20 Tips for Writing PDF Patterns

This post originally appeared on Things for Boys. Abby is so sweet & offered to share this great advice with Daft readers, too! 


I love that there are so many indie pattern designers around these days. Modern day makers are really spoiled for choice! You can find patterns and tutorials to suit any taste to make almost anything you want.

A lot of bloggers who like to sew are turning to designing patterns as a way to explore their creativity and earn a little income from what they love to do. It’s always great to see an idea you have in your head come to life! It’s even more exciting when you see other people making them too!

I have one pattern for sale, The Big Tote Bag and another pattern in the works. I have used a lot of PDF patterns… some were great & equally, some were not so great. If you’re thinking of writing a pattern, I wanted to share my tips & experience as both a designer & consumer for creating good quality PDF patterns that are easy to follow. 

1. Use a plain, easy to read font. Save the fancy fonts for your cover page. Also, use standard left alignment. Centered text alignment can be harder to read.


2. Group your steps into logical sections. This can be tricky, but the more prototypes of your pattern you make, the better idea you get. Try to group things like all the pieces that need top stitching together so that those using your pattern won't need to be changing threads so often.

3. Number each step. If anyone ever needs to email you with a question, it’s much easier for them to say ‘I’m lost on Step 5 in Section 2′ than ‘I’m trying to insert the placket and I don’t understand the bit where you fold it through’. Numbering your pages also helps.

4. Clearly lay out each section. Keep it ordered neatly with the steps next to their photos and leave a bit of white space between each step. The white space makes it easier to read and is handy for adding annotations.

5. If you’re using abbreviations, make sure you use the full term the first time & list them in a glossary. Just because you know that RST means ‘right sides together’, it doesn’t mean every one does.

6. Include hyperlinks to techniques. These can be helpful where you don’t want to explain a technique or you feel it should already be known by the user.

7. The more prototypes of your item you make, the better your pattern will be. You may find a better way to do something the next time you make it or you may pick up a simple mistake in your instructions or pattern pieces. Also read your steps as you are sewing through & ask a friend to proof read your patterns as well. You’ll be amazed what you may notice - missing words, extra letters… all these things that our brains fill in for us, especially when we've read something so many times.



8. If your pattern includes printable pieces, make sure you include a printing test square. This square can be measured up so that the user knows the pattern has printed out the correct size. Many times I have printed out a pattern, stuck it together, cut out the paper pieces and then thought, I should check the test square, and guess what, it was wrong! Thankfully I hadn't cut into my fabric. A quick reprint, making sure no page scaling was set in the options and my pattern was perfect! If the test square wasn't there, I would have no idea if my pattern was wrong and would have wasted my time and fabric making something that was never going to fit.

9. Include full size pattern pieces. There is nothing more annoying than printing out a pattern and then realizing the pieces need to actually be printed at 200%. I don’t even know how to do that!

10. Make sure your pattern pages will print on both A4 and US Letter sized paper. These papers are different sizes and there’s nothing worse than printing it all out to notice that the sides (or tops) are chopped off and your pages are useless. Also remember that you can’t print all the way to the edge of a page. Keeping your pattern pieces within 19 x 25cm (7.5″ x 10″) should ensure that your pattern pieces will print on most printers.

11. Include grainlines and notches on your pattern pieces and a pattern layout diagram in your instructions! These are one of the things you find in the Big 4 patterns that are missing from a lot of PDF patterns - and they are so helpful!

12. Put your pattern name, logo &URL on every pattern piece if you can. It’s so frustrating finding a rogue pattern piece on the floor during a clean up and having no idea which pattern it belongs to. This is also helpful because then people can remember where they got the pattern & recommend your patterns to friends!

13. Include a large format/copy shop version of your pattern. I’m so excited that designers are starting to include these with their patterns. For just a couple of dollars you can print out the pattern at the print shop…no aligning and sticking taping of pages needed! Also, this is more personal preference, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to overlap pattern pieces. The beauty of a PDF pattern is that you can just cut the pieces out of the paper and not bother with tracing. But when the pieces are overlapped (the lines of one pattern piece go over/intersect another, think Burda Style or Ottobre) then it needs to be printed out many times or traced off the PDF).

