Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How I Fixed My Facebook Feed (And Made It Fun Again!)

It's amazing how much we all use a website we hate, isn't it? 'Cuz let's face it: a lot of us hate - HATE - Facebook.

And yet, how else can we keep up with all our family, friends, and favorite blogs/artists/interests?

I'm still dependent on FB because I blog for a living, and even with FB censoring Page reach down to a small fraction of my followers, there's STILL no better way to reach people. Because love it or hate it, everyone is on Facebook.

Sadly I have no solutions for my fellow Page managers, since FB is determined to run us all out of business. Here's a snapshot of what I mean:

(This is for Cake Wrecks, which has 424,000 FB followers. As you can see, Facebook is charging four THOUSAND dollars for a single post to reach about 35% of those followers. Wha whaaaa?)

However, for the rest of you, I DO have one or two tricks up my sleeve. 

See, as a reader, I've finally figured out how to use Facebook to see what I want to see, in the order I want to see it. I have two lists, which I'll show you how to set up and use. The first shows me only the friends' and family updates I'm most interested in - which is less than 50 people - in chronological order.

The second list acts as a quasi-RSS feed, and is my new favorite thing. It shows me, in chronological order, all my favorite websites, artists, cosplayers, humor sites, etc. etc. It's all the good stuff on FB, with none of the bad.

Ever get Facebook fatigue? You know, where you're tired of all the ranting and vague-booking and political sniping? That's the bad stuff I'm talking about. By setting up this new feed list, though, I can surf all the happy stuff in one place. And it's awesome.

So here's how to do it:

To Make Your Friends List:

Scroll down the left side of your FB feed until you see "Friends." When you hover your mouse there, a "More" will appear beside it:

Click that.

This will open a new page:

(For the record, I have no idea how Epbot or my old high school got in here [twice], and FB won't let me remove them! THANKS FACEBOOK.)

Now click "Create List," name it something snazzy like "My Fav Peeps" or "The Gang," and add in all the friends & fam you like. I recommend keeping this list small, since that's the whole point of making a curated list. Besides, how well do you know your 8th grade boyfriend now, anyway?

Once your new list is made, it will appear under the Friends heading in your left sidebar. Find it, hover your cursor over the little gear beside it, and select "Add To Favorites:"

("Favourites?" Is FB British now?)

This will put your new list higher up on the sidebar, under your name with your other Favorites:

That's your friend list done. Fun, right? Now let's do the Pages one.

To Make Your Pages List:

This one is trickier, since FB doesn't want you to see your favorite Pages without the Pages themselves paying for the privilege. In fact, you may notice there's already a Pages feed on your sidebar:

Trouble is, that default Pages Feed is just as censored and out-of-order as your regular "top stories" news feed, so you'll end up missing the vast majority of what you want to see. (Plus there's no "Most Recent" option, so you can't rearrange it to chronological order.)

Eventually I found a solution, though. It's under "Interests" in your left sidebar. Click the word itself (even though it doesn't *look* click-able) and you'll get this:

Now click "Add Interests":

And then "Create List."

This will bring up a pop-up window filled with all the Pages you already follow:

(Do I follow more Pages than Friends? Yes, yes I do.)

Scroll through and click all the ones you want on the List, give it a name, and you're done!

[You can also use this method to make a Friends list; just click down on the left from the highlighted "Pages" to "Friends", and you'll get a window full of all your current FB friends.]

Your new Pages list will appear under Interests in the left sidebar:

As with your Friends list, hover over the gear icon & select "Add to Favorites."

Now your two new lists are conveniently located at the top of your left sidebar, under your name:

So with one click you can get right to the most important updates, or, if you're having one of those "done with humanity" days, just skip the personal updates all together and go to your Favorite Pages feed.

If you have more time to kill, of course, you can always view your news feed the way FB serves it.

Ah, but what if you only check FB on your phone? Well, good news: these lists work there, too! In the FB app, just select the "More" icon in the lower righthand corner of the screen, and it will bring up your Favorites. Easy-peasy!

Need new Pages to follow? Start with all your favorite blogs (HI!) and websites, then add your favorite Etsy sellers, artists, cosplayers, and even stores like ThinkGeek. It won't take long 'til your FB feed is just as happy and fun as mine, promise.

Oh, and speaking for the rest of my beleaguered Page managers out there, please - PLEASE - remember to like, comment, and/or share those FB posts you want to see more of. This is our livelihood, and that interaction can still help more of you see what we post.

I hope this helps you guys get a little more out of Facebook! 

Now, go purge those Friends lists. You know it's time. ;)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Incredible "Floating" Howler Craft (From Harry Potter)

Every now and then I get something fun sent to the Epbot P.O. box, but this latest surprise from reader Linda F. simply MUST be shared:

It's a Howler!

More specifically, it's Ron's Howler from Chamber of Secrets:

Linda made the paper Howler herself, then suspended it with clear fishing line in one of those crafty snap-together ornaments:
 You can't see the line at all, so it really looks like it's floating in there!

 (This was a bugger to photograph! Finally resorted to a photo cube to cut most of the glare.)

Even the back side is perfect, with a little address label:

Linda finished it off with red ribbon bow and decorative wire hanger:


Linda sent this along for our Harry Potter Christmas tree, of course, but 'til then I'm hanging it in my office! It's one of my new favorite things. Love.

 Linda has craft blog here, btw, but sadly I don't see any mention of this beauty, much less a tutorial. I've seen some Howler origami tutorials around online, though, so maybe you could modify and/or shrink one of those down to make an ornament of your own?

Thanks so much for the inspiration, Linda, and for the howling good addition to our Potter tree!


Time to announce this month's art winners!

So, the winner of the Wonder Woman print is... Buncha Stuffes!

And my wild-card winner, who gets her choice from the Pinterest give-away board, is the Jennifer with the blog "My Fur-Real Life!"

Congrats, you two, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Quick & Easy DIY Cat Onesie (For Over-Grooming Kitties)

While I don't believe putting your cat in a onesie is a long-term solution for over-grooming, I've definitely found there are times when it can help, and save you BOTH a little sanity.

Since I first posted pics of Lily in a hastily-modified baby onesie almost two years ago, I've had a bunch of requests for a tutorial.

This was Lily less than 10 minutes after being put in her first onesie.

This is a ridiculously easy DIY (all you need are scissors!), so here's a quick rundown, plus instructions for putting it on your cat when you're done.