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Monday, February 28, 2011

.:Market Yourself Monday - Product Cards:.

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Did you watch the Oscars? We watched off and on. I haven't seen most of the movies that were featured, but if I could have picked what should win based on storylines, I definitely would have picked King's Speech!

Well, let's get down to it! Here's what I've been working on lately with Lucy, my lovely Silhouette.


I'll share the tutorial tomorrow!

Don't forget to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway to win a free dress!

Also, if you are interested in advertising your business by sponsoring a giveaway here on Sumo's Sweet Stuff, go ahead and send me an email at sumossweetstuff@gmail.com. Look for a sale on advertising rates coming soon, too!

Now it's time for you to share what you've been working on! This is an open linky party! Just be a pal and link back here where you can.

Happy Linking!




Sunday, February 27, 2011

.:You asked, I Answered:.

Awhile back, I said that I'd be happy to answer any questions you all had for me! Personal, blogging, crafting, or otherwise!

So here are my answers to the questions I got!

"I want to know how to pronounce Sumo. Is it like the wrestlers or like summer?"

It's like the wrestlers! I guess the correlation between Summer (my real name) and sumo was close enough for my husband to turn it into my nickname! My whole family calls me Sumo now, my nieces and nephews call me Aunt Sumo, and we've even had some friends (my husband's friends from before we were together) ask me what my real name is because they had no idea since he always calls me Sumo!

"How much time a day do you spend blogging? Do you schedule your posts?"

I try not to spend too much of my kids' awake time working on my blog. But I would say that I put in at least an hour a day towards it. I like to just take a nap time every once in awhile and crank out a bunch of posts. I'll also admit, guiltily, that sometimes I put on a movie for my two year old, while my 10 month old naps in the morning so that I can do that, too. (I said sometimes, not every day!) So yes, I do schedule posts. I like to have 3-5 posts lined up at a time. I'm kind of anal like that.

"Where do you find inspiration for your projects? And is Sumo your real name? What is its origin?"

As to inspiration for my projects, it really comes from all over! Sometimes an idea just pops into my head. Other times, I see something somewhere else and tweak it to make it mine. Other times, I find something I want to use and create something around it. I wish I could say that I spent more time looking through catalogs and other stores' websites to do knock offs, but I just simply don't care to make time for that! I get enough of that from looking through other blogs, and the rest I just pull from myself. Obviously, I've done lots of baby ideas, and the inspiration there comes from my girls! Often, I'll see things in stores and boutiques and think to myself, "I can make that!" and so I do...or at least try to! :)

And if you read above, then you know now that Sumo is NOT my real name, although it may as well be according to the amount of people who call me that! But Summer is my real name - whenever my husband introduces me as Summer to someone it just sounds so wrong coming out of his mouth! :)

I'd like to know who designed your logo...it's so totally adorable!

That would be the fabulous Julie from Leelou Blogs. We grew up in the same town; she was my younger sister's age. She has an older sister that is my age. There's some pretty amazing women and craft mavens who reside our little town in Oregon. Click here, here, and here to see a few more!

I would like to know the best way to get sponsors on your blog. I know about Google AdSense, but how else do I monetize? What's a good rate to charge for someone for putting their button on your page? Should I contact people? Or is there some site out there I don't know about?

Alright, let's break this down!

Let me start off by saying that I don't really make money on my blog.

Sponsors. Honestly, I haven't done much to get sponsors for my blog. All I've done is write up a post when I decided to start accepting sponsors, and then posted when I've run specials. I was lucky that there were people reading who wanted to be a sponsor on my blog.

As to contacting people to be sponsors. That is totally up to you! Personally, I haven't done that as of right now, but I've considered it. When I've seen other bloggers discuss this, some suggestions were that when contacting potential sponsors, you offer them maybe the first month free so that they can see if it is worth it to pay to advertise on your site. Or, you could offer them buy one month, get the second month free. You'll want to offer something really great to sweeten the deal because they are taking a risk - monetarily - to advertise with you. You want to make it worth their while!

