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Archive for April 2015

Small Pond Graphics Earns American Web Design Award

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I was very pleased to learn this week that Small Pond Graphics is the recipient of an American Web Design Award from Graphic Design USA magazine for the design and development of the Starkville School District website! The website design, which launched in July 2014, came as the culmination of a year-long process of working with the SSD communications team to rebrand and retool the district’s marketing and communications efforts.

In 2013, SSD embarked on a strategic planning process which identified key communications goals including the development of a bold, new marketing campaign. I was privileged to lead a branding discussion and work session with the strategic planning committee, which allowed us to identify ideas and target audiences. This session served as the seed of the district’s new “Starkville Spark” brand and marketing campaign. The campaign, which included a new logo, email newsletter, media advertising and promotional materials as well as the website, won top honors in the 2015 Mississippi School Public Relations Association Awards of Excellence program.

The new SSD website employs more resources and downloadable information, easier navigation, an interactive calendar, personnel directory, news feed, as well as a cleaner, well-branded design. In conjunction with the desktop site, the development includes an app-like mobile version just like the guys at mobile-ready website design Perth, making it easier to navigate for the growing number of mobile users. So the site became an excellent site with great navigation, and the best of all it was that even the hosting was cheap, we learned at a hosting guide online, you can check them all here.

I am very proud to have the chance to be a part of creating a new face for the public school district in my own community! I’ve written before about my belief in public schools, and it means a lot to me to be a part of telling the story of the teachers and programs that my own children benefit from each day! It has made this client project a very personal one, and makes the American Web Design Award even more special.

For more than five decades, Graphic Design USA magazine has sponsored a prestigious slate of annual awards including the American Web Design Awards program. The awards are judged by a nationwide panel of distinguished design professionals. According to GDUSA, over 1100 entries were received in this year’s competition, with only the top 15% recognized as winners. The Awards program showcases the “power of design to enhance websites and online communications.” GDUSA has been in publication since 1963 and serves as a comprehensive resource on the news, trends, people and products of the graphic design industry.

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morning letters . 042315

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I’ve been working with a lot of linear website layouts over the last couple of days, so I needed a little floral in my life today!

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Some Friday encouragement this week! I continually try to remind myself of the true uniqueness of each person, each day, each life. We do ourselves a continual disservice when we are satisfied with following.

morning letters . tuesday 041415

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A little David Bowie for the morning letters today! Let’s Dance, Tuesday!

morning letters . 041315

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I’ve been wanting to circle back to some of the abstract explorations I did last summer, and today seemed like a good day! For lettering practice, there’s a random quote from a book about natural farming I read over spring break called The One Straw Revolution. It’s taken me a while to digest a few of the concepts, and I’m hoping to share a little more about the book on the blog this week.

morning letters . thursday 040915

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This morning I started with more alphabet painting practice and some still-wet notes to myself. We find it so easy to compare ourselves to others — in business, in art, in mothering, in life. Today, I needed to remind myself that nothing valuable comes to the world through an attempt to live someone else’s story. No, all of my true impact in this world will come through living the story God has created in ME. After all, I am the only way that story will ever be told.

morning letters . tuesday 040715

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This morning, I started practicing a watercolor version of an alphabet I had doodled in one of my old sketchbooks. It was inspired by some of the amazing work of illustrator, Amy Borrell. I’m working toward developing a set of hand-lettered typefaces that can be part of my lettering “vocabulary” — alphabets that I’m very familiar with painting and drawing.

print shop . New Greeting Cards in the Shop!

April is National Letter Writing Month, and it’s inspired me to get some of my latest card designs added to the Etsy shop!  It’s amazing how treasured a hand-written letter or card has become in our culture of digital communications. I’ve enjoyed thinking through stationery sentiments with some of my daily lettering practice.  Here’s a sneak peak at the new card designs. I hope you’ll take a look at the print shop and get inspired to send some snail mail!

