I was asked by the New Richmond Commmunity Foundation to create a Little Free Library book exchange. Little Free Library is incidentally one of my most loyal design clients, so of course I said yes!
Read more about the auction here.
I was asked by the New Richmond Commmunity Foundation to create a Little Free Library book exchange. Little Free Library is incidentally one of my most loyal design clients, so of course I said yes!
Read more about the auction here.
This week, The Boy Scouts of America announced that they are expanding their program to include girls. And this includes a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
Now, a lot of people think this is a controversial move - but before you start arguing about it, let me share my story and my personal experience with scouting.
I remember growing up and being jealous of my brother when he was going high adventure camping - he got to do so many cool things!
I remember I was upset when I had my Boy Scout knife taken away at girl scout camp - while my brother at the same age was allowed to carry and use his. I remember doing crafts and singing songs at our camp, while my brother was scaling a high ropes course.
I remember selling cookies and then having to pay out of pocket for a week at camp, while my brother used his popcorn selling money (which was deposited into a personal account) to be able to go to camp on the cheap.
The comparisons were large in the differences between our two experiences as young scouts. I dropped out of Girl Scouts at age thirteen because I was frustrated with being unable to do so many things within my Girl Scout Troop. I eventually joined (and took leadership positions in) Venture Scouts and an Explorer Post, which are co-ed high-adventure camping groups, but it's a shame that I had to wait until I was fourteen to join.
This is a longtime coming, and the expansion of the BSA to include girls is so amazing. I'm so excited! Now girls can work towards earning their Eagle Award, which can lead to scholarships and other opportunities. Comparibly, the Girl Scouts has a Gold Award, but it does not hold the same high esteem as the BSA counterpart, unfortunately.
Here's a note from my Dad I received this week, an Eagle Scout, and longtime leader of the Boy Scouts: "I feel bad for you Jenna, as you would be a fine Eagle Scout like your brother. I guess the organization and I did not move fast enough to make this happen."
And he's right, I would have made a fine Eagle Scout, but never had the opportunity.
In Germany, they just have a group called "Scouts" and ANYONE of any gender and age can join - isn't that a wonderful idea?
Even though I made a gift for my last project, I was excited to make another gift! i love giving gifts - I'm pretty sure it's my love language. I chose to DIY a gift for my SO to show him how much he means to me. We just recently moved in together, and it's been kind of a melding of stuff and acclimating to each other's routines and living habits, and I still have a lot to learn about him.
One thing I know is that he would rather receive a consumable gift than an "object" or "thing". He prefers gifts that are useful and necessary - something that he can eat, drink, or use in his everyday life. And since yours truly has champagne taste and only beer money, I decided to spend my alotted $10 budget and spend it on BEER!
With this project, I focused more on the packaging than the actual gift - what's a present without a little presentation?
I found this box at work - it's a box our toner comes in - now has found a use!
The next step was to remove the lid - the plan is to make a sort of separated "crate" for my beer gift. I had leftover metallic spray paint from a previous project and used it to cover the text on the outside - this is shaping up nicely!
While the spray paint dried, I drew a little bubble bath for the beer to get those labels off because I used my graphic design skillz to make new custom labels! Scroll down to see!
I designed and printed these labels (FOR FREE!) at work and carefully cut them out and applied them to the clean bottle.
My next task was cutting out circles in the bottle holder - which - I kind of messed up. I only cut five holes, but that's okay - that just meant he received five beers...and I got to keep a beer for myself! #WHOOPS #GENIUS
In an amazing stroke of craft luck, I was able to use one of the trimmed discs to cover up a blemish on the packaging:
I also tore the handles out of a paper shopping bag and used double-sided 3M mounting tape to adhere them to the "crate" for easy transportation.
I used some extra tissue paper to fill the inside of the crate to prevent the bottles from shifting around and just because you can't wrap a present without tissue paper, duh!
In conclusion, I'm so glad my SO is here with me and supports me in my creative endeavors, and is successful with his own - we're a great partnership and I'm excited to see what we can create together in the future. Cheers!
And as required, here's a goofy lil' vid of Ricky getting excited over his gift!
Ah yes, summer is over and I never got around to posting my annual summer bucket list, but I wrote down everything I did this summer so let's compare!
Finish a DIY project (Galaxy Shoes!)
