Tuesday, 5 June 2012

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, adieu

It's been a great few months of blogging here at DTTD imagine.design.create. We've "met" a lot of new blog friends, enjoyed many continued blog friendships, and seen & shared a lot of fun projects. But since we started writing DTTD in March, we've started going in different directions with our businesses. Kelly loves doing DIY projects, and is interested in getting into art and furniture design/building. Victoria is getting more into crafty stuff and her line of Fat Paint, and is planning to open an Etsy shop.
Kelly's High Street-inspired art
Victoria's sweater cushion
Of course, we could write about all those things here at DTTD. But we've decided that it makes more sense for us to write individual blogs so that we can focus on our personal interests and pursuits and establish our business identities. We were both writing our own blogs before we decided to blog together again (we had been blog partners in 2009/2010), so it's kind of like going back home. So it's not really so long, farewell. Auf Wiedersehen, adieu - we've just moved to different houses in the same neighbourhood :-)

You can find Kelly at JAX does design... 
JAX does design

...and Victoria is at Edin's House.
Edin's House

A huge thank you to all our DTTD readers & friends. We hope you'll follow us to our new homes so we can continue the wonderful blog friendships that we've made :-)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

blogpodium: the business of blogging

Although this past weekend was filled with laughter and wine and crazy cab rides and more laughter and more wine and some singing and more wine and TBB brainstorming and tap dancing and more wine, there was some serious business going on too - The Business of Blogging, to be specific :-) Jen and Lindsay brought together a great group of people at a great venue for another super-informative installment of BlogPodium.
Keynote speaker

Keynote speaker Nicole Balch from Making It Lovely talked about how her blog has evolved into a business, and gave us advice on how to monetize our blogs.
 In a nutshell...
  • A good starting point for adding small ads is when your blog reaches 10,000 views per month. These are typically small boutique ads (for example, an Etsy shop).
  • Approach vendors that you like and want to support, and offer them ad space on your blog. You might even start with a free ad to get things rolling. 
  • A good starting point for using an ad network is when your blog reaches 50,000 views per month.
  • SheBlogs Media is the place to go if you're a Canadian blogger - they're Canada's first official social ad media network for women and represent 100% Canadian content.
  • Sponsored posts are another way to make money with your blog. But don't overdo it, and don't let the brand write the sponsored post for you. Your readers want to hear your voice and know that the post is authentic. Make it clear that a post is being sponsored by a brand - it's as simple as a statement or logo at the beginning of the post that says "Today's post brought to you by....."
Panel discussion

Nicole's presentation was followed by a panel of experts who discussed monetizing blogs from the perspective of both brands and bloggers.
Left to right: Cheryl Kozoriz from Gluckstein Home, Laura Muirhead from Tribal DDB, Lindsay Stephenson from Little House Blog, Christine Dovey from Bjou and Boheme, Leigh-Anne Allaire Perrault from Cityline (moderator)
From the brand perspective, they're looking for the following from bloggers:
  • Authority  How well informed and professional are you.
  • Context  How does your blog's content relate to their brand.
  • Engagement  Do your posts get a lot of comments, what's your following on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Reach  What are your blog stats, do you have a strong social media reach.

  • Brands are open to different kinds of pitches.
  • You don't necessarily have to be a the big kid on the block - smaller niche blogs are appealing to brands, and the style and aesthetic of your blog are also important. 
  • Brands want to know who you are and where you're from - identify yourself as a Canadian blogger.
  • Authenticity is important.
  • How has your blog grown over time, what kind of reaction do you get to your blog posts.

From the blogger perspective:
  • If you want to monetize your blog, it's super-important to keep track of and know your blog stats.
  • Put yourself out there - approach shops, sellers, and companies that you like and ask them if they're interested in working together on a project.
  • Prepare a proposal to submit with your request - be brief and have a plan in mind.
  • Make it clear what you're able to offer the brand - for example, an ad above the fold (highest visibility) an ad on your sidebar, X number of sponsored posts, etc.
  • Tell the brand why they should want to work with you.
  • If a brand approaches you but you don't like the pitch, reply back and let them know what you DO want to do with them.
Vendor Meet & Greet

We spent a couple of hours meeting all the BlogPodium vendors and sponsors. It was a great opportunity to introduce ourselves and connect with brands that want to work with bloggers. I'm already thinking about the projects that I have planned and which brands I'd like to approach about working together! And once again, a huge THANK YOU to PARA Paints for selecting me to be on their Blog Crew. It's an amazing opportunity to work with a Canadian company that has been in business for almost 100 years, and I'm really excited to get started :-)
Jen and Gary from PARA Paints
Thank you to all the other amazing vendors and sponsors!
Thanks to Jen & Lindsay for all the hard work they put into making BlogPodium such a huge success. Hope you ladies have some time to relax now!
The BlogPodium Queens! Lindsay & Jen
And thanks to Nicole, Cheryl, Laura, Christine, and Leigh-Anne for sharing your knowledge and insight.

