A Month of Minimalism / Where to begin?


To begin this month I wanted to share my personal definition of minimalism, which will likely differ from others’ view and that is perfectly ok. I am a highly sensitive person, coming to this conclusion has taken me years and even longer to accept. Shrugging things off easily is not familiar territory for me, my husband on the other hand is great at letting things go. I am also easily stressed because I overthink everything and frequently overanalyze situations or problems to pieces. Letting go is not a reflex for me, it is a practice which I must exercise on a daily basis. Understanding myself has played a key role in my own relationship with minimalism. I’ve found that having fewer things, subsequently fewer things to worry about and manage, greatly contributes to my own peace and to the peace of my family. There is something liberating about having what you need, or maybe it’s about needing less?

Mine and my family’s relationship with minimalism means we try to avoid all sorts of unnecessary excess. Do we sometimes splurge? Definitely. Do we each have collections of objects that aren’t absolutely necessities? Yes. My husband collects notebooks, I am kind of a clothes horse, my son collects Legos and animals figures while our daughter collects things that are pink.


Minimalism is not about achieving perfection or about never having fun. Rather minimalism is about being mindful about your choices and your consumption. We try to be thoughtful before making purchases, doing research and certainly reading reviews when possible. It means waiting a bit longer to buy something of quality rather than simply buying what is convenient. I’ve found that most impulse buys have virtually no longevity in our house and it’s those things we saved for, patiently waiting for that have taken up more permanent residence.
Minimalism for me also means a more consistent or limited group of colors. It does not mean no color, but I do find myself repeatedly drawn to a certain set of colors that help keep otherwise odd items somewhat cohesive together. I’ve found I like working this way best because it is more calming than a lot of conflicting colors. Everyone has a different relationship with certain colors though and I’ve seen plenty of people who like greens, blues, pink and yellow or more saturated versions of color who still maintain an overall minimal aesthetic.
Minimalism also means editing our possessions regularly. I don’t mark a certain day on the calendar but roughly once a season I purge the closets, kitchen, bathroom cabinets and collectively with the kids we also purge extras from their rooms. We recycle, sell and donate stuff we haven’t used in a while and know we can live without. It’s a great exercise in evaluating what is truly essential.
Minimalism has also meant better quality. When I was newly married I had these ideas that some things in your home only served an aesthetic purpose while tools and practical items only served a function. Through blogging and use of the internet I soon found that there could be a happy marriage of objects that are beautiful and useful simultaneously and you don’t necessarily have to choose one quality or the other. This has resulted in owning fewer objects, the drawers aren’t filled with lots of cheap and ugly tools that need to be hidden away but rather objects acquired slowly over time made of materials that typically lost longer.


Living with less doesn’t mean you won’t keep some sentimental things or that every wall or shelf will be incredibly sparse. It does mean however that you mostly possess the things you absolutely love and use so that you are left with items that will be loved and cared for.
In our home minimalism doesn’t always mean going without or that we never indulge in frivolous things however it is a frame of mind through which to pass many of our decisions, an intent to remain conscious to having fewer but better things.


Here are a few questions I ask myself, which you can try as well, when keeping minimalism in mind:
Do I truly need this? (sometimes a good test of need is waiting, and if the item lingers in your mind for a few days then return to it)
Will this add value to my life?
Is this something that can do the job or two or more products, allowing me to donate the others and replace with one?
Will this endure through time? Could it be passed onto future generations?
Is it made of renewable materials or is it handmade?


Driftwood stained RAST for the Scandinavian farmhouse feel

This project started with us wanting to overhaul our bedroom. Our master bedroom had kind of become a strange mashup of girly bedroom items I’ve collected since I graduated from college, and none of it really felt like Chris, which he never minded, but it also sort of started to feel like me in a former life. So when planning our master bedroom makeover, I started to think more neutrally and really wanted to pull in the black, white, brass and warm, weathered wood theme that has begun to take over the rest of the house. We really gravitate toward the laid back, lived-in Scandinavian farmhouse look – when I visited Sweden a few years ago and had lunch at one of our family friends’ houses on the island of Lidingö in Stockholm, I fell in love with the cozy, inviting, airy feel of their stunning interior. It was the perfect mix between modern farmhouse, coastal cottage, and simplistic sanctuary, and we’d love to pull notes of those design elements into our home wherever we can!

So when searching for a new pair of nightstands for the bedroom, I wasn’t really finding what we wanted. Everything I was seeing during my search was either mid-century modern (which I know is a huge trend these days, but we didn’t want that to dictate our style) or on the other end of the spectrum, a little too rustic. So what does a girl do when she wants to bring the Scandinavian farmhouse look into her own home (and on a budget), but can’t find what she wants? She hits IKEA! And hit IKEA we did. We walked through that entire place combing it over for potential new items to fill our bedroom, which can be a little bit anxiety-inducing, but they have so many beautiful designs throughout their store these days! We were honestly kind of blown away by how many pieces throughout the store we loved and wanted. But nothing was just the right thing for our nightstands, so I decided that it was time to tackle another DIY. We found the Rast chest of drawers at IKEA, and immediately hit Pinterest for “Rast Hack” inspiration and ideas for how we could spruce them up and make them our own, of which there was plenty. Once we gathered some ideas for our nightstands, I decided on a plan of attack, picked up all of the things I’d need to execute, and the result is what you see in the pics below! Driftwood stain + whitewash + mix and match knobs from Anthro = success! I think we can consider this IKEA Rast properly hacked.


