Designers Care

Well.....Howdy! After almost a full year I'm rejoining the blogosphere with a brand spankin' new website! Woohoo! Do you like it? Many, many thanks to my brilliant web coding  aficionado friend, Josh Harbert. If you find yourself needing expert web programing, Josh is your guy. I am so grateful for his thoughtfulness, ingenuity and patience with me through the process!

In other news, I recently got to join a group of talented, big hearted designers who are raising funds for folks who continue to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Jackie Mangiolino of Believe Notes had the idea to rally her community of fellow designers toward the cause of hurricane relief and the determination to put a whole lota love and hard work into coordinating it all and violá, Designer's Care was born. I just was able to join a couple days ago with my Bear Hug drawing (above), but it's been going strong for a couple weeks and has already raised almost $900 in donations! The cards are all hand stamped or embossed and all the profits go toward the Red Cross's Disaster Relief fund, still very much needed for those rebuilding their lives after the storm.

I have so many favorites from the collection of designs, but here are just a couple... Check out the Esty page for a complete picture of all the indy design awesomeness and to see the different package deals, inks and paper selections to choose from.

"Tweet Thanks" from Melissa Egan of Pistols

"Strong" by Susan Asbill

Left My Heart by Jennifer Wick

Made with Love by Frooted Design


Cumulous Peonies

I made this little collage yesterday from a handful of stories and songs and words and images that have been chasing each other in circles in my brain. Sometimes the best way to stop the chase is to just make something, I think.

It all started when I watched a documentary about gardens of the world hosted by the enchanting Audrey Hepburn. Reading about her afterward, I found out that when it was clear that her cancer was inoperable, because she was unable to fly on a commercial aircraft, Hubert de Givenchy sent a private jet filled with flowers to take Hepburn and her family from LA to their home in Geneva where they could spend their last christmas together before she died.

In the garden documentary, Hepburn quoted Anne Frank:""The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."

In come the lines of Neutral Milk Hotel's "Aeroplane Over the Sea" about Frank:

What a beautiful face I have found in this place That is circling all round' the sun And when we meet on a cloud I'll be laughing out loud I'll be laughing with everyone I see Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all

And of course, for good measure, I simply must add a Mary Oliver Poem I first read on a lovely friend's blog (as I also remember her own poignant definition of grace):


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart as the sun rises, as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open-- pools of lace, white and pink-- and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes into the curls, craving the sweet sap, taking it away

to their dark, underground cities-- and all day under the shifty wind, as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies, and tip their fragrance to the air, and rise, their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness gladly and lightly, and there it is again-- beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open. Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?

That's the big question...

I've been working on this poster in fits and starts for a while. Like so much of what Mary Oliver shares, I thought it to be a good thing to slow down with these words. Here's an extended passage from Long Life, the beautiful build up to the world's big question:

Poets must read and study, but also they must learn to tilt and whisper, shout, or dance, each in his or her own way, or we might just as well copy the old books. But, no, that would never do, for always the new self swimming around in the old world feels itself uniquely verbal. And that is just the point: how the world, moist and bountiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That's the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. "Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?"

Mary Oliver from Long Life

What a lovely invitation, don't you think? And one that only you can answer...and me...and everyone else...but only we can take our lives, our perspective, our utterly unique self and craft some kind of creative contribution, some kind of responce... be it poetry or painting or motherhood or engineering or gardening or whatever.

I have a couple more lines of Ms. Oliver's I'd like to interpret, at which time I'll print some posters and make a little package for her. In the mean time, we're facebook friends via her agent. Do you think she's the type to google herself and scour through all the webpages about her until she finds my blog? I think probably not. I'm pretty confident the surprise is safe.

the intersection of pr and spiritual practice

So I rarely write about my work here; in fact, I don't think I've ever written about my design work (!?) Considering this blog is directly connected to my freelance design business, this is a bit ridiculous. And herein lies my love/hate relationship with advertising/promotion....I love to promote the amazing work of other people through compelling design, but when it comes to self promotion, I get a little queasy. I'll spare you the whole psychoanalyses behind this, but I will say that I am working on it...and here's one way:

I signed up for Brigitte Lyons' PR Ideas for busy people newsletter

I've been designing for the amazing Brigitte Lyons, a writer and pr expert (check out her thoughtful blog, Unfettered Ink, that we rolled out this spring (with the programing finesse of Sam Hatchett) and the cards above, letterpressed by DeFrance Printing).  Brigitte's approach to pr/marketing throughout our design conversations has reminded me of what marketing can and should be about: empathy, generosity, consideration, the promotion of Good in the world....all things I want to inform my life anyway, even if I didn't have a business. So of course I signed up for her newsletter, and her very first post was about expressing gratitude to people you don't yet know who are doing work, saying things, crafting lives you admire. Not just thinking that their work is inspiring, not just telling other people about them, but reaching out and thanking them, expressing the finer points of what I appreciate about their efforts and creativity. Who wouldn't want to receive genuine praise from someone who gets and deeply appreciates what they do? Who wouldn't want to give that praise? What an honor to be able to gift someone I admire with an expression of gratitude...Maybe a relationship will form, but even if it doesn't, I get to wholeheartedly say thank you, and that's good for my spirit. And I thought, if this is part of what self promotion looks like, I can do that....

the really big post card in our dining room

Sam and I recently had a post card from the 30's with a painting I've long admired by J.R. Willis printed on fabric via Spoonflower. (I actually found the email address of his grandson on a forum about the painter, wrote him and received the kindest response, sharing a family story and giving us permission to make a copy of the postcard  for our home. I love the internet and nice people!) We're enjoying the results; The painted desert certainly is a good coping mechanism for a native Texan and Floridian to get through the winter! The moire pattern and creases from the card amplified so many times appears like some sort of weave from a distance. And we're liking it with the drawing Sam and I made almost a year ago, when we had more walls than stuff to hang. We thought we would eventually fill in our paint-by-number version of Palo Duro Canyon (one of our first dates), and then had the idea of letting dinner guests paint a section with each turns out I'm too much of a control freak for that and we ended up liking the abstraction of the lines, so we left it alone. Now Willis's painted desert feels like it completes the space.

I remember when I first saw Sam the morning we ventured out to the canyon, he smiled sweetly at my camel brown shirt and his kelly green shirt and said, "Look! We match..." (he's color blind) I'm continually intrigued at the way he sees the world, in so many ways, but color seems to be a good symbol for us of the mystery and wonder of the other's perspective and the beauty of combining our lives in such a way that embraces both ways of seeing, physically and metaphorically. At the end of the date we drove past Ant Farm's Cadillac ranch, but since it was dark and we were in the middle of nowhere Texas (no offense, if anyone is from Amarillo...I think nowhere can be a good thing!), we felt our way through the field until we arrived, and then saw the art via touch (and a cell phone light). I've still not seen it apart from photos. The image here is by Wyatt Mcspadden. (Incidentally, I got that post card at Cincinnati's Contemporary Art Center, which happen to be having an Ant Farm show the summer Sam and I dated long distance and "saw" their work.

The rest of the images are other things in our dining room: left over venus de milo candles we made for our wedding guests, our birds' cage, which might be modeled after the Taj Mahal, but it's an iglesia for our purposes where our adopted spice finches, Jesus and Buddy Holly live, and of course, a cactus.