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WHATS IN MY TOOL KIT

Back in the early days when I first started using WordPress and Godaddy to create websites I used a software called Publisher Pro. It consisted of three programs one being a desktop publisher I used to create web pages. Another one was a Photoshop like program I used to create my digital scrap kits and web page elements. And I  honestly can’t remember what the third one was. I guess I didn’t use it enough to remember it. lol But when my Window’s xp computer went down sometime in 2013 these programs were lost to me.

Not because I didn’t have the disc. But because my new laptop was the latest version of widows and they were incompatible. I loved this software so much I went online to purchase a newer version. But when I installed it, it just wasn’t the same. They had upgraded the program [at least by their standards, not by mine] and rolled all three into one. But now it didn’t have the Photoshop style that I loved. I was no longer able to create the things I once did. It was time to search for some new software but I didn’t have any money. I barely scraped together the $50 for the new Publisher Pro.

Doing a google search for “free graphic design software” I found a program called GIMP that claimed to be similar to Photoshop. So I thought what the hey, let’s give it a try. After all its free so what have I got to loose. I loved it and I’ve been using it ever since. It allowed me to do most everything I used to do with my old Publisher Pro software. So for the time I was one happy camper.

It took me a while to warm up to and learn how to use the new Publisher Pro. And honestly, I don’t think I ever gave it a fair chance. As time has gone by, I’ve gotten more used to it and understand it better. I now use it to edit and create all my images for Instagram, Pinterest and blog post as well as website pages.

Up until now, GIMP and Publisher Pro are all I’ve used. But recently I branched out and got an Adobe and Canva memberships. I haven’t used either of them yet but as my blog and business grow, I’m sure I will. But for now, I’m loving my Publisher Pro again. I’ve learned a lot over the past few years and I’ve turned out some pretty nice work with it. Below you can see examples of my work with the old program and the new.

The top two were done with my old photoshop like program. This was back when twitter TL’s used backgrounds. The Elena banner was done with GIMP last year.

The stationery was done with my new Publisher Pro program.

A few years ago I worked for the Tobacco section at the state of Michigan. I even used PowerPoint to create graphics. And I’ve used it to create scrap kit elements and papers as well.

My point is, you don’t need a lot of fancy software to design. But there are many other free software’s you can get if you need more then the basics. So don’t despair that you can’t afford Photoshop or the entire Adobe suite. Start with the basics and work your way up like I have. 

Leave me a comment, would love to hear what you use and like best for designing graphics. Or what you like, don’t like about the Adobe suite. I’m still learning how to use it so any pointers are appreciated.

Have a blessed day!

♥ Marti

SELF CARE ON A BUDGET

On October 5th I posted about self care. How we all need it in order to care for everyone else. And so we don’t go totally stark raving crazy feeling like we’re being neglected.

Since I know not everyone can go to the spa or spend a bundle. And although there are many no cost or low cost ways to pamper yourself, I wanted to follow up with a post about self care on a budget.

So last weekend I went on a mission to find all sorts of goodies. Scroll down to see what I found.

I found all kinds of goodies including 

Bath salts

Body wash

Facial wash, scrub and mask

Moisturizers for face and body, day and night

A wide variety of bath accessories

Mani/Pedi supplies

And so much more

I love a bargain. But I also want the items I use to be quality. So finding items that are inexpensive, good for me and look this pretty on my vanity, is icing on the cake.

Leave me a comment and let me know where you find beauty bargains. Or how you do a spa day at home. I love to hear from my readers.  

Have a blessed day!

♥ Marti

MY BRANDING PROCESS

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about branding. This week I wanted you to see the branding and design process on a real site. Sometimes its hard to understand something unless you see it in action. And I’m very happy to share with you the details of my own brand and website. I’m still working on adding some things here and there but as far as the branding and design its a done deal.

As with every brand and design project, I start by meeting with the client. We go over their wants and needs but most of all I try to discover their brand style. However since I’m the client this time, I’ve already know my style.

I wanted something feminine and romantic with out being overly foo foo. LOL Something that would appeal to creatives and couples. Yet not run male creative’s off should they be looking for services. After all, not all photographers, event planners, etc. are women.

To determine my style, I surfed the web for images that appealed to me. The ones here show best the style I’m trying to project in my business.

Once I had my brand style, I started putting together a color palette. I looked through a lot colors before finally deciding on this palette. I love the soft colors or blush and pale blue. They contrast well with the charcoal and owl grey. And I just had to have a little bling with some gold and silver.

After the color palette, it was time to start the real creative process. The logo suite is probably the most time consuming and difficult part of the branding process. At least it is for me. I went through a lot of designs before deciding on these. My first designs included a floral motif.

While I was designing my logo suite I started weeding through a ton of fonts. I needed at least two for my main logo. And at least one more to use for my website content. I just love, love, love these fonts. The Silver South fonts are in my logo suite. The Georgia fonts are used throughout my site and other parts of my brand.

The next step I needed to take was deciding what if any patterns and textures I would use in my design. I don’t always use them but they’re fun if they fit the design. I considered the style images above. The blush, black, dove gray and zebra print caught my eye. So I thought, how fun to use the zebra print in the blush with a charcoal background. And then I chose my other pattern to coordinate with the zebra print. The leaf pattern seemed like a good fit. The texture in blush just added another feminine touch. Now you might be asking, where did you actually use any of these? Keep reading and I’ll show you.

