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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Notebook and pen folder from upcycled shorts - Day 46 Use What You've Got

Last week I made some mini backpacks with some old shorts I had in my stash. 

I still have some of the fabric from the shorts left, so yesterday I made a matching notebook folder:

I adapted this tutorial for the folder.

I think they make a cute little matching set.

With the all important seal of approval from my two girls, I think I'll make matching folders for the other backpacks too!

For heaps more clothes upcycling ideas - and to add any of your own - check out the ongoing linky:

And you can always follow me on Pinterest too, where I'm always adding plenty of new upcycling ideas as I find them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 45 Use What You've Got - my 'other' blog!

Yesterday, I shared a video on my Facebook page relating to the ALS ice-bucket challenge.  This video really made me think about peer pressure, and standing up for what you believe in - not just following the crowd.

It inspired me to write a post about it - on my other blog, 
which is about how we're educating our kids to become the best people they can be.

I haven't kept this blog up regularly - and thought this was a good opportunity to 'use what I've got',  in order to express my opinion.

You can read my post here:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to make a personalised fabric bookmark - Day 44 Use What You've Got

I've been sorting through and clearing my computer files recently. In my tutorials folder I found some that I made a couple of years ago for my girls to follow when they were learning so sew some basic things.  I thought I may as well make use of these tutorials and share them on the blog.

Here's one for making a personalised fabric bookmark like this:

It's a very simple and straightforward sewing projects - great for kids to get started on learning to sew!

The full tutorial is available as a free PDF download - to get it, 

Can your kids sew? Did you teach them? Do you think it's important for them to learn to follow instructions for sewing and creating things, or is it better to let them learn by experimenting and playing around with the fabric and supplies?

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Round Tuit 220, Day 43 Use What You've Got

Happy Monday from Cairns!
We had a busy weekend - with hockey matches for our girls - our eldest now through to the finals next weekend which is very exciting! Then we had extra kids at our house over the weekend for sleepovers - more excitement for our girls!
It's all calm again now - back to the working week.

Here's my wrap up of last week with my #100happydays pictures:

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 cute 
Pinky Lamb Amigurumi pattern from JennyandTeddy Craft Blog:

Next, Pie Cupcakes from Moola Saving Mom - simple and cute!

For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
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, August 24, 2014

Do you have to spend money to make money? - Day 42 Use What You've Got

With my current challenge of 'using what I've got', when this question came up, I thought it was a good time to think hard about whether you do need to 

spend money to make money.

As I've mentioned many times before, I would love to turn my blog into a viable money-making business. To be able to do what I love doing for a 'job' would be the ideal situation for me -and I'm sure there are plenty of other people out there who would like to do this too!

What can I pay for to help grow my blog?

1. Transfer from Blogger to Wordpress. 
 I've read lots about this over the years - how you shouldn't leave yourself at the mercy of Google, who can take away your blog at a moments notice for no apparent reason, then all your hard work will be lost.  Paying for a Wordpress site with private hosting and a domain name is the solution - it's only a few dollars a month after all. 
 Well all those few dollars add up!  I have my blog backed up and all my 100+ sewing tutorials saved elsewhere 'just in case'.  Honestly, I feel I'm not writing about anything offensive or risque; so the chances of Google deleting my blog must be pretty slim.  There's always a risk in everything, and if anything happened to my blog then I've got the resources and know-how to start again, bigger and better than before! I trialled a Wordpress blog last year when I was offered free hosing for a year, and learned a lot, but didn't feel the need to continue it or transfer my current blogs at this stage. I'm happy to just stick with the wonderful free service from Blogger.

2. Paying to increase traffic, followers or likes
I'm always looking at ways to improve the traffic to my blogs and so boost my advertising and other revenue.   Recently I've been exploring the use of social media more.  On Facebook, when one of my posts seems particularly popular, I get a message from Facebook itself asking if I'd like to promote that post even more via a paid promotion, I guess to 'ride the wave' so to speak of this popular post.  I could also pay to advertise my Facebook page - the more you pay, the more 'likes' you are supposed to receive for your page.

Now over the years, I have been through some of the 'follow me, follow you' on my blog, joining in blog hops where the whole point is to get new followers, and other set up opportunities where bloggers all support each other with likes, comments, follows or whatever, just to increase our 'numbers'.

When I was at a  much earlier stage with my blog - just starting out, I'm sure this did help - having a larger number of followers and more comments on my posts did make my blog look more popular that perhaps it really was. And of course this was free not paid promotion. But over time, (I've been blogging for over 4 years now) I have built up my blog and my 'community' of genuine readers and followers.  I don't feel that paying for more is the way to build my blog now - I want people to genuinely like my blog on its own merits and follow along because they are really interested in my content.

Can I increase traffic and followers for free?
To continue to increase my traffic, I have to get my blog and content out there and noticed more and in more places. So the question would be - should I pay for advertising or promotion - or are there ways I can do this 'using what I've got' and without having to spend money?

