Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tips for Blogging with a Newborn

I originally posted this as a comment reply on byRegina's page + realized it is a collection of tips I wish I had read before my daughter was born.  And sometimes still wish I would re-read + remind myself being a SAHM + WAHM IS possible.  So today I thought I'd share it with you in case it makes a different in your life.

My Comment:
My few tips with a newborn include: BABYWEARING - learn how to tie a Moby wrap (newborn kangaroo hold I believe, where the baby lays on its stomach on your chest) to free your arms while holding baby + they sleep SO MUCH BETTER/ LONGER against you v. down.  Plus this worry-wort mama was terrified of flat-head.  Toot my own horn: Doctors always said my daughter has a *perfectly* round head :-]
Tip #2 - work in any pockets of time you can find.  Making a master to-do list with your "manager" hat on ONCE so that your "employee" persona can just look at the list + get sh*t done w/o having to think deeper every time saves HUGE amounts of 5-minute snippets.  I do this for housework too (dishes, laundry, repeat)
Tip #3 - accept any offer of help!  And when people ask, "what do you need?" Dinner, meals, a shower/have them hold the baby, and a gift certificate for a cleaning lady ;-)
Tip #4 - Write + work as MUCH as you possibly can + schedule it out so it can post/publish/update in the background while you take your maternity leave (not only your blog posts, but also emails, buffer or hootsuite your social media, and ifttt).  You will be in such a haze postpartum.  Don't forget to take lots of pictures + notes(!) so you can remember it all :)
Happy Hump day!


What are your tips for a blogger/freelancer expecting a newborn?  What did you do to prepare or are doing to prepare for your future life transition?

Friday, July 24, 2015

It's Moving Day!

It feels so rushed to all of a sudden be blogging over at TheKnittedhome.com when I had hardly announced here that I was going to be moving in the first place.  But the moment felt right with my Squarespace trial expiring + the interview publishing last Saturday.  So I made the switch and hardly looked back all week.

Until I went to schedule out next week's posts.  And noticed that my last two scheduled here for today + next Friday were still in the queue.  It feels so bittersweet to be saying goodbye over here - but I hope you'll continue to follow me over at the new site!  I've built it to be what I couldn't code over here.

And even more exciting is I plan to go through these archives (all 370 posts!) + give any worthy content a good polishing + updating for future posts on the new blog.  It will be some familiar content with a whole lot of new ideas + images!  So I promise you won't be bored.  :)

And did I mention I have a whole slew of ideas bumping around in my head?  It's so hard to sleep at night because all I want to do is create!  Sometimes I even stare at the screen in paralysis because I want to do it all at once (so I end up creating instead while the ideas continue to swirl, form + develop, hehe).

So please come over to TheKnittedhome + tell me all about what you'd like to see in the new design.

I've even updated the email list!

Have you made any big transition in your life that felt all of a sudden?  I hope you'll continue this journey with me so this isn't goodbye :)

How to Support Your Favorite Small Brands

We all have those favorite brands that we can't get enough of but don't necessarily have the funds to buy everything we love in their shop.  Other than like-bombing + commenting on their blogs + other social media, how else do you show them your support?


Affiliate Links

When I find a small Brand that I want to support but maybe don't have the funds to drop in their "Tip Jar," or purchase something from their shop, I like to click through their blog's Amazon or any other referral link before I make a purchase or sign up for a service.  This way I can directly support a Brand I love without costing me anything!  Why wouldn't  I want to do this every time??

Small Biz Owners: Make it easy for your fans to support you by integrating these links into your posts, side bar, pages + anywhere else you might mention something that you have an affiliate link for.  Just be sure to disclose your affiliation somewhere on the same page.

Social Media Shares

By sharing your Favorite Brand's links with your followers + friends, you are increases their reach a thousand-fold!

Even if you are only sharing one product that you love, this could be the gateway that introduces your friends to your Favorite Brand.  Not only does this support the Brand, but you + your friend now have something new to gush over!

Small Biz Owners: Make it easy for your fans to share!  Include share buttons at the bottom of your blog posts + in your shop listings.  Also update your social media accounts when you update your shop with new items or a new blog post.  I use IFTTT recipes to do all this in the background.

Word of Mouth

It might surprise you just how much weight your opinion carries with your family + friends.  Don't believe me?  What was the last thing you purchased against the advice of a family member or friend?  You probably didn't.

