Insight and Outsight

Have you received good news and bad news at the same time? Or something amazing happens then the opposite happens at the exact moment? “Wtf” is what comes to most peoples minds, and this is what happened to me a month ago.  I lost Spoonflower’s Small Business Grant competition (12 selected) but was able to attend at talk from world renown fashion icon and designer Detroit, born Anna Sui.

The irony right? A digital fabric printing, one-off company that started off struggling like myself, declined my application, while hours later I attended a full house, face to face talk with one of the “Top 5 Fashion Icons of the Decade”, and Lifetime Achievement Award winner.(Wiki) My emotions went from frustration to an I-can-really-do-this-ish!!

SpoonWith Spoonflower, I was initially upset, but laughed reading their email because the company accidentally emailed (CC) over 150+ people exposing all of our email addresses. (Which is bad, because compromised emails means cpu viruses could spread). However I was grateful they were able to send feedback on why I didn’t win, so partial kiddos to them.

At the Anna Sui talk, I was elated with design joy! I learned how she started her passion at 4 yrs old, reading a fashion magazine, to her first celebrity wearing her dress – Madonna. I was a sponge and took videos, photos, notes and even shook her hand and gave her a business card. A once in a life time feeling and experience.ANNA

From the bad and good news that day, I learned quite a bit and am grateful that I can apply it to my design career in years to come.




Losing the Small Business Spoonflower Grant
1. Learn about grant writing. This honestly was my first grant letter/application, and I’m not the best writer. After winning, I checked out a book on grant writing called Grant Writing For Dummies by Beverly A. Browning. It all made sense after reading that lol. Spoonflower needed a “clear understanding of how winning, they would support my business financially.”

2. Don’t be petty. I said a few naughty words to Spoonflower while reading my letter from them. Partially because they made a huge mistake with the emails exposure, so I was like “Hey! You make mistakes too you (beep)” or in other word the company is no better than me and also mentioned their humble beginnings, (declined loans, needed start-up money, etc). But it didn’t matter, I will need their service later, so lets not “burn the bridge”.

3. Have a solid brand. I have online presence, but I was right in the middle of rebranding and updating my site. In other words they were confused on who my audience was, what my products were and “specifically how Spoonflower was an integral part of my small business.”  And I might add you need starkly different unique products as you can see from the winners here.


Attending the Anna Sui Talk
1. Stay Inspired. Anna talked about the many inspiration boards she has, (some grouped  only by color and story). She also mentions sometimes starting collections with just shoes. She puts up images of paintings, movies, and even drawings.
I just started a mood board for a collection I’ve started  and putting anything on including plants (which is crumbling) is so great to do. (Stay tuned for that post)

2. Find your own way. As I mentioned she was 4, when she decided to be a fashion designer and she did everything she could to make it come true. It was incredible learning about how she did just that and even moved to New York, to go to Parsons School of Design. For me ,it’s designing everyday and never stop learning the craft – especially if your passionate about it.

3. Make money via licensing.  Anna Sui, has multiple streams of income. This is nothing new to artists, but if your wanting to keep a steady flow of income, licensing in different areas in the field is beneficial. Anna had perfume, makeup, kids clothing and more… I have… none. BUT I’m learning how!

I hope you found good ideas from my experience, it definitely was a bitter sweet day.  But it’s wonderful to learn from good experiences and bad ones  – the bad ones are just hidden good lessons.



Sweaty Palms of This Awkward Mom

It’s been too long. Too long since I’ve woken up and got dressed in a business-friendly attire. Too long since I’ve put decent makeup on and the FIRST time I’ve ever worn fire engine red lipstick… This is how the day started for me who jumped at an opportunity to attend, “Mompreneurs: Growing Business & Raising Families”, an initiative by Detroit Startup Week.


Trying to look professional.

The truth is, my mom (an amazing textile designer) told me about this just the day before. She always seems to know all the insight into the new programs and business opportunities in the “upcoming” Detroit. But I somehow got the kids dressed, made lunches and raced my ass out the door leaving 1 hour early, because you just never know what will happen with a 1 and 4 year old.


Fancy lanyards with badge. I felt important for about 10 seconds.

Upon arriving I found an amazing free park literally right in front of the building, and I was super geeked I was on time! Once I met up with my mom, she took the kids, and I made my way inside, feeling ready and refreshed.


