New work at Glass Orchids

New work at Glass Orchids being fired in kiln.
New work at Glass Orchids being melted right before your eyes.

 

My goal for winter was to create new work at Glass Orchids, for the upcoming season.

have to say that I’ve failed miserably at that task this winter.  This winter I’ve been consumed by other tasks, after getting through the holidays I’ve spent my time working on websites for myself and the various arts organizations I’m a part of. I’m also the manager of two of the artisan cooperatives I’m in , and organizing for the upcoming season takes a lot of work.  I admit, I also enjoyed days of laziness which are greatly  needed to refuel for the coming year. 

I’ve got plans for new work at Glass Orchids, so many plans lol…… but first I’ve got to set up for the opening of the cooperatives, do my taxes (which no are not done yet), clean my studio, plant my garden, and then, yes then, create new works!!!

In addition to working getting this site ready for prime time, I also created a new website for one of my cooperatives: Belfast Harbor Artisans. 

 

Getting away from it all

I  just got back from 5 days/4 nights on Monhegan Island. I turned 60 last week and took myself on a short retreat as a gift to myself on this momentous occasion. This was my first trip to what is, apparently, mecca for Maine painters. It was like stepping back in time… children can roam free without fear, I stayed at Monhegan House and there are no locks on the doors; there is a hook so you can lock yourself in for sleeping which is great. I asked about it and they said they have NEVER had any issues with theft etc…   it’s like the land time forgot.

I planned on painting non-stop everyday lol.. yeah sure…. I napped a lot, I finished 2 novels and started a 3rd, and yes I started 7 paintings. Now, I haven’t painted with oils in awhile and found it frustrating that I could only go so far with each and then had to wait for them to dry before continuing. I’ve been using acrylics mostly because I want them to DRY so I can finish.  It’s ok, I now have 7 paintings in process. I’m really only happy with 2 of them but hey, that’s par for the course with artists.

This island seems to have this weird thing where the restaurants don’t serve wine but the tiny shops have amazing wine selections. I did  my part in forcing them to restock. Sitting by an upstairs window, drinking wine, reading a book and watching the sunset… listening to the distant tolling of a bouy bell and the gulls plaintiff cries… .. really heavenly.

I highly recommend this island for those who enjoy quiet. If you are like my husband and can’t rest then NO, don’t do it…. but if you can sit quietly for hours then this is the place for you. There is a lot of hiking to be done and I did  my fair share to get to painting sites. The easy trails are not for the weak ……. I did  manage to tumble down 15 or 20′ on a trail… and didn’t break anything.. wow someone loves me up there. After hiking, painting & falling I felt like I was on survivor….. the path seemed to never end… but I’m  here to type about it so it’s all good.   I am a bit sore….. I think the entire island is uphill. Bring a walking stick.

Most everyone was friendly and I had some nice conversations with total strangers.  I will say that, like  most of Maine, this island is mighty white. I did see a few people of color but not  many.  There were probably more folks over 50 than under as well. although there were a lot of younger folks hiking and probably working there for the summer. I’m not making any judgement about the ages or color of the folks; just observations which I felt might be useful for those planning to visit. There were families with young children and I overheard one little girl tell  her dad she wants to live on the island.

I also got to stop by and visit an old customer Black Duck Emporium and hope to have my work offered there soon again! It was great to see them after many years and actually get to shop in their store. It’s lovely and offers a wide selection of goods from soap to dishes to t shirts.

Like much of Maine, the island is suffering from a drought. I asked a local woman who runs a farm stand about how they water their gardens as she had many. I gathered she has a well which helps, she also has a water catchment system and prioritizes what gets water and what doesn’t. They had beautiful white and orange pumpkins growing in the fields… it was impressive.

Winter can’t be easy there and I think they have about 45 year round residents. One has to prepare for winter and stock up because there is no where to get food or supplies when the weather is bad and no ferry runs.

All in all it was a wonderful experience and I hope to return next year with our own boat, which we can sleep on. Greg can fish during the day and I can paint. Then we can enjoy the local food & wine as the sun sets.  Oh, I had some fantastic fish tacos at the Fish House. A painting of the Fish House will be forthcoming. Life is short, get the tacos & a t shirt.

Pictures of the trip will be added here soon…… I highly recommend a visit!

~Nan

The continuing saga of Google Jail

Well apparently one of my ads for GlassOrchids.com has been released from Google Jail and  has made it through the gauntlet of Google ad approval. I have no idea why it’s different than the ones that have been denied. I’ll let you know if/when I figure it  out. This one seems to be targeting mostly mobile devices. I guess any new traffic is good but it sure isn’t transparent on how Google Ad approval actually works.

Anyway, I’m thinking about what to do next to get more traffic to this site given my striped pajamas. I’ve got two solutions that I’m going to try:

  1. Adding a few pages to my other site NancyDaviesTang.com , and pointing them to this site and then submitting the new pages to get crawled might work.
  2. Creating a mirror site (already  registered a name GlassOrchidz.com.. the Z for zombie version… raised from the dead and all that) and pointing it to this site too.

