Printable Googly Eyed Valentines

I'll be honest with you: The kids are exchanging storebought valentines this year. With everything else going on with work and life, the idea of handmaking 50+ cards with them was just too daunting. 

But that didn't stop me from scheming a new DIY for you—and for us to send to some family and friends. 

The googly eyes were so much fun on last year's thank you notes, so I decided to use them again on little hearts notes. There are a few messages and configurations for white card stock or colored. I've even created winking envelope liners that fit pointed flap envelopes.

MAKE YOUR OWN: Download the PDF here. Print & cut the cards. Add googly eyes. Enjoy!

Good Things & Everything Else

These days, more than ever, I find the need to focus on the good things. The people in my life, the treasures in my home, the little moments that make me smile. In that spirit, I've revived an email newsletter, Good Things & Everything Else. I send it out monthly, and it includes illustrations like the one above, as well as stories and links to good stuff around the web and world. The first one went out last month, and the next one will follow in about 2 weeks. If you're interested, sign up via the form on the right side of this page.  

Put a Face on It!

I've been seeing faces pop up all over the place in home and fashion design, and it makes me inexplicably happy. It's as if they are secretly alive, and saying to me, "Hi! Let's be friends." And truth be told, I'd take these guys home with me any day.

Just My Type : Chocolates

Like all designers, I am type obsessed. One of my favorite parts of the branding process is the hunt for the perfect font. There are thousands of beautiful ones out there, though, and it can get overwhelming. So I'm starting a new series here featuring a font that I've seen and liked. Here's the first, Chocolates. Ain't she a beaut?

The Write Stuff

I'm a sucker for handwritten letters. I still write thank you notes, I send postcards when I am away from home, I pen the occasional love letter to my husband, and I like to mail notes just because. As much as I love technology, I will never grow tired of putting pen to paper, and these are a few of my favorite tools when I do.

This month, two of my favorite stationery companies, Egg Press and Hello Lucky, are urging people to write 30 letters in 30 days. I'm urging you to shoot for one. Trust me, you will make someone's day.  

1. Rifle Paper Co. Floral Pencil Set | 2. Tokketok Happy Notes | 3. Paper & Type Letter Ledger | 4. Sugar Paper Brass Stamp Holder | 5. Klizia 97 Stapler | 6. Little Owl Workshop Heart J'Taime Stamp | 7. Izola Letter Opener | 8. Midori Brass Bullet Ballpoint Pen


Seeing Differently

1981 by Nancy Purvis

1981 by Nancy Purvis

I played hooky one day last month to attend QuiltCon West, a quilt show hosted by The Modern Quilt Guild. I've always had a thing for quilts, but I gained an even greater appreciation for them — a deep love, really — after seeing them hanging on walls like the works of art that they truly are. 

The exhibit was a visual feast. I was floored by the incredible, and sometimes unexpected, use of color.

Diamonds Quilt #2 by Tara Faughnan

Diamonds Quilt #2 by Tara Faughnan

Red Hot by Shawna Doering

Red Hot by Shawna Doering

I was mesmerized by the clever use of negative space.

Retroreflective by Stephanie Ruyle

Retroreflective by Stephanie Ruyle

Ephemera by Jennifer Rossotti

Ephemera by Jennifer Rossotti

And I felt heartsick for the gorgeous patterns and texture. 

I almost didn't get out of the studio that day — I had so much to do — but I'm so glad I did. I came back to work energized, refreshed and wholly inspired. 

Collection by Carolyn Friedlander

Collection by Carolyn Friedlander

Navy Pier Summer by Maria Villar

Navy Pier Summer by Maria Villar

Blueberries for Sal by Elisa Albury

Blueberries for Sal by Elisa Albury

Printable Heart Balloon "Love is in the Air" Valentines

My kids are becoming a couple of my favorite clients. Henry and Maira's needs are simple and clear, and their feedback is honest and direct. And the projects...well, they are always just plain fun.

Both are still at the age where they exchange valentines at school, which means we need to put together 50+ valentines. Of course, I could go the storebought route—but making a craft project out of it is fun for them. And coming up with the right kind of craft—something they can easily do over & over again without complaining or losing steam—is fun for me. 

This year, after a little bit of research I decided we'd do heart-shaped balloons with a simple, sweet message. Because who doesn't love balloons? One of the challenges as the designer for 4- and 6-year-olds is keeping the final product easy to read but also easy on the eyes. When Henry and Maira saw the final product, I got instant approval. I got paid in hugs and kisses, which is another reason they're at the top of my client list.

MAKE YOUR OWN: Download the PDF here. Print & cut the cards. Add balloons with washi tape. Enjoy!


This project was inspired by Oh Happy Day and Sugarland

now showing : my interview on creative thursday

My friend Marisa inspires me. She is not only wildly creative but she is kind, courageous, thoughtful and thought-filled. Any time we hang out we talk for hours and hours—we even got parking tickets one late night because we’d lost track of time.

So when she asked if Rama and I would participate in her new web series Creative Thursday, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I knew it promised good, honest conversation about one of my favorite topics: Living a creative life. 

Today our episode airs. As I write this post, I haven’t yet watched it, but I know we talked a lot about our jobs as a designer (me), as an art teacher (Rama) and as parents (both of us)—and what it’s like to do what we do every day. I know there were a lot of laughs, too.

I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy! The other episodes feature some wonderful artists, designers, makers and shakers too, and there’s so much good food for thought.

Illustration by Rama Hughes

Printable Googly Eyed Thank You Notes


I'm a big fan of the thank you note. They can be a pretty daunting task for kids, though, so I try to make it fun for them. This year's design features googly eyes and may be my favorite yet. I drew simple, cartoony boy and girl faces, then let Henry and Maira glue on the eyes and draw little smiles. The messages—or, in Maira's case, stickers and stamps—went on the back. I love how each face has its own personality, don't you?

Henry always writes a note to Santa, too, which is kind of the sweetest thing ever.

MAKE YOUR OWN: I've put together a PDF of the two designs. I've also included an extra blank face, if you want to totally customize the little face with your own hair-do and everything. The possibilities are endless!

Printable Gingerbread Man Cards

As the year winds down, Henry and Maira have been hungry for projects to do after school. With my own pile of Christmas cards to fill out and address, I decided to make them their own customizable gingerbread man cards. I drew the outline of a gingerbread man with a scarf, then printed them, along with a Merry Christmas message, on card stock. The kids drew eyes, mouths, mittens, boots, and other accessories on the gingerbread men before inscribing the cards. They were a hit.

"Look at the Christmas card Mama made me!" Henry said. "She's a graphic designer."

MAKE YOUR OWN: Feel free to download and print them for your own kids. More is merrier.