Thursday, January 31, 2013

A New Approach to Photography and a New Buzzy Bee

I mentioned a few months ago in this post that photography has never been my strength.  I have always been a point-and-shoot kind of girl.  Luckily, husband David has developed a taste for real photography and has acquired really nice equipment in the bargain.  This has come to be very helpful to me, as great photographs are imperative to selling online.

David did my photography for quite a while, but it got hard to find a time when both of us were prepared and the light was good to have a photo shoot.  Last summer he taught me enough about his fancy camera that I could venture out on my own.  I think overall I've done a good job.  I feel my etsy shop photos are better than most, but certainly not as good as some. I think there is always room for improvement. This weekend, we tried a different approach.

Instead of relying on natural light and using a bluish-grey backdrop, we decided to try using a light box with a white backdrop.  We found a reasonably priced kit at the camera shop that included the box, backdrops in four colors and a pair of lights.  Sunday we set it up and experimented.  The beauty of digital photography is that you can take hundreds of pictures and if you don't like them, you just delete them and begin again.  We had a couple rounds of trial and error, but finally came up with something that seemed to work.  At least for now. 

So, here are some pictures of one of my newest Valentine's Day creations, taken using the light box. 

I'd love to hear what you think, of both the photographs and the bee.  BEE MY VALENTINE is available in my etsy shop right now.  I think he's absolutely adorable, but of course, I'm a little bit biased. LOL!
Time to get back to work!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Monsters for Valentine's Day??

Why not?  Monsters need love too!

A couple weeks ago I was trying to come up with something different for Valentine's Day.  I enjoyed making my little green goblin for Halloween, so I thought, why not?  Let's give it a try!  Here are three little spooks, looking for love.

This purple monster is looking for love.  He carries a string of pink and red glittered hearts.  He might look scary, but he's really not.  He just wants someone to love him, quirks and all.
Green Monster might be ugly, but he has a big heart.  He is hoping you will be his Valentine.  Would a few red roses and a box of chocolates help convince you to love him? 
Pretty in Pink?  Well, maybe not, but he really wants to give you a kiss. His lips are puckered up and ready to go.  No?  Then how about a chocolate kiss?  This one is sculpted from clay and wrapped in foil.  Fooled you, didn't I?  
Each of these quirky little monsters is available in my etsy shop right now.  How about giving your Valentine something unique this year?  These little critters are sure to bring a smile!
Happy Monday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favorite--Silverado Jewelry

Where did the week go??  I can't believe it is Friday again already, and I haven't been here all week!  OOPS!!  I will try to be better next week....

Since it is Friday, that means it is time for another Friday Favorite.  Today we'll have a look at Silverado Jewelry

I actually discovered Silverado Jewelry at a craft show last fall.  Stephanie had a lovely display of all kinds of jewelry she could personalize on the spot.  I had my eye on a necklace, but didn't get back to her booth that weekend.  Luckily, I had picked up her card and discovered she also had an etsy shop.  So right before Christmas I purchased myself a little gift, this necklace:

Mother's Necklace 3 Birthstones: Mother's Necklace with Three Swarovski Crystal Birthstones Drop Style
OK.  I know I am not a mother, but I love this necklace.  I ordered it with my husband's birthstone (December), my birthstone (November), and I chose April's for the third stone, because it is a 'diamond', and diamonds are forever. David and I are forever.  I was so pleased when it arrived, and I must say, every time I wear it I get compliments. 
Here are a few other examples of personalized jewelry available from Silverado Jewelry:
Birthstone Ring: Handmade Sterling Silver Birthstone Ring made with Swarovski Crystals
Personalized Necklace: Hand Stamped Single Regtangle Tag Necklace with Swarovski Crystal Birthstone
Virtues Necklace: Choose from Antique Copper, Antique Silver or Antique Brass
Pet ID Tag: Hand Stamped Personalized Pet ID Tag with Name, Phone, Address
Personalized Necklace: Hand Stamped Personalized Sterling Silver 2 Disc Necklace for Two Names with Charm
Stephanie has a wide selection of items to personalize.  They would make great gifts for Valentine's Day.  Mother's Day will also be here before you know it.  Go have a look around her shop.  I'm sure you'll find something you like.
Have a great weekend and try to stay warm!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Favorite--The Photography of David W. Ammerman

Gorgeous, isn't it?
Today I am doing something a little bit different for my Friday Favorites feature.  It's the dead of winter.  Everything is brown and ugly.  I thought we could all use a bit of color in our lives today.  So instead of taking you to another etsy shop, I want to show you some of the beautiful photographs my husband, David, has taken. 
A few years ago, David bought himself a really nice camera, and he has jumped into photography with both feet.  He has taken a couple of classes, bought a few books on using his new equipment, done lots of research online, and spent hours taking lots and lots of pictures.  So far this is just a hobby.  Maybe someday it will become more than that.  He hasn't sold any of his work yet, but I think he could.  He has a very good eye, and he gets better every day.  I'm proud of his journey into artistic endeavors!  So, here are a few of my favorite flowers.

