Seriously Awesome News (Times Three)

**Before I start, I wanted to let you know about a little change in the comments section. There were mixed love it/don’t love it reviews on the automatic emails letting you know that I have responded to your comments. So, now there is an option! If you’d like to know when I have responded (only me — not all comments on the post, I promise!), just select the “Replies to my comments” option in the comment box and confirm subscription. If not, “Don’t subscribe” is the default so you don’t have to do a thing. Now everyone will be happy! And remember, if you change your mind, you can switch your subscription preferences at any time. :)**

I know a lot of you have been waiting in suspense for me to reveal my big news so get excited because today is the day! In fact, there are three really amazing things I want to share with you today so let’s get right to it!

1. I am super, super lucky because I was chosen by the amazingly talented and kind women, Joann and Kelly, at Kandrac & Kole to receive a ticket to Design Camp in Seattle in two weeks!! Hosted by celebrity interior designers Lori Dennis and Kelli Ellis (you may know them from HGTV or TLC), Design Camp is a two day seminar packed with workshops in all things interior design, portfolio creation, forecasts/trends, design blogging, social media, branding, and becoming a television personality! I seriously jumped up and down for like 45 minutes (great cardio, by the way) when I found out that I would be attending this incredibly valuable and fun seminar. Many of you know that my dream job would be to be on HGTV, so add in some blogging and some advice for starting an interior design career, and the result is literally my perfect dream conference. AND I GET TO GO!! Eeeeeee! I fully intend on being in sponge-mode, soaking in any and all information that I possibly can. The best part is that the conference is limited to 300 people so there will be some incredible networking opportunities and time to really get to know the other campers! Time to get my business cards printed… ;)Design-Camp-Logo

2. I am super, super lucky because I received a message through my Etsy store just before Christmas from a woman inquiring about selling my string art to a wholesale distributor. She asked to send me an email with more information, and when she did, the first thing I saw was that she was a buyer for UncommonGoods! I LOVE THAT STORE! So once again, I jumped up and down for 45 minutes like a madwoman.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the store, here is info from their website:

uncommon-goods-logo1“UncommonGoods is an online marketplace offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices. At UncommonGoods, we believe that creativity and the expression of individuality represent two great human treasures. We have set out to create a business that makes uncommon goods accessible to everyone.”

After several months of phone calls, emails, samples, and soul-searching on my part, the listing went live today! I am offering three versions of my string art with nails exclusively through UncommonGoods (thus the reason they have disappeared off of my Etsy store), one on the natural wood round, another with bright red paint, and another with bright turquoise paint. When the customer places an order, I will fulfill it and ship it directly to them. For those who are thinking, “Erika, you have the smallest apartment of all time. Where do you plan on making these?” The answer is: my garage space and I are going to be spending a lot of time together. Sorry, Walker’s car.

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So what does this all mean for me? When I got the original email, my first thoughts were, “This is amazing but with school and everything going on, I don’t have time for this.” However, after doing some number-crunching based on their sales estimates, I realized I was roughly in the range of what I am bringing home working 3 days a week at my current job. If the actual number of orders per week was lower, I would need to find other income to supplement. If the number was higher, I would be making more money and working less… from home. Since there is no way to predict the orders until they come in, I decided to err on the side of caution and make all financial decisions based on a worst-case scenario every week. Which brings me to…

3. I am super, super lucky because when I started looking into other forms of income, I decided to ignore the voice in my head saying, “You have practically no experience. They won’t even look at your work,” and applied to a few paid blogging positions. I was so wonderfully surprised when I was offered both a copy-editing position at and a daily DIY blogger position for!! Lifehack is “widely recognized as one of the premier productivity and lifestyle blogs on the web. This site is dedicated to lifehacks, which is a phrase that describes any advice, resource, tip, or trick that will help you get things done more efficiently and effectively.” Decoist is “an interior design and architecture blog that promises to deliver fresh new inspiration everyday.”

Once I was offered both writing jobs (which are paid by post and should be enough to cover any gaps in income for weeks with fewer orders), I decided that this whole UncommonGoods/Lifehack/Decoist path was one I needed to take. While the financial risk is much higher than staying at my current job, the benefits of working from home and having more time to work/focus on school were too huge to ignore. I felt like this amazing opportunity fell onto my lap and I would be silly not to try.

