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I’ve always felt very awkward with the saying “Happy Memorial Day” and I’m a bit uncomfortable with the commercialization of the day. Memorial Day is, after all, supposed to be a day to remember those who died in armed conflicts. A thought-provoking war memorial I saw in Sydney, Australia seemed a much more appropriate way to commemorate loss of life than bogo deals and parties.

lest we forget

I’m not trying to be a downer, but my inner history nerd feels compelled to point out what Memorial Day is “really” about! I sincerely hope that you don’t have a personal reason to mark the day.

Alright, now that I’ve shared my thoughts on Memorial Day, let’s get to the point of this post – June 2017 blog planner printables!

Free blog planner printables for June 2017

Just like last month, June’s stats tracker printable is available in the “printables for members” area of the blog. If you’re not a member and would like to become one while gaining instant access to the printable, you can download it for free from my Selz “store” here.

June 1017 free blog planner printable

I’m really looking forward to finishing up my May blog stats tracker page in just a few more days! May is always my “best” month for views, and I’m eager to see how the month ends up. I suspect this May will be my best month ever (in terms of views, though not by some other measures). I wish I had other seasonal posts that performed as well as my lei making tutorials do during graduation season, but I haven’t found quite the right thing yet.

If you’re just starting your blog stats tracking journey, you may also be interested in my 2017 printable blog planner calendar. It has a page for each month as well as pages for you to jot down post ideas.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; tracking and planning are key to success in virtually any venture. It seems boring and cumbersome, but once you get into the groove of planning and tracking it can be really rewarding! I absolutely love looking back over the past two years to see how things have grown!

Planning is also very important me right now in other ways – getting ready to be away from home for a month takes a bit of preparation! In the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing tips on preparing your Etsy store for vacation and preparing for vacation as a blogger. I hope you enjoy them and have insights of your own to add!

How was your May?

 

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I haven’t shared a reading list in a while, so today I wanted to post about books to spark your desire to live more naturally. These books are really speaking to me right now as we prepare for our summer trip to West Virginia!

5 books to spark your desire to live more naturallyI love the smell of fresh dirt, gardening, and getting my hands down in the soil. I love hearing the wind rustling in the summer foliage and the sound of dry leaves crinkling underfoot in the fall. I enjoy sitting on the porch in the morning to watch for chipmunks and bunnies. I find it adorable that a nest of flying squirrels moved into an outbuilding for the winter. I love taking a break to stare into the creek looking for crawdads. Weirdly, I even enjoy keeping an eye out for poison ivy and copperheads while walking through the woods. (Though, I have to admit, I don’t like the post-walk obligatory tick checks!) I can’t wait to be truly surrounded by nature again – not just enjoying a park or botanical garden. Until then, reading will have to help tide me over!

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Do you have a UFO basket? This adorable tiki felt ornament was in my UFO basket for almost a year before I pulled him back out again! I’m really not sure why – it took me three or four tries to get the pattern just the way I wanted it, but once it was clear everything was working out, I put him with the rest of my felt scraps on the back burner for months. Recently I pulled this felt tiki back out and made a couple more, so I thought it was high time to share my tiki felt ornament pattern! This felt tiki also makes a fantastic bookmark and a totally cool rockabilly-style brooch (plus I think he has some potential as an awesome gift topper, too!). I hope you enjoy this felt pattern. 🙂

Felt TIki Ornament Brooch and Bookmark Tutorial and Pattern

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Lavender is one of my absolute favorite flowers. Besides the fact that I love purple and adore the way lavender smells, it is also very evocative for me. Lavender makes me think of summer, of the buds releasing their scent into the sun’s heat. It makes me think of the soporific droning of bees buzzing. It reminds me of southern France, the summer I spent with family there during high school, and how we’d walk through Medieval streets to the food market to buy fresh goat cheese or vegetables. In short, lavender makes me think of living life more slowly and savoring the experience. With our summer trip on my mind, I decided to put together an ultimate lavender crafts tutorials roundup! Because I always have culinary lavender and lavender essential oil at home, I’m also including tutorials for a lavender sea salt scrub, simple mini lavender bunches, and a lavender pomander!

