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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Workroom Reveal

I've been working away trying to get this room set up, and
gave me the kick I needed to get my sewing room out of the boxes and onto the shelves.

Let me preface this post by saying that if you are expecting to see lots of cutesy colorful ideas in my workroom, well, I'm gonna have to let you down. My workroom is set up for everyday heavy duty use, and streamlined, white, and organized is what works best for me. It distracts me to have a lot of color around me in my sewing room. I only want to see the colors of what I'm working on at the moment.

I don't have to look for anything because I know right where it is!

I got lucky enough to have a clean slate to start with.
I've always had my workroom and office separate in the past, but decided to try to combine them this time so I'm not going back and forth. I've sacrificed a lot of my decor to do it, but that's ok. It works for me.

Here we go:
I'm just going to move along the wall and show you each section.
    This is a big room, so there are A LOT ofpictures to follow.
Those shelves in the corner hold most of my drapery making supplies.
To the right in the window area is where I'm in the process of creating an office space.
This is the actual sewing area. The bulletin boards on the wall stay up to date with "Need to do Now" info.

It's hard to get a picture of the full room at once, so this is full of pictures. I hope you don't mind.

(You will never see this area this clean ever again, trust me.)
Here's my view from the sewing machines every day.
The 6' x 10' table gives me lots of room to work. (and that table is not swaying in the middle. not sure why it looks that way in the pic)
The bulletin boards are now full. I put my current fabric swatch kits on these for my apron business as well as
the patterns I'm working on at the moment.
The pink bins hold the fabrics for projects I'm working on at the moment.
The white bins hold fabrics, patterns, and some craft supplies.
I label each bins and drawer so I don't have to search through them.

The message board holds snipets, pictures, and quotes that have some meaning to me. It's the only personal thing I have in the workroom.
On the sides, you'll see I've used curtain rods and clips to hang a lot of things I use daily.
I even separate my pattern pieces into plastic sleeves and ang them on a rod. It puts them right and my fingertips and keeps them organized.
You could also use rods to hang your fringe and trim.
As you can see, I don't have my tables painted yet. I'll get around to it one of these days.Not on my list of priorities until summer.
I rotate out the machines I need. I only have room for 3 tables, but I use 6 machines on a regular basis. This set up makes it easier to do that.
This area is usually covered up with projects, and looks more like the next picture most of the time.
This is where my drapery making supplies are kept.
I label the bins so I don't have to pull them off the shelf and look through them.
That little rolling cart is what I keep my threads in. When I'm sewing, I just roll it over to my machines.
Each shelf has it's own category. I'm a stickler about organization in my workroom.
This is my small tools area. I only keep what I use in the workroom for small building and craft projects.
(My real tool area is in the garage - which I have yet to finish.)
I separate my screw and nails into clear jars. This way I can see right away what size I need.
I'm attempting to set up my office area here. I didn't quite make it before reveal day, but I'll get there eventually.
Again, all bins area labeled. I keep project and design ideas in these bins, as well as all my paint chips.
Now, moving out into the loft is where I keep my craft station. You'll definitely find a lot of color here that you won't see inside the workroom.
Here's where I keep ribbons, buttons, stencils, paints, etc.
I keep current projects on the table.
And then there's the fabric room. Geez, I don't think I'll ever finish that poor room.
I try, really I do, but other things always seem to take precedence.
See what I mean -UGH - what a mess.

Well, that's it for now. Obviously there are still a lot of things unfinished.
I still need to finish unpacking the boxes, and I definitely need to put a window treatment up on that window.

And then there's my tool area in the day soon, I promise.

Hope you've enjoyed my tour. Head back over to Donna's and see what everyone else has done.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are You a "No-Reply Comment" Blogger? and Many Other Tips for Newer Bloggers

This is a very long post, but if you're fairly new to blogland, or need a few basic tips, you'll want to stick around and read. No pics for this one, only good info. If you're a real new newbie, I'd go ahead and print this out for quick reference.

