Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kitchen Ideas

Thank you all for the advice about painting!!! I haven't really discussed this with my husband yet, or made any final decisions, but here is one palette I like a lot!

The turquoise blue would be the wall color. The floors are a white ceramic tile, the cabinets are white, and the counter tops are also very light. I have a set of green chairs, as well as a red kitchenaid mixer and a red keureg out on my counter, just to give you an idea of my kitchen!

Here is the actual color scheme that I like:

What do you think? I know it's a lot of different colors, but there will be minimal red and green accents... most of the kitchen will still be white, and I think it can support all the color!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Has anyone else had fun playing with polyvore? Just found it and started playing around... came up with this set of fun florals and solids.  You basically have a blank slate and can add anything you like!
Floral by erinsue1 featuring Chanel bags


Monday, April 26, 2010

White Walls or Bold Color?

I grew up with white walls. I moved on to more white walls. Now we have barely buttercup walls, with white below the chair rail. Now that we're thinking about repainting our living room/dining room/kitchen area, this tiny voice in the back of my mind is screaming "add color"!

But ... white walls are easy! Neutral walls let you change your decor on a whim, completely change the look of the room with a few curtains or pillows rather than having to repaint. Neutral walls are safe, secure.

Color is bold... am I bold? Not always. So we have a decision ahead... bold? Or safe? I'm wondering if maybe some lighter colors would be a good compromise. Maybe a light turquoise for the otherwise white kitchen. Maybe a nice light sage green for the living room/dining room combo.

Here are some inspiring photos that got me thinking.

This is Tony Shalhoub's house... I love the pure white, clean look it has. I love the bold accent colors (that could be changed in a day for little cost!).

monk's dining room

This is really along the lines of what I was thinking I liked. There's a bit of color on those walls, but not so much that it's terribly bold or overpowering. Our kitchen cabinets are white, as well as a very light counter top and light ceramic tiles. Perhaps a splash of light color would be good for the space?

light blue kitchen walls

Here is another light splash of color that I really like. Dark wood, light walls with a bit of color.

light green bedroom walls

But then I see these dark walls, with the white accents to lighten it up, and I do love it. I wonder if maybe a bathroom or powder room would be a good place to experiment with a dark color?

dark blue bedroom walls

This is another one that I love. We wouldn't be able to do this in our living room since we have dark furniture, but the kitchen is all white... is a dark color too bold for the kitchen? Should I relegate it to the bathroom?

dark blue living room walls

I'd love to hear your opinion on wall colors! White? Light? Dark? It's such a big decision!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sewing Class

Today I took a class at the local fabric shop.  I learned how to machine quilt - below is what I did!  Eventually it will be turned into a purse, but for now it's an 18 square inch piece of quilted fabric with a binding.  I did free motion quilting for the first time, and I really really enjoyed it!  I am very glad I took the class! The fabric is from Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane collection (one of my favorites).


Friday, April 23, 2010

F-stop Quiz Winner and a Great Shop!

Dun dun dun.

The answers to the f-stop quiz are:

1. Does the image above have a high f-stop or low f-stop?

Low f-stop. You can know this image has a low f-stop because only one slice of grass is in focus. This means it has a shallow depth of field. A shallow depth of field is achieved by having a low f-stop.

2. Does the image above have a shallow depth of field or a deep depth of field?

Deep depth of field. We know this because all of the objects in the photo are in focus, yet they are all different distances away from the viewer.

3. Does the camera that took image above have a large or small aperture at the time the photo was taken?

Small aperture. This one caused some confusion! Here's the deal. The image has a huge depth of field, which we know because everything (foreground, far away tree) is in focus. A deep depth of field is achieved by setting your f-stop quite high. A high f-stop causes a small aperture!

4. Did the camera taking the above photo let in a lot of light or a small amount of light when taking the picture (ignoring other variables besides f-stop)?

