what did we make: felt blog tracker

Blogging can be extraordinarily stressful and discouraging at times. Any one with multiple social networking platforms knows how it hectic it can be posting on a blog, a tumblr, tweeting, uploading photos on flickr, maintaining a myspace...or any of those hundreds of websites out there that can be personalized. It's crazy enough finding enough good material to put out there, making sure each one gets equal attention is pure insanity.

Which is why I've come up with this handy (and fun!) post counting calendar. All you need are a few simple materials you can get at most arts and crafts stores and a little bit of time. You'll end up with a great looking cloth and felt board that will help you visually understand your posting trends and remind yourself to post when and where. Let's get started.

Materials Needed:
  • felt in the colors of the blogging platforms you want to keep track of
  • felt in red and black for your weekday x's (I find red particularly reminds you to cover it up!) and yellow for your weekend x's (if you blog less on Saturdays and Sundays)
  • sticky back Velcro in a strip
  • wall hangers
  • 2 18" stretcher bars and 2 12" stretcher bars (or whatever dimensions you want your final board to be)
  • a piece of cloth large enough to cover your entire frame and have an extra 1 1/2" to fold over the frame. The piece of cloth shown here is about 22" x 15"  

    Assemble your frame. Stretcher bars are super easy to fit together. Just place the thin slice at each corner into the corresponding bar's slot.

    Now for the tracing and cutting out of the felt pieces. Included with this tutorial is a PDF of the template I used to cut out my Blogger, Tumblr and Twitter icons as well as the X shape I used for the days. (icons outline)
    The bottom three are the sizes I used. You are welcome to experiment with larger sizes and if you're particularly interested in emulating the exact icon of your website: think about including the rounded corner square underneath the icon in the color of that site and pasting the icon in white on top.
    Also, there are plenty of great social icon developers starter kits available online in illustrator format for your use and adjustment. This set by Elegant UI has 155 scalable vector social icons.

    Cut out your paper icon and trace it in sharpie on your felt. It's a good idea to place your shapes close together to conserve your material in case you need more. Trace as many icons as you want to have total.

    Cut out all your shapes from the felt. I've cut 20 red X's for four weeks worth of weekdays, 10 X's four four weekends and 20 of each social networking icon. For me it's plenty to be able to be able to tack one onto each weekday for four weeks!

    Cut the Velcro into small enough squares or strips to stick onto the backs of your felt shapes. Be sure to stick the Velcro on the side you do not want shown. For icons this is particularly important as you should check that when you stick the icon onto your felt board they still read the right way.

    When creating this board I believed a mini reward system was in order, and came up with the idea of pockets holding prizes for yourself if you manage to fill the entire week with consistent posting.
    Below are the measurements of the pocket I've created - feel free to adjust as you see fit. The width of this pocket is 3" and the height is 2" but 1/2" seam allowance has been included on both sides and at the top. The material I used was simply muslin.
    Fold the cloth over at the dashed line so that 1/2" of material is left at the top. Sew both edges and flip the pocket inside out to hide your seam.

    After having sewn your four pockets (one for each week on the board) - sew all four vertically onto one strip of cloth so that they share a back and will remain together after the top has been sewn to the cloth that will be stretch around the frame. That 1/2" of cloth left over at the top of the pocket is where you'll sew the pocket down to the back cloth.

    Sew the top of your strip of pockets to the top edge of your cloth about three inches in from the side of the cloth. The pockets should be facing outwards after the cloth has been stretched over the frame.

    Using thumbtacks or small nails, nail down your cloth stretched taut over your frame with the pockets hanging at the back. Use as many tacks or nails as necessary to keep the cloth in place.

    Nail in two wall hangers evenly dividing the width of the frame into thirds. These will be so that you can hang your blog counter up on a wall.

    The back of the frame should look something like this at this point. Since There are pockets for rewards, go ahead in put something in them! I've chosen some fun-sized candy.

    Stick on all the X's marking the days of the week now. Yellow means Saturday and Sunday on my board.

     Now that the counting board is finished, the rewards are in place and your calendar is ready to be filled with consistent blogging, whip out those icons and keep track of how you're doing.

    A nice eco-friendly way of holding onto your social networking icons is to keep them in a washed clean hummus, yogurt or cottage cheese container (or any such finished plastic food box)

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