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You too can be a amazing graphic designer with DesighCap

 

Are you on social media a lot? If you have Pinterest and/or Instagram (for example), there is no doubt that you have come across beautiful images that draw you in. It can be an image on Pinterest that entices you to want to click on it to read more (or pin it to one of your boards), or maybe an advertisement on Instagram that catches your attention and want to learn more about a product or service.

It takes more than just a great picture to create an eye catching design. A lot of it has to do with the layout, colors, texts and other design options. Most of those designs are created by graphic designers, but some are created by ordinary people with no formal graphic design education.

Here is an example of what I am referring to. Below are two photos. Which one do you think is more attracting and interesting, and would want you to learn more about it.

 

Both of the images feature a photo (or photos) of a city. Which do you think is most appealing and interesting?

I would like to think that most people would think the Montreal one looks the best. I sure do.

The Montreal image was created with a program called DesignCap. The other one (New York City) was created with another photo editing program.

I was asked to review DesignCap. I was offered a paid membership in order to do my review, because it offers me a bit more than other plans. DesignCap also has other plans, including a FREE one.

Here is what you get with the FREE plan.

I’m sure once you play around with DesignCap and see all that you can do with it, you might want to consider one of their other subscription options – $8.99/mo or $12,99/mo. If you pay for the plans in full, the price is considerable less (bringing it down to $4.99 or $5.99 per month when broken down).

The paid plans offer more “bells and whistles.” The $8.99 ($4.99/mo when paid annually) option offers you the following (compared to the free plan).

The premium $12.99/mo ($5.99/mo when paid annually) plan offers the same as above, but you can do upwards of 1,000 image uploads and save up to 1,000 designs. I would think the premium plan would be best suited for popular social media people and/or businesses. The middle plan would be best for most people. If you only need it every now and then, then of course the free option would be best for you.

You can do so much with DesignCap. Here are just a few examples.

Within each option you will find pre-made templates that all you need to do is add your own photo(s) and text.

Let’s take an Instagram post for example. Within the Instagram option you’ll find DOZENS of templates to choose from, or you can create your own.

Here are just a few examples of the Instagram templates you’ll find.

Once you find a template you like, you have total control over the image(s), text, icons and so much more.

Here is the same Montreal template that I re-did using my own New York City photos (except the bottom photo in the film strip – I neglected to swap that one out with one of my own).

My example might not be the BEST it can be (I was pressed for time, sorry), but I wanted to show you how easy it is to swap out your photos, text and more to transform any template found on DesignCap into your own.

Even if you are not into social media, you can still utilize the features that DesignCap has to offer. Say for example you are throwing a surprise baby shower for a friend. You can use DesignCap to create stunning baby shower invitations. You can even design your own Christmas cards! I know it’s way too early to think about Christmas cards, but it’s certainly nice to know you can design your own with little to no design experience. Just think about all the money you can save by doing it yourself.

Your whole family can utilize the features of DesignCap. Even your child can use it to create eye catching report covers and graphs.

You can use DesignCap to create your own logo, business cards and brochures.

Are you planning an event for your church, group or school? You can use DesignCap to create flyers and posters.

The possibilities are endless. You are only limited by your imagination.

If you are interested in learning more about DesignCap, and perhaps try it out for yourself, visit DesignCap.com. The brand can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (their links are found on their website).

What do you think about DesignCap? Does it sound like a program you would use? If so, what things do you think you could use it for?

Kimberly

*I received an upgraded annual membership in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Enjoy your favorite memories with a Nixplay Wi-Fi digital photo frame

 

If you are around my age (50-something ugh!), you’ll remember how we used to enjoy precious photographs.

Back in the day you had to purchase film for your camera. Once the roll was finished you had to take it some where to get developed. Often that took several days, unless you went to one of those photo express booths (remember those?).

I always opened up the envelope of photos as soon as I got into my car. I could never wait to check them out. There was always a few that had to be tossed out for a variety of reasons.

After you picked out your favorite photos, you put them in a photo album. When you wanted to relive memories you’d simply open up your photo albums.

We have more than two dozen photo albums. My husband used to create a new album each year. He’s very organized. The only problem with that is that you’d have to know what year’s album to look through if you were looking for a favorite picture.

Some of your best photos were most likely displayed in frame (these days you can have them made into a variety of prints including canvas, wood and metal).