Once I was registered I was handed this lanyard. “OUUUU” I thought, super professional, but soon found myself confused on where the hell to go, so I felt like an idiot 5 seconds later. No signs anywhere just a old elevator with an actual elevator operator (the Masonic temple is a older building.) Once on the 3rd floor I spotted the signs on where to go, but went in mommy mode and went looking for a potty.  As soon as I found it, there was a line of ladies waiting :-/ Of course I went into double mommy mode and asked if there was another one – and indeed it was, just around the corner. What’s important about this part is that the ladies standing in line heard it too but just waited. So I just proceeded and there it was are less than 30 feet away – an empty bathroom. After the pee, I whipped around the


Where the line for the potty was lol…

corner and yelled “hey there’s an empty bathroom and it’s super close”. They just smiled and no one moved. Immediately I thought — ok clearly they have no kids and a life lol.


When the discussion started, it was truly inspiring,  I heard stories about one who had a kid at 14, some who started businesses later as a moms, single moms all successful, amazing mompreneurs. It included Dr. Nicole Farmer, Sylvia Crawford, Rian Barnhill, Cheryl Johnson, Sarah Swanson. It was all sounding good, I was getting excited – until question time. Now I have to admit I get a bit nervous talking in front of people, but this anxiety was different. I started to sweat, my heart was racing, and I kept going over and over what I wanted to ask. My questions were legit, sensible and do I dare say creative, but here was I was, going over and over about how to ask. My thoughts were racing fast and it felt like I was having a panic attack.
Finally at the end when a dad just started blurring out questions, I slowly raised my hand – not really high. OK, OK, I lied. It was actually just an “usher finger” type of raised arm.



While everyone was asking about time management and how to get things done. I had hardline questions like making money online, ROI, ROS, google or balancing of power and money between your mate – deep practical business questions. But by the time I had organized my thoughts to make sure the questions made sense, it was too late. Time’s up. No time for questions, no time for this socially awkward mom with amazing questions.

I have to admit, I  got really emotional – the crying type. My nose turned red and one tiny tear started. At the moment, I almost decided to get up and leave. Only to feel regretful and find that same bathroom, the empty one, no one wanted to go to, crying because of a missed opportunity. It was a very sad, depressing moment.

But something happened. The moderater said she wanted to end early so we had a chance to talk, in-person, to the panel. FINALLY I had a second chance and I took it. Business cards in hand, sweating underarm stained shirt, I conjured up the strength and introduced myself TO EACH SPEAKER. I started by explaining I’m an awkward mom and here some questions I had. Almost of all them told me the questions were amazing and it should have been talked about. They assured me that they’ve been where I was, nervous and all. And I’m proud to say a few inquired about my graphic design services too.


The lesson here is this. Don’t be afraid of what people think. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions, seriously. It’s hard I know. I remember how it used to be working corporate and feeling on top of the world; but it’s different now. As moms we’re making and molding the future world. If you feel you missed an opportunity, if it’s really meant to be, it will open itself up again. I promise.

As for me? I’ll still be that socially awkward mom at first. Probably because I’ve been out of the business/corporate loop for a while, but I learned how to network better that day and now feel like if I can yell to a line of ladies there is a bathroom with no waiting, in a crowd – I can do anything lol!

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The Ultimate-Extreme DYI Detroit Lions Football 40th Party

IT’S GOOD!!! That’s the feeling I had after pulling off the ultimate extreme DYI, 40th surprise birthday party for my husband. It was a miracle, because with an 8 month and  3 yr old, one needs extreme skills in quick running, hiding, climbing, pushing, pulling and stealth. I probably could have slapped on a mustache and won major points at the scouting combine. (I lost 4lbs).
Since I’m now a domestic engineer (raising kiddos) I realize after working 10 years in corporate as a web/ graphic designer I needed to funnel some creative energy –so why not apply it to decorating a party. It took me a month to complete this project in secret. So I slapped a flyer together, mailed it off and started crafting and designing!


4×6 flyers mailed with matching blue envelope.

I made a TON of custom decor by hand for this HUGE Detroit Lions/Football fan. I had a major adrenaline rush- especially hiding stuff when he peaked in the basement, where I secretly created and hid it at night -LMAO. Here are the items:

Hand Screen Printed Rally Towels, Badge, Goal Post, Photo Backdrop, 
Photo Props, Shot Glasses,  Scoreboard, Food Table,  Balloons,  Signs,  Accessories, Fan Table 

Hand Screen Printed Rally Towels

These orginally weren’t part of the party plan, but since I knew how to screen print via learned at Ocelot Print Shop, these worked out great ^_^.   I finally opened the DYI printing kit I received as a birthday gift two years ago and designed a quick image (30 mins) and burned the screen in my basement. It took about a day for the coating, burning and screen printing the 12 towels. Then an extra day to heat set them with an iron for 1-2 mins each. (These are simple car/terry cleaning towels from Meijers $9, 12″ x12″.)


