Thursday, January 26, 2012

Design Principles

Hey all, did you all have a great week?  My week was super busy and out of the ordinary.  I worked a crazy shift that I am not used to.  The great thing about this week was that I was working for a different section of the company like I will be doing for a while more.  I learned so much this week about my job.  It was truly exciting and amazing.  I got to see so many things that I had never before seen.  I love this! 
This week was also my 4th week of classes.  It's hard to believe that we are already almost half-way through the term.  I thought I would share with you a really simple assignment that we had in my design fundamentals class.  Let me know what you think of it!
Upper Left – Rhythm/Movement
I’m interested in progressive rhythm. Starting at the top of the design and going toward the middle, soft background lines appear closer and closer until meeting and then begin pulling further apart again as the eye continues to the bottom of the design. This rhythm involves repletion of lines, however the lines ( or rectangular white negative space shapes) are changing in a regular manner that creates a progressive rhythm with a calming effect that is enhanced by the horizontal lines. Where the lines converge in the center, it creates a visual focal point enhanced by the addition of the darker jagged line that crosses through the design. While the horizontal lines create a peaceful effect, the jagged line creates a sense of motion. The line begins on the left and travels to the right. As it pulls our eye across the design, the line change abruptly at each point and begins traveling in a new direction. The diagonal slices suggest rushed and impulsive movement. The overall design is balanced in two ways. First, it is balanced between calming and jarring. Second, it is balanced by a dynamic combination of top to bottom symmetry in the background, and left to right asymmetry in the foreground.
Upper Right: Emphasis
In this design, the light value of the letter R is in complete contrast to the rest of the elements. It is centered in the design. Obviously, it is the focal point of the design. The use of a letter helps in creating this focal point. The subtle use of lines coming in from the edges of the design leads our eyes to the center as well. As one last use of emphasis, a bold dark shape that resembles a comic book style thought cloud or a star-like sparkle surrounds the letter R. The viewer’s eyes are first drawn to the center of the design, then they follow the directional points toward the edge of the design as they would follow an arrow , are finally brought back into the center through the subtle lines and once again focus on the emphasized focal point – the letter R.
Lower Left: Scale
To enunciate scale, this design uses both large scale and small scale to directly oppose each other. Initially the eye is drawn to the large white circles heavily contrasted by the black background. There is an obvious diagonal separation running from lower left to upper right where the black background gradually becomes a white background through the use of pointillism. This transition draws the eye upward to the smaller scale black dots that that gradually decrease in number the closer the eye comes to the top left corner of the design. Balance is obtained through the amount of texture and value on the opposing sides of the diagonal. The combination of asymmetry, pointillism, value transition, and repetition creates a unified design.
Lower Right: Proximity/Repetition
The proximity of the tightly grouped line combinations in the center of the design create the focal point or main component of the design. As the shapes ripple outward, they grow further apart and less defined. This creates less of a draw to the eye. Despite the change in shape as the eye moves outward, there is still a repetitive implication through the use of curves that imitate the initial shape running through the center of the design. Adding more visual interest, the soft stripes of the background repeat the vertical lines that format the edges of the design. This subtle mimicking of the formatted edges in close correlation to the calmness of a ripple, the repetitive elements of this design combine to create a soft design that also mimics a cloudlike shape of weightless dreamlike tranquility.
I'm super excited for this weekend.  Tomorrow night, my friend is coming over so that we can work on decorations for the party we are having on Saturday.  It is a gender reveal party for some friends who don't yet know the gender of the baby they are having.  My friend that is coming to help me decorate and I are the only ones that know!  Super exciting!
I hope your weekend is just as wonderful!

Monday, January 23, 2012

52 Smiles

The other day while I should have been doing my school work, I was instead taking part in my normal routine of procrastination by exploring pretty internet blogs and having fun on the internet instead of working!  Turns out it was a good thing though because I happened upon a blog called KatherineMaries and more importantly, I happened upon a post that she did last January about a year of Kindness.  Her family ventured on a wonderful project together of bringing kindness to the world.  I adore this and would really like to find a way of incorporating some of the ideas into my goals list for the year.  Please go read THIS SUPER INSPIRING AND AWESOME POST!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Regarding Being a Designer

