5 Pretty Pairings with Google Fonts & Free Fonts

roboto-spinnaker
Roboto + Spinnaker Make for a bold , clean statement.

playfair+qicksand
Playfair Display + Quicksand Clear and concise elegance with these two paired.

oswald-ptsans
Oswald + PT Sans give a modern edge.

ostrich-montserrat
Montserrat + Ostrich Sans = casual chic.

bebas+-raleway
Bebas Neue + Raleway a fresh and clean look

arvo-alexbrush
arvo + Alex Brush http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/alex-brush
A lovely elegant pair of free fonts for a slightly feminine touch.

Beautiful Cursive and Decorative Fonts for Flat Design … And They’re Free!

I am a font junkie. It started when I began scrapbooking in 2001 and hasnt let up. I love fluid clean lines and the first time I saw what is no called Flat Design I felt like I had come home.
Flat design is the opposite of all things Web 2.0 (which now out of fashion called skeuomorphism).

Gone a smooth glossy buttons screaming to be clicked. No more crazy hover effects when trying to click a link. Instead link are bold colour on a sea of negative space.

IMPORTANT TEXT is now huge or decorative.

I prefer keeping fonts down to a minimum. Maybe 3 or 4 at however most of my sites will only have 2. I like a super clean font (Open Sans, Oswald) with the occasional pop of decorative font for headers and other text of note.

For purposes of this article I wanted to list some really nice free cursive fonts perfect for use in Flat Design.
Using colour and a great font you can create bright fresh looks for your site Header, graphics and logos. I also like to use for h2 and h3 tags.

You can download zillions of fonts on the internet for free and I will list some of my favourites. But a good place to start is with Fonts.
If you are sure how to use there are some good articles on installing a Google font.

Free Flat Design Cursive Fonts

Lobster

This font has really taken off. It is a little over the top but used wisely very effective. I like this on creative sites ie. craft blogs, mommy blogs, portfolio type sites, beauty blogs, etc.
This is also a Google Font.
lobster font for flat design

Download

Oleo Script

This has become one of my favourites and have been using it everywhere. Shades of Lobster but a little more subdued. A great font for flat design.

oleo

Download

Pacifico
Available as download and Google Fonts.

pacifico

Download

Great Vibes

great vibes font for flat design

Download

Grand Hotel

grand hotel font for flat design

Download

Raleway

Railway is not really cursive but it is decorative and is a great “go to” font. This looks very pretty white on dark.

railway font for flat design

Download

Do you have a decorative font you use over and over again?

5 Ways to Update Your Craft or Hobby Blog and Make it Look Better

I am overhauling a craft site and have been browsing the internet for inspiration. One of the challenges and mistakes that craft bloggers make is cluttered design. While the site itself can reflect the creative personality of artist- don’t let your styling compete with images of your craft and hobby projects.

1) Choosing a simple color scheme,

Colours should complement your work- not over shadow.
Sites like Colorlovers can help you come up with a color scheme for your site.
I am not a fan of multiple bright colours for a craft or art site. I would choose a bold colour and then 2-3 colours that are slightly more understated. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of gray and black mixed with a bright colour like hot pink or green or blue.

Many themes let you pick out your colours without knowing any CSS. You could also delve into CSS and make small changes that make big impact. (back up your style.css files!!!!!!!!!!)

Here is good example: She uses bold green with gray and black then small pops of colour. This is an easy way for your site to look polished.

More great use of gray…



Here is a good example of using lots of different colors without it being too busy.

One of my favourite crafters, Bird could have easily gone over the top but stuck to basic pink black and grey. When you have A LOT of content simple colour schemes can tie it all together.

Here they have used bold bright colours- but keep it looking clean by sticking to the main colours. This might be a bit busy for some but the style reflects on the personality of blogger so works .

2.Clean lines.

What does this mean? Your site should have a layout that makes sense and doesn’t confuse visitor or make it hard to “see” your site.
Lose the zillions of affiliate images and sidebar clutter. Consider a more modern design where the trend is to put all that stuff in a “sidebottom” as I call it :-) The sidebar where footers used to be.
Too much too soon? Look at your sidebar and ask yourself does this ENHANCE my site or take away? It is a balance between how much the link/image earns you vs. site clutter. Be truthful with yourself. Is the $5.00 a month you earn from Amazon worth it?
It is more effective to use text links in an article post anyway :-).
Start creating and cropping your images so you stick to 3-4 of the same sizes. A good way to figure out sizing is to look at your theme-. What is the size for a feature image? How wide is your content area ( make within 50 pixels of the width of your content)
Refresh and regenerate your thumbnails. Messy image sizing will make your site look cheap and unprofessional. Not crafty and fun :(.

