Little Girl Designs http://www.littlegirldesigns.com Nurturing your creative side Wed, 28 Jun 2017 21:38:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 10 Watermelon Craft Ideas http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/watermelon-craft-ideas/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/watermelon-craft-ideas/#comments Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:00:50 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10696 It's summertime and the watermelon craft ideas are popping up everywhere. I've noticed that many of these tutorials are for watermelon crafts for preschoolers, but I think we grownups can get into the summer watermelon fun too! I thought I'd put together a post of some of my favorites that I've had bookmarked. From homemade soap to tennis shoes to cute gift bags, there's bound to be something for you to try. I love how the majority of these are super simple too—my kind of project!
10 Summertime Watermelon Craft Ideas to Try
 

This detailed tutorial from The Soap Queen teaches you how to make beautiful bars of watermelon soap. You'll have enough for you and several friends.

Make a cute welcome home mat with this tutorial by Carrie Waller.

I have a set of wooden coasters that might be getting this watermelon makeover. What a great idea!

Make watermelon favors for your next summer party.

Sarah Hearts has a cute watermelon paper craft tutorial using office stickers. You can fill this tiny gift box with treats or secret messages.

Make a summery pair of watermelon tennis shoes. Perfect for a stroll down the boardwalk.

Need treat bags for a party? Delineate Your Dwelling will show you how to make these simple watermelon bags!

I made a watermelon tote bag a couple of years ago here on Little Girl Designs. And a watermelon note card too!

I couldn't resist sharing these watermelon potholders because they would be perfect for summertime backyard BBQ!

Hope you all have a lovely {and creative} day!

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How to Make a Cocoa Butter Bar http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/make-cocoa-butter-bar/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/make-cocoa-butter-bar/#respond Sun, 18 Jun 2017 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10987 Make your own lotion bars in minutes by using this simple cocoa butter bar recipe. This natural body lotion nourishes dry skin and smells like chocolate!

Have you ever made your own cocoa butter lotion bars? I recently discovered the wonder of making my own beauty supplies—if I had known how simple many of these were to make, I would have started years ago. I especially love that I know exactly what is going in these products, because so many lotions and cosmetics these days are filled with chemicals that don't exactly do a body good.

This recipe is for a solid lotion bar. It stays in solid form until you rub it against your skin. You can store these in glass Pyrex containers in the fridge or in a cool cupboard. They keep for a long time so you don't need to make a huge supply.

I've really enjoyed using these bars. In their "plain" form, they smell like chocolate because of the cocoa butter element and with the addition of pure essential oils, they smell ah-mazing!

Okay, let's make our own organic cocoa butter lotion bars! (Whew, that was a mouthful. :))

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.

How to Make A Cocoa Butter Bar
First, an explanation. I recommend making this recipe in small batches, especially when you are starting out. A cocoa butter lotion bar will last longer than standard lotion in that less is needed to moisturize, so there isn't a need to make a huge amount.

You will need to weigh your portions as they need to be equal. 1/3 cup of cocoa butter wafers will not necessarily be equal in weight to 1/3 cup of coconut oil. A simple kitchen scale works perfectly to measure exactly, and they can be bought for less than $10. If you want to make your own natural skin care products, this is an invaluable investment.

Because we are directly applying this cocoa butter bar to our skin, our largest organ, we want to make sure it is organic.

Also note that organic beeswax often has a "smoky" scent to it as some beekeepers use smoke to quiet the bees to collect the wax. If this feels inhumane to you, research your beeswax provider and learn about their collecting methods. Otherwise, you can measure out the beeswax first, and let it air out before you use it in your recipe. With the addition of essential oils, I never smell the beeswax anyway.

Please seek the advice of a trusted dermatologist if your skin is cracked or if you have a skin condition. This lotion bar recipe may be helpful to you, but I want you to be safe. Ask their advice first before using it on your skin.

You will need:

1 part Organic cocoa butter (I buy these in wafer form so they are easier to measure.)
1 part Organic beeswax (I buy these in pellet form to easily measure.)
1 part Organic coconut oil
Kitchen scale
Silicon molds (ice cube trays, like these, work great!)
2 cup Pyrex measuring cup
Pan to hold the Pyrex
Water
Essential oil(s) of your choice (where I buy mine for wholesale prices)

Pour water in the pan and place your Pyrex measuring cup inside. Place on a burner on your stove.

