Help raise funds for Hurricane Odile victims in Cabo San Lucas

Since Hurricane Odile ravished Cabo San Lucas there are thousands of people living there with no fresh water and no electricity. Their homes were wiped out. My friends at the Solmar V have set up a fundraiser to support the delivery of donated water purification systems to the area. You can donate here: http://www.wavesforwater.org/fundraiser/hurricane-odile-baja-relief

I have decided to put three of my stoneware plaques on ebay for the cause. 100% of the proceeds of these auctions will go toward the Hurricane Odile Baja Relief fundraiser.

CLICK HERE TO BID: Hand-made stoneware tropical fish wall plaque

CLICK HERE TO BID: Hand-made stoneware sealion pair wall plaques

CLICK HERE TO BID: Hand-made stoneware shark wall plaque


About the plaques

Each plaque is hand-made by me and each piece is one-of-a- kind.

The process starts with a chunk of clay. I like working with Black Mountain, because it has a lot of iron in it and fires really dark. I’ve also been playing with porcelain, which fires white.

I roll it into a slab and let it sit for about a day. When the slab is leather-hard I start decorating. Most of the shapes are from photos I’ve taken, but some of my older designs are from stock images or just freehand drawings.

The patterns are created using small shells that I have collected from the tropical beaches I’ve visited around the world. I look for texture and have a nice collection of favorites. I roll the shells into the clay until it is completely decorated. Then I cut the outline and let the piece dry. After smoothing down the rough edges the dry clay (greenware) is fired the first time.

Stoneware

Bisqueware

The Black Mountain clay is now a warm brown color. In most cases I’ll immediately put the piece into the kiln for the second firing. I don’t glaze these pieces, because I want to keep the detail the small shells create. The second firing is done at around 2700 degrees for a couple of days. The finished piece is very hard and dark brown.

Then I apply a colored underglaze to the surface and rub away the top layer leaving color in the deeper areas of the texture. The next firing is low fire in an electric kiln. This fixes the underglaze so it is permanent.

For a porcelain piece I sometimes will use oxides, underglazes, and glass frit on the top surface texture to get a colored glass finish.

Porcelain detail

On a porcelain base I applied two layers of underglaze and a top layer of glass frit.

NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) Review & Telemarketing Warning

I hate telemarketers, but when I instigate it that makes things even worse. I fell for the “REGISTER FREE” trick. It sounded like a good idea.

Not long after I got a phone call from a very pushy woman, who made it sound like this organization was PERFECT for me and my business! So what does it take to sign up? How about a couple thousand dollars!! After I nearly hang up in laughter, the price came down, because there was a special deal that was good for today only. They knocked off a couple hundred dollars. This game went on for about 30 minutes more and I got them down to $99 for a one year, receiving a limited features, trial membership.

The most annoying part of our conversation was that if I didn’t take the offer now, it would never be extended to me again. I had to decide THAT DAY. Later I realized that they didn’t want me to Google “National Association of Professional Woman reviews” to see all the other negative reports about this company and their telemarketing tactics. So out of curiosity and the acceptance of the idea that it might be a waste of time and money, I signed up and it was.

They sent me the shiny plastic card declaring me a member and gave me access to their website where I could post my business profile that all the members would have access to.

I didn’t start getting emails for quite some time after, but found they had a local chapter. Once I got on the list I started getting the invites to various events, which were all very expensive. I saw no benefit to listening to Star Jones, so I skipped that one. The rest of the events and meeting may have been beneficial to other people, but not to me. The other members who I’ve met had little to offer. Everyone was there to see what the organization could do for them.

My membership expired last week. This time the aggressive telemarketer knew better than to keep pushing. Needless to say this was a total waste of $99.

Before you click that “Register Free” link, make sure you Google and read the reviews, check Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.

Google AdWords Update

Google is trying, but unless you’re really on top of things and know what you’re doing with AdWords Display Network, it is best to stay away from the Automatic Placements. Google no longer calls it “Managed Placements” or “Automatic Placements”. They have buried this whole system even deeper and made it even harder to find. In most cases you’ll need to call them to ask them how to turn it off entirely. I’ll write more on how to do it when I have time, but as soon as I do, they will change everything again.

If you do wish to take your chances with automatic placements, here are a few tips that will help you stay off the thousands of bogus websites setup to cash in on AdSense commissions.

1. Make sure all your keywords have quotes around them. This forces Google to use a “phrase match” instead of a “broad match”. If you don’t use quotes Google will pick keywords similar to any of the words in your phrase. If you use the word SHARK in your keyword phrase they may substitute it with another word. I’m working on examples. More on that later.

2. Make sure you use CAMPAIGN EXCLUSIONS and/or AD EXCLUSIONS! I recommend you exclude the following:

Exclude all mobile apps
This is VERY IMPORTANT. If you don’t do this, you’ll get stuck paying commission on kids apps. In the Placement exclusions add the website adsenseformobileapps.com. Google that domain name if you’re interested in why.

Site category options

  • Juvenile, gross, and bizarre
  • Parked domains
  • Error pages
  • In-game
  • Gambling
  • GMob mobile app non-interstatial
  • Others, depending on what you’re selling

Display keywords (this is very important)

game
kid
free games
fun games online
free
kids
games
play
android
baby
play games
kids games
games for kids
fun
games to play
play free games
cool games
free games online
free games to play
…you get the point

3. Make sure you set up REMARKETING and create an ad group just for that. Set your bid really low on that one. You don’t have any competition!

4. Absolutely make sure you have your geographical target area setup in the campaign settings.

No mater what you do you’ll need to log in every day and watch for these bogus websites. To do this, go to the Display Network tab and click on the Placements sub-tab. Change your date range (upper right corner) to last 7, 14 or 30 days. Then click on the CTR column. Look for those sites that have had only one click and one impression first and look at what the sites are about. Sorry you have to cut and paste the URL because Google doesn’t include a link. Exclude the bogus sites. If the problem continues contact Google and fight for a refund. Good luck with that!

 

Warning about fake website

Don’t book your Truk Lagoon hotel through this site: http://www.trukstophotel.com.

It was setup using decades old HTML by a psycho website developer, who hijacked the domain name. The information you send through this site does not get to the real Truk Stop Hotel. The real website for Truk Stop Hotel is http://www.trukstop.com.