Steamy Cleaning

Oh ya. You read that right.

I got a steamer thingy.

You know, one of these guys:

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This thing is amazing. I can use it on granite, grout, my stove, wrinkled clothes, baseboards, glass, so on and so forth forever and ever.

And it cuts through nasty messes I’ve never been able to get through before.

For instance: my stove. It’s great, don’t get me wrong. Cooking with gas is nice. Not life-changing for me, because I’ve always thought of a gas stove as a camping accessory (#firstworldproblems). But it’s great. And seriously difficult to clean.

My parents own a Molly Maid and I cannot tell you how much I desperately look forward to one of their teams coming over and cleaning, just so the stove will be presentable.ย It’s that bad. It’s nasty. And this gem here ^ got right through the nasty.

No, I don’t have a before pic.ย Because I’m lame. And embarrassed. But, I have an action shot!

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So, you basically just fill the thing with water (I use tap, but be forewarned that you will have to “unclog” the machine at some point because of mineral buildup), wait for the red indicator light to go out, and steam away. There’s a ton of attachments, too, that come in handy for different uses.

My fav’s the cloth-steaming attachment. Bye-bye, iron!

picstitchAnyway. Justin got me this for Christmas (dangerous business, buying home-things for Christmas presents…but this is so awesome that it’s totally a win for him ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) on amazon.com and I recommend it. I can’t wait to clean the grout between our floor tiles! Woohoo!

The things I get excited about now…I’m so domesticated.

Creative Process

Ok. I’ve been putting this off because I’m feeling a little drained lately and didn’t want to talk about work stuff.

Isn’t that sad? I love designing…but right now it just feels like work.

Anyway. Let’s jump in/I know I can do this ๐Ÿ™‚

When I hear from a client about an upcoming project, I try to jump on it right away. Mainly because I want to get my initial ideas down on art boards (aka digitized paper ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Also, because I try to pace myself. Rushing is not always a good thing…though Iย can get it done quick if I need to. I just don’t like to.

In other words – give designersย time – and pay them more if you’re cutting them short.

I usually browse Font Book to see if there’s anything I feel like using/I’ve been wanting to utilize first. If not, I research.

Aka, www.losttype.comย ๐Ÿ˜‰

And then, I come up with something.

I do not like to replicate things. So, if you’re looking to have a reproduction done, consider contacting a project manager. Not me ๐Ÿ˜› But I do look for inspiration when I’m starting something. Specifically trends to reinforce my ideas.

Ya know, so I know it’s hip.

On the last event I branded, I created the background first:

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(^Lame screenshot skills lead to weird black residue. Apologies.)

I knew I wanted to illustrate the background because the client I was working with hadn’t used an original illustration in a while (I would know…I’ve done this event for 4 years ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), create depth with gradients and do the whole snowflake thing because I could animate it in Motion, as mentioned in the previous post.

It just looks better on screen to me than your typical slide ๐Ÿ™‚

Honestly, Idk if it got used…oh well.

And I figured I wanted the color to be red, because the client hadn’t requested a specific color.

Yes, red is terrible in RGB design. Did I think about that? No. Because I was thinking about the mugs.

Let me explain. For the past 4 years, I’ve designed art for a coffee mug that’s given to the guests as a take home. So that’s my main focus. Make the mug look good, because that is what will survive ๐Ÿ˜‰

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So here are the options I came up with. I personally liked 4 and ย 6. It isn’t super easy to tell here, but 6 and 8 are a customized type I made using Tommaso. There’s a thin section of the center of each letter missing (let’s call it “reverse stroke”), you may notice. If you have good eyesight ๐Ÿ˜‰

It took forever. But, using Sullivan did not, so I guess it’s an ok trade-off.

They went between 5 and 8 and then eventually 8. I’m glad, because 5 was a little plain ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the final product in web-banner form:

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(I promise, the “reverse stroke” is there)

Was I bummed they didn’t go with my suggested pick? No.

Because I did multiple options for them and was happy with each.

Here’s what I’ve found: Do what you think looks good. Then, add. And subtracted. Include all of these things as options for your client. They’re bound to pick something and like what they choose ๐Ÿ™‚

If you can, try to be happy with everything you send over to a client. That way, you’re not bothered by their selection.

This is harder to do if a client is telling youย exactly what they want and don’t want input. I would suggest at least doing the project your way and then to their instructions (whether you send both over or not). That way, you can use your version for your portfolio. And feel accomplished.

