New Year's Wishes & A Shop Discount


On this last day of the year I won't spend too much time looking back on things. I always believe more in looking forward. You cannot change the past, but hopefully you learn from it in order to make the future better.

I'm ever so grateful though that my little design business took off in 2014 and I hope to expand things a little more in 2015. I was blessed with good health and a loving family in 2014 and I hope to feel healthy and alive amongst my loved ones in 2015 too. I hope my family and friends will all be able to let their dreams come true over the next year. May they all be happy and healthy!

And for you, my dear reader, I hope 2015 will be a year full of creative possibilities, moments of love and peace shared with your loved ones. Let 2015 be the year of Love, Light and Freedom!

To celebrate that the New Year is upon us I will be guest posting on Daydreams Of Summertime tomorrow. It's a blog I love to read and the blogger behind it, Sarah, is on vacation right now and gave some other bloggers the opportunity to write a guest post on her blog. I'll be guest posting with my personal blog but thought it would be a nice idea to offer all her readers a 30% discount on all my Premade Blogger Templates. And not only her readers of course, I am sharing this discount with all my lovely readers on here as well.

So if you are in need of a nice Premade Blogger Template with installation included, use coupon code SARAH at the Etsy checkout when you make your purchase and a 30% discount will instantly be deducted from the $25 a Premade Template costs. Instead you will pay $17.50! The discount is available throughout the full month of January, so you don't have to make up your mind just yet!

A book with 365 empty, white pages lies in front of us, please make the story that will fill the pages a good one! See you all next year!

Using An Editorial Calendar In 2015


With the New Year fast approaching I thought it would be nice to cover the subject of editorial calendars in a blog post. Because if you think that an editorial calendar could be a helpful tool for you after reading this post, you've still got a couple of days left to make one for yourself for 2015!

WHAT IS AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR?

But what exactly is an editorial calendar? When you are a blogger yourself it's likely that you've come across this term before. And maybe your are already using one. Well, editorial calendars can be used by any writer. You don't have to be a blogger to use one, you can be a novel writer or a writer of articles. It's basically a system to schedule the things you want to write about. By scheduling your blog posts, articles or whatever you write you keep yourself on track with your writing. Of course it won't prevent you from writer's block, but if you have mapped out the subjects you want to write about you can write draft posts on a certain subject when you feel like it and when you have lots of inspiration and publish it on the (later) date that you have scheduled it.

It's also a helpful tool to schedule seasonal posts because you have to start thinking about when would be the best date to post that Easter Cake recipe or those Summer BBQ tips and tricks. By setting up an editorial calendar you force yourself to think about your content and which subjects you really want to cover. And in an editorial calendar you don't only schedule when you publish what kind of post, you can also write down when you will be working on different posts. An editorial calendar doesn't necessarily have to cover a whole year though. You can make these calendars each month if you don't want to plan any further than a month. All in all it will give you some structure to work by.

OTHER THINGS TO COVER IN AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

Next to the publishing of posts, post ideas and the scheduling of your writing you can think of other things to put in your calendar:

* your goals
* launches of new products, ideas etc.
* collaborations with other bloggers or companies
* giveaways
* surveys

HOW TO CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

Editorial calendars can easily be made by yourself. You can buy any paper calendar that you find suitable for this purpose and start filling it up with publish dates, ideas for posts and writing time. If you go for a paper calendar, make sure you choose one that has lots of room for your scribbles on it. Put it in a spot close to your computer, so you have a clear vision on it when you sit down to blog. And when new ideas start to pop up during blogging you can easily add them to your calendar.

If you're more into digital scheduling I've got a couple of sites for you to check out. You can make your own schedule in a program like Excel (Windows Office), but you can also take the easy way and download a premade one on one of the following websites:





While the use of an editorial calendar was a subject I definitely wanted to cover on my blog, it's not a tool I use myself (funny, right?). I write down new ideas for this blog whenever they pop up in my head and sometimes I write posts a couple of weeks in advance, but most of the time I just go with the flow and kind of trust that an idea will present itself when it's time to write a post. And if not, well, the world won't come to an end when I skip one of my regular post days ;-)

With my personal blog I certainly don't use a calendar. Those stories really have to come from the heart and they can't be scheduled. For those posts I use my inner calendar: go with my flow!

