Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday Promotion!! Free ACEO bug print...

It took mere nanoseconds of being online this morning to realize that today, everyone with an online shop is having special promotions! It IS "Cyber-Monday" after all- apparently the biggest online shopping day of the year!
In honor of Cyber Monday, I decided I'd start my December promotion today. A little early. Cause that's the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it.

Starting today, and for the month of December, you will receive a FREE print (of your choice) of one of my "30 Bugs in 30 Days" ACEOs with ANY order from my online gallery shop!! :)

Here's how to get your free insect ACEO print:
  1. Go to my online gallery shop and place some goodies into your cart...
  2. In a new tab or window in your browser, go to my flickr "30 Bugs in 30 Days" set of pictures (links are also available in my shop) and decide which of the 30 bugs is your favorite!
  3. When you go to PayPal to check out, write the name and/or number of your favorite ACEO bug choice in the "Notes to Merchant" section. (If you can't find the "Notes to Merchant" link, you can also email me the details of the bug you'd like to add to your order.) If you'd like a specific color for the border of your image, please specify this as well!
The size of the print you will receive is 5" x 7", an easy-to-find standard frame size. The insect ACEO printed graphic will be the standard ACEO size of 2.5" x 3.5". It will have a colored border around it (color will be chosen from something in the image, unless you specify a color you'd prefer), which will make for easy framing and you won't need a mat! You can also cut down the image to 4"x6" or smaller if you like.

Here is an example:

Happy Shopping!**

(** note: I do realize that I'm making a promotion post immediately following a post about shopping/too much stuff/consumerism etc. However, I happily and enthusiastically promote shopping handmade and/or eco-friendly.) :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Story of Shi... Stuff.

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, that means Lemming Friday is right around the corner... and it's the perfect time to share a wonderful and informative video about STUFF!

Think twice before you buy- do you really *need* that item? Is there a more eco-friendly or handmade alternative available?

(Here's a great teaser video about great bargains!)

And for the whole fabulous movie, visit this site:

It's a little long but very, very worthwhile and interesting.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Basics of How to Make Prints (Part 1)

Online or at various art shows, I'm surprised by the number of artists who ask me, "How do you make your prints?" Coming from a Graphic Design background in college, I've done it for so long now that I take it for granted!
Since it's such a common question, I thought I'd make a blog post (or, two) about it. Hopefully other artists out in the Wide World of Internets will somehow stumble upon this post and find it useful.

(This post is about making digital prints from a computer, as I'm definitely not educated in the other traditional methods of printmaking. I'm also assuming if you're going to a pro to have it done, they'll know what file type to save it as- and if you're doing it yourself, you're computer savvy enough to know about different file formats.)

*** If you've got questions after reading this, feel free to ask them in the comments section after this post or email me. ***

There are 2 main steps in creating a print from your original artwork:
#1. Obtaining the image capture as a digital file.
#2. Printing said file.

The methods of doing these two things and all of the in-between is where you really get into the nitty-gritty.

Since this will be a little long, I'll make it a two-parter. This, part one, will focus on the
There are a number of ways to get an image of your art onto the computer.

If you're not computer savvy...
The easiest way for those who are not computer-savvy is to take your artwork to a business who specializes in this very thing. You'll have to check your local (or in some cases, not so local) listings to find a place. For example, the best place I've found is about an hour and a half away: "American Art Associates" in Annapolis, MD. Most printmakers will do an image capture for you: You bring in your art and they essentially put it on an easel and take a very high resolution photo of your image. Their lenses and equipment eliminate glares and shadows. They put the picture onto their computer, adjust the color if necessary, do whatever other magic they do (I've never been part of this process) and save it. From there you can have them make prints for you, or you can ask them to save it on a disk for you for later use.

Pros of taking your art to a printmaking business for capturing the image and making prints:
1. These guys (and gals) do this for a living. This is what they get paid to do. If you're going to a reputable place, you can tell them what you want, sit back and relax, and they'll handle it AND make sure it looks great!
2. It's a lot easier than doing it yourself, aaannnnnd....
3. Much less time consuming than doing it yourself.

Cons of having a printmaker capture the image for you:
1. It can be expensive (depending on what your idea of expensive is...). An image capture of a large (over 11"x14") artwork, from my experience, can run $50 to $100 - maybe more. But since doing it yourself can be quite time consuming, having a professional capture an image of a large/difficult to photograph artwork is often well worth every penny.

