Commenting Confessions Revisited

I want to revisit yesterday's blog entry.  I wrote in regards to the issue of popular bloggers disabling the ability for readers to comment.  This has been a growing trend that I wanted your opinions on.  After hearing some of your opinions regarding this recent developement I realized something: I approached this topic from a reader's standpoint and not a blogger's.  I, myself, am just a baby blogger, forgetting that other writers just may be reading my posts.   What about them?

Comment by Francesca:

Are we really coming to a crossroads in the blogging community where subbies have no comment?  What about the bloggers who are guinuinely concerned and/or moved by what their readers have to say?  If we really are coming into a new year with a new view, or lack of one, on comments, how do we encourage them?  Or are we doomed to voiceless blogging?

(via: Wilabetz)

I sure hope not.  Here are five rules I try to blog by as to encourage my readers and not discourage.

1.  Ask a question...

Asking a question at the end of your entry is a great way to encourage readers to submit their opinions.  Your question will get people thinking about what the article was about, prompting them to give feedback.  This will also allow you to see things you might have overlooked and revisit the topic later.  As I am doing today.

2.  Comment....

Be sure to actively show support to the bloggers you follow.  I believe in getting back what you put out into the world.  By showing your support in the blogging community you encourage others to be supportive.  If you do not have one, get a Blog Lovin' account.  This is a great site for staying up-to-date with the blogs you follow.

3.  Be interactive...

So you've asked the question; now be sure to reply!  Interact with your readers and the feedback they leave you.  I have mine connected to my iPhone so I am immediently notified when something is said or asked.  If this is not possible for you, let your readers know when you might be away from your dashboard for an extended period of time.  They'll understand, but if they think you don't even want to use your commenting section, why would they?

4.  Be humble, be gracious, be kind...
(via: Y.D.N.R.M.)

Be humble... show that you are human.  Be true to yourself and embrace your flaws.  We all have them and people will want to share that with you.  Ask for help when you need it.  Flip the script and let your readers inspire you!
Be gracious... show you care about your readers.  If they have a question or problem try to help them the best you can and be thankful.  Thank them for taking the time to come and they will keep coming back.
Be kind... Do not be argumentative, defensive, or insulting.  Think about your readers and how your words might make them feel.  I compliment my readers all the time!  How can I not?  I have the most darling and beautiful group of followers and I love letting them know I think so!  Your subbies should be your buddies!  Make sure they know how you feel about them.

5.  Write about the comments you receive...

Show you're active in your blog space.  If you notice a trend or a reader needs advice, answer them by writing about it.  When people see you are writing about their questions or answers they will want to be involved.  So involve them.  That's why they are here and why they will continue to be.

Thank you for reading and I hope it will help in creating more freedom of speech in our blogging worlds.  Let me know if you have additional advice.  I'd love to hear it!

Commenting Confessions

I have noticed a new trend rising... no more subscriber comments?  I don't know how I feel about this.  I do know that this would NEVER happen on my blog.  I love hearing from everyone!  I want to get to know my readers and what they like, how they feel, and especially what they want to read.  I am saddened by the inability to express my delight when one of my favorite bloggers posts something terrific and would never want you to feel the same.  Hearing feedback from readers should be one of the highlights of a bloggers day.  Seeing that you are bringing others happiness is what this is suppose to be all about!

As far as The Confessions blog goes bring them on!  Comments are always welcome here!

So 'Tessas what do you like?  To comment or not to comment?

Manic Monday #1

Merry & Bright Greetings...

Porcelain star & snowflake ornaments...

Darling 50's dress.  In Love!  

Have to make these for my new studio!

Snowflake marshmallows... yummy!

Eeek!  This pillbox hat is amazing!

Pink Owl.  Too cute.

Armani would be so mad at me!

I must own a pair!  This is the first time I've heard of Gypsyz but they look amazing!

So there are the things I've been manic for this week!  Hope you enjoy the first of many Manic Mondays!

Making it a DIY - Do It Yourself Christmas Confessions

If you're at all like me you probably avoided the Black Friday deals like the plague.  Rather than risk getting pepper sprayed or possibly shot in order to save, on average, 25-50% off of retail mark ups I prefer a greener aproach.

