Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New Items For My Linda Walsh Originals Etsy Shoppe

After thinking about this for quite a while I decided to re-stock my Linda Walsh Originals Handmade Dolls & Crafts Shop on Etsy in time for the holidays.

I've been a little delinquent in re-stocking my shop there. I set up my Etsy shop in March of 2008 but  I haven't added anything since 2009. It's not because I didn't have the time - well, that could be part of the reason. It's because I got really discouraged back then with Etsy and a small crafter's ability to get noticed over there.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of handmade products on Etsy - which is a REALLY GOOD THING for handmade goods and the handmade goods industry. However, for the small business crafter that means it's really, really hard to get noticed.

Back then I was told to list something new every day, join groups, participate in the forum, and create treasuries. So, for a while I tried listing every day and joined a couple of groups and participated in the forum.

Many of the groups suggested treasuries as a sure fire way to get noticed. Well, every time I tried to create a treasury I was unable to do so. There were just too many being created at the same time and a limited number of spots available. Spots only opened up when a treasury dropped off and a new slot was open. However, you never new when this would happen during the day so you had to wait your turn, and wait, and wait. Well, there was no way I was going to sit at the computer all day just waiting to initiate my treasury or get up at three in the morning. I thought hours upon hours to create a treasury that may or may not be noticed - what a waste of a small business crafters time.

It just seemed impossible to get noticed so I decided to keep my shop open - in case I changed my mind, and let my products lapse. And, that's how it's been for two years.

I have always been a firm believer in a small business crafter having their own website and/or blog as the main avenue for selling their handmade items and using other websites as supplemental promotional vehicles.

Such was the case for me with my Etsy shop.  I have ALWAYS had my own Linda Walsh Originals Shop website stocked with hundreds of handmade doll & craft products and my patterns and e-patterns.  I set-up my Etsy shop to give my Linda Walsh Originals businesses a presence on Etsy.  A handmade marketplace where I could sell some of my handmade dolls & crafts and some of my patterns and e-patterns.

In thinking about Etsy lately I figured that after two years of absence maybe things have changed a bit over there. Maybe I should give it a shot again.

So, I added a few Santa's to my Etsy shop and will add a few more things in time for the holidays.

I'm going to give Etsy another try.

Who knows. Maybe things have substantially improved for the better over on Etsy.

Maybe I'll get noticed and like it this time.

Maybe I'll even sell something over there.

I'll let you know what happens.

Friday, November 04, 2011

I'm Playing Again, This Time With OpenOffice.org

I've been playing, yet again. This time it's with OpenOffice.org and I have to tell you I'm loving it.

Just writing that my computer shook. My Microsoft Publisher program doesn't like that comment one bit. It's getting nervous thinking I'm about to abandon ship.

Hold on to your hats "Publisher" I'm just playing. You know I just LOVE to play and recommend things I find to my readers.

I think you all know how much I LOVE Microsoft Publisher as it has been able to handle everything I have needed over the years for my business, websites, and blogs.

However, not everyone has Publisher and since I started using Publisher back in the stone ages, well - a LOT of wonderful programs have come along that are very helpful to small business artists and crafters on the web. Including me. Well, one such program, that I have been playing with lately is OpenOffice.org.

According to OpenOffice.org: OpenOffice.org 3 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

Unlike GoogleDocs.com, which I told you about in a previous post, you have to download the OpenOffice.org software to utilize it. So, I downloaded it and started to play. And, I kept playing, and playing and playing.

This program can create text documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings, Databases, Formula's, and more. The drawing program saves your file with an OpenOffice.org extension (.ODG) so if you want it to be saved as a .JPG, .GIF, .PNG, etc. you have to export it. All of the programs have a separate export to .PDF link for creating .PDF documents.

I found EVERYTHING to be easy to understand and use. Within a few minutes I was able to utilize just about every program - almost as if I was an old hand at it.

If you want to create e-patterns, e-tutorials, e-articles, e-projects, e-printables, graphics, slideshows, etc. or just have some fun with your pictures and are looking to purchase software do yourself a favor and download the free OpenOffice.org suite first. You will not be disappointed.

I'm sorry Microsoft Publisher, but this is a GREAT suite of programs and I do like the drawing program. Just like Publisher it works with my Bamboo drawing pad and within a few seconds I was creating all sorts of shapes, sizes, circles, curves, etc. And, when I went to rotate them, well, the capabilities here are simply AMAZING. I may never stop playing with it.

