May 15, 2015

Freebie Fridays #53 - Digital Gift Tags


Welcome to episode 53 of Freebie Fridays! Today I've got a set of 3 digital gift tags to share with you all. The tags are 2000 pixels wide and in .PNG file with a transparent background. You can either print them out and then clip them yourself or use them in digital scrapbook projects.

The idea for gift tags came from celebrating my birthday yesterday. I got so many lovely wrapped up presents! Speaking about my birthday, this weekend (Saturday May 16 & Sunday May 17) I'm celebrating it in both my Etsy shops with a 50% discount on selected items. Read all about it over here to find out more about the discount code and to which items you can apply it!

Have a lovely weekend and till next week!

May 13, 2015

Celebrating my birthday with a 50% discount on selected items!


So tomorrow is my 41st birthday and although I'm not one for big parties I don't want to pass this day without celebrating it a little with my loyal blog readers!

To let you all benefit from this day I am going to give a 50% discount on all items in my instant download shop The Dutch Lady Designs and a 50% discount on all Premade Blogger Templates in my other shop Dutch Lady Digi Design.


THE DISCOUNT CODE WILL RUN DURING THE WEEKEND

To give you all enough time to visit the shops and have a good look at what you would like to buy, the discount will be available a full weekend on Saturday May 16 & Sunday May 17.

Why the weekend and not my actual birthday? Well, I can imagine that if you are looking for a premade Blogger design you might want to check out all designs first and maybe you have questions about them before you want to buy any of them. To give you this opportunity you can buy a premade design with the discount this upcoming weekend, but you can ask me any questions you might have today, tomorrow and Friday.

Because I don't work during weekends, any Premade Blogger Templates with installation included will be installed after the weekend. If you purchase one, make sure to send me all the info I need for installation (more info on this can be found in the description of each design on Etsy).


DISCOUNT CODE & ITEMS YOU CAN BUY WITH IT

The items that can be bought with the 50% discount code during the upcoming weekend are:

- all items in my instant download shop The Dutch Lady Designs (clipart - labels - papers - postcards - business cards - social icons - blog headers) - regular prices range from $2.50 to $3.00 per item
- all instant download & DIY Blogger Templates in my design shop Dutch Lady Digi Design - regular price is $15 per template
- all Premade Blogger Templates + Installation in my design shop Dutch Lady Digi Design- regular price is $29 per template
- all Premade Blogger Templates Extra + Installation in my design shop Dutch Lady Digi Design - regular price is $35 per template

To get the 50% discount, make the purchase of your choice over the weekend and fill in coupon code CELEBRATION during check out. This will instantly deduct 50% of the purchase amount.

Hope to see you around in one of the shops this weekend and if you have any questions about the discount or the items you can buy with it, please don't hesitate to ask!


May 11, 2015

What you should know about the use of fonts in blogs



I bet you've seen some of those beautiful and gorgeous script and brush style fonts that are in fashion right now. Many designers like to use them in their logo or website designs and who can blame them? The image below is a perfect example of these kind of fonts. And no wonder I get more and more questions from clients to use these kind of fonts in their blog or website header design. These fonts are definitely an eye catcher in a design! But did you know that unfortunately not all fonts can be used in a blog design? To get you all prepared to find the perfect font for your blog I will go deeper into the font subject in this post. So, let's get started!



THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DESIGN FONTS & WEB FONTS

Did you know that there are basically two kinds of fonts and that only one of them actually works on a blog or website? Fonts can roughly be divided into two categories:

* design fonts (also called desktop fonts) - these fonts are used in image editing programs like Adobe Photoshop to make images like logos, headers etc. With these kind of fonts you create a so called 'static' image. You can upload this image to a website, as a header image for instance, but no more than that. It stays static. If you alter the name of your blog on your blog platform, the image doesn't change.

* web fonts - these fonts are used in the coding of a website and they react to the actions of the website owner. So in the case of your blog, when you change your blog title on your blog or you add a new page to the menubar, the coding of the website will cause the web font to appear in that header or menubar in the actual text that you type.

