The Chilly Dog - 2014 Highlights

When I started The Chilly Dog three years ago, my business plan was to start selling my handmade items on Etsy and blog occasionally to promote my shop and share some crafty inspiration. I don't know exactly how or when it happened, but during that time my focus has clearly shifted from item production and sales to blogging.

I try not to obsess over my statistics, but based on the numbers, The Chilly Dog continues to gain popularity with over 265,000 page views this year. I strive to create quality craft-related content and wrote 170 posts that included 59 original patterns and tutorials in 2014. Additionally, I have invested time in improving my social media skills to promote crafters and crafting. You can find, follow and like @thechillydog on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest and Wanelo.

Although most of my blog posts are about my experiences and projects, I enjoy sharing stories about other artists and crafters from around the world. I am inspired by the similarities between artists no matter where they are from or what they create. I try to promote one featured artist each month. This year I introduced my readers to:


I also began hosting a weekly link party called Crafty Saturday Show and Sell. It's a free place for artists to promote items from their online shops and a great place for shoppers to find one of a kind handmade gifts. I typically choose at least two favorite items from each week's link-up to promote on my Facebook, Twitter and Wanelo.


In addition to The Chilly Dog, this year I started a second blog called Create Happy Crafts. It's a collection of printables, patterns and tutorials created by other talented craft bloggers. This year I was able to feature over 180 projects from about 70 different blogs.

Of course, the next logical step was to create my own Create Happy Crafts Google+ Community. It's open to all crafters and craft lovers and you can share your crafty projects, patterns and blog posts, promote handmade items for sale, or even ask craft related questions and get help from the community's 700+ members.

One of my favorite parts about the blogosphere is collaborating with other creative people. Last summer I had the opportunity to be a Tombow Guest Designer and participate in a blog hop with their fabulous design team. In the fall I collaborated with Teena, from Serendipitini, and Sherri, from About Family Crafts, for a Paper Craft Challenge. We each created projects using repurposed paper as the primary material and came up with three very unique designs. In February 2015, I'll be sharing a Valentine project when I participate in Emma Owl's "Month of Love."

These collaborations inspired me to host a 2015 Craft-a-Month Challenge on Create Happy Crafts. Each month there will be a different theme or featured material and bloggers are welcome to link any projects that fit the monthly theme. I think it will be exciting to see all the different ideas that people come up with.

Of course, I haven't given up on my shop(s). Unfortunately, due to the many disappointing changes made by Etsy in 2014, I have decided to downsize my Etsy shop and only sell digital downloads of my knit and crochet patterns. I have moved my complete handmade inventory to my new Storenvy shop.

And finally, my guiding principle...

I love to craft and learn new skills that I can incorporate into my creations. I take great pride in my work. Crafting often requires patience and attention to detail but with practice (and maybe some guidance and encouragement) everyone has the capacity to make crafting a relaxing and enjoyable part of their life.

The Chilly Dog is my place to share my crafting experiences, expertise and inspirations and I hope to guide, encourage and promote others in their creative endeavors.

Create Happiness. Expect Excellence.