Friday, October 25, 2013

Inspiration Nation// Secrets to writing Killer DIY posts!

Ahoy there all ye blogging mates! I'll be downright honest with you folks here. I wasn't exactly sure about what should I do for a DIY post today since I am a university teenager and out of the two weekend days, one goes for the study jazz, so I have one day to wrap a whole DIY post including the text, the photo-styling and actually uploading it. You get the gist right?
So for those of you newbies out there or even those of us who periodically get stuck in a blogging rut, here's a breath of fresh air!

What is... the anatomy of a stunner DIY post?
( DISCLAIMER: This is a long post full of valuable information, so you may want to settle down with a giant chocolate chip cookie to munch on)

You know how you get a colossal volcano of ideas pouring out of your head just before you try to get some shuteye? This happened to me last night. Today morning, I whipped out my notebook and started scribbling these bucket-load of ideas and here they are, actually legible (because my handwriting looks like a infant's scribble when I'm writing on the flow)

1. Cook up headlines you know you can't resist reading...but..

I mean how many times do you get sucked into a post after you read the post title? Maybe posts like "How to have instantly glowy skin with this 3$ trick" or even titles which seem contrary, almost impossible which offer readers solutions like "Stay at home and get paid more than your current job! Here's how!"
        Now here's the catch, these titles kind of stand like the hook of first-time-impressioners. Readers get hypnotized by your title and click through, great, then what? If the content doesn't deliver, then your audience are going to feel deceived. So this advice stands sound when you know you have a gorgeous post planned out, make sure you give it a headline that screams "Click Me! Click, Click, Click!" You don't wanna ruin you real estate space by writing some dull headline and nobody clicks to ever get to know a charming post was hiding underneath. That's just...painful.

2.Think outside the box? (NOT!)

This might be like a slap in the face because you've been told otherwise but you don't have to be a 100% original. Read that again. Yep. That's because there is word in the dictionary called inspiration. Everything is inspired by everything else around the world. Don't drive yourself nuts thinking of something wildly original. My policy? I take an idea, which forms my basic point of pick-up to my own creation. A good example is my DIY Faux Vintage China Jewelry Display. 

 My base was Keren's DIY Vintage plate idea. It was an all-round fabulous DIY of course where she prints out her roses on a tissue paper and adheres them on plates. At that time I was doing a Wardrobe Stylist series (on my blog) where I had to whip up some affordable closet organizing solutions. So I combined the idea of displaying jewelry onto the plates (including teacups and embroidery hoops to the equation) Plus, I took my own swing on Keren's cute idea and instead of using tissue paper, used temporary vintage-style tattoos to make my faux vintage plates.
So ease out your head a bit! Don't think outside the box, shun out the box in the first place!

3.Writing Your Content is like playing a game!

Apart from sharing your super-cool idea with your readers, what else do you write a particular post for? As a lead to other posts of course! So make sure you use a lot of links within your posts to your other posts. I'm not talking about baseless linking like writing a post about burritos and linking about a furniture makeover post inside. That's plain awkward and way too random. The best tip for in-text linking is when your current post completely relates deeply to another post. For example, my DIY washi tape post links to my free printable Giftwrap post  because I used the leftover giftwrap to make some snazzy home-made washi tape. This indirectly gives the readers the better hint that the author is actually utilizing all the things he/she makes! 
Another great tip is to get behind the scenes. Make sure your pictures are decent tho'. Some of us bloggers (read : ME!) go all messy when we wear our crafty pants and all that's there in the background photos is some crap. When readers see the behind the scenes photos, it backs up all your arguments about the craft you're talking about and you gain your audience's trust. Plus, it's so much fun!

Tip number three is: Don't forget to get embarrassed! Share your craft fails and how you corrected them. It gives the readers insight into any modifications they would like to put in your craft when re-creating it themselves. Plus, it makes you sound more relatable, cuz, c'mon, who doesn't mess things up once in a while? I did this in my DIY cross-stitch wallart post. It was a learning curve in the post for me where I tell my story of how hopelessly the idea began but turned out great in the end! (I later came across a forum where two lovely women were discussing how they liked reading my humorous craft fail story, lol)
The basic essence of a Bomber or a Blah DIY post is this: a blah one is your regular DIY post, it blends in with 1000s others out there. ( I won't disregard these types though because we still have something to learn from them). A bomber one meanwhile is a regular DIY post too, but with a plot twist.
Yep, a plot twist. Like this one, DIY ribbon-tie-vanity basket. It hooks the readers. This basket is your regular basket except that the idea is to make it by recycling cereal boxes. It was favorited a lot at Craftgawker. I've noticed that everytime I do posts like these (and you as self-respecting DIY-er should too), the like rate is beautiful. ^_^. Every. Darn. Time.

