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my life in my words


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OldFOC

The original For Our City wall before I began the new display project . . .

 

There have been many fun design projects in the works over the past few months, and while most are wrapping up, one of my proudest is done and ready to show here on the blog! This particular project was unveiled in a strategic series of weeks as part of a Capital Campaign message series at my church, called FOR OUR CITY.

One of the things I love most about Eikon Church is that we are truly dedicated to being a church that is FOR our City—well, Hays County to be exact. We do our best to reach out to people in our community to serve them in love—not expecting anything in return—simply because we truly love where we live. We partner with our community through partnerships with the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, CASA Kids program, IDEA Kyle Charter School, Center Street Trick-Or-Treat, San Marcos/Kyle/Buda Fields of Faith, Day With God Prison Program, City of Kyle’s Pie In The Sky, and many more. There are so many more ways we would love to partner with our local community, but in order to do what we are dreaming of doing, we needed a way to:

  1. Promote visibility of our passionate priority.

  2. Provide people with easy ways to invest in the Capital Campaign that will help us make those dreams become a reality.

 

Months ago, as I sat with our Creative Team and brainstormed ideas of how to creatively display those elements, I took on a design project that would reach beyond the screen and create physical spaces to help us be and do more for our neighbors. The project involved repainting a wall with a fresh look and style, creating pledge cards that would be easy for people to use, designing a visual mural sticker to adhere to the inside front entrance of the building, and designing a window panel piece that would tie it all together. As the project neared its end, we realized that the initial FOR OUR CITY window panel piece actually needed a back piece for the other side of the window so you wouldn’t be able to see the adhesive. We decided to make a second window piece that would serve as an additional welcome to people as they walk in.

 

FOCIdea

Computer generated concept art for the new FOR OUR CITY mural.

 

You can see the original wall display in the photo at the top of this post. Right above this paragraph, you can see the initial design concept for the new For Our City wall redesign. Here is the process my amazing Youth Intern and I went through to make it all come together:

 

FOCProcess1

Since the original wall was painting pitch black, we needed to apply two coats of primer to start with a fresh blank canvas.

FOCProcess2

Then we covered the wall back up with two coats of red paint that matched the color scheme of the FOR OUR CITY promotional materials. I also wanted red to be the background color for the wall so that it would stand out more and wouldn’t just become white noise so easily.

FOCProcess3

I used a projector that was balanced on a stack of books on top of a bistro table to sketch the logo and lettering for the words on the wall. Then my Intern and I hand painted them with a coat of primer and again with white paint. [ Just tracing the letters on the wall took about half a day! ]

FOCProcess4

We recruited some of our eKids and Eikon Youth students to help get more paint on the walls and work on lower wall touch-ups.

KWallPaint

My brave Youth Intern scaling the ladder to do upper wall touch-ups

FOCProcess5

After adding a coat of primer and a coat of white onto the box templates of the wall, we were ready to move on to adding the pledge cards to the mix.

 

And then we added pledge cards to the wall that people could peel off, fill out, and turn in to our Info Center team. I color-coded the cards in various colors so that people could tell there was a difference in the amount and so that they fit in with the overall color scheme + style used in the campaign promotional pieces.

 

BluePledges

RedPledges

 

And after many hours invested into the wall, we have our finished project!

NewFOC

I am in love with the final project and it’s really cool to see pledges already coming down as people contribute to the FOR OUR CITY campaign!

 

The next phase included designing the mural to go above the inside entryway. I sat down with our Creative Arts Pastor and we decided to go with a collage that would feature photographs taken in the various cities represented within Hays County. I roped in two amazing photographers that attend Eikon to snap some of the shots featured in the mural:

 

NATHANIEL ROSALES PHOTO

and

PAYTON MOREY PHOTO

FOC Mural3

After editing the photo mural in Photoshop, I sent it off to press and LUCKY SKY GRAPHICS installed the mural. Here is the final design of the mural.

