Monday, March 3, 2014

Geek-end Getaway

Two weeks ago, I went away for a long-anticipated weekend to Palm Springs with my friend Jeanne. (I have to plug an amazing performance she gave recently with Eddie Vedder -- ever wondered how Julie Andrews would sound singing The Rolling Stones "Shattered"? Click HERE and wonder no longer.) We had been plotting our escape for months and had finally managed to coordinate the schedules of our respective husbands and sons so that we could slip away for thirty six hours and indulge ourselves.

"You all ready for our geek-end getaway?" Jeanne asked as I loaded my bags into the car.

Geek-end getaway

I had been wondering what to call it. Instead of bathing suits, sandals and embroidered caftans, our suitcases were loaded with laptops, iPads, digital writing tablets, creative manifestos (this, this and this), and our comfiest clothes.

Our dream weekend had nothing to do with yoga, mountain hikes, massages or mani-pedis -- and everything to do with recharging our brain cells.

This was going to be a learning vacation. Our goals?

~Inspire each other creatively
~Provide each other with constructive feedback on personal projects
~Trade sources of inspiration (What books/magazines/music/videos were obsessing us?)
~Learn new apps (Which ones could we not live without?)
~Brainstorm without limits

Heck, if we were really on a roll, we might not even leave the room until Sunday checkout. (We didn't.)

Two of my favorite discoveries from that weekend?

1. The Noteshelf app ($5.99) which lets you create amazing layouts and collages just like the ones you see in design magazines like Domino and Lonny -- great for people like me who don't have Photoshop. 

You can create your own little notebooks from the covers provided or do like I did and upload photos from the internet to make your own custom ones. (I found some good old book covers HERE.)

Here's one of my books devoted to collages of favorite fabrics and patterns. I find that putting them together like this is a super helpful way of seeing what works together and what doesn't.

Here's another book I made to explore an embroidery series I've been working on. Noteshelf makes it super easy to choose the kind of paper you like, upload photos, add text and draw. Bonus: They have good type fonts like Gill Sans and Bodoni (the two I used below). Type fonts make a HUGE difference in giving personality and character to a layout.

Here's another one I made for various random ideas.

2. The other app I am absolutely in love with is Procreate ($5.99) It lets you sketch, paint, draw and create virtually anything you can imagine. I could go on and on about this app -- it's intuitive, easy to learn (be sure to download the free user guide) and as simple or advanced as you want it to be. I can't see myself ever getting tired of it.

And it has one specific feature I'm crazy about: It lets you write directly over a photo. You know, like Garance Doré does.

Remember the post I did last week with all those hand-drawn titles over the pictures? I made them all with Procreate. I just uploaded my photos, chose the style of "pen" I wanted, and drew right onto the iPad with my finger.

The upshot of our geek-end getaway? 
Brains were stormed, ideas were generated and the groundwork for great future projects was laid. 

Here's a photo I snapped of the hotel as we were leaving on Sunday -- it was the first time I'd seen the grounds since check-in. I bet it's a lovely place to spend some time outdoors. 
(Colony Palms Hotel,  2/9/14.)

Next time.

“For my belief is that if we have five hundred a year and a room of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting-room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality…then the opportunity will come and [we] will be born.”

~Virginia Woolf 

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