Things to Consider When Starting a DIY Blog

Welcome to part two of the Business of Blogging series. This is an eight part series where I tell you all about the business of blogging and what I have learned along the way. If you are just joining us make sure the go back and start from the beginning so you don’t miss any information or tips. Don’t worry your not far behind all you missed is the introduction and what I wish I knew before starting a blog. Alright lets get started.

I have always been interested in what goes on behind he scenes of blogs, youtube channels, and basically all successful social influencers. I want to know what the typical day looks like for a full time blogger or YouTuber. In my research about DIY and craft bloggers I couldn’t find any posts that talked specifically about the work it takes. They all talked about sharing your crafts, taking good photos, make tutorials and all the other obvious stuff.

Well this post is not like the others. I want to shed some light on all the work that goes in. I am not trying to convince anyone that being a DIY or craft blogger is a bad idea. As a craft blogger I feel like we as craft bloggers have an elevated work load because on top of making the blog post we have to make the project that the post is about. So I am going to start with my biggest tip.

Start in a Specific Niche

What I mean by this is choose a specific style of crafting to start with. This way you can focus on that one crafting category (scrap book, painting, drawing, card making, knitting, crocheting, ect.). I personally to this day struggle with creating content and keeping a consistent audience because I do all types of crafts. By not narrowing down my niche I get overwhelmed with ideas and crafts to make but then struggle to follow through on all those ideas because I get excited on the next thing before I finished the first.

So this year I am going to focusing on narrowing down my niche to a specific type of crafting. By getting specific in your niche you are letting your readers know what you do. Your readers will easily be able to say oh she/he makes cards. Then if they like card making or find your content interesting they will continue to come back. Yes there are other crafter who are all over the place like me so that is how I keep readers coming back but I know I could grow my audience by narrowing my niche. So this brings me to my second point.

WatercolorsStart with what you have

A craft blog is a great reason to learn new skills and share them with your readers but first you need to get readers. So start with what you have. This goes for camera gear, your computer, your work space, and your craft supplies. I think all bloggers think well I don’t have the newest and best camera so I need to get that for my blog but you don’t.I started blogging by taking photos on my iPad. Smart phones have great cameras and they make editing easy because you can do that on your phone as well.

The same goes for craft supplies. Look in your craft supplies and see what you have. Most crafters tend to do one style of crafting a lot more than others. Figure out what you do the most and work from there. I always think of all these great project ideas but I realize I don’t have any of the supplies for them. Just like making a grocery list when thinking of post ideas be looking at the supplies you have and a lot of times you will have great ideas. I noticed the posts I make from supplies I have always turn out better and more successful than the other.

Craft your stash. This will help keep supply cost low. This way when you need to buy something you haven’t spent all your money on craft supplies already. Something else to keep in mind when thinking of your posts is to think about what your going to do with it when its done. You don’t want to spend all this money on supplies for great posts then have random finished projects every where.

Work Work Work

Lets talk business. I am assuming that if you are still reading this you are interested in turning a DIY or craft blog into a career or at least a side hustle. So far we haven’t talked much about treating your blog as your job but don’t worry we are about to get into that. Just keep in mind that I am talking about my personal experiences and that everyones experience will be different.

Starting a blog required full time hours with part time pay.

Honestly the one thing I underestimated was the amount of time the goes into a successful blog.  I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work but I did not realize how much time it truly takes. When starting a blog most bloggers are doing everything them selves. Even some full time bloggers still do every thing for them selves. Therefor your productivity depends entirely on how much time you put into your blog. If you are like me you probably currently have a job that you rely on as your income.

When starting a blog as a business you have to think like a brand (we will get more into this next week). Keeping with the craft theme, Jo Anns store is a business and yes a brand but with in that Jo Anns sells other brands of craft supplies like Cricut for example. Before Cricut can sell any of its products on Jo Anns shelves they must test the product to make sure the crafters buying it will like it. They also have to plan the perfect time to release the product.  That is the same for every single post you put out.

Create a process

Before I put out a tutorial on my YouTube channel or blog there is a lot of prep work that goes in. This will probably be a similar process that you will do for your craft blog. Remember when creating tutorials for your readers that there is never a right or wrong way to make that craft and to encourage creativity. I alway say that my tutorials are just guides to spark ideas in my readers to create something new. Also your readers may not always have access to all the supplies you are using so remember to not use anything that couldn’t be easily substituted with another tool to supply.

