Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thoughts on Blogging, Holiday Crafting, Giveaways, and Questions...

Hi HI!

I had a roundup and recap planned for today. But, I feel bored with that. And blogging should never be boring. It shouldn't be boring to write and certainly shouldn't be boring to read. Soooo... I don't feel like typing up a boring post and I don't want you to be bored reading it. Or, even worse, I don't want you to assume that you will be bored - so much so that you choose not to read. HA! That's not good.

What am I getting at here? Well, here we go... with just some ramblings from my brain, perhaps a few questions for you, and, if you make it to the end of this post... a chance to enter into a giveaway :)

First things first. Blogging - writing and/or reading. I have been pondering such things for a while now, and there is a post over on the Cocoa Daisy Forums talking about this right now. Plus, I recently had a little chat with a fellow crafty friend about blogs. 

What is my point? Well, the bottom line is that I love blogging. I will keep blogging, whether anyone reads or not. Why? Well, its a good creative outlet for me. 

I love that the platform of blogging allows for more than just "hey, look what I made." Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that. But, for me... I tend to follow and read blogs that go beyond that. I want content. I want real. I want to learn and be inspired - inspired to think deeper, create more, and try new things. I want to be inspired beyond the thumbnail images that a gallery provides. 

Let's not dismiss the beauty that an online gallery is, though. I love them. I visit them often. Sometimes too often (hello... dirty dishes?). HA! I love that I can look at a variety of work from crafters all over the world quickly. I find new people this way and am certainly inspired. But, that's really all galleries are. Finite, billboard style advertisements, appearing in a flash and gone just as quickly. Quick. Easy. In and Out. Done.

If I want to really get to know a crafter, learn how they work, what inspires them, etc... then a blog (or online class) is where its at!

For many people, Instagram and various other forms of social media seem to have taken the place of their blogs. I totally get it. If you only want to post your finished work to your blog, why not just post it to a gallery and/or Instagram instead? It's faster, easier, and often has a larger audience. 

But, what if you want more? What if you have this strange affliction like I do where you like to take pictures of your process, or write sentence after sentence about why you did what you did and what you are thinking?

Well... that's where a blog comes in. And, that's why I blog. In fact, you can read a little more about that here.

Ahhh... But, for some, blogs have become more of a vehicle for advertisement. And, I don't fault anyone for that. If you are on a DT, it is your job to promote for them. Hey - I do it too! That's part of my "job." That's the deal, right? They send me goodies. I create. I talk about how awesome said goodies are. As long as I am having fun, I'm ok with that! 

And, if you are on a lot of DT's, this will pretty much fill your blog calendar with posts only of your work that is designed to promote a company. More power to you! You are rocking it, getting product, and fulfilling your obligations to your Team. Good job!

That really is the double-edged sword of this online scrapping thing, isn't it? So, what happens if I follow a blogger and he or she gets uber popular and starts to only post about things she is making for other companies? Am I going to stop following her? Of course not! If the work inspires, I'm there. It's that simple.

Why am I rambling on and on about this? Content. It's all about content. Content will be good, engaging, inspiring, etc... if the person writing it is jazzed. That has always been my approach with blogging. I write about what jazzes me and I am thrilled when it jazzes you too!

So... What's my question for you?
What content inspires you?

I realize this is different for everyone. Some love videos. Some love posts full of pictures. Some prefer ramblings like this. But, I want to know about YOU. What content inspires you?

Like I mentioned earlier, I will blog whether I have 5 people reading or 5,000. I like to write and I like to share. But, I DO want to know what you like to read about!

And speaking of content. This world wide web provides an interesting parallel. Free vs. Paid? Free content abounds on the interwebs. YouTube anyone? But, there is plenty of paid content out there too!

So, keeping the above question in mind of what content inspires you, now I am curious to know...
What content do you find worth paying for?

For me, I pay for videos. Plain and simple. If I can't get what you are teaching elsewhere and I love your work, your process, your approach... I am going to pay for your video. 