14. Use contrasting thread when stitching for the pattern photos. It makes your seams and stitches much easier to see in any photos. I have used white thread with blue fabric in this tutorial. Much easier on the eyes than a matching thread color.

15. Choose your fabrics carefully. On some fabrics the right side and wrong side look the same, which can make your instructions confusing. Try to pick a fabric with an obvious right and wrong side. Patterns on fabric can also make photos and instructions confusing. Fine stripes can be a real problem.

16. If you feel your photo may not be quite clear enough, feel free to add arrows, lines or notations to help get your point across. These can be done in fancy programs such as Adobe Illustrator or even just in MS Paint. You can see how much easier the image below is to understand with some measurements on it.





17. Use lot of images! Many people prefer to learn visually and including step by step images can make some confusing instructions crystal clear! You may also find that diagrams and drawings are better than pictures in some cases.

18. Test out your instructions by printing them in black and white. I also print mine out ‘2-to-a-page’ (at 50%) to make sure that they are still easy to understand when small. If they look good like this, then you know they will be easy to read if someone prints them out black and white (I only have a black and white printer at home) and also if viewing them at a reduced size on a mobile device.

19. Make your pattern cutting lines different. And not just a different color, but patterned too. Making each line style different  makes each size easily distinguishable when printed in black and white, not just colour. There’s a great example in the test square photo above.

20. Get the pattern tested - more than once! I cannot stress this enough. Your instructions make make complete sense to you, but could be very hard for someone else to understand. If your pattern is simple enough that you don’t think the pattern itself needs testing, at least have the instructions proof read by someone who knows how to sew - as well as someone who doesn't, to make sure that they are clear enough for even a novice level sew-er to understand!

21. Bonus tip! If you’re want an in depth course showing you in great detail how to create PDF patterns using Adobe Illustrator, then I can recommend Lauren’s course over at Pattern Workshop. It’s very comprehensive and Lauren has a great teaching style.

connect with Abby

Do you frequently use PDF patterns? Have you got any tips to add? Anything that drives you nuts in PDF patterns? Let's chat about it in the comments!

#happyhandmade week ninety-seven

Welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products, showcasing makers, shops & platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates between 2,500 - 3,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! 

Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Oh, and then there's the fact that each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers, crafters & indie business owners are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 



Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


How to Filter Your Own Views Out of Google Analytics Reports

Today's guest post is brought to you from Toni of Little House Of Crafting.

Most shop owners visit their own store frequently when working on the design, checking listings & just to bask in it's beauty sometimes. However, visiting your own store will create inaccurate traffic data on Google Analytics, which is a great tool for data analysis in your shop. Toni from Little House of Crafting has whipped up this great tutorial for removing your own clicks from your data for accurate reporting.


You can find filters in the Admin panel of Google Analytics.


Click on the red +New Filters button.



Now you just give your filter a name - I chose "Exclude IP" - and select the filter type Custom. Then select the filter Field (IP Address) & filter pattern (your IP address). You can find your IP address using this tool here.




Make sure to put a backslash (\) in front of the periods. If your IP address is 112.41.251.122 put 112\.41\.251\.122 in the Filter Pattern box.

Hit Save and you're done!

If you use different computers make sure to make a filter for those IP addresses as well so that your Google Analytics reporting is accurate!

connect with Toni

The Must-Have Book for Washi Tape Lovers

Are you as washi obsessed as I am? Seriously, my collection is ever-growing. You can see some of it here in my studio, hanging on the wall around that hoop. There is more than it looks like, the smaller rolls are hidden beneath the economy size rolls, haha!



My husband has actually forbade I purchase any more until I empty at least three rolls - but with my sweet friend Marisa Edghill's new book, Washi Style, that should be nooooooooooo problem! I mean, look at this cuteness!



I have probably spent a small fortune ordering washi tape from Marisa's shop, Omiyage, over the years & just from looking at the teaser photos from the book I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! This book has over 101 cute craft projects using washi tape, including these fun buntings that would be perfect for craft show displays...


