Thursday, January 22, 2009

I have found the snap in updating my social networks with Ping.fm

Blogging Sites on the Internet

I have updated my Winchuck Training website with:
  • blogging sites
  • tools for blogging
  • blogging task that you may want to do.

Have fun looking and it is all FREE!


The following is just a preview of what my website offers. I have put all the blogging information under "Training Continued", since I use this site to cut down on the endless waste of paper handing out papers to the classes that I teach.

Social Networking Websites

I have gathered many sites listed below that deal with blogging. I have yet to discover how many of them work. You should feel free to let me know if and when you figure out the ins and outs of some of these sites.


Blogging can be:
  • just fun to express yourself
  • make new friends
  • promote your business

.....or all of the above. We no longer are restricted to actual physical contact to be in ones face up and personal. We have the whole wide world of the web! Find great blogs that speak to you. Figure out what they do that attracts you. Use these same techniques to create creative and interesting blogs that will be of value for many people.










Thursday, January 15, 2009

Making a Rustic Driftwood Bird Feeding Station

I had my husband put together an existing long 2 x 6 board onto some extra metal poles that we also had together to make a station to hang our many bird feeders onto. We had the bird feeders on the deck, but the mess was just too much to deal with! We were going to hang the feeders in the tree out front, so we could easily watch the bird feeding from the house, but I had the problem of reaching the feeders to replenish seed when necessary. Having them at a handy height that could easily be reached was necessary; while making sure that Patty Cat couldn't jump high enough to surprise a bird or two.

Once the object was built and placed under a large Norwegian Maple Tree, it looked naked. I had the board and the poles with bird feeders hanging, but a board is a just a board. It needed more. I wanted it look natural. A board with two metal poles was ugly!

I live near the Pacific Ocean on the Wild River's Coast of Southern Oregon, so driftwood is abundant just for the taking. I picked my elderly mom up and drove down to a local beach to gather several pieces of driftwood. Mom loved the sun, the sea and the sea gulls that she could throw food to. I loved looking for just the right pieces of driftwood. After just a few minutes I had enough wood to cover the board that stretched across to hang the bird feeders on. It would have been easier to do this before the feeding station was built, but that didn't stop me.

I drilled holes in the driftwood and used screws to attach the pieces to the flat board so they wouldn't easily fall off or be whipped off by wind and rain. Once again, I felt that the board needed more to look just like I would like. I had a box of moss that I had gathered in our yard and in the woods out back. I stuffed the moss in and about the pieces of wood using a tool to get it tucked tightly under so it might stay put. I possibly will find that I will have to actually glue the moss on to keep it in place. The birds might also find the moss an inviting material to build their nest with. That would be OK with me! I will just gather more moss so that they have a continual supply of handy stuff to carry off for their home building task.

My plan is to cover the post with wire and grow up some sort of vine to cover the poles. I haven't decided just what vine that will be as the area is in shade once the maple tree is covered with crimson leaves. I might use Wire Vine. It grows fast and does a nice job of covering whatever it grows on. It would also stay all winter long. I want the bird feeding station to blend in with nature as much as possible. more driftwood might be added to soften the angles of the feeding station. It may look more like an arch when I completely finish.

I have covered only one side of the board, so I might find that the other side will stick out like a sore thumb, once spring is really here and I spend more time out at the pond. Looking back at the house, the board might scream out for a dressing of more driftwood and moss.

It took me less than an hour to drill my holes and fasten the pieces to the wood. I had some difficulty with thick pieces of driftwood; which gave me an extra thinking process to figure out where to drill and then to find some extra long screws!

I took the pictures at the wrong time of the day for the best results. I will change them out at some future date when the vines are covering the poles. The birds are very happy. The Pine Siskens actually kept feeding while I was up on a ladder fastening the wood. Nothing could keep them from their appointed task! We were often eye to eye.

The rustic wooden bird house in the last picture will find a new home perched on top of the feeding station at one end or hanging in the tree nearby. I believe it will add just the right touch. I might even make a giant bird nest from small pieces of driftwood so that I can have a cool place to put peanuts in the shells that I like feeding the jays. It could be fastened on the top of the board also. What fun!! I can't stop thinking of what else I want to do to add to this bird feeding station! If driftwood isn't easily found, one could use any natural elements. I have some shells that I might incorporate, trimmings from the orchard could also have worked. How about old door knobs to hang feeders from or vintage faucet handles? I have a bright green glass knob that might find a place somewhere in the mix. The ideas start to flow as soon as you decide to start.

