Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Some Fun and Useful Apps

I've been making use of some apps and sites lately that I thought you guys might also enjoy, so here's a quick summary of each...
Coffitivity - ambient coffee shop sounds that help boost creativity
Coffitivity is a site that literally just plays ambient coffee shop sounds for you to listen to. Why would you want this? They've got some research that shows that it's difficult to be creative when it's too quiet and too much noise isn't great either, but the level of noise found in an average coffee shop actually helps boost creativity! Pretty interesting, right? Great if you work from home but also great if the sounds in your office aren't doing it for you. Give it a try

Lift - an app that helps you reach your goals
Lift is such an awesome concept: it lets you set goals and then tracks them for you, with the added element of community for motivation. You can select a shared goal that others are following, or create your own. Everyday you go on and tick off what you've done and see your track record so far, which makes it kinda satisfying. My only problem with this is that I forget to actually go on and tick stuff off! There's no Android app yet but the web version works pretty well on the phone browser.
Repost - helps you syndicate your blog content
Ever found a really good article or blog post and wanted to repost the entire thing, but couldn't for obvious courtesy and potential legal reasons? Now you can: repost works as a kind of content syndicator and makes your content available to share, and when people share it your branding and advertising ,etc gets shared too. So it's kind of like guest posting on other blogs or sites and can help gain exposure and readership. I've got it installed on my blog if you have a peek at the bottom right of each post. I came across this via my friend Anneke from the awesome blog, The Joy of Unemployment.  

Happier - a social network aimed at focussing on positivity
And last but not least and pretty apt, is a site called Happier! I only just discovered it yesterday so my experience with it is pretty limited, but from what I see, I really like it! It's such a great idea. The general gist is that you only share happy stuff on there, which you can make private or public. I just love it, it's so in line with what I'm trying to do: Happier was inspired by research that shows focusing on the positive and sharing good things with people you care about makes you happier, healthier and more productive.” Check out the science behind it here. Unfortunately I think this may just be another one that I forget to actually do, but I want to try and keep it up. It's also got a community aspect if you make your moments public, so when people "like" your post, it says "You made So-and-so smile"... how nice! :) Try it out and join me.

Have you come across any cool apps or sites that you're loving lately? Please share!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Dancing Cat

The Dancing Cat - awesome cat illustrations by Jamie Shelman
We are way overdue for some cat-ness on here! The Dancing Cat is the name of the Etsy store run by Jamie and Tom from Baltimore, US, who create these hilarious cat illustrations. The quote that they use describes their work perfectly: “Brevity is the essence of wit.”
The Dancing Cat - awesome cat illustrations by Jamie Shelman
The Dancing Cat - awesome cat illustrations by Jamie Shelman
The Dancing Cat - awesome cat illustrations by Jamie Shelman
The Dancing Cat - awesome cat illustrations by Jamie Shelman
Check out more on their Etsy store.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

August Calendar Free Printable Download!

August Calendar Free Printable Download!
Seriously, guys... did July even actually happen? I feel like I missed it! Anyway, onwards and upwards to August we go, and here's your free printable calendar to get yourself organised.
I have another calendar idea with a more specific goal that I can't wait to share with you once it's ready. Watch this space!
Here's to a happy and productive August!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

DIY Mini Succulent Gardens

I'm absolutely loving these little mini succulent garden DIYs! I'm crazy about all things green and growing, and the great thing about these is that you can keep them on your desk at work on anywhere else, really. Portable, tiny and all pretty simple! Check 'em out...
DIY Mini Succulent Gardens - in a handmade mini geometric clay pot!
DIY Mini Succulent Gardens - in old bottle corks!
DIY Mini Succulent Gardens - in an old tin!
Easy as one, two, three! A bit of greenery always adds such a great feel to any space. Can't wait to try these!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Logo Design for Nadia van der Mescht

Logo Design and Rebrand for Durban creative, Nadia van der Mescht
Hi there! Today I'm taking you through a project I worked on a while ago. If you're in a similar position, it always helps to get some background info on the process and what to expect, so if you're needing new branding, this is for you!

Nadia van der Mescht is a popular local creative consultant and blogger, as well as a friend and colleague of mine. Since first naming her company several years ago her services and offerings had changed and grown, and so her new branding needed an update to align with that. I was lucky enough to be chosen to design her new logo when she rebranded her company a few months ago. 

