Creativity at its finest…

I would categorize myself as creative. I work in a creative field, I have creative hobbies…I love to create. Because I’m on the creative spectrum, I often find myself evaluating other creative ideas. I like the way they did that – I would’ve never put those colors together – that’s an interesting use for that product. It happens all the time. And then there are times I come across something that sits just beyond the spectrum of creativity. As in – Who in the world thought of that?! That’s genius.

I had that exact thought last Sunday when we borrowed the classic movie Princess Bride from a neighbor. It was the collector’s edition and the case sat on the couch next to me as we started the movie. It was than that my child pointed out the cleverness in the movie name typography: It reads the same whether it’s right side up or upside down.

I spent the next 5 minutes rotating the movie case back and forth so I could see how they manipulated each letter to read the same things both ways. My graphic design brain started to stretch as I realized the complexity of the graphic – not to mention, someone came up with that idea. Not only was there an idea – someone was able to bring that idea to life.

It’s beyond what most designers would ever be able to muster. And still when I look at the case it makes me smile – there are some clever people out there and I am grateful I can enjoy their work. Well done Princess Bride, well done. On the movie…and the DVD sleeve!

 

 

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What we’re reading…


Atlas Shrugged (aff link)
Steve does far more listening to books than he does reading. He listens when he does yard work or commutes to work or even getting ready for the day. He alternates between business and self help books to biographies and fiction. This book is not the book you’ll pick up if you’re looking for a quick read. But he’s had a hard time putting it down. I asked him to tell me what the books is about. This is what I got from him: It’s deep economic concepts in story form. So it’s a business book. Nope, it’s economics. Needless to say, he’s enjoying it.

 


Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms (aff link)
Hallie has enjoyed this series of books. It’s taken her some time to get through them because they are highly sought after in the school library and she’s been on a waiting list – that tells how just how much the kids enjoy it.

 


Brightly of the Grand Canyon
Hunter was asked to participate in an after school book club with friends and I absolutely love it. His friend’s mom took charge and decided they needed more literature than what they were getting in school. This was the book they started with and he just barely finished it up. This is an older book and although he liked it, it wasn’t his favorite. I kept trying to have him expound on the book but he just said “It has some interesting parts but the whole thing isn’t that interesting.” I suppose It didn’t capture his attention – I think it would have been a little better had Hunter been to the Grand Canyon before and could visualize a little more as to what adventures this burro was on. Either way, he loved the book club.

 


Stink and Shark Sleepover
Bennett has taken off in reading both in English and in Spanish. I keep finding him rummaging through the book closet to find his next book. We have a plethora of Junie B. Jones books but after reading several books he’s moved on to other series. Right now he’s loving the Stink series (same author as Judy Moody that Hallie enjoyed so much). Bennett doesn’t read to himself, he reads out loud and I will hear him up in his room reading and then chuckling. He’s read several in this series so far.

 


Rhett and the Alphabet
Three years ago, Bennett was attending preschool, getting ready for kindergarten and reading just wasn’t clicking for him. I called the preschool teacher to try and figure out additional help I could give Bennett to kickstart him. She explained she had written a book and her son had illustrated it to go along with her preschool curriculum. She explained that it would be a great help to him but it wasn’t published yet and the project was at a standstill. I offered my services to lay it out in book form (quite selfishly, I wanted to get my hands on the book sooner than later) and now she sells it on Amazon. Cannon loves this book – he calls it his preschool book. They learn a letter at school and he comes home and shows which page in the book they learned. My sister was looking for help for her son with learning letters and sounds and she purchased the book and loved it as well.

 


Pout Pout Fish
Briggs loves reading books. Some kids are more willing to sit and listen than others and he’ll sit and listen until I’m tired of reading. Pout Pout Fish is one of those books that he always pulls off the shelf. I’m pretty sure we’ve read it every day for the last week when Briggs gets up from his nap. His favorite part is reciting, “Blub, bluuuub, bluuuuuuubbb!” Its a book we often refer to in our house. If someone is in a sour mood we call them “Pout Pout Fish” spreading “dreary wearies all over the place.” It’s a cute book.

 

 

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Affordable outdoor lighting…

When we landscaped our front yard two years ago and wrapped our pillars and added patio furniture – it felt really complete. There was only one thing left on our list to complete that project – update our exterior lights to match our newly renovated yard. Back when the project was fresh on our minds I found a couple lights I really liked but could never pull the trigger because they were just a little too expensive for my liking. I decided to do some more searching and if I couldn’t find anything comparable I’d go ahead and make the purchase. The project was sidelined. We had a baby and suddenly updating my exterior lights weren’t even on my list!

With my dad’s most recent visit, I was lining up projects he could help me with. I walked around the home surveying items that needed attention and I noticed the outdated exterior lights once again. I was ready to make a move. I did some research and I’m so glad I didn’t go with my initial light choices, I found some I like better and they were less expensive. (the joys of Amazon!)

