Saturday, 9 July 2016

Blog makeover - new about page

In my last post about this blog's makeover I wrote that I've made some changes around the pages, rearranging them, offering new contents and giving them a better look.
But, honestly, something wasn't so good in them, expecially in the "about" page.

Last sunday I was travelling by bus to work (art exibition "Museo della follia" in Catania) and I was looking at Pinterest on my smartphone, when I saw an interesting pin with this title: "How to write an epic about page for you blog".

If you click it you'll be in the collective mill blog to read the whole article!
So good and full of right considerations and suggestions!

I decided to make some changes in my about page following what the author said in that article and see what happens :)

What I did

Here's a screenshot of the upper parts of my about page before (on the left) and after (on the right):

write a new about page by madamerenard

There's a big difference!
At first glance they're different only in their look, but the most consistent work I've done is on the content.

I've completely reorganized it and divided into four sections:

  • eco-friendly sewing + rural life + creativity
    It's important to start with your blog's topics at first. People need to know if your blog is for them or not, before going on exploring.
    I've understood that starting from their needs and curiosities is better than starting from you and your story. It's a  way to capture interested people, but also to be helpful and clear to readers at their first visit.
  • where to start
    The idea is to be helpful to your readers. They don't know you so much, so offering them some directions to follow is very good.
    I've linked some blog posts I'm proud of, some I think can be useful to my readers, some other to get some informations about me.
    I think I'm going to change them here and there, to get up-to-date directions.
  • my story
    Of course, interested readers would like something about you and your story. They would probably be curious about who you are in "real" life.
    Without being too rambling, I've tried to tell something about my story, my job, my other passions. There's a real person behind the blog!
  • let's be friends!
    We live in a very social world. Interaction is what we look for when we write our blog posts (nobody starts a blog to act a monologue).
    So I left some ways to connect with me.

I've done a good job, I think.
Some banners, illustrations and photo help in offering a lovely view to the readers; I imagine them like people who are going in a new place for the first time: visitors need something beautiful, cozy and well organized to feel like at home
I've used the colors of my palette (lilac + dusty blue + some black accents) and picmonkey to make photo collages.

What I didn't

There only one thing inside that article that gave me difficulties: the suggestion "Show Them Why You’re Unique".  Uhm, well, coff coff, I'm not so sure!
What I need is some work on personal branding!
I know that I sew, I like nature, I'm doing my best to save the world, but, honestly, are these things making me unique?
I don't know.

I hope this post could be helpful to ther bloggers.
Visit my new about page and let me know what you think!
And, to help me in solving my problems with uniqueness, answer this question: where (or how) did you find your uniqueness?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

5 new (to me) amazing zines to read

More than three years have gone from my last post about zines! 
Can you believe it?
I was addicted to zines reading in the past and, though I still love this kind of self-expression form, I haven't bought (and reviewed) one in years.

I was surfing Etsy some days ago and I had the idea to look for some zines that appeal to me (you know, I need something to read this summer, expecially because I've recently discovered that I love to read near the sea).

I found a lot of new (to me) zines I like. 

Five of them are amazing, in my opinion, for their topic, or the style, or the quality of the illustrations.
I haven't bought them yet, because I'm still doing some researches, but I decided to tell you something about them, just to spread the zine love :)

These zines are about some of my favourite topics:
  • plants
  • cats
  • being a woman
  • being an introvert
Want to know something more? I'm introducing them to you!

1. Winter wild, a zine about plants life in winter, by Kriski

share the zine love!

I love the topic, but most of all, the style of drawing and lettering. So tidy and organized, but funny and modern.
The colours too are lovely, among my favourites!
And it's a big zine: 20 pages to look and read!

Kristyna Baczynsky, the author, says in the description: this book is a blend of writing, research, drawings and comics about ten different plant specimens; all drawn in detail for identification. An illustrated selection of historical, scientific and mythological facts.

It sounds good!

2. Self love zine, by LollieWorley

share the zine love!

First of all, you can download it in .pdf, if you like!
Very good! Expecially for people who don't like to waste paper and like eco-friendly solutions like these.

The topic is amazing: self-love, a thing a lot of people need to work on.
Inside it has a cut&paste style I really like: it gives to the zine a handmade look, very well arranged here.

3. Illustrated women in history, by Apalelandscape

share the zine love!

The one with the most professional look in this selection.
It looks so well organized and rich in text! It's more similar to a printed book than to a zine, but I appreciate it the same, because I like to read other women's stories and to be inspired by them!
21 biographies of talented women inside!
And (shame on me!) I know only a few of them.

4. Cat state of mind, by Nathalie Moore

share the zine love!

I love cats! Not only mine, all cats!
And I also do my best, here and then, to draw their lovely faces and tails and paws, but I'm not so good in cats' drawing! -___- 
(I go on and go on filling my Moleskine with flowers!)

So it's very interesting for me that in this zine there are 20 pages of doodles about cats' world to be inspired byAnd the title is quite funny for all people who know cats and do their best to read into their mysterious minds.

