Friday, September 28, 2012


Happy Friday!

I can't believe it's almost launch time.  I've been planning and designing for the Squareview Studios Etsy shop for so long that I can't believe it is time to go live.  It really hit home when I realized that if I didn't get the show on the road and open shop soon all the Halloween designs I created would be worthless! J

I'm setting up my "photography studio" this weekend, but I took a few snaps to see how everything photographed on my kitchen counter.  I knew that after adding props and styling appropriately, it could only go up from there!   

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


There are a ton of things to consider when opening your Etsy shop and your shop's brand should be top of the list.  I knew I wanted to continue the modern, clean lined aesthetic that I strive to create in my designs throughout the entire shop.  I also knew I wanted to keep the star found on the Chicago flag somewhere in the logo.

I put several ideas together and the below came out as the winner.

Sizes used:
Small square that will be used as my shop Avatar was 125x125 pxls
Etsy shop banner was 760x100 pxls as recommended by Etsy.

You'll be seeing these same updates to the branding on this blog, my facebook page & twitter page. Well, you'll be seeing the updates after I fix the major problem I just noticed this morning.  Can you see it?  It is hilarious what your mind will just fog right over when you are in the thick of editing your designs. I noticed that the points of the star were off a fraction of a inch, but this goes unnoticed.  Go figure....

etsy banner:

I choose to keep the star the same general size as the blog banner which meant that it bled off the etsy banner page.  I'm starting to reconsider that idea. Should I make the star fit the banner instead?  What do you all think?

etsy (and likely facebook timeline) avatar:

and my new blog header:

Did you find the problem I mentioned above?  

That's right - my spelling is atroxious! You would think I would know the difference between stationary and stationery by now! J

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



Hi Everyone!   I've been hinting at new things to come for, like, ever and I need to let the cat out of the bag. I've got some big news to share and I can't keep this quiet anymore. So here it goes....

Squareview Studios is opening 
an Etsy Shop! 

I've been working towards this goal for months and finally feel ready to move forward, bite the bullet, pull the trigger, [enter your cliche here].  

The mission: Even in this fast paced world of communication through emails, texts, and tweets - there is still nothing better than receiving a correspondence through the mail.  The initial excitement of seeing that envelope among all the bills and fliers, the anticipation you feel as you're thinking what could this be as you open the envelope, and the joy you feel as you read the invitation details, heartfelt thank-you, or the holiday greetings.  Nothing beats it!  

Squareview Studios in on a mission to promote paper correspondence - one stationary design at a time.

The product: I believe that everyone deserves beautiful paper designs. And if it is custom, easily accessible, and affordable all the better.  My shop will offer custom & printable social stationary, party invitations, and holiday photo cards to start.  What does this mean?  It means that I will provide the custom design and you do the printing.  Whether that be at home, at your local printer, at a copy shop, or through a online shop - it is entirely up to you.  

Next steps: Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing everything that went into this decision and how I'm executing my plan with intention.  

I'm so looking forward to this next chapter.  It's been a lot of hard work getting here but I honestly can't remember the last time I've absolutely loved working on something as much as I've loved doing this.  

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I took the new camera out for a test drive this weekend.  The little guy did a great job.  He's now officially part of the family.  I took a few snaps to share but now realize that my post production Photoshop work left much to be desired!  The Photoshop 101 class at Nicole's Classes may be in my future...

Anyway, we went for pies but by the time we got there, we were left wanting.

Pie- less, I left the fest a bit deflated.  I pouted briefly but soon shook it off and chose to make lemons into lemonade apples into apple cider and use my trip as a bit of inspiration for my Typography homework assignment. 

This week's assignment was to create a flyer of some sort with the only requirement being that it had a few paragraphs of text.  Luckily, we didn't have to actually create the text, my new friend Lorem ipsum fit the bill just fine.   

I decided to continue the theme and create a drink/food ticket too.  What do you think? I'm considering getting in touch with my Chamber of Commerce and offering my design services for the 2013 fest.  Maybe if I do, they'll save me a pie...

