Monday, December 26, 2016

Artist Spotlight - G & G Creations

Even though I could not find the time to set up a real tree and decorate it this year due to participating in the Texas Christkindl Market, I could not resist buying an assortment of lovely tin snowflakes from G & G Creations, a fellow vendor at Christkindl. Gagik started making his tin ornaments and jewelry as a hobby. His wife convinced him he should sell his creations. They are beautiful. I am glad he decided to get them out there to potential customers.

I had planned to hang my purchases in front of a window but they fit perfectly with the small holiday vignette I did find the time to put together. It is amazing how much sparkle the snowflakes have in low light. Perhaps next year I will hang them in front of a window.

Click the images to get a closer look.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sudden Temperature Drop Affects Wildlife and the Christkindl Market

This little brown bird exemplifies the song lyric, "Baby it's cold outside." I don't think it would be possible for it to fluff its feathers any further in its attempt to stay warm. It is sitting on a storage bench on the south side of my house, so it probably found the warmest microclimate in my yard.

Yesterday we saw a high of 72 degrees in the early afternoon before an extreme cold front blew through with gusts just over 40 mph that dropped the temps to 22 degrees F at midnight. An hour after the first north blast, the temperature had dropped 15 degrees. It was in the teens before daybreak and never got above 30 degrees today. It is supposed to be above freezing tomorrow so the icicles (photo from a previous freeze) on my rosemary that overhangs my waterfall should start to disappear.

With the subfreezing temps and brisk winds resulting in wind chills that never got out of the teens, the Texas Christkindl Market closed on Sunday. It is expected to open again at noon on Monday as the temps will be a bit better and the winds much lighter. If you have not finished your Christmas shopping, I am sure all of the vendors would be happy to help you cross off items on your gift list. We may have some of our doors closed on our 817 Arts Alliance Hut to keep the temperature inside a bit warmer but we will be open for business.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

817 Arts Alliance Texas Christkindl Market Hut Halfway Point

Ok, it is a couple of days past the halfway point. I have been very busy working at the 817 Arts Alliance hut, making a little more product when I can and keeping up with my Etsy orders, that I am afraid I missed the midpoint by a bit and a couple of weeks of posting as well. I am happy to report that all 14 local artisans and the Mayan village international fair trade partner have had sales. We appreciate our customer's support and hope everyone loves their purchases.

While no one artist has sold out entirely of their creations, there are several specific things that have sold out and are not expected to make an appearance again at this year's market. Ellengant Creation's Jingle Jaws fish and her caged dragon necklaces are examples. Anna B's lighted Christmas trees are currently sold out but she is hopeful that a couple of more might make an appearance by the end of next week. I am hopeful that I can have some more of my agate slice night lights with nature charms or flying pigs ready before the end of the market, but I am not making any promises. Sky Imaginings has brought out more of her knit and crocheted goodies and Ladybug Bath has restocked her soaps and candles. Stock is limited however.

Today's weather was perfect. The market was alive with visitors enjoying the food and drink, shopping and the new children's area, Peppermint Park. It was a pleasant change from our brush with the blue norther last Thursday, whose effects were felt very strongly through Friday. (We had a visitor from Michigan that found it fairly balmy, unlike the two friends he was visiting.) It looks like the forecast calls for ups and downs in temperature for the final two weeks and a bit of rain on a couple of days. I hope you will find a day where the weather and your schedule allows you to come out and enjoy the experience at the Texas Christkindl Market.

A couple of views of our hut and a happy customer (Santa hat by Sky Imaginings) are found in this post. You can read the artisan statements when you visit and view a wonderful selection of unique, many one of a kind creations, that is until they find homes with someone.

Post Update: I should have included a link when I wrote this post to an article that Downtown Arlington Management Corporation shared the previous week about the 817 Arts Alliance Hut. I was very pleased to have our hut featured.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

First Time Venture Being a Vendor at the Texas Christkindl Market

First let me say that I hope you have had the opportunity to have a Happy Thanksgiving with those you care about. Personally this has been the nicest Thanksgiving I can remember in a number of years. Hopefully it will help fortify me for the next four weeks when I am participating as a vendor at the Texas Christkindl Market which opens tomorrow at 5pm on the north side of the baseball stadium in Arlington, TX.

