Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Whats on your Worktable Wednesday: Fabric!

Whatever Inspires acquired a beautiful older sewing machine from my mom (thanks mom!) and we have been busy coming up with all the different ways we can use it.  We recently hit on something that puts both of us to work, Erik doing a lot of the original designing, me sewing and adding details, and both of us picking out fabrics!   So this week, we have lots and lots of fabric on our worktable:

If you know us, you can probably tell which ones I picked and which ones Erik picked, although we only bought ones we both agreed on.  My favorite though is the left most fabric in the bottom picture.  It reminds me of the book "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak (my favorite children's book ever!), which is good, because what we are making is stuffed monsters:

I haven't sewn in a really long time (probably since I was in high school school).  My mom loves to sew - we always had the best halloween costumes, and she often made us clothes, bags, stuffed animals, etc, but she was really great at was quilting - and she was always trying to teach us.  I learned the basics, but I just wasn't that into it.  I would rather help my dad build our swing set or fix the toilet, I was just that kind of girl!  But I always helped mom when she was making stuff for us, that was kind of the unwritten rule - if you asked for something, you had to help.  So, I did a lot of turning things right side out, stuffing things, hand sewing and the all important watching.  I learned a lot more from mom that I ever thought I did, because even though I have never made a stuffed animal before the little guy above was my practice one, and I only called her a couple of times during the process.  So far, we have finished one monster, he was a gift to the cutest little "monster" I know, and of course I forgot to photograph him before I gave him away, so they're not the best pictures, but check out how cute he came out!

I just love this fabric and I just love his little wings in the back.  We stitched everything down completely because I didn't want it getting pulled off by little hands, but I think it actually made him better instead of being a compromise.  I'll probably end up making myself one of these, because he's so darn cute! We have a bunch of designs ready to go, so hopefully in the near future we will have a bunch more monsters to add to our collection! They are really fun to see come together.  

What's on your worktable this week, and which fabric do you want to see us make a monster out of next? 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Color Palette Monday

So, we probably should have waited till we got back from our most recent vacation to relaunch the blog... Right after I wrote that post about restarting this blog we went on vacation for nearly 2 weeks (well, sort of a working vacation for me, but still) and we hadn't quite worked out the kinks in the blog before we left so ya. But no we've got this thing (mostly) worked out, so with that said, lets get this started with this week's Color Palette Monday (on Tuesday morning)...

I took this photo shortly after take-off on my flight from Chicago back to LAX.  There were some crazy storms rolling into the Chicago area just as we took off (lightening and possible tornadoes), so we flew a little further South than normal.  As we were taking off, we saw some lightening, and then we flew above the first layer of clouds.  Thinking we were above it all - one of my favorite places to be - I looked outside, and saw that we were actually inside the clouds - there were clouds below us, and above us!   It was really beautiful, and I'm not sure I captured just how beautiful it was in this photo, but it's a pretty cool shot anyway.

Hope you had a good weekend, sorry I'm a little late with this post!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The IT Hollow Branding

Hi everyone! Erik here. I hope that this blog will be a place that you can come to to find some creative inspiration! Both Carolyn and I have some big plans for this site in the next few months, so keep checking back often because there will always be new things to spark and inspire your creativity. 

For this first post, I wanted to share some recent work that we've done and are continuing to work on.
We were recently approached by Eric Shanks of the IT hollow for help with a logo and some branding for his blog. He is a senior systems engineer and he started a blog sharing his experiences with computer networks and IT systems.  He had the content down pat, but wanted a more cohesive feel for the brand that he was creating. He already had the web site name, The IT Hollow, and that’s where we began.

We brainstormed and quickly and kept coming back to ideas about trees and technology. We tried several versions and the idea that emerged was a combination of a tree and a circuit board. We liked the thought of technology growing up from the ground, taking shape, and changing over time. We ended up making 3in x 3in vinyl stickers as a promo piece that could be handed out at conferences like business cards. The blog header was also updated and the logo was put onto t-shirts and buttons.

Just recently Eric’s blog was voted one of the top 50 VMware and Virtualization blogs by the readers of To celebrate, we designed a TOP 50 award logo for the site. Check it out here

IT Hollow Blog Header

IT Hollow Screen Printed T-Shirts

IT Hollow Promotional Giveaway Vinyl Stickers and Buttons

IT Hollow Promotional Button 2-1/4" dia.

IT Hollow Promotional Vinyl Sticker, 3"x 3"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

.....And we're back!

Hey everyone!  Whatever Inspires went away for a little while (ok, a long while) but we're back and we're better than ever!