I'm already looking forward to the next installment of BlogPodium :-) Will you be there?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

{ let's create } my mini-sized great outdoors

The lovely ladies at Thistlewood Farm, It All Started With Paint, Eclectically Vintage, The Cottage Market, and The Space Between are having another Mission Possible Linky Party. This time, it's all about the great outdoors...
Lake Louise, Banff National Park Alberta | Photo by Radeka Photography
Sadly, my outdoors isn't quite as great as that! I'm not too happy with how my gardens are looking this year. I pulled out all the junipers that I never really liked anyway, but I think it's time for a complete landscape overhaul. So for now, my great outdoors comes in mini-size - planters. 

Earlier this spring, I posted this picture of a beach-inspired planter that I wanted to create:
Image via Sunset | Photo by Rob D. Brodman
I looked for similar plants, but didn't have much luck finding anything like them. So I had to improvise - I used a succulent, a gerber daisy, and juncus effusus. I popped in a piece of wood, a blue ball, and some shells, and I think this is about as beachy as my planter is going to get.
Photo by JAX Decor & Design
I didn't add sand yet because I'm not 100% certain that I'll be keeping the planter like this. What do you think - would you change it up or leave it as it is?

I normally don't plant any flowers in the backyard because our Lab Squirt thinks that everything is edible and that plants are her own personal buffet. But I thought I'd take a shot with a few planters on the back deck and hope for the best! A little pot of red double impatiens...
Photo by JAX Decor & Design
I wanted to use geraniums in the big pots, but the garden center I was at was completely sold out and I was in a hurry and didn't feel like driving all over the place looking for geraniums, so impatiens it is!

Photos by JAX Decor & Design
So that's my little attempt at adding some beachiness to the front porch and colour to the backyard. If you want to join in on the fun or look for some outdoor inspiration, click the buttons below...

IASWP Eclectically Vintage  
the space between  

Sunday, 27 May 2012

totally. awesome. weekend.

Why does this weekend qualify as totally awesome? Well, because…

Road trip with the TBBs I can’t begin to tell you how much fun these ladies are. I’m so lucky to have them as my friends (along with the four TBBs who couldn’t make the trip to Toronto). Thanks Sonya & Maureen & Donna for the laughs, show tunes, tap dancing, Billy Jpel, and helping me find my inner Sherlock Holmes.

TBBsSmilebooth sponsored by HomeSense | Photo by Mango Studios

BlogPodium I thought the inaugural BlogPodium back in January was great – BlogPodium #2 exceeded all expectations! The wealth of information, meeting the awesome vendors & sponsors, chatting with blog friends, and the overall energy in the room were just amazing. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who made the afternoon such a huge success, especially Jen at Rambling Renovators and Lindsay at Little House Blog for organizing this great event. I’ll share what I learned about the business of blogging soon – too tired tonight to do much typing!

BlogPodium 011

I’m on the Crew! I’m one of five bloggers selected to be on the PARA Paints Blog Crew! WOOT!


I cannot tell you how excited I am! Well, if you’d seen me jumping up & down when my name was announced, you might have a small idea ;-) This is such an amazing opportunity to work with a great Canadian company to imagine, design, and create some serious room makeovers. Starting with the BAZINGA workout area in the basement that I posted about here using this bright & fun colour palette…

paint palette

Thank you Gary and everyone at PARA Paints – I’m so excited to be part of your team :-)

More about BlogPodium and my interview with artist Susan Bailie coming soon….

kelly sig

Thursday, 24 May 2012

{ let's create } commissioning a painting

Do you have a space on your wall that's just screaming out for a piece of art, and you know in your mind what you want, but you can't find it anywhere? Well, why not ask an artist to create a commissioned piece especially for you! Don't be afraid to approach your favourite and make your special request. In my experience with commissioning paintings, not only do you get the exact piece that you want, but the artist doesn't charge any more for a commissioned piece.

