Sunday, 12 August 2018

How To Create Beautiful Split Images For Instagram


I've been spending quite a bit of time over the last few months setting up my own little freelance venture, Strange Marketing - check out my amazing website here! When it came to starting an Instagram account for the business, I wanted to do something I've never been able to achieve on my personal account, images that flow into each other.

I first spotted this concept on Spectrum Cosmetics Instagram page. Whilst each of their individual images is a standalone picture, elements of the background serge into the next post. I think it looks great and one of the key things that stuck in my mind about it was that it's clear they have invested resources in developing their social presence - which makes sense for an incredibly success brand that's built it's entire customer base with Instagram.


When it came to thinking about how I wanted Strange Marketing's Instagram to look, I knew I wanted there to be a 'bigger picture' but I wasn't sure how to go about doing it. I don't have Photoshop on my laptop and I also wanted to be able to create and post images while I was on the go.

I tried a LOT of different apps to make this happen and below I've given you some info about each app - spoiler, only one app really did the job and it's one you have to pay for - but I did find a free and pretty simple way to do it also which I've detailed further down.

I'm pretty pleased with how SM's Instagram page looks although I'm aware that my graphic design skills need improving on if I really want to make a splash, so any and all advice about composition and colours will be gratefully received. I'm excited to share more about starting Strange Marketing in the future!


So, firstly, you need an image. The majority of apps that I found that can create this effect had the option of uploading a picture to them or taking one which you can then edit in the app with a limited variety of tools before splitting the image into parts. I used Canva to create my collages - you can upload your own images, resize and recolour them, place them in grids, add a huge number of elements to your design and it's free. I create these collages in a very large size (3000 x 3000) utilising Canva's 9x9 image grid and dropping different pictures into each space. I'm currently using a pretty flower picture that I took myself as the background. Here's the next large image for SM's Instagram feed:


Once you have the larger image created you'll need to save it and download it in PNG form (so you don't lose any quality) If you want to use one the many image splitting apps available, you'll also need to export your collage to a mobile device, I use Dropbox for this and I also save every image including the main and split image onto my laptop.

I tried a few apps but without a doubt, Planoly is the better option. Unfortunately, you can only upload 30 pictures to it per month in the free version, but I feel it's probably worth investing in the next level up for £7.99 which allows a lot more uploads as well as access to all their other features, including adding batches of pre-defined hashtags which can really save time when you are uploading 9 images at once! It also saves the images and the split versions for you, so when you are ready to post you can just open up the app and add the images directly into Instagram along with the hashtags and location information. It's a real time saver. I messed up the first month of my free trial by deleting images once I had uploaded them because I wanted to change something - this still ate into my 30 free uploads and meant I couldn't add another 9 images to the upload section. You can't save the split images to your phone in any easy way either. 

Some other apps that I tried:

Giant Square - Easy to upload images to split but it adds it's own watermark which I definitely didn't want. I know this sounds a bit mean, because I do believe that apps should be able to earn money for future development etc, but for starting my business venture I needed something that wasn't going to affect the overall image.

9Cut - Worked well but there was some reduction of quality which I was trying to avoid. 

Grids - When I went into the app to remind myself of what it was I didn't like about it, it tricked me into signing up for a £4.49 weekly subscription! I seem to recall when I used it last week that the ads between every step were the main issue but I now seem to have a super version which works a lot better - at a ridiculous price! That's getting cancelled straight away.

In the end, I found the best way to get what I wanted -  all nine images in the same quality, with no watermarks, ready on my phone to upload to Instagram at any time. I used a site called Img Online an online tool which you can access by clicking here. The site creates 9 separate images which you can download individually. There are a few options to select from and you don't just have to do 9x9 grids. I chose the optimize for Instagram option despite not knowing exactly what this does!




I then saved them to Dropbox on my laptop and was able to export from the Dropbox app on my phone straight into Instagram. I save my hashtags in a batch on the Notepad application and then just copy and paste them into my caption when I'm ready to post!


Here's how the first 3 pics look on my feed, hopefully you'll give us a follow over at @strangesocialmarketing to see the rest ;-)

I hope this has helped, whether you use an app or the online tool I would love to see your creations, tag me @katyclouds or my new business account, @strangesocialmarketing.

Katy x

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Five MORE reasons to grab a last minute ticket to Curious Yellow - UPDATED DISCOUNT CODES!!


It's two sleeps until Curious Yellow and I'm beyond excited. My bags are packed, the chat group is buzzing and the weather is looking amazing.