My tutorial process generally follows these steps. First I think of the craft I am going to make (this usually involves Pinterest and other research to make sure the craft hasn’t been made a bunch of times already) . I like to draft out my project on my computer making it easier when I go back to create the posts to not forget any information I want my readers to know.

Next I check for my supplies to make sure I have everything I need. Then I will sit and draft out the steps to make the project. After that its time to make the craft. I make sure I have all my supplies, a clear craft space, memory card space, and a charged camera battery. Slowly making the project and taking photos along the way. The photos give my readers a visual of what I am talking about. After that I put my post together.

If I am lucky everything will go to plan but that usually doesn’t happen. There are many times I have to remake the craft because I need a few more photos. In addition to getting content for the blog I also have the think about photos for marketing.

Time ManagementTime Management

Later on in this series we will go into more detail about scheduling blog posts. For now I want to talk about how your post schedule will affect the crafts you make. I feel like there is two main categories of crafters. The ones who like long crafts that could take days or even weeks to make. Then the quick crater who likes fast easy crafts. Personally those are the crafts that I prefer so that is what I make for my blog.

When thinking of your crafts keep in mind the amount of time it takes to make. If it is something that is going to take you days to make it might be a better idea to create a series. Make several posts about the same craft to avoid overwhelming readers. This is also a great way to give readers something to look forward too.

Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of time it takes you to create a post. Personally it takes me a couple hours to create a post. Ultimately it depends on the craft and how much detail I need to go into. The amount of time for the craft and the post all determine how far in advance you need to start your craft. Most bloggers don’t create a post and publish it when their finished. To learn more about creating content and posing schedules make sure to come back for part five of this series.

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Easy DIY Christmas Gifts

With Christmas quickly approaching the pressure is on to get the perfect gift. A gift that is hand made is a great option, weather your on a budget or want to give something from the heart. DIY Christmas Gifts can be personalized and one of a kind.

I wanted to make DIY Christmas gift tutorials to share with you but unfortunately I ran out of time and I want to make sure you all have enough time to make these gifts. So instead Im going to share with you some handmade gift idea that I found from some of my favorite blogs. I will link all of these idea so you can find the tutorials.

5 Easy DIY Christmas Gifts

DIY Patch Laptop Case

This photo belongs to A Beautiful Mess at https://abeautifulmess.com/2017/03/diy-patch-laptop-case.html

I found this DIY on A Beautiful Mess and fell in love. Patches are so trendy right now and they can easily be personalized to fit anyones style. Just make sure you buy the right size case to fit the recipients laptop. This would also be great to do with a backpack, purse, iPad case, or basically anything. The best part is the case doesn’t even have to be fabric, it could be a hard plastic case too.

DIY Arm Knitting Infinity Scarf

This photo belong to ALLDAYCHIC at http://alldaychic.com/arm-knitting-30-minutes-infinity-scarf-diy/

These are a GREAT gift to give to all your girl friends. Once you make a couple of these they take no time at all to make. Last year I gave all the ladies I worked with these infinity scarves for Christmas and they loved it. Their easy to make and by simply switching the yarn your using you can create a totally customized look for each persons sense of style and their a big hit.

Sugar Scrub

This photo belongs to The Little Pine at http://www.thelittlepine.com/top-5-homemade-sugar-scrub-recipes/

Personally I love to pamper myself a couple nights a month. I usually apply a hair mask and a face mask, take a nice long hot shower, exfoliate my skin, put on some nice lotion, and paint my nails. This is my time to relax, destress and focus on myself. I know not everyone gets time to do this so gifting a sugar scrub could encourage someone to take some time for themselves. Along with this you could add a few other spa items and make a whole gift basket.

Fleece Blanket

This photo belongs to pinnedandqepinned at http://pinnedandrepinned.com/how-to-make-a-fleece-blanket/

Handmade blankets are my favorite gift to give. This tutorial is so easy and the finished project it so cute. It requires fleece and pom pom trim. If you don’t have a sewing machine you could also hand sew this. If you don’t know how to sew you could use some fabric glue.

DIY Christmas Ornament

Another great gift is something they can use every Christmas. Christmas decor is something people will see every year and be reminded of you. Check out my DIY Snow Man Ornament tutorial. 

There is only 15 days until Christmas so there is just enough time to make these DIY gifts. You may even decide to make some gifts for yourself this year. I would love to see if you make any of these to leave a photo in the comments or tag me if you post them.

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May Favorites

I haven’t done a post like this before so if you like it please let me know. I thought I would try something new. I also have been working a super secret project for you guys so stay tuned for more details.

