Monday, June 25, 2007

In progress... Tiny Puzzle Ball

I'm curious to see just how tiny I can make one of my Puzzle Balls. So, with the thought of getting ready for what I hope will be a busy Christmas season for my Etsy shop, I started this one today. I took a picture of the first section as I was stuffing it:

Friday, June 22, 2007


I made it into a treasury! I think this is my third one, but I didn't get a screen cap of the others. My electric guitar buttons are featured (they're in the first picture in my previous post, "Pushing My Buttons"). Here's the link:

"Rock My World" Etsy Treasury

And here's the screencap:

I'm also an alternate for another one...which means I won't have my item displayed in it until something else in it is sold. I'm not sure which of the items from my shop they've picked for this one. I have some puzzle balls with red, and a teddy bear with red hearts, and a couple of photos that might qualify. I'm hoping I make it into this one so I'll know what they picked! Here's the link to that one:

Red Hot Etsy Treasury

Thursday, June 21, 2007

American Idol ...Old Style

I just posted this 1 inch button I made from a recycled magazine picture from the 1940's. At the time I made it I was watching American Idol as it was counting down to the final...hence the name!

I've got lots more of these vintage buttons yet to list, but I'm trying to spread them out. I usually list these as pin-back buttons, but I can always glue a magnet to the back of it if the buyer prefers that. I don't want to do that to start with, though, since these are one of a kind. I'd hate to have one fixed up with a magnet and find out somebody really liked it but wanted a pin, instead...kinda hard to "un-glue" that magnet, don'tcha know?! But when it comes to my cats, which are my original photographs, or photography-related stuff (which I have a LOT of), I can always make more that are similar, so I've been making some up as magnets and thumb tacks, too.

Oh! I almost forgot...I made a sale today! But I'll tell you about that next time....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Dad's Cameras

A few posts back I mentioned my dad and all the pictures he took of my family when I was a kid. As Father's Day approached this year I wanted to make something special for him. I'd been combing through all my old photography magazines I'd collected, looking for small images of cameras and other paraphenalia that I could use to make buttons, magnets and thumb tacks for my etsy site. So I went digging again to see if I could find the cameras Dad used.

I found them.

A beautiful full page ad for the Yashica 44.

A smaller image of the Leicaflex SLR and an even smaller one of the Miranda G from old annual buyer's guides included in the magazines.

Not wanting to take a chance on ruining my only copies of these images during the construction of my projects, I opted to scan these into my computer, tweak the brightness and contrast and sharpen them up a bit. Then I used printouts of them instead of the originals.

For each camera, I carefully cut out the entire image, leaving only the camera itself and no background. I glued these to green cardstock and cut mats for each out of black matboard. The Yashica 44, matted, is 5 x 7 inches and each of the others are the standard ACEO size of 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, like others I've posted on my Etsy site.

I had called Dad to warn him that his Father's Day present would be arriving late, but he said he didn't mind. We've been spreading out our holidays lately, making them last a long time after letting the dates slip up on us too late for gifts and cards to arrive on time. Mom was the one who always remembered such things and since her death a little over a year ago the rest of us have been trying to play catch-up. Oh, makes those special occasions last a little longer.

I finally mailed these today.

I hope he likes them. I think he will.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Teddy Bears

These are my teddy bears. The brown one in the middle is the original "Sympathy Bear".

I started making these years ago when my daughter was about three years old. I used the scraps from clothing I'd made for myself and stitched this bear by hand. When I presented it to her, she oohed and ahhed and hugged it to herself immediately. I asked her what she wanted to name her bear and she said, "Sympathy". I didn't realize she even knew the word, but it seemed appropriate.

Lots of kids have Security Blankets, but mine had a "Sympathy Bear".

Soon after that, I received an invitation to yet another baby shower for a friend from my church. I knew I couldn't afford to keep buying gifts for all the young families having babies in our little town, so I decided to make a bear instead, hoping that the fact that it was hand-stitched with love would make up for what my budget lacked.

I don't have a picture of that bear, but it was made of pink jersey knit with a bit of lace trim around it's neck for a collar instead of a ribbon. When it was opened at the baby shower it was greeted with enthusiasm and amazement as it was passed around for all to see. I heard lots of comments like "Did you sew this hand?!" and "Wow, I didn't know you could do that!" I didn't know I could do that, either, until I tried!

Since then I have made many bears, some my own design, some custom orders. One friend of mine had sewed all her curtains, bumper pads, etc. for her nursery. Then she gave me the scraps of fabric so I could make a bear to match. My cousin's twin baby boy and girl got matching bears, one pink, one blue. For my niece, who loves cats, I altered the shape of the ears and added a tail to make her a cat by this pattern. Recently, a friend ordered graduation bears in school colors to give to students...those you can see in the "sold" items in my Etsy shop.

Some bears have faces, some do not. But it's always interesting when I'm sewing the bear's face because it seems to take on it's own personality. Each one is a little different. Some are boys and some I make into girls by adding eyelashes. I've even made some with just a straight line with lashes brushing down...because she's sleeping!

I decided to sew the faces on these bears rather than using plastic eyes or noses because I think they're better for babies that hard pieces to bump them. And they can also be tossed into the washing machine when necessary, because with little ones, they'll always need washing. That makes them good for kids with allergies, too.

By they way, all the bears in this picture can be found in my etsy shop, except for the original "Sympathy Bear" and the blue denim one, dubbed "Charlie"...the ribbon around his neck is tied like a necktie instead of a bow. He seemed to like it that way.

