Friday, October 29, 2010

ring a ding ding

I love Etsy.  I love rings.  What better way to feed my addiction than with handmade beauties?

I've been so fortunate to meet some awesome and talented Etsians as I prepare to open my shop soon.  Love them all and love the fabulous finds I'm so happy to call my own!  Want to take a peek into my jewelry box?

From the lovely Jane of littlebugjewelry (  Rings featuring rock crystal, pink amethyst, labradorite, citrine, rainbow moonstone and garnet.  All on hammered bands.  Sparkly, shiny, gorgeous.

From the lovely Monica of Moon Over Maize (  Beautiful rainbow moonstone...look at that flash!

From the lovely Amy of ThirtySixTen (  Love the flash in the labradorite, the double twisted bands and crown bezel.

From the lovely Madelynn of Garnet Girl Designs (  This Rock Fetist ring is massive (3-4 carats)!  A beautiful emerald cut green amethyst.  Surprisingly lightweight but a gorgeous statement piece.

From the lovely Lara of Lara Lewis ( and  I've never seen Goshenite before but this 2 carat gem has a gorgeous sparkle, very silvery white.  Dainty yet sparkly!

Love them all, no?  I was trying to take pictures of my lovely necklace collection, too, but my camera battery died before I could do much.  I'll get to them soon!  Gotta show some love to my other obsession... :)  Stay tuned!

macro setting, where have you been all my life?

Today, I finally decided that it'd be a great idea to take some photos of the items I've made so I could put them into an album titled 'coming soon' on the Facebook page I made for my Etsy shop.  (Are you a fan yet?  You should be!)

I rushed to get everything set up before the sunlight disappeared and spent an hour just snapping random pics, figuring that something would look good.  I uploaded them later...and they were a mess!!  I was so disappointed and upset that I didn't have a better camera.

So, I did some research online and was really kicking myself for not having read my camera's manual way back when - now I'm not sure where I put it and the versions I found online only remind me that my model is already outdated.  But after playing around a little...I discovered...MACRO.  How did I not know about this all my life??  Granted, all the pics I ever take are random ones of me, my family, friends, animals at the zoo...but I always wondered why the pics of my crafts never looked great.  I just assumed it was that everyone must be using awesome and expensive cameras when really, it was my own fault for not exploring all the features my camera has to offer!  Go figure.

Now I'm actually excited to try taking some pics again with my newfound *magic* and hopefully, they'll come out looking great.  I'm not sure if the sunlight is doing it for me and I've noticed that the overhead lighting I have in the kitchen is pure white and true to natural light, so I might try snapping some pics under both conditions as an experiment and see which I like better.  I saw some instructions online on building your own light box using foam board, tissue paper, and lamps, but we'll see if I need to get so 'high tech.'  I just can't wait to take some pictures that are actually clear, sharp, and show off the lovelies I've created.  So even if I'm slow to arrive at the macro party that everyone's probably known about forever, I'm happy to be in the know FINALLY.

I am bummed, though, that I've taken so many blah customer appreciation photos for the lovely sellers I've purchased from and uploaded as part of my feedback for them.  If I had known about macro sooner, those pictures would've been a LOT better, plus I would've used webresizer to scale them down so they'd look awesome.  Etsy doesn't allow me to update those photos (which I wished it did because a few failed to upload properly and now my feedback has a blank photo attached to it, ugh).  I'm sorry fellow Etsians!  I truly love those items I purchased from you, even if I couldn't show you properly.  Good intentions, failed execution.  Total operator error - never jump to the conclusion to blame the machines, right?  It's usually the operator's fault.  I guess I've learned my lesson and I still owe some people customer appreciation photos for my newest purchases, so they will be awesome.

Here's a pic of my first attempt using macro tonight on a purchase I received in the mail today.  You have no idea just how excited I was that it came out so well.  I received this ring from the lovely Amy of ThirtySixTen on Etsy - double twisted band, crown setting, oxidized, 10mm high dome labradorite with a TON of flash...that I actually managed to capture with my little camera!

Gorgeous!  I can't wait to take pictures of my newest purchases from my lovely Etsy friends...and even go back and re-do some of the failed customer appreciation photos from before.  Even if I can't fix them on Etsy, at least I can pay proper thanks here, right?  Stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

welcome to the (common squirrel) monkey house

Growing up, I was never a huge fan of monkeys.  But since knowing my bf, his love for monkeys has rubbed off on me.  (What are the chances that he would've been born in the Year of the Monkey, Chinese zodiac style, too?)  Monkeys are so fun to watch!  Especially when they're running around and being playful.

