Friday, October 28, 2011

I Decided To Try Scribd For Some Of My Free E-Books and E-Patterns

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I am very fortunate in that I have all of my free e-patterns and e-books on my own website.  However, some of my small business artist and crafter friends don't have websites that are capable of housing their free e-patterns, e-tutorials, e-projects, etc. They want to share them on their blogs so, what do they do?  Well, they use one of the many document sharing websites available and either provide a link on their blog or embed the code into their sidebar or post. 

One of these document sharing websites is Scribd.  I've been thinking about Scribd for a little while now and haven't had the chance to test it out until today. If you don't know what Scribd is it is the fastest growing social reading and publishing company on the web today. 

Here's what they say about themselves on their "About" page: 

Scribd is the world’s largest social reading and publishing company. We've made it easy to share and discover entertaining, informative and original written content across the web and mobile devices. Our vision is to liberate the written word, to connect people with the information and ideas that matter most to them. 

And, here's what they offer for quick facts: 

Scribd. \skribbed\ the world’s largest social reading and publishing company
>75 million readers every month
>20 million embeds
>1 billion pages converted to HTML5
Tens of millions of documents published
Millions of Readcasts every month

So, why was I interested in Scribd? Well, I thought it might be a good place to test some of my free e-books and e-patterns, and could potentially be a website I might be interested in selling of some of my e-products on in the future. 

The former I could do right away. The latter requires more research on my part as to what the best website is for that and researching each websites terms & conditions are.  I want to make sure I pick the right website for supplementing the selling my e-products.  For now, the "freebies" are fine for Scribd. 

Scribd allows you to post documents in the following formats: You can upload documents in the following formats: Adobe PDF (.pdf), Adobe PostScript (.ps), Microsoft Word (.doc/ .docx), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pps/.pptx), Microsoft Excel (.xls/.xlsx), OpenOffice Text Document (.odt, .sxw), OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp, .sxi), OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods, .sxc), All OpenDocument formats, Plain text (.txt), and Rich text format (.rtf). 

Upload is very easy. You just select the file you want and then follow the prompts. You can make you documents public or private. In the case of the latter, they can only be viewed if you've given someone the URL. 

Documents can be viewed on Scribd in Float mode, or they can be downloaded and printed, can be downloaded to a mobile device, or added to a collection. Documents can also be shared (i.e. readcast) on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, or embedded within a website or blog. 

The Float mode viewer displays a pop-up control bar on the bottom of your window that allows you to scroll through the document page by page, zoom in or out, convert to full screen mode, search the document, add a comment, embed/share, add to a collection and download. You can also "read-cast" your document which is basically sharing it with your friends across multiple social networks. 

You can embed your document in a website or blog utilizing the HTML coding they provide and it would look like the following: 

According to Wikipedia the technology used for this is: Scribd uses iPaper which is a rich document format similar to PDF built for the web, which allows users to embed documents into a web page.[27] iPaper was built with Adobe Flash, allowing it to be viewed the same across different operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) without conversion, as long as the reader has Flash installed (although Scribd has announced non-Flash support for the iPhone).[28] All major document types can be formatted into iPaper including Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, OpenDocument documents, XML documents, and PostScript files. 

All iPaper documents are hosted on Scribd. Scribd allows published documents to either be private or open to the larger Scribd community. The iPaper document viewer is also embeddable in any website or blog, making it simple to embed documents in their original layout regardless of file format.

Scribd iPaper requires that Flash cookies are enabled, which is the default setting in Flash.[29] If the requirements are not met, there is no message; the white or gray display area is simply blank.

If you don't want to embed your document you can just provide a link that would display the document in full screen mode for easy reading. 

You could add the above link to the sidebar of your blog to provide your blog readers with a way of seeing and downloading your free e-product.  Or, you could embed the code directly into a post or, in the case of, onto one of the ten tab pages they offer per blog. 

In Scribd you basically have bookshelves where you can store your uploaded documents, store other Scribd docs you like in collections, or store the read-casts you are sharing with your friends. 

You can also set-up a profile page with information on yourself, links to your website, etc. 

Plus, Scribd maintains pretty detailed statistics for you on your documents, such as: recent activity by document, by region, by keyword, by referrer, embeds, read-cast, etc. 

Pretty cool, huh? 

I was impressed with how quick and easy Scribd was to learn and navigate.   Depending on what you have to share, if you are a small business artist and crafter on the web and you want to share some of your free documents you might want to consider using Scribd or any of the websites shown above. 

I'm going to check my stats on Scribd in a few days to see how many views and downloads there have been. Hopefully there will be lots and lots. 

