Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Movie Night: Creative Inspiration

Friday night at our house is movie night... we rent a movie, order a pizza, and enjoy! Even though it's Friday, many times my creative juices are still flowing after a full day in the studio. So, as we get comfy on the couch to watch the movie, I'm all of a sudden very inspired to be creative. What is the inspiration, you ask? In many movies I love the movie titles and credits... sometimes even more than the movie itself!!

The type, the graphics, the styling, the animation-- the whole thing! I also marvel at how long it must have taken the production house to create some of the creative openings...

I think there should be a new category for the Oscars-- Most Creative Movie Title and Credits award. Then all these creative designers and animators would get recognized for their great work!

So, next time you watch a movie, make sure to pay attention to the opening titles and credits at the end. You never know where inspiration will hit you!

Above images are from opening credits in Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Dog

I just wrapped up a long weekend of dog sitting for my parent's dog. I already miss her. Yesterday, after the kids were dropped off at school, I came home and was expecting to see her... but, no, she wasn't there.

I grew up with dogs, and love them. I have considered over and over again whether or not this is the right time for my own family to get one. So far, it just hasn't seemed right... and many of my friends with dogs tell me, it's a lot of work, and if I ever need a dog, I can borrow theirs...

So, for now, I'll just keep things simple, and dog sit when I get the chance. I'm sure the time will be right soon enough!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Colors Everywhere

Spring has sprung in Northern California! The trees, the flowers, the warmer days. On my walks, I just can't get enough of the colors. They are so amazing and vibrant. The palette from the spring blooms above is just waiting for a project-- I'm thinking of designing a little girl's tea party in these colors. What do you think?

Enjoy the season!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patrick's Day (American Style)

Our family has always celebrated St. Patrick's Day as if it were one of the "big" holidays-- we enjoy a big family gathering to eat a traditional Irish dinner, wearing of the green all day, buying clovers for every person and definitely drinking green drinks... It just dawned on me, though, that my way of celebrating this day is most likely a completely Americanized version of the day. Someday I would love to go to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day and experience the traditional celebration, but for now, I'll enjoy my Americanized version! Here are all things-St. Pat to me!

McDonald's Shamrock Shake
I love McDonald's Shamrock Shakes. Our family didn't head to McDonald's that often growing up, but if we did manage to get there during March, I'd always get a Shamrock Shake! I found a Shamrock Shake recipe online so you can make it at home! Yum.

Wearing Green
When I was little, I dressed head to toe in green, whether the patterns matched or not. In high school, it was all about tricking your friends and only wearing green underwear or socks... To this day, I still wear the green for St. Pats. Heck, I don't want to get pinched!

Good Ol' Irish [American] Pub
Who doesn't like a great Irish pub... Although I don't think the ambience in an American/Irish pub is quite like an Irish pub in the rolling hills of Cork County, it still can be a good time! Even in my suburbian town we have an Irish pub!

Irish [American] Songs
I love Irish music... I have several different albums, for when I'm in that Celtic mood, but here's one of my all-time favorites to play on St. Pats: Bing Crosby's Top O'the Morning - His Irish Collection. My favorite tune from this album is "Macnamara's Band."

Green Beer
A Guiness is really the beer to be drinking on St. Pats... it's so rich and delicious... but it's hard to have a lot of Guiness. That's probably why the green beer phenomenon is so popular! I found many recipes online to make your own green beer at home! Not a beer drinker, check out these Irish Drink recipes as well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Girl Scouts Day

Yesterday was Girl Scouts Day, a day that commemorates when the first troop was registered. I was never a girl scout, but my daughter has just started Daisy's (the first level of Girl Scouts this year.) I'm really excited for her. It seems, so far, like it will be a good experience.

So, when I was in a local antique bookstore the other day, and I saw the above book, I just had to get it. Not only do I love old books, but I also have a number of old books that fall into the scouting/camping/craft genre. The ideas in the book are usually great-- just some ol'fashion fun... some, though I must admit can seem a little strange for this day and age, but that makes the book even more charming.

The handshake... do you know it?

I Love this homemaking illustration. Aren't they all having so much fun?!

I also couldn't resist this craft-- honest to goodness BASKET WEAVING!

This image seems so "campy" to me... and being an ex-camp counselor from long ago, I love all-things "campy"! Right now, our town is in the throws of summer-camp-sign-up frenzy... it always seems so scary to me to lock down my summer plans when it's only March. I like having plans, but I also want that "summer freedom" feeling, that on a whim, I could pack the kids in the car, and we could head out on a road trip... As I get older, I'm learning it's all about finding the balance. Some planning and some spontenaity work very well for me.