Whatever Inspires is evolving.  It turns out that maintaining a blog was harder than I expected, and I gave up pretty quickly.  Lame, I know, but it's the truth.  Around the same time, my hubby also had a blog that went by the wayside, and we have been passing around the idea of selling some of our creations online.  We decided that rather than try to run 2 small side businesses, we would combine forces and Whatever Inspires was the perfect umbrella to run literally whatever inspired us.   There may be photography posts, and jewelry posts, and I am hoping to reinstate "What's on your Worktable Wednesdays" as we both write about what we are inspired by.   So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my hubby, and fellow blogger Erik.

Ok, he's not usually that ferocious.  He's a photographer, and fellow architectural designer.  We went to college together (graduating in 2003 & 2004), and have been pretty much inseperable ever since, except the year he spent in London getting a masters degree.  Finally got ourselves married in 2009, and have been enjoying our own little adventure since then - and looking forward to many years to come.  Ok, lets try this picture thing again...

That's better, well, he would like this one better anyway.  This is when the giant (340 ton) rock "sculpture" was moved from a quarry in Riverside 105 miles across Los Angeles to LACMA, and my darling hubby humored me to go see it one night when it was near our house.  VERY cool!  Anyway, he's a good husband and a GREAT photographer and designer, and I'm super excited to be sharing this blog with him! I'm looking forward to the other fun changes that might come our way, and continuing this journey with him.   Welcome to the blog, Erik, let's make Whatever Inspires shine!

Friday, August 12, 2011

tiniest of seashells

I found this website a couple of weeks ago, and I thought the images that Dr Gary Greenberg creates are so beautiful!  From his website: 

"During the 1990's he invented and developed high-definition, three-dimensional 
light microscopes, for which he was issued eighteen US patents.  
Since 2001, Dr. Greenberg focuses hi microscopes on common objects, such as grains of sand, 
flowers, and food.  These everyday objects take on a new reality when magnified 
hundreds of times, revealing hidden and unexpected aspects of nature.  
Dr. Greenberg's images of sand make us realize that as we walk along a beach 
we are strolling upon thousands of years of biological and geological history" 

Those images are magnified grains of sand, and I love how they look like teeny, tiny seashells.  It makes you think that the sand you're walking on could have been a seashell that one of the very first humans picked up at some point thousands of years ago.  It also reminds me how beautiful the design of our planet is, and how wondrous it is that something that seems so average to our naked eye actually has such a beautiful, purposeful design when you look closer at it.  It makes me want to celebrate the creation of this beautiful planet!  

Enjoy your weekend everyone, and remember to celebrate the beauty in the everyday objects you see around you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What's on your Worktable Wednesday

I can't wait to wear this one! Keeping on my ocean and tropical theme, I pulled out this flamingo charm that I bought a while ago at a bead store in Las Vegas, called Bead Jungle.  They have an awesome collection of charms, and I have picked up quite a few there when we go visit the hubby's parents. To go along with my flamingo, I pulled out all the tropical blue rounds that I have, and some pink & turquoise cubes, just for a bit of variety, as well as the matching blue and pink Swarovski crystals.

I originally thought I was going to do a double stranded bracelet, since the cool flamingo charm is much bigger than I normally work with, but when I started working on that, I didn't really like the way it was looking. So I took that apart, and started working on something else. I'm pretty happy with the way it's turning out, although I can't decide if I like both colors of the little rounds, or if I want to switch one of them out with a similar color of Swarovski crystal.  What do you think, any suggestions?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Color Palette Mondays: Ocean View

In honor of our kayaking trip yesterday, I thought I would pull out one of my pictures of the Pacific Ocean from the past year.  My husband decided some time ago that he was going to do something called he dubbed the "California Pier Project" - which he eventually would like to turn into a little book.  This entails photographing all (or nearly all) of the piers that stick out into the Pacific Ocean - mostly starting at (or as close as possible to) sunrise.  That's REALLY early, but I'm a good wife and I usually go with him without complaining too much.  The funny thing is, I'll complain when we get up that early (like 4:30 in the summer time) but once we get there, I always have fun.  I usually bring along my little point and shoot camera, just for fun, and I take random pictures of whatever I think is beautiful - I usually end up with a lot of photos of pelicans, any other wildlife we see and my husband in various random poses taking pictures on the pier (my favorites are when he lays down on the ground).  And sometimes, it's waves.  This day, we were at Manhattan Beach, and I sat for some time on the beach just taking pictures into the ocean of the different waves.  I think this is one of my favorites :) Hope you all had a good weekend!