Puts a whole new spin to the website name DIY or Die right?  Do it yourself projects really are a wonderful way to save yourself the stress and sleep deprivation while adding personalization to your gifts.  I have comprized a list of some of the DIYs I will be participating in for this year's gift giving season.  Most will be upcycled vintage pieces; which I love!

Idea One:  Tea Cup Candles

Such a tea-lightful idea for the woman in our lives.  I love that I will be able to hand pick cups and scents to fit each individual's home and personality.

Idea Two:  Tea Cup Bird Feeders

Don't pass up on any of those tea cups just yet, you may have use for them.  Although friends and family will most likely not be able to use these until spring (the porcelain can shatter in cold weather) these will be sure to have them smiling into the new year.

Idea Three:  Secret Book

I just adore this idea!  I find it the most difficult to find gifts for the men in my life.  After nine years with my husband I have learned that men can NEVER have too many hiding places!  I think this would also make a wonderful gift for friends and older children alike.  You can also personalize your book selection to match the gift recipient.

And so we don't feel guilty about wasting the pages of a great book here is a tutorial for a book page wreath.

Idea Four:  Coffee Syrups

I found the tutorial for these on Elsie's blog and I am so excited.  Our families are filled with coffee lovers and these will be sure to delight and warm them through the cold winter months!

Idea Five:  Vintage Cupboard Door Serving Tray

I really want to try this for our house.  Everything is autumn colors with a rustic feel and I think these would be darling with fall leaves.  Seems like a wonderful gift idea as well!

So 'Tessas what DIY craft are you planning on taking part in?

Style Confessions - Deer Necklace

We decided, as a family, this year we would not have the traditional over the top Thanksgiving.  Last year I had the privilege of throwing my first family Thanksgiving complete with both sides of our families.  I feel so blessed to have been able to host my first Thanksgiving and my Great Grandfather's last in 2010.   He died three months later and we have all missed him terribly since.
For My Grandpa Percy

This year we decided to all go out early for dinner and be home in time for the game.  I grew up as one of five and the only girl... you get the picture!  On the way to dinner I had to stop by our local tee pees for some festive activities!  Oh yeah, my hair is black now!  Something about birthdays inspire hair color transformations.  =D
Tee pee made out of HUGE tree bark!

Found some wild berries...

Found out the hard way that they were blackberries and not wild raspberries!  Do not eat the red ones... yuck!

What I wore...

♥   Its All in the Details   ♥

Dress:  Thrifted
Cardigan:  Wet Seal
Necklace, Bow, Shoes:  F21
Bracelet:  Flea Market in Sunriver OR
Sunglasses:  Retro Boutique in Bend OR
Olive Green Pantyhose:  Vintage

Hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving with those they love!

Sweet Peek of the Week - Me

This week's Sweet Peek comes a little earlier then usual.  This week I decided to answer my own Fast Five so that you can get to know me a little better.  This will be the last peek entry for November, starting back up in December with my Christmas & Cupcakes editions!

A little more about The Cupcake Countessa...

Everything I have created for my business has originated from a kitschy little title I created for myself.  Rather rapidly it has flourished and grown starting with the need to share my vintage treasures with others.  I cannot pass up a wonderful piece of vintage no matter what its color, style, or size even when it's not right for me.  Most of the time I would give these items as gifts but even then they weren't always adopted.  I found myself clinging to an over-abundance of clothing and quickly losing closet space!  The shops were my husband's idea with the social media aspects being the icing on the cake!  I love what I do and am truly enjoying the learning experience of creating and managing my own business.

What inspires me...

EVERYTHING!  There is nothing that doesn't inspire me.  I find that everything in life has its own beauty if you truly look at it, but there is nothing that inspires me more than the success of others.  I love the blog's sweet peeks for this reason.  They inspire us all to reach for the stars!

Obstacles I have faced...

It seems like with every step there has been an obstacle in my path.  From conquering the language of HTML to learning how to successfully display my vintage goodies, everything has been a learning experience.  My biggest challenge thus far has been trying to make the best of a low quality camera.  When so much of my business revolves around the photography I display, it can be frustrating to have visions that are not achievable with the tools I have.

How I overcame them...

