Wanna be friends? Follow me through Google Friend Connect (right sidebar) and I'll follow you back!
Hello! I'm more than pretty excited about the "Behind the Blog" feature today…
It's all about Rachel from One Pretty Thing!
One Pretty Thing is a daily (honestly more than once a day) stop for me. Rachel produces easy to navigate, inspirational and lovely round-ups on a variety of subjects. I find a fantastic project, printable or tip every single time I visit.
Rachel is one pretty amazing person! I'm not sure I could read thousands of posts a week, receive up to a hundred emails a day and be so incredibly sweet and positive.
All about One Pretty Thing
How would you describe OPT? I describe One Pretty Thing as a DIY project aggregator. Everyday I scour websites and blogs to find the best tutorial links from around the web. I round them up, organize them and share them with DIY enthusiasts!
When and how did One Pretty Thing get started? How has it evolved? When I first started One Pretty Thing I had planned on sharing one DIY project a day. I would do a project myself, document my process, then link to as many other tutorials for that project as I could find. The response was great but what people really loved was my list of tutorials at the end of each post. After a couple of weeks I decided to switch gears and simply share my tutorial lists. Even though I wasn't showing just One Pretty Thing anymore, the name suck.
Where it all happens
How many projects do you get submitted to you on a typical day? How do you keep it all straight? In a typical day I receive 20-100 projects by email. Beyond that I flip through thousands of blog posts a week. I designed a custom behind the scenes interface to keep all the links, keywords, pending roundups and authors straight.
Do you publish all the submissions? How do you prefer people send you their projects? I end up publishing less than half of all the projects I come across. I like to publish step by step tutorials with clear directions and lots of pictures. I love receiving projects by email but I hope to have a simple two click submission form built in the future.
How much time do you spend on OPT daily? Weekly? With OPT every day is different. I can spend anywhere from six to fourteen hours a day working on the site. Some days all of that time is spent answering email, other days I might never even see a craft project. I might spend all my time working on behind the scenes tasks that keep the site running. Weekly I probably average at least sixty hours.
Is OPT your job as well as your passion? Do you have other ”jobs”? Right now I don't have any other jobs but OPT. I used to take on other projects but OPT has grown so much in the last year that it takes all of my time to keep the site running. While I'm not making anything near a full time income with the site, that is definitely a goal for the future.
Rachel's To Do List (Love the "Be More Awesome")
Can you share some time management tips with us? My to-do list saves me! I have a daily, weekly and monthly to-do document that lists everything I need to do each day. I wake up, dive in and work task by task. Having a well thought out task list ensures nothing falls through the cracks. If there is anything I'm dreading I try to do it first thing. This gets it out of the way and gives me a burst of energy that results in increased productivity throughout the day. I also work in 50 minute spurts whenever possible. I set a timer, work for 50 minutes then spend ten out of my chair doing something like laundry, cleaning, getting the mail, etc. Each day I have a list of ten minute tasks to complete. Those little bits of time really add up and ensure that my house and life don't fall apart even though I'm devoting a massive amount of time to OPT.
Do you feel connected to your readers? Can you explain? I feel super connected with my readers! I keep up with their their lives when I read their blogs. That's a big one. I also engage so many people via email. During the day I have all these mini email conversations with people where I receive instant feedback. I feel like I've developed some amazing friendships since I started OPT.
Do you have a favorite category? The Daily DIY is by far my favorite category! There is such a fun range of projects in that Roundup. I always find at least one thing to add to my own gotta-make-it list.
I also love the Wedding Roundup. Weddings with personal DIY touches are so wonderful. I love seeing people incorporate handmade into their big day.
How did you learn how to run a website? My background is in actually in biology but web sites and technology are a huge passion of mine. I took quite a few tech classes in collage but I didn't start seriously educating myself until I wanted to build OPT. I just dove in head first. I often refer to OPT as the ultimate DIY project. I'm also married to an amazingly talented programmer that fills in the gaps for me. Surrounding yourself with people who can do what you can't is so important.
