I have my coffee in hand (not literally, because I’m typing and that would be ridiculous) and my heart super pumped (both literally, because of the coffee and figuratively, because of my guest) to write this blog.
To give you some context, I would like to share of piece of my own heart. I get hung up in life quite often questioning my purpose and talents in this world…I am a “textbook over thinker” as Kevin Malone would say. This can send me into a whirlwind of doubt. My beautiful friend, co-yogi, and graphic designer and UX/UI specialist, Kaci Bartlett and I talk (often) about how to find comfort in those times.
“I have moments when I’m really proud of what I’m doing and others I feel like I’ll never ‘get it’. But since all of this is about making sense of life, I think the fact that I’ve accepted I am constantly learning means I’m getting pretty good.”
What Kaci says here really highlights the importance of community and creativity. When we surround ourselves with people who encourage, support, and speak freaking truth into our lives, we find confidence. We find purpose. We find comfort.
“Within a month, at the beginning of this year I made the decision to leave marketing and advertising for UX/UI, start a 200 hour yoga teacher training, and start making and selling chalkboards.”
Talk about discomfort (I realize how corny that sounds, and I’m sticking with it). Finding comfort in everyday life is hard, and sometimes it feels nonexistent which is why Kaci strives to bring a sense of belonging and understanding to her work. To connect with real people in real life is so important. Kaci says she wants to “just make people laugh, feel at home, and to smile” using her art, creativity, and her Lorne Michaels-driven sense of humor.
Let me just say, she is killing it in these categories. Check out her art on her website (linked below) and prepare to be amazed (more corny-ness, I know)!
Also, if you are wondering what UX/UI is, you are in good company. All I know is that it means User Experience and she gets to test and create all kinds of online platforms to connect the world (pretty awesome).
All that to say, Kaci and I still doubt, question, and struggle to have faith. We find comfort in community, creativity, and simply choosing to believe that who we are is enough.
Fun facts: I downed two cups of coffee writing this blog and Kaci loves French fries. A lot.
Click on the links below to see more of Kaci and myself!
I wonder if that joke will ever get old (uhm, it’s old now), but that is seriously how I felt in 2017! I feel as if the Lord was like, “here you go!” all at once, which was amazing and exhausting all at the same time—a “tornado” of emotions, if you will.
I decided I was going to pursue this stationery design business (a.k.a. Made By Lindsey a.k.a Thank You Ink) in January of 2017. So there I was, pursuing the heck out of this dream when my boyfriend, Tim, proposed to me. He had kept this wonderful piece of information well under wraps for the better part of 3 months, and I had no idea it was coming. We had talked and dreamed about us getting engaged in the summer-not April. Though I was SO excited I didn’t have to wait until JUNE, I had never felt that much excitement, fear, and peace in my life. My “do it all, all the time” self was like, “I can totally get my business off the ground and plan a wedding and prepare for marriage and work full time and have a social life…”
Within ONE MONTH, (really more like two weeks) I was in tears almost every day feeling as if I was failing in every aspect of my life. I had (obviously) committed to too much, too quickly. As both a follower of the Lord and an avid podcast consumer, I knew that I needed to cut my commitments in half (but really by like 75% lol).
SO! That is exactly what I did. I took a step back from Thank You Ink, selling cards and writing blogs in order to prepare for a lifetime with my love, my best friend.
We got married in October 2017, and as it turns out, marriage is a pretty big life change (lol understatement). It took Tim and me a solid six months to establish a new way of living after marriage. And for two people who were pretty stuck in their ways (mostly me), we found it difficult to adjust our normalcy. We also experienced the loss of close friendships, 2 moves in one month, and the loss of my grandfather.
2017 was a year of celebrating new life together, mourning the loss of loved ones, re-branding, and learning how to extend grace and choose joy, every stinking day. This time around I’m taking my time, and will post a new blog once a month. I am so excited to be back, creating cards and writing blogs for you—-in other words, DOING WHAT I LOVE. What did you learn in 2017?