There's still a few tickets left for sale, here are my (updated for 2018 but you can read the original post here) top five reasons for snapping one up...

1. The music is going to be AMAZING

Every year the team manage to put together a completely eclectic and original line-up with bands, artists and workshops that will blow your mind. One of my favourite things to come out of this event is collaborations between artists that met in the gardens. This year, (I hope I'm not breaking any of the secret line-up rules by saying this I probably am!) I know that The Turner Brothers (woop!), Sweetcornbread and Bare Jams, three of my Curious favourites are all set to play. I'm hoping that the Turner Brothers are going to be joined by our favourite rapping, beat boxing flute player, Archie XN Trick, whose been bashing out some fab content recently and will fit in perfectly to the Turner's party sound. In previously years we've enjoyed fab harmonies in the Once In A Blue Moon tipi with The Midnights, amazing singing bowls from the Consciousness Collective and serious late night dance beats from the Curious Yellow DJ's - I can't wait to see what is in store this year.




(Photos from the Curious Yellow Facebook Page - click here for more)

2. The Gardens

I feel like I have said it before (just a few times?) but the Gibberd Garden is one of my all time favourite places in the UK. Last year I know a couple got married there so I'm kind of jealous that they stole my idea, because the setting is so romantic and wild that I can't honestly think of a better venue to say your vows. This will be our forth year returning to the valley, each year I've taken photos of the foliage and it gets better each year. The best part is the undergrowth along the freshwater stream, giant leaves, dragonflies and tropical-looking flowers leading to a magical stone tower with a perfect lily pool at the top. Note to self - stay away from the poisonous Giant Hogweed!




3. Friends

We had an amazing group at Hogsozzle a few weeks ago and most of the same people seem to have snapped up tickets already so I'm thrilled to be spending the weekend with my besties and a bunch of people who haven't ever experienced Curious. The actual festival is in it's 6th year, with this being the 4th at the Gibberd Gardens. There's a quite substantial bunch of 'regulars' and it will be seriously joyous to see their faces round every corner again this year but the best thing to be is a newbie that gets to experience everything for the first time - if you haven't been before, grab a few of your most spontaneous and fun friends and snap up a ticket using the links below, I promise you won't regret it!



4. The Theme

Not going to lie, when I first heard the theme I didn't get it, but after a lot of thought, and some helpful posts from the Curious crew I think I've got an idea. 'Fruit' is a pretty strange theme for a festival but it reflects everything crazy and fun about the weekend and there are loads of ways to interpret it - I can't wait to see how people have taken the theme and run with it! I'm making an updated, fruity, curious and yellow version of my light-up crown and taking a few fun, fruity themed outfits which I'll be sharing over on my Instagram - http://www.instagram.com/katyclouds.

5. The Weirdness

UK festivals get more commercial every year. Tickets are expensive to most of the big weekends. Everyone seems to be wearing the same thing. The same bands do the festival circuit and if you go to a few the chances are you will see something the same. Curious Yellow breaks the mould completely with a weekend of love, warmth and partying like there is no tomorrow. Everything is done in the CY way from magicians in the undergrowth to getting your water from a freshwater spring right in the middle of the garden. Spending your Saturday following the sculpture trail and discovering new corners of the garden, your Sunday rolling around in cocktails and listening to music you will be hard-pressed to find again in such a great setting - Curious is different. escapist and hedonistic and definitely worth the £90 ticket price for the weekend.







So, if you want a ticket, there's still (just) time.


  • Go here: https://curiousyellow.co.uk/event/curious-yellow-2018/



  • Enter your details and use the code 10TURNER2018 for an extra £10 off the ticket price.



  • Receive your ticket and get packing!


(thanks Darren Kern Photography for this fab photo of 2018's set up)


I can't wait to see you in the sunshine this weekend - feel free to drop me a note if you are coming along, we are organising a convoy from Hertfordshire and the more the merrier!

Katy x

Saturday, 16 June 2018

5 Amazing Things We Loved At Hogsozzle 2018

What an incredible time we had at Hogsozzle this year, I must try not to gush too hard in this post because even two weeks later I'm still buzzing from the fun and frolics.

I definitely over packed for this one...


We arrived in convoy late on Friday afternoon, much later than my plan-loving brain had reckoned on. This meant we didn't have our pick of the pitches, and with 7 tents in our group we needed a large area to spread out. We eventually had to camp right at the entrance, which I was pretty miffed about at first but it turned out swell, we could see and hear everything that was going on and felt right in the action.


