Handmade Valentine’s Day Cards

Handmade Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine’s Day is second to Christmas with the amount of money spent on gifts. I would never pick on anyone for spending their own money on a gift, any gift for someone. However, too many people feel pressured to spend money they don’t have on gifts for holidays like this. I honestly DO believe it is the thought that counts. Rather than spending too much on a gift this year, you can make cards for those near & dear. BHG offers a selection of cards you can make alone or with others.

Here’s a suggestion for you: Gather your friends & their children. Make a variety of cards for Valentine’s Day. I mean LOTS! Then deliver them to a local nursing home. Call the home first to let them know you are coming. Explain the cards are for the residents that never receive cards or gifts on holidays. What a fantastic way to show your love to someone you may never meet! You will make their day & teach your children a lesson that money can’t & never will buy! Enjoy!

Valentine Cards

8 Steps to More Effectively Share a Message Step 4: Create a Booklet

You might believe this is an unnecessary step. You would be mistaken. A booklet serves many purposes in this process. Let’s see what some of them are:

Allows You to Expand Your Message

Your blog series should contain plenty of useful information. You never, however, want to put everything about a topic into any one piece of the process until you get to your book. And even then, you want to be able to refer readers to other formats, like a video or podcast, for even more information. Anyway, while your blog series is more detailed than the infographic, you should have more information to share. I find once I write my blog posts, I begin finding other information to support my message. Or people write comments that offer information or ask questions that help me see areas I need to further develop. A booklet allows you to do this.

Quick to Put Together

You might scoff at creating a booklet, preferring instead to wait until you complete a book. A full length book may take 6-12 months to complete. A booklet can be finished in a weekend. This doesn’t mean you simply throw it together. You always want to create a quality product. Some items, however, can be created in a shorter amount of time than others.

Easy to Giveaway

I always produce a digital version before I have a print version made. A digital version can contain hot links to your blog, your podcast, videos, social media & third party supporting information, like a book that adds on to your message. A digital booklet makes an excellent giveaway for people that subscribe to your mailing list. I just add the PDF to my website & make that the landing page.

A Quick New Item for Your Product Table

If you are really hot on your topic, you want to share it with people as quickly & easily as possible. A booklet allows you to have a physical product to sell when you do events. Your booklets may contain all the information some people want. They are also an inexpensive way for members of your audience to take a piece of you home with them at a low cost. When you do a bang-up job during a presentation, people like having a memento for lack of a better word, to take home with them. While books can be expensive, a booklet is usually only a few dollars. You may find your booklets are the best selling item on your product table.

It Is More Forgiving

There is nothing worse than spending months-years writing a book, having it printed only to discover all the changes you want to make. It’s always hard to let go of your book once you are done writing it. You always want to do MORE! I’m talking about major changes. Info you could have added. Mistakes. A booklet allows you to see where there are holes & gives you the opportunity to fix them. And at a much lower cost then a book. I only print a few booklets at a time so I can make revisions as necessary.

Now you can see how important a booklet is in this process. It is well worth the time & minor expense to produce a booklet, ensuring your future book is filled with even more valuable information than you thought possible.

8 Steps to More Effectively Share a Message Step 3: Develop a Blog Series

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Is the Subject Expandable?

Once I create an infographic, I like to create individual blog posts for each step. This enables those that want to get more information on the topic. It also enables ME to determine if I have enough material to write a book. If I can’t do a decent blog series, then I’ll never be able to come up with enough info to write a book.

A Path to Podcasts & Videos

The blog series also helps you begin the process of creating podcast & video material. I simply take the info from a blog post or series, add to it where necessary & go into production. Depending on the length of each post, I might do either one long program or break it down into smaller pieces just like the blog series. I learned early on to keep audio & video short to give my busy audience the opportunity to listen & watch. I can always put the segments together & make one long program. More on this later!

Design Graphics for Blog & Social Media

At this time, I also create the graphics I need for the blog series. You can see an example at the top of the page. In Canva, I design the first piece & then make copies for each additional post. This is also when I design graphics for social media. I want to share the blog posts in as many places as possible. Designing graphics for Twitter, Facebook & more gives my series a consistent look across the board. Canva offers templates for various platforms so this is easy to do.

Determine the Best Time to Post

I prefer to share the posts from a series M-F. This gives readers time to catch up on the weekend if necessary. I have also found that I have the most readers during the week for this type of post.
Developing a blog series from the steps on an infographic is a great way to expand on a good topic & discover other ways you can use the information across platforms & formats.

14 Crafty Valentine’s Day Wreaths

14 Crafty Valentine's Day Wreaths

All your Christmas decorations are down & put away, or soon will be. Boy does your house look bare! After a month, give or take, of decorations & lights, your home suddenly looks dull. Not a problem! Valentine’s Day is not too far away. All the decorations of red, pink & white add just enough color to your home to chase away the winter drabs. Let’s face it! When all of outdoors is done up in gray, white & muddy, it’s nice to come home to those happy Valentine colors.