That’s a little view into my brain. This branding project took me about 8 hours after you include communication time and change-ups. Not too bad. If you want to see the mugs, tickets, etc – let me know and I’ll add them in ๐Ÿ™‚

Previews

So, tonight was the night a Christmas party I’ve been designing for and promoting ย since October actually happened. I created more for this party than any other I’ve done I think. We’re talking vector illustrations, customized type logo, signage, video, tickets, fliers, mugs, slides, Facebook banners, thumbnails, copy and content, etc, etc, etc…

Here’s a loop I created for the hosts to use on their screens:

I was thinking I’d do a post about my creative process and how it varies according to different situations.

Ya know, so you can understand my brain ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Let’s Get Real

I haven’t been posting much lately. I have a bunch of excuses, but my main one is that my cousin, Pepe Bolorinos, was the victim of a hit and run in San Francisco last week.

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He’s alive. Still in ICU at SFGH, but alive. The driver is at large.

I’m so angry. And sad. And hopeful, all at the same time. Many of the people who know Pepe are, justifiably, furious at the driver, who has yet to come forward. But I’m not.

I’m scared to write this post. I’m not sure how much I’m willing to share, but where else would I do this?

I’m not furious because I’ve hit a pedestrian before, too.

Now, granted, I didn’t drive away. I actually got out of my car and fell to my knees and started crying.

My thoughts? Something along the lines of – How did this happen? Do I get a redo? Why did this happen to me?ย I’ve never had a ticket or committed a traffic violation or even been pulled over. But I hit someone.

But, the young man in my situation admitted to seeing me coming, and decided to cross illegally anyway. Luckily, I was only doing 25 MPH and he was ok. A few broken bones, but ok.

And yelling at me as he was loaded into the ambulance.

I hope all the time that he won’t run into traffic again. Use the crosswalk, man. Please, please, please.

Pepe, on the other hand, is facing terrible brain injuries in addition to broken bones. He’s been in the ICU for a week and just awoke today. He’s an incredibly intelligent human – he speaks 3 languages beautifully, plays and writes music, graduated from UC Berkley with honors.

Used to argue with me about whether or not black and white are colors ๐Ÿ˜‰

And now, we’re all on pins and needles, hoping he’ll just be ok. And there’s not much to be done to help but create awareness.

I know how terrifying it is to hit someone. It’s an out-of-body experience. I’m still messed up about it. I think about it almost every day.

Then again, I have to drive down the street it happened on every day, because it’s in my neighborhood. And I have had multiple people walk|run|bike out in front of my car since. A kid jumped out in front of my car Friday while messing around with his friends on his way home from the local high school. I dodged him and I almost called the cops on him – it’s reckless and stupid to test the limits like that!

Then again, there are so many people who drive too fast, who aren’t paying attention 100%, who are reckless and dangerous on the road.ย If you text and drive – stop it. Now. You really don’t want to have to go through the aftermath of hitting someone. It’s scarring.

I didn’t drive for weeks after it happened. I was so, so petrified. I felt like a hazard. Eventually, I had to get over it and move on. Buck up and simply decide to be as vigilant as possible – all the time. Now, if there’s even a distraction on the side of the road, I don’t look. I keep my eyes on the road. Like, glued to it. I know this is a no-brainer, but I use the speaker-phone option for anything and everything when driving, or pull over if I need to look for directions. Siri is a big help. I always wear my seat belt. I scan every intersection for j-walkers.

It’s all common sense stuff. But, once you’ve been in this situation, you’ll never take it for granted again.

And I used to enjoy driving.

So, I guess all that’s to say that I can almost understand why someone would be too frightened to stop if they realized they hit a person. But, it’s the right thing to do on a very basic level of human morals. We can’t run (or drive) away from our mistakes. There’s no way to avoid the guilt you’ll feel afterward – even if (like in my case) the pedestrian is legally responsible for the accident.

So to the driver who hit my cousin, Pepe, and fled: running won’t make you feel less guilty. And you can’t avoid the consequences of your actions forever. Come forward and take responsibility.

You and I, we both live in 2 of the most dangerous areas for pedestrians in all of California. And by not coming forward, you’re setting a standard for all other drivers in San Francisco.ย You’re letting people believe that they can go without getting caught. And that if you can hide, it’s more socially acceptable for them to do so as well.

I love my cousin. My family had dinner with him the Saturday before you hit him. I excused myself to take a phone call and didn’t get to say goodbye before he left. He’s such a talented and well-loved guy. He has a great family and community. We miss him.

I saw him in the hospital a day after the accident. He looked so small and I knew then how serious his injuries were. And how costly his recovery would be.

I’m not saying I want you to go to prison or whatever. It’s not for me to decide. Just come forward.

Let the rest be in the hands of God.

Fixin’ Up the Kitchen

I painted the kitchen!