How to hack the IKEA RAST into a driftwood stained nightstand


  • Ikea “Rast” Chest of Drawers (x2)
  • Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish (x2 orders to finish both nightstands)
  • Rustoleum Chalked in Linen White
  • Driftwood Final Finish Liquid Wax
  • Mix and match black and white knobs from Anthropologie – Here, Here, Here
  • Waddell Bun Feet (x8)
  • Waddell Heavy Duty Top Plates (x8)
  • 16 inch x 6 ft. pine board (cut into two 16 in x 26.5 in boards by a guy at Lowe’s)

Driftwood stained finish


1. After sanding both nightstands and making sure to wipe off any dust left behind, I stained the natural pine of the Rast with Driftwood Weathering Wood stain. This was a stain I had seen used by another home blogger, and I loved the the look. I also stained the bun feet we attached to the bottom of the nightstand, and the pine topper we attached to the top of the nightstand. To use this stain you mix one packet of the powder with one cup of water. Mix the powder until it dissolves.

2. Apply your stain with a soft-bristled paintbrush, running your strokes in the same direction as the grain of the wood. I used a larger brush to make it easier to cover the entire nightstand. This stain is pretty runny but dries quickly, so be careful of drips when you apply. Luckily, you can’t really mess this stain up either – true driftwood has a bit of variation naturally, so it’s going look good no matter what. One more tip about this stain: You can take the blue tones out of the stain by adding a pinch of baking soda to the solution. But be aware that a little goes a long way with that. I put in a really tiny pinch and that was enough to extract most of the really harsh blue tones out of it without yellowing the stain at all, giving it a nice, natural gray finish.

3. Once the stain dried (give it about 24 hours), I was ready to make my whitewash. For the whitewash, I mixed equal parts Rustoleum Chalked chalk paint in Linen White and warm water. Mix the paint with a paint stick until it’s all completely mixed, and you’re ready to apply! You can apply the whitewash with a specific chalk brush, or just any large soft-bristled brush you want.

4. Apply your whitewash in even strokes running in the same direction as the grain of the wood. I also applied the whitewash to the bun feet and the pine topper as well.

5. I wanted the driftwood stain to peek through the whitewash ever so slightly, so I waited one minute after each section I whitewashed, and quickly wiped the whitewash off with an old, clean, soft T-shirt. And again, make sure the T-shirt is not only completely flat over your hand as you’re wiping, but that you’re wiping in the same direction as the grain of the wood. This gives the wood such a cool weathered look, and I highly recommend using this technique.

6. Once the whitewash and the nightstands were completely dry (I’d wait 24 hours), we attached our bun feet, which are the little spherical wood feet you see on the bottom of the nightstand. Chris was cracking up that the four bun feet actually cost more than the entire chest itself, but hey, it’s totally worth it! We attached four top plates to the bottom of the dresser at the four corners, and the bun feet just screw in/twist into those. It’s a really simple process.

bun feet

7. Next we applied a 16″ x 26.5″ pine board to the top of the nightstand using wood glue. This was another really simple step. Obviously the board was already stained and whitewashed as well, so we just applied a thin line of wood glue to the top of each side of the nightstand and laid the pine board on top of it, pressing firmly and looking underneath the board for any excess glue that may have squeezed out the sides, and just wiped that with a cloth. Then we set heavy objects (planters in our case) on top of rags (don’t want to scratch the top!) on each side of the top of the board where it meets the nightstand, and let it sit like that for a few hours just to make sure it was secure.

new pine topper

8. My next step was putting a wax finish over the entire nightstand, and especially on the top of it where we’d be setting things down, to give it a durable topcoat. I used the Driftwood Final Finish Liquid Wax, which can be used not only on the raw Driftwood Weathering Wood stain, but can also be used over chalk paint and purports to keep both of those things in tact and not darken them, which I think rang true when I used it. It aded slight variations to the whitewash, which I actually think I love, so it’s all OK by me. I applied two coats with an old soft T-shirt, and the process went really quickly.

9. Now for the fun part! I was having the hardest time deciding what kinds of knobs or pulls I wanted to add to this, and thought seriously about doing a nice brushed brass cup pull. But then Chris insisted we go check out the knobs at Anthropologie and what luck, they were giving 20% off of your entire purchase that day and Chris had the genius idea to mix and match different knobs with white and black patterns. So fun! And I couldn’t love them more. It definitely adds a little boho “Anthro” vibe to these nightstands!

new mismatched knobs

Driftwood stained RAST nightstand for the Scandinavian farmhouse feel Driftwood stained RAST nightstand for the Scandinavian farmhouse feel

See the complete tutorial.

~ by Maryal Carter

The post Driftwood stained RAST for the Scandinavian farmhouse feel appeared first on IKEA Hackers.


