Sunday, September 30, 2012

Destination: Cutsey Monday (#33)

Hello again friends!

Can you believe it's almost October?! 

That means the year is wrapping up! That's crazy

There were some awesome projects linked up last week! Here are some super cool projects:

1. Autumn Treat Bags by Where Chaos Meets Creativity
2. Framed Last Name Decor by The Happy Scraps
3. Little Jack-O-Lanterns by Kaminski's Creations
4. Coconut Cupcakes by According to L
5. Falling for Fall by This is Happiness
6. Pumpkin Cream Cheese "Mints" by Crafting in the Rain

Keep up the creativity!! I'm loving it!





Friday, September 28, 2012

Travel Idea: A Letter a Day for Your Husband

So, as I mentioned before, my kids and I recently traveled from North Carolina to Washington state. Without my hubby. It took alllll day and by the end of it I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it home because I never wanted to do that again. 



However, before we made that big trip, I got a couple things ready for my husband for while we were gone. One thing was a bunch of freezer meals, which I'll talk about later. What I wanted to talk about today is the Letter a Day idea I did.

I wrote a letter for him every day, including the day we left and the day we'll be getting home. That means I wrote him 23 letters!! Wowzas. Not only did I write him letters but I also hid them throughout the house. Every day I text him and tell him where that day's letter is. 



Here are some of the things I used for fodder in my letters:

- Passages from old journals (our dating period, our engagement period)
- Small gifts (Legos)
- Pictures drawn by my kids
- Love coupons
- Quotes from inspirational people
- Lyrics to our wedding song
- Reasons I love him

Some of the places I hid the letters:
- Behind pictures on the wall
- My sock drawer
- Under a laundry hamper
- Under a dining room table chair
- Behind some shirts in the closet
- In a bench
- Plus more, but he reads this blog so I don't want him to cheat :)

Hopefully you can use some of these ideas, too! Hy hubs seems to like getting a letter every day. Well, he hasn't complained, so I take that as he likes it.

And here's a shot of what the plane ride looked like for about a second of the trip:


Have an awesome day!!!

Sharing here: Craftomaniac, The Girl Creative, Love & Laundry, See Vanessa Craft,    



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Grow Your Blog: 52 Mantels

Oh my goodness!! This is THE LAST post of my How to Grow Your Blog series! I'm so sad but I'm so glad I did it and I'm super appreciative of all the bloggers who participated. 

Here's a recap of who we had on the series:
 Rae Gun Ramblings
The Crafty Scientist
Creatively Living
A Pumpkin & A Princess

And today for our last installment, we'll hear from Emily at 52 Mantels!
*****************************






So, you've started a blog.
You've baked, crafted, painted or glued yourself a lovely post.
You've spent hours photographing, editing, writing your work.

With great excitement, you hit publish.

...and nothing. 

Sound familiar?? Every blogger has been there. And, every blogger has, at some point, wondered if anyone is even kinda interested in their compelling and brilliant tutorials for (insert your own mega-awesome expertise here). The thing is, people ARE interested. But, in the big ol' world wide web, how will they ever find you?? 

Hello, link parties! If you don't know what a link party is, let me start from the beginning..

source
Link parties are set up by a host blogger (or several host bloggers!) in order for people to showcase their projects. Many link parties are for particular topics: recipes, crafts, tips, etc and many are open to any and all posts. Some are weekly, some are monthly and some are seasonally. Typically, the host blogger pays a fee to have the link party on their site.

source
Essentially, link parties allow you to place a small ad for your blog on someone else's blog. Free advertisement! And, that small ad puts your work in front of an entirely new readership. Imagine you link up one project to a different link party every single day for a week. That's 7 new audiences that get to see your project. It's simple, it's quick...it's free advertisement! The host blog benefits in giving their readers an enormous amount of inspiration in one, single post. Win-win!

source

A few things to keep in mind when linking up:

1) Remember...you are a GUEST. Play by the rules of the host, be polite and make sure to visit other party goers. It's tempting to hop on, link up and hop off...but, by doing that, you aren't respecting your fellow linkers OR your host blog. To be a great guest, link up, leave a thank you for hosting comment and then visit a few other links that catch your eye!

2) Pick an image that is eye catching...and shows off your best work! Instead of choosing a photograph that highlights your before, choose an awesome after picture to draw people in! Remember, you only get one shot to make an impression. Rock it with a great picture. If I have a large room reveal or a post with a lot of detailed pictures, I'll choose one eye-catching shot that leaves the viewer wanting to see more!

