Putting Pen to Paper

Though I haven’t had a chance to work on much lately, I used to be an avid scrapbooker and I still have all the supplies to prove it. I first started in middle school and a big part of my layouts was the journaling. My OCD tendencies made it such that each event (because an event could be made up of multiple layouts, obviously) had to have a journaling entry and during this time, my handwriting and lettering techniques were on point.

Fast forward to somewhere around 10 years ago (probably about the same time I began relying on a computer and didn’t have to write with a pen as much anymore) and the journaling was sparse and the fancy lettering I did for page titles went by the wayside.

“Handwriting is a spiritual designing, even though it appears by means of a material instrument.”
― Euclid

So when the opportunity to take a handwriting and lettering class at a local art studio came up, I was all about it. And that’s how I spent my Saturday afternoon— practicing the “thin up, thick down” technique and trying to get my lettering groove back with a brush pen as well as with pen & ink. And you know what? It’s hard. I see all those pretty Instagram signs that people have hand-lettered and I swear, those must have taken hours. I took me about 20 minutes to write my name and it still wasn’t how I would have liked. I’m used to scribbling things down quickly— the grocery list, a to-do list, a reminder. Taking the time to really focus on the letters is half the battle. I need to remember that I can’t just grab a pen, flick it around and expect pretty letters with some fancy flourishes.

So I’ll keep practicing.

It was an incredibly fun afternoon dedicated to doodling and penmanship, which are some of those things that really do need practice in order to stay sharp (muscle memory, people!), but usually get pushed down the to-do list.

With the start of 2018, I am hoping to dedicate more time to handwriting and such. It’s even one of my resolutions for the year and I got a ‘One Line a Day’ five-year journal to help me along, but as someone who has always loved office supplies and colored pens/pencils, I’m excited to crack open my sketch book again and doodle away in the name of practice!

Wish me luck!


Website Launch | Sonoma Harvest

I can totally get on board with this whole “new year, new website launch” thing!

Back in October of 2016, when I was very pregnant, I was introduced to Allison and her team at Sonoma Harvest. At the time, we were just meeting, getting an idea of their upcoming marketing plans and checking out their newly-designed tasting room and facility. A new website was definitely in the works, but not quite right at that moment, which was actually ideal, on account of that whole ‘having a baby’ thing I had going on.

But after I met Allison and saw (and tasted!) the products, I knew I wanted to be involved with their new website. Luckily, Allison felt the same way, so when the time came for a new website, she sent me a note and we hit the ground running!

Creating a website that matched the Sonoma Harvest vibe was step one. I designed and developed the custom WordPress website with a fun blog for recipes and news before I turned my attention to the online shop. Their ecommerce website was then coded to match the new design of the core website, within the parameters of VinSuite’s winery-focused CMS, which allows them to easily manage their orders and club shipments.

One of the main things that Allison wanted was a clean site with really rich images, so that was at the center of my design and I’m super pumped to share it with you. I’m also excited because this website launch includes the website for the other arm of Allison’s family business, The Olive Oil Factory. The Olive Oil Factory uses roughly the same architecture, look and feel, but with a few modifications that make it unique and give it its own identity— the perfect solution for a company balancing two brands!

I am also pleased to report that plenty of “research” was conducted and I highly recommend their D’Anjou Pear White Balsamic Vinegar. Yum.

sonoma-harvest_website-launch_clcreative-site
View Site

the-oo-factory_website-launch_clcreative-site
View Site


Website Launch | NorCal KTM Bikes

As the curtain closed on 2017, I spent some time working with Bill & Matt over at NorCal KTM Bikes to get their new website launched. This was a fun project, in particular because I know working with these guys is easy and always a pleasure, and the website they needed gave me a chance to rock some custom coding, which we all know I love doing. (Puzzles! Give me all the puzzles!)

I’m always stoked to create and code a website, but especially when it revolves around an industry that’s new to me. I usually get a chance to flex some design & development muscles, while learning about something new. In this case, I learned about KTM’s line of bicycles. Usually known for motorcycles, their bikes are top of the line and a must-have for cycling enthusiasts who appreciate the smallest design and engineering details. The learning is an unexpected benefit of my job and one that I find fascinating, because really, to create a website that is in line with the brand, I need to understand not only the individual client’s business, but also the industry. Inevitably, I get acquainted with trades, fields and topics to which I wouldn’t otherwise be privy.

The best part about this website, though, was the imagery we had available to us. Man. Good-looking images can really make a design pop. Take a look at the site (and some of their awesome images) here:norcal-ktm-bikes_clcreative-site



Website Launch | Saucin’ Sauces

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with the #SAUCIN Sauces family and helping them create a website for their barbecue sauce company. Since they had their packaging already nailed down, we knew we needed something to keep the brand cohesive and they really liked the idea of a chalkboard-style/vibe. They also needed an online marketplace, so we got their e-commerce shop up and running, allowing all of their fans across the country to get their hands on some #SAUCIN! (They have a huge Instagram following and everyone wanted to get some of their sauce!) We also incorporated a calendar to post all of the events where you can find them doing demos, as well as a blog featuring many of the recipes in rotation in their own household.

The end result was a fun website, reflective of the product and the family behind it! I was also super happy with how the homepage came out, since one of the things that makes #SAUCIN unique is the ingredient list— they have somehow managed to get awesome flavor and a healthier option into one awesome BBQ sauce.

I really love what I do and that’s even more true when I can help a family-owned business get online.

Check them out!

saucin_clcreative-site


Prioritizing

I think motherhood is (among other things) one giant lesson in prioritizing.

clcreative_to-do

We are staring down the barrel of fall and I have no idea what happened to spring and summer.