The author is Nathalie Moore (click to go on her blog).

5. Creativity for introverts, by BusyWeekends

share the zine love!

This one is part of a serie of zines dedicated to creativity into the life of introvert people (like me). You can start from here or from other zines of the serie.
Great idea + cut&paste style I love + very interesting topic.

Don't you think they are lovely?

All these zines have english text.
I'd really like to found interesting zines in italian, too, but I haven't found nothing remarkable yet. Zine making is not common in Italy, probably because we have been too busy in making different kinds of art for centuries, ahaha :)

Let me know in the comments if you know italian good zines
if you have zines to suggest me (you know what I like to read: crafts, books, nature, art, eco-friendly life, travelling, growing as a woman).

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Using Instagram to tell about my creative process

I've recently discovered Instagram (yes, a bit late, eheh) and immediately felt in love! It's my favourite social media and I find myself posting 1-2 photos everyday (only because I hold me to post 3 or 4 or 5).
I like that it's easy to use, quick (for busy people, too!) and with a strong sense of community inside.

You can find my profile under silvia_triv, if you like to interact or take a glance (or click on the black button on your right).

What kind of things I post?

To be honest, I've started to use Instagram to tell something about my job of tourist guide in Sicily
I write about it in a dedicated blog (mostly in italian with translations in english) and I use other on-line tools to spread the world with my joy and satisfaction about my job (a Pinterest board dedicated to Sicily, for exemple) and also to help tourists in some ways.
I decided to open an Instagram account as a support, but soon I started to post something else, here and there.

Now I use to post photos about:
  • me in action (there's also a tag used by me and other tourist guides: #touristguideinaction) and the beautiful places when I work (a big privilege!)
  • something about my life in Italy and Sicily: food, landscape, traditions, nature, events...
  • my life close to nature and country
  • my crafty life: materials, tools, my busy hands at the sewing machine, finished projects, parts of the creative process.
The last one is the best part of my being on Instagram.

As an artisan I think it's very important to tell people about your creative process. My customers are not buying products that are born in lifeless factories; there are very busy hands and a person behind handmade items.

People want to know who you are, how you work, what kind of materials you use, the values hidden in your small business / work ...

And (so much more important)... it's funny!

I can let my followers look at my prewashed fabrics drying on my balcony's cords (always prewash your fabrics!!!):

They can browse into my thread spools, so colorful:

I can show them how I use my handmade paper patterns to draw the cut line on fabrics...
... or my hands during a very hard step of bag making (inner zippers!!!) ...
... the finished items ...
... or even the 100% recycled packages I usually arrange (I do my best for the planet, you know!)...

Isn't it great?
Love it!

I'm a 100% Instagram enthusiast!

If you like, you can click on the images of this post to give them an earth or to follow me or to leave a comment. All these things will be really appreciated!

If you want to join this "creative process posting", take photos of you at work, or of your materials / supplies, don't forget the most interesting steps of your work and add one of the tags I use: #creativeprocess , #behindthescenes , #inthestudio (all of them, or the one you like best).

Do you post on Instagram to tell about your creative/artistic process?
Do you think it's important in some ways?
What are your favourite things to post on Instagram? 
Let me know! I'm sure I can improve my Instagram experience thanks to your comments!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

A place for my pens! [Recycling + crocheting]

recycled projects reuse glass bottles

Oh, yes, of course, I'm still alive!
I had a lot do far for the blog and also my crafty life is a bit neglected right now, but all is ok. 
I'm fine, I'm happy, I'm still walking in my self-expressione journey!

I'm dedicating myself to some quick and easy projects these days.
A lot of crocheting involved in them!

Mum visited me in the first days of april and crocheted some Moleskine covers and pencil cases for my shop and I've completed them with fabric, zippers and/or buttons (if you are curious... peach Moleskine case with floral flap - red Moleskine cover with gingham flap - red pencil case).

crocheted ideas accessories

But I was also feeling the urge to crochet something by myself (I looooove to crochet!!! So relaxing!) and I decided to make something useful for my bedside table, always covered by my things (do you remember it in 2012?).

This is what I did:
  • saved from the trash can a little glass bottle (it was for black pepper and I like its shape) 
  • removed the plastic dispenser from the top
  • washed
  • covered with three stripes of crocheted yarn in colors I like

a place for pens on bedside table

Ta-daaa, finished!

Now the pens I use to write with while I'm in bed have a nice place where to stay! Nothing so important, but pretty!
You know, I like covered bottles!