When starting out, I say start low! That will entice people and they really aren't out much if it doesn't work out. For instance, I started out offering $5 a month to have a button on my site AND writing up a feature post. Once you've been doing that for awhile, you may find that it is taking up too much time to write up all those features, and you can re-visit a price increase. I've done this once. Other options are to offer button swaps with other blogs of similar sizes - I do this with a couple of different sites. You can check out my advertising page to see what I currently offer to get a better idea.

It's also great to have giveaways. This can drive traffic to your site, which will increase your readers and make people want to advertise with you more!

Another way to make money blogging is to become affiliates for different companies. Lots of companies offer affiliate programs, and it's a fairly easy way to make money sharing products that you love. Many of the buttons in my sponsors section are companies that I am an affiliate for.

A new site that I've recently found out about is Social Spark. I just barely learned about this site, and am not even fully set up with it, but my understanding is that you set your own price to write up posts about products that would be of interest to your readers.

I'm certainly no expert on advertising, but that's what I know right now! I'm still learning about all of this stuff, too! I really think you have to decide how much time you want to put into your blog. Most of us aren't really going to make tons of money doing this. So you have to determine if it's worth putting in a ton of extra time - time away from spending time with your family - for what you'll be bringing in. I bring in a little, and it's nice to have a little chunk here and there, but for now, I don't want blogging to turn into a full time job for me. It's just finding a balance!

I'm new to blogging and looking to get followers. How do you get followers and people to read your blog?

I get this question, or some variation of it, quite frequently in my email inbox! So here's just a few things I recommend to help get you going!

* Linky parties: There are TONS of linky parties out there for you to link up your projects to. It can definitely be overwhelming, so just decide how many you want to worry about - maybe you just want to start out with 2-5, and then go from there. This is a great way to get exposure, and is in essence, free advertising! Most linky parties are for crafts, recipes, diy, and home decor. I allow everything at mine - including giveaways and etsy shops. Just be sure to read the rules. As most of you probably know, it costs now to host linky parties, so it's nice to be respectful to the host of the linky party by reading the rules and linking back. Well, it is nice to do that no matter what, but especially nice to be mindful now that it costs! You'll notice on my Monday and Tuesday posts, that I post text links to the parties I participate in.

* Comments: Comment, comment, comment! This is a good way to get bloggers to notice you. If you feature an idea from another blogger, leave them a comment and let them know. They might tweet or post as a facebook status to check out their feature on your blog. If you comment frequently, blog authors begin to remember you and are more likely to check you out.

* Blog swaps: This is a really great way to get exposure! Contact other bloggers to see if they'd be willing to do a blog swap with you. You are getting seen by all of the readers on the blog you swapped with, and that person will be sending readers over to your blog to see what they are posting about. It's a win win! There are also lots of blogs that allow people to write feature posts sharing ideas, tutorials, and recipes. You may not get a post back in return, but you are still getting people reading what YOU wrote and getting people interested in following YOUR blog.

* Post frequently: You don't have to post every day, but I'd say try to post at least three times a week. That way you are keeping yourself out there and people will keep reading.

There is a great site - CrafterMinds - that is all about how to get your blog out there and be successful at it! There is also a weekly chat on twitter (#crafterminds) every Monday at 1 pm PST. A lot of your favorite bloggers are involved in this and give great advice! It's a fabulous resource!

How do you get everything done?

Short answer? I don't!

Long answer: There are simply not enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything that I want to! But there are a few things I do to help me get close!

My mom was telling me about a Dr. Laura show she was listening to on the radio, where a mother had called in and complained that she never had any time for herself. Dr. Laura asked her what she was doing at five in the morning every day, to which the mother replied that she was sleeping. Dr. Laura then told her that that was time she could be using for herself.

I couldn't agree more! I get up at 5:15 every day. This gives me time to work out, shower, and get started on my google reader before my kids are up. Yes, it's early, but I like to have that time to myself to start my day. I don't like having to worry about exercising and showering while they are awake, and I certainly don't like sitting on my computer all morning reading blogs while my kids need me. (Although, having a nursing baby does force me to sit down, so I often read blogs while I'm nursing. What will I do when she's done? That's coming up!)

