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Giving a boost to baby art

Chloe had her first finger-painting session last month, shortly before David’s birthday. I warmed up the kitchen, sat Chloe in her high-chair wearing only a diaper, and taped a sheet of paper down to her tray. A few globs of finger-paint in various colors were applied to the tray surface and directly onto the paper. She didn’t get it at first, and I was glad she had eaten recently or I would have been wiping a lot more paint from her mouth. By the end there was quite a mess, but several sheets of “drawings”.

From this:

To this:

To help her make a card, I used an exacto blade to cut out a fish pattern (her dad’s favorite sport) on cardstock before placing a piece of Chloe’s artwork behind it. Voila! Instant birthday card from Daddy’s special little girl. We also made a similar piece of art for Chloe’s Grandpa Feldkamp for Christmas, but I forgot to take a picture of it. Instead of lots of little fish the cut-out consisted of two more-detailed trout silhouettes.

A while back I came across a really good post on displaying baby and child artwork, but now I can’t find it. However, a quick “What to do with kid art” search pulled these other interesting display ideas from Tiny Decor, CookieMag, Real Simple and Parents.

P.S. I used cardstock for the paintings because the non-toxic kids paint can soak through thin paper pretty easily, causing possible tearing if baby tries to pull at the edges. Despite the heavier paper, they still wrinkled while drying so I placed them under some heavy books after they were completely dry to flatten them back down.


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A sad state of affairs…

A couple years ago I wrote a post that included Portuguese artist Rosa Pomar’s gorgeous handmade dolls. Then today I read about how Dutch clothing brand Oilily has ripped off her design and is selling what looks to be obvious copies. How disappointing.

I think it is natural to be inspired by other people’s creativity. Recycled ideas are commonplace to a certain extent, but they are usually recycled with a twist. Sort of how bell-bottoms or flared jeans have come and gone since the 60’s. And I admit there have been times where I have used someone else’s work to make something for myself, or as a gift, but never on anything I would sell, especially so high profile as Oilily has done.

Here are some other mind blowing copies from a link that David recently sent me -  You thought we wouldn’t notice…


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Isak Posters for the Nursery

I finally decided to buy a set of posters I’ve been eyeing for months. If we’d had a boy, I would have totally done his room up using these colors as inspiration. However, they’ll still look great in Chloe’s room.

I first saw one of Sandra Isaksson’s 123 posters in an issue of LMNOP (a fun quarterly kids pdf magazine) and was drawn to it instantly. Then I looked up her other work and now she is one of my favorite designers. And check out this sweet “All About Baby” book! Is it silly to have two baby books?


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Cute Fabric Art Cards

I made this set of little notecards today as part of a swap package. They were inspired by all the cool fabric art and cute graphics I’ve come across lately. I cut the shapes out of scraps of flannel and craft felt and glued them in place. The other part of the swap package will consist of a softie, which I’ve never made before. I’m not sure if my sewing skills are up to something like that, but I guess I will be finding out soon!


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Modern Wall Decals

I am really loving the new look of wall decals. They add an artistic touch with such a minimal amount of work, and are often customizable in colors to match your existing decor. David and I have talked about getting one for the living room, but I’m almost sure I’ll get one for the nursery. Here are just a few of my faves:

Cherry Blossom Branch with Birds

Cherry Blossom Branch with Birds (singlestonestudios.etsy.com)

Birds in Birdcage Grouping

Birds in Birdcage Grouping (singlestonestudios.etsy.com)

One or Two Color Tree

One or Two Color Tree (holly.etsy.com)

Birdhouse

Birdhouse (holly.etsy.com)

Love Birds on Flower Branches

Love Birds on Flower Branches ( decorette.etsy.com)


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Cool Online Game

gettheglass.com

If you haven’t already, check out this creative online game. I can’t believe how well it was designed, with gorgeous graphics and advanced interactive details. It sort of reminds me of Myst. Very impressive for a milk campaign. We came in at about 9400 out of 41,000. How well can you do?


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Custom banner design

I was contacted via Etsy by the talented Sarah Gilreath back in November about doing a custom banner for her blog Sarah’s Studio. Lucky for me she is an incredibly patient person, because it took a while to complete due to the mad holiday rush. I recently sent her three versions, of which she chose this one. Then, because she liked one of the alternates as well, she decided to purchase a second along with an avatar for her Etsy shop, LadyGil Designs. Be sure to check out her adorable 2008 mini coaster calendar, too!


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Free Download & Print Holiday Giftwrap

Free Download & Print Gift Wrap

Isn’t giftwrap fun? All the colors and patterns. I love how it looks so festive and promising. I especially enjoy the process of wrapping. If I had a dream house, I’d have a gift wrapping station complete with ribbon organizer. However, in our small house, we have to be more economical and limit ourselves to only a few rolls (not including the enormous one that a friend gave us, that will literally last our entire lifetime). Also, one major perk of being a graphic designer is that printers always give away free sheets of wrap around the holidays. I love that.

