Browsing archives for 'Tips & Tricks'

Join Me At Blogpodium

13 August 2013 | 4 Comments


Blogpodium is a one-day conference happening in Toronto on September 21, aimed at design and lifestyle bloggers.  Topics for discussion include “what bloggers can learn from magazines”, “from blog to business”, and “photoshop for bloggers”.  I’m super excited to not only be attending Blogpodium, but also speaking (my presentation is “creating a style guide for your blog”).  If that wasn’t enough to pique your interest, interior designer extraordinaire Sarah Richardson is giving the keynote address, breakfast and lunch are included, you get two drink tickets for the reception, and the swag bag is rockin’.  Sounds great, right?

If you’d like to join me at Blogpodium, I have a promo code to share with you.  Enter code “blogpodium10” when you order your ticket to get 10% off.

Use Your Toronto Library Card to Get Free Magazines on Your iPad

10 July 2013 | 7 Comments


Toronto Public Library has partnered with Zinio, the repository for digital versions of magazines (it’s kind of like Apple’s Newstand, but kind of better).  You can now get current issues of over 300 magazines for free, either online or on your iPad.  I tried it out, and quickly downloaded this month’s issue of Dwell, Canadian House and Home, Today’s Parent, Hello Canada (I kind of love trash magazines), National Geographic, Martha Stewart Living, The Oprah Magazine, The Walrus, MacWorld, Cottage Life, and more.  FOR FREE.

Here’s how you do it (follow these instructions step-by-step, because it’s a little tricky).  Do these steps on a desktop or laptop computer – it’s tricky to do on your iPad.

  1. Get out your library card.  Sorry pals that don’t live in Toronto – this one’s only for us city kids. (but check with your local library – Toronto’s not the only place that’s partnered with Zinio)
  2. You have to set up TWO accounts.  One with regular Zinio, and one within Toronto Public Library’s Zinio website.
  3. Go to Zinio’s website and sign up for a free account.
  4. Go to Toronto Public Library’s Zinio website and sign up for another account.  Do not log in to your existing account.  You have to have TWO.  Also, use the same email address and password for both accounts.  Trust me on this one.  Also, at some point in this process, you’ll be asked for your library card number.
  5. Once both of your accounts are set up, stay at the Toronto Public Library Zinio website and start looking for magazines.  When you find one you like, click “complete checkout”.  This will pop open another window with the regular Zinio website, and it will show that your new magazine is now in “your library”.

Now you’re done with the desktop/laptop, and you can go over to your iPad.  Download the Zinio app from the App Store.  Open the app on your iPad, and log in to your Zinio account.  You should see your magazine in “your library”.  Click on the issue to download it to your iPad, and enjoy!

I know it seems cumbersome to load up your magazine choices on your computer, and then go over to the iPad to download them.  But I honestly couldn’t figure out a way to do it all in the app.  It seems like you MUST go through the library’s portal website.

So, it takes a few minutes to set up, but once the issues as loaded, you’re good to go.  And that’s a small price to pay for free magazines that look gorgeous on your iPad.



How to Choose Typefaces for Your Website

3 June 2013 | 0 Comments


I saw Jessica Hische give a presentation called “Upping Your Type Game” at An Event Apart in San Diego two weeks ago.  It was fantastic – entertaining and full of helpful tips for choosing typefaces for your website project.  She’s turned the talk into a blog post, and shared it on her website.  Bookmarked.

[illustration by Jessica Hische]

Big Sale on Printed Products at

4 April 2013 | 0 Comments


There’s a 25% off sale at, on until Sunday.  No promo code necessary – the sale is right on the site.  I’m going to order more mini-cards for Camp Tech (pictured above).

Blik Wall Tiles: An Alternative to Wallpaper

4 March 2013 | 0 Comments


There are a few walls in our house that I would love to wallpaper, but I haven’t done so because wallpaper can be so messy, and such a pain to remove. I’d love to try the wall tiles offered by Blik as an alternative – they’re relatively easy to install (the tiles are self-adhesive), and can be repositioned and moved.  I love the “fishwall” pattern pictured above, but there are other, more subtle options too.

