Hello!! I'm here in Virginia sitting on my parent's couch watching House Hunters International. I'm excited for this week of holiday shenanigans!
I promise I've not forgotten to blog, I'm just taking a break for a little while. I''m going to be thinking about where to take this blog in 2013. Five Sixteenths has always had sort of a direction meaning that I blog about the same sort of things but I really admire blogs that take, what I see, a more professional approach to blogging. Yes, this blog is used to promote my interests but I've always used it as a way to connect with others & I don't want it to seem steril by moving in a new direction.
I still plan on blogging about my everyday life, because I like to do it! Seeing the cool things that others do is the main reason I read blogs so I don't want to move away from sharing my own life. I guess I'm looking to define lifestyle blog more. We'll see. The main goal for next year is to decide on a blog design...for goodness sake I have changed it like 4 times this year & every time I've said it was final!
I'm ready to focus on content, so a simple design is what I have in mind. I am moving towards taking out the color all together. Simple Black & White. I've already moved the Five Sixteenths Studio site into that sort of deal & I want an all over seamless design. Something where you can transition between all of them & feel as if you're under the same brand. I'm also working on launching the Five One Six shop on Storenvy. I had a blast designing that shop & I think that design maybe what's in store for the blog. I'm just ready to take Five Sixteenths into a more professional direction so I'm taking this week to focus on family, let go a bit, & see what maybe pops up and how I can implement it into the future. I just love blogging & all that goes with it! I'll be adding more things to the design shop - landing page designs, printable calendars, etc & working on creating invitation designs for purchase on zazzle.
I wish you a Happy Holiday! If you'd like to catch up with me, follow me on instagram & twitter, @fivesixteenths!
I seriously can't wait to head home for the holidays! It's been very hard being away from my family & especially being unemployed. All I want is a week of no worries, a week of no stress, & a week of good food and family. I just want to be home, enjoying my family and drinking hot cocoa.
What are you looking forward to doing while we've still got 2012 left?
Next week is Christmas!! Are you kidding!! I've got all my handmade gifts almost finished up, I've been procrastinating a few of them...just out of laziness, lol. But if you find yourself stuck with a last minute gift for a last minute party or if (dare I say it!) you forgot someone, you can put this simple crochet project to work. If your proficient enough, you may finish it on the car ride over!
This is a super simple pattern & works up reeeeaaaallllyy quick....seriously! You'll need a size H hook, worsted medium weight yarn (like Red Heart Super Saver), & to know the single crochet stitch. I've made quite a few of these using scrap yarn from all the blankets I've been making so this project is perfect for using up the little leftover bits. Here's the pattern:
Row 1: ch 2, 6 sc in second ch from hook, join with slp stitch to first stitch, ch1 (DO NOT turn, you won't turn your work at all while working this up)
Row 2: 2 sc in each stitch around, join with slp stitch to first stitch, ch1.
Row 3: 2 sc in first stitch, 2 sc in next stitch. *2 sc in next stitch, 2 sc in next stitch* repeat from * to * around, join to first stitch with slip st, ch 1
Row 4: 2 sc in first stitch, 1 sc in next 2 stitches. *2 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 2 stitches* repeat from * to * around, join to first stitch with slp stitch, ch 1.
Row 5: 2 sc in first stitch, 1 sc in next 2 stitches. *2 sc in next stitch, 1 sc in next 3 stitches* repeat from * to * around, join to first stitch with slp stitch, ch 1.
Row 6: working only in back loop, 1 sc in each stitch around, join with slp stitch to first stitch, ch1.
Repeat row 6 for as many times as needed to fit up to the neck of the wine bottle, then fasten off & weave in ends.
Add a little ribbon to hold a gift tag if you want, but I like them just as little cozies. You could also keep repeating row 6 until it's log enough to cover the top of the bottle & tie a ribbon or extra string around the neck for a more formal look. It's a cool handmade addition to a little last minute hostest gift or party. I love the way they look displayed! After all the wine is gone, the receiver can slip an empty soup can into the cozie & use it as a pencil cup or brush holder or the like. Two in one gift!
Hope you enjoy working this up! Seriously, if you've procrastinated all the way to now & don't have any gifts....this is perfect! Impress people with your crochet skills!
So FINALLY our house is getting put together. Are you kidding? It's taken this long to get drywall up? Yes, yes it has. After finding contractors that were willing to do the work & not ask us why it's so important to get this done we're on our way! I'm here today to just give you some sneak peeks into what's going on in our downstairs area.
The Living & Office Area
Right now, as we speak (er, type?), there are two lovely gentlemen installing more drywall! The ceiling is completely done & the wall with the windows is being covered! There are holes for plugs & light switches. Ceiling light boxes have been installed & it all looks just amazing. Finally!! FINALLY!
