Monthly Archives

March 2015

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Weekly Pixels #12

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

This is an update in my Weekly Pixels series, a weekly photo project for managing my family’s digital files in lieu of printed photos. At the end of the year I will create a yearbook out of my images. Here’s what the second week of March looked like for us.

That time I color-coordinated my fingernail polish with my yogurt.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

This cupcake was money. OK, it probably didn’t make my top 100 cupcakes of all time. But it was pretty to look at.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

One meal that was amazing: marsala chicken with veggies and quinoa. Ah-ma-zing.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

He/she who falls asleep on the couch hugging on a pillow gets a flash photo. It’s in the rules of marriage or something.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Freeways less traveled. Graffiti irks me, but I dig the pink.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

House hunting (forever and ever) and I stood in an actual fenced-in yard with grass. I’d almost forgotten how awesome it is to have a private outdoors space. Now I’m aware and bitter that I still live in a condo as of right now.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Enjoying a cool breeze at the park on a Saturday evening.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

This park is to L.A. parks what the Mona Lisa is to stick figures.

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

It even has decorative palm trees!

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

And Alexa found this contraption, which she quickly asserted was a surfboard.

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Cotton candy skies always make me smile.

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Downtown L.A. in silhouette as we drove down the 710.

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Happy little motion blur accident.

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

A berry nice color palette indeed.

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Sunday was a gorgeous day for the beach.

Weekly Pixels for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

How do you keep track of your family photos?

P.S. Past photo projects: 2012, 2013, 2014

P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

Singin’ In the Rain Free Printable

Singin' in the Rain Free Printable • Little Gold Pixel

If you ask me what I miss the most about the Midwest, I’d rarely ever answer “the weather.”

Especially in the spring, when tornado season flairs up. Or the winter, when ice storms are a threat. Or the summer, when the hot wind whipping through the air slaps you across the face like an oven vent from hell.

But I do miss one thing weather-related: rain and/or thunderstorms.

Singin' in the Rain Free Printable • Little Gold Pixel

There’s something glorious (dare I say exciting?) about watching the clouds build up in the distance, watching the lightning flair up and hearing the low rumble of a storm rolling through.

That was spring to me as a kid and teen.

Especially when there was no threat of lightning or tornado. I would walk outside in a light rain. Arms outstretched, splashing in puddles in my Doc Martens and in general just being alive.

Much like that iconic scene in that classic film. You know the one:

Free Singin’ in the Rain Printable

This weekend I drew a raindrop printable for everyone who subscribes to the Little Gold Pixel newsletter.

I wasn’t quite done with my raindrops, so I played around a little more to make another printable for you.

High-res PDF in 8×8 format.

Singin' in the Rain Free Printable • Little Gold Pixel

Download

Premium Printable: Singin’ in the Rain

A premium version of this printable is now available in the shop. This one boasts a bounce script font that happens to be one of my favorites. (It’s Bebby Washington, if you’re interested.)


 


THE FINE PRINT: As always, play nice. For personal use only. Share with friends. It warms my heart to see my printables on social media, so please tag me @littlegoldpixel on Instagram so I can see the art in action.

P.S. More freebies!

Easter Egg Roundup: 16 Cute Designs

Easter Egg Roundup • 16 Cute Designs • Little Gold Pixel

It’s like the Internet is peer-pressuring me into upping my Easter egg game. Most of the time I would advise against peer pressure, tell all those beautiful egg decorators to just pick up their washi tape, Sharpies and elegantly dipped dye and get outta here.

But. I mean, you’ve seen these eggs, right?

No?

Well, let me introduce you.

Easter Egg Roundup: 16 Cute Designs

Easter Egg Roundup • 16 Cute Designs • Little Gold Pixel Click on the corresponding number to find tutorials/more awesome pics from the original sources:

/// one /// two /// three /// four ///

/// five /// six /// seven /// eight ///

/// nine /// ten /// eleven /// twelve ///

/// thirteen /// fourteen /// fifteen /// sixteen ///

The washi tape ones alone are putting me to shame. Here is how my last attempt turned out a few years ago:

Easter Egg Roundup • 16 Cute Designs • Little Gold Pixel

Hardly pinnable. That’s me, putting all my eggs in one basket!

