November 5, 2012

For the Love of San Francisco

by Molly Mahar

A life of spontaneity goes hand in hand with dating an entrepreneur. There’s also the occasional unpremeditated trip halfway across the country. This time, I am whisked away to my favorite city, San Francisco!

October 5, 2012

Lake Calhoun Living

by Molly Mahar

Here we are again. It’s Fall. The leaves are falling off the trees and there’s snow in the forecast. After a long Spring & Summer of silence on my blog, I am back.

The past year in a nutshell: I got my first “big girl job” (without ‘intern’ in the title), moved out of my parents house and into an amazing apartment in Uptown, I turned 24, and to top it off, my beautiful and only sister had another perfect baby girl. Parties.. weddings.. cabin trips.. the beach.. impromptu sailing rides.. the list goes on.

This was the best summer of my life, and I have never been happier. Summer in Uptown has been amazing, but I’m sure the Fall and Winter seasons in the city will be just as magical.

Here’s a glimpse of Lake Calhoun Living in the Summer:

November 27, 2011

My Crafty To-Do List

by Molly Mahar

Trying to keep up with all the fun, crafty projects I find these days is impossible, especially now that I am on Pinterest, constantly finding new diy’s and blogs! My crafty to-do list grows larger and larger each day, and I am dying to accomplish all of these fun ideas. I have compiled my favorites to share with you. I am not going to reinvent the wheel by repeating the step-by-step processes for these projects, but instead, will give you a quick run through, and if you are interested, click the photos to be redirected to Pinterest, where you can see links to details & their creators! I am the type of crafter who uses these ideas as a reference, not necessarily following them step-by-step, rather, using them as inspiration as I gander through craft stores for similar materials. It’s fun to see how they turn out when you put your own spin on them! Hopefully browsing these crafty and creative finds will inspire you in some way, too.

1

This first project is a cost friendly & fun idea for wall decor, and will bling up any room! All it takes to complete this sparkly wall art is some wooden letters spelling out your desired word, glue, silver spray paint & silver coins. The step-by-step is pretty self-explanatory… start painting and gluing on those coins! :) Can’t wait to try.

2

Make your own framed art with this free printable of the “9 Be’s” by Gordon B. Hinckley. This is a great project to take inspiration from, and create your own spin-off! If you are a designer, or have any knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign, you can whip up your own printable design to frame. Find or create a quote, layout your type in a unique way, print, then frame. It beats spending $50.00 for a framed quote from a store!

3

Burlap is very in style right now, and can be used for all kinds of projects. This framed earring holder is a great use for burlap, and would be a great DIY gift. Click the photo to find the tutorial, or improvise by finding a nice frame, painting the frame to your liking, and securing the burlap behind it! I am so excited to try this, not to use as an earring holder, but to use as a mini bulletin board where my boyfriend, Jason and I can pin notes to each other! To make it work, I plan on cutting some cork board to place behind the burlap, so the pins have something to securely stick in to.

4

I cannot wait to try this: framed card/photo wreath. For this one, I couldn’t find a step-by-step tutorial from the source, but if you are brave, try improvising. Not only does this look great as wall decor, but would be perfect for organizing your favorite christmas cards, invitations, or photos.

5

This is an easy DIY I can’t wait to try! Dollar store bangles + old sweaters = sweater bangles! Cut up your old sweaters, and paste to the bangles, with the seams on the inside. These are so cute for winter, and you can mix and match different styles and sizes… after all, layering is “in”! :)

6

An antique door knob tie back for curtains. A self-explanitory DIY. You might have to search high and low for your perfect old,vintage doorknob, but once you hit the jackpot, replace your curtain pull backs with your vintage door handles. This is such an adorable idea for the shabby chic lovers. I am keeping my eyes out for the perfect doorknobs.

