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{Announcement} Gifts We Use is Moving!!!

I have been working my tail off the past month to get to this point and I am excited to share with you some great news...

Gifts We Use is moving to it very own domain!!!

That's right, Gifts We Use is moving to it's very own www and there is lots in store for you! 

Some of the goodness to look forward to in the move include:
~ Updated website theme
~ Improved site navigation to find content easily
~ Exciting new widgets
~ More inspirational content brewing for you!

With all the work that goes into making this transition happen, I will be taking next week off to dedicate my efforts to completing the move.

This doesn't change anything for you if you follow me on social media, so there's nothing you need to do.

The new GiftsWeUse.com will be ready soon and I would ask for your patience as I work out any kinks along the way and appreciate your continued support!

Stay tuned for the official re-launch of Gifts We Use to come in June! Yay!

Do You Know Your Kid's Digital Footprint?

Want to know what your digital footprint is? Google yourself and see what you find. If you're like most people, you may find yourself on multiple social media outlets with images, tweets and maybe even blog posts. Our generation's digital footprint starts when we sign up for a social media account. For the next generation, their digital footprint starts when parents sign up for a social media account, that's you and me. Our kids will be first generation of kids that will have most of their lives documented and accessible online. How does that make you feel? More importantly, how can you keep your kid's digital footprint from being stained and haunting {or hindering} their future?

What is a digital footprint?

A digital footprint is the trail left behind when interacting with the internet via posts, pictures, videos and so on. It's what results in doing a google search of yourself {or your kids}. I want to be up front and say that this post is not written to try to scare you, but only to make you aware.

Just like we have a digital footprint, our kids do too and thanks to us tech savvy parents, their digital footprint will have lots of juice. But does it really matter?

Who Cares about a digital footprint?

Today the only people that might care about your kid's digital footprint might be close family and friends. In the future, it will be potential colleges, bosses and even spouses who will look at and care about what they find when looking at our kids. Not only that, but these potential seekers will have much to do with our kid's future.

How do I keep my kid's digital footprint clean?

As a parent, the best way to keep your kids' online image clean is to be involved in their techy intake. This is why it's important to follow your kids where ever they are online. Kids will be kids, there's no doubt about that, but that's why kids are given parents to guide, direct and train them for their future.

At the end of the day

Again, this post is not meant to scare, it is to make you aware as a parent. Technology has many advantages and gives us gifts that are sometimes immeasurable. Technology is very powerful, but with power comes responsibility. Cliche, but true.

When I first heard about the concept of a digital footprint from a speaker that came to my moms group, it scared me a little. But after chewing on it more since hearing him, it has challenged me. Challenged be to be more discerning when sharing online, less dependent on social media, and live with integrity.
At the end of the day, our kids will see us and grow to be like us, for better or for worse. The kind of person we want our kids to become needs to be the person they find in us, their parents. A clean digital footprint starts with having a clean, clutter free life. So let's show our kids what's important in real life so we don't have to worry as much about their digital life.

Want more tips on media safety for your family? Check out these posts:
Internet Safety for Kids
Social Media Safety for Teens
5 Techy Tips for Parents

If this post has opened your eyes, it would be a gift to me if you would write a comment below.

DIY Business Cards for Bloggers, Moms, or Anyone

Business cards are just as relevant today as they were 10 years ago, they still inform people of the vital information in order to contact you. These days though business cards have evolved and are not just for business people anymore. Moms hand out "Mommy" business cards to other moms at park, church, or school functions. Bloggers hand out business cards to network and connect with other bloggers and brands. Take a look at how I DIY'd some cute business cards for my first blogger event.

Fake it 'til you make it

While preparing to attend my first in person blogger event, I knew I needed to have business cards to hand out. I also knew that I didn't have any money to spend on them, not even for the pack of printer paper you can get at your local office supply store. I struggled a lot with that on a personal level, but decided that I needed to fake it until I made it. 

I wanted to put my best foot forward, but I was ashamed that I couldn't scrape up enough funds to get some decent paper. Although I didn't have business card paper, I did have pretty scrapbook paper and a paper cutter. It was going to have to do for that day. My hubby tried to reassure me that it would be ok. I had to swallow my pride and do what I could with what I had.

The Step-by-step

Here is a breakdown how to make your own DIY business cards:

Supplies needed:
  • Computer and computer program to design cards
  • Business card template {if not included in your program or app}
  • Color printer
  • Cardstock scrapbook paper in desired pattern
  • Paper cutter {ideal}, or scissors {and a steady hand}
  1. Design business card information on computer
  2. If needed, cut card stock down to fit your printer {letter size is 8.5"x11"}
  3. Print on the back of scrapbook card stock
  4. Cut cards down to business card size {3.5"x2"}
  5. Make a business card holder
Now that you know how to do it yourself, I will share with you my process.

Making business cards

This part spoke to my creatively techy side, so it was fun for me to design a business card the way I wanted. I used my Pages app on my Mac to create my business cards, but there are tons of templates out there on other programs like Word, Publisher or searching online. Here's what my template looked like.
There are a few key items that I wanted to make sure were on my DIY blogger business cards. They were:
~ My full name & photo
~ My blog logo banner
~ My email
~ My blog website address
~ My social media names

The information is spaced out enough that it doesn't crowd the card too much, but still gives others an easy way to find me online. I also tried to make some things look just like my site to make them memorable. I used the same social media icons that I use on my blog as well as a similar looking banner to jog their memory once they get to my site.

Print, cut and repeat

After designing the business cards to my liking, all I did was take the cardstock scrapbook paper I had on hand and cut it down to letter size {8.5"x11"} so that it would fit in my printer. Then I printed it on the back of my pretty paper and used the guides on my template to cut them to business card size {3.5"x2"}. 

In this step I think it's important to use a paper cutter, and not cut it by hand. It makes for a cleaner cut, and if you're anything like me with scissors, it will save you a lot of time and hassle. Take a look at my crafty-techy-goodness!

Crafting a business card holder to go with my DIY business cards

Because I couldn't leave well enough alone {remember I'm trying to put my best foot forward}, I also wanted to craft a business card holder to keep all my crafty new business cards in. I did an extensive google search, found many different options, and tried several different templates. 

This is the best business card holder template I found. I like that one best because the end result comes out cleanest with straight lines and straight cuts. This template is 2 pages and includes two different sizes. The large one holds about 60 cards and the small one holds about 30 cards.

I would recommend printing each page on a different pattern-the larger size to hold your own cards, and the smaller to corral cards you receive from others.

How did it turn out?

I'm glad you asked! {wink} The cards and card holder turned out quite nice if you ask me. How were they received? People loved them! Why? Because they were on pretty glittery scrapbook paper that made them stand out in design as well as in texture! Color me surprised! 

If I was a craft blogger, I would do that for all of my business cards, that's a big IF! Just look at me getting my craft muscles working! I'm using gifts to grow! Ah! It's almost too much to handle!
I learned some important lessons this day. I learned that I needed to be true to who I am. I needed to be ok with my place in life {having or having not}. I learned that creativity trumps money much of the time. Most importantly, I learned to bloom where I am planted. Just because I didn't have the money to spend on bloggy business cards, didn't mean that I couldn't make the most of what I already had. 

My efforts impressed people and because I took a chance to network despite my lack of "professional" business cards, I eventually got the opportunity to work with a company who does business cards. Gift, gift, and gift some more! 

A friend gifted me with the lesson to bloom where you are planted, and if you get nothing else from this post, I'd like to gift that forward to you. Bloom where you are planted. You might be surprised to find that you are good enough, and better than you thought.
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