1. December 9, 2014
    IN REVIEW | october + november 2014

     in review | october and november 2014

    Hello friends! Happy almost Christmas. Am I the only one who doesn’t feel it yet? This is the first year that I just haven’t seem to catch on to the full Christmas spirit. Gah. I have my radio set to Christmas music on my drive to and from work, and I’ve even made my list of gifts and purchased half! Maybe I need a good Saturday spent baking cookies, a night of holiday movies, and at least a strand of lights up. Last year my garland didn’t come down to April, which I felt all sorts of lazy about. With the launch of the Pinegate Road Shop, my apartment is in no state to be decorated. I’ll be heading to Florida on the 19th, and then will head straight to Pennsylvania for Christmas with my family. Hoping those vibes set in before then!

    October and November were very productive months for me! I spent a lot of time getting prepped for the shop, and I feel like I generally got back on track with freelance after my computer was down for a month. I went to South Dakota for Thanksgiving, and my entire Dad’s side of the family came in too. We spent three days hunting, driving around the farm, and catching up on all that is new in our lives. My entire family is so spread out across the country so it’s pretty rare that we are all together in one place for an extended amount of time. This was the perfect amount of relaxation and family time that I was craving. In October, my very first designs have begun to pop up at Target — there was definitely an ugly cry on the drive home one day. I sit at my desk every day, designing, planning, making fun things, and then it’s entirely something else to see what you have worked on finally show up in stores after over a year of last seeing the product. This is the biggest design-girl moment I’ve ever had! Yay October!

    I know this is a review post, but seeing as how that’s about all I’ve been able to manage the past six months or so, this has me wanting to share what I’ve been thinking about the new year. This past year I set a goal to edit in most areas of my life. I don’t know if I’d say that I failed, but I don’t think that I lived up to the expectations that I set for myself (story of my life, hah!). This whole year I spent my spare time jumping from one project to the next, one activity to the other, and I feel like I lost a little bit of the reflection time that really helped me get through the year before. I’m realizing I need to take a step back and look at my whole picture and figure out where to move from there. In a weird way, this next year I want to be a selfish year. I want to take ‘me’ time, and set a good foundation for my future. So much of the past couple years have been just working on the next best thing to get me to where I’m standing right now. I’m so thankful for where I’m at, and I don’t want to crumble under my need to keep chasing the next big thing.

    While I don’t have any outcomes that I’m hoping for in particular, I have three big things that I’ll be working on early this next year that I hope can help my foundation-building.

    ONE: Over the past few months I have been devouring everything that Jess Lively has been putting out there. I spend all my time lettering listening to The Lively Show, and I’ve been so inspired by what she has to share. She has personally gone through and successfully worked towards changing many of the struggles I feel are still in front of me. She teaches about living an intentional life, and focusing on honing in on your values so that you can apply them to all aspects of your life instead of working towards goals. I’ve struggled my entire life with focusing on goals so intently, then achieving them. I’m left feeling the same amount of fulfillment shortly after so I start working towards my next goal. When does it end? Where I’m I trying to go? Achieving is not making me any happier, and it’s making me a whole lot more stressed than I think anyone should feel by supposedly chasing their happy. I’m hoping to work on this by taking Jess’ course, Life with Intention.

    TWO: As far as my freelance goes, I’ve been feeling pretty scattered! I’m just going to repeat what I’ve said above about jumping from one thing to the next, but I’m hoping to get things a little more organized when it comes to this little side business of mine. I’ll be taking the Be Free Lance course in January, and can’t wait to learn tips and tricks from two of my favorite designers: Bre + Jen.

    THREE: Lastly, I’ll be heading back to Hilton Head for health retreat. I did a ten-day retreat here three years ago, paired with an intense natural health overhaul the couple of months before with Vaughn Integrative. I’ve been SO BAD. And getting into an awesome relationship where I want to have fun and eat and drink and all that jazz all the time hasn’t helped my motivation. If I want to live an awesome life, the foundation of all foundations is my health. I’m hoping that this will propel me back into some better habits that I have lost over the past few years. I’m in the most stable of places that I have been in over the past couple years, and if I don’t make changes now, I don’t know when they will happen. The past few weeks I’ve been making some headway on healthier habits, and I’m hoping that by the time I head south in February I’ll be rearing to go for this week of focus.

    That seems like a lot now that I write it all down, but I’m thinking this is my year for subtle big changes. No moves across the country, no starting new careers, just some time to make big changes in small steps in my somewhat stable life.

