Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hi my name is Christina & I'm a follow-holic

Happy Saturday to all! When I loaded up google this morning I realized I may just have a problem... I'm following roughly 50 blogs, in less than a month! I think I'm a follow-holic!
One of the lovely blogs I just started to follow recently after seeing her commenting on more than a few of the blogs I already followed. It's SassyGlassDesigns I just got lost for about an hour when I found my way over there. Check it out if you've got the time. This morning I woke to two surprises from Sandi over at SassyGlass, 1 she would like to have my etsy mini on her blog.. How cool is that I'm just totally psyched! Thank you so much again Sandi!
And she tagged me for a little blogosphere fun! This is the first one I'm participating in so here goes.
The rules of this one are as such: go to your picture file and blog about the 4th picture in there, then tag 4 other bloggers to do the same.
Since all of my pics on this computer are in folders I went to the fourth folder and choose the fourth picture,

This picture was taken back in April, my other half (seen in the pic) was sent to Vegas for 4 days for the APEX convention for work. He was only at the booth for two days, to save money on the flight.. they sent him out two days early.. (think about that for a second let the non-logic sink in). Since he was being sent to this show alone, and it happened to fall on the days I wasn't in classes he asked me to come, I paid for half my ticket, he paid for half and off we went. As soon as we got there we got a rental car for the day and drove out to the Hoover Damn (well we did check in first), it was breathtaking... This picture however was taken on our way back from the damn. On the side of the road the was a large hotel/casino and I of course had to pee, so we stopped... as we were walking back to the car I noticed a gravel path off the parking lot it lead down to an awesome view and the neatest rock faces.
I snapped a few really cool pics there, we decided this one would be perfect for the inside cover of a cd, if my other half should ever decide to become a brooding musician. The front cover is the third picture....

Vegas was awesome, I was only there for 3 days really as I left at 6am the last day to make it to History class the next day in decent shape. I didn't do as much as I wanted, so much left unseen, I would love the chance to go back one day!
Now who to tag? Lets see.....
Ramblin Mama at Random Splashes of Thought
Jess at C Line Creations
Becca at Happiknits

Ok have to run and get sandwiches for the other half.. Looking forward to some serious blog reading later!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Big Thanks.. works in progress

I want to say a HUGE thank you to my fellow etsynj members and those of you in the blogosphere who helped me out with my plea for help, here and elsewhere on the net! Even if some could not offer advice, they offered kind words which probably helped me even more, given how frazzled I was yesterday.
Mother Nature has decided to grace O'burg with a bit o' rain today... Kind of fitting seeings how this week's sweet treat theme was Let beauty rain down upon... I didn't participate this week, but you should definitely swing by there later today when the sweet treaty goodness is unveiled!
Oh yes, the rain! It won't allow me to retake pictures today.. unless it clears up out there soon.... So what I'm going to do is sit down with and fiddle with the levels in my pictures from the last post... The contrast/whiteness tool doesn't like me... let's see if the level tool and I can learn to get along! I'll post a few side by side before/after shots (not a million like before!)
I'm trying to decide what to do in the new pictures... I have read 50ish articles from various web sources (etsy storque, handmadeology, a few links kindly sent my way) on Backgrounds, lighting, post process editing, scale, props, placement.... Lots of ideas but I have no idea what's going to work.. methinks I need reinforcements.. of the best friend variety.. to help me with a photo day.
I have a bunch of harcover fantasy books that I think may work to place my dragons on.. with a pencil or pen.. set it up like a desk, or even on my wood coffee table, if I could get the lighting right in the living room. I'm just afraid it would be too.. much.. never know till you try.. I'm also fiddling with the idea of taking some drawing paper and sketching out "Here there be dragons" and start to ink it in.. leave it unfinished, with the ink pot brush and pencil in the shot with the dragons... less color, easier to control.. probably less busy..
Man my head is reeling with possibilities!
As for prices.. I'm still wavering! I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on the value of my work... As artists we are our own worse critics aren't we? I've always had that problem and sometimes I need a swift kick in the arse, or a slap upside the head that says "Hey you.. yea you.. your stuff.. it's good.. get that though your thick skull.. or I'll have to whack you again!"
The overwhelming response of, "What are you.. crazy?" to my proposed lower end prices did get through to me... Earlier today I said $8 for devil critters.. (seriously I need a new name for these guys) and $15 for dragons. I talked that over with the matriarch of my family (my Grams... how wonderful she is deserves it's own post!) She said what MulchandMore said.. it's easier to lower prices than to raise them! She suggested $20 for the larger dragons (of which there is only one right now) and $18-$19 for the smaller ones. $10 for the critters. I reiterated how that felt high to me and she proceeded to ask me if I listened to what she said (about lowering prices) or if I called her to hear myself speak! She said try it out through at least the end of the etsynj-wide sale... and if I was still uncomfortable to lower them a $8 and $15. So I guess that's settled!
As for the sale, I've muddled that out myself and I've decided to do Everything in the shop Buy One Get One Half off (equal or lesser value). Now I just need to put more stuff in my shop.. so time to shush up.. and get into to edit some pics!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pictures Pictures Pictures! And a plea for help!

