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5 Sewing Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs!

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Are you a beginner who wants to learn to sew but has no clue about what to do if you run into problems? Today we are going to cover a list of the things you should avoid at all costs because it saves so much frustration. As a beginner, you are going to make mistakes. Accepting that fact makes them a lot easier to deal with. You will find out the mistakes you have to avoid as you learn to sew, preventing yourself from all kinds of hair pulling and screaming matches with a bobbin and a Laptop at the same time. Was that too specific of an example? 

Sewing is an art, a skill, and not everybody can be an A* student when you learn to sew but, if you follow these basic rules, and persevere you will have stunning projects in no time.

Learn To Sew: 5 Sewing Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs! 

Please know that the cost I am referring to here is your sanity. If you have no idea what I mean then you clearly haven’t argued with a sewing machine before. It really leaves you questioning your tolerance for frustrations. 

Before we even get started. If you have purchased a second-hand sewing machine or you bought a machine and haven’t used it in years, it may need to be serviced. That ended up being my issue that no Laptop could fix alone. 

Related Post: All The Child Friendly Sewing Machine Info You Need To Know

  

What are the basic rules to follow when you learn to sew?

It is a fact, that when you follow the basic rules, it’s easy to achieve what you set out to achieve. For this reason, the first thumb rule that you need to follow to have success is to start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. Then keep on adding new skills in order to gain more confidence in your sewing skills. Start with taking sewing classes and join groups to get feedback. Ladies on forums and facebook groups are SO helpful and the fact that it’s so easy now to record video means that you don’t have to wait for an answer. 

Although, there are high chances that you will make mistakes initially; mistakes are what you learn from. You need to practice a lot so that you get your hands on sewing perfectly. 

However, if you want to save time by not making the same mistakes again and again, then you have to educate yourself on avoiding those sewing mistakes. We are going to list down the 5 sewing mistakes that you can avoid, especially if you are a beginner. 

  

Mistake #1 Running Before Walking – Do Not Choose A Complicated Project

These rules help save your time, energy fabric and money! If you want to learn more tactics and techniques of sewing, you really should take a class. Through the tutorials, you can begin with making small drawstrings or the bucket bags. By checking out each step thoroughly, you will definitely learn from the easy to follow steps. 

 

Picking The Wrong Fabric 

If you choose the wrong type of material then your sewing project will be a disaster from the start. There are a few things that you must consider before choosing fabric. BluPrint outline everything you need to know perfectly in this excellent guide

 

Not Enough Fabric

There are several reasons why we have this on our list. People often, especially beginners, make this huge mistake of buying the amount of fabric required by the pattern. My granny taught me a long time ago that you should always buy extra in case you make a mistake and can’t get the same fabric from the same bolt again. Sometimes material bolts vary in colour depending on storage. The main reason I discovered you should extra fabric is that you might make a mistake while cutting.

Measure TWICE Cut ONCE

Different materials react differently to washing and some shrinkage may occur. I always launder fabric before using it in a sewing project.  

Related Resource: Best Sewing Machines For Quilting Guide

 

Not Knowing How To Read And Read A Sewing Pattern

Relax. When you sit for sewing, begin with the correct alignment of all edges and make them flat. Every single piece of the pattern tells you everything you need to know. The pattern tells you how it should be cut. After this, the pattern helps you sort out how it should be folded and furthermore, how the edges must be folded too. 

Moreover, be aware of how much of the pattern has to be cut into pieces. This is because a few patterns need only one piece to be cut, but if you want to make a quilted project you can have hundreds of pieces. I do not recommend that just yet though! 

This part of sewing is the most essential one because if you make a mistake here, you might end up destroying the entire fabric piece. 

 

Not Using The Right Needle And Thread

It has been highly recommended by expert sewers that most of the garments should be sewn with 100% polyester all-purpose thread. 

Threads such as rayon, silk, quilting and topstitching are not suitable for making normal clothes. 

Coming to the needles, you have to choose the needle according to the fabric you have chosen to sew. A universal needle is used commonly for the natural fibres or jerseys etc. Stretch needles are used to stitch elastic or stretchy fabrics. Metallic or leather needles are also available for specific fabric stitching. 

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Sewing Needles In 1 Mini Guide

Remember that when you learn to sew, you will make mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable but the chances of you making fewer mistakes greatly increase when you remember basic rules. The same can be said for any skill; photography, crochet, baking or even painting. Don’t be afraid, because fear leads to procrastination and I have too many sewing projects for you to start making.

 



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Holiday Decorating in a Nursery + A Huge Baby / Kids Holiday Gift Guide

Last year, I didn’t do much in the way of holiday decorating. I did a fresh garland for the staircase and we found a tree that I absolutely loved, but other than that and a DIY Christmas wreath, I was too tired to do much more. We had a two month old after all.

This year though, I have so much energy for the holidays. I’m v excited. Hayes is at a really fun age and I want to make the holidays special (for him and for us). So, I’m full speed ahead on holiday decorating (and present searching). So, I teamed up with Crate and Barrel to do a little of both: decorating Hayes’ nursery for Christmas AND a huge shopping guide of baby and kid gifts for every budget. Crate and Kids (Crate and Barrel’s kids brand) has ALL the good stuff!

Jeff and I have been fans of Crate and Barrel for years (our living room couch that I get asked about regularly on IG is from there – it’s the petrie leather midcentury sofa in chamois). So, I felt right at home browsing around back and forth between Crate and Barrel and Crate and Kids searching for things to decorate (and gift) for Hayes. Let’s start with the decorating!

I love the fact that I can decorate his nursery this year, now that he spends more time in here and enjoys playing in his room, etc. The plan is for him to have his own tree in his room (every Christmas) for him to decorate with his own special ornaments (that we either make or buy).

He’s not quite old enough to pick out his own ornaments yet, so I picked a set of buri ornaments for him. And theseburi red cardinal ornament // silver buri fox ornament // silver buri owl ornament // silver buri raccoon ornament // silver buri squirrel ornament.

I found a rainbow basket (that I originally thought would be the basket the tree would sit in, but my dang tree stand was too big). No worries though, because he can use it for toy storage just as easily, which is how I planned to use it after the holidays anyway.

Side note: On the topic of baskets, I found this big sisal basket to replace his old one, for organizing his large floor pillows and extra toys under his bookshelf.

Anyway, with the tree all figured out, I added some decorative holiday touches that are a mix of things I love and things I think he will love. There’s a few holiday staples, like a big wreath (a cypress wreath to be specific), bottle brush Christmas trees, and a couple of stockings (fair isle stocking and the cozy ivory knit stocking) hanging.

But I also found some really cool wood bead garlands, a cozy weave garland that reminds me of snow, felt holiday lights garlands (that I know Hayes will love), twinkle lights, and not one but two nutcrackers (drummer nutcracker and prince nutcracker) because we’ve never had any and they feel so charming and quirky. Very, very Christmas-y!

I should also probably mention that these nutcrackers are literally the nicest ones I’ve ever seen! They’re limited-edition and  exclusively made for Crate and Barrel – by artisans in Germany no less. I guess if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna go big. Why not, right? Highly recommend if you’re a nutcracker kind of person.

Obviously, I’m a DIY blogger (amongst other things). So, I couldn’t possibly decorate Hayes’ room without a little DIY project…or maybe two? I wanted to keep things simple, so I made little Santa hats for the characters in the artwork on his walls. I just used paper and attached everything temporarily with rolled up pieces of washi tape. And then made some paper houses for the village scene on his top bookshelf.

Then, I threw a couple of DIY metallic star pillows into his crib (they’re usually on the floor as cushions for him) – which I actually haven’t shared the tutorial for yet, but will very soon.

So that’s the holiday decorating side of things. How fun is it to decorate a kid’s room or nursery for the holidays? Another thing I don’t want to forget to mention is our new crib sheet – also from Crate and Barrel (and this one too, along with this swaddle blankets set). It may not seen Christmas related, but new (and organic) sheets kinda feel like Christmas morning all over again, right?

And speaking of Xmas morning, let’s jump into the gifting stuff because, let’s face it, gifts and presents are a big part of the holiday season. I’ve put together a guide of my favorite things from Crate and Kids in 3 different price ranges.

Many of the items are things I also got for Hayes. But whether I have them for him or not, ALL of the gifts on these lists are things I absolutely love and would most definitely buy. Seriously, so many great gifts and lots of affordable options too! Let me know what you think.

Holiday Gifts for Baby / Kids $30 and Under

Looking for a budget-friendly gift or stocking stuffer for babies and/or kids? This list of kid and baby gifts under $30 has tons of options – all from Crate and Kids. They have sooooo many amazing gifts! I got Hayes a bunch of books and toys that fell under the thirty dollar limit and they have great stuff for boys AND girls. Here are some of my favorite holidays gifts under $30 for kids and babies…

1. when I am big book $17.95 – Love this book!

2. beeswax crayons set $12.99 – I’ve been wanting to get beeswax crayons for a while and these are perfect. We love ’em.

