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2019’s Most Uniqued Commissioned Items

I love making the perfect custom gift for someone — working with you to get it exactly right is one of my favorite things. I would be thrilled to set you up with the print, sticker, or blanket of your dreams, but I want you to know that the world is your oyster with regards to custom gifts. I’m going to share some unique suggestions that you can give your person — and you can shoot me an email at b@bridgetmakesstuff.com when you’re ready to get started!

If they…


…have a new baby, let’s make them a changing pad cover — you can put a smile on their face exactly when they need it.


…are somehow never in town, let’s make them a duffel bag — they can be themselves wherever they are.


…can’t sit still, let’s make them a puzzle — it’s like 252 little presents to keep them occupied.


…love to be surprised, but, like, in a productive way, let’s make them an umbrella — unexpected, but endlessly practical.


…are constantly battling to stay ahead of a mess, let’s make them placemats or a table cloth — no reason you can’t be tidy and interesting.


…play rec sports, let’s make them a koozie — you can drink while you play but only if you do the bare minimum to disguise it. Trust me.


…are fancy, but not, like, FANCY-fancy, let’s make them an acrylic serving tray — you can serve stuff on it or you can turn your ottoman into a table with it, depending on where you are in your adult life.


…need to be convinced not to spend $15 a day on food, let’s make them a lunch box — from what I understand, that’s also how you get a child hype about eating their packed lunch.


…could use a daily self-esteem boost, let’s make them a bath mat — so many options to affirm someone on the reg.


…want every single piece of furniture they own to reflect their personality, let’s make them an ottoman — it won’t break the bank, but it will, well, scream them.


…love a traditional gift, let’s make them a phone or tablet case — show them you understand them both with our design and by giving them a gift that is 0% wild.


…skipped your birthday part for your dog’s birthday party, let’s make them a dog bed — we can put your face on it, so they never forget what they did to you.


Ready to go? Email b@bridgetmakesstuff.com to get started! Still not sure what to make? Email me anyway and we’ll figure it out together!

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Stumped by a loved one? Walk with me through the metaphorical forest of perfect gifts for your loved one. Items here are from Fuckin’ Yikes, the Holigays, Sects Sell, Meet the Curator x bridgetmakesstuff, AND a limited-edition selection of best-selling gifts.

Okay, here we go! If you…

… can’t wait to tell this person about the annoying thing that happened today, because they have such a satisfying eye-roll

Get them a Fuckin’ Yikes enamel pin!

It’ll express their irritation so their face can take a break.

…are constantly emailing Lyft because this person left their stuff in the car after brunch

Get them a fanny pack!

It’s not a foolproof way to keep them from losing all of their shit, but it can’t hurt.

… can’t fathom how much this person gets done in a day

Get them a hoodie!

Remind them that all their hard work is gonna pay off …and they deserve it!

… wouldn’t want to go to Pride with anyone else

Get them extra festive holi-gay decor!

They gotta let Santa know.

… can’t believe how much shit this person carries on their person on a daily basis

Get them a backpack!

They’re not a regular nerd; they’re a cool nerd.

…want to encourage this person… but in a goth way

Give them a You’re Doing Fine compact!

It’s creepy, but it’s loving!

… have never heard anyone talk about the Illuminati so much

Get them a Heaven’s Gate retro print!

I, too, am into cults, okay?

…text this person all of your plant questions

Get them a cacti sticker!

You could give them a plant, but that’s just adding more work.

…stalk this person’s insta to see the neon signs they’ve faved

Get them the Sects Sell Print!

Old sign; new joke!

…always subtly looking to see what fun socks this person is wearing

Get them Holi-gay socks!

Festive, but subtle.

…admire how adaptable this person is

Get them a Chameleon sticker!

Honor their flexibility with a mutable creature.

…know Taylor Swift

Get them a Snake sticker!

She’s in on the joke now, guys.

…are a Georgia and they are a Karen (or vice-versa)

Get them a Fuck Politeness tote!

