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Tuesday
Apr302013

A New Blog Home

I have transferred my blog to its new home at http://blog.jessicasprague.com. See you there!

Monday
Apr012013

A New Logo for JessicaSprague.com!

I am so excited today to reveal our new logo, that we’ve been working on for awhile now. I think it really represents the state of typography today, and I hope that this more accessible type will help us attract new customers. Here is the logo, and below is the press release! Be sure to share this with your friends ok?

JessicaSprague.com Announces New Logo

—- Updated Look Provides an Example of Popular, Easy-to-Access Typography —-

Apex, NC – April 1, 2013 – Jessica Sprague, founder, instructor and designer at JessicaSprague.com,
revealed the new logo for the site, which offers online classes and downloadable products for digital crafters.

Sprague believes that the new logo better represents the direction of the company in general, saying “By using two popular fonts we see in use across many industries - Comic Sans and Papyrus - we will be able to better relate to our customers, and make our content more accessible.” Updating the logo, says Sprague, is a project that has been a long time coming. “I’ve been working on this logo for awhile now, and I think it’s finally perfect. I’ve included an image of actual grass to reinforce that, just like grass, everyone can “grow” their skills here.”

Says Sprague, “I really hope that we can offer our customers, and the world at large, an example of great this popular typography is, and to encourage its continued use in any project! Comic sans and Papyrus come installed on any computer, so they are easy to choose, and quite effective in showing the quality of the product or service they represent. Plus, by adding the butterfly, we make the logo more “female friendly,” since all women love butterflies, and pink and purple. I think it will be a big hit!” The new logo will be rolled out over the course of several weeks as the transition unfolds.

About Jessica Sprague

Jessica Sprague is a self-proclaimed “computer geek” and hybrid scrapbooker. It was inevitable, really.
She grew up around computers, started a career in web and user-interface design, married a computer
programmer, and became interested in digital photography. Then along came her first child, and Jessica
discovered scrapbooking. But, as they say, geek is a way of life… and a new habit (er, hobby) was born.

A passionate paper AND digital scrapbooker, Jessica loves sharing her Photoshop expertise with
scrapbookers looking for ways to edit and enhance photos, use digital brushes, play with digital
patterned paper, type, graphics, and design.

Jessica founded JessicaSprague.com in 2007. The site’s mission is to provide instruction, inspiration, and
products to help people grow their skills, beautify their lives, and enhance their relationships with the people who matter most to them.

###


😘

Monday
Mar182013

Becoming Mama

In a fit of organization, I’ve been going through my old scrapbook pages and putting them into albums. My previous “organization” has consisted of putting the pages into random albums. The order depended on when they went out and came back from publication, or whether there was space, and sometimes I just stuck the pages inside the front cover and washed my hands of it. Pretty sad, right? This is what happens when scrapbooking transitions from a hobby into a job.

But I’ve been sorting through pages I made when I first started (July 2004), and returning to all my memories. Tasting my life again as I read and view, sort and savor.  I remember a few snippets of my “working days” when I showered and got dressed and went to a job and sat in a cube, but not much. But sorting through these pages - even pages created partly as a job - I’m humbled by watching two simultaneous growing periods - one is, of course, that my kids have gotten bigger and I’ve recorded the stories along the way. The other is the skill I’ve developed as a designer and a scrapbooker and a storyteller - and as a mama. Some of these pages bring back feelings I remember, and I’m even more grateful for the place I am at in my life. The struggle of earlier times feels purposeful now.

For example, this one created in the fall of 2005.

This is a page I created for the 2006 Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame contest. It has a really nifty page flap (yay me!), and a photograph of myself and my two sweet ones taken in the fall of 2005 (Elliott is 3 months old and completely baffled. Rowen is 18 mos old and - as usual - leaping all over me). And it’s also brutally honest. As I reread the essay I wrote on this page, part of me shrank from sharing this, feeling a little vulnerable even eight years later. But I feel like I ought to. More discussion and thinking and honesty about being Mama is a good thing. So here it is.

Becoming Mama

I became a mother on February 4, 2004, when Rowen entered the world 5 1/2 weeks early. It was traumatic for everyone. She spent a week in the hospital, and was small and sick for a time. I was afraid of her, and she was foreign to me. I hadn’t spent much time around babies, and was totally unprepared for the experience. For weeks afterward I felt like she didn’t really belong to me. I missed my old life terribly, even blamed her for its demise. I was a mother, but I hadn’t become Mama. Little did I know what that process of becoming would entail.

I went back to work when Rowen was 8 weeks old. When Jared started working again, she was 6 months old, and went to daycare. I was feeling a pretty good balance in my life at 28, working in my chosen field, feeling the power that comes with corporate responsibility, wielding influence and making decisions. I loved my work. But something always tugged at me - this voice that said, “You have this responsibility, this girl, and only one chance to do this right.” And I thought that, for me, maybe doing this right means I should quit my job, and be home with her. But my heart wasn’t in it, and I muffled the voice.

Rowen was 8 months old when I found out I was pregnant again. Heart trouble and bed rest kept Rowen in daycare for the next months. I quit my job for good in March of 2005, and Elliott arrived 3 1/2 weeks early in June. And despite having been a mother for almost 18 months, I had little experience taking care of even one child (except evenings and weekends), let alone two. But I was starting to listen to the voice.

Elliott’s arrival in June stripped my life back to its barest essentials: feeding, changing, rocking, snuggling. Dinner didn’t make the cut some days, and neither did showering. It was a busy, fuzzy time. But I was less traumatized by his arrival. I had already grieved for my old life. Like a plant cut back to ground level, I still had my roots. I could grow into this.

As the weeks passed, I found that growth was not so easy, or so fast. I remember the afternoons at 3:30 when both kids were screaming and I was exhausted and hopeless, and frankly feeling a little cheated out of my former life (okay, so I guess the grieving wasn’t quite done). I had been a burgeoning oak, after all! And now, what was I? Crab grass. Surrounded by two small, prickly thistles.

But then Jared would come home. He took the kids, and I escaped to the office to read email, to scrap, to let the day wash away. And I tried not to think about tomorrow. Tried not to dread it. My bouyant nature kicked in, and I knew it wouldn’t always be bad. And I was right. The voice was right.

There have been great days since. And you know what? The great days are beginning to outnumber the nightmarish ones. And that says to me that I’m getting better. My well of mama-hood is filling, and I’m learning how to do this.

Perhaps what I thought was crab grass could be - maybe not an oak as I once thought - but a very fine pine. Still totally not what I had planned for my life. Still at times totally foreign to me, but also, now, beginning to fit. My heart, nearly two years slow, is beginning to catch up.

I realized last week just how far I’ve come, when I took both kids to Burger King for lunch. By myself. Several of the women there with their own (older and further spaced) kids, looked at me with a little bit of awe in their faces, as I cared for my two tiny ones. I was Mama then. We managed to get in, Rowen walking, Elliott in the carseat, get to our table, eat, clean up, and get back out the door nearly incident-free. I loved US. I was proud of us, out among other people, being mama and kids. Perhaps there was a little a lot more ketchup on shirts, but it was a good experience, and I see that I’m learning to let some things go.

It’s experiences like this that give me the confidence to keep going, even when I’m overwhelmed by my own process of becoming. Mama, after all is much more paitent than regular Jessica. Kinder, and wiser, and gentler. Clearly I’m not all the way there yet. Probably not ever. And I’m sure that as soon as I feel like I have a baby and a toddler figured out, things will change and this small scraggly pine will have more growing to do.

Stepping back, I see what a very great deal of courage it takes to become Mama. But it’s not the “I’m going to die gloriously and victoriously in battle” kind of courage - which I think might be easier. It’s the kind that involves small daily sacrifices and constant backbreaking, soul-refining work. I’m not a brave woman, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m daunted by days upon days of this challenging life I never could have dreamed of. But I am discovering that I have, in this well, in these roots, in this growing tree, more courage than I ever imagined. More hidden strength. And much, much more love.

This is me, becoming Mama.

Monday
Mar112013

Guest Post Monday - Jared Sprague

As you probably know, Jared is the main brains behind the running of JessicaSprague.com, and has been for over 5 years. Also he has been married to me for almost 13. He is a good man. And a very patient one. Here is his post for today:

From Jared Sprague

Hello!