Sit in a backyard and sip a cold drink
Make more art
Get a tan
Eat corn on the cob
Go thrifting/garage sale-ing
Swim in a river
Swim in a lake
Ride a motorcycle
So I turned 30 this weekend. And 30 is an awfully big number - it kind of snuck up on me! To celebrate, I hosted a little 1950s/1960s mid-century cocktail party and invited my closest friends! I sent out invitations, stocked my bar, and even had little party favors to end the night. A lot of people came and dressed up and we laughed and had a blast - I truly have some great friends. It was an amazing way to ring in my next decade! Scroll down to read more about my party and see some vintage photos taken with my new Instax Mini (thanks Ricky!).
But first I decided to prepare for 30 by compiling a list of...
30. Learning How to Apologize: don't make excuses - everyone fucks up! Simply saying "i'm sorry" is hard, but it won't kill ya.
29. Depression is nothing to be ashamed about and it happens to everyone - seek help and talk to someone.
28. Don't make yourself an option or put your goals on the back-burner.
27. By the time you're 30, you should know specifically how you take your: Eggs, Liquor, Orgasms, and Coffee.
26. Take pride in what you do - no one has the skills that you have and people are willing to pay you for what you do best.
25. Hold onto friends that make you feel like you're at home - and make brunch a priority.
24. Things are only scary the first time you do them. Take risks and make yourself uncomfortable.
23. Take any opportunity you have to travel and don't be afraid to travel alone (people will think you are mysterious).
22. People are just as anxious and self-involved as you are, so embrace your weirdness.
21. Be patient with love.
20. Your tits won't look as good as they did at 20 ever again.
19. Send letters, thank you notes, christmas cards, and gifts via mail.
18. Wear jeans that make your ass look good, don't pay attention to size tags.
17. Craft is everything.
16. Learn to listen to your intuition - it's a lesson most learn late in life or too late.
15. Your parents are REAL people & may give you some very heavy stuff to carry. Share the load. Don't take them for granted.
14. Keep a dream journal.
13. Spend some money and see your favorite band - they might be dead soon.
12. Check your ego, shut up, and listen, you don't know EVERYTHING (and I probably won't until I'm on my deathbed).
11. Know when to leave a party. Nothing good happens after 3am.
10. Don't let just anyone sleep over.
9. Delete your facebook.
8. Use your twenties to be selfish, but mindful.
7. Sometimes people don't need a solution, they just need you to listen.
6. Learn to understand your body: it will tell you clearly when you're hangry, when you're sick, or when your period is due.
5. Don't rush into things because "it's the right thing to do" or "everyone else is doing it". It is truly punk to say NO.
4. Remaining child-free during my 20s was one of the best decisions. I've grown to be better person for a future little person.
3. Be careful with what you say (still learning this).
2. Make time for yourself.
1. 30 really isn't that bad, it's just a new decade and I'm looking forward to it.
Here are some images from my Dirty Thirty Birthday Party! Enjoy!
The next morning...
I spent most of my birthday coming to terms with turning 30.
I ahem wasn't feeling at my best (REALLY feeling 30, y'all) and Ricky set up a projector in my room so we could watch some movies and nurse my hangover. The first movie I chose was The Truman Show which is a movie about a man who, in his thirtieth year, discovers that his life isn't quite what it seems. It's an awesome inspiring movie and it kind of has a message of "it's not too late" to begin your life, or even change it.
The second movie we watched was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is a great movie that has themes about aging (or not aging), growing, learning, love, and coming to terms with impending death. Notably, there is a scene where Cate Blanchett is in a swimming pool and watches a younger, more athletic woman swim laps and starts to break down in the pool. She tells Brad Pitt's character that she's afraid and doesn't want to get old.
That's when I lost it. I had a full-blown heaving panic attack. I suddenly started sobbing and realize that I was 30, never again able to turn back time or be a careless "twenty-something". It was a culmination of alcohol-driven guilt and anxiety about the night before, and just emotions finally coming to surface about the big THREE-OH. I had realized I am old. I am not permanent. Life is fleeting.
When I finally calmed down, I made a promise to myself: 30 isn't the end, but it sure as hell isn't the beginning and I have to grab all the chances I can to live my life to its fullest. So, here's to a new decade of new experiences and adventures!
Again, I feel like I have a disadvantage as I was away all week without access to internet. (I was participating in a week-long Survivor-esque challenge, I'll probably write a blog about it later, but for now, I'm glad to be back in civilization!) So, I had just a few days to think about this and work on this project.