This week, I’m providing the two printable designs shown above – Giftwrap 1 – sapphire snowflakes on chocolate and Giftwrap 2 – tiny blue-grey snowflakes. The files measure 11×17″, but will work on letter size sheets. They can also be overlapped (or “tiled”) to create a larger sheet.

Tip: The most useful giftwrap-related item we have is a jumbo roll of white curling ribbon. It sounds pretty simple, but it never fails to look good and work for every single occasion.

See the upper-right sidebar for links to the previously posted goodies.

snowflake giftwrap

snowflake giftwrap


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Free Holiday Greeting Card

holiday card

free holiday greeting card

The free offering for this week – a Happy Holidays greeting card. Made of simple shapes and modern colors, it’s just in time to beat the holiday mail rush. Just download, print, fold and trim!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am planning to provide a free download each Sunday Monday from now until Christmas. It’s my way of saying thanks and giving a little back into the blogosphere this holiday. All offerings so far are listed in the upper right of this page. Feel free to check back next week!


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Dreaming in Color

My mother-in-law sent me a link this weekend to a site called Elemental PhotoArt, which I thought I’d share. It’s a little slow getting around (I tend to be impatient with sites like these), but there were some pieces that I thought were really nice. These caught my eye in particular, with their dreamy quality and rich colors:

Sand Stars, Tia Magallon

Golden Puzzle, Tia Magallon

Nevada Monocot #48, Todd France

California Monocot #43, Todd France


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Famously Creative with HP

harajuku paper doll card

A Harajuku Girl Paper Doll Card from Gwen’s HP site

Check out these two fun and elegant interactive mini-sites (can they be called that?) from HP, one inspired by Paula Scher, principal at Pentagram and the other inspired by recording artist Gwen Stefani. Each presentation includes a short video and customized tools that are great for blowing a little time while “playing” creatively.

My favorite was making a Harajuku Girl paper doll on Gwen’s site. I also found it interesting to watch Paula’s video on brand identity, but think it’s a little weird that she’s providing a template for businesses to auto-generate their own identity system. That just doesn’t seem right, especially after saying a good identity “expresses the specific spirit and tonality and ethics of an organization or individual.” Providing these templates seems to defeat this purpose by only providing a “friendly” or “modern” choice. To be fair, there is eventually a link to the AIGA.

Here’s the overview from HP:

gwen stefani

Gwen Stefani For You
Step inside Gwen Stefani’s world and customize her designs and illustrations to make Gwen Stefani’s style your own. Submit photos to the Sweet Escape tour book, create your Harajuku Girl paper doll entourage, print invitations, greeting cards and check out Gwen Stefani’s baby collection. All brought to you by HP.

paula sher

Paula Scher For Your Business
HP and Pentagram designer Paula Scher present advice on brand identity design, video tutorials for small businesses and brand identity templates for small businesses. View Paula Scher’s best-known work, browse through her exclusive design templates and listen to insights on how small businesses build great brand identity.


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Crafting A Greeting Card

flower cards

For the past few days I’ve been feeling crafty, so yesterday I sat down at my computer and created a few designs for greeting cards. Nothing fancy, just something sweet and light. The photograph above shows the design I ended up using and I am surprisingly happy with the way they turned out. I think I might even list them up on my etsy shop, which I’ve sadly neglected for so long.

It all started with a trip to Michael’s for inspiration. I hadn’t been there in ages. Eventually I left with a package of Martha Stewart: CraftsFlourish” blank stationery and brought them home to try with my new Canon Pixma ip3500, which came free using a promotional rebate when I bought my imac. I did try using our color laser, but I noticed on the test print (with one sacrificed card) that the heat really warped this particular paper stock.

However, in order to truly fulfill that crafty part of myself, I took it one tiny step further after printing and glued on little cut-out circles for the flower heads. I like how it adds a subtle dimensionality and playfulness. My only regret is that I didn’t purchase more of the blank stationery while I had the chance, because the Michaels’ in my area have run-out. C’est la vie.


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Drawing on other people's creativity

“Treehouses” limited edition cards (photo and design from Kirin & Co)

I was thinking today that I should feature other people’s designs more often, especially the ones that really strike me as particularly beautiful, creative, cool or otherwise inspiring. Since I can’t afford to buy anything right now (see this post if you’re wondering why), I thought it would be like “window shopping” using my monitor… or maybe it would be more like curating my own imagined shop? Plus, I’m really hoping to motivate myself to begin at least one of the projects that have been sitting in the back of my mind.

One of my very recent favorite finds is the letterpressed card shown above, a collaboration between Lara Cameron, an Australian designer, and Lynn Russel of Satsuma Press, based right here in Portland. There are a set of three designs: treehouses (above), japanese tree, and birch. According to Lara’s Etsy shop, each card is letterpress printed with a vandercook sp-15 on crane’s 100% cotton lettra paper with hand mixed inks. However, if you live in the US you’d save on postage by purchasing from Lynn’s shop. I love the single use of color, the mixture of thin lines and solid shapes, and especially the little details.

“Japanese Tree” limited edition letterpressed cards (photo and design from Kirin & Co)

“Birch” limited edition letterpressed cards (photo and design from Kirin & Co)
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