Featured blog: Minted Strawberry

Today’s post is part of a series of features on blogs and Etsy shops that I love. This time it’s the turn of Aki from the blog Minted Strawberry!

Minted Strawberry is a beautiful blog featuring great craft and jewellery DIYs. Aki is so talented, I don’t know how she comes up with all these ideas! I’ve bookmarked so many of her ideas to have a go at myself!

Here is Aki to tell you all about it…


 

Describe your blog in one or two sentences.

   Minted Strawberry is a craft/DIY blog that focuses on creating and sharing handmade jewelry, accessory, printables and (sometimes) home decor. 

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What made you decide to start a blog?

   I wanted to share my ideas and printables with more than just my family and friends. I decided to start a blog as a way to log all my crafting adventures and to help me improve in many outlets – crafting itself, writing, photography and patience!

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How did you choose the name of your blog?

It’s actually pretty simple – I loved the color mint (still do!) and I love strawberries. It’s color + sweetness, which represents what I love and what I blog about (most of the time anyway). :)

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Where do you get your inspiration?

   I get inspiration from current trends in the market as well as my own surroundings.

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What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?

   It’s having the opportunity meet people I wouldn’t have met if I never blogged as well as trying out new craft products!

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What do you like to do when not working on your blog?

   When I’m not working on my blog, I would be sketching or playing MMORPGs (because I am a nerd at heart). I also have a small shop wherein I make and sell custom cake toppers (https://www.etsy.com/shop/MintedStrawberry) and freelance graphic design page (https://www.facebook.com/graphicblend) and I’m working on opening an Etsy shop for it, too. 

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What is coming up in future posts?

   I don’t know – I’m a very when-inspiration-hits-me kind of person, but definitely Fall and Halloween themed stuff! I love skulls so I’m most likely going to be working on a project with that. 

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What are your top three favourite blogs?

  It’s so hard to choose! I have a ton – but probably the ones I visit the most are A Pair and A Spare (http://apairandasparediy.com/ – she has gorgeous everything), Noveau Cheap (http://nouveaucheap.blogspot.com/ – for my daily dose of make-up stuff) and Birds Cards (http://www.birdscards.com/ – she has the most amazing cut files for the Silhouette). I know, my reads are very diverse, but they’re all craft/fashion related.


Thanks Aki! If you like what you see, head on over to Minted Strawberry to see even more!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Featured blog: The Beading Gem’s Journal

After a bit of a break I’ve decided it’s time to re-start my regular posts featuring other Etsy shops and blogs that I love. I’ll be doing this once a fortnight. Today it’s the turn of Pearl from The Beading Gem’s Journal!

I first came across The Beading Gem’s Journal when I was researching various jewellery making techniques and other aspects of jewellery making. It just kept popping up in my searches with great articles so I added it to my Feedly and now I get a daily dose of jewellery goodness, from new techniques and online tutorials to features on other great jewellery makers. If jewellery making (or indeed jewellery in general) is your thing then I’d recommend you take a look!

Here is Pearl to tell you more about it…

Describe your blog in one or two sentences

I write an inspirational jewelry blog where readers learn all about jewelry and the art of the craft in an entertaining manner. Hence “Jewelry Expressions in Bloom” (Editor’s note: this is the tagline of The Beading Gem’s Journal)

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What made you decide to start a blog?

I started the blog simply because I did not have a website.  I needed something online to publicize my workshops back in Nova Scotia where I used to live. Initially I featured many of my students’ final creations.  The blog grew from there.

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Where do you get your inspiration?

Pretty well everything!  Nature, museum trips, historical jewelry,- even wallpaper patterns!  I have an open and imaginative mind and am prepared to try anything.

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What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?

The most pleasurable part of writing the blog is the wonderful community that resulted. I have “met” so many inspirational designers and really warm and friendly people who share this craft.  When I started the blog, I wasn’t really keen on writing but after more than 7 years, I have grown to enjoy writing as another creative outlet.

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What do you like to do when not working on your blog?

Making jewelry naturally!  But I also enjoy other crafts like crochet, sewing.  When the weather is better, I also like gardening. I enjoy photography and gawking at great designs – architecture, furniture etc.  I am also a bit of a bookworm.