7

Follow the link for this easy peasy diy tutorial to create these tiny envelopes. In a nutshell, buy a plain white envelope of your desired size, soak to loosen the glue, then lay flat. This serves as your envelope template! Find gorgeous paper of your liking, trace it to size using your template, cut out, then fold and glue! Check out Ruth Bleakley’s page to find out how she came across the idea to do this, it is pretty funny!

8

I am obsessed with these chocolate ice cream bowls! I have a feeling it won’t go as smoothly for me as it looks in this tutorial, but I can’t wait to give it a whirl. Blow up balloons, dip them in melted chocolate, let them dry, then pop. Then they are ready to be filled with ice cream! The most adorable idea ever. The only downside, I am scared of popping balloons!!

9

This is quite possibly, my favorite idea on my crafty to-do list. Click the photo for the full tutorial. In short, she buys dollar store cheap, plain white vases, then she covers with lace (using mod podge and spray paint). The outcome is stunning. It is an expensive look for a small cost.

10

This is probably the cheapest craft idea on my list today, and such a unique concept! Who knew you could have beautiful hanging flower balls by using a wiffle ball for the center, and hot gluing flowers into the holes! Very creative and original.

So, that concludes part one of My Crafty To-Do list! I would love to hear if you have tried, or are going to try any of these ideas. Stay tuned for Part Two, which will feature another ten crafts from my to-do list. Or, you can check out my Pinterest board: All Things Crafty & Creative – http://pinterest.com/mollymahar/all-things- crafty-creative/ for additional fun ideas!

November 17, 2011

Christmas Series Part One | It’s a Dribbble Christmas: Beautiful Holiday Illustrations

by Molly Mahar

There are so many great holiday themed designs on Dribbble.com this year. What better way to get in the Christmas spirit!

Here are my 12 favorite holiday designs (so far). I hope they bring you some hoilday cheer. Visit the links after each design to check out these designers on Dribbble. It’s a great site for design inspiration, to collaborate and connect with other designers.

May your days be merry & bright. Happy Holidays!

 http://dribbble.com/shots/314332-Cheers-

 http://dribbble.com/shots/156301-Funnel-Christmas-Tree-Kit

http://dribbble.com/shots/108083-Eldermerry-beer-label-the-hippest-hops-

http://dribbble.com/shots/85916-Final-Product

http://dribbble.com/shots/80549-Candy-Cane-Loader

http://dribbble.com/shots/304079-1st-Christmas-postcard-of-a-series-yet-to-be-made-

http://dribbble.com/shots/156304-Funnel-Christmas-Card-kit

http://dribbble.com/shots/277251-Dickension-style-Christmas

http://dribbble.com/shots/312754-Holiday-Bulb

http://dribbble.com/shots/85706-Christmas-Cardinals

http://dribbble.com/shots/296162-UoN-Christmas-Card-Design

http://dribbble.com/shots/92494-Romans-15-13-Visual-Scripture

Come back soon to see more of my Christmas series, where I will showcase beautiful holiday designs and illustrations, recipes, gift ideas, my festive photography, and more.

November 11, 2011

Print Design Series: 22 Unconventional & Creative Business Cards

by Molly Mahar

There is no sense in representing yourself with a poorly designed business card, especially when designers are coming up with so many creative and unconventional concepts these days. Even if you aren’t a designer, you can still brand yourself with an esthetic card that shows a side of your personality.

Keep in mind that a business card should be readable and professional. Your card should have creative aspects, but designed in a tasteful manner, so you will feel confident handing it out to anyone. Think hard about your personal brand, or company brand identity when deciding what you want your business card to look like… your card should emulate those qualities!

