What I Use to Make My Blog Graphics

Canva

Recently I’ve gotten some comments and compliments (thank you!) on my blog graphics and banners, and people have been wondering what site I use to make them. I wanted to share with you Canva, the website, and talk about the reasons I love it, and what it offers!

I discovered Canva right when I started blogging by Googling about free graphic design websites. I am very familiar with Adobe Photoshop from taking an advertising and graphic design course at my school, but I don’t own it for myself as it is outrageously expensive! I’m not very handy at drawing and creating art on the computer either, so premade clipart is a godsend! I’ve found Canva to be a wonderful alternative when it comes to making blog graphics. The user interface is very simplistic, and everything is so easy to use. It’s great for both experienced designers that want to make quick and easy graphics, but also newbies that have never designed before! I particularly like their Design School which offers a bunch of quick tutorials for creating graphics with Canva.

Here are a few of my favorite things that Canva offers!

  • The site gives you the opportunity to choose from preset graphic options such as  Social Media button, Facebook Covers and Posts, Instagram posts, Blog Graphics, Twitter Post, Business Cards, etc.! But you can also use custom dimensions (in pixels, millimeters, or inches) to create things like blog banners so that your graphic will fit perfectly with your site or whatever else you want to use it for!
  • There are tons of free clip art and shapes that are available for use. And if there is something you want to use that is paid, it costs only $1.00. (Every graphic that I’ve made with Canva has been all free elements or my own images, or clip art that I’ve found online for free.)
  • That brings me to another great feature: you can upload any of your own images (like vectors, pictures, etc.) to use in your projects.
  • There are so many different fonts you can use for text, and they keep adding more!
  • For those of you that don’t want to work too hard with your design: there are templates that you can use and customize to fit your needs, but you still have the basics already done for you!
  • When you’re all finished it gives you the option to download your graphic as either an image (png) or a PDF file. I’ve done both and they download just as clear and beautiful as on the site.

Those are just a few of the reasons why I LOVE Canva, but I’m sure if you check it out yourself you’ll find many more reasons to love it too!

What program or site do you use to make blog graphics?

xo

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2015 Blogging Resolutions

2015 blogging resolutions

February 7th of this year was the first day that I ever started blogging. I wrote and published my first post on that day, and looking back I can happily and proudly say that I’ve improved since. So since I’ve almost been blogging for a year, I’m reflecting on my almost year of blogging just in time for New Year’s resolutions! Here are the things I hope to achieve and work at during the upcoming year of 2015!!


1. Cut back my blogging schedule, but write better quality posts.

At the moment, my current blogging schedule consists of a post every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I have a real life, too! I have to have TIME to READ the books, too! I went gung-ho over the summer and for some reason thought I could keep up with that schedule. Well, obviously I can’t as you can see from the lack of posts I’ve been writing for the last few months. I’m not sure if I’ll have a blogging schedule next year or not, but I know I want to cut it down to 3 posts a week (review, meme, wrap-up/haul post), and throw in either an extra review or discussion post WHEN I HAVE TIME. Remember that little bit I wrote on my About page where I said I bite off more than I can chew? That old blog schedule was exactly that. With a smaller number of posts, I hope to be able to write better content for the posts and spend more time writing reviews!

2. Break out of the book blogging “mold”

There are SO MANY book bloggers out there. And reflecting on my blog I can honestly say that there isn’t really much that sets me apart from every other one. So next year I want to show more personality, diversify the blog, and become more unique. I’m not sure what exactly this entails (maybe more personal posts, lots more discussions, etc.) but I know that it’s a must. I want you guys to get to know me a little better!

3. Become a better commenter

I wrote a post a little while ago about how I’m a horrible commenter. Since then, I’ve caught up with all of those backlogged comments and replied to almost every one of them! But I still want to make sure that I stick to this and keep myself accountable. I am going to try and reply to the comments as they come in on my phone, and if not, then I am devoting a time of day to respond to comments. This also means I have to keep my end of the bargain commenting BACK. I have to also devote a time of day to READING other blogs and commenting on them!

4. Make blogging a part of my routine

Like I want to devote specific times to commenting and reading blogs, I also want to devote a chunk of time to writing posts and making sure they’re the best I can make them. I think this will have to be either a time during the weekend or a Friday afternoon, when I won’t have the bother of school and homework hanging over my head!

5. Let people know I blog

My parents still don’t know I have a book blog. This is mainly because I pitched the idea a few years ago when I was younger and they were against it for safety reasons. I want this to change. I want them to know I have a blog and what I do. Not only do I want to share the blog with my parents but also my friends. I’ve shown some but not all. And lastly share it with authors I meet at book events, just to start a relationship and friendship!

