Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My experience with Google Adsense

Sometimes when I tell people that I blog and Google sends me checks, they look at me perplexed. Isn't it just a hobby? Well, yes, but if I can pull off a hobby and make a little cash while I'm at it, then I'd be silly not to, right?

Following yesterday's post, Kate, left a comment asking, "...I'm curious about the monetary aspect of blogging-would you be willing to share how it works and how much can be made??? No one seems to discuss it, but I'd really like to know..."



Let me start by saying, there are ladies that I consider "real" bloggers that have addressed this and know LOTS more about it than me. I don't consider myself a "real" blogger only because my goal isn't to make money off my blog. My primary use of this blog is to gain local exposure so that my design business will grow. The truth is, I was too cheap to pay for a website so a blog seemed like a great alternative.

Once I jumped into blogging and quickly realized how much time it takes, that's when I began to entertain the idea of signing up for Google Adsense. I had lunch with Allison from House of Hepworths one day and she offered up some words of wisdom. She told me, "It doesn't matter how much traffic your blog is getting...sign up now!" She went on to tell me that the longer you're a part of their network, the better your ads will become. So, initially the ads they run may not be ads that grab the attention of your readers. But over time your traffic will grow and the ads will get better. Better ads means more clicks which in turn means more money in your pocket.

Setting up Google Adsense was really easy. In your dashboard, go to "Earnings" then follow the directions to set up Adsense. You can control where the ads are placed on your blog and you can also control the type of ads that run on your blog.

So, how do you make money? Every time a reader clicks on one of the ads, you make a tiny profit. 

Google requires you reach $100 in earnings before they send your first check. It took me 6 months before I met this criteria. Here's a breakdown of my history with Google Adsense (money accrues over each month until you receive your first payment)...
January  $9.50
February  $14.17
March     $7.03
   April     $8.00
     May      $14.41
    June      $18.23
    July       $65.44
Woo hoo... I reached $100 so Google issued my first check for $136.78.

August $94.91 (wow...almost reached that $100 mark in one month)
September $170.98 (yea...huge jump)

2nd Google payment $265.89

October $231.13

Please know that I only share this information in order to encourage fellow bloggers to take advantage of opportunities, not to make anyone uncomfortable. It's a bit awkward talking about "how much you make" but I know I was constantly wondering when I first entered this crazy little corner of the world.

If you're looking for other opportunities, Mandi at Vintage Revivals, wrote a great post breaking it all down in more technical terms. Read her post HERE.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I feel like a fraud (Transparent Tuesday)

Okay, I'm apologizing in advance to the non-blogging readers for this post because I'm about to throw around some blogging lingo that may not make any sense to you.

Transparent Topic: Fraud

Last December I was working hard on our TV niche built-in and hadn't put much thought into my post for the next day. I did a little searching and ran across a great tutorial on Save-on-crafts.com for iced branches. I literally copied and pasted the entire post! It's not as bad as it sounds...I didn't try to make this look like original content. I wrote in the post, "I ran across a great tutorial that was just screaming to be passed on." I even linked to the craft site 7 different times. You can read the original post here.

So here's where the transparency and fraud part come into play. This one post has single-handedly made my blog explode in terms of stats. I went from having 800 pageviews (on a good day) to consistently having closer to 7,000-8,000 pageviews/day. I know this is still relatively small but in terms of where I came from it was a huge jump.

So far this month, this one post has had over 33,000 views. 

I'm receiving lots of emails from people asking me specific questions about the craft but guess what?...I've NEVER even made them! A really large craft site even contacted me and asked if they could feature the craft. What in the world?!

So, I've had to reply to every email and to the big craft site and tell them the truth...it's not my original content! I feel kinda silly but honestly, I never tried to deceive anyone. My suspicion is that people see the pretty picture and jump straight to the tutorial, hence skipping over my disclaimer that I'm passing on a tutorial.

Since I've recently added Google Adsense, this nice little increase in traffic has literally paid off for me. I'm completely reaping the benefits from something I didn't do. Is that okay?

