Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Jig Is Up

After many, many year of making jewelry the same way a different day, I finally tried something new. Hubby bought me this very cool book, Contemporary Bead and Wire Jewelry, for Valentine's Day. It has a lot of cool "recipes" in it for making all sorts of jewelry designs using wire and metal. I've never used either before so I was a little intimidated but Hubby convinced me I was up for the task so I tried it anyway.

The first thing in which I needed to invest was a wire jig, I chose the Thing-a-ma-jig, partially because the name is hilarious and partially because it was the only jig Michaels sold. I bought some 16 gauge, dead-soft copper wire and followed the guide provided in the book to create this:

I made 9 of these, each 1 better than the last, to create a necklace. I still need to "hammer" these between 2 wood blocks to flatten the design a little bit. I also made a hook and clasp to use to complete the necklace. I haven't made the necklace itself yet but that's the next step :)

Another "recipe" involved crocheting 26 gauge wire to create a flower. It's meant to be a pin, but I haven't found the ingredient needed to be able to attach it to a pin back yet. Here's my crocheted wire flower that's made from 119 beads and 8 yards of copper wire: 

I apologize that it's a cruddy cellphone camera image taken on my lap (my inner photographer is very angry with me for publishing this!) but you can get the basic idea from the image. I still need to add some finishing touches before the flower itself is complete....and of course figure out how to actually make it into a pin!

I guess it does take just a little bit of brave to try something new and now that I'm learning these new skills I feel like I'm actually going to be able to create something new and different.

Friday, February 8, 2013

My New Favorite

I have a strong attachment to everything I make whether it be jewelry or a photo so it's no surprise that every time I make something new it magically becomes my new favorite. My latest creation is no different.

I'm always my most creative at 1AM. Hubby and my little man are in bed, the dogs are sleeping, and the house is all mine. I use a bead or charm or pendant to kick off my inspiration then just start "building." I have a beading board like this that has taken quite a bit of abuse over the years. I organize and reorganize before deciding to just start putting things together figuring I can always take them apart later.

This necklace was built over the course of two nights.  It started with a different pendant but it was silver but I really wanted to use gold details so I had to find a new one. The one I chose has a pearl center with iridescent rhinestones flanking it. Since there was a little pink in the rhinestones I added 2 pale pink beads to the necklace to highlight the color (they're the bigger beads toward the back). I used a lot of head pins with just one bead on them to make the necklace more flexible and so it looks more like a chain.

When I was finished I decided it needed a matching bracelet but didn't have many beads left. I ended up using the head pin technique again so I wouldn't need as many beads. In the back where there's 6 pearly beads in a row I used elastic cord to make it really easy to put on and take off.

I'll be putting the set up in The Goodness Shop for $25 as soon as I can take some more photos of the set. 

I wonder what I'll come up with tonight!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

LIttle Gift for a Little One

My cousin and her hubby are expecting their first child in the new few weeks and I'm over the moon excited for them. In January I helped plan and organize their shower and made my 2nd diaper cake ever.  The first one I made, back in 2008, turned out great but I think this one really takes the cake (no pun intended). It could be due to the fact that I really love the colors but I think it's simplicity is what makes me like it so much more.
Before the shower, the mom-to-be's mom gifted her with a maternity (and follow up newborn) photo session taken by me. I normally photograph children so I don't get too much practice with maternity photos. I have to say a little PINspiration goes a long way. There's a fine line between sweet and tacky when it comes to maternity photos but I think I fell on the side of sweet with these:

This is the parents-to-be sharing a moment with their little one

This is one of my favorites. I had to fix the wooden blocks because they didn't show up well on camera so I decided to instead color the blocks in rainbow colors so they'd really pop. Can't wait to meet little August! I'm officially on call for the newborn session, should be fun!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Staging Follow Up

Today I finally had a little light bulb come on above my head regarding this staging business. While I was cleaning off a white bookcase we're getting rid of I noticed just how great it would be to set my scene. It even had great lighting nearby! So I grabbed my necklace form, my camera, aimed the light and went to town! I'm fairly happy with the results that quickly made their way to Etsy!