3. gemstones chalk set $16 – How cute is this gemstone sidewalk chalk?

4. elephant pull toy $25 – Really good price for this fabric and wood pull toy, don’t you think?

5. tug boat bath toy $15 – Hayes has this boat and it’s so useful for bath time! He uses it as a toy, but I can use it for pouring water onto him too when I’m washing off soap from his hair, etc.

6. night and day book $19.95 – This book is really cool because there are pop ups and little activities to keep tiny hands busy.

7. roxy marj tiger lovey $7.97 – Another item that we have and love. Roxy Marj designs really cute stuff, huh? We also have the sun rattle, which is great for bringing on the go.

8. dollhouse furniture $25 – If you’re kiddo has a dollhouse already, this furniture is adorable!

9. duck pull toy $25 – When you pull it the ducks little feet actually ‘walk’. It’s really cute.

10. animal parade giant floor puzzle $18.99 – I love the way this puzzle is illustrated and the giant pieces make it fun for kids of all ages.

And here are a few more things we love that didn’t make the list (but still fall into the under $30 category)… pantone: box of color $12.95 // walk this world at christmastime book $17.99 // little concepts: abc spanish book $12.95 // color me: who’s in the rain forest? $12.95 // here is the world: a year of jewish holidays (got this for Hayes so I can read to him about different cultures, traditions, religions during the holiday season) $18.95.

Holiday Gifts for Baby / Kids $100 and Under

If you have a little bit more to spend, you have plenty of options. Here’s 10 gift ideas under $100!

1. mini modern house kit $50 – Forget about the kids, I want to make one of these!

2. etched wooden blocks $59 – We have these and they’re a huge hit! They have letters, numbers, and cute designs. They’re the blocks I used to spell out Hayes’ name on his peg rail shelf.

3. wooden cash register $39 – Wooden toys are the best!

4. modern baby gym $79 – I like how simple and modern this one is.

5. play little architect $50 – Another cool architectural toy.

6. raccoon doll $69 – This raccoon is so cute.

7. kitty animal adoption set $49 – An ‘adoption’ kit for cat lovers.

8. planetarium book $40 – What kid doesn’t love a pop-up book?

9. polar bear play mat $99 – Doesn’t this play mat look cozy?

10. hand sign alphabet flash cards $40 – I have to get these for Hayes!

Holiday Gifts for Baby / Kids $100+

Looking for that super special gift that kids will run to the tree for on Christmas morning? The ones that Santa brings and don’t even get wrapped bc they’re so exciting? This is that list of presents! There’s a wooden bike, a giant block set (this will be one of Hayes’ big Christmas gifts because he loves blocks), and so much more.

1. ride on walker $129.99 – Omg! Hayes LOVES this thing. He can push it as a walker, rock on it, or ride.

2. large block set $149 – These blocks are way bigger than they look! Well worth the price, if you have a kiddo that loves blocks.

3. wooden art easel $149 – Totally getting this when Hayes is a little older.

4. 3 in 1 bike $249.99 – This 3-in-1 bike is a multi-use, learn-to-ride system for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

5. ride on tiger $124.97 – There are other animals available too.

6. wooden fire truck $120 – I love wood toys like this.

7. victorian dollhouse $350 – Now that is a dollhouse!

8. rainbow wall rug $159 – Obviously, I love the muted tones in this giant wall hanging.

9. wooden play stand $179 – For a nightly puppet show!

10. rattan rocking horse $199 – Ahhh! I love this. What about you?

That wraps up the Crate and Kids gift guides. See any presents on the list you plan to get for your kiddos?

Before I go, I wanted tis hare a few more photos of how we derated in the nursery and then I’ll send you on your way…

 

Well, we’ve finally reached the end! Hope you enjoyed my holiday kid and baby gift guides with Crate and Kids and the holiday decorating too! I’d love to know how you decorate during the holidays! What’s your favorite room of the house to make festive?

Any holiday traditions you love that you could share? We’re always looking to add some new ones to our list!

This post is in partnership with Crate and Barrel. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Paper and Stitch running.

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33 Christmas Crochet Patterns You Need To Start Making Today!

Please note that this page might contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy

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T’is the season to get hooking Falalalalaaaa la la la laaaaa. I’m so excited! So much so that I’ve rounded up 33 of the most amazing Christmas crochet patterns for you to download instantly. If you love crocheting for Christmas then keep scrolling friend.

For this post, I decided to go to Etsy for research purposes. There are so many incredibly cute patterns to download for the holidays! Not to mention the fact that Crochet designers deserve to get paid for their creative talents. Especially when they bring so much joy through relaxing and making something you can be proud of.

In this list, you’ll find your fair share of stockings, snowflakes, and some insanely sweet crochet Christmas ornaments.

The Delightful Christmas Crochet Patterns:

 

 

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1-5. Crocheting For Christmas Cupcake Ornaments

*squeeeeee*

How cute are these cupcake ornaments?! They will look fab as decoration for Christmas, hang them in your Christmas tree or give them as Christmas gifts. If you have a friend who is a crazy Christmas lover, I guarantee they would love to get one of these as a gift. I know I would. The crochet Christmas Tree is my favourite here. He’s too cute!

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in search of fabulous Christmas Crochet Patterns? This Santa Crochet Hat Pattern is an awesome idea to make this Christmas. I love the variety of Christmas Patterns chosen! #Christmas #ChristmasCrochet #Crochetpatterns #Christmasideas #christmasdecor #holiday #holidaydecor #Crochetprojects

6-18.Advent Calendar

A little more info about this set of patterns: they’re for micro ornaments! I’m all fingers and thumbs so I would struggle with Crochet this small, but I adore them. They would look amazing as little brooches.

  • Includes patterns for:
  • Christmas tree
  • Pear
  • Gingerbread man
  • Sausage dog
  • Polar bear
  • Candy cane
  • Swan
  • Rainbow unicorn
  • Snowman
  • Penguin
  • Christmas pudding
  • Sugarplum mouse

There’s good news for me; the pattern can be used with DK weight yarn and 3.5mm hook for non-micro size

 

Poinsettia Christmas Crochet Patterns

19.Poinsettia Potted Plant Pattern

Believe it or not, last Christmas I was given a magical Poinsettia tree. “Why is it magical?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s still alive! A whole year later! That never happens. The last flower fell off it LAST month. I don’t know what we did or what it did, but I’m convinced it’s magic.

I’ve been bursting to get my hands on a pink poinsettia for YEARS, and my aunty finally sourced one! Yay! I’m going to purchase this pattern to make myself a brooch for Christmas day.

20. Easy Santa Hat Crochet Pattern – 3 Sizes!

This easy to make Santa hat comes as an instant download from Etsy. Your PDF provides patterns in three sizes to fit everyone in the family. How awesome would the photo opportunities be?! Think of those awesome photo booth props that you can get… crochet versions are even better!

 

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21.Christmas Crochet Pattern for Baubles

How beautiful are these baubles? The cute and cheerful Christmas decorations that you can create with this pattern will measure about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. I love the colours, tres Cath Kidston!

For free patterns, check out this post >> 10 Fabulous and Free Christmas Crochet Patterns

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22.Large Stocking Christmas Crochet Pattern

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a stocking hanging on the fireplace. I’m trying out a new colour of Christmas decor this year, so I will need new stockings. This pattern is perfect for what I need. Would it be weird if I made my Christmas stockings using super chunky yarn and about 15 sizes bigger than everyone else’s?!

 

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23.Christmas Crochet Reindeer Ornament

How cute are the colours of this lil guy?! He would look fantastic on my Christmas tree in pastel colours.

 

24-28.Amigurumi Ornaments

As I said, I’m all fingers and thumbs so I’ve never tried Amigurumi, but I’m tempted to start! I might make it one of my new year’s resolutions for 2018.

I love these ornaments, and if you have kids, I think they would be an especially fun addition to the Christmas tree.

 

in search of fabulous Christmas Crochet Patterns? This Santa Crochet Hat Pattern is an awesome idea to make this Christmas. I love the variety of Christmas Patterns chosen! #Christmas #ChristmasCrochet #Crochetpatterns #Christmasideas #christmasdecor #holiday #holidaydecor #Crochetprojects

29.Elf Slippers Chunky Crochet Pattern

I’m so happy that this is a quick project suitable for intermediate or improving beginner, you will have a pair of slippers in the evening.

As per the instructions in the listing, it’s best made watching Elf the movie! I’m ON IT!

 

in search of fabulous Christmas Crochet Patterns? This Santa Crochet Hat Pattern is an awesome idea to make this Christmas. I love the variety of Christmas Patterns chosen! #Christmas #ChristmasCrochet #Crochetpatterns #Christmasideas #christmasdecor #holiday #holidaydecor #Crochetprojects

30. Gingerbread Man Crochet Pattern

How stinking cute are these wee gingerbread men!? I love the sprinkles on their heads!

This pattern is available in four different languages which is incredible! English, Swedish, French and Spanish! The English pattern is available in US terms.