Monday, September 24, 2012


Happy Monday!  I can't believe my Music Monday series is old enough to drink!  Happy 21st, fella!

I just discovered this band recently and I'm digging them.  Other Lives with Tamer Animals.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2012


If you've been reading, you know I'm presently enrolled in a typography class through Nicole's Classes (which I love, by the way).  Here is a little taste of my first week's homework assignment.

My teacher, Melanie, provided the words - I provided the design.  I'm imagining some sort of circus theme to celebrate fake Parker's eighth birthday - what do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Paris Photography - Vespa, 16x20 French Large Art Prints, White Wall Art

Yesterday, I told you about my new camera purchase.  It still sits in it's box but nonetheless, photography has been on the brain today.  So much so, I wanted to share with you the type of work that I one day aspire to produce.

These lovely photos were captured by Nichole from Little Brown Pen and are available in her Etsy shop called The Paris Print Shop.

Here's the story directly from Nichole's interview on EtsyThe photographs in my shop are a happy accident. In January 2009, I moved to Paris with my husband and two young sons. Despite the damp cold and relentless gray, we enjoyed exploring our new neighborhood. One day, I noticed a few objects in a similar shade of red and shot them. As I walked, I found other things I liked in that shade and photographed those as well. When I returned home and uploaded them to my blog, the response was, “more!”

I quickly became obsessed and spent weeks singling out different shades. Searching for colors is a surprisingly democratic process, as it’s just as likely to appear on something spectacular (Notre Dame) as it is on something pedestrian (a trash can). I didn’t question whether the object was famous, old, or important; I just shot it. The serendipitous nature of the process meant that I never had a plan and that was part of the fun.

This happy accident has produced some fabulous work like the ones I'm showing below from Nichole's Etsy shop, but also a book called Paris in Color, published earlier this year.  Can you say perfect holiday gift idea?  You're welcome!

Aren't these color stories absolutely gorgeous?  Personally, I can't decide if I think Orange or Green is more stunning. Which one is your favorite?

Paris Photography Collection, Gray - French Fine Art Photography Art Prints- Paris Decor - Large Wall Art - Urban Home Decor - Modern

Paris Photography Collection, Yellow -- Paris Art, French Large Wall Art, Yellow Wall Art, Spring

Paris Photography Collection, Orange, French Art Prints, Paris Decor, Tangerine Large Wall Art

Paris Photography Collection, Green - French Art Prints -- Paris Art, Spring Green Wall Art

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I decided a while ago that I needed a new camera.  The intent was to move away from my trusty point and shoot and buy a big girl DSLR camera.  It was an investment I was willing to take on because I really wanted my photos to go to the next level.  Mr. Squareview, on the other hand, was not a fan of the purchase.  Not for the BIG dent in the pocketbook, as one might suspect.  No, his objection was solely due to the increase in size of the new camera.

You see, when we travel, Mr. SV is the keeper of the camera.  I typically do the bulk of the shooting, but he usually has the pockets in which to carry it around.  Even with my promises that I would take on the carrying, he still protested.  I think he was figuring he'd still end up carrying it somehow (which, if I'm honest, isn't entirely inaccurate J).  So when it came down to it, he was still balking at the purchase as he didn't want to end up carting around (in his words) a gigantic DSLR beast.

Now, I want to clarify something.  The acquisition of the new camera wasn't only to improve our travel snaps. I also wanted to improve my photos for a pretty big side project on which I'm currently working (more on the side project soon!).  Needless to say, I was motivated and had been spending a good amount of time trying to bring the hubs to the DSLR darkside.

Ever the trooper, he agreed to go shopping with me last night.  In his mind, I'm pretty sure he was thinking that we'd get the DSLR for my side project and the little point and shoot would still be joining us on vacations.  We spent a fair amount of time in the store learning about what I came there to see - a Canon and Nikon  DSLR.  Both had everything I was looking for with all the size Mr. SV was not.