Perseverance!  Nothing worth having is easy, making the reward that much sweeter.  Every time I rise to the challenge and succeed I fall a little more in love.  It's like starting a garden from seeds; it takes a lot of nurturing and hard work but the blooms you create are always the most beautiful!  Another is patience; allowing things to take their course.  I have found that I want things to happen immediately when they can't or won't.  There is great reward in patience if you can stand strong.  I will be getting my new camera by the end of the month!  Thank you everyone who chipped in to make that birthday wish a reality!

My advice to others....

Be creative and thrive!  Be sure to surround yourself with those who love you and want to see you succeed because many times they will be your lighthouse when things get dark.  Be sure to support others who share your struggles, they will teach you more than any book.  Listen, never stop learning from anyone or anything because the day you do is the day you stop growing.  And lastly I must quote
Jenny Lee, "Follow your heart, do what you love and others will love what you do." Truer words have never been spoken!

Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving!  Time for me to give thanks to all of you!  See below to enter my Giving Thanks Giveaway with the prize being one of my obsessions...  Lime Crime Lippies!

Just my way of thanking those who have been with me since the beginning and the new friends I make on a daily basis.  Without you I would not have the opportunity to do what I love.  Here is the color you will receive:
Great Pink Planet by Lime Crime

I will be back next week after the holidays.  Hope everyone has a warm and wonderful holiday!

Birthday Confessions

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I turned 27!  27?  I don't really know what exactly 27 is supposed feel like, but I do know that no single cupcake can hold that many candles.  =)  It seems that I have felt exactly the same for the last five birthdays.  Hmmm... maybe 30 will feel different?  Who knows, but what I do know, is that it has been awhile since I have gone "all out" in celebration of the day of my birth.  I find that my favorite birthday agenda is that of just relaxing.  Whether it be snuggling with the hubby, dinner with the family, or girls day in the shops I just really love not having a game plan.   It makes everything about the day a surprise!   Hope you all have a beautiful day and I'll keep you posted on any events that transpired!

Sweet Peek of the Week - KTBDesigns

This week we are getting to know a little more about one crafty lady!  Sally is the founder and creative master mind behind KTBDesigns.  She creates everything from crocheted goodies, paper crafts, even patterns for those with a love of creating.   I was super excited to get to know a woman who not only brought people joy by delivering crafty goodies but also works as a labour nurse delivering babies!  How amazing is that?

I just feel head over heels for this little set the minute I saw it!  So sweet!  Time to ask Sally our Fast Five!

Sally can you tell us a little more about KTBDesigns?

KTBdesigns is all about making things, for as long as I can remember I have loved to make things...didn't seem to matter what the medium was....yarn, paper, needle and thread, beads....I dabble in all kinds of things. The name KTBdesigns came from my daughter, her name is Katie, when she was young she called herself Katie B (because there was another Katie in her kindergarden class...the teacher had to differentiate the two girls....thus KatieB...she would say...
No, mom, you have to call me Katie B.....thus the name.

I love that your daughter was part of the inspiration!  What continues to inspire you?

I am inspired by many different things, colours paired together in fashion magazines, fabrics, cookbooks, scrapbook paper. Sometimes, I am not sure where things come from...they just start out in my head and end up in my hands.
I am amazed that I can talk to people and send items and patterns all over the world. It fascinates me to think that someone in Cyprus will own one of my creations. It really is a small world. 

It always amazes me to see what people can create with just a vision and their own two hands!  Have there been any obstacles you've had to face in the creation of KTBDesigns?

As many people in my generation (real close to an old girl), I am not very computer savy. I still struggle with blogs, and web stats, and the interent. 
I just keep pushing the buttons 'till it works, or call my hubby or son to help me figure it out. I learn as I go.
I also struggle with time, lack of it. I spend my days of working on crafty things...but sometimes there just isn't enough time to do all the things that I would like...maybe when I retire??

Hehe I have mashed a far share of buttons myself!  I just love it when some off the wall combination finally works but you have no idea how to duplicate it!  Priceless!  If someone asked you how to achieve their vision what would you say?

What are you waiting for? Just jump in and get started. 

So true!  Thank you so much Sally for letting us into that crafty mind of yours!  I love what you do and hope that KTBDesigns will not be retiring anytime soon!  

Sally is continuing to deliver plenty of joy this week by offering us all a chance to win her cupcake clothes pins!  

