New: KG I And Love And You, KG Flavor and Frames Six, KG All of Me, KG Corner of the Sky

Whew! I had major major website troubles that culminated in me accidentally deleting my entire website.

When it was fixed, apparently ALL of my old posts were sent out as new. SORRY! I was not trying to spam everyone!

All of that aside, I’ve been creating but not posting here! So here’s a slew of new stuff! :)

Conversation Hearts? Valentine’s Day? That might be sooooo 2 weeks ago, but here you go- get a head start for next year!

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Chalkboard art? Yes! I’m obsessed! Grab some chalkboard arty love!

KGFlavorFramesSix720

 

A chubbier, even more kid-friendly teacher font than KG Lego House?  Yes, needed that too!

KGCorneroftheSky720

And rough, eroded, distressed capital letters? Yes, I always need that too!

kgallofme720

Click any image to see that font on Fontspace.

Have a great day!

Please pay for commercial use.

Connect on Facebook or Twitter for my latest updates!
For licensing options, you can pay directly via my website. I also offer licensing via Fontspring or MyFonts or Etsy. Teachers can also license for their teaching products at Teachers Pay Teachers.

 

 

 

Sunshine Photo Actions

 

I took my daughters’ photos for our family Christmas card.  My poor DSLR has been shelved for the last several months.  I use my iPhone5′s camera almost everywhere we go– photos of food, family, friends, and fun.

But I have this really nice camera with lots of lenses.  Just sitting there.

So I pulled it out and used it again.  I used to be a photography teacher at one point!  I owe it to myself to at least use it once a month!

I ended up begging my friend Charla (a local friend and fellow homeschooling mom) at CharmBox Studios for help.  All of my backlit photos had grey skintones.  My girls are pale, but not grey!

This is the original photo, straight out of the camera (SOOC).

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I had edited it (levels, curves, unsharp mask, and hue/sat) and was really unhappy with the results.  Charla recommended I try her Sunshine actions.  I used Evening Sun.

If you’ve never used an action before, it is SUPER simple!  Just unzip the action and load it up in your Photoshop Actions palette.  (there are LOADS of tutorials on YouTube if you need help with that!)

Click a button.  Adjust the layers if desired or leave it as-is.  PERFECTION.

If you are looking for a great action, I am now in love with these Sunshine actions!

I used Kissed by the Sun on this photo of my younger daughter:

I actually think this one is my favorite of the actions!  It adds a great Florida glow to that photo!

 

And Evening Sun again on this pic of my girls together:

If you’d like to try an action of Charla’s for free, she has one you can try here–> Our Life Action.

Note: I’m just a happy fan of Charla’s and a proud mom who loves to show off her babies.  I wasn’t paid to share Charla’s work. I just like it a lot! :)

Repurposed Birchboxes and Thanksgiving Wreaths

I’m always looking for crafts my kids can do fairly independently.  They are 9 and almost-11 and they are fairly crafty and can hold their own with basic tasks like cutting cardstock to certain dimensions and using adhesives properly.

Friday, I had a Craft Day with my daughters and we spent time working on some holiday crafts.  It was our version of a fall break from homeschooling.

I’m not good at following recipes to the letter- and the same goes for craft projects.   I start with an idea and it evolves into something different.

We started with some Pinspiration:

Pinterest Tree

This pin was an unsourced image- I haven’t found the original location of it.  It was quickly altered into a new idea.

I have loads of Birchbox boxes- both tops and bottoms- that are just sitting here taking up space.  They are fantastic boxes and I knew they had a purpose!

I had the girls cut strips of paper in varying widths (each piece was 1 cm taller than the layer below it).  They modpodged paper onto the boxes (the lids are just a tinch bigger than 5×7 and the bottoms are 5×7) and then modpodged the trees on.  LOVE the results!

Birchbox Trees

After we finished this, the girls wanted to do something with the bottoms of those boxes.

They took a 5×7 sheet of cardstock and modpodged strips of paper to the sheet.  When they were finished, we cut out a pumpkin shape and a pumpkin stem, an apple shape and an apple stem and leaf and modpodged those onto the lid bottoms.

I think they both turned out really cute!  The girls loved that they could do these crafts independently with minimal help.

Birchbox Pumpkins

 

The wreath in the background of that image, we made using strips of fabric tied in bows around a wreath base.