So that is what I am doing: trying! I put in my notice at my current job a little while back and my last day is this Friday. The listing went live on UncommonGoods today and I start with the writing positions on Monday (I have already been editing articles, as well as did one sample post for Decoist last week). It is so exciting! I want to jump around all over the place. I want to sing and shout. I want to dance. I want to cry a little because I am terrified of the financial risk. I want to pat myself on the back for taking this leap of faith. I want to hug everyone who has supported me and told me to go for it, especially Walker (who has listened to me go on and on and on and on about every bit of this).

To my lovely blog readers, thank you all for your support as well. Check out the listing, pass it along to friends, TWEET N PIN THAT SHIZ… whatever you do, I appreciate it all! Love you guys! xoxo
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Have you ever taken a big risk? Worked as an entrepreneur and/or from home? Any tips on making a rented half-garage not feel like a spider-filled cave?


FIDM Winter 2013 Quarter Schoolwork Update: Sketching

Happy Friday! I know most of you East-Coasters are already unplugged and enjoying the weekend so perhaps a “Happy Monday!” is more appropriate for you!

For the final (tiny, I promise!) installment of Erika’s school updates (the previous ones are here, here, here, and here), I gathered a few pieces of work from my sketch book. Disclaimer: drawing is one thing I really struggle with… I have historically been a terrible drawer. I swear, a few months ago I could not have sketched my way out of a paper bag. However, I really put in a lot of effort and made some serious improvements from where I was in January. Still, you won’t be blown away by this post haha! I debated not even posting about this class but I decided to be brave and say screw it! I want a true record of my progress around here! ;)

Our sketching class was mainly made up of exercises to help us understand drawing in perspective, shading with pencils and markers, loosening up our drawing techniques, and improving our sketching speed (since the most useful way to quickly communicate your ideas to a client in a meeting is to draw them!). Therefore, most of the pages in my sketchbook are made up of various short, timed sketches, along with lots of quick doodles to warm up my drawing hand. I really didn’t do any “finished” drawings besides the final one (which was also partially timed so I wouldn’t work on it forever!) so I am just going to give you a quick overview of my experience.

This is not, but very well could be, a page out of my sketchbook. It is composed of:
1:  15-second warm up using markers to help express 3D space
2:  30-second doodle of flowers I did while testing out a new marker I discovered in my supply kit!
3:  15 minute pencil sketch of a tufted ottoman in a space (notice the vanishing point — I need to see it… I haven’t mastered just visualizing the point yet!)
4:  10 minute pencil sketch of my awesome mustache corkscrew shaded with markers
5:  2 minute pencil sketch of a bottle shaded with markers
6:  1 minute blind (i.e. I couldn’t see the paper) contour line drawing (i.e. I wasn’t allowed to pick up my pencil) of one of my classmates. We laughed so hard! :)
7:  5 minute pencil sketch of a planter shaded with markers


Toward the end of the class, I managed to produce a few sketches that looked a bit more finalized. My favorite was a perspective sketch of the trellis in the park outside of the school. We sat out there for an hour sketching and listening to a man play Beatles songs on a guitar. It was really therapeutic, actually! And I was happy with the drawing. Maybe I always need to be serenaded when I draw…Sketchbook3

Our final project for the class was to take a picture (that had at least one, if not two, point perspective) out of a magazine and recreate it using all of our perspective drawing techniques.Sketching2I began the assignment by creating a pencil sketch. Note: some lines are strangely darker than others because I had to make certain lines darker for the next step! This by no means looks like a finalized pencil sketch… just a tool for step 2!Sketchbook2

I then used a semi-transparent marker paper and traced the sketch onto it with ink. Finally, I shaded the ink sketch with markers (and stuck it to the board with double-sided tape… that you can totally see. Boo.).Sketching1Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Does it look better than a kindergartener’s doodles? Yes! So progress is happening, my friends! I was very happy with the way it turned out, although there are things I would change if you could erase ink (you can’t. Boo.). But a huge part of my learning process has been to admit to myself that I literally cannot achieve perfection in sketching… imperfection is what makes hand drawings so beautiful. I pushed myself to NOT erase pencil lines and to loosen up! I think I made big steps towards that!

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

FIDM Winter 2013 Quarter Schoolwork Update: Design Process

A re you sick of my seeing my schoolwork yet? Well, only this big post (and maybe one tiny post tomorrow!) to go! If you missed the previous updates, you can find them here, here, and here. Today’s post covers some of my work from my Design Process class. Since some assignments in this class seem odd out of context (or without a verbal presentation), I will only share a few of the bigger ones with you. All of them were done with a verbal presentation and discussion with the class.