I only uploaded two of my free e-books. If they seem to be getting a lot of viewing maybe I'll upload some more. We'll see. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

FREE Pattern Ideas Suggestions Over The Years

The other day I received a free pattern suggestion from one of my readers and I couldn't be happier.

As you can imagine after selling patterns online for seven years I've received quite a few emails. Some are for help with pattern issues, website issues, HTML, blog problems, general information, design ideas, etc. Most are unsolicited and I try to help if I can. In fact, several of my blogs and e-books were generated based on my trying to help another artist or crafter with an issue they were having.

I'm a firm believer in "paying it forward" and helping if I can. After all, we all started sometime and when I started on line I received a lot of help from many sources - all of which was greatly appreciated. Of course, back then there weren't any where near the number of artist and crafters websites and blogs that there are today.

I can even remember a forum conversation when blogs were new and a crafter/seller was saying that they would never buy anything from a blog. I thought that was a silly statement back then and well, nowadays it would be a ridiculous statement. In fact, now you can't always tell the difference between a selling website and a selling blog. There are millions of them now. The arts and crafts area on the web has certainly grown in seven years to gigantic proportions.

Back in 2006 I decided to solicit free pattern suggestions from my blog readers to see what kinds of free patterns they'd like to see me design and received quite a few responses. There have been continuous requests over the years, but I hadn't received any lately until the email the other day.

Well, since I'd just finished a massive 10-month e-pattern redesign project I began to think about what projects I'd like to start next. As you can imagine I have a massive list of arts or crafts projects that I'd like to try, blog ideas, crafting ideas, WIP's to complete - and the list goes on and on. Even though I'm optimistic there is no way in my lifetime that I'll be able to do everything and try everything I'd like to.

While sorting through some of my massive piles of to-do's I received the email for the free pattern idea. Of course, that prompted me to look at my free pattern ideas suggestions folder again.

I enjoyed reading through the suggestions again and thought you might, too. I hope you enjoy reading the requests:

Violet writes - Hi Linda, I had a thought on what free patterns I would like to see you design. Although it is only a suggestion. I have always admired my nan and pop for staying together as long as they have and seeing them still "in love" to this day. Anyway, I would love to see you design Grandma and Grandpa dolls. I just don't see many patterns around that are Grandma and Grandpa, which is quite sad. All the best, Violet

As a follow-up to this Violet sent me an email that said: Hi, Linda, After I suggested the grandparents dolls for your free patterns I decided to make some grandparent dolls up. lol It just stuck in my mind and I had to do it.  hehe (They aren't that great, but considering I didn't have a pattern to follow.  Just thought I'd let you know.  Hope you had a good week.  Violet.

Sandy writes - Hi Linda, My name is Sandy and I have twin granddaughters that are going to turn 2 yrs. Old in May and I would love to make them an old fashioned Monkey doll with the wool socks. Do you have the pattern for this ? If you do I would so appreciate it. Thank You. Sincerely, Sandy

Dolly writes - Hello, I am new to doll making so an easy prim pattern would be great. I've been trying to draw one but can't seem to get the balance between head and body. I'm not great at sewing around curves on the machine either. Also would give me a chance to use stuff I have without investing a lot of money. Any pattern to make this easier for me would be great. Thanks, Dolly - Happy Holidays!!

Pammie writes - Yes design cloth dolls all sizes.

Carrie writes - Hi, there. I just found your site and it is gorgeous! I am looking for a FREE doll pattern. I just got my first sewing machine for Christmas yesterday, at the age of 27. So, I am looking for something easy to try. Thanks! Carrie

Joan writes - Hello Linda, My name is Joan and I crochet and sew. I've never made a doll before. I pretty much make clothes. I want to know how to make a doll and also to quilt. I don't know anyone who can show me. It would be awesome if you offered a free pattern to try. Anything that is pretty basic for us "newbies". If I can do it then I would absolutely pay for a pattern. Thank you. Sincerely, Joan

Vicky writes - Hello Linda.. I was looking at your web site.. really nice.. I would love to be able to make some prim dolls, I prefer something like your Primitive Annie, with a little larger head, a Mammy doll, with wire curls.. Thank you Vicky

Olga writes - Hi LindaI have been sewing dolls since my little girl, now 33, was little. I would like you to make a doll that grows. Now I have a 2 year old granddaughter and would like to make her a doll that grows with her. Could you do that for me please. Olga from PA

AnnaLee writes - I have a beautiful 18" Kitty Collier that is in a 40's style swimsuit - I'd like something like a full sailor dress for her - she's a platinum blond.