    How have you all been doing on last years resolutions — did you make any big life changes that you stuck to? Any plans for this year?

  2. November 25, 2014
    Get your gift swap on


    Just a friendly holiday PSA to chat about one of my favorite new things about the holidays: blogger gift swaps.

    Last year I participated in Ali’s city swap, and was matched up with a lovely lady from Portland. She sent along tasty delights — I’m still enjoying the amazing Seven Smith Teamaker tea she sent along, and dreaming about a certain chocolate. I sent along some locally printed gift enclosure cards, and a tea towel from Mirdinara to my recipient. Here, who you give to and who gives to you are different people. What makes Ali’s swap unique is that the gift you give must be local to where you’re living. Supporting local artisans, making new friends, learning about other cities, win win win. Anyways, this was something I signed up for on a whim, and it turned out to be such a lovely experience that I wanted to give you all a heads up if you wanted to hop on board. The deadline to join is tomorrow, Nov 26th!

    This year, on another whim—holiday time seriously puts me into whim-mode I guess—I signed up for the Goody Goody Gift Swap. The names on the exchangers list were too good to pass up, and I’m looking forward to getting a taste of a different swap this year.

    The deadlines for both swaps are fast approaching, so if you’re wanting to get in to a little extra holiday spirit, hurry up and get yourself signed up.

    Wishing you all safe travels if you’re heading out this week, and lots of love on Thanksgiving. I’ll be heading out west for a Cronkhite family Thanksgiving reunion on the farm. I’m so looking forward to taking a few days to unplug and relax with all of them.

    Pssst: I opened a Pinegate Road Etsy shop, just in time for the holidays! I’m still going to be doing some tweaks, but I wanted to get it up in time for holiday shopping. If you have a creative go-getter on your list, one of these limited edition handmade prints might be a perfect new treasure.

  3. November 13, 2014

    sketchbook series | 1 | PINEGATE ROAD

    I always love a good look in to artists and designers’ sketchbooks. There’s just something about seeing the begginings of a design and seeing how A got to B — and the windy road that lead it there. I did a deep clean of my desk yesterday, and was inspired to share a few unedited sketches from things I have been working on lately. Most of these are just for fun, and it’s in sketches like these that I learn a lot about new forms when lettering. Sometimes I’ll read a quote on a blog post and just have to letter it, and other times I’m practicing new ways to hold my pen and just writing out what day it is. No end goal, just practice and lots of fun.

    Is this something you like to see around here? I’d love to keep sharing lettering sketches if you find it beneficial. I know I always learn more from others when I can see some behind-the-scenes work.

    In other news, I’m heading to Omaha for a wedding this weekend. I’m a little worried that all this snow decided to hit, but glad that Todd will be on the plane with me. I have been traveling by plane alone since I was about 15, so it will be a nice change to have a travel buddy. Hope you all have had a great week, and are doing something fun this weekend!

    Happy fall, cough, winter.

  4. November 6, 2014
    COLOR STUDY | 76


    Have you guys checked out The Citizenry yet? I’m drooling over all the products as well as the lovely brand work that Cassie has done. This color study is featuring the Estrellas rug from their line, and I’m loving the earthy modern colors in this mix.

  5. November 3, 2014
    IN REVIEW | september and october 2014

    September and October in review 2014 | PINEGATE ROAD

    I’m thankful to share that the birthday transition this year was far less emotionally turbulent than the last. Early September I turned 26, and it’s been pretty smooth sailing into this fall. I always get super excited to get back into the swing of things when the weather starts turning, and this year was no exception. The print shop is still on it’s way, and I’ve been working a little more on my health. Let’s say I’ve packed more lunches these past two months than the last year combined, and I’m trying to make healthier choices when they’re available. It’s going along slow, but it’s going and I’m not giving up.

    After this summer of always having plans, it was nice to relax a little bit more these past two months. When my computer was down for a month, that really forced me to take some time to focus on creating in the ways I had available to me, and to just go out and have fun on the weekends. A handful of us went to a friend’s cabin for a weekend to celebrate Todd’s birthday. We hiked, made fires, played card games, and ditched technology. It was amazing. I think I need one of those weekends every month now ;)

    A pretty exciting thing: these past two months have been a dream when heading to retail. I picked up my first lettered design at Target a couple weekends ago, and I could barely believe it. We work over a year in advance, and there is only a small percent of what we create and present to buyers that ends up in stores. These past two months I’ve finally been able to see some of the designs I worked on end up places in real life, and that feeling was just…surreal.