With that statement my computer literally started sputtering. If I didn't know better I would think Publisher was "crying."

Not to worry Publisher I still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you and while the capabilities of the OpenOffice.org drawing program are good it still can't replace you. I can do everything I need to do to create my e-patterns and e-books in one Publisher file. Creating e-patterns and e-books with OpenOffice.org would require using both the text document program and the drawing program. Plus, the drawing program doesn't seem to have the capability for a two-page spread, which Publisher does, and which is required for creating an e-pattern booklet cover.

With that statement I think my Publisher program just breathed a sigh of relief.

However, because I love to play I may create a few new things in OpenOffice.org just to get the real lay of the land.

Don't worry, Publisher, just because OpenOffice.org is the new kid on Linda's block it doesn't mean this "old gal" is going to give up her #1 best software program of all time. We've been through thick and thin together and I don't see any need to change that.

With that statement my Publisher program started crying - tears of joy!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

GoogleDocs For Creating and Displaying .PDF's

I've been playing again testing a few different avenues for small business crafters who have .PDF free e-patterns, e-tutorials, e-projects, and e-articles that they have created and want to display on their websites or blogs. I recently posted about Scribd.com which is a document hosting website in a Linda's Blog post entitled "I Decided To Try Scribd For Some Of My Free E-Books and E-Patterns." Today I experimented with GoogleDocs.com which is not only a document hosting website, but a document creations website.

Now you might be thinking that all hosting document hosting websites are the same.  Au contraire!

Not only can you upload .PDF's to GoogleDocs.com to obtain a linkable URL, but you can CREATE a document right on their website using a suite of office type programs. Their programs are free to use and do not require you to download anything to your computer and include documents creation, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, drawings, and tables. Each of these programs automatically store the items you are creating in your Google account. So, they are available to you everywhere.

If you've been a reader of my Linda's Blog for awhile you know that I LOVE Microsoft Publisher which is part of Microsoft Office. For me, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Publisher are still the best for me to use for my purposes, but GoogleDocs.com is a great way to get started if you want to create .PDF e-patterns, e-tutorials, e-projects, and e-articles and don't have Microsoft Office.

As mentioned GoogleDocs.com will not only upload already created .PDF's, but will let you create your own document. In creating them you can download your document as a .PDF to your own computer or you can PUBLISH your document online. If you create your own .PDF in another program and upload it to GoogleDoc.com you can only obtain a distinct URL that you can link to and which would  display your .PDF.

However, if you create the document using GoogleDocs.com office suite you can PUBLISH it which creates an HTML version of your document that can then be embedded within your blog or website.

Since I already had created my own free e-patterns and e-books I decided to upload those and obtain distinct URL's that I could link to.

I like how the GoogleDocs.com displays the .PDF with the separate pages showing as clickable icons in the left hand sidebar. You can search the document, zoom in or out, download it, print it, and make a copy of it. You can move from page to page via the sidebar or using the left and right arrows.

You can also view it one page at a time or two pages at a time like in the picture shown below:

As far as visibility is concerned you can share it as follows:

1) Public on the web - Anyone on the Internet can find and access. No sign-in required.
2) Anyone with the link - Anyone who has the link can access. No sign-in required.
3) Private - Only people explicitly granted permission can access. Sign-in required.

Using the office suite to create a .PDF takes a little getting used to, but you can create a document and then insert images into it. I think this works best for e-tutorials, e-projects, e-articles, and e-books as all their pages are generally letter size.

However, for e-patterns if you intend to create a two-page cover that can be turned sideways and folded to pattern size then you will have to create this in a separate picture program and then insert the image into your GoogleDocs.com document. GoogleDocs.com only accepts .jpeg, .gif, and .png image files so if you have created your pattern piece sheets as .bmp (to keep the size of your .pdf down) you'll have to convert them to .jpg before you could insert them into your document.

You can also use the suite to create a response form that users can fill out which you can email or embed into your website or blog.

I'm still partial to Publisher, but that's me. I'm old school and very loyal to programs that have worked wonderfully for me for years. However, I do like to play so the next time I'm in the mood to create another free e-book I'll give GoogleDocs.com another try.