It’s been a long time coming and I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep working in these conditions, in this room. I need my own space…again.
Before we moved into our current home, we had a cute 2 bedroom townhouse in the city. It had a nice, open loft on the second floor. It was painted a bright, but light blue, with everything trimmed in crisp white moulding. That served as my office, my reading space, my place to workout – my space. When we moved to our current home in 2004, I was sad to see my bright little office go, but excited to be moving out of the city and into a much bigger space. While the space was bigger, it didn’t have any extra rooms – much bigger rooms, but no extra rooms.
For a while, I used one of the extra bedrooms as my office. Then we started having babies. Babies and their stuff take up space. Bye-bye office of mine. I was relegated to a corner of the family room and there I have stayed. As the kids got older, their toys got bigger. The dining room became a playroom and the table breakfast nook became our only dining space. It was great – we were all on the same level, the small ones safely gated away from any trouble they could find up the stairs. They played, I worked. I worked, they played.
The kids are now 4 (almost 5) and 7. Both can be trusted with scissors and (usually) glue. I don’t have to worry about them going through my bathroom cabinet or eating my lotion. No playing in the toilets or splashing in sinks. Slowly but surely, most of my daughter’s toy have made their way to the insane mess we call her room and my son is gradually starting to follow suit.
Speed it up, son. Mommy needs an office, and she needs it now. Actually, she’s going to have it now, so let’s just go ahead and get adjusted to the idea, m’kay? Planning is already in full swing and Spring is just around the corner. I plan to work by the light of my new office window before the end of April. I’ve picked my colors, I *think* I’ve picked my furniture, and I’m slowly but surely building my decor ideas on My Office Makeover Pinterest board. We’ll see if I can solidify my choices and stay on plan.
What do you think of the things I’ve added to my “pin”spiration board so far? Anything you love? Anything you hate? What ideas do YOU have for my office? I think the best designs come from collaboration, so lay them on me! If you’re a blogger and have a project that you think would be perfect, share it with me and I’ll add it to my “pin”spiration board!
Wiggly tooth #4 is in the house… actually, it’s well beyond wiggly. If the girl doesn’t lose the aforementioned tooth by this weekend, I will be utterly amazed. When her first loose tooth crept up on us, I pulled out something special from my childhood to share with her – my 28 year old Tooth Fairy Pillow. It’s not fancy, not even very pretty, but I love it. The slate blue fabric with little flower buds is dated at best, but it’s held up amazingly well, and until tooth #4, has served the girl well.
My favorite thing about the Tooth Fairy Pillow is how easy it makes the process of leaving a newly extracted tooth and receiving your reward from the Tooth Fairy. Instead of stuffing your tooth under your pillow – where the Tooth Fairy has to attempt to swap the tooth for the loot without waking up your little ones – instead the tooth is nestled safely in the “tooth pouch” on the pillow and sat either on a nightstand, dresser or just beside your child’s pillow on their bed. The Tooth Fairy can easily scoop up the tooth and leave the loot in it’s place without disturbing anyone’s beauty sleep.
While you could make this pillow super quickly with a sewing machine, there’s something about sewing something as special as this by hand. For that, you will need 2 squares of fabric (at least 5″ x 5″), felt, matching thread, sewing needle, straight pins, marker, scissors and polyfill (stuffing). If you can thread and needle and tie a knot, you’re good to go! This would even be a great project to let your little loose-toother help you with. Yay, life skills!
Start by cutting a square of felt slightly smaller than your fabric squares. On that felt, draw a very basic tooth shape. If you’re not a great artist, don’t worry. Google is littered with tooth images you can print, cut and trace. Once you’re happy with your tooth, cut it out and pin it down to the front panel of your pillow. Careful with those pins – they’re sharp! The pins are important though… they will help keep your tooth straight while you stitch. Using a very basic straight stitch, stitch the tooth onto the front panel. You want to start on one side, stitch down, across the bottom and back up the other side. You will not stitch across the top of the tooth… it needs to be open to create the pocket for your tooth.
