A few lessons I’ve posted to help you get familiar with design language, theory, and ideology.

New Card Classes

Print I am so excited to offer two new classes in the shop! These are part of a new Design As You Go Class series, where I try to spend time with students actually making projects that they can use! The best part is that these classes are cheap ($25) and contain tons of new techniques and new approaches in Illustrator.

In Invitation Design, we make three cards: a birthday invite, baby shower invite, and spring party invitation. The best part about these invites is that they are customizable to your style and needs. I’ll be reworking the birthday party invite for Charlie’s upcoming birthday in August.

In Holiday Card Design, you can get a jump start on Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. Don’t pay for card designs! Instead make one that is uniquely yours! There is a bonus print lesson in this class, as PrintI show you the website I use to upload my card designs.

Of course, there is a Release Sale on both of these classes! They are 20% off through Friday ($20). Take advantage while you can!

Happy Learning!


Design Workshop Workbook Mailed!

I finally got everyone’s packets mailed out for the Paper and Digital Designer Workshop. I’ve been promising myself that I was going to get these workbooks mailed out before the end of the month and I’m patting myself on the back because I did! Whoo Hoo!

I’m pretty excited about the stuff we are going to be working on and although the workshop isn’t until February, I managed to give the everyone a good amount of work before they even show up! (That’s the college professor in me.) Hope the participants all enjoy and have fun with it!

We still have a limited number of spots left open for this workshop, and you should check out the coupon from the most recent newsletter (page 4) if you are in Utah.

Tchau, Carina

Exciting New Upcoming Events!

There are two spectacular events that I plan on attending in the coming months. The first is Spraguefest!
This is an annual event hosted by Jessica Sprague to further build (the already awesome) community. I know there are going to be a lot of awesome people at this event, and I’m pretty excited to attend! I’m teaching a class on color (it’s going to be messy!).

Spraguefest is October 7-10, 2011 and there is a registration fee of $80 for classes and materials. I know there are going to be goodie bags (yum) and some fantastic teachers! This year we are in Las Vegas and  I’m sure that whatever happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas. That means a lot of late night craziness.  Oh alright, maybe some daytime craziness as well (I might have done a little dance in the street last year).

The second event is my brand new Paper and Digital Designer Workshop! Think elegant girls-trip-meets-intense-design-school. Yep, it’s going to be that kind of weekend!

We’ll be in Salt Lake City working on your paper and digital designer skills (and possibly your shopping skills, manicure skills, nunchuck skills…).  It’s going to be a super intense experience that will help you explore your creativity! We are staying at the Little America Hotel , who will also be catering nearly the entire event. The Little America is well known for being a luxurious Four Diamond Hotel and their menus and decor are impressive! Get ready for a glammed-up girls weekend that will also define your design career!

Registration for this event is capped at 20 people and is first-come, first serve.

Check out our workshops page to learn more and register!

I hope to be able to hang out with you at one or both of these events!


I’ve been knee-deep in writing Art of Digital Design II. That means wading through my library of typography books. Trying to pick out the essentials for a single lesson (when I usually teach an entire semester) is certainly a challenge.

In the midst of writing last night, I popped over to my friend Melissa Esplin’s blog and noticed that she had an awesome post on type. It’s very fun! She also references this post on type from Goodlookcookbook. Type-nerdiness! It warms my heart!

Here’s my addition to their lists—my personal favorites that I wish I saw more of!

Mrs. Eaves


Beton Light

Rockwell Condensed



Jessica Sprague Highlighted on KSL’s Studio 5

IMG_5079 copy

IMG_4986_1_1 copyI’ve been working on samples for my new ABC Class at Jessica Sprague.  I sent off my ABC Books last week, and I was so happy when they arrived yesterday. The samples turned out really cute and now I’m off to see what else I can make out of these templates!

I am now going to hijack my own post. Yesterday, I went to the gym and so happened to see this video (below) on TV (KSL’s morning show at 11am). It is Utah’s Studio 5’s segment on Mom’s going back to school. Digital classes anyone?

