Tag Archives: Holiday

Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers (that they might actually use!)

Most “gift ideas for graphic designers” articles are full of lame gifts. They are either totally kitschy (a CMYK mug! a Pantone brand stapler!) or stereotypical (it’s contemporary! something written in Helvetica!). From one graphic designer for another, here’s a round-up of gifts I would actually use/want.


Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers:

1. Pantone Swatches

I don’t need a Pantone ornament/mug/mousepad/thermos/paintcan. What I do need are Pantone Swatchbooks. Most graphic designers probably don’t have their own set at home. The basic coated and uncoated sets should cover most needs.

2. Tea for One

This idea is kind of a gimme – but still a good one. Designers are at their desk. A lot. It’s always nice to have a fun mug on hand (I personally love this Harry Potter mug from Etsy seller 312INK). Most workplaces supply coffee (hoorah!) but many don’t have a large tea assortment. Along with mug, wrap up a few kind of herbal teas and a nice jar of honey for an afternoon sweet.

3. Tech-y Gift Card

Graphic designers are usually linked to some sort of technology a good deal of the time. An Apple App Store gift card will only feed their tech-frenzy. Plus, there are a lot of great photo-editing and typography apps out there that I would probably never justify buying on my own!

4. A Massage

There are some days that I am working that I literally could sit down at my desk and not get up for 12 hours if it weren’t for basic human needs. Most people in the work force these days are doing a lot of hunched-over-sitting, but designers especially so! Help us regain our posture and relieve muscle tension with a massage.

5. Modern Art History Book

Graphic designers should know and understand the progression of art history and theory. Even after a year of taking art history, I felt like my classes only scraped the surface of art history in the last 200 years. The book What are you looking at? by WIll Gompertz is both entertaining and informative.

6. X-Acto Tool Set and Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Any designer who is creating their own invitations/posters/namecards/print media will need an X-acto Knife set and this Alvin Reversible Self-Healing Cutting Mat Kit to make sure all their edges and corners are straight as an arrow. (You may want to include a metal straight edge too!)

7. Prismacolor Marker Set

You know that feeling when you are a kid and you have a brand-new box of crayons that are perfectly sharpened and untouched. That’s how I feel about markers as an adult. Perfect for sketching or doodling, the Prismacolor marker set is as good as it gets. Prismacolor marker sets can be purchased individually by color or in an assortment of sets. If you go to Michael’s don’t forget your 20% off coupon!

8. Letterpress Class

Where the fundamentals of graphic design really began – on the letterpress. Research local classes and look for a one-day letterpress or printmaking workshop.

9. Membership to an Art Museum

Oftentimes purchasing a membership to an art museum will more than pay off if you go several times through the year – and there are other perks as well! With 2014 coming quickly, consider buying a year-long membership at their favorite museum so they can stop by whenever they want. (A bonus of membership? You don’t feel guilty for only stopping by for an hour or two!)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow designers.

Any other graphic designers out there? What would you add to this list?

Giving Thanks and Thanksgiving Holiday Decor

Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLively

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?
– Oscar Wilde

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was my first time hosting and (hallelujah) the turkey turned out just fine. We have much to be thankful for and were able to host wonderful family and grandparents at our house this year on Thanksgiving, celebrated a Friendsgiving feast with new friends earlier this month, and have our 5th annual Thanksmas feast with our college gang next week. Again, we have much to be thankful for!

Now that we’ve polished off our plate of pumpkin pie, and will be re-heating our last meal of delectable turkey/gravy/potato leftovers tonight for dinner, and I’m ready to move on to Christmas (!!!!) decorations and music in this house! I’m a firm believer in separating the two holidays and giving Thanksgiving a proper celebration without the infringement of holly-jolly, but I am ready to begin!

Last year I started a rule for myself – only purchase ONE holiday decoration every year. I can give myself a half-pat-on-the-back this year. I stuck to it – sort of.

Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLively

I bought these tiny wire pumpkins from the Christmas Tree Shoppe for $3.00 earlier this fall. They are actually namecard holders – but I like them on the mantle. They are simple, small to store, and I can leave them out all autumn – a win-win-win in my book.

Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLivelyI re-used my DIY Felt Autumn Leaves Garland again on the mantle.

ThanThanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLively

For the centerpiece I pulled out my DIY Rustic Twig Coffee Can Centerpiece and used some fake floral from an old cornucopia I had in the basement that had seen better days.

I say that I only “technically” followed the rules of my holiday decor buying ordinance, because I also bought a new tablecloth and runner. I haven’t bought any since we got our new table, so everything I own is too small!

I got this tablecloth and runner at HomeGoods (decor heaven) and picked this tablecloth because I thought I could use it year round.Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLively

For namecards I just used plain white paper and stuck them on some ceramic white apples I used throughout the year as decor.Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLivelyOverall it was a very non-fussy holiday! Just the way that we like it. Moose’s grandparents hadn’t seen our house since before we even moved in, so they were quite surprised to see how much work we have done! It’s always nice to see our progress again through fresh eyeballs. Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLively

I never know what to do on my sideboard. My Nearly No-Sew DIY Patchwork Bunting has been up there since the Lumberjack birthday party we had in April, and I added the pumpkin, scarecrow (from my childhood!) and some gourds.

I didn’t manage to take a single picture of all the food (too busy devouring!) or our weekend activities. We broke in our fireplace for the season – which makes it officially feel like the holidays.

Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLively

We are also working on continuing an old tradition – we got a cooking lesson from my mother-in-law on how to make an old family favorite recipe for kringla (a Scandinavian pastry).

Thanksgiving Holiday Decor - DesignLively

Happy Thanksgiving!!

See Ya Later Autumn

I had better post on the gloriness of fall because it feels as though it’s gone already! (Yes, we have already had snow.)

Where has the fall gone? While we started it off right, it seems to completely have slipped away from me! (Five weekends worth of company and two weekends away will probably do that to ya.) Before my favorite season of the year leaves us entirely – which, given the low temperatures we’ve been hitting lately, it already feels long gone – I’ll share some of my favorite fall moments.

Our fall weekends were mostly dedicated to finishing our deck – which I’m happy to say is so close to being completed! I’m not sure if we will finish that last 10% before winter or not – it’s mighty cold out there!

At the very least, we were able to admire the glory of changing fall leaves from our very own backyard while we did it.

Our CSA closed for the year, and like last year, we had a great experience! We can’t wait for it to start again in the spring.

My attempts at Halloween decorations this year were feeble at best, but I have managed to bring a few things out for Thanksgiving. I’m hoping to do at least one fall craft in preparation for Thanksgiving this year. (Remember when I used to craft? Me too. I miss it.)

I won’t even share the pumpkin I carved this year. It was a pathetic attempt at 11:30pm the night before Halloween for the sake of the holiday. My costume, on the other hand, made all the Chipotle Burristas very excited.

I tried making pumpkin ice cream for the first time, and, while it wasn’t a home-run, it was tasty. Maybe I’ll try it again this week for Thanksgiving. 🙂 Which is what I am currently getting ready for!

Goodbye favorite season! Here’s to hibernating until May.

What was your favorite fall moment?

Happy Halloween!

MandMPumpkinsI found these M&M pumpkins on a stoop in the swanky Chicago Gold Coast neighborhood while we were waiting for brunch. How cute are they? I know my Mom would love them!

Woo!! What a week! I spent this past week in my favorite city – Chicago! Only to come home and begin birthday celebrations! I had the best of intentions of sitting down and writing a post, but pumpkins were begging to be carved, costumes prepped and World Series games to win! #RedSox!

I’m excited to share the progress we’ve made on the deck, as well as some of my favorite Chicago sites, and even share some info on my first Boston Blogger event I attended this week.

Until then, Happy Halloween!