Here are some of my FAVORITE business card designs. Not only are these designs fun to look at, but they all organize the elements well within the frame. They are readable, and portray a certain personality and identity. Visit the links below each card to be redirected to their sources.

http://blog.dingbatpress.com/business-cards/sweet-savory-letterpress-business-cards

http://design-milk.com/10-creative-business-cards/? utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk)

http://design-milk.com/10-creative-business-cards/? utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk)

http://design-milk.com/10-creative-business-cards/? utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk)

http://design-milk.com/10-creative-business-cards/? utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk)

http://www.wittylove.com/search?updated-max=2011-05- 23T04%3A46%3A00-09%3A00&max-results=5

http://www.ideate.co.za/2009/09/22/10-unconventional-business-cards/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://blog.psprint.com/printing/unconventional-business-card-designs/

http://logodesignerblog.com/creative-business-cards-design-inspiration/

http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/inspiration/50-awesome-and-creative-business-cards/

November 10, 2011

Print Design Series: Whimsical Invites

by Molly Mahar

My bookmarks folder is overflowing with beautiful printed invitation designs that are not only stunning to look at, but provide inspiration for other designers to think out-of-the-ordinary, and to experiment with different techniques. Instead of hiding away in my folder, these whimsical designs are finding their way into my blog.

It is amazing to see how far print designs have come over the years, not only with invitations, but with business cards, promotional materials, posters, and more. I truly enjoy exploring for and looking at the work of talented designers, because they compose the elements and typography in such beautiful and interesting ways. Each design piece I have compiled has its own unique style, and their designers experiment with new concepts, illustrations, & typefaces.

Graphic design is a constant learning process for me, as it is for any designer, no matter how much experience you have. Having just started designing about three years ago while studying graphic design in college, I sometimes feel like a needle in a haystack, disappearing into a world of amazing designers. All I can do is continue to design, try new things, and gain inspiration to keep moving forward. Coming across designs like the ones you see here contribute to the realization that this is definitely what I want to spend my life doing. I hope they can inspire you, too. Enjoy!

http://ohsobeautifulpaper.com/rolodex/regas-new-york/

http://ohsobeautifulpaper.com/rolodex/regas-new-york/

http://www.joelfelix.com/grad-cards

http://feltandwireshop.com/system/product_images/1723/original/_fullshotofall.jpg?1266098523

http://www.joelfelix.com/la-celebracion

http://www.thomas-printers.com/wedding-invitations/mitolo.html

http://www.thomas-printers.com/wedding-invitations/lise.html 

http://www.thomas-printers.com/wedding-invitations/laura.html

http://designspiration.net/image/51947/

http://ohsobeautifulpaper.com/2011/08/ashley-peters-yellow-and-gray-patterned-letterpress-wedding-invitations/

http://ohsobeautifulpaper.com/2011/09/danielle-pauls-vintage-inspired-marquee-halloween-wedding-invitations/ 

http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/woodland-weddings/

November 6, 2011

For the Love of {Instagram} Photography

by Molly Mahar

Instagram, as you may have heard by now, is a free photo sharing app for the iPhone, but to its users it is much more than that. Instagram has become a social media network all its own, that crosses international boundaries and brings people together through a mutual love of photography.

I joined instagram approximately five months ago, and have been hooked ever since. Those who don’t use Instagram may never understand the type of environment it produces, the type of relationships that are formed, and the beautiful filters that can be used to bring photos to life, like my personal favorite: Earlybird! It is so fun to see everyone’s unique photos, and to learn and improve my own photography.

I am featuring some of my favorite users in this post: @Sunrisegirl, @Virginiablue, @Adleyy, @Luminousgrey, and @Jeroenv. They are just five of my many favorites, but great examples of the type of work you can find on the app.

@Sunrisegirl, also known as Danielle, is an Instagramer from southern California, transplanted in Wisconsin and making the best of it. She not only takes beautiful photographs, but is someone who genuinely cares about others work, even though she has over five thousand followers. She is a fellow midwesterner, so I always look forward to her photos! Here are some of my personal favorites from Danielle’s collection.


@VirginiaBlue, otherwise known as Deb, says “If I was a song, I’d be a Moonlight Sonata.” Deb’s photos are simply stunning; Consistent, colorful, & beautiful! She typically uses the Toaster filter, and it works so well with her style of photography.

