Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Etsy Artist Review - Designer Dog Collars


So I was browsing around etsy and chatting in the forums and
came across this shop. Now if you have read my previous posts you know that I have three lovely Australian Shepherds. So naturally this particular shop caught my eye. She has beautiful colors and patterns that I have not seen anywhere else. Excerpt from listing "Collar is made with 1 inch heavy duty nylon with a jacquard ribbon overlay, a 1 inch
contoured side release buckle, and a 1 inch welded d-ring.Collar can be custom made to fit along with a 5 ft. matching leash." What caught my interest (besides the lovely designs and excellant material and workmanship) was the phrase "custom made to fit".. I love those words lol! I have the worst time finding colors to fit my dogs. They are either too small or too big and no matter how I adjust it is just off. So as soon as I get around to measuring necks and have a bit of extra cash I will be rummaging through Maddie's closet for three designed to fit colors for the wonderful canine companions in my life.
P.S. Isn't Maddie cute!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nesting Blue Herons at Cuyahoga Valley National Parks

Okay this is totally unrelated to jewelry but your are going to get that sometimes. Believe it or not I do have a life outside of the jewelry and the internet. Kind of. Anyway we live about 15 minutes away from the Cuyahoga Valley National Parks system in Ohio. Beautiful place and we spend a lot of time there over the summer, hiking, barbecuing etc. Lots of hills and valleys, a beautiful river that kind of thing. My husband and I decided to go check out the blue herons that nest along the park. They only nest in one particular spot for about a month. Blink and you have missed it. Well it was kind of a dreary day today, gray and damp about 60 degrees but we went anyway. It was an amazing site to see all of these beautiful birds building nests and feeding babies. Unfortunately most of my pictures look black and white and mostly look like silhouettes due to the gray nature of the day. But I am going to post them anyway lol. Also saw a beautiful magnolia tree just beginning to bloom at the ecological society. Maybe, just maybe spring is coming! I sure hope so!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So You Think You Are Unique Beading Challenge 2

Well we are well into our second contest in the So You Think You Are Unique Beading Challenge/Contest. We have broadened our horizons and opened the challenge to the international community also. DesignedbyLucinda provided the beads for this contest (Thanks Cindy!) and they look challenging! Here is the list of people participating this time around. And remember that SantiamDesign provided the beads the last time so she is making an entry this time.


Bath, United Kingdom


New Haven, Conneticut USA


Ottawa, Canada


Miami, Florida USA


Banks, Oregon USA


Mehama, Oregon USA


Seattle, Washington USA


West Bloomfield, Michigan USA


Richmond, Virginia USA


Portland, ME USA


Dayton, Washington USA


Salem, Oregon USA

So these are our twelve and below are the two alternates in case someone doesn't get done in time. Also listed below is one of our judges, and we are looking for at least two more. If you want to volunteer to judge convo designedbyLucinda and let her know.

milburnjewelry ALTERNATE

xueoriginals ALTERNATE

I have three of the contestants that are already finished and I can tell already it is going to be another interesting challenge. How much alike or different do you think they will be?

One Judge so far:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Poem for Peace

I found this poem in my mailbox at It really touched my heart and spoke about the dreams for peace we all probably have for our world, ourselves and our children.

Title: Peace Please
© 2008 by DC Lessoway

When borders evaporate, war absconded
Hate ceases to breed contempt among us
When hands reach out, embracing those
Friends made out of enemies too

When the smile of an adult is childlike
One that is real, no longer a masquerade
When fear is only for the brave
Is when the world will finally become safe

This I want, hope for our children
Who have to face life’s struggle forlorn
But to have a world that is of peace
Would make their life such a sweet breeze

You can see more of what DC does at his myspace page

Thanks for the reminder DC!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How important are photos? The Results

I have several people who were kind enough of to send along some before and after pictures. Many of them show a dramatic difference. As you check these pictures out, ask yourself which one you would most likely click on and which one you would be more influenced to buy. Again, most of us are not professional photographers nor can we afford to hire one. But that's okay, you can see from these pictures that you can learn to take better pictures, at least well enough to get people to take a look at your items. I will start with mine and I will also add any comments that came with the pictures.

Silver River Jewelry

6000 pictures later lol!

For me, the photos are the hardest part. I have been making jewelry for years and continually seek to improve my work. I sell very well when a person can see and touch the item. Getting the pictures right is tough.


For me, better pictures came by listening to what everyone was saying in the forums and practice, and more practice!

The sock monkeys are 2 different ones, but they are both made out of the same socks, so they should be the same color! I took the first one against a wall in my kitchen, using artificial light. The second picture is on tissue paper, using natural light from a window in my living room. I also used a different photo editor (iPhoto) and was able to adjust the color much better, and make the white background smoother.


My pictures were SO BAD before!


calloohcallay Here's a before and after of mine. The first one was taken with some photo lights (good ones, but I failed to block the window light at the same time, and who knows what else I did wrong). It's harsh and flat. The second one was shot with natural lighting and the colors are much better, the whole effect better (it sold after this).

So, you can see how bad some our pictures really were! Some people changed backgrounds (some of us more than once I am sure!). Some did a lighting/locations change. Some changed the angle at which the pictures were taken. Some of us did all three lol! There isn't any magic wand its just trial and error and more trial and error. Use that MACRO button, this is one of the most important features on your camera. Lots of people swear by natural light and it is one of the best ways to take pictures but if you don't have much access like me ( I work a "day" job and 8 months out of the year it is too late in the day to use natural light. And my weekends are packed, not much time to take pictures then. And it does rain on the weekends.) then don't be afraid to experiment with a light box. There are several very inexpensive ones that you can build yourself. My favorite and the one I started with is from . This is a super way to get started with a light box for little to no money laid out. Play with your backgrounds, look outside for neat things to use in your pictures, try scrap booking paper, or material you have on hand. Just go for subtle and not too busy so that your items stands out. I would recommend staying away from red as a background for jewelry as it just doesn't seem to lend itself well to photographing. (keep in mind this is just a suggestion and if you can get it to work for you go for it). Last but not least, use an photo editing software program. This will allow you to adjust your pictures if the all of the above is not enough. (I use my software on ever single picture.) If you don't have any software, download Picassa or Gimp. I find Picassa to more user friendly for those that have no experience with this type of program.

Good luck to everyone, I hope these pictures inspire you to continue to improve your photos. Thanks to all who were kind enough to show those before pictures as well as the after. ( I look at mine and think sheesh! I can't believe I put that out there for the public to see lol!). Many thanks also to all of the people on the ETSY forums who so generously give out their advice on photographing pictures. You certainly shortened my learing curve.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Featured Artist

This time around I am featuring an artist who works primarily in steel with a bit of other things thrown in. He started out making furniture and decided to switch to making jewelry as the shipping was a wee bit prohibitive on the furniture end. And I would say that the switch was well worth it.

Timothy Adam Designs
I find his work to be totally unique in the way he puts things together. The pendants are very industrial looking at first glance but if you look closer there is a definite organic feel to them. I find this very interesting. I also find his use of different metals and shapes and the way he puts them together to be intriguing. This is a different perspective on the use of metals that most of us don't even consider for making jewelry. Honestly if someone would have said I would consider wearing jewelry that was made of steel and had an industrial feel to it I would have laughed. However, I have changed my mind and may be adding some of his collection to mine. (My personal one that is not the one I sell lol!). Not only does he make jewelry but he also make wonderful earring trees, and some very interesting sculpture. He has been very active in the etsy forums and has also been actively promoting other artists. This shop definitely deserves a look and probably a second and third look. Go check it out!