Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I should probably introduce myself.  My name is Jen- Yes, it was the most common name the year I was born. Luckily, it didn't hold me back from doing great things with my life. I'm a graduate of Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. I moved to Kansas City to work for Hallmark.  My first week at Hallmark, a group of 60 of us went to see Hercules. Is this job for real, leaving work to go to a movie and free popcorn, too. Anyway, 11 years later, I've had some amazing opportunities here. I've always said, "since working is really not an option, Hallmark is a great place to spend my hours". I got a couple dogs, bought a house, met a great guy, and recently had a beautiful baby boy- all in that order. of course, with a few more interesting bits, along the way, but I was told to keep this PG-13. enjoy!! 

Ok... so I'm always in search of a good time. If it involves art, even better. One of my friends was participating in Chalk Walk this past weekend. Chalk Walk, hosted by Mosaic Brain, a non-profit organization under the Historic Northeast Cultural Arts Commission whose mission is to inspire underserved youth and their families through artistic exploration and expression. I brought my friend, Amy, and my 8 month old, Maddox. I expected Maddox to lift up the piece of chalk and draw a masterpiece. Well, he seemed to be fascinated by a paper flyer instead (he's recycling in his own way). He tried to eat the chalk, and then I realized he destined to win a pie eating contest. I figured I'd leave the masterpieces to the professionals.

One of my favorite moments of the day was when this young boy and girl (about 5 years old) were walking around the chalk art and the little boy said to the girl "Don't step on the art, it's mean". I especially appreciated that after my friends drawing was stepped on by the same young girl and her dog, for the tenth time. Check out the website and volunteer. Here's some pics of the chalk art.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My new fave blog.

Ya know, I was chatting over an afternoon snack today with my friend Laura, discussing blogs. I still have some feelings of blog-design inadequacy, but then I realized, there are probably a million blogs out there, and not all of them can be more hip & more designerly that the others surrounding it on the www.

I got to thinking, do financial analysts blog about the latest interest rates on high yield savings accounts? Do mechanics blog about the latest hybrid fix-it techniques? Or, do paleontologists blog about how long-term physical changes of global geography, paleogeography, and climate paleoclimate have affected the evolution of life? If they do, I doubt that their blogs are filled with the latest hot eye candy... and I will bet that their blog header is just as plain as mine is. In fact, I'll bet that the authors on these blogs just simply don't give a rip about how their interface looks. It's content that matters, right?

We are our own worst critic: I surround myself with design, art, architecture, photography, illustration, and all things creative every day. Herein lies the reason I am having blog inadequacies... so, I decided to explore new blogs, outside of my everyday world.

Today, I explored the world of food blogs. Here is my new favorite: Yum!

Oh, and by the way, I did find a pretty neat paleontologists blog, if you're into that sort of thing...

Monday, April 28, 2008


A wonderfully talented Hallmark designer, Jeanee, has recently taken up sewing (a hobby that started from a sewing workshop that she took here at Hallmark). I found her work and blog today online, and was so inspired!

From her blog:

"Well, April 2007 I took a sewing workshop at work. I didn't know how to sew at all, but I ended up making a beautiful apron. I found that I was a natural at sewing, so I signed up for a basic sewing class. A few weeks later on Memorial Day a good friend of mine was having folks over for a BBQ. I got up @ 9A Saturday and whipped up a hostess apron by noon... I figured I had something, so I started my Etsy shop in July [2007]."

Enjoy a glance at Jeanee's work below, and check out more of her work and see what inspires her creativity here.

SmartDesign :: Smart Car

As part of Earth Week at Hallmark, we had an exhibition of earth-friendly options for Hallmarkers: new earth-friendly product, ridesharing information, bus passes for purchase, recycling information, eco-goals for Hallmark's Corporate Headquarters, and sign-ups for eco-friendly volunteer events (like Wild Saturday at the KC Zoo, where you help clean up and plant new trees, flowers, and shrubs at the KC Zoo for a day).

There was something for everyone, but the most exciting part of the display for me was the SmartCar! I hadn't seen a SmartCar in person since I studied abroad in Roma, IT in 2003 (I think I was nearly run over by one several times... they are zippy little things!). It was yellow and oh-so-fun -- 10x better than the re-designed VW Bug and the Mini Cooper combined!

Oh, and if there's ever a SmartCar on display in your corporate headquarters, don't try to open the door..... car alarms are loud.... (In my own defense, I wasn't trying to steal it -- I'm a designer!! I like to look with my eyes and with my hands!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Joys of Working Here

An email popped up in my inbox late last week that reminded me of why I love my job. Hallmark believes in giving their creative community time to refresh, renew, learn, grow and research. Sure we work hard and are given tight deadlines, but we also get time to play.

The email below is just another shining example of how lucky I am and what a shock it would be for me to be working out in the "real" world of an advertising agency, late nights at a small design firm or even some stuffy corporate in-house design machine.

Yes, life is pretty great here enriching lives.

The email below is discussing a day away at a farm owned by Hallmark called Kearney. The staff I am on is planning a day there just to relax, dabble in some fun workshops to get the creative juices flowing, and just enjoy the outdoors at the Kearney farm.

I've erased some names just so I'm not giving away too much about who's in charge and who you should bombard with emails to get a job as cool as mine. :) You might have to click on it to be able to read it.

Monday, April 14, 2008