This picture was before we installed the subfloor & before we mapped out the lights & plugs. In front of you, there used to be a giant (and ugly) closet with sliding doors. We ripped that mess out, no question! Now, the long bowling alley room will be divided into a living area & office. The above picture has you looking at where Zach's desk will be. Mine will be to the right, off center from the window. To the left is the spare bedroom & behind that wall is the utility room under the stairs. We've taken down the florescent lights & now have track lighting to mount above the desk area and a light with ceiling fan to light the center of the office. Laminate hard wood flooring will be laid down (and I hope I can convince Zach to agree on a rug!) in the office & then giant bookshelves will separate the living & office area. The living area will be carpeted & lit by five can lights. We'll also have tall lamps with reading lights.
The Spare Bedroom & Wall of Doors
These aren't the most up to date pictures. I tried to snap some earlier but the floor is filled with spare tools & drywall stuff. But currently the subfloor is in both the bedroom & the closet and drywall is hung in the bathroom, closet, & bedroom. When we bought this house, this was considered the second bedroom. However, to be considered a bedroom, this room needed to have a closet off of it so we had to add one. Unfortunately, the only place to add one was on the wall adjacent to the stairs. I don't have a before picture, but imagine the wall above with one door. This door opened to a sink, then on the right was the water heater, furnace & water softener and to the left a shower stall & toilet. Not only did that room creep me out but it was also cramped as heck!
We moved the wall about about two feet & added three doors! The pinkish one opens to a bigger bathroom with a vanity opposite the toilet. The small, middle door, opens to an itsy bitsy closet (but it's still a closet!). The next door opens to the utility room under the stairs & it's pretty big! Wish we could store things in there! The final door is the door to the office area & living area. The plan for this room is just to be a spare bedroom to house my bed & dresser. I hope to turn part of it into a place to take product photos! There is a corner that is just perfect!
I'm not sure if this would be a great bedroom for a child....too many doors monsters could be behind. Both Zach & I are soooooo damn happy this is progressing. I'm thinking of making the guys we have working on the house some cookies or something. Seriously, this is like..... unbelievably awesome! So awesome we've begun to talk about flooring, carpet & curtain colors! I'm rooting for teal curtains.........keep your fingers crossed for me!
So there's a little catch up on our situation. I can't wait to show you more!
Yesterday it started flurrying a little bit & I got excited. You see, up here in Indiana....snow is nothing exciting. Apparently it happens a lot. Down in Virginia where I was, snow is a big deal. So I got all excited, stood outside for a bit & took some pictures. This morning I opened the door for the workers to come in & saw a winter wonderland outside! So I took more pictures!! Here's how our house looks now, after our first snow.
Here you can see that we are working on our house, look at that cone & the sticker on the windows. That's also the contractors' truck out there!
We have so many doors on our house. Three to be exact! The official front door is the one that faces the street but we've had someone in the past be confused as to which one is the real front door. I hate that the cone & the little marking flags are in this picture because of how perfect the snow is. But isn't our little yellow house just adorable! I couldn't love it more.
There are no houses across the street but a little bit of marshy-ness & then a hill. So we have a really good view of the houses & trees down the hill. It's actually a great view! I tried to get a good close up of the snow cover on the houses down there. I am so glad I caught snowflakes in some of these images! So pretty.
We have a big back yard with a few different tiers. Here it is covered in snow! I think in the spring we're going to have a nice little garden in that little boxed off part...at least that's what Zach is thinking. I think it would be nice to grow something...even though I'm sure I don't have a green thumb.
Well that's a little tour of our winter wonderland that I woke up to today. It sort of surprised me that there was still snow on the ground this morning!
I'm excited to wrap up some gifts before we head down to Virginia! My sister is the queen of wrapping Christmas gifts....& in the past she's taken so much time & color coordinated everything. I sort of just wrap it up in what ever santa themed paper I can find. I do like a nice wrapping paper now & then but even the plainest of wrappings can be spruced up with a lovely gift tag. Like last week's Make it Monday, we'll be using PicMonkey again to make some customized & personal gift tags!
Like last week, navigate to PicMonkey & select create a collage. I selected the Card Collage option again & chose 5x7 in size. You can make your collage any size you'd like by pulling on the sides & top to make it wider & longer. For a table tag, you may want to make them smaller to fit in with your decor. But make sure there are two halves, this will allow you to fold the card in half so you can write a message or prop it up on a table.