When I first began thinking about this, my mind went to thinking about children, and how children create. But moreso, how children are. They are wild, creative, care-free, and selfless. A child often has very little responsibilities and little to worry about - JUST PLAY! Sometimes, in this busy world, it's very hard to revisit these good warm n' fuzzy memories, when we have work, money stress, our own children to worry about, etc.
One of my friends is having a rough time lately. I won't go into detail, but she's been having a hard few months. I thought I could be selfless and creative and introduce some "warm-fuzzies" into her life and to let her know that I'm thinking about her and support her entirely. I wanted to create a sort of "Emergency Care Package" to uplift her thoughts and cheer her up.
Let's see how I did it!
For this project, I looked at it from a different angle than my past projects. Instead of creating something brand new, I wanted to take ordinary items from the dollar store, beautify them, and turn them into something REALLY special. The budget is the important thing here. I sat down and I made a list of a few items that I would like to receive or need when I'm having a hard time in life, and then I set to work.
1. Sweet Marbleized Heart-Shaped Crayons in Repurposed Container (CHILD CRAFT SUPPLY!)
First, I chopped up a bunch of old crayons and put them in some candy molds. 230 Degrees in the Oven for 15 minutes and PRESTO! Beautifully marbled crayons, shaped like hearts! How lovely!
For the container, I dug out an empty pimento jar from my recycling and cut out a circle from some patterned paper I designed and printed from work. Then, I modgepodged the circle and decorated the outside with glitter. That's right, I said GLITTER. Apparently, I haven't learned that glitter is STILL THE HERPES OF CRAFT PRODUCTS and now everything in my apartment is GLITTER. It's like a unicorn threw up in there or something.
Anyway, to finish off the jar, I found some gold/yellow jewels at the dollar store and finished up the trim to make it more polished. SO CUTE!
Crayons: FREE (already owned)
Paper: FREE (work perks)
Glitter: FREE (already owned)
Running Cost Total: $1
2. "Let It All Out" Journals
I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling icky, sometimes drawing or writing helps alleviate stress and pain. I put together these simple little notebooks of various sizes for my friend to use with her heart-shape crayons and to fill with dreams and feeling and happiness. I love these so much, I printed out some extra for myself! I used scrap paper from my work to create these, and bound them with a simple staple.
3. A Bright n' Beautiful Bouquet
Next, I thought a cheery bouquet of flowers would definitely make my friend feel better! I found all of these items at the dollar store, and with a little TLC, I made a perfect little centerpiece to brighten up a bedside table or desk! I'm feeling better already making these things!
White Rocks: $1
Ribbon: FREE (already owned)
Running Cost Total: $5
4. Extra-Special Self-Care Box
Everyone needs a pick-me-up every now and then, and I thought I would compile a few superlatives and words of encouragement for my friend to read if she's feeling low!
I found this wonderful cardboard heart-shaped box at the dollar store and gave it the same treatment as I did the crayon container. I cut out some patterned paper, modge-podged some glitter, and trimmed with jewels to make it a little bit extra. On some scrap paper, I wrote some special uplifting notes, and have also included a few strips for her to write her own self-affirmations.
Self-love is TRUE LOVE, BABY.
Running Cost Total: $6
5. Made with Love Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ummmm, what's a care package without chocolate, right? This was the easiest DIY out of the entire package. I found an unused canning jar in my cupboard, and cut a circle of patterned paper to dress up the lid. After the cookies were cool, I stacked them inside the jar and wrapped the whole thing with a pretty little ribbon. SO EASY!
Cookies: FREE (in cupboard, finally put to a good use!)
Running Cost Total: $6
6. Our Holy Mother of Beauty, Fierceness, and All That is Glamorous Prayer Candle
This part of the care package is by-far my favorite. I'm actually thinking of making more of these, it turned out so wonderful! I created a kind of tongue-in-cheek prayer candle for my friend to have to put a smile on her face, and of course, pay homage too these old hollywood greats. I found this plain religious candle at the dollar store and modge-podged an image directly onto the glass. To dress it up a bit, I added those jewels from before (they were really easy to apply, the jewels came strung on a glue-y line, it make it SO EASY to apply), and IT LOOKS AMAZING! I can't wait to make more of these! Think of the possibilities!
