Time to Plan the St Patrick’s Day Party!

People tend to think of St. Patrick’s Day as a time to get drunk. Thanks kind of a one-sided view of the Irish. I prefer to think of it as a festive day to wear green or a shamrock, listen to all my Irish music CDs, and get together with some fun people for a good time. Please don’t give me a green beer. Here’s my article about getting in touch with my Irish heritage, Celebrate Your Irish Heritage.

My Top Ranking Lenses on Squidoo

I haven’t quite figured out what affects the lens ranking on Squidoo. I do know that your lens needs to be in the top 10,000 to earn well in the monthly distribution on the site.

So far, I’ve gathered that lensranking seems to be tied in to Google’s ranking, the number of visits, number of comments, stars, times it was favorited, and recent editing. Getting blessed by a Squidoo angel also boosts the ranking for awhile.
Here are the ones that are doing the best for me:

Rebirth of a 1918 House – This is about the house fire that my sister had and the four months of rehab on her 1918 house.

Wine Corks and Ways to Use Them

I’ve always loved old barns, so I created Save an Old Barn. It has info about rehabbing a barn and finding grants to restore a barn.

I have a good time watching the alligators in the lake behind our house, so I created Alligators: Fun Facts. I’ve geared this one more towards kids, though I think everyone finds alligators somewhat fascinating.

Sugar Valley Lakes
Making Snowflakes Online
Create a Tuscan Patio
The Valentine Birthday Boy – Owen Lee Martin
My First Day in Australia
 – This is about my experience in Sydney about 20 years ago.

Writing Prompt – The First Time

This topic lets you choose from a varied range of memories. Choose one and write at least a page about how you felt on that occasion.  Aim for being specific, not abstract. Think about what you observed, what the surroundings were, what other people were there and describe these things.

Here are some topics to choose from (or come up with your own):

  • 1st day of school
  • 1st job
  • 1st kiss
  • 1st time driving a car
  • 1st time living alone
  • 1st child

Thanks to Exploring Our Lives: A Writing Handbook for Senior Adults by Francis E. Kazemek for the ideas here.

Sorting My Photos of Insects

My inner-librarian took over today and I categorized some of my thousands of photos that are clogging up my computer. The original idea was to weed some of them out, but then I got caught up sorting them into categories. I had one section of insects under my animal photo category. That didn’t suit me with all the insects mixed in together.

I sorted them out into these sub-categories:

  • bees/wasps (41 pictures)
  • butterflies/moths (48)
  • caterpillars (22)
  • dragonflies/damselflies (6)
  • grasshoppers (8)
  • odd insects (45)
  • spiders/webs (82)

I used my caterpillar photos to create a webpage called Name the Caterpillars. Hopefully someone will give me the names to go with the photos.

This one fell into the odd insects category. Does anyone know what it is?

Book Club Guide Completed

Back in October, I wanted to create a teacher’s guide and also a book club guide for my mother’s book, My Flint Hill’s Childhood: Growing Up in 1930s Kansas.  Here was the plan:

  • The guides will be available as Squidoo lenses and hopefully will prove useful to book clubs or teachers that might want to use the book.
  • I don’t have much of clue on what teachers might find useful and what normally goes into a teacher’s guide for a book.
  • I’ll have to search around on the internet for examples of these and also for book club guides.
  • If anyone runs across examples of these or has suggestions for content for the guides, please let me know. Send links or post a comment on this posting so I can follow up on it.

I finally gave up on the idea that someone would send me great tips on how to put one of these together. Plunging in and putting something together by guess or by gosh, and now it’s done. I’ve posted it online and you can see the Book Club Guide for My Flint Hills Childhood on Squidoo. I haven’t finished the teacher’s guide yet. If you belong to a bookclub, suggest the book for one of their discussions.

I Love My Bookclub mousepad
I Love My Bookclub by booklovergifts
Browse other custom mousepads at zazzle.com

Promoting Squidoo Lenses

The first few months on Squidoo, I didn’t put much effort into getting the word out about the Squidoo lenses I was making. So far, it’s been such fun making new ones without worrying about if anyone actually saw them or not. Since many of them are pretty specialized topics, they aren’t designed for mass consumption.

Now I have started looking at finding the targeted audience. The lens on Small Town Kansas: Hamilton seemed a natural to post on the Get Hamilton group on Facebook.  There are only 102 fans signed up for the group, but obviously they’re motivated to go to a website on Hamilton.  So I put in my plug and link to my Small Town Kansas: Hamilton lens on Squidoo. When I did that on January 25, 2010, the lens was ranked 158,662 on Squidoo. Way down in the rankings. After ten days, I checked it again and was delighted to see it had risen to 16,889.

Only two people had rated the lens (with the stars at the top) but you have to be signed in as a Squidoo member for that. My mom was kind enough to put a comment at the bottom. Most casual viewers don’t bother, even though I set it so non-members can leave comments. I was hoping I’d get comments that would help me expand the content of the lens.

Anyway, my little experiment shows that finding a motivated group, even a small one, can result in viewers for a lens and a boost to its lens ranking.

I recently added a Zazzle module to the Hamilton lens with several gift items showing off my sunflower photo and the words “Hamilton KANSAS.” Already there have been several clicks on that, but no sales as yet.

available from zazzle vallain*