Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Hello. Today I want to tell you about the vacation we took to Florida during August, and I also have a crafty giveaway of some items I purchased in Target, Michaels, & Jo-Ann’s while I was there!
We are so lucky that my lovely in-laws asked us to go to Florida with them. They have visited the Summer Bay Resort many times and this year they asked us along to enjoy Orlando and the theme parks!
It wasn’t mine or hubby’s first times out there, as we’d both been before. But it was the kid’s first time. They had been to Disney Land in Paris, but Cheeky Boy was only 1 at the time so he doesn’t remember Paris at all. Little Miss had a couple of memories, like being scared on Big Thunder Mountain, but she was only 4 so again she couldn’t remember much.
They were both super excited about the holiday, and it certainly matched their expectations, and more! We had a wonderful time. And though it was baking hot – I mean really super hot for us English fragile beings (100 degrees F / 37.7 degrees C on some days) – we manage to stay cool a lot of the time by picking the right times to watch shows or sit in queues. Plus it rained on a few days, which cleared the air but didn’t last so long that it spoiled the day.
Here we all are on our way into the Animal Kingdom:
The kids loved the Safari ride here, which we went on twice and saw different animals both times. I enjoyed the Expedition Everest ride which was new for me, and hubby just about stomached it (he doesn’t like roller coasters that much).
One of the best things about Disneyworld is the little extras that kids can do for free – at Animal Kingdom it’s collecting stickers to become ‘Wilderness Explorers’ (you do a variety of things like play music, find out animal facts, and learn about other cultures), at Epcot it’s collecting stamps from each country on a Barney Bear picture (which you can also colour in on your way around), and at the Magic Kingdom there’s both the ‘Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Challenge’ (using picture cards to cast spells at magic portals throughout the park), and the ‘Pirates Adventure – Treasure of The Seven Seas’ (using a treasure map to find marked spots in Adventure land, where things come to life and the clues lead you to treasure at the end – you keep the map and the treasure card). These were all fun and we could have done lots more if we’d had longer – there were more Sorcery Cards and more Treasure Maps which we didn’t have time for. These extras are not advertised very much so make sure to look out for them if you go there.
My favourite place to go was Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. I have been dying to go here since it opened. My friend Rosie and I actually planned out our own Harry Potter World on a long bus journey once when we were at Uni together, then when the park opened years later we wondered if some Universal Studios bigwig must have been sitting behind us on the bus?!
I’d made shirts for us four to wear to Harry Potter World using my Cricut Explore and iron-on-vinyl. They say:
Mine – ‘I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter’
Hubby’s – ‘If you can read this my invisibility cloak isn’t working’
Little Miss’s – It’s leviOsa, not leviosA’
Cheeky Boy’s – ‘You must be a boggart because you look Riddikulus’
These were so fun to wear, all the cast members kept reading our shirts and laughing! The kids loved showing them off. I wished I’d made Disney ones too!
Harry Potter World lived up to my expectations, I loved the Hogwarts Express, the Escape from Gringotts, and the interactive wands especially. The ride in Hogwarts itself made me feel a bit sick though! I will do a post on Harry Potter World another day as I could say so much about it!
All in all, we had an amazing time. The kids will have so many fabulous memories…
And if they ever forget they can watch the movies I made. Thanks to Blogtacular and Xanthe Berkeley’s Video Workshop, I had learned the tricks to be able to record and edit daily videos using my iPhone and the Adobe Clip app. I saved videos that were 1 minute long, which I shared on Instagram and Facebook, and some that were longer (approx 5-8 minutes per day) which I am keeping for family memories. If you missed me sharing them on social media, you can watch the 1 minute long videos stitched together as one video (less than 15 minutes long) here:
Including some pencils, washi tape, twine, enamel dots, a ‘be creative’ wood plaque, and a cute little notebook – here’s a peek at the pages inside:
Aren’t they fun?!
To enter to win this giveaway just leave a comment at least 8 words long on this post. For additional entries you can also comment on either of last week’s posts – ‘Minc Reactive Paint & Toner Pen’ or ‘Kickstarter Campaign For Jennifer Grace Creates’. So you can earn up to 3 entries.
This giveaway is open internationally and it will close for entries on Thursday the 20th of October at 10pm GMT. The winner will be drawn from all entries using random.org, and I’ll post the winner on a blog post at some point that weekend (21st – 24th Oct).
