Posts in Design
My Business Cards

I've been asked several times online, and plenty of times in real life about my business cards. They put a smile on someone's face every time I give one. There are two really important factors to great business cards. 

Factor 1: What They Look Like

One of the two important things about business cards is what they LOOK like. Obviously. They should reflect you and your business, especially if you're self-employed. 

Everyone is intrigued by the design, and drawn to the little shot of red that is my name. And then they read the fun little invitation: Let's stay in touch, ok? 

I put the QR code on there that links to JessicaSprague.com, so they can visit my site while they're still holding the card if they want, or anytime afterward by just snapping it with a QR code reader. More about creating your own QR code right here

Factor 2: What they Feel Like

The second important part of a business card is what it feels like. This part is honestly veddy veddy important, and I don't say that only because I'm a paper snob (although I am, raise of hand), but because it still subtly sends a signal. It should be smooth and sturdy in the hand. Or if it's textured or letterpressed, it should feel like that. 

I got my cards printed at Moo.com with the smooth matte finish, and boy golly do they feel good. Sturdy and substantial, and rounded corners to boot. The rounded corners cost extra, but they add a really special touch, especially to a business with a little more feminine feel to it. (If you're a welder or a blacksmith, I'd say probably stick with the square corners. But your call.)

 

What Not to Do

And now this is the part where I beg. Picture me with my hands clasped together and an earnest look on my face. There are other places to get your cards done than Moo, and that's fine. But you must promise and pinky-swear RIGHT NOW that you will never get the ones that you print yourself and tear at the perforations. Not ever. I mean, have you ever run your fingers along a perforated edge? *shudder* Regardless, if you can hold them up and see light through them, they're too thin. You deserve a better first impression than that, and so do they. (Paper snob, over'n'out).

How to Give a Business Card

I studied Japanese for two years in college, I might have mentioned. One of the most striking things about the Japanese culture is the level of social convention - ceremonies, if you will. And included in this is "a way" to hand someone a business card. This particular convention is so important that we had a whole lesson on it, AND a practice where we handed cards to people after introducing ourselves. And you know what? I LOVED it. I try to do the 'toned-down, American' version of this whenever I hand over a business card. 

Handing someone your card with at least a LITTLE pause for 'ceremony' shows them respect, and while you don't have to follow the exact protocol the Japanese do (it's a little intense - holding the card with both hands, thumbs on the corners closest to you, text facing the recipient, and bowing as you hand it), I do think that in many situations handing someone your card could be a little more formal.

This sounds funny here in 'merica, where we are informal pretty much ALL of the time, but here's my reasoning. If I'm at a conference or a convention, and I'm meeting people and handing them my card, I want them to remember me. I've already talked above about the reaction I usually get when they actually look at the card, which almost always catches their eye and they pause. But before that is The Delivery

I say something like, "Can I have your card?" or "I'd like to talk more about this later, can I give you my card?" something like that. And then cue body language:

  1. Turn to my business card holder, which should be right in reach at the top of my bag (should I tell you here that you should have a unique and gorgeous business card holder? Yes). Make sure the card is upside-down to me (I usually pack them like this)
  2. Turn back to my contact, fully facing them, following the card with my eyes
  3. With one hand holding the center-top of the card, thumb on top, offer them the card (text facing them, of course)
  4. Wait til they take the card, then look them in the eye and smile like I mean it. 

I'm offering them something of value here. My time and an invitation to talk later. That's a big deal. And it communicates that I'm proud of what I do, competent at what I do, and I would be delighted to spend more time talking about what we might do together, and I'm not just saying that. 

You know, if this whole thing made you roll your eyes, you don't have to do it this way. There are other ways, instead of or in addition to this to capture leads and make initial contacts with people. And of course if you are in a situation where you're slinging a card at someone super casually, i.e. not in a business setting, you don't have to go through as much formality. Above all, though, don't apologize for your card or yourself, either with words or body language.

Now it's time to go design and order you some business cards, and then spend time practicing getting one out and giving it to someone. Remember turn to them, hand it with text facing them, and then eye contact and smile. Prep for the closing handshake, and scene. You made a new contact!