My alter ego, 817ArtsAlliance, has as part of its mission, a goal to empower small local artisans so they can bring their creations to market. Towards that goal, I was permitted to secure a hut at the Texas Christkindl Market this year in order to showcase creations from such artisans who otherwise would not be able to participate for a variety of reasons. I have arranged for fourteen local artisans, including myself, and one international handmade fair trade member to be a part of the 817ArtsAlliance hut this year. (Post update: Photo below taken by a friend on our second night.) While many of the artisans have limited stock available, their talent is far from limited. They are passionate about what they create. For some, when their stock is sold out there will not be any more coming. Some others will likely be restocking but with the nature of many of the handmade items, exact replicas are not expected in all cases. What does this mean for you? Come out early for those one of a kind OOAK pieces that speak to you and check back now and then to see what new items may be on display through the end of the market on December 23. Unique, handmade treasures for a variety of people on your gift list or yourself can be found by thoughtfully browsing the 817ArtsAlliance hut. If you don't find what you are looking for in our hut, there are many other wonderful things to be found in the remainder of the Christkindl Market.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Indian Summer Clouds of Butterflies

Here in North Texas our extended Indian Summer came to an abrupt halt yesterday. The weather during the prior week was spectacular though and the butterflies took advantage of the sunshine, warmer temps and plentiful nectar in a patch of blue mistflower and a lantana bush in my backyard. Many varieties of butterflies were attracted to both, including some very late Monarch butterflies on their trip south.

The lantana bush seemed especially popular with the sulphur butterflies. It was alive with a cloud of predominantly yellow butterflies flitting from flower to flower. How many do you see in my photo? (Click to enlarge to make your job easier.)

Queen butterflies flocked to my patch of blue mistflower. A cloud of orange erupted when I walked too close to this area of the garden. In this photo they share the nectar bounty with other butterflies and insects.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Craft Show Booth Design

An important part of having a successful craft show is knowing what your set up will be before arriving at your show. There are some important questions you need to have answered in order for you to properly prepare. What is your allotted space for your booth? Does that size include access around your space or do you need to provide access behind your tables from within your space? Will you have vendors on both sides or do you have an outside corner space? Will you back up to a wall or another vendor? What is the lighting like in the hall or are you outside? Is there electricity available and if so is it free? How much time will you have to set up and tear down? How close can you park to your space? Are tables and chairs provided for free or a fee or not at all? All of these questions and possibly others will determine what you want to pack in your vehicle in addition to your priced product that is ready to be placed on your attractive pre-planned display.

You will need a base for your displays. For most products that means tables and then some props to create different heights to show off your product. If you have larger artwork or quilts your bases might be walls of some type. This post will assume that you either have or are using the design step to figure out the elements that you need to acquire to be the foundation for your products.

The most important part of your pre-show design is to figure out what pieces will fit in your space in an arrangement that gives good access to your products and a secure checkout and out of sight storage for things like your lunch. You can go low tech and use graph paper, assign a scale and cut out scaled pieces to represent your tables, etc. that you can move around or use software that allows you to do the same thing. I use Adobe Illustrator to create my plans. You don't want to haul more stuff with you than you can fit in your assigned space. I was at one show where it appeared that a vendor had set up at shows with a booth space of at least 10x10 but failed to notice the one they were attending only had a 6x8 space assigned to them. I don't know what would have happened if a nearby vendor had not been unable to attend, which allowed them to spread out into what was now a 6x16 space.

In addition to knowing the size of your booth space in which you can set up your tables and other things, it is important to also know whether that space has any buffer area around it or whether it bumps right up to your neighbor's space. In my experience, most bump right up against your neighbor so any access to behind the table space must be included inside your footprint. In addition to your tables and/or walls that are your basic set up, it is a good idea to know where your major smaller product props will go. I have included an image of one such layout utilizing my tables and props for a 10x10 outside corner booth setup as well as a picture of part of the set up at the show. Having this print out with me at set up helps me, and especially a helper if I have one, quickly get my layout in place.

For those of you that use walls of some type to hang art or other large items, it can be handy to set up the wall and mount your items on it at home. It can take some time to figure out where each piece of your product puzzle goes and when you are setting up, time is not a luxury. I take a picture of each wall set up and take note of where each hook is placed. I label a print of the picture with where each hook goes and place the hooks for a specific wall in their own labeled baggy for quick assembly at the show.