Once you’ve stitched your tooth on, lay the front panel flat, tooth-side up. Place your back panel, print-side down, on top of your tooth panel. Using the same basic straight stitch, stitch around the outside edge of the squares (about 1/4″ in from the edge). You want to leave about a 2″ gap at the end so you will have room to turn the pillow right-side out. Tie a knot here to hold everything secure while you flip it right-side out.
Using your fingers, gently flip your pillow right-side out. You will need to stick your fingers in and work with your corners a little to push them out well. Once you’re happy with the shaping in the corners, stuff you pillow with polyfill. After filling your pillow, carefully fold the edges of the fabric in along the bottom and stitch the opening closed. Tie off with a simple knot and you’ve got a finished Tooth Fairy Pillow.
Tooth Fairies Are Real
Did anyone else have one of these growing up, or was I the only one? My great-grandmother loved to sew, so I have all sorts of things she made for me. She’s the one who taught me to love crafts as a little girl. Even though she’s been gone for almost 15 years, I can still give my little girl a piece of her. Maybe she’ll use the new pillow, the one that shows a little more of her personality, or maybe she’ll keep using mine. Either way, I’m happy and she’s happy. The Tooth Fairy will be happy too.
Mama.Mommy.Mom. received no compensation or products for this post. Nada. Enter, Win, Enjoy!
We are kicking off soon to come Spring (hurry up already!) with an awesome giveaway! Are you wanting to make that step and get your special little girl in your life an American Girl Doll?! This is the perfect time. American Girl introduced Isabelle as the Girl of the Year and now she’s on the top of every AG fan’s “must-have” list! She is pretty awesome – my daughter especially loves her pink hair! Anyone that loves American Girl would be thrilled to have her join their family.
If you’ve been hanging around for any length of time, you know that we’re a little bit American Girl obsessed. (Evidence here, here, here and here…. there’s a whole section devoted to them under the Crafts & Hobbies tab up top.) My girl has been asking “How much more do I have to save?” since the announcement introducing her on Good Morning America. I’m trying to get her to hold off until our new store opens in Charlotte this fall, but she’s ready to jump in the car and head to Atlanta right now! My poor little girl is just going to have to wait a bit, but yours can welcome Isabelle into you home near the end of March!
If you’d like to check out American Girl yourself you can by clicking HERE .
GIVEAWAY- Winner will get an American Girl Doll (Isabelle and her book)
Open to US Residents and Canada Residents. (If American girl does not ship to your area- you will be given the money via Paypal instead) Must be 18+ years or older. Giveaways ends March 23 at Midnight EST. Once the winner is chosen, they have 48 hours to reply via email. If they do not reply another winner will be picked. We’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page.
Huge difference, right? When I shared a Photoshop version of this tutorial last Sunday, I realized that a lot of people reading it, wishing they could make their pictures look better, might not be as lucky as I am in regards to Photoshop access. What’s a non-Photoshop user to do? Easy-peasy! Head over to PicMonkey. You can do most of the same things I do in Photoshop right in PicMonkey. There’s nothing to download, nothing to sign up for (unless you want to) and you can use their service as much as you want. Bingo!
Just like in Photoshop, the first thing I to edit in PicMonkey is adjust my white balance. In PicMonkey, the function is called Neutral Pickerand it’s located under the Colors option. You simply click on the Neutral Picker option and the select an area of your photo that should be white. For the best results, especially when you have a large area of white, select the brightest white in the picture.
Brightness and Highlights
After only adjusting the white balance, you should already see a pretty big difference in your picture. Now, select the Exposure option and play with your brightness. Chances are you’re probably going to want to up your brightness just a bit. Pay close attention to skin tones and make sure you aren’t making the picture so bright that you loose detail.
You can also play with the highlights, shadows and contrast options here. This is kind of trail and error, but you can always use the cancel and undo options if you don’t like how something looks. On this photo, I added a bit of highlighting. As you can see in the image below, that the result was loosing the detail in the garage door – and for this photo, that’s a good thing.