Large amount of light. This was another trouble spot for most people. This image has a very shallow depth of field - the leaf is in focus but the fence is not. This means that the f-stop would be set at a low number. A low f-stop corresponds to a large aperture. The aperture's size determines how much light is let in - if the aperture is large, then more light is let in!

5. Does the image above have a low f-stop or high f-stop?

High f-stop. This was a pretty easy one - the image has a very deep depth of field, which is caused by the high f-stop.

Only one person got all the questions right, and this was RustiqueArt! Congratulations RustiqueArt, I will send you your prize shortly!

Rustique actually has a beautiful Etsy shop, see some of her lovely designs below:

rustic jesus fish

rustic jesus cross beaded


Monday, April 19, 2010

The Amazing, Talented, Popular... F-stop! (And a Prize at the End)

F-stop, Depth of Field

and other mysteries...

F-stop can be a great mystery to the beginning photographer, but once it is mastered, it can be a great step toward taking better photos. Many point-and-shoot cameras, and all DSLRs have the capacity to control the f-stop. On many cameras, this setting is referred to as the "A" or "Av" setting.

What is f-stop?

F-stop refers directly to how wide the aperture in your camera is. The aperture is a small hole in your camera that lets the light in. It looks like what you see in the very center of this photo:


In order to change how big or small the aperture is, you change the f-stop number. You can change this number in your camera's manual mode or aperture priority mode (the M or Av mode, respectively).

With me so far? Now hang in there.

F-stop and Aperture

A low f-stop number will create a large aperture.
A high f-stop number will create a small aperture.
Confusing, I know. But keep reading!

A small aperture will let in a smaller amount of light, because after all, it's a smaller hole!  A large aperture will let in a large amount of light.  Therefore, in low light settings, it is often advantageous to have a large aperture, and let in more light.  Does a large aperture correspond with a high or low f-stop???
You got it... low!
A smaller f-stop number (the number you can control) will cause your aperture to be large... letting in more light.

F-stop and Depth of Field

Light is not the only reason to control your f-stop! Your f-stop will also affect your depth of field. Your depth of field is how much of your image is in focus. Think about looking down the length of a ruler. Your depth of field will be how much of that ruler is in focus, or readable... 1 inch? 2 inches? All 12 inches?

So how do we control the depth of field, and what does this have to do with f-stop? Well, a low f-stop corresponds to a shallow depth of field. This means that only a sliver of your photo will be in focus. For instance, the foreground may be in focus but the background will be blurry. Many people like this effect for up close shots of faces and flowers.

A large, or deep depth of field can be achieved by having a high f-stop. Many cameras have a typical f-stop range from f/5.6 up into the teens and 20s with the standard kit lens. If you upgrade your lens, you will find that many quality lenses can have an f-stop as low as f/1.8 (or slightly less). This is wonderful for achieving great focus in the foreground and a beautiful blurry background (especially helpful for Etsy or ebay product photos!).

An F-stop Example: The Book

This first picture of a page in a book has a very low f-stop, f/1.8. That means that it's letting in a good amount of light, and the depth of field is very shallow. Notice how only a few lines of text are readable.

Now, don't allow yourself to think that the items closest to you have to be in focus... the depth of field does not have anything to do with how far away your subject is. It only determines the amount of your subject that will be in focus. I could have easily shown the top few lines of text in focus rather than the bottom few.

Now this photo was taken with a slightly higher f-stop, f/5.00. Notice how more lines of text are readable.

Now this last photo was taken with an f-stop of f/8.00. Because it was dark outside, I was not able to take a picture with a higher f-stop than f/8.00. Remember, the higher your f-stop goes, the less light the camera lets in. This means that your surroundings need to be brighter if you plan to be holding the camera by hand (less light = slower shutter speed = camera shake... to be continued later).

Make sense? Good! Now let's test you.

I have five questions below, and if you so choose, post your answers in the comments section. I will post the answers later this week!  (You may want to read to the end... hint hint.)