As designers we have an intended message.  Do we always get that message across?  No.  However, there are certain things we do that increase the likelihood of getting the intended message across.  The most important thing we can do is to know our audience.  Without knowing our audience, there is no way to understand our message in the same way that they will understand it.  Often times we don't necessarily have commonalities with the audience so research becomes an important part of the design process.  We must research not only our message, but our audience.  We must know their culture, what they find funny, what they find sad, what angers them, makes them smile, interests them, turns them away.  Each design project that we set out to complete must begin with visits to a library, surfing the internet, or immersing yourself within the audience.  Success as a designer depends upon this.
Unity is the most important of all the design principles.  Without unity, a piece feels lost and broken.  Each part of a work of art must have a purpose.  Each brush stroke, each line, each hue, each subject within the piece is there for a reason This purpose or reason is what causes unity within a piece.  Without purpose and reason, each element of the piece serves simply as an individual part rather than an entire whole.  My example of unity is the picture of all the hands interlocking.  Separately they are just hands, but together they are a web of support and unity.
Unity Hands
Line is the most important design element.  It is the simplest form of design but without it, nothing else would exist.  Lines or the combination of multiple lines create shape, pattern, texture, space, motion, and value.  Now you don't need line to create color, but color is also just the cherry on top of the ice-cream doesn't make or break the sunday, but it makes it just a little better.  In sticking with this analogy, line on the other hand is the ice cream.  You can't have a sunday without the ice-cream.  Without the ice cream, it's just toppings; it's just the extra stuff that makes the sunday a sunday instead of a basic bowl of ice cream.  The example image I chose for demonstrating this concept shows merely a bunch of lines.  However, each of the lines combines into a shape. The lines create a pattern and texture. The shapes create texture as well.  The positioning of the shapes creates motion and an illusion of space as the shapes move back and forth in front of you coming closer and then receding into the distance.  without the simple line, none of this would be possible.
moving linesSource
Well, I hope you have a wonderful start to your week.  Wish me luck in starting my new position tomorrow.  I'm a little nervous and have no real idea of what to expect.  Scary!!

Regarding My Communication Style

I'm very fortunate that I work in a very informal environment most of the time.  My situation is also very unique.  Although I am no longer in the military, the majority of the people that I work with are prior military as well and we have all moved to the middle of nowhere for this job.  Although we have our immediate families such as spouses and children around us, we all serve as each others extended families and as friends.  All the friends that I have, I also work with.  My best friend is actually my boss' wife.  My boss is actually my fiance's best friend where we live.  So, the question of whether or not my communication style changes according to my setting doesn't apply as directly to me as it does to others.  I am around the same people in each environment and they all know me very well so it would strike them as quite strange if I acted differently in one place or the other.  I've been in this type of situation for many years now.  During my time in the service it was the same, and since I got out, I've worked in the same type of job, really the last time that I had a "normal" separation between work and home was high school ten years ago.  Back in high school I was a cheerleader, a member of the spirit club, the pep club, student council, debate, color-guard, dance, and drama.  I was very outgoing!  Although I can't remember all the details, I'm pretty sure that even then I was the same way.  I was just as enthusiastic at home as I was at school, as I was as a member of all those things, as I was at my part time job working in a restaurant.  My communication style really hasn't changed since then either.
How do you communicate?  Do you have a specific style that fits you best?  Do you communicate differently at work than you do at school or at home or in a social setting?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Concerning Privacy and Reputation

A discussion topic in my Sociology class was in regards to the internet and social networking taking the place of communicating with loved ones.  The discussion was based on a study that shows a rapid decline over the last 20 years of people within the same household communicating about important topics.  My response was this:

If social scientists are reporting this to be true, I have no choice but to believe it.  I do however, feel that it is quite unfortunate and sad.  Communication used to be such a high valued skill as well as a favored pastime.  I think it is ironic that internet usage (especially with the invent of social networking) has been the link to lower levels of communication and social contact.  One huge point of the internet is quick and efficient communication, but apparently it is just making it easier for people to remove themselves from social contact because all the answers to their questions are at the tips of their fingers instead of ringing through their ears during a conversation. 
Although I am a huge fan of the internet and social networking of all sorts, I don't believe that these findings really apply to me.   I continue to make efforts to verbally communicate with friends and family.  Being that I live so far away from a lot of them, I use the telephone and snail mail as much as possible.  I have a blog that my family stays up to date with and we also talk about a lot of the stuff that I blog about in more detail on the phone.  Sites like facebook are tools for me to remember things more than they are for me to communicate. 
I think that these conclusions are just the opposite of inevitable.  I would have assumed that it would go the opposite way.  I would have thought that internet and other technologies would increase communications between friends ans family.  It obviously makes it easier to communicate and much faster, so where is the disconnect?  Perhaps it is in the fact that people can now communicate at any time in the blink of an eye and they are no longer communicating with the important people in their lives because they are stuck online communicating with strangers instead.

