Thursday, June 27, 2013

Facebook Fan Pages Fail

At least that is what it can seem like, after having spent a lot of time trying to make an engaging and interesting business fan page and growing a fan base to interact with, given all of the changes that Facebook keeps making with regards to visibility of status updates. Have you noticed that fan pages that you have liked for businesses, bands or other organizations seem to never or hardly ever post anymore because you don’t see them like you used to on your news feed? There is a good chance they are still posting but that posting for them now is a little like the sound of one hand clapping.

What can you do about it if you are not seeing the posts from a particular facebook fan page that you want to see on your news feed? It is possible to tell Facebook to send those updates your way again. Go to the Facebook page that you previously liked. Hover over the “liked” button on that page and then click on “settings”. You will now see 3 options: “All Updates”, “Most Updates” and “Only Important”. Click on “All Updates” to start the flow again of information from that page to your news feed. Screen shots of these steps are shown below. So if you liked a fan page because you really want to know when their next gig is, when they are running specials, etc. please follow these instructions so that business, band or organization will actually feel “liked”. (Note: If a business pays Facebook to promote their posts, you will likely see them no matter what settings you choose.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Design This – Custom Blue Feather Earrings

Late last year, one of my repeat custom customers asked if I was familiar with that blue color that was getting so popular and could I make some earrings in that hue. I did remember a pretty blue on the fall 2012 pantone color report. I found the report and used “Olympian Blue” as a reference and starting point to see if could fill this request. Additional design parameters of length and movement of the feathers for one of the earrings and that matching beads be used for the other earring were included in this request.

While I have occasionally used dyed feathers in my creations, I prefer to use naturally colored feathers either purchased as craft feathers or molted feathers from individuals that collect, clean, disinfect and sell their pet’s molted feathers to help support their birds. While peacock feathers do have some of this color naturally, they also have several other colors and this customer already had a couple of earrings that included peacock feathers that I had made for her, so I kept looking. I did find three macaw feathers in my supplies that I thought had the potential of meeting the color and length criteria. I mocked up both the feather and bead earrings and sent a photo off to my customer. I was given the go ahead to make finished earrings based on the mock up photo.

My original intention was to dangle both feathers from the same point on a bit of chain. I found this to be problematic for two reasons. Adding the chain to the length of the feathers was going to make the earrings too long and dangling from the chain, the feathers tended to flip and show their duller back sides, getting rid of the visual of the blue that was desired. I searched for another solution that stayed true to the original design parameters.

I found some great looking earring posts that would help keep the earrings short enough but still allow me to attach them in such a way as to maintain some movement of the feathers without having them flip over. As we discussed this solution we decided to hang the beads from a length of chain to make the second earring closer in length to the feather earring. Since I was using only one post out of each pair that I had purchased and because I had one feather left that matched the other two feathers that I was using in the first earring, I asked if she would like to have a single feather earring added to the set. This would give her more flexibility to mix and match. I don’t think she hesitated for a second to have me add the third earring to her set.

I later saw of photo of my customer wearing both feather earrings with a blue top of the exact same blue as the feathers paired with a white scarf that really made the feathers stand out. I’m always so thrilled to see my finished creations work out so well for my customers.

Please contact me if you are looking for something special and I will see if I can create it for you.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Menacing Invasive Plants

The last time you thought of a plant as menacing might have been while you watched “Little Shop of Horrors”, however there may be menacing plants hiding in plain sight in your yard, non-native invasives. I must admit that before I became more aware of this issue, I thought anything sold in the nursery trade had the potential for being a good plant in my yard. I quickly found out that several of these plants were not well adapted to my area without a lot of care. This was not as disturbing as to find out that something that I had purchased and tended to, might have the potential of escaping my yard and wreaking havoc on the local environment, much as the fire ant displaced the native harvester ant that was the main food source for the now endangered Texas horned lizard.

Thankfully not all non-natives are invasive. To find out why you would want to know which plants are non-native invasives so that you can avoid them, the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has a wealth of information about what havoc these menaces can wreak on the environment, industry and agriculture and what you can do to help combat them. They also have some great resource links if you want to do some follow up reading. Another fun place to learn more about invasive plants is from Commander Ben’s website. This amazing teen has put together entertaining and kid friendly information about the dark side of invasive plants while providing well researched facts.

Two invasive plants that already had a foothold on my property when I acquired it, and that I do battle with, are Johnson grass and privet. They are pictured. Luckily, privet is a shallow rooted plant and before a single plant turns into a thicket, it is easily pulled with a weed wrench. Small ones can even be easily pulled by hand when the ground has enough moisture in it. Johnson grass can be hand dug but a large infestation may have to be initially controlled by chemicals. In my experience any newly opened piece of ground, especially one that is not regularly mowed such as around a newly placed post will invite Johnson grass to take up residence.

Please do your part to educate yourself so that your lovely gardens don’t become a breeding ground for an invasion on the surrounding native environment.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thanks for the Treasuries - May 2013

Three different Etsians and one Etsy team let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during May. Five May Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during May. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 3 Etsy sellers that let me know that they featured one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like in addition to the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured an item of mine.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

This shop redirects fun, attractive, and collectable tangibles from the past to worthy owners of the future.

Earrings Rings Necklaces. Gift ideas for girls & woman. Animals, Retro, Sports, Ham Radio, Birds, Bees and more.

This jewelry artist creates fresh, fun, one of a kind - handcrafted jewelry.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group is to promote friendly, The Texas Way and be respectful to all who participate.