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Not sure if you remember what it looked like before…but the walls and ceiling (like in every other room of the house) were a very yellowy beige. A grossly glossy yellowy beige.

I’ve been desperate to paint since we moved in, but we’re taking it slow because
1. Painting all 1600+ square feet of our home is getting expensive
2. It’s hard work. Especially the ceilings.

And I’m so glad this is done! Only the half bath, Justin’s office, the living room and the dining room to go…oh dear.

Anyway. More pictures.

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This window lets in so much light and give me lots of space for my plants and bottles (don’t judge me).

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The travertine backsplash is kinda traditional, but the long, rectangular shape of the tiles makes it feel casual and clean.

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So this post totally doesn’t help explain the layout, but this shot was taken from the dining room as you enter the kitchen and looks through to the living room.

Hopefully I’ll do a house tour sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

The colors are: Indulgent Mocha on the walls and Swiss Coffee on the ceiling. I still need to reprint the trim and baseboards – those will be pure white. We use Behr low vac paint in non- glossy finishes. Like eggshell. I’m so over glossy walls ๐Ÿ˜‰

We’re also finishing up the guest room and full bath. So there’s more to come!

I’m on Etsy!

Great news, guys and gals!

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You can now check out my designs on Etsy!

My shop opened on November 14 and I’ll mainly be selling my designs in digital format for you can print and frame them at home for cheap.

Because art is seriously getting too expensive.

I had a ton of fun designing this house portrait in particular:

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And I’d love to do more. If you want a custom portrait of your space (home, apartment, college dorm…:) ), feel free to email me: jacqueboatman@me.com or message me on Etsy.

Big things, everyone. Big ๐Ÿ˜‰

Painting Over Paint

Yesterday, I gave a peek at the progress we’ve made in the guest room, including this door:

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Again, sorry for the lame iPhone picture…

Believe it or not, this door used to look like this:

photo 1What color green is that, exactly?

Olive? Chartreuse? Puke?

And there were several, several layers of other colors under that one, too.

Ick.

Again, the danger of owning a home as old as ours is that we don’t know what type of paint was used on this. The good news is, this is the only painted door original to the home. The other beauties are all wood and all naked. So I was careful to not sand off too much of the mystery paint and thus avoided getting any of it in my lungs.

Paranoid much? Maybe ๐Ÿ˜‰

But I’m getting ahead of myself! First things first.

1) Remove the hardware – i.e. hinges, door knobs, latches, etc. Our doors all have glass knobs, which are held in place by brass plates, so I pried those suckers off with a screw driver (carefully, since I didn’t want to bend or scratch the things).

2) Grab a high-grit sanding block andย go to townย gently. You don’t need to sand off much of the existing surface – just enough to rough it up.

I didn’t take pictures of this step. I apologize. I’ll do better next time!

3) Make your paint. This is so easy, so have no fear.

And don’t go spending money on the brand name stuff, either…unless you want the soft wax coating to finish the piece. That I’d recommend. I love Anne Sloan’s. Anyway.

You’ll need:
The interior paint of your choice (this will be your base, and it will determine the color of your chalk paint!)
Hot water
Plaster of Paris

Mix the hot water and Plaster of Paris together first until the plaster has dissolved. Then, stir in the paint. Continue to stir until the ingredients are combined and you’ve reached your desired consistency.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t include any measurements. That’s because a lot of it is based on preference. I like mine thick (I do not like the “rustic” look), soย I used about a 1/2 cup of hot water, 1/2 cup of Plaster of Paris and 1 1/2 cups of paint. This left me withย way more chalk paint than I needed – enough to completely fill a small, rectangular tupperware container (you know, the one deli meat comes in in stores). I still have about 3/4 of the it left. And I painted both sides of the doorย twice.ย I’d recommend halvesing the above recipe.

4) Get painting. Paint the piece completely. Let the paint dry (it doesn’t take too long, maybe 20 minutes…if that). Paint it again. And again, if you want to be super thorough ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s what it looks like when it’s done, but still wet (meaning it’s not ready for the soft wax/polyurethane/whatever you’re finishing it with):

photo 4

5) Finish it with a protective coating. Again, I used Anne Sloan’s soft waxย in clear. It’s useful for protecting the piece from liquids, dust and other minor offenses. I apply it with a rag by rubbin’ it on in small circles. You know, wax on…

Anyway.

6) Put that hardware back on and admire your handy work. If there are any scuffs or scratches (Mine had a weird mark in the paint acquired from the 45 sec walk from the living room to the guest room ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), you can just paint right over it (if you use the wax or no protective coating…I won’t make any promises for how the paint will look over poly, etc)!

Have you used chalk paint? Have tips to share? Post them below!