And the weekend began! There were so many amazing things at this years Hogsozzle, I honestly believe it was the most fun I've had at a festival for several years, the food, music and company was all spot on. Instead of the usual run down of what we did every second of every day, I want to change up my review style and I'm going to instead share 5 of the best things about Hogsozzle this year.

1. The Once In A Blue Moon Cafe


You have no idea the actual joy I had in my heart as I rounded the corner in the hidden wooded area and saw the first peeks of a tent I recognised from Curious Yellow last year. The Blue Moon cafe people really know how to run a festival chill-out zone. They they sell amazing vegan and vegetarian hot food that has actual nutrients in, they open early for breakfast and they take debit cards - in addition to a fab line up of smaller musical and comedy acts and I believe an open mic. The tent is beautiful too, I found out from them last year that it was custom made for them in India with a wonderful starry ceiling and lots of soft seating.


Late on Saturday we headed over to their fire pit and had a lovely vegan curry full of vegetables and for pretty good price of £7 for the 'deluxe' version with yoghurt and a flatbread. I also have to thank the guys for finding and keeping hold of my phone at one point in the festival! I can't wait to spend more time snuggled up in a corner with a rum, listening to music and chatting with friends at Curious Yellow in a few weeks time! If you want to find out more about the Once In A Blue Moon cafe, they have a website here.

2. Costumes and Crowns 

As always, the fancy dress at Hogsozzle was on point! I spent most of the morning before we set up fixing up my LED crown, my first light-up festival piece that I'd made myself and it was a dream. I did a DIY on how to make your own which you can see by clicking here. The best thing about it was that it lit up the portaloos which were pitch black otherwise!


These photos are from In Squared Photography's album of Hogsozzle pics, click here for more.



The theme this year was Fairytales and Fantasies and people really went to town with some mega costumes! There was so many giant sequins, wonderful facepaint and men in shiny leggings. 


3.  The Curious Yellow Takeover

I can't believe how lucky we are to be involved in two festivals like this that had such a fab crossover. Saturday night in the dance tent was all about Curious Yellow, which I've posted about lots and is coming up in just a few weeks. The DJ's took over with their unique dance vibe for the whole night and went down a storm. Seeing Greg and Dan from the Curious Yellow crew at a festival so completely different to the one they run was so fun and we found out that the Hogsozzle boys  will be attended Curious Yellow in return!

I don't have any photos of the guys as it was really dark in the dance tent and everything looked drunk and blurry by then, if anyone has one of their set-up let me know :)

4. Friends

This was the first time we have been to Hogsozzle without the band playing, so it was all for fun and no stress about instruments or missing band members. It meant everyone could relax and enjoy the weekend so we took a pretty large group of friends with us, some of whom we don't get to see very often and it really made for an amazing experience. Hogsozzle is small enough that you can't really lose anyone, so every corner we turned there was a friendly face covered in glitter greeting us and we had some epic dance tent moments with our crowd. We've talked about Hogsozzle a lot at home so it was really good to show our gang all of the fun there is to be had and make some amazing memories to kick off the summer with!






5. The Paint Fight

So, four years in and I haven't actually taken part in the paint fight. Party because by the Sunday all of my clothes are already wet and muddy and I'm losing my voice, which means I don't especially want to breathe in a bunch of paint dust. This year I planted myself in a prime spot at the top of the hill, near the bar, overlooking the main arena. The incredible Rumpsteppers revved everyone up and it was one of the most epic paint fights I've ever seen, the color just kept on coming every time the beat dropped and everyone came away looking like they were from another planet - next year I promised myself I will definitely get involved, as long as the showers are working! Even though I was pretty far back most of my clothes have remnants of paint powder on them - a word of warning if you are reading this in 2019 and getting ready for your fist Sozzle - don't wear your best clothes for the paint fight!!!!




So that's it, my top 5 favourite things from Hogsozzle this year! There was so much more I could talk about but I don't want to repeat myself from previous years. If you want a fully detailed run down on everything that was Hogsozzle 2018, I found this great post by That Festival Blogger, who I didn't get to meet this time but I'm certain that our paths will cross again by the end of the summer! I want to give a shout out to the Hogsozzle boys for an epic, unforgettable party, Frosty for the paint fight photos, Hayley and Ian for driving, Patawawa for being awesome and also for bringing back the biff with me and all of my lovely friends for making it a beautiful weekend full of love and amazing memories <3


Next up, Curious Yellow in two weeks and I'm BUZZING! I'll be sharing some of our costume ideas for the fruit theme over the next few weeks, if you haven't got your ticket yet, snap one up quick because it's going to unmissable - use the code 10turner2018 on their website (click here) for a tenner off.