I tend to decorate primarily with $ store items. This year, however, I plan to add a few touches I make myself, including a wreath or two. Good Housekeeping is ready to help you create your own Valentine wreath (or two) with this selection of 14 DIY wreaths. Now you can add color to your entire home! That should chase the winter blues away! Enjoy!

Valentine Wreaths

9 Ways to Make New Things Look Old

When Winter Comes

While we have lived in SoCal for many years, I remember the long cold days of winter. I grew up in St. Louis & we lived in Illinois before moving to SoCal. The beauty of winter in December & even early January soon spreads out before, well, forever. Or at least it seems that way. I always found the best way to spend my time indoors during cold weather was with projects. Good Housekeeping & I are sharing 9 DIY projects for your home. I believe perking up your home is another way to enjoy your time indoors during cold weather. These projects may be just the things to help you settle in & relax until Spring comes again! Enjoy!

Old Things Made New

25 Cozy Ideas for Fireplace Mantels

25 Cozy Ideas for Fireplace Mantels

Our house doesn’t have a fireplace so we don’t have a mantel. However, I do have 2 sideboards in our dining/living room that I decorate throughout the year. Autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas have now all passed. It was easy decorating for those seasons. Valentines Day is approaching but you may not want to put those decorations up yet. You may want something simple. You may even want something that you can maintain throughout the year, simply adding a few seasonal touches when needed. Southern Living agrees! They have created 25 cozy mantels for your home. These ideas can be used on a mantel, sideboard or any flat surface in your living room. Create a beautiful focal point for your home with one of these ideas. Or combine 2-3 to create a look that is unique to your home & you! Enjoy!

Cozy Mantels

8 Steps to More Effectively Share a Message Step 2: Create an Infographic

Once you have created your outline, it is simple to design an infographic. This is a, well, graphic that basically has your outline on it.
Like this:

 I use Canva to design my infographic. They have many free designs from which to choose, including designs for infographics. The great thing about Canva is you can choose a template for the specific use & it is the right size for that format. For example, if you need a new header for your Facebook page, they have a template for that as well as a Twitter header, etc. You don’t have to guess what the correct size is for your need.

Design Graphics at One Time

I try to design various graphics at the same time so they all match. Yes, I know how OCD that sounds. Guilty! This, however, enables me to brand each series I create. You notice the infographic & the blog graphic have the same colors & line design. Ta-da! I am also able to design a graphic for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, & more. All the same design that has been plugged into a new template.

Creating the Infographic

The infographic is basically my outline. I make sure it has enough information so anyone that only sees this one part of the process is able to apply the lessons offered in the infographic. I ALWAYS make sure each step of this message sharing process not only supports & builds on all the other steps but is able to stand alone & help my audience, even in a limited way. An infographic doesn’t offer a whole lot of information but I make certain that small paragraph is powerful. And hopefully causes the reader to want to learn more.

Why Bother?

So why bother with an infographic? First, you can use it as a teaser for your upcoming series. Share it on social media the week before your series begins. I also share it on Pinterest with a teaser before the series begins & then again with a link to my blog once the series has started. I pot it on my blog to let subscribers & potential subscribers know this series is coming. I send it to my mailing list. And on & on.

Rack Cards

You can also have your infographic printed as a rack card that you place on your product table when you have a speaking engagement. Rack cards give your audience a free takeaway that invites them to visit your blog for more information.As you can see, infographics play an important role in the process of effectively sharing your message & are well worth the time to design.

8 Steps to Effectively Share a Message: Step 1 Create an Outline

 I could hear you groan, you know! Outlines seem tedious. Perhaps you never had to learn about outlines in English class. They were a pain! Breaking things down into smaller & smaller pieces with very specific tags to identify their place in the outline. It was painful & confusing.
 
Not Your English Class Outline
 This is not that type of outline. When I began as a speaker & author, I studied under Florence Littauer. We were taught that outlines help us formulate the message in a logical order. How many times have you listened to a speaker that motivated & inspired you yet later, you were unable to share anything they said in their presentation? The speech might have been very well written but if it wasn’t created in a systematic format, your brain is unable to retain the information.
 
Is There Enough for a Series?
When I come up with a great topic, like this one, the first thing I do is create an outline. This enables me to see if I am able to develop a message from the idea. If I can’t flesh it out into a simple outline, then I know I only have an informational graphic to share on Instagram.
 
It’s Easier than It Sounds
You want an outline that makes it easy for your readers or listeners to remember your material & easy for you to share it across multiple formats. An outline makes it easy for me to first create an infographic & then break it down into a blog series.Your outline is easy to create. Pick a word that represents your message & make an acrostic. For example, TALK: Teach, Act, Listen,Keep. Or you might you words that rhyme: Make, Take, Wake. You can use an analogy. To share my Simple Joy message, I created a message using a tree through the seasons. It takes some effort at first but it becomes very easy, very quickly.
 