In fact, if you were truly overwhelmed with options, you probably went with what your family member or friend suggested because it worked for them (or it didn't so you ruled that one out).  Or am I the only one paralyzed by choices these days + opt for the easiest decision already made for me?  ;)

Don't dismiss online "word of mouth."  Write a blog post about your favorite Brand + why you like them.  Include some of their images (with permission of course) to make your post really pop.  If you like it, your readers are sure to enjoy discovering your favorite Brand, too!

Small Biz Owners: Make it easy for your customers to spread the word.  Include a couple business cards with each purchase so they can share them with a friend(s).  Obviously give them a great shopping + customer experience so they can't help but rave about you.  And I've seen a couple articles suggesting a freebie with your sales for gift givers to keep for themselves (since they will be gifting your item to their friend + won't have a reminder of your brand that stays with them).

How do you show your love + support of your favorite brands?  What did I miss that you would love your fans to know?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sneak Peak of the Rebrand....!


I'm head over heels in love with the new design for Knittedhome I don't think I'll be able to wait til October to launch it.  In fact, my free trial expired on July 18 so I decided to do a "soft launch" first.

And since you are my awesome friends who have been with me on this blog since Knittedhome's inception (Etsy says 2010), I just couldn't imagine not informing you that

theKnittedhome.com is LIVE!

is LIVE!


I'm so excited to hear your thoughts + opinions on the new look.  You can pop back over here + leave it all in the comment sections of this blog post or email me from the new site.  Thank you for all your support!  

I promise to get back to regular blog posting soon.  I've already started a long list of ideas for my first Winter Collection + I have an email club I'm building to be released this August or September.  I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Don't forget to check out the new site; I promise you won't be disappointed!  What did you love + hate about?  What am I missing for you?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Busy Bee Behind the Scenes

I wish I could share more with you in today's blog post, but there is so much still incomplete that I can only share words + links today.

Today I worked on

  • finishing tweaks to my new website on Squarespace - I'm so excited to be launching it on Friday!!  note: the link is currently directed to my Etsy shop until the new site is live.
  • a reference page for my first email series (coming soon!) called the Weekly Stitch
  • an email Editorial Calendar for all those subscribed to Knittedhome's email list.  I promised I would improve it from a simple RSS summary and I'm so excited for what is developing on the editorial calendar!  For shop news, it will become a monthly update with exclusive tips + (of course) a little discount for being an email subscriber.

Other updates

  • The new website will have a special landing page just for Instagram followers + so far it is my favorite page!  (Is that weird?)
  • I've been busy re-organizing my MailChimp account to better deliver content that subscribers want to see.  I even built a brief survey to get their input!  I'd love to hear your thoughts, too!

Tomorrow is the Art Walk!

I haven't even begun to pack yet!  Yikes!  But I hope all my local friends will try to visit - it always makes my day to see familiar faces.  :)  Look for the Review post next week!


And…. I built this image during today's morning nap.  

Weekly Stitches | theknittedhome.com


Can I gush a little + say how excited I am for this email series?  Even though it isn't finished yet, if you sign up you'll be the first one to receive it when it goes live!

Yes, I've been hyped on coffee for the last couple of weeks to get it all done, hehe.  I look forward to your comments! =)


What are you anticipating today?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bridal Shower Weekend - Pinterest Worthy!

It was a busy week leading up to a productive weekend!  My sister's shower was Saturday + hubby worked on framing the porch deck.  

My mother + I set up the night before at her house: centerpieces, favors, printables + games, tables, chairs, food (including chocolate dipped oreos), etc.  She had the idea of the ostrich feathers, mason jars, + spilling pearls-- and boy was it beautiful!!  

I admit this is the first time I've been sad to see centerpieces get taken down.


The sunporch looked absolutely grand!  It was the perfect setting for our 1920s themed Bridal Shower!


I'm always nervous hosting a party but this was the first time we had everything ready to go before our designated start time (yeah, my family is chronically late).  I was so impressed + proud of our efforts!  Perhaps that is what sparked my confidence to conquer so much this weekend...

Sunday I watched a Mailchimp webinar with Mariah and de-cluttered our kitchen countertop + dining room closet (which had become the catchall closet).  

And already this morning EJ + I have hit the bank, Jo Ann's, Saver's (to drop off donations), and Meijer for groceries and more yarn!

Phfew!    

