Adventure 275 ~ Learn Some Basic Welsh Phrases

Welsh dragonGoodness knows where the impulse for today’s adventure came from! If you’ve been following my adventures, you’ll know that I don’t plan ahead, I just wait for an impulse to arise every day. When the impulses arises, I follow it.  The impulse to learn some Welsh took me by surprise, but I followed the impulse and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

In my attempt to learn some basic phrases, I stumbled across a guy called Jingle Jeff on YouTube. I thought he was fabulous – even though his show is obviously meant for toddlers, it was perfect for me!

You can see how I got on in today’s video blog.

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

Adventure 273 ~ Create A Word Cloud

adventure word cloud Yesterday, I received an Ezine that contained a very eye-catching world cloud, and I wondered if I could create something similar! A little bit of light Googling yielded an array of free web resources, and today I tried my hand at creating a word cloud using Tagul. *

The first word cloud is me just saying “a word or two” about what I’ve gained from my 365 Days Of Adventure project so far 😛 . I enjoyed using Tagul because it was easy to use: you can change fonts, you can modify text and background colour, and you can even change the shape in which the words are contained!

I tried feeding one of my haiku poems into a fitting shape too : it’s wonderful how the essence of the thing I am describing is captured. Honey fungus is the master of proliferation – and that is really conveyed by the word cloud!

honey fungus word cloud

I am just going outside and may be some time.

* All images on today’s post were created at Tagul.com

JT

Adventure 269 ~ Murder A Merge Tag And Use Its Body For Parts

Merge Tag YouTube illlusionAfter mastering the art of the merge tag yesterday (which allowed me to create the illusion of an embedded video in my newsletter), I was on a bit of a high! However, things soon changed when I actually started to write my newsletter and discovered the limitations of the merge tag (I couldn’t format the newsletter in a way that looked neat and tidy).

In the past, this would definitely been the point at which I would have bailed out, exclaiming things like “I knew it was too good to be true” and “Is it too early for wine?” 😛 It was very different today though. With my new “This feels like play” vibe going on, I just played my way right out of the “problem”.

I worked out that I could copy the image generated by the merge tag (which looks like a real live YouTube screen – it’s the image I’m using for this blog post), re-size it and then insert with a link instead. Now everything looks neat and tidy AND the illusion is maintained (it still looks like an embedded video).

The conclusion I’m coming to is this : my creative adventures are bearing fruits in the most unexpected fields. It seems like it’s a lot easier for me to generate options, alternatives and new ideas. If one idea doesn’t work, I just generate a new one. How cool is that? (Even cooler, I’m beginning to trust in an inexhaustible supply of alternative options!)

Oh – and if you want to see the product of my endeavours (I’m rather proud of my wee video illusion, as you can probably tell), you can check out my newsletter here (just scroll down to the bottom to check out the tech 😛 ).

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

Adventure 268 ~ Learn How To Use Merge Tags In Mailchimp

Terry Pratchett quoteSorry. I know. Hard to believe that I’m tangoing with The Tech again, but success can be seductive 😛 .

Tomorrow, I’d like to send out a newsletter to my mailing list : I’ve got a new 7-part webinar series coming up and I want to tell people about it. I thought it would be lovely to bring a bit of life to the newsletter by including a video. So, for today’s adventure I set about learning about the mysterious world of “merge tags” (these tags are used for populating things like newsletters with personalised or dynamic content. So, if I get a newsletter from someone saying Hi Jane , for example, a merge tag will have been used to make sure that my name appears after Hi!)

A little detective work, a dollop of experimentation and a generous portion of play got me a very long way with something I would have been afraid of trying in the past.

Tomorrow’s newsletter will include a video that looks like its embedded (but isn’t) – and that makes me smile 🙂 .

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

Adventure 267 ~ Jane Versus The Tech [The Rematch]

Wordpress Warrior Sad though it may seem, I can barely contain my excitement about today’s adventure!

As you may know, I’m hosting a storytelling webinar tomorrow evening. I’ve created a series of slides to support the presentation, and I thought it would be lovely if those who came along could download a copy of the slides. But I didn’t know how to create a downloadable PDF file …. UNTIL TODAY!

So for today’s adventure, I used the WordPress help files to learn how to create a download link. And I’ve done it!

I’m absolutely certain that my technological adventures have helped me to overcome my fear of “The Tech”. Now when I’m learning about techy stuff (and trying it out), it really feels like I’m just playing. With the absence of fear, I feel ready to try out new stuff. For me, this is definitely a very good thing indeed 🙂 .

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

Adventure 260 ~ Solve A Tree Mystery

whitebeamEarlier in the Summer, I undertook a series of tree identification adventures and really enjoyed them. After those adventures, my tree radar was on high alert and I began to notice different types of trees in all sorts of places. I had a lot of fun identifying them and it felt good to know more about my natural surroundings.

One tree stumped me though. I noticed it in the summer when its blossom was white. Now it has red berries and large lobed leaves. And then a piece of the jigsaw dropped into place that would narrow down my search for its identity : I have seen this tree in parks, along streets and very occasionally in people’s gardens. Only twice have I noticed it in hedges .. so it seems that it is rare in the wild.