    September and October have also been setting a stage for a lot of self-discovery. I’ve been obsessively listening to The Lively Show, and have been having long creative and faith-based talks with my friend Katie. (Psst: if you’re looking for a great read on infusing your life with creative possibilities, check out her book! It’s full of amazing inspiration and supportive words that definitely helped me out when I was in a tough life spot earlier this year jumping back in to dating and feeling all the feels. I passed it along to my friend Megan, and it inspired her in different but equally amazing ways. Also, she’s been sharing such heartfelt content on her instagram lately, and even has me in on a few of them with some lettering. Go follow her!) I’ve also been stocking my ipad with creative reads, and have been dedicating an hour each night to dive in. It’s been feeling so good to keep inspired, and to keep pushing forward with creative dreams. I can take too much on and get really bogged down sometimes, but living in this creative excitement seriously fuels me. Taking small bits of time to take this stuff in, instead of always saying that I’ll get to it later, has been exactly what I’ve been needing lately.

    And now…who’s ready to get that She & Him Christmas album going on repeat? Too soon? ;)

    Cheers to fall enjoyment!

  6. October 30, 2014
    QUICK TIP | decluttering for your email and desktop

    decluttering for your email and desktop | PINEGATE ROAD

    I don’t know about you, but once in a while I’ll have these ah-ha moments that come to me that are teeny tiny, but complete game-changers when it comes to approaching certain situations. Last fall I took a trip back home for a weekend alone at my parent’s unoccupied house. My goal for that weekend? To get to that etherial zero inbox. I was determined to sort through and reply to each and every one of those emails that were sitting there. After two days of solid inbox sorting, I left home euphoric. I did it!! I was finally the organized human my mom always wanted me to be!

    I can hear her sounding off one of her favorites line right now: If you live in a mess, you think in a mess.

    Thanks mom.

    As I sat down at my computer today, I looked at the little white number taunting me in that little red blob above my email client. It was quickly approaching a number that just made me squirm. My scroll bar was so teeny tiny from the massive amounts of scrolling that had to be done to even reach the end of the page. It was impossible to find anything, and I had a mild panic attack every time I looked at my email. Every time I went to my computer at home to be productive, there was that number. It was sitting there reinforcing ‘how busy I was‘ and how much of a procrastinator I was, and how much I couldn’t handle life. Hah, super lies, but lies that effected my self-confidence none-the-less.

    I had a similar problem a couple of years ago. I was over-whelmed with how cluttered my desktop was as I started really getting in to design work. Does anyone else love-love their screenshots? Then and there, I created a folder called sweeping and inside that I created a folder with that day’s date. I went over to the finder, highlighted every single file, and dragged it over to the dated folder. I had that same sense of euphoria that inbox zero gave me last fall. All my files were still in tact. Since, I’ve had so much more clarity going back to these folders if I ever needed to find something. I generally think about the time that I was using that reference and I have yet to not find what I was looking for. I definitely keep very organized with all of my normal files, but this was just for those extra things that somehow end up there. All the clutter.

    After a year of that little red bubble slowly growing, today I went into my preferences and made a sweeping folder for my email. All the emails are still searchable, the bubble no longer exists, and anything urgent I already have down in my day designer. I am good to go forward with a clear inbox, and a clear mind.

    In less than two minutes instead of a weekend.

    …there comes that euphoria again…


  7. October 21, 2014

    Pinegate Road | print shop process

    After one month with my computer being out of commission, I’m happy to say that I’m back! So strange how weird I felt without it for that long. I’m spending this week getting caught up on projects and emails and getting my technology life back in order.

    You know how for the past couple months I’ve been fighting that perfectionism battle? A pretty cool realization came to me this past week. As I was away from my computer, it actually gave me more time to start the printing process for the shop. This whole shop process has been a little absurd. I don’t really have a plan — I’m acting off sheer gut feelings with this one. God-centered gut feelings I suppose. Just following that happiness thing. Anyways. While I’ve had conversations with my creatively-minded friends about this along the way, each one has told me that I should get this all professionally printed, and call it a day. Make the process easy. That just didn’t feel right. I don’t know why, but I had the feeling that I needed to think a little harder about this, and create a process that felt more sound.

