Jan 1, 2021 | Blogging
“‘The time has come,'” as Lewis Carroll wrote, “‘To talk of many things.'”
And so, at last, it is time.
It’s been over 12 years since I started blogging, and I’ve reached the end.
Many things have played into this decision – which has not been an easy one to make.
For one thing, I’ve changed. I no longer spend hours poring over fashion magazines, following the trends, looking for the cutest, chic-est clothing…and thinking up ideas for how to knock it off.
I no longer have the time to indulge in elaborate projects that take over my living room or dining room table.
I no longer enjoy laboring over puncturing spikes into my heels, adding embellishments to a top, or remaking a man’s shirt into something for me.
I guess I’ve aged out of it, and my time is now spent with my family, on home improvement projects, in my garden, and new entrepreneurial endeavors. My interests have shifted as I’ve gotten older.
When I sent a survey to my readers earlier this year, I was pretty surprised at the results.
My readers wanted to see far more home DIYs than I had expected, as well as clothing and jewelry tutorials.
I realized that so little of my life now is spent in DIY’ing anymore…that after thinking about it I realized I couldn’t really deliver on what my readers wanted. I don’t makeover things in my home enough to make it into something to blog about, and I’ve done progressively fewer clothing and jewelry DIYs over the years as I’ve gotten happier with my closet and what I have.
I need new things rarely, I don’t desire things I see other people wearing, and the amount of stuff that running a DIY blog creates – as a side effect – has been bothering me for some time.
Creating DIY tutorials also takes a huge amount of time, materials, money, and editing – much more than an average blog about digital marketing or traveling, for example.
Finally, blogging as an industry has changed in the last 12 years.
To run a profitable blog nowadays takes an enormous amount of time and creative input. You have to run an excessive amount of ads and popups, that I believe have negatively impacted the user experience as a whole.
I don’t spend much time reading blogs anymore because the user experience has gone so downhill from what it used to be. Plus, paid sponsors and everything a blogger has to do in order to generate income (partnerships, plugging product, features) has begun to dilute the authentic, creative voices.
I definitely succumbed to that in trying to keep this blog profitable and growing, year over year.
It’s been a wild ride, though – and I have certainly learned a lot.
I want to thank all of you, dear readers, for this journey.
I am onto the next one already.
If you want to follow along in my next endeavor, I am founding a marketing and sales consultancy with a business partner.
Just us two women, sparking business growth for SaaS and tech companies, for startups to mid-stage organizations. $0MM-$15MM ARR. Playing in the boys’ pool and hoping we emerge swimming.
I’d be so thrilled if you followed along!
ElleSpark Website | ElleSpark on Facebook | ElleSpark on LinkedIn
Thank you for coming on this ride with me, over more than a decade.
I’ll be leaving this site up for the foreseeable future as a resource and archive for those looking for a little DIY or fun ideas to bring creativity and joy into their lives.
Goodbye, Chic Creative Life and all of you, my amazing readers. You were awesome, creative, and one-of-a-kind.
Don’t buy, DIY!
May 26, 2020 | Courses & eBooks
As I‘d teased a little while ago…
The beta launch for the DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers System is open!
YAY!! *Throws confetti*
This is the ONLY system for at-home clothing makeovers out there, and I’m thrilled to make this available to all of you at this super low price.
With this system, you will:
- Find inspiration in your closet – or your guy’s closet – as the starting point for raw materials.
- Hit up Goodwill or another thrift store and get some great shirts for cheap (and do some good for charity at the same time!).
- Never overpay for piles of fabric from the fabric store (hello $12.99/yd pricetags!) again.
- Make finished shirts, dresses, and skirts without even having to step foot in the craft store.
- Make clothing that fits correctly, each time, without patterns.
- Give old clothing a new life, rather than selling it or giving it away.
- Create a gift for someone special in your life, from a shirt that has meaning or importance – made over into something she can use and enjoy.
- Whip up projects quickly, because you’re starting with materials that are already made – and you are reconstructing them and making them over from that point.
- Make cute clothing for yourself, friends, family, kids, or even stuffed animals – from shirts you already have.
