Making more Christmas ornaments

I have been having so much fun making Christmas ornaments with polymer clay.  I forgot just how much I enjoy this medium.  The last batch I made, I made each ornament one at a time.  Unfortunately, the red clay bleeds onto your fingers and then onto the other colors of clay, so after I baked them I set them to the side to be painted (touch up only).

Christmas ornaments

This last session, I decided to figure out some type of system where I could assembly line the owls and santas.  That way, when I got to the red, I would do all of them at once and then use my baby wipe to remove the red dye off my hands before I finished with the white.  This was a great idea and it worked like a champ.

I was able to make 5 more owls in a row, just doing one thing at a time on each of them.  They are adorable, I think.

Christmas ornaments

 

Then I made 4 more Santas.  They turned out even better than I had hoped and the white stayed white!  I will definitely be making more of these soon!

Christmas ornaments

 

I finally got them all baked and now I am contemplating adding some bling to a few of them.  What do you think?  I also want to get back into my studio and try some different types of Santas.  I found some really cute owls that I want to try, too.  I really am having a great time.

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Blogging and Affiliate Marketing

Sunday is talk about business day and today I want to talk about affiliate marketing.  There is quite a lot of information online about starting a blog.  The same can be said about affiliate marketing.  There is quite a lot of hype online about becoming an affiliate marketer and making millions.  There is also quite a bit of bunk online about affiliate marketing.   You have to go through hours and hours of junk to find one or two tidbits of useful information.

Blogging has always been a great platform to use to become an affiliate marketer.  The problem is that not all bloggers understand how to monetize their blog for the maximum profit.  Monetization is the ultimate goal, but how you go about it will define if you make any money from your efforts.

This article from Mashable points out 4 simple steps to use to monitize your blog properly.  I found this article to be pretty basic but informative.  I hope you can use this information and get yourself started in your own business.

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4 Steps to Monetize Your Blog Through Affiliate Marketing

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

While there are currently tens of millions of blogs worldwide, close to 60 million powered by WordPress alone, many bloggers are not yet monetizing their sites. If you’re one of these bloggers, a good place to start is with affiliate marketing: directing readers to a product or service in exchange for a commission on the sale (or other action) when it occurs.

“If an individual is looking to monetize their blog, I would make a strong case for affiliate marketing as the best avenue for doing so,” says Josh Waldron, founder of creative design firm Studio JWAL LLC. “Blogs with quality content attract loyal readers. Since readers benefit from the content offered, they grow to trust the authors of that content over time. Consequently, an author’s blog posts are a logical place to promote relevant products and services without compromising the integrity of the content.”

Here are four quick steps to monetizing your blog through affiliate marketing.

1. Choose Relevant Affiliate Programs

Affiliate ads pay per action, which means that readers will need to click on the ad and then either sign up or register for something, or make a purchase before you get paid for the action. The more relevant the ad is to your content, the higher the likelihood visitors will click on the ad and perform the desired action.

So, what type of affiliate program will provide the most relevant ads for your blog? If you’re focused on a particular topic, you will want to join affiliates specifically associated with your content. For example, if you have a photography site, you might apply to be an affiliate with a camera equipment dealer.

Many bloggers start with Amazon Associates since Amazon sells millions of diverse products that are likely to be a fit for most bloggers. Amazon pays commissions of 4% to 15%, depending on volume and product type.

Read the rest of this short article here.

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20+ Easy Thanksgiving Crafts and Activities for Kids

With only 19 days until Thanksgiving left, we all might need to be looking for ways to entertain all the children after they have eaten their meals.  While the adults just want to sit around, relax, and visit with each other; kids have just replenished their energy and are ready to go.  To keep peace in the family, maybe you might look through some of these Thanksgiving craft ideas to keep the kids entertained and busy.

All of these look like fun and to me they seem easy enough if they have an adult who is willing to supervise.  The comments seem pretty negative and I can see their point if you expect the kids to do any of these unsupervised.  However, Thanksgiving is a time for family togetherness, so why not get everyone around the table again and all spend time making one or two of these great crafts.  Seems like a great way to start a good family tradition and create great memories with your children.

I especially like the feather hunt idea and can see my grandchildren participating in this activity without any problem.  My grandsons would love the boats and the turkeys. If you have girls, they would love the opportunity to color and decorate these crafts.

Let me know if you try any of them, or better yet post a picture in the comments.

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20+ Easy Thanksgiving Crafts and Activities for Kids

Easy, kid-friendly Thanksgiving craft ideas and activities that are fun for the whole family

AMY MIKLER

Mod Mayflower

Thanksgiving crafts

  1. Cut off the bottom of a cup. Cut two slits with the tip of your scissors at the center edge of the cup. Place the cup, bottom side up, into the center of a cup holder.
  2. Cut 2 paper rectangles per boat to make sails. Cut 2 tiny slits at the center of each sail at the top and bottom. Push stirrersthrough the slits.
  3. Add a paper flag to the top of each mast. Push the sticks into the slits in the cup.