So I finaly got some pictures taken with the tripod I got and the lightbox I created. Sadly the lights/bulbs I had just don't work so well.. So I took the box out to the screened in porch and snapped away for the hour of perfect sunlight mother nature decided to grace me with. Sadly I still think the pictures are too dark... I'll have to get new bulbs and two lights with adjustable necks (I only have one at the moment). I took 5 pictures (posting only 4) each of the dragons I have currently finished as well as two computer companions. I included a quarter in one of each of the shots to give a reference to their tiny sizes. The pictures are formatted for etsy listings at 1000 pixels square( click to enlarge.. way enlarge!)

Isn't he just too cute?!? I am so in love with this little guy, he's just looking up at me with those intense orange eyes, clutching his carnelian with all his newborn might and my heart just melts!

Remember Ruby? I blogged about her a while ago.. I love the tripod lightbox and macro setting on my camera.. look how much better these pictures are.. no flash or blur and you can see how sparkly she is!

Now this little guy has been hanging out with me on my computer for MONTHS now! Duer put him up there when moving stuff around and I've been tempted to not list him ever since... He's got a peculiar look about him.. but I've become quite fond of him.. he's quirky.. and has my wickedly odd sense of humor.... He just wants his own space I think.. he won't stop complaining to Batman about how crowded it is up on top of my computer.. (see this post)

Can you tell the sky was begining to cloud a bit by the time I made it to this guy? They don't look so dark when you veiw them full size, I think because of the shine and sheen on him it brightens it up. I tried to adjust the contrast and white balance in but it messed with his coloring and sparkle so I used the undoctored photos here. He'll be the first to be rephotographed when I get the light thing fixed. To top it off for the life of me I can't remember what kind of stone that is he's holding.(if you would like to hazard a guess that would be helpful!)

On to the two devilishly cute computer companions.. Maybe I should think of a new name for them, just because my man and I have them hanging out on our comps doesn't mean thats the only place they can go! I just so love the alliteration...

So now for the plea for help.... I need advice on a few things,
First of the pictures... they are way better than anything I have taken so far.. I think you can pick up the mica powder shine, true color and detail with no blur or flash problems.. but are they still way too dark? Are they etsy worthy? I don't think they are treasury worthy but should I post them to my shop or go back to the camera?
Second.. price.. I'm having a terrible time figuring out what to price the critters and dragons... I was thinking $5 for the critters but I'm afraid it may be too much, but they take a few hours to make plus materials.. The dragons are the real stumper... they are tiny as you can see from the quarter, but they use a good chunk or clay to make, the mica powders weren't cheap.. and they take hours and hours upon even more hours to make... The one time I sat down and made a whole dragon start to finish in one day it took me 8 or so hours...probably closer to 9. It seems like a long time for something so small without oodles of detail.. but they really do take forever to make right... when I rush bad bad things happen.. My man says $20 but I have a hard time thinking that they are worht that much.. I said $10 and he told me I'm underselling myself and that I'm too critical.. But I think someone would be more willing to snatch a cutie up for 10 than 20 dollars...They'd stop and think and there would go the impulse... Should I split the diff so to speak at $15.. still seems high to me.. taking into account my candle holders are $6 large barrettes are 3.50 small barrettes ae 2.50 they'd be much higher priced than anything else....
Can you tell I'm agonizing about this I could really use the advice!
Last plea for help then I'll show you a pretty picture and end this long windedness....
There will be an etsynj-wide sale begining of March and I need to post what promotion I'll be doing asap! I'm stuck between.. Barrettes.. buy one get one free (of equal or lesser value). OR Store wide sale everything buy one get one half off (any item of equal or lesser value). This sale is going to be the kick in the bum than I need to get my dragons and critters posted.. and a few more things I have in the wings...
What do you think? Please please any comment on anything is appreciated.. I need the input!
Now a tranquil thank you picture for reading all of that! my birthday flowers bloomed, here they are hanging out in my bay window brightening up my day and hopefully yours too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Friday!