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morning letters . Monday 040615

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Just some quickie watercolor script practice today. Happy Monday! Hope yours is loverly!

grow . March Gardening Journal

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We’ve weathered some extremely fun snow days and some typically unpredictable Mississippi weather during the first quarter of 2015, and it’s safe to say that we are very excited about spring weather! I love the seasonal changes, regardless of how random they may be in a given week here, and usually when we have a few really nice sunny days, I get a renewed excitement for cultivating our little garden spaces.

My husband, Mike, was a landscape architect, and through the years before he died, I heard a lot about various plants and learned to enjoy watching their customs, so to speak. In fact, one of the ways I knew I was finally healing after Mike’s death is that I could give an answer to the kids like, “I don’t know what that tree is, but if Daddy were here, he could tell us.” And I could say it without squelching back a tear. I suppose it’s fitting that the evidence of life and growth and seasons changing that are found in the green world also give me good reminders of those evidences in my own seasons.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting outside a little more and looking again at what the plants are doing. I decided to record a monthly gardening journal of the outdoor changes happening, our progress in designing and caring for our little plot of land, and the blooms appearing at different times of the year. I’m not a gardener, but I love creating pretty places outside for us to eat, play, paint and even work. So, I’m paying attention, experimenting, and enjoying the process of home- and garden-making. Here are a few of the things I’ve noticed outside this month…

Flowering Quince: They’re so beautiful, and a sure first look at spring. I love these blooms that precede the green leaves on bare branches. We discovered one little branch on the west side of our house several years ago. It’s in an almost hidden spot where only I can see it out my bedroom window. After cleaning around it a bit and some pruning it has been putting on a few more blooms each year. This year, I noticed they had bloomed out when we returned from spring break mid-month.

Vinca Major: This ground cover was here when we bought our house. It has lovely purple blooms in spring and has been blooming for two or three weeks now. Vinca is ever-green, but it really “stands tall” with all the rain and mild temperatures we’ve had in March. The spots of purple are really pretty with our yellow daffodils popping up through the greenery.

Carolina Jasmine: It survived it’s first year climbing a trellis by the mailbox — and didn’t even lose all it’s leaves! The yellow flowers started blooming mid-month. It’s not as filled with blooms as I had hoped, but it’s doing pretty well with no care.

Bradford Pear: We call it “the flower tree” at our house. We came home from spring break to a few buds opening and within a day or so, the tree was completely white. Today, most of the blooms are gone, replaced by full green. The blooms are kind of stinky, but we love the look.

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Knock-out Roses: These have been a real challenge in our front bed, I think mainly because of some poor soil, and maybe the overly prolific vinca. At the end of the fall, I was convinced we would need to pull them out and start again this spring. NOW, they have come out over the last two weeks very full and green with lots of purplish leaves showing where we hope they’ll put on blooms. Get me the rose food! Crossing my fingers!

Grandmother’s Roses: I’m not sure you can kill these. After all, they survived years beside the pasture roads. The cuttings we brought from the farm are now in their second growing season in a big ol’ plastic pot. They never lost all their leaves and died back even in some pretty cold snow days, and this month they’ve come out very full. Right now they are at the corner of our little storage house porch. I want to keep them there, but put them in the ground and set up a metal trellis to let them climb.

Tulips: Well, I think they did their tulip thing! No foliage or blooms this year 🙁 BUT, neither did the other bulbs that were planted with them in front of the little house porch. So, I’m holding out hope that our last freezing snow days came at a time to squelch their blooms. We’ll see next year.

Hydrangeas: We see green!

Lavender: I saw it at the garden center last year, and decided I wanted to use it for a border around our front bed. The variety I chose has a silvery gray-green leaf and of course, the typical sweet-smelling purple blooms. We had a huge learning curve with it, and finally settled on a row of pea gravel to plant in since it needs very well-drained soil. Only one plant survived this year, but I’m now seeing new growth on it. I’m planning to replace plants and finishing out the border. I really want this to work, so I’ll keep you posted.

Black eyed Susans: We see green!

Redbuds: Beautiful blooming out late this month.

Wisteria: I’m noticing a few more pods than last year, and just yesterday, they started to open out!

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I hope to share more progress on the garden as a possible monthly post. Meanwhile, we’re planning an outdoor “hot dog party” complete with s’mores on the fire pit if the weather’s right this weekend.

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