Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't Get Black Listed From Adsense!

I know many of you craft bloggers out there have placed (or plan to soon) Google Adsense ads on your site. I want to bring to your attention if you didn't notice it that Google has modified their Adsense program policy to require publishers (you) to include a privacy policy on any website that has adsense on it. According to Google...

You must have and abide by an appropriate privacy policy that clearly discloses that third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your users’ browser, or using web beacons to collect information, in the course of ads being served on your website. Your privacy policy should also include information about user options for cookie management.

So, do you have a privacy policy that addresses third party cookies? Do you even know what that means? That's okay, I found a site that will explain it somewhat and gives you a sample privacy policy that you can use on your website or blog. Make sure you get a privacy policy up as soon as possible and be sure there is a link to it from any page that displays adsense ads.

If you have a blogger blog and want to add it to a post, but don't want to have it show up as a recent post, just go into "post options" and change the post date to sometime in the past. Give it a label called "privacy policy" and it should show up in your category list if you have one. If you don't use labels, then view the post and copy the permalink to it. You can add the link to a link list or put it in a page element of it's own.

If your site utilizes CSS then it is a simple matter to add it to your menu or a footer.

The card above is made using an SU set, One of a Kind (my sister's stamp set). I stamped the bottom on Groovy Guava, using Groovy Guava ink and an SU wheel, It's Beautiful. I also used Chocolate Chip ink, paper, and grosgrain ribbon, and Purely Pomegranate ink & paper.

Edited to fix a link that didn't work. Sorry to anyone that tried to follow that broken link.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another Challenge Card

I got my nerve up and decided to try a second challenge. This one is for Allison's Buggy Challenge. If you haven't visited her site, I highly recommend dropping by. She keeps a list of tutorials and blog candy offers, which she updates daily. Also, if you offer candy on your site, be sure to let Allison know.

I used Stampendous stamps that my mom has for this challenge. I love the bees. The papers are from Stampin' Up, More Mustard, Chocolate Chip and Whisper White.

My First Challenge Submission

I decided to start participating in card making challenges. I found a challenge that looks fun on Beate's Blog. It is a sketch challenge and the card above is my submission. It is pretty simple. I will leave the complex stuff to the experts.

The flower is from Stampin Up set One of a Kind and the background stamp is one that my sister part of blog candy she won from Beate, so it seemed appropriate to use it for this challenge. Papers are SU Blue Bayou, Very Vanilla, Soft Sky and Chocolate chip.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good morning and Happy Easter to everyone out there. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with family and fun.

Here is a card I put together last night. The little chick is from a Stampin' Up set called A Good Egg. The greeting is from Michael's $1 bin. Papers are Very Vanilla, Groovy Guava and Chocolate Chip. The ink is Chocolate Chip. I also made use of my new square scallop punch.

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gift Card Holder & An Easter Basket

Wow, can you believe Easter is already here? It sure came early this year. I confess I don't know how it is determined when Easter will fall, but it certainly does vary from year to year.

I always put together an Easter basket for my daughter, but it as she gets older it is harder and harder to figure out what to put in it.

This year I picked up an Target gift card. She loves to shop there. I made this little gift card holder to put it in.

To serve as a basket, I bought a wire desk organizer. Then I just added a few candies and a chocolate bunny.

Here is the basket all decorated. I hope she likes it.

For the gift card holder I used papers I picked up at Michael's. The stamp is from Very Punny (Stampin' Up), and colored in using water color pencils. I also used the 1 1/4, 1/1/2 circle punch, scallop circle punch and corner rounder.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Help Your Readers Subscribe To Your Craft Blog

Have you ever noticed these little orange buttons that show up on a lot of blogs? They are RSS (Really Simple Sydication) subscription links. It is a great convenient way to easily keep track of when your favorites blogs are updated without having to visit each one every day.

It is also a great way for bloggers to keep their visitors returning. If you don't have an RSS feed subscription link for your viewers to subscribe to your site, you could be missing out on a lot of return traffic. Most importantly, it is a valuable tool for your viewers.

Feedburner is probably the most widely used feed service and it's free and easy to use. Just sign up and add your blog. Google owns Feedburner and has a really simple guide for getting started for several different blogging platforms, including Blogger, Wordpress and Tyepad.