So, in honor of Girl Scouts Day (March 12), break open that newly purchased box of cookies or do a Girl Scout craft... either way, be sure to enjoy the day and the weekend ahead!

(All images in this post are from the book "Brownie Scout Handbook" pictured above.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring Cleaning... the Easy Way?

Spring is here (at least in California), and that means it's spring cleaning time... well, for some folks that means spring cleaning. Personally, I wasn't intending on starting in on that project for awhile, but it looks like it started anyway...

It happens to everyone at some point. This morning I lost about over 3 years of email. Gone.

The sad thing, is I consider myself "somewhat" of a tech person... (notice somewhat is in quotes...) I was in the tech industry for a long time, and I know many geeky things the average person wouldn't want to clog their brain. Well, even with that, I still lost the email.

After a moment of panic, I got down to business, and sorted the emails that somehow were saved in the mass clean out.... and then the emptiness set in... no more browsing back a year or two ago to find out who was supposed to bring the cookies to the class party... no more quick checks to find out if my husband was going to be late that night 2 years ago... no more... WAIT... did I *really* need to save those emails in the first place. uh... NO. So, isn't this clean out kindof a blessing in disguise? Easy cleaning the fast way, right?

My Clean Inbox

OK, I will admit, I did save some more important emails than that... things that possibly I may need in the future, but given technology today, I'm sure I'll find a way to find out the info that was stored in that random email.

This "easy" clean out has given me an idea... there's this closet in my house. It's a scary closet... filled to the gills with stuff. Stuff I'm supposed to sort through, because I'm sure there's really great stuff in there... (I doubt it.) Perhaps I should do what my email did-- just throw it all away. Gone. Vanished. Never to be seen again. I bet if that happened, I wouldn't miss much at all, and I'd be soooo happy with an empty closet-- a place to fill with more stuff. :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Jar Full of Memories!

One of my friends had a request... she has 2 very close friends, that don't live near by, and she wanted to give them each a very "memorable" present. Apparently, these 2 other women have been friends with her for a long, long time. They share many memories. Happy and sad. My friend really wanted to give them something special, since they each were going through some hard times. She had read about a memory jar in a magazine, and asked me if I could create something she could fill.

I was definitely excited. It's fun to create something unique, and special for someone. I definitely had many iterations... fortunately, most sketched on paper, and in my head... and ended with embellishing a candy jar. The "Best Friends" tag at first was going to be decoupaged to the side of the jar, but I think the tag was more effective... when the jar sits on a desk/table, you can see the friends smiling at your from anywhere.

Also, I just LOVED the coral ribbon. Coral is now my new favorite color!

After making this gift, it made me want to make something unique and special for all my close friends. Time always seems to get in the way of that... Perhaps this spring, I should slow down a little, and actually take that time... in the end- it means so much more than the other little things that get in the way!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Great Goodie Bag Debate

How many times has your kids come home from a party ecstatic about their goodie bags. They tear it open, eat the piece of candy, rummage through the loot, and within 5 minutes it's abandoned right where it was left... never to be touched again.

Goodie Bag Doo-Dads

We've all experienced this goodie bag phenomenon... and in fact, I'm sure many of us have contributed to it by giving such bags. So, the question is, are goodie bags really necessary?

I just read a post the other day on a moms website I subscribe to. The poor woman asking the question wondered if it would be OK not to give a goodie bag, since times were tough for her, and just throwing the party was an expense enough. Of course, the response was overwhelming... GOODIE BAGS AREN'T A NECESSITY to throwing a good party.


There were many suggestions for what the woman in this situation should do-- from just don't worry about it, the kids will not notice (which I must say can be very true for some, and not as true for other kids...) to other creative ideas.

So, what's my opinion. I must admit, I go either way on the topic. For some parties I've thrown I've had little treats, and some I haven't. I think the key is, the kids are getting a great party... many times planned activities as well as cake and ice cream. That's a pretty good deal. So, if the goodie bag is just going to send you over the edge to have to put together, then no way, don't do it... Or if you're wondering if the kids really need it or will miss it... again, that's a resounding NO. But, if you're in the creative mood, then by all means... make it so!

I have many goodie bag ideas I'd love to share in upcoming posts, but would also hear your goodie bag stories. Any good ones? Any goodie bag horror stories? Do tell... we definitely want to know.