About Darcylea Design

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So...we just recently moved and it actually was quite an ordeal. Little did I know until we moved in that the house was in a hole where, despite only being a mere few miles outside city limits, was a complete dead-zone. Spotty cell service and no internet. A guy actually mentioned "dial-up" and I threw up in my mouth. I've been spoiled by high speed wireless internet and I have been stomping around this place like a brat not getting her way. I just could not and would not accept it. With the technology that we have out there now...I just could not believe how impossibly hard some places made it sound. I got crazy thoughts of getting super long ethernet cords to string from town (we're talking roughly 5 miles of cord, no less...), selling an organ to pay for a tower to be put up where I could get signal from direct line of site (cuz for selling an organ, that tower would be in my back yard, of course), putting up a really super tall pole with pieces of tin mounted to it, Dr. Brown style (think Back to the Future) hoping for some super jiggawatts or whatever to beam me that magic internet connection....desperate thoughts, I'm telling you...desperate! There was quite a few mentions of satellite internet but I had heard about it being slow, dragging, having horrible restrictions, etc. I was told to avoid satellite internet like the plague. But finally, after several weeks of phone calls, begging, pleading, making people scout our location for any possibilities, tears of rage and frustration...I finally broke down and succumbed to the big and terrible satellite internet gods. It was not an easy choice. It really wasn't. There are two: Wild Blue and Hughesnet. Comparing apples to apples, and also the big fact that my sister actually works for the company (and yes, she is biased and kept putting it under my nose like a mom trying to get her kid to eat their brussel sprouts) I went with Wild Blue. The tech guy came out to my house and after a few hours of grueling setup time, mostly sitting around waiting for stuff to "connect" and sharing that idle small talk, I finally got hooked up! So far...so good. Granted, I did try setting up my wireless router and it doesn't seem to be cooperating...BUT other than that, I am actually pretty impressed with Wild Blue so far. It's not lightning fast like my high-speed wireless in town was like but it's really not horrible bad. Actually, comparing it to internet at work, it's quite decent.

So anyhow....now that I am done sharing with you my dilemma of getting "connected" I guess I should talk about a few other things going on. Now that the major stress of getting moved is done and we are gradually working at getting settled in our new place, I am ready to start getting back into the mode I was before the whole deal of moving took place. I was working on a new site redesign and I am still wanting to get that done but it was one of those things that had to take a backseat for awhile. While I would love to jump right in and get it done, realistically, I know it's not going to happen overnight. But soon. Very soon.

Other than that, I do have a fabulous couple to design Save The Dates, Wedding invites and all that goes with for. I am so very thrilled! I have known the groom since he was about 2 or 3 years old- it doesn't seem possible for him to be grown up and getting married already! But I am super excited about it all and have been fun playing with ideas for them.

I just recently picked up a job creating ads for a company that creates guides for airports around the country. I have worked on a few ads so far and have a few more to work on. I am really hoping that it proves to be consistent and reliable work. So far, so good! And it makes it possible for me to work from home in the evenings and weekends doing design work which is a way better opportunity than working at Walmart. (Which I did a stunt doing for a couple of months just to try and earn some extra money to put towards getting a few bills paid off, saving towards a family vacation and paying off that evil aunt Sallie Mae who I'll be paying off until I'm like 96 years old....) But I did learn some interesting things while working there....thinking designer-ly, I couldn't help but think about how horrible some package design concepts are when it comes to apparel. Socks & Underwear have to be the worst! And who puts children's pajamas in a thin cardboard box to hang up on a wall?! Actually, to be honest, I was quite surprised that those things didn't get massacred. I dreaded the idea of coming into work to find that a bunch of them had been dismantled. Fortunately, I saw only a few casualties while there. But seriously...the designer in me wasn't lost to the relentless folding and hanging that I experienced there. In some ways, I do feel that it helped me. I thought about new things that I'd never thought about before. I thought not only about the pretty container that something might come in. I thought about functionality. I thought about practicality. I thought about how well something might recycle. I thought about durability. I thought about organization....visual stimulus. For those things, I have no regrets whatsoever for my adventure as a sales associate. What I won't miss: the stink eye looks from customers, rude teenagers, the surprises of empty pregnancy test boxes stuffed amongst stacks of folded tee shirts or jeans, sunflower seeds spit all over the floor, having to argue with customers about trying on UNDERWEAR, etc. You've been to Walmart, I don't have to elaborate more. LOL

Anyhow- it is late and I am rambling. Perhaps not the most inspiring post. Maybe funny. Or sad. I guess it depends on how you look at it! But really, despite all the stuff that I have been through over the past few months, I have a lot to be greatful for. The "funny" stuff just enriches my soul and makes me stronger (or perhaps more crazy which is probably most true). Now that I have internet and I have stuff to keep the creative monster well fed for awhile, I suppose the spoiled little brat in me that stomps around throwing tantrums might sit in time-out for awhile. But dang, I am sure that my family will miss her.....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Notes...