Some bears are seasonal, too. The Sweetheart Bear in the photo above was made as Valentine's Day approached. I've made red and green bears with Christmas ribbons. And I have some red, white and blue fireworks print fabric I may use for a 4th of July bear this year. Or maybe I'll use that remnant of deep brown ultrasuede for soft, snuggly brown bear.

You never know what I'll make next, so stay tuned...!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Puzzle Ball Finished!

I finally finished the puzzle ball I've been working on!

This one is slightly smaller than the Christmas ornament balls I have posted on my etsy site. (I'll probably try making them even smaller...just to see if I can!) It matches a medium sized ball in my shop...maybe someone will buy the pair of them! They'd make great gifts for a new baby with an older brother or sister!

That's actually what I did with these originally. I started sewing my teddy bears to give as baby gifts and I'd make a puzzle ball to match for the big brother or big sister, so they would feel special, too.

Here's the new puzzle ball:

I just realized I haven't posted anything here about my teddy bears! I guess I'll make that the next entry...but I've gotta take some new pictures of the bears first. Check back soon to see them!

Monday, June 11, 2007


The puzzle ball is still in progress, but I hope to finish it today.

I got distracted making some new ACEO's that I had a lot of fun with. I've printed out lots of my photographs in tiny sizes so I can make more soon. Here's what I've added to my etsy site:

Here are two others I made, too. I've given these to a couple of friends of mine, but I'll probably make some similar ones to post on etsy, too:

And here's another one that's not listed on etsy yet, but will be soon:

Now if I can keep from getting distracted by ACEO possibilities, I'll get that puzzle ball finished!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

In progress....

I've been working on a new puzzle ball and I thought I'd share a few pictures of the work in progress. I should be able to finish it sometime this evening and post the finished product tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Camera Buttons

I grew up in a family of photographers. Some of my earliest memories include gathering with the whole family in a corner of the living room near the largest expanse of blank white wall to watch a slide show presented by my father. Dad had an old Argus slide projector...the kind with a flat round plate with slots for the loaded one in the top, rotated the plate until the slide was in its proper place, then take out the old one. One by one, we'd see the whole show. And in the blank spaces when he was searching for a particular slide or fixing one that was upside down my brother and I would jump up and start our shadow-animals show while everybody waited.

One of the cameras Dad used often was a Yashica 44 twin lens camera that used 127 format film. Later it was a Miranda G outfit with three lenses and then Leicaflex, the first SLR ever produced by Leitz. I learned photography using that old Miranda G and I still have it. The Leicaflex I sold years ago (with Dad's permission) to get my first Martin guitar, but I'll save the guitar stories for another day. I started to really get interested in vintage cameras when I began researching that Miranda camera, wondering if I might find more lenses to go with it.

I started browsing camera shows when I lived in Ft. Worth, TX, talking to photographers at the campus print shop where I worked and became thoroughly fascinated. If you knew the features of a particular camera, understood how it worked, and could find the film it used, you could take it out and get beautiful pictures with it, just like when it was new.

Working without a light meter forced you to be more aware of the light and how it played on the subject. When I entered a room where I knew I wanted to shoot some candids of people, I would take a small hand-held light meter from the back pocket of my jeans and take a reading off my hand in the shadowy corners and in the brightest part of the room. Then I knew the effective range of shutter speeds and apertures I could use. I would watch for the changes in lighting and shoot without having to refer to light meter again all evening and was generally pleased with the results. Of course, I could've gotten a new camera with a light meter built in, maybe even with autofocus...but where's the challenge in that?

To honor this heritage of photographers and the great old cameras they used, I've been making buttons with images of classic cameras recycled from photography magazines I've collected. Some are listed for sale in my etsy shop, and I have lots more I haven't gotten around to listing yet. (I've also made some ACEO's with them, but you'll have to see a previous entry for those.) Here are a few of my favorites. (If you don't see your favorite classic camera here, leave me a comment and tell me what you're looking for...chances are, I've got it here somewhere!).....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Pushing My Buttons

I just love this little button machine! Everywhere I look I see little one inch circles of art and come up with new things to do with them. Pin-back buttons, button magnets, thumb tacks, you name it. Here are some I listed on my etsy site this weekend:

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dancing With the Stars, Etc.

I decided to try my hand with the ACEOs I see listed on Etsy. Art Cards Editions and Originals, they say it stands for, although if they're traded and not sold they're Artist Trading Cards or ATCs. Apparently the only rule is that they have to be 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size.

Since I've been wading through lots of small images from vintage magazines I've been using to make my 1 inch buttons, I thought some of those would be worthy of showcasing on their on ACEOs. I got out my hand-held mat cutter, made some tiny measurements, and here's what I came up with*:

I've been making a lot of 1 inch buttons using small images of classic cameras from old photography magazines I've collected and I thought I'd use some of those, too:

It's a challenge cutting tiny little beveled cuts that are only 1 or two inches in a piece of matboard that's only 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size...but then, I love a challenge!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Wholesale Order Delivered

I've heard that Blogger is a bit more flexible than some other options, so I thought I'd start this to talk about what I'm making and posting on my etsy site and see what happens.

I just heard from the buyer of my first wholesale order and she said my package arrived safely and she loves it! I sent her two puzzle balls and 30 of my button magnets. Here are the puzzle balls I sent to her.

She's gonna see what kind of interest they get in her shop, but since she really likes them, I think they'll sell. I'd better get busy making more. I'll take some pictures of the one I'm working on now and try to remember to post pictures of my projects in progress.

Another idea I've been working on is for ACEO's, but I'll save that for another post.