It's a hard one to swallow that I work my tail off creating huge projects like our Diamond Wallcreative shelving and even building an arbor in our daughter's bedroom and these don't solicit nearly the traffic/attention that this one post has!

What do you think? Should I feel bad about this or should I sit back and enjoy the benefits from a pin going viral?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Using Collections in Home Decor

Raise your hand if you've ever collected something? If I were a betting woman I'd say it's safe to say nearly every single one of you has your hand up in the air right now. Well, have you ever stopped to think how designing with a collection is a great and easy way to decorate? It's almost like cheating because you don't have to put a ton of thought into it!

Collections may seem like clutter to some, but if you put a little bit of effort into styling, your collection will quickly turn into a huge visual statement in your space.

Let's take a look at some great examples, shall we?...







There's definitely power in numbers. Do you have an awkward art niche that you've been struggling with knowing how to fill? Here's your answer. Multiples of anything with a somewhat common color scheme. 

Here's my disclaimer...it's important to know when to say when! Don't go overboard and let your collection spill into every inch of your house. Keep your collection contained and keep it simple.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vibrant Abstracts

Woo hoo, we made it to Friday! I've been a day ahead all week long. Don't you hate it when that happens? I think it'd be better to be a day behind then be pleasantly surprised when Friday arrives instead of bummed when Thursday rolls around and you think it's Friday. If you followed that...I'm really impressed!

I've been searching for art work for a client and I thought I'd share an artist that I'm currently loving, Claire Desjardins. Her name may sound familiar if you shop at Anthropologie since they sell some of Claire's original pieces.

Her originals come with a hefty price tag, but I ran across a site where you can buy prints of her fabulous pieces, Saatchi Online.

Check out the names of each piece, they're just as good as nail polish names...







Did you realize you could buy a print, frame it nicely and still have a very unique piece of art without the hefty price tag? Megan from Honey We're Home showed off a gorgeous print she had framed in yesterday's post. Check it out!

Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Random Act of Kindness #54

Hello, friends! I know you guys are super kind already so this week's challenge may be something you do already.

If your like me, you visit the grocery store way too many times in one week. Well, ya'll are probably much more organized and knock it all out in one big swoop. I hardly ever go to the store with a list, hence my numerous trips. When am I going to get a clue?!

Anyway, I digress. Next time you're at the store (any store really) strike up a genuine conversation with the cashier. Then, if you can slip in a sweet little compliment...even better! Don't you think their jobs can get a bit mundane by asking the same questions over and over and getting the same trite replies a majority of the time?

Let's add a little spice to their lives today and recognize them for the job their doing instead of letting our brains get 10 steps ahead of us and begin cooking dinner already.


Okay, friends...go out and be kind!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Client Office Progress

There's been tons going on behind the scenes and we're nearing the finish line in my clients' office. You've got to take a gander at the Burberry wallpaper that was recently installed. So fun!


The doors below got a fresh coat of black paint last week and I'm so glad they trusted me on this decision. We needed a little something to break up all that wood and help the flow of the room. Sometimes it's hard to wrap your brain around painting over perfectly good wood, but the end result does not disappoint. More pictures to come.

Just a few of the accessories that have been purchased...
Power in numbers! (not to mention practical for the Mister who operates in different time zones.)

AND...
I haven't seen our zebra friend in person yet, but I'm totally looking forward to it.

Another tidbit of progress...the barstools have arrived. 



I shared this steal with you here, in case you missed it. These babies are great and isn't it fun how the wood warms up the tones read throughout the tile?

Well, that's it for today. So much more to come from this amazing house. Can't wait to share!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Transparent Tuesday

In light of being transparent, we're going to learn a lesson from my flower beds today.  Here's a quick shot at what my neighbors see as they drive past our house. It looks pretty good, right?


I could show you close ups and tell you how wonderful the flowers are and brag about what a green thumb I have...