I was really really wanting to do a wreath like this pin I had seen on Pinterest (click the image to visit the tutorial on the original blog):

Pinterest Ribbon Wreath

Unfortunately we did not have any ribbon like that.

So we made do with what we already had on hand and used some old Stampin’ Up! fabric.  We made a snip every inch and a half along the short side of the fat quarter and tore the fabric vertically into long strips.  We tied the fabric onto a wood wreath base (flat wood).

I think it turned out pretty cute!

Thanksgiving Wreath

I still need a wreath holder, as my daughter’s hand is just a temporary fix ;) .

I’ve just ordered this!!


Silhouette Cameo!!

And I can’t wait to get going with that.  I intend to share some of my creations and the correlating Silhouette Studio files for all of you here!

 

NEW: KG Melonheadz Font

This darling kid-friendly option is whimsical and fun!  I created it in collaboration with Nikki at Melonheadz Illustrating.  She is very talented and I hope you will check her out at her Etsy Store where she sells her adorable clip art.

 

KGMelonheadzBlog

Click the image to download this font from Fontspace.

Have a great day!

Please pay for commercial use.

Connect on Facebook or Twitter for my latest updates!
For licensing options, you can pay directly via my website. I also offer licensing via Fontspring or MyFonts or Etsy. Teachers can also license for their teaching products at Teachers Pay Teachers.

A PhotoCard Giveaway!

giveaway

I’m excited to be giving away 5 sets of 20 PhotoCard credits- sending a postcard costs 2 credits in the United States, so that means each winner can send 10 postcards to US recipients.

In order to enter this giveaway, you will need to visit my Facebook page to add how YOU would use PhotoCard.  5 winners will be chosen on Friday, September 20th.

PhotoCard: A Tutorial

 

postcard

My brother got married last weekend. It was a beautiful day- 70′s and sunny- perfect for an outdoor wedding.

It was a perfectly timed weddding, too. Not just because it was on my mom’s birthday, but because I really wanted some great photos to use with a new app that I am excited about!

This app was created by Bill Atkinson, who was one of the original programmers working on MacPaint, QuickDraw, and other old school Mac programs. He invented the marching ants, y’all!  You know, the moving things when you’re making a selection in Photoshop?  Yeah, he invented those.

 

With Bill’s long history of programming expertise, it is no surprise that he’s managed to create a delightful, fun app!

The app is called PhotoCard and is available (FREE) for iOS devices now.  Get it here.

NOTE: You need to upgrade to iOS7 in order to get the most recent version of the app that includes my fonts.

The app works by combining several of my favorite loves- high quality photos, cute fonts (56 Kimberly Geswein fonts included in the app!), and real mail!

You use YOUR photos and MY fonts to create unique, personalized postcards.  You can opt to send the postcards digitally (free) or through USPS mail.   If you opt for USPS mail (which I highly recommend), the postcard is printed at insanely high quality at 8.25*5.5, laminated (both front and back are glossy and smooth!), and shipped for under $2.  Seriously.  If you buy 2 credits (enough to mail one card) your cost is $1.90.  If you buy larger quantities of credits, your cost decreases– you can send 100 cards for $1.50 each.

Sending cards to countries other than the US?  That costs 3 credits- or anywhere from $2.85 to $2.25 depending on the quantity of credits you purchased.

I took this photo to show you the size– the $1 bill is tiny in comparison to these photos– they are about the size of a standard sheet of letter sized paper folded in half.

Postcardsize

I love vacations and I LOVE taking photos.  I am good about Instagramming and Facebooking.  But my grandma doesn’t use Instagram.  My dad prefers a real photo in his hands.  And as good as my intentions might be, I am far too lazy to actually put a stamp on a postcard and get something in the mail.

This makes it almost TOO easy to send a postcard!

Add the photo of your choice (or create a collage in your favorite collage app if you want!- I use PicStitch quite often).  I created the collage above using Picstitch and set the aspect to 5×7, which gives you really close to the right size to fit the PhotoCard app.  You can see that only the very edges of the picture are clipped if you use a 5×7 aspect.

 2013-09-18 15.41.15

 

*NOTE* You don’t have to do that step- you can just use a photo the way it is– I just wanted a collage for my purposes.

