Hallway Hopscotch and How to Make a ‘How To’ Post

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015

I made a hopscotch outline out of painters tape on our hallway floor. It took me 30 seconds to do, plus another 5 minutes to make bean bags.

And really, that right there could be my entire blog post – it’s really more of a tweet or a Facebook status update, right?

Yeah, there’s not a lot I can write about making a hallway hopscotch. It literally takes no skill or time whatsoever. I mean, it’s strips of tape. In squares.

So, rather than creating a How To post for creating a hallway hopscotch, I’ve created a How To post on making How To posts using my hallway hopscotch as an example. Mostly so I can show off a couple pictures. And because it amuses me.

Let’s get started.

Begin with a subheading followed by a brief explanation and a photo. Add a humerous comment, if you’d like.

Making a Hallway Hopscotch

First, we laid down the tape. This took less than a minute. You don’t even need to sweep first, unless you plan to post pictures online.

I probably should have spent more time sweeping.

Hallway Hopscotch - an instant boredom buster.

Move on to your next step. Don’t forget the sub-heading for readability.

Making Bean Bags

Next, we needed something to throw. I don’t believe throwing rocks in the house is going to end well, despite what my children say. Instead, we decided to make simple bean bags by scooping dried beans into Ziploc bags and then stuffing the bags into socks that have lost their mates.

At this point, you should include a montage of closely cropped photos – this is a must for any good tutorial.

For example, my first photo demonstrates the concept of dried beans in a bag – just in case anyone isn’t clear on how that works.

Huh. I should have photoshopped that speck on the floor out. Blogger fail.

bagobeans

Next I’ve included a close up of my daughter’s hands holding the beans. This is why people blog, you know. There is literally nothing else we can do with these types of pictures.

handful

Moving on, I have a photo of a stuffed sock that’s been knotted at the top.

Yeah, there’s no real way to make an old sock look artsy. Kind of a let down after the last photo, I know. And what is going on with my floor? I washed it by hand just hours before taking this picture. Arg.

sockbag

Next, I have a photo of the finished bean bag socks arranged in a bucket against a nice hardwood background. An old plastic sand bucket was okay in a pinch, but a large mason jar would have been better. Because mason jars.

bucketfull

Don’t forget to include the bloopers shot!

The Pixie was so proud of her first bag that she ran to the hallway and tossed it high in the air. Too bad she forgot about stuffing the bag in a sock. Or zipping up the top, for that matter.

Oops – guess we’ll be sweeping after all.

beanseverywhere

Oh, the hilarity.

Finally, finish off with a bit of encouragement – and don’t forget the feature photo made especially for Pinterest.

Tape on the floor. Anyone can do it.

Hallway Hopscotch - an instant boredom buster.

Annnnnnnndddd…. done. Now to spam the post on all my social networks at once. I’m told my friends love that.

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A Handwoven Wrap from Robbins Nest Weaving

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015

What do you do with a baby that is sound asleep on your chest?

Some people might use that time to relax – maybe read a book or surf the web or add a few rows to a sweater that refuses to grow longer no matter how much time you spend knitting it. Stupid sweater.

Not me, though. When my little boy passed out on my chest a week or so ago, I jumped at the chance to finally snap some pictures of my baby in the most beautiful wrap I’ve ever seen.

Handwoven Wrap by Robbins Nest Weaving

Isn’t it just amazing?! This handwoven work of art is by Robbins Nest Weaving. It’s been on the road since July, with lucky mothers snuggling their babies in it for awhile before sending it on from house to house. I was fortunate enough to play with it for a few weeks and I knew it was time to send on home – but not without taking some pictures first.

So with the baby sleeping soundly on my chest, I slowly stood up and made my way to the nursery to find the wrap. Our crib is nothing but a glorified baby carrier container and the wrap was right on top – perfect.

Slowly, carefully, I stepped over piles of baby clothes and cloth diapers, making my way to the crib. Happily the wrap was set up as a no-sew ring sling so all I had to do was slip it on. I lifted it from the pile and gingerly lifted the wrap over my head. Hardly breathing, I lowered it over us both and spread the fabric across my baby’s body. Then I gently pulled on the tail until the sling was snug. SUCCESS!

Photo time! Taking pictures was fun. Someday I’d like to have a real photographer come in and do babywearing photos, but I’m glad that I have a few of my own in case we never get around to it.

Handwoven Wrap by Robbins Nest Weaving

I cannot get enough of that tiny little hand sticking out from under the rings. Sooooo cute.

Handwoven Wrap by Robbins Nest Weaving

Isn’t the wrap fabulous? I can’t stop staring at all the colours!

My little baby must have sensed the camera because he woke up and immediately demanded that I take more photos. I mean, how else can I interpret these dimples?

Handwoven Wrap by Robbins Nest Weaving
Handwoven Wrap by Robbins Nest Weaving

After awhile, he settled down with his sister for a bit of a rest. I figure it must be hard work being so stinkin’ adorable, right?

