Tuesday 30 April 2013

My Month in Numbers 2013: April

Hello there my ever faithful number-crunchers. How's things with you on this final day of April?

The sun's shining here, so much so that I even ditched my coat and went out in my denim jacket today [I was fully dressed beneath that though!]

But while those sun rays are telling me it's definitely spring now... this month has seen me making magazine projects with Christmas paper releases ... [yes, let's take a moment to digest that. Christmas ranges already] and I've also been working on something else a little festive too.

I feel a bit like one of those plants, insects and birds that get entirely confused  by climate change and they can no longer work out what season it is!

So, in this spirit of seasonal-slippage how about we make a leap back in time to the first day of this month?

Minus 1 degrees C = the temperature in my garden on April 1st when I braved the cold to take part in a traditional Easter weekend activity.

No, not the hunting or rolling of pretty Easter eggs wearing my best bonnet, but rather ...  titivating the garden ready for summer:
48.23 linear metres = the amount of decking I stained using 1 tin of 'Jacobean Walnut' wood preserver.

And look, how sensible I was ... I didn't even paint myself into a corner ... I just gradually backed-up towards the door so I didn't have to spend the rest of the day trapped in the greenhouse until it dried!

But that last little patch was haaaaarrrrddd work on my knees. I had to kneel on the step to keep my new wellies out of the wet varnish and then reach outwards to finish the last bit. And itwas just as hard on my wrists; after painting 47m I'd just about run out of stain and ended up having to squash the paintbrush down to squeeze out every last drop.

And it still needs a 2nd coat.  What joy! 

Oh and the new wellies I'm wearing in that photo?

They [kind of] saved me .... £230 ... because, after stopping myself from splurging on a pair of boots from America which I fell 100% in love with ... [they're these ones here if you want to see, they have a tiny bit in common with the wellies. But with less rubber.] ... I treated myself to  ...

... a pair of £14 Matalan wellies instead!!
And the way the sun's shining it's little heart out today I might be forgiven for thinking I had no further use for wellies ... but ...

3cm = the height of the drift of icy cold hail which landed on the bathroom window-sill [in a matter of minutes] during a flash hailstorm last week:
I'd seen friends in other areas of the country talking about the hail on Twitter but was thinking: "well, it's beautiful here today, and I've got washing drying on the line, I think the bad weather's missed us".

Famous last words.

An hour later a thunderous pounding of hail on the windows set me straight on that!

4 = the number of books read [even though I only photographed 3!]
Whether you've seen the Drive movie or not the book is a beautiful, airy, stylistic treat. One of those books you can just drink in. Can't recommend it highly enough. Glorious work.

[It's only downside is its distinct lack of Ryan Gosling. But hey, that's what Pinterest's for right?]

4 = the number of bags of shoes, bags and coats donated to charity.

I found myself getting rid of quite a few fun, colourful, 'fashion' type bags due to finally finding a perfect soft black leather bag in a timeless style and a tan/silver leather bag that goes with everything.

After all the fast-fashion ones were discarded I even caught myself saying that investing in these 'classics' means I don't need lots of others.

I sounded like every 'capsule wardrobe' magazine article I've read since I was 14. Only now I'm living it.

Does this mean I'm old now? ;-)

And ... while we're talking of donating to charity ...

12 = the number of posts I created for Push-Up Bra Blogging
3 = the number of special guests who took part
66 = the number of people who've donated so far [as of 11.17am 30.04.13]
£524.54 = the total amount the class has raised so far [as of 11.17am 30.04.13, which is after I grabbed this screenshot]: 

And I'm delighted to say that the donations continue to roll in as and when bloggers are gettinga round to reading and implementing the ideas in the series! My page will remain open for donations indefinitely.

OK, if there's a clever way for me to now segue from talking about fund raising to talking about wheelie bins ... then I can't think of it. So here's some bins ...

3 = the number of bins we now have round the back of the garage after taking delivery of the new blue recycling bin:
We keep our bins behind the garage as they just get in the way on the drive where they block the garage doors. And while it's never been ideal [we've always had to do some balletic re-shuffling to get the one at the back out] at least they were hidden. But now ... with 3 of them there. Oh dear.

Do you remember those slider games you used to have when you were little [you can play them on line now] where you had to move little tiles around to get them all back in order to make a picture? Well ...

... I have a feeling that bin-days round here are going to start to look like a real-world 3D version of that!

21 = the number of designs in the first of a new range of official Month in Numbers merchandise!! Here's the new 'Month in Musings':
For more on these hop back to yesterday's post here.

And ... finally ... and just when you thought it was safe to go back into my blog since I promised not to go on about the bumper box of Monster Munch snacks I got for my birthday ... someone went and did this ...

James had a parcel to collect from the depot so we went to collect it before work. As he emerged form the sorting office I noticed he was holding onto both the parcel he went for ... and ... a pizza box.

And there's only one person in our house who takes delivery of pizza boxes. [That's me!].

And we all know that Good Things come in pizza boxes.

Like ... pizza for a start! But also 12x12 scrapbooking papers.

But as I hadn't ordered any I was a bit confused as to what could be in there ... so I excitedly tore off the tape ... and quickly opened the only lid to find ...

6 packets of Titanic Snacks = the number of savoury treats a wonderful snack-facilitating friend sent me as a surprise!:
[For the record ... 0 = the number that are left!]

Aren't I lucky to have a friend like that?

Who doesn't want anchor and ship wheel-shaped salt and vinegar flavour snacks delivered into their hands unannounced? Who?


So that's me ... over to you. Feel free to read and join in. Just read and enjoy. Read, enjoy + think about joining in next time. Whatever you fancy this time round.

Here's a quick re-cap of the Month in Numbers good manners for those who are planning to or have already blogged a post and want to leave a link for myself and others to visit and/or pin to the Pinterest board.

Please bear in mind the shared aspect.
  • When you swing by my blog to drop off a link to your Month in Numbers post - please leave a comment for me while you're there. Not because I'm needy ... but because it feels fair. Reciprocal.
  • Please link to my blog in your post. As much as I'd like to think that everyone who reads your blog already knows what 'My Month in Numbers' means... the truth is, they don't. So unless you explain where the idea comes from and how your readers can join you in doing the same next month, they are none the wiser.
  • Please take time at some point in the month to visit and comment on a few of the other posts too.

Right ... will go make a cuppa in my biggest mug and settle down to read the posts I've spotted out there already!

Wishing you a happy month ahead.

Julie x

Monday 29 April 2013

Introducing memory-keeping-by-numbers with 'Month in Musings' printables

Hello you.

