Do You Have A Whimsical Garden? | gardening

A true garden is more than just a collection of plants it is an expression of the caretaker who oversees it. A garden is a place where one can go to sit and ponder, or to relax and enjoy the moment amongst some favorite surroundings. What makes a garden special is the elements that have been brought into it. The plantings of course should be those which one likes but what about other elements. Some people may call this garden art.I have a hard time with the term garden art as I always envision formal statues on pedestals placed about in almost a museum like way. I prefer to think of things placed in a garden as the personal whimsy of the gardener who tends it. A garden need not be an idea of the perfect elements that are all brought together to form a perfect harmony. In fact a it is just like art in that it is the vision of the gardener who puts it together. Not everyone sees things in the same way as with a piece of artwork. What is important is that the artist or in this case the gardeners vision matches that which they are looking for.I have seen all types of what I would considered whimsical things used in the garden from bowling balls, old glass bottles, marbles, to baby buggies, and even old bed frames yet some how these were incorporated to make them look like they belonged. It may have been the surprise of finding the unexpected in a garden that made it seem alright or just the fact these items blended so well to the surroundings. No matter I think that using them in the garden was a stroke of genius which kept them out of the landfill in a rather interesting way.I have been in fairy gardens and gardens that are inhabited by gnomes there are many hidden spots that as you wander the garden you come upon and you think of what a great imagination the gardener has. It is more though than just imagination it is the expression of ones own creativity. No matter what you enjoy if you want to place it in your garden and it is something that pleases you then you must.A whimsical garden is so much more interesting the gardener lets themselves go and offers those that visit a chance to see a different side of the person. In a whimsical garden you have a chance to put your thoughts into actions and to create the place that you like to be. No two gardens can be alike but one that is personalized with a gardeners special interest is truly a garden that should be visited and admired.

8 Essentials Every Church Should Know Before Investing in Multimedia | graphic multimedia

2. Find Your Screen:Many people don’t give much thought to the screens, but they are a key piece of equipment for any multimedia system. As such, several things should be taken into account. “Where can it be hung? Should it be electric or fixed? Should we go with one screen or multiple screens? Which aspect ratio is right for us – 16:9 or 4:3? What surface should we go with?” These are all questions to consider. Again, Fowler will help you determine the right size for your congregation, and once the size is established, that will start narrowing down your placement options. (For screen info click here)3. Choose A Projector:Once your screen placement and size are decided, you can determine what kind of projector you will need. After that, you can choose where and how you want to mount the projector. Most can be ceiling mounted, and you’ll want to place it as close to the screen as possible to achieve the brightest picture. Of course, when mounting to the ceiling you will need to be sure there is enough attic space above the projector to run cables plus a structure to attach the mounting hardware to. An electrician will need to provide power at the projector location. If you have high ceilings you will need to look into using scaffolding or a lift. (You might ask your sales consultant about installation.)There are other options when it comes to projector placement. Projecting from a balcony or from the back of the sanctuary usually requires a projector that offers multiple lens options. This allows you to select the perfect lens for your specific throw distance and screen size. You might also consider a slightly brighter projector because there is some light lost in a long throw application. This option will appear more expensive initially; however, once you consider the extra cost and time required with ceiling mounts, it often comes out to be about the same. Also, regular maintenance and lamp changes are often much easier with a long throw application.4. Plan For Cameras:We often find the decision to add cameras to your church media system is usually an after thought. However, more and more churches want to incorporate cameras into their existing system. If done well, it can greatly enhance the worship experience; but if done poorly it can be a major distraction. There are so many options available – robotic; manned; CCU control; HD or standard def, etc. – and the decision you make on your cameras will affect the direction we go with your projector, switching, scaling, cabling, etc. So, even if cameras are not on the immediate agenda but you are considering them for the future, plan now and it will save you money in the long run. (For more camera options click here.)5. Select A Switcher/Scaler:A switcher allows you to switch between your sources. A scaler takes all of your video signals and scales them up to a higher resolution to match your computer’s resolution (which should also be the native resolution of your projector). Be warned! There are several consumer grade switcher/scalers on the market that use low quality scaling engines; your image quality can be significantly impacted by using one of these.When using a switcher/scaler you can choose to go with a single scaler or a dual. Single scalers allow simple dip to black transitions, whereas a dual scaler will allow for all of your effects like cross fades, wipes, cuts, etc. Again the one best suited for your needs will be determined by the direction you want to go with your system – the use of cameras being the biggest question. With cameras we always recommend a dual scaler. Whether or not you are doing High Def will determine which dual scaler.Some people try to save a little money and use their projector as the switcher. They simply plug their sources into the projector and then switch sources using the remote. The downside is that your projector will not do the scaling as well and remotes can be unreliable (if you do this make sure you hard wire your remote). Delays, glitches and unwanted on-screen text often occur, and most projectors don’t even allow you to easily select the source you need – you have to hit the input button until you get to the source you’re looking for.Traditionally, if you planned on using cameras, you could use a video mixer instead of a switcher/scaler. The primary difference is that rather than scaling all of your sources up to a higher resolution, you will need a scan converter to convert all of your signals down to video. If you do this though, the quality of your computer images will suffer. But now that switcher/scalers are available, this isn’t even an issue.6. Develop Your Infrastructure:The infrastructure of your media system is HUGE when it comes to the quality and success of your entire system. You can install a $100,000 projector with low quality cable or leave out a distribution amplifier and your image will look terrible! And a lack of planning on your infrastructure will hinder your ability to add to your system in the future. So, decide now – will you ever want to add:CamerasChoir confidence monitorsMultiple screensDigital signage in the lobbyRecording and duplicating equipmentIf so, do you only want camera feed or will you want everything that’s on the screen?Your infrastructure may cost as much as your projector and screen, but you want to do it right the first time. You should only have to plan routes and pull cables once; after that it will be very simple to add to the system as your ministry grows.7. Choose The Best Sources:Again, as with infrastructure and screens, this is usually an afterthought. No big deal, someone’s donating their old computer or you already have a VCR/DVD player you can use… Or maybe you’ve recently seen the TV commercial where you can get a brand new computer for only $299! If you are only planning on checking emails or doing word processing with your computer that may be fine; but in order to display high end graphics and video, plus store everything your ministry does and display it quickly, you need a computer that is designed for this type of professional application.As for your VCR/DVD player and cameras, a good rule of thumb is to stick with professional grade products. Don’t spend the church’s money on something low quality from a retail store – invest that money in quality pieces. Yes you can go consumer and yes it will work, but those products are not designed for a professional application. As a result you will experience things that will be a big distraction during worship.8. Know Your Budget:There are hundreds of ways to do things, hundreds of products to choose from and pros and cons inherent with each, so for direction and a starting point we always ask the church for a budget to work with. On the other hand, the church is thinking, “Well, I don’t know what this stuff costs, that’s why I called you,” and so they either say they don’t have a budget or they give us a random number that isn’t necessarily realistic. A reputable dealer is not asking for a budget so they can spend every cent you have; they need to know what they’re working with in order to put together the best system for your church. It takes serious creativity and hard work to design a great media system on a limited budget. We can provide a big picture design and then work with you to implement it in phases.So, to sum it all up, there are no right answers or simple solutions. Get your leadership team involved in the planning of your system – not necessarily what equipment you want, but start with what you want it to do and then prioritize that list. Know what’s important in the short term and long term. Remember that when designing a system, flexibility always equals money, so everyone needs to be on the same page. Clear communication is the key to achieving your multimedia ministry goals.For more information on any of these topics, please contact Fowler at 405.321.8122 or toll free at 1.800.729.0163.