Monday, January 12, 2009

What Can You Do With Twitter?


What do you do with Twitter?

Just in case you want one more thing to think about! I took this information from a newsletter from SitePro.Com

I love the book idea! It sounds like a lot of fun! I think I may start a book today.

1) Community Help Desk - I've already used Twitter several

times to investigate an issue I've been having with my

computer, or a problem one of my clients has come across. Just

yesterday I was able to pinpoint the source of a domain redirect

issue because my followers in other countries could reach the

site even though I was being redirected.



2) Write a Collaborative Book - you and a bunch of your favorite

Tweeps could write a novel, one sentence (tweet) at a time. The

results could range from hilarious to Shakespearean. I thought

of this while reading about the popularity of Japanese novels

composed via mobile text messages, but it turns out that some

attempts have been made at this already e.g. 140 Novel

and Good Captain. You could do a similar thing with song lyrics.



3) Live Webinars/Tutorials - you could create a new Twitter

account with protected updates and ask invitation-only

participants to follow you. Then you could hold a *closed*

webinar at a pre-arranged time using Twitter for delivery

instead of expensive webinar solutions. Twitter allows you to

live chat, post links, photos, videos, audio files and text so

there is no need for any plug-ins. You could even use a Twitter

buffer like Twuffer to space out the

content of the webinar via tweets over a specific timeframe.



4) Free Market Research - Who needs to pay expensive market

research companies to learn stuff about your latest product?

Just send a link, a free sample or a short survey to your

followers and watch the feedback flow in.



5) Online Reputation Management - Twitter is ideal for tracking

what people are saying about you, your company or your product.

You can use Twitter Search to enter keywords or hash tags. Or you can use purpose-built widgets such as TweetBeep which work just like Google Alerts and send you regular emails containing any discussions

involving your chosen Twitter accounts or hash tags. These work

well for competitor tracking too.



6) Laugh a Day / Therapy - I'm consistently amazed how many

long-term Twitter users fail to use the favorites option to

bookmark tweets that they like. Whenever I read a tweet that

makes me laugh out loud, I favorite it immediately. Then,

whenever I am feeling a bit flat, stressed or sense a bad mood

coming on, I turn to my favorites list knowing I will be

giggling in no time. You can also rely on your followers to

sense when you're down and cheer you up.



7) Competitions - Companies like Zappos and Hand Bag Heaven

have been holding competitions on Twitter for a while now. You

basically elicit a response from your followers in exchange for

the chance to win something. You could ask a question about one

of your products or ask followers to find something on your site

to win a gift certificate. But with a bit of ingenuity, you can

be even more inventive.

Some Helpful Internet Selling Advice


I emailed Joe at Joe's Goals, a website where you can list goals and then work on them. I told Joe that I was teaching a class, Intro to Internet Selling, and would share his site in the class.

We need all the help we can find to get our work accomplished and to help our dreams actually become a reality. I asked Joe to give me something to say from his perspective so I wouldn't be putting words in his mouth. I do not believe in re-inventing anyone's ideas. They own them and I want them to represent their ideas if I at all possible.

It was so very cool that he did send me some information. As a self-proclaimed internet doo gooder who loves to spread the help around and maybe make our internet society a better place, I'm sharing his email with you.
  • I'd like to think this email could start a dialogue that would promote growth in our internet seller's mind.
  • What does it mean to you?
  • How would you implement some of these ideas?
  • How are you going to improve your business in 2009?....the list goes on.

We can't stop where we are. There are places to go and hopefully money to be made. Don't forget we also need to have fun along the way, so I will dabble in photo imaging stuff and others will bake cookies and many of us will actually clean up our work spaces so we have room to grow!


Joe's email:

Building a web business:

1. Solve a problem that you have - even if it is a minor problem. Joe's Goals helped me track my goals in the way I wanted. Turned out that thousands of people also had the same problem. Don't try and solve a "problem" you think others should have.

