Monday, October 24, 2016

MIXED MEDIA MONDAY - Happy Birthday to Me!

Sorry I've been absent for a couple of weeks. After my last post I attended a writers' conference in Eureka Springs AR. This was our 50th anniversary and I've attended the past 25 consecutive years. This year was a banner year and my life has been on a tilt - a- whirl ever since.

News From Conference:
Beginning with the spring issue of Saddlebag Dispatches, I will have a regular entertainment column. My first deadline is Nov. 1!!

I pitched a manuscript to the editor. He wants the full manuscript in his hands by December 1-ish. I have some rewrites to incorporate points we discussed. Going to be a busy November.

I've been asked to speak at the Storyteller's Conference in March... on Blogging. Now that I have 8, I think I've got this one figured out. I've also spoke on blogging to a much smaller group so I'm good. No real prep for this one.

The same editor has also asked me to help with the social media aspect of the publishing house.

The day after I got home from conference... Bob came home 2 days early. So not a lot of crafting/ work going on. He may leave out on Wednesday. We're waiting for confirmation.

With all of this on my plate, I will try to keep updated here but posts will be spotty until after that Dec. 1 deadline. Immediate business will come first, followed by reconstructing the manuscript. Card making/ crafting time will be my 'breather'.

Speaking of Crafting....

Okay... so my birthday was two days shy of a month a go. I'm going to claim I've been celebrating all month long. I didn't even open my birthday cards until after Bob got home two weeks ago so we could look at them together.

Thank you to everyone who sent a card and/ or well wishes on FB. They really made turning 55 pleasureable.

So today's post is all about the FABULOUS creations that arrived in my mailbox.

Karen and Catherine

Linda and Kathy

Sharon and Maggie

Shirley and Ann

This last card - I have to show you the inside as well as the front. Jan has become one of my bestie buddies. She lives in Spain but is stateside a couple of times a year for extended visits with her grandsons. She made this card and mailed it while they were in the states over the summer.  The detail not just in the stamp but in her coloring is just amazing!

I asked Jan about the stamp she used. Here was her reply:
The card is made from La Pashe CD, it prints all the parts out and you have to fold the card and add the parts

I've enlarged this one so you can see the details. I especially like the card stuck to the crafters bottom. LOL.

I'm trying to get some cards made this week and up on both blogs. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

FRIDAY FREEBIE - Blog Planner Inside

Last week I gave you a slideshow of my blog planner. Now I'd like to talk a bit about my planning process and why this format works for me.

A quick reminder. All of the printables I used are available at 
Specifically, the planner pages can be found HERE

Pretty, Inspiring Dashboard

(not pictured)
To provide content on a regular basis that will inspire others while acting as an on-line resume for freelance opportunities.

The Monthly Blog Tasks are not set in stone. Rather they are nudges of things I need to do each month to keep on track: 
* deleting blog posts that are no longer relevant
* correcting/ deleting dead links 
* linking older posts to current/ up-dated posts
* Set guest posting plan for coming month
* Plan and promote future promos, giveaways or special features
* Set editorial calendar for coming month
* Set blog, brand and business goals for next month

Daily Blog Tasks include:
Reviewing Daily Tasks
Brain dumping new ideas as they come to me that I can incorporate into the Weekly Tasks 
Pin Original Content
Share/ Repin content from others
Tweet - both mine and others
Respond to comments on my blog
Respond to email queries
Make sure posts for the next day are clean and ready to go

Weekly Blog Tasks:
Clear out the email box - making sure all follow-ups have been attended to
Check analytics
Promote upcoming week
Spread Brain Dumps from the daily into appropriate 43 folders system
Set Posting Schedule on sidebar for the coming week

Daily Schedule:

I used to think that working from home meant I didn't need one of those 'time-spread' schedules where every minute was accounted for. However, after reading Time Management 2.0 By Hank Reardon (unfortunately, out of print) I realized that some form of time management is important to staying on task. Here is my breakdown from a post I did on my Angela Drake blog at the time: 