I'm also a list maker. I make lists of projects that I want to do, lists of orders I need to make, lists for stores that I need to go to. It helps keep me organized, and I love the satisfaction of crossing something off my list.

I try to make a plan of how I am going to spend my day. For instance, one day last week, I chose to spend nap time cutting out fabric for tons of different things I want to make. The next day, I used that time to sew without having to stop and cut fabric as I moved from project to project. Some days, as I mentioned above, I use nap time to write a few blog posts. And, also as I mentioned above, there are days here and there where I just let my daughter watch a movie while I try to get caught up on things. It just helps me to think things through, and make a game plan to help me accomplish as much as I can.

But like I said above, I don't get everything done in a day that I'd like to! Between my two year old, my eleven month old, and the four month old I watch, my mommy/caretaker duties keep me plenty busy and those come first!

I sometimes will wait and do some of the computer business at nite, after my kids are in bed and if my husband is in bed already (he leaves around 5:00 a.m. each morning for his clinicals at the hospital!) I like to do projects during the day when the lighting is good for my pictures. But I pretty much stay away from the computer and my projects once my hubby gets home until the girls go to bed. And even then, sometimes it's just hubby and me time after the girls are in bed and it all gets pushed on the backburner. Family first!

Is there anything you could share that we don't know about you?

Um....let's see.

I love Diet Coke. Okay, I LOVE Diet Coke. Oh wait, you said that you don't know about me? I guess that is pretty common knowledge.

Well, here's a few quirky things about me:

I love the smell of lipstick.

I think you should always use fresh garlic when cooking, not the stuff from a jar.

I believe you can tell how clean a person really is by checking the inside of their microwave.

I do a weird thing where I 'ruffle' the edge of my sheets with my fingers. I usually don't even notice I'm doing it. (Sometimes I do it to my fabric, too. I know, it's weird.) My whole family makes fun of me for it.

I love just about any form of lilies.

I'm really bad at math.

I used to be obsessed with whales, and somewhere I got some weird CD of music that had whale noises in the background. Growing up, I would listen to it to help me fall asleep. Yep, another weirdy thing about me. You'll keep reading, won't you?

Whew! That was a lot! Hopefully you learned a thing or two about me, and maybe got some tips to help you with your blogging adventures. Feel free to comment if you have other questions or tips that you'd like to share!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

.:Showcase Saturday:.

Go here to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway!

We had a great party this week! I hope you were able to browse through some of the great ideas.

Let me share a few that caught my eye.











Grab a featured button if I showcased your idea today!

Come back on Monday for another fabulous Market Yourself Monday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

.:Feature Friday - Restorative Living:.

Go here to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway!


I'm so happy to be guest posting for Summer! I'm Sarah from Restorative Living and I can't wait to share with you one of our family's all-time favorite appetizers, Sausage Crescent Loaves.

While this is an appetizer, you may have trouble moving on to the main course! It's hearty enough that the many boys in our family love it, but light and flaky enough to draw in the gals as well.

Sausage Crescent Loaves
2 cans crescent rolls
1 lb. reduced fat sausage
1- 8oz brick of low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 egg white

You'll see in all of my pictures that I doubled the recipe. It feeds a crowd, but always goes fast so I make a lot!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown the sausage and drain. Add warm sausage to large bowl and stir in cream cheese until melted and combined. Of course, if you're like me, you never remember to soften the cream cheese. In that case, leave the sausage in the pan and add the (very cold) cream cheese. This way you can bump the heat on (but keep it on low!) if you need to to give the cream cheese a boost in the melting process.
Eventually, you'll have this. Let it cool completely before you start the next step. I usually put some plastic wrap over top and stick it in the fridge to speed things along.
Spray a cookie sheet and unroll both cans of crescent rolls out flat. Push any seams together that separate. Spread half of the sausage cream cheese mixture the length of each crescent roll sheet. Now fold the crescent rolls sides over on top of itself and the sausage mixture. Press down to seal the edges.

