#mollidays2016 days 1-4


If you’ve been putting off signing up for #Mollidays2016 like you’ve been putting off Christmas shopping… Christmas is still coming! What are you waiting for? Here’s what you’ve missed:

#mollidays2016 christmas bingoDay One :: Last year I kicked off #Mollidays2015 with a Christmas To-Do List and this year I wanted to do something similar but more interactive… ta-dah….. Christmas Bingo!

#mollidays2016 wallpapersDay Two :: I love making wallpapers (for your phones) so I made two again this year!

#mollidays2016 gift tagsDay Three :: No present is complete without a receipt recipient… Gift Tags!

#molildays2016 gifDay Four :: I had an idea and I went with it… a textable gif(t)! Santa is really popular this year.

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Southern Living Inspired Home with adorne by Legrand

Southern Living Inspired Home - VIP PartyBack in May I had an opportunity to attend a VIP party to view the first Southern Living Inspired Home in Montgomery, Alabama. I partnered with one of the sponsors, Legrand, and took over their Instagram for the night.

Southern Living Inspired HomeThe home is located in the relatively new neighborhood development, Hampstead, which is a sustainable community combining homes, restaurants, retail, offices, schools, a YMCA, and even a community garden. From the moment I turned into the neighborhood it felt familiar. I found out later that the same designers who designed Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach designed Hampstead and it is just as ideal– a little bit of a The Truman Show vibe.

Southern Living Inspired Home - CourtyardThe home is really beautiful. It overlooks a lake and is adjacent to one of the community pools. Like I said, ideal. One of my favorite things about this home is the courtyard/patio area. I can imagine having a dinner party or two out there. Throw it back and play a little flip cup maybe? Cornhole anyone?

Southern Living Inspired Home - Courtyard2I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with the interior designer for the project, Brooke Johns. Brooke is super sweet and talented with a very supportive husband, Phillip. Phillip was responsible for getting Legrand as a sponsor. Phillip is a self-proclaimed “lighting fanatic.”  My first ever meeting with such a person, ha! Lucky for me, Legrand reached out to a local “design fanatic” to attend the event and Instagram on their behalf. And Instagram I did…

Southern Living Inspired Home - Instagram

As a relatively new homeowner I’ve noticed even the smallest upgrades can make a big difference in the overall feel of your home. Light switches are one of them! I wish when my dad changed out all of our light and electrical outlets I would have known about Legrand. Beauty and function, y’all.

Southern Living Inspired Home - Staircase

Basically I hung out for a couple of hours, played on Instagram, and talked to people. You know, MY FAVORITE THINGS.

Southern Living Inspired Home - Kitchen Party

I had a great time at the event. I was a little nervous leading up to it since I’ve never Instagrammed for someone else much less a big company but it was AWESOME.

Check out Legrand’s Instagram for more of the images and witty captions I posted. If you’re in Montgomery (“It’s Better You Think”), you can take a tour of the home until June 26th.

As always, you can follow me on Instagram here.


Dream Dinner Guests

I have been wanting to do a daily project for basically the last eight years. I have a problem with commitment. I’m committed to being flaky. But this year, it’s a new Mollie in town! So when I saw #The100DaysProject coming up on Instagram, I decided to get prepared and commit. So far, I’m 16 days in and things are great!

One of my “goals” this year was to get better at drawing people (#100DaysOfPortraitsByMJ). I always want to draw people and then I’m disappointed at the result. So I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to practice. Because when do you ever will yourself to get better at something without actually doing the act? I’ll tell you. NEVER.

One hundred days is a lot to think about at once so I decided to break my 100 days into ten ten-day chunks. My first chunk was to draw my ultimate fantasy dream dinner party. I love dinner parties and I like fun people so it seemed natural. I decided to a simple line illustration without any shading for these. I picked people that I would genuinely like to have conversations with not just A-list celebs. Keep on a’scrollin’ for my ultimate invite list…#molliejoydinnerparty

First up is the greatest Iris Apfel. I think she would bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the fantasy table. If all else fails we could just talk about her outfit. Ps. have you seen “Iris” on Netflix? So gooooddddd…
iris apfel

Second is Leandra Medine because she totally gets me even though we’ve never met. I’m such a creep. I kind of jacked up her eyes in the drawing though.
leandra man repell

Of course it’s not a party without Dolly! I’ve always wanted to draw Dolly Parton so I did. This is 80s DP.