On this photo, I didn’t like the look adjusted shadows or contrast gave the image, so I left both of those alone.
PicMonkey has some great retouching options and many of them are included in the free program. There are a few SUPER cool ones that are available on with the Royale upgrade (which is still super cheap and completely worth the cost), but they aren’t “must-have’ options as far as this type of editing goes.
I used the cloning tool to touch up the girl’s flyaways, clean up a scratch on her nose and touch up a little spot on her forehead. I used a few of the upgraded options to add “mascara” and a little more color to her lips and cheeks. Using all of these tools is as easy as a click.
Once you’re happy with the look, you can adjust the sharpness of your image if you want, of leave it like it is.
A world of difference, no? Which one do you think would look better hanging in my office? The changes I made on this literally took me less than 10 minutes and the enhanced version definitely looks more like a portrait while the original is clearly a snapshot.
Easier than you though? I’d love to see what some of your before and afters look like. If you give PicMonkey a try, share your before and after images with us on Facebook. We’d love to see what you come up with. While you’re there, let us know if there’s something specific you’d like to learn and we’ll see what we can do to make that happen – be it photography related or something else all together!
Obsession would be a mild way to describe the girl’s love for American Girl. She was smitten from the first catalog and her affinity for all things “doll” hasn’t waned since. It’s been a little over 2 years now since she really started showing interest in American Girl. She got her first 18 inch doll (a knock off) for Christmas in 2012 and it’s been just about 7 months since she got her first real American Girl doll.
It’s been an expensive, enlightening 7 months. If you’ve got an American Girl fan in your house, you know exactly what I mean. We’ve been on a quest to find awesome, and less expensive alternative to some of the official American Girl products. Don’t get me wrong, most of the official products are great, but I would rather save the money to add new dolls than to buy tiny pieces and parts that will eventually end up lost somewhere in my daughter’s room or wicked expensive pieces of furniture that we can duplicate (within reason) for much less.
I know I’m not the only American Girl mom out there looking to feed their kiddo’s obsession on the cheap, so I wanted to share a few of our favorite finds with you guys.
My Froggy Stuff
My girl has become a Youtube expert since getting her Kindle Fire. It’s scary how quickly kids can learn to navigate the internet. One of her, and subsequently my, favorite finds has been My Froggy Stuff. They have a great Youtube channel with all sorts of DIY tutorials for dolls (Barbie sized too!). Here’s a great tutorial for making a “Back To School Binder” for your doll.
If you follow me on Instagram (and you should), you may have seen the picture I shared of our new Easter collection from Katie’s Craftations. I can not say enough great, amazing, awesome things about Katie’s product or customer service. We have had nothing but wonderful experiences on all counts. The price is right, the quality is amazing, the service is top notch and I get the added bonus of supporting a small business!
Harmony Club Dolls
My daughter’s fashion sense is also a little off the beaten path and she really enjoys mixing up her outfits and accessories to come up with some “unique” combinations. And I mean her actual wardrobe, but her dolls’ too. Hair accessories and shoes are big requests, and I can’t drop $34 to get a pair of rain boots – at least not for a special occasion like a birthday or something. For things like random wardrobe pieces, shoes and whatnot, the girl and I have fallen in love with clearance shopping at Harmony Club Dolls. Accessories under $5? Yes, please!
A Few Others
For you DIY’ers, here are a few other sites we’ve found that are full of great ideas! Some are more complex than the others and some definitely require a time commitment, but to see the look on your kid’s face when you make a tree house for their doll… totally worth it! The fact that it costs you less than $10 – That will make you smile.
You can also check out our American Girl Pinterest Board for other ideas, resources, crafts and more. If you have a favorite site or resource for American Girl, please share it with us in the comments or on our Facebook page. I’m sure there are plenty of other AG addicts that would love to see more of the best resources out there. We’ll be pinning our favorites to our American Girl Pinterest Board as well, so be sure to follow us for links to specific projects and resources.
