In the Studio | Sweet Southern Charm Prints Collection

February 28, 2012
I don't know what it is, but I am intrigued by all things southern (I even dedicated a board to it). I think it must have to do with the fact that I was born in the south, and although my family moved north when I was 6, I grew up in a very small town in south-west Ohio that is very country. I also have traveled back and forth more times then I care to remember to visit my dad and his side of the family! I wish I still had the southern accent I had when I was 6. Hopefully, now that I'm back in the south, I'll get a little bit of my draw back. :)

Today, I just wanted to share some prints that I now have for sale in my shop.The first 5 have been available for a few weeks now and I have already sold quite a few, but I just added 4 more! There is something so "charming" about these "sweet" little phrases and I'm really happy how they turned out! I made some notecards to give away at this weekend's workshop, and I'm working on making them available through Etsy!

My favorites are Bless Your Heart, Gimme Some Sugar, & Goodness Gracious. How about you?


26 Before 26 | 1 Month to Go!

February 27, 2012
Checking in with a little update of my 26 tasks to complete before my 26th birthday. I figure one good way to make sure I stay on top of it and complete everything on my list is to check in once a month until my deadline. So here I am with a month to go and I thought I'd share my progress with you! :)
01. Send a card just because.
02. Start doing a Bible study! (I have the Bible study - now I need to start it!)
03. Lose 15 pounds. (I'm down 10, so getting close!)
04. Upload my 2011 Christmas card designs to Etsy.
05. Do a 7 day detox. (I really don't want to do this.)
06. Go to the dentist. (Or this.)
07. Go to a show at the Grand Ole Opry.
08. Make more fabric flower necklaces.
10. Finish my DIY window project.
11. Go to the beach.
12. Finish the re-branding for Paisley Card Co.
13. Re-do the wording for Button Baby's Etsy listings.
14. Finish my photo wall in my living room.
15. Get my hair highlighted.
16. Add more designs to Etsy.
17. Give more handmade Christmas gifts than store bought.
18. Make button art.
20. Make my own laundry detergent.
21. Make 5 recipes from my yum yums board. (3 down, 2 to go)
22. Go see Wicked.
23. Raise money to support a friend's adoption process!
24. Settle on a church here in TN and continue to go regularly.
25. Spend more time with my little sister Katie.
26. Be happy!

It's funny how your goals can change in such a short time. For instance, #14 says to finish my photo wall in my living room. Well, I live in a studio apartment and I have since gotten rid of my "living room". I now just have a little seating area over by the fireplace. But there are still pictures I want to hang so I guess I'll have to finish that goal in a slightly different way!

Anyway, I am almost 26 and on the other side of my twenties. I am not at all sure how I feel about it either! Hello 30, here I come! (Ew.) Oh, and you may have noticed that things have changed around here - again. I can't help myself. I love designing and I am my toughest client. I am really loving the yellow and gray (which are the colors I used in my branding for Paisley Card Co. so I'm OK with going back). But, with that being said - I really do want to find something that just feels right and that is so me. I really don't want to rebrand myself every 6 months - it just happens! :) But, I have to say, I love, love, love my script logo. And the yellow. And slowly but surely it is feeling more and more like me! :)

Weekly Wrap Up | Cooking with Pinterest & Many Thanks!

February 24, 2012

I just wanted to pop in and say hello! I have been super busy lately and just haven't had time to prepare any posts! Lots of exciting things are going on - including just one week until the AH Inspired workshop here in Nashville! I can not wait to meet everybody and be surrounded by people who have a lot of the same goals as I do!

I also wanted to share two recipes that I found via Pinterest. They were absolutely delicious and easy to make (if I can do it, seriously anyone can do it)! I've included links below for you to pin it if you want to save it for later, as well as links to the actual source (gotta follow my own advice, ya know!) so you can try the recipe on your own! And get a better view on what it's supposed to look like since my photos aren't the artsy food type! :)

Crispy Cheddar Chicken Pin It | Recipe
Carmel Apple Cheesecake Bars Pin It | Recipe that was adapted from Paula Deen's

OH - and one more thing! THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who has already pre-ordered their copy of the My Animal Alphabet book! Your support means so much to me! I have learned that support comes in the most unexpected places and I am truly grateful! :)


In the Studio | The 'My Animal Alphabet' Book

February 20, 2012
I am so beyond thrilled to be sharing about this. A few months ago, I finally completed the 'My Animal Alphabet' poster I had been working on for months - literally months. Well, after seeing the progress and the finished product, my aunt, Christie Jenkins, felt inspired. She has wanted to write a children's book for years and this felt like the perfect opportunity to start. She created the most adorable rhyme to go along with my illustrations and now it is much more than a poster - it's a book. A beautiful, 32-page, adorable, bright, & fun book and I couldn't be more excited. The book has been sent off to print so I don't have photos of the finished product quite yet (soon!) but here is what the cover looks like!

You can pre-order your very own copy right HERE. Receive an 8 x 10 'My Animal Alphabet' poster for free with your pre-order purchase. The 'My Animal Alphabet' products are the perfect gift for any little one who is learning their ABCs.

