-->
DISCLOSURE: This blog contains Google Adsense ads and affiliate links to Craftsy, Creativebug, and CreativeLive via which potential commissions are earned when visitors click through.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Free Pattern/Tutorial: 36¢ Lip Balm Carrier in 5 Minutes

5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs
You can make one of these in five minutes... truly!
Yes, I know.

This is probably the gazillionth lip balm thingamajig tutorial to appear.

I'd be surprised if you've never seen these before, but perhaps you haven't seen them made out of anything other than traditional fabric.

So I am presenting a new twist on an old idea.

Oh, and did I mention that they're fast and cheap to make?

This is normally a fabric scrap project, but I am not a big fan of sewing tiny finished seams and then maybe turning awkward little items right side out... which is invariably required when making these out of fabric. Use materials not normally prone to unravelling, however, and the seams can be left unfinished.

It then truly becomes a five minute project. And what's not to like about that, right?

5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs
Back view of the 5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier...

All you need is an 8" strip of 1.5" wide ribbon, vinyl or laminate fabric (read on for sourcing suggestions) and some hardware. I used an economical combo of split rings (mine were 7/8" size; $1 for a bag of 10 from the Dollar Store) and small lobster clasp swivel clips (eBay purchase of $1.57 for 10).

That also means it can be a very frugal project, and I know a lot of people definitely like that! I'm not exaggerating the cost in the title of this post. My hardware cost was 26¢ per unit. I'm pretty sure you can wrangle up an 8" x 1.5" piece of whatever for 10¢ or less.

eSheep Designs
Hardware choices... what do you think of my organizer?? 

Others have made these with large swivel clips (like the one in the picture above left) and key fob clamps (above center), but they seem like unnecessarily expensive options for a simple project like this. If you go my route (split ring and swivel clip, above right), just make sure the lobster clasp opens up wide enough to meet your needs as to where you want to clip it.

Grab some coordinating thread and you're off to the races.


Check out Craftsy's latest promos... Craftsy
[affiliate link]


Upcycle, Re-purpose and Reclaim

You may have things around your house that can make this project really cheap. For instance, about three years ago, I bought this vinyl placemat for $1.

Dollar store placemat
A dollar store placemat...

I no longer recall what I was planning on making with it, so what better purpose than this project? The piece that you see here has enough material for sixteen of these little guys. There you go: proof of the 36¢ cost point.

The black/white/grey ribbon came from Michaels; got it with a 50% off coupon last year (net $4.46) with the intention of perhaps making a wallet out of it. (Last seen on the handle of my Retro Reticule "proof of concept" bag.) Ribbon is comparatively more expensive than these other alternative materials, but sometimes you can score well in discount bins.

And do you remember where I got this?

Vinyl reclaimed from an old purse
I knew I'd find a use for this old piece...

This vinyl backed fabric is from the exterior of the little crossbody purse (originally purchased for $2) that I redid in waxcloth after the original suffered some water damage. (Our local Dollar Stores were also selling placemats with the same design at one point.) It got very nicely repurposed here!

Other materials that you might have on hand that you can try? Ripstop nylon, faux or real leather... basically anything that is relatively sturdy and doesn't fray around the edges. (The piece of ripstop nylon shown below came from the remnants of my hubby's winch cover.)

non fraying fabrics
Three other kinds of materials that you can use for this project...

Actually, even if you do need to finish off the edges slightly (as I had to do with my reclaimed purse vinyl) you can just zigzag/satin stitch around the perimeter.


Start your FREE TRIAL at Creativebug!
[affiliate link]


Make it in 5!

This is super easy, really. (Time yourself, see if you even need five minutes.) I will demonstrate using the strip of faux leather.
  • Cut an 8" x 1.5" strip of whatever material you are using (if your material might be prone to fraying, sew all the way around it using a tight zigzag stitch)
  • Fold one end under by 1.5" and the other end by 0.5"
5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs - Step 1
My little seam ruler doesn't show very accurately,
but the folds are supposed to be half an inch on one end and one and a half inches on the other...
  • Place the split ring through/under the 1.5" fold as shown
5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs - Step 2
Slide hardware into place under the larger fold...
  • The material around the sides of the ring should collapse inwards as you tug on the ring; help it along with your fingers and then clip to hold
5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs - Step 3
Push in along the sides of the ring to create a symmetrical look and then clip...
5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs - Step 3
This is the outcome that you're aiming for...
  • Bring the other end up and over to create an overall length of 3.5"; clip well — particularly at the sides of the opening — in preparation for sewing
5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs - Step 4
Almost ready to sew...
  • Sew along both edges with an approximate 1/8" seam allowance (this will give the lip balm a snug fit) — a stiletto helps a lot when you get near the ring
5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs - Step 4
Done!