1. Does the image above have a high f-stop or low f-stop?

2. Does the image above have a shallow depth of field or a deep depth of field?

3. Does the camera that took image above have a large or small aperture at the time the photo was taken?

4.  Did the camera taking the above photo let in a lot of light or a small amount of light when taking the picture (ignoring other variables besides f-stop)?

5. Does the image above have a low f-stop or high f-stop?

If you chose to participate, just answer in the comment section below! I will do my best to correct any wrong answers via email if possible so that you can learn from any mistakes. Don't be shy, give a whirl! Answers are posted here.

As an added bonus, I will randomly choose one person who has answered all the questions correctly, and they will receive a small prize (nothing huge, but something fun!). So if you don't have your email address linked to your blogger, be sure to leave it in the comment so I can contact you if you win!
*Edit: Contest is closed, but feel free to continue to comment!*

What to do if you can't control your f-stop

I also wanted to mention for those of you who do not have a camera that can control the f-stop, that you can recreate these settings with a bit of work!  First of all, I would assume that most cameras have a landscape setting.  This setting is to force your camera to have a deep depth of field, i.e. a high f-stop.  So whether you know it or not, when you put your camera in landscape mode, you're controlling the f-stop!
The opposite is also true.  Many camera's have a "macro mode" or closeup mode (often symbolized by a flower).  This mode is telling your camera to have a smaller f-stop, and therefore a shallow depth of field.
Another way to fake a low f-stop (shallow depth of field) would be to set up your subject matter 6-8 feet away from the background.  For instance... setting a coffee cup on a stool that is 8 feet from a wall will make it look like the coffee cup is in focus, but the background will have a nice blur to it.  This would be especially true in your camera's macro mode.


Friday, April 16, 2010

More Flower Pretties

I'm loving all the springtime flowers that are popping up everywhere! These flower photos were taken at my Grandma's house on Easter.

easter flowers with filter

easter flowers with filter


Thursday, April 15, 2010

A post about Community

Community: A unified body of individuals.

It’s that word that’s thrown around casually, a word we’re expected to know, understand, and jump right in with: Community. Recently, Etsy has made it well-known that its focus is to be an online community rather than just being a marketplace. Helpful tips claim that community is a key aspect to a successful online business. But community… what is it? How do we achieve community, especially online?

Many of us, me included, may have started our blog hoping to get noticed, hoping to drive some traffic to our Etsy stores, or make a living from blogging. Many of us have twitter accounts, facebook accounts, and the like, to get noticed and get sales. Period. But is this really good motivation? Does it really work that way?

Today, it hit me that I am a part of a community, intentional or not.

As I chat back and forth with a girl who happens to live near me, and who happened to come across my Etsy shop, and who happens to know some of the same people I know, and yet we’ve never met in person, I realize that she is part of my community. I’ve formed a relationship of sorts with her.

As I send a quick note to my Etsy friend asking for advice with the pricing of an item, or to discuss where we love to shop for clothes, even though she lives 1000 miles from me, I realize that she is part of my community. She is a close friend.

After buying some fabric from a seller, and exchanging a few messages back and forth, she is kind enough to show the item I made from the fabric on her blog. We are instantly part of a community. I feel like I could call her up, meet at a coffee shop, and talk for hours.

There are so many other stories of people finding each other and becoming part of the community. It’s true, Etsy sellers and buyers, bloggers, twitterers, we’re all part of a community. And this community, it’s for more than shop success. It’s for more than getting a sale, or getting another follower on your blog.

So how did I become a part of the community?

I started by finding blogs I loved to read. Trust me, one will lead to another :)

I began following these blogs sincerely, leaving comments when I liked the post. Blogging is an instant way to get to know someone, their likes and dislikes, their style. Read, comment, get to know others. Click links, explore a bit! Email the author if you have something you think they’d like to share with their readers. As a blogger, respond to comments where warranted with a personal email to the commenter.

I began sending a more personal message to those whom I was buying from.

