Waiting on Baby

It’s down to the final weeks - and the nerves & excitement are real. The nursery is set up, the sweet little clothes are washed, the hospital bag is packed and I feel like I’ve done all the prep work I can. Now, we’re ready to meet our sweet little girl. 

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Christmas Gift Guide 2017

As I was collecting gifts for all the special people in my life, (& wrapping them beneath the glow of my Christmas tree & the NFR on my TV) I thought I should share them - as a way to shed some light on some of my favorite finds this year & a way to share some of my favorite makers and small business owners. From in-laws to parents, boyfriends to gal pals, there's a little something special for almost anyone in your life.

I love gift giving. LOVE it. I love finding something special that I know someone will really love, but would probably hesitate to spend money on for themselves, or give them something that speaks uniquely to them.

First, is a collection of gifts for your favorite mustachioed cowboy - or caffeine loving cowgirl. I think of these as "old soul" gifts - for the man or woman that enjoys a nice cup of joe & some good conversation, old western movies & a good game of poker.

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This Stanley thermos, Cowboy coffee, and Pendleton mug - all make great gifts for the classic old-soul in your life. Add this incredible deck of cards from Molly Jogger, and they're ready for a cozy night at the cabin or their next camping trip.

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Another gift for the crusty old cowboy in your life, or the perfect addition to any cabin bathroom - this rustic soap set adds festive holiday charm to any care package or hostess gift. Or, it can be used to spruce up (ahem, pun intended) that slightly too "rustic" musk your chap tends to wear in lieu of cologne...  AND they're currently on sale!

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These gifts are perfect for the fashionable lady in your life - whether it be your bestie or your mother-in-law - we all deserve a fun accent piece for our wardrobe. You can't get much cooler than this hand-tooled cactus cuff from K Bar C Leather. Check out her website for all sorts of neat things - purses, belts, trucker hats - this lady does it ALL & does it with incredible style. You can purchase a gift certificate for a custom item that will definitely please a special woman in your life. These incredible cherry red Minnetonka moccasins are from The Bluebell Mercantile, a goldmine for all sorts of gifts & goodies - you NEED to see the beaded bracelets and incredible hats they currently have in stock.

Don't mind the shameless plug for my own hand-painted clutch - I just LOVE this colorful thunderbird design, or these fun leather-fringe concho necklaces that are available in my Etsy shop. Give one to a favorite gal pal, or tuck one in your stocking for yourself.

Speaking of The Bluebell Mercantile - they have a huge assortment of the most precious and nostalgic Christmas ornaments - one of my favorite gifts to give. Seriously, can you believe how magical these western themed glass ornaments are?! I'm in love.

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 This cuff from K Bar C Leather Co. is everything.

This cuff from K Bar C Leather Co. is everything.

 Just a few of the necklaces available in the Neon Moon Etsy shop.

Just a few of the necklaces available in the Neon Moon Etsy shop.

My mother taught me that books always round out a gift. These two are ones that I've been eyeing for myself - so I knew they'd be fun ones to give to someone else. You can find How To Draw Modern Florals by Alli K, & this great Baxter Black collection of stories on Amazon.

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A bottle of wine is always a good idea. For a gift, I mean. Add an incredible label & it's the perfect hostess gift. This bottle is one of my favorites.

This Santa mug is the perfect vessel for hot toddy's or hot cocoa - so it can be given to friends and family of all ages. Plus, it's so darn cute!!!

I hope you enjoyed my little gift guide - nothing too fancy, nothing too expensive - but a few unique pieces that will make someone special very happy. Merry Christmas!

Saddle Up Consulting | Logo Design

I recently created this logo for a client that wasn't afraid of adding some serious western flair to her consulting business. I can't help but adore a design client that asks for even MORE western - so I added cacti, a spur, & western fencing to the logo I had originally created for her.

Cacti, and spurs, and vintage western lettering - oh my. The making of a very western logo.

I was asked to create two cohesive logo designs - one for the primary logo & name of the company, one for the presentation & educational content my client was creating. I used the same hand-lettering style to make sure the two gave the same branded feel.

The beautiful photography we used for the cover art is by one of my other clients - Western Legacies.

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Graphic Tees | Going Where The Wind Blows

Have you heard the news?! Neon Moon Design Co. now has graphic t-shirts for sale!

This design is entirely hand-lettered and hand-drawn, on a vintage wash t-shirt that fits & feels like a favorite t-shirt should. The tee is available in unisex sizing, and three colors - turquoise, red & gray.

I'm so excited about this. I've wanted to design my own line of graphic tees for a while now - and I'm hoping this is just the beginning. This t-shirt is the perfect accessory - whether it's layered under a denim jacket or a floral duster- it has all the right vibes, and a fit & feel that will make you want to wear it everyday.

Follow the SHOP link to purchase one for yourself!

Confessions of A Struggling Artist

Today, I sat down to write a description about myself. And god, was it difficult. It opened up a whole can of worms. It opened up all kinds of insecurities, and questions, and dilemmas. How do I describe myself? How in the world do I bottle up this self-proclaimed mutt (I have roughly 27 hobbies, and 1,563 interests) into a few measly sentences? Ugh.

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It made me realize something. Before I even began, I was already back-peddling. For example: I’m a graphic designer, BUT it’s my side-hustle. I have a full time job that I think of as my true job. I discovered that when describing myself, I immediately down-play the role of art in my life. I’m a calligrapher and a painter, BUT I graduated from college as an English major. For some reason, I feel the need to explain away my art as a secondary part of my life – as a hobby.   

