saying goodbye to clumsy crafty happy

Do Something Confetti Bomb

Source: Chris Little Photography

Welp, friends, it is the end of an era to say the least. Today I’m saying goodbye to this little corner of the internet, my first blog and the first step in my self-made journey, clumsy crafty happy.

You all have been so incredible over the two and half years that I’ve been writing. Your emails, texts, comments, likes and shares have meant the world to me because it has meant that bearing my soul here has made just a small difference in the world.

When I started this blog, it was simply out of an unshakeable need I had inside to unleash my creativity. I posted about my ever-wandering mind, my personal life, DIY-project attempts, and, most importantly, my search for personal happiness. Looking back, it’s clear that the past few years have really have been about listening to my inner voice. About really trying to understand what brings me joy and in turn doing more of that.

But then, about eight months ago now, I experienced a huge shift in my psyche. I attended a conference put on my Misfit friends, AJ and Melissa Leon, in Fargo, ND. I left so inspired, but in a different way than ever before. There is a kind of inspiration where you’re left dreaming a little bigger, feeling your potential a little more, and then there is the kind of inspiration where you feel unstoppably compelled to action. This was the latter. It was as if in the course of one weekend I moved from a phase of acknowledgement (knowing my happiness and understanding it) and into a phase of action (feeling determined to make something happen from that understanding.)

From that point on, I started creating all the time. I became enthralled with hand-lettering, something I had actually been doing my whole life but never recognizing as a talent or skill. I started taking on more design projects and taking online classes to try out different techniques. It was infectious.

Then, in August of last year, I found myself in an interesting position. I had the opportunity to transition into freelance design full-time. It was terrifying and exhilarating to suddenly be in full control of my income and daily routine. I learned a ton of hard lessons in self-discipline, business management and my own creative process. And now I’ve emerged with a better sense of how to run my freelance business and bigger goals for 2014.

With that, though, I felt it was finally time to create a brand that could grow with my professional and personal pursuits. A place to house my various creative endeavors with an updated look that speaks to my distinct aesthetic (that I feel I am finally discovering!)

I’ve been working around the clock over the holidays to launch this new brand and web presence. Caroline Kelso Design (my portfolio site) and clumsy crafty happy (this blog) will officially be retiring and will be rolled up into this new identity. I’ll be blogging a lot more again, which I think is one of the things I’m most excited about.

My Facebook page for clumsy crafty happy will still exist (with a slight makeover of course) and that’s where you can find out all the latest on the new update tomorrow.

Thanks again to all of you following along. Every one of you has contributed to this journey, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Here’s to new beginnings!

30 days of lettering + an exciting new project


Happy Monday, friends!

For those of you following me on Instagram, you may have seen that yesterday marked the final day of my 30 days of hand-lettered movie quotes.

On my 25th birthday last month, I had the undeniable feeling that I just wanted to DO more. This dream of making my hand-lettering into a viable side-business had been brewing for a while, but I was frustrated with myself for not making the commitment to actually practice my craft every day. I knew PRACTICE was the only way to get better and to develop my own sense of style, yet I couldn’t seem to find the time to squeeze it in. It occurred to me that that was a bit of a cop out, and I decided to commit to 30 days of practice, sharing each hand-lettered piece on Instagram so that I had something to keep me accountable. I chose movie quotes as my subject because I’m a total movie nerd and I wanted something that I connected with.

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my first sketchnotes

Guys, this is a super nerdy thing to admit, but years ago when I started going to professional conferences for the first time, I discovered something AH-mazing: SKETCHNOTES. Now, at the time I didn’t know they were called sketchnotes, but I remember seeing something that looked like this awesomeness at a conference I attended -


And it freaking. blew. my. mind. (These are by Craighton Burton via Core 77.)

I don’ t know what exactly it was about this style, but I think the combination of text and small images, of communicating information in an interesting way, the challenge of having some sort of sixth sense to anticipate from a speaker how much space you might need for a given section or thought – it just seemed like the most amazing and challenging thing. And I became increasingly intrigued with this notion of sketchnotes, never believing I could actually create something like that.

Now I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I’m convinced that this 30-day hand-lettering project I’m currently undergoing on Instagram has been a total game changer when it comes to what I think I can and can’t do with my artistic skills. (Wait… did I mention I’m doing 30 days of hand-lettering on Instagram? Follow me @ckelso or the tag #ckelso30 to check it out.) I admit I’ve tried my hand at fancy lettering and little section breaks in my notes before, but NEVER have I tried something as ambitious as to include illustrations in my notes as I take them. Truth be told, I’m actually pretty terrible at drawing from my imagination. I’m much more comfortable from sight.

But as Jason and I were sitting at the Florida Theatre yesterday morning for ConvergeFL, I realized that the only thing I had to take notes with was my sketchbook. So maybe it was that, or the fact I had already had a Starbucks DoubleShot before 9am (Yeah… I came to party) or maybe it was just that I’m finally gaining enough confidence to try these things I’ve always wanted to do, but I thought I’d give it a go. And surprisingly, I’m pretty proud of what came out of it.

FL1_blog FL3_blog FL2_blog

I admit, they’re not quite as colorful and awesome as my sketchnote idols, but it’s a start. (I actually had to stop after three speakers because it was so mentally taxing to listen and think and draw and not let my overwhelming self-doubt take over the whole time. I give a lot of credit to artists that do that for entire conferences.)

But yeah, that’s what I wanted to share with you guys. I crossed off a BIG & NERDY item on my bucket list yesterday.

Hope you’re all having a good week, and I’ll be here next week to share some lessons from my 30-day adventure in hand-lettering PLUS I have a super exciting project on the horizon and you guys are going to be the first to know.

Thanks for reading & happy Friday!