There's a little sneak peek of the inside for ya! Thank you to everyone who has already pre-ordered their copy. It means so much to us and I cannot thank you enough for the support! Oh, and for anyone who is curious how we went about getting this all done, Christie wrote a great post highlighting the major steps she took to turning this book from dream to reality.

Word to the Wise | How to Use Pinterest Effectively & Not Harmfully

February 15, 2012
By now, most everyone is on Pinterest or at least knows of it. If you don't then please crawl out from under the rock you've been dwelling and get with it! But just in case - Pinterest is a virtual inspiration board. Instead of saving the hundreds and hundreds of images I loved to my computer and of course forgetting where I found it originally, I can now 'pin' the images to a 'board'. Not only are the images easy to access again, I can also find where the images were originally introduced to the internet. This is helpful for DIY projects, tutorials, helpful advice, or new products I hope to purchase in the future. At least this is how it's supposed to work.

I've had it for about two years now, meaning I have already been addicted and gone through rehab, while most people I know are just getting started. Which is awesome! I think it is a great tool to help inspire everyone to create, but the more popular it becomes - and it seems to have blown up in the last several weeks - the more problems I see evolving.

The main problems I see, severely affect creatives and anyone who makes a living selling their craft. Whether it is graphic design, illustration, baking, photography, writing, etc. - it can be super frustrating to see something you have created, pinned by a user on Pinterest, with absolutely no link or credit to you. Even worse when a pin goes viral and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. The photo is just out there for the taking with no way for viewers to find the original source.

So what do we do?

If you have found something on Pinterest that has inspired you to create, cook,  etc. that is great. If you want to share on your own blog that you have tried something from Pinterest, great. The problem starts when you use (& then pin) photos that do not belong to you. For instance, say you pinned this image. What if you decided to recreate these adorable Bow Ear Warmers? The tutorial was originally created by Delia Creates, so in the hypothetical post you include a link to Delia's website. BUT, instead of taking your own photos, you decide to use her's, because well, her's looks much better than yours and you already have access to the photos, and it's just plain easier. That day, Mary Jo stops by your blog and decides she loves this tutorial so she pins it from your blog to her DIY board. Now, a tutorial that you did not create and did not shoot photos for, is linked back to you. Not the creator. How would you feel if you spent all that time, not only creating something, but also preparing a blog post in an easy to follow fashion and shooting coordinating photos and then just like that, all the credit is given to someone else? Give credit where credit is due.

This is so frustrating to me when I see something I want to buy or I want to create and instead of finding the original source when clicking the pin, I am taken to Google images. This helps no one and totally defeats the purpose of Pinterest. If you pin directly from Google images, you don't get Pinterest and please, just stop. As for pins from Google images that are already on Pinterest, try your best to find where it belongs or don't pin at all.

This is also quite frustrating. If I am wanting to make that delicious looking dip, I click over to check out the recipe. If the pinner of the pin didn't do it correctly, it may take me to the homepage of the blog or website, not the actual post. I see this over and over again, and usually search the site to try to find the specific post I'm looking for. I then edit the URL of the pin, so anyone who re-pins from me is directed to the correct location.

I touched a little on my feelings toward using Pinterest as your source, here, but now I want to dig in a little deeper. There are so many bloggers in so many different fields. Lots of time, effort, and creativity goes into putting out great content. I have seen time and time again where a blogger will feature something they have recreated after seeing it on Pinterest. They provide a source - but link back to Pinterest. Pinterest is not the source for the tutorial, photo, recipe. It is just simply the avenue in which enabled them to come across it. Whatever it is that you are sharing, if you are not the original creator, link back to the proper source (website/blog).

OK - I think that's enough! (But just in case you still want more on this topic, I learned even more about Pinterest from two Living Locurto posts, here and here. I highly recommend you checking them out for yourself.)

If you take anything away from this I hope that it is to think before you pin. Respect the ones who have created the beautiful images for you to be inspired by in the first place. There are a lot of people who work really hard on these types of things and you can diminish that in one click. Pinterest is definitely changing the way the internet works and I am even looking at the way I use and have used images in the past. I'm not only going back and double checking that I have correctly provided sources for all images and content I have featured but I am also going through my pins. I highly recommend you do the same! Keep Pinterest clean and full of beautiful inspiration that can easily be linked back to it's source.

Thanks to Pinterest (ha), I came across this pin which led me to this post that had more information  here, that shares "good pinning manners". It is also a good read and I wanted to be sure you saw it as well! I'm glad more and more people are highlighting this subject. Hopefully it will open the eyes of people and inspire smart pinning!

More great posts on how to keep Pinterest clean & helpful:
Pinterest Copycats: Flattering or Frustrating? from Handmade Success.
How to be a Polite Pinterest Pinner from On the Dot Creations.


You Are Loved | Happy Valentines Day

February 14, 2012
Happy Valentines Day, folks! I just wanted to pop in and tell you that YOU ARE LOVED! Whether you are married, in a relationship, single, have lots of friends, zero friends, huge family, no family - there is someone who loves you unconditionally for just who you are. How amazing is that? Thank you, Jesus! :) I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with LOVE!