OR....I have a Revlon Doll - the taller and she has no clothes AT ALL...through time they've disappeared. She's from the 50's I got her brand new. Good luck deciding. Anna (Edmond, OK)

Wendy writes - hi , i like your site. i have made a few dolls and am looking for a life size doll pattern for my 2 year old grandson. cant afford the $10 patterns this year. Wendy

The Hammonds write- There seem to be a lot of site with free patterns for antique dolls weather cloth or porcelain. What I would like to find is one that my 7 year old could sew for her fake barbies 10 1/2 to 12 inches tall. Thanks For taking the time to listen :) The Hammonds

Anonymous posted on my Linda's Blog - what about colonial dress patterns for preteens.

Hi Hello, My name is Esttella age 53 and I love making cloth rag dolls, do you have any patterns for the old fashioned cloth doll? I would love to hear from you. Regards Esttella

Jennie writes - Hi my name is Jennie - looking for free patterns. What about a clown pattern for a doll. It could be a jumpsuit with a ruffle or BIG bow that could be converted to a pair of trousers with an all-in-one top with an elasticated ruffle at the neck (for ease of putting on)- with a waist coat. Big gloves (stuffed with cotton wool and the same for shoes (big ones or eatern ones with turned up toes and a bell/felt ball attached. All of which could be made from odd bits of material (I'm sure I'm not the only one with a scrap rag bag of 'useful' bits that they KNOW will come in handy at some point).

Athlyn writes  - You are looking for ideas for free doll patterns and my suggestions would be raggedy anns and angels.  Thank you very much.  Athlyn

Mel writes  -  Hi, I am at uni studying home ec teaching and I am making some basic pajamas - like proto-type kind.  So I am wondering f u have a large doll size pattern u could email me....the pj's need a collar, shorts, shirts, and needs to button up....  Any ideas?  Thanks, Linda

Brenda writes  - My idea would be self portrate doll...shoot sorry spelling.... Made with loving hands.  Bren

Judy writes  - Hi, if you do or have any time of time out or shy baby they have too many names, I would love that.  I'm new at dolls so starting big.  lol thanks Judy

Lynda writes  -  You have a lovely website.  I would think a lot of people would love free raggedy ann thpe dolls, snuggly, soft baby dolls and soft, snuggle teddy bears.

Lisa Marie writes  - What kind of free doll pattern would I like?  Well..I like doll patterns that are style...maybe all one piece?  Or simple attachments of arms and legs!! Homespun simple clothing....easy or no faces too!!! I don't like the big ones either..I like..maybe 12-15" ones.  Does that help?  Hopefully!! Thanks for asking!! Hugs..Lisa Marie

Pat writes - I would love to see some free patterns that I could send to my 86 year old mother who loves to sit and sew by hand.  I was hoping to find something for the seasons.  Thak you.  Pat

Melinda writes  - I am teaching my daughter and nieces to sew because their mothers do not know themselves.  Could you please design a very simple basic rag doll to make available to youngins.  Either that or some cute basic ornies they can have success with!  Thanks you.  Hugs, Melinda


Bekki writes  - hi, I would like a free detailed realistic, but cartoony art doll pattern.  thanks, bekki

Gloria writes  - Patterns for Barbie and the 13 inch baby doll.

Over the years I knew that I wouldn't be able to fulfill all the free pattern suggestions so I started my The Best Free Craft Articles blog hoping that my readers might find a free suggestions for a craft project they would like over there.  I'm happy to say that The Best Free Craft Articles blog is still growing strong with 910 articles to date.  Lots of wonderful ideas.  

All of the free ideas I've received over the years have been terrific ideas and have given me a lot to think about from a doll pattern designer perspective and from a FUN perspective.  I have some time on my hands now  and I'm itching to start designing and sewing again.  You never know what I'll come up with  - hopefully, some more freebies.  We'll see.

Please keep those free pattern ideas coming.

Thanks to all who wrote to me over the years.

Graphic Courtesy of Denise Bailey at KKL Primitives -

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Makes Our Patterns The Best?

When it comes to selling products everyone claims their products are the best. It's hard to know what's true and what isn't.  If I were to tell you that our patterns really are the best you'd probably just shake your head and say, "ya, ya, ya." Well, the truth is they really are the best!"

So, I thought I'd do something a little different.  In order to make you a believer I thought I'd actually show you,  "What makes Linda Walsh Originals Doll Patterns So Wonderful?" 

In order to answer that I'm going to show you exactly what all our patterns and e-patterns contain with some illustrations and then explain to you why our patterns are so great for any skill level. We have patterns for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skills.  And, many of our patterns can be made by children with adult supervision. Once you see what we have to offer you can decide for yourselves whether or not ours are the best. 