    Over the past five years or so, I’ve been searching for what’s missing in most situations. Throughout all that I do I make a little ‘feels wrong, feels right’ mental checklist. When new opportunities come along, I go back to this and decide on them based on how previous experiences made me feel. Right now, what’s been missing for me most has been making. I sit on the computer all day at work. There is so much screen time. Occasionally I’ll throw some hand-lettering in there, but I’m never spending a day, or hours just working with my hands on a regular basis. Working tangibly has always been in my nature — my second nature. I most often try to bring in tangible objects that I style and then photograph before adding into web design. To me, working with my hands as a basis for creative endeavors just makes sense, even when they themselves are not the end product. Without even noticing it, I started creating this new shop around two processes that were new to me: block printing and hand-stamping. I’m sure I’ve seen videos or had chats with classmates over the years about both of these processes, but this time around I took the urge to physically make and just ran with it. It’s what I was missing, and creatively called to experiment with. No questions asked. As I started the process, I felt myself getting frustrated with how imperfect each of the prints were turning out. Why were they all looking so different from eachother? Why didn’t I keep still enough while stamping this one? Where did that extra splotch of ink come from? As I printed, I started to doubt myself, my ability, and how people would react to something so imperfect. But I kept printing. I figured out certain ways to roll on the ink, ways to press in to the acrylic sheets, how long and where to push into the stamp. In each print, I started to find the beauty in this imperfect process. There was my lesson in perfectionism. I truly believe that with each print I make, the more I start to understand how imperfect occurrences are what makes life special. Unique. Perfect in it’s own way. And that’s what makes these prints special. They are created from my imperfect hands, to yours.

    These prints are each lettered with words that have resonated with me along my creative journey, and are thoughts that I often need reminding of. It’s my hope that they might be able to be a little reminder to find beauty in the differences, and to give you a little jolt of motivation to go forth on your own creative path.

    I’m looking forward to tying up the loose ends and getting this live. Crossing my fingers things are still on track for an early November launch. Until then… 

  8. October 13, 2014
    Happy Blogiversary Ciera + life update

    Ciera Design Celebrates 5 Years of Blogging with a Giveaway

    Happy Monday all! Blogging has certainly not been my forté lately, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to celebrate one of my longest blog-friends blogging anniversary! She set up this amazing giveaway, and I’ve partnered with many of our other blog friends to give one of our readers an amazing gift. See the details below!

    While I’m all logged in to my blog and all, I thought I might give a little update on what’s been going on around here. Unfortunately, when I upgraded my phone last month, starting this process led to a string of mishaps with both my phone, my computer, all my files, my hard drive, and just…welll,  a lot of everything that I use to do my freelance work and general technological life outside of work work. I’m still in the midst of getting everything figured out — I’ve made more trips to Apple than I’d like to admit, and every time I think everything is OK something else seems to pop up when I come back home ready to get going again. I lost all my files from the past year and a half, and I’m working on just getting my computer back up and running so that I’m able to re-create some of the projects that I’ve been working on with clients lately. It’s a mess, and well, sometimes this stuff happens.

    On top of the technology issues, I’ve been doing a bit of freelance lettering for the lettering studio here at work (a dream come true!!), and I’ve been working on getting my printing process down so that I can get this new art print shop up and running by the end of the month. This has all been a little hard to manage without a working computer at home, but I’m hopeful things will stay on schedule. So many fingers crossed, and a photoshoot scheduled on Saturday. Computer, please be all better by then?

    Can’t wait to be back and posting more regularly soon. In the meantime, check out Ciera’s giveaway, and I hope you all are having a great October!


    Let’s join in the fun and help Ciera Design celebrate 5 years of blogging this month! It’s such an exciting accomplishment and what better way to celebrate than by giving away a special gift to our amazing readers? One lucky person will receive a $400 prepaid MasterCard that can be spent anywhere in the world that accepts Debit MasterCards. Yep, this isn’t a dream! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thanks to the lovely sponsors who made this possible!

    Ciera Design | Kory Woodard | Yellow Heart Art | Rebecca Lately
    Patti Murphy Designs | Anna Delores | Cocorrina | Rachel The Hat | Fashiony Fab
    Sugar and Type | Squirrelly Minds | High Walls | The Nectar Collective
    The Proper Pinwheel | Ex Vitae | Fry Sauce & Grits | A Ruffled Life
    Pinegate Road | Buckets & Spades | A Girl Named PJ | Sarah Hearts | Tara Victoria

    This giveaway will be running until October 27th, 2014 and is opened to international readers!

