This post is sponsored by Skillshare. Please know that I only work with brands and companies that are a good fit for me, my home, my life or this blog. All opinions are 100% my own.
There are a lot of reasons I started this little ol’ blog 6+ years ago (how on earth has it been that long!?!) As a new Mom, I craved connection, productivity, and a “project” all my own…and the blog met all of those needs. But as the blog grew and the industry evolved, so did my desire to do and offer more things. In what feels like a blink of an eye, I became a photographer, editor, web designer, graphic designer, system creator and DIY guru. But I didn’t start out knowing how to do any of those things. Over the years, I have spent hours and hours (and hours and hours) taking expensive online courses, watching YouTube videos, experimenting with programs I didn’t know, and mastering tools I’d never used…all to enhance my own skills in order to improve our own homes and bring you guys inspirations, projects and systems to improve yours. Although I’ve been known to feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all there is to do and learn for this blog, I’ve also learned something really valuable about myself over the years. The blog is not just about having something to do…but rather…learning all these new, good (and very marketable) skills are a real lifeline for me. In this very rewarding but also crazy, exhausting, messy, and exasperating life as a stay-at-home-Mom, regularly learning new skills keeps me alive, excited, and somewhat emotionally and intellectually in-tact.
But as you all know, I’m a one-woman show…and since the arrival of Sam, my time is even more at a premium. I no longer have the luxury of hours to spend taking an in-depth online class on how to edit photos, create patterns for my printables, or even manage my accounting or social media channels better. But the need (and desire!) to know and understand these things has not gone away…it’s only grown louder and stronger as my skill sets have expanded. When Skillshare approached me and asked me to sample some classes on their online education platform, my curiosity was definitely peeked. I am always looking for ways to up my game, streamline my workflows, and adapt some timesaving hacks into our family life; so I was absolutely intrigued to see if the array of short and quick videos in the Skillshare library proved valuable and effective in teaching me new things. What started as a quick experiment has now turned into my new favorite way to satisfy my unquenchable desire to learn and know all the things. Here are 4 reasons I am loving Skillshare, and why you should check it out too!
Skillshare is offering The Homes I Have Made Readers readers two free months of Skillshare Premium. You’ll get unlimited access to more than 15,000 online classes on everything from lettering to illustration, crafts to photography, and so much more. To take advantage of this deal and to start your free two months, click here!
You guys – it’s totally worth it!
When I first logged into Skillshare, I was very surprised at the amount of classes available…and how many I actually wanted to take! Yes, I filled up my queue with lots of classes to improve my blog skills such as how to create patterns in Adobe Illustrator and how to edit photos in Lightroom. But I was also really eager to check out some other ones that are more “life tip” classes such as how to properly cut with knives, the only bread recipe you need to know, and how to make the best coffee. And the craft library? You guys. I could easily get lost in here for hours. (Umm…I sort of already did.) There are knitting and crocheting classes, water coloring classes, jewelry making, scrapbooking, paper crafts and so much more.
Here is one of the reasons I quickly became smitten with Skillshare and have watched so many videos so far: they are short. Not short in a “quick YouTube video” sort of way. But short as in they jam a TON of very useful content into a very concise timeframe. Seriously. I learned more advanced Illustrator skills in a 1 hour Illustrator class by DKNG Studios than I have in years of taking other courses and Googling various tutorials to help me figure things out. There is also this really handy feature where you can play the videos at 0.5, 1.25, 1.5 and 2x the normal speed. The slower speed is great for skill-based classes when you want to be able to follow along in real time; while the speed-up feature is awesome for quickly breezing through classes that are less technical in nature. I’ve been able to squeeze videos in while I’m eating lunch or when I have some spare time before school pickup. As someone who has signed up for A LOT of in-depth online courses that I just can’t find the time to work through, these videos are refreshingly quick to watch and the material is easy to understand and implement immediately. There have been so many times throughout these classes I’ve thought “Huh…so that’s how you do that!” or “Well, that’s handy to know!” (like how to know when your yeast is working or not!)
I’m a mom of two kids (I love being able to say that, by the way) and I’m a busy blogger. I don’t want to spend any more time at the computer than I already do. Between the desktop interface and the apps for both my iPhone and iPad, I can literally watch videos anywhere…anytime. Instead of surfing my Instagram feed while Henry is outside riding his bike, I can pull up a video and put that time to better use.
When Sam is having a fussy day and wants only to be held, I tend to grow frustrated that I can’t get anything done. Instead, I’ve been using those instances to pull up a Skillshare video and learn something I’ve been wanting to know, making an otherwise unproductive time more engaging and productive for myself.
At the end of a long day, I don’t want to go sit at the computer. But Greg and I rarely agree what should be on the television. Lately, I’ve been happy to let him watch his shows because I’m able to sit and relax on the couch with him…iPad on my lap and ear buds in my ears…learning fun, useful, or interesting new skills via the Skillshare library.
