31 December 2012

2013 Business Goals

2012 was the first full year in business for The Orange Windmill.
This year, there is going to be a much stronger focus on growing my business.
Here are my 2013 goals:

1. Gain five more wholesale accounts.
2. Buy paper in bulk(er).
3. Purchase shipping supplies in bulk.
4. Organize my work space better.
5. Build a landing page for my website.

It is my plan to have all of these things done by the end of 2013.
What are your business goals?

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30 December 2012

Tips for sponsoring blogs

So you have a shop or blog. And you want to get the more views and sales, right? A great way to do this is to get your ad (or button) on other blogs. But how do you know which blogs to choose? This is what I do:

1. Have some ad buttons prepared. Take a look at the blog's sponsor page and find out the size ad they require, then make or revise your ad to the specified size. Seeing blogs with ad spots that are stretched to fit the necessary size never looks good. Trust me, that makes everyone's lives easier.

2. Look for blogs that fit in with your branding. If you have a fashion blog, you might not get as many views from putting your ad on a DIY blog; you'd be better off putting your ad on, say, a lifestyle blog. Or if you're selling photography, you'll want to advertise on an art blog. Chances are, you might be already following a blog you want to advertise on. I know that of all the blogs I have ever advertised on, I was already following and knew something about the blog and the author of said blog.

3. Look beyond the amount of followers. I have learned to look at the number of pageviews in a month, as opposed to the amount of followers it has. Just because a blog has many followers, it doesn't mean that each of those followers are reading that blog.

4. Look for the sponsor location. There have been a few blogs that I was interested in putting my ad up for a month. But when I looked for their sponsors, they were all the way at the bottom of the sidebar. If I'm going to sponsor a blog, I want my ad to be at least within the length of a usual blog post.

5. Look for what the ad spot includes. Some ad spots offer little extra things like extra tweets or pins throughout the month, or an individual feature of your shop, or an intro post. All these little extras sometimes are what make having the sponsor spot worth it.

6. Google Analytics. If you don't have your blog or shop set up with Google Analytics yet, DO IT! It's a great way to see where your clicks are coming from, how long they stayed on your site, if they browsed through other pages on your site after seeing your initial page, etc. It's a great place to gather information and to find out which blogs are the best to advertise on.

I hope these tips help you decide on which blogs might be a good fit for advertising on! If you have any more tips that I, please add them in the comments!
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28 December 2012

Bloggers for Christmas Link-up

I'm joining the Bloggers for Christmas link-up tonight, won't you join us?

Bloggers for Christmas

I linked about my favourite Christmas tree decorations - which have just this evening been taken down and packed away until next year...

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27 December 2012

My favourite Christmas tree decorations

Here is a little snippet of my favourite decorations that were hanging on our tree this year.

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Product Review :: Crochet Gallery

Although I spent years of my life loving scarves, I must say that my love for cowls is growing very quickly. I love how cowls will stay around your neck, and it doesn't really matter if they move, they won't fall off. I think I like cowls better!

What I love about this cowl I received from Sabina of Crochet Gallery is that although it is made with acrylic yarn, in all the dozen or so times I have worn it last winter (and from wearing it every day so far this winter), I have not received static hair from it once! And that is amazing, because I seem to attract static from all sorts of fabrics, but I don't with this acrylic.

I was also concerned at first about how soft the cowl would be. I've worked with acrylic yarn before, and it always made my scalp and skin itchy. But this acrylic is so beautiful and soft! I honestly had no idea acrylic could be so soft and un-itchy! I was very surprised. I wear it every day to work now.

This cowl also keeps me quite warm; there are no drafts of wind coming through the cracks of my coat anymore to make me chilly. I am nice and toasty warm - the best temperature to be in the middle of winter.

I will definitely be buying another cowl from Crochet Gallery, and I definitely suggest that you do the same! You will NOT regret it! Sabina's cowls are a really reasonable price, and the customer service is wonderful! I'm planning on getting this one, this one, or this one.


DISCLAIMER: My opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way for this review.

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26 December 2012

Sponsor in January!

2013 is going to be a great year, don't you think? I already have some big plans for The Orange Windmill, and for Trees.Hides. (more on that another day).

And now that Christmas is over, it's the perfect time to start thinking about your advertising budget for this coming year. Trees.Hides. is continuing to offer the same low rates in 2013 as in 2012, but you are getting more bang for your buck! With almost daily posts, there will be a constant stream of visitors.

Here are the stats:

Trees.Hides. has over 1800 followers via
GFC, Bloglovin, Linky Followers, Hellocotton, Twitter,
Facebook, and my fabulous newsletter.
Pageviews have increased by 20% from last month.

If you're interested in more information about sponsoring my blog, head on over to the sponsor page, where you will find information about the ad space options, giveaway options, and how to purchase your ad space - it's super easy, but if you have any questions, just email me!

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24 December 2012

Featured Artist :: Art et Manufacture

I love Edith's work - it reminds me greatly of Delft porcelain pieces, although I know this is not what it is.
Here are some of my favourites from Art et Manufacture:

I love the workmanship, the colours, the photography, everything about Edith's shop. Definitely a must-see, in my opinion.

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22 December 2012

Happy Birthday!

Yes, I know that I probably shouldn't be saying that to myself, but this way, I can make sure that someone will! lol
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21 December 2012

Handmade Gift Idea :: Chocolate Syrup


In keeping with the same theme as the homemade caramel sauce post earlier, here is an idea for a handmade chocolate sauce post. Awesome idea right here: COMBINE THEM!!! I'm sure no one has thought of that before. lol


1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream


In a small saucepan, combine light corn syrup and semisweet chocolate chips; stir over medium-low heat until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in heavy cream. Transfer to an airtight container; chill about 30 minutes before serving.