I love seeing photos of my family and friends. But sometimes I want to see more of my favorite photos. There are only so many frames you can display. And if you are like us and live in a tiny home (condo, townhome, trailer…) there are only so many frames you can have. That is why I appreciate the Nixplay digital photo frame.

Digital photo frames are not something new. They have been around for years. Some frames stand out more than others.

I was sent to review the Nixplay Iris digital frame. I received the Peach Copper color. It’s not my first choice (I would have preferred silver or bronze), but it’s grown on me.

Here is a brief video about the Nixplay Iris digital frame.

 

The Nixplay Iris is one of their Wi-Fi enabled frames, meaning that you can do things on the frame from an app on your phone. You can control your frame, as well as upload photos, via the free Nixplay app.

What I like about this frame is that you don’t have to go out and buy pricey (and tiny!) SD cards to insert into the frame or transfer photos to your frame with a flash drive. Instead, photos are added to your frame using the app. That means you can transfer your favorite photos on the various social media platforms directly to your frame. Considering a lot of people use Facebook and Instagram to share photos, it makes perfect sense that you can transfer photos from those platforms onto your frame.

You can also access your photos from various devices using the Cloud. The Nixplay Iris digital frame also comes with 10 GB of free cloud storage. I’m not sure how many photos that would hold, but I would have to guess into the thousands.

My frame. I turned the photos off for privacy reasons. I’m very picky about the photos of my family that I choose to be shown on my blog.

First the techie details.

Setting this up took a little bit because we first had to set the device up on our router. My husband is a computer tech and computer safety and security are important to him (as they should be for everyone). I’m not sure what he had to do but it had something to do with a firewall and mac address and turning something off in the settings.

Once we got the frame set up with our Wi-Fi there was just some simply registration stuff to complete and we were all set to go.

I should add that the Nixplay Iris comes with different plugs that can be used in the U.S. and abroad. You should select the correct plug for your area. Plugging the plug into the frame was easy.

The frame comes with a decent length plug, which helped because the two places we tried out the frame required a good length to it.

The frame comes with a built in stand, but it’s not what you would normally expect. The plug also acts as a stand. The part of the plug closest to the frame is made of some kind of a sturdy “wire” that allows it to be bent in different directions depending on whether or not you want the frame to be horizontal or vertical. The downside to this is that you cannot hang it on the wall (it wouldn’t lie flush against the wall). I would have loved to have been able to hand this up, but that’s OK.

Built in stand allows you to display the frame vertically or horizontally. I like that they put such great detail into the back of the frame too.

The frame and the app also have to be synced together, but that was easy enough to do. Even I could do that, and I’m far from a “techie.”

The frame also comes with a remote control, which is a unique feature. The remote allows you to navigate with your frame including play, stop, pause, switching between playlists, settings and more.

Once everything is set up you are ready to add photos. To do this simply open up your app and start adding photos.

There are different features within the app, so I would suggest playing around a bit to familiarize yourself with all that you can do. Take for example playlists. You can create different playlists to show on your frame. One example I wanted to set up (I’m still trying to track down all the photos) is a playlist of holiday photos of my family throughout the years. I want them to play on the frame for the holiday season. I think that would be a fun thing to do. My family and I can talk about the various photos that appear and relive fond memories of past Christmases.

Here is a REALLY cool thing about Nixplay Iris. You instantly share photos to anyone else that you are friends (or family) with who also has one of the frames. This is perfect for loved ones who live far away, like grandparents.

My father and stepmother live in Florida now (we’re in New York). They have grandchildren (my kids) here in New York and the rest of their grandchildren in Indiana. If everyone had one of these frames we could all send photos to Grandpa and Grandma instantly.

Remote control.

You can also send photos to others around the world. All they need is one of the frames and Wi-Fi. This would be great for those in the military who are stationed at bases overseas and want to keep connected with loved ones back home.

Not all older people use Facebook or Instagram. Some are not into computers either, so the frame is a wonderful way to provide them with pictures of you and your family. You can also choose who to share photos with.

I’m just touching the surface of the Nixplay Iris. I’m still familiarizing myself with it. I’m sure there are a lot more “bells and whistles” I have yet to discover.

This would make a truly wonderful gift for your loved ones. It’s a great way to feel connected, regardless of the miles in between you.

It’s also a great way for you to enjoy your precious moments, rather than leave photos buried in photo albums or lost in folders on your computer.

