blogging insights to share

Here are some great posts I have read over the last week that contain some more lovely advice on blogging.  I couldn’t resist sharing.  Hope you find them as helpful as I did.

Martawrites has another installment of her 5 tips, this time, on getting personal.

And over at a beautiful mess, emma and elsie are sharing some project fails and how they stay positive despite them.

I finally have my camera back, so I will be back soon with some original posts!  Until then, enjoy!


Still in Process: Some blog-clusions

As I have mulled over what this blog is to me and what I want it to be to you, I have come to some, and I use the word loosely, conclusions… still feeling very much in process with all of this.  This post is following-up from this one, if you missed it.

1.  It dawned on me that I am focusing too much on my dream blog and not so much on my own blog.  While it is good to have goals, and dreams, and aim for what you want, this can also give me tunnel vision.   Tunnel vision that makes it impossible to really be where I am planted, and in the end, never really experience what  I am doing or give myself the opportunity to grow to where I want to be…or rather, am meant to be.

2. In the quest for an “expanded audience,” new clients and contacts, I had lost sight of those who are reading, those friends who I know from “off-the-blog”, who are faithful readers and also bloggers themselves.  Why have I been so focused on reaching an “out-there-in-the-blogosphere-audience,” rather than authentically communicating with the audience I already have and letting the rest fall into place?  I have noticed that a wonderful way to do this is to read and comment on others blogs.  As I have started doing this more over the last couple weeks, I have already found this to be a huge piece of the blogging puzzle that I was missing.

3. The “am i blogging for myself or blogging for my audience” question hit me with a little more clarity.   If this blog is going to be fun and interesting to others, it will need to be fun and interesting for me. I need to focus on blogging for myself and not trying to reach an audience.

So… what are the “me” reasons to blog??

  • for the creative outlet
  • for a place share my stay-at-home world of mothering and nesting and domesticating which makes it feel more concrete and connected to the world outside of the small spaces I travel in a days time.  (And this helps me stay sane sometimes)
  • for a place to connect with potential clients and fellow biz-ladies
  • for a place to feel like I am sharing what I am learning about the world of small business, home life and balancing the two.
  • for a place to showcase my creations as well as inspirations from the web.
  • for a place to call my own.

3. But… if this is out there for others to read, isn’t it really about communicating with and drawing new clients?  Yes, that is my end goal.  I am not going to lie.  But I am realizing that, for me, it has to be an indirect goal – not the driving force.  If it comes, it comes.  If not, back to the drawing board.  Before I can start marketing and trying to draw clients to my blog, I have to create a space that people want to be in.  And since I don’t usually want to be around people that are focusing on trying to win my attention by being something they are not, I figure other people probably aren’t interested in that either.   Whether it came out that way or not, I have, at times, been more focused on my blog looking like and becoming a ranked and awarded blog with over 1k followers (a place I may, but most likely will never reach).  If I just want to be around people who are real, authentic and maybe a little bit like me, then maybe I should be that way in my blog. (A-DUH!!)  I can do better at accomplishing success in my blog and business and life by standing back and looking at the big picture, rather than trying to focus so hard on where I want to be (or worse, where others are) that I loose sight of that which is already around me. 

So… what do I want for my blog to be to other people?  Or better, what do I hope to provide for my audience

  • a place to feel welcomed, and supported in what they are doing… specifically in the area of momming, domesticating and small biz from homing
  • a place to be inspired… especially by the beauty of paper and it’s many uses, qualities and old timey charm
  • a place to learn… well more likely to catch a glimpse of the highs and lows of attempting to build a small business at a very slow pace with a very small budget and small people pulling at your pant leg.
  • a place to find tips and support and resources for hand crafting a wedding or event on a small budget, no matter what your DIY skill level.  ( A longer term goal)
  • and primarily for my friends and family… a place to hear about the goings-on at Chalet Gustafson

Bottom Line, this will be my creed: My blog is going to be a place where I come to share, encourage, inspire, and connect.  I promise to be authentically me, and resist the urge to be envious of others success.  I will be true to myself and my goals without comparing or developing “how-do-I-get-my-business-and-blog-to-be-like-that” tunnel vision, all the while enjoying the day-to-day moments, success and lessons.  As I grow in the comfort and process with blogging, I do hope that I can use this as a tool to expand my business.

The End….

{for now}


Over the last who-knows-how-long, I have been reworking my workspace.  I am fortunate enough to have some extra square footage in our master bedroom that has lent it self very well to being my office/studio/workspace.  I am blessed to have been able to grow my workspace with each successive move (I started with a rolling cart in a closet).  We painted our room and it gave me the final push to get it all together.

