Posts Tagged ‘how to’

How To Make A “Stuff Pinned From Your Blog On Pinterest” Button

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Have you heard? Pinterest is the new front-page search result on Google. Get your cute Valentine’s Day wreath repinned by the right taste maker and you can have a viral craft hit on your hands. And if you’re shaking your head right now saying “Pinterest whaaaa?” check out my post explaining the basics of Pinterest.

My favorite feature on Pinterest is the “also from…” option you see when you click on a pin. For example, if you click on a picture of a delicious looking recipe from Tasty Kitchen, in the bottom left hand corner of your screen you’ll see “also from tastykitchen.com”. It’s a great way to instantly get more from a site you’ve just discovered.

One of the things I’ve noticed about my traffic is readers often click on the suggested similar posts at the end of each new post. I use the LinkWithin widget to display thumbnails of posts with similar key words and topics. I find myself doing the same thing on other people’s sites and spending hours reading archives and links. I thought it would be great if I could combine those two ideas with a button right in my sidebar . Now you (and I) can see what people have pinned from my blog instantly, plus it’s a quick way to see the best of my crafts and party stuff with direct links back to their original posts without having to search.

And because I’d like to see the same thing on YOUR blog, here’s a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a button of your own.

How To Make A “Stuff Pinned From Your Blog On Pinterest” Button

1. Create a button sized blank graphic in your favorite graphics editor. I used Photoshop Elements, but you could use any program that lets you size the document to 175×175 pixels. Some sidebars are a little smaller (150×150) and some are a little bigger (200×200) so use whatever works best.

2. Add your blog name. I used the color and font from my blog design to keep it recognizable. I also spent WAY too much time choosing a font/size for the word “on”.

how to make a "my stuff on pinterest" button for your blog

3. Download the Pinterest logo graphic from their “Goodies” page (it’s at the bottom) and insert it in your graphic. They have two options available, so you can make yours look like mine or use the “P” logo.

how to make a "my stuff on pinterest" button for your blog

4. Add a graphic. I went to my “stuff pinned from bebehblog” page, took a screenshot and cropped it in Picasa. That way the images in the button are actual pins from my blog.

how to make a "my stuff on pinterest" button for your blog

5. Tweak it – resize your text and graphic, center everything, make sure you like the screen shot you used. I ended up adding a border to mine because it was too white against my background. You want it to be clean and eye catching but not too busy. Save your image as a JPG.

6. Upload the image to a free photo-sharing site. I like imgur but Flikr and Photobucket are also popular. Find the sharing option that gives you the direct link to the photo – it will start with “http://” and end with “.jpg”.

7. Insert this code into a widget in your sidebar where you want the button to go:

<center><a href=”http://pinterest.com/source/bebehblog.com/”><img src=”http://i.imgur.com/x1xlL.jpg“></a></center>

Replace the RED text with your blog address.com and the BLUE text with the direct link to your image.

8. Save the changes to the widget. Refresh your site and you should see your new button!

Because the link will update as people pin more things from your blog, you should only have to make one button and the most recent stuff will always show up on top when people click through.

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment or email me at bebehblog@gmail.com and I can try to help.

Pin It

 

Thirty Hand Made Days

No-Sew Rag Wreath

Monday, June 27th, 2011

I am super proud of this project because for once it WASN’T inspired by something I saw on Pinterest or in a magazine or some other creative person’s blog. It came out of my very own brain, as small and empty as that brain might be.

And don’t go raining on my parade by telling me you wrote a tutorial for the VERY SAME THING back in 1997 when it was ACTUALLY an original idea because WHATEVER DUDE. We are not special snowflakes so just let me have this one, OK? I spend an embarrassing amount of time looking at things on Pinterest and kicking myself and slapping my forehead saying “Why didn’t I think of that?!” So I finally thought of something, which may or may not kind of suck, but as far as I’m concerned is the BEST CRAFT PROJECT EVAR.

No-Sew Rag Wreath Tutorial

Supplies:
Foam wreath form
Thumbtack/map pins
Fabric
Scissors

Because I am lazy, I bought a roll of pre-coordinated fabric strips from the craft store. I think these are meant for quilting but since that is a craft that requires actual skills you won’t find me anywhere near it. You could, of course, use your own fabric just cut into strips, if you were the kind of person who just kept yards and yards of pretty fabrics lying about. I bow to you.

When you unroll your roll, you’ll see there’s two long lengths of each pattern of fabric, folded in half. I started by cutting at the folds, so I had 4 strips of fabric. Then I cut through all 4 pieces at once to make square-ish squares. It’s not rocket science, so don’t get out your protractor or anything. The goal is to cut up a nice big pile of fabric pieces without injuring yourself. IT’S HARDER THAN IT LOOKS. You should see the blister I got on my middle finger from all the cutting.

