Archive for March, 2011

Kind hearted Etsians are donating proceeds from the sale of their wonderful artwork to support charitable organizations involved with the Japan Tsunami recovery effort. Buy something beautiful and support the tremendous need for help in Japan.  Here is an Etsy treasury of a very small portion of these artists… to find other Etsy sellers who are supporting this effort, enter “japan”, or “japan relief”, or “tsunami relief” into the search box on the Etsy home page.

Open Your Hearts to Japan Etsy Treasury.

Here are some additional treasuries that I found all supporting the Japan relief effort:


Hope for Japan


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Hello… here are some of my most recent treasuries featuring works by wonderful artists…

Or-ranging for Spring: colorful, cheery, springy… Hello, Great Earth Mother, what are your or-anging for us this year?

Medallions and Lions:  For those knights, guardians, and their medallions.

And other treasuries that have featured my work. Thanks!

Cleveland is in full bloom

Lucky in Cleveland

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See the comments to my last “Photos-R-Us” post for the feedback from Mariano Pastor. You can view all his articles and related posts at www.handmadeology.com.  This was great feedback so with better lighting I was able to make a second round of shots  using the tissue paper on the window and a tripod.

Shot with Aqua Background Shot taken on beige backgroundI tried several different backgrounds and  the results were much better. This first shot is one with an aqua background. I wasn’t sure whether the apatite beads would be lost with a near-matching background and they still stood out. It’s not my favorite but it is an improvement over the previous shots.

The second one is on a beige background. It still picked up the aqua color of the apatite stones. The color must be reflected off the foil.

Shot taken with brown backgroundThe third shot, my favorite, is on a brown background with printing on it. I was reluctant to use this paper for a background because I thought that the jewelry piece would “fade out” against this background. I was wrong… happily wrong.  It seemed to really complement the jewelry and made it stand out.  I have been resisting using my tripod because the resulting photos were very blurry. With some practice I worked out the bug and learned to maneuver it with more ease and this really sharpened the quality of the photographs.

If you are wanting to improve your photography skills, I highly recommend that you visit www.handmadeology.com and work with some of the photography suggestions.

Have a great weekend … and stay warm if you are local to Cleveland. Let’s all send lots of prayers  and love to our fellow humankind in Japan!

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A friend of mine forwarded me an email from a mutual friend and co-worker who is a breast cancer survivor for six months now.  This is a great way to support breast cancer prevention and research for the cure – it takes just 4 minutes of your time to watch this fun video made by 136 former NFL cheerleaders; when you do, United Healthcare donates to Susan G Komen for the Cure (breast cancer information, prevention and research for the cure).

As of now, there have been 3,101,789 views.

At 1 million, UHC will donate $100,000 (done)

At 5 million, they’ll donate another $50,000…help make this happen.

Please watch the video, and just as importantly, pass this link and message on to your network of family, friends and colleagues.


Click often!

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This year the winter weather has been very dramatic and different.

Pine Tree Laden with Snow

Last week we had a big winter ice storm that left all the trees covered with thick ice for several days. I was fortunate enough to work from home the day the storm arrived.  Many of the schools closed that day. A week later when it all melted along with the huge mounds of snow, we then had some major flooding. One morning I left to go to work and the roads were so treacherous that I turned around. I was about 2 minutes from my home and it took 45 minutes to arrive safely back at my home.

It would be easy to get caught in the fear of driving in this weather or how “inconvenient” it was. Yet it was an incredibly beautiful view! We went out to lunch one day after the ice storm and Cleveland looked like a Christmas ice palace… very magical.

Branches Covered with Ice

So I posted a few pictures to share with you. These are actually after a few days after the ice storm and therefore do not adequately represent the peak beauty that was on display. Some trees could not withstand the weight of the snow and ice… survival of the fittest? Luckily I had just purchased bird seed so the little birdies had enough to eat. My cat, loves to sit in the window by the pine tree because it is in the flying path of the birds on their way to thefeeders. I call it his “home entertainment center”.

Branches Covered with Ice

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One critical success factor is selling your products online is great photographs. Since I started my Etsy shop, I’ve improved my photography skills and am still striving to improve them even more. There are a lot of great articles on Etsy and on the internet for improving the quality of your photographs. When you have put a lot of creative energy into one of your designs, you also want the photograph to pop and do justice to your creative efforts. Yet often I find myself wishing that I could find a great “photo school” and walk out a master of photography… I’m talking about the “crash” course… you know the “photo’s r us”  in 24 hours or less program….

One of my fellow Etsians posted a link to a blog article with photography tips on the Handmadeology blog.  Actually there are multiple posts on Handmadeology by Via U!, a NY Advertising photographer, with different tips for making great photographs. So I decided to test the tips to see how they improved my photographs.  It was a very, gray day which is typical of Ohio winters but it gave me the opportunity to test the worst case scenario and then compare later on a brighter day. I’ve always wanted to photograph on black backgrounds but it never worked without a flash (ugh!) and sometimes when using a white background, the photo’s had a bluish cast to them.

I’ve posted the before and after photographs below. I was short on time but was testing out the lighting improvement more than going for a final, ready-to-list shot. The improvement was dramatic and for the first time I was able to shoot with a black background. I can’t wait to complete more shoots but that will have to wait for another day… back to studies for the rest of the day.

Before photos:

Before Shot on White Background

Before Shot on Black Background








After photos:

After Shot on Off White Background

After Shot on Off White Background

After Shot on Black Background

I will continue to use these tips and highly recommend them if you are striving for better photographs.  And thanks to zJayne for posting the link to the blog. Have fun!

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