A catch-up in my garden

How about this…two posts in one week! It may be an indication that life is returning to some sort of normality. Fingers crossed.

In my last post I wrote about an issue with my computer, explaining that I had to leave it at the shop for a few days, a few internet-free days. Did I miss Facebook? No way, especially as that is where the hacked message came from. However, I did miss this blogging world. I missed finding out what you were up to, catching up on the news.

I think it is a special place we have nurtured, a warm and welcoming space. We have built friendships across the globe. While we may never meet in person, we are friends. Dr Snail posted recently about the loss of her blogging friend Patricia. It is a loss that touches all of us who may have read Patricia’s wise posts.

So, come my friends and sit with me in my Spring garden. Let’s forget about droughts and fires and the insanity of the world for a little. We will have tea, or coffee, or even a glass of wine, and cake and natter about whatever comes to mind! We will find a little space in our lives to just sit and enjoy.

For my garden is now in a fit state to have visitors. The weeds have gone. I have moaned about them before and some got to be about a metre high.

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The compost bins were being engulfed.

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And then my brother came and like a whirlwind uprooted them all.

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Thanks to his hard work I have weed free spaces and can easily find the compost bins.

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I am delighted by the flowers that have not only survived the neglect, but seem to have thrived on it.

 

 

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Sit with me and enjoy the foxgloves that I planted last year and are coming into their own this Spring. Admire the three different coloured irises ~ you can see one of them behind the foxgloves. The aran lilies are past their best, but the salvias are thriving, and it seems to be a glorious year for roses. (Remember how pruning the roses was the only thing I did in the garden over Winter? I am reaping the reward of finding that small pocket of time!)

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Let’s admire the complexity and beauty of the foxglove spires. Can’t you just imagine the little fox paws inside these?

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It is still rather weedy out the front, but let’s ignore them and admire the poppies that are exploding into flower.

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I must show you the seed heads of the salsify. I am not sure that the neighbours love these seed blowing in the wind, but I think they are wondrous.

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I managed to get the tomatoes in before Cup Day ~ that’s the marker for the right time to plant tomatoes in Melbourne. (And yes, we do get a public holiday for a horse race. We get another for the grand final of the Australian Football League. That’s how obsessed with sport many Melbournians tend to be ~ the rest of us just enjoy the day off!) There are strawberries to be harvested too.

Thank you for sitting and strolling with me, for taking some deep breaths and enjoying what the botanical world has to show. Your company is very special to me and I thank you for that too. Here’s to friendship, and foxgloves!

 

 

More fiddling and fluffing

Before you read on…..I am still fiddling and fluffing with the look of the site. This current theme is different to the one I wrote about yesterday, so I think I am happier with it. But the reasons for the new look are still the same. So read on……

You may have realised that this blog looks different. It is! I am fiddling around. This is its second theme this weekend, and there may be another, as I am not really happy with the menu on this theme.

Why change?

Well, you may remember me trumpeting my new website in the middle of last year. My intention was to create a website that gave me control and have the potential to transition from Etsy.  While I felt very clever working out all sorts of things, there were just too many things I didn’t understand. Security being the Big One. I couldn’t get my head around the different levels and the necessary plugins. I knew that if I was going to ask people for very confidential information I had to get that one right.

There were other issues. However, the other Big One was the look of the thing. I couldn’t get that fancy dancy look that I wanted. That probably requires payment, and I am not prepared to do that.

So, I have decided to trash the site (still working out how to do that!) The loss will be the domain name, but I think it’s a small price to pay (or not to pay!) I can still do much of what I want with this blog. I am looking for a theme that is clean and uncluttered, that allows me to show off my art. My plan is to have pages that describe my art. Sewing on Paper  is the first of these. Each page and image will have a link to my Etsy shop.

Another page is Useful Links, very title boring, but necessarily explicit. This has worked well for me. I can put links to a few things I wish to highlight ~ maybe a drawing that has just gone into the shop, a blog post, a link to the shop etc. Then that page becomes the page I link to in my bio in Instagram. Then, when I am posting about my new drawing I can say ‘link in bio’; that link will take customers to my Useful Links page, which can then send them on to the Etsy shop! And it does work. So, if you have an Instagram account and sell things, I suggest you set one up too. It’s good because you can’t make direct links in an Instagram post. (If that is not clear and you are intrigued, I can be explain it in more detail.)

