Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Some Of My Favorite Etsy Photos

I've blogged about how difficult it can be taking product photography for my Etsy site. Some sellers do a fantastic job of this and their photos really make their items stand out from the rest of the crowd. I browsed Etsy for an hour or so the other day and tagged these photos as my favorites. I would love to eventually be able to take such great pics!
The talented surrealist artist Jen Fries displays her exquisitely made books, art boxes and journals with moody, atmospheric photos. I love the way the light casts mysterious shadows and I also love how in this photo the artist has included an ordinary object - the pencil - which not only gives an indication of size, it very subtly has become an integral part of the composition.


Talented glass designer Michelle Prosek personally carves, fuses, and shapes every single piece of glass to ensure that they are all one of a kind works of art. I like the organic, minimalist feel of this piece and love the colors - deep purple and a pink which makes me think of the '50s (Michelle described it as a 'cheeky pink'). I think Michelle captured this incredible work of art expertly in this clear, crisp photograph with no background distractions.

Leaf Pod Ring by Kathi Roussel

The simplicity of Kathi Roussel's beautiful jewelry attracted me to her store. Her work is shown to advantage in her artistic photographs, many of which are taken with colorful dolls' house furniture as props.

I love the way Kathi focuses on only part of her product and lets everything else fade into the background - it creates interest and draws the viewer in.

Parisian jewelry artist Sundra Sandrusi has photographed this exquisitely fine bracelet in delicately suffused light. It evokes feelings of yesteryear and medieval times for me and somehow makes me think of a perfect spring morning: Just beautiful photography!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I do like the summer. I love going to the Jersey Shore to play in the huge waves with my boogie board. I like not having to rush to get the kids off to school first thing in the morning on my days off. I love seeing my neighbors on a regular basis, drinking wine on decks while watching the kids play in tree-houses or blow-up pools.

(I’m always amazed that several weeks can go by during the winter without a glimpse of neighbors).

I certainly don’t want to wish away the rest of this beautiful summer -life is far too short for that- but I have to admit that I am looking forward to autumn, and not only for the lovely leafy combinations of burnt umber, yellow ochre, and pumpkin orange. The reason I’m excited about the thought of autumn arriving is because people in the Northern Hemisphere start to think about warmer clothes and cozy accessories, and for some of those people, specifically KNITTED accessories!

I’ve been happily and busily knitting away for the last couple of months in anticipation of the fall, and have so many ideas I wish I had bionic fingers that could knit a scarf in 10 minutes! Here are a couple of the items that I will be posting within a few weeks:

...I'd better get some knitting done now!

Friday, July 17, 2009


To everyone who entered my drawing, this morning I wrote all your names on little pieces of paper and had one of my kids pull one out of a hat). THEA is the winner! Thea's favorite was the Wine and Charcoal corsage so this is what she will receive. Congratulations Thea - please contact me with your address and I will send ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Please check my blog regularly as I will be having giveaways once or twice per month.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I'm having my first blog giveaway! To win one of the following corsages:

Hand-made from layers of hand-felted wool roving in hues of gray and rust/wine. The centerpiece is a delightful array of bright beads, including Swarovsky crystals. Measures 4" in height.


Made from layers of blue organza hand-singed petals. A beautiful swarovsky crystal button finishes this off perfectly.Measures 5" in diameter. Backed with felt and a 1" brooch pin.

All you have to do is:

1. Follow my blog

2. Leave a comment stating which corsage you like best (Charcoal & Wine or Blue Organza)

I will announce the winner (picked from hat) on Friday July 18th. Good luck!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Taking Etsy Photographs is Mentally and Physically Exhausting!

I spent about 9 or 10 hours yesterday taking photographs for my Etsy site. I have a bunch of new handknits that I want to list in time for fall, for example, this fair isle capelet:

I also wanted to redo some of the slightly out-of-focus photographs that I currently have on Etsy. This big photograph-taking day was planned for about a week and in preparation I had bought a tripod, white foam core, and a craft light. I had researched as much as possible about taking crisp, clear photos. I had also stripped, sanded, re-stained and varnished the wooden thing at the top of my dress form as that was pretty dented and scuffed from all the times I dropped it.

After dropping the kids off at camp I was ready. The light was perfect; bright but not sunny, and I had a full day to myself to indulge and experiment! I ran around; inside and out, upstairs and downstairs, setting up my backdrop, dress form, white foam core, tripod, and craft light in my yard, and brought up several big boxes of handknits from the basement. By the time everything was set up my heart was pumping and I was literally soaked with sweat.

