cmc landscaping

There's nothing like a nice lush green lawn.

cmc home page
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to create a new website for CMC Landscaping along with some ad work. The company wanted a simple, clean site to replace an older site. I opted for rotating banners, some of which change seasonally, at the top to highlight some of their key service areas. The company also wanted some limited time offers resembling coupons placed on the home page to highlight special offers for the season.

The site has been recently updated to reflect their fall cleanup specials and to lead into their winter season. Another enhancement made this fall was the addition of Zip Bars to keep the pages uncluttered and keep relevant information above the fold and accessible with a click. As the site progresses, we will be adding photos of all the great work CMC Landscaping does! If you're in the Walpole/Norfolk area and in need of fall cleanups, landscaping projects before the snow starts flying, or winter plowing, give them a call!

the alexandra smith foundation

On December 28, 2010, the lives of my friends were changed in an instant.

Their daughter, Alexandra (Ally) Smith suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in a two-car collision. As of February 9, Ally remains in a coma, but has fought through surgeries and medical issues and is currently at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston undergoing extensive therapy. Happily, family, friends, and community have rushed in to provide support in so many ways: a shoulder to lean on, lodging near Beth Israel where Ally was first taken, food delivered to the hospital, hot meals delivered to the family, financial support, volunteer support for fundraising, and so much more. It was clear from the beginning that we should do our best to provide financial support to help pay for the daunting medical and care costs that come with TBI. So, The Alexandra Smith Foundation to support Ally Smith was established.

Rally for Ally postcard
This will not be a blog about running the gamut of emotions, circling back and forth between sadness, disbelief, hope, and celebrating milestones large and small. This is about using your ability to help where you can. Fortunately, with my background in communications, design, writing, and fundraising, I was able to help provide the foundation with design materials needed to make a start. My advice to give to anyone in such a situation would be: whatever your design capabilities and software skills, try to keep your communications clean, to the point, easy to read, and consistent.

First, we needed a logo. Ally, an assistant at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment had dreams of being a veterinarian; she has always loved working with animals, has ridden horses for many years competitively and for fun, and is caretaker for a number of dogs and horses in the area. Horses? Dogs? I knew I wanted a reference to her love of animals. I started a few rough sketches. Eh. She is also known for her easy-going nature, and her smile. "Ally's smile" was mentioned by nearly everyone who came to visit at Beth Israel. I chose a well-known non-serif typeface - Myriad Pro, and I gave a small nod to her love of animals with a paw print over the "i" in "smith". I wanted her name to stand out and be easily recognized through the community. I nestled "the" at the top, and used a curved line, representative of her great big smile to tie in her name with "foundation." I was pretty sure the main color would be red. I did experiment with green, Ally's favorite color, but red is a color that commands attention, and I knew we needed to draw that attention to the situation.

Flyer for Rally for Ally
I tabled the idea of letterhead and other identity material for the time being, and moved right on to development of the website. A Facebook Page, Ally's Road to Recovery, was already established, and growing (1,039 supporters to date), so it made sense to be able to quickly bring that community to a website. Ally's boyfriend, Bobby locked up a domain name for us and prepared information for the press, some of which we used for the text of the website. Using Real Mac's RapidWeaver, I chose a new theme, SNo3, from seyDesign as my starter template. I loved the ability to add a slideshow at the top of the page, but kept the slideshow just to the home page and opted just for one picture on each of the other pages. I had a few photos to work with, supplied by Ally's sister Vanessa. I gave them a quick brush up in Photoshop and formatted them before loading them in. Some of the pages still need a bit of work, but we managed to get enough information in there for a good start and the site launched on January 17, 2011.

Rally for Ally logo
In the meantime, I was drawn into the Team Ally meetings regarding a quick first fundraiser. That's where I met Dave Thornton, who happened to be the brother of a fellow Rotarian. Dave is an idea guy. Lots and lots of ideas. That snowballed into a logo for the "Rally for Ally" (coined by Dave) fundraiser to be held on February 12th at Finnegan's Wake, and posters, and flyers, and can wrappers, and labels, and postcards. I began with the logo. "Can we have that today?" I had to work fast. I wanted to come up with something that incorporated more of a feel for Ally's love of horses, so I designed a rope brush in Illustrator, used Myriad Pro again, but tweaked the edges of the letters, and stuck to the same color. Then I turned my attention to the poster and flyer, the can wrappers, the wine labels, logos for tee-shirts and banners, trying to keep it fast and consistent. Thanks to Dave Luongo and Bay State Envelope for the printing services and for making it all look fantastic!

We expect the Rally for Ally on February 12th to be a great time for a great cause, to help a young lady who has touched so many lives in her 23 years. We continue to pray for her full recovery.

just for fun

film strip

Video—just for the fun of it.