 

They also installed the two window pieces I designed. The first window piece was created to tie in the FOR OUR CITY look and informational/promotional piece. It features text from the original vision statement for the church that our Lead Pastor, Dan Matlock, created before Eikon even launched. The second window piece was a welcome graphic that would share our inclusive culture as people entered the building. It includes the words that are hand painted on a featured wall in our lobby—those words are frequently repeated in our language on and off the stage because it’s the culture we promote at our church:

EVERYONE IS WELCOME
NOBODY IS PERFECT
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

FOCEWindowPanels

The FOR OUR CITY Window Panel design (left) and the Eikon Welcome Window Panel design (right)

 

Here is what the final pieces look like after installation:

 

FOCMural

ECEntrance

 

It was by and far my most intensive project to date, but also one of the more deeply treasured ones. I LOVE being a part of a church that is so dedicated to being a blessing and a benefit to our local community and seeing these pieces reflect those endeavors is like a warm beam of light to my soul. I’m grateful to be part of a team that truly allows me to use my gifts and talents in such a beautiful way to move the heart of God front-and-center inside and outside of the church!


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Goodside

Easter season has come and gone, but I still wanted to share a couple of my recent Easter season projects with you and give some insight into things that have been sparking life and hope in me along the way. Let’s start with GOOD FRIDAY, shall we?

chunuopwsaazs5_

Full Disclosure: I didn’t grow up celebrating GOOD FRIDAY, and even in the beginnings of my faith journey, GOOD FRIDAY was not on my list of prioritized religious events to participate in. In fact, before this past year, I would have vehemently stated (like the kid in The Polar Express), “Good Friday just doesn’t work out for me.” Granted, every experience is what you make of it, and I’m sure a deeply emotive, heavily dramatized, somber, silent GOOD FRIDAY really helps to reinforce the faith experience of some, it just isn’t so for me. I only began coming more aware of the ceremonial aspect of it from the church I previously attended in Seattle. My past GOOD FRIDAY service experiences in these recent years has left me feeling confused, apathetic, and kind of freaked out. Having lived most of my early life surrounded in despair, hopelessness, and darkness, I personally don’t choose to continually surround myself in experiences that herald such emotions, especially in a season of new life like Easter. Again, “Good Friday just doesn’t work out for me.” At least that was the case until this past year when I got to see it from a different perspective and shared a different, more hopeful experience with others.

GFStationSetup

Good Friday Stations set up in the auditorium

Last month, I had the opportunity to participate in creating and organizing a collaborative GOOD FRIDAY service at Eikon Church. For a month or so, I sat at a conference table with our Lead Pastor, Creative Arts Intern, and two other Lead Pastors from local churches. Together, we combined our minds, hearts, and resources to host a special service for all of our faith communities to participate in. We decided to focus on The Stations Of The Cross and to make it an interactive experience. There was a lot of brainstorming on how to help each station ‘come to life’ and what those attending would do at each station to interact with the truths we were presenting at each of them. We leaned into supplemental artwork in a collection called Stations In The Street by a very talented artist named SCOTT ERICKSON to illustrate the guiding posters at each station. Each Pastor submitted write-ups and instructions for the stations that their churches would ‘host’ (Read: were in charge of creating) and I used those to create a unified look for each of the posters, our community offering signs, and the Station Guide card that was handed out to each person at the beginning of the service. As I prayed over each design element and allowed each element to speak to my own heart in the process, I discovered deep gratitude for the sacrifice that Christ made to give me a hope and future.

Station Guide

Station Guide Card provided to each person, along with a pen to write down thoughts from their experience as they moved from station to station.

What I loved most about this interactive experience was that we intentionally created stations that people of almost all ages could participate in. (We did provide childcare for those 2 years and younger.) We felt that it was important for this to be a family experience where younger kids could be a part of the story of redemption that Jesus lived out all those years ago. We started the service with a time of praise and worship, continued into time for folks to visit the stations, and ended with communion and another worship song. All those who attended said that it was a refreshing take on GOOD FRIDAY, and many were moved to tears at the beautiful gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. They loved sharing the experience with their families and friends and were able to have discussions around how the stations came to life for them.