This is about near perfect. Beautiful CLEAN design.

This is a not bad example of keeping a balance between ad revenue and blog space.

3. Update Your Fonts.

Try out some of the new open source fonts from Google.
You can ditch Times New Roman and Helvetica for something fresh and new!

I would keep my fonts no more than 4 and often stick to just 2 and play with weights and decorations. (bold,sizing, underline, italics) size) Run On Sidebars. I have been guilty of this in the past. You don’t need to have every affiliate link /image stuffed into your sidebar. Less is more. Anything you put up on your webpage should showcase your work- not compete for real estate. generally speaking use a clean easy to read for your main body text. Get a little more colourful and use a decorative font for your Header Tags and Titles.

Bit of a minimalist look here and works!

Borders and margins should line up and be neat. Don’t Over Produce. You don’t need 8 different fonts and colours.

Again, this could have gone very wrong. Sticking to simple bold colors and not overdoing it. Some nice flat design touches and creative images make this site stand out. [thumbhttp://samanthaleewalker.blogspot.ca/[/thumb]

4. Update Your Header.

Busy complicated Headers are OUT. Simple , fresh, singular is IN. You can still tone it down without stifling your creativity..
Don’t believe me? Check out these amazingly beautiful and creative headers for craft websites and blogs.

Simple, Beautiful Headers

Sooo easy- yet so lovely!

Easi-peasie Header
Decorative font + Colour = Fresh Looking New Header
{thumb}http://www.youaremyfave.com/[/thumb]
(Mmmmm… looks a TAD familiar!)

Wow. Got it SOOOOOO right! Look at the colour. You see same colours throughout the blog. Her ads in sidebar suit the site and don’t over power. Well Done, you!

5. Try out a new theme!

I can’t say enough about Genesis Framework for WordPress. Sort of a theme for themes that lets you add all kinds of stuff without breaking your site or knowing CSS.
Your site will get an overhaul with click of the mouse :-)

What do you think makes a GREAT craft or hobby website? Have you used any of the ideas above to update your site? Feel free to submit before and after pics!

“Not Paid to Think” How Scripted Customer Service Can Backfire

This is an actual Live Chat exchange I had with SiriusXM Customer service this morning.
NOTE I have had reaction to soap on my hands so VERY painful to type and trying to type fast so lots of typos and spelling errors. But I think you can get gist of it.

I admit I was getting more and more agitated but note how CLINT never loses his cool. This should have been very simple.. but got near ridiculous very quickly.
This is good example of how using scripted customer service and not allowing employees to think can backfire.

 

EDIT: Minutes after posting received this message from SiriusXM ( who wanted me to fill out generic lengthy form on problem because clearly I haven’t spent enough time on this)

tweet

Actual SiriusXM Live Chat

Clint: Hi, my name is Clint, Thank you for contacting SiriusXM. How may I help you?
Lisa Stewart: Hi- I am trying to figure out what happened to my internet radio subscription I know I have one but it shut off about a week ago. My account is XXXX25201
Clint: Hello Lisa!
Clint: I am sorry to hear that.
Lisa Stewart: lol. dont be sorry just fix.
Clint: Do you see any error message on the Internet radio?
Lisa Stewart: no- but when I log into my account profile my internet radio is account is non-existent.
Lisa Stewart: at least i don’t see particlurs anywhere unluess they moved
Lisa Stewart: hang on- will check and tell you error
Clint: Sure, I will.
Lisa Stewart: can you not see what is going on in your end?
Clint: Let me check that for you.
Lisa Stewart: error is :that account does not have access to SiriusXM INternet Radio… etc
Clint: Your patience is greatly appreciated.
Clint: I have checked the information and I am sorry to inform you that we are facing problem with Internet streaming and are trying to fix it
Clint: We do require some time to fix it
Lisa Stewart: what do you mean?? You have had not been streaming for last week???
Clint: Once the issue is fixed we will let you know.
Lisa Stewart: then where are my account details in my profile?
Lisa Stewart: where is info about my internet account???!!!!
Clint: In order to assist you with your request, I will need to access your account. For security reasons, can you please provide the following information?

