7/09/2020

Oldies but Goodies - Never shown

Since we started the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge years ago, we have had over 200 of them, so some pieces are bound to turn up more than once.
This week, however, the task was to enter pieces that have never been in one of the challenges before.

Do you collect your photos? I am old, so of course I still have photo prints from my childhood, from when I was a teenager and of course the years after that (that reminds me there's another nostalgia post due soon). Unfortunately I have never been as organized as some people who keep neat photo albums. I have a lot of pictures in those cardboard containers that you also used for magazines, do people even still use those?
Every, now and then I go through them and think, oh, I remember this, or more often, oh dear, I know why I don't like photos of myself.
For this challenge I went through some old folders on my computer and the feeling was (almost) the same. I can't say if the others felt the same way, but here's my selection for you now.



1 My Bijou Life
2 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 5 Cat's Wire
4 and 7 RioRita

7/06/2020

Zibbet finds of the week - Feathers

Every year when summer vacation is approaching there are children on my train holding long peacock feathers. They are on the way home from a field trip one of whose stations is the Wilhelma, the only Botanical/Zoological Garden in Germany, situated in a part of Stuttgart (I used to live in that part for a while and have taken the train from there probably 1000s of times).
The peacock feathers are sold there when they fall out, they are of course not plucked out. "Feathers of angels, but the voice of the devil – this is the common denominator to which a well-known ornithologist brought the peacock at the beginning of the last century.", it says on the Wilhelma's website. That's very true, peacocks can be incredibly loud, but their feathers are gorgeous.
Summer vacation starts end of July in my area and there will be no field trips this year thanks to Corona, I assume. Even so I wouldn't see the children with their feathers because I'm still in home office myself.

Instead I took one of my own "field trips" to Zibbet and came back with a bunch of feathers for you to look at.

Black and purple gothic fairy wings by Bella Boutique Invitations and Stationery

Winter Beauty digital collage greeting card by Cards by Colette

Peacock feather earrings by Dancing Rainbows

Antique cabinet photo Victorian girls with feather hat at Sandy Creek Collectables

Feathered greeting art card by AJ's Designs

Blue/green feather print skirt by The Hughes Girls

7/02/2020

Oldies but Goodies - Dotty

This week the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is all about dots - and now I have to get this earworm out of my head ...



Why are polka dots even called that? I found a post at The Old Timey that explains it and why dots were not always considered a fun pattern (think pox etc.). Here in Germany we usually just call them "dot pattern", by the way.
Polka dots are "a pattern consisting of an array of large filled circles of the same size", says Wikipedia.

So in my selection today I don't have Polka dots for you, but simply "dots" of a different kind - pearls, crystals, stone, and more!



1 and 4 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 7 The Crafty Chimp
3 and 6 RioRita
5 and 9 Cat's Wire
8 My Bijou Life

6/30/2020

Light tents and cat hair and shadows and bright lamps ...

(... please sing to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music").
Only these are not necessarily my favorite things. The May/June blog carnival at the Jewelry Artisans Community has the topic "Photography". What is your photo setup, what backgrounds do you like, how do you edit your pictures, what camera do you use?

When I started out taking digital pictures - that was before I had an online shop - I had an HP camera. I don't remember the model, but I bought it used from another university employee. We met in the dark of the morning like agents on a bridge and exchanged the goods. Even digital compact cameras were still very expensive back then, even used ones.
Eventually my camera started turning all pictures a lovely purple where there was no purple. I'll never forget how a jewelry forum member told me I was trying to milk a dead dinosaur. I still had hopes that with my finding out the secrets of white balance and exposure I would find the magic cure and that it was my fault, but alas, that wasn't the problem. I had to say goodbye.
I got my Canon PowerShot SX100IS almost exactly 11 years ago and - knock on wood - I'm still quite happy with it. Of course it has one or the other problem, but those are usually things that I can deal with in photo editing.
I use an online editor called PicMonkey. I used to edit with Picnik, but they left me (and everyone else meaning they closed down to move on to other stuff). PicMonkey had a lot of features that were similar to Picnik, so I didn't have to learn everything all over again. I am completely clueless about for example Photoshop or Gimp or what else is out there, so I hope the Monkey will stay with me.

Now let's get to my photo setup which is almost as old as my camera and consists of a light tent, two daylight lamps, white cardboard, a smaller black acrylic glass stand and a bigger black acrylic glass disk (actually I have a smaller light tent as well which is staring down at me from top of the cabinet next to me, but I can't remember why I ever got it, so I'll pretend it's not there, shhh).
That should already tell you something about my favorite background. I like a black background although I took my first pictures on a white one (so my HP camera could turn that purple as well). The stand is already my second one. I used a lot of props when I had the first one, deco rocks and glasses and bowls, and I wasn't very careful with it, so it got scratches which I then had to edit out. Very annoying.
I wasn't that much better with the second one, also it was too small for some of my big necklaces, so it now serves the purpose of holding the black disk which doesn't completely fit into my tent as you can see.



Yes, my light tent IS sagging. I tend to store stuff on it like my fake grass that I use for critter pictures. In fact I cleared some stuff off to take this picture.
Maybe you are now surprised about those shadows and wonder how I deal with them when taking photos.


