photography is for the professionals

5:09 PM

Three hundred and seventy-seven pictures later I nearly chucked my little cybershot into the gully.  I suppose if I were to RTFM it would help me some, but in my defense it's only a few pages long.  It doesn't explain anything at all about things like ISO (what IS that?), overexposure, the macro setting, color settings (which I found by accident), or any of the other four thousand things the damn camera can do.  Nice, huh? Thank you Sony for delving so deeply with your manual.

I really like the photos that use depth of field, which in my terms means sharp in the front and blurry in the back. Kind of like the mullet of the photography world.  I still can't figure out why I'm not able to do it with every photo, no matter how many times I click to focus and re-focus. I'm also going to try to figure out why the camera refuses to focus on what's directly in front of me and instead chooses to focus on the 2nd closest thing.  It's a neat effect but frustrating as hell when you don't want the camera to do that.

Composition is also muy importante. After hours and hours of Etsy pouncing it's completely obvious why some folks remain in the undiscovered section.  Sad, but true.

Here's a tiny handful of what I was able to get today. Some of them are ok.  Most of them show flaws in the jewelry you would never ever see with the naked eye.  The first one shows a nice close up of the damn camera. I dunno how to stop that from happening either.. glass pearls = highly reflective, even in the light-box. Maybe I have light-box fail.   In any case, I'm just hoping to stand up to Etsy scrutiny.


Feedback is welcome and appreciated. :)

i felt a gnome. er....

5:16 AM

This week I've been messing around with felt in an attempt to make myself a wee gnome.  I finished his body last night but don't you know I sewed his head on backwards.  So after picking out the stitches I'm hoping the felt won't be too badly damaged.

The felt I have been using is of amazing quality. I got it from The Daily Pincushion at Etsy.   She is supremely talented in the making of felty things.  Her pin cushions are amazing.  I couldn't possibly pick only one to show you so here are a few instead :)

A vintage look

and there's more!

Pink hydrangeas

White carnations

Aren't they beautiful?

When I was shopping for felt (after having excluded what I could find or get at the local craft shop) I found these pin cushions and thought.. wow, if I use the same felt my stuff will look just as awesome! lol.  I can't say they came out just as awesome because Cathy has a talent that I am completely missing. (Every stitch is perfect, the details are just to die for.. never mind how perfectly every flower petal is cut out!) But! I fully believe my ornaments came out waaaaaaaaaaaay better than they would have if I had not had her as an inspiration.

This all leads up to my wee gnome's head being on backwards and my hope that after picking out the stitches the felt will still be sturdy enough to withstand being sewn again. I'm going to guess that it will because the quality of this felt is just that good.

I was going to post a bunch of pictures of the ornaments I made for Christmas last year but I have to admit that I couldn't possibly put them on the same page as those pin cushions. When my gnome is ready I'll post about him and include those other ornaments there. lol

Please visit The Daily Pincushion.. you will love what else you'll see.  And,  you can get some awesome felt while you're at it :)


knit one, purl two

5:08 AM

I made some stitch markers for the Minlaw (mother-in-law) because her plastic ones aren't very sturdy. I made about a dozen or so before I found a simple design that I thought she might like.

The key to these is making sure all of the wire ends are smoothed and that you use a closed ring so that the metal does not catch on the yarn.  I made these with what I happened to have on hand, though if I were going to make these all the time I would invest in several sizes of closed jump rings.

These markers are for her US size 7 needles, which are 4.5 mm, though they'd fit up to an 8mm needle.  I can't knit to save my life so I have no experience with what the size of the loop might mean while being used.


I also experimented with hand wrapping the wire on the top to be just slightly larger than the needles and I think they'd work just fine, but I didn't like that they weren't as uniform.    According to what I've seen on Etsy considering these are made with lampwork beads and Swarovski crystals, they would probably sell for $10 or $12 for the set.   The Minlaw gets these for free and I'm hoping she'll show them off in her knitting class!


it's my next bag, baby!

6:22 PM

I'm one of those people who doesn't put a lot of thought into what kind of purse I carry. Usually it's black. Usually it's medium-ish in size.  Always it has a super long strap. It's important to me to be able to swing my purse like a riata.  As long as it fits my stuff I don't care much one way or the other. Well, I've been carrying a bedamned messenger bag.  I hate it. HATE! IT!  If I didn't need it still, I would chuck it into the gully behind my house. (That is where I threaten to throw all bad things whilst I yell "into the gully!")