Grey And White Interior Design Inspiration From Scandinavia

Grey and white are often used as background or complementary colours. Muted, easy to design around and pair with Scandinavian style, they are often the supporting act, not the feature. What if your dream interior combined just those colours – just grey and white? These three Scandinavian-inspired homes show that grey and white need not fade into the background. Whether adorning kitchen tiles, comforter sets, living room walls, luxurious couches or simple wall streaks in the bathroom, grey can amplify white, and white can lighten a touch of grey. See more grey and white in our three house tours below.

Architect: Thai Quang  

Our first space is an apartment decorated in grey, white and green. Green peoples the space in an array of potted plants and canvas artwork. The lounge opens up, offering a Swiss Cheese Plant, cacti and a mini tree against an exposed brick wall painted in grey. Sleek concrete flooring holds a worded rug, making grey and white almost monochrome. A gorgeous quilted couch and banquet chandelier in white match blowing chiffon curtains, providing a level of contrast. Two leather ottomans make the contrast sharper, by pairing solid grey and white in two comfy items.

Towards the other side of the lounge, a TV emerges betwixt two plants. Backed by a range of leaning monochrome abstracts, a white cabinet alludes to the dining room beside it, with a row of dark-wooden handles. The space parades many different species of flora and fauna, including the Fiddle Leaf Fig in the bedroom to come.

The dining room offers an eclectic array of furniture, interspersed with plants. A spray of black and white LEDs create a monochromatic chandelier. A circular glass mirror and leaning ladder add a hint of the kooky; a stencil black bookcase, wicker cane baskets and a plant in a lightbulb-vase the hipster. Beside a beige panel wall, an all-wooden dining table and chairs allude to nature, while grey and white portraits create more contemporary chatter.

The bedroom is a sensual feast in grey and white. A standard design without the little details, the complexion of the room is easily changed by a white and grey comforter set, boldly-patterned rug and banquet lamp from the living room. Looking from the bed, artistic letters, pictures and numbers hang above another erotic work, TV cabinet and desk. The result is minimal Scandinavian with a natural twist.

Designer: Hoàng Long  

Our second Scandinavian space makes a statement with a grey wooden floor extending through its rooms. Surrounded by white walls and grey kitchen cabinets, the main living space oscillates between grey and white, grey and white in a striped rug, grey couch and cushions. Coloured features pop out alternately, in white tables framed with gold and a mixture of lamps in differing colours. A few potted plants, a dangling copper lamp and deer hide add elements of difference.

Turning towards the bedroom, a large, winding Japanese partition window makes a stand across a large section of wall. Set off beside the copper lamp, the black-framed panel opens up the room and reflects natural light, setting off an array of coloured wall frames.

The bedroom, beautifully partitioned on the other side, is lit further by the window. Full white walls with a white-tiled panel juxtapose the painted wooden floor and matching cushions. A brown fur throw and patterned rug combine the two hues, while two simple wooden shelves hold trinkets.

The warm gold of the dining room adds warmth to the kitchen, a wall of grey with shiny appliances. Inlaid into a custom-made inlet, the wooden bench affords ample room for preparation, without encroaching on the wider room. Rough-shod metal chairs and a red-legged wooden cabinet add detail to the white dining table.

Photographer: Anders Bergsted  
Source: Entrance  

Our final space draws on lighter-toned grey to bring monochromes and greyscale elements together. No place is this better exemplified than the lounge’s six frames, a compilation of dreamy fades and illustrations each different in their artistry. A woollen grey rug foregrounds the scene, as a white leather sofa and matching tables hold roses below glass bubbles. The space opens to show a ceramic fireplace and greyscale kitchen with five-piece white chandelier. Two brown leather chairs shrink back the space, echoing hot air balloon decorations on the wall behind.

Three portrait windows across the main space’s wall let in light and hold on to modernity. Bathed in grey with white joinery, they unite the kitchen, dining and lounge areas. Beautifully-crafted cornice mouldings bring a French Renaissance feel, mirrored by a black antique mirror in the entrance.

The dining room and kitchen add a Scandinavian twist, as a wall of brick and idea lights populate the room. High, black wooden chairs sit around a grey slatted table, while white cabinetry makes a splash in a kitchen otherwise grey. A stack of three shelves hold crockery for guests; chrome, copper and living accessories add a natural touch.

A walk around the corner shows a decorated ceramic fireplace, hot air balloon ornaments (available on Amazon) and a silver hot rod – an entrance for a nursery. Its corridor space is made bright by grey paint and white joinery, alongside small white wall shelving and a matching cot.

Cute hipster accessories like the race track rug and cute bear storage basket are found from Amazon, while the wall bunting and name-branded cupboard join in a soft and sophisticated design.

The master bedroom offers a pretty place for relaxation. Pastel mint walls and cabinetry play with white, grey and berry hues upon the bed and across the room. A large window to the side lights up personal finds in photographs, cheesecutter hats and antique chandeliers, while a simple white bedside table rests candles and plants.

The bathroom echoes the kitchen in a wall of tiling with a stroke of grey. White amenities, shower curtains and cabinetry offer just enough space for a simple wooden stool and two mirrors, reflecting a glass-vased plant.

Related Posts:


One Photographer’s Whimsical Travels Around the World

Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul

Ortahisar Kalesi, Turkey

Photographer Ekaterina Mishchenkova, who goes by the name Katia Mi on Instagram, travels fifteen to twenty times each year, and every picture she makes is informed by the architecture, heritage, and language of her surroundings.