What better way to start a new week than with sharing something shiny and new here.

So ... welcome to memory-keeping-by-numbers ... with 'Month in Musings' printable:
Over the last few months designer SJ Dowsett of Little Musings and myself have been busily working away, exchanging ideas, design notes and colour palettes  so we could bring you our first set of printable journaling cards inspired by regular My Month in Numbers series.
And ... as tomorrow I'll be blogging April's Month in Numbers post ... we thought it was perfect timing to let these loose into the crafty world: 

The download contains 21 designs to help you: capture life's vital statistics; to make fun lists; to keep track of plans, measurements, birthdays and more! And I think they will appeal to the all kinds of different creative types amongst you ...

Hello Month in Numbers scrappers:
Naturally these are completely perfect for you ... they fit with what you create already - and they're in a colour-way and design style that coordinates so well with many recent paper trends.
  • Drop back on Wednesday when I'll share my own Month in Numbers scrapbook page [my first ever M in N 12x12!] to give you an idea of how they could work for you.
Hello'Project Life' type memory keepers:
  • they're the perfect creative companions for you and all fans of multi-pocket memory-keeping
  • the printed designs will fit into many of the standard divided page protectors
SJ's designs mean you can keep all those facts and figures safe on these beautiful, modern, on-trend stylishly striped, washi-taped, dotted and wood grain-wonderful printables!
  • Drop back next week when our first super-talented Guest Designer will share her Project Life pages made using 'Month in Musings'!
And that's not all ...
Hello general scrappers [including digi-scrappers]:

Many of the cards will come in equally useful for general themed scrapbook pages ...
  • Come see me on Thursday when I'll share my 'Simply A Moment' page using the printables.
And, last but not least:
 Hello card makers:
Numbers are no stranger to greetings cards ... just think how you can put these to work for birthdays, anniversaries and more!
  • on Friday I'll share with you a card I made to help get your numerical ideas flowing! 
But if you want to grab yours right now ...
Here's where you can find 'Month in Musings':
The digital downloads are available from:
... and they come complete with a printing guide and more ideas on how to use them.


Right ... I'm off to perfect my Month in Numbers post for tomorrow by documenting the moments that count.

[Did I hear you groan just then? Did I?]


Sunday 28 April 2013

Push-Up Bra Blogging [12]: Where next? A few thoughts about community and an end of series round-up


I feel a little bit coy right now ... and not just because I'm writing this above a picture of a bra ...
... but because:
No ...  hang on ... WE reached my target.

Actually no ... scratch that ... what actually happened was ...


With a little help from Dr.Who, McFly, Kenny Rogers, Austin Kleon, freezer meals, Groundhog Day, special guests Caroline, Gabrielle and Jennifer ... plus too many cleavage-enhancing garments to mention ... we did Something Good you and me ... something really good.

So thank you:

Abi, Alexa, Alison, Amanda, Amy, Andrea, Angie, Anon A, Anon C, Anon G, Anon K, Anon W, Barbara, Beverly, Carmen, Carolyn, Christine, Deb, Ellen, Emy, Fay, Fiona, Gail, Hazel, Heather, Helena, Helena C, Honore, Janet, Jayne, Jemma, Jennie, Jennifer, Jenny, Jo, Joanne, Julia, Julie, Jx, Karen, Karen M, Kate, Kirsteen, Kirsty, Linda, Liz, Louise, Lynn, Lyra, Lythan, Maria, Mary, Mel, Miriam, Nicola, Sandie, Sandra, Sarah, Sheena, Sian, Suzy, Teresa ...

[And Thank You in advance to those who continue to donate now as my page remains open to contributions from anyone who's still catching up with the series and wishes to show appreciation in the future].

Your kindness, your support, your participation means that Save the Children can now put our combined £518 towards:
And I don't know about you ... but that really makes me so happy. [Despite the tears I was fighting back when I realised we'd done it!]

And because I've had a few questions about this [and also because my Dad (gently) teased me about me going on holiday with your donations!!] let me just clarify:
  • Just Giving forwards all of your donations on to the charity within a few days;
  • I never see any of it - it comes nowhere near me;
  • No holidays / shoes / dresses / snacks were purchased during the making of this course with your £££!  
OK then ... while we're all still basking in the afterglow of our joint good deeds let's move on to my final word on this blogging game [well, it's my final word for now at least ... who knows when I might hook myself back into my push-up bra in the future?].

Appropriately enough we've gone full circle  ... because we're back where we started [maybe it was the Dr.Who effect?] with The McFly Approach.

Because after all the tips, tricks and inspiration you've picked up along the way ... ... it's still all about you ... 

... only now it's about you, me and the thing we are together the blogging community.

How can we build and encourage a community around our blog?

When I opened up the floor to your questions ...  the only one I received was on this topic. And perhaps it was one key aspect of blogging I'd not touched upon already.

Perhaps it's the missing segment of padding in our blogging bras! [Thank you Carolyn for raising such an interesting point].

And perhaps it could be a series in itself ... but perhaps not by me. Or not now at least. Which I think is why I've found this post so hard to finish! There's almost too much to discuss, and I'm by no means any great expert on this [I certainly don't have the world's biggest blog-following].

So let me just tell you a few things I feel I can pass on ...

Is there anybody there? 
So ... you've taken on board some of the ideas in the series, you've got a line of draft posts, scheduled posts, and fresh content working its way along your blog's production line ... you're hitting 'Publish' more often than you did back in March when the series began ... now what?

Where do those posts go?

Do they come to rest gently on open eyes, ears, arms, hearts, minds? Or do they bump down with a resounding echo ... in an empty room?

Chances are ... during your blogging 'career' it's going to be a mix of both I'm afraid.

I don't know if it's possible for every single post you create can achieve the same amount of comments, traffic and exposure. And some days you really will feel like you're whistling into the wind.

And, while it's far easier said than done, if you want to continue to maintain and build your blog, you're going to have to not let the set backs ... well ... set you back!!

I think ... yet again ... that this is where working out why you're blogging, finding our what benefits blogging can have for you and then only blogging what YOU enjoy [as we looked at in the early chapters] comes in important.

Because if having a blog offers you an important outlet before you get anyone else's feedback ... then you can work on everything else over time, rather than giving up when things feel a bit lonely.

But let's look at a few things you can experiment with to help you find a wider audience for your blog:

A few ways to increase blog traffic + blog comments

If you've never read up on anything like this before do me a favour and read through my next set of tips with an open mind ... and don't let yourself get overwhelmed. OK? Please?