Communion

A woodworker in our church handcrafted our new communion trays and they are so lovely!

As I walked through and experienced the stations on my own, I felt more connected to the redemptive narrative of what GOOD FRIDAY is. Journeying from station to station allowed me to meditate on each step that Jesus took and to personally seek His truths and promises to apply to my life in the here and now. I left the service more hopeful, with a more vibrant faith, and a strong sense of unity shared with others in our local community. Maybe GOOD FRIDAY is for me after all!

HERE ARE SOME OF THE ELEMENTS USED IN OUR EXPERIENCE:

Offering

Our community offering went to support efforts to be a blessing and benefit to Hays County in a greater capacity.

Station 1

Station 2

Station 3

Station 4

Station 5

Station 6

Station 7

Station 8

Station 9

Station 10

Station 11

Station 12


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Game Plan

Shortly before moving, I made a trip down here to Texas to attend the Eikon staff retreat. I had already accepted the position and it made sense that my pre-planned once-a-year visit should be used to meet the team and learn more about the role I was stepping into in an up-close-and-personal way. While we were at that staff retreat, we sat down as a team and brainstormed some ideas around what we value as a staff. It was a brilliant conversation that allowed me to see the beautiful heartbeat of the team I was joining. After all was said and done the ideas from that brainstorming session were grouped and streamlined to culminate into six key values, including explanations and challenging questions for each, that we as a staff could adopt and abide by.

About a month ago, I was asked to design some posters surrounding these values that we could print and hang in our conference room to serve as visual reminders in each meeting. Each and every one of these values resonate with my heart and generate gratitude in me for a team with clear values and direction to operate in a healthy manner while overseeing the people that God has entrusted to our care. When approaching the design concept, I knew I wanted a clean look that also had a hint of playful art to it. I decided to start with a chalkboard background and use lively white thin-line sketches with varying color additions to contrast the dark canvas. I spent some quality time picking through a variety of chalk-like fonts so that it complete the look while still giving each a different feeling. What resulted were these similar but individualized posters that make me smile each day I walk past them:

MIB_Value_LoRes

In choosing the design for MAKE IT BETTER, I wanted hands involved—hands that are willing to contribute to a larger vision. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted them lining the top sides or all over the top edges but eventually landed on the hands raising out of the banner. Originally I was going to keep the hands cleared out but then decided the contrast of full and clear added an extra flair.

StickT_Value_LoRes

The imagery that immediately popped into my mind with STICK TOGETHER was actual matchsticks. I chose to create a row of them and set the two center sticks on fire so as to symbolize the start of the spark that would in turn light the others.

FAW_Value_LoRes

FIND A WAY was all about innovation to me and I toyed around with a brain, a bulb, and a kite in the beginning before landing on the light bulb. I knew it would connect folks directly with the imagery of thought + innovation without needing further add-ons

SWM_Value_LoRes

My original idea on START WITH ME was a pair of running shoes on a sketched out track but then I thought more on the descriptors provided and leaned more toward personal investment. We can’t give out what we don’t have and that’s what START WITH ME is all about. At first I was tempted to color the piggy bank and coins gold with white text but then I realized I really wanted yellow on FIND A WAY so I went with green, which would evoke more feeling toward money which I hoped would reinforce the investment concept.

BOP_Value_LoRes

We had recently attended the Orange Tour in Austin where Virginia Ward shared a story about different leaders who gave physical keys to young people that would open doors to possibilities for them to pursue their dreams/destiny. It signified the passing of trust and resources to the growing generation looking for leaders to empower them to do bigger and see further. Naturally, I had to use the keys in this one!

GAL_Value_LoRes

This one was my favorite to create! I love having fun and brining playful concepts to life so when I tackled this one, I knew I wanted a swag banner with either flags, bulbs or both. I ended up liking the look/feel of the swag bulbs best. When I found the bike, it was a bonus and it fit so perfectly with the whimsical feel I wanted to convey with this value. 

