Making, Teaching, Talking, Growing – this year so far…

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At the end of January I was super smug at how I was doing against my 2018 goals “Learn Apply, Interact”, but we can all easily have a spurt of productivity and focus towards our New Year’s Resolution that early on.  The question is, at the end of February, am I still focused?  Have I learnt anything? Done anything with that knowledge and interacted with the right people and platforms to achieve my goals?

Well just in case you can’t be arsed to read any more, the short answer is YES!!!  And in the hope of enticing you to stick with it, here are some visuals to demonstrate some of this years successes so far…

Yes, I’ve been really proactive with my stained glass, making batches of glass hens, blue tits, daffodils, easter eggs and a couple of dragons…. OK, I haven’t finished the dragons but they’re cut and ready for the next phase.  Here’s one I made earlier…

Yes, I am officially offering AND DELIVERING stained glass teaching from my little home studio.  I’ve discovered it’s ideal for teaching on a one to one basis or up to 3 people at a time so it makes a great Mother and Daughter gift (thinking Mothers Day here people 😉 ); best friends break; or couples activity.  This mum and daughter had a fabulous time.  Get in touch if you want to book one – I may be offering deals and discounts to friends/ bloggers xx

home workshop no1

Yes, having hoped to do a bit of demoing /public speaking this year I happily have have two demos/talks to do for a couple of WI groups – first one is in 10 days time I shall be making daffodils out of glass before their very eyes!  Magic!

And yes, things are looking up on social media. My followings are improving. More importantly the interaction is going up… no point in having likers and followers if they never chat to you is there… I’m making some lovely friends through it and who knows where it will lead. This year so far I have 78 more twitter followers, 26 more blog followers; both around 15% increases but blog views per month have doubled since 2017 (based on monthly averages )…

My finally piece of positive news is the guest spot coming up on Deborah’s My Random Musings , Bloggers Corner Interview … goes live on 25th… so excited.  I love Deborahs’ blog and how she supports other bloggers and writers.

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However  I have been struggling….

On the learning front….

…I tried and tried and tried to get my head around my existing blog/websites for my B&B and decided I was just not techy enough.  I read loads of stuff about blogging and twitter and wordpress and tied myself in a knot of frustration and felt like I was drowning in all the information and my failure to process it.  In the end I put a shout out for help and am delighted to say that I had several offers of support.  Thanks to those who offered help and advice.  Particularly…..

Katy McKenzie of Something Different   is studying Film Production at Derby Uni and has her own successful Youtube channel.  She has offered to help me create a media pack… just chatting to her and tapping in to her enthusiasm was refreshing, it calmed me out of my panic straight away… who says the young can’t teach us oldies a few things!  I look forward to her technical insight .

Holistic health blogger  and freelance digital marketer, Petra Kravos of  Be Healthy Now, has taken me up on the offer of a skills swap… she’s going to help me with my tech and in return I will treat her to a weekend break with her partner here at our B&B…. can’t wait to meet her in person and to learn some new tricks.    I just hope I can impress her with my homemade veggie and vegan breakfast options 😉 … I know she’ll love the fresh air and landscape and the wonderful cycling routes just on our doorstep.


I’m now very excited about the prospects of learning and developing my sites over the next month or so….

And just a quicky roundup of how I’m doing on my health and wellbeing goals…

I’ve lost a stone in weight, god knows where from as I still feel like I’m bursting out of bras and trousers in every direction but those scales don’t lie. I’m eating more healthily; have cut out all junk snack; feel more energised; am drinking loads more water; have not had any much alcohol (mums birthday and valentines); and I’ve walked into the village everyday occasionally instead of taking the car; basically its all heading in the right direction.


… have failed on the weekly date days with Hubby (although we do snuggle together on the sofa every evening);  And I’ve barely made it to a dance/exercise class nor have I just danced for fun, although I have been practicing my belly rolls  …I’ll never get to this but I can remain inspired… an old woman girl can dream of being this fit can’t she

So how is your year going?  Did you set targets?  Have they fallen by the wayside? Perhaps there have been some surprises that have moved you in other directions? Would love to hear from you.

Shank You Very Much
DIY Daddy
Mission Mindfulness
My Random Musings


2018 – Learn, Apply, Interact…my positive words to guide me through

2017 for me was guided by Focus, Aspire, Inspire and if you read by last blog post; which you may not have as it came bang slap in the middle of Christmas and New Year and we were all largely too stuffed and too busy partying to keep up with many of our social media activities; but fear not you can find it here; you can find out how I got on in 2017.

2017 was super duper kind to me.  It was a truly magnificent year.  I created and helped make a legacy that will long outlast me and for that I will be forever proud.