As our site has grown, we have had to overcome many performance and scalability issues, but around the end of January and the beginning of February we heard from many of you about site performance problems.

Well I wanted to let you know that those reports did not go unheeded.  I realized that something drastic needed to be done to make the site perform as fast as possible. So I started on a project I called “Lé Fast” and started working on all the things I could think of that would make our site faster.  On February 14th Lé Fast was quietly released, and now that we’ve had enough time to gather data about how much things have changed it’s time to announce to you all the results!

Here is everything that project Lé Fast included:

  1. Varnish Web Application Accelerator. (Reduces load on web server and database.)
  2. Gzip compression over the wire. (Makes site content download lightning fast.)
  3. Database optimizations. (Reduce the time to retrieve data.)
  4. CDN for file downloads. (Distributed downloads across a global network of servers that downloads from a server geographically close to you)

The results? Dramatic speed increases across the board. Below are Google Analytic reports for the month of Feb.  Keep in mind that February 14th was the day we launched Lé Fast Improvements.

Average Server Response time for February (That’s the time it takes for something to start loading)

Lé Fast Before-and-After comparison Feb 1-13th Vs Feb 14-28th:

Server response time has improved on average 77%! That means much less waiting when you click a link on our site.

In conclusion I just wanted to thank everyone for their feedback, it was your feedback that lead to project Lé Fast. Thank you!

To celebrate all of our digital products are 25% off today!

- Jared Sprague

P.S. I borrowed the name Lé Fast from a co-worker, I can’t take credit for such a cool name ;)

Monday
Mar112013

So Enough About Me...Let's Talk About You!

Almost every year since 2009, my team and I have conducted an annual digital scrapbooking survey. We gather information about everything from products to pricing, from classes to site/community features. And we LOVE to hear what you think! What do you wish for? What do you love? How can your experience as a digital scrapbooker or hybrid memory keeper improve?

I would love for you to hop over and take our 2013 survey today! It will take you about 10-15 minutes, and in exchange, I would love to hand over this LOVELY digital kit I made with my own two hands.

The survey will be open until March 24, and we are dying - DYING! - to hear what you think! Many loves and hugs, sweet friend!

Click here to take the JessicaSprague.com Annual Survey!

Thursday
Mar072013

Wise Words Wednesday - Be Thou My Vision

I had SUCH a good response to yesterday’s post, so many emails and good thoughts, and me-toos, that I thought I would share this poster today. This song has been running through my head for a few weeks, and I’ve been slowly evolving this poster in bits and pieces, and I think it’s done. I wanted to share it with you for this week’s Wise Words post.

Here is the web-sized version (you can click to see it a bit larger):

The song is Be Thou My Vision, and it’s actually an Old Irish song thought to be from the 6th century. It is achingly beautiful in both Old Irish and in English. I wanted for the poster to reflect the majesty and grandeur of heaven, but also the soaring of our souls as we reflect on our personal relationship with God. I couldn’t decide which words to include, so my hope is that the large phrase can be read from several feet away, and then invite the reader to step closer to read the full text of the song at the bottom.

And speaking of the full text, my favorite line is the last one:


Great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.


You can read the full text in both Old Irish and English, as well as some of the history of the song, over here at Wikipedia.

The best recorded version I’ve ever heard is from a group called The Lower Lights, and you can find it here for a buck as an MP3. (Look at Track 4)

I have formatted the poster to fit an 11x14 print, which I have saved as a high-resolution JPEG and included in a ZIP file. Download, unzip, and send to your favorite printer. I would LOVE to see your finished product framed and hanging on the wall.

Download


Click here to download the Be Thou My Vision poster in 11x14.

Please feel free to share this with friends and family, for any nonprofit and noncommercial use.

Wednesday
Mar062013

On Waiting.

Does it feel like there have been long gaps between posts around here? It feels like that to me. Feels a bit like every time I get some momentum going, someone gets injured or sick or hospitalized. That’s Rowen (who fell while balancing on our sawhorses and spent 12 hours in the ER), me (you already know about that), and Elliott (who had an asthma attack and spent the night at the Children’s hospital in Raleigh last week). All within the month of February.

