Source of Photos of Vintage Items or Crafts

I wanted some photos of vintage feedsack material and of dresses made from that fabric. Although I had the one below that I took at a quilt show, I wanted more examples of feedsack dresses and quilts and fabric.

Quilt pieces from vintage feedsacks.
Quilt pieces from vintage feedsacks.

It hadn’t occurred to me before, but as I browsed around on Etsy, I saw the perfect photos to illustrate my articles. Of course, one can’t just rip-off the photos and use them on your own articles.

I approached three Etsy sellers and politely asked if I could feature their item on my article. All three of them responded in the affirmative, giving me permission to use their photo with a link to their page.

To see how this turned out, you can see the Etsy photos on my pages called Feedsack Dresses and Tea Cup Flower Arrangements. I think they really brighten the pages up. In the past, I had permission from several eBay sellers to use photos of their auction item which happened to fit some of my pages about collectibles.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Ask nicely and if turned down, accept that graciously
  • Keep the email granting permission (in case of future issues)
  • Place the photo on your web page with a credit telling who the photo belongs to. Link the photo to their product on Etsy.
  • Both parties benefit from this. I get a great photo to use and they get some free publicity and backlinks.
  • In the case of photos on Hubpages, you can only use 2 links to the same place. Where I used more than 2 photos from Etsy, I put them in a series with one link for the batch.

I Was Wrong

In a previous post, I shared some upward trending stats on a Squidoo lens. Grasping at straws, I suggested that maybe it was a sign of traffic starting to rebound on the site. I was WRONG.

Here’s the end of Squidoo and in another week, the pages lovingly crafted there disappear. Hopefully people took the lifeline of moving their pages to Hubpages or scrambled to repurpose them for their own web site or blog.

The demise of Squidoo...
The demise of Squidoo…

I’ve deleted manually 37 pages that need not go to Hubpages. Hubpages wouldn’t want my lensographies, Squidoo tips and some personal pages created for quests. Compulsively, I saved even those to my cloud storage with Evernote. Perhaps I can glean a few paragraphs from them to use in blogs. The rest are saved and transfer to Hubpages where I’ll deal with them later.

I feel sad, I feel sorry for anyone depending on the income they’d developed on Squidoo and for all those beautiful personal pages and family history pages that may fall by the wayside. I feel angry that Squidoo tortured all of us for a year and a half before finally setting us free.

If you took your content and escaped last year, consider yourself fortunate. Unfortunately, this is not a new story on the Internet. I survived the debacle on eHow when they killed their Writer’s Compensation Program. We learn a lot for each site and take those skills with us wherever we go online. At least on eHow, they offered a buy-out. I do appreciate the 5 figure check they sent me.

Now, it is onward and upward. There are new opportunities opening for us and new skills to learn. My fingers have been pried away from clutching the rail of the sinking ship. It is sink or swim. For many of us, Hubpages provides a life raft. That gives some of us a little more time to take some swimming lessons if we need those.

Sharing Childhood Memories Online

When Mom was the web master for the Our Echo site, I posted a number of my childhood memories to that site. It pleased me to win one of the monthly writing contests there with my story Remembering My Grandparents’ Farm.

Browse around my list of stories there and you’ll find more from my childhood.

Over the past five years, I’ve posted some topics to Squidoo, so you can read about my Memories of the Five and Dime Store.

More recently I’ve posted memories to the Bubblews site. It’s a combination social site/writing site and many use it as an online journal. Here’s a list of the short posts about my childhood:
I Was a Gypsy Once
Remember Grandma’s Kitchen
Second Hand Christmas Tree
Shirley Temple Wannabe
My Baby Picture
Teen Fashion Fantasies
A Long Ago Christmas
Home Churned Butter

If you want to put your own memories online, I have a page explaining about writing for Our Echo. You can also self-publish your memories using the Blurb website. Here’s my tutorial on that. It makes a wonderful gift for your children or grandchildren.

Need something to jog your memory and start you writing? Use photos to trigger memories.

Cindy, Karen, Ginger, Susan Martin in 1950s

My Squidoo Productivity for 2013

I was off my stride this year with Squidoo, as usually I create more pages than I did in this 5th year on the site. There were big changes, so much of my efforts revolved around rescuing my earlier work and stabilizing it. Each time, I’d say, “Whew, now I’m all set.” Then the next day there would be a new directive or recommendation from Headquarters.

