Society for Creative Founders: Spring 2018 recap

At this very moment 27 women are gathered in Pensacola, Florida in a beautiful oceanside home building into themselves, their businesses and creating strong foundations for their passions to continue to grow and support them through their creative business. I was one of those women just 6 months ago during the Society for Creative Founders Spring 2018 conference. The impact it has had and continues to have on me and my business has been huge!

Building a creative business is exhausting both mentally and physically. It is often lonely and isolating working at home, out of the library and coffee shops. It feels like most people think I am just pursuing a fancy hobby and don’t quite understand what I am actually doing, why it matters and the hard work and hours that go into it.

When I finally said “Yes!” to going to The Creative Founders Conference after many conversations with Kristin, the owner and leader, as well as my husband—I said yes to not only pouring into my business but pouring into myself. I was incredibly nervous to go to a house for three days with women I didn’t know, in a town I had never been to, to learn and grow a business I sometimes questioned why I was still pursuing.

Leaving The Creative Founders Conference renewed in me a sense of purpose, equipped me with a community and resources I use weekly (if not daily), and continues to be a marker of growth in this crazy adventure of being a business owner. Here are a few take aways of why this conference was so impactful for me:


Community is key.

Walking into the The Lee House that first afternoon I was nervous and intimidated to meet all these talented ladies. Stepping into the lobby I was instantly relieved because I could feel it in everyone—we were all nervous and intimidated because we didn't know how the next three days would go! Despite where we were at in our personal businesses, we all started with fresh slates for the conference. As the hours went on and we got to know one another, connections were created and joy was a top emotion in every session and meal. It was so refreshing to be around others who understood my daily feelings about what I was doing and why I was doing it and had the same doubts and worries I battled. Though we have physically been removed from one another since the conference, the community of these women is very real and authentic. We continue to connect with one another through social media, video chats and emails. This alone was worth going to the conference!


Growing and learning is necessary and you shouldn't do it alone.

With such a solid group of ladies around, you will be immersed in the 6 pillars (Your Core, Your Client, Your Brand, Your Marketing, Your Money, Your Plan) of SCF with incredible speakers (who I will add sat in the session with us as peers when not teaching) who go in depth about their topic and how to apply it to your business. Like most creative entrepreneurs, I taught myself almost everything about business/being an entrepreneur I know through countless webinars, books and mostly Google. I felt the most important part of this conference was getting to learn side by side with the other women in the room. Could I have done these same topics through a book or webinar? Of course—but the benefit of sitting in a room full of others walking the same road during each session and personally hearing and learning from all the different perspectives increased the experience tenfold. With the resources of new business friends, I also left with a workbook full of notes I refer to weekly, and information that has impacted my business acumen greatly.

Taking advantage of the abundance of knowledge.

I often find personally I don’t know what to ask at conferences or classes when the question time comes around because I am still processing the information I just heard. Many of my questions come to me after the session is well and done. The sessions were chalk full of so much amazing information but what I found was different from other conferences was the speakers and my new friends genuinely were open to answering questions during after the session time or topic was “finished”. I never felt like I was burdening them when I would ask my questions and they always answered them with genuine, honest and full answers. Even now, as a part of the SCF online community, I know I can reach out and ask questions or bounce ideas off these friends and get thought out and encouraging answers.


You will be surrounded in beauty and resources.

Kristin, the owner and leader of SCF, is a former event planner and current wedding invitation designer. With that in mind she did an incredible job from start to finish creating a relaxing but stimulating atmosphere in every environment we were in. From the moment we walked in the conference room the delights and surprises kept coming from each session to each session. My little designer heart was so full with the well coordinated details and the excellent use of branding! We were spoiled with goodies of all shapes and sizes. It is a true testament to the power of the SCF community wanting to build one another up and cheer each other on as we all left with suitcases overflowing with products donated from alumni who have growing businesses touched by the teachings of SCF and conference sponsors who desired to see us have the best products possible. It was a sweet reminder that there is so much room for each of us to spread our magic in the creative world.