Old School Fun-Paint and Play in a Cardboard Box

I bought a dresser last week and, of course, the best part is that it came in a box. After playing with it for a week inside, we dragged it outside to paint it and let the neighborhood play in it.

IMG_2955 copy



They get to use their creativity and it’s free…man, I love a good box!

Also a shout out to everyone taking Jessica Sprague and my course: The Art of Digital Design today! It’s week 5 and you are stuck with me (whaaahaaaaa)! Excited for all the fun we’re going to have this week!

Craft Project-How to Make an Easy Octopus Costume

carinagardner_blog1Yes, my daughter wanted me to make her an octopus costume for her birthday. So how could I refuse? I kept it simple by buying a t-shirt (with the gems already on it) and women’s long socks. Add some filling, a t-shirt transfer kit and my sewing machine and I was set. The only problem? Once I made one for my oldest daughter, I had to make a second one for my youngest daughter. Thankfully, it’s project that can be done in a couple of hours.

Here’s the basic idea. Take a t-shirt and iron-on one of my adorable octopus stickers. Or skip this step entirely. Then stuff 6 women’s socks with filling and sew them to the ends of the t-shirt. Grab a beanie hat (add a flower for fun) and put on a pair of shorts and a final pair of socks (so there are 8 legs in all). Instant octopus!

Want the full instructions and photos? Just download this pdf with my instructions for creating this easy craft project!


Easy T-shirt Project-How to go from Digital Product to Iron-On


Creating great projects from digital products is easy! For example, my daughter’s birthday party was last week and we did an underwater theme. So my gifts to all the little guests were mermaid shirts with matching hair color for each girl. My daughter wanted to be an octopus, so I simply ironed-on an octopus illustration I made onto the simple costume I created for her (to see how to make the octopus costume, please visit the octopus costume post).


So here’s how I created this cute little gift idea.

blog21. I bought a package of Dark T-shirt transfers and a few t-shirts in blue and dark pink. I picked them all up at Target but many places would have these goods.

2. Choose an illustration from your favorite digital kit…stickers work best because they are png (no background). I used my Tiny Mermaid line for this project.

3. Print your illustration onto your Transfer Sheet (follow the instructions from the back of tha package.). I just used my inkjet printer at home and bought inkjet transfers. If you want to maximize space, create a 8.5″ x 11″ document in Photoshop and place several stickers to cut out.

4. Cut out your printed transfer VERY CAREFULLY. Because it is on a dark T-shirt, you will want to cut out all the white and get as close to the edge of your design. For example, on the octopus sticker, I had to cut out a couple of the legs seperately because they were seperate from the body and I didn’t want white to show up between the legs.

4. Follow you transfer paper instructions to iron on the design to the t-shirt. For mine, I laid down a pillow case on a hard surface and laid a sheet of paper (provided by the iron-on packet I bought) down over the t-shirt and ironed for 1-2 minutes.

And that’s it! I great project that my children adore and made Siri’s party special.

New Year’s Resolutions-A Day Late


I’m just getting around to posting my New Year’s Resolutions. Not that they aren’t the same as most of yours…get in shape, give more time to myself, my family, document our lives (I’m hosting a 365 at DHD)…yada, yada, yada. Mostly, I just wanted to post because I am so EXCITED for 2010. It’s going to be a fun year. I can feel it. And I hope it will be for you too.

Here’s what’s on the horizon for designwork this year:

* Two fabric lines will hit quilting shops this year. Coquette will arrive in quilting stores in June (call your quilt shops this month to ask if they will be stocking this beautiful line from Northcott!) and Love Nest will come out later in the year. All of the fabric samples are up for your viewing pleasure!

* A brand new Carina Gardner™ Shop will be opening up! We will be offering limited quantites and fat quarters of the new fabric line and will also eventually carry all kinds of goods from my designs in scrapbooking and fabric. The Shop is set to open in June 2010. I’ll have more information on it as it gets closer.

* I’m at a new digital shop! This has already happened but it is such an exciting venture for me as I get to participate in Jen Allyson’s newest venture! She’s a pleasure to know and a fabulous designer! I think you’ll see that Design House Digital will be the fastest growing digital shop in 2010. It already has had some astonding traffic! I’m just proud to be apart of such a wonderful group.

