Friday, December 30, 2011

Mercer Continued

Hello Again – more to report from the North Woods!

Days two and three have been wonderful. Megan and Garrett arrived and we had a wonderful ham dinner to start us off. Most of our time has been spent in front of the warm fireplace, sharing stories. All while sipping on beer or wine, and eating cookies brought from home. One thing is for sure; no one will ever go hungry in this cabin.
Yesterday all four of us worked our tails off on the ice rink. Megan and I cleared the snow ourselves – this was a huge project seeing as we couldn’t get the snow blower to start and the rink was gigantic. Then Ted and Garrett flooded the rink that evening. So much work went into this rink! We were all exhausted and decided to go out for dinner. Cooking was simply not an option...

We went to the Cranberry Inn, which was highly recommended by the locals. It was quite good! Between the four of us we sampled the whole menu with steak, ribs, chicken marsala and walleye. And they had cranberry butter! These folks don’t mess around. After our bellies were full, we decided to venture to another local favorite; The Heart of the North. We had a few $1.25 Miller Lights and told some hilarious tales of the past and had a really great time. Regardless of the fact that we were the only paying customers there at 9:00 pm on a Thursday. It was really great.

We came home eager to get out on the ice, and that’s where we spent most of the afternoon. It’s still a little rough so we’ll probably need to flood the rink again tonight, but it was great! Now the men are out fishing and Megan and I are inside blogging, reading, and keeping the fire going. Just wait till tomorrow – the adventure we have planned for tonight should certainly be blog-worthy!

ta ta for now!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Greetings from the North Woods!

Hello! I am writing from my grandparents cozy cabin in the Wisconsin north woods. Ted and I are here anxiously awaiting the arrival of Garrett and Megan who are coming in from Michigan. We're hoping that some more friends will be coming up from McHenry, too!! (After seeing these photos they'll be crazy not to come.)

So here's the scoop: We got in last night and Ted immediately started the fire. We unpacked, made dinner and went to sleep early (Ted needed to wake up early to ice fish... and that's where he's been all day) He will have to post about his catch of the day. I hope it isn't the 4 inch perch I saw him reel in this morning... That would be one unhappy fisherman...

We are wearing our flannel and planning to cook a ham dinner tonight! There is a constant flow of flurries out the window and my fingers are crossed for more. I'm hoping Ted will get sick of fishing and come ice skating with me soon... Ok, yeah right, I can't wait for another girl to arrive.

More posts and photos to come!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

These are the Christmas Cards I mailed to my faraway college friends! 

I used colored paper scraps from the bridal shop, cut into slices, and glued together for a funky different texture. These were way more work than I originally anticipated, so don't feel left out if you didn't get one, lol. If you try this technique at home, have the slices professionally cut! 

What I was realizing as I was addressing things to Washington D.C., Washington State, New Jersey, California, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, and all over the Chicagoland area, is that my friends are COOL. And I have a LOT of traveling and visiting to do! Even though we are far away for the holidays, I was glad to mail them something special. :)

Holiday Cheer :)

Hello Friends!

So sorry for the lack of blogging this month but I'm about to catch up! I've been using my unemployment time to my advantage, (well, most of it anyway...) I've been creating fabulous things. My mother brought home a vintage desk that I've turned into my workstation

Now presenting to you, my miniature paper tree! Everything on this tree is a handcrafted paper decoration. I'm excited to finally show it off!

The tree is only about 3' and is a light champagne color - in natural light it has a vintage look. And it is a little bit crooked, oh well, adds character. I also stitched up the tree skirt from some fabric and trim scraps I found in the ole basement. I just had a lot of fun with this... working on it whenever I had a spare moment... in between job applications, interviews, and traveling. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Posts from the Road

Some favorite postcards I picked up on my trip!  

This card is three dimensional!

