Inspiration, Where Do You Find It?

drawArtists of any kind tend to get antsy. We get to a point where it is time to do something new, something for ourselves, something to refresh the page. I have had this itch for a while, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what is was specifically. I thought at first I was unhappy and maybe I was questioning the job I once loved so much. Could this be? This small business I tried so hard to put together for years has come to fruition and now I am bored? Honestly, could I feel this way? As it turns out, that wasn’t what it is at all. I just needed something for myself. I wanted something to create that I was the boss of completely from start to finish. When I work with clients to create print pieces or logos they are paying for my design capabilities but at the end of the day they still want what they want. That is not a problem for me, I get that. However, I would be lying if I said sometimes I wish they would pick logo number three instead of logo number two.

With my new sense of purpose, it was time to start searching, what do I want to do for me? So many ideas have rolled around my brain, it’s a pretty constant thing. Do I want to look into learning more about designing websites, become a social media “guru”, should I go back in the direction of photography, should I paint? I call this time in my brain “squirrel” because I can not focus. I just keep thumbing through Pinterest in search of ideas and an hour later in my head I am now a pastry chef opening up my own local bakery. It’s exhausting. Not to mention if you would have seen that Thomas the Train cake I made for my son a few years ago, you would probably steer me in another direction. After much thinking, I decided to let it go and focus on specific things I want to do better. The number one thing that came up was drawing on paper. I am so used to using the computer I really wanted to get back to doodling and drawing and not being embarrassed to show my work. So number two was getting over that it was going to take practice, I could only get better if I did it every day. The third thing has probably been the hardest for me and that is sharing my work, will people actually like what I want to do. Instagram is a great place to put your work out there, it was my first baby step. Like dipping your toe in the water to see if it’s the right temperature.

I am not where I want to be with my personal project at this point, it is going to take time. I am however taking classes on the things I am interested in and weeding my way through this journey. One of the things I have found in this process is I need inspiration. Traveling is a great source of inspiration for me but with two children grabbing a backpack and a plane ticket isn’t as effective as it once was. Now I have to try to keep it a little more local and pull inspiration from other places. The internet can be your friend and I have a fantastic collection of artistic folks I would like to share with you! They truly make my day better whether it be through a social media post or seeing their work in a magazine. Enjoy the suggestions and please feel free to share some of your own!

Braid Creative – I love this sister team, not only are they a design firm they specialize in helping creatives. I have taken classes with them and they have really helped me decide the direction I want to go with my work.

Jessica Hische – Have you seen the movie Moonrise Kingdom? Jessica Hische created the font for this film. She is the queen of the drop cap and an extraordinary illustrator.

Clement Photography, Pioneer Goods – I found Clement Photography through a store I follow called Pioneer Goods. Clement works with tintype photography and he is good, really good.

Marie Forleo – Marie Forleo is known for B School which I have never attended, but I drool over it and wonder if I should. Each week she has a new little video for the entrepreneur and they are always chock full of advice for the small business owner.

Deluxe Modern Design –  This lady has a true sense of style and well, it’s just pretty.

Design Love Fest – Beautiful imagery and flowers, always so many flowers. She likes to travel and takes you with her on her journeys.

Yuko Shimizu – An amazing artist I admire. The way she puts ink to paper is awesome. I really enjoy seeing her work in progress on Facebook.

George Takei – I have a secret crush on George Takei! His humor is spot on with mine and his posts put a little laughter in my day, something we all need.

Steve Simpson –  This illustrator, graphic designer has incomparable style and color in his work, just go and check it out.

Geninne’s Art – You know I love birds and so does this artist. I watch her create different types of art with colors you won’t believe.

Seamless Creative – Husband and Wife duo that make graphic and web design look easy.

Genevieve Gorder – This girl has loads of style in all aspects of life. Once graphic designer turned interior design sensation, she’s awesome.

The Novogratz – I love this family. They give something new and exciting to the design world.

Working From Home, How To Make It Happen

Working from home can be a wonderful thing and it can also be the most frustrating thing in the world, it’s up to you on how you see it. Seven years ago next week my whole life changed when my son, Jackson, was born. I was very excited about his arrival but I truly never thought how this would change my whole life, especially the working aspect of it. The first three months a very caring and loving boss understood my desire to work from home and allowed me to do so but eventually I went back to work. I cried everyday and found it very difficult to leave him with a sitter. Soon after my marketing managerial position was dissolved due to the decline in the real estate economy. It was the perfect timing to start my own business and now my employer became my first client. The solution to all my problems had been found until I tried to actually work from home.

Working from home officially began when my son 6 months old. He had started to become much interested in moving around and less interested in sleeping. This took some time for me to figure out. I would attempt to work normal hours, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., all the while keeping the munchkin satisfied. Work for an hour while he is in the jumping jack, break for 30 minutes for bottle and playtime, work for two hours while he napped, break for 45 minutes for more changing, feeding and play time…you understand. My days were broken into sections of time; it wasn’t consistent for me at first. I began to get frustrated and I knew there had to be an easier way. Working at night gave me time to make up for some of the daytime work I missed but I was exhausted. Once I got a pattern down he would grow out of it and we would be back at square one. I knew this never-ending circle would have to end and I was bound and determined to figure it out.