This was such a fun project and I love that I get the opportunity to use my abilities to contribute to this team. I’m very grateful for this team that doesn’t just talk about values, but also puts them into practice. It’s invigorating to move into another season of life where I can use my gifts while simultaneously pursuing my ministry passions!


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Celebrating the annual Easter Reunion from a distance . . . in a coffee shop (naturally) ;p

Celebrating the annual Easter Reunion from a distance . . . in a coffee shop (naturally) ;p

 

Our family and extended family gets together every year for an annual Easter Reunion where we barbecue, have an egg hunt, and smash cascarones down peoples’ pants until the day is done! Now, one thing you should know about our family is that we are a rowdy bunch and we make ourselves KNOWN everywhere we go! So naturally, we gotta represent at these reunions and one of the ways we do that is by wearing shirts to show off our family. For the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to design our family reunion T-shirt. This year I got to do it again and had so much fun playing around with the design. When my Auntie “O” sent me the design request e-mail, her idea was this:

 

This is the thought that is coming across for this year’s shirt. Two Coconut trees with Mamo on one and Papo on the other. Nuts in the tree could be the Kids, John, Josie, Olga, etc. and on the ground under the trees could be the rest of us “nuts.”

I knew immediately that I was going to have fun with this one! One of the things you have to think about as a designer is how your design can loan itself to the atmosphere of the event and the personality of the people you are designing for. Luckily for me, my family has a great sense of humor—you CANNOT spend more than 5 minutes with my family without cracking up at something that someone says/does—it’s awesome! So I took that idea that coconut trees were associated with the water, and the fact that we spend each Reunion at the beach. I think you know where it went from there 😉

1

That’s right, I went there. 😉

In the initial design, I decided to put the parents along the rope line, under the two big coconuts that represented my grandparents. Then, I wanted us grandkids to kinda be piled on top of each other because we’re very close. I thought it would be super cute to make the cuzzo cubs into starfish because they’re so playful and their personalities stand out so boldly. The sweetest part for me was adding the two seagulls flying above our family. They represent two of our family members that have died and are watching over us from Heaven.

After this initial design, I sent it off and awaited the critiques and changes. I know it sounds crazy and a bit masochistic, but I LOVE critiques. I think my worst nightmare would be for someone to say, “Hey that looks great, let’s go with it!” and deep down inside, they’re saying, “Y’know, it’s an okay design, but it’s not my favorite and I probably won’t want to keep it in eyesight of others cause it’s not that great.” Nightmare city for sure! I love critiques, especially from friends and family because it helps me grow and become better, allowing me to see things from a different perspective so that I can create something we’re all proud of. So I welcome and look forward to the process of making edits to my designs. The e-mail I got back after the initial design said:

Fallon’s sons name is Elijah. Can you make the 2013 a bit darker – as I need the screen to be able to pick it up, since it will all be a one ink print.

Right on! Let’s try this again . . .

3

We’re getting there . . .

Hey, I went by the tshirt guy tonight & he loved your design. He did ask that we make a few changes though so that the printing would be a bit crisper.

On the coconuts, we need to take the gray shading off  &  just leave it white. It is just a 1 color screen & the color will be black and the shading might mess up how the names look. Also is there a way to make the starfish a bit bigger and stack them, since they will be bigger?

The names are so small inside the starfish that when it prints they will barely be seen, if they are seen at all. If we make the starfish bigger, made me wonder if we needed to make the coconuts bigger so the starfish dont overplay the coconuts?? He also asked if the title could be a thicker or bigger fonts so that it would catch one’s eye. If not, then that will be fine.

You got it!

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Squirrels, we have a WINNER!

This was the final design that left both camps happy as a clam! I was so excited to be able to work with my Auntie “O” again to make a shirt that everyone could be proud of. Now comes the kicker . . . when I say we like to make ourselves known, I mean it. Folks, our shirts this year are theme park friendly and kinda takes me back to island life . . . so fresh and so Kiwi Greeeeeen! 😀 I love it!