I wish you all happy blogging in the New Year, whether you are going to use an editorial calendar or not!



Freebie Fridays #35 - Cook & Food Blog Headers


Hi dear readers! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We are still celebrating Christmas over here in the Netherlands. It's spread out over two days in our country. So while I'm still having family time right now I made sure that I had today's Freebie Fridays episode scheduled for you all.

This time I'm sharing three blog headers that can be used for Food & Cooking blogs. Of course you can use them as labels or backgrounds for other projects as well if you want. Just be creative!

The headers are 1000x350 pixels in size and instructions to add text are included as well.

Maybe food is the last thing on your mind after a big Christmas Dinner, but you can always come back at a later point in time to download this set. And I made sure the food displayed in the headers in of the healthy kind ;-) See you next week!



Merry Christmas & Some Info On Office Opening Hours


Hi everyone! I know that not every single one of my readers will celebrate Christmas, but for the ones that do: I wish you all a beautiful Christmas celebration, surrounded by loved ones!

Here in the Netherlands we even celebrate Christmas on more than one day. Of course there is Christmas Eve, which is especially special to the people that go to church, since there will be late evening masses that night. And then we have first and second Christmas day (December 25th and 26th) on which days most people visit family and friends or invite them over themselves for dinner.

We'll be having family over on Christmas Eve and first Christmas Day. And second Christmas day will be spent just by the four of us together (husband and kids). Since I really want to spend some time with my family I decided to close my office for a couple of days.

My design office will be closed on December 24, 25 & 26. You are more than welcome to buy something in my Etsy shops or to email me with a question or an inquiry for custom work, but I will get back to you after Christmas, on December 27. And all custom orders will also be dealt with from that date on.

Have a great time and Happy Holidays!

We Heart It - The Other Pinterest & Instagram


A little while back I shared some links to photography sharing websites similar to Pinterest and Instagram, but more specialized in one subject like recipes, fashion or outdoor adventures. While these sites are absolutely gorgeous they can give a blogger a hard time to when it comes to image acceptance. Your photos have to be of a certain kind of quality before you are able to make it to their boards, while as with Pinterest and Instagram you can share any image.

I don't use Instagram myself, only Pinterest, and while I love scrolling through all the inspiring images on Pinterest, it's not a medium that brings in a lot of traffic for my blog. I know some of the big food blogs get a truck load of traffic through Pinterest, but for some reason it's pretty difficult to get to such a place when you're starting out.

One day I happened to stumble upon a Pinterest like site called We Heart It. To be honest: it's a lot smaller than Pinterest and a lot of the pictures shared on there are a bit too cheeky for my taste, but I decided to give it a try. And not without result I might say!




Because it's smaller than Pinterest I got noticed more easily and in the months that followed I got far more followers than I have on Pinterest, and my images were shared a lot more than on Pinterest. I can also see that every day at least a few people click through to my blog and my Etsy shops via We Heart It, while this only sporadically happens with Pinterest.

So if you're just starting out with a blog you might want to check out We Heart It. And if it isn't to share your own images, you'll probably get caught up in picture gazing for a while ;-)

Freebie Fridays #34 - Printable Christmas Menu Cards



Remember that at the beginning of this week I shared a tutorial on how you can easily make your own printable menu cards with the free image editing program Photoscape? Well, I'm back with more menu cards for this episode of Freebie Fridays.

With the Christmas parties and dinners just around the corner I thought it would be nice to share 3 printable Christmas menu cards with you all that I made myself. These ones have been made with the use of photos and the purple one was made with Photoshop. So if you are not in a position to make them yourself with the help of the tutorial, you can download these and print your favorite one to use at your Christmas dinner.


