Project Index

Looking for some inspiration? Check out the Blue Cricket Design Index! Find everything you need from the BCD archives by looking it up by category! Over 3 years of past project ideas just waiting for you to discover!  Please feel free to pin away! Thanks and enjoy!



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Superman party by ” Just another day in Paradise!”

Last week we had a lot of Supers at our house. They were testing their flying and leaping skills at Middle’s 5th birthday party.

There were party decorations.

Superman capes.

Birthday treats.

A birthday cake perfect for our Little Superman.

Lots of fun, red, yellow, and blue.

Next week I am going to be recapping parts of our Superman party including: the rainbow Jell-O recipe, easy decorating tips for any party, a tutorial on making your own superman cape, the cake secrets, some fun superhero games, and a great and easy recipe for play dough that I gave away in the goody bags.

 

For more inspiration be sure to visit Larissa over on “Just another day in Paradise!”

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Blogging 101: Making Cash!

When it comes to blogging this is one of the most interesting and most asked question! How do you make money blogging? Because there is no hard and fast formula for blogging for profit it’s a hard topic to tackle but I’ll try my best to hit a few bullet points that will help you if you’d like  monetizing your blog!

Let me start with my own story!

I started blogging in April of  2009, back when craft blogs were not EVERYWHERE and just getting some momentum. I started noticing that I had created a great platform. I had readers and they were coming back daily! It was awesome! I then figured out that I had a place for others to be seen too! So there I was! At a cross roads of sorts! Could I actually sell myself, in essence, and make some cash? I was hoping to just make enough money to pay for my hobby!

So where do I start? I wanted to sell ad space but how on earth was I going to approach someone! What did I have to offer? I had about 25,000 page hits a month so I knew I had an audience.

I started with my friends! I emailed EVERYONE I knew who had a business that would appeal to woman and families cause that was my audience! I emailed them and offered ad space for $5 a month! WHAT! $5!!! Was that even worth my time! YES, and you’ll see why soon!

One of my first sponsors was a friend and their awesome company ” Toy Box Tee’s!” They signed up for 3 months and I had stars in my eyes! I threw in a free giveaway and intro post and I was well on my way to side bar sponsorships!

Others signed up too and all of a sudden I had 6 paying side bar ads! Ok, so I was only making $30 a month but it was the start I needed!  They saw the benefits and the pump was primed so to speak! All of a sudden other companies noticed I had great companies who wanted to work with me and advertize and all of a sudden so did they! Emails started coming in and I was booking like crazy!

I remember in December of ’09 I made $100 that month! I was giddy over it! I told my husband ” This time next year I want to be making $250 a month! ” Little did I know that a year from then I would be making over $800 a month just from my side bar ads!

As my readership went up and my page views went up so did my ad rates and it seemed like the more ads I had on my sidebar the more others wanted to get in on the action! I’ve charged as much as $75 a month for ad space. It’s all based on page views and supply and demand!

TIPS for Side Bar ads:

- You have to start somewhere! Email everyone you know and give space away if you have to! Offer a free month to see if they benefit and offer a low rate at first!

- Approach companies you admire and send them a flattering email inviting them to advertize with you! Flattery gets you places!

- Stock your side bar with a handful of great companies and if that means giving it away for free at first or super cheap then by all means do it! When others see that “so and so” advertizes on your great site they too will want to be apart of that!

- When your numbers go up, so should your rates! I raised my prices as my numbers went up AND down! I adjust for both fluctuation. Companies will appreciate when your rates reflect your current traffic. I’ve tested the waters and have found a formula that works for me. For about every 100,000 page views I feel comfortable charging $50 a month. BUT when my page numbers were  higher then 250,000 a month it was hard finding people willing to pay over $100 so I adjusted accordingly. See what I mean! It’s a hard science! You will only get paid what the market is willing.

- Know your market! Small etsy shops don’t have the budget to pay big cash for ad space, in some cases! I take bookings on a case by case basis! I’d much rather give a working mom on etsy a break then a large corporation!

-TRADE! Product trades are great! If I see stuff I love from a shop I’ll often trade! Win win!

- I don’t advertize my rates on my site! I would rather have someone email me, start a conversation and work something out. If I give them my rates and they can’t afford it but I really like their site I have room to negotiate. Had they seen my rates and not been able to afford them they would have never emailed! See! Start a conversation!

