Archive for the ‘How-To’ Category


Tutorial: Printing Square Photos

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

If you’re an avid iPhonographer, you probably have your fair share of square photos from Instagram or Hipstamatic. Printing them is a hassle, as most of the common photo printing services don’t offer square prints, and instead blow them up to fit the standard 4×6 size! Here’s an simple tutorial for creating a Photoshop action that will add a white border around your photos that can be easily sliced off.

Tutorial: Printing Square Photos



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Tutorial: Gilded Hearts Notebook

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Gilded Hearts Notebook TutorialGilded Hearts Notebook Tutorial

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New Blog Design – Finally Complete!

Friday, January 4th, 2013

If you follow in an RSS reader, you probably didn’t see the new design. Here’s a screenshot for reference:

New Blog Design

I’m very happy with it! One of my goals for 2012 was to learn how to write WordPress themes from scratch. It’s not perfect, but I have a pretty good grasp so far. Next challenge: Write one for others to download.

What do you think of the new design? If you notice anything wonky, please let me know. I’ll even take constructive criticism. :)

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Worth Noting: Blog Improvement

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013


2013 is going to be the Year of the Blog, I can just tell. To set you in the right direction, take a look at what some of these fine bloggers have to say about improving your own.

5 Things to Remember Before You Hit Publish at Hey, it’s Justine

40 Ways to Get Your Blog Off On the Right Foot at Campfire Chic

6 Weeks to a Better Blog at Silly Grrl

Primp your Facebook at Her New Leaf

Should I Get Paid for That? at Home to Heather

Why Every Blogger Should Have a Media Kit at VMac & Cheese

10 Reasons to Blog Ahead at Going Home to Roost

Blueprint for the Perfect Blog Post at Business2Community

The Four Faces of Link Building at Shellshock.UK

58 Ways to get Noticed as a New Blogger at Blog World

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Tutorial: Winter Terrarium

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

This is a super simple and adorable winter terrarium. You will need:
Glass container
Sisal Trees
Animal  Figurines
Other decorative items

Pour sugar into bowl to desired depth, and top with a thin layer of glitter

Use a pen or pencil to push the glitter down along the sides of the glass. It’s like the sand art you used to do as a kid!

Decoratively arrange your items in the snow.

Step back and admire your work.

Bask in the adorableness.


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Tutorial: Glittery Star Garland

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

This is a simple project that can be as fancy or simple as you can imagine – and it’s definitely not limited to Christmas, either!


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Link Love: Upholstery Basics at Design*Sponge

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

One of the unfortunate things about some of the bigger and more popular blogs is that I always feel like I can’t keep up with them. I adore blogs like Apartment Therapy, Poppytalk, and Design*Sponge, but if I added them to my RSS reader, I’d have to spend all my time reading blogs.

The bright side is that when I do get a chance to browse, I discover really fun stuff! Meet today’s discovery: Upholstery Basics at Design*Sponge!

This beautiful Leather Bookcase rivals even *my* ambition

The author, Amanda Brown, has a series of posts with detailed instructions on all kinds of furniture and upholstery projects. I love it! Having the knowledge to revamp (or build from scratch!) furniture opens up a whole world of possibilities!

Lampshade tutorial - no, no *covering* a lampshade. Making it from scratch.

The most exciting thing, though, was this post on building a boxed ottoman from a coffee table. I am not kidding, Matt and I just got home from looking at ottomans at the furniture store.

Boxed Ottoman Tutorial at Design*Sponge


I am definitely doing this! Stay tuned – I’ll absolutely be posting photos when I do.

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Beer Bread

Friday, October 5th, 2012


I really dislike the taste of beer whilst drinking it, but being from Wisconsin I’m morally obligated to ingest a certain quantity each year.¬† Luckily, we have a wide variety of delicious foods that contain our most famous beverage: beer brats, beer cheese soup, beer battered cheese curds (I sense a theme here)… and beer bread!

This is one of the simplest recipes I know, and it’s super delicious – especially hot. I used a bottle of Matt’s home-brewed honeybee ale – it’s SO good with honey butter.


Preheat the oven to 350?.


3 c Flour (sifted)
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
(OR 3 c Self-Rising Flour – in which case, leave out the baking powder and salt)
1/4 c Sugar
12 oz (one can or bottle) Beer
1/4 c melted butter

Mix dry ingredients, then stir in beer. Pour into greased breadpan.
Pour melted butter on dough; bake for 1 hour.
Take out of pan and let cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.


