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How To Create Your Own Mockup Photos

In DIY

If you’ve ever looked for a product mockup, you know that free ones are very hard to come by and most you have to pay for.  These can range in price starting at $8 depending on the quality, the shop itself, or how many you get, the price goes up from there.  I love creating free printables but just didn’t want to shell out the money for versatile mockups.  That’s when I decided that I would just make my own and share how to do it with you!Continue reading

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How I Got My Baby to Sleep Through the Night

In Mommyhood

I want to preface this by stating that I, in no way, consider myself an expert.  I did read (ok…skimmed) a book or two when I went through it the first time and I also acknowledge that no baby is “textbook”.  I understand that some people are just blessed with great sleepers.  (Yeah…that’s me.  But I’m gonna knock on wood because I just wrote that and, therefore, said it publicly)  To the same degree, I understand that some people have little ones that just don’t do that whole sleep at night thing.  (Yeah…also me, but me as a baby.  Sorry, Mom and Dad!)

But, in most cases, this works.  Night time cues are so helpful when it comes to, for a lack of a better word, training your little one.  When Ro was a newborn, he had his days and nights flipped for the LOOOONGEST time.  Well, it felt like it anyway!  It probably didn’t help that I would eat ice cream at night and then he’d be all hyper in utero for about an hour.  But when I started implementing night time cues, he slowly started to add a hour or so to his sleeping time.  Then one morning I woke up and it was 8 AM!  No middle of the night feedings and barely a stir.  I can’t say the same for him now since I’m pretty sure he’s going through a growth spurt and/or he’s teething.  But still, he only gets up once, anywhere from 4:30-5:30, and then goes right back to sleep until it’s time to get up and going.

So what are these night time cues?

1. Keep it dark at night and light during the day.

That probably seems ridiculously simple and obvious but hear me out.  When we brought Ro home, we had him in a bassinet in our room.  My husband likes to sleep with the TV on and I knew that wasn’t going to be good for when we needed to transition to the crib in the nursery.  So there were no little lights, no TV, and no sound other than his sound soother owl.  I basically recreated what it would be like in his own room.  If you have a vibrating feature on your bassinet, like we did, go ahead and use it for awhile but don’t turn it back on when it goes off.  I didn’t mind it at first to sooth Ro to sleep, but I also wanted him to be able to transition without it.  If he’s in the crib, there won’t be anything like that turning on in the middle of the night.

As for keeping it light durning the day, I didn’t try to darken the room when he napped.  I left the blinds/curtains open and, basically, let him nap in broad daylight.

2. Keep it quite at night.

Another pretty simple sounding cue, but it’s very helpful.  Like I said, hubby likes to sleep with the TV on, so we had to nix that while Ro was still in our room.  (I won’t lie to you, hubby slept on the couch a lot but he understood.) But the hardest part is not talking to them when you get up in the middle of the night.  That squishy beautiful little bundle of love is just so precious but you must fight the urge to coo and talk to them.  You can do little “Shhhh”s and what not, but keep it to “womb-like” or sound soother type sounds.

3. Don’t try to be quite during the day.

If this is not your first child, this isn’t as big of a problem.  Gav was just over 3.5 when Ro was born this past September and, if you’ve ever tried to keep a 3.5 year old quiet, you know that’s  not really possible.  But if this IS your first child, go ahead and go about your regular routine.  Of course, during the early days, nap when they do!  But, you may leave the TV or radio on just for some background noise.  After awhile, Gav would sleep so deeply that I vacuumed under him while he was napping in a swing.

4. Dress them for sleeping.

I cannot recommend a Sleep Sack enough!  (And no, this is not a sponsored post!)  When they’re smaller, you can use these or Sleep Sack even makes a swaddling version.  but once they’ve grow out of it, and for both my boys that was very early, the Sleep Sack is the way to go.  However, if your little one doesn’t like it, go for a zippered sleeper.  (Ones with snaps will just frustrate you at 2 in the morning and make you want to cry.) Whatever you choose to go with, be consistent and put them in their “jammies” around the same time.

However, I don’t recommend putting them in these for nap time.  Establish them as nighttime clothes first and then, once you’ve done that, you can start to use something like the Sleep Sack for nap time as well.  My best friend’s daughter used hers forever and it was a great tool in getting her to nap well into toddlerhood.

This is what worked very well for Ro.  He was sleeping through the night at 11 weeks.  I actually had one of the parents of a student tell me I looked well rested when I returned to work! #WINNING! I wish I could tell you it was the same for Gav, but I honestly don’t remember.  I do remember that he was sleeping through the night by 3 months though.  So, Ro was even sooner.  What do you have to lose? Give these a try and I’m almost positive you’ll get at least one extra hour of shut eye! (Almost…I’m no expert!)

