Rainy Day Fund Piggy Bank

Soft maple, acrylic

I wanted to figure out the easiest way to carve a piggy bank in Easel. The trickiest part was figuring out how to get the coins out of the bank without figuring out a cork method or gluing two pieces together.

The design allows for an easy removal of the acrylic sheet using the gap at the top of the wood. Since the acrylic is press-fit into the wood like an inlay, it stays in place even as the coins fill the bank.

You can learn more about how I designed this bank in this Easel Live episode.

Rainy Day Fund Cloud Piggy Bank 1Rainy Day Fund Cloud Piggy Bank 2Rainy Day Fund Cloud Piggy Bank 3

GARDEN ILLUSTRATION QUICK GUIDES

Over the years, I’ve grown passionate about gardening. I love spending time in the dirt, nurturing things to grow, and learning how to produce food for my family in the most environmentally-conscious and economically-efficient ways. In the fall of 2014 I was certified as a Master Gardener trainee through Michigan State University’s Extension program. As a Master Gardener, I share knowledge about plants, pests, and best practices with my community. In addition to volunteering on local projects to earn my 40 hours of trainee service, I posted information on my former blog (Mo Diggity) to reach  the wider online community.

The “quick guides” below are geared towards vegetable gardening newbies: they provide the basic information necessary to get people utilizing whatever space and resources they have and get  the simplest way possible. My personal perspective on vegetable gardening is that everyone can–and should–grow their own food. Whether it is a basil plant in your kitchen, some pots on the patio, or a whole yard, there is nothing I’ve found as rewarding as growing my own food (except, perhaps, raising chickens). In total, the quick guides have had over 100 repins on my Pinterest site, which is saying a lot for how little readership my blog received.  

(You can see more of my Mo Diggity projects on Pinterest, but my blog is no longer active so all the links are broken.)

 

Mo Diggity Blog - Garden Quick Guide, Peas

 

Mo Diggity Blog - Garden Quick Guide, Carrots

 

Mo Diggity Blog - Garden Quick Guide, Eggplant

 

Mo Diggity Blog - Garden Quick Guide, Zucchini

 

Mo Diggity Blog - Garden Quick Guide, Tomatoes

 

Mo Diggity Blog - Garden Quick Guide, Beans

 

WEDDING INVITATIONS

 

Growing up, I wasn’t one of those girls who dreamt about their wedding day. To me, a wedding is a celebration of love between two people and a public declaration of their devotion to each other. I feel like there’s a lot of hype about weddings these days, as if it’s the ultimate prize for a woman to snatch up a husband and claim the tile “wifey.” Sometimes it feels like the purpose of the wedding day is to validate the bride’s personal style, always trying to be bigger, fancier, classier, and of course, the BEST WEDDING EVER. It can be hard to see love through the tulle and buckets of peonies.

But at the same time, marriage is something I’ve chosen and my husband and I put a lot of work into our wedding. I designed all the materials for our wedding, and we put a lot of thought into how to visually portray our relationship to guests who might not know us as well. We planned our wedding together, incorporating elements that were important to both of us (baseball card boutonnieres and TRON cupcakes for him; a Black Keys processional and various chicken decorations for her) and presented the truest versions of ourselves as individuals and as a couple. It was better than any wedding I could’ve imagined as a little girl because it was a celebration of a very specific love I share with my husband; how could I possibly plan “my wedding” without him?

The experience of designing an experience around two people was one I wanted to replicate. I started a small wedding invitation design business on the side, working with friends or referred clients to produce wedding suites that brought out the character of both individuals. I still enjoy doing this for fun, so if you’re interested in looking for some help with invitation design, feel free to contact me!

 

KelleeRyan - Invitation

 

KelleeRyan - RSVP2

 

KelleeRyan - RSVP

 

SamMo - Invitation

 

SamMo - RSVP

 

SamMo - Map for Invitation

 

SamMo - Program

 

SamMo - Program2

“ANIMAL” – MIIKE SNOW

Animal, Miike Snow - miike snow

When I first met my husband, it was clear we came from entirely different musical backgrounds. He grew up listening to Classic Rock; I want to barf every time I hear a three minute rock’n’roll guitar solo. I primarily focused on what people said in songs, so I was always honed in on lyrics by singer-songwriters; he still struggles to know the words to songs he’s known for years (to his credit, he’s the only person I know who dominates Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” at karaoke). The few crossover similarities were our mutual love for N*Sync and Linkin Park, but I guess that’s better than nothing.

So when we first started dating, we tried to share some of our favorite artists with one another without pissing the other person off. I’d share some of the rock-ier songs by my favorite singer-songwriters, and he’d play it safe with some newer artists that bordered on “pop” instead of straight-up rock. The musical courtship was apparently successful (we’re happily married now and can mutually agree upon five CDs to put on shuffle in our living room) and the biggest perk was discovering some great new artists that I likely wouldn’t have found any other way.

One of the artists we found together was Miike Snow. They checked bits off both our lists: electronic dance vibes for Sam and thoughtful, ponder-worthy lyrics for me. Sam bought their CD and we were both instantly drawn to the first track: “Animal.”

“Animal” is more than just a catchy beat. The more I listened to the song, the more I was intrigued by the animalistic element in each of us

 

Animal, Miike Snow - world filled with darkness Animal, Miike Snow - in your eyes Animal, Miike Snow - Am i free or am i tied up Animal, Miike Snow - i change shapes Animal, Miike Snow - still an animal Animal, Miike Snow - when i slip Animal, Miike Snow - there is a hole

“NAKED KIDS” – GROUPLOVE

I’ll be the first to admit that my musical tastes tend towards two polar extremes: 1. emotional “indie” music that elicits unprecedented bouts of tears and confusing thoughts; 2. anything pop-pumped and worshiped by 12-15 year-old girls (i.e., Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and the pinnacle of boy bands that is One Direction).