My professors then addressed me with her concerns:
"Renay, are you at all concerned about privacy issues in communicating with your family through blogs. Potential employers now routinely search for social network sites when they consider applicants, and I understand that through them, they are able to get a better sense of the person they are hiring (or decide not to)."

I think it is an idea that requires some thought.  Way too many people share entirely too much on the internet simply because they can.  However, I don't feel that I need to be concerned and this is why:

When I started blogging I laid some ground rules for myself.  Each time that I create a new post, I ask myself questions about it to make sure that it abides by my ground rules.  Here are a few questions I ask:
1-Does this post promote a positive image of myself, my friends, my family, and others around me?
2-Does this post in some way show my talents, skills, positive character attributes, good values and morals?
3- Does this post share too much with the world that might be construed as too much information or unnecessary?
4- If necessary, does this post give credit to others who have inspired me, to people I have quoted, or to artists that I have shared?
5- I'm I proud to display my name next to this post?
My family is a very conservative Christian/Catholic family whom I have a great deal of respect for.  They know that I drink alcohol on occasion, smoke cigarettes, live with my boyfriend, and even curse (a horrible habit I picked up in the military), but I don't blog about these things out of respect for them.  I instead blog about art I have created, books that I have read, goals that I have, decorating our new house that we bought, things that inspire me, photo-shoots I have had, and things of that sort.  If I do share about a party I've hosted or a crazy adventure I have had, I make sure that all photos are tasteful, the language is appropriate for my grandmother to read, and again that it meets my ground rules. 
I work in a very small and specific field where most of the people that do the same thing throughout the country, wither know each other, work with someone that knows someone else, or have heard of someone.  In addition to that I hold a secret government issued civilian security clearance, so I know that my reputation is on the line perhaps more than most people.  However, I refuse to let that hinder my creative goals and aspirations as a creative mind in the blogging and social networking world.  I simply take it into consideration each time I get online.
What are your thoughts on this topic?  How do you feel about sharing things on your blog?  do you have any ground rules that you have when blogging?  I'd love to hear from you.
Have a great weekend!!

Friday, January 20, 2012



 As per usual, I have managed to wait long into January to post up my goals for the year.  Goals to me is a scary word though this year because I have already taken on more than ever before.  This month marks the beginning of me being a full time student and a full time professional.  I'm probably crazy, but I'm also really excited.  I've realized something - we only have this one opportunity to make life happen!  
As you may have seen in my previous post, this year is all about being curious for me.  I will be curious about my job, including a new position that I start on Monday with the testing group.  I will be curious about my school classes including those that I don't really want to take.  I will be curious about books and read a lot.  I will be curious about my art and experiment with new ideas.  I will be curious about crafts and try several new things.  I will be curious about my health and stay on top of getting back to being healthy.  I will be curious about my limits and try to stretch them.  Most of all, I will be curious about myself and explore who I am.
So, here are some goals that I set for myself this year.  My goals for the year are things I will strive for but not stress over.  They are things that I would really like to find time for.  My goals are things that will make life just a little more active, a little more enjoyable, and a little more lived.  I'm excited to try these out.  this year I am also going to try something new on the blog.  I'm going to start a new feature post about my goals and my progress with them.  I may add to my goals, I may subtract from them.  Life is all about changing and if I change as a person, chances are that my goals will change too, and that is what makes this year of curiosity such an exciting thing for me to look forward to.  Alright, here they are in no particular order:
lemon water in the mornings
turmeric  tea
write one hand written snail mail letter at least once per month
send flowers to someone for no reason
back up all of my digital files to an external hard drive and keep it all organized
complete 12 exciting just for fun projects that I have on my fun projects to try list
read 12books for personal enjoyment
Plant Hydrangeas
make an amazing blanket for our bed
complete 3 canvas paintings
try a new recipe each month
make 6 loaves of bread
keep a what I did today 3X5 journal
host an awesome dinner party
host a wine party
strive for only 23 1/2 hours of sedentary activity each day
blog at least one per week
achieve a 3.5 in school
get engaged 
feel great in a size 10 pair of jeans
plant herbs
create a birthday planner calender and stock up on cards to send out for special occasions
learn one "ballroom" type of dance
go one full week without my cellphone
research getting my business license and follow through with a plan
do one commissioned project
organize my office and set it up for productive activities
paint my fingernails and toenails at least once per month
go on a picnic
go to a concert
make valentine cards and send them
Take more pictures

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One Little Word

Sometimes one little word can mean so much.  I think that is the reason that I participate in the One Little Word challenge.  In years past I have chosen more than one word, but this year I only have one.  This is a big thing, guys!  So, you ask, what is my one little word for 2012? 