And all these fun party decorations! Those little houses? They would also be super cute used to dress up your table at craft shows!



Seriously, if you are as washi obsessed with me you need to get your hands on a copy of this book - and head over to Marisa's shop because the has the cutest selection of washis & other pretty packaging goodies for indie businesses! It is where I order the majority of my swag bag supplies & washi from. My current favorite is her bright washi set:


And by the way, this is not an advertisement. I just really love washi tape & my sweet friend Marisa!

Do you collect washi tape? What is your favorite thing to use it for? 

#happyhandmade week ninety-six

Welcome to a marvelous new installment of #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products, showcasing makers, shops & platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates over 2,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Oh, and then there's the fact that each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 


This week's Most Viewed:

Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 

5 Ways to Make the Most of Winter Slowdown

It happens to almost everyone, every year (And if it doesn't happen to you, give yourself a pat on the back because you are killing it!). 

Of course, I'm talking about the:


The Winter Slowdown


Dun dun dun! Most makers spend most of December scuttling around like crazy with holiday orders & post office runs & most likely late nights in the studio, screeching to a halt right before Christmas. 

And then the New Year gleams on the horizon! So much opportunity! So many possibilities! This is the year for your business! 

But then you remember how broke most people are after the holidays. Plus they just got like eleventy billion new things to fill their home up with over the holidays. Shopping is usually the last thing on their mind unless you are having a massive 70% off post-holiday sale. Which usually means January & February are pretty slow months for many makers, resulting in what is known as this dreaded Winter Slowdown when sales are record lows or sometimes, non-existent.

It can be disheartening to go from booming business to hearing crickets in just a matter of weeks. It can lurch you into a slump & make you want to curl up in your pajamas and binge watch the latest hit show on Netflix while you eat obscene amounts of extra butter popcorn (No? Just me?). Well, let me tell you what I've learned from five and a half years of running Lu & Ed

Resist the urge to hibernate. 

Seriously. This is your time to shine, baby! Or at least to take a running leap into the New Year, that is still gleaming with opportunities & full of so many possibilities - and now is the time to put in the work to make your dreams for 2015 a reality! Here is how I make the most of the Winter Slowdown:

1. Do your taxes. 

Ugh. The dreaded T word. But use these quiet days at the beginning of the year to get your books in order, file sales tax for your state (most states are due by February 2nd. View a full list of sales tax due dates by state here) & get everything ready to file or pass over to your book keeper. Seriously, it's the boring hate-to-do work but the sooner you get it done the sooner you can get back to the fun parts of running a business!


2. Do a year-end review.

Take a look over your numbers for the previous year. I wrote about my year end review here. Sales, traffic, social media growth. Create charts, numbered lists or whatever helps you analyze this data to find out what content resonated best with your audience, what products were your best sellers, what marketing tactics worked, which social media platforms performed best and where you spent a lot of time that had little return on investment. Use this data to focus your energy in the New Year to determine what you should be researching and experimenting with to take your business to the next level & to weed out websites, social media accounts or actions that don't yield positive results.


3. Tidy up your studio

Whether you use a corner of a coffee table or have an entire room to use as your studio space, take some time to tidy up, organize & rearrange if needed. Clean spaces inspire creativity!

4. Build inventory

You know what would be awesome next year? If craft show season/the holiday season wasn't so darn crazy!

I always use January as a time to build loads of inventory so that I start the year off with a surplus of products for stockings, shows & sales. It feels great to start the year off churning out new designs & products and building hype & excitement with your audience, plus it gives you some cushion as you go into the busier show & sales seasons meaning a lighter workload later on in the year. Work smarter, not harder & save yourself some stress later in the year by generating lots of inventory during the slower sales period when you have ample time to dedicate to it.

5. Treat yo'self! 

Once your business is New Year Ready (taxes filed & permit fees paid & so on) use the slower months to take some time for personal projects, treat yourself to a hair cut or some shopping, take a few naps or any other activity you usually can't enjoy during your busiest seasons! Enjoy the coziness of the slow season & make time for coffee with friends! Feel free to schedule a week off to just relax, visit family or binge watch that show we talked about - but make sure to set a day to "come back to work" so to speak (so that you don't get sucked into the next season of that show) and commit to starting the year off productive & actively chasing those opportunities on the horizon! 

