Posts tagged ‘Inspiration’

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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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”! :)


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.


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!


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!!


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.


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 – crafty-creative/ for additional fun ideas!

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. utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk) utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk) utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk) utm_source=feedburner&utm_campaign=Feed:+design-milk +(Design+Milk) 23T04%3A46%3A00-09%3A00&max-results=5

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!

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 ‚ô•

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:

Designed by Kasper

Designed & Submitted by Hannes Beer

Designed by Ivan Vidovic

Designed & Submitted by Accent Creative to:

Designed & Submitted by Michael Rubini to:

Designed & Submitted by Hannes Beer to:

Designed & submitted by devgupta86 to:

Designed by Kasper

Coke Ad


October 22, 2011

4 Unique Photography Tips

by Molly Mahar

Finding my niche in photography took some time, and I am constantly perfecting it. When you jump into photography for the first time, you tend to be inspired by others, by trying similar concepts and ideas. Once you put yourself out there, practice, and gain confidence, you begin to branch out and take truly unique photos.

My style began to change as I started experimenting, and deciding what aspects I really liked. While studying Graphic Design at UND, we were always taught “Less is Best” and I have definitely attributed the minimalist look to my photography. I have also grown very fond of high contrast photos and different shades of blue, as you will notice in my photography at the end of this post. By making these key decisions about what I liked, I was able to form my personal style of photography.

You should work on perfecting your own style, but here are a few tips that have helped me with my own visions. I hope you can be inspired by my work in some way, try some different things that I try, and hopefully gain the confidence to break away and find your niche!

As a side note, I am not a professional photographer, so don’t take me too seriously. These tips and tricks are my own personal views. If you are looking for more professional advice, you should contact a professional photographer.

Enough talk, here’s my tips:

(1) Don’t be afraid to look stupid
A lot of times, you will be taking photos in public, in places where people are going to see you. I used to be so embarrassed to take photos in public that I would snap my subject really fast and move on. Well, once I got home I had a bunch of photos that were unusable. Eventually, I wanted my shots so bad that I stopped caring about who was gawking at me.

(2) Take multiple shots of your subject
When you take only a few shots, you don’t have much to work with. When I see something I want to photograph, I take TONS of shots.. I will literally take 10 shots or more. You can always delete them later, but it gives you options to work with. Hopefully you will have at least one that you love.¬†If you are using a DSLR, take multiple shots of your subject, experimenting with different aperture and shutter speeds. Record the settings you used for each shot so you can start to learn what settings work best in different conditions, and your personal preferences. You can find charts online to assist ¬†you with settings.

(3) Experiment with different perspectives
This goes back to my first tip, don’t be afraid of looking stupid. I like to experiment with angles, which usually leads to some unique shots that I never would have thought of without trying different perspectives. As you may have noticed, my favorite perspective is the worm’s eye view, where I literally lay on the ground and point up. My typical subjects are flowers, so I have a lot of fun laying on the ground, burying my camera into the flowers, trying to get the perfect shot with the beautiful blue sky in the background.

(4) Don’t waste a sunny day!
Sunny days are perfect for taking photos similar to the style that I shoot. This tip is especially important if you are using a camera that cannot adjust for lighting conditions, such as an iPhone, which I use a lot of the time because it’s always in my pocket and readily available. I never waste a beautiful, clear skied, sunny day. When I wake up and see the sun blazing through my window, I am outside exporing for shots. Don’t make photography harder than it needs to be… if you want a colorful, blue skied shot, then don’t miss out on the sunny days.

Thanks for reading! Come back soon.

October 22, 2011

Show Me Your Garden

by Molly Mahar

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” (Alfred Austin)

Looking at Brenda’s garden will give you a great understanding of who she is. Even after a difficult childhood, being raised with her 7 siblings by a single mother, and dealing with many life-changing experiences, she has managed to remain a strong, bright and positive person.

Brenda’s flowers have been a huge subject of my photography for the past three months, as they have been in full bloom. It has been such a joy being able to document her flowers, and I am in the process of designing a book collection of the photos as a gift to her.

Here are some of my favorites from her garden… Enjoy!