The Giveaway is now closed – the winner was KT Fit Kitty! Thank you to all who entered!
If you have any questions or are having problems commenting please contact me at jennifergrace(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk
Thanks for stopping by!
If you’ve recently seen my Facebook or Instagram feed you’ve probably already seen this, but if not here you go! I am currently running a Kickstarter campaign, to try and raise funds to buy a mug press and sublimation printer, so I can produce mugs with my designs to sell in my Jennifer Grace Creates Etsy Shop…
I ordered a few mugs with my designs on a while back, but when they arrived a lot of them had problems – chips in the mugs or errors in the printing. This got me thinking that if I wanted to make more mugs I’d like to be able to do it myself, as I’m a perfectionist and would like to have complete control over the item from start to finish! I could try other companies that produce mugs, but most of the time you have to order lots of one design, and I want to produce lots of designs. I also want to be able to make personalised mugs, so if someone wants their name on a mug, for example, I’ll be able to make it straight away!
Here’s the mug I’d most like to be able to make for myself:
I love coming up with quirky designs, and having my own mug press would make it easy to produce mugs that work for all kinds of people (or mermaids):
I’d like to make some funny ones too…
I designed this one recently because I live by the ‘Jurassic Coast’ in England, so dinosaurs are a regular topic around here:
There’s lots more designs which you can see over on my Kickstarter Campaign. If you could take a look and consider pledging I’d be most grateful! If you aren’t aware of Kickstarter then I should say that most pledges are like you are pre-ordering an item. You pledge for which item you’d like, e.g. one mug, then if the campaign is successfully funded I will send out a survey afterwards asking which design or designs you wanted. Then I’ll buy the mug press and printer, along with lots of blank mugs, and if all goes well you’ll receive your chosen pledge sometime in December 2016. So it’s not like you are donating money for nothing (unless you choose to pledge only £1). Free UK shipping is included in the pledge amounts too.
If you have any questions about it do let me know! If you are unable to pledge at the moment but do like the look of my mugs I’d love to hear in the comments below which of the mugs you like or what designs you’d like to see in the future. I will definitely do a mug giveaway at Christmas too, as long as I’ve been able to buy the tools and supplies.
I will be back tomorrow with a giveaway of items I bought in Florida!
Another post at last! Sorry it’s been a long time. Have you missed me? I *think* I actually have a post to go live every day this week (Monday – Friday) so that will be exciting, huh?! One of them will be a giveaway post!
I have been busy since my last post, with a family holiday to Florida (which you already know about if you follow me on Instagram), then getting back into the school runs, my Parent Teacher Association Chairwoman post, running Rainbows, back to work at the school library, and I’ve had a steady stream of Etsy orders (thank you if any were from you!). So it’s no wonder I’ve struggled to fit in time for blog posts!
Today I’m sharing some tests I conducted with the Heidi Swapp Minc Reactive Paint and Toner Pen…
First I sorted out the items I wanted to try painting on – a mix of patterned and plain paper, a cork sticker, various chipboard embellishments, and some wood veneer shapes. I also grabbed a few Happy Scatter stencils to use on some of them:
I squeezed some paint out onto a craft mat, and used a sponge dauber for some and a paintbrush for others. The sponge dauber gave a bubbly effect when applying it but this evened-out as it dried so it didn’t effect the final foiling:
Make sure you clean the craft mat, sponge dauber, paintbrush, and stencils (or whatever you are using with the paint) straight away after using, as it’s quite a gluey, sticky paint – I wouldn’t want it to dry on my tools!
I used the stencils on a few and painted freehand on the rest. I made sure the paint layer was even, not patchy – this was easy to achieve as the paint itself is thick and doesn’t spread out too much. I did have to hold some of the pieces up at angles to the light, so that I could check there were not any patchy areas, if there were I painted them again. Then I left it all to dry overnight, as the paint has to be super dry before you try foiling it:
They mostly foiled very nicely, but I did hit a few unexpected snags which you can avoid! I didn’t think about the plastic or adhesive on the back of the stickers and chipboards and how that would melt in the Minc. Here’s where the flower chipboard backing melted and stuck to the carrier sheet:
I managed to scrape it all off after it had cooled, but you might want to remove the backing off chipboards where possible! Or perhaps put a sheet of paper in the carrier sheet under the chipboard or sticker, so if it melts it sticks to the paper instead of your carrier sheet.