“In the past I ate a lot of chocolate. But I have not eaten chocolate in a year and a half now.” – Colinde van Dal
…Actually, that is amazing; I wish I had that much self-control (give me all the chocolate).
Speaking of amazing (smooth transition huh?), I would like to introduce this week’s creative spotlight! Colinde van Dal is a talented illustrator from The Netherlands.
Side Track- I really love that I get to talk with people from all over the world. It is a huge blessing to get to listen to stories so similar to mine from different parts of the world. We are not so different ❤
Okay, where were we? Oh yes, I was asking Colinde about her passion and drive for illustrating (duh)!
Colinde has a looooooongg history of drawing and creating. “I was drawing from the moment I could hold a pencil,” she said. “And from then on, I was drawing every day. On each paper I encountered, there was a drawing in the form of short comics, a character, an illustration…and often entire self-written books with illustrated stories.”
Because Colinde’s illustrations are so unique, I had to ask who inspired her creativity. She said, “I think that my illustrations got a lot of foundation from the animations I saw as a child.” A few of these animations were Nils Holgersson, Alfred Jodocus Kwak, Calimero, and Barbapapa. Colinde added, “My characters also have big eyes, because when I was young I saw a lot of anime appear on the Dutch television.”
I love Colinde’s artwork because it IS a mixture of many different styles of art. Also, go check out those cartoons, they are so. cute (I love cartoons).
When people create, there is always a driving force, and the meaning of one’s art always goes deeper than what can be seen right away. When I asked Colinde what she wants to communicate with her own art, she explained, “On the surface: humor, directness, and playfulness; but underlying it is a dreamy, philosophical or moralistic atmosphere to make people aware and responsible of themselves, the world, and the people around them.”
Also, I am literally about to go get some chocolate because I’ve been thinking about it since I’ve been writing… (:
My fiancé (Lindsey speaking) has really taught me to dream big; that anything is attainable if you are driven, disciplined, and passionate. He really pushes me to do the things I am TERRIFIED to do, so I always like to ask the artists I interview what their dreams are for their own business. It gets me so pumped and inspired.
This is Colinde’s dream: “I would like to work with more writers to create beautiful picture books. Furthermore, I would like to focus more on illustrative design and illustrative branding and to help like-minded people and businesses to visualize their story. I would also like to spread awareness with a warm heart for self-exploration and self-development, sustainable living, love for animals and nature, togetherness and empathy for each other.”
That’s a pretty great goal, in my opinion. I am so inspired. Pew! Pew! Pew! (…yea, I don’t know, but I laughed).
And of course, I’m saving the best for last! Colinde is in the process of releasing her own picture book (this also happens to be her favorite project ever). It’s called Lange Leen en de Achtling. (In English it is called tall Leen and the Octuplets). It’s a funny book about family, working together to overcome differences.”
She continues, “The project appeared in 2006 in one of my sketchbooks. Back then it was only Long Leen and one little sister. When I saw the drawing in 2014, it originated into a story about a little arrogant octuplet and their Long, big sister who they find awkward. She is not allowed to go with them on adventure, but is that wise?”
I can’t wait to read it, it sounds so cute!!
Okay so as always, here are all of Colinde’s links to check out some more of her art (so talented, oh my gosh). My links are also below because I have some new stuff coming out as well!
This blog is a bit different than the others…Well not really, but I recorded this interview, via Skype, with the creators of Pemberly Fox.
I guess it just feels different because actually hearing myself have a conversation with another person is hilarious. I say weird things, and laugh A LOT (sorry, every person I’ve ever spoken with HAHA oh my gosh there I go again).
I’ve been going back and forth about how I’m going to structure this blog…and I still haven’t figured it out so you are in for quite the treat (hopefully).
I’m just kidding, I’m a professional…also kidding, I’m not sure that I can call myself a professional blogger just yet. I’m not even sure what the criteria are for calling oneself a “professional blogger.” Are there auditions? Tryouts? Initiations? OKAY now that I’ve exhausted that joke, let’s get going.