But it’s March now. Yay March! I have so much optimism for 2013, and despite some evidence (see above) to the contrary, I refuse to believe that this year will be anything but GREAT. So I’m back.

Over the past 6 weeks or so, I’ve gotten really good at waiting. Well, not REALLY good, but better. Waiting to feel better. Waiting in waiting rooms. Waiting for meds to kick in, and for tests to be done. Waiting for my child to feel better. Waiting to hear good news. Always waiting to start the next chapter of wellness and productivity and getting back to ‘normal’.

I am probably the world’s most impatient person. Really. I think it’s partly the ADD, and partly just a personality thing - when I’ve made up my mind to do something, I have to start RIGHT NOW. Oh the whims of the whimsical! I love learning and experimenting and trying new things, and above all, I love starting. Hope is in the starting! The momentum, the newness, the excitement, the wind in your hair for a journey unknown but most assuredly awesome. This is going to be AWESOME!

But after the beginning comes the middle. There comes a point in every journey - class, workout, road trip, project, hike, blog post… when the excitement has worn off, and the momentum is gone, and you can’t see the beginning behind you (thereby to give up and go back), and you can’t see the end ahead, and this little creeping of despair settles in. I can’t do this. I won’t make it. I’m sick, and sore, and tired, and bored, and hopeless, and I just can’t go on.

This is the waiting. The slog. And sometimes just waiting - for the light to break, the dawn to appear, the glimmer of hope on the horizon - just waiting for the something that will bring your courage back and show you that it’s worth going on - this is the toughest part of the entire thing.

I have the last verse of Longfellow’s beautiful Psalm of Life as the lock screen on my iPad. You’ve probably seen it before. I see it multiple times a day, and it is always a reminder.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.

This verse - ah! I have heard it in my mind so many times, especially the past 6 weeks or so. Let us then, be up and doing! So inspired, and inspiring. But the very last line is a lesson so subtle it’s easy to miss unless you’re in the circumstance. Learn to labor, and to wait.

Here’s the text of the full poem - filled with lessons and inspiration for “the slog”:

        A PSALM OF LIFE

      WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN
                    SAID TO THE PSALMIST

    TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
        Life is but an empty dream ! —
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
        And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real !   Life is earnest!
        And the grave is not its goal ;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
        Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
        Is our destined end or way ;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
        Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
        And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
        Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
        In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle !
        Be a hero in the strife !

    Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant !
        Let the dead Past bury its dead !
    Act,— act in the living Present !
        Heart within, and God o’erhead !

    Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
        With a heart for any fate ;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
        Learn to labor and to wait.

 

Here’s another one from John Milton, called On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Milton certainly knew what waiting was about. By the time he wrote this poem, and his great epic poem Paradise Lost he was completely blind, and dictated the verses to his secretaries. But this faithfulness, that although without sight (“how my light is spent”), he would serve best by simply staying faithful (“bear God’s mild yoke”). And then that last line, that gorgeous last line:

They also serve who only stand and wait.

I think the fact that there isn’t more description to this waiting makes this line so relevant down through the long years (~400) since it was written. Serving isn’t always labor. Greatness isn’t always done on the run. Faithfulness isn’t always shown in flight.

And one last one from the 40th chapter of the Book of Isaiah, with a promise from God himself:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.

What better promise to someone waiting can there be than this?

If you’re waiting (like I have been) for the light to break, the sun to rise, the end to appear, there are promises given and there is hope to be had. The darkness doesn’t last forever - it can’t.

There is labor (to “post o’er land and ocean without rest”), and then there must be the hopeful waiting for the God-given energy and courage and ability to begin again.

Thursday
Feb212013

Digital Project Life Class + Digital Project Life Kit Giveaway

EDITED: Contest is CLOSED!

The winner is: Stephanie C! Contact me to claim your prize, and congratulations!

I loved teaching Digital Project Life in Photoshop earlier this year, and the feedback we got from participants was tremendous! Everyone from beginners and seasoned Photoshop users, all wanting to learn to use Becky Higgins’ Project Life system in a digital format, loved the class. I am so excited that the class is now available self-paced – meaning you’ll have access to all of the course materials as soon as you purchase and, as all of the classes over at JessicaSprague.com, you have access to them FOREVER. No need to be online at a specific time or complete the class by a specific date – take your time and take the class at your own pace!

