Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Idiot's Guide to Creating Blog Buttons

Before i forget: This is August's Good Cheer giveaway, and it ends this Friday, Sept 2nd, so go ahead and enter it!


Lovely Danielle of Tongue Tied in Awe did a lovely birthday giveaway of a chance for readers to sponsor her page for free! (so much giveaway love in the blogosphere, i likey!)

She has kindly given me a spot on her page to advertise my page, but first i had to make a button she could put on her page. I was stumped and had no idea where to start. Making my Etsy banner was one major roadblock. My images always came out blurry. Now i had to resize things to make an even smaller button?

So after a day or five of fiddling around on my Powerpoint and on Flickr, I came up with a simple and foolproof method to making blog buttons. And now i'd like to share it with you. However, if i'm doing this in a tedious manner and you have 101 other shortcuts, please share some tips! I could use some help and become a little more blog savvy! :)

I like my blog buttons simple. So if you're not into anything fancy, here goes nothing...


I google the internet for an image of a plain background. That will act as the base color of my buttons. Or you could simply open up Powerpoint (PP) and create a shape and add a color to your liking.

For the sake of visual continuity, i have chosen the same linen background as my blog. I save this image on my desktop.

I figure out the size requirements of the button I will be making.

This is what I think is going on. Most people will ask for a size in pixels. When I opened up PP to create my button size, I found out that it measures images in height and width instead of pixels. So i went to this website Image Size Calculator/ Convertor to convert my pixels into height and width (in inches).

My button has to be 184 x 70 pixels. When i plug in the numbers into the calculator, it gives me

2.45" (width) x 0.93" (height)

I open up PP and insert picture (my linen background) on a new document. Then i double click the image to format it. On the left column, you will see the option 'Size'. Click on that.

Picture 1

Then plug in the numbers you have obtained from the calculator/convertor, in this case 0.93" (height) and 2.45" (width). Click OK and your image would have be resized to the required measurements. Right click and save this image on your desktop.

Now for the fun bit : Designing your button.

I uploaded my button image onto Flickr. Then I click on 'Actions' and scroll down to the option 'Edit photo in Picnik' (third one from bottom)

Picture 2

You will be taken to this page with tabs at the top of the page. Play around with them! To add text, I click on 'Text' tab. For images, I choose 'Stickers'. There are so many options to play around with you can make a million different buttons.

And guess what? These are the simplest buttons you can make. If you are a premium Flickr member and any more tech-savvy than i am, you could probably churn out tons of beautiful buttons in a flash.

P.S. I use a Mac, so the instructions above may differ for non-Mac users. but I don't really think so.

In my excitement, I made a few: which one do you like?

blogbutton3 elelove_blogbutton2

blogbutton3 blogbutton4

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spreading Good Cheer GIVEAWAY August and Etsy Pick of the Week :: sometimesiswirl

Swirling Garden

Yes, after the long hiatus, the Etsy Pick is back!

This week, I bring you a wonderfully talented little lady by the name of Sarah Hennessey, who draws and doodles as a first love, but also embroiders her creations (yes, yes, you can tell i have a certain bias affinity towards embroiderers hehe). Her pen ink drawings remind me of a dear childhood friend D. D once doodled (beautifully) all over a photo frame, included a picture of us and gave it to me as a birthday present. I still have it to this day, even though she presented it to me 12 years ago (OMG!)

But back to Sarah, of the Etsy store sometimesiswirl. I looked through her Flickr account and I'm so much more in LOVE with her drawings now. I know i should include more pictures of her ink drawings, but I really love how her designs translate so well into embroidery! See it for yourself in the pictures below. Or you can check out her flickr too!


1. When and how did you begin drawing / doodling, and what is your background?

I was drawing and doodling ever since I could hold a pencil, it seems. As a young child, I loved coloring books (always tried to rope a parent into coloring with me), and in elementary school, I was constantly doodling little abstract designs in my notebooks, on the back of my left hand, in sketch books at home, everywhere. I did also take art classes in grade school and high school, and in college, I majored in Art History. For my major, I was required to take a handful of studio courses, so I do have experience with drawing, design, painting, and fibers from college.

Embroidered Rainbow Flower Garden

2. You sell prints of your illustrations, but also embroider them as well. Why do you choose embroidery over other methods of presenting your illustrations?