How do you make the most of the winter slowdown? Let's chat about ways to stay productive while enjoying the coziness of the winter slowdown!

My year-end review using Google Analytics

Do you review your year end traffic via Google Analytics to see where your marketing had the most return on investment (ROI)? It can be incredibly beneficial in planning out your marketing game plan for the new year! 

If you aren't using Google Analytics yet, get that stuff set up ASAP! If you aren't sure how to set it up with your online shop, do a quick Google search for a tutorial. This data is a powerful tool & by understanding how people are finding your site, which sites they purchase from and which sites bring you the most revenue, you can use those numbers to launch your business to the next level! When doing my year-end review, I look at everything but really only analyze three things: revenue, conversion rates & traffic sources. 

Why these three? 

Because to me, examining these three statistics helps me figure out:
  • What I did right in the previous year
  • What worked for my business
  • What didn't work for my business
  • Where I should be investing my precious time/effort/hard earned marketing money
To give you a better sense of what kind of goodness you can divulge from these statistics I am going to share a peek at my year in review as well my top three sources in each category! I invite you to explore your own. You may just be surprised by how the stats stack up! Like me, you may just find that all that time you spend in those Facebook groups really is just a waste of time - it may be bringing you traffic, but if if has a low conversion rate or doesn't rank high on your sources of revenue, you need to either reevaluate how you spend you time on that platform, create a new marketing strategy or ditch it altogether to focus on what does bring in the buyers!

First up, head over to Google Analytics and select the time frame from January 1st of the previous year December 31st of that year in the top right hand corner. Now get ready to dig in! 

Revenue
To access this data, click Acquisition>All Traffic>Source/Medium, then select Revenue in the right corner below the graph. To view the graph, click the highlighted drop down menu & select "Revenue".

When I look at what brought me the most revenue in my monster shop during the previous year - and what brought me the least - I can spend my precious time & hard earned money better in the next year. I can also use this data to determine slow times where maybe I could put in more effort marketing. On the chart above the spike in March was because it was my last stocking before a big show in April, which accounts for the dip, and the dip in July was because we were on vacation most of the month & I only did a small stocking that month. September is always slow for me - end of summer vacations, back to school expenses, extra-curricular fees & and all that other fun stuff usually sucks all the extra spending money out of parents, who are my target audience. 

Using this data I can also discover things like if paid ads on blogs had little to no ROI & then I will just save that money instead of renewing the paid ad. If a blog post someone did on my products brought me in loads of revenue, I would know I should collaborate with that blogger again. See how I can use that data to grow my business & weed out things that aren't helping it grow?

Here are the top three sources of revenue for Lu & Ed last year. 

1. Direct traffic. The term “direct” loosely means no referrer, so they came to my site on their own accord, basically, either through a book mark or typing in the URL.
2. Instagram. I spent all of last year experimenting on & researching this platform & am so glad to see that all that effort paid off!
3. Facebook - but with Instagram bringing in several hundred more dollars in revenue than FB. 

Traffic
Click Sessions while on the same view as above to see your traffic sources. Click the drop down box & select Sessions to view as a graph. 

It is so good to know where people are coming from, how they are finding you & what platforms you are marketing on that is bringing people to your site - and it ties in directly with the conversion rate info, helping you to know what sites you are spending time on but don't have much in the way of ROI. 

My top three traffic sources: 

1. Direct traffic accounts for 41.39% of ALL traffic & 50.1% of new users coming to my shop for the year of 2014! 
2. Facebook 
3. Google, with Oh My! Handmade Goodness following close behind! :) 

Conversion Rate

To view this data, click the far right option for Ecommerce Conversion Rate to sort source sites by conversion rate. Select it from the drop down to view as a graph.