I'm hoping this energy continues through the week - because it is shaping up to be just as busy!  Tonight I teach my first Crochet Shell Cowl class at Michael's, Thursday is the July Art Walk, and Friday I teach my second double-point knitting class (we are making newborn mittens!).


Oh!  And naptimes are devoted to rebranding progress.  It's starting to take shape + I can't wait to share it!!  Coming this Fall.... :-D

What does your week look like?  Do you feel like you've hit the ground running or is it a slower, more relaxing pace for you?  Have a great week!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Marketing that Actually Works

We all want to know the Super Secret Formula to Marketing.  Well guess what!?

Online Marketing that actually WORKS  |  theknittedhome.com

... I wish I knew it, too!  

Even though there are plenty of blog posts dedicated to this formula + that formula, what I have learned after reading countless articles + listening to dozens of youtube videos is that every Brand will find their own strategy that works for them.  

Why?  Because we're all different with our own strengths, weaknesses + preferences.  

Some of us are blessed with amazing prose; others can snap a dozen incredible magazine-worthy photos in 2 minutes while the rest of us are struggling to figure out where the Take Picture button is.  And some of the masters are blessed with sell-out products as soon as they list them for sale!

While I may drool over these talents, that's not to say the rest of us can't learn from their natural instincts.  Because I believe it is all about testing each formula that you come across + infusing it with your own inherent talents to find your perfect Marketing Strategy.

To get your juices flowing, here is what I've found has worked for my little corner of the internet.

MailChimp newsletters

For every lady (sorry guys; I've only had 1 husband sign up with his wife in the last 2 years that I've been teaching) that has taken a class with me, joined us for Yarn Night or has even talked to me about taking a class, I have offered her the opportunity to sign up for my Knit + Crochet Student email list.

When I sit down to write these email updates (class schedules, class tuition sales + class reminders), I specifically write to them.  

As for Knittedhome's newsletter, I know it needs more tweaking ;-)  I'd love to hear from you, my readers, what you'd like to see in your inbox + how often.

The Golden Rule when it comes to email marketing: Don't clutter up your VIP's inbox  (yes, they are your VIPs because they have given you special permission to email them!).  Hold it sacred + only send worthwhile content that you're super excited to share.

Word of Mouth

Yes, good old fashion word of mouth is probably one of the best ways to market your business.  How do you get people to talk about you?  Give them something that will impress them so much, they just have to share it with all their friends or they'll just BURST !

Here are some examples that have prompted me to shout praises of my own when I have discovered a Brand that I truly connected with:

  • Exceptional Quality in your product or service
  • A long-frustrating problem has finally been solved by your product.  Must. Tell. All. Friends!
  • Above-and-Beyond customer service
  • A mission or effort that I feel compelled to support - not necessarily feeding the hungry in Africa, but maybe a percentage of sales goes to support Mom's House or another organization that resonates with me.

Interactions on Social Media

If you're going to have a presence on any social media platform, the best thing you can do is engage not only with your audience, but also with your mentors + entities that you look up to.  This will make them take notice of you + help create your own brand recognition with the Big Players.

My personal Icons whom I'd love to work with?  Etsy, EtsyWholesale, West Elm, IKEA USA.
Mentors: KylaRoma, byRegina, Elle & Company

So far I can say I have jumped up + down when
The point of all this narcissism?  People like to feel loved!  Audience members want to feel a personal connection with you!  How do you do that?  By finding something to personally connect with them about!  It may sound hard at first, but really, you both eat food, drink coffee/tea/lemonade/ice water, love your significant other/pet/home, hate your job/traffic jams, and sleep.  There's got to be something you can connect over, right?  And the beauty is it only takes a few seconds but can really build up your audience.

I have been blown away by how quickly my Twitter + Instagram audience has grown just by me being curious enough to explore hashtags I'm already using in my own posts.  I liberally share the love (heart-ing or favorite-ing  --> many of my friends call this "like-bombing") and it can quickly build a following.

I'm not saying just start liking everything you see to explicitly build your numbers; but if you are truly drawn to something you see or read, don't be shy to let the author know.  We are all sharing to be validated on some level, right?

What marketing strategies have you found actually work for you?  Feel free to share links/ referral links in the comment sections.  I love that we can all help each other out. =)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

All New Product Photos!

A few weekends I contacted our favorite photographer about possibly borrowing her amazing talent to reshoot all my products in order to give my shop a more cohesive + beautiful store front.  I knew it was a long shot with her wedding season beginning but to my utter joy she said YES!!

