Monday, April 28, 2014

5 Favorite Lifestyle Blogs

I like to follow lifestyle blogs and read several each day.  I have come up with a list of my favorite lifestyle blogs that inspire and entertain me. So...

What is a lifestyle blog?

Lifestyle blogs speak to a variety of topics.  Lifestyle blogs can vary considerably from one another.  Most of them have a slant towards one favorite topic.  The good ones each have a unique feel, and they all reach an audience suited to their content.
This blog, Plum Beadacious, is a lifestyle blog with a heavy slant towards making and selling jewelry.  Niche blogs differ from  lifestyle blogs in that they focus on one type of topic and rarely if ever go outside of that area.  For example, Beading Daily is a website that blogs about beading of all types. It sticks to beading, and may also talk some about selling handmade jewelry or beads. It is a wonderful resource for people who work with beads, but not so much if you want to find out about decorating your home. Beading Daily is a niche blog.
You will see below in the footer of my blog, middle column, that I list each of the lifestyle blogs that I really like.  I follow some of them on Blog Lovin or by email.

My Top 5 Lifestyle Blogs

A Beautiful Mess -

This wonderful blog is large and full of lots of goodies.  They talk about diy projects, food, photography, fashion and other things.  You could get totally absorbed here and lose all track of time.
Wherever you land on this blog, if the post is about creating a DIY project, you can be assured to receive thorough instructions with lots of photos. Here is today's most recent post.  Yes they post more than once a day.
Wood and Leather Magazine Holder - DIY

The Pioneer Woman -

This is another large lifestyle blog that I truly enjoy.  Ree is the woman behind this multifaceted blog.  She has a wonderful sense of humor.  Her whole life is vastly different from mine, but there is just enough in common for me to really like reading her posts.  She lives in the country; she cooks and she home schools.  She also has her own TV show.  She talks about her husband,  Marlboro Man, and the ranching operations.  
Here is one of her posts from today where she makes Italian Cream Cupcakes - YUM!
Italian Cream Cupcakes - The Pioneer Woman

Katie Crafts -

I discovered Katie Crafts a month or so ago, and I subscribe to it.  This is not a mega blog like the other two I talked about above.  It is a fun lifestyle blog with lots of different things.  Katie Crafts sometimes features Etsy artist shops. She also has recipes. I tried one of the recipes that her husband came up with called  Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleu.  It was really good.
Here is one of her posts from today about blue fingernails.  I would not do this to my finger nails, but it is really cute for someone younger than me.
Nail Art: Feelin' Blue at Katie Craft


This is a lifestyle blog that I discovered through a blog link party.  There are a lot of "mommy" blogs around, and most of them are not my cup of tea at this point in my life.  This blog had a good article on blogging that caused me to pause and read.  From there I went on to subscribe to this lady's blog.  She does do "mommy" posts and a variety of other things.

Today Nicole talks about her new curtains which are very sweet and pretty.
Pretty Curtains - Momfever

Everything Etsy -

Last for my top 5, but not least is Everything Etsy.  This has been a favorite of mine for a number of years.  Kim shares lots of creative ideas here and is helpful to those of us with Etsy shops.  She and her husband Tim just started a group called Handmade Tickle that I joined.  It is a group that talks together on forums and also teaches more about blogging specifically for handmade creatives.

Here is one of Kim's headlines for a post about Etsy.
15 Great Reasons to Start an Etsy Shop - Everything Etsy
I hope you will be able to visit these blogs and poke around to see what you like.  Do you have any favorite lifestyle blogs?  Please share those with us in the comments.  I like to read different blogs, and I am sure other readers would like to do so as well.

Next, I will be talking about my favorite business blogs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Needle Minders Completed for You to Buy

Needle Minders Ready for Mother's Day

If you have been following my blog, you know that I discussed needle minders in my post of April 14. I finally completed a line of needle minders that you can purchase as a good gift for Mother's Day.  Many of us do some sort of stitching and the pesky needle gets away when we get up from our project to do something else.  We come back and find the needle and thread are missing.  Sometimes it falls into the folds of fabric, sometimes down the side of the chair, and who knows where else.  If the needle and thread are not attached to the fabric, it can be even a greater problem to find the needle.

We all like pretty things even when we are doing our stitching craft.  So why not dress up the fabric with a needle minder?  I have made three different sizes of these and three different price points.

Visit my shop to see the full line of needle minders ready for you to purchase for your Mother's Day gift.

I am thinking about expanding my line of beaded needlework accessories.  If you have ideas of something you would like to see me make, please let me know. Your comments mean a great deal to me.  Thanks.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Radiant Orchid - Glorious Color for Spring

Radiant Orchid Jewelry for Spring

Anyone who has followed me on my blog, Etsy or my Plumbeadacious shop has probably noticed that I use shades of purple and pink fairly extensively on my website as well as in my items that I sell.  So it is very exciting for me to see that Pantone named Radiant Orchid at the Pantone 2014 color of the year.
Pantone creates color palettes for the fashion industry, and their leadership sets the tone for what the designers and manufacturers will be creating and selling.  This spring you may see this beautiful orchid color almost everywhere.

