Printable Wall Art – Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones

Doctor Who Printable Wall Art - click to download for free, or pin to save for later!

Happy Weekend, friends! A few weeks ago I made up some printable wall art for my new office (an office that lasted 5 days, since putting my twins together in the same room was a freaking nightmare and we had to separate them again). Doctor Who is always my number one fandom, but Harry Potter comes in a close second and I’m probably more obsessed with Game of Thrones than the average viewer, so those are the shows/books that I chose to draw from.

Game of Thrones printable wall art - click to download for free or pin to save for later!

So my office was short lived, but this super fun collection of wall art lives on in my bedroom. We’ll be moving soon, maybe I’ll have an office in our new house (for what my husband likes to call my “fandom cave”).

Where do you keep geeky stuff in your house? For me it’s always a balancing act of keeping things stylish and polished but also making sure my home authentically represents the things that I love.

Harry Potter printable wall art - click to download for free or pin to save for later!

Download the printables!

Doctor Who Printable

Moon of My Life/Khaleesi Printable

Harry Potter Printable

 

 

How To Set Up Rich Pins For Your Blog

 

Get the low-down on why rich pins are so awesome, and the super easy step-by-step for setting them up (+ a free Supercharge Your Pinterest checklist!). Click through to get the deets or pin to save for later.

I am a huge, huge fan of using Pinterest to grow your audience. I’ve seen tremendous results from using my Pinterest profile in a focused way. Earlier this week I shared sort of a foundation post on Pinterest and why you should absolutely be using it for your blog. You can see that post here and you can get access to a free checklist to optimize your Pinterest here

Let’s start with the basics: What are rich pins?

Rich pins are the superheroes of pins. Regular pins are  scrawny Steve Rogers pre-serum, rich pins are Captain America.

Regular pins are scrawny Steve Rogers pre-serum, rich pins are Captain America. Click To Tweet

Basically they automatically pull information from your website to add more detail than a regular pin, which only has the caption. With a rich pin, even if whoever pins your pin just writes “save for later” or something else totally nondescript as the caption, it will still have plenty of info for the peeps who view it and want to know more.

When you’re scrolling through your feed, this is what a rich pin looks like:

rich pins 2

It’s just got an air of the legit about it, know what I mean?

And when you click on it, here’s what it looks like:

rich pins 1

How awesome is that?!

Another reason to use rich pins is that they are favored by Pinterest’s algorithm, which means they’re seen as higher value and are more likely to be placed at the top of the feed.

Okay, you’re obviously sold. Now we’ll talk details.

Rich pins are only available on business accounts.

Don’t panic.

It’s super easy to turn your regular-person account into a business account (and in addition to rich pins you’ll get access to Pinterest’s account analytics, which can be very useful).

Just click here to go to Pinterest’s business page, and click “convert now”. You will be guided through a few steps, filling out your business type and updating your profile, and then you’ll be able to just click “convert”. Easy peasy!

Now you can confirm your site and activate rich pins.

If you have WordPress this is super painless. (If you don’t have WordPress I’m terribly sorry, I won’t be much help.) Download the Yoast SEO Plugin (this plugin is UH-MAZING and will be extremely helpful for making sure your SEO is on point as well as setting up Google’s webmaster tools and a whole slew of other things).

Log in to Pinterest and go to your profile. Click on the gear in the upper right hand corner and click “edit profile”. Scroll down to “website” and click “confirm website”. Copy and paste the meta tag into the “pinterest confirmation” field into your Yoast plugin (you’ll find it in the “social” section under the “Pinterest” tab). Go back to Pinterest and click “finish”.

Finally, head over to the rich pins validator. Enter the URL from any post on your site and click “validate”. You should see a message telling you your pin has been validated, then click “apply now”.

That’s it! You should get an email from Pinterest confirming that you’re all set up with rich pins very soon (I got mine in about 10 minutes, but it can take up to 48 hours).

Ready to take your Pinterest game to the next level? Get the free Supercharge Your Pinterest Checklist! 

Using Pinterest to Grow Your Blog

All the deets on how to use Pinterest to grow your blog and expand your reach PLUS a FREE checklist for making sure your profile is in tip-top shape. Click to read more or pin to save for later!

Pinterest. Is. Awesome.

Did you know that Pinterest has 100 million (100 MILLION) active users? It is blowing up BIG and it’s not just for DIY and mommy blogs anymore.

W/100 million users, pinterest isn't just for DIY blogs anymore. Click To Tweet

So what are the top things to know in order to best use Pinterest to grow?

1. Use or it or lose it, baby.

You have to have a super active profile in order to see the best boost in followers and traffic. There are a couple of reasons for this:

a) Active accounts are more fun to follow! I always follow the more active boards and accounts because I know if they’re pinning a lot of stuff, I’m going to get more awesome content. It’s a higher value-to-me follow.

b) If you have an active account the Pinterest Goddess (aka the Smart Feed algorithm) will like you better. The more interaction (likes, repins) on your pins and more high quality pins you pin the more visible your pins will be. Lordy, I’ve never typed the word “pin” so much in all my days.

2. Pin awesome images.

I’m working on a post that goes into this in more detail, but basically always use vertical images (mine are sized to 700p x 1050p) because they stand out the most in the feed, and always include a big, clear title so people can see in an instant why they NEED to click on that pin.