Measure your ingredients so they are ready. Add the beeswax to the Pyrex, and turn the heat on. The beeswax will take the longest to melt. You may stir it with a glass stirring rod. (I've used a metal chopstick too.) You don't have to stir it continuously, just here and there.

When the beeswax is melted, add the cocoa butter wafers. Buying these in wafer form makes it easier to measure, in my opinion. You will immediately notice the chocolatey smell wafting from your Pyrex. Mmm!!!

While the cocoa butter is melting, take out your silicon mold because the next part will go fast.

Once the cocoa butter is melted, stir in the coconut oil. Even though this is a liquid (or very near to one if you are not using fractionated coconut oil), it will initially harden a tiny bit when it comes into contact with the other oils. This is normal.

When all the oils are melted, turn off the heat on the stove, and use a hot pad to remove the Pyrex. Drop one drop (or more, depending on your preference) of your favorite essential oil and mix. You will need to do this quickly because this mixture will start to solidify.

Now carefully pour the hot wax into the mold. I use these silicon ice cube trays which make it really easy to pop out the cocoa butter bars when they're solid. I only fill them half-way because that size is easier to store (for me.)

It only takes 15 minutes or so for them to solidify, so in the meantime, wash up your pans and Pyrex that you used to make your cocoa butter moisturizer. I recommend using very hot water for this as you want the oils to "melt off" the dishes. If you use cold water, you'll be frustrated, because as you've probably guessed, the cold water will solidify the wax. (Learn from my mistakes! ;)

After the cocoa butter bars (or cubes) are solid, pop them out and store them in a glass Pyrex dish. I have one in a small container for my purse and that works great for on-the-go natural body lotion. Make sure the containers you use are kept out of the heat and are well-sealed as the lotion could soften. I haven't had this happen yet, but theoretically it could, since we're dealing with natural materials here.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! I have some more natural beauty recipes that I'm going to be sharing on the blog in the coming weeks. They're simple to make and so much better for you than the store-bought versions. AND they make awesome gifts. I want to make a bunch of these cocoa butter bars for presents this year . . . wouldn't they be so cute wrapped up in tissue and in a little box?

By the way, if you're curious about essential oils and which ones to use, join me for a free training below. I share my experience with essential oils, what they are, and why it's important to use a pure oil for recipes like this one. I'm on a learning journey myself and would love for you to join me. :) This training is free, but space is limited. You can sign up by clicking the image below. :)

Yes, I'd like to learn more about essential oils! :)

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How Smarterqueue Will Save Your Life http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/smarterqueue-will-save-your-life/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/smarterqueue-will-save-your-life/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:00:25 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=11002 Oh, Smarterqueue, how I love thee! Let me count the ways . . .

But before I get started, for those of you who are new around here, I usually write about nurturing your creative life, whether that is through art journaling, taking creative retreats, or making simple crafts. I do run a creative business, though, as well, so every once in a while (like today), I like to share a behind-the-scenes look at my business.

One of the first waves of owning an online business that hit me was the social media wave. And it about sent me out to sea. When I started this blog a few years ago, I started completely from scratch so I had no social media knowledge or background at all. The idea of having to maintain and post on several different platforms really overwhelmed me, and I've since taken the approach of "learn one platform well and then move to the next, if you want to."

That said, one of the issues I consistently struggled with was consistency. Still do. But I think that is about to change.

My problem was I would write a post, schedule it to go out on Facebook, schedule it for Twitter, and if it was Instagram-esque, create an Instagram post as well. It's a good idea to share your content more than once on Facebook and Twitter, but that meant manually scheduling out all of those tweets and posts.

I literally had a schedule for a while there where I was trying to think up five tweets per post and schedule them throughout the year. Multiple that by the hundreds of posts I wanted to circulate, and you can see how frustrating that became.

I just couldn't keep up.

At the beginning of this year, I heard about Meet Edgar and signed up for a free trial. They had a system of requeueing your old posts that I thought was awesome but the price tag was not cheap. The minimum plan was $79/month. At the time, I was using Buffer's $10/month plan and that leap seemed way too steep.

And yet . . .

The idea of being able to queue a post I'd written and let it continue to be posted without me having to repost it over and over . . . sounded like a dream come true.

Enter Smarterqueue.

For $19.99, you get to enjoy the bliss of scheduling your posts and letting them requeue for as long as you wish.

