We’re taking a break from our usual posting today to stuff our faces with, well, stuffing. But we wanted to take a little minute to not just wish our readers a very happy Thanksgiving, but also to tell you all how grateful we are for your continued support!
We feel very blessed this year to have taught so many of you in the virtual classroom, to have helped so many of you learn to create and design, and to have interacted with such wonderful students and readers. Truly, you are what Nicole’s Classes is most thankful for this year!
We’ll be back with a regular post tomorrow, and stay tuned for our Cyber Monday Sale on Monday, December 2nd at 12:01am!
Happy day before Thanksgiving everyone! If you’re still looking for last minute ideas to make your table a little more festive, here are a couple of ideas to personalize your decor with watercolor place cards. I drew an acorn and an oak leaf lightly in pencil on 140 lb cold pressed paper. Then using the wet on wet technique, taught in my Watercolor 101 class, I chose some fall colors and applied the technique inside the sketches. I then cut them out and wrote down my guest’s name on the card. If you are worried about using an ink pen on your painting, you can always sketch it in pencil first. If you have a scanner, scan the final painting, print it and then cut it out. I really like the weight of matte brochure paper.
You can also try a reverse wet on wet painting. I taped off a small square and sketched the leaf shape and then applied the paint on the outside of the shape. It makes a great place card, but you can also leave it empty and have guests write what they are thankful for on the inside which is a tradition we have at my house.
I encourage you to jump right into this fun project — it is easier than it looks! But if you are up to your ears in pies and stuffing (and you promise you’ll try to paint your own over the weekend), then I have included a free download for you of the acorn and large leaf to print and cut out for your table!
Enjoy! And if you want to learn more about watercolor, sign up for my class in the new year!
Just a reminder: Our Cyber Monday sale is coming this Monday, December 2nd at 12:01am PST!
We want to make your holiday shopping as easy as possible this year, so on this Black Friday, feel free to stay in those PJ’s all day and stuff your face with cold turkey. Then on Cyber Monday, all you need to do is turn on your computer anytime between 12:01am and 11:59pm PST and stock up on our classes, books, gift certificates and holiday cards for all your friends and family (and yourself of course)! It’s that easy!
It’s that time of year again… our Cyber Monday Sale is fast approaching!
For the last few years, in an effort to help you avoid the early wake-up call and crazy crowds of Black Friday (and to encourage you to gift yourself or someone else a little something from Nicole’s Classes!), we’ve had our biggest sale of the year on the Monday after Thanksgiving. And this year will be no different:
So this Black Friday, you can sleep in, make yourself a turkey sandwich and save some of your precious holiday funds for Nicole’s Classes on Monday! We’ll be posting more details next week (it will be a struggle to contain our excitement until then!) — make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter to be the first to know when the sale goes live!
Inspired by Anthropologie’s Firenze Velvet Tassel Pillow, I thought I’d share my lazy girl’s way for making colorful tassels. You can use them to add to the pillow you make in my Sewing 101 class or simply add them along the edge of a table runner for the holidays. They spruce up curtains nice, too. There are plenty of ideas for these festive bits, so let’s get started!
What You Need: Makes 2 Tassels
• 1 skein of embroidery floss in desired color
• Sharp sewing scissors
• Tapestry needle or .6mm crochet hook
Measure 2 inches from one end of the floss and use sewing scissors to cut across as shown. Repeat from other looped end.
Pull two strands away from the cut floss. Use one strand to tie a knot at the center of the floss as shown. Use the other strand to tie a knot around the neck of your tassel as shown. Repeat with other cut floss.
Slide your hook or needle under the neck and wrap the loose ends of the strand around the tip to pull them below the neck. Repeat with other tassel.
Trim an even line across the bottom of the floss.
Tasseled Table Runner:
To add to a store-bought table runner, line up your tassels 1 inch apart along the edge of the runner’s Wrong side (the side you won’t see on the table). The tassel ball should line up just below the edge to show on the Right side. Pin ties in place.
On the Wrong side, use fabric glue to place ½-inch thick grosgrain ribbon (in the length of the runner’s perimeter) over the ties. Let dry.
Step 3Trim excess strands that extend outside the ribbon.
You can also purchase fabric in the length that suits your table. Fold the edges over twice by about 1 inch (see this tutorial for making mitered edges). And place the ties between the fold, 1 inch apart. Top-stitch in place around the perimeter.