Fast forward to mid June and we finally found a couple hours to meet up.  I'm super excited for the shots we got in the limited time we had.  Once I get the images back, I'll be sharing some sneak peaks with you leading up to the launch of the new look (I'm currently thinking October...).

In the mean time, enjoy these fun shots she took of me creating.





What do you think needs to be illustrated more?  Have any ideas how to better stage product photos?  What are you currently anticipating?  Any long-term plans you are chipping away at?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Home Addition: Siding + HVAC!


The siding is going up!  And it is exhilarating to see what the finished outside is going to look like!!  It is so hard to be patient after so long, but I keep reminding myself that so much can happen in a year (look at EJ!) that what is a few more weeks, if it means doing it right to enjoy it for (hopefully) many years to come.


The HVAC is in!  Not as exciting in pictures as the siding, but it is a major checkmark on our construction list.  It is 1 of 3 mechanicals that needs completed before we can get our inspection to start drywalling.  The electrical + plumbing are over half done(!)  And with the long holiday weekend, my in-laws came into town to help hubby work on the house(!)  Are they amazing or what?  =)  I'm sure getting to see + spend time with EJ had a major influence as well... ;)


Fireworks were enjoyed by the whole town (much to my frustration trying to get EJ to sleep with our paper-thin walls) + we enjoyed the company of our friends around bonfires each night of our 4-day weekend(!).

How did you celebrate America's birthday?

Friday, July 3, 2015

July's ePattern:

This month I thought it'd be fun to do a "warm weather" project that won't roast you while you work on it.  Unlike when I made an afghan in Bristol, Rhode Island while celebrating July 4th a few summers ago...


Trying to come up with a good warm weather project has definitely stumped me, though.  So I've been mulling over these questions...

"What items could be useful this season?"

"What do I enjoy making in the summer?"

"What fibers are enjoyable to work with when it's hot?"

And these led me to... coasters... hot mitts... washcloths, soap savers, headbands... seat cushions and pillow covers.

So which one would you choose?

Crochet Coasters | theknittedhome.com

This month I chose to release the pattern for my simple double crochet round coasters.  This was my second coaster pattern after first making them in single crochet.  Even though I loved the sturdiness of the single-crochet ones, I love the softer texture + look of this design.  Not to mention they whip up so much quicker!

They are easily customizable in cotton (my first choice), acrylic, or any fiber that will hold it's shape.

What do you enjoy crafting when it's hot outside?  What pattern would you like to see next?  PS - Happy 4th of July!  Have a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 2015 Art Walk

Another exciting, highly-anticipated Art Walk was last (last) week!  


This time two one of my new friends from the Naturally Crafty Trunk Show joined us: Little Bare Furniture.  (Genesis Essentials was hoping to join us but couldn't make it this month.)

A photo posted by Little Bare Furniture (@littlebarefurniture) on


With only so much space at our usual spot, Niki got creative with our table layout and I have to say she always impresses me with her ingenuity.  


I'm so glad she puts up with me + my love to connect with new friends :)  I have a habit of inviting more guests than there is space at parties simply because I hate leaving good friends out of the fun.  Can anyone else relate?



Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating and we were rained out (thunder + lightening!) by 7:45pm (the Walk is advertised from 5:30-9pm but most vendors don't pack up til 9:30pm because of last minute sales).  I'm happy to report I made at least one sale and Niki + Ellen each made a couple sales so at least it was worth our effort to come out.  :)


After such a busy + whirlwind Thursday evening, the next day was just as dizzying!  We had our first (highly anticipated) morning of canning jam among my mama friends + a playdate for the little ones. Poor EJ was so exhausted from missing her morning naps three days in a row (we picked the cherries Wednesday morning), but she sure had a blast with all her little buddies!

Canning count: I forgot to take an exact can count (whoops!) but we had 2.5 cases (~30 half pints) of cherry jam + 3+ cases (36 half pints + 6 pints) of strawberry jam.  Niki + O couldn't join us so it was split between Jessica + I + a few cans to my mom for helping to watch EJ + BC (Jessica's little one).

After such a haul - and having a constant batch going on the stove like clockwork! -  we made enough cherry + strawberry jam for the year!  So now I have to start thinking about peach + raspberry....  I'm excited for the Homemade Christmas gifts this year! 
(Sorry, we were so busy that I didn't have time to take pictures to illustrate the amazing "party" that was our canning frenzy!)