If you know of any other good beer-inclusive recipes, let me know!


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App Friday: Hipstamatic Combo Roundup

Friday, September 28th, 2012

I thought I’d round up some of my favorite lens/film combinations for the Hipstamatic app for iPhone. What are your favorites?

1. Roboto Glitter Lens + Ina’s 1969 Film
2. John S Lens + Dylan Film
3. Adler 9009 Lens + Blanko Freedom13 Film
4. Roboto Glitter Lens + Blanko Film

1. Susie Lens + Ina’s 1982 Film
2. Jane Lens + Ina’s 1969 Film
3. Tejas Lens + Blanko Film
4. Chunky Lens + Ina’s 1969 Film

1. Lucas AB2 Lens + Blanko Freedom13 Film
2. Jane Lens + W40 Film
3. Adler 9009 Lens + Ina’s 1935 Film
4. James M Lens + Blanko Freedom13 Film

1. John S Lens + Dylan Film
2. Lucifer VI Lens + Blanko Freedom13 Film
3. Tejas Lens + Big Up Film
4. Adler 9009 Lens + Ina’s 1935 Film

1. Jane Lens + Ina’s 1982 Film
2. John S Lens + Dylan Film
3. Chunky Lens + W40 Film
4. Lucifer VI Lens + Pistil Film

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Social Media Breakdown

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Do any of us really keep up with “social networking” the way we should? Coming up with content, taking photos, editing… it’s all enough of a task. Then, uploading photos and sharing on every single social media site is adding extra tedium to an already packed schedule.

Yet, it’s never been more important. I’m making an effort to be more proactive when it comes to my blog’s exposure on social media sites; won’t you join me?
Here’s a breakdown of what I’m currently doing (or trying to do more of!)



Pinterest is the easiest, for me! I’d use it whether I had a blog or not. While no one likes spam (constantly and exclusively pinning your own work), it’s a good idea to make sure your stuff gets pinned.

Make this easier:

Create a board that only contains pins from your own site, and then ONLY use that board when pinning your own work.

Make it convenient for users to pin directly from your site - Pinterest provides buttons for both following and pinning, and there are a plethora of WordPress plugins that will add a “Pin It” button to each photo. I use Pinterest Pin It Button for Images.



A lot of people don’t think to connect this popular photo sharing network to their blog, but I love following other bloggers on Instagram. It’s like a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. It might be a great way to connect to your audience.

Make this easier:

Services like Followgram allow even non-Instagram users to see your photos, in a regular web browser. If you’re logged in, you can easily follow other users even if you’re away from your phone.
If you’d like to take it a step further, you can use a WordPress plugin like Instagrate, which automatically posts to your blog each time you post to Instagram.


If you haven’t created a Facebook page for your blog yet, you should. And if you have created one, but you never use it (like me…) now is the time to start.
Everyone is on Facebook. Seriously. And regardless of your personal feelings about it, many people use it to get their news about, well, everything. There’s a good chance that if someone likes your page, you’ll have a direct path into their consciousness every day.

Make this easier:

There are a metric ton of plugins and widgets that let you add a “Share on FB” or “Like” buttons to posts and pages; I personally use the sharing options in Jetpack.

I have albums of photos from my different categories and link them back to my posts. You should also be “liking” other bloggers so you can follow them and share interesting things with your fans. Sharing is caring!

(Most of these tips can also apply to Google+, the red-headed stepchild of social networking)


If Google+ is the red-headed stepchild, then Twitter is easily the sweetheart of social networking. You really shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to use this to your advantage.

Make this easier:

Use a plugin that automatically tweets your blog posts, like WP to Twitter. You can even set up a custom shortlink (mine is – clever, no?) Twitter also provides their own widget for your sidebar, but there are many other ways to do the very same thing. Jetpack has an option for this, as well.
You can also integrate nearly any other service into Twitter – Instagram, for instance, is a big one. Interact with the people you follow and they will interact with you.
Additionally, this is a great way to keep tabs on the rest of the blogosphere (and world in general!) Retweeting useful things is a great way to gain followers.
I used to think that lists were really only meant for yourself, but now I see that they’re a great way to provide useful content to your followers. Having separate lists for bloggers, news, indie companies, and other topics is not only a good way to stay organized, but it also provides a service to your audience.


What other tips do you know of for diligently pursuing your social network? Share them in the comments!

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Hazel & Agnes is the creative blog of Natalie Matz. Click above to learn more!