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Showing posts from May, 2012

Link Dump #2

A fascinating read, even though I'm not married: 15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years.

If you're in your 30's like me... here are 48 things will probably make you feel old.

Some of these Adobe Illustrator tips may seem simple, but even I learned a few tricks here!

Ever wondered how to make long-exposure star trails? Here is my attempt:

Is being creative important?

Every creative thing you do is valuable, and don't let people tell you otherwise. After all, where would we be without the creatives in this world? There would be no movies, no music, no art... and that would be a tragedy. So do what you, and do it well... because it's important. It really is.

3 Tips for Better Blog Posts

#1: Write good post titles.
I'm much better at writing the body copy of a post than in figuring out what to name it. My instinct is to make a title vague and creative, which has been my go-to method in the past, despite the fact that "How to Blog Better" articles tell you never to do that.

This weekend I realized that these articles were probably right... I mean, do I even know what my previous posts are about, based solely on their titles? And if not, how can I expect a new reader to come in and feel like they know what's going on?

Great question...

Here's a post that I re-titled recently. It was originally called 20 Different Shades of Yellow. Can you guess what it was about? No?

Whatever your guess is, I would bet that you're wrong. It had nothing to do with painting or even about anything yellow. It was actually about how glad I am that I'm a design student instead of a medical student. Clearly evident by the title, right? I think you see my point.

#2: Edit…

Stop-Motion Animation: How to Build a House

Yesterday I spent the afternoon working on my stop-motion project. After a couple failed attempts, I finally came up with something that actually kind of works.

Stop-motion has been a really fun video technique to learn, and I'm sure if I had more patience I could make something even better. As it is, this video took me nearly two hours!

My Musings on the Creative Mind

I'm beginning to realize that creative people are crazy. And wonderful. And prolific. And all kinds of not normal. Which is a good thing.

I'm not talking crazy like "needs to go in a home" crazy, but more like, they are people who aren't afraid of looking silly or trying new things. They sing, dance, act, draw, play with clay, make videos, create things out of yarn. Creative people see life differently. They are kids at heart who don't mind getting down on their knees to play with little green army men. I'm being to realize that most (all?) creative people are like this, too. (I mean, have you ever watched the outtakes from a movie? Even a serious movie? They're all nuts!)

The more entrenched I become in my graphic design training, the more I realize that I'm one of those creative people! So long have I mainly interacted with logical, solemn, "normal" people that I'd forgotten what fun it is to play and dream and be silly. It feels n…

Looking for June Sponsors

Are you ready to sponsor Living the Creative Life? I have 1800 page views per month, 61 readers on GFC, 102 Pinterest followers, and 180 Twitter followers (as of May 2012).

To keep this hassle free, I will post one sponsor highlight post a month, highlighting every sponsor at once, but I cannot guarantee that I'll have time to do much more than that. I will grab content/photos from your blog to make a quick blurb about you for this post -- if you would rather send me different content, please do as soon after purchasing your ad as you can. Email is the fastest way to reach me.

For those of you doing swaps, please look for the DISCOUNT CODES above. If you are needing a button, please check my Buttons page. If you need some "About Me" copy, check my About Me page and feel free to grab any of that. If you need anything different, please ask, but remember that I am a busy student right now and won't have time to do a lot of special arrangements, interviews, etc. Of cour…

Stop-Motion Animation: The Mysterious Orange Blob

We're learning how to do stop-motion animation this week at school. I have to make one on my own yet, but here is one I did in a group in class. I'll probably have my own movie done this weekend, so I'll be sure to show you!

3 Creative Sites You Might Enjoy

Better Blogger Network

Yeah for getting to know other introverted, creative types like myself! I liken it to a Facebook-style site that's exclusive to bloggers. We chit-chat, ask questions, help each other build readership, etc. If you're a blogger, won't you join us?

Forever Young Adult

Are you an "adult" who can't stop reading YA novels? Or maybe, despite the fact that you're over 30, you've seen every episode of Gossip Girl, Make It or Break It, and Felicity? Oh wait... that's me. ;P

This site is for readers/watchers like me who love this genre despite being older than the target demographic for it. It's pretty fun to find other people out there who aren't still teenagers and yet love this genre too!


I've already spoken about Pottermore, but it's still a fun site. It will be more fun when more content is added, but it's worth mentioning here. You should check it out!

4 Reasons Why I'll Unsubscribe From a Blog

I'm a pretty ruthless blog un-subscriber. It's nothing personal, I just want to save my energy for blogs I care about. I'm constantly browsing around and picking up interesting looking blogs, but to make it into my long-term reading rotation, you have to make through several rounds of cuts.

