We’re back from Kansas City. Our vacation was spent hanging out with family and playing pool, bowling, eating (KC is surprisingly vegetarian-friendly), and seeing the sites. And I unplugged and went five days without a computer. A good time all around!

We toured the Hallmark Visitor Center where we got to talk to a craftsman. He was shaping the metal outline of a card that will cut out the card on press. The design he was working on had a small scalloped edge and he had to make each curve the same by hand. He was very casual about the whole thing, but his skill was amazing to watch.

There was also a video that featured the Hallmark design team. Many of them talked about what inspired them and how they recharged to keep up a high level of creativity. The answers to both issues seemed to be the same: getting out of their cubicles and seeing what their coworkers were working on. A good reminder for all of us cube dwellers that we need to get up once in a while … probably more often than most of us do.

We also visited Prospero’s Books. Visiting independent bookstores is one of my favorite things to do when visiting another city because each one has its own personality, the bookseller can be a good source of information for things to do in town, and having an hour or two to browse and find new titles and see new designs is a mini-vacation within a vacation! This store had used books in excellent condition, beautiful wooden shelving, nooks to read in, and cool artwork.

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I love taking tons of pictures (luckily my poor family tolerates this) and playing with the pictures afterwards in Photoshop is fun too. I like this tutorial (the lab color method) for converting color to black and white. Here’s a picture using that method that captures the mood of that laid-back afternoon.

click on the picture to enlarge it

And now it’s Monday and time to get back to work. By the time this posts I’ll be drinking my second cup of coffee and making my to-do list. It’s good to get away and recharge and it’s good to be back.