It’s Been Too Long

I am in Pearland, Texas on my cousin’s futon blogging in the dark because I’ve finally created something that I’m excited about for the first time in AGES. I’ve made some projects I’m proud of for work, but THIS series is near and dear to my heart.

My cousin Celina and her husband Nick recently had a baby girl named Ena Grace, so naturally, many of my family members are trying to make time to meet their newest little addition. This weekend, Celina’s sister Melissa, and her son/my Godson, Matthew, are in Pearland to spend time with us and the new baby. I’ve always wanted to do extra special things for Matthew since he IS my Godson, but being as busy as I am plus being 400 miles away from him can put a damper on thigs. I took off of work on Thursday and Friday of this week so I could spend an extended period of time with all these lovely people. Naturally, we’ve been stuck at the house, for the most part, since Ena is too little to be out and about, and we need to keep ourselves entertained.

I stumbled upon some silly photos of people who’ve posed their kids on the ground in different adventure scenes on a design/photography blog several months ago, and I’ve been dying to do something similar ever since.

This is what I came up with…

I am having a RIDICULOUS amount of fun creating these floor adventure scenes with Matthew, and he is, too! I think we’re going to try to make another scene tomorrow, but I will admit that it’s a lot of work, even with a kid as cooperative as Matthew. I wish I had known we were going to do this sooner so I could’ve prepared more props, but I’m enjoying the creative challenge of using what we’ve got instead of pre-planning everything.

I’m glad I get to spend time with my Godson and my new niece and still be creative and helpful all at the same time. It’s good food for the soul. =)

Back on Track

Hello, All.

Please excuse my 4 month absence… Life got quite stressful since my last blog post, and let’s just say my design blog was the LAST of my concerns during all of that time.

As of now, I am in the midst of working on my largest project yet for LIT — our magazine, TechSTAR!

Here’s a little taste:

TechSTAR Cover

Magazine Cover design by Melanie Lanuza

Layout for Armored Car

Photos & Layout by Melanie Lanuza / Story by Beth Bryant Miller

Should be done within the week!

Unfortunately, with the events of the past few months, I had to drop my graphic design course that I was taking, but I’m hoping to take another course during the fall semester, or possibly in summer II.

I’m also hoping to be able to update more regularly again as well. It’s good to be back. 🙂

New Work Work + More Learning

I’m pretty happy with some of the things I’ve been producing for work lately, and I think that taking the class at Lamar is helping me get my design mojo back. Honestly, I haven’t felt this creative in a VERY long time, if ever! I feel like I’m on the verge of experiencing a personal renaissance, and I’m trying to take advantage of this flow of creativity as much as possible.

Of course for work, I have to put a *bit* of restraint on how out there I want to go with my layouts. At least for now ;). I’m still trying to get a feel for how much I can get away with design wise at work, and so far, people seem to be happy.

I’ve been making some web banners…

Looking back on this, I would've moved the image up a bit so that there was more space between The "S" in "Spring" & the "R" in "Registration."

Some posters…

I didn't realize we had an eagle mascot to work with until right before I made this poster. Otherwise, I would've tried to incorporate it on the web banner too to keep the campaign more cohesive & unified.

Aaaand more brochures than I’d care to share right now…haha

I’m also in the process of designing the catalog covers for next year. Things are great and super busy, and I’m enjoying every minute of it! Granted, these aren’t the most EXCITING layouts ever, but at least they’re getting the message across for now. You can’t exactly push the envelope too much for an Institute of Technology in Southeast Texas, but I’m working on it. 😉 I am really trying to break through with trying some new typographical designs, but I’m saving those for myself until I feel confident enough in presenting them to the public. Till then, straight and forward are my friends for a while.

Sadly, I wasn’t be able to attend class on Wednesday since I have a lot of deadlines at work that are really pressing. I’m so thankful to have the luxury to attend when it’s most convenient for me because the class, even though the lessons are pretty basic for the most part, are actually stimulating my creativity in ways I didn’t think they would or could. If I can sneak over there for a little bit, I might — I’ve never been one who’s been too keen on missing class (because I’m en enormous nerd…haha).