I've been there myself ... [still go there occasionally!] and I know what can happen.

You can get to thinking that you need to take it all on board  in the next 5 minutes or else you're getting blogging 'wrong'.

But you're not.

These aren't hard + fast rules ... just things to consider, test out and discard if they're not working for you.

Remember that this whole course has been Pick n'' Mix. Taking baby steps. Not leaping from a Double A cup to a Triple G overnight. Moving along by increments.

They may initially feel rather 'cold' to you, technical, businesslike ... and they may not be what you had in mind when I said we'd discuss 'community'. But stick with me ... because we'll get there by the end. OK? OK ...

I know some people blog purely to share photos and things with immediate friends and family - like an online family album ... so the following hints may well not apply if that's you. But, if you're hoping that word will spread about your blog beyond immediate acquaintances,  if you want a bigger and better blog you're going to have to ...

Invest in the quality of the content you share:
  • People are more likely to leave comments on posts which have really grabbed their attention - for one reason or another.
  • Think about the kinds of posts which arrest your attention ... what do they contain? What made them special?
Remember that while your blog should begin with YOU ... it's ultimately read by someone else.
  • What's in it for them?
  • What do you offer that will keep them returning?
  •  This can be anything from friendliness and humour to tutorials and inspiration ... to free downloads to interesting insights ... and on and on  
  • Whatever it is ... you do need to bear in mind that blog readers are just as time-pressed, forgetful and just a click away from the next web page as you are. If you want them to hang around ... you're going to have to offer them something worthy of their time.
Then, once one or two regulars start hanging around ... you want to make it easy for your readership to keep growing ... and so ...

Make your post 'pinnable'
[You do not need to be signed up to Pinterest for Pinterest to work for you. Other people 'pin' [save] your post for future reference on their boards.]

Pinterest is the single biggest driver of traffic to my blog.

It is responsible for the traffic behind my single most viewed post of all time:
This step-by-step tutorial I posted in 2011 gets repinned on an almost daily basis on Pinterest and has led to over 29,000 views of the original post.
For the record: to anyone feeling dejected about how your posts don't get lots of comments ...
  • this post, with over 29,000 views has a grand total of ... 28 comments.
  • Approx 0.1% of the people who've seen it have left a comment.
  • Blog-traffic figures and blog-comment numbers do not always match up the way you might expect!
Occasionally, almost 2 years later, I still get emails and comments from people thanking me for the tutorial letting me know that they plan to stick around, read other things and subscribe / follow me. And it's all down to Pinterest. [Oh and ... also me putting in the effort to make a nice tutorial! I don't want to hand over my successes entirely to someone else!]
  • People are more likely to pin your posts to Pinterest if it features beautiful / fun / eye-catching images and /or an inspirational project / a tutorial / tips etc
  • People can only pin images to Pinterest ... so even if your written advice / recipe etc is the best in the world ... make sure there's at least one image in there.
  • This needn't be a photo - you can make a .jpg image just from text eg. a quote or a diagram.
So ... now that we're realising that visuals are pulling people in, you might want to start to ...

Use good quality images:
  • brush up on your camera skills so you can take more attractive photos of your projects
  • learn a few photo-editing tricks [this needn't be in Photoshop. I personally use: Microsoft Office Picture Manager [a free software on my laptop]; Picasa and GIMP [both of which are free to download online].
  • If you use Blogger - you can also edit photos after you've uploaded them to your Picasa Web Album / Google+. Click on your image > select 'Actions' > select 'Edit in Picasa' or 'Edit in Creative Kit'
OK, so once you're happy with the content you're putting into your blog in general you're going to need to let others know about it. How else are you going to build that community?

Make your post 'searchable', 'Google-able': 
At this point in your blog's life it may well be the case that the only people reading your blog are those who already know you from somewhere [friends, family, members from another website or forum] however ...
  • the more you blog, the more content you put out there then the more visitors who you don't know from Adam will start dropping in  ...
  • and many of them will find you via search-engines [like Google]
  • If you want to know more about this you can find a world of information about SEO [Search Engine Optimisation] on the internet however ... in simple terms ... 
  • the words you use in your blog post title, body of content, in your labels / tags and in the name you've saved your images under all help tell search-engines about what's in your post and so ...
  • if you've written a tutorial about Art Journal Pages then those words need to be in those places somewhere then ...
  • the next time someone looking for inspiration for a journal page goes to Google and searches for those terms ... your post is more likely to appear in the search results.
... and then ... you may well have just found your newest blog reader.

Do you see how even though SEO etc is dry, technical and slightly like black magic ... it can still lead to positive, human connections?

OK, well hang on to that warm fuzzy feeling ... because we're dipping back into uncomfortable territory again now ...

Make your post 'visable':
I once read some business advice that said something along the lines of: 'launching a new product without marketing it is like putting up advertising posters in a basement: no one will know the thing exists' ...

... and the same goes for your blog post.

I know you might be feeling a little unloved because your blog isn't getting the attention you'd like ... but maybe ... just maybe it's not because you're hopeless at it ... it's because no one's knows about it or you!

How about revisiting Chapter 8 'The Austin Kleon Approach' where we looked at joining in with other people's link-up features for some more ideas about branching out and making connections:
  • When you leave your link on these kinds of posts chances are the the host and some of the other participants will drop by.
  • Maybe to leave a comment, maybe just to look.
  • But the more you take part, the more connections you'll make.
  • The more your face / words / style will become familiar.
Or, consider guest-blogging for others - or asking people to guest for you:
  • this could be by approaching a blog you like with an idea [preferably blogs you know take on guest-bloggers already.]
  • or keeping your eyes peeled for requests and opportunities
  • or by getting together with a few blogging friends and 'swapping' blogs for a day ...
  • or creating a blog-hop
There are lots of ways in which you can start to migrate outwards from your small corner of Blogland ... just far enough to get your work / face / projects seen by a new set of eyes which may then become new readers and friends.

But you don't need to only rely on other people helping you become more visable ... you can take on the role of promoting and marketing yourself too!