Or try a little DIY.
If you are computer savvy and have some graphics software (Paint-Shop-Pro, PhotoShop, a myriad of others), you can try doing it yourself.
You can buy a scanner (they're pretty affordable, $100 and up) and scanning software (which should come with the scanner), lay your art on the scanner, scan it & import the image into the computer, and then save the file.

Pros of scanning it yourself:
1. After purchasing a scanner, it's basically free.
2. No driving around or making appointments- do it at your leisure.
3. If the artwork is 8"x10" or smaller and not glossy, it's a fairly simple and straightforward process. Lay it on the scanner. Open your scanning software. Scan it in. Piece of cake. (You can even eat a piece of cake as your scanner imports the image.)

Cons of scanning it yourself:
1. It can take up a lot of time. So even though the process is free, is it worth your time to sit and fool around with it?
2. If you've used glossy paint.... forget it. If your paint has any gloss to it at all, the light from the scanner is going to reflect off that and make white highlights. No good. And no simple way (that I know of) to fix it.
3. Large pieces can be a huge pain in the ass and take a very long time. When I have finished a 16"x20" painting (which is not that big), it takes me at least 4 scans to scan it in. Most scanner beds are about 9"x 11". Even an 11"x14" artwork will take about 4 scans to piece everything together all nice and neat.
Oh, and that whole "piecing together" process? That can take HOURS. And you need good graphics software to do it, too. Sometimes the colors in each scan might vary slightly. Sometimes you get shadows along a gutter (where your painting overlaps the edge of the scanner bed). Sometimes you've laid your artwork down slightly off from a 90-degree angle, so you might have to do a little rotating to get it to fit. The larger your artwork, the more scans you have to do, the more opportunities for unwanted shadows, rotations, overlaps, etc. It ends up being almost like putting together a puzzle.
(I scan most of mine myself because I'm cheap like that, and since my favorite place is an hour and a half away, I have to do a bit of planning to allow myself time to drive over there. Plus gas money of course, blech. Again, I'm cheap.... When I can afford to be. Meaning that if I've got an painting that is huge, I'll gladly pay to have it done. I'll emphasize again that it is worth every penny.)

UPDATE: I've now created a post about how I scan in my paintings! It's here:

Some artists have mentioned using a digital camera and taking a very high-resolution photo of their artwork themselves. You can try this if you've got a nice digital camera and, again, a little bit of graphics software. Be sure to *not* put your artwork in direct sun- it will be too bright and have much to much glare. Ideally, you want a bright but overcast day- or, if it's sunny, you want the art to be out of direct sunlight but in a bright place. No shadows.
Pros of using your own digital camera:
1. None of that scanning/piecing together business if you've got a particularly large painting or drawing. Woo hoo!
2. If you're out of the sun, no worries about glossy paint or shadows.
3. Affordable... obviously. (Unless you go buy a very expensive new camera!)

Cons of using a digital camera:
1. If you've got a very large painting, you're going to need to take a photo at very VERY high resolution to make large prints from the painting.
2. Wobble? You might need to use a tripod to take the best photo possible.
I've tried the digital camera method- admittedly my camera is almost 10 years old. I took photos of some paintings but the largest I seemed to be able to print them and make them look good was only about 8"x10". I'm by no means an expert on this method and I'm sure digital cameras have come a long way in the last decade!! If you've already got a camera and some software, you might as well give this method a shot and play around with it, decide for yourself- it couldn't hurt.

Okay, so by this point you have your image saved as a file. Now what?... See Part 2 :)
Coming soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last Featured Bug Shop: Honeybee Crochet!

Last (but NOT least!) in my list of featured Etsy Buggy shops this week is:

HoneyBee Crochet,
AKA SturmDM on Etsy!

Honeybee Crochet is a very special bug shop because, while her entire shop doesn't *just* consist of bugs (she has a wide variety of items and subject matter!), she does HELP bugs with her crochet! Specifically, she helps honeybees! She donates proceeds from some of her crochet work to honeybee research.

She has a whole section in her shop with one-of-a-kind freehand bees! They are designs she's made up herself without a pattern!

Here are some of Doris's beautiful handmade bees:

BEE green, shop handmade this holiday season! :)

Also, BEE sure to check out her blog here- she ALWAYS has fun stuff to share!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Featured Bug Shop #2: "Buggy Kids"

To continue with our theme of "Bug Week!" this week featuring wonderful handmade things from Etsy, I bring to you shop #2:

"Buggy Kids!"
Inspire a love of nature and bugs at a very, very early age-
her items are great for babies and toddlers! :)

These items for babies are truly unique and one of a kind!