A simple design using clip art printed on terry towels


Custom Badge/Logo

I’m guessing you noticed the “DFL sticker on the rally towels. I made these in less than 15 mins. It’s a play on the NFL official logo using the first letter of my husbands name heehehehe! (sorry I’m a certified dork). Anyway, in my last blog post I mentioned I would talk about Affinity Photo ($49) vs Photoshop. I’m a long time Photoshop user (1999) and quite frankly it was time to switch it up. I was done with the plans and dumb upgrades etc, plus I used older versions and got the same results as CC :-/ –I’ll blog on that later. So basically I fired up Affinity and used the mesh warp tool. I used this badge on the towels, a dollar store football glass and the goal post.


Fun play on NFL’s Logo.

Goal Post

Moving along – you’ll notice that swanky goal post. I thought way in advance to make one but ran out of time on HOW to connect it. It was the almost Christmas (2016) and I just snagged a few at the dollar store, then got to painting the poles. First with white acrylic and then then yellow tempera paint; stood it up using my shirt display and boom – a standing goal post.I could have bought some pvc pipes and connectors but I went total DYI on this -hence the crunchy taped corners; but who cares right?


Homemade goal post made with wrapping paper poles

Photo Backdrop

Behind that lovely goal post you’ll notice a chevron fabric laying across my table. That will is the photo shoot background. I know a lot of people are against “Wal-Smart” but I got 7 yards of this for like $10. (that’s right my JoAnn fabric heads). I was going to pull out my sewing machine, but my rusty butt got lazy and I used fabric glue to connect it together, then I just nailed the ends to the ceiling (They make nail hole filler for people like me). But it was fabulous. We took TONS of photos and all that really matters is a cropped nice picture and wa-la, a printable memory that last forever. Oh and a photo shoot is not complete without props, read on…


The final cropped image was perfect!

Photo “Booth” Props

By now your thinking this chick is doing way too much…your right. I just couldn’t stop the CREATIVITY! I just let it overflow and take over  plus life’s too short to stop short. So I went long (haha) with these fun photo prop sticks. I already had bamboo shish kebob sticks, so I cut the tips and hot glued them to the props (sparkle glue sticks from the dollar store). I printed these on HEAVY card stock – I’m talking 110lbs-200lbs people! (in paper weight terms of course)  I bought them from The Paper Mill store years ago. Then I printed them on the BEST PRINTER I’VE EVER WORKED WITH the Cannon Pixma, because it bleeds off the edges. Next, I painstakingly cut them out with an xacto knife. I’m not gonna lie, these took some time. But it was well worth it – especially the WTF sign; I’m thinking I can use it when someone cuts me off while driving. Just wave it outside the car window- ahhhhh lovely.


Handmade football photo props.

Custom Shot Glasses/Mixed Drinks

Speaking of road rage and signs, let’s all have a drink and settle down. I made some painted shot glasses and custom labels for the vodka mini bottles. The glasses were emptied spice and baby food jars that I was hoarding for weeks. To keep this football theme strong, I painted X’s, O’s and squares that obviously symbolized players in a football playbook. Then I couldn’t help myself buying the already blue (Lions Color), vodka mini bottles. I put those in water for 10 mins and the labels falls off, then I added my own sticker. Guest could then mix it with juices available.
Shots contained the birthday cake shots from the Tipsy Bartender and the spice jars had Blue Hawaiian cocktail, which coordinated perfectly with the Detroit Lions blue color. (Those referee tubs were inspired by this Pinterest blog!)


Custom mixed drink bottles and shot glasses

Scoreboard & Background

Remember that Cannon Pixma printer I told you about? Right – this bad boy is amazing and printed all the pieces for my scoreboard. It’s 28  x 30″+something and I painted a cardboard black, outlined it with white duck tape and applied the pieces on top with a glue stick (extreme). It’s worth noting black ink in printers aren’t “true black” so you’ll see gray but when you cut out the pieces, it works beautifully. Since it was a 40th party it was only right to put his name and 40 as the score. Hurrah! The wall background was black polypropylene material from Wal-Smart, ($4 for three yards). I then pasted strips of white streamers on it. I was shocked on how good it looked.


Personalized scoreboard with age as score and name.


Referee backdrop with streamers.


The best part of any party is the food of course. We are vegan so it was a no brainer to use Beyond Meat Spicy Buffalo bites from Wholefoods plus coconut cupcakes, a vegan cake and other delicious food. The layout was pretty cool too since I painted orange foam pieces  that look like football pylons – as risers; the smaller risers and the turf turned-table cloth I got from The $9 crate is from “Wal-Smart”serving as the cake stand.
Now the coconut cupcakes tasted and looke amazing . I got that recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz plus I looked at countless videos on making grass icing and even considered buying a $9 grass icing tip but I was like fuk it and used a bunch of tooth picks clasped with a rubber band. It looked just like the turf. The green icing is natural using COLORS Kitchen and McCormick natural, and India food coloring) I popped on those football rings and it just works.
The cake was O.K…… While I’m grateful for it begin vegan – it fell really short on color.  What’s really sad is that I even asked for preview photos, and sent color samples – but was told NO. I gave Cakes by Rubina 3 stars (it looked more like a baby’s cake).


