DIY Nautical Knot Bracelet and Head Band

For this week’s DIY, I decided to go with a nautical-themed project because this semester is dragging on and on and I would like to think it’s summer and I’m on a beach. My friend Carolyn suggested the nautical knot bracelet and then I just made it a theme making a head band with the same rope! Speaking of head bands, Carolyn is shaving her head!!! Yeah, my friends are really cool! She’s shaving her head on May 4 to stand in solidarity with kids fighting against cancer and raising money for cancer research in the mean time. Click here to donate!

 

Moving on, I took inspiration for the bracelet from this post on the blog Henry Happened. All I had to buy was rope and little toy wheels that look like beads from Hobby Lobby. It was really inexpensive!

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To figure out how much rope you need, wrap the rope around your wrist three times and then add a little onto that. Add more than you think you might need because mine turned out a little tight!

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Step 1: Fold the rope in half, then half again. Step 2: Wrap the looped end over the loose ends once so that it’s back where it started. Step 3: Grab the loose ends and pull them through the big loop at the top. Step 4: Pull tight and rearrange knot as needed to place it where you want it on your bracelet.

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Step 5: Thread your loose ends through your wooden bead. In my case, the rope was too thick to thread both pieces through the same bead so I just used two beads instead and it worked just fine.

 

Now for the head band, I did the exact same knot. I used a video tutorial I found here that said you should have seven yards of rope. I just wrapped it around my head, doubled it and added some on because I didn’t have anything I could measure with. Just follow the same steps in 1-4 above. The only additional items you’ll need are two elastic hair bands and a hot glue gun.

 

When you get to Step 4 again, you’ll want to spread the knot out a little more and make it lay as flat as possible. Move it more to one side of the rope instead of the middle so that when it lays on your head, it won’t just sit on top of your head but instead to the side.

To make your knot stay in place when you’ve decided what you want it to look like, use a hot glue gun to glue down the four spots where your knot intersects itself. Next, put the two hair ties together and then pull it through itself with the rope in between to look like this:

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To connect the whole thing, hot glue gun the rope to itself after looping it through the hair bands and your end result should like the image below. Make sure all your ropes are the same length and that everything is straightened out!

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When you’re done, you’ll have a matching bracelet and head band set ready to go for summer vacation! Or at least for pretending in New Mexico until then. 🙂

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

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For this week’s DIY, I decided to bake since I haven’t done any baking for this blog yet and I also haven’t baked in a while. Time for a small confession: I have the WORST sweet tooth. I eat more candy and sweets than anyone I know. I eat so much sugar that the fillings in my cavities hurt but I eat them anyway! And yes I brush my teeth and no I am not morbidly obese. I just really like sweets. Maybe one day I’ll move on to celery but for now, with the stress of college, I’ll stick with sugar.

So moving on, I found this recipe on Pinterest from the blog Kaitlyn In the Kitchen. It caught my eye because anything peanut butter and chocolate sounds awesome and it also said it was low sugar (which if it tastes good but has less sugar, I’ll be perfectly OK with that). I may have ruined the low sugar part with the extra chocolate chips I threw in but maybe you can make it low sugar.

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Bentley eagerly anticipating the muffins that he couldn’t eat.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

2/3 Cup Brown Sugar

6 Tablespoons Butter, melted and cooled

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (chunky or smooth)

2 Eggs

1 Cup Milk

3/4 Cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

 

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then, get a large mixing bowl and whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Then in a medium mixing bowl, mix together the butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk. It’s OK if the peanut butter is kind of clumpy with the rest of the liquids. It melts in the oven and works out. Mix in the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients and then fold in the chocolate chips. Put some cupcake liners in your muffin tin and fill the cups about 2/3 of the way full. The other recipe said to bake 17-20 minutes but I baked mine for the full 20 minutes and they came out perfectly! This recipe made about 18 muffins for me, but some of them were pretty big so you could probably make more if you fill the cups more evenly.

This recipe was super quick and easy. I was in the check out line at the store buying my ingredients, then popping in the last muffins all within an hour. These are all ingredients that are usually in the kitchen so it’s a great last minute recipe!

