a look inside the life of Whitney


Craft Weekend

Every once in a while I need to do something with my hands. I love to make things. Most of the time that manifests in computer graphics and drawings. But a lot of times it also involves constructing something, whether it be with wood, fabric, or some other random craft. The end result is usually a gift or a new decoration for my home. For example, the paint stick lamp shade that I made 2 years ago that still hangs over my dining room table. That was a fantastically simple and useful project.

So this weekend, I set to the task of making a gift for my nephew’s upcoming birthday. I found a fun idea on Pinterest (where else) and decided it would be a perfect, cost effective gift for a two year old. Here’s the Pinterest inspiration:


And here’s my attempt:

It turned out rather perfectly if I do say so myself. Hope he likes it.

But then I didn’t stop there. I had another pin that I was for some reason just absolutely eager to try. Here’s the pin:


And here’s my little love monster:

IMG_3992Isn’t he cute 🙂 I was huge on stuffed animals as a kid so I think that’s why I was so eager to make one of these little guys. It’s definitely not the best sewing job, but it was an experiment with leftover fabric from other projects. He’ll make a good gift someday.

Once I finished sewing this little guy up, I was ready to call it done. I’m not eager to do another sewing project anytime soon, at least for another couple of weeks. What I love about graphic design is there’s no clean up. You shut the computer, move it, and done. With sewing….there’s all the trash from bits of thread and fabric, there’s putting away the extra fabric, there’s putting away the sewing machine, on and on. It doesn’t take terribly long but I’m lazy sometimes. So when I’m facing another sewing project, it might take me weeks to actually do it, because I don’t want to haul all the stuff out, knowing i’ll have to clean it up after.

But, these two projects were a lot of fun and good for a clarity of mind. It keeps me from burning out on graphic projects, and I can do a lot of it while watching movies or training videos for online marketing, the business Rob and I are working on. It’s a win win!

So that’s all for the craft projects for now. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, especially doing creative work, you ought to try getting away from it and doing something with your hands. It engages your creativity in a different way and can spark new ideas for your main work. It already is for mine!

Have a wonderful day and keep watchin’!



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Paint chip walls!

I love Pinterest. And yes I fully agree it is like electronic hoarding! But I equate it more to building a giant book of inspiration. Back in college, before Pinterest, I had to cut out a bunch of magazine pictures as I searched for inspiration for my Senior project. I then proceeded to organize them and paste them into a sketch book. It was hugely beneficial because it made me realize the things I am drawn to in Interior Design. I made all kinds of notes on those pages, marking what I liked about each. It was a lot of fun and I still have that sketchbook. I could easily part with my project boards and papers, but not that. I’ll keep that forever.

Anyways, I spent my daily time on Pinterest today and ran into a picture that I absolutely LOVED! I love interior paint and I really love when people get creative with paint chips. Those Sherwin Williams commercials I could watch over an over again! In fact, I love paint so much that I once made a lamp shade out of paint sticks! It’s still hanging above my dining table.

So I wanted to feature this picture and say that I totally want to try this sometime! My mind is already buzzing with different ideas that stem from this picture.


It’s just so beautifully colorful! I love it!

If you think I should create some kind of artwork based on this, leave a comment! Maybe I’ll give it to you when I’m done 😉

Keep watchin’!


Homey Hospitals..?

I am now officially an Aunt. My handsome nephew was born on Oct. 5 and everyone is doing just fine. So now I have a chance to write a few comments after spending many hours at a hospital.

No one really likes hospitals. After all, most of the time when you’re going, you’re either visiting someone sick or hurt or you’re the one going in yourself. And it may look like a clean environment, but if you’re any level of OCD like I am, you can’t help think its probably rather disgusting given what can go on in there.