My bf takes an annual trip for about a week in the fall to Arizona for Fall League, continuing on with his love of baseball.  I usually join him for the trip, or at least part of it, and this year, I went for a few days last week.  My friends think it's funny that the pictures from our trips are usually of baseball stadiums or zoos, but that's really mostly what we do!  Baseball obviously for him, and the zoos for me but I'm glad he's grown to love seeing the animals as much as I do.  We always have funny stories and sightings at every zoo we visit.

I'm not sure why I had never thought to look before but I checked out the Phoenix Zoo's website a few weeks prior and read about their amazing Common Squirrel Monkey Village exhibit.  Basically, it's an enclosure that you get to walk into (like an aviary) but the squirrel monkeys are running about freely and all around you--no barriers!!  I couldn't believe I didn't know this was there!  Needless to say, we knew we HAD to go and visit the zoo during this trip.

The exhibit didn't disappoint one bit!  My bf thought it would be an exhibit you walked into and the monkeys would be freely running but they'd be far away and you wouldn't be able to interact with them, but I was pretty sure (judging by my online research) that the monkeys would literally be right next to, above, and around you.  I was right!  We walked into the exhibit and there's a roped pathway but there were monkeys everywhere.  Running along the ropes, jumping from tree to tree...we got really close to some and the zoo workers just tell you to give them about 3 feet of space but you're free to walk around the exhibit and take photos, etc.  It was really amazing.

Although you're told not to touch or grab for the monkeys, I knew my bf really wished he could.  How could you not?  The squirrel monkeys are so little and with such cute faces.  It's sort of scary when they're jumping around the trees above your head--the branches swayed a lot, the leaves rustled, and there was such loud crashing when they launched themselves from tree to tree.  Sometimes it seemed like the branches might break or they'd slip and fall on you!  My bf found a tall bush that swayed a lot and when the monkeys were chasing each other, two of them jumped onto that bush and it nearly smacked him in the shoulder.  Secretly, I think he wished they'd miss or the bush would snap and they'd land on him, hehe.

We visited the exhibit twice during our afternoon there and I really didn't want to leave.  I was happy that they didn't hustle you out or you had to line up to walk through the exhibit, so we got to leisurely walk around, watch the monkeys, and take pictures.  We're planning a weekend trip to Arizona again in November and for sure, we're going to go and visit our monkey friends in the Monkey Village again!  If you find yourself in Phoenix anytime soon, go check them out, too!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

my parents = adorable

Have I ever mentioned how adorable my parents are?  If you needed evidence of this:

Monday, October 4, 2010


This is Lightning, isn't she so sweet?  She's a little kitty that started showing up at my bf's parents' house a few weeks ago.  His dad swore that the 2 cats they already have would be their last pets, but then this angelic face showed up and he was smitten.  Can you blame him? 

My bf and I tried to figure it out but we're pretty sure she's a girl.  She's super shy so no one has been able to get too close to her without her hiding around a corner or ducking out of the way, but she's really inquisitive and loves to eat - a girl after my own heart!  So we've been feeding her all sorts of goodies and she's getting bigger and bigger.  We aren't really sure where she goes sometimes but I think she's starting to feel more at home as she's chosen 'her spot' under a tree in front of the house to lie in and stay cool.  I still remember when she was so little and scared.  She's a lot friendlier now, and is willing to come closer to you, especially when it's feeding time!  Hee hee.  I often find her at night just waiting on the doorstep, staring at me with her big green eyes.  She's still a bit too shy to come into the house, but I got her to at least sit in the doorway.  I snuck in a little petting when I fed her last weekend when we were there, but she wasn't too pleased, oops.  Maybe one day!

I loved Lightning so much that I just had to re-create her into plushie form, complete with her big green eyes and the little patch of white fur on her chest.

I thought she came out great!  After I made her, it happened to be close to my bf's dad's birthday so I made another one to gift to him since he loves this little kitten so much.  It was great to give a handmade gift that went over so well! :)

And yes, I'm planning to offer Lightning in my shop so you can have your own Lightning plushie, too!  I have a LOT of plushies to work on - my goal is still to try to open by mid-month.  Lots of work to do but I appreciate everyone's patience and I know I'm excited.  I hope you are, too :D