Friday, February 27, 2009

Casa De Los Colores

Intimidated by color in your home? Get an eyeful of this vibrant dwelling, where not an inch is untouched by some brilliant hue or another. Using bright colors in interiors can be a scary prospect, but brave souls like Anado McLauchlin and Richard Schultz prove that letting loose your color demon can be one heck of a way to decorate.

McLauchlin, an assemblage artist who makes furniture, decorative objects and jewelry, says of the color palette: When you have rules like only beige or oatmeal, you’re limited to that palette. When you use all the different colors, there are no rules, there is no editor. It’s very freeing.

That it certainly appears to be.

On his website, where you can see his work, Mclauchlin says: Located in the indigenous village of La Cieneguita, 6 km. north of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico in the valley of the Rio Laja, Casa las Ranas is an ongoing artistic compound in the making.

In September 2001 we purchased a run down and abandoned 2.5 acre property behind a 200 year old Mexican church. The house had not been lived in for three years and had become the home for whatever could come under the space of the doors or through the broken windows. When we walked in the door and saw all the damage and disrepair we agreed that this was the place we could enliven.

Read more about this eye-popping residence here.

Juicy, don't you think?

Until next time!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: How To Take Good Jewelry Pictures

It's bee a whole since I posted a tutorial, but I just posted this one over at my Tizzalicious Crafts & Cuteness blog, and I thought it would be useful for you too:

This isn't so much a tutorial as a few useful tips on how to improve the pictures of jewelry, accessories, and anything else that needs you to get close!

I am not a professional photographer, and my pictures aren't perfect, but these things helped me out a lot, so they should work for you too:

361/365 Lonely Apple
Make good use of the macro setting!

♥ Always use the macro setting on your camera. Usually the icon for the macro setting is a little tulip flower.

♥ When taking a picture, press the button only halfway down at first, this will make your camera focus. Once it focuses, click through.

♥ Select the right white balance for the light you are using. Not every camera has the same settings, but most cameras these days have at least the following options: Sunny, Cloudy & Artificial Light. If you choose the right white balance, you should be able to get true colors with any kind of light.

♥ If your camera has an option for "vivid colors", use it! This will make all colors so much brighter!

♥ Ditch the white background! Even when using the correct white balance, it's hard to get white to look white. So why bother? Just because a lot of shops use white backgrounds, doesn't mean you have to too! Besides, who needs white backgrounds with teams like The Crafting in Color Team around?

Just have a look at these 2 pictures:

348/365 Love Letter

349/365 Love Letter

The first image was taken on a white background. I spent a lot time editing it, and the background still looks greyish. The second picture hardly needed any editing at all, and in my opinion, looks a lot better!

♥ If there isn't enough light, pictures often turn out blurry. To fix this, you can either set the "ISO" higher, or use a Tripod. Setting the ISO higher can work out great, but it also increases "noise" in your pictures, so don't set it too high! A tripod is always great. I have a gorillapod myself, it can bend in all kinds of shapes, which makes it easier to take pictures from different angles.

♥ Talking about taking pictures from different angles: Do this! A picture that shows only part of the item, or from a strange angle, usually makes the picture a lot more interesting, and thus clickworthy. Most selling sites give you space for more than one picture, so you have plenty of space to show the item in full or in the other spots.

♥ After you finished taking your pictures, edit them in a program like Photoshop or Gimp. Gimp is free, and has some great tools that will really help your pictures look better. My Gimp is in Dutch, so I won't be able to post screenshots that would be useful, but I can tell you the tools I use a lot:

- The "automatic white balance" setting (Under "Colors").
- The "fade white balance" if it was a little too much.
- The "Unsharp Mask" to sharpen the picture. I usually set this to 1.1
- The "Curves" tool (under "Colors"), to make images lighter.
- The "Hue Saturation Tool" (under "Colors").

That last tool can do a lot! It can saturate colors (which makes them stand out more), change a color tone a little (like when pink looks a bit too salmon, you can change it with this tool), make colors lighter or darker, etc.

The one rule to stick to when post editing your pictures is: Don't overdo it. If you lighten a picture too much, the colors will get bland, if you sharpen it too much, it will look fake, and if you saturate it too much it will get blotchy. Also keep in mind that not all monitors look the same. What looks great on your screen might be eye hurtingly bright on another.

249/365 New Camera!

♥ Invest in a nice camera. I liked my old camera, it took nice, sharp and bright pictures, but once I got my new camera I noticed how much better this one is at taking macro shots. It creates a sense of dept, which makes pictures so much more interesting to look at.

A good camera does not have to be expensive. I have a Canon Powershot A720 IS, which is available for around $200.

♥ Get to know your camera. That new camera I am so happy with now, caused a lot of angry moments when I just bought it! Take the time to get to know your camera. Something that really helped my photography skills in general was doing "project 365", I took a picture every day, for a whole year. Something like that really helps you to get to know your camera, you can't wait for a sunny day to take the picture, you will have to make do with what the day offers you, so you figure something out.

I hope these tips were useful! Taking good pictures is tricky, but I hope these tips will at least make it a little easier for you!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Treasures from the Ten (in blue)

We have our internet and our Etsy, but what about those who don't even have computers?

Here are some blue treasures from Ten Thousand Villages. It's such a great source of handmade items from around the globe, and best of all product sales help pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.

All this while using environment friendly resources and processes. Isn't that wonderful?

The whole thing started in 1946 from the trunk of founder Edna Ruth Byler's car, and now has 156 retail outlets in the US. Ten Thousand Villages is one of the world's largest fair trade organizations representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Craftspeople from 38 countries benefit from this wonderful project. You can only imagine how many different kinds of crafts that would be.

Here'a a small selection, but do check out their website.

The pictures are all lined up instead of the little montages I wanted to make - very short on time due to a planning for a very long trip. I'm going to India! My next post will be from there! Meanwhile, enjoy!


Southeast Asia; Phillipines, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam:



And India:

Until next time!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CIC Treasuries

Tart & Tangy by AlwaysAmy

* Here are the latest CIC Team Treasuries!
* Listed as they are reported & updated throughout the day!
* Please take a look at these fantastic treasuries & comment on them.
* Then be sure to blog about them, Twitter about them, StumbleUpon them or whatever it is you can do to promote them!
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