MY PERSONAL RULES FOR BLOGGING

In the blogging world, many pieces of advice are relative. What works for one person may not work for another. There are several factors to take into consideration including focus, goals, audience, etc. But I truly believe that no matter what kind of blog you have, there are few personal changes that can make anybody a happier blogger. Today, I want to share three “rules” I have been trying to live by.

Personal Rules for Blogging |Earl Grey Blog

1. Talk about your blog in real life.

This has been on my mind constantly for the entire summer. I used to tell people about my blog as a very last resort. I would dance around the subject and mumble things about crafts when I should have just said, “I’m working on my blog.” Depending on what kind of area you live in, half the people you talk to to might be completely perplexed. They might even bring up “web logging”. 😉 But the more you tell people about your blog, the more you’ll hear people say, “I have a blog too!” And suddenly, you will have a real life blog friend. Piece of cake.

Recently, I have been challenging myself to talk about my blog in Portland. Already, I have made a few friends at work who are also bloggers! It’s crazy and wonderful how one mention of blogging can spark a conversation and connect me to someone who may also be keeping their blog on the DL. When you talk about your blog enough, I promise that blogger coffee dates will be abounding. 🙂

2. Do not try to be passionate about something you’re not passionate about.

Think about something that is really cool right now. Pineapples? Everyone is so into pineapples. I personally only like pineapples on my pizza. But I keep looking at this pineapple patterned cardigan at Target and feeling like maybe I should have it. I genuinely think it’s adorable but I also know that I’ve been strongly influenced by the interwebs. Are pineapples going to be super awesome in November? Probably not! Trends come and go every season and I fall under their spell every time. Say no to pineapples if deep down you want to say no to them.

Here is a more personal example: In high school and college, I was always the crafty girl. That was my thing. But as I said the other day in this post, I’m not too inspired in the crafty arena these days. It’s a bummer because I know people like DIY projects. But by slightly changing the direction of my blog toward what I’m more passionate about, I’ve experienced growth in the blog world, in my life, and in my heart.

3. Try not to minimize your statements or discredit yourself.

Through my psychology classes, I learned a lot about minimizing statements and I realized that I did this (and still do this) a lot! There is a big difference between being humble and being self-deprecating. I believe you can be humble and be happy for yourself at the same time. If you tear yourself down even just a little, you’re tearing at your hopes and dreams. Here are some examples of minimizing statements (and alternatives) as they relate to blogging:

“I know I’m no expert at all, but today I want to talk about staying motivated as a blogger.”
(Today I want to talk about motivation. These are a few significant things I have learned through my experience as a blogger.)

“It’s super cliche and unoriginal, but I feel most inspired when I’m at a coffee shop writing in a fresh new notebook.”
(There’s nothing like a fresh new notebook and a coffee shop to make me feel inspired.)

“I just love web design. I don’t know, I’m so nerdy!!”
(I love web design!)

I literally said that last quote word for word the other night and my coworkers replied, “No you’re not, that’s so badass!” So…do your thing. Love what you want to love. Do what inspires you. Most importantly, stop putting yourself down. 🙂

Have any of these issues been relevant in your blogging experience? I’d also love to know how you go about bringing up your blog in the real world.

Thanks for letting me share!

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

CREATE GOLD LEAF HAND LETTERING IN PHOTOSHOP

Have you ever wanted to know how bloggers and designers write in what looks like pure gold ink? Me too. I’m one paycheck away from enrolling in an online calligraphy class just so that I can learn to write using pretty gold ink. Until then, I’m going to find ways to fake it. Here is how I added a gold leaf texture to my handwriting in Photoshop using my Wacom Bamboo Tablet. If you don’t have a tablet, you can still add gold text to an image or background using any font you’d like.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

1. First, open two documents in Photoshop. You’ll need a background image and a gold leaf texture. I used a solid mint colored background, and I found the gold leaf texture here. Next, select and copy the background image and paste it onto the gold leaf texture.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

Select the Pen Tool from your toolbar and change the mode to “Clear”. Make sure the top layer (not the gold texture) is selected in your Layers Panel. Then use your tablet to write something fun! If your handwriting looks shaky, try zooming in a bunch (300-400%) and then writing. It’s also fun to experiment with different brush sizes and styles.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

If you don’t have a tablet, you can just use plain text! For this, you will want to set up your layers the same exact way we did above. Then select the Horizontal Type Mask Tool. This will automatically turn your text into a selection.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

After you’ve got your type mask (seen below), select the Magic Eraser Tool and uncheck “Contiguous”. Then click the Magic Eraser over the selection, and the text should disappear. If you’re using an image as your background, you may need to erase the selection using the normal Eraser Tool or the Pen Tool (under “clear” mode).