AGReunionShirt_Kiwi

If it’s one thing that makes me happy, it’s bright colors . . . which is weird because when I was younger, I only wore blacks and grays and HATED bright colors. Nowadays, I love sporting hot pink, electric blue, highlighter yellow, and the like. And now, I get to add a fun addition to the collection! You can imagine just how happy it made me to get my shirt in the mail on Thursday:

Thanks for shipping my shirt to me, Auntie "O"!

Thanks for shipping my shirt to me, Auntie “O”!

I am more than proud to sport my shirt today (and tomorrow afternoon) in solidarity with my family as they are at the family reunion all day today. I’m even more excited because tomorrow, I get to make cascarones with the kids in our Children’s Ministry  . . . and I’m probably gonna make some extras to crack on some heads after church!


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Baby Your Baby | Jolly Birth Announcement Photo Shoot

Errr . . . I mean . . . what??? ;p

 

So where DO babies come from?!?

 

 

From the Jolly family, of course! That’s right—my best friends are pregnant with their first baby and I could not be MORE excited! There are so many things I love about the Jollys (I mean, the name is rad enough):

  • They balance each other’s personality out perfectly
  • They do things that are uniquely “them”
  • They are both very creative
  • They each have a great sense of humor with a healthy balance of snark, wit, and irreverence
  • They don’t take life’s worries too seriously
  • They really know how to whip up some delicious meals
  • They lean towards more practical than emotional solutions to problems
  • They care about the environment and about getting the most out of natural resources
  • They have hearts of gold that give and serve out of the deepest love

It’s for those reasons and MANY more that I have no doubts in my mind that they are going to raise their child in a beautiful, healthy, safe, and loving environment. Bottom line: That kid is SUPER blessed because his/her parents are a powerhouse team!

 

Check out those cute cloth diapers!

 

Not only are they an amazing couple, but their friendship is pure gold to me. So naturally, I was beyond thrilled (and majorly honored) when they asked me to do a photo shoot for their Birth Announcement photo! We headed out to Ravenna Park and got everything set up to create a fun and simple shoot on a more natural (less modern) playground structure. They really wanted it to have a vintage minimalistic look, so I tried to keep the photo style simple and just let the happy couple . . . and Heather’s teeny tiny baby bump . . .  shine through!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

We also got some great outtakes from the shoot!

 

 

See, they really are SO much fun to be around! It’s no wonder I spend the majority of my free time doing things with them, right? 😉

Once again,
CONGRATULATIONS to the Jolly family!

I’m looking forward to many more family photo shoots (and play-dates) with you!


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Words In The Water

If there’s one thing that gives me nightmares, it’s the thought of shopping during the holiday season, and for me, Black Friday shopping at stores is the worst.  I tried it once and I doubt I’ll try it again. There is just something so scary to me about grown adults fighting over movies and toys and games at 2 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. I’m actually quite surprised that there are no documentaries about Black Friday showing on Animal Planet. It’s times like these that I’m thankful for the internet and the wonders of online shopping.

One of the new design projects I just finished is actually very much connected to online shopping. A few months ago, my friend, Heather Jolly and I were sitting in a coffee shop talking about each of our dreams for the future. One of hers involved starting a small business where she could sell some all-natural homemade soap that she had learned to make. We got a chance to talk about some of the practical steps needed to make that happen and now, she has her Etsy shop all set up and she’s been successfully building her clientele! Through our conversations, she decided to hire me to design the brand collateral for this new business adventure. It was such an honor for me to get to design for her! What’s even better is that she’s also given me the opportunity to try some of her amazing products before they even hit the market—and man, do they make my skin happy! I can’t wait until she releases her lotion line!

In the meantime, I’ll share with you some of the work I created to come up with the branding for Jolly Mountain Soap. We started with some basic color pallets and she asked for a wide range of designs both including and excluding the concept of a mountain. These were the samples I first sent her way to look over:

Muted colors + texture with a fancy logo

 

Her favorite color featuring a water effect to promote the soap aspect

 

Smoky color scheme incorporating a mountain

 

A bolder approach highlighting a mountain logo

 

After looking over the logos and finalizing details and which look would suit her business best, she chose this design:

The new look of Jolly Mountain Soap!