- Put your own personal stamp on your pieces – and get creative!
Included in the system are:
- DIY Sewing Secrets: Fast & Easy Shortcuts to Finished PDF ebook (25 secret tricks, hacks, and shortcuts to creating perfect projects every time)
- 7 DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers PDF ebook (the core of the System, with 8 tutorials for intermediate shirt makeovers)
- Sewing Basics Decoded: What Every DIYer Should Know PDF ebook (covers beginning sewing techniques and setting up your space and equipment)
- Select the Right Shirt! 8 Rules for DIY Success checklist (how to find the best shirts for your DIY makeovers)
- DIY Project Planner calendar (assists in planning out the projects from my core book)
AND along with the system I have a couple awesome upgrades as well…
- DIY Cute Summer Shirtdress video tutorial (for all of you who’ve been asking for the video tutorial, here it finally is!)
- DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers Private Facebook Group (we hang out and chat about shirt makeovers, sewing, creativity, and all sorts of fun things!)
- DIY Project SOS Live Help (2 weekly 1-hour Facebook Live sessions where we work through projects together and you get your questions answered)
- 8 No-Sew DIY Shirt Scrap Makeovers PDF ebook (finally, projects using up all the shirt scraps from your DIY shirt makeovers!)
All this is available now, for a limited time at this current price – since it’s a beta launch and I am collecting feedback to make sure it’s the best system out there for you!
May 13, 2020 | Courses & eBooks
Today I’m sharing this huge secret I’ve been working on for awhile…
In TWO WEEKS (Tuesday 5/26) I am going to open up the beta launch of the DIY Men’s Shirt Makeovers System!
I am so excited to share this with you all…and am just now putting the finishing touches on it.
I’ve been working on this for a total of…well…2 YEARS now, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to share it with you.
So why did I create this?
- SO many people have asked me over the years for photographs for some of my most sought-after tutorials, that I’d posted early on the blog but that never had a clear step-by-step.
- SO many people had questions about project steps that were confusing from my old tutorials.
- SO many people wanted to level up their sewing skills to tackle tutorials I’d posted, but it was hard to help them.
- And SO many people wanted MORE shirt makeover tutorials in general!
So I put together this comprehensive system to answer all that…and more!
So what will this system do for YOU?!
- provide you with new shirt makeover tutorials – some of which I’ve never shared anywhere else (including on this site!)
- create a comprehensive step-by-step photographed walkthrough of some of my most-requested shirt makeovers
- share sewing tips, tricks, and hacks that I’ve amassed over the last 12+ years
- help you choose the best shirts to make over for your DIY projects
- and more…
…for less than the cost of a store-bought pattern and store-bought fabric (because seriously, who needs to buy stuff like that these days??)
The beta launch will open in two weeks (Tuesday, May 26) – and I can’t wait to see you there!
Oct 30, 2017 | Blogging
You may notice something different around here: that yes, I’ve finally switched over to Chic Creative Life and my new site (9 months in the making) has gone live!
There are a couple kinks I’m still straightening out but for the moment, welcome, look around, check it out, and tell me what you think!
I’m thrilled to have you here – and can’t wait to share with you new content, ideas, and creativity for an ultimately chic, creative, life!
Aug 15, 2017 | Blogging
It’s been awhile!
Since January I have been working to rebrand and redesign the Chic Steals brand and website into something that reflects who I am now and what I’m passionate about.
I have struggled with what to do with this website for over a year, initially posting here about taking a break to reassess things, and then here about whether to quit or continue a blog that didn’t reflect my interests anymore. In short, I felt Chic Steals was no longer a reflection of who I am now. Specifically, I have moved away from constant trend-following, fashion acquisition, and “stealing” ideas to make carbon copies. I’ve found that sometimes what’s cheapest doesn’t always last.
DIY’ing is fun to an extent because it flexes that all-important creativity muscle…but I began to feel like if I’m going to take the time, energy, and resources to create something and add it to the world, it better be good – and be there for the long haul. I had begun to feel that I couldn’t serve my readers well, or continue to post about things that I felt were trivial and overly consumerist in the grand scheme of things. Plus, there was a lot of content that was hastily-photographed or written without a thought of what value I was adding to the world. As with a DIY project, if I was going to be putting energy into a blog and website, I wanted it to be something I was ultimately proud of, that helped people. Plus, with everything that has been going on in the U.S., I wanted to spend my time adding beauty to the world, not taking ideas, but ultimately adding value to all.