 

 

In this online, video-based class you’ll learn the basic Photoshop tools to create gorgeous pages in just a few minutes a week that integrate Becky’s digital Project Life templates, photographs, embellishments, and type.

You’ll learn how to:

  •  Download and unzip files
  •  Open, close, combine, and save images of different types
  • Save pages for both print and the web
  • Use digital templates to speed up your work and create a cohesive look
  • Add embellishments to your pages
  • Insert, arrange, and resize photos
  • Use the Type tool for journaling and titles

 And so much more!

 

The class also includes an exclusive two-piece background that you can use on all of your Digital Project Life pages!

Click here to learn more and to purchase the class (if you win, we’ll give you a refund!)

Today I am so excited to be giving away a spot in the Digital Project Life in Photoshop class and to sweeten the deal, the winner will also receive one full Project Life Edition of their choice from acdigitals.com. AC Digitals is the home to all of the Becky Higgins Project Life digital products along with some of the most popular brands in the scrapbooking industry - American Crafts, Crate Paper, and Pebbles. 

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. This giveaway will be open until midnight EST on Friday! Good luck!

Saturday
Feb162013

Coming Back.

So. I have thought several times about what to say concerning my absence of almost three weeks here. To say I have been sick is a gross misunderstatement. I have been sicker than I have ever been, and for longer than anything has ever lasted. I say that as a veteran of my share of ear, eye, and sinus infections. Childbirth? Bring it on. Broken bone? Simple.

Sinus infection, though, is notoriously hard to cure, and apparently this ONE sinus infection moved in and set up house and has refused to budge. Two weeks in a miserable haze of pain and sickness and the hopelessness and helplessness that comes along. Two weeks without a sense of taste or smell, or even the sense that I was ever going to feel better again. Just in bed. Truly I haven’t even saved out any words that are right for describing it. I rigged up some relief from the pain in my head and face - for several nights I put a wet washcloth on my face and put my heating pad over it to keep it warm. Then with headphones in (why does any noise just HURT sometimes?) I listened to the excellent Scottish voice of Andrew Johnson in his Relax+ app.

On Monday I started my 2nd round of antibiotics after the first one failed. My doctor assured me that “this stuff will kill anything”.

Two days ago I woke up. I woke up and looked outside and the sun was there. I went downstairs and ate what is possibly the most delicious saltine cracker that has ever existed. It was manna. I will confess that I wept a little.

It’s indescribable the hope that comes with feeling a little better. And the blessings I can count, now that I can count again. I  have been protected, kept safe, and watched over by friends and family and God in His heaven. I’m humbled to my depths for all those little blessings (the ability to walk up and downstairs without dizziness? the ability to fold my own clothes? and let’s not forget that saltine cracker), and so, so grateful to be coming back. 

Wednesday
Jan232013

Wise Words Wednesday - Happiness

I stumbled on this quote a bit ago, and wanted to set it in a kind of old letterpress style. Add some rough paper behind it, and here’s an 11x14 image for printing or sharing online:

And if you would like the printable size, click here to download the Happiness Walt Whitman Poster in 11x14.

Friday
Jan182013

Photoshop Friday! Create Pinked Edges

Hi there! Happy Photoshop Friday! In today’s video tutorial, I’ll show you how to create your own Photoshop brush using a Custom Shape. Then we’ll apply that as a pinked edge on a layout! You can even download the template I use in today’s video. Here’s what the template looks like (with a couple of goodies from my friends at Echo Park and Nisa Fiin):

Step 1: Download & Unzip the Template

Click here to download the Photoshop template

Step 2: Open the Template

You can use this video with ANY version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Go ahead and open the template so you can follow along.

Step 3: Watch the Tutorial

(Remember that you can enlarge this to full screen to see the details. :)

Have a wonderful Photoshop Friday, and a great weekend!

xo

-JS

Thursday
Jan172013

Q&A Thursday

Today is your chance to ask me anything. Anything at all! I’ll be doing a podcast for next Photoshop Friday, so your questions will be a big part of that! So you’ve got until Tuesday to get your questions in!