The list below shows the newest ones first and those are mostly in the new product lens format or the how-to format.

For my tracking purposes, I’m listing all 65 lenses (web pages) here that I created on Squidoo this year.

1 Once a Librarian, Always a Librarian Dec 2013
2 Make a Teddy Bear Tree Nov 2013
3 Homemade with Love at Christmas Nov 2013
4 Venison Marsala Nov 2013
5 Cork Display Tray Oct 2013
6 Make a Christmas Village from Cardboard Oct 2013
7 Foot Sanding with the Dremel Rotary Tool Oct 2013
8 Fill a Shadow Box with Treasured Mementos Oct 2013
9 Why I Love My Cobra Oct 2013
10 Label Machine to the Rescue Oct 2013
11 The Ever Useful Rolling Step Stool Oct 2013
12 Comfy Reader’s Swing Seat Oct 2013
13 Add a Fairy to the Garden Oct 2013
14 Everything Is Illuminated – The DVD Oct 2013
15 Stop Freezer Burn with Seal-a-Meal Oct 2013
16 The Best Journal Oct 2013
17 Entertain Your Cat Oct 2013
18 Finding the Perfect Gypsy Costume Oct 2013
19 The Clean Machine – Why You Need a Pressure Washer Oct 2013
20 Halloween Storytime Crafts Sep 2013
21 Ideas for Autumn Mantle Decorations Sep 2013
22 Banned Books Display Ideas for Libraries Sep 2013
23 Junk Pumpkins Sep 2013
24 Remembering Foods from Childhood Sep 2013
25 Fairy Gardening for Creative Kids Sep 2013
26 Exploring the Perkins Hill Cemetery Sep 2013
27 American Girl Doll – Witch Costume Aug 2013
28 Make a Halloween Fairy Garden Aug 2013
29 Collecting Miniature Typewriters Aug 2013
30 Budget Bedroom Decorating Just Like HGTV Jul 2013
31 Become Theodore Roosevelt for a Day Jul 2013
32 Make a Fairy Garden in a Broken Pot Jul 2013
33 Build a Cat Enclosure Jul 2013
34 Albert Vining in World War I Jun 2013
35 Chipmunk Trap Comparison Test Jun 2013
36 Creating a Genealogy Work Space Jun 2013
37 Memories of the Five and Dime Stores May 2013
38 Landscaping with Stone Borders May 2013
39 Facebook for Libraries May 2013
40 Easy Taco Salad May 2013
41 Essential RV Kitchen Supplies May 2013
42 Summer Reading Solutions for Librarians, Teachers and Parents Apr 2013
43 Remembering Summer Time in the 1950s Apr 2013
44 Business Cards for Librarians or Book Sellers Apr 2013
45 Denny’s Easy Paella Recipe Apr 2013
46 Yard Sale Buying Tips Mar 2013
47 Chair and a Half Feb 2013
48 Outdoor Sofa Best Sellers Feb 2013
49 Bestselling Scanners Feb 2013
50 Watch Winders Feb 2013
51 Aviator Style Jackets Feb 2013
52 Bestselling Inversion Therapy Equipment Feb 2013
53 Wine Cellars/Wine Coolers/Wine Refrigerators Feb 2013
54 Storage Benches to Unclutter the Home Feb 2013
55 Bestselling Keyboard Drawers & Platforms Feb 2013
56 Reed & Barton Silver Flatware Feb 2013
57 Fairy Gardens – A Booklist Feb 2013
58 Pinup Tin Signs Feb 2013
59 Ruth Vining McGhee Feb 2013
60 Quilter’s Hobby Cards Feb 2013
61 Making Edwardian Clothing Feb 2013
62 Hall China – Water Pitchers Feb 2013
63 Coral Pillows for a Coastal Decor Jan 2013
64 Virginia Allain’s Squidoo Tips and Techniques Jan 2013
65 Irish Tweed Caps

Updating Purchased Squidoo Lenses

After buying a huge bundle of web pages (192, to be exact), I’ve been struggling to freshen them up in a timely manner.

