Collabs

It’s been a pretty cool month for me business-wise. Since taking Jasmine Star’s INSTA180 course my kids have both started sleeping properly through the night – I know there is no correlation between these two events but together they are the recipe for my being able to work a little at night and get back into the swing of things with networking and creating, and sleeping! Balance, beautiful balance.

The Jasmine Star course made me realise really how saturated the online universe is with creatives – photographer and graphic designers especially. It takes focus to cut out your own space within this niche, which I really enjoy doing. Most of us want to help each other and that’s really nice. Everyone wants the same thing though and to stay on top you need to offer something a little different than everyone else at that moment.

I’ve also joined an app community called Collabor8 which is home to brands and influencers, giving them the opportunity to connect and set up a collaboration. It sounds fantastic but in reality it’s a tool for entitlement. The collaboration requests come flooding in and once you get started you realise the majority of “influencers” are only interested in anything you can give them for free; as soon as you mention a price for your services they disappear. Bummer for them because their branding could often use some help. Overall, Collabor8 is probably a good place for people starting out, who could use some hollow exposure.

It’s been a fun month of growth including feeling confident enough to approach brands that can use my services. So far it hasn’t hurt to offer and the collaborations have been fantastic and they’re brands that I fully support. Bonus!

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Please write my folks and throw away my keys…

Homesickness is a topic that often comes up usually within introductions when I meet people. They’ll say, “do you miss Scotland?” and I’ll say, “yeah but probably not as much as you think.” and then they’ll often start telling me how much they miss their home and their family etc. and end with, “it must be so much worse for you because you’re further away from your home.”

To me, homesickness isn’t measured by distance. It’s like trying to measure pain or joy. Everyone has a different threshold, different ways of coping and dealing. My homesickness rarely lingers because I feel like I’ve been on a 13 year vacation this whole time I’ve been married and “homeless.” I’ve lived in a lot of different places. I’ve been constantly experiencing new things; people, places, food, landscapes, and climates that I hadn’t even imagined for the first 19 years of my life.

I have no idea where we’re going next but I feel so much at home with the not knowing…

ive never been so lost

Thanks to Something Corporate for summing it up in 2002 for me with this lyrical gem.

Hallelujah.

Don’t you love it when you hear lyrics and it makes things click into place for you on a really personal level? I’ve always loved some good imagery when it comes to the books I’m reading and the music I’m listening to. It’s real artistry to create a picture with words – and also with paint but we’re not talking about that right now…

A regular in rotation in The Adams’ Abode is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Autumn and I are partial to Rufus Wainwright’s rendition with 1500 singers (choir! choir! choir!) Either way, everything about it is the most perfect recipe for goosebumps and sometimes some tears – what?! Yeah, 9 times out of 10 I cry when I hear it and if Autumn feels the urge to do some of her interpretive dance routines you might as well call the coroner because I’ll just be dead.

There’s a line that says, “Love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah…” I love that. Love is not the end of the hard work. It’s the start. You don’t find or win love and then stop having your heart broken. Being in love means letting someone fix the breaks, sometimes after they cause them. That’s kind of the prize. Having someone to trust enough to do that if it happens.

love is not a victory march

I’m Doing This…

Motherhood, womanhood, sisterhood, friendship, partnership, relationships – it’s like in order to stay in a ‘hood or on a ‘ship you gotta know what’s what! Balance. What’s up with “balance?” As I tread the waters of my daily responsibilities and as I start to feel a bit worn out; spread too thin, I think to myself, “Laura, this IS hard work! It feels like you’re not getting much out of it right now BUT this hard work is paying off! You’re keeping kids clean, fed, happy – I hope! They’re loved and you’re showing them balance. You’re doing it for them, but you’re also doing it for yourself. And you’re doing pretty good! – and your guy is clean, fed, and happy too. Bonus!”

I’m doing this for me.

im doing this for me

 

Project Dream Life

If you go to my family home you’ll find a closet in the front hallway that has two huge filing cabinets full of photographs. On top of those cabinets is some small file boxes also full of photographs. Above those there is a small set of shelved cupboards that holds a few more boxes of photographs and bunch of albums. My family home contains decades and decades worth of photos and they’re not organised. The task is so daunting that it will likely never be taken care of.

In 2011, the same year I graduated with my degree in Graphic Design, I came across an incredibly innovative system of scrapbooking called Project Life by Becky Higgins – if you haven’t heard of this journaling concept you need to check it out. I put one of the core kits on my Christmas wishlist that year. I gave birth to Autumn exactly one week before Christmas and thought it would be fantastic start to recording her life. I received the core kit but no album or pockets. At that stage of our lives, which lasted right up until now, there was never any space in our budget to invest in even printing photos. A sweet friend who also loves to record memories sent me a set of photo pockets to use and left it to me to get the album and prints.

Way before I started school for my degree in Graphic Design I picked up digital scrapbooking, which led me to photo editing, and tshirt design, and invitation design, and absolutely everything else I’ve worked on. It all began with digital scrapbooking.