Check out the rest of these crafts here.

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7 ways to increase your creativity

Since today is Thursday, I get to talk about all the information I am discovering about creativity and how to be creative.  I never really gave this topic much thought before, but now that I am actively researching it, I am finding out so much and learning ways to make my life more creative.  That is definitely a win-win situation.

This article from Creativity at Work is simply wonderful.  I mean that.  It is simple and it is wonderful!  I love the author’s use of quotes to introduce each step.  I love that each step is a simple, easy to do activity.  I love that if you follow these simple 7 steps, you will increase your creativity.

Please read this entire article at the source.  It isn’t very long and the seven steps are easy to understand and to implement.  I hope this article will help you, too, to increase your innate creative spark.

Won’t you let me know what you think about this?

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Seven Habits of Highly Creative People

Seven Habits of Highly Creative People is an homage to Stephen Covey (Oct 24, 1932 – July 16, 2012)

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, and then producing. Innovation is the production or implementation of an idea. If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.

Make a habit of these seven practices, and you will be highly creative in your field:

1. Prepare the ground

“In creating, the only hard thing’s to begin; A grass-blade’s no easier to make than an oak.”—James Russell Lowell

Creativity requires an absorbed mind, a relaxed state of focus and attention. Give yourself the time and space you need to get completely absorbed in the zone of creativity and inspiration. Let the desire to create come from the pure pleasure of creative expression. If you worry about being perfect, you may never begin.

2. Plant seeds for creativity

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we create the world.” —The Buddha

We amplify what we think about most. Put your attention on what you want to...click here to read the rest of this article.

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SHADOW BOX PUMPKINS

Tomorrow is Halloween and then all of this will be over, however, I found this wonderful shadow box pumpkin tutorial that I just had to share with you.  If you are quick, you can make one today and sit it on your outside table tomorrow night.

These look easy and quick and I wanted to share them with you.  I wish I had found this blog just a little earlier because my house would be full of these cuties!

Please read her blog and try these out if you can.  Post us some pictures of what yours look like if you make some, won’t you?

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SHADOW BOX PUMPKINS

Once in a while I create a project that has me giddy with excitement when it’s done. That moment when I have what I *think* is a good idea and then it turns out better than I EVER expected. And this one of those projects. I just absolutely love how it turned out! It’s Shadow Box Pumpkins-a perfect Halloween decoration:

Shadow Box Pumpkins

 

They are pretty easy to make and so much fun. They look great in the day and then even better at night when you turn on the lights inside them.

Here’s a peek at what they look like in the day:

Shadowboxpumpkin

 

Then you pop a tea light in the back and turn it on at night and it makes a flickery, spooky, fun display:

DIY Shadow Box Jackolantern

 

PUMPKIN SHADOW BOX:

Supplies Needed:

  • Carve-able craft pumpkins (these came from Michael’s)
  • Black card stock (orange or yellow as well if you want to make the witch in front of the moon)
  • Tea Lights (if you get the Halloween kind they will even flicker)
  • Clay
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Transparent thread
  • Hot Glue
  • Cutting Machine like a Cricut or Silhouette or scissors/exact knife

Instructions:

Read the instructions at this blog.

Posted in Blog posts, craft tutorials, Decorations, Halloween, Holiday, Tutorial | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Really Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?

Sunday is here and on Sunday we get to read about business.  Sometimes I post about my own personal businesses and other times I find relevant articles that inform and educate the reader on internet business–does it work, how do you do it, does it make any money, etc.  This time I am posting an article about affiliate marketing since I know many people who either don’t know what that is or who are confused about how it works.

This is an article I found at thebalance.com about Affiliate marketing and after reading it I decided to post it here for you to read.  This article is pretty basic and the author points out both the pros and cons of having an internet based or home based business.  It will always boil down to you and your commitment to making a success of your business.  The type of business is simply the vehicle you are driving to the bank in.  What makes money is your affiliate or internet business plan and just how well you are at doing what needs to be done in a timely manner.

Let’s face it.  Not everyone is cut out to work for themselves. Not everyone is cut out to work from home.  Not everyone is cut out to work alone all day.  Not everyone is willing to do the tasks required to make headway toward success in any business, let alone a business they own.  So it really will all boil down to you.

Take a good look at yourself and your habits both good and bad.  Can you see yourself working at home on the computer all day alone with no one to report to but yourself?  Do you see yourself as motivated to produce even on bad days?  Even when there is no one else expecting you to do so? Can you see yourself making phone calls to strangers about your business, doing internet marketing for your business, networking with other professionals in similar businesses?  If not, maybe the affiliate/internet business idea is just that–an idea you think about occasionally.

