Sending Out My Merry Mail

I just today got around to mailing my Christmas cards!

I know, I know, I'm a big time procrastinator, but I think they should all arrive before Christmas day itself, so I'm calling it a success!

I had a lot of fun making this year's cards, and they were pretty simple to do. Plus, they feature a Thanksgiving day selfie, so what's not to love about that?

I decided I wanted a couple different options, so I did half in black and white, and half in color. My only issue with them was that I could have done a better job digitizing my lettering, because they looked a little rough around the edges. I guess that's what these kinds of things are good for though, so I can learn as I go!

Technically this was also my off year (I send out cards every other year), so if you got one from me, it means you probably gave me one first, ha!

But next year will be the big year, and I already can't wait to come up with a fun design! And in case you missed it, this is what I did for my card design last year. The difference was that I used free digital graphics and fonts that were created by someone else, and this year I drew everything on my card by hand.

Sometimes I think it would be easier just to purchase and use other graphics, but I'm loving the freedom that comes with creating my own stuff to use instead. Hopefully I will just continue to improve, and next year's cards will be even better (both for my own, and in the shop!).

Have you gotten your cards out yet? Or are you a big time procrastinator like myself?

'Tis the Season: Free Desktop Wallpaper!

Tis the season my friends!

I've been working on Christmas presents the last couple of days, and I'm pleasantly surprised with how things are moving along. I might actually get things done on time!

My poor little sketchbook has been being a tad neglected lately, but once I'm past all of this business, I can focus a more on drawing and lettering.

I did do a fun little sketch last week though, some of you may have seen it on instagram (and if not, you can follow me @amybrightlydone). But it's a bit late in the game to be adding Christmas cards to my shop, so I thought I would give it away as a free desktop wallpaper!

All you have to do is right click the image, and save it to your computer. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy! 

And now I want something lemon-y...

Anyway, I hope that the holiday season is filling you more with cheer than stress. Here's to getting our to-do lists done, and enjoying time with friends and family!

Party On

I seem to have a very bad habit of letting this little blog of mine just sit and collect dust!

I'm not one of those people who can just consistently knock out posts, especially when things get busy!

And things have been especially busy around here lately. A couple weeks ago, two of my little sisters had birthdays, and we went out of town to see our Oregon family for Thanksgiving. Then with work, and a bit of procrastination, all of a sudden we're two and a half weeks from Christmas, and I'm barely starting my shopping!

Of course, the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to do a mostly home-made Christmas this year, which means that even though I did most of my shopping today, I still have to make all of said gifts.

Yeah. Wish me luck.

Anyway, it's also been weeks since I've been on here, and last I remember was that I promised to share my sister Tiffany's sweet 16!

I love, LOVE planning parties, probably more than I should. So, when she asked me if I would plan it for her, I obviously jumped at the chance!

Her favorite colors are teal and maroon, so to incorporate those colors, and the season, I thought plaid would be just the thing. So the theme was fall and plaid, even though there was snow outside at the time!

I made the cake, and I tried my hand at making my own fondant using this recipe. As far as fondant goes, I think it turned out pretty good! However, it was also my first time using fondant, and it definitely showed. They say practice makes perfect though, so I guess I'll just have to make a few more cakes!

I've been wanting an excuse to do a hot cocoa bar for years now, and I finally had the chance! This might have been my favorite thing from the party, and now I just want to do cocoa bars with every get together I have!

The birthday girl!

We also put up a make-shift photo booth in my hallway, and I edited the photos to look like strips that you would actually get from a real booth. It was a lot of fun to put on, and according to Tiffany, it was a success! And that's all that really counts :)

Next time I'm back on here, it will hopefully be to show off some of the sketches I've been working on lately, and some of the Christmas gifts I've made!

Thanks for stopping by!

A Weekend Full of Projects

This last weekend was a very productive one, in terms of hand lettering practice anyway.

I was feeling a little burnt or something with all of my shop stuff (Christmas cards!!) so I decided to shift focus and work on some personal projects instead!

My grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday (!) but they didn't want a party.We did a family reunion last summer to celebrate, but my mom thought it would be nice to send out an announcement to those family and a few friends who didn't make it.

