Life and Letters - E by Ciara Sames

E is for Enjoy

If you’re in a similar situation as I am, chances are you’re working hard to make work, make a lot of good stuff, and get the bills paid. It’s happens more often than it doesn’t that I am loaded down with so much work, I often have no time for anything else. And ladies, we all know we need time for ourselves!

But besides making time for a life outside of our creative work, we also to make sure that the work we do is work that we also enjoy. If you’re a freelancer, times may be hard and you have to take every job you can take – I understand that, but don’t skimp on necessary things. If you turn down projects that don’t pay well enough, then also don’t take jobs that might pay but aren’t interesting/fun.

Try and make a habit to only spend time on things you enjoy. You’ll end up pouring more of yourself into the project, but it will be more fulfilling once it has been completed. Plus, I bet you’ll have more energy to do more creative things in the long run. Investing in good work helps foster more creativity and even better future work.

So if you have to sacrifice now so that you can inner designer peace, do it. Do what you need to do to enjoy your craft and the passion for it. Taking bad projects can squander the passion you have for being a designer, and that’s no good!

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Life and Letters — D by Ciara Sames

D is for Dream

Sometimes it is best for us to be reminded to dream big, or dream bigger! While in certain situations the limitations may be out of our control, most of the time we limit ourselves to the reachable dreams we have.

Dreaming big is something I try to keep in practice – not dreams that are totally out of reach, but ones that will certainly motivate me to keep moving forward towards them. There may be times when disappointment creeps in, but try and not let it steal your thunder! It might take longer to get where you want, but I am fairly certain that a lot of hard work and patience will take you where you want in life.

It’s easy to think briefly where you’d like to take your blog, business, work, relationships, but do you ever write them down? Writing things down has always been a concrete way for me to commit to my ideas. Putting your goals down on paper can help you fully realize what you want to do and might initiate more ideas on how you want to get there.

How about this week you write down some of your big dreams and tell Kelsey and I if you came up with some good ideas!

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Life & letters, C — for courage

C is for COURAGE

Sometimes the things that hold us back aren’t our inexperience, but our own fear to reach where we need to. Have you ever met someone you worshipped and kicked yourself the rest of the day because you never said anything to them? I’ve been there!

About a year ago, Mark Weaver, an amazing graphic designer announced on twitter that he had been hired at The Daily and was promptly moving to New York City from Atlanta. My boyfriend, Tim, and I were heartbroken, as we love Mark’s work and had been hoping that we’d run into him somewhere and be able to confess our love for his work. But with him moving, we knew we had lost our chance. Mark had also posted about a yard sale, so you better believe we showed up.

That morning on the way to Mark’s house we were both nervous and couldn’t decide on what to say or how to say it to Mark. We wanted so badly to talk to him about his techniques, his new job, his instagram pictures and be all creepy, but we were afraid we’d come across as just that – creepy. So we arrived, walked around quietly in awe for what seemed like forever, purchased a typewriter and left. We didn’t say much at all and I STILL think about it.

For the most part though, we have plenty of chances to reach out to the people that inspire us and acquire the resources we need to grow. Take some risks and email someone you’ve been longing to talk to, or get a consultation on your portfolio. You’ll never know how the story ends if you don’t take a leap.


Follow the link below to see Kelsey’s post on Glass and Sable!

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Life & Letters, B

B is for Breaks

You can’t convince me that you spend your entire work day in the same place, same chair, all day long. I’m sure you get up at some point, pour a cup of coffee, stretch your legs and take a break at some point. I’ve just started working from home and every now and then I have to just step away from the computer and pet my cats. Mental and creative breaks are important – for our sanity and our creativity.

Taking breaks and getting out of your usual scenery helps boost creativity and helps with getting a fresh perspective. Sometimes when you don’t even think you need a break is actually the perfect time for one. Some of my biggest jumps in progression for my design work and my blog have been made after a nice two week break. One week is enough time to clear your head, but two weeks opens up just a little more time to reevaluate the path you’re on and stay fresh.

Last year I took two weeks off at the end of the year to enjoy the holidays and to establish goals for the year. It was a nice way to make “resolutions”, but also decide in a concrete way where I wanted to go this year with my design work and Glass and Sable. I was able to replace my blogging time with more relaxing brainstorming and wrote down a lot of good ideas – many of which are in use today. I narrowed down what I enjoyed the most in my work and what I was the most proud of. Whatever overlapped was highlighted and I worked on ideas that made those things stronger. From that two week break birthed an editorial calendar, ideas for design projects, and my weekly post, Home // Closet // Tool.

There can be a lot of pressure to stay in the game and keep the working steadily coming, but breaks are necessary too. So maybe take an extended weekend and dodge your to do list for a few days and recharge. I promise you’ll come back fresh with a new perspective.

Follow the link below to see Kelsey’s post on Glass and Sable!

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life & letters, a collaboration with glass and sable

Life & Letters: A is for Ambition

I’m enthralled to announce Pinegate Road’s very first collaboration: Life & Letters with Ciara Sames of Glass and Sable. Over the past couple weeks we have been crazily sending emails back and forth to come up with a project that would help us grow creatively, but also give an interesting insight into our lives as designers. Here, Life & Letters was born. Each Wednesday we’ll be illustrating a letter of the alphabet and picking one topic to write about that will relate back to our lives as designers. We’ll be posting on eachother’s blogs, so make sure to check out my post over on Glass and Sable each Wednesday to get both of our takes on the weekly letter! I couldn’t have found a better person to start this with, and I am so in-wow with Ciara, her work, and her spriti each and every time we come in contact. I hope that you enjoy our new adventure!

A is for Ambition

One of the top desires for humans is to be great and to exceed expectations. Our worlds are shaken when we get both exceptional praise and strong criticism. That’s just our nature. As designers, our work is constantly being evaluated by our employers, clients, and peers. So how do we use our talent and the feedback we receive and turn it into progress? Keep on working, learning, and aspiring to be great.

Even though the dictionary says that ambition is all about wanting to succeed, I think ambition has a lot to do with wanting to improve. We should be taking as many steps forward as we can to define our skills, make better designs, and have better relationships with our clients, peers, and employers. When I think of the word “success” I think of some big cheese in his house on permanent vacation while his money pours into his lap. (thanks, hollywood) That’s not the kind of success I want to describe here. Being ambitious as a designer means taking what might be already good and making it great.

Ambition doesn’t have to mean competition. Just because other designers are making “better” work than you, that doesn’t mean you aren’t or incapable of making better work. I’ve never been very competitive with others. I am one of the least athletic people you will ever meet and I never had much interest in playing competitive sports or games. But put me in my studio and show me my past work, and I’ll immediately start working on something new, even if it’s just cleaning up an old sketch. We always have room to grow, and a desire for growth and development will really take you places. But if you start putting yourself down after looking at the portfolios of others, you’re playing defense against yourself.

Cheer for yourself (and for others!) and stay positive about your work and your journey as a designer! Remember, you are your biggest fan. Strive to be the best you can be, even if right now you don’t think you can “make it”. You’ll get there if you make no excuse to stop being ambitious.

Ciara Sames is a designer and blogger over at Glass and Sable. She has a weakness for succulents, fluffy cats, and vintage illustrations of insects. 

Lettering by Ciara Sames.

Head on over to Glass and Sable to see my letter A and what it inspired.