ADDING TEXT
As you can see in the image on top of this post, the menu cards are blank except for the title text. Since I don't know what you're planning to eat at Christmas you have to fill in the menu yourself. 

There are two ways to add your menu to the cards:

1. Just print out the card of your choice and write down the menu text yourself
2. Add the menu with digital text before you print it. If you don't know how to add text with an image editing program, then please view this tutorial: http://www.thedutchladydesigns.com/2014/07/add-text-to-images-with-photoscape.html
And if you want to use a lovely font from www.fontspace.com but it is not in your image editing program yet, view this tutorial to find out how you easily add these free fonts to your program: http://www.thedutchladydesigns.com/2014/05/how-to-add-more-fonts-to-photoscape.html


ABOUT THE MENU CARDS
The menu cards are 6x6 and 6x4.25 inches in size. They are all high resolution (300 dpi) .JPEG files, so they are perfect for printing. Of course it's up to you on what quality paper you decide to print them.



If you are celebrating Christmas and you've got dinner preparations to make, I wish you lots of success with it! Our family decided to split the work, so my mom-in-law and sister-in-law each prepare a course while I take care of the main course this year. A bit more relaxed than cooking an entire dinner on my own ;-)

Christmas Giveaway Winners


I've been really looking forward to write this post. It's just so much fun to give something away especially at this time of year.

Last week I wrote a Christmas Giveaway post for one of my Premade Blogger Templates & Installation. All you had to do was leave a comment with a link to your blog and with the name of the template you would love to win.

Since my blog isn't that big yet I knew that the people that would take the effort to leave a comment would have quite a big chance of winning. I also knew that there was even a chance that no one would leave a comment. But hey, that's life right?

I'm glad though that two ladies wrote a comment under that giveaway post and today is the day that I am going to announce a winner. But there won't be a winner. I'm not going to throw two small papers with names into a jar, hussle it and draw one out. Instead I've decided to give both lovely ladies the template of their dreams with full installation!

So congratulations Laurita & Linda! I'm going to install the Silver & Gold template for Laurita and the Josie McArthur template for Linda. I will send both of you an email or Etsy message with instructions and questions for the new blog layout.

I'm looking forward to installing a beautiful blog for you ladies!

Great Designer Tools For Determining Digital Sizes



One of the first things I noticed when I started out as a designer with a world wide clientele was that size is measured in more ways than one and not all countries use the same standard size for items like cards, business cards, clipart and papers.

Here in the Netherlands we use the metric system, meaning that we measure everything in centimeters and meters. Working with customers in the US and the UK I was confronted with using the inches system to measure things. And because I only create digital stuff, a third system was added to these two: the pixel measurement system.

Enough to get you crazy I might say, but as my great business inspirator Marie Forleo tends to say: 'everything is figureoutable' ;-) And I got to give her credit for that, because it is, if you want to put in the effort to sort it out of course.

Over time I stumbled upon some great websites that really offered the solution to my measurement craziness and I thought it would be a good idea to share them with you. In case you ever want to design your own cards for example and have no clue what size it should be in pixels, inches or centimeters.

And this blog post might also come in handy when you read last Monday's post about creating your own Christmas menu cards with the image editing program Photoscape. In that post I shared a tutorial on how to create a nice card background and how to add text. In the tutorial I used a card of 6x4.25 inches (or 1800x1275 pixels), but maybe you want to use a different size or shape. Then this post is for you! Let's find out the two steps you have to take to create the right size digital card/paper/business card.


STEP 1 - WHICH SIZE DOES YOUR DESIGN NEED TO BE IN INCHES OR CENTIMETERS?

When you want to design a post card or a business card you first need to figure out how big you want your card to be. Not all countries have the same standard sizes for post cards, papers and business cards. So before you start designing you need to know which size is standard in your country. When you want to print your design in a print shop it's probably safest to go with one of the standard sizes of your own country.
And to find out which size that is, you can easily hop on over to http://designerstoolbox.com/, a site that offers a ton of information on international design sizes.

