Blogger Danielle Smith, who writes the blog, 'Things Dee Loves'.
Blogger Danielle Smith, who writes the blog, 'Things Dee Loves'.
Make these Christmas stars out of a simple dough.
Make these Christmas stars out of a simple dough.

1. What’s your backstory?

I live in Cape Town with my husband and our two cats, Kevin and Cookie. I’ve recently completed my PhD in human genetics, and I’m currently working as a researcher at UCT.

2. What is your blog about?

I blog about a wide range of topics, but with an emphasis on crafts, DIY and home decor.

3. What originally prompted you to create your blog?

The idea of having my own online space to keep track of my creative interests appealed to me, and I enjoy the process of sharing projects and ideas, rather than just doing them for myself. A project becomes so much more rewarding when you can inspire someone else to try something similar. I originally intended to have a general lifestyle blog, but it morphed into a craft blog when I realised that my crafty posts were so popular.

4. How did you decide on its name?

I didn’t actually give it too much thought (which in retrospect was probably unwise), but I simply chose something that would reflect what my blog was about. I’ve subsequently added the tag line “life, crafts, prettiness” to give readers a better idea of the focus of my blog.

5. What are you most proud of about your blog?

I’ve been blogging consistently for just over two years, which I think is a pretty good achievement. Many new blogs diminish after a few months, once the owners realise how much work is involved in developing consistent and original content. It’s also really rewarding to be recognised by other bloggers and brands, and I’ve had lots of fun doing projects and interviews with them.

6. Do you make money off it?

I make a small amount of money from the ads on my blog, which goes towards expenses such as hosting and craft supplies.

7. What are your plans with it?

I hope to continue to see my blog and readership grow steadily. I’d also like to work with more brands to create fun and inspiring projects for my readers.

8. Where do you find the time/ energy to blog?

To be honest, I don’t always find the time and energy! Like everything else in life, my blogging life goes through highs and lows. I just try to power through the “low” times with the knowledge that I have a loyal group of readers who read all my posts. This year has been particularly challenging, since I was finishing my PhD, but I’m hoping that I’ll now have more time and energy to focus on Things Dee Loves.

9. What blogs have inspired you?

There are too many to mention! In terms of lifestyle blogs, I love A Beautiful Mess, Poppytalk and I Want That.

10. What is the surprising thing you discovered that you wish you knew when you started blogging?

There are so many good blogs (and new ones are starting daily), so the blogging world has become quite competitive. It can take a long time to discover the “personality” of your blog, and to find your blogging niche. A blog should be a personal space, so it’s important to not succumb to “blogging peer pressure” to fit your blog into a particular mould.

FOLLOW DANIELLE AT

Blog URL: www.thingsdeeloves.com

Twitter: @thingsdeeloves

Instagram: http://instagram.com/thingsdeeloves

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dee_smith/

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DANIELLE SHARES HOW TO MAKE CHRISTMAS STARS

These stars made from dough can be embossed or painted and used as gift tags, hung from the Christmas tree or strung together to make a pretty garland to hang over your front door.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

1 cup bicarbonate of soda

half a cup cornflour

three-quarters of a cup of water

saucepan

bowl

spoon

cling wrap

rolling pin

cookie cutters (star shape, or any other shape you fancy)

chopping board and baking paper (optional)

toothpicks (optional)

METHOD

1. Mix all three ingredients in the saucepan over a medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is too thick to stir with a spoon.

2. Cool for a few minutes, until the dough is cool enough to touch.

3. Transfer the dough to|a bowl, and knead for|5 minutes until smooth.

4. Roll out the dough on|a smooth surface (I used|a chopping board covered in baking paper).

5. Use the cookie cutters to press out the desired shapes. Use a toothpick to make small holes for threading string if necessary.

6. Keep dough wrapped in plastic when you’re not working with it.

7. Leave the shapes to dry|at room temperature. Depending on the thickness of the dough, this will take|1-2 days.

* Recipe adapted from www.busybeekidscrafts.com