Great retro typography

Ok, we loved North Dakota... And the zig-zag edges...
Final Destination :) 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Road Trip Diaries; Day 1

A few weeks ago my old college pal, Lauren, called me up and asked if I would drive across the country with her. She had secured an employment opportunity in Everett, Washington and she needed someone to keep her company along the way. My answer: “I’m unemployed and I just bought a new suitcase! I’m there!”

And that is how the story begins.

Day One: (11/06/11) I headed north on an Amtrak to Chicago after a short visit with Ted. There I met Lauren who had driven in from South Bend, Indiana. I jumped into her over-stuffed Toyota and we headed on our way. I unfortunately was starting the trip off with a bad bout of pink eye, but with hopes that it would disappear in a few days, we didn’t even let that phase us. The drive on day one was full of catching up – so many good stories and gossip to tell! 

We practically flew through Wisconsin and Lauren drove all the way to Saint Cloud, Minnesota where she had arranged for us to stay with her friend Joe. By the time we got there we were both beat! I took a shower and fell asleep while she and Joe got a chance to catch up. 

Road Trip Diaries; Day 2

Day Two: (11/07/11) We woke up early and left quietly so as not to disturb Joe’s roommates (although they did not have the same courtesy the night before…) and we got back on the road. North Dakota was a lot more fun than expected! We stopped at the Welcome Center and picked up about 20 brochures that would take us all the way to Washington. The lady there really loved her job.

Anyway, things were going really well – the scenery was gorgeous! – until we lost the luggage carrier that was attached to the top of the car!! I am not kidding, this was a scene out of a movie. We are driving along and we hear a funny thumping noise, we look at each other and shrug, I look in the rear view mirror and we realize was happened and start screaming and I pull over and before I know it Lauren is dodging traffic in the middle of the highway chasing down the giant duffel. Thank God some nice men pulled over to help us – they threw the giant bag on the back of their truck (with very little effort) and drove it to our car on the side of the road. They pulled some spare bungee cords from the bed of their truck and helped us secure the carrier again. The stupid thing didn’t budge after they were done with it. We said thank you and were on our way once again. Few! No real damage but we agreed, that was enough excitement for one day.
The Badlands by Moonlight

As we are getting close to Montana we pull over and get a glimpse at the Teddy Roosevelt National Badlands. This is breathtaking so we decide to take the driving loop around the park. Hands down, the best $10.00 I’ve spent in my entire life. It took almost two hours to do the loop, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Words cannot explain the sights we saw. Truly amazing. 

We finally get to Montana!! And they have a nice big “Welcome to Montana” sign so I beg Lauren to pull over so we can take a picture with it. This is what you’re supposed to do on a road trip after all, right? I snapped some photos and we scurried back into the car because it was now freezing. We stopped for some dinner in Glendive, Montana but when it came time to take care of the bill I realized my wallet was not in my pocket. And it was not in my purse. And it was not in the car. Ok, freaking out. I remembered having it when we were at the Montana sign.

The Bed & Breakfast
So, we drive back to the sign and look for it... By this point it is pitch black, extra thank you to Daylight Savings Time, and we can’t find it. Lauren secretly wants to kill me, but she kept her cool and was really nice about it all. We decide to call it a night and try to find a hotel near the border so we can wake up early and look for it in the morning. Ok, great plan, except this part of the country is over-taken with oil workers and every hotel we find is full. (Except Beaver Creek but that place was way too sketch and the guy at the desk had a face tattoo. No way.) We are at our wits end; if we go further it won’t make sense to come back and look for the wallet, but there was over $100 in cash in the wallet, not to mention if I don’t have an ID, flying home will be an absolute nightmare. We finally find a bed and breakfast (thank you Ted and your google skills.) We settle in for the night in coziest little room – we both took 45 minute showers to help us calm down. This was the best nights sleep we’ve ever had. 