I will say up front that I know the most about:

  • Photoshop Elements
  • Photoshop CS+
  • Printing stuff
  • Cutting paper
  • Hoarding collecting fonts
  • Shoes

So you are definitely going to have better luck by sticking to one of these, but hey, sky’s the limit, right? So tell me, what has you puzzled? What would you like to know more about in Photoshop, Fonts, Organization, Design (or shoes)? Try to be as specific as you can, ok? Just saying “brushes!” doesn’t help as much. Although I’ll still appreciate your vote, because you’re awesome.

Okay! Go!

xo

-JS

Wednesday
Jan162013

Wise Words Wednesday - When You Arise

I’ve created the following quote both as a web-sized file and as a printable PDF with crop marks for a 5x7 image. Through the year, you can collect the PDFs to print a quote card collection. :) The image and the link below will open the PDF file for saving and/or printing:

Click here to download this file as a printable PDF with crop marks for a 5x7.

Tuesday
Jan152013

Tech Tuesday, Week 1: Organizing Fonts

Hi there! I’m going to start a new Tuesday series, which I’m going to call Tech Tuesday. Catchy, no? Every week we’ll discuss all things technology + memory keeping. Probably closely related to, but not involving actual Photoshop, which is still what Photoshop Friday is for. ;) Feel free to put requests in the comments as well, and I’ll take a look at them for future Tech Tuesdays!

January’s theme is Organization.

We chose this one because the New Year is a natural time to take a look around you and notice all the piles of crap items slightly out of place, and feel like hey, I could fix this! and wouldn’t life be better if I did?

Like how good it feels when you dump all your socks out of your sock drawer and get a divider and sort out the uglies, the singles, and the holey ones, and then put them back in folded neatly and sorted by color? That feels good.

Also, sock drawers are projects that don’t take very long, which also feels good. Can’t say that about everything, right? Unfortunately, you can’t say that about today’s topic, either. :\

This month I’m going to be talking in general about organizing your tech life. And today, I’ll be talking specifically about organizing FONTS.

Trouble with fonts, is that if your font collection is pushing 3000+ (ahem), organizing this mess ain’t no little sock drawer. More like a four-bedroom house.

However, it’s best to make a start, yes? And type can be so incredibly powerful, that in the end, it’ll be worth it. I think for most of us, we download a font thinking it’s cute and useful and then it goes into oblivion in our filesystem. And heaven help us if we ever need to find “just that right scuffy block serif” font for a project.

Step 1: Get a Font Management Program

First off, if you are on Windows, you need a font organizing program. Turns out the fine folks at Apple thoughtfully included one on Macs (called FontBook, which you can learn more about). But on Windows, no such luck. However, there is an array of products you can use, and after doing a bunch of research, I’ve settled on one I’d like to share with you.

My criteria for judging a great font manager is pretty simple, actually. What I want is the ability to categorize fonts using some kind of tagging system (not actually moving fonts into folders), and be able to quickly access fonts with that tag so I can compare them as a group. The ability to add multiple tags/categories to a single font is also critical. So a font can be Script, Handwriting, and Have Multiple Weights, and Have Alts, for example (I’ll share the tags I use here in a second).

Other features, such as install/uninstall aren’t as important to me.

Nexus Font by Xiles

Nexus Font The first one is for Windows only, but is absolutely FREE. And I am still trying to believe it, because this application is pretty darned awesome.

First off, the program itself is really small. Not a lot of extra mess in there, both from a literal program-size standpoint, and from a visual UI standpoint. It focuses on the things I really want from a font manager, which are, above all:

  • The ability to categorize my fonts with tags, and
  • The ability to quickly locate a particular tag from a list.

That way when I’m looking for a scuffy typewriter font, I can click the tag for “Typewriter Dirty” and see the fonts I’ve tagged in a list to compare them.

I can change the font size, style, and color, and choose from a pre-set alphabet preview or type my own (gotta see whether the & sign is any good, right?). I can search for a font.

And the last one is a great feature for me, but which you might find a different use for - and that is the ability to add a little tag that is separate from the category list. For example, I can add the tag “commercial” to all my commercial fonts without having to add them to a category, and add the “personal” tag to all the personal ones. Since I teach with type so often, I can also tag the items I’ve found at Dafont.com, vs. other sites so it’s easy to see where students would need to go to download this font.