The columbine in the first picture is from our own garden last spring.  The rest of these pictures were taken, with permission, in a private garden in Valley, Nebraska.  This is just a tiny sampling of what he took that day. 
I hope you have enjoyed looking at a few of David's flowers.  I will, from time to time, post more of his lovely work. 
We would love to hear what you think!  Please post your comments below!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cupid, in All Sizes

As I've mentioned before, I used to make miniature figurines.  Lots and lots of miniature figurines.  I had a very successful run with them for many, many years.  I sort of hit a wall with it when the craft show market went sour, the shops I was selling my things in closed, and I was going through a difficult personal matter all at the same time.  I took a much needed break.  When I came back to my love of clay, I reinvented my work into the larger, more whimsical one-of-a-kind pieces I do now.  I still have some of these charming little mini pieces available though, so I thought I would show you a couple today.

Clay Cupid with Valentine Heart
Clay Valentine Cupid with Bow
I have always liked these two adorable Cupids, in all their nakedness. These little darlings are only about 2-1/4" high.  I think they are very sweet.  Both are available in my etsy shop right now, for a very good price of $12.00 each! 
Here is my new version of Cupid:

Polymer Clay Valentine Cupid
This one-of-a-kind Cupid stands about 5-3/4" high and his white feather wings span about 5-1/2".  He is dressed in a crinkled fabric toga and carries a handmade bow and arrow. A Valentine heart sits at his feet.  I love the expression on his face!  I have this adorable fella listed on my Pfatt Marketplace page and in my etsy shop
I love polymer clay for its diversity.  Look how different these cupids are, and they were made by the same artist!  I still have a soft spot for my miniature pieces, because they have been good to me over the years and have brought me to where I am today.  But I am really enjoying the new stuff.  I like the size and scale of the pieces, and I like that each one truly is a one-of-a-kind piece of art. 
Tell me what you think!  I love to hear from you!
Have a great day!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Favorite--Gretchen Hancock

I'm pleased to announce my first Friday Favorite of 2013, the wonderful original oil paintings of Gretchen Hancock.

Gretchen creates "landscape and still life paintings in a contemporary style with bold brushwork and vibrant colors".  She takes the simplest of items--a piece of fruit, a single flower, a glass jar--and elevates them into fine art.  Her ability to capture light and reflection with bold strokes of color is quite impressive.  I'm so happy to have found her shop on etsy.  I love her work, and I hope you will, too.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Cup Saucer and Cherries in Top Light
Pink Rose in a Glass Jar on Gray Background
Nancy's Shed with Lavatera
Silver Bowl and Orange Slices with a touch of lavender
Apple-Like Red Pepper
Two Purple Siberian Iris in a Glass Bottle
All of these paintings are small--6x6 inches.  I love paintings that size because you can always find a little spot to tuck one--on a skinny wall, on a shelf or table top.  There are several of Gretchen's paintings that I would really like to add to my collection.  Perhaps someday one will find it's way to my home!
Do you have a favorite?  I would love to hear which one it is.  Or maybe you found another one in her shop you like better.  Please share your thoughts and comments below! I enjoy hearing from you!
Please take the time to go visit Gretchen Hancock on etsy.  You will be glad you did!
Happy Friday!

PS--I couldn't resist the temptation.....Two Purple Iris is heading my way!  YAY!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I'm sorry it's been so long!  I can't believe it's January 10th already, and I haven't even wished you all a Happy New Year yet!  So, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I took a bit of a break from blogging, facebook, and my etsy shop over the holidays.  We spent 10 days out in Western Nebraska with my family over Christmas, and it was wonderful.  Tiring, but wonderful! (I have a BIG family!)  Since I've been home I've been a bit under the weather, and have also been tending to all the un-fun stuff that comes with Christmas.....the un-decorating.  LOVE to put it up.  HATE to take it down.  I mean, I was ready for it to come down, I just don't enjoy that.  Does anyone, really??  Now I'm in the process of ANOTHER studio reorganization.  I'll tell you more about that later.  First, let's look at something cute!

Valentine's Day is just around the corner! I know some people claim that this is just a made-up holiday.  That it is all just a big conspiracy by Hallmark, florists and the chocolate companies to grab a bit of your hard-earned money.  But some people find it very romantic, and they celebrate it willingly.  Not with just cards and candy, but with special little gifts.  Tokens of their love. I think those of you who enjoy this fun little holiday mid-February will appreciate this:

The Key to My Heart
This pair of adorable love bunnies are ready for their romantic date on Valentine's Day.  Each is dressed in a fluffy, pink crepe paper collar.  Her big red clay heart is accented with a tiny pewter metal lock.  He holds the key that fits.  They make a perfect pair!  They can be displayed separately, or with their arms linked as shown.
This cute couple will be available this afternoon here, on my Pfatt Marketplace page, along with a darling cupid and a very dapper snowman.  Go check it out!  And be sure you take a look around at the other wonderful artists featured on Pfatt. 
Have a LOVELY day!