(Updated 10/2018) In this Resources for DIY and Blogging article I would like to share some of my favorite tools (like that tiny gadget that saves my indoor photography) and tips ( like choosing hosting companies and what to avoid).
I hope these will be helpful to you along your joyful journey as a creator or a blogger!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. I have experience with all of these companies/products, and I only recommend them because they are helpful and useful. ( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )
There are 5 sections outlined below. Feel free to skip to what you need by clicking on one of the titles.
I will add more resources as I learn more!
DIY Resources – Pallets, Wood, Basic tools
It’s so empowering to be able to build something even as simple as these wood crates for our homes! Working with wood and pallets is really fun, and you don’t need lots of expensive tools to start!
One of our favorite tools for working with pallets is a Duckbill Deck Wrecker . We took apart a ton of pallets when we did our pallet outdoor room, and this tool made it so much quicker and easier to take apart pallets! Also here’s a post all about pallets – where to find, how to select and work with pallets, and project ideas!
The first thing to consider when starting your power tool collection ( yes they are adjective!! ) is to decide on one or two brands. Because many tools come in cordless nowadays, and it’s great to have the freedom to take your tools anywhere without dragging a cord. When you have the batteries and charger from one brand, you can get bare tools from this brand again without having to get another battery set.
Then comes Ryobi! Well, this Ryobi Cordless Brad Nailer is amazing, and very few other brands make it. So there we go, got a Ryobi P523 Jig Saw and a Ryobi Reciprocating Saw Kit which included the battery set!
Out of all the tools above, I would start with a drill and a circular saw first. And the Duckbill Deck Wrecker if you love to work with pallets!
The Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System enables us to build simple furniture pieces so much faster. The joints are really strong. When you don’t have a workshop with all the tools to make traditional joinery, this jig is magic.
If you don’t have lots of work space, a portable workbench like this is so useful. You can also build one or find a used one on Craigslist!
DIY Resources – Paper, Arts and Crafts
Paper is an amazing medium to create. I always have this super versatile and nice quality card stock on hand. You can paint on it – these bubble paint hydrangea flowers , make paper crafts –paper lanterns , decoupage your outlet covers, the list goes on!
Brushes for watercolor and acrylics – these brushes are great for all kinds of painting . They have a nice pointed tip great for washes and for finer details.
If you love paper craft, a Silhouette Portrait is the #1 gift for yourself! It can cut from a digital file, so you can just enjoy the most fun part! It can also send a file to your printer to print first then cut, like in this birch forest shadow box!
Blogging Resources – Website Setup, Hosting, Optimization, etc.
After using many hosts and talking to lots of bloggers about their hosting providers in over 3 years of blogging, I feel truly great about recommending the following companies. My own negative experiences(see story below) and those of fellow bloggers have made me appreciate these great companies even more.
Domain name registrar:
I HIGHLY recommend Namecheap for their great domain service, which is what we are using. They great pricing and customer service with livechat options. I almost never get any sales emails from them.
As a customer of namecheap for the last 2 years, they have never tried to up-sell us anything. Some other companies, one of them( a super well-know one starting with Go…) even gave my phone number to their affiliate that sells site security service. It was not fun getting calls like “your site is blacklisted! It’s vulnerable to hacks…” which turned out to be total scam. So don’t listen to them ever ( company name ends with a …lock).
Namecheap has lots of great hosting options to choose from. You can easily find a plan for less than $5 that will carry your blog to 50k monthly traffic and more. As your site traffic grows to 500k or more, some other hosting service might be more suitable.
Right now we are hosted by Cloudways and we pay under $30 for 1 to 2 million page views per month. Very happy with the speed and performance so far! OrangeGeek is another good option for high traffic sites. You can, but really don’t have to pay $1000/mo for hosting.
Blogging Resources – Photography
The camera we use is Canon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR. The lens we use most often is Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens. It’s an amazing all purpose lens. We also use an ultra wide zoom lens for small space photos when you can’t step back far enough – the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens.
Ready for my best kept secret? This little gadget – the Lightscoop Deluxe bounces the camera’s flash light onto the ceiling to create a natural light effect in those dark interiors!
For photo editing, I love Adobe Photoshop Elements. I have Photoshop CS but find it much easier to just use Elements. It has more than enough function for all my blogging needs.
I love the free tool Picasa by Google for making collages or certain special effects, super fun and easy to learn!
Favorite Books for Happiness and Creativity
That’s a big topic!
Each one of us may have a different idea of what a successful life is. For me, it’s happiness, it’s living life to the fullest.
When we are happy, we look at life with fresh eye, and creative ideas just flow to us. We affect the world in a positive way.
But life can be challenging. We can easily lose our balance and inner clarity when we are too busy chasing our dreams.
I think of a great book as a great friend who is so fun to be with, and so uplifting at times of confusion!
Some of my best “friends” –
Words can’t describe how much I appreciate all of Eckhart Tolle’s books :
Books by Abraham Hicks on how to live joyfully and how we create our reality :
There are so many home and garden books that are gorgeous and inspiring! Here are just a few to start with-
Can’t leave out with this one- it does not have colorful pictures, but it’s filled with ingenious ideas of how to learn from nature’s amazing designs and bring it into our homes and gardens: Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual.
Disclosure: I am affiliated with some of the services / products listed, however, I will only recommend things I have used and I absolutely love to my readers!
And I truly appreciate it so much that you go through my links if you do decide to buy certain products – it supports this blog at no extra cost to you. Thank you and I wish you all the best on your journey!! =)