3. Don’t pin irrelevant stuff.

When I first started optimizing my Pinterest profile for growth, this was the thing I resisted the most. Yes, I’m a blogger, and yes, I get that my social media is a reflection of my business. But DARNIT I didn’t WANT to delete my boards of tattoo inspiration and party planning ideas. So I didn’t. And my profile continued to look unfocused and a little confusing. So finally (honestly, I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t think of it earlier) I made all of those boards secret. Now they still exist for me, but no one else can see them. Best of both worlds, friend. Do it.

And finally, the holy grail of harnessing the mighty power of Pinterest –

4. Join several active, niche-focused group boards.

This is the “expand your reach” portion of the show. Group boards are AMAZING because they instantly give you access to a HUGE audience that is interested in your subject. As your own reach on Pinterest grows you will start to get unsolicited invitations to join group boards, but most boards are easy to join, you just have to ask!

UNEDITABLE

I’ve developed a checklist to make sure your Pinterest profile is in tip top shape and totally optimized to grow your traffic! Sign up here to get the PDF!!

 

Are you having trouble gaining traction on Pinterest, or do you have any helpful tips to share? Questions and success stories – I want to hear them all! 

 

Photoshop 101 – Creating a Clipping Mask

 

Follow this step by step tutorial to learn how to use the clipping mask tool in Photoshop to make stunning graphics and printables! Click through to get the tutorial (and a free printable) or pin to save for later.

What the heck is a clipping mask?

Ohhh I’m so glad you asked. The clipping mask is, in my humble opinion, the most useful tool for non-designers (like me and you) in making some pretty awesome stuff even though we don’t really know what we’re doing.

I first learned how to create a clipping mask from Melyssa Griffin (definitely check her out if you’re a blogger, she shares heaps of super useful info) and it so rocked my world that I just have to pass it on.

But back to what a clipping mask actually IS. It’s basically a Photoshop tool that allows you to superimpose a pattern over your text, making it look all awesome. Like this:

Free Wall Art Printable and Photoshop Tutuorial

BTW, click here to download this as a printable.

Now on to the step-by-step.

This is really super simple, but Photoshop can be kind of confusing if you aren’t used to it yet so I’ve included a lot of screen shots to keep you on track.

1. Start with your text.

On a blank background open up a text layer and write your text.

Use a nice thick font so the pattern has room to show up!

screen shot 1

2. Open up your pattern.

In the upper left hand corner click file > open. Choose your pattern image and Photoshop will automatically open it in a new tab. Using the move tool (the little arrow tool that is selected in the photo below) drag the image up into the other tab that has your text.

screen shot 2

3. Lay the pattern over your text.

If it doesn’t cover up the text completely, you can resize it by clicking edit > free transform. Once it covers all your text you’re ready to make the magic happen.

screen shot 3

4. Create clipping mask!

Make sure that your image layer is highlighted and right click. Click “create clipping mask”.

screen shot 4

5. Admire your snazzy graphic.

That’s it! So easy.

screen shot 5

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn to do with Photoshop? What awesome stuff have you made with the clipping mask? Let me know down below! 

The Secret to Great Photos

 

Learn a few quick tips that will instantly improve your photography, whether you're using a point and shoot, a cell phone, or a DSLR. Click to read more or pin to save for later!

The Secret to great photos

Yup, there is one secret to taking awesome pictures yourself. Are you ready? The secret is there is no secret. Literally anyone can take great photos.

Now, let’s start this out with a disclaimer. Not everyone can take professional photographs. Not everyone has access to a DSLR, not everyone has access to high quality post-processing like Photoshop, and not everyone has the eye for it. I am not a professional photographer by any means, and I’ve never been under the impression that I could have been (having a best friend who is probably has something to do with that; no way could I do what she does).

Professional-level images are not what I’m talking about. Great photos are what I’m talking about. Beautiful, rich colors, and images that are in focus. Images that tell a story.

So how does the average Joe (or Jo, in my case) get great photos?

In my experience photography is one of those never-ending subjects; there’s always more to learn. But to start, you can easily improve the quality of your photography by remembering just 3 simple tips.

1. Always natural light/never use the flash

There are some very specific and rare occasions where you need a flash, but as a general rule of thumb you should be avoiding it like the proverbial plague. Natural light is the friend of every subject; it makes food look yummier, people vibrant, and colors bright and true. If the sun is really strong you might need to move out of direct light, just play around with it. But I promise you if you only do this 1 thing your photography will improve by about 300%.

Natural light is the friend of every subject Click To Tweet

2. Find a happy medium with filters

Filters (and actions in software like Photoshop) are awesome but it’s easy to get carried away. If you’re going to layer more than one filter make sure you’re not using them both at 100% (A Color Story is my favorite editing app for iPhone and they offer a lot of flexibility in layering apps at different strengths). When people look at your pictures you want them to think “whoa! That’s a great photo!” Rather than “whoa, cool filter!”

3. Take way more pictures than you think you need

There is no shame in taking 20 pictures to find the perfect shot. Professional photographers do this too, but it’s especially true for us mere mortals. Sometimes the light isn’t quite right or you think you like one angle but it turns out it’s not as awesome as you thought once you really stop to look at it. Try it zoomed out and zoomed farther in, portrait and landscape, from above and from in front. Once you start thinking “okay, that’s definitely enough”, take 5 more. You can thank me later.

There is no shame in taking 20 pictures to find the perfect shot Click To Tweet

Do you struggle with taking great photos? I’d love to hear how these tips work out for you, or if you have found other simple tweaks to improve your pictures. Let me know in the comments!