 

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31. Amigurumi Christmas Balls Crochet Pattern

These are the most adorable baubles I have seen in a very long time! This pattern comes in both English and Russian and is an Etsy BestSeller, but it is very easy to see why these little guys are so popular. What would you choose as your colour palette for these?

 

in search of fabulous Christmas Crochet Patterns? This Santa Crochet Hat Pattern is an awesome idea to make this Christmas. I love the variety of Christmas Patterns chosen! #Christmas #ChristmasCrochet #Crochetpatterns #Christmasideas #christmasdecor #holiday #holidaydecor #Crochetprojects

32. Amigurumi Reindeer Dolls

These particular little reindeer made me squeep, out loud. I’m a middle-aged woman who squeeped at the cuteness. I haven’t really worked with amigurumi, as I imagine it’s quite fiddly but I’m so tempted to try!

 

in search of fabulous Christmas Crochet Patterns? This Santa Crochet Hat Pattern is an awesome idea to make this Christmas. I love the variety of Christmas Patterns chosen! #Christmas #ChristmasCrochet #Crochetpatterns #Christmasideas #christmasdecor #holiday #holidaydecor #Crochetprojects

33. Amigurumi Prancer Crochet Pattern

These are the most adorable baubles I have seen in a very long time! This pattern comes in both English and Russian and is an Etsy BestSeller, but it is very easy to see why these little guys are so popular. What would you choose as your colour palette for these?

 

Weren’t all of those patterns amazing?! I struggled to decide which of these patterns I was going to buy, but super cosy elf slippers are my next project to make.

What’s next on your Crochet list?

in search of fabulous Christmas Crochet Patterns? This Santa Crochet Hat Pattern is an awesome idea to make this Christmas. I love the variety of Christmas Patterns chosen! #Christmas #ChristmasCrochet #Crochetpatterns #Christmasideas #christmasdecor #holiday #holidaydecor #Crochetprojects

 



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3 DIY Gifts for Babies and Kids with Cricut Maker

Handmade holiday baby gifts for the win! These DIY gift ideas are perfect for the kids and babies in your life.

A picture of colorful baby toys scattered throughout the floor

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

When it comes to receiving presents, handmade and DIY gifts are generally the things that I love most (and keep the longest). There’s just something about getting a gift from someone that they actually made that makes it feel more special, right?

Which is why I also love, love, LOVE making gifts for other people for the holidays. It especially comes in handy for close friends / family and that person on your list that ‘has everything’.

This year though, the first thing that came to mind when brainstorming DIY gift ideas for the holidays was a few fun things for kids and babies.

Hayes is getting to an age now where he really loves playing with little toys, having people read to him, etc. So, I wanted to create a few things that he can enjoy now and later: a soft baby book, a patterned swaddle blanket, and a kids memory game. I used my Cricut Maker for all 3 projects and am sharing the tutorials today. Click through for the tutorials.

Gender neutral nursery with colorful blankets hanging over crib

Over the years, I’ve shared many Cricut Maker projects, so I probably don’t need to tell you all the reasons I love it…because I’ve mentioned it so many times. BUT I will say, it is a very handy tool to have if you’re a DIYer / crafty person.

If you’re on the fence about buying one, and you make things a lot, it’s worth the purchase! And I’d say that whether Cricut was sponsoring this post or not. In fact, I’ve actually said that very thing to many, many people in my DMs.

You can use it for making / cutting paper ornaments, DIY leather projects (cutting and embellishing), cutting fabric (which I’ll show you today with the soft baby book), adding vinyl to fabric and glass and wood (and lots of other things), for iron-ons, to add a pattern to an old pair of shoes, and SO much more!

So now that you know why I love it, here are three examples of how I used my Cricut Maker to create DIY gifts for the holidays (specifically for kids and babies)…

Blue and yellow memory game with simple nature shapes

DIY Gift Idea #1: Kids Memory Game

I used to love playing memory games when I was a kid. It was so fun to try and remember where certain pieces were and try to match them up. Obviously, Hayes is a bit young for this one BUT I made it anyway and he can play with the pieces as blocks until he’s old enough to use it properly.

One of the best things about creating a memory game like this is that you can personalize it to any child’s interests. Does your kid love dinosaurs? Make him or her a dino themed memory game set using you Cricut maker and Cricut vinyl along with some small wooden tiles like these.

The list of possibilities goes on and on…you can make a memory game that includes all your child’s favorite colors, animals, sports teams, nature items, etc. I decided to do a pattern memory game because Hayes loves his pattern book and I thought it would be a fun thing to design.

To get started, you’ll need your Cricut Maker, Standard Grip Machine Mat (its the green one), Cricut premium vinyl – permanent, and 2×2 square wood tiles. I found a 60 pack on Amazon that works perfectly for memory cards.

As for the premium vinyl, it comes in lots and lots of colors (I used Something Blue and Tangerine) and you can use the premium vinyl -permanent OR the premium vinyl – removable. I went with the permanent option, which lasts up to three years.

Cutting the vinyl with the Cricut Maker is super easy. Start by selecting a design in Cricut’s Design Space or uploading your own (I used simple shapes – shape templates included above). Then, I sized each shape down to 2 inches.

Once sized down to 2 inches, I made a duplicate of each shape. It’s important to wait until after it’s resized to make the duplicate, so that they’re exactly the same for the matching game.

Next, attach the vinyl to the machine mat, and feed it through the Cricut Maker to cut the shapes or designs you’ve created. Once the design is cut and weeded, add transfer tape. Just cut the transfer tape down to the size of the vinyl and remove the sticky part of the transfer tape, attaching it to the vinyl that’s been cut and weeded.

Use the scraper tool to push the transfer tape down onto the surface of the vinyl and help it stick. Then, cut each piece away from the others, so it will be easy to attach each shape to the wood square. Center the vinyl shape onto the wood square and press down with the scraper again.

Pull away the transfer tape to reveal the completed design. That’s it! From there, it’s ready to be used or wrapped up as a DIY holiday gift.

Using Cricut Maker to embellish swaddle blankets

DIY Gift Idea #2: Personalized Swaddle Blanket Gift

Adding some kind of personalization to a store-bought swaddle is the perfect gift for a new baby – whether it’s for the holidays or even as a baby shower gift. You can customize the blanket with the child’s name, a simple pattern, cute shapes, etc. I used my Cricut Maker to embellish this simple mustard cotton swaddle with a pattern, but there are so many possibilities with this one.

*If you decide to embellish the blanket with a word or name, be sure to check the mirror image button in the Cricut Design space before cutting.

Here’s how to make your own… Start by uploading your design to the Cricut Design space, attach Cricut’s Everyday Iron-On material (shiny side down) to the Standard Grip Machine Mat, and start cutting.

Once the design has been cut with the Maker and weeded, use the EasyPress to heat set the design onto the swaddle. My go-to temperature for projects like this one is around 330 degrees with 30 second intervals until the design is completely adhered. You can use this heat guide to help determine the right temperature and timing for your project though.

Making a DIY fabric soft book with fabric scraps

DIY Gift Idea #3: Soft Baby Book Gift

Hayes loves playing with books – mainly just holding them and turning the pages for now. But with all the books he has on his book shelves, he doesn’t actually have any soft fabric books. So, I thought I would rectify that.

A customized soft fabric book like this would be an awesome DIY gift for any baby or young kid you may know. You can personalize the fabric colors, shapes, number of pages, etc to reflect any child’s personality.

To make a fabric soft book like mine, you’ll need your Cricut Maker, fabric (in multiple colors and patterns), batting, FabricGrip machine mat (12×24), a Cricut sewing kit (which has the fabric scissors, straight pins, and measuring tape you’ll need, plus a seam ripper if you run into any sewing issues and several other items), thread, and of course a sewing machine.

Once you’ve created or downloaded the shapes you plan to use for the book (shape templates included above), upload them to the Cricut Design space. Once they’re in there, and you’ve added any other shapes you like from the Cricut Design space, they are ready to cut. Use the FabricGrip machine mat and the proper cutting tool, which will vary depending on your fabric.

Once all your decorative shapes have been cut, create 6 rectangle designs for the book pages, in the Cricut Design space, that are each 14×7 inches. Attach the fabric you’d like to use to the FabricGrip mat and cut them with the Maker. As another option, you can cut these 6 rectangles by hand, if you prefer to do it that way.

Now that all the shapes and pages have been cut, pin each of the shapes to a page (each rectangle has two ‘pages’ with extra room for the spine in the middle. See photo. Just make sure the shapes are centered on its square ‘page’ – leaving 1” of space for the ‘spine’ in the middle of each rectangle.

Once pinned, use a zig zag stitch to sew on each of the shapes. The zig zag stitch acts as a cute embellishment and prevents fraying.

Once all your shapes are sewn on, cut 3 pieces of batting that are 12”x5” and sandwich them between 2 pages (the long rectangles). Pin and sew along the edges with a zig zag stitch. Then, stack your pages and sew two lines for the spine right in the middle. See photo.