This is what I see when I sit in front of my light tent.
You can see the light coming through the fabric on the left and you see something darker in the middle and something on the right.
I said part of my setup is white cardboard. The tent came with some different fabric backgrounds, but we didn't get along. I also never got used to the fabric you could attach to the front. It had just a small space in the center for you to put your camera through. As you can see, I tried it out, that's why there's velcro along the opening which is only good for catching cat hair now.
Instead I put a bigger piece of cardboard inside which covers the back and the top of the tent and thus makes for a nicer reflection in the acrylic glass. I also have a smaller one on the right because the combination of reflection and light always manages to bring my stained glass windows into the game. By moving the cardboard pieces I can make the shadows look different and always get a diffuse light area on the left, but sometimes, depending on the size of the jewelry, I still have to deal with the "light slits" on the right. That's one occasion for PicMonkey's "Clone" and "Dodge" or "Burn" ... if my beloved "Wrinkle Remover" fails, that is.
I'm doing all of this quite intuitively as I'm absolutely no pro and will never be.









I also want you to meet my trusted friend, the microfiber cloth. Acrylic glass LOVES dust and cat hair. One nanosecond of distraction, and there is both, so I always have one of these cloths around to dust before I take a picture. It usually doesn't get rid of them all because the queue of volunteers is so long that they sometimes shove each other for the chance of getting on that black disk first.
That's where PicMonkey's "Shine Reduce" comes in which I can't find in the new version, though. If that doesn't do it, it's back to the features mentioned above.



I'm sorry if I robbed you of all illusions of my professionalism here ;-) but it's working for me, and that's what it's all about, right? I think these may be the strangest pictures I ever posted in my blog!

What have the other JAC members got to offer?
I'll add the links as soon as I get them.

Jewelry Art by Dawn

6/29/2020

Zibbet finds of the week - Hair accessories

I have long hair. It's not down to the butt anymore, but it's long, and there are a few people who wonder why I as an old woman in my mid-50s (their thoughts obviously, not mine) don't get my hair cut off, even more why I just let it go grey now without getting it shaved off first ;-)

Hair accessories always gave me problems. It's not that I don't like them, but not all of them worked for me. Do you know those scrunchies that are always too small to go round your hair three times, but keep slipping down if you only do two rounds? I had a leather barrette that I loved, it was beautiful, but I just couldn't fit my hair in there at the time. And because my hair is quite straight, hair combs liked to fall out of it doing the Wilhelm scream.
That doesn't mean I'm not allowed to look and dream (and feel sad because my favorite velvet hair bow with a little netted pouch for my long hair got lost).
So here are some beautiful accessories from Zibbet sellers for you.

Hand painted yoga headband by Portraits of Elegance

Hot pink chiffon bow baby/toddler/child headband by Personal Touch Gifts

Cold porcelain floral French barrette by Rose Petals

Horse Fans woven headband and bow set by Sweet Pea Kidz Too

Halloween cat ear headband by Old Hippie Heaven

Beaded Kumihimo feather hair clip by The Witch and Mule

Steampunk hair pin with bee by The Steampunk Trunk

6/26/2020

Sun ring - Tackle that Art Elements challenge

The latest Art Elements challenge had the topic "summer solstice". Art Elements changed the format for the challenge, it's not an official blog hop anymore, but is in its own Facebook group now. So this is an inofficial post so-to-speak ;-)
Actually I hadn't intended to participate at all this month. I was so busy with my big projects, the box, the doll outfit, and the tiara that I couldn't even work on ideas. It is mere coincidence that this ring fits.

Some years ago a jewelry forum friend of mine made a pair of silver wire macrame spiral earrings and they were beautiful. I'd like to show you, but I can't find a picture of them anymore. I kept going back to the pictures to admire them.
I never learned macrame when I was a kid or teenager although it was the 70s and wall hangings or pot hangers flooded the neighborhoods. I had a little macrame owl hanging from my tote because a friend of mine made them enthusiastically and very well, too. Later I had it hanging over one of my cabinet keys, but eventually the cord broke. I'm absolutely sure that the owl is still somewhere, but I couldn't find it or I would have taken a picture it.
Anyway, when I saw the earrings, I told myself that one day I would try that myself.

Hey, it only took ten years!
Of course I have just learned one knot so far, the square knot, and made one ring with help of this tutorial by CSL Designs. I struggled a lot with getting the knots regular and I messed up about six times having single knots that were a little bigger or smaller and that wouldn't do.
I didn't give up, however, and am quite happy with this try. Joining the ends was a little difficult. That part is not as pretty as I would have liked, so I thought I'd hide them with a bead. I tried some crystals first, but then I went through my stash - yes, that's the Friday stash tackler part in this! - and found this bead with a sun on it that a friend once gave to me.
That's when I thought I could make a little something for the Art Elements challenge after all.

See, sometimes things come to you even if they haven't been planned at all or even inspired by a topic which is the reason why I only have to offer this short blog post.
Time to show my little ring :-)

6/25/2020

Oldies but Goodies - June Moon

I'm a June child which I usually blame for loving the moon so much.
June birthstones are the moonstone, the alexandrite and the pearl. I remember being very disappointed as a teenager because for me a pearl wasn't a stone. I would have preferred something sparkly and not so "old". The moonstone was okay, but not really exciting, either. I never even knew about the alexandrite then.
People grow older and learn things, and sometimes the tastes changes with the years, too. I can now appreciate the shimmer of a pearl and a moonstone. I don't know when I found out that moonstones can come in different colors, but I admit that my personal favorite is still the white one because it has such a magic look to me.

For this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge the topic was June moon which left the door wide open for different pieces as we are rather generous about the rules. No one had a June beetle to offer, though ;-)
Instead I present to you a variety of moon inspired pieces of jewelry. Are you game for a trip to the moon with us?



1 and 7 Cat's Wire
2 and 4 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 6 RioRita
5 and 8 My Bijou Life