Head on over to The Southern Bees to check out the Grown-Up Valentines we put together! :)

Blogging 101 | The Anatomy of a Post

February 13, 2012

Nowadays, it seems like everyone and their brother has a blog. It's the perfect way to express yourself or share the knowledge or point of view that you have. Being the graphic designer that I am, I am a very visual person. I have been guilty, on more than one occasion, of leaving a blog because I don't find it ascetically pleasing. I do this with websites too. A company can have a good reputation, sell amazing products, etc., but if I go to their website and it's ill organized or not pleasing to the eye? Well, I quickly exit and move on. I know that may sound kind of shallow, but come on people. There are a million and one little tweaks that can be made - for free - so, I find there really is no excuse! 

With that being said, here are just a few tips to make each of your blog posts a little more appealing to the eye.

01 | Include at least one photo per post. People are extremely visual beings and including a coordinating photo really adds to the overall feel of your post. This also means that the photo has to be related in some way - as in, don't post a picture of your cat if you are talking about a new recipe you tried out.

02 | Use large and high resolution photos. If you choose a super small or low res photo for your post, you might as well not use a photo at all. I like to use photos that extend the full width of my posts - I feel it's more visually appealing to have it lined up with my text.

03 | Justify your text. Most people align their text to the right. I think this is great for paper writing, etc. but as far as blogs go? It just looks so much cleaner to have two parallel lines running down the body of your text.

04 | Create paragraphs. If your post is short and sweet - perfect! People are lazy and don't like to read (sad, but true). For those of us (ahem, me) who feel like we have more to say, it's important to break your post into paragraphs. Think of each paragraph as a new thought. This enables people to skim your post quickly and get the main idea.

05 | Create headings or lists. Again, people are lazy and don't like to read. When you create headings or lists, it makes it easier for people to skim your post and still (hopefully) get the point you are trying to get across.

06 | Use spell check. It's easy to make mistakes. We all do it. (I do it all. the. time.) But that is why there are wonderful sources such as spell check. If you're lucky, your computer automatically catches every spelling mistake you make as you are typing! Thank goodness! If not, there are plenty of places to make sure you aren't making any major typos.

07 | Create a signature. This isn't something I use, but I generally like it when other people do. I think it is more practical for blogs that have more than one author so their readers can easily know who is responsible for the article. I used to have a signature but felt because it's just me here, people understood that I was the one signing off! (If you use Blogger, here is a super easy tutorial from Kevin & Amanda).

08 | Credit your sources. This doesn't really add to the visual appeal of your blog post, but it does add to the validity of it. If I got paid five cents for every time I read a post that not only used another person's photos but also credited their source back to PINTEREST, I would be a millionaire. Why on Earth people think it's OK to use photos from another person without sharing at LEAST the source (again, this does not mean Pinterest) is beyond me.

So there you have it! Just a few tips you can utilize to make your reader's viewing experience more enjoyable!

    Stimulate Creativity

    February 3, 2012
    This is the very thing I wish for myself. I know that I am supposed to be using the creative talent God has given me. I haven't quite figured out the big picture, but I know some way, some how, I will use it for His glory. When you think about how much of your life is spent working, it can be kind of super depressing, but it doesn't have to be that way. We each have been given talents and we need to put them to good work, whatever area it may be. What fires you up and gets you all excited? Embrace it and let it lead your path. Whether it is design, singing, photography, organizing, writing, planning, cleaning, sewing - the list goes on - make time to do what you love.

    If you aren't in a position where what you love is what you do full-time (like me), still find the time. There is a place for you and I know we will get there if we keep pushing through. (This next thought is more-so a note to self, because it's definitely something I need to here.) Take your current circumstances, whether it's a crumby job, low pay, small house, broken-down car, and try to find the joy. Chances are, you are going through the trial because it's an area you struggle with. For instance, I suck at having patience. I am constantly put in situations where I need to learn to be patient. Being the stubborn, hard-headed person I am, all this does is annoy me and I have yet to learn patience. Funny how this lesson keeps coming up (I'm sure it will continue to come up until I have learned from it). Be a light for those around you, that they may know there is something better waiting for them.

    I hope you all enjoy your weekend and fill it with everything and everyone you love! :)

    P.S. I am attending a workshop here in Nashville on March 3rd. This quote was mentioned as a favorite of one of the panel speakers and it was exactly what I needed to hear!

    February One & Valentine's Day Printables

    February 1, 2012
    I'm just going to quit apologizing for saying things like this at the beginning of every month, but seriously - how is it already February? Where did the month of January go. I keep expecting time to slow down, just a little. But it is the complete opposite. Each day, things move faster and faster! Well, regardless, here we are at the start of a new month - the love month! :)

    Last year, I designed a Valentine for my Valentine's Day post. I thought it was super cute so I thought I would adapt it into a smaller Valentine for kids (or you) to pass out! I hope to have a few more Vday freebies this month but don't have a whole bunch planned like I did for the 12 Days of Christmas. Enjoy!