Another problem I had was with these wood veneer hearts. They were the thickest item I was trying to put through, at 3mm deep – the other items were 1.5mm deep at most. And these hearts did not fit through the Minc. I gave it a go because I knew I could hit the reverse button if they got stuck. They got close enough to be warmed up a bit, so the foil melted on them a little, but then I had to reverse it as they wouldn’t actually go in:
I tried to think of other ways to melt the foil on, so I tried putting them in a carrier sheet and using a heat tool to warm it, but this crumpled my carrier sheet:
And there wasn’t much more foil stuck on than before:
I did managed to flatten my carrier sheet out a bit by passing it through the Minc a couple of times, but it’s still a bit wobbly!
Finally I tried adding more paint, letting it dry again, and adding foil just using a heat tool – with a metal paper piercer to help me hold the foil in place while I heated it up. This was the most successful coverage-wise, but it did go bubbly – I’m not sure if the paint wasn’t quite dry, or if it was because of all the layers, or if it was the heat tool that caused the bubbling! Never mind, I shall keep experimenting:
Here’s all the items that I used the Minc Reactive Paint on, including a scrap of fabric. The fabric worked fine but I should have put a sheet of paper under that in the carrier sheet too, as some of the paint melted through the fabric fibres! I was impressed with how these all turned out though:
Especially the gold ones! I love the gold pineapple using my Happy Scatter Pineapple Mini Stencil:
Now, on the other hand, the Toner Pen was shockingly bad. Here’s all the items I drew with the pen:
I made sure I drew slowly, and I used a mix of shiny and matt papers – the ‘make it happen’ quote was on super glossy paper. The ink coverage looked great on them all. But they foiled terribly:
The foil worked in some places so I guess it would be okay for a grungy foiled look, if such a thing exists?! But it wasn’t the look I was going for:
I don’t think I shall be using the Minc Toner Pen again. I shall definitely be using the paint again though, I couldn’t wait to use some of my painted items so I pulled out a photo and put this page together:
The foiled items are a great way to make the page extra special and shiny:
I’m going to see what else I can paint and foil now…
I hope you are all having a great Monday!
Hello. Sorry I haven’t been here lately again. We’re just busy, busy, busy! That’s not going to change over the next couple of weeks as I am leaving my sister housesitting, and we’re off to Florida for 2 weeks with my in-laws!
We’ve been doing a few crafty projects during the summer holidays though, and one of them is for the latest Staedtler Try-It-Tribe challenge, to put some stripes on a project. We decided to try out this Rainbow Scratch Art which we had in a book but had been waiting for the right materials – the arrival of some Staedtler Oil Pastels seemed like the perfect time…
You are supposed to use cartridge paper but I had some cheap card to hand so we used that, covering it with oil pastels:
Keep going until it’s all full:
Then we spreaded out some slightly watered down black acrylic paint all over the pastels:
Once it’s dry we could scratch some stripy pictures. Cheeky Boy opted for a stripy spaceship and planets, Little Miss went for stripy flowers, an owl, and other doodles:
They were very pleased with their finished pieces:
I also recorded a short video of the making process which you can see on instagram HERE.
I hope you are having a lovely summer!
The latest Staedtler Try-It-Tribe challenge was to build our own tent for some creative camping. As we had a couple of nice days over half term this seemed like a great excuse to get out in the garden for some summer fun!
Ours wasn’t a perfect success as it only stayed up for half an hour or so before collapsing, but that was down to poor structure choices. I’ll explain as we go along so that you can make yours much stronger if you have a go. The kids didn’t mind it collapsing as they’d had so much fun building it – they just made me promise we could build another one again in the summer holidays!
We started off with some bits of material (sheets and beach towels would work too, but we did draw on a couple of white bits of material so you’d skip that step if using nice sheets!), some string, lots of sticks both tall and short, a roll of paper, lots of Staedtler pens, and a bunch of pegs (the pegs aren’t in the photo but they were just basic wooden pegs):
Next we tied three tall sticks into a tee-pee shape. I say ‘we’ but the kids couldn’t reach that high – they were just helping to hold the sticks and string! After tying the tee-pee shape we used smaller sticks to strengthen the structure, putting them horizontally across 2 sides of the tee-pee and tying them in place:
I could tell at this point that our play tent wasn’t going to last too long. See the tall upright stick on the left-hand side of the tee-pee? It’s actually 2 sticks tied together. I tied 2 together because they were not very strong sticks and they kept bending. I hoped that tying 2 together and strengthening the sides would be enough to hold it up, at least for the afternoon. But once we put the material on too, and the wind blew the tent over a couple of times, well them sticks just kept bending! Lesson learnt – I will gather tall strong sticks before attempting this again!