Mishchenkova lives in Moscow but was born in Olomouc in the Czech Republic. Her childhood memories have in many ways shaped her adult imagination. As a girl, she remembers the way the snow fell under the soft glow of lantern light, blanketing the world in glitter. She spent many days making toys for herself, preferring them over the generic kind every kid had at home. She arranged items around the house into meticulous patterns and compositions.

These days, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom and Holland rank among Mishchenkova’s favorite spots, and everywhere she goes, she brings with her the same curiosity and sense of magic that pervaded her youth. Her photographs are of real places, of course, but they also provide a window into an ethereal, psychological landscape all her own.

It doesn’t take long to become familiar with Katia Mi’s own personal signatures and leitmotifs. Huge moons hang in the sky, lighting our way. A figure in red becomes our guide in ancient and beautiful territories.

Between her two accounts, one for travel and lifestyle and the other for fine art, Katia Mi has well over half a million followers. Speaking with Leica, the photographer says she often receives comments from people who tell her the photographs have inspired the memory of particular scents or songs. Even when she’s halfway around the world, the artist can evoke something distinct and familiar to us all.

Delphi, Greece

Istanbul, Turkey

Havana, Cuba

Bologna, Italy

Hotel Astoria, Saint Petersburg


The Wallberg, Germany

Izmir, Turkey

Izmir, Turkey

All images © Katia Mi

The post One Photographer’s Whimsical Travels Around the World appeared first on Feature Shoot.


99pi Presents: Brat Pack America Live with Roman Mars & Kevin Smokler


Join 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars in conversation with Kevin Smokler, author of Brat Pack America, about the lasting legacy of some of the most familiar set pieces of the 1980s. The event will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at SPUR in Oakland, California.


Back to the Future had Hill Valley, The Goonies had the Oregon coast’s “Goon Docks,” and The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink all took place in Shermer, Illinois. In many 1980s films, locations and built environments played as big of a role as the characters.

Kevin Smokler’s new book traces how these places made their mark not just on-screen but also on the landscape of America itself.

Tickets are $5 for SPUR members, $10 for non-members.

Click here to get tickets early — this will sell out!


A different beat: Cristobal Tapia de Veer on creating music for film and TV

Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s music will stick in your mind long after you’ve heard it. His scores are a far cry from the orchestral music often used in film and TV. They are distinctive, experimental and often, downright strange – an eclectic mix of musical styles and ominous sounds that will give you shivers.

De Veer is the composer behind some of the most memorable soundtracks on TV in the past three years. He worked with director Marc Munden to create the music for Dennis Kelly’s sci-fi series, Utopia, and National Treasure, a four-part drama about a TV entertainer accused of rape. He also created the music for Channel 4 and AMC series Humans and this year earned comparisons with renowned composer Mica Levi for his work on The Girl With All The Gifts, a zombie drama based on the book by MR Carey.

The Girl With All the Gifts © Gift Girl Limited/The British Film Institute 2016. © 2016 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.
Above and top: Stills by Aimee Spinks from The Girl With All the Gifts © Gift Girl Limited/The British Film Institute 2016. © 2016 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

The film is set in a near future where the world’s population has been infected by a fungal disease that turns people into flesh-eating ‘hungries’. The only hope for humanity is a group of children that crave human flesh but still have free will.

Its haunting opening track is reminiscent of Inuit chanting and throat singing. Low murmurs combine with high-pitched wails to create something that feels eerie, moving and almost otherworldly – not at all what you might expect from a film packed with gore, guns and the undead. Writing in the Guardian, film critic Mark Kermode described de Veer’s score as “superb … a shimmering soundscape that is every bit as integral to the film’s uncanny power as Mica Levi’s groundbreaking work in Under the Skin”.

De Veer says he wanted to encourage viewers to empathise with the film’s main character, a young girl named Melanie. “I wanted to build a connection with her, because there’s something really moving about her and her relationship with her teacher [played by Gemma Arterton],” he explains. “I don’t really care about zombies and explosions – that’s not really interesting to me – so it had to be about how she perceives what’s happening.”

De Veer was born in Chile in 1973, during the military coup d’etat. He was fascinated with music as a child and could often be found playing his family’s Spanish guitar or making his own drum kits out of boxes.

He later moved to Quebec and spent nine years studying classical music at the Conservatoire de Musique, where he majored in percussion. After graduating, he co-founded the pop dance group One Ton and had a top 10 hit in Canada in 2002 with the track Supersex World.

He went on to produce albums for pop, rock and indie musicians and, in 2008, created the music for Ubisoft’s bestselling computer game Shaun White Snowboarding. His first TV commission was for Munden’s adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel, The Crimson Petal and the White, which aired on BBC 2 in 2011.

Munden came across his work while searching for musicians based in Canada, where parts of the show were filmed. “I had always liked the idea of creating ambience for images, but I didn’t know how the TV and film world worked,” explains de Veer. “When I was working in pop music, we [One Ton] had an agent and I was always asking if we could pitch stuff for TV and cinema … but it’s a very mysterious world to enter and make contacts [in],” he adds.

A year later, Munden asked de Veer to work on Utopia: a six-part series about a group of people who are hunted by an organisation known as The Network after discovering a rare manuscript of a graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments.