To add to Sewing 101 pillow:
On the right side of your Pillow Front, line up tassels 1 inch apart around the perimeter with ball of tassel lining up just under the stitch line. Ties will extend beyond the raw edge and tassel body will face toward the center of the pillow.
Pin the Pillow Back to Pillow Front with right sides facing. You’ll see your tassel ties peaking outside the raw edges. Tassels will be sandwiched between your Front and Back.
Stitch along the seam allowance, careful not to catch your tassel body (just the ties).
When you turn Right side out, your tassels will appear along the edge with ties hidden.
Interested in learning to sew the base pillow or other fun home decor projects? Enroll in my Sewing 101 class and you’ll learn the basics so you can custom make cool pieces like these anytime!
We’re so excited to spotlight yet another star student who has taken their Nicole’s Classes education and used it as springboard to start their own creative business. We’ve featured the lovely Alison Henrie’s work on the blog before, but she recently launched a textile design shop under her IE Design company so it seemed like a great time to check back in with her! And if you like the products you see (and we know you will!), there’s a special discount code for Nicole’s Classes readers at the bottom!
1. How did Nicole’s Classes help you get your business going?
Nicole’s Classes helped give me the skills and confidence I needed to launch my textile business. The classes helped me with nearly every step in the business process. Illustrator 101 enhanced my ability in the creation and design of new textiles. Both Photo 101 and Tabletop Photography taught me the importance of showcasing my products as I take them to market. Other advanced Illustrated and design classes gave me fresh ideas to drive innovation in the design world, and gave me the vision to tie my ideas and business to a logo and brand.
2. What classes helped you or inspired you the most?
Each of the classes I’ve taken at Nicole’s Classes has helped me in some way, but my favorite was the class where we learned patterns. Bold patterns and colors completely resonate with my style, and once I learned how to design and pattern my own, I felt empowered to design and print my own fabrics. This eventually led me to start my own business.
3. What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own creative business?
One of the most rewarding parts of owning my own business is impacting the lives of my customers. As a female business owner and mother of two, I find a tremendous amount of satisfaction in enlivening my home and my kids’ lives through colors and patterns. By opening my business, in a small way, I have the opportunity to do the same thing for others.
4. What advice would you give to students just starting out at Nicole’s Classes?
Practice the techniques you learn in class, and you can become an expert. I knew almost nothing about illustrating prior to my Illustrator classes, and I now feel like I can do almost anything in illustration. Like anything that is worthy of the pursuit, if you are determined, you can accomplish almost any daunting task. Starting a business seemed daunting to me initially, but after developing the technical skills through Nicole’s Classes, I felt equipped to begin pursuing my dream of being a designer and business owner.
I’ve had such a great experience with Nicole’s classes and would recommend them to anyone that might have goals of starting a business or simply wishing to further develop their skills in the world of creativity and design.
Thanks so much for sharing Ali! As mentioned above, Ali has been kind enough to offer our readers 10% off all products in her IE Design shop! Just enter the code NICOLE10 at checkout now through 11/22 at midnight CST to save on pillows, textiles, prints and more!
As the end of the year is approaching and we’re all planning for the holidays, some of you may be considering giving photo-related gifts, like books with pictures from a vacation or a book of photos from the year.
Did you know Lightroom has a module completely dedicated to making Blurb books? I love that you can make a Blurb Book from inside Lightroom. Moving back and forth between your photo organization software and another app or online bookmaking site can be tedious and time consuming and Lightroom really simplifies this.
An example of a time saving feature: let’s say you have two photos next to each other on a page in your layout and you want to change the color of one or the other to be a closer match to the other. From within Lightroom, you can go to the Develop Module and make the change to the photo, and then it is immediately updated in your book. There is no saving, exporting, or re-uploading to the book.
I recently made a Blurb book as a gift with some photos from a family vacation to Scotland. All you need to get started is photos organized and edited in Lightroom.
You can then switch to the Book Module in Lightroom and quickly add pages and images. You can even have it “autoflow” the images you have selected and it will give you a head start on filling the pages of the book automatically.
You can edit each individual page as well as spreads (2 facing pages) together. You can add text as a title, small text, large text etc.
Check out this neat feature in Lightroom. If you do not own Lightroom, try the free 30 day trial of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and give this feature a whirl. This streamlines the process for making books.