The kids went off to colour in some pegs, decorate the white material, and design a flag, while I worked out how to peg the material onto the stick structure (they especially liked using gold & silver pens on the pegs):
Another note – this flag was way too big for our windy day – it kept knocking the tent down too! Next time I’ll use an A4 size piece!
The tent didn’t look very pretty from the back, with pegs all over it and some big stones weighing the sides down to stop them blowing in the wind:
But it did look cute from the front, especially when the kids stretched their legs out so I could see their feet poking out:
The front of the tent had the most colourful pegs holding the door together when they were inside:
They’d even coloured in a couple of leaves which they pegged onto the tent too:
They had lots of fun with the tent while it lasted:
Have you ever tried to make your own tent? It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. But next time I’ll definitely have more strong sticks! I want to try an A-Frame tent next time!
I hope you’ve had some warm weather where you are too, for some outdoor adventures!
Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the pens to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.
Bye for now,
I’ve not been scrapbooking as often lately. I think one reason for this is that I don’t have any recent photos printed, nor any new supplies to play with! So I printed this photo from last weekend on my Canon Selphy, and I had fun scrapbooking it today:
My Dad’s 60th birthday was back in March, but due to my Grampa (his Dad) being ill in hospital we didn’t celebrate then. Now my Grampa is home and recovering so my Dad came down for a visit, and we celebrated belatedly. We cooked him this towering chocolate sponge with strawberry jam, whipped cream, and sliced strawberries, with a drizzle of chocolate sauce on top. It was yummy!
I had to search for some inspiration for this – when I’m not scrapping as much I definitely struggle more to get started! I chose THIS LAYOUT by Missy Whidden as my inspiration – I liked the big letters with a painted background. So I cut some letters to spell ‘DAD’ using my Cricut Explore, and chose my background cardstock:
I used a paintbrush and some watered-down white acrylic paint to paint the background in a scribbled manner, and also added some splatters:
Once the white layer was dry I repeated this with red paint, though I used a sponge to apply the bulk of it rather than a brush this time:
Once the red was dry I inked the edges of the letters using a green brush pen, then stuck them onto the background – using repositionable tape so I could lift them up and tuck things under if I wanted to:
I adhered the photo with 3D foam tape.
Now it was time for the fun bit, adding journaling and lots of embellishments. I liked how the embellishments overlapped the letters on the inspiration page, so I made sure to do this on my page too. I also made sure to use the number ’60’ because that’s the birthday my Dad was celebrating. I didn’t want the numbers to be the big part of the page as it seemed mean to shout his age out!
I got to this point and then felt like the page still needed something else. I knew I’d be adding enamel dots but that wouldn’t be enough. So I dug out a few wooden stamps – my favourite being one that says ‘eat cake’ and stamped them around the page before adding the dots:
I had to stamp the ‘eat cake’ one with Stayz-On ink as I tried with pigment ink first, both grey and then black, but neither of them showed up very well – here’s what the grey looked like at first:
The ‘you’re awesome’ and ‘happy birthday’ stamps worked fine with black pigment ink though:
I really love the effect of the big letters:
I think I ended up with a fun, happy page to suit my Dad and his cheeky temperament!
Now I need to go and order a big pile of photos and start scrapbooking more again!
I hope you are having a great weekend,
I love Shakespeare. That dude was clever. I prefer the more comedic plays (the ones with less blood and tragedy) but that’s my general preference for entertainment in general – I like things to have a happy ending as much as possible (if a program or book that I’ve loved so far kills off a beloved character, I have been known to boycott it forever more. And maybe throw some popcorn at the TV or throw the book across the room).