What about you? What kind of content do you pay for? Have you ever paid for online content and regretted it? Fortunately, I never have. My favorite online content, by far, has been anything produced by the lovely May Flaum. If you have been reading here for any length of time, you know that I am a fan of hers. She has an unmatched way of being totally real and inspiring. Every. Single. Time. 

I have been blessed to get to "know" her in cyber land and to even work with her. Speaking of which, I am a thrilled to be a contributor to her new Holiday Crafting Class! (Ahhh - here's that ole blogging for promotional purposes that I was just musing about)


***Giveaway alert***

For this class, I am sharing two gift wrap projects, each with an extended video! One is more traditional and one is a little more outside the box. As you can see from the above image, there will be some awesome inspiration! And.... For a limited time, the $15 registration fee for this class includes the 2013 Happy (Holiday) Crafting course content as well! 

$15? For two classes? With videos? All about holiday crafting? Ummm.... yes, please! THAT is content worth paying for.

AND.... if you leave me a comment below answering my questions above, you will be entered into a drawing to win a spot in class! Class goes live on Monday, so the giveaway will be open until Saturday night, November 1, at 8 pm EST. I will email the winner Saturday evening. Good luck!

OK - back to my ramblings....

Where were we? Oh yes, content. Classes. Blogging. Social Media. Etc...

It is a brave new world these days and this giant virtual space can be vast. But, I do find that the scrappy interwebs can be comfortably small when you find your niche. So, what is your niche? What message board(s) do you like? Where do you post your work? How do you feel about your blog? What blogs do you read? What social media do you choose to participate in? Which ones have you said "no" to?

For me?
I post to the Studio Calico and Scrapbook.com galleries.
I have taken classes at Big Picture, Two Peas, Studio Calico, and Craft With May. I have been happy with all of them.
I have been exploring the Cocoa Daisy Forums lately and really liking it. It has a very cozy, friendly feel. Drama is low. That is good. VERY good.
I find scrappy inspiration on Pinterest.
I read some favorite crafty blogs.
I read a lot of homeschooling blogs.
I blog.
I love blogging my process.
I also love making videos.
I love watching videos of my favorite crafty people.
I will pay for such videos.
I enjoy Instagram for my crafting and keeping up with crafty friends.
Twitter has become a mere vehicle for my Instagram Posts.
I say "no" to Facebook. Always have. Always will. I have turned down DT's for this very thing. It's worth it. Trust me.

It is all a balance. And, there is an ebb and flow to this "fitting it all in" issue. Sometimes my time in the studio FAR outweighs my online crafty time. Sometimes it's the other way around. For me, it's about enjoying it. 

Let me repeat. It's about enjoyment. If you love what you are doing and how you are sharing it, keep doing it. If you don't, then stop. Don't overthink it.

If I feel like cutting and gluing, I will. If I feel like staring at a glowing screen and scrolling through a perpetually loading gallery of eye candy (Pinterest anyone?), I will. 

This crafty life is fun, yes? Let's keep it that way!

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guesting with Cocoa Daisy...

Hello, hello!

I was so excited and honored when Cocoa Daisy Kit Club contacted me a few months back and invited me to be their Guest Designer for November! 
I received the Weathervane Main Kit to work with:

Let me tell you, the picture of the kit is one thing, but when I opened it up... I might have just done a little happy dance and clapped with glee, like a little school girl! 
I couldn't WAIT to hit the studio and start playing with all the goodies!
Polka Dot Doilies? YES, please!!!
So, I may have gotten a little carried away and created quite a bit...

The first thing I made? My December Album!
That red tag, combined with the doily, and an embossed image of the exclusive stamp was all the inspiration I needed to get my album created!
I am keeping it simple and streamlined this year as I plan to adhere my final album to a scrapbook page. Stay tuned for more on that :)

Next up, I put the rest of that doily to use on this page...
The colors and little bits from the Heidi Swapp Die Cut pack were perfect to tell this artsy story!

Next up, I put more of those awesome colors to use and pulled in some of the darker papers for this layout...
As you can see above, I put one of the glassine bags from the kit packaging to use as a place to tuck in my ephemera. I do love putting every little bit to use!