Hopefully this year, with the help of the 16 little pretties above, my basket will be much less … wrinkly.

What about you — how do you decorate your eggs?

P.S. Plan the perfect Easter & what to do with leftover hard-boiled eggs.

Weekly Pixels #11

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

This is an update in my Weekly Pixels series, a weekly photo project for managing my family’s digital files in lieu of printed photos. At the end of the year I will create a yearbook out of my images. Here’s what the second week of March looked like for us.

Still fairly amazed to get home before dark. But, conversely, I’m not loving waking up in the dark.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

I’m sure this isn’t their official name, but look! Dr. Seuss flowers!

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Alley view.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Doing some research.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Alexa loves to point out dew and snails on our way to school in the morning.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

That time a car burned on the 405 and cars barely stopped to let the firetrucks through.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

H almost ate Alexa’s pink coconut doughnut. She’s lucky her mama has her back.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

She’s very serious about her work.

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

See? She even busts out the hourglass to time herself.

Weekly Pixels 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Mama-daughter date to see Cinderella at the movies.

Weekly Pixels 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Stacking and counting her “gold doubloons.”

Weekly Pixels 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

I love this photo of my oh-so-gorgeous silly goose.

Weekly Pixels 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

And this one, too.

Weekly Pixels 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

He’s a moving target while he plays ball with Alexa.

Weekly Pixels 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Remember how I thought my ring was lost forever? Well, my groom found it. I’m so happy. So many memories tied up in this piece of jewelry.

Weekly Pixels 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

Are you doing a photo project this year? How do you keep track of your family photos?

P.S. Past photo projects: 2012, 2013, 2014

P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

How to Pair Fonts in a Printable

When people ask me about making printables, the same thing comes up over and over:

Fonts.

If you’re new to design or just aren’t sure how to take your idea to the next level, this post is for you.

I won’t pick out your fonts for you. In fact, in my examples below I gave very little thought to the actual fonts I used. The actual fonts you pick out should be individual, like your taste, because that’s exactly what it’s all about. There are well-made fonts, and there are crappy fonts, and there’s a time and a place for certain kinds of fonts, but let’s stick with the basics today.

All you need to know is never use Comic Sans or Papyrus. They make the design gods cry.

Aside from that, here are some simple rules to make the fonts of your choosing really shine.

5 Simple Font Rules

First, let’s see what it looks like when we break all five rules at once:

5 Simple Font Rules • Design How-To • Little Gold Pixel • This is an example of WHAT NOT TO DO.

YIKES.

Where to start?

1. Three typefaces MAX.

The example above has five words and SIX typefaces. What the what?! You’re probably aware of the subway art trend, in which various phrases are mashed together in a million different fonts. Most of these posters make my eyes bleed. The single easiest way to make your designs look professional is to resist the urge to pile on the fonts. Less is more.

5 Simple Font Rules • Design How-To • Little Gold Pixel • Opposites attract when it comes to font pairings.

2. Opposites attract.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s definitely a useful thing to remember when you’re searching for the perfect fonts for a project. Try to avoid two fonts that clash together. Much like you wouldn’t wear two similar shades of green at the same time, don’t use too similar but slightly different fonts on the same project. The overall vibe will feel disheveled and slightly off.

The best/fastest way to find two compatible fonts is to find the opposite. Got a skinny font? Find a fat font. Got a serif font? Try a sans serif font. Got a fancy font? Try a simple font.

Sometimes you don’t even need to leave the font family to find a compatible font. Try a different weight of the same font! For instance, try Helvetica Bold with Helvetica Light. Also reliable: mix and match regular/bold weights with light italics.

3. Watch your spacing.

Known as kerning (space between letters) and leading (space between lines), spacing is super important. Bad kerning or leading can kill a design even faster than too many typefaces. The fallback guideline would be to err on the side of more space than less space. Just like you’d rather run free in a meadow a la Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music than be trapped in an elevator, do not confine your design. Let it breeeaaatthhhe.

More reading on kerning, leading and tracking here.

4. Watch your phrasing/hierachy.

In the example above, does it bother you how I randomly put the “a” in front of “hot”? Does it seem out of place to you? If so, congrats, you have eyes. When you are designing a phrase on a page, you want to think about the words. What is it that you’d like to bring into focus? Which words are least important? How can you minimize the trivial words and boost the best words?