3) Give your link a catchy title, using popular key words. DIY, Easy, Quick, Tutorial, Before/After: these are words that catch MY attention! Keywords let the viewer know what to expect. I'm more likely to follow a link if I think I'll get an awesome tutorial from it! What catches your eye at a link party? Think about it, maybe jot down some notes and then start trying things out! It's all about trial and error, after all. Find out what works for YOU!

4) In Link Party land, being fashionably late is NOT your best bet. Seriously. The most viewed links at my weekly link party are almost always in the top fourth of the entries. If you can figure out when a link party opens, make the effort to get there early!

For a list of great link parties, check out the list I've gathered here.

52 Mantels
And, of course, I'd love for you to hop over to my weekly link party called Thursdays are YOUR Days (which I tend to open up on Wednesday evening).

Happy linking!

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You can find Emily at 52 Mantels a blog about all things home, including weekly mantel makeoversseasonal craftseasy recipes and simple DIY projects. Come over for a visit! 

52 Mantels
52 Mantels
52 Mantels
52 Mantels
52 Mantels

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Destination: Cutsey Monday (#32)

Oh my goodness... yesterday I made a flight across country: North Carolina to Washington state. With a 3.5 year old and an 18 month old. It was... well, let's just say I'm glad I'll be here for a while so I don't have to go through that again. 

That's why there was a serious lack of posts last week. I was trying to get ready for this 3-week-long trip. Lots to do for my hubs before I left.

Anyhoooo.... I'm glad you're here to party with me!!

Here are some of my favs from the party last week:


1. Fall Block by Happy Scraps
2. Fabulously Frugal Pumpkins by Posed Perfection
3. DIY Monogrammed Burlap Wreath by The Morris Mojo

4.  Vintage Nautical Birthday by Clever Nest
5. Egg Carton Caterpillar by Hill Yeah
6. Toddler-Sized Chevron Quilt by JAQS Studio


Let's see what you've been up to!!

Please follow Destination: Craft
Please visit other blogs & show some love

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Grow Your Blog: A Pumpkin & A Princess

  Hi Destination Craft readers, I'm Crystal from A Pumpkin & A Princess. I'm a craft, DIY, and food blogger with a passion for sharing my creativity with others. I'm so excited and honored to be here today!      



When Kathryn asked me to guest post I had no clue what I would write about. I felt like I'm still learning, what could I possibly have to share? But given that I've been blogging for two years I think I've learned enough to share some information with others. I also decided to step out of my comfort zone and write about something I'm working on..my photography. I use a DSLR but you don't necessarily need one to have beautiful pictures. I also haven't jumped into the world of Photoshop so today I'm sharing my top photography tips that don't require a fancy camera or editing software. Pictures really are a key element to being noticed in the blog world. If your post is in a link party with 300 other posts, it will definitely stand out more if the picture is well lit and visually appealing. If you're a blogger than you might know how awesome pinterest is as a traffic source. People like pinning and repinning great pictures. Here are a few tips that helped my blog get noticed. 

Lighting Lighting is perhaps the most important element of a good picture. Please, please, please do not use your flash! A flash is not your friend 99% of the time! Instead try to take pictures during the day and preferably next to a window. Also use indirect sunlight to avoid shadows. To help with this use a white foam board from the Dollar store to bounce light back onto your object. 

Staging Not everyone will agree that pictures need to be staged to be beautiful and it's true in some occasions. Take a look at your pictures, is there clutter in the background? First and foremost try to take your pictures with a simple background that isn't distracting away from the object. If it's too simple add a few things and see if it works. However sometimes less is more in photography.

This mason jar with paper flowers was sitting next to various other items on a console table. All together it worked well as my Spring decor but for blogging purposes I moved the items aside and photographed the flowers alone. This made the flowers stand out without the distraction of other items. 

Give your pictures life Take action shots, add something to make them even more interesting. In my Snickers Cheesecakes I cut one of them in half and took pictures just as the caramel started drizzling down. I really think it's what makes the picture. 



Try different angles, it adds interest and a different perspective. Also add layers: use napkins, bowls, etc. as props when necessary. I know this contradicts what I said earlier but this is an example when adding props actually helps.



Here's one of my "secrets" that's not so secret anymore..use scrapbook paper for your background. The picture above looks like my Vanilla Bean Doughnuts are sitting on pieces of wood doesn't it? It's actually scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. I've been asked numerous times about this and for about 50 cents a sheet it's my favorite tip to give. 

Thanks for having me I hope you enjoyed these photography tips. I would love to connect on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Also, thank you Kathryn for inviting me over! :)
 
Sharing here: See Vanessa Craft, One Artsy Mama, 30 Handmade Days, Love & Laundry,     

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Destination: Cutesy Monday (#32)

Welll...hello again friends!!

