2015 Recap

Happy Holidays!

This year was full of excitement, change, and fulfillment. I wasn’t going to write a 2015 recap but after reading some of my blog friends’ final posts for the year, I started reflecting. I realized that this year was huge for my family, and I accomplished a lot of my blogging goals too.

Front Porch View | Country Living

If you’ve followed my blog this year, you know we bought a farm and moved away from the city. Change is scary, but there are zero regrets! Everything this year has been an adventure.

All the change pushed us to try new things and be more adventurous. I started sewing a lot more women’s wear and stopped being so self conscience and camera shy. My tomboy daughter started cheerleading and absolutely LOVES it. She takes care of our animals like a pro. Hubby now owns a few pairs of overalls…and looks like he’s driven tractors his entire life. I feel like we’ve changed a lot, and in a good way.

Blog-wise, I wrote more tutorials this year and finally stocked my Etsy shop. I took nicer photos and took the time to sew things less hastily. I spent less than $100 on fabric and notions the entire year, purged much of my stash, and became very judicious with purchases (in all areas of life). I got my first paid posts, signed up with some ad networks, and started earning some legitimate income. I also just got my first blog sponsor…news about that coming soon!

My new coverstitch!!!

And look what I got for Christmas- my coverstitch machine!! I’ve wanted it for several years but didn’t think my sewing skills justified it until now. It’s still sitting there taunting me…I haven’t worked my way through the manual yet. I’ll be doing some awesome things with this machine soon.

Anyhow, here are my favorite posts for 2015. Click the image to read the post!

Crochet Lace Trimmed Shorts Tutorial

^My best flat lay photos

DIY Wooden Toddler Chair Makeover

^This post didn’t get much love, but I adore that chair.

Free Cardigan Sewing Pattern

^Most awesome free pattern ever.

Best Loungewear Sewing Patterns For Tweens

^One of my most popular posts

Easy Sew: Fall/Winter Dress For Girls

^Aesthetically, my favorite outfit I made for my niece.

Simple T-Shirt Sewing

^The most worn (to death) garment I’ve ever made

Vintage Dress by SewsNBows

^Vintage fabric love! Theres the chair again, too.

Simplicity 1474

^Because the bare feet.

Rash Guard & Boy Shorts

^Learning new things! Bella never wants a store bought swimsuit again.

Jalie 3245

^Most used pattern. Ever.

Happy Holidays!

We still have family in town, but I’ll be getting back to business in a few days. Currently we are in the second day of a very consuming checkers tournament. I love you all; Happy New Years!

Continue Reading

Selfie Insecurities & Striped Swoon Cardigan

Selfie Insecurities: some interesting thoughts from a sewing blogger

I snapped photos of my scarf neck cardigan, finally! I’ve already shown a purple one I made for a friend, and a girl’s version I made for my daughter. I’ve professed my undying love for this sewing pattern, and what a wardrobe staple it is. And it’s a FREE pattern from Swoon! (Scroll to the bottom for pattern link & fabric details.)

A cute striped cardigan made with a free pattern by Swoon

There are 2 obstacles that kept me from sewing for myself more or blogging about it. One is the fact that I need every adjustment. FBA, DBA, broad shoulders, swayback, and flat butt. (Don’t be fooled darlings, these jeans are magical.) It seems like a new body fit issue pops up before I learn to adjust the last one! I talked about clothing fit issues before, so today lets talk about:

Selfie Insecurities

Months ago, while taking blog photos; I realized I was being a bully to myself. Here are some actual thoughts I thunk:

“Don’t turn your head. Nobody needs to see your witch nose.”

“Wow, 3 chins. Delete.”

“I’m not gaining weight. I’m just storing fat for the winter.”

“Suck in!”

“Are my boobs weird?”

“Open your eyes, you look stoned.”

“Okay, now you look like a serial killer. Just stop.”

“I hate my Medusa hair.”