Lindsey: Have you ever heard of Lubbock at all?
Pemberly Fox: I have not heard of Lubbock, uh…Lub-ock?
L: (Laughs) Where are you in London?
PF: Chelsea. So what happens in Lubbock?
L: Well…not much (laughs). I’m just here in Lubbock, making greeting cards, which is pretty new.
PF: How’s the-how’s the Etsy going?
L: It’s good; I opened it on Monday. I haven’t sold anything yet. I mean, hopefully somebody buys a card at some point (laughs).
PF: I’m sure…I mean, you’ve got to start somewhere right?
PF: Lindsey, let me give you a little background about who we are and what we do. I’m not a printer by trade. I do this because I see an opportunity to do something really quite cool. We do a lot of bespoke printing, so a lot of stuff, party planner, wedding planners, etc. and that’s incredibly time-consuming. But it’s quite interesting, you get to meet quite a lot of people. It’s quite a social job so I kind of enjoy it. The real aim, and what I want to do is create an online platform, whereby you, or whoever it is, that is a talented artist, illustrator, graphic designer, interior designers, wallpapers, whatever it is…we come to you and say we want to use your artwork. We package it, sell, and market it, all under the brand Pemberly Fox, okay? So that’s the real length of it.
Disclaimer, I was having a really hard time keeping my “fan-girl” to a minimum…
PF: SO, that’s the plan but it’s not just greeting cards. We want to develop a range of wedding stationery, party invitations, children’s stationery, personal stationery, you know…letterheads, writing paper.
L: That’s awesome!!
It didn’t really work.
PF: So that’s the long time vision of where we want to be. Because we are quite small… it’s taken us quite a long time- we had a website built by an agency and they, pretty much…they literally just didn’t deliver at all on what they said they would deliver. We had to take it back and try and fix a very large amount of problems…so it’s taken up a lot of my time and we are now at a point where we think we’ve fixed most of it.
L: Wow, that’s a bummer.
PF: So you know, it’s a lot of trial and error, and by no means, something…we haven’t achieved anything yet or “got there” yet but that’s our long time vision of really building a brand around, centered around other people’s talents and allowing them, or you, or whoever it is to focus on being creative rather than having to think about, you know, how am I going to market myself? How am I going to get the word out there? …
Me, literally every single day.
PF: …because we are fully aware that creativity is not something you just turn on when you feel like it. You suddenly get a moment of inspiration, so you want to be able to really deliver on it and really get going with it rather than spending time on your accounts (social), right?
L: Yea, and that takes a lot more time than I even realized when I first started like, just with Instagram and Facebook and just keeping everybody up to date, it really is, like that is…that’s a job. So how do guys- I know you said you have contributors that are inquiring-oh gosh I don’t know if that’s a word-pretty frequently, so how do you guys choose who will be a designer and who won’t?
I stuttered a lot because, you know, ‘fan-girl’ing…
PF: So there are only two of us in the office, hello? Can you hear me?
This happened a few more times haha…
PF: Okay so there are 4 others who are part owners. One of them is involved with the website, another one is involved in some graphic work; there’s another one who looks after curating-she curates all of the artists. She is in South Africa but is German by origin. So, if an inquiry comes in, I just pass it to her and she’ll have a look at it and if she likes it she’ll approach them, if she doesn’t she just email them saying “look, we’re really sorry this is not for us” or something. She’s a lot younger than us, she’s 23-24? She’s quite, sort of edgy, very talented
L: Well that’s encouraging; I’m 24, so that’s cool. That’s awesome.
PF: So that’s really how we work. It’s quite a lot people, all involved a little bit.
L: Yea, well that’s exciting!
PF: Well it is, and it’s been really, really painful getting here. But you know there’s never, business is never easy and you come up with a vision of what you want to do and you’ve got to be able to deploy it and put it into place and make sure that everybody else is doing what they’re supposed to be doing but…you know the thing with life, is, it changes when you’re least expecting it.
