Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I have learned: a Year in Review

A quick note, I have turned OFF word verification. I am SO SORRY that it was on, it shouldn't have been. I'm sure I had it off at one point and it magically got turned on again. Please leave me sweet comments again! Thanks Amy for pointing it out to me! And if it happens again, do let me know! Ok, onto the post...

Did you know that I didn't really do crafts before I started this blog? It's true. I'd like to say I'm a crafter who blogs, but really I'm a blogger who crafts is more appropriate.

I have, however, always been a DIY-er at heart, because of my dad. I just never had much excuse to do stuff before I moved out of my parent's and got my own place without a roommate.

Before coming to the crafty/DIY bloggy world, I wasn't much inspired, nor motivated. I didn't know where to get stuff, or what stuff TO get. I didn't know HOW to make the crafts. I never realized I COULD make so much fun crafts, either!

So in the past year, I've been experimenting A LOT. I've learned SO much. Some of it I learned from others, but really it's easier for me to learn if I make the mistakes myself. I'm stubborn I suppose.

So as a little celebration for my 1 year Bloggiversary, here is a compilation of the trial and errors, and just general experiences, that have helped me grow as a crafter, DIY-er, and blogger in the past year.

click on the picture to be taken to the post

When you start blogging, it's not gonna be as easy as you think
My first post! I've made a few of the things I had set out to make when I wrote that post, and some are still on my to-do list lol I have 49 published posts as of before this one. That's not even 1 a week... Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, which I wasn't entirely ready for!

You need to learn to take good, flash-less photos!

Still one of the most google searched of my posts, really wish people had nicer pictures to look at once they find my contact paper backpslash... Still thinking of updating the pictures... And don't mind the picture corners I tried out for this one post. That was not a good idea.

Anyway, I still have room for improvement here, and I think my stupid camera is stupid and part of the problem. Oh and also my dark apartment doesn't help...

You might be a tad embarrassed looking back on some crafts you have made

Seriously, what WAS I thinking? They look SO childish! They were even featured on a child-made site (which got me some nice traffic when I started out...). But now, I'm just a little embarrassed that I actually posted this.

Stenciling: Do NOT use a brush, use sponges/dabbers and DAB.

In the end, I still LOVE my handpainted chandelier, and people always mention it when they first visit, which makes me very proud.

Hot glue does not hold anything and everything together.

The little saw-tooth hanger I used at the back for this project kept peeling off from the hot-glue. I think it must've fell about 4 times (some spikes are a little damaged because of it...), and finally after that 4th time I had enough and used epoxy glue. It hasn't fallen since :)

DIYing your own blog design is super fun, but takes a lot of time and patience
Every design element on the blog was made by me. Well, I did use Just So Scrappy's scrapbook kit Tweet Tweet, but the actual blog header image, menu bar, sidebar titles, footer, background, I tweeked myself. I kinda like playing with html and css :)

Linking up to linky parties will really pay off once you get featured

And boy did I get featured with this one! Most featured post (but not most viewed...). Still want to make myself one of these.

Persistence can pay off and Not all crafts work how you imagine

Took me one month to get this simple thing right, but in the end I finished it and love it!

Painter's tape is not vinyl
Pictures can only describe this one:


What you think is common knowledge might not actually be common knowledge

Seriously, if you have not yet read this post of mine and don't know what hotlinking or bandwidth theft is, please read!

Things don't need to be complicated to be popular and Getting featured on a big blog will bring you lots of traffic, for a long time!

I never thought this one would be so big. It's so simple, yet very effective, and I still LOVE and enjoy the end result!

I'm still not a very good seamstress, but I'm not giving up!

Seriously, you'd think I would be able to do straight lines easy enough, but no...

Start seasonal/holiday crafts EARLY

I got so many comments saying if only they had seen this craft earlier, they would have loved to make one! I really bit myself in the butt for that one, could've had lots more traffic if only I hadn't procrastinated making this once I got the idea to.

Paper punches can hurt, when you need to punch a LOT of little flowers!

BTW, most viewed post on the blog! And one that must have taken the longest to make. I am going to think twice about a craft that I need to use paper punches so much.

I still LOVE playing/crafting with wood!

My first, very small scale, distressing adventure! I can't wait to get a big piece of furniture to redo one day! Will be looking for a new desk and buffet/dresser in the near future!

Sometimes having a blog pushes you to do some much needed cleaning

Seriously never would have deep cleaned my kettle had I not wanted to show it for this post (alternative use for electric water kettle: hard boiled-eggs). Speaking of, it needs a cleaning again... It's not as bad as in this picture, so I still got some lee-way ;)

You can find really fun stuff for free if you shop your parents' home!

