Thursday, January 21, 2016

One Little Step Towards Organised ...

Ok, confession time... organisation ... I'm just not that way inclined!

Well, that's not entirely true, I can be super dooper organised if I have to be with lists and all, but generally I'm the complete opposite.  There just is no in between at all.  I generally career from thing to thing doing what needs to be done and hoping I don't forget anything in the middle.  Is it having kids? - maybe - teenagers/pre-tees do see to require a lot of picking up, dropping off, and general running around after.  But if I'm honest, the having to be somewhere at a certain time with the right kid and equipment - and often failing the 'certain time' criteria - just makes my lack of organisation more obvious to the outside world!

So I thought I'd start small and organise one thing to make the creative side of my life a little easier.  And you wouldn't believe what a difference this has made to my headspace!

I took my shoebox chocka full of the things I need in one place for jewellery making (especially when I'm creating in a different room of the house, or even not at home at all), and my tool kit, and my wire storage bag and condensed it into an el-cheapo cantilever tool box bought from Mitre 10. 

OK, so that didn't quite work as it wasn't big enough (but I can use it for something else!).  Next try was a fishing tackle box from The Warehouse - longer, wider, deeper - perfect!  And as an extra feature you can turn the trays around and they cantilever the other way, ie away from the lid - I do love versatility!

Now I can find everything I need without emptying the entire contents, everything is in one place, and bonus - it has a handle for carrying.  My head just got a little less cluttered :-).

Do you have any organising tips that make your life easier?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Watermarking Product Photos - the software I love...

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given about product photography was to always watermark your photos - 1. it identifies the piece as yours and not for copy, and 2. it's great reinforcement of the makers brand/business name.

And so I've always done it - but to be honest, it's not been my favourite task because it's always taken so long to individually edit each photo and copy and paste a watermark to each one.

Now you do know I like to share any exciting, time-saving finds with my fellow creatives, so today, I thought I'd share my recent discovery of the rather wonderful Visual Watermark program which in a nutshell is a batch watermarking software.  I cannot tell you how much I love it!

It was low cost - US$19.99 (one off), packed with features, and super easy to use.  I'll leave you to go check out the nitty gritty of just what it can do ...

But here's a quick visual of how it works for me...

I add all the photos I want to watermark
My Watermark is saved so I don't even have to do the next few steps, I skip right to the end of saving my watermark to all the photos, but if I wanted to do a new one.  I would start here by adding my water mark logo/and or text

This is my logo which I want to reduce down, change the opacity etc.  Easily done with all the options on the right

So you can see the edited logo bottom left, now I want to add some text, change it's colour, font, size etc

Starting to take shape.  If I want I can also add a photo border as part of my watermark process

Here's where the placement of the watermark will be on all of the photos I choose to put it on.  At this point I would save the watermark so I can use it in the future and not have to do the setup process.

The last step is to batch add the watermark to all the photos I have chosen.  As you can see there are options for overwriting etc - super flexible!

Do let me know if you give it a try and find it just as great as I do :-)

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Latest Earrings and How to Create a No-Fail Earring Wire Template

Earrings how I love wearing thee!! 

I do love necklaces too - and rings and bracelets but I tend not to wear the last two often because I spend so much time using my hands creating and typing during the day it’s just not practical.  Even my wedding ring has been put aside during the day after a recent mis-adventure when a piece of wire I was working with (ironically making a wire-wrapped ring!) got caught under my wedding ring and somehow in a plier hinge and the result was a near dislocated finger - yeeouchie!!

Anyway, I digress!  With earrings – even in my klutziest moment, I really can’t damage myself :-).

I’m having a real love affair with swirly, ‘flowy’ earring wires at the moment.  Earrings you can add bead dangles too or simply wear on their own.

Because I can see me making quite a few of these with different colours and types of dangles, I’ve created some templates – wanna know my tips for getting perfect symmetry in your earring pair? 

IMG_7602 IMG_7603
  1. Using some scrap craft wire of the same gauge as your good wire, measure the length of wire and then start forming it into the shape you’ve imagined. 
  2. Cut off any excess wire and measure it.  Subtract this from your original measurement and this will tell you how much you used to make your ear wire. 
  3. Now put your formed ear wire in a photocopier and hit copy!  This gives you a true-life template to put under your good wire as you form it, ensuring you get the same design and both your left and right wires will be exactly the same too! 
  4. Don’t forget to write the length of wire you have calculated on the template so you always know how much to cut with no wastage.
E430c  E430g

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Pendants

Steadily working my way through my 'to do' list.  Such a good feeling to tick things off.  Sometimes I make lists just so I can put a line through the things I've already done - I wonder if I'm the only one who does this?!! 

Just a few recently completed pendants...

Next on the list are earrings!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What to do About Metal Jewellery Sensitivity

I often have conversations at markets with customers who have metal sensitivity issues or who are buying for someone who does.  It's an incredibly common thing and one of the biggest culprits is Nickel. 

To look at it's a rather beautiful shiny silver metal, unfortunately it contains properties that cause contact dermatitis with LOTS of people particularly when it's worn in a piercing - ears being the worst. In fact, Nickel was voted Allergen of the Year in 2008 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society!!

Interesting Facts: 1st classified as a element by Axel Fredrik Cronstedt in 1751, it's element symbol is NI and atomic number is 28, Dutch Gilders (currency) were made of Nickel until being replaced by Euros in 2002, and US 5 cent pieces still contain Nickel. Australia has the worlds largest reserves at 24,000,000 metric tonnes
I ran a quick survey on my Facebook Page to see how metal sensitivity affects my followers and only 16% were able to wear any type of metal.  Wow, that leaves an awful lot of people who have to be careful with what they wear!! Nickel is not the only culprit of course - impurities in metal alloys can also cause an allergic reaction, for example cheap brass.

I thought then, you might be interested to know which metals are considered to cause the least reaction:
  • Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, Yellow Gold 14K +, Niobium, Titanium, Silver Fill, Surgical Steel, Argentium, Copper, Jewellers Brass, high grade stainless steel.
And those that can cause reaction:
  • White Gold (contains Nickel), Nickel Silver, German Silver (does not actually contain silver!!), Cheap Looking costume jewellery where the metal is likely an alloy mix of unknown metals, some stainless steel grades.
There are a couple of things you can try if you want to wear jewellery you know you're going to react too:
  • coat the jewellery with clear nail polish - you'll have to repeat this every now and then as the polish will wear off.  Do be aware that nail polish contains chemicals you may not want to go in a piercing - eg toluene and xylene, so it may be better suited to the back of watches, pendants or clasps, depending on your feelings about chemicals.
  • earring post protectors - these are little polythylene clear sleeves that fit over your earrring post.  A nifty invention, they will increase the diameter of your earring post and may take a little getting used to but will form a barrier between the metal and you!
  • liquid bandage - now this one may seem a little odd but I know someone it works for!  She puts a little of the liquid on the front and back of her ear, and once dry, inserts her earring hook - the liquid bandage provides a barrier between the hook at the back and front from touching the surface of her ear and lets her wear her earrings for longer.  Worth a try if you have some in your first aid drawer!!

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