Photo credits: Alex Krook, Tasha Rhodes, Ian Frost and In Squared Photography

Thursday, 7 June 2018

All Curious, All The Time

This weekend we are hitting up Alresford Festival  with The Turner Brothers, my excitement and general happiness levels have stayed pretty high since Hogsozzle and I'm looking forward to getting back on the road with our tent and a bottle of rum!

Then, two weeks later is the one I've been counting the days to since it finished last year, The Curious Yellow. I've gushed pretty hard over this genuine secret garden party since I first attended three years ago and I cannot wait to drive down that lane for the forth time on the 29th of June. Tickets are still available (click here) if you fancy it, use the code 10turner2018 for £10 off.

I still have an epic Hogsozzle post coming up in a few days time, but in the mean time I wanted to collect all the posts I've written about Curious in one place, starting from 2015. Click below for three years worth of reviews, videos, pictures and extreme joy from The Gibberd Garden.



    

I'll be adding a full round-up of the madness of 2017's event in a week or so, please add me to your Bloglovin or other blog reader to keep up. Follow Curious Yellow on Facebook here - let me know below if you are coming!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Light Up Festival Fancy Dress Crown DIY

First things first, Hogsozzle was a blast. You'll be sick of me going on about it if you follow me on any other social media but I just want to take a minute to say I have the serious post-festival blues this week - I'll be doing a full post with loads of photos and thank yous to the incredible crew and stalls early next week.



Right now I'm here to share a DIY for the crown that I made to pull together my Snow Queen costume. I didn't get a decent picture of the whole outfit, it was pretty much just a white top and a big fluffy waistcoat other than the crown anyway, but I do have a lot of pics of me loving life in my light-up headpiece!





I have to say that my usual attempts to create festival fancy dress don't tend to go this well. Right now, my crown is sitting next to me in almost perfect condition, still lighting up, ready to rock another event. This never happens to me. Usually anything I made falls apart instantly, gets lost or broken or simply begins to degrade without explanation. Not this baby. The materials are relatively easy to source with the exception of the plastic base which I was lucky enough to find behind my boyfriends sofa. The actual plastic I used is something to do with digital printing, it's about 3mm thick and matte white. I've found something similiar on Amazon as an alternative and linked in the materials list below.

The instructions below are for creating a Snow Queen crown similar to the one I've made, but you could easily change up the colours and additions to create something that suits your own costume needs!

You will need:

Heavy duty plastic sheet (try this one in 3mm or 2mm if you don't have a craft knife)
Sharp scissors or craft knife
Gluegun
Sellotape
Metal ruler
String of battery operated lights
3 meters of 1cm wide velvet ribbon
2 meters of thin silver cord
1 meter of 3cm wide binding tape
5 medium pompoms
1 large pompom

First, measure your head circumference and add two inches. Use the measurement to draw a strip on the plastic (obviously using one of the straight edges as a guide and to reduce wastage!)

Mark an inch off each end, this will be where you join the crown together.

Mark the centre point.

My centre spike was 4 inches and the spikes on either side were 3 inches. I marked them off with a metal ruler and then drew another line 3 inches higher to use as a guide for the top of the spikes.

Once everything is pencilled in, start cutting. The plastic I used was just about thin enough to cut with normal scissors but next time I'll use a craft knife for a cleaner finish.

Now it's time to decorate! Use the binding tape for the headband. I measured the width of my band so that the binding tape would fold very slightly over and conceal the white edge.

Next it's time to add the lights. I started at one end and worked out there was enough for three lights per spike. Move slowly, securing the wires away from the base of the bulb with a bit of glue. Use your metal ruler to press hard onto each glue spot, this will harden it quicker and leave a flat finish.  Leave the battery pack loose with some spare wire for now.



To wrap the spikes I secured the velvet ribbon on the bottom and slightly to the side with a blob of glue and wrapped it all the way around, covering as much white plastic as possible and making sure to wrap the wire of the lights tightly to the spike. The ribbon is secured with a tiny bit of glue at the top - use the ruler to harden and flatten as before.