Or, I could be transparent and show you what things look like in reality...
Just a tab bit of weeds, dying flowers and overgrown grass creeping into those beautiful river rocks.


As I look at my flower beds this time of year, I often think about how they relate to life. They're beautiful if you're in a moving car and you just glance out the window. But, if you park your car and walk up to my door, the truth is ever so staring you in the face.

Isn't this true of us? We try so hard to make it look like things are good on the outside but in reality our insides are full of weeds. Why are we so quick to think other people have it all together and we're the only one who struggles with nastiness?

I had a friend once share with me that she always assumed I had tons of friends so she never really tried to get to know me. It wasn't until I began approaching her that a friendship developed. It's sad to think that a wrong assumption almost kept us from becoming friends.

Let's challenge each other to live a life of transparency. If we're real with one another then there's no need for wrong assumptions. Let's strive to be accepting of each other's "weeds" and not be judgmental, friends.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Botanical Charts

Good Monday morning, friends. I'm happy to report that my decorating addiction has been further supported by the means of last Friday's garage sale! It never ceases to amaze me how quickly 25 cents can add up.

I'm a huge fan of designer, Lauren Liess. When I first started reading blogs, her's was one that I would stalk make sure to read everyday. I was oddly drawn to her style yet there were a few elements she used that I questioned. I wasn't sure if I liked them personally, but was certain she was able to create an amazing room. Specifically, I couldn't decide if I was a fan of the black botanical prints she used.

I consider Lauren a trend setter in design and, of course, after seeing these charts in her house, they started to pop up everywhere. Well, I supposed my tastes began to change as well. Once we painted our guest room ceiling black, I knew immediately the walls were screaming for something similar.

There was only one problem...the price. These babies are not cheap!

For example, guess how much the below poster is on sale for? A cool $520, marked down from $750. Ouch, right?

Lauren was kind enough to share a great source, The Evolution Store, but my little budget still couldn't swing $198 for one poster. 


Having the frugal DIY brain that I do, I mulled this over and over in my mind trying to figure out a way to replicate this look. I thought about making them various different ways. It probably wouldn't have been that hard, but when I was shopping at Ikea and saw these...

I felt like doing a little happy dance! A great knock-off for only $19.99. I'll take two please.


Patience and my indecisiveness certainly paid of this time. And, isn't it funny how seeing images over and over can change your mind on whether or not you like something? Gee, why in the world would I ever question the design choices of Lauren? She's good, I tell ya...to say the least.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Today's agenda

We interrupt the regularly scheduled post today for the following announcement...

Gotta support my decorating habit!

Enjoy the weekend and spread a little kindness.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Random Act of Kindness #54

Hi everyone! Bryn here. Last Sunday I wanted to do something great for my parents. Then it hit me! I could do a R.A.K.! For my R.A.K. I decided to make a breakfast in bed. So, I got right to work. I got the paper for the cards, made the cards, decorated them, and gave them to my parents. In the morning my parents and I woke up, and I got down to work. Once they ordered from the menu I made , I made their food and drinks and served it to them. They said they loved it and I felt great! So, many of you might ask yourselves, why did she do it? Well, I did it for the fun of it, and to see the smiles on my parents' faces. One of the many reasons to do a R.A.K. ! Well, I hope you loved the idea! See you later!

                                                                                        - Bryn 

John and I went on a date Saturday night and when we returned we found these laying on our pillows!

Delicious menu options. 

The invitation. :)

It feels good to be RAK'd. Feel free to pass this post on to your kiddos. Maybe it'll plant a little seed!

Okay, friends...go out and be kind!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How to make a faux metal bar

As you may have noticed, there are lots of shelves in our guest room which meant lots of metal bars. This had the chance of getting really pricy, really quick. I mulled this dilemma over and over in my head and tried to come up with a cost effective solution.

My initial thought was to buy adjustable curtain rods from Walmart since I needed 3 different sizes. One problem...the sliding portion of the bar was exposed on the bottom making for an unsightly view when looking up at the top shelves. Also, the sizes weren't conducive, so it was onto Plan B.



