Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

Valentine's Day Crafts for Kids

I have always felt the best gifts are handmade. This is especially true when the gifts re from kids. Take time to teach your kids that gifts don’t need to be expensive. They simply need to be heartfelt. this selection of Valentine crafts for kids offers projects to decorate your home or share as a gift. Perfect for those cold afternoons at home! Enjoy!

Valentine Kid Crafts

8 Steps to Effectively Share your Message Step #8: Have Others Share Your Message

I had thought of calling this step Get Someone Else to Do It but decided to be more tactful. It is however, your goal.My favorite part of Tom Sawyer is when Tom is told to paint a fence & he motivates other boys to do it for him. What an incredible example of leadership! It’s a hot dirty job & he manages to make it look inviting, so inviting the other boys BEG him to let them do the job!

An Inventive & Effective Leader

This is clever on so many levels. First, Tom knew exactly who he needed to recruit for the job at hand. Second, he made a dirty job look good. Tom gave those boys a vision of the mind-numbing job of fence painting look so good they BEGGED to do it for him! Third, while it would have take Tom alone a long time to finish painting the fence, the group of boys churned it out in no time. Dividing up the work assigned to 1 person among a group people made the task easier & quicker to accomplish. Fourth, while Tom had to get the ball rolling, beginning the painting himself, once he recruited others to help out, Tome was able to sit back & let the work continue without his help.

Following Tom’s Example

Now, I know Tom Sawyer is not used as an example of effective leadership, although perhaps he should be. You can however, learn a lot from Tom’s example, discovering ways to promote & share your message by getting others to do it for you.

Recruit the Right People

First, you have to determine who the right people are to recruit for the job. Look for bloggers, podcasters, etc that have a message that compliments yours. It might be on a topic you have considered using but felt it would pull you too far off your focus. This allows you to offer your market information you would like to create without having to spend the time researching & writing. Once you have found a few people, you want to recruit them to help you share your message with their audience.

Make It Look Good

Tom made a hot dirty job look good which encouraged the boys to ask to help. You need to made the job of sharing your message look good to others so they willingly offer to do it. How? By showing them what’s in it for them. You want to create a partnership with them that is mutually beneficial. Contact them & ask if you can share their site, material, broadcasts, etc with your audience. If you have a podcast, ask about interviewing them. When you post the material, be sure to send them the link. I like working with women that are just starting out. They are so excited for the exposure & I like helping them. When the article, post, program is available, they share the link with EVERYONE THEY KNOW! This drives new people to your material. Be sure to provide links to your other resources so visitors can learn more about you.You can also share links to their sites on your site in exchange for them doing the same for you. Or share their book, program whatever in exchange for doing it for you. This is all mutually beneficial.

Many Hands Make Light Work

Finding the right people & sharing their material or interviewing them takes time. Eventually though, it makes less work for you. The more people you help, the more people you are able to reach. Tom could have recruited 1-2 boys to paint for him. Instead, he recruited a group that should have been able to knock the job out in no time. It took time for him to recruit that many boys but it paid off in the long run. It will take time for you to recruit the right people but it pays off in the long run. The people you help drive a new audience to your sites without you spending any money. You must simply invest the time at first.

Finally, They Come to You

After Tom had recruited a few boys to paint, I imagine other boys began to show up ASKING if they could paint too. tom would no long need to recruit helpers. They would come to him, wanting to participate.The same thing will happen to you. At first, you will need to find people whose material you can promote. You will need to keep doing it day after day. Eventually, however, you will reach the tipping point where the process takes on a life of its own. It happens slowly at first. Just one person here & there asking you to share their message. Drip, drip, drip until the rush begins. Soon, your mailbox is filled with people asking to be interviewed, wanting you to share their book, seeking to have you promote their site.

At this point, like Tom, you can sit back & watch the work continue without any effort on your part. Well, almost. You still have work to do. However, your listeners, subscribers, numbers continue to grow without any effort on your part. All you need to do is help other people & continue to create new content. Not bad, huh?