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

To add gold leaf text in the form of a font, you can also follow this tutorial I wrote on combining photos and text.

Here’s an example of how fun it is to add gold handwriting and doodles to a photograph. You can use the method I first described, just make sure the layers are all stacked correctly.

Gold Leaf Hand Lettering with Photoshop

Let me know if you end up trying this! 🙂

MAKING PRODUCT COLLAGES FOR YOUR BLOG

Hi there! I’ve created a screencast tutorial to share how I make product collages for my blog posts using Photoshop. I wanted to keep it short and sweet, so it is pretty simple. Enjoy!

collage-draft

 

 

Photos Used:
1. Bella Sunglasses – Ruche
2. Just my Cup of Tea Cup – House of Rym
3. Open Heart Ring – Moorea Seal
4. Pineapple Ice Trays – Anthropologie
5. Curve 45oz Teapot – Red Sail
6. Golden Ratios Boxed Candle – LEIF
7. Little Guy Earrings – Kate Spade Saturday
8. Mountain Tote Bag – Nell & Mary
9. Senegalese Knitting Basket – Territory

Sheesh, videos are awkward! But sometimes you’ve gotta have them. Pardon my squeaky voice and the fuzzy quality. Have a fantastic, summery weekend. 🙂

TINY FLOWERS CROCHET PATTERN

This is the first of what I hope will be many shared crochet patterns. Whether you are a beginner or an expert in the crochet language, this tiny flower pattern should be pretty simple. If you’re not into the fiber arts, I’ll be back tomorrow with something totally unrelated to old lady crafts. 😉

I love using this pattern because it only requires one round. You can either begin with a magic circle or chain 4 and slip stitch to the first chain, to create a regular circle. I prefer using a magic circle because it gives you more control over how big or small you’d like the beginning circle to be. It will allow you to close the circle and get rid of the remaining hole in the center of the flower. A great tutorial can be found here.

tiny-flower-crochet-pattern

Tiny Flowers Crochet Pattern

Skill Level: Easy
Materials: Yarn, Hook (any size), and Yarn Needle
Special Stitch: dc2tog – (yarn over, insert hook into designated space and pull up a loop, yarn over, pull through two loops) x 2, yarn over, pull through last three loops.

1. Begin with a magic circle (alternatively, chain 4 and slipstitch to the first chain, forming a loop).
2. *ch 2, dc2tog, ch 2, slip stitch into center of circle; repeat from * 5 times to create five petals.
3. Slip stitch to the first chain you made in Step 2. Fasten off, pull beginning tail of the magic circle to tighten the center and weave in the edges.

Go on and make a garden. Tiny flowers on everything!

tiny-flowers-crochet-pattern

ps. While I will be sharing many free patterns here on the blog, I’m also dipping my feet in the world of selling patterns. Before I list any patterns to sell, I would love to have each one tested by one or two crocheters. You would receive the pattern for free, crochet the item, and give me your honest feedback about the pattern structure. Email me if you’re interested! 🙂

PAINTED MAGAZINE FILES

As someone who has difficulty making color choices, I really love being able to buy plain but customizable things. Ikea has these great magazine files made of untreated wood and they’re only $10 for a set of two. I decided I would paint these white and add a minimal black pattern inspired by the following:

black-white-files-inspiration
found here and here

If you want to spruce up your workspace, find those magazine files at your local Ikea (their product name is KNUFF, just thought you should know), grab some paint, and go to town. I used large foam paint brushes for the outer and inner surfaces of the files and then painted the rectangles using a smaller flat brush. A little simple and a little messy.

black-white-files-inspiration

black-white-files-inspiration

black-white-files-inspiration

I’m excited to use these in my new place! Crossing my fingers that I will actually fully unpack, decorate, and nest this time around.

ps. Emma Watson has the best eyebrows, huh?

