Monday, April 23, 2007

Has Anyone Noticed!


Have any of you noticed how many blogs there are now for individuals, crafters, small business, corporations, etc.?

Everyday when I'm listening to the news I hear someone say, "Just go to so and so's blog at....." And, I love hearing that!

That tells me that blogs have become more and more commonplace as tools for individuals and families to stay in touch, as tools for small businesses and their customers, as tools for the news media, as selling tools, and as tools for mainstream businesses. Everyone and their brother has a blog and I think it's FABULOUS!

What I also love is how many crafting bloggers there are out there. And, most are around my age - which I also think is FABULOUS!

If you key the word blog into Google you'll get 1,030,000,000 results. That's a LOT OF BLOGS.

There's a reason why blogs have been increasing in popularity exponentially over the past few years and it's because they are FREE, they are easy to use, they are extremely easy to update, and they are highly personal - which most customers LOVE. If you were to apply the reality TV versus regular TV analogy to blogs and websites you'd understand why reality TV and blogs are so popular. They are both highly personal and both involve people interacting with each other.

Plus, they can and do function for some bloggers as very professional websites. You can have your own domain name and you can use a shopping cart. In fact, I'd say that there isn't much you can't do with a blog. There is a way to do just about anything you want to. That makes blogs much more versatile than a website as they are much more flexible. And, they are a LOT easier to change and update.

The Internet is ever changing and to be in business on the Internet you need to be fluid and ever changing. That means utilizing what's popular with users and customers. BLOGS are extremely popular and easily adaptable to any kind of commerce, especially e-commerce and e-products.

I, personally, love shopping with someone who has a personal or small business blog. I love the feeling of getting to know the person I'm buying from. I don't know if you feel the same way, too, but I always feel more comfortable buying from someone who has taken the time to tell me something about their product(s) and their life or business. By doing so they make me feel feel more comfortable doing business with them. And, that's what writing blogs for small businesses does. Hopefully, if the blog reader is comfortable with the blog owner they will buy their product.

If they do that's FABULOUS! Bring on the blogs. The more the merrier!

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Latest in FREE Crafting Information - FREE Crafting Podcasts!

There are just so many ways to get crafting information in today's day and age. Some are FREE, some are not. But, there's a whole slew of ways to get the crafting information that you want.

There are books, video's, DIY cable TV shows, crafts shows, craft courses, craft blogs, audio books, craft instructions, craft lessons, E-Products, E-Patterns, E-Stitcheries, E-Doodles, E-Graphics, .PDF E-Zines, tutorials, online magazines, and now PODCASTS.


What, you don't know what PODCASTS are?

Well, according to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia they are as follows:

A podcast is a media file which is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. Like 'radio', it can mean both the content and the method of syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. The term "podcast" is a portmanteau of the name of Apple's portable music player, the iPod, and broadcast; a pod refers to a container of some sort and the idea of broadcasting to a container or pod correctly describes the process of podcasting.

Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct
download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital audio formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically, using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

In other words, they are audio blogs that have radio segments that you can download in MP3 format to listen to on your IPod or MP3 player, or you can play and listen to them right from the blog.

Now that you know what a PODCAST is - I have the best news to tell you!

Angie Wenke, just bought Prim Talk Radio and she and some of the editors from Primitive Times Magazine are going to be doing craft podcasts. Angie officially takes over the first of April, but she and some of the editors of Primitive Times Magazine have already been doing some Prim Talk Radio crafting segments.

You might be wondering exactly what Prim Talk Radio is. Well, according to its' founder, Niki Jackson, of The Vintage Artist, Prim Talk Radio is an online internet radio show & podcast for primitive crafters.

Prim Talk Radio in other words is a series of FREE crafting radio show segments that can be downloaded as MP3 files directly from the website or syndicated through podcast subscriptions. The radio segments can also be can be played for your listening pleasure directly from the Prim Talk Radio blog website.

I have listened to many of the craft radio segments while working on my computer and have enjoyed each and every one of them. It's a great way to learn a new crafting skill while whiling away the hours on the computer.