I also finished some sewing projects recently.
The only one I've photographed is the bag I've made for Vera's birthday!

tote bag made of Ikea fabrics

Vera bought two of my bags in the past, the sand tulip bag (pattern by me, altered a bit) and the grey tote (designed by me on her needs).
She liked my work so much, that her boyfriend decided to order me another one, totally new, designed by me.
He was in love with two Ikea fabrics, so I mixed them to make something unique for my sweet friend. 
I know she appreciated; this is the most important part of my work :)

*     *     *

Bags are not quick and easy projects like covering a tiny bottle, but I enjoy a lot the process.
I have a long list (in my brain) of new bags to make soon, mostly using recycled fabrics. And of course I want to sew other bags like the one I've made for Vera, because I like the result and having a new pattern designed by yourself, you know, is amazing! :)

But I still need some quick and easy to fill those 15 minutes I have here and then in my busy days.
Probably I'm going to find new projects in my Pinterest boards "things to try" and "inspirations".

But first I'd like to hear from you: what do you make/do if you have no time for big projects, but feel the urge to create?

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Creativity lately - crocheted boookmarks (+ a book)

Yes, this blog is about creativity, too! 
Eco-friendly and nature-inspired most of the time.
But my creativity went a bit unheard lately, because of my two jobs and my need to grow as a tourist guide (my dream job, you know, not far from becoming reality).

Of course I missed the solo moments when I am in the very good company of my sewing machine, needles and thread (and/or zippers, buttons, metallic hardware, crochet hooks, yarn and much more).
So I tried to carve 10 minutes out of the day, here and there, expecially to finish started projects for the shop.

With mum's help I finished some crocheted bookmarks with charms (started during Christmas holidays!).
Aren't they lovely just because gift ideas?

This one in green with a horse is for S. (he loves horses!):

horse charm on handmade bookmark

It's super simple, because, hey, it's for a man! 
Only some rows of double stitch (not sure it's the correct name in english, sorry!) and a horse: it comes from a bracelet mum bought for 1 € some years ago; I saved the charm for my man waiting for the right project!

More complex and feminine crocheted bookmarks found their place in the shop. Here they are:

handmade bookmarks cheap gift idea

My favourite is the cream boookmark with a fish:

eco-friendly bookmark

It's 100% recycled and has that rustic + romantic look I love (perfect for my shop). 

There are also:

Because all my creations for the shop are nature oriented, I decided to add only charms with animals!
I had some doubts about the price but I thought that 7 € + shipping is good. What do you think?

Are you wondering about the book in the snapshots?
It's a lovely autobiography by Marc Chagall ("La mia vita" is its title in italian, "My life" in english). 
If you like this artist like me, this book is a very good reading to understand something else about him and his art. And it has amazing illustrations by the author himself (who else?).
Highly recommended!

Friday, 12 February 2016

Blog makeover! Oh, yes!

After my complaint I decided for a blog makeover!

Yes, I love tooooo much to have a special little space to write in, to share my adventures in self-expression, to tell the world something about my steps into the sewing world and my inclinations for nature, country life and creativity in general. 
I didn't like the idea to give up.

So I've rolled up my sleeves and started a very big work. 
A lot of things to change, a lot of aspects to consider and to re-think.

blog makeover ideas

This is what I've done
  • I've made a new banner by myself!
    I was still in love with the one Francesca made for me almost 5 years ago, but it wasn't representing me after some important steps done in my creative journey. 
    I'm not very skilled with graphic design, but I realized something I like with very simple tools: Picmonkey collage tool and Microsoft Word.
    Oh, yes. 
    The banner includes written words about the key subjects of this blog (eco-friendly sewing, rural life and creativity) and a selection of photos from my little word. 
    It speaks about me because it's simple.
  • I've re-organized the right column, also adding some useful things like a contact form and social media buttons (you can find them at HopefulHoney blog).
  • The pages are new! New contents and photos, but (so important) I've added a page about tutorials and free stuff.
  • New palette! I decided for the couple light avio blue + light cyclamen.
    Do you like it? It speakes about my personality (I'm quiet, not noisy) and my love for all is nature inspired (I was thinking about flowers and water, when I picked up them).
  • New fonts! not only Verdana, but also Copse in different "sizes" for all the titles. And la Belle Aurore in the banner, because I've used it for my shop and it works well.
  • I've learned how to center dates and titles in all posts and I love the result!
  • I've added some suggestions for further readings at the bottom of every single post thanks to Linkwithin.

How I did?
You probably know I'm not very skilled in web design and other geeky things.
But I love when I can learn new things to make by myself.
So I've read a lot (a lot!) of tutorials on line and followed them.
Simple :)

Simple doesn't mean easy.
I've had some difficulties here and there, but I succeded after some attemps.
Now I'd like to know how to add some buttons at the end of the posts (you know... for sharing the content on google+, facebook or other social medias). I can do it!

And now?
I'm going to work on content.
I have to clear my mind about what to share here in my blog.
I can't simply think to speak about me and my creative journey when I have something interesting (in my opinion) to say.
It doesn't work.
I'd like this blog will be useful to other people.

What do you think? Your opinion is very welcome!
Please, let me know if you like the new look of the blog! Your opinion is very important to me!
You can write a comment also to leave a critique (negative, too, it's not a problem) or suggestions and new ideas!
Your comments are fuel for this blog!
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