Archive of ‘DIY & Crafting’ category

You don’t need a DSLR camera. Here’s why.

The perfect camera for bloggers

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “what camera do you use?” I’m asked about it a lot when I’m out shooting at events. It’s so small, it looks like a point and shoot. But it’s not–it’s an Olympus mirrorless micro four-thirds model. It has the functionality of a DSLR, but at a fraction of the size. I think it’s the perfect camera for bloggers (and many other photographers!).

What it’s like to use a mirrorless camera

Here’s what it’s really like to shoot with a mirrorless camera and why for the time being I’m truly happy with this choice. Whether you’re a blogger looking to upgrade your camera or just getting more into photography, here’s what you need to know.

The size.

For me, this is the number one reason why I go the mirrorless route. I just can’t lug around a DSLR and its gear without getting a major neck ache. But with my Olympus, I can throw it in my purse and go to any event. It’s so portable and light.

You know when you see someone with a full frame DSLR and you’re like, “they must be a photographer.” That’s just not going to happen when you’re shooting with a dinky thing that doesn’t even look like it can switch lenses. This can be good and bad depending on the situation. If you travel a lot, a lighter and less expensive-looking camera might be perfect for you. Just some things to think about!

The brand.

I’ve been pretty happy with the Olympus line, which includes a range of cameras from the lower end model I usually shoot with up to pricier camera bodies. Sony is also really well known for its mirrorless line, which one of my fashion photographers used in this shoot–take a look at how well it does!

Some of my other fashion photos are taken by an Olympus EP3 and an Olympus EM-1:

The price.

It seems like you’d be saving money by buying a smaller camera, but sadly this is not really the case. The cost is pretty similar to a starter level DSLR kit–or even a little bit more.

Performance.

Now it’s not a perfect camera. I’m not satisfied with how the Olympus performs in low light, but for many blogging related needs it’s great.

With a prime lens, I can get depth of field for close-up shots for my blog.

It’s also great for taking flat lays for Instagram.

Of course, DSLR cameras are still a great choice. My outfit posts shot by pro photographers are done with DSLR and I used one on my summer cross country road trip. The majority of bloggers I know shoot with the Canon line, and I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. With DSLRs getting smaller and lighter, I may consider getting one down the road. I just want you to be aware that there is a viable alternative for both beginning bloggers and more advanced photographers that I recommend for its portability.

Camera style

Just for fun, here are some camera bags and camera-themed accessories worth checking out.

Which camera do you use? Let me know in the comments!

How to Create a Vision Statement and Change Your Life

One goal setting technique that WORKS.

Today I’m sharing how you can try the technique that helped one woman manifest the partner, children and job of her dreams in four years. Curious? I was too! You have to hear her story!

My friend Faith introduced me to her vision statement and powerful vision board techniques that can help you make changes in life and reach your goals, and I want to share them with you so you can make this the best year ever. It works by setting your sights on what’s possible. It’s all about intention.

Set your sights on what's possible. It's all about intention. Click To Tweet

create a vision statement

How to create a vision statement

Faith discovered this technique during a time of hopelessness.  “At the time, I was working in a dysfunctional workplace, was in a painful and unfulfilling relationship and was 35 with no hope of creating the family/children I barely dared to hope were possible,” she says.

Here’s the technique she used: write a statement about how your life is in the future, and date it with a future date. Make it as specific as possible with a focus on the feeling of gratitude you have for meeting your goals.

“It should be written in present tense, as if you have already achieved your goals and created your vision with an example of the specifics. It should also be reviewed and altered on a regular basis as your vision evolves, continuing to add details and change things as needed.”

This could be in addition to a vision board collage with images, or by itself.

Does this sound crazy? Read the rest of Faith’s story before you decide.

How a vision statement can help you change your life

Four years later, her life is completely different. She attributes it in part to this create a vision statement exercise which helped her focus on what was important to her. She’s moved across the country, found a life partner with whom she has two beautiful children, has a fulfilling career in an emergency room and is pursuing a medical degree. That’s a dramatic transformation for sure!

It was Faith and her story that encouraged me to try creating a vision board collage and vision statements at the start of every year. I started in 2016, and it helped me reach my professional goal of adding three new publications to my writing portfolio, as well as some personal life goals. You still need to put in the work, but putting the vision in a written or visual format can keep you focused. As Faith said, “Life still has its challenges but I feel better equipped to handle them.” I’m so grateful to her for sharing her story in hopes of inspiring others!

What do you think about this goal setting technique? Read more about how to transform you life with vision board exercises.

Make Your Vision Board Work for You in 2017

How to create a vision board that works for youVision board techniques to make THIS the year you’ve been dreaming of!

What is your dream for this year? Maybe it’s financial stability, your dream career, a fairy tale love, or jet setting on the adventure of a lifetime around the globe. Whether your dreams are wild or mild, they can seem attainable at times. That’s where a vision board comes in to serve as a visual representation that helps you keep your eye on the prize. Here’s one of several I made this year. I chose the colors for a common aesthetic and mood:

5 powerful vision board techniques

What is a vision board and how do I make one?

A vision board is a collage made using images that represent goals that you want to manifest. It serves as a reminder throughout the year to put the work into making these dreams a reality. To make one, you’ll need a 12×12 paper or larger and magazine pictures. Take it from someone who always has leftover pictures that didn’t fit, 12×12 inches is the minimum you’ll want to use. It can include a mix of cutout pictures, cutout words, and written words.

vision board supplies - how to create a vision board with 5 powerful vision board techniques

5 Effective Vision Board Techniques to Try this Year

Make your vision board more fun and effective with these ideas. Setting goals should be fun! Don’t feel like you have to do all of these, just consider the ones that resonate with you.