So did that take you more than five minutes? If yes, then I'm willing to bet the next one won't.


Watch live classes for FREE at CreativeLive!
[affiliate link]


I'd like to give credit where credit is due for the inspiration behind this project. I was searching images for lip balm holders and came upon The Ribbon Retreat's version — using ribbon, of course. Realizing the advantage of ribbon, it didn't take long for me to identify other alternative fabrics and materials that would work just as well... and much more cheaply.

5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs
Faux leather and old purse vinyl versions... can you see where I zig-zagged the edges?

With Christmas three weeks away, you still have plenty of time to make these for stocking stuffers.

5 Minute Lip Balm Carrier by eSheep Designs
Lip balm carrier hanging from a zipper...
If you know anyone like me, this is a simple gift that will be well received. My lip balm of choice (ever since I was a teenager) are Lip Smackers. I have one beside my computer, one attached to my "going for a walk" key ring, one in my purse, one on an end table beside the couch, and one in my makeup tray. These little carriers will make it easier for me to get quick access to them inside (or outside, as seen here) a purse... I've already put three of them to use.

Every Christmas I see new Lip Smacker gift packs for which I judiciously wait to go on sale in January. I'm needing a new supply in 2017!


Like it? Want to keep it? For a copy of this tutorial in PDF format, go to my Craftsy shop and download it for free!


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Ode to Diva on a Dime (& a Call for Testers!)

Diva Envelope Clutch by eSheep Designs
Can you help test my new pattern, the Diva Envelope Clutch...?
A dozen or so years ago, there was a TV show based in Canada called Diva on a Dime.

The premise was for the two hosts to take an "inspiration look" (i.e., a designer outfit) and replicate it using everyday options that didn't cost thousands of dollars. Their solutions sometimes involved tailoring similar pieces, but most times, it was a matter of knowing where to look and how to find it.

As a consumer who eschews designer pricing, I loved their innovative ways of achieving their goals. (For example, a chain belt that came with one very expensive designer outfit was replicated by going to a local hardware store and buying a cheap length of steel chain!)


Check out Craftsy's latest promos... Craftsy
[affiliate link]


Several weeks ago, I came upon this "inspiration look" on eBay...

Vintage Women Rivets Handbag Flower Oil Painting Envelope Bag Shoulder Bag
image courtesy of eBay...

Sometimes there's no explaining why, but I was instantly drawn to it... and wanted to make one myself. (Interestingly enough, it's not even expensive to buy. Prices vary, but I've seen one eBay seller offering it for $6.87 US with free shipping.) It's made out of vinyl, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I had the perfect fabric for recreating it: one of my Robert Kaufman far east selections, Oriental Traditions 14207-91 Floral Multi. The pattern is quite large and totally suited for something like this.

Running with the Diva on a Dime concept, I committed to coming up with my own design using this as the inspiration. (And of course, the result would be named after the show!)

The idea, however, just simmered at the back of my mind for awhile. Then last Saturday afternoon, I grabbed my notebook and began to draw some pattern pieces. Before long, I was testing out the process with an old bed sheet...

Diva Envelope Clutch by eSheep Designs
Muslin version of my Diva Envelope Clutch...

Less than 24 hours later, I had my own version of this envelope style clutch all sewn up. (When I kick myself into gear, sometimes it's an extra high gear!)

While obviously not a difficult project to sew, it wasn't a totally intuitive pattern to figure out. I wanted this to be used as a portfolio — for paperwork, file folders, manila envelopes, etc. — so a typical (and easy to execute) loose lining that could potentially pull itself out every time something was removed was not the way to go.

The inspiration version is loaded up with rivets all around and closes with a magnetic snap.

Diva Envelope Clutch by eSheep Designs
Close up view of grommet trim and tuck lock hardware...