Have a summer post that everyone loves? Schedule it to post throughout the summer and stop at the end of August.

Have a post that consistently gets great feedback or is the start of a sales funnel? Schedule it to go out throughout the year. You have complete control.

Here's a video I recorded to show you the wonder that is Smarterqueue:

https://youtu.be/6l-REz-gIAo

As you can see in the video, I need to get going to schedule more posts to go out! But what I love is I can take an evening and fill up my queue in no time with quality content. Everything is there. I can search for my favorite people, retweet their content, queue up their posts, and note their hashtags.

Did I mention I love Smarterqueue?

It's like having your own virtual assistant. And if you do have a virtual assistant, you can hand off this program for them to enjoy. They will thank you! :)

You can use my affiliate link to get a 30 day free trial of Smarterqueue right here: https://smarterqueue.com/?ref=3r2

You'll be treated to a series of helpful training emails from the Smarterqueue team that will walk you through everything you need to know to make the most of your free trial. And if you're like me, you won't want to stop once it's over.

(You can also enjoy a 14 day free trial without using my affiliate link by going over to Smarterqueue.com. :))

If you'd like to have more time to interact on social media rather than feel like you're tied down with having to schedule-schedule-schedule, then I think you'll really like Smarterqueue. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. And if they're super specific, definitely reach out to the folks at Smarterqueue. They've been really helpful with answering all of the questions I've had.

Hope you have a great day!

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How to Make Your Own Sketchbook http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/how-to-make-your-own-sketchbook/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/how-to-make-your-own-sketchbook/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10789 Learn how to make your own sketchbook, journal, or art journal with this simple DIY tutorial.

I've been a journal keeper since I was in first grade, but it wasn't until my 20s that I discovered the joys of making my own journals. During that discovery period, I made piles of blank books. I stitched them, clipped them together, and attempted many different iterations of journal-making. There were times that I wistfully eyed the binding machines at work but the thought of hauling in my precious art journals and binding them in front of my coworkers on my lunch break kept me in check.

If only I had had this tiny Zutter Bind-it-All machine back then. I'm trying to make up for lost time now by binding (almost) everything in sight.

For this particular journal, my daughter had just finished her sketchbook from Easter so I decided to make her a smaller version.
How to Make Your Own Sketchbook

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.

You will need:

Chipboard or cardboard (See note on cardboard below.)
Scrapbook paper, cut to size (I used a sheet from DaySpring's Illustrated Faith line.)
Modge Podge and foam brush
Copy paper, cut to size
Bone folder
Zutter Bind-it-All machine
O-wire

Assemble your supplies together. This project goes fairly fast after you finish the cover, so you'll want everything in one place to make your sketchbook.

In my first try for this sketchbook, I used cardboard and while it will work, it also is more fragile than chipboard as it bends along the corrugated lines. If you don't have any chipboard on hand, look through your art supplies. The "chipboard" I used is from the back of a watercolor pad. The back cover is perfect for sketchbook making.

Initially, I was going to paint the sketchbook and then collage circles I had cut out of various papers. I tried that, didn't like it, and thought painting circles might help. As I painted, my daughter was inspired, so she joined me for circle-drawing time. I'll share her work because I'm too embarrassed to share mine. To say I didn't like it is somewhat of an understatement. It was not working.

Thankfully, I had several sheets of paper from DaySpring's Illustrated Faith line, so I cut a piece down to size and applied Modge Podge to the back. I positioned the paper onto the cardboard and pressed firmly to adhere. I also used my foam brush to paint Modge Podge over the top of the cover for a matte look.

For the interior pages, I used simple copy paper, folded in fourths. I was doing this the hard way until my husband stepped in and showed me how to use a bone folder to save my fingers. Much better.

The paper was slightly too big for the sketchbook so we (my husband) cut it down to size. You can use scissors for this part, but he used an X-ACTO knife and a cutting board to be more exact.

Here's our final stack of paper! Can I tell you how difficult it was for me to stop this project every few minutes to take a picture? :) But I wanted you to be able to see the steps so you could see how simple it really is to make your own sketchbook or journal.

On a side note, you can use any kind of paper for the interior pages. Watercolor paper, construction paper, tissue, coloring sheets . . . it all works!

Enter the Zutter Bind-it-All. This is such a small (but powerful) little machine. I love it so much. Because this project was so small, I didn't have to measure or figure out how to line the sheets up so the punches would be even. There is a miniature book that comes with the Bind-it-All that does a good job of explaining how to bind various sizes.

