Friday, 29 July 2011

Folksy Friday: Juicy Fruit

The blackberries are incredibly early this year, inspiring this collection of juicy fruit handcrafted pieces from Folksy sellers.  Click on any of the pictures to visit the shops.

apple mobile phone case strawberry greeting cardfruit basket
strawberrry cup cake cardblueberry boa apple kindle case

1. Sweet apple mobile phone case by Daisy Beth
2. Strawberry flavoured greeting card by Ello Design
3. A basket of fruit by Paulines Crafts
4. Cupcake anyone? by Dees Designs
5. Blueberry boa by The Crafty Bride
6. Funky kindle case by BaggieAggieToo

My own fruity offerings are these carnelian and yellow jade earrings - 
they are not meant to be eaten though!

carnelian handmade beaded earrings yellow jade gemstone earrings

Friday, 15 July 2011

Folksy Friday: Holidays are here

School's out soon so maybe you need some of these items from Folksy sellers if you're off on holiday or just hanging round the garden hoping to see the sun!

holiday aceo soap flip flops

This holiday aceo by Ghost Goose brings back some memories
Soap flip flops - what a great idea! - by Just Bev Soaps

driftwood boats beach hut dish

For those of us who dream of owning a boat or a beach hut, 
recession-beating options from Buttons and Stars and Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics!

passport cover holiday keepsake box

Bluebells and Oystershells (fantastic name!) will help you remember your passport 
and Cherry Tree Handmades will keep your souvenirs together in style.

What else do you need for the perfect holiday?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Photography tips from a non-professional: Making your product photos stand out

This blog post on photography was so popular, I thought I'd dare to venture down that road again and show you my tips for post production, or making your product photos really pop after you've taken them.

I use Gimp but I'm sure the instructions are pretty much the same for other photo manipulation software.  Gimp is my choice because it's free and there are bits of it I can understand.  If only I had more time to work with it, I'm sure I could do some pretty cool things.  But I'm a confirmed amateur, and I'm deliberately avoiding any technical language here because I just don't understand it. 

Anyway, here goes!  Hope it's helpful.

Open your photo in Gimp - you perhaps want to make a copy to work on.  Here's some tigers eye and carnelian earrrings looking a little grey and flat.  What I'm showing you here is how to get a white background and make the image stand out but without distorting the colours or contrast of the product.

 Choose the 'colours' menu, and from that 'levels'

You get a graph - don't panic!  You are going to manipulate the graph, but it won't be like maths in school, honestly :-)

 Locate the little triangles underneath the graph at either end...

 ... and simply grab them and drag them to where the black shape on your graph starts.  I've started with the right hand one and pulled it over to meet the end of the black blob graph shape.  Note how this has already lighted the background from grey to off white. ('grab' and 'blob' are technical terms, honest!)

You can experiment with moving the triangles further, but you'll see once you are in the zone of the black shape of the graph, you'll start to distort the colour and contrast.  Keep the triangles right at the start of where the graphs start at either side, and you'll generally get the clearest image.

 You can save now, or alternatively, you can pick up the 'dropper' icon on the right....

 ...and pop it anywhere on your background.  With a bit of luck, it will give you a snow white background too!  Combine the two approaches and your product should really start to stand out.

 You've done it!  Any problems, you can always use 'reset'.  Don't forget to save before you quit. 

Phew!  My first tutorial with screen shots.  Let me know if it's useful, and if I've made any mistakes. 


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A blog about not blogging

Coming soon to a Folksy shop near you...
Just a quick blog to apologise about the lack of blogging!  I know, I might as well have prepared a proper post in the time it will take me to type this, but hey, I never said I was logical!!

Amazonite reminds me of the sea.. 

Just to prove that I'm not spending these long summer evenings doing absolutely nothing, I'll let you into the secret that I'm preparing the all-singing, all-dancing Blue Forest Jewellery website.  I've set myself a target of having it ready for the 4th August, the two year anniversary of starting to sell online, and incidentally, the dog's birthday.  Progress is slow, however, as every time I enter a new element, I then have to change my mind about 60 times about the look of it.  Good job no-one is paying me to do web design.

Sunshine in a bead!

Yesterday I had a parcel from the lovely Cathy of Headpinwear on Etsy - part of a little bead swap we arranged.  She was very generous and there are lots of things there that are just a little bit different from what I would normally use, so expect something a little bit different.

Suitable for the Queen of Sheba

And there is the new range of jewellery in antique bronze.  It was a mistake to get started on that - now I'm using the excuse that I need to see all my designs made in silver and bronze to buy more beads and findings.  Cunning, eh?

 And before I go, I must confess to smelling nice now (too much information?!) thanks to my friend Chrissy's lovely birthday gift of bubbles and body lotion. And of course, a beautiful card too!  So lucky to have such good friends.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Folksy Friday: A bit of freehand embroidery

It's a while since I've done a Folksy Friday so here goes.  Spotted a couple of really beautiful embroidered designs on Folksy recently.  I do a bit myself, but nothing as neat as these!  I really love my embroidery 'old-style' if you know what I mean, free hand, it brings back memories of happily playing as a child with a stack of half finished tablecloths and napkins and paper embroidery patterns and hoops that I think were left in our house by my paternal grandmother. As she died before I was born, I never got to learn from her, but those patterns and bits and pieces were a bit of a crafty inspiration.

Click on any of the pictures to visit these lovely shops:

This needle book combines embroidery and applique by Lynwoodcrafts

Stunning beaded and embroidered art deco design by Rebecca Jayne Dagger

So applicable to me!  Framed embroidery by littletreasures

Which is your favourite?

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