I was pretty excited to do it, and I'm glad that I did! I ended up smoothing out some wrinkles I was having with printing and quality, and I was super happy with the result!

Since it's the gold anniversary, I gold embossed the 50 on all of the announcements, and I thought it turned out super cute!

I do have a confession to make though. The dates? Those aren't my handwriting! I got most of the way through the editing process before realizing that I hadn't done those in the interest of saving time, I used a hand written font instead. Kind of cheating, but it is still hand lettered, just not by me. (Don't worry though, it was licensed for personal use!)

The calligraphy, the 50, and the laurel leaves are all mine though. The front had what you see here, as well as a picture of my grandparents from last summer. Then the back was a black and white photo of them on their wedding day! I won't be showing those though, because they don't really want their photos all over the internet.

Then, I drew up a quick invitation for my little sister's birthday party! She put me in charge of planning (and oh man am I having fun with that!) and so I decided to do something fun and informal for her to pass out to friends.

I have always liked the look of this kind of lettering, where everything is filling a set space, and all of the word shapes play off of each other. I never tried it before, because it seemed too daunting, but I'm glad I gave it a shot! I really liked the result, and so did she! I only kept one for myself, but I actually printed it in three different colors, fitting in the party's theme.

I may go ahead and share her party here down the road, if it turns out as good as I'm picturing! And maybe even if it doesn't.

Now that I had a solid weekend, and I'm feeling a little refreshed from some new projects, it's back to those Christmas cards! I'm really feeling the time ticking for those, so I should have some things listed for sale in the next couple days.

Happy Monday everyone, here's to a great start to our work week! Thanks for stopping by!

Slow Progress

My goal this week was to finalize Christmas card designs, and get them up in the shop.

Now it's Friday, and if you look, there are no Christmas cards there.

I've been running into a bunch of different problems. Apparently no store in a 30 mile radius of me sells the weight of card stock I need, so that's a pretty big one. And I've just had too much on my plate!

Hopefully though, I will have some stuff ready by the beginning of next week, and I have some stuff that is almost ready, aside from a little tweaking. One new card that I'm really excited about will be available as a digital option, meaning that you send me a picture you want, I will customize it with your family's name (s) and then send it back to you to print where ever you'd like!

This is how it would look as my card. It needs a little adjusting, but hopefully it will be ready to offer soon!



The backer option will work best for those people printing at home, or somewhere like Costco, but you would also be able to print just the front as a glossy photo, for those people who don't want to spend as much.

One thing I'm learning while doing all of this, is even as stressed I've been the last few days, I still love what I'm doing! I guess that means I should keep doing it ;)

Happy Friday everyone, I hope you all have a great weekend!

Ho Ho Ho

I'm feeling very festive and Christmas-y these days.

I know it's a bit early, but one thing I've learned recently, is that as a producer of merchandise, you need to have holiday stuff ready way earlier than the actual holiday!

I think this is especially the case with Christmas cards, since most people probably get a jump on those pretty far in advance. Which means I'm already feeling behind on those, and I'm giving myself until the end of this week to get some of those up and in the shop!

I'm trucking right along though, and I have one design almost finalized. What do you guys think?

It's quite a bit different and more colorful than my other cards, but I really like it. Hopefully other people will too.

Now I suppose it's time to get back to it, and luckily I've been rocking Christmas carols all day to help me get in the mood! 

So please, keep an eye out this week if you're looking for Christmas cards, and don't forget that the code OPENING2014 is still good for 25% off in my shop until next week! 

Etsy Shop Opening!

It's here! My Etsy shop is up and running right now!

I still have more items that I'll be listing as the week goes on, but I have several up now, and ready available for purchase.

I'm so excited, and I worked so hard on this the last few months. I can't wait to see where this new venture takes me!

Here are a few of the things I have listed.

And as a thank you for all the support you guys have been giving me, I'm giving you all 25% off anything in the shop for the next two weeks! Just use the code OPENING2014 at checkout.

And check back soon, because I'll be listing Christmas and holiday cards in the near future!

Just Like I Promised

Ok guys, here it is!

Last week I told you all that if I reached 100+ likes on my Facebook page, I would give away a free printable here on the blog! You all blew me away by helping me out, and within a few days I reached that goal. Thank you all so much for that!