So it’s no surprise that my favourite of his plays is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. As well as it being a humorous and happy-ending play, it might also be my favourite because my birthday is the 24th of June – the 23rd of June is traditionally Midsummer Night here in England, with Midsummer Day being my birthday (see HERE for more on that tradition). So I feel especially connected to it somehow, and when Viking (stationery and desktop supplies) asked me to join in with their #thoushaltcraft challenge to commemorate 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, I knew I’d have to use a quote from this play for my project:
I thought this would be a nice canvas to display in our bedroom… it can reassure me when I wake up from a strange dream!
For anyone who doesn’t know, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is about 3 main things – a love triangle between four Athenians, the quarrel between Titania and Oberon the Queen and King of the fairies, and the comeuppance of Bottom, the pompous weaver who has his head turned into a donkey’s head for some of the play. It has mistaken identities, and magic, and love. I tried out some of the quotes I like the best to see which one I should include on my canvas:
I know that a lot of people find Shakespeare hard to understand, but somehow I could always get the gist of what was going on, even if I didn’t understand all the words and phrases from the time the plays were written. Then I studied a Shakespeare module at university and I understood it more! But when you pull out particular quotes like these, they show how universal and timeless his writing was, you might not even guess at them all being Shakespeare if you didn’t know – for example ‘the course of true love never did run smooth’ could be a song lyric!
My 8 year old daughter has some homework to create a piece of art about ‘Midsummer Dreams’ so I was trying to work out how I could introduce the play to her – then I found out the kid’s channel cBeebies had put it on as a play! We watched it a couple of days ago and she loved it – the fairies especially of course, but she was also amused by the love triangle – she kept laughing and saying ‘oh my gosh’ when Puck mixed up the Athenians. Even my son (aged 4 and a half) enjoyed bits of it, though he wandered off now and then!
Here’s what Viking sent me to use for my project:
After trying out the different quotes, I decided on the ‘slumber’d’ one, because it would be good to display on my bedside table, and because it comes at the end of the play, so the words always stuck in my mind. Puck (the mischievous fairy who mixes people up) says it to reassure the audience – if anything in the play has upset them, they should just pretend it was all a dream.
I sketched out my idea for the canvas on a scrap of paper and then drew the outlines on the canvas:
I then coloured around the outlines so the shapes were a negative space, using the Uni Gold Paint Marker:
When I’d covered the whole thing I noticed a couple of white dots where I’d missed spots, so I tried just dotting more ink on these:
But these spots didn’t fade – the marker pen doesn’t blend in if the first bit has already dried:
So I went over the whole thing again to blend it all in, then I set it aside to dry. While I was waiting for that to dry, I painted the easel white:
And when the paint was dry I used the Chisel Tip W10 Sharpie to draw some black lines on top:
When the gold marker had dried on the canvas I erased the pencil lines, and I added my quote using the Fine Point Sharpie Pen. I drew it all with thin lines first:
And then I went over it again, thickening up just the ‘downward strokes’ of the script writing so it looked more like calligraphy. I also used Glossy Accents to adhere a couple of black star sequins:
Though the sequins didn’t actually start as black – I used the Fine Point Sharpie Pen to colour some gold sequins, which worked a treat:
Then I just propped my canvas on the easel, ready to be displayed:
What do you think? Do you like Shakespeare? Or do you like any of the quotes from his plays, even if you don’t read or watch the plays themselves?
I hope you have a great day!
Disclosure: Viking sent me the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are my own.
It was my daughter’s 8th birthday on the 19th of March and she wanted an Art party. Like mother like daughter, eh?! I of course happily obliged, using pinterest and my own ideas to come up with some projects for her and her friends to make!
I had a minor meltdown on Monday this week when I came to write this post and thought I’d accidentally deleted all the photos from her birthday. I was searching everywhere, and for 24 hours I thought they were gone completely. I even ran several recovery programs trying to find them. On Tuesday I’d given up hope, then when I was working on a new cover photo for my Etsy shop I randomly discovered the photos inside a folder for my Etsy shop pictures. I don’t know how they ended up there but I’m extremely glad I found them!
I didn’t take too many photos because I was very busy helping them all to craft. But of course the photos I do have are precious!
Four of Little Miss’ friends came round so there were five girls all together (Cheeky Boy had a friend round to play with him in his room too!). We started by using lots of Happy Scatter stencils and some Martha Stewart Satin Paint, decorating the party bags that we’d be filling with their makes at the end of the party:
They added a bit of glitter too! I love how bold and bright the colours are.
