Editing old photos //

We have hundreds and hundreds of old photos from both my mom and dad’s sides of the family. My mom and I ended up being the keepers, to scan and organize – which is a lot of work but we love doing it. We both also love genealogy and could spend days researching our long ago relatives.

I’ve always loved the photo below from 1943. My great-grandparents with their 4 kids surrounding. The woman in the back right is Nan, my paternal grandmother, a seriously amazing woman.

This is the scan of the original photo:

I don’t always spend tons of time cleaning up the scans in photoshop, sometimes I’ll just remove the scratches from the faces and adjust the color a bit. With this one I spent more time cleaning up the background too. I mostly use the clone tool and go through pixel by pixel. For the color edits I use the color balance, curves, levels and black and white adjustment layers.

Here’s the photo after the clean-up, just removing the yellow tint makes a huge difference:

I’m definitely not an expert at restoring photos but I have been doing it for years. Something I always wanted to try was to colorize an old photo – it just seemed very daunting. These beautiful before and after images by Sanna Dullaway and this colorization timelapse video are both really cool if you want to see more.

Here’s my first attempt!

I woke up this morning thinking that I should add more color into the faces so they’re not so pale, rosey cheeks and whatnot. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out though. I roughly followed this tutorial, using the hue/saturation adjustment layer to add color. I’ll definitely be doing more of them and researching about other techniques for adding color, fun!


I was just reading Defeating Busy by Brett Harned over on the Happy Cog blog. It’s a great list of ways to keep on top of your to-do list, but one item really stuck out to me.

“3. Make your to-do list #1 on your to-do list.
Review and revise your morning to-do list before you get embroiled in the dramas of “inbox zero.” Determine what must be done today and what can be completed tomorrow, and prioritize accordingly. Then check your email.”

Sigh. Such fabulous advice but so very, very hard to follow.

You’ll usually find me playing with my daughter at the park or backyard, it’s a rough life I know! However, I have two days (10am-5) a week, totally to myself, to work on freelance and other projects. (Thanks mom!) I plan for those days the other 5 days of the week. What I don’t finish then I do at night instead of sleeping or when my husband is off work on the weekends which is even harder – I’d rather be hanging out! With such a limited schedule I’m really trying to get myself organized to make the most of the time I have available.

Every morning I have a list of things to-do before I can even start on my to-do list. It’s never-ending and I always feel a bit behind and overwhelmed. It feels silly even writing this, but it also drives me crazy knowing the house is a mess and laundry is piling up. And then the email, OH the email! I’m actually really good at keeping up with it, maybe too good… but that’s a whole other post.

For now though, inspired by Brett:

A tiny new daily to-do list:

  • Prioritize to-do list (be partial to pushiness)
  • Add new requests, no matter how urgent, into my prioritized to-do list and respond to email accordingly.

How do you organize your time? Any tips?

Navigation Menus

I recently ran into an issue where the Menus’ admin page (/wp-admin/nav-menus.php) was showing a 404 error. I had just added support for menus in the function file and figured that must be it. I deleted all my changes, still broken. I redid the menu 3 different ways, still broken.

I found this core ticket and tried a few things it mentioned ↓

Menus are sometimes limited in the number of items they can have – I had a LOT of pages and categories because I had imported the Theme Unit Test data – plus added content of my own. The default menu was pulling in everything which pushed the count way up. I went in to the Categories page and deleted all but 5, still broken. Then I deleted a bunch of pages, still broken.

I switched to the Twenty Eleven theme to make sure it wasn’t a theme issue, still broken.

Several comments suggested it could be a host problem, more specifically with the and suhosin.request.max_vars setting which limits the number of variables allowed. I found my host php.ini file in the root directory and added: = 5000
suhosin.request.max_vars = 5000

The page was now giving me a Server Error instead of a 404 Error, different but still broken!

FINALLY I look in my database through PhpMyAdmin. I clicked on the wp_terms table and all of the category items I had deleted were still in the database. Huh! I manually deleted the terms I’m no longer using and headed back to /wp-admin/nav-menus.php → PROBLEM SOLVED!

Of course, it won’t always be possible to just delete pages and categories. Check out the comments on the core ticket I mentioned above – as well as ‘How to Fix the Custom Menu Items Limit in WordPress‘ on for a few different solutions.

