Showing posts with label hobby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hobby. Show all posts

August 22, 2012

For the Better

If you have been keeping up with me, you know that I quit my job in early June this year.  Now that I'm 2 1/2 months in to my new journey, I can, with 100% certainty, say I am happier for it.  Are all my problems solved?  No.  Are all of my anxieties gone?  No.  I don't think I'll ever be completely free of those things (who is??).  This was not an easy process, and I'm not done yet.  I still have a few mountains to climb.

One thing I did gain (so far) was some self respect.  I stood up for myself.  I had no idea it would feel this good!  I'm proud of myself for the first time in many years.  Makes me wonder why I have such a hard time telling people how I feel.  Do I make how they feel seem more important than me?  

Another thing I've noticed is a change in how I see things.  I have the time to really SEE things:  the blue of the sky, birds flying, the green of the grass....  Everything looks like it did to me when I was very young...more vivid, more real somehow.  

This is probably the best summer of my entire life.  I hate to think it will end going back to school, leaves starting to's inevitable.  Maybe I will SEE things this winter that I haven't in many years and learn to love it too.

July 26, 2012

My Secrets to Good Etsy Product Photos

When I started my Etsy shop, I thought "I'm a pretty decent photographer, these product photos should be a breeze!"  I've shot weddings, nature, wildlife, concerts and countless other subjects with ease!  Well, needless to say, I was wrong.

I have a  Canon Rebel XT DSLR, which I love dearly.  I was a user of the film version of the same camera for years.  So, I got my trusty camera ready, got my backdrops all set up, found the perfect light and started snapping away!  I thought it went great....until I downloaded the pics to my laptop.  The depth of field was all wrong and I couldn't get in close enough to show all the details I felt I needed to show on my jewelry and still be in focus.  Damn, I was convinced I was pretty good at photography!  Well, I still think I am, but now I know a lot more about product photography.  Jewelry photography in particular.

What I really needed was a macro lens for my DSLR.  Great.  LOTS of money I didn't have to spend!  Well, lots for the one I wanted anyway.  So after searching through Etsy forums to see what others were using, I decided to purchase a point-and-shoot with a macro setting.  I ended up spending about $120 and settled on an Olympus Stylus.  I could have bought a cheap manual focus macro lens for about $100, but this way, I also have a camera that can easily fit in my purse for events that don't require great photos or a lot of messing around with settings.

Let me tell you what I love about my Olympus for jewelry photos:

Super Macro- Most point-and-shoots have a macro setting for getting in close on flowers and other things. Super macro gets you close enough to focus in on the bug on the flower! The lens on this camera can nearly be touching your subject and still focus in on it. Perfect for showing tons of detail.

Image Stabilization - This feature helps with camera shake that could make your picture blurry. I see it kick on when I'm in lower light situations. Since I shoot my jewelry pictures in natural light with the flash turned off, this is pretty beneficial to me.

Exposure Compensation - Like I mentioned, I shoot in natural light. This can be tricky. I have shot some pieces of mine in direct sunlight (shadows too harsh), under a shade tree (inconsistent light), and near a large, bright window. Without using exposure compensation near my window, I had to edit all my photos to lighten them. Editing can be time consuming and may leave the colors looking different from reality, which adds even more time for correcting the photos. On this camera, you even get a preview on the screen as to how the different exposure settings will look. This is an enormous timesaver and makes the chore of listing my items a little...ok, a LOT less painful. Download and they are ready for listing!

Here are some examples of"progression".
Holy harsh shadows Batman!  Not to mention this was taken outside in 20 degree Wisconsin weather.

Taken outdoors and not really in focus.

Yep...not in focus and a ray of sunshine on lower right.

Getting a little better, but way too dark.

Ok, starting to get worthy of posting on Etsy.  I taped up waxed paper on the window to diffuse the direct sunlight.

Nice close-up, horrible background.

Making progress on backgrounds!  Inconsistent light (under a shade tree).

A little better!

Finally!  This what I was aiming for!

Experimenting with depth of field.

Experimenting with angles.

Love this one.  Great lighting and great representation of the actual colors of the earrings.

Close-up to show detail.

Experimenting with late day sunlight.  I had to remove  a lot of yellow...the dreaded editing.

Love the gleam on this copper bracelet.

Hundreds of photos and experimenting with cameras, lighting, backgrounds and arrangements later, I'm very pleased with the results.  