Being apart of The Society of Creative Founders and attending the Creative Founders Conference has been a key growth mark in my business and has helped me focus more on the areas I need to grow in. I left with a sense of direction, accountability partners, and friends that I love cheering on as we build our businesses side by side through the unity of being Creative Founders.

Interested in seeing more of my time at the conference? Check of the conference recap for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. Learn more about the 2019 conference here! Plus follow along this week as they go through round two at the Fall conference on Instagram!

Modern Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

When thinking about Thanksgiving, it had me dreaming about the whole holiday season. I thought it would be fun to imagine a table that could transition from Thanksgiving day  to a more universal table for the winter season. 


To add dimension and a special touch, each napkin was wrapped in gold bakers twine with lavender and a watercolor leaf with the word "thankful".


I love the idea of mixing patterns and using the nontraditional fall color of blue to create a fun modern Thanksgiving table. This table and many of the elements could transition to a winter/Christmas table with some simple color and floral changes through out the season. (I'm thinking maybe wine colored tapers and adding glittery baubles among the pine cones).


To keep the warmth of Fall present and the table relevant to Thanksgiving, I included warm metallics like the gold chargers, flatware and the brass candle holders.


To include the theme throughout the room, I added a simple chalk-board sign to the sideboard pulling in the florals and pinecone. These signs are perfect to quickly change simple greetings, add a favorite holiday drink menu, or keep score for a family game after dinner!


Calligraphy: Lina Lulu Paperie | Dinner Plates  | Bowls | Salad Plates | Silverware | Table Runner from T.J. Maxs | Place Mats (Similar) | Brass Candle Holders (Family Heirloom ) Simular Item | Blue Glass Candle Holders (Family Heirloom ) Similar Item | Pine Cones | Napkins,Target Dollar Section | Chalk Sign, Target Dollar Section | Wooden Server

Traditional Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

When I think of a traditional Thanksgiving, I think of warm Fall colors (like brown, red and orange), leaves and happy turkeys. Those thoughts became the inspiration for this traditional Thanksgiving table, including almost all my favorite fall items.


To add a special touch to each guests seat, I included a custom coaster doubling as a name card. Underneath the name card, I placed a peice of paper that each guest could jot down what they were thankful for as a keepsake and reminder for the year to come. 


Filling the table with pumpkins gives a fun nod to the bounty of the first Thanksgiving pictures of the event often depicts. I chose silver plates and silverware to offset the warm tones reflected in the placemats, pumpkins, acorns and pinecones.


Life Lately: Family History

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 In late August, we headed up to Chilton,Wisconsin to celebrate my grandmother Emma's family at the Big Schmahl family reunion. My grandmother was one of 10 children from German immigrants, Anna and Peter Schmahl. We gathered in the Eagles Club in their hometown with family I both recognized and family, to be honest, I didn't. On one side of the room, several tables were filled with picture, albums, certificates and the above painting. I knew exactly whose hand produced the work without even seeing the piece before—my father. The line strokes felt familiar and it drew me in as so many of my father's sketches over the years have. The picture is of my great Uncle Peter Jr.'s hotel that still stands in the downtown area of Chilton, now renovated to apartments. I loved that my dad contributed so many years ago to the legacy of his family in the best way he knew how, capturing it in art. He has so many memories going to the hotel when visiting his grandparents, aunts and uncles during the summer, and of the hotel being the hub of large family gatherings and a staple in the town. I loved that he and my mother have past this love of black ink and paper to me, and the desire still lives on in my hands to capture family moments.

I leafed through the pictures showing off the family my father knew and cared for, and I knew only through stories. I read through memories of my grandmother as a young girl growing up in the town, stories from her sisters and brothers and I saw the naturalization certificate my great grandfather was so proud of. He and Anna made a bold choice to move from the country they knew to raise a family in the United States at the turn of the century. My father told me it was one of my great grandfather's most cherished possessions, and now it is mine too. 

Mothers Day Renegade Market

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Last month we had a great time at the annual Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago Pop-Up. We definitely lucked out with amazing weather both days, great crowds and a beautiful setting near their new offices in Pilsen. I loved getting to know new vendors, saying hi to clients I have seen before at the fair and debuting my new notepads. It was a fun weekend celebrating a great kick off to the summer and of course Mothers Day — with a surprise showing by my very own sweet mom!