And, to go along with her purchase of Prim Talk Radio blog Angie has created a new Prim Talk Radio website that is linked to the Prim Talk Radio blog where you can get all sorts of information on advertising on Prim Talk Radio, information about the staff, grand re-opening contests, etc.
So, if you haven't tuned in to Prim Talk Radio yet do yourself a favor and do so. The segments have been fabulous so far and with Angie and some of her Primitive Times Magazine editors involved now it should only get better.

Tune in to Prim Talk Radio and learn something new today.

We're on the hunt for FREE crafting podcast websites. If you know of any please EMAIL us and let us know. I'm sure all our blog readers would appreciate that.

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Are You Pinging? - Column 6

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Are You Pinging? - Column 6

Last month in my TFTBQ Column 5 our blog definition was "Ping" which is a feature in blog software to automatically notify search engines and subscribers when new posts or comments have been published on a blog. It can be manually triggered by a blog owner using a ping service. Or, it can be an indicator within the blog software that is turned "on" for automatic notification to the ping servers.

So, the question this month is "Are You Pinging?"

"Pinging" is actually a very easy blog term to understand as it is just a means of telling everyone that you've posted an article to your blog or updated an article on your blog.

Pinging can either be done automatically by the blog service providers software or can be done manually by the blogger themselves. Many blog service providers have indicators that the blogger can turn "on" in their settings to allow the blog service provider to automatically notify the "ping servers" when a new post is created or an old post is updated.

In essence, a signal is sent to the "ping servers" who generate a list of blogs that have new articles or updated posts. The "ping servers" have subscribers (i.e. aggregators like Feedburner, Technorati, Google Blog Search, etc.) to their lists who, in turn, notify their subscribers (i.e. blog readers) when a new blog article has been posted or a blog article has been updated.

There are also a number of ping service providers who allow the blog user to manually tell them when they have posted a new article or updated a blog article.

So, why would you want to have your blog automatically ping?

Well, if you are a small business owner and you are using your blog as a newsletter of sorts then you want your blog readers to know when you have something new to tell them.

So, how do you know if your blog is automatically "pinging?" Well, you want to look for an indicator somewhere in your blog settings that might say:

Notify Indicate "Yes" or "No" is a blog update notification service that many individuals and services use to track blog changes. If you want your blog to be automatically pinged when you post a new article or update an article then you want this indicator to say "yes."

Also, make sure that your blog is a "public" blog (i.e. can be viewed by anyone). This should also be an indicator somewhere in your blog's settings. If it's not a "public" blog then your "ping" isn't going to go anywhere.

Can you always manually ping your blog through a "ping service" like Ping-O-Matic? Sure you can, but if you post new articles frequently, manually pinging can be very time consuming.

So, are you pinging?

If you're a small business owner with a business blog - you should be.

"Tips From The Blogging Queen" Column 6 Definition -
"Blog Back-up" - A copy of a template, article(s), and article(s) URL made by the blogger and stored on a separate medium in the event the original template, article(s) or article URL(s) are lost.
Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 7 on "Are You Backing Up Your Blog?"

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Monday, April 16, 2007

FYI - A Few Blog Terms and Definitions!

Blogs and bloggers have a language all their own that might seem strange for anyone being introduced to blogging for the first time. So, I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of the more common blogging terms and their definitions:

So, now that you know what a blog is you need to know a few blog terms. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Address - A unique identifier for a computer or online website, usually a URL for a website or marked with an @ for an email address. Literally, it is how your computer finds a location on the information highway.

Aggregator - A program or website that allows users to read the contents of blog articles using RSS or Atom feeds.

Archives and Archiving - The repository of published articles for a particular blog.

Atom - An XML-based document format and HTTP-based protocol designed for the syndication of Web content such as weblogs and news headlines to Websites as well as directly to user agents.

Audioblog -A blog where the posts are voice recordings sent by mobile phone.

Autocasting - An automated form of podcasting that generates audio versions of text blogs from RSS feeds.

