2017: Grow

02/14/2017

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I started out 2017 choosing Grow as my 2017 One Little Word as I was writing down some goals and dreams for the year. I want to grow as a wife, mother, friend, home educator, designer and I had some general ideas of how that might look. Four days into the new year I was laid off from my full time graphic design job, just a few weeks shy of a decade with the company. When I started out, I never expected to still be working there 10 years later. I had dreams of switching to all freelance but the safety net of a salary made it easier to stay, along with my bosses graciously allowing me to do most of my work from home. Ten years, three kids, five foster kids, three moves and the same faithful husband later; here I am. I’ve made the switch to all freelance graphic design work. I feel so…free! Occasionally scared. But mostly hopeful. I’m clinging to faith and trusting a good God who loves me and my family and will not forsake us. It’s pouring as I’m writing this and the Sara Groves’ song “Open My Hands” is playing in my head: I believe in a blessing I don’t understand/ I’ve seen rain fall on the wicked and the just/ Rain is no measure of His faithfulness/ He withholds no good thing from us/ No good thing, no good thing from us.


I haven’t blogged consistently in a while and I’m not sure if I will start back up now, but I wanted to write to update a few major life changes:

1. My freelance graphic design website is MartinaAhlbrandt.com and it’s freshly up and running with some portfolio images.

2. I’ve reopened my Etsy shop selling midcentury modern and vintage collectibles along with a few graphic design creations. It’s now ReAbide.Etsy.com.

3. I post frequently about my day-to-day with the kids, homeschooling, graphic design, vintage treasures, pretty pictures, etc. @mrsallbright on Instagram. A fraction of my photos there get pushed to my Facebook. I have a love-hate, mostly-hate, relationship with Facebook right now but I still love Instagram.

4. We’re still planning on building an investment property called Rosewood Heights House. It’s been a long time dream of ours and it’s slow going, but still going. I don’t have much to update currently while we’re waiting for a few essential pieces to fall into place. Follow @rosewoodheights on Instagram or Rosewood Heights House on Facebook to hear updates on our process.

5. Speaking of real estate, my husband Jason is rockstar. Literally, he’s a touring musician and recording artist, (currently working on his third album!) Also, he’s our rockstar real estate agent. When I lost my job/salary, he doubled down and has been working his tail off. I’m so proud of him, not just for how hard he works to serve his clients well and to provide for his family, but I really admire his integrity. There are some shady people running around in the real estate industry, who will tell people whatever they want to hear to get a listing or act like total jerks to other agents. Jason is perfect mix of hard working and highly motivated AND honest and moral. If you know of anyone moving to Nashville or within the area, we would be so honored if you would pass his name along. I’m his in-house assistant, designer and marketer.


Nursing Mom at Work

09/14/2016

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That sounds better than “breast-pumping mom at work” right? I started back to work two weeks ago. I’m really grateful to get to work from home the majority of the time. When I do go to the office one day a week, I get to use a private office. My first project on my first day back to work was to hang a curtain over my window for privacy and to make a sign for my door to let my coworkers know that when my door is closed, I need to not be disturbed. (I also lock the door.) I thought I’d share the sign files in case any other working moms would like to print one. I made three versions:

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Jason Plays Guitars

06/05/2014

Jason plays guitars. Martina makes designs.

A few months ago, Jason requested my help to redesign his website. I’ve been working full time in magazine publication design for the past 7 years and though I do various freelance projects, my website design skills were a bit rusty. I’m thankful he pleaded challenged encouraged me to take this on because it turned out to feel good flexing the old HTML muscles again.

It’s at JasonAhlbrandt.com, where it’s always been, and now also at JasonPlaysGuitars.com because… we have a hard-to-spell last name. Not only the spelling, but you’d be surprised how many people just flat out get it wrong. We’re probably called the Abernathys, the Albrects and—my personal favorite—the Allbrights more often than we’re called the Ahlbrandts. So, JasonPlaysGuitars.com. Boom.

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My favorite part of the new website is that there are tons of audio clips and videos embedded right there on the site. Jason’s main gig is the road guitarist for a country-gospel singer but he’s also been doing tons of work in his home studio composing and producing music for TV shows, movies, commercials, etc. I love hearing all the stuff he comes up with. He also posts a Guitar Lick of the Day (#glotd) most days on Instagram and a lot of those videos are there, too.

In celebration of the redesign, we’re running a mega sale on CDs in the store. Two for $20 with free shipping, for the month of June only. Jason gets lots of repeat customers for his albums because they both make great gifts. I’ve heard rumors of a third album in the works…and by “rumors,” I mean I can hear him working on it because my office is right next to his studio.

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Blog Update

03/06/2013

I updated a few things on the ole blog design last week. If you, like me, use Google Reader or some other RSS feed to digest blog material, you might not have noticed. Click here to check it out.

I updated my blog header (which still had pictures from from 1-2 years ago).