4. Be yourself? Here's why this seen-everywhere advice is confusing!

So I've seen this in countless other blogging advice posts"Be yourself while you're writing. Be authentic", yaada yaada yaada. I do agree, BUT here's something for the newbies or for those who aren't getting much meaningful compliments on their posts- they don't know what being themselves means. 
Let me explain. I'm sure this happens to you guys too but sometimes in conversations when you need to explain to people why you're interesting or what is the IT thing about you, you're blank. When they ask you about your life, for a sec there you think, it's my life so why isn't my tongue running loose? It's because you can't actually point a finger. So how exactly do you know what makes you unique?
There are two ways I found out, one would be asking people with honest opinions (stick to family members only if they are giving you the stark truth). Do a lot of people say you make them giggle.?Then you do great humor! Do they say that you can shake up a few heartstrings? You're great at moving people's hearts or even convincing them!
Another way is to find out what kind/style of writing you're most drawn to. You're probably best at writing that style too. Because the kind of books that you read a lot are probably the kind you'll be best writing at!

5. Ruthlessly perfect photography?

So you're crushing on a LOT of blogs which have that perfect photography that makes your eyes go starry? A lot of people think I've taken photography courses but that's miles from the truth. I haven't and mostly it was trial and error. I didn't read any of those 100000000 photography tips on so many blogs either. Sure, I pin them and they are useful for fabulous snaps, but with the hectic schedule I don't get around to reading them and a lot of it is probably overlapping when I sometimes skim through them.
Here's the deal for the beginners. No DSLR required. Might sound so dumb since I have one myself but that was gifted to me when I never had a blog (not to make you jealous!). There are a few techniques which make your pictures instantly better without you having to worry about a 1000 things.
Here's a few:
1. For beginners, white backgrounds are THE thing. You don't have to perfect the photo backdrop this way. They look professional, give focus on your craft and are easy to edit in editing programs.
The DIY Floral Belt made from Sharpies is from of my earliest posts. :)

2. Keep a mood/ theme in mind. By theme I mean, think of a color palette for your craft's composition. If your craft is say, a pink and blue bracelet, a good prop for it would be it coming out of a similar blue pouch or gold (for contrast) blurred up in the background.
Mood is like the same thing. When you have a mood in mind, it's zero trouble to take a beautiful snap. For eg, the mood I wanted to create here for my brownies was a tea-party. All the trays, flowers and teacups had to remind the viewer of a beautiful tea-party so I had that particular vintage-reminiscent arrangement.

3.When you're a pro, sure, go ahead, experiment. When you're a starter, don't. When it comes to lighting, please stick to daylight. It will bring out your pictures gorgeously. And use very, very soft sunlight. The worst of cameras take crisp pictures in daylight and the colors look amazing.

4.Embrace technology. After following the above tips, just use any photo editor (if not on your PC, there are so many apps out there now), edit your clicks for minor modifications and upload!
I'll be doing a detailed photography post soon where hopefully, the tips won't overlap with those on other blogs! Watch out for that!
Also consider mixing up different sizes of pictures in your blog post. I'd recommend those that fit your blogroll's width perfectly, square ones (for sites such as craftgawker and google+) and those whose length is larger than the width (which fare best on pinterest)

6.Pretend you're a pro at typography

Because let's be serious. we as bloggers are very important people. To give people the idea that you're not a 4th grader who clashes colors with colors, whips out fonts of every shape and size on one piece of paper, here's a formula for you guys:
Use fancy fonts-plain fonts combination ONLY on Head titles or pictures. For the rest please, please use the plainest font out there (by plain I mean, it's easy on the eyes).
Call-to-actions deserve special attention though. To emphasize them take the same font of your paragraphs and go italic instead. Or go bold but use a one shade lighter (grey instead of black) so it's still easy on the eyes.
I go a step ahead and use dotted lines before and after my call-to-actions to make them stand out!


This is more of a personal choice but I've figured that this is what works for me. I normally take LOTS of pictures of the final product of my DIY, so what I do is spread them out a bit and show some of the final result pictures just after the intro (so people have an idea of what this process is gonna end up like) and most at the end of the post so everyone can take in lots of eye candy!
I also do more spacing between different "segments" of the DIY. For example : introduction before the main picture, materials as another segment, the actual process as the next segment and the final call-to-action as an ending segment.

