SOCIAL MEDIA BULL

Wowzers, October, where'd you go?? This was my month to focus on social media and growth in my blog happiness project... and, guys, I feel like I've failed a little bit. I think I've fallen short of the goals I had for myself at the beginning of the month. I wanted to be allll over twitter convos and sharing all kinds of crazy awesome stuff on facebook. Ok, I did a little (did you see the ghost dog pic on facebook?? Classic!)... but I wanted to dominate my social media channels! I wanted to be a social media BULL (i.e. a big, strong social media force).

Oh perfectionist, over-achieving self. There's only so much I can do in a day... and if I learned anything this month, it's this: for ANY social media sharing to be effective, it has to be genuine and authentic. Aha moment: it's the same as the blog - just a mini version. I can't make myself post more, because that's how it will come across - forced. Sure, I can have the intention to post more, but if the inspiration doesn't come? Don't post.

Here are some of my favorite bits of social media wisdom I've acquired this month:

- use (reasonable) hashtags. I thank Louise of Laid Off Mom for that one. I whined, "but I like to hashtag things like #cantsayno to hot chocolate 'grams and #superdeepthoughts to my Be Happy Linkup posts." While that's allowed, it's not the most #effective use of a hashtag. Ok, agreed.

- Louise also shared these words of advice: no matter what platform you're using, "there has to be some MEAT to what you put out there in the social media-verse.  Don't just post, just to post." Amen, sista!! Well-said.

- get creative! Start a hashtag trend on twitter or instagram. Invite a blogger to be a guest pinner. Host a Pinterest or moodboard contest. Host a twitter chat. Social media (and your mind) is an infinite field of possibilities.

The funny thing about my exploration into social media - it all comes down to having FUN. If you're having fun, your posts will be fun, and your readers will have fun too. So, really, it comes down to being happy... oh that Gretchen, she's good.

Image found here.

DIY DATE // 3

A while back I wrote a post called Crafting for the Crafting Inept. That's because I'm a super impatient/not very skilled crafter. I want it to look uh-mazing and put very minimal effort into it. Unreasonable?

That, my friends, is why I looove digital crafts. Ok, some of you may be thinking that digital crafts aren't really crafts. Glue, scissors, physical materials must be involved. You might be right... but when MJ of Parscaeli picked "typography" for this month's DIY Date, I immediately rejoiced because I could create a typography diy of sorts right in good ol' Photoshop. No overwhelming trip to the craft store, no clean up, no Meowmers getting into my craft bag and ripping up my construction paper. This DDIY (digital DIY) is gonna be grrreat!

Plus I love Photoshop. I use it basically daily (whoa, computer nerd much?). I'm gonna show you a suuuuper easy way to use Photoshop to take your photos and/or Instagrams to the next level of awesome.

To add a little pizazz to your photos, Instagrams, or those phenom images you find on Pinterest, follow these easy steps:

1. open your image in Photoshop. If you want to add text to an Instagram, use a site like Instagrid or ink361 to save them to your computer... and then let the fun begin.

2. in Photoshop, select the type tool (the "T" in your toolbar). Cool shortcut? Just hit the "T" key on your keyboard to select the type tool.

3. now for a rad font. On the top bar you'll see a drop-down menu for font styles, font size, etc. Click on the drop-down menu to select the font you'd like to use. While Photoshop comes with plenty of options to pick from, I highly recommend browsing sites like Font Squirrel or Da Font for fun and FREEEE fonts to download. No more boring fonts, k?

4. click anywhere on your image and a cursor will appear. write your message, yo. I love finding inspirational quotes from my beloved text | image pinboard and typing them on my photos to create my own little art prints...

5. find the best spot for your text. To move the text around, use the "select" tool at the very top of your toolbar. Cool shortcut? Press "V" on your keyboard. Oh yeah. These seconds you save add up, ya hear.

6. Text too big or too small? Select the type tool once again and double click your text. This should highlight your text. Now go back to the top bar, click the font size drop-down menu to select a different size.

Easy, yes? You could totally print these off, frame them, and have yourself one awesomely unique gift...

This was a super quick lesson - if you have questions, please ask!! I'd love to help. I know Photoshop can be cray... artsocialonline@gmail.com.

Next up will be the "NOT SO SIMPLE" text lesson in Photoshop... stay tuned, friendies.

As TO YOUR Qs

I love me some Photoshop. I use it for almost every post, either to resize an image...

add some text...

change colors and texture...

or merge images together when I'm feelin real arty like...

I've received a few questions about how I create my images (especially how to make the animated gif in this post!). During my blog post brainstorming sesh yesterday, I thought it could be fun to offer how-tos for all of my Photoshop magic... would you guys be into that? What would you like to know? I'd love to hear all of your Photoshop Qs! and, hopefully, I'll have the As...

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