Memorial Day Weekend

What a beautiful weekend we had here in Northeastgarden Ohio, the weather was perfect and we managed to get a lot of our house chores completed or pretty close to completed. Our garden is pretty darn close to finished, we just need a gate door to keep our deer out but my husband should have that finished up in no time. At least our crops are in and we can just sit back and wait for the fruit to start appearing. Oh and did I mention we also have a few flowers blooming on our pepper plants already? We’ll be having some fresh peppers very soon!!

tree1We also had a huge maple tree dropped last week and were busy moving all of the branches and logs to the back of our yard so it’s not such an eyesore for the neighbors. Still have a lot of work to do there but made a pretty good size dent in our pile.

We finished off our weekend with the Memorial Day parade and some homemade pizza. Yumm!! Now we’re back to the grind, no more physical labor around the house but back to the mental work at the office!

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I hope everyone else had a lovely weekend, I saw many pics of Memorial Day parades throughout the country on Facebook and even a handful of barbecues going on. I’d love to hear about your weekend festivities so please feel free to share!

Quick and Easy Key Lime Pie Recipe

By Sunday night I found myself sitting on the couch realizing that it wasn’t Saturday anymore! Where did the weekend go? It was another busy weekend of preparing the garden for our little sprouts, so many little seedlings and plants are lining our deck right now. All at different stages, we just planted more seeds this weekend so we would have a nice little cycle of crops coming due without the overabundance and wondering what are we going to do with all of these. Garden should hopefully be complete this week, fence and all, and ready for the plants this weekend. I also made another 5 gallons of laundry detergent and got all of those placed into their containers, ready for a few months of laundry all for about 98 cents! I’m so thrifty it’s scary 🙂

pieI think I topped off my weekend by making a wonderful key lime pie! I made my first key lime pie about 13 or 14 years ago and it was not very edible. Never attempted the pie again until this weekend and now that I’ve made it and ‘taste tested’ it I really wonder what I did to that first one because it’s one of the easiest pies I’ve ever made!

We went to the market Sunday morning and bought about a dozen limes for $2, couldn’t beat that deal so I came home and used about half of those to make my pie. Later this week we’re planning on some cilantro lime rice (inspired by Chipotle’s oh so yummy rice!) and I think I may finish off those limes by making some lime bars. Feels like summer!

Here’s the recipe that I found for my very easy and yummy key lime pie filling:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Zest of 5 limes
  • About ½ C lime juice (5 limes)
  • 14 oz of sweetened condensed milk

Wisk the 4 egg yolks and lime zest together for a minute or limestwo until everything is well incorporated, slowly wisk in the sweetened condensed milk. Once the mixture looks smooth, wisk in the lime juice until everything is fully incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let set for 30 minutes while you prepare your crust.

I made my own graham cracker crust but you could use a store bought crust as well. My crust consisted of about 8 graham crackers that I ran through the food processor until they were finely crushed. I then added 5 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar and pulsed the mixture together for a couple of seconds until mixture was incorporated. Pressed everything out into my pie pan and baked at 325 for about 15 minutes. While the crust was still hot I poured in my lime filling and baked for about another 20 minutes at 325. Let cool then chill in fridge prior to serving. Mmmm delicious! Even my picky 11 year old loved it!

Strategic Social Media Planning

Finding your social media voice can be a difficult task for many businesses and trying to find the time to be on social media is often even harder to do. Many people prefer to keep their updates live, as they happen, or as they come across articles to share but in order to have a consistent voice and presence on social media you may want to think about planning out a week or month ahead of time. This may sound impersonal to some people but you can always keep your live updates coming, having something in place to automatically update for you on a regular basis could be even more beneficial.

Creating a strategic social media plan that will automatically generate is something that I’ve been doing for quite some time now for my own clients. First I recommend creating a spreadsheet or some type of visual list for you to organize your thoughts and your posts. Some key topics you may want to consider talking about on your feeds are:

  • Your blog – be sure to promote your recent blog post or even pull from an older post if the data is still relevant to get more traffic back to your blog.
  • Announcement or Promotion – Updating customers and clients to something new within your organization or a special deal that they could benefit from can always make people look twice. Just make sure these aren’t too pushy and don’t over promote otherwise you could become spammy.
  • Inspiration or quotes – Depending on your business you might want to send out an inspirational saying for the day. Start your client’s day off on a good foot or just to get them thinking. You can also share a short story about yourself or your business here.
  • Engaging questions – Getting your clients involved is always key to social media. You want them to think about something and maybe even ponder it for a while even when they’re not reading your post on their live stream. This can often get a conversation started with other clients and potential clients.
  • Links to other people’s content – As long as they’re not a direct competitor this can be very beneficial. You want to be able to share information that you have with your fans, giving them tips and tricks from other people can also help mix things up with your feed and not bore them with the same content and voice.
  • Product updates, testimonials and photos – Again it depends on your business but you could select from other random concepts to keep your clients engaged and keep them coming back for more.