Cool toys for baby on the floor

DIY memory game idea

  Gender neutral nursery

Photography by Amelia Lawrence

Are you planning to make any DIY gifts for loved ones over the holiday season? If so, I’d love to hear what you’re making!

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(Christmas) Cookie Monster: An Easy Gingerbread Egg Nog Xmas Cookie Recipe

This Xmas cookie recipe is a must-try, especially if you’re a fan of egg nog. 

Christmas cookie sandwiches stacked on top of each other with crushed up peppermints surrounding them.

I’m dusting off my baking skills this week with a Christmas cookie recipe that screams holiday vibes. It’s a gingerbread cookie sandwich with homemade egg nog icing sandwiches in between. A Christmas cookie sandwich!

This recipe is super easy to make and tastes amazingly rich (in a good way). Plus, they’re so pretty, you can wrap them up as gifts for friends, family, or the hostess of that upcoming holiday party you’re headed to.

These cookie sandwiches fit right into the ‘easy Christmas cookies for a cookie exchange’ category. Right? Especially if you end up using the gingerbread cookie hack I linked below. Speaking of which, let’s jump in. First, you’re going to need the cookies!

Holiday cookies with crushed up candy canes sprinkled on top

Super Easy Gingerbread Cookies

You can use your fave gingerbread recipe for the cookie OR try this simple gingerbread cookie hack using store-bought sugar cookie dough and a few other ingredients. I love a good Christmas cookie hack. What about you?

We went with the latter option and it was so easy and the cookies were seriously delicious! A bit softer than your typical gingerbread, which is kind of perfect for making cookie sandwiches.

When I was almost finished making these, I realized that using Christmas cookie cutters before baking the gingerbread would have been really cute. I don’t mind the traditional look of these finished sandwiches, but another shape would have been cool too. Wanted to mention that, in case that appeals to you.

Now that you have the gingerbread under control, you’re going to need to make the Christmas cookie icing. And this one has ‘holidaze’ written all over it – there’s egg nog mixed in!

How to Make Egg Nog Icing

Christmas cookie icing like this egg nog icing tastes just like the holidays! If you’re an egg nog lover, you have to try this one. Here’s are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 8 tablespoons of softened butter
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of egg nog

Once you have everything above, combine the ingredients above using a hand mixer until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate until firm.

Add to a piping bag and pipe onto the center of a cookie.

Then add another cookie on top to create the sandwich. And roll the outside with crushed candy cane. That’s it!

Three stacked holiday cookies closeup with one cookie on it's side

How to Crush Candy Canes or Peppermints

To finish up this Christmas cookie recipe, you’re going to need some teeny tiny pieces of candy cane or peppermint candy. So I thought I would share how I crush mine up super quickly and easily for projects like these.

If you’re hosting a cookie exchange or a Christmas cookie making party, it’s nice to have little candy cane or peppermint pieces crushed up for sugar cookie decorating too.

So here’s what I do…Throw a handful of peppermint candies into a plastic baggie. Or if you’re using candy canes, break them into a few pieces and put them in a plastic baggie. Seal. *As another option, you can use reusable baggies instead, like the Stasher bags that I use for everything. 

Then, using a metal measuring cup or a heavy metal spoon hit the candy to break it up, while keeping it contained in the bag. When it’s crushed up to your liking, pour the candy pieces into a bowl and it’s ready to use – for cookie sandwich decorating like these or something else. Looks great sprinkled over a homemade cake too, btw.

What else can you make with egg nog?

Have left over egg nog after making the egg nog icing for these festive cookie sandwiches? Try my egg nog popsicles for an unexpected egg nog dessert on a stick!

Close up image of Christmas cookies with egg nog icing and crushed candy cane.

Stacked Christmas cookie sandwiches with grey background

Easy Gingerbread Egg Nog Xmas Cookie Recipe

An Xmas cookie recipe deserves to be made over and over again. This simple recipe is quick and delciious. Perfect for holiday gifting, entertaining, or even Christmas cookie exchanges.

Servings: 8

Calories: 149kcal

  • 8 tablespoons of softened butter
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of egg nog
  • Combine the ingredients above using a hand mixer until thoroughly mixed.

  • Refrigerate until firm.

  • Add to a piping bag and pipe onto the center of a cookie.

  • Then add another cookie on top to create the sandwich. And roll the outside with crushed candy cane. That’s it!

Serving: 1g | Calories: 149kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 9mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Calcium: 11mg

If you liked this Xmas cookie recipe, try these holiday meringues. They’re made with blood oranges and oh-so-pretty. Another solid addition for a Christmas cookie exchange, even though they’re not technically cookies.

Are you baking any holiday cookies this season? What recipes are your faves? And (maybe) more importantly… Do you like egg nog?!

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The Ultimate Cleaning Supplies Checklist To Decontaminate Your Home!

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If you need to stock up on green cleaning supplies so you can make DIY cleaners; we’ve got you covered which this ultimate checklist for cleaning supplies and cleaning products for around your home. Before you make DIY cleaners though it is imperative that you have spray bottles like these, the pigment in the glass keeps your cleaners safe from UV rays. How cool is that?!

 

The Ultimate Cleaning Supplies Checklist To Decontaminate Your Home!

To start with, an all-purpose cleaner will work well with a lot of surfaces. That includes the cleaning of cupboards, shelves countertops and more from the kitchen to your bedroom to the bathroom.

 

Recommended Resource: How To Clean A Mirror Like A Pro

 

Have you seen this green cleaning supplies checklist? It has lots of great cleaning products you need in your home if you want to make some DIY cleaning supplies for the environment. DIY Cleaning supplies also save a lot of time and money in the long run which is great for your family time. Cut down on cleaning with expert cleaning hacks and diy homemade cleaners #cleaning #cleaninghacks #cleaningsupplies #checklist

 

Want to make your own cleaning products? Make sure you keep your cupboards stocked up on:

  • White vinegar (one of these big bottles can make up to 6 months of all cleaning supplies in your home, sometimes even longer)
  • Castille soap (base of all soap products you may end up making)
  • Your favourite essential oil (I love using this exact grapefruit scent for cleaning supplies)

Glass cleaner; Want to make your own glass cleaning products? Make sure you keep your cupboards stocked up on:

 

Other supplies:

  • Floor cleaner. You will want to make sure that you keep one to hand for each type of floor in your home. For example, laminate, tile or carpet.
  • Furniture polish. For cleaning sideboards in the living room to dressing tables in your bedroom, make sure you keep furniture polish to hand.

 

Related Post: 20 Mind Blowing Cleaning Hacks To Keep Your House Faster For Longer

 

Want to make cleaning supplies to help the environment?

Have you seen this green cleaning supplies checklist? It has lots of great cleaning products you need in your home if you want to make some DIY cleaning supplies for the environment. DIY Cleaning supplies also save a lot of time and money in the long run which is great for your family time. Cut down on cleaning with expert cleaning hacks and diy homemade cleaners #cleaning #cleaninghacks #cleaningsupplies #checklist

Make sure you keep your cupboards stocked up on:

  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • White vinegar
  • Duster. From gathering cobwebs to cleaning dust off your TV a duster should be a staple in any home.
  • Loofa Sponges are an excellent replacement for traditional kitchen sponges and are 100x better at scrubbing dishes than these silicone excuses for sponges.
  • Rags, microfibre cloths or reusable paper towels like these. You want to make sure you have a variety of materials to ensure you don’t cause scratches when cleaning.
  • Gloves. Whether you choose to use commercial cleaners or fancy making your own, protecting your skin is important – especially if you are prone to eczema or sensitive skin.

 

Related Post: 20 Life-Changing Cleaning Hacks & Recipes!

 

Have you seen this green cleaning supplies checklist? It has lots of great cleaning products you need in your home if you want to make some DIY cleaning supplies for the environment. DIY Cleaning supplies also save a lot of time and money in the long run which is great for your family time. Cut down on cleaning with expert cleaning hacks and diy homemade cleaners #cleaning #cleaninghacks #cleaningsupplies #checklist

Here are a few of the top supplies you will need for cleaning in your kitchen:

  • A drain cleaner. Keeping on top of the cleaning will hopefully prevent the need for unblocking your drain. Want to make your own? Make sure you keep your cupboards stocked up on:
  • Salt
  • Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • White vinegar
  • Washing-up liquid (or dishwasher tablets). This will help you keep on top of all the dirty dishes.
  • Stainless steel cleaner.

This is for cleaning your sink, appliances and other metal items in your kitchen. Want to make your own? Make sure you keep your cupboards stocked up on:

Washing-up liquid

Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

A cleaner safe for food appliances. Here is some great advice from the Food Standards Agency.

 

General cleaners are often not safe for microwaves, ovens and fridges, so you need specific cleaners.

Want to make your own? Make sure you keep your cupboards stocked up on:

  • Lemons
  • Scrub brush. This will help you clean all your pots and pans.
  • A bottle brush (or two!) Ever wondered how to clean the inside of narrow-neck items? A bottle brush will do the trick!

