A Masterpiece Made with a Photo of my Sleepwear

You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~Maya Angelou

I spent part of Saturday morning trying to figure out how to use my new iPad. I downloaded a drawing app, which was the whole reason I told myself I ‘needed’ an iPad, i.e. so that I could feed my current need for a creative outlet and hopefully use my creations in my business marketing. So while I was having a play with the app, I noticed that it had the ability to take a photo. So, I took a photo of the design on my pyjama pants.

Design on Pyjama Pants


I used the watercolour tool to colour in the outlines with a dusky rose colour and some green, went over the black lines with a pencil tool, added some detail to the centre of the flower, and removed the bottom layer, which was my original pyjama pants image. There you have it – a lovely watercolour image! How clever am I?!

Watercolour Flower made with Sketches drawing app by Tayasui

The name of the app is “Sketches” by Tayasui, and it’s free for basic functionality. You can try the Pro version for 1 hour to see if you like it, and if you do, you can get Pro for US$6.99. I think I’ll be getting Pro the next time I go to use this app.

I used Picmonkey to add in the fancy quote text, a museum matte frame and my logo.

What do you think? Please say it’s wonderful. I showed my family, and they just said, “Cool, Mum” and went back to whatever they were doing. They clearly don’t understand what I just did here: I made a masterpiece using a photo of my pyjama bottoms!!

If you like it, here’s a Pinterest-friendly version of the image. You know what to do!

You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. ~ Maya Angelou

How to Upload Images from Instagram to Twitter

Want to learn how to upload a photo from Instagram to Twitter so that people see it right away? This video tip will help!

How to Upload Images from Instagram to TwitterSomething that has been a royal pain in the neck is the fact that when you post images to Twitter from some platforms, it converts the photo into a link instead of showing the actual photo to your followers. This is true for Instagram and because Instagram is all about the visuals, it is frustrating that the photo isn’t being seen unless someone clicks the link. It’s just that one additional step that a lot of people won’t take unless your Instagram caption is really intriguing.

Here’s a little workaround that you can implement, using IFTTT, to make sure that your photo gets seen in your followers’ Twitter feeds immediately.


What do you think? Was that a helpful tip? Give it a try and leave a comment to let me know how you went with it!

Meanwhile, Pin this infographic to save the info for later.

How to Upload Images from Instagram to Twitter - Infographic

10 Tips for Publishing and Promoting Your Blog Post

10 Tips for Publishing and Promoting Your Blog Post

You might think that the hardest part of blogging for your small business is finding the inspiration. That may be so, but when your muse finally pays a visit, do you just type in the content, press ‘publish’, throw a couple of links out on Twitter, wipe your hands and be done with it? Well you could, but there are a few other things you could do to make the most of those words that often elude us.

  1. Oh look a pretty picture! – When you’re publishing a blog post, always include an image if possible. Stock photos are okay, but they can be even better if you jazz them up using photo editing software like Picmonkey. Have some fun with it!
  2. Make it easy for sharing – If you’ve got tidbits of tweetable information within your content why not make it easy for people to tweet your stuff with Click to Tweet?
  3. Ask a question – At the end of your blog post, ask a question to encourage your readers to comment. This is one I have often used in personal blogging and it really does give people a reason to engage.
  4. Tweetdeck for uploading images – When you’re promoting a new blog post on Twitter, don’t just send a link out, upload your blog post image using Tweetdeck. I say Tweetdeck because it uploads images directly to pic.twitter.com. That way, your image is immediately visible in your followers’ feeds and makes your tweet stand out in the crowd. Other programs show uploaded images simply as links. Also, if you’re planning ahead, you can schedule your tweet in Tweetdeck.
  5. Hashtags get you noticed – Don’t forget to use one or two hashtags when tweeting about your blog post. Choose something that is relevant to the post and to your audience such as, for this post: #bloggingtips #smallbusiness.
  6. Pin that tweet – Once you’ve tweeted a link to your blog post, with an uploaded image of course, pin that tweet to your Twitter profile, so that it’s the first thing that people see when they’re checking you out on Twitter.
  7. Promote on many different platforms – Twitter isn’t the only platform to promote your blog post obviously; you can share your link on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and a myriad of others. Why not pin that lovely image you created in Tip #1 on Pinterest?
  8. Promote your post two or three times in the first day – You can tweet your blog post link a few times in the first day, but not excessively and pepper your blog post tweets amongst other tweets so that you don’t seem repetitive if someone is viewing your Twitter profile. For other platforms, such as Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, I wouldn’t promote my blog more than the once as the streams don’t move as quickly on those platforms.
  9. Re-visit old blog posts – After some time has passed, like a few weeks or months, and if it is evergreen content, you can always promote your blog posts again on social media. Post something like “From the Archive: 10 Tips for Publishing and Promoting Your Blog Post…” or because my business name and tagline are about magic, I like to use: “Retro Magic: 10 Tips for…”
  10. Make use of that space after your name – Why not include a link to your latest blog post in your email signature?

