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January 7, 2012 / Pithy Things

Goodbye.

Pithy Things is going out of business. OK it’s not an actual business, just one of a handful of blogs I’ve started, dropped, started again, dropped again, well you get the idea. Plus it never really had any direction.

Anyway – I am moving over to amandamwebster.com – which has been my portfolio site as a graphic designer. But I never give that website out to people, which I recently realized is because I don’t actually want people to hire me (I will expand on that later). So, I am taking down all my work and revising the site into something totally different.

I’ve spent a lot of time this past year thinking about my professional goals as a graphic artist. What I really want for myself and how to get there. amandamwebster.com will be a place for you to join me on my journey. I figure that instead of pestering my husband with all my questions, hopes, and fears about my future as a graphic artist, I will pester all of you! Of course you have the option to pay attention or not – my husband doesn’t get that luxury 😉

So, you have exactly 2 days to stalk my portfolio site as is, if you please. After that, it will all be gone. And no, I am not taking on new clients.

My first post on the new site will be up on Monday. See you then.

January 5, 2012 / Pithy Things

Lions, Tigers, and Bears!

It’s time for me to learn Illustrator. As a loyal Photoshop user, I’ve been known to cringe at the squeaky clean feel of vector art. I like art to be a little rough around the edges; to have character and texture; to be touchable. Vectors by nature are crisp, clean and smooth…the opposite of everything I’m drawn to. So I’ve avoided really diving into Illustrator. But alas, it’s time. I give in. Vectors are taking over the world (OK maybe too dramatic, but they are what people want these days). So I opened up Illustrator, pulled out my pen tablet skills and had a little fun. It’s a bit challenging for me, which I appreciate. It’s like I’m accessing part of my brain that’s been lying dormant, just waiting for me to use the pen tool. Anyway, enough chatter…here are some of my first attempts at real vector art. Cute, simple, fun.

November 17, 2011 / Pithy Things

Fetch Makes Everything Better.

Yesterday was a big day for my sister-in-law. It’s not my place to go into all the details, but she took an exciting, terrifying and brave step towards a better life for herself. And I couldn’t be more happy for her. My wish is that she takes plenty of time to carve out a new path that brings her true happiness.

Best lesson of the day? Nothing cuts through tension and uncertainty better than a tail-wagging, floppy puppy eagerly awaiting the next game of Fetch.

November 13, 2011 / Pithy Things

Growing Up

I turned 29 on Friday. No, not the dreaded 3-0 yet, but so much closer. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities. Specifically, how they’ve changed over the years. When I was younger, my future was one big adventure after another. I was going to travel the world, join the Peace Corps, backpack across Europe. I was going to be the kind of person with fascinating stories and a GRAND life. I was going to be important.

I never did those things.

Sure, I’ve traveled. I’ve been to France, England, China, oh, and Canada of course. I’ve had adventures (READ: cross-country move to New York City on a whim).

But I’ve also realized (and slowly come to accept) that the life I thought I’d have was never meant for me. I was made for something simpler and quieter.

Recently, I’ve had several conversations which have forced me to think about the next chapter in my life. They go something like this:

FRIEND: “When I can save enough money, I can’t wait to see the world.”

ME: “When I save enough, all I can think about is buying a house, a new(er) car and starting a family.”

Then comes a few seconds of lingering awkwardness as we both sort out our differences. Because their goals used to be mine, too. And sometimes I still wish they were. Because somewhere in the back of my mind I want to live in my glamorous fantasy world.

But then I remember how happy I am. Right now. I have everything I need and more than I ever wanted. I have an amazing husband, a dog who constantly makes me laugh (plus 2 cats who mostly take up space but sometimes do really funny things), a community of fabulous people, and a home I truly enjoy spending time in.

I will still have adventures. I will still be important. But, instead of flying to Africa to SAVE THE WORLD, I’ll be building a future I never expected to have with a family I can’t imagine living without.

My next GRAND adventure will be another cross-country move back to my home town. But this time it won’t be just me and 2 suitcases. I will be accompanied my husband, 3 animals and 6 years worth of accumulated belongings. Yes, we are hiring movers.

August 5, 2011 / Pithy Things

Adventures in Business – A New Direction

Hey Everyone,

So I know I haven’t been around much lately. I haven’t added any new jewelry to my etsy site in weeks. But I’ve got good reason.

