Life went nutty and happened completely out of the blue. The two of us were just plugging along and then our worlds changed with very little warning. We now live closer together (yay!), we have completely different jobs (kind of yay) and we are taking the blog to a more personal place.
Right now, though, we’re working on getting all the Elf stuff up and rushin’ our buns to get new options up as well. We want to offer really really really really (really) quick ideas for parents who are up to their eyeballs in work and home and holidays and everything else that is slammed on us this time of year. Some people have more time than others and some just like to dedicate more time to the ol’ elf. Whatever works for you is great with us – we just want to have what you’re looking for. So, if there’s something that could solve all your elf problems, let us know. We’ll have printables for you to download and just throw on the little scout elf while your child is brushing their teeth before school and you realize you haven’t moved the elf from a couple of days ago. You know that feeling, right? We’ll also have more in-depth scenes that let you can build if/when you have more time on your hands.
Mom and I will sit down and fill you in on what has been happening, what’s going on with the blog and all that good stuff. We promise not to leave out the details. We have a lot of catching up to do.
The vibe of things, like I said, is more personal. We aren’t organizational experts nor is our life in order. Ever. We are organized chaos. We can pull it together when we need to but we certainly don’t believe we have to have our life in order all the time. It’s just not realistic. We’ll continue to do organizational projects, DIY and all sorts of life stuff. If we learn something, we’ll share. If we see something cool, we’ll share. If we wonder about something, we’ll ask.
What it all boiled down to is that we were trying so hard to be everything until it led us to the edge of burnout. Since we have passion for what we’re doing here and love connecting with you, we needed to figure out how to focus on the things we loved and steer away from the things we didn’t. Perfection = don’t love (it’s too hard and it brings out the nasty). You = We love. So, here is us talking to you. Real. Raw. Honest. Transparent.
On to elf stuff. We shall return with more.
If you’re new here, comment with your name. We’d love to know you’ve stopped by. Also, if you want to contact us directly, please don’t hesitate to send us an email. Click on “contact” in the menu and get to writing!
Much love to you!
The website has been a hot mess for over a week AND we have some cool things coming up. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster here at oCo headquarters. We would have called you, but we were moody.
If you are new to the blog or read on a regular basis, you may have noticed that the site was down for maintenance, had images missing, was back in maintenance mode and now has images missing. Again.
We thought this was going to be the one thing that could send us over the edge. Our brain space and time was completely consumed by what was going on.
A little behind the scenes: We needed to make some adjustments to the structure of our site by a certain deadline (insert tech speak about hosting, web file management and primary domain rearrangement), so we contacted our hosting company. They are, in layman’s terms, the company that makes it possible for us to have a website online. It’s like owning property on the internet and they are our broker.
What was supposed to be a very simple adjustment turned into a total cluster. Our hosting company was scrambling to figure out what on earth had gone wrong on their end as we attempted to reset things on our end. Many hours were spent with tech support and, after meeting pretty much every person they have on payroll, we believe we’ll be invited to the next potluck at their office. Fingers crossed!
The whole process has been stressful. What do we do when we’re stressed? We organize. Well, we do that when we’re stressed, bored, happy, frustrated, etc, etc, etc. You get the point. This was our sign to get the website organized. It was becoming clear that all signs pointed to “get your crap in order, ladies.”
So we did… and we’re PUMPED about it!
In the coming months, you’ll start to see a different look on the site. We’re making things MUCH simpler for you. We preach the “quick, cheap and easy” which means we need to function in exactly that way. Always evolve, right?
Why are we telling you all this?
1. Because you’re our friend and we share everything with our friends.
2. Because we don’t want you to think that we are changing who we are – it’s just the look that’s becoming more simple.
3. Because we’re adding a “services” section which has been 100% by the request of readers of this blog!
4. Because you are the reason we are here. Without you, there’s no us.
Stay tuned and, as always, your thoughts and opinions are encouraged! Either comment on a post (including this one) or contact us via email.
You own a business.
You know about Small Business Saturday.
You have an online shop.
BUT YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO FIND YOU.
Deep breath. It’s common.
You are going to have to do a little work on your end to get the ball rollin’. Once that happens, people will catch on.
The good news? It’s all free.
10 Steps To Getting Your Business Seen This Small Business Saturday
1. SOCIAL MEDIA MAKEOVER: Make sure you have all of your social media accounts updated with your current logo (or look), your website, a good tagline or your store’s mission.
2. HASHTAG YOUR ASS OFF: Start using (or teach yourself) the hashtags #SmallBusinessSaturday and/or #SmallBizSaturday. This is what people can and will be searching for on Saturday. Plus, it gets you into the mix of all the other people doing the same thing. Hashtags work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
3. SEARCH AND CONNECT: While you’re on social media, start searching for hashtags that apply to your product or brand. Do you sell clothing from an online boutique? Start searching #leggings #fashion #whattowear #sweater #gifts. Once you find people who have pinned, tweeted or put on Facebook about something you have – WRITE A COMMENT!