Scarf Neck Cardigan by Swoon Pattern, and some thoughts about social media induced Selfie Insecurities

This post isn’t intended to self depreciate or beg for compliments. I consider myself a confident woman, so why so much vanity when the camera comes out?

Selfie Insecurities: some interesting thoughts from a sewing blogger

Then I caught myself scrolling my facebook feed, tongue-clicking the trashy makeup or booby profile pics. Bad parenting. Dating practices. Spending habits. The chick who posted 30 duck faces in a row. She must think she’s sooo cute.

Judgy McJudgerPants, here.

 

Free Sewing Pattern: Scarf Neck Cardigan by Swoon

I make judgments, that’s why I was so critical of myself and how I look in photos. It sucks, because I really like to think of myself as a kind person. Did social media turn me into a jerk, or did I just not notice it before?

Free Sewing Pattern: Scarf Neck Cardigan by Swoon

I’m not sure if judginess causes selfie insecurities, but there was a correlation in my case. I do know that my selfie phobia isn’t so bad since I’ve realized it was a choice I was making. People are going to judge us no matter what. Changing your outlook will not stop judgment. It will just make you above it.

(It’s still slightly awkward taking photos of myself. I must think I’m sooo cute. Just kidding.)

Scarf Neck Cardigan: Free Sewing Pattern by Swoon

Why is it so much harder to control my thoughts than my words and actions? Anyone else struggle with that? And have you made a Swoon cardigan yet? You won’t regret it!

Pattern: Scarf Neck Cardigan by Swoon (free PDF!)
Fabric: lightweight striped knit from Girl Charlee
Alterations: none- but I haven’t hemmed the sleeves yet.

Continue Reading

Rediscover Your Creativity! Free 4 Step e-Course

Creative Motivation

I have a move coming up, and it’s a pretty drastic lifestyle change. I’m really excited about it, because I’ll have a new place to decorate! I also know that there will be major adjustments. For one, there is a lot of work to do on a farm. (It never ends.) But there nothing in worth having that isn’t worth working for, and we WANT this for our family.

A harvested field in Oklahoma

I tend to overwhelm easily and I don’t want to lose my motivation. Sewing and creating has always been my outlet, that’s why my sewing machine will be the very last thing that I pack up for the move. I’m cutting fabric on the floor, in between boxes for pete’s sake. This is my real life right now, dirty floor and all. And these boxes…are everywhere now.

Moving sucks.

I signed up for a free e-course to help me stay focused on being creative, but also to broaden my scope.  I’m gonna make lampshades and stuff, all the crap on Pinterest! It’s just 4 quick emails, each with a worksheet at the end. I don’t have time for any extra work right now- this is very manageable and easy. I think it will help keep me on track, and I thought maybe some of you might like it too.

Creative Motivation

There’s an amazing pdf pattern and e-book sale next week: the Ultimate DIY Package. If 10 people sign up for this e-course, I’ll get the bundle package for free (omg I want it) plus a FREE 1-year Subscription to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. If you sign up, you can refer people to get the free bundle and magazine subscription too.

The e-course is a brilliant marketing strategy. The goal is to get you to buy the bundle package, or help sell it. Personally, I want all those patterns next week, and I hope to earn some commission telling you about it! So aside from nurturing my creativity, there’s some extra motivation. Um, my decorating budget is ZERO. So click the image below if you’d like to sign up for the free creativity inspiring e-course. And if you’re dying to know more about the pdf bundle for sale next week, click the ad in my sidebar:)

Continue Reading

Why I’m a No-Reply Blogger

20130508-234340.jpg

By Amy Mayen

It took me a while to figure out that WordPress, Typepad, & other non-Blogger platform users are just going to be No Reply Bloggers. There’s no way around it.

20130507-180139.jpg

Gina from Party of 8: Our Story found me when I started commenting on her blog. We started talking about my NRB status, and I told her I’ve read every tutorial known to man to fix it. I had really began to doubt my own intelligence, when Gina found an article at PieceMeal Quilts that sums up the whole problem.

