it’s your chance to learn graphic design!

It’s an exciting day around here … the second session of the Simplified Graphic Design course is now open!

simplified-graphic-design-logo

I love offering this class to you for many reasons, but here are the top three:

1. Learning new skills is so good. We all get stuck in our routines and sometimes the best way to expand our thoughts and develop our passions is to explore new skills. The ease of online classes has made this type of learning accessible and doable and I’m so thankful to be part of this movement.

2. Learning new skills that save you time and money is even better. I mean, who doesn’t want to save time and money? That’s one of the best things about learning how to do something on your own – once you have the skill, you can confidently tackle the next project incorporating your vision and style and saving all sorts of money in the process.

3. Learning new skills that save you time and money and give you a creative outlet is the best. This is the one I linger on the longest. Whether it’s crafting or running, taking pictures or refinishing furniture, we all live better when we have creative outlets. Now I know that graphic design is not everyone’s fave, but if you’re even interested in the slightest – if you’ve played around with graphics or tried making your own stationery and found yourself loving the process – this just might be a perfect way to expand your creativity and bring a whole lot of enjoyment to your everyday.

The purpose of the Simplified Graphic Design course is to take beginners and introduce designing in a non-intimidating, non-techy, easy-to-follow way.  The feedback we’ve received from the first group of students has been so positive and proves that the class is delivering! Here are just a few of those super sweet reviews:

testimonials

What excites me the most is that these are ladies of different ages, different levels of experience and different purposes for learning graphic design and yet they all have found the class has sparked creativity in a new way. What a privilege to be part of this!

You’re invited to join the next group of soon-to-be graphic designers in the Simplified Graphic Design class.

about
Simplified Graphic Design is a course created for the beginner graphic designer who is new to Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator enables you to create professional vector artwork (images that can be scaled to any size without losing quality) for both print and web graphics. While the program can be intimidating upon first glance, this course will walk you through the most essential and helpful tools showing you how to create your own designs and leaving you with a comfortable understanding and confidence in working in Illustrator.

This is a great class for those who love graphic design and want to learn how to create their own graphics. Whether you have no experience in Illustrator or a basic knowledge of the program, you will finish the course a more proficient designer with a handful of shortcuts that will make the process simple and enjoyable. If you are well-acquainted with Illustrator, a professional graphic designer or looking for tips for creating a graphic design business, this course will not be a good fit for you.

format
Because most of us learn best by watching a task being done, this course is a series of eleven in-depth videos that cover all of the basic functions, most helpful tools and many tips and tricks in Adobe Illustrator useful for everyday designing. You can watch and re-watch to learn new techniques and then pause the video to practice on your own.

The course covers:

  • familiarizing ourselves with Adobe Illustrator
  • using the most common functions for every day designing
  • how to create, transform and design with text
  • using clipping masks and digital paper to create art
  • turning hand drawn doodles into vector graphics
  • altering images using the live trace & paint functions
  • how to create shapes, templates and tags
  • printing and saving your work
  • the work flow of a start-to-finish invitation
  • the work flow of a start-to-finish web graphic
  • resources for tools, design elements and inspiration

The course and all its content takes place online in a password protected classroom. Go at your own pace, moving from section to section as quickly or slowly as needed. You will have unlimited access to the class for as long as you like so you can always refer back to it as needed.

All questions can be asked in the comment section of each topic. This will act as our forum and helpful troubleshooting for all students.

requirements
Computer
Adobe Illustrator (free 30-day trial – sign-up here)
Internet access

tuition
$79.

You will have immediate and unlimited access upon registering.

register
Can’t wait to see what you will create with your new skills!

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perfect for your easter brunch: cranberry orange scones

In case you are looking for a last minute addition to your Easter brunch this weekend (or any time, for that matter), these scones are perfect.

cranberry-orange-scones

Some scones are dry and break into tiny crumbs when you bite into them and these are not like that at all. They are soft and flaky with a hint of orange and sweet cranberries. The recipe is from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook. Her cookbooks are amazing. Every recipe I’ve made of hers is an instant favorite (like her apple crisp and chicken noodle soup and coconut cupcakes). And the pictures are really pretty.