A bit of time spent on design and organization before a show will reward you with a smoother set up and also hopefully help you pack everything you need without hauling a bunch of extraneous stuff along.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

More Photographic Art to Debut at Funky Finds

I recently finalized additional photographic art prints I have been working on over the summer. I have some additional matted images of Penelope the Flying Pig in which Penelope and her twin become part of a mountain rescue squad. Shown in this post is a sneak peak of a new blank note card offering and a mythology themed matted print that will both be added to my EclecticSkeptic Etsy shop. The new items will be available in person for the first time this weekend. You can check them out at Funky Finds this coming Saturday and Sunday at Cattle Barn 2 in the Will Rogers Complex in Fort Worth.

This new note card expands my popular psychedelic gazelle with flying pig earrings note card line. Ms. Gazelle models my flying pig earrings for my EclecticSkeptic shop. I enjoy creating fun photographic art images from these product photos. My new matted print will become part of my mythology offerings. This photographic art creation shows a dragon emerging from a lightning storm. I created this image by combining one of my lightning photos with a photo I took of a blinged out dragon that hangs from the ceiling in my husband's office.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

First Time at Funky Finds - Nov. 5-6, 2016

Find me and my creations at Funky Finds Holiday Shopping Experience in Cattle Barn 2 at Will Rodgers Coliseum on Nov. 5-6. Saturday hours are 10am - 5pm and Sunday hours are 11am - 4pm. There are lots of things to see and do at Funky Finds. The event is free and pet friendly, however there is a charge to park at the Will Rodgers Complex.

Each of the over 100 makers participating in Funky Finds donates an item for the charitable raffle that goes on both days. My felted flying pig model will finally be making her debut in my donation. I will also have some matted prints of Penelope available in my booth. I will have an outside corner booth (#409) at the intersection of the middle north/south aisle and the cross aisle for door 3. I would love for you to stop by and say hi. All of my photographic art and handmade jewelry and accessories will be making the trip with me.

This show is a great opportunity to get a head start finding unique gifts to match each and every person on your holiday shopping list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Artist Spotlight - VanArtLife

Scale models and miniatures have always interested me. I appreciate the skill involved in reproducing something many times smaller than the original. I suspect this interest is part of the reason I appreciate the miniature paintings of VanArtLife so much. Sometimes people don't have a lot of space to bring home new artwork and display it. It is easy for wall space to run out, especially in dorm rooms or nursing homes. Van's mini art pieces are a perfect way to be able to bring home some wonderful art that is a pleasure to look at and does not take up much room.

I first met Van at a local craft show. She was showing her paintings on very small canvases, placed on mini art easels. While the subject matter was rendered in tiny detail, it was accurate and visually pleasing. I let her know about a show I was putting together later that year and invited her to be a vendor. She took me up on my offer and she has participated in several of my 817ArtsAlliance produced shows since then. Van has also opened an Etsy shop so that when she is not at a show, you can find at least some of her work online. She will be participating this year in the 817ArtsAlliance Happy Holidays Hut at Christkindl for the duration, unless she sells out before the show is over.

If someone asked me what type of images I was most likely to seek out, pictures of fruit would not be my first answer. I'm not sure I would even think of that response. However, for some reason I was very drawn to Van's cherry paintings. Van also paints lovely things on clothes pins. These become functional pieces of art. They can be clipped on a lapel instead of a pin, or with a magnet attached to the back of the clothespin, they become a fridge magnet for holding lists, messages, etc..

To see more of Van's work, check out her Etsy shop and mark your calendars so you can stop by the Texas Christkindl Market this year to see her work in person.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Photo Frames - Picture Props

A couple of weeks ago, a few of us were firming up plans for a fun family fall evening out that the Dalworthington Gardens Historical Committee, with help from additional citizens, is hosting. We will have Trunk or Treat for the kiddos, giving them an additional opportunity to wear this year's costume. And speaking of costumes, there will be a costume contest for kids 13 and under and for dogs (on leashes please). Attendees can paint a pumpkin and play a version of musical chairs. Hot dogs, popcorn and nachos will be available beginning about 5:30. There will be a short Halloween Charlie Brown video inside the community room after the awards are given out for the costume contest and the first Harry Potter movie will play on the big screen in the park as it gets dark. In addition to all of this I wanted to have a picture taking area. We will have some seasonal decorations to provide a nice backdrop along with props that can be used to create some great photo opportunities. Bring your camera or phone and someone will help you capture memories for you if you need assistance.

