No Sew DIY Christmas Placemats

DIY Christmas placemats

These DIY Christmas placemats match perfectly with my DIY Christmas tree garland. Yep, I will have your house outfitted for the holidays in no-time ... which is totally my goal. And may I suggest a Donut Decorating Christmas Brunch. I threw one last year on the blog for celebrity Lauren Conrad, and it was so much fun!

DIY holiday placemats

I have two different designs for you: the Christmas trees above and the "Happy Holidays" you see right here. These DIY Christmas placemats will seriously take you no time. It's something you can do the day before your guests arrive. Holla!

DIY no-sew placemats
no-sew placemats
how to make no-sew placemats
DIY placemats
supplies
instructions
placemats tutorial

Measure how big you want your fabric to be + add two inches to the width + height. Cut to size. Note: I wanted my placemats to be slightly bigger than my chargers, but this is personal preference. Fold each side in one inch and iron. Pucker out each corner and cut at a 45 degree angle, so that your corners will look like the second photo below.

how to make placemats without sewing

Fold each side in another one inch and iron. Place the bonding tape under this second fold and iron with a hot iron to fuse together. For the corners see below. 

making placemats

For the corners follow this no-sew placemats tutorial.

placemat DIY

Flip your placemat over.

placemats DIY

Print, trace, + cut the Christmas trees template and/or Happy Holidays template onto the iron-on vinyl using your Cricut or scissors. Iron-on your designs according to the package instructions on the iron-on vinyl.

Christmas table DIY
DIY Christmas table
DIY Christmas ideas

What do you think of these no-sew DIY Christmas placemats? Please ask away if you have any questions!

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Posted on December 16, 2014 and filed under House, Party.

DIY Christmas tree garland + A Charlie Brown tree

DIY Christmas tree garland

This DIY Christmas tree garland is perfect if you are going for the Scandanavian look this Christmas, which I am totally obsessed with. I have the garland hanging in my house in a little corner with a "Charlie Brown Christmas tree." When we were growing up, my dad always got the most sorry looking tree on the lot because he "felt bad for it." We joked that he came home with Charlie Brown Christmas trees. I hated it when I was younger, but as I get older I see how sweet it is. So this year, along with a big tree, we got a "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree. And believe it or not, I think the little one is my favorite, especially with this DIY Christmas tree garland.

DIY Christmas garland

So here is how to make one of the easiest DIY Scandinavian Christmas decorations.

supplies.jpg
instructions.jpg
how to make Christmas garland

Print out the Christmas tree template or upload the Cricut Christmas tree template into Cricut Design Space. Trace the Christmas trees onto your poster board or cut out the Christmas trees using your Cricut Explore. Using your glue gun, glue the Christmas trees onto the twine evenly spaced apart. And that's it!

DIY Scandinavian Christmas decorations

This DIY Christmas decor piece will only take you five minutes!

DIY Christmas decorations
DIY Christmas decor

This is a great last minute DIY Christmas idea! What do you think?!

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Posted on December 15, 2014 and filed under Party.

Behind The Blog: Anatomy Of A Blog Post With Great SEO

SEO 101 for bloggers

SEO 101 FOR BLOGGERS

During my research on SEO and keywords over the past year, I realized that a lot of the information is text-heavy. While this is fine, for a visual person like myself, graphics are more helpful. More specifically I kept finding myself looking for a simple infographic that pointed out exactly where keywords (which are important for SEO) should go in a blog post. So I thought I would create this post for you, so you don't have to go searching like I did!

First, it's necessary to start with a lil' SEO 101 for bloggers. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your site to get as much traffic as possible from search engines like Google. Keywords are one of the most important parts of search engine optimization (SEO).

KEYWORDS

Keywords are the words and phrases you use in your blog posts.  To state it simply, you want to use keywords and phrases that people are searching for in your blog posts to get found on google. 

