Friday, 31 January 2014

Valentine's Day: 14 Days ~ 5 Cute Wreath Ideas

If you miss Christmas decor you can start to decorate your home for Valentine’s day. The front door is a good place to start. Make a wreath to hang on it. There are plenty of cool ways to do that but we gathered only the most cool ones. By the way, some of these wreaths are also perfect to hang somewhere inside of your house. Enjoy!

1. Cockscomb Valentine Wreath

Nothing expresses the essence of Valentine's Day better than a big, full heart. Declare your love for a sweetheart -- or simply a love of romance -- with this handmade cockscomb wreath. Read more

2. Valentines Wreath and Frame

We love this original Valentine's Day wreath! And if you're a Beatles fan, it's extra special. Hard to believe it is very inexpensive! Read more

3. Valentine’s Pom Pom Wreath

This project is so easy that your kids can help me with the pom-poms. All you need is a form, some pom-poms and glue. Read more

4. Felt Heart Garland

This is an easy and inexpensive Valentines Day decoration sure to add a little love to you room. Read more

5. Valentine’s Day Flowers Wreath

If you love the sight and smell of fresh flowers around you and you’re looking for some unique ways to brighten up your home then this cute wreath is the best for you. Read more

Happy Valentine's Day!

Fabulous Fridays... The Interview ~ Vintageellie

It's Friday! - I think we are all happy about this - so we have a brand new interview for you. We are pleased to present you Vintageellie, two sisters who run the professional business Bespoke Vintage Castle!

With over 55 colours unlimited fabrics, exceptional designs and an excelent quality service, they offer unique items created with love and creative flair, from wedding centerpieces and supplies to childrens personalised items and chic home furnishings.

Let's meet them:

1. Speak a bit for yourself or introduce yourself. Besides crafting, what else do you love doing?

Hello, my name is Lizzie (Elizabeth) and with my younger sister Jazzie (Jazzmine) last year October 15, I officially started Bespoke vintage castle and at the time MADE my younger sister do it, now we share the vision and are equally inspired and passionate as to what we can achieve.

Besides crafting, I am a wife and mummy, which takes up a lot of my time and a voluntary youth worker with my husband. We travel, giving talks to young people and help raise money charity work with youth and vulnerable young women.

Jazzie, besides crafting, likes music playing piano, singing and songwriting.

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

We have both been crafting all our lives, our mum was a fashion designer in the 80's, hence Jazzies studying textiles - now its genetic! Jazzmine is into fashion, designing, and being abstract with her art. 
I have been into making and up cycling from being a teen. We went to a lot of car boot sales the three of us and practically lived in auctions! My mother, sister and me we were always trying to find antiques. Its a hobby that when we have the time now we still try and do.

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

The one problem I have had is when I was trying to book a stall at a popular event and venue. I was talking to the organizer for months and being completely ignored. In the end they basically said "We will get back to you". They have standards and only want people who have shops and things they like and not people that work from home. At that time I felt discouraged and that my work was not good enough and I should stop, but my husband encouraged me and then I decided not to let one person change my destiny and it would only make me more determined to work harder. 

My advice to anyone starting a new business would be: Once you have a vision, go for it, aim at you're dreams and don't stop till you get there! 

4. What's your favourite crafting category?

My favorite thing to craft is wedding bouquets and hairpieces. The sky is the limit with imagination and ideas you can literally creating anything to put on someones head or for them to hold! 

Jazzie loves making boys bow ties best.

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

We are inspired in crafting from the antiques I have seen at car boots and vintage fairs. I love history - it is my greatest inspiration and I research period living customs and traditions. We also adore the Victorians, Marie Antoinette, and classic french living. The rustic timeless and ornate things they used to have back then are our ultimate inspiration. I love the fabric manipulation of grand silks and the luster of the Georgian color palette. In fact this is why we work with silk, dupion, cotton, satin, taffeta, organza, chiffon, vintage buttons and brooches and lashings of original Nottingham lace

Jazzmine says shes inspired by things around her, the littlest things in nature, or events daily life inspire her colors, work and design.

I propel my creativity by my research and I love watching the great British sewing bee and Kirstie Allsop "Homemade, home". I also watch wedding TV and bridal programs to be up to date with current trends. We both love pinning on Pinterest and reading in the library. 