1) the phone number
2) the Account holder’s first name, last name or business name
3) the complete address, including zip code
Lisa Stewart: OMG- why did we start with this- are you real person or auto responder?
Lisa Stewart: why DIDNT we start- that is why I gave you account #. Why am, I doing all the work here? very strange,
Clint: Lisa, i am real person.
Clint: I need to verify the account to provide any account information.
Lisa Stewart: All I want to know is why is none of my internet account info showing up in my account??????
Clint: I will help you with that.
Lisa Stewart: Why vwouldnt you do that right off the bat rather than tell me generic responf about issues with Internet radio? No way it has been down GLOBALLY all week,
Lisa Stewart: CONTACT INFO REMOVED
Clint: Thank you for the information.
Clint: What is the user ID you are using to login?
Lisa Stewart: you mean like my email???
Lisa Stewart: XXXXX@XXXX.com
Clint: Thank you.
Clint: Once you login to your online account please click on My Profile Tab and you will find all the information about your account.
Lisa Stewart: OMG, that is why I contacted you!!!!
Lisa Stewart: I AM logged in. I am seeing my details and info is NOT there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lisa Stewart: I am not understanding why this is so difficult.
Clint: If it not there please logout and login in different browser.
Lisa Stewart: You dont undertsand.
Clint: I have understood .
Lisa Stewart: I am logged into to profile.My radios are listed.
Lisa Stewart: no listing of internet account.
Clint: Lisa, Internet account is not separate.
Lisa Stewart: Mmmm. no you dont understand, If you understood you wouldnt have been telling me to login into account.
Clint: It is linked to your radio.
Lisa Stewart: I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lisa Stewart: OMG.
Lisa Stewart: it is mot listed ANYWHERE
Lisa Stewart: I have been subscriber since 2004.
Lisa Stewart: I know what account profile looks like.
Clint: I understand that.
Lisa Stewart: There should be an internet accoutn connected to my HOME radio and isnt.
Lisa Stewart: what is the problem here??? Why cant you just tell me whats going on????
Clint: However you will not able to see the Linked Internet subscription information
Lisa Stewart: and gosh. why is that?
Clint: You can only make the changes on My Profile Tab
Lisa Stewart: because you wrote this earlier ” Clint: Once you login to your online account please click on My Profile Tab and you will find all the information about your account.”
Lisa Stewart: What kind of changes am I making?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lisa Stewart: What are you talking about?
Lisa Stewart: Are you screwing with my head on purpose?
Lisa Stewart: I am customer asking you what happened with my internet radio. Why cant you tell me?
Clint: I am trying to help you.
Lisa Stewart: You’re not.
Clint: Your listen online user ID is XXXX@XXXXXXXXXX.com
Lisa Stewart: yes. correct,
Clint: The user ID for the Online account and Listen online will be same.
Lisa Stewart: Clint- why is there NOTHING about internet radio in my profile ANYWHERE
Clint: However the password will be different.
Lisa Stewart: YES I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Clint: Lisa, let me explain you clearly.
Lisa Stewart: this is an insane conversation . I think you are doing this on purpose.
Lisa Stewart: this should be a 2 mins chat.
Clint: The Internet radio is linked to XXXXX494601 (HOME)
Lisa Stewart: okay… and?
Clint: From My profile tab you can view only radio details not the Internet radio details.
Clint: However you can change the user Id and password from My Profile Tab for Internet subscription.
Lisa Stewart: I do not want to change ANYTHING.
Lisa Stewart: why dont you understand????
Lisa Stewart: It stopped working about a week ago.
Lisa Stewart: I CANNOT LOGIN IN AT AL. SAYS ACCOUNT INACTIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lisa Stewart: its is not a user/pas problem.
Clint: I am sorry to hear that.
Clint: Then I guess we need to reset the password.
Lisa Stewart: are you kidding me????
Lisa Stewart: something is not right here- you cant possibly be real person,
Clint: As the user ID for both is the same but the password will be different for both.
Lisa Stewart: I KNOW.
Lisa Stewart: You are not telling me anything new
Lisa Stewart: What is wrong with you??????
Lisa Stewart: THERE IS NOTHING THAT INDICATE I EVEN HAVE A INTERNET RADIO ACCOUNT .
Clint: In order to process your request please call Listener Care at 888-635-XXXX ( NOTE : THIS WAS WRONG NUMBER, for car dealership.)

