Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Photographing for Etsy

I’ll admit it, photography is not my strong point, as much as I would love it to be. I use an 8MP Canon PowerShot A590IS, which is still just a point-and-shoot but probably capable of taking much better pictures than I manage to produce. I've made my own (budget) lightbox using instructions I found on the internet, and I recently bought some clip-on work lamps and daylight bulbs, which have helped somewhat. Here are some pictures of my current set-up for photographing my jewelry for Etsy…

Yep, those are indeed my running shoes that the lamps are clipped on to...

Some of the photos on Etsy are PHENOMENAL.  Check out Sea Unicorn for an example for this (ok, so she's a professional photographer as well as a jewelry maker...)  Most sellers on Etsy work really hard to take the best possible photographs of their items.  As well as trying to help potential buyers get a feel for their items through the computer screen, the prime way to get into Treasuries and onto the all-important Etsy homepage is through excellent photography.  Mine is certainly a work in progress.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Copper Bracelets

My usual supplier of the settings I use to make the pendants has gone AWOL, so I've been forced to look at my materials and get creative.  I had a few copper charms in my stash, as well as the purple and green Czech glass beads that I often hang beneath the pendants.  Purple is my favorite color to wear and looks fantastic with the copper.  The green complements it perfectly and the two together look like a lush flower in bloom.  Perfect for the change in seasons we are experiencing in the Northern Hemisphere. 

So, just listed on Etsy, three new bracelets.  I'm really happy with how they turned out and I am tempted to keep them all!  Today was also my first foray into photographing jewelry while wearing it.  Not easy!

I'm also completely in love with these copper hearts.  If the supplier ever runs out of these I will be heartbroken (is that a pun?)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spreading Some Love - Art and Craft Inspirations

String of hearts, originally uploaded by aussiegall.
I've added some links to my favorite inspirational people in the sidebar. It's an eclectic group including bakers, florists, yoginis, artists, crafters, and photographers. I'll be adding to it, so spread the love on your lazy weekend and click on over to check out their diverse and amazing work.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Daily Photo Project

I started a photo-a-day project on March 21st (though I already missed one day through sheer forgetfulness, 3/25....).  So far I haven't put a great deal of thought into them, but just tried to snap something from my day.  I'll be posting these on Flickr here, but here's the first five:

Sun 3/21:  Laundry day
Mon 3/22:  View of the palm tree in my neighbors yard from outside my house.  A lovely sunny afternoon.
Tue 3/23:  New dress
Wed 3/24:  The critter.  Shame his nose isn't sharp, but I'm sure there'll be many more of that guy.
Fri 3/26:  After work cup of tea.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blogging for Bliss

I finally earned enough reward points on for a $25 voucher (only took me, erm, three years...)  One of my purchases was Blogging for Bliss - Crafting Your Own Online Journal, a Guide for Crafters, Artists, & Creatives of All Kinds by Tara Frey of the lovely blog Typing Out Loud.  I had been fondling this book in Barnes & Noble for a couple of months, but hadn't purchased as I've been trying to watch my spending.

This book is serious eye candy.  There are tons of examples of real, beautiful creative blogs complete with interviews with the bloggers, combined with some basic but functional information on the technical and artful sides of designing and writing for your blog.  Tara also includes useful links, including to Smitten Blog Designs, where I purchased the fab new template you are currently feasting your eyes on for the princely sum of $5 (Smitten also has a ton of free options).

All in all, I'm very happy I spent some of my hard-earned survey reward points on this book.  If you already have a working knowledge of basic blog html, photography and design, the technical information in Blogging for Bliss may be too elementary for you.  Nevertheless, the blogs featured within are still sure to inspire.  If you're new to blogging like I am, check it out, fondle it in Barnes and Noble, and tell me what you think!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Little, tiny, bubbly obstacles...

Last week I showed you a glimpse of my necklace creation process.  This time I wanted to share with you one of the significant obstacles that arises when I create the pendants.