This was super encouraging for me, because I have been feeling the weight of waiting and working to get my business off the ground…
PF: So you came across us on Instagram?
L: yes, yea so I started my instagram account maybe a few months ago? Oh gosh, I don’t remember now. So basically I searched some hashtags- #greetingcards…you know, things like that, and some of y’all’s stuff came up and I was like, oh my gosh this stuff is amazing. I love y’all’s style.
Still trying to play it cool…not working, way too excited.
L: When I had the idea to start the blog, which was-this was also just a few months ago,
very, very new. So I was like, “oh my gosh I love y’all’s stuff and I want to interview you.” So I was really pumped when y’all got back with me because y’all’s stuff is awesome.
I say “y’all” way more than I ever thought I did. Wow.
PF: We are not-a lot of the crazy stuff we do is not us. Realistically, we are here to help promote other people. That’s the kind of, obviously we need to make money out of it as well, otherwise we can’t help anybody but, it’s a very social business we’re trying to set up. We introduce everybody to everybody, the other artists get to interact with each other, so at some point in the next few weeks, we will be doing social media stuff. We found that a lot of them now already follow each other, so it could be something really interesting and really, really fun, and not just for us, for the artists as well.
L: All of my cards that I make, just like you were saying, my goal, my personal goal is to hopefully be designing more than cards…products, kind of just whatever. I’m very sarcastic, so most of my cards are pretty sarcastic…the birthday cards, get well soon card…
PF: Which yea, that’s fine. We are going to be certainly looking at doing things that are quite risky in the long term; we do want to eventually push the boundaries of what is acceptable.
L: Yes! Okay yes, that is-that’s me in a nutshell.
PF: that’s pretty much what we are looking to do whether that is sensible or not, I don’t know-I’m looking at your video now…
L: oh yea, that was…
PF: looking at the video “to brighten your day…” Look I’d love to see some more of your stuff, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s all about getting people involved, because the more people who are involved the more they talk about it and the more the word spreads about it.
L: Well, hey thank you so much-I know it’s a little later there so I’ll let you run but thank you, thank you so much for everything and talking to me.
PF: yes, lovely, lovely to get to meet you digitally, Lindsey. Okay bye Lindsey!
…aaaaannndddd SCENE! 😉
Thank you guys for reading, and stay tuned for more Creative Spotlights (I guess this isn’t a TV show, but still…). As always, links are below! Be sure to check out ALL these amazing artists on the Pemberly Fox website! Thanks for being the best.
I would like to start this blog off by sharing a few of my favorite Jordan Mitchell photos in sepia tone…
Just kidding, she told me specifically not to do that, which is why it’s funny!
I’m feeling very sarcastic as I write this (that’s what happens when I watch too many comedy specials), but I am excited to introduce Mrs. Jordan Mitchell. She is an extremely talented photographer in the Houston, Texas area.
This blog holds a special place in my heart because, if you read my last blog, Jordan and I were also in Sigma Phi Lambda together! And we were in the same gospel community group when we were both living in Lubbock.
Wow Lindsey we get it, you and Jordan know each other, let’s move on. OKAY FINE.
Jordan is an inspiration to me personally, because like me, she was pretty terrified to start her own business. “I had made my Facebook business page and was just staring at that button, waiting to publish it. But I felt so stupid. Was I good enough? Would people laugh at me? Would everyone think that I’m being dumb? I just couldn’t get past what everyone would think about me,” Jordan confessed.
The suspense is killing me, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!
She continues, “So I’m pretty sure I texted my friend Heather Huante (I say pretty sure because my memory is terrible and I might be remembering this incorrectly) and told her that I had made this page and asked her if I should post it. Her response was something like ‘If you don’t tell people that you want to do this, how are people going to know?’ I pressed that dreaded ‘share’ button, and that day I booked my very first wedding!”
Just like Jordan, we all “need that last little push over the edge to do anything.” For me (Lindsey speaking), my fiancé was listening to me gush over my love for funny greeting cards when he finally asked, “Why don’t you just make your own?”
