Crazy for Color

By Marisa Lerin Wed, 03/19/2014 - 09:37

Many of the comments I received last week in response to my design epiphany posts talked about color, and somewhat fittingly before I managed to type out those posts, I wrote down several paragraphs about color and my (crazy) feelings about it. I've decided to share in case it's helpful to you, but I'm hoping I don't come across as too obsessed.

I've known for a while now that the colors I pick for a kit will make or break the final result. There have been several occasions when I've designed myself into a corner based on poor color choice at the beginning. From these experiences I've learned that it's better to have a loose idea of color choice at the beginning. You can't really have a good idea about a palette until you've actually worked with it. For this reason I now expect to remake my papers a couple times. Sometimes it's just a matter of redoing a few, although it does sometimes require a complete revision. For my Lake District Bundle, I tried 3 very different color palettes before I finally figured out what exactly I was going for. Don't be afraid to scrap something if it's not feeling right. It will just get more and more difficult if you aren't completely sold on the colors you're using.

palette indecision

Third times the charm!

When it comes to actually choosing a palette, I rarely settle for one that's been pre-made. There are lots of great palette options out there, but most of them are limited to four or five colors, which is rarely enough for me. Sometimes it's a simple as adding lighter shades to a pre-made palette I love. But more often than not, I pick several palettes that have similar colors and then mix and match until I have something I love.


A look inside my color planning folder.

Also, an interesting fact I've learned is that I don't like to design with colors that I love in real life. As in, the colors I love to wear and surround myself with are not the colors I like to design with. This could be related to the fact that in real life if it's not neon or found in a Lisa Frank sticker, I don't want to see it. But those super bright colors just aren't as versatile, and let's be honest, they're pretty overwhelming. So I've learned that I always need to tone down the colors I pick. I also love to design with some colors that I hate in real life (brown and navy I'm looking at you). Some colors I really can't handle anywhere except with extreme caution (purple and green). And I know I said earlier that I like to work with muted colors, but that's only muted in relation to neon. If I mute things too much I will be so miserable that I have to toss the whole project (this Footsteps Bundle just barely made it out of my folder. I still can hardly bear to look at it).


I can't heart this photo enough. Photo by Manitoba Coupon Maven.

Now that I've just typed out that last paragraph, I feel perhaps like I react a bit strongly to color. The more I work with it, the more I find that my reactions to it strengthen and in some cases become unreasonable (I have certain feelings about the color blue in real life. You don't want to be around if I see my nemesis shade. I feel a bit like I'm living in "The Yellow Wallpaper.") So a friendly warning, too much thinking about color may make you a little crazy.


New Kits: Random Fun!

By Marisa Lerin Mon, 03/17/2014 - 09:56

It's another random release week where I indulge my desire to make whatever I feel like. The calendars available this week were made in response to a request I saw in the forums, and if you have any thoughts about something random you'd like to see, I love to hear it!

Did you have a good weekend? I did a super spring clean of my closet, finally taking out all the extra clothes that were just hanging there taking up space. It's much more pleasant now to just see clothes that I can wear. Also, I've saved some of the cast-offs and you can be expecting fabric flower galore in the near future.

Real Texture: Sky Beach Textures

Ribbon Templates Paper Flowers

Dates Dates

Buttons Ephemera Brushes


Cool Stuff List

By Marisa Lerin Fri, 03/14/2014 - 09:30

Here are a few things worth mentioning that have been influencing my life lately:

1. I discovered that there is such a thing as a highly sensitive person. I'm not going to go into detail about this because I feel like I need to take a break from introspective posts, but I feel like it's my duty to at least pass the word on. If that sounds like a descriptor for you, check it out.

2. My life was being severely tested by our bed skirt. It would not stay in place and I was resigning myself to a life of misery. Then I stumbled upon a blog post about making your bed, which mentioned that there is such a thing as bed skirt screws. After a quick trip to the store, my bed skirt is now securely stuck in place. I love the internet for these serendipitous wonders. And once again I felt the need to pass on this wonderful tidbit.

