I love Christmas. I love getting together with family and friends, getting to have a tree in my living room with sparkly decorations, oversized socks hanging up – more commonly known as stockings 😉 My favorite drink from Starbucks is available, the yummy peppermint mocha and the reason to make desserts with snowmen and reindeer! I’m a creative person and it flows into every aspect of my life. Over the last year I’ve learned that I actually really enjoy cooking, who would have thought? 😉 While I’m typically about work, work, work on here, I thought it would be nice to share something I enjoy doing that let’s my mind relax.
This year I decided to make some “Chocolaty Melting Snowmen” for everyone at my office at RE/MAX Executive (my current day job) because I think these little snowmen are so darn cute! I found the recipe on Pinterest from Better Homes and Gardens, you can get the recipe HERE. These are SO YUMMY, but I would say that a glass of milk is a requirement with these scrumptious little treats. Here’s how my lil snowmen turned out:
I made a minor change to the recipe and just used vanilla icing, but I couldn’t get it as smooth as the original recipe looks. I did however discover that if after I applied the icing (base layer) and then used a wet spoon I could smooth it out really well. I had to place it in the freezer though between the base layer and the head so that it would set some, otherwise the head would slide off the cookie. I’m also a perfectionist so for the hat I used Reese’s miniature cups and the Reese’s mini cups – I cut the edging off the miniature for the rim of the hat and then used the mini as the top of the hat.
On top of these cuties, I also decided to make some more adorable little treats for when I have friends over on Christmas Eve. While perusing Pinterest I also saw a recipe for “Reindeer Chow” which is pretty much like what I grew up calling Chex mix puppy chow, but with M&M’s and obviously much more festive sounding! When I suggested it to my husband I learned for the first time that the Chex mix puppy chow is one of his childhood favorites. Just shows after four years of marriage there’s still things to learn about the one’s we love!
You can get the “Reindeer Chow” recipe HERE.
I then decided if I’m having “Reindeer Chow” that I should have reindeer too, because that’s obviously the next logical step. I made them all like Rudolf because he’s my favorite. For my Rudolf’s I didn’t actually follow a recipe, I just got some idea’s through Pinterest and then winged it because the image I found didn’t link back to a recipe. They turned out pretty great though if I do say so myself!
For my “Rudolf Cookies” here’s what you need:
1. Double stuffed Oreo’s
4. M&M’s – just the red one’s!
5. York Pieces (for the eye)
6. Black icing to draw the dots on the eyes
7. Cookie sticks and ribbon
There were a few hick up’s I encountered when creating this little fella. First, my stick was a little thick so it would loosen up the Oreo and then it would fall apart when I would dip it. To remedy this, I used the melted chocolate as “glue” to hold the Oreo and the stick together, putting it in the freezer for about 5 mins to get it to set. Then I would pull it out and dip the entire Oreo.
Other issue I ran into was that while the York pieces taste great with this combo, they have a hard shell, making it hard to draw on with something that’s edible. I had bought black icing, so I just dabbed it on and then set the eyes in the freezer to harden some. They are still soft and can get messed up, but they don’t slide off like they were in the beginning. If I do this in the future I’ll probably try to think of a better solution, but he still turned out cute!
I hope everyone has an amazing holiday season, and I wish you all the best!
“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” -Charles Dickens
What a year this has been! This time last year I had just finished with Monica Lee’s, “Smart Creative Dreaming- A Guide for the Practical Dreamer“, and I had finally gained clarity on where I wanted my creative career to go – to pursue surface pattern design, something I had first been introduced to during an internship my last year of college with Working Class Studio, a division of SCAD.
Then I had to figure out how to make it happen, and that’s what I’ve been doing this year. I dedicated this year to learning as much as I could about the industry, expanding my illustrating skills, learning technical repeat skills, how to do research for trend forecasting, developing systems for creating consistent quality work that’s on trend, developing my brand and my signature style (This last part was so much fun!) You can see inspiration photos further on in this post that I pulled to create a mood board to capture my aesthetic.
To achieve all this I signed up for a stream of online courses. Non of which are accredited classes, so I took a risk, but I chose courses that I felt would aid me on my journey and I’ve been thrilled with every class I took. So, in case pursuing surface pattern design is something you’re wanting to do, here is a list of everything I took:
-Module 2 of the “Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design” (ABSPD)
-Module 3 of the “Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design” (ABSPD)
–The Ultimate Guide to Repeats by Pattern Observer
–Smart Creative Style by Monica Lee of Smart Creative Women (not specific to surface pattern design, but to any creative woman who wants to run her own business!)
