Calligraphy Exercises to try

HERE is a video of me doing some very basic calligraphy warm-ups.  I like to do these before I get started so I can get used to the up and down strokes with the nib I'm using.
Every time you make an upstroke you will barely be pressing down on the paper to create the thin line, and every time you make a downstroke you will be pulling down (it is more of a pull than a push) to create a thicker stroke.  Hopefully that makes sense.  You'll see what I mean in the last exercise I did on the video!
Thanks for stopping by!

Inspiration Shoots | Basics

Evelyn Eslava and I put this shoot together back in September 2013. It is featured in Issue no. 5 of BEloved Magazine.  You can read it here.  
I'm sharing this particular shoot with you because it was my very first inspiration shoot.  There are three basic stages that go into inspiration shoots:

1.  Planning
There is a lot that goes into planning an inspiration shoot.  You need a photographer, florist, models, make up artist/ & hair (also known as MUAH which I didn't know until more recently!), cake decorator, sometimes a caterer, sometimes a videographer, sometimes an event planner, a stationer/calligrapher, a venue, attire (which sometimes includes rentals or something that someone already has), décor rentals, linens, and all the little details!  A lot of the shoots I've participated in have a common Pinterest board so we are all on the same page as far as the aesthetic.  I've also been to many planning meetings so we can coordinate who is in charge of what. You'll need to plan a day and time that works for everyone.  Make sure you plan plenty of time to get set up.  Coordinate with everyone and make sure everyone is very clear about the plan.  It always goes so much better when everyone involved has a clear idea of what will happen on shoot day.  Then, when it comes time to execute, everyone can go to work doing what they do best.

2.  Preparation/Execution
This is the fun part.  When I did flowers I would rarely see any of the other vendors (sometimes the photographer) because I would get there so early to set up.  I love inspiration shoots because I finally get a chance to meet the other vendors in the industry and see how they do things.  We love to bounce ideas off of each other.  It's fun to form a community of people that you know who understand you and who you can trust.  Sometimes prep takes a really long time.  I did a shoot once where we started set up at 10am and didn't shoot until 5pm, and didn't get cleaned up until after 7pm.  It was a long day, but the results were gorgeous.  For this particular shoot, there weren't as many moving parts, so overall the shoot was around 4 hours.  Hopefully everyone shows up on time and is prepared.

3.  Post Shoot
A lot of people don't think about what happens after the inspiration shoot.  The whole point of an inspiration shoot is to get to do what you do best and hopefully get published on a popular blog or in a magazine so that people will get to see your work.  The photographer is usually the one in charge of submitting their work to different blogs.  I have never submitted anything personally, but once it is accepted sometimes it takes many months until the shoot is published.
Here are some things I learned about participating in an inspiration shoot that I think would be valuable to know!
1.  Connect with People
I think all of the inspiration shoots I have participated in happened because we connected on Instagram or Facebook.  No joke!  Share what you're working on, and comment on what others are working on.  I got connected with Evelyn because someone on Facebook recommended me when she said she was looking for new florists, so it pays off to share what you're doing!  You don't have to wait for someone to discover you, either.  You will find someone who inspires you that you will want to work with.  When that happens, shoot them an email and ask if they would be interested in setting up an inspiration shoot and go from there.  What's the worst that could happen?  They'll say no?  Just keep at it.  It'll happen for you eventually, I promise.
2. Choose your team wisely.
This is so important.  It is great to team up with your friends to create beauty, and I have met some amazing friends because of inspiration shoots.  Because you're investing your own money (flowers, props, rentals, venue fees, etc.) and time into creating something for the inspiration shoot, you need to choose a team who is reliable and responsible.  Sadly, there have been too many times where things have fallen apart because of a lack of organization, communication or professionalism.  There have been more times than not that people go above and beyond, but it does happen.  So, just be cautious.  If your gut tells you not to do the shoot, don't do it.  Not only do you want to be a good fit for everyone else but you want everyone else to be a good fit for you!
3.  Inspiration shoots are kind of like a job interview.
When you're contributing to an inspiration shoot, you are basically at a job interview.  You'll (obviously) want to be on your best behavior.  The vendors you're working with will be paying attention and may or may not refer people to you because they will see how you are to work with through the entire process (planning, execution and post shoot) and what kind of work you produce.  They will see how professional, kind, and awesome you are and they'll want to tell all of their friends about you.  Speaking of which, if you ever need any wedding vendor recommendations, shoot me an email!
I hope that helps a little bit for those of you who are curious.  As always, if you ever have any questions don't hesitate to ask! (See my contact form here)

