Cross Stitch Patterns from Fine Art by Scarlet Quince
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Scarlet Quince Ramblings

Cross stitch ... art ... life

Retail show — looking for feedback
Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Did you attend the recent online retail needlework show? Hopefully everyone is familiar with the wholesale show that’s held twice a year — well, this was a show where everyone, not just shops, could buy. We didn’t get much advance notice of the date so there wasn’t time to put an announcement in the newsletter, but I did announce it here.

So: if you heard about it, did you visit the show? If so, what did you like and dislike about it? Right now the organizer is looking for feedback about whether to continue with it and what should change. It probably wouldn’t be this same time of year — July has been suggested. What would be a good way to get word out about it?

(I posted the same questions in the forum. Feel free to reply whichever place is easier — no need to reply in both.)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

As you can see, I am now twittering.  The latest tweets appear at the side of the blog page, or you can click the link to see more on Twitter.  This is not going to be stream of consciousness by any means, but I did think it might be a useful way to announce additions and changes on the web site between newsletters, for those who want to know what’s going on between newsletters.

I confess that I’m not very clued in or sold on social networking.  I don’t get a lot of it, frankly.  For a pretty technical person, I may not be all the way to being a Luddite, but I’m not at all an early adopter, either.  So I’m basically sticking one toe in the water here.  If the tweets are of interest, they’ll stay — if not, they will disappear.

Baker Lake, Nunavut
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I just got finished updating the map, which necessitated figuring out how I created it in the first place. This has been on my to-do list for a long time but I was spurred on to get it done by a request from one of my wholesale customers. She sold a chart to someone who lives in Baker Lake, Nunavut, who was very anxious to have his own X on the map. Although the map really reflects the locations I’ve sold to directly, I was happy to fake up something for someone living in such an out-of-the-way place.

Map of Baker Lake, Nunavut

Have you ever heard of Nunavut? If so, you must be Canadian (or better at geography than I am). It turns out that it was only separated from the Northwest Territories (which I have heard of) in 1999, so I have a little bit of an excuse.

My main excuse for being so ignorant of geography is that I was in grade school during the cold war and what we had was military-industrial geography. Our textbook took the same approach to each country we studied: first, how many square miles it was. Then, since they realized that didn’t convey much, they would superimpose an outline of the country on an outline of whatever part of the US it was closest in size to. This was supposed to make it fun. But knowing that Remotistan is about the same size as Nebraska also doesn’t convey anything (except maybe a veiled suggestion that Remotistan sure doesn’t amount to much; countries that got compared to Rhode Island were obviously ridiculous). They would tell us what language or languages were spoken there — if it wasn’t English, there was an implication that the residents had got it wrong. We covered the form of government they had: democracy (correct) or other (incorrect). Then they would get down to a list of the products considered useful to the US. This always seemed to be grains and metals and minerals, no finished goods. The implication seemed to be that yes, the country might make precision-engineered cars or fine linens or fancy chocolates, but whatever they made, we could do it better. Sometimes they had a picture of apple-cheeked children in funny clothes, but that was about IT. I suppose we were shown where the country fit on the world map, but if you haven’t absorbed the location of country A, learning that country B is just to the east of it doesn’t help. (You can’t explain what chicken-fried steak is to someone who doesn’t know what chicken-fried chicken is.) It was really quite ugly and in a way I’m glad I didn’t learn anything. I certainly hope that geography is no longer being taught that way. But bit by bit, I’m filling in the gaps, and I’m glad to know where Nunavut is!

Gallery updates
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Finally I have added the last few pictures I’ve received to the gallery. There weren’t as many waiting to go in as I thought, but some have been sitting in my inbox for quite a while. In retrospect, it’s a little hard to explain why this seemed like such an ordeal — it isn’t difficult and it doesn’t usually take very long. But December is cedar pollen time here, and it makes me tired, tired, tired to death. So much so that doing a half-hour task (that can be done sitting down) just seems impossible. I won’t go on about it because there’s little as boring as someone whining about their allergies; just wanted to let people who wondered what happened to their pictures know that I’m BACK!

Later: Well, I’m not finished after all. I THOUGHT there were more somewhere.

Much later: I added 6 more pictures to the gallery and was about to write that I am really caught up, when I realized that another one came in this morning! Now I’ve added it too, and I think I am really, really caught up. I use my email inbox like a to-do list which makes it a little hard to see at a glance what’s what. But I learned a long time ago if I put things that needed some sort of attention into a different folder (for example, I had one for suggestions) they would just languish there forever.