You have to make your focus words large and bold. The trivial words are still important, but they need the secondary font, the smaller type, so they can fade to the background.

In the example phrase, “This is a hot mess,” “hot mess” are more important that “this is a.”

See exhibit B, and improved version of our beleagured example:

5 Simple Font Rules • Design How-To • Little Gold Pixel • This is a better example of following good font/design guidelines when creating a printable out of a quote.

Which leads me to the last tip:

5. KISS.

Keep it simple, stupid. I am as prone as anyone to over-designing. Sometimes I pile on the embellishments so high I think my screen is going to collapse from the weight of all my craziness. But then I step back a second and start deleting the layers, one by one, till the printable feels right.

There’s that Coco Chanel quote that holds true in this situation: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

It’s as good for fonts and design as it is for fashion.

More resources

Hopefully this guide helps you with your font pairings. If you’ve got a printable or a phrase in the works that you’d like me to break down for you, I’d be happy to take a look. Send me an email: vanessa (at) littlegoldpixel.com.

P.S. Want to design a printable but are unsure where to start? Check out my design resources page. 

P.P.S. Freebies galore & my favorite free fonts (part 1 & part 2).

What I’ve Been Reading

What I've Been Reading • Book Club Ideas • Little Gold Pixel

Guys, I have to brag for a second. I’m five, count ’em FIVE books ahead of schedule.

*Happy dance.*

In the past month, I’ve made it through 10 books. My prolific book reading is directly related to my ridiculously long commute. I swear by audiobooks for this reason.

This is an occasional series that chronicles my quest to read 80 books in 2015. This is the second roundup. You can read the first here. Let’s see how it went, shall we?

(Do you follow me on Goodreads? You should!)

Book Reviews 2015: 21/80

accident

The Accident / Chris Pavone
File under: Suspense, conspiracy, literary drama
Plot: An agent is in the for the run of her life after a dangerous manuscript lands on her lap.
Review: This was a thoroughly entertaining and twisty ride down to the very last sentence.
Amazon Goodreads

cartwheel

Cartwheel / Jennifer duBois
File under: Literary fiction, crime, whodunit, mystery
Plot: Exchange student goes on trial for the murder of a fellow exchange student. Did she do it?
Review: More than your typical whodunit, this book delves deep into the human psyche. A masterpiece.
Amazon Goodreads

autocorrectstays

Autocorrect Stays / Holly C. Flanagan
File under: Romance, chick lit, quirky
Plot: Boy and girl meet, boy and girl text, boy and girl go through various phases of love.
Review: A passable, albeit slightly undercooked, rom-com.
Amazon Goodreads

capturethecastle

I Capture the Castle / Dodie Smith
File under: Y.A., coming of age
Plot: Poor teen girls who inexplicably live in a castle bend over backward to hitch a husband when two eligible bachelors show up.
Review: This was predictable. The voice is still fresh, though, which is an accomplishment considering the book was written in 1948.
Amazon Goodreads

daughtersmokebone

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone / Laini Taylor
File under: Fantasy, star-crossed lovers
Plot: Karou, a girl raised by magical creatures, gets caught up in an otherworldly battle.
Review: This is not my usual genre, but oh my did I love it. Impatiently awaiting library holds on the next installment.
Amazon Goodreads

girlonthetrain

The Girl on the Train / Paula Hawkins
File under: Suspense, bleak as *%^&, NOT Hitchcockian in the slightest
Plot: The most depressing woman in the world witnesses a crime from a train.
Review: I did not finish this. The prose was manipulatively bleak (not in a poetic way). Not for me.
Amazon Goodreads

neverletmego

Never Let Me Go / Kazuo Ishiguro
File under: Dystopian, coming of age, literary fiction
Plot: Students reminisce about their time at a very unusual school.
Review: I’m being vague so I don’t give anything away, but this book gutted me. So beautiful, so sad.
Amazon Goodreads

thedinner

The Dinner / Herman Koch
File under: Suspense, Terrible people doing terrible things
Plot: A man, his politician brother and their wives come to grips with a crime committed by their sons and the crime’s aftermath.
Review: Very well-written. I was on the edge of my seat to see how the entire sordid deal would play out.
Amazon Goodreads

