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FINALLY! It’s ready! Welcome!

It’s been a hard two weeks of work and, in my mind, it was only supposed to be two days.  Our polymer clay group got off to a good start in 2011.  There was enough enthusiasm and interest,  that I decided it was worth my efforts to keep it going and keep holding meetings.   We certainly had fun at the 2011 meetings!  I am just hoping that by this time next year, I will have some other “organizer types” to share the work with.  More on that later, I promise!

A little history of our online presence:  I started off  using meetup.com to publicize, schedule meetings and send out email reminders.  It was very handy, but not necessarily user friendly for everyone.  I ended up with two different groups of people I was sending emails to, with some overlap.  Knowing that my paid subscription to meetup.com is expiring next month and I didn’t want to pay them again, I came up with the idea of making a sub-site of my own website, for our little group.

In addition to publicizing the meetings on the internet, this would also serve as a central gathering area for our West Sound polymer clayers, to have pictures of their work posted, to be able to contact other people in the group and to have a good list of resources (that they hear me talking about all the time at the meetings).  So, to that end I began to set it up shortly after the first of the year.  I wanted it to be a little like the meetup.com site, so it would be easy to use, with a way to confirm if people were coming to meetings.  But I also wanted it to be a website where members can contribute their photos, knowledge, and ideas, too.

The bare bones are now in, and now we need to work on content.  I have put a “booking” system in place for meetings, but think of it more as an RSVP.  My space is limited to about ten polymer clayers working on projects, and that’s a squeeze.  So, if you plan to come to a meeting for sure, definitely make a booking.  If you are not sure, and don’t make a booking, please be aware there might not be room enough for everyone to work on clay projects, but you can still come.  We’ll see how this works, for now.

To keep the spiders and spambots down to a minimum, I have secured some of the areas of the website, and they can’t be accessed until you log in.  In order to log in, you need to register and make an account for yourself.  It’s really important that you add an email address, so you can get notifications from me, if need be.  However, this is a good place to use those gmail or yahoo email addresses ( in other words, a secondary email address).   Just in case the little bots get through my fortifications and want to harvest email addresses.

As I already mentioned, this website is for all of us to contribute to.  If you have any photos of your work that you would like to share and if you email it to me, I’ll post it in your very own album.  I think it would be great to also start taking pictures at meetings to put up.   Our picture area is secure to only registered users, so can’t be seen by casual web surfers, just mostly “us”.  Still, WE EACH reserve the right to nix and 86 a photo we feel is unflattering to ourselves, so don’t hesitate to tell me about any you feel that way about.  It comes down immediately!

For those of you that know how to “blog” and would like to write little blurbs on the news page now an again, I can set you up to have access to it for writing.  If you don’t know how to make your way around writing a short blog post, you can always send me the info in an email and I can post it.  A good example of this would be letting us all know they saw clay at 50% off in a local store or some polymer clay work they saw at a local craft show or a class or workshop they know about.

It would be really great if you all would “subscribe by RSS” (click the little button at the top of the page).  Then you will get notified when someone posts that 50% off announcement, as mentioned above.  If you need help with learning how this all works, please bring it up at a meeting.  It’s really easy and I can show you how on my computer.

Last, but not least, I would like you all to email me links to any good informational polymer clay or art related websites that you really like and links to online suppliers you’ve used and been happy with.    Also, any local places you like for shopping, for tools and /or clay.  These can be stores here on the west side of puget sound, but also in Tacoma and Seattle.  Basically anything within reasonable driving distance.   I will get some more info into this section over the next week and if you see I am missing something that you know about, please send an email!

Thanks so much and hope to see all of you checking in here very soon!  I’m looking forward to our group growing in 2012!

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