Thursday, January 31, 2008

Anyone ever used a light box?

Recently another small craft business owner shared that she had purchased a light box, and that it has made taking photographs of her work infinitely easier. I've read a few articles on the topic in some art/craft magazines, but I'm still a little skeptical.

I'll admit it, the photographing of my work is the part that I HATE the MOST! My problem is that despite spending time to set up the shots, getting them as well and evenly lit as possible, and taking multiple shots, I end up needing several hours with PhotoShop to get them really clear and sharp. And what's worse is that good photographs are a must to selling online and successfully applying to craft fairs.

I've read that light boxes are good for eliminating shadows and that they help keep the light even on all parts of the object. So does that mean that if I invest in and use one, I won't have to spend hours at my PC fiddling with the photographs? I'd love to know if others have had the same troubles that I have, and if a light box helped.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Join me in welcoming my sister to the 21st century

That's right, my baby sister just joined the blogosphere! She has started a blog for her photography business, Innovative Photography.

dawn elizabeth (my sis) is based in southern NJ, but has traveled as far as Curacao (an island in the Carribbean) and NY for photo shoots. She and her associate, Dennis, shoot weddings, portraits, senior portraits, and more. Her on-location portraits (photos taken in a setting of your choice, rather than in a studio) are fantastic!

Every so often she lets me model for her (always fun!) as she tests out new lighting or posing ideas. Here are some samples of her work, starring me!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Knitting class survey update

I must admit to being a bit surprised and bummed out -- I only received one response to my knitting survey (thank you, whoever you are since you chose to remain anonymous!). I have presented my ideas to several friends for their feedback, but I had hoped for some input from my readers as well.

I will probably leave the survey open for a few more days, in case you've been wanting to answer but just haven't had the time. I know well how hectic life can get at times!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Easter is coming ... sooner than you think!

Easter this year is just about as early as it can be... March 23rd. It's practically right around the corner! With Ash Wednesday the first week of February, now seems to be the perfect time to start planning your Easter decor and gifts. And a great place to start is with Smile Creations Crafts.

How about an adorable macrame duckling for your front door? The ducks are carefully knotted of strong yellow cord by Dennis and then adorned with feathers and flowers for a festive, unique look.

Not into ducks? What about bears? Our Smileville Bears are soft and cuddly, sure to bring a smile to anyone's face! And the best news about the bears? There is one just perfect for that special person in your life... musician (Rupert Bear plays the drums), aspiring lawyer (Bradford Bear wants to be one, too!), carefree baby (Sally Bear is still in diapers, and the twins Tootsie and Toby wear bibs so they don't spill all over themselves), just to name a few!

Thinking you'd like a more practical gift for a new baby this Easter season? What about the baby wash mitt and burp towel set cross-stitched with butterflies and bunnies by Maryann? Made of soft terry cloth and edged in yellow gingham, this will bring a smile to mother and baby at bath time!

And there's more! A sunflower pillow, cheerful sunflower napkin rings, crochet halter tops, bright & fresh flower pins.... visit my web site today and see all that Smile Creations Crafts can add to your Easter celebration!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

3 more days...

Only three more days to take my short survey about a potential knitting class and be entered in a drawing for a 15% off coupon to Smile Creations Crafts.

Click here to take the survey today!

Monday, January 21, 2008

NEW!! Hand-crafted wooden yarn swifts

A while back, I asked my dad to create for me my own yarn swift. I have lots of lovely skeins of yarn and my hand was getting tired winding them into balls. So.... my dad (who is an engineering genius and loves tinkering with projects like that) managed to come up with a great yarn swift!

It's made of wood and sits on a small turntable which spins on steel ball bearings. The eight arms each have several dowel holes drilled into them to make the swift very customizable --- it'll accommodate skeins of yarn from 40" up to 104".

Here is the flyer that I've put together to show the swift and how it adjusts & disassembles. If you're interested in ordering a swift for yourself, you can email me at or visit Stitches with Style in Newark.

* Please be aware that it can take 6-8 weeks for delivery of your swift as each one is created by hand upon receipt of the order.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

To Teach or Not to Teach

That may seem a strange question given my post from Sunday about how important it is to learn something new every day. However, I'm asking anyway. During the past 6 months, I've had a handful of people approach me to ask about knitting lessons. I had never before considered it, although I have taught before and am confident I could successfully help others discover how wonderful knitting is.