For international business cards sizes view: http://designerstoolbox.com/designresources/businesscards/ (it will give you the sizes in inches and in millimeters!)
For international paper sizes view: http://designerstoolbox.com/designresources/paper/

And for US post card sizes view: http://designerstoolbox.com/designresources/postcards/ unfortunately the site doesn't give international sizes for postcards, but if I convert them to the Dutch sizes, they are pretty much the same as the ones we use over here.

Converting inches to centimeters and back

If  a website only states the size in either inches or centimeters you can easily convert these two measurements to one another. Just go to this great tool on the internet: http://www.inches-to-cm.com/

Okay, so now you have your size in centimeters or inches, but how many pixels is that when you want to make a digital item?


STEP 2 - CONVERTING INCHES AND CENTIMETERS TO DIGITAL PIXELS

The thing with pixels is that you can't just say: so many inches is that many pixels. Digital items have a certain resolution that makes them either suitable for web use or for printing. When you design something for printing, like a post card or a business card, you will have to design it in a high resolution (more pixels per square inch) for the best print results, while if you want to use an item just for online use, you can do with a lower resolution. The most important thing to know is that a resolution of 300 dpi (high resolution) is best for printing. Anything lower than that is okay for online use.

So if you are going to design a post card, a business card or a paper for printing you have to set your design to the 300 dpi resolution. That means that the amount of pixels per square inch is a lot higher than when you would use the design for online use. And that is the reason why you can't just convert this many inches to that many pixels.

But no worries, for every problem you can find a solution somewhere. And for this particular issue the solution can be found over here: http://auctionrepair.com/pixels.html

On this site you can either put in an amount of inches or pixels, then select the dpi resolution, and the program will automatically convert everything for you! Since this program only uses inches, you might need to use the aforementioned inches-to-centimeters calculator first when you start out with centimeters in mind.

Putting this into an example to make some sense

Maybe your head is spinning right now with all this mathematical mumbo jumbo, but don't worry. Let's take a look at the example of the menu card I made in last Monday's tutorial:

* first I figured out the size I wanted use over here: http://designerstoolbox.com/designresources/postcards/ - I decided to make the menu card 6x4.25 inches, which is the size of the smallest US standard size post card.
* I knew I wanted to print my design, so I needed at least a resolution of 300 dpi. With this info I went over to http://auctionrepair.com/pixels.html and put in the inches and the resolution, which resulted in a pixel size of 1800x1275 pixels as you can see in the image below.




Once I knew the size in pixels I had to use for my design I could start my project in Photoscape. It might all look a bit like abracadabra when you read this for the first time. But like Marie Forleo says: everything is figureoutable. Just take some time to let this info sink in and I'm sure you will be able to start making correct sizes for your designs from now!

Make Your Own Printable Menu Cards With Photoscape


It's been quite a while since I shared an image editing tutorial on the blog. Lately, most tutorials have been about Blogger and Blogger design, but this week will be all about card design. With Christmas around the corner I though it would be a nice idea to show you how you can easily make your own printable menu cards for Christmas dinner. So let's get started!

NOTE: I'm using the free image editing program Photoscape for this tutorial. You can download it for free over here.


STEP 1 - CHOOSING SIZE & BACKGROUND

When you've downloaded Photoscape and installed it on your computer you can open the program to start designing. Choose the option 'Edit Photos' on the start screen.



Now you are in the opening screen of Photoscape and we can start designing. I have decided to use a 6x4.25 inch card for this tutorial. Of course you can make your menu card any size you want, and I will share another blog post this Wednesday on how you can easily find out how much pixels you have to use per inch for you card. Because Photoscape works with pixels and if I want to make a card of 6 by 4.25 inches I will have to know first how many pixels that is.

