Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How To Download Your Blogger Blog

Blogging can be a wonderful way to share your ideas and experiences. There are so many blogs that are used for personal and business purposes. Crafters, designers and artisans use blogs to showcase their work and to connect with clients. There are also many blogs that share great tutorials and DIY projects.

My blog is a vital part of my business, because it is where I share my creative projects, and where my students can access my classes and workshops and make payments for their desired sessions. A question that came to my mind was: what if something happened and I was unable to access my blog? What happens to all the information and work that has been put into designing and content?

I save .pdf versions of my content, but having an electronic version that is easy to import back into my blog forum or move to another platform is also a great idea. This is why I think, backing up your blog is something you should also consider doing.

Access Your Settings
If you have never done this before, here are two ways that you can access your blog settings. If you have multiple blogs, Option 2 will give you access to all of your blogs.

Option 1: When you have signed into your blog click on "Design" at top right hand corner. On the left of your screen you will see several icons and links, click on "Settings."

Option 2: If you have several blogs, click on "Design," and just under the blogger "B" logo (upper left hand corner) you will see "My blogs." When you click on this link, a new window will appear with a list of all your blogs. Click the triangle icon next to your blog title and a drop down menu will appear. Select the "Settings" link from the drop down menu.

Downloading Blog
  • When you have accessed your "Settings," select "Other"
  • Locate your "Blog tools" and you will see the option to "Import blog - Export blog - Delete blog"

  • Click on "Export blog" and a pop-up box will appear asking you to "Download Blog"

  • When your download is complete, you will see an .xml file at the lower left hand corner of the screen (Mac and Chrome users).

  • Save this file in a folder for easy access. On my Mac, I simply clicked and dragged the file onto my desktop, then saved it in a folder called "Blog Backup."
  • With windows and other browsers, the choices will be basically the same, but may look a little bit different. 
What is an .xml File?
An .xml file is an Extensible Markup Language file. It is similar to an .html file except its format is designed for RSS feeds and/or blogs. It can be opened in Notepad (Windows), TextEdit (Mac) or other Web design programs such as Dreamweaver. This is a source code file with all the scripting and content for your site. An explanation of RSS and XML is beyond the scope of this blog but if you want to find out more about these technologies, there is a great article on About.com for .xml as well as very extensive entries for XML and RSS on Wikipedia.

As an added note, I originally tried doing this in Safari and I was getting an RSS feed instead of a download (this is because Safari has a built in RSS feed reader). I then tried it in Chrome and it worked just right, so keep this in mind when you try it in your given browser.

You may also want to schedule how often you do a backup. Depending on how much you blog, consider a weekly or a minimum monthly schedule. If you are a WordPress user, perhaps this link on how to export or download your content or how to set-up automatic backups using WordPress will be helpful.

Do you currently back-up your blog and/or computer files? How often do you do a back-up?

Important Note:
This is how I backed up my Crafted Spaces blog. I would hate for anyone to lose their valuable information, so I suggest that you do some research and make sure that this is safe for you to do as well. The research I did was very helpful to me. I decided to write this blog with the hope that it might help others, but I always suggest doing your own research as well. Check the blogger support forum for more information before proceeding with your download.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sewing Pattern Weights

I recently came across a great little tutorial on making pattern weights, and I just had to try making them. I have used weights in the past, but I usually pin my pattern pieces. However, if you will like to avoid making pinholes in your patterns, then pattern weights are a great alternative. Just lay several of the pattern weights on your pattern pieces and cut your fabric as usual.

The instructions for making the pattern weights, were easy to follow and all I needed to do was to raid my scrap bin for supplies. I added a 1/4 inch to the pattern, which made my weights a tiny bit bigger and easier to sew. I filled my weights with yellow split peas, but you could use rice or pellets. I also could not help myself and just had to add an embroidery detail.

I think that these pattern weights look really cute in my sewing room. I have already cut a stack of fabric pieces to make several more. I hope you will put your fabric scraps to good use and try making a few of them.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thrift Store Find: Vintage Sheets

I have been meaning to share my new vintage floral sheets that I purchased at Value Village. I love a great find and I especially love finding unused, mint condition items at the thrift store. The sheets were $6.99 each and the pillowcases were a mere $0.99 each.

The prints are beautiful and are good weight cotton. They have a "Made in Japan" sticker on them and are nice and crisp. I am guessing that the previous owner never used them.

I am not sure what I will make with them just yet, but I have a few ideas that I am considering. I am also thinking of keeping a set for my vintage linen collection.

