she's 4 + pink

And I think she's already forgotten what life was like pre-mermaid Barbie.

We had a totally low-key birthday party, and it was the best. Lots of friends from church, hot dogs, fancy straws, and grocery store cake. 
I thought of some games beforehand (like duck duck goose) that we could play in case things got dull,
but the kids just ran wild in the yard for the whole 3 hours and it was awesome. 
I love my little crazy one. She is becoming so sweet and helpful and fun to be around. 
I've got a good feeling about 4, I do.

Tonight's project: glued to ebay -- the auction on my fingers-crossed-ball-gown ends tonight! 
That and my August blocks for the do. Good Stitches bee. I'm a leetle bit down to the wire, eek!


gimp girl tutorial: make + share simple wall art

I am loving your comments + emails about the last tutorial + ideas about what you'd like to learn, so keep it coming, ok?

Today's tutorial was inspired by Rachel of Maybe Matilda, who wanted to know how to add a background design to words.

I love art that has good words.
For this project, I've chosen a refrain from the beloved hymn, Count Your Blessings.
{I've been loving this bluegrass version -- it's at the bottom of the page.}

In this Gimp tutorial, you will learn how to:

Create a hi-res image suitable for printing
Add a background design as a new layer
Add text
Download + use special fonts 
Change text font, size, and color
Upload to a file sharing site
Create a "click to download" link for your blog

{Just joining us? Start here!}

Let's roll. 

Since we plan to print the image, we need to start with a high resolution.
Open Gimp and go to File > New.

Because we'll be printing the artwork, we'll set the resolution to 360 ppi (pixels per inch).
That way, the image will be nice and crisp when you print it.
When you're making an image for web display only, 72 ppi is all you need.
If you were to print out a 72 ppi image, it would look blurry.

Now you're ready to open your background pattern. 
Go to File > Open as Layers
and choose a pattern from your clip art stash.
I'm using some tasty chevron wallpaper from Erin Bradley Designs.

Opening the wallpaper as a layer accomplishes 2 things:
1) It opens a copy of the wallpaper directly into your image-in-process so that you don't have to mess with copying + pasting.
2) Since it's a copy, the original file remains unaltered.

Once your wallpaper is open, go to Image > Fit Canvas to Layers.
This makes your workspace and your wallpaper the same size.

Now we're ready to add text.

First, select the text tool.
Second, double-click-hold-drag on your image to create a text box 
(you can change its size and location later if you need to).
Third, type text into the Text Editor window.

You'll probably see right away that the text is teeeeeny tiny! 

Before we make it bigger, let's change the font.
In the Toolbox, click on Font and select a font from the drop-down menu.
I'm using Vive la Rivoluzione, one of my faves.
That font doesn't come with Gimp; you'll need to download and install it separately. 
After downloading the font of your choice, add it to your computer's font library.
You'll need to save your work + restart Gimp in order to use your new font.

Let's change the text size.
Click the up or down arrows next to Size in the Toolbox.
You can also play with the justification; I'm going to make my text right-justified.

The text is now larger than the size of the text box. 
To fix that, hover your cursor over the edge of the text box. 
Drag the edge down until all of the text is visible.

Now for my favorite part. Time to change the text color!

Double-click the rectangular box underneath the Text menu in the Toolbox. 
A separate Text Color window will pop up.

I'm feelin' a minty aqua for my text color today.
First, click on a spot on the vertical color spectrum bar that you like the look of.
Don't be shy! You're not painting the Taj Mahal.

Next, drag the crosshairs in the square color box on the left. Watch the color in the Current box (bottom left) until you see a color you like. Click OK.

Now we'll reposition the text.
Select the move tool.
Double-click and drag the text until you've got it where you want it.

All done! Save your work (I like to save one as an .xcf file and another copy as a .jpg).

Now we'll upload your new work of art to a file sharing site.
I've been using Sendspace. It's simple. No frills.

Upload the file. When it's done, you'll see this screen giving you a few different links to choose from.
Click on the second link ("Download Link").

Next screen. 
See the blue box towards the bottom that says "Click here to start download"?
Right-click that box and select Copy Link.