Jewelry in my shop in Radiant Orchid

I created this chain lanyard with radiant orchid button pearls a few days ago and listed it in my shop this morning. You can purchase one of these at my shop, Plum Beadacious.

 Radiant Orchid Pearl Lanyard

Do you plan to wear radiant orchid in some way this spring?  If it is not your color, you can add a splash of it to your outfit. Browse my shop to find your favorite radiant orchid accessory.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Polyvore - A Website for Fashion and Home Collages

Have you heard of Polyvore?

I have seen that word in different places on the internet, and silly me, I thought Polyvore was some sort of fabric or material like polyester.  I was so wrong about that.  Polyvore is a site on the internet that allows its viewers to create fabulous collages of items they like and want to share with the world.

Is this another Pinterest?

Polyvore reminds me of Pinterest, but it really is quite different.  I found the collage photo below on a board on Pinterest today.  When I saw it, it was in a board called Polyvore, I decided to find out what Polyvore is.

How can I use Polyvore?

I signed up for a Polyvore account today.  I now have the ability to create a collage.  A member of Polyvore can select items from Polyvore's vast selection of products that include fashion and home goods to create a collage.  You can share things from Polyvore on Pinterest.
The other exciting feature I found is the opportunity to add whatever item I would like from the internet to a collage that I make on Polyvore.  So I gave it a whirl and created the collage below that includes one of my magnetic id badge reels.  It is not as rich with things as the one pictured above, but I am pretty pleased for my first attempt.  You should try it on Polyvore.

Etsy Sellers - What an Opportunity

I am always trying to think of ways to promote my products.  I see wonderful possibilities with using Polyvore.  You can link your collages to Facebook as soon as you make them.  They have a button you can use to do that. Also, when you are looking at the collage on Polyvore, you can click on an item.  That item then appears on the screen with the price and a link to the website for a person to buy it.  Here is how my badge reel displays when I do that.
Have you ever used Polyvore?  I would love to hear what experience you have with it and any tips you might have to use it. Please add to the comments to tell us more about it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Do for Me - Styling My Hair

New Do for Me
I am not a big fan of getting my hair done. Many times it doesn't come out the way I want it.  I find it difficult to describe to my beautician what I want "my do" to look like.  Actually, I am not even sure what that is myself, so how can she know what I am talking about?

I got a new do several months ago where I had my beautician, Tina, chop it off real short.  I thought it would help me to style it better, and embarrassingly enough, cover what I am thinking may be a bald spot developing at the back of my head.  Don't tell anyone!

Well that new do was a bit of a nightmare for me.  I do not want to look boyish.  It is not the real me.  Also, it would stick out at all sorts of angles.  There I was spending more time trying to tame these little hairs than I ever spent styling my hair before that.

So I started growing out my hair.  I went for eight weeks between trims instead of my normal six weeks.  We went through several rounds of that.  Yesterday my hair was longer and a bit unruly.  I went to see Tina, and she trimmed it and did a phenomenal styling job.

So on my way home from the beautician's I was thinking, I need to update my photo on my website and elsewhere on the web.  As soon as I got home, while my hair was looking good, I asked Bill to snap some photos of me.  Uh, head shots of course!  Don't need the whole body out here for everyone to see. Anyhow, he took about 15 photos and I found several I really like.  The one on this post is one of them, and the one on my home page is another. I am happy with my new do!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Needle Minder-Good Gift for a Seamstress

Have you ever put your needle work or hand stitching down to get up and do something else, and when you return to the project, you cannot find the needle?  This happens occasionally to most people who work with a needle and thread.

One of my customers, Annie, is a quilter extraordinaire.  She has challenged me to think beyond my normal product line to create items useful to quilters and seamstresses. With her guidance for the design and length, I made her several scissors lanyards.

Annie asked me if I could make a needle minder (aka needle nanny) similar to the badge reels that I make and sell.  It took me awhile to catch on to how these work, but once I did, I really liked the idea.  The picture of the blue birds on a pendant holder above is the needle minder I did for Annie.  She was kind enough to take this photo for me showing the needle minder in use.

You can visit Annie's blog, Annie's Ruby Slipperz, for some fun reading about making quilts.

How the Needle Minder Works

The needle minder works with a magnet.  There is a metal piece on the back of the decorative round piece and a 1/2" neodymium magnet that sticks magnetically to the decorative piece. The seamstress places the magnet under the fabric with the decorative piece on top.  The needle is then placed between the decorative piece and the fabric.  It will stay there until you return to your project to resume your stitching.