 

We now have a simple guide to stay clean and organised!

With all cleaning supplies and taking steps to learn other hacks like how to clean a mirror, toilet or sink; you can begin to get on top of your home and keep it looking fresh. Don’t forget to utilise all of the incredible cleaning guides available here on the blog!

Have you seen this green cleaning supplies checklist? It has lots of great cleaning products you need in your home if you want to make some DIY cleaning supplies for the environment. DIY Cleaning supplies also save a lot of time and money in the long run which is great for your family time. Cut down on cleaning with expert cleaning hacks and diy homemade cleaners #cleaning #cleaninghacks #cleaningsupplies #checklist

 



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How I Drive Etsy Sales With My Blog–BAM Method!

How I Drive Etsy Sales with my Blog - EverythingEtsy.com

Got an Etsy Shop?  Want More Sales?

I always talk about how starting a blog for your Etsy shop is super important.  I can drive Etsy sales to my new shop with my blog almost instantly!  It’s not as hard as you might think and there are a list of benefits to growing this type of traffic to your shop.   Even if you keep it simple and sweet for years…you need to start now!

{There’s a special at the bottom for starting your blog, plus free coaching from me!}

I published a post about my new Etsy shop recently and BAM…sales!

Here’s how you can do it for yourself… {The BAM Method}

B – Blog about your shop!  You can share your products, your process, your materials, your story behind the shop…whatever…just blog. You will instantly reach readers now plus new reader will find it later through search traffic.  It’s the kind of promotion that keeps on giving for years.  How awesome is that?!?

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A- Ask for an action…more than once.  Actually asking people to click through to your shop will give you amazing results.  Don’t shy away from adding a few links!

I looked at my Etsy shop stats the day after I posted about my new shop.  93% of the traffic to my shop was a result of my blog post and 7% was from Etsy in one way or another!!!  Hellloooo…you can’t depend on Etsy to share your products.  But, you can do a killer job of bringing people to your shop by promoting yourself with a blog!  I had about 15 sales right away and that’s an awesome way to start! 

M- Make a big deal out of it!  In the past I would down play any promotion of my shop for fear of being spammy to my readers.  But, readers really like to know more about what’s going on with you…so share!

Post on social media and link back to your blog post!  They will get to know you so much better this way and you’ll grow blog followers that will keep coming back to see what you’re up to on a regular basis.  Just sending them to a shop really doesn’t do this at all.

Follow these simple steps and

BAM!!!!– sales roll in. 🙂

I’m thrilled I have a blog to start my sales off on the right foot when I introduce something new.  If you don’t already have a blog it’s time to start one!

The Special Offer I Have for You…

Get Started Blogging for Your Etsy Shop

Click right here to start with this special they have right now! 

Plus, if you start a blog through this affiliate link I will help you with some “Blogging Success” coaching to get you started off on the right track for you!  It’s personal coaching!!!  Just email me your name and order number and I’ll send you some questions to get us started.  Then we’ll discuss any ideas or concerns you might have about blogging to promote your Etsy shop.

A common question…

Why is a blog better than just posting to social media?

This is one of those subjects that I can get so super excited about that I could come off as bossy.  So, I apologize up front.

When you post on social media you have no control over who sees your post.  Yes, I know there are ways you can increase this by tagging and other methods, but let’s be real.  Facebook is in charge of Facebook.  Everything Etsy has over 100,000 Facebook friends and there was a time where it worked like magic for reaching everyone.  Now I’m happy if my post reaches 5,000 people.  I could be giving away gold and I can’t reach all my followers without paying for ads.  Not cool.

It’s like this in one shape or another on all social media platforms.  They can still send some traffic, but it’s best to use it to grow the followers on your own blog!

Why Etsy Sellers Should Have Their Own Website - EverythingEtsy

Here’s why…

It’s all yours if you are set up with a WordPress site.    You can easily set up a theme and make it perfect for you!  It’s completely different than setting up your blog on a platform that offers to host your site as long as you keep paying them directly.  All of your posts are actually on their site!  You don’t own it!  I know it can seem confusing, so trust me on the way to set it up. You will thank me later!

Once you have a blog set up you’ll have posts on your own site to send people to from social media.  You can set up a shop and sell directly to your loyal customers if you want.  It’s an awesome way to collect email information from interested buyers and contact them when you have new products or sales.  You are in control of your information and you will build on that year over year. 

You build your own search engine traffic.  Your authority online goes up over time and that’s why you start NOW…not later when you have time to make it perfect.  Sorry to sound bossy…lol!

I just know the best thing we did when we started EverythingEtsy.com over 10 years ago was starting with our own WordPress site.

Even if you change the type of Etsy shop you have later this same blog will work for you!  You grow a group of followers that love what you do.  They will stick with you over the years no matter what!  I love that!!!

So, head on over here to get started with your WordPress site hosting and then email me so I can connect with you and help coach you through your ideas and give you some helpful tips that I’ve learned from experience.  I’m here to help!

I’m excited to be the one to help you realize the crazy potential blogging can have for your business!  Yay!

~Kim



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Sell Digital Downloads Like A Boss Even If You’re Clueless

Please note that this page might contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy

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Don’t you hate it sometimes, when you see people being able to sell digital downloads and making an absolute fortune on Etsy or Shopify* on products that cost a few bucks? Why the heck can’t I do that?

I did think that, which is why I opened a digital monthly membership site on Patreon via my crafty/creative blog for Printable planner files. You can do it! It’s entirely possible to sell digital PDF’s and get paid monthly.

There are many ways that you can make money selling digital products or downloads for making craft products like totes, tea towels, and bags.

My advice is that you should start a secret Pinterest board to keep all of your inspiration. Remember that it’s okay to be inspired by others, but you should never rip off another designer. That’s not cool. Not to mention illegal.

 

Where can I sell my digital products?

 

You can open an Etsy store and sell, or click here to start a 30 day free trial with BigCommerce and start selling digital products. BigCommerce is a complete ecommerce solution, similar to Shopify but it has a longer trial period. Like Shopify, BigCommerce comes with handy templates and really optimised to save you an unbelievable amount of time and increase conversions. That means, getting you as many sales as possible. However, Etsy, already have an existing base of shoppers willing to part with their money and significant SEO juice with Google. Which makes marketing a dawdle.

Scroll down or use the contents table (above the title) to see more platforms to sell, including ecommerce stores, marketing and even online courses to help you sell digital products.

Designing Easy Digital Downloads

 

The First Step Before You Sell Digital Downloads Online

Before opening a store to sell digital products, I advise that you do your keyword research using the Google Keyword Planner to ensure your idea is viable. A great store to open is digital Wall Art. It gets LOTS of searches and fairly low competition as of November 2019.

Related: How To Start an Online Craft Business, The Stupid Simple Method

How to design the actual digital downloads? It is another question entirely.

Before you sell easy digital products, learn about adobe products

Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator are the industry standard and what actual pros use. You can install a free trial and then when you decide to purchase you will be provided with a License key. Adobe are a reputable company that have been serving designers since 1986!

However, if you don’t want to use it at this stage that isn’t a problem. Simply keep going and you can see how I’ve created printables using Canva, it just has a lot of limitations. There are better options out there if this is going to be a business model.

 

Let’s Move On To Design Elements Your Audience Will Love

Where do you get the graphics for making printables or digital downloads when you can’t draw? That part is simple. By purchasing premium license files from a Website like DesignBundles (my favourite), Creative Market* or FontBundles.net*. With Font Bundles (and DesignBundles), you can save up to 94% on their bundles where you get up to 10 fonts, illustrator files and vector images. Which, is super handy for creators of digital printables.

Whereas, with Creative Market, you will be paying the designers full price + their fees. If you’re using a free online editor to create your printable downloads you will be limited by file type, so CM might be for you. They even sell templates that you can use to create your own Printables business.

I did think that, which is why I opened a membership site on Patreon via my crafty/creative blog for Printable planner files. You can do it! It’s entirely possible to sell digital downloads and get paid monthly.

There are many ways that you can make money selling digital files or downloads for making craft products like totes, tea towels and bags.

My advice is that you should start a secret Pinterest board to keep all of your inspiration. Remember that it’s okay to be inspired by others, but you should never rip off another designer. That’s not cool. Not to mention illegal.

 

Make And Sell Digital Downloads When You’ve No Idea What You’re Doing

 

You can open an Etsy store and start selling, or click here to start a 30 day free trial with BigCommerce and start selling. BigCommerce is a complete eCommerce solution that come with handy templates and really optimized to save you an unbelievable amount of time and increase conversions. That means, getting you as many sales as possible. However, Etsy, already have an existing base of shoppers willing to part with their money.

 

The First Step Before You Sell Digital Downloads

Before opening a store to sell digital products, I advise that you do your keyword research using the Google Keyword Planner to ensure your idea is viable. A great store to open is digital Wall Art. It gets LOTS of searches and fairly low competition as of November 2019.