1) You don't motivate me to want to comment
Whenever a post catches my eye long enough for me to A) finish reading the post, and B) actually comment on it, I will flag that post in Google Reader with a star. About once a month, I scan back through my subscriptions and see which ones have more "marked as read"s than stars and I unsubscribe to those. Basically what it comes down to is... if I scan through more of your posts than I read... I'm moving on.

2) Your feeds are cluttered with ads or truncated off
Especially on newly-subscribed-to blogs, if I'm reading through a feed and there are ads in it or if the feeds are truncated... I unsubscribe on principle. I won't…

Greys Anatomy: Season 8 Finale Recap -- MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Read no further unless you don't mind reading some major spoilers from tonight's episode (or unless you've already watched it, of course).


So... Lexie died. I wish Shonda Rhimes would stop killing off my people. Almost more maddening than that though was that this episode treated her death like it was no big deal. It occurred w/in the first 20 minutes of the show, with no real build-up or anticipation, in between cutting back and forth to Seattle Grace doctors laughing and sniveling at each other and carrying on with their everyday lives. It all just felt very anticlimactic, despite stellar performances from Ellen Pompeo and Eric Dane.
Normally I find that the deaths of major characters on this show are very dramatic and well executed. I'm not sure what happened with this one. I almost felt like they were trying to cram a dramatic episode and a normal episode together and this is what happened.  There really wasn'…

Things I Like Thursdays

There are some really cool mugs over on Etsy. I really don't need any more, nor do I have the extra cash to spend on them... but if I did... here are some of the ones that have caught my eye!

'Could we live without COFFEE? I think not!' by desertrosegraphics Here are some fun coffee mugs to start your morning with!

Funny Coffee Mug - Defi...
DailyGrinder $14.00
Crazy Cat Lady Mug and...

4 Tips for Creating a Color Scheme on Your Blog

Basically the rule of thumb is to pick colors that will "play nice" together. This can be accomplished by choosing colors that fall into certain categories. For best results, pick ONE of the following categories and stick with that for a given blog theme.

Here are the four easiest ways to choose a color scheme:

1) Complementary Colors-- this means any colors opposite each other in the color wheel. For example: Red/Green, Blue/Yellow, or Purple/Orange. For variety, you can also use tints and shades of the colors you've chosen: pink and light green, for example.

2) Analogous Colors-- this means any 3-5 colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. So, you could pick yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange, for example, since they are all right next to each other on the color wheel.

3) Split Complementary Colors-- this is similar to complementary colors except that you're choosing one color on either side of the complement to your main color. So let's say your …

Dealing w/ Negative Reactions to Your Creativity

Alycia wrote a great post the other day about how non-crafty people can sometimes imply that crafty people must have way too much time on their hands in order to create all the crafty things they do, like it's somehow a bad thing. I've definitely had this reaction from people and it always makes me feel a little weird.

I mean, have you ever tried explaining to someone what you do, only to have them exclaim, "Wow... you must be really creative! I could never do that!!" or "Huh, wow... I'm far too busy to learn how to knit!" as if implying that you must be some sort of super-human to be able to do these things. I never know whether to smile and thank them, despite feeling like I was just severely patronized, or to console what appears to be deep insecurities in them by pointing out that they, too, have talents to be proud of!

Maybe they can build houses or grow a garden really well. Who knows? There are tons of things people can do that I can't. I usu…

A Pretty Flower Picture for You

Today I have a pretty picture for you all. It was soooo gorgeous outside yesterday (actually it's gorgeous out there today too, come to think of it) that I had to go out and take pictures. This was my best shot. Also, Happy Mother's Day! I forgot to say that yesterday. ;)

Site Review: Pottermore

Have you visited Pottermore yet? I just got the email this morning that it was open. I'm not entirely clear if it opened today or if they're doing a staggered release, but in any case, today was MY first day there. If you're on there (and you're not a crazy stalker), send me your user name and I'll add you!

If you're an avid Harry Potter fan, this website probably needs no introduction, but for the rest of you, here's the deal: J. K. Rowling created elaborate backstories for every character, place, and situation for the Potter world, many of which did not make it into the books. So... Pottermore was conceived to let fans explore the Potter world and to learn about it more extensively!

The site plays out kind of like an exploring game. You enter a scene for each chapter of the books and then you meet characters there, find objects, buy your school textbooks, etc. So far, I think Diagon Alley has been my favorite spot to explore. It's pretty exciting to g…

What I Like to Do on a Lazy Day

Happy Friday everyone! With my school schedule, I only have classes four days a week, so Fridays are pretty lazy days for me. Writing this blog post is about the most strenuous thing I've done so far this morning.

Which got me to thinking... I love lazy days! They're generally when I feel the most permission to be creative. After this, I'll probably go design something cool or break out my drawing pad. What do you like to do on a lazy day?

