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Archive for May 2012

favorite thing . One Beautiful Vessel

We hold so many mundane things. Pencils, coins, books, soap, sandwiches, tea. I love finding small, but beautiful things to add delight to the simple and mundane habits of daily life. This pressed milk glass tea cup from Tinker Supply Co. is just that. Small. Beautiful. And well beyond ordinary.

inspired by . Rosettes

Repeating textures and patterns found in diverse places can be serendipity — like the “rosettes” in these three images. The absence of color makes the lines even more prominent.

1. Fabric pin from Brydfirth
2. Cinnamon bun illustration ~ Small Pond Graphics
3. Throw pillow ~ Anthropologie

photo 052812 . Ruffle

Simplicity

Some journeys are longer than they are. The road from my door to the farmhouse door is some forty miles, but it always takes me so much further.

Yesterday evening, the kids and I drove down to the farm for an extended Memorial Day weekend. I’ve written often about this place before — almost every time we come here, I guess. It’s a plot of modest acreage in Noxubee County where my mother was raised. Only forty miles, but as I said, some journeys are longer than they are.

The farm and I go way back. For me, it has always been a place that symbolizes simplicity — simple times, simple fun, simple experiences. Life more easily boils down to what matters in this place. At least what matters to me. My largest experience with the farm has been in unscheduled days. The days punctuated only by our own whims, or by the rest from having fully enjoyed them.

When I was a child, we sat in metal lawn chairs under the canopy of a huge pecan tree in the backyard. We drove to town to talk to Grandaddy’s friends over a Nu-Grape and a package of salted peanuts. We mixed up pecan pies with white Karo and butter. Forking the crust was my job. We watched Lawrence Welk on ETV with the ladies dancing in their cotton candy-colored long ruffled dresses. We laughed with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show as he entertained his guests. The best moments were always when he couldn’t keep himself from laughing. Like us.

Back then, we only had four channels for entertainment. Plus the sunshine. The pasture. The Nu-Grape and peanuts. The pecan pie.

Now the farm still draws us into simpler notions even though we come armed with DVDs, Nintendo games and iPads. We get more channels. We bring more channels. But, we don’t need them. The sun and the water hoses and the walks on the road seem to have a stronger pull. And the laughter. The funniest moments are when we can’t keep ourselves from laughing. Still.

The farm pulls us simply to do what we want to do without the distraction of other obligations. We immerse ourselves in our own thoughts and our own whims. It’s a luxury of freedom that, perhaps, isn’t appropriate most of the time, but becomes necessary at least sometimes.

My heart undergoes a transition when I’m preparing to visit the farm. Tangibly, I begin rearranging and recording the calendars and task lists of work activities so that the joy in doing what I love emerges again. And in so doing, the freedom to leave it unattended without worry emerges. It’s my own process to move myself toward simple, to shed the projects and schedules and bills that circumvent my thinking. As I pack our pajamas and bathing suits, I begin to peel away the burdens that sometimes hijack my whims and the desire to chase them. The place of simplicity calls when my spirit needs to lay down those burdens of stress and worry and frustration crowding my joy in simple things. Simple experiences. Simple places. Stress is a serious problem if you don´t control it on time, you can visit this site to find a simple way of doing it.

The journey to simplicity is often longer than it is.

It’s the distance between schedules and whims. Between crowded and joyful. It’s the distance from on to off, between closing the laptop and opening the book. Between “when I have time” and “yes, right now.” It takes us further than we expected.

favorite things . Rockin Recycled Journals

I’m so impressed with this product. I just wanted to get that out of the way right off the bat. The Sahabo shop creates handmade books (a personal favorite craft) in a variety of flavors that are all spectacular, but this particular variety is so fun. The 100-page journals are made from repurposed vinyl records and their sleeves. The binding looks top-notch too. I love this creative way of recycling a bit of vintage goodness into something beautiful used to record thoughts and ideas. The great part is that an extensive list of album titles are included in the Etsy shop so you can pick your own album to reflect your own inspiration. Honestly, I can’t wait to get one.

font crush . Impact Label

Today I thought I’d share a font I’ve been crushing on lately. I guess it’s both a font crush and a retro crush. Do remember those label makers in the 70s and 80s? They had the rolls of vinyl label strips and the dial that turned for choosing letters. Mine was a kid version shaped like a turtle and I can remember getting pink/orange flowered and blue/green striped label rolls in addition to the standard red and blue. Anyway… IMPACT LABEL packs a lot of retro fun and is available in regular and reversed. (You’ll find a free download here.)

photo 052112 . Wire

oh happy day . Mommy’s Office

Oh Happy Day! It’s Friday, and that means celebration in my world (like it does in yours, I’m sure). The anticipation of the weekend was already in bloom as the kids were getting ready for their “it’s a school day” routine this morning. Friday mornings have become more relaxed for me lately. I often start the day with a photo field trip of some kind — the product of which usually ends up on my design blog — followed by a frappacino breakfast before settling into my office for real work. It’s a blessing and boost to creativity to take some time looking at something new or seeing something familiar in a new way every once and a while.