Road Trip Diaries; Day 3

Day Three: (11/08/11) We wake up early and leave before the sun rises – unfortunately we were driving east, but we managed to avoid the sun in our eyes. By the time we got back to the “Welcome to Montana” sign, the sun was just coming up. It was a magic moment, we had searched all around the sign and were starting to drive further up the road slowly with our eyes peeled, and we found it!! It was another moment of excited screaming, arm waving, pulling over, and running to the middle of the road. My tiny brown Coach wallet was sitting there on the yellow line, all puffed out from being run over by a car. The zipper was broken but it was still intact. All of the cards inside the wallet were crushed into tiny pieces but somehow my drivers license and debit card, which had been tucked in the outside pocket of the wallet had flung out and were lying in the grass a few feet away, unharmed. Is that a miracle or what? I think God was telling to give up on credit cards. We spent a few minutes rejoicing and then headed back on our way!

For some reason, our GPS took us on the scenic route through Montana rather than staying on 94. We took Montana 200 on a more northern route across the state. We are convinced that this route has much prettier views, steeper hills, and sharper turns. Let’s just say that there were points when I was driving where my knuckles were white and my palms were sweating, and I thought, this is the reason why there aren’t many cars on this road. Anyway, we got some amazing photos and saw the best views.

This is what I saw when I closed my eyes at night.
We then  drove to Missoula, Montana where we were staying with Lauren’s friend, coincidentally also named Lauren, her boyfriend BJ, and their three-legged dog, Kona. They have a tiny, cozy house and they made us feel right at home. Lauren #2 made us tortilla soup and we drank wine and we shared stories for a few hours. We told them all about our trip and they told us about being stalked by mountain lions. (It’s true! You have to hear the story from them, it’s crazy!) So all was going great! Until about 1am when I couldn’t sleep – which is not normal for me – and my tummy was doing summersaults. Let me spare you the details, but just know that I didn’t sleep much seeing as I spent most of the night in the bathroom. Ick. How on earth did I get sick? Some things are a mystery. 

Road Trip Diaries; Days 4 and 5

Day Four: (11/9/11) I woke up feeling like I didn’t sleep at all, but that didn’t matter, we were back on the road. I took a big spoonful of that pink medicine and hopped into the passenger seat. By this point in the trip and after all that we had been through, we weren’t going to stop for anything – Get Us To Washington!!!

I slept a good portion of the way and we listened to Chelsea Handler’s book on tape, and finally, one day of our trip that doesn’t have something crazy to report. We got to Lauren’s new apartment in Everett and we trucked all of her belongings into her room and sat back and relaxed. We made it. The trucker guys from North Dakota made that luggage carrier look light, but it was indeed, very heavy. After we unpacked a bit, we rewarded ourselves with some hot soup from a little restaurant down the road and I fell asleep at an unusually early hour.

Day Five: (11/10/11) Lauren and I woke up early and showered and headed out on some errands. We then headed to Seattle to see a few sights before she sent me and my food poisoned, pink eyed, lost wallet-ed, pathetic self back to Chicago! I laughed and thought, “She’ll be glad to be rid of me!” The rest of the story remains for Lauren to tell!

This trip, even though we had our rough patches, was really amazing. I am so glad I was able to drive across the country! I saw some of the most beautiful sights in the United States and I cannot wait to find an excuse to go back. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Interviewing Dilemmas

I have been unemployed for exactly two months today so in honor of that great achievement, I thought I'd share this little tale with you:  

Chapter First: Arrival 
The morning of an interview is always a rush. "Why didn't I do __ in advance?" "Do I look good enough, is that a hole in my tights?" "Do I have enough change for the bus?" So there is never enough time for brewing coffee or even popping a pop tart, so breakfast at the train station, $6.45. Swipe. Everything is more expensive in Chicago, everything is also a lot farther away than I think... So here comes the dry cleaner bill because not only did I speed walk the 5 blocks to the interview, but that $4.00 coffee just spilled down my $200.00 J. Crew blazer. (Yes, all events taken from real life encounters.) Luckily I always carry an ample supply of Kleenex in my pocket, so now picture this - little white fuzzes all down my blazer. The homeless man on the corner was laughing so hard that he didn't even ask me to buy a copy of Streetwise. Ok, I'm finally here. 

