Friday, October 31, 2008

Bacon Bracelet Featured on Fashion Blog

I was tickled to disover that my bacon bracelet is featured among a group of bacon themed fashion items on Trend de la Creme. It's a fabulous looking, keen blog with a sense of humor.
Trend de la Creme is published by Jill Sherman, who is described on the blog as a marketing professional by day with a passion for "the next relevant, interesting, and/or unsavory trend".
While you are there, check out Just Nosing Around and Who Killed Fluffy? I also found the Skeletal Chic fashions fascinating, a sort of ironic commentary on the models underneath the fashions.
Even if you don't think of yourself as a fashion aficionado, poke around a bit on Trend de la Creme for some interesting food for thought and for the eyeballs.
My bacon bracelet came about when I made a bacon jewelry gift set for a dear friend. The bacon bracelet featured in my etsy shop and on the fashion blog was made with the leftover (and somewhat less savory) bacon pieces. As I eat turkey bacon, they tend to look more like that fine food product when left in the microwave for too long.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tips for Photographing Small Art and Craft Items

From an amateur to other amateurs, with in mind

A friend who makes small polymer clay figures mentioned that she was having trouble photographing her work. She would like to start posting her work for sale on

She said:
“ I have one of those Kodak One-shot digital camera's...they're great...but not top of the line by any means.... my shots are always either blurry, too dark or don't show detail... argh....”

Well I am not familiar with the camera she mentioned, but figured I have learned so much by doing this that sharing my tips couldn’t hurt. My camera is a digital Olympus D-460Z that’s about eight years old. My hubbyboy picked it out and I really know very little about it. So I figured I’m qualified to offer some tips!

Here is how I do it. It is by no means HOW to do it! Take what works for you, ignore the rest!

Set up: Tripod – yes or no? I choose no. On such small items, taking multiple angles means constant adjustments of the tripod which can be frustrating and nigh impossible to set up. I found I had more freedom and got better shots by using my elbow or wrist to steady on a table, as the items are quite small. Hold your breath in when you push the shutter. Don’t forget to resume breathing.

Where to do it: Outdoors when sky is somewhat overcast so that few or ideally NO shadows are falling. The best times have been before 10 am and after 2:30 pm or so depending on how overcast it is. Of course on particularly overcast days, I have taken wonderful pictures in the middle of the day. Don’t even bother on a windy day.

If there is direct sun, it’s better to wait. Shadows like these can be too distracting. However, if you can’t wait, find the best angles with the least shadows… sometimes you can take advantage of some reflections as the sun hits the object.

Indoors: I have just recently discovered the ONLY place in my apartment that I can do this! It’s in the middle of my entryway, in the middle of a sunny day. Again the light should be somewhat diffused and not bright, direct sunlight.

Backdrops: sometimes white is NOT good, especially when the sun is bright. Oddly, it is also not good with darker items when it comes to getting the brightness and contrast right later. Try neutral or pastel backgrounds. Make sure your paper is large enough so you don’t have to crop out too much background ‘noise’. The paper doesn’t have to be fancy or special. Fabric works too… but avoid wrinkles, too distracting. Stretch it over a board or piece of cardboard.

I have gotten away with using some of my acrylic paintings on canvas for backdrops. I put one on the seat of a chair, and lean the other against the back of the chair.

Sometimes a patterned or painted background is good, but don’t let it overpower the item. One trick I’ve used is to lay a piece of tissue paper over a painted backdrop (often one of my paintings on canvas.) Some of the color will show through the tissue paper. Experiment with pastel color tissue paper as well.

More recently I painted a Halloween/autumn themed backdrop on a large piece of corrugated cardboard, scored it down the middle with a utility knife and folded it like a book. I find that sometimes flipping the backdrop different ways gives different effects.

I usually set the backdrop and item on a low table or chair seat on my deck, and then kneel on a cushion to get the right angles.

Actually taking the pictures:
Take lots of pictures, and experiment as you go.

Not all cameras have a ‘macro’ feature, but if yours does, you probably should be using it for your small items. On my camera, I push a button marked with a picture of a flower/tree. A flower appears on my monitor so I know it’s working. (See, uber low tech!)

Take pictures from lots of different angles - from above, multiple sides, back, bottom, etc. Take some with plenty of space around the object, some with less.

The best advice I had from another seller was ‘What is the picture of’? Don’t let your beautiful work get lost in background or props. It is the subject and center of attention at all times.

Some props are not that bad….
Sometimes I include leaves that fall into the shot while I’m working!

Ceramic pots aren't bad as long as they aren't the center of attention.