People will love you. forever. (in case they don't already...)

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Happy Birthday to my little terror.

love, mama.
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20 December 2012

Handmade Gift Idea :: Vicks Vapor Shower Disks

I have spent the majority of my lifetime trying to find the perfect man gift - one that is practical and says "I am thinking about you" - in a manly way. And I think I finally found it!

What better way to tell that man in your life that he is special?
It's everything a man needs: practical and helpful.
I found it on Pinterest, and here is the link to the original post.
Here is how it is made:

-2.5 cups of baking soda
-Essential oils: eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender.
-Muffin tin
-Muffin liners


1. Add baking soda to a mixing bowl.
2. Slowly add water until you've made a thick paste.  Add just a little water at a time.  You'll want the mix to feel like putty.
3. Add 15 drops of each essential oil.
4. Spoon in to a muffin tin, and let sit out for 12-18 hours.  You can also bake these, but I just left them out overnight.
5. Pop these suckers out of the paper liner, plop it in your shower, and let the essential oils steam away your stuffy nose.  Edited to add: put them anywhere on the floor of the shower; it doesn't matter where!

A great way to say to the guy in your life, "You're congested. Here, take a shower disk. This will make you feel better. See how much I love you?"
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Holiday Link-up

Today I'm linking up with Sarah and Heather to their holiday link-up. There is an option to blog or vlog it, but since I've never vlogged (maybe I should try that sometime..?), I'll stick with my favourite: blogging!

What's your favorite holiday movie?
The Muppet Christmas Carol. To me, it's not Christmas until I have seen it.

Do you have any special traditions?
My mom makes THE best peanut butter balls. IN THE WORLD! If there are none on Christmas Day, I have to say I'm a little put out. And when there are some, I always eat just a few too many. like a dozen four or five.

What's your favorite ornament or decoration?
I would have to say the star that is on top of my parents' Christmas tree. It's a star that I made in Kindergarten, and I just love it!

Best gift you've ever received?
It is actually this year. I commissioned one of my co-workers to make some stuffed crocheted dinosaurs for my kids, since they both are loving dinosaurs right now. And Des did SUCH a great job! Take a look!
Alexander and Isabel are going to LOVE them!! In case you don't know, there is (from left) a  BrachiosaurusAnkylosaurus, Triceratops and Stegosaurus. Desiree' got the patterns for these dinosaurs at Planet June.

Worst gift you've ever received?
This one is not about a gift, but a couple of years ago, my mother-in-law forgot about my birthday. I know it's easy to do since my birthday is so close to Christmas, but still. Her son is the only immediate family she has, so you would think that she would remember his wife's birthday. right?! So a few days after Christmas, she gave me a card with a little votive candle, which lasted only a couple of hours. Thoughtful, eh?

Favorite winter accessory?
Fingerless gloves!!! I have a few pairs from Sew Ecological, and I LOVE THEM!!! I can't believe that I never used them before; they are awesome! These are the ones I'm loving right now:
They go all the way up past my elbows, and they are sooo soft!!

Real tree or fake?
Real, fo sho! I love the smell of a real tree, and a fake tree always seems too perfect. I like the imperfect trees. Ours is lopsided this year.

When and how did you find out that Santa was not real?
I always knew that Santa wasn't real. My parents didn't go through that whole charade; nor will I do that for my kids. Not that I'm against it or anything, but I don't want my kids to learn that I have lied to them about something that might end up being pretty important to them. Truth is always better, I think.
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19 December 2012

Handmade Gift Idea :: Caramel Sauce


Here is another simple and well received gift that you can make for pretty much anyone. I mean, who doesn't LOOOVE caramel? They would not be invited to my house for Christmas, I'll let you that much! lol  All kidding aside, caramel is a great condiment - over apple crisp, apple pie, ice cream, or like one of my friends, just with a spoon!

1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup whipping (heavy) cream

1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup, brown sugar and butter to boiling over low heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in whipping cream; heat to boiling. Cool about 30 minutes. Serve warm. Store covered in refrigerator up to 2 months. Reheat slightly before serving if desired.

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18 December 2012

Christmas Decor :: Utensil Holders

If I were to host a Christmas dinner, I think I would like to use these cute little utensil holders to keep all the flatware in before the meal. It's a really great way to incorporate your colour scheme onto the table too! (I would be using blue and silver, since that is the colour of our tree).

You can find the directions in the link above, including a video!
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17 December 2012

Featured Artist :: Spotted Dog Farm

I find that my appreciation for bolder pieces of jewellery is growing - much quicker than I thought it would. Only a 3 or 4 months ago, my jewellery was simple, monotone (usually silver) and small. But now I find that I'm just LOVING colour and boldness! Here is a great example. Summer makes these pieces of resin jewellery that just blow my mind. in a good way.

Obviously I'm loving red today! lol (it must have something to do with Christmas - I'm not sure!)

And there are so many other designs and colours in her shop, so go ahead and get your mind blown. in a good way.

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15 December 2012

2012 Holiday Gift Guide :: Bayan Hippo

I ordered a bag from Bayan Hippo (#2, actually!), and you can read my review of it here. I absolutely love the bags in this Etsy shop.

1. Khaki Tote Bag - $42
4. Canvas Ruffle Bag - $35
5. Laptop Bag - $28

As you can see, all of these bags are priced very reasonably, considering the quality that you are receiving. It's a great addition to anyone's gift pile this year! Head on over to Bayan Hippo and decide which bag you want to get!

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