8 What if I don't know what to DIY?

Constrain Yourself!
  Here's where we all go bonkers right? One essential thing I learnt all this time is that you have to constrain yourself like crazy. That means the materials/methods you need to make a certain craft should be narrowed down as much as possible. This pushes you to think of new ways to make something and also inspires many genius contraptions! Here's one I did, I have no idea why it became so popular. It just came to me out of no-where, you may want to check how I made it: DIY Bracelet Tower!
Or my vanity tray made from something as basic as a shoebox lid!

Keep no limits!
  This would be the exact opposite of constraining yourself. What you need to keep in mind is do either of the do but never, ever be mediocre and go mainstream (exceptions coming in the next main point.) People made chandeliers out of bottle caps. How did they do that? They kept no limit to the materials they needed for the craft! (Heart :Hmm, can I use bottle caps instead of pretty ornaments? Head :Sure!) Here's one example of my DIY in-door style closet organizer, too, incidentally made from bottle caps. Another blogger rejected it for a guest post saying the idea wasn't good enough, but it is the most popular pin on my blog's board at Pinterest right now!
Shop inspiration from online stores!
  Great for fashion bloggers! Online retail stores don't just sell jaw-dropping pieces. There's loads of inspiration to knock-off too, so bookmark those little guys!

9. Striking a balance!

A lot of bloggers out there say that you should stick to what you love. And then there's the other bloggy side which says you should stick to posts which you think people would prefer. What do you do? One way I sorted out this problem is by being interested in a bit of everything. I do mainly craft DIYs, style and recipes here but not much makeup. However, I'm still interested in it which is why I ended up doing a post on this DIY concealer and it's the most popular search keyword people come to my blog through! I suppose a lot of chics digged that! So that was an example of people loving my post in a category I'm not a fan of as big as other things!
However. this is something I love obsessively. Vintage florals! So I did a collection on this and it was a hit too! So the point is, juggle between both kinds!
Another great tip is that if you are doing an in-between post, give out something free to download at the end. This also makes people stick around your blog more!
I do this in my making Floral Prints post, where I taught how you can use something as basic as Paint software to make custom giftwrap, fabric or wallpaper and then I give out a freebie at the end!
Secondly, remember when I said never-ever go mainstream? (it leads to tons of traffic too!) Sometimes, when something is a rage and on-trend, do your version of it BUT make sure it has something that sets it apart. When the envelope clutch was taking the universe was by storm, I did my own version of this DIY envelope clutch but I whipped it out of a cushion cover unlike other blogs. Some blogs did it out of a placemat or a fancy rug and I loved their ideas too!

10. Are they gonna remember you?

One of the things I see an explosion of these days is white background at the back of blogs. While I love this and the professional feel it gives (couples with amazing photographs which white backgrounds make pop!), there's so many similar ones now that I forget the face behind each blog! So make sure that you have something "significantly" different on your blog. My initiative for this was to start using picture collages for my main picture (like the first picture in this post.)


-If you still run out of DIY ideas, go into the past! Ask your granny or other experienced people how they used to do stuff "back then". You'll never know what tricks they had up their sleeves which have been forgotten down the line!

-Do from-scratch posts and never-been-there posts! When Cath Kidston's pretty fabric was too expensive for me, I got inspired and did a version myself. 
When I couldn't find vintage floral freebies that I loved anywhere on the internet, I learnt photoshop and created some for myself initially then thought of giving them out to you guys too! Link for them here! (I apologize for the tons of "I"s in this post, I'm not sure if it's looking rude :) )
-Don't just link to your posts; link to other bloggers' posts as well. If there is a technique you did to make a DIY which was borrowed from another blogger, let people know!

-Readers LOVE it when you give them alternatives; cuz' sometimes they don't have/can't find the materials you use for your if you write a bunch of substitutes in the end, you'll win them all the more! For my post on DIY storage solutions, I'd painted one box with vintage flowers and wrapped a decorative sheet on another one but I also include other things people can do to spice up their storage :)
-Take cue from people. Ask on your fb page or post a picture of your idea on instagram and ask people if they'd like a DIY on that. If the reactions is positive, go ahead!
I hope this post helped you guys lots and was helpful to you! Do pin this piece of advice and pass it on to other blogger pals you know to help them through!
           Subscribe to Craft A Doodle Doo or join in the fun on my Pinterest & Facebook page to get free upadates! You can now fill in some tingly fresh lemonade and enjoy the rest of my DIYs here!
Much love and all the best,

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pretty Me Up// No-Sew Pretty Pouch DIY!