In Conclusion

So, there you have it. It takes time to go through the entire process. Not every message will need the entire process. Let’s face it, not every blog post can be turned into a book! You can, however, follow the steps as far as each topic takes you. This systematic way of building on your message saves you time & helps you focus & grow your brand with less stress & greater success!

25 DIY Valentine’s Day Crafts Everyone Will Love

25 DIY Valentine's Day Crafts Everyone Will Love

At Valentine’s Day, television is filled with commercials for expensive gifts. I have much simpler tastes. I enjoy a bit of chocolate & last year, the loving Mr. D gave me a pound of my favorite coffee beans & a vintage cocktail shaker. I tend to make his favorite dinner & I bake cookies & brownies. I like homemade gifts or simple things I come across when I’m out. Consider the sweet handmade gifts you have saved over the years from your children. I still smile when I look at one of our handmade treasures made by The Child!

This Valentine’s Day, remember it is the thought that counts & take time to make a few of these charming gifts from Country Living. Enjoy!

Valentine Gifts

15 Valentine’s Day Mason Jar Ideas You’ll Fall in Love With

15 Valentine's Day Mason Jar Ideas You'll Fall in Love With

Mr. D always goes with me when I shop for materials to create my products. Once upon a time, he dreaded these trips but lately, he has discovered a fascinating world of gadgets & gizmos & tools & more that keep him occupied while I shop. Believe it or not, I like to get in & out quickly so I can get home & back to creating. I often have to search for Mr. D when it is time to leave & then he has to show me the latest thing he has discovered. A few months back, he was tickled to see all the colors Mason jars are now offered in. I explained that Mason jars are not just for canning anymore. Case in point, this marvelous selection of Valentine crafts created with Mason jars. I would say you are going to love them but Country Living has already done so in their title. So instead, Enjoy!

Mason Jar Valentines

8 Steps to Effectively Share a Message Step 5: Create a Digital/Print Book

You created a booklet & began offering it on your website & on your product table during presentations. The response has been great. People are reading the material & asking questions, making comments. You have been doing research, open to more information on the topic. You add to your notebook containing material on this message. After careful consideration, you decide it’s time to create a full book.

Start Digitally

There is no better feeling for an author than holding a print copy of their book in their hands. It’s also great walking into a bookstore & find their book on the shelf. As desirable as these two experiences are, I want to strongly recommend you not rush into having a print book, whether you self-publish or sign a contract with a publishing house. The first thing you want to do is go digital.A digital book enables you to write a full-sized book without the expense of printing. Printing is very expensive. Also, printing is final, more or less. Digital books offer you flexibility.

Digital Flexibility

No matter how many times you go over your manuscript, you ALWAYS find things you want to change after your book has been printed. New information becomes available. You think of things you want to add. You don’t like the way you worded certain things. You might be able to eventually make changes in your book should it ever be considered for a revised edition. Or you just might have to live with those desired changes.Or, you release your book in a digital format first, giving you the opportunity to make any changes you want to make before the manuscript goes into print. You are even able to take a different approach to the material at this point. A message that worked well all the way up to a booklet may begin to break down once you expand it into a book. The digital book causes flaws to rise to the surface BEFORE you commit the material to print. A digital book can be your best friend, your most powerful tool in this entire process. It can save you the heartburn of struggling with a print book

Now You Can Print

Once you have the manuscript as close to perfect as you can get it (you will never be COMPLETELY satisfied), you are ready to create print copies. Now, I have strong opinions about whether authors should find a publisher or self-publish. I am not, however, going make my case one way or the other in this post.If you decide to go with a publisher, you should begin the process early on. You might find a publisher when you first develop the idea. Or you might need to show the popularity of your message by offering sales #’s to potential publishers.

If you decide to self-publisher, there are so many more options than when I had my first book published. In addition, self-published books get more respect today than they did even 10 years ago.

You really need to do your homework to determine which option is better for you & your book. Which ever option you choose, remember, the success of your book always rests in your hands!

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

develop-a-blog-series

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

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