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Beautiful art work on the side of one of the buildings. 

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Dream Patio

Summer is so close! With our move to a new apartment last Fall we gained a patio space. I must say this was one thing I felt was lacking in our old apartment. With the days getting warmer, I can't stop dreaming about what our patio will look like and spending time there! Here are a few dream patios of mine...

I have been loving the fun black and white trend with a pop of color. I'll be honest, I don't love the color pink. Look at that lounge chair though! I love the scallops and the way it would pops with so many black and white accents. Just imagine the space filled with leafy palms and how the soft light would look at twilight bouncing off the gold plant stands. Dreamy!

My second dream patio mixes fun patterns and the ease of the boho trend. Pulling in more bright colors, beautiful wicker lounge chairs, and teases of copper and gold—this space would be great for relaxing on any day of the week. I love the idea of hanging plants to give a "surrounded" feel to the patio, but creating more foot space. Wouldn't it also be fun to fill that pretty geometric lantern with fairy lights?

I'm still figuring out what would fit in our smaller patio space (as well as in our budget), but I'll keep looking around and combining my dream patios till I find my "can't part with "pieces. 

Life Lately

This time of year I still feel the need to travel (It must be that internal ingrained Spring Break schedule from school for so many years). Between Reid going back to Africa in May, our role at our apartment, and just life in general—there have been few weekends that have given us time to travel this year, let alone sleep-in. Thankfully, this last weekend was a surprise, slow weekend full of sleeping-in, a refreshing day trip to Milwaukee Art Museum, and even time to cook more than just a meal. 

If you have never been to the Milwaukee Art Museum, it is a must! The Quadracci Pavilin by Santiago Calatrava alone is worth going for. On the more beautiful days the roof actually opens up to resemble wings—stunning! The collection as well is incredible. The galleries rotate out the works every 6 months and the museum itself owns over 30,00 pieces of work! I was particularly in love with their collections of Georgia O'keeffe (pictured below) and there modernism collection. Definitely will be making another trip back when the weather is nicer.

Happy New Year!

Five days in and 2016 seems to already to be a promising year. I took a break between Christmas and New Years (which was much needed) filled with rest, family, and figuring out what this next year looks like. I I can't wait to show you all everything I have been working on. Cheers to 2016!

Welcome Christmas Time!

If there is a time I love more than birthday's (especially mine) it is the Christmas season! For me shopping is fun, but getting to shop for others is even better! Here are three of my favorite ways you can spread the holiday season this year:

1. Goody Goody Gift Swap

Crafters and Bloggers and cute presents — oh my! This swap allows anyone interested to sign up and then be paired up with another interested gifter to create, gather, paint, construct or shop for a thoughtful gift for them! This is so fun to see what you will get - who knows, you might even be paired up with someone from across the world!

2. World Vision Gift Catalog

World Vision has had a special place in my heart for  a long time now, and what I have loved every Christmas season is when their Gift Catalogue comes in the mail. You can choose a gift or gifts for people around the world to be blessed with this Christmas —including ducks, goats, cows and even clean water. Pick something out with your family, or gift a few chickens in a friends name, either way this is a gift that can't go wrong. 

3. Operation Christmas Child

Another great way to get multiple people involved is Operation Christmas by Samaritans Purse. Grab a few friends and head to Target or Walmart and fill a shoe box with gifts and life necessities for a child in need. Don;t forget to write a note and send a picture - this could be a fun way to have a pen pal! Feel like you don't have time to shop for all the items, let Samaritans Purse do it for you by building a shoe box online here.

Don't forget that today is #GivingTuesday!  Now that Black Friday has past and Cyber Monday is gone, find the charity or company of your choice and refocus on the holiday spirit of giving by donating today. Not sure where to give—check out the site for a list of companies or head to your favorite charities site to give.

Let the Christmas Season begin!

Life Lately

I look at my life this year and am in awe in the direction the Lord has pulled myself and my husband. If you would of told us in January of the steps, leaps and step-backs we would have this year I would of thought you were talking about some one else's life. Just like most things in life, the sweetest things come slowly and surprise you when they finally arrive. 