One of my past professors used this word as a mantra for designers.  This is the one thing she said that she could never teach us to be.  It's the one thing we ould have to be though if we wanted to be successful designers.  I'ts not enough to simple thing and design.  You must instead be curious enough to ask questions, to explore every option, to learn about things that are related to things that are related to things that are related to what we want to design about.  Curiosity is one of the most important traits that a designer can have because without it you never get better, you can't stay competitive, and your success will be limited to imitation.  
My intention for 2012 is to make it a year of curiosity.  I will be curious about my job, including a new positionn that I start on Monday with the testing group.  I will be curious about my school classes including those that I don't really want to take.  I will be curious about books and read a lot.  I will be curious about my art and experiment with new ideas.  I will be curious about crafts and try several new things.  I will be curious about my health and stay on top of getting back to being healthy.  I will be curious about my limits and try to stretch them.  Most of all, I will be curious about myself and explore who I am.
This should be a very curious year.  I'm super excited.  So, inn keeping with this mantra, what are you curious about?  Do you have anything you want to know about me?  About my goals?  More about my mantra?  Are there any other things that you are curious about?  fill me in, because I just might be curious about it too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book List

Have you read any of these books?  Would you recommend any of them or recommend I not waste my time with any of them?

1. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
2. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
3. Who Moved MY Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
4. Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt
5. Life After God by Douglas Coupland
6. Leaving Home by Jodi Picoult
7. Sugar & Spice by Lauren Conrad
8. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
9. Bossypants by Tina Fey
10. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
11. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
12. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
13. Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me
14. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
15. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
16. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
17. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
18. Room by Emma Donoghue
19. Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner
20. Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger
21. The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard
22. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
23. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo & Lynn Vincent
24. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
25. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
26. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
27. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
28. This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
29. Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher
30. I Remember Nothing By Nora Ephron
31. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
32. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
33. Bow Ties, Butterflies and Band-Aids by Lindsey VanDyke
34. Extremely Loud and Incredably Close by Jonatahn Afran Foer
35. The Magic of Ordinary Days by Anne Howard Creek
36. Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb
37. Five Days Apart by Chris Binchy
38. Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison
39. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
40. Running From Solace by Nakia R. Laushaul
41. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kindsolver
42. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I'm really interested for real in following through with my goal that I set last year, but doing it this year since I did not complete it last year.  I need some really good book recommendations that will keep me hooked ans get me to my goal of 12 books before the end of the year!  Help!

Have an awesome Humpday!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ashley is An Incredable Woman!

I've been following Ashley's blog for a very long time now.  Her craftiness is amazing.  Her spirit is undying.  Her Love lovability is through the roof.  Ashley is currently going through chemo and yes, she has a beautiful family.  She just went through the passage of her journey in which she cut her hair.  My words here don't even come close to showing the amount of compassion I have in my heart for this beautiful woman.  She posted a video on her blog about the passage and I couldn't help but want to share it.  I cried from the very beginning.  Please note that I take absolutely no credit for this.  Her story is one of strength and beauty though, and I want to share it with you. 

Rite of Passage - Shaving my Head from Ashley Hackshaw on Vimeo.

To see more about Ashley and read her blog, follow her adventures, and be completely inspired by this incredable woman, check out her blog Lil Blue Boo.
Word are just not enough, so I will leave you with love and wishes for a crafty week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

23 1/2 Hours

I am now a believer!  After spending 7 full days in the hospital and another week and a half recovering, I found this video.  It made a huge impact on me.  So now I ask you to spend 9 minutes of your day to watch this.  Then, I ask you, "Are you in?"  Let's make this work.  Let's make this happen.  Tomorrow is my day one of this.  

I hope that your week is filled with achieving your goals and working hard to love yourself!

Monday, January 09, 2012

2011 Reviewing Some More

I found this little questionnaire on Olivine's Charm School Blog.  I thought the questions were the perfect questions to be asking oneself during the transition from one year to the next.  I thought I would put up my answers to the questions.  If you want to see more, go check out her blog HERE

1.  What accomplishments am I proud of from 2011?
I'm really proud that we bought a house and a new car.  These two things are on "the list" of adult things to eventually do, and somehow I wasn't sure if I would ever check them off.  2011 was the year of big changes for us though, and now we are homeowners!

2. What brave chances did I take?
I made a choice to not only stop going to school full time, but to move across the country and pursue a career that at one point I never thought I would be involved with again.  I put a lot on my plate and just hope that it doesn't all go to waste.

