Friday, 29 November 2013

Christmas Countdown: 25 Days ~ How to make a Gingerbread House

Any baking novice can tackle a gingerbread house. While the kits from the store are convenient, making your own may be easier than you think. Plus you can make it with your kids.

This gingerbread house is delicious and a lot of fun, too. Just follow the step-by-step process in this video and of course use your imagination!

Gingerbread House Tutorial

Download the Gingerbread house template to make your own here

Three More Gingerbread House Ideas

1. House on a dessert table 

2. Bite-sized Gingerbread House 

3. Crackers Gingerbread House 

Happy Holidays!

fabulous fridays...the interview ~ Jewellery by B

It's Friday and we are pleased to bring you one more interview from our beloved crafters. Today we are featuring: Jewellery by B. Her name is Belinda and she makes amazing jewellery.

Let's meet her:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself/ introduce yourself. Besides crafting what else do you love doing?

My name is Belinda and besides making jewellery, I like going for long walks in the countryside, travelling, meeting up with my friends for a good gossip, cooking and going to the cinema.

2. How did you start crafting and how long have you been doing it? 

I have been making jewellery for just over 7 months now. I had an operation on my foot so I had plenty of time off work and I was getting bored with the usual shows on TV. I started channel hopping one day and discovered the Jewellery Making channel. After watching several shows, I thought to myself, I think I would like to have a go at this, and so my new hobby was born and my bank account has not been the same since!!

3. What are the problems you faced as a crafter until now? Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking to start or is new to the crafting business?

The main problem that I have is the lack of funds to try all the new designs that I want to do and the new techniques that I want to learn. My advice to anyone wanting to start any sort of craft is just give it a go, if you don't like it then at least you tried. It could just be the career change you were looking for.....

4. What's your favourite crafting category? Do you have in mind to start crafting something else (besides your usual crafting category)?

My favourite crafting category is jewellery and I don't have any plans at the moment to try any new crafting (I don't think my husband could take it!).

5. What is your main source of inspiration? How do you propel your creativity?

My main source of inspiration, is probably the Jewellery Making channel. I learn my techniques from them and then try to incorporate them into my own designs. I like to keep up to date with everything that is going on so I also buy jewellery magazines and look in jewellery shops. 

6. Tell us about your crafting space. Do you have a favourite material and tool?

My crafting space, the place where I make my jewellery is my dining room. The place where everything goes once its been made and where I store all my tools and beads is the spare bedroom. My husband says that we need a bigger house as I keep buying new tools and display equipment for my craft fairs, that I am now starting to run out of space. I am just starting to use craft wire in my jewellery and have bought myself a wire coiling gizmo, so at the moment that is my favourite tool, but I am sure there will probably be a new one next month...

7. So your crafting space transmutes to an online shop. How do you promote your e-shop, which social media you use?

When it comes to social media, I am affraid that I am a complete novice and have always been a bit scared of it. I am probably the only person (other than my husband) who has only just got herself a face book account! So that is how I am promoting my jewellery. Hoping to get into other social media when I know what I am doing and feel brave enough.

8. How long after listing an item into your e-shop you had your first sale?

 I think it was about a couple of months before I had my first sale on MISI. I was so excited to think that someone liked my jewellery enough to buy it. I have since had several more sales since then and my friends have been buying some for christmas presents for there friends. I have also been doing some craft fairs as well and have had lots of positive feed back.

9. Where do you see your business in 10 years from now?

In 10 years, it would be a dream come true to have my own little shop or stall selling lots of lovely jewellery handmade by me.

10. How did you find MISI? What else would you like to see being added to the site?

I found MISI just by searching online for different places to sell my jewellery on line. MISI was the first one that I looked at I thought it looked like a good site, (and I still do). I can't think of anything at the moment that I would like added to the site. The changes you have made to listing products are definately better than they were when I first joined. I hope to have many more years with you. - we hope so too :)

Other Profiles/Pages:

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Christmas Countdown: 26 Days ~ Creative Handmade Stockings Ideas

Brimming with gifts on Christmas morning, beautifully decorated stockings are a delight to wake up to. 

Handmade stockings are much better because they really invite stuffing. 
They can be made of felt, burlap, old sweaters and socks and many other materials. Some of them need to be sewed while some other are much more easy to make.

 Here are some tutorials that might help you with that.

1. Personalised Stocking

Make sure Santa knows who he's delivering too, with big initials. Read more

2. Nutcracker Stockings

Whether nostalgic about the classic ballet or discovering it for the first time, everyone is sure to love these Nutcracker-themed stockings. Read more

3. Country-Style Stocking

This country-style Christmas stocking decorated with pretty buttons and embroidery is guaranteed to become a family heirloom! Read more

4. Advent Calendar Stockings

Create little stockings by cutting craft paper with a pattern, then glue them all to a board for a fun calendar.

