Thursday, November 13, 2008

Charity Art Quilt Project

Some of my readers may already be aware of the fact that I am hosting a charity Art Quilt project from my post and/or signature on Craftster. For the rest of you, I would like to share this endeavor.
I am not a quilter. At all.
That being said, I have begun a project in which textile artists from all over the world are contributing a single 8x10 quilt square which will be assembled into a large quilt to raise money for the Strive For Life Foundation.
The very general theme for the quilt is "gypsy", and that can be interpreted however the artist chooses. The squares can be pieced, embroidered, appliqued, stenciled, etc. The only requirement is that it be 8x10 portrait size. Squares are "due" by the end of January 2009 so that I can begin to assemble the quilt (and then either try my hand at some quilting, or hopefully find some creative and generous soul locally who can assist).
Interest in the project has been wonderful, but I am still looking for a few more artists to participate in this project to help such a deserving cause. If YOU would be interested, please leave me a comment below, on Twitter, Etsy, or email me (address on sidebar).

Some information about the Strive For Life Foundation:

Strive For Life was founded in early 2007 by Sheila Rodgers of Solon, OH. The purpose of this foundation is to provide aid to the homeless and orphaned children of Romania. Strive For Life is a 501(c)3 registered charity and is completely volunteer-based. Nobody takes a salary, and many overhead costs are donated. I am lucky enough to be a close friend and charity partner of Ms. Rodgers, and share her dedication and passion for this cause.
We are in the process of updating our website, so the information you will find there is a bit out of date (ie: we had a major project this summer where 50 volunteers from all over Europe went to work in various youth camps and homes with the children). Once we have the new information prepared, a wonderfully generous woman I met on Craftster has offered her services to "fix" our website. Isn't that fantastic?
If you have questions about the charity, or this project, feel free to contact me in any of the manners indicated above, or email Sheila Rodgers at .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where's Waldo?

I just wanted to post my latest fun treasury on Etsy. I had so much fun making this one, and I appreciate all of the lovely comments I have received there.

women-prenuers galore: Interview with Laura Lesan from Elle Custom Jewelry

women-prenuers galore: Interview with Laura Lesan from Elle Custom Jewelry

Come visit the Women-prenuer Galore blog and learn more about Laura Lesan, a Romanian-American jewelry designer. Her pieces are super feminine and definitely fashionable.
While you are there, enter to win one of FIVE special pieces that Ms. Lesan has graciously agreed to give away.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ramblings of a middle aged crafter: Win a $25 Shopping Spree

Ramblings of a middle aged crafter: Win a $25 Shopping Spree

Visit CogansCreations blog and find out how you can win a $25 shopping spree for her etsy shop. Adorable crochet bears, pins, cases and holiday decor, along with cards and other lovely little goodies, you are sure to find many items to help you cross off your holiday shopping list. I personally love the Jailbird Bear - too cute!

Monday, November 10, 2008

So you want to be in a front page treasury?

Another day on etsy, another forum filled with threads complaining about how the same people are featured in front page treasuries on a regular basis. It seems the only thing I see more of than the same front page artists is the multitude of people who think it is their RIGHT to be there.
Front page exposure is not a right - it is a privilege granted to those who make their work look INTERESTING.
Take a look through the shops of the people who feel disenfranchised by Etsy admin. There tends to be a common theme - boring photographs.
Sometimes blurry, sometimes flat, but never the stellar shots we have grown accustomed to seeing when we visit our favorite online shopping venue for handcrafted goods.
I have a few pointers of what grabs my attention as both a buyer and a treasury curator. For the purpose of this article, I will use jewelry as an example since it is the most prolific category on Etsy.

1: I cannot stress this enough - use the macro function on your camera! Jewelry is by its very nature SMALL and detailed and regular shots just won't cut it.

2: Use a lightbox to help eliminate shadows and correct poor indoor lighting. Most of us are not fortunate enough to have a miniature photo studio in our home and we have to deal with traditional incandescent lighting. You don't even have to spend a ton of money - even the most inept handyperson can whip up one of these babies in an hour with items they likely have around the house. If you are shooting a piece that has lots of sparkle like diamonds, then you want to position your main light source in the same location as the camera in a head-on fashion.

3: backgrounds backgrounds backgrounds! Laying your goldfilled and citrine earrings on a beige table is not going to grab anybody's attention. Make them POP!
Imagine those same goldfilled and citrine earrings dangling from the lip of a pure white teacup on a bold green background. Much more appealing, no? Same earrings, but now they are interesting.

4: Pay attention to color and style combinations, not only in your pieces, but in how you display them. If you notice that turquoise and bright red is currently a popular choice for front page treasuries, then photograph your turquoise and silver necklace on a cherry red background. If tree themed items are popular and you just made a pair of gorgeous dangling leaf earrings, then put a few naked tree branches into a vase and dangle the earrings from them. Have a lovely aquamarine and Swarovski crystal choker? Drape it over a large conch shell to sell that mermaid's dream!

5: Props. I mentioned a few above, but props are very important in good jewelry photography. If your stuff is just laying on a blank surface, buyers (and treasury hunters) will not know how it hangs. Please do not wear your earrings to display them - even if they are just a sample pair, and you are selling made-to-order, it is just a huge turnoff. The viewer may be so turned off by this unhygeniec display that they will not stick around to read the details. If you can afford a bust to display your ware, then that is fabulous. Most of us cannot. Earrings are easy to dangle from items - the lip of vases, wineglasses, branches, teacups, ribbon, etc. For necklaces, you can make your own display bust or a more basic display . Wearing a ring is fine for pics (make sure you are manicured!), but have some creative fun too - maybe put the ring around a piece of pretty paper like a scroll, or in a pretty velvet ring box next to a champagne glass.

6: Play with angles. This one is hard to describe, but look around (on Etsy and around the web). The most interesting photographs are rarely head-on shots, but have dimension to them.

7: Photo editing. This is very important. Even experienced photographers fall back on Photoshop now and then to edit their pics. It is a fabulous tool for sharpening a hazy image, or removing shadow. Also, please crop out unwanted elements that accidentally wandered into the shot. Nobody wants to see the edge of your kitchen table, the tip of the cat's tail, or the side of your diet Pepsi can. If you don't have Photoshop, and cannot justify the expense for casual Etsy selling, then download one of the many free options available online. Photoscape is a great freeware program with many functions to get the job done.

I hope some of you have found these tips helpful. This certainly will not guarantee you front page Etsy exposure, but it will increase your chances (and help grab the attention of buyers!).
The rest is up to you - promote yourself everywhere and make yourself known. Visit the forums and be friendly - treasury curators are fellow Etsians and if they get to know you and like your work, they are more likely to heart your shop. Most treasury curators visit their hearted shops for at least some of their featured items.

Good luck and happy selling!