Now that I’m back in my office after this morning’s jaunt, looking at the piles through the lens of having shirked them for a few minutes, I’m actually relishing this place that has become my daily familiar. It’s been a full, but good week. I’ve been blessed with confirmation on a couple of new projects. We’ve celebrated Bug’s four-year-old kindergarten graduation. I joined Little Drummer Boy on his end-of-the-year field trip. Balls were miraculously caught in tee ball games. And, hallelujah, Baby Girl was able  to take her white fuzzy dog for show and tell today. It’s good to reflect on accomplishments, big and small. And my office is a good place to do it. It’s given me the opportunity to reflect already this week.

I’m in my office. Like I am a lot. And somehow they all end up here. The kids, I mean. This place of wonder where Mommy spends her days and keeps her computers and displays art treasures has become somewhat of a magnet for curiosity. Maybe it’s just a peaceful, but less-used place for them.
Maybe it’s the place that holds me during the days when I’ve assured them I miss them every minute. So, they feel compelled to fill it with reminders of themselves. Maybe it’s the small items sitting everywhere — quirky toys and objects I’ve picked up through the years that were introduced into their lives when I began working from home. Maybe it’s because sometimes they’re not allowed to play here. They just somehow all end up here.

I came down the five steps of our enclosed breezeway to my office one evening this week while they were playing outside, like I often do. A typical night. I was putting away some straggling parts of the work day, as my habits seem to dictate. One by one, they made their way in.

They know where the colored paper lives, and they pull it out to choose their pleasure. They know the skinny marker cup and the fat marker pot and the zigzag scissors holder and the way to drag the chairs so they all have a corner of the work table. And the tape. Baby Girl loves the tape.

They explored and created while I put things away. And, in the process, I found new places for their scribbled gifts and listened to their excitement as background noise.

“This smells nice.”
“What is this?”
“Mommy DON’T look at this!”
One shared letters and spelling secrets with another, coaching out some covert message. Scribbles spilled over from the red and purple paper onto the butcher block tabletop. I’m so glad washable markers don’t wash out completely from wood. I don’t know if I could work each day without the reminders of their slippage outside the lines.

I was thinking the other day how difficult it’s been to muster writing topics — how devoid of profundity I seem to have been lately in this season of ballgame schedules and end-of-school activities. How I’ve been searching for the will to compose meaningful thoughts in the face of busy project lists.

I read the phrase “joy of life” in an article this week. It was something a writer had recognized while paying attention to an unexpected walk through a London park. Just like what I find looking around my office on an evening like Wednesday evening. Not a birthday or a holiday, just a Wednesday evening. When I listened to the secret conversations and found places for the zigzagged hearts decorated with “I love Momy” and exclamation points and fives — lots of number fives.

Three test cases for joy and profundity staring me in the face. Their brilliance so blinding that I can scarcely believe I’m so fortunate to be able to see it.

Oh Happy Day.

favorite things . Dolled Up DIY

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a CRAVE in Plop! land — probably because I’m in crave overload from some of the creativity I’m seeing online these days. I was looking through my archive of bookmarks and had to share this one right away! I’m not a seamstress. Not even close. But, I’ve fallen in love with these DIY dolls from MIKODESIGN. The illustrations are so sweet and whimsical, and I can imagine my Baby Girl squeezing the love out of this little Parisian and her stylish bunny. I particularly love the tiny camera, tote bag and itty bitty bottle of Chanel No. 5. I also noticed that you can purchase remnant bags of the Parisian fabric in a couple of colors — just the right touch of frou frou, if you ask me!

Programming note: I’ve been weeding through past posts recently getting inspired again, but mostly cleaning up inconsistencies I see, fine-tuning topics and categories and tweaking here and there. I hope you’ll poke around too!

princely projects . A Birthday Party

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some of the design projects I’ve been working on in the Pond, so I thought I would share one today along with something I learned about myself last week. I recently had the opportunity to do some graphics and printed items for Starkville, Mississippi’s 175th Birthday Party. It was a fun and festive project with an old fashioned flair. My client is a stellar event planner and really wanted to create a kid-friendly, nostalgic atmosphere. I created the theme graphics with a primary color palette and produced a postcard invitation that we also translated into an e-vite and other online media graphics. In addition, Jenn wanted to give a hand-made quality to the Party with some custom printables that would mimic our “look.” She asked me to create cupcake toppers, tabletop signs and pennant banners to be used in the decorations. The Party was last Friday and it was just as festive and nostalgic as Jenn envisioned. Plus, my kids gave a resounding thumbs-up to the cupcakes!

Oh yeah, and I also learned something about myself. Or at least remembered something about myself. For the party, I did some chalk lettering on a vintage chalkboard to be included in a wacky photo booth vignette. On Thursday, I rolled up my sleeves and started chalking — armed with a wet cloth, a dry cloth and some colored chalk my kids loaned me. The result wasn’t a spectacular feat — only about 600 inches of hand-drawn serifs and chalk dust. But, it reminded me of something. I spend so much of my creative life behind a screen or a lens, pushing and pulling anchor points in drawing software or highlighting and kerning text or zooming in or out of a digital camera lens. It was refreshing to actually get my hands dirty — to have my fingers not separated from my medium by a piece of glass or a rectangular focus box. It was a fun and much-needed change of pace to spend an hour creating lines and shapes without any digital help. I think I’ll try it again sometime.

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