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

We both work from home and I have converted a room into a work space. Initially I was in my dining room  now in a room, but I know I will have to rent a little space soon as a studio, as clients are increasing and I am taking more orders,which is fantastic! 

My sister has a room at home that's full of crafts, paint and fabric. Sometimes she comes to mine or I raid her stuff, but all of this will go to our studio, once we have a space.

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

We are taking over social media. It's confusing to keep posting, tweeting, pinning,liking.whew.. 

Here are our links: Facebook, Pinterest, InstagramPolyvoreBlog

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

It took us 4 weeks to make our first sale! It was supplies glass mirror plates and then a week later we sold a tutu skirt to my first international customer (USA)

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

Oh my, in ten years time! Well, we have agreed that we would love for us to be a brand name, like Vera Wang or Jenny Packham. We want to have a franchise in every city and be interviewed on TV, be the next Sondra Celli or Thelma Nadine and be on a reality TV show. We would love to be in fashion shows and on runways, own our very own wedding boutique and make lots of money by selling to celebrity clients! Also we want to have written a book and done radio interviews. Ten years! I think that's achievable and we will probably do more.

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

I first heard about MISI recently through my auntie. She said we should come here as were brave enough and we are fans now, and follow MISI on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook

The site is improving as it goes along. I like it just as it is and we are willing to move along with any updates that happen, were here for life!

Visit Bespoke Vintage Castle

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Valentine's Day: 15 Days ~ Romantic Photo Display Ideas

We’ve already showed you a bunch of cool ideas showing how you can hang your photos and art in creative ways. Now we’re going to be more specific and show how you can organize family photos for Valentine's Day. 

1. Wire Wrapped Photo Holder

Simple is good. Simple and beautiful is fabulous! This DIY Valentines Picture Holder is exactly that: simple and beautiful. Time needed? 15 minutes approximately! Read more

2. Chocolate Photo Frame

If your partner is a chocolate lover, then this DIY craft is the best way to show your love! All you need is a few chocolate bars and some timely Valentines decorations. Read more

3. Vintage Display Idea

Clip an old photo of yours to a rusty toolbox latch. In front of the photo hang an old heart shaped cookie cutter. Source

4. Love Photo Blocks

These fun “love” blocks are not only per­fect for Valentine’s Day, but for dis­play­ing you wed­ding pho­tos! You could do them in what­ever the wed­ding col­ors are! Read more

3 Google+ Tools That Take Your Marketing to a New Level

Do you know you need to focus more on Google+?
Are you having a hard time building your community on Google+?
In this article I’ll tell you about 3 tools to build your presence on Google+ and get more value for your business.