Biz Blog - A business blog.

Blinkie - A small blinking graphic.

Blog - A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a type of website where entries are made (such as in a journal or diary) and displayed in a reverse chronological order.

Blogathy - When you don't care if you posted in your blog that day.

Blog Digest - A blog summarizes a number of other blogs on a daily or regular basis.

Blog Farm - Similar to webrings this is a website constructed from a group of linked blogs.

Blog Feed - An XML-based file that blog hosting software uses to create a machine-readable version of the blog. This allows for it to be "syndicated" for further distribution on the web. The page is read either using an RSS feed or an Atom feed.

Blogger - The owner and writer, generally, of a blog. Also associated with

Bloggies - One of the most popular blog awards.

Blog Hopping - To follow links from one blog entry to another, with related side-trips to various articles, sites, discussion forums, and more.

Blogiversary - Birthday for the day the blog was established.

Blogopotamus - A very long blog article.

Blogorrhea - A very large number of articles published by a blog.

Blog Provider - A company providing blog services and software.

Blogosphere - The blogging community.

Blogroll - A list of links to other blogs. May be manually entered by a blog user or provided by a "BlogRolling" service provider.

Blog Site - A web site which combines blog feeds from a variety of blogs and non-blog sources, and adds significant value over the raw blog feeds.

Blogstipation - Being unable to think of anything to blog about (i.e. writer's block for bloggers).

Blogstorm - The name for when a tremendous amount of activity (i.e. posting, comments, etc.) surrounds a particular subject or controversy in the blogosphere.

Blogstream - A play on the term mainstream for the alternative news and information network of weblogs.

BlogThis - These are links on a blog that allow readers to automatically generate a blog entry based on the article they are reading and to post it to their own blog.

Blogware - The software used to write blogs.

BMP - Stands for "bitmap" and is the standard graphics file format on Windows-compatible computers.

Clipart - A ready-to-use graphics file.

Clog - An online-community web forum with articles contributed by more than one person and which does not require user access to join.

Collaborative Blogs - A blog written by more than one person and often about a specific topic and requiring user access to join and publish.

Comments - Opinions left by a blog reader on the published article or a blog.

Commenter - Someone who leaves remarks in the "Comments" section of a blog or article.

CSS - Stands for "Cascading Style Shees" and are software scripts that define color, layout, font types, etc. on a webpage or blog.

Directory Blog- Directory blogs are usually focused on a particular news topic and/or provide regularly-updated links to topics of interest.

Domain - A name that identifies one or more IP addresses.

Draft - A non-published article on a blog.

Event Blog - A blog set up, specifically, for a period of time to cover an event.

Feed - An XML file containing headlines and descriptions also called news feed, content feed, xml feed or web feed.

Flog - Much like a ghost writer. A flog is a blog that is written by someone else.

Format and Formatting - The organization of information according to preset specifications (usually for computer processing).

FTP - Stands for "File Transfer Protocol" and is the language used for file transfer from computer to computer across the internet.

GIF - Stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is a compressed graphic file normally used for small images that do not require too many colors.

Graphic - An image that is generated by a computer or imaging device.

Group Blog - A blog with several contributing editors.

Host - A computer that is connected to the internet.

Hosting Company - A company that uses a web server to provide storage space for many web sites.

HTML - Stands for "HyperText Markup Language" and is a software language for designing webpages.

Image - A picture.

Information Super Highway - The Internet.

Internet - A global network connecting millions of computers that includes nearly every university, government, and research facility in the world. Also included are many commercial sites and blogs.

Intranet - A computer network, based on Internet technology, that is designed to meet the internal needs for sharing information within a single organization or company. Generally, a private network that is not accessible to the Internet.

IP Address - Stands for "Internet Protocol Address" and is a numeric address that is given to servers and users connected to the Internet.

Journal Blog - A personal diary-like blog or journal.

JPEG - Stands for "Joint Photograhic Experts Group" and is a common image format. Art and photographic pictures are usually encoded as JPEG files.