The Welsh Legends themed window installed at Myddfai Hall in Carmarthenshire; I designed it; members of the community helped make it; Prince Charles revealed it and we are all unbelievably proud of it – 2.5 meters by 1.5 meters with a lovely plaque listing every single person involved

My son finished his first year at of his Mechanical Engineering Degree at Cardiff Uni with the equivalent of a first and is thriving and enjoying his second year.  He loves me and Hubby and is not afraid to show it.  We have a great relationship and see him and his friends loads..

I turned 50 and was overwhelmed by the number of cards, gifts and, most importantly, people, who came and celebrated it with me , it was the most joyous and long, celebration

I became a (step) grandma.  I say “step” purely to accentuate what a young grandmother I am (tee hee) ; I love him as my own as I do my two absolutely gorgeous stepsons.

And….. I am about to have the preview of my first ever solo art exhibition ….eek…on the 12th January.  I am setting it up with the curator at the Radnorshire Mueum  in Llandrindod Wells this Friday.  Wish me luck.

On reviewing my 2017 goals it became apparent to me that to progress and achieve what I want not only do I need to get myself more organised (have ordered white board and wall planners/calendar) but I need to learn some new skills.  I’ve been using twitter for a good 18 months now but I really feel like I’m missing the trick but I don’t know what the trick is so don’t know what questions to ask.  I also don’t use Instagram or Pinterest even though I have accounts as I really can’t see how to use them properly .  I need some social media courses.

This is what I want to do;

I want to LEARN, I want to APPLY that learning by INTERACTING more appropriately

  1. I need to find a local guru who will run a small group or one to one workshop relatively locally, even in my house – I’m happy to provide the venue.  LEARN advanced skills for Twitter.  LEARN how to get the best out of Pinterest and Instagram and decide whether it it is advantageous to use all these platforms in relation to the time I would need to commit to maintaining all these platforms
  2. Sort out my blog/website.  At the moment I have an old website that I can’t update  I also have a new blog/website which is supposed to be my ‘lifestyle’ hub and link all my facets together B&B , stained glass and art, teaching, blogging etc…needs completely restructuring…. its on wordpress so in theory I should be able to do it myself but am happy to pay someone (you know who you are 😉 ) for a half day or full day of their time to get it right and remove the old site
  3. Decide what I want each platform to achieve and either get them working together or seperate them.  For example twitter is pretty much the place I rant on about politics, religion, women’s issues, mental health etc   but I also want it to enjoy all the linkys and maybe I also want it to generate business for art and glass.  So does this mean I should have 2 accounts?
  4. FB – should I be using FB pages instead of websites for Cerdyn Villa B&B and Berni Benton Art and Glass or do the pages suffice?  Should they link to blogs instead?

Once I’ve embraced the learning I should be able to work towards some measurable goals, so, following on from 2017 and my review of how that went here are my 2018 measurable goals