Logo design is a pretty involved process. It's not about just getting a design that you think looks nice, but takes into account all aspects of your business and brand as a whole. Things like the types of customers you're aiming to attract, where your logo will mostly be seen or used, who your competitors are, and so much more. When beginning a new logo design, I usually have a chat and go through a list of questions to better understand the brand as well as the person I'm working with. I find his often also helps you get a clearer idea of what you're actually aiming towards as well. 
Logo Design and Rebrand for Durban creative, Nadia van der Mescht
After the initial chat and then research I start with some rough sketches and play around with ideas. I love keeping my clients very involved in the process along the way to make sure that the end result is exactly what they want and need, so there's a bit of back and forth during this stage. Above you'll see some of the many different versions Nadia's logo went through before it got to the final product.
After lots of back and forth and tweaking here and there to make sure it was just right, we came up with the final logo design below. As part of her branding pack, I also provided Nadia with the scallop border pattern and polka dot pattern to use on her products going forward to maintain her brand identity throughout, and business cards with her new branding.
Logo Design and Rebrand for Durban creative, Nadia van der Mescht
It was such a pleasure working with Nadia because we have tastes that are similar yet different. She had a clear goal in her mind for what she wanted and that was what we worked towards. She's a super talented, creative person and her services include working with creative businesses to help them grow, valuable creative business workshops, and so much more. Plus, she's just a lovely person to work with! Find out more on her blog

Have a look at another logo design I worked on here

Monday, 22 July 2013

Watercolour Doodle

Watercolour pattern doodle - freelance illustration and graphic design in Durban
Hope you had a lovely weekend! I decided to have a real weekend for once and just chilled without work, blogging or too much computer time and more sleep, book-reading and doodling time. It was great! Here's a little watercolour doodle I did that I quite like. Will probably feature on some stationery products soon! What do you think?

Last week's posts at a glance

Handmade, handprinted clothing; Custom monogram illustration giveaway; new products - wedding stationery!
Catch up on anything you may have missed last week!
Beautiful, arty handmade and handprinted clothing
Giveaway! A custom monogram illustration
New products! Semi-custom wedding stationery available now on my Hello Pretty store

Thursday, 18 July 2013

WIN an Original Custom Monogram Illustration!

Custom monogram illustration by Happiness is... (Durban freelance illustrator and graphic designer)
In case you missed it on Facebook or Twitter, Megan from The Sun House blog did a cool little interview with me and is running a giveaway of an original custom monogram illustration like this one valued at R300! Enter on her blog :)
Custom monogram illustration by Happiness is... (Durban freelance illustrator and graphic designer)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Happiness is... Ready-Made Semi-Custom Wedding Stationery

Hi peeps! I'm very excited to launch something I've been wanting to do for a while now - ready made wedding stationery! This is for you if you want something original and fun for your wedding, but are on a budget. 
Durban-based wedding stationery - hand lettering and original illustrations
Options: There are three options in each set. The first gives you just the invitation and save the date, the second gives you the set as show in the image with options to swop certain elements, and the third is a custom option that allows you to make any other customisations you may need, i.e. add in any other elements you'd like to make a larger set or make changes to the layout, etc.

How it works:
1  You order the option you'd like on my Hello Pretty store (except for the third custom option where you'd need to contact me to discuss).
2  I'll contact you to get your wording and any other customisations.
3  I'll make the adjustments to the design and email you the print-ready files, which you can then take to a printer
... and that's it! All done quicker than you can say “I do”.
Durban-based wedding stationery - hand lettering and original illustrations
I'll be adding more design options as often as I can, but I'll probably update you about that here. What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 
Of course if you'de prefer a completely custom stationery set, you can get in touch and I'd be happy to do that for you :)

P.S. If you missed it yesterday, you can win a custom Happiness is... monogram illustration valued at R200 on The Sun House blog!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Handprinted Clothing by People Like Art

Handmade, handprinted clothing by People Like Art
People Like Art is the name of a clothing line created by Shannon Lea from Nashville, Tennessee. I love that it's all handmade and handprinted using techniques like block printing, stamping, and found object printing. I really like the colours and patterns, and that each item is slightly different and unique. Yay for handmade!
Handmade, handprinted clothing by People Like Art
Handmade, handprinted clothing by People Like Art
Handmade, handprinted clothing by People Like Art
Handmade, handprinted clothing by People Like Art
Handmade, handprinted clothing by People Like Art
Check out the Etsy store for more!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday Quote #2

Today's quote was shared by one of my lovely readers, Shirley Erasmus, in the Postcard Happiness giveaway I ran in April. Thanks, Shirley!