Do you have anything to add to this list? If you found this list helpful, please pay it forward and share it around!

11 Tools I Use Everyday to Make Work Life Easier

Tools I Use Everyday to Make Work Life EasierThere are some tools that you have in your toolbox that you wonder how you would ever get along without them. For me, I can think of 11 off the top of my head:

Toggl – Because I need to track my time, I use the desktop version of this simple software. I can toggle on and off of tasks and at the end of the month when it comes time for invoicing, it spits out all my data in a CSV file that I can easily manipulate into reports for my clients.

PicMonkey – This website is one of the few where I’ve taken up the paid service, even though I could just use the free version, because I want to have all of the fonts and effects it has to offer. I use it every single day both personally and professionally. For my nature photography, it’s wonderful for magically adjusting an underexposed shot, and for my work, if I’m working with a stock photo that I want to add some text or change to suit the topic of my blog post, then it is easy and intuitive to do so.

RescueTime – Having to be connected to social media for my own business marketing means there is a possibility of getting caught in the time-suck that is Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. RescueTime allows me to set goals for productivity and limits for distracting time. It tracks all the activities I perform on my computer, including email, software programs and internet usage, then it gives me a report at the end of the week letting me know how I did. I can choose which times of the day I wish to track, and with the paid version, you can block out certain websites during specified periods of time.

Dropbox – Gone are the days where it was necessary to send a file back and forth to a client and regularly use file sending services for larger files. Now I have file folders set up to share with my clients and I wonder how I ever got by without this service.

Dreamweaver – I do a lot of editing of web pages and when preparing HTML broadcasts for 1ShoppingCart, I find it much easier to whack the code into Dreamweaver and edit it from there. I pay a monthly subscription for this and consider it worth every penny.

FileZilla – When you edit web pages, you need a good FTP client to transfer the files across, and having recently changed from Core FTP to Filezilla when I bought a new laptop, so far I’m happy with Filezilla. I like that even though it disconnects you from the server after a period of inactivity, it is almost seamless to reinstate the connection.

LastPass I’ve blogged about this software before, but it is still the bee’s knees in my eyes. It’s a great way to keep track of all your passwords in the one place while still using hard to crack passwords on all the websites you access.

Notepad – Often when dealing with text brought in from word and other sources, there is rich text formatting that is attached to it that makes it look inconsistent or might mess up the HTML code on a broadcast, so I often will copy and paste the text into Notepad to remove any formatting before copying the text into a blog post or email broadcast.

TweetDeck – When I do need to get on social media, specifically Twitter, I like to use Tweetdeck, because I can manage multiple accounts and see everything in columns down the page. I can follow hashtags, search on keywords and I can schedule tweets, and because Tweetdeck uploads images to pic.twitter.com, it means when I include a photo with my tweet, it shows immediately in my followers’ feeds instead of showing as a link that people have to click before being able to view.

Multiple browsers – I have a couple of Google accounts: one for my personal blog and one for my VA business. There are also other websites where I have two profiles and I can manage this easily by using more than one browser. For instance, if I want to access my Google+ account, I use Google Chrome and if I want to access my professional one, I use Mozilla Firefox. I don’t have to log in and out and I just make sure that my default browser is for the profile I use most. It is also great to test how an HTML page is looking in more than just one browser.

Excel – I have a confession to make: when it comes to keeping track of my to-do list, after having tried many project management/to-do list type software programs, I find that you can’t go wrong with a simple Excel spreadsheet. I have tasks that rollover each day/month/week and a prioritisation and sort pull them up for me every morning, where I write the most important tasks on *gasp* a paper notebook that sits on my desk – it works for me!

There’s my list. What’s on your list of workplace tools that you wouldn’t want to live without?