XO, Kelly

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How I caught up on an entire year of Project Life in 48 hours

In Uncategorized

I love scrapbooking, photo albums, and all that archiving goodness.  So when my best friend told me about Project Life 3 years ago I was super excited.  I had done traditional scrapbooking before and that can be daunting.  So much paper and extra bits when all you want it just the picture and the memory to stand out. This is why I love Project Life so much.  It’s scrapbooking simplified yet still super cute and fun!

So I started with highlights from when Mr. G was born and gradually caught up in the year and continued through 2013.  Enter 2014, the year we moved into our house!  I had my new binder, I was ready to do this!  Cut to December of the same year and you’ll find practically empty binder with a few pictures where I had attempted to get started.  Oh man, how in the world was I going to record the past year with the new one fast approaching?  And how in the world was I going to pay for a year’s worth of photos!  That was going to be expensive.  Or was it?

images via iTunes app store (Project Life App / Free Prints)
This is where good ole’ phone apps come in handy!  Throughout the last half of the year I had been using the Project Life app so that helped for some of the events that I had a lot of pitcures that I wanted.  One sheet of paper, all the photos and the journaling done!  But I couldn’t do that for every event from the year.  That would have put me at around $50 for just half of my year.  So I chose a few of my favorite layouts saved from the app and had them printed through Persnickty Prints (which can now all be done through the PL app!).  This came out to about $15.

Now for the rest of the photos.  Free Prints is one of my favorite photo apps that I have on my phone. Each month you get 85 FREE 4X6 prints each month (no roll over).  FREE!  FREE!! All you have to do is pay for the shipping and if you need you’re photos to be printed in a different size, i.e. Instagram photos look better as 5X5 prints.  The other feature that I love is that you can pull your photos from other media sites, like Facebook.  I have an entire Facebook photo album entitled 2.0.1.4.!  Easy as that.  I clicked the pictures I wanted for each little moment from the year and hit order!  With extra sizes and shipping, that order came out to just over $20.

All I had to do from there was wait for the pictures to come in the mail, place them in their repective areas of the binder and write in a few memories here and there.  Luckily, I had a ton of old pages left over from the year before and even some random layouts that were given to me.  I just went to town, placing things where the fit and filling in the blanks.  It took me just a few hours, spread out over two days since Mr. G’s not really that into scrapbooking and I had to utilze nap time, and I was done!  

Here are some of my favorite layouts:

I definitely don’t recommend scrapbooking this way.  It’s not very efficient and doing it as the year goes along is much more inexpensive.  However, I made it work and I’m very happy with the end result!  I plan to be much more diligent with this year’s, ordering prints at the end of every month!

XO, Kelly
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How To // Textured Fonts in GIMP

In Uncategorized
Have you ever seen a logo or site design that included a a unique textured word and wondered how do they did that?  I did too!  So I found out how to do it and decided I’d share it with you here.  The tutorial I had found used a bunch of pictures and basically created a word crop.  I then applied it to different textures like glitter backgrounds, watercolor, and digital scrapbook paper.

Start by opening up a new window with your background texture.  Then, go to your layers box and create a new WHITE layer.  Be sure to click the white option otherwise you’ll end up with a transparent one.

Using the font tool, type out your word in the font you’d like to use.  I felt that the word “sassy” and pink glitter fit well together!  Head back to the layers box and right click on the text layer.  Click “text to selection” and the letters should become outlined in flashy dots.  Now delete the text layer and you’re left with just the flash dots outlining where the word was.

To get rid of the white, click edit then clear and it should disappear, leaving only the glitter.  Click select and none to turn off the flashy dots. Crop the file down and save it as a .JPG.

Now to apply it to a logo or header design.  If your design does not need to be transparent, use the glitter word as is.  If it does need to be transparent, i.e. no white background, follow the next set of instructions.

Open a new  project and type your word again in white.  Next, open your glitter word and change the transparency by clicking layer and “color to alpha”.  Copy and paste the transparent glitter word into the new project.

Resize the glitter word until it covers the white one and there you have your glitter word!  Now you can design around it to suit your design.

**I’m not sure it this moniker exists already, so I apologize if I used your name without knowing.**

I have used this technique for logo designs and even my own blog!