So Last night I joined and they have this neat feature, like an etsy treasury called spotlights.. So I haven't added my sho or edited my profile, added a banner or picture.. what I did do.. was create a spotlight.. I searched etsy with the tags etsynj, dragons & fairy.. here's my first spotlight There is a way to embed it, but I can't seem to get it to work at the moment. I'll have to fiddle and see what works a bit later.
So I have to go to Walmart and try to get a tripod for my camera, I also wanted to take pictures today while the sun was still out. So I, of course, got sidetracked and finished building my blue dragon, my fingers look like smurf fingers! he needs to be de-fingerprinted powdered and baked!
It's freezing out there... and now I kinda don't want to brave the craaaazy wind I hear out there...If i don't though I know i'll keep procrastinating and not go for who knows how long....
Ok here I go.. really.. i swear...
If I get pictures taken today I'll post some...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Bazillion Things..... (loooong post)

So it's been over a week since I sat down to blog, I've been too busy reading other peoples blogs and creating my lil butt off... So what's new you ask? A bazillion things!!
It was my 26th birthday yesterday... mostly uneventful.. the holiday delayed my birthday cards so I got 3 phonecalls in a row, I got to talk to my grandmother in Indiana, my Dad in Mississippi but I missed my Aunt Steph in Wisconsin cause I was eating dinner at that point.. Have to call her back.. My Dad and I have these awkward conversations on the phone (last night was no exception).. We just don't know how to talk to each other I guess.. He's lived in Mississippi my whole life and I live in NJ, I did live with him for almost 2 years back when I was.. oohh it's understandable.. I love him he loves me and we know that and thats what counts. He sent me the website he's set up to show the construction on their new house and in the email he suggested my man and I come down for a visit...that made me so happy I seriously almost cried.. I'm an odd one I guess.
My sweety brought me home some flowers and a stuffed froggy (I love stuffed animals, I have BAGS of them from when we used to go to 6flags every week.. those claw machines.. I'm also a herpophile- I love lizards, reptiles and amphibians.. so stuffed frog = win!)
I used my christmas gift from my mother ( a GC for a 1hr swedish massage at her salon) The massage was great, then I slept funny last night and re-kinked my shoulder... oh well....
When I got home from the shop I tried to finish my project for this weeks Thursday's Sweet treat... Well I finished it.. at 10om missed the deadline. so I'l post my pics here and email Natasha for the mini treat... along with last weeks theme.. which I will also post here...
So I had made these heart beads.. I intened to make them earings but I couldn't get the wirse to bend right or them to hang correctly.. so.. They became my first ever bracelet.. and I love it!
The theme was Dreaming in Color..and I got my inspiration in the oddest place...
Last week I made a statuette for the challange and I was putting her on a base with taller flowers around her.. when I was doen I decided that it looked wa too cluttered and took away from the statue.. so I took down the flowers.. pulled the cover of solid clay off the scrap I used for the base and balled/twisted up my scrap clay and left it on my workspace.... trying to think of what to do for this week.. staring at the log of clay.. it hit me.. the colors in it were hypnotizing me... I took a thin slice of it off and the inside of the log looked so ... psychadelic... I HAD to use it for this week's challenge...

Neat-o right? So night before last I used chunks of the scrap off the end and formed a bunch of hearts.. mainly 2 sizes... then I took slices off the log of scrap and flattened them with my polyroller.. one side striped the other swirly .. I covered the tops.. alternating sides of slices used, peirced them with the charm wire and baked... and went to sleep.. Yesterday I constructed the bracelet..I used a charm wire in each and looped them together, andded a few rings for length at the end and a clasp.. this is the result....
While hanging to dry before heat setting the glaze...

and three different views of it on my wrist, so you can see most of the nifty patterns

I also made two pendants the same way...

And... a turtle! in this pic he's hanging out with the turtle I made last week.. they were glazed at the same time...
hhmm that photo is a bit blurry isn't it.. I apologize!
So.... you know when you forget to put out the recycling? Good thing I forgot this week because I scrounged two Guiness bottles to hang my projects from while they were glazed... my man came home to this site yesterday and laughed so hard he nearly cried.. not sure why it was so funny to him.. I was just being innovative!

Ok I'm jumping around a lot here forgive me... Last week's Sweet Treat Challenge was where the wild things bloom... I made this statuette..