The show was a cult hit, not just because of Kelly’s gripping writing and some stand out performances from its cast, but also because of its distinctive sound and aesthetic. Super-saturated colours and beautiful cinematography were combined with a brilliantly unusual soundtrack to create a show that looked – and sounded – like nothing else on TV.

De Veer’s music perfectly captured the programme’s offbeat tone and its mix of darkness, humour and style. His soundtrack combined shrill bells and whistles with darker bass lines, ghostly voices, fast-paced electronic and reggae-inspired beats.

With the show’s violent scenes and eye-popping visuals, there was little need to enhance the drama on screen. Instead, de Veer says the aim was to bring “a new perspective” to what was happening.

“Often, we’d put fast-paced b or funny music in moments that were really dark and it was quite fascinating because it didn’t make the scene any lighter,” he explains. “It didn’t take away from it: if anything, it would make it even creepier.” There was a sadness to certain tracks, helping emphasise the inner turmoil of some of its more troubled characters, but as de Veer points out, “[the music] was never depressing – it was never bringing you down.”

He created a similarly off-kilter soundtrack for National Treasure – another collaboration with Munden, whom he credits with giving him a great deal of creative freedom and scope to “bring something different to a production”.

His music captured the show’s drama and intrigue as well as the sadness of a family torn apart by allegations of abuse. It also served to heighten viewers’ uncertainty surrounding the guilt of its main character, played by Robbie Coltrane. Tinkling piano keys were combined with darker notes to establish a sense of unease from the outset.

“I guess it was trying to convey the complexity of what was happening, and how everyone is feeling, without giving anything away,” explains de Veer. “When the police first come to get this guy and the shit hits the fan [Coltrane’s character is taken to a police station for questioning in episode one], we needed to feel that the world is falling apart around him. At the same time, this could have been really depressing – we tried some stuff that was a real downer and after the first episode you just felt depressed, like you didn’t have the energy to watch the rest … so I guess it needed to have an energy to it, to keep people interested.”

De Veer likes to compose music from a cabin-cum-studio out in the woods near Montreal, but will sometimes move to where a show is being filmed. (He spent several months in London working on Humans and Utopia).

Still from National Treasure, starring Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters (pictured). Image courtesy of Channel 4
Still from National Treasure, starring Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters (pictured). Image courtesy of Channel 4

He will often begin creating music for a show before it is filmed, based on conversations with a director or producers about the mood or tone of the series and its main characters. This isn’t always the case, however – for The Girl With All The Gifts, he was given a copy of the film once it was finished and had just four months to create the score.

“You might feel more comfortable doing something [when you have a lot of time to prepare], but it’s not necessarily the best way to achieve quality,” he says.

“It can be nice to know about something [in advance] and have a long time to think about it, because it might bring more mature ideas at the end of it, but then, [The Girl With All The Gifts] was very last minute and I’m extremely happy with the results.” He also created a track for Humans, titled Meant to Feel, using just a laptop while working at his father’s house in Paris.

Scenes from Channel 4 drama Utopia, directed by Marc Munden and written by Dennis Kelly, and starring Alexandra Roach, Adeel Akhtar, Fiona O’Shaughnessy and Oliver Woollford
Scenes from Channel 4 drama Utopia, directed by Marc Munden and written by Dennis Kelly, and starring Alexandra Roach and Adeel Akhtar (pictured), Fiona O’Shaughnessy and Oliver Woollford

There are some recurring themes in de Veer’s work. There’s often an eeriness, a strangeness or an unusual use of human voices, for example, but each of his scores has a unique and memorable sound. He also experiments with unusual instruments: he used a trumpet made out of bamboo and horse intestine and a drum made out of rhino faeces for the Utopia soundtrack, and draws on a diverse range of musical styles. He likens being a musician to being a scientist carrying out experiments in a lab – his other dream job as a child.

Music should give personality to a project. It should make [a movie or TV show] recognisable

“I like doing projects with different people and changing styles,” he says. “When I was producing music, I could be working on free jazz one day, then experimenting with African or Mexican or Swedish music the next. Scoring felt very natural because I could reset myself with each new project, and for me, it is much more interesting than being in a band, where every day I had to play the same songs that people expected to hear. Touring could easily feel like a job … but with each TV show or movie, it’s like a microcosm. You’re completely involved in it and then it goes away and you enter another one.”

De Veer enjoys working on films and TV shows where people aren’t afraid to do things a little differently. Utopia and National Treasure were both broadcast on Channel 4 at peak times, but they were daring and ambitious pieces of drama with a distinctive voice, rather than projects made to appeal to the masses. Munden also gave him the freedom to create something unexpected.

He counts Levi and Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda among his inspirations (composers known for their distinctive and unsettling scores), and is critical of what he describes as “transparent music”, preferring instead to create something “with character”.

“I think music should give personality to a project. It should make [a movie or TV show] recognisable, in the same way that you recognise a Michael Jackson song on the radio or whatever. It’s like a colour palette,” he explains.

This is still a fairly unusual approach in film and TV. Major blockbusters often rely on familiar techniques: rousing strings for emotional crescendos, for example, or deep bass notes to add suspense. These can be effective at heightening the sense of drama in a scene, but are often forgettable or go largely unnoticed by audiences.

