Friday, March 30, 2012


New minted challenge!  I know, it seems like that is all I do anymore (I think Mr. Squareview feels the same way sometimes J), but I'm really loving it!  I literally finished 4 new designs last night which just happened to be on day 30 of my 30 day free trial with Adobe Illustrator.  Nice timing, huh?

Over the last 30 days I've learned a lot from my self taught usage of Adobe Illustrator.  I can see the improvement in my designs due mainly to the the 'tricks of the trade' that I've literally stumbled upon over the last month.  Even though I have very little interest in either wedding party invitations or holiday cards for businesses, I submitted designs for both because I wanted to keep challenging myself.  I liked what I created for each of those challenges much better than what I did for my first challenge -the baby shower invite - which was actually more along my line of interest with the animal silhouettes I used in couple of them. Here are the designs I completed yesterday.

It occurred to me this morning after I checked to make sure that my trial Adobe Illustrator account really had expired (I had to make sure!), what am I going to do now?  I wonder if I can talk Mr. Squareview into sinking the $600+ into buying my own version.  Time to start saving my pennies.  That said, I think I have something in the works that gets me back to my animal silhouette roots.  More to come on that soon.

Along those lines, I mentioned (during my cab ride home J) yesterday that I was hoping to watch the Etsy Symposiums online today.  I missed several that I wanted to see (stupid job responsibilities!) but the good folks at Etsy are posting the recordings here.  Enjoy.

Happy weekend all!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


I'm trying out a new blogger app to see if I can actually manage this without a computer... Boy, do I feel old typing that! I went to Connecticut for the day for my real job and I'm happy to report that I'm back in sweet home Chicago.

I am currently in cab negotiating what to order for for dinner via text with Mr. Squareview. Love us some! Makes it easy for us when we just want to be lazy and order delivery.

For the sake of experimentation (photo posting experimentation that is) here's the view out the cab's back window.

It was a long day (day trips always are) but worth it to get to sleep in my own bed.

If I'm a good girl and get my real job done tomorrow I'm hoping to join the afternoon Esty forum sessions. I'm tinkering with taking my animal art to a new level and want to gobble up all the knowledge those folks can provide. I'm not smart enough to post a link on this app yet so if you are interested visit Etsy for more details!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


In preparation for the upcoming Easter holiday I began a search for a new take of the classic day-glow egg dye.  Don't get me wrong, I loved those crazy colors growing up but since it is just Mr. Squareview and me, I thought something more sophisticated would be appropriate.

I  found a DIY for these subtle and sweet Easter eggs on what is fast becoming one of my favorite blog finds - the sweetest occasion - take a look here.  Aren't they gorgeous? Each of those little hearts were cut and placed by hand.  Talk about made with love!

While beautiful, I'm nothing if not realistic and I have to admit that the hand made hearts might be a bit too labor intensive for me.  Back to my search.  Here are a few of the pretties I found...

Endless possibilities!  If I ever decide to deconstruct the wreath I made in this post I could tackle this project. I have a big wall of windows that need some attention.

The more I think about it, these could really work.   Me thinks I'll leave the wreath as is and take a trip back to Micheal's!  Happy Easter Decorating everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I keep running across these ombre cakes.  Not only do they look fabulous, but the possibilities are endless.  You could do a tonal cake with only one color, several colors in the same family or a complete rainbow!  I think people only think of these as wedding cake options, but that is just not the case.  Can you imagine the surprise on the kid's faces when you cut into what looks like Jenny's plain jane white birthday cake and voila! a gorgeous rainbow appears?  Magical.

The second picture below comes from the wonderful Eddie Ross site.  Step by step instructions were included and you can find them here.  Sign. How I wish I baked!

Monday, March 26, 2012


I'll admit, I'm a fan of the book series.  I will also admit when my 11 yr old (at the time) nephew first described the book's concept to me years ago I was bit shocked it was considered young adult literature.  It seemed wholly too barbaric to be age appropriate.  That said, I greedily gobbled up book 1 in record time and couldn't wait to move on to the second.  Book one is definitely my favorite of the series and although I did not contribute to the $150M+ earned this weekend at the box office, Mr. Squareview and I will definitely be seeing the movie soon. 

I obviously knew the books were popular.  The true sign is when you see middle aged business men and women reading them with zeal in every airport.  Popular, sure, but I didn't realize the obsession out there until Etsy sent me this product update email over the weekend.  It was titled "Let the Games begin"

Hilarious.  There are some really interesting (and honestly in some cases disturbingly attentive to detail) items out there.  It got me thinking.  A quick trip to Pinterest and viola! Check out these goodies. 
Source: via Cle on Pinterest
Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

If you've been reading - you know I love me some cuff links. These are made from actual HG books!

And my personal favorite....

Happy Hunger Games, Everyone!

Friday, March 23, 2012


found via google search

No less than 3 of my colleagues are in Hawaii this week for spring break.  I know I literally just returned from a mini-break, but I'm still downright envious of them. It's been (sadly) over 20 years since I was last on the Hawaiian Islands and I think it is about time to go back. 

All the dreaming of tropical drinks and hula skirts got me thinking... A luau themed rehearsal dinner would have been fun.  We chose a "welcome to chicago" theme for ours and went to a famous deep dish pizza place.  I guess a luau wouldn't have been super appropriate for Chicago.  Oh well, maybe next time (kidding! J). 