Once you have your spreadsheet of posts and tweets that you want to send out for the week or month you can head over to one of the many tools designed to help you automate your social media feed, such as, Hootsuite. You can now easily go through your list of posts and copy and paste those into your software. You can set the date and time that you would like your posts to go out and select which platforms you want each post going out to.

Now you can sit back and relax because your social media is complete and you can focus all of your time on other pending projects. As you come across something big in the news or a special event that’s going on you can always update your audience live as well. This will help keep things personal and keeps you engaged.

If you’re still struggling with social media or don’t enjoy it please contact me to see how I can help you and your business!

*This is NOT a sponsored post from Hootsuite, I just use Hootsuite for my personal/business use and recommend them on my own accord.

Son Gohan Crochet Hat Pattern Has Arrived!!

My crafty DragonballZ fans have been asking for this for a long time now and I finally have it available to offer. Super excited to announce that I have officially created a pattern for my top selling Son Gohan hat!

SonGohanThis pattern is now available in my Etsy shop for purchase, it is only available in the adult (one-size fits all) style but I do plan on offering some of my children’s patterns by the end of the year. If you’re waiting on a specific one please let me know and I’ll try to do those first.

This is the first pattern that I’ve created in nearly a year so if you see any typo’s or if anything is confusing please don’t hesitate to let me know so I can make the proper corrections for everyone. I hope everyone enjoys my new pattern and if you do purchase it I would love to see the pics of your hat once complete!! Please share in the comments below, post it on my Facebook page or message them to me.

Mother’s Day Weekend

It’s hard to believe that it’s May already and Mother’s Day is upon us once more. Everywhere I turn there are reminders for all of the dad’s and children so they don’t forget mom this year. Mom’s not only carry you for 9 months and wipe every runny nose but they’re always there for you, unconditionally, never looking for anything in return.

il_170x135.450658263_twd1In case you did forget mom or if you are a mom looking to treat yourself I’m going to be offering my knit jewelry for 20% this weekend only! Be sure to stop by my shop and see which pieces are still available for this spring. And don’t forget to enter MOM20 at checkout to receive your 20% discount.

So what are your plans for this weekend? Are you taking your mom out for a special meal or bringing a bouquet of flowers? I’ll be visiting my mom this weekend and I’m sure my boys have probably made me something through school, I ❤ handmade gifts from the kids!! It’s the thought that counts, right?!?

DIY Wedding Invitation Suites

The era of do-it-yourself is upon us and I must admit I am most definitely one of the many women out there who love to take on DIY crafts! Thanks to websites like Pinterest finding DIY projects to tackle has become easier. You can find just about anything out there and if you can’t find what you’re looking for someone is probably working on the tutorial right now!

As I sift through my many pins on Pinterest and look for more items to pin to my boards I can tell you that brides are by no means exempt from this DIY phase either. Weddings can costs thousands of dollars and more and more brides are finding themselves trying to cut corners and do things themselves to save a few dollars. Once again, I fell into this category as well! Staying up working on everything from the programs, painting pallet signs and making menu’s for my wedding, I was right there clicking on that next pin.

One of the many things I made for my own wedding was the invitations. As I looked around the web I realized it was very hard to find exactly what I was looking for and if I found something close I realized just how expensive they were going to be. I’ve decided to make this hunt a little easier for you by offering my wedding invitation suites in a digital format! Now you will be able to create your own, one of kind wedding invitations without the need of fancy software like InDesign or Illustrator!

If you stop by my print shop and click on one of my wedding invitation suites you will notice that you have several different ordering options to choose from. You can also choose between receiving all three of the cards listed or just one or two of them, it’s all up to you. Or if you don’t see what you want contact me and we’ll discuss a new design just right for your wedding.

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Once you make your decision on style and place your order I will personalize the files with your wedding information and will send you three digital files for each card that you ordered, a JPEG, PDF and PNG file. Now your DIY adventure can begin, you can now run to your local craft store or look online for the perfect paper selection, begin printing your cards and assembling all of the pieces so the card unfolds perfectly when your friends and family receive them.

