Grandbaby Cakes // New Blogsite Design Launch

Enough time has passed since I have last written on the blog. I decided I would take my first post back to introduce the newest design launch: Jocelyn Delk Adam’s Grandbaby Cakes.

Jocelyn requested a logo update and a complete design makeover for her migration to WordPress.

We went through a few logo options…

rejects

 

Old Logo

Old Logo

header

New, updated photo

 

 
…and ultimately came up with a design that truly captured the updated look that Jocelyn wanted for Grandbaby Cakes.

 

 

 

Now for the website design!

screenshot

Grandbaby Cakes’ new homepage features a slideshow, a subscription bar, customized introduction area, featured post thumbnails and a truncated recent post section.

mockup

The site also features a visual recipe index that allows readers to find past recipes by image, category, archived post, or a simple search.

mockup1

I am really happy with how this site turned out. Now excuse me while I attempt to keep myself from trying out every.single.recipe on her site!

words

http://www.grandbaby-cakes.com

Attack on WordPress?!

WordPress friends: There is an attack on WP sites going on right now! Please don’t freak out but do check out your site and dashboard and make sure that it is not *very* slow or down and that there isn’t anything out of the ordinary going on. My understanding is that bots are searching for sites using the username ‘admin’. There are several recommendations to make sure that your site remains clean and free of hackers now and in the future. Here are some of my recommendations (although I can not take total credit as these are based on the rec’s of others, but I’ve read so many recent articles and talked to so many fellow designers, I can’t source everyone. This is just my summary of others’ thoughts! bahaha)

Keep WordPress Safe

Questions?!

Creating or Adding to a Navigation Bar

One of the most common questions I get is how you can add or edit a page on your menu bar. Barring a custom blog/web design where you – assuming you are a blog user and not a designer – probably should not touch the menu bar without consulting your designer, this is a really simple process. I walk you through it in the video below!

I discuss:

  • How to create a navigation bar and add it to your site
  • How to create a page, category, and external or custom link and add them to your navigation bar (I’m using the terms “navigation” and “menu” interchangeably)

  • Editing the label of the menu item
  • Opening a menu item link in a new window

Feel free to leave your questions in the comments section!

Who knew I could draw thyme?!

I haven’t written a post in a while, so I thought that we should get things up to date around here!

Right around the new year I took an online class to learn some calligraphy. It’s honestly hit or miss and I’m still practicing, but the one thing I’ve been loving is the watercolor and hand painted look.

It seems that designs requests come in waves. Out of my last handful of designs, I had 2 recipe sites then 2 photography sites and then 2 requests for watercolor-esque designs that although different (one desert-related and one herb-related), were similar in that they were both green and leafy images after the same aesthetic (and one that I love).

Try finding a watercolor image of thyme or a watercolor image of a succulent in a terrarium. Try it. Dare ya. So you found one, right? But is it a stock image? Is it editable? Likely not (and if it is, well, you’re better than I am then – email me, we should chat!). I do not like having to rely on the availability of stock images so I’ve been taking that into my own hands (literally!).

Here is a sneak peek at the hand-painted elements that I am working on for one client. Notice the custom succulent in a terrarium? I kind of rock. I’m not saying it’s the best image ever created, but c’mon, it’s not bad. Better yet, my client loves it!
That is a subscribe bar in mustard yellow and just try to find that font anywhere online-ha! This design will also have hand-painted social media icons and we’ll just have to see what else.

sneak

A snapshot of hand-drawn elements for an upcoming launch.

My client requested specific font and color choices so my job for this custom header design (below) was really to make everything flow…and to find the right thyme.  Actually, I did find a stock image for thyme, but it was not easily editable and it wasn’t the right look anyway. So I went to it and created it myself. And I kind of like my design more than what was available on the Internet. Who knew I could draw thyme?! Hidden talents over here, folks.

header-1

Custom header with hand-drawn elements

And now for my latest design launch.

I have always believed that the design is half of the beauty to the site but the content makes up the other half. Lauren from Lauren Gay Photography contacted me to get her over from Blogger to WordPress and to redesign her site. I took just a quick glance at her photos and I instantly knew that together the design and content would make a beautiful site.

I think we rocked it.

Lauren-PE

Style board for Lauren Gay Photography

Style board for Lauren Gay Photography

So that’s just a bit of what I’ve been working on and there is lots more to come! Thank you for allowing me to create and have fun creating for you.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, DeluxeDesigns friends!

New Year's Eve Printable

Enjoy this free printable (be sure to click on the link to download rather than just print the image as it won’t fill the page otherwise). Thanks for such a great year & see you in 2013!

Limited Time Offer // Basic Theme Customization

Several new themes have become available for the Genesis framework in the last few months. When you get a custom design through DD, you receive many unique template changes that meet your functional and aesthetic needs and desires. In creating new packages for my new site which is slooooowly in the works, I have created a basic customization package of Genesis themes.

As I will not be unveiling my new site or packages for some time, I wanted to open up this opportunity to anyone interested. For a limited time I will be offering a BASIC THEME CUSTOMIZATION PACKAGE and this would not be enticing unless it is offered at a discounted rate, so that is what it will be!