Well Worth the Effort
Take the time to develop an outline & you have the foundation for a message that can go from infographic to book!

The Power of 5

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In business and life, it’s mandatory to set goals. Earl Nightingale defined success as the progressive realization of a predetermined goal. Without goals, you are on the journey of life without direction. Would you begin a long trip with no idea which road to take to reach your destination? Then why would you continue on the most important journey of all, your life, without a clear idea how to proceed? Perhaps the problem is a lack of vision. I find many people are unable to set goals, to lay out a predetermined path for their lives because they have no idea where they want to end up once they arrive. In that case, it becomes necessary to establish your ultimate destination before you begin. This enables you to set goals that take you farther and farther along your path, toward your goal.

As a blogger, writer, podcast & more, I must constantly set goals for my life & business. I must have a clear idea where I am and where I want to go to lead my life along that path. When I first began this process, I found it to be overwhelming. How do I determine where I need to go? How do I decide where I should end up at a predetermined time in my life? What steps do I take along the way to ensure I arrive at my destination? I was working to set goals for the coming year and found myself unable to proceed. I was in trouble.

As I reflected on goals, I realized it was not enough to think only of the coming year. To have a productive year, I needed to be working on goals that helped me accomplish my long term goals. That meant I needed to set long term goals for my business and life.

When I first sat down to do this, I came up with a long list of items that I wanted to accomplish in the coming year alone. As I studied the list, I realized I was setting myself up for frustration. All I was creating was a list of items that would be carried over, uncompleted, from year to year. I didn’t want this. I believe goals should be achievable but have stretch. I wasn’t certain what to do.

Then it hit me. I remembered something I had read in one of my Mary Kay Ash books. Mary Kay advised her sales consultants to follow her example of only setting 5 goals a day. By listing only 5 items on their to-do list, Mary Kay from her own experience knew that anyone could easily accomplish the things they needed to get done for the day. The list was to be created at night before going to bed. I had been using this technique for a while and found it worked very well. If I needed to make phone calls, I would make the calls 1 item on the list but no more than 5 calls. If I needed to make more than 5 calls, then I would create another item on the list.

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So, I began to think, why not use the same technique for setting long term goals? The Power of 5 was born. It’s very simple. I went 5 years into the future. I personally find it is easier to go forward and work my way back than the other way around. I thought about my business. What did it look like? What had I accomplished? What was I on the verge of accomplishing? Then I made a list of 5 things that I had accomplish 5 years in the future. I always write each goal in present tense, as if it were a reality, which it is. You see, once I create the goal and commit it to paper, once I accept the possibility of it being accomplished, my mind begins to subconsciously create ways to accomplish the goal. My mind accepts each item as reality and acts on it accordingly.

Next, I considered a year from now. To be a year closer to accomplishing my 5 year goals, what 5 things do I need to accomplish in the coming year? Then, I thought a month ahead. What 5 things did I need to do to bring me a month closer to the annual goals? Each week, I study the monthly goals and set 5 goals for the week that bring me closer to accomplishing the monthly goals and each evening, I study the weekly list so I can set goals that insure each day helps me to complete the weekly goals.

I am finding it much easier to accomplish the items on my list because they are not overwhelming. If I finish all 5 things on my daily list, then I refer to my weekly list and decide what else I might do to whittle away at the week tasks. Just like eating an elephant, I bring myself one bite closer to those 5 year goals everyday.

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You can create your Power of 5 list anytime. Right now is the perfect time. Sit down and look 5 years into the future. Who are you? What are you doing? What are you about to accomplish? Create a list of 5 things that you see happening right then. Your goals should reflect the different aspects of your professional life. For example, if you are an author and speaker, you want a goal for each of these areas. You want each item to be as specific as you are able to make it. If the items are vague, you are not going to accomplish them. Your mind cannot act upon a vague idea. You need to give your mind a specific goal upon which it may act and accomplish.

Next, come back to one year in the future. What 5 things do you need to accomplish in one year’s time to be on schedule for your 5 year goals? Then go to a month out. What do you need to accomplish by then to complete your annual goals? Then set goals for the coming week to nibble away at your monthly goals. Finally, each evening before you go to bed, make your list of 5 for the following day. Study the list from that day. If you did not accomplish something, determine why. You might have set a goal that was too big to be finished in one day. Learn from that mistake and create more realistic goals to avoid frustration. Perhaps something came up to prevent you from finishing the list. That happens sometimes. Resist the urge to beat yourself up and add the item to tomorrow’s list. Perhaps the task doesn’t even need to be done. Then cross it off the list and forget about it Tomorrow is an opportunity for a fresh start. Take advantage of it

The Power of 5 is a great tool to help you accomplish the incredible goals you see ahead of you. Using the Power of 5 enables you to answer God’s call & fulfill His plan for your life with greater ease & focus!