Nixplay has other available digital frames, including ones that are not on Wi-Fi.

If you are interested in learning more about Nixplay Iris, visit Nixplay.com. The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

Would you like to own a Nixplay Iris digital frame? Do you know someone who would appreciate one as a gift this holiday season? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

3 Reasons You Should Get into Amateur Photography

 

 

There are a whole range of different hobbies you could get into, depending on your particular inclinations and preferences. You could go for an old-fashioned classic and take up stamp collecting (hey, it may not scream “cool” but it’s still a fun and viable hobby, even in the 21st Century), or you could go ultra-modern and take up amateur web design.

Then again, why not take up amateur photography?

People today inarguably take more photos than ever before, but those photos are usually just casual snaps taken courtesy of a camera phone, which never escape from the internet and make their way into real-world photo albums or onto real life mantelpieces.

Nonetheless, taking up photography as a hobby has some great benefits. Here are some reasons why you should really look into amateur photography.

It can be a great way of exploring your artistic side

People often don’t really think of photography in the same way as they think of people standing in front of a canvas and painting, composing a piece of music, of writing a poem, but if you’ve ever been to see a really good photography display, competition, or expo, you’ll see that there’s a world of technique and artistic mastery that can go into every photograph.

If you take a course on photography, you’ll learn how to use lighting, timing, and all kinds of other essential features of the trade, to take photos that wouldn’t look at all out of place in an art gallery.

What’s more, with the right software, you can edit photos on a Mac, or PC, and create your own displays, collages, and special effects as a result.

It’s a brilliant way of preserving memories

A photo isn’t just a disconnected, pretty picture, it’s also a psychological anchor that can take you back to a particular place and time, immediately, and with a profound rush of emotion.

Taking selfies in a club bathroom may be the popular trend in photography these days, but having a proper camera with you, and taking attractive photos of some of those highlight events in your life, can be an excellent way of preserving memories — especially if you go through the additional work of making high-quality printouts of your photos and putting them into physical albums.

Years later, you may well page through one of these albums, and be amazed by all the forgotten memories that come flooding back.

It’s a fun hobby that you can get involved in

Photography doesn’t just have to be a lone activity — although it can, of course, be that as well. Photography can also be a deeply engaging hobby which serves as a way of meeting other people with the same interest, and becoming part of a wider community of amateur photographers.

You can even enter yourself in photography competitions of all different sorts, depending on your particular interests and specialities. It may be that you’ll be featured in a museum’s or society’s annual photo album or magazine, for that shot you took of a squirrel in your garden. You never know.

Affordable, Quality Canvas Prints from Canvas on the Cheap

 

I know I have mentioned it many times on my blog about how I truly love to take pictures. Honestly, my indoor pictures (like photos of products I am reviewing) are always horrible. I don’t really know why (poor lighting I guess). On the other hand, I am very proud of my nature and animal photography. I’d like to think some of them turned out pretty amazing (patting myself on the back – ha ha).

The problem with taking so many photos is that they all end up on my computer, one of my many external hard drives, flash drives and/or phone. That is where they sit indefinitely. It’s great to be able to look at them, but with so many pictures, it’s hard to find the ones that you like the most.

I try and share my favorite photos on my personal Facebook page. At least I can easily (almost) find my favorites without having to scroll through hundreds, if not thousands, of photos.

One of my photos I am most proud of. It’s not edited. I took this through it’s pen and it just happened to be dark behind him so it framed his (or her) head perfectly. Hello National Geographic… I’m waiting for you to call me. LOL!

I’ve always wanted to display my personal favorites, but how? I really didn’t want to upload my photos to a photo printing place, search for frames they can fit in (not to mention the expense of frames), and hammer nails into my walls. What I needed was a better, easier and more affordable alternative.

I had the idea of displaying my photos on canvases. They are not only affordable, but they also don’t need frames and depending on the size, you can hang them up with a simply tack. In fact, many of my canvas prints are hung up by a single tack or two (depending on the size).

I was asked if I wanted to review canvas prints form a company called Canvas on the Cheap. Since I have been wanting to have some of my photos turned into canvas prints, this was the perfect opportunity. The hard part was picking out which of my photos I wanted to display and where.

We live in a tiny condo. We don’t have much wall space available (most walls have some kind of art work on them). I decided that I wanted to to use part of the dining room as my “photo gallery.”