A still from Humans. Photograph courtesy of Channel 4
Still from Humans. Photograph courtesy of Channel 4

“Very often, everyone just uses this orchestral score and it’s like everyone is sharing the same language, sharing the same instrument, just to help the film along here and there. To me, that’s not using all the tools you have to make a movie with character,” says de Veer.

De Veer has just finished working on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, a BBC America and Netflix series based on Douglas Adams’ novels of the same name. And with his score for The Girl With All the Gifts receiving widespread praise, it’s likely we’ll be hearing a lot more of his work in the near future.

Listen to Cristobal Tapia de Veer’s work at http://ift.tt/1veW6Ui

The post A different beat: Cristobal Tapia de Veer on creating music for film and TV appeared first on Creative Review.


20 Brilliantly Simple Business Ideas Designers Can Start From Home

Making money as a designer is a good thing, but sometimes you want to step out on your own and do something different — a side hustle, if you will. And if that’s the case, it makes sense to draw on your design experience as a starting point for this new venture. But what fits into that category?

Turns out this is exactly what I did a few years ago when I started my second business, and it grew into a profitable venture. You can do exactly the same thing, and to help you out, I’ve come up with a bunch of ideas to get you started.

Tally ho!

Stickers & Signs

I can’t believe I’m promoting competition, but here goes.

My wife and I run a sticker company, and we started it because it drew on our existing talents, and it was a lot of fun. When you make the kinds of stickers that we do (die-cut), then you’re working with vectors all day long. And if you show something in outline mode in Illustrator, you’ll see exactly where the cutting machine will cut. That means that if you can make a clean vector design, then you can make a die-cut cool sticker.

Yes, there are some materials that you need to buy, and there’s the expense of the equipment, too. But you can get started on things for under a grand, and move forward from there.

I know, it sounds complicated, but it’s not, and you can run it right out of your house, just like I do. I’ll even extend this offer: if you have questions, send me a message and I’ll walk you through it.

T-Shirt Sales

Ever wanted to sell custom T-shirts but didn’t know where to start? As it turns out, it’s not that difficult to do. Let me give you a bit of background.

There are two basic processes that people use to make a T-shirt: screenprinting and direct-to-garment printing. You’ve probably owned mostly screenprinted shirts for most your life, because people have been making them that way for decades. But now there are printers that can literally print ink onto T-shirts, which has sparked the rise of direct-to-garment (or DTG) printing. People with DTG machines can print a single shirt at a time, which means that you don’t have to keep an inventory of your products — one of the biggest hassles with running your own business. And, many of those companies even do fulfillment, meaning you don’t have to even ship the shirts yourself. Basically, you design a shirt, put it up for sale, and collect money.

OK, it’s not that simple. There’s marketing and all that, plus you have to show your customers what the shirts look like But if you’re a designer already, you’ve probably done mock-ups before, right? When I gave this concept a shot about a year ago, I picked up this bundle from Photofic to use as my base for all of my designs. I then setup a shop on Shopify to handle the complex coding stuff that I can’t do, and used Printful to make my shirts. Easy peasy.

And since this concept also applies to mugs, posters, and even pillows, you can just keep extending it out to whatever cool concept you like. Seriously, the printing and fulfillment market just keeps getting bigger, and it works to your advantage.


Doing CAD work seems like the type of thing that you need a degree to do, and for the most part, you’d be correct. If you need to draw out A/C ducts and mix between CAD and SolidWorks, then sure, you might need some additional background. However, doing some light drafting or CAD work for clients may be a good way for you to earn some extra cash.

Why do I know this? Because my wife did just that — in reverse. She’s been using AutoCAD in her career as a kitchen designer for the past 10-plus years, and she didn’t need a degree for any of it. Plus, when she decided she wanted to do some work in graphic design, most of her skills translated into Illustrator seamlessly. After all, AutoCAD workers use mostly vectors, and although there are plenty of things to learn to get going efficiently, it’s still an option. Who knows, it might even set you on a new career trajectory.

Is AutoCAD more complex than Illustrator? Absolutely. But if you take the time to learn it, you can make it happen.

Photo Editing

I have a lot of photographer buddies, and they tend to fall into two camps: the kind that love to edit photos for hours, and the ones that hate it. I fall into the latter camp, and that means I try to farm out the work whenever possible. And that, my friends, is your opportunity.

No, I don’t want to hire you, but there are other people out there that will, and all you have to do is what you (probably) already do as a designer. Work out a service where you take their photos over a service like Dropbox, you do your edits, and then ship them back as the same names with "-rev" at the end. Simple.

Comic Book Letterer

Ever wonder how the words get onto the pages of your favorite comic book? Well, it used to be some dude sitting at a drafting table hand writing everything into their own balloons, but nowadays it’s all done using Adobe Illustrator.

The comic book industry has traditionally done things in a very linear order, with the letterer being the last person in the chain to get to work. When they start, the page has been penciled, inked, and usually colored, and all that has to be done is for the letterer to add the word balloons and the text from the script that the writer provides. They’re then given a PDF to work with, make the balloons in Illustrator, fill them in using fancy fonts (like the ones Comicraft sells right here on Creative Market), and send it back for final proofing.