I believe there are ways.  If I can put out good content - interesting articles, great sewing tutorials etc, then use linky parties, free sewing tutorials sites, keep on building my social network, then I believe good content will get out there and spread.   I've seen the spikes I've had in traffic from the odd 'stumbleupon' of my blog or a particular post, or a mention of one of my posts on a larger site.  These posts have been mentioned because of their own merit, not because I paid someone to promote them.  This is the kind of promotion and resource I want to tap into - genuine liking and appreciation of my work! I'm always exploring different avenues of getting my blog out there through various social media and other sites - there are plenty of free opportunities out there - just as I feature other blogs and crafters on my own blog. Once again - what I do on my own blog in terms of promoting others, is the kind of promotion I would be happy for others to do for me and have had many times over the years.

3. Pay for a better blog design and layout
Since this is a creative blog and is a reflection of my own creativity, I like the fact that my blog is of my own design.  I've learnt how to make a header, edit pictures, make clickable pictures and buttons etc over the years and I'm proud of the fact that my blog is my own creation. I've always been a big fan of DIY - for anything and everything possible.  It's so much more rewarding to figure something out for yourself than to simply pay someone else to do it for you.  
I know I'm putting in 100% effort for my own blog - and know I can change or improve things whenever I need to - there are so many great tutorials out there to show you how to do practically anything! 
Paying someone else to design my blog would kind of feel like it's going against my own principles and ideals of doing things for yourself when you can. After all - the title of my blog is 
Creating my way to Success.  Perhaps I'm too controlling, and I often wonder whether I would happily pay others to do things for me if I was rich? The answer is probably yes, as it would then free up my time to do and try lots of other fun things. However, I'm not at that stage yet, and it's nice to have full control and responsibility for my own blog and business growth.

4. Pay for blogging and money making courses
A few years ago, we got into a little property investing and made some money.  We decided that to continue to make money this way we needed to learn more and have the support of others and mentors to assist us. So I embarked on a property investing course for a few months which did cost a fair bit of money. 

 I learned a lot from the course and met some great people, but I think the biggest thing I took from the course was that success is all about commitment, dedication and persistence. Whatever you decide you want to do and achieve, you can do if you set your mind to it. It's all about finding your passion.
 There is always information out there, and people willing to help if you ask.  There are plenty of paid courses out there and I'm sure some brilliant ones, but there are also plenty of free resources - the internet, the library for borrowing books and tapes; groups and communities to join in your town or online. Not everything costs money.

I don't spend lots of money so don't expect others to either

When I reflect on what I want to gain for myself, and what I offer and give out to others, I want these two things to be similar in terms of the 'how'. My blog has well over 100 sewing tutorials available now - both in posts and as free PDF downloads. I've spent countless hours over the years creating these - because I enjoy doing it.  I make them available for free because I myself generally only use free information and tutorials.  Occasionally I will buy a book or how to course, but that is the exception rather than the rule.  So following my own rule - that is how I like to share my knowledge and skills - lots of free tutorials and encouragement to others to DIY!  
 I am currently working on an e-book for sale, but as I said, this is the exception rather than the rule to sell my work rather than provide it for free. I'm making every effort to make it great value for money and low cost - as that's the kind of things I buy for myself personally.

In researching this post I found an interesting article from The Entrepreneur Mind stating that you don't need money to make money. I love this quote from the article:

"Having no money doesn’t mean you have no


This is exactly what I'm trying to do and explore with my current challenge of "Use What You've Got". I have so many resources that I can use to grow my blog into a profitable business. I have my skills, in sewing, blogging and writing which are constantly being developed and improving. I also have a large fabric stash to work with creating tutorials and also making items to sell in my, as yet very small,  Madeit shop.  There are endless free resources available online - posts and tutorials where people are generously sharing their own knowledge and experiences about blogging and growing a business. I'm trying to make full use of all of these resources, and in turn share more of what I learn to continue passing the knowledge on!

So what do you think?
Do you believe you need to spend money to make money?
Have you already spent some worthwhile money that has helped your business grow?

I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Door hanger reminder notes - Day 40 Use What You've Got

A couple of days ago on Facebook, Meijo's Joy shared a picture of notepads in the shape of door hangers for leaving reminder notes on. I thought they were a great idea - as I'm always looking for ways to help my kids remember what to take to school each day!

But rather than notepads - I wanted to make something that was reusable.

So I got some cardboard and coloured paper, cut the door-hanger shape from them, stuck them all together and covered them with clear contact paper (that you use for covering books).

I made one with red on one side and green on the other..

And another with blue on one side and yellow on the other.

Then I just added a board pen and a piece of fabric (from my scrap stash) for rubbing the messages out before writing new ones.

Hopefully now my girls will be able to leave themselves notes and never forget anything for school again!

I can always hope anyway! It'll certainly be a novelty for a while!

This was a great project using what I already had in the house. It cost me nothing and hopefully will be very useful!

How do you help your kids remember what to take to school each day?  I've tried all kinds of notes before -but I'm hoping this one will be successful!

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