Clint: Please cal the number they will help you with this issue.
Lisa Stewart: I am copying and pasting this chat session .. this is clearly some one about to quit or be fired SCREWING with me and I dont appreciate it.
Clint: I am sorry to hear that
Lisa Stewart: ya whatever
Clint: Once you call the number they will definitely help you with it.
Clint: Do you have any other questions for me?
Lisa Stewart: so you can not help some more?
Clint: I will definitely help you.
Clint: Let me check with my supervisor.
Lisa Stewart: sure- have your whole department not help me.
Lisa Stewart: get get double the worst service ever
Lisa Stewart: went from small easily solved problem to cancelling my account
Lisa Stewart: so congrats…. you made customer of 10 + years want to cancel their account, Maybe you will get bonus.
Clint: I am sorry to hear that.
Clint: I see that the outstanding balance on the account is $81.68
Clint: Once you process the payment you will start getting the Internet service
Lisa Stewart: do you get that if I cancel?
Clint: The account status is under non pay.
Clint: If the account is under non pay you cannot get the Internet service
Lisa Stewart: could have easily told me that when I first messaged and given you credit card to pay instead of screwing with my head for fun on boring work day
Clint: .Once you process the payment your Internet service will start working.
Lisa Stewart: I AM CANCELLING !
Lisa Stewart: because of CLINT in chat session having fun
Lisa Stewart: total waste of my time.
Clint: I Understand that, as i that time the account not properly showing the account
Clint: I am sorry to hear that.
Lisa Stewart: look back- you played weird ganmes throught out chat- apparent to any one with eyes,
Lisa Stewart: thankfully recorded.
Clint: Do you have any other questions for me?
Lisa Stewart: how else are you going to not help me? What happened to supervisor? Didnt they want to screw with me to? My dad has account- maybe you can piss him off too
Clint: I have checked with my supervisor
Lisa Stewart: nice t know you have so many subscribers you can throw them away
Lisa Stewart: so he has no more suggestions on how to further irritate me?
Lisa Stewart: cuase I would love to see the supervisor who is better at making custmers more angry than you have,
Clint: Please give me a moment let me check with my supervisor.
Lisa Stewart: yes of course, will happily wait even longer to be further annoyed.
Clint: I have checked with my supervisor.
Lisa Stewart: and?
Lisa Stewart: what are his thoughts on pissing me off even more?
Lisa Stewart: I dont think its possible but go ahead and try.
Clint: And she want to take the chat please be on hold while I transfer the chat to her
Lisa Stewart: Sounds good. Cant wait to be treated worse by some one more senior.
Clint: I apologize for the inconvenience caused
Neetu: Hi, my name is Neetu, Thank you for contacting SiriusXM. How may I help you?
Clint has left the chat.
Lisa Stewart: oh- youve done great job at losing customers. Pat yourself on back.
Neetu: I am sorry for that
Lisa Stewart: Neetu- read back entire exchange,
Neetu: It’s regarding Internet login, Am I correct?
Lisa Stewart: read back chat.
Lisa Stewart: tell me why you think I am having issues.
Neetu: As you have a due of $81.68 you will not be able to access Internet radio
Lisa Stewart: I am aware. Thats not what I asked. Read back exchange and tell me what you think.
Neetu: Please give me two minutes
Lisa Stewart: sure no problem. I am posting this chat on my blog.
Lisa Stewart: as we type.

DISCONNECTED.

Boost Your Sales with Great Pics of Your Products ( No Budget, No Talent Required)


Back in 1997 when I was a fledgling eBay seller; I rapidly figured out photos make all the difference. I’ve long understood the power of great photos yet struggled to get images look professional and appealing. No amount of great copy can replace a fantastic photo of a product if you’re selling online.
Here is an article that helps you achieve great results when lean on cash or talent :)

http://www.shopify.com/blog/12206313-the-ultimate-diy-guide-to-beautiful-product-photography?