My husband was unsure if I really needed to take as many courses as I took, but I felt that every course I took was providing me with guidance in area’s I felt I needed improvement. Each course was really fantastic in their own way and each have played a vital role in moving Zeryndipity to the next step.
I think that “Smart Creative Style” was my favorite course though because not only did I discover my aesthetic, I felt that for the first time in my life I discovered myself. I know that’s a strange thing to say, but it’s like I was seeing myself clearly for the first time which was just….amazing. I connected dots that I just wasn’t seeing before and the amount of information Monica covered really was amazing. She covered so much more than just identifying my style.
Here’s some of the photos from my final Pinterest board I created in the course:
You can see the full board and the original links to all the photos HERE.
In June I was invited to participate in ArtPark, Columbia Festival of the Arts for the second year in a row (and I’ve been invited back for 2014!) and this was really a great opportunity to see who my current target market is, how they responded to my work and what were they drawn to the most, and I had really great sales! Art festivals aren’t something I want to travel and do, but I really enjoy doing this festival and as long as I live here and am invited to participate, I’ll continue doing it – it’s good market research 😉 You can view photos from festival and read of the weekend HERE.
In addition to the festival and all the courses I took, I also bought a few books to push my illustrating/fine art skills further which I’ve written about through the year, but in case you missed them and are interested, here’s the list of books:
–Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley
–Creative Doodling and Beyond by Stephanie Corfee
–Pen & Ink Techniques by Frank Lohan (I only did a few exercises in this book)
There’s still some more techniques I’d like to experiment with such as watercolor, so I’ll probably play with watercolors more this next year, but I had SO MUCH FUN experimenting and pushing myself to do new artistic exercises this year- and my patterns reflected the growth through all of this learning, which of course was the goal! Here is a handful of my favorite patterns from this year (out of approx. 100 that got created):
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how the year went. I would have liked to have been “working” my business more and gaining more clients, but I feel I have built a strong foundation and have begun on my plans for 2014 to begin reaching out and building up my freelance and licensing side of my business.
Whoo (wipe forehead as if overworked 😉 ) Haha, what a year! It really was a blast, and so exciting. I’m unbelievably passionate about what I’m doing and I love that I’m building a business doing something I love. It’s an amazing feeling. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings 🙂
“I’m too overwhelmed, I’m not sure what to do next.”
“I just can’t seem to focus now that my desk is moved, my work flow isn’t the same.”
I cringe realizing these words were coming from my mouth the last few days. The last month has been a whirlwind for me as I helped host a huge fundraiser party to kick off a toy drive for Toys For Tots for my office daytime job. Then I took a trip to Oklahoma to visit my family for two weeks, where I helped prepare and decorate for my sister’s wedding, and then lastly I get back from vacation and when I get to my daytime job I’ve been moved from my office to a tiny cubicle, or cubby hole as I like to call it, because of construction being done.
On top of all this, I have three online self-study courses that I’ve been working through, working on my branding and website AND brainstorming the idea for a new children’s nursery decor brand.
I took on too much and I’m overwhelmed – and that’s the last time I get to say that. I acknowledged it, but I realized that by continuing to say that I wasn’t moving forward very fast. I’ve felt as though I’ve been romping through mud that’s up to my knees.
I realized that my words have been slowing me down. By saying I can’t focus – I wasn’t, and I also wasn’t finding a solution to help me so I could focus. I’m not really about the rah-rah effect, just telling myself to focus, “you can do it!” attitude – nope, not me. However, I do know that saying “I can’t focus” over and over, made it true – I couldn’t focus and I wasn’t doing anything to change it. Granted, I had valid reasons for having such a hard time focusing because I went from a quite office to being located in a tiny cubby hole in the hall way – I didn’t even know where to begin since I didn’t have a large desktop to layout out my work orders like I normally do and there was so much noise and people talking around me that I wasn’t used to.
Yesterday I made a change.
I woke up in the morning telling myself I had to figure out how to find my zone again and be able to focus (Ok, so maybe a little bit of rah-rah goes on in my mind). I grabbed some pretty green scrapbook papers to pin-up in my cubby hole (green helps you focus people!) and then I also decided to use some ear buds to put on music so I wouldn’t hear any of the people around me. Surprise, surprise, it worked! It was still a challenge figuring out a new system of working, but I could focus again and things started moving along smoothly again.