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What is coming up in future posts?

I never know what I might discover and share in future posts.  My blog is very fluid –  I try and share trends and great ideas as they happen.

What are your top three favourite blogs?

I have many favorite blogs covering a wide variety of topics reflecting my interests – so it is hard to choose.   PetaPixel is a photography blog I love.  I also enjoy the quirky Book of Joe. I used to write a lot for Trendhunter and I still enjoy reading their giant blog.

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Thanks Pearl! Please check out The Beading Gem’s Journal to dive into the beautiful world of jewellery crafting!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Featured blog – My Poppet

Every Monday I’m featuring other great Etsy sellers and blogs that I love. This week it’s Cintia and her blog My Poppet!

I think my favourite blog posts on My Poppet are some of upcycling ones, such as creating a tote bag from an 80s leather jacket, and a doll’s house from a suitcase. Here’s Cintia to tell you a little about her bright, colourful, crafty blog…

Describe your blog in one or two sentences.

Your weekly dose of crafty inspiration, one DIY craft, sewing or upcycle tutorial a week.
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What made you decide to start a blog?

My blog started a long time ago to promote my handmade business, it has evolved to become a craft DIY blog as my interests have changed. Now I prefer to share how to make things rather than sell things I make.
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Where do you get your inspiration?

I get inspired by the materials around me, I collect and thrift vintage textiles, and also by necessity. The projects I enjoy making most are the ones I have a need for. Making with a purpose is very important to me.
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What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?

There hasn’t been one thing but I love how my blog has challenged me to try new things and learn new skills. I’ve made so many friends through blogging, some of the funnest people I know are bloggers. Also it’s been great to be able to work from home and earn a part time income from blogging.
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What do you like to do when not working on your blog?

I only write one blog post a week, the rest of the time I’m wrangling a 4yo and just doing mum stuff. I also love to travel, but can only get away once or twice a year.
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What is coming up in future posts?

You tell me! I’m never organised enough to plan more than one project in advance.

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Thanks Cintia! Please check out My Poppet for a wealth of crafty inspiration!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Featured blog: Land of No Cheese

This week’s featured blog is Land of No Cheese by Emilie. It’s the first Hong Kong blog that I came across that I added to my (then) Google Reader feed – it’s such an interesting insight into Hong Kong! Emilie takes such great photos. And I love the blog name too!

Here is Emilie to tell you all about it…

Describe your blog in one or two sentences.

I would call it an excercise in making visual connections about Hong Kong by putting two (or more) photos side by side in every post. It’s not really meant to be about photography, it’s more of a repository for my eclectic visual ideas. For pure photography, I use flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/landofnocheese/

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What made you decide to start a blog?

Land of no cheese began when I moved to Hong Kong some four years ago as a way of sharing my Hong Kong impressions with friends and family overseas, but after a few months it began to transform into the semi-art project that it is now.

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Where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere I go in Hong Kong – the city, the countryside, and for the past year, underwater too as I attempt to improve my underwater photography skills gradually. My interest in photography grew exponentially after I settled here in Hong Kong. This place is unendingly fascinating to me.

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What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?

What is wonderful are opportunities this blog has given me; as a result of it, I was contacted by Time Out HK magazine and I am now a regular contributor (my photos appear in the ‘Hidden Hong Kong’ section). I have also sporadically participated in fun art and photo projects which would not have been possible without the online presence of a blog.

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What do you like to do when not working on your blog?

Over the past year I have become fairly obsessed with scuba diving and the underwater world. Although I try to go overseas to dive whenever I can, having limited time available I find myself underwater locally very regularly to satisfy my waterlust! I also love singing and am a member of the HK Bach Choir: making music makes me happy.

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What is coming up in future posts?

Impossible to say for sure: the posts appear very organically based on photos I take during the week. You can expect more underwater themes though alongside street photography, pictures of people and assorted randomness.

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What are your top three favourite blogs?