I worked really hard on this, and I hope it's the first of many free printables I offer here for all of my awesome friends and followers of Brightly Done!

So, without further ado!

I have always wanted to do a chalkboard printable, so this seemed like the perfect time to give it a shot! And since it's almost November, I wanted to share something that could be Thanksgiving themed.

It's an 8x10 print, once you trim off the excess, and you can print it in your own home, or send it to somewhere like Staples to print it very inexpensively.

I think it looks the most realistic when it's framed without glass, so it keeps that matte look, but I'm sure that no matter how you do it will work.

For myself, I put it in a large gold frame (without the glass), and I love it!

For this printable, I did all of the lettering and illustration myself, but in the interest of saving time, I did get the chalkboard background here.

I hope you all like it, and feel free to share with your family and friends! However, it cannot be sold or used for commercial use.

Thank you all for stopping by, and don't forget, my Etsy shop is still scheduled to open this Saturday, November 1st! I hope that if you like this printable, that you'll check it out :)

Happy printing friends!

The Sweetest Little Project

Earlier this fall I got the chance to work on a very special project for a very special friend of mine!

One of my best friends had a baby girl at the end of August, and as a gift to her, I designed her baby announcements! It was so much fun to do, and with an adorable little face gracing the front, I figured it would be impossible for them not to turn out. 

So here is my first sneak peak of some of what I've been working these past few months!

Isn't she just precious? 

I designed the whole layout of the announcement. I used a combination of hand lettering and calligraphy for the information and I also illustrated the flower details. The photo was taken by another good friend of ours, Lisa from Lisa Eells Photography.

I was really happy with how it turned out, and more importantly, so was my friend!

Well, there you have it, my first big hand lettered project. Thank you all for stopping by, and I hope you have a fantastic day! 

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Phase One: Blog Design

Ta-da! Welcome to phase one of my new adventure!

As you can see, this is no longer Fabulously Ordinary....

Welcome to Brightly Done, which is where I will showcase some of my new projects and ideas. This will also serve as my hub and main website for my new business venture!

On November first, I will be opening up my new Etsy shop, and begin selling some products that I've been working on for the last few months.

I am so beyond excited, and during the next couple of weeks I'll be showing some sneak peaks of some of the items I'll be selling.

I also have a few things to tweak here and there on my new blog design, so bear with me if things get a little wacky for the next few days. But overall, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out!

Thanks for stopping by guys! I'm so excited to be sharing this new adventure with you :)

It's Our Anniversary Again!

Well, actually yesterday was.

But I feel like I haven't really blogged much since I wrote about our last anniversary!

This year marks six years since we've been married. We've had our bumps along the road,like everyone does, but we all know that bumps just make you stronger.

I love planning fun things for us to do, and I love to go all out. It works really well, because there's not much I enjoy more than planning an event (whether it's a party, vacation, or date night), and watching an idea unfold is almost as exciting to me as the actual occasion!

This year, I wanted to do a picnic, even though that's similar to what we did last year. This time though, I wanted to go somewhere special, instead of staying at home.

Since our move to Idaho, we have loved spending time in Boise. One thing that we haven't gotten to do yet though, was hike in the foothills. I decided to find the spot with the best views, and go there to have a picnic, so off to Tablerock we went!

I managed to keep it a surprise until we got to the trail head, and we had a bunch of goodies packed in back packs to take up the hill.

Now, I figure that I'm in pretty decent shape. I work out and go to the gym pretty regularly, and I didn't think the hill would be any big deal. Oh, so it takes most people an hour to climb to the top? Pshhh, well we would probably do it in 45 minutes, tops!


Let's just say, that trail knocked me down a couple pegs....

Anyway, after about an hour (and a whole lot of stops for rest), we made it to the top. Right in time to catch the sunset! The views were stunning, and it was definitely worth the climb.

Yes, this is his annoyed face, in case you were wondering ;) he doesn't like pictures

After we watched the sun go down, with all of the other sunset chasers and their cameras, we found a quieter spot nearby and set up our picnic. I went with all the works! Italian themed, sandwiches, chocolate, strawberries, get the gist.

And we watched as it got darker and darker, and the lights of Boise glowed brighter and brighter.

It was such a nice, relaxing dinner, even if it took so much work to get there! It's definitely somewhere we would like to go again.