60 Days to Better Productivity by Pamela Bryan

Ask yourself: If I had more time, I'd...


Why does productivity matter?
-Business survival
-Deliver Increased Value
-You Choose:
  • Same $$$ in less time ....OR...
  • More $$$ in same time
-Ship more often
-Reduce Stress

But what does genius work feel like???
  • Happy
  • Engaging
  • Uplifting
  • Time stops

Why doesn't genius work happen more often?
  • Inherited structure
  • Never thought about it
  • Don't know how to change
  • Don't believe change is possible

STEP 1: Thinking BIG
•I wish...
What do you wish for???

STEP 2: Define Your Genius Work
•Your genius work can ONLY be done by YOU.
List your genius work and compare notes with others:
  • highest impact results
  • meaningful
  • you are proud
  • gift

Moments of Genius (From 'Do More Great Work'):
  • Feelings (How did you feel?)
  • Behavior (How did you act?)
  • Your Role (Who was involved?)
  • Look For Themes

Measuring Your Mojo- by Goldsmith

Professional Mojo:
  • Motivation
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Confidence
  • Authenticity
Personal Mojo:
  • Happiness
  • Reward
  • Meaning
  • Learning
  • Gratitude
You can download app for iPhone/iTouch at mojobook.com

What 3 areas of focus & activities would be the best use of my time today?

STEP 4: Find Time
  • How are you spending your time?
  • Delegate- Quick & Easy
  • Must Be Done/Good Work (Gold Mine of Time)
What is your day like???

STEP 5: Secrets to the 'Must Be Done' List
GOAL: Eliminate BAD work & streamline process

STEP 6: Make Time
8 Steps for Effective Delegation:
1. Schedule a meeting
2. Define scope of delegation
  • Single task
  • Whole process
  • Function with a process
3. The Basics
  • Why?
  • Where does it fit?
  • Expected outcome?
  • Standards?
4. Share the process in writing & discuss
5. Ground rules for your involvement
  • Sole authority- clients handle
  • When clients need your input
6. Training needed
7. Level of Authority
8. Set status review time

  • Expecting perfection
  • Assuming understanding
  • Interfering
  • Failing to follow up & congratulate

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notes from HOW Design Conference

Please forgive me if my notes here are a little bit rough but I figure that it's better to get the information out there for those interested than to not post it at all.

Life Kerning- Justin Ahrens

•Don't be an island, find wisdom from others.
-Find people who are familiar with the industry & enroll them as advisors (3 is a good number)
-Make a special criteria (such as meeting on a regular basis...like once a month)

"I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday." ~Abraham Lincoln

•Have a set of rules to stick to because you are probably the problem
•Family Morale (both families....your family at home and your work family)

When considering a project, consider these three things:
-Will it be profitable?
-Will it be FUN?
-Will it attrack other work?
*The project MUST qualify for at least two of these qualities above!

Linchpin by Seth Godin (there were probably 3 speakers at conference that mentioned/referred this book)

Why We Brand, Why We Buy by Debbie Millman

A little bit of history...we designed for function to make our lives easier.
Branding- physical impression of ownership

Branding as we know it originated in late 19th century with the advent of packaged goods.


•Wave 1: Brands as guarantors of consistency
•Wave 2: Brands as guarantors of quality (Could not mislead or decieve. First time that safety is factored into branding. Metaphor in branding.)
•Wave 3: Brands as expressive statements (acceptance, trendsetting...Debbie talked about how she wanted Levi's and her mom got a pair of green corduroy Levi's and she proudly wore them because of the label...definitely a story I can relate to coming from a home where my mom made most of our clothes or we got outdated hand-me-downs!)
•Wave 4: Brands as an experience (ex: Nike, MTV, Starbucks...)
-Brand loyalty develops
-We have a significant collective tendency
-We feel safer & secure


•Wave 5: Limbic brands (brands as guarantors of connection)
-Our brains have invented ways to connect
(ex: facebook, twitter, linkedin, myspace, YouTube, etc.)