I just decided to try embroidery one day, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I didn't even have a set idea or object in mind, and naturally, the composition that started to take shape resembled one of my illustrations - while it wasn't perfect, I was surprised by the fact that the piece turned out halfway decent, so I just continued to sew my designs. Through a lot of trial and error, I've found that I absolutely love embroidering. It's incredibly relaxing, and I think my designs translate naturally to fabric and thread. I'm still able to capture quite a bit of detail by separating out a smaller number of strands from the embroidery floss, and there are endless possibilities with color, so I think that helps too.

Black and White with Rainbow Flowers Oval Embroidery HoopBlack and White with Rainbow Flowers Oval Embroidery Hoop
My favorite!

3. What are some your influences and sources of inspiration for your illustrations?

I have always found myself gravitating toward mehndi, floral textile patterns, but at the same time, I love really modern and simple design, too. I absolutely love the early drawings of Paul Klee (anything by him, actually). I also love the automatic drawings of Andre Masson. Other illustrators who inspire me: Heinrich Kley, Kay Nielsen, Hannah Davies, Alphonse Mucha (love art nouveau), Hannah Firmin, Nadia Flower, Yellena James. Oh I could go on forever...

Green Embroidered French Knot Color Study by Sarah Hennessey
French knots are fun!

4. Do you have a favorite piece, or a special story about an illustration to share?

I will always have a soft spot for this drawing (see below), as it's the first thing I listed in my etsy shop when I first opened it, and it very much inspired most of my other "swirl" drawings that came after it. I have really loved coming up with different variations of the weird, abstract garden scenes I draw - they all kind of derive from this one.

bnw original

5. Do you have a day job, or do you do this full-time? Can you share a few tips towards your success?

I do have a full-time day job at a university, so I must do all-things-etsy after hours. I recently did a blog post imparting my most important advice, and you can find that here. If I had to pick some really quick tips, I'd say take photography very seriously, and have an established/experienced seller critique your photos and shop listings. Also, network network network - In person AND throughout the etsy community (or, in whatever artistic/creative community you belong). As soon as I joined some incredible teams on Etsy, I really challenged myself to improve my shop. Also, being on a team provides an incredible support system.


swirl notecards

And here is the giveaway for the month of August! One lucky reader will win a set of 5 Abstract Flower blank notecards (pictured above) if you:

1. Leave a comment below
2. Go to Sarah Hennessey's Facebook page and 'Like' it
3. Tweet (@punkychewster) about the giveaway
4. Follow my page

Leave a separate comment for each of the above. PLEASE include your email address when leaving an entry below so I have a way of contacting the winner. Giveaway ends Friday, Sept 2nd, 2011, 11:59PM EDT. International readers are welcome as usual, and a random winner will be picked!

Alrighty! Have fun and happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Introducting the Fall / Winter Collection

The J-man just walked into the room and commented on how sexy my legs look in those tiny shorts that I had on.

Now, before you close this page for its R-rated contents, please read on. Because what he said next made me want to clonk him on his big fat head.

"...compared to how unattractive you look in your long johns in the winter, when we were in Shanghai. I hated those things."

To clarify. I am a tropical girl. I have lived 24 years of my life on the sunny island of Singapore, where it is summer all. year. round. So when i moved to China (where i met the J-man), it was my very first time living and dealing with winter. I hated it. I hated the bone-chilling cold and the biting winds. I hated the idea of piling on layers that made me feel fat and claustrophobic (i had zilch winter fashion sense). Chinese apartments had NO central heating, so in order to keep our place relatively warm, we had to blast the heaters and radiators in every room. To save on electricity, i pile on layers at home (which explains walking around in unglamorous long johns). But I'm AT HOME! *whines*

Thankfully, I've upped the winter fashion sense a little. And praise the heavens for central heating, i have since ditched those unsightly long johns.

Source: None via Lara on Pinterest

This winter, I am ONLY going to wear oversized knitted sweaters and leggings. I am loving the look! But also, maybe the leggings will give him nightmares of the long johns past.

What are you wearing this winter?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

You say Rain Boots, I say Wellies/ Gumboots/ Galoshes

Just as I read Katie (of HazelandMare)'s haiku about rainboots,

Gilt Groupe sends an email with rain boot sales!!!

pink quilted
Some cute pink quilted ones...

english plaid
And cute English plaid ones

mustard lace up
Mustard colored lace-up boots! Gotta love the color mustard...

target boots
This was my very first pair. I got them from Target years ago, before I ever stepped foot in the US of A. I was living in China then, and a friend was going back to the States for a vacation. She asked if she could bring me anything, and this was what i asked for! I still can't believe how kind it was of her to bring it back for me! I wore them all around the streets of Shanghai, rain or shine. I remember the locals casting side glances and smirks at me on sunny days. But when it rained, I got the last laugh!