As I’ve followed Becky Higgins LLC I’ve thought about my core kit and my photo pockets, and as we’ve moved from house to house, state to state, switched schools, grown our student loan debts etc. I’ve never felt comfortable with starting a new hobby. I’ve never been in a place where I’ve had energy enough to do more than I’ve been doing. That is, until now. Last week I splurged and bought photo credits from Persnickety Prints and what I need from Project Life to finally start putting together my album!

Part of the fascination I have with the whole Project Life concept stems from my mild obsession with someday designing a core kit. This is what I’m working on now, pulling ideas together, building my resume, and gaining steam to achieve this. I feel like I’m a place in my life where I can finally focus enough to fulfill some of my own personal dreams on the side of helping my kids fulfill theirs… I gotta set an example right?

sugargrenade_becky

Hi Flyer

I mentioned before that I took part in Jasmine Star’s INSTA180 marketing group a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t learn anything I didn’t know already but it gave me the boost I needed to start giving my social media outlets the attention they need in order to be the useful business tools they can be.

I got a little cheeky yesterday and sent a message via instagram to a potential client and let her know, “hey, you’ve got super serious skills in what you do, and I have skills in what I do. I want to help you with what you’re doing.”

The spontaneous interaction went well and I spent yesterday communicating and creating with Julia Ladewski – Strength and Conditioning Coach an eyecatching new flyer for the 12 week course that she’s coaching starting on the 15th of August.

stamped

If you’re a business owner and you’re on the fence about hiring a graphic designer to help you with your branding – logo, flyers, social media elements etc. it’s important that you see it as the investment it is. Professional branding will set you apart from the rest. Just as you have the skills in what you do, a graphic designer has the skills to portray your image to your target audience.

If you’re looking to get serious about your health go check out Julia’s site for this Back to School challenge she’s hosting.

AND if you’re serious about your branding, shoot me an email and we can talk options!

sugar.grenade@gmail.com

80’s

Confession: I’m often intimidated by my clients, especially is they themselves are a creative also. No matter who I’m working for I get really nervous after sending the final file idea over for the thumbs up or the red light – I’ve never actually had a red light but I live in anticipation of one. I have some anxiety issues, obviously.

I have a friend that I went to Primary School with who was incredibly talented at drawing even at such a young age. She’s now a tattoo artist and her work turns my eyes into huge hearts when I see her stuff. I had the privilege of creating a cover image for Jaggy Leigh based on her love of Jem, neon, and iconic 80’s type…

leigh

When dreams come true…

A few years ago when Autumn was almost 2 I got a message from Brenda Birrell inviting me to discuss a possible design position at her company with American Crafts. It was an absolute thrill to have received such a message – an actual dream come true! But at that stage in my life I had a toddler who was on sleep strike, and I lived just too far from where the job would be located. It just wouldn’t work but it was still hard to accept.

A few years later my husband got his dream job working as a web developer for Silhouette America. Silhouette works with a lot of American Craft designers… so he kind of got my dream job too. That email from Brenda, and Stuart getting that job are two of my proudest accomplishments!

Earlier this year as I was riding that wave of post partum hairloss, out of control hormones, and random, intense hot flashes we were at Ikea with my two babies. Struggling to hold things together, exhausted and grubby I spotted someone out the corner of my eye. I recognised her and the sweating started – I have NEVER been star struck in my life. My laid-back personality had never allowed for me to be anything less can cucumber-cool whilst meeting any kind of celebrity. BUT there she was. I froze. Then I started freaking out. Sweating. Stuart told me not to approach her. She disappeared and we went on our way. Then, I saw her again. Turmoil! Stuart told me it was obviously effecting me and that I actually should go say hi to her or I’d regret it forever. I lost her. We decided if I saw her one more time I had to say hello.

I was sure she was gone already as I continued looking for the picture frames I had come for. Calming down, heart rate slowing… then she was there!

Okay.

“Just say hi.”

I approached her – ambushed really.

“Hi! I just have to say hi! I saw you already and my husband said I had to say hi or I’d regret it forever!…”

She looked startled, and I understand why. I had turned into an absolute maniac. Sweating, my sad post partum hair regrowth frizzy, and seriously battling a hot flash, my face bright red.

“My name is Laura. I’m so excited to meet you that I feel like I might throw up my meatballs. I just ate a lot of meatballs… and I’m sweating so badly that I just want to take my clothes off!”

Why? WHY? Why are you saying that?! Stuart watched on horrified as I pointed him out and introduced him and mentioned again I thought I might throw up on her…

“Okay, nice to meet you too Heidi Swapp!”

Stuart approached me cautiously.

“What on earth did you just do?!”

I wanted to hug her! Had I actually touched her arm? I considered asking to take a selfie with her. All I did was tell her I wanted to remove all my clothing in the middle of Ikea and that there was a chance I was going to BARF ON HER!

We checked out and got back to our car. Things started replaying in my mind. The ambush. The words. The tugging at my hoodie like I was about to remove it. I looked in the mirror. My face still flushed. My frizzy halo, makeupless face… did I even brush my teeth this morning?

Say “hi” or you’ll regret it he had told me…

This whole experience makes me cringe and laugh so hard whenever I think about it. But now we live in Provo and every morning I wake up and pray that I will never run into Brenda Birrell or, heaven forbid, any of The Osmonds!

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This is the face you make when you realise that you’re probably insane.