This parenting gig is hard. It’s a trial and error process to some degree, learning what works and what doesn’t for your family as you navigate the waters of well-intended advice, peer judgement and the fear of failure. No matter what you do and how you do it, if you’re not questioning yourself someone else will. How do we know when we’re doing it right? i suppose we figure than answer out as our kids grow into adults themselves, and since the princess is only 7, I think I’ve got a way to go yet.
One of the most important things you can do for your kids is to spend quality time with them. Note – quality, not quantity. Yes, most parents spend a good bit of time with their kids, but how much of it qualifies as quality? My daughter and I spend time together working on her homework every night. Yes, that is time together, but is it quality time? Well, that depends… For most kids – my daughter included – no. The way I define quality time is simple: If your child sees your focus as being on them verses on an activity, place, thing, etc – that is quality time.
Busy, Busy, Busy
Let’s be honest… most of us lead very busy, very scheduled lives and finding time to devote entirely to one person or one thing can be hard. Now, multiply that times the number of children you have, plus you spouse/significant other – and don’t forget yourself. Everyone wants a piece of us! How do we make it all happen?
First, spend some time with each of your children, individually, just talking about what they’d like the two of you to do together sometime. This is quality time in and of itself, but you’re also getting great info here on possible things you can do together in the future. This should be done in a quiet, relaxed environment, free from distractions like phones, televisions or computers.
Next, set a date. Most of us keep a calendar of some sort, paper or electronic. Add your date to your calendar like you would any other meeting/event. Treat it as impossible to reschedule. You do not push your date back because something else comes up (within reason – obviously things like illness, etc will be the exception.) Share the time frame for you date with your child and speak of it often leading up to your date. This helps get/keep your kid excited about the idea of the date, plus adds some accountability for you.
After you’ve set a date, plan your date. Choose an activity that you and your child can do together, that you will both enjoy. You don’t want to choose something that’s going to make you miserable (if you can at all avoid it) and you certainly want your date to be enjoyable for your child. Remember, they need to feel like the center of your world, at least for a little bit. The point of dating your kid, after all, is to connect with your child and reinforce the fact that you love them, care for them and are concerned with what they think and how they feel. All dates don’t need to be elaborate, but you can jazz it up from time to time. And, take advantage of pre-planned activities. The girl and her daddy, their last date night was her school’s Father Daughter Dance. Date, time and activity all planned by someone else. I helped her get dressed up and ready. All daddy had to do was grab some flowers and smile for a few pictures.
When date day comes, be flexible. Know that depending on your child’s mood or current wants/needs, you may need to adjust your plans. Just roll with it! This is the hardest thing for me. I will admit that. I am very “follow the plan” driven, but I’m slowly learning to adapt and overcome my issues.
A day or two after your date, spend a few minutes talking to your child about your date. What did they like? What didn’t they like? Would they like to do it again? Learn from this! My kids have gotten so skilled at the ‘dates’ idea, we don’t even have to ask anymore… they just tell us.
“I want a date with daddy. He’s going to take me to see Frozen.”
“I want a mommy date. McDonald’s please!”
This is Not Burger King
This is not Burger King and you don’t always get to have it your way. I doubt seeing Frozen…again… is on my husband’s “Top 10 Things I Want To Do This Week” list, he’ll do it. It’s important to the girl, so it’s important to him. And, McDonalds? I’d rather not, but I do. I might make another suggestion, but if the boy sticks with his McDonald’s request, I’ll take the chicken breast sandwich, please.
I can’t tell you the improvement we’ve seen in our kids’ attitudes, especially the 7 year old and her interactions with her dad, since we started spending quality one on one time with the kids – away from the other parent and child. She goes to him for help now, still only sometimes, but that’s way more than before. She wants to talk to him, share her day with him. The same with our boy. He is so much more receptive now to having daddy do more for him – which is nice for mommy – but it also means that mommy is freed up to handle other things and have more time to spend with him, doing the things he wants to do.
Do You Date?
Do you go on dates with your children? What types of things do you enjoy doing together on your dates and what, if any, impact have you seen these dates have on your relationship?