Vegan “football” food presented with the guest of honor’s favorites!



Thankfully getting balloons was a service I paid for. Helium Kits a pain and the amount of detail and Lions theme I wanted could only be handled by professionals. I used Party Paradise here in Michigan. I don’t recommend the table top center pieces-they just fall over. But otherwise the Lions balloon tower looked good!


Detroit Lions themed balloons

Banners and Signs

Here is where my graphic design skills killed it! Just kidding. But I didn’t do just any ordinary banner. I HAD to make it extra, by using a lion graphic (vectoreezy) adding silver acrylic paint, cutting out the teeth – making it look like the lion crunched the paper (I added some literal folds and cuts). I think this captures the essence of a true Detroit Lions fan LMAO!! I pieced the long it together since it was really long 30″ x 20″. Top that off with pom poms on the sides and there you go. In addition I put signs on doors since we had a handful of guest who haven’t been in our home. The “loo” was the funniest sign hand down, thanks Calvin Johnson.


Handmade made custom banner and signs with cutout detail.


80% of this project were tweaked stuff I found at that dollar store it included: the super bowl trophy (inspired by Pintrest Post) nerd football + vase, the penalty flag, stones, brown construction paper, football bowls, streamers, colored duck tape, acrylic long servers, beer glasses, glass jars, silver plastic wear, plates, yellow cones and more!


Variety of party accessories tweaked, that bought at the dollar store!

Fan Table/Guest Playbook/Music

Does anyone remember making a “about you” tables in elementary? This was just that – it showed a variety of Detroit Lions items collected over the years. I remember stalking a lady for that black laptop jersey bag, because it was handmade and not sold anywhere ^_^. I also had a guest “playbook” for good wishes, loaded the app Pacemaker on my phone, (who was the “DJ”) with football/fav songs. I even played Fox’s NFL theme song when he came through the door, lol . We’ll be looking back on this party with smiles forever.


A fan table and “best wishes” book for the guest of honor.


To conclude, I fulfilled my creative desires lol. I did miss a few things like more streamers and signs in some areas, but at the end of the day seeing his shocked, smiling face was the best feeling in the world. I suppose in the back of my mind I’ll always wonder what would have happened if I tweeted #CalvinJohnson and he actually showed up! Ah well, until then, the next extreme DYI party — my son’s 1st and daughters 4th birthday COMBINED!

Thanks for coming along, reading this crazy, detailed journey of a 40th surprise party for the ultimate Detroit Lions Fan.
** Check me out on Instagram and Facebook **
**I also have handmade products on Etsy **

Credits: ©Detroit Lions and Branding/Logo owned by Martha Firestone Ford. 

It’s been a long time…

Hey there world.

Sorry it’s been some time. A LOT has happened. Including raising a baby girl! She’s two now instead of 6 months. Here is a quick run down:

Grime D t-shirt

Typical old English D, representing Detroit,MI. I made and screen printed this fast.

  • I learned to screen print. You can see my apparel on my Etsy store or Gumroad Not to mention I’m on and Instagram @creativehina
  • I’ve been doing a lot more drawing. (although I need to do more)
  • Still vegan but cut out a lot of soy milk-We’re doing the flax milk thang.
  • I’ve completed half of my art career. AKA getting old lol.
  • Finally I’m still practicing Capoeira via at Capoeira Detroit. Getting ready for our Batizado Oct 22-25, 2015 ! I can’t wait. ^_^

Getting Revved Up

I’m finally taking the plunge and start blogging.

Why did it take so long? Not sure. But life happens. Then there’s work. Then Love.  Then a total new life …a baby’s life, of course. 🙂
I think I’m ready to share with the world who I am, what I love, and what I do –  all knowing it will be somewhere on the internet forever. LOL. Here is my contribution to mankind.
Sit tight and enjoy the ride!
*Straight from the D!

Straight from the D

Straight from the D

Detroit skyline – how lovely.

Every now and again I’ll take wonderful pictures of this old city, that is turning into a new city – a better place for the people of Detroit. We also recently got a new Mayor. New in the sense of his culture. I’m happy he’s ready to change Detroit, and I’m glad we are willing to have an open mind for these new changes.

Here’s to new beginnings & buildings!