I was about to grab one of them and go when a little white jewel caught my attention.  Visions of Ashton Kutcher danced in front of my eyes while I headed over to take a closer look.  This is what I saw....

Most of the DSLR features I was looking for in the size that worked for Mr. SV.  With a 30 day return policy firmly in our possession, it came home with us.  Marriage is all about compromise, right?

Testing begins this weekend. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


photo from Lime Lane Photography

I'll admit it, my social media "know how" is pretty limited.  In fact, I'm pretty sure a small child has a larger twitter following than I do.  So, I decided with the summer fading fast, it was the perfect time to get to work to create a social media strategy.   Then the weekend came and I forgot all about my grand plans to get informed.  Sigh.

Lucky for me, the laziness fairies were looking out for me as today I found the solution staring me right in the face here on Oh! My Handmade.

The 5 Steps to Create a Successful Social Media Strategy (the basics):

  • Step One) Understand Your Target Market
  • Step Two) Define Your Value Proposition & Positioning
  • Step Three) Get in Front of Your Customers (or, for me, my target audience)
  • Step Four) Create an Action Plan with Measurable Goals
  • Step Five) Measure Your Results and Iterate

Check out the link above to get all the details for each step.  If you are looking to for some help in this area, I definitely recommend reading.

Armed with this AND "mom this is how twitter works" by Jessica Hische, I think I'm golden. J

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Another oldie but goodie today. I just heard it on the radio the other day and forgot how much I liked it. Simple and Sweet.

Enjoy - Shelter by The XX

Friday, September 14, 2012


unfortunately, I'm too blind to read the source of this image.  Found here

Happy Friday Everyone!

I can't tell you how excited I am to wrap up my day so I can race home and spend most the evening working on the projects covered during my first week of Typography class through Nicole's Classes.   Talk about wild and crazy weekend! My 24 year old self would be disgusted to see how much my Friday night activities have changed J

I signed up for the class because I recognized what I was creating was missing that je ne sais quoi that good typography brings to the party.  I needed help, and fast!  Thank goodness my ol' pal, Nicole's Classes, came to the rescue.

It sounds funny, but I'm really looking forward to being critiqued my instructor, Melanie.  I hope to hone my skills enough to be able to put something like the below (coincidentally created by Melanie herself!) together.   

find this beauty here

Isn't it pretty?  

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

p.s. Is it ridiculous that I can identify each and every one of the typefaces* on that poster?  Oh my.  Can you say  - Off. The. Deep. End?   

* did you notice that? I said typefaces, not fonts as I've been calling them for like, ever.  Apparently, fonts are the sizes of the typeface.  Example - you would be using the 21pt font for the Times New Roman Typeface.  Woot!  I learned something in class already!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


My business trip kept me busy over that last several days so I didn't have much time to keep up on my daily reads. That said, I had almost two weeks of items to curate and bring you, my friend, my favorites from my marathon catch up last night.  Enjoy!

Some inspiration from Oh Happy Day

How great is that Acapulco pillow?

found on Oh Happy Day - here

From Oh So Beautiful Paper

Isn't this birth invite is gorgeous? It has that perfect touch of mid century modern that really makes it pop. I just love the typefaces, colors, and typography.  Love I say!

1x1.trans Sophisticated Letterpress Birth Announcements for Baby Adler
Check out the additional pictures of this beauty here 

Funny story side note - as I was washing my face the morning before I saw this post I was thinking how cool the color combination on my face scrub packaging would look on an invite. Believe it or not, the blue color on the packaging is less bright in real life than it is reading in this pic and actually is closer to the blue in the announcement.  Finish it off with a touch of that neon green and I think I have a color combo winner.

Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
find my favorite face scrub here 

Typefaces from Besotted Blog 

Miss Tristan B has been on a mission to develop her hand-lettering skills.  She's been posting her results over the past several weeks (which definitely is a trend as Wit & Whistle even created a Pinterest board { here } for others to share their practice work) but she went in a slightly different direction for this post.  This post highlights some of the beautiful hand lettered-like typefaces out there.  If you are curious about the names of these fonts shown below, check out her post.

find out the names of these gorgeous typefaces here.  I'm proud to say that I'm equally obsessed with script typefaces and already had all but one of these in my possession.  I know, I'm going off the deep end...J

Hand-lettering has been peaking my interest of late as well. It is just so beautiful.  I'm considering dipping my toe in to see how I would fair (I just have to convince Mr. Squareview that it really is a good idea to buy calligraphy equipment and it actually does tie into the work I'm doing on Adobe Illustrator - such a non believer he is! J)

Last but not least I had to share this video - An Evening with: Jessica Hische.  Jessica is a professional hand-letterer who tells her story and shares her work in this video.  It is long and (fair warning) contains some very colorful language but so worth it to see her work progress and admire it's beauty and elegance.  

All these pictures were just to whet your whistle.  Going forward, I expect my link love will be a tad bit more traditional and just actually include, you know, the links. Ah well, blame this go on beginners exuberance to share the pretties.

I'd love to hear about your favorite posts (either among these or any others).  Have a great day!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Happy Tuesday Everyone! Just a quick post today as I'm in traveling for my day job. As usual, I wanted to share a few pics from the road. The local is a bit more interesting than usual as I'm in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Oh how I wish I wasn't on business because the pool looks REALLY inviting (doesn't it?)

Monday, September 10, 2012


I wanted to share the latest from Muse. This effort appears to be much more subdued than past efforts. Enjoy!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Happy Friday Everyone!  I wanted to give you a brief look into the design process for my final project for my Illustrator 101 class.

First, I have to say (again) that I learned so much during this class. I thought I had a pretty good foundation from the combination of my own poking around and the YouTube videos I found online.  Boy, was I missing out!  I learned more in the 4 weeks of this class than I did in the 4 months of poking around.  If you have any interest at all in learning this graphic design software, Nicole's Classes is for you!  Don't forget, you can download a free 30 day trial of Adobe Illustrator from the Adobe site so you can test the waters economically.

Ok, back to the process.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm a big fan of Jess Lively's (formally Constable) blog. In her blog she really focuses on living your life with intention.  Up until this project, when approaching a project or homework assignment I would do the following:

  1. I would sit down at my computer to design, let's say, a thank you card (occasionally with a faint idea of what I wanted to do beyond that but more often than not, no clue)
  2. Pull up a blank page
  3. Stare at said blank page for a while waiting for inspiration to strike
  4. Fiddle around until an idea came forward
  5. Implement this idea
  6. Choose fonts randomly because I happened to like them at the time
  7. As an afterthought, I would pick colors 
I took a page from Jess's book and decided to approach this project differently and do it with intention.

I knew what I wanted to do at the jump.  I wanted to create a beer poster introducing a new style of beer for a brewery.  The love of beer in my family does not stop with me, my brother also shares the love.  To spread this love, he started brewing his own beer about a year ago.  He also has a beautiful little shelty dog named Angus.  Angus is the brewery's namesake and his name is typically found in each the individual brews my brother concocts.   

With my idea in hand, I began to mentally sketch out my plan.  I knew I wanted to have Angus prominently featured.  That meant a lot of browns, whites, and tans.  I decided I needed to round out my color story with intention.  

I recently purchased one of the best design tools I have in my toolkit to date.  A color book.  Specifically, Color Inspitations: More than 3,000 Innovative Palettes from the Community.  I was really struggling with my color choices and frequently ended up using the default color palate.  What a waste.  This book opened my eyes to all the possibilities.  I was literally giddy when it arrived.  Book in hand, I went to the brown section and viola!  You'll see the colors I choose for my color story for this project in the screen shot below (just to the left of the design).

