Tuesday, 27 April 2010

It's all in the detail - or packaging revisited

Ok, so I thought I had the packaging all worked out.  I had painstakingly packaged every one of my 74 items of jewellery according to the new look for my brand:

For small items:-

For larger items like necklaces (organza CD bags- did you even know there was such a thing?):-

No-one apart from me has actually seen any of it in the flesh yet as I haven't sold anything since I did it and that's probably just as well.

Why?  I'll tell you why.

If you read my previous post, you'll know that I spent a whole lot of Saturday in my neighbour's garden with my camera and jewellery collection comandeering her interesting rocks and plant life in the name of art.  That meant I had to remove all my carefully packaged creations from their packaging so that I could attempt to take arty, tasteful, beautiful photos.  That's where I hit the snag.  I had made all of my little cards fit so snugly in the organza bags that the little rascals really didn't want to come back out without a fight.  I figured this might not go down too well with customers.  I mean, you don't want to have to tussle with new additions to your crown jewels before they are even out of the wrapping, do you?  I know I sent a really stroppy letter to the manufacturer of a certain well known brand of electric tooth brush after I shredded my fingers and drew blood trying to liberate my new tooth brush from it's packaging. I don't want anyone else to suffer anything like that at my hands.

So I've been thinking, and it looks like the answer could really be quite simple.  With the aid of an ancient National Computing Centre flowchart template from my programming days and a sharp pair of scissors, my cards now have rounded corners instead of square and they don't snag on the seams of the organza bags any more. Woohoo! Result!


Simples!.....as a certain well known meercat is known to say.  So, that's one down.  Only 73 more to go.  :o)

Monday, 26 April 2010

How hard can it be to take a photo? - part 2 (I think)

OK, so Spring seems to have sprung and the sun is making an occasional appearance here, despite Icelandic volcanoes erupting and sending clouds of ash this way.

I've tried all sorts of indoor photography options, some more successful than others, and the suggestion of a day of sunshine at the weekend was enough to send me outdoors armed with my boxes of jewellery, assorted pieces of fabric and my camera to look for photographic inspiration.  My neighbour has some lovely stones she has brought back from her walking and climbing trips all over Scotland so I asked if I could borrow some of them to use as jewellery stands and backgrounds to enhance the appearance oof my creations.  She said "help yourself", so I did, to her entire garden. LOL!  Well she has some interesting plant life in her garden too.

Here are some of my previous, indoor photos for comparison:


I had tried all sorts of clever ideas that looked really good in magasine articles but in my hands, with my camera skills many of them were just awful.  So with the help of my neighbour's Corkscrew Hazel tree and some pieces of granite and quartz look-alikes I tried again.  Unfortunately, my idea of using a big aperture to get a fuzzy background backfired on me with the paleness of the quartz as it over-exposed the shots in the meagre amount of Scottish sunshine (!!!) and bleached everything out.  350 photos later I did manage to get some that I liked:

Corkscrew hazel:

Sadly, the following day it just rained and rained so I couldn't play with any other backgrounds. What do you think? Is it an improvement?  It doesn't work for everything and my well laid plans definitely went agley for the pale backgrounds.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Seeing the countryside by bicycle

Well, thanks to the Cycle To Work Scheme, I now have a shiny new bike.  It's like this one but in a pretty champagne colour:

Unlike my old one, this bike is better suited to cycling  on roads so it might make the Pedal for Scotland event slightly easier for me this year.  I got The Boy to take me to the shop with my helmet and all my gear so that I could cycle home.  I kept checking the clouds outside the shop to see whether the big black ones planned on taking the same route home as me.  It was certainly looking that way.  So, as I had a little extra money left on my voucher after paying for my bike I invested in a waterproof fleecy lined jacket to stow in my back pack.  Just in case.

I had decided to head from Herbie's in Broxburn up Station Road and all the way up to the entrance of Almondell Country Park.  I've cycled from home as far as the entrance to the park and back before so I knew it was do-able.  I'm never great for the first few miles.  It seems to take 3 or 4 miles for my lungs to realise they're supposed to be helping me by inhaling enough air to keep me going.  It didn't help that it's a long uphill drag from Broxburn to the entrance of the park but I got there, after a few stops for air.  :o)

It was a lovely ride home once my lungs kicked in.  It was always cloudy and those big black fluffy things in the sky followed me the whole way but at least it wasn't too windy.  I took a wrong turn in the park, doh!  It's not like I haven't been there before.  It wasn't a long detour before I got back on track but it was up a HUGE hill!  After my wee unplanned detour I stopped on the bridge over the Almond at Mid Calder to have a drink and call The Boy to let him know I was still alive.  The weir was in full flow:

You definitely woudlnt want to fall in there!  You'd be swept all the way to the sea and freeze to death in the process.

Miraculously, the rain stayed off until I was almost out of Livingston and then all I encountered was a half hearted attempt at hailstones.  I also managed to get home without ending up like the other cyclist I passed in Livi - he looked like he had black chicken pox all over from the muddy puddles.

So I got home and was amazed at how good I felt after cycling that far.  I didn't have my cycle computer on my bike so I can only guesstimate how far it was.   Given that it's 11 miles from home to the weir I think I probably cycled 14-15 miles.

The Boy has also convinced my totally non-sporty daughter to take part in the Pedal for Scotland event so she had her first outing on my old bike yesterday.  She did very well considering she hasn't cycled for 15 years.  She cycled 5 1/2 miles and walked the last 1 1/2.  She also managed to avoid having any major disasters but came home sporting a sticking plaster on her newly skinnned knee.  Practice makes perfect sweetheart so let's keep it up.