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Friday, October 7, 2011

Am I the Only One . . .

who would prefer that Sunday be cooler rather than 83 degrees? Very selfish of me, I know, but I will be at the Coventry Farmers' Market. I'm hoping people will not forget how chilly it was this week. This is where I would post a picture of something but that's not going to happen now. I am working at the co-op, Swift Waters in Willimantic, CT, and I have my IPad. I should give it a name. Working on that. This post was because I am 1) just hanging out in the store and 2) so you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Been painting the shed forever now! Have a good Friday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Picture Perfect IV or Almost The Post with No Title

I'm back! Well, I didn't go anywhere, except to the farmers' market last Sunday where I sold this!

And nothing to do with the pictures I had taken because the shawl was draped on my display. But I'm still happy I reshot the pictures and happy it sold, whether online or at the market! Last post I said I would list some helpful editing programs and apps. These are great for product shots or holiday pictures or anything.

Before I got my IPad I used Picasa I still do occasionally. Picnik is also good and has a few different options but you have to do the editing online while Picasa is a program you install on your computer. They're FREE, although you can upgrade for a yearly fee for more options. with these programs you can crop, resize, brightening, adding contrast, tint, softening, even adding text.

For the IPad (IPhone, too, although since I don't own one, I won't have anything to add here) there are tons of apps. My favorites, so far, are Photo Studio HD and Pixlromatic but I use Photogene, Color Blast (turns your photo to black and white, then you rub your finger over the parts you want in color and it turns that portion into the original color), and Mobile Monet. Some versions of these are free. You can upgrade for a couple of dollars. Others cost a small amount. I like to read the reviews to get an idea of how they're working, pros, cons, is it even worth it.

Photo Studio HD is so much fun. You can make pictures look like charcoal, pencil, pen sketches, change the temperature for a warmer or cooler image, add hues, blur, various styles of photography, black and white . . .  This app also allows you to control how much or how little of the effect you want in the image. Cropping and resizing are also features included. You can save the effect to your camera roll, then add another effect from this app or another one.

Pixlromatic also has features such as vignettes, hues, intense contrast, black and white, sepia. There are also overlays that feature rain drops, sparkles, halo, scratches, as well as frames and mats. They have a blog, too, for updates and tips. There is no ability to control how much of the effect you want. It is what it is. But, you can still save your image, then pop on over to another app to add some other neat things.

Now, I know there is PhotoShop. There is an Adobe PhotoShop Express app but I see mixed reviews on it so I am not going to try it now. I don't have the original version, don't know how to use it, but if you do have it and can use it well, you're probably not looking to me for any photo editing tips. But I do envy you!

Yes, it is best to try to take the best possible picture you can BEFORE using the editing tools. But sometimes you have just a little CyberShot camera and that's all you have. So next time, I will talk a little about some things I like to take into consideration when I do a photo shoot.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Picture (Trying to Be) Perfect III

Hope everyone had a good summer, with a wrap-up of Labor Day weekend! I am always surprised at how, even decades after being out of school, the days after Labor Day still feel like new days, the-first-day-of-school days. Even if you are no longer attending school. Even if you are working week after week and just enjoyed an extra day off. Maybe it's the changes in temperatures of the hint of color in the trees you can no longer ignore.

Anyhow, I have learned so much from my time on Etsy, including the importance of taking better pictures. Online browsing and shopping does not allow one to use all the senses to discover products. Only the sense of sight, very important and often taken for granted, can be used. Visuals must be used to convey all other senses.

For some, this can be a skill that takes some time to cultivate. And I am still trying to cultivate that. I don't have sophisticated equipment. Just me, my Cybershot, and a flexible tripod. I love see beautiful product shots by other Etsians and I keep trying and experimenting.

Here are some before and after shots of my Sunrise Shawl. What are the characteristics of the shawl? The color, the way if feels, size, what does it do (is it stiff, flowy?), what is its size, what can you do with it? These are just some questions to ask about your product, depending on what it is.

Before                                                                                           After

The photo above shows how big it is, on a person. But the background - really? And the model? uh . . .  The picture to the right has a less busy background, still shows the shawl on a person, in fact, wrapped around.
The picture above shows texture, but, again, the background is part of the picture and really, that's unnecessary. Sometimes it's distracting. The picture on the right displays the pattern and the fact that the shawl could be used as a wrap. Again, the background is more neutral in subject.