Okay, back to the scones. They are fairly easy to make. Just dump all the dry ingredients in the mixer, add the zest of one orange and cut in cold butter (just try not to think about how much butter you’re using).

ingredients-for-scones

Then you add heavy cream and eggs until just combined to form a sticky dough. Before adding cranberries (craisins, actually) she has you toss them in a little bit of flour. Genius idea, this flour-covered-craisin-thing, as they mix in to the dough rather than sinking to the bottom.

Gently roll out the dough on a floured board and cut with a pastry cutter. Or a cup if you don’t have one. #makeitwork

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Bake for 20 minutes, drizzle on a light glaze and you have the most delicious homemade scones ever.

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I made these for my college girlfriends when they came into town last month and again yesterday afternoon just because. I may even make them again on Sunday. Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Scones

recipe from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home

i n g r e d i e n t s

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

d i r e c t i o n s

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

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diy painted silhouette

Today is a continuation from yesterday’s post about how to create a silhouette. You can use your vector silhouette for many different things (stationery, a tote bag, necklace, web graphics) but today I’ll show you how I made these large framed painted silhouettes that line our staircase.

(nevermind the snowflakes … this photo was taken during Christmas when the kids thought it would be extra festive to tape coffee filter snowflakes all over the wall. It actually turned out to be my favorite Christmas decoration and it was a sad day when we pulled them all down).

diy-painted-silhouette

This tutorial shows you the exact method I used for making the large prints, only done on a smaller scale. The beauty of a vector graphic is that you can blow it up as large as you need without losing clarity – so select a frame and an approximate silhouette size and you can enlarge your silhouette to that size before printing.

Okay, here’s what you’ll need:

silhouette-tutorial-supplies

frame / printout of silhouette / good paper / pencil / black craft paint / small paintbrush

Let’s talk about the printout for a second. In Illustrator, you can format your silhouette on an artboard set to the desired size. In this case, the frame opening is 6×4 so I made my artboard that size. Then I resized the silhouette of audrey to fit within and gave it a stroke (rather than fully filled in just to conserve ink when printing). For both this little print and the large ones on my stairs, I added text. Set it to the size you like before printing.

You could just print on nice paper and frame as is. This is a great option especially if you are making them poster size. Send them to a local printer to print on large paper, put them in a frame (ikea has inexpensive big ones) and you are set. I wanted to go one step further with mine and give them more of a handmade look by painting them. So I’ll show you how that is done.

STEP ONE // transfer silhouette to good paper

rub-pencil-on-back-of-print

begin by flipping over your printout and scribbling along the outlines.

transfer-print-to-paper

Now flip your paper back over, center over the good paper and trace the printout lines (it helps to use a freshly sharpened pencil). The lead you scribbled on the back of the paper acts like graphite paper and will leave a faint outline of your original printout. This is such a simple method for transferring artwork. Tip: if you are transferring to dark paper, use chalk on the back instead of lead.

STEP TWO // paint

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I used regular acrylic craft paint and two different brushes. Let dry for a few minutes.

painted-silhouette-up-close

STEP THREE // frame

tape-art-to-back-of-mat

center your painted artwork in mat and tape to hold in place. Washi tape is great for this because it removes easily if you need to adjust the art.

silhouette-close

And you’re finished.

painted-silhouette-finished

Just for fun, I embellished this little silhouette with a mini headband cut out of scrapbook paper.

painted-silhouette-with-flowers

Assorted flowers and leaves glue-sticked on because, why not?!!

painted-silhouette-with-flowers-close

Hope this inspires you to create some silhouettes for your home! Don’t feel limited to children’s faces … try doing one of your dog or cat, a favorite landmark, or a special photo that can be transformed into a silhouette.

And don’t forget that registration for the next Simplified Graphic Design class begins Monday April 21st at 6am pacific. Last time it sold out in less than 24 hours, so make sure you grab your spot quickly! You can learn more about the course and what it will do for you here.

pencils-300-x-200

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