Monday, August 20, 2012

Handmade VS Mass-produced

There's a restaurant down the street from me, let's call it Ronnie's for now. They have a really good breakfast deal, you can get tri-tip, ham, bacon, kielbasa sausage, 2 eggs, toast and hash browns for about $10. I know, what a deal right? It's so much food that my fiance and I split it because there's no way either of us could eat all of that alone! The restaurant is trendy, done in modern + vintage 50's style deco. The wait staff is reasonably nice and all in all, it's an ok place to get breakfast. Oh and the food is pretty good. We order, eat and leave. Nothing spectacular, we were hungry, and now we're not and we didn't spend an arm and a leg. Mission accomplished.

Further down the road about 8 miles is another 
place, let's call it The Sunny Cafe . It's small and cozy. We find ourselves to whatever table may be available and then the bus boy comes over to say hello, get our drink order and pours the coffee usually asking how we've been and seems happy to see us. He keeps our coffee fresh and hot all through breakfast. The server (who's been there for about 15 yrs) knows us by name, and has since our second time there. She pretty much knows exactly what we'll order. She makes us feel so welcome and taken care of. We get our breakfast, and sit and talk and enjoy it. We leave feeling not just full, but kind of warm inside, almost like we just had breakfast at mom's.  

Comparing these two the other day made me think of the difference between mass-produced products offered in huge quantities and low prices at the big superstores and the original, hand-crafted items offered by sites like Zahoomi. Looking at a necklace hanging on a rack in the store, at first glance may look like something similar being offered by a hand-made jewelry artisan, but is it really?

Cosmic Blue Bracelet from Jolly Stones
and Glass on Zahoomi
Do you find yourself enjoying things made by hand and heart better than things you get from the bigger restaraunts, stores and outlets? Do you sense a definate difference? If you do, what do you think that difference is? I'd love to hear your comments and perspectives on this!

Please leave comments below because this blog isn't complete without your participation! I love hearing all of the different thoughts, ideas and feedback.

Thank you!

Monday, August 13, 2012


I can't believe it is mid-August already! I hope you have all been enjoying the summer so far. As for me I really don't know where my summer went this year! It is already time for back to school shopping and starting to look for books and backpacks and pens and pencils and clothes that actually fit!

I'd love to hear from you all about where you do most of your shopping? Where do most of you go for school stuff? Is Target really cheaper than Fred-Meyer? How about clothes? I always run into the issue of too-loose-at-the-waist issue when buying pants for my son? Do you run into this too?

Would love to hear your thoughts and advice! Go ahead and let me know what you do.

Friday, August 3, 2012

In a Pinch Lightbox

In a Pinch 

I wanted my photos to have that pretty, bright professional look I would see everywhere so I did a little research. I found out about "Light boxes" and I also found I could spend anywhere from$25-$200 for simple to full on kits with lots of bells and whistles! Reading about the function of a light box, I realized that most important is that it has a light matte background and that it reflects light well.  After playing around a bit with a few household items I found something that works great in a pinch! Isn't it awesome that our imaginations can be used for so much more than just making pretty things?

Basically all you need is what is pictured above in the title picture. I've used a small box about 18"x 12" x 4" here. Next, take plain paper and wrap scotch tape to make it "double-sided" and tape to back of paper so it doesn't show and lay in back of box. 

Then, do this for all sides of the box, doing your best to cover  by laying paper in ways that make neat seams. Pictures below will show you what I mean. 

Now as you can see, this is by no means perfect. BUT, with a little adjusting of the bottom paper (which I don't tape down) and of the camera angle I'm able to capture a clean, bright picture and I did it all with what I already had laying around the house!

Above is a picture taken in the box I just put together for this article. Not a seam in sight and it's got that bright look I need! I took it outside in the noonday light, but not in the direct sunlight, and snapped it in one shot. Well two, the first came out blurry. Voila!

When you have a little more time to put into making a great picture box I suggest buying foam or poster board and measuring and cutting to exact dimensions to cover the inside of your box. This way you can use boxes that are big enough or small enough for your needs. You can get different colors to use for back or bottom for accent when you like too! Below there is a link to a great video on how to make a light box from tissue paper and cardboard with a little tape for those of us who do not have access to great natural light.  

It's wonderful that with all of the information on the internet we can find ways to do things that work, without spending a lot of money! I'd much rather spend my money on MORE BEADS!! 

If you have a helpful trick or suggestion to make pictures really pop, please share your experience below! Also, let us know if you have any questions, we are here to help!! 

Link to great light box video: