How to break into the blogging world!

I’m the first to admit I’m no expert when it comes to knowing everything about how to become a great blogger! I, once upon a time ( just under a year ago!), started blogging for “REALS” myself and started off like so many of you! I was excited to record and share my adventures and wondered if anyone else would even care!

Over time I’ve learned a few tricks and discovered that there definitely were some rules to follow and ways to grow my blog and reach the goals I set for myself!

I’ve been receiving a ton of emails lately asking for advice on how to break out in the blogging world! After answering a handful and seeing a huge interest in knowing more I came to conclusion that I needed to write a post about what I’ve learned!

So take it for what it’s worth! Here are a few tips and tricks that have brought me success when it came to growing my site and gaining an amazing readership…

  • Figure out what your blogs main focus is! Define your niche and hone in on it! What’s your angle? Are you an amazing cook? Do you love fashion? Are you refining your domestic skills? Are you passionate about green living, home schooling or raising exotic Birds? Narrow in on your specialty and dive head first into focusing on THAT! You will be more identifiable if you have a focus! You’ll see why a little more later!

  • It’s important to get the word out that you’re starting up this new adventure! Start where you already have an audience! Announce it on your family blog, on facebook, twitter or in an email to family and friends! Simply let others know that you’ve started a blog where they can see your thought on ( fill in the blank!) This is an important start! It’s best to get the support of those who know you best! They will be your most loyal and most proud of your new gig!

  • Now branching out and gaining new readers! The best way to get your new site out there is to register it on as many search registries as you can! It’s as easy as registering on sites under the category that best fits your topic! This is why having a specific topic is important! In my case I register under “Hobby” or “Craft” as my category! This way when people go to these popular search sites and want to find a new “Hobby Site” they can now find you listed! Here a just a few sites you can register your blogs on…

  • Link! Link!Link! Another great way to get seen is to link at other sites that share your same topic! Chances are that their readers will be interested in what you’re working on too! I link to other linking parties every day! It’s one of my daily tasks for promoting my site! I’ve gained tons of new readers because they came to my site via a link and took a longer look around to see what else I had done! They liked what they saw and have become loyal followers! Check out THIS LINK to see the many other sites that have linking parties going on throughout the week! And if you ever plan on hosting a linking party on your own site
    PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! use Mcklinky!!! It’s the most user friendly and makes it easy for your visitors to link up multiple posts! Trust me! The other linking features out there make it harder to link up and I tend to skip over those parties because it’s so much more work!

  • Create a button that others can grab and throw on their blogs! I know! I know! I’m the worst example of this trick! My buttons have been under constructions for months! Consider it free advertising! Create an attractive button that they can easily grab its html code and post it to their site! Check out THIS LINK to learn how to create a “Grab my button” code!

  • Make your blog attractive and welcoming to others! Think about the blogs you love to visit! Besides their content I bet you like visiting because it’s tidy, easy to navigate and orderly. Be sure to have commonly looked for features like a way to contact you! I hate not being able to find an email address! I’m also less likely to visit a blog if it’s cluttered with all sorts of distracting buttons and too much going on. This may just be my personal taste but if you look at all of the top ranking blogs you’ll notice a clean look that is less likely to take away from the real purpose of the blog which should be their great content! Here are a few ways to help tidy up a blog:
  1. Create internal post that can highlight info that may bog down your blogs main page. Thing like linking party buttons and a blog roll. Create Tabs that take you to that information rather then having them displayed in individual posts or in side columns.
  2. Avoid flashy and rotating banners or buttons or at least multiple ones. Too much movement can be distracting.
  3. Use consistent sizing when considering ad buttons and other tab sizes. If things look uniform and fit nicely together it will be more appealing.
  4. Try not to change your site too often. People like to know where they are when they come for a visit! It’s like moving the furniture around…People get used to sitting in the same place and then all of a sudden the favorite seat in the house has gone all switch-a-roo! If you find a layout and design you like stick with it for a while!

  • Rub shoulders with other great bloggers! A great way to do this is by featuring others, blog swapping and inviting other great sites to participate in some way on your own site! It give you a chance to hopefully draw from their readership and link creative communities!