#1: Friends+Me—Distribute Google+ Content to Other Platforms

Friends+Me automatically shares content from Google+ to other social networks by checking your Google+ business page and/or personal profile at regular intervals. If new posts are found, they’re reposted to any social networks you’ve associated with Friends+Me.
Friends+Me has some excellent configuration options available, but you’ll need to spend some time setting them up. Once that’s done, Friends+Me is a robust way toshare your Google+ updates across multiple platforms.
friends+me repost to twitter
Sharing from Google+ to Twitter brings more traffic to your Google+ account.
In addition to auto-syncing your Google+ content with other social platforms, this tool lets you:
  • Connect your established social platforms—Friends+Me supports Twitter; Facebook business pages, groups and personal profiles; LinkedIn profiles, groups and pages; and Tumblr public pages and private blogs.
  • Selectively publish—You may not want to publish your content to all social networks, so you can append specific hashtags (discussed a little further down) to indicate which platforms you want to share with.
  • Integrate tracking links—You can share content using either the Friends+Me web address shortener or you can use Both link shorteners let you track how your audience responds to your linked content.
  • Include Twitter inline images—When you attach a picture to your Google+ update, it’s visible on Twitter as well. Since visual content is a major part of community engagement, definitely try this feature and see how your fans react.
Here’s an example of a Google+ update reposted to Twitter. As you can see, the tweetincludes a link back to your original Google+ update and the image shows up inline.
When you launch Friends+Me, you’re asked to connect your Google+ business page or personal account. Then you can connect your other networks.
friends+me sharing destinations
Add your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr accounts to Friends+Me.
The Google+ page you link to Friends+Me is your source network. Content you publish on your source network is copied to your destination network(s) (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr).
In the example below, I selected a LinkedIn profile to connect. Friends+Me recognizes whether you’re already logged into LinkedIn, and all you have to do is click the button to add a LinkedIn profile.
connecting linkedin to friends+me
Connecting my LinkedIn profile to Friends+Me.
What I like about Friends+Me is that you can schedule each platform to share your Google+ updates at different times so you aren’t inundating your fans with the same information all at once. For example, you can schedule LinkedIn updates to go out in the morning while Twitter updates go out in the afternoon.
scheduling linkedin shares on friends+me
Each social profile has its own set of menu options for scheduling.
By default, Friends+Me posts your content to all of the social profiles you connect. However, there may be times when you don’t want to share with a specific platform.
Friends+Me uses specific hashtags that allow you to share only with the platforms you want. For example, you can include #f so that content is only republished to Facebook or #ft to republish content to Facebook and Twitter.
hashtag control on friends+me
This Google+ post will only be reposted to Twitter.
If you don’t want to republish anywhere, include either #ns or #noshare as part of the article you share on Google+. (Don’t worry, there’s a cheat sheet for the hashtags, but they’re very intuitive.)
Friends+Me has several sections to help you make the most of your sharing:
  • Timeline—The timeline shows the updates you have recently posted on Google+ that were reposted to a network (e.g., LinkedIn). You can click on each update to bring you to the actual post in Google+.
  • Queue—Any items that are in the queue will be published at the time set in the Scheduling section. If you don’t have automatic scheduling enabled via the Scheduling screen, then any new Google+ posts are placed here in the queue. You can either post those immediately or manually set a posting time for each update.
  •  Scheduling—This section is where you set up your sharing schedule. You can specify that posts be sent to a social network at a specific time interval after the original update is published (e.g., 30 minutes later). You can even set it up so updates are reposted on specific days and times. For example, in the screenshot below, the Google+ updates are scheduled to be reposted to LinkedIn on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at various times during the day.
    repost schedule on friends+me
    Schedule your Google+ update to share on specific days of the week.
  • Routing—This section lists the Google+ pages or profiles you want to share updates from. So if you only want posts on your personal Google+ profile to be reposted to LinkedIn, you would specify it via the Routing screen. You’ll also see which of your accounts aren’t currently connected to Friends+Me.
  • Link Shortening—By default, Friends+Me uses its own link shortener so any links you share will have as part of the link. You can change this to if you prefer.
  • Setup—The setup options depend on the social profile you are configuring. Each platform has parameters you can specify. For example, if you’re setting up Twitter, you can specify a character limit (e.g., 110) to allow room for retweets.
A great feature is you can tell Friends+Me to always link back to your Google+ update instead of the original post on the web.
friends+me setup options
Different setup options for each profile type.
Friends+Me is a useful tool to share original content from Google+ because you have total control over howwhere and when content is shared.