What do you think? Have you had any great thrift store finds lately?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

DIY Spring Wreath

A little over a month ago my husband handed me the Christmas wreath from off the font door and with the sweetest look that said "it is no longer Christmas." This got me thinking of what I wanted to do for spring, so I purchased a grapevine wreath from Michaels with the intent of making a new spring wreath. Well, I finally made it, and I am happy with the results. I had originally planned on having it done for Easter, but needless to say I only finished it today.

I gathered my tools and decided to use some flower bushes that I already had in my craft room. The peach blossoms are the same as the ones I used in the Recycled Glass Bottle Vase project last month.

Here is how my wreath was made:


  • Grapevine Wreath
  • Peach Blossom Stem
  • Cabbage Rose Bush
  • White Rose Bush
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue
  • Burlap Strip
  • Scissors
  • Wire Cutter


1. Hot glue the tips of the twigs and insert the peach blossoms in between and on the ends of the grapevine.

2. Remove greenery from bushes, hot glue the tips of the stems and insert them into wreath.

3. Remove flowers from bushes and place hot glue at the base of the flowers, starting with the smaller white roses and working from the outer sides toward the centre.

4. Cut each cabbage rose stem a few inches from the base, place small amounts of hot glue on the tips of the stems and fill in the centre of the arrangement.

5. Hot glue additional cabbage roses to fill out any holes or use other small filler if desired.

6. Make a bow with the burlap and hot glue it at the top centre of the wreath.

I love my new spring floral wreath. It is so inviting, makes me feel warm inside and puts a smile on my face. It also reminds me that my front door is in need of a makeover, but that is a future post.

Happy spring!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Crafty Idea: Serving Tray Facelift

I have several pieces that I will like to give a facelift to and I decided to start with this serving tray that I have had for a long time. I had some decals left over from my sewing machine carrying case project, so I took my old IKEA "Klack" serving tray and gave it new life.

After cleaning the tray and making sure there was no greasy residue I applied the decal to one corner of the tray. I think it looks a lot better than it did before and is simple and easy.

I have also decided to re-purpose my son Matthew's old desk, by using it in the kitchen. I am thinking of making a cover for it using a linen fabric.

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One-of-a-Kind Spring Show

On March 30, I had the pleasure of being invited to the One-of-a-Kind Spring Show and Sale in Toronto. My husband and I made our way down to the Direct Energy Centre and I was psyched to see all the amazing original creations.

As expected the exhibition hall was full of colour and row upon row of goodies. Entering the building I pondered how all the creative energy in the building could be harnessed into a power source, and just how powerful it might be. I hate to admit it, but off-beat thoughts along these line often pop into my head. Well before you think that I am crazy, I will tell you more about the show.

Well, where should I start? Ok, I received a very wonderful invite from my friend Carolyn Barnett, to visit the show. I was thinking of attending, but with Easter holiday festivities, my Mom returning from her tropical oasis, tons of unfinished projects, my new sewing students, and the eve of my son Miles' third birthday; let us just say that I already had so much on the go. However, I just could not pass over her offer of two tickets and the opportunity to see her new designs and all the other wonderful creative goodies at the show.

I stopped by Carolyn's booth first, but she had taken a little break. So I decided to start at the last row and work my way across the giant exhibition hall. I participated in the show many years ago with my other company and I was, and still am really impressed with the quality of the show, the amazing artist and patrons who appreciate craftsmanship. It is also one of a handful of shows that I will suggest to other artist and designers to consider applying for. Having said that, over the years, the prices have increased and the booth sizes have decreased. Many of the artisans' faces are familiar to me and the show has maintained a good reputation for attendance and sales over the years.

Some of the things I observed this year were an increase in children's goods and an increase in clothing. Unfortunately I felt that much of the clothing looked the same. They were well made and from a beautiful selection of textiles, but a bit too similar in nature. Some vendors may also want to refine their customer service skills. I realize that language may have been a factor in some cases, but some of the vendors seemed to have a more stoic disposition. The "dead zone" seemed to be in the corner behind the food section, which made me wonder how well those vendors did at the show. However, a really wonderful addition to the show was the Etsy section, which I think was great and gave some artist who wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to sell their work due to the cost of a booth.

I was happy to reconnect with Carolyn (Carolyn M. Barnett) and I loved her new felted designs. I really enjoyed our chat and I love the direction she is taking with her collection.

This beautiful pink jacket is my favourite piece, that she had at the show.

I also had an opportunity to chat with Diane Kroe (Diane Kroe Designs) and as usual I am always warmed by her wonderful personality. Her collection is great and the versatility of her designs can appeal to any woman.