What has you pumped for the future? 

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Dash of EJ

Well I wasn't intending on taking off this week from blogging - I even had three posts all queued up waiting to go!  Then I checked them and realized I never got their images uploaded so the drafts were never scheduled to publish.  Whoops.  :(

So while we're pretending I didn't miss a beat ;)  I'll get them all queued up to publish on schedule next week.  To make up for it, here is are a few cuteness overload pictures of EJ at the beach this past weekend (and why I forgot to finish *next week's* images).



After the beach we went to dinner at Art's Tavern and Cherry Republic for dessert.  Ellie loved smelling all the flowers + carrying her "own" bag.



Have you ever visited Glen Arbor, Michigan?  What is your favorite thing to experience there?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Instagram Sample Sale!

With the home addition in its (hopefully) last month of construction, I have been eagerly anticipating moving Knittedhome into her new studio(!).  


And with that I have been organizing + reorganizing + purging anything that won't have a dedicated space.  Including early samples.  


So today I am posting them on Instagram for your last chance to nab one of these beauties before they are gone.  

Any samples that aren't purchased by the time construction is complete will be donated.


I hope you'll take this opportunity to hop over to Instagram + snatch them up before they're gone.

Please feel free to tag your friends in the comments (on Instagram).  I'd love to see these go to new homes instead of the donate bin :)  


Which one(s) are your favorite?  Even though it's hard to let go, how do you make way for new inspiration?

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Veggies are Growing like Weeds!

With all the rain we've had last week - every day of the week we've had a soaking rain except Saturday! - I've loved watching all my green beans, beets + kohlrabi make leaps and bounds in their growth.  I can't believe how quickly they've gone from sprouting last week to being inches tall (the green beans) + beautiful sprouts (beets + kohlrabi).  There are definitely bare spots where seeds didn't germinate and you can see the "rows" I planted the seeds in all too nicely, haha.  


Because I was pretty liberal with sprinkling seeds everywhere (to increase my germination rate of 2+ year old seeds), I have tried to gently transplant some seedlings to bare spots.  As usual, many weren't too happy about the move but, again because of the rain, I'm excited that a handful seemed to transition without any sign of disturbance! 


Even the tomatoes have grown INCHES this past week.  When I planted them, they reached the first rung of their cages, but now can easily touch the third rung!


The only plant that I haven't noticed significant growth is the bell peppers.  But at least they are looking very healthy + happy.  That is all I wish for in my garden: healthy plants + heavy yields.  :)


How is your garden growing?  Have you had anything to harvest yet?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Improve Your Reach with #Hashtags

I don't know about you, but I've been a holdout for using hashtags when they first arrived on the social media scene.  I thought they looked so dumb in text updates + sometimes I couldn't even read them right away because they were so long.  I was disgusted + turned off by them.



And then I started dabbing in Instagram tags. #CrochetersofInstagram #KnittersofInstagram #EtsySeller #EtsyShop.

And then I tried a few more specific ones #SpringShellBeanie #MiniCowl and my favorite #NaptimeSuccess.  And the glee I've experienced(!) when I discovered I've created a "new" hashtag (aka, there are no other photos listed with said hashtag).  I love continuing to tag more images of mine with these unique tags to create a personal collection of projects.

Which is what hashtagging is all about!  To collect similar images together that fit a specific demographic, image style, image subject, audience, and more!

Why did I not try this sooner??  So many new connections have now been opened to me to experience new like-minded creators + inspirations!  Not to mention the amount of traffic I've gained on Twitter + Instagram just by others discovering me through the same hashtag channels.  I wish Instagram had analytics so I could figure out how many new friends I've made in the last 2 months.

Instagram has definitely become my favorite organic inspiration since Pinterest is such a black hole of inspiration overload (but I still love it!!)

What are your experiences with hashtags?  How do you best grow your reach?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Rain Storm + Random Thoughts

Cue sounds + smells of an an evening thunderstorm with *tons* of soaking rain + that cooling breeze!  I have to fight the urge to open all the windows to air out + cool the house since it would soak everything nearby… But just a crack to let in the breeze should keep most of the rain out, right? ;)

Today is a random post of thoughts.  Starting with I cannibalized my blogging time to design my sister's bridal invitations in a 1920s theme.  If there is one predictable thing about me, it's that I'm always pushing the deadline (note: my blog post schedule).  So of course my mother + I want MUST get these invitations in the mail by the end of the week, if not sooner and do you think we'd have a design by now?  ;)  

I'm happy to say we are well on our way to printing - hopefully tomorrow!  As soon as I get everyone's approval I shall be hitting the Print button + begin the happy ballet of stuffing + addressing envelopes.  :)


Other thoughts on my mind: blogging sadly hasn't been one of them :(  I had such an influx of inspiration last month that I wrote down all the titles + their summaries but trying to sit down + focus on fleshing them out has been difficult for me.  Hopefully next week I'll feel renewed inspiration to blog.