There are many good reasons to consider posting videos on your website. This may not be one of them, but as I was fiddling around with uploading and embedding videos, I thought it would be nice to create a page just for fun and share a couple that can be found on Vimeo.

rickard company website

Rickard Company Website

I've been working on a new identity for Rickard Company, a construction company focused on Commercial Renovation and Repair.

The job began with a new logo—something simple and straightforward that reflected the company's focus on commercial renovation. A bit of embossing was added to the logo letteringto give it a raised, metal feel. A business card was designed from the logo with a blueprint background, embossed lines, and pertinent information.
Rickard Business Card
The header for the website reflects the look of the business card. Red accents were added to contrast with the blue / gray theme and to allow certain information - like the contact phone number to stand out. On the back end, a site map, browser and description information, and keywords will help with Search Engine Optimization. In the future, we'll be adding photographs and more information to round out the site!

comments function

Yesterday I uploaded my new site and transferred it to its new official home at After that was done, I added the JS-Kit for commenting. The Echo commenting has a lot of rich features, which I may take advantage of down the line. For now, however, I only enabled simple commenting. To test it out, I copied over the few comments from the old system. Seems to be working just fine.

Scrivo! website update

Well, my site sure has changed a bit from February. The site was built in RapidWeaver. I love the extra content areas provided by the template (seyDesign), and with the addition of the Stacks plug-in by YourHead software, I felt like I gained a lot more flexibility on the fly and the look of the pages really changed. I built in more news bits and an events section, and hope to keep up with my own site and change that content regularly.

While I do have to beef up the photography and design portfolios (particularly the design portfolio) and bring in some other samples there, I thought I would give this another review today and post as is for now. Sometimes a little distance and a break can help you refocus!

safehome custom construction website

Scrivo! created a logo and website for SafeHome Custom Construction. The website was launched mid-January and updates have been taking place all month. The client requested green and orange for a color scheme, so green was used as the primary color and orange as the accent. The colors are reminiscent of the colors of the Irish flag, keeping with the owner's Irish heritage.

SafeHome Custom Construction tackles a wide range of projects. A few of my favorites are the killer kitchens and bathrooms, some of which are featured on the website. In putting together the site, we wanted to showcase Gerry's amazing custom designs and woodworking skills, but also wanted to showcase his range – everything from residential to commercial to industrial. "Ain't no mountain high enough" to keep him from successful completion of a specialty project.

On the website, I used a variety of photos supplied by SafeHome. Many were installed as a flash photo display, but since flash is not SEO friendly and does not display on some browsers and smart phones, separate albums were created for kitchen and bath displays.

On the front page the smaller photos are linked to take viewers further into the site. Larger photos can be viewed within the photo albums.

bashful baker website

bashful website
The Bashful Baker was overdue for a website change. Check out their new website, The website was designed with RapidWeaver, a great little program. I began with a template and customized it to suit the bakery.

I had a lot of fun putting the new Bashful website together on their new domain. In addition to their quality desserts and goodies being handcrafted using the finest ingredients, their desserts are fresh, so we decided to play around with that and the fact that they may not be all that “bashful.”

Writing copy for the bakery is always fun; while they are serious about their cakes and pastries, they have a wry sense of humor. While I don’t consider myself that much of a computer geek, the commentary on the contact page sprang from a spirited conversation about computers.

I shot the mini-pastries which debuted on the front page when I uploaded it this month. (Yeah, taking pictures of delicious pastries is a tough assignment, I know, but someone had to do it.) I also shot several other photos featured in the main content areas or sidebars of other pages; one of my favorites was the cocoa dusting on the tiramisu on the contact page. Many of the wedding cake photos were contributed by other wedding and event photographers.

In addition to the site, I created design pages using a custom background and photos that the bakers had on hand. We printed some up for their photo album and also downloaded many of the designs into a digital photo album they can use as a sales tool.


new Scrivo! site

scrivo web
Ahhh, another website design. Here I am at 8:00 pm reviewing old blog content and transitioning it over to my new blog.

I am extremely excited to be launching a new website. Over the last year I began to build websites with RapidWeaver and also began to learn Dreamweaver.

Website design marks the first time I will have used templates for design, but since I am more familiar with designing than coding, I thought I should take small steps. RapidWeaver, and the templates built for RapidWeaver, seemed like a good first step. New themes for RapidWeaver that are produced by seyDesign really have me excited since they have a lot of built-in customization, and I have begun building sample sites in Dreamweaver.

The template I am using for the new Scrivo! site is GiD3OUS, a theme by seyDesign. I wanted a natural, light, water / beach feel for the site without drifting too far away from my color scheme of blue/gray. Since I am redesigning all my material now, I'm sure there will be a lot of interplay before I settle on a look, and I plan to try different colors with my business card and letterhead.

I am indeed giddy to be producing a new website (and other identity materials) for Scrivo! — but I will be even more "GiD3OUS" when it is completed.