WHEN A FONT IS BOTH A DESIGN FONT & WEB FONT

Some fonts are designed to be both design font as well as website font. This is the case with Google fonts. On the website https://www.google.com/fonts you can find over 600 fonts that can be used as web fonts in the coding of your blog, but also in an image editing program to make static images like website headers and logos.

When I work with clients on a custom blog design I let them choose from this list of fonts for blog parts like the menubar, the sidebar titles, blog post titles, tagline etc. If they want we can use the same font for the header image, but if they want a more playful or stylish font, we can choose from a long list of design fonts to make a static header image.

FREE FONTS

The Google fonts are all free fonts. I can download them for free from the Google site and incorporate them in the coding of a blog. And when I want to use these fonts as a design font I can find them on multiple free font websites. These websites have thousands of other beautiful design fonts for free as well. A couple of examples of these free fonts sites are:


While the google fonts are both design font and web font, the majority of the fonts on these free websites are all design fonts. Some of them are available in a web font version, but mostly in a paid for version.

PAID FOR FONTS

With so many free fonts at your disposal you might ask yourself why on earth you would want to pay for a font. This was exactly what I thought when I first started designing blogs, but along the way I discovered the fonts of some designers that weren't free but were absolutely stunning. And if you want your blog or logo to stand out, you might want to consider investing in such a beautiful font.

While I am a designer I am not a font designer. But there are graphic designers that make their living with designing beautiful fonts. You can find them on sites like:


Prices for font types range from $10 per set to over a $100 per set. I recently invested a little in some paid for font types that I've used in some of the Premade Blogger Designs I've created. And as a designer I'm always looking for so called 'bundles' and 'packages' which give me multiple font types for a nice price.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A FONT TYPE

When you decide to buy a font type set from a designer, make sure you buy the right one. If you only need a font to design static images in Photoshop you buy the desktop version, but if you need it in a website coding you need to buy the web font version. These are often two different versions you can buy and some fonts don't even come in a web font version, so pay attention when looking for this!

Other things to consider when buying a font type set are:
* are you permitted by the designer to use the font for commercial purposes?
* when you buy a web font can you use it freely on multiple sites or are you restricted to use it on only one website?
* when you buy a web font, does it come with the restriction to only use it for a certain amount of pageviews on the website you need it for? Some designers have this restriction and demand you to keep buying permissions once you exceed a certain amount of pageviews.
* while a curly, calligraphic kind of web font might look awesome on your website, it will probably also need a lot of loading time to show up on your page. Readers don't like slow loading pages, so chances are they will leave your site before it is fully loaded with beautiful font and all.
* make sure you buy a web font that is supported by all or most browsers!


FONT TYPES I LIKE TO USE IN MY DESIGNS

For the overall design of a Blogger layout I always use one of Google's web fonts. They are easy to embed in the coding and are recognized by most browsers. I have seen blog designs where the designer decided to use a design font for the page names or the sidebar titles. This might look great, because you can use those beautiful, stylish and over the top design fonts, but the downside of the story is that the blog owner will never be able to add a new page or sidebar category themselves. After all, the titling of these items was made in an image editing program and then uploaded to the blog as a static image.

Personally, I think a blog owner should have the freedom to change these items whenever they want. And using one of Google's web fonts for these items will give them that freedom. When they add a new page or sidebar title, this piece of text will automatically appear in the web font that is installed in the coding of the blog.

A blog header image, a blog post signature or a little piece of welcome text under the sidebar picture is often made in a nice design font. To give the blog just that little extra styling without losing too much freedom to change things later on.

I hope this post explained the use of fonts in blog designs a little. There is so much more to tell and discover about fonts, but this was meant to point out the difference in use of design fonts and web fonts. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to find the right font for your blog design or for other creative projects!

May 8, 2015

Freebie Fridays #52 - Printable Butterfly Postcard Set


Almost weekend again! Time to share another freebie. And this week I've made something to promote a new product section in my instant download Etsy shop: Printable Postcard Designs.

For only $3 you can purchase a set of 12 printable postcards plus backside designs. All you have to do is print them out yourself and maybe add some text to them if you like.

For adding text to an image you can check out the tutorial I've written about it over here: http://www.thedutchladydesigns.com/2014/07/add-text-to-images-with-photoscape.html

The postcards are in size 7 x 5 inches, which is a standard US Postcard Size. And you are permitted to use the postcard designs for commercial use. Let's say you sell wedding cards and invitations on Etsy and you need a nice background for those cards. You can use my printable postcard sets for that!