When I asked on my Facebook page for people to share how they build and promote their blog my long-time blogging friend and ever-supportive commenter Carmen [of Whoopidoings] replied:
  • "My blog posts automatically get tweeted and posted on Facebook and with my book reviews I also manually copy and paste those over to Amazon, GoodReads and Pinterest. If I notice someone has pinned something I've done I will thank them in their comment section of that pin."
And, I'm sorry to break it to you if that all sounds like a lot of work to attract people in ... but ... if you want to grow your blog .. it's pretty much par for the course.
  • My posts get automatically tweeted and Facebooked;
  • I tweet links to my posts and FB them on top of the auto-posts
  • I pin my own posts on Pinterest 
  • I occasionaly guest-blog
  • I leave links on the Facebook pages of various companies when I've used their products in a particular project
  • I put my blog address on my shop packaging
  • I sometimes add it into the bottom of my emails [depending who I'm writing to of course!]
If all this sounds like a lot of work and not something you can face doing ... then there's a few ways to look at it:
  • Pick one idea ... and give it a go for a month and if it doesn't work, at least you'll know.
  • Look for the things you will enjoy doing [eg. tweeting, joining in with link-ups] ... and then concentrate on doing those consistently, regularly, and pretty darn well!
OR maybe ... now you've had a glimpse into what it can take to get yourself and your blog 'out there' ... you can use the information to stop being so hard on yourself about why your blog isn't getting more views / comments:
  • if you're content with keeping things small and simple, then that's great, there's no need to venture out into social media etc to promote it.
  • And at least you can understand why it's remaining small
  • And it might be clearer to you that other people aren't inherently more popular than you ... they're just promoting themselves more often.
And finally ... the biggest piece of advice is less a blogging tip and more a commandment ...

Remember to do unto others ...
  • You want more people to visit your blog? ... then visit more blogs yourself, ones you're genuinely interested in.
  • You want people to leave comments and feedback for you? ... then leave comments for others.
  • You want more personal comments where you feel the commenter really read your post? ... then engage with other bloggers, let them know their post resonated etc with you.  
  • [Edited to add: I still appreciate the quick comments too! It's good to know you're there in whatever form! x]
  • The other blogger may well return the favour sometime ...
While it's not something you can force, if you're commenting and interacting from a genuine place [ie. not spamming someone else's comments with links to your own blog when not appropriate] then it can only all help toward raising your profile and having someone drop by your blog to see who left such a nice comment.

Rinda of [Gallo Organico] offered up a perfect example of this in a comment on a recent post in this series:
  • "I scheduled almost a full week's worth of blog posts on Monday when I had some free time. That's given me more time this week to visit other people's blogs and be a good commenter/community member, which has in turn brought more people to my blog!"
Look ... I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to not always leaving comments ... especially when I'm busy or tired and have only really sat down to read blogs as a means of zoning out. And part of me takes comfort in my own fallability in this:
  • it shows me how if I can really enjoy a post ... but even then still not stop to comment ... it may mean that other people did the same thing on my post!
Plus ... by recognising that I can't possibly be equally supportive to every blog in my blog-reader I've become more selective about where I focus my on line energies and I do try to more regularly leave comments for those people I've connected with in more than one way [eg. people I know from My Month in Numbers, tweeters, friends I email etc etc].

I think that, while we continue to build and grow a readership, we really need to embrace and appreciate the audience we have right now, the people - no matter how few - who keep showing up for us.

Let me share something with you ...

I may have plenty of blog subscribers, a couple hundred Facebook page 'likes', and close to 1000 Twitter followers ... and Push-Up Bra Blogging may well have brought in a few thousand page views ... but ...

... do you know how many donations were made to Save the Children to help me reach my target? 63.

Now ... I won't lie and say that figure hasn't caused me a certain amount of ... pause for thought let's call it ... over the last few weeks but ...

... while I was typing out the names of the people who made each of those 63 incredibly kind donations [so I could thank them all at the top of this post] ... do you know what I realised?

That I knew them.

That I knew you.

The vast majority of your names were already familiar to me.

You're a mix of regular blog commenters, Month in Numbers bloggers, regular Facebook and Twitter friends, people I know in 'real' life, and family plus and few faces I've seen here and there in Blogland.

You're the people who've regularly shown up for me here.

And the lump in my throat as I write this stands as evidence that those 63 real connections - above all the other seemingly impressive statistics - are the ones that really count.

So ... I guess my final word to you has to be:

You get out there and enjoy your blog my friends!

Julie x


My fundraising page once again.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Push-Up Bra blogging [11]: the Dr. Who Approach


Well ... this feels strange. It's over a year since I had the initial idea, and a few months in the planning, drafting, making the visuals, promoting and fund raising ...  and now today is the final 'approach' to blogging I'll be offering up as part of my Push-Up Bra Blogging series!

And - unlike previous posts, where I left the fund raising appeal until after the content ... today I'm putting it front and centre .

Last week, purely by chance, I saw an advertisement for a 6 week 'better blogging' on line course ... with a fee just short of £100.

Push-Up Bra Blogging was a 6 week better blogging on line course ...

I knew it already ... but this confirmed it to me, that I may well have been stupid to offer up Push-Up Bra Blogging for FREE! But, there it is, I can't take it back now!

But I do ask that - if you haven't already donated to Save the Children via my my Just Giving page -you consider ONE MORE TIME whether your budget will allow to drop £1 to the pot. All the proceeds go to the charity.

Rather than think of it like giving away £1 ... if you've been reading the posts and using them to help change the way you blog - you can tell yourself you bagged a bargain!

In the UK? You can donate £1 on my page OR by texting: PUBB88 £1 to 70070.

Generous international folk can just hop over to my page where you can donate any amount you choose.

**Please don't feel strange about adding just £1 to the pot. £1 is plenty. You're my hero for even thinking about it. Thank you. x

This, the final chapter of new content is the second of our 'HOW?' approaches and it very much builds upon the first: The Freezer Meals approach from last week.

If that approach had the desired effect ... you might now be thinking about how you can begin to streamline all the activities which go on behind the final blog post by creating new content and photographing and editing your images in bulk.

Then ... once have all those images and ideas ready to go ... today's approach steps in and offers you some simple and practical ways to pull it all together into a workable, regular, blogging schedule.

So please welcome ...

As I say, once you begin to take on some of the ideas from The Freezer Meals approach:
  • you're gradually going to build up a nice, well-padded, layer of fresh content all photographed, edited and ready;
  • then, at the drop of a hat, it can step-up to the blogging plate for you;
  • and your blog will be more regularly maintained while your readers will enjoy more frequent glimpses into your world.
But, now you've got it all, how are you going to schedule it all? In what order? What goes first?

Or maybe you're not at all interested in The Freezer Meals approach [that's fine. I'm tougher than I look. I'll get over it]:
  • instead maybe the series has got you thinking about all those things that you've made previously;
  • all that potential blog-fodder you've let slide by you in the past ...
  • those things that you now see you could have blogged about but haven't.
Whichever it is, the best piece of advice I can give you is to ask yourself ... what would the Doctor do?