Above: Yuck.  The picture to the right has been enhanced with a couple of layers of photo manipulation to do some of the following: color correction, softening the background, and adding some sun dots. The shawl is called "Sunrise". It is soft, handwoven in tencel (a yarn that feels like a blend of cotton and silk). The shawl is also a little bit hippie, a little bit boho (I didn't use these tags as I don't feel they ENTIRELY fit the shawl) but it is definitely casual. The photo tells a story: Sunny morning, a bit girly, enjoying this moment with a four-leaf clover (I really did find it next to me!). Warmth. Beautiful sunny morning. Pensive, quiet moment. Feeling pretty.

OK. The shawl will not make you these things, because you already are! But the pictures try to portray the feeling this shawl gives when you actually get a chance to hold it and wrap it around you.

This was a photo I had for a long time. I kept it because it gives a nice close up of the texture.

This picture, to the left, is new. I had this image in my mind when I started to put together the photo shoot. It's an experiment but shows the casual nature of the shawl.

They're not perfect and I'm still honing my skills and I have more work to do with other products in my shop. But I'm doing the best I can now and having fun doing it!

More on various photo editing programs - unless you have Photo Shop. Then you don't need my help. I don't have Photo Shop. :(

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Picture Perfect, Part II

Well, maybe.

Anyway, I reshot the shawl and did some fiddley-doo magic with some apps. (Note: I think that phot apps could be dangerous if used to excess. They are kind of like all the cool fonts out there. Just because you have access to them doesn't mean you should use all of them. At the same time. In the same document. So, I hope I haven't done that. But they are just sooo darned FUN!)

These are good today. Until I learn more.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Picture Perfect

It's a beautiful warm day here in New England. I've been working on new items, finishing, washing, labeling, listing, adding things to my inventory lists, PHOTOGRAPHING. Ok, I'm not yelling. It's just been on my mind lately.

I've been having fun photographing my new things and I like the results. I think they are pretty good, for now, until I get better. And I've learned so much since I've been on Etsy.

That said, sometimes I look at some of my older photography and cringe. It's time to go back and reshoot some things.

Yes, that means I have to find said item in inventory, take off the tag, and iron it. But it's worth it.

Here is my first piece:

I actually love this picture and I think I will leave it alone. But two others:

These two need work. They're poopy pictures. Stay tuned to see how the new ones come out. I'm interested, too, because I'm still working out some ideas and locations in my head.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodbye, Irene

We got out ok from the storm. Luckily, no loss of power or trees. Two neighbors lost a tree each but I am thankful they didn't fall on any houses.

Now, witht the windows open, a refreshing light, cool breeze, a refreshing tv program that is so far away from any storm coverage, and Bon Iver tunes in my ears, I am feeling relaxed and a little sleepy.

I am eternally grateful for our safety.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good Night, Irene . . .

Seriously. Don't swing by, don't drop in, don't stop by. Go to sea. Stay away.

I'm getting ready to get ready for my first farmers' market day of the year and there's this hurricane out there, growing stronger, wreaking havoc, threatening to come up the coast. It won't make landfall here in Connecticut so I am thankful for that,  there could be rain and wind. We're good. We don't need that. Send the rain to Texas.

Anyway, I am wrapping up a few projects. I've got some scarves on the loom, some fingerless mitts on the needles, some display ideas in my head. I've got to buy another ink cartridge for the printer, print out more tags, tag and properly inventory more items, put new items into Square.

Yes, it's Tuesday. Such a beautiful, cool morning. I made good coffee this morning.

Guess it's time to get to work! Maybe I'll surprise myself!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Something to Love, Some Thing to Love

Good morning! One of my favorite times of the day is drinking-coffee-time-morning with the computer. It's a real time. In my world. Here is some eye candy to go along with that coffee, since I really don't eat donuts.

Carte Postale purse by Rosies Armoire

Platinum Fire Choker by Efia Fair
Broken Plate Pendant on Chain - Pink Vintage Telephone - Recycled China by The Broken Plate
Earthy Crackle Handblown Glass Pumpkin with Natural Stem by Avolie Glass

I love pumpkins, too. In fact, I just finished a pair of pumpkiny-colored fingerless mitts that need to be photographed! Today I will play pretend. Pretend it's not 85 while I take pictures.

Have a fun Thursday (or at least a low-stress one)!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's Still Summer

in the northern hemisphere, anyway.

You know this because it's August.
Because you are hot and your clothes are sticking to you.
Because you burned the back of your legs on your car seat.
Because you have to mow the lawn.
Because you really wish you could have a beer and play some tunes on the deck instead.

And I have this little summery thing up in the shop. Very cute. Very girly.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Last Post . . .

was July 6, I guess? Hm. Been kinda busy. My step-daughter's wedding. My step-son's birthday. My husband's birthday. A week up in the White Mountains. White Water rafting. And a couple of other things thrown in for good measure.