I'm noticing that when I get your comments in my email box that so many of you have a "No-Reply" email address. I wonder if you even know it.
Are you wondering why the blogs you leave comments on never send you a reply?
I'll open my email and read a comment that I really want to respond to, and then I see the "No-Reply" return address for your email.
Bummer. I really wanted to say something to you.
Please don't assume that just because you can talk to me that I can talk back to you.

Let's say you've entered a giveaway on a blog - and you won. Yipee.....but unfortunately you may never know it if you aren't following that blog. I know, because I talk to others bloggers who say they often can't find you when you don't leave your email address, so they have to give your prize to someone else.
You took the time to register for it. Don't you want your gift?
I'm going to tell you how to fix that.
Are you a blogger?
If so, here's your quick fix.

Go to your Dashboard
Go to "Edit Profile"
Where is says "Share My Profile", check that box
Where it says "Show My Email Adress", check that box
~~ Now let me clarify something here. Checking that box does NOT display your email on your blog, it only displays it in your profile. If you have this box checked, but do not have "Share My Profile" checked, then it still won't let bloggers find you. ~~

Note: Doing this action will put your profile on your blog. For those of you who do not want all of that info about you shown under your name, just go into your profile and clear the field that says "About Me". Then it will only show your name, and picture or avatar if you have one uploaded, and a link that says "See complete profile" which allows visitors to go to your profile if they want to.....and find your email.

For those of you who do not have a blog, you can create a profile in your google account. In that profile, be sure to put an email address. If you don't use google, just create a profile in whatever program you use, and be sure to add your email to it.

You also need to go to your Google Profile page, and be sure you have your email there as well, or your email will still be locked.
There you have it! I can respond to you now. thankyouverymuch.

Now I'm not a blogging expert by any strecth of the imagination, but I have gathered a list of tips I think can be helpful for new bloggers. All of you peeps who've been around the blog block already know these, so if you have a quick tip that isn't listed here, please leave it in the comments for all to see. We welcome the help.

Let's keep going.

Let's say you'd like to get responses to your comments, but you really don't want them going into your personal email box. That's ok. Just take a minute and set up another email account to use for the comments.

Here's how to tell Blogger where to send your email from other bloggers.
Go back to "Edit Your Profile" in "Dashboard"
Scroll down to "Identity"
Where it says "Email Address", enter the email box you want the mail to go to.
(or if you don't have a blog, you'll find this feature on your google account page.)

Also, where it says "Display Name", the name you enter will show up as your identity on every comment you leave. For instance, if I enter "Polly", then that's what you'll see when I leave a comment. Well, as rare of a name as I thought Polly was, I've already encountered 3 more of them in blogland.
So, I changed my "Display Name" to Polly (at) MakeMineBeautiful. Now the reader knows which Polly I am. And, if I forget to enable my email, they know what blog to find me at.
Easy Peasy!
If you're a blogger and you want to receive the comments that people leave on your blog in your email box, here's how to do that.

Go to Dashboard
Go to "Settings"
Go to "Comments"
Scroll to the bottom of the page. See where it says "Comment Notification Email"?
Put in the email address that you want your comments to go to.
Be sure to save your settings after you change it.

Now every time someone leaves a comment on your blog, it'll go to that email box, and in turn, you'll be able to respond to the comments directly from your email because all of your commenters just went and fixed their email so that you can!
Clouds part and Angels Sing!

Now something else that I've seen lately is blocked blogs. If you have it blocked intentionally I can respect that. However, when I go into my site analytics to see where my guests are coming from, there are a few blogs in there that, when I click to go to them, it says "You are not an invited member of this blog. You must be invited to visit this blog. Please contact the blog owner."

Ok, a few things are wrong with this scenario.
First, the blog is blocked, which also doesn't allow you access to a  profile of the blog owner, so there's no way to contact that blog owner.
If my analytics show that I am receiving visitors as a result of something pertaining to my blog from your site, then I feel I should be allowed to see what it is that you're posting. If you're locked on purpose, give me the courtesy of inviting me to enter your blog. Otherwise, please remove my info.
(I have at least 50 of these kind of visits a day on my site analytics.)