To add a yummy crispness, brush on some egg whites.
Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes and you'll have these lovelies...
Slice them into 1 1/2" slices. You've got a hearty appetizer, finger food, or party dish that feeds and pleases a crowd.
And that's it! An easy go-to party recipe to add to your stash.

If you stop by my blog you'll find more recipes like Cilantro Lime Rice:



And fun tutorials like my Tiered Ruffled Tote Bag:





Or check out my room renovations, like my Breakfast Room redo:

I hope to see you soon!

Restorative Living Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2011

.:Things to Try Thursday - Canvas Boxes:.

Go here to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway!

Amy over at Positively Splendid shared these gorgeous boxes a few weeks ago. Do you know what she made them out of?


Diaper boxes.

I'm not kidding.

And with two kids in diapers (expensive!), then you better believe I look for frugal ways to enhance my home!

Go here for her tutorial!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

.:Giggles, Glitz & Glam Winner:.

I know, I know!

I'm late again announcing a winner!

I just got back from vacation last nite, and between unpacking and a seriously sick baby, it's been a little crazy!

But here we go.

The winner of the custom tutu from Giggles, Glitz & Glam is:



Congrats Amy!

Please contact me at sumossweetstuff@gmail.com to claim your prize!

Thanks to Giggles, Glitz & Glam for sponsoring the giveaway!
And thanks to everyone who entered!

Don't forget, you can still enter to win a free dress from Shabby Apple!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

.:Tutorial Tuesday - Family Picture Book:.

Go here to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway!

This is a quick and easy project, but something that, at least in our house, will be getting a lot of use! It's also something that we can easily add to as more family members are added.

What you need:

- vinyl/Silhouette
- scrapbook paper
- cutter
- double sided tape (or some adhesive)
- pictures
- laminating pouches/laminator
- wallet sized pictures


Start off by cutting your scrapbook paper. My laminate pouches were for 4x6 sized pictures, so I cut my paper to 4x6.


Cut all of your names out using your trusty Silhouette in vinyl. You could obviously just use stickers for this part, but I like to use my Silhouette whenever possible! Plus, I have lots of fun fonts on my computer, so it was fun to make them all different so easily.


Put your picture on the scrapbook paper using your adhesive.


Cut out frames using your Silhouette in vinyl. Put the frame over the picture.

** Do not use transfer paper for this part or else it will stick to your picture and ruin it. (Not that this happened to me or anything. It's a good thing wallets come with two pictures.)**

Then put the name under the picture. You can use transfer paper here if you are really careful not to let it touch your picture anywhere. (Isn't my nephew so super stinking cute? We call him Huddy Buddy.)


Here's all of the cards up to this point. (We make some good looking kids in our families!)


Warm up your fun, new laminator! (I'm loving having all of these toys!)


Place your card in the laminating pouch. Adjust it so you have the same distance around the card.


Feed it through your laminator.


It's so satisfying.


Look at all those fun cards!


Punch holes in them and put them on a split ring.


Now you've got a fun, personalized book for your kid(s)!




Linking up here:

Monday, February 21, 2011

.:Giveaway - Shabby Apple - CLOSED:.

** GIVEAWAY CLOSED **

Is it bad that I totally want to rig this giveaway for me to win it for myself?

Okay, I would never do that, but after you see what this giveaway is for, you won't blame me for thinking that!

Dresses from Shabby Apple

Shabby Apple is offering to giveaway a dress to one of my readers!

How awesome is that?

I have to admit, I'm pretty jealous. I had so much fun shopping around through the women's dresses, and the little girl's dresses! Between myself and my two girls, I could really do some damage on this site!

Here are just a few of the dresses I am drooling over.

I am a sucker for ruffles, so this Chickaree dress is calling my name!


I just adore the color of the Samarkand dress!


The sleeves on La Noche Negra are so fun!


My two year old would look so cute in this Aviary dress!


Shabby Apple also offers accessories! I am loving this key necklace!


So now that you are drooling over all of the lovely dresses, how would you like to see what's up for grabs?

One lucky person is going to win this Duck Beach dress!