Here's the original image:

And the updated photo used in the Etsy listing:

Just look at all that fabulous detail! The colors are so bright! It's still not perfect...and we are getting rid of the bookshelf but I'm still thrilled with these results. I think I might try to repurpose this bookshelf to suit my staging needs.

How about you? Have you solved any little problems in your life recently?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Staging to Sell

When I worked in real estate education we offered a class about staging to sell. I did not personally take the class since I'm not actually a realtor. However now I'm realizing how important it is in many elements of sales.

Take this tragic photo for example:
This is a photo of one of the best necklaces I've ever made but the photo just makes it look like a blurry mess.

Problem is, I'm a photographer. I should know better! I can take photos of people and capture emotions and moments in a perfect little image.
Gabriel, 20 months

But for some reason, I can't take my knowledge of photographing people and transfer it over to photographing product. I need to stage it better. But I just can't figure out how!

Here's another example of a necklace/earring set that I actually have featured on Etsy. It's better than the first photo but I still don't think it does this awesome piece justice.

How do you stage your items for sale? Do you use models? Did you build a staging box? Any tips or hints would be appreciated :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Big Birthday Little Man!

In the blink of an eye it happened; my little guy turned 1! And thanks to Pinterest...and my mother's endless paper craft selection...we were able to pull off quite a spectacular day! I chose the cutest sock monkey theme with the colors aqua, red, and white.

Every month on the 25th I took a photo of Gabriel in the same chair to chart his growth. I printed out 1 of each of the months and made the cutest clothesline banner of all the photos!

Banner in progress

Finished product on the wall!

My mom made this awesome banner with Gabriel's name on it!

We had another banner that said "Sweets" for "The Monkey Bar." The bar featured Gabriel's Favorite Things like banana chips, animal crackers, Nilla wafers, and cheddar bunnies as well as candy treats like Twizzlers ("Monkey Vines"), candy necklaces, and a lollipop tree!

Close up of the lollipop tree, we put some sock monkey faces on the lollipops that I got from a digital paper pack on Etsy.

With help from my sister we had these awesome monkey face cupcakes. The regular cupcakes had picks made from that digital paper pack. More sock monkey faces! Continuing with the cupcake theme, I found a mini cake pan shaped like a cupcake to use for Gabriel's special cake.

My little man all ready for his big day!

Unique birthday hats were made for all his buddies including an extra special sock monkey hat for the birthday boy himself!

We set the table with an extra special guest as a centerpiece! 

Gabriel is so sweet, he shared his birthday cake with Mama!

I know it was you who stole my cake. 

Thanks for swinging by! Please take some scented monkey bubbles with you :) 

Even sleepy after a long day my little man was willing to share his blanket buddy with Mama. Happy birthday my sweet guy, I hope it was a magical day for you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Little Man, Big Day...in planning

Some how almost 1 full year has past since my little monkey came into this world. So being the obsessive planner that I am it was of course time to plan his 1st birthday party...starting 2 months ago!

We've decided to go with a fun sock monkey theme and thanks to Pinterest and Kara's Party Ideas I've had more than enough awesome inspiration to start with. My favorite sock monkey party (because there is more than one) is the red & aqua party so those are our colors too! We ordered these adorable invitations from Etsy and are all ready to send them out. Unfortunately the digital invitation concept is not working out as easy as it was in my head and we're having some issues getting the right envelopes but we'll sort it out or else we'll be sending evites!

Yesterday we started making some of the fun details of the party and going from the tutorial here, I semi-successfully created this:

It's not quite finished yet, I'll be adding red trim and a number 1 on the front but I'm still pretty proud of how it turned out!

I also decided to save some money and make my own cupcake picks, banners, etc. Haven't taken any photos of those yet but they're looking pretty good. I did get these great digital backgrounds from Etsy and they are working perfectly for our creations that also include buffet cards and tags. I'm so excited for this party because this is the first time I'm kind of guiding all of the ideas and they're actually working!! A ton of pictures to follow, I promise :)