Here is a screen shot so you can get an idea of what the interface looks like. Nice and clean. Love it.

Nexus Font. Click for larger.

Step 2: Create Categories

This step is kind of an evolving process, because everyone is different and everyone has different ways of categorizing fonts. I have a pretty good collection, and pretty specific ways I am thinking about fonts when I go to find one, so I’ve generated a list of font categories (Nexus Font calls them “sets” you can start with if you like:

Step 3: Organize Fonts

Now comes the heavy lifting, which is really the most time-consuming part after you’ve settled on a tool and made some categories. This can take tens of hours or hundreds of hours, depending on how large your collection is. Daunting, yes. But if it’s broken into bite sizes, maybe better.

So let’s start a font-organizing challenge for this last two weeks of January. We have 15 days. So tally up the number of fonts you have, then divide by 15. This is how many you’ll have to categorize every day to get them all done in a couple of weeks. And what a start to the new year!

Ready to take on the font organizing challenge? I’ll check back at the end of January to see how we’ve done!

Happy Cataloging!

xo

-J

Monday
Jan142013

Guest Post Monday - Tristina Eaton

Hi there! I’m Tristina Eaton, the Marketing Director here at JessicaSprague.com. I am so excited to be here today to share with you a few things you may not know about JessicaSprague.com. But first, since this is my first “public” appearance, a few things about me. I am a 30-something who loves salted caramel hot chocolate, taking pictures of my two kids and watching TV on Sunday nights with my cute hubby. I discovered JessicaSprague.com back in 2010 when I got Oh Shoot! as a birthday present. Since then, I have dabbled in a few of Jessica’s Photoshop classes and, while I am still very much a beginner, I am totally in love with everything I have learned. This year I am making an effort to record more of our family memories by completing a Digital Project Life album. Two weeks in and so far, so good – hopefully, I can stick with it!

5 Things You May Not Know About JessicaSprague.com

Now, onto the good stuff. Here are the top 5 things you may not know about JessicaSprague.com:

1. New Classes for Bloggers and DIYers

I believe that pretty much everyone could use Photoshop for something, not just digital scrapbooking – a poster for their child’s school, a badge for their blog, décor for a party, editing photos, the list could go on and on. This year, Jessica is introducing two brand new series of classes to help even more people learn everything they can do with Photoshop. If you’re a blogger or a crafter, or know friends who are, these are a great introduction to Photoshop! The first class in each series will be in March and registration is now open.


Photoshop for Bloggers, Course 1   Photoshop for DIYers, Course 1

          

2: New and Improved Classes

This year, Jessica will also be bringing new and improved versions of some of our most popular classes. First up, Photo Editing 1: Good to Great and Photoshop for Digital Scrapbooking, Course 1. Photo Editing begins January 21st and Digital Scrapbooking begins in March.

Photo Editing 1: Good to Great      
Photoshop for Digital Scrapbooking, Course 1


3: Make Commissions Through our Affiliate Program

JessicaSprague.com has an affiliate program. What does that mean? Well, when you join our Affiliate Network through Google AdSense you get access to a variety of ads (both in content and sizes) that you can display on your website or blog. When a user clicks through to our website from the ad and makes a purchase (anytime within 30 days of the first click) you get 6% of the sale! It’s that easy! Click here to get started.

4: We Like to Be Social

We are on Facebook, Twitter and we now have a JessicaSprague.com Pinterest Account. Follow us to see new products, promotions, freebies and our favorite inspiration from around the web. And of course, you can connect with Jessica in all kinds of great ways:






5: We Think You Are Awesome

And we hope you think the same about us! If you Like us on Facebook, you can download a FREE mini-album! Don’t worry if you’ve already got this one - as soon as we reach 12,000 Likes, we’ll put up a brand-new freebie. Please help us get there by sharing this image on Facebook (click the links below), Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog! (If you’ve taken one or more of Jessica’s classes, be sure to give that a shout-out!)

Share JessicaSprague.com on Facebook

2013 is going to be a great year here at JessicaSprague.com! Join us in class and on the web!