Now You

Have you made business (or personal) contacts with the exchange of business cards? Did they do something memorable, or did you? Are there any other 'ceremonies' you can think of where you work to make a good impression?

I'd love to see your business card, too! You can upload it in the comments here, or tag me on Facebook, or post it to the new gallery in the JessicaSprague.com community


Build a Beautiful Online Course Homepage with Fedora

Image isn't everything. Well, that is except when it comes to digital design and doughnuts. 

Digital design is like the sprinkles of the internet. It makes pages look nice. Who wants to look at a plain Jane page? I know I want sprinkles on my doughnuts, and images on my pages. 

I joined Ankur and the team at Fedora for a much-requested webinar last week. We discussed how I turned their school page into what you see at JessicaSprague.com. Their support (as well as ours) has been filled with the question...

"You know how they say image is everything, I hate that, and don’t think it’s true, EXCEPT for web design, in which, image actually is everything. What I mean is that in order to put across that credibility that we’re looking for, in order to invite people to trust you as their teacher, you have to be able to show them beautiful things. That is the toughest part, but I’m going to help you along the way.” - Jessica Sprague

Using Fedora's platform, the Bootstrap starter kit, Adobe's Dreamweaver and Photoshop, Screenflow, the reset button, and more, I built the page you now see at JessicaSprague.com. Oh, you cannot forget the tears and sweat and sprinkles. 

Here's a preview of Bootstrap!

Here's a preview of Bootstrap!

You can build a school like mine, customize it, and sell your knowledge! You're awesome, and I believe in you!

You can read more over at Fedora's blog. Ashley Hockney did a wonderful writeup about sprinkles and the resources used to build JessicaSprague.com! There's also a link to watch the replay of the webinar. Check out her post Build a Beautiful Online Course Homepage.

I hope you get lots of knowledge from the webinar! 

This One's for My Sis.

I have a beautiful sister. Her name is Julie. She is one of the most well-read and most sharply intelligent people I know. She served an LDS mission in New York City (speaking Spanish, no less), and has a master's degree in Education Administration. She is teaching at an amazing charter school in AZ called Great Hearts, and I am stinking proud of her

Tolkien is the Man.

She and I have a few things in common, and one of them is an unabashed love for all things Tolkien. I think it's only she that probably beats my record for the most hours spent dived in to the lore and - especially - the language of the Lord of the Rings. The words that Tolkien puts into the mouths of his characters have a bone-deep ring to them that transcends time and distance, and even race (speaking here of hobbits, dwarves, and elves, of course). 

And the girl even got a tattoo in Elvish. So badass. So nerdy. So nerdishly badass, which is even MORE badass than just plain badass. That's right.

And so it was that she told me one of her favorite lines, from a speech given by humble Samwise Gamgee, friend and servant to Frodo, and companion on his long journey. A gardener by trade, he's the stalwart and sturdy and earthy one, and the one who in this case speaks of hope in a gorgeous metaphor.

And so I did what any good Photoshopping sister would, and made her a poster like so, and surprised her with it:

Here's the entire piece from the book:

It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.
— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

For me, the most touching part of this, is that of all the amazing lines in that trilogy, this is the one that she chose as her favorite. I won't go into details on her life, of course, but I will say that she's had it rough in a lot of ways.

But she hopes.

She hopes fiercely, like Sam, in the knowledge that future goodness, just like the rising sun, will arrive to banish the current darkness. And when that darkness DOES disappear, how bright the sun will be! 

You can grab this Tolkien quote poster from my Etsy store if you'd like to put one in your own home. It ships flat, and is unframed. 

Your Turn

Do you have a favorite line from The Lord of The Rings? Post it here! You might just see a poster of it! 

It's Time For Some Type-Ology!

I know you all have been anxiously waiting for the Type-Ology Workshop registration to open. Well, I'm happy to announce that it's officially OPEN! I apologize sincerely that it's a day late. I hope you all enjoy what the class brings! Head over and register now! 

 

This two-week, instructor-led class begins on Feburary 2, 2015.
Dates: February 2 through February 13, 2015.
Lessons go live every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but there’s no need to be online at a certain time!

You will be asked to purchase a textbook for our class, called Thinking With Type which you can access as EITHER an ebook or as a physical book.


