WELCOME

Welcome to this new chapter in my creative working world: a site dedicated to my styling, graphics, and creative direction work.

I have so many feelings about this new direction, and many words and stories to share with you. For now, I hope you will have a look around and dive into these precious projects as I collect my thoughts. There are a few projects waiting in the wings, and still more to come. I could not be more elated.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I look forward to collaborating with all of you.

Styling | flat lay

The flat lay is an increasingly popular trend, one which I happen to love. As a graphic designer by trade, flat lays feel like designing with objects in space. It is all about the shape and negative space, the combination and connection between the elements to tell a story.

BELOW

ONE  |  ARTIST: This first one was an exploration in painting and hand-dyeing. I wanted to arrange the tools one would use in making something by hand. I was inspired by sumi-e drawings, brush painting and the Shibori dye process.

TWO  |  JAPAN: This next shot was a loose interpretation of my excitement for planning a trip to Japan. I wanted to include a blending of both the colorful, Kawaii culture and the more traditional earthy palettes found in Japanese aesthetics.

THREE  |  SUMMER: Summer always brings to mind sandy beaches, waves crashing on shore, and collecting shells. 

Styling | mellow yellow

Here color and nature come together. I wanted to explore how color appears in life, how it fades and changes with age. 

It is always interesting to see what organic elements retain their color as they dry, and what fades away. This brass tray, for instance, only grow more interesting with age and patina. The purity of its surface slowly becomes mottled with texture and the markings of time. Other things, like gingko leaves, retain their glorious golden color well into their dried crispiness.

The echinacea, once radiant orbs resembling the eyes of a house fly, are now dried brown spikes lingering on death. Similarly, poppy pods take on a greying, cool brown tone and the seeds retained within shake around like a death rattle.

Graphics | greeting cards

In my youth, I wanted to work for Hallmark or American Greetings. I loved writing quirky messages and creating handmade cards for friends and family. I suppose this love stuck with me through adulthood. It's something fun to do, whether for an actual project or as a creativity session between jobs.

At the time, I was exploring concepts for simple holiday cards: Halloween, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day to be exact. These were created as a test for a job I was working on. With styling or assistant jobs, it's also great to be able to make certain props for the shoots, since they aren't branded and I can tailor them to what is needed. I'm drawn to cards that aren't blatantly obvious, or are just nicely drawn type with appropriate color palettes. I'm much more likely to buy a blank interior card, because I like to have the space to write long, personal messages inside.

Graphics | event signage

Over the last few years, event signage has become a big thing. I am truly grateful, because it allows me to do more hand lettering while also working with amazing people. 

While welcome signs seem to be the most popular, I've also done my fair share of menu boards, day-of itineraries, candy or sweets table and signature beverage signs. Many of the boards shown here are hand-drawn in chalk marker, with the exception of the upper right. Whitney and Jason's sign was done in colorful chalk, in order to complement the bold, colorful watercolor style of their invitation suite.

Graphics | dr seuss

The first books I ever read were Dr. Seuss books. His stories are so adventurous, his characters kooky and imaginative, and his messages are still needed to this day. I think these books are a must in any library, whether you are a child or an adult. 

I was delighted to create three Dr. Seuss lettered illustrations for a little girl's room. I wanted to explore the boldness of his words, and the playfulness of his stories. These were lettered in black ink and completed in colored pencil. They were finished in mismatched colorful frames.

Graphics | book covers

In a previous work life, I designed book covers, something I'm still asked to do from time to time. I've designed for almost every genre out there, from religious and inspiration titles, to cookbooks and childrens books. It is such an amazing bootcamp for graphic designers, because it makes you think, stretch outside your comfort zone, and work with clients who have ideas that are different than yours.

Many books go through so many rounds of design, that what you start with is rarely what is printed. A few of the covers above are early round designs, but ones I felt deserved to see the light of day, at least to showcase here. Many were created from scratch in InDesign, with only the butterfly and people as stock images.

Color plays an important and essential role in book cover design. Not only is it key by genre, but also by age group. There are so many nuances that happen within each book genre, that I used to go to the bookstore regularly to study trends and stylistic choices. 

