Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the art of taking photos

so living in pittsburgh makes it rather difficult to take photos of my pieces. the weather is frequently gray, cloudy, sometimes a bit rainy. there are definitely sunny days, but let's be honest... it isn't just a coincidence that we all have low vitamin d levels around here!
i had such a hard time with blah, flat photos of my items, with no pop or vibrancy. it is so important to have photos that let the customer feel like they are holding the item in their hand. photos that really show the fine details of the item. photos that actually reflect what the piece looks like in real life!!
so this is what i did about it!!
i had seen a few websites that had ideas about making light boxes and all that. with a 4 year old, i couldn't have a contraption like that sitting around. i then discovered a little how-to for using the sun and things around the house to create the perfect image.
first, i found a window that gets sun shining directly in.
i put a tv tray up against the window and made sure that the top of the tray was a bit higher than the window sill.
i put a piece of foil, shiny side up, down and then covered it with parchment paper. i then tacked it down so it wouldn't have too many wrinkles.
i then found a regular old copy paper box lid. i took a long sheet of aluminum foil and taped it to the outside, shiny side out. finally, i took some parchment paper and put it over the window. it helps to soften the light coming in from outside.
it was that simple!!
place your item with it's back to the parchment paper over the window. 
using the box lid, find the sun and direct the light coming in from the window onto your's good to have something to prop up the lid or hold it in place, or to have a tripod for the camera. you will need extra hands for this!
oh, and always mess around with the light settings on your camera, too. i have found that adjusting it to a +1 is good for my camera and the natural light i have.
this is the difference.....                                

what are your little tips and tricks for taking good photos??? i'm always looking for new ideas!

Monday, May 16, 2011

and the winner is.....

congrats to the winner of my first giveaway from Sarah's Soak Shoppe ~  Melissa from MissKnits! Her comment number was chosen using she will be receiving the delicious-looking prize handmade by Sarah- one Chocolate and Vanilla Handmade Bar Soap with Shea Butter and one tube of her Vanilla Lip Balm. thanks again to sarah for sponsoring this awesome giveaway!!!
stop by Melissa's blog and congratulate her!and don't forget to stop by her etsy shop too. she has such an array of adorable items. it has been so rainy here in pittsburgh- i would die for one of those neckwarmers right about now!

oh, and keep an eye out for my next giveaway...

Friday, May 13, 2011

i'm on etsy weekly!!!

hi everybody! look at this super feature of In Metal Jewelry on Etsy Weekly!
it would be SO awesome if you could stop by and show some IMJ love!
thanks :o)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

sarah's soak shoppe GIVEAWAY!!!

cotton scented bar soap
Here's an awesome GIVEAWAY that I am really excited to host and be able to share with you! Sarah crafts some of the most wonderful items that are actually good for you. Who doesn't like using stuff that's good for you??? She has an array of products including soaps, lotions, lip balms, scrubs, facial masks, and cuticle salves. Before I talk about the giveaway, let's get to know her better!

Tell us about you!
My name is Sarah, and I am a social worker by day, and a crafter at heart!  You name it, and I've made it - but I didn't find my true love until I starting soaping.  It was a wonderful moment of 'this is it! this is my dream!'  My boyfriend and I have been taking little steps over the past few years to live more simple, sustainable lives - I make all of our own cleaning products, most of our toiletries, we grow our own veggies each summer, and I try not to purchase anything I don't need or can make myself!  Our next step is building our little cabin in Alaska - not completely off the grid, but a step forward!  I definitely consider myself a modern day homesteader-in-training.

How did you come to find yourself on etsy?
lavender bar soap
I first discovered Etsy a few years ago when I was looking for a fun birthday gift for my boyfriend.  I chose to launch my online shop through Etsy because it's such a well known site and I knew it would increase traffic to my business.  I've been amazed by it's success in such a short period of time and I am so truly grateful for every single purchase.

