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Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Crochet Snake. Day 80, Use What You've Got



I've been helping my daughter out with her crochet learning. She started a while ago but has got a little stuck on the basic chains.

Getting past the chains and onto the next step is proving a challenge for her that she's avoided. I'm trying to help her get past this because she wants to make little amigurumi, and I know she'd be great at them once she's over this small hurdle!

As we sat the other day, I crocheted this little snake. We did have a pattern, but I lost count and my place in the pattern lots, so in the end I just made it up as I went along so I could still talk and help my daughter as I crocheted!


I think he turned out quite cute! And my daughter loves him!

Now I just have to help her persist so she can create her own little woolie characters!



We have plenty of wool to play around with - so this is a good 
project. 

Does anyone have any suggestions of simple crochet that I can do with my daughter to help her build her confidence beyond the chains?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

30 Lessons in Blogging, Day 79, Use What You've Got




One of my big projects for my "Use What You've Got" challenge was to organise all the resources I have on my blog and I've just finished doing a big part of this!

Over the past 4 years I've learned a lot about blogging itself and have spent September putting together this knowledge into a series of 30 Lessons, covering everything from social media to how often to post and ways to make money from your blog.

These lessons are now complete and organised onto one page here on my blog as a free resource available to anyone who is interested:


I don't claim it to be a complete blogging course but there is a lot of knowledge and information packed in there which I hope will be of use to other Bloggers.

Over the years I have benefited so much from other Bloggers who have generously shared their knowledge and experiences - now it's my turn to share!


Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Useful html for your blog - 30 Lessons in Blogging



Although Blogger is very simple to use and has great templates for you to just type in your posts and add photos, I've still found over the years that I've learned little bits of html coding to help add other elements to my blog.

I thought I would share the links to the few posts I've written about these elements - so others can benefit from them too and add that little extra to a blog. The first two are very simple,and the second two are more technical but just have blocks of code you can copy and paste then just add in your own urls.




I use this lots and this is how I created my tutorials page galleries (see an example page here)

I have this for my blog sponsors. It means that each sponsor gets equal time in the top spots and the ads randomly rotate each time the page is loaded. You can see it in action if you look straight across to the right sidebar now (if you refresh the page, the three button ads should appear in a different order).




Well that's it - 30 Lessons in Blogging. I don't claim this to be anything more than me sharing the things I've learned over 4 years of blogging. 
My blog is still relatively small but there is a lot of knowledge and learning in it and I'm happy to share that with others, just as so many bloggers have helped me reach where I am now.

I do hope you have enjoyed this series and gained something from it. I've certainly enjoyed writing it.

As of tomorrow, I'll have a '30 Lessons in Blogging" page set up on this blog with all the lessons laid out and easy to click through to making it an easily accessible resource for all.

Thanks for reading and do tell others about it, if you think they'd enjoy or benefit from the lessons too.

I will continue to post about things as I learn over the coming weeks and months. This series as given me an added incentive and kickstart to continue learning further to make my blog bigger and better than ever!


Day 78, Use What You've Got - growing a snake!




Do you have any Christmas Presents in your cuphoard from last year that you've still not used or played with?

I found this snake in our cupboard from last Christmas. It's one of those toys that magically grow in water.

Since we were having a quiet family weekend at home last weekend, we thought we'd 'use what we've got' and finally open up the snake packet and get it in some water!


The girls measured it before we started, then threw it in the swimming pool!


They've been measuring it quite regularly ever since, but we've yet to see enormous growth.

I'm not sure if the chlorinated pool water is having the right effect on the snake, or maybe the water is too warm (it's supposed to be under 35C).

But the packet said it would grow 600% in 96 hours (4 days).
It's now been  48 hours (2 days), and it's only grown by about 50% - from 38cm to 58cm long.

Maybe we left it in the packet too long? Or maybe it's just a slow grower?

Oh well - at least we've got it out and are making use of it! Better than having it sitting in the cupboard!
 I think we might take it out of the pool, rinse it off and put it in a bucket of tap water - see if that helps it grow any more!

Have you ever had one of these toys that grow in water?
Did yours work?
And do you have and Christmas presents from last year you haven't played with yet?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Take a step back and review - 30 Lessons in Blogging



This month of blogging posts has taught me a lot about what I've learned; what I am and am not doing; and what I plan to do from now on.