My husband Don and I were both impressed by the work of new designer, Marie Armstrong (Krazy Lady Kreations) who designs stunning cotton rugs. She was super friendly and is a retired teacher now artist that works from her studio in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Her work stopped us in the aisle and we just had to chat with her a bit.

Don was also taken by the unique custom Ukulele and Banjo collection created by Ross Stuart (Rosbilt Tin Can Banjo/Ukulele). Ross is a Toronto based artist who makes his instruments from tin cans.

Don and I also had a lengthy conversation about handmade watches and we were both blown away by the amazing handmade watch collection of Scott Wilk (Wilk Watchworks). Scott's designs are beautiful and the craftsmanship is evident in every piece.

I could not leave the show without stoping by the booth of Kailey Hawthorn (Hawthome) to let her know how much I loved her designs and choice of fabric. I love the selection of fabrics she has used in her pillows and ottoman collection. I totally fell in love with a vintage piece she had that was just breathtaking.

The spring show is over now, but the show will be back at Christmas and I am sure you can check out the artist I have mentioned and lots of others. Until then, here are some links you may want to check out.

Carolyn Barnett | Carolyn M Barnett Designs
Diane Kroe | Diane Kroe Designs
Marie Armstrong | Designed Cotton Rugs
Ross Stuart | Rosbilt Tin Can Banjo/Ukulele
Scott Wilk | Wilk Watchworks
Kailey Hawthorn | Hawthome

Monday, April 8, 2013

Home Organization Challenge: Studio

I cannot believe that twelve weeks have passed since the start of the Home Organization Challenge. The final room is my sewing studio, and this past week I was so happy to organize a few things that really needed my attention. I teach sewing classes in my studio, so I vacuum on a daily basis and I am always mindful of putting things in place at the end of the day. However, there were a few things that I have been neglecting. I have also found myself rushing to clean up before my classes and by the end of the week things were a mess.

Over the past few months I have made a few small changes to the room that have made a big difference for keeping things organized. I found that I use my pegboard a lot and the beautiful pattern storage boxes I found earlier in the year have been great for storing the patterns I use for my classes. I also bought plastic bins for my student projects and I find they are great for keeping things separate and within easy reach. The big challenge was dealing with the overflow of fabric and my new fabric boards were really helpful. The boards are easy to make and have been great for folding the over abundance of fabric.

I have a few creative touches that I will like to add to the studio, so I also used this past week to think through some of my ideas. I have a few unfinished projects such as finishing painting the wardrobe and making new draperies. I hope to get my projects done in the next few weeks.

It has been a great time for me, and I hope that it has been helpful to you as well. I will be doing a final round up of the challenge next week, so visit again. Thank you for joining.

Happy Organizing!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Home Organization Challenge: Dining Room

The Easter holiday was fun but hectic, and as you can tell I am a bit behind this week with my post. I am however, very excited that the end of the 12 weeks Home Organization Challenge is in sight and there is just one week left to go. It is amazing to see the changes around my home and I hope that if you are following along, that the challenge has been working well for you as well.

With just one more week left in the challenge, I am looking forward to getting the last bits done and having an organized home that my family and I can really enjoy. Last week the challenge was to organize the dining room. As I mentioned before, my dining room is part of my kitchen. The dining area is small, so there is generally not a whole lot of organizing for me to do except to keep the table free of clutter.

However, the biggest challenge in the space was sorting through all the items from the various rooms that had been gathered in the past weeks. Placing everything in its new home and trashing other items. I also had to find a new place for the hardwood flooring that is meant for the living room, but has been housed in the dining room for way too long.

The idea was to clean things up and remove all clutter. I will be doing a make-over of the space some time in the next few months, so I wanted to create a clean canvas for adding some much needed style and personality. I am happy that my family and I have a place to eat dinner together again and I look forward to further transforming the space.

This week the focus is on my sewing studio. I teach sewing classes from home and the space has to be kept clean and organized. I generally do a good job of keeping this room organized, but I will really like to work on my fabric and notions here. I also have some decorative touches that I will like to add to the room, and getting a bit more organized will make a big difference.

Week 12 - Studio

  • Sort and purge items into four categories; keep, donate, trash and other room
  • Empty cabinets and wipe shelves
  • Clean window and door
  • Wash drapery
  • Clean floor
  • Clean light fixtures
  • Clean sewing machine(s)
  • Organize notions, fabric and other supplies
  • Organize patterns
  • Create a donate box with fabric and other unwanted supplies
Happy organizing!
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