Friday, July 31, 2009

Artisan Jewelry Gift Certificate Giveaway

$25 Gift Certificate

From Zeba Collection ($25 value) – Open worldwide

I have purchased Ad spots in few magazines; however, I am having a hard time deciding which ad I should use. Help me pick an Ad for a chance to be entered in the drawing for a $25 gift certificate from my Etsy Shop. Gift certificates must be redeemed through my etsy shop only toward the purchase of products listed in the online shop.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Garden Walks – Westerville Ohio

This is the second half of our Garden Walk in Westerville, Ohio. Westerville has a population of 37,000 residents and is ranked 15th in the Top 100 list of "America's Best Places to Live" by Money Magazine. You can take a photo tour of the city and read more about the city at .

There were total of 10 homes that participated in the garden walk and it took about 7 hours to complete the tour. We saw a wide variety of home and garden styles, very different experience from the Victorian village. These were mainly suburban homes, some new development and some very old, some with moderate size yards and some with acres of land.

Can you imagine this little cozy area with the wisteria flowers all over the support?

Isn’t this a clever bird bath? The little emitter attached to the curved hook provides little dribbles of water all day long.

We also saw a lot of these cleverly put together pots of flowers. I think they are really cute.

I think I am going to build one these in my yard, it keeps the rabbits away and with a fabric covering the top it will extend the gardening season.

I like the metal work on the planters and you see it again repeated on the arbors.

The intricate wood work on the arbor is repeated on the Gazebo.

The placement of the Bird sculptures was very clever. Instead of being tucked away somewhere out of the way, they are placed in the middle of the yard.

This sculpture combination is charming. It reminds me of road-runner and .......

More cute sculptures and bird baths. The scarecrow is my favorite. The birds are made of wood.

A cute little pond, the surface was covered with fishing wire to keep the animals away. A clever solution.

And last but not least, the house I like to call "the Blue elephant". You see what I mean when you look at the pictures. Let’s just say there a lot people taking pictures that day.

Thanks a lot to my husband for taking the pictures.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where can a small business advertise for free?

Update again: I was at Border's book store the other day and I was looking to see if they had a bulletin board for advertising or not. I found it, it was by the restrooms with a sign that said "advertise your non-profit event here". I was saddened at first, but right away I spotted a multi layer stand for business advertising. There were a lot of postcards in the slots from local businesses. So I left my cards there, and I was very thankful to Border's for supporting the small business. So I am changing the title to this post to "Where can a small business advertise", because I am now on a quest to find all the bulletin boards in my neighborhood. So, keep watching this post.

Update: I wrote to Panera, and they responded as follows:

"Thank you for contacting Panera Bread. Our bulletin boards are to be
used for non-profit organizations only, not to promote advertising of a
business. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused

So today, I asked the same question from Starbuck Coffee house and received the same response :"They are not allowed to advertise other business". Well, needless to say I am very saddened about their policy. I changed the title of this article to say "Did you Know, Coffee Shop Bulletin Boards are not for business advertising?".

It is no secret that I am a struggling artist with a very small
business. That means my advertising budget is almost non-existence.
So, I had to get very creative to come up with free to very cheap
advertising. One of the ways I advertise is by printing promotional
flyers and post cards and posting them on community bulletin boards
around the town and everywhere I visit. I am always in search of
community bulletin boards and have found them in a few coffee shops and
Panera Bread Restaurants. Yesterday, as usual I went into a Panera
Bread Restaurant to place my Ad on their community bulletin board and I
noticed a sign saying the board was for non-profit ads only and to see a
manager. So, I found the manager and showed him my Ads, he said "we
cannot promote other businesses". So, saddened I left the restaurant,
thinking I will never come back. It is their restaurant and they can do
what they please; however, I wonder why they cannot support the local
small business owners, why they cannot support the handmade movement.
After all it is a community board and I am part of the community. I
sell handmade jewelry; one quick look at my ad was obvious that in no
way or shape I was taking business from them, I was no threat to their
business. So why turn down a small business in your community?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Garden Walks - Victorian Village - Columbus Ohio

Last weekend we were visiting in Columbus, Ohio and our wonderful host took us to a couple of garden walks, one in a renovated old urban neighborhood called 'Victorian Village' and the second one in one of the nearby suburbs called 'Westerville'. It was very interesting to see both, small urban and bigger suburban gardens all in one day.