We all know we have that little girl inside us that gets us bubbly during the high points in life, so this no-sew darling of a pouch is just for that special inner youngster in you or the little girl in your family.Plus, it's made from scrap fabric! What's not to love? :)
It's great to stow in just about anything. Makeup, jewelry, stationery, knick-knacks and the sorts! I decided that I wanted to gift one to my little cousin sister, so I began working as soon as the idea struck, this is that easy! I promise!

Here's what you need!
1. Begin by lining the wrong side of your scrap fabric with duct tape. You'll want to do the same to both the fabric scraps.
2. Here's what your scraps should look like after you make the "duct tape lining".
3. Get your stapler fired up and staple along in as-a-straight line as possible along the both the smaller sides of the rectangles and one longer side. This will leave you with one edge open which would be used to insert your belongings!
4. Like in the picture below, cover all the stapled edges with some more duct tape because we don't want all those spiteful staples poking our fingers everytime!
5. Add the adhesive velcro on the inside open edges and adhesive lace onto the outside open edges as a trim. If you don't have adhesive lace, just use fabric glue/ liquid stitch to secure the lace!
And we're ready!
Here's how I gave this to my little cousin. With the cute stationery inside!
Nothing like a cute eraser decked with sweet washi tape!
And some fabulous washi tape-d pencils to match!
And my cousin's reaction? Priceless. "You MADE THIS? MAYYYY-DE?!"
I'm currently swooning over that lace detailing. You can get lace like that at They have the most delicious washi tape designs as well! And nope, this aint no sponsored post ladies!

Here's something sweet for you to pin!

Hop over at my Pinterest and Facebook page to join me on an inspiration ride or subscribe to Craft A Doodle Doo to get free updates or downright amazing DIYs, freebies, the best of beauty and tastebud tickler recipes!
Check out all my other DIYs here!
Love you peeps!
Nash xoxo

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Freebie Jubilee// Delicious Eid Gifttags!

This is gonna be a quickie cuz' I know all my Muslim mates out there must be busy! But here's getting into the festive mood and my own special gift for you guys! Free Eid Gifttags! Download these in a jiffy, print 'em out and give your gifts that extra honey final touch!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Inspiration Nation// DIY Floral Prints!

Custom cards, custom giftwrap, custom wall decals, custom fabric...whaaa?? Maybe it's not as tough as it sounds. Maybe that software which you thought was for kids to doodle on isn't all you made it  out to be. Enter Paint. Today we are gonna use this seemingly humble guy to make some fabulous floral prints, ready to be printed on well, about anything! Shall we get adventurous dahlin'?
Imagine lovely floral patterns like these to make your own fabric clutches or beautiful pencil pouches. Or imagine adorable journal cards sitting on your desk. All in any color you want. I'm going to show you how to get your designs on fabric at the end of the post!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cravings Ravings//Nutella n' Kitkat Brownies!

These brownies are dunked in glorious Kitkat.
They have a whole lotta rich Nutella whipped in.
They have cereal krispies that give them a superior crunch.
Are you salivating yet?
Have you noticed that I'm into a lot of foodie posts lately and hardly used to do any before? I think these past few months, the chef syndrome has caught on after being on a va-cay with my cousin sisters who are gorgeous cooks!

Anyhow, this recipe was adapted and modified from "Culinary Concoctions by Peabody" and cheers to her for pushing a no-baker like me enough to give this a shot. While she and I did the base the same, I did the topping differently. Mine lies more in the range of a melty-chocolatey ganache frosting combo. And not to forget, I like my brownies warm and fudgey when I bite in 'em! :)

You'll need:
  • 1 box brownie mix (I use an 8x8 inch Pyrex dish)
  • 5-6 large Kitkat bars
  • Cocoa Powder Unsweetened/regular (according to taste)
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup cereal Krispies
  • 1/2 cup crushed chocolate biscuits
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
1.Grease the baking dish and prepare the brownie batter according to directions. Dunk the kitkat bars inside the brownie batter. You might wanna break a few bars into half to distribute evenly. I found I had to do this a bit at the edges/sides.

2.Bake your brownies according to package instructions!

3. While the unreasonably decadent aroma of the brownies baking caresses you senses, get set on making your hybrid ganache!

4.Start by melting the butter in a pan and add the Nutella, gently mixing it in. Next add the Vanilla, Krispies and chocolate biscuits. Depending on the sweetness of your chocolate biscuits, you may want to adjust the amount of cocoa powder, If they are sweet, use more of unsweetened Cocoa powder, and less of the normal kind.

5. I think I added about 4 tbsp. Cocoa powder (regular) and 1 tbsp. unsweetened Cocoa powder.
Add in the water and remove your pan from the stove. Make the mixture into a lovely thick, creamy consistency. Set this mixture aside.