Jen Gotch, founder of Ban.do is my other pretend best friend and idol. She did tell me via Snapchat that I looked like a cute mime. True Story.
jen gotch

Little known fact about me is that I’ve been obsessed with Martha Stewart since I was a kid. I love her super dry sense of humor and come on, it’s a dream dinner party. Obviously Martha would be cooking!
martha stewart

Now, I know this is a curve ball but don’t you think Dr. Ruth would be an amazing dinner party guest?!? She was interviewed by Nate Berkus in his book and I thought she was so interesting (her parents were taken by the Nazis!) and for the lack of a better word, darling.
dr ruth

No good dinner party is complete without a loud drunk. Thus, Chelsea Handler. At least one person would tell me if the food was bad.
chelsea handler

In my middle and high school years I was  HUGE fan of TLC shows. What Not to Wear was one I watched a lot. I adored Stacy London. Recently she was on the Man Repeller Podcast with Leandra Medine and it was pure gold to my ears. I hate that I made her look like Boy George though.
stacy london

Obviously I was missing a little bit of weird from the dinner party so I threw in Yoko Ono. Who wouldn’t want to sit next to her?
yoko ono

Finally, Tamron Hall gets invited because she’s my favorite Today Show host and was best friends with Prince, duh.
tamron hall

Overall, I’m pretty happy with these first ten drawings. I’m not going to frame any of them or anything but it was good practice. I had fun thinking of who I would invite and searching for the perfect image of them. I surprised myself some and sometimes I just had to move on… such is life! Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?

My next ten drawings I’m picking street style photos and changing up my process some. Stay tuned for the next ten!

Andy Warhol’s Butterflies

Mollie Joy Design Andy Warhol ButterfliesI was searching for a spring inspired lesson to teach to my elementary students. I came across a really good lesson on symmetry and butterflies. One of Andy Warhol’s prints was included in the blog post and I instantly needed more.

I’ve never considered myself much of the butterfly-type but hey we’re all aloud to change our minds.

If you’re not familiar with Andy’s butterflies, let me introduce you…

Andy Warhol Butterfly

The above butterfly is the endangered San Francisco Silverspot Butterfly. This was part of his series of screenprints titled Endangered Species from 1983. (image)

Andy Warhol Butterflies 1

Andy Warhol started his career in the 1950s as a designer and illustrator for magazines like Vanity Fair, Mademoiselle, Bergdorf Goodman, and Glamour. He would actually have his mother write descriptions or titles on many of the drawings because he liked her cursive handwriting. (image)

Andy Warhol Butterfly

Andy Warhol actually invented the silkscreening process at his studio called The Factory. This process enabled him to mass produce a single image in his signature style. (image)Andy Warhol Butterflies 2

Like many artists, Andy Warhol referenced famous artists and periods of art that came before him. The above painting is titled Tondo. Tondo’ is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art. (image)

Andy would paint these butterflies and other illustrations with ink and then blot them with paper to get that perfectly smeared look. Color was possibly added at one of his coloring parties, hosted at the fashionable Serendipity 3 café. He would encourage his friends – some of whom would have helped him create the original illustrations – to color the works with an inventiveness that adds to their whimsical nature. (image)Andy Warhol ButterflyNow I’m going to start planning my own coloring party. You are all invited! (image)





Interview with Borrowed and Blue

Interview with Borrowed & Blue

Hey guys! I did a little Q & A with Borrowed & Blue (a resource for locally inspired weddings all over the US). No matter where or when you are planning a wedding, good design never goes out of style. If you are in the market for custom wedding invitations or just curious about design keep reading below.

A wedding invitation is the first piece of information your guests will receive regarding your big day. It’s an insight into your affair’s personality, offering clues about what’s to come (things like formality, mood, size, and setting). It’s a gift, really, and can be as pretty as any present—if done well. That’s why we came straight to the local design expert, Mollie Blackwood of Mollie Joy Design, when talking wedding invitations to couples planning their Birmingham weddings. Her designs are thoughtful, striking, and aesthetically brilliant. Take a design hint or two from her expertise and we promise your wedding suite will shine all the brighter for it.”
Stephanie, Borrowed & Blue’s Birmingham Market Specialist

What are the elements of “good design?”