Don't forget to check out Debbie's new book: Look Both Ways
Don't Go It Alone: Using Collaboration to Solve Creative Design Problems by Maria Giudice

Download this presentation: www.hotstudio.com/#/presentations/hotpresentations/

"The Obsessive Collaborator"

Who should you collaborate with?
-Clients: creates stakeholder buy-in, streamlines the design process
-Project Team: provides multi-disciplinary perspectives
-Wild Card

Collaboration has to have a goal and it has to have an outcome.
Facilitation Tips:
•Appoint a facilitator, a scribe and a photographer
•Stay neutral
•Keep focus
•Don't allow any one person to dominate
•Involve the quiet participants
•Actively Listen!
•Summarize periodically

Brainstorm Rules:
•One conversation at a time
•Go for Quantity!!!
•Be visual
•Don't forget FOOD!

Tools & Methods for Collaboration:
#1- Get Physical & Tactile (get everyone out of their chairs, make them do something, get them involved!)

#2- Think Out Loud
*Mind-mapping- words connect, leads you on a path to ideas you might not have though of,
*Identifying Challenges- strategy, project scope, timeline, communication, implementation,
politics, technology, team expertise

#3- Communicate Visually
*Touchy-Feely (bring in stuff & lay out for people to look at, pick up, feel, etc.)
- Clients pick up pieces that speak to them, related to what they want or like in relation to
their design goals from you.
*Back to Basics (let the client come in to help create using basic art supplies)
-Why'd they pick that color?, Why do they like that shape?
- Familiar Tools: paper, scissors, crayons, glue, etc.
-Use legos for layout design- can ease feeling of intimidation plus Legos are more FUN!

#4- Share the Road
*Card sorting (let client organize word/symbol cards as they want on their site...
*Brand Attribute Exercise
-Yes, No & Maybe answers to keyword cards
-Is it Useful? Is it Descriptive? Is it Colorful?
-Use Templates (more fun to cut & paste than to draw)
-Use Worksheets (fill out/answer questions)

#5- Prioritize & Synthesize
*Set Limits & Prioritize (limit # of words in exercise to narrow down to....)
*Dot Voting (casting your vote for an idea using dot stickers like currency)
*Mood Boards (collaging colors, layouts, specific theme/idea, type, special treatments, etc.)


How to Cultivate a Creative Culture:
-Social Spaces
-Fun Colors/Shapes
-Free to Express Yourself

•Be Spontaneous & Have Fun
-ex: 15 minutes to design a T-shirt for fun
-Playing role games (store/computer/customer)

•Everyone is a Contributor
Iterate & Evolve
-Don't stay still
-Be open to change
-Educate yourself


Please come back as I have MORE to post! But saying how it is now past 11pm, I am going to give my eyes and fingers a rest for the night. See ya tomorrow!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

HOW Design Conference: Pre-Conf. Workshops

So, I decided to sign up for the pre-conference workshops at HOW Design Conference this year. It was like only an extra $50, so I figured, why not? A la carte, they were like $175 each so I figured it was worth the bargain. Originally, I had signed up for Splash of Flash and then the one on CSS. But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to take the CSS workshop. I figured that what I needed to learn would have to be more extensive than what any 3-hour workshop could provide. I probably should have considered this with the Flash workshop, too, but decided to stick with it. I ended up taking the Splash of Flash workshop in the morning and then went to Chaos to Clarity workshop in the afternoon.

So here's the thing with the Splash of Flash workshop- at first, I was taking notes and trying to keep up with the speaker. There were a lot of really cool things that he showed us in Flash and it was enlightening to me considering that I'd never really done anything in that application. So there were a few "a-ha" moments where I felt that lightbulb go on. But on most part, I really felt that it got either too advanced for someone like me or that it ended up being more of a showcase for CS5 and a few other programs, which I do not have. And actually, before I took the workshop I had decided that I was going to make myself learn Flash and CSS via Lynda.com and so by the time I was done with this workshop, I really wish I would have chosen a different workshop to go to. For what I got out of it, I think that I would have benefited more doing something else. But that's just my own personal take on it.