That said, I do recommend punching a piece of paper that is the size of your sketchbook cover before you commit to punching the real cover.

I placed the cover into the machine and pressed the handle down. Even after doing this many, many times, I still hold my breath.

If this is your first time using the Zutter machine, read all of the directions before punching and binding.

The covers are punched! Aren't they beautiful? This is seriously my dream come true. As I said earlier, I only wish I had discovered this little machine earlier.

Punch all of the pages. I usually punch 5-10 pages at a time, depending on the thickness of the papers I'm using. Now the sketchbook is ready to bind.

Again, it's important to read the manual because you slide the pages onto the Owire in a certain order for it to work.

Place the notebook with the Owire into the binding portion of the machine and slowly press the lever down. (The binding portion is the open area that's pictured.) The lever makes a black plate slowly squoosh the wires together. Ta-dah!

And here's the finished product.

The Zutter Bind-it-All retails for around $50 and the Owire costs between $4-6, depending on the sizes you need. (This page on Amazon has a bunch of different options.) The Bind-it-All is really small which is nice for those who don't have a lot of space. If you regularly use sketchbooks or journals, this is a great option for you to be able to make your own. You can also DIY journals, art journals, scrapbooks, and sketchbooks as gifts for friends. It's such a satisfying project to make. :)

I couldn't resist writing a note on the first page for my daughter. She was thrilled with this sketchbook and has pretty much already filled the pages. Kids.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make your own sketchbook. And by the way, I wasn't paid by Zutter to create this post. I just sincerely love this binding machine! I haven't seen it reviewed a lot by other bloggers, so I thought I'd just show it in action so you can get an idea of how awesome it is. :)

Have a wonderful {and creative} day!

 

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A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mom http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/work-at-home-mom/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/work-at-home-mom/#comments Sun, 04 Jun 2017 11:00:24 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10598 Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a work at home mom looks like? Before I started this adventure, I had imagined working at home would look a particular way. I'm smiling to myself right now because, um, it didn't quite turn out the way I had expected.

Still, the end result has been the same: I get to stay home with my daughter and work on a business I adore.

I thought it would be a bit amusing to share a behind-the-scenes look of what my life as a work at home mom looks like. Being able to stay at home with my kiddo has been a dream come true, but it's not quite as glamorous as I had envisioned.

Before we get started, I have a disclaimer or two. For one, my days are rarely the same. There is an overarching schedule we adhere to but between my own need for creativity and my daughter being preschool age, it isn't exactly set in stone. So don't imagine that this "day in the life" is what every day looks like.

Secondly, I was going to imagine an ideal day—you know, the one where I actually get up early and my daughter sleeps in, and I'm super productive. But then I realized that would be totally disingenuous. So I'm sharing what today was like. I'm kind of embarrassed about this which is probably good for me. ;)

Here goes!
A Day in the Life of a Work at Home Mom
Alarm Goes Off at 6:00 a.m.
I wake up right away for some reason. I didn't do the dishes the night before, though, so the thought of going into the kitchen and facing them first thing is keeping me in bed. (Told you this was going to be truth-telling time.)


Morning Routine (ish)
Cup of decaf + journaling + reading through Psalms & Proverbs. Yes, I drink decaf, and yes it wakes me up. I would say this officially makes me old but both my mom and grandma drink gallons of regular coffee, and it has no affect on them. So not fair.

After reading The Power of Full Engagement earlier this month, I decided to start some rituals to fuel my goals. One of them is to review said rituals in my journal every morning and remind myself of the values behind each of them. This has been powerful. I might write a post about this sometime. (Note to self.)
And So It Begins . . .
Usually by the time I've cozied up on the couch with my coffee, Bible, and journal, my daughter wakes up. It doesn't matter if it's 4:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. I've decided we have a magical connection. I usually have about 15 minutes before I hear her singing.

Thankfully my husband doesn't have to leave early today so he takes over the morning routine with her. (Love him!)

So I read and sip on.
Getting Started
I make a Sirt smoothie (sooo good) and sip it while doing busy work on the computer. I know you're not supposed to read when you eat, and I literally have that thought go through my head every single time I do this. Someday I'll change my ways.

Email, Facebook, and a quick check in my online shop to make sure I don't have to package any book orders for the day, and then I check my To Do list. (I make this at the beginning of the week.)