Last February, I snagged a set of ten tuck/push lock closures that were being offered at an unreal price: $4.96 US. (I've recently seen similar quantities being sold for $36!) Not being a fanatical purse maker, they were still sitting around unused, so wasn't this just the perfect opportunity to showcase one of them?

Not being big on "biker-esque" application of rivets, my version of the project is decorated with small grommets instead. These had been purchased for a past project, but were totally the wrong size, so it's great that they can finally be put to use here.


Black Friday ALERT! Get 3 Months of Creativebug access for only $1!
[affiliate link]


Diva Envelope Clutch by eSheep Designs
To give an idea of size...
Of course, the options are endless as to how one can personalize the decorative aspects of this, but I'll leave that up to all of you to decide.

The Diva Envelope Clutch finishes up at 13" wide x 9.75" high (33cm x 25cm). To confirm, it is big enough to hold file folders. (Actually, it is even capable of holding my large waxcloth folder.)

Unlike the inspiration version, the interior of this clutch is unadorned to allow for easy insertion and removal of contents.

Diva Envelope Clutch by eSheep Designs
Detail of back zipper...

Of course, we all like pockets, so I did go with a fair sized zippered pocket on the back. For the first time, I used zipper tape (from a recently purchased 4 metre roll) and attached one of my zippiest zipper pulls to it.

Diva Envelope Clutch by eSheep Designs
(Muslin ) interior looks like an envelope...
The back of the inspiration version has a couple of tabs to attach a strap — turning the whole thing into a purse — but that wasn't my intention with this item. (As I said earlier, I saw this as a non-gender specific portfolio for carrying or organizing papers, not so much a purse.)

Another difference between the two is that my version actually looks like an envelope when you open it up; the inspiration version has a straight top edge under the flap.

Not having put out a pattern for sale in awhile now, I'm happy to say that this one has been written up as my next release.


Watch live classes for FREE at CreativeLive!
[affiliate link]


Diva Envelope Clutch by eSheep Designs
Wanna help test?
But now I'm in a bit of a bind... I need testers to help ensure that my very quickly whipped up pattern is good enough to be put out there. If you consider yourself an experienced beginner and want to test this pattern, I would welcome your involvement.

Ideally, I'd like to have this ready to go before mid-January, so I'm looking for people who can turn this project around within the next five weeks. Check out my specific requirements here if you're interested.

UPDATE: I have filled my tester positions so will not be needing any more at the moment. Thanks for your interest!


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Free Pattern/Tutorial: Shopping List & Coupon Holder

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
My new shopping assistant...
Do you use coupons? If so, do you remember the days when you'd get coupons with expiry dates well into the future?

I'm guessing that what I've been experiencing is pretty much the same around the world, but whenever I get paper coupons these days, most have to be redeemed within a month or so.

Also — generally speaking — most discount offers in the current marketplace are in the form of digital coupons linked to store loyalty programs that are only valid for a specific day or week.

Coupon organizer wallet
Outmoded coupon organizer wallet...
This new normal means that the coupon organizer wallet that I've been carting around for the past many years — shown here, looking a bit worn out — no longer serves a useful purpose. I don't have enough coupons to merit putting them into categorized slots. (And I welcome the opportunity to lighten my purse by one less item.)

That said, I still do have occasional coupons to keep track of, but the problem with putting them away in a wallet is that they are hidden from my eyes and are more likely to expire before I can use them.

Therefore, necessity was once again the inspiration for my latest project. I needed to make myself something that allows me to carry my coupons with me when I go shopping in such a way that I will always see them...


Check out Craftsy's latest promos... Craftsy
[affiliate link]


... along with my shopping list. Lately, I've been keeping my list on small notepad sheets, paper-clipped to my current coupons. And then everything would get all wrinkled and torn as I stuffed it in and out of a purse pocket. Let's just say that the whole situation was begging for a more elegant solution!

Like this:

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
The perfect gift for your favourite grocery shopper...

This is a double-sided sleeve that holds a shopping list on one side and coupons on the other. Both pockets are made out of see-through vinyl for visibility and convenience. At the top is an optional tab with a grommet that can be used to clip the unit to a lanyard so that it can be worn around the neck or secured to a shopping cart (or the inside of a purse, as it is in my case).