Up at 6:30 (note only a 1/2 hour earlier than I'd been getting up)
          I use this time to boot up the computer, make the coffee, check on all the critters, etc.
7:00-8:00 I ENJOY my coffee and cruise sights like art boards and Pinterest - not to work but to ENJOY!
8-8:30 I exercise. 
          I use a variety of things from videos, to Wii Fit to just walking on the treadmill while I watch something           on the DVR. Then a quick shower.
9 -10 All about the email. 
          This usually doesn't take an entire hour - for all 3 email accounts. 4 if I sign into Yahoo to do Groups
10 - Brunch
           Sometimes in this hour I will also get outside for a bit but usually I am multi-tasking household chores
           like doing dishes, hanging laundry, running the sweeper.
11 - You'll notice the exampled says Party List Part 1. 
        That's a Wednesday only thing. I have one blog post that must be on my music blog by 7 a.m.                       Thursday mornings for various radio stations. The post takes me all day on Wednesday to do. 
        The right hand side is for doodling and art work. 
        On other days I work on contest entries and critiques for other authors 
1 - It's lunch time. 
        I'll also spend this hour multi-tasking around the house and walk down to get the mail
2-5 - I'm back on the Party List post (Wed.)
        This part of the Wed post requires adding over 50 links to artist/ venue websites within the post before          uploading. Sometimes I'll move to the sofa for this part and let a movie play in the background.
5 - Final check of email.
        I respond to anything needing a response and take care of others. But no longer than an hour.
6 - Computer is shut down for a couple hours.
      I fix and enjoy dinner, take clothes off the line and anything else I can do.
8 - I'm back to write fiction for a couple hours.
      I do this by word sprinting with long-time writer buddies on Yahoo Instant Message. 
      Very productive time.
By 10 p.m. (sometimes 9) I am DONE for the day. I can sit on the sofa, put my feet up and enjoy some of my favorite shows - with or without Bob home. I'm not working til 11 p.m. or midnight AND I'm getting my projects done AND fiction time in.

Next in the binder is my Monthly on 2-pages

I liked that Melissa offered this as non-dated so that I can use the same file every year. 

The next two pages are behind each Month On Two Pages.

I have a page that comes next behind each month that I failed to photograph the front side. The page is This Month At A Glance. There are 4 boxes - each broken down into Monthly Statistics for Social Media, Top Post/ Page Views, Notes/ Google Analytics. I can also make a note as to what my Goal for PageViews is so when I go back and do this summary, I can tell if I'm on track and what I need to adjust.

The back side of that page is: 

This page breaks down the individual Social Media avenues.

Next is a front and back page for braindumping. This lets me keep all of my thoughts in one spot instead of on pieces of paper scattered everywhere.

Now, it's time to break the binder down into the individual blog categories. I have six. That's why this Blog Planner is a necessity in my life.

I turned the file folders into blog dividers. You'll see each blog separately in a minute.
Behind each tab, I have a page for each month. Each page is broken down in the dates of Monday - Friday. I post specific topics on set days of the week. This allows me to write down what the topic will be for each day during my planning sessions. When I sit down to write the post, I know where I'm going.

These last pictures are of the blogs and each shows the Editorial Calendar for each blog:

Two Not Shown:
Angela Drake - this blog is under construction right now so not sure how the Editorial Calendar will flow.
Cauldron Cafe - Not sure why a picture didn't wind up of that one. Hmm

Once the blog post is written/ scheduled, I put a spot on the coordinating post on this Blog Board. This is a visual for me so I can see at a glance what I am missing.

And a close-up:

Now that I have a plan in place, I am already finding myself tapping away on the keyboard trying to get as many of those dots moved into place as possible before Bob comes home on October 12th. 

Whether you have one blog or ten, having an Editorial Calendar in some form is important. A magazine without one would fail miserably and your blog is your magazine. 

You do not have to be as OCD as I am.. but being organinzed in a form that FITS YOU is critical to the success you are striving for. 

Creative Blessings!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WOYWW #383

That's my desk? What's on yours? When you are done visiting me in the Ozarks, please hop on over to Stamping Ground where Miss Julia has a long list of other studios you can peek into. No standing on an up-turned milk pail to look in the window. We open the doors wide and welcome you. We won’t touch.. just look. J  I can't wait to peek but we have a busy weekend ahead so I may be late again getting 'round. Please leave your number and you'll be first on my list.

Monday, October 3, 2016

MIXED MEDIA MONDAY - World Cardmaking Day!

World Card Making Day

Image courtesy of

Did everyone play on Saturday? I did.  In past years I've always planned to do nothing but make cards on World Cardmaking Day but then I'd get household chores and whatnot out of the way. By then the day was pretty  much gone and no cards to show for it. I decided 2016 was going to be different!  I dove in right after breakfast and didn't stop except for life-breaks until after 10 p.m.

Most everything I made was to get ahead of blog posts for the Stampin' Up blog (where you'll find all the details for each card set over the next few weeks) but I thought I'd showsome of them enmasse here:

This first 'bakers dozen' Christmas cards were from a One Sheet Wonder pattern I have on my Pinterest Board

This set was from the Holiday Project Life set.

This was a design from my up-line, Brandy Cox - BrandysCards

And this last one is for a Pinterest-inspired post. I used Petals & Paisley's scraps

I kept crafting most of the day yesterday. I have 16 cards from a One Sheet Wonder to put together. Everything is cut/ punched. Just needs assembled and stamped.

I also made these adorable ornaments from Dazzling Diamonds Glitter Paper and the Merry Tags Thinlits. These are perfect for adding to a card without increasing your postage: