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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hummingbirds and their Symbolism and Fun Facts

I love these little energetic birds.   Tiny and cute, I relate to them, as they are hyperactive like me.   I often wondered if there is any special symbolism to them.   I now know why so many of us are naturally drawn to them. 


Tiny Dancer before I kaleidoscoped it.


The overall symbolism of the hummingbird is joy.  
Tiny Dancer


In animal totems the hummingbird is a powerful symbol of life and joy,   

 
Hyper Hummer Before I kaleidoscoped it.



Because of their ability to hover  hummers are often thought to be reminders that life is meant to be savored, their tireless activity symbolizes perseverance.

Hyper Hummer



Because hummingbirds do not simply flap their wings up and down, but instead move them in the pattern of the infinity symbol, or a figure eight, they are often thought to symbolize eternity and everlasting life.

Miniature Marvel before I kaleidoscoped it

If you are still not enamored with this little bird here are a few fun facts to convince you how incredible they really are!


Miniature Marvel

  • Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world.
  • The bright radiant color on hummingbirds comes from iridescent coloring like on a soap bubble or prism.
  • A hummingbird's brain is 4.2% of its body weight, the largest proportion in the bird kingdom.

Hummer Heaven

  • Hummingbirds are very smart and they can remember every flower they have been to, and how long it will take a flower to refill. They will remember your feeder and how  often you fill it!
Hummer Heaven before I kaleidoscoped it.
  • A hummingbird can dive up to 60 miles per hour
  • Hummingbirds can also hover in mid-air, fly sideways and even upside-down.
  • They are FEARLESS!  When a predator, such as a hawk, is in a hummingbird's territory, it will sound a high-pitched warning call, then the tiny bird will start attacking the unwanted predator by dive-bombing it.
Summer Hummer before I kaleidoscoped it

Summer Hummer
 
Bring joy and perseverance to your life and put out a hummingbird feeder and a few flower pots out this spring!  Get a comfortable lawn chair, a glass of lemonade and enjoy the show these tiny little creations will put on for you!  You are sure to be entertained!

Take care,
Mel

Interested in the kaleidoscope photos of the hummingbirds?  Please visit my shops below.  You can get these in pendants, coasters, trivets, ceramic tiles, keepsake boxes, compacts, paperweights, note cards, matted and framed prints,  magnets and  ornaments!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SNORKLE FACE!

I thought I would just take a quick moment to share with you what happens to your face while snorkeling!   Like your mother always told you…if you hold your face like that it is going to stay that way!  Thank goodness my snorkeling mask impressions when away!  I could have been a poster child for wrinkles!




 I am fair skinned and burn easily.  I had to stay completely covered in the Hawaiian sun.  What a get up!



It was like flying without being afaid of crashing! 


What  a magical world it is under the water’s surface.   I was hypnotized….mesmerized…enchanted!  I can’t wait for my next snorkeling trip.  




The sea turtles will always be my favorite!






 And as a finale to my blog……

I have been blessed by receiving this award from the Baskets by Rose. She has pick my blog along with four other blogs and gave us each our award. Please stop over and visit her blog http://basketsbyrosebasketsbyrose.blogspot.com/

This was such a wonderful surprise to receive.

The Liebster Blog Award. Liebster is a German word which means “dearest” or “beloved”, but can also mean “favourite”. The aim of the Liebster Blog Award is to draw more attention to some really lovely blogs with 200 or less followers.
If you happen to be a recipient of this award, you must do the following:
Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
Share your top 5 picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
Post the award on your blog.
Hopefully the 5 lovely people you choose will give the Liebster to 5 blogs they like as well.

Here are the 5 sweet ladies I have given the Liebster
http://katersacres.blogspot.com/

Take care!
Mel

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

10 Social Networking Tips for Beginners

Summer Sensation a new 2012 design


10 Social Networking Tips for Beginners 
I have been experimenting with several social networking sites to learn what works and what does not.  Here are some basic tips to get you started WITHOUT paying for advertising.
1.      If you have not started social networking site yet I would suggest starting with FaceBook.  If you do not have an FB fan page or personal page, I would suggest creating a personal page first so you can find your friends and family and ask for their support and can recommend your fan page.   
2.      It is a popularity contest!  The amount of visits, comments, page and/or post likes and shares the higher the “priority” you page/post will become.   For Facebook the number of times you post a day is really dependant on your following, but a good baseline is 1-3 times a day.  Experiment with the times of day you post to see where you get the most response.
a.      I know I thought the same thing…I don’t know that many people.  Ask your friends, family and colleges for their help.  We all need to start somewhere and we all need help in promoting.  Just explain to them the information above.  If they can do this for you daily for a few weeks to a month to get your posts listed higher and gain a following they can slow down visiting to your page.  There is nothing wrong with asking for their help.  It is no different from asking for a job reference and in essence, you are!
 
3.      Try a more interactive approach.   Instead of just posting your Etsy listings on what you have for sale try asking questions and making it a sort of game.  Some ideas would be  - what is your favorite color in pottery or a painting….guess my inspiration…you will never believe what I was wearing when I made this….things of that nature.  Make it fun!  Also instead of just posting your listings on what is for sale – post a picture of your work with a quick blurb about your work or yourself.  Let them get to know not just your product…but you!  This makes it more personable and less of a sales pitch.   
4.      Give them a story to share!  We all love to brag about a great bargain we found.  For instance, “I got this blouse for 45% off!”  When selling art and handmade you can’t afford to give bargains, so add value to their purchase by telling the story behind it.  Your buyer will love to share that story to their friends when showing off their purchase!  An example would be, “Did you know she took this photograph in her P.J.’s?  She saw this otter on the lake and grabbed  her camera and ran outside in her P.J.’s and slippers to get the shot when it was 20 below zero!  Her neighbors thought she was nuts!”  It really makes it a conversation piece, gives it more character and gives something for people to remember you by.  
 
