Friday, January 15, 2010

Early Happy Valentines Day!

I have reorganized a bunch of the links to have more meaningful names, but at the same time I set up the redirection on the server so old links will still work.

I have also been working on a new section called challenges. My idea behind the challenges section is to come up with clever challenges that you can do. If you submit your cards and directions you can earn points. Points let you win prizes. The more points the more or bigger the prizes. There are no commercial sponsors (contact me if you want to be one) but I have found 3 new stamp sets that I liked so much I brought 2 of them not realizing I already that one and just hadn't used yet so they will probably be the first prizes. Some of the challenges are also just promotional things, like if you put a link on your website and get a certain number of people to come visit the site in certain amount of time. I might even throw a challenge up for reading the blog and figuring out this was going to happen and linking to site. There are 6 new cards I made for the first card making challenge that I need to put as well so its a challenge to get the new section done but hopefully it will up by Monday night.

I made a valentine's day e-card that's up on the site. If you want more information about it click on it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Colors and Navigation Tools, mostly

I started playing around with colors on the web site. Not sure I am happy with combination of banner/content and ad colors but I don't know what I want to change about it at the moment.

I split the card content in 2009 and 2010.

I have the project sheet for a cupcake gift card holder up and I put up under construction sheets to thank u rock and thanks a bunch.

I also added navigation bar on the top and bottom in most places.

I added some content in the tutorial section. Check it out:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Go GIMP! Ebay - seriously?

What I accomplished today (related to card making and the web site):
  • Figured out how to use GIMP as a reasonable and free replacement for photoshop, which is cool because now I can have a good image editor on any computer instead of just one because of the cost.
  • Got all of my {Stamps} of Life Digital brush sets imported into GIMP. Yeah!
  • Made a cool new digital project with the HappyBday2You set because my clear stamps have not yet arrived. :-(
  • Scanned that and the last 3 projects.
  • Looked up what exactly it would cost me if I tried to auction some of the cards I have made on Ebay. Does anyone successfully do this? It was disappointing to see people selling handmade cards for $1.00 each. Do you even profit at $1.00? A single sheet of "better" 80lb cardstock like Stampin' Up! is easily 25 cents. In most cases they were using about 1 1/4 sheets. Then take away about 15% in completion fees between Ebay and Paypal and you are left with 50 cents a card for an average of 10 minutes work? $3.00 an hour? That's not even minimum wage.
  • Figured out exactly how to access the memory card on the scanner in the craft room over the network from any computer so I don't have to keep sneakernetting the memory card between the scanner and a computer.
  • Did some web site analysis with google.
  • Submitted the web site to a major directory listing service that should get it indexed in just about every web seach engine out there so more people can find it.
So no new content on the website tonight, just webmaster type duties and it's back to work tomorrow to make actual money that will pay the mortgage instead of dreaming about a web site.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A very productive day.. a counter, a image randomizer and 3 new cards

Today was indeed a very productive day.

I submitted the site to bing, google and yahoo the be indexed and set up the robots file they look for so they will index the site. Hopefully this will make the google site search work.

I found a free visitor counter script that resides solely on my site that I can incorporate and a randomize image display script. It should make the home page a little cooler. The only downside is both are a little incompatible with my current template methodology so it will take a bit more work to get them running but the random slideshow will definitely make a cool addition to the home page.

I also set out again to make some thank you cards. I started with a thanks a bunch stamp and stamped a few of those for card fronts, colored them with marker and then set them aside so glitter on them could dry. In the meantime, I tried this rubber stamp that has a definition of thank in really fine print. I stamped it in a blue and I got out cardstock to match. I cut it to see how it would look as a border but I didn't like the way things looked. The blue went perfectly with the scraps I had previously gotten out to make the logo so I ended making a new card from the blue strip and scraps from other projects this week. I got three new colors for a different thank you card and was going to call it a night but started playing with my 'U' set and ended up making a cool Thank U Rock card from it and the Love2Hug set. After I made the first one I decided it would be much better if I had of placed the thank in a different place though so I'll have to remake it now. And that blue I got out for the thank definition stamp - well it turns out it is probably going to be the base for the thanks a bunch images I had set aside.

So 2 scripts for the website, 1 new happy birthday scraps card and 2 thank you designs worked out but none of them are online yet.

The 5 different colors of the card in the last post got uploaded today too,

Multiple colors

Note: This will be totally confusing if you don't read the last entry first.

I decided not to reinvent my template. Each color became its own entry. I mainly went with this approach so I could categorize the cards later. This way the male colors will show up in the male section and female in the female section.

I did decide to just make one direction sheet that links to each color so when people bring up the direction sheet they know about the variants. Behind the scenes, I had the web server provide the same direction content no matter which color you view so I only had to write it once.

For any cards that use The {Stamps} of Life stamps like this one, I also upload them to their gallery. I did decide to only uploaded one of the colors there so I didn't flood it with variations.

If you want to see the card click here:

Happy Birthday to the New Year

I set out yesterday to make a thank you card. Instead I never got past putting up the stamp sets  from the last 3 cards and ended up making a new happy birthday card. It did turn out pretty cool though and I was able to easily make it in 5 different colors.

This created a problem though. How do I show them on the web site? I've set up the instructions sheets set as a template, based on one image, working toward the goal of having a submission form that would make a page for me. What's there lends itself to a page per color. I was already thinking of adding more code to the layout to support a side view so I do I just pick one color and show the alternates on the instruction sheet or do I want all 5 colors in the index on the main page? On the one hand, yes because the card started out in teal and being male oriented but now there's a pink version too. Maybe you prefer the pink, or maybe you want the dark blue, teal, yellow or red version. On the other hand someone might simply think its fluff to have all the colors there in the main index.

I've got the same issue to resolve with another card I have yet to post. It was for a card swap class at a CKC convention and because I was using 4.5 x 6.5 mat stack papers, I was limited by the number I could make with any given paper. In order to get the 20 cards I needed, I simply made it in 5 different colors based on the mat stack paper on that card and took about 1/2 of each color with me and let people pick the color they preferred.

I'll have to sleep on it.

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