  • Be approachable and nice! Kindness goes a long way! I have developed some wonderful new friendships and relationships with some of the biggest bloggers out there! A lot of their success has to do with the fact that they are kind, willing to help and encouraging! If you want to be big like they are some day BE NICE! It’s important to blog kindly, email kindly and be aware that people care what you think of them! Just because we don’t have face to face time with each other you will be responsible for the relationships you create with your readers! This is more important then you think!

  • Always be in control of your content.Never endorse a product, person or site that you don’t want to no matter what you might gain from it! If you host another blogger on your site and feel their guest spot isn’t representing the integrity of your blog remember that it’s YOUR BLOG! Edit, shorten, kindly ask for a revision but don’t forget that everything that appears on your site represents you!

  • Great content speaks for itself! The proof is in the pudding people! The best way to grow your site is to have great content! You can’t fool the masses! If you have great content the readers will come! Be true to yourself when you blog! Blog how you talk in real life! Be original! Give credit where credit is due and take good pictures!

Again… I’m no expert! These are just things that have helped me along the way! It’s not a fast road to instant success! I tried a few things that didn’t work but these tips have! It’s hard work people! It’s also incredibly rewarding! Opportunities will open and relationships will be made all because of your crazy idea to start blogging about something you love!

So go for it my friends! Good luck and happy blogging!


"Lucky You!" St. Patty’s Day Front Door!

St. Patrick’s Day!

Not a big fan! Oops! Did I just say that out loud? Don’t get me wrong! Green is my favorite color but for some reason I just don’t dive head first into this holiday like I do the others! Yet…still… I know I need a little Leprechaun Spirit up in here so here you go my IRISH friends… My first of three St. Patty’s Day projects!

Dollar Tree rocks my world! This entire project cost me all of $4!

I’m using this EASTER sign!

And these three balls of goodness. Not sure what these are but they were green and my baby liked holding them so they were a go!

Look what happens when you flip that Easter sign over! Perfect and green and ready to write on!
I grabbed my Sharpie and free handed “Lucky You!” Seriously? Are we already done? Pretty much!

Toss it on my already hanging Frame Wreath and add our “Not sure what they are” balls and there you have it! The bally things look like a shamrock right!

So welcome welcome all my St. Patty’s Day lovin’ Irish pals! When you knock on my door I’ll greet you with festive warm wishes and Shamrock Smiles!

And check out my Chalkboard! See…I’m giving into the Holiday!
There may be hope for me after all!


Blooming Fabric Flower pin!

Fabric…LOVE IT!
Flowers…Adore ‘em!
Wearing Fabric Flowers….Total ubber love with a cherry on top!

We all know I’m a fan of wearing huge and borderline obnoxious things on my chest! I do it for a few reasons…

a. I love a bold pop of color!
b. It’s sort of my thing…some people get tattoos, wear heavy eye makeup or carry around their little dogs in ventilated Doggy purses… I wear flowers!
c. and lastly….listen closely because I’ll be whispering this deep dark secret…but I wear them to mask the fact that I nurse my babe on one side! Lopsided issues people! Nuff said!

ok…moving on!

These little beauts are simple and easy! Gather the following supplies and get ready to create a fab new accessory just in time for Spring!

You’ll need:

  • fabric
  • A needle and Thread
  • Glue Gun
  • Felt
  • Broach Pin
  • Button
  • Cookie cutters or a flower shaped stencil in varying sizes
I used this Wilton Set of flower cookie cutters!

You’ll be using a few sizes of the flower so cut out 4 of each sized flower size that you plan to use! You can do many different layers so get crazy! I ended up doing three different sized layers.

Fold each flower in half and then half again!

Sew the middle together with a few whip stitches in order to keep it from unfolding!

And lastly you’ll start assembling your flower! Cut out a large circle of felt to use as our base! Glue down your largest layer first and then the next largest layer on top of that until you have the flower complete! Finish it off with a button and glue a broach pin on the back!
(sorry for the example change! I forgot to take pics of the blue flower I was working on! Are we still friends!?)

Snazzy eh?


Sweet Sweet Purple Grandma!