Bon Appetit fabric
Food is the basis of my grocery shopping, so this was an apt fabric...

I used this Bon Appetit fabric for the project. This was part of my gifted stash and apart from making aprons or oven mitts, I didn't know what to do with it. This is as good an application as any.

Materials Required

As a scrappy sort of project, if you have remnants of coordinating fabric, you're set. (I would suggest staying with quilting cottons, although this might be a good project for laminates too.) Specifically, you'll need:
  • 1 piece of fabric, 8" high x 9" wide
  • 1 strip of coordinating fabric, 18" high x 1.75" wide (for binding the shopping list pocket)
  • 1 strip of coordinating fabric, 14" high x 1.75" wide (for binding the coupon pocket)
  • 1 piece of clear vinyl for the shopping list pocket, 3.5" x 6.5"
  • 1 piece of clear vinyl for the coupon pocket, 3.5" x 5.75"
  • 1 piece of Peltex, 4" x 7"
  • 2 strips of mid-weight fusible interfacing, 17" x 1" and 13" x 1"
  • 1 piece of fabric, 4" x 4" (optional, for grommet tab)
  • 1 piece of mid-weight fusible interfacing, 2" x 3" (optional, for grommet tab)
  • 1 large (1/4") grommet (optional)
  • 1 lanyard (optional)
  • Clips, scissors, rotary cutter & mat, thread, iron, etc.
Finished size is approximately 4.25" x 7.25".


[affiliate link]


Prep the Vinyl Pieces

Take the smaller piece of vinyl and make a mark along the right side, 3.5" up from the bottom. Draw a line with a pen from this mark to the top left corner. Slice away this triangular portion and you should then be left with a piece that is 5.75" high along the left edge and 3.5" high along the right edge. Set aside.

Fuse the mid-weight interfacing down the center of the two fabric strips, leaving about a half inch bare at each end.

Then fold and press the fabric strips as if they were bias tape. (That is, fold in half lengthwise, then open it back up and fold the outer edges in towards the center crease, then fold in half lengthwise again.) Press well and use clips to hold together.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Prepare strips of fabric...

Bind the vinyl pieces with these strips. Start with the 18" one for the bigger piece, clipping as you go around the perimeter. (And yes, I know this isn't "binding" in the traditional sense.)

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Bind the vinyl pieces with the fabric strips....

Be sure to mitre the corners. If you need help, check out the process from my wet wipe wallet project.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Your fingers will naturally find a way to mitre the corners...

Tuck the raw ends inside at the top corners (remove any interfacing from this area to reduce bulk).

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Hide the raw edges of the fabric by tucking the ends under...

Carefully sew around the inside edge, at about an 1/8".

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Sew the binding around the piece of vinyl...

Prepare the other piece of vinyl in the same manner.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
It's fine to finish the angled top corners of this piece with a straight edge...

By the way, a regular sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper can be cut up into six pieces measuring 2.75" x 5.5" each, to create a shopping list that fits neatly inside the big pocket.


Watch live classes for FREE at CreativeLive!
[affiliate link]


Secure Pockets to Main Piece

Take your main piece of fabric, fold it in half with right side out and press. Press a 1/4" to 3/8" seam (whatever best suits you) to the wrong side along all edges.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Use a 1/4" or 3/8" seam allowance...

Turn right side up on your work surface and place your vinyl pockets on top, arranging them evenly on either side of the fold, within the pressed seam allowances.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Lay out the pockets on top of the main piece...

Carefully sew each pocket onto the main fabric piece, being mindful not to catch the outside seam allowances in your stitching.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Sew along the outside edge of the pocket frame this time...

Make Grommet Tab (Optional)

Take the 4" x 4" piece of fabric meant for the grommet tab and give it the same "bias tape" fold treatment as you did with the binding for the vinyl pockets. Then take the small piece of fusible interfacing and fuse it onto one half as shown here.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Interface half of the grommet tab fabric inside of seam allowance...

Fold it back up, press, and topstitch along both edges. Fold the finished piece in half, clip the ends together and set aside.

Finish Main Piece

Flip the assembly over and place the Peltex over one side, tucking it under the edge of the seam allowances. (And since this Peltex is not going to be fused, it doesn't matter what type of Peltex you use.)

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Insert the Peltex into your assembly underneath one of the seam allowances...