The second takes much longer to implement so I’ll work on the first one first. I have been known as being stubborn, and I’m not giving up.  If nothing else, my saga should serve as a warning and education to others…..

~Nan

Google Jail Continues & DuckDuckGO

Can DuckDuckGo replace Google?

For very personal reasons I’m beginning to think Google has entirely too much power over our internet lives. As a business, being well indexed is integral to survival, and yet, it’s becoming more necessary to pay to get a high index placement.  In the categories I’m in, companies like Etsy and Alibaba get the highest placement. A small, individual run company has a hard time competing with those companies.

 Awhile back I posted about the error I made way back in 2013 by not replacing an image in a free template; this led to my being removed from the google search engine because of a DCMA complaint by the owner of the image (it was the face of a woman, stock image).  Google Jail is for life. Rather a harsh sentence for such a small and innocent infraction; especially given the importance of being found in the google search engine. As you may have seen, if you follow my blog, I did find a workaround and some of my pages are now being indexed.

No Ads for you [said in the voice of the soup nazi]

So, I figured, hey, let me pay Google by running some ads and, hopefully, my site will start to get some traffic again. But no, no Nannette, you can’t do that.  Apparently Google will still not allow me to buy an ad because of that original DCMA complaint. Even though my site has been ported to a different server, a different platform, and the offending image and template are long gone. Now I’m not saying I had no culpability in my own downfall, but my error was one of ignorance. I do feel there should be a solution to get out of jail before the end of time.

I am indexed in Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo more and more because of a growing concern about internet privacy. I’m pretty happy with it so far and my site is listed on the first page of the search for some of my key words; as it used to be in Google.

Check out  DuckDuckGo

Like Facebook, Google needs to be replaced. Both  have grown too large and serve those who pay to play more than  fair and open access to information. Both use our information, and invade our privacy, in ways they should not; although we allow them to do so by playing.  IMO, It’s high time the next new thing appeared on the horizon.

WordPress Technical Support & Development

WordPress Technical Support:

I’ve just joined a site called Fiverr; this is a site that lets folks offer services starting at just $5. I’ve been in tech for over 35 years, and have been working with WordPress for quite some  time. I currently manage 6 WP sites which include blogs, shopping carts, security software and more.

Check out my profile on Fiverr to see how I can help you.

I’m offering services starting at $5 to solve a WordPress problem for you, and ranging up to $200 for a complete WordPress website setup.

Feeling all alone out there in WP land? Do you have plugin problems? Can’t get WP to do what you want? Have you been hacked, or do you need security set up? Having trouble getting your shopping cart activated? Need to port your website from another platform to WP? Whatever your need, I can help.

Press Releases

In addition to WP help, I’m offering a tiered service to help you with Press Releases. Everything from writing a simple release for your event, to creating a stunning release and submitting it for you. All starting at just $5.

Interested in joining Fiverr yourself? Click ME to get started!

 

The high price of ignorance – Google Jail

Google Jail

Back in 2013 I used a free template to create a nice look on my website. The free template included stock clip art that was also listed on free clip art websites. I had fully intended to replace the clip art with my own photos but didn’t get around to replacing one of them. It was the photo of a woman’s face. Life got busy and I really let my website drift for about 5 years. Recently I’ve ported GlassOrchids over here to wordpress, whole new host, whole new website. In trying to gain placement in the search engines I discovered that way back in 2013 the owner of that photo reported dozens of web pages/sites, that also used that photo perhaps also in free templates, for copyright infringement.

In researching I’ve discovered that I’m now in Google jail and it’s a life sentence. There is no way to remove oneself from Google jail if, in fact, you actually did have the illegal image/content on your page at any time.

Some of my pages are indexed in Google but not my home page, which is where the photo was.  I’ve spent hours researching how to fix this. I can’t believe Google has no way of re-indexing a page, i.e. removing you from google jail, but they don’t. Apparently they used to, but creeps who intentionally use copyrighted material kept getting out of jail and then adding the copyrighted material right back to their pages. So once again, the jerks in the world are why we can’t have nice things.

I’ve had glassorchids.com for about 20 years or so. Now there is no way for me to have it re-indexed with Google so it will not come up in the search engines; most of my pages will but not the home page. That’s a high price to pay for ignorance.

I’m working on some workarounds and have registered GlassOrchidZ.com … well I do love zombies so I guess in a way this is the undead version of GlassOrchids.   It will take a lot of time as I’ll have to recreate the site from scratch…at least part of it, and figure out how to redirect a site/page. I’ll keep you posted on progress.

Let this be a lesson to all of you out there – beware of any free graphics/templates etc… the real price can be very high.

Live and learn,

~Nan

UPDATE: I think I’ve got a workaround and have implemented it. You won’t notice any difference in the site but I’ve used a 301 redirect to point the home page to a different page (basically a duplicate) with a unique name. Hopefully this will fix the issue but it will take a few weeks to see if it does as it takes time for the site to get crawled and re-indexed. I may not need GlassOrchidZ.com after all.