I don’t spend a lot of time browsing other blogs (!), but for content related to Hong Kong I would note the currently hibernating but otherwise excellent ‘Hong Kong and Macau Stuff’ by Philip Kenny which is bursting with info and trivia about HK heritage sites and places of interest, and which has been a very useful source of reference and ideas for me. http://orientalsweetlips.wordpress.com/

For nature photography I would recommend Sai Kung resident’s Andrew Hardacre’s stunning photoblog. I particularly admire his bird photos. http://ajh57.wordpress.com/

Finally, although not exactly a blog I would mention Hong Kong creative spirit Sasha O’s online artworks and projects: http://www.osasha.com/#!projects/cm8a

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Thanks Emilie! Check out the Land of No Cheese blog and the Land of No Cheese facebook page for more great photos and observations.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Featured blog: bluebalu

First of all, apologies for the lack of posts last week. A combination of being very pregnant and celebrating Tom’s birthday meant that I didn’t get much done!

This week’s featured blog is bluebalu: Living in Hong Kong, written by Ruth. The blog features a range of posts about life in Hong Kong, including lots of great photography, articles about hiking and restaurant reviews and tips on what to do and see in Hong Kong! She posts every day, so you are treated to regular updates!

Describe your blog in one or two sentences.

I started my blog ‘bluebalu: living in Hong Kong’ in January 2011 to keep my friends and family in Europe updated about my life in Hong Kong. Since then my blog has evolved and I write for a wide audience of people interested in what’s happening in Hong Kong in general, from good places to eat, scenic routes to hike, exhibitions to visit, interesting photo locations as well as trips to other cities and countries in Asia.

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What made you decide to start a blog?

My main reason was to stay in touch with friends and family, then over time, it became a way to keep track of what I was experiencing in Hong Kong and an outlet for my pictures and stories.

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Where do you get your inspiration?

From everywhere around me – sometimes it’s a story that I read on the SCMP or the web. Other times it’s something my colleagues told me over lunch or what I’ve overhead on the hiking trails. A few times I just looked through the pictures I had recently taken and picked the best to share on my blog.

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What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?

It allowed me to connect with some really great people. I’ve had quite a few emails from people that have lived in Hong Kong many years ago and are sharing their thoughts and experiences. Other times I received emails from travellers that are soon coming to Hong Kong and either would like to have a few tips or would even like to meet up for some dim sum or drinks.

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What do you like to do when not working on your blog?

Hiking, taking pictures and playing with my kitten Sam, a British Shorthair cat that we’ve adopted in May this year.

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What is coming up in future posts?

I don’t plan my posts – they just happen. I’m currently blogging about my recent trip to Singapore, then I’ll feature some new restaurants I’ve tried recently in Hong Kong.

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What are your top three favourite blogs?

Can I select more than three? When it comes to Hong Kong and Macau I love the recipes on http://jasmineandginger.blogspot.hk/, the food reviews on http://www.hungrysu.com/ and the pictures & stories on http://julianaloh.com/. Jen from http://expatlingo.com/ makes me laugh with her humour and cartoons and Gary’s pictures on http://www.f8photography.com.hk/blog/ are mind-blowing.

Thanks Ruth! Please check out bluebalu: Living in Hong Kong to see more of Ruth’s great photography and insights into Hong Kong life.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Blog feature: Make My Day Creative

For the last couple of weeks in my ‘featuring’ series I’ve been featuring Etsy shops, but I’m also featuring blogs too! Today’s featured blog is by a good friend and fellow ex-engineer, Esther. Esther’s blog Make My Day Creative features a range of crafty tutorials and inspiration from the wonderful things that Esther makes. But I’ll let her tell you all about it herself :)

Describe your blog in one or two sentences.

Make My Day Creative is about inspiring people to try something new creatively, and to not be afraid to have a go.

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What made you decide to start a blog?

I started the blog after giving up my full time job due to stress.  For a long time I hadn’t had the time or capacity to do anything creative, and felt like I didn’t have any outlet for my creative side.  The blog was a way of motivating myself to get going again and to acknowledge the things I was doing.  Now I just love doing it and getting comments and tips from my readers and other bloggers!

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Where do you get your inspiration?

Usually, each thing I make is inspired by the person I am making it for, something I have that I want to use up or up-cycle, or by something I have seen that inspired me, usually from Pinterest or another blog.  For example, the Scottie Dog garland I recently made was a pattern for dogs I spotted on Ravelry and thought of my friend who has a cute Westie (not dissimilar to a Scottie!).  When I last saw her she was saying she wanted to add more girly touches to her little girl’s room, which had gender neutral décor.  So I made the dogs into a garland and added pink bows and flowers for a gift.