Do the same with the silver ribbon, wrapping it round the spike to fill in any gaps. You could add another ribbon or thread here if you wanted but as my spikes where meant to represent icicles I didn't mind the flash of white showing through. You could also paint the plastic with acrylic paint before you start wrapping it.

Use a small pompom to conceal the joins of the ribbons, thread and binding tape.



Finally, I cut a hole in the big pompom and squirted some hot glue into the hole, wedging it hard onto my centre spike. I was most worried that this would come off but it held fast and I don't think I could get it off if I tried!!

I joined the two ends together with sellotape which I also wrapped round the battery pack. This means I could lay the crown flat if I didn't want it to get damaged on a long car journey and also makes it easier to change the batteries.

Done! I would LOVE to know if you try this method to make your own light-up festival crown and see pics of your finished piece! I'm so proud of this that I'm tempted to make some custom ones so if you don't have the time or materials get in touch on twitter or email me.




Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Festival Fancy Dress Inspiration for Hogsozzle 2018 - Fairytales and Fantasies

Festival season is nearly here! I'm pretty pumped about getting out and about this year and if you follow my blog on the reg you'll know that Hogsozzle in Hertford is the first festival of the year for us. For the first time in four years, the band aren't playing but that isn't going to stop us going and making some epic memories! If you haven't got your ticket yet, HURRY UP -  Click here for the link.



Aside from the free hog roast, paint fight and dancing all night, one of my top favourite things about this little festival is the fancy dress. Every year we try tell people we are bringing how much the whole site goes to town on their costumes on the Saturday night but noone really gets it until they have been - there isn't a person on the side of that hill that hasn't made some sort of fancy dress effort!

So, this year, money is a little tighter so we are going to DIY a lot of our costumes. On Wednesday, I'm hosting a craft night at my house and I'm hoping to knock up something pretty mega so I've pulled together a bunch of inspiration from around the web. The theme is Fantasies And Fairytales which leaves quite a bit of scope.

I tried and failed last year but this year it's happening, I want an LED cage skirt. Searching online led me to the discovery that these are actually called a 'Crinoline'.

SOURCE


SOURCE: @desiperkins

SOURCE

My plan is to whip up one of these using O-rings and some stiff metallic fabric, then to stick LED strip lights on the inside. I found some neon string LED's, these come in five colours, I might purchase just the green one but the full kit is only £9.99 - here is a link. By the looks of it, the battery pack is small enough to hide in the waist area, fingers crossed.





I've loved all the tassle bodysuits I'm seeing and I don't think it would be too hard to find a plain one to add my own ribbons or tassles to. I've been browsing Jaded London and Boohoo for inspiration, here are some of the fab ready made pieces that I've found ...


I've looked and looked but I haven't found a DIY for making these kind of bodysuits at home so I'm hoping to photograph my efforts, I'm thinking jewel coloured ribbons and potentially some dip-dying.

Primark have a fab festival range this year too, with everything under £20 and some great dupes of the giant disc sequin pieces that were all over Coachella. Obviously, the hassle here is going to be finding the pieces in store, because if your local Primark is anything like mine then hunting down individual things you've seen online is a bit of nightmare. Still worth it if you can pick up these bits...



No festival fancy dress outfit is complete without a crown, tiara or headdress of some description and they are definitely one of the most fun and interesting things to craft up yourself.

A few years ago I made a crown for the Cosmic Disco themed Hogsozzle, click here to see how.



This year, I'm hoping to go bigger and better with my headwear - I've been in love with Aurora Moon Headwear since I discovered her a few years ago, just look at this total beauty;


I don't think the budget is going to stretch that far (although I think for the work and energy that goes into her pieces, the price is amazing!) so I've been rounding up lots of DIY's and I'm going to have to do my best to construct something that doesn't hurt to wear or fall apart.

Here are some of the DIY's I've found but there are millions out there and obviously, head over to Pinterest for ultimate festival crown inspo.

  • This DIY shows you how to make a great base out of twigs and a glue gun
  • Such a cute feather DIY from Paige Joanna here
  • Make a pompom hairband super easy with this DIY from Brit & Co
  • Super easy and cheap mermaid tiara video here
  • Here is a great DIY for making a light-up flower crown

I'll be posting about the craft night and sharing the successes and disasters that we whip up over on my Instagram, I'd love if you would give me a follow - @katyclouds. I can't believe it's so close to the May Bank Holiday already. Let me know in the comments below if you are coming along to Hogsozzle and links, hints or hacks for making amazing fancy dress costumes that can withstand festival shenanigans.

Katy x

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