Monday, January 19, 2015

Some beginning graphic design stuff

It seems like almost every post I make, I talk about how I'm back at school working on finishing my Bachelor's degree. It's going to be in Web Design and it's definitely a perfect fit for me! The more classes I take, the more I realize why it's such a benefit to actually go to school to learn this stuff. I've picked up my fair share by reading tutorials on the internet, but to spend 25 hours a week learning how to do it is completely different!

One of the coolest parts of my degree is all of the graphic design classes I get to take. For me, graphic design is a little bit like web designing in that I thought I knew what I was doing before but I'm learning tons and tons! I never in a million years thought I would be hand designing logos and critiquing other graphic design I come across.

I thought it would be fun to blog about some of it to show a little bit of the process. All of these are from my Intro to Graphic Design class that I took last semester.

Logo Project

This is the project I was the most proud of! It took 4 weeks and tons of hours to complete. Our assignment was to design a logo for a completely made up company or exhibit. I chose to do a company and it had to have an animal theme. My logo is supposed to be for a little boy's clothing company.

The first phase was drawing and re-drawing tons of thumbnails. This isn't even all that I did! I usually feel like I'm not a very good artist but the whole point was to just brainstorm ideas.

After getting some ideas down, we picked our favorites and made them digital in Adobe Illustrator. And when I say made them digital, I really mean that we had to build them from scratch in Illustrator.

Then, add text and find a good font that would work.

Then, pick our favorite and add color. Lots of different colors to see which would look the best. 

This was my final logo submission. I really love it!  But truthfully, I really love a few of them. I'm so glad that ultimately I didn't have to decide which to use for a real company!

It was an interesting learning experience because the idea I had at the beginning that I was sure was the best didn't even get past the second phase. And even when I thought my brand mark was perfect, I still tweaked it all the way until the end. Overall, it was fun!

Poster Project

Another project we did was a poster project. It also took 4 weeks. We had to choose a 19th century artist and I chose Bradbury Thompson. I can't believe that I didn't know about him before. He had a tremendous influence on the graphic design industry with a career that spanned over 50 years! My posters were heavily influenced by his style.

We had to turn in 3 different posters for a fake museum exhibit.

The first poster was based on the design principle of alignment:


The second poster was supposed to be and artist perspective poser. It was designed how I envisioned that the artist would have designed the poster for himself. My favorite poster of the whole project was the second finished one (below on the right).

The last poster was designed using our own design style. I still based mine heavily on the style of the artist and part of the reason I did this was to make each poster fit in a set.

Anyway, kinda fun! This class was a TON of work - this is only half of the projects we did through the whole semester. I learned a tremendous amount!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas

I am a huge sucker for easy dinners. But not just easy, they need to taste amazing, too! Being a student and a mom, I'm super busy and I don't always have very much time (or energy) to make a four course dinner! But I really like good food. This yummy enchilada recipe is really easy to throw together. It's the perfect way to make a dish that can be really complicated in a fraction of the time.

Tomatillos are one of those foods that I didn't know about for a lot of my life. It wasn't until I met one of my bestest friends, who also happened to be a neighbor at the time, introduced me to this wonderful vegetable! She grew them like crazy in her garden and made the most delicious salsa. Tomatillos are in the tomato family. They have a really wonderful citrus-y taste. And they are what make these enchiladas so special!

  • 3 C cooked, chopped chicken
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 16 oz jar of green (tomatillo) salsa
  • 3/4 C sour cream
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)


Preheat the oven to 450

Combine the salsa, sour cream and crushed garlic. In a separate bowl with the chicken, add 1/2 C of the salsa mixture. Microwave the tortillas to soften. Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 C of the chicken mixture. and place in a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Because corn tortillas are so hard to roll, I usually fold them in half and tuck the seam under the next tortilla. Like this:

After you have all of the tortillas in the pan, top all of the enchiladas with the remaining salsa/cream mixture and cheese.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Love Plaque Tutorial

I've been doing a little bit of blogging house keeping and I found quite a few posts that have been sitting in my draft folder. I guest posted this tutorial over at My Favorite Finds a while ago and somehow I missed re-publishing it here. In my original post, I talked about how much I loved how this turned out. And I wasn't kidding. I still keep it in my living room almost all year.

valentine love plaque

Here’s what you need to put this darling sign together:

valentine love plaque supplies

5x8 Wooden Plaque
A smaller wooden plate (mine was 2x3)
Several coordinating scrapbook paper (I used 5)
Mod Podge
Vinyl “Love” letters

I love Mod Podge projects! They are so easy to do and look so amazing when finished!

valentine love plaque instructions

STEP ONE: First paint the edges and back of your plaque and small plate. Allow that to dry

STEP TWO: Get all of your paper ready. To make the hearts, I traced a heart shape on the back of the scrapbook paper and carefully tore the papers into hearts.

