Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Up & Running

I did it.  I have my new website up and running.  Now, I just need people to go to it and click on it a LOT so we'll move up in the search world.  I can't afford (right now) to pay to advertise.....hopefully down the road.  I have been concentrating on this website for quite awhile and it has used a LOT of my brain power.  But for now, it's done - with some tweaks to come.  Both myself and the friend who is selling her stuff on it, are going to be adding items so it'll be a constant upgrade kind of thing.  I sure hope we can make sales on this thing...
The website is www.cottage-artists.com and we sell my photo greeting cards, along with Mitzi's horse hair jewelry - yep, she makes bracelets, earrings, and zipper pulls from hair from your horse.  They are beautiful - I own one - I was one of the lucky ones that got one when she was first starting up and needed to try them out.  She is also going to sell memorial plaques.  She doesn't have a sample one up yet, but I am hoping she'll have one done soon.
I am so happy that this is done.  I need to get weaving so I can sell some of my scarves and shawls here.  Yes, it's an eclectic array of stuff being sold on the website but, the hope is that we'll drive more people to it this way!  I'm also going to start whipping out my small quilts that I love to make from 5" squares of fabric that I buy and put together into either baby quilts (one pack of squares) or lap quilts.  They are my favorite thing to make - they aren't too time consuming, and they are colorful and they are great to have just sitting on a chair or the back of a couch for those evenings when you just want something to cover you up enough to take the chill off.  My daughter uses her baby quilts all the time - the small one goes in the car and gets used for covering a seat or covering the baby.  The larger ones get used in bed, on the floor, and in the family room.

I am also learning more about my camera and photography so I can improve the shots I take.  I have a lot more to learn and there never seems to be enough time in a day anymore!

I also made a new light box.  My other one, here , was big, and bulky.  I had a hard time handling it, and it really wasn't all that great....and it took up a lot of room.  I decided to try to simplify (which by the way, I'm trying to do in all aspects of my life this year) and I went to Wal Mart to buy a foam core display board, 2 new bendable neck lamps, and the Reveal daylight type bulbs.  This is SO much easier to deal with!

Here is the setup - the light board with the 2 lamps, with the curtains closed for better photo purposes - I usually have them open for more natural light.  I'm also thinking of turning the whole setup around so it's facing the windows for more natural light. 

Light Box Setup
You may notice I have paper draped.  I went to Ikea and bought the paper on the rolls for the kids crafts.  It's SO much less expensive there than anywhere else.

Below, I used fabric to drape over the box to see the effect it would have. The wider the paper or fabric you have, the better as you don't have to squeeze the photo to get no edges showing.

Light box setup with muslin fabric
This worked really well and I'm going to be using darker fabric to try too.

Here is a photo that I took with the new setup.
I think it came out ok without any tweaking.  Tweaking is something I'm playing with more tho.  I noticed that Photoshop Elements is on sale at Staples for $59.  I think that's a good deal, and I may just go and get it - not that I need to spend any more time on the computer but, I do need a good photo editing program if I'm going to keep doing this for a living (well, that's all relative - I sure can't live off nothing and that's all I'm making at this point).  I do think that maybe the new lamps I bought might not be strong enough.  But we'll see.  I'm also learning to play with different photo elements of my camera - the settings make a HUGE difference, as well as giving my camera time to focus - I took 2 of the same shot and one came out really dark, the other came out well, with the same lighting and settings. 

Anyway, enough blabbering about all this.  I need to get up and get busy and get moving!  I hope you go visit my website and buy some cards.  If you go to the store, you would easily spend $3.00 per card (usually more) and with my cards, you can write whatever you want inside!

I'm open to comments and suggestions!
Take care

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Out of action

I've been out of action here.  I can't really explain why - I just have not had anything blog worthy to write about.  I love LOVE reading other peoples blogs.  I really enjoy seeing their inspiration, or just hearing about their days.  I just feel that I have nothing noteworthy to write...so I go missing for awhile.

What have I been up to?  I have been working on building a website.  I'm planning on selling my photo greeting cards.  I love taking photos and seeing how well they come out. I just use a Kodak digital point and shoot camera - nothing fancy - 10x zoom.  At some point, I'd really love to get a camera with a better zoom.  Why Kodak you ask?  I'm loyal - I grew up in Rochester NY, and I sometimes wish I still lived there.  I was the only one in my family that was born and raised there.  My two older brothers were born in Maine.  They are 8 & 10 years older than me.  My father was hired to work at Kodak and the family moved from Maine, where they were all born, to Rochester.  Then I came along.  So I'm really the only one with any roots there....although, my parents are buried there.  Anyway, Kodak is what I grew up on. Sadly, it's going broke, and has moved a lot of it's work to China, and all those huge buildings in Rochester are no longer housing Kodak employees.  Very sad indeed.

I haven't done any weaving or sewing, because I've been really busy with doggy stuff - four visits to the hospital this month which is a couple of more than normal.  I also started class with Evan doing Nose Fun - searching for a treat in boxes is how we begin, then we'll move on to other stuff.  It's just for fun - we won't become bomb sniffing teams or anything.  Just something different to do with him.  He gets SO excited about it tho. 

I've also been busy with building this website.  It felt so right when I started and still does, I'm just afraid after all the work I've put into it, that it will not show up on a search engine when I'm done.  We can always pay to have it show up in Google of course.....we'll see if we need to do that to jump-start our business.

Why do I say "we" and "our?"  Because, I have a friend going in on it with me. I was hoping to get more friends - one isn't able to make the bags she wants to make, and sell them at a profit.  I was also hoping that another would join us, but she doesn't have the resources to make her product in bulk right now.

But it's ok - we'll be fine, and I'm going to continue to build this website (praying at some point I'll be finished and be able to actually Publish the darn thing).

I do need to get back to my weaving and sewing - I do miss doing it.  I've just been so darned tired every day after everything else I've done.  Spending 7 or 8 hours on the computer is exhausting when you're not used to it, and it's also brain drain when you're learning something without anyone telling you all the little secrets of getting something done.  Not to mention, I had to copy all of the photos I'm going to use on the cards, resize them, and also put a copyright sign on them.  I also wanted to make sure all the photos printed out well on the card stock, so I had to do a test print of them all, copying the photos into my Kodak print program.  It's the only program on my computer that would allow me to print the cards in the size I need them, and I have to flip them to get them to print out on the cards the right way.  It's all time consuming.  But, I've learned a bunch and I know when I learn it that way, I tend not to forget it. 

So there it is, I've been MIA for no real good reason, and no one really missed me.  I have no photos to post, and I love looking at photos others post, so I always feel like a bad blogger when I don't have anything interesting to post about - hence, the MIA.  But I'm here.  Been fighting off a sinus thing this week, but I'm better today (so far - it's early yet).  I babysat once this week and will go up again tomorrow.  Baby girl is sick too - and her mommy is very worried about her.  It's exhausting for me to babysit but I also love it.  I wish it weren't exhausting but that's my own fault for being in such crappy physical condition.  At some point, I hope to do something about that too!  I need inspiration........and energy to get more active. 

Off I go to start a day that I didn't know I was going to spend alone....now, to figure out if I want to stay home, or leave for a bit.  It's yucky weather out so not sure what I really want to do.  I do need to do some weaving, some sewing, and some more web building so maybe staying home isn't a bad thing, especially since I'll be out tomorrow.............

Have yourself a super duper wonderful day.