This is one of the amazing features I cover in my Lightroom 101 class! If you have any questions and want to learn more, please leave a comment below! Happy book making!
Seasons are changing, and those beautiful fallen red leaves are slowly being replaced by snow flurries. But no matter the season, we’ll always have amazing student work to share with you! This week is certainly no exception:
Our first cute design is from Brook Gossen from Illustrator 101. We are dying over this illustration, especially his foxy little scarf. Thanks for sharing Brook!
This next piece is from Elizabeth Hoffman in our Photoshop 101 class. Using her new skills from class, she was able to edit this adorable photo in Adobe Camera Raw, adjusting settings like white balance and exposure, to get the perfected image on the right. So impressive!
And we leave you with a great headwreath from Floral Arranging 101 student Leonie Hart. It has a fantastic even shape while still feeling natural. You really mastered this project Leonie!
See something inspiring? You could learn how to create work like this and more in our online classroom!
As teachers, there is nothing we enjoy more then seeing our students become successful after taking our classes! We are so excited to feature an amazing repeat student Stefani Harris today. Stefani has been able to turn the skills she had and those we helped her develop into her own business — she is now designing logos and websites for clients and doing a great job! She recently launched a new website for her services called The Creative Solutions Project.
Not only is Stefani’s website impressive, she also has some fantastic logos and work to share with us and she was also nice enough to answer some of our questions about her journey.
Here are two logos she created for a new company that produces uniquely shaped koozies.
1. Why did you take class at Nicole’s Classes and what did you like about them?
I craved learning Adobe Illustrator for YEARS! When I stumbled across Nicole’s Classes, I was so excited to find such a fantastic website filled with affordable, efficient, and very well laid-out courses. I started following the blog and Facebook page, and after reading everything about the classes, seeing student work, and asking some questions directly to the Nicole’s Classes staff, I signed up for my first class: Illustrator 101. As a new graphic and web designer, I struggled with creating very crisp and clear graphics. Illustrator was just the tool I needed to squash that struggle! Just taking that 101 class gave me so much knowledge to start creating my own quality graphics. The instructors are truly top-notch. While I have only taken classes from two teachers, I have read blog posts from all of them — and trust me, they are SO knowledgeable and talented!!
The way the courses are structured and how the material is presented is what makes learning from Nicole’s Classes such a joy. It’s just FUN to learn in this manner… and one of the best parts is sharing your work in the student gallery. By sharing your work, you benefit from having other students and the teacher comment on and critique your work. And, you get to see other students’ work, too which is great for learning and inspiration.
Stefani designed this logo for a woman starting her own domestic adoption consulting business.
2. Which classes were the most helpful to you on your personal journey?
Oh gosh, I’ve taken six classes so far, and they have all been superb. I’d have to say that Illustrator 101 was crucial and essential! I learned so much in that class, and I continue to learn even more from the blog posts and tutorials. I also LOVE that I can watch/read tutorials on other sites and so easily be able to follow what they’re teaching because I have the core knowledge, which I completely credit to Nicole’s Classes. The other class that was uber important on my personal journey was the branding class. Before taking that class, I just threw together a bunch of logo concepts into an attachment in an email with a short note to my client. Wow, did I learn a lot from that class on presentation and how to show your client how much work you have put into creating their logo and their brand. The class helped me improve my design brief as well, and for all of these skills, I am truly grateful!
Stefani designed her own site — so be sure to check it out to see more of her work!
3. What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
The most rewarding part of my business thus far has been knowing that I have the knowledge, tools, and resources at my fingertips to accomplish anything I set out to accomplish. I started on my entrepreneurial journey only about a year ago. Since then, I’ve been on a whirlwind learning spree. It’s amazing how much information is out there, and so much of it is incredibly user-friendly, affordable, and accessible. Companies like Nicole’s Classes make it possible for someone to learn the skills that were once only taught in a college setting. No offense to MBAs and Masters degrees, but I much prefer this type of learning environment.
4. What would you tell students who are just starting out at Nicole’s Classes?
If you’re just starting out with some of the courses through Nicole’s Classes, my biggest recommendation is to take the teachers up on their offer to email them any time with questions. They mean it when they say it!
Great work Stefani! Thanks for letting us know more about your journey, and stay tuned for more awesome student features!
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