Meredith Design

Archive for the ‘Thoughts on work’ Category




Update 03/7/2013: Found a nice article about working from home that I found quite useful.

Najia Belly Dance Info Card r6a-1

Najia Belly Dance Info Card r6a-2

My first independent project in a while^^. I’ve been so busy with my corporate design job and new life with my significant other that I just haven’t had much time to do any side work. Certainly no time to seek it out. But I was lucky enough to have some work seek me out instead.

Najia is a marvelous belly dance performer and teacher. I’ve personally been a student for only a short 8 months but already I feel like I could take on the world.  So when she inquired about remaking her image and starting things off with a postcard to hand out at key places, I was more than happy to be a part of it. It was a fast project, completed over a weekend. There will likely be some revisions but Najia says she’s very pleased and is using me for a larger poster and also her business cards. If only I could find few more wonderful clients like her! I could think more seriously about leaving my corporate job behind.

Now onto what this post is really about: the challenge of working at home. One of the awesome things about working in the corporate world is the environment. My workplace is just that – a place that I work. I have a cube, my own iMac, a nice chair, desk, and so on. It’s not so different at home, physically. In fact, I’m more comfortable at home. So why is it so difficult sometimes to get work done at home? One word. Distraction.

In a good work environment, it works best for me if there’s a sort of hum in the background. I mean that both audibly and mentally. I know some folks around me listen to music to stay focused. Though I’ve done that in the past with more creative projects at school or home, it just doesn’t work for me in the office. Everyone around me is doing similar tasks, some talking here and there, nothing dramatic. That’s what helps me stay focused on each project. In any given day I might have 10 to 20 projects come across my desk. I can’t afford to lose focus.

So how can I build that efficient environment at home? Hopefully without losing the comfort of being home in the process. It’s been a real struggle for me lately because there are so many things I need to get done at home. Laundry, cleaning, dusting, cooking, grocery shopping, paper filing, receipt organizing, and on and on. Here’s where time management comes in.

I had gotten really good at time management in college. Unfortunately, things are different now. I have to relearn it all. For now, my best friend is my notepad and whiteboard. I shall have to be harder on myself. Set rules for the days when I’m making my own schedule and not bound to the corporate time table. Thankfully, the recent freelance project with Najia has really helped me start to re-evaluate things. Here’s to hoping I can keep up the momentum.

With love – M




It’s been a wild ride since landing back in the States. I had found a sort of equilibrium in Japan and, though I was happy to come home to the familiar things in my life, it seems like everything’s been moving at the speed of light since I came home. I still have blog posts to catch up on in my Japan blog from as far back as November 2011.

Things feel like they’re picking up now. Even though not everything is peachy-keen. A couple updates: Joel and I have been house shopping for a couple months. We found a 112 year old Victorian in good condition but it’s under negotiations with another buyer and the banks that own the 2 leans on the house. It’s a short sale and these ‘negotiations’ have been going on for 3 months now. So we’re looking at other houses on the market… but this little beauty still has our hearts. Things keep happening to prevent us from buying other houses we may be interested in, too. An example is that one house  that had sparked our attention was going to be pulled off the market within 48 hours from when we viewed it (the seller was paying 2 mortgages and had someone interested in renting the home at least).

Another update is that I landed a nice corporate freelance position that i genuinely enjoy. Unfortunately, the don’t have enough work to keep me at full time status on a regular basis. I was also very sick during summer and fall for a rough total of 5- 6 weeks. I’ve had bad vertigo problems ever since then. Supposedly it shouldn’t last more than a year or two.

Did I mention I gained a bunch of weight before I left Japan and turns out I ‘grew’ a gluten allergy? Crazy. It’s been a big adventure and I’ve definitely stepped up my game as a cook. Making everything from scratch gives me a deep appreciation for the art.

Besides all that madness, there’s been weddings and babies and deaths and moving. Like a roller coaster. But through it all, I’ve never stop creating. For the most part, it’s been via work with print design projects but I’ve managed to teach myself some bead weaving techniques and started some new ideas for my kanzashi. Being crafty with my hands is more soothing usually than drawing. I think because I don’t have to think quite so hard but I only just started. I wonder if, as I get more advanced with hand crafts, it will become like with my drawing stuffs where it can be easily overwhelming. I’d like to do a sketch a day but for now I’m satisfied with simply doing something creative each day, regardless of what format it’s in. Cooking counts!