#2: Chrome Do Share—Schedule Posts to Your Personal Profile

While you usually want to share company news via your Google+ brand page, there may be times you want to schedule it to go out via your personal profile too. Unfortunately, the usual content management tools can’t do that.
Chrome, the Google web browser, has a plugin that solves that problem: Chrome Do Share plugin.
There’s one catch: Your computer must have the Chrome browser open at the time you want the content delivered.
This is because the Do Share plugin runs directly on your computer and the posts you schedule are stored in your browser. When the scheduled share time arrives, the posts are sent to Google+. If Chrome isn’t open, you’ll have to reschedule the posts.
While it’s important to configure the plugin properly to get the full range of features, once that’s done you can:
  • Schedule content to update to your Google+ personal profile and/or your business profile.
  • Schedule content you find while you are browsing through Google+posts. This is an extra option added to Google+ posts so you can schedule delivery of this content at a later time through Do Share.
Open the Chrome browser, then search the Chrome web store and add ‘Do Share’ as an extension on your browser.
install doshare plugin
The Do Share plugin is available through the Chrome store plugin directory.
Once it’s installed, access it by clicking on the Do Share button in the browser toolbar.
doshare toolbar icon
The plugin adds a button to your browser toolbar that allows you to add content to Do Share.
In the screenshot above, you can see that the number in the box is zero. That means you don’t have anything scheduled. That number changes as you schedule posts.
When you click the button, it gives you the option to create a post with a link to the current webpage.
For example, if you’re on a post on the RazorSocial site and click the Do Share button, a new tab comes up with all of the things you need to create a new Google+ post that automatically has a link to the RazorSocial page you’re viewing.
doshare webpage share
Just click on the Share option next to the link to retrieve and display details of the post, then schedule it.
If you want to add this post to your schedule, just click on the Share option to the left of the link. This presents a snippet preview of how the post will look on Google+.
creating a post with doshare
Add in the title and description and schedule.
Now you can add more details to the post. You can:
  • Specify a title. The title appears in bold on the first line of your Google+ post.
  • Enter the details of your post, and make a comment about the link you’re sharing.
  • Mention and add people to your post. When you add people, they are notified and it can be a good way of catching someone’s attention.
  • Create a polladd an image or add a link to your post.
  • Publish your post immediately or schedule it for later.
Using Friends+Me With Do Share
Friends+Me and Do Share have different strengths. What’s nice is that they work well together. You can share content via Do Share and then Friends+Me will pick up that content and share it out to the social networks you have configured.
If you want to schedule and share content to your Google+ personal profile, Do Share is your solution. It’s easy to use, gives you control of what’s shared and works well with Friends+Me. The only downside is that you can only use it with Chrome.

#3: Steady Demand—Analytics for Your Google+ Strategy

Steady Demand is a Google+ audit and analytics tool. The audit is free; the analytics tool is paid.
Free Audit Tool
To use the audit tool, go to Steady Demand and click on Launch Tool to reach the audit page. Enter your Google+ brand page URL and click TEST.
The results show you an overview of what’s working on your page and what’s not.
steady demand audit tool
Enter your business page to get an audit to see what’s right or wrong with your page.
If you scroll down, you can see an analysis of the last 10 posts on your page. Posts are graded on three criteria:
  • Post length
  • Mentions
  • Hashtags
If two out of the three criteria are met, the post passes.
steady demand post analysis
Posts that have (and haven’t) satisfied the audit criteria.
Paid Pro Tool
Steady Demand Pro provides detailed analytics on your Google+ business page.
Now that you have your basic audit, you can upgrade to Steady Demand Pro and get many more features, including these:
  • Dashboard—Your dashboard is a quick view of your overall performance analytics.
  • Post Quality—Steady Demand reviews individual posts and assesses their quality, then provides recommendations for improvement.
  • Engagement—You can see the details of engagement on specific posts.
  • Alerts—Steady Demand warns you if an update has low engagement.
To set up your Pro account, all you need to do is go to the Steady Demand Pro pageand click Start Trial. Once you fill out your account information, you can enter your Google+ business page or personal profile details.
You can also add competitors’ profiles/pages so you can compare performance and see what is working well for them.
When you login to your Pro account, you’ll see your dashboard with menus on the left and analytics displayed on the right:
steady demand pro tool dashboard
The Steady Demand dashboard gives you a quick look at overall stats.
The dashboard is a high-level overview of your Google+ performance:
  • Connections by Day shows the growth or decline of the number of circles you are part of and the followers broken out by day.
steady demand connections by day report
Look at growth or decline in circles you are part of or of followers.
When you click on a particular date, you can see that day’s posts and evaluate why there was growth or decline on that day.
steady demand posts on day view
View all post activity related to your posts on a particular day.
  • Engagement by Day shows each post’s individual engagement rate. Select the View option to see whether the actual post had good or poor engagement.
steady demand posts engagement by day report
View engagement on each individual post and then go directly to the post.
  • Engagement Distribution by Post Type shows how your community responds to different post topics. For example, in the chart below, Articles/Links–type posts get good engagement and get more +1s than shares or comments.To get this most out of this metric, be sure you’re posting a similar number of different kinds of posts. For example, in this chart you would think that video posts are not very popular and don’t get much engagement, but the truth is we just didn’t have very many video posts, so it’s hard to tell.
steady demand engagement report
View a breakdown of engagement by post type.
  • Post Engagement by Time of Day lets you see what works and when. You can also see what time of day you are not posting. Experiment by posting at those times to see if you get higher engagement.
steady demand hourly post distribution report
Figure out what time of day gets the most engagement.
  • Post Quality Breakdown is an assessment based on how many people recommended your Google+ updatesSteady demand recommends your posts have at least 50 characters, include a hashtag and mention someone. The following illustration shows that the posts don’t have any mentions, so this is an area to focus on.
steady demand post quality report
Analyzing the Post Quality chart will give you some ideas for improvement.
Steady Demand gives you an idea of your current Google+ success with its free audit. To really dive in and improve your Google+ presence, you need a Pro account with full analytics reporting—which includes monitoring your competitors. By watching your competitors, you can evaluate what’s working for them and adapt your own strategy as needed.
As expected, Google is integrating Google+ efforts into its suite of tools. It’s more important than ever to establish a presence there.
It may take some effort to build your community on Google+, but the tools in this article will get you on the right track.
What do you think? Is Google+ working for your business? Tell us what tools you’re using to get an edge.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Valentine's Day: 16 Days ~ 5 Creative Ways to Promote your Shop