Describe you average day… Yesterday was a great example of an average day for me. I woke up at 6, scanned my to-do list and jumped right into emails. I spent about four hours going though my inbox then moved on to reading blog posts for another six hours. Over the course of those eight hours I finished four roundups and scheduled them to go up. I also got a bunch of tasks done around the house during my ten minute breaks and even took a knitting break. When my husband came home we walked to a favorite mexican spot for dinner, then I came back and spent another couple of hours working on a giveaway post and an interview. We had a glass of wine, watched some tv then I laid in bed answering email on my laptop until I fell asleep.
Can you explain a little about the other categories on OPT…
Handmade Gift Guide The HMGG is a series of project Roundups that make great gifts. Each year around the holidays I go through the year's projects, pick out the most giftable, and organize them into categories. There are Gift for Babies, Gift for Coworkers, Gifts for Pets and more!
Crafty Business Resources These links are must-reads if you're running a handmade business. There are Etsy tips, ways to manage inventory, interviews and more. I publish a Roundup of these links every Thursday.
Crafty Contests My contest page where I keep track of great blog giveaways with handmade prizes!
Any tips on running a successful website? If you're thinking about building a website, be sure to pick something you're passionate about! It takes an insane amount of time to run a website and if you don't love what you're doing you'll be burned out in no time. Surround yourself with talented people who can fill in your gaps. It's difficult to do your own hosting, coding, graphics and site management. Figure out what you need and find people you trust BEFORE you actually need them. When your site goes down at 2am you need to know who to call.
All About Rachel
Necklace by Rachel
Do you have time to craft? If so, what do you like to do? I absolutely love to craft! My favorite things to make are wearable accessories, home dec pieces and clothing but I also love knitting, beading, painting, collage,- you name it!
Can you describe your workspace? I have a desk in the corner of my craft room where I work on an imac. When I'm away from home I use any spare bits of time to get OPT business done on my laptop and iphone.
Store for Inspiration: The thrift store!
Art Book: Right now I'm reading Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed Media Artists by Ann Baldwin. It's wonderful!
Artist: Alisa Burke has me so inspired right now. I love how she brings her art into so many different aspects of her life. Her clothing, décor, and home really reflect her aesthetic. I would love to have such a strong sense of personal artistic style.
Novel: I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It reconfirmed my desire to eat locally as much as possible.
Blog to Visit: Lately I've been loving Janome's Sew4Home blog. They have so many well explained tutorials with tons of pictures.
Movie: Sadly I rarely make time to see movies. I think the last one I saw was Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I remember wanting to run right home and sew myself a gauzy layered dress!
TV Show: The Daily Show
Snack: This time of year I would have to say blackberries!
Coffee Drink: Medium roast black coffee and lots of it!
Place to Relax: My bed. Preferably with a cat, cup of tea and a new novel.
Restaurant/Type of Food: I'm in the middle of a huge sushi phase right now. I've eaten it twice so far this week and it's only Wednesday. Yum!
Do you ever feel overwhelm/burnout? How do you deal with it? I do get burnt out from time to time. When that happens I just take a break. Anything that gets me away from my computer helps. I'll knit, walk for coffee, check out the thrift store, etc. I rarely take an entire day away from the site but I do have back up posts ready to go if I need them.
What do you do for fun? I'm a huge food enthusiast. I love to grow food, try new restaurants, take cooking classes, bake, and read cookbooks!
Do you collect anything? I collect art and craft supplies, vintage jewelry for repurposing, old postcards, and vintage dishes.
Favorite quote? “So what?” It's something I say to myself whenever I get stressed or worried. It really helps!
You’re very kind/polite in your communications with your readers—why do you think it’s so important? Aww, thanks so much! I just love people and I'm completely smitten with the crafty blogosphere. It still blows me away that readers contact me via email and love my site. I think my thankfulness comes through in my interactions with readers. If someone is taking time out of their day to help me the least I can do it be polite and kind. Mom always said to “strive to leave everyone happier than they were before they talked to you.” I've been trying to do that for thirty years now. It does drive me absolutely crazy that I can't answer every email though. I wish I had more time to do that!
What’s next for OPT? I have so much in the works. I'm working on a new Crafty Business Resource page, an easy submission form, a separate page for Wedding Roundups and more. Those should take me through the end of the year though. I'm also working on a really simple page to share fun girly links that I find in my web travels.
Where can we find you?
Email: [email protected]
Thanks Rachel! To read more Behind the Blog Features click here
BIG Hug! Malia