Here of some of my favorite products I have been using lately. I try to incorporate a product from different categories of life. I also try to link everything.

1. Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Moisturizing Mousse

I wanted to try a self tanner but I didn’t want to pay a huge price so I tried this. I think it works great! Its easy to apply, you don’t have to wait for it to develop, and it doesn’t turn orange. When it starts to fade it looks natural. One thing I like is that if I want it to be darker I’ll take a shower in the morning and apply it right after then that night I will apply a second coat. I also apply this with a mitt I bought separately, I think it makes a huge difference. 

2. Resistance Bands

I don’t always have time to go to the gym so I got these resistance bands. They took my home workout to the next level. I like these because they act as if I am using weight but with out taking up the space of weights. They came with a little carrying bag to keep them all together and I store them in my living room end table. I think if someone wanted to add a small piece of equipment to their workout these would be what I recommend. Their good for total body use and take up very little space, plus their cheep but good quality. 

3. My platform bed frame

I had a platform bed that I had for three years. I like it but it was very high so I could store stuff under it. Since I didn’t need the storage any more I decided to get a lower bed. I wanted something cheep, sturdy, easy to put together, and minimal in appearance. After some much digging this is what I got. I had my doubts at first but after using it for a few months now it had held up great. It is very sturdy, easy to put together, doesn’t squeak, and still has enough space under it for some storage. I am very happy with this purchase. 

4. The Knot Wedding Binder

I like to keep things organized and write everything down so when I started planning my wedding I quickly learned I needed something. I researched and researched some more and this is what I purchased. I love it! There is pre made pages, and schedules, and tabs. This is truly an organizers dream binder. I could not have made a binder this organized myself. This is also my first wedding and the first wedding of my siblings so the tips and information this binder provides is amazing. There is even a plastic page where you can put the business cards of all your venders. Down to every last detail is in this book. Then I also like that there is still space in the rings so I can add my own pages. They also have an app and website that all align with the binder. This would be awesome for yourself or even an engagement gift to someone you know is getting married. If you want to read my engagement story  here it is.

5. The Wireless remote control for Cannon DSLR cameras

I never thought I needed one of these but I do, You do. If you like taking photographs I would highly recommend this little tool. It was cheep but effective. When I have my camera on a tripod and I ma trying to take some self portraits this helps but it can be used for so many other occasions. Like when taking photos that you don’t want to have any shake in this is great or with kids or animals you need to get their attention. I recommend any one to add this to their camera gear. I was easy to connect and start using right away. It is small and come with a little bag. It light weight and doesn’t bulk up your camera bag at all. 

I hope you all enjoyed this post and please leave a comment if you want me to make this a monthly thing. I hope you enjoy these products. Also I am thinking about making a post about my camera gear to blogging equipment, let me know if that is something your interested in. I really appreciate your feedback.

 

 

 

 

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Things I Have Learned as a First Time Home Buyer and I Haven’t Even Bought a House Yet

My Fiancé and I have recently begun our house hunting process and I have learned a ton already. Before we started this process it was really intimidating to both of us and we had no idea if buying a house was the right decision for us. We quickly learned that the process is nothing like on TV.

Decide if buying a house is the right move for you.

Right now we are lucky because we are able to live in his parents basement. With both of us being recent college graduates it is a big help. The rent is cheep and their is a lot more perks. Now that we are graduated and engaged we are ready to move out though. We originally thought we would rent something but quickly reconsidered after researching home for rent. The cost of rent is around $1000 (not including utilities) for the type of house we were looking for.

After finding that out we realized we could buy something for a cheeper monthly payment. I am not saying buying a house is right for everyone but we know we are going to live near where we live now and decided not to waist money renting.

So when deciding to move look in to all possibilities and decide which is best for you. We know buying is right for us at this time.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Before you even start looking at houses contact a mortgage broker and get approved. We are lucky enough to have a family friend who is a real estate agent, so she recommended an awesome mortgage broker. We contacted her, emailed her with some information, and two days later got approved for a $150,000 loan.

Figure out what you can actually afford.

Just because we got approved for $150,000 does not mean that is what we can afford. Our real estate agent helped us figure out what we can actually afford. My Fiancé and I decided that we could afford a $700 monthly mortgage payment and a $5,000 down payment. This determined that we could afford a house that is roughly $130,000. We probably won’t go above $120,000 though.

