Thursday, February 26, 2015

Free Printable St. Patrick's Day Cards

Last month I created a few Valentine's Day (or anniversary) Cards so I thought I would try my hand at a few St. Patrick's Day cards.



You can print them on a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and fold them in half. I just cropped the images for the preview so the back will be blank.

Print out Heart and Home be Blessed...


You can also print out the inside of the card if you wanted...

Or here is my attempt at a humorous version of luck of the Irish...

I am clutzy, probably ridiculously clutzy (stories for another day...) but I thought I can't be the only one who has black and blue shins because I seem to walk into the coffee table 7 times a day. Can I?

And if you wanted to print the inside the above Happy St. Patricks day is in the matching font.

And here is another attempt at humour... and well seriously I couldn't think of anything that rhymes with happiness besides less... and if I think of a way to make that work we may have another St. Patrick's day installment...

Print out 'What Rhymes with Happiness'...

Do you ever feel like you are the only person who actually finds yourself funny? Oh well... atleast one person is laughing.

And here's the inside of the card. (which I forgot to crop.)




Hope everyone likes them and please let me know what you think, or if you have any problems printing them. Thanks!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Twitter Link Party



I recently wrote How to Get More Followers on Twitter, and wrote that Twitter link parties were a great way to get followers because everyone there is interested in the same goals as you - get more followers and gain more exposure. But not finding a ton of Twitter parties I created my own.

Please read carefully as their are two link-ups - one for gaining followers and one for linking up a tweet in order to get a few re-tweets.


This link-up begins Monday February 23rd and will last one month until March 24th.







1. Add your twitter account and follow (at least) the three links above yours.

2. I would appreciate a follow (and I follow back) but you don't have too.

3. And it would be nice if you would share this post through twitter, a link text or a button if you want to spread the word and hopefully get even more followers but again it's your choice.



This link-up is for Re-Tweets only. So link to a tweet you would like to have shared.

1. Please post to a (family friendly) tweet

2. Re-tweet the two above yours.





How to Get More Followers on Twitter

I have to admit I am fairly new to Twitter but love to learn how to utilize social media to gain new blog readers and since I spent some time learning for myself I decided to share everything I found with you.




I  actually find twitter to be one of the easiest social media forms to break into, and get return followers compared to say Pinterest.

But read that only 30% of people you follow will follow you back but in my experience it has been closer to 80 - 90%. So what can you do to dramatically increase your follower rates ? You can add accounts with similar interest and you can generally tell if someone will follow you back by looking at their following vs. followers numbers.

 
Generally if their following is higher (or at least relatively close) to their followers they will follow you back.

Making your Profile:


Make sure you add a photo of yourself (not another pic of your logo) people want to know you are not a robot. And you can write a short description of yourself or your brand/blog.

I recently created a post on creating a better twitter header for free including a tutorial and header dimensions .



Where to find followers:


You can use the Who to Follow Sidebar to find people with similar interests to yourself. Also once you click on a person they will recommend another 3 people you may want to follow. You can add several per day, I would generally recommend adding 10-15 new followers a day.

You can also visit Twitter (or Social Media) link parties. I like Twitter link parties because everyone is there for the same reason to get more exposure and more followers so they may be more likely to follow you.

Also I am currently hosting a month long Twitter Link Party where you can add your Twitter account to gain followers, or add a Tweet and get it re-tweeted.

How to Get Noticed:


Yes you want to tweet your own blog posts, I tweet a post as soon as it's posted and a couple links to older posts, but you also will want to retweet, comment or favourite other bloggers posts (probably about 3 a day) - and make sure you add @TheirTwitterName this is a quick and easy way to get noticed.

Also you can add a photo to your posts which will make them twice as likely to get noticed.

You will also want to use #hashtags - but sparingly. Probably about 2 per tweet, and you can also find trending hashtags on the left of the screen which you may want to mention. Keep your tweets between 120 - 130 characters long, use proper punctuation and don't be afraid to ask people to please retweet - they are more likely to retweet your posts when you ask them too.

 

Best Times:


They say the best times to post on Twitter are between 1:00 and 3:00 pm with higher engagement on the weekends. source

You can follow me on Twitter, I always add (family friendly) accounts back.

Did you have any Twitter tips??? I would love to hear them.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Free Twitter Header Contest

I recently wrote a post on How to Make a Better Twitter Header for free, and actually had fun designing it so I thought if anyone was interested I would offer one lucky reader a free Twitter header. (designed by me of course)

Now I am not a professional graphic designer, and only do it more as a hobby so my skills may be (somewhat) limited but if you liked mine then please enter!!




The Rules will be simple.

1. Choose any one post I have previously wrote.

2. Promote it as much as you can - through twitter, pinterest, stumble upon, a button on your sidebar, Google+ however ...