May 26, 2012

Another Collection!

I'm flattered every time......

May 12, 2012

Back to the Good Stuff

As you can see below, I have been busy the last couple of days!  I am in the midst of a 4 day "sanity" break from my job.  Yup.  A break to bead, catch up on yard work and most importantly, RELAX!

My messy desk!

All the half-started things I got to finish!

April 15, 2012

The Search for Inspirado - Kid's Jewelry

When going through therapy several years ago, I discovered my "inner child".  Sounds hokey and cliche doesn't it?  Well, if you had some rough spots early in life, and have had the opportunity to have a good therapist, you might recognize the extraordinary value of this the way I did.  Basically, the idea of the "inner child" exercises we did was....well it's tough to explain....but imagine yourself now, as an adult, meeting yourself as a child.  Now imagine yourself befriending that child when they feel most vulnerable/scared/alone, and helping them to trust that you will keep them safe and feeling loved.  And not for a while, but committing to it forever - essentially becoming the parent and sense of security you desperately needed at that period of time.  And, in turn, becoming responsible and taking ownership for how you feel right now as an adult. It's a real mindfuck if you can make this happen.

I'm sure you're wondering, "what the shit does this have to do with beading??!!".  Well, let me explain.  Part of my therapy homework was to buy myself something I always wanted as a child but never got.  I bought myself a Cabbage Patch doll.  Yep.  A doll.  I never had one, but always wanted one.  This doll is still in my bedroom over seven years later as a reminder to be kind to myself, and that I am worth enough to have some of the things I want.  So you're still wondering what this has to do with beading and my inspirations?  Well, it's simple.  I was inspired to make girl's jewelry because it spoke to me as I was when I was a small kid.  I make things for kids that I would have wanted at that age.  By making kid's jewelry, I allow myself to be girly - which I do NOT do as an adult in any other facet of my life and barely did as a kid.

So now you know.  I'm not sure why I felt the need to vomit this out on my blog.  I guess because I want to be more confident in things I do/in life?  Let more people into my bubble?  Doesn't every human want to be understood?

The kid's jewelry I'm making now is very special to me.  It's nothing too complicated or incredibly unique, but it is exactly what I would have wanted as a little girl.  I hope someone can help their little girl feel precious and beautiful when they wear it.  If that happens just once, my work here is done.

April 14, 2012

The Dirty Work

So, because of this hobby I've grown to love so much, I've incurred cost.  Now, its not earth shattering amounts, but enough to consider it one of my monthly bills.  I that the cost of therapy in a way?  Probably.  Will my husband buy that excuse?  I have yet to encounter that conversation, and don't really want to!  So, to defray the costs and to give my jewelry homes better than mine (where they'll be loved properly), I've been selling.  Not a lot yet, but some.

I call this the "dirty work" because I'm not a natural when it comes to sales.  I've been asked if I'm starting a business and answered with, "no" recently.  But I guess I am?!  I still need to do some thinking on the subject.  If you're going to call a spade a spade, I guess I already have a very small business.  I have both an Etsy and an Artfire presence, I started a blog to talk about it, and spend hours talking about it with my mother (another seller, by the way) thinking strategy and ways to get exposure.

So anyway, soon to come will be links and widgets to my "dirty work".....maybe someone will see something and love it as much as I loved putting it together.  That's my hope anyway.

Getting back to myself (If I ever really knew who she was)

How does one center themselves? Get back to their fucking happy place? Feel content?  I'm struggling with this. Always have. With my life essentially being half over, it has been striking me that there is no better time than now to figure this out. Is this my mid-life crisis? Does everyone feel this way?

38 years old and not a clue where to start, but I’m going to start trying things that challenge me.  And, well, make me smile. Specifically, beading and making jewelry. I know, I know, that reminds you of this:
But I’m actually being dead serious.

When looking for a "self management" topic for a work meeting (long story...), I came across the concept of "flow".
…Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement. Though they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-altering.
The quote above is about a book is called Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  I have not read this yet (put it in the queue!), but the idea seems pretty simple.  Get lost in doing something creative, and most importantly, something you love and crave to know more about.  I’ve been trying really hard to incorporate this into my life. Make it worth waking up for. Is it working? Well I still can't be 100% sure, but one thing I do know....I have shit-tons of jewelry.