Now head over to Blogger (or your blog host of choice).
Just one step left: time to make the download link.

In my blog post, I've entered the text "Click here to download the print."
Highlight the word "here" and make a link. 
When it asks for the link URL, right-click and hit Paste.
When your readers click on the word "here," your print will automatically download to 
their computer -- without sending them away to a 3rd-party site. Win!

All done! You've got a kick-trash print, and you can share it, too!

{Click here to download the print!}

Chevron wallpaper via Erin Bradley Designs
Chalkboard via Kitschy Digitals
Fonts: Cursive Standard, Impact LabelVive la Rivoluzione


get ready, get set...

Head on over to the shop + see what's in the sample sale section!

Hope you had a delicious weekend. We are soaking up the last morsels of summer, even though it already feels like autumn here!


shop sale

A small stack of shop seconds has been slowly accumulating in my closet over the past year or so.
Time to offload! Snatch 'em up next week for a steal of a deal.
Or, as they say in the Intermountain West, a still of a dill.

Unrelated: I am listening to these peeps right now instead of doing my workout.


gallery: tulle

If I owe you an email or a phone call or a visit or a carrier pigeon or anything like that, you should blame it on the tulle.

Our Battalion (Army) Ball is coming up in a few weeks, and it is crunch time as far as dresses go. I was going into this ridiculous longing/despair/anger cycle about not being able to find something that is at once modest, affordable, and fabulous 
(and I am so not in the mood to sew a ball gown). 

And then it hit me. Tulle. 

Wonderfully, Etsy is crawling with fabulous vintage tulle dresses, though modest and affordable dresses still elude me.
Some of my fave candidates for modestification:

That last one is, like, my dream dress. It has sleeves, for pete's sake. 
But the price tag makes me go ha-gullllp. (More of my favorites right here.)

So, question for you: if you were to go with a minty-colored sleeveless vintage tulle dress, but needed sleeves, how would you make it modest? 
(Not a black shrug.)

Also, our visit with Grandma + Grandpa was totally rad. 
I got a great video of my mom crashing into the  TV cabinet while dancing ballet, but I think she might kill me if I posted it here.


wildflower walks

There are always wildflowers in bloom in the North Country, all summer long. 
Lizzy loves to pick bouquets on our walks and bring them home to put them in little jars. 
She makes it look so pretty, and it always makes me so happy.

My parents are here for a short visit, so we're off having some fun for a few days!


15% off washi tape + more for modern marigold readers!

Marigolders? marigoldlets? just what are we, here?

Now through August 19, take 15% off your entire order from Kawaii Goodies
with the code "themodernmarigold" at checkout, no minimum purchase required!
There are a ton of delish little goodies in this shop, but if you've never tried out washi tape
before, now's your big chance (watch out, it's dangerously addictive).

Kawaii Goodies is my absolute fave source for washi (that's where I got the tape for the bday giveway) --
she's got great selection, very reasonable shipping, and some good deals, too.
Thanks for the great coupon code, Kawaii Goodies!

Happy shopping!


birthday + anniversary weekend AND giveaway winner

Awesome weekend. (Did I mention it was our 7th wedding anniversary on Sunday, too?)
Thanks for all your sweet comments + well-wishes - it made me feel so special every time I opened my inbox!
The Help was amazing and completely lived up to the book.
That cake was pretty good, too, if I do say so myself.

Now, for the winner!

WOOT! Rachel is one of my newest bloggy buddies (I swear I didn't rig this!) and I was so excited that she won! If you haven't ever been to her blog, go have a gander, but be sure you're sitting down, because you're likely to be knocked off your feet by her awesomeness.

I hope everyone's week is off to a great start! See you soon!


giveaway: it's my birthday!

Happy birthday to meeeeee!! I turn 28 on Saturday.

The man and I are having dinner at home + then going to see The Help. 
Anybody seen it yet? I hear it's good. I read the book + liked it a whole lot.
Also, I am making myself this cake.

Meantime -- who's in for a giveaway??
I love blogging + I love you, dear readers!