DIY INSTAGRAM WALL CALENDAR

DIY INSTAGRAM WALL CALENDAR

Since I moved into this new house a few months ago, I’ve been pretty careful not to add too many crazy color accents to my bedroom. I can never decide on color schemes and I always want to change things around. So I figured neutrals were the way to go, with added pops of color here and there. I have also had this instagram wall calendar idea on my mind since I moved in! As much as I love colorful photos, it made sense to go with a grayscale theme for this project. Black and white photographs are also really sweet. The last time I hung out with my friend Charity, she mentioned that black and white photos take out the colorful details but make the memories even more vivid. I love that. 🙂

DIY INSTAGRAM WALL CALENDAR

Supplies Needed:
31 4×4 printed instagrams
white paint pen (or any color)
chipboard letters and/or cardstock and glitter paper
sticky tac

DIY INSTAGRAM WALL CALENDAR

First I chose 31+ Instagrams of nice memories from the past year. If they weren’t b/w already, I edited them with Afterlight. Then I ordered all of them through PostalPix, which has amazing rates and beautiful quality. I’m a huge fan.

DIY INSTAGRAM WALL CALENDAR

DIY INSTAGRAM WALL CALENDAR

When I received the photos, I spent a long time deciding on the placement of each photo, because…I forgot that the days of the week change every month. Duh. Anyway, this was still helpful in deciding which photos should go side by side! I went with “light, dark, light, dark” pattern. Next, I numbered each photo with a white paint pen. If you want your numbers to show up better on the lighter photographs, you might consider switching to a black or gold paint pen or sharpie.

DIY INSTAGRAM WALL CALENDAR

I attached the photos to my wall using sticky tac so that they would be easy to move around each month. Because of my dorm days, I think this will always be my favorite adhesive.

For the days of the week, I used chipboard letters that I found in the Target dollar section. To spell out January, I printed large bold letters in Helvetica onto cardstock paper. I mirrored the image with my printing settings so each letter would print backwards. Then I cut out the letters and glued them to the back of a super glittery cardstock (from Michaels). I cut out the letters again and stickytac’d them to the wall. I’m planning to customize each month to look a little different and special. Can’t wait for February. 🙂

DIY FANCY KNOB WINE CORKS

I have been eyeing Anthropologie’s knobs for a really long time now, trying to find a good excuse to buy some. Finally, I got a few and decided to make little wine corks out of them! I have seen some other tutorials around the internet, but I thought I’d figure it out myself. And I ran into a lot of obstacles. This is the method that did work. 🙂

DIY FANCY KNOB WINE CORKS

[supplies needed: craft store wine corks, knobs (mine are from Anthro, but there are also cute ones at World Market), small hacksaw, drill]

Using your hacksaw, cut off about half of the door knob screw. My dad helped me out with this one since I didn’t own a hacksaw/had never used one. He left the hacksaw with me, so…hopefully I’ll find other crafty uses for it.

Next, drill a hole in the center of the wine cork. It’s really important to try to drill straight down. I have found that the craft store corks aren’t as sturdy as real wine corks. However, at the same time, they are better for a project like this because they fit wine bottles better. When I tried using a real wine cork, a) it took soooo long to drill the hole and actually get the knob in and b) the cork expanded so it would no longer fit in any regular sized wine bottles. Yikes! Point is – these little crafty ones are the way to go.

Then, all you have to do is screw in the pretty knobs and you’re good to go!

After all of the handiwork is done, just sit back with your favorite bottle of cab and enjoy way too many episodes of Brothers and Sisters. That’s what I did at least. 🙂

DIY DREAMCATCHER

Happy Tuesday! Here’s a little dreamcatcher DIY for those of you feeling crafty. I have been making dreamcatchers and not finishing them for way too long, but I finally finished one yesterday! Hooray! Here is what my process looked like:

DIY DREAMCATCHER

DIY DREAMCATCHER

First, gather the necessary supplies. You can choose many things to embellish your dreamcatchers with. I decided to stick with the basic beads and feathers.

DIY DREAMCATCHER

Tie your yarn onto the hoop, leaving a little extra on the end (to hang it up with). Tightly wrap the yarn around the hoop. When you get to the end, tie a knot onto the extra yarn you left in the beginning.

DIY DREAMCATCHER

This is the fun part! To create the netted part of the dream catcher, I used the crochet thread and looked at this tutorial. It’s easy and super relaxing. Feel free to add beads here and there. Or feathers. Or…anything, really.

DIY DREAMCATCHER

Next, tie some pieces of crochet thread onto the bottom half of the hoop and embellish away! I strung the beads onto the string, tied a bunch of knots so they wouldn’t fall off, and then stuck feathers through the beads.

DIY DREAMCATCHER

DIY DREAMCATCHER

And ta-da! I’m seriously about to make a wall of dreamcatchers. I think they are so pretty. 🙂