If the thought of making your own wedding invitations scares you, don’t worry, I still offer my invitations suites to be professionally printed on 110# cardstock with matching envelopes. There are many embellishment options for you to choose from as well to create a one of a kind feeling that your friends and family will be talking about for years to come.

Stop by my shop and see which design styles are available, more styles will be added in the coming weeks so be sure to check back if you don’t see something you like!

Spring Is In the Air!

Spring is in the air and the flowers are in bloom. It’s been hard not to enjoy the warmth of the sun lately and getting out into the fresh air. Opening up all of our windows and airing out the house and feeling the breeze brush through the curtains.

We had to make sure we enjoyed every bit of warmth and sunshine this weekend. Even though it’s still early May in Ohio we decided to start working on our garden. There’s quite a bit that needs to be done before we can start planting so we took advantage of the nice dry weekend and managed to expand the garden, till the entire space and fertilize it and topped it off with three truckloads of soil!

11178235_10103387077920724_6657150178922256101_nMy youngest had tons of fun with the piles of dirt that were going into the garden space, however, he was not a super fan of “Scoop” (the front-end loader) dumping the dirt into the bed of our truck right behind his head.

Hopefully next weekend will be just as beautiful so we can finish framing out the addition to our garden and start getting our fence posts set. We’re really hoping to be able to get our seedlings planted before Memorial Day this year (as long as the weather stays warm).

We even managed to make some time for a little nature walk through our neighborhood woods. By 10 AM it was already starting to get hot and little Ethan kept trying to walk in the shady parts of the woods, including my shadow. I couldn’t figure out why he was walking so haphazardly down the trail then I realized he was trying to walk on my shadow and every time I would move to go around him he would have to jump back over. Mom has to start thinking more like a 2 year old sometimes!

 

Increase Your Social Media Engagement

Social media can be a scary place for many people. As I log onto my computer and see the many articles of algorithms changing and new policies being set in place I completely understand why people tend to turn away and think it’s not that important or their company doesn’t need it just yet. Most people and businesses have a hard enough time trying to stay on top of current events and making sure all of their social media boards are being updated daily or multiple times a day much less knowing when Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the likes make changes to their systems. In the ever changing world of social media it may be hard to tell who your followers are or how to keep them coming back. Here are a few tips to engage your current followers, gain new ones and increase your presence on social media.

Know your audience

It may sound obvious but you don’t want to generalize your posts too much. Keeping ideas vague or topics all over the board and deter some of your readers. People who repeatedly view your posts and enjoy your posts are typically looking to you for a specific reason. Gauging what your audience expects will give you a better idea of what to deliver in terms of frequency, tone and density.

Make it personal

Many people grow to like your company because of you. They like who you are, like the way you speak and they often feel like they form a bond with you even if they don’t actually know you personally. Giving your business a personal side and letting your audience into your life a little bit helps them build that connection and can keep them coming back. By nature humans form bonds with one another so if you have a family you may want to share a few small stories or if you’re active in the community share the news and events with your audience. You don’t have to delve into too many details but giving them that peak into who you are could be the selling point they’re looking for.

Post regularly

People tend to be creatures of habit and posting regularly can keep you top of mind with many people’s daily routines. If your audience knows you post every Wednesday or even three times a week they may look forward to seeing what you have to say that day and will allot a chunk of time just for your latest article. Regular updates featuring things your audience might find interesting from non-competing sites, useful services you provide or new products that you offer is a great way to keep your audience intrigued.

Engage your audience

Keeping your audience engaged helps them feel a personal connection to your brand. This is often best done directly by asking questions and creating a call to action within your posts. For the most part your content will be made with a specific purpose in mind and by creating a call to action you will be ensuring that the purpose is being achieved by prompting your audience to take a specific action, whether it be sharing the post or responding with a relatable personal story of their own.

Make it valuable

Much like you, your audience is very busy and have many other things going on in their day. It’s hard to gain a loyal following of readers and once you have them you don’t want to lose them. One sure fire way to lose your existing audience or even potential readers is to create content that is not valuable to them. If they feel as though you’re wasting their time or only trying to sell them your latest product or service they will quickly turn away or mark you as spam in their minds. Be sure to post relevant content, useful links and plenty of important information and you will be sure to have a loyal following of readers.

If you have any questions about your social media content or need help implementing a solution for your company let me know and I’d be more than happy to help you out!