Friday, January 29, 2016

Artist Spotlight - MykoLyna

I was excited to find out that this artisan would be at the Happy Holidays Gift Market in December of last year. I first saw her and her lovely seed bead jewelry several years ago at Funky Finds in Fort Worth where I purchased a lovely black and gold beaded necklace. (That necklace can be seen in the "Design This" post in which I describe having earrings made to match the necklace.)

Since I was also vending at the gift market, I had to wait until someone could watch my booth for me but eventually I was able to get a look at what Galyna had to offer. She had lots of pretty pieces as before. One pair of silver and golden earrings in particular spoke to me. The only problem is that I don't have pierced ears so I would have had to change out her ear wires for the hinged screw back earrings I like. While I was examining the earrings to see how easy that would have been, Galyna suggested that it might be better to have her make a new pair not already attached to ear wires. I would then be able to attach my clips to the loop at the top of a new pair without having to deconstruct the pair that were already made. There were benefits to her suggestion so I told her I would be happy to go with it. I went ahead and paid for my new earrings and Galyna shipped them to me when she had recreated the ones I had ordered.

If you want to see Galyna's lovely handmade jewelry in person check out her 2016 show schedule.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Great Backyard Bird Count - GBBC 2016

It's almost time again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I hope we have a good bunch of birds come through here to count on those days. It was very active around my backyard this morning. I saw yellow-rumped warblers, bluebirds, blue jays, mockingbirds, cardinals, a downy woodpecker, goldfinches, house finches, sparrows, cedar waxwings, a ruby crowned kinglet and mourning doves.

Some of the bird species I saw this morning hang around all year and some of them are just moving through. If you are on the lookout during the bird count you will see species that you wouldn't expect based on bird watching during much of the rest of the year. Do you know all of the birds I listed previously? Which one is in the photo above that I took this morning? (Hint: It is the same bird that is on the GBBC poster below.) I hope the migratory birds hang around long enough to get counted in addition to others. Will you be able to identify more?

Whether the weather is good or bad, the data that you collect during the GBBC helps scientists answer many questions about the distribution of birds and potentially the ecosystems that surround us. Find out how to get involved on the Great Backyard Bird Count's website. Then when February 12-15 roles around, print out a list of birds you could see near you, grab your pencil, binoculars and bird ID book or app and get counting. (A great bird ID app is Merlin from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.)

Need more inspiration? These photos submitted to the GBBC last year of an amazing array of birds from across the globe should provide some. Happy Birding!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Eclectic Design Choices Launches New Note Card Product Line

As I mentioned in this month's newsletter, the Arlington Museum of Art has debuted a new line of my blank note cards in their gift shop. While the size of the note cards is the same as ones that I have been selling, the artwork, the paper, the printing and the packaging are all new.

I also shared in the article that I had been interested in producing boxed sets of note cards on heavier paper stock for some time. I like the medium weight paper that I print on with my laser printer at home, but it is near the upper limit of paper weight that I can print myself. In order to offer boxed sets of note cards I also needed to find a way to speed up the printing process as I have to feed the card stock one at a time on my laser printer. I had investigated a few full service printing options in the past but the price points and run sizes had never been in the range that would work out to allow me to keep my pricing where I wanted it. The missing pieces of my "how do I make this work" puzzle finally came together late last year.

A fellow artisan gave me a lead last November that I intended to follow up on after the first of the year when my show season was behind me. However, after attending docent training for the Arlington Museum of Art's upcoming Modern Masters exhibit just after receiving this lead and mentioning my Psychedelic Gazelle note card to the gift store's buyer, I was asked about boxed sets of cards. I scheduled an appointment and brought in some examples of my photographic art that tended towards pop. Some of it was selected for individually wrapped note cards on the stock that I print and others were selected for an anticipated boxed set of cards.

Two of my images for the boxed set, whose colors complemented each other, only needed to be cropped to the proper aspect ratio for my note card layout and tweaked a bit to ensure the colors would print well on matte paper instead of the photo paper that those photographic art images had previously been printed on. The third image of a dragonfly required quite a bit more work however. The dragonfly image was already pretty psychedelic, however the colors were way off to make a cohesive set. I was asked to see what I could do to get some purple into the image and match the color scheme of the other two cards. I came up with two versions, one with a lighter dragonfly on a dark background and the other with a darker dragonfly on a light background. Initially one of the two new color schemes was picked to make a set of nine cards, however once I received my test prints of all four potential new cards it was decided to put together a set of eight using all four images.

Those test prints sold me on the print shop I had been given the lead to. The colors were amazing, even better than my printer at home. The paper was a wonderful, heavy card stock. The only thing I was missing was proper packaging. Luckily I knew one of my other suppliers carried this type of product. I placed orders for clear boxes to fit sets of eight note cards with envelopes and a small print run of the four new note cards. Each set in the AMA gift shop contains two each of the four images. I put a different image at the top of four boxed sets so I could show what images come in a set in one photo.

After the Modern Masters exhibit comes to an end on February 21, 2016, I plan to offer boxed sets of these images. However when I do, I will sell sets of six cards, three each of two images. In order to purchase all four images outside of the museum, you would need to buy two different sets of six cards instead of one set of eight currently available at AMA.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Thanks for the Treasuries - December 2015

Two Etsy shop owners let me know they had featured one of my items in a treasury during December. Two December 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 December. (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 of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the links of anything that catches your eye.

If you know a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate handmade items look no further than this shop.

Girlie Gals offers you jewelry that sparkles and shines at affordable prices.