Today I am answering more questions from this post. A general Q&A will follow in the next few weeks.
Love seeing how your mini-books come together. Maybe reveal how you go about mixing album elements together.
I got a few questions on mini books. I'm stepping out of my Blogger Jeans to pull on my Saleswoman Pant-suit to tell you that everything you ever wanted to know about how I make mini books is included in this BIG mini workshop PDF. I put all my knowledge into that class and it's instantly available for $20. I am going to continue to blog mini books as I make them, but the "process" is reserved for workshop students and PDF purchasers. Thanks for your interest!
Give a how you got started/serious about starting a blog and what are top 5-10 thing you do that have made it successful up to this point!
I started blogging when I was 20 and a junior in college. I was never serious about it and I blogged because it was fun to put all my ideas out there. I started getting REALLY serious about it in the past year and a half as it became a bigger part of my job.
Here's the top three things that I think make my blog successful. 1) I have kept it very true to me. It bounces all over the place (from paper to holiday crafts to home decor to sewing) because I bounce all over the place. 2) I make a point to respond quickly to emails and comments and I think readers appreciate that. 3) My blog is a huge part of my life. After almost 5.5 years of nearly daily posting I cannot imagine being without it. You have to LOVE blogging if you want others to LOVE your blog.
I would like a blog about how you pick your color schemes and the process that you go through to implement that color scheme throughout.
Great question. I am going to sit on this one and write a full post about how I pick colors for home decor and sewing projects. If you are wondering how I pick colors for minibooks, that is included in the minibook workshop PDF.
I would love to see how you find ideas to blog about.
Everything I do is a "can I blog about this?" moment. Seriously. Everything. I have blogged for so long that it's second nature to write posts in my head as things are happening. I am never not thinking about blogging, which sounds overwhelming, but I think it's sort of background noise at this point. :)
I would like to hear about what happens to all your homemade decorations after the season ends. You seem to have new ideas and new color palates for each holiday. Will you reuse your holiday decorations? Do you toss them so you can make new ones next year? Do you store them in case you want to reuse them?
I save all the decorations that I make in a big plastic box. At the beginning of the next holiday season, I go through the box and decide which will be displayed again and which I am ready to toss or store for the next year. No drama. Someday we will have a bigger house to fill and little ones that remember the decorations from year to year. Then it will be more important to me to keep the same thing becaue they hold tradition & memories. Right now, I enjoy the process of making the decorations more than I like the decorations.
I'd be curious to hear more about the blogging aspect of your business. How have blog topics changed as your readership has grown? How do you find the balance between sharing info about your personal life vs. keeping things private and such.
Great question. The blog fuels my business. It directs readers to my shop and workshops. Because of this, it has become more polished. Less late night posts. Less random posts. Less "these are all my thoughts." It was interesting to hear that people like all that randomness and so I am working on bringing more of me and more of that into the space. As for keeping things private - I don't share a lot of the negatives in my life on the blog. It's not super intentional, but I think I do it because I have a great support system. Between my parents, Paul and email chains, I am able to work through stuff before I feel the need to toss it up here.
i am always interested on how different people keep from getting burnt out when they have a range of creative skills and interests, how jumping from a scrapbook to photography to sewing doesn't reach the point of being so 'chaotic,' for lack of a better term, that it becomes un-fulfilling. this is something i struggle with.
I don't force anything. I think the fastest way to burn out is to make yourself finish a project or to break up your days so you spend a set amount of time on X, Y or Z. I jump from thing to thing in order to avoid burn out and am more than happy to let something else sit on a shelf for a year until I am interested in it again. It's sort of hard with blogging because I think some people are here because they think I am a "scrapbooker" and are looking for scrapbook projects. But, to stay sane, I have to pick what I want to do over what people might want to see. At the moment, creating pages and layouts doesn't appeal to me in the least, so I don't force it which helps me find other creative paths.
It doesn't get too chaotic because I am pretty organized. Everything has a place, so when I stop one project in the middle I just tuck it away.
Not sure if this would warrant a post but I've been curious to know whether you were ever caught up on the whole design team thing in the crafting industry (manufacturers, challenge blogs, etc).
I totally was for awhile. I used to create scrapbook pages specifically for magazine calls (and they never were picked up because you could tell they were forced). However, I was published a few times - (maybe 5?) and it was always very exciting. I was also into message boards and the challenge blogs. But then, I started blogging more seriously and the need subsided a bit. I think twitter/reading blogs has taken the place of message boards - at least for me.
But, it's also funny you should ask, because I just applied for the Fiskar's design team. I have no idea if I am what they are looking for, but we'll see! If I never mention it again, assume I didn't get picked.
I'm always having trouble planning out my posts for the week or even the whole month. I'd like to know how you schedule in posts & how far you plan. Your posts are so fun & creative & you don't seem to have weekly features.
My best piece of advice is to just keep a list. Make a big calendar. Jot down ideas when they come to you. Keep track of other posts on various blogs and use those ideas. Google search for "blog topic ideas".
As mentioned above, I am always thinking of blog posts. I look at the month as a whole when I start figuring out what I am going to talk about everyday. You are right, I don't have weekly features, but I have monthly features like she & he, 40 loaves, 26 Projects and updates on my 2011 album. Plus I do an around here post once a month and I LOVE posts too. So right there that's at least six posts that I don't have to start from scratch on every month.
How do you, as someone who makes a living being creative, keep the desire for perfection in check so that it doesn't keep you from being productive? Or, is that not a challenge for you?
I am not a perfectionist. I missed that piece of DNA. Of course, I have standards for my products and I care very much about how things look, but I'm not a measurer. Or a re-doer. Or a worrier (when it comes to crafts). I usually know a project isn't "me" if I am spending a lot of time fidgeting with it.
I'd love to know your "creative" background - if you have any formal 'training', any hobbies, etc.
Let's see : I took a black and white photography class in high school and again in college. I took a few bookbinding workshops while I worked at Paper Source. I took a letterpress class when we lived in Maryland. Nothing super formal. I like the idea of workshops that you crank out on a Saturday afternoon. I would love to take screenprinting and more photography classes. Hopefully while Paul is deployed I will be able to keep myself busy through some of those. Anyone have cool classes in their area?
Any crafter organizational tips? It's a big hang up right now, since I have a new space that needs tidying and not a lot of time.
Make a place for EVERYTHING. Hang a peg board. Go through your supplies at least twice a year and donate things that you haven't touched in a year. If you have materials and you can't think of a project to use them in, chuck 'em. I am ruthless when I clear out my supplies and I think that keeps the excess to a minimum.
What are simple ways to stay on top of nurturing your creative side, especially if you go into a different sort of industry (though I realize this whole blog taps into that idea)
Believe that it's worth it. I think "creative time" gets seen as a luxury and is usually the first thing to cut when you need more time in your day. I understand that but really believe it's necessary. Everyone has creative muscles, but some people work them harder. The more you work them, the stronger they get and the "easier" it all becomes. Don't write off doodling or surfing Pinterest or listening to music or wandering a craft store as a waste of time. It's all fueling your creativity. At least, that's what I think.