  1. STAINED GLASS DESIGNING, COMMISSIONS, TEACHING : create a pricing sheet so people can access my services and know what they are likely to be charged and how.  I think sometimes people don’t ask for a window or a design because they are embarrassed about asking the cost and then having to decline the service.  Likewise, because I don’t have a structure for costing, I always find I’m underselling myself.  Sometimes I think I lose business because I am too cheap, it gives a false message that I’m either not very confident in my abilities or my work isn’t good enough to charge the going rate.  SO in JANUARY I need to create a charging/costing structure and then advertise it somewhere (using the social media learning that I will have implemented by then or not long after)
  2. TEACHING: organise and advertise the first private workshop at my home studio for late January / early February and RUN IT !!! Get my head around a stained glass retreat combining teaching with staying at my B&B , possibly engage with other crafters/artists.  Decide a format and advertise it in JANUARY. Run a trial retreat early MARCH.  I’d also like to continue to co teach at Myddfai, offer more workshops and hopefully have the opportunity to deliver a window project similar to the one Jan-Jun 2017, from SEPTEMBER 2018.  This means keeping up the momentum within the team at Myddai to source a funding stream and create the opportunity.   I need to be proactive in that.
  3. COMMISSIONS: target is to obtain commitment and complete 6 glass or art commissions in 2018.  I have one painting commission deadline November 2018, a small glass commission for this month.  I hope that two window commission I did the drawings for and quoted for last year will come to fruition this year, if not I need new ones to replace them and two more.
  4.  PUBLIC SPEAKING – I have offered to do two, Womens Institute talks already during 2018.  I want to run them with a view to obtaining commissions or teaching opportunities.  My goal is to write the talk and decide the demo, prepare a ‘talk pack’ so I know exactly what I need and how long it will take.  I want to have this ready by EASTER.
  5. TWITTER: I wonder if 750 followers is too much to ask of myself by the end of 2018?  Most importantly I want to be more INTERACTIVE; LEARN how to set up useful lists;  use my lists; what the point of moments are; and engage in more linkys.  I think setting a follower target is probably the only way to measure progress on Twitter.  However. I get the vague feeling that there are better ways to analyse twitter success / failure.  That will come with the learning… you can find me on twitter @Berni_Benton
  6. I’ve joined @64M_Artists and their #TheJanuaryChallenge.  My goal is to complete all the daily tasks and share (some) of them.  its a great idea.  5-10 minutes a day to do something creative and be a bit mindful about how you felt doing it.  Then share via their FB ( @64millionartists )and/or Twitter ( @64M_Artists )
  7. BLOGGING – another area where I really want to be able to measure my success in terms of interaction, what I want to do is know who is reading, responding to and sharing my blog.  However, at the moment my prime reason for blogging is my need to ‘mind dump’.  But I do like it when other people find my ramblings interesting in some way.  I also love to read other peoples blogs.  For want of a better measuring tool I will pick these two arbitary numbers by which to measure my blogging success in 2018.  Please bloggers out there, advise me of a better way to measure.  Followers  – increase from 143 to 200; views from 18.000 to 25,000.  There must be better stats to keep watch of.
  8. FACEBOOK:  I went back in 2017 and redivided my Cerdyn Villa B&B page from my Berni Benton Glass and Art page.   For a while it made total sense to combine them but now I’m a ‘real’ Artist  (what with having both commission and an exhibition under my belt – ooo eer get me!), I think they need to stand independently whilst supporting each other.  Again its the interaction that really matters and I guess I could measure that by targeting reviews.  so here we go.  For @BerniBentonGlassArt, I’d love to have 35 reviews by year end.   I’d also like to have 1000 followers (thats a step up from 11 and 753 respectively).   @CerdynVillaBandB I’ll aim for 35 reviews and 500 followers (from 11 and 375).
  9. OK here’s the target that I least want to do but most need to achieve.  I need to make stock items for outlets in the area.  I have a catalogue of my own designs made into light catchers which sell well – garden birds, Easter themes, Christmas themes, potted flowers etc but I never have any made.  I advertise some of them for sale ‘made to order’ over at my Etsy shop but I really must get some stock made…. so (even as I’m typing this my head is shouting ‘won’t happen’.) I’m setting myself a target of 2 stock items a week on top of any that are specific orders…  that’s 100 speculative items to make before Christmas.  Keep asking me how I’m doing folks otherwise this one may drop by the wayside again this year and I will be so ashamed of myself.
  10. The Vlog… I’m not setting this as a target as I failed to embrace it last year.  What I am hoping is that it will organically become part of my social media development once I engage in the learning process.

So there we go, 10 (well 9) measurable targets for the business me for 2018. I’ll keep you posted (whether you like it or not!)

In life my goal remains my mantra Love, Laugh, Live; and, as I shimmy my way into 2018, I feel full of hope for a glorious 12 months.

Happy New Year xxx

Rhyming with Wine
Mission Mindfulness



Focus Aspire Inspire – How Did I Do In 2017?


It wasn’t until late February of 2017 that I set my ‘goals’ for the year. One of them being, ‘get more organised’! I was INSPIRED at the time by Debbie of My Random Musings to write down measurable, realistic yet Aspiring goals to FOCUS my mind on my art and my social media. My plan was to review my own progress and tweak my activity throughout the year to meet or even succeed my targets (arbitary numbers that I liked the sound of).

In the original post which you can read in full by following the link I set myself targets relating to Twitter, blogging, teaching, making stock items, obtaining art commissions,, obtaining exhibitions, vlogging and setting up retreats and events at our B&B, Cerdyn Villa.

In August I did my first quarterly review. Seemingly I still had more work to do on the ‘get more organised’ resolution! I was pretty pleased with my progress, some targets had been exceeded, others were in my sights; but a couple had lost direction completely. I resolved to resolve these issues. Four months left to get full marks in my end of year review. In October I blogged an update and sadly the same weak spots remained.

So all in all how did 2017 go for me?

Aside from the goals set. 2017 can best be described as BLOODY FANTASTIC.

A year full of joy and laughter, friendship and parties. I had a massive celebration on reaching my half century in tact; Hubby and I became grandparents.

But lets focus on the 2017 challenges I set myself

1. Twitter – 500 followers : as of today I have 574… I notice that I picked a realistic 500 but had a wild dream of 1000. I think to achieve that I need a course. I need to know how to use lists and analyse my stats. I suspect in 2018 the important thing should be concentrating on engagement and interaction rather than followers. No point in getting 1000 likes if only 6 people ever ‘speak’ to me. Any tips and recommendations people?