I would recommend it to anyone, because you really can't beat the view. One bit of advice though: if you're coming down after dark, like we were, don't forget to bring a flashlight that works! It's a challenging trek when you can't see where you're going. Ooops!

Now, I'm going to continue to lay around and rest my sore muscles, because the gym is going to come too soon! Enjoy this last evening of the weekend!

Just a Few Essentials

Can you feel that hint of fall in the air??

It's only supposed to be in the mid seventies today where I live, and I couldn't be happier!

September is one of my favorite months, and I always feel so refreshed when the weather starts to cool down. And my fall cravings are in full swing!

I hope you all had a great labor day weekend. We got to go out of town to see some friends and family, and we had a blast! It was a busy and full weekend, but we enjoyed it all.

But, I am horrible at taking photos of anything fun and exciting I do, so instead, I thought I'd share some of my essential items for fall that I have been loving lately!

1. I am so in love with this scarf from Forever 21. I get compliments all the time on it, and I think it may just be my new favorite. For those who know how many scarves I own, to own the #1 spot is a pretty big feat ;) It appears to be sold out online, but you might be able to luck out and find one in a store.

2. I just bought this purple orchid gel polish, and it's fantastic! Depending on the light, it almost looks navy blue. I love using my gel. It lasts so much better than regular nail polish, and the Sensationail kit is really affordable!

3. Once the weather starts cooling even a little, I'm all about my chai! It's like fall and Christmas all wrapped up in a bow! Bigelow Chai is the brand I typically use at home, but I also really like Oregon Chai. I really want to try out this Maharaja Chai from Teavana though, so I may splurge on some the next time I go to the mall.

4. My favorite oil for my hair has to be coconut, hands down. It just makes my hair so soft! I will put a tiny bit when I'm styling, or anytime I feel my ends are being a little dry. And the night before I wash my hair, I'll but a lot in and let it soak overnight! Plus, it smells like coconut, which is awesome. Spectrum has a hair and body coconut oil, but I just use this one, which you can get from the grocery store. Whatever kind you use though, make sure you get the unrefined kind!

Happy hump day everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

The Daily Grind

Every morning, one of the first things I do is literally grind my coffee! It makes such an amazing cup of coffee, that it's totally worth the extra cost.

But even more than I love whole bean coffee, I love using my Chemex. (Even though, really, they go hand in hand.)

I got it for Christmas last year, and it's probably one of my favorite gifts ever. In case you're wondering, a Chemex is a manual coffee maker. Meaning, it takes a little more work than just using an electric one.

Being the lazy person that I am, I kind of figured that I would stop using it regularly once the novelty of it wore off, but I haven't! Our electric coffee maker would never get used if Dane didn't use it, and I would be fine with just getting rid of it.

Every morning I measure out and boil my water, measure out my beans and grind them, and stand there and make my coffee. Something about it must be cathartic to me, because it never gets old!

If you want to see an example of what using a Chemex is like, check out this brew guide by my friend Molly and her husband of Terminus Coffee Co.

A Chemex Brew Guide from Photography by David L Clark on Vimeo.

Hope you guys have a happy Monday!

My Lovely Mama

Today is my mama's birthday!

She's coming over with my sisters for lunch today, and I'm so excited to give her gift to her! She is one of those people who are so easy to buy for. She always puts everyone else's wants and needs before her own, so I love getting to give her something that I know she's been eyeing for a while.

I also like to go all out with my wrapping too!

Obviously my theme was paper doilies, and I may start putting them on everything now!

Happy birthday to my wonderful, beautiful mama, and happy Friday to all of you!

What's in a Name?

This post will be a little bit of a hint as to what I've been working on lately. But just a little!

I don't know if many of you remember the facebook poll I took, asking your thoughts about some new names. Well, I had narrowed it down, and things have been working out great.

Then I started laying out a new blog design, and now I don't love it.

I can't quite put my finger on it, but I know that I definitely need to go back to the drawing board. I'm a little bit stuck, because what I thought I wanted for my color scheme, isn't turning out like I wanted, but I feel like what I do want, won't work with my name. I am determined not to change it, but I hope I can decide on some color soon! But, I think this is a case of getting too focused on something, and I probably need to take a step back for a bit, and it will give me some better perspective (ha ha, see what I did there?).