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and that’s great news for online retailers. Consumer spending is on the rise and there are endless opportunities to capitalize on this holiday with sweet and clever marketing campaigns.

First, it’s important to be knowledgeable about Valentine’s Day. Here are some useful statistics that can help you understand the holiday. According to CNN:

$130.97 — The per person average estimated amount that people will spend on Valentine’s Day.

$18.6 billion — The total spending that will be reached by Valentine’s Day.

40.7% — The percentage of people who will use their Smartphone to purchase Valentine’s gifts.

29% — The percentage of people who will type a romantic text message.

151 million — The approximate number of cards that are exchanged on Valentine’s Day.

These statistics can help you formulate the following assumptions: People are spending money, sometimes a huge chunk, on Valentine’s Day.

Avoid heartbreaking sales and make your revenues extra sweet. To start you on your motivated marketing strategy, we’ve  put together a list of creative ways to promote your shop for Valentine’s Day.

1. Drive Traffic with Blog Posts

This is a great opportunity to share unique and romantic ideas to celebrate the holiday and pop up on every sweetheart’s search engine results. Write blog posts and create landing pages for topics like “perfect gift idea for him and her” and “the best Valentine’s Day surprises.”.

2. Guarantee Shipping Before Feb. 14

This is an absolute must-have and you have to promote it! Share your guaranteed shipping promise all over your shop. Luckily this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday which means you could have items shipping as late as Wednesday the 12th or even the 13th if you’re offering overnight shipping.

3. Offer Free Gift Wrapping

Tons of shoppers will be ordering their gifts online and sending them directly to their Valentine. Promote free gift wrapping and the option to include a personalized note with their purchases. Customers will appreciate the extra touch.

4. Use Social Media

A perfect advertising medium! Promote your products, blog posts or even share customer love stories. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Pinterest are perfect social media outlets to capitalize on trending searches and hashtags for the lovebirds.

5. Dress up your shop

Change the avatar and the banner of your shop to a Valentine's Day one. Do it not just for this Holiday season – but for EVERY holiday that comes a long. This idea is not only easy, but fun and will bring a smile to your visitors’ faces.
Extra tip: Do you use Twitter? Then take it one step further, and decorate your Twitter background, too.


Wishing you lots of love this Valentine season! Please share your favorite Valentine ideas below. 

DIY ~ Heart Pin Brooch

  • soft fabric (like organza, silk, satin)
  • thread
  • needle
  • scissors
  • candle and lighter
  • felt
  • brooch pin

Cut out 5 hearts all in different sizes to be layered.

Using a lit candle, carefully run the rim of the heart through the flame.

Layer the hearts from big to small.

Stitch around the smallest heart.  This is to hold all the hearts together.

Cut out a small piece of felt and get your pin ready.

Glue the pin to the felt.

Then glue the felt to the back of the heart.

...and your brooch is done!

Source: createsie