* I’m pleased to be teaching again. It’s been two years since I stopped teaching at the University of Minnesota. I never thought that teaching would happen to fast for me again. You can find my newest adventure with Jessica Sprague teaching a self paced course—Illustrator 101.

* Keep checking back for my Paper Lines with My Mind’s Eye. I’m sure we’ll have several in the works this year.

And while there might now be a bullet point on this one, if you know me, there will be plenty of other good things happening in 2010 on this blog. I’m already working on a great craft project for my daughter that I’m excited to share with you (give me a week to finish it up!)! And with all the fabric hitting my studio in May, you know we will be sewing like MAD around here!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend and may you be happy in 2010!

There Are Going to Be Some Changes Around Here! Illustrator Class & New Digital Scrapbooking Site!

illustrator101_iconIt’s a season of change around my house. Josh started work with a new law firm, Siri has lost tooth number 2, Felicity has been trying out her new potty, and I’ve got some great new projects in the works. The first is this brand new online class for Illustrator, which goes on sale TODAY at Jessica Sprague.com! After teaching Illustrator at DSE, this last September, I was overwhelmed by the number of people asking for an online course. So here it is folks! A four week long Illustrator course that is completely self-paced and easy to use. The videos are broken into smaller tasks so it’s easy to go back to a tutorial. I’ve also included 3 Bonus lessons, digital scrapbooking kits, and vectors in the course.

While I created this course initially for digital scrapbookers, I would recommend it to anyone who is even thinking about getting into design. I’ve incorporated everything I would teach on Illustrator in a university-level introductory graphic design course.

So want to see what the class is going to be all about? Go straight to the Jessica Sprague site to see the introduction video, purchasing information, and the Lesson break downs. You can also go to YouTube to see the video. I recommend watching the video because it will show you a short tutorial of a class lesson along with everything you will need (aka technology requirements) to take the course.

With all change, there is also some sad news. I have decided to move my digital scrapbooking store from Two Peas. You will still be able to find all of my 2008-2009 digital designs there, but I will be moving to a new store come January 1st, 2010.

Picture 168

I’m pretty excited to have been asked to come to the new store (which isn’t even open yet) because it will be site with designers that are so amazing! The name of the site is Design House Digital (http://www.designhousedigital.com/) and the list of designers going there is UNBELIEVABLE! I can’t spill anything yet, but you ought to check out the place holder blog to grab the newsletter freebie (it’s FABULOUS!). And while you are at it, sign up for twitter https://twitter.com/designhousedigi since I was told that people will get updated with the new freebies and store updates there.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m working away at a christmas line for fabric and paper and enjoying my little ones during this holiday season. Hope you are having a happy December too!

The Digital Scrapbooking Experience


DSC_0030Finally! After a crazy two days I have a chance to write about DSE! Thursday afternoon I taught an Illustrator class  at the Digital Scrapbooking Experience in Provo, Utah. Jen Allyson flew in from San Francisco to help me out.

I had a WONDERFUL time with the students! After teaching 5 years of college, I had completely forgotten how wonderful it was teach students who are eager to learn (and everyone in my class was!). Thank you ladies + Gary for participating in my class! I’m glad I did it because it opened my eyes to what people can do with a little bit of education on the programs. I’m constantly asked about becoming a designers and I may have just had my eyes opened to some new possibilities for these people. I’ll let you know on the developments.

I also hosted a table with a cute little flower make-and-take, candy, and my papers from My Minds Eye (and if you haven’t figured it out yet, papers that get printed can also be bought DIGITALLY from me). Jennifer Allyson and Garden DSC_0056Girl Gennifer Bursett both helped me. In fact, I probably owe Ms. Gennifer since I managed to forget my camera and I all these photos are hers! I showed off my digital book that was printed from My Pic Tales and Silhouette Machine, which made all my make-and-takes (and I couldn’t live without at this point!).