Keyword - A word or phrase that is used when searching for a website in the search engines or directories that explains the content of a website.

Milblog - Blog written by a member or veteran of the armed services.

Meme - Something that is posted on one blog and responded to on other blogs.

Meta-blogging - Writing blog articles about blogging.

Moblog - A mobile phone photoblog that if photographs taken by a users mobile phone.

Momosphere - Blogs written by Moms.

MP3 Blog - Blogs that host downloadable music in MP3 audio format.

Multi-blogger - A person or business running multiple blogs.

Multi-blogging - Creating, maintaining, and running multiple blogs (2 or more) at the same time.
Network - A connection of two or more computers so that they can share resources.

Permalink - The URL of individual article posts.

Photoblog - A blog of mainly pictures.

Ping - A feature in blog software that automatically notifies search engines, subscriber services, etc. when new posts or comments have been published. Can also be manually triggered by the blog owner on some blog ping services.

Plog - A political blog.

PNG - Stands for "Portable Network Graphics" and is a compressed graphic file normally used for images.

Podcasting - A combination of the words iPod and broadcasting where you post audio and video material onto a blog and its RSS feed specifically for digital players.

Post - A published article on a blog.

Profile - A page about the blog owner that may include a picture and other information about the blog owner. Basically, an "About Me" page supplemental to one's blog.

Published Article - Individual blog article that has been made public and given a permalink.

Publishing - The process of making a blog article public.

RSS aggregator - A reader or feedreader service or software program that allows a blogger to read an RSS feed.

RSS - Stands for "Real Simple Syndication" and is a file format that contains the latest articles posted by a blog. RSS feeds are immediate when an article is published and are read by RSS aggregators or reader. Depending upon the feed readers requirements a feed may contain just the title of the article, the title and a couple of lines, or the entire article that was posted.

RTWT - Stands for "Read The Whole Thing."

Server - A computer that delivers information and software to other computers linked by a network.

Sidebar - One or several columns placed on one or both sides of a blogs published articles.

Spam - Unwanted, unsolicited email.

Spam blog - Blogs composed entirely of spam.

Spambot - Code that automatically generates large numbers of unsolicited comment spam.

Splog - A spam blog.

Syndicate - An RSS feature that automatically informs subscribers that a new post or comment has been published on your blog.

Tag Word - A keyword.

Team Blog - Blogs written by members of a team.

Template - A document or file having a set of pre-designed formats, used as a starting point for a particular application so that the format does not have to be recreated each time it is used.

Text Editor - A text editor is any word processing program that you can use to type and edit text. Word Pad and NotePad for Windows and SimpleText and TextEdit for the Mac are common text editors. Larger programs such as Microsoft Word and Word Perfect are also text editors but they have many more features. You can actually write HTML code and create HTML pages with a simple text editor as long as you know the correct HTML syntax.

Text File - A file that contains text only and is associated most often with a text editor. Examples are Notepad files (.txt).

Thread - A series of remarks posted in the comment section of a blog that follow a specific sequence.

Topical Blog - A blog that focuses on a niche.

Typelist - Lists mainly the sidebars of blogs to other areas of interest to the blog owner or that they are recommending. They may or may not contain links to other URL's. Areas of interest could be books the owner likes, movies they like, pictures they like, etc.

TrackBack - Systems that allows a blog owner to see when someone has seen the original blog article and written another entry about it. A "ping" is sent between the two blogs alerting everyone as to the trackback.

Troll or Trolling - A person who posts content on a blog with the express intent of provoking an angry response. Trolling is the act of a troll.

URL - Stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is a string of text (i.e. the global address) that specifies the location of documents, websites, and other objects on the World Wide Web.

Web Blog - A blog.

Vlog - A video blog.

Vlogger - A video blogger.

Webpage - A document on the World Wide Web, consisting of an HTML file and any related files for scripts and graphics, and often hyperlinked to other documents on the Web.

Website - A set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.

Wiki - Collaborative on-line software that allows readers to add content on a subject that can be edited by others. For example: Wikipedia.

