Saturday, May 29, 2010

Etsy Scrapbook Site of the Week- Heirlooms by Lorraine

Here's a site on Etsy that sells really cut and grungy premade scrapbooks.
 I love her boy themed album (maybe cuz I've been making boy albums for the past 11 years for my little guy!)

Or check out her Family album:
 Back in the old days I used to scrap this way, but the digi bug hit me and I haven't gone back, but I can still admire a great paper scrapper when I see her!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Etsy Gone Wild Site of the Week- RatBoygirl

OK, I like snails, to eat and otherwise, so that's why I chose this week's Etsy Gone Wild site:

I'm really lovin' the snail- so cute and so handy- it's a little locket!!

Check out some other wild items in this shop:

 Beetle ear gauges,  So shiny!

Or these ear gauges:

Or these birdy skulls:

But the most "out there" piece is the anatomically correct sacred heart:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week- Eliyasek

I really love the unusual designs and techniques of the shop Eliyasek:

Lots of sea-themed pieces, and since I am currently working on my own "under the sea" piece, I am drawn to her jewelry.  Check out this jellyfish:

Or this starfish.  What looks like glittering gems is really just the bright silver below the oxidized layer.

I want to swim in the ocean with the critters!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gemstone of the Week- Pretty Prehnite

Prehnite might  not be the first gem one thinks about when conjuring up a pale green pretty, but prehnite, in my opinion,is right up there with peridot, emerald, or jade.  Prehnite, first found in South Africa,  was the first mineral to be named after a person ( Hendrik von Prehn, a Dutch mineralogist and  governor of the Cape of Good Hope colony).  It is a silicate mineral, hardness of 6-6.5, making it a good candidate for jewelry.  Its milky lustrousness, translucency, affordability, and pretty color are making it more popular in jewelry, especially handcrafted pieces.  One notable feature about prehnite that would distinguish it from peridot or other similarly colored gems is that prehnite has dark inclusions in it.  Prehnite is available in all sorts of beads, faceted beads being the most lovely to my eye.  To celebrate prehnite, I created an Etsy Treasury:
Pretty Prehnite Treasury

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Etsy Gone Wild Site of the Week

Sometimes artisans/crafters take themselves too seriously.  Well, not Gary, aka 8088Design.  Check him out at:

Recently there's been a lot of buzz on the Etsy forums because he started a very funny post:
8088Design's post starter

We all know that GREAT jewelry can take the breath away, but that would be an understatement for his awesome statement necklaces and headpieces.   I love the mixed media approach he takes to jewelry- a little of this a little of that, all from his ex's box of goodies in the garage.  He truly is a master.  And such a man of words!!!  The descriptions of his works evoke the loneliness and despair of his recent divorce and the endless whining of his son and model, Kevin (who, unfortunately we get to see a little too much of in this shot.)

  Oh well, art is not easy, is it? 

Check out his "other" shop too:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week- Priya Inspirations

I love the wire-wrapped fabuliciousness of the folks at
Priya Inspirations

OMG I have always wanted to wrap like that but the best I could ever do is wrap an ammonite fossil in  silver wire- nothing fancy but it felt like I was all thumbs!  And the stones they use are so amazing- tourmaline,  quartz, moldavite (whatever that is, but I love the look!), sapphires, you name the gem they have it!!  The earth science teacher in me (and that's my day job) just gets all mushy seeing all those lovely minerals!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tutorial of the Week- How to Edit Photos for Etsy Using Photoshop Elements

My first time uploading pics at Etsy was a learning experience because I really couldn't find anything that told me exactly what to do.  There were lots of competing and contradictory information from various sellers and Etsy itself.   I am a pro at using Photoshop Elements, and that is what I use to edit all my photos and create my digital art.  But nowhere did I find info on how to edit the photos to Etsy's specs.  So I experimented, and still am experimenting with the best way to get decent photos on Etsy.  This is NOT a tutorial on how to take great photos;  there are plenty of other tutorials on that.  This is more about once you've taken the photos and downloaded them into the computer and prepare to upload them to Etsy.  I am familiar with Photoshop Elements, so this is a post on how to use that program.  I am sure there are other programs that do similar, so some take-homes might apply here even if you do not use Photoshop Elements.  OK, now on to the tutorial.

1. Get your photo up on the Photoshop edit screen.  We will assume for ease that the photo is already a great photo, no blurriness, good background, no blemishes, etc.  It only needs to be resized, reshaped, and lighting features adjusted.
2. Click on the crop symbol.

3. At the top black bar,  use the drop down menu for "Aspect Ratio" to 5x5 (this will give you a perfect square that Etsy likes).

4. Go to photo and crop out a square.  You can drag the square around as needed.

5. Click the green check for OK.
6. At the top bar menu click on Image --> resize --->image size.

7. Resize to 1000 px x 1000 px. (Etsy's recommended size).

8.  Most photos need only some lighting adjustments, so on top bar menu, go to Enhance --> lighting --> shadows/highlights.

9. When you get to the shadows window, it will automatically increase light by 25%. If that looks good click OK.

10. Go to Enhance --> lighting --> brightness/contrast.

When you get to the brightness/contrast window, slide the brightness tab until you get an appealing brightness.  Do the same for contrast.  You will probably NOT need to change the contrast too much.

11. Go to top bar menu, click File--> Save for Web.

12. When you get to the Save for Web window, click for JPEG  (if not already on it), then drop down to "medium."  Leave everything else as is.

13. Click OK.

Now you have a great photo Etsy-ready!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Etsy Scrapbook Site of the Week

has some great scrapbooks in her shop.  They all kinda funky, kinda cool, perfect for gift giving and just'cuz.  Check 'em out on Etsy.