And then follow his lead ...

Don't allow yourself to be bound by chronology ... your blog is your TARDIS ... 

... go travelling around in time in it! 

Come closer ... I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

While I generally introduce a craft project on my blog as 'today's project' ... it doesn't mean I made it that day. Often it doesn't even mean I made it that month, and I dare say that there are probably a few projects from last year waiting in the wings to make an appearance here.

And I'm guessing that ... you don't care one jot.

Why would you? And why would your blog readers?

One of the simplest and pain-free ways you can increase your blogging productivity is to stop thinking you have to blog things in the order they happened or the order you made them. That you have to do something 'new' for your next post.

If you haven't already blogged it, if it's never seen the light of day, if no one outside your house has seen it ... then it is NEW!!

You may have made it 3 years ago and be sick of the sight of it cluttering up in your workroom, but to your readers ... it's sparklingly fresh content!

And ... if you followed all the tips about BULK making, photographing and editing blog images ... then you're going to have to let go of any attachment to chronology because, quite simply:
  • you're going to have so much new content you're going to be blogging it for months to come;
  • it won't necessarily make sense to blog it all in the 'right' order;
  • and it probably won't always feels 'new' to you ...
But your readers don't need to know. And even if they did ... it wouldn't matter!

Several of the projects I've shared recently have been made weeks, even months ago. You didn't know. And you didn't need to. It's all viable content no less interesting, or well presented, or useful for being a little long in the tooth!

Exceptions: Of course there'll be times when you will want to share something brand spanking new ... a time-sensitive offer, a current issue, a Design Team commitment, a new arrival.

For example, I'm currently preparing to launch a new product [one I'm really excited about] here on Monday [29th] and that needs to be introduced as something brand new and the post will be freshly written this weekend. In this instance working in the 'present' is necessary ... however ...
  • Having a collection of pre-prepared - non-time-dependent projects waiting in the wings allows you to maintain a regular, [dare I say 'calm'] blogging schedule.
  • These pre-prepared posts can be slotted in between other more date-specific posts [like My Month in Numbers or any of those blog memes you might join in with].
  • They can become your comfort blanket ... reassuring you that on those days, weeks, when you simply can't make anything new to share ... there's still something new, unseen, just waiting to be published.
  • If you take the Freezer Meals advice and blog your projects / activities / stories etc   individually you'll begin to appreciate just how much creativity you do achieve throughout the year and then it will reward you by providing you with blogging material throughout any dry spells!
So, whether you've got an awesome story to tell about something that happened last year, or there's a craft project you've had on a shelf for so long you've forgotten how interesting it may be to someone else, or you've found a few photos you took of a gift you made and gave someone months ago ... take a look at them with fresh eyes, drag them into your TARDIS and whizz them right up to the present day on your blog ... or schedule them for a future post!

Or failing that, start planning a spot of time-travel for a future date.

Starting now, re-read The Freezer Meals Approach - and begin setting into place the processes which, 6 months down the line will see you blogging something you made fresh yesterday. Or even tomorrow.

Blogging time-travel is the way forward!

[And back!]

OK, now that we're nicely loosened up and no doubt happily picturing ourselves travelling through history with our Time Lord of choice, let's get to work.

Let's take a look at a method we can use to stretch time ... so that we get chance to actually do something with all this raw material we've found!

Try harnessing your 'interstitial time'  

I took the title here from this brilliant blog post by Merlin Mann which I originally read years ago when I was reading up on Interstitial Time for fun. [Hey, what can I say ... that's just how I roll.]

While interstitial time may well sound like something from Dr.Who or Star Trek [well, you do have a Kirk in charge here after all] it's actually got nothing to do with warp speed ... or not quite.

Interstitial time is:
  • those little pockets of time we have in between other 'stuff' [it's definitely worth reading the Merlin Mann post for more ideas]
  • it's the time you have on the bus/train or while you wait for tea to cook or work to start [etc etc]
  • it's when you suddenly find yourself with a smidgen of time to spare
.. it's the times when ... if you had something ready prepared ... which just needed a few words, a spot of tweaking,  a quick 10 minutes work ... you could easily, painlessly, have a blog post started, developed or even published.

This is definitely what I try to do when I find myself without large blocks of free time to take a shower in ... let alone to blog in! And it's a habit I developed while on campus during my part-time job.

My working hours can be very hit and miss with big gaps in between ... and for the first few years it used to drive me insane ... until I decided to harness my interstitial time! Now, whenever I arrive on campus early, or find myself at a loose end in between sessions, I find myself a computer and work on blog posts, magazine articles, or answering emails. Or I sit with a cuppa and scribble ideas in a notebook. And, by increments ... I get things done.

And here's the thing which helps me most in my quest to blog consistently month in, month out  ...

My top 3 tips for streamlining your blogging-time? Draft Posts, draft posts and draft posts.

Draft posts rock my blogging world.

  • They're not merely superb buffer-zones for when you're tempted to blog upset, angry ... or drunk [as we discussed in Chapter 9 The Kenny Rogers Approach]
  • Nor do they simply allow you to cool-off when you get a bee in your bonnet and think whatever it is occupying your mind will make for the basis of an amazing post. [You may be right, who am I to judge? It may well be an amazing discussion which connects with your readers on a deep level. Equally ... it may come across as the frustrated ramblings of a bitter misanthrope. Personally I don't like to take the chance.]
No, draft posts are more than all of that ... they're an organised-blogger's essential companion [if it's good enough for The Doctor to rope in a companion to assist him in his time-travelling escapades  ... it's good enough for us!] :
How many drafts do you have on the go at any one time?

As you can see from the screen shot ... I like to keep my options open for the next time I grab some interstitial blogging time! Not all of those drafts contain fully formed posts plans, some just contain general ideas and thoughts for future things which need more work.

However ... there are quite a few strong, 'proper', posts being housed in there, complete with a title and pre-prepared photos.

Oh and  while we're speaking of photos ... [apologies first to bloggers on other platforms ... but bear  with me ..]

You know you can upload images any time you like- in bulk - directly into your Blogger blog's online album ... don't you?

You may know this already - but I know for a fact some people don't - so here goes ...
  • All of the images you've ever added to a Blogger blog go into a 'Picasa Web Album' online, which is linked to your blog.
  • To view your albums visit https://picasaweb.google.com 
  • And if you're using Google+ you can also view them through your Google+ homepage under 'Photos' on the left hand side >> then click the 'Albums' tab.
But, as well as being able to view images you've already uploaded ... you can open up an album and upload as many as you like for future blog posts ... saving so much time and fuss later on!
Sorry for being Blogger-centric but, as I said at the very start of the series, all advice is really based on experience ... and Blogger's what I know best. 

