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DIY Seahawks birthday invitations + graphic design class now open!

If you haven’t gathered this from countless previous posts, let me tell you a not-so-secret secret about me: I am an in the moment kind of girl.  Casting vision, long-term goal-setting, meal planning, scheduling posts – these are not my forte. I’m a night-before, whatever is right in front of my face or on the to-do list today type which mostly works out fine. I like being flexible and I’m pretty good at pulling things together at the last minute.

Like my son’s birthday party, for example.

seahawks-football-party-invitation

It’s coming up this weekend and we just figured out what we’re doing for his party. It’s been on my radar – just not glaring enough to do anything about it (see? not very forward-thinking). But we’ve come up with a plan (Seahawks watching party!!!), planned out the food (football game snacks, gatorade to drink, chocolate covered s’mores for dessert) and written the guest list. All that’s left are goodie bags (a big deal for a nearly-nine-year-old) and decorations (I’ll figure those out later – see below).

Oh, and invitations.

football-party-invitation

There are countless ways I use graphic design in my everyday, but making my kids’ party invitations ranks at the top of reasons I love knowing my way around Adobe Illustrator.

First, I like that I’m not limited by what’s available in stores as far as themes go. Any design/colors/motif is possible.

Second, I prefer an invitation where I don’t have to hand write in the details. By making them myself, I just type it all out which makes them easy to read and less time-consuming for me.

Third, invitations always set the tone for the party and even if it’s not over-the-top extravagant, it’s nice to put some personal touches into kids’ parties.

And finally, there’s no need to think weeks ahead (thank goodness!) and spend extra money ordering custom invitations online. All it takes is a little time in front of the computer, a printer and a few pieces of nice paper.

birthday-invitation-football-party

Now, I’ve been designing invitations for quite some time (see a bunch of examples here), so the process is pretty quick for me. And it can be for you, too. This invitation is a mix of a free printable background (the playbook diagram – so cute!), free kraft paper digital scrapbook paper, and a Seahawk icon copied from the internet. Nothing too fancy! I made the yard line markers/numbers with a font called Stamping Nico (from dafont.com) and the main text is Trend Sans (from myfonts.com). The design is simple, but playful and I like that it is seahawk-y/football-y without being obnoxious.  I also like that they were finished in time to give out a few days before the party.

football-party-invitations-and-envelopes

I know not everyone wants to make their own invitations, so my feelings will not be hurt if you click away at this point …

* BUT *

… for those of you who would like to create invitations and stationery and logos, blog graphics, artwork and postcards for your husband’s (or your own!) business, I’d love to help you learn how.

simplified-graphic-design-class

This past spring I launched a great online class called Simplified Graphic Design teaching beginners how to use Adobe Illustrator. I LOVE THIS CLASS! I love teaching it and answering questions and hearing about how it is helping ladies finally feel confident using a seemingly complicated program to unleash their creativity. The class is made up of 12 video lessons that all take place online. You can go at your own pace and have access to the videos for as long as you’d like (no pressure to hurry through!).

I teach the most common and practical tools/steps/techniques needed for everyday design and share all of my best resources for fonts, graphics, inspiration and tools.

If you’ve been wanting to learn a new skill, need a refresher course on Illustrator, or have been dying to know how people make all those awesome graphics, this is totally for YOU!

>> For all of the details and to register, click here <<

p.s. space is limited and the class has sold out each time it’s been offered, so be sure to grab your spot.

p.p.s. I’ll be browsing pinterest for great football party decorating ideas, but if you have any brilliant ideas, I’m all ears …

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rolled MAGAZINE flowers + antler chalk art

During my ‘quieting the house‘ rampage, I finally convinced myself to get rid of stacks and stacks of old magazines. Why was I holding on to them? I can not tell you. But from the comments on the IG photo, magazine-hoarding seems to be a common problem among perfectly normal women.

All of those extra magazines got me thinking … what can all of us hoarders do with old publications that we’re truthfully never going to read again? We can make stuff. Cute rolled paper flowers, for example.

rolled-flower-antler-chalkboard

Add the rolled magazine flowers to a simple chalkboard project and you have an inexpensive and whimsical piece of art.

rolled-magazine-flowers-antlers-chalkboard

Let me show you how to make it.

TO MAKE THE ROLLED MAGAZINE FLOWERS:

magazine-rolled-flowers-supplies

SUPPLIES // magazine (or catalog), scissors, hot glue gun

STEP ONE // cut a page from the magazine into a circle. It does not need to be perfect.

cut-in-circle-magazine-rolled-flowers

STEP TWO // cut a spiral in the circle. Wavy and imperfect is good.

magazine-flower-cut-spiral

STEPS THREE – SIX //

rolled-magazine-flowers-steps

Tightly coil starting from the outside
Roll to the end
Release coil
Hot glue to center part

TO MAKE A LEAF:   make-a-magazine-leaf

Cut leaf shape from magazine
Accordion fold and hot glue to hold
By placing a few flowers together with leaves, you get a colorful bouquet.

magazine-rolled-flowers

TO MAKE THE ANTLERS:

antler-chalk-art

Print out the antler template (download in the archive)
Turn over and cover with chalk
Flip template over and trace antler outline with pencil (this will make a faint transfer on the chalkboard)
Trace again with chalk
Add the rolled magazine flower bouquet with double-sided tape to the chalkboard and you’re finished.

rolled-magazine-flowers-with-chalkboard-antlers

Sometimes a minimal project with free supplies is the best.

rolled-magazine-flowers-and-antler-chalk-art

To download the antler template, you are welcome to log in or join the archive (our library of free printables, fonts, clip art and templates). Log in here.