- Exclusivity: Well sort of! You don’t want to over book the same sort of company at the same time! 4 stamped jewelry companies hanging out side by side on your side bar isn’t very appealing to your readers or the companies working with you! Variety is the spice of life in this arena too!

 

Working with ad networks is another way you can cash in on your awesomeness! An ad network does a lot of the work for you! They have contracts with companies already who’s ads fit your blog topics. Ad networks can be hard to get in. Some are very selective and category sensitive! There are Food, DIY, Mommy, and Home specific networks and if you don’t fit in category wise with them your partnership isn’t going to work!

As networks work like this. Certian ads pay what’s called a “CPM” with means a certain amount of money for every 1,000 page views. Let’s create an example!

Say this ad runs on your site and the paid CMP is $2.

If you had 10,000 page views while that ad was running on you r site you’d be paid $25. Cool huh!

Some ad networks guarantee a CPM option or at times it can fluctuate. You also have to be aware that the ad seasons change threw out the year. Some months like Oct., November, and December are great! CPM’s are threw the roof: some as high as almost $4. And then come January, when all the companies are done trying to market the Holiday sales, they CPM’s crash: often under $1. It’s a roller coaster ride that’s for sure! Income can drops by over 85% so be prepared!

Here are a list of a few ad networks work trying to getting in on. I am not sure if they are accepting new bloggers but it;s a good list to keep on your radar…

Rivitmedia, BlogHer, FoodBuzz, Clever Girls, GLAM,

Again, ad networks are hard to get in to. You have to sign contracts that may be very limiting so know what you are getting into before you sign anything!

 

Working with Brands! Ok…this one deserve a post all to itself so we’ll get back to that one soon!

 

If you have any questions in regard to this topic please feel free to ask in the comments section. I’ll answer them as best I can as a reply following your question!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Show and Tell” moves to SNAP!

I am super excited to announce that “Show and Tell” has a new home!!! Over the years I had grown to LOVE the Wednesday linking over here and I just could not let it disappear so I found the perfect new home for it! Selfishly I want to still be able to see what you guys are up so starting tomorrow head on over to SNAP! and get your linking fix on!

Please help me spread the word about the “Show and Tell” migration my sharing the poster above on your FB page! I would sooo appreciate it!

 

 

 

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“Net-iquette!” Technology manners

Who knew ten years ago that we’d need a manual for Technology etiquette! Ok maybe not a manual but you would have thought common sense would have gone into play somewhere between talking on your cell phone in the checkout line and updating your Facebook status for the 34th time in one day!

Is there such a thing as Technology manners? Should there be? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Are there certain technology pet peeves and no no’s? What drives you nuts?

Let’s start a conversation! Tell me what behaviors are less then appealing when it comes to our technology and internet use?

- Are snarky ” anonymous” comments left on blogs ok?

- Smart phone browsing in Church?

- Excessive texting?

 

Spill it! What drives you nuts!

 

And tune in to SiriusXM radio channel  143  , today from 3-4pm Mt. time and listen in as I join Matt Townsend on his new radio show as we talk about this exact topic! For those who don’t have XM radio you can stream the show live by using THIS LINK!

 

Thanks for your input!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Hello Sunshine” by Life as a Thrifter!”

Surely you all have been sitting on the edge of your seats dying to know what I did with my pallet canvas…??? :)
Well, let me just start off by saying, Michael, YOU inspired me!
If you haven’t seen his ‘from wood to wall‘ post, then you should. TO DIE FOR. Really and truly everything he’s done is…but it was that project that made me get my paint brush out.
Here’s what I did:
Step 1: Freehand your image…in this case, a sun. (I wanted it to look folkart-esk, so I didn’t worry much about perfectly, straight lines.)

Step 2: Get out all your left over paints…mix them around…and create various shades.

Step 3: Paint, paint, paint.

Step 4: Stencil on your outline…if words are what you want.
For a more detailed description on this, click here.

Step 5: Paint and sand.

It sits waiting to be hung on the porch…as the porch has become my latest project…
Holly has more amazing projects to share over on “Life as a Thrifter”
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Birthday Card by Catherine Pooler

It’s time for another series of videos and tutorials! Yay!  This time we are going to use the deliciously wonderful Sweet Shoppe Product Suite from the Occasions Mini Catalog by Stampin’ Up!  This Mini Catalog expires on April 30, so if you like these goodies be sure to order them before they are gone.