I have a WHOLE new appreciation for people who work full time and attend school. I don’t know when I’d ever sleep if I were actually REQUIRED to do ALL the assignments given in Crispin’s class. Of course, I try to participate as much as I can, but unlike the other students in the class, I already work as a graphic designer professionally, and right now my job has top priority.

Speaking of learning, I also just started some lessons in Tagalog with Rosetta Stone. Better late than never, I suppose! My parents decided not to teach me how to speak their native language when I was growing up here in Texas because they said they didn’t want me to get confused, but childhood is actually the BEST time to learn multiple languages! Oh well…they were still able to teach me a lot, so the learning process isn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be. I’m just excited and relieved about better understanding sentence structure and other grammatical instances of the Tagalog language. I was much better at pronunciation back when I was in high school, though — I’ve got my work cut out for me.

An old acquaintance/friend of mine from high school (Scott Hamric) was awesome enough to share one the software licenses to his Rosetta Stone with me free of charge! He’s newly engaged to a Filipina, so he’s trying to learn Tagalog for her, which I think is super sweet. I wish them the best and I thank Scott for thinking of me in sharing the software! I’ve done it two nights in a row now, and I’ve already learned a lot!

Cheers to unending learning! I just hope my brain and body can keep up with what I want to do next…

Handmade and Loving it

I’ve started experimenting with all my new craft toys that I’ve collected over the past couple of weeks, and I am having SO much fun!  I made Christmas cards for the lovely ladies (my boss Beth and our admin. asst., Kim) in my department at work this evening.

Sadly, I am MUCH too sleepy to elaborate much on what I’ve done this evening, so here are pictures.  Goodnight, folks.

(My boss is REALLY into running.  Check out her VERY inspiring running BLOG).


Cold Meds Make Letters All Swimmy

So this entry and my previous entry have been tainted with sickness.  I noticed that in my previous post, I didn’t even bother to segue into the whole visual design reviewer thing.  I apologize for my lack of smooth transitions in my posts that I write whilst having this stupid cold.  Bleh.

I took some Tylenol Cold yesterday at work thinking that it was the “Daytime” kind, but I may have been wrong about that one.  I was SO out of it the whole day, but I was able to come up with some fun typographical designs for a flyer I made at work:

I had fun making that, even though I got dizzy with all the leading and kerning I had to do with this.  I want to really study more about typography and use it in a more sophisticated way.  I think I’m just “OK” at it right now, but there is still SO much I want and need to learn about using it as design.

Going back to the visual design review, the new graphic design professor at Lamar University, Crispin Prebys, is allowing me to sit in on his classes next semester to help with critiques and check out his lectures.  We got to talk more about it after the presentations were done, and I am EXTREMELY excited to finally get to learn from someone who actually HAS  a graphic design background.  Needless to say, I can’t wait to see what he has in store.  He’ll be teaching Visual Design I and he’ll also be helping AdFed with their plans book and NSAC Campaign.  Those who have known me since I attended Lamar know good and well that I was a major participant in the NSAC 3 years in a row.  I’m SO delighted to know that the graphic design department is FINALLY helping the Communication students with this competition, especially after I had to do it 3 years in a row with only one or two other people who REALLY helped me with the layout of the 32-page book.  I look forward to seeing what the students come up with next semester.

Can’t breathe. Can’t sleep. Can create.

It seems that I have sadly inherited Nick’s cold despite his pretty heroic attempts to prevent me from getting it.  Germs have their own agenda, despite how OCD germophobic and pre-cautious we are with the hand washing, hand sanitizing, using tissues to open doors, and the like.