Gift for Mom

With Mother's Day approaching very soon, May 11, wouldn't this be a wonderful gift for your mother or grandmother?  Many of our mothers and grandmothers sew.  I was thinking it would also be a nice gift for a grandchild to make for a grandmother.  I purchased my neodymium magnets from a seller on Etsy, Sun and Moon Crafts.  She will deliver to you very promptly.  Then you can find something to make the decorative top.

I also did a Google search for needle minder, and found a number of sites where these are sold. In addition I found this blog post from Little Bit Funky about making your own needle minder.   Crystal, the author of the blog, places the needle on top of the needle minder and does not use any metal in the decorative piece.

What do you think about needle minders?

I am thinking about making more of these and putting them in my shop for sale.  I need to move quickly to do this, so you can purchase in time for Mother's Day.

If you sew, would you use something like this? Do you like the idea of giving a needle minder to someone as a gift?  Leave a reply for me below to let me know what you think.  I always value your opinions.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Etsy Shop Sales in the Last Nine Days

My Etsy shop is hopping with sales!

Here is what is selling well for me right now.  This month, since April 1,  I sold seven id badge lanyards, six magnetic id badge reels and two eyeglass chains.  For me as a handmade seller on  Etsy, this is good.
My sales have increased in the last six months.  Part of this is due to repeat customers (thank you so much to those customers), some is due to new items in my shop, and lots is due to my increased marketing efforts through this website, and social media.
Take a look at some of the items I sold through my Etsy shop.  Most of my sales still come from the Etsy shop.  I am beginning to make some sales on my Plum Beadacious website that is on Shopify, an ecommerce shopping cart website.

ID Badge Lanyards

The photo below is of a chain lanyard I created using cute little silver plated fish beads and blue pearls and crystals.  I have one more of those available in my Etsy shop.

This next lanyard is a practical one for everyday that will go with lots of different outfits.  Black is always a good seller for my lanyards in my Etsy shop.  I also have one more of these available in my Etsy shop.

Two of the lanyards I sold during this time  are my very best seller of all times.  It is the Simple Silver Chain Id Badge Lanyard pictured below.  These are very popular because they go with anything and they are lightweight. I try to always have a supply of these available for sale.

Magnetic ID Badge Reels

Customers also bought a number of magnetic id badge reels this month so far.  Three of the eight that I sold in my Etsy shop were the beautiful Silver Filigree Cabochon badge reel.  This item is very popular as well as the Simple Silver id badge lanyard for similar reasons.  It is also silver and classic in design.  It can be worn everyday.  This is one of my stock items.  I just keep making them so I always have them available.

Thanks for looking at what I have been doing lately.  All of my sold items from my Etsy shop are available for you to review here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

5 Ways a Blog is Like a Message in a Bottle

How is a blog like a message in a bottle?

1. Message in bottle bobs around in the ocean

The vision most of us have of a message in a bottle is one of the bottle bobbing around in a huge ocean that covers masses of the earth's surface.  It is a vision of the bottle being by itself in the middle of nowhere.
How is this like a blog? A blog is out on the worldwide web amidst millions of other blogs and yet is all alone in trying to connect up with others.  It is bobbing around on the internet if it has no direction given to it.

2. Message in bottle lands on a beach

A bottle is picked up by a current in the ocean and eventually may land on a beach somewhere.
A blog may also find its way into a current of information on the internet.  Perhaps the blog has some good keywords in it. It may land in front of a reader's eyes, but are they the eyes the blog was intended to reach?

3. Message in bottle is noticed by a person on the beach

Once the bottle is on the beach, someone may notice there is a bottle on the beach.
Someone surfing the worldwide web may notice the blog there.

4. Message in bottle is picked up by the person who found it

A person needs to want to open the bottle on the beach.  Does the message paper show through the glass bottle? If the bottle is clear, or an interesting shape, or perhaps it looks really old, the person may be curious to see what is inside.  If it is an old beer bottle, most likely the person will not even see that there is a message inside it.  The person may not even pick it up.
Again, the same is true of a blog. Is the title intriguing enough to grasp the full interest of the person who has found it on the worldwide web? Does it hold promise for the reader?  Does it look like it will answer a question for the reader or solve a problem for the reader?

5. Message in bottle is read by the finder and shared with friends

The person who picks up the bottle, retrieves the message.  It may intrigue him, and if so, he will most likely share his find with others, and may keep the bottle and the message as a treasured keepsake.
If someone clicks on the blog with the intriguing title, he will read it.  He may find it contains valuable information that he wants to share with his friends.  He may post it on Facebook or some other social media. It becomes a treasure to him to bookmark.  It may cause him to subscribe to the blog so he can receive more valuable messages.
If you write a blog, what are you doing to make sure it gets in the right current to be noticed and read by the right people?  How do you grab their attention and provide excellent content so that your reader will find your messages to be a treasure just like the message in a bottle?

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