I eventually hired a babysitter, a retired flight attendant who lived next store. She enjoyed playing with him and when he napped she would go home and the return when he would wake. This was it this was the perfect solution. The system was working and I felt like myself again. I took on new clients and was able to have conversations without the possibility of a screaming child looming in the background. I even made time to start running again with friends. I participated in the Susan G. Komen annual 5k and ran the whole thing. I was totally on the road to being myself again. I had the work thing down, I had the house thing down, I had a perfect helper to entertain my son and I was finding time to do things just for me. If you are a mom you know this rarely happens. Shortly after the race I felt nauseous. I assumed it was because I had pushed myself to finish. As it turns out, I was pregnant and it certainly wasn’t planned. I cried for a good three hours. My poor husband had no clue what to say to this independent woman he married who was crumbling before his eyes by yet another change. I have had a job since I was 15 years old. I work, it’s in my blood and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had to stop. What would happen to me, what would I do about the business, how could I manage all of this? Acceptance came with joy soon after, the next day to be exact. We had always wanted two children just maybe not so quickly. I found out I was having a girl a few months later; she would be named Maggie after my grandmother.

Maggie was born on a Monday and by the following week I was back to work and figuring it all out again with this little newborn angel who slept like, well like a baby, she slept like a perfect baby. About a month into this new routine my babysitter decided to start traveling again and gave me a one-day notice. I can honestly admit I thought I was in a bad dream, stunned to be exact. How am I supposed to handle two kids, a home and run my own business?  Once again I set out on a quest and found a solution, preschool a few hours a day right down the street. For a limited amount of time daily Jackson would go and mingle with other two-year-olds while I found time to work, my daughter stayed with me. This went on until she was two and old enough to go to preschool herself.

My son will turn seven next week and my daughter is now five years old. It has not been an easy road figuring this all out. I have cried and I have wanted to quit, multiple times. Most importantly, I never did actually quit. I wanted them to look up to me someday and say that I was Wonder Woman, minus that outfit because let’s face it after kids I could never pull that off.  

A little over a year ago I managed to find an office out of my home with a suggestion from a friend. It was a big step for me and I am grateful every single day that I get to go to that space and work. There is no magical solution to working from home. You have to choose to make it work; you have to want it bad enough. I made a promise to myself and to my family, I would be there as much as I could as they grew up and I continue to keep that promise. I love my profession because it allows me to be me, this independent woman who strives to be better and is constantly creating. But, I love being there for my family because that is the most important thing above all else.

I encourage the stay at home Mom and Dad’s of the world to cut yourself some slack. You are your toughest critic. You are in there every day, in the craziness of stuffed animals and Lego bits covering the floor. Nothing is ever cleaned 100% because you are trying to be five people at a time. You are doing laundry while making lunches and talking to your next possible client on the phone trying to keep out loud noises so you sound professional. Just think, that guy on the other end of the phone has no idea and probably assumes you are just sitting in an office checking your emails. Power on and don’t give up!

 

Bless their hearts.

Where I lived for three days, the Garden Manor Inn, lovely.

Where I lived for three days, the Garden Manor Inn, lovely.

As many of you know I have been out of town most of this week for the Circles Conference in Grapevine, Texas. Now the million dollar question…was it worth it? My answer is yes. It was amazing to meet other people in my field and to hear speakers describe scenarios I go through on a daily basis. It was a great “you are so not alone” type of moment for me. The two speakers I was most interested in listening to were Kathleen Shannon and Jessica Hische, frankly these two ladies are the reason I came. I have followed Jessica Hische for a long time. If you have not heard of her you have probably seen her work

It was informative and interesting!

It was informative and interesting!

in a Starbuck’s ad, her drop cap series with Penquin books or her lettering in the movie Moonrise Kingdom. Kathleen and her sister Tara own Braid Creative and they have a kick-ass way of getting creatives in gear. I admire their honestly and their style! Another speaker, Becky Murphy, was a breath of fresh air. She was honest, funny and charming, just like her work. One of my favorite new people I was introduced to is Danielle Evans, her company is Marmalade Bleue. She is a freaking genius, she creates typography out of food, I am not kidding. Last

Fantastic swag!

Fantastic swag!

but not least I was really impressed by Josh Higgins, not only does this man drop f-bombs like nobody’s business but he gets it done. His work on the Obama campaign was inspiring and I see many of his posters designs on my future walls.

All in all this trip was good for me on many levels for my home and work life, we all know they often meet. My take away is this, be yourself, miss people because they need to miss you and don’t be afraid or intimidating that you aren’t good enough, we are all feeling this at some level so put yourself out there. I promise you will be amazed at what you get in return. I got out of Texas without one person saying “Well bless your heart” to me but I sure heard it in passing a lot!

This says it all really.

This says it all really.