Although there are general good design principles, when we say “good” design it means appropriate for the project and the client—so it’s in context. When it comes to wedding invitations or wedding suites my top three criteria for good are consistency of elements, clear hierarchy, and attention to detail.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

It reflects my personality: neat (as in clean, tidy), slightly feminine, fun, a bit quirky. I like for the finished product to bear marks of the human touch—that means some strategic “imperfections.”


What inspires you?

I love art museums. I leave a museum feeling refreshed with ideas so I find a lot of inspiration in fine art. I’m always searching Pinterest and blogs for new contemporary artists or reading about famous ones.

Runway fashion is another. It’s probably no coincidence a lot of those designers are inspired by fine art. Fashion designers update their aesthetic each season but somehow maintain a consistent identity.

Unexpected color palettes are a point of inspiration for me too—in nature or in urban environments. One of my favorite things to do is to experiment with color.


What are your 3 most memorable designs?

Chelsea and Brut’s wedding suite :: I have been lifelong friends with Brut and friends with Chelsea since they started dating (in high school!). Chelsea was a dream to work with. She had ideas but not preconceived outcomes. We arrived at a clear vision, only made possible by reciprocal honesty and feedback. I was able to incorporate some of my illustration and play with color. I attended the wedding and it was so neat to see everything in action and how my designs represented and worked with the event. That’s not a common experience for most wedding invitation designers.

Bamboo Bicycle Company :: I was hired to illustrate a design for printing on tank tops. This design was to be marketed toward teen girls—not a project for the fun-phobic. I had a blast playing with different bright color combinations and drawing the most perfect happy sun. We ended up with two different color combinations and I can’t even pick my favorite.

Animal Sterilization Assistance Program :: I am a huge animal lover and have three ragtag dogs of my own. It’s extra incentive to work for a cause you believe in. I was given free rein on the design (as long as it had a dog and a cat in the logo), which is great (when they mean it, as in this case). I wish I could draw puppies and kittens for every design!


What are some things to stay away from in terms of design for invitations?

I would stay away from doing something because that’s how everyone else has done it. These days anything goes when it comes to invitations. It’s more about reflecting your personal style and personality as a couple than adhering to strict rules. I would tell any couple I’m designing for not to feel pressured to go in a direction that won’t make them happy. On the other hand, as a designer, there are places I’m not willing to go—anything that looks like Curlz font, or other cliché/garish borrowed ideas.

Who would be your ideal client to design invitations for?

My ideal client would be a couple that wants something that isn’t totally traditional, wants to experiment, and is trusting of the process. I love playing with illustration, color, and different techniques. I like clients that have ideas to get me started in a direction but leaves room for me to make it my own. Communication is key—we’re in this together!

Save the Date

If you were to design your own wedding invitations today, what would they look like?

I’m not engaged but i’ve had the same boyfriend for 8 years. IF I were designing our wedding invitations (hint, hint Greg!) I think I would make them hand-lettered and simple. I’m really into brush lettering these days. I would pair them with different colorful patterned but somewhat coordinating envelope liners. Maybe include a quick painted sketch of our portraits somewhere. Making decisions for other people is much easier than making them for myself!

For couples trying to design their own wedding invitations, what advice would you give them?

Don’t do it! But seriously, good design is 10% natural ability and 90% hard acquired skill. You might have an eye for what looks good but there is a difference in being able to spot good design and producing it. Non-designers have a tendency to over design. An important part in being an effective designer is editing. If you don’t want to end up with an embarrassing, gaudy design, hire a graphic designer.

Most designers can work within your budget to give you something that will still represent your vision. You may need to make sacrifices but if you’re up-front about your budget, you can get something that won’t embarrass and still make you happy. If you have absolutely no budget or very little for invitations, think of alternate ways to invite your guests, something digital maybe.


Save the Date and Invitation detail

Any suggestions for design tools that they could use at home?