 

Part of her package also included a product label to go with her packaging. Now her soaps are sporting this fun little guy:

Packaging sticker!

 

And of course, a fresh Etsy banner!

 

It felt great to make something that she was incredibly proud of! Of course, the many bonus coffee date meetings we had to go over things wasn’t too shabby either. 😉 I love spending time with her and listening as she shares her big dreams and creative thoughts. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful friend who shares my love for art and creating new things. I’m really looking forward to seeing her business take off—the open doors and local consumer demand she’s already accumulated amazes me!

And in case you are a super huge fan of online shopping (like me), stop by JOLLY MOUNTAIN SOAP and use the coupon code “BlackFriday2011” to save 10% OFF your entire order! (Offer expires Nov. 28th)

Still not sure if it’s worth it? Just check out these awesome products:

2.4 oz Coffee ground french press coffee soap

 

3.0 oz Aloe Vera Cupcake Soap

 

2 oz Lavender Oatmeal Cold Process Soap


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Nonfiction Love Song

Mawwage.
Mawwage is what bwings us togeva today.
Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement
that dweam wivin a dweam.

♥ The Happy Couple ♥

Who doesn’t love a wedding? More importantly, who doesn’t love a unique wedding where the couple and their love for each other, rather than the bells and whistles of the event, shines bright? I see no hands raised!*

Last Thursday, I had the honor of attending the wedding of two of my wonderful friends—David and Kat. David was one of my media students when I lived in Austin. At the time, Kat was attending MC Remix and came down to Austin to co-host a conference with us. As Kat and David began dating, I got the chance to hang out with them a few times on trips home. I loved being around them. It was non-stop fun, jokes, and adventures. We all share a love for some of the best things: The Little Prince, Toy Joy, coffee, cupcakes, The Office, superheroes/comics, and The Big Bang Theory!

When they hired me to design their wedding invitations, I was equal parts excited and nervous. Designing a wedding invitation for a general client is one thing. Designing a wedding invitation for a client that happens to be one of your greatest friends? Now that’s another story! I met with Kat and we talked about what general color scheme and elements she wanted included in her invitations. One of her requests was to somehow incorporate a special picture that was hanging on her wall.

She wanted some of the elements from the picture  in the invites, as well as an Airstream trailer, which they were planning to feature at their wedding. The other thing she requested for the invitations was to have the Austin skyline on there. I wasn’t sure how I was going to piece it all together and have it be equal parts fun, simple, and beautiful. After some time, and lots of coffee, I got the ball rolling and sent out a couple of samples for her to look at. The color scheme I ran with was a mix of muted tones that fit her wedding theme:

After making some minor changes to the designs I had sent, she sent me back an excited e-mail of approval! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes the Design Life all worthwhile—making others happy and proud to use your work! We were all really pleased with it and it’s been great getting such positive feedback from others who received the invites.

The only thing better than designing the invitations for the happy couple was getting to sit in the crowd at their wedding and party the night away with them! It was such a beautiful wedding and every little detail was all about them and the love that they shared:

Their laid-back style, featuring groomsmen in Cons!

Our friend Justin reading the vows from his iPad, featuring great quotes on love and marriage from Yoda and Michael Scott (The Office)

Dinner provided by the P.Terry's food truck—one of their favorite places!

The wedding cupcakes provided by Hey Cupcake! — their special date place

And of course, Airstream trailers dedicated to the bride, groom, and a lounge one, just for cigar smoking

Their guest book—a copy of The Little Prince!

I’m so glad I got to be part of their wedding in such a special way and even more excited that I got to watch them say their “I Do’s” and start their new life as man and wife!

Frosting Face Celebration! (I really need to work on that whole looking into the camera thing)

* Total nod to a comment Sheah made once 😉