I am so hard core. A HARD CORE CRAFTER. I’m packing heat! Oh wait, that’s just a glue gun.

I wrapped some extra fabric around my wreath (it took 2 of the full-length strips) because I didn’t plan to decorate the back and I thought it looked a little nicer with the fabric. Pin the ends with a couple of map pins (note: I bought the map pins at Staples in the fastener aisle. They’re just like the pins my mom used to use when she was tacking up a hem to sew but I would bet they’re cheaper when they’re called “map pins”). I alternated my map pins with some large ball thumb tacks in colors that matched my fabric. The tacks didn’t work as well because they were shorter, but add some texture to the finished product.

Now push a pin through the middle of one of your fabric squares into the wreath. Push JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE once you get it all the way in, so the fabric sticks out. Start filling in the wreath with different colored squares. I found it was easier to cover it with a layer and then go back and fill in as needed. After you’re about 3/4 of the way done you’re going to look at it and think “This looks TERRIBLE” but trust me, keep going. Pull the edges of the fabric out so you can pin new pieces close to the old pieces to get that sticky-outy effect.

Originally, I thought they would kind of look like flowers, but because I just cut squares they aren’t especially flower-like. You could use pinking sheers to make the edges ruffly or cut circles of different sizes, but as I’ve mentioned before, I am L to the A to the Z to the Y and nap times are short.

Once you reach the desired fullness level, use two pins to attach a ribbon to the back and hang it up. Check to make sure there aren’t any bald patches and voila, you have a one of a kind rag wreath.

Ta-da!

Thirty Hand Made Days

 

Special Snowflakes of The Internet

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The other day I saw a comment on Twitter that said something like “Before you post a craft tutorial or idea on your blog, always Google to make sure someone else hasn’t already posted one.”

And then my head exploded.

To be clear, the tweet wasn’t directed at me. Crafting is only a teeny tiny part of my blog and definitely not my area of expertise. I have never gotten a nasty email or comment about the originality of my projects. And I try very, very hard to keep it that way. There is no reason at all I should have taken the kind of offense to the remark that caused my brains to splatter all over the wall behind me.

I understand that people copying each others work is a big problem in blog land. There was the cooking magazine that reprinted a blogger’s post without her permission and then told her “Well the internet is free, so technically we can print anything we want! Plus, we edited your crappy writing so much, YOU should really pay US!” (No, really, this just happened.) And just this week Jill found her recent craft tutorial on a site that claims it “collects” posts from across the internet and republishes them – without giving her byline. But they’re doing it to help you! You’ll get tons of traffic! From this site no one has ever heard of and has no valid contact info!

I also know stealing someone’s design/craft can be a huge problem for handmade businesses, since there’s really no way to copyright something like a ruffle or a rosette. That’s not cool. Don’t rip off creative people you admire – SUPPORT them.

BUT. Posting a recipe for, say, zucchini bread even though there are already a zillion recipes online for zucchini bread is not plagiarism. Neither is posting a how-to on a ribbon mobile or felt flowers or using an empty frame as a whiteboard, although if you Google any of those you get dozens and dozens (hundreds)(sometimes thousands) of responses. Demanding no one ever use an idea someone else has had is like saying “OK, Mommy bloggers, since I’ve already read posts about cloth diapers, potty training, making your own baby food, pooping while giving birth and cute kids, ALL THOSE THINGS are off limits.” If we limited the internet to only 100% original thoughts it probably wouldn’t exist. Neither would most books, movies, art, music, etc. Have you ever read the New Testament? Some of those dudes totally tell the same stories, even though they were told before!!

How about instead of assuming you are such a special snowflake all YOUR ideas are one-of-a-kind and it’s everyone else who’s stealing we agree to some rules for polite blogging?

1. If you are “inspired” by someone else’s idea, link to them in your post.
2. If you flat out USE someone else’s tutorial, link to them in your post, and maybe stick to just posting pictures instead of your own “how-to”.
3. Changing the NAME of a recipe is not the same as inventing a new recipe. You have to actually modify the ingredients/instructions to make it new.
4. Use common sense – don’t be a douchecanoe. When in doubt, link link link.

But for the record, the internet is a really huge place. I promise there is more than enough room for everyone’s yarn wreath tutorials (coming soon to bebehblog!)

Like I said, I didn’t really need to get so pissed off about this – I’m just having a pissed off sort of day and angry blogging is the pregnant woman’s equivalent of drinking a bottle of wine.

Upcycled: Wool Sweaters to Felt Flowers

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

You would not BELIEVE how many perfectly good, brand new wool sweaters I’ve ruined in my washing machine. Dozens. Maybe hundreds. Until I started knitting and learned to actually appreciate fiber I always saw those “HANDWASH COLD ONLY” and “LAY FLAT TO DRY” rules more like…guidelines. I was too lazy and forgetful to separate stuff before throwing it all in the wash. And yet I was always shocked and devastated when my previously human-sized sweaters came out of the dryer doll-sized and stiff.