Chapter Second: Interviewing 
I technically can't spend money during an interview but somehow I manage. Once the interview is over, I hand them my leave-behind. Being a designer, this is one of the most important parts - the only piece of your portfolio that you leave them with. So naturally, I spent $60.00 on enough paper and envelopes for 25 interviews - and that was with my employee discount! So each leave-behind is worth practically $10.00 because God help me if I have to go on 25 interviews. 

Chapter Third: Homeward Bound
So now I have to tromp my sweaty, dirty butt back to the train station and I am parched! All of that walking and talking about myself, I need water!! $2.00 for a bottle - why do I love Chicago again? Ugh, come to think of it, it will be 2:00pm before my 12:30 train gets me home so I might as well get a sandwich with that water, wait, that thing is tiny, give me some chips too! $10.00... 

Next stop, the ticket window. I used my last 10-Ride punch on the way in. $51.00 between my stop and Ogilvy, what a deal! That's 20% off the price of individual tickets and you can share it! As it turns out, I don't want to share it... 

So now I am sitting on the Metra thanking to goodness that I can't spend any more money for at least an hour and a half, until I remember that I have a smart phone and a credit card and a new Rue La La boutique just opened. And since now I'm angry I should buy myself some discounted designer to cheer myself up. Needless to say, I bought a new purse and didn't get the job... 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halfway to 50!

Hi Readers! This is my 25th blog post! Woo woo!!

And all I have to share are some silly photos from this weekend... Enjoy!

This can only be found in Madison, Wisconsin

I accidentally took this photo while I was walking down the street LOL!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

I'm an owl and Ted is a bird watcher!  


Close Up!

I found a kids version of this online so I decided to make the "t" version. I started with a cotton dress and cut the feathers out of old fabric swatches. This dress was so fun to wear!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paper Show

Last night was the 22nd annual Unisource Paper Show in Chicago. It was fabulous. I got free stuff... 

Don't judge me. Just look at all of this inspiration! Some of the highlights? Well French Paper, of course. They were giving out a beautiful dye cut piece with stationery from their collection. Also, Neenah Paper's wonderful look books and business cards made of 10 pieces of recycled paper... Impressed? I certainly was. I also attended the lecture by Trish Wiktowski of and was super excited by her tips and tricks - I can't wait to implement them into my designs!

I feel super nerdy being so excited about paper samples, but this is the story of my life. Dear web, stop being so efficient, I want paper to stay in design forever!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Spring in my Step x2!

Well ladies and gents! I am an international superstar! Ok, only kidding, but you can find my Salvatore Ferragamo shoe inspired papercut on his art gallery website! (link) Click on Ferragamo Artist Gallery down on the left and scroll through the gallery. You may recognize my piece from a post back in March – I happen to think it’s one of the best... jk! 
I encourage everyone to create some fantastic shoe art and send it in, too! Maybe your shoe can join my shoe in this virtual gallery. :) 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pink Door!

New identity design for the Pink Door Thrift Shop in McHenry!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What a Hoot!

Happy Wednesday Friends! I promised I’d post the photo of my owl once she came out of the kiln, so here she is. And Ted’s sharp dressed owl accompanies her!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Girl of All Trades

In the midst of my unemployment struggles, my sixteen-year-old sister has been bringing home the bread, literally! I get laid off and she get’s hired. She’s working at our neighborhood bakery and let me just tell you, the benefits are superb! Every morning I’ve had a treat to go with my coffee. This got me thinking about what job I was doing at 16 I realized that of all of my odd jobs, not one of them involved food more than making coffee in the morning. Check out my list:

