My latest obsession and guilty pleasure is shopping at Goodwill for fabric. In the linen section (sheets, tablecloths, etc.) you can score 3-5 yards of beautiful fabric for $3.99 – TOTAL! Such a steal!
I originally bought this beautiful thick cotton to reupholster a cushion, but when I changed direction on that project an idea was born!
Using the Simplicity skirt pattern above, I got to work and for the first time EVER I completed an article of clothing in ONE weekend. I suspect I’ve been choosing patterns that are beyond my skill level, in turn taking me MUCH longer to complete.
Total cost for this project: $14 ($10 for the pattern, $4 for the fabric – of which I have plenty to spare.)
The skirt looks incredibly awkward bellow my 8.5 month pregnant belly, but this will be a great post-baby skirt with the elastic waist!
Have you upcycled anything recently?
I originally wrote this post for Alissa over on Rags to Stitches. I’m re-sharing it here as I think there’s a great deal of value for bloggers and businesses seeking quick tips for using social media to grow their online presence.
One of my passions is helping businesses build and grow their online social media.
Whether you’re running your own business or building your personal brand, each of these tips will help you better align your goals and make the best use of your time.
In addition to the tips below, I invite you to read my post about SEO for bloggers. If your site isn’t coming up in organic search, how will new users find you?
- Research. Let me start by saying you don’t need to be on every single social network. Every decision you make should be based upon research and data. As a blogger you already know the only way to have a community is to be a part of it. Figure out where your readers like to hang out. Are they active on Facebook? Twitter? Read some of their favorite blogs and engage - comment, “Like”, repost, etc.
- Analytics. Once you’ve done your homework, spend some time getting to know your website’s analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your site, do it NOW. It’s a free service with incredibly robust data that can tell you where your readers are coming from, which content is most popular and what keywords are driving traffic. I also like to use GetClicky. That’ll tell you down to the IP address who is on your site and how they got there.
- Measure. Create a monthly report to track your growth or decline over time. Set a reminder in your calendar to pull data on the 1st of every month. Track page views, visitors, referral sites, top content etc. (If you want to see a sample report, I’d be happy to email it to you). DON’T GET CONSUMED BY THE #S. Do not obsess over how many visitors you have. Quality is way more important than quantity in social media. Use the data to discover what your readers like to see, but don’t write because you think it’ll bring you more traffic. Write because you can’t wait to share with the world!
- Twitter is my favorite social media platform. It’s a great way to get information quickly and connect with people you might not otherwise have access to. A few tips – before you write a Tweet, always research to see if the person you’re writing about is on Twitter (include their handle); research to see if a hashtag about that topic exists (#parenting, #sewing, etc.) this will increase visibility of your message; DO NOT AUTOMATE YOUR TWEETS TO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE! Stick to 140 characters and use bit.ly to shorten your URLs. Also, use Hootsuite to monitor keywords related to your brand or business.
- Facebook. I’ll say it again. QUALITY is more important than QUANTITY. Don’t get hung up over how many followers you have, instead focus on making those followers your brand ambassadors. Be a good host – engage with anyone who comments or posts. Engage with other pages by ‘Liking” them or commenting as your brand, and update regularly. Include a picture with your post every chance you get [videos do best on Facebook] and ALWAYS include a call to action. For example, “Please ‘Like’ this post if you dig it.”
- Pinterest. Add a “Pin It” button to every post. In your analytics you’ll be able to track how much traffic Pinterest is driving to your site. It’s incredible.
Pinterest is now the third-most used social networking site. Amazing considering it hasn’t been around for too long, and it’s an invite-only platform.
I frequently get asked (professionally and personally) -
- What is Pinterest?
- How do I use it? I don’t get it …
- Should my brand be on it?
- It’s probably not going very last long is it?
While no one can predict the latter, given how wildly successful it’s become in a short span of time, I can’t image it’ll go away anytime soon. In fact, if used correctly, it can become a powerful source of traffic to your blog or website. [We'll talk more about personal branding and social networks later this week.]
The first thing I tell people (consumers) is go on Pinterest with a project in mind. Otherwise the site can be overwhelming and a total time suck. It’s a gold mine for collecting ideas and developing DIY projects. That’s what I’ve used it for. One of my current projects is the baby’s nursery. I created a (very specific) board on nursery dressers.
Meanwhile, I scoured Craigslist and local used furniture stores for a cheap dresser. I scored one for $40.
I shared my Pinterest board with Manfriend, we brainstormed a few ideas together and then he ran with it. Below is the work in progress. We’re reusing paint we have from the Child’s room from 3 years ago. I can’t wait to show you the finished product!
To see how other people are using Pinterest to collect ideas and ultimately save big bucks on projects, check out the article on AOL Daily Finance.
- Pinterest: Shut The F*ck Up About It (stevengradidge.com)
I’ve been wanting to write about this since I read Fat Mum Slim‘s take on the subject in late March. Since then, the definition of success has come up quite frequently in random conversations and even in a portion of the book I’m currently reading. I took these as signs to take a heartfelt look at my life and how I would define the word.
I loved Fat Mum Slim’s definition:
“It’s laughing with my husband and getting butterflies when he comes home from work. It’s having a healthy daughter who is happy and loves me back.”
Much like all other mommy guilt (self-inflicted), I find that defending or defining why some of us do what we do is always challenging – because of the judgment we feel from other parents and the guilt we impose on ourselves. And because of that, our definitions of success will vary greatly. There is no right or wrong answer.
As I prepare for baby #2 and continuously strive to strike a balance between my professional life and personal life, the definition of success has been weighing heavily on my mind. I’m just wrapping up the first chapter of Eat, Pray, Love. The author is struggling with her decision to leave a marriage, not have children and still feel like she fits into society.
“First you are a child, then you are a teenager, then you are a young married person, then you are a parent, they you are retired, then you are a grandparent – at every stage you know who you are, you know what your duty is and you know where to sit at the reunion.”
But what if you don’t “fit in”? What if you never have kids? Have a high-paying job? Get married? How do you measure your “success”?
I genuinely love what I do professionally, and I know that in order for me to be a good parent, I need to work. I need that balance. This doesn’t mean I don’t miss my daughter or have days where I feel overwhelming guilt. But for now, it’s the right balance for me.
I envy my parent friends who only work a few days a week – “They have the best of both worlds!” I often think. Similarly, I admire my friends whose full-time job is being a parent. That has to be the toughest job in the world.
uccess for me means having a healthy family; love and peace in my home; learning to love myself completely and raising happy kids.
How do you define success?
This is my go-to recipe when I need to whip up a quick appetizer. I often get asked for the recipe, so I thought I’d share it here.
As I usually tell my friends, this isn’t exactly healthy but it’s incredibly easy to make and tasty!
I think I ripped this one out years ago from a Kraft recipe magazine.
What you need:
- 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 cup mayo
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. chopped tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp. sliced green onions
How to prepare:
- Heat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients except tomatoes and onions
- Spoon into shallow dish or 9″ pie plate
- Bake 20-25 minutes, sprinkle with tomatoes and onions.
I like to serve this with pita chips, but any cracker will do!