But, there are those few hospitals that actually are convincingly nice places. The one I was at last week is one of these. The biggest reason? New construction. Half of it’s still being built. And it has a lot of money going into it. When hospitals use wood accents, changing wallpaper with different areas of the hospital, and glass tile in places like lobbies and cafeterias, you know they put some good money into it. And it works. If you ignore the machines, hospitals beds, and nurses, this hospital was really rather nice. Just be careful where you sit in the waiting rooms. People who go through there may not be patients, but that doesn’t make them any less likely to do something like pee on a seat. Yeah, I ran across that.

In short, there are a few things that make a hospital a little homier. Wood accents are always a good way to add warm to a place. And even though white can give the impression of a sterile environment, colors like off-whites and beiges give a much more warm and cozy feeling without losing that clean feeling. I didn’t see this at the hospital I visited, but I believe plant life adds a good homey and clean feeling to an environment. That and a water feature. I think hospitals should have a lobby or indoor area that is much like the Opryland Hotel. Lots of live plants, running water, and garden like atmosphere. Would do a lot of the well being of patients, especially those that are stuck there for a while. Though there are many other ways to make a hospital look less like a hospital, I’m not going to try and list them all. One last thing I thought was great about this hospital though too was the use of roofs as outdoor terraces for people to go out and sit. That is a much better use of a roof that sits lower than other floors and I think should be utilized with every opportunity.

All in all, I still don’t like hospitals that much, and I honestly don’t know if many people do. But I appreciate those that try to make the environment less intimidating and more inviting. It’s the little details that show how those who built it did their best to make a functional hospital inviting and as comfortable as it can be for everyone.

What’s your least favorite aspect of a hospital or what is a favorite aspect of a hospital you’ve been to recently? Why?

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Indoor Plants

I know, I know. I’ve really fallen behind on the posts lately. It’s been a busy life. And I’m thinking of changing the direction of my blog a little, though that’s a ways down the road.

Anyways, I’m just going to share a random thought today:

If you know someone who treats plants like pets, and their house is more like an indoor garden, just remember…before you make fun of them, they probably have a dozen tax deduction capabilities because of the improved indoor air quality of their home.


With the “go green” push of the economy, that statement could very well have some truth to it. But I wrote it basically just for humor.

So, do you have an indoor garden?

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The Modernizing of McDonalds

I know I’ve mostly focused on residential interior design, so fortunately for you, today I’m going to switch into the commercial side thanks to a story I heard on the new this morning.

Of all the topics to open a comment on commercial interior design, I did not expect McDonalds to be the first one. But I have found it constantly entertaining how McDonalds continues to keep with the times, despite how unhealthy most of their food is.

What’s more ridiculous about this certain topic today is the news story about this particular McDonalds in Knoxville. Recently renovated and deciding to celebrate it, they promoted the newly restored building by re-opening it at midnight and offering free food for a year for the first 100 people. Apparently, at least 300 or so showed up that night (but don’t quote me on that). But I mean, really? Who in their right mind wants free, fattening greasy food for a year?  I know it’s cheap and tasty, and great for the low-income college student, but seriously, I know I would get tired of that food pretty quickly. Sure I have the occasional burger from there, but I usually regret it after. But that’s beside the point, so congrats to those who won that…interesting prize.

What I want to focus on is the renovations this McDonalds received. You can see from the picture below that the design has taken on a modern look. It honestly reminds me of a Starbucks, which is what I think McDonalds is trying to imitate. I mean, look at it. It’s got artistic features such as the floating name with the artistic arch above it and mixes outdoor building materials like stone and brick. I know I’ve seen few Starbucks like this. Especially with the awnings and outdoor seating. And if you need more proof that McDonald’s is trying to emulate the coffee house trend in general, how about the fact that this one has Wifi and a modern indoor seating area, with tables and booths, and probably a lounge seating corner. The difference? Its cheap fast food available 24 hrs, and you don’t have to just go through the drive through anymore. But no matter what you do, if you spend too much time in a McDonalds, you’ll come out smelling like fast food. And personally, I’d rather spend hours in a Starbucks and come out smelling like coffee than fast food. Who doesn’t like the smell of coffee?