Introducing The Type-ology Workshop

Hi there!! I'm excited to announce the first class for 2015 will be my newest Type-ology Workshop

This 2 week course will run from February 2 to February 13, with each lesson being released on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Registration will open Monday January 12! 

In the Type-ology Workshop you will get the chance to expand your design skills and maximize your font stash as we explore letterforms and create projects with single letters, several lines, and even paragraphs.

I hope you come along and enjoy this wonderful workshop! 

Where Have All the Scrappers Gone? Part 2

This post is a continuation from Part 1 of Where Have All the Scrappers Gone? I have decided to do an in-depth exploration of scrapbooking from the perspective of my ten-year involvement. :)

During the fall of 2004 I started looking at scrapbooking magazines, in my typical response to anything I want to learn more about in-depth: go to the bookstore. I found PaperKutz, Scrapbook Trends, Scrapbooks Etc., Memory Makers, and Creating Keepsakes. Remember those? Remember walking in to your Michael's or Jo-Anne's or the bookstore or your local scrapbook store and finding not one but SEVERAL scrapbooking magazines for sale? 

Transient
Transient
Transient
Transient

The year 2004 ended as we found out we were expecting Elliott the next summer, and I met my first scrapbook friend from 2 peas in real life: Michele Skinner. We would go on to add to our group, including Susan Weinroth and Nisa Fiin. (who I met at my first scrapbooking road trip to the 2 Peas crop in Wisconsin - I thought she was absolutely crazy - she is - and I knew we'd be friends for a long time). I also got to meet my first scrapbooking girl-crush, Ali Edwards. (ahem: it's 10 years later and she is still my scrapbooking girl-crush)

From then on, the Twin Cities girls got together pretty much once a month at different stores to work on projects and chat. I started to discover that scrapbooking is as much a lifestyle, a way of looking at the world, an outlet and a conduit for creativity, and a way to connect with other women as much as it is - or maybe more than it is, about recording memories. And let's be honest: it's also about collecting the grownup-girl school supplies of cuteness. ;) I started learning how naturally scrapbookers became friends, and within those first few months I knew I'd started to make friends (online and in person) that I would have for life. 

Every night after work Jared and I would sit in the office after Rowen was asleep, and I'd work on scrapbook projects and he'd play computer games. I remember telling him over and over again, "There's something in this for me." I didn't know yet what it was, but I could feel the ground under me shifting, even then. I also found Cathy Zielske's book called Clean & Simple Scrapbooking, and read it over and over - I still have my original copy of it, spine broken and pages warped from taking it into the tub to read while I soaked. (Ahem: Cathy Zielske is also one of my scrapbooking girl-crushes) That book, and Cathy's unabashed mixture of gorgeous design with an obvious love of paper really helped define my style.

As I perused the magazines each month (I subscribed to Memory Makers and Creating Keepsakes), I started to wonder where they got their pages from. I discovered the submission instructions and also "The Pub" at twopeasinabucket, which was a message board for those who were interested in submitting projects for publication. I began sending a few pages in response to some of the calls for projects from the magazine.

I received my first email back from Jana Lillie at Creating Keepsakes for August 2005 issue, and I was stunned. And elated. I jumped around and did laps around my office singing the Rocky theme for like, 3 days. And I packed my layout carefully and sent it off to Utah.

My first published layout. Creating Keepsakes, August 2005

In the spring of 2005 I quit my job as a user interface designer for a software company in St. Paul. I wanted to stay home with the kids after Elliott was born anyway, and I had been put on "low activity rest" until he was born because of heart problems I'd developed being pregnant. 

Of course the "low activity" was spending lots and lots of time making pages - I feel like this was the beginning of really developing a style, starting to learn about design. It became pretty much the replacement for my old job, in some ways. And always, therapy. Through my photos and the sifting through memory that I was doing, I began to see the beauty in my life. Began to really throw myself into this craft heart and soul, and relished possibilities I couldn't imagine at the time. The next year would change everything. 

Part 3 coming soon! 