I hope you read this article and really take a hard look at yourself as these points are discussed.  If any of your thoughts are that you could never do that, then this business is not for you.  It is not for the faint of heart or the lazy person because business requires commitment, effort, money, and time.

Let me know what your thoughts are on this topic, won’t you?

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  Can You Really Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?

The Truth About Affiliate Marketing

 Affiliate Marketing

Credit: pagadesign | Getty Images

Can you make money with affliate marketing? The short answer is yes, affiliate programs can earn a extra money and even a full-time income from home. The long answer is a little more complicated. Like any home income venture, success comes not so much from what you choose to do to make money, but whether or not you do what needs to be done correctly and consistently.

Affiliate marketing is an ideal home business because it doesn’t require much money to get started, and you don’t have produce, stock or ship product inventory, or deliver a service.

You’re essentially paid for referring new clients and customers to other businesses.

The Reality of Affiliate Marketing

The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you’ve read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing (“Three clicks to rich!”). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.

The reality in affiliate marketing is much the same reality in other work-at-home ventures; there are a few who are filthy rich, a good number who are successful enough to meet their goals, and a ton who aren’t making anything. So, the question isn’t really whether or not affiliate marketing is a viable income option (it is), but whether or not you can make affiliate marketing work for you.

Only you can decide that. But to help, here are some tips.

Pros of Affiliate Marketing

As already mentioned, there are several aspects of affiliate marketing that make it a good home business option including:

  • Low cost to get started. Most affiliate programs are free to join, so your costs are usually related to your referral/marketing methods.
  • No need to create a product or service.
  • Don’t have to stock or ship products.
  • Work anytime and from anywhere as long as you have Internet access.
  • Passive income potential, depending on how you market your affiliates programs.
  • Can be added on to current home business to create an additional income stream.It’s ideal for bloggers, coaches, information entrepreneurs, and anyone who has a website.

Cons of Affiliate Marketing

There are challenges to making money from affiliate marketing, such as:

Read the rest of this article here.

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Día de los Muertos Calavera Collage

Since Halloween is just a few days away, that means it is also time for the Day of the Dead and all the festivities associated with it! (In spanish, el Dia de los muertos)

I found this wonderful blog tutorial and had to share it here.  I just love her approach to making this collage.  I hope you read the entire tutorial and then gather the supplies and go to town making your own version with your children.  I know they will love it and the memory will stay with them forever.

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Día de los Muertos Calavera Collage

dia de los muertos or day of the dead

Dia de los Muertos season is here.

With so many Day of the Dead festivities happening, I thought I would create a collage that incorporates two things I love: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and Dia de los Muertos. If you don’t know what a collage is, it is simply a cut paper assemblage. What I love about collage is, you can do anything with some colored paper and scissors. No wonder Henri Matisse called it painting with scissors!

I have bins and bins filled with multi-colored cardstock, paper and tissue paper. Most of it is scraps from other collages I’ve done. I just hate to throw anything away. But really, any cut paper that is left over is perfect to be used again in another collage.

I decided to try this collage with my 11-year-old  son. It started out as a couple of skeletons, or calaveras, but somewhere down the line it changed to Frida Kahlo (my muse) and her beloved Diego Rivera. Frida is easily recognizable in almost any art medium but Diego was a bit more of a challenge since his most recognizable trait, his large body, can’t really be duplicated on a skeleton!

What you need:

  • 8.5 x 11 Card Stock, Colorful Assortment
  • Elmer’s Washable All-Purpose School Glue Stick
  • Poster Board
  • Fiskars school scissors
  • Elmers No-Wrinkle Rubber Cement (for more experienced students)
  • Sharpie Permanent Markers, black
  • Optional: Cricut Tools Craft Tweezers

Read the rest of this tutorial here.

Posted in Blog posts, Collage, Halloween, Holidays, Holidays and Special Days | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

7 Simple Steps to Developing Creativity in Your Life

So another Thursday and a chance to talk to you about developing creativity.  I found this short article about 7 simple steps to developing creativity in your life at HuffingtonPost.com and decided I would share it here.  If you read this article, you may think that his answers are superficial or just too easy, but if you reflect on what he is saying you will see that these 7 simple steps can and will help you develop your own creativity over time.

There are good and bad things to be said about being “creative” in today’s world.  Some will say that a creative person has their head in the clouds and does not understand the real world.  Some will say that the creative person is ahead of his time and is thus a game-changer for everyone.  Neither one is right or wrong.  Being a creative person is just keeping your eyes and ears open to new things, being willing to learn, being curious about how things go together, and having child-like imagination.

I hope you read this article and then reflect on each step and the benefit that step could bring into your life.  We all could use help in some area of our lives and this is just one person’s attempt to help us in developing creativity.

Please go here to read this article.