2. Sort out my twitter lists. – well I did, but now feel like I need to split them and review them. I also need to know how to make use of them because I’m sure twitter would be a more useful tool if I had some more skills knowledge. I suspect there are loads more I can do with it than I can do now.. so 2018 is about LEARNING and APPLYING that learning to achieve more meaningful INTERACTION

3 & 4. Blog – 150 followers / 20,000 views… well I have 143 followers and 17796 views – I need to work harder at the blog … problem is I don’t know what I want to achieve with it. I write for my sanity. As I have said many times it’s my place to ‘brain dump’, sometimes posts never get published. Would I want blogging to be a money spinner for me rather than a social and mental outlet? I am a little reticent, I generally scan over or don’t read sponsored blog posts. I’m a skeptic, I don’t watch adverts. If someone is being paid to like a product, how do I know they really like it, or really like it more than any similar product. In an ideal world I’d like to continue to write what wanted about anything I wanted to AND earn money from it…hey, wouldn’t we all. It would make me feel less guilty about the amount of time I spend writing and reading blogs. At the moment as we edge into 2018, it remains my guilty pleasure. I have a feeling it may stay that way

5. Teaching – I spent the first 6 months of 2017 co-teaching a fantastic community stained glass project in Myddfai. As a result of that I had the opportunity to co-run three one day stained glass workshops. Incentivised by this I have ‘tidied’ (inverted commas as it’s already messy again) my home studio with a view to running private and small group workshops in 2018. Problem is I can’t work out the structure, format and how to promote them. I’d like to offer bespoke sessions to 1-4 people; tailored to the level and desires of the individuals attending. How do you price that? A one day workshop could include lunch. Maybe somehow I can incorporate our B&B business; that is, to offer stained glass breaks or artistic retreats. So a 2 night package with a day and a half of workshops including lunches. Our B&B can take a max of 8 people. Perhaps I should engage with other creatives so there is a choice of activities, eg photography safaris, watercolour / knitting /needle felting workshops. A build your own break type scenario. I feel I need find another course to teach me how to progress with this idea. Is there a course out there to teach me how to package, price and promote?

6. I got caught out in 2016 by promoting my stained glass light catcher designs but not making any ahead of time. Orders normally trickle in and I make to order. As an artist I prefer the one offs and commissions; on a commercial basis (I suck at being commercially viable) I should have a number of units of each of my own designs already made for times like say, Christmas, especially if I plan to shout about it. Anyway my challenge was to start making Christmas stock in August. Did I? Did I heck!!! So this year I simply didn’t advertise either, so as a result hardly sold anything too.

7. I wanted to have new stained glass standard designs in my portfolio so I set my sights on creating two new designs. I didn’t do it. Full stop. No comment

8. I aimed  to get 3 commissions in 2017. Interesting one this. I did get asked for more than three but none of them came to fruition. Problem is with 3 of them I spent a lot of time doing the design work and getting it approved without charging for the design phase. I do however suspect that at least one of the three might well happen in 2018. In addition I was commissioned to make 3 other much smaller bespoke stained glass items. Two were for before Christmas, one is for sometime in the first quarter of 2018. I also had a painting commission I thought had fallen by the wayside. I’d written it off but in December they confirmed with me. I have until November 2018 to do it and the recipient is paying a deposit before I start and making monthly payments towards the finished painting throughout the year. So what have I learned? Again, I need to be more business like in my approach. I need a charge card and I need to take some money up front. If I am going to spend time doing designs I need to charge for them. They take a lot of time. Plus if they invest in the process from the beginning they are more likely to be genuine and more likely to follow through. The other issue I have is under charging / undervaluing my services. One commission, were I to be asked to do similar again, would definitely be three times the price I charged. How does one value oneself? Especially when the items being made are one offs , made to order. Perhaps there’s a course I can go on for this too ?

9. Run a retreat at our B&B – didn’t happen. Not been forgotten. I refer back to 5. and 8.

10. Complete 2 more paintings in my sky-scape series and exhibit. Job done. Four more paintings, three glass installations and an exhibition with the preview set for 12th January 2018. My first ever solo exhibition. Despite it being in a small, local venue I am bricking it. Thank goodness for supportive friends.

11. Facebook. I wanted to increase likes/following of our combined B&B and my arts page to 1000. In the end I decided to split the two back up. It was all getting too confusing. So this is where you find Cerdyn Villa B&B with its 375 followers and Berni Benton Art and Glass with its 753 followers. I do suspect however that whilst followers may be important, I should be concentrating more on understanding my stats and looking at interaction and engagement. I should also be trying to actively generate commissions and bookings from these pages, particularly as my websites are redundant/none existent. Yet again, there must be a course that I can attend to improve and develop these skills.

12. start Vlogging. ….well….. I did one. better add it to my 2018 list.

So for 2017 three key doing words to work by: focus, aspire, inspire

They’re good valid words that helped me move forward and progress

My work mantra for 2018…


… Meanwhile I shall carry along my life with LOVE, LAUGH, LIVE

What words are you living and working by in the coming year?


May your futures be full of love, peace, happiness, laughter and prosperity xxxxx

Letters to my Daughter