In the course of the year we have committed more to growing in to taking so many steps in our lives. Steps into improving our marriage and relationship, steps in our walk with Jesus, and steps in relationships with friends. I took steps away from a secure, wonderful job into the unknown of self-business to take steps back into an office part-time. Reid took steps to a healthier lifestyle in both meals and working out, and in conjunction we both took steps to run races along side church members in partnership with World Vision to bring awareness of clean water. 

That decision has changed our entire year and our hearts forever.

In the last few weeks we took steps out of our comfort areas and had the privilege to visit Kenya and Uganda along side church mates and World Vision staff to see where the money we raised was being used and how the Lord is working in both these countries through World Vision. I will have to write more later on our amazing trip, but I know for the fact the Lord is doing a mighty work to change lives through the resources World Vision is helping to provide and the amazing staff they have all over the world, and specifically the Buliisa, Uganda team. I am in awe of how He uses people as mighty vessels to bring about change and how deep His love runs through his children. 

Then in a matter of hours we will be taking steps to move, yet again, to a new apartment. We now have the privilege to work with the organization Institute for Community by being apart of their Community Life program to help promote community and belonging within a specific apartment complex in Arlington Heights. We can not be more excited to meet our new neighbors and get to do life alongside them all! 

And just like that I look back and see that all these steps have created such an interesting and exciting journey that I am thankful I could have never imagined for myself. I often think what my 18 year-old self would say knowing she would be here at 25 and all the layers that led me from that freshman college version to the version I am today. She would be shocked, but not concerned; It wasn't what my 18 year-old self planned, but when is it ever what we planned? I thank God that his plans are sweeter and far more expansive than mine will ever be at any age.

Here's to many more steps, step-backs and directions changes ahead. 



Italics, the Kitty Cat

I had to share a little more about my life outside the studio, or in this case one of my favorite office mates - Italics, our kitty cat. Yes, I'm a cat lady! My husband and I had gone back and forth on getting an animal, and when we moved last August to a new apartment we said that we definitely would wait. We both enjoy animals, but I who grew up with multiple cats and a dog (among many other animals) was going through with drawl.

Just weeks after moving in, along came Italics, or Tally for short. My husband was apart of a running group at church which trained on Saturday mornings in a park near by. Long of the short of it, they found her in a tree, meowing for dear life in the park. My husband knew something was different about this little kitty, and off handedly offered if they couldn't find the home she belonged to he knew someone (me!) who would love to keep her. She was 4 months old at the time.

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A week went by, flyers went up, and they took her to the vet to see if she had a tracking chip. No one claimed her. Then the call came to my husband asking if we would like to take her. After a very short discussion we said yes (and I was giddy out of my mind) !

My husbands jokes Tally is the best thing that he ever did for me. I love her and even better she loves me. She cuddles with me in the morning, sits in my lap when I work in the office, and is playful. It makes such a difference to have a sweet, little companion.

I'm thankful for my husband noticing my longing for an animal. For this little runaway being caught in a tree where the running group met a year ago, and most of all for her sweet temperament and playful spirit. What can I say - once a cat lover, always a cat lover. 

Endings to Beginnings

Tyndale House Publisher, Design Department | Carol Stream, Il  *Note: Above is a piece of artwork that was created by having each design team member contribute to the process - a beautiful picture of collaboration and and what can be made together when a team is in sync. Hung in the main entrance to the design department, I always had a wonderful admiration for the artwork and the beauty it expressed both physically and metaphorically. 

Tyndale House Publisher, Design Department | Carol Stream, Il

*Note: Above is a piece of artwork that was created by having each design team member contribute to the process - a beautiful picture of collaboration and and what can be made together when a team is in sync. Hung in the main entrance to the design department, I always had a wonderful admiration for the artwork and the beauty it expressed both physically and metaphorically. 

I have found in my last few "endings" that the transition between where the end truly leaves off and the beginning starts is often rushed, blurred together, or left to reminisce on in later days or years to come. How do you neatly packaged an ending that is both sad and exhilarating? How do you find the words to say that hold meaning and not just space?

