18 June 2017

a midsummer mandala download

a midsummer mandala

Friends and mercurial ones! Today I have a new Wheel of the Year plant mandala for your devices of choice.

Scroll to see more and get the link...

summer solstice mandalafree photo downloadflower photographydanmala
Have fun!

Kindly note that images offered are for personal, non-commercial use only. I would appreciate your including credit to me with a link back to this post when sharing. Thank you for your cooperation + good karma to all.

// related //
More plant mandala
The resource library

:: BEKA ::

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11 June 2017

101 things to do to your blog post*

101 things to do to your blog post

*well, not quite, but sometimes it can feel that way. This is a complimentary checklist to accompany the Blog & Media Planning Kit, my working set of playsheets that I personally use to organise my activities online. The following list of reminders is intended to cover all the bases in giving any blog post the best possible chance of being helpful, engaging and shared.

| Before you publish

1. Keywords +/ SEO

Research relevant topic keywords (terms that people would use to search) with both Google and Pinterest that your audience would use to find that information.

Use those keywords in the title, throughout the post body and as subheadings. Use them also in the post permalink, the search description or post snippet, and in image names +/ alt text.

2. Post Structure + Creation

In the broadest sense, and in whatever way is suitable to the post in question, research and plan the outline of your post topic.

Write your post in draft, making it easy to read with short sentences, paragraphs and words without loosing your writing voice. These days I like to initially compose my body text in Word and then as each piece is complete, paste it into the blog editor for formatting and fancying-up.

Format with clear subheadings and bullet points that break otherwise large chunks of text into smaller sections, and remember to include a short introduction that hooks the reader and explains what the post is about.

Create a catchy and clear title and that title appears in the post also. (this reminds me of movies of a certain era that would always somehow weave the title into one of the hero’s early lines)

Check that your post meets brand goals and reader needs, that it is original, useful and valuable, and create any additional resources required, ensuring they are linked correctly.

3. Indexing

Confirm that appropriate categories and tags are set for future searches and archive organisation.

4. Graphics & Images

Take any photos, upload and edit them with your preferred tool - lots of folks rave about Canva, though I’m a Photoshop Elements girl myself...

Include a feature/hero image to lead the post with appropriate branding +/ title in preparation for pinning and create other custom images optimised for your social media outposts. Check in with what is currently best practice with tools such as Sprout Social.

Confirm alt text is correct for all images in readiness for pinning and SEO assistance, and include correct photo credits on all outsourced images that require it.

5. Content Added Value

As appropriate include access to additional free support/bonus materials such as a pdf checklist or in another way make the content downloadable.

Include links to other relevant blog content, affiliate links or external sources where necessary.

6. Engagement

Include an appropriate call to action or some other request for reader interaction at the close of the post such as asking a question, or encouraging readers to comment, subscribe or share.

7. Links

Check all links are working as intended.

Amend the permalink/default url to one that is shorter and easier to recall.

If truncating your post for feed readers, check the ‘read more’ option is present and correct.

8. Social Sharing

Include where relevant ‘click to tweet’ captions +/ phrases.

If necessary prepare custom messages to go alongside the final shared post link for each of your social outposts.

9. Proofreading

Double-triple check your spelling and grammar, reading out loud to check for text flow.

Ensure that the post body is styled and formatted for easy reading and to suit brand aesthetics and preview your post for visual quality and to check all elements are displaying +/ behaving as intended.

Revise, edit and repeat as needed.

10. Schedule & Post

Confirm the intended publish date and time, along with when it will to go out on social such as to Pinterest and Facebook.

| After you publish

1. Indexing

As you did for the new post, check archives of previous posts and those already mentioned that may be relevant to the new content; if so go back and update them with a link to this new post.

2. Sharing

Depending on how and where you choose to share your post, consider using a link shortening service (such as Bitly.com) to abbreviate the default url for social and bookmarking sites.

Share and talk about your lovely new post on all your social outposts as suited to your individual best times. Share also to any applicable forums or bookmarking sites that you frequent.

Schedule into calendar for repinning/sharing 1-2 months following original publish date.