One of the other people helping plan this event suggested that some large picture frames would be a great prop for the photo zone. I remembered a couple of old, in need of a bit of love, partially covered with burlap very large wood frames I had been given in case I needed them for something. I decided this project was the something they were destined for. I shopped for some fall themed ribbon
and fabric fall leaves. I covered the inside edge of each of the frames with a different ribbon. Then I divided the leaves up and attached half of them to the larger frame. I had a little bit of ribbon left after covering the inside edge of the smaller wood frame so I made a couple of bows out of the left over piece and added leaves to the corner of this frame. I did not need all of the half I had reserved for it.

It was getting late so I used a flash to take a quick picture of the frames to share with one of the other volunteers. When I looked at the photo, I decided it would be nice to use the leftover leaves from the smaller frame to fill in the gaps between the leaves on the larger frame seen in the first photo. The second photo in this post shows the completed frames that we will have in our photo props at the picture zone overlooking the pond in Gardens Park. Costume contest registration and goodie sack decorating begins at 5:30pm. The Harry Potter movie begins at 7:15pm.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thanks for the Treasuries - One Last Time - September 2016

"One last time," you ask? Treasuries have been an integral part of my Etsy experience since I joined Etsy and started my first shop in 2009. I really enjoyed the rotating treasuries on the landing page of Etsy for the first couple of years. I was even featured in two or three front page treasuries. One time when a vintage cloisonne butterfly belt of mine was featured on the front page it sold within the hour that it was featured. Other than that, I have to admit I only know of a handful or fewer treasuries that were the direct catalyst of a sale of the featured item. Nonetheless, I have always appreciated being featured because you never know when a bit of exposure will result in a sale or networking opportunity. In addition, I found most treasuries to be very pretty to look at and/or clever. Unfortunately, Etsy came to the conclusion that treasuries were no longer making sense from a business perspective.

As I bid a fond farewell to Etsy treasuries, I want to express my gratitude to the three Etsy shop owners who let me know they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during September. Four Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during September. (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 a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the links to the shops whose item catches your eye.

Wine cork wreathes, birdhouses, ornaments, gifts and more. If you have a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items look no further than this shop.

This shop owner turns graphics into button dangle earrings, hair clips, keychains and more.

This shop features beautifully handcrafted macrame jewelry, micro macrame bracelets, earrings, and accessories made with beads, shells, and fine cord.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Sneezes - Which Plant is to Blame?

Look closely at the two pictures on this page of fall flowering plants. Both generally bloom at the same time and are pollinated by bees and other insects but only one of them has pollen small and fine enough to become airborne and cause suffering in a large percentage of the human population every fall. If you are one of these allergy sufferers, it is important to know what plant to blame so that you don't inadvertently try to eradicate the wrong one.

Many years ago I helped load a high school band trailer during football (allergy) season and was surprised to find a huge stand of a taller relative of the allergen inducing plant pictured in this blog growing along the fence just outside the band hall and next to where the trailer was loaded and unloaded. While its pollen would travel great distances on the wind, adults and student allergy sufferers did not need to be assaulted at close range and benefited from its removal.

You might even know the name of the plant culprit I speak of, ragweed, without knowing what ragweed looks like. One of these pictures is of flowering common ragweed. It is a perennial that spreads by underground roots in addition to setting seed. When I tell you the name of the other flowering plant it should be obvious which is which.

The other plant shown is goldenrod. It has showy flowers that echo its name. It is an important food source for bees and butterflies and is the plant you are likely to see growing by the roadsides during fall allergy season. However it is the nondescript ragweed plant that likely does not get your attention that is the reason for all of the watery eyes, runny noses and sneezing of the season.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Grand Prairie Arts Council Annual Juried Show

And the results are in, you can see the names of the winners of the Grand Prairie Arts Council Annual Juried Show on their website and view the artwork in person at the Uptown Theatre in downtown Grand Prairie.

While I did not receive an award, I am very pleased that all three of the photographic art pieces that I entered are hanging among the 120 pieces of artwork from 54 artists from around the region that were chosen from those entered.

The Arts Council provided a nice reception and awards ceremony to open the exhibit which runs through Oct. 14, 2016. The exhibit can be found in the lobby of the Uptown Theatre and is free and open to the public.