Today is Friday, and I decide to hang out at home so I can do some extra work today. Usually I work out in the mornings but today is my morning off. (My kiddo loves watching me leap around and make a fool of myself doing P90x3; it's pretty funny.)


The Blur of the Day
This is where it gets complicated. Since I didn't know I was going to be writing a post about today as I went about my day, I didn't exactly keep a log of what I did in what order, but it was kind of like this:

Did a load of laundry because my kiddo spilled her smoothie on everything
Wiped up spots in the carpet and cleaned the art table because of the above smoothie
Looked through a bundle of eResources I bought earlier in the week
Took notes on these resources and got sucked in
Wrote a few newsletters
Checked email and Facebook (I'm really trying to not do this as much because, time!)
Straightened the house and vacuumed
Texted my sister back and forth
Cleaned the bathrooms
Wrote the outline and to-do list of a promotion I'll do later in the month
Followed up with a client who bought something from me
Made green juice for tomorrow and the next day. Also cleaned produce and froze it.
Set out the playdough and dressed two minuscule dolls with their teeny tiny clothes
Made snacks and then lunch and then snacks again. It seems we eat a lot around here
Edited photos for an upcoming email challenge and added them to a blog post
Created a form in ConvertKit for the challenge and wrote a blog post to go along with it

Today was a little different because I didn't create any blog-specific projects that I needed to shoot photos for. I also didn't have any projects that required scanning my illustrations and editing them. I do one or both of those several times a week, depending on the projects.

We also have appointments and/or preschool most of the days of the week, so this is our stay at home day. I try to do work while she is in preschool or resting because, well, see above. It is really difficult to juggle mom world with creative and business world. But we manage. :)
The Irony
Around 5:00 p.m., I realized I was not feeling it for dinner. I had failed at getting those dishes done (which is embarrassing for me to admit, but it's true.) For whatever reason, I did have the energy to wipe our dining room table with homemade orange oil. As I was doing that, my husband, also known as my savior, texted me and asked if I wanted ice cream. I texted back that dinner would be awesome.

What is ironic looking back on this day is I felt like I didn't accomplish very much. Mostly because of those dishes.

It wasn't until I wrote the list above that I realized how much I did today.

That is one of the reasons why I set very clear goals and a (usually) doable daily to-do list in my planner. Otherwise, it is really hard to see any progress in my business. All I see is the Duplox blocks and tent covering the living room floor. (Actually, that was yesterday, not today. What am I thinking? ;))
Would you like to work from home?
I used to think this whole working from home thing was a pipe dream. It's been quite a journey, and I wouldn't say that I've "arrived", but I'm glad to be on it. There's no other job I love more.

And besides, what other job has you creating beautiful images one moment and doling out the playdough the next?

It's pretty awesome.

After reading this post, maybe you're thinking, "Me too! I want to work at home!" If so, I have a library of resources for you that I think will really help you on your journey. Or maybe you're thinking, "Wow, this poor lady just scared me out of ever wanting to work from home" and in that case, I still have a bundle of resources that will help you since they share techniques that I probably could use more of in my life. ;) And if you're wondering what in the world a bundle of resources is, you can click here too.

 

Thanks for coming along for this peek into my day as a work at home mom. I hope you have an amazing day! :)

 

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Thank You Thursdays (Join the Revolution!) http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/thank-you-thursdays/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/thank-you-thursdays/#comments Thu, 01 Jun 2017 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10969 Recently, I came across an eBook by Matt McWilliams called Two Powerful Words that stopped me in my tracks. He talked about the Thank you Thursdays revolution started by Jon Gordon.

I know the power of letter writing in my own life. And I know the power that it has had in so many of yours. We've gone through three letter-writing challenges together as a community in the past few years, and I've received countless emails from women who are so grateful to get back into their letter-writing groove.

That said, there's still this thing called email. And another thing called text. And social media. These conveniences have pulled me away from sending real snail mail consistently, and this grieves me. It really does.

Because I know the power of letter writing.

I know how it feels to be a little girl, waiting breathlessly for the mailman to come. I know the slam of the mailbox door and the feel of the hot concrete under my feet as I skip-run to get the mail. I know what it feels like to find, amidst the circulars and flyers and credit card pitches, a letter for me.

