new photo backgrounds

curly soft maple reminds me of sand dunes

after taking you behind the scenes, i thought i should share another new photography development: yesterday i went to the fancy lumber store in town and picked up some remnants {yes! lumber stores have them, too!} for a steal. i picked out woods that were visually interesting to me in three fairly neutral tones: a light {curly soft maple}, a medium {lacewood}, and a dark {wenge}.

lacewood makes me think of feathers

as beautiful as they were unfinished, i went to work sanding them and putting a single coat of danish oil on them. i wanted to get rid of any future splinters and give the wood a slight luster and boost with the oil. i only coated one side, so now i have not three but six different backgrounds depending on what looks best.

wenge is a dark beauty

i may have freaked out when the oil darkened this wenge soooo much, but in the end i was very happy with how it turned out. look for them soon!

i like the subtle {but natural} interest the wood adds!

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April 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

behind the scenes

the new and improved lightbox

i thought i’d take you behind the scenes of my photos. all of this gets cropped out of what makes it to the shop, but it’s very important stuff going on here behind the curtain.

i’ve recently upgraded from a cardboard box to these nice white {reflective} pieces of foam core. the pieces are hinged with clear tape, so i can even fold it up and hide it away {as this is also the table where i do my soldering, this is very important}. i can drape any color back drop i want onto it with a clip, or i can bring in more white foam core for the bottom and shoot in all white, which is great for eliminating shadows. but most importantly i can shoot any time of day or night because of those high powered halogen work lights. {they’re hotter than all manner of things that a lady shouldn’t say, so i’m thinking about switching to led, but they sure were cheap at $9 a piece from home depot.} if i want to shoot larger items, i just raise the lights up on boxes so that the light is higher.

the secret behind removing the glare from these ultra bright lights is this drafting film, which i got in big 2 x 3 foot sheets from a local art supply store. this film is translucent, heat resistant, wipe-down-able {this is in the garage after all}, and it won’t tear. i’ve cut windows out of the foam core and taped them into the frames.

plug in the lights, custom set my white balance, and i’m good to go. {if you want to figure out how to set your camera’s white balance, do a quick internet search for “set custom white balance” including your camera’s details.} you could even set this outside or in front of a big window and shoot in direct sunlight if your camera won’t let you set your own white balance.

not including the velvet backdrop, i figure this whole set up cost me less than $40. {2 halogen work lights at $9 a piece + 3 sheets of foam core at $3 a piece + 2 sheets of drafting vellum at $3 a piece + that hanging light with another piece of drafting vellum over top of it at $5 + clear tape.}

if you’d be interested in a tutorial for how to put your own together, i’d be happy to oblige. {just let me know in the comments.}

April 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm 1 comment

joy thief

yup

i’ve been stewing a little over here in some jealousy juices. first, a friend made some jewelry that is so amazing that i just watched her work zoom to another level. second, i heard the great news that lint & buttons is getting press. then, the whatifs started sneaking in my ears. you know the ones. they whisper: “what if you’re not good enough?” “what if you’re not original enough?” “what if nobody likes you{r stuff}?

ah, the anxiety. i’d argue with those blasted whatifs, but there’s no point. they’ll just come up with another question and another question and pull me off track from actually doing something. then i wouldn’t get anywhere. {i’d be lying if i said i’m not currently feeling anxious, but i’m trying to fight through it by doing stuff. there’s no better cure, as far as i’m concerned.}

so i’m off to do stuff. and today’s mantra needs to be more like this:

images via ryan flynn and little old me {no really, i took that picture and added the font. rumi gets credit for the amazing words, though.}.

April 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm 2 comments

new things: rings!

a garden for your fingers

 

at the urging of lovely ali of amarilo, i’ve put my adjustable garden rose resin rings in the shop. {thanks ali!} these are resin roses that i hand cast, drill, and place on an adjustable sterling silver band that i’ve hammered for texture and strength. just in time for summer, they’re available in ocean blue, avocado green, and cloud {ivory}.

 

April 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

and here’s the big news…

i promised you big news, and here it is. i’ve decided to apply for crafted, that permanent marketplace i told you about. fingers crossed that i’m accepted! {we’ll know in two weeks, won’t we?}

April 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm 1 comment

weekend wrap up

hey there! did you have a great weekend? i hope so.

i mostly ended up working, but the hubby and i made time for a date night saturday night. we went to the drive-in and watched the hunger games. i’d never been to a drive-in before: it was fun! {also the movie was pretty good. now i have to read the books.} sunday i cleared away the mess in my studio and made a few new pieces. the doggies got a much needed bath and i topped off the weekend with a nice hot bath for myself. {with junior mints and a good book.}

those pieces will be up in the store soon. and just in time for mother’s day i’m offering a deal on my key to my heart necklaces in sterling silver and bronze & gold-fill. they’re $10 less than usual but still include free gift wrap and shipping. let me know what you want to say and i’ll include a note, too!

April 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

photography break through

i’ve been struggling for some time now to show off the dazzling colors of my gemstones. i hand select every single stone that goes into my pieces, so i really want their beauty to shine. i’ve tried photographing in full sun {bad idea, fyi, but that was early on}. i’ve tried photographing in diffuse natural light {good idea, but limited to solar cooperation}. i built my own cardboard box contraption lightbox and learned how to set the white balance on my camera {both simply genius really. wish i’d learned those tricks much earlier}. but i still couldn’t get the dazzling colors to come out…until now.

what’s changed? placement. that’s all. i needed to show light coming through from behind the stones as well as from the front. {i’d tried both separately, but by hanging my jewelry at the front of my lightbox, i can get light from behind and in front of the jewelry. ta-da!

a simple change but–i think you’ll agree–a big difference.

 

April 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

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