2010 1000

Reading List

Since I decided to switch up the content focus on Ahhh Design, I’ve thought a lot about what I want to write about specifically and who my readers are. That lead me to making this list of the people that I read and follow currently. Looking at my favorite blogs and podcasts it becomes pretty clear where my interests are right now. I’ll keep this list updated as I find new content as well. Hope you find something new!

Design, Development, Code

* Tom McFarlin – WordPress development
* Zoe Rooney – front-end development, WordPress, business
* CSS-Tricks – css, WordPress
* A List Apart – design, development, content, best practices

Business, Life

* Geek Girl Life – a blog by Natalie MacLees – WordPress, speaking, life
* Chris Lema – WordPress, business, life
* Tara Swiger – creativity, business, community, life
* & Kathleen – work, life, creativity, coaching, life
* Braid Creative and Consulting – branding, business
* Unicorn Free, Amy Hoy – business, products

WordPress News & Commentary

* Blog – WordPress news
* Planet WordPress – WordPress news
* The WordPress News Core – WordPress news
* Post Status – WordPress news
* WP Tavern – WordPress news, theme/plugin reviews


* WP Girlie Show – WordPress, glitter, video
* Let’s Make Mistakes – design, client services
* The Web Ahead – future of web
* Happy Monday – design, web
* The Big Web Show – web
* Hit the Mic with Stacey Harris – social media, community building
* Shop Talk – css, front-end web development

Do you have a favorite blog or podcast? Share it in a comment!


Planners & WordPress

Next month is my 6-year anniversary of blogging. I started by sharing art and then DIY Planners quickly took over. I love creating free templates to share with you and I’ve also made a little money selling the DIY Printable Planner set through 2015, which is very awesome – if you purchased it thank you thank you thank you!

Here’s the thing though – in my real life, planners take up about 1% of my time/thoughts/energy. I have been a little better about using mine since I discovered discbound notebooks but really, you’re probably more into planners than I am. I want to blog more this year, but to blog as I have in the past means I need to be working on planners and templates and that’s just not what I’m into these days.

I’ve thought a lot about other topics. Being a new(ish) mom to a seriously fantastic kid is a huge part of my life – but when I wrote about that before it felt forced and too personal.

And then my direction shifted.

Last weekend, out of nowhere, it hit me that I enjoy working with clients more than I originally thought. I haven’t been accepting new clients for the past year but starting in April I’d love to work on some new projects. Want to work with me or discuss an idea?

Also, this morning I wrote an estimate for a potential client. I wanted to send her some links to get an idea of my style and what it’s like to work with me. Oh wait, I’ve never even written about it anywhere – WHAT?! Most of you probably don’t know that I’m a WordPress theme designer and developer that’s really stinkin’ great at balancing design AND code.

Something new.

wordpress-logoI still want to blog more this year but it’s going to be different. I want to write about WordPress because I love it. I’ve learned so much from other developers sharing their code, solutions and mistakes – I would love to help others in the same way, if even a little. I want to write about client work that I’m proud of and about my process and the tools I use. I definitely want to write tutorials to help you make your own websites too.

I’m very excited about all of this.

P.S. If you’re here because you love pictures of planners and free templates I still love you, and I’m not saying that I’m totally giving it up – not at all. I’m just changing things around a little. xo

Two-page week  PDF template by Ahhh Design #diyplanner #freedownload

Over the years I’ve had a few requests for a week spread out over two-pages, you guys sure are busy bees. And here it is, finally! Two-page Week on 8.5 x 11 – print it double-sided, cut it in half and punch it for your 5.5 x 8.5 binders! ;)

Two-page week  PDF template by Ahhh Design #diyplanner #freedownload

FREE PDF DOWNLOAD -> Two-page Week, 5.5x8.5 (1.66 MB)

Other weekly templates available for download here:
simple week & month
5-day Work Week
Weekly Planning

My Printable Planner Template through 2015 are available too, get ‘em while they’re hot!!

Two-page week  PDF template by Ahhh Design #diyplanner #freedownload

DIY Discbound Planner by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

Last week I mentioned making a custom cover for my discbound planner. Here’s my first attempt – I might find another solution for the spine, it’s a very thick card stock and doesn’t slide around on the disc as well as a thinner paper. Hmmm….

