Something NOT on the registry

My friend Jeannette's wedding is this weekend. Jeannette and I met on the Knot last summer. We bonded over stories involving our equally quirky families and jaunts to L.A. Flowermart. She is also my first design client that wasn't a family member or part of my inner circle. She and her fiance, Matt, opted not to register for gifts. This gave me a golden opportunity to design and make a gift.

Working with paper is my forte. As such, I decided to create a guest book for them. I bought an album kit from Paper Source and went to work. I'd like to say that this project was a walk in the park. In actuality it was A LOT more work than I had anticipated. I purchased the art from a website and manipulated it to fit my needs. The motif matched their wedding stationery, which I will post later. This was the easy part.

My original plan was to transfer the design to fabric and use the fabric as the book's cover. This was a disaster. The image didn't transfer as well as I would have liked. The fabric did not adhere as well as I would have liked. The fabric was so thick that it required a disgusting amount of glue. This, in turn, caused the covers to buckle. Long story short. The finished product looked like a child's art project gone very, very bad. Thankfully, I did not take any photos of this pathetic attempt.

Not to be deterred, I went back to Paper Source and bought another album kit and some paper. I decided to skip the fabric and stick to what I work with best - paper. I printed the design on Luxe paper. Assembly went much better this time. As persevering as I am, I wasn't sure I could buy another kit and start over yet again. I am quite pleased with the finished product.

Here are photos of the finished product:


Living in the Dark Ages

For the past 3 weeks, I have been without Internet at home. How did I end up without any Internet? Let's just say there was a gross miscommunication with the phone company. I asked them to change our phone services. Somehow, they interpreted that to mean cancel our DSL service. Gotta love AT&T… yeah right.

This was absolute torture. I could only check my personal email once a day while I was at work. I couldn’t blog or read blogs. My google reader was taunting me we 1000+ unread entries. I couldn’t shop for things I don’t need. I couldn’t satiate my need for instant information or communication. This was hellish to say the least.

This experience has taught me something about myself. I am an Internet addict. I am certain I am an addict because I became an Internet scavenger. If there were even the smallest wireless Internet signal, I would desperately try to surf the net with my ipod touch. Does my livelihood rely on having immediate Internet access? Nope. My personal entertainment does, but not my job.

In my stint in the digital Dark Ages, I made some surprising discoveries. You would be surprised at some of the places where you have free Internet access. One such place is the grocery store. The Vons by my house and the Pavilions by my office have free Internet. I took full advantage of this. I used the “grocery store method” so much that I don’t want to contemplate how much I spent on groceries in the last three weeks. Another fun discovery is that our local Target shopping plaza had free Wi-fi. I also don’t wish to total up my Target receipts to see how much I’ve spent. Although Starbucks touts that they have Wi-fi, it most certainly is not free, nor is it worth the headache of setting up a T-mobile HotSpot account.

My favorite source of free Internet was my local public library. The library was awesome because sadly it’s never that busy. This was perfect for me to get caught on some freelance design work. As much as I loved the library, nothing beats surfing the net in your PJs while simultaneously watching TV. Believe me when I say, I am oh-so-thankful that everything is back to "normal".

Designs that didn't make the cut

Here are some designs that didn't make it into Wendy & Lior's Invite Suite.

* Design edited for client privacy

This was their original invitation design. I had to edit the design when Wendy realized it would take her 7 Gocco screens and hours and hours of labor to mass-produce this piece. I was a little bummed that I wouldn't see this design "fleshed out", but loved what ultimately printed.

These were the original monograms I created for Wendy & Lior. They loved them until they realized that each monogram had to be hand-cut to be used as pocketfold seal.

Progress with my evvvillll plans

This is Wendy & Lior. They are aiding and abetting in my eevvillll plan.Photo by Kim Fox Photography

I met Wendy through the Knot. We've become friends over the last couple of months. So, when she asked me to design her wedding invitation suite, I was honored. Wendy only had a few stipulations:
1. Invites had to have a modern feel
2. Incorporate a "Swirly Pattern"
3. Simple enough for her to Gocco print and DIY at home

I drew some of my inspiration from her wedding venue - Villa de la Vina in Malibu.
Here are some pics of her venue:

We ran into a few production hiccups. Because of that, her invites have had several incarnations. Thankfully, we got the kinks worked out. I helped assemble these invites.
Here is the finished product:
***Personal info has been removed to protect privacy.
Thank you Wendy & Lior for being among my first clients!