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7 Simple Steps to Developing Creativity in Your Life

“Innovation is often given complex definitions. We prefer the simple one: ‘New Ideas that Work.’” — Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science Technology and Arts

Do you think you are a creative person? If yes, you should know most people never benefit from being creative. True creative people have a developed ability to use and observe all of their resources, senses, and knowledge to help them succeed. So take the time to “sharpen your blade,” because there is a long road ahead.

There are two hindrances that can stop your creativity. They are your external and internal barriers. Things that limit your imagination or inspiration are internal barriers and examples of external obstacles are weak expression or presentation skills.

This article includes some simple steps to increase your creativity. So, let’s begin!

Steps to Develop Creativity

1. Stop depending on others.

Start learning to use your own resources. Look around for what you do have and how you can make the best use of those resources. This will be a little tough in the beginning, but with time, you will adjust.

This doesn’t mean you will be alone and that you may disobey superiors. This just means you can build a learning capacity — learning from others. It means making proper interactions and creating your own resources.

2. Dream, think, and create.

You have to believe you have an amazing mind full of thoughts and ideas. You need to express them. Tell them to others and see what they say. …Read the rest of this article here.

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Making clay ornaments–polymer clay owls

So I finally was able to get into the craft room and do some crafting.  I found my box of old polymer clay (probably 6-7 years old) and decided to see if it was still any good.  To my surprise, it was!  So, I started making clay ornaments for the Christmas tree.

clay owls

 

 

Here are pictures of the three little owl ornaments that I made after looking for hours on Pinterest for inspiration.  The first owl is the little brown one.  He looks sad, I think.  His body

clay owl

and his wings are textured, which doesn’t show up in the picture.  The second clay ornament is the brown little girl with the pink ribbon on her head.  Then I made the light tan owl with the flower on his abdomen.  I think they turned out really great and they are only about an inch or so long.

clay owl

 

The clay had to be warmed with the pasta machine for quite a long time since it was so old, but once warm, it became pliable and easy to work with.  I was really surprised that this clay was usable at all.

clay ornaments

 

Overall, I had a great time and am looking forward to making many more of these cute little owls.  Clay ornaments make great gifts for the family, so I better get busy.  I hope to make Santas, Angels, Trees, and Stars also.

clay ornaments

Have you ever used polymer clay?  If so, what was your experience with it?  What do you think of my little owl clay ornaments?  I’d love to hear from you.

 

Posted in Bird, Blog posts, crafting, Holidays, homemade gifts, Polymer Clay | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Amazon Affiliate Website: The Ultimate Guide & 17 PROFITABLE Examples

On Sunday, I post about business.  I wanted to post this article from Niche Site Project about starting an Amazon affiliate website.  I know many people who have thought about doing this but don’t because they don’t know how.

I like this article in particular because the author starts at the very beginning and then takes the reader step by step through the process.  He does not leave anything to chance.  I know there are a myriad of articles online about starting a niche site, but my experience has been that they either start in the middle (so you don’t have the ground laid out yet) or they skip around and somehow you miss steps that are vital to your site’s success.

I hope you take the time to really read and study this article because if you can master what he is saying, you will definitely master making an Amazon affiliate website.   Won’t you let me know if this was helpful to you and if you put up a website, let me know about that too, please.

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Amazon Affiliate Website: The Ultimate Guide & 17 PROFITABLE Examples

UPDATED: May 9, 2017

NSP-process-Header-575W.jpegHow to Build a Profitable Amazon Affiliate Website

This is the roadmap that you have been looking for…

This resource is for people that are new to Niche Site Project – and even for the long time veterans out there that don’t know where to find all the outstanding content. It’s divided into TWO main sections:

  1. The Niche Site Process – A 7 Step Guide for building a successful Amazon Affiliate site, keep scrolling…
  2. Amazon Affiliate Website Examples (Click here to see the examples)- Complete with traffic and keyword data

This is the Definitive Guide to Create Successful Amazon Niche Sites

It’s a roadmap of sorts that will help you navigate your way to a Niche Site. (See some examples of Amazon Affiliate sites here to get in the mood…)

There is a ridiculous amount of information out there about niche sites. A lot of it is really old and out of date. This page is up to date and I take the time to make changes as time goes on and things change. (I actually got started by following Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Duel – the first one – a full 3 years after it started! Whoops!)

It’s different from other guides because I use Project Management Best Practices to continuously improve the process. (I’m a certified Project Management Professional – recognized by PMI.)

This page is here to help you locate the resources you need to master this niche site stuff.

And by “stuff” I mean…

The Niche Site Process

This is the same process that Pat Flynn & Spencer Haws use to build out their niche sites, like Security Guard Training HQ and The Best Survival Knife Guide. It works for Adsense, Amazon, or other affiliate based niche sites.

Read the rest of this article at the source here.

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