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464 posts since March 2008, 2,735 Google Followers, and 5,000 hits a day with viewers from across the world… “Oh. It’s just something I made,” says Cathe Holden, graphic artist and mother of two teens and a tween in Petaluma. Fueled by a passion for crafting and an itch to keep her graphic design skills sharpened, Cathe created her blogspot site: “Just Something I Made” as a “creative inspirational journal.”

While she has her eye on the crown as crafting queen when Martha Stewart retires, Cathe never dreamed her virtual scrapbook would turn into a widely used resource. As her audience grows, Cathe fine tunes her goals. “I enjoy giving something back to the world. My goal is to offer free, inspiring craft ideas. I feature widely accessible crafting supplies, while working with little known or new materials. I work hard to create a community of kindness, by offering free downloads and refraining from any ‘ranting’.”

The site’s popularity can likely be attributed to Cathe’s original repurposing ideas; clear, user friendly how-to’s; get-it-now-style freebies; inherent sass and pizzazz, and Cathe’s tenacity for getting noticed. In Just Something I Made style, here is an instructional blog on how to create such success!

(Want to read about to learn more about repurposing house hold items rather than blogging magic?  Click here for the Sonoma County Parenting version of this article on the Examiner.com.)

Original Repurposing Ideas



“I get an idea a minute!” exclaims Cathe, who is happy to make her ideas accessible to crafters. 464 blog posts (or craft articles) in under two years underscores this claim. Cathe dreams up an idea, gathers supplies, builds her creations and then photographs her work, waves her graphic artist wand over her photos, writes out the instructions then uploads everything to “Just Something I Made.”

Her ideas are unique, although she works to use materials that people can easily find. “Most of my supplies can be ordered on-line or found in a standard craft store. I try not to use one of a kind items, that are too unique, so my readers can easily replicate the craft in their own homes or studios.” This vintage truck pin cushion is just one great example!

Clear, User Friendly, How-To Instructions


Cathe’s crafting ideas are complete with step by step photos, and links to sources for materials. For a post on how to make window signs, Cathe breaks down the project into four easy steps, using seven photos to prevent reader missteps. Cathe points readers to refuse centers to find old windows – saving more items from the landfill while giving readers ideas for using authentically vintage supplies.


Get-It-Now Freebies



Did Steve Jobs get a load of the rockin’ leather Ipod cover Cathe Holden featured last month? Like it? Cathe’s got the instructions all laid out for you (of course) and she even made a free .pdf download of the vintage group photos should you decide you want to make one like it for yourself or a loved one! Cathe regularly provides readers with free downloads – offering immediate crafter gratification. Top that off with her frequent product giveaways, and you can see why readers check her site daily!

Branding


Cathe puts her heart into creating great content for her site. Thousands of followers are puddin’ proof that she’s on to something with focusing on creating interesting crafting instructionals and commentaries.  Her followers give her motivation to keep posting, and that's all she needs!

Martha’s throne? All this effort to build good content may one day help Cathe establish the “Cathe Holden” or “Just Something I Made” brand in a profit making setting. Her youngest is 12, so that gives her the next 6 years to solidify her brand and reputation. She may well be the next Queen of Crafting, with her original ideas that ooze sass and pizzazz. Who would have thought of taking their logo and creating an iron on leather patch to spice up a plain baseball cap?

Getting Noticed

By paying attention to her readers and their interests, Cathe’s learned by hook and crook how to keep her site and posts fresh in reader’s minds. Cathe participates in Etsy’s forum and regularly posts under the “Techniques and Materials” category. Fellow crafters read her ideas and find their way back to her blog for further ideas. Features in hot crafting publications like Craftzine.com’s recent article on Cathe’s crafting space also point readers to Just Something I Made.

Her graphic skills also come in handy when she needs to keep readers interested in her articles. Check out the “2009 Gift Making Guide” mosaic post she made with 42 photos and links to the craft projects (e.g. this fabulous corduroy and rice heating pad) she featured throughout the year.

Next week, Cathe’s off to Blissdom– a nationwide blogging conference. She’s bringing along her fellow blogger as a flat friend and toting one of her latest JSIM creations to hold the business cards of those she meets….



Will Blissdom bloggers know what hit ‘em when they meet this sassy, crafty Petaluma entrepreneur? Stay tuned by visiting Just Something I Made!

1 comments

  1. Cheryl ~TidyMom // February 8, 2010 at 6:59 AM  

    you're not kidding that Cathe is UBER creative and such a kind and generous person!! her projects are one of a kind along with terrific tutorials!

    Thanks for sharing Cathe and her blog with your readers!!

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