Some, like my blush texture create small embellishments for the website. You can see it at the top of website pages. But most of the patterns and textures chosen for a brand are used in other aspects of the design such as stationery like you see below. This is my stationery suite as well as my current Facebook cover. I say current because those have a tendency to change.

Well there you have it, my entire branding process and what I made out of it. As you can see I used all aspects of my brand through out my design. And below in a screen shot of my front page so you can see how I used the logo’s, fonts and colors on my site.

I hope you get a better idea about what goes into a brand and how its used. Would love to get your feed back.

Have a blessed day!

♥ Marti

YOUR LIFE GOALS

Welcome back!

I’m mixing things up a bit today. I had planned to post on what’s in my graphic design tool kit . But since I still need to work on that post [I’ll post that later this week], I want to continue our talk about setting goals for building your dream life. I’ll be completely honest with you, it takes a lot of hard work, time and energy. But its so worth it!

Last week I talked about living your dream life. So by now you should have a detailed description of what your dream life looks like. And hopefully you’ve broken each dream down into a task list. if you haven’t read last weeks post, click here. This isn’t going to make as much sense to you if you haven’t read it.

Goals help us accomplish our dreams and keep us on track. Without goals, we would never move forward. And more importantly, we would never achieve our true potential. If you made a task list last week for each dream you want to build than basically you’ve set your goals. But you also need to know how to go about achieving those goals. This part is actually the easiest part of the process. YAY!

Now I’m not going to lie, I don’t always accomplish everything everyday. But I also have a tendency to take on too much. But if you use a daily to do list for everyday stuff, you can just add the dream life task to it. If not, you should consider doing so. It really does help get stuff done. But that’s another subject on organization I can talk about later.

Which ever dream you choose to build first [most times there’s an order to the way you build these dreams], you should carve out a little time each day to work on one or two task from that list.

If you remember, one of my dreams is to build a business. I broke that down into task that needed to be done in order to do so. The first step I listed was evaluating my abilities and skills. So that would be the first task to work on. Since this task could take a few days I would only add that one to my daily to do’s. If some of the task are smaller and simpler I might be able to add a couple of them.

Only you can decide how much you are able to take on. But keep in mind, dreams take time and there are no short cuts. Keep it balanced and don’t bite off more than you can chew. I get some of you are over achievers, so am I. But you’ll only burn out and never reach your destination. So as they say, “slow and steady wins the race.”

Its the start of a new week, so get to work on the life you always wanted. Its never too late!

I would love to hear about your dreams and how you’re going about accomplishing them. Leave me a comment, let me know how its going. I love to hear from my readers

Have a blessed day!

♥ Marti

MY LOVE OF CRAFTING

When I was just a young girl, my aunt taught me how to knit. And somewhere in my young life I also learned how to crochet. But that was as crafty as I ever got. And I don’t do either one of these anymore. My mom was the the crafty one in our family. All her life she was into sewing, crocheting, etc. I just never caught the bug until much later in life. Although I did take a liking to cross stitch as a young adult. I still love cross  stitch to this day. As time went by my love of crafts blossomed. Maybe I was always crafty but just hadn’t discovered my hidden talents yet. Don’t judge, some of us bloom late! LOL

If you’ve read my bio, you already know how I fell in love with scrapbooking. My first one was a labor of love. But once I got a taste, there was no turning back. To be honest, I’m not sure if it was the love of scrapbooking or all the pretties I got to use. Or maybe it was the love of craft stores. Unfortunately, I could spend hours and tons of money in one of those places. Who’s with me?! LOL Which ever one it was [my guess is all three] I was hooked. I even went as far as to be certified in scrapbooking and paper crafting. Meaning I could work for a Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby as a craft instructor. And one of my dreams is to someday hold classes in my custom
designed home office/craft room. Read the post about my dream office by clicking here

Another craft I love maybe even more than scrapbooking is card making. And you guessed it, my mom was the queen of card making [mom was the queen of everything.] LOL She sat around and made them all the time. She was even in charge of the card ministry at our church. They had a card making class that met once a week. Once they were done, they would send the cards to shut in’s and others who might need encouragement. They made the ones where you stamp the card with a picture and color it in with colored pencils, But mom would go one step further and embellish hers with decorative paper and ribbon [from my scrap stash of course.] Her’s were always the prettiest ones.

I didn’t get into card making until after she passed away in 2015. I think she must have passed on that desire to continue her legacy. Now I’m hooked on it and miss being able to create cards [I don’t have the place to work at the moment.] I still have most of her stamps [she had a ton] and other card making supplies. But my way of making them is a little different.

I’ve actually designed several collections of cards and hope to start making them again next year. Unlike mom or her fellow card makers, I rarely use stamps. At least not the way they used them. Most of my cards are made from card stock, patterned scrap paper and embellishments. Like the ones you see below.

As of this moment, I have a ton of supplies just sitting in my storage space waiting for me. And as soon as I’m able, I will start creating my cards again. I also have a couple of scrapbooks to finish and some half done cross stitch projects to finish. Oh how I miss the crafty life!

Any fellow crafters out there? What is your favorite craft? I would love to know and even see what you make. Leave me a comment and pictures if you got em.

Have a blessed day!

♥ Marti

marti smith

owner | designer | lifestyle blogger

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