One item on a long list of new year's to-dos ("resolutions" don't seem to ever get resolved, so perhaps "to-dos" will get done...) is to work on putting together a new professional portfolio. My current one is, well, not up to my current standards.

I designed it when I knew very little about graphics and thought that I would be going into a more architectural profession. I'd like to think that my skills have grown while working as a graphic designer for the past year and a half. Not only that, but I would like to focus my portfolio on my graphic designs and illustrations, rather than architecture and school projects.

So, first up on my New Year's To Do List:
  • Create a new professional portfolio.
Part of that to do involves me creating new work. So, I've started a new series called "Faces of the Sixties." These are the first of the series. I hope to work on more this week.



Pen and ink illustrations, digitally colored.



All calendars and holiday cards are on sale until they run out!


Lights in the Heights

Houston is really not my favorite place to live, but the Heights really is. It is the most amazing neighborhood in the city. Everyone here is so nice, and friendly, and it's the only part of Houston that has even attempted to preserve our history.

We are also one of the few neighborhoods that have frequent block parties. Lights in the Heights was by far the best one that I've been to, and I hate to say this...but it puts some of Milwaukee's festivals to shame! (gasp! I know...sorry!)

The whole area blocked off is around 3 blocks by 6 blocks. Most houses decorate with lots of lights, hence the name, and about every 10 houses was live music. You could hear everything from a not-s0-great high school garage band, to a Jewish couple singing old German songs while playing an accordion, to a bunch of retirees getting together with friends jamming out to classic rock songs. A central park was designated with a main music stage and food vendors. Most people bring a cooler on wheels and roam the street with their beer in tow.

The weather was a little odd...a light sweater provided enough warmth for a "cold Houston night."
Best part of the night: getting into a private party to dance to a super kickin' Cajun band! I lost their card so have no idea what there name, but if anyone reads this that knows, please let me know. We stopped as they started playing the Jambalaya (on the Bayou) song, which makes me proud of my swamp land roots (because Houston is a swamp) The party was sponsored by some company called "Kinetic Energy." I'm sure they get TONS of business during Lights in the Heights.
The photos aren't that great, but the night was!


photos from Austin

My friend Erika flew down for a mini vacay and we then made an even minier road trip to Austin. Seriously, how have I never been there as an adult (meaning not on a field trip?) Austin is one of the coolest cities that I've even been and I can't wait to go back!

These are photos that I took of shops on South Congress (aka. Hipster Central)


holiday craft shows: pictures and a recap

As I've mentioned a few times before, I did a whole lot of craft shows this season! Some were good, some were not so good, and one was GREAT! I learned a lot about what sells and what doesn't sell. I got some ideas for new products that may be more sellable next year or at Renegade Austin (hoping that I get accepted this year!) I learned that craft shows are BORING to work at, but are way more fun when you share a booth or have a friend to work it with you.

WHAM was by far the best show that I've ever done! That was a 3 day long market that was one of the best curated shows I've seen. There was such a good variety of types of products being sold as well as a good variety of price points.

I worked on some new displays. I got some over sized frames from a thrift store to hang my cards. Only one card could hang per clothes pin, but I think it helped catch people's attention.

My dad helped me build new stands for my cards and paper dolls. What I find the most challenging about designing an attractive booth is creating height for products that are all two dimensional. Not wanted to use store bought greeting card displays, I decided to create a stand from scrap wood found in my parent's garage. I'm so lucky to have a handy dad that is always willing to help with projects like these. I created the design, my dad cut the pieces (I think he gets nervous when I use his tools,) and then I screwed it all together. The sizing is perfect!

Look how excited Lora is to have her picture taken! This is the booth that I shared with B. Bags for the First Saturday Art Market. Sharing a booth with someone is probably the best thing that I could ever do. 1. The booth fee is split so the show is cheaper. 2. You have someone to take to when traffic gets slow and you have someone to watch your stuff for quick restroom breaks or shopping breaks. 3. You don't have to fill up an entire 10' x 10' booth. It's more difficult than it sounds.

I made new business cards and emilee rose buttons for free-bees.

It was so fun doing all of these shows and really made me think about how I could really focus more time and energy to emilee rose. But I'm glad they are over and I can get a little break. I've heard that January through March shows are usually a bust, so I may be taking a break until Renegade in Austin. But who knows what lies ahead...


handmade holiday gifts: infused vodka

I really tried to make most of my holiday gifts this year and wanted to make something that could be used (i.e. not something that people would say "this is SO GREAT!" and then either throw it away or stash it in a junk drawer.)

After Christmas, I'll post my "main" project this season, but I want to make sure that I don't spoil the surprise.

I made infused vodkas for my bosses this year and I think they turned out pretty well. This gift takes a few days to make, so start now and you'll be golden for getting it done before Christmas! There are plenty of recipes on-line if you google "infused vodka recipe" but I just kind of winged it. Basically, you put your thing to be infused in an air tight jar with vodka, shake it a few times a day, and strain once complete. I made a habanero vodka (perfect for Bloody Marys) and a mandarin vodka.
Recipe for infused vodkas:
1. Choose a decent vodka (I used Smirnoff...don't use the cheap stuff just because it's disgusting and the super nice stuff may be a waste if your infusion goes wrong.)
2. Measure the amount of vodka for your container (mine found at The Container Store.) and then add a little bit that will be absorbed into the fruit.
3. I used one whole habanaro, seeded and cut into 4 pieces. And I used 1 small can of drained mandarin oranges.
4. Pour the vodka and the item being infused into an air tight container. Cover, give the container a shake to mix up the Vodka and fruit and then store in a dry cool place (I stuck mine in the pantry.)
5. Both of my infusions only took 2 and a half days. Shake a few times a day and you can taste a bit as you go. Some infusions may take a week or more, so check with other sites for infusion times.
6. Once infusion is complete, strain the fruit and pour into final container.


holiday decor around the house

Above: My grandpa's camera that took all of my mother's photos growing up. Santa and donkey from Black Scottie Treasures.

This holiday season has been absolutely CRAZY!!! I had been doing craft shows almost every weekend and somehow had booked up all other weekends until today. Today I feel free! Work the past couple of weeks have been an absolute nightmare. I'd love to vent about it, but this is really not the place. Just know that I had to stay late a few times last week, didn't get any real sleep as a result of stress and I definitely broke out in tears 3 times.

But 6 days from today is Christmas, which really is the best time of the year. And I finally have a fabulous place to decorate. After a stress filled day at work and leaving the bustling shops, coming home to a peaceful holiday home really makes everything better.

Top of my IKEA shelves, I put faux glittered "snow" and arranged my vintage cameras and new figurines from Black Scottie Treasures.
It's a little difficult to see with my super awesome camera, but I made these little cone trees based on Daniel Thompson's tutorial. Hers are super stinkin' cute, but I decided to go with all white trees. Each fabric has a different texture, so that are really great in person.