One possibility could be the current push to get more house addition progress completed.  HVAC is scheduled to be installed this weekend + it looks like we might be doing siding by July Fourth, if not sooner.  Which means I get to plant my blueberries along the addition!  Can I just say how much I've been itching to beautify the exterior grounds?

The temporary wall came down between the existing house (kitchen) + the addition and it has gotten me anxious to see the kitchen renovation start.  So much space!  But first things first; I keep reminding myself the addition needs completed before the kitchen can start… and then I get a dishwasher… oh to have those 30 minutes a day to devote to blogging more cleaning.  ;)

With all this rain, the seeds are sprouting like weeds!  I can't wait to show you their progress in Monday's post!


What's been filling your thoughts lately?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Seeding the Vegetable Garden + A Trip to the Zoo

I'm happy to say the rest of the vegetable garden has been planted + now we wait!


EJ + I planted the bush green beans + bush wax beans after her afternoon nap on Sunday(?).



Then Tuesday we planted the beets + kohlrabi after her one long nap in the afternoon.

You see, we had a very eventful Tuesday morning discovering the newly renovated Toledo Aquarium with our buddies (who only takes 1 afternoon nap so it has been hard for his mama + I to plan a playdate).


EJ handled the skipped morning nap pretty well considering she was rubbing her eyes an hour before we even got to the zoo.  I am so proud + thankful she was such a trooper!  She really enjoyed watching all the sharks + fish swim around behind the glass walls.


She impressed me even more by eating such a decent lunch before finally going down for her nap -- and she was out like a light!  It is so refreshing for both of us when she naps so well :)

So not only did I get to sit outside, enjoy the sun and get boring household paperwork completed, I was feeling motivated to finish planting the garden!

I do relish these "perfect" days -- especially on those not-so-stellar ones.  So I always try to savor the moments + burn them into my memory for future relishing.

What's got you beaming with contentment + pleasure?  Do you remember to savor your "perfect" moments as they occur or do you only notice them upon later reflection?

Friday, June 5, 2015

How to Look Professional with FREE Resources

For those of us who don't have the budget to pay this or that a month for fancy software or to higher a graphic designer, I have rounded up my favorite FREE resources that can give you the look of a professional, without the price tag.


Canva.com

I can't suggest Canva enough!  It has been my go-to since I first discovered it (byRegina) for creating all my graphics.  At least in my opinion, I feel it has really polished up this blog's posts + made them a lot nicer looking + pinnable.

PLUS: you can publish working hyperlinks in pdfs = or a whole ebook even but building the "book" in canva + downloading as a pdf!  #SuperEasy.

The best part is how easy it is to use!

TIP:  Set your custom fonts/sizes/colors then start adding fonts to your graphics.  Continue in the same "project file" of similar looks to keep your consistency by simply copying one canvas to another + adjusting the copy to your new look.  I.E.  I copy a canvas, delete the image + add my new image + retype any font that needs updating.  BAM!  new image ready to download w/o guessing if everything is in the same spot/ same size/style fonts, etc.
* service is only free if you don't use their priced elements.

PicMonkey

My favorite part of PicMonkey is that I can adjust the size of each picture's border when I create collages.  This is not a feature on my phone's PhotoGrid app which I have been using for the past few years.  The huge + only downside to PicMonkey is that it loads slow (sometimes SUPER slow) on my [5 year old] computer.  I do my best to not have more than 3 tabs open at a time in my browser or I get the spinning wheel of death.

PDF Compressor

After downloading all those beautiful images or a collection of them as a pdf, I found that some files were so large I couldn't upload them to the sites I wanted as such a large file.
Say hello to Chrome's Small PDF.  You can simply drag-and-drop a file from your computer right into their drop zone or search for the file to upload.  It immediately starts compressing (or converting if that's what you selected) your pdf + you download the smaller file from the same window.  No waiting for their server to email you the finished file.  Woot Woot!
No only was this process relatively quick, it preserved the beautiful, crisp quality of all my images (from 38mb to 1.35mb)!  This alone is the reason I bookmarked this site!  It is also how I compress all my digital patterns for selling online.

