To those interested in blog design

Last week I asked if anyone was interested in a free blog design. I was [pleasantly] surprised at the response! I will be happy to do one for each of you as I work through the list [I’m not adding to the list, so if you didn’t reply at that time, sorry – you’ll have to purchase a design]

However: because I am doing them for free, and I am working on them between paying customers, there could be delays with them at times.

Therefore, knowing that, if you are still interested [and you replied before], please email me and let me know and we will get coordinated.

The longest post EV-UR

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post of random stuff…

So guess what you get from me today!! {SQUEE!!}

I just heard the internet breathe a collective sigh of relief, didn’t I? ‘Cause I know y’all’ve been waiting for it.

1. Speaking of Blissfully Domestic, did you know that we are going to be re-launching a super cool huge new site in the next few months!? And along with that comes the need for more contributors. We are expanding in all areas and adding some new topics.

If you are interested in being considered for one of these topics, please email me at lookingtowardsheaven [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know the topic. We’ve already had tremendous response to our calls for writers. And guess what – we still need more! THAT’S how big it is gonna be!

New topics-

  • Gardening
  • Blogging (how-to, tips)
  • Parenting -Special Needs
  • Finances
  • Green/Eco Living
  • Entertaining
  • Decorating
  • Crafts

We are expanding these areas-

  • Decorating
  • Etsy love
  • Cooking
  • Parenting
  • Crafts for kids
  • Crafting (tutorials, tips)
  • Beauty
  • Celebrity buzz

2. I am adding blog design to my professional repertoire. For now, I am looking for 2 or 3 guinea pigs [ok – I know that no guinea pigs read my blog; maybe they do, but they just don’t know how to type or spell] bloggers who will allow me to beautify their blogs. I will be doing Blogger (new and classic), WordPress and Typepad. If you are interested in allowing me to do a FREE design for you, please email me at the same address as above.

3. I know that everybody and their grandma has been popping up doing blog design, but with over 112.8 million blogs out there, I think there is room for me.

4. Are you attending SheSpeaks? Be sure to head over to Lysa’s blog and add your blog to the Mr. Linky so that we can all nose around each others blogs before meeting.

5. I love this post at Anne Jackson/FlowerDust’s blog asking what things we feel we can’t say at church or around other Christians. Mine’s on there. Along with nearly 200 others.

6. Did you know that WalMart carries a carrot cake ice cream? I love carrot cake (it was our wedding cake) and I worried it would be disgusting. Ummm, unfortunately not. I could eat a gallon for breakfast.

7. It has chunks of cream cheese frosting in it.

8. You can thank me later. But first, you must run out an purchase a gallon (or 10).

9. Something else you will surely thank me for [when you realize you’ve wasted all day] is this game.

10. And its evil sibling here.

11. I’m still in the process of categorizing and organizing it, but did you know that I (we/BD) have a CafePress store? It’s true! AND it has mommy blogger items.

12. It is almost 3:00 AM and I am still sitting at this computer.

13. I’m gonna need a big pot of coffee when I get up…

14. SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG!

Come back later for even more rip-roaring fun when I post photos of me brushing my teeth. [I jest… it’s just photos of a house finch building a nest right outside my dining window.]

Yet again, WAY more than you ever wanted to know about me

Cyndy said … : I’m very curious about your design ‘stuff’. I always like your headers and buttons. Did you study design in college? Are you self taught? What computer programs do you use? Do you have a “design philosophy”? I was a graphic design major just before graphic design moved to the computer. I’ve kinda been out of it for awhile and I’m trying to update myself…oy that could take awhile…phbbt!

You know what? There is a really sad story that answers your question. I may have even eluded to its answer here before. But I am dealing with a sore throat today and so I’m not going to search around for it. (not sure what a sore throat has to do with searching around through my old posts. But apparently, for me today, I’ve got issues with it.)

Here is my sad tale:

(*warning: it is long and I applaud you if you stick through and read the entire answer)

I have always loved art. In fact, I was in a lot of art programs throughout school.

In middle school, I was pulled out of class to be a part of special artist-in-residence programs. In high school I took AP (advanced placement) art classes, working on a portfolio for art school. I was also in a Visual and Performing Arts Program through my school district. You had to audition, like Fame, but without all of the dancing in the hallways. Though we did manage to rock the big hair.

To audition for visual art meant going in on a Saturday (EARLY) and drawing all day and presenting your portfolio. Once in the program, it meant that all morning, every school day, I was in art classes – art history, art theory, drawing, painting, sculpture etc. I carried a drawing pad with me everywhere.

I had big plans for myself. My art teachers had big plans for me too.

But for some reason, during my senior year, I got nervous about going to an art school. (I really really really reaaaallllly wanted to go to Maryland Institute College of Art or Corcoran College of Art and Design. REALLLLLLY.) I don’t know why. I must not have been as sure of myself as my teachers were.

I ending up going to the local community college, with plans of going for two years and then transferring on to an art college for my last two years.

My first year of college, I took mostly graphic design courses, with some English and math splattered in there, for good measure. This was in 1989, so, like you, Cyndy, it was right at the beginning of using computers for design. The only thing we used computers for was to print out text for our mock ups. Everything else was done by hand – all of the drawing and scaling and measuring. And cut and paste meant, well, cut and paste – with real scissors and glue.

You had to know how to draw, as well as how to place things on a page.