Canvas on the Cheap offers canvas prints in a nice array of sizes, from 8″ x 8″ up to a whopping 30″ x 40″ (that’s huge!).

Their prices are amazing. I have never seen canvas prints this affordable before.

I knew I had only a limited amount of wall space to use, so I opted for 8″ x 8″ canvas prints, however I did make a few of them a bit larger to mix things up a bit.

Using Canvas on the Cheap couldn’t be any easier. You simply select the size you want from the various options, and then upload your photo. Don’t worry if you change your mind on the size. Once you upload the photo you can change the size of the canvas print on the next screen.

You can upload photos from your computer, or from your Instagram account.

Once uploaded you can rotate, crop and/or re-position the photo to make it look the way you want it to.

When you are satisfied you can move on to the next step when you select the type of “wrap” you want, frame or not frame, and backing. I went with all the standard options.

After that simply add the image to your cart and check out, or you can choose to make more canvas prints.

I was pleased with how quickly my prints were sent to me (and I created a lot of canvas prints).

I examined each one to check for any manufacturing defects in the wood frame (canvas frame) or the canvas it’s self. Everything looked perfect.

The quality of the images also turned out great. The images were crisp and clean and the colors were wonderful.

I am very pleased with how all of my canvas prints turned out from Canvas on the Cheap. So much so that I am planning on ordering MORE prints from them in the near future (family photos next time around).

Check out my “photo gallery” made from my Canvas on the Cheap canvas prints.

Can you tell I have a thing for animals and nature?

The lighting is a bit “off” in the photos because I took the photos off my Instagram account where I used a filter to lighten the image (it was a bit dark to begin with).

All of the photos you see in the above pictures are from Canvas on the Cheap EXCEPT the large tiger and the butterfly.

It’s hard to tell from the photo but the eagle canvas is larger than the other ones that surround it.

These are not all my Canvas on the Cheap canvas prints. I have another larger one with our cat’s image on it (he was put to sleep a few months ago) and another butterfly and a photo of me and my brother who passed away in June on another way (I won’t show my brother’s image for obvious reasons).

If you are interested in learning more about Canvas on the Cheap, or to place an order, visit CanvasontheCheap.com. I don’t see any social media links on their site, but that doesn’t mean they are not on social media.

What do you think about Canvas on the Cheap? Do you have any photos you are interested in turning into a canvas print?

Kimberly

*I received free canvas prints in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

This Little IT Company Just Fixed Your Phone’s Biggest Problem

 

We can’t seem to do anything today or go anywhere without our smartphones.  We use them for everything!  We download store apps, we take videos of everything to share on social media and we take thousands of pictures every year.  But with all that activity comes a big problem:  WE RUN OUT OF MEMORY.

Who hasn’t been there?  You are on vacation or at a big family event and you get that dreaded message:

“Out of Memory – Delete apps or files to free up space”

And with that, you are out of business, until you can sit down and decide what to delete or wait until you can get to a computer, find your connector cable and download photos and videos off your phone.  If you are away from home, it could be days or weeks before you can do that.

A little IT company on the plains of Colorado recently introduced an ingenious solution to this problem – ThePhotoStick Mobile.

Simply plug the small flash device into your phone and launch the free app from the app store.  With a couple of clicks, you can remove and safely back up all the videos and photos on your phone.  No blowing up your data plan or WiFi needed!  You can do it anywhere – on vacation, outside or even in the subway.  ThePhotoStick Mobile is available for both Android and iPhones and even has the latest USB-C connector available as well.

It only takes a few minutes and you can easily back up and remove up to 65 gigabytes of files and you are back in business to download more apps, take more videos and pictures!

After you’ve freed up all that space, you can transfer the files to your computer or laptop at your convenience by plugging the device into any open USB port.  ThePhotoStick Mobile also includes some great photo organization software (PhotoOrganizer) that will help you organize ALL the photos on your computer well – very cool little bonus.

You can get ThePhotoStick Mobile at http://ThePhotoStick.com/mobile and save 50% Off for a limited time.  PLUS, readers of She Scribes can get an extra 20% off by using the unique code “SCRIBE20”!  Go to thephotostick.com/mobile and try ThePhotoStick Mobile.  You’ll never miss another shot again!

