We’re super excited to share this post with you. (That’s right, you’re getting BOTH of us today!) This ones all about the differences between Doris and I and the tools we use day-to-day for DIY-ing/blogging/creating. You’ll get a glimpse of what we’re calling “our essentials” and maybe pick up a tool or two to use for your own!
Happy reading, friends!
His Top 10 Her Top 10
1. Macbook Pro. 1. Consultant.
2. Notebooks, Pencils & Highlighters. 2. Notebook.
3. Timecard Pro App. 3. Internet / Pinterest.
4. Illustrator / Photoshop. 4. Tape Measure / Ruler.
5. Sibling-Power! 5. Scissor.
6. Music. 6. Sewing Machine.
7. Starbucks. 7. Hand Drill.
8. Unsplash. 8. Clean Workspace.
9. Canon 60D 9. Family.
10. Some good’ole fashion inspiration. 10. Goals / Deadlines.
His Top 10:
1. MacBook Pro
Didn’t see that coming, did you! But seriously, my laptop is probably my most prized possession. It helps me pay the bills, update the blog, get through school, and keeps me organized all while looking SO SHINY AND COOL. If you’re on the market for a laptop, I would SERIOUSLY recommend investing in an Apple product. (My last MacBook lasted me 7 years!)
2. Notebooks, Pencils, & Highlighters
You may not know this about me, but I am absolutely addicted to making lists, using highlighters, and just organizing things in general. (I’ve been known to make a checklist of things I’ve already done, just so I could cross them off in my color-coded highlighter system……….it’s an illness, I know.) Anyway, the notebooks I have found to be most useful are the Arc Customizable Notebook System from Staples. (Yes, I’m not the typical designer who needs a Moleskin or sketchpad just because that’s what designers use.) It’s a little bit on the pricey side, but totally worth it for neat-freaks like me who like to rearrange their notebooks constantly. (If you’re a fellow organizer, you have my permission to stop reading this post and go get one right now. You’re welcome.)
Also, mechanical pencils? Yes. They rock.
3. Timecard Pro App.
This is a newly acquired tool for me, but it’s already doing wonders! For a long time I’ve looked for an app to use to track the amount of time spent on a single project. (#freelancerstruggles) I searched and searched, but the ones I liked cost $10 and the ones that were free looked confusing and, quite frankly, ugly. BUT, after all my searching, I found Timecard Pro, an hours and work schedule timesheet app that also generates invoices. Basically, it helps me clock in and out of projects, tracking my time and the amount of money to bill. As soon as a project is done, I can send myself invoices to give to a client or just keep for my own records. Not to mention, the app is absolutely STUNNING to look at. Definitely worth the $4.99 I paid for it.
4. Illustrator & Photoshop.
How could I not mention these two? As a graphic designer, these two programs are a HUGE part of my world. I started off using illustrator when I was 16 years old, but had no formal training until a couple of years ago. Now I use these programs daily for work, blogging, and all those fun things!
Doris and I were literally talking about this the other day! We realized that we’re both most productive when we are together to bounce ideas back and forth and motivate each other to think out of the box. Plus, theres something about having Doris’ approval that makes me feel 100% more confident in my work. It’s strange… don’t tell her I said that. Haha!
There’s nothing more motivating than some good music to jam to while getting through your work. (My good friend just introduced me to Josh Garrels… it’s now my new work station on Pandora. Go check him out!)
Or, in other terms, my second office. Not only does Starbucks have THE BEST COFFEE known to mankind, but they also provide a fresh, inspiring atmosphere (usually with some cool background music too). They open super early and close super late, which is perfect for those days where you HAVE to get something done and need a space to root yourself. (Last Sunday I spent 9 hours there working on a project…….NINE HOURS.)
I’ve just recently learned about this site: unsplash.com. Unsplash provides free-to-use, high-resolution photos that are absolutely stunning!!! I use them all the time for projects at work, desktop backgrounds, you name it! Definitely one of my favorite tools.
9. Canon 60D.
I got my DSLR camera about three years ago on a whim. (Not surprising if you know me.) It was on sale at Costco, and was on super sale because it was the very last one, which they had been using as a sales demo. I had no idea how or when I would use it, but knew that it would be a valuable asset if learned. And it has been! Almost every picture on this blog was taken with this camera!
Probably the best part about this camera is that, when set up to “Auto” mode, almost anyone can take a professional looking picture. Lizzie has taken my camera a few times and I swear half her pictures come out better than mine!
10. Some good ‘ole fashion inspiration.
I find inspiration randomly throughout the day. If I see a design, color scheme, font, etc. that I like – whether on Instagram, in a magazine, or just in my daily routine – I always snap a picture of it to keep on my phone for those days where I’m feeling less than creative.
Her Top 10:
1. A Consultant.
My number one necessity before doing any project is having someone available to bounce my ideas off of. I tend to second guess myself a lot and along with having a listening ear, I thrive off of getting feedback, whether it be good or bad. This is one of the reasons why Billy and I are work so wonderfully together, because we both feed off of each other creatively. When either of us has an idea we would like to go forward with, we first present it to each other. Once we do, that idea will either get nixed, change completely, or flourish with the back and forth that we have with each other.