I am not a professional photographer. I’ve never claimed to be, never tried to be and never aspire to be. I am simply a hobbyist and someone who prides herself in knowing a little bit about almost anything. Usually, I know just enough to be dangerous. What I do know for certain is that there are quick fixes you can apply to your images to make them look much better in just a few minutes!
While this tutorial is laid out in Photoshop, the same principles apply across any photo editing software, you might just have to spend a little time playing with it until you figure out what works for you.
The first step for editing any photo is adjusting the white balance. If you’re a great photographer you’re probably getting your white balance correct in camera, but I’m usually in too much of a hurry and rarely ever get that true white SOOC (straight out of camera).
Grab yourself a “Curves” layer and select the white dropper. Once you’ve picked up your dropper, move it to your image and select any area that should be a nice, bright white. If you have a lot of white (like I do), pick the brightest, whitest spot you can find. This will help make sure that you keep some detail in your image and don’t blow out the white parts. If you find that you don’t like the way your adjusted image looks, just step back and try selecting a different spot. Play with it until your happy.
Once you make your white balance adjustment, you can grab the curve on the graph and move it up and to the left to brighten the overall image. Don’t make it so bright that you loose the details in the image, but you just want to move it until the image is a little “pepped” up.
You have several layers over on the side now that you just don’t need to keep separate any more, so you can “flatten” your image and clean up your work space.
This is already a huge improvement from where we started! We could totally stop here and see a huge difference in this and the original image. If you want to go on, there are a few more things you can do to make this picture look even better. First and foremost, the grass. It’s February and our grass is, for the most part, dead. I’m generally ok with that as it means no mowing the yard (yay!) but it looks terrible in pictures. It’s ok though… you can fix that much easier than you think.
To fix the grass, we need to create a Hue/Saturation layer. You can do that under the “Layers” menu. You’ll see some options pop up on the far right, and the first thing you need to do is select the “Colorize” option. When you do that, you’re going to see your picture in a whole new, very colorful way. Don’t worry… it won’t look like that for long.
Adjust the “Hue” slider to get the right color/shade for your grass. You can also adjust the saturation and lightness – just play around with it – until you’re happy with the green you’ve picked. Don’t worry – you can come back and make adjustments to this a little bit later.
Once you’ve got the whole image looking green, hit up the “Edit” menu and select the “Fill” option. You’ll get a box (like above) that pops up. Choose “Black” from the drop down menu and make sure your opacity is set at %. When you click “OK”, you should magically see your picture, just as it was before you made it green.
This is the slightly tedious part… and the part that takes some practice. What you’re going to do here is grab the “Eraser” tool and erase the area that you want the green to show through. You can use a larger brush through the big areas and slim your brush down for the finer details around the edges of the subject.
Once you start erasing, you might want to make some adjustments to your color. I could tell that this green was too bright, so I played with the lightness a little more and darkened it up a bit. The Princess was not visiting The Emerald City.
Once you’re all greened up, you can brighten up your subjects eyes with a quick “Dodge” See how much brighter the eye on the left is than the eye on the right? All you need to do is grab the “Dodge” tool, make sure to click down to your background layer, and just do a little dodging on the eyes – especially where the catch lights (shiny light reflections) are/should be.
As far as basic edits that make a HUGE difference go, that’s about it. You can do a quick sharpen to add a bit of definition and you’re done!
That’s a crazy huge difference, right? I am so lucky to have several friends who are professional photographers and they have taught me so much. Every time I open Photoshop, it’s still a learning experience though. Are there any tips and tricks you have up your sleeve when it comes to making your pictures look better?
I hope this has helped some of you feel better about what your pictures look like when they come straight out of the camera!
Even as an adult, it’s nice to be recognized when we’ve met a goal or done something that was important to us – even if it wasn’t to anyone else. My kids – their lives are full of goals. Some are self imposed and some are “honey, Mommy really needs you to …” goals. Regardless of how the goal came about, I try to celebrate them when I can.