More important than knowing where people are coming from is knowing where they come from that results in the most sales. If you don't know what a conversion rate is or don't understand why it's so important to your business, I highly recommend this post from Aeolidia: Improving Sales by Understanding Your Conversion Rate. Basically, I use this data to determine which site turns more browsers into buyers. By knowing this, I know where I should be focusing more energy. The dips seen in the graph above in April is because I had a show that month & I barely had any inventory in my shop. The dip in July is because I was out of town for most of the month & only did one stocking that month. 

Top three sources of traffic with the highest conversion rates:

1. Direct traffic leads again (strongly). Seeing this as the number one for all three items makes my heart so happy - it means that I am on the road to building a strong brand & web presence! 
2. My email list. I launched my campaign at the beginning of last year & it already accounts for 28.7% of total sessions on my website!
3. Instagram. Again, yay!

Quick example of how to use this data

So, let's take a peek over these charts & stats above. Notice that Facebook may have made the top three for traffic, it didn't make the top three (or ten, even) for conversion rate? It may be bringing people to me, but they aren't buying. Why is that?

For me, personally, it's because I started the year in several Facebook groups. I quickly realized after reviewing my stats for the previous year that while a group may have 12,000 members, that doesn't mean it will do jack for my business. I could share a product & get 59 comments, but not a single purchase - because other makers are not my target audience. Over the Spring I made adjustments to how I marketed - and saw a huge increase in my total conversion rate! You can see how it sky rocketed from 1.38% to over 3% in a matter of months from January to March when I started making the switch in how I marketed & where I invested my time, thanks to my stats from the previous year. 

So here's the low down: If one site is bringing you traffic but not sales, ask yourself why. What could you do differently? Is it worth the effort? Could you better spend the time/resources on a site that brings in more revenue or has a higher conversion rate?  

Do a little homework. Once you pull up the Analytics for 2014, write down what brought you the most revenue, the most traffic and which sites have the highest conversion rates & use these as a guide when prioritizing where you spend your time, energy & money for your business. Taking the time to review these numbers last year & apply what I learned made 2015 the best year ever for my business! 

Do you currently use Google Analytics? If so, how do you feel about your year-end review of revenue, traffic & conversion rates? Is it what you expected? 

#happyhandmade week ninety-five

Happy 2015, maker friends! Cheers to a wonderful year of #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products, showcasing makers, shops & platforms - all brought together in a neat little bundle  to help makers get discovered and help connect artisans with fresh, new, handmade lovin' people!

If this is your first time here, you're in for a sweet surprise! This collective generates over 2,500 click-throughs to participant's shops every month! It is one of the top free ways to connect with other makers & drive new traffic to your store with minimal effort. Not only do you get the exposure from this post here, but also from all the people who share your products via Twitter, their blogs, Facebook & other social media platforms! Join in & be a part of the largest collaborative marketing effort in the maker movement! 

Oh, and then there's the fact that each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 


This week's Most Viewed:

Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Please do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 

Conquer Your To Do List with HabitRPG

Today's guest post is brought to you by Tessa of Krmbal. Today she's sharing a tool that's great to help you keep on top of your to-do List and daily schedule.

Running a small business means there’s always something to do. It can be hard to stay on top of all the little things and making sure they get done. I've tried physical and virtual lists, I've tried posting a list with people who would keep me accountable, but nothing works as well for me as HabitRPG.

HabitRPG is an open-source program that treats your life like a role-playing game. It’s technically meant to help you build habits, which I think it does, but I think it’s much more powerful as a fun tool to help you remember your tasks and motivate you to complete them.

When you first sign up, you create an avatar, customizing it as you like. Later you can use money you gain from completing tasks to purchase armor and weapons for your avatar.


Then you create lists of your Habits, Daily Tasks and To Do’s. You can also edit your daily tasks to be done only on certain days of the week. You can also create tasks that are negative that you should avoid to hold yourself accountable. When you complete a task, you get points (or lose them if it’s a negative task) and at the end of the day, you may lose hit points based on whether or not you completed your daily tasks. You can also change the difficulty level of each task.