It led to me to a realization.

I have a really hard time calling myself an artist. It’s a title that I don’t quite feel fit to wear. And when I hear other people call themselves artists, I am impressed. And a bit jealous. {Yep. Definitely jealous.}

I struggle. I find advocating for my work & talking about my work with confidence, well, difficult. And outside of my comfort zone.  

And I hear a lot of people talking about how social media and ‘comparing ourselves to others’ burden us with self-doubt. You’ve heard it – “Comparison is the thief of joy.” But that’s not necessarily true for me. Yes, sometimes those perfect little squares can lead me down a spiral of self-doubt. But, most often, they don’t. There are so many incredibly talented and hard-working people on social media that I draw confidence and inspiration from. I see women embracing their imperfections, and mocking the desire to be perfect. And I appreciate it. But what I’m really talking about are those incredible girl-bosses and go-getters and artists embracing their individual talents & style on a daily basis. Calling themselves artists. Embracing their unique gifts. Showing off what makes them an individual. Having a token style and displaying it proudly. Working their butts off, and showing us what they've created.   

I recently listened to a podcast in which a calligrapher talked about her struggle with comparing herself to others - how she always felt inadequate. It crippled her desire to continue being a calligrapher. And I get it. Hullo, there are too many talented and inspiring calligraphers, hand-letterers, painters, photographers & leather-tooling goddesses out there for me to count. I am in awe of their talent on a daily basis. It would be so easy to see their skill and immediately think, “I can’t do that. I can not compete with that.” And that speaks directly to who I am. I am a self-doubting, self-conscious, unwilling-to-call-myself-artist, artist. But what I have realized is, I don’t have to do it just like them. I don’t have to compete with them. It took me a while to recognize the truth of that. All I have to do is embrace what makes me, me. I see artists I admire embracing their imperfections. Embracing their messy care-free style, or their bad-habits, or the unique techniques that make their work so approachable. I see them embracing what sets their work apart from everyone else.

This confession serves two purposes. One, it advocates for the artists, the creators & the self-taught professionals that, like me, are learning as they go. I am right there with you. I feel you. It is refreshing to admit you don’t have to be perfect, or incredibly experienced, or have accolades or merit to describe yourself as an artist or a professional. You just have to create art. You just have to run your own creative empire, however small. You just have to recognize that your unique perspective is valuable. Secondly, I want to recognize and appreciate all the women & creatives that inspire me. I see you. I so appreciate you. I am so fan-girling all over you.  And I hope each time I simply like one of your Instagram posts, or comment with a heart-eyed emoji, you see it for so much more than what it seems – it is me thanking you for your inspiration and applauding your skill. That little red heart notification is a testament from one artist to another – that I would not have the confidence or desire to put myself out there without your shining example and inspiration. Thank you. Your little square boxes mean so much more to me than you will ever know. Please keep doing what you’re doing. I adore it. It motivates me to keep going.

So if you’re like me – if you have a hard time putting your artwork out into the world and calling it art, if you have a hard time acknowledging your skills as valuable and need a confidence-boost – here it is. Please keep creating. Please recognize your value. Please keep sharing.

So maybe this is a confession, or maybe it’s simply a letter to myself. Either way, repeat after me: I am worthy. I can still make mistakes. I am learning. I am giving myself the space to be imperfect, and unprepared, and unexpected. I’m allowing myself to learn as I go. I will embrace my inabilities, and try for new skills anyway. It’s a process. It's progress. I am becoming a more efficient, more confident artist. There’s that word. But yes, it’s about time I used it proudly. I am an artist. An ARTIST.

 

Looking for podcast recommendations?

If you, like me, are addicted to podcasts, here are a few that you may enjoy. Conveniently enough - these all speak to the above conversation. A little inspiration, if you will...

Logo Reveal | The Healing Ride

I created this logo for a fellow horse-woman and friend, Charlene Waddell - who just recently started a business offering support and resources for people interested in red light therapy and aromatherapy. The company's goal is to provide natural therapeutic opportunities and performance support for people, their horses, and pets. Charlene is a distributor for Young Living essential oils and a brand rep for Photonic Health alternative & holistic health services.

The process of creating a logo for Char began with a 'mood board' - with the goal of capturing the feel & aesthetic she was looking to encapsulate in her brand. We both agreed her brand should be warm, approachable, and soothing with a little bit of a western accent.

 

From there, I was able to begin drafting ideas.

After sending Char some options, we agreed upon the primary logo design that appears in the first image. But, I like to offer secondary branding elements & complimentary logos to clients when I can -  I find it helpful to give my client multiple branding options for them to use throughout their marketing strategy. For example, Char didn't want her company to only appeal to horse owners but also have elements that would speak to her human clients and those interested in using her services for their smaller pets. While the primary logo is captivating, I wanted to provide her with logo elements that she could use to for non-horse related marketing items. The complimentary branding elements are more simplistic & less "equine specific" but still embody the therapeutic and approachable feel she was going for, while also staying 'on brand.' The secondary logo designs allow the brand some flexibility and dimension - to support the primary logo or create brand interest.

Here are some of the secondary branding pieces I created:

 

If you're interested in the services The Healing Ride provides, there will be a website up and running soon. In the mean time, you can find more information & get in touch with Charlene through her Facebook page - here.