Pugly Pixel is a blog I stumbled upon about a year ago, and it quickly became one of my favourites.  Katrina, the Blogger behind Pugly Pixel, is a web design enthusiast who shares her love of Photoshop, fashion, typography and design on her blog.  Her blog posts are always filled with beautiful images that are eye-catching and show her amazing sense of style.  I'm always in awe of her photos and layouts...She has such an amazing eye for colour and design.  Her blog is always inspiring me to keep working on my own design skills.  Lots of Pugly Pixel's blog posts contain step-by-step Photoshop tutorials and screencasts that show how Katrina creates some of the fantastic images on her site.  I've used quite a few of Katrina's tutorials and they have helped me learn a variety of Photoshop skills so that I can create or edit my own images.  Her tutorials are excellent - always well presented, clear and easy to follow.  She also has lots of free resources for bloggers that can be downloaded from her site, and some other resources for sale for very reasonable prices in her shop

In fall, 2012 Katrina launched a new section of her blog called STYLE which is devoted to HTML/CSS and Photoshop screencasts for blog design enthusiasts.  STYLE screencasts are for members only, and the investment is $25 for 30 day access to all the STYLE resources.  The largest component of STYLE is the CSS Pretty e-CourseCSS Pretty is an independent study course where Katrina shows you how to build the CSS Pretty blog through step by step screencast tutorials.  The course is divided up into 14 days of course work, but you can go at your own pace, speeding up, slowing down or going back to previous day's screencasts, if you wish.  Some of the days focus on short but informative lectures on HTML and CSS, and other days focus on making CSS changes and adjustments to your blog as you follow along.  I read about CSS Pretty when Katrina launched the course last fall, and I knew it was something that I wanted to sign up for.  I knew nothing about HTML and CSS, and the whole topic seemed pretty intimidating to me.  I decided a few months ago that I was really interested in building my own blog, as I wanted to create an online space that I felt was truly my own.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to do that without getting help or taking some sort of course, so I decided to purchase a 1 month membership to STYLE and take the CSS Pretty e-Course.  Boy, am I glad I did!  Katrina lays the course work out in a very easy to follow manner.  All her screencasts are short but sweet, and you don't feel overwhelmed by too much information.  She clearly shows and explains not only how to make the changes to your blog, but also gives you the background information on each topic, as well.  As you start going through the course and making changes to the CSS on your blog you definitely feel empowered.  Having the tools to be able to make changes, and then see them reflected in the layout/format of your blog feels amazing!  There were several times that I was literally shouting "YES!" outloud and doing a little happy dance in my chair when I would see the changes reflected in my blog.  As you can see, I've used the skills I learned during CSS Pretty to re-design this blog, and I'm so happy to say that I did that all on my own!  (Well, with the help of CSS Pretty, of course.)  I've finally got an online space that I feel comfortable in because I was able to go through the process of designing it myself.  I know it might look pretty simple, but it took quite a bit of work to get this blog to look like this, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to do it without Katrina and CSS Pretty.  For anyone who wants to learn basic blog design skills and build or tweak their own blog then I would highly recommend CSS Pretty.  I think the $25 investment was certainly well worth it for the for the knowledge that I took away from the course.  If you are thinking that CSS Pretty is something you might be interested in then I would encourage you to take a look at the first 2 days of the course screencasts - Katrina gives those to you for FREE!!!!  It's a great way to get a feeling for how she teaches the course, how the screencasts work and how you can follow along at home.  Even if you aren't interested in blog design then I still recommend you check out Pugly Pixel to see some of Katrina's work.  Many thanks to Katrina for all the amazing resources she shares on Pugly Pixel as well as in the STYLE screencasts. ▲

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