Sarah Designs the World!

And blogs about it, too!

Inspired by: Panamanian Paint

We spent the holidays in some beautiful, undeveloped parts of Panama, like Playa Venoa and Kumbutal. When I say undeveloped, I mean that there are roads, but this is what you find on them:

Cows on the road

Do you guys know how much I love cows?

Anyhow, as if there isn’t enough beauty in the rain forest and on the beach, the locals charm the flip flops off of me with their incredible multi-colored homes. For instance:

Colorful beach huts

Colorful porches

Blue and yellow porch

Bright Exterior Paint

Lovely, eh?

Here are close ups of some more pairings:

yellow and orange

Green and Yellow

Tan and blue

Coral and Teal

Do these colors exist as exterior paint in the U.S.? If so, who wants to buy a block of row houses with me and make magic?!


Gave a little polish to NextGen’s website last week with SO Designs.

Here’s the before:

the old site


And here’s the after:

revised website

Upgrade, eh? A little cleaner, more contemporary, and customized.

Here are the other slider graphics:

Slider graphics

Slider Graphic

Slider Graphics


For the past month or so, I’ve been sporadically playing around with pointed pen calligraphy. And I’ll tell you what, it’s fun and easy. I get in a meditative mode when engaged in anything creative or detail-oriented, but calligraphy really ups the ante — steady breath, steady hand, pausing every few strokes to dip the pen. It feels great.

Also, the soft scratch of nib on paper is one of the great sounds in life. Up there with the solid whack of tennis ball with racquet, or the metallic squeak when changing chords on a guitar.

Pointed Pen Calligraphy, Tolle quote

I’m a novice, but…

Pointed Pen Calligraphy, Progress is progress

One thing I’ve noticed is that I get so focused on the letter forms, that I lose all ability to spell.

Pointed Pen Calligraphy Misspelling

Two “l”s in always? Cmon now. That simply doesn’t happen after third or fourth grade….unless you’re focusing too much on making it pretty!

Pointed Pen Calligraphy Misspelling - Again

Obbbbsessed with repeating letters where there are no repeating letters.

I took a couple Skillshare classes, like this one and this one, which helped me figure out what supplies to get, how to assemble them, and encouraged me to start putting pen to paper. My favorite class was this one by Molly Suber Thorpe. It focuses on digitizing calligraphy. I haven’t yet produced anything worthy of such treatment, but I really liked seeing Molly’s process and felt a kinship with her OCD-veering attention to detail.

If you’re not into subscribing to Skillshare, here’s a peak at some supplies that’ll get you off the ground and running. They’ve been great to me, though I admittedly have nothing to compare them to as they’re all I’ve used so far.

Calligraphy Supplies for Beginner



A quote from the ancient Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita via the incomparable Philip Fraser: “Eat when you’re hungry. The proper amount. Food that suits you.”

Simple, eh?

If you ask me, so simple that it demands a poster! Et voila:

What to Eat


Wedding Website

A real labor of love (including meticulously cutting out and collaging 100+ flowers from the generous folks at the Biodiversity Heritage Library), I proudly present:, the website for our recent wedding.

Wedding Website Home Page

Lots of sweet images in the full-width responsive slider. Including this one of us jumping off the dock where the wedding was held:



Here are some of the other pages:

Wedding Website Accommodations Page

The wedding was small (under a hundred guests) and a bit remote. We were so touched by our friends and family who traveled from near and far (and farther!) to be there with us.

Wedding Website RSVP

I had A LOT of fun making our paper invitations (will do a post on those soon), but we kept the RSVPs digital to cut down on costs….and to force people to venture to the dang website, bwahahaha.

Wedding Website Thank you page

Beyond logistics, I thought it’d be fun to also include some mushy and/or human interest content.

Like our little story:

Wedding Website Love Story

(Maybe not so little?)

And also some miscellanea, including a collection of the things we love, snapshots of wedding dresses that didn’t make the cut, and a few of our favorite love stories from books and movies.