To this day, I'm still stunned when I receive a piece of mail from a friend. And if that friend is local, I'm doubly stunned. (Thank you, local letter-writing friends!)

But what struck me about Matt's eBook was not the power of letter writing in itself. It was something even more—the power of saying thank you.

This is a prompt in my letter-writing challenges for sure, but he goes further to challenge us to Join the Thank You Revolution and send out a thank you note every Thursday.

I read his eBook and sat back and thought about how many people I could send thank you notes to. There were so many, I pulled out some note cards and began to write. There were five in my daughter's school bag today because her teachers are amazing. They make it a joy for her to go to school.

Then I began thinking about the maintenance guy at our apartment. And the office manager. And the proverbial list grew.

This isn't meant to be something that is a chore. "Oh, great, now I have something more to add to my ever-growing list."

It's meant to be a moment for you to stop, breathe, and share your gratitude with someone else.

Will you join me in this revolution? You can sign up at Matt's site to receive his eBook (as well as extra inspiration.)

You can also click below for the myriad of letter-writing resources I have here as well:

Nine Fun Ways to Say Thank You (plus a free printable note card)
Write Now: 18 Letter-writing Prompts
The Letter-writing Retreat - A 70+ page eBook that includes letter-writing prompts, card tutorials, and printable stationery. (This eBook is well-loved by many people!)

Let's do this! :)

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Join the Journalista Challenge (free eCourse!) http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/join-the-journalista-challenge-free-ecourse/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/join-the-journalista-challenge-free-ecourse/#comments Thu, 25 May 2017 11:00:16 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10562 Join us as we explore the varied and fun world of journaling in the free Journalista Challenge!

Have you ever wanted to start journaling? Maybe someone gave you a beautiful journal as a gift years ago, and it's still languishing empty on a bookshelf. You like the idea of journaling, but sitting down to write out everything you did each day sounds . . . boring.

Or maybe you used to journal but for whatever reason, life got in the way and you stopped your practice. You remember how much it helped you process your life and how it was like a stress reliever wrapped in a book and pen . . . but you're out of your groove and would like some help to get back into it.

Or maybe you're a journaling maven, always on the lookout for new, creative ideas and ways to express yourself through writing and art.

If any of these describe you, you're in for a treat.

The Journalista Challenge is officially here!

I've been journaling since I was six years old, when my entries were mostly about Hello Kitty and how much I loved math. (It's true.)

I've learned a few things along the way and thought it'd be fun to create an eCourse to share the love with you. After five days of journaling through the prompts I send you, you'll be well on your way to be a Journalista!

Did you know?

Journaling is a great stress reliever. If you tend to worry or experience anxiety, writing out your thoughts can be very helpful for you.

Journaling is a proven way to set and track goals as well as see them come true. I'll show you how to do that in this eCourse.

Journaling isn't limited to chronicling your life. We'll dive into several different ways to journal, including how to keep a visual journal. (This is one of my favorites!)

What are you waiting for?

The Journalista Challenge and eCourse is completely free, and this is what you can expect:

A welcome email that includes a printable journaling sheet, just in case you don't have a journal yet.
The 5 day Journalista eCourse—each day will include a different way to journal as well as a prompt for you to follow.
A bonus on the 6th day that will help you on your Journalista journey!

I'd love for you to join us for the Journalista Challenge! Just fill in the form below, and you'll receive a welcome email within a few minutes.

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I Had a Favorite Dress Card Tutorial http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/favorite-dress-card-tutorial/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/favorite-dress-card-tutorial/#comments Sun, 21 May 2017 11:00:24 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10383 My mom gave us the book, I Had a Favorite Dress, a few years ago for Christmas, and it has been one of our favorites ever since. Author Boni Ashburn writes a story about an inventive mom and her precocious daughter that is perfectly paired with Julia Denos' playful mixed media illustrations.

The little girl's favorite dress goes through several transformations in the book. Rather than tossing or donating the dress, the mom recycles the fabric into several different creations.

(Side note: I also love the mom's clothes. Is that weird to want an illustration's clothes? Hmmm . . .)

Every time I read this book, I want to pull out my sketchbook and Make Something. My daughter has the same impulse. Must be in our blood. ;)

Today, I thought it would be fun to create a card as a homage to this wonderful book (which you can purchase here, if you're interested.) We'll be using a scrap of fabric, watercolor paints, and a blank card. Let's get started!