Meet my beautiful Grandmother Mary Lou! Isn’t she a dream! She’s who I instantly picture when I think of Old Hollywood Glam! She was incredible from the start! The first born little girl and older sister and best friend to her sister all her life! She was a talented singer and sang in clubs and entertained Soldiers and had a rising career…that was until she refused the inappropriate advances from her manager/ singing coach! You go Grandma!!!! Smart and talented and strong. She was a loyal daughter, a beloved sister. She was a caring wife and an incredible mother but to me she was simply the greatest thing on planet Earth! I know you shouldn’t have favorites in life but she was mine! She was it! She loved unconditionally, told it like it was, only gave her opinion if you asked for it, never yelled, was the best cook and best of all she loved me..ME! She loved me!

My sweet and amazing, Purple wearing grandmother passed away this Tuesday. She quietly slipped away and reunited with her husband after being apart for nearly 20 years. She was probably pretty pleased with the way she passes. Quietly with no fuss. She never wanted to be a bother, never wanted to be a burden. She said her nightly goodbye to my father and fell asleep. Her body was done! She was done! She lived a beautiful life and I’m blessed to have 30 years of my own memories to prove it!

She taught me how to bake pumpkin pie, make the worlds best spaghetti and even if I hated fudge I never told her that because she taught me how to make it over 20 years ago and I pretended to love it so I wouldn’t hurt her feelings!!

Memories on the lake, my very first car, school cloths, and two years of college were all possible because of her! She taught me the importance of matching your nail polish with your lipstick. She taught me that catalog shopping was a American right of passage and that wearing purple was a talent she had mastered long ago!

We could sit for hours looking at old family albums. It was a tradition I savored year after year. I would turn the pages as she recalled past boyfriends and adventures she’d have with her sister! No matter how many times I heard them I couldn’t get enough of them!

This is too funny…she used to number her boyfriends and she kept all of their photos! I love that I have her handwriting…it’s famous in our family! No one could ever read it!

Here is a classic Grandma outfit! Looking her best in head to toe Purple!

This is the last time I saw her. Last November she meet Charlie and we had a great time doing all the things we usually do….looked at photos, ate mini snicker bars from her fridge and I toasted her at dinner! I can still see her rolling her eyes at me and laughing at the babies as they rolled around on the floor!

I’m telling you all about her because she is a huge part of me. I share my life on here. My inspirations and myself and she is a huge part of both of those things! She is the reason I’m rational and realistic. She was my greatest example in the kitchen and instilled in me my love of cooking. My favorite recipes are all hers. She taught me the skill of accessorizing and creating a signature look! She taught me how to laugh at life and follow examples. She will always be teaching me.

I’d like to share a favorite family recipe that was one of her classics. It wasn’t Christmas or Thanksgiving without this dish. I loved it so much that I asked her years ago to type it up for me to frame and display in my kitchen. Funny….because her handwriting was so incredibly hard to read she always sent me typed letters! One more reason my heart sings when I look at this recipe! I hope you enjoy it half as much as I do…

Mary Lou’s Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

1 40 oz. can of sweet potatoes drained

Spray an 8x8x2 baking pan with PAM, place sweet potatoes in pan.

In a small sauce pan melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine.

Stir in: 1/4th cup pancake syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons flaked coconuts

Cook over low heat stirring 3 to 5 min until blended.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans over sweet potatoes then top with syrup mixture.

Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Top with 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes until marshmallows are lightly browned.

6 to 8 servings.

Thanks grandma! Cheers!


I’m seeing BLUE!

People ask me all the time what my favorite crafting tool is and hands down it’s

Fast, affordable and the transformations are always impressive! Take for example this little before and after…

I’ve been holding onto this little spice cabinet for three years! I bought it at a Garage Sale for a whopping $1! If you can look past the scary crackle finish and dried minced onions in the window you too can see the potential I fell in love with!

Now look at her all pretty and ready for the Ball! This Cinderella Blue really makes all the difference now doesn’t it!!

I used Krylon H2O in Blue Danube River! And don’t hate but I picked it up at HONKS Dollar store! Horrible name for a store I know! I about fell over when I saw an entire end cap filled with Spray Paint! JACK POT!!! Worked like a charm!