I have another invite suite to blog about, but I'll wait until after their wedding to post. Don't worry, JV...I didn't forget about your invites;)

Repetition of a Theme

Here's an another photo from my early portfolio.
I took this photo when I was a Senior in High School.

This is a photo of my would-be Senior Prom dress. I was so in love with this dress at the time. My mom and I purchased it at a Nordstrom Rack just outside of Washington, D.C. It was a steal. We bought it for the low price of $75. I was ecstatic. If only, my quest for a prom date went as smoothly. As luck would have it, I could not get a date and decided to go sans date. It was a bold move at the time, but I wasn't brave enough to rock this dress without a date. So, I wore something else. I never wore it anywhere except for in pictures.

So, I dug around for pictures of me in this dress and made a startling discovery...

my prom dress = my wedding dress!

On the left is a photo of me in my Prom dress in 1991. On the right is from my wedding last summer. The dresses are freakishly similar. Aside from me wearing them, they had one common denominator - my mom.

My mom had suggested I wear my prom dress for my wedding since it was ivory and classic. I was horrified and immediately rejected the idea. I thought it was a Miss Havershim (from "Great Expectations") idea. All I needed was a rotting cake, a wilting prom corsage and I would have been set.

I underestimated that my mom is a clever, clever woman. I should have known she would find a way to sneak my prom dress (or an amazing facsimile of it) in . My mom and I found my wedding dress at a bridal boutique's Going-Out-of-Business sale. She handed it to me after I had tried on a multitude of blah, ill-fitting dresses. I was relieved to find a dress that fit. It was $200. I snatched it up.

I realize now that I had been duped. Thankfully, this is one time that I don't mind that my mom was right. My wedding dress is classic. I don't think I will cringe years from now when I look at my wedding photos. Now, if only I had just listened to her and had my prom dress altered. I could have saved $200!

Helen Backwards

For those that don't know, I've been a photographer since I was 15. I was a photographer long before I was a graphic designer. Photography has always been my first love.

A friend of mine (Jordy Pants) has decided to explore photography in-depth. Her explorations have inspired me to think about my own photography. Sadly, I have not been an active photographer since the fateful Summer of '06. My trusty Nikon D70 and matching lenses disappeared while at sporting event. The experience left me incredibly disheartened about my photography. I took it as a sign that I was not meant to be a photographer any longer and didn't have the inclination to replace my equipment. Recently, I've been rethinking that outlook. To motivate myself, I've been digging through my photo archives and I thought I'd share some tidbits of my photographer past.

This is Neleh Sawsiengmongkol
Neleh (pronounced: Nellie or Nel-E-ah) was my wedding photographer. She has a great site - www.helenbackwards.com. You can see some of her fantastic photographs in my previous post recapping my wedding.

Here we are hamming it up at the end of my reception. Don't we both look exhausted?
Long before she was Neleh S. - photographer, she was...

Neleh B. - photographer's model

This photo of her was taken circa 1999 when I was taking a studio lighting class. Our relationship as photographer and model actually went back to her days as a High School Junior. It's hard for me to believe, but I've known her that long.

Here's a contact sheet of her getting ready for prom. I can't remember if it was for her prom or her then-boyfriend Edgar's prom. These photos were taken in 1995.
Just click on the image to enlarge this contact sheet. If you look carefully, you can see her older brother Mike, my then-boyfriend, carefully watching the proceedings.

This is one of the last shoots I did with her and another "ghost of boyfriends past". I really adore these. These were taken towards the end of my studio lighting class in 2000. I loved these photos so much that I had copies framed in my apartment for years. This reminds me of how much I really loved playing around with studio lights.
It's funny to think that our creative relationship has come full circle. We have had our ups and downs, but it's good to know that we're still friends.