Where Have All the Scrappers Gone? Part 1

NOTE: This year is my 10th "Scrap-a-versary", and I have decided to create a multi-part series on how scrapbooking has evolved, and what I see as my place in it over the years. I hope the backstory provides some insight, and that we can have a discussion about where scrapbooking was, what it's like today, and what the future might be for memory keeping in general. Here we go!

Beginnings

I remember the first day I discovered scrapbooking. I had heard about it, of course - my mother-in-law gave me a subscription to Paper Crafts magazine because I was a card maker, and I really liked stamping. 

As I looked over my Paper Crafts issues, I noticed that many of the fonts were credited to Two Peas in a Bucket. Weird! So of course I had to go check that out. That was 2003. I noticed while I was there how HUGE the scrapbooking side of the site was - tons of product and tons of galleries and message boards. I bought fonts and ignored the rest. Heh. Little did I know.

In February of 2004, my little daughter was born almost 6 weeks early. I've mentioned a bit about that struggle in this post. I was, frankly, traumatized. Everything was new, I was lonely, and I had some pretty desperate post-partum depression. I shouted. I ran away a couple of times. Drove around for half an hour and came home with tail between legs. 

One of the things that I started doing that helped was taking photos of her. For the first time, really EVER, I had something to photograph, and so the pictures began to accumulate on my computer. 

She was about 5 months old when I decided that I really needed somewhere to put all these photos. A photo album, right?

So one Saturday I drove over to the Archiver's in Apple Valley Minnesota, less than a mile from my house. I knew they sold photo albums - so I went in for a photo album. Heh. Man, was I about to get my eyes opened!

 

Archiver's. Apple Valley, MN

Archiver's. Apple Valley, MN

The Mothership

This whole backstory, I hope, will help to illustrate what happened when I walked in the door. I was flooded by color and light and cute things and cardstock and patterned paper, and I do think angels sang. I would swear it. The Mothership had called me home.

I left Archiver's that day a different person. Preparation had met need, and my dormant creativity met my desire to capture the memories I had recorded of my daughter. I wouldn't realize until later just HOW different I would be. In fact, almost everything about my life - certainly my creative and working life, and my relationship to my family and my life in general would change forever. In a very real sense, I was rescued by scrapbooking. I will always have a special place in my heart for Archiver's because of that. 

Since I had an account at TwoPeasinaBucket.com already, I started looking through the galleries at the scrapbook pages there. And I began collecting supplies.

My first pages? Oh yeah. I've never shared them publicly. In a way, I like looking back at these pages as I made my first foray into a new craft. A new way of looking at my life, too. 

My very first scrapbook page. My very first time really trying to process my story, to come to terms, and even to celebrate the experience. Summer 2004.

Here's page two. The poem is one I read first in college, and I knew then that I wanted to tell this poem to my daughter one day, if I ever had one. 

Born Yesterday

by Phillip Larkin

Tightly-folded bud,
I have wished you something
None of the others would:
Not the usual stuff
About being beautiful,
Or running off a spring
Of innocence and love -
They will all wish you that,
And should it prove possible,
Well, you're a lucky girl.

But if it shouldn't, then
May you be ordinary;
Have, like other women,
An average of talents:
Not ugly, not good-looking,
Nothing uncustomary
To pull you off your balance,
That, unworkable itself,
Stops all the rest from working.
In fact, may you be dull -
If that is what a skilled,
Vigilant, flexible,
Unemphasised, enthralled
Catching of happiness is called.

As the year of 2004 progressed, more pages came. More memories were savored and saved, and I was sucked deeper and deeper in to this craft. 

I fell in love with Bazzill cardstock, (in fact, I still have quite a handsome collection of it), and started getting to know names, like Rhonna Farrer, KI Memories, Chatterbox, Autumn Leaves. And it never really became about "getting it done" as much as it was about the absolutely theraputic process of putting glue to paper. The hobby (ahem: obsession) had begun. Heaven help my husband. He had no idea what was coming. ;)

Part 2 is here!

Happy New (February) Year!

Happy New Year!