What you'll need:

  • Plastic tubing (purchased from Home Depot)
  • Wooden beads (purchased from Hobby Lobby)
  • Dowel rods (purchased at Home Depot)
  • Rustoleum Primer (purchased at Home Depot) Make sure your primer is appropriate for plastic.
  • Acrylic Paint or Spray paint in a metallic sheen of your choice
  • Small paint brush
  • Pencil 

I measured out the appropriate length then cut it with scissors. Two rolls of tubing was all it took for our entire wall of shelves. Varying thicknesses are available so go with the diameter that fits your needs.

Lay the tubes out on cardboard then spray with primer. Give it several hours to dry then flip them over to coat the other side. FYI, the primer never really feels dry. It's very tacky. The label says it could take up to a week to fully dry. 

I didn't have the patience to wait a week for drying so I gave it 24 hours then preceded to add the acrylic paint. (Totally missed the photo opt for this step. Sorry!) I would recommend spray painting the metallic color but I used acrylic paint and a brush since I couldn't find the exact color I wanted. Due to brush strokes, the gold paint required 2 coats. The "tacky" feeling of the primer disappeared after the initial coat of paint was applied.

These came 8 to a package. Make sure the opening of the bead is large enough to slip over the plastic tubing. Our packages varied, with some fitting perfect and some being too small. John and to broaden the hole a bit on the stinkers that made our job difficult.

Give your beads a coat of primer. Let dry, then coat with metallic paint. Here's a helpful hint...slip the beads over a pencil when painting. This allows you to paint all sides then slip it off to dry without messing up the paint.


How to attach: drill a small hole in the shelf that accommodates your dowel piece. Cut the dowel piece to desired height of the curved portion of your "bar." Ours were approximately an inch long. Put the dowel in the drilled hole then slip the bead and tubing over the dowel.

FYI, I made sure my tubing was a little longer than needed when initially cut. Then, cut it to exact size upon installation. Make sure you pull it tight to help recreate the look of an actual bar. The one above shows the waviness that's present prior to trimming it to the correct size.

Overall, I'd say we spent less than $20 to make 15 "metal" bars and still have supplies left over.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest room Before and Afters

It's about time, right? Wow, this project ended up taking way longer than anticipated and was way more laborious than expected but it's done! I won't waste my words in this part of the post because who am I kidding, you're just going to scroll down and right now you don't really care what I have to say. ha!

Our guest room was transformed from this...

to this...

I took a few shots at night since this wall is way hard to photograph due to the windows and my lack of photography skills. This shot helps you see the accessories a tad bit better.

Don't forget to appreciate the black plank ceiling that we installed this summer. 
The rug is a $75 score marked down from $795. 

This dresser was sold on Craigslist and one day will be replaced with a small writing desk.

I'll stop talking and let you soak it all in...

                        

I'm in love with the picture over the bed. It's a $10 score from Goodwill and literally the paper on the back crumbles when you touch it.


See the "metal" bars? They're not really metal. I had to figure out a cheap way to get the look. Stay tuned to hear the details.

Fun vintage pulley light on a swivel arm.


This painting is very special. The artist is John's uncle's late sister. She gifted it to us when we visited her in Italy. It's been lost since our last move and I did a major happy dance when I finally found it last weekend in the attic.

There's not a single accessory that cost more than $8 on this entire wall. I frequented Goodwill and hunted for treasures. It was really fun!


The bed is an inherited piece that I'd love to switch out but it's not practical. I tried to make the rest of the room killer so the focus wouldn't be on the not so fabulous bed. And, no, I don't have the patience to stain or paint it, so it stays as is.

These charts are huge and fill up the wall perfectly. They were the last piece to the puzzle. I'll share more about them in another post.

Okay, friends, feel free to gush and leave tons of comments so John can feel the love. He worked his tush off on this room. He continues to amaze me with his patience and skills. He's such a selfless person. I'm blessed to have someone who embraces my crazy ideas and helps me bring them to life.
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