Entries Tagged as 'workspace wednesday'

i heart anthology magazine.

Posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anthology Magazine | via Ann-Marie Loves

Earlier this year, I treated myself to a subscription to my favorite print magazine, Anthology. Previously, I had always purchased the publication at Anthro, but I finally decided that receiving a copy in the mail would make reading it extra special. Turns out, I was right. My first copy arrived on Monday and I am in love.

Anthology Magazine | via Ann-Marie Loves

Like I mentioned in this episode of Elise Gets Crafty, freelancing has definite benefits, including being able to write off inspiring reads as research materials when tax season rolls around. And let me tell you, I definitely turn to this publication time and time again for creative and business inspiration!

Anthology Magazine | via Ann-Marie Loves

It’s magazines like this one that make me grateful for print, especially since my growing collection of back issues makes for a fun visual display on my living room bench. Paper, you guys. My love knows no end.

Last Day for July 2014 Stamps! | annmarielovespaper.bigcartel.com

P.S. A friendly reminder that today is the LAST DAY to purchase any of my July 2014 rubber stamps! They will be gone by midnight :)

workspace wednesday | tying up loose ends.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Workspace Wednesday | Ann-Marie Loves

So as it turns out…I’m still pregnant! Ha! The salad didn’t work, but that’s okay. I’m more than happy to take advantage of a few extra days of sleeping in, cleaning this house from top to bottom, and tying up loose ends on the project front. It definitely feels counterintuitive to be cutting back on my workload and allowing myself to take a little bit of a break. I can’t remember the last time I did that since graduating college in 2009…!

While I wait for this baby to make an appearance, I’m magic eraser-ing the heck out of every surface (what is in those things, anyway?), trying to figure out where I want to hang these prints, learning awesome ideas for kids’ crafts (I can’t wait for her book!), writing the last handful of thank you notes, going on short power walks, squealing over these adorable mini TOMS that my friend Sarah gifted the babe, and trying to wrap my brain around what’s to come. It’s a good week, baby or no baby. Hope yours is going swimmingly as well!

workspace wednesday | makeshift photo studio.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

Aside from the fact that I love clean-lined white furniture, a big part of the reason that I wanted this dresser for the office / nursery was because I knew it would make the perfect makeshift “photo studio.”

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

Given the dresser’s close proximity to the window and the fact that it’s so easy for me to clear an open space by removing the changing pad, I’m positive that even after the baby arrives and starts napping in her crib, I’ll be able to quickly and easily utilize this space for all kinds of photography purposes. (P.S. How ridiculously cute are those hand-knitted teddy bears? $0.79 each at the thrift store…!)

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

I’m a big believer in making use of what you have! There’s no need to invest in fancy studio equipment as long as you have access to a clean white surface and plentiful natural light. And even though I hate the look of those terrible vertical blinds that came with our apartment, I love that they allow me to control the amount of light entering the room so I can photograph at all different times of day. #silverlining

Creating a Makeshift Photo Studio | Ann-Marie Loves

Of course, my only problem right now is the giant bump that seems to photobomb all of my overhead shots – ha!

P.S. You can read so much more about my tips for creating eye-catching compositions and taking blog-worthy photographs in my e-course Styling | Shooting | Sharing!

workspace wednesday | another #GIRLBOSS quote.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quote from #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | Print by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Another #GIRLBOSS nugget of wisdom for you today!

As I lay in bed last night dying from the summer heat (a portable A/C unit in our bedroom can’t come fast enough!), I powered through more of this awesome book and found myself making mental notes of all the little gems that are sprinkled throughout each chapter. SO MANY GEMS. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do, who I want to be, and where I want to take my career post-baby and this particular quote totally struck a chord with me.

P.S. It may seem as though all I do these days is read. Not so! I spend plenty of time on Instagram too ;)

workspace wednesday | free project list printable.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Free Project List Printable | Designed by Ann-Marie Loves

At any given point in time, I have an ongoing list of a million and one projects that I want to accomplish, like, yesterday. While some of them can be achieved in a single step, others take several steps to finish. So instead of writing “decorate the nursery” on my to-do list day after day, knowing full-well that it will never to be crossed off, I’ve created a free printable that turns big projects into bite-size tasks.

 Free Project List Printable | Designed by Ann-Marie Loves


Free Project List Printable | Designed by Ann-Marie Loves

P.S. I talk at greater length about the idea of breaking down projects into manageable chunks and include a more comprehensive list printable in my e-course “Make It Happen!”

workspace wednesday | #GIRLBOSS

Posted on: Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#GIRLBOSS | via Ann-Marie Loves

The other night before I climbed into bed, I decided that I didn’t want to read another book on babies. I didn’t want to read another chapter on sleep training. I didn’t want to read about French parenting styles vs. American parenting styles. (At least for one night.) Instead, I wanted something completely different.

Thus, I bought #GIRLBOSS on my Kindle and devoured as much of it as possible before my eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. It’s so fascinating! I’ve seen a bunch of ‘grams with people raving about the book recently, I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon too. There are so many nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout, but one of my most favorite quotes is:

#GIRLBOSS | via Ann-Marie Loves

BOOM. Love that.

“Make It Happen” E-Course is Now Live!

Posted on: Thursday, May 29, 2014

Make It Happen | An E-Course on Getting Things Done | by Ann-Marie Espinoza

Happy Thursday! I’m so excited to finally be launching my “Make It Happen” e-course! In this class, I cover all sorts of tips and tricks for getting things done and feeling good about yourself. It’s very akin to my Workspace Wednesday series, except in much greater length and detail.