That shrinking process is called “felting” and this week I did it on purpose so I could turn wool sweaters into crafty felt flowers.

Since all the sweaters I’ve ruined recently are black, I went to Goodwill to hunt through the racks.

Score!!

Cardigans are a double score because you can repurpose the buttons in your flowers.

The trick is to find sweaters made of 100% WOOL. Not 70% acrylic, 30% wool or some other synthetic blend. You also want to watch out for items that have “machine washable” on the tag or say anything like “Super Wash” or “No Shrinking!” That sort of defeats the whole purpose here. In theory, you could use other animal fibers – the light pink sweater is actually 100% cashmere – but I found it didn’t felt up as nicely as the wool ones.

I did pretty well with what I bought – the white one in the front didn’t have a tag and I suspected it wasn’t real wool so I wasn’t shocked when it didn’t felt. But it’s clearly hand made and was only $3 so I’ll just wear it. The scarf didn’t felt either, but again, not big loss. New scarf for me!

Now you’re going to shrink the sweaters on purpose to make felt you can craft with.
Follow these steps:
1. Throw sweaters in the washing machine with a little detergent.
2. Set machine to Hot Wash/Cold Rinse and push start.
3. Walk away.

And you’re done.

I found a lot of instructions online that wanted you to put the items you were felting in a mesh bag or pillowcase or toss in a tennis ball or some other heavy item but I had the best luck with the straight up washing machine. Since the goal here is to make the fibers as dense and stiff as possible so you can cut it up, you can even toss the whole mess in the dryer on high when they’re done washing. If you’re not happy with how felty they look after 1 wash, repeat the cycle.

If your sweater wasn’t wool to begin with it will become very clear right about now, because they will not look like this:

Post-felting. You can see how they've shrunk.

Now comes the crafty part. If you’re creative on your own just stop reading and go do something awesome with your new wool felt. The rest of my project isn’t that impressive. But if you want some ideas, read on.

My first thought was to cut out actual flower shapes and sew them together. I found flowers to use as templates online, traced them onto cardboard, and cut out the cardboard shapes to trace onto the felt:

Why yes, that is the box from a cereal that is kid tested and mother approved. It was the only thin cardboard we had in the house.

Unfortunately, tracing the shapes onto the felt was WAY too much work for me, especially with a toddler trying to crawl across the table every two seconds. If you can think of an easier way let me know (Maybe I should pin them? Maybe I can cut with an X-acto knife to avoid the tracing?) but I recommend stick to shapes you can free-hand. I have the cutting skills of a second grader so flowers and stars come out as lopsided blobs – but since you’re a grown up you can definitely do better.

Luckily, I can do a lot with just one or two fancy shapes and a few easily cut circles and leaves.

It helps if you have some buttons hanging around - these are all from the Goodwill sweaters or my stash of lost buttons on the dryer.

Cut out different shapes in different colors...

Stitch them together with a little thread and one of those buttons...

If you're feeling lazy, just stick to cutting out circles...

Or if you're feeling REALLY lazy, use a little yarn to make a loopy flower on a leaf (the button makes it fancy!)...

And you're done! Now you can glue them to pins, barettes, headbands, or sew them right onto a boring purse or scarf.

I’m sort of ridiculously pleased with my flowers. For the record, I made all these from just the bottom part of one sleeve from each sweater – I still have a LOT of felt left over. You can use it the same way you’d use acrylic or nylon felt from the craft store, just remember it is wool so it might be a little scratchy on bebeh parts.

Happy Crafting!

p.s. These are the stretchy cuffs from a couple of the sleeves. I’m thinking they’ll make great headbands for a tiny baby girl – especially with a little felt flower sewn on.

To be continued...

How To Cancel Cable and Not Die of Boredom

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

It’s been a month since we stopped paying $100+ a month for our TV habit (two months since we first talked about it) and no one has died. It’s a miracle. There haven’t even been any hissy fits or screaming arguments over who gets to watch Their Show and who has to Wait. Look at us! Compromising! Give and take! General awesomeness! Exclamation point!

I’ve had more conversations about that decision than almost anything else I’ve ever written about, so clearly we’re not the only ones who think cable companies are owned and run by the devil himself sort of a rip-off. Since we take our TV very seriously, E put a LOT of ridiculously dorky time into planning how we would watch various shows even without the Super Awesome Cable Plan of Amazing Awesomeness and Thousands of Dollars A Year.