If you want the basic thing and getting points is enough motivation for you, then you’re basically all set. I’m that type of person, I wanted to mark things off and get points and level up and I didn’t really investigate any further when I first started using Habit. Then my friend Kelly from Craftypodes told me about the pets that you can collect as part of a feature of the game. Catch ‘em all, you say??? I was intrigued.

You can collect pets (and win the Beastmaster achievement if you collect all 90) by completing your tasks, which will randomly drop an egg, a potion or food. You can create a pet by combining an egg and a potion, each combination makes a different sort of pet. It turned out after Kelly told me to go look, I actually had some of each and was able to make some pets right there. Then, you can feed the pets and if you feed them enough, they turn into mounts your avatar can ride.


You can also get quests where you fight a boss monster and inflict damage by completing your tasks. You can join up with your friends and form a party to help defeat the bosses. Sometimes, they’ll have fun events where they’ll hold a worldwide quest to defeat a boss threatening Habitica. Once the boss is defeated, anyone who participated by completing a daily during that time gets rewarded. When a dragon threatened Habitica and was defeated, we all were rewarded with mantis shrimp pets & a mount! For Halloween & Thanksgiving all Habiticans got Jack-O-Lantern & turkey pets.



They also had fun things like costumes for Halloween and all the food for the pets had been turned into candy. You’re also able to choose a class once you hit a certain level where you can use special skills. I’m a Rogue, so I have skills that give me a higher chance of getting a random drop, more money or evade damage. The other available classes are Warrior, Healer and Mage and each has its own set of skills.

So far, it’s been a really fun way to make sure I get things done. Plus, it’s super useful as a business owner who has a very changeable schedule. Since I work as a freelance graphic designer as well as run Krmbal, my schedule can vary from day to day if a client contacts me and needs something done quickly. It’s nice to be able to have a To-Do List that I can add to and changes based on how long an item’s been in the list. HabitRPG color codes your tasks based on how long they’ve been uncompleted. For me, this makes it super easy to be able to keep track of what’s most urgent. You can also adjust each item's position in the list with a new update they've made, so you can put things in order if you work better that way.

For me, Habit works great. I've even added household chores to my habits list and I’m often motivated to go do one of them when I have down time because I might be rewarded with a random drop. I think it’s awesome that it’s totally customizable too. You add tasks that are relevant for you and decide if they need to be done daily, just once, or in-between. New tasks can be added as often as necessary and old things can be deleted if they're not relevant anymore. You can also use the app if you have a smart phone so you can add tasks or mark them complete while you’re on the go.

It’s a fairly simple program, but it can be an effective tool and it’s totally free. Plus, the developers are making it better and more fun all the time! So what are you waiting for? Head over to HabitRPG and check it out!


connect with Tessa

One word.

Thanks to Oh My Handmade! Goodness, for the past three years I pick a single word to focus on intentionally for the year. I can't remember what the first word I chose was, but last year's word was 'hustle'. Not the work til your sick hustle or the trying to sell used cars hustle, but the work hard and fast to get results type hustle. I knew I was too distracted during my work hours while G was at school which led to me working in the evenings when he was home & was I just not cool with that. So I chose the word hustle and focused on that while I worked - I had to hustle hard if I wanted to get done with my projects for the day before my son & husband got home.
 
Now I start work right at 9am every day and close the door to my studio right at 4pm every day and I get so much more more done than I ever did before, and I'm not working nights or weekends anymore, either! Focusing on that word changed my work ethic & led me to be more productive in what time I had each day.

So for this year, I thought long & hard about what word I wanted to focus on in 2015. Something that would apply to my life & business & bring about positive changes. Ultimately, I settled on quality.
For 2015, I want to spend more quality time with my family. I want to invest more quality time in myself. I want to make more quality investments in my business. I want to work on improving the quality of my product photos as well as the quality of my communications with potential wholesale clients by creating a proper line sheet with pricing & photos and working on my pitches. 

I feel like this is just the word for me this year. It fits so well in to all the parts of my life I want to work on & improve. So in 2015 I will be focusing on quality. Quality moments & quality movements. 

Do you pick a word to focus on each year? If so, what is your word for 2015?
Get your word for 2015 created by Colleen Attara