The pillows have a soft, fluffy fabric on the back. Click on them to see the listing for more information!

Personalized initial onesie

She has great items in her shop and accepts custom orders, too!
Her official Grand Opening is coming soon- so check back often as she adds more crawly buggy items!

To see what she has on hand, check out her Flickr page:

Enjoy and happy shopping!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Bug Week!!

Since I recently did a post about some ways to have a green Christmas, and suggested shopping for handmade items (with the website Etsy being a great place to start)... This week I've decided to showcase some of my favorite shops on Etsy that feature...

The first shop I'm featuring is...
"Mutant Caterpillar!"

The caterpillars are SUPER cute, and are all sewn by hand!

This photograph makes me smile sooooo much!

You can check out the artist's other website here, where most of her projects can be seen:
And her blog here:

Be sure to click the links above, or go here, and check out her shop to find yourself a brand new fuzzy friend!

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Etsy Treasury Fun!

I found out today that the wonderful Ms. Elizabeth Graf of Etsy has included my "Busy, Busy Bees" in her beautiful treasury! (Alongside some very pretty items- how flattering!) :)

In other exciting news, I've sold some more framed artwork from my Imagekind gallery! The great thing about the store at Imagekind is that you can buy printed artwork, already framed, at a very good price... Check it out :)

Wishing everyone a happy weekend full of bugs and hugs! (Or just bug artwork if you're not a fan of being around the real ones.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I've moooved!

My online shop, that is! :)

You can see it here:

The great things about this are #1 buying is easier AND #2 I am able to offer much more variety!

You don't even need to create an account, you just need a credit card- the same as with your other online shopping. My online gallery shop is a lot easier and more user friendly than ImageKind seemed to be- as I was told more than once by customers that it was too confusing (they emailed me to place the order instead, which was also fine).

I've still got my Etsy shop for now, but on my website you will find a lot more variety in sizes and artwork that I don't have available on Etsy.
They will all print on demand for you when you order, and be signed by me before they ship. I'm SO excited about my new shop!

Within the next week I plan to add the capability to purchase original artwork directly from my site, too.

I'll be out of town a few days, so I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas......

Even though I respect the turkey and generally dislike the idea of putting up Christmas/Holiday/Winter themed decorations BEFORE Thanksgiving, you can't help but have it on your mind as your mailbox starts to flood with catalogs, stores are playing Christmas music incessantly, Victoria's Secret starts showing countless ads on TV again....
With all the consumption and commercialization surrounding Christmas, it's easy to be tempted to drop a small fortune on decor and gifts! So what's a person to do if you're trying to be more green??

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to post some ideas focusing on how to make your Christmas (and other holidays) more green, as there are plenty of ways you can go about it.

For starters, Home Depot is advertising something wonderful (which I posted last week on my Facebook page):
The Christmas Light Trade-In!!

Bring in your old used/broken Christmas light strands and get $3 back toward the purchase of new eco-friendly LED Christmas Light Strands! LED lights use much less energy than the traditional bulbs, so you'll save money on your electric bill. They also last up to 10 times as long as traditional bulbs, too, so you'll stretch your money even further!

Another thing you can do, as the catalogs start piling up in the recycle bin- is to call the companies who are sending them and request to be removed from their mailing list (unless you regularly order from them). A lot of companies share names and once you're subscribed to one, you end up getting 5 affiliate catalogs as well. (As a plus side to this, often when you call to unsubscribe from one, they will take you off the shared list- but it's hard to know exactly who shares with who.)

One last tip for today is to look for handmade gifts and decor, rather than mass-produced. Many towns and cities have gift shops where local artists sell their one-of-a-kind handmade items, so see if you can find one! And if you prefer to shop online (like me), try Etsy! They have just about everything you could ever want. To get even greener, try the Shop Local option and your item won't have to travel as far to get to you! You'll be surprised at how many local handmade goods you can find!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Etsy Treasury!

I created an Etsy Treasury this Friday afternoon!
Here you can see some great examples of the variety of items on Etsy :)
I know this treasury will be a hit because it has "vampire" in its name... hehe!

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Clyde Peeling's Reptiland part 3

Not yet the final post in my Reptiland series, but here are some photos of frogs that we saw there. It was such a cool little place, and like I said in another post- it was big enough to have a lot of variety, but small enough to not feel overwhelmed so that you could really take your time and study every little guy you could find!!