The notebook closed from the front (left) and the back (right):
Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

The cover is made from a paper sample book I’ve had forever. It was already the right height and I only had to add two folds. Any kind of heavy paper would work though, or a light cardboard like a tissue or shoe box.

I collaged mine with paper, black ink, white paint and a few stitches on the sewing machine.

Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

I definitely want to cut off the extra flap with the vertical pocket on the right (pictured above). It’s too bulky, especially because it sits open on my desk or nightstand 99% of the time.

Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

The spine width should be just a little bigger than your stack of papers, not including the discs. Once folded, if your paper is thin enough, you can put each fold inside the hole punch. Then use an x-acto and cut out the rectangle shape on the front cover side. My cardboard wouldn’t fit in the hole punch so I did it on a thin paper first, traced it to the cardboard then cut it out by hand. Do a test first so you don’t accidentally punch your nice cover wrong!

Custom Discbound Cover by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

I’m totally loving discbound, read all my other posts about it here:

My Printable Planner Template through 2015 are available too, get ‘em while they’re hot!!

DIY Discbound Planner by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

Discbound for 2014 /

Back in October 2013 I declared my love for Discbound. I’m putting together my plans for 2014 and I’m still loving it, almost. I’ve tried professional planners before and I swoon at photos of Filofaxes just like everyone, especially the hot pink and gold ones. In the end I always go back to handmade though – I love the crafty feel of a handmade, hand sewn, hand glued cover. Hand-drawn templates and textures and a collage of paper and tape make me happy.

So, I ditched the blue leather cover that I originally bought. It was too stiff and boring. I haven’t found a solution yet, as I’m currently using cardboard in the back and a plastic divider in the front. It works for now.

This afternoon I started mocking up a cover that would create a spine for the notebook. I’m pretty close and think I want to make something similar to this old diy cardboard binder I made a couple years back.

Here’s a photo with the test spine:

I was pretty proud of myself because I figured out the right shape to cut so that it still lays flat and the cover doesn’t get in the way. Yeah!

Download the above monthly templates here: Simple week and month templates, 8.5 x 11 (20.02 MB)

My daughter wanted to share her Santa stickers with my notebook, they crack me up. Keep an eye out next week for a new template!

My Printable Planner Template through 2015 are available too, get ‘em while they’re hot!!


Planning for a new year.

A new year always brings with it big big BIG ideas and plans and goals. Time for a new planner, new goals, new projects, a new start – all that! I love reading everyone’s New Year’s posts – I went through this exercise by & Kathleen for finding my “feeling” words last week. Tara Swiger has the same idea in saying, pick a word or phrase to guide you. I haven’t found mine yet, but I’m close. More on that soon…

Goals //

With the huge changes in my life the last couple of years my planning style has drastically changed. I like seeing the big picture now, months at a time. Maybe because the weeks and days fly by so fast – the moments last a little longer but only when I can catch them. With that in mind I put together an updated goals template, the same format as this one, but with a little more space and structure.

Free Printable Goals Template by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

Peps decorated it with pencil and stickers, she’s so helpful. It could be used several different ways, these are just a few of my plans for 2014. You could also set it up for a single project… mark when the launch is and work backwards by month with to-do lists to meet the deadline.

FREE PDF DOWNLOAD -> Yearly Goals Pt. 2 (4.04 MB)

The PDF download has both a vertical and horizontal 8.5×11 versions. They can easily be printed smaller for other sizes.

2014 //

I also put together a full yearly calendar on one page for tracking daily/weekly/monthly routines and events.

Free Printable 2014 Full Year Template by Ahhh Design #diyplanner #routines

For runs I made a key, circles for scheduled and an x for complete. It doesn’t have to be an exercise tracker though, could be anything! Maybe you want to blog 3 times a month or send out a newsletter every month on the 15th… or you could just write down birthdays and anniversaries to remember. Here’s an example of planning trips and big events over the year.

Free Printable 2014 Full Year Template by Ahhh Design #diyplanner

FREE PDF DOWNLOAD -> 2014 Year (6.74 MB)

This download also has a vertical and horizontal version of the template – shown above.

Have a great New Year friends and happy planning! If you haven’t set up a new planner yet this year, check out my Printable Planner Template through 2015!

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