First, let me clarify that we ended up NOT canceling all of our cable. We currently pay $16.80 for basic cable service and $49.95 for the second fastest internet package Comcast offers. We USED to pay $149.99 for TV, $15 for HBO, $7 for the HD DVR plus the $49.95 for internet and a totally unidentifiable amount for a home phone only used to talk to telemarketers. Although the bill claimed our “package” cost only $119, our monthly amount due ranged from $180 to $210 based on…I have no idea. How many nice things I said about Comcast on Twitter that week? How many times we rewound So You Think You Can Dance while saying “Did you SEE THAT?!?!?!”  So losing the “package”, the DVR and the home phone equals a savings of approximately $120 a month.

Second, we have the advantage of already owning a desktop computer with a TV tuner card. Actually, two TV tuner cards. Basically, that means we can watch all our TV through the computer with the added benefit of being able to *GASP* pause, rewind, and record live TV. Finding out I could do that without a fancy cable box or Tivo subscription was like finding out I was secretly adopted. The cards cost anywhere from about $40 to $150 depending on where you shop/what you want/how tech savvy you are when it comes to installing that kind of stuff yourself, but since that’s less than 1 month’s cable cost they are DEFINITELY worth it.

So with basic cable (which in our area includes all the major networks plus USA, Discovery, Spike, TCM, and about a dozen shopping and Spanish language channels) plus the computer card we can watch/record two broadcast shows at once or record one and watch another. I also still get my morning news and lunchtime Price is Right. We have it hooked up actually through the computer so turning on the TV takes an extra step but it’s worth it for the DVR and channel guide the tuner card provides.

“But I don’t have a fancy computer!” you say, “I want to watch broadcast shows! And also, I will DIE if I can’t watch Teen Mom!”

To you I present: Hulu.com. Not only did they have really funny commercials about Alec Baldwin eating your brain, they’re actually a REALLY good way to watch TV. E made a spreadsheet showing when shows air vs. when shows are available online and the answer is almost always the next day. Here’s just part of it (click on it if you can’t read the tiny writing):

If for some insane reason you want the whole thing, I can email it to you. I just couldn't get the whole 50 show spreadsheet into one screenshot. Oh and it was for the summer lineup so some shows are listed as airing on "0" because they weren't on.

There are a few shows I have to track down online (Project Runway and Army Wives on Lifetime, anything on TNT, CW shows, which are especially hard to find – I STILL haven’t seen the premiere of ANTM) and I don’t get to see non-network award shows (like the VMA’s Sunday night) but EVERYTHING ELSE – including Teen Mom – is on Hulu. The best part is you can go through and add all the shows to your queue so when you log in it shows you the new episodes you have to watch. There isn’t a limit on how many shows from each time slot you can watch either, so even though I’ve missed several seasons of Dancing With the Stars because too many things I watched were on at that time I will definitely get to watch it this season (for the record, Jennifer Gray is going to win. NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER WITHOUT A SPARKLY DISCO BALL TROPHY).

Which means I may actually be watching MORE TV than I was with the fancy cable package. I’m humming “Ironic” in my head. Not because this is the perfect definition of irony, but neither is rain on your wedding day so I feel justified.

Throw in a Netflix – now streaming movies straight to your tv! and computer! and XBox! and Wii! all of which we have! – subscription for $18 a month and we’ve got seasons and seasons of shows we might not have watched the first time around (Dear Joss Whedon, please please please forgive me) plus enough HBO and Showtime series to tie up entire weekends of time. Even if the very newest seasons aren’t available instantly you can get them in the mail as soon as they’re released on DVD. (Sort of. Some movies seem to be released on Netflix later than they’re actually released on regular DVD at the store.)

So, there you go: the least concise and most confusing explanation of how to watch TV on a budget ever.

(It helps that I am not the sort of person who gets upset at spoilers. If who wins Top Chef is REALLY important to you you’re going to have to make sure you watch the finale live at a friend’s house. Or if you don’t want to know that at the end of season 4 of Dexter *blank* is *blank* in the *blank* OMG!!!!! you’ll have to avoid not only the whole internet, but clip shows, talk shows, and most of your friends. Or you can just forget that someone already told you the ending. Like I did.)

(Disclaimer: Hulu, Netflix, Comcast and anyone else mentioned in this post have no idea who I am and would probably rather I NOT mention them on this blog. I wasn’t smart enough to ask them for compensation before writing about any of the companies so I’m plugging them all for free. Except for Comcast, who I’m sort of UNplugging, although now that I don’t curse their name every time I pay the bill I have to say we actually love their internet service.)

(This next part is written by E.  You’ve been warned.)

The computer we use is an Acer that we got from TigerDirect. com.  The dual band TV tuner card we also got from TigerDirect.com.   Another source of programming for us Comcast users is their Fancast site.  Really it is just a portal to all of the streaming services already available for free (like hulu), but it does allow you to watch shows online if you currently have a subscription to that channel.  I won’t bore you anymore, unless of course you want some more information, then tell Suzanne and I’ll write something much more lengthy.

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