Now you won’t break into Marvel or DC right off the bat, but there are lots of comic book hopefuls out there that need their comics lettered, and a quick search or two on Facebook will find them for you. Who knows, it could turn into something fun down the line, too!

Color Flatter

Let’s go back to comic books here for this next job title, and although it doesn’t involve a lot of complex work, it’s a necessary task to get a comic book done efficiently.

The colorist for a comic book is often given a PDF or Photoshop file to work with that has no colors, just line work. To get the colors in there, they have to separate each character and their respective colors. They do that by using the lasso tool and the paint bucket to select various shapes, and then fill them with colors. Take a look:

Now since there are tons of elements on a page, it can get pretty complex to put a whole page together. To make things go smoother, they hire a flatter to do all of the lasso/fill work for them. It saves hours of time, and although the job typically doesn’t pay incredibly well, it can be a good side gig that brings in some extra cash. And isn’t that always a good thing?

Wrap Designer

This may seem like a bit of an offshoot on the whole sticker thing, but bear with me. Wraps are technically stickers, but designing them takes serious skill. It’s working around three dimensions, trying to ensure that your pattern looks good from all angles and is cohesive. Finding someone to do decent wrap design can be difficult, but if it’s a skill set that you have in your quiver, then use that to your advantage.

How? Well, there’s selling your patterns online, for one. If you create a series of stencils for certain vehicles, they could be used as templates for other projects. Heck, you could even  sell them right here on Creative Market.

Coloring Book Designer

Ever thought about making your own coloring book? If you have any artistic tendencies at all, this might just be your bag.

"Now Kevin," you might say, "how do I get a coloring book printed?" You don’t, silly. You make it a PDF and sell it online as a digital download.

Although I have my online shopping cart management system of choice, there are a number of them out there, and many offer ways to sell digital downloads. It doesn’t matter if you’re pitching a non-fiction tale about the bull that stands on Wall Street or a coloring book, you can sell it online. There’s no maintenance, no physical inventory to worry about, and it can literally make you money in your sleep. And should you get a wild hair and decide that you do want to release a physical version, no sweat — start pitching it to publishers and show them your download numbers. That should help out.

Sell Sewing Patterns

Am I coming out of left field here? Maybe, but bear with me.

I read this article a few months back and thought, "That’s ridiculous. $600k a year for doll clothing patterns?" But then I started thinking about it, and it made sense to me. After all, my daughter is turning four in a few months, so I get the obsession with dolls from a Dad angle. And since this particular company focuses on clothing for American Girl dolls — which are notoriously expensive to clothe — making your own clothing would be a more affordable option.

So what does this have to do with graphic design? Ever seen a sewing pattern? It’s all lines and numbers, and you can make those with Illustrator. And if you want to sell them, then you have to bundle those as PDFs, and that’s no sweat. Basically, if you sew on the side right now and like making your own patterns, you could be selling them to make some cash.

But remember, I’m the guy that brought you the idea, so don’t forget about my cut of your future $600k.

Sell Your Adobe Patterns/Actions

When I started doing design, I didn’t take a lot of time to learn all of the productivity tips that I now use regularly. Actions, for example, didn’t make sense. Why automate something like that? Then I did 143 sticker designs that had to be placed using the same rhythmic movement, and I realized that automation was where it was at. The same goes with patterns and brushes. And you can sell those, too.

Where? Here, silly. But you probably already knew that. Make patterns for things you use every day, or ones that other people would find handy. Come up with brush ideas and hawk them, too. The world is your oyster, and so is your Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

Give Your Work Away for Free

Now wait — this is a business? Yeah, it sure is. All sorts of famous things started off as freebies — including Gmail, which is probably what you’re using for your inbox. And you have to know that there are free things out there for designers, because you know that DaFont exists, obviously. But how does this help you out? Easy: Exposure.

Give away a free font and you might attract a fan of your work. Give away your photographs and see who comes to you for their next photo shoot. By giving your stuff away you’re earning karma points and potentially pulling in clients. Maybe it’s not profitable on its own, but if it brings in money indirectly, then that’s a good thing.

Make an Etsy Shop

When we started our sticker biz, we weren’t sure where to hawk our wares other than our website. I knew of Etsy, but wasn’t sure if it was an outlet or not, so I put off setting up a storefront there for about six months. That was dumb.

Etsy has become a huge part of our business — so much so that I’m not sure if we’d still be around without it. We sell stickers, but you could sell any number of homemade items on there, and it gives you a great platform for exposure. It’s not perfect, but we like the edge it gives us, and you might, too.

Sell Your Skills

I’m typically not a fan of online courses, because more often than not you don’t get the quality of instruction that you’re expecting. But there are sites that weed out the good and the bad, and they even accept submissions. That could be your job.

How? First, you apply. Lynda.com has an application page that will get you going, for example. Once you know their requirements and what kinds of courses you can provide, get to work and start your lessons. Barring that, you could setup your own system including free downloads, if you want. It’s a bunch more hassle, but you’re in charge of your own stuff, and that might be worth it. No matter which way you go, it’s a good way to make some extra cash.

