Image via Maya Drozdz

When Maya Drozdz (of VisuaLingual) invited me to participate in the Visionaries + Voices project "Autocomplete: A Collaborative Coloring Book Exhibit," I was instantly enthralled.

You see, V+V is a Cincinnati based non-profit whose mission is to provide artistic and cultural opportunities for artists with disabilities. Last summer, Maya, and her fellow Autocomplete curators, solicited over 80 V+V artists to create black-and-white artwork. They later contacted 80+ outside artists and designers to "color in" the V+V pieces using any media of their choice -- colored pencils, markers, paint, fabric, found paper, you name it. And starting Thursday, the finished collaborative works of art will be on display at V+V's Northside Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Here's the V+V piece I received in the mail back in February:
Above: Original artwork by Visionaries and Voices artist, Dale Jackson (orange marker on 11x14 mat board)

"Batman and Robin still alive like us the Batmobile, TWA, Delta, American Airlines, Airport."

Is that sentence awesome or what!? How could I ever do it justice? For two months, I spent more time thinking about Batman, Robin and airlines than a fanboy flight attendant. After much consideration, deliberation, conversation and exploration, here's what I ended up submitting:
Above: "Colored in" completed artwork by Nikki Mueller (vintage imagery, transparencies and metal eyelets)
I can't wait to see how all the collaborations turned out! And I'm anxious to get my hands on the exhibit catalog (100 page, V+V art, coloring book with a unique screen printed cover).

Visionaries + Voices
Autocomplete: A Collaborative Coloring Book Exhibit

May 10th, 2012 - June 29th, 2012
V+V Northside Gallery | 3841 Spring Grove Avenue | Cincinnati, OH 45223
Curated by Maya Drodz, Nick Paddock, Jackie Covert and Matt Distel

Opening Reception
Thursday, May 10th, 5-8pm
 
 
Just wrapped up another big project at Little. Our annual New Year Card always ends up being my favorite piece of the year. And 2012 didn't disappoint. This one was even more special since it involved the entire firm. We asked employees, "What little thing are you thankful for?" And we got some pretty unique answers.


After clients viewed the video, they were prompted to submit what little thing they were thankful for. We took their "thanks" and had them illustrated by different employees and added to our online gallery.

I created two things to be thankful for...
 
 
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The artwork for some of the new Not Made in China wedding series of buttons, save the dates and favors.
 
 
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When the folks at Pecha Kucha Night Charlotte asked me to design the poster for their April 28th event, I was like, “Who? Me?” I was downright flattered.

Actually, it was about this time last year when I presented my own Pecha Kucha presentation (you can see it here). It was right when NMIC was getting started and gaining momentum. I felt so inspired and wanted to share my journey. The night was a blur and such a rush of adrenaline. But I can’t imagine a better place to give a presentation.

The atmosphere at PK events is so welcoming, and the audience is filled with tons creative minds from all disciplines and walks of life. It’s like a giant show-and-tell for grown-ups. Plus each presentation only lasts 6 mins 40 secs, so if you bomb, it’s a quick death. I highly recommend doing it or at least attending!

AND the upcoming April event is especially meaningful. Pecha Kucha originated in Japan, and in light of the recent tragedy there, PK Charlotte is donating all the proceeds from this event to the disaster relief efforts. So not only can you come support creativity in Charlotte, but a great cause as well.
 
 
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More "Pop a Cap on Your Fridge" magnets! Not only did I find the soda bottle caps at Metrolina, but these sweet milk bottle caps too. I'm so fascinated by the amount of time and artistry that went into these seemingly insignificant caps. I wish that same attention to detail was more popular in consumer branding today. A minimalist drink bottle, with an intricate top, would really stand out on a shelf.

 
 
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ANTIQUE WEEK ENTRY 4
"Pop a Cap on Your Fridge" magnets are the latest addition to the NMIC brand of goods. Found these wonderfully colorful old soda bottle caps while hunting for 'tiques. I just added some magnets and voila! Kitchy kitchen accessories! Look for them at Crafty Feast in Columbia, SC on April 16th.

 
 
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The button-event of all button-events is upon Charlotte.  In just over a year, the Queen City will be home to more than 35,000 politicians, delegates and media members at the Democratic National Convention.

That's a ho lotta buttons.

The three above are just the beginning. Be on the look out for more over the next 16 months. In the meantime, check out the ultimate NMIC customers below...
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I am a self-proclaimed culinary reject. So, when Charlotte's group of crafty entrepreneurs (Crown Town Handmade) sent out invitations to their Valentine's Sweet Swap, I began to panic. My most recent attempt to bake resulted in WAY undercooked BOX brownies... my poor, obliging friends had to eat them with a spoon. But then I came across a foolproof truffle recipe. It was so easy - even I could do it! Here's how...

INGREDIENTS //
1 Box Oreo Cookies
1 8oz Package Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 Boxes Semi-Sweet Baker's Chocolate

Makes 4 dozen truffles

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STEP 1 // Put the Oreos in a Ziploc bag and crush them into pieces. I even crushed them a little more, with a mallet, after putting them in a bowl. Be sure to save a couple tablespoons of crushings to garnish the truffles later.

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STEP 2 // Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 30 secs and then stir it into the crushed Oreos.

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Step 3 // Roll the mixture into 48, one inch balls and place on wax paper.

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STEP 4 //  Melt the Baker's chocolate in the microwave for 2.5 mins (stirring the chocolate every 30 secs). Next, dip the balls into the chocolate (I used a candy dipping tool from Michael's, but you could use a fork too) and place on the wax paper.

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STEP 5 // Sprinkle the leftover cookie crumbles onto the wet chocolate for garnish. Refrigerate the truffles for about an hour or until the chocolate is hardened.

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STEP 6 // Enjoy!
 
 
As many of you know, Not Made in China is my "side gig." By day, I'm a graphic designer at an architecture firm. No, I don't draw buildings, use CAD, have glasses or wear black turtlenecks everyday. But to give you a better idea of what I am up to M-F, I wanted to share this digital holiday greeting I got to create at work last month. Using stop animation photography, we filmed the creation of a laser cut poster I designed, and then used minute and half video as our New Years "card" for clients. It's projects like these that remind me why I do what I do.
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I'm the type of person who loves reminiscing about the good ol' days, hearing wild stories from my Nana's youth (like the time she sang for her supper after sneaking aboard a military passenger train) and looking at old photographs from bygone eras. So this Christmas, I decided to give the gift of nostalgia to all the women in my family.

My aunt Chris (the family's self-appointed historian) sent me some old glamour shots of my grandmother and I turned the classic photos into pocket mirrors... you know, cause it's that time of year when we all reflect on life and family (see what I did there - I used a little double entendre with "reflect"- fancy!). Now each time we pick the pepper out of our teeth, apply lipstick or check for bats in the cave, we'll be reminded of where we came from.

Do you want custom pocket mirrors, bottle openers or magnets of your family? It's a GREAT gift idea. Contact me for more details.