Next we made Fimo trinket bowls, following THIS TUTORIAL at A Beautiful Mess. I got the girls who finished their bags first to start squishing the Fimo to make it softer. They twisted sausages of colours together, then they all rolled out their bowls using some ‘rolling pins’ which was actually a long wooden pole we’d picked up at B&Q and cut down into sections.
We put them inside some oven proof bowls to bake them. In future I’d spray the bowls with some spray oil or something first, as they were a little tricky to get out!
They looked great though, both the girls and their parents were impressed. I would add the gold rim as a finishing touch like the original tutorial if we had more time!
I liked how different they all looked. Some of them gave their bowls wavy edges which I thought was a nice touch:
While the bowls were baking in the oven to set they played pass-the parcel, and then we moved onto the next project – drawing on some mugs using my Edding Porcelain Paint Pens. I’d shown them the mug on THIS POST at Design Sponge to give them an idea of what they could do, but told them they could draw what ever they wanted:
They were having great fun giggling over what the others were drawing and offering suggestions – both helpful and silly ones! Most of them drew pets they either owned or would like to own:
A couple of them had left the party before I remembered to photograph the mugs, but here’s a few of them after they’d been baked to set the pen. Little Miss’ is the one on the left, which is an Easter mug apparently:
After the mugs we moved on to edible art as Little Miss wanted to make something to eat. I melted some chocolate, butter, and golden syrup together following THIS RECIPE, and mixed in some broken biscuits. I did all this while they were drawing on their mugs. Then I poured it into some silicone cake cases, and they decorated the tops with a variety of sprinkles (including salted caramel, popping candy, and strawberry flavours), and marshmallows!
I stuck these in the fridge and they ran off to play upstairs for a bit.
While they were upstairs me and hubby prepared the party feast, which was a tea party. Though they had smoothie in their tea cups instead of tea!
They thought it was very fancy and were all trying to drink with their little fingers sticking out!
Then we sang Happy Birthday and Little Miss blew out her candles. I had planned to bake a cake but I ran out of time so Little Miss had chosen this very pretty one instead:
Then it was time to go. We put all their crafty makes into the bags they had decorated (the choc cakes were put into a sandwich bag first), along with a couple of other crafty gifts like a tube of glitter, a mini notebook, and a small paint-by-numbers set, as well as a slice of cake and a few sweets of course!
It was a fun party. I would have done a few more preparations if I’d had time. I wanted to make some decorations like THIS watercolour number poster. Instead I just used some paper chains and octahedron bunting which I’d made previously for other events. And I would have made a cake – I’d planned to make one with smarties hidden in the middle. But never mind, we can never fit it all in, and I’m sure that Little Miss enjoyed her day, so that’s the main thing!
Have you ever had an art party? Do you think you’ll be trying any of these ideas out?
Thanks so much for stopping my,
I’m calling this post blogging goals for 2016 even though the goals aren’t just for blogging, and even though we’re already 2 and a half months into 2016. You’re okay with that right?!
I did a post last year for my blogging goals in 2015, and though I didn’t achieve everything on the list, it certainly helped to get me focused. And I like putting my plans out there for you all to see, so you know what I’m up to behind the scenes, and what I have planned for the months ahead!
So, here’s the things I’d like to achieve in 2016…
Okay, I’m totally cheating with this one, as I’ve already pretty much completed this. But it was a blogging goal for 2016, I just happened to finish it before I wrote this post. I’ve been working super hard on it all weekend. If you are reading this post in an email or reader where you can’t see the whole blog, please pop by and take a look!
Here’s what the landing page looks like now:
There were so many things I wanted to achieve, and I think I’ve managed most of them! I wanted: a logo I’d made entirely myself (drawing the text by hand rather than using a font), a home page with some welcome images / info on (rather than you just landing on the blog), a drop-down menu so that you can easily choose which project types or seasons you are interested in viewing, the menu to stay at the top of the page when you scroll down so it’s always accessible, a full width instagram widget in the footer, a sticky sidebar so when you are scrolling down a long post the sidebar doesn’t suddenly go empty, and just a slightly cleaner look – but without losing too much colour.
What do you think? Here’s a screenshot of the old home page for comparison:
If anyone is interested I used the Cabin Theme by Select Themes on Envato to help me build my new look.
