Friday, 29 June 2012

Discover latest Beads on Etsy

Hi All

I have posted some more beads for sale on Etsy. My goodness it takes a fair time to post something on there - getting the photos right, editing the photos, adding a description, adding tags... then when you have done all that and your item is listed, you have to think about marketing!

2 more sets of beads are now listed. The first are my Polymer Clay Disc Beads - discover them (pun intended) here:

The next set is my Renaissance bead set  - these also glow in the dark! You can have a look at those here: 

Please take a look and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Piercing Pin

Is this a familiar site to you? It certainly is to me. I have repeatedly been absent mindedly shaking my tube of piercing pins, only to have the cap fall off and my pins go everywhere. 

It's not a fun task picking them up, especially when I would rather be doing some clay. There is also the chance of getting spiked by one or two when trying to clean up. 

I chanced upon this tool at the local Wilko's (a fabulous shop selling all kinds of home related thingies).  

For around £1.65 It was definitely worth a try to see if it helped to pick up those pins.

Taa Daa. This should stop me stepping on a pin I missed later on. It couldn't pick up the larger Fimo piercing pins (about 1.6mm) as they were too heavy for the magnet. Those larger pins are so much easier to see when you have dropped them than the thinner (around 0.7mm) pins.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Bumblebee Beads

Almost 1 year after he was finally finished, I have made some lovely beadies with Bumbles the cane. Actually, I should say finished the beads, they were made a few weeks ago. You will have seen a preview of these beads in my Wander through Colour in Photopgraphs post. 

I started making Bumbles the cane back in May last year but with the madness that comes with moving house, he went back in the (really useful) box until I had time to finish him in July 2011. I lost a fair bit of the cane on reduction. The bits of Bumbles that were made 2 months before the rest of him were much firmer and the newer, softer bumble bits reduced much quicker meaning a fair bit of distortion.

I did manage to make some funky beads out of the scrap cane though

Now I have brought Bumbles out again, mixed him with some flowers and made him into these lovely sunshine beads.

These are now for sale in my Etsy shop

I also made this necklace using some similar bumblebee beads, they are going up for sale at a craft fair I am doing at the weekend. If you would like to buy them, see me at the Made in the National Forest tent at South Derbyshire's Festival of Leisure

Chat soon :)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A Wander through Colour in Photographs

My photographs often don't turn out the way I anticipate. I know it and I'm sure you know it. Sometimes I have success, see here:  
but much of the time I am left scratching my bonce, wondering what I forgot to do or change in my camera's multitude of settings in order to get the photo I want.

I have read my camera manual, guides and purchased tutorials. I understand why my camera does certain things - shows blue/grey backgrounds when I am using a lot of white - and I try to compensate for this. 

I used daylight bulbs here and a white background!
It's preferable to photograph jewellery on a white background, but when you do that the camera sees all the white and assumes the picture is being over exposed and thus makes the image darker. I use the explosure - ha ha ha I mean exposure but that is too funny not to share with you :) I use the "exposure" plus setting to lighten the photo and that helps but when the photograph is around 50% white, I still have some problems in that the background sometimes turns out a light blue-grey (and I'm using daylight bulbs!). I know you can "fix" photos in photo editing programs, but I find this changes the colour of the jewellery/bead and I want to try and avoid this.

I have noticed that the colours in the jewellery seem to affect the resulting photo and decided to do a little experiment with colour. I used these bumblebee beads which I am hoping soon to put on Etsy (decent photography allowing). There is a lot of yellow in the beads so they are a good choice for this experiment. I took all the photos on the same camera settings, in a light tent, with a homemade diffuser made from kitchen foil as you see below. I only had to adjust the angle of the camera slightly in some photos as the beads wouldn't stay where I wanted them to.

I cropped all photos, as I have done with the one above and that is shown below. 

Below are the other photos that I took with the beads set on different coloured card. 

The exposure +1 setting makes the beads on a dark background look far too bright.

With a little white on the black background, this photo doesn't look overexposed, but the beads don't stand out as the background is too "busy".
On an off white background. The beads look a little dull here.

A neutral background makes the beads appear natural. 

The camera sees blue? I'll show you blue - a light blue background here and I think the beads look washed out and dull.
A translucent pink background. I would say this have given the most accurate colour rendition of my yellow beads, although I might think differently when I see this on another screen.
Well, if there is one solution then please someone tell me! The conclusions I draw from this are that you have to adjust the lighting and background colours in your photo until you find what works best with the piece you are trying to photograph.

Please let me know what you think about the colours and the best pics etc. If you have any tips you would like to share please drop me a comment.


Monday, 11 June 2012

Bundles of Border Canes

Having run out of border canes recently, this weekend I made up a good batch of them. I was also itching to have a go at BJ's border cane tutorial. You might have seen that already, but if you haven't check it out here:

I made these canes based on elements from BJ's tutorial. 

I did find though that I was losing a lot of clay as the pattern hadn't extruded that well at the ends - I was using a different extruder and a different brand of clay to those that BJ recommended so that may have made all the difference. I reduced the rest of the canes by hand. These were my next batch.

My favourite, the zipper cane.

In the last bunch, the clay was getting quite soft, particularly on that top cane

Expect mucho beadies to follow!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Jubilee Beacon Lighting in the Shire

I felt like a tiny hobbit this weekend when I witnessed one of thousands of beacon's being lit to celebrate HM the Queen's diamond jubilee. 4000+ beacons were lit in sequence across the UK, Dependencies, Overseas UK Territories and Commonwealth countries on Monday 4th June as part of the 4 day jubilee celebrations. 

I was lucky to be celebrating the jubilee with family who live in Nottinghamshire, near to one of the beacons.Here's the beacon at dusk, before lighting. 

Here's the beacon a little later. I have copied the photo and lightened it (below) to give you a better idea of how the beacon looked. 

You can read more about the beacons here:  
Traditionally beacons were used as a means of communication (you probably remember them in the Lord of the Rings film: Return of the King) but have more recently become a way to celebrate events. It is a great way to feel like you are really part of something. 

The beacon was lit around 10.26pm with shouts of "to the Shire"  - well not quite! More like people singing God Save the Queen and Land of Hope and Glory.

After the lighting, there were fireworks and the moon made another appearance as the beacon was still burning. 

It was a great evening :)

Friday, 1 June 2012

Zippers, Snakes, Mustard

Fresh from my photography success
I managed another 3 sessions of successful photography and have now put these lovelies on Etsy

Yummy millefiori zipper beadies. I put them on a grey granite background to create an earthy meets modern look.

Snakeskin effect pendant with textured beads. I like to call this one Snakey Wakey. Can you remember what from?

Colonel Mustard did it in the bedroom with a set of fetching millefiori beads and earrings.

I've a slight craving for vegan hot dogs now....