WWW - An acronym that stands for "World Wide Web" and is is a collection of online documents stored on servers around the world, that are connected to the Internet.

WYSIWYG - An acronym for "what you see is what you get." What you see on the computer screen corresponds to what you will get as printed output.

XML - Stands for "Extensible Markup Language" and is a flexible way to create common information formats and share both the format and the data on the World Wide Web, intranets, and elsewhere.

As mentioned in Part 1 of my "Testing The blogs Series" just like text messaging, forum commenting, etc. bloggers have their own shorthand, words, and definitions, too. You don't have to be an expert on them right away or know what everything means.

If you're new to "blogging" don't worry. If you decide to create a blog before too long some of these words will become common language to you. I'm sure you may have heard some of the terms already. Some may be more obscure and you may never use them or know what they mean. I gave them all to you because I like to be thorough.

Next up in Part 3 of my "Testing The Blogs Series" is my favorite blog provider - the "Cadillac" of blogs -

In Part 4 of my "Testing The Blogs Series" we start comparing all the other blogs I've tried to my favorite. I bet you can hardly wait!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Pupil, A Teacher, and The Crafting Community!

There is just something wonderful about crafting and being able to share your delight with crafting to anyone anywhere in the world. At least I think there is.

There is also something wonderful about helping another crafter and encouraging them to do what they want to do, but might be a little timid about it. After all, no one wants to look foolish. Do they?
Well, my answer to that is there is nothing that you create that you can look foolish for
Creating is creating and crafter's the world over understand this. Whether you are in India, South Africa, Australia, The United States, England, Germany, etc. crafting is crafting. Creating a doll is creating a doll. Designing a graphic is designing a graphic. Creative embroidery is creative embroidery. Crazy quilting is crazy quilting. Knitting is knitting. And, stitchery is stitchery. You get the idea.

The creation drive transcends boundaries and language. A beautiful doll created by a doll maker in India can be appreciated by any other doll maker the world over.

What sets crafter's apart no matter where they are in the world is the love of creating. The drive to not only make something, but to make it "your own."

When you make something "your own" you have set your ideas and creative imagination into the piece you have created. It becomes "beautiful" in your eyes and, hopefully, is appreciated by other crafter's who know what it is to create. So, how can you ever look foolish? My answer is you can't.
Last year a friend of mine, who makes the most wonderful dolls, wanted to try her hand at pattern making, but was a little skeptical that she could do it. Even though she had been in the craft business for 15 years she was still a little afraid and didn't want to look foolish. I, of course, encouraged her and gave her some helpful tips (at least I hope they were helpful) and told her to "GO FOR IT!" Well, she did and she hasn't stopped. She's been the energizer bunny ever since. Make that "the 2ND energizer bunny." Angie is "THE energizer bunny!"

Well, my friend has been involved with so many things since she got the confidence to do so that her creativity is in "overdrive." Along the way she's had a few questions and if I was able to help her I did.

Well, our online friendship developed to the point where she refers to me as "her teacher" and I refer to her as "my pupil." If you are a member of any of the crafting forums we belong to then you know who this is.

What is so wonderful about this story is that she has gone from 0 patterns to 18, has several websites, a crafting blog, a craft show E-Zine, and just bought a new online craft show website and a directory website. She's growing, and growing and growing. And, I couldn't be happier for her.

I know that she has helped others along the way as I have helped her. And, I hope, she will continue to do so which is what the "crafting community" worldwide is known for. We have a wonderful helping and contributing spirit amongst us that is rare and unique in today's day and age. We all help one another as we all appreciate the effort that goes into creating. And, by helping one another we all help "our crafting community" to grow. As the community grows we all benefit.

My motto is "What helps one crafter helps us all!" What could be better than that.

By the way, if you're wondering who my pupil is - it's Talena Bacon of Sew Cute Dolls & More, Sew Cute Doll Patterns, Mulberry Creek Mercantile, and Marketplace Craft Fair.

Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.