Wednesday, June 19, 2013

8 Simple Tutorials To Enhance Your Blog and Increase Your Followers

Blogs are an ever evolving piece of online real estate. Visually pleasing and easy to navigate blogs engage readers and keep them on your blog. If you'd like to set your blog apart from the rest, read on!

Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

Here are my best tips on how you can develop your blog to become a place people want to stay and interact! Because we all want to enhance our blog and increase our followers, don't we? I've written these easy to follow tutorials in the hope that they'll help you to enhance your blog and add to your reader's overall experience!

1. Add pages to your blog with tabs for easy navigation
 Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

2. Use those pages to your best advantage - increase readers
Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

3. Add a blog button so people can feature you on their blog
Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

4. Create custom social media buttons
Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

5. Add a Pinterest feature gallery to your footer or sidebar
Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

6. Post a subtle link in comments on other blogs - network, network, network
Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

7. Add clickable image tabs in your sidebar
Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

8. The correct way to send a group email - keep your readers happy
Just For Daisy:: 8 Simple Tutorials to enhance your blog - do these today!!

I can't wait to hear from you as you make your way through this important list! And I'll be sure to keep you updated as I learn and experiment more!

Friday, June 14, 2013

How not to make Bubble Art

Last week we decided to do some bubble art. It came about because Miss Daisy LOVES to have a straw and if there's a straw then there's bubbles being blown into the drink! 
This particular day she had a juice popper and was trying to blow bubbles but couldn't see them! To avert such a tragedy I asked if she'd like to make some bubble paintings! This was met with a cheery, 'yes please!'

So I set off to grab some yogurt pots, straws, coloured paint and dishwashing liquid.
I put a little water and dishwashing liquid in each pot then added some coloured paint. I stirred it up with one of the straws and smiled at my success.

We had so much fun blowing our bubbles. They grew and grew. We giggled and giggled.

But when it came to printing they didn't quite match up to what I remembered from the days that my mum set this activity up with us as children.

We had bubbles, we had colour but it didn't make much of an attractive print.

I learned a few things from this activity... it was a great reminder of process vs product. What was the goal of this activity... to have fun with Miss Daisy's love of blowing bubbles. Tick - we accomplished that!

Miss Daisy also thought that printing the bubbles on the paper was magical, regardless of the end result.

And to top it off she was actually quite thrilled with the end result anyway! We decided to let them dry and keep them to draw on later, as we could see some shapes that we could use to draw from.

We'll give this another go once I check with my mum what the trick is! I think one of our errors could have been the yogurt container being too tall?? Any tips you know for successful bubble art?

Here's a clever take on it from
Lesson's Learnt Journal

...and a successful looking bubble artwork from Picklebums too!

Have you done bubble art? How did yours turn out? :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Look who's one!!

Can it really be a year ago that this beautiful little girl came into the world? Wow!
Happy Birthday cheeky little girl! Our joy & delight!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Best Ginger Spice Biscuits Recipe

Just For Daisy :: Ginger Spice Biscuits Recipe

This was an experiment on Monday night! Right before bath time I decided I felt like some ginger cookies, with a little bit of extra flavour! When I was pregnant with Miss Daisy and wanting to get labour started I baked/ate some 'labour cookies'. These contained a mix of spices, pepper, chili and other things that seemed weird for a cookie, but they actually tasted quite nice. I haven't been able to locate the recipe since finding it again when Miss Daisy was 1 for a friend who was awaiting the arrival of her first baby. 

I made some ginger biscuits from this recipe last weekend when my dear hubby and his BFF installed a ducted heating system to utilise the heat from our combustion fire in the rest of the house. They all disappeared but I found the flavour a little too ginger! If that makes sense for a ginger cookie!

Anyway, Monday night I decided to create a little recipe of my own, and if you read here often enough you'll know that if I create a recipe it usually involves brown sugar!

Here's what we did! :) You're welcome!

