Entries Tagged as 'tutorial'

stamped canvas pouch.

Posted on: Thursday, July 17, 2014

DIY Stamped Canvas Pouch | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | via Dear Lizzy DIY Stamped Canvas Pouch | Designed by Ann-Marie Espinoza | via Dear Lizzy

Yesterday my stamped canvas pouch tutorial was shared on the always-inspiring Dear Lizzy’s blog! Hop on over to check it out :)

diy neon tassel keychain.

Posted on: Thursday, June 12, 2014

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

First of all, can we take a moment to talk about how difficult it is to edit photos with neon colors in them? Ummm…virtually impossible. One of these days I’ll figure out the secret to getting the colors juuuust right, but even if that takes forever, I’ll still continue to sneak neon pink into every single project. I’m in too deep to quit now ;)

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Since getting a new car last month, I’ve been taking extra precautions to make sure it stays in great shape. I take everything out when I am done for the day. I make sure that no food gets on the seats. I click my heels together to remove excess dirt before getting behind the wheel (okay, I lied about that one). The bottom line: the car is getting the royal treatment.

So, I figured it was only fair that my keys receive the same care and attention! Using two different shades of pink twine, I created a quick and easy neon tassel keychain that not only makes my keys look good, but more importantly, it makes finding them a snap!

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

To create the tassel, I followed these same instructions, but modified them slightly to accommodate a keyring.

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Once I had the strands tied together, I slipped the keyring in the center of the knot.

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, I took single strand (about twice as long as the original strands) and wrapped it around the grouping several times and then secured it with a double knot. Once everything was secured, I trimmed a little off the bottoms of the strands to make the tassel even.

DIY Neon Tassel Keychain | Ann-Marie Loves

Finally, I added my keys back on to the keyring and called it good! Now my car AND my keys are rolling in style.

workspace wednesday | digitizing hand lettering.

Posted on: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves
How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

One of these days I’ll become the proud owner of a tablet, but until then? I have a great workaround for converting anything hand drawn into digital format. I’m sure there are plenty of (easier) ways to do it, but this is my method of choice:

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

Using white paper or tracing paper, create your design. The best part about the recent hand lettering movement is that the more you can incorporate natural imperfections into your work, the more interesting your end product will be. I like to use a mix of pens for this kind of work, especially plain old black Sharpies (that I turn always into a broader tip by pressing down at a sharp angle on a scratch piece of paper) and fine-tipped Zig pens.

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

Next, choose your favorite hand lettered examples and cut them out into individual pieces.

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

Place each piece face-down on a scanner (I use the one that came with my HP Photosmart D110A Wireless Printer). Using your scanning software, save the scanned image as a high-quality JPEG and drag it into an Illustrator document.

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you’ve dragged your hand-lettering into Illustrator, highlight the image using the Select tool (dark arrow). At the top of the document, click on the “Live Trace” button.

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

Once you have live traced your image, click on the “Expand” button (right next to where the “Live Trace” button was).

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

Right-click on your image and select “Ungroup.”

After ungrouping my two hand lettered phrases, I deleted the phrase on the left since the one on the right is a little bit cleaner. (I figure that if I want to use the left phrase at a later date, I can always repeat this process.)

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves

Using the direct select arrow tool (white arrow), move each letter around to your liking, or leave it as is if you are happy with the spacing.

I deleted each of the letters in “ARE THE” because I decided I wanted to use a simple font instead.

How to Digitize Hand Lettering | Ann-Marie Loves


Add in fonts if you wish, or leave the design as is. If you plan on using your design in Illustrator for your end use (i.e. invitations, prints, rubber stamps), save it as an Illustrator document. If you plan on using it in Photoshop, save it as GIF (File > Save for Web and Devices > GIF).

Hand Stamped Baby Shower Thank You Notes | Ann-Marie Loves

I like the mix of hand drawn and uniform type, so I paired the two together to create a stamp for my baby shower thank you notes (which you can see here!).

*Like I mentioned before, there are probably tons of easier options for digitizing your hand lettering, but this is the way I do it :)

my favorite breakfast | oatmeal with fruit.

Posted on: Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

With the exception of a few days here there (oh, and maybe the whole first trimester when all I could handle was bagels), I’ve eaten oatmeal and fruit for breakfast every single day for the past several years. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make and definitely what gets me out of my nice, cozy bed in the morning. Plus, it’s super healthy!

Here’s what my daily breakfast routine looks like (bathrobe included):

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves


- 1/3 c. old fashioned oats

- strawberries

- 1 small peach (or apple, depending upon what you have on hand)

- handful of unsalted almonds

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Pour 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats and 2/3 cup of water into a saucepan and heat on the stove at a low temperature.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Chop up your fruit and add into a bowl. I like to fill my bowl as high as possible with fruit, but you can add as much or as little as you prefer.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Be sure to stir the oatmeal occasionally and remove from heat when most of the water has been absorbed and the consistency is thick but moist.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Pour the oatmeal into the same bowl as the fruit and mix around with a spoon. Finally, top with almonds.