Designing book covers gave me such a strong basis for other areas of creativity. It expanded on my knowledge of various age groups and demographics. It trained me to look for subtle nuances in stories that I could take advantage of. It challenged me every day to look at a story differently and explore possibility. Overall, it gave me a strong working knowledge of design programs and conceptual thinking.

Graphics | invitation suites

When it comes to graphics, I like to use a combination of digital + hand-created elements. To me, it creates a more human and approachable style, and in the end I'm a traditional medium gal. If I can make it, I will. 

Every once in awhile, I get approached to create paperie of some kind. It tickles me pink to be asked to create invitations to a wedding or party, because you always know there is such love and personal intent behind the event. For the above set, the couple was super fun and light-hearted and we wanted to bring that into their invitations. The pieces were made stackable, each smaller than the last, so they could be bound on the left edge and sprinkled with "confetti" on the right edge. The very top piece was a tear-off RSVP postcard that could be dropped in the mail. This entire set was created on the computer, and then transparencies were made in order to screen print each color layer. 

I confess that this next invitation suite was my own. I wanted to explore possibility, and what you can accomplish if you think creatively. There were several other pieces not shown here, but this gives the general idea of the suite. Our wedding details were based on the Tom Waits song "Fish and Bird." All of the black text in the suite was printed digitally. The remaining imagery were individual rubber stamps that were stamped onto each piece. By creating individual stamps of waves/clouds, kelp, whales, and flying birds, we were able to move around the composition to create different scenes. The outermost enclosure was the largest scene, containing the main verses of the song. 

Bird Calls

Spring fever is here, and having spent much of my time working from home lately, it has me wanting to carefully style every corner of every room. Browsing through our possessions, I can't help but be flooded with feelings. I'm a collector, you see. My husband doesn't call me Bird for nothing...it is a fitting nickname with many layers of appropriateness. 

Objects hold so much more than memories for me. They are reminders, yes, but they also serve as inspiration, lightbulbs on an otherwise vacant day. I find so much power in objects that speak to me on a daily basis. There is a styling series I'll be posting soon that arose out of merely picking up a fork. And that series birthed another when a favorite but unusual palette emerged.  

There are those that will say, "But aren't they just...things?" And I would adamantly and vehemently say, "But of course not!" Granted, if my home burnt to the ground someday and all was lost, I would go on living quite happily. This is not about need, wealth, obsession, or acquisition. It is my calling - to create connections where there were none, to root out meaning, to hunt down long-forgotten treasure in order to ground a story.

What is creativity without exploration? What is life without a story? What is a story without connection?

I look forward to spending more time exploring and building connections this year. 

Client Inspiration Board | Nature's Magic

Sometimes you meet someone that is so wholeheartedly themselves, who had the courage to grow up and ignore all of the media and conforming thoughts put out into the world. And you rejoice. That was the case here, and this board has been one of my cherished favorites to work on. Every detail matters. What you put out into the world matters. What you let into your life matters. These are all things I learned during my time with this person. 

This board was developed for someone with a deep interest in nature. For her, nature was fascinating - botany, life cycles, relationships - all of these mattered. She had a profound respect for this world, and the life within it. She was intent to feed the soul, and feed the soul she did.

Client Inspiration Board | Boho Natural

I love helping people curate their style. Each person is uniquely different, and it is a joy and a challenge to find what works for them. In this busy world full of information overload and Pinterest DIYs, I've been helping individuals hone in on what really makes them tick. 

This board was created for a lovely lady who lives in the city and dreams of the mountains. She leads an active, healthy, mostly organic lifestyle and we wanted her space to reflect that. We looked at creating a space that was wild and free, focused around materials that were naturally made. The space should feel cozy and inspire togetherness, with textures that remind you of life and earth.

New Home for Deconstructed Bouquets

Last month I announced a new project for re:find Joy: Deconstructed Bouquets. It has been a Joy to bring this project to life, and I look forward to creating many beautiful vignettes in the years to come. These Bouquets were born out of so many things, from questions on the wind, to musings in the evenings after work. But mainly, there are here because you ASKED.

