Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Trying something different!

Taking a break from my blog is always a good time to reflect. The recent school holidays gave me a couple of weeks with minimum blogging and lots of quality time spent with my girls. 
Once they returned to school, I then took a week to get reorganised and refocussed with what I'm doing and where I'm going with my blogs.  
Taking stock I kind of felt like it was a case of Dream Vs Reality.

The Dream
 for me is having one or more successful blogs that I enjoy producing and that bring in a decent income, at least equivalent to what I could earn if I went to work for somebody else.

The Reality
 of this is that I have 3 blogs (this one, Be Our Best and A Fitter and Healthier Me). 
I love producing them and working on them, so that's a definite plus, but as for earning an income?  $100 - $200 a month isn't quite a salary. It's a start but not quite enough to reflect the hours I put in....YET!! 
Unfortunately I seem to be stuck at this 'level' of traffic and income for my blogs and have been for a while.

So, I'm still figuring out how to turn my dream into a reality.

A quote that has been in the forefront of my mind lately - and I've put up on the whiteboard above my desk is:

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily."

I feel this quote reflects the changes I have made over the last couple of years with regard to my fitness. Instead of just doing whatever exercise I felt like, I decided that in order to make the improvements I wanted, I needed to be more focussed. 

I began to follow exercise and running programmes which told me what I needed to do each day. This was different to the exercise I had been doing and aside from enjoying the discipline and order of having set workouts to do and check off my plans, I began to see much better and more measurable results than I had previously.

I'm still following fitness programmes and plans and have started to document my learning and progress on my newest blog - 

In the case of my fitness, I changed what I did daily - and it really did result in a bigger positive change in my overall life.

Replicate this success
So this is what I need to do with other areas of my life. In order to make more progress, I need to change something I do daily.

Another quote I have up on my whiteboard just now is:

"Successful people ask better questions and as a result they get better answers."

So I've come up with a new plan of attack to try to make my own dream a reality. My plan very simply is...

To ask better questions on a daily basis!

What kind of questions should I be asking?
To figure this out I've been looking again at trying to nail down exactly what it is I do (and want to do) and why. 
This is something I'm constantly working on.  

I love sewing and have produced over 100 free sewing tutorials for my blog. I also have a particular interest in and passion for upcycling - reflected in my ongoing linky - 600+ clothes upcycling projectsmy current clothes upcycling challenge for 2015, and of course the e-book I produced last year for making Eco-friendly shopping bags - largely from upcycled materials.

But what I do is more than just sewing and upcycling. I love when I can motivate others to have a go and do things. I'm a big fan of people doing things for themselves - not just handing over responsibility to others. I feel particularly strongly about this in terms of things you can make instead of buy.  I was brought up with the mentality of  looking at things that you want, and figuring out if you can make it yourself.  Some of this I think was borne of financial necessity, but there is also a certain satisfaction in solving your own problems and making things more personalised too, rather than always just buying a solution. This approach is often more environmentally friendly too - using supplies you have already got rather than always buying something new.

Use What You've Got

This philosophy was what spurred me to start my second blog -
 Be Our Best. When a friend was telling me she was considering getting a special tutor for her daughter to help her with her school work. Her daughter was only in grade 1 at the time. 
I feel that particularly in primary school, there is so much we can do with our kids to help them with their school work - that doesn't involve just workbooks and extra study. Playing games, baking with them, going places, reading books - there are so many simple everyday activities can help develop those basic skills taught at primary school. I wanted to share these ideas and what we do with our kids on this blog to show once again that the answer isn't always just to spend money and buy a this case a tutor. A better way to look at things is to 'use what you've got' - be that supplies or games or simply time and imagination.

Crafting with a purpose
My sewing and crafting is also something I like to do with a purpose. I either make things my girls want - like pencil cases, aprons, toys and bags, but also I find fabric in charity shops, remnant boxes or perhaps old clothes and see the potential of what it can be turned into - something useful!

So essentially, I've decided that I'm going to look at what I do in a different way from now on, because:

"Success comes from doing things differently."

My new plan of action


Each day I will focus on a particular problem - be it a crafting supply I need to use up in my stashbusting goal for 2015,  clothes I need to transform into items to sell for my girl's school carnival, an item that my girls want to buy - (there are mutterings of a new fancy pencil case just now), or even left overs in the kitchen I need to transform into a tasty meal or snack. Some of these problems I may be able to solve in a day, some may take a week. 

I'll also be taking this approach for my other two blogs - identifying 'problems' and finding solutions. So things my girls need help with  - perhaps homework, after school activities, challenges they face etc; and finally with my fitness blog - I'm constantly trying to learn and improve my fitness and diet, so looking at that as problem - solution will work well too.

Finally, I'm a big fan of Anthony Robbins - who I find to be a great motivator, and I often listen to his CDs in the car. One thing he identifies as important is that 

"you should never leave the site of a goal without taking a step towards it."

So - here's the first problem I'm going to work on with regard to my creative blog. This is something that will help in both my stashbusting and my clothes upcycling challenge for 2015.

I found these notebooks, pens, pencils and erasers on sale for literally a few cents a (long) while ago and bought them with the school carnival stall in mind.
So I've decided to finally get around to using them up and combine them with making something using the old clothes stash for the school stall. 
My first thought is something like these
I shall have to adapt it somehow since I don't have coloured pencils, and the pencils and pens I have are longer than these folders - plus I have the erasers to use too. Any suggestions are very welcome!

You can follow along with my progress with finding solutions to my 'problems' here on my blog - but also on Facebook where I share plenty photos and inspiration.

How about you?
Do you have a 'Dream vs Reality' situation too?
What are you working towards and do you have a plan in place to get there?


  1. Awesome post,Jill!So rousing!Keep going and creating wonderful things!
    I love your 600+!Have great ideas!
    Wish you all the best and accomplishment for your plans!

  2. I often wonder why I blog. I've only recently told people I'm a professional blogger. Before that I was just a blogger. Salary isn't much different, but my attitude is. For now I'm sticking with it, but I know the time will come when I need a break. Hang in there and relax!

    1. Thanks Diana! I think it's an important step to acknowledge that blogging is your 'job' for it to actually work that way!


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