A Tasty Treat

Sometimes it's the little things that make me happy. My mother-in-law left a little package on our doorstep. I opened it up to find this.

She left us some tasty treats from Vanilla Bakeshop! Sometimes, there really are benefits to having your mother-in-law living next door.

In the box was a vanilla cupcake with a strawberry on top for me and a chocolate cupcake for Rob the choco-fiend. I am not a cake person, but I enjoy cupcakes for their frosting to cake ratio. I was a bit reluctant to partake in this cupcake because it was heaped with icing. In my experience, heavy-handed icing equates to inedible cupcakes, even disgusting cupcakes. The over-exuberant use of icing is a diversionary tactic. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised and a bit disappointed that there wasn't more icing. The icing was buttery and smooth with little bits of vanilla bean in it. It did not have the gritty, overly sweet taste of lesser quality cupcakes. It was airy and reminded me a little of whip cream. The cake was equally tasty. It was moist and delicious and it also had vanilla bean pieces in it. I swear it was like a teeny tiny bit of heaven and it made me smile. Now if only I could figure out how to con Rob out of his cupcake...

Planning ahead

I promised my best friend that I would do some Inspiration Boards. Here's the first in the series. I don't have the room for a design studio at present. In the spirit of positive thinking, I decided to go ahead and visualize what my ideal workspace would look like. I went for style points as well as wallet points. I chose items that would actually work in a my real life budget. You won't find $1000 office chairs here.

What kind of designer would I be without a computer? #5 is a definite MUST-HAVE. For the type of work that I do, an iMac is more than enough computing power for me. I wouldn't turn down a G5 tower, but this would work wonderfully for me. Anything is better than the G4 powerbook I'm currently using. The iMac's form-factor and new design doesn't hurt either.

The focus of my studio would definitely be #2. 2 Trig Desks and Bookshelf from CB2. I really love the look of the metal and glass. I have worked on glass tables and have found they are really great surfaces for assembly. I would go with the L-shaped desk format. I'm dying to work area.

I do a lot of fine detail work when it comes to my designs. So, lighting is important to me. #1 Photo lamp from CB2 is both bright and chic. It would also remind me of my photography roots. The desk lamp from Ikea is so sleek and would allow me to pivot between the computer desk and the worktable portion.

#4 I love the white desk chair. I'm not sure how practical it would be. As an alternate, I would go with #12. I'm definitely a fan of high-backed desk chairs.
#9 Every studio needs a lounge for clients or a place for a designer to nap. I'm all about catching naps. Naps are the greatest cure for creative block.

I like the idea of having all of my supplies accessible but not necessarily out on display. I've tried having supplies out in the open and I feel that it looks cluttered.

I have a plethora of paper on hand at all times. #10 is a perfect size to accommodate the different sizes of paper. #11 is a multi-sided cart. It allows for accessible storage of design tools like scissors, punches, adhesives, etc. It also has a magazine rack, which is a huge bonus for a magazine addict like me. Both of these would sit underneath the desk. The casters would allow me to move them around as necessary.

Being a gadget girl, I love #14. Pottery Barn created this bulletin board/gadget storage cabinet. It has a space cut out of it for a power brick. This allows you to charge your camera, cellphone, ipod, etc. while storing it.

I have several reference books on hand -- books about etiquette, business, design, weddings, etc, etc, #6 & #7 are great because they allow the books to become part of the decor.

More likely than not, I'd cycle through different pieces on the walls. I would probably keep #8 & #13 up at all times. #8 is fairly self-explanatory. Who doesn't need a little encouragement every now and then? #13 is hilarious. I constantly need to be reminded that Hindsight is always 20/20.

Here's a link to where each item can be purchased.

I want a puppy

This is Pichu.
She was rescued from the streets of South Central L.A. When she was found, she was already several weeks pregnant and due to deliver any day. She was adopted by my friend nspeis from the Knot.

These are Pichu's puppies.
They were born on Sunday February 24. There are 5 boys and 1 girl. They are what I call "muttlings".

I want this one.
Or this one.
The jury is still out on whether or not I will actually be able to have one.

If you live in the Southern CA area and want one, email me.