It's something I'm seriously considering now for the new year, but I'd like your input. If I offered the following package for a set fee, would you take the knitting lessons? If not, what would you change?
*four one-hour-long sessions (one each week for a month)
*a book (that includes some how-to as well as a few starter patterns)
*needles and yarn for two small projects
*two help-me sessions during the month (a few hours where I'd be available for extra help if anyone needed it)

Please take a second & click here to complete my short survey about offering a knitting class. Even if you already know how to knit, I'm interested in your thoughts on this idea! As an extra incentive, I'll select one lucky respondent to receive a coupon for 15% off any item in my online shop! The coupon winner will be chosen on January 27th, when I close the survey.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Heeeeeere's Rupert!

Say hello to Rupert Bear, the musically inclined toddler in Smileville. When he was just a tiny cub, he loved to find sticks and rocks and use them to "play music" on his momma bear's pots and pans. She tried to find another toy that he liked that was quieter, but nothing seemed to keep him as happy as making noise.

Just last Christmas, she gave in and got Rupert his very own drum! He is so happy! It's the perfect size to carry with him to Bear Bash (the daycamp for baby bears in Smileville), so he doesn't have to hunt for sticks and rocks anymore. The best days are when the teacher bear at Bear Bash lets him play music for all his friends after lunch!

If you'd like Rupert (or one of his other friends at Bear Bash) to come home with you or someone special, visit the Smileville Bear section of my website, or send me a bear request via email.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm in Stitches

Stitches with Style, that is! Beginning this week, some of my handcrafted items will be on display (and available for purchase, of course!) at Stitches with Style, my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) in Newark, DE.

Right now there are knit stuffed snowpeople and a few of the Smileville Bears ready for adoption. Soon I will be adding some fabric book covers (They are sooo convenient: just slip your paperback into the cover, use the integrated bookmark to keep your place, grab the handles and go!). And custom-made wooden yarn swifts will be available for special order (more on these a little later).

Stop by Stitches, say hello to Linda and crew, fondle the pretty yarns, and check out my stuff!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Learn something every day

My grandfather shared that wisdom with my sister and I when we were very little -- that you should learn something every day to stay young and fresh and continue growing all your life. As I get older, I tend to notice more that I am still learning every day and I marvel at it, especially the lessons that find you when you least expect them. Sometimes silly trivia, sometimes earth-shattering truths, it doesn't matter as long as you learn.

Today what I learned falls more into "hey, that's convenient to know" and so I thought I'd share. I was paging through a jewelry design book of my sister's (as you may or may not know, she designs and creates all the jewelry that I sell at Smile Creations Crafts) and found a little chart tucked at the bottom of a page --- a chart all about the lengths of necklaces.

Personally, I know what a choker is, and that's about it. Sure I measure and dutifully note the length of every piece she gives me to sell (and post it with the online entry for the piece), but I can never visualize where it will fall on a person until I actually put it on. But even still I have difficulty with how to describe to someone else where it falls on me?

This chart helps soo much with that!! And so, with thanks to Crocheted Wire and Bead Jewelry, here is a condensed, Patience version of what I learned today from that chart:
There are 7 basic acknowledged lengths of necklaces.
* Collar -- 12-13" -- multiple strands worn snugly around the neck
* Choker -- 14-16" -- slightly looser than collar; sits just above the collarbone
* Princess -- 17-19" -- sits slightly below collarbone; looks great with high necklines
* Matinee -- 20-23" -- fits into the "V" of most V-neck shirts; hits high on the breastbone
* Opera -- 28-34" -- hangs into the cleavage; can be doubled for choker
* Rope -- 40-45" -- versatile (I like to double it, with one loop like a choker and the other hanging more like a matinee length necklace)
* Lariat -- 48" or more -- ends are left unattached for knotting or to be wrapped around the neck

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy 2008

I hope everyone had a happy celebration to ring in the New Year! May this year bring good things, fond memories, and friendship.

My new year's resolution: to re-find time and post more often. What's your new year's resolution??