One of the first assignments was to draw four iterations of a logo for any company we wanted (real or made up). I chose to do a made up design company. The only requirements were that we could only use three colors and that the logos could either be totally different logos (still for the same company) or could work together in some way (i.e. a main logo, a stationary logo, a website header, etc.).

WestdaleDesigns_Logo1_Watermarked WestdaleDesigns_Logo2_Watermarked WestdaleDesigns_Logo3_Watermarked WestdaleDesigns_Logo4_WatermarkedSince I was enjoying myself, I did two more versions that broke the three color rule just for fun! WestdaleDesigns_Logo5_Watermarked WestdaleDesigns_Logo6_Watermarked

Another assignment was to watch a movie from a provided list and make a concept board about the set design of the film. I chose to watch The Ladies Man (1961), which took place in a woman’s boarding house.


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As you can see, this was obviously a comedy with its over-the-top color-themed rooms! My first impression was that it looked like a dollhouse, since they would show shots of the set from so far back that you could see multiple floors/rooms at once. So I made a dollhouse concept board with Photoshopped collages for each area of the house. Since it is hard to see on the big picture, I have included the pictures for each room below. Each room took me about an hour… 10 rooms later, I was exhausted!

TheLadiesMan1 TheLadiesMan2Room1 Room2 Room3 Room4_P2 Room4_P1 Room5 Room6 Room7 Room8 Room9

Our final assignment was to design a room inspired by a painting. Walker (I love him!) got me a gorgeous Toulouse-Lautrec (I love him!) book for Christmas, so I chose one of the paintings from there that really jumped out at me called La Rousse (La Toilette).Toulouse-Lautrec-Henri-de-Rousse

I love the gorgeous blue and yellow tones, as well as the scratchy texture. I also like the way the linens are pooled around her like water and how her hair glows like fire. This painting to me feels like I accidentally walked into a private, quiet moment in this woman’s life, and because her back is turned, it is easy to project myself into the painting. I can feel that serene moment and that deep breath one can finally take after all of the activity of the day. On a more literal level, I love the grey barnwood floors, twisted wicker furniture, and metal wash pail.

Once I picked the painting and decided what spoke to me in that painting, I needed to translate that to a pretend client and a designed space. Therefore, I chose to create a client who was a 34-year-old aspiring chef and food blogger. The client decided to buy her own home last year and immediately remodeled the kitchen for her career. However, after a year of working from home, she was feeling a little trapped in the four walls of her house. She wanted a space just out her back door that would function as a sanctuary and mini-getaway.

The space I designed was a back porch area that could function as a breezy reading/napping spot by day and a cozy, romantic, warm space to have a glass of wine by night. The first thing I put in the room was the rustic yellow daybed porch swing (duh) because napping outdoors is obviously the best thing in the entire world. I added some pillows in various patterns from the blue/yellow/grey color scheme inspired by the painting, all of which had amazing texture to the fabric. Next, I found textured but incredibly light drapery fabric that would be used to line the space and puddle on the floor (like the linens in the painting), creating the ability for privacy if the client wanted it. Finally, I discovered the wicker peacock chair that had a twisted bottom like the one in the painting and I had to include it! :)

In order to achieve the beautiful balance of water and fire from the painting, I added a few things that were representative of both. To achieve a sense of water, I added a slate water feature, a rustic metal watering can full of flowers, and a metal wash pail to hold books. The water vibe is the breezy, fresh, light daytime mood of this room. To achieve a sense of fire, I added a fireplace, a rustic chandelier with candles, and some glowing mason jar lights. I also pictured some additional candles and perhaps some string lights to really make the place glow. The fire aspects give it the enclosed, sensual, warm nighttime mood of the room.

DesignProcess_Final1 DesignProcess_Final2 DesignProcess_Final3 DesignProcess_Final4

I used the Illustrator line technique I showed Tuesday to create this line drawing of the space, although I only traced a small part of it from a photo. Most of it was freehand mouse. :)  Also, I intended on coloring it with colored pencils but ran out of time. Perhaps I will still do it before putting it in my portfolio to give a better color sense of the room. Thoughts?DesignProcess_Final5

I start school again today so I am very much looking forward to getting back into my creative mindset!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below! Also, if you are ever looking for a great gift for me, I’ll take that porch up there — thanks! ;)

Which is your favorite logo? Favorite theme room in The Ladies Man? Favorite part of the porch space?