If you’re struggling with something, pay attention to how you’re talking to yourself. We’ve all heard that we should talk positive to ourselves, but I think it’s also noticing when we’re struggling with something and there are valid reasons why we’re struggling and learning to change our mindset, from “I can’t focus,” to “I’ve had a hard time focusing, but I’m going to find a solution so I can focus again.”
It’s not to say I wasn’t overwhelmed because I want everything done now – or that I really couldn’t focus because of changing my work flow, but I was accepting defeat by saying I was overwhelmed and couldn’t focus, and that’s just not me.
Say the right things to yourself, because in the end, you’re the only one who can make a change within yourself.
Until next time…
P.S. I’m working towards developing a schedule for all things business related in my life, but I’m not there yet. Please excuse the delays in blog posts for a little bit as I get situated and get my life back in balance 🙂
I know that my blog is called “Pattern Journey” and therefore you would think that’s all I would write about. I’m sure this blog will continue to evolve, like my business has, but to me, that’s ok. I know that by putting myself out there it holds me accountable for one, but it gets me going and not just dreaming. Pattern starts with inspiration and a sketch – at an emotional level to some degree.
I’m in the early stages of becoming a professional surface pattern designer, and while it feels like it’s been forever – I truly just began pursuing my goal as a commercial artist in January. College took 5 years (BFA and a minor in Advertising Design), so this new course will take a bit of time as well (that’s a constant reminder!)
Why am I saying all this? Because for those of you who have been following along, you know this journey has taken me time and that I’ve been putting the majority of my focus on discovering who I am as an artist, and where my brand fits into the market. You’ve followed me as I’ve discovered WHO I AM! I’m almost 30, I should who I am by now right? Yes, I should, but I think a big part of it is actually accepting my whole self, and loving every part of me.
So today, I’m sharing an insight into my emotional responses to the bohemian style – why I’m so drawn to it. Here’s several photo’s I pulled from Pinterest. You can see the whole board here (not all boho, just fashion in general).
I asked myself the question, what does the boho style make me feel?
-down to earth
It’s an interesting, and almost embarrassing list to share because for some reason I feel shame that I want to feel sexy and rebellious….um what? (insert embarrassed laugh here). All the while it’s in the same list as spiritual and down to earth. Those don’t all seem to fit together, and yet in this style they do – or at least that’s how I interpret it, and beautifully I might add.
I think the three key words though that stood out to me were “acceptance”, “confident” and “spiritual”. I think through school I never felt like I fit in. I didn’t feel that what was popular to wear was my style, or what I liked, and yet I wanted to be accepted. Somewhere along the way (and I know the main person who caused it, but I won’t name any name’s) I lost confidence in myself. My self esteem was beat down and I let it break me. I quit fighting and started believing that I wasn’t as talented as I had once thought. It made me doubt every single area of my being. It has been a process but I yet again believe in myself, and I’m learning to accept every part of who I am, and not relying on the acceptance of others.
I still have days that the doubt creeps its way in, but I’m now able to shut it down and kick it out of my mind. I know that God gave me an incredible gift. I’m amazed at times the art that my hand seems to draw. That’s a God given talent. I’ve learned to lean on my spirituality and know that He will guide me and get me through. The right doors will open, and the wrong one’s will close (which is still disappointing because I thought that door was great!) I continue to push myself everyday to sharpen my skills that I was blessed with and to learn more about what’s hidden within me. I have to prepare myself, and keep putting myself out there, and when the timing is right, God will know, and I’ll be ready.
Until next time…
Color can dramatically affect moods, feelings, and emotions. It is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and cause physiological reactions…or so I’ve read!
I’m very fascinated by the emotions color can evoke and how it can effect our moods. I’ve recently been working on a mood board on Pinterest for what inspires me from nature – of course, I choose a ton of pictures that don’t look real – they’ve undoubtedly been doctored in Photoshop some, but I love the wonderland aspect of them. Another common theme I found was that I’m a romantic and love beautiful soft lighting and sunsets/sunrises.
The combination of seeing some very vibrant colors paired with this soft lighting just makes me swoon. I’m so in love with how it looks! So I’m working at seeing color differently and choosing my color palettes in a different manner to help guide me in achieving this desired feeling through my color use.
You can find all of the above images and their original origin on my pinterest board, as well as many more wonderfully amazing nature images!
I used a program through adobe called Kuler to begin my color palettes and then went through and adjusted them to create my own custom palette. Looking at all of these, I think I would probably add in more highlight color on some of them, but the goal was to use the photo as my inspiration and stick with colors with the images, with minor adjustments such as brightening or slightly changing the undertones.
