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Showing posts from August, 2012

Classic Knit Beanies

I've been knitting up a storm this week and have been focusing on building up my inventory in the main colors that always seem to be popular. It seems that no matter what the style is, these classic colors are always well liked!

Helping your blog posts be found by Google

A common refrain I hear around the blogging world is, "How do I get more followers?" And while there are many ways to attract new readers, let's consider delving into the murky waters of SEO to answer this question today. Let's assume for a second that you hope to gain readership to your blog. Even if you don't want tens of thousands of readers, you probably like the idea of preaching to more than just your cat. And while I'll be the first to admit that I know far less about this topic than I should -- in fact, I'm not even entirely convinced that SEO is a real thing -- I will try to pass along a few little tricks here that seem to work just fine for me.

First things first. Pick a title that gives a little hint as to what you're writing about. This not only jogs your memory in the future when you're sifting through your archives, but it allows your blog posts to be more searchable on Google. (And unless you're blocking them, yes, your pos…

Back to the Drawing Board... Re-making Some Designs

Today I've got a few more designs to show you. These first two have been hanging out in my MacBook, half-finished for months now. They kept saying to me, "Finish me! Finish me!" so I finally listened. I think sometimes letting a design rest helps them to solidify a little better when you finally do finish them. It still blows my mind that so much of the design process is letting the idea marinate in your head. Your subconscious is more creative than you might think!

I've also been re-making some of my older designs. Do you ever just look at a design and go, "What was I thinking??" I suppose it's only natural that my design eye would mature the more I learn. It's kind of funny though, to look back and see where I was a few months ago and where I am now. As you can probably tell, I'm currently leaning towards the clean and minimal look these days.

A peak into what I'm working on lately.

I've been working on some Fall/Halloween/Christmas banners lately for my shop. Believe it or not, people are buying Halloween shop banners already! Here's one of my favorite new fall banners - not quite the typical colors, but I love the rainy day vibe it has.

Also I got my 2nd official blog design client this past week! You'll have to wait until it's finished to see the whole thing, but here's a little sneak peak to tide you over.

Just a little housekeeping...

In case you hadn't noticed (and you probably haven't), I recently closed down my other design blog. I realize it's only been open about a month, but I got to thinking... why am I starting a new blog when I barely have time to promote this one? Lol. I initially thought maybe my readers (you!) wouldn't like me promoting my designs... which is why I split things up. But the more I thought about it, the more I was like, "Wait a minute. People most likely know I'm a graphic designer before they subscribe, so... why would it be weird for me to talk about it?" Duh.

I think sometimes because graphic design is a relatively new passion of mine, it feels a little weird to be excited about it. But I am. So... it's going to stay on this blog. Hopefully that's okay. I'll try not to sound like a used-car-salesman about it! I just get so excited when I discover a new way to design something, etc. Hopefully these sorts of things excite you too!

Anyway... so b…

Minimalistic Etsy Banners

I've been noticing trends in design lately towards a more minimalistic, clean style, and I had some designs in the back of my shop that really needed updating, so... I cleaned them up and revamped them a little. Wow! They look so much better! I forgot to save some of the old versions, but believe me, these have a much cleaner, refined feel than before, which I think makes them much stronger designs overall. Just goes to show, when it doubt... re-design!

6 Tips to Help Your Creative Business Bloom

Hi everyone! I'm Jen from Red Parka Diaries. I'm a blogger and illustrator from Tasmania, Australia, and have been self-employed now for almost four years. My business, Red Parka Designs, has gone from a little side project to my main source of income during that time but it has not been easy, I assure you! I thought I'd write a few points here about what I've learned along the way that might help anyone else out there who has started, or wants to start, their own creative business.

1. Start Now!
Many people think they need to wait for the right time to start their own business. That they need to have saved lots of money, or have investments, or have a huge amount of qualifications and expertise. WRONG. You can start right now! And you should. Because the very best lessons in life (and business) are the ones you learn while doing things, not thinking or reading about them. Even if you have a full time job and a family to manage, there's always someway you can sta…

Sponsors & Swapping. Where to start?

Ahh... sponsorship. Such a confusing, controversial, wildly popular discussion topic among bloggers. There are those who only swap, those who only take paid sponsors, those who refuse to do either. Then of course there's the issue of what to do with your sponsors once you've got them... do you let them guest post? do giveaways? introduce themselves via a "Meet the Sponsor!" post?

I've run across these and so many other questions about this topic as I float around the blogosphere, so I will try to answer a bunch of them this week as part of our Build Your Blog! summer series!

Q: Shouldn't blog sponsorship be free?

It depends. If you're a small blog (let's say, for the sake of argument, that that means under 100 readers), then yes, it should be free. But remember that sponsorship is basically a fancy way of saying advertising. Think of it like an ad in a newspaper. The cost of an ad is based on the size of the ad purchased, as well as how many eyeballs…

Rules of a Creator's Life

I ran across this in my blog reader today and just love it! It's such great advice and so true. Being creative on a daily basis is so different than pushing out daily work at an office job. It's more about how and why you live and breathe, rather than putting the wheel to the grindstone.

{via Creative Something}

In God's Timing...

The other day my cat really, really, REALLY wanted to go outside, but it was 100+ degrees and I knew she would just end up miserable and dehydrated if she went out. I kept telling her, in the sweetest voice possible, "No. You really don't want to go outside. You just don't know that you don't want to." She didn't believe me.