The good news is, I have decided on a date for my big reveal!

As of right now, November 1st is the day I have set to show you all exactly what I've been working on. That might seem like a long time still, but for me, it feels just right. Long enough to do everything I need to (with room for issues like the one above) while short enough to be a little challenging and keep me moving forward with good progression.

I've discovered that things like this can take a lot of time!

On a completely unrelated note, check out this *crazy beetle!

I don't think I've ever seen one like this, and he was out on my front porch last night. He's totally creepy, but in an awesome way (but not like spiders, those things are NOT awesome), so I had to catch him. I will probably let him go soon, but I also kind of want to wait for him to kick the bucket and use him to start a bug collection!

Too much? Maybe. Either way, he's very cool.

*I looked him up, and I believe he's a California Prionus beetle

Late-Night Munchies

You know those fast food chains that are always targeting their late night hours toward stoners? Well, turns out that they also appeal to bored insomniacs!

So now that I've polished off some extremely terrible (but delicious) food, how about some eye candy?

Can you tell that I'm ready for fall??

Also, for any fellow insomniacs, did you know that Kathy Lee and Hoda come on crazy late at night?! I may never go to bed at a decent hour again ;)


It has just been one of those days!

Well, at least part of the day anyway.

You know that major change to the blog I was talking about the other day? Well, things have been slowly trucking in the right direction, but I've hit a bit of a roadblock!

Now, I'm not spilling the beans just yet. There will be a big reveal (hopefully) in the near future! But, I've hit a wall, and in frustration I just have to vent to someone. With dear husband still at work, I figured a good option would be YOU, my dear readers :)

I'm not super great at techy, computer stuff, and I feel like it takes me forever to learn new programs and such. Unfortunately, this new venture I'm starting requires a lot more in depth knowledge of computers than I realized! Things had been going along pretty well, but today I've come to a halt.

Imagine having a question, about something fairly complicated, and trying to read an article full of technical terms and mumbo jumbo. Imagine trying to decipher all of these new terms and concepts out of this article, and then multiply that article by twenty! Yes, twenty. Meaning that I've read that many (at least!) and still haven't found an answer to my question. In fact, I think my question multiplied into several!

It's enough to make me literally want to scream bloody murder! And maybe pull my hair out too, for good measure.

The funny story is, in an attempt to take a breather and a step back, I thought I'd get out an old knitting project that I haven't worked on since I moved to Idaho. It's been sounding like a lot of fun lately, and with summer drawing nearer to a close, I always get in a cozy, curl-up-and-do-some-knitting, kind of mood.

Well, I got a couple rows in, and realized I had started out wrong, and therefore would have to take out and re-do said rows....

And that, my friends, is how I ended up here. When things get frustrating, I've found a great way to clear my head and calm my nerves is to write about them!

My day hasn't been all bad though. In fact, most of it was great! I woke up to rain and cloudy skies (yay fall-ish weather!) and made a delicious batch of banana bread. Nothing beats the smell of fresh baked, spiced goods, in my opinion. Then my bff came over for a coffee date and we spent all morning and afternoon hanging out. I'm thinking she should have stayed longer, and then I wouldn't have had the chance to spiral into a ball of stress! ;)

What do you know, though? I got to the end of this story, and I'm feeling loads better! The gung-ho side of me wants to jump right back into that stupid technical garbage, but the fact that I'm still referring to it as garbage makes me think it wouldn't be a great idea.

So here I'm off to find something else to settle these nerves with, like maybe a nap!

Happy Hump Day friends!

It's Been 26 Days......

....since the last time I posted anything to facebook!

I joined the challenge 99 Days of Freedom, which is basically just logging off of facebook for 99 days. Now, I will admit that I have logged on twice since then, once as a favor to a friend, and once to message someone for job info. I didn't check my notifications, or scroll through my feed, so I still feel like I'm holding up to the rules pretty well!

And technically, posting this to my blog's page is also cheating, but for me it was less about the posting, and more about what I was seeing on my newsfeed. Don't get me wrong though! Most of the stuff I saw from my friends was great. I didn't have a problem with "drama" or anything like that, but it was other things.