Now I mentioned a down payment. Yes you have to make a down payment on top of your loan. This shows the bank you are willing to put money in up front. Most home buyers have to put a 20% down payment but usually that does not apply to first time home buyers. For first time home buyers usually a $5,000 down payment is enough but the more you can put down the smaller your monthly payment will be.

Consider all the additional expenses.

Buying a house is a major investment and involves more than just paying your mortgage every month. Something we never considered was property tax. We took a tour of the very first house we liked and fell in love. It had everything we were looking for but when figuring the monthly payment it was over our monthly budget. Since we are first time home buyers and are not making the traditional 20% down payment our property taxes have to be paid monthly. So when looking at a house look at the property taxes and determine what works best for you.

Other things to consider are utilities. Water, gas, electric, and trash all cost extra. Also location, location, location. We quickly learned that one of the cities we were looking in was expensive. The homes we could afford were not what we were looking for.

Set requirements for what you are looking for.

Working with a real estate agent can sometimes be hard. We are lucky to be working with a family friend but I couldn’t imagine going through this with any one else. Make sure you are clear about what you want in your house and out side your house. Keep in mind how long you will be living there. Our real estate agent brought up some very good points. You have to think ahead for your future and your house. Will you have pets or kids living their? Will you have family or friends come stay with you? Will you rent a room out? These are all questions to ask yourself and keep in mind when looking at homes.

When setting requirements you will have hard points and soft points. We know that if a house doesn’t have a garage then its a no. We also would like three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We have a big family so space to entertain is very important. The yard is also important to us because we will have at least one dog. This is a soft point for us. A couple neighborhoods we really like have parks and trails near by, so if the yard is smaller that is ok for us.

When looking for a house try to imagine your self in five years, it helps a lot. It completely changed our perspective of what we wanted in a house. It may also effect the location and school district the house is in.

I hope this helped with your house hunt. Please take a look around and enjoy other posts. Also leave a comment if you want to see more content like this.

 

10 Tips for Keeping Healthy

Four months ago many of us set the New Years resolution of getting healthy, loosing weight, or something along those lines. My personal goal is to create a healthy life style and look good for summer. Now that springs here we are looking at our progress and may not be happy with how we are doing so far. So I am going to share with you ten tips of things I do to keep healthy.

1. Eat Clean

Personally what I eat affects how I feel. So I try to eat real whole foods. I make sure to have plenty of fruits and vegetables in my house. I also avoid buying food I know I shouldn’t have. Then when I want ice cream or candy I have to go out of my way to get some.

2. Drink ALOT of water

Water is liquid gold. Drinking water has so many amazing benefits that we often forget about. Not only does our body need it to function but it does so much more. Water helps with hair growth, weight loss, clear skin, and digestion, just to name a few. A glass of water in the morning helps to wake you up and a glass of water before bed helps prevent heart attacks.

3. Exercise

You don’t have to hit the gym every day for three hours to get healthy. You actually don’t have to go to the gym at all. When it comes to exercise any type of physical activity is better than none. The most important thing is that you are having fun and enjoy the exercise you are doing. My favorites are going for walks, going to trampoline parks, and swimming. There is so many forms of exercise that you could do outside the gym that you may have never thought of.

4. Sleep

Yep thats right! Getting the proper amount of sleep can keep you healthy. Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Getting to little or to much sleep can have negative effects on your body.

5. Wash your hands

Some water, soap, and time can boost your immune system and fight of harmful germs.

6. Stay Social

Keep healthy physically and mentally. Avoid turning inwards and keeping to yourself. Try to make time for friends and family and spend time with them. I try to see a person and create a social interaction outside my house or work at least once a week. Plus taking the time to hang out with friends and family is a great break from other things you may have going on.

7. Be positive

Again with mental health. Keeping positive mentally with help keep you healthy physically. I find as soon as I have negative thought about something in my life I automatically doom myself from succeeding. I would rather fail because I could truly not do something then fail because I was negative in my mind and it reflected in my body.

8. Keep things neat and organized

We all have our own standards when it comes to keeping things neat and organized but by following those guidelines we will help keep things in balance. I know personally when my room is a mess it effects my sleeping and productivity. By keeping things neat and organized I am not stressing about the mess and I am able to focus on other parts of my life.

9. Don’t Stress

Having stress effects us not only mentally but physically as well. So make sure to do what you can to relieve, reduce and avoid stress. If you have stress about something you cannot control then stay social and talk with a friend or professional about it.

10. Love

Have a supportive relationship! Weather it be with a family member, friends, significant other, or even activity. Doing what you love is important.