I was actually really excited to be taking the Chaos to Clarity workshop. I had actually met the speakers: RaShelle, Judah and Eric the day before when Kelly and I were in the convention center getting our registration done. So I was really enthused after talking to them about their workshop and how it could help me as far as where to start making a business plan, setting goals, etc. We were paired up with a partner and had to ask each other questions throughout, getting to know each other and helping to realize some things that we might not have thought about before. The one thing that I really wanted to focus on with this workshop was ME and what I am passionate about- the whole reason why I chose to take this workshop instead of the CSS workshop. I rely heavy on my day job as it is what pays my bills but I have to admit that it's hard to feel passionate about a job where I feel as though my potential will never be realized. I'm tired of trying to fight my way up in the corporate world to a position that would earn me more respect within the company only to feel as though I just haven't made any real progress. I think that there are a lot of people within the company who still see me as the Data Admin Tech that I started out as way back when and don't realize or acknowledge that I actually have two degrees in art and design. So the idea of this particular workshop was very appealing to me. I am ready to get more serious about the kind of work that I am passionate about. In this workshop, I learned about creating a business plan with a vision statement, values and also a mission statement. I also learned about planning milestones and a road map for my career and the action steps, support structures, systems and resources to help make it happen. I even got up a couple of times to share my story and suggest a few things. I really felt that this was a very valuable workshop with what I not only was able to take away from it but also, hopefully, what I was also able to contribute to it. There was a drawing for a couple of one-on-one career coaching with RaShelle and Judah but I didn't win. But- I am seriously thinking about how I could find a way to get their input on a few things as I roll along. I think it'd be well worth it!

Day 1- HOW Conference: Dinner & Design

I can't believe that it's been over a week and I apologize for not posting this sooner...I've had one crazy week and getting some good computer time to do updates and such just weren't in the cards for me! But despite my lateness, I still want to post some great things I took away from my time in Denver at the HOW Design Conference. Even though conference didn't officially start for me until Sunday morning, June 6th, I made plans with a bunch of designer friends to meet up for dinner on Saturday night, June 5th at Wynkoop Brewery in downtown Denver. It was kind of crazy because I was riding with Kelly Parke from Parke Creative (she was staying with me at my sister's for the week) and the time on her clock was off and I was thinking we had plenty of time and were going to be there early. So I get this call from Cortney Christensen saying that he was already there waiting and I thought, "Wow- that guy's early!" When I mentioned it to Kelly, she laughed and informed me her clock was off and that was when I realized we were going to be there just-in-the-nick-of-time! Go figure...leave it to me to be fashionably late, right? But it was all good. We got there and found a nice gathering of old and new friends combined. Despite the place being rather warm and muggy (apparently they didn't believe it was hot enough there for air conditioning) it was still a really nice venue and their wait staff was top-notch and super accommodating. And for those who know me, I am not a beer drinking gal. I mentioned this to the waiter and decided to try a draft- he suggested one to me and it really wasn't all that bad. It was beer but it was probably one of the best tasting beers I've ever had. I just wish I could remember what it was called. Huh.
But anyhow- we had a lot of fun conversing about design. There were a few people who came to the dinner that weren't there for the HOW Design Conference but were there for the Creative Freelancer Conference, which is put on by the same people. So it was interesting to hear about what was going on with those sessions and such, too. Business cards were exchanged, the newest HOWiezine (HZ14) was passed around for everyone to see. It really was a great night and I am so very glad that so many people were able to make it!

All photos courtesy of Missy Bergen. She Rocks!


Soooo...I am finally back from a long (but very fun) week in Denver! Unfortunately, I wasn't up to par on my website before I left, let my domain expire through google and was going to go with another company. There were issues with some sort of password and I also didn't switch over the DNS, either. So I was a bit stressed over all of that. And today, I just said "SCREW IT" and went back to my google domain and renewed. The other way was just too much for me to take today and I am feeling like a little impatient kid today. I want my site back up and running TODAY. And wouldn't you know...I go and renew my domain and that all seems good but then it's like taking forever for it to update and my site to be back online. My FTP wasn't playing nice...I was ready to throw myself on the floor and have a good ol' tantrum. Would it have solved anything? No. But, I might have felt a little better and probably would have freaked anyone out if they were around to witness it. But I tried one more time and VOILA! *happydance* It's all up and working again!

So, where is this new site redesign I've been talking about? Well.....I am working on it. Mona Lisa wasn't painted overnight by DaVinci, now was she? But anyhow- I am working on it and hoping that maybe some of the awesome stuff I have learned in the last week will inspire more goodness to be incorporated into it! I am going to be learning CSS and Flash very soon and am going to transform myself into one of those more desirable, well-rounded designers. It's time to get serious and stop wasting my time waiting on people who don't realize my potential. I'm ready to blaze my own trail...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Okay folks...I am in the process of moving over my domain to another location. It's in the works but this week, I am in the wonderful city of Denver attending HOW Design Conference and so it's a bit chaotic! I forgot all about needing to move over DNS to my new home until this morning- last week I was so busy trying to get a bunch of other things done and well...it's on my priority list for when I get back. So be rest assured that www.darcyleadesign.com will be back- it's just in umm..."transportation mode". haha

I have a new look I am implementing, working on a bunch of stuff and have learned a lot of things at conference here in Denver already that I am really excited about applying to my identity, my site, my whole business plan, etc. And I mentioned this before and so those who know me- right now, it's "spaghetti"...but I am working on making it more like "waffles". LOL So please stay tuned because there is good things to come and I am really excited about sharing them with you!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Away We Go!