During much of the art exhibit, the Uptown Theatre will present The Addams Family, A New Musical. For more information and to purchase tickets, check out the show's webpage.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

2016 Art in the Garden

I thought the promotional material above was so nice that I would just share it rather than paraphrasing it. I will have my "Sun Spots" Dragonfly Series photographic art image on display at Art in the Garden.

Water - Waste Not, Want Not - Unless the Well Runs Dry

For most if not all of my readers I suspect filling a glass of water is an easy task. Flip a lever or turn a handle and fresh water rushes out to fill a waiting receptacle or it continues rushing down the drain. But do you ever stop and think where your water comes from or how resilient your water supply is? For about half of all Americans at least some of their water comes from ground water, while that number gets pretty close to 100% if you live in a rural area. The other source of water is surface water, often from large reservoir lakes. Recent droughts in Georgia and in Texas made national headlines when some cities that relied on lakes for their drinking water came very close to running out of water. Imagine that, flip the lever or turn the handle and nothing comes out. What a nightmare scenario. Thankfully for Atlanta and Wichita Falls, the rains returned before that happened and recharged their surface reservoirs.

It is pretty easy to see how a town that relies on water from lakes can recover pretty quickly if there is drought breaking rain. But what happens in areas that depend on aquifers, ground water, to quench thirst and water gardens? A lot of that depends on the characteristics of the aquifer that water is being pumped from. In some areas surface water becomes ground water quickly and easily because the material between the soil's surface and the aquifer is very permeable. In other areas the recharge zone for an aquifer can be far away because of the tilt of the water bearing sediment or rock layer. In Austin, rain water percolates downward through limestone to reach the Edwards aquifer. Many people in DFW that use well water drill into the Trinity aquifer. The recharge zone, outcrop, for these wells is about a county or two west of their well location.

Distance from the recharge zone, permeability of the sediments between surface water as lakes, streams or storm runoff and the water bearing layer that creates an aquifer as well as precipitation play a big role in how quickly an aquifer can recharge. It is very important to get a handle on this relationship where ground water is the source or even part of the source of water for a given population. Unfortunately, extensive farming centers are currently tapping portions of a giant aquifer that have little (very slow) or no recharge. This is what is happening to the Ogallala aquifer that stretches from the panhandle of Texas through the panhandle of Oklahoma, western Kansas, most of Nebraska and portions of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. It is the portion of the Ogallala in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas where water is being used for farming and people faster than it can recharge.

This massive over pumping of the Ogallala has the potential of creating a manmade disaster in the area much like the plowing that contributed to the disastrous dust bowl era, "The irrigation era may come to be called the "great pump up," bookending the other manmade High Plains disaster—the "great plow-up."" Large areas of the Ogallala are headed towards permanent depletion in our lifetime if something is not done to curb the draining of the aquifer. Residents just south of Clovis, New Mexico are already experiencing this. An example is given near the bottom of the article linked above.

So what can you do? Even if you are in an area that does not experience periodic drought or does not get your water from an aquifer that is in decline, conserving water is something everyone should be doing. Planting native or adapted plants for your area allows you to conserve water because they will not require much or even any supplemental watering. If you still have older, heavy water using toilets and shower heads you can replace them with the low water using ones currently on the market. Don't let the water run while you are brushing your teeth. These are just a few of small and large changes that you can make so that hopefully you won't see the day when you flip a lever or turn a handle and no water comes out of your faucet.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Thanks for the Treasuries - August 2016

Two Etsy shop owners and one Etsy team let me know they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during August. Six August Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during August. (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 a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. In addition you will see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured a couple of items of mine.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the links to the shops whose item catches your eye.

This shop owner turns graphics into button dangle earrings, hair clips, keychains and more.

Handcrafted quilted items make cheerful gifts full of homemade goodness and care.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group are to promote friendly, The TX Way, and be respectful to all who participate.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bird Watcher Note Cards

I have created a second pair of boxed sets of heavy card stock blank note cards. As with the first pop art set, I am partnering to have them printed on heavier card stock than I can print on my laser printer and then packaging them in sets of six (three of each image) in clear boxes.

