29 April 2015

Decorating My Office Part Three: SHINE Sign Project

You may remember that 2015 is my year to SHINE. Even thought I haven't had a chance to do a weekly post on my SHINE journey this year like I did in 2014 with "Now Is My Time" it has definitely played a important role in my life on a daily basis.

For some reason every time I walk into my office at work I am reminded to shine. I don't know what it is that reminds me but that sensation convinced me that I wanted to make a simple piece of SHINE art for my office. I loved the idea of looking up from my computer and seeing a pretty white canvas with gold glittery letters that spelled S-H-I-N-E.

For some reason lately the process of making the decisions about how to create what I'm seeing in my mind has been complicated. I have been working on a really cool art project for the big walls in my office for a couple of months. So far I have two industrial size foam boards cut in half in the garage. I'm still not sure how to enact the next step...and I need to track down a good, sharp box cutter to create the shapes I want to work with.

The SHINE sign was the same challenging process. I knew I wanted the base to be a bright, white rectangle. I knew I wanted the lettering to be glittery gold. But once I started looking around I realized I had a lot of options for materials. At first I aimed for gold glitter paper, then wanted it to have more dimension so started looking for chipboard or wood letters. That was a whole journey in and of itself looking at all those possibilities. Finally I settled on a simple cut wood font.

Then the decisions making started all over again...would I cover them with paper, paint them with metallic gold paint, glue and glitter, paint AND glitter. After a lot of debate and a fairly discouraging conversation with a craft store associate, I chose what I thought was the lesser of all evils -- I'm still not convinced if it was or not.

I bought metallic gold paint and gold glitter paint. I painted several coats of gold metallic paint on for coverage and then it took several more coats of glitter paint to get a good thorough coverage. In the end, up close I wasn't totally happy with the outcome. But I envisioned that once they were affixed to the background and appreciated from a distance the small flaws that were bugging me would not be apparent to me or anyone else.

So the next step was to glue the wood letters to a 10 x 20 canvas. The canvas was expensive, so I made sure to get a good coupon and cut the cost down by 40%. Needless to say with the cost of the canvas, the paints, paintbrushes, glue (and gold paper I ended up not using), this was not a cheap DIY. It probably cost about $25. The cost was probably a little more than normal because all my art supplies are in a storage unit somewhere and I had to buy stuff I usually have available in the house.

There was a lot of drying time between layers and the painting process extended over the better part of a week. I let the letters dry solidly for a few days while I was away on a short business trip. When I returned they were ready to be glued, so even though it was quite late when I got home, I got them arranged on the canvas with a little help from some painters tape I found in the garage. I glued all the letters down, or so I thought. A while later I picked up the piece to look at it in the final state and the N fell to the floor. Thinking the glue must not be dried yet, I picked it up and realized I had never glued it down.

Moments later it was properly affixed and the next day I took my new art piece in and found the perfect spot for it on the far wall across from my desk under my favorite clock. I love looking over and seeing this simple but sassy reminder to be conscious to SHINE in everything I do and in ever interaction I have each day. It's such a great reminder and I'm so happy I made it myself. Interestingly enough, since I started making this I've been finding SHINE themed graphic design art in stores. Apparently there's a movement afoot. Glad I'm on the bandwagon...or in front of the bandwagon.

The above photo is definitely a work in progress shot, nothing in place, just playing around with things. Yesterday I made a few more purchases for the office and may be returning a few items or repurposing things I had previously bought for my office. Today I am going into the office early to put a few things into place.

06 April 2015

Work Wear Shoes From Kork-Ease And Dansko

Putting together a work wardrobe that is comfortable and affordable - and makes me feel authentically me has been a work in progress for the past few months. I picked up this sweet pair of Kork-Ease Deborah Avana sandals at the same time I picked up these.

image via 6pm
I alreabdy had three or four pretty pairs of heels that had gotten very little wear over the past few years. But it's amazing how hammered they have gotten over the past few months. Beat up and battered. Wearing work clothes for 10-14 hours a day takes its toll.

I have found that the soles on both pairs of Kork-Ease are very comfortable but the front straps are very narrow. I figure since they are leather they are going to soften up a lot but they are tight now. 

Oh, in full disclosure and on the downside, I should tell you that the black Bette Vachetta's have turned my feet black from the dye in the leathers which I haven't been very happy about. I'm hoping that will stop soon but for the cost of the shoes, there is no way that should be happening. I had no dye issues with the pair pictured above.

These sandals are so cute on the feet. They are comfortable to walk in for long distances and they feel very feminine and stylish on. I wore them last week with a skirt for a long day of worked followed by a long night of travel. They definitely helped me hold my style together for the day. I might want to pick these up in the black because I can imagine I am going to get a lot of wear out of these.

image via Zappos

On another shoe purchase note I ordered a pair of black patent Dansko clogs last night. I have been wanting a pair for work and for work travel. Perfect for days when you know your feet are going to take a beating or for the day after they already have.  Conferences and press tours are the perfect place for a pair of really practical comfortable walking shoes with a little sparkle. I think these will be perfect for an upcoming trip to NY.

I seem to often come back from trips to NY with my feet looking and feeling like hamburger after walking miles and miles every day. I have a tendency to say, "Ah, I'll walk for a few blocks them hop on the ____"  (subway, train, bus,etc.)  But then I just keep walking and walking, wandering the city. By the end of the trip, my feet are dying.

So I thought I'd go for guaranteed comfort with a good pair of clogs that would go well with nice black pants or a casual skirt. Plus they are great for good or foul weather. I anticipate there will be some rain showers while we're there. So I think these will carry me while wearing a rain slicker and down jacket as well as more business-y looks. I'm hoping I'll be able to get away with just two pairs of shoes -- and to get everything into a carry-on. Fingers crossed I ordered the right size because there won't be time to return them. 

I've known I needed to make this purchase for a while but have been putting it off. Why is it so easy to make impulse buys but seems so difficult sometimes to just lay down the money for quality investment pieces we know we need. I'm trying to be better about this and focus on buying the basic items I need.

Building a functional work wardrobe seems like an ongoing effort. I order my basic pants from online retailers who carry tall sizes, so I stick with brands I know that work. I try to stop into some favorite shops to try on jackets and tops regularly to catch good deals and find things I really like. I often leave stores empty handed but it gives me a chance to be more picky and feel less desperate about finding pieces I honestly love and feel good in.

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