And now for a few questions: are you a magazine keeper? Do you have any other suggestions for what to do with old issues?

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how I edit iphone photos for instagram

My iphone is like an extension of my arm – it’s by my side at nearly all times of day (and night). I love it for texting and checking the weather and asking siri important questions like ‘how many days until …?’ (asked by a certain second born who is slightly excited about his upcoming birthday) and watching cute youtube videos like this one and this.

Most of all, I love it for the camera.

Admittedly, an iphone does not take the same quality of photos as a real camera, but the fact that it is always with me, easy to use and quick to capture everyday moments works out just fine for me. It is fun to practice photography with my phone – looking for interesting angles or composition or finding the right light – and sharing those photos on instagram is a favorite, too.

I almost always do some editing before posting to instagram (I like a slightly dreamy, washed out look) and thought I’d show you what that looks like.

raw-and-edited-instagram

We’ll use this photo taken yesterday of a piece of my mom’s blackberry pie (yum).

Here it is straight from the camera:

blackberry-pie-raw

It’s a nice photo and could probably be used as is. But running it through some photo apps gives it just the right amount of artsy-ness to make it a little more visually appealing.

I use the standard camera app to take photos and then edit through Afterlight – a simple to use $.99 photo editing app.

editing-photos-1

I begin by opening Afterlight and bringing in the photo from my photo stream.

editing-photos-2

I brighten slightly, add a bit more contrast and occasionally bring the sharpening up slightly as well.

editing-photos-3

Next (here’s the most important step) I choose the guest filters and then the Russ filter to get the dreamy/washed out look I like. You can change the opacity to adjust how strongly the filter is applied. Once I like the look, click the check mark to save.

Instagram is set up as square photos, so sometimes I use the crop tool to cut the photo into a square before posting.

Sometimes a photo just looks better with it’s original rectangular proportions, so I like to add borders to get the square size without cropping the photo. To do this, I click on the borders icon, and then Original.

editing-photos-4

Next I click on the side borders and it will automatically turn the photo into a square with white margins. Click the check mark to save.

Once finished editing, I click the Done button at the top right and then save as a small image to my camera roll. I like to save a copy to my photos and post to instagram from the IG app, but you could also just click on the instagram icon from Afterlight to post. Your choice.

And here is the final edited image:

edited-blackberry-pie

Just those few simple steps really give an average photo a fancier look!

Here are a few more before & afters to see the subtle, but pretty difference editing makes:

office-desk

audrey-kitchen

concessions

laundry-room

swimsuit

africa-shopping

be-strong

peony

Hope this is helpful in making your photos more beautiful!

RESOURCES:

afterlight

SnapShop iphone course (I took this course last year and it was so good! If you want help learning how to compose interesting images, play with settings, learn more about editing and fun photography tools, Ashley teaches it perfectly. Learn more about her excellent photography courses here).

See my instagram feed here.

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my favorite resources all in one place

This one took me forever to finally get finished, but I now have a page dedicated to my favorite resources. I call them the Tools I Use.

tools-i-use-resources

You can find the page by clicking on the SOURCES image from the sidebar over there on the right.

I’ve compiled a list of tools and products I use regularly with links to where you can purchase them. Things like my printer, colored envelopes, the alphabet stamps seen on many different projects and where I order my paper.

tools-i-use-screenshot

I’ll continue to add more products/sources when I think of them. If you have any other suggestions or questions about where I get things, leave a comment and I’ll add it!

To visit the Tools I Use page, click here.

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temporary stripes (tutorial)

This is such an odd project. I’ll just tell you that from the start.

diy-stripe-pitcher
It’s a bit weird, but super cute.

diy-striped-pitcher

I have these white pitchers (old from IKEA) holding cooking utensils on our kitchen island and I’ve been wanting for forever to paint stripes on them. It has just never happened. When I was taking photos for our summer house tour, the pitchers were plain white and I wanted them striped for the photos. With not enough time or the correct porcelain paint to do it right then, I went with option two: temporary stripes.

stripe-pitcher-wood-utensils
Now the easiest thing would have been black electrical tape, but we didn’t have any, so I scrounged through my craft supplies and found a lightly patterned washi tape that seemed like it would work. Here’s how it happened:

SUPPLIES // white pitcher (like this) . washi tape . black permanent marker

stripe-pitcher-supplies

STEP ONE // wrap pitcher with strips of tape.

stripe-tape
You can measure in between stripes, or just eye it. Depending on the shape of your pitcher, the tape will have a few wrinkles as you press it down. Don’t worry about them, they will not really be noticeable when you’re finished.

stripe-pitcher-washi-tape

Here is mine with just the washi tape. It would be fine like this, or you could use any other cute pattern of tape (here is my favorite source for washi tape), but I really wanted mine to just be black and white.

STEP TWO // make those stripes solid

draw-on-stripes
I colored right over the tape with a thick permanent marker.

stripe-pitcher

And now the stripes are just right.

stripe-pitcher-top
It’s doubtful I will ever grow tired of classic black and white stripes, but the nice part is, the stripes are temporary. Just remove the tape and you’re back to a basic white pitcher.

peonies-in-stripe-pitcher
See? I told you. Weird. But super cute.

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