Author Archives: Jill

At some point

At some point I do expect life to calm down into some semblance of order.  At some point I do expect to be able to have a dedicated time to sit down and write.  At some point I do expect my house to be cleaned by magical woodland creatures while I sing.  What?  I never said my expectations were realistic.

I feel like 90% of the recent posts on here are me complaining about how I don’t have time to write anymore.  I will tell you now, there has been a lot going on in my house the past few months.  We have dealt with potty training issues, sibling rivalry, work travel, depression, lead paint, piles of leaves as tall as me, migraines, cat puke, and a weird scratching noise in the wall that I think is a mouse.  So stay tuned as I try to tackle each of these fun topics and what I may or may not have learned from the experience of dealing with them (or avoiding them).

All the hand drawn elements I would ever need

One of the design bloggers I follow is Chris Spooner at his site SpoonGraphics.  I have learned so much through his tutorials and I love his freebies.  Today he posted a pack of design elements through Design Cuts that I may or may not have run to the computer to purchase.

I am loving the handmade style that is prevalent in the graphic design arena right now, but I do not have the time to create these elements myself.  That is why I am super thankful that other artists do that part of the work for me, letting me devote more time to the design work that I adore.

Normally, I would like to make a few example items to show off what these sets can do, but I don’t want to wait to post this long enough to do that.  If you are looking for some resources and ideas for your design/web/scrapbooking, I highly recommend checking these out.

*I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I am just sharing something that I think is really awesome with the interwebs*

Canon 7D

As an early anniversary present I got we got a new camera and I am so very excited about it!  I chose the Canon 7D as a good balance between the features I wanted/needed and the features that I have no idea how to use. I have heard the 7D called a pro-sumer camera and I think that describes it pretty dang well. 


I also got a 50mm/f1.4 lense to go with it, because of course I need a new lense for taking pics of the kids. Duh!

Now that I have been playing around with it for a few weeks, I am starting to get the hang of what it can do. We have a rock wall in the backyard that makes the perfect background for pictures… if I can get the kids to stand still in front of it. They usually don’t, so outtakes are the name of the game here.

I am very happy with how the camera is doing in low light sittuations as well (aka, any picture I take inside the house). It is almost fast enough for the shots I want on Auto, but not quite. Luckily, the kids are willing to run around and help me practice.

I am just so excited to take our family pictures this fall! Now I just have to figure out how to get myself into the picture as well.

Where the days go

Now that we have been in CT for a few months, I am thinking that we made the right decision.  I know that the family (mostly my in-laws and that side) think that we are insane for moving to another state.  A state where we know no one, have no family, and have never visited other than me coming for my interview.  I admit that there have been a couple moments where I thought, What the eff have I done to my family?  Those thoughts have been very few and far between, though.  I would be crazy to not have any thoughts or questions about this huge change.

The kids are thriving out here.  They are doing great in their new school and love our new house and huge yard that they can play in.  Living in an old house is a huge change for us, I am not used to all the “quirks” that come with an old house.  Windows that don’t open, sagging floors, and ZERO closet space.  But we also have amazing original door and window frames, a huge backyard, and a great central location for activities and shopping.

I love my job and feel like I have an identity again outside of “Mom”.  J and I are happier for having faced this challenge together.  We will see how we do when the snow comes and we are stuck inside for weeks at at time.  For now, we are enjoying the last days of summer.


Expanding my Graphic Design Skills

Since I will be going back to an office job soon, I have tried to get as much graphic design practice in while I could.  Recently I have started to not just make invitations and milestone cards, but I have also expanded into the world of digital paper and clip-art.  Just today I published my first listing of a digital paper pack.  So exciting!!

retro triangles digital paper display pic

I spent many hours working on what looks like a simple item.  Graphic design is becoming a true passion for me and I really hope that I will have time in the future to continue working on developing my skills.  I am slowly discovering my own style, which is leaning more towards clean and modern lines than what I see many other people making (and purchasing).  What do you think?  Any feedback on what I should make next?  I am thinking of taking each color group in this pack and making a group of different designs but with the same color theme.  Is there a color group that you think works better or is just horribly ugly?

… Yes, I am asking for audience participation.  I may come to regret this…

Cross Country Relocation

Moving map

Yes, you read that right.  I accepted a new job in CT and will be relocating my family there in a few short weeks.  I intended to write about the moving experience, but so far it has just been one stress after another, which does not make for very interesting reading.

I hope that at some point soon I will have something insightful to say about moving my family away from everyone and everything we know.  Right now I can say that it is very exciting and scary as hell.

Invisalign – Tray 12

I wasn’t going to update my progress for a few more trays but I had to share some exciting news (exciting to me anyway).  I am doing so well with my progress that my orthodontist said that he wanted me to change trays every 10 days instead of every 14 days!  I am so excited to be able to speed up my treatment plan. 

The past few trays I have really been able to notice some tooth movement on my front problem teeth.  Previous trays worked to move my molars to make room for my front teeth to be corrected, also know as making huge gaps between my back teeth for food to get stuck in.  I am looking forward to when those gaps are closed and I don’t have to spend 15 mins after every meal trying to get all that crud out.

My morning coffee is still my major time without my trays in. I can only drink 3 cups of coffee so fast, ya know?  *TMI Warning*  Oh, and this past weekend I caught a stomach bug from the kids.  I quickly found out exactly how fast I can get my trays out when the nausea hits.  So glad that is over and I am feeling better!!

Editing 11 months

Now that I am having fun with my new tablet, and I have upgraded to Photoshop CC (previously using elements), I can have a little more control and fun with the monthly pictures of R.  Take this month’s picture for example.  I was not able to get her to lay on the quilt for the life of me, so I decided to turn the quilt into a backdrop by draping part of it over a table.


As you can see, the table wasn’t quite big enough to backdrop the entire view. (I have already done my basic color tweaks to brighten this picture). So, I decided to try a background clone stamp to see if I could cover those holes, and I think I did pretty alright.


The left side came out better than the right, with the quilting stitching being closer to matching, but I think it is ok for a first effort. This month I wanted to do a pink circle for the month, but I was having trouble getting it to multiply onto the onesie without any blue reflections coming through and making parts of it look purple. So, after an hour of fiddling with it, I decided to just leave it like this and call it done.  Not my best effort, but I was getting hangry and frustrated.

Intuos Adjustment Period

I am happy to say that I have made enough money in my ETSY shop to purchase my first buisness expense. Woo hoo! I got a Wacom Intuos tablet, the small one to save money.


After using it for about 10 hours, I am starting to get the hang of drawing without looking at the tablet.  Sometimes it is a little frustrating…specifically when using drop down menus after having too much coffee.  All in all, I am happy with my purchase and am looking forward to having more precise control in my creations.

Being able to use it for organic shading on R’s birthday invitations has made my artist’s soul happy.  I look forward to sharing my creation with everyone soon.