How to Make a I Had a Favorite Dress Card
You will need:

One blank card
Pencil
Kneaded eraser
Waterproof pen
Watercolors (my favorite vibrant ones are actually kid's watercolors!)
Watercolor brush
Scrap of fabric
Scissors
Glue stick

Use your pencil to sketch a little girl on the front of the card. I drew my daughter dancing. :) After you finish your light sketch, you can use the waterproof pen to draw over the lines.

Let dry and then erase with a kneaded eraser. You can see in the image below that I erased the skirt portion I had sketched previously.

Paint in your design with watercolors.

Cut out a small piece of fabric, and glue to the card. I liked this fabric design because cutting along the edge of it made the skirt look like it was blowing in the wind.

This would be particularly sweet if you used a piece of fabric that is special to you. This fabric is from my sister's scrap bag and is from a dress she made for my daughter. Memories.

I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial. Have fun recycling your own bits of fabric into sweet cards! Follow my letter-writing board on Pinterest for more snail mail ideas or click the Letter-writing tab at the top of this page for ideas here at Little Girl Designs.

 

Have a lovely {and creative} day!

 

 

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The Best Affiliate Programs for DIY Bloggers http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/best-affiliate-programs-for-diy-bloggers/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/best-affiliate-programs-for-diy-bloggers/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10465 I've probably Googled, "best affiliate programs for DIY bloggers" one hundred times since starting this blog. It's been changed up to "creativity bloggers" and "craft bloggers" but the gist has been the same. Was there any way for me, as a creative blogger, to make an income from affiliate sales?

The reason I'm so passionate about this subject is not because I am dying to be the next six figure income blogger. My version of success equals me being able to stay home with my daughter and not return to the workforce. I love the freedom and flexibility of being home, and blogging has allowed me to use my creative muscles on a daily basis. This is pretty much my dream job.

What I love about affiliate marketing is it levels the playing field to some extent. It doesn't matter if you have a small audience. It doesn't matter if you just started blogging last week. I've talked to folks who literally just started their blog and a week later, made their first affiliate sale.

As a DIY or craft blogger, you’re using supplies to make your projects. By linking to affiliate programs where your readers are able to buy the supplies you used, you’re doing your readers a favor. They don’t have to do the research to find out where you got everything.

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Intrigued? Download a PDF of the best affiliate programs for DIY bloggers by clicking here.

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Affiliate sales don't just drop into your lap, of course. You do the work of finding the right classes that fit your audience. You buy the products and see if they work. Basically, you're the researcher and the test group—getting out there to find products that will help your people do their job better as well as testing them out on yourself.

But since I'm talking to a DIY and creative audience, this "research" isn't that painful. I test out porcelain pens and classes on hand-lettering. It's pretty awesome.

Many DIY bloggers think the only way they can earn a decent income through their blog is by using ads. You can see this mentality pretty quickly if you click on a popular DIY pin on Pinterest. Most of the time, that post will be filled with ads. I'm not judging—these creatives spend a LOT of time thinking up projects, sourcing the materials, creating them, photographing them, and writing about the process.

I just think there's a better way.

Even if you have a smaller blog, you're putting in the time and effort to share your creative projects. And if you're waiting on ad income, you're probably only making pennies a day. I've talked to so many frustrated bloggers who work so hard and make very little. They started their blogs in hopes to be able to make a side income but they're discovering that they have to work a LOT for very little pay.

One of the beautiful things about blogging is you can earn income in several different ways. Affiliate sales is one of those opportunities, and it's not just for the "business bloggers" out there.

If you're a DIY or creative blogger, I've compiled a list of 30 different companies that will work for your audience. I've highlighted the percentage they pay as well as some of the opportunities they have. This is the list I wish I had when I first started blogging!

Get My FREE Workbook

 

Being an affiliate for a company you LOVE is a win-win-win: a win for the company you're promoting because you've given them a sale, a win for your readers and friends because they get to enjoy an awesome product, and a win for you because you're able to make an income and keep your business growing!
What are your favorite affiliate programs? Share away in the comments! :)
Have a lovely {and creative} day!

P.S. Don't forget to download your free guide to the best affiliate programs for DIY and creative bloggers by clicking here.