Avery

Obviously you have to buy their products, but their templates are great for creating professional-looking branding items.

I use Avery for my business cards, hang tags, and now stickers for take-away bags at Art Shows.

TIP:  Save your design to the MyAvery until you have it PERFECT (printing on your stickers/cards/whatever without any problem).  Then save the PDF that it is printing from to your computer.

MailChimp

I'm sure you've heard of MailChimp by now, but in case you haven't - and because this list wouldn't be complete without it - I highly recommend signing up + getting your email list started.  Even if it is only an RSS feed of your blog posts weekly or monthly (guilty - this is my current set up.  But I promise to have something more exciting soon!)

My favorite part of MailChimp is how easy it is to build + type my emails in batches (or flesh them out over time) + schedule their sending on future dates.  The RSS is a pretty nifty feature as well but I think I need to make it more of an extra perk to my newsletters, not the main focus.

TIP: Design a template in your Brand Style FIRST, then create a New Campaign EACH TIME using your Template so you don't have to go back + adjust your fonts/ sizes/ designs each time.  It took me way too long to figure out the difference between the two (blonde day I suppose).

IFTTT

I've mentioned this in a few other posts but this little app has basically been my PR department when I'm not actively promoting my own posts/ etsy listings/ tweeting/ pinning/ Facebook posting.  The beauty of it is I don't have to copy + paste my content across all social media platforms every time I update one of them.

Since I have only just started using Twitter personally (before it was more of a place holder + receiver for IFTTT recipes), I have recipes in place to tweet what I post on Facebook; or to tweet when I publish a new Instagram image; tweet when I list a new item on Etsy; and tweet when I publish a new blog post.

I also have it set to publish Instagram + blog posts to my Facebook page.  This is also how I am able to syndicate my Blogspot posts to Wordpress.  Fun, huh?

Here are some of the recipes that I use personally: Knittedhome IFTTT Recipes

TIP:  Look at the recipes that are already out there + then tweak one to do exactly what you want so you don't have to start from scratch.  Do this for your first few, simple tasks; then you can get daring + create one from scratch to do more complex tasks.  Perhaps you even stack recipes so that one starts the chain of events?


What are your experiences with these sites?  How do you use them to build your Brand's professionalism?  Do you have any others you would recommend?  Please paste any links in the comments below.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Naturally Crafty Trunk Show Review


I'm not proud to say I started this morning's show with forgetting my lockbox key(!!) of all things - but my amazing hubby jumped in + saved the day before it even began!  He packed up himself + EJ in the truck (both in their pjs + pancake breakfast for her in the carseat) + they drove the 30 minutes south to drop it off to me.

After that it was a fairly smooth + wonderful day for a Trunk Show!

Our first customers walked in about a half hour after our official start time + the last ones walked out about 15 minutes after our "end" time.  Overall we had about 4 good waves (10am, 11-11:30, 1pm, 1:30pm -ish) of people coming through with only 3 times that there was no one customer browsing.

Again my best sellers were headbands

I was impressed I only had two credit card sales, both at 11:40 for a man's thick beanie + 11:50am for a pair of headbands (one double-banded + one shell).  Otherwise all my other sales were cash (#hats, # headbands), and almost always exact change!  (This always impresses me since I like to have change ready on hand)  I like to think that means my pricing is spot on/easy for the customer? 

A photo posted by Annie (@knittedhome) on

Lunch was delicious!  Amanda (English Acres) definitely out did herself + I can't wait to buy clean meat chickens from her this fall.  Hubby even agreed that we could get our pork from her next year! :)

After such a successful Saturday with these amazing ladies, and some awesome networking, I am anxious + excited for the holiday show.  We were all eagerly planning it before 2 o'clock had even rolled around!  haha.  :)  I would say I definitely made some new friends that I look forward to collaborating + brainstorming with + hope to keep in touch.  


What are niche markets you'd like to see showcased in your area?  Or do you already have access to these markets?  I'd love to hear all about them in the comments section!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Garden Layout + Plans

I've finally found a few spare minutes to write + draw our veggie + flower garden plans this year!!  Can I just say how excited I am for this after reading everyone else's posts on their gardens + drooling over seed catalogs since Februrary!?