Also serves as a fun way to get everyone else to leave them alone!

…have seen this person murder over 100 plants

Get them a Pretty Prickly phone case!

They can not only keep a plant alive, they can carry it around forever!

…are just pretty proud of this person

Get them a Yo Grow, Girl print!

It’s perfect for any strong woman — so any women, ya know?

…could sit and complain to this person from happy hour until last call

Get them a Trying to Cultivate a Fuck laptop case!

It’s a real power move to walk into a meeting carrying that

…can trust this person to be honest, whether they want to be or note

Get them a Not Tactful compact mirror!

Help the world see what they see when they look in the mirror

…know everything there is to know about this person’s meds

Get them a Thank You Therapy canvas!

They live in a pro-therapy home, baby, and they don’t care who knows it.

…always order the mozzarella sticks

Get them a Wishful Thinking lunch box!

Never stop dreaming of pizza.

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BEHIND-THE-SCENES: 2019 in Review

decorative: logo

This year isn’t 100% over, but it’s getting there and I’m starting my 2020 planning, so I wanted to share some milestones and talk about my goals for 2020.

1. I started (and will complete) a certificate in User Experience Design

This degree has really helped me think about how to get my personal website in order and how to better serve clients. It’s my hope that the clout behind the program I completed will make me a more attractive candidate to customers seeking web design and re-design.

2020 Goal: Book three clients for entirely new web design work or full rebrands.

2. I transitioned from Etsy to a custom storefront and invested in a WordPress business account

My store now has its own branding and I’m no longer subject to the whims of Etsy’s fees and algorithm. BUT I haven’t quite figured out how to capture that occasional passive income from someone finding my stuff while browsing. So,

2020 Goal: Figure out how to generate more passive income, whether that’s re-listing best-sellers on Etsy or finding directories/search engines that do that same work.

3. I released two full product lines

I released a Pride line and a fall line this year. These included my first apparel pieces, my first buttons, my first enamel pens, and more. I learned a lot between the first line and the second and I’m looking forward to applying even more lessons learned.

2020 Goal: Streamline pre-sales, better determine the wants and needs of my market, and work on new marketing tactics like influencer marketing.

4. I did my first brand collaboration

I was connected to another brand by a friend and we worked on a collection together. I learned a lot about how to structure an agreement and that there are things I can ask for from the outset to make a collaboration fair.

2020 Goal: work with two different brands on collaborative projects.

5. I booked my first package client

I really loved working on developing an entire new brand. I came out of the process with a better pricing model and more markets to tap.

2020 Goal: Hone my client niches and target my marketing to them. I’d like to book at least one client a quarter.

6. I booked my first long-term, recurring client

Yes, I will take some more stability, thank you. Working with these folks has made it clear to me that I have the expertise necessary for long-term consulting. I have enjoyed getting to know a brand intimately and hope to continue doing that with others.

2020 Goal: Book one additional recurring client

7. I started my first full rebrand

I’m halfway through the rebrand — we’re through logos and style guides, moving toward a website face-lift and creating/updating social channels — and that work is happening at a good pace. I have updated my process and paperwork for branding work and am prepared to establish a more efficient process for rebrands.

2020 Goal: Design the complete rebrand process from beginning to end and book one full rebrand.

8. I completed the first season of Sects Sell and ran the entire second season.

Season 1 ran weekly for 13 weeks and covered some of the majors — these pieces were fully-realized and connected to specific retro inspirations. Season 2 was 31 daily pieces inspired by a wider variety of cults and coercive controllers.

2020 Goal: Complete Sects Sell Season 3 in October with a narrower set of parameters.

9. I started making a living doing client work.

It took until September of this year, but I’m finally done with Instacart and Postmates.