I think because I have been quite vociferous about this particular awful messenger bag I mentioned shopping for one on Etsy and naturally the NoOb saw this as an opportunity to escape Valentine shopping. O.o   That'll teach me to open my big mouth!

So, I spent about 2 hours bouncing around on Etsy looking for a bag. I was completely lost with the lingo after the first ten minutes.  There's clutches, slings, hobos, belt bags, convertibles, diaper bags, laptop bags, hipsters, market bags, tote bags,  kindle sleeves, wristlets, frame pouches, yadda yadda and so on.  GUH! Too many choices.  Oh my, I believe my testosterone is showing.

I thought it would be fun to share some of what I've found...some lovely, some quirky, and some just "wha?".

Borsa Bella has this bag, which I would like to eat with a spoon. I have no idea why I think of ice cream when I see it, but I do.

It's reversible and was in the running to be my next bag until I realized reversible meant there were no pockets inside.  I might could bite the bullet on that though and get several of the frame and/or zippered pouches I saw.

This next bag is from Yahee's Place.

Wow, quite a departure from the girly girl style above, but seriously.. I fell in love with this bag.  It would be mine now if it weren't $90.00.  It's totally vintage and recycled; or upcycled, or whatever we're calling it these days.  Used is what comes to mind to me, but I realize the connotation that puts forth and this bag doesn't deserve it.  I would be ultra cool with this bag!

I have been looking at this next bag, from Ika Bags,  for a very long time.

I love the fabric. I've seen other bags using this same pattern but it just isn't the same.  Feyza has a lot of really neat bags but this one is my fav and is definitely in the running.  Tres chic to have my bag come from Paris, non? :o)

I am also in love with this frame pouch from Oktak.

Admittedly it's one of many that I love there.  This is sadly not in the running as it's too small to be my bag.  But if the NoOb perchance should read this, I wouldn't mind being surprised! ;)

Bag 655 over at Coton Candy Boutique is marvelous! Look..

The colors are gorgeous. I probably like them so much because they match my furniture.  This bag is also in the running.  There are several bags actually that I like over there, but this one I feel is really the best size for me. Bag 690 is right up there as well.  These gals also offer customization. You can hop over to flickr and see their fabric or you can peruse their sales for bags other people have created. Neat!    Affordable at $39.99 too!

I be-bopped over to J Pat Purses and found these adorable little gems..

There are so many cute little zipper pouches in her store I don't think I could possibly choose just one. Or even two.  And! They're a steal at $7-$8 a piece!  I can think of a gazillion this to use these for. And, they will work well if I wind up with a pocketless bag.  

This next bag from Truly Sanctuary has the "Wha?" factor.

It's a gorilla.  On a bicycle.  Oh, and a balloon. !!! Seriously? But, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I saw it. What does that say about me? I'm afraid to know quite frankly.  Not in the running because I don't really need another tote bag. But, if I did you can bet your bippy it would be this one. Seriously.

So what have I learned about bags after all this shopping?   Melissa at Borsa Bella was kind enough to explain the hobo bag to me thus: "it has to be smaller at the waist and opened bellied :) that is what makes a purse a hobo bag...."   Also, the terms 'market', 'tote', 'grocery' really all mean 'byob to the store".   Slings cross your body and are longer in the strap so they can get across the boobage.  Wristlets hang from your wrist. That one was actually quite intuitive. ;)   I could go on, but you probably know your purse terminology.

After all that shopping I still haven't chosen a bag and I am still wanting to chuck that damn messenger bag out the door.


mid week update

10:16 AM

Schools closed early today here because OMG there were a few snow flakes falling. Seriously. Points north and east of here are being completely slammed with snow and it's day four of DC being shut down. (Someone should tell the politicians about that btw; we could all use a break from them)  It seems like my daughter is home more than in school these days.  Not that her school is doing such a great job teaching her anyway.  /sigh.