I stumbled upon this beautiful letterpressed invitation set designed and illustrated by the bride and groom team, Jessie Turner and Tyler Thiessen, and letterpressed by Studio On Fire and....WOW, was I blown away! When I first saw this, I thought that it looked like it would have been more of a screenprinted design but when I found out that it was letterpressed, I have to admit that I was even more impressed! The illustration is beautiful and is balanced out well with the typographic details of the invitation. I actually really love the idea of showcasing their names with their parents in the way that they did- as if an introduction to their guests..."Ladies & Gentlemen: May we present...." It really ties into their fun theme- I LOVE IT!

I also really love Jessie & Tyler's wedding website. Everything flows so well. I love the photography of the couple- it shows such a fun and loving spirit between the two. I don't even know the couple but I'm in love! All of the pages of their site flows well from one page to the next, keeping a light and fun feeling throughout. It's obvious that this day is an important one to them but they also make it apparent that they want their guests to enjoy themselves on one of the most monumental days of their lives....a day to remember for all. I can't wait to see more about this wedding. This couple inspires me! Thank you, Jessie & Tyler for making the sun shine a little brighter for me today! WOW! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Graduation Reception Invitations

Graduation is still a couple of months away but I know it's going to be here before we all know it! This has been my son, Ethan's first year venturing into high school so he still has a few years to go before I have to worry about graduation. Yet, I know it is going to sneak up on me faster than I'll want it to! There are so many days that I look UP at him and wonder, "What happened to my moody little son that liked playing with toads and little green army guys?" Who knew those days would go by so quickly? I certainly didn't. I know there were many days I wished when he was younger that he could be more independent. And well, now I wish back for some of those days when he wasn't so...independent.

Anyhow- I know that people with high school kids are gearing up for Prom right now and have Graduation weighing heavily on their minds. Understandably so. They are big events in their children's lives. But that just brings me up to my point (and shameless advertising, too) that I've been thinking a lot about those graduations and the parties that follows and am working on designs for just the occasion. I don't know about anyone else but if my son were a senior this year, I am not entirely sure I'd know where I was having his reception party at until right about now or closer to graduation. (Yes, I know some people are better planners than me, but I know that there are a lot of people who are probably a lot like me when it comes to this aspect!) Maybe you're budget-conscious and don't want or can afford to spend an extra fortune just for reception invites (because after paying for senior portraits, graduation fees...if there are any, reservation for reception, invitations, cake, food, etc.....well, you get what I'm saying!LOL) Anyhow- these are great for those sort of instances. I plan to have a bunch more available on my Etsy shop in the next few days and weeks...OH and be sure to check out other invitations/announcements that I have available! If there is an occasion that you are planning and needing invitations or announcements for....(hint, hint, hint!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Time for a new look....

Yeah, I know...it's been awhile. But I decided the other day that it is time to get back into the swing of things and start becoming more productive and start putting those creative abilities into motion. I've been working on some stuff for my etsy site and been pushing to get stuff up on there. Check it out when you get a chance! I also decided that I wanted a new look for my blog. So I went and updated the overall look as well....still a work in progress....but at least I found that motivation to get it done!

So what have I been working on? Invitations, announcements, Save The Dates, etc. Lovin' it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Belated New Year!

Well, it's been a crazy, busy past couple of months! Once again, I found myself putting my blog on the backburner for football games, Boy Scouts, Christmas concerts, cookie baking, etc. But hopefully, I can get back on track and do a better job!

I haven't really pushed myself to create a whole lot lately. There has been so much stuff going on that there are times that I come home from work and just want to pass out on the couch. I am sure you know what I am talking about, right? But in any case, that doesn't mean that I don't have ideas and haven't thought of stuff that I DO want to create!

A friend of mine recently asked me to design some belated Christmas cards. It's really a great idea as so many of us have been so crazy busy that getting those holiday cards out in time seemed to be low on the list of priorities this last year. And it's not because we didn't want to get them out, just that Christmas snuck up on us way too fast! So, a night of playing, I came up with a fun, punchy design.

I am working on getting a few more seasonal designs done for Valentine's Day and also St. Patty's Day. I'll post when I have more to share! Hope you all are having the start of a wonderful day, a wonderful week!