Etsy Gone Wild Site of the Week

Gotta have a sense of humor in this world! And Quickstop711 certainly has one. 


I can't decide whether my favorite is the grasshopper hairband (above) or the cherry pie ring:

Or maybe it's the manta ray ribbon:

But then again, the toast and toaster earrings and necklace could come in handy when I'm hungry:

Well, I think I've decided.  Hands down for the grasshopper headband!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week

I found this lovely and unique shop in my Etsy surfing:

Charmed by Jessica

The little scenes are soooo cute and mysterious too.
This one is called "Bees Knees"- check it out:

Or this one: "Hey Diddle Diddle"

It's great to find a shop like this that makes great art and has a sense of play!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gemstone of the Week- Take a Tour With Tourmaline

Tourmaline is perhaps my favorite gem, too bad I don't use it that much, maybe that's because it's so costly.  Or I just hoard it waiting to find that perfect piece to place it in.  What do I love about it?  Well, first, it's so versatile, coming in many colors.  In fact, many strand of tourmaline are strung with beads of all the color varieties, so you can create a continuum of color.

Some interesting facts and trivia about tourmaline:

  • its crystal structure is a three sided prism (the only common mineral to be so)
  • in the US tourmaline can be found in California and Maine primarily (a truly bi-coastal gem!)
  • is pyroelectric (give off electric charge during temperature change)
  • is peizoelectric (gives off electric charge under pressure)
  • was used to clean ash out of pipes (due to its tendency to have an electric charge, thus dust and ash would cling to it)
See my Treasury on Etsy "Take a Tour With Tourmaline" at

Friday, May 7, 2010

Digital Scrapbookers Drool-Worthy Site

I love the folks at:
Scrapbook Graphics

Their digital kits keep me coming back for more.  I keep saying to myself,  "OK, Addie, not this time," but I break down anyway.   Well,  I rationalize it as they are not very expensive to begin with, so it can't be too bad, right?  Well, I think I'm about up to 20 kits from them at last count....Oh, well, you do the math.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Etsy Scrapbook Site of the Week

Here's a scrapper after my own heart:

I really love the house shaped scrapbook.

And here out the inside pages.  It's all very cute and perfect for mom:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week

I found this little gem of a shop- amazing!  Really cool tableaux rings in clay and resin.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Great metalworking site

Here is a great website to find various and sundry metalworking tools and supplies: Fundametals:

If you are in the market for a FlexShaft their $200 jewelers kit can't be beat. Plus the folks there are really sweet- Jeanette Blix is a consummate pro and is there to help you in all ways.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Etsy Gone Wild Item of the Week

Check out this steampunk meets goth meets horror movie Brain Snax pin )or it could be a monitor lurker...) whatever that is... But anyway it's real cool , and real weird, and just what I like to see once in a while!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Today's Tutorial

How to make a crescent roll bead

I love these beads- they are easy to make, easy to embellish and alter, and look really great as a focal piece on a necklace.

Materials:  sheet metal of your choice (24-30 gauge), sheet metal shears, hammer, dowel or wide knitting needle, drill or flex-shaft, drill bit, sanding and buffing tools, paper, or flex-shaft attachments, sterling silver or copper wire, about 1 foot of 24 or 26 ga, assorted small beads, metal or gemstones, pliers

1. Cut an equilateral triangular piece of metal with the shears about 6 inches long by 1-2 inches wide at the base.  The longer the base, the wider the bead will be.
2. If you would like a deckled edge and a textured surface, use a hammer to flatten the edges and create texture in the main body of the triabnle.  You can also use chasing tools, screwdrivers, or other pointy tools to hammer out some texture in the metal.  If you would prefer a clean edge and smooth metal, then leave as is.
3. Smooth out rough edges using sand paper of increasing fineness, or use rotary tool attachments.
4. Place triangle on a wooden surface and drill a few holes in a random pattern.  Sand off sharp edges.
5. Place the wide base of the metal triangle on a dowel or large knitting needle. Begin rolling the metal on the cylinder, trying to keep the metal centered and tightly rolled.
6. Slide off the dowel and get a foot of 24 or 26 gauge wire.  Insert the wire through one of the holes you drilled in the metal sheet.  Leave a 2-inch tail on the inside.
7. Thread some random beads on the wire, then insert the wire through another hole towards the inside of the bead, then pull it back through to the outside and add more beads.  Continue this way until you get a pleasing mixture of beads and wire.  Lease a 2-3 inch tail.
8. Pull the tail to the inside and twist with the tail from the beginning of the wire.  Push to the side of the tube of the bead and press it flat.
9. Using flat pliers, tighten the wire a few times on the outside by grasping a bit of wire in the pliers and twisting 90 degrees.
10. String onto a leather  or silk cord, or add it as a focal piece of a bead strand.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gemstone of the Week- Aventurine

I love green aventurine.  There's a certain luminous quality to it that is not usually present in opaque stones. Some say there is a glint of gold, but I think it just has fairy dust in it!  I love it so much that it is probably the bead I use the most.  The fact that it is also very affordable helps too!  I made an Etsy Treasury East collection that links below:

So what is this stone?  It's actually a variety of quartz chalcedony, so it's chemical composition is silicon dioxide.  Technically it is a rock, not a mineral, with a hardness around 6.5, which makes it strong in jewelry applications.  Aventurine has small inclusions in it, usually mica, that give it that glimmer called aventurescence.  The man-made goldstone is thought to be an imitation of natural aventurine, when Italian glassmakers dropped copper shavings into molten glass "a ventura" ("by chance"). IMHO, the real thing looks much nicer.  Most aventurine comes from India.