Before I saw this campaign, I was already feeling like I needed a break. I was way too addicted, and I could tell it was making me unhappy. The first thing I did every day was get online, and I was constantly on it throughout the day. The real clincher though, was all of the trending topics and news articles people shared. I have been avoiding watching the news and going to news sites for a long time now, so when this stuff started showing up more and more on facebook, it was really bringing me down.

I know the obvious thing would be just not to read the kind of stuff that bothers me, but unfortunately I don't seem to have that control. I would get sucked into these articles of politics and controversy, and things that I don't agree with, and I would just keep reading. One article would lead to another and then another, and I would end up mad or irritated or down, just because I couldn't resist. And it got to the point where facebook was just another media hub that I wanted to avoid.

But I have missed sharing things with people! That has been the thing I have wanted to do the most. So, this is how I'm going to continue to do that, without having to see all of the stuff I don't want to. Eventually I will start logging back on again to see what all of my friends and family are up to though, and hopefully I will have the self control not to let my facebook take over my life again!

Because I have to say, I feel like I am happier without it :)

In regards to social media as a whole though, I didn't give up on everything! I'm still on pinterest, and I have an instagram account as well! I couldn't just go cold turkey on it all at once now could I? ;)

Now, what have I just been dying to share lately? Well, just summer as usual!

I have been going to concerts and camping trips, and enjoying the sun and my family! Like I mentioned in my last post, things have changed a lot around these parts. We moved from Southern Oregon to the Boise area of Idaho last spring, which is where I grew up and most of my family lives. I've been having such a great time seeing my parents and sisters whenever I want, plus my best friend and her adorable little boy.

It's most likely just a temporary move, only for a few years, while my husband works over here, but I plan on making the most of it while we're here!

I also bought a small vintage camping trailer to renovate, and while I haven't gotten as far as I had hoped I would by this time, I'm still super excited about it. I want to try to post regular updates as I make some more progress on her, and I will be sure to share lots of pictures as she comes along! (Btw, she is named Gloria)

I'm also in the process of working on a major change to this little old blog of mine......

.....but I'm going to be keeping that secret for a little while longer still ;)

So stick around (and I'll try too as well), and I will be sharing more about that in the future!

Happy Hump Day everyone, and I'll see you next time!


Such a Slacker...

Oh man guys....

I can't believe how long it's been since I've written anything on this little ol' blog of mine!

Sometimes, I feel like I've just written it off, and that I probably should just delete it, because who wants to read a blog when it's May and the last post was written in December?

But then, the persistence (and pack rat) in me, refuses to give it up quite yet. So, here I am, checking in after a loooong absence!

I can't promise that I'll be back again soon, but I also can't say that I won't be back in a few days. I do really miss writing, and having this little outlet. But. Honestly, I don't miss the whole "blogging" thing. Those of you who blog will know what I'm talking about.

The advertising, the putting oneself out there on every media platform. Trying to connect with people as a way to gain readership. Most bloggers do this, and I tried my hand at it for a while. The truth is, I just didn't enjoy it! I got so burnt out. I love reading other blogs, but there are so many out there, and trying to keep up, reading and commenting, and posting, and just got to be too much.

I was spending too much of my time online, and not enough in my real life, and eventually it caught up to me.

So, from now on, I will write when the urge strikes, or not at all. And I welcome comments and dialogue from my readers! But, it won't be the main reason for my writing. My pictures won't be perfect (if there are any), and I won't spend all of my time trying to cultivate relationships with people online, just to get a huge "fan base."

If you want to talk, and be friends, great! If you like my content, and want to read along, I really appreciate it. But I don't think I'm cut out to be a blogger, the way bloggers are supposed to be these days. I just don't have it in me ;)

Wow, this was not even the way I intended for this post to go when I started writing! I guess I really needed to get that off my chest!

I suppose as a consolation, I will have to be back soon to write about what I meant to in the first place, and that is ALL OF THE CHANGES that have taken place in my life since the last time I was around here. You know, things like a big move, and a new job, and yada yada yada...

Now I'm going to go bake some brownies. I guess I must be more of a blogger than I thought, because everyone knows that any blogger worth her salt is going to be at home baking on a Friday night! ;)

So, thank you to those of you who stuck it out through this ramble-y piece, and I hope you'll be back next time! Goodnight!

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