Me draw pretty one day

DeathtoStock_Desk4

Remember that one time I woke up and decided to go to grad school? Well let’s just consider this the sequel.

No, I’m not going back to school for a PH’D, but I AM going back to school – kind of: I decided to self-teach myself graphic design.

What started as a passing thought (so passing that I even Googled “Do you have to know how to draw to be a graphic designer?”) quickly caught my imagination. Originally I had thought about learning how to code and do web design but after talking to the hubby, decided to focus on graphic design. I know it seems like a pretty radical turn but it’s not. I’ve always appreciated good design, especially logos and packaging (as evidenced by my crazy attention to details Christmas gift packages and pretty much every party I’ve hosted and the wedding). As of now, I had been hacking away making magic with nothing more than Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (and borrowed designs) but I don’t want to be a hack anymore. I want to actually know what I’m doing! I used Photoshop to design all the signage and stationery for the wedding and I really enjoyed doing that so much so that I entertained the idea of opening an Etsy shop for invitations and other designs (like only a million other people). Basically, I was officially hooked and it only makes sense to develop the rudimentary skills I do have into something more substantial.

I had been looking around at design courses at some extension programs at Berkeley and SFSU but I just couldn’t stomach the cost of another several thousands dollars on top if my current loans. I even looked into courses at the local junior college but even that came with a hefty price tag. The hubby recommended checking out Lynda.com and I even looked at a few other online design courses before settling on SkillShare. While they both don’t offer a structured graphic design course, SkillShare was a lot more affordable for me ($10/month versus a minimum of $25/month for Lynda.com – more if I want access to the project files that the instructors use).

I’ve been using SkillShare for about a month now and so far I have really enjoyed myself. I’ve completed I’ve learned a few cool tricks already (like  masking layers) and I’m excited to learn more. I do plan on creating a sort of portfolio here to document my progress and give me an opportunity to practice explaining what I’ve done. I’m not the best at explaining things since I’m usually so focused on following the directions that I can’t really explain why I did something outside of “that’s what they told me to do.”  Plus I want to show off my pretty pictures. No lie. So be prepared for the occasional “This is what I did in school today” posts and don’t forget to ooh and ahh.

And if that isn’t enough, I do still plan on learning web design. The hubby found a promotion that got me a free membership to Treehouse for a year so I can start learning how to code as well. I haven’t started those classes yet but when I do, I’ll let you know how those are going as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about SkillShare or just want to try it out for free for a month, sign up through my referral link!

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Show me your bibs!

Thanks to my racing habit, I now have a nice collection of race medals and bibs. I had been looking for the best way to display them because for a time the racing bibs sat in a file folder in a cabinet and my medals were in a box on my bookshelf. Except for my very first medal, which I placed in a safe space so I wouldn’t lose it and it’s in such a safe place that I now can’t find it. So it’s super safe wherever it’s at. But I digress. What’s the use of having all these medals if I’m just going to put them in a box and forget about them until I get another medal that will end up in the box to be forgotten?

So I searched the Internet to see what was out there. I’ve seen the metal medal (ha) holders but even at $20-something dollars, it was more than I wanted to spend. I also wanted to display my bibs and even though I’d love to plaster them on the wall like wallpaper, I don’t think anyone would like that but me. My friend Kim shared a great idea that I loved and pinned on Pinterest (follow me on Pinterest!). She framed the medal she received from her first half marathon and I thought that was a great idea. So I bought a picture frame and some matting that I could cut myself since I wanted to display my bib along with the medal and mocked one up. I loved the way it looked but then wondered if I was really going to hang so many pictures on the wall. I figure I have a few more years of racing ahead of me and that would be one massive wall of frames.

Then I ran my half marathon and received this medal. Do you see this medal? Do you see that it’s a cork stopper? That would require a shadowbox frame and I didn’t really want to get one. Since I plan on doing this race a several more times, there will be several more potential cork stopper medals so I had to look for another option.

I restarted my search following my Turkey Trot (which I didn’t write about, but it was Thanksgiving morning – a great way to make room for the feast) and came across Running on the Wall and found my inspiration. A couple of trips to Michael’s and Home Depot later, I had my very own bib holder.

race bib display

While it’s not as polished as the ones at Running on the Wall, for less than 10 bucks (I’m guessing; I don’t have the receipts anymore), I have a fantastic place to display all of my bibs in one place. I’m still on the hunt for medal displays (I’m not sure if I want to make one myself or just buy one from them) so if you have any ideas or pins, let me know. Tag me in the pin or link it to this post. I’d love to see how you display your medals.