The Colorful Flowers of Disneyland

I have a major flower obsession, and my favorite place in the world is Disneyland.
I love Disney's attention to detail, and the flower choices throughout the parks are no exception! 
I find it so fascinating that the flowers change depending on where you are in the parks. 
I would love the job where I get to choose what flowers go where to coordinate with the different theming?  That would be a dream... (Nerd alert!)

Here's a fun fact for you; did you know that Walt Disney's budget was nearly spent building Disneyland before they had a chance to plant decent flowers? His solution was to label all the weeds that were growing there already (in Latin) so people would think they meant to plant them! I thought that was awesome and hilarious. Obviously they've come a long way since their weed days. 

No filters on any photos below. They really are this vibrant!  I love all the colors in nature!
 ^^^ This Lisianthus was to die for!

^^^I loved these bright flowers found in A Bug's Land at California Adventure.  All the flowers there attract bees and butterflies; imagine that!

^^^ I loved this cute tree.

^^^How sweet are these roses?  They're on my list of what to plant next spring!  I love them!

 ^^^ I would have overlooked these tiny blue blooms had I not been taking pictures of every flower I saw! ;) 

The next time you're at Disneyland you will have to pay attention to all the many flowers! 
That was one of my favorite parts of the trip!

5 Podcasts You Should Listen To

I love Podcasts.  I wasn't really on board with Podcasts until I found some that were interesting and fun to listen to.  Here are my top 5 Podcast Recommendations (not in any specific order):

1.  Smart Creative Women:  This is the Podcast that was kind of my gateway drug into these other types of podcasts.  I love listening to how other creative individuals got where they are in their business pursuits.  Monica Lee interviews other Smart Creative Women in her podcast.  I love this one because when she interviews people who I put up on a pedestal it makes them seem more like "normal people" like me and makes me believe that if they can achieve big goals, then I can too!

2.  SeanWes Podcast:  This is hands down my favorite creative business podcast.  The value and information he provides is gold!  I always feel so motivated after listening to his podcast.  If you subscribe to any that I recommend, this is the one you need.

3.  The Lively Show:  I have never met Jess Lively, but I'm positive she and I would be great friends.  She is fun to listen to, the sound quality is clear, and she focuses on being uplifting and adding intention to your every day.  THIS interview with Brooke White made me cry.  So GOOD.

4.  Smart Passive Income:  I am pretty new to this one, but so far so good.  I love how down to earth Pat Flynn is. His has a similar format as the others.

5.  Elise Gets Crafty: Okay.  This one I like, but I am not head over heels in love with.  The sound quality is not great, and sometimes the word totally is overused... but if you can get past that, there is some value here and is worth a listen!

BONUS: Serial.  (First of all. This one does not fall into the inspiring and uplifting category. But it is so interesting!) I'm sorry, but if you haven't listened to Serial, do it.  I was really skeptical because of the premise, but it was actually really fascinating.  I will warn you, there is some strong language every once in awhile, but you will not regret listening to it one bit.  I listened to the whole thing in about 2 days.  I was hooked!

Which podcasts do you listen to?

Top 3 FAQs I get as a florist

I get a bunch of questions about me and my floristry. 