2. Free promotion is worth ten times as much as paid promotion. If you can get into a blog post on a popular site the chances of that post being picked up by other blogs, social networks, link sites, etc is very high. This will get you a lot more traffic that buying banners or links on Google and the traffic will be targeted. It isn't easy, but here are some ideas on how to approach blog authors:

  • Be honest - tell them if you read the site every day or just discovered it. Don't pretend.
  • Be direct - don't waste the blogger/authors time. Tell them what's up.

3. Tell them why you think your business is relevant to their audience. ("I saw you posted a list of the top ten to do list application. Joe's Goals isn't a to do list, but it may be of use to your audience in a similar way")

4. Offer a sample - don't be afraid to offer a sample of your product for them to review. It may not get you a review or a positive review, but it increases your chances.

5. Don't pester. Email one of the authors and if nothing happens in four or five weeks feel free to email again. After that drop it as these blogs get dozens of similar requests a day.

3. Look at Google trends when you name your business/site. They don't have a lot of data, but if you compare terms related to your business to other known popular terms you can get an idea what traffic you could expect should you rank well on Google. Google can be a great source of study traffic and ranking well there will typically rank you will on any other search engine. Study SEO.

4. Figure out how you are going to make money - There are only a few ways that people typically do it online:

  • Display ads (think Google Adsense). A good example of this is plentyoffish.com (do some research to figure out this guys sites). Most of the time Ads will not pay for much more than hosting costs with a small business. You probably have a 1 in a thousand chance of making money this way as the vast majority of sites (even sites like facebook and youtube) don't earn enough to cover their expenses.
  • Selling real stuff - Think books, tshirts, etc. This is how a lot of businesses get started in the real world and make their transition to the Internet with real products. You know your cost, your profit margin, etc. The difficulty will be reaching critical mass.
  • Lead generation/referral - This can be a great way to build a business. If you can attract or buy an audience that is interested in a particular product or service you can often provide referrals and/or "leads" to the company that provides that product/service.
  • Selling digital stuff - If you have some way of making the digital stuff (meaning that you are a developer) this can be a great way and many successful companies do just this (see 37signals as an example). You'll ultimately end up providing support and always be focused on marketing. But you can start out with very few costs and scale from there provided you can do the work yourself.
5. Be personal with your business - don't use terms like "we" and "our policy" etc. If you are a two person company don't pretend to be a corporate giant. Most folks are much more likely to respond to personal pitches from real people than they are when seeing stock business photos and length corporate verbiage. You can see me do this at the top of Joe's Goals where I say that this is a tool that I built that now you can use.

6. You existing customer is worth more than a new customer - perhaps by a factor of 10. It is hard to get new customers, but selling/upselling an existing customer can be relatively easy.

7. Be prepared to change - chances are very low that your initial idea is going to be worth much. Be prepared to adapt your model, your products, and your approach based on the business climate at the time.

8. Own as much of what you do as possible - The digital graveyard is littered with companies who made hundreds of thousands of dollars in one year riding on the backs of Google or Yahoo, and then died the next year when these big companies decided to change the way they did business. Everytime Google "improves" their search listings there are companies that go under as they no longer get those 20 sales a day from search traffic.

Thoughts?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Antique Sterling Silver Stands with Etched Glass Inserts

This beautiful set of sterling silver stands with glass inserts will be listed January 15th for seven days on eBay.Com. If you can identify the maker, please leave us a comment. Visit our eBay store where unique is the usual.



Vintage Set of Silver Stands with Glass Inserts
















Description:



This is a beautiful set of 10 small sterling stands with glass removable inserts . They have a crisply articulated cut out decoration. They have that beautiful, soft patina, that is a very appealing element of antique silver. Each is marked under the curve of the silver cup with the maker’s mark as clearly shown in pictures. They have no damage. What a gorgeous gift this would make or add it to your silver collection for a decorative element to a fine dinner table. The sterling stands measure 3" high and almost 4" across at the top. There is only a bit of tarnishing due to age and could easily be buffed out. The maker's mark is on the bottom. The glass inserts are beautifully decorated with a floral design. Bid today and own a nice set of desert dishes or possibly a great dish for serving shrimp cocktails.

Silver always adds sophistication and beauty to all occasions where we are serving a special occasion.




