Fall into the Classroom in October!


That’s right, the online classroom is back in full swing today as all of our 4-week long courses are starting today! Check out our list of online class offerings here. Take one or maybe two and start checking off that list of all the new skills you want to learn with us today!

Happy Fall Friday!

Fall Friday

The air is crisp and we’re dreaming of an afternoon of apple picking, so it must be a fall Friday! Thanks for supporting our Brickyard Buffalo sale this week — stay tuned to the blog next week for the new October desktop calendar and the release of this year’s holiday card designs!

See you back here Monday everyone!

More Amazing Student Work

We’re here a day early with this week’s student work — enjoy what our talented and creative pupils have whipped up this week!

First, Nina Nesse snapped this amazing art shot for our Photo 101 class. She told us she is having so much fun with the class and, “a new world has been revealed.” Well, it certainly looks like she’s been able to capture a whole new world on film!

Nicole's Classes Student Work

Next we have a bouquet from Martha McIntosh in our Floral Arranging 101 class. She effortlessly mixed flowers and colors for this bright and cheery finished arrangement.

Nicole's Classes Student Work

And then we have another amazing arrangement from Nessa Buonomo who we have featured before. She really has a knack for floral arranging, and her latest wild creation shows that, not to mention a great eye for styling. Way to go!

Nicole's Classes Student Work

If you love these images as much as we do, enroll in a class with us in October!

Last Chance to Buy Classes on Brickyard Buffalo!

Brickyard Buffalo

You have one day left to buy our Sewing 101 and Watercolor 101 classes on group deals site Brickyard Buffalo for just $45!

Our 4-week crafting classes will never be at this low of a price again, so grab your paintbrush and palette or your needle and thread now, and sign up to learn something new and cool for a steal today!

Sewing 101: Roman Shades

I’m a big fan of Roman shades and their clean, modern look, but custom ones can be tres pricey. I’ve modified this pattern by Carol Zentgraf (originally featured in the no-longer-in-print sewing magazine Cutting Edge) to make shades for my San Francisco apartment shown here.

Sewing 101 Roman Shades

There are many different types of Roman shades; this one is an outside-mount shade; that is, one that you install outside the window opening. Before you start, make sure to work on a large, flat surface, such as a rectangular dining or craft table. It’s also a good idea to have pen and paper to write down all of your measurements.

Note: Although pretty straightforward, this pattern is not for beginners. To advance to an intermediate skill level, take my Sewing 101 class (available for only $45 on Brickyard Buffalo for 2 more days!).

What You Need:
[Makes up to a 36”-wide shade.]

Sewing 101 Roman Shades

54”-inch wide home decorating fabric (see step 1 for yardage)
54”-inch wide lining fabric (see step 1 for yardage)
Roman shade ring tape (see step 1 for yardage)
¼ yd. of muslin
Drapery cord in yardage 2½ times the ring tape yardage
Cord cleat with mounting screws*
1 pkg. basting tape
1 pkg. hook-and-loop tape (Velcro)
1 x 2 poplar board, to the width of window minus ½” *
3/8”-dia. wood dowel to width of board *
1 screw eye for each row of ring tape *
1½ brackets with mounting screws (use four brackets for three rows of ring tape and three brackets for four rows of ring tape) *
Power drill with 1/8” drill bit *
Staple gun *
Screwdriver *
Sewing kit (sewing machine, thread, scissors, straight pins, rulers, etc.)
*found at the hardware store

Step 1
For an outside-mount shade, make the shade at least 1½” wider on each side of window opening. This measurement will be the finished width of the shade. Then determine where the shade will be mounted and measure from this point to the windowsill. This will be the finished length of the shade.

To determine the shade yardage, add 4” to the finished width and 6” to the finished length. This is your cut size of the shade.

You’ll sew rows of ring tape along both side edges of the shade as well as spaced about 7” to 11” apart between the outer rows. Use three rows of tape for 21” to 28”-wide shades and four rows for 29” to 36”-wide shades.

Step 2
Cut one rectangle from the decorator fabric to the cut size of the shade. Cut one rectangle from the lining to the finished size of the shade.