This whole rethinking of things was a long and arduous, soul-searching process, but I ultimately decided the only way forward with my website was to get ultra-focused on what I’m passionate about, get ultra-picky about what I post about, and become ultra-invested in the site and my readers.
So it required financial investment in getting better: an overhaul from the ground up, an entire rebrand, a huge content edit, and a complete redesign of my website.
And it’s been in the works for seven months now.
Finally we have reached the last few days of work, and launch is imminent. So here it is, the unveiling of my new website, brand, and goals:
Chic Creative Life.
Here are some of the changes you’ll see (I am updating the below as the switchover occurs):
- Chic Creative Life is a lifestyle website and blog, focusing chic living (frugally), with a hefty dose of creativity. DIY and making things yourself will still be a focus, though I will be sharing more articles on advice for living your best, most creative, inspired chic life.
- Categories on the site have been consolidated from 175+ down to 11. Should make posts A LOT easier to find.
- I’ve paused email newsletter delivery for awhile as I was migrating from MailChimp to my new email delivery system and hooked into the new site. Getting this restarted may take a little time, but it is in the works, and if you signed up to receive Chic Steals blog content as a newsletter in the past, you will start to receive blog content digests from Chic Creative Life.
- You will have the option of also signing up for less frequent, targeted content updates from the site, including Spoonflower Fabric Designs, Decor Items Added to Decor Shop, E-Courses and E-Books, etc.
- I have retired a number of old posts because they no longer reflect the message I want to put out there.
- I have edited a number of old posts to be clearer or better written. There are still some photos that are missing from old posts. I’m working on restoring everything, but with 1900+ posts over 9.5 years it’s still a work in progress.
- ChicSteals.com and Chic-Steals.com will redirect to ChicCreativeLife.com (clicking now you’ll just see a preview page until CCL goes live)
- All my social accounts that are under the Chic Steals brand (Facebook Page, LinkedIn Page, Twitter) will change to ChicCreativeLife-branded, with URL’s reflecting this change (may be slightly different depending on what’s available at the time of switchover)
- Pinterest and Instagram accounts are under @carlyjcais and will not change
- I’ll be moving my blog in the back-end of Bloglovin’ so if you follow Chic Steals through there you will just see the name change in your interface, but your feed should not be interrupted.
- If you receive content via RSS Feed, you may need to update your subscription to http://feeds.feedburner.com/ChicCreativeLife
- My email will switch to email@example.com (super-long, I know). My old @chic-steals.com email address will be deactivated – so don’t use that one if you actually want me to answer.
- In short: better.
- The landing page of ChicCreativeLife.com will be a portal for blog content, fabric designs, shoppable home decor, and downloadables. Blog post index will live at ChicCreativeLife.com/blog but individual blog post-pages will still have the same slug as they did on ChicSteals.com, with no /blog preceding them.
- The DIY Gallery has been consolidated with rotating image carousels instead of an image-heavy gallery of all my DIY tutorials. Easier to scroll through and see.
- Many new pages have been added to showcase my fabric designs, my home decor designs, and my downloadable E-Courses and E-Books. Some items you can buy directly on my site through the Gumroad integration, some are hosted on other sites (Stars + stones fabric designs on Spoonflower, CarlyJCais home decor and artwork designs on Society 6).
- The mobile design has not been given the same amount of time and QA as the desktop version. If you are experiencing something strange on mobile, please let me know.
Phew! I think that’s it for now.
As we make the switchover, some links/feeds will get buggy. Image URLs might not be all there. Categories/Tags may be wonky. Posts from long ago may go missing. Social media channels may not all be connected or working properly. Contact forms may not be working. Emails may deploy. In other words, digital Armageddon may indeed happen with Chic Steals and embroil all of you in it.
But I’ll get it right soon… and everything will live at
Hope to see you there!