These are the top 3 Frequently Asked Questions!
How long have you been doing flowers?
I have always thought that flowers were beautiful.  (who doesn't, right?)  I loved the Iris my great grandmother had in her garden, and loved learning flower names, but never thought anything of it.
I remember signing up for classes my senior year of high school.  One class many of my friends were taking was floral arranging and design.  I really wanted to take it, but I didn't think it had any practical application for my future (HA!), so I didn't take it.  I didn't even think twice about it. 
Then, a few years later (in 2010) I had the opportunity to work where I got to be around all things weddings.  Eventually they needed some help in the floral department, and I was really eager and excited to learn.  They trusted me to make a corsage for the Mother of the Bride (me?! what?!!), and I was hooked.  I loved making anything with flowers, and always offered to help when there was a floral order learning everything I could about bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres and corsages. 
After I quit working there, I really missed doing flowers, and so I applied at a local flower shop.  I had to take a drug test, but the gal there told me as soon as I had that done that I was hired.  I went and took the drug test and then never heard back from them. (?) It was the strangest thing.  I thought my floral career was over. (really, I did!)  I joke that I failed the drug test, but then just this year I found the paperwork I was supposed to submit to get the job and then never did. (Coincidence? Divine intervention?) Then, with much prodding and encouraging from my mother and close friends, I decided to make the leap and get my business license. 
Floral Design by Erin was born in May 2011, and I have been learning and developing my own style ever since!  I love it, and I am so excited to see where this goes.
Where do you buy your flowers?
I buy my flowers from Red Mountain.  It is wholesale only, and you do need a business license to be able to shop there. 
If you aren't able to buy wholesale, my favorite non-wholesale suggestions are: Trader Joes (story on this later!), Whole Foods, Costco, Harmon's, and sometimes Smith's Marketplace. 

Where did you learn how to do flowers?
One of my dearest friends and mentors introduced me to floral.  She taught me all the basics and is my go-to gal whenever I need encouragement or an answer to a question.  Her name is Suzie and you can find her over at The Gardens at Dry Creek.  (she is AMAZING!)  Since I started Floral Design by Erin, I have been googling, YouTube-ing, researching, and playing with flowers as much as I can to get more familiar with flowers, learn how to arrange them, and develop my own style.  I am still figuring it out, and probably will never have it completely figured out.  I just love learning.  I love reaching for higher goals for myself.  That's the best advice I have though, regardless of the trade, is to just DO it.  Figure it out and do it.  And it will be amazing.
And that is all I have to say about that!
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me!

Create | Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  One of our church leaders gave this talk a few years ago.  I love it so much.

Watch the Mormon Messages video featuring it HERE. (I tried to embed the video, but it wasn't working!  I'm so sorry!)
Read the whole talk HERE

This is my favorite.  It is so simple and yet powerful.  Yes, you!  You can create.  Everyone can create something that wasn't there before. 
Because I love it so much I wanted to share it as a free printable for you!  Download it HERE.  :)   (obviously I'm obsessed with this color!)

Have a happy day!

My little creative space

This is my little creative space.  I love having a room all to myself and my messes.  I have learned that I am most definitely an introvert.  Having a space to come and be alone and relax creating art is probably the greatest thing ever.  I love it so much!  It's always messy, but I wanted to show you what it looks like mess and all!
 I have two desks and a table.  One desk is for my computer, one is for my art and creating, and then the table I try to keep pretty clear for shooting photographs right next to the window.  I am getting better at trying to take pictures when it's bright outside rather than at night when I'm usually working.

I have my sister's old dresser to store the different projects I'm working on.  It's nice to have a place to keep them.  Before I had all sorts of random piles everywhere!  It was crazy!

I also bought this bookshelf at Ikea years ago.  I used to keep all of my shoes and books on it in my bedroom, but when I had no place to fit it except for my office space, I found a good use for it.  Now I will probably never use it anywhere else!  I store all my shipping supplies and random inventory and art supplies here.  It's the best ever!

It's a mess, but it's my mess and I love it!  What do your creative spaces look like?  I also have 2 Pinterest boards dedicated to my dream studios.  View them HERE and HERE.  One can dream, right? :)  For now, though, this space is pretty perfect for me!

The Letter D | Basic Calligraphy Tutorial

I can't believe it's already February!  January flew by.  I have really enjoyed blogging this month!  If you've been enjoying these little videos please let me know!  It would be nice to hear if these are helping anyone.  Enjoy this new video in the Alphabet series; the letter D.  View the video HERE
Happy Monday!
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