I settled on the theme of bird note cards by asking the owner of Potager's Other Stuff, who carries some of my ready to hang photographic art prints and wanted to stock some of my boxed note cards, what images she might like to see on a new set. She suggested birds. Cardinals have been popular images in my matted and ready to hang pieces so I decided to work up a set of note cards with a male and a female cardinal. I found a couple of wintertime images that I thought complemented each other nicely and went with them. Those images got me to thinking of other tufted birds. I had recently finally gotten a few nice shots of a blue jay. While yellow-bellied sapsuckers are not as tufted as cardinals and blue jays, they can raise the feathers on top of their head to a peak. Plus, I had gotten a few good shots of one just the previous winter. I decided to pair it with the blue jay. These new boxed sets can be found at Potager's Other Stuff and in my EDCCollective Etsy shop.

If you have any ideas about what images I should consider working with for a new boxed card set in 2017, I'd love for you to leave your ideas in the comments section.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Missing Monarchs

While watching a Little League regional tournament game on a trip to Michigan last month I overheard someone asking another person if they had seen any Monarch butterflies lately. They had noticed their absence and had heard about the butterflies being in decline. I joined in the conversation and added that the decline is unfortunately real and the butterflies needed help. I urged the two ladies to plant locally native milkweed in their gardens as a host plant.

You might be wondering if any reasons have been identified for the decline in Monarch butterflies. They migrate from winter havens in Mexico to as far north as Canada. It takes more than one generation to complete this migration. There have always been dangers out there that the tiny flyers needed to avoid in order to accomplish their Herculean feat. They overwinter in Mexico in large groups in order to survive the winter. However some winters like last year have events like the late sleet storm that killed many butterflies. Migrating butterflies have to avoid predators (including unintentional ones like cars) and find nourishment and host plants to lay eggs on in unknown territory. Fluctuations in temperatures sometimes get the migrating butterflies out of sync with the native milkweeds they count on along their route. Also, since crops such as soybean and corn have been genetically modified to be herbicide resistant, monarchs have lost vast tracts of land where milkweed mingled with crops and provided for the butterflies.

That last point brings me back to the advice I gave to the ladies at the Little League tournament. Now that the majority of corn and soybean fields that line the Monarch's migration routes are devoid of milkweed, it is imperative that a concerted effort to plant more milkweed is undertaken. You can help by planting milkweed native to your area in your gardens, encouraging parks and greenspace managers to do so and (my favorite fantasy) get legislation through that would require farmers that plant pesticide resistant crops to plant compensating swaths of native milkweed on their land.

During my stay in Michigan I discovered a wonderful linear trail in Kalamazoo. Along the trail I spied local milkweed in various stages; in bud, in bloom and setting seed. During my trip I only spied one monarch. It was just outside Albion. (Images in this post are from my trip.) Hopefully since humans have drastically altered the Monarch's landscape to their detriment we will be able to find alternative areas to plant the milkweed that is essential to their continued existence.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Design This - Custom Etsy Shop Cover Image

You may recall that I shared some changes that Etsy made to shop layouts during April in a previous blog post. Prior to the change I was approached by a fellow Texas Friends teammate asking if I would be interested in helping her design a shop cover for her shop, JackrabbitFlats, in advance of the changes going live. I was happy to oblige.

At the time there was a thread on the Etsy forums where shop owners shared their new shop covers that I had her look at. We discussed what we liked about some of them that caught our eyes, whether to incorporate her old shop banner as part of the new cover photo and more. JackrabbitFlats' shop owner sent several product photos over for me to work with. I made a rough mock up incorporating her old shop banner with representative items and sent it over as a starting point for discussion. (See above.)

Eventually she decided that she wanted a cover image that was only a collage of representative items from her shop. (Shop names are prominently displayed just below the cover images in the new layout.) I played around with various layouts and finally arrived at one that I really liked. While I had been given more items than were in that iteration, I felt adding more of them made the image too cluttered. I sent the second rough mock up to my customer and not only did she agree with my assessment but she also loved it. Now that I knew what the final layout would look like, I edited each photo for color and brightness before sending the proof for approval. (See below.) After getting approval and subsequently payment, my custom creation was uploaded and ready to grace the shop JackrabbitFlats when the new layout became live during April 2016.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Thanks for the Treasuries - July 2016

Two Etsy shop owners let me know they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during July. Nine July Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. Another one included one item from each of my shops. 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 a link to the Etsy sellers that let me know they had featured one or more of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the links to the shops whose item catches your eye.

This shop owner turns graphics into button dangle earrings, hair clips, keychains and more.

Handcrafted quilted items make cheerful gifts full of homemade goodness and care.