Monday, July 30, 2012

july's guest blogger!

this month's guest blogger is julia! here she talks about her recent move, and how unpacking has made her feel inspired & 'at home'.

Hello! I’m Julia Tsarpalas, a graphic designer and lover of everything adorable. 

I just moved 2,500 miles away from Chicago to Los Angeles to pursue my graphic design career. Not unlike Tabitha, the past two weeks have been full of unpacking, cardboard, and getting settled. As a self-proclaimed tv addict, plopping down in a new city with no cable was a little daunting; then I discovered online tv marathons. Terrible choice (for productivity). But one fateful day, a week after I moved in, my internet went down. As much as I hated it at the time, praise the interwebs for going out because it was really good for me. I was forced to unpack more, and subsequently rediscover some of the things that really make me happy, such as reading, organizing, and stuffed animals/knick knacks. I graduated from college in 2011 and kept many of my (favorite!) decorative items packed away. Unpacking suddenly turned into a game of finding what else I forgot I owned. As I evaluated the finds, I noticed what a vast array of items I had: a clock from my grandmother’s house, a lamp from my childhood bedroom, modern furniture from college (from CB2), posters I designed throughout college, my favorite stuffed animals from both childhood and now, and little hand-painted German knick knacks.

1. Handmade, German cuckoo clocks
2. Some of my favorite coffee table books: visual, informative, and adorable
     3. An assortment of my favorite knick knacks from across the years, including the Lowly Worm and giraffe from my childhood toys (the Hello Kitty clock is the loudest (cutest) alarm clock I have ever heard, but it does have the best “Goood Morrrning!” when you press the button)

My point is this, if you start to collect bits and pieces you love throughout your life, one day you’ll take a look around and realize that, even 2,500 miles away, home isn’t that far away. Some might say this is materialistic, but I say more power to you! Not to worry though, I’m not asking you to become a hoarder or even really realize you’re collecting these items. If you can acknowledge what makes you happy about a particular space or time in your life, even in retrospect, you can draw from that energy and recreate it. The items don’t have to be expensive, in fact, the more personal items, hand-made or gifts, are often the best. It could be as simple as mimicking a furniture arrangement from a space you love. Does the space you love have a lot of light? Look for windows in your home or get lots of lamps! Does this space feel warm and cozy? Incorporate blankets, fluffy rugs, or my favorite: soft lighting and stuffed animals. Does the space smell a certain way? Find a candle or even just a fabric softener that you enjoy to infuse the space with a subtle mood. Whether you’re a designer, painter, dancer, writer, or even just a dreamer, it’s important to surround yourself with things that inspire you, things that make you want to go out and do something. Every night now, when I get home, I’m excited to be there, happy to be there. Those two feelings are paramount in creative beginnings. I still have one empty wall above my futon. I’m thinking I should probably design a few more posters for the space. And you know what? Bring it on!

4. Various pillows that I thought were pretty awesome and an old blanket that my great-grandmother crocheted, accented by         the Moonlight Sonata futon cover  
5.   5. My most-recent and all-time favorite stuffed animals. The Jellycat Gator and Giraffe have been my most-recent acquisitions after I obsessed about owning the gator for at least a few years of my life. And yes, I’m 23 years old. No shame. The lamp serves as one of my favorite sources of light; it casts a warm familiar glow on everything and invites me to curl up in bed with a good book (and my Jellycats)
6. My bookshelf is a mixture of books about design, art, and writing. Books written in German from children’s book to novels. Books from my childhood with images I’ll forever cherish, and frankly never forget. Those books inspired me when I was little, and they continue to be a source of motivation as well as a study in illustration techniques. The bottom shelf holds board games and the childhood stuffed animals that I simply could not get rid of. Maybe eventually I’ll weed them out, but until then, they make pretty adorable bookends
7. My life in short: a childhood nightlight next to a Vera Bradley photo board from college next to a graphic, colorful Kleenex box
8. 2 posters from my portfolio. The one an example of bright, bold color and typography and the other a constant reminder to just stay calm. When the going gets tough, take a deep breath, and do better than you ever thought you could. That way, you’ll just keep surprising yourself. There is nothing more satisfying than proving to yourself that you could. A little bit of positive reinforcement along the way, even from yourself, goes a very long way.

if you’re interested in what julia is doing, both in life and design check out her portfolio site [] & her blog at [].

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