Related: How To Start an Online Craft Business, The Stupid Simple Method

How to design the actual downloads? It is another question entirely.

 

Before You Sell Downloads, Learn about Adobe Products

Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator are the industry standard and what actual pros use.

However, if you don’t want to use it at this stage that isn’t a problem. Simply keep going and you can see how I’ve created printables using Canva, it just has a lot of limitations. There are better options out there if this is going to be a business model.

 

Now what? Let’s start with graphics, illustrations, and fonts aka Design Elements

Where do you get the graphics for making printables or digital files when you can’t draw? That part is simple. By purchasing premium license files from a Website like DesignCuts (my favourite), Creative Market* or FontBundles.net*. With Font Bundles, you can save up to 94% on their bundles where you get up to 10 fonts, illustrator files and vector images. Which, is super handy for creators of digital printables.

Whereas, with Creative Market, you will be paying the designers full price + their fees. If you’re using a free online editor to create your printable downloads you will be limited by file type, so CM might be for you. They even sell templates that you can use to create your own Printables businesses, whether using eCommerce, WordPress, or another place that allows you to sell digital products.

  

Recommended Programs To Design Digital Content:

 

Online Design Resources:

 

Graphic design courses:

 

What do I do once I’ve downloaded my purchased files?

Files are typically delivered in Zip files no matter where you buy them.

You will need to Unzip the files and review what you’ve got. If you’ve never unzipped a file before, then you can download a program like Stuffit Expander for Mac or WinZip if you’re using a Windows computer.

Then depending on the program you will be using, upload or open in your chosen software and start designing your products.

 

How do I install fonts in Photoshop or Illustrator?

Adobe has a really helpful tutorial right here.

 

How do you design and sell digital products, when you have no experience?

First of all, you will need to know what type of digital products you are going to offer.

  • Will they be digital printable files?
  • Recipe Cards?
  • Planner stickers? (easy digital downloads to create)
  • Calendars
  • Workbooks
  • Wall Art
  • Framed Prints
  • Cutting Files (popular digital files)
  • Prints to be framed and placed on a wall?

Click for an example of my digital download; printable stickers and cut file available to purchase here.

Once you have decided on the types of files you will see, you will need to choose a colour palette. If you have no idea where to begin, a colour palette site like design seeds can be an infinite source of colour combinations.

Related: How To Choose Color Like A Designer [Expert Guest Post]

 

Think About Layouts

Now you know the purpose of your download, the colours, how will you lay it all out?

At this stage, grab a pencil and a piece of paper. You will have a better idea of where you want the product to go when you can see a mini thumbnail sketch. When you see the rough draft, you will be able to figure out if there’s anything to be added or removed and adjust the design accordingly.

There’s an excellent Skillshare class that teaches you how to create thumbnail sketches for creating artwork* (you can get a free 60-day trial through that link), it was really helpful for me when I created the Darling December Printable Planner for Christmas and The Creative Happy Life Planner back in 2016.

 

If you don’t know how to use Adobe Illustrator, what can you use to make and sell digital downloads?

Canva or PicMonkey  are great online design platforms BUT that means there are a lot of Vector files and Images you won’t be able to use to their full capabilities.

You will be limited to PNG and Jpeg Digital files when you use a program like Canva to make your digital products.

If you are serious about making a living from digital products, then you should invest in the correct software.

 

Is Adobe Illustrator the best thing to use for creating Digital Products?

Short answer, Yes and no. It depends on the type of download you are offering to sell. If you are creating printable planners or ebooks, then Adobe InDesign is a much better fit. Deciding to sell stickers or tea towel designs, then Adobe Illustrator is for you.

It also means that you can purchase ai. Files, which most vectors and Font Bundle deals offer.

 

How do I learn how to use Adobe InDesign or Illustrator without losing my mind?

That one is a simple question. Brit & Co offer great classes: Intro to Adobe InDesign or An Introduction To Adobe Illustrator. Brit&Co are one of my absolute FAVOURITE websites to purchase creative classes. Honestly, I’m completely sold by all the bright colours and talented instructors they manage to get.

Once you have familiarized yourself with your chosen software, it’s time to get creating!

Top Tip: As you finish your products, be sure to save JPG files and PDF’s.

You will need the JPG files for creating ‘ads’ or promotional imagery for your listings. The PDF’s will be the digital files you deliver to the customer.

 

HOW DO I CREATE Marketing IMAGES For Your Online Store?

There are two ways, number one: print out your files and take photographs using a great camera. I use a Canon 40d (it’s an old one, check eBay*) but an intro-level Canon DSLR* (easier to use than the 40d if you aren’t familiar with DSLR cameras) would be excellent.

PicMonkey - how to create promotional images or pinterest images for your products - from How To Make and sell downloads when you're not a designer!

Personally, I used Canva for my images because it was faster than using Photoshop at the time. Upload the JPG files that you saved as you completed product creation and arrange them on coloured backgrounds like so:

Example of promo image style:

The Pretty Planner Printables Club - January Promo
A Preview Of The December Collection Available In The Pretty Printables Club (3PClub) Back Catalogue (Made to be used a month in advance)

Alternatively, you can use Flat Lay style stock photographs from Etsy* or CreativeMarket and Photoshop the JPG image of your file onto the desk or a clipboard. It’s possible to purchase something called a ‘Scene Creator’/Generator or Mock Up, to create your own flat lay on a desk using PNG files.

Example:

 

You Need To Have A Strategy To Sell Downloads and ACTUALLY Make Money

Don’t just trust me when it comes to selling Printables and digital products online. When I last chatted with my friend Julie, she mentioned that she was blown away by the results she is seeing on Etsy.

Earn $5000 From Digital products/Printables Alone?!

She said she had earned over $5,000 last year with less than an hour of work per week…needless to say, I was interested.

Julie sells printables. Think planners, checklists, wine labels, coloring pages, and wall art. These are all digital items that the customer can download and print at home. As you can see, they’re not necessarily all planner pages like the downloads that I share. 

It’s the perfect passive income product because Julie only has to make them one time, upload them to Etsy, and then thousands of customers can buy them with no further action from her.

She doesn’t have to worry about shipping or inventory like other Etsy sellers. And because she doesn’t have manufacturing costs other than her time, the profit on each sale is huge!

 

Don’t believe it?

Here is the link to Julie’s Etsy shop, The Swag Elephant, if you want to check it out. She sells printable games and decor for bachelorette parties. Julie has a course teaching others how to launch profitable Etsy printables shops and it’s opening again for enrollment later this week!

She also sent me a freebie to share with you today, it’s her Seasonal Products Secret ebook! 

The Seasonal Products Secret

Inside the ebook you’ll find 12 months of ideas for best-selling printables that you could create and sell on Etsy.

With the holidays coming up, I can definitely see how people would be shopping for seasonal printables such as gift tags, shopping checklists, greeting cards, wall art, and more!

This ebook had me brainstorming about all the printables I could make. And don’t miss your chance to get in on the Etsy Printables course that is only open to registrants for FOUR days. For a preview of the course, watch the video at the start of this post.

  

Where should you sell your digital downloads?

The fact that you are going to be selling digital products narrows the focus of where to sell your digital files.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t sell on Etsy AND have your BigCommerce store, If you want to get your digital files out there and earn a real living, then you could have a store on multiple platforms IF you can manage it. It’s hard work dealing with Etsy listings etc. So sticking to one platform to start with is highly recommended.

With a site like Etsy, there is a lot of competition but if you are savvy with your keywords and competitive pricing you should do okay. The idea is to get your audience to part with their credit card info to purchase your digital products in your online store.

 

How To Sell Using Your WordPress Blog As A Main Selling Platform:

If you have a wordpress blog that already does pretty well (you can even start your own blog and launch it in 7 days), a site like Etsy or an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce or Shopify would be ideal for you. You can direct traffic there and also sign up affiliates for your products so that they get a cut for recommending customers to buy your products.

If you want to use affiliates (like I am), it means that I can promote your products on my posts and pages and earn a small commission from Etsy for promoting their platform. It costs nothing additional (on top of standard Etsy fees) to you or your customer.

I highly recommend that you promote a platform like Skimlinks. As it automatically turns Etsy links (and others) into affiliate links.

 

How To Deliver Digital Goods With Or Without A Store

Each platform will handle the digital product delivery differently but it’s usually an instant delivery upon checkout and confirmation of payment. Be sure to accept multiple payment methods (including credit card info and debit cards) so you can make as much money as possible.

The majority of methods will require a small transaction fee but that’s the nature of the beast. You will still get paid instantly and some platforms will digitally stamp buyers’ information onto PDF products so they won’t share illegally.

 

What size of promotional images should you create when selling online when you sell digital downloads?

If you decide to sell digital goods on Etsy, your images must be 800-1000 pixels wide maximum. For good measure, I would have both portrait and landscape images. Having a portrait image could mean that your files get shared on Pinterest, as it’s a visual platform, it’s an excellent marketing tool for any small business.