Would I love to have my own room for my working and creating?  Absolutely!  But I am really starting to appreciate having it all so close, being able to walk by a design I am working on to see what I think of it in this moment and that moment.

Having the space in my room influenced how I set it up.  I wanted it to be cute, clean and not too cluttered.  So I moved a bunch of stuff up to storage and I am keeping minimal supplies in my actual work space, just the tools that I use regularly, being sure to keep my favorite things on display.

I also wanted to seperate my computer station from my work table.  I put my desk and office supplies on my shelving unit near a small computer desk.  I will post some more shots of the entire space, but I am still working on some final touches.

Hope you enjoy this snapshot tour of some of my favorite spots!

blogging workshop anyone?

I have been reading up a bit on blogging. Juuust after I stopped looking for a blogging reference that was speaking to me and my situation, I found one over at Marta Writes.  She put together this amazing little workshop on blogging and business.  I am finding a lot of inspiration there.  Finding this workbook coincides well with my life right now, b/c I am in the process of a digital facelift so I have been thinking a lot about my purpose in blogging and what I want it to be about.  I often go back and forth in a love/hate – on again/off again relationship with blogging.  I am realizing that somewhere along the road, I may have lost my love for blogging, but I am feeling it rekindled.  Many thoughts still in process as I work through this little workshop, so I will save all the details for later.

Hopefully it won’t be too long until it all comes together, but by now, we should all admit that my pace is sllloooww and steady!

If any of you bloggy businessy ladies out there want to join, I just started it reading the workshop.  It could be fun to work and blog through it together.  It is a simple, inspiring read with practical tips and applicable worksheets, in other words, it won’t be a huge commitment, but muy beneficial!

Image from drawpiligrim


If you don’t know what those 3 little letters stand for, you just might actually have been living under a rock for the last few years.  You certainly don’t spend much time on pinterest and you probably only read news or techy type blogs.  DIY is all the rage these days.  With tutorials and projects and the wonders of the internet giving us the ability to connect with it all, DIY has taken the world, or at least a portion of it, by storm.

Do-it-yourself is a great phrase that can add fun and personality to any event all the while saving you some cash…well, hopefully.

Those 3 little letters can also leave you feeling at your hair pulling out, wits end.  Frustrated, tired, overwhelmed, sore in the neck, shoulders and fingers and, often, if your a bride-to-be, in tears.

Do you have a DIYDisaster to share??  Please comment, we’d love to hear as so many of us can share your pain.

With Seven Layer Designs, it has been a hope of mine to take some of the agony out of DIY for people who find themselves in the situation of wanting the DIYTouch without having to have all the DIYStress, DIYTime, and DIYMistakes.  This idea is especially perfect for brides who  already have enough to worry about, and for those who deem themselves less-than-creative.  (though I believe that there is some sort of creator in all of us, but that’s another topic for another day)

This idea is still taking shape, but I would love to be able to offer services that range anywhere from “you give me the idea and I do the rest,” to “I do a bunch of the annoying stuff and save the fun parts for you.”  A DIY for hire.  I do your DIY.  However you say it…I like the sound of it.  Let me use my tools of the trade, let me deal with the frustration, and you still have the DIY touch.

I am currently working with a bride-to-be who has graciously agreed to be my guinea pig.   She was looking to save some moola for her big day, and was willing to do some wedding projects herself to make this happen, so we are going to see how a DIY option works out for her.  In her case, we were looking at a fairly simple design, I proposed that I do all her designing and print the text of the invitation (because, I know we are all about printing our own things these days…but this can be a real nightmare wrought with frustration and once you finally get everything all lined up where you want it, then your printer starts malfunctioning, and we have all been there, and NO bride needs to deal with that), but once I have created the proof, I will video tape myself assembling the invitation, complete with many detailed tips and instructions and then, send her all the materials she need to do the production herself.

Because each one of my invitations is handmade, the production portion can add some serious time to the project and that comes with an hourly price tag.  But, when you grab some friends, a bottle of wine (well maybe not too much wine), and have some fun, you can accomplish so much more for free!  Not to mention you are putting your own work into a piece of your wedding… the first piece that you guests will experience.  Call me sentimental.

Worry free DIY.  No scouring forums and websites for the best materials for the job.  No worrying, no wondering, no watching YouTube video after YouTube video of how to make a paper pom-pom or adhere fabric to paper…  I got it.

If you know a bride or someone planning a party who might be interested some DIYAssistance, please send them my way!  Now would be a great time to get in touch and see how we could work together for some one-of-kind results.

Image sources: one, two, three, four, five