Pre-made templates are good if you don’t have a strong independent vision for your wedding and you need something fast. But, if you want something personal and cohesive you need a creative ally. You don’t pay designers only for the finished product. You pay for expertise and skill.

Do you have any favorite local stationery shops around Birmingham that are worth checking out?

I try to support local businesses as much as I can. I like A’Mano in Mountain Brook Village. They have a small selection of stationery but it is well selected as well as a variety of art and gifts. I also like to support artists of any locale. Anthropologie and Paper Source have beautifully curated selections of stationery and paper products from independent artists and designers.

SD and Invitation

Any final design advice for couples deciding on their invitations?

I am speaking from experience here, proof read, proof read, proof read! You still have to pay for printing even if your name is spelled wrong. Take some time to find a designer that is going to be a good fit for your vision. Look at their portfolio and don’t be afraid to reach out with any questions you might have. Choose a designer you trust and stick with them. I know I’m speaking for all designers when I say we want happy customers!

Design Dissect

ice cream

I came upon this image deep in a Pinterest haze one day. After I pinned it, I kept thinking about it, wishing I had designed it. I have since seen it re-pinned a few times and started thinking about what specifically makes this design so appealing. Like any good creative, I needed to learn from it, I needed to know why I craved it so! For my first installment of “Design Dissect” I’m going to tell you five reasons why I think this design “works.”

1 :: The first thing that caught my eye is the mixture of two-dimensions and three-dimensions. This technique is not rare but I feel like it is rarely done successfully. In this design it is simple and not literal which makes it more interesting to me. They could have used an actual scoop of ice cream but they went more abstract which I like.

2 :: Next, I noticed the subtle color palette. Part of this is my own preference since I’m really into blush pinks and neutrals these days. I ultimately think it works because it is not screaming for attention. It stands out for its subtlety. Color is powerful.

3 :: Not to get real designer-y on you or anything but I am because the layout of this design is supreme. There is a clear hierarchy of elements. You eyes are drawn to the image which leads you to the title of the event then to the bolded text then to the secondary copy. Perfect.

4 :: This design employs a classic good design move: balanced type pairing. There are two different typefaces and each are used consistently and appropriately. It’s always nice to mix a san serif with a serif font. It is also smart practice to limit the amount of typefaces (usually two in a small design like this one).

5 :: Finally, this design has a touch of the unexpected which makes it more interesting and memorable. In design and art it is so important to be memorable especially if you are trying to sell something or advertise. I love how the designer broke the grid by placing the words “what’s not to love” like they are a cherry or candy peeking out of the ice cream. So smart!

*BONUS* The sixth and most obvious reason why this design is appealing is because it’s ice cream y’all! Man, I wish I could have gone to this event (although I don’t think it was a real event but I wish it were!).

I see you, www.sheisvisual.com. And I cannot wait to see more!

On the Look Out

eyesOne Friday earlier in January Greg and I went to a favorite spot in our neighborhood, Hot Box, for dinner. As we were walking up to the airstream trailer to order (yes, really) I noticed a twenty dollar bill on the ground. I Asked the people around if it was theirs. No one claimed it. Mine! So, I used it to pay for our meal. Awesome, right? (Image above by me)

flutter eyesTwo days later we went to The Summit to shop for Greg a new pair of jeans. As we were walking back to my car a delivery truck passed and we heard something fall out. We turned around to look and Greg says, “It’s meat!” We saw a car coming towards it so we had to decide right then what we were going to do… (Image)groupingObviously we stopped the car so that we could pick up TEN POUNDS OF FRESH GROUND BEEF that literally fell from the sky. Thanks Evans Meats! Do you know how much ground beef is going for per pound these days?! They happen to supply some of the nicest restaurants in town so you know it’s good quality. (Image)eye faceTwo weeks later on a Saturday, Greg was scrolling through Facebook. He saw a post from one of our favorite venues, Iron City, about a surprise Blake Shelton concert that night. Normally you wouldn’t think of either of us as Blake Shelton fans but I am a big Gwen Stefani fan. Iron City was giving away free tickets to the first 1300 people that showed up RIGHT THEN… (Image)

blackWe contemplated for about two minutes and decided it would be a fun time because Blake is funny and I might get to see Gwen in real life. We jumped in the car and made it to Iron City eighteen minutes after the post… (Image)

eyes on handThere was no line and we were about the 50th people to get tickets. Thirty minutes later there was a line around the building and people were getting turned away. We didn’t see Gwen but we still had a great time. I mean, we would never pay for Blake Shelton tickets anyway. (Image)

eye gifBe mindful, be present, be in the moment y’all. It also helps to be a little shameless. You never know what you will find. Be on the look out. (Image)3 eyes