We’ve moved!
Monday, August 4th, 2008

We are now at a NEW hosting provider. I have been looking for a better place to host the site since not that long after the last move. (This is our fourth provider, and I devoutly hope, the last.) The last place was good in terms of uptime, but there was just no support. I realized that we weren’t going to get any support at rock bottom prices, and I was willing to pay significantly more for good support, but every time I would read about a provider that one person liked, I would quickly find that 20 more people had had horrible experiences there. I was beginning to think that hosting providers were like airlines — if there’s one you don’t hate, you haven’t used it much. But I recently went on the hunt again and managed to find one that seems to have a very good reputation. The move went quickly, although there was more brokenness afterwards than I had hoped. Last week was hectic making backups, moving, checking for errors, and getting everything cleaned up and I think now we’re in good shape. But please let me know if you find anything that doesn’t seem to work right.

Two kinds of people…
Thursday, July 17th, 2008

As a friend of mine likes to say, there are two kinds of people — in this case, people who are comfortable ordering over the Internet, and people who aren’t. There are also two kinds of people who ARE comfortable ordering over the Internet, and one of them is the kind of person who is SO comfortable that they don’t pay any attention to what they’re ordering. Yep, yet another person who thought they were ordering an art print. As he pointed out, it said “large print” so he went for it. Of course right above that it said “pattern” and just to the right of that it said “Counted cross stitch chart (floss and fabric not included)” and above that it said “cross stitch” three different places. The “floss and fabric not included” language has cut down fairly well on the number of orders from people who thought they were buying a painted needlepoint canvas or stamped cross stitch or a kit, but I’m still not reaching everybody.

Some people say there should be a statement on the checkout page like this: “I understand I am buying a counted cross stitch chart booklet” and a button “I agree” that they have to click, but I hate to do anything with quite so much attitude, and besides, having missed the four places on the pattern page where it says “cross stitch” what are the chances they’ll read this last one? Meanwhile it’s insulting to the people who are paying attention. There must be some other way. It needs to be obvious but subtle and clear without talking down and fit within the current page layout. That should be easy!

BTW, he can of course return the pattern and I hope he does.  Sometimes people who have gotten off into the tall grass ask if they can return the pattern but never do.  I suppose they decide it was their mistake and they must pay for it, but I would rather not leave unhappy people hanging out there.  I probably already have more negative karma than I can burn off in this lifetime.

Good day to stay indoors
Sunday, June 1st, 2008

I was just outside to fill up the birdbath, feed the pond fish, etc. and it is incredibly hot. Nevertheless I need to go back out and do a little digging — I have some plants in pots to transplant and the bed where they are going needs to be bigger. But I’m going to wait until the sun is not actually shining right on me — it’s hot enough without that.

Instead, I’m hiding indoors doing a little tinkering on the web site. Bird of God - Joanna BoyceI just added this beautiful little angel to the gallery.  I got the picture in email a few days ago.  Somehow I always drag my feet on gallery updates — I don’t know why, and I’m trying to do better.  This is easily the most elaborate framing job I’ve ever seen – there are 3 mats and 2 frames.  Updating the gallery reminded me that I need to finish reorganizing the images on the site — there are really too many to be in one directory.  I’ve already moved the gallery images to their own place (and missed updating one of the gallery pages, now fixed).

I also realized that I need to update the printable order form to reflect the new postal rates — but more importantly, now that I understand that the postage is going to go up EVERY MAY FOREVER I need an easier way to do this (translation: time for a software project).  It’s really pretty tricky to come up with postage estimates based only on the price of the charts.  The idea is to have the estimate cover the actual postage, at least most of the time, without gypping people who use that order form.  Don’t you hate it when you order something that costs $5 and they charge you $12 for shipping when the actual postage is only $2?  Yeah, I know, they have to buy a box and they have to pay someone to put your thing into the box, but still.  That’s one of the things I like about having my own business — I am not stuck implementing someone else’s loathsome corporate policies. :)

One other point as long as I’m blathering about the web site — I am not sure the RSS stuff for this blog works.  Probably not.  I’ve put Michael in charge of figuring out what needs to be done to make it work and then telling me the absolute minimum so that I can implement it.  All I know is, I have an iGoogle page and it has a bunch of stuff on it and sometimes the stuff changes and it has something to do with RSS.  If you detect a bad attitude here, you’re right.  Some things are fun to learn about and some aren’t and I’m betting this falls into the second category.  I could be wrong.

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