4. PROMOTE YOURSELF: Don’t be shy. This is a time for self-promotion. There’s no shame in this game. In order for your business to be successful, it has to be promoted so people know you’re here. Ask anyone and everyone to get the word out about your business.
5. BLOG: Whether you do it regularly or you remember only during times like now, write a blog. You don’t have to do in depth research, just write about what you know – your business. Include many keywords, include the words Small Business Saturday and start off your blog with a quick summary of what the blog is about. Think of how a news article is written.
6. SPRUCE UP YOUR SITE: Take a peek at your website. Is it easy to figure out who you are? Can people navigate quickly? Can they read the text? Have you included an “about me” section so people know who they are shopping with? Did you explain what you sell and why it’s the best? Do you have a “contact me” section? Do you mention shipping? All of these things are important for the new customer to know. Remember, you are very familiar with what you do but not everyone else is.
7. DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS: Offer a discount. Give something, anything. Perhaps you have a special gift you can add to purchase or maybe you can offer customers a discount for shopping with you on Saturday. We all love a discount…especially this time of year.
8. SHOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT: Be active. Post pictures of what you have available online. Post it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, the home page of your website, your forehead, the neighborhood, the mall Santa. WHEREVER!
9. PIN IT ALL: We’re convinced that Pinterest is magic. If you don’t have it already, add a Pin It button to your website. Just go to Pinterest and an option will become available to you (or you can look in the top menu bar of Pinterest for more). If you make a Pin It button available, others will do the work for you in spreading the word about your business. Let their passion speak to their network. This is an invaluable way to be connected with people you wouldn’t have had an opportunity to connect with otherwise. You can also pin everything from your site. We’re all in a hurry so if we can find what we’re looking for quickly, you’ve become our best friend.
10. START A GANG: Enlist the help of others you admire. There are a ton of very successful small business owners. In fact, I’d argue you can’t even call them a small business because they are doing so well. That’s the magic of the game. They technically still qualify and are kicking serious ass doing it. Ask for help. Ask for tips. Ask if they will help you grow by giving you a mention. Does that make you nervous? There are two things that would be the absolute worst case scenario: 1. You don’t get a reply. 2. They say no. Those don’t seem so bad, do they? Get to it!
See how impactful #SmallBusinessSaturday is and read even MORE suggestions
on how to be active in promoting yourself. Find it HERE.
Side note: Take a look at this blog post that you just read. Do you see how many times ‘Small Business Saturday’ was mentioned? Do you notice how many “keywords” are used that got your attention as a business owner? Do you see how you’re reading this right now?
We attracted you. Now go attract others and tell us who you are so we can follow you!
This is a fun game, isn’t it? Congratulations on your future success! We’ll be playing the role of emotional parents applauding you from the sidelines.
Dare I say there’s a little sanity in Black Friday? This free app will give you a list of all the stores in our area, all coupons and ads available, let you search by category and even save your list so you don’t have to lug around all the ads. This is go-time and we have zero leeway to mess around.
It’s coupon clipping and shopping organization in one. Be still my heart.
The app is available on iTunes and for Android.
Oh, and P.S. the app lists online resources like Amazon.
Click on the above links and get to planning!
As with the way I do everything, I don’t take action until it’s crunch time. We’re hosting Thanksgiving, and for two weeks I’ve been thinking of ways I’d like to decorate. I’ve been laz-ing through Pinterest getting ideas, and even made a collage of ideas so I could print it and look it over when I was done working for the day and kicked back relaxing. Therein lies the problem. I work from home, and the past two weeks we’ve been slammed. There IS no “done working” nor was there any “kick-back” time or relaxing.
So here it is, two days before Thanksgiving and I just finished making my decorations…which means my decorations are done, but my house is trashed. When I’m crafting, I apparently like to involve every room in my house. Downstairs for supplies, office floor for assembly, haul it all to the living room to see how it looks, lay my project on the kitchen table to rummage through the house looking for more supplies, stack unused supplies at the top of the stairs to go down, well…you get the picture.
Here I sit with my grocery list still to be made, the house to clean, hours of work still to do, and this blog to finish that I wanted to share with those of you who have just realized you’re running out of time and need to make your house somewhat Thanksgiving-y before your guests show up. Use this quick tutorial for ideas. What I’ve done doesn’t have to be what you do. I used what I had in my craft room. All these projects should cost you is the time you decide you want to put into them. Improvise with what you have. Substitute, burlap for fabric, duct tape for a Sharpie, and come up with your own version of this last-minute DIY Thanksgiving decor.
- Black duct tape
- Black Sharpie
- Foamboard (2 pieces)
[spacer]Measure how long and wide you want your table runner. Roll out your burlap. I needed mine to be 60″ long. Burlap slips and slides around a bit, so to be able to work on mine, I butted two foam boards end to end, and pinned my burlap to them. It kept it from shifting and I was able to work on the whole runner instead of a section at a time.