Step 3
Fold both long edges of the shade fabric 1” to the Wrong side twice and press. With Wrong sides together, layer the lining on the shade. Have the top short edge of the lining 2” from the top of the shade. Place the long edges of the lining under the folded edges and even with the folds. Pin the side hems.

Step 4
Fold the top edge of the shade 1” to the Wrong side twice and press. Fold the bottom edge of the shade 2” to the Wrong side twice and press. Have the edges of the lining under the folded edges and even with the folds. Pin the hems.

Step 5
Apply basting tape along the center of the Wrong side of the ring tape. Remove the paper backing as you’re applying the tape.

With the Wrong side of the shade face up, apply the ring tape centered over each side hem. Have the first ring of every row of tape 1” above the upper edge of the bottom hem. Have the tape ends extend into the top and bottom hems.

Step 6
Add evenly spaced rows of ring tape between side rows, spacing them 7” to 11” apart. The lower ring on each row should be 1” above the hem. Check to make sure the rings are even and the rows are parallel.

Step 7
Edgestitch ring tape rows through all layers. Stitch upper and lower hems ¼” from inner folds. Insert the dowel into the bottom hem and hand-stitch the hem ends closed.

Step 8
Stitch the loop side of the Velcro to the Wrong side of the top hem.

Step 9
Cover the board with muslin fabric, overlapping and stapling the edges on top of the board. Remove the paper backing from the hook side of the Velcro tape and apply to the front (narrow) edge of the board. Secure the shade to the board with the Velcro.

Step 10
On the bottom (wide) edge of the board, secure a screw eye, centered on the board and above each row of ring tape. Have the screw eye openings parallel with the ends of the board.

Cut cord for each row long enough to thread through the rings and screw eyes and hang down half the shade length. Begin on the side where you want to lift cord. Tie a cord to the bottom ring and thread it through all rings in the row and the screw eye above the rings, and then through the screw eye on the lift cord side. Repeat for the rest of the rows. Temporarily tie the cords together.

Step 11
Install the board above the window using brackets with screws. Adjust cord lengths evenly and trim as desired. Attach cleat to window frame or wall.

Step 12
To use the shade, pull the drawstring and wrap around the cleat to secure.

And now you have chic window treatments for less! Again, if you want to up your sewing skills to be able to tackle this project, enroll in my Sewing 101 class starting next Monday (only $45 via Brickyard Buffalo through Thursday)!

Nicole’s Classes is on Brickyard Buffalo!

Brickyard Buffalo

You did read that right… Nicole’s Classes is on group deals site Brickyard Buffalo this week! They’re hosting a screaming deal on our already awesomely discounted Watercolor 101 and Sewing 101 classes — only $45 for sessions via their site for the next 3 days! So you better hurry and purchase your spot in one of our October or November sessions for those 2 courses on Brickyard Buffalo right now… the clock is literally ticking!

We’re so excited to be partnering with Brickyard Buffalo on this, and hope to be bringing you more sales like this on more classes in the future. As a reminder, make sure you’re all signed up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be the first to know about upcoming deals and promotions like these!

Another Dose of Student Work

That’s right, two Student Work posts in one week! Our September students have been on fire, so we just had to share more of their creations this week. Here we go!

Liz Lairet in our Photo 101 class captured this amazing shot of limes. She shows a great understanding of shallow depth of field, composition and exposure. Stellar shot!

Nicole's Classe Student Work

Whitney Rhoden created this quote poster that perfectly mixes font types, sizes and illustrated elements. We want this hanging in our house!

Nicole's Classes Student Work

Wedding planner and blogger Nessa Buonomo put together this amazing hand tied bouquet in our Floral Arranging 101 class. We love her romantic flower and color choices and the photo is also stunning. Great job!

Nicole's Classes Student Work

Wish you could create things like these? Enroll in a session starting in October and let us teach you a new creative skill!

Lightroom 101: Backups


I am frequently asked by students how I backup my images. There are many opinions on the best way to do backups. The basic idea that everyone agrees on is to have at least one copy on-site and one copy off-site. Many people keep a drive at home and then another drive at work.