Those are the things I’m hoping to improve with myself and blogging next year! What resolutions are you making for blogging in 2015?

xo

Week in Review: 12/28/14 (on a Monday!)

Week in Review


In Life

Christmas has come and gone in a whirlwind of family fun and holiday cheer! I’m sad it’s over but I still have another week off for New Year’s and I’m loving to be able to spend my days mostly in my pajamas. I’m getting lots of reading and blogging done which is great, and I’ve scheduled my 2015 Blogging Resolutions post for next week.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make my blog original and more unique. You’ll read more about this kind of thing when it’s published, but also just having a set time or day of the week to focus completely on blogging in order to put out better content. I won’t be posting as frequently during the week in the new year, and to start it off I’ve cut back on memes (see my Early Excitement post).

Well now I’m getting into blogging in my LIFE section…

I’ve been really loving to drink Chai lately, although it’s been about 4o degrees. Today it was almost 60! I miss the snow and was sad we didn’t have a white Christmas. 😦 That’s about the only time I enjoy it. But it’s snowing here on the blog!

Sometime this weekend my parents and I are hoping to go to the movies and see Unbroken! It looks amazing and after reading the book I’m very excited! Have any of you seen it? What did you think?


In Books

New Books

Since it was Christmas and I got A LOT of books, I have posted a separate book haul that you can check out if you want to see all the new goodies.

Recently Finished and Currently Reading

Yesterday I finished Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton which I really enjoyed! It wasn’t your average fantasy read; it was very new and refreshing! My review will be up on January 27th! Last night I started My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins! I’ve heard great things and I wanted to read it during the holidays. After that I’m thinking of reading Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott — I can’t wait!!!


In Blogging

Around the Blogosphere

Here at Books & Cleverness

How was your week? I’d love to chat with you in the comments!

xo

Early Excitement: January 2015

Next year I want to participate in less memes and focus on writing a more unique blog with better content. So I just decided to only participate in Top Ten Tuesday for the weeks there are topics I like, and this little creation here: Early Excitement is my alternative for Waiting on Wednesday which I normally posted each week. In doing so I’ve decreased the number of memes and made the blog a little more unique, but it’s still a work in progress! For organizational purposes, Early Excitement posts will be located under the Waiting on Wednesday AND Early Excitement categories. These posts will also always be posted on the Wednesday before the next month, but as this idea just came to me I’m posting it now!

Early Excitement            

 Frostfire by Amanda Hocking – January 6th, 2015
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – January 6th, 2015
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – January 13th, 2015
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall – January 13th, 2015
Twisted Fate by Norah Olson – January 20th, 2015

What January 2015 releases are you looking forward to?

xo

I found some books under my Christmas tree…

Merry Christmas

I had a lovely day of actually getting up later than normal, a leisurely morning of opening presents with my parents and Clary (it was her first ever Christmas!), and then a fun afternoon and evening spent with family at my grandparent’s house! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and got lots of books of course! I just had to show you the goodies that I found under the Christmas tree this year!


Twas the night before Christmas…

Actually on Christmas Eve I received a package from Scholastic with one of my most anticipated books of next year:
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Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott, the sequel to Fire & Flood!

As you can read in my review (^) I really loved the first book and that ending was amazing! I cannot wait to dive into this one VERY soon (so probably NEXT)!

Christmas Day

From my amazing parents:

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My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth (signed)
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (signed)
Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton (signed)
Harry Potter: The Creature Vault by Jody Revenson
The World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

The three signed books were ones I knew about that I got at B&N on Black Friday and I can’t wait to finally have them to read! MTLGTM looks adorable! I normally don’t read anthologies or story collections, but there is something about holiday ones…(I’ve read Let It Snow by John Green & Friends, too). As for the two “keepsake” kind of books, I’m already loving paging through them and just randomly reading pages!

From my wonderful grandparents:

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A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow
The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin
Sanctum by Madeleine Roux
The Hogwarts Library Collection by J.K. Rowling

I CAN FINALLY READ MORE GoT! It’s been over a year since I finished ASoS, so it is way past time that I get to reading this one! I also wanted The Ice Dragon because it’s set in the same world as GoT. I can’t get enough… Sanctum and Diamonds in the Rough are both sequels that I’ve been DYING to get my hands on so I’m a very happy camper!


I hope you all had lovely days, and if you still have people to celebrate with like I do — enjoy it!

What did you guys get for Christmas, if you celebrate?

xo