With my trusty tree book in hand, I visited one of the local mystery trees and I think I have solved the mystery : it’s a whitebeam!

It feels really exciting to have solved the mystery – and this adventure has reminded me how much I love working things out for myself (even thought it’s taken me months to work this one out, it’s been fun 🙂 )

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

Adventure 258 ~ Create A Facebook Advert

ribbon canva 2Today’s adventure was tough. Very tough. So tough, that I’m going to need a long lie down right after I’ve published this blog post.

I’ve never created a Facebook advert before. Once, I really pushed the boat out and “boosted” a post  (with little effect, might I add), but the territory of the Facebook advert with its snazzy new “Call-To-Action” buttons looked way out of my technological league.

Thing is, I’ve got an adventure coming up which would benefit from a little promotion : a storytelling webinar on the 25th September. So, I figured that it might be time to actually face my Facebook advert demons head-on!

My image-creation adventure helped me create an image for my advert. And then I clicked the link on Facebook entitled “Create Advert”. All good up to this point. But then it all seemed a little overwhelming ~ so many different types of advert to choose from!

I did manage to work out which would be best for my event, and I did muddle my way through. And, yes, I’ve created my very first Facebook advert (which is also my very first “dark post” ~ one that doesn’t appear on my page, just in the news feed), but it really isn’t what I’d hoped for.

Creating adverts in this way severely limits the amount of text you can use in the advert, and yet I’ve seen other adverts with comprehensive text accompanying the link. That’s what I was hoping for, but my muddling didn’t seem to arrive at that end-point.

On the upside, after I’d set my advert up, I did some more Googling and eventually found an article that explained why I hadn’t managed to create the advert I had hoped to – and it showed how to create an advert with unlimited text (you have to use Facebook’s Power Editor). On the downside, now I’ve created my advert, there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop it!

As with all my adventures, I’ve learned something. Today I faced another technological demon, and the next time I create an advert, that demon will be my ally. I’m not even trembling at the thought of “Power Editor”…. how cool is that?!

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

Adventure 249 ~ Go Mushroom Hunting

Portglenone Forest was the setting for a fabulous impromptu adventure today! The forest was leaping with mushrooms large and small, and a walk that usually takes 30 minutes to complete with the dog, took almost an hour and a half today. It was really exciting to hunt for different types of fungi, even though I didn’t have a name for anything I saw.

I took pictures of all the different types I spotted. When I got home, I used the Wild Food UK website to help with identification. It was so much fun comparing my pictures with the images on the website and learning more about each one of them.

Here’s what I came up with!  If you click  on the name of each one, you’ll be able to see why I came to the conclusion I did. Do you think I identified them correctly? I’m not sure about the last one ~ I think it’s a type of bracket fungus though! (Do let me know if you know what it is 🙂 ).

 

 

Bracket Fungus

Bracket Fungus

 

 

 

 

 

I am just going outside and may be some time 🙂 .

JT

Adventure 245 ~ Create My Very First Newsletter

Add a little adventure to your in-box

I had a lot of fun today creating (and sending out) my very first newsletter! I used Mailchimp for this , and I capitalised on last week’s “techy” adventure too : I used Canva to create the header image.

I wrote a short article and then added share buttons and links … okay, I added pretty much everything I could work out how to use!

You can take a peek here  ~ I think you’ll like the article (it’s a harvest metaphor 🙂 ).

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT

Adventure 239 ~ Tackle The Tech

live your adventure by Jane TalbotOne HUGE thing that my adventuring has given to me is a playful attitude towards technology! Before I started my 365 Days Of Adventure project, I think I was actually afraid of technology ; I was in awe of all those folks who has “mastered the modern”, and I think that awe (and the  belief that technology is “hard”) really held me (and my business) back.

As I look back over the last 8 months, I’ve learned to edit videos, manage my WordPress site (and many of its widgets), set up a mailing list, link my mailing list to a “home-made” sign-up box on my website, set up and run webinars, use Facebook advertising (I was REALLY scared of that, oddly enough!), use Google Hangouts On Air, I’ve launched my first digital product, and I’ve mastered a range of image-making tools too!  And I’ve done this all by playing ~ it’s really worked for me, and I’m so glad I’ve done it because I really do think that it’s helped my business no end.

By working through my fears of technology, I’ve now arrived at a very new state of readiness. I’m ready to go self-hosted with my website, I’m ready for the world of plug-ins and customisation, I’m up for learning more about Search Engine Optimisation, and I’m up for developing on-line learning programmes. Yup ~ I’m up for it all because I realised something that’s really important to me : it’s not really about technology, it’s really about playful creativity, connection and  self-expression. And those are things  that light me right up!

For today’s techy adventure, I tried out Canva (a brilliant image creation website which is mostly free. Today’s blog post image was created for FREE on Canva today 🙂 ). The other websites I mention in today’s video are iPiccy and Pixlr . All three of these sites are incredibly easy to use.

I am just going outside and may be some time.

JT