1. Babysitter of Devil Children

2. Massage Spa Receptionist and Laundry Girl
3. Golf Course Learning Center Receptionist
4. Montini Catholic School 5th Grade Spirit Squad Coach
5. Guitar Lesson Instructor
6. Transcriber of a Religious Manuscript for a Professor
7. Receptionist and Graphics Production Assistant at MODO Exhibits
8. Instructional Technology Resource Center Team Leader & Student Consultant
9. Event Manager for Saint Mary’s College
10. Art Class Teacher at The Studio
11. Bridal Consultant, Invitations Consultant, and Designer at Kathryn’s Bridal
12. Model for Ball Horticultural Photographer (Ok, it was only once)
13. Photo Professor’s Teaching Assistant
14. Worked as Part of the Design Team at an Engineering Firm 
15. Freelance Graphic Designer

Lately I have been filling out applications, attaching my resume, and talking about work experience almost daily as a part of my new job search. I’m 23 years old and I’ve held about 15 jobs and never been fired, I think that’s an accomplishment! Not a single one of these jobs involved food, which may or may not attribute to my severe lack of cooking skills. It’s fun to look back and think about these jobs, the people I met, and the things I learned. I’m sure that each contributed to getting where I am today. Now it’s time to sit back and wonder what could possibly come next

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Home Alone Four

Although I was not at work this week, I did work quite hard! Mom went to the sunny west coast to vacation in California and left me to tend to her studio. (Isn't she lucky that I wasn't busy...) I was doing really well; keeping up with phone calls, scheduling her helpers, teaching classes, until I completely forgot about Wednesday night class! The poor painters were waiting outside the studio for me to let them in but I never showed up! I felt horrible!! And all I had to do was unlock the door... Darn! So sorry painters.

On the bright side, I did finally get to glaze my handmade clay owl. :) I can't wait for him to come out of the kiln! He's so fly... Ok, that was a bad joke... 

I also taught two classes this week. The first was Clay Class for pre-teens, my assignment for them? Letters! Folks, that is what happens when you leave a graphic designer in charge of Clay Class. Guess what letter I made? That's correct, a t! I'll post it when it comes out of the kiln. My students were great and really had fun with the assignment too!

The other class was After School Art, grades K-2. Woah. An hour and a half with six little people is enough for me. High fives to the elementary education teachers! I knew class was not going well when one little boy asked, "what time is art class over?" with a big grin on his face, within the first 15 minutes of class... Not soon enough, kid. Ok I'm kidding, I had more fun than he did - they are just so darn cute! But let's just say, I'm glad mom is coming home tomorrow to relieve me of that duty. My kid quota is good for a while...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's Time for Me to Fly

"I know it hurts to say goodbye, but it’s time for me to fly.” A little bit of wisdom from the big hair and skin-tight pants clad REO Speedwagon band members. How do those rockers know just how to tell it like it is?  (listen to it here)

Today is my first real day of unemployment. I was laid off from my stuffy corporate job and now I am realizing that being laid off is a lot like being dumped. There is a bit of wallowing in self-pity, but once you get over that, you realize that what you had wasn’t that great anyway. Everything happens for a reason and I am going to move on to a much better job! (Ahem, potential employers, please note my optimism and confidence!)

Although I am not excited about losing my job (and the paycheck that came with it,) I am excited to have some time to myself.  My portfolio is shaping up and I made new business cards! Look forward to more posts and a new paper cut currently in the works....  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where did June go?

How the bleep is it already July?

Summers used to be long and lazy, and full of adventures. This summer is busy, a bit hectic, but still full of adventures. I'm not saying I would trade a minute of it, but sheesh! I wish it would slow down. I spent all winter ancipating the summer and here it goes, flying by whenever I blink my eyes. Not to mention, every time I start to get a hint of a tan line, I can't get outside again and it goes away. There is no hope...

I spend a lot of time at work thinking of things to do outside of work. I google events, look up flights and train schedules, and send messages with my friends until my calendar looks like a kindergartener's coloring book. (See earlier post from April...) Thank goodness I have flexible people in my life.

Even though my pale Irish skin doesn't show signs of summer, my bank account sure does! I've decided that it is impossible to save money during the summer, there are simply too many good things to spend money on... Don't worry, I'll resume saving come September. But really, this time is precious, and at my age (23), no one really knows where they'll be in 6-12 months. This is the age where people re-locate for jobs, get married, move to big cities. I need to clock as much "friend time" as possible. Gosh, I really am an adult.