My Super Lazy Way to Wash Delicate Clothing

27 February 2013 | 1 Comment


I don’t have many pieces of clothing that aren’t machine washable, but when those few delicate pieces (hand-knit sweaters, silk shirts, and lingerie) need a wash, I do it by hand, using Soak Wash.  This stuff is awesome – you add a little bit of it to some water in the sink, throw in your stuff, and let it sit for 15 minutes.  Then just gently wring your items out, and lay them flat or hang to dry.  That’s it.  No rinsing.  No scrubbing.  And Soak smells really good too.

Soak is a Toronto-based company, and I buy Soak Wash at my local knitting boutique, The Purple Purl. But you can get it online on their website if you want.

[PS – this isn’t a sponsored post or anything.  I just honestly really like this product and wanted to share it with you.]

Beautiful Stand for iPad and Square

15 January 2013 | 0 Comments



I’ve seen a few retail shops and craft show vendors using their iPads (or iPhones) at checkouts.  Attach a Square credit card reader, and you have an instant cash register.  If that’s your setup (or if you’re considering that setup), have a look at this beautiful wooden stand by Tinkering Monkey.  It pivots back and forth so both you and the customer can look at it, and they will laser engrave your logo on the stand.

I have no real need for this, but I kind of wish I did.

Make Your Gloves Work With Your iPhone

4 January 2013 | 2 Comments



Here’s a real Canadian nerd problem if I’ve ever seen one – I can’t use my iPhone when I’m wearing my winter gloves.  And with the weather we’ve been having lately in Toronto, that’s a serious issue!

I’ve been on the lookout for a pair of gloves that has touchscreen-friendly fingers, but most of the ones I’ve seen are really ugly or really expensive. I wished I could wear my normal gloves (which I love) but still use my phone.  I was about to order this DIY touchscreen glove kit (saw it on Swiss Miss), but then I saw these GloveTips on 50% sale at Indigo. I figured, for $10, why not give ’em a try?

They came in the mail today, and I put them on my favourite blue snowflake gloves.  I can happily report that the GloveTips totally work!   Of course, I don’t have the same dexterity as bare hands, but it’s a pretty good solution.  Score!

Get your GloveTips on half-price blowout at Indigo, if you want to try them yourself.

My Favourite DIY Paper and Card Websites

6 November 2012 | 0 Comments

Every year I like to make custom Christmas Cards and photo gifts for friends and family.  And even though I’m a professional designer, and could design them myself and have them printed locally, I almost always go with a DIY option online.  A friend asked today what some of my favourites are, so I thought I’d share with all of you.

Christmas Cards and Party Invitations
For years, I used Tiny Prints for Christmas Cards and party invites.  I LOVE them – their paper stock is amazing, print quality is top notch, and they have wonderful customer service.  One year my entire order was held up at the border (a fault of Canadian Customs, not Tiny Prints), and they reprinted my cards, had them express shipped, and refunded the cost for the entire thing.  That’s AMAZING service.  I love Tiny Prints.  But, just to mix things up a bit, I’ve decided to try Minted for my Christmas Cards this year.  I’ve ordered them and they should arrive next week.  I’ll let you know how they compare.

If you want to try Minted too, here’s a link for $25 off your order. 

Photo Gifts
Every year I make a family calendar for my mother-in-law, and I use the calendar maker in Apple’s iPhoto software.  The calendars are nice and big, and the photo quality is great.  I also used Pinhole Press to make a desktop calendar for my Dad last Christmas.  The paper quality from Pinhole is unrivalled, but the shipping rates from the States could be prohibitive.

Photo Magnets
Normally  I’m not a big fan of Vistaprint – I find the quality of the product to be kind of junky.  This is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for”.  I did make some photo magnets (I used the business card magnet template, but uploaded a picture instead – it’s cheaper than their photo magnet option) of my nephew a few years ago, and they turned out pretty good.  I’m going to try it again with Clara’s school photos, just as soon as I get the image files from the photographer.

Photo Books
I’ve tried most of the DIY photo book options out there (iPhoto, MyPublisher, Blurb) and my favourite for all-around quality and value is Blurb.  I like their Bookmaker Software, but some less-computer-savvy people I know say they find it difficult to use, and prefer the software from MyPublisher.

Have you made photo gifts or cards online?  Any services you’d recommend?

[image above of this holiday card from Minted]


How To Stay On Top When Your Industry Is Always Changing

4 October 2012 | 0 Comments

I wrote a guest post for The CRAVE Company’s blog called How To Stay on Top When Your Industry is Always Changing.  You might enjoy reading it – click here for the post.

[Hang On To Your Airplane illustration by Marc Johns]