3. When did I impress myself?
I impressed myself a few times.  During the transition from Tennessee to Utah, I proved a few times how strong I can be and how courageous I am.  New challenges are always exciting but they can be risky too.  I impressed myself with how organized I could be in getting our lives packed up and turned around in only a matter of a couple weeks.  When we moved into our new home, I took a quick initiative to start making it ours right away.  A lot of decorating got done in a very short amount of time.  Then, to celebrate, we had a huge party that I hosted with tons of food and excitement.  I never knew that I could pull off something so awesome!

4. What challenges did I overcome?
I've continued to struggle with my mental health.  There are days when I just want to givve up because it would be so much easier.  I challenged myself to press on though and continue to encourage myself to seek out the help that I need whether it's emotional support, medical fixes, or positive influences.  I'm getting stronger and happier.

5. Which relationships did I strengthen?
Mr. Fantastic and I are always strengthening our relationship.  The little things that we do together and even the things that we do apart bring us closer as a couple each day.  Each day we make a conscientious decision to be the best partner that we can be for each other.  We smile and say I love you.  We wink and hold hands.  We never go to sleep without saying I love you!

6. What did I create?
I created a happier heart. a more peaceful mind, a stronger will and an opportunity to be great.  I strived this year to make people feel good about themselves and to feel good about myself as well.  I hope that I created love!

7. How did I nurture my relationship with my body?
This one is a tough one!  My relationship with my body has been a constant tug-o-war all year!  I gained weight, I lost weight, and I gained it back.  At two times I did go on a lifestyle diet.  I'm not talking about the starve yourself for a few weeks and loose 10 pounds diet, I'm talking about a change of approach to eating type of diet.  I tried the raw diet and the glucose free diet.  Each of these helped me a lot and then I just got lazy.  I felt amazing while adhearing to them and it really wasn't hard at all.  This coming year, I am really looking forward to getting back into one or the other of them or maybe a combination of the two.  I'm really ready to get healthy and maintain that health in all areas of my life.  To start that though, balance is essential!

What about you?  Do you have any great reflections of the past year that you would like to share?
HAve a great week.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The New Year Can Only Get Better From Here!

If it is not one thing with me, it is certainly another!  We had such a wonderful time in Michigan with my family and left there early early in the morning on Thursday the 28th.  We flew from Detroit to Rapid City, South Dakota to get some more family time yet with Mr. Fantastic's side.  I should have known that things were not going to be perfect.  As soon as we got in, my allergies to cats started showing their ugly face!  My breathing was slow ans labored and I could not stop coughing or bowing my nose.  Within the first evening, I had already gone through an entire box of kleenix!   The allergy medication, the cold medicine, the warm tea....nothing was helping.  Friday morning we decided to get out of the house.  We went wine tasting and then eagle watching.  It was really nice to be outside, but the cold just set in on my hurting lungs even more, and before I knew it, I was hurting everywhere.  That night it got so miserable, and my innhaler wasn't giving me any relief.  We packed up a small bag and headed over to his cousin's house in hope that I could find some relief. Through the night I continued to get worse.  On top of the breathing problems, and the congestion, I started having panic attacks.  I was up and down all night struggling to breath and maintainn some sort of calmness in order to not perpetuate the anxiety cycles.  By morning, it was clear that we had no other choise but to travel into town to the hospital.  We hoped for a qucik visit - maybe they could just give me a breathing treatment and send us on our way so we would still make it to the family bowling outing we had planned.
When we got to the hospital, my oxygen saturation levels were at 88%  - pretty bad!  They got me in a room and started checking me out.  The anxiety continued which didnt help the breathing at all.  Before I knew it, I was drugged up on several different drugs, had a few breathing treatments, holes in my veins and still wasn't getting any better.  They admitted me. 
So the final diagnoses was pneumonia, with severe asthma and allergy symptoms.  My hospital stay lasted 7 days!  Yes, that is insane!  Throughout the experience, Mr Fantastic was right there with me holding me hand.  When they blew out all of my viens and had to put a central line through my jugular and into my heart, we was there.  When I had to walk from the bed to the bathroom, he steadied my walk.  When I tried to walk down the hall for the very first time, he was there to push my oxygen tank.  And when all my tubes and monitors got in my way, he helped me to brush my hair.  What a wonderful man he is! 
So, that explains where I have been for a bit.  Now that I am finally home, I am still unable to do much because my oxygen levels are still so low, but it is better than being in the hospital.  I'm slowly working towards posting my goals for the new year, starting my new classes for the quarter, trying to eat a little healthier, and praying that the mess in this house will somehow clean itself so that I can continue to rest up before returning to work tomorrow.   
Here are some pictures but I must warn you, they are not for the weak!

I hope you all have a lovely week.