TA-DA! That’s what I did. Boom. Done.
So how does one get into the business of creating? GLAD YOU ASKED.
Jordan says, “The first time I remember being really interested in photography, I was house sitting for a neighbor across the street when I was in high school. And by housesitting, I mean I was going over to turn on their sprinklers and make sure their plants didn’t die. But they had this beautiful garden in their backyard with tons of gorgeous flowers and weird little garden knick knacks. I distinctly remember this little ceramic Mickey Mouse that was in one of their flower beds (isn’t it odd the stuff that we remember?) . I would take my little digital point-and-shoot camera over there and take these really artistic (or so I thought at the time!) close up pictures of these flowers and garden gnomes.” She goes on, “I was always a really weird kid, so thinking back, none of these things surprised me.”
…I’d like to present the argument that all weird kids are the coolest adults (I just tried to spell ‘adult’ with a U instead of an A, oh my gosh).
Okay, Lindsey. I’m creative and I know what it means for me, but what does it mean for Jordan? Again, GLAD YOU ASKED (wow, you guys are the best audience…).
“I really do believe that everyone is creative. We were built for it! I truly believe that we are made in the image of God, and He is the best of the best in the business of creating. When I say creating, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy or noteworthy, just anything! Even something simple like doodling on a napkin or baking something. We have the idea in our head that if we can’t be the best at something, there’s no reason to do it. I think that whole idea is really sad. I wouldn’t be doing ANYTHING at all if I had to be the best at it to do it.”
Agreed. We were created to create in celebration! Well said, Jordan.
By knowing what it means for YOU to create, you also know what you communicate with your art. For me, it’s that people shouldn’t take things too seriously. For Jordan…
HMMM LET’S SEE!
“With my photos, I try to communicate authenticity. I don’t like things to be overly posed or fabricated. But really, I try not to get too wrapped up in all of that. I mean, I take pictures of people. Sometimes I get really sucked in to trying to be original and artistic and deep, but really it’s just fun to take photos of people and it doesn’t have to be anything more than that. I recently read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Some of the things she said were just straight up crazy, but she made a lot of good points. One of those points that I really am still kind of mulling over is this idea of unimportance. Giving myself permission to be content with what I’m doing. My “art” matters to me and to my clients, but does it have to matter to everyone on the internet? Nah. Is it earth shattering, brand new, innovative ideas? Not at all. There’s nothing new under the sun. I’m just taking pictures the way that I see the world and there’s nothing all that news-worthy about it to the rest of the world. And that’s totally fine. Here’s a quote that says it better than I did : ‘Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all… We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege… Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay?’ I think the last sentence is the reminder that I need more than anything- stop overthinking everything and just work.”
BOOM. Mic drop. That’s it. Links below. Thanks for being the best.
“I come from a very long line of engineers in my family, but in the midst of all the math, there have also been makers. Both of my grandmothers were quilters, both my grandfathers were wood craftsmen, my great aunt is a painter and textile artist, my mom sewed and smocked all my dresses growing up and is now a quilter. For a while, I wondered if I was the black sheep in my family tree, not being a mechanical, petroleum, or computer engineer. But in hind sight, I’m so proud that I carry on a piece of my family’s heritage through their artistry.” – Emily Mayne
(So much talent in one family, am I right?!)
I am excited to be sharing my interview with Emily, from Emily Mayne Studio. This blog is special to me because she is such an inspiration to my own creativity and we were in the same social club, Sigma Phi Lambda, back in our college days.
“Sometimes I feel like that kid, Piggy, from Lord of the Flies,” Emily says.
DON’T WE ALL?!
There are many days where I feel much less than 100% and am way harder on myself than anybody else could ever be…well, I’m sure there is somebody out there who could be more critical, but I have not met them yet (thank goodness, I’m sensitive). Hehe.