I have spent a lot of time around flowers and weddings. In the last few years, I have been listening intently and soaking up every experience that I have had, in anticipation of this aha moment that would come. Not a week has passed that I haven't heard random strangers ask THE question, "Do you know anyone who does bouquet preservation?" or "Is there a good way to preserve my bouquet so that I can enjoy it for years to come?" After hearing these pleas and not having a good answer, I realized that there was something I could do. 

So I started getting flowers and taking "portraits" of styled florals based on bouquets I have admired, so that I would have some beautiful Readymade prints to offer to all of you. It is my hope that you will see that flowers can indeed last a lifetime, and be cherished for always. If you have a wedding bouquet, or just an arrangement that you would like to hold onto and remember, I would love to work with you to create something magical.

Deconstructed Bouquets now have their own home, so that those looking for this service will not have to go searching high and low to find it. I'm so looking forward to meeting all of you who want to preserve your memories!

Introducing: Deconstructed Bouquets

I am happy to finally welcome all of you to Deconstructed Bouquets: an artful approach to floral preservation through fine art photography. This project was born out of a love for flowers, and seeing a need for preserving floral in a stylistic and beautiful way. Deconstructed Bouquets serve those looking for a beautiful print for their home, a gift for friends or family, or who are interested in having their bouquet recreated in an artful way.

Today I am excited to be releasing the first of several Premade collections available for purchase. I have spent the last few months sourcing flowers, styling them, and creating a series of Premade Bouquet collections to offer as an alternative to custom orders. These collections also serve as examples of floral styling that can be done, since Custom options are available. I anticipate working with anyone on creating a custom Deconstructed Bouquet based on their ideas, inspiration photos, floral bouquets, or even just their favorite flowers that can be memorialized in an art print. This project is only going to keep growing, with new prints coming available often!

To see the full project, have a peek over here

Where I'm Headed

It has been some time since I've posted here on the blog. A lot has happened in the last few months, and I'm afraid I was caught in the whirlwind of life. It has been a rough couple of months here, but this time has helped me to focus on what is important. It has given me a drive to accomplish several big items on my personal to-do list. And I'm excited to say that there are a few amazing projects in the works that I hope to share with you soon.

Above is a sneak peek of one such project - it's one I've been working away on behind the scenes for months now. It was born out of the prop recipe project but I'll share more details and the story behind the idea once it launches. It should be ready to reveal very soon! 

On another exciting note, I am headed to NYC this month to train with prop stylist Robin Zachary for a one-on-one styling workshop experience. I have fallen down the styling rabbit-hole and have found a passion in it that seems to fit with my aesthetic, artistic history and overall skill set. I am always trying to learn and grow as an artist, stylist, prop rental company, and small business. I truly believe that you are never done learning, and I look forward to feeding this curiosity. More on this after my trip!

If there is anything that the lessons of the past few months have taught me, it is that you have to trust your own journey. Things will fall in your path, doors will open and close, but in the end if you trust your instincts and go in the direction of your heart you will end up where you belong. 

Do you Dare to Dream?

Lately I've been so busy with multiple jobs, sick pets, and home improvements that I haven't had a moment to think, rest and recover. Leaving myself space to dream is something that is so important to me. This space between one planned activity and the next is where my magic happens. I've found that it is necessary for not only my survival, but the survival of my work. 

For some creatives, like myself, "busy" is a steel cage. I look around lately and I see so many others with booked up schedules and no time to breathe. Being able to think quickly and turn around solutions and multi-task are common requirements for most jobs these days. Honestly, I just don't think most humans are hard-wired that way. I think something gets lost in translation. I think we need some space to wander!

I'm currently working on adjusting my schedule so that I'm not overbooking myself like I have so many times in the past. I think we could all use a little reminder that we need time to ourselves in the midst of work and life obligations. It's best for us, our well-being AND our work to take some time off and daydream.

I'm committing to spending more time reading fictional stories. I'm committing to spending more time at the places that inspire me. I'm committing to watching more magical movies, taking walks to the park, and day trips to the beach. I want to explore. Wander. Daydream. Because THAT'S where my best work comes from.