Oatmeal with Peaches, Strawberries + Almonds | Ann-Marie Loves

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a good magazine, and enjoy!

diy yarn tassels.

Posted on: Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Things I am loving these days:

- Sandwiches.
- Long walks + good podcasts.

Aside from the occasional knitting project, I’ve never really been much for any sort of fiber crafting. Paper was definitely my medium of choice. But ever since I fell in love with weaving last week, I’ve been on the hunt for even more ways to put my growing stash of yarn to use! So on Easter, I decided that I would start making yarn tassels for various nursery decor projects, including a mobile to hang over the changing table and a garland to string along her crib. They’re incredibly easy to make and so satisfying to hold in your hands!

Here’s how you make a yarn tassel:

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Gather together a ball of yarn, sharp fabric scissors, and a surface to wrap your yarn around (in this case, I used a thick book, but it all depends on how big you want your tassels to be; the bigger the surface, the bigger the tassels).

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Wrap your yarn around the book several times. If you plan on making a bunch of similar-sized tassels, it helps to remember the number of times you wound the yarn.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Carefully slide the yarn off of the book.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Fold a new string in half (the length depends entirely on how long you want your “hanger” piece to be), and place it in the center of the wound yarn.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Pull the ends of the strings through the loop, making sure to keep an equal amount of yarn on both sides.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Pull the strings tightly to secure the knot.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Using another piece of string (approximately the same size as the surface in which you created the yarn cluster), tie a double knot around the width of the yarn to create the tasseled look.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

Slice through all of the loops and trim where need be to create an even, uniform look. Ta-da! Now you have a yarn tassel! The more you make them, the faster you get.

DIY Yarn Tassels | Ann-Marie Loves

With a little bit of my favorite mint masking tape, an adorable bunny printable from Made by Cay, and a handful of photos, I created a temporary vignette to hang in the baby’s nursery. I’ve already begun the mobile and the garland for the crib…I can’t wait to show you the finished results!

diy wrapping paper.

Posted on: Monday, April 21, 2014

DIY Stamped Tissue Paper Gift Wrap | Ann-Marie Loves

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Mine was filled with brunch in Los Feliz with my BFF, working an awesome event with Amy, spending quality time with family at home (the baby’s first Easter basket…!), eating more than my fair share of egg-shaped candy, and of course, crafting up a storm (the weaving obsession continues!).

In other words, a perfect weekend.

My good friend Lindsey is sharing my tutorial for creating your own stamped wrapping paper on her blog! (There may or may not be a heavy dose of hot pink involved…) While you’re there, be sure to check out her awesome shop full of impeccably-designed printables. Enjoy!

diy front door weaving.

Posted on: Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

On Tuesday night, while burning through episode after riveting episode of House of Cards, I decided that our front door needed a little facelift. Considering the fact that we’ve had this festive wreath hung up since the holidays (and now it’s, oh, mid-April?), it was definitely time for something new. After going back and forth between creating a dream catcher or a weaving, I decided on the latter. In case you haven’t seen my recent ‘grams, I’ve been on a major weaving kick, so I figured I might as well ride the wave while it lasts!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

Using my Martha Stewart loom, my favorite thrifted yarn colors, and a better understanding of how to create a quality weaving, I got to work on making a little decor for the front door. The whole weaving process took maybe three hours tops (or more accurately, three episodes of House of Cards) and then I tied it off the bottom strands and strung the top loops through a sturdy stick I found on a neighborhood walk. It was easily the most satisfying DIY project I’ve created in a very long time and it inspired me to create two more additional wall hangings last night!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

A few things I learned about weaving this time around:

- Adding new yarn colors is best done one or two columns into the warp (assuming you want a more uniform look). Last time I introduced new colors by knotting the ends of the the warp and I wasn’t a fan of all the extra strands that hung down the sides as a result.

- It’s best to leave an inch (or more) between the top of the weaving and the point where you introduce your first strands of yarn. I had to push the cream color at the top of my design down with my fingers because I hadn’t accounted for the size of the stick until the very end.

- Minimal tension on the yarn strands is required in weaving. In fact, the less tension, the better.

- This weaving is actually much smaller than I thought it would be, considering I used the entire length and width of the loom. I’m fine with the size, but I was definitely surprised.

- Thrifting yarn is the best way to stock up on fun colors while still saving a ton of money! My local thrift store sells big bags of yarn for only a few bucks each, so I pick them up whenever I see my favorite colors included. Eventually I want to create weavings with unexpected materials, such as leather, pom pom ribbon, and tinsel!