But in the interests of cross-platform fairness ...
So ... after you've taken all those photos, in bulk, and edited them, in bulk, you can now upload them to these online albums in bulk and then add them into individual blog posts whenever you feel like it. Whenever you have a few minutes here and there.

Here's how to add those images into a specific post:
  • Go to the little photo icon in the blog post dashboard - the same one you've been using to add images already;
  • then ... when this pop-up screen appears:
  •  ... select 'From Picasa Web Albums' rather than 'Upload'
  • thumbnails of your albums will then appear >> select the album you uploaded the images to
  • when the album opens, scroll down to find the specific images you want for your post
  • click on each image - selected images are highlighted in blue >> click 'Add Selected'
  • Top tip: your images will appear in your post in the order you clicked them when you selected them. So, click them in the order you want them in to avoid having to drag and shuffle them around later! [I felt so clever - and yet stupid for not realising this earlier - when I noticed this!]
Sometimes, after editing a batch of photos on my laptop, I'll take an extra 5 minutes [or less] to go online, open up my Picasa Web Albums and drop the fresh images in there straight away.

This way I know that, the next time I get a minute or two - maybe while I'm hanging around at work - I can open up Blogger, create a new draft and insert the images without any fuss. And suddenly... I'm on my way to another post without ever having to break into a sweat!

And you can be too!!

If this is the first time you've heard any this ... and it's the first time you've considered another way of blogging ... I fully accept that this might all sound like a lot of hassle but ...

I promise you I'm really not one of those Dr.Who villains trying to lock you all into the internet so I can control your minds!
  • If you're already finding some time to blog ... then today's approach, and everything in the series, is really there to help you make the most of the time you do have;
  • I just want to convince you that, to be in a position to publish fresh content on a regular basis, you really don't need to spend hours on end blogging;
  • Once again: this is a pick + mix series. Only pick out what you need / want / can manage;
  • When you follow a few of the tips I've offered, regular blogging can start to happen incrementally. 
Slowly, slowly.

A few minutes here, a few minutes there.

Little and often [or even little and sporadic].

At the very start of the series I said I'd go all out to show you a way that blogging can become a familiar part of your daily life ... without ever taking it over. And, for now, that's all I've got ...

I've put it all out there: now you can pick it up as you will, in your own time, in your own style.

Now ... go hook yourself up, pad yourself out and put your best blogging bits forward!

Drop back tomorrow for a final round-up .... and if you've got any last-minute questions ... hurl them my way.

And until then ... please don't forget to donate to Save the Children in recognition of how much money it's saved you by not having to buy an online better-blogging course.  

I now only need £63.19 £50.09 £0.00 to reach my £500 target ... some amazingly generous folk helped me reach it shortly after publishing this post.

However ... please don't let that deter you from making a donation. My page is still open! Save the Children will now benefit from my target amount ... plus anything you can chip-in! Thank you so much.

Julie x

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Cardmaking: with skulls and stripes

Hi you.

It's my day to post on the 3DJean design team blog today and, as usual ... because I like to make the most with what I've already got ... I'm sharing my project with you here too. [Now where would I get an idea like that from?] ;-)

So, here's the card:
It was a birthday card for a girl who turned 13 and, after seeing her wearing the current trend for skulls and studs ... I wanted to create a fun, punkish-skully-but-still-cute card for her.

[For the record: there's only been a short period in my life when I didn't like skulls and studs! I have to thoroughly resist the temptation to talk about when I wore all that the first time around ... partly because it makes me sounds ancient .. and partly because it really wasn't the first time around! Nothing's new is it? Fashion just goes around and around.]

I've gone off on one again haven't I? OK, back to the card:
The gorgeous turqouise stripe backing paper, and the blue + pink checks on the die-cut heart comes from the 6x6 Les Edition de Infocrea pad from 3DJean. And that gloriously neon frame is a very old BamPop design.

The skull charm is from The Ribbon Girl and everything else was either loitering around in my stash for years, or borrowed [like the heart bunting die] ... so I can't really give you any more info on those. [Call myself a professional? Sheesh!]

 Anyway ...

So, what do you think? A good balance of cute and edgy for a teenage girl's card? [Who am I kidding ... I like it now and it's a loooong time since I was a teenager!].
*Goes off to polish-up skull earrings*
I'll be back later this week [maybe tomorrow, maybe Thursday] with the final 'approach' in my Push-Up Bra Blogging series.
I was planning a round-up post for the final final post, where I'll try to tie-up any loose ends and answer any burning questions so ... do you have any?
If you do - or if there's anything at all you'd like to raise or suggest:
  • just leave a comment on any Push-Up post, email me [my address is in a link in my blog sidebar >>], Facebook me, Tweet ... shout really loudly when the wind's in the right direction. you get the idea.
  • I'm happy to keep any questions 'anonymous'!
p.s: I need less than £90 now to reach my target so, if youve got £1 to spare ... you can donate it here.]
Julie :-)

Thursday 18 April 2013

Push-Up Bra Blogging [10]: the Freezer Meals Approach

Hello hello.

Another day ... another opportunity for me to prod you into some blog-action with a new chapter of Push-Up Bra Blogging.

As someone commented to me after yesterday's instalment: 'Oh gosh. Chapter 9 already?'

And now it's Chapter 10! How'd that happen? I remember drawing-up my schedule and thinking that the series was going to take me right up until the end of April ... which seemed aaaages away. And now it's next week!! 

[But then the year 2000 once felt like the space-age 'future' didn't it ... and where did that go?]

So let's get on with things before any more time passes us by ...
  • Chapter 10 takes us well and truly into the 3rd stage of the series.
  • So far we've had the 'WHY?' and the 'WHAT?' ...
  • and today kicks-off the 'HOW' element of the course as in: 'How am I going to blog more productively? How will I find the time?' 
And we really do need to look at how you're going to put all your newly-inspired blogging plans into action. Because, as, the philosophy of the entire Push-Up Bra series states:

... it's not simply about the amount you've got ... it's how you handle it that counts!

[I'm talking about handling blog-content here. Stop looking at me like that ...]

Today's advice harks back to what we talked about in Chapter 4: The Push-Up Bra Approach where we discussed the idea of making the most of what you've already got.