Again, I would recommend having at least one Portrait image in there, maximum width 1024px. Because a lot of people have preferred platforms, and you want them to share it where people will be most engaged. That means images for Facebook Twitter Youtube and Pinterest. Yes, including youtube!

 

are you embarassed by your design skills? Learn how to make and sell printables & printable downloads when you're not a designer! Who doesn't want to make money online? You can make money in your Pj's by desinging and selling digitlal files. Check out how! #graphicdesigner #beginnerdesigner #lettering #printables #graphics

How do I write a good product description for selling online?

You will have to do a little sleuthing and check out the keywords that your competitors use. That’s the first step. To do that, you should use the Google Keyword Planner and aim for keywords that have a search volume of at least 10k and low competition.

Then there are some other things that will require a little thought…

 

Who Is The Ideal Audience Of A Digital Product Store?

Believe it or not, knowing who you are targeting will affect the language you use in your listings, headlines, and descriptions. Create a big list of all the features and benefits of your product.

Do this for every single file, although some may be rather interchangeable.

There’s an excellent tutorial on Moz about how to write product descriptions that sell. Whether you are selling via your blog, via your online store like Etsy or your ecommerce store, it’s well worth a read. Make sure that your listings are easily read because a lot of people (myself included) tend to skim through large blocks of text.

Keep in mind that people who have poor eyesight (like myself) really struggle to read large blocks of text squashed together and of course, some fonts are better than others for that.

Be sure to include a disclaimer and refund policy. It’s completely up to you, but usually, due to the nature of digital files, you don’t have to issue refunds. When you sell digital downloads, there’s no way to return the item so the customer can never use it again. Unless you show good faith and accept refunds that way. I’ve heard of others doing this and never having to issue a refund or maybe one or two.

 

Do you have any other questions related to how to make digital products or sell digital download files?

are you embarassed by your design skills? Learn how to make and sell printables & printable downloads when you're not a designer! Who doesn't want to make money online? You can make money in your Pj's by desinging and selling digitlal files. Check out how! #graphicdesigner #beginnerdesigner #lettering #printables #graphics

 



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How to Conserve Energy at Home With 14 Easy Projects

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Do-it-yourself projects can be a lot of fun, especially if they can conserve energy and save you money on utility bills. There are many ways to upgrade your home and conserve energy without hiring a professional. You don’t have to be an expert to caulk a crack, upgrade your air conditioning or change a light bulb.

Since I’ve already covered the absolute basic tips on how to save energy, I really want to you to get ready to update your home. You’ll become much more efficient, lower energy consumption and watch your savings grow thanks to those heating bills being lowered. Thus, in turn, helping you manage the fuel consumption of your heating system.

So, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and get started with some of these easy, energy-conserving projects.

 

Tips On How To Save Energy At Home:

 

Garage sale sign

1. Declutter Your Garage To Conserve Energy

Reducing the clutter in your garage can positively impact energy efficiency and energy. The more stuff you have lying around your garage, the more likely you are to harbor unwanted visitors such as rats or chipmunks.

Not to mention the fact that it’s so much more difficult to clean. While these critters might not directly reduce energy efficiency, the holes they make definitely will. Rodents, in particular, can chew through caulk and insulation and even rats can fit through a hole the size of a coin *shudder*. The last thing you want is a mouse coming in and destroying all the hard work you’ve put into energy conservation in your home.

If the rat information was enough to make you march to your garage right now and start decluttering, check out this resource. You could EASILY host a garage sale and make some money while also conserving energy in your home.

To get a grip on really decluttering and earn some money while you do it, I highly recommend this resource from professional organizer Maria Garcia!

Recommended Resource: Garage Sale Toolkit + Bonuses [As Featured In Good Housekeeping Magazine]

Garage Sale Toolkit

 

2. Build a Drying Rack To Start Saving Power

Hang drying your clothes instead of using an electric tumble dryer can reduce energy costs, shrinkage and wrinkles. Use PVC piping, ladders, towel bars or even a baby crib to build your own rack. Plus, hanging all your wet clothing in one place will keep them organized in one place and help your house feel less cluttered. 

 

3. Change Your Light bulbs 

There’s not much to this project — replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs — CFLs or LED lights. This only takes an hour or two but can save you hundreds of dollars over the next few years. CFLs use 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, so make the switch to start energy saving today.

 

4. Energy Conservation Updates In Your Home; Insulate Your Attic

Odds are your home already came with an insulated attic when you bought it. But, even a well-insulated attic can suck up your treated air if your hatch isn’t properly insulated. Place rigid foam insulation behind a thin hatch cover and tape it down around the edges to create a seal.

 

5. Seal Cracks in Your Garage To Start Saving Energy

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

You can better insulate your garage by replacing your weatherstripping. This closes any gaps between the garage door and the floor. Replacing the stripping is easy and affordable, and most kits come with instructions, so you can do it yourself. 

You can also seal cracks in the concrete slabs of your garage flooring. These cracks expand and contract as temperatures change and can weaken the seal between the floor and walls, reducing your home’s energy efficiency. Combat this issue by applying a new sealant over a freshly patched slab. Then, apply a foam sealant or latex caulk to the seam where the ceiling and walls connect.

 

6. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Don’t waste money making your home comfortable if there’s no one there to enjoy it. If you’re leaving for vacation or a long day at work, turn your thermostat down a few degrees — or completely off — to save energy while you’re gone. You can manage your air conditioning unit, the heating and cooling, you name it. You’ll see your savings start to grow since you’re able to manage it from afar.

Many programmable thermostats even come with a mobile app, so you can control your home’s temperature directly from your smartphone. Saving energy couldn’t get any easier! Use the Energy Saver Button. On most window air conditioners, it will kick off once the room gets to a certain temperature but the fan still runs which is a waste of energy.

 

7. Insulate Your Water Heater Tank

If your water heater is more than 10 years old and hot to the touch, you’re probably losing heat to outside air. That means your water is going to use a lot of power to heat the water. Insulating it can save energy and keep your heater running at peak performance is one of my absolute favourite energy saving tips. Purchase an insulating blanket from your local hardware store and wrap it around your heater to improve energy efficiency and keep your water at an ideal temperature, especially during winter!

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

Can you imagine getting into a bath that’s full of mostly cold water AND it’s the winter? No thank you. I’ll take warm water every time. Regularly taking showers instead of baths though, will also save water. Energy-saving doesn’t have to be difficult. All you are doing with this marvellous energy saving tip is putting a jacket on a tank.

 

8. Saving Energy Used By Devices

Phone charger, TVs and game consoles can all suck energy, even when not in use. Save energy and money by unplugging them before going to sleep or leaving for vacation or use power strips with individual switches. This saves power easily. Doing so could save you around $100 a year if you remember to switch off items regularly to save energy and unplug any devices or electronics that you aren’t using. We want to reduce energy bills, save money, and become much more efficient.

 

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter
How To Sew A Draught Excluder [ Video Tutorial ]

9. Make a draught excluder!

Using a draught excluder on the bottom of your doors will stop heat escaping, making the room you are in much warmer. Saving heat, fuel and money. Boom. Turning you into an energy-efficient, money-saving maven in no time.

 

10. Vacuum The Back Of Your Refrigerator

I know I told you this tip in the beginning, but a lot of people are really bad at reading so it bears repeating. It’s so simple to do. Pull out the fridge, and vacuum the heating and cooling element on the back for better energy conservation. It will be easier to keep food cool when your fridge isn’t working overtime.

 

11. Epic Energy Saving Tip – Defrost The Freezer

Much like the energy-saving tip with vacuuming the back of the fridge, when the elements are clogged up it requires your freezer to work harder to keep things cold. Defrosting is one of the best energy-conservation things that you can do in your kitchen apart from buying appliances that have a great energy star rating. If you do that, you will be energy-saving all over the place, by regularly reducing your power usage.

 

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

12. Want To Improve Energy Efficiency By Saving Water?

If you live in the United Kingdom where it rains all the time, get yourself a water butt to increase those water savings and be much more energy efficient in your home AND garden. Saving water makes you much more energy efficient by reducing emissions from the pump required to heat water. It will reduce overall energy use and water bills, increase your savings, not to mention the impact that it will have on your local environment!

 

13. Reduce Power Use In Your Kitchen

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

To save energy while still using appliances, check on how much water and energy each cycle of your washing machine and dishwasher use. Sometimes, the eco option isn’t actually as eco-friendly as we think. Of course, it all depends on the appliances that you use and how much energy, they in turn use. It will require a little sleuthing on your part, but becoming more energy-efficient is directly linked to your bank account, so it’s worth it.

 

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

14. Become More Energy Efficient In the Bathroom:

There are some very basic energy-saving methods in the bathroom; stop taking baths, turn off the taps when brushing teeth and stick a brick in the toilet cistern to save water!

 

How can we conserve energy?

Thankfully, there are some nifty projects that we can do in the home in to start conserving energy and becoming more efficient. You’ll notice that you start saving both money, and energy consumption.