It has been a month since left my first job and work "home" and as I step into the next chapter, a sweet beginning, this time I have space to reflect on both the last chapter and the days to come. The Lord has done so many things in my life, and in the last 4 years specifically I have seen His affirmation and confirmation of me pursuing a life in design and the arts.

Now a little over three years later, as I quietly stepped out of the doors one last time as a co-worker and commercial designer for such a sweet company I was filled with peace and a whole lot of insight and knowledge on design and what a contributing team member looks like. There are so many words I could describe my teammates with - so much patience, creativity, consideration, willingness, and excellence. I will always be grateful for them, and for a company that put Christ at its core to create not only excellent products, but produce excellent teammates and friends. 

Thank you.


Recap on Renegade

I took yesterday off as I'm still catching up from this past weekend at my first craft show down at the Renegade pop-up in Chicago. It was two days of meeting new people, anxiously waiting for people to thumb through my work, and being so excited with each sale. It's was amazing to have the opportunity to show my work and reach new audience. I loved having conversations with fellow makers and dipping my toes into the wide world of hand-made art shows. 

The booth set-up went smoothly and I have to thank both my dad for building shelves with me and my husband for being my second pair of hands and hanging out both days. The weekend was full of trial and error, which was to be expected, and I made a bunch of notes of what to add to the shop and for the next time around. People were kind with compliments and feedback, and it was great to meet so many new people.

Shout out to Justice of the Pies and Puffs of Doom for killer food supply, and to Jackie from Toast Ceramics for being a great neighbor - we may have snagged a few cups from her, they were too good to pass up! Hope to see you in September Chicago!

Color Companion : Spring Florals, Anthropologie

Flowers are great any time of the year and Springtime is their time to shine! I love the variety and stylization that floral prints take on. I couldn't narrow it down to  one type (because I love SO many!), I decide to narrow it down to one company. Anthropologie is dreamy unto itself, but then you add all the floral's and BOOM - a slice of paradise. I especially am excited for the Paper Crown & Rifle Paper Company collaboration line ( lower bottom left).

I love the variety of florals they always have in store. From their clothes to their home goods, everything looks good with a little floral splash - am I right?  How do you use florals?  Are they everywhere or do you limit them to just clothes?

Clockwise: Chair | Wallpaper | Bedspread | Dress

100 Days Project

Image from The Great Discontent

Image from The Great Discontent

About a month or so ago a friend showed me the 100 Day Challenge and asked a bunch of us if we would like to be involved. I was so hesitant at first, I mean what could I do for a hundred days that wouldn't seem daunting or at the same time underwhelming? As a creative type I knew that I wanted to do something with art, but more specifically with something off of the computer. After debating (with myself of course) for a while between drawing and some type of lettering and I remembered a doodle series I developed back a few years ago.

Meet Myrtle. Born out of a whimsical and slightly skewed sense of humor, Myrtle will be going on adventures for the next 100 days. If you would like to follow along with me you can find the drawings here #myrtlesadventures - I know I can't wait to see where she'll be going next!
 It has already been a little challenging to make sure the picture goes up each day and we are only three days in! I love the time I have put into sketching out thoughts and then completing the frame. Though it seems like another thing on my list of "to do's", it's been relaxing to get back to a sketchbook and drawing for my own pleasure.

I also have loved seeing what friends have committed to working on and exploring what others are doing through the #100dayproject and #the100dayproject

Want to join the challenge? It's not too late - here is how to join:

The Essentials: Spring Flats

Top to Bottom: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

I couldn't wait for this snow to melt and slipped on my flats about a month ago! I was tired of my socks and boots and wanted my toes to be free of constriction and my feet to add a little more pop to my outfits.

I love flats. LOVE THEM. They have almost become a part of my uniform in a way. At one point in my life I had close to 40 pairs, just flats, in my closet. I now own about 10 pairs, and am always looking for more (but not too many).

Shoes are a great way to throw in bold color and patterns into even the most formal of outfits. I'm crushing hard on those MadeWell sandles (#3) and the floral flats on the bottom. birthday is only a few months away...

What shoe is your must have staple? Do share...