Handwoven Wrap by Robbins Nest Weaving

Handwoven Wrap

Such a pretty baby. Such a pretty wrap. And so unbelievably soft, too – one of the softest wraps I’ve ever used. It was short, smaller than a size two (though I don’t remember the actual length). I was able to do a kangaroo carry with it tied under my baby’s bum, but I didn’t want to attempt a RUB back carry with a wrap so short. We also did a hip carry with a slip knot, but I found the knot too bulky for my liking and I borrowed a friend’s sling rings instead to try out a no-sew ring sling – much, much better.

It was just so lovely to wrap with. I can only imagine how wonderful a  longer, more versatile wrap would be.

Thanks Rebecca for letting me play with this beauty. I can’t wait to see what you weave next!

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The Easiest Job Ever

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015

This post has been copied over from my new blog at www.familyfairytale.com. If you love children’s books, be sure to head over and check it out!

When’s the last time you loved a book so much that you Googled the publisher to find out if there were more just like it?

Back in 2009, I stumbled across a children’s book at the library from Barefoot Books. I honestly don’t remember which one it was, but I do remember that I was so impressed with the artwork and the writing that I went online to search for more. When I found the website, I knew that I had discovered something awesome – there were just so many great books!!!

I spent a couple hours browsing the catalog. I also read up on the Ambassador program, which allows you to join the company as a sales rep and do home parties selling books.

Neat idea, I thought, but really – who on earth would attend a party to buy books?!

Coincidentally, I ended up hosting an Usborne book party at my house about a month or so later. It was great – my friends came over and we spent the evening eating chocolate cheese cake and flipping through story books. At the end of the party, our Usborne consultant talked a bit about being an Education Specialist, which is what Usborne calls their sales reps. She talked about having access to great books and about sharing her love of reading. She talked about the fun of doing shows and fundraisers and home parties. She talked about working with a team of other people that loves books as much as she does.

I was hooked.

That night, I sat down on my computer and joined Barefoot Books as an Ambassador.

Errr… sorry, Usborne.

Now don’t get me wrong – Usborne is a great company with fabulous books. As a homeschooling mom, we use a lot of them in our lessons. But Barefoot Books captures my imagination in a totally different way with beautifully written stories and gorgeous illustrations. I can’t resist them. I LOVE reading these books to my girls.

I received my starter kit and started my parties – it was all great fun. After a little while, I switched from Ambassador to Retailer instead so that I could sell the books in my a baby store. Now, five years later, I’ve closed up shop and joined Barefoot Books as Ambassador once again so that I can keep on sharing the books with other people.

And being an Ambassador is great!

How it Works

First let me explain how it works. You sign up as an Ambassador, which costs $139 US (or $99 US until February 2, 2015), plus an extra $10 for shipping if you’re in Canada like me. Then Barefoot Books mails you a kit worth $300, which includes books, catalogs, flyers, and a colourfully branded box to store everything in.

Well, maybe not everything, in my case. My personal collection would require at least two more boxes. :)

Making Money

Now you’ve got your books – you can sell them outright or you can use them as samples at a home party. Most people use them as samples and start doing home parties because if you start selling right away, you can earn even more books by meeting your “kickstarter” goals.

Kickstarter #1: Sell $300 within 30 days of your start date and you will receive another $150 worth of books.
Kickstarter #2: Sell another $300 within 60 days of your start date and you will receive ANOTHER $150 worth of books.
Kickstarter #3: Add someone to your team within 60 days of your start date and you will receive promo materials, like signage and a nice Barefoot Books-branded table cloth.

These Kickstarter goals are on top of the standard pay structure: you get to keep 30% of your sales, plus you receive a 10% bonus on sales that are over $300, plus you receive another 15-20% of the sales amount in additional free books to keep or share with party hosts or giveaway as prizes.

Okay, that’s a bit confusing.

My Launch Party

So, as an example, I chose to host a own launch party at my own house. My friends came over, we spent the evening flipping through books, we ate … you know what? I think we had chocolate cheesecake again. It must be what I serve when I’m trying to entice people to buy books…

Anyway, I sold $400 worth of books in all. It was the easiest sale ever – the books pretty much sell themselves, despite my awkward rambling. Hopefully I’ll get better with practice.

Once I collected the $400, I sent $280 to Barefoot Books and I kept 30% ($120). And because that sale was over $300, I’m receiving a bonus 10% on the amount that Barefoot Books received from the sale, giving me an extra $28 in my pocket – now I’ve made $148, paying off my initial investment. Because I was the host myself, I was able to keep an extra 20% of the sales in free books, games, and puppets and finish off my Christmas shopping a bit early!

AND because I reached my first Kickstarter goal (sell $300 in the first month), Barefoot Books sent me another $150 in free books.

It’s insane. We’re going to need more bookcases in our house.

Become an Ambassador

Check out my new blog at www.familyfairytale.com if you want to learn more about joining the Barefoot Books team. In addition to my regular book posts, I’ll be blogging a few times a month about being an Ambassador – about working with teams, cool incentives for selling, amazing theme party ideas, and more. But you don’t have to wait for me – you can find out all these things for yourself by joining up today. Right now there is a sale on so that you can sign up for just $99 US – that’s even less than what I paid!

Join now to earn free books, host fun parties, and win lots of neat prizes – did you know that last year Barefoot Books gave away EIGHT grand prize trips to France to the fourth quarter’s top sellers? Wow. Join my team and some day that could be us! I’ll start brushing up on my French now. :)

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