I want you to give yourself permission to take time off and breathe. Give yourself permission to say no to something because you can't add one more thing to your schedule. Dare to dream.

image via

Courage to Grow

What if we didn't have any fear? What if we took a chance on the opportunities that came our way, gave a resounding yes!, even if our insides were quivering with a hesitant no? What if we had the courage to live up to our own potential?

Can you imagine?

Part of growth is doing things we're not comfortable with yet. It is how we learn, acquire new skills, and figure things out. Mistakes, often more than successes, are what keep us fresh and moving forward. Sometimes you have to play big, surround yourself with people who are more established than you are, and take risks. That "fake it til you make it" concept is not without some truth!

Is there something you'd love to say yes to but don't quite have the courage yet? What would happen if you just said yes anyway? What's the worst that could really happen? Anything that you couldn't recover or learn from? I'm betting that with many potential scenarios, that last answer would be a no. 

Right now I'm working on three projects that absolutely terrify me. But I've decided to move forward with them anyway. I am ready to start my next period of growth, and this is the only way. There is so much I want to accomplish in this life! If at the end of my time, I look back and think "I am proud of the legacy I created," then I will rest peacefully. 

Will you join me?

 

image via

prop recipe no. 6: PASTEL OASIS

Earlier this week, I shared the latest inspiration for today's prop recipe: creating a pastel oasis. Of course, I picture a lot of plants in this recent styling but they're not necessarily needed! The whole idea is to create a space to breathe, relax and hang out. Maybe it's for your home and this is where you will escape to read a book, or maybe you're trying to create the perfect atmosphere for guests at your event. It is becoming more and more common to have hints of home decor in event design. Either way, I think color is key! I love mixing patterns and bright color blocks together. Mint, yellow and chalky pink are a few of my favorites, but you can use whatever your heart fancies! There are so many combinations of props and objects that could work to fill the space out, from kantha throws and kilim rugs, to plant podswood flower boxes and white or bright colored ceramics. I think diversity really helps to tie this look together!

Do you love color? What are some of your favorites to decorate with? Where do you find your decorating inspiration?

prop recipe inspiration no. 6: PASTEL OASIS

I have been dreaming of summer! We've been getting plenty of sunshine here in Chicago lately, but this week I wanted to focus on creating a sunny oasis to escape to when the clouds appear. This theme is versatile enough to work in a home or for event decor if you have a bright, eclectic style. Are you looking for a place to escape to right at home? 

Keeping my Word: an update from re:find Joy

Earlier this year I wrote about my Guiding Word for 2015, a word that I will use to help keep me following my dreams and standing my ground in life and business. My word for this year is Commit. I have been known to let self doubt stop me from chasing opportunities or taking on work that I didn't feel ready for in the past, and I have decided that this is the year to end all of that nonsense.

I've been reading this book along with THIS book and both have really resonated with me. It's a jungle out there these days! Individuals have the freedom to create their own path and carve their own niche to magic jobs out of thin air. It's exhilarating! I've always been one to take comfort in SOME rules and guidelines, and it seems that in this brave new world, those are thrown out the window. 

In short, it can be difficult to find our own way at times. With the growth of social media and the appearance of perfect lives everywhere at our fingertips, sometimes we falter and forget to OWN the skills and individuality we already possess. But we all matter! We all have something to GIVE. I've taken great inspiration from companies like AppleIDEO, and Fast Company about what it means to work in the "modern" world. I love their ideologies, especially their thoughts on mindset and "failure."

So where am I now?

This is my year for saying YES. If an opportunity sounds good, I'm going to take it. Last month I picked up a new long-term graphic design client for a small publisher, and my heart sang at the opportunity to help real people tell their stories. For the first time in my career, I've entered one of my projects into a design competition. Later this year, I'm headed to NYC for a styling workshop. I'm also beginning work with a branding coach on how best to serve YOU and what I can offer to best assist others. I'm seeking out new projects and ways to grow and develop re:find Joy!

What goals are you tackling this year? Have any exciting projects on the horizon?