One coat and a little sanding later to expose a little of the yellow and she was already lookin’ like a post op plastic surgery success story!

Now onto the window dressing! I cut small squares of scrapbook paper and dressed them up with numbers! A little hot glue later and we have a WINNER!!!!

I love how the crackle texture can still be scene! I love everything about her actually!

Hip hip hooray for Garage Sales!!!
Hip hip hooray for $1 Spray Paint!!!
Hip hip hooray for pretty Blue Makeovers!


Spring time Wall Art!

Hello Spring time!!! Are you out there?

Well even if your job is simply to tease us with a sunny day here and a rising temp there I’ll take it! I can hardly wait till you’re here to stay!

In the mean time I’ll do my part by freshening up the inside of my home in hopes that it beacons you to come quicker and makes you want to stay a while!

I’ve been wanting to add a few new pops of color throughout the house and now is the perfect time! I’m a sucker for a good piece of art work but I tend to fall in love hard and even a huge price tag can’t keep me away! The hubs about killed over when I came home with a $180 picture for the family room a while back! I need to create more of my own works of art to 1. keep from draining my account and 2. Customize it and 3. Get exactly what I want a fraction of the price it could take to fill a wall and get a look I love! and 4. to keep my marriage in the “Happy I love you” zone!

All you need to create a HUGE piece of Wall Art:

  • a large piece of your favorite Fabric (Larger Prints work best!)IKEA rocks for great large bold prints by the way!
  • Some cut 2″x1″x8′ pine from Home Depot.
  • A staple gun
  • a few nails

You’ll start by measuring your piece of fabric to determine how you’ll need your wood cut at Home Depot. This is the cheapest, I mean, most affordable part of the project! Each 8 foot piece of Pine is only 89 cents! It takes two so for less then a Large Diet Coke you have the first step done!

Measure your fabric and compensate for the amount of fabric you’ll need to wrap around the edges of the wood frame. Take your measurements with you and ask the cool guy in the orange apron to choppy chop your wood! Good to go!

Assembly your frame and nail your ends together! You can also use some wood glue if you’d like!

Lay out your fabric and place your frame on top of it.

And lastly you’ll pull and staple your fabric to the back of the frame! Seriously…so easy!

Come on guys!!!! Yet again….all you non crafty Blue Cricket readers… Bake the hubs some brownies and borrow his staple gun! Get to work and try your hand at a non crafty, no sew project that will make a big statement!

I hung mine in my entry and love the welcoming pop of color! Here’s the before…

And after…

Total cost for the entire look…

1 yard of Wonderland by Momo for Moda $9
2 pieces of wood $ 2

Grand Total: $11

The hubs happily approves!


Rolled Felt Headband

Super cute right? Felt is so freakin’ fantastic I just can’t get enough of it!It’s my version of teh Burlap obsession going on! Now I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. YOU HAVE TO GET THE GOOD STUFF!!! Really good Boiled Wool is way different then the sheets of felt you buy in the craft section! It’s becoming a staple supply in crafters collections so more and more fabric stores are carrying it! Heather Bailey carries a really good line of Felt so if all else fails and you can’t find some local Felt check her on line store and stock up.

Here is just one more thing you can create with Felt…and it takes the smallest amount!Save! Save! Save your felt scraps! They come in handy!!!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Felt! Imagine that!
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Rotary Cutter and straight edge…not a must but it sure does help!
  • Headband
  • Scissors
You’ll cut thin strips of felt 1/4″ wide by 6-10.” The longer your strip the larger your rolled felt piece will be! You’ll cut a variety of lengths!

Cut different lengths and colors.

Tightly roll each strip and secure the end with a dab of hot glue!

Roll and glue then all until you have a small collection.

Now we will glue our rolls down onto a piece of felt to create our design. Start with your center roll and adhere it with glue.

Continue adding each roll being sure you like its placement before you glue it down.

Cut out the entire design that you have glued onto the felt.

Lastly we’ll glue it to our headband and cover the back with one last piece of felt! I buy all my 3mm Wire Headbands from You can get a dozen for $7! LOVE that!

So so simple and fun! Easy and fast and totally customizable!Just imagine the color combos! I am in love with this simple process and can’t wait to bust out some more!