2 cups plain all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp garam masala (we had this on hand, but you could just use ground cloves)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, extra (see below)
2 tsp golden syrup
1 Tbs water (more if needed)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg

Brown sugar mix = 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1Tbs water, 2 tsp golden syrup. Dissolve sugar in water, add golden syrup and microwave for 20 seconds

Combine flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a mixing bowl. Make your brown sugar mix and in another bowl mix together your brown sugar, canola oil, egg and brown sugar mix until smooth.
Add your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients until dough comes together. Chill for roughly 20 minutes (or however long it takes you to bathe and dress 2 kids!)

Preheat oven to 180'C. Line your cookie trays with baking paper.
Use teaspoon size portions of dough and shape into a ball. Place on trays with about 2 inches between each biscuit. Bake for around 8-10 minutes depending on how crunchy you want them.

Like most biscuits these will come out of the oven soft but will firm up. Leave them on your baking tray then once cooled slightly transfer to wire rack. (Alternatively steal them red hot from the oven and explain to your toddler the perils of eating biscuits before they've properly cooled!)

PS. Note the two sole survivors... that's what happens when you don't take photos as soon as you bake them! :) Lucky for me I didn't have to bake another batch, oh wait, hang on...!

Just For Daisy :: Ginger Spice Biscuits RecipeJust For Daisy :: Ginger Spice Biscuits Recipe

Whimsical Wand Tutorial: Includes video tutorial

A little while back I sold some of my handmade children's clothes and accessories at a local market. I decided to make a few simple toys to sell as well and these became a hot seller on the day!

I remember our school fetes when I was in Primary School having characters and felt creations on sticks that we could carry, dangle and wave around like mad! These seemed to get just the same reception from Miss Daisy and then from my happy customers! (I also made some rocket ships but neglected to photograph them before they went to their new homes!)

I decided to put how to make these together into a quick video tutorial, please forgive the shaky camera, the slip ups in my instructions and all those other things that we apologise for when we video ourselves or our voices! (Nowhere near as bad as on a cassette tape though - did you ever record yourself on a cassette?) Anyway, enjoy! And I'd love to see your wands if you ever put some together yourself!

And here is the tutorial to help you to blanket stitch two pieces of felt together!

What other shapes do you think would be fun on the end of a wooden wand?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Perseverance. Let's recap.

A very long time ago (just over 2 years really but it seems like forever ago) I wrote a post about the perseverance of a determined little spider in our yard. He was there consistently for quite some time, always returning each evening and spinning his web in the same location, sometimes from the house to the lawn and sometimes from the house to the car!

I remarked then how it demonstrated the patience and perseverance of the spider. It's not at all worried that it must spin a new web each evening in order to have food, safety and a place to call his own! And after creating such a work of art I'd be quite proud to call that place my own!

So here I am again, reminded of the patience and determination of this tiny creature. Of the perfectly imperfect web that he'd constructed the afternoon I took this photo. Look at the intricacy, the neat and the messy.

And here I am in my perfectly imperfect home. Building my web day after day, holes and all. Packing and unpacking the dishwasher. Washing and folding laundry. Making meals. Scraping uneaten meals. Changing nappies. Chopping firewood. Picking up toys. Running errands. The list goes on and on... and then repeats, a bit like a kids CD playing in the car! (Is it just me who finds myself playing these even in the car alone!)

But I'm pleased to have come across this old post. This memorable photograph. Because it reminds me of how I thought life was busy then and how it's just got busier. Fuller.
I still marvel at the grace and new mercies I receive each and every new day. Of finding my purpose and strength in Him alone. And I'm renewed. I'm ready to build my web over and over again.

How's your web building these days? Hope you're enjoying your daily repetitions, whatever that is for you! xx

PS. Have you seen the episode of Peppa Pig where Daddy Pig has a spider web attached to his car. Poor Daddy Pig, he's always copping a hard time isn't he!?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Toy Room/Bedroom Makeover : New Rug

We recently moved Miss Daisy back into the big room, the toy room, her room. And being true to myself, I've moved her furniture around 3 times since! You see, it's the most amazingly big room with two gorgeous windows letting in fabulous sunshine all day long! It made a great toy room while our girls shared the smaller bedroom.