To celebrate the launch of the first sets of postcards in the shop I'm sharing a small set in butterfly design here on Freebie Fridays. The set contains 4 card front designs and 2 card back designs. Download the set below and get creative! Happy weekend!



May 6, 2015

Why it is important to manage the basics of your blog


A lot of the ideas for posts on this website spontaneously present themselves while working with clients. It's funny to notice that in a short period of time I can get the same question on blogging from several different clients. And while the answer to such a question can be an easy one, it makes me realize that not every blogger is on the same level of know how when it comes to managing their own blog.

While you can hire a designer to make your blog look beautiful you should be able to do the basic stuff on your blog yourself. A designer cannot be around forever to help you out, at least not if you don't want to spend a fortune on hourly wages ;-) But saving money isn't the only reason why it's important to manage the basic stuff on your blog.

What if you want to make some small changes? Maybe add or remove a page on the menubar? Or add a new gadget to your sidebar? Change your own photo in the sidebar? Add a little piece of welcome text in the sidebar... This shouldn't be actions for which you need to hire someone! It's just a part of knowing and managing your own precious blog!

The reason I felt like sharing this message is that I recently had some questions from clients that indicated that they didn't have the slightest idea about how a blog on Blogger works. And that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that. I started out like that myself once. It only becomes a problem when you order a premade or custom made design from a designer and know nothing at all about the platform itself. A design is what it is: a design. It's the layout of your blog, it's a beautifully styled framework. But no more than that. It doesn't all of a sudden magically create all the posts, links, pages and connections you want to appear on your blog. It still needs to be managed by someone. And that someone is you! It's YOUR blog, YOUR business site, YOUR personal corner of the web. That's why it's so important that you learn how to love it and take care of it.

It's totally understandable that when that idea starts to form in your head of having your own blog you get all excited about the way it should look and the stories you want to share on there. You've seen all these beautiful blogs on the web and they have been the spark that set you on this journey to find the layout that suits you and your stories. Meanwhile, while thinking about a layout, you should also learn how to navigate the blog platform you want your blog to be on, whether that is Blogger, Wordpress or any other platform.


WHY IT IS IMPORTANT YOU KNOW HOW TO NAVIGATE/MANAGE YOUR BLOG
* while finding out the possibilities of a blog and blog platform you also find out if this is the platform for you. Not all platforms offer the same services and possibilities to bloggers and it's disappointing when you find out after you've bought a pricey layout that the platform is just not what you were looking for. And the layout isn't going to change any of this!
* when you are thinking of ordering a premade or custom made layout from a designer you know what features to look for in a design. An example of this is the so-called drop-down menubar. A lot of bloggers love such a menubar (I've got one on this blog), but it's not a very easy to manage part on Blogger. Blogger doesn't offer a simple standard drop-down menubar like Wordpress does for instance. So in order to create one you have to work with a lot of coding. If the blogger isn't that into HTML-coding it's not a good idea to choose a layout with a drop-down menubar.
* when new ideas for your blog bubble up in your head, you will be able to create small changes yourself instead of having to pay for someone else to do it and running the risk of having to wait a while before a designer has room in their schedule to help you out


WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO YOURSELF ON BLOGGER
Personally, from my perspective as a designer and a blogger on the Blogger platform, I think a beginning blogger should definitely learn how to do the following themselves before thinking about buying a premade of custom made design:

* learn how to create a new post and how to add images and links to a post
* learn how to add some labels (keywords) to a post
* learn how to create a new page
* learn how add that new page to the menubar
* learn how to add or remove a gadget on the sidebar
* learn how to add an image to the sidebar

Knowing these things will be a good starting point to figure out what you want from a design, and more important: it will give you the freedom you need to make the best out of your blog!


WHERE TO LEARN THE SKILLS
To learn how to manage the basics of your Blogger blog you can:

* play around with your Blogger account and just try out stuff by yourself, don't be afraid, this is the way I learned the basics myself
* visit my Blogger tutorials on this website
* check out Google's Blogger Support site

While all the techie stuff might seem overwhelming and maybe even a bit dull (after all, you just want to start writing that first post, don't you?), it will give you so much freedom as a blogger when you tackle those basics. So give it your best, your blog deserves it!