  9. September 18, 2014


    Pinegate Road Challenge: Schedule a date with an old friend 

    This week has been an interesting one. Todd has been away on a family vacation, and I took this opportunity away from girlfriend duty to schedule a few out of the ordinary weekday activities. A la, going to a fashion show tonight! Hah. Anyways. There was a bit of a theme with this week. Both Tuesday and last night I met up with two friends who I hadn’t talked to in years. And I’ll let you know, I was nervous! All of these weird self-doubting thoughts came to me before we met up — I was worried I’d have nothing to talk about, or that I wasn’t going to be the same kind of person that they remembered me as. Have I ever run out of things to talk about? No. Has my personality changed so drastically in the past years that these friends would not see me as the same person? No, and yes I sound crazy. Did I almost want to cancel both of these meet-ups because the anxiety of the unknown told me that it was easier to stay in my sweatpants and work on freelance that night? Absolutely. I felt like I was online dating all over again.

    But I showed up. And you know what? These were two absolutely needed, thrilling, exciting, and inspiring chats that I can’t believe I was even fearing. I feel so motivated to keep these two women in my life for so many reasons, and I can’t believe that we had gone so long without each other in our lives. It just goes to show that when you do have had a connection like these in the past, there’s probably still going to be an awesome connection years later.

    This week I learned the importance of having support from friends outside of my day-to-day life situations. It’s easy to get caught up in the here and now and not make time for things that are out of the norm. At least it is for me. As I go about my creative journey, I realize that it is so much more than sharing artistic ventures, and so much about how you go about living your day-to-day life. It’s in these conversations that I found so much creative potential and joy to just laugh and live and explore new ventures. Happiness support.

    I thought for this week, my little personal ‘lesson learned’ could turn in to something more. I’d love to challenge you to set up a skype date, a coffee date, or a dinner date with a friend that you haven’t talked with for a while. Remember that lady who always used to bring a smile to your face, that had that contagious laughter, or the one you could sit around and talk about anything with for hours? Yeah? Shoot her a text, and see how she’s doing. You’ll probably be surprised to find out how invigorating and inspiring that hour chat can be!

    So, who’s with me? Use the hashtag #PGRchallenge to keep me updated, and let me know if you’re up for this weeks venture!

  10. September 9, 2014
    IN REVIEW | july + august 2014


    JULY: Celebrations, cool summer nights, and finding my freelance groove. Todd and I went to my parent’s home for the Fourth, and then came back to celebrate with friends on the fifth. Rowing was in full swing, and I spent more nights than I can count out grabbing dinner and drinks al fresco with friends. My dear friend from Iowa came to visit for a long weekend, and it was so nice to jump right back to where we left off when last seeing eachother. It was also interesting to see how we have been growing in the same direction with so many aspects in our lives — homes, boyfriends, jobs, faith — just so cool. I did a couple freelance projects over the month, and also solidified the direction for Pinegate Road’s new refresh. Crossing my fingers I get my butt in gear to get it for real done by 2015!

    AUGUST: Looking within, lowering expectations, finding a balance. This month was all about finding an internal balance. For the first time I came to some realizations about myself and the way I go about life that had me switching things up. I faced that perfectionism issue head on, and it’s something that I have brought with me every single day to work on. September always marks a kind of new beginning for me. My birthday is on the 2nd, and I really take a look at my goals that I set in January to see what still needs to be taken into consideration for the remainder of the year. August was about setting the foundation for some serious growing up. Along with all of that jazz, Todd and I took a trip to visit my grandparents in Chicago, went to a handful of German dancing events, and squeezed in a few Sunday night cookouts and puppy snuggles along the way. I’m not saying growing up has to be not-fun (!). If this month had a theme, it would be that I focused on reassessing where I was at in life, and what small steps I could take to live out my happy.

    Oh, and I made some art prints! I’ve been working on a hand-stamped lettering collection aimed at giving creatives motivation and inspiration in their workspace. I have three of them in, and I used them for a poster series that was featured at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest a couple weeks ago. All that I need to do now is get the supplies I need to be able to ship them out to buyers (you!?), photograph them, and get them up in the new partially-done Pinegate Road Shop. I don’t know why this all seems harder to do in my head than it sounds typing it out here. My goal is to have this all prepped to start selling by October! Crossing my fingers I find all that motivation ;)

    Cheers to crisp weather, creative pursuits, and taking some much-deserved lazy Saturdays.

    As always, you can follow along with my creative process on a more regular basis here. Happy September!


















Fixed cost web hosting. Pay once, hosted for life.