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Instagram Giveaway!

Enter our giveaway contest running on Instagram, and you could win a needle felted chickadee or owl family from Woodland Trail Studio!

It’s easy to enter, just follow these steps and cross your fingers:

  1. Follow @kbarlowdesign and @woodland_trail_studio on Instagram
  2. Click “like” on the first post
  3. Comment to let us know if you’d rather win the chickadee family or the owl family
  4. Get Bonus entries one of two ways:
    1. Tag a friend that you think might like to win too (extra entry!)
    2. Sign up for the Resources Email List below to get valuable worksheets and tips for your business (another extra entry!)

Contest is open to Canadian residents (except Quebec). Contest closes July 26, 2016.
See the full list of rules and regulations here »

Opt-in for Free Resources + an Extra Entry to the Contest!

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Did you know we have services specifically for makers to get their own online shop set up?
learn more »

Aphasia Awareness Month

June is National Aphasia Awareness Month – something that many people struggle with daily, but also something many people have never heard of.

Aphasia is a communication disorder that affects a person’s ability to process and use language. It affects people differently, from moderate to severe, and can affect being able to understand what people are saying, being able to express what they want to say, or both. It’s an acquired language disorder, usually due to stroke, brain injury or brain illness. It can affect a person’s ability to speak, understand, read and/or write. If you’d like to learn more about aphasia, there are tons of resources online, like this one.

The most important thing to know about people with aphasia – it is a loss of language, not intellect. 

Our family has been through a lot in the past few years, and we’ve learned a lot about aphasia. The type we deal with in my family is both expressive and receptive. My Dad has trouble understanding what people are saying sometimes (although there has been a massive improvement over the years!), and sometimes struggles to find the words he wants to say. I often explain it to people by comparing it to a stutter. I find that helps people to realize that he’s still the same person, with all the same memories, education and experience, he just can’t spit them out the way he used to!

We use a lot of gestures in our family, often interrupting what we’re trying to say because we burst into laughter at some of the ways we use facial expressions, body movements and sounds to express ourselves in a way that he’ll understand the story we’re trying to tell (along with words). We laugh a lot! (And eventually we get the story across!) We’ve got some gestures that we’ve used for years that are staples that he recognizes easily, so we use them while talking as a secondary information source. Some days are better than others, and some days you’d never know there was any issue at all. He’s worked so hard to get better, and the change is incredible since 2012. We’ve learned what works best for him; for example to trigger a word he wants to say but can’t get out, we ask him to start to spell it. By the second or third letter, it will often release the word from his brain to his mouth and he’ll be able to say it. His favourite form of communication is written, so we write emails back and forth all day which keeps everyone up to date on what’s new, and makes it easy for him to understand.

If you’re trying to communicate with someone who’s struggling, offer different options:

  • use gestures to offer to write something down (or pull out a pen and paper)
  • speak clearly
  • ask them how they prefer to communicate (if they can understand that)
  • confirm they understand what you’ve said before you move on to the next thing
  • and above all, be patient – they’re the same person they always were, just with a challenge in communicating what’s in their head.

Lots of programmes exist within Ontario for those with aphasia, and those that want to help by volunteering their time. You can find out what’s near you through a quick Google search, asking your doctor, or your local hospital for information.

Spread the word about aphasia, and hopefully it will help someone know what to do if they’re faced with a situation where they don’t know how to assist someone in communicating what they want/need.

Coming soon – Services for Makers!

July 5, 2016 update: Services for Makers is now live!

It’s no secret that I love making stuff. I often joke that I collect hobbies, and they’re virtually all craft related. Needle felting, knitting, sewing clothing, making accessories, jewellery, cross-stitch, baking, you name it, I’ll make it.

For years I’ve been wanting to work with crafters/makers, but most of the people I’ve been following on social media over the years are part-time makers, going to shows like One of a Kind, or local craft shows, and they’re not interested in having a completely custom built website for something that’s more “on the side/for fun” than for a full-time business. (If you’re a full time business and want a custom site – I’d love to hear from you!)

I thought about all the makers on Etsy and Amazon that were perhaps ready to move on to having their own self-hosted site to sell their goods, or run both simultaneously. I’ve been using Shopify for years with various clients and have been really happy with the ease of use. I decided it was time to offer a few special packages just for makers that want to move forward with their own site!

I’m so excited to finally get the opportunity to work with fellow crafters, and I can’t wait to browse Instagram and pretend it’s research 😉

If you’re interested in moving to a self-hosted e-commerce site, shoot me an email, or opt-in for the Resources list and stay up to date on when we launch the new packages!

Announcing a new site design!

We’re back! It’s been quite a while since the last post because we’ve been working hard getting the new site designed and coded, and we’re very excited to announce that we’re done! Inevitably there will still be updates, tweaks and testing over the next few weeks, but this was long overdue and it feels great to have it live.

The process of doing your own branding and design is always harder than doing one for a client, where you’re better able to look at it from an objective point of view. Making small updates and design tweaks over and over… and over… doesn’t help, but in the end, we’re really happy with how the site turned out, and the new features that we’re including – namely the Resources section! Right now it’s still “coming soon” as we write up the new content, but there’s still lots of great stuff on the blog, and this section should be finished in the next couple of months. For first dibs on all the resources, opt-in for the Resources Newsletter and get them delivered right to your inbox!

The focus of the new site will be more on providing visitors with the resources to ask themselves the right questions about their business so they can continue to improve it for their target market and see better conversions and greater success. Take advantage of the worksheets, checklists and tips and make sure to apply those insights to your own site and business goals!