3. Leave a comment with which post you chose, and how you promoted it - you can leave a link to a tweet, pinterest or your blog but we will mostly go by the honour system.

4. If you are not on Google+, please leave a way to contact you - email or even twitter


The contest will run for one month - and end on March 20th.


The winner will have to provide a header or some kind of image they wanted to incorporate in their header. And their header may be featured on my blog after it's complete - with a before image. (and a link to their Twitter account if they wanted)


And that's it! Any questions???

Creating a Twitter Header

I originally began writing a post on how to use twitter and in the process decided to update my twitter header and decided to share the results with you. I am in no way claiming to be a professional but thought the end result didn't look too shabby.



Here is the original header I was using, I just simply uploaded a copy of my blog header, I'm sure some of you can relate...


And here is the new header ...


Not a drastic change but what do you guys think of the improvement?

You can check out my header live in action on Twitter, and don't forget to follow me while you're there =)

I also changed my profile pic because I thought I was looking a little grumpy in the first one, although I think I still need to work on my selfies.

I created the new header in PicMonkey using 1500 x 500 dimensions, although I recommend leaving the top 80 pixels and the bottom 40 pixels blank (you can check the pixels by using the crop function) as my first attempt was cut off. Also don't forget the placement of the profile picture in your design.

I used a couple social media buttons, (you can download some I created for free) and color matched from my heading (you can find how to do that in a PicMonkey Tutorial I wrote) and that's basically it.

Oh yeah and if you want to get fancy I also color matched my twitter theme colour to match my header. You can find the colour code when you click on the colour in PicMonkey or most other design programs.



And if you are interested in me designing you a personalized Twitter Header for free - check out the contest.

So that's it. Please let me know if you had any questions, or if I didn't explain anything thoroughly. Thanks!

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Ways to Save When Dining Out

I love dining out. Who doesn't - it's nice to get out of the house, have an excuse to put on a clean shirt and have a night off from doing dishes. But it can be so expensive for a dinner for two... or four if you bring the kids. So how can you still eat out without the ridiculous price tag?



Take Advantage of Gift Cards


Our favourite restaurant to bring the kids to is Boston Pizza - they have a great kids menu and it's so loud in there we don't get the usual stares from childless couples. They have a $6.99 kids menu which includes a drink and dessert but once a year (I believe in October) they have 5 for $5 - meaning you can spend $5 to get a gift card worth 5 kids meals. Do the math, that's a good deal! So we can bring our 2 kids out for dinner for $2 instead of $14. The only catch is the card expires after a few months.

Also they usually have promotions usually around the holidays to increase gift card sales. For instance purchase a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card for yourself for free. And who says you can't buy yourself a present if it's your favourite restaurant.

Eat out on a Weekday


Opt to go for dinner on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday instead of the weekend. Restaurants often have specials like half price pasta, two can dine for $35 (including aps and desserts),etc. throughout the week to increase sales and none on the already busy weekends. You can usually find the daily deals on their website and plan to go on the day that suites you best.

Use Coupons


Our local Caseys sends out coupons in the mail for $10 off a $30 purchase or $15 off a $45 food purchase. A great save if you were already planning on dining there. They send these out every few months, restaurant coupons are cyclical just like grocery coupons - meaning they generally have a set pattern. We also receive Swiss Chalet and Boston Pizza coupons as well. I live in Canada so they restaurant coupons will vary from city to city.


Another great way to learn about deals and promotions is to sign up for newsletters from your favourite restaurant. They generally have more frequent deals.

Skip the Drinks


Having one or two alcoholic (or even mocktails) can double the price of your bill so instead opt for refillable soft drinks or even water if you are trying to keep the cost down.

 

Kids Eat Free


If you have young kids - kids eat free can save you a lot of money. The age usually varies from place to place so you may need to double check - some it's 3 others it's 6 and lots just have discounted prices.

I love the Sunday buffet at one of our city's local restarants, and they have kids under 3 eat free so my 3 year old and 18 month old (who actually eats as much as me) eats for free. That's a good deal.

Did you have any tips to save on Dining costs??? I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Free Printable Funny and Cute Valentines (or anniversary) Cards

I loved all the cute Valentines I found on my Valentines Day Card Round-Up for your Sweetheart but thought there weren`t very many options so I decided to make a few of my own.



I saved the cards with a blank left side so you should just be able to save and print them on a blank normal 8.5 x 11`sheet of paper and fold it in half. Please leave a comment if you have any problems.

 
 
 
 
 
 
I absolutely love bacon, and I can`t be the only one right ? Now if only it was healthy for you....
 
 
 
Yup I love coffee, even more than bacon. So loving anyone or anything more than coffee is saying a lot, at least for me.
 
So let me know if you like the free printable cards, they are my first attempts at designing a free printable and if you wanted any more font options or maybe background textures let me know because I can (probably) do that.
 