Click here to view the Occasions Mini Catalog

Click here to view this Product Suite in my Online Store!

 

Making cards and paper crafting is a wonderful and fun hobby, and when you give someone something you made…boy, that sure is a great way to make someone’s day!

View the video to see how this card came together:

Stampin’ Up Supplies:

  • Mouthwatering Stamp Set, Teeny Tiny Wishes Stamp Set
  • Cardstock:  Lucky Limeade, Pool Party, Whisper White
  • Ink:  Lucky Limeade and Calypso Coral Markers
  • Accessories:  Sweet Shoppe Designer Series Paper, Scallop Squares Duo, Calypso Coral Ruffled Ribbon

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks while I bring you more cards made with this product suite.

Thank you for popping in today, I hope you have a lovely day!

Catherine Pooler

 

 For more great Paper Craft ideas and products be sure to visit Catherine Poolers sites!

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Arts and Craft storage by Teal and Lime!

I do not think it is possibe to fit anymore storage in a 3 foot section of wall.  When we decided to transition our boys from daycare to staying at home with a nanny, it was very important to me they still have a “classroom”.  There was already room in the laundry room for a large table under the  window (seen here in the post about laundry room curtains).  I wanted to maximize the tiny bit of wall space available in the laundry room to create a mega arts and crafts storage center.  My main requirement was storage to not only contain all the arts and crafts supplies, but also to keep them easily accessible.  This is so much easier said than done.

Here is what I created:

Ultimate Kids Art and Craft Storage Center

In keeping with the laundry room mood board, I chose to use the Ikea Trofast storage collection.  This made meeting my requirements of containment and accessibility really easy.  These pieces are super quick to assemble and have a nice streamlined look.  I used two lower trofast boxes to form the base, which hold up to six bins each.  I used one wall unit above, which holds six smaller bins.  The area above the base units serves as a counter.

Craft Storage Tower

In the base units I used all single-depth bins in green.  I wanted the maximum number of bins, so I could thoroughly sort the supplies and store only like things together.  These bins hold all kinds of craft and art supplies, from paper to yarn.  The bins pull out and can easily be taken to the table when needed.  All of the items in these bins I considered safe to keep within the kids reach.  I used the included mounting brackets to safely secure these units to the wall to prevent tipping.

Home School storage

On top of the base units I added two turquoise paper boxes (from the Container Store) to store artwork…one for each boy.  I find it really handy to keep these storage boxes accessible, so art can easily be added and contained.  On the “counter” there is also a bamboo mail sorter that holds the nanny’s clipboard (from Target) for her daily log and reward stickers.  I found the magazine racks at the Container Store.  Two of them fit nicely side by side just under the wall unit.  The magazine racks hold frequently used activity books on the left and Spanish learning books on the right.

Art and Craft Storage for Kids

In the wall unit, there are 6 individual bins for all the craft supplies I did not want the kids to be able to reach, like glue, paint, and scissors.  By keeping these up high, they need an adult to help them get and use these supplies.  These bins also pull out easily to take to the table when the contents are needed for a project.  On top of the wall unit, I added some storage buckets and containers to hold even more supplies and tools.  The polk-a-dot and stripe buckets were the boys Easter baskets buckets from Target.  They now hold dry-erase marker and paint brushes.  (Yes, I totally bought buckets to match the laundry room so I could repurpose them after Easter).

The total cost for this storage solution was less than $175.  We spent about $133 on the Ikea Trofast frames and plastic bins.  We spent another $40 on the paper boxes and magazine racks.  We had all the other containers around the house.

This small, but living big, arts and crafts storage center has transformed the laundry room into a well-organized classroom.  It is easy to pull out just the bins needed for a particular activity.  They return just as easily for clean up.  My mom and I scrounged through our craft supplies to stock the art center.  We both donated items from our stash that we no longer needed and would make great fodder for kids projects.  It helped clean up my overstock of craft supplies.  Now, if only I could organize all my mommy craft supplies this neatly.

Want to see what we are keeping in all of the bins?  See what craft supplies we keep on hand and what they are used for.  Also, check out the newest addition to the storage center: flash card organizers.

For more great ideas please visit “Teal And Lime” and say hello!

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