Most of the past few months have been spent figuring out how to balance motherhood and work; just for funsies, we threw in buying a house and Dave changed jobs.

Phew.

The blog got knocked down a few slots on the ol’ priority list, but I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of things (cue The Boy switching up the routine…now).

I’m hoping to get back on track with this poor blog, because some of the other great things that happened this summer include many website launches and new projects hitting the interwebs, along with family milestones and thoughts on life in general that are worth preserving. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll get around to posting the four blog posts that have been sitting in the drafts folder since as early as February. But probably not until we hang stuff on the walls of the house we’ve been in for a few months now.

Sigh.

Onward!


February 2017: Recap

I know, I know– it’s April and here I am posting about February. I’m totally playing the baby card on this one…

clcreative_4generations-carignan

Four generations

February was a big milestone month! Early on, The Boy began rolling over, getting himself to his belly from his back, which we were not expecting to have happen to soon! We saw early signs of this when we would check on him in his crib (another milestone— bye bye bassinet, hello crib!) and he would be on his side while swaddled up. That got our attention, so we did away with the swaddling at night, but man did we pay a sleep deprivation price. Gone were the nights of 4-5+ hour stints of sleep. February was all about waking every three hours and staying awake. The Boy would fight sleep so hard after eating; definitely not usual. Dave and I decided it was all part of his evil plan to lull us into a false sense of security.

I was lucky to get together with some of my other mom friends this month on different occasions. It’s been so nice to trade tips and realize we are all going through much of the same stuff.

February was also The Boy’s first plane ride and roadtrip!

I was a nervous wreck in the days leading up to the ride…praying he would behave on the plane and that his ears wouldn’t bother him too much. He ended up being a trooper the whole flight to New York, but it was when we got on the ground that all hell broke loose. Due to the time change and all the sleeping he’d done on the flight, he didn’t register our 11pm arrival as bedtime, instead opting for a painful 2:15am snooze session instead. Meanwhile, Mom hadn’t slept much on the flight because of her nerves, which led to the excessive use of eye-brightening makeup the next day. After a full day in New York, we packed up the car and roadtripped down to Maryland to visit more family and introduce The Boy to his great-grandma. Photos were taken, food was shared and overall merriment ensued.

clcreative_northport-harbor

Northport Harbor

Towards the end of the Maryland trip, I came down with a horrendous head cold and was paranoid I was going to pass it on to the baby (I’ve heard nothing short of horror stories about The First Cold). While we successfully avoid transmission, I do not recommend a long road trip with a 3-month old while under the weather. Towards the home stretch, he was unhappy, I was hurting and I’ve never seen Dave drive so fast in the last 40 minutes of a trip in my life. It was Nascar-worthy. But we lived to tell about it and went on to celebrate Dave’s birthday with lobster. I still owe him a cake since we weren’t home to bake one, but the lobster was certainly a nice way to mark another trip around the sun.

We spent a Saturday night hanging out with some of Dave’s closest friends and meeting their new babies. It was quite a sight, four childhood friends with all their kids now playing with one another. Truly, it was a perfect evening of pizza, kid chaos and catching up well into the night.

The Boy did all right on the flight home, too, but decided that was the perfect time to find his voice. He began “entertaining” those around us in the back of the plane with shrieks and squeals.

It was a whirlwind month and before we knew it, March had arrived and The Boy was four months old.


Save the Napa High Indians Mascot

The following is a letter I wrote to the Napa Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees, regarding the issue of my alma mater’s mascot, the Indian. I’m sharing it here, with the hope that more people affiliated with Napa High will voice their opinions on the subject, as it appears to me that the Board did not do their due diligence in seeking the community’s input on the subject.

Dear NVUSD Trustees,

I am writing to voice my displeasure with the method by which the Napa High Indians mascot issue has been handled. I was born and raised in Napa and am a proud member of the Napa High Indian family (Class of 2001).

It seems to me that such a hotly-contested topic such as this one warrants more community input and the Napa Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees has not sought such feedback. According to the NVUSD website, the “Board of Trustees is elected to represent all of the people of the school district. In making its decisions, the Board is guided by what is in the best interest of the entire district.” I believe the Board has failed to live up to this very important aspect of the job.

I also believe this failure can be rectified, starting by opening the discussion up to the community which the Board has been elected to serve, as opposed to conducting this analysis behind closed doors, disregarding the community input the Brown Act seeks to protect. However, a decision of this magnitude deserves more consideration than what an hour of open comments at a meeting can provide. I have grave concern that the Board has already made its decision and is simply “going through the motions” on April 6. I implore the Board to prove me wrong and give this issue the thoughtful consideration it deserves.

What I do not understand is why the Board has failed to enlist the help of the Mishewal-Wappo Tribal Council, who has been involved with the exact same issue at other area schools. Clearly, the Tribal Council is willing to educate interested parties on how to appropriately use the Indian mascot; they did so with Justin Siena (http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/justin-siena-works-with-wappo-tribe-to-create-braves-mascot/article_073277a2-6326-11e0-bc97-001cc4c03286.html) so it stands to reason that they would help the NVUSD as well. In fact, Scott Gabaldon, the tribal chairman, said he was “honored” to help when Justin Siena requested assistance and sees the use of the Indian mascot “as something honorable.”

Why is this course of action not being followed for Napa High’s mascot? I find it rather ironic that the Board of Education is avoiding an opportunity to educate themselves on the use of the Indian as a mascot and would hope that they choose to do so before they dismantle 120 years of proud history within the Napa community they are supposed to serve.

Sincerely,

Colleen LeMasters Natali
Napa High Indian, Class of 2001
Napa Resident