I changed some of the main links at the top. Now I have:

Home | About | Inspiration | Timeline | Tour – New | Tour – Old | What is “MCM”?

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I also updated most of the pages those links go to… Inspiration is a combo of 3 pages I had before. Timeline is new and gives an overview of our lives. Tour – New is a landing page for the New Home Tours I’m gradually revealing. Tour – Old is a tour of our old house. The others didn’t change.

Thanks for coming to my blog! It’s means a lot to me that people enjoy my ramblings enough to come back over and over again. I love interaction and it keeps me going to know that others read what I write. Please feel free to comment or email me anytime! I read each comment and respond to most.


Nesting

01/28/2013

Apparently I’m nesting. After getting the news that we had a February 28 deadline to reopen our home with DCS, I spent most of my free time during the weekend while Jason was out of town hanging pictures, unpacking those last few stubborn old boxes, sorting, organizing, hanging curtains…

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We also got the door lock for the hall closet and our new home phone line set up.

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I think maybe Jason is nesting too, because he’s patching up spots on the wall where we had some nicks and scratches as I’m writing this. We still need to assemble the monster KURA bed, install safety locks, cover the outlets, secure the TV to the wall in the den, rugs need to be “secured” with antislip pads…we also need to get a booster car seat, another twin mattress, night lights…Sheew! Is my list getting longer instead of shorter, or it just me?


2013 Calendar – Christmas Gift for My In-Laws

01/23/2013

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For Christmas, I made Jason’s parents a photo wall calendar. I looked at templates online but nothing fit exactly what I had in mind so I decided to just buy photo paper and washi craft tape and make one myself. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I mostlyused pictures of their three grandkids—Ali and her cousins Aiden and Eliza. I also mixed in some family portraits and some funny ones of the adults, too.

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Desk Calendar for 2013

01/08/2013

My Pinterest BFF* (whether she knows it or not) and Instagram friend Jill Browning sent me this awesome retro 2013 desk calendar as a house warming gift. It’s made up of 12 printed 4×6 cards and a neat little clear case to display them. It’s sitting proudly on my desk:

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Here are a few more pictures from her Etsy shop.

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If you don’t have a 2013 calendar yet, go get you one!

*Do you have someone on your Pinterest feed who pins all the most amazing things? I feel like I could save myself a lot of time and just like and repin everything Jill pins. She’s a graphic designer, she’s a mom, she’s into mid-century modern style…she has great taste. Thanks again, Jill!


Posters for Sale

11/27/2012

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it seems everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit. Here we’re getting into the almost time to move into the new house spirit. Christmas decorating is in the way, way back of my mind. I wanted to remind you that I put the Wishing You a Shiny Brite Christmas poster back in my Etsy shop again this year. It’s 11×17 and $12 plus shipping.

I’m trying something new this year. I also turned two color variations of the Shiny Brite Christmas poster into downloadable PDFs that can be printed at home on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. They’re $2 a piece and free shipping, of course.

Shiny Brite Poster – Green Print-at-Home   /  Shiny Brite Poster – Brown Print-at-Home

 


IKEA 2013 Catalog Interactive App

11/06/2012

The first three times I thumbed through the new IKEA catalog I wondered what these graphics at the corners of some pages would really unlock and if it was worth the effort of downloading an app. One night I decided to try it out and I ended up going through the whole catalog, using the app, looking for all of the interactive elements. It was fun!

Scanning some pages with the IKEA Catalog app unlock a gallery of more photos of the space or piece of furniture.

Some lead to videos.

Some open an X-ray view of the inside of a cabinet.

Some make a 3-D model of the furniture seem to grow right out of the printed catalog sitting in front of me.

My favorite was the 3-D animated model of the BJURSTA table that demonstrates how the leaves slide out and into the table. I can see how this would be really beneficial.

This is without a doubt the most interactive catalog experience I’ve ever had and the first time I’ve tried an app combined with a print medium.

Have you ever seen anything else like this?


New Home – Exterior Paint Mock-Ups

10/22/2012

Because things aren’t moving fast enough (that’s a joke!) I decided to take some of my photos of the house with siding and add our paint colors in Photoshop to see how they look. The house process has been flying lately at the house so it’s possible that by the time this post goes live, the painters will actually be painting the exterior…but anyway…if I’m going to waste my time daydreaming, I might as well waste yours too:

(The battens weren’t all up yet when I took the picture below, but close enough.)

Use your imagination here. Our garage door will not be translucent. It is coming soon, though. Hopefully the rest of the driveway (and back patio) concrete is coming soon, too.

OK, now this one got me really excited. Our front door area has been a mess since the beginning of construction and I never like how it looks in photographs. Now I can really start to visualize how lovely this courtyard entrance could be…

My landscape expert husband Jason will be planning out this courtyard with what areas will have planters, paver stones, gravel, potted plants, etc. All I know is that our OTP orange metal chairs will be resting here. Probably. So the birds have somewhere to perch while they watch us eat breakfast.