Monday, March 30, 2009

vintage goodness

My next door neighbor for the last 8 years is approximately 100 years old, give or take a year~ She recently moved in with her son, and her grandson moved in with his family. So they were purging the house of some of her old vintage linens...
She had given me some in the past, and I spied a clear garbage bag full of them sitting outside by the garage only a few days before our garbage day - I immediately flew into action. I put a purple sticky note on their door so that when they got home they would see it for sure. It was raining a bit, and I took a nap. I actually had a nightmare that when I got up the bag was gone!
I know, so silly. But fabric is so special, especially soft old cotton with pretty flowers on it!
So when I got up for real, it was still there... whew.
After all of that, they did give me the bag, and I found a few cute things to keep, but most of it was... not so cute. Oh well. The things that I didn't want to use or sew with, I still felt bad about ditching the rest. So I thought I would use the old sheets that I didn't want to put on the bed as pattern pieces. Whenever I draft patterns, I use muslin rather than tissue, but at times I have used other fabric that I don't want to make things out of. So I thought, why not use the sheets?

now the sheets will have a new life, and I will think of my old friend every time I use them!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

knowledge is power

photoshop power that is.... I love learning how to do anything on this powerful tool, and I have expanded my very limited knowledge just a little more tonight. My daughter showed me how to put a lot of pictures onto one document - don't know if this has a special term or not... Anyway, I've been adding a 4th or 5th picture to my clothing listings for a long time, to show customers what other prints and colors they can get things made in, but I wanted to show more.
I already knew how to add text, so it was pretty easy to do. I may need to tweak it a bit more, because I like how it looks like a beautiful quilt, but the two dark prints in the upper left corner seem unbalanced with the rest of it. It's kind of like a mosaic on flickr; it shows you what colors you really like by having so many repeated in that palette. Apparently I love greens and pinks (no surprise there). Grass green has been fascinating me as of late- I got the cutest terry cloth summer dress in this color and I can't wait to wear it. My plan is to wear pretty things this summer whether I weigh what I want to or not. so there!
So, if you want to make one of these pretty quilt grids of your own, and you have some sort of program that will let you do it, here's my simple (hopefully) explanation:
1} save pictures of fabrics you like~
2} in photoshop, FILE -> NEW -> choose the pixel size you want - I chose 1000 x 1000 so it wouldn't be too big, press OK --this is your NEW, UNTITLED DOCUMENT
3} in photoshop, FILE -> OPEN -> choose the one you want to start with and select it
4} you'll need to change the image size of your photo most likely, I changed mine to 200 x 200 so that I could fit five pics across each row, and five pics top to bottom (( if you wanted to do bigger pictures, just make the pixel size fit into the 1000 equally, like 250 x 250 if you want to end up with 20 photos total))
5} select the rectangle marquee tool ( top left, dotted lines square shape), then use it to drag across the photo you just resized from the top left corner to the bottom right.
6} under EDIT, click COPY
7} I then click on the MOVE tool (right next to the dotted line square you just used) and put the cursor on the new untitled document you created at the beginning..... then click EDIT - PASTE and your little image should now be on the blank document. You can move it around where you want it.
8} FILE, OPEN - choose next picture, repeat above process. Continue until all pictures are on blank document.
9} Use text tool to add alphabet letters on each picture
10} SAVE AS.... name your file - I've noticed it won't upload to etsy unless I save it as a jpeg, although I know I've uploaded png's in the past. It kept saying the file size was too big until I saved it again as a jpeg.
I don't argue with it or rip my hair out wondering why, I just keep clicking stuff until it does what I want. If all else fails, I call my teenager and she fixes it :)
But seriously, this was really easy! Maybe you all already knew this, but I thought maybe it would help some technologically challenged soul like me.
ta ta!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

good advice...

I found this on melanie mauer's blog (a lovely photographer), and it credits the original author at the bottom. It's advice about aspiring to become a photographer or run a photography business, but I really love how it applies to other creative endeavors:
- Style is a voice, not a prop or an action. If you can buy it, borrow it, download it, or steal it, it is not a style. Don’t look outward for your style; look inward.

- Know your stuff. Luck is a nice thing, but a terrifying thing to rely on. It’s like money; you only have it when you don’t need it.

- Never apologize for your own sense of beauty. Nobody can tell you what you should love. Do what you do brazenly and unapologetically. You cannot build your sense of aesthetics on a concensus.

- Say no. Say it often. It may be difficult, but you owe it to yourself and your clients. Turn down jobs that don’t fit you, say no to overbooking yourself. You are no good to anyone when you’re stressed and anxious.

- Learn to say “I’m a photographer” out loud with a straight face. If you can’t say it and believe it, you can’t expect anyone else to, either.

- You cannot specialize in everything.

- You don’t have to go into business just because people tell you you should! And you don’t have to be full time and making an executive income to be successful. If you decide you want to be in business, set your limits before you begin.

- Know your style before you hang out your shingle. If you don’t, your clients will dictate your style to you. That makes you nothing more than a picture taker. Changing your style later will force you to start all over again, and that’s tough.

- Accept critique, but don’t apply it blindly. Just because someone said it does not make it so. Critiques are opinions, nothing more. Consider the advice, consider the perspective of the advice giver, consider your style and what you want to convey in your work. Implement only what makes sense to implement. That doesn’t not make you ungrateful, it makes you independent.

- Leave room for yourself to grow and evolve. It may seem like a good idea to call your business “Precious Chubby Tootsies”….but what happens when you decide you love to photograph seniors? Or boudoir?

- Remember that if your work looks like everyone else’s, there’s no reason for a client to book you instead of someone else. Unless you’re cheaper. And nobody wants to be known as “the cheaper photographer”.

- Gimmicks and merchandise will come and go, but honest photography is never outdated.

- It’s easier to focus on buying that next piece of equipment than it is to accept that you should be able to create great work with what you’ve got. Buying stuff is a convenient and expensive distraction. You need a decent camera, a decent lens, and a light meter. Until you can use those tools consistently and masterfully, don’t spend another dime. Spend money on equipment ONLY when you’ve outgrown your current equipment and you’re being limited by it. There are no magic bullets.

- Learn that people photography is about people, not about photography. Great portraits are a side effect of a strong human connection.

- Never forget why you started taking pictures in the first place. Excellent technique is a great tool, but a terrible end product. The best thing your technique can do is not call attention to itself. Never let your technique upstage your subject.

- Never compare your journey with someone else’s. It’s a marathon with no finish line. Someone else may start out faster than you, may seem to progress more quickly than you, but every runner has his own pace. Your journey is your journey, not a competition. You will never “arrive”. No one ever does.

- Embrace frustration. It pushes you to learn and grow, broadens your horizons and lights a fire under you when your work has gone cold. Nothing is more dangerous to an artist than complacence.

- Cheryl Jacobs

via Beyond Images

***what wonderful words of wisdom. I've been working hard on my photography skills for the last couple of years, and they are about to be seriously tested in some upcoming photo shoots (if you can call them that) for some of my new casual wedding dresses. My husband listens to my 'unsureness' ?? ( he used to have a darkroom in his old house), and just says, "keep taking more pictures", so I guess like anything else, I must practice.

as soon as I have time, my goal is to play around in photoshop by burning the edges of some images, and adding digi frames. I guess it won't change the actual image itself, but at least it will look prettier!