Running Cost Total: $7
And what's a care package without a little pun humor? Sometimes, just repackaging or wrapping a simple gift makes it so much more special to the receiver. I simply made a little label out of the patterned paper and found some vinyl mailbox letters in my craft stash to create some new packaging for this $1 Tea Box I found in the food section of the dollar store!
Chamomile Tea: $1
Running Cost Total: $8
Now to put it all together! I found this sturdy hot pink basin with handles at the dollar store to hold my nifty gifties, and garnished with a bright yellow sheet of tissue paper! How could you not smile seeing this?
Hot Pink Basin: $1
FINAL Cost Total: $9 (UNDER BUDGET WAHOO!)
Okay, for this week's challenge, I was in a time crunch. I will actually be without internet/phone service for an entire week and I had only a few days to work on this, and am actually writing this blog post Saturday night.
Given this disadvantage, I'm not going to let it deter me or to make me stressed out or not put as much thought and effort into my past projects. This week is also a double-elimination as aforementioned and I'm not ready to go home yet!
I'm also going to not give up on anything this season - even if it makes me nervous or uncomfortable. I'm not much of a photographer but I have worked a lot with photography being a graphic designer. I'm pretty well-versed in computer editing software and decided to use that to my advantage this round.
Even though I wouldn't consider what I do necessarily "crafting"...I'm on the computer almost 8 hours a day and when I come home from work, I like to step away from a screen and just MAKE with my hands. I didn't want to shy away from using technology, but I didn't want to use it as a crutch this season. When I first started working as a professional graphic designer, it was oftentimes challenging to create personally. I would be SO BURNT OUT every day that I found it hard to be creative in my own time.
I think I've mentioned before that participating in these challenges has awoken personal creativity within me - I've learned to LOVE actually MAKING things in my spare time, and what's even better, I'm actually MAKING SOMETHING FOR MYSELF. Not a client, not an art director, not designing some boring form titled "REMOVING A CORPSE FROM A BUILDING" (which, no lie, is a real thing I've had to work on.)
When I design, I actually have a different process, which is why you won't see any inspiration board for this week's challenge. I usually have to work as quick as I can on projects at work because I'm often given very quick turnaround deadlines (not unlike this project!) and there really isn't time for a mood board, and if there was, clients would refuse to pay for it. (typical, though...my biggest pet peeve when it comes to people's attitude towards graphic designers is when they say "it's easy! it should only take 15 minutes!" Right...)
For this week's project, I decided to create a triptych digital collage series. I'm not too much of a stranger to collage art - its probably one of my favorite mediums to create in, and when someone asks me what kind of art I make, I usually tell them I make "mixed-media art collages". Although, I've only recently been creating them 100% on the computer. I usually physically cut/paste images from fashion magazines and use acrylic paint. To create these, I used photos from Unsplash and have given credit to the photographers below for the use of their beautiful work.
This series is untitled, and it's meant to be as such. It's more artistic and up to interpretation by the viewer. Art should be arbitrary and mean different things to each person - it should help you feel something you haven't or connect to the artist some way. You should be able to learn something or have questions, or maybe just be really confused.
Maybe you could write a comment below and let me know what this triptych means to you?
This week's project was open-ended as well:
BELTANE or May Day is a celebration of the Spring Solstice, the beginning of new things, and the end of winter. Common May Day traditions include dancing around a May Pole, bonfires, making garlands and hairpieces out of fresh flowers, laughter, love...and sex.
In Minneapolis, there is quite a large May Day celebration and I was inspired by the costumes I had seen at the parade, and I wanted to prepare for next year. Oftentimes, a King & Queen are elected to oversee the May Day festivities: a Green Lady & Green Man, respectively. Also, deer are a common theme in a lot of May Day lore - it is customary to honor the deer and wildlife that sustained you and your family throughout the winter.
I had actually first became interested in this tradition when I was 12 and read my favorite book, The Forestwife. It's a sort of historical fiction Robin Hood story - I highly recommend it for any reader or fan of historical fiction. In one chapter, on the brink of starvation, the characters kill a deer on the King's Forrest, and then the antlers are saved to afix to a young man's head in the spring for a May Day celebration. It struck me as quite respectful and reverent to thank an animal for being beautiful and providing for you when you need it most.
My vision was to create a golden goddess deer headress, full of magic and wonder. Let's see how I did it:
I signed up for a DIY Challenge Game where we are given a problem each week and have to solve it via crafting! Lowest score for the week gets elimiated, and I am bringing my A-Game to this and I'm having so much fun so far. Here is my process for this week's problem!