Card recipe: Stamps - SU Birthday Whimsy, So Many Scallops, Friendship Blooms. Ink - Chocolate Chip. Paper - Wild Wasabi, Groovy Guava, Chocolate Chip. Tools & Accessories - Word Window Punch, 3/4 circle punch, 1 1/4 circle punch, 1 1/2 circle punch, Circle scallop punch, square scallop punch, brown satin ribbon, crystal brad.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Is Your Craft Blog Cluttered?

Most of us crafters are in a constant battle to keep our craft room (or kitchen table) clean. And for all but a few of us that elusive word called "organized" is just a dream. A clean, organized craft room makes it easier to find what we need and work more efficiently.

The same holds true for website layouts and blogs. Now if your blog is personal, rather than professional, then of course, please yourself. But for those of you with a professional craft blog or website, you may want to take a look at it with a critical eye.

Can viewers clearly see what your site is about?

Can they easily find the information they need?

Is it cluttered with unnecessary widgets?

If you have ads, are they relevant and useful to your readers?

On website development forums, I frequently see new webmasters talk about "filling up the whitespace" and "not wasting valuable web estate." Successful webmasters, however, emphasize the importance of white space or blank space on a website.
Their point is that you don't want to distract your readers from your ultimate goal. If you are trying to sell your crafts, make sure they are the center of attention and not lost is a sea of gadgets and gizmos.

If you don't believe me, take a look at Google's homepage. It's one of the simplest webpages (and most successful) I've ever seen. That might be a little bare in my opinion, but you can see that it isn't necessary to fill your site up for it to be successful.

A good rule of thumb, before you add anything to your site, is to ask yourself: Is this going to benefit my readers in some way? This is, however, just a guideline, and only you can judge what is appropriate for the type of web site you have. It is your site, so have fun.

The picture above is a Bag-a-lope that I made using a tutorial at Allison's site.
Stamps - Lovely As A Tree, Itty Bitty Backgrounds
Ink - More Mustard, Certainly Celery, Chocolate Chip
Paper - Le Jardin

Saturday, March 15, 2008

An Easter Basket Idea

I made this cute little basket yesterday. I mostly used Stampin' Up products on it, but I had to improvise on a few things. I wrote up a rather long tutorial on it and posted it on Cash Crafters.

If I get really inspired, I may do a video tutorial, but don't hold me to it. In the mean time, here is the list of supplies I used.

Stamps - SU Priceless, Warm Words.
Ink - Groovy Guava
Paper - Groovy Guava, Very Vanilla, Wild Wasabi
Tools - 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 1/2, 1 1/4, 1 1/2 circles, word window, scallop punches.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tutorial - Making a Round Tab Using Word Window Punch

I keep coming across all these great projects on Split Coast Stampers using the nifty round tab punch by Stampin' Up. Unfortunately, I don't have a round tab punch, but I figured out a way to get the same look using the word window punch and a corner rounder, which I do have.

It doesn't come out perfectly, but I think it will serve to get me by until I can buy a round tab punch. I made a video showing the process in case anyone out there wants to try it. Let me know what you think.

I think this technique may be useful for creating different sized round tabs, particularly if incorporating ovals. I also think it would be easier if I had the SU corner rounder so I could remove the paper guard. Another punch to add to my wish list.

The card above is a pocket card that I made using the technique in the video. Papers - Groovy Guava, Chocolate Chip and Very Vanilla. Inks - Groovy Guava and Chocolate Chip. Stamps - Merci.

A Quick Blog Candy Alert

Just wanted to let you know that Allison is offering a really great blog candy contest on her site. You can win a Stampin' Up set, but you have to use one of her tutorials and send a picture via email to enter.

Also, today is the last day of the contest, so you don't have much time. She has some really terrific tutorials so check them out. Good luck.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wal-Mart Introducing New Craft Dept

Embrace Life Stampin' Up Card

I came across an interesting article today addressing the closing of the fabric departments in many Wal-Mart stores.

I know many people were very upset to find their local Wal-Mart crafts deptartments were closing, but the article above indicates that those departments that close will be replaced with what sounds like a more versatile "crafts and celebrations center."

From what I could glean from the article, it sounds like the new craft centers will still have sewing notions and machines, but may not have a fabric cutting counter.

Although I try to avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible, I am glad they are not closing their crafts departments completely. I know a lot of people have no choice but to rely on Wal-Mart for thier craft supplies because they have no local craft stores, so I am sure this is good news for those folks.

I made this card using my sister's Stampin' Up set, Embrace Life (I am so jealous of her I want this set badly). I also used Lots of Thoughts and chocolate chip ink. The flower is colored in with water color pencils and the papers are all non SU.