Add text over the photo if desired.  Add a greeting to the back, pick your favorite font for the greeting.

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If you click the large blue A in the right corner, you can easily slide to adjust spacing between lines.  This is an excellent well-thought-out feature and I really appreciate that it was included.

The app remembers your most recently used fonts, allows you to click the first letter in the font name on the right side for easy picking, and has a sliding bar for font size.  It is VERY user friendly.

When you are finished, pick a stamp and address the card.  I have all of my family members’ addresses in my phone, so this is super simple.

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I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers spread across 4 states (Virginia, Arizona, Missouri, and Texas) and I live in Florida.   PhotoCard is going to help bridge the gap between our families.  My siblings and I use Facebook, but an actual postcard in the mail will help my kids and their cousins (13 of them spanning from age 3 to 13) stay connected.

And before my brother returns from his Hawaii honeymoon, he will have this postcard waiting at his home in Arizona.

wedding

The app is free and the only cost to you is mailing the postcard- the fee for printing/mailing/handling is between $1.50 and $1.90 a postcard depending on how many credits you buy at one time.  It’s a ridiculously low price for the quality of prints!

KG A Little Swag, KG Royals, KG Wake Me Up

Click the image to download this font from Fontspace.

Have a great day!

Please pay for commercial use.

Connect on Facebook or Twitter for my latest updates!
For licensing options, you can pay directly via my website. I also offer licensing via Fontspring or MyFonts or Etsy.  Teachers can also license for their teaching products at Teachers Pay Teachers.

The Creative Life: Dealing With Copycats

Cue Justin Timberlake. “It’s like you’re my mirror.  My mirror’s staring back at me…”

Be original.  Be unique.  Be authentic.

When you work in a creative industry, you undoubtedly hear those catchphrases.

You probably also see people who rise quickly in your industry by copying others and selling at a lower price.  Ouch.

You don’t want to deal with a copycat. You don’t want to deal with a lawsuit to deal with copyright infringement of the copycat.

You also don’t want to be a copycat.  You want to be original.

At the same time, you recognize that inspiration comes from many sources.  And sometimes, accidentally, we draw a little bit too much inspiration from a source and inadvertently copy someone.  The difference here is what we do next.  

If you copy someone and you realize you have copied and you feel a little bit squicky about it- take the questionable work down from the internet.  If your fans come to you asking where it went, direct them to the original source.   “Dear XX, Thanks for your interest in XYZ.  I have decided not to offer this XYZ anymore, because I felt that my work was too similar to an existing product from ABC.  I admire ABC and her artistry, and I’d rather direct you to purchase from her here at cde.com.”

Remember that there is an individual- a person- behind everything.  You might feel like you’re just copying an idea from a website that is faceless and impersonal.  But there is an individual behind every idea.  And they are worth respecting.

If you drew inspiration from a source– please credit the source!   If it is worth inspiring you, it is worth crediting!

Questions to Ask Yourself  ~About Your Own Work:

1. Did I gather so much inspiration from one source that my work is no longer really my own?

2. If I saw my work side-by-side another similar work, would I recognize mine?  Or has my inspiration drawn so deeply that the lines are blurred?

3. Does it compromise my integrity in any way to release this work as my own?

I have a personal philosophy on integrity in business.  I’d rather stay so far away from the line of questionable integrity that I am above reproach.  I would rather err on the side of keeping my business too clean than muddy the water and risk my integrity and reputation.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:15

Instead of asking how close you can get to the ethical line of right/wrong, choose to stay so far away from the line that no one can question your integrity.

Dealing With A Copycat

If you find your work copied by another designer, you have several options.   My personal approach has been to internally kick and scream.  I don’t know how healthy that approach has been.    Sometimes someone will take my font, rename it, and try to distribute it to font websites.  Thankfully, with my long relationship with font websites, the website owners have always supported me and immediately removed the copies.  But sometimes a copy is a little less overt– it isn’t 100% the same but it is awfully close.

1. Stop and breathe and re-evaluate. Are they really copying you?  Is it based on a common idea/design that is fairly universal or widespread?  Is it possible they really didn’t know anything about your work?  Is it a case of great minds thinking alike?  This does happen.  If we’re all drawing inspiration from the same points, it is possible that it is unintentional.

