delaware etsy finds

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I can count on one hand the number of people I've mentioned Etsy to in Delaware who actually know what it is. Happily, I manage to get them interested and some have even gotten accounts and started exploring all the unique wares.

I recently joined The Delaware Etsy Street Team created to pool resources to promote Delaware-based Etsy sellers. I already know a few DE sellers, but it was great fun to find even more through the "shop local" tool that Etsy has. I made this treasury today featuring only Delaware Etsians. Great finds, no?

new appliquéd onesies!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I must be so in the mood for spring because all I can think about are birds and butterflies and flowers!
I prototyped a couple of new appliquéd onesies this week for chirp & bloom. I couldn't decide on one colorway, so I did 2 for each. I do get requests for boy onesies, so I think the grey & blue birdies fits the bill. I just don't have a feel for sports themes or trucks and they would look out of place in my shop anyway.
A lot of trial and error and time goes into prototyping. The original design for the birdies had 16 birds! What was I thinking? There were so many and they were so tiny. It takes me plenty long to applique the 9. Then I thought it would be cute to have the odd one off kilter at the end, pecking at some crumbs. Just makes it more interesting.

The other time-consumer: getting good photos. It's an ongoing challenge for me. I am basically an amateur. I know what looks good, but how to get there is the problem.  I recently invested in a studio flash with an umbrella to boost my light indoors without glare. I still prefer the natural light to be dominant though, so I wait for sunny days and turn the flash way down to use as fill light. I wind up doing lots of editing in Photoshop never the less.
original shot straight from the camera
I prefer to err on the side of underexposure with digital shots (the opposite of what you would do with film shots) so all the color information is there and not washed out. But BLECH! The light wasn't as good as I thought and the studio flash didn't seem to help much. I had it turned way down to look natural.
final shot heavily edited in Photoshop
After several Photoshop operations it's good enough to use in the shop:
- increase exposure (+.52 in this case, but I've been known to go higher)
- select background only using selection tool (select onesie & clips, then select the inverse)
- using selective color tool, remove black from whites, neutrals, and from black itself (fiddle with the percentages)
- sometimes I'll increase the color saturation on the item a little too but I didn't this time.
- on top of it all, I increased the brightness by a little bit and dodged the bottom edge
- then there's cropping. I've started cropping to the ratio that Etsy uses for main shop photos 794px x 1000px. That way I have better control of what the shot will look like in the shop rather than being left to the mercy of Etsy's cropping.

I still may go back to the attic on a better light day and see if I can do better.

Ok- the sun came out I found a better spot to hang my clothesline. I knew something still missing from the other onesie photos! Sparkle. Can't beat good natural light (and a foam core reflector). Much less photoshopping was needed for this new photo.

on a roll with appliqué

Sunday, February 6, 2011

When my grandmother visited over the holidays, she was pretty tickled to see that my son has been using this quilt she made for one of my brothers in the 1970's. She made appliquéd quilts like this for each of her grandchildren. There are more than 30 of us, so that's nothing to sneeze at!
I asked her where she got her appliqué motifs and she revealed that they were adapted from coloring books! I thought that was simply brilliant and it made me like the quilt even more. The other thing I like about it is the naive quality of the color and fabric choices- not deliberate or matched, just using whatever scraps were on hand.
I love the whale. I might have to do a whale appliquéd something-or-other for the shop.
I made more than a few cardinal appliqué coin purses in December. I use a similar technique to Grandma's that doesn't involve turning under the edges of the applique. I cut the shapes to the exact size I want and apply to the background using double-sided iron-on adhesive called Heat 'N' Bond. I think Grandma just used pins though. Then I stitch around the edges with a blanket stitch, zig zag, or straight stitch. Grandma used button hole zig-zagging in black, just like the coloring book art.
The cardinals were popular enough, that I set up a mini assembly line to meet the demand.
Since people liked the cardinal purse, I thought it would be fun to do a bird for each season. Unlike Grandma, I work out the designs in Illustrator and tend to agonize over the fabric combinations. Even with my huge stash, I find myself running out to the fabric store for just the right thing. For appliques with small parts like these, the fabric patterns have to be low contrast, smaller scale patterns that read as one color.
Now that I've done them as purses, I can see them as pillows or hoop art too. Ah, well. Moving on to some new onesie designs.

valentine's day gift guide

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I do a lot of Etsy treasuries these days now that I've joined the Curation Nation treasury team. It's an even more addictive pursuit now that I'm part of a team. It's almost like a sport. This week I experienced a phenomenon with my innocent little Valentine's Day gift guide. Being on the team, treasuries tend to get more views because we all make a point to visit each others treasuries. But this one made its way to page 1 and then all the way to the #2 slot where it stayed for several hours. 5,000 views later it made it's way back down and retired itself to oblivion. I'm afraid the views are mostly from other curators rather than buyers, though. I really think these are good, reasonable gifts for people to consider BUYING.... have a peek!