Great way to choose a color palette, whether you’re designing or trying to decorate your house! You could upload a beautiful photo that you like and have Kuler simply select your colors for you 😉
I’m seeing color in a whole new light and it’s all making sense to me now! I really went back and forth because I love bright colors, but I tended to get very young looking designs – through this process I’m seeing how I can use bright and vivid colors, and yet appeal to a more sophisticated audience.
When do you get the MOST inspired by color? Is it when you’re outdoors? Or maybe maybe when you make a trip to the aquarium?
Until next time…
There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning. -Jiddu Krishnamurti
This year has been dedicated to learning. Learning what being a professional surface pattern designer means and all the steps I need to take to get there. Learning how to create beautiful, irresistible designs 😉 and really, discovering myself as I’ve been finding my unique signature style – my unique voice and outlook on the world, because ultimately, that is what will set me apart from other designers. We each see the world differently.
Today kicked off the beginning of Smart Creative Style and I’m super excited for everything Monica will teach us (as well as several others she’s brought on to help!)
Besides Smart Creative Style, I’m also slowly working through the Ultimate Guide to Repeats and the Sellable Sketch by Michelle Fifis over at Pattern Observer. I’m crazy right? Maybe, but I like to think of it as dedicated. I have constantly been thinking of the things I feel I need to learn to get me to where I want to be and I’ve actively sought out resources to help.
I truly believe in preparing as much as you can before you begin pursuing licensing deals, etc. but there also needs to be a time frame set on prepping so that you don’t let fear hold you back and you just keep telling yourself you’re not ready. I plan to actively start pursuing licensing and selling my designs come January, but in the meantime I have a few submissions I’m still working on and plan to enter a few contests as well while I wrap up this years goals. I, of course, still have my Etsy shop up with a small collection of designs from spring. I had used this collection at an art festival to judge how people reacted to my work- what demographics were more drawn to my work as well as what elements people seemed to like the most. It was a truly a great learning curve, and I had great sales as well!
I’m going to go ahead and share two designs I recently did, which I already shared in one test blog post I did that was within my website. The blog app didn’t seem to work well on mobile and I’m not sure if people were even to bring it because it was in and out. SO, here are two new designs 🙂
I’ll be leaving the original post up a little while longer incase you want to read it. You can find it here. I’d love to hear what you think about the new patterns – likes and even dislikes!
As I was finishing up this post I got a response to some designs I had submitted for review for a dinnerware collection, and while they described them as breathtaking just absolutely beautiful, they weren’t right for the brand – so I’m going to share them all with you! I knew I was taking a risk, they said they wanted to make changes in their brand, but I made too far of a leap. I’m going to attempt to submit new designs if there’s still time.
Until next time!
As Smart Creative Style is gearing up, Ms. Monica Lee gets my brain circling around my style with every email she sends out. Not just my artistic style and what my designs will look like, but my fashion sense, how I decorate my apartment, etc. It’s looking at the whole picture, my whole story to what I’m really drawn to.
So what do I decide to do? Refinish an old buffet that I have that is currently our t.v. stand….was definitely regretting the decision mid way through, but now that it’s done I’m so glad I did it. It’s solid wood, with a wood veneer, and a beast. This thing is huge, and extremely heavy…and was stained a deep cherry/mahogany when I bought it…used of course like I tend to do.
This was my first attempt to lighten it up because I was chicken to take on stripping down the piece – and don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful originally but it took over the entire room. After a little while I didn’t like this so I painted it my favorite color – or a shade of – turquoise. This was fun, but definitely not ideal. Keep in mind, this has all taken place over a two year period.
So after looking at images and images of what I really love…well it turns out I like a bit of rustic/industrial/vintage feel…but I wanted it to look like it’s been taken good care of, not just left in the rain and beat with a hammer like some “vintage” things look.
I began by using a paint stripper, which burned my skin on more than one occasion….beauty is pain? I then used a heavy grit sand paper and my nifty little palm sander and sanded….and sanded…and sanded…..followed by a medium and fine grit sandpaper. Getting all the grooves cleaned up was fun…once it was completely stripped I cleaned it with warm water and a sponge. At this point, it was an interesting shade of orange…pretty in a way, but not for my home. I chose to use the Driftwood stain from Rustoleum. I followed up by sanding it down again with a medium grit and fine grit sandpaper before cleaning again and finishing it off with a matte polyurethane. Sorry that’s such a brief DIY – more of an overview I guess. Oh, and I bought some industrial/rustic country drawer pulls from Lowe’s that look like worn metal.