Below is a picture of one of my more recent kanzashi (as of June haha recent…) and Joel with our dog Baku. Baku  has been another adventure. Some rough patches but he’s doing well enough now. Rescue dogs are usually a challenge in some way or another. He just happens to be 110 lbs of stubborn Akita blood in addition.

Here’s to wishing everyone a Happy New Year. May it bring you what you seek or at least help bring you clarity.

With love- M

IMG_0700 IMG_0881

Below are 3 pictures, 2 line arts and one finished Copic piece from yesterday. Nothing amazing but progress is being made. What could be more important? Follow here for more.

I received an email yesterday that was a bit of a heart stopper, in a good way. It was from a fortune 500 company’s human resource department asking for my information from me concerning a position they had open. It would be a dream job to me, to say the least. They used many of my favorite buzz words that you don’t usually see from a company looking for a graphic designer. Things like “inject inspiration and creativity into the innovation process” and “a passion for product innovation and creation”. Best and craziest part? Guess where their two locations are. Oh come on, guess. Ok ok it’s Hong Kong…and Wilmington, DE. Nice, right?

With love – M

Above is a  link to the PATV, Penny Arcade TV, in which I found some real inspiration. This magical being called Robert has mystified me since the first episode. Seemingly brazen before his countdown clock, confident and persistent, teetering on the edge of cocky. He is, by most accounts, not someone I would normally enjoy listening to.

However, upon closer inspection, the truth is unveiled. And on that note, I would like to say a few words into this series of tubes called the internet and maybe they’ll reach him, if not literally than ethereally.

Dearest Robert,

You have made my day. In fact, possible my week and month. What you said in the above mentioned episode may not have meant a whole lot to you when spoken but let it be known that it meant a lot to me. Of course the other members of the group are inspiring as well, all in their own ways but this note is for you alone.

Being a young professional, out roaming the halls of society, looking for a way into the next path of my career, I have taken solace in your work ethic. My situation lends me a lot of time to do with as I see fit and though I may never be as productive as I would like, I am never idle. I find your understanding of ‘the job is done when it’s done’ and that the job, life, work, what have you, is never done. Surely you enjoy what you do, as I do, otherwise you would have burned out long ago. That is the key that you hold. The work is fulfilling. It is no longer just a job to be completed. It is the life-force. I pray that you never lose it. Just as I pray that I can endure long enough to take hold of that key as well.

So thank you, Dearest Robert. And know that there is at least one person out there that finds strength in your conviction.

With love – M

Without a doubt, the last 10 or so months since my graduation from college has been the oddest time in my life. Not because of lots of crazy things happened. Instead, nothing happened. I had an interview here, a phone call there, some nibbles and so on but no one bit me. It was strange. I was so self-assured that I would land that design job or be surrounded by eager clients. Not the reality. After a summer spent searching and a fall/Christmas season spent in retail, I started again. Still the same, though more often do I get nibbled and tugged. Now I’m teaching art classes for an after-school program in the non-profit sector. It’s interesting and never boring … but I’m no teacher. And I don’t expect to become one over night, nor do I want to, so I simply try to keep the kids entertained and inspired. There’s enough work in that anyway.

The most interesting part since leaving the retail job after Christmas has been how I’ve been passing the time. With a job from a client coming sparsely, I turned to bettering myself instead. Learning how to use Copic sketch markers, watercolor, acrylic, knitting, and so on. The most exciting new skill has been combining different styles of kanzashi, the Japanese art if folding fabric to make flowers. Each square is folded into an individual petal. Then it’s attached to the other petals in a tight circle and POOF! instant flower. Well, maybe not instant but you get the idea. I don’t know why I’ve taken to it so well. I’ve never been very good at sewing and I’ve always been a clumsy person when it comes to working in small things. It such a thrilling sensation to walk through a fabric store now and just feel everything. The satins, silks, cottons, taffetas, sheers, all with so many possibilities. And I could go on for days about the color combinations. Being a graphic designer, one of the first things you learn is the power and influence that colors have on each other and on yourself.  Everyday I get up and instead of pulling my knees to my chest and worrying about what I’m going to do without a job, I create. It’s as simple as that, just create.

Those are me parting words for my first WordPress blog. Do not dwell on what you wish you could be doing or where you wish you were. Focus on what you can do, take what you have around you and build something. Even if you don’t become a millionaire off of it. Just enjoy it for what it is.

With love- M

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