But now we're building on that with a method of getting all of those projects and ideas out there ... and on to your blog.

It's also the approach I've been teasing you about ... the one which I use to keep me blogging consistently throughout the year ... the one I truly believe can help you get yourself on track ... so here it is:

See if any of this is familiar: you decide to have a mammoth baking or cooking session in the kitchen, during which you:
  • set aside a chunk of time - to make meals, soups, stocks, cakes, preserves etc
  • decide that - while the kitchen's already in a mess - you may as well just keep going and make some more;
  • think that if you're going to have to wash almost every pan and work surface in the room anyway ... you might as well use a few more;
  • then use the fruits of your labour to stock-up your freezer or store cupboard ...and in doing so ...
  • you make life easier for yourself in the coming weeks where all you'll have to do is pull something out of the freezer, defrost it and voila! you have a meal!
Anything familiar ... or at least anything that makes sense there? Well ...

... regardless of whether or not you've ever actually done this in your own kitchen ... it's one of the best analogies for my  personal - tried & tested - method of efficiently combining blogging with life offline!

And here's how to apply it ...

[Note: my main examples are taken from my experience as a crafty-blogger - but you can easily adapt them to your own specialism. I used a similar technique to get this course up and running and that didn't involve craft projects].

1. Make blog-worthy content IN BULK [this is the part where you set out your utensils + ingredients and make the freezer-meals ... so to speak.]

The easiest route to blogging more craft projects means making more craft projects. The easiest route to blogging more tutorials ... is to create more tutorials. The easiest route to blogging more stories ... is to write more stories ... and so on. However ...

... this does not have to mean finding a great deal more time or many more separate occasions in which to be creative.

Take advantage of any opportunity you DO get to make [or make a start on] several projects in one sitting.
  • I've found that that the items I produce from a couple of hours making cards and layouts, either at home, at crops or weekend retreats can keep me in blogging-fodder for months to come!
  • Similarly this is how I go about preparing new kits for my Etsy shop - I like to set aside a day or two to really focus and make many kits in one go.
  • When I began planning out this series I created 12 new draft posts from the start and dropped my rough notes for each chapter in place there and then.
Grab your notebook:
  • Make a list of whatever it is you plan to blog about more often:- eg. scrapbook layouts, art journal pages, sewing projects, photographs, jewellery etc etc etc
  • Just to get you thinking about your productivity levels write down the times you DO get chance to produce new content:- eg. weekends; a monthly crop; an afternoon off; a twice yearly retreat, a summer break etc etc ... 
  • Try to think back over how many individual items you've made, [you could apply this to photos you've taken or stories which have popped into your head too] in the last month or so.
All of what you've written down is potential blog-content: Right there. Already in your life. Under your nose.

Due to work / family / having to stop making things ocasionaly so you can eat ... your creative periods may very well be irregular, few and far between, once a month, 3 months apart or whatever ... but that does not mean that your blogging has to follow the same pattern.

You can transform the things you create during these irregular or sporadic productive periods into satisfyingly regular content.

But first ... we need to get them off that pile of stuff on your desk ... and make them look presentable. Bloggable.

2. Set up a BULK PHOTO-SHOOT[this is the photography equivalent of making a mess in the kitchen while the kitchen's already messy. Because you only have to clean it up once!]

Clear, well lit photos are an essential factor in upping your blogging game, but it comes at a price ... it costs you in time.

Therefore, in order to get this to work efficiently you're going to need two things:

[i] organisation ... and ...
[ii] a tripod

Let me explain why ... 
  • You might be like me [or you too SJ!]:- someone without any professional lighting equipment to use, relying solely on the rare occasions [here in the UK!] when the sun is shining enough for you to achieve those well-lit photographs you're looking for! Like some sort of Cinderella: everything must be captured before the sun goes in!
  • ... or else you might be grabbing a moment while your baby naps ...
  • ... or before the latest episode of Fashion Police starts ... 
... whatever it is, we're all working under time constraints and so ... we're going to dive-bomb this photo-session! Flash-mob it. Get in and get out. Smash + grab.  No time-wasting allowed!

You ready? OK ... here goes ...
  • Have everything you need to photograph readily on hand. Maybe keep all of your un-photographed projects together in a box or in a separate pile on your desk. Wherever. But have them within easy, clear reach.
  • Then the next time you have time to yourself ... grab the projects and take them to your studio.
What? You don't have a photography studio?

Me neither ... but you can make one ...  here's mine:
Welcome to my side of the bed. If I said here's where the magic happens .. you'd get the wrong idea! But what I mean is ... the blog-photography magic!

Fortunately [and no, I didn't plan it that way!] both the cabinet and the walls are white ... so it makes the ideal studio backdrop. And while you don't need to do anything as extreme as redecorate ... you could look around your home for a good, bright, corner which could suit the task.

Chances are if you've seen any craft project on my blog or a product in my shop ... then it was photographed in my bedside studio.

Whenever I find time to have a bulk photo-shoot I simply:
  • make myself a cup of tea ... to keep my spirits and fluid intake up!
  • clear everything off the cabinet
  • roll up the window blind to let in as much daylight as possible
  • grab my box of un-photographed items [or scour the room for them if I've been lazy!]
  • mooch around the house collecting little 'props' if that's what I want to include in my photos that day
  • set up my tripod
  • turn on my camera ...
And yes ... about the tripod business ... I really, really do recommend you get one.
  • It undoubtedly improves the quality of your photos [no more shaky, blurriness!]
  • But it also means that you can leave the camera set up - in position - while you simply swap out the item you just photographed for the next one in the queue.
  • No picking up and putting down. No turning the camera on and off. It's all there, waiting, good to go.
  • This saves so much time ... it becomes like a mini production line!
  • And they're really not as expensive as you might fear, especially as you don't need anything fancy. Mine cost less than £10 from Aldi a few years ago but places like Amazon and Argos had similar priced ones last time I looked. [Seemingly shops beginning with 'A' sell affordable tripods!]. Maybe it's something you could drop hints about for your next birthday!
Then ... once you've taken all those images [and, if I've got a few months worth of finished projects to capture, and I want full length shots plus close-ups ... this can run into the 100s of pictures] ... you're going to need to do something with them ...

3. BULK EDIT the photos next time you get chance:

This might be straight-away [while you're in the photo-groove!] or it might have to wait until the next time you get a free afternoon. But if you do have to wait ... don't start worrying that you're slipping 'behind'. You're not. Because ...

