Monday, July 9, 2012

Blogging on a budget, design

We have been working on really reducing all the debt we have.  This past week we paid off our car leaving us with only one thing left to pay off.  We have been following Dave Ramsey's plan to be completely out of debt and are happy with the progress we have made.

I made enough off the blog to be able to afford a domain name, so we got one.  They aren't very expensive for a year and I hope be able to keep it up.  Blogging can get expensive.  If you have a blog like mine with tutorials, crafts, and such, it can really run up the costs.  That is why most of the things I have posted about are things that I was going to make anyway, and not things I've done just for the sake of the blog.  I just don't want to spend the money unless I can justify the costs.




I decided I could save money in the beginning by making my own logo.  I really can't draw, but I can usually make doodles.  Since I want Snickety Things to have a whimsical feel anyway, my doodles fit in okay.

I start by making doodles until I get something I like, then I scan it into the computer.  I do this because I can't get a mouse to doodle very well and I don't have a tablet to draw on.


If you look closely, you can see where I made the doodle then traced over it with a marker to thicken the lines.  It is pretty rough, but it is a start.  I scan this in with the highest dpi I can so I can resize the picture later easily.

I open this up in my ten year old copy of Photoshop Elements 3 and start to trace it with the pencil tool.


I set the pencil width to be about the width of the line on the page.  I then carefully go over the lines until I have recreated the drawing in a contrasting color.  I know there are probably much easier ways to do this, but this is the easiest for me with the tools I have.

After I have it traced, I erase any of the lines I drew that are still showing, then fill in the red with black to make it solid.

I can save it at this point as a jpeg file, but I like to save mine without a background as a png.  That seems to have given me the best options for using them mixed with other images.


I just go to the eraser tool and set it to erase the background.  I just click in the white area and all of it will disappear.  Very easy.  See those gray squares in the above picture.  If you see those, the background is clear.

Then I save as a png file and I can use it over any image.


Because my flower is a png, I can drop it onto my pictures very easily.  Did you notice the new header I have?


I was able to just drop the flower between the words without worrying about hiding any of them.  The header is also saved as a png so you can see the background of the blog behind it.

The vines you see on the background were also made using the flower.  I just made them as a png and tiled over the background color I chose.

I know my blog doesn't have the super polished look of a purchased set, but I am happy because I did it on my own.

I am also doodling up some pictures to go along with the flower.

And, here is the new button I created to go with the new with the new header.



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32 comments:

  1. I think you have a very polished look and knowing how you did it makes me appreciate it even more!
    Jenny

    Owl Things First

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    1. Thanks Jenny! I can always count on you.

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  2. I think you also have a very lovely blog! Great job! It really is something to be proud of that you can design your own blog. Be proud!! I am the same way- I design my blog as well. If my blog is going to be super polished I would be really satisfied knowing that I made it that way and maybe one day I will know all the tricks! I enjoyed your post!

    Shelley from Piggy In Polka Dots

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    1. Thanks Shelley. I'm going to have a look at your blog. I have a lot of fun designing mine.

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  3. 1 more comment- I was reading your "About Us" page and saw that you are a fellow Mississippi girl! How fun! I am also following you now!

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    1. Welcome to the blog. I'm headed over to yours now.

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I was just getting ready to update my logo and thought about doing it this way but hadn't figured out the "how-to's" of it yet.
    ♥ Terrie ♥

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    1. Thank you! Let me know when you get yours up. I'd love to have a look.

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  5. I love that you did this yourself! I've been working at my header, and it's hard to come up with a design you like all on your own.:)

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    1. Thanks! It takes me a while to come up with something I really like. I really don't draw well.

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  6. I love your header! I think it's cooler that you made it!

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  7. Wow! Thanks for the instructions on how to do that! And I love your flower. I think it gives a great feel for your blog. Stopping in from Delightful Order! :-)

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    1. Thanks! I know it may not be the most simple instruction, but it works for me and what I have.

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  8. Pretty! I like your doodles! And major congrats on the Dave Ramsey thing! We're working towards being debt-free too and it's such a relief to know we're getting somewhere!

    If you are interested, the open-source (free!) art programs out there are actually quite good now. I use Paint.NET, Gimp, and Inkscape for various things. (Paint.NET is probably closest to Elements? I'm not sure. Gimp does most of the same things as Photoshop, and Inkscape is a vector drawing program like Illustrator.) There's some good tutorials out there - I'd be happy to point you to my favorites if you drop me a line. Obviously you're doing just fine with what you've got, but I know sometimes you kinda want a new toy, and at least these are free. Free is good.

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    1. I've only used Inkscape a couple of times. I might have to look at the others. My PS Elements is really old and it can't do much. I'm sure other programs can do what it does more quickly and a lot easier. Thank you for the information!

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  9. Wow, great job! I always wondered how people got hand sketched images on their blogs... Thanks for sharing at Shine on Fridays!!

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    1. Thanks Amy! I'm sure if I had a tablet I could draw on straight into the computer, it would save me a lot of trouble.

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  10. I think the blog looks Great. Thanks for the tips. Really helpful info since I will not be having a designer do my blog either. Visiting from niftythrifty linkup - have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thank you and thanks for stopping by! I wish you luck with your blog design and I want to see what all you come up with.

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  11. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Dave Ramsey! I used to listen to him on the radio every day (then the format of the radio station changed). I am totally using your idea to create blog images. Thank you for sharing. I am visiting from Tatertots & Jello!

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    1. I love Dave Ramsey, but I don't get to listen very often. Good luck and I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  12. I think it looks great! And such a clever idea =)

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  13. Thanks for showing how to do this. I don't have a tablet either and have been wondering what it would look like it I scanned designs I drew and edited those. So glad to know it works!

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    1. Thanks! I'm sure there are much easier ways, but this works for me. I'm going to be adding some new stuff soon (hopefully).

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  14. Love your little flower, it's so cute!

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