I learned to sew when I was in junior high. I was good at it — and fast my mother tells me, but I never really loved it. A couple of years ago, I took it up again. I’m still fast, and I can sew a straight line like nobody’s business. And this time around, I love it!
Now, I’m not going to be designing my own clothes anytime soon, but if you need an apron, a dog bed or a custom pillowcase, I’m your girl. This week, I also added dog leashes to my repertoire. I have four completed dog leashes in my hands that will be donated to Austin Pets Alive! the next time I’m there. They were actually very easy to make!
If you wanna make one or four or ten, here’s all you’ll need for each one:
- two yards of nylon webbing, 1″ wide
- two yards and two inches of ribbon, 5/8″ wide
- coordinating all-purpose thread
- a 1″ swivel hook
Step 1. Center the ribbon along the webbing with about one inch of ribbon hanging over each end. I don’t even pin the ribbon down. I tried pinning on the first one, but I had to do as much re-adjusting and re-centering as I did when I didn’t use pins.
Step 2. Sew along each edge of the ribbon, securing it to the webbing.
Step 3. Make a small loop on one end of your soon-to-be leash and slide the swivel hook on. Tuck the loose ribbon in and close the loop with a box stitch or any other stitch you’d like to use to secure the swivel hook. I back-stitched every little bit to make sure my loop and hook were secure.
Step 4. Make a larger loop on the other end — mine ended up about seven inches long — for the handle. Again, tuck the loose inch of ribbon in and close the loop with a box stitch. I made sure that my hand would fit in the loop and that it would rest comfortable on my wrist. That’s just how I walk dogs — loop around my wrist, resting the leash in my hand.
Step 5. Walk your dog!
I’m signing up for his Napkin Academy today after hearing him speak at Confab last week. I’ve seen him speak before — entertaining, dynamic, smart — but this time, he had me believing that I can really take pen to paper, draw pretty things and make magic happen.
I think in photographs and words, but not necessarily in visuals alone. Dan believes that any problem can be solved through simple pictures. Can I solve content problems for clients? Can I better manage my (limited) time? Can I fix the overcrowding problem in Austin’s animal shelter?
I’m going to learn how to draw and test his belief myself. I’ll keep you posted!
“I’d like the link to this press release to be bigger font and in a different color. And when people hover over it, I’d like it to blink and maybe even have some audio that actually says ‘click here’ out loud.”
Yep. That was a real request that I received from a client several years ago. I wish I could remember the topic or event that the press release was covering, but truth be told: It was just a regular press release, and I posted a new one for this client every day.
Once I picked my jaw up from my desk — did she really just ask that? — I was able to tell them that I couldn’t do that with this particular link, and I explained why. I pointed to specifics in our style guide and even talked a bit about accessibility. I asked about the urgency of this press release and who exactly she was trying to reach so that I could come up with an agreeable alternative for the request.
According to a talk I heard from Colleen Jones this week at Confab, I’m proud to say that I successfully nudged this client.
As part of her presentation on content making a difference and what she called Content Science 101 — which included some awesome Star Wars references — she explained how to nudge:
N: Need. When nudging a client, clarify their specific need. With this request for a large, blinking, audible link, what did my client really need? What were they asking for?
U: Understand. Dig deeper into the reason behind the request, resisting the urge to just ask “why?”
D-G: Direct to Governance. Put simply, governance is the set rules around which a website is published. It includes accessibility, specifics in the style guide, tone, voice, etc. Where does a request fit within all of the pre-defined parameters?
E: Encourage. The nudge wraps up when an alternative solution is explored and agreed up.
With the example of the large, blinking, audible link, I was able to make the client happy by referring to the site’s style guide and our desire and need for consistency of tone, voice and message across the site. An alert on the home page of the site made her happy. And I nudged her into it.
Aside from being a cool use of video and illustration, this is a powerful and easy message for living healthier.
I’m sitting at my desk in my office, keeping one on eye two computers and one eye on the street out front. I’m waiting patiently for my first bushel delivery from Farmhouse Delivery. This week’s delivery is full of sweet corn, pears, sweet potatoes and fresh herbs, all from local farms.
I just learned about Farmhouse Delivery last week, but I’ve been following one of their competitors on Twitter and getting their e-newsletter for over a year now. I would read the contents of the competitor’s delivery basket each week and tell myself “I should sign up and do that.” But I kept hesitating for some reason I never really explored.
So what made me dive head-first into a purchase with Farmhouse Delivery? Same to-my-door service as the competitor. Locally grown produce just like the competitor. Pretty much the same price. I opened both websites side by side and I knew in an instant what it was. The photos. Farmhouse’s photos made me jump and hit the “join” button.
The photos scattered throughout their website — some of vegetables I can’t even identify — made my mouth water. The photos are clean and uncluttered. They look professionally done, not just snapshots thrown up to fill space. I just couldn’t resist having what those photos are selling.
Photos do so much! Good photos can make customers out of casual readers and can make super-fans out of regular customers. They can illustrate, tell a story, evoke emotion, encourage action and rev up the senses. Photos shouldn’t be overlooked or ignored to then later be considered as an afterthought in the design and content planning process.
One year of visiting a competitor’s website and not doing a thing. Two minutes of my time on Farmhouse Delivery’s site and I’m staring out the window like a kid waiting on Santa. I’d say photos are a very important piece of the content puzzle…