But it struck me that God does this with us a lot of times. We really, really, REALLY want something and He keeps saying no... or not right now... yet we pout and grumble and act like a two-year-old denied of candy in a grocery store. Could it be... that God knows it's over 100 degrees out there and we really wouldn't want to go out if we could see the big picture? Very possibly.

This post isn't really about anything in particular in my life right now - actually I've been feeling very blessed by God lately - but I really wanted to write down this revelation before I forgot it. I'm sure I'll ask God for something ha…

A Kiss of Sun...

This afternoon I did something I rarely, if ever, do... I lay outside in the sun. I know what you're thinking... "You never lay out in the sun?" Actually... no. I'm a fair-skinned red-head who tends to overheat really quickly. The sun has never been my friend.

In the spirit of living French though, I had taken my laptop outside earlier to read blogs in the fresh air. I was sitting in the shade and had my toes in the sun, but it made me realize how much I was missing by sitting inside all day every day while the wonderful outside was there, ready to be enjoyed! Birds were singing, a breeze was playing with my hair... I'd completely forgotten the simple pleasure of sitting on a deck outside.

Of course soon the beckoning of the sun on my toes was too much to ignore, so I went and found a sunhat and some sunscreen (redheads can never be too careful!). I laid out for about five minutes. Soooooooo delightful! I have never really understood the appeal laying out has fo…

Book Review: French Women Don't Get Fat

I highly recommend this book, French Women Don't Get Fat. French women eat very differently than American women do, generally speaking. Meaning that they lay out a plate that looks good... they choose the freshest produce that tastes and smells good... they eat slowly and savor every bite... which they pair with the finest wines. Eating is something they set out to enjoy... experience... celebrate.

When was the last time you (or any typical American, for that matter) enjoyed, experienced, or celebrated your food? Thanksgiving, maybe? Definitely not every day. That would be too fattening. Wouldn't it?

Maybe not.

She says French women know the importance of drinking water, eating fresh, and enjoying life. They also know a "secret" that we Americans would almost call sacrilegious... less is more (as in... just because that first bite or two of chocolate cake was divine, that doesn't mean you should eat the whole thing).

Drinking Water
French women (and men, too, I&…

Tiny Origami Apartment in Manhattan

I could so live here! What a cool way to design a living space.

Building a "Grab-able" Blog Button

So... of course the day I had planned to show you guys the ins and outs of designing a grab-able blog button, my secret weapon site (Photobucket) goes down (at least for me... maybe it's up for you?). I was wanting to do a little video for you guys, but since I can't show you part of the process now... I'll just try to explain it.

First things first
Of course, first you need to make a button. Adobe Illustrator and/or Photoshop are awesome choices, if you have access to those softwares. Of course there are some other free options for creating graphics, as well.

Skitch (Mac only)GimpPicMonkeyPicasa
My personal favorite of these free options is Skitch - I actually use it quite a bit for resizing/cropping photos (although that's not really the topic we're on today). It's also really good at drawing arrows on and writing on photos. If you've noticed in some of my tutorial posts, I tend to use those features to point out things.


Open up your software of choic…

Dahlia Soleil Collection: Hand Crocheted Hats!

I'm happy to introduce you to Paulette of Dahlia Soleil Collection. She's a creative entrepreneur who lives in NYC and I thought you might love her hand crocheted hats!

Paulette has offered one Living the Creative Life reader their own hat from her beautiful collection. Enter below for your chance to win. This contest will be open through Friday (7pm PST).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If violins and pianos could paint...

... this is what it would look like.

Meet a Designer: Monina Velarde

Monina Velarde is a graphic designer based out of Chicago. She calls herself an "optimistic graphic designer" and I'd have to agree! Her specialities lie in branding, interactive, and package design. Overall, I just love Monina's work! So clean and colorful. I really could learn a lot from her about effective and minimal way of designing.

{Portfolio} {Blog}

{I'm so happy to be joined this month by Kristen Victoria, with her new Designer Spotlight series! Check back with both of us periodically to meet more designers!}

On being a carnival... or something like that

Notice that I didn't put the words "sponsor", "giveaway", or "guest post" in the title of this blog post? That's my #1 rule for doing promotional posts on your blog.

Although I'm realizing now that even I don't always follow my rules, so take that with a grain of salt. Lol. Seriously though...

You may or may not love when bloggers have a giveaway or allow guest posters, but especially when done wrong they can be very annoying to a blog reader. Maybe it's just me, but when trying to get through hundreds of unread posts in my Google Reader, I literally just skip all the ones who's titles scream, "Hey! I'm doing something other than my normally scheduled content!!"

However... if you make it seem like you're so very excited to introduce your reader so something or someone new... they just might get excited too. Part of that starts with getting them into your post to read it, so make sure you title with either a relevant,…

How flabby is your brain?

Oh I love this! I really need to implement this advice more. Sometimes I'm working so hard and so long that I look up and the sun's gone down already! Symptom of a work-at-home creative-entrepreneur, maybe? Lol.

Image via: Wendy McNaughton

Alpaca Wool Hats

The alpaca wool yarn I got the other day is soooo nice! I absolutely love it and wish I could let you feel it through the computer screen. It really works perfectly for the new luxury line of beanies that I'm preparing for my shop. All the colors are just so deep and luscious and the knitted fabric comes out thick, soft, and warm. I can't wait for it to start snowing again so I can steal one of these hats to wear myself!