Archive for the ‘Recent Posts’ Category

I received an email from someone recently, asking if my butterfly infographic map was for sale as a print.

This is the infographic map I illustrated and designed showing the amazing migration of Monarch butterflies, along with other fun facts about other butterflies. It also shows some differences between butterflies and moths that people often wonder about.

Butterflies Infographic Map

It makes a great educational print which also looks nice framed and hanging on the wall. I can vouch for that because the framed print shown below is hanging on the wall in my home office, which makes me happy ;) It’s now it’s listed in my shop as an 11″ x 14″ print, printed on photo matte card stock paper with a slight border for framing allowance.

Butterfly Infographic Map

I’m excited to do more of this type of illustration, a combined infographic map highlighting a species or something special about nature, migration and the environment. Stay tuned…


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Yay, it’s Friday! Time to reflect on the past week, and share a new weekend postcard featuring one of my recent photos.

Weekend Postcard1st day of spring

Five highlights from the week:

  • I got to see my niece perform with her show choir. I was blown away over how talented and professional they are. I was so proud when she sang her solo – she killed it! I can’t wait to see the adventures this path takes her.
  • I’m thankful to my husband for his encouragement and pep talks lately. It’s been an adjustment having a day job again ;)
  • After a brief hiatus, I went to two different coffee shops this week for a coffee break and quiet time to brainstorm. It’s one of those things I love to do because the atmosphere is neutral, free of distractions and quiets the mind. I get a little stir–crazy just going to work and home, work and home.
  • I love chopped veggies and hummus, salad bars, Chinese takeout, and pizza delivery during the weeks when I have a lot of freelance design work filling up my time.
  • I am so happy it’s finally Spring! It’s been a long cold winter and I feel like a bear ready to come out of hibernation.  I am ready to spend time outside soaking up blue skies and sunshine, listening to the birds and watching the clouds.

I’m excited to walk around our yard this weekend to look for signs of Spring and see how much clean-up there is waiting for us. I will also be finishing my first licensed art illustration project.

Happy Friday. Enjoy your weekend!


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For this week’s Inspiration Wednesday post, I thought it would be fun to share  answers to a few fun  questions, which hopefully includes some inspiration for you:

Current Favorite Websites::

They Draw and Travel - illustrated maps and They Draw and Cook - illustrated recipes

Skillshare – a great website for taking classes from learning how to draw to software to fashion design to calligraphy to business, marketing, web design, and more. The classes offer lesson plans, PDF reference materials, and videos from the instructor. There are assignments to keep students accountable and a forum to submit your work for feedback.

Creative Market – handcrafted fonts, graphics, themes, articles, tutorials, and design resources

YoutheDesigner - design trends, tips, tutorials, inspirations, articles and design resources

Design Work Life - graphic design inspiration

Adobe Kuler – color palette generator

Design Sponge - all things design

A Beautiful Mess - a lifestyle blog full of fun DIY projects, recipes, photography tips and more

cool sky

Current Favorite Design Trends::

  • Hand–written fonts and hand lettering, combined with illustrations. Hand–drawn icons are especially popular now.
  • Infographics and Illustrated Maps – they are everywhere now.
  • Patterns, especially on branding and identity collateral, such as coffee shop packaging.
  • Arrows, feathers, ribbons that hold text, travel quote posters, DIY and free printables.
  • Swag, like buttons and stickers. They are fun give-aways to accompany a business card.

path through garden

Favorite quotes and why?

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”
~Simon Sinek
This is a good self-check when I’m stressed about the day job. That’s when it’s time to step back and ask if it’s what I should really be doing.

“Live in the sunshine, Swim in the sea, Drink the wild air.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote makes me feel free and relaxed. It’s active and encourages diving head-first into the experiences life has to offer.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you, the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
~Harriet Tubman
It’s important to keep growing, and in order to grow you need to dream and learn.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do that by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~Mark Twain
Going outside your comfort zone is always hard, but it makes life so much more interesting. Seize the day!