That's what I meant to write one month and six days ago, and somehow January disappeared. So the fact that I didn't even START my New Year's Resolution (this one, and a couple of others) doesn't really mean I broke them, right? Just - delayed for a month. :)

What I do know, is that I'm really glad that 2013 is over. Whew. I know that December 31 and January 1 are just days, and not really that different from one another, but a new year feels like a new opportunity. Maybe to start something we've intended to do, or to get better at something, or to shed the scales of routine and drudge and try to see the world with new eyes again. To learn how to be patient with the process. To get back to joy. 

I got a new case for my iPhone from Uncommon for the new year, and after thinking long and hard I decided to put a Bible verse from Hebrews 12:1 that has felt really apt the past few months. Here's how it turned out: 

IMG_0523.jpg

(I will say that the difficulty of taking a quick picture of my iPhone without the actual phone took a couple of minutes of figuring out. ;)

Do you have a quote or a verse on your phone case or something else you carry everywhere? 

The Business of Being in Business

 First I must share a quote:

“Everybody go back to work…Because this is a business, and we’re in the business of being in business and we’re doing business and nobody’s business…Do it!  Business.  Good!  I want business done…Just the way it should be!”

- Monty Brewster  |  Brewster’s Millions (1985)

Pretty much sums up the last oh, 3 months of my working life? Things are a lot different with me since finding out about lupus. Some of it has just been acceptance. Learning to run with patience. Learning that there are good days and bad days, good hours and bad hours. There wasn't much equilibrium in my life before, what with the working and traveling and teaching and mama-ing and wife-ing and whatnot, and there certainly isn't any more now, but somehow the past few months have felt like permission. Yes. It's ok. Sleep. Feel better. Let it go.

I taught a digital organization class in January, which will be going up for sale as a self-paced class soon. There are other classes in the works. Photoshop isn't going away, memory-keeping isn't, and I'm not. I'll have more to say about this a bit later, though. It IS a slowing down process, for now. Not 9 new classes, like I did last year - but maybe 5 or 6? 

I've been reading a lot of books, designing some new stuff, and taking naps And it feels really good. Especially the naps. ;)

The Business of (Being Afraid to Share My) Writing

I've also been writing. A lot. Trying to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard every day. And I'm finding something interesting there - I have discovered that my writing is one of the very few parts of myself that I'm really shy about sharing. Weird, right? I mean I share my scrapbook pages without batting an eye. I've told personal stories in dozens or hundreds of classes, given talks and speeches since high school. I've blogged for almost 8 years. But my own stuff - the writing like poems and stories? Terrifying

I've been writing (a writer? one who writes?) since I can remember. It's part of the reason I decided to take English as my undergraduate major. I love words.  I love reading them both out loud and silently, savoring the best of them with closed eyes. I'm moved by them, and when they are put together well, they resonate in my soul like nothing else does.

I remember the first time words made me cry. I was sitting on the floor in 2nd grade, surrounded by my classmates, learning the words to the song Puff the Magic Dragon from a flipchart (I assume we were planning to sing it at some point, but I can't remember). We came to the third verse:

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys 
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys. 
One grey night it happened, Jackie paper came no more 
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar. 

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain, 
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane. 
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave, 
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.

All I remember is that this part was so - hard to bear - that I could only cry. Tears ran down my face, in grief at these two friends parting forever. I couldn't believe we were learning a song that was so tragically sad, and that I seemed to be the only person who saw that. I know for a fact I was the only 8 year old in the room who was sobbing her face off. Even now that last refrain makes my heart constrict and my throat close. 

This certainly wasn't the last time - everything from Gone With the Wind (high school) to scripture (also high school), to Annie Dillard's The Writing Life (about 5 years ago or so), to The Lord of The Rings (I cried unashamedly through almost the entire Return of the King - all four times I've read it) to Harry Potter (Snape in Book 7! *sob*) to the third book in the Infernal Devices series (maybe a month ago?), words of poetry and prose, song and scripture and "high art" and "low art" has had me crying my whole life, it seems. Tears of resonance, of recognition, of grief or longing, of humility in the face of great deeds or great sacrifice. 

What I do know, is that there are words inside me. Maybe that's part of the resonance. Sometimes I'll read something or think something, and I must respond to by writing. With this year's new adventure I'm trying to make the writing part happen that more often than those occasions when I can't NOT write or I'll explode. 

So I've been writing. But the fear hasn't gone. 