For now, all you need to know is that 6x4.25 inches is 1800x1275 pixels. And later on this week we'll dive into this subject a little deeper so you can start making cards of other sizes as well. But for now we are going to create a card background of 1800x1275 pixels. And to do that you need to click the 'Album Sheet' tab on top of the screen: 



You will now get an album sheet background on your screen. Mine is square, white and according to the sidebar 400x400 pixels in size. You see that the album sheet is divided into photo areas. You can add photos to these areas, but I just use this option to create a colorful background for my card. So stay with me.



First, we are going to change the size of the background. Right now mine is 400x400, but I really want 1800 (height) and 1275 (width) for my card. So I'm going to fill in these values in the pixel size boxes. The first value displays the width of the background, and the second one the height. Notice that the background in the screen increased in size.



Now that we have set the right size it's time to choose a nice background color. You can of course leave it white if that is what you are going for, but if you like a bit more color then click the Background Color button in the sidebar. A little screen opens where you can select the color of your choice, so browse around here and choose the color you like, you can even select the 'more colors' option. I'm going for rich, dark purple.





Now select the 'Edit' button in the sidebar and you will go to this screen, where your card background will be displayed in full:





STEP 2 - ADDING TEXT TO THE MENU CARD

Now that we have the background and the size covered, it's time to add text. Go to the menu bar below the screen and select the second tab which will say something like 'Additions'. Now you will have the option to add text by clicking the 'T' button.



A small screen now pops up with the option to start adding text. You can type your text in the little text screen. Then select a font, a font size and a color. And if you want to take things to the next level you can even add a shadow to the text or a line around it. Just play around with this menu until your text looks nice.



Now your text is ready to be positioned. I started with the text 'Christmas Menu' which I want to position centered on top of the card. So in the text option screen go to the 'place text' options and select where you want your text. I chose the 'On Top' position and then let the text slide down a little further because I didn't want it to be right at the top edge of the card. I did that by typing in the value of 150 pixels at the 'Y' box. The Y stands for vertical alignment and the X for horizontal alignment. So if you want to move your text around just add a numeric value here and see what it does. You can even give it a negative numeric value in these boxes, just type -150 in that case.



Okay, now you know how to position the text, and don't forget to save everything by clicking the 'save' button. But what if you have set your text to size 100 (which is the largest option) and it still looks too small for your taste? Don't worry, we'll just drag the text to a larger size. For that you need to close the little text option screen. Now place your cursor on the right lower corner of the text box and start dragging outwards until you have the size you like. Then let go of the cursor. 



Of course the text isn't centered anymore after this last action. All you have to do is double click on the text and you're back in the text option menu. Now you can center the text again with the 'place text' option.

Now fill in your whole menu with the font style, font size and color of your choice till you like what you see.



STEP 3 - SAVE YOUR CARD FOR GOOD QUALITY PRINTING

When you design something that needs to be printed you will get the best print quality when you save it as a high resolution .JPEG file. High resolution for printing is 300 DPI. Don't worry about what it all means, you only have to know how to save your file the correct way. So let's do that!

My card is ready for saving, so I pressed the 'Save' button. Now a screen pops up and you will notice that there is an option here to select the DPI value. Set it to 300.



Now, click the 'Save As' button and make sure you save it as a .JPEG/JPG file. That's it! You're card is now ready for printing!




TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH BEAUTIFUL FONTS & IMAGES

You can take your card design to the next level by adding images to it (clipart, photos etc.). If you want to know how to do that, please view this tutorial: http://www.thedutchladydesigns.com/2014/05/how-to-add-clipart-to-digital-images.html

And if you want to go over the top with gorgeous font styles, just download a nice free font style at www.fontspace.com and learn how to install it to Photoscape so you can actually use it with this tutorial: http://www.thedutchladydesigns.com/2014/05/how-to-add-more-fonts-to-photoscape.html

I hope this tutorial will get you on the way with designing your own cards. Now you know how to make a background and add text to it, so the possibilities are endless. Let's be creative!