5.      Support your fellow sellers!  Commenting on each other’s sites/posts not only helps your popularity, but it also shows the respect you have for other artists and businesses!  It also promotes trust with your colleges and with your fan base/customers. 
6.      Reciprocate!  (to give and take mutually)   Please remember that other people out there are trying to get promoted just as much as you!  If a person is promoting you, return the favor!  It take just a few moments and is just good etiquette!  You reap what you sow.
 
7.      Schedule the time!  If you are selling online it is imperative to promote online.  Schedule a few 15 minute breaks throughout the day to promote yourself and others.  It is like exercise..you will not get stronger if you don’t work out and moderation is important so you don’t burn out. 
8.        Respond to your posts.  Let people know you appreciate their participation and support.  People like to be recognized.  The ywill see in their FB notifications that you liked or responded to their comment.  They will come back and comment again. 
 
9.      Do not be discouraged!  I live on instant gratification, and I can be very impatient.  It takes time to build a following so give it time for these tips to work.   It is like a diet, you cannot expect to lose all the weight in one week! 
10.   Be consistent!  Consistency breeds dependability.  It also makes it easier for someone to follow you if they know when to expect your postings.   Consistently promoting others and reciprocating will encourage them to consistently promote your back.  
 
Good luck fellow artists!   Please do not hesitate to give me your FaceBook page link.   I don’t have a huge following, but I am happy to do my part to help promote you page!   You can find my page on the link at the top of my blog.
Mel

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Buyers Guide to purchasing Art

This is a follow up to me are you a “Dipper or a Dripper” post.  I am active on Etsy and I have seen some rude and downright malicious behavior on selling sites.   I am a firm believer in satisfying a customer, but sadly there are some buyers out there that are not only unreasonable, but cruel.   

When buying a piece of art there are a few things you should consider.

·        BE KIND!  First art is subjective!  The artist is sharing their perspective and most importantly apart of their soul.   As an artist, I can tell you that this is frightening!  Art is like food, some items you like and some you don’t.   At a minimum, respect the artist’s courage for sharing their perspective and exposing their soul.

·        Understand that each artist has different levels of skill and experience.  There are artists who are just beginning to develop their craft and style.   Be supportive you never who is going to be our next Monet or Van Gogh.  Even these icons of art had to start somewhere and had to develop their craft.

·        Read the description thoroughly!  There is nothing more discouraging than having an item returned because the buyer did not take the time to read the description.  Do not buy an item based on the photograph.  Sellers painstakingly write descriptions to ensure you make an informed purchase.  A seller is always willing and happy to answer any questions you might have.  The last thing a seller wants is a return because you were not pleased with your purchase.  Although a seller attempts not to take it personally on some level, we do.

·        Consider the cost!  This is one of my main pet peeves.  We are in hard economic times, we are all pinching pennies, but before you complain about the price on a piece of art you must consider the time it took to create.  I always use sewing as an example.  Take for instance a hand-sewn quilt.  There are hundreds of hours involved in creating a quilt.  You would be astonished if you knew what the hourly rate that artist is actually making.  A majority of artists are making below minimum wage!  Artists are not high volume producers.  They are not a manufacturing company working on an assembly line and buying materials in bulk.  You are buying a handmade item for quality, artisanship and because you do not want a discount store item.   That being said, please don’t expect a discount store price.

·        Don’t assume the worst.  I do not know one artist that their sole purpose is to intentionally deceive you.  Misunderstandings are certain to happen.  Afford the artist the opportunity to rectify the misunderstanding. 

·        Leave thoughtful and constructive feedback.  Feedback is essential to an artist’s business.  If you are pleased with your purchase, take a few minutes to detail why.   If you are disappointed with your purchase, allow the seller to remedy the situation.   Again, a majority of your sellers are not trying to deceive or cheat you.  Stop and think how you would want to be treated in this situation.  How would you feel and react if were berated with malevolent comments?

·        Your seller sincerely wants happy customers.   Be constructive in your criticism.     Most people will not take a malicious comment seriously when reading.  If you sincerely want to share your disappointment do it constructively and respectfully.  The seller will take sincere corrective action for future orders.  Potential customers of this seller will also take your comments seriously.

·        Share your appreciation of art with others!   Artists cannot afford advertising.  You are their greatest hope for being noticed by others.   Follow, interact and share their FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy and other sites.    Website listings and rankings are based on followers and interaction!  Take a few moments to visit the sites, leave a comment or share a listing. 

I would like to leave you with one last thought.   Our artists are also historians!  They are leaving something for future generations to understand our society by.   Think about it….what do archeologist look for when on a dig?  They are looking for art left behind. Their great finds are  pottery, hieroglyphics and handmade tools.  Why?  This is how they learn about past civilizations.  How they lived and loved.  Who they were and what they were about.  The piece of art you purchased may be the key to understanding our society today hundreds of years from now.  You are not only buying art…….you are buying a piece of history! 

Take care,

Mel