Make It Happen | An E-Course on Getting Things Done | by Ann-Marie Espinoza

“Make It Happen” includes advice on:

- overcoming those inevitable creative blocks
- developing up a rewards system that fuels you to power through any task
- knowing when to take a break and when to push through
- setting deadlines and sticking to them
- determining your ideal workflow

The class also comes with a free goal setting + achieving printable worksheet that will help you break down any project into bite-size, manageable steps.

Make It Happen | An E-Course on Getting Things Done | by Ann-Marie Espinoza

As a creative freelancer for the past two years, I’ve learned a ton about what it takes to stay on top of my to-do list and make things happen for myself time and time again. I can’t wait to share my knowledge with you!

To purchase “Make It Happen” (for only $9!), click HERE.

workspace wednesday | just dive in.

Posted on: Wednesday, May 28, 2014

photo 2

Peace out, VW. I don’t miss you one bit.

This past weekend, John and I bought a new baby-friendly car! With four doors! And a deep trunk for toting a stroller and groceries! And excellent gas mileage! It’s only the second car I’ve ever owned, with the the first being a VW Beetle that got me through high school, college, post-college, and the beginning of married life. To be honest, I was completely and utterly intimidated by the concept of buying a vehicle. I’ve been dreading it for weeks. But as soon as we chose our car, signed our lives away, and drove off the lot, it felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I can’t tell you how good it feels to know that if I need to get somewhere, I can get there without worrying about my car breaking down and costing a small fortune to repair (AGAIN).

The dread I experienced in the weeks leading up to the car buying process felt very similar to the dread I often feel when I have an assignment or a task I’d rather not do. The longer I procrastinate, the more the dread builds, and the more anxiety I feel about the looming deadline. It’s a vicious cycle, yet I do it to myself all the time. But the thing is, the task is almost never as bad as I imagine it will be. I rarely suffer through it the way that I anticipate. And by the time it’s finished? I feel like a million bucks! I know this is a lesson I will have to learn over and over again, but I’m writing this post to serve as a reminder to myself that it feels good to JUST DIVE IN. By leaning into an undesirable project, task, or item on a to-do list instead of avoiding it, half of the battle is already won.

So just do it already.

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 :)

workspace wednesday | my favorite shipping tools.

Posted on: Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Favorite Shipping Tools | Ann-Marie Loves

As I’ve designed, sold, and shipped a variety of products over the years, my packaging process has evolved and turned into a pretty streamlined event. It’s still not perfect, but it works for me. Here are my go-to tools for shipping success:

Big Cartel. As much as I love Etsy and all their amazing features, I found that their fees were really beginning to cut into my profit margins. And as a (very) small business owner, I couldn’t afford to give up anymore of my profits than necessary. So about a year and a half ago, I made the switch to Big Cartel and I really love it. Even though it doesn’t have the same community feel as Etsy (at least in my opinion), it’s cleaner, easier to navigate, and I only have to pay a flat rate each month, no matter how many sales I receive.

PayPal. My business would nothing if it weren’t for the ease and effectiveness of PayPal. Not only is it most people’s preferred way to exchange money, but it’s also a great tool for sending invoices, splitting the cost of a meal with a friend, and paying a variety of online services. Since I use PayPal on a daily basis, I have their business debit card so that I can spend money from my account everywhere I go.

Stamps.com. I absolutely adore my international customers and am thrilled to think that my designs live all over the world…! But before I subscribed to stamps.com, making runs to the post office to ship out international packages was quite the process. Between filling out customs forms, answering questions, and waiting patiently while the poor postal employees had to manually enter every last bit of information into the computer, each package took a minimum of five minutes to complete. (You can imagine how much the people in line behind me LOVED seeing me unload my oversized bag of international packages onto the counter! Ha!) But then, I discovered stamps.com. GAME. CHANGER. Not only can I skip the post office and print my labels from home, but the shipping costs are slightly lower too! I pay $15.99 a month to maintain my subscription and it’s easily the best $15.99 I invest in my business.

My Favorite Shipping Tools | Ann-Marie Loves

Mailers. A little over a year and a half ago, I purchased two GIANT boxes filled with grey padded mailers from Amazon and I am still working my way through that stash. While I don’t necessarily love the grey color, I do love that they are padded (perfect for the sharp edges on rubber stamps) and weigh virtually nothing.

Shipping labels. I used to buy my shipping labels from one of the big office supply chains, but then I saw Elise post about a $10 box of labels on Amazon and I haven’t looked back since!

Custom stamps. Each rubber stamp that I sell gets stamped with my Ann-Marie Loves logo and each kraft paper bag gets stamped with a thank you note.

My Favorite Shipping Tools | Ann-Marie Loves

Kraft paper bags. I used to purchase my bags from Paper Source, but then I thought to check Amazon and ended up saving a ton of money by buying in bulk. (Yet strangely, this hasn’t decreased my need to visit Paper Source on a regular basis…)

Colored tape. No packaging of mine would ever be complete without a little tape action! My current favorite is mint masking tape from Scotch.

Paper trimmer. While this may seem like an unnecessary packaging component, I assure you that when there are multiple shipping labels that need to be trimmed, you want a solid paper cutter in your arsenal. This particular trimmer by Fiskars has been a lifesaver, not only for my business, but for my wedding and crafting projects as well!

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