Monday, February 28, 2011

Photo Styling Tip - Vellum

I am always looking for different and interesting tricks for styling my product photos. Often I will find an interesting fabric or texture, but the colors or patterns may be too strong and they overpower the piece that I am photographing.

I have found that a very simple sheet of translucent vellum paper is a great styling aid. Vellum is commonly available in most art supply stores. Look in the fine art or scrap-booking sections. It can be a little expensive but if used carefully one sheet should last for many photos.

Here is a mousepad that I had made using a photo of some of my unfinished pendants.

The vellum softens the colors and my rue pendant is brought to the forefront.

I love to collect and buy artwork from other artists. As well as decorating my home they can be useful and beautiful styling props. I would suggest contacting the artist if you are planning on using their work. Asking permission is always appreciated and many artists will be very happy to have you use their work especially if you credit and link. Here is a beautiful mosaic piece from Margaret Almon of NutmegDesigns and the resulting styling.

I really love the bold patterns and naturally lovely colors of Tracy Melton's work at Focuslineart.

Even three dimensional objects can be turned into intriguing backdrops when you use vellum. Margaret Oomen's fabulous stones, found at RESURRECTION FERN take on a delicate mystery.

There are so many other possibilities that I want to try out - ferns/leaves, wood type, colored cords, marbles, starfish/shells. I think it also is a good way to create a unified feel using diverse materials.

Try it out and have fun!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scented Geranium Resurrection

Let me start by saying that I love, love, love! scented geraniums!

Every year I make an early spring road trip to Countryside Farm and Greenhouse, Inc. in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. They have a great selection of scented geraniums, and I also stock up on container and bedding annuals, perennials, and herbs. They have quite extensive vegetable plants as well, but I usually only pick up a few since I do a lot of my own vegetable starting.

I have tried to over-winter the scented geranium plants before but never really succeeded. They were usually quite large by summer's end and I didn't have the room for them all. This year I decided to take a different approach.

First thing I did was to cut the plants back hard in late fall, drag the containers into the garage and leave them, un-watered and un-lighted until late January, when I then brought in the wheelbarrow and started de-potting them.

As you can see, most of the top growth is dead but some new growth is starting from the roots. The plants are much smaller and easy to re-pot. I just do a little additional root trimming, re-pot and put under lights.

A week or two after re-potting the plants look a little anemic and weedy, but new growth is shooting up!

It is now late February and the plants are lush, green, and provide a heavenly scent when lightly brushed. I've managed to resurrect several varieties: Staghorn Peppermint, Coconut, Cinnamon, Rober's Lemon Rose, Apple (my favorite - with its tiny velvety leaves), Orange, Red-Flowered Rose, Attar of Roses, and Chocolate Mint. The only variety I lost was Lemon.

Don't worry Countryside Farm! I'll be back this spring!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sneak Peek - Spring Blues

No, not the melancholy kind! :^)

Just the palette I ended up finding myself working in this past week. Birds and berries and blustery windblown branches in shades of turquoise, cobalt and sky.

A new line of engraved acrylic pendants, waiting to be completed. I liked the juxtaposition.

What's new on your workbench?

Friday, February 11, 2011


I want to do it.

For those of you not in the know, it is a method of composting using worms, usually red wigglers. They live in stacked bins in your house and you feed them kitchen scraps. How cute and cool is that!

For those in the know, and those currently vermicomposting, tips and suggestions please! Did you buy a bin, from who, and do you like it? Did you make your own and have plans you could share? Where do you get your worms?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simple Things

Feather Necklace, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

A simple thought.

Who is my customer? Who am I trying to speak to?

How have I managed to sell for two years on Etsy without giving deep thought to who I am trying to connect with? Perhaps blind faith in the system, naiveté about the ability of the marketplace to showcase my work -and the ability of the customer to find me in the vast sea of shops that I am a part of.

Thank you to Lee Wolfe of One Clay Bead for her article on her The Beauty You Love blog. She writes about April Bowles-Olin's thoughtful workshop, Attract Your Target Market — You're Not Walmart.

It has compelled me to look at my shop in a much more critical light. I am seeing the story I am not telling, the people I am not connecting with and it's really such a basic, simple thing.

Time to do some re-writing!