The other thing I am trying to set up is a home page. The default is the blog roll, but I rather fancy a static one, again, showing my art. It will be the About Me page, which at the moment is dreadfully out of date. That’s if I can get it to work!

So, I should be able to do all I want to do, with less hassle, and no domain name. And I already have all of you lovelies reading and liking and commenting. I realise that instead of moving house I am adding on a new wing, so I get to hang out in the same neighbourhood. That’s a win! Like any good renovation, I am going to have a golly good clean out, of old posts and photos that are just cluttering up the place. I wonder what treasures I will discover as I go back through the archives.

Let me know if there are issues with this theme. Unlike the house analogy, I can change my mind at any time.

annelawsonart.com.au !!

Yes! I have my own website, at my own domain name:   annelawsonart.com.au 

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(Does little dance around the room……)

I would love it if you took a look. (I’ll just continue my little dance around the room!!)

It’s still a work-in-progress. Some pages are still to be set up, some need tweaking, and I am sure there are glitches and typos. Please let me know if you find any. Typos? Links that don’t work? Sentences that are unclear? Problems with pages loading?

As you know I have been on the quest for a website for about a month. Someone wrote that every artist should have their own website that is just more than just an online showplace. It should have an online store as well. If it’s doesn’t, the website is almost useless. It helped me decide what I wanted from my site:

  • a place to showcase my art
  • a way to sell my art
  • a way to automatically link to my newsletter subscription
  • a way to blog
  • and to have control, to not be at the mercy of changing algorithms and price rises.

Last time I wrote I was wondering about sites like Shopify or Bigcommerce. These was great feedback, and useful links to follow through. Thank you. The more I delved the more I realised that sites like those were not really what I was looking for.

Firstly they are expensive, around $30 a month for the basic platform. That was a big commitment for each month, and frankly, unrealistic for me. Secondly, it’s for higher volume sales than I would be generating, and more mainstream products. Then I wasn’t sure that they would give me the ‘showcase’ space that I also wanted. Someone wrote “If you sell just a few investment pieces or special orders each month, less costly options may be better choices.”

So, that lead me further, and WordPress kept popping up. Despite having blogged on WordPress for quite a few years, I really had no idea about it. I assumed it was a big tech giant, owned, like Facebook and Google. I knew there was this ‘other’ WordPress (WP), WordPress.org, but really knew nothing about it. Maybe it was just a fancy blogging site?

I now know a lot more. (And warning, I am not a tech person, so I may well have got the wrong end of the computer stick here.) WP is the software, a content management system, created and maintained by different individuals. It’s developed by the community around WP, with volunteer testers.

To work it needs a host. For those of us using WP.com, which is is the case if you have wordpress in your domain name, the host is already provided. To be able to work on WP.org you need to select your own host.

The advantages that I could see with WP.org were:

  • Lots of sites use it. Apparently about 25% of all sites on the web use WP.org (Hands up if you already knew that!?) There is an entire industry built around it.
  • Security is very good; updates are frequent.
  • It is low cost, with free themes
  • It performs well, loads quickly and is mobile friendly.
  • You can plug in eCommerce

The disadvantages worried me a bit. I read things like “easily accessible, but some prior knowledge does help”. How much prior knowledge? Or that some knowledge of coding may be useful. (Spoiler alert….So far I haven’t needed any coding, but I am doing the easy part of the website.)

So the next step was to select the host, the server that stores my website, using WP software. Again more reading and comparing. I weighed up two hosts, Bluehost and Siteground, and decided on the latter.

It’s so hard to judge these things. It made me aware of bias in reviewing sites. Did they have affiliate links to one host? I became aware of the date of the review. A lot can change in a year. But you have to make a decision. I decided against BlueHost because they wanted an upfront payment of 3 years. As well they are owned by EIG, a company that seems renown for buying up companies and then cutting costs at the expense of performance. There is, according to some reviews, terrible support and poor loading times.

Siteground had much better reviews. It asked for a yearly upfront fee, but offered a good deal for the first 12 months. And Catherine, at Hillview Embroidery uses it too. She has been a great mentor through it all!

So, I took the plunge, signed up with Siteground, linked up with WP, and began to work on the site. But that next stage will be a post for next time.

Blogs and copyright

I am after some information. Can you help me?

I am wondering about copyright for blog material. Let me give you a little background.

I keep the blog and website for the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project. I am administrator and almost sole contributor, but I do it on behalf of the group. We are now wondering who has copyright to this material. Do you think it is me? The Group?