So -- one winner gets a pretty little package with 4 of my favorite things...

Handmade bias tape, 3 rolls of Japanese washi tape in my new favorite colors, Burt's Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus (I wear it every. single. day. -- it is so perfect), AND your choice of one skirt from my shop! And who knows, maybe some other little goodies will find their way in there, as well.

Most skirts can be readjusted to fit most sizes -- or of course we can always make you a new one!

One comment, one entry. Entertain me. Winner picked via random.org on Monday.

loves and squishes! have the best weekend ever... I think I'm going to!


gimp girl tutorial: adding deco tape to photos for your blog

{Pssst! I'm giving away this tasty stack of washi later this week!}

Are you ready to get your Gimp on?? I sure hope so.
'Cause today we're gonna learn how to apply digital deco tape to an image using the program Gimp. 

Gimp is a FREE program that's comparable to Photoshop (we don'need no steenking photoshop!), and you can download it here for PC or here for Mac.

I have yet to find a really great comprehensive source of Gimp tutorials, but so far I've been able to figure most stuff out with Google + a whole lot of trial and error. The more I experiment with the program and with its different tools, the more proficient I feel.
I think that the best way to learn is to DO, so let's dive in & get DOING!

In the course of this tutorial, you'll learn how to:

Use the rectangle select tool
Copy + paste
Work with layers
Scale images
Rotate images
Autocrop images

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. Let's rock it.

To get going, open Gimp.

See the very tippy top of the screen, where it has the Apple menu and X11 and Applications and everything? Ignore that.
You'll only use the menu you see at the top of the blank gray box.

Next, we'll open the main image you want to work with.

Go to File > Open, 
find the photo you want to work with {in my case, the washi pic}, and open that bad boy up.

Here's what we have so far.

Now we'll whip out the washi. A karate chop with your non-mouse hand is encouraged but not required.

Go to File > Open,
find your fave deco tape file (I strongly recommend the freebies at Pugly Pixel; that's what I use 99% of the time), and open.

Time to select the piece of tape you want to use.

In the Toolbox at the left of the screen, double-click on the rectangle select tool.
Move to your deco tape window and click + hold + drag the mouse over the piece of tape you like best.

Now we'll copy and paste that piece of tape into your main image.

In the deco tape window, go to Edit > Copy.
In the main image (in my case, the deco tape photo), go to Edit > Paste as > New Layer.

Notice a few things:
The deco tape is huge as compared to the photo. We'll resize that in a sec.
See the Layers window in the upper left hand corner? We've got 2 layers right now: the tape and the photo.
Each layer can be edited and manipulated separately. If I mess around with one layer, it won't affect the other layer(s).
More on that another time.

Time to resize the tape.
You can close the deco tape file now if you wanna.
Look at the Layers window and make sure the tape layer is selected.
{If you want to resize the photo instead, knock yourself out; just select the layer with the photo in it.}

In the Toolbox, double-click on the scale image tool.
As you hold down the control key, click + hold + drag the mouse until the tape is the size you want it.
Holding down the control key preserves the length/width ratio of the image.
As you do this, a Scale window will pop up (mine is at the bottom of the screen).
Hit return OR click Scale in the Scale window.
See? You've got options.

Almost there!
Let's rotate the tape.
I mean, of course you can leave it as it is. Or you can get sexy with it. Your call.

In the Toolbox, double-click on the rotate image tool.
Click + hold + drag the mouse until the tape looks nice to you.
As you do this, a Rotate window will pop up (mine is at the bottom of the screen).
Hit return OR click Rotate in the Rotate window.

Now we'll fit the canvas to our layers. 
See how my deco tape looks like it's been cut off at the top?

No bueno. To fix it, go to Image > Fit Canvas to Layers. 
Poof! It fits.

Now we'll prepare the image for posting on the web. This is easy.

To flatten the image (i.e. convert it from an image with layers to just an image, no layers), go to Image > Flatten Image.
Now autocrop the image to get rid of any unnecessary margins.
Go to Image > Autocrop Image.

Ahh, pretty.