What is it about being creative that you enjoy?
It is such a stress reliever!  Using your own two hands to create something that you or someone else will love is the most satisfying thing in the world.  I also need to feel productive all of the time, and crafting fits the bill perfectly.  I also love to bake, and soaping has so many similarities - I always say that you've made a good bath & body product if you want to eat it when you're finished!
coffee sugar scrub

Why should people buy handmade?
Basically everything we need can be handmade by someone, and it's probably going to be much better quality than something out of a factory. You'll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you're helping to support someone else's dream!  If I had my way, we'd all spend a lot more time making things we're good at and sharing them with the people around us.  We all have special skills - let's share them with each other!
Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share? 
In honor of summer coming, here's a great, easy picnic dessert:  Grab yourself a tub of Cool Whip and a box of strawberry Jello mix.  Make the jello super concentrated (think 1/4 of the recommended amount of water).  Mix it up with the Cool Whip, toss in some strawberries/blueberries/blackberries, and put it all in a shortbread or graham cracker pie crust.  Let it set up in the fridge for a few hours and you're ready to go!
whipped body butter
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?
Antarctica, hands down.  Seeing the one place on earth that has never had a native population, where the animals aren't afraid, and is just completely pristine has been a dream of mine for awhile!  I actually looked into working seasonally in Antarctica, but it turns out they don't really need social workers...  Handmade soaps, perhaps?

Here's a pic I had to add at the bottom of this little feature. It's of my son's Easter basket which you usually wouldn't think has anything to do with soap but this year it did! I ordered a felted soap from Sarah for him and it was a perfect addition! Sarah made a super cute felted soap, personalized with a big T for Tyler, in his favorite color, green! It was adorable and Tyler just loves it!!

now let's get to the GIVEAWAY! 

win a scrumptious way to pamper yourself
Sarah is offering one bar of her Chocolate and Vanilla Handmade Bar Soap with Shea Butter and one tube of her Vanilla Lip Balm. Both are handmade in small batches using only the best ingredients (ingredients that you could actually recognize, pronounce, and feel good about using!)

Here's how to enter:
**Follow In Metal Jewelry's blog and Sarah's blog! Comment here telling me that you have done so. This is mandatory.

For extra entries you can do the following, leaving a separate comment for each (upping your chances to WIN!):
+1 Favorite Sarah's Soak Shoppe on Etsy
+1 Favorite In Metal Jewelry on Etsy
+1 Post on YOUR facebook about this giveaway!
+1 Tweet about this giveaway!

the contest will end at midnight on saturday the 14th.
the winner will be chosen using
(please make sure to post your email in your comment if it is not on your profile)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Interview with a preschooler

i knew i wanted to use my blog to acknowledge mother's day in some way. i wasn't sure how at first, but this idea came to me while i was at work. i decided to interview the boy that made me a mother. my son, tyler, is 4 years old.

what's your favorite food? pancakes.

what's your favorite color? oh, green. you know that.

what's your favorite game? candyland. 2nd favorite? trouble. do you know what's the boringest game ever? chutes and ladders. 

what's your favorite thing to do at school? paint. 2nd is draw for my daddy and mommy and kenya. you know what's the boringest ever? smelling the stinky fish.

what's your favorite show? jake and the neverland pirates.

what's your favorite book? my favorite book is the dinosaur book. why? cuz it's so long. cuz there's lots of killed dinosaurs and fighting dinosaurs and punchy dinosaurs and stabby dinosaurs and prickly dinosaurs and armory dinosaurs.

what's your favorite toy? my toy trains.

if you could be an animal, which animal would you be? i would be a giraffe. why? cuz i would have a long neck and i could reach up in trees.

who is your favorite hockey player? dah, it's crosby already!

what do you want to be when you grow up? oh a police officer. why? cuz i can arrest them. arrest who? arrest people that steal things.

what do you like best about yourself? oh, hopping on one foot
about daddy? that he is big.
about mommy? cuz you get to pet kenya nice. cuz you help me.  and we help everybody else.

what is your favorite treat? just a donut. a sprinkle donut. or a blueberry donut. or a vanilla one. vanilla icing.

throughout the post are pics of tyler over the years.
where does the time go?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

lovely blog feature by Fulltime Adventure!
take a peek at this lovely little blog feature by kathy at Fulltime Adventure! she found me through the Upcyclers giveaway that i am currently sponsoring and loved the pieces so much she wanted to blog about it! thanks kathy!