My first year went really well – worked my butt bottom off on projects. A couple of my professors were a little loopy. One loopy professor dragged us out to llama farms to draw and paint the llamas. Do you know what llamas do when they are agitated? They spray the most rancid spit. And apparently, they become agitated quite easily.

My second year started well. I even took piano that year. Second semester, I took a course with a professor who a well-known artist. It was a small class and we all enjoyed working together and discussing our projects. This same professor single-handedly put an end to my aspirations of becoming a graphic designer. (I hate to give him that much credit though)

Here’s a novel idea that was driven home that semester: If you are a professor or teacher, please clearly state the requirements for projects/student work and then grade accordingly. When you grade based on your emotions and not the actual work, that is hard for this self-conscious emotional a girl to take.

Grading artwork is totally subjective if you don’t grade by a set of requirements. We all know that four people can look at the same piece of art and have four different reactions to it.

Here was his grading system, as it became apparent as the semester progressed: Same drawing style as him? : A/B Different drawing style from him? : C-/D+… maybe a good solid C if the sun was shining properly that day.

I felt like a spoiled brat letting him hurt my feelings like that. And I knew I needed a dose of reality before I went before some board to present my ideas only to have them hate them all and make me start over. But waaaaaaahhhh!!!! it was a struggle all semester. By the end of the semester, I was so worn down from trying to create work he would appreciate, that it had removed almost all of the joy I felt when I created art.

I did not pick up a drawing pad or paint brush for over 10 years. I couldn’t face not doing what I had set out to do. So I stuffed that down and ignored it.

10 years.

During that time, I tried to pretend like I was not a creative person. It just made me depressed.

When we lived in Wisconsin, I needed an outlet; a hobby. I started quilting. This was a small step back to allowing myself to be creative. Eventually, because of a weird series of events, I ended up with a part time job at a design studio/print shop.

It may sound overstated, but it was like removing a blindfold. Or getting the proper prescription for eyeglasses after wearing the wrong pair for years. That is one of the reasons I named my business Fruition Designs. It is the realization of a goal I had years ago.

Computers have opened my original path back up to me. Now, I am free to create and design. And it pleases me to no end!

andthat’sallIhavetosayaboutthat. Amen.

As for the last part of your question (aren’t you so sorry you asked?!?) I am self-taught when it comes to using the computer for my designs. I use CorelDraw Products and have used it since vs. 9. I love it. I’ve used Photoshop and Illustrator. In fact, I have them. But I find CorelDraw products to be much easier and you get the same results. (Paint Shop Pro is every bit as good as Photoshop and it’s $60.00. I’m not kidding – it does everything Photoshop does, and you can use many of the Photoshop plug-ins)

Somewhere along the line, PCs and anything but Photoshop/Adobe products became the ugly stepsister of graphic design. Maybe it is just my rebel streak… but I prefer PCs and Corel Products. I think it is foolish to spend way more for a similar product.

andthat’sallIhavetosayaboutthat. Amen.

Oops – And didn’t you ask my design philosophy? (Are you even there anymore? Is that snoring I hear?)

Can’t say I have a design philosophy. I just create what I like. I try to keep it fresh and clean. There is a lot of busy-ness in design trends right now. And, while I really like it and am visually drawn to it, I also know that for certain platforms, it is distracting – like the awful background on my blog here. The one that I can’t manage to take the 2 seconds it would take to remove and save my retinas from bleeding one more time when I open up my blog.

andthat’sallIhavetosayaboutthat. Amen.

Aren’t you sorry you asked, Cyndy?

Bloggy Giveaway Carnival – item #1

Here is you chance to win the Mommy Cards that everyone is talking about!

This giveaway is for .jpg and .pdf file of a custom mommy/calling card. With this file, you will be able to print them on your own – use your own computer printer or take them to your favorite print/photo shop. The file is yours to keep. Print as many as you want, whenever you want. Each card is personalized with your information. Additional information can be added to the back. This giveaway is open to all participants – worldwide.

For your chance to win, head over to my business (Fruition Designs), take a look around, and then come back and tell me your favorite design (don’t worry – you can change your mind if you win!). I’ll leave the comments open until this Saturday, April 26th. Then I’ll draw a winner from my trusty hat.

*Also – I am offering a 10% discount on orders of 100 Mommy Cards from now until April 30th. So it you don’t win, you can still get a great deal on some great looking cards! Just use the code BG15 for your mommy card order.

Bloggy Giveaway *giveaway #3*

This contest is now closed.
Thank you all for your interest in my giveaways!
The winners of all four of my giveaways and this weeks What The? will be announced later today (Feb. 2) in a separate post.

I love to design. It is one of my favorite things.

My other two giveaways are items I have given away before, in prior giveaways (not these exact items… you know what I mean…) But this one is new. Recently, I’ve been creating blog banners for others. This is after having created my own for the past 2 years of my blog.

This giveaway if for a custom blog banner/header and matching button to put in your sidebar for others to spread the word about your blog. To see samples of what I have done in the past, visit this page for a partial portfolio.

For your chance to win, just leave a comment on this post. I’ll leave the comments open until this Saturday, February 2nd. Then I’ll use my trusty hat to pull the name of the winner.

This contest is open to anyone – worldwide.

If you don’t win this giveaway, be sure to visit my blog each Tuesday for a chance to win a blog banner/header (and other great prizes). Read here for more information.

*Updated to add that I posted the original photo from last week and this weeks image here.