5. Dog Paw Stocking

Pets need stockings too! Sew pieces faux fur together to make this darling paw. Read more

6. Sugar Plum Fiary Stocking

You can really do anything with this stocking. Use with candies as sparkly embellishments. Read more

7. No-Knit Sweater Stockings

Don't toss that old sweater. Instead, repurpose it as custom stockings for the entire family. Read more

Happy Crafting!

How To Engage your Fans on Facebook ~ Part 3

Are you looking for new ways to engage your Facebook fans?

Do your current Facebook engagement tactics need a little more flare?

Your visibility in the news feed depends on engagement like never before.

If your page is experiencing a drop in engagement, using different post types and making a few content adjustments can bump it back up.

#5: Gain Insights From Facebook Data

Pages that post content blindly without learning more about how their fans react to it can find themselves posting furiously with no rise—or worse, a drop—in engagement.
Facebook’s Page Insights provide businesses with key information that takes the guesswork out of which types of content your fans like seeing most on your page.
Use the data from Insights to tell you which types of posts achieve greater engagement for you on Facebook and adjust your content to include more of them.
Mari Smith provides a great summary of the new Insights features.

#6: Have a Backup Plan With Notes

A few months ago when The New York Times website crashed, they needed an alternate plan. They turned to Facebook notes where they posted the entirety of several stories on their Facebook page.
While maybe not the optimal format to read a lengthy story, the key takeaway here is when an obstacle arises, look for a workaround. The New York Times was able toengage with their audience on Facebook during this time.

#7: Include Facebook Apps

From contests to event listings and email signups, custom apps provide numerous opportunities for driving engagement, but many pages don’t take advantage of them.
Andrea Vahl provides a great roundup of eight customizable Facebook apps you can use to get your fans’ attention. Use them to drive traffic and engagement when you link directly to them from a status update, a blog post or even Twitter.
Social Media Examiner uses Heyo on Facebook to introduce fans to SME’s podcasts.

DIY Easy Felt Finger Puppets

Here’s an easy craft for beginner sewers - even kids can make these easy felt finger puppets!

Choose the felt, cut the shapes, thread your needle, and start sewing!

What You Need:

  • Felt and Embroidery floss brown, red brown, light brown, orange, gray, white, and black 
  • Embroidery needle 
  • Scissors

Read complete instructions on Handmade Charlotte.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Basics of Blogging [infographic]

Blogs are a great way to express yourself, your hobbies, to connect with others who share your passion and to share information. Also, blogs are great for business. It helps drive traffic to your website, to establish authority and drives long-term results.

Choose your blogging platform, your field, and start blogging.

Christmas Countdown: 27 Days ~ 9 Holiday Snowman Ornaments Ideas

Don't wait for a snowy day to have some wintertime fun! It's always a good idea to fill your Christmas tree with snowman ornaments.

We garthered for you 9 Snowman Ornamets from a lot of things, including buttons, bottle caps, pom-poms, flowers and so on. No matter which one you make, these snowman crafts are sure to melt your heart during the Christmas season.


1. Bottle Cap Snowman 

These cute bottle cap snowmen ornaments are very inexpensive to make and easy enough that your kiddos can make them with you. Read more

2. DIY Snowman Tree Ornament

Here's a fun little project that the whole family can participate in. Make a bunch of snowman ornaments and your tree will be beautiful! Read more

3. Snowman Thumbprint Christmas Tag

The little Snowman is so festive for the holiday season! You could attach it to gifts or as an ornament to your Christmas tree. Read more

4. Glove turned Snowman!

You could completely omit the sewing with glue and this becomes a very do-able kid project for the weekend. Read more

5. Snowman Toilet Paper Roll

This is a very cheap and easy craft for the kids to do! You can add anything extra, be creative! Read more

6. Polyfoam Balls Snowman

This is a quick craft and it is suitable for kids with a little help and guidance from adult. Read more

7. Snowman with Chrysanthemums

We are offering you this lovely snowman craft idea as perfect highlight of your home and tree decoration for the holidays. Read more

8. Cute Sock Snowman

Welcome these cheerful, easy-to-make snowman figures into your home for the holidays -- don't worry, they won't melt! Read more

9. Heart-Shape Snowman

This heart-shape ornament will give your Christmas tree a quaint homespun feel. Read more

Happy Holidays!