murderatbrightwell

Murder at the Brightwell / Ashley Weaver
File under: 1930s, British murder mystery, Agatha Christie, whodunit
Plot: Amory Ames is caught between a rock and a hard place (aka her husband and her ex-fiance) when a murder goes down on holiday, and she’s determined to uncover the killer.
Review: I adored this so much. So cheeky, enchanting and thoroughly delightful.
Amazon Goodreads

thecircle

The Circle / Dave Eggers
File under: Dystopian, conspiracy theory, cult, technology is evil
Plot: Vapid woman works for giant social media company and watches as it moves forward with its plans for worldwide domination and the criminalization of privacy.
Review: What this book lacks in character development it makes up for in raising important questions in our digital age.
Amazon Goodreads

In a Nutshell

Three to read: Murder at the Brightwell, Cartwheel, Never Let Me Go (+ The Accident, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, The Circle — so many good ones this time around!)

One to pass: Girl on the Train

So there you have it. 21 down! 59 to go!

What have you been reading lately? I’m always on the lookout for a good book … do share recommendations in the comments. Have you read any of these books? Do you agree/disagree with my assessment? Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Linking up with modernmrsdarcy.com, a great place to find good reads. Check it out.
THE SMALL PRINT: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Little Gold Pixel’s frappuccino habit.

Weekly Pixels #10

Weekly Pixels • Weekly Photo Project for 2015 • littlegoldpixel.com

This is an update in my Weekly Pixels series, a weekly photo project for managing my family’s digital files in lieu of printed photos. At the end of the year I will create a yearbook out of my images. Here’s what the second week of March looked like for us.

Daylight saving time screws with me every year. I made it home before dark one evening! What!

2015Mar09_0111

Going-away party for a colleague who is transferring to New York. I’m going to miss her laughter.

2015Mar10_0096

I have a thing for brick walls. See also: my brick house Pinterest board.

2015Mar10_0105

The sky was acting crazy. Not a cloud around, really, but a rainbow nonetheless.

2015Mar11_0086

She wasn’t wearing these glasses when we left home. By the time we pulled up to dance class three minutes later, they were on. And she was deadpanning it like a pro. “Can I wear these to class?”

2015Mar14_0000

It was nearly 100 degrees. So we escaped to Zuma Beach.

2015Mar14_0024

I wore my beach hat, which commanded attention from our fellow beachgoers. This is a serious hat, friends. It tells everyone in eyeshot that I’m not messing around when it comes to beach days.

2015Mar14_0033

Alexa and I went for a walk to look for flat black rocks, my fave.

2015Mar14_0035

SCORE!

2015Mar14_0061

We stayed till well after Alexa’s bedtime. She was pretty excited to break curfew by two hours.

2015Mar14_0051

I took 200 pics on the Canon Rebel. Most were variations of this:

IMG_0676

And this:

IMG_0683

And acting like a paparazzo by taking far-away shots of H like this:

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And Alexa like this:

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So many variations of Alexa holding her Daddy’s hand while she jumps into the waves. She could do this (and she did do this) for hours without tiring.

IMG_0802

Stuck on PCH as we made our long but fun trek back home. H and I sang songs from the 1990s and then subjected Alexa to an entire Daft Punk album.

2015Mar14_0062

No one told me the sunset would be HOT PINK. Feeling slightly bummed that we left the beach before this happened.

2015Mar14_0066

Are you doing a photo project this year? How do you keep track of your family photos?

P.S. Past photo projects: 2012, 2013, 2014

P.P.S. Follow me on Instagram for more photos.

Question Mark Free Inspirational Printable

Question Mark Free Inspirational Printable • Why Not • shoplittlegoldpixel.com

Do you ever hear a voice inside your head that is full of doubts?

Confession: I hear it all the time.

I hear it a lot when I come up with a really great but (fill in the blank: time-consuming, gut-wrenching, scary, mind-numbing) idea. An idea that will take a lot of my energy. One that I think might be too much of a gamble style-wise. One in which I worry, “What will people think of this?” and the dreaded “What if they don’t like it?”

I am a very confident person, so this isn’t a matter of self-esteem. It’s a matter of self-destruction.

The key to dealing with these thoughts, I’ve found, is to quash it with a blasé attitude.

Why the hell not?

Why not, indeed.