Next, it was time to nail down the fonts.  I knew I wanted to have a Scottish look for name of the beer and Hill House always reminds me of one of the Arts & Crafts movement's greatest designers Charles Rennie MacKintosh (being from Chicago, you thought I was going to say Frank Lloyd Wright, didn't you J). With that choice sorted, I choose my other two (Wisdom Script and Birch Caps). 

Here's a look at my art board which showcases all my design elements.  Cute dog, no?  I love that pen tool!

Oops - please ignore the extra 'e' in Hill House!
What is normally is a bit of a challenging process became enjoyable now that I was doing it with intention. I've never had a design come together so easily and I have to say, it is definitely one of my favorites so far.
I'd love to hear about choices you've made with intention and how that worked out for you.  Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Each Friday, several of the blogs I read post a recap of the things they found and liked by other posters during that week.  I happily gobble up their "link love" and I thought I would try something similar.   Instead of curating the actual posts down to my favs of the week, I thought I switch it up a bit and instead share the actual blogs/sites I heart the most. I figure this is the ultimate in link love.J

Design/Party Planning/Paper/Just Plain Pretty Blogs:
The Besotted Blog - so in love with Miss Tristan B's stamp designs and  jealous envious of her recent move from LA to North Carolina.
The Sweetest Occasion - I love everything about Cyd's blog.  The pictures, the color inspirations,  the party ideas, and the recipes (mostly drink recipes as I avoid my stove as much as possible).
Oh So Beautiful Paper - the name says it all.  Nole features some of the most beautiful designs around.
Hank & Hunt - Jenny took a break, but it looks like she is back with more fab DIY projects.
Wit & Whistle - talk about fab DIY - Amanda's paper projects are on my list of to dos!
Oh Happy Day - Jordan is the queen of all DIY - I dream of being this creative.  I mean, really, check out that movie marquee project!

step by step DIY found here 

Businessey Goodness Blogs:
Oh My! Handmade - Jessika heads up a crew of fabulous contributors on this blog which focuses on the business side of the handmade business.
Jess Lively (formally Make Under My Life) - Jess is on a mission to help other entrepreneurs create a business with intention.  Don't be fooled by the recent marriage posts - she just eloped to Paris and that has obviously been a topic of discussion. Wouldn't it be for you?  I mean, it's Paris.  Nuff said.
Marie Forleo - Marie is an awesome online marketer with incredible energy and insight who is out to add value to both your business and life. MarieTV Tuesdays Q&A make my day.
Nicole's Classes - No, it's not because I featured on it (twice - yippee!) but because they post some wonderful tools and tips that would help out anyone interested in photography, blogging, graphic design, etc.

Wow! I didn't realize how much time I spend reading blogs (& I think mine is short list compared to others)

That said, all these wonderful blogs have one thing in common and that is that they all have amazing, creative, passionate women at the helm.

I hope you enjoy my daily reads!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


You may or may not have noticed that I've been making some tweaks to the branding of this site lately.  The first and foremost tweak was to remove my old header entirely and replace it with what you see now.  I've also spent a fair amount of time re-branding my Facebook and Twitter sites (check them out if you're interested using the buttons at right).  I'm still trying to find my sea legs here so bare with me if you see additional switcheroos in the future.  I didn't realize how many things there were to consider when building a brand or identity.  It just STARTS with fonts, a color story, & typography.  This list from there goes on...

I'm also finding that while I really like clean, simple, & modern design, I'm guilty of being a bit heavy handed with the flourish when it comes to my own branding.  It really is an art form to come up with simple that doesn't look simplistic.  I need to take a page from Coco Chanel and do a second take and remove the first piece of design accessory that catches my eye before sending it off into the world.  Easier said than done!

I thought I'd share some of my favorite branding work that I've run across recently.  Which one is your favorite?

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

Monday, September 3, 2012


Loving the new album by one of my favorite bands, Mumford & Sons.  They were just in Chicago and I'm pretty bummed I missed the show.  Next time...

No official video yet so this was taken from a live radio broadcast.   That said, it is worth watching the teleprompter to listen. J