HOW TO FIND THE BEST KEYWORDS

So how do you know what keyword phrases people are searching for? You can use tools like Long Tail Pro or Google Keyword Planner. I may use Long Tail Pro in the future, but for now I am using Google Keyword Planner because it's free. So here is the step-by-step for finding the best keywords using the Google Keyword Planner tool:

keywords 101
  1. Login to Google Keyword Planner. Click on "Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups." You can also click on "Search for new keyword and ad group ideas" to get some ideas for keywords.
  2. Type in the keyword phrase you are thinking of using. Make sure to put brackets [ ] around your phrase so Google gives you exact match results. This is because you want to find the exact phrase people are typing in, not just a similar phrase. When you click "Get search volume" Google will give you search results that look similar to the image above. You want to pick a keyword phrase that has low competition and high monthly searches. As you can see from the image, the keyword phrase "diy baby shower favors" has high average monthly searches and low competition. However, this keyword is on the high end for searches. There are about 1,900 average monthly searches for this phrase. Ideally for a blog post, you are looking for about 10-200 average monthly searches.  Note that you want to pick a keyword phrase, not just a one word keyword. One word keywords are too broad and will not allow you to be found in search engines.

WHERE TO PLACE YOUR KEYWORDS 

After you have found your main keyword phrase, you will want to strategically place this phrase in your blog post. This image depicts where you will want to place your main keyword phrase and tertiary keywords (we will get into this later).

blog post SEO

1. Use Your Main Keyword Phrase In Your URL

First things first, you will want to use your main keyword phrase in your url. Note that you will want to separate words with dashes.

How to change your blog post url in Squarespace

changing url in Squarespace

While editing a post, click on "Options." Change the url under "Post URL." Don't forget to separate words with a dash.

How to change your blog post url in Wordpress

changing blog post url in Wordpress

While you are editing a blog post, next to "Permalink" click "Edit."

2. USE MAIN KEYWORD PHRASE IN FIRST IMAGE

Next, you will want to use your main keyword phrase in the name of your first image. There are three places to name your image: on your computer, in the image filename, and in the image caption or alt text. It will be "image caption" in Squarespace and "alt text" in Wordpress. 

How to change your image filename + caption in Squarespace

changing image titles and captions in Squarespace

To edit an image caption, click on "caption below." Over to the left, add a caption. Then click "do not display caption." Name the image under "Filename."

How to change your image title and alt text in Wordpress

changing an image title in Wordpress

While in the media library, select your image. Edit the image's title and alt text here.

3. Use Main Keyword Phrase Early In The Text Or In A Sub-Heading

Make sure to use your main keyword phrase early in the body of your blog post. Or if you have sub-headings use your keyword phrase in your sub-heading. Make sure this reads natural and it's not awkward that you are placing your keywords here.

4. Relevant Internal Links

It's always a good idea to link to other relevant content from your site (aka other blog posts). Make sure to link phrases like "baby shower" rather than "click here." This is called your anchor text, and it's important to use keywords in your anchor text for SEO purposes.

5. Use Tertiary Keywords In Other Images

Tertiary keywords are secondary keyword phrases. They are other keywords that might work for your post but not your main keyword phrase. You can find these just like you found your main keyword phrase. You can use your tertiary keywords in the other image names and text of your blog post.

6. Repeat Your Main + Tertiary Keyword Phrases A Couple More Times In The Text

A final SEO tip is to repeat your main + tertiary keyword phrases a couple more times in the body of your blog post. Less is more in this case. You only want to repeat them a couple of times. If you repeat them more than that, Google will hit you for keyword stuffing. And this will work against you.

I know this was complicated stuff, but was it semi-easy to understand? I hope this helps! Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Or if you have some tips, please share!

P.S. If you are just getting started blogging, check out my how to start a DIY blog page or my blogger resources page. 

If you found this post helpful, please subscribe to my blogging tips newsletter below. This is separate from my blog newsletter. I share quick + easy tips for the business of blogging: monetization, photography, etc. 

Posted on December 2, 2014 and filed under Behind the Blog.