Entries from July 2011

Mermaid’s Tears

July 22, 2011



This week has been a little bit of a bummer. I’m having a hard time shaking the summer blues. So I thought I’d try a little pick-me-up by painting my nails. When I went to photograph the bottle of pretty aqua polish for this post I noted the name for the first time – Mermaid’s Tears. How appropriate. P.S. I love pairing this color with a sparkly gold polish on my ring finger.

And speaking of mermaids. My sister just posted about my parents new lake house and in it included an old photo of me in my home made little mermaid costume circa 1989. I kind of lived in that pink lamé bra and am surprised I didn’t get sent home the day I wore it to school for Halloween exactly as pictured above. 29-year-old inappropriate me is totally high-fiving the inappropriate 7-year-old me. And I’m not surprised to find that we still rock the same inappropriate sense of style – pink bra and all.

The Most Spontaneous Jeremy Has Ever Been

July 21, 2011



A few years ago I read a blog post about some girl being surprised by her husband with a getaway to Paris. Since then I’ve had this unrealistic fantasy of Jeremy calling me up on afternoon and telling me to grab my passport, a bikini and to meet him at the airport. I’ve even told Jeremy about said fantasy – you know, kind of like telling someone how badly you want a surprise birthday party.

But, I have to tell you all something about Jeremy. The dude has his routines. For example, every night when we decide that we’re ready for sleep, Jeremy goes through his ritual of cleaning out the cat box, washing his hands, brushing his teeth (for a solid 3 minutes), taking off an article of clothing, folding it, hanging it or tossing it in the hamper. Then he calls for Mister Scooty Boots (by whatever pet name he has for him that week – this week it’s “Keister”) and pets him a little, sets the alarm and crawls into bed. What’s most impressive is that he even goes through this routine on nights like this. Meanwhile, I’m in bed with all my clothes on the floor in about 3 seconds flat. I’ll put them away on Sunday. And my teeth. I’ll deal with those in the morning. Jeremy likes structure and organization – I could go into how sexy that can be in its own way, but this story isn’t about that.

So the other day Jeremy picks me up for lunch (we go to lunch together once a week – it’s our routine) and as he pulls into the driveway he says “grab our health records – they’re in the file cabinet under ‘Health Records’ where I neatly tucked them away in alphabetical order.” I was caught a little off-guard but at that point it felt almost as if we were going on a spontaneous adventure. Except, instead of “we’re going to the airport” he said “we’re going to the health department.”

Jeremy was taking us to finish out our vaccinations. We started our round of Hep A&B vaccines before we left for Nepal and were months overdue for the third round of shots. The nurse asked us if we were traveling abroad as she shoved the spring-loaded syringe into my shoulder. I couldn’t help but have a glimmer of hope that the airport was our next stop.

Are you all spontaneous? Or are you more of a methodical planner? What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?

Freelance Matters | Getting Paid

July 20, 2011


When I hear stories about freelancers not getting paid it makes me cringe. So today I want to talk to all of you freelancers about getting paid and how I go about it. I know asking for payment is really uncomfortable for a lot of freelance designers, photographers, crafters, etc. But here’s what I’ve learned – it’s only awkward if you make it so. Do you feel weird about handing over a copay when you go to the doctor? Do you feel funny when you pay your waiter for a meal you just enjoyed? No? Then you shouldn’t get all stressed out about asking for money for your services and talent.

I’ve written before about estimating & billing but here are a few more tips (or reminders) on how to get paid:

1. Your client is not the enemy. I think this is important to note first. I hear so many horror stories about designer / client-from-hell situations and it makes me as uncomfortable as witnessing that unhappily married couple that always bickers in public. A lot of this is about determining a good fit upfront (which I’ll get more into later). But basically, if your client likes you they’re going to want to pay you.

Sana and Kathleen: An example of a client / designer love-fest.

2. Work in flat fees.
This way everyone knows what to expect. If a client can’t afford you then they know it upfront. I talk a lot about estimating and flat fees here.

