Friday, April 22, 2011

Here's an idea ...

'Sketching' some ideas for my upcoming project with vintage elements. 

No. 1 - pin/brooch with ribbon detail and charms, reclaimed bracelet component

No. 2 - two-tone metal (gold, brass) gears and charms, vintage Chanel charm and gold-plated rope chain

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday, Issue #3: Vintage Possibilities

I'm getting ready for my next Design Partner Portfolio project, which will require me to incorporate a vintage item into my jewelry design.  I went rooting through my stash and came up with a few things ... now I just can't make up my mind!

The vintage fabric is courtesy of a few dresses that were given to me by a family friend, handsewn in the 1960s with these incredibly psychedelic patterns.  I've already started using the fabrics in other projects, experimenting with sewing and shaping techniques.  The porcelain pendant, rose brooch and copper-tone brooch (that one's bottom left) were all picked up from a local thrift store.  The striped blue-and-white glass cabochon in oxidized copper setting were previously part of a bracelet; in fact, you've already seen its part of the bracelet's "repurposement" in the Winter Enchantment project!  I have a few more pieces left over that are in need of a home.  The antiqued silver owl pendant with lucite setting - owls are always on trend, it seems - are vintage from the '70s, if I remember my mother telling me correctly.  (The pendant belonged to my grandmother.)  The gold-plated Chanel charm - an authentic! - was part of an awesome find Nick happened upon at a garage sale; the thoughtful man he is, he bought them for me and surprised me with them.  I've this one left, and I'll need to make it special.  The gold-plated piece with filigree detail was part of a necklace I had picked up at an antiques store in Sherkston Shores whilst on vacation with Nick and his family.  The gold-plated rope chain originally held the asymmetrical heart-shaped pendant that found its setting in the Desert Heart necklace, part of the Bead Soup Collection.  Maybe it'll find it's way into something here?

I already have about three or four ideas cookin', but I gotta focus and pick one.  Which ones are your favourites?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Making a Homemade 'White Box' for Product Photography

I've come a long way, baby.

That's how it happens with photography.  I've had a lot of practice with lots of sub-level cameras, where my good shots were out of luck.   My parents had given me a Canon PowerShot IS 2000 a few years ago for my birthday - it's incredible.  (All the shots on this blog thus far have been captured by this camera!)  Now that I finally have a camera that is meant to take high-quality pictures for the detail I want, I've taken full advantage of its features.  The only issue - creating an ambience for the product itself, with both lighting and setting.

These elements are more crucial - and a lot more difficult - to put together than expected.  When I first opened shop on Etsy, my jewelry was photographed against fabrics of my collection of pashmina scarves and patterned clothes.  I love those scarves, and I've got great clothes, and I turned on all the lights in the room.  I thought it was enough, really.  Some of the shots turned out to have a great atmosphere to them, but I would credit that more to luck.  Some of them, I found, got lost in the background of the crazy pattern, or the colours didn't come through right.  I didn't get it myself - with my own eye, it looked great.  Why didn't it come out the way I saw it in the camera's lens?  A good example of those shots will be from my first Design Project with Swarovski materials.  Nice idea, poor execution.  Really, I just didn't know where I was really going, or what I was really doing.

Strolling around Etsy and a few forums, it seems that the common opinion is that when all else fails, the 'white box' is the best.  It brings a true representation to the colours and it's easier to balance out tricky elements like shadow, brightness, sharpness and exposure.  It also helps if you have a really good camera, like my PowerShot.  Ten mexapixels!  It's amazing in macro!

Lemme show you my very simple setup.

The cardboard box was something that had fit an electric vegetable steamer.  The cardstock is opaque and stiff, as supposed to regular paper that may not give a true white background and flop over.  The carstock piece on the bottom isn't fixed in, and is occasionally replaced with another colour background.  (You can see examples of that in the Pantone Fall 2010 Project, where I had used a page from a French wine calendar, or the Winter Enchantment Project, using a friend's artwork to complement the presentation.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

7000 Bracelets For Hope Blog Hop!

Lori Anderson, you work much too hard!