With just a bit of spray paint, this pretty frame now fits into my decor. Oh, and you'll want to ask your permission before snagging anything from them lol.

Blogging without internet is really hard and no fun
Read more about that here.

When building stuff out of wood, take the time to properly protect and seal it

Especially, if it's gonna be in the kitchen with flying oil everywhere. The wood turned darker where there was nothing covering it...

Dads are awesome. and When a space doesn't work for you, make it

I'm seriously so lucky to have a dad who can build stuff, and who passed on that love to me. I just lack the experience, but it will come! I gained so much space with this unit, it was so worth it!

All in all, I'm still very happy I started a blog. It gave me a purpose. Sure there are days that I want to throw in the towel, but then I just give it a rest for a week and then I want to come back. I'll continue doing it for as long as it's feasible and I enjoy it.

I'm really not expecting to ever be a big blog. After all, I only reached just over 100 followers in 1 year... I'm just not able to put that level of commitment to the blog at this point. And I'm really ok with that.

Still, I'd like to do more next year. They key, I think, is planning, and not procrastinating!! A little at a time, right?!

Thank you to each and every one of you! I know a lot of bloggers go a long time before they are ever noticed and have followers. I don't think I would've stuck to it if you guys weren't there. I've really enjoyed getting to know some of you, and I would really like to get to know some new faces :) So don't be a stranger, say hello once in a while!

Oh, and I've got a big blog announcement coming this week! So stay tuned!


15 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your first year! I haven't hit a year yet and am not close to 100 followers but I think I've learned many of the same lessons. It's amazing how little I knew about blogging before I started.

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  2. Congrats!!! I was very surprised by the things I learned in the first year of blogging too! Great post I love your little bunnies.:)

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  3. Great post. I am were you are a year ago. Last craft was in my girl scout days. Now 40 years or is that 50 years later, I have taken up the craft banner. I just finished my first craft and trying to get the courage for something else. I think I am a Craftphobaic though. The thought of glue and glitter leaves my paralyzed. You give me hope that I can overcome this and in your honer I am going to go out buy some mod podge. Of course I will have no idea what to do with it. :->

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  4. Congrats and happy blogiversary! You've written a great..no GREAT post here! I started blogging last Sept also. I've learned a lot but I feel like I have so much more to learn. I'm celebrating with guest posts this week and giveaways next week. If you have a chance, hop on over. Congrats again...I LOVE your blog and I can't wait so see all your amazing projects that you will post over the next 12 months.

    Marilyn
    4you-withlove.blogspot.com

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  5. Happy blogiversary! I loved this post. I just realized, I found you because of your bunny tail platter. I loved it when I saw it featured all over the place...who would have known we would have become such great blogging friends :). I loved hearing your perspective on the past year, seeing some of your failures and much more of your successes. Really fun post. I can't wait to see what the next year brings you.

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  6. Thanks Gen for sharing this! I just started blogging and I love hearing from other bloggers who are more experienced than I am. It's good to know that after a year it's still fun!

    I'm your newest follower!

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  7. It's nice to go back and see what's been achieved over the years. I don't see things as being failures more of a learning process....see being positive!

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  8. Glad you've come so far. I found your link at the Uncommonly Yours link party this week, and I'm glad I did.

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  9. Love this post! Way to keep it real. ;)

    Adrianne
    www.happyhourproject.com

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  10. This was funny and informative! Great job, and happy 1 year! Cute blog!
    Stacia@http://feathersandsunshine.blogspot.com

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  11. This is a great post, and great info for all bloggers. I still look at my first pictures compared to now. I had no idea how to take pictures of food. Then I started looking at pinterest. That was helpful. I have a link party on Wednesdays, and I would love it if you would link this and any other posts. It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party. It runs from Wednesday to Sundays.
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com/2012/09/natural-coconut-bubble-bath-and.html
    I hope to see you there. I am your newest follower, and I would love for your to follow me also. Have a great Day.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above
    www.adornedfromabove.com

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  12. Congrats on your first year of blogging! Keep at it, your stuff is awesome!!

    Kathryn
    destinationcraft.blogspot.com

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  13. As a new blogger, this post is great. I'm learning lots, thanks for the hotlinking advise, I don't think I've done it but I'm not sure based on a couple of my early posts - I will check.

    Congrats on a year

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  14. Congrats on your first year! :)

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