Freebie Fridays #33 - Digital Corded Gift Tags


Finally another episode of Freebie Fridays. I had hoped to write one or two blog posts this week with tutorials and other design and blog related subjects, but the design shop is crazy busy right now. Everyone seems to need new blog layouts and logos for Christmas ;-) Well, I'm not complaining.

In between all the orders I managed to find a little time to set up our Christmas decorations. We don't have a lot of them, not even a tree, I'm not so into all this stuff and I kind of seem to suffer a bit from Christmas Blues I have to admit. But I did manage to gather some nice clipart items for today's Freebie Fridays.

It's a set of 64 digital gift tags with cord. I thought it would be a nice item to give away with the spirit of Christmas in mind. Which, to me personally, is more about giving than getting. 

Talking about giving, don't forget to sign up for the Christmas Giveaway if you are in need of a new Blogger layout. If you sign up before December 18, you have a chance at winning one of my Premade Blogger Templates and installation.

Have a nice weekend and till soon!



A Christmas Giveaway - Win A Premade Blogger Template & Installation


Last week, unfortunately, was so busy that apart from the post on Monday I did not have a chance to write another one, let alone upload another Freebie Friday episode. But I hope to be able to make that up to you this week! We will start the week with a real Christmas Giveaway!

While we don't celebrate Christmas with gifts at our home, it's still nice to give away a little present from time to time. So I'm going to give away one of my Premade Blogger Templates with Full Installation Included!

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS GIVEAWAY?

To join the giveaway please make sure you do the following:

1. Go to my Etsy shop and visit the Premade Blogger Template Section
2. Take a good look around to see which template you would love to see on your blog!
3. Then come back to this blog and write a comment down below telling me which Premade Template you would love to win and give us a link to your blog as well (if you already have an existing Blogger blog).

On Thursday, December 18, I will announce a winner. I will also contact that winner personally so we can exchange necessary details and info in order for me to install your new blog layout. So if you want a new blog layout, please join and maybe you are the lucky one that gets to have a new blog for Christmas!

GOOD TO KNOW

The premade template and installation is only for the Blogger platform, unfortunately these templates don't work on other platforms.

The installation will involve: full template installation on your account - installation of your social media icons - installation of an Instagram slide show gadget in the sidebar (if you wish) - installation of a Pinterest 'show off your pins' gadget in the sidebar (if you wish) - installation of your picture in the sidebar - installation of all the pages you like on your menu bar. After the installation, all you have to think about is right good content!

This blog, The Dutch Lady Designs, isn't that big yet, so I'm not expecting a ton of people to react to this Giveaway opportunity. All the more reason for you to join! Your chances of winning will probably be pretty good.

Hope to see your comment down below!


Blogger Basics - Turn Off The Comment Option For Pages


When you're the owner of a Blogger blog you can give your readers the opportunity to write a comment underneath each post you write. And that's a great thing, because interesting discussions can evolve out of that or just nice conversations and interactions with your readers and other bloggers.

Blogger not only gives the opportunity to comment under blog posts, but also under each page you have in your menu bar. And while some bloggers might be totally fine with that, I always thought it was not adding to the cleanliness and stylishness of a blog. 

When you give people the option to comment on each post and to contact you for other things through a contact page in your menu bar, what's the point in having the comment option under each post?

Of course you're totally entitled to keep the comment option under your pages if that works for you, but if you are like me, and you like a clean blog look, there is a way to switch the comment section under pages off. Let's take a look!

When you create a new page, or when you open an already existing page you will see this on your screen:


Notice that in the right side bar there is a button called 'Options'. All you have to do, once you've created your page (gave it a title and content) is to select this button and you will see this next screen:



Now check the 'Don't allow' box under 'Readers comments'. Save it by clicking the 'Done' button and you're done! When you view your page now in the menubar it won't show a comment section anymore.

Till next time!