Simply put, the amount of high-quality, interesting, and useful videos in one easy-to-access platform has allowed me to satisfy my desire to grow professionally and learn new life skills in a way that fits nicely and easily into our busy lives.
Last but not least, I have been SO impressed by the quality of the videos. With a library of over 15,000 classes, sure…not all of them are professional, highly produced gems. But a lot of them are. In a world where it feels like anyone and everyone can take a quick video and pop it onto YouTube, it’s refreshing to watch highly-crafted, organized, and well-presented educational content on a wide range of subjects. I don’t have to weed through a bunch of junk videos just to find the one useful nugget; and so far, each and every class has delivered on the promise made in its title and description. Instead of wasting time online surfing my social media feeds or watching poor-quality, ad-hoc video tutorials, my time instead feels productive and well-spent.
So What Have I Taken So Far?
Over the last few years, I’ve been learning how to use Adobe Illustrator. It’s how I create all my blog graphics and printables, and it’s honestly become a hobby and passion to learn more and become truly proficient in the program. My mind was literally blown watching this video. Literally. In a single hour, Dan and Nathan showed 10 tips that not only opened my eyes to some pretty advanced (and nifty) capabilities in Illustrator, but significantly improved my workflow. I was immediately able to save time and do more things with my Illustrator files after watching this class.
I was so excited about my new-found Illustrator capabilities after watching the first class, that I kept going with this class. I love Bonnie’s teaching style and have re-watched this class at least 3 times because she also covers so many handy tools I never knew existed. This class has motivated me to re-work a lot of my existing Illustrator files, so get ready to see lots of my printables becoming available in lots of other colors!
I got so much from Bonnie’s Recolor Artwork Tool class, that I then started her series of classes on how to create patterns. This is a longer class (3 hours) and part of a longer series of classes that I am slowly working through. Instead of watching these with Sam on my hip, I need to be watching these at the computer so I can try her tips and exercises right along with. I’m just a fraction of the way through this class, but you guys…I may have just fallen down the biggest creative hole ever. Let’s just say lots of new patterned printables will be coming your way very, very soon!
Admittedly, I was quick to fill my queue up with classes that would enhance my blog-related skills, but I also wanted to watch some classes that might improve our home life too. This super short knife class was quick to watch and quite applicable to daily life. This class is a great example that although not as highly produced as some of the others I’ve watched, the information taught is still useful and well delivered. Since watching it, I’ve been implementing the skills taught in the class, and my vegetable cutting has improved!
You guys know I am always on the hunt for streamlining processes and cutting time in the kitchen. I’ve long been intrigued by making salads in a jar for some time, and this quick video walked me through several salads from start to finish. Not only does Margaret breakdown the exact method for assembling any salad in a jar, but she also shows three easy recipes to try right away. Now having seen this method in action, I’m really excited to give it a try to see if I can make salads a more regular part of our weekly meals!
I absolutely loved this class. My sister- and brother-in-law make homemade bread all the time. Whenever we would go over for dinner, it felt like such a luxurious treat, but they always insisted it was simple. Yeast intimidates me, so I’ve never been motivated to try making bread myself. Not only is Julia (the chef in this video) a treat to watch, but she makes working with yeast and making your own bread so approachable. I love the idea of having a “hip pocket” dough recipe that I can rely on over and over again for a multitude of recipes (both savory and sweet!). I haven’t tried it to make it just yet; but my boys are bread eaters so I will very soon!
Paper crafts are some of my favorite crafts to do “just for fun,” and paper flowers are some of my favorite things to make. This short little video had me making some paper tulips in mere minutes, and it was a fun way to craft and relax…just for the fun of it!
I’m a busy lady. I’m trying to run and grow my blog, stay on top of industry trends, and learn the skills I need to create content and run the technical side of things all while trying to be a visible and engaged presence with my boys and run our household. There was never really enough hours for it all before; but now I’m trying to squeeze even more into my day with the arrival of Sam and the need/desire to care for him. I am thankful I get to be home with my boys, but the never-ending juggle of things to do and learn sure isn’t easy. I’m so excited to have been introduced to Skillshare, as it’s now my new favorite method to unwind and/or learn new skills in a fun, fresh, and fast way!
Try it for yourself, and get hooked just like I did!
Skillshare is offering The Homes I Have Made Readers readers two free months of Skillshare Premium. You can check out the classes I’ve talked about here, as well as thousands more on knitting, painting, calligraphy, and more.
To take advantage of this deal and to start your free two months, click here!
I want to make sure I give a huge thanks to Skillshare for allowing me to explore their online class library and share it with you guys! I’ve honestly been able to put so many of my new skills to work right away, and you all will start to see some fun new things coming down the pike very soon as a result (like a brand new printable kit coming next week!). Later this week though, I’m going to be shifting gears and share my favorite baby products we’ve relied on the second time around. See you back here on Friday!Posted In Blog Business, California '16, Personal Post, Product Reviews, Sponsored, Tips & Tricks