We shall see. 

As for the rest, Rowen celebrated her 10th birthday on Tuesday. Jared left this morning to attend the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. I bought new shoes (although really, is this much of a surprise?), Elliott got FOUR new Lego sets over this past couple of weeks and has put them all together. 

So, friend, Happy New Year. Let us run with patience.

xo,

-JS

{Color} Scheme On: Love Edition

Another edition of {Color} Scheme On! Most days aren't filled with the opportunity to do GREAT things. But they are always filled with the opportunity to do small things with great love.  

Here is the image, followed by the download button, which includes both the image and the .aco Adobe Color Scheme file. 

{Color} Scheme on by Jessica Sprague

{Color} Scheme on by Jessica Sprague

And here is a quick video tutorial showing you how to load these in to Photoshop Elements (works the same in Photoshop CS+) 

You can see all the other color schemes in the series by clicking on the {Color} Scheme On link in the category list over there on the right hand side. :)

Have a wonderful day, and Scheme On! 

xo, 

-JS

Family Motto in Silhouette Vinyl

Hi there!  Happy Tuesday! I want to share a project I created using my Silhouette. 

First off, I make no secret about my undying love for patterned paper. I collect it, and find much of it too pretty to actually cut up. So I have some framed. But I wanted to take this framed patterned paper idea one step further and add some custom artwork above it. Shall we? Let's go!

Silhouette vinyl project by Jessica Sprague

Silhouette vinyl project by Jessica Sprague

Silhouette vinyl project by Jessica Sprague

Silhouette vinyl project by Jessica Sprague

So. One Ikea frame. One gorgeous sheet of patterned paper. Check.

Step 1: Create the Graphic in Photoshop

And the next step is Photoshop. (I can't tell you how many times I have actually said this in my life. The next step is, in so many cases in life, going to Photoshop.)

To create the graphic I wanted something that could be a family motto - something we could see every day and remember, this is us!

I used label sets from tomodachi at Creative Market here and here, as well as the fonts Thirsty Script and LHF Gunslinger Good.  

After I was happy with the graphic, I saved it as a .png file - it looks like this: 

We-quote-web.jpg

Cute, right? I hope you like it! You can download this graphic here in a minute if you want to use it! 

Step 2: Trace and Cut

So I opened the .png file in the Silhouette Studio software, and used the Trace function to create the actual cutting lines. Slap some black Silhouette vinyl on the cutting mat, press cut, and go!

Step 3: Transfer and Peel

After cutting, the vinyl needs to be transferred from its backing paper to your project. Now Silhouette has transfer paper - the idea being that you can stick the FRONT of your vinyl onto the transfer paper, peel off the sticky back of the vinyl, and then stick the vinyl to your surface. Kind of a one-two-switch. But I have found for myself that for little cuts like this, it often works just to peel the vinyl (carefully) from its backing and stick it down to the glass, and THEN start working on pulling all the excess away from the cutout. The little fiddly bits stay stuck better, so it's easier to peel the outsides off without disturbing them. 

The peeling off of all the little extra vinyl - especially around the script and the little swirls - was by far the most time-consuming part. But it turned out so GREAT! I'm super happy with it! 

 

We-quote-web02.jpg
We-quote-web03.jpg
We-quote-web04.jpg

Alright, friend! If you would like to create this (or even just print that quote and frame it), I've included both the .png file and the pre-traced Silhouette cutting file in this download. Grab it! 

Sale & Giveaway! 

Oh, I almost forgot! (Ha! I never did.) I have an awesome giveaway! And a great sale to announce! Here it is! Grab a Silhouette Cameo on sale, and BOGO on vinyl colors. Go now! Use my name and tell them I sent you. ;)

{Color} Scheme On: Time Edition

Here's a gorgeous color scheme and a quote that hits me today, because of its backstory.  I've been doing the 12-week "program" called "The Artist's Way" from Julia Cameron, and it is wonderful. I will get to more of that in a second, but first, a story.

I learned several weeks ago a critical difference between Jared and I - compartmentalization. And it came in the form of a big pile of laundry.

