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Due to a set of two rather intense storms that rolled through the Twin Cities on Friday, I was one of the lucky 450,000 to lose power Friday night. Saturday, I was one of the lucky 250,000 to STILL not have power. Now it's down to some 75,000 people without power, but I AM NOT ONE OF THEM!! HOORAY!!!! It was actually kind of an interesting test to see how dependent I was on technology and electricity. Friday night wasn't too bad- I grabbed The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, and started reading. Being without light was fine, I just lit a bunch of candles and sat in a partial state of fear knowing if I knocked one over, my apartment would erupt in flames. Alas, it did not, and I am still alive and my building is still standing. Saturday, it started to get a little boring. I still kept reading (what else was there really to do?), and the biggest thing that left me feeling uneasy was that my phone was quickly losing charge. If something happened (hello, fire- I'm talking to you!) I would have no way of contacting anyone. I used my phone as sparingly as possible, which meant no games and very little checking Twitter. This was the hardest part, because I used Twitter to get information about the storms and recovery process. That was the part that really left me feeling in the dark (heh...heh...). As Saturday kept dragging by, the pages of my book kept turning, and my food kept getting warmer. Thankfully, I'm too broke to have a full freezer and fridge stocked with deliciously expirable foods, so I wasn't actually going to lose too much. I lit more candles to get through the evening, and went to bed once again, with the sounds of silence (not the awesome Simon & Garfunkel kind, sadly) ringing loud in my head. I woke up today, with a phone battery at 100% full, and I cheered. My thirty hours without power had come to an end. I realized how well I could actually get by without electricity, as long as my phone kept a charge, so I could get information and keep in contact with people as needed. Technology is a big part of my life, and I think if the outage had gone on longer, I might not have kept as sane. I can generally get by just fine by myself, but boredom crept in quickly and definitely tested my patience. It was an interesting weekend, and I am definitely glad to be able to get things done tonight. My PFOTW post should come later tonight, and then I can watch the Mad Men finale and be happy. For now, I just have to get to cleaning out my fridge. :)

This week, we have a Monday post, solely because I was too lazy over the weekend to get around to posting last night. Whoops! Even still, I came across some pretty great stuff for this week. Mostly, I leaned towards finding exceptional illustrations, and I found just that in Steve Simpson's work.

Even from his main logo on his website, I could tell that this man has talent. Looking at little more around the site, I quickly discovered my positive opinion was not left alone. He has dozens of awards, and has worked with many well-known clients, from 7-up to Guinness, and everything in between. Steve specializes in packaging, advertising and children's books, and his designs have a very creative feel. He uses a similar warm color palette throughout a lot of his designs, which unites each of his illustrations. I came across this pin of a poster today, which intrigued me and made me want to see more:

Steve Simpson

I always admire fine illustrations, and this one in particular reminded me of a books I read as a child, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Maybe it was the color scheme, maybe it was the distorted face of the man on the bike balloon (that works, right? "Bike balloon"?), but I was taken back to my childhood, and I loved it. I also really love the handwritten quality of the text on the balloon, as it's something I've been looking towards practicing in my own work. The more I looked around Steve's site, I appreciated his unique style of illustration. Each image is at its core, uncluttered and simple, yet they all have such strength and boldness. I even came across this packaging for Chilly Moo yogurt, which I had actually pinned last week:

Steve Simpson - Chilly Moo

This packaging uses a brighter color scheme, but the characteristics and quality of the illustration remains very in line with Steve's general style. I had no idea I had pinned two completely different illustrations from the same designer, but in retrospect, I probably should have noticed. Check out Steve's portfolio website here, and admire this man's work as much as I have. His illustrations are truly something to appreciate, and they give me a great amount of inspiration to better my own techniques.

For my first Pinterest Find of the Week, I came across this pin from a company called Botanical Paperworks in Manitoba, Canada.

Botanical Paperworks

I liked this pin for a variety of reasons. The illustration is beautiful in its simplicity, and the colors chosen blend well together. The packaging is clean and very pleasing to the eye. This is something I would love to receive as a gift. I clicked through to their website to find this design is actually printable (and free!), which I liked. Then I discovered this company not only has printable designs, but plantable as well. This was something I had heard of before, but had never actually seen. And I think it's amazing. Botanical Paperworks offers a wide range of products, from wedding invitations to notebooks. All of these are made of plantable, recycled paper. Throw it in the ground, and you'll have a batch of wildflowers in return. They make each sheet of paper by hand, and it's all recycled paper from local schools and offices. I really enjoy what I've read about this company, and I wish more were like this. I'm worried that people won't realize the impact we have on the environment until it's too late, and it's great to see a business with this in mind. Instead of adding to the problem, they are adding to the solution with each sheet of paper and each product sold. Even with of this environmental greatness, they even have fantastic designs. This is why I chose to post about Botanical Paperworks for my very first Pinterest Find of the Week. I look very forward to purchasing something from them in the future. Take a look at their website here--I hope you like what you see! :D

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