If you're a blogger wondering why you aren't getting any visits to your blog, this could be your problem.

Here's how to fix it.
Go to Dashboard
Go to "Settings"
Go to "Permissions"
Scroll down to "Blog Readers"
Go to 'Who Can View My Blog?"
If you have "Only People I Choose" checked, then your blog is locked.
I've heard from a few people that they are afraid to check "Anybody" because it says it only allows 100 readers. This isn't true. The 100 readers applies only when you have checked "Only People I Choose".
So, check "Anybody".
Now everyone will be able to view your blog.

Here's the one that seems to get a lot of bloggers on edge. Word Verification.
Dare I go there? Yes I will.
Does spam exist in blog world? You bet.
Must you institute word verification to stop it? Nope, not at all.

I know that word verification will stop a multitude of people from commenting on a site.
You know, you type out your comment and then hit "post comment" thinking that your comment posted.
Then you get the word verification. Ugh.

Let me tell you something you may not know. Do you know that seeing or not seeing the word verification at the bottom of your comment post may very well depend on how large one's monitor is?
This can cause someone to think their comment posted when it actually didn't. I've had this happen to me several times. One of the main reasons is because of the pop-up window.
Some of the word verifications come up after you hit post, but some are below the comment box after the small box that says "Post Comment". If you hit "Post Comment" and do not scroll down past that little box, you're likely not to see where the word verification is, therefore you assume that your comment posted when actually it didn't.

I think a mistake a lot of us make is assuming that what we see on our screen is exactly the way others see if on theirs. If you want proof of this, run around the house and open your site on each computer. You'll be surprised at the differences. I know I was.

So, how to keep the spammers and rude commenters away?
All you have to do is enable comment moderation. That's all. It's that easy.
That way, no comment will post to your blog that you don't see first.
You'll know exactly what goes on your blog comments, and no spammers can get through you.
And the best part is that you'll get more comments when you don't have word verification.

Alright, I hesitate to bring this up, but since I've already gotten so long winded I'll just go ahead.

How do you have your comments set to show on your blog?

Go see real quick.
Go to Dashboard
Go to "Settings"
Go to "Comments"
Go to "Comment Form Placement"
What do you have checked?

You know that pop-up window you have it set to? That little dooker causes a lot of people to have to take extra steps. What happens is this:
You read the post, and then click on "Post Comment'
Then the pop-up window comes up.
Then another little pop-up box comes up and says "This page has secure and non secure items. Do you want to display the non secure items?
Then you have to either press "yes" or "cancel".
Then it takes you to the comment box.
You write your comment and press "post".
Then  a little bar comes up at the top that says "Your comment has been posted. It may a few minutes to show up on the original post"
Then that little box pops back up that says "secure, non secure, blah, blah, ,whadda you want to do?"
Then you have to tell it what to do again.
Then you have to hit the red X to close the comment box.

So let's see, that's about 7 steps just to post a comment. Whew! I do it, but I gotta tell ya, sometimes I just say "nevermind, it wasn't that important anyway."
If yours was the only blog I was visiting and commenting on it wouldn't be a big deal, but I suspect that many of you are like me and you set aside some blog time just to visit all of your favs at once.
It can get frustrating. So if some of you wonder why you may see my visits in your analytics but I'm not leaving comments, this is another reason why.

If you have a pop-up window AND word verification, and I still leave a comment on your post - then please read it because I must have really wanted to say something about your post that I want you to see.

What to do?
I beg you, please, change your comment form placement to "Embedded below post".
I've had a few people say that they don't want all of the comments showing under their post because it makes the  post so much longer. But it doesn't. If someone wants to read your comments, all they have to do is click on the "comments" link under your post. It will then open for them to see all of the comments. If that same blogger revisits your post in the same day from the same computer, then all of the comments will still be open under the post. If someone only reads your post and doesn't hit the "comments" link underneath, then it won't show them automaticaly.