Our doll patterns and craft patterns were designed to make it easy to follow sewing the doll or craft from beginning to end whether you are a beginner crafter and/or sewer or an experienced crafter and/or seamstress. Everything and anything you need to know are all contained within the pattern. 

And, depending on your skill level you can utilize just the instructions sheets, just the diagrams pages, or just the pattern pieces themselves to make the doll or craft. Personally, I don't like reading written instructions as much I like following pictures. But, most of all, I like putting things together just by using the pattern pieces. Kind of like a jig-saw puzzle. But, that's me. 

So, I thought I'd include something for everyone - those who like written instructions, those who like pictures or diagrams, and those who just want the pattern pieces. 

So, here's what you get: 
The Front Cover

The front cover includes a digital picture of the doll, the Pattern #, doll size, doll’s name, and doll description. 

The Back Cover

The back cover lists all of the supplies needed to make the doll, including where each of the supplies is used within the pattern (listed in the parenthesis). It also includes our business  information, copyrights, and legal information concerning the use of our pattern. 

Pattern Instructions
The pattern instruction sheets list in detail the sewing instructions, additional pieces to be cut, and the instructions for putting the doll together from start to finish. The pattern instruction sheets follow the diagrams sheets from beginning to end and include many references to the diagrams pages. The pattern instruction sheets also reference each pattern piece by its name and each pattern piece edge by its label. It also includes a bare minimum of pictures so you get the idea without breaking the bank with toner cartridges if you choose to buy one of our e-patterns. 

Diagrams Sheets

The diagrams pages are computer aided or drawn examples of putting the doll together from start to finish and show you how the doll should look step by step. They follow the pattern instruction sheets from beginning to end. They are usually on one or two pages.  The idea is to give you a quick look at the start to finish process in a minimal amount of pages so, again, you won't break the bank in toner cartridges if you've purchased one of our e-patterns. The diagrams sheets could easily sit next to the sewing machine while you're sewing as a quick and easy reference. 

Pattern Piece Sheets

The pattern piece sheets are all full size page sheets. All of the pattern pieces are named and indicate the number of pieces to cut. The edges of all the pattern pieces are labeled as to edge placement and what sewing is to be done with that edge. If the edge is to be sewn to another pattern piece then the edge contains the name of that specific pattern piece. The fold lines, sew lines, and cutting lines are all indicated as well. Our pattern piece sheets are all single sided full size page sheets and none of the pieces overlap one another or need to be reduced or enlarged. 

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced crafter and/or sewer you should be able to easily follow our pattern directions for making the doll. If you like to sew using written instructions then just follow the sewing instruction sheets from start to finish. If you like to sew using pictures or diagrams just follow the pictures or diagrams outlined in our Diagrams Sheets from the first diagram straight thru to the last diagram. If you like a challenge and like to just put the doll together from the pattern pieces you can do that as well. 

We have classified our patterns into 3 groups -  B = beginner, I = Intermediate, and A = Advanced. The patterns classification is shown on their purchase page so you know before you buy the pattern what the it's classification is. Our patterns can be used by beginners, intermediate crafters and/or sewers, and the more advanced or experienced seamstress or crafter. 

Our print patterns are all folded so they fit nicely in a 6" x 9" plastic sleeve. Besides the plastic sleeve and price, the only difference between our print patterns and e-patterns is the first page of the .PDF e-pattern file is shown like the picture above and the front cover and back cover are turned sideways to make the e-pattern foldable to 6"x 9" size  - just like the print pattern. 

So now, hopefully, you have a good idea as to what our patterns contain and what makes them so wonderful. 

Now, I have a question for you. Why not try one of our patterns yourself? 

Come on. You know you want to. 

And, when you do please send us an email and let us know how you liked our pattern. We'd love to hear from you. 

Better yet, send us a picture and we'll post it on our Linda's Blog

Happy sewing. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Christmas Delights Pillow Cross Stitch Kit From Pine Mountain Designs

Every so often I see a kit that I think might be cute and easy to make.  Something I could quickly make for a Christmas present or "just because" type present. Such was the case with the "Christmas Delights" pillow kit from Pine Mountain designs.

What drew my attention to the pillow kit was the pillow sham was pre-sewn.A definite time saver when you're as busy as I am. So, I bought it and decided to give it a try.

The kit came in a resealable heavier plastic bag and contained the pre-sewn pillow sham, DMC floss, button decorations, tapestry needle, and instructions. The pre-sewn pillow was a combination of rectangular cotton strips surrounding a rectangular burlap piece that would be embroidered upon.