The pictures just don't do her justice! Each rose is handmade petal by petal.. no molds here! I had some pointy ended roses, mostly bigger than the ones I used here.. I made more of the smaller ones which I did use... the larger ones were given stems and added to the base I mentioned before... then being to cluttered were disassembled (back to pointy ended roses for now)....
Speaking of clutter and roses.. I was shocked at myself when I pulled out the ziplock baggies that had my roses in them.. I have soooo many little things that I'll fear I'll never use... check out all the neat little things I had stashed away... (click to enlarge)

one say I will find a use for all that stuff... a mushroom fairy garden... lizard and frog magnets....who knows.. but I shouldn't forget about them all again!

And lastly... in previous posts I mentioned redoing my bathroom.. well the paint is finaly on the walls (save a bit of touch up here and there needed with a small artist brush)And well.. I'm not sure if I like the color or not.. I don't NOT like it... but I sure don't love it.. I do however think it does what we wanted.. make that green look less 1970's... What do you think?

Well thats all for now.. I had waaaay too much to say.. I still have more but damn this post is long enough no? My purple dragon is done baking/cooling.. time to glaze him! Maybe I'll post (shorter) again later..
And if you read all of that.. you deserve a cookie! A whole plate of cookies...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So my hand is all sorts of sore from two days straight of scraping and sanding. I still had two walls to sand today but turns out I can't hold the sanding block because my poor hand is so achy! So looks like the bathrooms gets a days respite from my wrath!
On the bright side, I can try to make something for the Sweet Treat challange today! If my lil fingers will cooperate!
I also have a cute chubby purple dragon to de-fingerprint, powder and bake!
And the cutest lil turtle that needs to be baked too, poor guy has been hanging out all week!
Okies, time to get crafting.... Joy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wallpaper and the smell of fabric softner!

So it's taken me two whole days to get the wall paper completely off the walls. There were 3 (more) layers of paper, the last being a real pain in the keister to get off. I'm taking a quick break right now before sanding to let my hand rest.. it's very sore from scraping.
When we took the wallpaper off the walls of the kitchen we used this gel stuff called DIF, it smelled horrible, barely worked, and was so sticky it took 3 hours to wash the walls, forget the floors! So for the bathroom (since it was my project) I decided to try a trick my grandma told me about, hot water and fabric softner. For the first two layers it worked great... and let me tell you, spring fresh smells way better than Dif and I'm not nearly as sticky! For the last layer I think it was 5% solution, 95% muscle.
I'm wondering if I'm going to have any time at all do participate in this weeks Thursday Sweet Treat challenge I have to be finished by end of day tomorow... with still more bathroom to do.... I had a really neat idea too.. actualy a few.. maybe I'll just have to mail them to Natasha afterwards to be part of the monthly-mini treat.. for submissions of past themes..
ok I really have to go sand the walls and wash them... no matter how much I want to bum around the net!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Busy Monday!

I had a million things that I wanted to do today and I know I can't get them all done. So I've narrowed it down. Corned beef was on sale this weekend, so I'll be cooking that this afternoon, I do however have to run out and get beer to cook it in, I think I'll splurge on some Guiness.
We moved into our new house in September and still haven't gotten all the painting/wallpaper removal done yet. This weekend we decided to buy some crazy color paint for our bathroom. Here's the skinny on our bathroom color scheme... Mainly it's avacado colored, a subdued avacado, reminiscent of a sage, but still 70's style color, the tub and sink are this green, as are most of the tiles (they are beige with this green flecking every few tiles is a solid green) There is this striped pink and yellow rose wallpaper. Needless to say this isn't really our style... So I ripped the 1st layer of wallpaper off the wall yesterday and pulled out my HUUUGE stack of color swatches (every color glidden makes, I got the swatch). So Mike and I are going through all these swatches, everything is too bright too dark too bleh or clashes like hell with this green! So I say come on lets be daring! Lets pick something we normally wouldn't, it's only a quart of paint and if we don't like it we can change it right? So I try to think, aside from a 1970's bathroom, what color schemes would I find this green as part of the pallette? Something southwestern possible came to mind, then I started thinking to try to pull a highlight color out of the natural wood from the doors (and everywhere in our home). So enter tinderbox it really looks better in person than this photo from a color matching website (go fig) we'll see how it goes. It's either going to look really good... or ghastly and need to be changed asap! So I scored and sprayed the wall paper. I'm going to go scrape my lil tush off for a while. Then sanding, and hopefully primer before I have to run out to the store and start cooking.
I also have some dishes to do and some laundry to fold.... Dishes and laundry begin to feel like some odd paradox... No matter how much you clean, there are always more...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Digital Cameras and Silly Computers....

