Blogging, SEO, and Saving Lives

On a day to day basis, what I do here at DreamWeaver’s Quilts is not going to save anyone’s life directly, I know that. But today, I want to share a story with you about how I saved a life through this blog. In March, 2008, I took Shadow and Patches (for new readers: these are the family cats) to have their vaccinations. When I got them home, Shadow was presenting odd symptoms that eventually led me to believe he was having a severe reaction to the vaccinations. I rushed him to the vet, and she confirmed that yes, he was going into anaphylactic shock because of the vaccinations, and if I had not taken him back for emergency treatment, he would have died.

shadowcattreebox

Bear with me, I know you’re wondering where I’m going with this. After Shadow recovered, I wrote about this on my blog, as I often do when it’s something like this that I think people should know about. Over the next few months, I noticed that that blog post was receiving many hits from search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. People were searching for “cat reactions to vaccinations”, “severe cat reaction shots” and other similar phrases. I edited the post, and added the following in bold lettering at the top:

NOTE: If you have found this post through a search for “cat reactions to vaccinations” or something similar, STOP!

If your cat (or dog) is experiencing any of the following symptoms after a vaccination, take your pet back to the vet IMMEDIATELY:

* vomiting
* diarrhea
* whitish or pale gums in the mouth
* facial swelling or hives
* rapid or difficult breathing
* restlessness or difficulty settling down

The above symptoms may mean that your pet is going in to anaphylactic shock and needs IMMEDIATE medical attention to survive!

Severe reactions to vaccinations can be life threatening and are a medical emergency! Don’t wait and wonder, have your pet checked by a veterinarian ASAP!

I wanted people to have the most important information that they needed to save their pet’s life if necessary without having to read through my entire story of Shadow’s reaction. Even the few minutes it could take to read the whole post could make a difference to their pet. This morning, I received a comment on that blog post from Ann: Continue reading

Shall We Meet in Des Moines for the AQS Quilt Expo?

2009 Des Moines Quilt Expo

Are you planning to attend the AQS Quilt Expo in Des Moines, Iowa this year in October? I am, and I’ll be teaching my newest techniques and projects there October 28-31! Check out the workshop descriptions here on the Workshops page, and then head over to the AQS site to download the Registration Guide for the show.

On the workshop menu are Inchie projects and a lecture, as well as workshops on embellishments, machine appliqué and there’s even a class for bloggers and those that would like to start blogging online. Online registration for the Des Moines Quilt Expo is coming soon I’m told, but if you want first dibs on limited class space, you can fill out the form in the Registration Guide, and fax it in to AQS! See you there!

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Amy @ Park City Girl is calling all quilters to the First Annual Bloggers Quilt Festival beginning April 17! How can you participate? From Amy’s blog:

Be thinking about, and post on Friday, your favorite completed quilt project, and the story that goes with it. I will have mister linky sign-ups here starting Friday for an entire week. Then we can visit everyone on the list and leave fabulous comments about their favorite quilt :)

I’ve actually been thinking lately about the quilts that I’ve made and about which one is my favorite, so I can’t wait to share the story tomorrow. Oh, and there will be prizes too! Check Amy’s blog entry for details about that, more on how to participate in the Bloggers Quilt Festival, and what prompted Amy to host this event. Then, grab the button, and post your story about your favorite quilt on Friday!

Dear Reader: How do you take your blogs?

What I mean is, how do you read me? Do you come here every day, every three days, or once a week to check if there’s something new? Do you only read in a feed reader, and never come here for real, unless you feel compelled to comment? Did you stop by once in the beginning, never to return except via RSS feed? Or do you use the RSS feed to tell you when there’s new content, and then visit the site to take it all in right here?

See, I take my blogs up close and personal. I’ve always visited the site directly to read the latest. After my feed reader told me there was something new, I would click through and read the post and see the pictures in their native environment, as the author intended them to be seen. I like looking at blogs with nice layouts and links to pictures and other blogs (though I did stop visiting a couple of blogs regularly that blared music at me as soon as the page loaded, sorry). I don’t even think reading the whole post in my old reader was an option anyway, or if it was I never knew it, and visit the blogs I did.

Then I switched from my old reader to Google Reader, and now I see that I don’t have to go to the site to read what’s there, I can just read it all and see the pictures in the feed reader. This works for most sites, but not for all. Even so, I do still visit the actual sites for most of the blogs I read, because I like to see the original stuff, and the comments, which you don’t see in the reader, at least not in mine. That’s part of the whole blogging thing is the interaction and conversation that happens across the miles, and the sense that you’re visiting with someone in their “home” on the Web.

If there’s other content, like tutorials or photo galleries that are not in the blog chronology, if you never visit the site, you’ll never know it’s even there. If the author publishes a new post, but then goes back and edits it, if you read the post in a feedreader, you may be seeing the original version of the post, and not the edited version. (I’m a huge after-posting editor; three seconds after I click “publish” I always have to make corrections or add some afterthought, and this can sometimes go on for a quarter-hour.) If the author changes a picture, you might not see the new one, because the feed that your feedreader originally pulled has the old information in it.

These are just some thoughts running around in my head. So let’s discuss. How do you take your blogs??

Thank You to Friends (the New Year’s Post that wasn’t)

I’ve been meaning to write this post since yesterday, you know, one of those “here’s what was good and not so good about last year, and here’s what’s on the to-do list for next” kind of posts, but to be honest, I’m just not feeling all that introspective at the moment. Introspection requires hard thinking, and I’m still enjoying the (relative) leisure of the holiday for what it’s worth.

I could go back and read last year’s New Year post (and I actually did read it yesterday), and think about the things that I wanted to do that went undone (and eventually got dropped altogether for various reasons), and try to figure out what all I want to accomplish this year, but I’m already down for that runaway train that is the quilt book publication and all the other projects that go along with that, and taking the time to list it all out task by task probably isn’t going to get me anywhere at the moment. That and all the rest of the more personal and family things will either get done or they won’t, as time allows.

I will say this: there’s sometimes a lot to be said for being too busy doing to think too much on what’s happening or not happening in life. Events often happen in a certain order and at a certain time because they’re meant to happen that way, despite the fervent massaging we often do trying to make things happen. And that’s about as far into deep introspection as I’m going to go right now.

More importantly, the point of this “New Year’s post that wasn’t” is that I want to tell you how much I appreciate you being here, reading, lurking, commenting, sharing. I enjoy knowing each of you through our conversations here and on your blogs. Thank you for inviting me to share your life at your blog; I’m glad I get to see the world through your eyes every now and again. Have a peaceful, prosperous and happy 2009, friends!