With the help of clips, fold the main piece in half with the piece of Peltex inside. Ensure that your seam allowances are trapped inside as you clip.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Fold your main assembly in half and secure with clips...

If you also made the tab piece, slip it in place between the top seams, leaving about 1.25" of the tab exposed.

Very carefully stitch around the entire perimeter at about 1/8".

All that's left is to install an optional grommet and your shopping list and coupon holder is ready to be unveiled on your next trip to the grocery store!

Alternative Finishes

If you have coordinating ribbon, you can use that to bind your vinyl pockets instead of fabric, much like how I made my tablet envelope.

I have extra grommets from other projects so it was no issue to use one here, but if you don't have any grommets, don't feel obligated to go out and buy a pack (since you can't buy just "one"). The tab piece is fully functional as is by threading some cord through it, or you can attach a simple split ring and then clip on a lanyard.

Similarly, if you don't have any extra Peltex lying around, you can substitute cardboard in a pinch, although it will not be as durable.

Shopping List & Coupon Holder by eSheep Designs
Happy shopping!

These might make good stocking stuffer gifts for friends and family this holiday season. Tuck in some cash or a gift card — or personalized coupons — and you're done!

TERMS OF USE

If you are "sew" inclined, feel free to make and sell as many Shopping List & Coupon Holders as you care to; I only ask that you credit me and this blog by attaching the following card to the item.

eSheep Designs swing tag


Like it? Want to keep it? For a copy of this tutorial in PDF format, go to my Craftsy shop and download it for free!



Saturday, 12 November 2016

Blog Housekeeping Pt. 1 — All About Labels

Blog Housekeeping by eSheep Designs
Your blog is like a house that you need to keep tidy...
A couple of years ago — around the time of my one year blog anniversary — I set out to do what I like to call some "blog housekeeping".

The activity entailed going through old blog posts and checking for bad links, adding new links, reducing the number of tags, creating some search descriptions and finally, adding a couple of "redirects" for pages that I no longer wanted to have available for general consumption. It's something that I do every so often.

As part of my "Techspertise" series of posts, I thought it would be useful to document some of these housekeeping tasks. In part one, I want to focus on how labels can help organize your blog posts and make your content easier for readers to find.


Check out Craftsy's latest promos... Craftsy
[affiliate link]


What are Labels?

The first time I blogged, I thought a label had to do with key words and search engine optimization, so I tagged every post with my blog's name and topic. Then I discovered that labels were only used inside a blog to categorize content and had nothing to do with people finding stuff on Google. Well, major overhaul needed! (Luckily I wasn't too far along in terms of having a lot of posts to go through.)

Labels are used to group similar blog posts according to subject matter. They let readers find all of the posts that you've ever written about whatever. They also drive the logic behind those "related posts" widgets that you see along the bottom of many blogs. (Which means that if you want to add one of those spiffy widgets that encourage readers to stay around longer, you need to add labels to your posts first.)

When you're just starting out, labels may not have much impact or relevance. (And some blogs are just naturally easier to create labels for than others. Easy example: a food blog can have labels such as healthy eating, low calorie, cookies, salads... you get the drift.) After you've been blogging for a while, however, you should be able to tag your posts with labels that make it easier for visitors to find specific content.

Create/Add Labels on the Fly

Labels can be created in one of two ways. The first way is to add them while editing your blog posts by clicking on Labels — found under Post Settings on the right side of your Blogger post editing screen — and then typing in the word or phrase that you'd like to set up as a label. (The second way will be explained in the next section.)

Defining labels in Blogger
Defining labels in Blogger using Post Settings...

You can associate as many labels as you want with a single post if needed; just separate them with a comma. Click Done when you're finished. Once a label has been created, it's added to a master list, making it available to other blog posts — past, present or future — and facilitating that whole "grouping" process. (In fact, all you have to do is start typing and Blogger will bring up existing labels that start with whatever letters you've typed.)

Basic guideline for label creation? Whether single words or phrases, keep labels general enough to be applied to several posts but not so general as to apply to many or all of your posts. Example: if your blog is about quilting, then quilting by itself is probably not a great label.

That said, you may have noticed that I have a label for sewing, which seems to go against my own advice since my blog is mostly about sewing. However, I use that label to group posts that deal with the actual process of sewing. The same rationale holds for my "blogging" label.