3. Get a deposit before you even begin the project. I like to ask for 50%. This establishes a clear commitment between the designer and client.

4. Get your final payment prior to final file delivery or before you send anything to print. But make sure you receive final approval, in writing, on all work first.

5. Have an invoicing and estimating process and stick to it every single time. The more you estimate and invoice the easier it becomes to know what you’re worth and ask for payment.

6. Have a contract. Make expectations clear for what you and the client can expect. If you don’t have a contract you can A) make it up (it’s better than nothing), B) hire a lawyer or C) refer to a book – like this.

7. Be nice. If you aren’t getting paid sometimes it’s a simple miscommunication. A friendly reminder can go a long way.

So those are a few tips on how I get paid with freelancing. I’ve never not received payment from a client so I think it’s a pretty solid system.

Do any of you have issues or tips for getting paid? I’d love to hear your point-of-view. Or if you have additional questions I would be more than happy to answer them in the comments section.

Related posts:
• Freelance Matters | Estimating & Billing
Freelance Matters | Project Management
• Money | Matters

Next up on Freelance Matters:
• Working for Free (aka ProBono): How, when and when not to work for free

Creatives Near You

July 19, 2011



Jeremy and I were recently interviewed by my new friend, Meg Lopp, of Green Couch Design for a feature called Creatives Near You. She asked a lot of really great questions about how we juggle our personal and professional lives, how we keep creativity fresh and what a typical date night is like.

Here’s an excerpt:
Q.) Everyone has a different approcah toward balancing business and life. For J&K how do the two coexist?

A) KATHLEEN: I believe that business and life should go hand-in-hand. I’m passionate about what I do – who I am in my professional life is the same as my personal life and nine times out of 10 my clients become great friends. Meanwhile, Jeremy is more of a “working for the weekend” kind of guy. He’s good at what he does and is a hard worker 40 hours a week but when he’s home he’s not thinking about work – and he likes it that way.

A) JEREMY: I don’t work THAT hard. Ha. Though, I do fantasize about being passionate about my work. It’s just not practical for me. I’m better off keeping work and play separate.

Click here to read more. Thanks, Green Couch Design for having us over.

Watercolor Wedding Invitations

July 18, 2011







Dominique (aka Dom) was a regular blog commenter since the beginning – back when I only had a handful of readers and didn’t know how to properly size my photos. She first emailed me back in March of 2010 to ask about my invitation rates and process (back when I was charging pennies and didn’t really have much of a process at all). Over a year later she was ready to pull the trigger and I was ready to design some invitations for someone who already felt like a friend.

I knew I wanted to do something really special for Dom and Lucas. I wanted their invitations to feel as if they were designed completely by hand but still have a modern vibe. So with that I drew each letter by hand (based on existing typefaces) and used watercolor as a primary design element.

Dom and Lucas loved the initial design concept but were hoping for something a little more whimsical. When Dom asked for a drawing of the couple with their dog running off a leash and swirls following behind him I was able to give it to her straight, like a friend, and told her that her wedding invitations weren’t the time or place. And the best part is – she listened.

People that hire me to design their custom wedding invitations usually have placed a huge priority on their paper goods. They’re paying a lot of money for their invites and often want to see A LOT going on in the design in order to justify those costs. So then, it’s not only my job to design an invitation but to convey with a creative rationale what makes my design worth it. My friend Cole, an amazing hair stylist, once told me that’s it isn’t always about the hair that’s taken off, but the hair that’s left on that makes a stylist great – I’ll never forget that. I feel the same way about invitation design. It’s not about embellishing for embellishment sake – it’s about creating a beautiful and hopefully timeless invitation that my clients can feel good about forever.

Dom and Lucas were thrilled with their final invitations. They thanked me for guiding them to a final look that received lots of compliments from friends and family and I thanked them for trusting me and letting me be a little part of their big day.

NOTE: I am no longer designing custom wedding invitations. If you’re looking for a wedding invitation designer please check out the sponsors at Oh So Beautiful Paper and A Practical Wedding.

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