Handmade In Keswick at Craftfest

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Getting seen on internet

Who knows what a "backlink" is?

A Learning Curve

Since opening my Etsy Shop I've discovered a whole new language which not only do I not speak, I've found that there is no easy translation either.  I've recently started tackling the hefty subject of Search Engine Optimisation, and I now call it THJ (Turns Head to Jelly). Mary of SEOWebDesign has been guiding me through the intricacies of key words, web crawlers, and relevancy. 

The Matrix is online

I'm now ready to test the theories (or are they facts?) of backlinks.  The idea being that R2D2 and 3CPO can work out that my shop is a good one to put in a good position on search engine pages, by the very fact that I have linked it to other web pages.

Is it all smoke and mirrors? 

So here we go: I was going to put a clickable picture link in, but I have spent hours reading dozens of sets instructions on how to and decided that life is just too short, so this is the picture I would have used

It'd be great to hear of other people experiences with this, and if anyone knows of a good video showing me how to make that picture clickable, just point me in the right direction.

Please put a comment at the bottom of this post and also tell me if you have a widget to grab (ooer).

Weather in Keswick

Sun rising on to Causey Pike
Had to scrape the frost off the car a few mornings this week because the skys have been so clear at night.  As with the rest of the UK, its been hotting up during the day to low to mid 20s.

Early morning in Braithwaite
The word on the street - er I mean, lane - is that snow is due next week.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Walk around Keswick

Well I said I'd tell you a bit about me and my world, so we'll start with the area where I live. The weather in the Northern Lake District has been fantastic, and it made me want to share the stunning scenery with those of you who don't know it.  I haven't been able to take any photos today, but this lovely little clip I found probably does better than that anyway.

We moved here after a world trip, which included New Zealand.  One day we had staggered up a hill near Te Anau, New Zealand, and were knocked out by the gorgeous scenery against the back drop of a rainbow in front of the blackest cloud (which was just about to drop something icy cold on us), and I announced that I didn't care where we lived next, but I wasn't gonna live anywhere 'oribble ever again. - I won't tell you where we had been living before the trip, for fear of offending anyone - as much as I would welcome comments, I don't want to start a row about the North/South divide.

Derwentwater from Keswick

Anyway, long story short, we rocked up to Keswick about 14 years ago on public transport with no money, no jobs, and nowhere to live. Now I wouldn't live anywhere else. I definitely wouldn't be able to drag my husband away - where else can you pop out for a quick ice climb, rock climb, mountain bike, swim in the lake?

Neil near the top of Incline Fall at Honister Crag near the Via Ferrata.

Since then we have added Jess to the family


Jess on Barrow, with a glimpse of Skiddaw behind

I don't have any photos of me in beautiful settings.  - Its actually illegal to take my photo.  Of course, this is something I should really sort out, as I want people to relate to my shop and its probably a bit impersonal at the mo.

I trained as a Jewellery Designer/Maker on the Design Crafts course at Epsom School of Art and Design, after doing Foundation at Norwich School of Art.  I learnt traditional jewellery fabrication skills, but Design Crafts wasn't a traditional course and we gave more than glance toward the avant- garde and experimental.

Influences (to name but a few) were

David Watkins

Wendy Ramshaw (when she came to the college, it was like a royal visit - I kid you not). 

More recently, I have been encouraged and supported by North Pennines artist, Avril Douglas

Avril has a knack of finding wonderful and unusual art and crafts from around the work for her blog http://threads-of-a-story.blogspot.co.uk/

Those of you who read my first post will have worked out that I'm a control freak who likes issuing instructions, and as you have been kind enough to read this far, I'll ask you to also do the following three things:

  • Join this site (it won't do any harm, you don't get spam or anything)
  • Comment at the bottom telling me whether you'd like to read more Keswick Talk; Business Talk; or Creative Talk (and I'll probably stick the weather at the bottom anyway)
  • And finally (v important this one) someone please put a comment on telling me how to get my keyboard to write degrees C the proper way.

Weather in Keswick today:

Yay, 24°C today. Lots of lilly white tourists in town, gradually turning pink; and the rock climbing season has started.  Mind you, I still have to scrape frost off the car a couple of mornings, so a bit unpredictable. No rain for ages but still muddy in places, so the bike trails at Whinlatter Forest might be a bit clarty.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Baby Steps To Success - Writing a First Blog Post

Ever considered writing a blog?

 I did all the considering, the weighing up, the worrying, the picking up and putting right back down again for a long, long, looooooonnnng time. 
I read other blogs, asked others for tips, and wrote lists all in the hope that somehow it would hit me what to do about it. 
I did, of course, realise that the only bit of advice, that several people gave me, did actually hold true. 

Just go for it
"Ramble on" they said, you'll get there eventually.  But NO, I have to produce something interesting and witty and nothing short of award winning!  Then I realised what I had to do next: 

Embrace the fact that your first post will be rubbish
A big step for a perfectionist, but once accepted, pretty easy to come to the conclusion that by starting badly, things will only get better. Good philosophy for life really. 

Obviously, as you're already reading this, you're now obliged to 'follow' me and track that theory. 

I had stumbled across a motivational post by Emilie Wapnick, which encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and gave practical tips on how to go about doing it.  It s all about doing things, not because you want/need to, but just for training yourself to be brave really.

Throw in the odd picture

Distraction is a powerful tool.

Have a clear idea of your purpose/point
Nobody s making you say it out loud - just be sure you know what it is. It'll help keep the rambling under control (hopefully).

So here we are - you've been reading for a few minutes now and I can't put it off any longer. 

I'll be using this blog to talk about life in the Lake District.

(nice piccie ey?)

There'll be talk about my small business (and my 3 shops - on WowThankYou, Etsy and Folksy)
I'll try to include some other useful stuff like weather reports, and important stuff like gossip and good pubs.
Well there we go, that was it, my first blog post - thank you for managing to hang in there this long - give yourself a pat on the back.  Next post, I'll tell you what I'm really about.   
If you've managed to read this far, you're probably my best friend or my mother, but just in case you're not, I'm gonna ask you to do 3 things.

Take your pick from the following:
  • Go and start writing a blog yourself
  • Subscribe to this blog
  • Share this post on your Facebook page
  • Tweet it
  • Stumble it
  • Tell the person next to you about it
  • Pin it
  • Forget it and never read this blog again
and finally
  • Comment on this post and tell me which of the above you did (laughing is allowed, but don't make me cry)
(If you don't know what some of those things are, then look out for the links and buttons I'll put on just as soon as I've worked out how to do it)