I miss them. Time to shop for a new pair! (*waits impatiently for payday*)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bonjour mademoiselles!

This is from the Flight of the Conchords and it's hilarious! My friend P showed it to me before i was introduced to the series and i've loved it ever since. It's the kind of series I can watch over and over.

I showed the video to the J-man last night as he is taking French lessons in school this semester. He makes me sit with him to go through the lessons. I figured he'd need someone to practice with conversationally, but I had no idea it was going to be tough. It's like the blind leading the blind.

Learning how to speak is fun but the conjugation is killing me!

I took basic Japanese in college, and it was easy as it is very similar to Chinese. It makes words and phrases a breeze to remember and sentence structure easy to form. Although I must say i'd probably forgotten most of the stuff, except for counting numbers, telling time and telephone numbers and my name. :)

I guess it all boils down to practice, and the start is always the toughest. Oh well, he's only been to one class. So let's just see how we progress...

à bientôt, mon amie! (hope i said it right! *eeps*)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crafting: Circle Skirt tutorial and more!

I've been busy crafting for a fair in Mooresville in early October. I know it seems like a long time away but i hardly get any time to myself these days. We are preparing for the arrival of J-man's grandma and her boyfriend. They'll be staying with us for a coupla' months. This house will be crazy busy very soon! I think they arrive Sunday. I figured i'd try and get as much done while I still have the house to myself. Which isn't much.



I made myself a circle skirt, tutorial courtesy of Dana from MADE. It was reaaaallll easy to make, up until the last step - to attach the elastic to the skirt. I have had near ZERO experience sewing elastic onto non stretchy fabric, so this was definitely an eye-opener. *eeps*


I also added a lining underneath the skirt, which is essentially making TWO skirts, with the lining shorter than the outer skirt. J tried to take a picture of me twirling in it, you could sorta see the white muslin lining under. But, major picture-taking epic fail.

Now, to wear it and twirl the rest of the summer away!


I made two more tote bags for the fair but i think i need to up my production a little bit more.

I'm considering if i should sign up for a 2nd fair at the end of October. I really have no idea how I'd do in the first. I might end up not selling anything in the first and have enough products for the second fair. Conversely, i might sell some stuff and not have much for the next.

What do you guys think? Considering my slow production rate, should i sign up for TWO fairs in the same month, or take it easy and see how i fare as a first-timer? I know some of you have great experience at markets and fairs, i do need some advice!

Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Suzuki Reno on Suzuki Dr

So J and I found a 2nd car!!!!

I'm happy but also a little disappointed. After all, we were supposed to look for a car for ME! But the sweetest deal we found was a manual transmission (*sheepish* i cannot drive a manual to save my life) so he gets this:

suzuki reno

2007 Suzuki Reno, 88,000miles for $5800!!!

What a steal!

It will look really fierce, especially when we clean it out and give it new rims. But for now, my piggy bank has been cleaned out! I've saved a loooooong time for a car. So no new rims in the near future.

I'm tempted to learn how to drive a stick now that the car is sitting in the garage, although the J-man did stall 4 times going up the hill. Can I really do it?

What's your favorite drive?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Birthdays are FUN!

Hello blogosphere!

Firstly, I'm done with my summer camps! I was completely getting into the groove of it all and then they ended. Bleagh. I wish they'll let me teach some day classes soon! I miss my babies! My gardening camp was so much fun and the kids so enthusiastic we could go on forever!! D said on the last day of camp, "i will miss you!" and made my heart melt. I took them on a nature walk in the park. We caught a caterpillar, seen beautiful spiders and their webs, found a dead (crispy) cicada and picked acorns and pine cones!

These are the babies from my two camps! I love my youth volunteer assistants too!!



And then I got new kicks for my birthday. Rocking it out at work everyday now. New Balances are sooooo comfy!


My manager G baked me some special cupcakes because she missed my b-day dinner! So sweet of her! And the cupcakes were gorgeous and yummilicious!!!


i'm going car hunting this weekend! Wish me luck! I hope i find my dream drive soon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This girl's got style!

Source: None via Kellie on Pinterest

Just finished watching 500 Days of Summer for the 2nd time. I love this movie for its killer soundtrack (lots of Regina Spektor!) and awesome Zooey Deschanel looks.