Before assembly, I have to inspect each image/cabochon for tiny air bubbles or other small imperfections on the surface of the image that are created in the gluing process.  Although the images often look fine immediately after they have been glued, and then sit under heavy weight for 24 hours, upon inspection I sometimes have to throw away up to 50% of them because of these minute flaws (I tried removing the cabochons and cleaning them, but the adhesive is extremely strong and I couldn’t get it off).  I’m working on perfecting my technique (just the right amount of adhesive plus careful application plus pressing time and weight) to reduce this wastage.

Before photographing, each pendant will be inspected again.  Unfortunately, I have found that over the first couple of days more bubbles or flaws may become visible (or perhaps I just missed them the first time).  If this happens, I extricate the image and cabochon and clean the bezel for re-use.  It’s horribly disappointing to find imperfections at this stage, but such are the trials and tribulations of the craft!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Lofty (S.M.A.R.T.) Goal

Every good business person sets goals, and apparently the way to go about it is to set S.M.A.R.T. goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.

So here we go:  Right now I have 13 sales through my Etsy shop.  I want 50!  Deciding by when though, to make it “time-bound”, is the tricky thing.  The timing also determines whether my goal is “attainable” and “realistic”.  My shop’s been open since the end of October, so averaging about 3 sales per month.  I’d like to at least double that average (hopefully it will increase on a curve, so while it might be less than 6 per month for the next few months, hopefully it will also increase to more than 6 per month after that), so let’s say 6 months from now, by midnight on September 13, I want to hit 50 sales!  (That’s a lot of 6’s!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's a Spring Thing

Well I already posted for today, but the blog prompt from Tara at Scoutie Girl about the start of the spring season was just too serendipitous to pass up, considering I sold my "Spring Has Sprung" bracelet on Etsy today!

As often as I can, I try and take my dog around Balboa Lake before work.  Kenzo's cuteness is still visible in this blurry cellphone photo:

Spring is starting to show at the park in the beautiful blossoming trees, excuse another camera-phone photo:

More blossoms seem to be blooming every day.  What I can't wait for are the inevitable ducklings the season will bring!

Creating Necklaces -- Before and After

Here I’m giving you a sneak peek into the process of creating my copper necklaces.  Once the laborious process of gluing the cabochons and images has been completed, the pieces pressed under a stack of heavy books for a day, and the excess image trimmed, it is time to adhere them to the bezels (more pressing and waiting), and then they are finally ready to put on chains, add beads and charms, etc.

The first photo shows the before set-up on my work desk (oh yes, I am always this tidy…).  Here I have the pendants, chain, headpins, jump rings, clasps, glass beads, copper charms, a tape measure, rubbing alcohol and cotton tips, and tools:  flat-nose pliers, round-nose pliers, flush cutters, and chain-nose pliers.

After, the finished product!  Each piece has been assembled, cleaned, and inspected, ready for photographing and listing on Etsy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New items - Etsy preview

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In the beginning.

After spending about 6 months creating delicate wire-wrapped gemstone jewelry, I felt pulled to a completely different style.  As much as I love the colors and facets of tiny briolette gemstones, and the luxuriousness of 14k gold and 925 silver, it didn't feel like that type of jewelry I wanted to wear every day.  While shopping for gifts on vacation in New Zealand, I started noticing copper and brass jewelry on thick chains with unusual collections of charms that felt a little more magical.  Each charm seemed like a little story, or like it had the potential to hold special meaning for the eventual wearer.  I also love birds in art and design for the past few years have been drawn to jewelry and clothing bearing images of birds.  On my return from New Zealand, I started acquiring the materials to bring these elements together in a new line of jewelry.

Each charm or image has been chosen because it brings me a little bit of aesthetic pleasure.  When I wear a little bird pendant it makes me smile when I catch sight of it in a mirror or window.  I hope you find something that makes you feel this way too!