Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Design This – First Wedding Anniversary Gift

This project came about as a result of another Etsy alchemy request. The requestor was looking for ideas related to the traditional, paper, or modern, clock, first anniversary gift ideas for her husband. She mentioned in her request that he liked pencil sketches. My bid on the request was for a custom 8 x 10 photographic art print from one of her digital photos, with the aim of making the finished design look like a charcoal or pencil sketch.

After I answered a few questions from the requester, I was awarded the bid. She sent three photos for me to see which one would work best for this treatment. (I have found that there are many variables that may not be noticeable to the naked eye that help determine what outcome you can achieve with any given photo.) I was pleased to inform my customer that the one she most wanted to work, was the best one for turning into a pencil sketch look alike.

I prepared four different starting point files with the look of a charcoal or pencil sketch and two of another style that I found interesting in order to determine my customer’s likes. She picked one of the pencil sketch style images and had a couple of specifics that she wanted adjusted. I took care of those and another that I saw and sent an updated proof. She then noticed a couple of other details that she hoped could be reworked, which I did, along with a bit more clean up. My customer approved the next proof that I sent, so I printed it and mailed it too her. She planned to have it matted and framed to present to her husband for their first anniversary.

If you are looking for a custom photographic art print, please contact me. I also have a few matted images that are currently available in a variety of sizes. Other images that may be available can be seen in my facebook photo album. Another customization that I can do for you is to add text, that you have the copyright privileges for, over an image. And if you are going for the more modern gift idea of a clock for a first anniversary gift, I have recently added some clocks to my EclecticSkeptic shop.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Terribly Beautiful Mistake

Some valuable information that a garden coach can provide to their clients is what plants will look good and thrive in a client’s garden. Equally valuable is what not to plant. Reasons for not planting include, the plant getting too large for the location, the plant is unlikely to survive in the given conditions, or the reason I’m going to discuss in this post, the plant is likely to run rampant so that it smothers out the other desirable plants.

These “Godzilla” plants usually look beautiful and tame enough in their small pots in the garden center. However, get them home and just like kudzu, they will cover or push out everything in its ever expanding area of influence.

When I first added plants to my water garden, I did some reading and knew not to plant things like full sized cattails, water hyacinth or horsetail reed. The dwarf versions of cattail and horsetail reed were supposed to be better behaved however, so I gave them a try. The dwarf cattail showed its Godzilla nature quickly and I ripped in out before it gained much headway.

The dwarf horsetail reed on the other hand, behaved for a couple of years. It stayed where I planted it and almost looked at one point like it might fade away. In a couple of years it began to spread slowly and I was still not concerned. Then, in what seemed like overnight, it covered about half of my pond, tried to clog up my filter and pump system and spread out into my surrounding garden. I do hate that it got so aggressive, because the dragonflies love to perch on it and I have many photographic art prints, note cards and bookmarks because of this. It had to go though. (I’m still working on rooting out the remnants.) After my husband spent several sessions wrestling the main part of the invasion out of the pond, we left it to dry out thoroughly before shipping it out as trash, so that it would not be able to spread if it found a favorable location.

Two other plants that looked so beautiful in their small pots that I just had to take them home and add them to my pond were floating heart and a four leaf water clover. I have to admit that I had been warned about the floating heart, but its nice leaves and pretty yellow flowers proved too tempting. “I can keep it in check, I reasoned.” Big, beautiful, mistake. We did battle it and get it removed before the horsetail and water clover got out of hand.

I really like the water clover. In the open water, its leaves lie flat on the surface and remind me of searching for terrestrial four leaf clovers as a kid. We tried pulling the water clover back to one curve in the pond. I truly thought I’d be able to keep it in check if I had it in a small enough area. Not so, its Godzilla nature was too strong and I am currently working to eliminate it too. It is no where near as pretty when it is crowding the water lilies and standing proud from the water’s surface.

I hope these tips will help you avoid making your own terribly beautiful mistakes in your water garden.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wardrobe Colors – They are a Changin

I am writing this as we continue our over two week streak of 100 degree plus days, so it is a little difficult to believe that fall is actually almost here. We are in one of those season changes where it can be difficult to find something to accessorize your outfits with if you find you need something for the current season, especially if you need something for Labor Day that is patriotic but not quite as in your face red, white and blue as you would wear for the Fourth of July.

If you shop with EDCCollective, you will find jewelry with summer and the cooler days of autumn, that surely lie ahead, in mind. Red, white and blue floral motif earrings would be a perfect addition to your Labor Day attire. (These earrings placed first in the EART team July Red, White and Blue Challenge.) There are also rich reds, sunny yellows and terrific turquoise hues available. Remember also, that one advantage of shopping with EDCCollective is that if you don’t see quite what you are looking for, you should ask. Because unlike a department store, what you see is not all of what you can get. I would love to talk with you about a custom design in the colors that you are looking for.

If you are already thinking ahead to your fall wardrobe, you will enjoy browsing with EDCCollective too. I have begun listing items reflecting the hues of the harvest such as these carved bone and picture jasper earth tone earrings.

Enjoy the rest of your summer as you look forward with anticipation to the change of seasons.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thanks for the Treasuries - July 2010

A record nine different Etsy shops featured at least one of my items in a treasury in July. Nine of my items were featured once while my Turquoise and Peace Sign Zipper Pull and my Sunflower Note Cards were featured twice each. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during July. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 9 different shops that featured at least one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and I encourage you to click on the shop links of anything that pleases your eye.

This talented crafter has a wide range of items to offer you, from art dolls and stethoscope covers to pin cushions and pillows.

Wine-related products make the perfect gifts! If you are a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items, look no further.

This shop has an interesting mix of jewelry, accessories and home decor.

Decorate yourself with fine vintage jewelry from this shop.

This shop's pin back buttons, jewelry and bookmarks include awareness items and a lot of just plain fun stuff.

Look no further than this shop for a great selection of pre-cut quilt squares and lace. A few handmade fabric items such as coasters can be found as well.

Fun, funky, upcycled jewelry creations. Many will remind you of the care free days of childhood.

You will find colorful crochet items and patterns as well as macro flower photography when you browse this shop.

This shop is full of gorgeous Venetian feather masks, feather hair clips and headbands and more.