They would make such cute addition to any clothesline!  See below to enter and remember "Just jump in and get started!"

What I Found this Week - Unicorn Pin

I found some great additions to my accessory closet this week!  I am an avid collector of anything and everything but I am surprisingly picky about my accessories.  I am the choosiest when it comes to finding shoes.  Crazy, I know, but I have the hardest time finding shoes I love for a price I am satisfied with investing.
I was so excited when I first laid eyes on these adorable mary janes and became ecstatic when my foot slipped nicely inside.  Without saying, these went home with me!  I found a few other goodies as well!
Vintage pastel floral bangles...
...beautiful powder blue and silver vintage cameo pin...
and this little guy!  Isn't he cute?  He is also a been and I have been debating whether or not to paint him.  What do you think 'Tessas to paint or not to paint?  If so, What colors?

Sweet Peek of the Week - JennyLovesBenny

This week I had the pleasure of getting to know the founder and creator of the darling Artist Bear Boutique known as JennyLovesBenny.  For the last eight years Jenny Lee has been creating one of a kind epatterns for hand made artist bears.  Her passion started when she received her first hand made bear inspiring her to share the love by making custom fuzzies as gifts for her friends.
I am in love with Tess!  How appropriate that she is also pink.  After reading about Jenny Lee on her blog I just had to ask her our Fast Five!  Her is what she had to say...

Hi Jenny, could you tell us a little more about JennyLovesBenny?

Jennylovesbenny is a world of cutesy bears and their merry friends, all with huge imaginations and cheeky characters. Designed by Jenny Lee with her beloved pet Benny, with the aim of creating happiness and endless smiles.

JennyLovesBenny is definitely the leader in the cuteness department!   What continues to inspire you to create these precious characters?

I'm inspired by life's simple pleasures and the beauty of mother nature. Beautiful things such as rainbows and sun showers, cupcakes and snow flakes, hot chocolate and cherry blossoms. Things that makes me happy inspires me to dream and create.

Oh my goodness!  Were we separated at birth?  =D  I find that being inspired by the simple pleasures is what leads to an endless abundance of creative energy!  Finding inspiration is obviously not a problem for you, but have there been any obstacles you've had to overcome to get where you are now?

It was hard in the beginning as a new bear artist as no one knows your name or designs. Getting your creations out there was difficult especially when I first started Jennylovesbenny as the internet was not as huge as it is now, therefore, limited avenues for exposure. There was no blogs, facebook and many shopping sites that exists now. Even creating your own website required you to know a little html or you needed to seek a professional. All of these factors made it difficult to spread the word about my creations in an already niche market. 

 Even now that seems to be a hard quest for most.  How did you do it?

With a bit of luck and a lot of late nights and early mornings. I taught myself html to create my own website and just continue to do what I love doing; making and designing bears and selling one bear at a time. Making sure my customers are happy. 

You have such a wonderful outlook on things.  What advice would you give to others trying to make their dreams realities?

Follow your heart, do what you love and others will love what you do. Always learning along the way. It's a beautiful journey to be on! :D  Hugs, Jenny

Just when I thought this week's Sweet Peek couldn't get any sweeter, Jenny Lee put the cherry on top...
 Jenny Lee is going to be giving away, to one lucky reader, Melody the Rabbit's epattern so that you too can make these precious pals to share with your loved ones.  See below to enter.   Thank you so much Jenny for taking the time to answer our questions and sharing your passion with us!

Style Confessions - 1940's

Today I felt inspired by one of the most empowering photos known to women.  Can you guess which?
Yes, Rosie the Riveter!  Known for the slogan "We Can Do It", Rosie represented women who worked in the factories during World War II.
I found this 1940's black dress more than fitting for the look.  I went with The Riveter's iconic hairstyle with a matching bandana of course.
I added my own "twist" to the hairstyle by throwing in a couple victory rolls.  I believe this is very appropriate seeing as women have seen many victories since Rosie's time!  She will continue to be a cultural icon for empowering generations of women to come.  I even found myself radiating a little bit of The Riveter's no BS approach today!  Isn't it funny just how much things inspire us and our actions?

So 'Tessas, have you even found yourself behaviorally influenced by an inspired look?

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