“It isn’t because I’m deliberately trying to be difficult. If I could change it, I would. But I’m not the problem – your platform is. WordPress users, TypePad users, Tumblr and Moveable Type users – none of us have a problem with no reply bloggers. Only Blogger users face this issue. See, Google doesn’t want to share the sandbox, so they’re making it difficult for people using other platforms to play. Anyone who blogs on a platform other than Blogger will always show up as a no reply blogger, as will anyone who leaves a reply using the Name/URL option. There’s nothing we can do about it. While Blogger allows us to comment using a WordPress, TypePad or OpenID profile, it does not share the email information with you (even though it’s available). Neither does it allow a commenter to enter the information through a Name/Email/URL option – only Name/URL which obviously does no good.”

You can read the full article by Sandi Walton by clicking the link below.

“No Reply?” No Kidding by PieceMeal Quilts

20130508-130004.jpg

It’s not fair to you, as a Blogger blog, because the blogs we correspond with are the ones we tend to plus, like, comment, tweet, and share the most. WordPress & Typepad users link, share, click ads, and spend money at your Etsy shop just like Blogger users. How much SEO and possible sales are you missing out on by ignoring No Reply Bloggers? Especially when about 70% of bloggers are on WordPress.

It’s not fair to us, because we lose a ton of connections with some of our favorite blogs. I wonder how many potential readers I lose by being a No Reply Blogger. I’ve seen giveaways where the winner was a no reply blogger, and the host “had” to chose the next in line. I’ve seen comment forms that say, “if you’re a NRP, here’s how to fix it before you comment!!!” And it’s a tutorial on how to change your status within the Blogger platform- that we don’t use. We don’t have Blogger profiles guys. I even set up a blogger profile, thinking maybe I could link my blog to it- nope!

20130507-180321.jpg

In WordPress, I can reply, email, or visit your blog from your comment with one click, all from within my platform. It’s actually very similar to Blogger.

Here’s how to correspond with your No Reply Bloggers, if you want to maintain or further your readership.

Within the email, or in your dashboard; as long as the commenter signed in with google or another platform other than anonymous, you will be able to click a URL directly to their blog or email, and often facebook or social media.

If your commenter is on the Blogger platform, you’ll need to go one step further, and click the link to their Blogger profile. (You should also consider that many Blogger bloggers choose the no reply option because Blogger makes their info public on any site they comment on.)

Sandi Walton has been researching this problem, and has even set up a dummy site with Blogger. She wrote a very thorough arcticle, including screenshots of a NRB comment, and where to go to reply. You can read it below:

http://piecemealquilts.com/2013/05/05/whats-up-with-that-no-reply/

In a nutshell, if you have comment notifications on in Blogger, you will receive an email when you get a new comment. The name of the commenter is a hyperlink. Yes, it says no reply blogger if they have blogger settings set to private, or if they use another platform. But if you click their name, it will take you to their blogger profile or g+ account.

If it’s more than what you are willing to do to correspond with your readers, that’s totally fine. Our time is precious, and we all have to spend it the way we see fit. I think it would be very nice though, if your comment forms didn’t say you can’t reply to us. We know you can, because a lot of Bloggers do.

You may not have known that you can, and that’s okay. You may not be willing to reply through a link, rather than right there on your site, and that’s okay too. But you are able. I actually prefer to contact my readers through email or on their site. I don’t expect readers to come back & see if I answered. Most people, myself included, don’t subscribe to comments, so they may not even read a a reply.

At the very least, I hope that us NRB outcasts will be treated more kindly. I’ve gotten sweet emails from so many thoughtful ladies who figured out how to contact me, and some who even tried to help me fix it. But I’ve also gotten snarky ones, insinuating that I’m a dummy, and every day I see comment forms that suggest I’m doing something wrong. There are entire blog posts that trash talk no-replies.