2020 Goal: Double my 2019 income. If I accomplish my other goals, this is well within reach, but however I get it done, this is the most crucial goal. I gave my business two years to become self-sufficient. Those 2 years end in March of 2021. If I can double my income in 2020 – and continue growing in 2021 — I’ll be solvent by then.
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HOW-TO: employing plain language as a UX professional AND as a small business owner

I read a great piece on Medium by Rachael Renk called Using Plain Language in UX Writing. In it, she makes a pitch for using plain English in UX work and making strong writing skills a priority for UX designers. The primary example she gives is microcopy on a website you’re building — and that’s hugely important; it can make or break whether someone interact with the content. But it also got me thinking about all of the other ways that I apply that same spirit of saying exactly what I mean across my business — from those UX components to correspondence with design clients to selling retail products.

Continue reading HOW-TO: employing plain language as a UX professional AND as a small business owner
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BEHIND-THE-SCENES: commissioning a fanny pack for/from myself

My favorite fanny pack came from my football team. I love it a lot, but it’s been through …some stuff. Some drinking stuff.

I went in search of a replacement and I knew I wanted a few things:
• a long strap so I can also wear it over my shoulder
• a galaxy print
• blank spaces for my fave pins
• pockets
• any other interesting element, but not pizza or donuts — I love both of those things, but they don’t go with every crop top and/or bar, ya know?

Then Printful released a fanny pack. Printful is my drop-shipping company, which means I design stuff in the correct dimension and then set up print files. When you place an order on my website, it goes straight to them and they print/ship it.

Their pack had an XL strap option, internal pockets, and an all-over print, so we were good to go. I went through a series of drafts on this bad boy.

Continue reading BEHIND-THE-SCENES: commissioning a fanny pack for/from myself
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BEHIND THE SCENES: Activist Commission for Pride

Quick content warning: this post touches on homophobia and includes images of some homophobic slurs.

Scott Whalen and I went to college together, so when he asked me – over cocktails and Ru Paul’s Drag Race – about an idea he had for some shirts, I was totally game.

The idea was to reclaim slurs that had been used against him and other queer folks in a series of t-shirts. He told me that, as a cis white dude, he felt he had the privilege to make the more provocative statements and, thus, a responsibility.

During our initial concept conversation, we discussed a simple sans serif block letter, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how we might better convey the idea that these were being employed by someone at Scott, not just employed by Scott. He asked for something that was bold and aggressive, and something active vs passive.

Continue reading BEHIND THE SCENES: Activist Commission for Pride
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HOW-TO: Brainstorm the Perfect Custom Gift

Something I’ve really loved working on for the last few months is custom gifts. I’ve done a couple for other folks to give, but I’ve also made quite a few super different gifts that I got to give myself! When your options aren’t limited to stuff someone’s already manufactured, thinking up gifts is kind of fun. So I wanted to share my process with you. My questions and tips will help, whether you’re making something yourself, commissioning an artist, or just coming up with some new google terms to search.

The secret to giving a good gift is to ask yourself a few questions about your giftee — and then extrapolate. The first thing I think of is always relevant but boring, but a creative pivot will take you from a serviceable gift to a really thoughtful one.

Continue reading HOW-TO: Brainstorm the Perfect Custom Gift
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TOOLS: Creative Market brushes

I’m a Creative Market Affiliate. I buy nearly all of my procreate brushes from them and they’re a central part of my process. I wanted to share a couple of my faves with you this week!

Full disclosure: my affiliation earns me a small commission at no extra cost to you, but I will never share a product here that I don’t genuinely love.

I use the Gouache brushes very, very often — they’re the central element of the Sects Sell series’ retro vibe and a really nice option for a fade effect. The neon brushes are really fun and easy to employ to really beautiful effect. The sparkle and glitter textures are the same way — a good quick addition to a mock-up. Finally, the paint brush set is a simple, workhorse set, that does exactly what it says it does. Check them out below!

Powered by Creative Market

What brushes did I miss out on? What kinds of effects do you need help making? What other kinds of tools would you like to see in this series? Let me know in the comments!