We're up for a new blog hop for a good cause with The Global Genes Project, an advocacy group who has created the "7000 Bracelets for Hope" initiative, a children's rare disease campaign.  Bracelets are made by jewelry makers all over the world and sent to families who have children afflicted with rare diseases to show them love and support.  The only condition of the bracelet is that it's main colour must be blue - their awareness ribbon is blue denim!  :)  I had signed up a little late for this blog hop, so I looked to my stash right away for some 'true blue!'

Some really excellent options, but there was one idea that kept leaping out at me.  Here it is!

If this bracelet was going to be sent to a special family, I wanted to make sure it was going to be a treasure.  These Czech glass beads glow with the most vibrant sapphire blue, they were my favourite of the bunch.  I love the brass cap detail that adds a delicacy to such a bold colour.  The headpins (a recent Etsy purchase!) were too thin for the beads to feed through and stop at the ball end, so I turned them into little 'curly cues' for an added detail.  The chain and lobster clasp both came from a thrifted necklace.

This bracelet, along with a note of encouragement, will be sent to one of seven thousand families who have children suffering from rare diseases.  This important campaign helps raise awareness for the needs of millions of these children around the world, and I am only too happy to help boost a family's spirits.  Learn more about The Global Genes Project to see how you can contribute!

Visit Lori's blog to check out the rest of the 7000 Bracelets of Hope Blog Hop! ... there's only 112 of them in this round, don't worry!  Thanks again to Lori Anderson at Pretty Things for organizing this Blog Hop!

Costume Jewelry to SHOUT About!

The costume jewelry for SHOUT! is just about done!  We have a meet n' greet at Zehrs Grocery in Orangeville tomorrow - in costume! - and I wanted to finish as much as I could so I can give the ladies some options on accessories.  I would like to make a few more than what I have here for each character, but funds are tight nowadays and so is time - curtain's in under a month!  We're still in the process of dealing with the finer details in the costumes themselves, which will be showstopping!  A few details have changed in the accessories, as well - instead of clip-on earrings, they'll have earwires; I couldn't find silver clip-ons for the life of me, and was concerned about their hold during our dance numbers.  I won't be putting magnet clasps on the necklaces, either - again, funds are tight nowadays!  A lobster clasp will be used for the necklaces; still has that same security when dancing around.  Let's check out what we have!

The Green Girl (that's me!)  Matching lampwork glass in coin and tube beads made a great chunky bracelet, strung on stretch wire, with a pair of earrings to match! I had made a second pair with faceted acrylic beads for a costume change.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The SHOUT! Collection ... and a Discount Code!

Groovy! Fab! Cosmic! Swingin'!  Celebrate the 'mod musings' of five groovy girls in '60s London, England, growing up in a time of changing attitudes towards gender as they discover the potential in their own lives and in each others'.  Minis and go go boots, flower power and rainbows, big hair and bigger dreams, all set to a soundtrack of some of the greatest hits sung by Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey, and many more!  It'll make you tilt your head back and Shout!

Playing The Green Girl in LP Stage Production's show has been a real inspirational experience for my jewelry design.  Yummy!  Not only do I have the chance to design the accessories for the costumes in the show, I made a few pieces for everyone to enjoy!  This collection is inspired by my love of the bright colours and mod fashions in this exciting era of fashion.  Yummy!

I also present a new discount code for you all to enjoy!  In celebration of Shout! The Mod Musical, I present a 15% savings for you all to enjoy with the code 'SHOUT2011'.  Check out the advert - made by yours truly! - that will be in our show's program!

Onward to the SHOUT! Collection!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

SHOUT! The Mod Musical - Cast Picture!

Curtain's just under a month ... and we are so excited!  We had a photo shoot at the Mad Hatter Pub in Orangeville in full costume - for the first time!  Click here to visit my blog, The Pursuit, for details about the day!

I had a little fun with to give the photos a vintage '60s feel, with a little text flair.  Whaddayathink?

from left: Abi Adekoya, Samantha Russell, me!, Justine Christie, Elizabeth Glenday

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