In other news, I'm having fun making some stitch markers for the Minlaw.  The possibilities with that kind of thing are endless. Will be sure to post pics of the finished product.  I have quite  a lot of  those piles of beads that would be great, whoa!  *lightbulb* I could make stitch markers from those Indochine beads!  I'm so relieved to have a good solid excuse for buying those.  :o)

The Peanut is having fun playing Spore. It's adorable when she asks permission to play a carnivore.

Time to shop! :)

This is Facular; he's an omnivore.

shout outs

mk supplies @etsy has new website!

8:16 AM

So I have fallen in love with these beads (gonna hear that a lot I'm afraid) at MKSupplies on Etsy.

They have them in a bunch of colors.. all gorgeous. I want to buy a big bowl full and just stare at them. There's something about the way they're carved.  I'm not sure what I'd do with them, but yea.. I really don't care. I just want them! 

And.. OMG guess what!?

MK has expanded into a new website!  It's simply lovely and I think you'll enjoy visiting as much as I did.  Look at these adorable charms!

They also have a blog, which you can see here.   They're having a contest which includes me getting a 5% discount  and I might could even win an extra $25 to spend in their store. (You know, their website has these beads too!)

So..please visit Patrick and Margaret and help them celebrate their new web presence!  Share the ♥ with them. They're very sweet and helpful too.  Click HERE and have your drool cup handy.

Tell your friends and when you visit tell them Jen sent ya :o)


and that's a wrap, or is it?

6:38 PM

Two days!! Two days it has taken, so far, to go through all of my supplies. I was able to conclude that I don't have enough beads.

Yes really.  (lol)

I have everything sorted into categories like, "Love these! Gonna use them!", "I might could use these", "These are so pretty I just want to look at them", "aw, these poor lil beads wanted to be good but they ain't" and "wtf was I thinking".   I would love to package them up and slap the whole lot up for sale.  I might just do that at some point.  I also have an epic fail pail that contains things that need to be taken apart and re-purposed.

I've got quite a lot of lucite flowery type things that I have enjoyed using to make the Peanut fun jewelry. I'm thinking maybe another shop just for little girls.  Fun!!

Tomorrow I have to get back to the house we left hanging when we collapsed exhausted a couple weeks back. It'll be a good time too since Peanut is going back to school and I've shaken off the strep that wasn't strep.  There's just one room left to go but it became the catchall for everything else.  Anyone feel like coming by with a shovel?

We have company coming  this weekend so we're preparing for that. The 'Noob has special food in store for us all so be sure to check out his blog for recipes and general whinging. 

This is Squee:

he's still evolving. 


let the sorting begin!

6:21 PM

As many of you know, this is my second go 'round with a blog & Etsy shop.  The previous Etsy shop was doing just fine, but sadly the mothership was going down.  We learned quite a bit from the experience and so we're moving on with a brand new start and a fresh face, as it were.  Sadly, I leave behind a tidy little sum of feedback, but it's still there for all the world to see on Etsy if anyone feels the need. So yay for that!

The blog bit was really fun and wonderful.. some of you know it as Grandia Road. I enjoyed very much featuring other Etsy sellers and will continue to do so on this blog, though it won't be the sole focus.

I'd like to infuse a bit more of myself which was missing on Grandia.  That blog is still there if anyone would care to check out what that was all about. 
So here we are.. in the midst of the Jenaissance, which is the revitalization of myself,  my life, and now my little shop too.

This week it's time to sort out the mega pile of supplies.  I'm sure that pile is not as huge as some, but it's still a daunting task.  I'm hoping to be done  by Sunday so I can actually begin to get photos taken  and some items listed. That's where the husband comes in--since I can't pry the camera out of his Kitchen Nooby hands I'll just aim him at the jewelry.  :o)

I'm also going to order some cards and maybe do a little shopping to shore up the findings department. (That's the best bit right there!)  I'm looking forward to finally being over this crappy infection which is an awful lot like strep but isn't.  (So sayeth the dr.)

Today's Fun Jen Fact:  I pronounce the word 'jewelry' as JEWL-ery.   I have to wonder if it 's a NY thing (where I was born and raised) or just a bad habit.   Upon reflection Ima choose NY thing.    If any of you are from NY and can confirm I would appreciate it.. I'm tired of my husband correcting me. lol.

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