May 4, 2015

Creatives in the spotlight - Charlinde Grauwde-Cremer


Finally I'm back with a regular blog post after a couple of weeks of silence! It's a post that I have been wanting to write for a while now and it's part of the Creatives In The Spotlight Series. With my little business The Dutch Lady Designs I'm not the only Dutchie trying to build a business through Etsy. Today's creative lives in this little country as well and she even happens to be family. So let me introduce Charlinde Grauwde-Cremer from Made By Charli's!

Charlinde and I are kind of related since her grandma married my grandpa back in the seventies when they both had lost their first spouses. Later on in life we went to the same elementary school and we now connect through Facebook. Some years ago Charlinde started her little business in handmade baby shower gifts and baby products. I love what she makes, but since I was out of the baby and toddler period with my own kids I never had an excuse to buy one of her beautiful items. Until my own sister had a baby last October (yeah!). Long before my niece was born I knew I wanted to give her a beautiful handmade gift from Charlinde's online shop. In the end she made a music box in the shape of a lovely owl, all in sunny yellow tones, which I thought would fit my new niece Amy. She even made a matching name tag and the gift was delivered beautifully wrapped. To me it was clear that she loves what she does and she gives every project the love and care that a handmade product deserves.

So when she contacted me to make her an Etsy banner because she was starting the American adventure I asked her to be a part of this series. It's about time people outside of our little country get to know her beautiful baby products made with love!


1. What was the reason that you ever started this little business?

 Made By Charli's was born out of a hobby. I already made baby shower gifts for friends, family and neighbours and because their reactions where so nice I decided to take it to the next level and start selling my handmade gifts to other people. I like to receive unique or handmade gifts for my own children, something that you cannot buy on every street corner. That was definitely a reason that made me decide to contribute to the productions of handmade, unique items for babies and toddlers myself. Products that are made with love and care are just perfect for a baby or toddler room.

2. All your items are made with a sewing machine. Is sewing something you learned through a course or did it just come natural to you?

I use my sewing/embroidery machine on a daily basis. I never followed any kind of course for it though. One day I just started and it turned out that I had feeling for it.

3. What can people expect when they order something from Made By Charli's?

All products are made with love and care. And I make sure to wrap it up beautifully, whether the gift is meant for the person that orders it, or for a friend or relative of them. It's just nice to unwrap something that looks beautiful and festive. I also add a personal note to each and every product I make. 

4. Which products will you sell through your Etsy shop?

In my Etsy shop I will sell baby music boxes, baby play cords for strollers and other personalized baby gifts and products. All of it will of course be handmade with love!

5. Your Etsy adventure may be a new one, but you've been an entrepreneur in the Netherlands for quite some time now. Do you have any tips for other people that are thinking about starting their own little business or that have just started?

I sure have some tips for them. Be original! You don't have to re-invent the wheel, but please don't be a copycat. Trust your own creativity. And above all try to persevere and stay positive! Having your own little business and webshop, whether that is on Etsy or another platform, takes a lot of time. It can almost be a fulltime job, especially when you want to turn it into a success! So you have to be willing to put in the effort and time for it.


I'm so happy that Charlinde wanted to share her story on my blog. So if you are looking for a unique, handmade gift for a baby shower or for your own little one, be sure to check out her shop filled with awesome products! You can find Made By Charli's over here:




May 1, 2015

Freebie Fridays #51 - Blushed Stain Clipart


It's been two whole weeks since I last posted anything on here. Time flies by so fast, especially when being busy. Having my own little business is a lot of fun, but it sometimes fills up my days in a way that there is nearly any time left for other things. Like blogging for example. I really hope to be able to be more active on the blog over the next weeks.

In the meantime I would like to share today's clipart with you. It's a set of 9 colorful blushed stain images in .PNG file. The stains have transparent backgrounds and you can use them as a background for a logo or header for example. I hope you like them and it will give you the opportunity to get creative!

Have a nice weekend!




© The Dutch Lady Designs. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.