Something new we’re starting here at home is a weekly Certificate of Accomplishment for each kid. On Sunday, each kiddo will get their own certificate to celebrate some goal or milestone they’ve reached in the last week, no matter how small.
For example, in the last week my 4 year old has started sleeping in his bed alone all night. That might not seem like much to some people, and I’m not saying that it will be the new norm for us, but for the last week he has really hunkered down and made an effort to stay in his own bed all night. For my daughter, she has done all of her homework all week at after-school and hasn’t come home with anything left to fight through between dinner and bed. Again, maybe not a big deal to some, but seeing as how I’ve been trying to get her to finish her homework (all of it) at after-school for a year and a half now, having it actually happen is a pretty big deal.
Instead of searching for a certificate that would work for what I wanted, I just made my own. It fits an 8 x 10 frame, though we may just end up hanging them on the refrigerator where the kids will see them all week, as a constant reminder that #1 – they can and did accomplish something when they applied themselves and #2 – it didn’t go unnoticed.
If you’d like to download the certificate for your own use, you can click the link below!
I’m not a girly-girl by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy feeling like I look nice – at least some days. Don’t get me wrong… I can rock a messy, grungy ponytail, make-up free face and yoga pants like nobody’s business. And if I’m not leaving the house, there’s no way you’ll catch me with more on my face than moisturizer and chapstick. It’s just not going to happen. But on those days I put a little more effort into me, there are products that I immediately reach for. Here’s what I’m reaching for this month.
Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid
Even if I don’t wear makeup, even if I don’t actually dry my hair, I always reach for my Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid. I fell in love with this stuff years ago. It does a great job at smoothing out the ends of my hair without making my hair feel heavy or oily. It gives me hair a nice finish, and it smells amazing! Also, my hands feel so good after I use it. It makes them feel smooth and amazing too! $28 for 3.4 ounces might seem pricy, but this little bottle will last forever! Even when my hair was over half way down my back, I never used more than three little pumps (barely more than a drop each!)
Simple Skincare Replenishing Rich Moisturizer
I have weird skin, or at least I think I do. Some spots are really dry, some are really oily. It drives me batty. I’ve had a hard time in the past finding a moisturizer that didn’t feel sticky, greasy or leave me feeling dry 15 minutes later. I don’t remember how I found Simple Skincare products (I think I spotted it at Target) but I decided to try the Replenishing Rich Moisturizer and I really like it! It’s thin, but not watery and leaves my skin feeling soft. It’s not sticky or greasy and has never made my skin sting or burn. If you have a hard time finding a moisturizer you like, I recommend giving this a try.
Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream
I’ll be honest… all of the BB, CC stuff confuses me. I really don’t know much about what makes each different, but I do know that after I used this the first time, I knew it would become a staple in my makeup bag. Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream is somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and a foundation. It has a little color, but not a ton – just enough to even out your skin and hide minor imperfections.
It also really brightens up your skin and gives you a slightly dewy look. It’s become my new “casual look” base. A little goes a long way with this, so a bottle will really last, especially if you aren’t using it daily.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
I have come to accept the fact that until my children move out (and possibly after), dark circles are just a part of who I am. I still don’t like it. I recently marched myself into Sephora, found a cute, vibrant employee and begged her to fix me. She did. After she matched up the right color and blended on some NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, I looked in the mirror and decided I was coming home with that concealer, no matter the cost! At $29, it definitely ranks as one of the most expensive non-essential (at least to my husband) beauty products I own, but worth every penny!
My last beauty crush for the month is my BareMinerals Blush. My color of choice is called Beauty. It’s a wonderful blushing pink and works fantastic for those times when you want a little color, but works equally well for those times when you want a lot. If I wear no other makeup, most days when I’m headed out of the house, I will at least swipe on just a little Beauty. The only downside to the BareMinerals Blush is that it is a loose powder, and if you aren’t careful, you can make a terrible mess with it. Trust me.
What About You?
