at this next site. they're called color forecasters. they are the people in charge of picking which colors are going to be saturated (pun intended!) throughout the marketplace. granted, their services are pricey, but if you're looking for colors that are sure to be a hit, this is your answer!
color association of the united states

this next one is fun. stuck on the color palette for your website? this site is aimed to help! of course you can take the same color palette and use for your specific application. just select a color from the colorwheel and you can match it with contrasting colors, find it's triads, view analogous colors, and much more!
well styled

hope this inspires you to all create something new with color!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

work it

one of the things i was always taught about the job market was network, network, network. it is also something i'm not so great at. since i now own my own business, i really try to work harder at it. you just never know who could get you in the door somewhere or who may have a job for you down the road. thus today's story:

first a little history....we recently tore a wall down in our house. it's an old house with beautiful maple floors. one of the room's floors was refinished while the other room had carpet. so we need to get the carpeted room's floor refinished to match the room it now joins. following me? so anyway, a guy came this morning to give me a quote on how much it would cost to sand down the floor. who would think that this could possibly lead to a design job? not me. well, it just might have!

we got to talking about what i do and he said "really?....well i've been thinking about a project i'd like to do." turns out he wants some custom thank you's for all their customers. each one would be unique to that customer. for instance he mentioned having a photo of their newly refinished floor included. it sounds like he wants something totally out of the box though; which is good. it also sounds cool because it would be a continuous job, not just a one-timer.

networking with the floor-sanding guy....who would have thunk!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

oh the refreshing goodness of a cherry coke!

ok, so today i have a little "off-topic" story to tell...

i took the little dude out for a walk this afternoon to the post office to mail out some samples . (so it kinda has to do with work) on the way home i decided to stop for a refreshing beverage out of a vending machine at the local car wash. i pull the stroller up to the machine and park the little dude while i dig through my wallet for some money. i get my $1 out and stick it in the machine. i press the button for my favorite beverage of all times....cherry coke. i'm anticipating it's refreshing goodness on the long and hot walk home. nothing happens. then i see the little light....sold out!! damn. so then i press the button for regular coke.....sold out!! i select the button for orange fanta....sold out!! what the heck!! there are only three options left. sprite, water, and diet coke. since i don't drink water unless it has something in lemon, i skip over that option. i really dislike diet soda, so diet coke isn't an option either. i head for my last resort....sprite. i push the button....oh the suspense....what comes out??? DIET COKE!!

not funny!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

a new day...

i'm happy to report that today seems to be a new day! although the little dude was quite cranky this morning, he went down for his morning nap with no fuss. plus i've gotten a ton of tips and tricks from my friends at paperpreneurs who also have kids and run a business from home. i'm going to try and implement some of them today. i might just get some work done after all! with that said, i'm going to go take advantage of the fact that he's napping.

Monday, July 25, 2005

can you say...teething baby?

trying to raise a 7 month old baby and run a business is....let me see....not easy. now don't get me wrong....i love my baby...more than i can even tell you...but today has been one of those days.

this has been the extent of my day starting at 11:30 p.m. last night: (with a baby who usually sleeps through the night)

11:30 p.m. - get up and comfort screaming baby. feed him, medicate him, put him back to bed.
12:00 a.m. - try to get some sleep.
4:30 a.m. - get up and comfort screaming baby. feed him, medicate him, put him back to bed.
5:00 a.m. - try to get some sleep.
6:30 a.m. - lay in bed listening to screaming baby. ignore him as long as possible to get a couple more minutes of sleep.
7:00 a.m - finally get out of bed. change baby's diaper and take him downstairs for breakfast.
7:30 a.m. - finish feeding baby breakfast.
7:45 a.m. - put baby down with toys so he can "play" while i get in the shower.
8:00 a.m. - finish shower during which i listened to baby scream.
8:15 a.m. - head upstairs to office. put baby in exersaucer so i can get some work done while he "plays".
8:16 a.m. - take screaming baby out of exersaucer (which he usually loves).
8:30 a.m. - try to feed baby morning bottle....not having it! medicate screaming baby again.
9:00 a.m. - try to lay baby down for morning nap....not having it! go get screaming baby.
9:30 a.m. - try morning bottle again. success! happy mom!
9:45 a.m. - lay baby down for morning nap.
10:00 a.m. - silence. he finally gives into nap! happy mom!
11:00 a.m. - silence is broken. screaming baby wakes up from very short nap.
11:30 a.m. - take baby downstairs for lunch. mom has lunch first because baby seems content in his highchair for the moment.
11:45 a.m. - baby eats lunch. eats well. happy mom!
12:00 p.m. - mom and baby head back upstairs to try and accomplish something in the afternoon. put baby in exersaucer to play.
12:02 p.m. - take screaming baby out of exersaucer. (you know it's a bad day when the exersaucer doesn't work!)
12:15 p.m. - put baby in his room on a blanket to play with all of his toys.
12:20 p.m. - go get screaming baby
12:30 p.m. - try afternoon bottle....not having it! listen to baby scream for awhile.
1:00 p.m. - try laying baby down for afternoon nap....not having it!
1:20 p.m. - get screaming baby from crib who won't take his nap.
1:30 p.m. - try afternoon bottle again....not having it!
1:40 p.m. - try reading books to get baby to sleep.
2:00 p.m. - try laying baby down for afternoon nap....not having it!
2:30 p.m. - try music cd to try and comfort baby....not working.
3:00 p.m. - baby seems sleepy. try to lay him down again. silence! afternoon nap finally achieved! happy mom!
3:15 p.m. - premature celebration. screaming baby!
3:30 p.m. - time to gather up baby and laptop to go downstairs since nothing is going to make him happy upstairs.
3:45 p.m. - screaming baby. try afternoon bottle for at least the 4th time. finally takes a little. mom thinks he might fall asleep. no luck.
4:00 p.m. - set full baby down on blanket on floor to play with toys.
4:11 p.m. - (as i write this) screaming baby again!!!