Thanks for stopping by!


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I’m anxious for Spring to come, not just to see everything come back to life in our yard, but to have some fresh muse for my sketchbook.

One of the most magical flowers in our garden is the bleeding heart. They are so delicate and unique, thriving in the shady, damp spot right next to our front porch. Each year they grow bigger and multiply, which is quite a treat. (note that these pictures are from last year since our yard is still mostly covered in show, except for a few patches that the sun touches regularly.)

bleeding heart shrub

They are a flowering plant in the poppy family, native to Siberia, northern China, Korea and Japan. Lucky for us, they were already here when we bought our house nine years ago.

I just learned this cool story behind the bleeding heart plant:

There is a legend from Japan which tells a story of how the bleeding heart flower came to be. In the story, a young man tried win the love of a young lady. He did this by giving a pair of rabbits (which are the first two petals of the flower), a pair of slippers (which are the next two petals of the flower), and finally a pair of earrings (which are the last two petals of the flower) to the girl. She continued to reject his affections, and, heart-broken, he pierced his heart with his sword (the middle part of the flower) which caused the bleeding heart.


bleeding hearts

Besides admiring them and photographing them, I also love to draw bleeding hearts! In anticipation of Spring and all of the plants in our gardens coming back to life soon, I finished this page in my sketchbook over the weekend.

sketchbook page bleeding hearts

Be sure to stop by my shop when you get a chance to check out my bleeding heart notecards.

notecards bleeding hearts

Thanks for stopping by!


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Yay, it’s Friday! Time to reflect on the past week, and share a new weekend postcard featuring one of my recent photos.

Weekend Postcard Avantis Bar

Five Highlights:

  • It has been a busy week at my day job, and a busy week of freelance illustration work.
  • I was excited to receive a request to purchase a print of my butterfly infographic map, so I listed it as an art print in my shop.
  • We’ve had some warmer temperatures so a lot of our snow is melting fast.
  • I can see our grass again, which is a treat, even though it’s brown and muddy.
  • I received some great snail mail this week, including postcards from California, Ohio, and Northern England. I also got another beautiful illustrated Paris Letter.

I am immersed in a freelance illustration project with a chocolate focus, so it will be a busy weekend full of fun design work.

Happy Friday. Enjoy your weekend!


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Ever since I finished graphic design school, I’ve been looking for ways to stay creative, motivated and productive. I love having design projects on the side, along with constant doodling, drawing and illustrations in my sketchbooks.

summer park in my backyard


One thing I really like to do for inspiration is read articles and stories about other creatives.

This article about former Starbucks illustrator Pamela Farmington is one of my favorite stories.

I love reading about Willoughby Design, the design firm who did last year’s holiday campaign for Panera Bread Co. I’m also admiring their Summer and Autumn branding campaigns. Check out the gorgeous projects they’ve designed for Hallmark Cards.

I love the work of the graphic design firm Colle & McVoy from Minneapolis, whose clients include Explore Minnesota, Mountain Hardwear, Old Navy and RedWing Shoes. They did a phenomenal job rebranding Caribou Coffee recently.

This is a fun article about typographical artist Molly Jacques who emphasizes on calligraphy and hand lettering, and teaches calligraphy on  Skillshare. She started a new video series called The Freelance Diaries. In her first video she talks about getting inspired..

This is a great article about Anna Bond who is well-known for creating beautiful illustrations and hand lettering for collections of paper goods produced by her company Rifle Paper Co.

Here’s another great article I was inspired by about Khristian A. Howell, well-known surface pattern designer.


Another thing I like to do to stay motivated is come up with a story or a theme, almost like creating an assignment for myself.

Lately my themes have included birds, coffee, desserts, chocolate, and coffee farming.

To move forward with a story or theme, I make a word list that serves as a to-do list which gives me better direction than just having ideas floating around.

Continuous Learning

I find it very helpful to stay current and productive by learning new creative techniques.

Skillshare has been my go-to place for online learning, but I also love to page through my small library of drawing and lettering books and creative magazines for new things to try.