3. Another blog post tipped me to the supremely entertaining Popcast, a podcast about pop culture. I have never listened to a podcast before because I assumed listening to people talk was boring. But apparently it's not, and listening to Knox and Jamie talk for an hour is really one of the more amusing hours in my week. I also appreciate their honest discussion about an area which usually comes across as either superfluous or too serious (when people get too caught up in the "art" of it).

4. I've been doing a lot of baking lately. Here are my recent tried and approved recipes:

5. Spring is here!

Out for a walk.

Design Epiphany Follow Up

By Marisa Lerin Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:16

I think I may have said this already, but I can't really say it enough: thanks to everyone who left such wonderful and thoughtful comments on my post last week. Just getting the post written was cathartic, but the depth of the comments really gave me an amazing sense of support. So thank you!

The post last week seems to have cured my creative malaise, forcing into words what for months I could not express, and exposing the problem not as one of exhaustion, but of not knowing myself and how that translates into design. I think giving some thought to this will make all the difference in doing sustainable, creative work.

I do clean and modern design. This realization has been growing on me lately, and it was really somewhat shocking. I tend to imagine myself as a messy, unorganized person, which for me translates to lots of grunge and distressed designs (which is what I leaned towards when I started). However, this is a good example of my not really being self-aware at all, since in reality I like things clean and in their place. BUT I don't go all the way down the continuum to minimal. I think I believed in my heart you could either be a minimalist, or you could make it messy; I did not see the middle ground. But there is always a middle ground, and a place of balance is a wonderful, but tricky, place to stand. I was telling my mom over Christmas how I define my style as "minimal plus": I don't want stark emptiness, but I want clean lines with a touch of something crazy. At the time we were talking about home decor, but now I see that this really defines basically all my design choices.

My very early work.

My very early work.

Another difficult tension I walk is between order and chaos. Having trained as a scientist in school, I tend to think of myself as logical and left-brained, and I think that this description is not far off. I work methodically through a pattern that I've set for myself. However, I still do have the right side of my brain and it increasingly wants to get in on the action. In real life I have the strong desire to both stay home with my routine and to travel and have great adventures, at the same time. In my design work this expresses itself in my methodically prepared kits shadowed by random and eclectic bursts of something. Trying to walk the balance between these two forces is what drove me down into my creative confusion, and will probably always cause at least a little trouble. But there is power in knowing, and I've got my own number now.

My recent work.

My recent work.

Going forward I've got a few changes that I hope will help keep the creativity flowing and both sides of my brain happy:

  1. I've mentioned frequently my desire to make more layouts, so I've decided to declare one day a week to be layout fun day, where I just make layouts. Woo!
  2. In deference to my random side I'll be making more random stuff, as I've been doing lately. Smaller, one-off projects that can be finished quickly and allow for more experimentation. Also, everyone's enthusiasm for mini kits has certainly given me the freedom to consider more small scale projects.
  3. Keeping in mind my now defined design philosophy (which I'm going to call "clean PLUS"), I hope that I'll be able to follow my random heart, while staying linked to what I know I love.

Side note: I have often wondered about defining what I do as art, the difference between art and craft, whether there is there a difference between art and craft, etc. After all this self-aware, self-discovery, self-expression mumbo jumbo I've been partaking of lately, I feel pretty confident in calling myself an artist. There's a whole lot more of myself in these designs than I initially thought.

Extra side note: Upon finishing this post I walked into my bedroom and was struck by the exact presentation of everything I'd been trying to put into words. I could have saved myself a lot of time by just posting this photo.

2014-03-13 10.35.37

Look at how well I can match and put things together! You know what would make this perfect? A neon yellow and orange box!


New Bundle: Oceanside

By Marisa Lerin Mon, 03/10/2014 - 13:18

I feel like I've been talking a lot about these ocean bundles, and now here is one you can finally see! This is actually the second one I made; it's definitely brighter and less moody than the other one which will be coming soon. And here's some great inspiration from the creative team!

Oceanside Bundle
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By Tiffany

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By Sharon-Dewi

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By Nadia

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By Sharon-Dewi

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By Nadia

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By Sharon-Dewi