We had four of these flushmount lights on our front patio. We went from dark and dirty…

affordable outdoor lighting

…to bright and modern. What I love about this fixture is it has glass on the sides, but no glass on the bottom. This makes it easier to change bulbs, but more importantly it doesn’t collect dead bugs! The wide opening makes it easy to clean when needed. They’re made by Globe Electric (aff. link) and can be found on Amazon – they’re 13″x13″x5.5″ – so they’re pretty good sized.

affordable outdoor lighting

After replacing the flushmount lights we replaced the sconce lights – two by the driveway and one by our front door. I wanted something to compliment the flushmounts but not necessarily lights from the same line. I chose to do the same lights for both locations – although the sconce by the front door is a larger version.

These lights were especially bad as they collected debris like crazy – when we first moved in our inspector called these a fire hazard – we’ve continually emptied the contents to avoid any problems. It was time to bid them farewell!

affordable outdoor lighting

affordable outdoor lighting

New sleek lights to update the space. The lights that flank the garage are 11″ long where as the one by our front door is 14″. They’re made by Chloe lighting (aff link) and they compliment the flushmounts great – and they were far more affordable than some of the options I had looked at.

affordable outdoor lighting

affordable outdoor lighting

affordable outdoor lighting

affordable outdoor lighting

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Exposure…

I’m a firm believer that our children are a product of what they’re exposed to – or the opportunities granted to them. Chances are slim that you’ll have children that play the piano if you don’t actually own a piano. Or that you’ll raise a hockey player if you don’t live near an ice rink. Our circumstances and finances often dictate what that exposure or opportunities might be.

I remember reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell where he talks about the tech giants Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They were both raised in areas with advancing technology and both had access to play and tinker with computers at a young age. I believe their exposure greatly contributed to their success. Thinking about either one of them being raised on a farm in a rural community would have changed their trajectory significantly.

The same goes for our own children. Hallie is the oldest of 5 and the only girl. As much as she might have enjoyed dance – I am not a dance mom and never even considered putting her in dance. She would have loved gymnastics – but when we looked into it, it required a time and money commitment we weren’t willing to make.

Hallie Tennis

When she turned 8 and was ready to start playing sports (our family rule) we were still in the throws of Steve’s masters program, long work commutes and several young kids. Steve and I both love tennis so when we asked her if she wanted to play tennis (a lower time commitment and more flexible) she jumped at the chance.

After the first year, we thought maybe she would try another sport. She thought about it and considered volleyball with her friends, but she didn’t want to give up tennis and they conflicted. Here we are four years later with quite the little tennis player – it’s what she was exposed to. She can still shoot a basketball and hit a softball, but she excels at tennis. Could that have been any number of sports…probably. But her opportunity was tennis and I love watching her grow and develop as a player.

Hallie Tennis

Hallie Tennis

Hallie Tennis

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Lettering practice…

For my neice’s baby shower (the invite that I designed and posted yesterday), I made some signs that hung in frames. I’m obviously still gaining my lettering confidence because things like this still scare me just a little bit. I’m happy to practice my heart out in my little notebooks – they’re never on display for people to critique.

But I got out of my own head and only a couple times noticed the errors while I was at the baby shower (Isn’t that the worst?! Fortunately I’m learning to not point those mistakes out to every one that sees it!). Baby steps right – how appropriate that my baby steps were with a baby shower.

The supplies I used (aff links):
Tombow dual brush pen in black
Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White
Finetec Metallic Gold
Pentel Aquash Water Brush

Modern Calligraphy

Modern Calligraphy

Modern Calligraphy

Modern Calligraphy

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What we’re reading…

Here’s a compilation of what book is on everyone’s nightstand right now.

Steve is reading Heart to Heart – an autobiography by Russel M Nelson – written when he was an apostle in our church. Steve picked up this book to read last year and for some reason or another never really got into it. Nelson was just announced as the prophet of our church when Thomas S. Monson passed away recently. Steve now has a renewed energy to read this autobiography.

 


Like many across the nation, I fell in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines when Fixer Upper became popular. I read the Magnolia Story last year which was a quick and easy read, mostly from Joanna’s perspective. Capital Gaines showed up in my Christmas loot (thanks to Amazon wish list), which is the story from his perspective and his insights. I think they’re really fun as a couple and I love what they stand for as far as family and priorities is concerned.

 


Hallie reads many of her books on the kindle, using our public library for ebook loans. The only downside to this is you’re at the mercy of when books are available. She fell in love with the Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer last summer.  Unfortunately, they are really popular and she was on a wait list for a long time. She was really excited when Land of Stories 3 finally became available to her.

 


Hunter received the Percy Jackson series for Christmas and I was a little unsure as to if he would be interested in it. He’s not been one for fantasy up to this point – but most everyone I talked to had kids that loved this series (aside from Hallie who had to read it for school and didn’t love it, but also didn’t care for Harry Potter). So far, it’s peaked his interest. He’s not one to devour books but he’s consistently reading it which is what I love to see.

 


Bennett is on one of his first chapter books – Freckle Juice by Judy Blume. Transitioning from picture books to chapter books is a big step. He’s started a couple books and after reading a chapter or two he moved on to another book. Freckle juice is keeping his interest and he’s almost finished. Bennett’s reading time is unique in the fact that he’s also reading in spanish and he has a stack of early reader spanish books by his bed as well.

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