Of course, you should do the absolute basic energy conservation in your home. That includes using power strips to conserve energy and electricity.

 

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

Do you really want to save energy?

Improve energy efficiency today. Here are a few very quick tips to get started:

  • Clean your shower, your air conditioner, the heating and cooling elements on the back of the fridge; all of these make you more energy efficient than you are right now.
  • Use a shower pebble to time your washes in the morning, this will save water and thus, energy.
  • Shower instead of bathing to save energy.
  • Increase energy efficiency by ensuring your appliances have an energy star rating. An energy star rating “is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.” source. So be sure look out for the energy star on all new appliances.
  • Start energy saving by getting your air conditioner and boilers serviced every year.
  • If your air conditioner or boiler needs replaced, then replace it sooner rather than later because it will waste a lot of energy if it’s faulty.
  • Regularly check on the heating and cooling elements on the fridge and freezer to ensure that food is actually being frozen and the motors aren’t overdoing it. Those motors are energy suckers! We want to be as energy-efficient as possible.
  • Save power and energy by unplugging devices and consoles
  • Increase your savings by switching energy suppliers

 

Why should we conserve energy?

We must save the environment as our energy sources are limited. Full stop. Excellent consequences of being eco-conscious; you save water, increase personal savings, reduce how much fuel we use and getting a regular reminder to keep things clean! That’s the reason why we should conserve energy. If we don’t, the future generations have no way to heat their homes, power their homes and consuming in general.

Energy sources should be treated as precious and it’s important to remember that while you will still save money, saving energy should be your priority as our energy sources are depleting at a rapid rate. Having concern for the world your grandchildren will certainly affect the way you view energy sources and energy conservation.

 

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

Get Creative When You Think Of Energy Conservation

DIY projects can add value to your life and home, but only if you finish them. Don’t take on more projects than you can handle and do your homework to make sure the time and money are well spent. If the effort and resources you put into a project are equivalent to the energy you’ll save, then get creative today.

 

Are you ready to conserve energy at home, be warm, enjoy life and still save money in the process? This guide walks you through projects you can do today! These 14 projects will walk you through all the best energy saving tips we could think of to help you save energy in your house and save money at the same time. You don't have to be cold and miserable, or really even notice a big difference. Start saving more energy at home #conserveenergy #energysaving #homeowner #renter

 



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3 Natural Cleaning Products you Can DIY at Home Today (That Actually Work)

Spraying homemade glass cleaner onto a window and wiping it clean.

The other day, I went to clean off the kitchen counters and realized we were out of our normal cleaner. No big deal, but I knew the cleaning mood I was in wouldn’t last long enough for a trip to the store and back. So, I looked through the house for a few household items I could use instead.

Well, it turns out, they not only work really well, they’re also very, very affordable. AND all natural…you can even make them organic. So, I wanted to share 3 DIYs for natural cleaning products you can make today (that actually clean!). There’s a natural glass cleaner, a natural all-purpose cleaner, and a natural room spray.

Admittedly, after making the switch to unpaper towels a while back, I’ve been slowly but surely overhauling  how we do things in our house. I’ve (mostly) swapped out our single use plastic bags for cute reusable silicone versions. I’ve said goodbye to our dish sponges in favor of DIY sisal scrubbers (I’ll share the tutorial soon). And put DIY beeswax wraps on my list of to-dos to make before the holidays, so I have more reusable options for wrapping food.

These natural cleaners are just the next thing on the list. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally not against buying natural cleaners at the store. In fact, I’m sure I’ll still do that because there are certain things that I just don’t know how to make / or know if I’d want to make. Like dish and dishwasher soap, laundry detergent, etc. But for everyday cleaning, like wiping down our glass windows, doors, and mirrors or cleaning the dining room table, etc these DIY natural cleaners felt like the perfect thing to add to my kitchen arsenal.

Plus, I get to store everything in cute glass spray containers, and can refill them easily without having to go buy another container, etc. Which kinda makes them eco friendly cleaning products too, right?

Think you’d like to give these DIY natural cleaners a try? Here’s how to make your own…

Homemade cleaners in glass bottles on counter with grey backsplash

A (Natural) Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

NOTE: This is a natural all-purpose cleaner, but you’ll want to do a small test on any surface before general use. Not recommended for marble or other stone surfaces.

To make a homemade all-purpose cleaner, you’ll need the following items:

  • White vinegar: Any run of the mill white vinegar will do. I suggest getting a large(ish) container so that you can continue to use your citrus peels as you have them. You can store the citrus infused vinegar in jars for when you run out to avoid having to make a trip to the store.
  • Citrus peels and rinds: You can use lime, lemon, clementine, or orange peel. For this cleaner, we used orange peels.
  • Fresh herbs (optional): Fresh herb options include – basil, rosemary, sage, lavender. This is just to add to the scent of the vinegar. Try different combinations with different citrus peels like lemon and basil or orange and sage.
  • Mason jar or any other glass container that can handle hot/boiling temperatures.
  • Glass spray bottle: You can also use a recycled spray bottle from another cleaner. Just make sure that its completely cleaned out.
  • Water

The recipe is 2 parts vinegar and 1 part citrus, so the measurements will depend of how much of either ingredient you have.

Start by boiling the vinegar. Pour your 2 parts of vinegar into a pot and heat over medium. While waiting for the vinegar to boil, put your citrus peels in a jar or glass container suitable for boiling temperatures. Once your vinegar is at a boil, pour the vinegar over the citrus peels and allow to cool. After the vinegar has cooled, put the jar in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the citrus to steep in the vinegar. After 24 hours, pour the vinegar into the stray bottle until its halfway full. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water to dilute.

You can keep the peels in the spray bottle for up to a week (or longer) if you’d like to continue to steep them in the cleaner. I never took the peels out of my cleaner (they’ve been in there for close to a month) and they still seem completely fine. No mold, mildew, or weirdness forming at all.

If you do decide to remove the peels though, make sure they’re small enough to get out once they’re in. The easiest way to determine that is to ensure they’re smaller than the spray bottle hole. After a week, strain the peels out and pour the cleaning solution back into the spray bottle.

Natural homemade room spray in an amber bottle being sprayed.

How to Make a Natural Room Spray

To make a natural room spray and get the air in your home smelling good, you’ll need the following items:

  • Unscented witch hazel: This can be found in most grocery stores in the health and beauty section. I found this at Whole Foods. Be mindful that there are a lot of pre-scented witch hazels. Be sure to get unscented!
  • Essential oils: You can really use any scent that you like. If you’re making a room spray for your bedroom, lavender, bergamot, patchouli, and sandalwood are all good choices to help with falling asleep. If you’re looking for the opposite, lemon, orange, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint are all good oils to use for a boost of energy.
  • 2oz Amber or cobalt glass spray bottle: Sunlight can cause deterioration to the aromatic and therapeutic properties of essential oils. Darker glass keeps out the sunlight, so its best to store anything made with essential oils in amber or cobalt glass bottles.
  • Water

Start by filling half of the amber spray bottle with unscented witch hazel. Drop 25-30 drops of essential oils into the bottle. You can use all of one scent, or create mixtures. Here are some great combinations that smell oh so good:

  • bergamot and orange
  • rosemary and peppermint
  • lavender and rose
  • sandalwood and patchouli

Test out your combinations with 1:1 drops on a piece of paper or a napkin to make sure you like the smell.

After you’ve added your oils, fill the rest of your spray bottle with water, shake, and get to spraying!

I like to spray the rosemary peppermint or the lavender rose in the bedroom as I’m getting ready for bed. It’s a nice little ritual that signals to my brain that it’s time to wind down.

Spraying homemade glass cleaner onto a window and wiping it clean.

A (Natural) Homemade Glass Cleaner

To make a natural homemade glass cleaner, you’ll need the following items:

  • Vodka (1 cup): Don’t overdo it. The bottom shelf and cheapest option should do.
  • White vinegar (1/4 cup): Go big! Vinegar is always handy when making household cleaners. Once you know this method of cleaning works for you, splurge for the big jug (which will actually end up saving some money in the long run).
  • Glass Spray Bottle: You can also use a recycled spray bottle from another cleaner. Just make sure that its completely cleaned out.
  • Water
  • Funnel (optional): This could make adding the ingredients to the spray bottle a little easier. Its not necessary if you have a steady hand.

Start with your empty spray bottle. Add the vodka and vinegar into the bottle then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake and then your spray is ready to use!

This natural glass cleaner works like a charm! And it’s probably my favorite of the three, if I had to choose just one. I use it on all the windows and glass doors every couple of weeks. And I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the blue stuff again. You can also use it as a homemade eyeglass cleaner and has to be one of the best glass cleaner for car windows too. And sooo inexpensive – you can use this homemade glass cleaner for so many things.

Holding homemade cleaners in kitchen with light grey backsplash.

Photography Amelia Lawrence

Have you ever tried making your own natural cleaners at home? I bet you already have most if not all of these ingredients in your home to give it a try.

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