My 3 Favorite Podcasts and then Some

My Favorite Podcasts :: Mollie Joy DesignPodcasts have been around for awhile. The first ones I tried to listen to were kind of boring and not that great of quality in sound or content. So I quit them for a few years. But I’m here to tell you, things have changed! There are so many good ones now. I have a whole slew of podcasts I listen to regularly. I listen to podcasts when I’m getting ready in the morning, cleaning the house, on my commute, painting my nails, etc. I listen whenever I have a mundane task and it makes said task so much more bearable. And if that’s not convincing enough, it will make you feel super smart and pretty. Maybe not but maybe so!


Here a few of my current favorites:

Oh Boy by Man Repeller & Monocycle by Leandra Medine of Man Repeller
First of all, I wish on a daily basis that Leandra and I will become friends in real life (because she totally is my friend in my head). I started reading her blog, Man Repeller, years ago. I devoured her book in a weekend and thank the good Lord above she started TWO podcasts in the past year. On the Oh Boy podcast Jay Buim (Man Repeller’s videographer) interviews cool ladies that are basically doing cool things. These interviews don’t make you feel like you’re not doing cool things but it encourages you to make your own cool things path. Cool things! Monocycle is just Leandra pontificating on whatever she feels like for 10 minutes. She’s so witty and honest it’s always a fun listen. Ps. I’m a fan girl.

Favorite Episodes: Rebecca Harrington on Oh Boy & Confidence on Monocycle


Mystery Show
This podcast features public radio producer and writer, Starlee Kine solving mysteries that can’t be solved through googling. The mysteries can seem silly but the path with which she takes to solve them always reveals really interesting stories along the way. I resisted listening to this podcast for awhile because I thought the mysteries weren’t mysterious enough (ie. not like Dateline) but once I finally gave in, it became one of my favorite podcasts. I wish I could think of a personal mystery for her to solve. Season 2 is in the works and I cannot wait!

Favorite Episode: Kotter (Season Finale)


The Jealous Curator : Art For Your Ear
This one is perfect if you are interested in artists and their creative processes and habits. It is hosted by the blogger of “The Jealous Curator,” Danielle Krysa. I have discovered so many artists through her blog (I like to think we have similar tastes). This might sound weird but she has a really nice voice to listen to. The interviews are fun and light but there are always little nuggets of creative wisdom to hang on to. She has interviewed some of my favorite artists including Wayne White (!!!). She includes a blog post for each artist she interviews so you have a visual to go along with the podcast which I think is a nice touch.

Favorite Episode: Trey Speegle (but they are all good!)


Other podcasts worth a listen (if you haven’t already):

General Interest:
This American Life – weekly theme, interesting stories
Serial – one on going story/mystery per season
Invisibilia – “the invisible forces that control human behavior”
RadioLab – human interest stories
Freakonomics Radio – I like to say it’s “fun” science

Creative Life:
The Lively Show – a little self-helpish but interesting people
#girlboss radio – very similar to Oh Boy but with Sophia Amoruso
Being Boss – on running a creative business
After the Jump – interviews creatives of all kinds with Grace Bonney
Creative Pep Talk – for illustrators and graphic designers mainly


Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites? I’m willing to give it a listen!

#Mollidays2015 Day Twelve

Thank You

I set a goal for 12 days of hand drawn downloads for Christmas this year. And here I am! Whew. Thank you for following along sweet friends and family. The final download is a thank you card (4 x 6 folded). I hope you have enjoyed at least one thing from these days. It was fun and challenging for me. I’ll have to do it again! Anyway, I’m going to get on with my 4th night of baking and prepare for the party we’re having at our house tomorrow night. Have a great weekend (because they mentally begin on Thursday nights for me) and Merry Christmas!

>>> Download Christmas Thank You Cards Here <<<

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