As another year gets started we know you guys have more than a few plans in the works for how to make this one the best/most productive yet, which is why we've partnered up with our friends at Squarespace, who provide you with fantastic tools to help you set up your creative life online - from their beautiful, responsive design and easy functionality to 24/7 support and and even tools that easily let you set up a commerce site to sell your handmade goods. Running and building a website from scratch used to be super hard (we know from experience, we even had talented programmers help us!), but now anyone can easily do it, and make it look great. Plus you can use code KOLLABORA and get 10% off your new site to get started!
And to help get you guys fully prepped to take on 2015, we reached out to a few of our incredibly creative and inspiring members to get their take on resolutions for the new year. And whether you're wanting to learn a new skill, clean up your digital life, start a blog, or finally get organized once and for all, we're sure their advice will help you stay organized, crafty, and sane in the new year!
We'd love to hear from more of you too, so feel free to comment below and share your answers to the questions as well!
Meet the Panel!
What craft would you like to learn in 2015?
I’d love to start dying my own fabric. I’ve bought tons of white silk and cotton for my inevitable batik explorations. - Heather Lou, Closet Case Files
Bra making! I’d love to be freed from the of shackles of Victoria Secret. - Katy Patzel, Katy & Laney
Indigo dyeing! I've seen some breathtaking projects made from indigo dyed fabrics. I'm forever drawn to the color blue and I love using natural materials to make beautiful things. My challenge is to find time to try it when I won't end up with 6 pairs of curious, little, blue hands! - Sara, Radiant Home
Weaving! - Sonja, Ginger Makes
What craft DON’T I want to learn in 2015?! Since I’m always trying new things I only know the basics of most of them so this year I’m really focusing on honing skills and pushing myself to grow and build on what I’ve already got in my tool box. - Alexi, Two of Wands
Modern Calligraphy. - Claire Wilson, Claireabellemakes
What skills would you like to improve on?
PHOTOGRAPHY. It's improved SO, so much since I started blogging in 2009, but I can always improve. I have a good camera and one lens (50mm 1.8), but struggle with light, white balance, backgrounds, and finding time during the day to shoot. - Suzannah Hamlin Stanley, Create/Enjoy
I learned to knit a couple of years ago, but this is the first year that I have finished projects from a pattern. Everything I've made so far has been fairly small (hats, baby blankets, scarves), so I'd like to challenge myself by knitting a sweater sometime this year. - Sara, Radiant Home
Would love to become better at tailoring, and so I've enrolled in a class at FIT - Sonja, Ginger Makes
Knitting is my go-to since it’s basically my job, but I’d also love to up my game with crochet, embroidery, weaving, dyeing, sewing, jewelry making, and ceramics. The great thing about crafts and art is that you can always push boundaries and take something to the next level. I don’t think it’s possible to reach a place where there’s nothing left to learn or improve or invent. Alexi, Two of Wands
My styling. After coming up with my project, creating it, deciding how I'm going to relay that to my readers and shooting it. - Jen Carreiro, Something Turquoise
Maybe not so much a skill I want to improve on because sweater design is currently a skill I don’t even have, but one of my goals for 2015 is to knit a sweater of my own design. Jen, Grainline Studio
I’m hoping to work on my hand sewing and couture techniques. You don’t need them all the time but having those skills in your back pocket makes you feel like you can make ANYTHING.. - Heather Lou, closet case files
What goals do you have for your blog or site in 2015?