Taking the time to work through and write down what I've learned in a methodical way has helped me understand it even more and put it all into perspective.

I've said before that I believe you need to be constantly learning to keep growing. I also believe that you have to also step back and try to reassess what is and isn't important for you now, what is and isn't working and what needs to change.


What I've learned

Throughout September I have posted twice every day on my blog. This is more than I've ever done before. I did it for myself .

My morning posts are part of my 100 day "Use What You've Got" challenge to make the most of my fabric and crafting stash, and also other areas of my life - my kids, the area we live in, recipes, kitchen gadgets, games etc.  This has pushed me to take action every day and has helped to get me into good habits which I will certainly continue (although not need the commitment of a daily post on my blog to keep me accoutable!).

My evening posts have been all about blogging.  This was a way to bring together and reflect upon what I've learned in 4 years of blogging. And to share that knowledge in the hope it might help others.  



More posts doesn't mean more pageviews

Despite posting a lot more than usual, this has not resulted in any more traffic to my blog than usual.  I'm not really surprised by this, I saw a few months ago when I almost stopped blogging that my stats didn't change much.  It's also a relief in a way as getting 2 posts out every day is quite a challenge at times!  Knowing that posting more often isn't what is going to grow my blog means I can spend my time more usefully elsewhere.



Learning from the statistics

I've learned that when you look at your blog stats isn't not just about page views and big numbers. It's about understanding what the numbers mean and figuring out how you can use that knowledge to grow the numbers yourself!

From what I've learned from my stats, I'm going to spend less time trying to create more content for my blog, and more time promoting the content I already have - largely through Pinterest and Google +, as I grow my community too.


Making money

From learning more about Google Adsense, I now understand what I'm looking at when I look at my stats regarding the income I'm earning on my blogs.  This has shown me that my logical step is to work more on my other two blogs  (Be Our Best and A Fitter and Healthier Me ) which although small now, appear to have more potential Google Adsense income than this blog!


I've also decided that I do need to have some kind of product to sell. Be this real creations I sew, or e-books I write.  Sales is something I've always shied away from, but it's time to get over this fear and learn!



How about you?

Have you taken a step back to reassess your blog lately?
What have you learned from your time blogging and how can you use this knowledge to improve and grow your blog now?


A Round Tuit 225 - Day 77, Use What You've Got

Good morning from sunny Cairns!
It's such a lovely time of year here in Cairns. The temperature is warming up but the humidity of summer hasn't yet arrived, making for glorious sunny warm days - just perfect for the school holidays.
I'm having a lovely time with my girls - crafting and getting out in the fresh air.  One more week to go - and lots more fun to be had!

Here's my week in review with my #100happydays photos:


Now let's see what you've all been up to!


Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
 
 
 
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
 
First of all, this gorgeous
 Infinity Scarf Crochet Tutorial from Happy in Red:

Next, an intriguing post of 
Uses for Apple Peels by Little House Livin'
Some interesting ideas there!



Finally, this delicious looking 
Toffee Apple Cheesecake from With a Blast:



For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
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Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post next week.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Write and publish your own E-books, 30 Lessons in Blogging




Creating your own e-book is another way to make money, or promote your blog. E-books are free to create and easy to advertise on your blog and people can download them instantly. You can either sell them for another income source from your blog, or offer them as a free resource or as an encouragement for people to sign up for your newsletter.



Exposure for your blog

I've been lucky enough to have some of my tutorials features in free e-books created by Allfreecrafts, like my penguin costume tutorial in their Halloween costume book. This provides great exposure for my tutorials and  the book contains link backs to my blog.


Creating your own ebook

I created my own e-book a couple of years ago for my other blog - Be Our Best. It's a book about helping your kids learn their times tables, with a structured plan, games and ideas.

I have this book available as a free PDF download for anyone who signs up for my newsletter on that blog.

My e-book is basically just a PDF document, very simple and the cover I created on Microsoft Word. Nothing fancy.

I have another e-book project underway just now, hoping to launch in the next few weeks. This time I'm learning what I can about e-book creation and marketing so that I can release if for sale.
There are heaps of great articles out there to read and learn, One I'm reading through just now is here, but there are many more and as yet I can't make any recommendations.


This is one area of blogging that I will update in the weeks to come after I launch my e-book for sale, sharing what I learned and hopefully - my success!!


How about you?

Have you ever written an e-book?
Do you have any plans to?


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