The possibilities are endless!
XO, Kelly

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How To // Create a Solid Background

In Uncategorized
Sometimes I don’t always have all the tools I need for a great final product shot.  Or I do have everything but my lighting is terrible.  This is when my handy photo editing software comes in handy.  This tutorial will work with whatever software you’re using since they all have about the same kind of tools you’ll be using.  The keyboard commands maybe be different though, so just know that this tutorial is GIMP specific.
What You’ll Need: Cardstock or Paper, Lots of Light, Camera, Photo Editing Software
Now I could stop this whole tutorial and say just get a pic of poster board and call it a day.  BUT this is for those times that you may not have poster board and going to get some just isn’t an option.  That’s me just about everyday!
Find the place in your home with the most light.  For me, its our living room. 
Clear a space and place your paper on the floor.  I used four sheets to create a large rectangle but you can use as many or as few as you need.
These are the RAW images!
Place your object on the paper and take pictures of it from all angles.  Don’t worry too much about the background getting in here and there, we’ll fix that.
Now upload and select the photos you wish to use.  Figure out what you need to fix in the picture.
First change the levels, contrast, and brightness.  The more contrast/brightness you can add without distorting the picture, the less smoothing and blending you’ll have to do in certain places. Then crop out anything that needs to be taken out of the picture.
Next, find the cloning and smudge tool.  The cloning tool looks like a stamp and the smudge tool looks like a finger.  You’ll be using these to “erase” the lines created by the overlapping paper.  Using the cloning tool, find the place you wish to copy, hit control and click.  now click again over the place you want to cover.  Keep going until it looks (relatively) like all one piece.  It helps to use both sides of the overlap since there is a difference in light all over the pic.  
Using the smudge tool, blend the places that look a little off.  Sometimes it’s where the cloning tool was a little too bright.  Use this tool like you would a paint brush, blending the colors until it’s smooth. Be careful where you pull the tool from, you could end up with this.
Just undo and try again.  Keep playing with the tools, different brushes and sizes help too, until the image looks right.
And now you have a nicely edited picture on a pretty white background!

XO, Kelly

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How To // Facebook Cover Christmas Card

In Uncategorized
As much as I would love to, I can’t send everyone I know a Christmas card.  I’m pretty sure that would require a lot of money and a lot of hand cramps from writing addresses.  So here is my way to share one with everyone.
*This tutorial was done with GIMP.*
Open up a new document with either a plain white or transparent background.  A cover photo for Facebook is 815×351 pixels.  
Find a fun background and open it as a new layer.  Adjust as needed.  The background I used is actually a freebie iPhone background from Design Love Fest.

Find the picture you want and open it as a separate window.  This way, you can crop it. 
Once the picture is cropped, copy and paste it into the FB cover window.  Resize/rotate as needed.
Now add text making sure to leave plenty of space in the bottom left corner.  This is where your profile picture overlaps.
I also added a little washi tape for fun!  The washi I used is from Pugly Pixel.  
Now save and upload!
Merry Facebook Christmas!!

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How To // Turn Your Child’s Art into a Project Life Card

In Uncategorized

I saw a fabulous idea once on Becky Higgins’ Instagram.  See had scanned her child’s art work, the kind with lots of construction paper and glue, which turned it into a flat image.  She then was able to print the image and slide it into one of the larger page protectors. Voila! The artwork is saved without all the bulk!  I thought this was a great idea and made a mental note to remember this for the future.  
But then this past weekend, LM decided he wanted to color so I gave him a few crayons and let him go to town. While they ended up in his mouth a lot, they did make it to the paper and mommy and daddy added some doodles too.  It was such a sweet memory that I didn’t want to just discard it.  That’s when I got an idea!  I’ll turn it into a card for the scrapbook!

Scan the artwork to your computer.

For this one, the color was very muted so I adjusted the levels and contrast to see it better.
Resize your image.  I wanted it to go in one of the bigger slots so I got it as close to a 4X6 as I could.

Print, cut, and insert!

 

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How To: Adding Text and Arrows to Your Photos

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I’ve had a few people ask me how I get text on my pictures or draw on them so I thought I’d create a tutorial on how I go about doing it.

You can use any type of editing software you like but this tutorial will be for GIMP.
I chose GIMP when I first started blogging simply because it’s free. I originally had photoshop (a REALLY old version) but when we switched to our MAC I had to get something else because the software didn’t work.  I also would like to state for the record that I am not, in any shape or form, technologically savvy.  I’m sure there are a multitude of ways to do this but this is how I figured it out.  
Here we go!
First, if you don’t have GIMP, go get it!  Click HERE….I’ll wait….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Got it?  Awesome!
Now, open up the image you’d like to add your text to.
Now click on the “A” icon.  This is your text tool.  Select an area and start typing. You can move the text anywhere on the image and there are many options to edit your actual text.
Want to add more somewhere else?  Just click somewhere else on the image and create another box.
Now for the arrows.  You’ll want to create a new layer otherwise you’ll only be able to draw in the last text box you created.  
Now select the paintbrush icon.  You can change the color too if you like. 
“Free hand” drawing took me some practice and I still have to undo A LOT.  Just keep trying and undoing until the arrow looks right to you.  
Save and you’re done!
If you try this tutorial for your pics, let me know how it works for you!

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