For anyone that isn’t a spinner that needs to wash out skeins after they are finished being spun, who like me, waits until I have a bunch [or a couple dozen] of them to do all together and make the effort worth the time, you can take a pass on this blog if you want…
For anyone who is, please read on… I got a brilliant light bulb moment back about 6 months ago and finally tested my theory out the whole way and I have to say it saved me a ton of stress and angst. I use the washing machine, fill it with hot soapy water, soak them awhile, spin them out, add a bit of vinegar to the rinse water, soak again, spin out again and then hang them to dry. While they are all going through that washing, rinsing, being all wet cycle, my paper tags can’t stay with each skein and then I lose track of what each one is and yardages on each, etc. Memory like a sieve most days, some of you have to hear me on this…
anyway, brilliant idea came about when I realized there were a pile of bread tags in a dish that we had been saving for some reason no one could remember and I was going to toss them out when I happened upon the idea of using them as ID tags for my skeins.
I picked out the white tags with no printing on them and with a sharpie marker I started labelling them “A, B, C, D, …” and so on until I got to R [ran out of tags at that point], then I grabbed hinged ring to keep them all together and neat while not in use. All I needed was a notebook and I started ID’ing my skeins and listing all the pertinent information on that skein under the letter on the bread tag.
Finally got to a point where I really needed wash the skeins I had finished, or make up more bread tags and tossed all my skeins into a wash & rinse cycle… Lo & behold! There are all my skeins, clearly tagged and now I just have to refer to my notebook to create paper labels for each one once they are dry and ready for sale or storage.
How easy [and cool] is that!
I have a standing invite every Monday [that isn’t a holiday] to go to a friend’s Open Art Studio day. It runs from 3 pm to 9 pm and typically I take advantage of the full 6 hour stretch. She encourages me to do painting while I am there to get my head into a whole different artistic space for awhile, it’s genuinely fun, all the folk who show up end up spending time talking, laughing and sharing stories over a coffee or tea and I have come home with some fantastic work that is actually worth framing and hanging on my wall.
So today I was not feeling so great, my head and body are all achy, head and nose are feeling like they are full of cotton and my nose won’t stop yelling for tissues – STAT! – It’s the fall allergy season; I’m used to this after years of suffering… I know it is going to be a stretch to haul my aching self there on the bus and then the congestion & cotton brain is just not the kind of thing that makes creativity spring up happy and free, so I opted to stay home and try to do something even mildly creative here.
Today’s creative project was photography… No matter if you are a hobby crafter, an artisan, a cottage industry seller, or a whole sale Ebay master, you need pictures of your product if you are going to sell your product.
Since I am a crafter of various crafts and try to sell what I can to help pay for the multiple hobbies I partake in [and for the simple fact I like the feeling when my stuff goes to people who are just keen for the handmade stuff], I needed to do the photo shoot thing to give my prospective buyers a decent idea of what I am selling. You see, while there is a huge truth in the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but there is also the codicil that says the wrong kind of picture can kill your story before it starts!
I had taken a bunch of photos of my hand-spun yarns awhile back, but I needed GOOD shots of the yarns if I was to post them for sale. Starting with the brighter yarns in the small case I usually take to markets, sales and festivals, I set up my mini studio on the trunk in front of the living room window to take advantage of the natural light as much as I could. I will tell you this little fact, natural light can go from fantastic to shitty in the time it takes to shift one skein of yarn off and the next one on, but I digress…
The pictures I took back in February were only intended to be a visual inventory of what I had on hand and ready to sell, the pictures I was trying to get today are intended to interest buyers in these skeins of hand-crafted yarns; they have to make the product look good and that can be hard. There is a lot that goes into taking product shots; first you have to get it to look appealing, then you have to get the lighting right so the colours stay as true as possible, you can’t forget to keep them clear and focused so they can make out details you are trying to highlight.
For example, the inventory shot of a pair of skeins
vs. the for sale shot
You can see the presentation is different…
So my afternoon has been filled with controlled chaos and my already aching body has now added tired to the list of complaints, but I am a stubborn and move on… I need to try to keep track of what I have already done, don’t forget to work the presentation, lighting is important [keep an eye on it!], details & keep it in focus, get multiple shots to cover all the bases – then times all that by a couple dozen skeins – it is very time consuming and a great deal of work, but in the end you look them over with fingers crossed that they look as good on the screen as they did in the camera – all that work for a bunch of crappy shots can break your heart and make all that work a futile effort.
If they have all turned out as you hoped, then comes then next hurdle in selling online. You see posting and/or uploading them is the easy part, it is adding all the right details along side the right photo that can consume an afternoon or evening before you know it… so I cheated a little bit and made sure to take photos of the labels as well so that I can refer to the photo itself for the information, saving me the hassle of needing a written inventory and making posting them for sale soooooooo much easier!
Then there is dealing with the clean-up afterwards, because you know you wanted to get the light while you could, so you just draped the skeins in a pile so you could move fast. A couple dozen rounds of twist and tuck gets them looking neat and tidy and so they don’t get messed up and/or tangled while in transit. In the end they are all tucked back into their travel case and stacked back with the other cases of items for sale.
This is the tip of my iceberg, but it was all I could handle today and it is better than nothing at all…
Now I can relax with a mug of tea and peruse a bit of this and that, a few hours of work to produce not so many pictures as one might think, but I have to say I am so very grateful for the digital age, this would have cost me a freaking fortune if I had to do all this on actual film!!
Take these tiny little things in the picture, they are silicone nose pads. For those that don’t wear glasses, they are the things that keep the frames from rubbing your nose raw if you get a pair that don’t have them ready made in the frame itself.
Last week I lost one of the pads on my glasses. It had to have been sometime on Thursday I lost it, but I didn’t notice it was missing until Friday morning when I put my glasses on first thing in the morning and things didn’t feel right.
I took them back off to see what is amiss and there was the problem, one missing pad, leaving me with a little metal stump to press into the side of my nose and put an incredible amount of pressure on one tiny spot on my nose. It was quite painful, like someone pressing a sharp pencil tip into the side of my nose. A little eye glass shop was going to charge $5 to replace just one… My Optometrist’s office would replace it for free if I could wait until Monday.
Monday afternoon I was finally able to swing past the Eye Dr.’s office and get that little silicone piece replaced, can you say “what a difference a tiny little thing like that can make”?
It made me think about all the tiny little things that make life tootle along in our day-to-day life. We can rant about how tiny things bug us, irritate us, anger us, frustrate us, but I would like you all to think about the little things that make our lives easier, different, better, more comfortable, cleaner.
Like the little nose pads on glasses, clicker buttons on pens, all the little seals in our cars/plumbing/etc, the safety pin in the bottom of your purse [or desk drawer], a sewing needle, a penny, a hearing aid no bigger that the tip of your little finger…
I could keep going, but the point I want to make is I stopped to take a look at one tiny thing that made such a difference in my life and wanted to share the idea that tiny things can make a big difference in all our lives, perhaps we can all take a moment to be grateful for at least one every day.