Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Chance to Enter and Win!

Last Chance to Enter and Win!This is the last time I'll mention it. But I just don't want anyone to miss the chance to win. Actually I should say "chances" because multiple entries are allowed. Enter as many times as you like!

Click Here to Enter Our Contest!


Our site relaunch party and contest end tomorrow at midnight.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Site Design: What's New and Better!

New Site Design

I'm very excited about our fresh new site design. An update was long overdue. Our new site design is not only fresher and cleaner, but easier to navigate.

Here's a quick list of the new features, upgrades, and stuff we're excited about! For now it'll be easier to follow this post if you right click on the "Home Page" button to the right and select "Open link in new tab". Soon the blog will have the same complete top menu you'll read about below.

New Site Design:  Updated Menus


This is huge!! Previously we had a small group of menu tabs at the top and a growing list of subcategories down the left side. The list got longer and clumsier as our website grew.

Thanks to Ro Paxman, our consultant, for the brilliant idea of using alphabet tabs to get all of our menu items to the top! I love this myself. It's super easy to find anything in a jiffy. Want crochet or knitting? Look under "Crafts A-C". Sewing? See "Crafts Q-Z".

New Site Design: Easier to Browse "My Blog" Posts


It'll be easier to browse My Blog for two reasons:
  1. Full blog posts will be written to answer quick reader questions, tell stories about my crafting life and promote people, products and ideas that I find cool, helpful or inspiring.
  2. Partial blog posts will be short introductions to new craft tutorials or ideas with a "Read more" hyperlink to the full article under its proper craft category. This upgrade will be ongoing since I have over 3000 blog posts to review, shorten and link. So please be patient with me.

New Site Design: Larger and Better Photos Plus Featured Images


Our new template allows larger photos, something I've always longed for. Crafting is very visual and a picture is worth - well, you know. Also you'll find the new images will be brighter and cleaner looking.

The template also uses featured images on shortened articles. This is great! It allows you to see exactly what the full article is about at a glance before clicking through. Think of the time saved. [Note that some pages allow you to click on the title to read more. If you see this […], click on the title for more.]

Thanks again to Ro for the template and for the image enhancements tips.

Fixing 10 years of images will take me a little LONG while. But look around. You'll see hundreds of new fresh images to illustrate articles already.

New Site Design: Improved More Precise Search Bar


Looking for something specific or want to locate something you think you saw on The Artful Crafter a while ago? Try the great new search bar on the right. I love it myself. It quickly comes up with a short list of very relevant results. Awesome!

New Site Design: View the Archives


At the bottom of the page you can easily view  the archives. We've never had such a fast and efficient way to view such a large amount of content. Right now, you'll only see archives from May 2014 although we've been creating new content continuously for the past 10 years.

Don't panic! It's all still here. Click on May 2014 and you'll see 146 pages of archived articles. That's because when you move, whether to a new home or a new website home, you have to pick up all your belongings pretty much at once. They vacate the old home and come to the new snazzier one.

By the way, the archives are one example of where you'll find the […] to click the title for more.

We're so excited!!!!

We know the new site design isn't perfect yet, so we'll continue working to get everything running smoothly. If you notice any bugs, please leave a comment anywhere at all or use the "Contact Us" tab - guess where - right on the top menu bar! I read all my mail personally and love to hear from readers.

If you see something amiss, I need to know. If you see something you like, hearing so from you keeps me going!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Craft Studio Design in the Real World

green-craft-room.jpg

WARNING: The following article does not contain any craft studio design photos fit for "Studios" magazine or the type of upscale interior craft studio design you see where Martha Stewart or Lia Griffith craft. Few of us are in that league; but we all love to drool, don't we?

Improving Craft Studio Design under Money and Time Constraints is Possible


What I'm sharing is a real working craft studio design in process. My studio is jam-packed with supplies, equipment and projects-in-process. Sound familiar? Thus far, I've organized work stations for each craft type and its related supplies. That has improved my work flow, whittled down my accumulated piles of projects-in-process and made my muse quite happy.

Now I can see the forest for the trees. I can see how the overall appearance of the room can also be improved very inexpensively by improving the craft studio design.

On my list so far are:

Craft Studio Design
  1. Repurpose or donate my inspiration board easel - the idea just didn't work for me and the easel takes up a lot of space (though it does hide a multitude of "sins");
  2. Set up a scrapbook kit area - using ideas I learned in Stacy Julian's Finish Line Scrapbooking class.
  3. Declutter the wall space - I'm not sure how, but for starters I'll get rid of the small cork bulletin board. It's so far away from my desk now that it's useless.
This is what's hidden behind the easel now: various scrapbooks in process and related ephemera and the stacked file organizer which holds scrap paper, old books and book pages, brown paper bags, etc. This will be cleared up more as I use what I learned in "Finish Line Scrapbooking".

Craft Studio Design

This is how my scrapbook supply area looked before. The mess was right out in full view and there was more of it!

Craft Studio Design

Now the same open area holds my nicely organized beading supplies. Organizing them was my first clean-up project of the year.

Craft Studio Design

Making progress feels good, doesn't it?

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