Thursday, December 13, 2007

Graphic Inspiration

I'm trying to turn my brain off from red/green/snowflakes/candles and change my focus to Valentines and spring flowers, but it is difficult! Especially as I sit here up to my elbows in Christmas cards. (I've sent out a total of 117 so far! And counting!)

Here's a random compilation of tid-bits that are giving my brain a rush of inspiration:

1. Anything with a hand-sewn, or homemade feel. Even if it's done entirely on the computer, like this "W" from the Brocade Home site.

2. Williams-Sonoma's homey, retro package designs really put me into a creative mood!

3. Feminine Abstract art, that is totally messy yet totally "together" all at once. This piece is from the website of a talented artist whose etsy store I recently stumbled upon.

4. My new thomaspaul paper mousepad. It's the coolest thing ever! You can write on a page, rip it off, and the rest of the pad is used as a place to rest your mouse.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gingerbread House Decorating

Without further ado, here are a few photos of the family Gingerbread House Extravaganza 2007.

The mess begins...

When my husband Jeff participates, he always finishes first!
(And yes, it is really funny that Jeff sometimes
participates.) This year, he did a train station.

Rachael and her castle. Very Anthropologie, if you ask me! (Hers was better than mine.) She would kill me if she knew I just posted this photo of her in the early morning with no makeup!

Hannah's disaster area. It had started out so cute, but towards the end, she decided to demolish it art-school style. (She's an art student.) Mom was unhappy with her, since they always display these all Christmas long.

Me, still working after everyone else had long finished. I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I am a perfectionist. (I need to repeat that sentence a few times.)

Jennifer's Christmas Explosion. It looked like something out of F.A.O. Schwartz! It's so multi-dimensional and complex--can you tell she's the aspiring actress of the bunch of us?!

Ellie's cabana in the foreground. This is the first year she's actually been serious about doing a house. At age 12, my little baby sister is finally growing up (sob!).

My pink & brown house. Yep, I'm kind of addicted to that color combo at the moment!

And the whole lot of them!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow, Jeff and I are headed south to visit our families, who conveniently live only 10 minutes away from each other. We'll do a meal at each house, and then separate to hang out with our own siblings.

At Jeffrey's house, everyone plays football, watches football and does typical boy stuff. At my family's house, all five right-brained artist sisters (ranging from the youngest--age 12--to me, the oldest) sit down for four straight hours to meticulously create gingerbread houses. Every year, the houses get drastically more creative and elaborate. Meanwhile, we guzzle coffee (well, maybe just I do that), lick icing until we're sick, and catch up on each other's stories that we've missed through the year.

Above is a photo of our houses from last year... Stay tuned for photos of Gingerbread House Decorating 2007!

And then I've got to start thinking about designing my Christmas card! Procrastination!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

No Pottery Barn Allowed!

I must admit, I've never been a huge fan of Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel or even Restoration Hardware. I think it has something to do with my inner need to be ever so slightly different. Don't get me wrong--their stuff is beautiful and quite high quality, but it's just not for me.

However, Jeff and I did give Restoration Hardware a try--two weeks ago, actually. Yeah, we bought a huge chaise longue in a silver sage suede fabric, thinking it would work sorta eclectically with the French shabby-chic feeling we've got going on in our current living room.

Well, when this custom chair arrived, I cried. It was truly horrifying. It didn't mix well with our existing furniture, not even in a mod-traditional kind of way. Instead of looking sleek and quirky like we expected, it just stood out as bright-colored and junky. Of course, it's a beautiful piece on its own or with similarly styled pieces, but not with our stuff. Definitely not with our stuff.

So now we've got to sell this beast of a chair on craigslist or ebay, which won't be easy, especially since we want to get back exactly what we paid for it. Now that we've been burned, I want to only buy large furniture I've seen in person from here on out. (I'm sure I'll eat my words later.)

All of that to say, I'd like to be free of the cookie-cutter stores for a bit. Give me antiques, obscure creative bits, delicate handmade goodies. Or at the very least, I want my eyes opened to lesser-known online stores.

If anyone has any great ideas for creative online home-decor boutiques, please direct me! Until then, here are some non-Pottery Barn items I've got pretty high on my Christmas decor wish-list:

Wisteria--Sparkly Reindeer

Ballard Designs--Rosette Ornaments

Ballard Designs--Mercury Glass Urns

Horchow--Lighted Little Christmas Tree in Gold Urn

Anthropologie--Winter Village Dish Towel

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Second Anniversary

On this day two years ago, I married the man God made just for me.

I become more aware every day that no one could be more perfect for me, or so patient with me, or so able to make me truly happy.

Who would have thought that so many years ago as a naive high school senior, I'd have already met the one with whom I'd spend the rest of my life.

I never did get cold feet. And I have never and will never regret the decision I made on October 29, 2005. We offered our marriage up to God that day, and He has blessed us with His presence and His direction.