 
And Happy Valentine`s Day (or Anniversary!)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentines Day Gifts for your Sweetheart (on a Budget)


Some people love Valentine`s Day, some more cynical people loathe it as a commericial and expensive holiday, and kids just seem to love any excuse for a holiday.

But Valentine`s Day doens`t need to be expensive, a small thoughtful gesture can take the place of an overly grand and costly  present.



 
You don`t need to make reservations at the most expensive restaurant in town, (which you probably should have done already because they will be booked weeks in advance) a home cooked meal can be just as special and I am lucky my husband is a fabulous cook.

Try to dig out those candlesticks that you have but never find a reason to use, cook a meal that you don`t eat every Tuesday. In our house we have Steak or Salmon for special occasions paired with fresh steamed vegetables green beans, carrots or asparagus and rice and potatoes. Or you could slow cook a nice pot roast, and if you prepare in advance you can base your meal on sales on the grocery store. Or maybe just that one signature dish you can cook due to your limited cooking skills

And I don`t think there is any better foreplay for me then doing dishes. Yes my dishwasher broke a month ago and I cried a little bit on the inside that day and am now doing dishes 364 days a year - I refuse to do them on my birthday but there seem to be double the next day for some reason.

My husband buys me cards from Hallmark for Valentines Day, Christmas and my birthday that are so sweet and so romantic they have literally brought a tear to my eye more than once. But if you are on a budget (or just realized Valentine`s Day is in 6 hours and all the stores are closed) you can skip the overpriced $8+ card print one off for free and take some time to write a heartfelt message to your sweetheart.

To help you out  I created a round-up of my favourite free, printable Valentines Day cards: (and some you can personalize with how long you have been going out for or your own photo)

 

Everyone associates a bouquet of roses with Valentines Day which is nice but they seem so overpriced especially for the holiday so instead buy her a bouquet of her favourite flowers, pick her a bunch of her favourite wild flowers (if you don`t live in Canada and everything is covered with snow) or my personal favourite buy her an inexpensive potted flower from Walmart or a garden center. You can buy a small rose plant for $8 or less and it will last a lot longer... well unless you have a black thumb like me in which case I`m lucky if it will last two weeks.

I also love the fruit or candy bouquets as something unique, but they are a little pricey. So you can make your own for only a fraction of the cost. You can find the step by step tutorial for the below candy bouquets from Amateur Hour


 

What are your favourite creative (and inexpensive) Valentines Day ideas ?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Free Printable Valentine`s Day Card Round-Up



I love freebies! (I am sure I have mentioned that before...) Anyways, Here are a few of my favourite FREE printable Valentines Day Cards for your hubby, wife or special someone in your life:


Funny Printable Valentines Day Cards from Landeelu.com

You can find more cute and funny printables from Landeelu here.


Another cute option are these free printables from 74 LimeLine


Or you can customize this card from EveryDayCheer with how many days you loved someone. You may need to download the matching font.


Another personalized option is to use your own photos. You can download this template from Shutter Sisters.

Or you can find another free photo template download from The Album Café which has standard size cards as well as 8 wallet size Valentines.

And I also love this card by Thank You Cards and found at Las bodas de marta Who also has three more card options.


And because I has a bit of a hard time finding cards for your significant other I decided to create a few myself, you can print them for free here.


With sayings like I love your more than Bacon... Enough Said. and two other options.

Did you have a favourite free printable Valentine`s Day card ? Please leave the link in the comments.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pic Monkey Tutorial

Have I mentioned I love PicMoney - a free online photo editing site. Yup probably. I was so disappointed when Picnik was no longer - bought out by Google I believe - if anyone remembers that? But anyway I thought I would share my favourite PicMonkey tips and hacks.



I love all the fonts in PicMonkey - and they have a lot of fonts that are only available to Royale customers. (ie. you pay a small fee per month) like one of my favourites:


But PicMonkey picks up all the fonts on your computer so if you download them from a free site like DaFont.com or find cute ones on Pinterest then you can use them.

I would explain it to you but Bonnie over at the Pin Junkie probably did a much better job then I ever could.



And I recently stumbled upon how to colour match in Pic Monkey. When using overlay you can use the little eye dropper and place it on the colour on the image you wanted to match.


You can also match font colours by going to the box to the right of the colour palette - which will turn into an eyedropper - then choose the colour from your background image you want to match your font too.




And I do not know about you but I personally always have trouble pairing fonts when I am making title images so here are my favourite PicMonkey font combos.


The trick is to pair bold fonts with light weight fonts and type fonts with handwritten fonts. Coneria Script and Sketch Block are both Royale fonts I found from DaFont.com Did you have any favourite font combinations?

And if you love all the Royale fonts, overlays, and editing tools check out the very reasonably priced PicMonkey upgrade:




You might also like How to Create a Pinterest Worthy Image For Free - Using Pic Monkey which has some great links to free background and font resources.

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