DIY Front Door Woven Hanging | Ann-Marie Loves

There’s something to be said about crafting victories. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attempted to make things only to feel less than thrilled with the end results. This project not only made me so incredibly happy to make, but now every time I walk up to the front door, I am overcome with those happy crafty feelings all over again. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving ;)

P.S. Here’s my first attempt at weaving!

workspace wednesday | how I organize my files.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago when I posted about three tips for faster blogging, I received a lot of comments and e-mails asking me how exactly I keep my files organized. So today, I am sharing a brief overview of my system and why it works so well for me.

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

To begin with, I only keep one item on my desktop: a folder that says ALL. Within that folder are all of my files, broken down into smaller folders. Much like having too many tabs open in my browser window, I can’t stand desktop clutter. Whenever things start getting out of hand, I take a few moments to put files in their proper places and trash anything that I don’t need. The cleaner my digital workspace can be, the happier and more productive I am!

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

For the most part, I keep my personal photos and my blog photos separate, so within the 2013 and 2014 folders, I store all of my personal photos from each month of the respective year. Each month then gets broken down into events that I will remember by the name I assign it (i.e. Balboa Park).

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

Since I edit nearly all of my photos (at least, the ones that I plan on using), I always make two folders when importing files from my camera to Finder (by way of Image Capture): EDITS + ORIGINALS. Everything starts out in the ORIGINALS folder, but once it’s been edited, it gets moved the EDITS folder. Pretty self-explanatory, right? This makes the process of finding my favorite photos so much easier since I don’t have to dig through every single file in search of “that one image.” Once I’m done going through all the originals, I chuck the files that I know I will never use and back up the rest on my external hard drive every month or so.

The secret to having a system that works is to make it as fool-proof as possible. The more you can narrow down your folders (i.e. 2013 > 01 | January 2013 > Rose Bowl Flea > ORIGINALS > EDITS), the quicker you will be able to pull up any given photo at a moment’s notice. I will admit that I have not always been so organized, but now that I have this system in place, I can’t imagine ever going back!

styling | shooting | sharing e-course is live!

Posted on: Monday, March 31, 2014

Styling | Shooting | Sharing // An E-Course by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Happy Monday everyone! It’s been a busy weekend over here as I’ve been working hard to create my third e-course: Styling | Shooting | Sharing!

Styling | Shooting | Sharing // An E-Course by Ann-Marie Espinoza

In this class, I share all of my favorite techniques for styling, shooting, and sharing your photos + your personal voice to create blog posts that represent the amazing person you are! I divulge all of my top secret tips and tricks, including:

- six video tutorials on my most frequently used Photoshop editing techniques, ranging from adding text to photos to using the clone stamp tool to experimenting with the Gaussian blur filter
- lessons on how to style and compose photos to best fit your personal aesthetic
- my tried-and-true approaches for shooting and editing quality photos that you will be proud to share with your readers
- ways to hone your personal style and boost your blogging speed
- developing your online voice and expanding your reach

Styling | Shooting | Sharing // An E-Course by Ann-Marie Espinoza

As my blog has grown and evolved over the years, I’ve picked up several habits that have not only made my images (and in turn, my entire blog) much more visually appealing, but have also taught me how to blog smarter and quicker than ever before. I’m thrilled to be able to share my best-kept secrets with you!

Styling | Shooting | Sharing | A Blogging E-Course

*Please note: Although this e-course features tutorials and ideas using Photoshop CS3, a digital camera, and a WordPress blogging platform, you do not need any of these things to take this class. It’s also ideal for anyone looking to simply better their photo styling and shooting tips!

You can purchase Styling | Shooting | Sharing HERE.

P.S. This week only, all e-courses (including this one!) are 25% off with the discount code: SPRINGFEVER

my favorite fonts.

Posted on: Monday, March 24, 2014

The number one question I get asked on a near-daily basis is “what font is that?” And I totally get it. I’m completely font obsessed myself. Here are some of my favorite typefaces that I use regularly:

Favorite Fonts | Ann-Marie Loves

Trend | Thirsty | Novecento | St. Ryde

All four of these typefaces were purchased through MyFonts, though there are plenty of amazing free fonts out there as well. Whenever I’m in the market for new font families to add to my repertoire, I look for typefaces that will work well with a variety of projects and media (i.e. everything from stamps to blog posts to design work for clients). It might just be the advice of my college professors echoing in my ear, but I find that paying for a font family that I love is always a worthwhile investment (plus, as a freelancer, it’s also a tax write-off!). Not only do I have killer typefaces to pull from at my discretion, but paid fonts also tend to be significantly less overused than free fonts. Win win.

P.S. One of my favorite tools for pinpointing the names of cool fonts that I stumble upon is the What The Font app for iPhone. While it’s not always 100% accurate, it’s helped me to discover so many awesome typefaces along the way!

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