I took about 150 + photos over the next hour or two, experimenting with locations, positions, EV shift and white balance. The phone rang about 6 times during my photo session, so that meant running indoors a lot, and I had one work call to deal with which took up about 10 minutes of my precious time. However, I was pleased and happy - the photos looked pretty good on the teeny digital camera screen and I felt sure they would look fantastic with some editing. So when the (darn) sun came out from behind a cloud, ruining the perfect light, I ran inside and downloaded my photos, expecting to see nothing but crisp, clear perfection.

But boy, was I disappointed. The majority of the photographs were worse than the ones I had taken without all these props. Some were actually hideous; all dark and fuzzy. I edited perhaps 10 photos worthy of listing out of that whole bunch, and those 10 were definitely no better than any of my older photographs.

By now Mr. Sun was fully out so I decided to take photos of my corsages indoors in my bright, yet not sunny dining room and spent the next half hour setting up in there, then another hour taking photos. Again though, the majority of my photographs were disappointing, although I did get a few that I liked after editing, for example, this one:

By now I had to leave to pick my kids up from camp. Back home after snacks. the kids were happily playing outside in the bright sunlight with super soakers, which keeps them busy for hours, so I decided to take photos of some of my new gloves indoors.... But first I had to scrub my nails, file the ragged edges, apply clear polish, shave my arms, and apply lotion and a little foundation to make them anywhere near decent.

I experimented until dinnertime with many different hand positions, some of which required a great deal of flexibility and dexterity. I used different backgrounds, and experimented with my tripod and camera self-timer, taking photos of both hands from above. I sat on the floor with my hands in the air. I stood with my hands twisted to the side in front of white foam core trying desperately not to knock it over for the 20th time. I tried different props, such as big earthy mugs, and cookies. I almost heated up some tomato soup to use as another 'winter is cozy when you have nice fingerless gloves' prop but was so exhausted at that point I just couldn't muster up the energy to hunt for the tin. I took about 400 photographs and was semi-pleased with only about 24 after editing. Here are a couple of photos that I ended up with:

So, after all that mental and physical exhaustion I still have only about 25% of the photographs I need to be ready for the fall (when people start to think about woolly things). Considering the fact that I'll be in Scotland for almost the entire month of August and have lots of day and weekend activities planned for the rest of July, I'm starting to panic slightly. Phew...... that's all I can say.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some of My Favorite Etsy Shops

I recently had some time to browse through Etsy and would like to share these delightful items that I added to 'my favorites':

This is the cutest keyring, made by Glasgow-based Etsy fiber artist FieldyTweed. It is made from the most beautiful 100% genuine Harris tweed from a mill in Scotland that closed down recently. Fortunately it looks like Fieldy bought up almost the entire mill beforehand so she will be able to make plenty more keyrings, ipod covers, and pincushions in a multitude of colors and patterns. I adore Scotties (my mum has the best wee Scottie called Meg), and I love a great quality tweed. I agree with Fieldy who says that Harris Tweed is "the most beautiful and unique fabric in the world - but then I am a little biased!"



I love this tiny canvas print of two little girls busily knitting away. Makes me think of days gone by and it almost makes me wish that kids still knitted socks for their entire families.
Tali, the talented artist from Bezalel who created this, has an Etsy shop called Tush Tush. There are so many wonderful little prints on canvas that I would love to have on my wall. I actually ordered this one which I first discovered on the front page of Etsy. I can't wait till it arrives.



Wrist Cuff Queen Annes Lace In Pink Silk Hand Embroidery

This delicate wrist cuff by Waterrose is such a work of art. I love the way the exquisitely detailed, pale pink embroidery is highlighted by the perfectly placed little red beads. The creator of Waterrose was influenced and inspired by her mother, an embroidery artisan, and by her grandmother, a quilter. Waterrose also sells embroidered rings and earrings in her shop - all very unique and beautiful. These pieces are so obviously created with skill, patience and love and the finishing is just perfect.

This slightly disturbing but beautiful image was created by A Cabinet of Curiosities. The artist creates the most amazing digital collages using a variety of images. This is an original digital collage created using elements from the Haeckle images, DaVinci sketchbook, Galileo sketchbook, and one of the artist's own photographs. The digital images can be printed on your own media. A digital file is sent to you via email and you print on paper of your choosing to a size of your choosing. A Cabinet of Curiosities sells lot of digital copies of prints by Haeckle which I find fascinating, such as the following image, called "Asteridea."