Monday, October 20, 2014

HOME: Easy Apple Cider Tea

Time for hot drinks! In some areas of the country, it's been time for some time now. The October issue of Southern Living Magazine has a recipe for an easy Mulled Apple Cider, that starts with tea and ends with adding the cider. Hibiscus tea is used, but then Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger is mentioned at the end. I think the Red Zinger is an alternate suggestion. I've never tried Hibiscus tea . If used in a regimen, it is supposed to be good for helping to lower blood pressure, especially for those with Type 2 diabetes.

Southern Living Magazine: 5 Cozy Apple Cider Recipes What Are the Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea?
EbscoHost article excerpt: I've heard that hibiscus tea is helpful for high blood pressure. Is that true?
Pixabay: Free Images 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

PUBLISHING: Kizoa's Nostalgic New Slideshow Template

Kizoa, the free video maker, slideshow creator and collage builder, has a new template called Sepia. It's really nice in that it is reminiscent of viewing old family movies on a reel-to-reel. As a free service, I like Kizoa more than Animoto, because it offers a longer video length with the free account. I don't know what their max free length is, but the slideshow that I created was close to a minute. Animoto's is about 30 secs. 

There's a lot you can share within the free time length, so don't discount this resource. Using a free service is also an excellent way to learn video clips and slideshows creation. While you can use your Windows Movie Maker, Youtube Video Creator or other software, sites like Kizoa offer large popular music clips libraries and attractive themed templates. Step-by-step directions and video tutorials make it possible for anyone to learn the technology.

Upgrade your skills and start marketing your work with video clips and slideshows. Wouldn't the Kizoa Sepia template look fabulous for a wedding layout? It's so romantic and nostalgic!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WRITING: Writing Contests

One fun and unique feature that I like about is the ability for members to create contests. It's easy to create one with the text editor provided.

One of the logos that uses.

The creator decides on the award(s) and the number of placements. Some offer nothing but a placement with an award icon, and I've seen from 1st to 3rd place, up to 8 placements in some. Others offer publication too, or features. WC shares these contest creation guidelines:

You are solely responsible for the terms of this contest. You are not allowed to charge any entry fees and you can not enter the contest yourself. You will not be able to change the terms of the contest once submission has begun. 

Writer's Cafe also uses this logo.

While any member can enter, the poems submitted must already be published at the site. A drop-down menu submission tool lists your onsite poems to choose from when you enter. If there is a poem that you'd like to submit, but it is not onsite, that is not a problem. Delay your entry, post your poem, and start your submission again so that it will show up in the drop-down.

I have placed in several contests since I joined in July. I won Honorable Mention in the Nature Poems Contest for my poem

23 pigeons play in my yard.
They eat, they drink, they frolic.
With breasts puffed out
And chins tucked in,
They run.
And then with one accord,
With the flip of one loose feather,
They rise like a tide and are gone.
And me and the feather
Are alone.

WritersCafe caters to not only poetry, but all writing genres and formats. The interface is user-friendly and images can be added to posts. It's free to join, readership is active and there's no limit to the number of contests that you can enter, or create.

Poem © 2008 SHolland profile:
Images Credit: Pigeons-, Family of Pigeons-, Feather-

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ensure That Your Handmade Products Lead To You

Ensure that potential customers can find you by applying identifying/contact info onto every piece of work that you produce. 

If you like to add variety and jazziness to your work, like I do, merchandise tags can be made out of any old thing. Within the junk mail that you get everyday are potential creative tags. Though there is a lot to be said about ordering coordinated business tags, labels and seals, I am an eclectic type of person. I like showing a different tag on each of my items. I make them from greeting cards, scrap paper, recycled artwork and other salvaged items. Here are the fronts and backs of some of my recent creative tags:
Handmade product tag: made from tissue box design cut out.

Merchandise tag made from a salvaged drawing.

Handmade product tag: a salvaged paper star.

Handmade merchandise tag made from a greeting card cut out.

 While tags are a fun identifying addition to your work, they are made to be removed. How do you add a non-removable identification to your work? Some other ways that I do are:
  • print out a sheet on which I've added various sized web addresses and emails, and my logo too
  • cut out one to adhere to the back of every piece of artwork and crafted items that I produce
  • if the craftwork is very small, I print some type of info with an ultra-fine permanent marker
  • try to place it in an inconspicuous place, corner, bottom, side
  • it's similar to an artist signature, but on the back
  • depending on the size and shape of the product, the identity tag can be just the web address, just the email, or both
  • on larger wall art pieces my identity tag includes both and my logo as well
  • always seal over it, with Mod Podge, gel medium or PVC glue, so it will remain.
For some items, of course, I simply can't find a way to do it, and don't worry about that. With an ultrafine Sharpie though, there are few times when I can't. Below is the back of one of my wall art pieces. You can be formal or creative on how your apply our identifying tags. Thought you might like seeing the backs of two of my mixed media pieces.

On cards and tags I always try to apply a strip of info along the bottom or up the side, or I write the info, as tiny as I can. I even try to take time to add identifying info on items that I think may be thrown away; ephemera like product tags that I attach to my work. If thrown away, someone else may find it, like it and contact me. Yes! Even about a product tag. She may want to know where I got it, and I can say I made it, would you like me to make you some? Sales can come from any direction. I try to think of creative ways to open the window of opportunity.

I committed to this idea long ago when I was often disappointed to find myself at home with a favorite item, and had no idea who created it. No identifying info on the back or bottom. If I wanted to learn more about the person and maybe order more from him/her, the opportunity was forever lost to me.

Anything that you provide on your product may one day convert to several sales. If you could have seen me searching and examining the products that I have over the years, for some minute scrap of identifying info, you would understand how important this is. It has involved anything from a papercrafted pieces to sculpture; things that I've bought in department stores, discount stores and thrift stores. Some of my fav items are from thrift stores, flea markets and other little out of the way places, to where the artwork or crafted items of some creative person ended up.

So, don't forget your identifying info, if you can at all add it. It does take extra time, but it's work it because wherever my product ends up, I'll be with it :) Don't rely on customers to hold on to packing and shipping info. If your product should end up at a church bizarre, that info would not follow it anyway.