Why the sense of urgency? Hey, folks, it’s almost Christmas.. the biggest shopping time of the year. Almost all these lenses are sales pages, so the most urgent action is to scan through all of them and replace the original owner’s Amazon affiliate code with my own. If I don’t, I may own the lenses, but he’s getting the sales.

My problem is while I’m searching for the affiliate codes, I get distracted and start adding related lenses to the introduction, replacing photos that need crediting, and other basics. Then I spot an out-of-stock product and search around Amazon to replace it. I add the three side widgets and look for pertinent products to go there.

I like to add speed bumps to a lens, modules that slow down a visitor who might just scan quickly and leave. What I use are polls which require interaction, talk bubbles and sticky notes. They add visual variety to a page filled with Amazon products for sale. Using the standard Amazon module, I set it to thumbnail to give a horizontal section. Again, this is to stop the overly quick down-the-page scan.

Lastly I check over the tags and remove ones that don’t fit well (don’t want Google to think I’m stuffing the keywords). I look for overuse of the keyword phrase in the introduction and replace some of them with related, alternate wordings. It sounds more natural and you pick up traffic that searches the related key words. I also replace generic module titles like “Top XYZ for Kids” and put the actual product name.

Needless to say, this takes awhile to do on each lens. I’ve completed the first 50 updates, and only 142 to go. Later on, I’ll need to go in and add more personalization to each lens, but no time for that right now.

For my complete tips on Making Money Buying Squidoo Lenses, I’ve put them together on one page.


Things to Watch for When Buying a Squidoo Web Page

There’s been quite a buzz among the Squidoo lensmasters on Facebook about buying lenses. Many are available at $5 to $10 and it seems like a good opportunity to build up a library of lenses in a particular niche.

I commissioned a batch on my choice of topics which was luxury outdoor/patio sales. I’ve been quite pleased with how these are rising in lens rank after I added my own touches to them. I chose a known lensmaster, Margaret Ann Brown to make these for me. She’s an experienced seller that I could count on. I’ve had good work from a number of other lensmakers as well.

Some of the topics I requested were Outdoor Bars, Great Outdoor Kitchens and Outdoor Daybeds. These are great topics for summer time. Even though the set of lenses have only made one sale so far (that was on Patio Party Tableware), I feel sure I have some winners here. The Outdoor Bars lens has achieved a rank of 13,000 already so it is building traffic and seems to be on track to eventually make some sales.

That experiment looks like it is working out well. I bought 24 lenses overall from 5 different lensmasters. I spent an average of $5 or $6 per lens. Normally I make 15 or more lenses a month myself. In April, due to my father’s death, I only made one lens. The purchased lenses maintains my momentum during a time when I wasn’t making lenses on my own.

Now, here’s the caution: Some of the lenses I bought were, shall we say…. a bit disappointing. The things you need to watch out for when selecting lenses to buy are:

  • awkward URLs (too long, not a good fit for the topic’s keyword)
  • too general a topic (broad topics are hard to get google’s attention for)
  • lack of attention to details (table of content not turned on, only one tag, generic module titles, no right-side widgets)
  • low ranking from being a WIP or neglected for too long (this can be overcome, but it can take a month or two of boosting the lens rank)

All of these issues can be turned around (except for the URL), but why should you bother? Purchase a lens from a trusted, known source so it comes in good basic form, ready to start performing for you with just some fancying up.

I created some surveys to see how others were doing with their purchased lenses. Hopefully you’ll stop by my Buying Lenses – A Survey. When you vote in the poll then you see the results from all the lensmasters who have answered so far. Quite interesting.

Also as part of that lens, I’m keeping a log of my own adventures in buying lenses on Squidoo.

Squidoo Publishing Problems

Aack, I’m going crazy trying to update some web pages on Squidoo while it has “its tentacles in a twist.” At least that’s the excuse that keeps popping up on my computer screen each time I try to publish after making changes. This is the second day of problems.

I’ve been campaigning to get lensmasters to update frequently, but am setting a bad example myself. Possibly everyone else is having trouble too. I can ask in the Squidoo Facebook or the Squidoo Mastermind groups on Facebook. I’ve already sent in several bug reports to Squidoo about it.

Maybe I should look at this as a message to step away from the computer. It’s the first day of summer, so really I should be out in the garden planting a few impatiens or picking some strawberries. Squidoo addiction… yes, it really does become obsessive.