6. When your brownies are ready, spread a decent layer evenly over the whole surface of the oven-hot brownies and keep in the fridge to chill for about 20-30 minutes.

7.You'll find that the topping has settled a bit onto the top and niches of the brownies Cut up your brownies into small serving squares, style your table for a tea-party and have a whopping time in some beautiful warm sunshine by your favorite window!

The result? Dazzling taste of Kitkat and Nutella melded together, crunch from the Krispies and biscuits toning down the sweetness a notch and of course the irresistible brownies themselves!

Yep, somebody needs to pull me away from the screen while i upload these images so that I don't go reminiscing those luxurious memories for the 903138294th time.
If you want a less fluid consistency of the ganache, all you need to do is to chill these babies longer in the fridge. 
I'm pretty sure you'll go as nutty for this recipe as I am right now. If you do intend to try it or have your loved one bake it for you, don't forget to tweet/share/pin this! I want the whole world to know there's something so easy and so utterly fantastic that can be make quick n' easy combing all these "oooohhh" flavors!
Don't forget to check out my other ravishing recipes like Creamy Chicken Pasta, Orange Chicken and Korean Fried Chicken here!
You can subscribe to Craft A Doodle Doo and be updated on more of my flavortastic food favs; otherwise feel free to join me on Pinterest and Facebook, sweets!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Inspiration Nation// DIY Stationery/Makeup Brush Roll!

Helllooooooooooooooo!!! Part four of the Design Your Series is now here! Check it out!
Do you have leftover mismatched stationery that makes your workspace looked cluttered? Or maybe you need to sort out some itsy bitsy stationery that comes in singles? Either way, you don't wanna lose that one paintbrush or color pencil that always seems to be disappearing! Maybe you'd like a gorgeous lil travel companion! This is PERFECT to sort out your stationery as well as makeup brushes and other essentials PLUS it's so thrifty it's made right out of a pillowcase! Excited yet???

You'll need:
1. A thrifty pillowcase cover
2.Scissors, measuring ruler and ball pins
3. A sewing Machine and some matching (to the fabric) thread reels
4.Ribbon coordinating your pillowcase
5.Your mum, if you're less than a sewing newbie!


1.I'll assume this step for the general size of most pillows. You'll want to mentally map out the length of your pillowcase into four equal parts. Fold over one-fourth from one side and then fold over again. Cut across. So now you have half the length of your pillowcase. Put the other half aside as we won't be needing that anymore.
2.You'll have an uneven edge from where you cut one side of your fabric. You'll have to invert the about half an inch inside so the uneven edge isn't visible and sew over.
3. On this just stitched edge, place the ribbon end at one corner (wrong side down with right side up of fabric) and sew over till you reach the other corner with the rest of your ribbon trailing.
4. Remember we left the other side of the ribbon trailing? When you come at the edge of the length of the fabric, you need to count 7 inches from there and form a loop with those seven inches; then secure the formed loop at the same corner of the fabric. This is what it looks like.(Now again we have the rest of the ribbon trailing after the stitched loop)
5.Mentally divide the fabric into one-thirds.Fold over a third of the fabric (with the ribbon trim showing) and pin the folded flap down momentarily. Then mark dividends (wide or narrow) with a ruler and pencil according to the width of what you want to stuff in. (I did a combination of both narrow and wide pockets to fit an assortment of junk I've piled up!)
6. Make creases by folding the fabric just to get an idea of where you have to sew.Sew vertical lines aligning with the marks you've mapped out to form the pockets.
7. All done! Now tuck in your pencils or brushes and roll over the fabric! Reminds me of a yum chocolate cake roll right now, but then, I'm such a loyal chocoholic!
To secure the roll, cut off the trailing ribbon as much as the length it takes to go twice over the roll, form a loop and knot it with the previously sewn loop. Do this and check how much length it takes and then trim your ribbon!
That is how you knot the ribbon at the end. I hope you get the idea!
Time to tuck in your mismatched pencils and give them their own lil' home!
Not a crafty chic? You can still use these for your compact mirrors and makeup brushes for on-the-go!

I hope the tutorial was clear enough for you folks! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to drop over a comment! I would also love to know which function you think this serves better!
Pin this tutorial if you loved it and join Craft A Doodle Doo on Pinterest and Facebook OR subscribe in the sidebar for lots, lots lots and lots more juicy inspiration!
                    You can check out the rest of the Design Your Own Series posts here!

Lots of happy hugs, have a wonderful week!



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