New to my Knitting Shop: Toeless Yoga Socks

I just realized I haven't told you guys about the toeless yoga socks that I've been knitting lately! They're so fun I'm going to have to make some for myself too, but for now they're all going in my Etsy shop. I love how soft they are and they really keep your feet warm while still letting you grip the floor nicely w/ your toes. Perfect!

Here are the colors I have made so far, and I'm working on a blue pair next.

A little story about the day my gas tank was siphoned!

Ironically, I probably would've realized this sooner if I didn't live in Oregon, but my gas tank was siphoned probably about a week ago. My "Check Engine" light had come on, which can often mean that your gas cap wasn't screwed on properly (I know, weird right? I used to work for a gas station corporate office and that was one of the little tricks I picked up.) Anyway, so about a week ago I noticed that light come on so I checked my gas cap. Sure enough, it wasn't screwed shut. There was a (what I now know was a siphoning) hose there but I didn't know that it wasn't supposed to be there BECAUSE I LIVE IN OREGON where we don't pump our own gas. Lol. If I had ever pumped gas even once in my life I would've known that there isn't supposed to be a hose sticking out of your gas tank. But I haven't, so I didn't. ;P

So today I went to get gas and the gas station attendant was like, "Um... you might want to come take a look at this...…

Creating a Grungy Textured Look in Photoshop

I really know far less about Photoshop than I should, considering that I'm a graphic design major. For some reason we use Illustrator way more in our classes than Photoshop. To remedy my increasing sense that I really should be more familiar with this program than I am, I did what any 21st century student does... I went to YouTube.

This guy does an awesome video on how to create a textured, grungy poster look. Watch it if you like. It's pretty interesting.

Anyway, since learning doesn't do a lot of good if you don't apply it, I decided to play around with this technique on my own!

I started with this photo:

After adding several texture layers, playing around with layer masks, and adding some text about a fake gymnastics competition...

Here's what I came up with! Pretty neat, huh? I'll definitely have to keep playing with PS to get as comfortable with it as I am with Illustrator, but I'm starting to wrap my head around it's capabilities, and that's half t…

New to my Design Shop: Laptop Skins and T-Shirts

As promised, I've got some more designs to show you from my Society6 shop! I feel like I have a color theme going on here. Lol. Every design is available in a variety of formats, of course (canvas prints, laptop skins, t-shirts, etc), but I just listed a few of them here to give you an idea.

Could dance walking make exercise interesting again?

I was attempting to catch up a little on my blog reading this afternoon and ran across this hilarious video. Have you ever heard of dance walking? Yeah, me neither...

But, if I knew how to dance... and if I didn't mind doing it in public... this might just be the perfect way to work out. Lol. ;P

Notice some of the funny stares he gets when he starts doing it (about a minute into the video). He is pretty good though, actually. By the end, when he gets other people to join him, it kind of reminds me of an exercise flash mob. Ha!

New to my Design Shop: I Like Watching Paint Dry

I was experimenting with drawing paint drops in Adobe Illustrator and this is what happened!

By the way, have you ever heard of Society6? That illustrator I stumbled upon the other day has a store there and it inspired me. Basically you upload your artwork and then people can buy prints through them, giving you a commission every time it sells. They can also put your artwork on t-shirt, iPhone cases, etc. Pretty cool, huh?

Below are some of the items that I have available in my Society6 shop. I'll have to let you know when I get some more items listed. ;)

What is Graphic Design?

I found this illustration over here and it sums up the blank stares perfectly that I get from a lot of people when I tell them I'm studying graphic design. I generally get some form of, "So... what are you going to do with that?" in this really open-ended tone of voice like they're hoping I'll fill in the blanks for them.

The funny thing is... and this is one of the reasons I chose graphic design... the possibilities are endless! How do you sum that up in two sentences or less without losing them to the minute details of what graphic design could be? I mean, I could work for a magazine doing page layout, I could sell illustrated prints, I could design fabric patterns, I could create a giant logo to go on the side of a food truck... just to name a few. And as I learned in my last project, sometimes even sleeping is working, while my brain figures out how it wants to arrange a composition!

Graphic design is about more than just getting things done... it also encompas…

Designing is not always a linear process.

I've been having a two-week long design block. Well, maybe block is too strong a word. It wasn't complete blank-ness, like you would associate with "writer's block", but I had definitely hit a wall in my project.

We were supposed to choose a poem, story, recipe, song, etc... and then illustrate it. I chose a poem that has stuck in my head since high school: The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost.

Then I started trying to visualize how I would illustrate it. I made sketches. I started and scrapped about half a dozen digital designs. I mulled it over in my head. I've even dreamt about it the last few nights.

Suddenly this evening... BAM! My brain suddenly figured out what it wanted to do and I finished it in about an hour. Fast? Maybe. But then again... I've been thinking about little else for two weeks. Just goes to show that design is not always a linear process. Sometimes you have to mull things over for awhile and let everything marinate before anything go…