(us as high school prom king and queen, many years ago)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Babies on the Brain

I'm surrounded by friends with kids. This has caused me to 1. think about babies constantly and 2. dream up baby announcement designs.

I'm having so much fun designing these announcements that I've begun the process of getting a professional printer to add a virtual storefront to my site. That way, everyone who has been asking me for announcements can buy them on a whim, right from their home computer.

Here's my latest design! It has a retro feel, with its victorian sage green color, antique ivory background, old-timey fonts and fairground illustrations.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My creative environment turns into inspiration

As a freelancer, I often get the question, "So, what exactly do you DO all day?"

It used to be annoying, but now I just see the question as an opportunity to tell people how passionate I am about my work. I mean, how many nine-to-fivers get to walk in the park for three hours, then snuggle into a big wool blanket and sip a latte out of an antique pink mug--and still get a lot of work done?

The way I get inspiration to do original, amazing, creative work is to surround myself with beautiful things. To work well, I must have a completely inspiring environment. This concept has spilled over into every part of my life.

My car: I drive a lime green VW Beetle. Whether the color is out of style or not, it always looks spunky and puts me in a creative mood. When I change cars, I will never buy a boring one. It just wouldn't inspire me!

My clothes: You'd think that since I work from home, I could save money on buying clothes. This is simply not the case. I get up at 7 a.m. just like I used to, and put on the outfit that makes me excited to get to work that day. Stores like anthropologie and free people fill my head with with new ideas, with their unexpected color and texture combinations.

Entertainment: I stopped watching television a loooong time ago, because it really did not inspire me. After I watched a show, I would forget what I had just seen. Clearly, my time had been stolen from me. I stopped random internet browsing and shopping too, and learned to focus my viewing on blogs (like The Present Past Collection or Bella Pink Cafe) and message boards that would spark new ideas. The primary things I do to refresh my head after staring at the computer for hours each day include things like hiking:

(Last weekend at Great Falls, VA)

Or cooking:
(Making applesauce after picking apples in the country last week)

And definitely running
(racing in Virginia Beach, in March)

The moral of the story? Do things that give you passion. Only surf websites that stir up your thought process. Turn off the TV and make sure you're giving life your all.

What have my recent inspirational adventures produced? Well, here are a few things I've designed over the past few weeks!

(Christmas postcard, inspired by an autumn sunset)

(Citrusy invitation, inspired by this weekend's overwhelmingly fun orange-themed wedding I attended)

(Christmas brocade patterned cards, inspired by a friend's photos of her trip to Versailles)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Artwork As It Unfolds!

Christmas is coming faster than you or I know! I'm seeing it creep into stores, my favorite shopping websites, and of course...into my own work. Yep, I've begun my Christmas marketing campaign already. You'll be seeing my newest postcards and mock-up custom Christmas cards on the website within a few weeks! Get excited!

Meanwhile, here are two sneak peaks (meaning: teeny tiny corners) of my latest artwork for nurseries. Both just need a few tweaks, and then they're off to the scanner so I can have prints made. Good Christmas gift, perhaps?

This one's called Majestic, because it's covered in gaudy gilding and has an absolutely confident tone:

And this is called Nursery, because it's sweet and simplistic. It features the name "Emma."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Welcome to My Blog!

I'm Heather G. Young, a passionate writer, graphic designer and artist. This fresh, chilly September morning is a perfect time for me to start a brand new blog. Here's a little introduction to me. Up next: photos of my latest artwork in progress.


The desire to start my own business has always tugged on my soul.
Fortunately, my gifts and talents—writing, design and art—fit snugly into a freelance niche. My laptop goes where I go, thus so does my work. (Yes, my espresso addiction and night owl proneness fit freelancing too!)

My entire life has been a constant preparation for this very career. Thanks to my artist dad and public speaker mom, my childhood was filled with creative development. When other kids' Saturdays were spent on the soccer field, I was on the family Macintosh learning Adobe Photoshop 1.0, and taking writing lessons from a professional corporate writer (my dad's colleague).

Then, at James Madison University I not only learned journalism (my major), but also threw myself into other creative pursuits: art and design (my minor), interior design, and freelance projects ranging from manuscript editing to textbook layout.

As a college senior, I became engaged to my high school sweetheart, and during that wedding planning period, I discovered a love for what I like to call "girly graphics." Bridal shower invitations, party invitations, wedding programs and anything else with feminine flair filled my thoughts and my spare time for a full year.

My first job after college was in a marketing firm that just so happened to specialize in the "girly graphics" of which I'd grown so fond. I worked with salons and spas to create their graphics materials, PR and marketing, and equally used my journalistic skills to write multiple feature articles for the consumer and trade beauty industries.

After a few years there, my soul's longing for the freedom of freelance became unbearable, and I decided that I was finally ready to begin that chapter of my life. One sunny summer day, I quit my job and I've been thrilled to work with people like you ever since!

Heather Young Signature