ultimate lavender roundup

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My mom has always been a knitter. Well, I assume there was a point in her life before she learned how to knit, but it was before I can remember! Like many fiber enthusiasts, she ends up leftover bits of yarn. When she came to visit in February, she brought me a few of these balls of scrap yarn. How exciting! I decided to put some of the yarn to work as a necklace. After playing around with several ideas, I came up with this mini yarn skein necklace tutorial! It’s easy, fun, and a great handmade gift idea for yarn lovers. I hope you enjoy!

mini yarn skein necklace tutorial

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When there’s a little space left in your carryon, what do you bring? More snacks or more crafts? It’s a tricky question! It’s also a question I’ll be facing again soon as we prepare to head to West Virginia. This time I may have to go for more snacks, but I usually try for the “more crafts” option, instead! I’ve tried a wide variety of crafts on airplanes and long car trips. These are, I think, the 5 best crafts for traveling. They’re portable, unlikely to get you in trouble with TSA, and generally do-able while sleep deprived!

5 best crafts for traveling - tried and true travel crafts [click to continue…]

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It’s May again, and that means graduation season is here! Each spring my ribbon lei tutorials are among my most popular posts, so this year I decided to create a free Hawaiian ribbon lei making online class! As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m in the process of re-focusing my blog, so creating a new free course that reflects the type of content I post regularly has been on my to-do list. Demonstrating how to make a ribbon lei seemed like the perfect opportunity to create a new, crafting-based class and I’m super exited to launch it today! I’ve previously posted a braided ribbon lei tutorial and DIY double ribbon lei, so this year I want to share how to make a loopy ribbon lei. This lei is more substantial than a braided lei, and it’s great for graduation because it’s easy to use multiple colors of ribbon. The class is completely free and shows you, step by step, how to create a lei like this from just a few dollars worth of materials:

how to make a loopy ribbon lei - Hawaiian ribbon lei online class

If you think you might interested in learning how to make this lovely style of ribbon lei, I encourage you to check out the quick intro video:

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Both toilet paper and paper towel rolls are very popular for crafts. They’re virtually free, and who doesn’t want free crafting supplies? However, I’ve noticed a lot of concern about the safety of using paper rolls for crafts, especially toil paper rolls. I’ve seen people suggest spraying tubes down with Lysol or setting them in the window to catch some rays, but there’s a better way that hardly receives any attention. That’s why today I’m sharing how to sanitize paper rolls for crafts without chemicals. You don’t need any sprays and there’s no sunlight involved, plus it’s sure to kill off any lingering nasties!

how to sanitize paper rolls for crafts

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We recently received an actual, physical card in the mail and it was so nice! With email and social media connecting so many, it seems like we sometimes forget the joy of snail mail. We want all our news now, now, now!! and neglect the joys of slow living in our mad dash to share instantly. Getting a card in the mail reminded me of a lovely artist I encountered earlier this year, Naomi Bulger. Burger creates beautiful “snail mail art” and sends out templates for decorated envelopes in her monthly newsletter. She also sends her decorated envelope snail mail around the world! For a look at what she shares, check out her Sneak Peak Inside the April Snail Mail Toolkit post.

Image from, and property of, Naomi Bulger of Naomi Loves.

If you’re like me, you probably look at most decorated envelopes, mail art, and elaborately addressed missives with a sigh. Some of us just can’t draw like that! The beauty of the snail mail club newsletter is that Bulger sends out printables of her designs. You get to cut, paste, and color your way to postal beauty, even if you ‘can’t draw!’ These are a few of my favorite printable decorated envelopes from this year (the cacti are from this month and the monstera is from last month):

decorated envlopes from Naomi Loves

I can never decide which is my favorite! The templates also come with suggestions on where to place the address and what to do if you need extra space. The newsletter usually gives tips and writing prompts (this month has ideas for things you can write your mom for Mothers Day, for example). To see more of her lovely work, and a link for enrolling in the newsletter, please stop by the Naomi Loves IG page! [click to continue…]

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Top 10 Hot Glue Gun Tips & Tricks

I’ve had several comments from folks recently who said they weren’t aware that there are different types of hot glue guns, so I decided to do a post with my top 10 hot glue gun tips and tricks! Hot glue guns are frequently seen as a crafter’s best friend, but sometimes they can feel like a worst enemy! If you’ve ever been left nursing a blister or burn from a glue gun, you know what I mean. In this post I’ll be sharing tips for using a hot glue gun safely and effectively, advice on choosing the best glue for the job, and a bit about why I love using this non-toxic glue option.

hot glue gun tips

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