DIY tag banner

April 11th, 2014

love banner

I’d like to start playing with paper a bit more and showing you the results. My goal is to make projects that are fun for adults, but also suited for kids, too. This first project is a DIY tag banner – just something fun that I’m hanging on the wall next to my desk. The banner could look really cute on a bulletin board or above a few hooks with scarves or jewelry, too.

Tools used:

I used the heart hole punch to make the letter O in one tag, then used the gray pen to loosely trace the heart so it would pop more. The L, V, and E are all washi tape. This tape is so forgiving – love that! You can stick it down and pull it off the paper, tweaking until things look just right. String some colorful embroidery floss through the tags, and hang it up.

Finding a blog strategy

April 10th, 2014

create a blog strategy

During the month of March, I blogged every weekday. It was a wonderful postpartum challenge, pushing my creativity (like with this watercolor journal page) and offering behind-the-scenes details (like the story of Gadanke’s logo).

If you’re a regular reader, though, you can see that I haven’t been blogging daily this month.

I’ve constantly been questioning the type of blog I want to create. It’s a problem that bloggers everywhere struggle with. (Tsh just talked about this, too. Phew! It doesn’t matter how big your blog is.) Do you be your authentic self? Do you write more for others or for yourself? Should you write for attention on Pinterest? Do you tell stories that don’t always correspond to pinable images? Do you write long posts, short posts, daily posts, or ask others to write with you? The list of questions goes on and on.

All I know is that my favorite post to write last month was: 16 gifts for new mothers.

Wait a second. You didn’t even read that post on this blog!

That feeling was a red flag for me. My heart still wasn’t perfectly aligned with the content I was creating here.

The other night, Niklas was playing with a stuffed giraffe. Martin and I were finishing dinner. “I’m doubting where I’m going with the blog again,” I confessed to them both. “It still doesn’t feel right.”

I decided to tweak my path again. I’m going to keep tweaking. But more than anything, I’m going to stop doubting. My hope is that the refined approach that I want to take to blogging is something you’ll actually enjoy more, too… even if it means I’m not stopping in to say hi every day.

how to blog

1. Write what I would want to read.

If I stepped out of my own shoes and were peeking into the Gadanke and airport world, what would I want to see? What would I want to know and want to try? I love meaty posts. I like walking away from a blog feeling inspired or motivated. That means more posts like this.

Scott always says to write awesome things or don’t write. That’s what I’m going to do.

2. Manage my creative time.

This blog is just a part of Gadanke. It’s a small part, and the majority of my time goes to all the other aspects of running a business with tangible products that need to be built and shipped. As a new mom, I only have a finite amount of creative time. So I think a lot about where I want to steer Gadanke’s growth, and I just can’t get meaty posts in every single day by myself.

During my senior year of college, my essay professor said that no one could craft well-written personal essay at rapid pace as we juggled school. She’d be telling me, “Katie, it’s quality that matters. Not quantity.”

She’d be right! It’s important that my creative time doesn’t go toward fluff just so I can say, “Yep, blogging daily over here.”

Besides, we’ve got a few big projects in the works right now that require heaps of my creative time:

  1. A revised version of this best seller
  2. Settling into our new (huge!) office space
  3. And… cat out of the bag: a storycatching Kickstarter!

It’s all big stuff.

3. Check those statistics.

Martin’s an engineer. He does what all engineers do: he pulled up the blog data. There wasn’t an ounce of difference in traffic here after I’d blogged daily in March. I know it was only for a month. But the results on Pinterest weren’t much better. Developing a better blog doesn’t happen overnight. Yet it goes back to item #2: I have to manage my creative time, especially as our family sets big goals for the Gadanke brand. I always enjoy the meatier posts; you guys like to pin them and share them more, too. The numbers align with my heart? I can’t argue that.

I think you’d agree. There are times when quality matters so much more than quantity. This blog space should be one of them.

Trixie’s pet journal

April 8th, 2014

journal for pets

If dog is man’s best friend, then pictures and lists might just be a journaler’s best friend.

Folks, you have got to go peek inside Trixie’s The Marvelous pet journal to get a feel for how you can capture great stories without spending a ton of time writing. Judy, Trixie’s owner, uses photos to capture her spunky pup’s personality and funny moments. The pages of this journal crack me up! Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

dogs life

The lists in Trixie’s book show how effective jotting down short, simple thoughts can be for preserving memories with Gadanke’s classic prompts. You don’t have to write an entire narrative about a particular thing that happened or about what makes you laugh about a person (or in this case a pooch). A list does the trick!

scrapbook dog life

In the years to come, those little collections of thoughts will be all you need to get you remembering the stories behind those fun lists.

What sort of list could you write in your journal today?