Blogger Labels Gadget
The Blogger labels gadget...

Once you have attached labels to your blog posts — and there is sufficient overlap in that more than one post has been given the same label — give your readers access to those labels via a label gadget that you can add to your blog layout. You have the option to show all of your labels or just some of them by making appropriate selections from the screen shown above.

Father's Day posts on eSheepDesigns.blogspot.com
Using labels to filter out specific blog posts...

The result is that when a visitor clicks on a specific label, the posts that have been tagged with that label will be filtered out on your blog. In the above, if you click on Father's Day from my tag list, the blog will refresh and show you just the three posts that have been tagged with "Father's Day".


Check out Creativebug's Bag of the Month series for free...
and continue for only $4.95 a month!
[affiliate link]


Update/Change Labels en Masse

Over time, you may wind up with labels that only apply to one post or some that are quite similar. If you find yourself adding new labels all the time and not really re-using any, it's time to rethink your approach and perhaps do some housekeeping.

I recently discovered that I had tags for "class review" and "book review" and was about to add "pattern review". I decided instead to lump them all under "reviews". Rather than going into each individual post and making the change, however, I used another method of adding a label to complete this operation.

Blogger can do what amounts to a simple find and replace operation for you very quickly. To provide you with an example that I can demonstrate, let's say that I've changed my mind and want my label to be "review" instead of "reviews" with an "s".

First, I'll need to list all of my blog posts. Here is an edited version of what you will see when I do that.

Blogger label maintenance

Show all of your blog posts in order to access the label filtering feature...

After clicking on All under Posts and getting all of my blog posts listed, I use the All labels drop down menu (circled above right) to select the label to filter by... "reviews" in this case. Blogger then lists the blog posts that contain the label "reviews"; it indicates there are seven of them.

Blogger label maintenance

Select the label on which to filter your blog posts and then add a new label to them...

I then click the check mark box to select all seven posts that are currently tagged with the "reviews" label. (If for some reason I didn't want to select all of them, I could have gone down the list and selected specific ones individually.)

Next, I use the label icon (circled below; it looks like a gift tag) drop down menu to select New label, which opens up a box where I can enter a new label: in this case, "review".

Blogger label maintenance

Add a new label to attach to the selected blog posts...

Once I click the OK button, the new "review" label is instantly added to those seven selected blog posts. Note that at this moment, those seven posts are still also tagged with "reviews" as well.

Therefore, the next step is to get rid of the old "reviews" label.


Watch live classes for FREE at CreativeLive!
[affiliate link]


Without leaving this screen, I simply use the label icon drop down menu again, only this time I select "reviews". Because all seven blog posts are still selected (i.e., checked off), whatever I do here will affect all seven posts.

Blogger label maintenance

Choose the label that you want to remove from the selected posts...

As soon as I click on the "reviews" label, the screen flickers and all seven blog posts disappear. (The first time you do this, it may be slightly alarming. Be assured that the list has just refreshed; it's not like any of the blog posts have been zapped away.)

By way of an explanation, if you look closely, you'll see that the posts are still being filtered by the old "reviews" label. Since I just finished removing that label from those posts, there are no more posts to display; hence the "blank" screen. (This is in fact how you delete labels that you don't want.)

Blogger label maintenance
Blogger shows no more blog posts with the "reviews" label...

In essence, I have just successfully changed a label from "reviews" to "review" without having to make seven individual edits. (Or two hundred and seven if that happened to be the case; you can appreciate how this saves time the more posts you have to change.)

Word of caution based on what you see here on this last screen. Any time you want to replace one label with another as I've just done, add the new one first before deleting the old! If you delete first, you will no longer be able to filter out the relevant posts in order to apply the new label.

And yes, I have made that mistake in the past... quite inadvertently. My fingers are sometimes faster than my brain! ;-)

I hope this has been helpful to those of you who may have been struggling with the idea of how to make labels work on your blog. Labels are a great organizational tool. Not only do they make it easier for your readers to find stuff, they're helpful for you too. I can't count how many times I've used my own labels to help me locate stuff from my own posts.

That said, if you've been blogging for awhile and haven't checked on the state of your labels, maybe it's time to do so. They could be more haphazard than helpful.

Question: how often do you use labels to find specific content on a blog?