Anyways, I have to at least say congratulations to McDonalds for keeping up with the trends of the age. Not only are they trying to make their restaurants more attractive and modern, they even try to keep with the “eat healthy and green trends” within the products they offer as well. Given McDonald’s innovative history and marketing success, I’d expect nothing less. It may just be fast food, but they have mastered the market and know how to move with the times.

Have you been in any recently renovated McDonald’s lately? What did you like about it?

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An End to the Sofa Story..

So, if youv’e been following my blog, you’ll know that I recently was in search of and purchased a sofa. Well, what had already been a frustrating search for the sofa I wanted, imagine my excitement when I finally chose, ordered, and received it.

But alas, it was not immediately a happy ending. Even good designers fall for the terrible influence that lighting and color can inflict upon the color of something else. And I naively did just that. Let me give you a basic understanding of what I’m talking about. If you put blue next to yellow, the blue will look a little more blue green because of the yellow next to it. And vise versa.

So unfortunately, when my sofa arrived and I put it together, the gray slipcover fabric that I had ordered, ended up looking much more of a blue gray in my living room because of all the warm colors. I was so disappointed. Here’s a picture below.

See? You might not be able to as well in the picture but trust me, it looked blue. Well, this is where the story gets a little happier. See, the nice thing about an IKEA couch, is that is in fact covered with an easily removable slipcover. One quick phone call thus told me I could simply exchange the fabric slipcover I bought, for another one that would look better. Well, being slightly impatient, and living only 3 hours away from an IKEA, I hopped in my car Saturday morning and off I went. One trip later and I have a new color that looks a whole lot better. A word to the wise. If you have a color or fabric sample you’re trying to coordinate with when making a big purchase for your home, take them! Every time! And don’t forget the different effects that lighting can have on the colors in your room as well. Fluorescent can cause cooler tones, incandescent can cause warmer tones, and daylight is pure white light that will go both ways depending on the time of day.

So, I’m FINALLY and happily enjoying my new couch and came out a little smarter as a designer as well. Funny how you can forget the simple things of design school. Won’t make that mistake again. I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

Does anyone have a story like this? Do share.

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Adding Scentification to a Room

(yes, I made up the word scentification. But come on, that should be in the dictionary)

There are many things that can affect the mood of a room and can give off an impression of freshness, coziness, food-ness, etc. It’s not always the same for every person, but there are certain elements of design and décor that can often inspire a certain response from you or your visitors. And one of those mood-stimulating additions is candles, or any other scent giving thing that can be placed in a home.

If you haven’t noticed, my topics often come from personal experience. So why am I talking about candles? Because I got a buy one get one free coupon from yankee candle and bought two large jars for the office.

Which made me wonder to myself as if I weren’t a candle enthusiast, “why do people buy candles, wall flowers, reed diffusers, potpourri, etc?” The answer? To inspire a mood. To bring a sense of joy to your room through the wonderful scents you most enjoy. Here’s an example:

You welcome people into your home for a night of rigorous Wii sporting. When your guest step into the room they suddenly stop and say, “OH! What is that wonderful smell of gingerbread and fresh apples??” You reply, “Oh that? Oh I just wanted to test out my new candles and try to inspire and cozy, Fall atmosphere.” What they won’t know is that the actual reason was to disguise the fact that you’re cooking is bland and using food scents would make you’re guests so hungry that they wouldn’t notice. There’s power in the scent of smell. I’ve heard that a certain smell will trigger memories better than any other sense. But I’m not sure if that’s true.

Why do people put cotton-smelling scents in laundry rooms and bathrooms? So you or someone else thinks it clean despite the dirty laundry all over the floor, or the rotten egg smell coming from your water. Like I said, the sense of smell can be a powerful influence.

So this is my tribute to the strategy of scenting. I love candles. The one I bought for my office is called Mountain Lodge and makes it seem all cozy in my little windowless cubicle of the world.

How many of you use candles, reed diffusers, potpourri, or any other type of scenting device for your home? Why? Have any funny stories about your scentful experiences? Do share…