Measure and mark where you want to put your tape. For my design, I found the center of the tape, then ripped it the length of my measured amount. For my middle stripe, I ripped one of the halves down the middle, then I ripped one of those in half for the thinnest stripe.
[spacer]Start sticking your tape on your runner using the lines you marked as a guide. NOTE: After this picture was taken, I replaced the thin bottom stripe with the widest one, then worked my way toward the center, adding the medium sized one, then the thinnest.
[spacer]In the corners I knocked the dust off a stencil I’ve had like forever, and colored the design in with a Sharpie. I saw a similar table runner on Pinterest and they had stenciled words along the side.I loved the look! This time I used duct tape just for the sake of saving time, but If I make another one, I’ll Sharpie some words along the side in cursive, and also color the lines in with Sharpie. To Finish: Pull strings away from the sides to ‘fray’ the edges.
- Burlap (cut in rectangles)
- Patterned scrapbook paper
- Solid color scrapbook paper
- Glue gun
- Black extra wide bias tape
- Stick-on letters
- Black acrylic craft paint
- Stiff bristled paintbrush
Decide what size you want your banner and how many letters you’ll require for the words you’ll use. Cut enough burlap pieces for your letters, allowing another inch to the square heights to allowing for turning over. Decide the size of your patterned square and cut that amount. Finally, measure and cut your solid paper squares that you’ll stick your letters on. My measurements were: Burlap squares: 5’x6-1/2″ Patterned: 3-1/2″x4-1/2″ Solid: 2-3/4″x3″.I ended up cutting down the width of my squares after I eyeballed them on my mantle and realized the banner would be way too wide. Our mantle is fairly small, and I would have had to attach one end in the dining room! Okay, I’m embellishing a bit, but be sure to pin everything and give it a dry run before you start wielding your glue gun.[spacer]
To get the edges of your solid paper to have a vintage look, lay your square on some scratch paper. Dip the end of your brush in a very little amount of paint. Brush your brush back and forth over the scratch paper until most of the paint is off your brush. Holding your brush at an angle, press down as you brush against the edge of your square. (You’ll get a feel for how hard to brush and how much paint to use as you go to get the amount of shading you want). You might want to do a practice square until you get the look you’re after. [spacer]
Stick your letters onto your solid colored squares. Glue your solid squares onto your patterned squares. Glue your patterned square onto your burlap rectangle, leaving room at the top to fold the top edge down. Glue underneath the top edge of your burlap and fold it down, pressing and creasing the flap until it dries.[spacer]
To Finish: Center your squares on the black bias tape. When you have them where you want them, open the tape and glue the back of the squares onto the bottom half of the tape. Glue the top of the squares and fold the tape over them. Embellish with buttons, twine, etc.
Candle Jar Wraps
- Rubberized shelf liner
- Glue gun
- Burlap pieces
- Coffee beans
- Scrapbook paper
- Black paper
- Epsom salt
- Glass containers + two glass votives
Wrap shelf liner around candle jar to get the measurement for cutting. Allow for the liner to have an overlap on the front. Cut the liner, then cut a small piece of burlap the same width as your liner (this will be glued to the end of the overlap). [spacer]
Glue burlap piece to underside of liner end. Glue buttons to top of liner. Scotch tape one end of the liner to your container (to keep it from slipping), then wrap the liner around the glass. Glue the underside of the overhang and push it against the liner. Fill container with coffee beans, push the glass votive into beans, and add a tealight. [spacer]
For Center Container:
Cut thin piece of shelf liner long enough to wrap around your glass container and glue it on itself. Wrap twine twice around the liner then tie in a knot leaving ends long. Cut a piece of scrapbook paper the side you want. Cut a piece of the black paper slightly larger. Cut a small strip of burlap that will extend past both edges. Glue the burlap onto the black paper. Glue the scrapbook paper over the burlap onto the black paper. Punch a hole through the corner of the paper and thread one of the strings from one side and one from the other side through the hole. Now thread one of the strings through one of the button holes, and one string from the other side through the other button-hole. Pull the strings to snug them up against the paper, then tie a bow. Trim the string where you want them. Fill the container with Epsom salts, then push branches into the salt.
Another couple quick ideas…
Glue strips of lace around a candle. I love the patterns it makes on the walls. Easy peasy![spacer]
Open a Word document. Type a few words that say what Thanksgiving means to you. Randomly change the font color. Copy and paste the words to the end of the page, then choose full justify. Print on colored cardstock, then frame. There you go. I hope these ideas will help get your creative juices flowing.
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It’s been awhile since we’ve communicated so we wanted to give you an update…in video form…because we never have.
We welcome comments, questions, suggestions or anything super random that may pop into your head – Like seeing a fly (you’ll understand what we mean after watching the vid).