This is optional, but I like to do it -- let's scale the entire image to an optimum size for your blog.
Go to Image > Scale Image.
Enter your desired pixel width, press the tab key, and hit Scale.
For this step, it's handy to know how wide your main blog column is {the place where your posts go}. Mine is fairly wide at 850px.
Depending on the effect I'm going for, I scale my images to between 600-800px wide.


Lastly, save your image. If you don't add a file type to the end of the file name, Gimp will save the file as an .xcf file, which means that when you open it again later, it will open up as a Gimp file with all your layers preserved and everything. 

If you want your image to be a .jpg file so that you can upload it to your blog, just type .jpg at the end of the file name.

I usually save 2 copies of my images -- one as a .xcf and one as a .jpg.

After you hit Save, some more dialogue boxes will pop up. 
First one: hit Export.
Second one: slide the ticker to 100 and hit Save.


Now go slap some deco tape on all your fave photos.
Let me know if you end up using this -- I would really really love to see what you come up with!

I know it looks like a long tutorial, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to deco-tape your pics in 3 minutes flat. For serious.

We've got lots more to learn, so get practicing {cracks the whip}.
Let me know if you think of something you'd like to learn! I don't know everything (ha), but I'm always looking for ideas.

*kissy kissy!!*


gathering tutorial at pickup some creativity

Happy weekend, friends! I'm over at Pickup Some Creativity today sharing a basic gathering tutorial for Chris' Sewing 101 feature.

Be sure to stop by and say hello!

If you are new to sewing -- or need a little refresher course -- don't miss the other great tutorials in the series.


sisters in service: do. good stitches

Welcome to Sisters in Service!

Here we aim to lift, inspire, and motivate, and celebrate the (many!) different ways we can serve our brothers and sisters 
while we're here on earth. Today, let's give a big hip-hooray, 'cause it's Rachel from Stitched in Color!

Rachel has got to be one of the most got-it-together bloggers I know. If you've got a mind for modern quilting, you need to subscribe to her blog. Her quilts are drop-dead gorgeous, her ideas are inspired, and what's more, she knows how to organize lots of people to make a big difference in others' lives. Rachel is the mastermama behind do. Good Stitches, an online quilting bee that has grown to include a whopping 8 circles of sewists! 

Take it away, Rachel...

In a sentence, what's your project?
do. Good Stitches is a virtual quilting bee that creates quilts for people in need through many different charities.

Why is this project important to you?
Because I'm blessed with the time, resources, and passion for quilting, it's important to me to use that blessing to bless others. The online sewing community is filled with generous souls who feel the same way! 

concept + quilting by Natalie :: image source

Have you had any special experiences along the way you'd care to share?
I didn't understand at first that it's the diversity of the creative visions in any given circle that are the real power and excitement behind the quilting bee concept. My favorite quilt (that I've designed) for do. Good Stitches is Love in Wonky Stars. To me this quilt captures that power! It was such a joy to send it to a child through Wrap Them in Love.

concept + quilting by Rachel :: image source

What's your long-term vision for this project?
More circles, more quilts, more charities! Every month or so, we are able to launch new circles when folks step forward to lead as circle hosts and quilters. It takes some organization skills to be a circle host and it takes some quilting skills to be a quilter, but lots of us are capable!

How can I get involved?
While quilts of all styles are wonderful acts of charity, this bee intends to bring together active Flickr-users who enjoy a modern quilt style. If you have some experience with making quilts blocks, you can get involved! You don't need to know how to make all sorts of quilt styles -- directions are included, though basic sewing skills are assumed. You will create blocks from your own fabric stash. To join the wait list, please use this form. We always need more Quilters in order to launch a new circle. So, if you are able to act as a Quilter, please register as one!

concept + quilting by Ara Jane :: image source

You can read more about the guidelines for participating in do. Good Stitches right here.
I am in the "Love" circle and can tell you that it is an amazing bee -- impeccably organized, and I get to learn a cool new block every single month.
You can also drool a little at the d.GS Flickr pool of finished quilts. 

Thanks for coming over, Rachel -- your project is an amazing example 
of what can happen when we all put our heads {and our fabric stashes} together!