{Rewind} In one of our attempts to get Li'l Peppa to sleep better we moved Miss Daisy into Li'l Peppa's room as we thought she liked the company, to hear her sister's breathing and to know she wasn't alone. Well, fast forward a few months and it hadn't done a lot of good. But we did now have an almost 3 year old waking up to her sister's cries with a very indignant, "Come get me, Ivy woke me up again!" Cute, if it weren't 2am and I wasn't already feeding the afore mentioned sister!Just For Daisy :: Toy Room Makeover
So here we are, with our girls in two separate rooms once again. And Miss Daisy's room doubling as a toy room/play area for the girls (and rambunctious friends) to share. 

Just For Daisy :: Toy Room Makeover

Basically in Daisy girl's room she has her bed, a desk (which was my Dad's childhood desk) which she likes to draw/colour/write at, a bookshelf with some favourite books, the ottoman from our lounge suite (which won't fit in the lounge room!) as a comfy reading space, her kitchen oven daddy built and her (modest(ish)) collection of other random toys. Perfect start!

Many emails make their way into my inbox, and sometimes they're offering me free things! Well, often it's something not particularly relevant but one of the most recent was from offering me one of their fabulous products to review. When I saw the rug section on their website I knew a cozy rug would be the perfect bedroom/toy room addition heading into the Winter months. And boy was I right!
Delivery was very quickly organised... and arrival of our goodies was prompt! Our rug arrived in perfect condition and we set about shuffling furniture. (Thankfully Miss Daisy was happy for the furniture to move as long as it didn't go out her door!)

I decided since play in this room is shared with Li'l Peppa, I'd create a separate reading space using the rug and ottoman. Miss Daisy has been suitably impressed by this arrangement and put it to good use reading her books and setting up her library game over and over again! She makes a charming librarian.

Daisy girl at play

Just For Daisy :: Toy Room Makeover

Just For Daisy :: Toy Room Makeover

The rug has already flattened out a lot (comes rolled) and it's got a lot of love already! Both girls enjoy playing in this new space and it's amazing how a change can bring a newfound love for old toys.
I'd still love to make this space more colourful, add some new things to the walls and particularly more of Miss Daisy's art!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Survival. Some call it food. My husband calls it preventing hangryness!!

It's widely agreed upon that food is essential for survival
Now that means food has to make its way to us, 
or as it happens, us to the food. 

Here's an insight into food at our place. We try to buy locally where we can and are fortunate to have several local farmers selling, delivering or swapping fresh food in our area. We also have two amazing butchers who sell locally grown, grass fed meat! My other recent move is to buy much less home branded products. In particular we do not buy home brand milk (support our farmers people!) and are looking forward to local friends getting their organic dairy farm up and running! 

Yesterday after a fun filled morning at KindyGym we did our top up shop. We were out of quite a few of our staples. And I survive on staples. If they're in the house I know I've got so many options for dinners, desserts and baked treats/snacks. 

We don't buy any prepackaged sauces, chips, muesli bars, soft drink, confectionary, frozen meals etc unless we're entertaining. If there are treats in the house they're made at home, together. We try to eat 3 vegetarian meals each week, sometimes more. Coffee/tea are only consumed when guests are here...we haven't caught onto that fad yet either!

Here's how we do it. 

We generally stock our freezer with:
- Burgen bread
- raisin toast
- frozen berries
- homemade pizza dough portions
- frozen grass fed meats (we eat meat 2-3 times a week)
- frozen fish (we try to eat fish once a week)
- mozarella cheese

And our fridge is best kept full of:
- eggs (usually local eggs or free range store bought)
- milk (Dairy Farmers)
- cheese (block cheese for grating, slicing etc)
- yogurt (vanilla & natural)
- garlic, ginger, etc
- low salt butter (for endless baking!)
- salad/vegetables 

Pantry items that can be turned into all sorts of goodness:
- oats/quick oats
- canned apples
- flours, sugars, etc (all stored in my lovely Tupperware collection!)
- pasta
- canned tuna
- dates/assorted nuts
- dried herbs/spices (a lot!)
- tinned food (diced tomatoes, chick peas, mixed beans, coconut milk)

And our bench top is always (well usually!) overflowing with fresh fruits and avocados. 