20130508-125232.jpg

I read lots of Blogger blogs who don’t correspond with No Replies. It doesn’t offend me at all. I still read it, and buy your stuff and check out your affiliates. Just please don’t be rude to me for the way your platform is set up. Trust me, I’m frustrated too!

I hope this post makes it’s way around the blogosphere. Special thanks to the ladies who do make the effort to reach out to their NRBs when they can, like Cheryl from Sew Much Ado , Pam from Threading My Way, and Ginger from Gingerly Made. I’m writing this article to help Bloggers like you connect with bloggers like me!

And to Sandi Walton, you are the researching queen! Thanks for doing all the hard work for me. You are amazing!

I dont really blog about blogging much-but if you like this post, you may want to read 6 Tips for the Linky Party Hostess.
This post was featured on Threading My Way, and With A Blast! Thanks ladies!

Threading My Way_Featured

With A Blast

20130511-170700.jpg

Continue Reading

I Got Nominated For A Liebster Award!!!

20130311-110339.jpg

By Amy Mayen

Kathie from Sassy Little Lady nominated moi for a Liebster award! Thanks Kathy! I’m honored to receive it.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:

* Tell 11 random facts about yourself
* Answer the 11 questions the nominator has asked you.
* Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass
the award to and link them in your post.
*Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
*Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
*No tag backs.

11 Random Facts About Me:

1}I’m left handed. My mother raised me to believe that this makes me freakishly talented and creative.

2} I rarely read the same book or watch a movie twice. The exception is Gone With The Wind- the book & the movie.

20130311-104211.jpg

3} Somedays, I put my hair in a ponytail without bothering to brush it. Then I put on fab earrings to make up for it for the messy hair.

4} I was born a twin, but my sister didn’t survive. I always wonder what she would’ve been like. Mom named her Mirella, which makes her sound like a wicked stepsister. But I’m pretty sure she would’ve been sweet.

5} If calories didn’t count, I’d put cheese or butter on almost everything.

6} Speaking of butter, Paula Deen is my favorite. I wish I could kidnap her and lock her away to concoct buttery goodness for me to enjoy.

20130311-105546.jpg

7} I wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 8 years old. I used to make paper dolls!

8} My 8 year old is smarter than me. Seriously, you should see her homework.

9} I’m scared of heights, traffic, and getting old, getting sick, and dying.

10} I’m cold all the time. I’m cold unless its 80* or higher outside! Brr! I’m freezing to death right now & it’s 65* outside!

11}My best/worst thing about me is, I weigh decisions out for a long time. I research, then I plan… and once I make a decision I rarely change my mind.

Questions from Kathie:

1} If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Egypt I think. Maybe Rome. Israel. Can’t decide!

2} What is your favorite type of food?
Oh man, there hardly any food I don’t like. Pass!

3} What is your favorite season?
Summer!

4} How did you come up with your blog name?

I was selling a lot of bows locally, and I had started sewing again. It seemed easy to remember.

5} You have $500 but you have to spend it in one store. What store would it be?

H&H gun range-I’d put it with the rest of my imaginary money and order a new piece of hardware.

20130227-013602.jpg

6} What is your favorite drink?

H2O.
Unless you meant grown up drink?
White Russian.

20130311-105119.jpg

7} You have to write a book about your life. What is the title?

No idea! My life is pretty normal & happy. It would be a boring book!

8} What is your favorite quality about yourself?
That I never want to stop learning.

9} Why did you start blogging?
I just like to hear myself talk.

10} What is your favorite dessert?
All of them.

11} What is your hidden talent?
I barely have any “exposed” talent! But if I could pick one, I’d be a great singer, & win X-Factor.

I’ll be on the lookout for my blogs to nominate. Does anyone know how to find out how many followers they have?

It may a little while- we are on Spring break for 2 weeks. It’s hard to get anything done with all these brats running around!

Please send me an email if you know a good blog who should be nominated!

20130329-104303.jpg

20130329-104321.jpg

Continue Reading