The kind of music I’ve struggled to listen to is that in-between realm of pretty much everything else. If it doesn’t make me want to curl in a ball and think about the meaning of life or jump around like the true lunatic fangirl that I am, it’s hard for me to get invested in listening to music just for the joy of listening.

Enter Grouplove. I stumbled across this band back in 2012 sort of on accident, but it was a stumble I was happy to take. Their music is playful but not adherent to the typical pop formula. Everything about their sound is pure unadulterated fun. I wasn’t expecting to fall for them as hard as I did, and now that I’ve found them, their Never Trust a Happy Song is integral to my Subaru’s summer CD rotation.

This Sight & Sound project was completely spontaneous. All the photos illustrating this Grouplove song–“Naked Kids”–were taken on a day back in the summer of 2014 up near Gaylord, MI. The perfect weekends up north involve some incalculable ratio of sun, lake, friends, and booze, but this Saturday was greater than the sum of its parts. We spent the day boating and swimming in the lake (including almost an hour in the water swim-pushing the pontoon boat back to the dock after we ran out of gas). We spent the night partying with some strangers to the raucous sounds of a rock/grunge band that played 90s hits at the perfect dive bar in the middle of nowhere.

It exceeded all of our expectations; it was the way summer is often portrayed in movies or commercials without any of the pompous, flaky calculations of posing for the scenes. When I think back on that weekend, I remember feeling truly free from everything and entirely present in the moment for one of the few times in my life. That kind of raw energy is harnessed in so many Grouplove songs, that it was a natural fit to put the two together.

oh yeah - naked kids grouplove

 

take your shoe off - grouploe

 

splashin in the water - grouplove

 

hot day mid june - grouplove

 

wild and free - grouplove

 

summer time fun

 

relax and stay young - grouplove

 

the water feels nice - grouplove

 

dive deep down under - grouplove

 

just one of those days - grouplove

 

blue perfect wave - grouplove

 

come out and join - grouplove

 

back corner table - grouplove

 

raise your glasses - grouplove

 

living out our dreams - grouplove

“Holocene” – Bon Iver

Sight & Sound is an ongoing study of visual representations of music lyrics. 

Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 1 mstych

Bon Iver’s “Holocene” is one of those songs I didn’t think was possible. I’d already been thoroughly blown-away by Justin Vernon’s work on his album For Emma, Forever Ago, so, naturally, I assumed that he’d reached the pinnacle of his musical mastery on his first full-length album and that would be the end of that.

It hurts to think I’d seriously lost that much faith in someone who was clearly wiser than the sum of his work thus far.

My brother burned me a copy of his second album (Bon Iver, Bon Iver) a few weeks after it was released. I had just graduated college and was grappling with the emotional baggage I brought with me when I moved back to my hometown and starting working at a prestigious art camp (one that I was never prestigious enough to attend as a camper), uncertain about so many things in my life. My future was entirely undefined; I felt like I was drifting through a fog where opportunities were just beyond my vision, lurking somewhere nearby but with no tangible form that I could grasp.

The workday at the camp were short so I had a lot of time to run around the campus, take long walks in the woods, re-read all the Harry Potter books, and converse with other summer employees who seemed just as unguided, yet somehow less bothered by the weight of what happened when August ended. My boyfriend lived nearby, but I spent every night alone in my linoleum-floored dorm room, staring up at the bottom of the empty bunk above me, listening to the buzz of cicadas, a distant French horn practice session, and camper chatter outside my window as the long summer days faded into night.

It was the closest I’ve come to living alone–no roommates, no family, no boyfriend–and as someone who thrives off social interaction, it was a major adjustment for me to spend so much time by myself, with only myself. I did a lot of thinking and self-exploration, trying to listen to what my heart wanted, desperately pushing aside feelings of inadequacy and the fear of where I would be in the next year (or the next ten years). Perhaps this is what happens to all children who are loved and supported their whole life; perhaps this is not wholly unique to me. But during that summer, I felt isolated by my inability to understand what I really wanted now that I had the chance to do whatever I wanted.

It is a terrible thing to be alive for 21 years and still not know who you are.

“Holocene,” to me, is the epitome of the self-injected poison of personal inadequacy, a feeling of utter insignificance in the scheme of a whole big world. It’s the sudden realization that I am a microscopic speck in a universe expanding with every breath. And, yet, I am still as significant as I choose to be in the time and space granted to me in each of those breaths. It’s a philosophical push-pull that consumes me if I let it.

When I decided to use this song for a Sight & Sound session, I knew it had to be in winter and it had to convey the kind of vacant loneliness I felt that summer after college.”Holocene” can pull me down into the darkest of places sometimes, but the emotional journey I take each time to climb back to the top and understand myself better is why I still love listening to this song.

Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 8 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 6 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 5 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 2 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 9 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 11 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 10 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 3 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 11 mstych Sight and Sound - Bon Iver 7 mstych

&TC.

 

These are various graphics I’ve made over the years with lyrics from songs I like.

notgonnamissyou

iwroteonemorestory

BLEACHERS // SONG LYRIC POSTERS

I made these posters for my husband. Jack Antonoff, the lead genius behind the band Bleachers, is a lyrical wonder. His songs embody the mysteries of love, restless summer nights, and the energetic buzz of neon lights in a city on a weekend.

right from the start i knew you'd set a fire in me - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

i will find any way to your wild heart - - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

i will love your shadow when the lights have all gone dark on you - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

I'd rather be sad with you than anywhere away from you - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

i carry you with every breath, i won't let up until the wind is gone - bleachers lyric poster, mstych

I wanna get up to the rhythm of your wild heart - bleachers lyric poster, mstych