Sell Your Old Stuff

One of my side hustles is working for custom car and truck magazines, and I’ve been doing that for about 15 years now. In that time I’ve shot tons of articles that include step-by-step instructions on how to perform a particular task, and sometimes either the article never ran or I had more pictures than they used. And even if it did run, the exclusivity contract on that work is only a year, so I’m more than able to do something with it. But what?

That’s when I decided to start selling some of my old articles as inexpensive ebooks — $0.99 each, or so — and pitch them on the iBook store and Amazon. I’m still in the process of compiling and designing everything, but the point is that these items will soon become digital downloads that involve little to no maintenance on my part and essentially become passive income.

What does this have to do with you? Look through your archives and find out. Maybe you’ve got a project or two that went nowhere that you could resurrect today. Or you have old photos that you could sell either here or on a stock photo site. Whatever it is, if it’s old and you considered it dead a long time ago, it’s time to find out if it can do some good in the future.

Write a Book

"But Kevin, I’m not a writer!" Yeah, neither was I until I wrote down the story of a custom car that I owned. Next thing I knew, I had freelance work coming in and a new career path. I bet you write maybe 5,000 words a day and just don’t know it. Between emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter and everywhere else, we all produce a large amount of words a day, and if you were to put that effort toward a book, then you could sell it and make some cash.

What do you write about? Design. Your experiences working as a designer. What it’s like to be a freelancer. Or work in an agency. Whatever it is, apply your design skills to a book and see what comes out. Worst case you give it away for free and it becomes something to put on your resume. You can do it. I believe in you.

Create a Font

Maybe this is obvious, but it’s pretty easy to make your own font. Don’t believe me? Read this and then get back to me. Once you’ve done the hard work, go ahead and sell it here on Creative Market or put it out there for free to earn some social karma.

Hold an Event

In doing my research for this article, I found this as one of the tips for side jobs for designers, and I wasn’t sure if it made sense. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s brilliant. Here’s why.

First off, you can hold a workshop for other designers. Teach them your skills in a particular area and go from there. Or you can set up a charity event for your favorite cause to raise some extra cash for them, or just a networking function to meet other designers. Maybe it’s a weekly hangout at a coffee shop where you all can work and form your own brain trust. Whatever it is, get something started now, and have fun with it.

Sell Book Cover Designs

I have a lot of different side hustle ideas, but a lot of them revolve around writing books. And whenever I get done with one of them, I think about what the cover would look like and I eat myself up inside with self doubt about my work. Know what I’d like? To just hire someone to do that work, and take it off of my plate. You could be that person.

If I need someone to do that kind of thing, then there are others, too. Pitch your name out there and see what sticks to the wall. Or you could create some fictional book covers and put them up on Behance or Dribbble. They’re all options, and it could be profitable.

Become a Consultant/Tutor

There are lots of people out there that want to be graphic designers, but don’t know where to start. And what’s worse is that they don’t have the money for a formal education. What if you could provide a personal experience for them that would give them what they need?

Easy: you can. Sure, you’d have to develop courses and all that, but there’s no reason you can’t mentor/tutor someone into their future career. And if that’s not an option for you, consider consulting. It’s essentially the same gig, except now you’re providing your knowledge and experience in the field to businesses that want your opinions. Consultants can make some decent scratch, too, so there’s that.

Sell on Creative Market

Well this one is a gimme, right? Time to head over to this page and apply to open your own shop here at Creative Market.

Products Seen In This Post:

Designing your own brand?

Download now!


Download now!

Free Beginner’s Guide to Branding

A fun, friendly, FREE guide to build a stellar brand identity.


Earthless: December 13, 2016 Bowery Ballroom

[photo by BevRock]

The music of Earthless is as if the climax instrumental portion of the best of early 70s head-rock became a single fifteen-minute song. In other words, there’s no filler in their music, just improvisational highlights. While Earthless has existed for fifteen years, the band’s recorded output consists of just four full-lengths. This is a band clearly comfortable as a live unit, despite that all three members of the trio play with significant other bands, including drummer Mario Rubalcaba in Rocket from the Crypt and Off!. The band doesn’t tour often, but in 2016 we got to see them twice, including our recording of their Mercury Lounge set in March.

At the Bowery Ballroom last month, the band played an hour-long set of three songs that was capped off by a relatively quick encore of the FM staple track from Led Zeppelin’s first album. Interestingly, the set did not include the band’s 2016 release “Acid Crusher”, half of a split release with their Tee Pee Records mates Harsh Toke. But the set was exactly what the crowd came to see — plenty of riffs, thumping bass and monster percussion. This was the art of stoner rock taken to its logical conclusion and Earthless nailed the set from start to finish.

I recorded this set with the Schoeps cards in our usual location in the balcony. The house mix was used to fortify the drums which did not carry up to the balcony as well as the stacks of guitar amps. The result is an excellent recording. Enjoy!

Download and Stream the Complete Show from our Bandcamp Page [HERE]

Bowery Ballroom
New York NY

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard [Engineer: Kenny Lienhardt] + Schoeps CCM4u Cardioids > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

[Total Time 1:07:14]
01 Uluru Rock
02 Violence of the Red Sea
03 Sonic Prayer
04 [encore break]
05 Communication Breakdown [Zep]

Support Earthless: Facebook | Bandcamp | Buy their records from Tee Pee Records