You can make our make and takes too! All you need to do is go to the Paper Flower Wreath post and download the pdf. The flower shape we used can be used as a pattern and hand cut out, or I also provide .gsd files for you to use on your own silhouette. Here’s DSC_0031photos of Jen and Gen sporting the barrette version you could make. We also had laundry clips and pipe cleaner for attaching to badges or making wristlets. The papers we used for the table all came from my Paris and Co. and Bella Bella Paper Pads that can be bought exclusively at ACMoore.

Some of my favorite moments at DSE? I loved meeting the other instructors (I was so happy to see Crystal Wilkerson there!), I throughly enjoyed Jessica Sprague’s Keynote address, and (my most favorite moment of all) when one of my students (of whom I will refer to as the “Atlanta Gelato Queen”) slipped a chocolate gelato onto a box I was carrying out.

DSC_0055Thanks for all the fun everyone! I could only go to one day of DSE (sorry everyone! I just couldn’t get up there yesterday and today is packed!) because we closed on our house yesterday! Yippeee!!!!!! And now, the work begins…or might I say, the true Project Mania begins! September might end (and I have a few projects yet to finish up!) but in October I’ll be posting all my house fix ups.

Printing a Digital Book



I finally did it! I printed my very first digital scrapbook. I remember when I use to explain digital scrapbooking to people, they’d say, “Digital?…does that mean you just look at them on the computer?” And I’d have to tell them you could but the point is to have it printed and have a BOOK. I mean, it is called scrapBOOKing even if there is the word “digital” in front of it.

IMG_7240So after not quite 2 years as a digital designer, here I am with my very first book. I kept it really cohesive by only using certain colors and elements. I stuck to the Sproutlets papers & accessories, the Imprints collection,  and the PhotoCuts collection. I was COMPLETELY impressed with the quality of the book (even the hard bound outside looked AMAZING). I had it printed at My Pic Tales. I’ll be sure to be doing a lot of printing with them in the future. I need to do a few books for Christmas and senidng out for books through these guys was a snap!

IMG_7256I got the book just in time for DSE, Digital Scrapbooking Experience! If you haven’t registered for Tips and Tricks in Illustrator, but are attending the event, you can register at the door. I’m also gearing up for Digit Alley on Thursday night. We’ll be doing a fun make-and-take at my table. I’ve been busily having my lovely silhouette cut out little flowers for me.  Another surprise? Jen Allyson will be showing up to help me with the class and the make-and-take table!

Project Mania…An entire month of projects!


img_6708_smWe’re getting started a bit early here (Project Mania officially starts on September 1st!), but I wanted to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate! I’m giving everyone a head start here so that if you have any big projects that need starting or need to clear out your schedule to make way for some great projects in September, you have the time to!

This is a BLOG HOP! Here on my blog, I’ll be posting a plethora of new projects, tutorials, and free downloads to help inspire you. If YOU have been working on some things and want to share OR if you’ve needed a kick start, this is it! Time to get your hands dirty and get going! We all want to see what you’ve done! Whether it is scrapbooking related, sewing, home decor, home organization, crafts…if you’ve been meaning to do it, let’s get it done this September and post it on our blogs! You’ll definitely see plenty from me on these fronts all September.

So you think you want to share what you’re going to be doing September 2009? We’re starting a list right here! First thing you need to do is grab this html code and the little banner to put on your blog. It will relocate you back to this post for the most up-to-date list on blogs/websites participating in Project Mania.

<a href=”http://www.carinagardner.com/2009/08/06/project-mania/” target=”_blank”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee297/diginirvana/projectmania1.jpg” alt=”” width=”200″ height=”150″ /></a>

Next, you need to send me the name of your blog and the link you want it to go to so that we can all drop by and see what kinds of things you are getting into! Send it to carina@diginirvana.com.

Here’s the list of everyone participating! Go visit and see what these Project Maniacs are up to!

Carina Gardner Studio (Me)

The Project Girl

Mean Mom Digital Productions

Brought to You By The Letter B

live laugh LOVE scrapbook

Life’s Little Moments

Naomi’s Space

Sophia’s World

My Creative Space