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What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?

The fact that people read it!  Also, the encouragement I have received from comments and seeing my posts on sites like pinterest.

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What do you like to do when not working on your blog?

Not everything I make ends up on my blog, but most does and this takes quite a bit of time!  I also love to read, spend time with friends and family, and play games (I have got into arguments with other competitive friends about who is the most competitive…).

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What is coming up in future posts?

I wish I was one of those bloggers who plan out their posts in advance!  I usually only have one post ahead of the last one, and by that I mean the project is done but the post still actually needs writing!  Having said that, you can expect to see more crochet on my site in the future because I have gotten really hooked (sorry) and it is my most popular subject area.

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What are your top three favourite blogs?

This is a hard one!  I like Renegade Seamstress, because she is very creative and fixes stuff without using patterns, so you feel you can do it too.  I also love my sister in law’s site Helen Chandler because she has a way of making everyday life hilarious.  Stitchedupmama is good for thinking outside the box, and her style is quite different to mine which is great for inspiration.

Thanks Esther! I really would recommend checking out her blog for some great craft projects. I have my eye on that basket tutorial… one day when I learn to crochet maybe…

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Switching from Google Reader

A couple of months ago, Google announced that it would be discontinuing its Google Reader tool on the 1st July. I, along with many other blog lovers, was pretty disappointed at this news because I use it on a daily basis. I recently had a bit of a purge but was still left with 60 blogs that I follow! (maybe I’ll post about some of my favourites one day?!)

I found Google Reader pretty straightforward to use and its availability on different platforms is a big bonus for me. I use it via the website on my PC and iPad and via the Google Reader app on my Android phone. Therefore I was a bit worried that the alternatives wouldn’t suit me as well.

I recently started doing some research (slightly last minute, as ever!) and I read this article, along with a bunch of others (although I found they provided little additional info). And based on this research, I decided to give Feedly a go.

I chose Feedly because it was well recommended on pretty much every website I looked at, and it is also available for both web use and Android.

When I started I was a bit confused by the website as first of all it doesn’t show up correctly in Internet Explorer, the browser I usually use. I also use Firefox, so I accessed the Feedly website through that and clicked on the ‘get Feedly through Firefox’ link. It downloaded some software (I’m not sure why) and then the Feedly front page appeared. I was given the option to create a login or sign in via Google Reader. I chose the latter and lo! all my blogs and even all my starred articles (which are called ‘saved for later’ in Feedly) were there. Very simple!

I also downloaded the Feedly app onto my Android phone via Google Play. Again, this was pretty straightforward, although I was surprised that I had to login via Google Reader again. I have to admit, it’s taken me a little while to get up to speed with the app as it’s quite different to Google Reader and not that intuitive (to me, anyway). I guess I was trying to use it like Google Reader and it’s a totally different app. Anyway, I’ve played around with the settings a bit and it seems to do what I want now!

Overall, I’d say that Feedly is beautifully presented and certainly shows the blog posts a lot more clearly than Google Reader. After using it for a couple of weeks I’m quite happy with it and don’t really mind that I won’t be able to use Google Reader any more. Feedly has some nice features which make it a little nicer to use as well. One thing I quite like about the Android app is that when you click a link in a blog post, it displays the website in the app so that when you want to move onto the next blog post in your reading list you don’t have to click the ‘back’ button to go back to the blog post you were reading, just move to the next post in your list (I use a swipe to do this but there are different options!).

If you read the Little Koo blog via Google Reader you will need to make alternative arrangements in the next couple of weeks. I’d really recommend Feedly as a similar alternative, or you can receive an email every time I create a new post instead by clicking the ‘Follow’ button under ‘Follow blog via email’ on the left hand side of this web page. I don’t want to lose you just because Google made an annoying decision!

Thanks for reading! (and I really mean that!)

Rachel

P.S. I have no affiliation to Feedly nor am I receiving any recompense for my recommendation. This is a genuine recommendation based on my own personal experience.