Since my left nostril is more clogged than what I imagine of Paula Dean’s arteries,  I cannot breathe; and therefore, I cannot sleep.  So instead, I have made a Christmas card for my cousin Richie.  We’ve been shooting photos with her lil’ baby Taylor since October because she wants to make a photo calendar of Taylor in different “seasonal” outfits.  Cute idea, but lots of work!  Especially when we’re dealing with a sometimes uncooperative toddler.  I have a newfound respect for professional photographers — photographing children is EXHAUSTING and DIFFICULT!  But it’s totally worth it if you get some great shots.

Tiny tot with her eyes all a glow
Did I enjoy making this?  Oh yes.  How couldn’t I?  Just look at that face.  And babies usually creep me out most of the time.  Well, they don’t really creep me out, but they intimidate me.

Anyway, I got to be a reviewer at the Visual Design Presentation at Lamar this evening with Nick and a couple of other friends of mine.  It was pretty last minute when we got asked, but I enjoy that kind of stuff.  I am thankful to say that there were quite a few students who really know what they’re doing and have lots of potential to do great in the graphic design industry.  And then there are others who…well, don’t.  I hate to be so “mean” about things like that, but seriously — you either have it, or you don’t.

Methinks I shall try this whole sleep thing again.  Here’s hoping I don’t feel like complete crap when I wake up in the morning.  I don’t want to use any of my sick days yet.

Christmas with a (Hole)Punch

I finally started my Christmas present creating this weekend.  I’ve been getting lots of great ideas from Paper-Source, and Krystal gave me the hole punches we used for her wedding back in April as Christmas presents!  Let’s just say I used the CRAP out of them this weekend…

Better to spend time than money!

First trial run = buy glue sticks(Sorry it’s blurry & dark – I used my phone)


So yeah, my desk is going to be a littered mess for the next few weeks…

…but I figure it’ll be worth the money saved on wrapping paper, and time well spent on trying to further develop my desires to craft like a madwoman.  I’ll either be crazy by the time Christmas comes, or I’ll have lots of lovely envelopes of photos & photo discs to give out to my loved ones.  Yay.

Christmastime is (almost) here

As I’ve said in some of my previous posts, I’m trying to save money this holiday season, so I have been taking photos of family as presents.  I made some time last night to start on Cici & Nick’s Christmas card (which Cici has asked me to make over the past couple of years).  I’ve never really been happy with the designs I’ve done for them in the past since they were all done in a rush, but I think I’ve finally made something that I can be more proud of for them.

Merry Happy

Photo Taken in Discovery Green Park - Houston, TX


Since they decided to not take any photos in “Christmassy” clothes, I was worried that their card wouldn’t look festive enough, but then I stumbled upon  I found a LOT of lovely Indie inspired Christmas and holiday cards on that site, so I was inspired to create something with the photos I had of them from the park.  I think it turned out alright, but I’m worried about printing.  I’ll probably have to reconfigure the size of the photo so that the text doesn’t get cut off from the edges, BUT that would completely ruin the composition since I relied heavily on the placement of the lines within the squares and rectangles on the colorful background as design elements.

We shall see.  I hope they like it!

I Miss Using My Hands

Like most of us these days, I am so spoiled by the convenience of the computer.  Pretty much 99% of my work is made in Photoshop or InDesign or Illustrator, or a combination of all 3, but it’s been a LONG time until I’ve made anything by hand.  At least until this weekend.

I happened to check out my friend Jodi Hebert’s blog from Facebook the other day, and her work really inspired me to want to do more things with different media.

This weekend is Nick and my 4th year “Date-iversary” so I made him a card.  I wish I had thought of the idea sooner because the craftsmanship on it isn’t all that great, BUT I did like how my silly little drawings of a puppy, bunny and bear holding an umbrella turned out.

Happy 4 Year Date-iversary!

I enjoyed making it, and I want to get back into drawing and collage again soon.  Here’s hoping I can make some time to do so.

Cheers to being inspired and for gaining an extra hour of sleep.

Fall back!