more spinning.

>> Friday, May 25, 2012

well, not in the handspun yarn/prick your finger on the spindle sort of way, but in relation to my spinnerette collection, and, as my friend Anne-Marie would say - "jewelry for anxious people"!  inspired by a custom request, i am now thrilled to show off these lovely sterling silver hammered hoops, accented by a rosy copper "spinnerette".  a beautiful mix of metals, this is another discreet way to fidget during meetings or appointments!  just lovely, and perfect for summer!  (and of course, available with a sterling or 14K gold filled "spinner" as well!)


raw stones & silver.

>> Thursday, May 24, 2012

lately i've been fascinated with raw, uncut stones and trying to set them in rustic claw settings, like a cocktail ring redux. i've pretty much given up - at least for now - on learning how to sink set, rub set, or properly seat cabochons, but the concept of a unstructured claw setting didn't seem so far out of reach.  i had some lovely rough, uncut turquoise lying around, so i based my ring design on one of those.  i used some scrap sterling that i had saved up and constructed a simple ring shank, but in the end, the setting was way too large for the stone i had chosen.  digging around in my inventory, i did find a center drilled hunk (seriously, there is no other word for this stone) of amethyst in deepest purples, and it fit.  while i am not too thrilled about the fact that the ring isn't what i initially envisioned, i am pretty pleased with the overall outcome.  the ring has also held up to the mini's rough and tumble testing - surprisingly - so i think i might try my hand at setting the smaller turquoise after all.



finally. vacation.

>> Monday, May 21, 2012

i was just telling julie today that i never know that i need a vacation until i am forced to take one.  because my wonderful parents take care of the mini, most of the time my vacation is dictated by when they decide to set off to some jet-set location.  this time, they headed off to england, france and italy, but, even better than that, i get to stay home with my girl for a blissful almost-two-weeks.  while the first day was a little rocky as we adjusted to being home together again, we have already settled into a lovely, summertime routine of walk, park, garden, wading pool, nap and play.  we have snuck some cleaning and reorganizing in, (maybe it's my nesting instinct, maybe it's the fact that this kid has more toys than anyone else i know and it's slowly taking over the house) but for the most part, it's been easy and relaxing.  plus we are both rockin' some sunkissed cheeks.

it also gives me some time to work on idea on what to gift the lovely kaley cuoco, star of "the big bang theory".  i have to admit, i am not a fan of the show, but kaley has a really cool, laid back style that i admire, and now through the Artisans Group, i have the opportunity to send her something that's representative of my jewelry making style.  now to just figure out in the next few days what to send her... nothing like gifting a hot, young starlet to make me feel like a frumpy old momma.


my guest blogging stint at the daily dose!

>> Sunday, May 20, 2012

today i am so honoured to be the guest blogger over at the daily dose of handmade!  so i decided i'd share the post here too - hopefully these tips will help someone!!!

courtesy of gingermadesoap
One of the first things I learned on my etsy journey was the importance of great photos. While having an online business is so awesomely convenient, it also poses a huge disadvantage to us small time retailers in that we have to sell our wares to people by pictures and words alone. You want to draw your customers in, have them fall in love with your creations, and then purchase them. It's not just about a great description, but also a fantastic photograph. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words.
courtesy of the lovely smith
Now I'm not saying that I'm the queen of taking super-duper fantastic product photos, but I'm hoping some of my tips will help you. Taking great pictures does not necessarily mean investing in a fancy camera or a high-tech lightbox. (although if I had the means, I would definitely do that). All you really need are four easy ingredients - a bright window, a white or interesting background, basic editing photo editing software, and a digital camera with a macro setting on it.

courtest of K5art
Natural Light
Seriously the number one - and the cheapest - necessity. And unless you live in a windowless basement (sorry if you do) you have a window with great light. I prefer northern or southern exposure, but really, any window that gets good, indirect light will work. In my opinion, direct sunlight tends to bleach out details and adds a sometimes unnecessary yellowish cast on your items.

courtesy of sweetPB
A white piece of bristol board, the windowsill, a piece of scrapbooking paper, the bottom of a pot, anything with a flat, semi-matte finish will work. Sometimes a shiny background will make a glare and also can "bleach" out details of your designs while a very "busy" background will take away from your item. I find that for intricate jewelry, a simple background works best, while for more minimalist pieces, using a dish or even your own hand will work wonders.
courtesy of craftymothers
Digital Camera
Even the most economical of digital camera have a macro setting. Usually the symbol for the macro setting is a little flower or tulip. It allows you to take very tight shots and get in really close to your item. MAKE SURE YOU FOCUS ON YOUR ITEM. Two things that I think are definite DON'Ts are: do NOT use the flash. That is what your good lighting source (your window) is for. Seriously, your item can be the best thing in the world, but if you take the picture with your flash, it will make your design look washed out and cheap. Secondly, do NOT forget to edit out the date and time stamp on your photo if you have that setting on your camera. Enough said. You can use photos from years ago but if they are excellent, no one will know the difference. Using the flash and leaving in the time/date stamp will make your pictures look like photos from your parents' 70's inspired basement. And who wants that.
courtesy of theorangewindmill
Editing Software
A long time ago, I was able to afford Adobe Photoshop and transferred it to every computer I had since. However, with my newest desktop and laptop, it was too old. So I went in search of free digital editing software and I found GIMP. While it isn't Photoshop, it is truly amazing, easy to learn, and does everything I need to edit my etsy photos. Honestly, all you need is to be able to crop closer to your item, maybe adjust the brightness and contrast a little, and resize so that it doesn't take ages to upload. However, don't use your editing software to make your item look like something it isn't. Buyers will be very disappointed if what they received does not look like what they saw on your site.

courtesy of 50splinterswoodworks

Finally, do some research! Go through your "favorites" on etsy and the internet and really look at the photos to see what makes that item appeal to you. Is it the lighting? The details? The background? Don't be afraid to use all of the photos that they allow you to, and remember that seeing your item "in action" will help buyers see scale and how it might look on them.

Here are some more articles that you might find helpful:
How To from Etsy
A Simple Lightbox - from The Strobist
Photoplus - Editing Software - Editing Software
(and a special thanks to my teammates for taking such gorgeous photos!)


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