Popular craft bloggers share secrets of success

‘It’s a career that’s never been a career’
Popular craft bloggers share secrets of success
cleaning supplies, craft projects and
essential oils at Overthrow Martha, quit
her pediatric nursing career in 2013 to
blog fulltime.
“I’m making more than I did as a
nurse,” she says. She derives two-thirds
of her income from Young Living
essential oils, a sponsor, whose products she promotes on her blog. She recommends the Amazon Affiliates program for new bloggers; when viewers
click from her blog post to Amazon to
buy a product, Griffin earns a referral
fee. “That’s my big money-maker,” she
She warns against promoting any ol’
product. Followers rely on a blogger’s
integrity. Griffin, who says she’s “all
about organic and natural products,”
checks out a brand before recommending it.
By Jennifer Forker
t may look easy and lucrative from
the outside, but popular craft bloggers say their work requires long hours
and commitment.
The pay? Well, sure, that’s pretty
good - after you get established. But
successful craft bloggers say they treat
their work as a full-time job to attract
the thousands of viewers needed to
trade a traditional career for this one.
“It’s a career that’s never been a
career,” says Amy Anderson of Atlanta,
who says she worked 70 hours a week
last year running three blogs, most
notably Mod Podge Rocks. The craft
and do-it-yourself blog, which she
launched in 2008, became so successful
that Anderson quit her marketing job in
Her three craft blogs combined (the
other two are Washi Tape Crafts and
DIY Candy) bring in “over six figures,”
she says, from display advertisements,
sponsorships (companies paying for
product mentions) and her work designing DIY projects for companies such as
Plaid Enterprises Inc, which makes
Mod Podge.
Her tips for the novice blogger:
Diversify your income streams; for
instance, don’t rely solely on display
This undated photo provided by
Karen Bertelsen shows the blogger,
Bertesen, in Toronto. (AP)
This photo provided by Amy
Anderson shows the craft blogger,
Anderson, in Atlanta. (AP)
advertisements, which she says are losing steam. Treat your blog as an asset;
invest some earnings back into it:
Anderson spent $10,000 to trademark
her blogs.
And find a community of similarly
oriented bloggers. Not only will they
promote your postings, they’ll provide
critical emotional support.
“People are not going to understand
you,” she warns. “People think I’m in
some online pyramid scheme. They
have no idea what I do. Many don’t
know what blogs are.”
Sherri Griffin of Orlando, Florida,
who blogs about homemade beauty and
Karen Bertelsen, who has hosted
entertainment and lifestyles shows on
Canadian television, launched a blog,
The Art of Doing Stuff, five years ago.
She spends long hours at the computer
keeping it going. Bertelsen says she
makes about $75,000 a year from blogging. She’s compiled a five-hour video
tutorial, “The Art of Building a
Blogging Career,” available on her
Some of her suggestions:
■ Take beautiful photos that can
be pinned to Pinterest and shared
on Facebook. “You can’t get away
with only your bright, sparkling
writing,” says Bertelsen, who lives in
■ Connect with your regular viewers. Answer their questions and respond
to their emails. They’ll provide your
bread and butter by sharing your posts,
drawing others in.
■ Keep projects simple. “Nobody
wants to do anything that takes longer
than 10 minutes or costs more than
$10,” says Bertelsen.
Gina Luker, who started blogging
about her Nashville, Tennessee, home
renovations six years ago at The
Shabby Creek Cottage, continues to
write about DIY and home improvements, pulling in a six-figure annual
In the beginning, she wrote about her
life, but quickly learned that readers
preferred advice and tutorials. Like
Bertelsen, she recommends writing
about the simple “how to” projects that
people search for on the Internet.
“The biggest traffic on my blog
comes from very, very, very basic ideas
- how to sew a pillow and how to paint
a room. The basic things in life. That’s
what people Google. They don’t
Google how to make an origami peacock wreath,” Luker says.
Two more tips:
■ Learn everything you can about
SEOs - that’s Search Engine
Optimization, the process by which
blogs and other websites appear in an
Internet search.
■ And write content that doesn’t get
dated. Luker compares it to a good
recipe: “Your grandmother’s cookbook
you can still make those recipes today.”
Finally, Luker gets company sponsorships because she works months in
advance; companies know when her
monthly DIY furniture or sewing projects will run, and can plan their sponsorships accordingly.
“Most bloggers work day to day or
week to week. I work months ahead. I
work more with a magazine mentality,”
she says.
Even though there are lots of craft
bloggers, Luker says there’s room for
more. And if you have something to
say, start a blog today - that’s what she
tells her two daughters, the youngest of
whom is 15.