Welcome to ANOTHER link party! I can't believe there's so many people out there making amazing things week after week. It's awesome.

Here are some amazing crafts from last week:

1. Free Purse Sewing Pattern by Crystelle Boutique
3. Handmade Felt Finger Puppets by Small Things with Love
4. Thrifting Online by The Daily Me


5. Hour Glass Quilt by JAQS Studio
6. Girls Boot Socks by Being Mom(me)
7. DIY Hot Air Ballon Mobile by The Consigner Designer
8. Homemade Cranberry Almond Granola by This Gal Cooks

Let's see what you've been up to!

- Please become a follower of Destination: Craft!
- Show some love to other blogs
- Link up new projects
- Have fun!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Chevron Letter

When I was in Texas my friend and I wanted to do a craft night but since we both have 2 kids we had to change our plans a little and it ended up being a craft day. We wanted to make letters to put up in our houses. You know, to represent our names & to spruce up the place. 

I wanted to show you what we came up with. We both got our letters from Hobby Lobby.






My friend printed off a chevron print that I used and she did stripes.


I love how they turned out! And I love having company when I craft...especially with a great friend.







My sweet friend Emily! I loved seeing and crafting with her!


Sharing here: Tatertots & Jello, One Artsy Mama, I Heart Nap Time, Love and Laundry, Craft-O-Maniac, Too Much Time on My Hands, Cherished Bliss,       




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

Whoa, that title is massive...kind of like the taste of this cake!

So, last week was my birthday and I really wanted to make a delicious cake. Problem: I'm not a HUGE fan of cake. I'll eat it, but for my birthday, I wanted something I was going to LOVE. I found this recipe from Pinterest and decided that it looked scrumptious. 



I mean, look at that thing! I PROMISE you, it's as delicious as it looks. 

Recipe  

Cookie Portion: Found on the back of the Toll House Chocolate Chips bag
- I cooked the cookie dough in my 8x8 pan. 

Cheesecake Portion:
- 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip

*Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat well.

Here's where I did it different. I wanted my cake round but I had baked my cookie in a square pan...hmmm.  I put my cheesecake mixture in a round pan and refrigerated it for an hour. I then cut the cookie in the shape of the cheesecake pan. Then I plopped the cheesecake on top of the cookie. I sprinkled it with loooots of chocolate chips and refrigerated it overnight. 





Oh yeahhh...it was a good birthday.



Sharing here: Lil Luna, Ginger Snap Crafts, DIY Dreamer, Southern Lovely, Rae Gun Ramblings, Pretty Things for You, One Artsy Mama, See Vanessa Craft, Tatertots & Jello, Love and Laundry, Craft-O-Maniac, Too Much Time on My Hands, Cherished Bliss,             



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Destination: Cutesy Monday (#31)

Hello again!!

I really love having you here every week. I really appreciate YOU stopping by!

Can I just share some little family news with ya? This week my baby started preschool! It was kind of sad but I'm glad we both get a break :) I still have my 18-month-old girl to keep me company. Here's my big boy:


He just looks SO old in this picture! Yikes. 


Here are last week's AWESOME projects:

1. Chalkboard Magnet by Alderberry Hill
2. Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins by Todd & Lindsey
3. Linen Closet Organization by Kathe with an E

4. Birthday Tutu Tutorial by The Sepia Puppy
5. Paper Plate Vampire Bat by Crafty Journal
6. Craft Room/Guest Room Reveal by Rosemary's Daughter


Let's see what you've been up to!

I'd love for you to
- Become a follower of Destination: Craft
- Show some other blogs some love
- Link up new projects
- Have fun!



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tips from the Best: Creatively Living

I found Katie and her blog through, I think, her linking up to my link party. I was always drawn to her posts because they were always so quality and I could tell. I looove Katie's blog and someday I hope to have a house so I can do what she does to her house! 

Enjoy her wonderful tips!!
************************


Hi all of you Destination Craft Readers

I'm so excited to be guest posting here today for Kathryn's "Grow Your Blog" Series!




I'm Katie and I blog over at Creatively Living.


When Kathryn asked me to be part of her "How to Grow Your Blog" series, I was flattered, but I also thought, "Me? Do you really want me to give advice on this?" 

However, once I started to write some ideas down, I realized I've blogged enough to have quite an opinion on how to grow your blog. Unfortunately, I don't always have enough time to do all the things I'm suggesting, but nevertheless, they are ways to increase your readership. 