This is the lovely avatar the hosts made me for this game.
From the host:
I was assigned the color VIOLET!
First, I did some research and had some ideas of what I was going to do, I went on Pinterest and collected some ideas on a secret board. My initial idea was based off of a project I had been sitting on for a long time: upcycling some ratty old high heels. Initially, I was going to simply spray paint them yellow but this game/challenge gave me an opportunity to do something REALLY COOL.
Take a peek at my mood board below:
My idea was to make GALAXY HEELS! And I wanted them to light up!
Thinking about this project and thinking of PRIDE brought to mind images of QUEENS and luxury and fabulous-ness. I wanted to make heels fit for a queen, and ones that would SLAY EVERYONE. My vision was of a queenly person wearing these, strutting their stuff, and mobs of people running after screaming "YAASSSSSS!"
So - here are some BEFORE pics:
My first task was to assemble materials, and stay within budget:
Shoes: FREE (already owned)
Adhesive Vinyl: FREE (work perks!)
Mod Podge: FREE (already owned, it's everyone's favorite craft material!)
Purple Glitter: $2.50
Painter's Tape: FREE (already owned)
Acrylic Paint & Brushes: FREE (already owned)
Aluminum/Metal: FREE! (Upcycling! Found it in my trash!)
2 LED Lights: $2.00 Each (Party Balloon repurpose!)
TOTAL PROJECT COST: $6.50
Okay, so the first step of business was installing the adhesive vinyl. This was...an adventure. I had installed vinyl before on windows and FLAT surfaces, but never something this small, and rounded.
Do you want to know how difficult it was? Here, take a gander:
Yeah...it wasn't easy. I almost gave up halfway through, but persevered.
After applying the vinyl, I had to clean up the edges because I had a plan for what I was going to do to the heels.
And done! To be honest, this entire process took a few hours and a bunch of frustrated breaks...but it all worked out awesome. I'm not happy with the top edge, but I found a solution for that later. The next step was the MOST DANGEROUS. Adding glitter. And everyone knows that glitter is the HERPES OF CRAFT PRODUCTS. To avoid getting glitter everywhere, I put masking tape on the areas of the shoes I did not want covered, as well as used the inside of a cardboard box for my "glitter workshop".
I used Mod Podge to adhere the purple glitter to the arch and heel, leaving the sole unglittered, but cleaning it up a bit by adding a fresh coat of black acrylic paint. After two coats of glitter, I applied modge podge to the entire bottom of the shoe to protect and keep the glitter on the shoe and not on the dance floor!
I decided to paint the inside of the shoe to make it look a little nicer, and to trim up the edges a bit for a cleaner line. I wanted these to look NICE!
Here is a photo of my meager workstation...I have everything I need (INCLUDING WINE!)
My next problem was how to get the shoes to light up. I found a few tutorials and examples of people making some before, so I knew it was possible, but everything looked so complicated and involved heavy-duty drilling and electrical work and I only had a budget of $10 and it was a quick-turnaround on a project!
I went on a hunt for some sort of LED lighting and found myself in the automotive section where I ran into a coworker. I told him my problem and he suggested checking out the party section and possibly using the LED light from one of those light-up balloons. I took his advice and found some color changing ones which is everything I dreamed they could be! I cut open the balloons and extracted the light which is basically an LED light powered by two watch batteries, and it's activated by pulling out a strip of paper to make the connection complete.
(I made sure to not pull the paper because the batteries last for about 15 hours.)
I also wanted the light-up factor to be reusable and not just a one-time thing, so I needed to find a way to adhere the light to the bottom of the shoe, and have the lights easily replaceable. I figured $4 for a night on the town with light up shoes wouldn't be such a horrible expense, its less than a fancy manicure!
I took an aluminum can and cut to fashion sort of a clip to adhere to the bottom of the shoe, with a little slit to fit the nub of the LED light contraption. It looked clean and non obtrusive - awesome! I adhered to the shoe using hot glue.
Next, in an effort to hide the ugly seam left by the vinyl application, I found some cool plastic stars from a bracelet from when I went through a weird pop-punk phase in high school (let's not talk about it) and glued them to the back to I attached those using hot glue as well.
Looks great! Now that everything is assembled, it's time to activate the LED lights and take some cool photos and video!
Now here's the video of makin' these heels work for me!