I know most people have a favorite just about everything. What about you? What beauty products are you crushing on right now? Is there something I just *have* to try?
When I started blogging (back in 2009), having images in my posts really meant very little to me. After all, blogging was about writing – not sharing pictures – I had Facebook for that. Things have changed a lot since then. The number of bloggers out in the great wide web has exploded in the last few years, and with that it has become more difficult to get your content noticed. You have to do something to stand out. Enter: Pinterest.
Pinterest And Traffic
Since Pinterest launched in 2010, the number of people using images to decide what links they click and what sites they visit has become immeasurable (well, I’m sure someone is out there measuring it somehow) and it has proven necessary to include images of some sort in your posts if you want to get them noticed. Oh, and whether you blog or are just a regular reader who happens to be hanging on through this post, well I’d really appreciate it if you’d just head on up to that image up there and go ahead and pin that for me, m’kay? I digress.
It’s not always easy to find an image to use in your posts. Despite what some people may think, it is NOT ok to “borrow” images off Google. If you’re doing that, stop now. Please. You’re violating copyright laws. Don’t fret! You can create completely awesome, completely free pinnable images for your posts in just a minute.
What Does Pinnable Mean Anyway?
For an image to be considered “pinnable” it should contain a few key components. There should be a text overlay (the catchier the better), any background images should be clear, and it should be appropriately size (not too long, not too wide).
Basically, you want your reader to be able to see what your post is about without actually reading any of it. You want them to see your image floating around on Pinterest and catch their attention – enough to draw them in.
Creating That Image
You DO NOT have to have Photoshop or any other fancy software to create pinnable images. PicMonkey is fast, free and perfect for stuff like this. Honestly, I do have Photoshop and I still chose to use PicMonkey to create most of my images.
When you head over to PicMonkey, the first think you’ll notice is that you don’t even have to set up an account to use their awesome program. There are TONS of free options available for use without even creating an account. If you try it and like it, and want access to some of the cool Royale features, it’s roughly $40 a year and completely worth it.
There are 4 basic ways to get started… You can edit a picture, touch up a picture, create a collage or design your own image. For the sake of this (for lack of a better term) tutorial, we’re going to design our own.
When I’m creating pinnable images, I always go for the “square” option. I like squares because no matter how they get resized, they generally stay fairly undistorted.
This is where the magic happens. Don’t get overwhelmed by the options… there are quite a few. I’d suggest taking a look around and clicking through quick just to get familiar with your options.
I start by picking out my frame. There are quite a few options and you can customize their thickness and color. Easy peasy. I like to go ahead and lay out my frame before I start placing anything else, that way I don’t have to worry about cutting it too close to the edge with my text and overlays.
Next up, I lay out what I want the text to look like. First and foremost, make yourself happy with the words themselves. Once you have that, you can move things around, change font colors, styles and sizes to make your message “pop!” In the image above, I mixed 4 different fonts in 3 different sizes and 2 different colors. I usually start with everything uniform in style, color and size – then play around with changing things until I’m happy with what I see. Don’t worry… PicMonkey has an ‘undo’ button and you can easily revert to your previous choice. You want your message to be clear, so make sure the fonts you chose are readable and the colors aren’t too hard on the eyes.
The last thing I usually do is go back and add some overlays. Overlays are good for several reasons: They draw your readers’ eyes to your image and they give it some interest (plain old writing isn’t visually appealing.) You can adjust sizes, colors, placement, etc, just make sure they don’t overwhelm the image. When you’re finished, you should have an image that is clear, visually appealing and tells your readers what they can expect.
Are you using pinnable images? If not, I highly recommend you give this a try. If you have questions, I am happy to help! Reach out on Facebook or email me.
If you found this post useful, do a girl a solid and pin it for me? After all, Pinterest is the traffic king these days! (You can just hover over that image above and Pin this post from right there! That’s an awesome app and a convo for another day!)
If you’d like to see more posts like this one, drop me a line or leave me a comment and let me know. If there’s interest in it, I’ll put some more stuff together that I think those of you blogging will enjoy.