So how did I do on my list yesterday? Okay I'd say... I did the dishes, I folded those clothes, I finished my dragon and an art deco brooch for the blog project.. but I couldn't find my camera, so no pictures and no new etsy listing... no biggie! I found my camera this morning and was trying to take pictured for about two hours... I don't know if it's my camera, or if my hands are shaky, or if it's because half of what I was photographing was very shiny/sparkly but out of about 100 pictures, no lie 100 only 6 of which are even remotely useable...
needless to say that is not a good ratio... I'll need to seriously sit down and try to figure out this thing out...
To top that off.. I can't access another 25ish pictures because my computer decided.. meh.. it was tired of reading my media drives and needed a break.... it does this now and then.. the sdmini drive doesn't show up in my computer, no green light.. then.. whenever it feels like it.. BAM! it works again no problem.... Silly Computer!
Anyhow without further ado... pictures..
So my computer is getting a little crowded! (so is Duer's[my better half] but that picture was crap)

No etsy worthy pics of any of these guys yet.. but completely cute computer companions for your enjoyment:

I did finish baby Ruby last night isn't she adorable? too bad these are the only two pics that came out ok.. she's soooo very shiny even the slow flash was too much!

Ok as mentioned before.. I'm making some things inspired by the great blog project Thursday's Sweet Treat. This week's theme is Poetic Sea.. I wanted to post pictures of this in stages as it was being created, but like I said, couldn't find my camerea! Now this was the first time I ever tried this project and I'm happy with how it turned out being the first one ever.. of course I'm obssessed with everything that is even a tiny bit off about it but that's just the artist in me.. my own worst critic..

The bottom dangle faux Bakelight turned out perfect.. well not the carving in it.. but the finish and faux bakelight-ness of it.. perfect!
Next time the deco lady gets a border around her to seam it up better.. it looks a little slapped in there this way.... the colors came out so great.. the texture too... They are exaclty what I was going for when I thought poetic sea.. wavy dep blues and turqouise...overall happy with the first shot (repeating myself aren't I?)

Sadly my finished ruby red slipper sharm is NOT photographing well.. too much detail and too uch shine maybe? I don't know... It's so frustrating.. as soon as I get a decent pic of it I'll post it up here.. I'm so proud of how cute it turned out!

Oh oh oh oh.. So I love to find niche online communities and today I joined a new one it's the EtsyNJ street team (a street team is bunch of etsians joined together by a commonality in this case.. living in New Jersey) I'm really excited to get to know some fellow NJ crafters!

On a non-craft/etsy note...
I finally spent some of my xmas gamestop gift card on some DS games... one of which is so well done and addicting! It's called Big Bang Mini even if you don't have a DS check out their website just to get an idea of what I'm talking about here!
The art is so well done, the background scroll on the first level (Hong Kong) blew me away. It's very much like an old fashioned arcade shooter.. think space invaders for the new millenia.. with fireworks.... and pirate penguins... I've been playing a board or two while on the gryphon in WoW.. got a 3 minute trip across Northrend? No problem, where's my DS!

Ok.. time to do some dishes....
didn't I just do dishes yesterday? Why are there always more dishes?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Today I will...

Ok so, I spend too much time browsing the net and not enough time actualy doing stuff that I keep saying I'm going to do.. so today.. A list (now mind you I planned on making this post like 3 hours ago.. so yet again.. easily sidtracked table for one.. right here)
  1. Finish little red dragon! do it Christina... you know you can.. just need to get out the fingerprints, apply the powder and BAKE HIM.. how hard is that? you can do it!
  2. Start something for this weeks Thursday Sweet Treats Challange
  3. Do the rest of the dishes!
  4. Finish folding the clothes that are in the hamper in the middle of the living room that you started at 7am.... stop being lazy! (ok maybe this one should be number one)
  5. Take some pictures of my little computer companions and list them on etsy.. (you knew you were going to list them when you made them, can't get attached to everything you make!)

Five things.. I think I can handle five things.....

maybe I'll make lunch and make one last trip round the etsy forums...... yea.. thats it.. then... the list tackling begins...

I will post later with some pictures of a finished little red dragon, a poetic sea peice in creation and some devilishly cute computer companions! (oh alliteration how I love thee!)