First of all, I fell in love with jewelry making so much that I decided to enroll in some silversmithing classes. For the last several weeks, I’ve been learning how to melt metal, set stones, solder, file, sand, and polish.

But I’ve also realized that if I really want to pursue jewelry, it is going to take a LOT of time, money and effort to build my shop and my skillset to a point where I can really be successful at it.

So, I needed an alternate way to fund this dream. Freelancing only helps so much when it comes in waves (plus I’ve got bills to pay). And it’s not something I want to do forever anyway. I consider it more of a back-up plan than anything else. But what to do?

Well, my dad recently asked me to do some design work for his new business selling personalized growth charts. While I was working on some of his pieces, I suddenly had an idea. I could create digital silhouette portraits using my vast collection of textures and patterns I’ve accumulated over the years.

Kinderling: Modern Portraits for Modern FamiliesLuckily, I had a birthday party for a 1-year-old little girl coming up to test out my idea. Instead of buying her a toy that she would likely receive duplicates of at the party and would probably never really cherish, I made a portrait for her parents.

It was a huge success. They loved it and so did everyone else at the party. I knew I was on to something. I did a few more portraits (mostly pet portraits for all my Pet Parent friends) and realized that it would be a relatively low-cost endeavor to turn this into a real business.

For the next week or two, I spent a good deal of time developing various portrait designs for people to choose from and began work on my website. I filed for a business certificate and got my Federal Tax ID.

This time, I want to do it right. I believe in this enough to declare it a real, living, business.

My portraits are unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere. They are textural, stylish and uniquely personal. You choose the design, upload the photo and voila! In a couple weeks time you receive a stunning portrait of your little ones to proudly display on your walls!

So, come on and check it out: www.kinderling.com
If you like it, please share it with your friends!

Kinderling: Modern Portraits for Modern Families

June 13, 2011 / Pithy Things

It’s not you. It’s me.

A whole world is opening up to me that I never knew existed. Every day I’m learning more about making jewelry. With so many techniques and possible outcomes, it’s a bit overwhelming at times. But I’m keeping at it…which, for me, is progress.

My whole life, I’ve been the kind of person who jumps into some new creative outlet, instantly falls in love, and then, just as quickly, loses interest and moves on. The only exception was graphic design, but then again, that’s what I’ve been getting paid to do for the last 5 years. It was a love born out of necessity.

Otherwise, I have artistic ADD. I blame my father. He’s the same way. I hope my sister learns the follow through that neither of us ever did. I can’t even count the number of miscellaneous supplies that lay around the apartment only to see sporadic love from me.

I don’t want to jinx myself by telling you that this whole jewelry thing feels different. So I won’t. But I will say this: at this very moment in my life story, I am entirely open to a drastic change. My eyes and my body are screaming at me to get away from the computer and to get my hands dirty. I’m afraid my love affair with Graphic Design may be coming to an end.

Dear Graphic Design,
You’ve been good to me over the years, but I think I need a break. It’s not you. It’s me. I’ll call you. I promise.

Love,
Me

And now I will share some of my most favorite jewelry designers that I have recently discovered who inspire me like crazy:

Rachel Pfeffer

This one gets special mention because she made my wedding band. Yep, that’s right. Top left pictured here. I get to wear it every day and I LOVE it. Find her on etsy here: luckyduct.etsy.com

Tryst by Kerry

I love her colorful nature-inspired designs.
Find her on etsy here:  trystbykerry.etsy.com

Simone Walsh

Simone Walsh is an Australian designer and I can’t get over how gorgeous her etched silver is. Look at those beautiful patterns. I really really REALLY want to learn how to do that! Find her here: www.simonewalsh.com

And finally…

Husband and wife duo, Polina and Sergey at Beauty Spot

Sweet. That’s all I have to say. I just adore these sweet little pieces. Find them on etsy here: www.beautyspot.etsy.com

Okay folks. That’s all for now. Thanks for tuning in!

June 8, 2011 / Pithy Things

Plate Your Wall

Recently, I’ve been totally obsessed with vintage plates. I was initially inspired by this post from Apartment Therapy with the idea of using plates as wall art. Now, I find myself scanning the shelves of Goodwill for unusual or unique homeless plates. Of course, I also stalk etsy as well. I am especially drawn to the bold colors and imagery of the Scandinavian and Eastern European designs. Anyway, here are some of my recent plate finds (click the image for the listing):

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