Now it is August. Yesterday the humidity felt like a blanket but I made lots of progress on knitting. My wrist aches but I'll just slap that stupid brace on and continue knitting, weaving, and playing guitar.

Here are two and a half pairs of fingerless mitts I made last week and this weekend. All with Peace Fleece yarn I got up in New Hampshire. All the colors just mesmerized me. I'm going to start the mate to the blue one today. That should finish up the green. It's a little brighter green that my monitor is showing. More toward a Kelly green but not THAT bright. I also bought a skein of  a burnt orange color that I haven't busted open yet!

These will be divided between my Etsy store and at least one other store.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy July!

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day! We had some fun on the Connecticut River - beautiful day, hot and sunny!

Here's a quick one, before I get kicked off and/or have to go make dinner. I just finished four new scarves this past rainy Sunday! I am now dressing the warp for four more and have plans for another four after that! I'm so happy to be rollin' again!

Green Lakes Handwoven Scarf
Thanks for stopping by and sorry I've been lax in posting - busy and technical difficulties! I've got busy times for the rest of the week so have a good one!

I'll be posting another scarf of the series next week! mwah!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What a Show!

  • Warm temperatures, but not hot. check!
  • Sunny weather. check!
  • Great show! check!
Gardens, Gallery & Gifts was great this year! I did really well, and ended up right next to my weaving teacher, Erica Dwyer of Hampden Hills Alpacas! It was so wonderful catching up with her. We exchanged lots of ideas and will make plans to go yarn shopping together some time! Erica raises alpacas and has some beautiful yarns for sale. She also survived the tornados that hit western Massachusetts. She, her family, and farm are ok but severe damage is just houses away. I'm so happy she's ok but those tornados are devastating.

Mish Mash - baby alpaca yarn in one of many beautiful colors by Hampden Hills Alpacas
I'm going to make fingerless gloves with that yarn. The many colors coordinate with my Cottage line. Here's a new scarf:

Cottage Feisty Skies Handwoven Scarf
We'll see if I can come up with more photos of the show.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's June, It's Time for Gardens, Gallery & Gifts!

The 2nd annual Gardens, Gallery & Gifts is upon us this weekend and I am proud to be a founding member of the group that started this art show.
And now mild panic is crawling under my skin. So much to do. On the other hand, it's like this every time I do a show or the farmers' market. I swear I could have 100 years to prepare and still not be ready. I just had another idea the other day. So today I am going to do it. I'm hoping it will be the start of a new collection for me. I can only do one for this weekend's show, though.

Cottage Feisty Skies
This is a new scarf listed on Etsy. I have a couple more (need to prep my inventory for the show) but they are not up yet. Yeah, I have lots to do . . .

We had a great weekend. We took a ride out to Greenport, NY overnight on the boat. What a great time.

Overhead: "Now THAT'S what I'm taking about!"

That was me as we walked into the new tasting room at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. Wicked good. And we brought back a growler of Havre Rouge. It's been gone for days.

Alright. Coffee is being consumed. Blog is being blogged. Ideas are fomenting. Mental checklists are having pileups in my head. Time to go. Have a great day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's a Destination!

2nd Annual
Gardens, Gallery & Gifts Event
Saturday, June 4th- Sunday June 5th, 2011 ~ Broad Brook, CT

Gardens, Gallery and Gifts is a two-day event housed in a gallery, a garden room, a historic barn and multiple outdoor tents - all showcasing the work of 20 talented Connecticut women-artists and artisans. On display there will be fine art paintings, drawings and woodcut prints, woven wares, gift baskets, handmade herbal soaps and other products, painted glassware, beautiful jewelry, hand-dyed and painted silk scarves and clothing, nature photography, pottery, handbags and so much more. This exhibit will also include a tour of a house with a modern outdoor kitchen, a wine tasting event, and a half acre of grounds with unique garden art. Local musicians, including a professional soprano based in greater Hartford, CT, are also scheduled to perform at this event.

Come hear the sounds and enjoy the sights of this wonderful show: it is the only one of its kind held in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT - a country town with a formal flair!

The show will be held on June 4th and 5th from 10 – 4 at 310 and 312 Rye Street in Broad Brook, CT 06016. Admittance is free. Please follow the signs for parking.  There will be an area for handicapped parking.

Visit us at: to learn more about each woman-artist.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Roaster Coaster Handwoven Coaster Set in Morning

Another addition to the Rasoter Coaster Coffee Mat collection. Working on more today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's May, It's Sunny, It's Spring

No, I didn't just wake up, although I do feel as if I am waking up from a fog.