Anyways, after several days, here was the outcome:
I’ve been making some other changes as well. Two weeks ago I painted the accent walls in our main living area a light/medium gray with blue green undertones. You can kind of see it in the picture above. I also painted my $5 thrift store end table mint/aqua.
If you’re interested in seeing all the beautiful images that have been inspiring me in the industrial/vintage area check out my board on Pinterest: Industrial | Vintage
My little venture to all this decorating may have pulled me away from my designs for just a bit, but the mini break was worth it. My home feels that much closer to the things that I love. Now back to work!
Until next time…
Back in June I shared some sketches from a doodling prompt I did that was bohemian dreaming fish. The exercise had instructed me to make three lists – one of adjectives, one of verbs and one of nouns – and then I had to blindly choose 3 numbers which would give me my doodling prompt – which gave me bohemian dreaming fish.
So, after my last post about being inspired by bohemian, and folk art designs..and urban, I thought I would revisit my little bohemian dreaming fish. I have quite a few more sketches than what I’m going to share, but I thought I would let you have a peak at where this is heading 🙂
I’m moving slow with project, but I’m experimenting a lot along the way and trying to push myself with doing things I don’t normally do. I’m struggling with turning the single motif into a pattern just yet so it’s still in need of a lot of work and the color palette…..I like it, but I don’t. I chose different colors than what I normally gravitate towards, attempting to step outside of my comfort zone – which is how I believe we grow as people and as designers.
That’s it for today! Everyone have a great weekend!
Until next time,
Technique: A way of carrying out a particular task, esp. the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure.
Style: A quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one’s actions and tastes: “does things with style”.
I had to look around for the definition I used for style, because this isn’t the first definition that comes up, but it is the definition in how I wanted to discuss style today.
Obviously, all I’ve been writing about lately is this great quest of mine to figure out my style….not sure that every artist has this issue, but I feel it’s extremely important for me to do. I could go about letting what “naturally” comes out be my style and I would probably have some good success. However, I want my style to encompass my entire design aesthetic, not just what is currently inspiring me. I like a bunch of different styles (as I’ve stated..I don’t know how many times), but as I’ve been doing this I’m realizing there are many looks that I LOVE that I wouldn’t have said were my style. For instance, for a while I said I loved modern design – no country, cluttered look, just clean and modern…..which over the last few years I’ve realized is totally not true lol.
Don’t get me wrong, my house definitely has a more minimal approach so that there’s not a lot of clutter, BUT in the actual fabrics, paintings, prints, etc. there’s a lot of detail and interest to look at. For me, there’s no question that my style will have a freshness to it – it will be able to breath and not feel cluttered, even if there’s a lot going on. It will have a modern/contemporary flair to it, but be oh so much more 😉
The past few weeks I’ve gone on and on about different techniques, and pushing my craft – really learning which “styles” I’m attracted to. And I’m going to stop right there. That’s where my thinking as been off recently. I have been solely focused on the techniques, the different looks of art that I like, the different subject matters too such as surrealism — which is easily confused with style.
I feel technique and style are two completely different things that get caught up/lost together. At least I’ve been grouping them together. Today was my “ah-ha” moment.
I’ve been keeping a journal with every thought about this journey of realizing my entire design aesthetic, and today I decided to do some creative exercises and wanted to refer to a list I’ve been keeping. (I have list upon lists of things…it’s kind of a problem lol) It’s a list of different key words I’ve come across when I see someone’s style I appreciate/gravitate towards.
As I was looking at this list I realized that no where on this list was “pen and ink” or “doodling” or “painting”…..no those are on the next page under a list of “mediums” that I’m drawn to. No, this list wasn’t about techniques at all – it’s overall looks and my design aesthetic when I try to describe my style such as modern, vintage, bohemian, urban folk art, industrial, quirky, and the list goes on.
So, besides figuring out my favorite techniques – I also need to figure out HOW to encompass these looks I like. I began today by creating a board on Pinterest called “Urban | Folk Art | Bohemian” to pull images that fit into this category from my list and then I plan to began by creating designs focused solely on this look.
Please visit the Pinterest board I listed above to see all images and to see where each image was pinned from.
I plan to do this with each “style” that I have on my list. I feel I’ll begin seeing which elements overlap and it will be these elements that will create a comprehensive design aesthetic. Of course, I’m still playing with technique as well as I hone in on my craft, but what a journey this is!
It may be taking me some time, but it’s kind of like I’m creating a whole new genre of design 😉
Until next time…