Take your photos to a whole new level with Aluminyze

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Aluminyze

PHOTO CREDIT: Aluminyze

Remember back in the day when you took a photo you had it developed and then placed it in a photo album or frame? Those were your options – unless you like to toss photos into a shoe box and bury them in the back of your closet (I have a few boxes like that). Years ago that was all we had available to us. There wasn’t much more you could do with photos.

Over the years companies have found fun ways for you to showcase your favorite photos such as putting your favorite photo on a mug or tee shirt, having a photo blown up to be a poster, putting several favorite photos into a photo book or printed on canvas and turned into a piece of wall art.

I have a few photos printed on canvas and several photos books. I think they are a wonderful way to share and display those photos that mean the most to you.

A company called Aluminyze has taken photo art to a whole new level. Aluminyze infuses your photo image into a solid sheet of aluminum creating a photographic print that is vibrant, durable and very unique.

Aluminyze photo of my pets. It's hard to tell from this picture but the photo is raised from the wall - as if it's popping off the wall. It's a unique look.

Aluminyze photo of my pets. It’s hard to tell from this picture but the photo is raised from the wall – as if it’s popping off the wall. It’s a unique look.

Aluminyze prints are waterproof, tear proof and UV resistant so you can hang them anywhere you want. I like that they are waterproof. That would be great for anyone who has water issues or lives in a flood zone. Aluminyze is a great way to protect your favorite photos.

The idea of having a photo infused on to a sheet of aluminum sounded very interesting to me. I was super excited when I was offered to have a couple of my favorite photos done by Aluminyze to review. The hard part was picking out which photos.

After going through a lot of my favorite photos I opted to have a photo of all six of our pets turned into an Aluminyze photo as well as a butterfly photo I took years ago at the Bronx Zoo that I especially like.

I cannot tell you how anxious I was to receive my photos from Aluminyze. They were mailed to me quickly. I was surprised at how fast they were delivered.

Check out this brief video that shows you a bit more about Aluminyze.

 

 

The photos are literally infused on to the sheets of aluminum giving them a really unique look. They have a glossy look to them and the butterfly photo which was printed on silver-like aluminum almost has a 3D look to it. When you look at the photo from different angles it looks like it’s popping off the photo. It’s a really cool effect.

The available aluminum are white and silver. You can choose which one is best for you and photo you are using. The Aluminyze website gives some suggestions on which color option to choose depending on the photo.

You can also choose a gloss finish or a matte finish.

Unlike other companies who make artwork out of your photos, Aluminyze can turn your artwork into any shape on aluminum – including iPhone and Galaxy cases. They even have large Aluminyze options for panoramic photos and ornament size options. Personally I love the ornament size one. I was thinking of taking a photo of my kids and having it turned into an Aluminyze ornament to give to the grandparents. That is a wonderful idea! I also like that the ornament will last for a very long time because it’s infused on to aluminum and wont’ get ruined being packed away with the rest of the decorations.

Butterfly photo. The flash on my camera lit up the one side of the photo. This one has almost a 3D effect to it.

Butterfly photo. The flash on my camera lit up the one side of the photo. This one has almost a 3D effect to it.

There are different mounting options available too – easel, pedestal and wall float. Both of my Aluminyze photos have a wall float on the back of them. It elevates them off the wall a bit and really makes them “pop” when you look at them. They just don’t lie flush to the wall. It’s like they are jumping off the wall. It’s a really interesting effect.

I absolutely LOVE my Aluminyze photos. I wish my photos turned out good enough. They don’t do that Aluminyze photos justice. The quality of the Aluminyze photos is beautiful.

I’m not the only one blown away by how wonderful Aluminyze products are. Check out what other people have to say on the  Aluminyze “showcase” page. They really have the “WOW” factor.

If you have a special photo you want to turn into a unique piece of artwork for your wall – a wedding photo, family photo or just a wonderful photo you captured of nature or the outdoors – Aluminyze will take those photos to a whole new level.

The company even offers pre-made photos if you simply want some beautiful artwork to adorn your walls.

Prices range from $18.95 to $319.95 (that one is for a HUGE photo) depending on the size and shape.

Here is a special discount code – valid through November 30, 2014.

Discount Code: FAMILYFUN40

SAVE 40% on your first order

Expires 11/30/2014

 Aluminyze would make a great gift too.

For more information visit  Aluminyze.com. You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterst.

A logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.