I used the winter textures that PicMonkey offers because I'm in love with pale blues for winter!! Once you've filled your collage with your textures, save it & open it in the photo editor part of PicMonkey. Add your text & any clip art:
For a table tag, make each half matching so that everyone at the dinner table can see each other's names! Make sure to flip the text over, however, so when it's folded in half you can read the name correctly. An example is below:
These little tags are also great if your stocking don't have names on them. The stockings at my grandmother's house were the inspiration for these because they have our names pinned to them with regular gift tags.
As always, I've included some templates you can use below to personalize in PicMonkey:
Blank Foldable Card
Blank Merry Christmas Card
I can't believe Christmas is so close!! I'm still waiting on a few gifts to come in the mail & I still have to put together a few more as well. I'm sort of procrastinating but at least everything is ordered! Just an FYI if you want your order in time for Christmas, the last shipping day is December 15th so make sure you've got all your vintage shopping done from 516VINTAGE before December 15th!
Hope you enjoy this little tutorial & that you're getting all your holiday things squared away. Let me know if you use these little tags!
This week I worked hard on getting a few new things in the design shop. I'm excited to have different shops to focus on different things. Even though it might seem overwhelming, it's been so helpful to narrow things down & group them into categories. So with in the Five Sixteenths Design shop I've added a few new business card designs as well as blog designs:
Fun & playful design for the creative lifestyle blogger or vintage loving thrifter. Big cursive header, separate post & sidebar sections with a pale chevron background. Great salmon, gold, & gray color palette.
A polka dot & circus inspired design perfect for a creative family. All white background with confetti accents & cursive header in mint green. Accommodates four navigation links at the top & features pink outlined widget boxes.
I've also been working on adding customizable bits to add to your blog purchase. Usually, a premade design comes as a package with the template, header, & social network icons. If you're interested, color upgrades are available too...but I wanted to add other ways to create an even more unique look with the premade designs. I've added a Welcome Banner Upgrade to add a matching welcome image to give your design a bit more personality & match the design perfectly. More elements - banners, titles, clip art, etc - are in the works!
I like the idea of mixing & matching elements to help bloggers budget their blog design money. Buy purchasing a blog design, color upgrade, welcome image, + installation you come in at under $100 (if you purchase one of the most expensive templates - if you purchase one of the cheapest templates, you'll be at $69). These upgrades make your blog comparable to the Full Blog Redesign I offer as a custom service for $250! No kidding! There's a bunch of html customization to set you apart from the Blogger templates & I pay just as much attention to the premade design as I do custom work. Personally, I am all about flexibility & availability: I want you to be able to afford something awesome!
I hope if you're in the market for a new design you'll find some lovely ones in the shop. If you're in the market for a fully custom design, go ahead & check out the Design tab or shoot me an email. You can also check the portfolio site (which is under construction - again!)
Hello Friday! First, I am so happy that we've had workers here for the past week installing drywall & running electricity. We got rid of the first guy who thought it wasn't that important to get this stuff done in a timely manner. I am now happy to say we have a drywalled bathroom, a drywalled closet, almost a finished floor in the spare bedroom, & almost a drywalled spare bedroom. Finally! Progress on the house! I rrrreeeeaaaalllllyyyy hope we get this done here shortly...hopefully just into the new year. Then, we can unpack & store all the things!!!!! That's all I want!!!
Anyway, on to other things:
These paper diamonds that would look great as tree ornaments! A really cool looking cut, fold & glue project. You can also find more paper gem patterns here.
This giant wall of yarn. I can not wait to have our spare room done! My desk & hopefully a little bit of the shelving unit on my side of the office will hold a whole array of crafting supplies. I just want to buy yarn if only to put it in a display like this one. Look at those colors!!! Yarn just makes me so happy. I can't even tell you.
These pretty felt ornaments. Great to use up some scraps. I am in love with non-traditional holiday colors. My favorites are chartreuse & light blue, it just looks so wintery.
++ Alycia of The Curious Pug is starting a blog newsletter so I think you should subscribe....cuz I know it will be awesome! ++
I've been selling on Esty since 2006. I still remember sitting on my ex boyfriend's couch debating if I should push publish on the first pair of horribly photographed earrings I'd decided to sell. As a shop owner I've grown so much in the past 6 years from that first listing. But one thing that has always confused me is feedback.
Sometimes buyers leave feedback & sometimes they don't. Personally, I've noticed this in both of my Etsy shops but more so in 516VINTAGE since it's so new. You'll see we've had 8 sales but only 1 buyer left feedback. As a shop owner I make sure to leave feedback about the buyer to show my appreciation & to continue the relationship with the customer. But with Etsy shops growing, artists & crafters handling their own e-commerce sites, & e-commerce sites that don't have an option for feedback, I ask this: Does feed back mean anything any more? Of course if you've had a bad experience you're going to tell your mom, dad, & anyone on the internet....but do you leave feedback when everything went as expected?