Blog through college, she tells them,
and when you graduate, “you won’t be
starting from scratch like everyone
else.” (AP)
‘Avoid too fresh eggs’
Stuffed eggs with truffle
oil a dazzling appetizer
By Sara Moulton
In this photo provided by Brian Patrick Flynn/HGTV.com, a den designed by
Flynn showcases a fresh, feminine drapery fabric by Tilton Fenwick and a less
expected feminine color scheme of mint green and fire engine red. (AP)
In this photo provided by Brian Patrick Flynn/HGTV.com, Flynn used all classic elements when designing this master bathroom for a female client. (AP)
New generation discovering chintz and florals
Designers embracing ‘new feminine’
By Melissa Rayworth
year ago, menswear-inspired decorating was wildly popular. Interior
designers hung sharply tailored
draperies alongside furniture covered in
pinstripes. Sophisticated shades of gray
were everywhere, as was navy blue.
But “since the pendulum always
swings, we’re starting to see fresh feminine spaces,” says interior designer
Brian Patrick Flynn, “regardless of who
lives in them.”
The trend that designers are calling
“the new feminine” isn’t a return to an
excess of florals, shabby-chic lace and
other cliches of feminine decor from a
decade ago. Instead, “feminine style”
has evolved into “an aesthetic that’s
classic with a soft, eclectic spin,” says
Flynn, founder of Flynnside Out
Pretty is back, but designers are using
traditional florals on furniture with
edgy, sleek lines to create modern
mashups. Even the color pink has
enjoyed a makeover: Pantone’s “color
of the year” for 2015 is a sexy, dark
pink called “marsala.”
“There was a period in design when
‘pretty’ or ‘feminine’ were considered
bad words,” says New York-based
designer Young Huh. “It was considered
lightweight and not serious. Ideal rooms
were masculine, a bit somber, devoid of
pattern and softness. Recently, there is a
return to appreciating traditional design
and also pretty rooms.”
Believe it or not, Huh says, “there is
a new generation discovering chintz and
So how do we pull off this new look
to give rooms a beautiful, feminine
touch without getting too “girly”?
an eclectic mix of furniture and patterns. “We love traditional-style upholstery details (like a gathered skirted
chair, for example), but aren’t afraid to
pair it with a clean and modern side
table,” they said in an e-mail.
Huh also emphasizes contrast:
“When I think of feminine elements, I
turn toward traditional design, such as
the curvilinear shapes of Louis VI
pieces, floral or other nature-inspired
textiles and wallpapers, trims and passementerie, and traditional curtain and
furniture making,” she says. “But to
make the style fresh and modern, make
sure the room contains contrasting elements that are edgy, clean and contemporary .... Having modern bookcases,
simple molding and contemporary
architectural lighting make the feminine
embellishments look new and fresh
within that context.”
Shake Up The Colors
Pink is possible, but it doesn’t have
to be your starting point.
“I’ve been designing and decorating
homes for eight years, and not once has
a female client asked for a pink room,”
says Flynn. “There are so many colors
to choose from that add a soft, feminine
spin .... You can never go wrong with
white on white, but if that’s too impractical, mint green and red, lavender and
white, and turquoise mixed with just
about anything are excellent modernday feminine options.”
If your heart is set on pink, he says,
“pair it with navy blue. Dark blue and
muted pink strike a gender-neutral balance and also create a super preppy
The Tilton Fenwick designers suggest
uncommon color pairings. “Color combinations like olive green and turquoise,
for example, feel unique and fresh
rather than stuffy and dated,” they say.
“It allows you to use traditional patterns
in fabrics and textiles without feeling
Contrast Is Key
Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel
dePedro Cunningham, the designers
behind the design firm Tilton Fenwick,
suggest layering a feminine room with
In this photo provided by Brian Patrick Flynn/HGTV.com, a dining room
designed by Flynn gives folk art a more sophisticated spin by pairing rustic elements with clean tailored accents such as the custom drapery and a soft dove
grey wall color. (AP)
One of Huh’s favorite tricks for giving a feminine room edge is to add
black (or another “masculine” color).
“Paint some molding black, the legs of
a chair, add black trim to traditional
chintz pillows and all of a sudden
you’ve made that ‘nice girl’ look sexy,”
she says.
Don’t Fear The Flowers
Although an overload of floral patterns will look dated, don’t avoid flowers completely if you love them.
“Florals are a great starting point for
a feminine feel” but pair them with a
more modern and clean palette, say the
designers at Tilton Fenwick. They also
suggest mixing in “more modern or
unexpected furniture pieces, art and
accessories — a modern photograph for
example — that adds a layer of interest.”
Break The Rules
If a client wants some shabby chic,
Flynn gives it an eclectic twist. “Instead
of the classic shabby chic look of white
lace, weathered ivory finishes and lots
of silver,” he says, “I like to simply
stick with weathered wooden finishes in
high energy colors, then mix handwoven or blocked prints in. This results
in a well-traveled look packed with
organic textures and shapes.”
Take it a step further and you’ve got
what Flynn calls “rustic elegance” —
“the clever juxtaposition of weathered
finishes and farmhouse elements mixed
with clean, tailored lines.”
“I just completed a dining room
which my female client wanted to feel
very folk-art-inspired. To pull it off, we
covered the walls and windows with a
soft shade of gray, added tailored drapery and then brought in almost all worn,
weathered pieces. While there are definitely moments of femininity, the space
is just as appealing to men as it is to
women.” (AP)
eviled eggs for Oscars night?