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How to Make a Simple Art Journal Cover http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/simple-art-journal-cover/ http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/simple-art-journal-cover/#comments Mon, 15 May 2017 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.littlegirldesigns.com/?p=10332 Learn how to make an art journal cover with this sponsored post by DaySpring; the tutorial and opinions are my own. To learn more about DaySpring's Illustrated Faith line, please click here.

Usually when we think about art journaling, we picture the insides of the journal—pages filled to the brim with paint, color, and words. But don't discount the outside covers of your art journal. The front and back covers are blank canvases in their own right. Since they're made of thicker paper—usually cardboard—you can add paint and layers without worrying about warping the pages.

DaySpring (the company that sent me the supplies used in this tutorial) now has an entire line of scrapbook papers, stickers, washi, and all kinds of art journaling and creative goodness. Whether you've hopped on the Bible journaling train, enjoy art journaling in a sketchbook, or are a scrapbook maven, there's something for you. It literally felt like Christmas the day I received this box. I'll walk you through some of the supplies they offer and then dive into the tutorial.

A Brief Tour of Illustrated Faith Goodness

The prettiest washi I've ever seen. 

Lots of papers and stickers to choose from for my art journal cover. These are from the Whatever is Lovely and She Blooms collection.

So many decorative pieces to add to artwork, journals, cards, and more! I'm definitely going to be making some homemade cards with these.

A closer look at the sticker page, because the tabs are so cute!

I love how bright, vibrant, and encouraging their products are. There are so many projects I could use this collection on, but let's get to the art journal cover tutorial for today. :)

How to Make a Simple Art Journal Cover
You will need:

One sketchbook (I use Canson Mix Media Journals)
White gesso or white acrylic paint
Paintbrush (or foam brush) for gesso
Watercolors (or acrylics—see "Note for Newbies" below*)
Watercolor brush
Scissors
Washi tape
Scrapbook papers
Stickers
Glue or adhesive
Modge Podge
Black gelly roll pen

Paint one to two coats of gesso on the sketchbook cover. Let dry completely. You might be able to see the cover a bit, but I like that layered look. If you don't, just add more paint. :)

For more texture, use a large brush and load it with gesso before painting. Texture is your friend so don't be afraid to get creative.

Once the gesso is completely dry, pull out the watercolors and paint part of the journal as pictured. This is where your texture will shine. The watercolors will collect in the ridges and add personality to your art journal cover. I like to use really opaque and bright watercolors; you can also get this look by using gouache or even watering down acrylics.

*Note for the newbies: Watercolor and gouache are activated by water. Kind of obvious, but you'll want to keep this in mind if you intend to seal the journal with Modge Podge at the end of this process. If you do want a more matte finished look, I'd recommend using watered down acrylics which won't re-activate when you use Modge Podge on them at the end. Otherwise, you can use a spray fixative or leave as-is.

Let the paint dry completely. Now it's going to get really fun! It's decoration time. :)

Tear a piece of washi and press along the edge of the art journal. Half of the washi will be on the inside flap and half on the outside.

Now it's time to choose what you'd like to have on the front of your journal. It's time to play!

I decided to cut a bird out of one of the scrapbook papers and chose a couple more elements as well. I cut legs out of one of the smaller papers.

Take some time to play around with the placement. Once you get it the way you want, glue the bird down as shown. I also added some pretty heart stickers.

At this point, you have a choice. If you used acrylics, you can seal the project with Modge Podge by painting over each of your paper elements. (If I chose this method, I would wait to add the stickers until the end.) I personally didn't care about sealing, so I glued everything down with adhesive. Modge Podge will dry matte and is a great surface to doodle on and add final details.

Finally, I pulled out my gelly roll pen and added details to the bird and page. You can add additional words, doodles, or whatever you'd like. It's your journal!

(P.S. You can really see how luscious and rich the watercolors are in this picture with the background texture. And those 3D heart stickers—love!)

There you go. Making an art journal cover doesn't have to be difficult. :) In fact, it's a great activity to do on a Friday night when you're winding down from the week.

DaySpring has created all of these paper elements for use in Bible journaling, so you can take this design to the margins of your Bible as well. If you've never heard of the idea of Bible journaling, you've got to check out the Illustrated Faith Instagram account. You'll be so inspired at the possibilities!

I hope this post inspires you to try out art journaling. It's such a great way to express yourself and to keep a record of your life in pictures.

Have a lovely {and creative} day!

P.S. Check out the DaySpring's entire line of creative goodness here. They have so many collections that would make great gifts for you and your friends.

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