My New Year's Resolution: Education

You've said it how many times before? This is the year I'm going to...(fill in the blank) and make something happen. You've sat down, put pen to paper, and actually took time out of your hectic schedule to write out your new year's wish list. Stop smoking, lose weight, cut back on TV, work out more, finish the landscaping, find more time for the kids, read more, learn to relax, etc. But then the excitement of New Year starts to wear off, daily routine sets in, and old habits surface while New Year's wishes sink to the bottom of despair. I would say the two biggest resolutions (however, I'm sure this could be debated) include working out more and improving one's skills. Since I'm not in the business of blogging about exercising (even though that would be cool) I'm going to talk about the latter.

More to the point I'm going to try to fire you up so THIS REALLY BECOMES YOUR YEAR!! If you've been contemplating going back to school, improving your knowledge through continuing education or you just generally want to know more - then look no further. This is the place where you can browse around and request information on the many design degree programs and educational opportunities offered by leading on-line Colleges. And this is the blog that will spark the flames in getting you motivated to do something about it. Personally speaking I'm a huge fan of a new year. I mean it's a time to start fresh, reflect on past accomplishments, pursuits, and failures. It's a call to arms to say this is my time and this is the place to begin heading in the right direction. Or if you believe you're already heading in the right direction then it's a perfect time to figure out those next action steps to keep things really moving.

Either way the New Year is coming. It's almost 2007, can you believe it, and this is your time to shine. Give yourself the perfect gift - education. Expand your mind, explore new horizons, and give yourself a raise. You can do it and you're worth it!!

Happy New Year's Everyone and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Holiday Decorating Ideas for Your Christmas Tree

Twelve days of Christmas....Well, as I write this, there are really only 10 days left until Christmas however, it's never too late to get a few extra ideas for trimming your Christmas tree. The following thematic Christmas tree decorating ideas were extracted from the Art Institute's interior design program. Happy Holiday's!

The Candy Tree - A small-scale candy tree could be placed on a dining room table or kitchen as a sweet way to enhance the holiday mood. Hand strung wrapped hard candies to make a great garland. Foil wrapped chocolate Santa's and holiday figures serve as great edible ornaments. Suspend candy canes of all colors and sizes to complete the theme. A quick trip to the local candy store will inspire many ideas for ornaments.

The Color Tree - You can easily unify all of your holiday decor with the of use strong color combinations throughout your tree. Platinum and pearl, gold and taupe, and country pastels can create holiday elegance in a more unique way than the traditionally over-used red and green.

The Conceptual Tree - For a striking tree design, choose one conceptual theme. For example, a collection of pear ornaments and a partridge placed on a small tree will reflect the traditional carol. A music lover could create a tree with miniature instruments, rolled sheet music tied with bows and musical notes shaped from fanciful pipe cleaners.

A Party Tree - Throw a trim-a-tree party, where guests can exchange unique or handcrafted ornaments with each other. As the host, you can enchant your guests by carefully placing personally monogrammed ornaments into your tree as a parting gift.

The Natural Tree - Try a natural tree this year. Adorn with ornaments found in nature such as seashells, pinecones, seedpods, fruits, dried flowers and herbs to create a tree that is truly "green." For an exterior tree, use birdseed, dried corncobs, popcorn strands and suet balls to attract wildlife to your yard.

The Family Tree - A family tree could be hung with family photographs, homemade children's keepsakes or craft projects, heirloom ornaments and other treasured items that evoke memories of holidays past. Use black and white copies of your favorite photos and hang with clothespins. Treasured holiday cards could complete this theme.

The Antique Tree - Scour thrift shops, tag sales and antique stores for old-fashioned Christmas ornaments. Add Christmas postcards, which can be found in antique shops for approximately $1 and hang with lace or vintage ribbon. Reproduction ornaments can round out the theme at little cost to create a true tree of the past.

The Winter Tree - Using white lights, several dozen clear icicles and heavy handfuls of artificial snow can create a quick and simple winter theme tree. Add white-wrapped presents at the base of your tree to complete the effect. This classic winter tree will enhance all interiors and set the mood for a winter wonderland.

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Design Graduate's Artwork Featured on Wine Labels

How cool is that? I recently read an article about a Kansas City local artist, Jennifer Janesko, who has been working on designing wine labels for Haut Art Wines. Talk about the many ways graphic design degree graduates can apply their skill-set.

She originally started out working in the fashion industry however her fashion illustrations began slowly changing into pin-up design. As a side note pin-up art dates back to the late 1890's, but really hit its peak in the 1940's during World War II, when soldiers would keep photos and drawings of models and female celebrities.

The owner of Haut Art Wines met her at a Chicago art show two years ago where she was showcasing some of her artwork. He really enjoyed her art and noted how good it would look on wine labels. Fast forward to today where her artwork can be found the Cabernet Sauvigon and Zinfandel series.

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