See, Jared likes to wash laundry. Loves it. The washing, I mean. And the drying. But often, "laundry" means wash, dry, pack in a basket and set at the foot of our bed, and walk away, satisfied. Folding doesn't figure in. And you know, I should be grateful that half the job is done, right? But there is always a basket of clean laundry there. Wrinkled. Waiting. So needless to say, one evening several weeks ago we had a pretty major backlog of clean laundry to fold.  

So I sat down beside (what I thought was) the extent of the pile and started to fold. This, I told myself, was all there was, and that wasn't so much.  

So I get ALMOST to the bottom of the pile - I can see carpet again, and he hauls in another basket that had been lurking in the hallway. WHAT.  

And I said WHAT. 

And I look at the newly refreshed pile, and reset myself, okay, so THIS is all there is. And so I said, "okay, is this all there is?" Mama does NOT like Clean Laundry Surprise.  

He says, "No, there are two more baskets in the hallway." (Told you. Lots of laundry.) 

I can't for the life of me imagine how he could even function with the pile he has in front of him, knowing that there is an unknown quantity of laundry still lurking. More after this with an unknown end in sight. Shudder.  

And this is when I realized the difference between us.  He likes to take on only the pile in front of him. Leave the rest for later, some other time, and THIS is what we have. It's an uncanny, and frankly, enviable talent to tune out - slash - ignore the other crap in the hall. Compartmentalize.

In the big dresser that is our brains, he can open a single drawer at a time, work in there until what's needed is done, and then close that drawer and open another one, perfectly at ease with the fact that he won't know what's happening in that drawer until he closes his current one and opens that one again. (Do you know any men like this?) 

In my brain, I am pretty sure I HAVE a dresser, but I have pulled all the drawers out, and I'm sitting in the middle of a circle of them, hip-deep in things scattered here and there, hands moving between them. At any moment I can switch to another drawer while also and at the same time keeping my eye on 4 others.  (Do you know any women like this?)

For me, though, the trick is NOT in trying to compartmentalize. That ain't gonna happen. Not permanently anyway. But sometimes I see the whole mountain and I'm too daunted to take the first step out of bed. I get overwhelmed before I even get started and I'm paralyzed.  

So the solution - which I am learning in The Artist's Way, is to tuck that big picture in the back of our minds, and then focus on this moment. Julia Cameron says this:

In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me. Each moment, taken alone, was always bearable. In the exact now, we are all, always, alright. I am breathing in and out. Realizing this, I began to notice that each moment was not without its beauty.  

And then comes this quote from the universe as a second witness to the truth: moment by moment the race is run. Step by step the mountain is climbed. Keep an eye on the top or the end, sure. But only DO what this moment calls for. That's the place of real living. 

I have sad days. I have down days. It's easy for me to get overwhelmed. I have depression, and this, by definition, means I get depressed. But in each moment, taken one at a time and really LIVED, gets us through to days of happiness. 

So without further ado, here is the color scheme and its quote: 

 {Color} Scheme On by Jessica Sprague

 {Color} Scheme On by Jessica Sprague

xo, 

-JS

Invitation Suite

My sweet niece Juliette is getting married in August, and she asked me to design her invitations. Of course I said yes! They wanted a chalkboard invitation, and gave me some of the words that describe what they wanted their wedding to be like, and I took that and ran. Here's what the result is.

Invitation suite by Jessica Sprague

The invitation arrived in a woodgrain pocket from Cards & Pockets, with the invitation on the left and the photo card and Details card in a staggered stack on the right.  Their colors, royal blue and olive green, are represented in the intertwined hearts on the tree branch.

Invitation suite by Jessica Sprague

At the bottom of the photo card is a quote that says "Love is a Sheltering Tree" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 

Invitation suite by Jessica Sprague

And here's the entire suite together, with the invite, photo card, detail card (complete with a QR code with a link to their wedding web site), inside the pocket.  

I'm so proud of the way these turned out! They love them, and it was so much fun to be able to contribute to their special day.  

The printing was done on pearl paper by Rex at Scrapping Simply, who does beautiful printing on everything from invitations to photo books to 12x12 digital pages (his speciality). You can check out our standard printing at Jessica Sprague printing, or contact me and I'll put you in touch with him for custom printing.