DIY Glitter Holiday Party Hats

This is a great idea for a DIY for all party and holiday occasions. Grab your materials and let's get started!

Supply List:
Paper Mache Cone (Purchased at a local craft store)
Mod Podge (In the finish of your choice! There are so many options)
Paint brush
Tinsel Garland
Headband (Or ribbon/elastic if you prefer)
Hot Glue Gun
To Make:
Cover your paper mache cone with an even coating of Mod Podge. Work quickly, you don’t want any of it to dry.

Immediately cover in glitter. Shake off excess. Be sure to put down a piece of wax paper before you do this so you can easily funnel your leftover glitter back into it’s jar. Let dry completely.

Once dry, it’s time to seal your glitter so you aren’t covered in it every time you wear the hat! Paint another layer of Mod Podge right over your glitter. Let dry completely. It will turn clear.

NOTE! If you aren’t using a headband, see below before doing this step. Cut a piece of tinsel the same length as the circumference of your hat.Carefully use hot glue to attach it to the bottom of your hat. Then cut a small piece of tinsel and hot glue it to the top of your hat.

If you’re using a headband, you can get fancy or keep it simple. Hold in place until it sets. If you want to cover up the inside you can glue a circle of cardstock to the bottom of the hat, then sandwich the headband between that and another circle of cardstock. If you’re forgoing the headband all together, use an awl to poke two holes in your hat and slip a ribbon or elastic through. Secure with a knot and then cover with tinsel as outlined above.

Put your hat on and get your jingle on!

Source: Studiodiy

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

How to Promote Your Handmade Shop for Free ~ Part 2

Selling handmade items online isn’t easy, but if you master the ups and downs of online retail, you can be successful. To start you on your motivated marketing strategy, we’ve delineated a few tips and tricks to give you an initial boost.

1.  Make offers

The more offers you make, the more you’ll sell.  Really.  Changing your offer every week or month encourages people to come back to your website to check out your latest deals.  They’re more likely to sign up for updates, which opens the door for you to start building a relationship with them.

  • Try an ‘Offer of the month’ with 25% off, and then vary the promotional product each month.  Publicise your offers on:
  • your site’s homepage
  • your Facebook page
  • Twitter
  • receipts and invoices
  • emails to previous customers
  • Try it once and see what happens.  You’ll be surprised (and delighted).

2.  Get your name out there

Write press releases about:

  • your latest products
  • an event you’re organising (see below)
  • a delighted customer
  • company anniversaries or milestones (eg. 1,000th customer)
  • a hot news story and tie it in to your product
  • lists (7 ways to settle your new baby into a routine, 10 things to ask a designer before ordering wedding stationery, 5 top tips to a flat tummy, etc.)

What other free things can you do that help you get more customers?  Which of the ideas here work best for your business?  Share in the comments below.

Christmas Countdown: 28 Days ~ 10 Holiday Organizing Tips

The holidays come with so many things. Things to buy. Things to make. Things to decorate. Things to give. Things to cherish...

So staying even somewhat organized through the busiest time of the year, will be a huge stress reducer. Here are some of our favorite tips for super simple and time saving organizing during the holiday season:

1. Gift Tracking List

It is the giving season, that is for sure!  And it can get out of control, expensive and overwhelming, so we like to use a gift tracking checklist. Read more

2. Christmas Card Display

Find a special place for all your pretty Christmas cards that are coming...or have already come! Read more

3. Survival Shopping List

Pencil these items into your regular shopping list--and save a last-minute trip. They'll keep the fun in the festivities! Read more

4. Twine Dispenser

Keep unruly balls of twine in line with big aluminum funnels. Twine makes a great alternative to ribbon on wrapped gifts. Read more

5. Rolls of Ribbon

Organize all your favorite spools of ribbon by sliding them onto a dowel held in place by brackets.

6. Gift Bows

Clever kitchen cabinets have something to teach your gift-wrapping station. Use a pullout basket to store your bows, loosely stacked, to keep them from getting crushed.

7. Storing Christmas Ornaments

Delicate glass Christmas ornaments and miniature tree toppers last longer when stored securely. Read more

8. Storing Christmas Lights

Next year, don't spend a minute sorting through tangled webs of holiday decorations. Keep lights organized by winding each strand around a piece of cardboard cut to fit inside a plastic bin.

9. Storing Wrapping Paper

After the holidays this year, don't forget to take advantage of the sales on wrapping supplies -- stock up on exquisite papers and ribbons.

10. Candle Protectors

Loose candles can get damaged easily when stored in drawers. Use paper-towel tubes -- the perfect size and shape -- to protect them. Read more

Happy Holidays!