Victorian Village is part of the Short North neighborhood. The Victorian village homes were built in late 1800 to 1920s and represent a good sample of Victorian era architecture. You can read about the history of this area at History of the Neighborhood and Architectural Styles.

They are having a Tour Of the Homes Event Sunday, September 20, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Details at tour-of-the-homes )

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Onyx For Leo

Birthday Gift Ideas for Leo

Leo - The Lion- The fifth sign of the zodiac - July 23 - August 22
Their color is gold and orange. Both are warm colors, representing sun, energy, and joy very much like the warm-hearted, loving, and enthusiastic Leo.

Their birthstone is Ruby, symbol of love passion and power. Their zodiac birthstone is Onyx. Black Onyx and gold or orange make a stunning statement.

Leo's flowers are merigold and sunflower.

For a perfect gift, combine an artisan handmade Onyx jewelry set and a bouquet of Sunflowers flowers.

All merchandise available at Zeba Collection

Leo The Lion

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

UPS vs. US Post Office

I usually mail my packages (not really a package, but a big cushioned envelope) via the US postal office with delivery confirmation, and so far I have not had any problems. The other day, I was asked to mail via UPS. So I packaged everything as I normally do, and went to the UPS store near our house.
UPS with tracking, $14, normally I pay around 3 dollars.

The clerk behind the counter cheerfully accepted my package and asked if I wanted it via the UPS route and tracking, or the cheapest way possible. I asked for UPS and tracking. He quotes me $14 dollars and said it would arrive in three days. I was shocked; normally I pay around 3 dollars.

So, I asked “how about the cheapest route?”
The Clerk, weights the package again and he said “Via post office, it will be $6 and it would arrive in 3 days.”
I am still thinking, UMmmmm, still more than I normally pay. So, I asked, “Is this going priority mail?”
- He said, “Yes.”
- I said, “I don’t want to send it priority mail”
- He said, “If I want delivery confirmation, I have to send it priority mail.”
He weighted the package again and quoted, “First class will be …… , but I cannot get delivery confirmation”. I don’t remember the exact cents, but it was more than two dollars.
- I said, “That is not true, I can get delivery confirmation, with first class”
He looked confused, so he asks other clerks, “Can you get delivery confirmation, on first class?”
“UPS charges double for delivery confirmation.”
They told him, yes and I added that it is an additional cost of 80 cents.
He checks with his computer and said, “Delivery confirmation is an additional $1.60, and I would be better off sending it priority mail.”
At this point, realizing that they are doubling the post office’s price, I took my package and headed on for the post office.
“Cost at the post office: $1.73 + 0.8 = $2.53.”
The cost of first class at the post office was $1.73 (UPS was around $2.80) and delivery confirmation was an additional $0.80 (UPS was $1.60). So, I did mail my package the cheapest route possible after all.
I was wondering afterwards, “Why would anyone use UPS?” Since I don’t use their services, I am not aware of the value add they provide. I think what is happening, is that UPS decided to provide postal route services for their customers. They are charging extra for this service because it uses their facility and employees. Okay, no problem there, however, I think the way they handled the situation was unethical.
““Why would anyone use UPS?”
I think they should train their staff, to be upfront with the customer. The Ethical way this conversation should have happened, would be:
- Customer – “I would like to ship this package”
- Clerk - “Would you like UPS with tracking, or the cheapest route?”
- Customer – “UPS with tracking”
- Clerk – “That would be $14 dollars and will arrive in three days.”
- Customer - “How about the cheapest route?”
- Clerk – “That would be via the US Post office. You can go to their offices, or we can send it from here. If you choose to mail from here, we charge extra for the service.”
- Customer – “How much extra do you charge?”
Clerk can quote a percentage for the surcharge.
At this point, the customer understands clearly her choices, “I go to the post office, or save the trip, pay extra and ship from here.”
Now, this would be ethical.