One great thing about Lightroom is that, as long as you are backing up your Lightroom Catalog and your original raw/jpeg files, then you don’t need to store the exported versions, unless you want to. You can always export them again from the originals because your catalog contains the adjustments you have made.

If you use an Apple computer and have all of your original images and your Lightroom catalog stored on that computer, the easiest way to back up is by using Apple’s Time Machine. Time machine will back up your entire computer (provided your external drive has sufficient space to do so). For Windows users there are some “one touch” backup solutions that do similar things.

I have too many photos to store internally on my computer, so I use an external hard drive to store both my original photos and my Lightroom Catalogs. You can use small portable drives or larger desktop drives.

I suggest using a RAID drive that is set up in a mirrored configuration. It has two drives in one case, and when set up as mirrored drives, both drives contain the exact same information, automatically (once it is set up to do so). Make sure you are buying a drive that supports this if this a feature you want. The mirrored drive setup is protecting you against hard drive problems at home. If a hard drive fails, then you automatically have another copy. The likelihood of both drives failing at the exact same time is very very low.

There are many drives out there that are easily set up to do this, like this one.

Once you are set at home, I recommend also keeping an exact copy of what you have on the drive at home, off-site. So, if you have a 4 terabyte Mirrored Raid, that means there are Two 2-Terrabyte drives inside it. In a mirrored configuration, half of your total storage is all you can use because the other half is the backup. So, you would need another 2 terabyte drive to back up all of that information off-site.

A small portable drive, such as this one, can work well for this.

Now, to keep your off site drive up to date, you can use software like Chrono-Sync. This software makes it easy to update your drives because it knows what information is new or has been changed and only updates the changes. This saves lots of time because you are only copying new/changed files. Also, it eliminates the risk of user error while manually copying files, as long as it is set up properly.

Once your system is set up, you can update your off-site drive as often as you feel necessary. Some people do so weekly or monthly. Or sometimes they update it every time they have a photo-shoot.

This all may sound a little crazy, but you will never regret having backups. If a hard drive were to fail, you’ll be glad you still have access to all of your images. For those of you with very large image libraries, Drobo has some great solutions.

The most important thing about backing up your data is to be consistent. You can always add more space and hard drives are constantly getting faster and less expensive. Start now with what works best for you.

Interested in learning more about organizing, editing and storing your images? Take my Lightroom 101 class and let me help you figure it all out!

Student Work: Floral Bouquet Edition

This month’s Floral Arranging 101 class has been humming along spectacularly, and Chelsea has seen so much great work, that it just couldn’t be contained in the normal Friday slot. Without further ado, here are some amazing bouquets that our September students have created:

First, we have a bouquet from Erica Gomez made up of pink and purple dahlia’s. Her arrangement really let’s the beautiful dahlia’s shine and is also perfectly balanced. Great job!

Student Work

Next, we have an arrangement from Elissa Stewart. Her bouquet is a bright, happy mix of florals and it really made us smile!

Student Work

And we’ll end with this sweet white bouquet from Jill Fawcett. Her arrangement has a fantastic shape, and it would feel right at home in the hands of a blushing bride. We just loved it!

Student Work

Do you want to learn how to create floral arrangements for weddings, special events or your home? Let Chelsea teach you how and sign up for her class today!

September Student Work

It’s Student Work Friday again! Read on to see amazing pieces of work created by the students in our September sessions:

First up, Tania Newman in our Photoshop 101 class created this amazing collage with her new skills from the class. She learned how to cutout the nail polishes from their original backgrounds, combine them into a new image and then add text (and we love her choice of text!) to make this fun wish list. Great job Tania!


Next up, we have Nikki Shenk from our Floral Arranging 101 class who created this breathtaking wedding bouquet for one of her assignments. We love her effortless mix of florals and romantic color palette. Can’t wait to see what she creates for the next assignments!

Nicole's Classes Student Work

And lastly, we have an amazing design from Joanna Osborne. We love her typographic poster, and her spacing, color choice and font size are spot on. Thanks for sharing Joanna!

Nicole's Classes Student Work

Inspired? We sure are! Sign up to learn these skills and more in our online classroom!

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