2. Decide what you want your approach to be. You can email them privately– this keeps things on a personal level and is a nice way to show that you respect them enough to not go over their head.  You can email the host of the site they are selling at– to me, this is like going to the principal of a school before talking to the teacher directly.     Be kind in your approach.  It may be an honest oversight.  You don’t want to burn bridges or come across as hateful.  Everyone you meet is a potential customer.  If you are hateful and nasty, they are unlikely to return to you as a customer.

3. Get an outside opinion. Don’t talk nasty about the other person.  But ask a trusted friend if they really think your claim has any merit.  Sometimes we are so closely tied to our own work that we can’t see things clearly.  It helps to have an outside opinion.  Your friend might see things differently.  They might agree with you.  But either way, you will have more information to approach the situation.

4. Be realistic about trends. Some things are just trendy.  You couldn’t exactly claim copyright on the chevron and freak out about anything in any store that is chevron right now.  Chevron is hot and it is everywhere.  There are trends in industries, and following trends doesn’t mean someone is a copycat.

5. Count the cost. What will it cost to deal with this copycat and not ignore it?  Not just in money, but in time, in work-hours, in health, in sanity?

6. Make peace with copycats. This is a hard one.  We all know that imitation is flattery, right?  Even if you disagree with that, you understand the principle behind it.  Legally, your options are pretty limited unless they copy you entirely.  If you approach someone and they won’t take the work down and their host won’t take the work down, you may have to make peace with it.  Know that your work has so much value that someone felt it was worth copying.  Know that you have high quality ideas.  And make peace with the reality that there are copycats in every industry (Apple/Android lawsuits, anyone?)  I would personally rather spend my days enjoying the gifts God has given me instead of fighting strangers who have copied my work.   To pursue something legally would take away from the joy I share with my family.

Sleep in peace at night knowing that you are making decisions of integrity.  Know that you have the ability to hold your head high because you haven’t compromised your values.

Further Reading:

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Worry About Copycats at WhattheCraft

Working From Home: Building A Social Life

As a homeschooling mom, I often have people ask about what I’m doing to socialize my kids.

I laugh. The kids are socialized. No problems there.

It’s ME. ME! I’m a homeschooling mom who also works from home. When am I supposed to get socialized?

I’m not going to lie. I go days at a time without leaving the house. Sometimes I don’t shower until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Sometimes, I shower and change from one pair of pajamas to another pair of pajamas. It’s a luxury to be home and it is a challenge to be home.

I love my kids. I love my husband. But sometimes they are the only 3 faces I see for days on end.  You know you’ve reached a point of desperation when you go to Publix just to hear the cashier talk to you as she rings up your groceries.

Tips for Making Peace with Being At Home

(There are only 3.  It is kind of a sad list of tips!)

1. Embrace the internet.

The internet is my answer. I know. I know. There’s nothing quite like a 3-hour chat with a friend over good coffee. But chatting with friends on Facebook helps fill the void. And honestly, most of my real life friends were initially met through the internet. I don’t find that creepy or weird– I find it very *today* and it is just the way things are now. I used to be a little ashamed or embarrassed about how I met my online friends. I am no longer embarrassed about that. My online friends have been like a giant web of awesomeness that has supported me through tough times. And when we connect in real life, it is never disappointing. Online friends were my destination in Northern Ireland this year. Other online friends helped us find a job for Keith when we moved back to America in 2010. Some of my closest friends here in Florida were long-time blog friends before they were real-life friends. They aren’t fake friends. They are real. So if you’re stuck feeling guilty or weird or ashamed about your connection with a group of online friends– stop it! Embrace it! Appreciate it!

This is especially true if you are home with a young child. I know there are playdates at the park. But sometimes, mama just needs to stay home. And that’s okay. And connecting with other moms in the same situation is a good thing. So don’t let anyone’s opinions of your online friends make you feel guilty! My online friends are the best and I am not one tiny drop embarrassed about that!

If you don’t have a network of online friends, FIND ONE.  Find a social networking group or forum that relates to your career, your hobby, or your faith.  It might take a few tries, but you will find a group that is right for you.