Our Story: Kappa Kappa Gamma

The organization I have chosen is the sorority I joined in the Fall of 2010, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Kappa was founded in 1870 in Monmouth, Illinois at Monmouth College when six young women marched into the chapel at Monmouth wearing golden keys in their hair and declared themselves as the members of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Kappa’s official founding date is October 13, 1870. The word “sorority” didn’t exist at the time of its founding so it is actually a women’s fraternity. In all of our documents and correspondence, Kappa is referred to as “the fraternity,” and is never referred to as a sorority.

Kappa’s flower is the mythical Fleur-de-Lis. The flower we use as its stand-in is the iris. The Fleur-de-Lis is also one of Kappa’s symbols along with owls and keys. The fraternity’s colors are dark and light blue and its jewel is the sapphire. Our national philanthropy is Reading Is Fundamental. Kappa’s national open motto used to be “A Tradition of Leadership,” but in June 2012 was changed to “Aspire To Be.”

I chose to use Kappa Kappa Gamma for my final project because it is a big part of my life and also such a large organization with a long history. Kappa is important to me because without the help of these women I call my sisters, I would not be as successful academically or have the leadership traits that they have taught me.

In Kappa, it is impossible not to be inspired almost immediately by the women who make up this organization. Some notable Kappas are designer Kate Spade, actresses Sophia Bush and Ashley Judd, and New Mexico Lieutenant Governor, Diane Denish.

I want readers to learn more about Greek Life in general, but to see what Kappa Kappa Gamma specifically is about. We really are an organization whose aim is to cultivate leaders and foster creativity through leadership. I held an officer position in Kappa in 2012 as Panhellenic Delegate and was given the freedom to essentially do what I wanted to with my position and my adviser supported and helped me with my endeavors. Additionally, I gained a friend in my adviser who of course is a Kappa as well but I wouldn’t have built that relationship if I wasn’t constantly encouraged to be in contact with her and communicate with her.

Kappa is not just 100 college women living in the same big house with Greek letters plastered across the front. It’s your adviser whose kids you’ll babysit on Friday nights; it’s your dance teacher who later gives you a job to help you through college; it’s a network of strong, empowered women who will be your sisters for as long as you allow them.

Social Media Strategy for Kappa Kappa Gamma

One goal we would like to achieve is to increase social media engagement with members of Kappa by 30 percent. By increasing engagement via social media, we will also increase participation in chapters along with active and alumnae giving to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. We would also decrease retention of our collegiate members. We believe that the more connected each member feels to the entire organization, the more likely she is to stay involved through the years and represent Kappa in the best possible way.

To achieve this goal, we will ask chapter Public Relations Chairs to encourage members to engage with Kappa Kappa Gamma’s social media accounts and use the hash tag, #kkg1870. We would ask the same of our alumnae groups. We will measure “@ mentions,” RTs and favorites on Twitter, likes, shares and comments on Facebook, comments and likes on our newly created Instagram and views, comments and likes on our YouTube.

One tactic for this strategy could be summarizing blog posts on social media sites. I often do not click on links in Facebook and Twitter posts because I want the quick, easy to read version and then I’ll continue if it piques my interest. My suggestion would be to offer a short summary and key points in the Facebook post, and then post an external blog link. I think informing readers with the time they have is more important than getting more traffic on the website. If a member only has a few seconds to look on Facebook, she should get the idea of what’s going on without having to read a 500-word blog post.

We will track social media engagement as is, and compare engagement after a six-month period. Three months would be too short because the summer months have a bit of a lull since school is out and there aren’t as many activities and meetings going on. If we measure over a six-month period, we are more likely to get a true representative calculation of how successful we were in increasing engagement by 30 percent. 

DIY Pet Products

For this week’s DIY blog, I decided to make some DIY pet care crafts for my newly adopted puppy, Bentley! I made him a bed, I made his leash light reflective, and attempted to make a bag to store his many toys and treats while traveling back and forth.

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This first one was by far, the most successful. I decided to make him a bed based off of the popular, easy-to-make tie blankets. I bought the same amount of two different colors of felt fabric, laid them on top of each other and cut them each about four inches larger than the final size I wanted the bed to be. I then cut the corners to look like a square cut out. After that, cut the strips to tie up to the same height as the square cut out.

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Once the strips are cut, begin tying the strips together. After I had finished tying one side of the bed, I cut quilt batting to fit inside the bed to make it a little more cushioned, but also easy to wash (which is important with a puppy). After you’ve inserted the quilt batting, finish tying all the ends and you’re done! Bentley has peed on this a lot and unfortunately, the tying comes undone in the wash, but it doesn’t take very long to retie the bed. He’s so cute I can’t even get mad though!