It is encouraging that we are not alone in our feelings of inadequacy; and even in the midst of those feelings, there is still grace and we still have favorites! Emily goes on to say, “I’ll be honest, I am harshly critical of my artwork. I don’t necessarily look back at my work and admire it. Currently though, my favorite process that I most enjoy is my finely rendered charcoal portraitures. I also have a series of dessert paintings from my student work in college that I treasure. And I loved and adored the entire process of fashion design in college, start to finish. I would love to find a way to incorporate that into my business, but for now I will keep designing in my personal time.”
Even when we doubt ourselves (because, let’s be honest, we ALL have insecurities), we can take courage in our ability to create. “To me,” Emily says, “’being creative’ means to have original ideas and thought process – being a visionary who seeks and finds inspiration and is bold enough to convey their keen sensibility. It takes courage to truly be creative.”
…and if you don’t have insecurities, you are a robot, probably. But seriously, it takes courage to speak out for what you believe and create.
When I asked what Emily wants to communicate with her art, she responded, “I love that the artwork for my business celebrates and commemorates the sweet moments and milestones in people’s lives.”
Like I have mentioned before, people are made to live in community, and it is truly inspiring to see artists, like Emily, encouraging that community by genuinely celebrating with others.
Thank you, Emily, for sharing your story with me! I am excited to watch your business and passion grow!
As always, LINKS ARE BELOW. Thanks for being the best.
As I sit here on my couch writing this blog, I have my candles burning, incense filling the air, and the Lord of the Rings soundtrack on blast. I am a shameless Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Marvel fan. My favorite superhero of all time is Spiderman and my H.P. patronus is a dolphin.
(I’m also weirdly good at puns and morphing two words into one ridiculous word, hence Made By Lindsey Design Co.).
All of these “weird” things about me have shaped my sense of humor, imagination, and even my (wait for it…) CREATIVITY.
You’re probably thinking, “Where are you going with this?” Well, I’ll tell you!
…Actually, I won’t tell you, I will let Francesca from Loudhouse Creative give you some wisdom.
“’Being creative’ means expressing your inner weirdo in whatever form that takes” (YES). Francesca continues, “many of our cards began as random thoughts that ran through my head at some point during the course of the day. They may be brutally honest or they may just be weird or crazy. I try to take those thoughts and craft them into the same type of card that I look for as a consumer: the ones that are playful and direct, but not-so-sentimental.”
We have so much in common! As a creator and amateur comedian (kidding), I want to create something that I would also buy! I mean, I won’t buy myself a card because that’s depressing…although I’ve been tempted.
Being creative means doing something you love (simple concept, but easily forgotten).
When I asked Francesca about her favorite artwork, she said, “A few years ago I fell in love with the letterpress printing process. I was immediately drawn to the texture of the paper, the impression and the fact that I could create something tangible – that I could hold from concept to completion. I started turning my (somewhat terrible) illustrations into greeting cards infused with my odd sense of humor. My favorite card I’ve ever made is very simple but it’s the humor that I really love – that I feel totally sums up my personality. It says “Love is patient, love is kind, love takes out the g*ddamn trash.” My husband helped me come up with it and it still makes me laugh every time.”
It is nice know that I am not the only person with this quirky sense of humor. 😉
But I love what Francesca said, “…that I could create something tangible – that I could hold from concept to completion.” This is inspiring because, for me, the thing I love most about Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter is that the authors created something tangible. You can hold the book in your hand and yet, these books allow you to go beyond tangible-into a place where concept is formed in your mind, forcing the growth of your imagination.
By now, you know that I love knowing whom the inspiration is behind the creativity! When asked this question, Francesca responded, “I grew up with a dad who was always constructing something, even things he could easily buy. He made all my Halloween costumes – painting, sewing – elaborate costumes. I would have an idea and he would help bring it to life. Both my parents supported my crazy imagination, which is where I think the creative ability originates.” GO DAD!
Thank you, Francesca, for sharing your time with Made By Lindsey Design Co.! It is truly a blessing to be able to connect with others to share our hearts behind the passion.
As always, Loudhouse Creative AND Made By Lindsey links are below! Thanks for being the best.