I love the cherry red, the high collar, and the fun sash! (I'm still considering rigging the giveaway in my favor! Ha....just kidding.....kind of.)

So here's how you can enter to win:
(Each entry requires a separate comment!)

MANDATORY

1. Visit Shabby Apple and tell me what dress is your favorite.

EXTRA

2. "Like" Shabby Apple on Facebook.

3. "Like" Sumo's Sweet Stuff on Facebook.

4. Follow Sumo's Sweet Stuff on Twitter.

5. Tweet this giveaway (including me in your Tweet) or blog about the giveaway, and leave me the link.

Five entries = Five comments

This giveaway will end on Monday, February 28th at 11:59 p.m. MST. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 1st.

** Winner must have a US shipping address! **

It will be YOUR responsibility to check back and see if you've won.

Don't think you can wait, or just have too many things that you'd like to win from Shabby Apple? Get 10% off your order using the code "sumossweetstuff10off"!

Good luck!


Dresses from Shabby Apple

.:Market Yourself Monday - Family Picture Book:.

Go here for the Giggles, Glitz & Glam giveaway.

How is everyone doing? Did you have a great weekend?

I'm still in Oregon, enjoying some time with my parents! We are missing Daddy like crazy, though, and wish he was here with us!

This is why there was no Showcase Saturday this past weekend, but I promise I will have it back up and running this week!

Luckily, I was able to get this project done before we left so that I could share it with you. It's a little family picture book! Super easy, super cute.


Tutorial tomorrow!

Now I want to see what you've been up to lately! Please link back here when you can, it makes me feel super happy. (Anyone catch the Kai Lan reference there?)

Also, if you want to see a super awesome video of about 17 of your favorite bloggers singing, dancing, and otherwise making fools of ourselves, head here. You won't be sorry!

Happy Monday!

Linking up here:




Friday, February 18, 2011

.:Feature Friday - Creative Southern Home:.

Go here for the Giggles, Glitz & Glam giveaway.

Hey Y'all. My name is Anne from over at

I am a Mom of 4 wonderful children who loves to read, craft, play the piano and dabble a little bit in photography. Today I am sharing with you an easy way to update your wardrobe. This wonderful little flower belt I created for well under $5, and it sure helped this mama feel a little more in-style!

I have really been loving all the feminine flowers that have started gracing the scene lately. I saw a belt with a flower on it recently and thought I could make my own version. Since I work around my home doing housework I prefer something flexible, so I made my belt with elastic.

I went to good old Hobby Lobby for my supplies: 3/4 inch black ribbon, 1/2 inch elastic, 1/8 of a yard of black satin, and some alligator clips.

At home I had thread, buttons, hook and eye closure and E-6000 glue.

I first measured my waist and then cut the elastic about 1/2" shorter. Then since I wanted my belt to look "scrunchy" I cut two pieces of ribbon 1-1/2 times longer than the elastic to give it room to scrunch. I then sewed the two pieces of ribbon together running my stitch pretty close to the edges. Leave both ends open.

Fold over the end of your elastic and attach a safety pin. Take the pin and push the elastic through the ribbon pushing and pulling as you go. When the tail reaches the end of the ribbon sew across the end so it doesn't pull through. Then keep working the rest of the ribbon through. When the pin reaches out the other end take out the safety pin and sew across the top of the ribbon and the elastic to attach it.
I then used the hook and eye pieces to hold my belt on me once it was done.
I folded over the edges of the ribbon belt and sewed these on by hand, making sure that they matched together when attached.
If you look carefully you can see them on the ends.
For the satin I cut out different random circles to use for my flower.
I held the edges over a great smelling candle to finish the edges.
Stack several together until you get the look you want. I chose a wonderful antique button I picked up at a yard sale to be the middle. Just attach it with a needle and thread.
I used the E-6000 glue to attach the flower to an alligator clip. I wanted to be flexible in how I used the flower, either on the belt or in my hair.
I just attached the belt around my waist and then clipped on the flower where the belt ends came together.

So cute and classy! I wore this to my Father's retirement party. I love being able to accessorize my own wardrobe. Hope you enjoyed this little lesson as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you.