Archive for the ‘brilliant’ Category

Here’s a little trick I discovered recently that has made a big difference in my work: Photograph your project at various stages to get an “objective” point of view. That’s not very clear, so let me explain a bit. One day I was embellishing a camisole, decided it was done, and took some shots so I could put it online. When I looked at the images, I realized that it seemed incomplete, so I added a few things, reshot it, and decided it was really finished this time. And it worked! The cami sold and now I photograph quite a few pieces as they’re being put together.

Here’s another example — this sweet little camisole needed some help, so I added pale green lace and some pretty yarn around the neckline. Cute! Then I photographed it:

cami before

cami before

In real life, it looked quite nice, but in the photograph, it just sort of sits there. I realized that since visitors can’t see the real thing (duh!), all they have is the image to go by. And so far, this camisole doesn’t have enough going for it to get anyone to hit the “Buy” button.

After dithering over what to do next, I decided to get rid of the attached ties (you can barely see them hanging on either side) and add a pretty ribbon instead. Here’s how it looks now:

cami afterBig difference, yes? I plan on getting rid of the bow in front and using a fabric flower instead. Then it will be really and truly done. And I’m photographing everything as I work on it, to get a better idea of how pieces look to visitors.

If anything even approaching good is going to come from this disastrous economy it might be a new awareness about reusing stuff we already have. Reusing more means consuming less, and that translates into less going into landfills — not to mention more money in your pocket. Ka-ching!

If you like that idea but aren’t sure where to begin, check out this post on Zero Waste from Squidoo.  There are dozens of ideas on everything from turning tin cans into lanterns and toys to reusing dryer lint (it’s a great way to get logs going in the fireplace — who knew?).

If you’re into gardening, the Squidoo article shows how to make seedling starter pots from empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls, similar to the ones shown above, but those are made from newspaper. Even if you only find one useable idea, it’s a start!

Some days I avoid the news like the plague, especially lately. It’s profoundly distressing to read about all the horrific things going on in the world and feel like there’s nothing you can do about most of it, other than write a letter to some politician, and we’ve seen how effective that can be (not!).

The best antidote, for me anyway, is to make something. It’s probably a control thing, I admit it. But it’s nice to feel like you’re doing something to make the world a little better, a little more beautiful. That’s especially true when using something that would otherwise be trashed.

And that’s one of the great things about the people who sell on etsy — the amazing wealth of talent and creativity devoted to reuse and repurposing. Which brings us to my latest find — JustineJustine.

When a store describes itself as “handmade colorful jewelry and upcycled bottle caps,” how can you not check it out? Here are a few of Justine’s wonderful creations:

Bottle cap earrings! They’re so cleverly designed, it takes a while to figure out exactly what they are. And here’s another pair, also from recycled material:

Broken mirror bits and wire — brilliant! Not just because she’s reusing material that would end up in a landfill, but also because they’re so stunning.

Last, but not least, here’s a sample of one of her many items made from acai berries:

Gorgeous! And this is just a little taste of Justine’s work. Where does she get her ideas? I asked her that recently, and here’s her reply:

My travels! before I settled down in Mexico I traveled a lot … I saw so many beautiful colors and different materials in each country! I wanted to capture that colorful exotic vibe and I think both bottlecaps and açai do that pretty well.

Whoever invented the incredibly clever Knit Stix Knitting Needles with built-in rulers (above) gets my vote for Genius of the Year! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been driven to the brink by not being able to find a measuring tape or ruler when it was absolutely necessary. Chalk up another win for the creative minds in the craft community!