Posts in Inspiration
2014 Reading List
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So now that we're well into February (how did that happen?!) I figured it was about time to post my 2014 reading list. Most of these books are geared toward small business, design and creativity since that's what I focus on in my free time. It is not a reading list for everybody, but it's my reading list and I hope it inspires some of you. There are a few at the bottom that are focused on the greater good that I'm particularly excited about. I'm currently working on Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary and it's already wonderful. I may not get through some of these books this year, but I can sure try. If you've read any of these books, leave a comment and let us all know what you thought of it!

Money, Business, Design & Creativity

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design
by Marty Neumeier

Start
by Jon Acuff

We Are All Weird
by Seth Godin

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
by Tom Kelley, David Kelley

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
by Michael Hyatt

The Entrepreneur's Guide To Getting Your Shit Together
by John Carlton

Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together
by Pamela Slim

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
by Sally Hogshead

The Compound Effect Paperback
by Darren Hardy

The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul
by Danielle LaPorte

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
by Brene Brown

How to Invest $50-$5,000: The Small Investor's Step-by-Step Plan for Low-Risk Investing in Today's Economy
by Nancy Dunnan

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
by Daniel Goleman

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice 
by Todd Henry

Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process 
by Blaine Hogan

Normal Gets You Nowhere
by Kelly Cutrone, Meredith Bryan

Die Empty
by Todd Henry

The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship (The Portable MBA Series)
by William D. Bygrave, Andrew Zacharakis


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Spring Knitting

Spring is here and that means warmer temperatures and chilly offices. Perfect lacy wrap weather if you ask me. So I've rounded up my top ten patterns for some cozy spring knitting.  All of the patterns come from Ravelry and most are for purchase, but 9 and 10 are free patterns. I picked up some Stroll Tonal sock weight yarn from Knit Picks in the Thunderhead grey color and the Nefertem pattern. I can't wait to get started.

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Daily Project Inspiration

I've been drawing a lot of inspiration lately from the daily creative projects of other designers. They range in subject matter and method of creation, but they do share one big common factor - to create. I am a maker by nature, I thrive on it. During my internet surfing it has really become clear to me that this is a great way to push yourself to create new work, build a portfolio of diverse pieces, learn new skills, expand your visual styles and show off your creative talents. Some of the daily projects that have inspired me are:

Daily Dishonesty by Lauren Hom
Hand Written Letters by Mary Kate McDevitt
The Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische
Daily Drawings by Chris Piascik
365 Patterns by Fifth and Hazel
365 Patterns in 2013 by Ollibird
#365 Drawing Project by Sarah Jane
Logo a Day by Dear Miss Modern (this is a little different, but same principle)

I've been thinking about starting one of my own for a while now, and have a few rules that I want to follow. 1.) I want to do something unique. 2.) I want create my work based on a theme. 3.) I want to showcase varied styles of work within that theme. 4.) I want this to remain a fun endeavor. I'm still hashing out the specifics like length of time, type of work, and how often I will realistically be able to post new pieces - keeping in mind rule #4, but I'm really excited about this. The project is going to kickoff on March 21st with full details and how to get involved if you're interested.   

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Share Your Passion

I've been doing a lot of experimenting lately with hand lettering and discovered this video by Ryan Hamrick for Holstee. He talks about how he got started and his passion for creating his stunning work. I especially love that he talks about how he couldn't get the time to move fast enough when he was working regular 9-5 jobs, and now that he is doing something he loves he wishes he could slow it down instead. I remember having these days working office jobs, looking at the clock every five minutes thinking an hour must have passed since the last time I looked and just feeling that devastation when I realized it had only been five and a half minutes. Its funny how the days fly by now when I spend them in my studio. It's after 5p.m. before I even know it and I'm wishing for more time.

I thought it would be fun to share a recent piece I've been working on. It's fitting for the topic of this post today and I am really loving how it turned out. It's going to be part of my new personal portfolio site that I am working on to show some of my recent design and lettering work. I can wait to launch it to show off all my new goodies.

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Without the Doing, Dreaming Is Useless
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I love new ideas. Ideas are my most favorite thing in the world. And I too suffer from creative paralysis. Does that phrase hit home with anyone else, "creative paralysis"? The first time I heard it something clicked and I realized that I'm not the only one that deals with it. The mental overload of projects and possibilities can be overwhelming. I stumbled across this video today while keeping up on my rss feed and completely fell in love with it. If you are a creative professional and are anything like me, you might just identify with this talk like I did. It's completely brilliant and insightful.

The process goes a little something like this. I get a genius idea - maybe my best idea ever. I research and gather and procrastinate just a little bit, sometimes more, then finally start working. Then the artistic decisions eventually start to stall out the progress I am making. There are so many choices to make and questions to answer. "Which way is the best direction to go? What should I do here?" This continues until my idea haunts me and I avoid even thinking about it. Not long after the project comes to a complete halt as my brain goes numb with overload of possibilities. I couldn't restart it again if I wanted to. I begin to loathe my idea. It sits in my studio and stares at me day after day. Then my idea turns on me and I begin to doubt myself and my abilities. But something happens, the time passes and all of the sudden the idea has a new life again. I've grown, and learned and I have a new light to bring back to the project. So I work and work and work until its finally finished. I feel accomplished. I'm on top of the world. My creative confidence is soaring. I now understand that the idea wasn't ready when I first thought of it, something was missing. It needed time to develop subconsciously. No, I wasn't ready for it. I needed time. Everything is right with the world. Onto the next brilliant idea. Sound familiar? Me too, friend.

One of the biggest life lessons I've learned is that you take things on as you are ready for them. And that's okay. Things have a way of silently passing by when you aren't actively seeking them out. So get ready, give yourself time and trust your instincts. Just don't wait until you are 100% ready because the day will never come. 90% is perfect.

I highly recommend reading Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. It follows along the same topic line and is hugely inspirational and motivating.

It is not just you.

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