On the Road Again…

Aren’t you ready for summer?! This summer I am sucking it up and taking two online courses so that I can travel my little heart out. Spending time with my family in the summer is so special to me. I have only missed two family beach weeks in the past 23 years of my life, to go to camp.

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Gami and I on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008

This year, we will be heading first to Lake Elmore, Vermont. Instead of flying with my family however, I’m heading up to Maryland to road-trip there with my grandmother, Lee. To me she is “Gami.” Gami and I have an extremely tight bond. In fact, my thesis centers around her life. I find it remarkable that in her lifetime things have gone from phonograph to iPhone and her favorite, “Faceplace.” We will stop in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts for a little antique-ing and pottery scouting.

Boone being a model, Lake Elmore 2010
Boone being a model, Lake Elmore 2010
The Whole Fam Damily Canoeing the Green River (VT), 2010
The Whole Fam Damily Canoeing the Green River (VT), 2010
What happens in Vermont stays in Vermont... 2010
What happens in Vermont stays in Vermont… 2010
We made it to the top! Mt. Mansfield, 2010
We made it to the top! Mt. Mansfield, 2010

Next, my family and I will go to our regular beach week in Oak Island, NC, the place where I feel most like myself. Here we will do strange family things like have our own golf tournament, dance party and snipe hunt (a southern “tradition” of hunting for an imaginary bird).

Oceanside at Oak Island, 2010
Oceanside at Oak Island, 2010
Dockside on Oak Island, 2010
Dockside on Oak Island, 2010
The awards ceremony for the golf tournament, 2010
The awards ceremony for the golf tournament, 2010

Finally, in August, we are heading to the Vancouver area to soak in the great Pacific Northwest. I have been to Seattle and Northern Idaho but I am excited to see what things are like across the border.

Where are you all traveling this summer?

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A Sweater for Bugsy

photo-8So many great stories start with the line: “When I was babysitting…” Kids do/say/imagine some of the darndest things. A week ago, I headed downtown to babysit Tuna (yes, his name has been changed). Tuna is a hyper yet extremely intelligent 7-year-old with a penchant for science and spelunking for lizards in the many nooks and crannies of downtown Savannah’s historic buildings. Sometimes he talks in a monotone yell of excitement. “DID YOU KNOW THAT WHEN YOU BREAK A LIZARD’S TAIL OFF IT STILL MOVES?” And then adds, “I WENT TO ARIZONA LAST WEEK.” “Why?” I ask. “TO HUNT FOR QUAIL.” Why yes of course, I was there last month doing the same.

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For his seventh birthday Tuna received a guinea pig which, as I commented to his mother, gives him a sense of ownership and responsibility as he takes care of this ever-fattening ball of fur. Tuna brought Bugsy down the stairs upon my arrival. “Let’s make a sweater for Bugsy!” he says. I smile skeptically. “COME ON!” he retorts. I climb the three flights of stairs in Tuna’s historic home and arrive breathless in his bedroom. “Grab a sock!” he exclaims. Not sure what to do, I pause as he runs frenzied around me, coming to open the top drawer of his dresser and extricating a greying pair of formerly white athletic socks. “This will work!” he announces. “Grab the scissors,” he says, as if asking me to grab the scalpel in a life and death operation.

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We cut the toe and the ankle bit off of each sock and lay the remainder out for decorating. We will use the toe-side scrap for a hat. I write Bugsy in bubble letters on the side of the tube (I mean sweater). “COOL,” Tuna says rather close to my ear. “On the other side write “I AM BUGSY”,” he tells me and I obey. Once Bugsy’s outfits are properly decorated it is time to dress the booger. And what can I say…He looked pretty cute. I wonder often about my future and what the hell I am doing on God’s green earth. Maybe the answer is that I’m meant for rodent fashion.

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What’s in My Bookmark Bar? Part II

Hope you guys enjoyed round one. Here’s a look at the rest of the links on my bookmark bar!

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Ellie Snow is a graphic designer author of the blog, Mint, based in Durham, NC. Along with curating daily selection of fashion, design and food, Ellie is also a stationery designer. Her wedding invitations and other papers goods have a beautiful vintage feel. My favorite has to be the Gatsby in Foil.

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Many of you probably already know about the now seminal design blog, Design*Sponge. Grace Bonney started the blog in 2004 to catalog her finds, not knowing it would grow to be her full-time job. She now has a staff of 11 and posts 6-8 times a day on topics ranging from DIY to Floral Arrangements to Etiquette.

Well, there you have it! I hope to continue this series in the future. I love featuring fellow bloggers and spreading the love around the web. Do you all have any favorite links you care to share? Comment below!