STEP THREE: Mod Podge it all together. I hot glued the small plate onto the front on the plaque.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Journey on to the new year.

The new year always feels like a fresh start to me. And I know that's pretty common. It's like that for a lot of people. But, I really feel it because my birthday is only a few days after the new year so not only does the year change, my age does, too. With both changes, I always feel like it's a great time to start over and work to make myself better!

I don't necessarily want to call these 2015 goals because half of these I started in 2014 and I'm still working on them. But, I feel like time doesn't matter as much. Getting closer to my end goal is what it's all about!

The first one is this lovely blog (that I'm pretty sure no one reads anymore..Ha!) I've been feeling pretty strongly like I need to blog more and I want 2015 to be the year that I work hard at it. Even if no one is reading. I need to blog even if it's just for myself. I like the release of writing and the growth that I get that comes from stretching my creativity. And because I just love it. Blogging really fits me. So, one of the first things I'm going to do this year is get switched over to Wordpress and make this blog legit. I've wanted to do it forever and just about did before I took my big break. But it never happened. It's gonna be awesome and I'm itching to get started! This goal will happen within the next few weeks. I've already got the beginnings of the process started.

Another goal I have is to seriously get a handle on chores around my house. I kind of go crazy in mess and as soon as I get busy, the house seems to be the first to go. Then, I spend several days catching up. I never let my house get so bad that I can't spend a day cleaning, but I'm sick of small cluttery messes and lack of organization. My biggest problem is that I hate living by a schedule and at the same time I realize that a cleaning schedule is exactly what I need in my life. Maybe my goal should be to live by a schedule. Hmmm. I guess we'll see how it goes! I need to do something, though. I hate feeling crazy!

And last, I want to do lots and lots of yoga! Why hasn't anyone told me how wonderful yoga is? I've been doing it since the beginning of December and I love, love, love it! And it's the first time I've ever felt that way about any kind of physical fitness. So, lots of yoga. Maybe I'll blog about it more later.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A little bit of November

Our November was super fun and super busy! I feel like I'm still trying to learn to balance the craziness of going back to school and the rest of my responsibilities. When it came time for our planned Thanksgiving trip, I was definitely on overdrive! I wanted to finish all of my school work for Thanksgiving week early. The strange thing about online school is that holidays like Thanksgiving aren't observed all over the world, so school doesn't stop. But, I got ahead and everything worked perfectly!

Here's a few highlights from our month:

This girl turned 11.

And that kind of freaks me out! I love her so much!! She is turning into an incredibly responsible, kind and intelligent young woman! I really can't believe the difference in just the last year. She is my right hand daughter and I definitely would be lost without her!

It snowed in Idaho

I thought it would just be a small dusting and melt in a day. But it wasn't. It snowed for several days and got really cold outside way too early. We even got in the negatives a few days! I really love living in Idaho, but I sure do question my sanity when winter gets here! And now that it's December? Today was 50 degrees.

We went to the Police Station

(excuse the horrible phone pictures! Ugh!!)

I'm the Cubmaster for our Cub Scout Pack. Apart from the Blue and Gold Banquet, it's really a pretty easy job. I just have to do one Pack Meeting a month. And I'm always on the lookout for ways to make my job easier. So, I called and scheduled a tour of our local police station. And it was probably the best pack meeting we've had all year! I learned a ton and I'm pretty sure that every single one of our cub scouts is planning to go to the Police Academy as soon as they possibly can! The Police Officer that gave us the tour was all kinds of awesome and he really made the whole night unforgettable.

Our Thanksgiving Trip

The highlight of our month was definitely our road trip! We live in Idaho but my family lives in New Mexico and we haven't ever gotten to go down for a holiday. Like ever. In our entire married life. So, we were definitely due to go down and spend Thanksgiving.

We don't normally travel during the school year because everyone has the summer off (those are the perks of having a husband who is an Elementary School Principal!). It's definitely a different way to travel! They all had a week off which really helped. But it was a lot harder to squeeze everything in and it took a lot more packing to fit all of the winter clothes.

But it was all worth it! We took an extra long road trip by visiting Texas first. We ended up clocking 2500 miles and driving through 6 different states! All in a week's time. And we only heard "Are we there yet?" one time! I think that's a record!

Here's a few pictures from that adventure:

We have some friends that live on a Cattle Ranch in the Texas Panhandle. And it is pretty much the most amazing boy paradise on earth! It almost makes this girl whose heart belongs in the city want to move out into the middle of nowhere. Almost. It was so nice of our friends to come let us stay and we had a great few days!

After Texas we headed to New Mexico.

We really love going to Albuquerque to visit Grandma and Grandpa. It was such a treat to go during Thanksgiving!

Some of the cousins were in town and they got to play as much as they wanted. And of course got all kinds of spoiled from Grandma and Grandpa!

It was a fun and much needed break. Definitely not long enough! We can't wait to go back!

So, that was our November in a nutshell. Now on to Christmas!


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