b*home : bathroom refresh


Hello my dears! Today I am here to share a little house project that I recently completed. There is only one bathroom in the cottage, and it is modestly sized. It’s cozy and bright though, and I love it. When we moved in, the bathroom was a light blue shade. We eventually repainted it a deep teal color. I hung a Martha Stewart teal and beige patterned shower curtain and called it a day. Time went on, and I found myself utterly bored with the lack of inspiration in our little lavatory. Last year, we installed new wall sconces, which were a vast improvement over the original fixtures, but still didn’t do much to improve the room as a whole.

About a month ago, I was inspired to tackle this room and do what I could to spruce it up on a modest budget. I found a new shower curtain at Target on clearance for sixteen bucks. It seemed quite appropriate for a designer, and I loved the colors and feel of it. I decided to design the rest of the room around our new typographic curtain. First, I pulled out the leftover paint from our kitchen project, and covered the teal walls. I paused for a moment, and then decided to paint the white ceiling as well. Now the soft gray/brown tone makes the room feel much more seamless and warm. I picked up new towels at IKEA that complemented one of the darker gray tones in the shower curtain. To finish off the room, I chose a few different typefaces, then printed off the first initial of each member of our household in a different one (canines included!). I then rummaged through my box of old frames, and chose five black ones to frame our initials. The pop of black and white on the gray walls feels dramatic and fun. Considering that my only expenses totaled about $45, I’m quite happy with the improvement!










b*designs : brand board


Back in February, when I revealed the first part of my studio re-do, I gave you a glimpse of my brand board. I mentioned briefly that this linen pinboard is a place where I collect scraps, clippings, and papers that feel representative of my personal style. Today I want to tell you a little bit more about this board, and hopefully put you on the path to making your own.

The idea behind a brand or inspiration board is to create a snapshot of your style. Often, creative types have trouble defining the look and feel for their own brand. As a designer, designing for myself is one of my greatest challenges. It’s easy for me to look at someone else and nail down the personality for their logo/blog/website based on their personal style. But when I sit to work on my own designs, I stare blankly at the screen. I don’t think I’m alone in this tendency. No matter if you are a photographer, a shop owner, an aspiring designer, or a part-time blogger, defining your brand is hugely important. Knowing who you are, and then implementing this look and feel in all online and print communication is key to presenting a unified, cohesive, and professional image. A brand board can really help you hone in on the colors, fonts and textures you love most. It can also help you see how these elements work together to form a brand look that is unique to you.

Building a brand board is a simple process that begins with a bulletin board. You can pick one up at Target for under ten bucks. I would recommend covering it in a basic, solid-colored material (how-to here). The idea is to create a “blank slate” on which you will build. I chose a simple, cream linen fabric. I liked the texture, but the color doesn’t compete for my attention. Once you have you board ready, begin by gathering items that inspire you. These items can be anything from magazine clippings, to scraps of fabric, paper, shopping bags, tags, strings, or photos. If there are things that are too big or heavy to pin up, set them on a white surface, and take a picture of them. Once you have all your clippings and scraps pulled together, spread them on a large table, and look for the things that draw you in the most. Choose the items that leave you feeling inspired and alive. Eliminate the ones that don’t generate any sort of emotional response. Your inspiration board should be full of fonts, textures, words, elements, and photos that you LOVE. Not love. Not like. But LOVE. If there are only a few things that fit this description, don’t fret. Chances are, this board will be a work in progress. It should grow and change as you grow and change. You may find yourself adding and taking away every month, or even every week or every day. That’s okay. In fact, that’s very good.

I hope the idea of a brand board excites and inspires you. If you choose to make your own, I’d love to see it! Feel free to send a picture of your board to me at bethany (at)bspokestudio.com. I may post my favorites! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few more close-ups of my personal brand board. Happy Monday!






b*ponders : for japan with love


Up until this point, I haven’t mentioned the tragedy in Japan. Sometimes there are no words. I can’t imagine the devastation they feel, the sadness, and the sense of loss that pervades the nation. In my life, I’ve been spared heartbreak. I’ve been safe. Loved. Warm. Dry. Today, I think of the orphans and windows of Japan. The people who have lost their homes. Their livelihoods. Their families. Their lives. And I think, that maybe, there might be some way that I can reach out of my safe little box and extend a hand. Sometimes it’s the tangible things that lead to much greater, more needed, intangible things. Sometimes a piece of bread means hope for the hopeless. Sometimes a warm place to sleep means rest and peace for the weary.

Today, I encourage you to head over to For Japan With Love and give what you can. Utterly Engaged and Ever Ours have paired up to create this fund-raising effort. Proceeds will go to ShelterBox, an organization that provides emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters at the time when they need it the most. Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.

Tomorrow I will be participating in the Bloggers Day of Silence for Japan. I, along with many other bloggers, will not be posting in hopes that we can help raise awareness for the devastation in Japan. If you have a blog, please join me. And either way, please give and pray for Japan.

b*designs : kate botwinski’s printed goods


Picking up where I left off yesterday, today I’m here with a little glimpse of the printed goods I designed for Kate. Once her blog design was complete, I began the process of putting Kate’s brand on paper. The goal was to give Kate a professional, unified collection of materials that she could give to potential and existing clients. These printed goods needed to feel cohesive with the overall look and feel we were developing, and most importantly, they needed to capture the essence of Kate Botwinski Photography with their style and presence. The first thing we designed was Kate’s business card, which we then had printed on Crane’s 100% cotton two-ply (220#) Lettra in the fluorescent white finish. From there, we designed letterhead, DVD’s and packaging for her DVD’s.

The end result is a new, complete and cohesive brand for Kate! From a new logo, to a new blog, to new printed goods, Kate’s brand got a complete makeover. I was honored to be part of the process, and so happy to know that Kate loves her new look!




b*designs : kate botwinski’s brand

When I met Kate back in November, I knew instantly that she would become much more than a client. As we chatted over coffee and tea, it was clear to me that this vibrant, sweet, and kind woman would become a dear friend in no time. When Kate was referred to me by Emily, last fall, she knew that she needed some help with rebranding. I suggested that we meet for coffee and spend some time together. I like to get to know my clients as much as possible before diving into any design work for them. We talked about the things Kate loves, what makes her tick, the flavor of her work, her favorite pieces of clothing, her favorite colors, her family, her childhood and her dreams for the future. In the end, I left with a mental snapshot of Kate that I could incorporate in her new brand… and a new friend.



The first step in the rebranding process was to rework Kate’s existing logo, which featured her signature and a big, loopy “P” in a bright teal color. Kate wasn’t sure what the P really even meant, or what its significance was, and she felt like the logo didn’t match her personality or the style of her work. We decided to start entirely from scratch. Kate wanted something feminine and refined. Sophisticated and sweet. Pretty and clean. We went through a few rounds of design proofs, and worked together to tweak and adjust until we had just the right look. The end product is “so Kate”–a little bit playful and a little bit romantic.


Once Kate’s logo was established, I jumped into designing a new blog for her. The blog needed to feel like a natural extension of her new brand, so I incorporated the hand-drawn line work, muted, subtle colors, and romantic script typeface. The layout is clean and simple, but not lacking in personality. Head over to Kate’s blog to see for yourself, and tune in tomorrow to see the print pieces I designed for Kate!

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