Sunday, April 10, 2011

Look What I Made: Photo collages at Photovisi

My Handmade Forest's Web page at the Nature Conservancy allows me to add photo albums, so I have one full of the customer purchases that donated trees. Today I discovered that the album limit is 10 photos and needed a workaround. After a quick Web search I learned that none of my applications have an easy collage tool, so I followed a link to

An easy web tool for collages
Wow, what a great tool! The site first leads you to gallery of pre-made layouts, few of which were appealing to me. But, when you choose one, you can change a ton of stuff. Background, number of photos, layering order, size, rotation, cropping, add text, cool fonts, and more. You can download your collage or save it in an account. The final image has a small watermark in the bottom right corner, which you can use to spread the good news, or easily crop out later by leaving enough white space around your collage. I went into Powerpoint and added my banner, which I could have done on Photovisi, but I needed to play with it more. Here's my final product.

Customer appreciation photos on Etsy
I added it as the customer appreciation photo you can add to your feedback on Etsy. Hopefully this will encourage them to to visit the forest's page and sign the guest book. Also, I want to let them know how much I want to make this forest happen!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Finished my OySpaceMan hat & scarf combo

I finished my original hat and scarf combo design inspired by everyone's favorite time traveling doctor. It's in my Etsy shop and I'm also donating one to Penguicon. Next, I'll draw up the pattern and sell it, too, in my shop for space man fans.

A scarf was a must for this hat, since it adds to the tribute, but I didn't want it to be too similar to that icon. Instead, it's designed to look like a time machine with the lights on. I used a raised stitch pattern to create the effect of the wood paneling. There's a pocket at the end of the scarf, and I swear it's bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

For my first prototype, I used a blended yarn with some yarn from recycled bottles, but it was too satiny and new. Next, I ordered a yarn made from 100% recycled denim fabric remnants. It has the right weathered look. The search for a perfect button led me to this steampunk button on eBay. It's a perfect tribute to our time traveler's fob watch. Finally, I named it after my favorite line, "Oy, space man!"

I added my trademark tree charm inside the crown of the hat to denote the tree donated for every item, then set up my photography studio!

New photography studio set-up
When I read Handmadeology's tutorial on studio-quality photos I knew I had to try it out on my new design. I had a white table, which helped a lot. Between that, using the rule of thirds to compose my shots, and learning to adjust the ISO and aperture, it all worked so well that none of these photos are even edited! What do you think?

Studio quality photo tutorial over at Handmadeology

Handmadeology posted a wonderful tutorial on creating professional-grade product photos. Check it out.


This tutorial's tip about tracing paper on the window is a key improvement for me.


So is the tin foil reflector and it's sly, multipurpose tripod.


And by the way, that floor and table are worthy of a mortal sin.


I'm off to photograph my OySpaceMan hat with this technique. I'll post the results here.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Awesome idea: Secret agent printing technique

Craftzine borrowed some hackery spirit from its Makezine cousin to report this printer cartridge hack that allows you to print secret messages in lemon juice! The message is revealed by ironing the paper or spritzing it with iodine.

Can't you see this as an interactive effect on your coloring book pages? By the way, this video has a really nice production value.