I have tons of new ideas for the new year; new series, fresh tutorials, more personal writing. My blog is my connection to the sewing community and I couldn’t imagine life without it. - Heather Lou, Closet Case Files
More consistent readership and engagement (on-blog (comments) and on social media). It's always interesting to see the posts that get the most traffic--not always the ones I care most about. - Suzannah Hamlin Stanley, Create/Enjoy
Release my first sewing pattern. Create new tutorials and maintain quality and community. Grow traffic. - Beth, Sew DIY
I want to only share things that really excite me. I want to be the ultimate DIY wedding blog and I am constantly brain storming what that actually means. I want to finally finish my media kit. I want to hire at least 2 people to help me with my tasks. I want to create a DIY shopping page. I want to start making simple how-to videos. - Jen Carreiro, Something Turquoise
My word for the year is “mindful” so I hope to be more present and less rushed this year. It’s a good goal anyway! - Christine Haynes
More posts, more tutorials, more patterns, more sew-alongs, more fun! I really want to post more about my personal handmade wardrobe and share more tutorials and variations though. Jen, Grainline Studio
I have lots of ideas! I have a few more sewing patterns in process, and I'm planning a monthly blog feature to teach bag-making skills. I'd love to double my site traffic, collaborate more with other bloggers, and contribute a couple more patterns for publication. Sara - Radiant Home
I'd like to share more tutorials and tips - I learn so much from what others generously share, so I'd like to pass along what little knowledge I have in case it helps someone else! - Sonja, Ginger Makes
Building my shop and researching video content. - Claire Wilson, Claireabellemakes
What big craft purchases do you have planned in the new year?
New video camera and lighting! - Mark Montano
A new table for my sewing machines. I made the mistake of purchasing one of those plastic folding tables from Costco. Little did I know that the plastic table top would stretch under the weight of my beloved machines. I’m currently sewing in a crater! - Katy Patzel, Katy & Laney
A coverstitch machine! Come to mama! - Jennifer Wiese, Workroom Social
We are actually planning on moving in probably March-April and I will have my very own room for my craft space. I'm partnering with a few different brands (like Martha Stewart who is providing my furniture) to deck it out and I seriously cannot wait! Jen Carreiro, Something Turquoise
What’s the biggest blog or tech obstacle you want to overcome in 2015?
The biggest obstacle with my blog is time management.I'm trying to figure out systems that will allow me to create content and post more regularly. - Jennifer Wiese, Workroom Social
Re-desining my site. Long overdue. - Sarah Hurwitz, Knit York City
Learning to use the best keywords and SEO - Mark Montano
I want to conquer the email account. Staying on top of incoming emails and questions is a daily task that I can always do better at. - Kelli Ward, True Bias
I want to become more comfortable with professional photo editing software. - Ashley Laney, Katy & Laney
I’d like to set up an integrated shop on my website. - Claire Wilson, Claireabellemakes
The downloadable playlists, figuring out the royalties how I will provide them to my readers and more. My cousin is a musician so he's going to create them for me but I have to deliver them to my readers legally. - Jen Carreiro, Something Tuquoise
I need to up the quality of my blog photos. They're usually taken in a rush and not always in good light, so I'd like to do better in that category. - Sonja, Ginger Makes
Umm…figuring out what the point of all my social media is? I probably should know this by now but really Instagram is the only one I fully grasp the point of. In 2014 I started hiring people to take care of my tech obstacles for me correctly and it was some of the best money I’ve ever spent. - Jen, Grainline Studio
Coding, coding, and more coding. - Katy Patzel, Katy & Laney
One of my main goals this year is to connect more with my customers and be more active in all of the online crafting communities I’m a part of. While I don’t necessarily want to spend more time on the computer, I do think it’s really important to be active in these communities in order to build my company, hear more customer feedback, and for general inspiration. - Alexi, Two of Wands
The VAT tax situation for selling my PDF patterns in Europe is a giant hurdle, but as I sell a lot to that part of the world, it is a challenge I am willing to take on. - Christine Haynes
Learning some more CSS and HTML would be just lovely. - Heather Lou, Closet Case Files
How do you plan to keep your projects organized for 2015?