Respond to all comments wherever they come in from, be that natively in post comments or on social outposts, thanking anyone who takes the time to share your post when you can.

3. Longevity

Consider whether this post can be expanded into a part two, a series or repurposed in some other way.

| Give credit

And lastly, though this goes for both during post creation and following it's publishing, do 'spread the love' as they say and remember to give credit to your sources where due: with appropriate mentions and links in the post itself, and by either direct email or social @tag – so they can hear about it too. I know I absolutely love and appreciate it to hear my post, input or creation has been useful to someone else. Your sources will appreciate it too.

Like I said, it looks and can feel like there is one-hundred-and-one things to do on a blog post these days if you want to give it the best chance of being seen by the people you want to connect with. This list is pretty exhaustive of the things you should try to incorporate into your post creation routine.

My advice if you are new to this is to build slowly. Many of these things are super quick tasks that you can very easily include as part of your creation process until they become second nature. The checklist is there for you as that reminder. I wish you good luck!

| But tell me:

To those who are more experienced at this, is there anything you feel I missed here? What is something you always make sure to do before or after publishing? Let me know in the comments below.

In the meantime to keep this on hand, please download the checklist. Enjoy, and happy blogging!

link to google drive

// related //
Why Start a Blog?
Spring Clean Your Blog Sidebar with These 7 Essentials
Optimise Your Blog for Pinterest
On Blogging Everyday
The Blog + Media Planning Kit

:: BEKA ::

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04 June 2017

a pin project :: handmade double oven gloves

handmade double oven gloves show + tellwith grateful thanks to my other half for modelling

We have been on the lookout for a suitable pair of replacement oven gloves for sometime but with not really much luck. So with a little research, some fabrics from my trusty stash and some effort I decided to make my own pair with reference to a couple of tutorials I found from Adrianne and Vanessa. Altogether I am rather pleased with the outcome as my first project using my 'new' electric sewing machine.

Materials used

:: patterned quilting cotton for topside + pockets
:: plain quilting cotton for bias binding
:: cotton twill for the underside that would touch hot things
:: quilter's batting
:: Radiantex insulated batting
:: cotton thread

handmade double oven gloves show + tell

How I interpreted the tutorials

First off I used the pattern provided by Adrianne to print and cut out. I expanded the length of the 'twin' piece by a further 3 inches to get the full length of the double mitt I was after (34 inches) which meant sellotaping an extra piece of paper to the fold end. The other alteration I made here was to cut my top piece from a single piece of fabric, rather than not.

Under the advisement of the sales assistant from where I purchased my insulated wadding I used two layers of insulation in addition to the layer of regular wadding in my multi-layer sandwich. It made for a lot of layers to the side of the mitt that was going to come in contact with heat, but I really wanted to be sure of safety here. For the pockets, on the other hand, I just went with a thinner, simpler sandwich of patterned fabric and wadding.

For the base I decided I wanted to add some diagonal quilting to stabilise and strengthen that half of the glove. Initially I marked up the diagonals with masking tape but this was eating tape like nobody's business and was occasionally getting caught in the stitches when removed. So I switched to using tailor's chalk pencil which will rub off over time.

The other thing I learnt here was due to the thickness of all the layers I had to use quite a long machine stitch (5.5) so as to not pinch the fabric so tightly and distort the movement of the layers. I had already tack-stitched the pieces together around the outer edge but machine-stitching them before going across with the diagonals really helped keep everything from moving about even with the use of a walking foot on the machine.

Lastly, the bias binding I created myself from 100% quilter's cotton using Vanessa's instructions and attached using Adrianne's, finishing off on the opposite side by hand with a simple slip stitch.

handmade double oven gloves show + tell

With this project complete and some materials still remaining, I am now looking to run up a couple of matching potholders to complete the set. In the meantime I can't wait to try these out with our Sunday dinner later today!

// resources //
Adrianne's Oven Mitt, via She Can Quilt
Vanessa's Double Oven Mitt, at Crafty Gemini Creates
More of my favourite crafty diy pins to make

:: BEKA ::

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