2. A Notebook.
Give me an old fashioned marble notebook and I am in my element. There is something about writing on a brand new page with a fresh idea that energizes me. Even when I was a kid, I loved the beginning of the school year when all the supplies were calling out to be used: notebooks to write assignments on, new pens and pencils, loose leaf paper for homework… Yes, I am sort of a dork, but I can’t help what makes me happy! Whenever I have a project coming up, or an idea that just came to mind, I need to write it down. For one thing, it helps me to remember when that epiphany comes and goes by jotting it down, and two, visualizing the concept written on paper helps me to get a clearer picture of what I can do with it. Also, writing as opposed to typing on a computer, helps my mind to focus clearer and the words seem to flow much easier.
When I get an idea, I like to look online to see if it has already been done. If so, I try to put my own spin on it. This triggers other, sometimes better, ideas in seeing inspiration from other people’s work. I always say that I am less of a creative mind than someone who has good taste and can hone ideas to make them better. This is also another reason Billy and I work so well together. Many times when Billy has his own project he is working on, he will send me his rough drafts, and I will advise him on what works, what doesn’t, and how it can be improved. Most of the time with the little advice I give, he soars on his own to make his designs even better.
4. Tape Measure/Ruler.
Most of my projects are handcrafted, so I need some form of instrument to help me measure and calculate how much I will need of my materials. I will use a tape measure or ruler for basically every project I make, and most of the time I pray that I don’t have to use 16ths of anything- give me a round number, or else I will be working out the figures for longer than a college graduate should be!
After I have stared at the figures for long enough, and triple or quadruple checked the numbers, I will need to cut the materials, and for most of my projects, this will call for scissors. I wish I had pretty, “instagrammable”, antique scissors, but I only have my intense work scissors that will cut through anything. They are all purposed, so perfect to use on any project, whether the materials be fabric, paper, cardboard, etc.
6. Sewing Machine.
A few years ago, I never would have imagined I would be saying a sewing machine was invaluable to me. When my mother was younger, she was taught how to sew by the tailor in the town where she grew up in Italy, and her apprenticeship quickly grew to the amazing skill she has today. All through me and my siblings’ childhood she constantly whipped up projects for us, including Halloween costumes, projects for school, clothes, blankets…you name it, she can do it. Now she has widened her talent to include drapery and even wedding dresses! Fast forward to today, and often with my mom by my side, I am creating so many projects with a needle and thread. I wish that I had sat with her sooner in trying to absorb some of her expertise, but I am glad I am starting to pick up some things now. I treasure The Woven Studio that much more for allowing me to develop that knowledge and to spend more quality time in her teaching me.
7. Hand Drill.
Jump over to the other side of the spectrum of sewing, and you will find me in my father’s territory. His handiness, just like my mother’s, has been present in my life from before I was born. My farm grown father was always involved in large jobs as a kid, and with his career in construction as he became a father, I was always exposed to him working with his hands. When my family moved into a “fixer upper”, we were expected to help out as much as we could, just like when my father was younger, and I value the time we spent as a family working side by side. With that said, I picked up a lot and became quite comfortable with the tools my father used, the hand drill in particular. Now I use that power tool for almost all of my projects, even throughout my pregnancy. The attachments and bits that could be used with the drill make it a very multi-functional tool. My tomboyish side gets a kick out of using power tools!
8. Clean Workspace.
I can get very OCD, and my energy level depletes if I have to work in a cluttered, messy space. I feel much more motivated, if I have a large, open area to work in that accommodates that project. Sometimes I will take the same amount of time cleaning up beforehand as the actual project. This OCD in me also leads to me trying to keep the workspace tidy as I work on the project, cleaning up as I go along. Is anybody else like me in this regards? Please tell me I am not the only crazy one!
I come from a large family, as you may know, and this means I have lots of extra hands to commission for our jobs. On more than account, I have enlisted my mother’s sewing skills or ran ideas by my father to see if my ideas could even be built physically. Their expertise has helped out on so many occasions, in areas I am not as strong in. Then I have the help of my younger worker bee siblings, which are invaluable to me, because many times I cannot complete certain jobs on my own. Lastly, their support has been so encouraging, especially in the past year. In times when I am not feeling very creative, or doubt my abilities, they have come around me saying exactly what I need to build me up again. They have always been there for Billy and I, and will continue to be our number one supporters.
What motivates me more than anything are two things, a fast approaching deadline and obtainable goals. I am the procrastinator queen, and although I don’t think in most areas of my life I work well under pressure, in doing projects I sometimes get my best work by doing it last minute. If a target date is coming up, it propels me to focus on the task and go hard to complete it instead of doing little by little because it doesn’t need to be done right away. Also, making goals for myself gives me a purpose for my projects. I need to have a reason to do something, I will not be driven to do anything as much otherwise. It is a shame that I am not self-motivated, I’m a work in progress!
Those are our top ten, everybody! It’s interesting to see how we’ve have changed over the years. (I wonder if we were to look back at this list another 25 years from now how much would change!)
What are your favorite tools, are we the same in any way? Leave us a comment below… we love chatting with you!