Wedding Website Misc Page

What’s awesome about making a website for yourself? Well, for one, you can do whatever you want! So I took that liberty to pepper the site with quotes and passages that felt like us. Such as:

Mary Oliver Quote

Gadfly poem For This

^ This, folks, is a true story. I wanted it as a reading during the ceremony, but it was sorta awkwardly short.

ee cummings poem

Enough with the romance. How about the specs? Well, this site is responsive and hand-coded (with love).

responsive wedding website


Business Cards for Luis

Luis's Business Cards

I guess even farmers have to network these days!

Happy Holidays

Humane Society holiday card

A little holiday card I designed for the Humane Society.

Detailed view of the animal-snowflake:

Detailed view

Does anything spread cheer like kissing bunnies??


Happy Holidays!

So fresh ‘n so clean.

Ramon’s homepage. What do you think?


lawyer website homepage

Click to see at actual size.

Get Cool Stuff

Get Cool Stuff is a non-profit up-cycle boutique. They provide training for women in underserved populations, giving them the skills to revitalize forsaken items and then sell the cool stuff they produce. Good for people. Good for the earth. What’s not to love?

Eventually their site will be more of an e-commerce platform, but for now it’s a cool web presence they can use as they gather funding and establish their storefront.

Since there isn’t too much content at this stage, I went with a one-page design, kept hip and interactive with some parallax scroll effects and CSS3 animations, none of which you can see in the screen shot below.

one page website


The parallax images actually look more like this:


parallax scroll


and this:


parallax scroll


Not quite sure why my Paparazzi Ap turned them into scary red and beige blobs.

In parallax scrolling, the background (in this case, the image) and the foreground (the text) scroll at different speeds, which creates a nice feeling in your tummy. Try it.

(Someday I’ll stop being so lazy and mock-up my screen shots in an empty browser window with Photoshop, the way a proper blogger/designer would, but that day is not today. So please shame me for my nerdy browser tabs and really lame bookmark folders and Inbox with 3,931 messages if you feel so inclined.)

Here’s a closer look at the content sections:


About Us page


hover content


On mobile, since there’s no hover, the “We Believe” circles aren’t so interactive:

We Believe on iPhone


That’s right folks. This site is responsive. Shouldn’t it go without saying? Can we please make responsiveness (responsivity?) mandatory?? (Full disclosure my own site isn’t responsive, but it’s a grandpa at three years old, so, give it some slack, will ya? He’s just trying to keep the weeds out of the garden and keep track of his teeth.)


responsive design presentation


Unfortunately the actual site isn’t responding as shown above because Go Daddy has some auto-redirect mobile bananas set up. But as soon as I get the client’s credentials to update the DNS, it’ll work like the beta site, captured above, and currently living on my non-Go Daddy and not-bananafied server.

Alright. Go getcher cool stuff.

Spiritual Tours of India

I dare say, this was the perfect project to come home to after spending six months in India: A tourism website for Westerners wanting the authentic ashram/yoga/meditation/ayurveda/guru experience in India. Consider me your Subject Matter Expert.

Spiritual Tours of India

So here’s the site, and… responds!

Responsive website


How much do I love responsive fly-down navigation for smart phones and tablets? Immensely!

In India, more is more is more. And then add a little more. So this design was a bit of a free-for-all. Though if it were really an accurate representation of the country in look/feel it would also be bedazzled in sequins, set on fire, wail Carnatic music, and have a cow saunter through. Maybe in CSS4, folks, maybe.

But for now, lots of decoration and ornamentation and color, but keeping the layout clean and easy for our Western viewers.

drop cap and embelishment


Drop caps, funky borders, bold-italic colored links.


colorful icons


Fancy pants icons.


sidebar illustrations


A couple more interior pages:

Ayurvedic Treatments Page


Ashram Life


Spiritual Tours of India South India Tour


More pretty shots of the full-width responsive slideshow:

responsive slideshow


responsive slideshow


responsive slideshow


responsive slideshow


responsive slideshow


Visit the site. More importantly: go to India!

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