Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What’s in a Phrase?

All of my photographic art bookmarks include a phrase on the back that I feel complements the image on the front of the bookmark. Sometimes I come up with a phrase that works for the entire series as can be seen on my sunflower bookmark series. The back of each sunflower image reads, “Light up your day with a good book.” Other series have sufficiently different images that I feel the need to come up with something different for the back of each image as I did with my Piggy Pollinator series.

I have recently created a new photographic art small bookmark series. It is my critter series and since each critter is different, I needed different sayings for the back of each image. As in the past, some of these sayings were easy to come up with while others took me some time to come up with something short and connected in some way to the image on the front of the bookmark. You can see all five phrases that I penned in the photos in my listing for my new critter series bookmarks in my EDCCollective Etsy shop.

For this blog post however, I want to focus on just one of my phrases, the one for the spiny lizard. It reads, “Mistaken identity is a common plot convention.” The reason that I am focusing on this phrase is because the two people that I showed my new bookmark series to could not figure out the connection of that phrase to the lizard image. Once I explained the connection to them, they agreed that the saying worked. This experience led me to believe that I had a golden opportunity for a contest for my subscribers, followers and fans.

If you are 18 years old or older and you are not one of the people that I have already explained the connection to between the phrase and the image, then you are welcome to enter the contest. The contest begins now and will run through Sunday (CST), December 9, 2012. *** Update *** No correct entry was received by the deadline, so I am going to continue the contest until I receive a correct entry. The first correct entry that I receive per the rules listed will be the winner. The winner of the contest will receive their pick of one small bookmark as seen in my EDCCollective or EclecticSkeptic Etsy shops or in my photographic art facebook photo album. I will ship the selected bookmark via USPS first class mail. The winner will be selected at random from all of the correct responses entered during the duration of the contest. You are not limited to just one entry.

You may have guessed what the entry should contain by now, but let me specify. Each entry needs to explain why the phrase, “Mistaken identity is a common plot convention.” goes with the spiny lizard image on the front as seen in this post. Email your entry to I will contact the winner by replying to your entry email, at which time I will find out which bookmark you would like and where it needs to be shipped to.

Thanks in advance for all of you that put your thinking caps on and enter this contest. I hope pondering this connection will be a fun puzzler and I look forward to reading your entries.

Remember that you can keep up with my occasional contests and sales by following this blog, subscribing to my short monthly newsletter or liking my EclecticDesignChoices facebook page.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Adding Google Analytics to Your Blog

Google Analytics is a useful tool for tracking what goes on in our Etsy shops and Etsy has made it very easy to "turn on" tracking for them. After I started another blog on blogspot earlier this year, I decided to add tracking to that blog too. A lot has changed since I wrote how I added GA tracking to this blog, so I am updating the instructions with this post.

1) Sign into or sign up for a Google Analytics account.

2) Click on "Admin" near the upper right corner.

3) Click on an existing account and add a property to that account (your blog that you want to track) or click on "new account" to create a new one to add a new property to.

4) Fill out the information asked for on the form that opens, then click "Get Tracking ID" button.

5) This will bring you to a page that says on it “tracking not installed”. Just below this, pick "A single domain" for "What are you tracking?". It will also include a box of code for you to add to your blog, with the instructions to “Copy the following code block into every webpage you want to track immediately before the "/head" tag.” (See 1st screen shot, click to enlarge.)

5) In a new tab, go to your blogger blog and sign in.

6) Click on the arrow drop down for the blog that you want to add tracking to and click on “Template”.

7) Next, under “Live on Blog” click the “Edit HTML” button. (See 2nd screen shot, click to enlarge.) (This will bring up a warning box, click “Proceed”.)

8) This brings up a box with HTML code in it. Before you change any of the code, copy it and save it in a document on your computer in case something goes awry.

9) Look for the closing “/head” tag. You will see the opening “head” tag near the left side and near the top of the html but will most likely have to scroll much of the way to the bottom to find the closing “/head” tag. It will also be near the left edge. Insert a blank line just above the “/head” tag.

10) Click on the Google Analytics tab that is the page shown in the 1st screen shot. Copy the code in the “Paste this code on your site” box. Then click back on the blogger tab where you were editing the html and paste that code on the blank line that you added in the previous step.

11) Click “Save Template”

12) Go back to the tab that has the Google Analytics page that you copied the tracking code from. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the “Save” button. You should then see a green button appear near the top of the page that says “Success”.

13) Log out of GA and your blog and expect results to begin adding up for your new property in Google Analytics.

Happy Tracking!

Friday, October 12, 2012

What’s in Bloom – October 2012

I stepped out this morning and took photos of some of the plants that are currently blooming in my garden. Just because summer is officially over, it doesn’t mean that the color needs to be gone from your garden. Clockwise from the upper left is blue mistflower, fall blooming aster, strawberry gomphrena, mealy blue sage and hummingbird bush. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Blue mistflower is predominantly a late summer/fall bloomer in my garden. It is a good source of nectar for migrating monarch butterflies. As the name implies, this aster blooms in the fall. You can see that it has just begun to open its flowers and will soon be a pretty mound of purple. Strawberry gomphrena is an annual that reseeds and blooms as soon as it can in the spring and continues until a freeze. Occasionally some of these plants will overwinter as a tender perennial. Late summer and fall rains have brought out another flush of blooms on my native TX mealy blue sage. Hummingbird bush thrives and blooms in the sun, heat and fairly dry conditions.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thanks for the Treasuries - September 2012

Three different Etsians let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during September. Six September Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one or more of my items. My carnelian and ceramic gathering pins were even featured twice. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during September. (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 at least one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

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

Find gifts for the wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items plus more.

Girlie Gals offers jewelry with sparkle and shine at affordable prices.

Rag dolls, teddy bears, stuffed animals, pincushions, quilts, & wallets are handmade with love & great care here.