Sunday, January 04, 2009

Website Maintenance After the Holidays



I am cleaning up my website and my eBay Store after the holidays. Needless to say, I am seeing stars as I struggle through all my listings! I am moving over the Christmas ornaments from eBay to the website being sure to mark them down 15% to make them a good price for interest all year long.


I try very hard to purchase an eclectic assortment of Christmas ornaments that one can't find just anywhere making Winchuck River Store a fun and unique shopping experience.

I have put a couple of slide shows together here for your viewing fun hoping that you will find something that tickles your Christmas spirit even after the holidays.







Thursday, January 01, 2009

Restuarant Review of One Love's Eclectic Cuisine Bookings Oregon

I am posting a scrapbook of an Old Friend's New Years Party we held at One Love's Restaurant yesterday, Dec. 31, 2008. As, we grow older, we find we can't stay awake for a regular New Years Party, so we had one at 12 noon instead of celebrating at 12 p.m.





We ate at our favorite restaurant in Brookings, Oregon, One Love's located on Railroad Street just behind the new Post Office. We were all in agreement that this will an annual event. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we missed the movie we had planned to watch!

We are very lucky to have the owners, Edward and Melissa Benbow decide that Brookings was the place to raise their young family and open up their first business. Edward was raised in Las Vegas where his family ran restaurants. He grew up with the love of cooking. His time in the Coast Guard as a food service specialist, honed his skills on not only preparation of food, but ordering and planning menus. Edward and Melissa started off by operating a food booth at food contest. They haven't looked back since.

I have lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area; where I enjoyed some the best cuisine in the world. I made several trips up and down California eating along the way. I took cooking classes and collected cookbooks from many of my favorite restaurants. I enhanced my love of good food with a trip to Italy. Moving to Brookings meant that I lost an ability to find really good healthy well-seasoned food while eating out. My friends often teased me that I should open a restaurant since I was the "best" cook in the area. We loved our dinner parties, but I also love going out without the dishes to wash. It just didn't seem that much fun to eat out until Edward and Melissa showed up! I never leave One Love's with the feeling that I could have done better!

Edward only uses fresh fish caught in local waters and plans his menus around what is available that meets his standards for fresh. Their pasta sauce takes up to 14 hours to make from fresh vegetable ingredients. I had a simple salad yesterday and noted how great the oil and vinegar tasted. I wondered why it was so much better than the usually. They actually make all their salad dressing! I told my husband that I would like to work there for six months just so I could learn to make such delicious dishes...but then where would I go for the fun of going out? I'm leaving it up to Edward and Melissa to be better cooks than I could ever hope to be!

I have heard their place described as Italian, but I think it is much more. I think of Italian as usually being buried in a thick red sauce making the ingredients in it non-distinguishable. I find One Love's unique, fresh, eclectic and delicious! Individual selections of food and seasonings pop out not being overwhelmed with other ingredients.

For those of us who don't love meat and potatoes, fried food and ice berg lettuce, One Love's is the place to go. Edward and Melissa choose not to serve red meat choosing instead fresh fish and chicken. Their home-made sauce is the base for many of their dishes. Eggplant has never tasted better and the portabella sandwich is a wise choice.


I highly recomend that the next time you drive up America's Wild River's Coast, stop in Brookings, turn west on the south side of Ace Hardware down to Railroad Street to visit One Love's. I'm sure you will enjoy your lunch or dinner! They are open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (541) 469-6100.




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We blog about our rural area in the Pacific Northwest . This blog is all about my life and the places where my mind wonders from day to day. Have fun reading and looking at pictures. We welcome comments.

Be sure to watch, just above this blurb, my husband, Jim, using his 10 foot hands-free electric fishing kayak

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Electric Powered Hands-Free Fishing Kayak

Be sure to check out the separate blog to find out about our electric kayak, Kingfisher 10! You can find the blog at http://electrickayakkingfisher-10.blogspot.com . You can also read the features list on this kayak and purchase building plans and building kits at www.winchuckriverstore.com .

About Me

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We moved to our current home on the Wild River Coast of Southern Oregon from San Jose, CA. Our family consist of Jim and Karen, two dogs and two cats. Karen's passion is gardening. Jim's obsession is building electric powered fishing kayaks and fishing.