We were originally talking about moving the vegetable garden beds this year but with so much already on our plate we have agreed that it will have to wait for next year.  Hopefully this means we can finally focus on installing the picket fence + flower bed/retaining-wall with a strawberry bed along the back of our property (and separating it from the alley).  


We had planned to do this over 2 years ago but we didn't want to block any necessary access for the construction of the home addition.  Now that it is nearly complete(!) I'm super excited to get this project underway.  We have so much planned for this property (house + yard) it will have undergone such a transformation from the day we purchased it.  Maybe I'll post a Before + After this Fall…

The first transformation in 2012

Dan has made it a point since our first summer here that the front of our house needs to have flowers + nice landscape.  Growing up, I never cared for flowers past planting them.  But now seeing both the monetary investment + the beauty that is possible, I am eager to keep up with their care + maintenance (aka remember to water them daily).  Curb appeal is definitely on my priority list for a happy home.

Notes: Re-side the house in grey  |  Remove shutters  |  Paint the mailbox teal?
Rebuild the stoop; Eventually build a front porch

As for the veggie garden, I have been trying to keep a garden journal longer than the planting stage.  I am always so eager to plant + plan my patch but then I forget to record when we harvested what, for how long, and when it stopped producing.  



My long term goals for our vegetable garden is companion planting, intensive rotation, and high yield for canning + freezing.  I'd love to be able to dry our own berries (strawberries + blueberries) but I don't see our plants producing too much anytime soon.


Each year we try a new veggie to see how well it grows for us + to expand our recipe repertoire + to encourage ourselves to try new foods.  I haven't found one for this year's garden yet, so if you have a suggestion I've love to hear it in the comments!


What are your plans for your yard, flower beds, and/or vegetable garden this year?  Please feel free to share a link(s) in the comment section.

Friday, May 29, 2015

May's ePattern: The Spring Shell Beanie

Since I am photographing the process + illustrating each pattern with these images, I am finding it takes a lot longer to get these patterns polished up + ready to publish.  So I am planning to list one a month.

 Spring Shell Beanie Crochet PATTERN Instant Download from Etsy

This month's pattern is the Spring Shell Beanie, inspired by these granny squares.  

It begins with your basic granny square but then continues to increase and build upon itself until you have a cute, simple + breezy beanie.  I love the way the shell pattern is highlighted against the backdrop of one's hair (depending on the contrast between the beanie color + one's hair color).  

This pattern makes the perfect spring hat as it allows the breeze to cool your head while also keeping you warm against any chill or dampness.

This month you can get $2 off your purchase with coupon code: 1Pattern4Me


Who will you make a hat for + what color will you make your Spring Shell Beanie?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May Art Walk 2015


This was probably our slowest Art Walk yet - which surprised us!

But then again, this was our first time doing the first Art Walk in May.  There was also a baseball game the same night so we think there were a lot of people there and not walking the blocks.  This is also the first year it has started at 5:30 instead of 6pm.


EJ took a late nap so we didn't get there until 5:20 to set up.  Luckily hubby arrived about 2 minutes after me.  Niki, from Thistle and Bees, was also there by 4:30 with her mom to stake out our usual claim.  Apparently her mom had to inform another participant that she was encroaching... :-P  Which, to me, was a good sign that we had such a great vendor turn out we would have a great customer turn out.  But it was definitely slow to start.


My first two sales were back to back at 6:20pm for a pair of headbands (1 shell-stitch, 1 double-stranded) + another double-stranded headband.

My best seller all week!

Then it was 1 rose shell hat an hour later, more headbands, 1 pair of hot mitts from a repeat customer at 8:40pm and another pair of headbands (8:54p) before we closed up for the night.

We ended up staying the whole time, leaving by 9:15pm instead of 8/:30 like I was originally planning in order to get EJ home for a late bedtime.  Poor girl was finally in bed by 9:45pm (instead of 8pm).  

I'm excited to see what next month brings.  So many people were already talking about coming to next month's since they couldn't make it this time.  Let's hope so!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your support!  Thank you for visiting, shopping, sharing + collaborating with me to make this a reality.  I always close up shop on Cloud 9.  :-)

Next, I'll be posting about the Naturally Crafty Trunk Show I had only TWO DAYS later!  It's definitely a different niche + I loved meeting so many new friends!  What's your favorite part of selling or shopping at a physical art/craft show?