What’s In My Bookmark Bar? Part I

I have wanted to write this post for a long time now. Some of my best finds have come from other bloggers posting their favorite blogs so I thought I’d do the same. I’ll split it into two though so you can have time to explore each link.

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First, we have Rebelleon, a darling lifestyle blog written by my cousin, Catherine. This belle posts about beauty, DIY projects and other “blog-worthy finds” as she says. My favorite posts from her lately have been the DIY’s. Back in December I followed her post to make my own magazine Christmas tree, perfect for 20-somethings and college students. She also gave my grandmother’s wallet a new look with a little glue and a gorgeous stone.

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I met Kelsey Cronkhite when I moved to Savannah to study graphic design. She is definitely one of my blog role models. Her blog Pinegate Road features regular columns like “From the Desk”, where she “visits” with other designers and creatives to interview them about their process. I also enjoy “Outfittings” where she curates clothes pairings for every occasion.

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Last, but certainly not least, we have All the Mountains, an Australian blog I found through some random clicking one Friday night. Sadly, All the Mountains has closed its doors but you can still spend hours scrolling through their posts to get inspiration and witness unique products. I’ve definitely pinned plenty of their choices.

Look out for part II of “What’s In My Bookmark Bar?” coming soon!

Cross Stitching My Heart Out

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I am quite the nervous Nellie, panicking Patsy, anxious Angela type. I spend more time looking at my to-do list than actually accomplishing things on it. To center my thoughts I usually have to do something detailed or tangentially productive before I can get to the guts of my day. This usually manifests itself in the form of doing dishes, scrubbing the bathtub or organizing the bookshelf by color. Lately, I have found cross stitch as a way of gaining focus. Concentrating on the tiny x-shaped stitches brings me to a relaxed state.

Back when I was 7, my mom bought me a maroon colored sampler hand towel, some pink thread and a couple appliqué roses. I spent the better part of our car ride to Maryland embroidering my initials across the towel. Although it’s taken me 15 years to return to the craft, I enjoy the bits of nostalgia as I remember working mercilessly on my towel as we wound through the Shenandoah Valley.

Port Republic battlefield in Shenandoah Valley

These days, cross stitch is experiencing a comeback along with many other fiber arts like knitting and crocheting. Designs have grown from granny-style floral samplers to more modern hipster-ish incantations like sushi, Queen Elizabeth’s profile and a Polaroid camera.

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My favorite cross stitch purveyor is Slipcover Your Life over at Etsy. You can buy a complete kit with hoop, thread, pattern and all or simply download a PDF file to get started right away with your own materials. I just nabbed the Keep Calm and Carry On Kit. Let’s hope it will help me cross more things off my to-do list!

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Art on My Walls: Elizabeth Bradford

"Kim's Garden, August" hanging in my parents' dining room
“Kim’s Garden, August” hanging in my parents’ dining room

Sometimes I forget how amazing my little hometown is. Davidson, North Carolina is a tiny college hamlet about 30 minutes north of Charlotte. It was a great place to grow up and the college presence generated plenty of intellectual and architectural fodder. One of my favorite local painters from the area is Elizabeth Bradford. I went to elementary school with her kids and remember seeing her at the local swimming hole from time to time.

Now my parents have one of her gorgeous works in their dining room. She paints mostly photorealistic landscapes with intensified colors and light. Her sense of light reminds me of one of my other favorite genres of art, Impressionism.

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Ingenuity Incorporated

Joy-Cho

I have been following Joy Cho since the beginning of my foray into graphic design. This lovely lady is the creator of the blog, Oh Joy, and collaborator and generator of many other projects. I think I have to bullet them there are so many…

Joy does…

  • textile design
  • packaging design
  • branding
  • blogging
  • book-writing (2!)
  • stationery design
  • home-office product design
  • wallpaper design
  • consulting

Whew!

What I am most impressed with lately though is her books. Creative, Inc. and Blog, Inc. Creative, Inc. gives you all the necessary tools for boosting your creative business into a full-time gig. Let me tell you this is not your average business read. It is so simple to read I finished the entire thing among a week of relaxing nightly baths. Who knew business could be fun? That’s Cho’s whole point though, as she equips her readers to do what they love.

Blog, Inc.as the name suggests, gives experienced and inexperienced bloggers tips and strategies for building your blog into something beyond a hobby. Whether it’s monetizing a blog or simply choosing a platform Blog, Inc. has simple instructions.

One of the best features of both books is that they feature testimonials and interviews from real-life bloggers and designers that have experienced success in starting their own business. It is definitely reassuring to know that supporting yourself as a creative is possible!

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