Sure they’re a staple at picnics and backyard barbecues, but
when it comes to a special occasion, they are so Cinderella before
the ball.
But let’s say you want to play
fairy godmother and dress them up
for an Oscar night viewing party.
You can do it in two simple strokes.
First, take care to boil the eggs
properly (which can be a revelation
for anyone who’s never tasted a
properly boiled egg). Second,
sparkle up the usual filling with
some creme fraiche, Parmesan and
good quality truffle oil.
Shazam! You’re looking at a
truly dazzling appetizer. And it
couldn’t be easier to prepare. And
despite the name, they don’t need
to be deviled (meaning spicy). For
my Oscars treat, I went with
indulgent over spicy.
But let’s start with the boiling.
It’s only because most of us have
never tasted a properly boiled egg
that we believe the whites should
be chewy. The problem is that
protein always becomes tough
when it is boiled. My solution is to
boil an egg by not boiling it.
The trick is to start the eggs in
cold water, then pull them off the
heat just as soon as the water
reaches the boiling point, cover
the pot and let them cook in the
residual heat of the water. You’ll
be amazed at the wonderful tenderness of the finished product.
And by the way, I “cook” the
eggs for just 10 minutes, which
leaves the centres of the yolks
translucent. If you’d prefer a more
solid centre, let the eggs stay in
the hot water for 12 minutes.
How do you avoid one of those
famously ugly green lines
between the yolk and the white?
By chilling the egg in a bowl of
ice water as soon as it is finished
cooking. Once it is cooled completely, peel and cut the egg in
half, then marvel at a flawless yellow yolk, tender white and no
green line.
And by the way, this is one of
those recipes for which an older
egg is better. Eggs that are too
fresh are just about impossible to
Now just dress up the eggs with
those designer ingredients and it’s
ready for the red carpet.
Stuffed eggs with truffle oil
Want to make these even fancier? Use a pastry bag fitted with a
star tip instead of a plastic bag to
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Loon), (Phir Se udd Chala), (Sadda Haq),
(Naadan Parinde) etc.
He has series of hit songs as playback
singer in films like: Dhoom3 Karish 3,
Marycom, The Xpose,Jannat 2, Jab Tak
Hai Jaan, Matru Ki Bijli Ka Man Dola,
RockStar, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,Tum
Mile, New York, Kismat Connection, Jab
We Met, Rang De Basanti, & Road etc.
Diwakar Nayal, Sonia Mathur & Ankita
are famous acrobats from bollywood &
This Jan 19, 2015 photo shows
stuffed eggs with truffle oil in
Concord, NH. This is from a
recipe by Sara Moulton. (AP)
pipe the yolk filling into the egg
Start to finish: 35 minutes, plus
Servings: 12
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely grated
Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons truffle oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Fresh chives, finely chopped
Fill a medium bowl with ice
and water.
Place the eggs in a small
saucepan and add enough cold
water to cover by 1 inch. Set the
pan over high heat and bring the
water to a boil. As soon as the
water boils, remove the pan from
the heat, cover the pan and set
aside for exactly 10 minutes (use a
timer). Use a slotted spoon to
transfer the eggs to the ice water
and let them cool completely.
When the eggs are cool, crack
them all over and, starting at the
wide end of each egg and making
sure to get under the membrane
(which makes it easier to get the
shell off), peel the eggs while
holding them under cold running
water. Cut each egg in half lengthwise. Gently remove the yolks and
set aside the whites.
Place the egg yolks in a mesh
strainer and use a rubber spatula
or the back of a spoon to press the
yolks through and into a medium
bowl. Add the mayonnaise, creme
fraiche, mustard, cheese and truffle oil. Mix well, then taste and
season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the mixture into a zip-close
plastic bag.
Cut off one of the lower corners
of the bag, then gently squeeze the
bag to pipe the yolk mixture evenly into the hollow of each egg
white until nicely mounded.
Arrange the filled eggs on a platter, then garnish each with chives.
reality shows like “India’s Got Talent,
Jhalak Dikhla Ja with Madhuri Dixit,
Entertainment Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi
Karega, and Sharukh Khan Live Show for
New Year. Diwakar & team have performed worldwide with new concept of
Tri act. They will do workshop for new
talents in Kuwait on the 2nd day.
ICS has invited some of the most iconic
Indian musicians and stars including
Himesh Reshammiya, Daler Mehndi,
Javed Akhtar, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu,
Shreya Ghoshal, Bappi Lahiri, Shabana
Azmi, Raveena Tandon, Abhijeet
Bhattacharya, Talat Aziz, Vinod Rathod,
Udit Narayan, Bali, Munawwar Rana,
Tom Alter, Javed Ali, Shibani,
A.Sivamani, Raju Srivastav, Jaswinder
Singh, Bhagyashree, Haricharan, Suchitra,
Continued on Page 31