So what does all this have to do with survival? These simple staples are what I have on hand which allow me to make simple, wholesome and tasty food for my growing family. 

Keep your eyes here as I work on something special to share these favourite recipes with you. 

On a side note: Do you think putting away groceries takes equal if not more time than doing them!!?? Ugh! It's the worst part of grocery shopping - and yesterday I took two unhappy littles with me!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tutorial: How to add a Pinterest Highlights gallery to your footer or sidebar

Here's another bloggy tutorial for you bloggers out there!

After making my social media icons I decided to make good use of the image maps website and create a few more clickable goodies around my blog!

I've long wanted to feature some of my most loved Pinterest boards and pins. So here is how I've made a feature gallery of 8 of my favourite boards in my blog footer!

How to add a Pinterest Highlights gallery Just For Daisy

For extra detail take a look at the tutorial post I did on how I created my social media icons and use the same instructions to make yourself an amazing Pinterest Gallery for your footer or sidebar.

First of all you need to create an image. Use your favourite photo editing software, a free online collage program like PicMonkey or Ribbet or if you're like me and a little lazy and impatient with your failing web browser plugins, use Microsoft Word!

Here is one of my images.
How to add a Pinterest Highlights gallery Just For Daisy

While you're in Word you could create yourself a title image like mine... I love the dotted border!

Now that you've created your image, open up image maps and upload your image. Continue editing and add your rectangle links as explained on the social media icons post.
Once you've added your links to each part of your image, you can 'get html code' and copy it.
How to add a Pinterest Highlights gallery Just For Daisy

Then in your blogger dashboard, head to the 'layout' section and add an html widget in your footer (or sidebar if you'd prefer!) and enjoy having more clickable options to take your readers to your favourite places on Pinterest!

How to add a Pinterest Highlights gallery Just For Daisy

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How to add clickable social media buttons to your blog : A Tutorial

Just For Daisy: A simple tutorial to get social media buttons on your blog TODAY! Don't put this off, get it done today and see your followers increase!

If you've already followed along with my other useful blog tutorials you'll now have:

- Some clickable images in your sidebar directing people to fabulous places around your blog!
- Clickable tabs leading your readers to your neatly organised pages
- A good understanding of how these pages can benefit your blog and increase traffic!
- An easy to recognise blog grab button that your readers can use on their own websites/blogs

Wow! Your blog is looking great! (Need extra tips, leave me a comment I'd love to help you out!)

Now, I'd love to show you a fabulous new addition to your blog. You're going to make it really easy for your readers to follow you in all of your favourite places and increase your number of followers on your social media while you're at it!

Here is how to add clickable social media icons to your blog sidebar in blogger.

First of all this tutorial assumes you have chosen to download some free icons from the internet or you've previously created your own social media icons to suit your theme. There are lots of great tutorials to make your own icons - I wanted to do that but had browser problems so I downloaded some free icons and did it on my own instead!
I downloaded mine from here and also found this great collection of freebies here if you need to grab some.

Because the download came as individual icons I grouped them in a Word document and took a screen shot to create my desired image.
Now you go to a really nifty site called image maps that does all the hard work for you! (I put this job off many times before because I didn't want to have to do the mapping myself - so this is a BIG shortcut!)

There you go! How good does it feel to have your own social media icons nestled up there at the top of your sidebar! I'd love to see them so please leave a comment with a link to your blog! And why not follow me by clicking on mine - I'm addicted to Pinterest, aren't you?!

If you have any problems or questions please ask, I'm more than happy to help.

You'd better scroll back up to the top and make sure you've utilised my other simple tutorials to improve your blog and create an engaging, efficient and easy to navigate blog!

Happy Blogging!