How to Create an Etsy Banner for Free Using PicMonkey.com

Banner

If you have an Etsy shop, you’ve probably tried making your own banner or purchased one from a graphic designer. With my Etsy shops (Mux Originals and Sweet Yogi Headbands), I’ve experimented with both methods and struggled with wanting to regularly give my storefront a fresh look without spending too much time or money. This is the easiest method I’ve found after much trial-and-error.

I hope this tutorial is helpful to you in your Etsy journey – if you have any questions, let me know!

How to Create an Etsy Banner for Free Using PicMonkey.com

PicMonkey.com is an awesome free photo editing website. You can pay for upgraded features but it’s really not necessary unless you plan to use it all the time.

Step 1: Open a photo in PicMonkey. You can use a photo of one of your products, but if you want a solid-colored banner, like the one shown above, any photo will work.

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Step 2: Resize your photo. Select the “Resize” option in the bottom left-hand corner, and enter the number 760 into the first box. Don’t worry about the number in the second box. Hit “Apply”.

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Step 3: Crop your photo. Select the “Crop” option in the upper left-hand corner, and enter the number 760 into the first box and the number 100 into the second box. Hit “apply”.  If you are using the photo you selected as the actual banner background (as opposed to a solid color) move the crop box around until it covers the portion of the photo you want in your banner. 

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Step 4: Add a solid background (optional). To add a solid background, Select the butterfly icon on the left menu and open the “Geometric” option. Select a rectangle and it will be added to your picture. Using the pop-up Overlay box, change the colors to your liking and then resize the rectangle (using the handles on the corners of the shape) so that it completely covers your cropped photo. It’s okay if it’s bigger than your cropped photo.

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Step 5: Make it pretty! At this point, you can do whatever you want. You can add and customize different shapes from the butterfly menu options and you can also use geometric shapes to create borders and lines. I plan on creating further tutorials on more advanced ways to customize your banner. For now, I’m going to add a simple heart. Use the pop-up “Overlay” box to edit the shape.

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Step 6: Add your shop name. This is the most important part – putting your awesome shop name on your banner! Select the Tt option on the left menu to open the text options. Click “Add Text” at the top of the menu and play around with font, size, placement, and color (using the pop-up Text box) until you’re happy with the results.

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Trouble-shooting: Difficulty selecting the text box or overlay box? 

This will make more sense when you’re trying it, but if you use a big rectangle as a solid background (like my coral background above) you might struggle with being able to select the items “stacked” on top of it (like the heart or text) since the program will simply select the giant coral box. To solve this problem, simply move the background box out of the way temporarily, reposition/edit your overlays and text to your liking, and then return the background box to its original position.

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Step 7: Save your banner! When you’re happy with your banner, select the “Save” option right above the photo and save your banner with the “Sean” photo quality option. You are now ready to upload your finished banner to your Etsy shop! Well done.

To inspire you, here’s a few more banners I created using this simple method:

banner 3

banner 2

banner 4

I plan on making more tutorials on this topic, including how to add a pre-existing logo to a PicMonkey.com banner, like the one for my Sweet Yogi shop. I love finding easy hacks to get around learning more about programs like PhotoShop. As much as I would like to do that eventually, I don’t currently have the time or money to invest in that skill – but I still need Etsy banners! If you’re in the same place, I hope you’ve benefited from this tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions.

PicMonkey Collage 1

Gluten-Free and Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 3: Customizable Chocolate Protein Shakes

Parts 1 and 2 of this series:

Customizable Chocolate Protein Shakes 

protein shakes

I’m pretty picky about protein shakes but my riff on this recipe is delicious and relatively cheap too. Listed below the recipe are all the different versions I’ve made. 

Makes 2 shakes

  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 scoops chocolate Designer Whey (this is the cheapest decent-tasting whey I’ve found at Woodman’s, where I buy most of my groceries)
  • 4 teaspoons Pyure brand stevia (I buy this at Wal-Mart – it’s 2X sweeter than sugar)
  • 2 standard ice cube trays’ worth of ice (or about 20 large ice cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla or chocolate unsweetened almond milk

Blend together all ingredients except ice. If you’re not going to drink the smoothie right away, you can throw this mixture in the fridge. Sometimes I do this the night before a busy day if I’m not sure that I’ll be able to find time for breakfast.

Just before drinking, add ice and blend on high until smooth.

Variations:

Add in ideas

  • Add 2 tablespoons of nut butter (almond is my favorite)
  • Top with sugar-free whipped cream
  • Add a few drops of mint or vanilla extract
  • Blend in two frozen bananas
  • Add 2 tablespoons of MCT oil (basically liquid-state coconut oil) for healthy fats
  • Use vanilla protein powder, chocolate almond milk, and a handful of fresh raspberries for a shake that tastes surprisingly like raspberry cake batter!

