Grinning and sharing it

 I’ve admired a relatively new NoVa parenting blog, The McGill Family, for its sweetly captivating design that calls to mind a family’s beloved scrapbook. A recent entry indicated that Audrey McGill has started a new business, Grin and Share It, offering her services in blog and Web site design, as well as custom photo cards.  Her rates are reasonable ($25 for a custom blog header, $75 for custom blog design, and $2 per card with a 15-card minimum required), and you can visit the site to review her designs.

Intrigued by the unique cards she’s offering (adoption and back to school) in addition to the more traditional birth announcements and holidays, I asked if she’d mind being profiled for a Mompreneur feature on this blog. She agreed, and following is an excerpt of our e-mail conversation.

How did you get started doing this type of design work?
I started designing Web sites as soon as I became engaged to my husband in 2001. I was looking for an easy way to share our ceremony and reception details with our guests, so I created a wedding website. I really enjoyed the creative process and the end result. I’ve been designing Web sites ever since!

I started designing photo cards as soon as my first son was born in 2004. I was unhappy with the lack of modern and contemporary designs when I was browsing for birth announcements and decided to try and create my own. After designing my first card, I became addicted to the whole process and I’ve been making photo cards ever since.

What’s your professional design background?
I hold a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education. I actually have no formal design training. I taught myself Web Design and Photoshop. Many, many hours(and years) later, here I am!

How would you describe your graphic design aesthetic?
I’ve found that designing is personally fulfilling to me. As a stay at home mom, I am constantly on the go, and being pulled in several directions at once. Laundry gets left unfolded. Dishes always seem to be in the sink. Toys are always on the floor. If the house is cleaned, there is a mess waiting a couple of minutes later! With all of this to juggle, if dinner is made on time, I feel accomplished.

Designing is therapeutic to me. At the end of a crazy day, I can tune out everything else while creating something worthwhile and meaningful. There is a process with design that I find comforting. With design, all of my effort creates this beautiful end result.

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