1. Be Social! 


 Social Media is where it's at now days! It takes a little time to figure out how to get an account up on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, etc..., but most of these are well worth your time! Not only can you connect with readers through these different avenues, but you are able to also connect with other bloggers through these avenues! 
Getting your blog "out there" is key and what better way to expose people to your blog, than to send it off on the different social media roads. By doing this, you are putting your blog in many different places at once!

Which brings me to 

#2. Looking for different outlets!


The social media outlets I currently use and link up to are: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Hometalk, Linky, Bloglovin'. There are others you can also use, but these are the ones I happen to be using at the moment. 
Have some cute icons, and make them accessible to your readers! (This is something that is on my "to-do" list!)
I also choose places that are new to link to and that other bloggers might not use. I think it's important for all of us to look for ways to get more people to view blogs. 
Hometalk has been one of my latest new places to link-up, as well as a local Facebook DIY group that I link my projects up to. It's fun to use the local Facebook group because you get to know others in your community that also have small DIY businesses. 
 If I think I can manage the time, I also offer to guest blog for others when they are asking for guest bloggers. It's a great way to gain readership and make your blog name more known. 


3. Participate, participate, participate!  

This is an icon for Kathryn's link party every Monday at Destination Craft!

The world of DIY home/garden/craft bloggers, is a friendly place! Really, it's one of the nicest communities I feel someone could work in! Be friendly, and to get your blog out there.....participate!
  
There are so many places to link up. (I don't recommend linking up to every single link-party you can find, or else you may run out of time, or completely neglect your loved ones), but choose some and also hit the seasonal link parties hosted by people like Layla's seasonal link-up at The Lettered Cottage.  


Not only are reader's there to see your projects, but magazines are their scouting too.
Bob Vila Nation scouted me out at one of these larger parties, and now I post for them often!


4. Time Spent = Blog Growth


Now I feel this topic is a good and not so good suggestion. 
When I started blogging and reading everyone's posts on blog growing, someone said, "the more time you spend on your blog, the more your blog will grow", and for the most part, I feel this is true. 
So, when I first decided that I wanted to blog professionally, I started writing posts for 5-6 days/week. I linked up to every party possible, and I commented back to most every comment on my projects...guess what? There's no way I was going to be able to keep up! I have 5 kids and still run a household and so I had to make some tough decisions. 
I decided that it was ok for my blog to grow slower than some other people's blogs, and that I wanted to do this for the long-haul, because of how much I enjoy it. Better to be slow and steady than crazy and burn out, or neglect my family!
I had to remember my priorities. 

However, if you have the time to work a part or full-time job blogging, that's one way to grow it! Put the time into writing and linking up posts! Take the time to socialize with other bloggers, work on your blog layout functionality, improve your photo abilities, (these are the things I would love to do, but find I don't always have  the time). 

5. Take Beautiful Pictures!


Pictures are a big key to getting people to look at your blog. 
The world of crafting/DIY/interior design is a visual world. We all LOVE to look at beautiful pictures. I always tell people that I could have the best project, but if it had lousy pictures, people might notice it. It would be glanced over, probably not even re-pinned or shared. 
However, if I had a gorgous picture of something as basic as a tea cup, people would say, "oh, that's a beautiful picutre". It might truly mean nothing, but they would probably pin it and share it and stare at it longingly. Now this is somewhat exaggerated to prove my point, but seriously! If you have great pictures you are sooo much more likely to be pinned and be featured. 

Pinterst is my second leading traffic source, so don't underestimate taking a nice picture and pinning it from your blog post!

I hope this has given you some good things to think about for your blog, and I wish you all the best experience in your blogging adventures!

Thanks for inviting me Kathryn and all of you come visit me at Creatively Living sometime!

--Katie





Sunday, September 2, 2012

Destination: Cutsey Monday (#30)

GUESS WHAT?!

Tomorrow is my birthday!! No joke, it really is. My birthday has always been around Labor Day but it's so nice when it actually falls on the actual holiday. My hubby gets to be home with us all day and I'm so excited to hang out and have a chill birthday. Oh, and my birthday cake is going to be amazing. I'll post about that later.

Here are some of the projects from last week that were AH-MAZING!
1. Rainbow Steps and Stairs Quilt by Saltwater Quilts
2.  Fast Wire Shelving Surface Solution by Moments with the Montanos
3. Using Buttons for Earring Packaging by Jewelry Making Journal
4. Crochet Clutch by Oh Craft!
5. DIY Wall Art by The Daily Me
6. Baby Shadow Boxes by Smart School House

Anyway, how about for my birthday present, you show me all your projects??? That's what I want! That, and a million dollars. But from YOU...just your project is fine :)

Happy Labor Day and Birthday Day!!