Have a wonderful, whimsical, love-filled weekend!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Pop Culture Wooden Jewellery

Awesome Pop Culture Wooden Jewellery by Kate Rowland.
Kate Rowland is a designer, illustrator and jewellery maker from London. She makes these super cool wooden brooches based on her favourite movies and TV shows, including Game of Thrones, Arrested Development, Twin Peaks, and Napoleon Dynamite. I love how she's taken them and made them her own. They're just so cool!
Awesome Pop Culture Wooden Jewellery by Kate Rowland.
Awesome Pop Culture Wooden Jewellery by Kate Rowland.
Awesome Pop Culture Wooden Jewellery by Kate Rowland.
My faves from this selection are "she's filled with secrets", "there was a fish in the percolator" (I don't get either of those references since I don't watch those shows, but I just love them!) and the Twin Peaks earrings. But actually, the more I look at them, the more I want them all! Check out more and get your own at her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

It's the first of Ramadaan!

Hi peeps! Today is the first day of the Islamic month of Ramadaan and the beginning of a month of fasting for Muslims around the world. Islam follows a lunar calendar, so the month begins with the sighting of the new moon (hence the image!). I come across many people who don't know much about this, so I thought I'd share a very brief explanation (I'm a Muslim, by the way ;).
During this month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset - that means no food, drinking or smoking of any kind for that period. People are often a bit shocked and think that sounds quite hectic, but it isn't as tough as you might think. We have a meal before sunrise (basically like an early breakfast) and then break our fast at sunset, like dinner, so we're kinda just leaving out lunch and tea/coffee breaks in terms of food.
It isn't just about the fasting though, it's a very holy month and spiritual time in which we try to increase prayer, minimise sinning and focus on trying to improve ourselves spiritually. I always look forward to it, you get such a great feeling during this month and feel so much more focussed on what's important.
For me it also means no coffee-shop office spaces for a month, haha! But I'll also probably be more productive :)
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or drop me a mail.

In other news I'm hoping to release some new products very soon... If you have a wedding on the horizon, watch this space! :)

My experience as a Guest Judge

My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
A little while ago I was lucky enough to be invited to guest judge the Capsicum Culinary Studio Cook Off event to celebrate their 10th anniversary. There were ten participants, including a few celebrity chefs, first year students and guest participants from the media. On arriving the nervous energy was palpable - it must have been quite nerve-wracking for first year students to be teamed up with celebrity chefs and having to compete! Each team of two got the same set of ingredients to work with and they each had to produce a starter and a main dish in an hour and a half. The energy once they began was fantastic, and it was so great to watch them in action! I saw some interesting cooking methods I've never seen before.
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
My experience as a guest judge at the Capsicum Culinary School Cook Offs
These were some of the completed dishes, which were all presented so well and each had such interesting flavour combinations. It was such a fun experience and I loved that everyone was super friendly despite my relative lack of knowledge in this field , including my fellow (way more experienced!) judges Gunther Beissel, the South African Chefs Association KZN chair, and celebrity chef, Wynand Schoeman of Sjef!
If you hadn't heard of Capsicum before, they're the largest culinary school in South Africa and offer the most affordable accredited Professional Chef and Hospitality qualifications in SA across their six campuses. Find out more about them on their site.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Cowork, connect and create at The Sett

The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
Last week I got to check out a place called The Sett in Ridgeside Office Park, in Umhlanga (Durban). I'm so stoked that something like this has popped up here already! The Sett is a forward thinking agile workspace that caters for the movement towards more people working for themselves and collaborating with others. It basically provides an office environment for people who are not part of the same company - freelancers like me :)
Part of the idea is that instead of working from coffee shops or in isolation at home, freelancers can come work here with other like-minded people, enabling interaction and collaboration. 
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
“The Sett is an agile workspace which is set apart from the traditional office, home office or cafĂ©. We aim to create a community of people who cowork, connect and create within a quality environment which offers flexibility, convenience, value added services and other opportunities.”
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
How it works: you choose from one of their reasonable rates (daily, monthly, unlimited or one of their rooms). With this fee you get high speed  unlimited wi-fi, convenient plug points to plug in, unlimited tea & really good coffee and lunch (delicious wraps and other goodies). They have a printer, a meeting room/boardroom with all necessary technical facilities, and a workshop room. They also have coffee cards - R60 gets you six coffees, so if you just need a place to chat with a client or a spot to spend a short while, it's great. 
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
The Sett - an agile workspace in Umhlanga, Durban, perfect for freelancers.
Cowork. Connect. Create.
The Sett is created by Appletree Catalyst Agency, who also do amazing things for businesses and are a group of really interesting, progressive-thinking individuals. 
Go check it out if you're in the area, find directions and learn more about it here. They're also currently running a Groupon special, check it out here!
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