... once you've set up this workable system ... eventually you'll reach a 'critical mass' where, at any given moment, you'll always have:
  • a box of projects waiting to be photographed
  • a set of images on your computer waiting to be edited plus ...
  • a set of edited images waiting to be blogged
... and your readers won't know anything about when it all happened or how far apart these actions were ... they'll just see the finished blogged results!

And then you'll have finally put an end to the mad rush to make, photograph and blog a project in the same day!!

There's more on that idea to come in Chapter 11 next week ... but until then ...

I know it won't always work like this. There are definitely going to be times when you might need to photograph something sooner than you'd planned eg. for a deadline.

But with this system in place, whenever that occurs, there's nothing stopping you exploiting the situation and grabbing that box of unphotographed items ... and snap them at the same time as the rush-job. Killing two birds with one stone!

Again .. it's like making an extra freezer meal while the kitchen's still upside down from the last one. Make it work for you, to save you time in the long run!

But, you can't edit photos without photo-editing software ... do you have some?  Because I really think you need it.

I don't use anything fancy - mainly just Microsoft Office Picture Manager, and Picasa [free to download] but it really is advisable to learn a few basic techniques to brighten, crop and re-size your images. I won't go into it all here - this isn't really what this series is for ... but I'm sure you can find out a few tips by Googling.

That said ... a quick word if you're a Blogger blogger:
  • re-sizing your images before uploading them means that you won't be taking up unnecessary space on your free Blogger account which only allows you so much storage.
  • I re-size all mine to 550 pixels wide - which is plenty big enough for online viewing.
  • This drastically reduces the raw file size from my camera down to around 100 or 200 KB saving me so much space!
  • It also means I can override the odd default image sizes offered in the Blogger settings. Instead I just hit 'Original Size' and get nicely sized images that seem to fit better than the other options.  
OK ... I don't want this to turn into a technical-talk series here ... so I'll move on!

4. Now blog all those projects you've photographed ONE AT A TIME!!! [One. At. A. Time.]

So ... we've made all those meals, wedged them into a full freezer, messed up the kitchen, used every pan and spoon in one fell-swoop ... and now here's the fun part: We get to eat them!

But ... after spending all that time spent preparing them ... are you going to defrost them all and serve them all up on the table at once?

No. I thought not.

Then why do you do that on your blog?

OK, OK ... you might not do this ... don't throw things at me! But I've read many, many, blog posts where the blogger does just that ...

How many times have you seen someone blog a ‘catch-up’ post ... where the blogger apologises for not being around much lately ... and then blogs a fortnight’s worth of content in a single post?

And you can almost put money on it that ... in another week or two ... they’ll be back along with another catch-up post and yet another month's worth of material all crammed into one place.

[If you do nothing else after reading this series ... please tell me you'll stop doing that!]

As interesting as each item in that binge-post may be ... it runs the risk of getting lost. Meanwhile the blogger runs the risk of doing themselves out of an easy month's worth of content!

But this doesn't have to be the way!

The cycle can be broken by blogging the majority of your separate items individually:
  • Don’t throw everything into one post.
  • Do allow projects the space to breathe and be appreciated in a post of their own.
  • Do take close-ups and detail images of your work if you're concerned about your reader having enough to look at.
This method also makes you more aware of WHY you're sharing this particular item:
  • As there won't be a lot of other things going on in the post - to distract your reader - it can force you to see what's interesting about the item / the photo / the story. 
  • What's worth pointing out to your reader?
  • What makes it worth blogging?
  • This could be a technique, a supply, a style, a tip, the back-story etc etc ...
And if you've got more material on a similar subject, eg. you've made a set of matching items, or in variations of colour, using a similar method etc etc:
  • that's still no reason to blog them all in one post!
  • put a feather in its cap and call it 'a mini-series'
  • then space them out over a week ... or whatever.
Obviously exceptions to this will apply. For example:
  • I combined three separate projects into one earlier this week in the 3 Creative Rescues for Photo-printing Fails post. But in this case, there was a clear rationale for doing so - to offer several solutions to the same problem - but not just because I'd made three things and couldn't wait to get them all on my blog!
  • And ....
  • ... if you've made 30 identical cards ... and you plan to blog one each a day ... that's going to make for a dull and rather predictable month for your readers!
But I'm sure you get the general idea ... and I hope you'll be able to identify how and when it will come in useful for you and your personal goal to blog more often, more consistently, more smoothly ...

So ... to recap:
  • Pace yourself.
  • Stop firing all your ammo in one battle.
  • Stop force-feeding your blog posts until your reader can no longer face scrolling down .... and down ... through a bloated post.  [I know ... I'm guilty of that in this series! But I only do that during my occasional information-heavy series!! Forgive me?]
  • Save some material for when you don't have time to create anything new from scratch [all you'll have to do is add in your pre-prepared photos and a few words ... and hit Publish!]
Yes, you'll have to find the time to blog 3 things individually rather than one at a time ... but this doesn't take 3 times as long.
  • You simply drop each individual project into 3 draft posts in one sitting. While you'r ein the blogging mood. There and then.
  • It really shouldn't take that much longer than throwing them together in one post.
  • You can then schedule the posts to publish on 3 separate days. And while you get on with the rest of your life ... your blog starts to looks after itself ... and your readers don't need to know any of it. 
  • Seamless blogging is within your grasp! 
I promise you that when you adapt some of the ideas from the Freezer Meals Approach to suit your own lifestyle, creativity, and preferences ... you'll be blogging more regularly in no time.

And, best of all, you won't need to produce any additional content to do so!!

I'd love to know your immediate responses on this ... and then maybe ... in a few weeks time ... you can give me an update on how you're getting on.

Comments, Facebook interactions, tweets, carrier pigeon messages ... they're all equally welcome.

I'll see you soon.



If so please swing my Just Giving page and make a £1* donation to the 'SAVE THE CHILDREN' charity to help me reach my target. I'm hoping to transform my hours of work on this series into at least £500 worth of aid for children worldwide.

I'm stuck on 64% of my target ... with only 2 posts left in the series. And I'm beginning to - ever so slightly - lose hope of reaching £500.

Edited 22.04.13: since writing this ^^ 12 marvellous ladies stepped up, dug deep, and helped me get within spitting distance of my target [sorry about that mental image!]

I now only need *£86.57* to make it! Go shake out your pockets!

 In the UK? You can donate £1 on my page OR by texting: PUBB88 £1 to 70070.  

Generous international folk can just hop over to my Just Giving page.

**Please don't feel uncertain about adding just £1 to the pot. £1 is plenty. You're super for even thinking about it. Thank you. x