Online Marketing Gems For Succeeding Online | Online marketing

When it comes to online marketing, there are many avenues to promote your product. There are up-to-date strategies that work well for the moment, there are tried and true tested methods that will always work, and then there are outdated methods that you simply shouldn’t waste your time on. Honestly, I always try to stick with the methods that will always work.If you currently have an online business but are confused as to how you should promote yourself in the best way as possible, then I know exactly how you feel. When I first started out online, I had no idea of what I should be doing to get sales. I was lost and confused, and downright hopeless.It took a few years to finally understand how to do internet marketing correctly, and how to bring more new customers and clients into my business. This is a testament of how hard internet marketing is. I have excelled in all areas of life, from the technology field to even computer networking… but nothing was as hard as internet marketing.However today, I am proud to say that I know how to make things work, and I know how to succeed in my business. This is an attitude that you need to adopt in your online business also. I suggest you start creating a simple marketing plan that will allow you to focus on the things that you need to be doing everyday in your business.Even though you may have competition in your niche, you can’t let this be an excuse as to why you aren’t succeeding. I have succeeded (and still succeeding) in many competitive niches online. However because of my marketing plan, I know how to beat the odds, and make money with the best of them online.You will want to make it a point in your business to develop a daily marketing strategy. With a good daily marketing plan, you can’t lose. You will want to implement every technique in the book. You can either use paid advertising methods, or free marketing methods. Both options have their pros and cons.I personally like using free marketing methods. There are so many strategies to choose from. You can use article marketing, social marketing, video marketing, forum marketing, blog marketing, press release marketing, eBook marketing and even viral marketing. All of these techniques are highly effective.Many people don’t want to put the work in to due free marketing, as they prefer to just stick with paid advertising. But if paid advertising isn’t making you money, eventually your funds will run out, and your traffic count will suffer. So you will want to learn how to use free marketing to get traffic whether you worked on your business or not.These online marketing gems should be considered if you want to experience a lot of growth and success in your internet business. Marketing your business online and getting more website traffic is simple once you develop a plan to get more new customers into your business. So be sure to start using them today.Good luck with your online marketing efforts.