I did put all this daydreaming to good use though.  I dreamed up a new minted submission for the wedding party invite challenge.  What do you think?  Fictional Jenna, you are one lucky girl! 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


 If you've been reading my posts you will know that I've recently become obsessed with creating submissions for the design challenges. Through this process I've noticed something that I wanted to share.  It's the fonts that make the design (well at least complete the design).  

You'll see a great design that conceptually should work, but there is something that just isn't.  You won't be able to spot it immediately, but believe me, it's likely the font that is making it fall flat.  Now here is the conundrum... Where do I find these font to pull everything together?  You may be new to this like I was so I'll explain (maybe over explain for some of you J).  There are thousands upon thousands of fonts out there and I found the ones I'm drawn to are usually not free - I know I say it a lot - but seriously, what is a girl to do?

Obviously I don't design professionally, so spending hundreds of dollars or more for a font for a Minted challenge just isn't feasible no matter how cool the end result would be.  So I set off on a mission to find fonts I love for free (or for donations only).  Here are a few of my favorites.

 found on Lost Type
 found on Lost Type 
 found on Lost Type 
found on How About Orange
 found on Lost Type 

And if you search long and hard and keep your eyes open you can find some fun ones through  I've used both of the below for designs ( you may even recognize Black Jack in my blog's tagline).  I like that even though they are both script fonts they still have a touch of the fresh and modern.

What is your favorite? 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I know that may be the opposite from the traditional order, but that is what Minted is doing. I know, I know, my Minted obsession continues... I just can't seem to shake it. The new challenge is wedding party invitations. Not to be confused with traditional wedding invitations, but invitations for all the other pre-wedding festivities like engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, etc.

I've been fiddling around with a few designs and will likely submit a few for this challenge for no other reason than to ring every available second out of my free adobe illustrator trial! J This one is my first draft of an invitation for a bride to give her bridesmaid. I'm thinking that it may be better for a shower invite instead as showing the bridal gown as it doesn't really make a ton of sense - but hey, it was late and I wanted to get something under my belt before heading off to bed... I'd love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I had to take another break from my minted submissions and my adobe illustrator obsession and figured that I needed something to wear on St. Patrick's Day next year.  I found these gorgeous green glass beads down the street at my local bead shop and couldn't wait to see what I could do with them.  I was planning on simply stringing them together in a standard strand and clasping them but then I ran across the chain that I had to use.  I had ended up with both a standard strand necklace and a combo bead and chain necklace. Take a look. If I keep this up Mr. Squareview is off the hook for all future jewelery purchases.... Hmm, maybe I should reconsider.

I think I'm definitely partial to this toggle and chain look.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Just got back from our visit with Mr. Squareview's folks and I have to say St. Patrick's Day in Savannah was incredible!  What a fun time.  The parade was great, the locals even better.  They really know how to do it up, and I'm from Chicago!  I heard they set attendee records this year which the perfect weather and the fact that the parade occurred on a Saturday didn't hurt.  If you ever get a chance to take in this wonderful party in this wonderful town, do it.  You will not regret it!

Friday, March 16, 2012


I don't know if the same is true for you, but yesterday began an annual roller coaster of emotion in the Squareview Household. March Madness has begun! I'm happy to report that Mr. Squareview's team made it through the first round and we're looking forward to celebrating both St. Patricks's Day in Savannah, GA and an Indiana University victory. As the tournament progresses and the teams get picked off one by one from my bracket I can't help but think this is one of my favorite times of year. It is not only incredibly exciting for me personally, but I really enjoy seeing my friends who are a dozen years or more removed from college graduation get swept back immediately to that magical time of all our lives. Good luck to everyone! I hope your brackets give you the results you are looking for... Go IU!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

GIRAFFES (again)

So this whole undertaking I've been describing for the last few weeks all began because I was trying to find a cute gift for some new grandparents without luck. After a lot of stops and starts I ended with 5 Minted submissions and the below gift to welcome the new bundle of joy.  If you are wondering why it's shiny, I forgot to take the picture before I wrapped it in plastic for the trip. J I'm happy with the way it turned out and I can't wait to give it to the proud grandparents! 

Monday, March 12, 2012


Well, it's taken many many (many) hours but I'm pleased to say that I'm done with my designs  - 5 in total.   I just submitted them for the Minted baby shower invite challenge and my fingers are crossed.  I tried to design them using familiar images of baby while keeping them all a bit different.  Which one is your favorite?  Hope you like them and if you do - vote directly using the vote here box found at the top right of my page!

Friday, March 9, 2012


I thought about this long and hard and decided what the heck!  I am going to submit a handful of baby shower invite designs to the current challange.  The deadline is Monday so I'm going to spend the weekend putting the final touches on what I've put together so far.  Here is a sneak peak of 2 of my designs.  I'll let you know when it is official!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I was getting a bit obsessed with my free Illustrator preview and realized it was time to take a little break.  I put together the below two necklaces to add to my collection.  The first is made from turquoise chips the other orange jade.  You may remember the jade from a previous post of mine found here
I start with 2 strands
then moved to 3 strands
ended up with 4 strands total as I ran out of beads to make a 5th
even though there was a spot for the 5th on the clasp.  whoops!
I really liked this clasp.  I thought it was more interesting than the standard toggle clasp
the orange jade
I liked the way the beads ranged in size from small to large.  They did not provide enough, however, to make much more than a choker which isn't really my style....
so I added some chain to lengthen it. 

Now, back to my Illustrator obsession!