For a limited time, for $205, you will receive:

  • Select your favorite Genesis child theme from Studiopress (includes Community themes)
  • Receive installation and customizations including:
    -Setup of template to achieve the same arrangement of the demo
    -Uniquely designed header or insertion of your existing logo
    -Colors
    -Navigation setup
    -Webfont installation
    -Background
  • Note: Your site will have the same functionality as the chosen theme’s demo, but will still be visually unique to you.
  • Turnaround time is much quicker than a custom design and no wait list.
  • The price of the theme is included in this package; however you may still want to purchase it for access to support.

Visit the themes here for demos or see some of my favorite themes (ok, I have many!) by some fabulous designers below! Just send an email to Julie@deluxe-designs.net if you are interested in this limited time offer. This rate will not last, so hurry!

mompreneur

This is an e-commerce ready theme!

craftiness

glitter

innov8tive

modernblogger

vintage

New Launches // WordPress Designs

Ashley is a personal friend of mine whose old photography blog was on Blogger. In moving forward with upgrading her design to WordPress, Ashley also wanted to merge her Flash website with a WordPress blog (a blogsite, if you will…smart girl!). Ashley takes amazing photographs and it was vital that we showcased her work! White space was important in this design and we incorporated the circles from her logo all over the design.

In order to really bring the photos to life and to not lose the slideshow effects from her Flash site, we incorporated a fun portfolio grid to the site. Visit Ashley’s site to see the final product!

 

My most recent design was Adrienne’s site at La Vita è Bella. Adrienne had her site designed last Spring and wanted a new design that she would love long-term (aha pressure!!!). She wanted something that reflected her better. I read Adrienne’s blog and decided she needed to simplify.

See, Adrienne and I would totally be friends in real life (if you use Pinterest as a base for friendship. And why wouldn’t you?!). 

So I took Adrienne’s requests as well as her aesthetic interests and put them into a mood board.

And then created a blog template incorporating her new design.

Simple. Beautiful. Remember (or know now…) that La vita è bella means “life is beautiful”, so Adrienne got a design that reflected that message.

New launch // A Delightful Home

And delightful it was to work with Stacy on her blog’s redesign. Peaceful, natural, clean, simple, and inviting were the words Stacy used to describe the aesthetic she wanted to achieve.

Looking at her Pinterest inspiration board, I knew I wanted to go with a canvas textured background, handwritten script (as she requested) and you know, why not some watercolor?! I’ve never used wreaths in a design before, so I wanted to try my hand at seeing if I could make that work here.

Pinterest boards really help me SO much. It’s a virtual moodboard. A styleboard. Call it what you will, but it gives me insight into what you like and might want to see on your site.

Using a soft color palette, the design elements requested and incorporating lavender (both the flower and color), a truly pretty – deluxe, if you will - design was created.

The subscribe button, the social media icons, torn paper edges, and choice of hand-written fonts, were all elements and customizations that I think fit this design so well. I am really pleased with the outcome of Stacy’s blog and invite you to visit it live.

New Launch // Marie Kelley Photography

You probably know by now how I feel about watercolor, but if you don’t, I’ll reiterate that I love it. I love it on canvas and I even love it in web design. So when I’m approached to design a site that has watercolor elements, I jump at the chance! Of course, when Kelley asked me to design her site with the watercolor look, I was all over it!

We started out with the ever-helpful Pinterest inspiration board

The color scheme was to be sea foam, peach, gray, gold and white. Um, amazing. Loved it.

From her inspirations, some fonts were considered for her logo:

And after working on the site design a bit, those options turned into this:

Kelley wanted her site to be clean and crisp, yet appeal to the younger generation (being a senior portrait photographer) so there had to be pops of color. A crisp white background in combination with the watercolor header accomplishes just that.

And some custom watercolor social media towards the bottom of the page to tie in the look:

It almost looks like the header blends in with the first photograph in her blog, doesn’t it? That’s how you know the design matches the blogger’s style! I had a great time designing this site and I think Kelley and her readers will enjoy it as well!

New Launch // Olga’s Flavor Factory

Olga came to me looking for a revamp to the Genesis theme she was using. I pointed out the fabulous new Marketplace theme called Innov8tive and she was all in! The built-in features were just what she was looking for and I was confident I could customize her site to just what she wanted!

Olga presented me with her logo created by her brother-in-law. Neat, isn’t it?!

Her requests included shades of blue and gray with a pop of another color, a rectangular shape around her logo, slider, and for her pages to be functional and organized. I think we accomplished all of that and more!

The recipe index auto-generates recipes under each category she created

 

Categories separated by page and displayed with thumbnail and post title. Functional and aesthetically pleasing = Happy designer & happy client!

Happy client?

I LOVE the way it looks! You did a phenomenal job. It looks incredible. You exceeded my expectations. I am so pleased with how it looks, and it seems so much more organized than it used to be. You work so quickly and are always communicating with me about everything and answering all my questions.
I will definitely be telling everyone I know about what a terrific designer you are. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

Everything looks awesome. You made my dream a reality!
Once again, my most sincerest thank you. – Olga

Definitely!!!