Instead of just adding to cart and purchasing, why not follow up with a message telling the seller how much you enjoyed browsing their shop, or showing them what you ended up doing with their product. Take a picture, send it to them or attach it to feedback. I’m almost positive that any seller would absolutely love this and it might inspire some conversation.

I joined an Etsy team.

Teams are a great way to get to know others… some teams chat more than others, so if you’re looking to get to know people, check to see that the team you are joining is active. Some teams have a forum thread to chat on. Be active there when possible. Some of my closest Etsy friends have come from the team I’m on.

I feature others.

A quick way to make friends is to show off someone else’s item on your blog. An interesting blog, facebook account, or twitter page is one that isn’t necessarily all about yourself or your shop. It’s one that shares information and ideas from others. Make sure to include links to the source, of course, but most bloggers and sellers are more than willing to allow you to share their product, tutorial, or pictures on your blog as long as the appropriate attribution is applied. You can always email the owner of the content to make sure they don’t mind!

Community. It is achievable, and it is a great thing. It does require getting outside of yourself. It does require time and effort. But the benefits of community go far and deep. There are few things better than featuring someone else’s work, and reading the comments of those who love it.

A quick final note: Online communities are wonderful, but not without flaws. Always make sure to be careful when sharing personal information online. If anything seems odd or out of place, do not hesitate to cut off communication with that person. Online communities also cannot replace the fellowship that comes with local communities, those you can meet face to face.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh. My. Pincushions.

As I was shopping for felt online today, I came across these pincushions... and oh my... they are adorable. Prepare yourself...

felt pincushion felt pincushion

felt pincushion felt pincushion

... and there are so many more adorable ones in her shop, The Daily Pincushion,
I had trouble just picking 4!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Stampin Up Thank You Card

A little over a week ago, I hosted a Stampin' Up party at my house. The party, as well as the technique class I attended a few weeks ago, served to re-spark my interest in stamping. Sometimes you just need a little inspiration to get you back in the swing of things! Last night, I got the supplies I ordered, and took the time to put together all of the stamp sets I got. I also had enough time to make these little thank-you notes to stick in with everyone else's orders, so I thought I'd show them off here, as the first card of my own design that I've made in a looooong time!

stampin up thank you mini card

The thank you stamp is from the Stampin Up Four Square set, and the flower is from the Vintage Vogue set. I used the bold brights marker set for my inks.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Free Banners or Custom Headers and Avatars

Free Banner Sets 2 and 3

Today I have a couple more free banners and avatars for anyone who would like them! These free banners would be perfect for an Etsy shop, or as a custom header on a blog or website. You are free to save these images and manipulate them however you'd like. The banners are 760px wide by 100px tall, and the avatars are 100px square.

To use these banners:

1. Click on the image you'd like to use. It will open in a new window. Right click on the image, and click "save". Choose a destination that you will remember!

2. Use (Picnik is a free site that can manipulate and edit photos) to add text to your banner or custom header. See my post on creating banners in Picnik for help doing this.

Regal Black and Blue Scroll Avatar and Banner:

pretty scroll avatar

feminine scroll custom header banner in black and blue

Eco-Friendly Tree and Leaf Avatar and Banner:

earth friendly avatar

eco friendly banner header with tree and leaves

Please, please feel free to contact me if you need help adding your text or using these banners, I would be more than willing to help however I can!

As always, I'd love to see links if you use these banners or headers! If you make your own headers and banners, feel free to link to those as well, I'd love to see your creativity :-)

Looking for more? Check out Set 1 here!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Custom Wedding Pillow With Felt Tree Applique

Custom Wedding Pillow monogram

P.S.  The winner of the giveaway was Jessica!  Her comment on her favorite thing about spring was:

"Gorgeous work I just absolutely love it!
My favorite thing about spring is that everything is fresh and new and revitalized. Its a time of rebirth and new beginnings on many levels!"

Keep your eyes open for more giveaways in the future, including one from Jessica herself!

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