When you embed the comment form under your post, all a visitor has to do is hit "Post Comment", and then fill in the comment box. That's it.
I told you I was going to keep going. Just a few more things and then I'll stop for the day.
I really hope some of these things are helping you to learn a little more about blog tricks.

Do you find that you sometimes read a really interesting post, maybe one that asks commenters to answer a question in their response, and you find yourself wondering how everyone responded, but you forgot where it was?
You can get all of those follow-up comments in your email box, especially now that you've enabled your email. (Right? You did, didn't you?)
When you go to the "Post Comment" box, you'll see a place that says "Email me follow-up comments".
Click the box. That's all.
Some blogs will have a thing at the bottom of the post that says "Subscribe to Post Comments", instead of the "email me comments". Just click that that if they have it.
You'll get to read all of those comments in your email box without having to go back to the blog and scroll down through all of them to figure out where you left off.
I'm done for this post. Whew (wiping my brow)!

The next BlogTips will be on Buttons.
Making them, resizing them, making a code, installing them, and placement.
Again, I'm no expert on the matter, but I've sure learned a lot about buttons in the last 2 weeks.

I sure hope this post helps somebody with questions they've had. I've been typing this up for the past 5 hours on and off, so even if it didn't help you, please tell me it did.

And remember, it you have a great tip to offer, please leave it in the comments. I may cover it more thoroughly in the nest BlogTips session.

One more GREAT TIP:
Do you find that many blogs load slow on your computer?
Here's the easy fix.
Click on the blog POST TITLE instead of the BLOG NAME, and it'll open up right away. When you click on the title, it's only opening that one post for the moment. After it opens that post, it'll continue to open the blog 'behind the scenes'.

When you click on the name of the blog, you're forcing it to open a multitude of pages, gadgets, possibly videos, and pictures. THAT can really bog down the speed at which it opens.

If you view blogs in a reader (which I highly suggest), click on the post title when you see one you want to view inside the blog itself. Same deal.

Happy Blogging!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Paisely Stamped Drapes for Hubby

  I owe it to him. Really, I do.
Poor hubby has never had a real office at home.
I've always set up a desk and bookshelves for him in a room that started out as an office, but then I would turn it into the catch-all room and force him to resort to the kitchen table for a desk.

It's time he has a place to call his own. A place that I do not eventually take over. 

But, that's not what this particualr post is about. This post is about his window treatment. Drapes fit for a man's office - finally.

I've been schlepping around a set of pinch pleated drapes left over from a job I did several years ago. I somehow made an extra set. Don't know how. Anyhoo, they are a very nice fabric, silk blend, crepe looking, neutral fabric that is easily adaptable to any setting. Problem is, they were about 112" long, and you can't use that just anywhere without altering them, and shortening them was more work than I wanted to do. But, when we moved I suddenly had the perfect window.

I decided to use them in hubbys office, but they were so bland and that office needed a bit of color.
Remember my paisley stamped blocks? I actually bought those stamps for these drapes.
To start, I had to remove all of the pleats and crinolin at the top.

Then I layed them out on the table and ironed the folds out from the pleats. Sure helps to have a big table (which I'll show you how to build tonight).
These things are 108" wide x 112" long - each. But being sheer, they scrunch down to give a nice full look.

I gathered a few supplies.

I used acrylic paint for this but thinned it down with a clear satin glaze.
I wanted my jet black to be a bit softer, and the glaze really helps.

I decided to just start stamping and see where it took me. But before I put the stamp on the face of the fabric, I tested to see how it was going to work. I flipped over the hem and did a test stamp.
I liked it, so I jumped right in with the stamping. 

I kept stamping. I first used the large stamp all over, knowing that I would fill in with the smaller one after it was dry. I was going for random, and not too full.