any gaps in time = screaming baby or mom trying to comfort baby in various ways.

i seriously don't know what to do anymore. unless i'm holding him he's pretty much screaming. and even that doesn't work half the time. i sure hope this teething thing passes quickly or my business is going under!

i laugh as i look at the timestamp of when i started this post. almost 1 hour ago! i think this is the only thing i've actually accomplished all day.

back to the joys of motherhood...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

the eternal depths of hell

how hot is it today? well, i'm not quite sure, but it feels like the eternal depths of hell! and we're in wisconsin. i can't imagine what it's like down south today. and lucky me....we don't have air conditioning in our 100 year old house....AND my office is UPSTAIRS! remind me why i did that again? so i'm writing this from a local coffee shop while i enjoy a yummy razzle dazzle smoothie. no hot drinks for me today!

i'm here enjoying the cool air conditioning with my hubby who's reading....what? ....a copy of yoga magazine!! ok, if any of you knew my husband you would know just how ironic that is. i'll just sit here and not say anything so that he can thoroughly enjoy it while it confuses the hell out of me! i'm also here with my baby boy. he's actually sharing the big comfy leather chair with me. he's 7 months old....and being a very good boy. i guess he's happy to be out of the house and the heat too.

i see that my husband has switched over to metropolis magazine, and my baby is starting to get a little antsy....which both mean my world is going back to normal. so with that i sign off.

Friday, July 22, 2005

you saw me where?

i just got a sales lead the other day from greetings etc. that someone was interested in my halloween cards from the july issue. what? i didn't know any of my halloween cards were featured in the july issue! so i call my contact there and sure enough, she featured some samples i sent awhile ago. i haven't seen it yet, so i don't even have an idea of which card it was. they're sending me a copy, so i'll try and post it when i get it. there's nothing better than free advertising!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

liar, liar, pants on fire!

here i go lying already. this is my second post and i'm already going to contradict my first....but it's all for the good of my company. really.

so we've already established from the first post that money isn't rampant around here. this makes it difficult to do some of the things i want to do. for instance, i REALLY want professional photos taken of some of my products. just a few, so that my website and brochure don't look like i took the photos with my digital camera at home. (which i obviously did)

well, remember how i said i hated doing work for other people because it always turns out like crap....well....i lied. but not really.

i contacted a local product photographer that was referred to me by a design firm i interned with in college. i told him the situation about how i really want photos taken, but that i don't have a lot of cash to pay for them. i asked if he would be willing to barter his time in exchange for some product. (i suggested maybe holiday cards for their clients) to my surprise, he quickly agreed! this is great! wait, this sucks!

i called him yesterday to set up an appointment and he quickly told me that his wife was working on some ideas for the holiday card! oh no! here we go already! i was hoping more along the lines of altering something i already had to fit them. not start from scratch! this guy is giving me 4 hours of his time. this holiday card project sounds like it's going to turn out to be way more than that.

i guess i shouldn't complain. i'm getting what i want in the end. it just might suck getting there! blah.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

pretty little package

welcome to my world....the world of paper.

first, a little bit about myself. i knew all my life i wanted to be an artist. i went to school for graphic design, then moved away from home to enter the hectic world of design in the big city. it didn't take me long to realize that designing for other people left much to be desired. the designs you work so hard on end up being sub-par by the time clients get their grubby little hands on them. i never seemed to be happy with the end product, thus never having anything to add to my portfolio that i could be proud of. this job was not what i had envisioned. then i found my way out...

it all started with my wedding invitations in the summer of 2001. being the crafty person that i am, it was a no-brainer that i was going to make the invitations to my wedding. i enjoyed doing them and got such fabulous reviews that i thought the invitation biz might be my answer. that year for christmas i did sets of handmade greeting cards for all my friends and family. everyone loved them. my new passion started to emerge. instead of doing invitations, i decided on greeting cards. this way i could design what i wanted and not have to deal with bridezillas. (which, in turn, would be the same as working in a design firm with clients who don't know good design from bad)

while still working my full-time design job, i started the job i hoped would someday allow me to stay at home and raise babies. by the spring of 2002 i had designed a small line of cards and taken them to some local stores. to my surprise nearly everyone placed orders! i attended the national stationery show in may of that year. slowly my business started to grow.

fast forward to february was time...time to finally quit my "real" job and focus full-time on my business. i was so excited...and scared out of my mind. it has been a great ride. since then i have hired 3 part-time employees to help with production, 1 assistant, and a great line of reps. it's been difficult going from a 2 income household down to 1...especially since we just had a baby in december. yup, that's right. i quit my full-time job where i made a good sum of cash and then get pregnant...why not? sounds rational to me! so now i'm running a business AND raising a baby. slowly but surely this business is growing. someday i'll even be able to pay myself on a regular basis! what a thought!

so that's pretty much my history. i'm a wife, mother, business woman just trying to hold it all together in a pretty little package.
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