Why feedback is important to shop owners
Feedback means a job completed - Feedback, whether positive or negative is a gauge on how a shop is performing vs how they perceive they are performing. It also lets the shop owner know you got the package, it arrived as advertised, & that the interaction for the purchase is done. While there may still be questions or interactions or returns, it lets the seller know that everything is finalize. It's just another way they know they've done their job.
Feedback looks good to other buyers - Feedback wouldn't be listed on your sidebar in your Etsy shop if it weren't important. It's listed right there under shop owner meaning it's a reflection of you. If a buyer wants to know more about you they've got to at least peak that number. Which is why a 100% is always a wonderful thing. It may not be important to certain buyers but it could be a deal breaker for others. So it's important to leave feedback so that your purchase goes a long way with the shop & it's future customers. If you like the shop your feedback could help boost business.
Feedback is informative - Feedback is the arena for information about working with a seller. Was the seller easy to work with? Were you impressed with their personality & professionalism? Share it! Was the item gift wrapped? Let other buyers know how you enjoyed your experience with the shop so that buyers feel they can get what the need. Feedback goes beyond the product descriptions, beyond the photos, & beyond the information the seller provides. Feedback is the behind the scenes, customer satisfaction other buyers like to hear about.
Why feedback may not be important to buyers
Picture quality can connote a great shop & good customer service - If you're browsing a shop that has a great cohesiveness, wonderful photos, & great descriptions it's more than likely that this business owner is taking his or her job seriously. This also suggests that they've done their research & are ready to provide to you the excellent customer service you deserve. If their shop looks like it could be supported on an e-commerce website of it's own you're probably dealing with high quality lads & lasses. There is the off chance that you'll find a dud, but better image quality & cohesiveness speak volumes to shoppers. Because of this shoppers are less likely to check feedback first & some may not even check it at all before purchase. It is also highly likely that their feedback rating is 100%.
One & Done Buyers - We'd all love for our customers to be repeat buyers & sometimes they are. This has only happened to me, personally, once! But sometimes shoppers are just looking for one thing whether it be a knit hat, a wheel thrown mug, a unique vintage item, or an item to match a set. This is the downfall to a site like Etsy - there are millions of shops to choose from & you'll pick one thing here, one thing there & then be done. You may not even go back to that shop again! Sometimes buyers are just looking for that one perfect thing & it's not in their mind to leave feedback.
There's just not much to say - Maybe they are satisfied. I try to leave feedback every time I'm on Etsy but I rarely leave feedback on sites like Amazon because I've got nothing to say. People will keep buying from there right? Well for Etsy it's a bit different, small businesses can't compete with the big box places like that & rely on advertising, word of mouth, and customers who appreciate handmade/small businesses...feedback is important.
A little note here: This is just what I've observed both being a shop owner & an online buyer. From my own experiences, observations, & my own shopping experiences.
Do you think feedback is important? Do you leave feedback?
It's that time again. Time to send out your Christmas cards. I am not sure if Zach & I will be doing any cards this year, I for one have never been good at the whole correspondence thing. But I do like using software to make lovely designs & thought I'd shift gears towards holiday cards. If you don't have fancy software or don't want to bother surfing the web for the perfect holiday fonts, our good old friend Picmonkey is here to save the day. I used some of the winter effects (much like the extinct Picnik, Picmonkey offers seasonal overlays & fonts!) to make our card:
Below you'll find a step by step tutorial on making this holiday card. I've also included a few blank templates if you're not too sure you can start from scratch:
Choose the size of your card by selecting the template icon. Pickmonkey has a specific template for cards but you can choose which ever you'd like. Adjust the widths of the boxes by hovering over the dotted lines then click & drag to where you'd like them to be.
Set the background a festive color or import a picture you'd like to use. This rusty read color is #B35138. Drag the dot under the Spacing heading all the way to the left so there is no space around the border.
Now add a contrasting texture to your collage. Picmonkey has a few lovely holiday themed textures or you can import your own. Try scanning in scrapbook paper, using digital scrapbooking elements, or your own pictures.
You've now created your card base. Save it in a folder on your computer. Navigate to the Picmonkey home page & select Edit a Photo. Upload your collage.
Add text until you get the desired effect you're looking for. Add some overlays (found under the snowflake icon), play with font styles, etc. Create a classic look or a bold modern look....it's up to you!
For an added old world touch, I chose to add a sketchy frame. This frame is much more believable than the frost one available under the winter category. Change the frame color to white for a wintery look.
Now save your final image & you're ready to start printing. Print them at home on card stock or send them off to Staples or Office Max for printing. You'll probably get better quality from their printer than an inkjet printer but it's up to you!