I really like the way the stamp looks on the fabric.

After I finished both panels, I decided to gather them at the top so that it would make it easier for me to staple them to the tree branch I wanted to use for the rod. Off to the ruffler I went.
(Side note: I will be giving a full tutorial on how to use a ruffler in the upcoming Home Decor Series)

All the ruffling is done, and the drapes are ready to be hung.
Here they are in place.

I screwed drapery brackets into the branch and hung them just like you would a regular rod.
(Side note: If you're going to do this, be sure to let your branch dry out for several days inside the house.)

I Love them. And more importantly, hubby loves them.

They drape so nicely.

I'm a puddler. Puddling your fabric helps to weigh it down and keeps your folds in place.
And besides, I love the way it looks.

Now that these are in place, it's time to get the rest of the office pulled together.
I've put all of the furniture in place and I've encouraged hubby to decorate his own office, his own way.
When he's done, I'll come back and let you see it.

EDITED TO ADD: Just for kicks, I thought I'd throw in a pic of what this window was wearing when we moved in to this house.
(And I'll even be honest and tell you that I've only removed the wallpaper in the spots that I placed the furnishings so far. Some day I'll get the rest of it down!)

I'm linking up to a few parties.
Funky Junk's weekly Saturday Night Special.
If you haven't checked that party out, you're really missing a lot of great projects.
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
A Girl Creative for Just Something I Whipped Up
Twice Remembered's Make Your Monday

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Unique Embellished Wood Chips - A How-to

If you all know me by now, you know that I've been doing everything in the workroom except for what I'm supposed to be doing. Which was the case this morning also.
You see, I'm really trying to open all the boxes and put things away, but I keep coming across things that call my name, saying 'make me pretty'. So of course I have to.
You know how it is. You see something that sparks an idea, and if you don't create what's on your mind RIGHT THEN, then you might forget to do it later.

This morning I came across a box of discontinued color chips from a furniture manufacturer I deal with. I kept them because I knew one day an idea would strike me and tell me what to do with them.
Today was the day.
Here's what I made:
and these:

Here's how I did it:
As always, you'll need to gather up some supplies.
In this case, I used the following:
Wood Blocks (already painted and distressed)
You can use a 1" x 4" board for this. Use different colors to paint it up, sand it a bit, and then make your cuts. These are about 4" x 4 1/2". (thank you mr. furniture company)
Black Acrylic Paint
A Paisley Stamp
Misc Buttons
Hot Glitz Rhinestones (love those things)
Hot Glitz Applicator Wand
Clear Drying Craft glue
Sponge Paint Brush
Rub-on Embellishments
A Straight Pin

I simply layed out what I thought I wanted to do and placed it on the blocks.
After I stamped the paisleys, I let them dry and then applied the buttons with glue and the glitz with the wand.
I tried to use button and rhinestone colors that brought in a tad of vibrancy without being too much.

I love the imperfections in the wood. It helps to create an additional distressed feel.
I'm not someone who likes perfection, unless of course, it's perfectly imperfect.

For the other blocks, I cut out a few of the rub-ons and laid them out the way I wanted them.
I rubbed them on the blocks and then added some rhinestones to these as well. These particular rub-ons came with adhesive jewels, but I prefer to use the hotglitz since they melt into the hard surface when you heat the glue on the back. They'll hold so much better than the ones meant for papers.

I have plans to add "Spread Your Wings" to this, but I haven't found my aphabet stamps yet.

I sure do love me some rub-ons. They make life so easy, don't you think.

Hope you've enjoyed my little easy peasy how-to.
Now go craft somethng for yourself and head back here and tell me about it.

Linking up to Funky Junk SNS #16
Make it For Monday @ Cottage Instincts
Make Your Monday @ Twice Remembered
Just Something I Whipped Up @ A Girl Creative
I'm Giving Away The Everyday Crafter Apron over at A Girl Creative. Head on over and enter to win! Giveaway open all week.


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