She's too cute! She always manages to pull off such gorgeous outfits that range from vintage chic to simple elegance. And her hair! *super envious* It always falls perfectly in place - curls and fringe and all!

Via. Effortless hair. *eek*

And did i mention Zooey's the 'She' in the musical duo She&Him? I want to catch them live in performance! i know they played in NC once. Just checked out their website. Sadly, no touring news. :(

BUT they've just finished a Christmas album. can't wait for that to be released. And the girl has a new TV show on Fox called The New Girl which premieres in September so if you're a fan don't forget to catch it!

Here's a goofy little video of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to my favorite She&Him tune! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

News from the garden: New harvests!

Oh no, don't think for a second we stopped gardening. We've been getting buckets of tomatoes and Armenian cucumbers that I didn't think you'd like to read about them ALL.THE.TIME.

But I figured its been awhile since my gardening posts so here's some happy news to share!


Our sunflowers are growing straight and tall (they're taller than me now) and this morning I'd just seen some goldfinches sit atop the sunflowers and nibbling on the seeds!


Then this long forgotten plant began to flower. It was growing up the support for the longest time, and then sprawled all over the fence. This morning, J and I spotted the prettiest purple flower. Bad thing is, we forgot which plant was there. I thought it was the snow pea, but somewhere down the road, I thought the snow pea plant died. Did we plant a second? What is this??? *furrowed brows*


The cantaloupe has taken over the entire garden patch. But we get delicious juicy cantaloupe in return. So sprawl all you want.

summer squash

We planted some new summer squashes a while ago. Check this baby out. Isn't it cute?


Finally, grandpa gave us some peaches from his friend's peach trees.

We're looking at the fall seeds catalogue now. There're plans for carrots and broccoli and more! *excited*

How's your garden doing?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Yoga for Kids

om necklace

Gosh, I have been slacking on the blogging front. I am busy busy busy at work!

Work has been getting real exciting. Our director and managers have been working hard, planning lots of new activities for the museum. We're such a new museum (we opened last Oct) that we've been drawing in the numbers, but probably because we're still a novelty. Compared to other museums, we're sorely lacking in events. So starting this month, we've got new stuff planned. I'm scheduled to do music and yoga sessions for the kiddies and i'm super excited! On Tuesday, I did a short music session but that didn't go very well because the volume was too soft. I need to mike up the guitar, or possibly convince my bosses to get me a keyboard!

Then yesterday, our colleague M did a tap-dancing stint on stage which wowed the crowd!! I love it! I'm so glad so many new things are happening with the museum I don't think I want to search for a full-time job anymore!

Next week, I'm teaching my second summer camp, and it's all about plants and gardening!!! Right up my alley! Wish i could take the kids home to show them my garden, but i guess photos will just have to do.

I've also started planning for my yoga sessions with the kiddies. Here's a great article on a few basic yoga poses to try with the young'uns. I think it'll be such fun, and i don't really have to worry about injuries or health problems because they are limber kids!!!

If you are in the area, check out our museum website for the upcoming events!

Thank you lovelies for the birthday wishes!! i just hope for a happy year ahead with my family and friends! and maybe more time for crafting! :)

Happy weekend!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Birthday Bonanza in my Etsy shop!

art fair -boston terrier

Hello friends!!

Because my birthday falls in August, I'm making it a month long celebration in my ETSY shop elephantislove.

I'm offering FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING on all items in my shop. Just enter the code


to get your free shipping!

Also DANIELLE, winner of the Amy Perrotti giveaway, I have no way of contacting you to send you your prize. I'm hoping you read this, because you need to claim it! I emailed the wrong Danielle to claim her prize, and she was so sweet to reply and told me that I've made a boo-boo. But in case the first Danielle doesn't reply, I'll have to pick another winner. So Danielle, please reply by the end of this week, 7th August, 11:59pm EDT. I hope you see this!!!

So a few lessons learnt doing giveaways:

1) Closing comments after the giveaway is over

2) Asking readers to leave their email addresses in their entries

Do you have any advice to add? If you do giveaways too, what are some rules that you include to make sure the giveaway is a smooth one?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

+ Winner of Amy Perrotti Giveaway +

pink hanfu

And we have a winner for the Amy Perrotti Pink Hanfu Matryoshka Girl Art Print giveaway!

*drumroll please*

amyperrotti giveaway


Danielle, please contact me at granolabar AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address! Hope to hear from you soon! :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...