My very shaky, layperson’s concept of copyright for this blog is that I hold it, and that material from here can’t be reproduced without my permission or, such as with reblogging, linked back to this site. That’s because I own the intellectual property. Do you think it is the same if I put it together on behalf of others?

Have you investigated copyright issues? I’d be grateful for some advice, or links if they come easily to hand.

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Did you miss my newsletter last week? It has images of the latest abstract landscapes I have been working on. You can subscribe to receive it each fortnight.

Wishing you joy

I suspect that there are many of you who, like me, are rather glad to see the back of 2017. It was a year of trouble and strife, and sometimes the only way to stay sane was to turn off the news.

But of course there were many positives too. I loved reading your blogs about your gardens, your creative works and your general ramblings. Even the posts that were despairing about the world were coming from a place of humanity and a desire to see a better world than the one being built around us. In Australia we finally have marriage equality and in Victoria dying with dignity legislation. And then there was the birth of my great-nephew Archie ~ sigh.

So thank you for helping me get through the year and for supporting my art in so many ways.

My wish for 2018 is that we all find joy. Let’s do it and celebrate the things that bring us that joy.

And more on next year…..

I am not a fan of setting goals. James Clear has good reasons why Big Goals don’t work. I am going to do something a little different in 2018, an idea that I have borrowed from Dr Snail over at the Snail of Happiness. Lots of you follow her blog (if you don’t, you should pop over and have a look) so you might remember her 17 in 17 list. She may have borrowed the idea from someone else, but following that trail is not on my to-do list today! I won’t explain the concept; my list should fill you in.

My idea is to include things that I want to do more of. For example, I always mean to get to the movies, but for some reason never quite make it. So now I am going to encourage myself to reach my target of 13. If I don’t make it, then at least I will have seen some. Some were easy to put against a number ~ 18 letters seems to be the perfect number. I am not sure about some ~ making even 3 garments might be a stretch, and baking 8 cakes or biscuits….well. I am allowing myself to put a couple together, such as sometimes combining the walk with visiting a different place.

So, here is my 18 in 18 list.

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On Boxing Day we workshopped my list (don’t you love family involvement?!), which was great because people gave me suggestions; I wouldn’t have thought of a music one. Mum, who loves to record things, suggested that I use a book to keep track of what I have done. So I set one up, because I love to record things too! She also suggested that I illustrate it, but I’m pretty confident that’s not going to happen.

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Every so often through the year I will tell you how I am going. Blogging about it will keep me accountable. And my Mum will expect updates as well 😊

What do you think about new year goals and lists? Some people, like Cathy, have words that keep them focussed for the year. What do you do? What would you put as #1 and #18?

Whatever you do, and how ever you do it, I hope your life is filled with people you love, and who love you back. May you find JOY.

Happy New Year Friends xoxo

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Let me tempt you to sign up for my newsletter…..I have been creating art works that are quite different from anything I have done before, and they are only going to be available through my newsletter. Intrigued? Sign up and I will tell you more and show you photos in the next letter. And you get one of my feather drawings as a downloadable gift. (My Instagram feed will give you a sneak peek of one of the art works that will be available.)

Newsletter time ~ take 2

Well, the first newsletter came out last Thursday ~ phew!

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The opening section of the newsletter
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A little article about split complementary colours
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Some links that I added (NB this is only a photo, so the links won’t work!)

I still haven’t found a way of attaching the sign-up button to my blog. (Anybody out there know how to do it? Or know if it can be done?)

And I think I may have mucked up with sending the newsletter to blog readers who wanted to be on the list. So, if you didn’t receive it, and would like to, you can click on the link; you should go to the sign-up form. (Let me know if there are any gremlins here.)

Sign up for the newsletter

The next edition will be out on Thursday. Hurray!!

 

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sketchbook has left the States and arrived in Greece. Now it is not only international, but global! How cool is that?!

It is a while since I have written about it, but I have just updated my Sisterhood page. It gives you an overview of the contributions all the Sisters have made, as well as the background to the Sketchbook, and who the Sisters are.

Our blog The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is another way to keep up with what the Sketchbook looks like. Simply follow the blog and you will receive posts as they are published. Here the Sisters make links to their own blogs too. The blog even has a natty interactive map. 🙂

It is an amazing project. So many walls are going up, so it is lovely to know that the Sketchbook can just fly over the top of them!