Window Shopping

I like looking at packaging and signs for inspiration, so my go-to places lately are Sephora and coffee shops such as Starbucks and Caribou Coffee.


I like to look through my library of photos for scenes and things to illustrate.

June backyard2

Go Outside

To stay energized, it’s a must for me to spend time outdoors, whether hiking, treasure hunting in our yard or just taking pictures. It’s slowly starting to warm up around here with more signs of Spring popping up so I’m anxious to get outside, smell the fresh air, look for green buds and sprouts, and listen to the birds.

Thanks for stopping by!


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I did these quick pencil sketches of birds in my sketchbook at least a year ago. They sat for a long time as faint pencil drawings. When I did few nature-inspired illustrations recently, and left “white space” for room to write a letter, I remembered these bird drawings and finished them over the weekend with some light painting and ink details here and there. It’s great to have a little series of Nature Letters going now.

sketchbook page chickadee letter

sketchbook page robin letter

sketchbook page cardinal letter

I really like doing these kinds of illustrations in my sketchbook, loose and whimsical with breathing space. I also love filling up a page with doodles, images and pattern, so it’s great to have a variety of ideas floating around to experiment with.


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Yay, it’s Friday! Time to reflect on the past week, and share a new weekend postcard featuring one of my recent photos.

Weekend Postcard martinis

Five Highlights:

  • We got another 7 inches of snow. Our snowbanks are now higher than our mailbox. We are officially ready for Spring.
  • I had a really busy, productive week at work doing fun graphic designerly things. For a moment, I was caught up. Sort of. And then I got a bunch more fun projects to work on.
  • The social committee at work sponsored a chili cook-off, which was fun to see so many different variations on chili. Then we had an annual all–staff meeting. Sounds boring, but it wasn’t bad. We had an entertaining keynote speaker talk about the different generations alive today, and old-people thinking versus young-people thinking.
  • I haven’t been to Starbucks (or any coffee shops) in a couple weeks. So it was a treat to try a latte from Caribou Coffee. And then I splurged the next day and got a venti coffee from Starbucks. But that ginormous coffee was just a coffee, not as expensive as a specialty drink.
  • I got tickets to a concert in late summer.

Our weekend agenda includes hanging our new giant world map, happy hour cocktails, shopping for a scanner, more sketchbook fun, and continued work on my big freelance illustration project. I might try making quiche, just because I feel like having a piece.

Happy Friday. Enjoy your weekend!


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You may recall that I’m trying out a subscription to a monthly box of paper goods from OliveBox. Click here to see what I got for January and December.

For February, I received this box of goodies, which included a message in a bottle, a mechanical pencil that looks like a giant wooden pencil, an envelope of vintage stamps, and a letterpressed letterquette.

February SubscriptionThe message in the bottle actually has a message. It says “You Are Loved.” How sweet and comforting is that. And the letterquette is an actual glue-bound pad of letterpressed notecards with bright green edge painting and a glue-bound pad of envelopes. Such a clever set!February subscription goodies

Each month keeps getting better and better!


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I love postcards! I love collecting them, sending them and receiving. But they are hard to find these days. So I bought a kit from Amazon with adhesive templates for making my own postcards.

I’ve been using my own photographs to create a series of Weekend Exploring postcards, which I share each Friday. So I thought it would be fun to use those digital postcards to create actual postcards I can put in the snail mail. I used Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper, which looks amazing on my Epson Artison 1430 printer.

making postcards from photos

Here’s how to make them yourself:

  • Print two postcards per page.
  • Trim them to 6″ wide by 4″ high.

making postcards

  • Peel off the top part of the adhesive postcard back.
  • Align it with the top of the photograph.
  • Finger-press the top edge to secure.
  • Peel the rest of the adhesive off, and finger-press the rest of the template to seal the photo and eliminate any bubbles or creases.

weekend exploring postcard

It’s a great excuse for taking more photos and improving my photography skills. I can already tell making my own postcards is going to be addicting!


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