Question Mark Free Inspirational Printable

I’m offering my B&W printable as a free download for you today. Keep in mind this version has a watermark at the bottom. Find unwatermarked versions (and five more colors!) in the shop.

High-res PDF in 8×10 format.

THE FINE PRINT: As always, play nice. For personal use only. Share with friends. It warms my heart to see my printables on social media, so please tag me @littlegoldpixel on Instagram so I can see the art in action.

Question Mark Free Inspirational Printable • Little Gold Pixel

Download 8×10


P.S. More freebies!

Highly Personal Gift Guide for 4-Year-Old Girls (aka Things Alexa Likes)

Gift Guide 4-year-old Girls • Little Gold Pixel.com

This is a periodic roundup of kiddo gift ideas and reading/clothing recommendations, based solely on the whims of my 4-year-old girl.

Everything is very girly around here. We have princess dresses, costume jewelry, tiny handbags, fake nail polish. We have ponies and unicorns and fairies. We have pink. So much pink.

The one girly thing Alexa doesn’t have down is the pronoun. All girls are “he” and all boys are “she.” Hey, she’s consistent.

These are some of the items she loves, and I’m sure other girls her age would love, too:

  • Books on our current bedtime rotation: Chopsticks, Cinderella, Uni the Unicorn. We are currently on a 5-day Uni streak.
  • She knows all the My Little Pony characters by name. I was thoroughly confused when she started watching Equestria Girls — what, with sparkly-eyed ponies turning into teen girls and back and what?! But she’s obsessed, and she plays with her My Little Pony dolls all the time.
  • For dress-up time: Elsa gowns and water-based nail polish are a must. (She loves to paint my nails, too.)
  • A big, challenging puzzle really grabs her, especially if it has her favorite characters on it, like this Disney Fairies puzzle.
  • She has to wear utilitarian sneakers to school, but on the weekend it’s pretty shoes all the way. Especially ones from Joyfolie.
  • Hawaiian dress or cute pink dress? As long as it’s a dress, Alexa’s happy. If she MUST wear pants, it has to be something stretchy and fun, like striped leggings. We’re big fans of Tea Collection for both style and function.
  • Impromptu sing-alongs and dance parties are easy with Disney Jr. songs from her fave shows (including Sofia the First, Miles From Tomorrowland, Jake and the Neverland Pirates).

This post contains affiliate links. You get awesome stuff, I get a small commission. Enough to offset my iced coffee habit but not enough to live in Malibu. Thanks for supporting Little Gold Pixel!

14 Free Handwritten Fonts That Are Easy on the Eyes

14 Free Handwritten Fonts That Are Easy on the Eyes • Little Gold Pixel

Every time my pen hits paper, there’s a moment where I look at what I’ve written in mild shock.

Is that my handwriting?

I don’t recognize it as my own. This chicken scratch, this serial killer scrawl. I’m always surprised that cashiers are OK with my electronic signature. “Signature” is giving those illegible lines too much credit.

What passes as my handwriting today is a far cry from when I used to write notes all day every day.

AKA high school.

Back then my writing wrist was a machine. I was so boss at writing that I could take notes in class and write notes to friends at the same time. Does anyone still write notes anymore, or is it all texting? (It’s about 99% texting for me.)

14 Free Handwritten Fonts

There are a plethora of free handwritten fonts out there. But, like my chicken scrawl, they are not always the best/most legible.

These 14 have passed my test for quality and durability. They also make fun design partners for your standard serifs and san serifs. Just be careful when using free fonts for anything other than a personal project. Often you will need to buy a license. When in doubt, track down the original font creator online and check with them.

You’ll notice that I drew inspiration from my favorite teen movies. Bonus points if you guess all the films!

(Scroll to the bottom for links to the individual fonts.)

14 Free Handwritten Fonts That Are Easy on the Eyes • Little Gold Pixel

Againts / TrashHand / Happy Fox / Times Are Hard / Besom / KG Chelsea Market Script / Rock Salt / Belta Bold / Colors of Autumn / Cutty Fruty / Origo / Alley Cat / IndieHype / JoeHand2

What are your go-to handwritten fonts?

P.S. My favorite fonts ever & an all-around and ever-updated design resource guide!

P.P.S. My font board on Pinterest.