A few weeks ago, I won this beautiful painting by Susan Bailie in her Facebook art auction:
Wonderland 5 by Susan Bailie
There was another painting that I bid on too, but somebody else won it:
Wonderland 2 by Susan Bailie
As much as I love the painting that I won, I couldn't get the one that got away out of my mind. So I asked Susan if she could create a similar painting for me, and she she's be happy to :-)

The starting point was Wonderland 2. Susan couldn't create an exact replica of the painting, but she used it as a guideline to create my painting. I love the colours in Wonderland 2, so those are the colours that Susan used. But she created a completely different look with the foil and a different texture with the paint. A few weeks later, Susan e-mailed me a picture of the finished painting:
Wonderland 6 by Susan Bailie
Super-pretty! Except in my mind, I had envisioned it having more turquoise. I went to Susan's house to see the painting in person, and although it was really hard to tell Susan that it wasn't quite what I had in mind, she told me to be 100% honest. So I asked her if she would be able to add some turquoise between the purple on the bottom and the green on the top. Susan said it wasn't a problem at all, and a few days later she sent me this picture of the modified painting:
Revision 1 - Wonderland 6 by Susan Bailie 
Oh yeah, now we're talkin'! Doesn't the turquoise just bring the painting to life? :-) I asked Susan to add just a bit more turquoise, and voila...
Revision 2 - Wonderland 6 by Susan Bailie 
I'm beyond thrilled with my new painting :-) It's exactly what I wanted, and I like it even better than the painting that inspired it. A huge thank you to Susan for being an absolute pleasure to work with. As I mentioned, it was hard to tell her that the first incarnation of the painting wasn't quite what I envisioned in my mind. But she was totally cool with it and wanted to make sure that I was totally happy with my painting. Which I most definitely am :-)

A pseudo-time lapse of the evolution of Wonderland 6...
If you're in the Ottawa area, you can check out Susan's art at The New Art Festival the weekend of June 2nd and June 3rd in The Glebe. We have lots of talented artists here in the city, so let's get out there and show them some love! And next week I'll be featuring Susan and more of her work here at DTTD, and there might even be a little somethin' for you to win... stay tuned for that!

On a completely different note, tomorrow I'm heading to TO with half the TBBs to attend BlogPodium on Saturday and for some serious retail therapy. I've had a West Elm gift card burning a hole in my wallet for 1-1/2 years, it's time to put it to good use! I'm looking forward to seeing my blog friends again, meeting some blog friends for the first time, and making new blog friends :-)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

PARA Paints blog crew contest – BAZINGA!

I’ll probably never be a member of a tall ship crew, ‘cause as much as I like to delude myself into thinking I’m adventurous, this is just never going to happen:

clip_image002Image of Picton Castle via Facebook

However, I’ve painted a wall or two or 163 in my time, so I’m pretty sure I could handle being a member of the PARA Paints Blog Crew! PARA Paints is joining with BlogPodium to give five bloggers a chance at fame, fortune, and paint. Woot! Sure, fame, and fortune would be nice, but it’s the PAINT that has me the most excited! Because with a year’s supply of paint (up to 15 gallons), I could finally finish the basement. It’s currently a very uninspiring yellow with an unfinished ceiling, lumpy laminate floor, and not much pretty at all. The workout area in particular needs a lot of help. This just doesn’t inspire me to want to spend a lot of time on the treadmill:


Very bland and boring – it needs some colour and fun! I want to make over this part of the basement using Penny’s bedroom on The Big Bang Theory as inspiration:

bigbang para 2Image via Set Directors Society of America | Paint colours from PARA Paints

It’s such a fresh and fun colour palette, and I’d be way more inclined to go downstairs and work out in a space that’s filled with colours that make me happy :-) I could paint each wall a different colour…

Interior-Design-of-Colorful-Houses-Stamberg-Aferiat-Architecture-1Image via homethelovely.com | Design by Stamberg Aferiat Architecture

Or do something kinda wild and crazy, like zigzags. Is it just me, or is this a totally BAZINGA wall?

Benjamin Moore zig zag painted wall im busy procrastinatingImage via I’m Busy Procrastinating

Maybe a funky take on stripes…

I-LOVE-LUCY apt therapyImage via Apartment Therapy

Or how about waves…

Magic WallsImage via Davinong

If I was super-artistic, maybe I’d maybe create a mural – love that this one carries up onto the ceiling.

gym style house realty 3Image via Style House Realty

There’s a lot more of the basement that needs to be made over, but this is definitely where I would start. Although with 15 gallons of paint to use, I might not need to work out anymore to keep in shape! ;-)

A big thank you to PARA Paints for the opportunity to be a part of their Blog Crew. The five winners will be announced at BlogPodium on Saturday, May 26th – will you be there?

kelly sig