Spammers, hackers and phases of the moon.

I’m getting tired of spammers, hackers and strange goings on due to phases of the moon.

Today I’ve spent a lot of time working to improve security on my site. I’ve had to disallow commenting on my site because nasty people have created bots that post spam on WordPress blogs automatically and I don’t have time to delete them all.

I’ve also blocked someone from trying to hack my ID/PW twice today. Now they are IP banned.

I’ve learned more than I want to know about all the bastards in the world who are why we can’t have nice things. I must say, I’ve had websites for over 20 years and these days it’s the worst I’ve ever seen with regard to spam/hacking etc…. all that effort just to screw with other people who are just trying to make a living. Imagine if they would all just use that effort and intellect for the benefit of mankind…

I’m going to upgrade my security system when I can and block entire countries. I’m not going to ship there anyway and the majority of crap comes from them: China, Russia, UA, Ukraine, India…… even France, yep France. Weirdly enough none of it has come from Nigeria; I guess they only use low tech scamming techniques like email… I did get one wholesale request from Nigeria this week.  I emailed back and said if they were gonna be criminals they needed to try harder. The company they said they were from does not exist and there is no building at the address they gave… yay google earth. Plus their IP was easy to trace to Nigeria. Do better folks.

There are so  many bots out in the interwebs; they are all over a post like this like flies on feces; seconds after I hit publish I see these little bots all over it…

Wth universe – The drain in my kitchen sink broke last night;  I mean BROKE.. it’s a 100 year old sink and the metal just snapped. The hard drive on my laptop is dying and now the pellet stove in my studio is dead. Come ONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN….

:End Rant

SEO, Taxes & Swiss Cheese – what do these 3 things have in common?

SEO, Taxes & Swiss Cheese

Well, me. I’ve spent the better part of the week doing my business and personal taxes. Now as if that weren’t enough, I decided I needed to work on my websites, their content and my SEO. Recently I ported all my sites over to this new host and to the WordPress platform. For the last 20 years I’ve used HTML and had optimization down fairly well… then came WordPress and all that went out the window, sort of.  So today I’ve been researching, tweeking, submitting etc… Apparently I got a little fried because 1/2 hour into trying to prove to google that I did, indeed, own my  own website, I forgot why I was doing it!! I remember now… it was so I could submit my new pages to the search engine.

I’ve installed plugins, I’ve changed page titles and text to increase my chances at a higher ranking. After all that I decided well heck, I don’t have very many products on my site yet so let’s add a bracelet with 6 variations in color, AND inventory management. That didn’t go so well at first either, but, eventually I got it to work.

My mind is now officially Swiss, cheese that is.

Ah, the life of an entrepreneur….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is a good article for those like me just getting started with really trying to work WordPress

Today I’ve added my SnapDragon(tm) Bracelets, check out those variations!

 

Down Time – What we do in Maine when the tourists go home

It’s Artist Down Time  here in Maine. The time of year when the tourists have fled to warmer climes and I sit looking out the window at 3′ of snow. Often customers at the cooperatives will ask us what we do all winter; we wonder this too…..

Once we close the cooperatives in late October (mostly) we do holiday shows, enjoy our families and then comes the lull in January/February. We make no money in the winter months unless we have successfully navigated the Etsy  or other online waters. There are a few shows between the new year and spring but not many, and generally not great anyway.  Mostly I plan to make a lot of stock over the winter and to get to all those house cleaning projects I’ve put off all summer, but what really happens is I collapse,  the last two winters I’ve experienced severe family illnesses, I try to enjoy the holidays, I do my taxes (OMFG) and come April I’ve created NOTHING.  I’ve spent a lot of time organizing stuff for the coops, researching new products, new galleries, applying to shows, working on the websites, ordering supplies and I’ve even finished a few paintings. I haven’t been in the studio.. except to clean .. for months. I plan to do better, but I always seem to fail.

It’s ok my taxes are done, family is ok,  and I still have April!! I have hope!! Maybe I’ll get some backstock created!! Maybe I’ll get some new products done!! I have designed a few pieces for an art gallery so hey I’m ahead already! A little down time is also good for the soul, helps us to recharge for the crazy season that is just around the corner!

Never enough time

Sure I said I’d be posting my SnapDragons(tm) on the site in a week; that was two weeks ago. There isn’t enough time in a day is there?  I’ve launched my art site NancyDaviesTang.com ,  moved and mocked up my supply website at UGotGlass.com, which is inactive at the moment because again.. there is just NO time. I’ve also launched a sit for my lavender & market garden farm WinterRose.farm I’ve entered two shows one with the Bangor Arts Society and the other with river arts. The former won 2nd place and the latter saw one piece featured in the local paper. Ye ha… I am moving along,  just not getting everything on the list done! Ah well, we do what we can…..

~Nan