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To make his leash reflective, I just got light reflective tape and cut it into strips the width of his leash and just taped it to the leash. The Martha Stewart blog I got the idea from said to use reflective fabric tape, but the store didn’t have any. Sadly, this tape was too plastic-y and broke as the leash moved and started chipping off. I eventually took it off because it looked tacky but had I been able to find the fabric tape, I think this DIY would have worked much better.

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The bag attempt was more sad than the leash DIY. I couldn’t find a plain canvas tote at Walmart so I had to go with a canvas purse in the discount section. I thought I would personalize it and try using transfer paper to iron on Bentley’s name. When the iron-on didn’t iron all the way, I tried ironing it down without the transfer paper and then the only place “Bentley” was ironed onto was the iron itself. That one is more of a work in progress that I would eventually like to finish, but for now, I’ll just have to keep finding dog treats in my own purse. 

Social Media Audit — Kappa Kappa Gamma

For this week’s blog, I’ve decided to do a social media audit for my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Kappa was founded in 1870, shortly after the end of the Civil War and before the word “sorority” was even introduced. Kappa is a women’s fraternity founded on the belief that women have the potential to impact the world.

Kappa’s target audience for its Web presence is potential new members of the fraternity, new members, active members, alumnae and members of the media who may need to research Kappa for journalistic reasons. Kappa lists all of its social media outlets on the home page upper right hand corner, or “above the fold.”

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The different social media sites listed are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the Kappa blog, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr. The fraternity recently changed its logo and tagline over the summer. The new logo is the modern-looking blue fleur-de-lis and the new tagline is “Aspire to be.” They have done a pretty good job with keeping social media profile photos consistent with the new logo. Only the LinkedIn and Pinterest pages are different; each have the fraternity crest as the photo but different versions on each page.

The only social media site Kappa is not using that I find very surprising is Instagram, especially because college students use Instagram all the time. Almost all of the girls I know in Kappa have an Instagram and I think if Kappa were to start an account, it would be very successful. I have found that Twitter and Instagram seem to be the most popular social media sites with my group of friends.

Strengths the organization has in its social media presence is man power (or woman power, in this case). There are a lot of people on staff to create content and a lot of members they are following or who are constantly sending in content and inspiring further content creation. Weaknesses are that some of the pages don’t get publicized a lot. There are not a lot of recent uploads on the YouTube page and the pages that get updated most often are Facebook and Twitter. I think an easy update to the YouTube would be to publicize that the undergraduate giving challenge deadline is nearing. They could have updated the video that they originally made and post a new one to inspire and excite members about giving to the Kappa Foundation.

Competition that Kappa could have among social media could be with other Greek letter organizations in a “who did it better” sort of way. Unofficial Kappa pages can also be a problem with anonymous accounts that post inappropriate things or just general things that make the fraternity look bad.

DIY Window Art

This week’s DIY blog is a little different. It’s less of a DIY and more of an inspirational art project. But you still do it yourself so it works! I found this idea (and art template) on Wit and Wistle, this super adorable DIY/arts/everything lovely blog.

First, gather your supplies. She suggested to use wet erase chalk markers for drawing on the window, but Michael’s was out so I used Crayola Window Markers and they worked just fine (and were cheaper)!

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Next, print out the image you want to trace onto your window. On her blog post, she had a template with a cute hand drawn scripture from Philippians 2:15 ( … Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky). The image will print on two sheets of paper so just line up the lettering and tape them together. As you can see, I need a new printer cartridge (I’ll be setting up a PayPal account for donations)! 😉

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Now this part was a little trickier for me because I live on the third floor of my house — you have to tape the image to the outside of your window. So I just got my arm as far as a could up the window to tape it but it worked!

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Then just trace! Simple as that. Then you’re left with a really neat looking inspirational message. You can decorate it a little more like hers but I was drawing leaning over a small refrigerator so I was glad to be done tracing.

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I decided to try this on my mirror too. But since you can’t trace onto a mirror very easily, I just tried to freehand it and copy another scripture design I found on Pinterest. I think it turned out fairly well and it’s neat to read scripture while you’re getting ready in the morning!

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So your brand wants to joke about a country’s crisis … ?

Don’t. Just don’t. “There’s no such things as bad PR” .. ? I don’t buy that for a minute.