2. Once a week- Get Social in a face-to-face environment. No excuses.

I have made a rule for myself and it has helped me find a healthier balance between internet friends and “real life” friends. Once a week, I make the effort to have a social outing– even if it infringes on work time. I have realized that it is healthiest for me to have that time. I love love love my internet friends but I do need real life chatting sometimes. So I have a friend over for coffee or go out for coffee or meet a friend at Disney or something at least once a week. No guilt. No internal struggle over I should be working right now. That time is important and it refuels me for work. And that’s okay.

**This is not a hard-and-fast rule.  Your need for face-to-face conversation may be more or less than mine.  Find what works for you and make yourself stick to it!

3. Accept the Solitude.

Solitude isn’t always a bad thing.  As an extreme extrovert, I had to train myself to enjoy the quiet and the peace of a calm environment.  By extreme extrovert, I mean extreme.  My husband and I were taking a personality quiz before moving to China in 2007.  On a scale of 1-100 (1 being extremely introverted and 100 being extremely extroverted), I was 99 and he was 1.  We’re a perfect match, don’t you think?

Being at home has forced me to learn to accept quiet, peace, and solitude.   Usually, I cover it up with loud music and catching up on old tv series on Netflix.  But sometimes, I reflect on how nice it is to have a completely drama-free work environment.  I don’t have a boss breathing down my neck.  I don’t have coworkers who fight.  I don’t have complainers who drop in my cubicle or classroom and whine and moan at me.   My environment is positive and affirming, because I make it that way.  Isn’t that a good thing?

If I’m honest, one of the biggest reasons I struggle to make time to be social is because when I’m out doing something social I have major guilt about spending time doing something fun instead of spending that time working.

This all leads us to another fabulous topic– one that I’m excited to discuss because it is something I am dealing with head-on at the moment– Life as a Workaholic.  It is a sticky, gritty issue that I don’t like to deal with.  Can’t wait!

Working From Home: My Job is Real.

If you’ve never had to do this before, you totally will not understand what I’m saying. If you have, you will nod your head so vigorously your brain might explode. It’s okay.

So you’re at a dinner with a group of various people and everyone is introducing themselves. “Hi, I’m Pete. I am an accountant.” Smiles, acknowledgement. “Hi, I’m Susie. I’m a 4th grade teacher.” Smiles, acknowledgement. “Hi, I’m Kimberly. I’m a font designer and I also homeschool my daughters.” Silence. “You what?” “Fonts? What are those? Is that the 10, 12, 14 thing?” (I think they were referring to the size options in Microsoft Word) “So, do you have, like, a real job too?”

At that point, I usually just shrug and say “It’s like graphic design, kind of. Have you seen the Skittles package before? It has my handwriting on it. Have you seen Suburgatory on ABC? It uses one of my fonts on the title.” I scramble and stutter and look like a fool trying to explain the legitimacy of my job. It’s real. It’s legit. It just isn’t a typical job. It isn’t like little kids sit in bed at night thinking, “One day, I will grow up and work from home as a font designer!”

If you work-from-home doing traditional work, you probably don’t have this issue. But if you work in a non-traditional type job, you almost definitely have experienced this.

*Note: This is not truly a complaint. But there is a certain frustration inherent in being misunderstood. I think it is appropriate to validate that feeling. Feeling annoyed or frustrated because people in your life don’t “get” that you really do work doesn’t mean you aren’t appreciative of your job and the flexibility of being at home. I thank God on a daily basis for the privilege of working from home doing what I love.

To those who work in non-traditional jobs that may experience that flickering thought of Sometimes I wish I had a job that people understood and could relate to:

I just want to affirm you today. Your job is important. Your job matters. It doesn’t matter if anyone else in your life understands.

If you are earning income and you are happy, it really doesn’t matter if anyone in your world “gets” what you do. When you feel frustrated, just put a $100 bill in your pocket and rub it and say “My job is real!”

I’ve had people kindly suggest that I should look for a job, because it isn’t fair that Keith works and I’m at home.

First, even if I were at home with no income, that would be a valid choice and it would be none of their business.

Second, I am at home and I do earn income.

Third, it isn’t anyone’s business what I do or don’t do for employment.

But my point here isn’t to vilify those who don’t understand it. I just want to nod alongside you and say:

I get it.

I understand.

Your job is real.

Your job is important.

Your work has value.

Others may never understand. And that’s okay.

Future topics in this series include: Dealing With Distractions, Work-Life Balance, Workaholic Tendencies, and Staying Social