Obviously I will keep playing around with things a bit but I’m pretty happy with the overall effect. Do let me know if you have any problems with navigation or page load times or anything though!
Yes, you did read that right – it’s plural. I now have 2 Etsy Shops. Because, you know, life wasn’t busy enough!
You already know about my Happy Scatter Etsy Shop, selling stencils and embellishments that I’ve designed and mostly made myself. I’ve been planning some more bits and pieces to add to that, including 8 mini-stencils that are 3″ square, but I’m just waiting for some more mylar to arrive before I can cut them and list them.
The blog can be found at happyscatter.com and it looks a little like this at the moment:
There’s a few posts on there which I wrote just to get it started, including a tutorial for this card using the Wood Slice Stencil:
At the moment I’ll just be posting my own projects using Happy Scatter items on there, but in the coming months I hope to get a design team going and start a monthly blog challenge, etc, so make sure you add it to your blog reader!
I created that blog using blogger and the Felicity Template by BlogShopbyGeorgiaLou on Etsy, in case you are wondering!
The Etsy shop which I haven’t mentioned on here yet is the one I just opened a couple of weeks ago. For a while I’ve been wanting to have another shop so that I could sell jewellery and gifts that I’ve made myself. I ordered tests for the wooden necklaces and pendants back in May last year, but then I started my part time librarian job in June, and then became the chair of the PTA at my kids school in September, and my plans got forgotten for a while. Then Etsy had a course called Etsy Resolution at the beginning of the year and it got me fired up again!
Here’s what the Jennifer Grace Creates Etsy Shop looks like:
At the moment it just has a few designs of necklaces, earrings, and badges in it, but I plan to add more designs of these and also some other gifty bits.
One of the fun things about them is that you can choose the colours of the jewellery from a selection of paints, and I can add any names or phrases to the items, like on this Bunny Rabbit Necklace, perfect for Easter:
I won’t be blogging about that shop too often on here, but I will occasionally share if I’ve added a lot of new things or something. I will be sharing pics of items in it on my social media, but it’s not going to take over – my usual crafty projects and family photos will still be the bulk of it!
So my goal with my Etsy shops is just to keep working on them – keep adding new items and finding other ways to promote them. I love making items for them and I just want to do more, more, more!
Last year networking was one of my goals and I attended the CHA UK Creative Exchanges event in April, which was amazing fun (I wrote about it HERE). I believe CHA UK are doing Creative Exchanges again, but I’m not sure if I’m going this time as I think it’s in June, and in June I am already booked to go to Blogtacular!
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I have wanted to go for the last couple of years, and have been joining in the #blogtacular twitter chats on Wednesday nights at 9pm as much as I can. But I’ve never had the money for the ticket at the right time. So last summer I convinced hubby to buy me an early bird ticket for my birthday present – this means I’ve been excited for months now! It’s less than 100 days to go, and I’ve booked my accommodation for the Friday night so I can attend the Friday night party, so I can officially start jumping around with anticipation!
I also want to continue networking online, in particular I’d love to get better at reading more blogs and writing comments again. I used to be much better at this, at least I would catch up with blogs I loved once in a while, but now when I do read blogs it tends to be on my phone or tablet and I don’t take the time to leave a comment. Which is naughty, because I know how much I love comments!
I enjoyed watching Julie Kirk’s challenge to herself to Write 300 Comments In 30 Days, and the Things She Leaned From It, and whilst I think that’s too high a number for me to attempt, I’m sure I could manage more than I do. I might print off some kind of tally chart to keep by my computer and just see how much I manage each month. I’ll see how it goes!
I thought this was an important one to include! Last year I wanted to try and write 5 posts a week, and right now that’s laughably impossible. But I do want to keep making and sharing projects on here as much as I can. I’m not going to promise a certain number or a particular schedule, and I’m still not sure if I’m going to host any kind of blog event this year. But I will promise to keep making stuff, and to keep posting it on here!
It’s going to continue with a mix of layouts, cards, DIY gifts, kids crafts, and more, because I love making lots of different things. But hopefully now that the top menu can help you filter out particular projects you will still enjoy stopping by to see the latest ones you are interested in, if it’s not all of them!
Thank you so much for continuing to support Jennifer Grace Creates with your visits! Do you have any blogging or crafting goals for this year? Let me know. Maybe we can keep each other on track!
I hope you have a great day,