My father-in-law passed away on April 11. We were up at the Soldiers Home with him for a week. Then a quiet Easter. Why does that seem like it was weeks away . . . ?

But here are a couple of new things I have posted. They are very loosely woven, airy, and comfortable!

Cast in Hemp and Quince

Cast in Hemp and Buttercup

Ahhh. I feel better now that I've blogged. More weaving and gardening today. And playing guitar!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Something I Love

I love forms of mixed media. I love clip art.

Collage sheets (I LOVE collage sheets)
Ribbons and lace
Tiny picture frames
Doo Dads
Those shiny things
That stuff that no one knows what to do with
That stuff nobody knows where it came from
However, all this stuff won't fit into the hours of the day that I'm supposed to have (gee whiz). So, I haven't played with my fun stuff in a long time. I'm not ready to give it up so I am not destashing. I still like to visit them from time to time. Plus, I think that, somehow, they feed my other projects.
Some of the jewelry I've made is on sale in my shop. Here's one piece.

Mystery Bird Necklace

Check out my Sale page for more items and free shipping!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Poor Blog

Dear Little Blog,

I'm sorry I have been neglecting you. I'm so happy to see you and know that you are there but sometimes I don't know what to say. I think about you often, though. And I'm usually not for a loss of words, but those words don't often make sense.

Maybe I'll give it a try though (*bling!* That's a light bulb going on.)

I'm happy that I sold a set of my Roaster Coaster this week. I have more to put up and another set to throw in the washer/dryer. We'll see how those come out.

This is new in the shop. I have a blue set of Cottage scarves that are ready to take off the loom. One is off, having been trimmed, embellished with a flower and washed. It's probably dry now and read to be ironed. Three more to go.

Cottage March Awakens

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Air Elements

I made a treasury on Etsy (a curated list of items in some sort of theme). I think they made it much easier nowdays to make one. I must have gotten a whiff of spring - grass, a breeze, dirt, and sunshine. It made me think of breezing off into the air. So here is my first treasury.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Roaster Coaster Handwoven Coaster Set March by coffeebreakdesigns

Roaster Coaster Handwoven Coaster Set March by coffeebreakdesigns: "Roaster Coaster Handwoven Coaster Set March Ever HopefulFrom coffeebreakdesigns Spring colors, spring flavor! It’s a set of two matching handwoven mats in fresh greens, with a bit of brilliant blue sky and buds in pinks, lavenders, and oranges. For you coffee mug. Or keys. Or a candle. Protect furniture surfaces from scratches. Add a little homey touch to your workspace.

This is for a set of two mats.

Mixed fibers including cotton, wool, linen, rayon.

May be machine washed and dried.
Measures approximately 6” x 5” (not including fringe)"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marketing Through Colors: Prefixes

Here's an interesting read on writing descriptions for products. I hope it gives my brain a little nudge.
Marketing Through Colors: Prefixes

Eye Candy

I've been seeing some amazing yarns around. Here are some of my favorites. I'm inspired.
by Yarntopia

by Adriannemae

by Storybook Fibers

by Primdollie

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy March

I hope!

The weather is slowing turning here. Very slowly. But we've had a tough winter so any day in the 40's is a pleasant surprise! Here is some color for the changing season, a couple of additions to the Cottage collection:

Cottage March Ever Hopeful scarf

Cottage January Hymn Scarf

Here is a nice fluffy mohair wrap if you're feeling cold and need to snuggle

Evening Echo scarf

And finally, 226 yards of merino/tencel yarn I finished spinning last week or so. Not sure what the plans are for this. I should just keep spinning. Lord knows I have the wool.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tip-toeing Tentatively into Spring

"Toeing" looks like it's spelled funny. I spell-checked and it's right. Isn't it weird when words look weird to you sometimes? It's a teensy bit jarring, but only in the way you take a second look when you see someone wearing stripes and plaid. Only, the word is correct and stripes and plaid is usually not. Unless you're April Cornell.

But I digress. Well, no I don't, because now I'm thinking about coordinating colors in stripes, plaids, dots, coffee cups . . . You see what happens to me???!!! ugh.

So, I am so proud of my new line of Cottage scarves. These are a transition from winter to spring, a time when spring teases you, then it snows again. So, you want to love all the pinks and greens and blues, but sometimes you have to grab the chenille and wool. A little frustrating but it makes you love the new seasons even more.

Cottage Hothouse Flower in a Pink Tuxedo

Look for more! I will be selecting yarn and winding warp for more today.