I have checklists all over the house! It would be awesome to have them all in one place, but since ideas spring up in the middle of living life I just write them down on the nearest paper. I use my Google calendar for personal activities and our school schedule, so it makes sense that I should try to include my business plans there too. Sara, Radiant Home
For work related things I just started using Basecamp to track the progress of any new patterns or projects so that my designer and I as well as anyone else who happens to be involved has a clear view of where we’re at and the due dates on things. It’s been really great so far. I also try to just cut one thing at a time and finish it before I cut another. Jen, Grainline Studio
Call me a nerd, but I have an Excel spreadsheet with my goals for photography, blog and sewing. - Maddie Flanigan, Madalynne
Spreadsheets! Just kidding (sort of). I can’t really dive into anything unless I have it well planned out and organized ahead of time. I do make a lot of spreadsheets and have binders full of designs/sketches/magazine tears that are all organized into different categories for quick and easy inspiration. - Alexi, Two of Wands
I use a Google calendar for my planned blog posts, and can drag them around across the month to space out my types of content (e.g. one dress per month, one recipe per month, etc.) - Suzannah Hamlin Stanley, Create/Enjoy
Evernote! EVERNOTE! - Heather Lou, Closet Case Files
One. Project. At. A. Time. - Sonja, Ginger Makes
To help keep on top of things, I'm hoping to set up some accountability systems with friends and colleagues. Having someone to answer to will really help me keep my deadlines. - Jennifer Wiese, Workroom Social
Do you have any advice for setting blog or craft goals?
Make goals, but make them attainable. I tend to go pretty overboard with what I think I can accomplish in a given amount of time, and it doesn’t feel good to constantly disappoint yourself when you don’t meet your own deadlines. Alexi, Two of Wands
For me it's all about stating it publicly so that I am accountable. That is the great thing about having a blog. The beginning of the year is a great time to do a resolutions post that you can reflect back on through out the year. Kelli Ward, True Bias
Turn any long term goals into smaller actionable steps, it keeps things moving because you can check off smaller things and see progress. Your goal might be to sew an entire handmade wardrobe but if you don’t break that down you’ll most likely be overwhelmed. Always remember to have fun with it! - Jen, Grainline Studio
I like to plan my projects a month in advance, make a list of supplies, and order them all at once. Ordering for a few projects at once helps save on shipping costs and keeps me from buying fabric I don't need. Sara, Radiant Home
What advice to you have for someone looking to start their own blog or site?
Stay true to yourself and focused on what you love. Don’t try to be anyone else or copy what everyone else is doing. Just be you. - Christine Haynes
You can’t expect it to be as polished and perfect as you envision at first, but in time you will learn to turn it into what you want it to be.- Ashley Laney, Katy & Laney
Get into a routine and build followers and blogging habits, and learn as you go like we all did. - Suzannah Hamlin Stanley, Create/Enjoy
Keep goals reasonable. This is a hobby for me so I rarely force myself to do anything. I really want to find crafting enjoyable and to be able to go with the flow and what I feel like working on. - Beth, Sew DIY
Make a plan, but be fluid and roll with the punches when life throws them at you. - Maddie Flanigan, Madalynne
Take clear, well lit photographs of your me-made garments. Write from your heart and don't stress about self-imposed deadlines - blogging should be fun. - Heather Lou, Closet Case Files
Write as if you're talking to someone. Make sure to reach out to your readers as much as possible. - Mark Montano
What do you think is missing in tech or blog platforms that would help your blog or site succeed?
My current website has been built from scratch specifically for me because normal blog platforms couldn't deliver fast search results with my image rich content. Google won't show your site in search results if it's too slow, which mine was, so I had to build it with Googles analytics in mind. - Jen Something Tuquoise
More ways to connect with readers. - Sarah Hurwitz, Knit York City
I know if I posted content more regularly, my site would grow. I'm not sure what can be done about that besides just getting my act together! - Jennifer Wiese, Workroom Social
What has been the most helpful resource to you this year?
I think the most helpful resource has been my friends - either ones I see regularly at sewing club, or ones I know through blogging. - Ashley Laney, Katy & Laney
The people I’ve met through blogging/social media. - Sarah Hurwitz, Knit York City
Picmonkey - Mark Montano
The community. Getting feedback from real people is what matters when running a craft business. If you’re writing a blog you’re just talking to yourself if no one reads or comments! - Claire Wilson, Claireabellemakes
Google. I ask her a million questions a day. - Heather Lou, Closet Case Files
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