Firstly, I would like to go ahead and state my opinion on the Kenneth Cole Twitter issue: Whoever sent that tweet, whether it was Kenneth Cole himself or just a representative of the brand, should have known better. If you are doing well enough in your career to work for a brand like Kenneth Cole, you should have enough common sense not to post insensitive tweets. And that’s what it comes down to — the post was entirely insensitive. Kenneth Cole later posted on the Facebook page a very weak apology and many users commented saying how others can’t take a joke and the public doesn’t have a sense of humor — but this isn’t a personal account; this is a brand account. There is no excuse to post without thinking.

That being said, I not only would have apologized to my audience but given a much more sincere apology than they did. I think in the case of the insensitive KitchenAid tweet, their response was spot on. The individual at fault was fired and the apology was genuine. Kenneth Cole’s half-hearted apology didn’t really do much for me. 

My advice to the Kenneth Cole brand for future ventures in social media would be to better train the people they allow to post from their accounts. They hired someone who made a joke about a national uprising where people were being beaten and killed — that was the first issue. They need to hire people with strong ethics who would never even dream of making an insensitive joke then posting it on the Internet for the company’s followers to see. My second piece of advice would be to follow Zappo’s lead and set up a Twitter account for their head honcho to tweet from to lead back to their official Twitter. People may be more interested in a successful person than a successful brand but personality should also come across in the brand’s social media identities as well.

I think this attempt at upping their social media presence would be part of the game plan to rebuild Kenneth Cole’s brand reputation. They would need to prove that they care about crisis situations and I think for their brand to become more philanthropic would greatly improve their image.

Social Media for Homeless Pets

I have been interning for Animal Humane New Mexico since June 2012 and their social media presence has become one of my favorites to keep up with. Working there, I’m naturally an animal lover and a lot of the posts are about pets who have been there for a while who finally found homes, about how we just received a bunch of puppies from another town, or how we just received a huge donation. So it’s always very fun, lighthearted and uplifting to look at the posts from Animal Humane. Plus, I get to see pictures of adorable pets.

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The Facebook page is very bright, with lots of stories, photos and videos. On Twitter, the posts are more like quick updates. They often post about mobile adoption events or post links to Instagram photos or YouTube videos that have been recently uploaded. I don’t think many questions get asked on Twitter so there isn’t much of a need for Twitter conversations but the Facebook page is definitely utilized as a sort of question and answer forum on the posts. The YouTube channel is used to post commercials that have been made, promo videos on specific pets, and as a sort of news update on things going on within Animal Humane.

What I like about Animal Humane’s social media presence is that it’s fun. They’re not afraid to take chances and post silly things a lot with serious, important things. Recently, they posted a link to a parody of a Macklemore song and it was hilarious! They’ve done a great job creating a following within the Albuquerque area. The Facebook page has over 7,000 likes and I think it’s because of the diversity in the posts. It’s not the same things over and over again and they keep it interesting.

I definitely see bits of myself in their branding. I’d like to think of myself as an upbeat, lighthearted person and that’s what I see in their social media. They are also able to keep that same tone strong between social media and traditional advertising. The billboards and local television commercials translate well and are very apparently the same organization that they show on Facebook. I’m grateful I’ve been able to intern there and see what makes a successful social media presence.

DIY Sharpie Mug

This week’s DIY is amazing. Seriously. It was easy, fun, inexpensive and it WORKED. And the results are really cool

 

I found this Sharpie mug tutorial on Pinterest from the Home Heart Craft blog. The mugs she made are Anthropologie inspired so my friends and I went on that same theme.

 

All you need for this is a white mug, different colored Sharpies and an oven. I got the mug for less than $2 at Walmart and I bought Sharpies because I didn’t have a lot of colors. So this week’s DIY is less than $10 — HOLLA!

 

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Next, just draw. That’s literally all it is. And it doesn’t have to be fancy drawing. I’m not artistic in that way and I’m really happy with how my mug came out. Plus, if you mess up, the marker just wipes off.

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Once you’re happy with the way your mug looks, stick it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Here’s mine before it went in the oven:

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After it bakes, the colors get a little lighter than they were originally. And voila, here’s the end result! It took about about an hour and a half to draw and color everything but if you’re more artistically inclined, it may be less for you! This is a fun, inexpensive way to make cute, personalized gifts or just spice up your morning coffee. 🙂

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