Meet The Blogger: Pearls & Scissors

Saturday, July 25, 2015

MEET-THE-BLOGGER-HANNA

Looking for new reading material? Not sure how to get started as a blogger? Coffee and Cardigans' monthly blogger Q&A series introduces some of the amazing lady bloggers that inspired on me a daily basis. Hanna is the extremely talented blogger behind Pearls & Scissors. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Tell us a little about yourself and your blog!

I'm Hanna, a 28-year-old DIY addict, blogger, singer, dreamer and over-achiever (in that order). At the end of last year, me and my husband moved from our homeland of Estonia to Leverkusen, Germany to pursue our singing careers. But that's not the only thing I'm pursuing at the moment. I've always been multi-passionate, which means I'm constantly juggling a million things at once, but I couldn't imagine life any other way. I have a degree in psychology and classical singing, but most of the time, I'm making stuff, and blogging about it at Pearls & Scissors.

How did you get started blogging?

My blogging journey began about six years ago on an Estonian social platform for craft-lovers. I soon discovered that I wanted to be more connected to all the cool DIY-lovers and other bloggers in the world, and started writing in English on my first real blog. After a couple of years, I felt bored and trapped by the name I'd chosen for my blog, and decided to start from scratch. So Pearls & Scissors was formed. By the way, it took me days to come up with that name. In hindsight, I could have just switched up the names, but I sort of like that I had a completely clean slate. Pearls & Scissors is three years old now, and I've been loving every second. In the last six months, I've worked to turn it into my dream career.

How has your blog changed recently?

I love this question, because I believe a blog is always evolving, just as we are. I think the main change in the last few months has been to focus on blogging as a business, rather than a hobby. When I moved to Germany about eight months ago, and couldn't find a job, I took the jump to blogging as a career. Naturally, my blogging goals and content are affected by that - I need to think more about where the money's coming from, and less about where to buy glitter for my next project (although, I sometimes mix up those priorities).

I recently started offering sewing e-courses, and I'm constantly brainstorming new ideas for future products. My big vision is to turn Pearls & Scissors into a brand I can be proud of. I'm sure my big Idea is yet to come, but until then, I'm excited to do work that inspires and motivates me.

hanna sewing

What does daily life look like for you, blogging included?

Gosh, this one's tough. I'm a multi-passionate over-achiever, so my days are pretty hectic, but also super varied. Currently, I'm juggling a part-time gig as a nanny, some freelance writing projects, blogging, course development, singing lessons, and crafting projects for the blog. So, any given day is going to be a mix of most of these things. I always start my day with a cup of coffee (#butfirstcoffee) and a quick sweep across all my social media channels. Next up - e-mail. Just a bunch of deleting, a couple of replies, and a few stars to some important stuff I need to handle later. By then, I've woken up enough to really start working.

I spend the next couple of hours either writing a blog post, an article for my freelance gig, or crafting a project for the blog. On days that I'm working from home, my day usually continues with a quick lunch-break, and then I'm back in business. The afternoons are usually spent creating new projects for the blog, photographing finished projects, editing photos, and writing content. Sometimes I can squeeze in a little singing practice, or even a lesson. After dinner, it's usually back to work. I usually spend evenings on administrative stuff, and long-term projects like updates on the website, new courses, and side projects (yes, I have side-projects outside of everything I already mentioned). I babysit two days a week, and on those days, I usually only schedule in a couple of important tasks like writing that days blog post or finishing up an article that's due.

What keeps you inspired as a blogger?

For me, the biggest inspiration is growth. I'm an idea-person by nature (I have notebooks upon notebooks full of all kinds of ideas), so coming up with new projects or content ideas is not a problem for me. What I struggle with, however, is finding the time and motivation to execute on those ideas. Seeing my blog grow is what inspires me to keep working hard and do better.

color blocked maxi dress 1

What's your quirky blogging ritual creative process?

I'm not sure I have any quirky blogging rituals, but I do have a creative process I go through when I need to come up with a specific feature for my blog. I share mainly DIY projects, so there's a lot of creating that needs to happen every week. When I feel like I'm not sure what to make next from my mile-long list, I just take out all my fabrics, to-be-refashioned items, crafting supplies and lay them out on the floor. Then I just sit amongst them, and see what I'm drawn to the most. Works every time.

What advice would you offer other bloggers?

Everyone says to stay true to your voice and write about the things you're passionate about. All very good advice, but what I've found over the years is that one under-discussed source of blogging burnout is not having a clear enough understanding of why you're blogging. This goes for both hobby-bloggers and aspiring professionals. I'm not talking goals (although those are good, too), but the big WHY.

Most of the time, blogging is a solitary act - just you and your computer. And, chances are when you're just starting out, or your blog isn't that big, your posts won't be flooded with kind comments from raving readers. It's easy to get discouraged when you're not even sure why you're putting in all this time and effort. Start with "why?" and you'll always have at least one reason to continue. Or, on the flip side, you'll also know when it's time to switch things up, or maybe move on.

Answer one question you had as a new blogger?

Just one? Ok, ok... What the heck am I going to blog about 3-5 times EVERY week? This was as much a legitimate questions as a fear of running out of ideas. My answer is therefor also two-fold. First, list all the topics you think you'd love to write about, and then choose 2-4 that somewhat go together. Stick to those topics and come up with at least 40 blog post ideas. Write down whatever comes to mind, and weed out the not-so-hot ones later. And, voila, you're first month's content calendar should be filled. As to the fear of running out of content ideas - you may have dry-spells, but if you keep a running list of ideas, and do these brainstorming sessions regularly, running out of things to write about will never happen.

Weekly Coffee Break: 7.22.15

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Coffee-Break

Making a common blogging mistake without knowing? Honey and Pearl shares this list of five things to avoid.

Get crafty with this list of favorite DIY YouTube channels from Pink & Black Magazine.

I loved these easy lunch ideas from College Fashion - perfect for the office or internship.

Didn't land that dream job? The Daily Muse offered these steps to dealing with the disappointment.

This cheesy garlic bread recipe from Cooking Classy just made my weekly dinner menu - yummy!

Jamie of Petite Panoply busts the "redheads can't wear red" myth in the best way possible.

Life Lately: DIY Summer Vacation

Monday, July 20, 2015

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Summer vacation really isn't a "thing" in the post-grad world... except when you drain your PTO stash and create one yourself. That's exactly what I did last week, and while it wasn't three months long, it was a wonderful break. It was also an important reminder of why taking personal time is so important. When you start working full-time, burnout can happen if you don't give yourself a chance to decompress. By the time you're reading this, I'll already be back in the office, but trust me... A few days off can do wonders for mind, body and soul.

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The week was part camping trip, part staycation. Somehow, I came back from camping sans a sunburn or bug bites, but at least there are pictures to prove it. Oregon has some seriously beautiful places to explore, including Foster Lake where we stayed. The rest of the week was spent around Portland, nerding out over coding and copy. Guess I should know by now that none of my vacations are complete without projects.

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Summer looks a little different when you start working full-time. But happy hours on the patio after work and an office dress code that allows sandals? It's the little things that make post-grad summers pretty darn wonderful. How are you spending the summer months?