Did you notice that large circle wood veneer? Well, it was the inspiration for the next page...


This next page was inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest. Turns out, the colors in this kit were perfect for this idea!
 And seriously... how cute is that little stamp as the pumpkin stems?
And speaking of putting every little bit to use... I just had to use the large kraft packaging bag and the yellow tissue paper to create a fun little gift tag...
 
It's just perfect combined with a piece of the patterned paper...

This next page came together super quick! I just grabbed some of the bits and scraps on my desk and took a nod from the colors in my photo to scrap up this little page...

And, I just LOVE that "moments" title on the photo!
There were so many clear acetate die cuts included in that Heidi Swapp pack, and I was inspired to layer them up and cut out some hearts... creating some custom embellies! And, a little bit more of that brown paper bag snuck in there too... 
 And, I took advantage of the mistable alphas to highlight the "6" for my title...
Now, last, but not least... 

...a Card! See that cute little "smile" card? It is the business card that was packed with the kit. It was too cute to toss, so it made for the perfect sentiment on my card!

 Well, and that doily is pretty much perfection, yes?

Right back 'atcha, Christine! It was a blast!

Be sure to check out my Guest Gallery over at Cocoa Daisy to see more details about each project. While you are there, pick up the kit! It is amazing!

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's In the Bag!

Hello, hello! It's Monday and that means we have a new challenge waiting for you at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog. This week, we are talking treats...

From a sweet gift bag to making a crafty treat for a friend, making a candy inspired card or journaling about your favorite desserts – we can’t wait to see what kind of a treat you are inspired to craft this week.

Every year, I attend a fabulous cookie swap. This year, I want to have an extra special treat bag to put the hostess’s cookies in. So, let's get started with a basic brown lunch sack and an embossing folder...
 To be honest, I wasn't sure how this would work... but, it looks great! YAY!
 Now, let's spruce that up a bit with some white ink and some gelato...
 Rubbing it on...
 Adding color....
 And.... yuck. I clearly went overboard. This is proof that more of a good thing is not always better...
 So, let's do that again... this time exercising a bit more restraint...
 Ah yes! SO much better!
Now, I really think some stitching would look nice, but this wouldn't be a very functional treat bag if it was stitched shut, now would it? So, I just opened it up and took the extra front piece off my sewing machine and that allows for easy sewing...
 Likey so...
 And, ta da! As you can see, I did a little zig-zag stitch around the top too...
Now for some embellishments! Using some scraps, I want to craft up a little prize ribbon of sorts. So, I simply cut some long strips and stapled them at the top:
 Then, some wonky little circles all layered up with a few sequins create the top...
While that dries, I want to add some interest to my hanging threads. So, some more hand cut circles work great! I simply have some wet adhesive under this circle and am letting it dry on my non-stick craft mat:
 And there we have it!
 A perfect little fun and unexpected treat bag for the hostess with the mostest!
So... now it's your turn! Don't forget to link-up with us! Every week a random winner is chosen to win a $50 spending spree from SimonSaysStamp.com.

Here is my supply list...



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Playing Cards...

I am loving my Project Life Kit from Studio Calico. Not only is it so fun to receive a monthly package of goodness, but I am finding that the cards are great prompts for my scrapping!

Recently, I took a few moments to print out some pictures I wanted to scrap, and to pull some cards from my kits to get me going on some layouts...

The first thing I did was sort through and make piles of the cards that were my favorites...
 ... and started matching up cards to photos...
... Loving how there are just the perfect things hiding in those kits! Like that little envelope with the red closures? Perfect with that train picture!
Here's a shot of my desk, mid process. It's a hot mess, I know... but trust me, this is a very productive state!
 See? The fruits of my labor! Look at all those little photos ready to go with matching cards! YAY!
So, of course... I had to get scrapping!

First, I made this...
I loved putting one of the My Mind's Eye 8x10 print designs to use on this page...
And then, I scrapped up this little page...
So fun! And, a great way to get the mojo going!

Have a great weekend! See you soon!

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