@LuminousGray is Miss Heather Pauline. Her bio states “I walk here and there, seeking wide open, flat spaces against a sky up high…” Her photos are serene and beautiful, and she deserves way more followers than she currently has because her work is amazing.

@Adleyy shares her “Cozy Photo Life Story” on Instagram, including beautiful photos of nature and life. She created a competition, the #Adley_challenge, which brings users together, discussing and sharing on a specific topic; my best friend animal challenge, nature, and more. I won her nature challenge! :)

@Jeroenv Verhulst is an IG’er from Holland. “A social worker, married and father of my sweet daughter Billie Kee. Photos made with dslr camera and iPhone 4. Enjoy my feed.” Not much else to say about Jeroen other than, you will LOVE his work. Here are a few samples.

Here are a few samples of work from my instagram, @MollyElizabethMahar:

If you have an iPhone, Instagram is the place to be and I would suggest getting the app asap! If you haven’t yet converted to an iPhone, you can check out Webstagram.com to see what is going on in the IG world. Thanks for reading.

November 1, 2011

Fall Photo Series

by Molly Mahar

Winter is fast approaching, as we have seen already in the United States on the east coast. So, before the Fall weather disappears for good, I want to post my Fall Photo Series. I have had such a great time this Fall enjoying the weather and exploring new places in my area. Before this year I was never a huge fan of Fall, but getting into photography has really changed my mind.

My photos in this post were taken at a variety of places in the greater Minneapolis area. I visited many parks, but most of these trees and flowers were right in the backyard. I hope you enjoy them. Autumn, you will be missed!

(Warning! This post contains A LOT of photos!)

October 31, 2011

Our opportunity, as designers…

by Molly Mahar

Our opportunity, as designers, is to learn how to handle the complexity, rather than shy away from it, and to realize that the big art of design is to make the complicated things simple.

-Tim Parsey

October 31, 2011

For the Love of Type ♥

by Molly Mahar

Experimenting with typography is one of my favorite aspects of designing, and the opportunities are endless. These days, designers are stepping up their game and using typography in new and unique ways.

For the most part, I am not a rule-breaker when it comes to the core principles of design, so I don’t simply like any artistic use of typography out there. Readability is so important in typography designs… if a design piece isn’t readable to viewers, then it serves no purpose. It shouldn’t take a viewer longer than a few seconds to figure out the reason for your design and understand the flow in which they are supposed to read it. Personally, I enjoy typography designs that appreciate negative space. Keeping a design simple by leaving blank space is classy, and shows you aren’t trying to get your money’s worth by filling every part of the frame with information! Leaving negative space also brings attention to the focal point of your design, which allows your message to take center stage.

Here are twelve great designs I found that take typography to a new high. They set the bar for designers like myself, and push me to think outside of the box and get creative, while still keeping the design uncluttered and readable. To learn more about the designers who created these stunning designs, visit the links below each piece.

Designed & Submitted by Rahma Projekt to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed by Kasper http://psd.tutsplus.com/articles/inspiration/53-mind-blowing-uses-of-typography/

Designed & Submitted by Hannes Beer  http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed by Ivan Vidovic http://psd.tutsplus.com/articles/inspiration/53-mind-blowing-uses-of-typography/

Designed & Submitted by Accent Creative to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed & Submitted by Michael Rubini to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed & Submitted by Hannes Beer to: http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed & submitted by devgupta86 to:  http://abduzeedo.com/tags/typography

Designed by Kasper http://psd.tutsplus.com/articles/inspiration/53-mind-blowing-uses-of-typography/

Coke Ad  http://www.lava360.com/graphics/45-beautiful-creative-use-of-typography-in-print-media-ads/

Demortalz.com http://www.demortalz.com/2011/09/10/how-can-you-use-typography-art-effectively/

Lava360.c0m http://www.lava360.com/graphics/45-beautiful-creative-use-of-typography-in-print-media-ads/