Also, Nikki the Nikon needs to make an appearance because I have practically zero summer photos! I checked my iPhone stash and this was the most recent. Don't ask me for an explainatin because I don't have one, but just so you know, the licesnse plate reads "ZEBRA," in case you needed a label...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Big City

Today I want to blog about the big city where I work and eventually want to live, Chicago. There are so many people here, yet I manage to run into people from my own sphere.

The other day I was heading outside to eat lunch with my co-workers when who do I see, but a friend from college! We both stopped dead in our tracks, did a double take to make sure, and then ran and hugged each other smack dab in the middle of the pedestrian walkway. How do these things happen? It's not like I was searching for this red headed bombshell, in fact I thought she was currently living on the East Coat, but boy am I glad I found her among the bustling mass of people. This turned my average day into a great day.

One thing I LOVE to do is spontaneously meet up with friends who work and/or live in Chicago as well. One day this winter I got a text from a friend asking what I was doing that night, a few texts later we were meeting at a bar and planning an awesome night. It's amazing what a few texts and an Friday night can produce. This night was fantastic and I hope we can make it happen again.

And then there are the lunch outings. I usually bring my own brown bag lunch from home, but whenever I get the chance to meet up with one of the girls I jump at the idea. I mean, who could turn down a fresh sandwich and great conversation with the best company I could ask for? So worth the extra pennies. Not to mention, these dates give me something to look forward to in the morning, and leave me smiling for the rest of the day - especially when we find a spot to eat outside in the warm spring sun. Wow, this post is full of warm fuzzies.

To what do I owe these wonderful little meetings? Maybe I am indebted to my Saint Mary's roots and the connections developed through college. Maybe I owe this to Chicago, for being the best city in the world and the Midwest's largest transportation hub. Maybe I owe this to my friendly personality and urge to be around good people. To whatever factor I owe, I thank it! And please continue bringing me these wonderful Chicago moments with people I love.

Summer Friend

Happy June!

I'm so excited to have a new paper cut to share with you. He's been in the making for quite some time now... I love his nonchalant attitude - he's ready for lazy summer days swimming in the lake, and so am I!  

Monday, May 16, 2011


Another great weekend to add to my collection of post-grad adventures.

This is all I will share because we all know the rule: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

There is nothing better than a window seat.

Loosing pennies... and sitting by a creepy old man.

We'll be back...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Drumroll Please!

The office finally decided on the shirt that we are going to wear in the race, and I won!!! Although the majority vote on this site was for the cityscape, that design was eliminated in the first round of judging. This design made it through with revisions, and then won the office vote! Hip, hip, hooray!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Word Homie

Words, when used properly, can make such a difference. I am always scrambling for the best way to communicate my thoughts, but nothing ever seems to come out right! Thanks to this curse, I have a great appreciation for people who use their words well.

One of my friends pointed out that my use of "cool" was no longer acceptable. According to her, whenever I said "cool," it came across as sarcastic, although it was often complimentary! And then, the whole room of my friends agreed with her. Not cool guys...

I'm just saying, I appreciate a good word every now and again. I love to hear "take care" instead of the "see ya later" that I so casually throw out. Or "lavatory" to replace the typical "bathroom." And also, "certainly" instead of "sure." Oh the little things in life...

Other words I enjoy and use frequently, in no particular order: naughty, dainty, precious, and clever.
The word that I do not like: meal - and I don't know why, I just don't like it.

I hope that everyone says a new, good word today! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meet you at the Finish Line!

These are designs for a race that my company will be participating in. Ultimately, my boss will choose which design will represent us, and it may not even be one of mine, but I want to know which design is the "crowd favorite!" Last time I tried this, the crowd voted for the one that I least preferred, let's see if we will agree this time ;)

check funny for the first, cool for the second, and interesting for undecided