Uploading and Editing: When I am done photographing on the deck and upload my pictures, they often look like crap. (However, I am very proud to say that my last two sessions resulted in far less tweaking than usual!)

They are often too dark and grayish.

First off, just delete any that are completely out of focus as you come across them. Don’t get attached to any of those. In fact don’t get attached to anything you see.

I use Microsoft Office Picture Editor to edit the pictures. Under edit, I brighten and increase contrast slightly. This is something you will get better at seeing/ doing as you go. Don’t make it as bright as you want before increasing the contrast, only bring it up to a few notches below what your eye wants, then adjust contrast.

Cropping is a huge part of making the photo right, and resizing for posting is another step to talk about. However, I think those will have to wait till the next installment!

I hope this helps some of you improve your photos…remember, unless you take a photography class, it’s about trial and error, and learning about it from others. You’ll find that as you play and experiment with how you photograph your work, your pictures will improve by leaps and bounds! I suspect that each camera has its pros and cons and little tricks, you’ll soon find your own bag of tricks. Just have confidence, and keep on doing it.

Also, if your goal is to sell on, look at lots of shops and treasuries. Go window shopping and see what attracts you, and why. Some of the most gorgeous and affordable handmade jewelry is photographed so poorly, it can hardly sell. Sometimes just noticing the difference between the qualities of photos helps train your eye.


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

What the heck are Etsy Treasuries, and why are you designing them?

Those who know me probably notice me going on sometimes about the etsy treasuries. Perhaps I am a bit obsessed, but it's a fun way to hone your design skills while helping other artisans of all kinds.
Treasuries are short lived collections of handmade items for sale on They last for about 3 days before dissapearing forever.
For the uninitiated, how to create a treasury is one of the elusive mysteries of But search the etsy forums and you will quickly gain tips on how to snag a spot in the treasury, and how to design a successful one. Successful means that your treasury could possibly reside on the front page of etsy for a brief time, gaining views, 'hearts',exposure, and sales for the artists whose items you chose.
At the same time it's a little self promotion for the curator of the treasury. Folks I feature in my treasuries tend to feature me in theirs. For instance, today I'm in this monster themed treasury by The Little Red Door! The more items you click on when visiting a treasury, the higher it moves in the 'hot' list, potentially getting even MORE attention. There is also an option to comment on each treasury.
I haven't gotten around to asking my techy hubbyboy how to get a whole treasury on the screen at once so I can save a screen shot. Until then, thanks to kind etsians everywhere, you can see some of my previous treasuries on flickr:

Enjoy yourself, don't forget to have some fun today!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Raku Party!

Those of you who know me know that I have never commited to one art medium or another. In college, I was horrified that I had to pick an art major! Couldn't I just major in art? I took ceramics classes, and one of my best memories was learning and actively participating in the raku firing process.

Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful party at a great new arts location. It was unique in that it was in a remote and beautiful area on the Chesapeake Bay. To promote new ceramics classes, Artworks held a very special event for anyone interested in a hands-on experience with raku pottery. (and it's worth mentioning that the snacks were fantastic as well... crab sushi, dolmas, and things I didn't even know the name of but tasted divine.)

We started out by selecting small pottery which had been pre-made for us by ceramicists who use the studio. These were affordably priced between $5-$15 each. We listened to teacher Gia give us some glaze tips and information.

Then the real fun began, we picked colors and painted on the glazes to the tune of 2 wonderful musicians whom I failed to get the names of (they played some nice bluegrassy music.) An outdoor kiln was fired up and ready to go, and all evening the pots went in and out.

When the pots came out of the kiln, they were glowing red hot, and gently deposited into piles of sawdust under aluminum trash cans. This was the exciting part, when you get a glimpse of you and your friends' pots with their new looks. The smoldering and smoking sawdust and paper finishes the process, blackening the unglazed parts of the pottery.

The pottery gets cooled and washed in a bath, then we scoured off the remaining bits of ash.

What a terrific way to enjoy a fall evening!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Earring Giveaway Promotion

Today is the day these lovely skull earrings will be given away!
Go over to Mrs. B's site pronto.
All you need to do is to post a message on Mrs. B's blog, and you could be the winner. Have a great day! Angela

Monday, October 6, 2008

Free Halloween Goodies!

Keep an eye on Mrs. B's blog for free Halloween goodies every day of October...
What an undertaking!(No pun intended.)
Oh yeah, and she's giving away a pair of my earrings! Any day now...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weekend Special

Hey all,

I woke up feeling like having a little sale...
Buy ANY item in my shop and choose a FREE item from my clearance section! Please include a note with your purchase indicating which item you'd like. One free item per customer. Thank you for shopping!