1. Make it a party. It’s so much easier to get your vision board done when you have someone providing you the place, time and materials. And they will hold you accountable for finishing your board. This is vision board time!

2. Use unexpected materials. Mix it up by asking your friends for magazines that you don’t read yourself. This expands your boundaries and gives you more to work with. Incorporate colored pens, stickers and colored card stock for vibrant, creative, no-limits vision boarding. You could even end up with a picture of a Corgi, who knows!

corgi collage for vision board

3. Notice what’s NOT on the board. When I finished my board this year, what was most surprising was what I hadn’t made goals about. These represented activities and commitments in my life that my heart isn’t in–and are sucking energy away from what I really do want to accomplish this year. These things might need to be eliminated or downsized in 2017.

4. Bring in spirituality. If you follow a faith, consider how you want that to fit into your goals in the coming year. Including a quote from your faith can serve as a powerful reminder of what’s truly important to you. If you’re not into religion, any inspirational quote that you connect with works. I find that the poetry of Rumi resonates with many people.

Rumi Quote for vision board

5. Display it in a prominent place. Mine is over my desk right now. Refer back to it throughout the year. You can’t do that if it’s in your closet or under your bed, so make sure you can see it regularly.

Now I have questions for you! Do you create vision boards? What goals did you set for 2017?

5 powerful vision board techniques

Make a Felt Heart Envelope

felt-valentine's-day-envelope-tutorial

I read something so inspiring yesterday on social media, a message urging people to consider Valentine’s Day as a way to spread love to people who might need it whether it’s a note, a flower or a kind word. It sounds simple, but it’s easy to get caught up in your own plans (or lack of plans) and forget that small gestures can mean so much to someone else! Today’s post is a craft tutorial that makes a perfect small gift for Valentine’s Day or any day.

After experimenting with a variety of fun ways to decorate envelopes, I made this handmade felt envelope craft to send to friends and my top blogging supporters to say Thank You. It was a little Valentine’s Day gift. Here’s how you can make your own, step by step.

Felt Handmade Envelope Coin Purse Tutorial

You’ll need: Two colors of felt, embroidery floss, scissors, needle, hot glue, buttons and thin elastic. Quick tip: instead of sewing you can use hot glue.

Step 1: Start with a diamond shape cut out of a piece of felt. The envelope can be made small or large depending on the size of your felt. The ones I made were the right size to hold a business card or some coins, and the flat edges of the diamond measured 5 1/2 inches long each.

Felt-Envelope-Tutorial-felt-size

Step 2: Fold the sides in and bottom up in preparation for sewing or gluing these edges together to form the envelope shape.

Felt-envelop-tutorial-step-1

Step 3: If sewing, pin the edge you’re not working on down to hold it until you make your way back to it. Optional: carefully trim down the pointy edge to make it flat, as in the photo below.

Felt-Envelope-Tutorial-Step-2

Step 4: Add a fastener. I did this two ways. One was to hot glue a piece of velcro. The other was to sew on a button to the envelope body and add a loop of elastic to the flap. The button looks nice, but the Velcro is easier. Take your pick.

Felt-Envelope-Tutorial-Step-3

Step 5: Hot glue on a felt heart to the top of the flap. You can experiment with using different colors of felt for different looks.

DIY felt heart envelope coin pursesAnd you’re done!  Share what you think of this tutorial in the comments and let me know if you have any questions!

Definitely check out more envelope decorating ideas, and follow along for more craft ideas on Pinterest.

DIY felt envelopes tutorial

Valentine Envelopes To Make This Year

Envelope-love-letters-DIYHomemade Happiness

They say happiness is homemade, and I am inclined to agree. Lately, I’ve been really into decorating envelopes. These were featured on Midwest Living along with more envelope decorating ideas, so you can see the full list there.

These can be used to hold homemade love notes or add an extra personal touch to your store bought cards (this card is simple and cute). You can use these techniques for any season, I just personalized these for Valentine’s Day. It’s coming up in less than a week! Don’t miss my cake banner tutorial for more Valentine’s craft inspiration.

Eco-friendly upcycled paper bag envelopes

To make this card, I unfolded a crumpled old envelope I didn’t need and then traced around it onto a grocery store paper bag like the one I used in the gift wrap tutorial. After cutting out the new envelope shape, fold the sides in, the bottom up and the top down and an envelope shape should appear! Glue the edges securely and it’s ready to decorate.

I used white acrylic paint and a brush to put a design on the front. White really pops against the unbleached paper, but you could also use a metallic sharpie or gel pen to make this job way easier. I would recommend this if you’re writing anything longer than someone’s name, since painting was a little tedious. Remember gel pens? They still sell them. I just discovered that now there’s Gelly Roll Glaze, which gives a raised design. I haven’t tried them but they look enticing.

Add a Valentine’s sticker or heart cutout to the back and you’re done!

DIY valentine's envelopesWatercolor resist envelopes

The second technique I’m sharing with you is so easy that it’s popular with kids but way more impressive looking than a children’s craft. It’s a classic watercolor resist! Use a white envelope that’s on the thicker side. You can buy watercolor paper envelopes, make your own out of cardstock following the steps above, or just pick a fairly thick commercial envelope. Using a sharp white crayon or waxy colored pencil, write the name and/or address. The hardest part of this whole process is not really knowing what you’re writing! An alternative is to use a metallic silver colored pencil.

Then do a water color wash over it with 1-3 colors that blend well together. As you can see in the photo below these envelopes are artsy without being overly feminine, which is nice if the object of your affection isn’t into hearts and lace.

DIY-watercolor-envelopesWhether you’re sending something to a special someone or every friend and loved one in your life, these card techniques add something extra. Let me know how you enjoyed these techniques and if you have any questions in the comment section below.

Products & Resources

Get started with some related tools referenced in this post:

Create your own valentine's day envelopes

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