Crochet Pattern: Ribbed Wool Winter Hat

Crochet hat 1

Crochet hat 2

I’ve been working on Christmas presents while I wait for Baby (tomorrow’s my due date!) and this hat is my most recent creation. It’s simple but I like the uniqueness of crocheting vertical ribbing for a hat instead of crocheting it in-the-round (what I typically do). I used Patons Classic Wool Worsted yarn, which cost me $4.40 after a 40% off coupon at Joann’s. A wool hat for under $5? Works for me.

Crochet hat 4

Supplies: 

  • Size J crochet hook
  • Approx. 3.5 oz. ball worsted weight wool yarn
  • Large darning needle

Chain 47.

Row 1: Sc in the 2nd chain from hook and in each ch across – 46 sc.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn. Working in back loops only, sc in each sc across. Repeat this row until piece measures about 15″ from beginning. This will fit a woman’s medium-sized head. Crochet a wider piece for bigger heads or a narrower piece for smaller. It’s pretty stretchy and forgiving.

Fasten off, leaving a long yarn tail. Thread tail through ends of rows along one long edge and pull to gather for top of hat. Knot securely.

Finishing: Seam short sides of piece together, knot, and weave in ends. Fold up brim to desired width.

Crochet hat 3And that’s it! Simple enough to make multiples for Christmas gifts…plus unisex and easy to size up or down. My kind of crochet project.

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Check out the first post in this series here:

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 1: Protein Pancakes

Raspberry Cheesecakes 3

My quest to eat a high-fat and/or high-protein, low-carb, gluten-free breakfast (whew, that’s a lot of qualifiers) every day continues. These cheesecakes have been a favorite grab-and-go option. They’re also great for people like me who prefer sweet over savory in the morning.

#2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Cheesecake for breakfast is weird – but you won’t catch me arguing. These are easy to make, easy to grab out of the fridge, they’re gluten- and sugar-free, and the ingredients list includes eggs, berries, and nuts. If fat is an issue for you, you can substitute reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream. Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Pyure stevia (I buy this at Wal-Mart – it’s 2X sweeter than sugar)

Filling:

  • Four 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Pyure stevia
  • 1 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • Sugar-free whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F and put cupcake liners in two cupcake pans. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl (I like to use my hands). Measure 1 tablespoon of crust mixture into each cupcake well, pressing down with fingertips to form crusts.

In a stand mixer, beat together all filling ingredients except raspberries until smooth, scraping bowl with a spatula as necessary. Stir in raspberries. Divide filling among crusts, filling cheesecakes to the top of liners. If you have any extra filling left over, spray a couple ramekins with nonstick spray and bake the extra filling in those. They can be enjoyed as crustless cheesecakes.

Bake cheesecakes for 15 minutes, or until set in the center. Cool completely on cooling racks, then store in the fridge until enjoying. You can also freeze cheesecakes and simply thaw them overnight in the fridge when ready to eat. Top with sugar-free whipped cream for extra fun 🙂 

raspberry cheesecakes 2

Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Tart

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If you don’t already know this, Trader Joe’s is awesome. There wasn’t one where I grew up but since I moved to Wisconsin I have access to a TJ’s and I love it. When I was there the other day buying the cookies for this recipe, the employee offered me a list of all their gluten-free items. And he asked me about my day in the genuine sort of way that seems almost uncomfortably intimate until you realize how much you miss it in everyday interactions.

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This tart is simple, pretty, and delicious. It’s a sandwich cookie in tart form….because that needed to happen. I wanted to make a traditional cookie crumb crust, but opted to add cookie crumbs to an almond-flour crust because I didn’t want the crust to crumble when I un-molded the tart.  It worked perfectly! The tart is filled with sweet and creamy vanilla pudding, which then gets covered with more cookie crumbs.

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Here’s a tip for un-molding a tart from a pan with a removable bottom…..set the pan on a bowl or cake pan that is smaller than the base of the tart pan. The tart (with the removable bottom of the pan) can then sit suspended on the bowl/cake pan while you carefully remove the outside edge of the tart pan.  This picture should help that make more sense…

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GLUTEN-FREE COOKIES AND CREAM TART 

Crust ingredients:

1 box Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Joe Joe Cookies

2 cups almond flour or almond meal

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg

Pudding ingredients:

1 cup cold milk

½ cup cornstarch

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

3 egg yolks

3 cups milk

1 tablespoon butter

¾ cup sugar

Make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place all the cookies in a blender or food processor and blend until crushed into fine crumbs. Dump into a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, coconut oil, egg, and 1 cup of crushed cookies until mixture forms a ball (I like to use my hands, but a large spoon would work too).

Press this crust mixture evenly into a 10” tart pan, using a knife to level off the top edge. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until set. Let cool.

Make the pudding filling:

Whisk the 1 cup milk, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla together in a bowl. Set aside. Combine the egg yolks, 3 cups milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.

Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue whisking as the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat, allow to cool briefly, and then pour into crust, spreading with a spatula if necessary.

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Place the tart in the refrigerator until ready to serve (three hours is ideal).

Before serving, sprinkle remaining cookie crumbs over pudding filling and remove tart from pan. Slice and enjoy!

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DSC_0562^ Poorly-lit photo of my late-night tart slice ^