Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thank you!!

Today is my Etsy Anniversary!! What a great year it has been, meeting wonderful and talented people that I would never have known if it wasn't for Etsy. Thank you to my customers and blog readers for your support! All the best in 2009!!

And without further ado, the winner of our blog giveaway is ... MamaWess! Congratulations!
And since today is my anniversary -- we drew a runner-up as well! Congratulations to Smile Moon Woodworks!

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're raising money to help Sapphire

Link
Tonight, we found out that Sapphire, our friends' lovely Siberian Husky, has cancer.

Sapphire is a very loving dog, and we want her to get better ASAP.

We are listing all our photos of her to help pay for her MRI and other costs for recovery.

Sapphire has beat cancer before four years ago, so please help me spread the word and help her beat it again!

All proceeds from the sales (after listing/paypal and shipping fees) will go directly to Sapphire.

These listings in my shop are 100% donation to help her:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=9654034

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=17580455

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=19160305

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vl_other_1&listing_id=19160201


And of course, all your healing thoughts and prayers go a long way too. :)

Conquering Clutter

One thing Rob and I want to get a hold on is the overwhelming clutter that fills our apartment. There isn't much closet space, and there isn't much room to put things. There are stacks of bills paid, paperwork, magazine articles torn out, and more that cover the desks. I even have a feng shui book that implied it could help us. The solution? Throw everything you own out or give it away. That not being a feasible option, that book is now in the bin for the used bookstore.

But it's not just our apartment that needs help. We have two storage units, one larger than the other. The second larger one is not filled to capacity, and was rented when my dad sent some of my mother's things and my grandfather's furniture for me to keep for our future home. One of our goals is to wittle down the first storage unit and only have one. But in order to do that, we also need to find a home for the boxes of research we gathered for our Master thesis papers.

Then, for Christmas, Rob saved up and got me a ScanSnap S300. This nifty little device is a color image scanner that can take double-sided documents and turn them into PDF files. It accepts the paperwork like a fax machine would, so the process is very quick. We've already been able to throw out three bags of old paperwork (shredded, of course) that was laying around and had no home. Now we have a digital version, easy to back up as well.

We feel a step closer to managing the clutter. Now, to get started on those storage units...

Friday, December 26, 2008

End of December Give Away!

It's back! A new give away for my blog readers. This month's lovely give away is one of my desktop calendars!

To enter, leave a comment about some of your online selling goals for 2009!

Deadline to enter is Dec. 31!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Art Fire Shop Opens

ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

Today I officially listed items in my Art Fire shop. I really like how Art Fire has broken up the photography category with specific subcategories. I also noticed a few of my twitter pals, Joanna's Photography and Alorinna can be found there, too! I'm still adding items to the shop, but it's another way to get my name out in the art world, and I welcome it. :)

(If you decide to join as a Verified Member, feel free to put my name down as the one who referred you --McGuinnessPhotography. If you do, Art Fire will confirm this for me, and I'll give you a complimentary 5x7 from my shop-- your choice!)

I think it's kinda cool -- and a little coincidental on my part -- that I'm expanding into Art Fire as I approach my first Etsy Anniversary on Dec. 31!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Resolutions

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want out of 2009. Every year I attempt resolutions but they fall by the wayside pretty quickly. (Probably because I don't take them as seriously as I should.)

Some return every year, such as "I need to get in shape and lose some weight." (I do have two weddings to attend in '09, one where I'm a matron of honor.)

Others may be harder to attain. Such as paying off all my debt and saving for a down payment on a house.

As for my photography, I hope to double the business I've done in 2008. I'm constantly seeking new ways to promote my shop. At the same time, I want to keep creating images, and luckily the 365 day blog I share with Allie really helps with that.

I'm still collecting my thoughts when it comes to what I will (officially) try to pull off in 2009.


What are your resolutions for 2009?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Secret Santa!

The Photographers of Etsy team hosted a Secret Santa event this year. Bill of House of Six Cats, organized this massive undertaking, and paired up POE members who agreed ahead of time to swap 5x7 photographs.

My partner was Athena from GroovinPop. I chose "Against a Green Wonderland" from her shop. She chose my "Friday Night" photo, shown below.


What a great way to connect a large team of talented photographers! I'm looking forward to seeing Athena's work in person, and hope she enjoys my photo as well!

Update 12-17-08:
I received Athena's photo in the mail today and it's beautiful! Thank you Athena!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Featured on The Art of Craft!

This week, my shop is featured on The Art of Craft, a blog which features etsy artists. The author of this blogg has two etsy shops, pastperfect (member of Photographers of Etsy) and qbranchltd. Read the interview here! And be sure to visit her store for beautiful floral photography!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blog Feature!

We were included in a Gift Guide Items for the Home over on the TinkerWare blog! Our Love Birds photograph was included, along with many other lovely items!

Past day offerings included a Gift Guide for Men and a Gift Guide for Women.

Head on over and check out the great choices!

Friday, December 12, 2008

We have a winner!

Since Rob is away on business, I needed help drawing today's winner. Our giveaway was a 5x7 of the entrant's choice from my etsy shop!

Lucky for me, my lovely feline office assistant agreed to pick the winner!


It was a tough choice, but she finally singled out just one.


Congratulations to Allie! Ginger picked you as the winner! Click here to see what Allie won!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Help Save Handmade Toys

This just in from Cool Mom Picks:

We need your help to save handmade toys,
[clothing, shoes, and more] in the US, Europe and Canada from the CPSIA. The CPSC passed the ill-conceived Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act which goes into effect in two months and will absolutely decimate the small toy manufacturers, independent artisans, and crafters who have already earned the public trust. ... They will all go out of business. Period.

Moms who sew beautiful handmade waldorf dolls out of home, artists who have spent decades hand-carving trucks and cars out of natural woods, that guy at the craft show who sold you the cute handmade puzzle--even larger US companies who employ local workers and have not once had any sort of safety issue will no longer be able to sell their toys. Not without investing tens of thousands of dollars into third-party testing and labeling, just to prove that toys that never had a single chemical in them still don't have a single chemical in them.

In other words, handmade toys will now be illegal.

Click here to read more.

I've already written to my congresswoman, senators and the CPCS. While I'm not a mother and am not a kid, I think it's important for crafters who make a living making toys, clothing and more for children to continue their existence. American entrepreneurs should not be punished for lack of testing on China's part.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2009 Desktop Calendar Available


I made our own version of the popular CD jewel case calendars available on etsy.

Each page offers a different one of our photographs-- some popular best sellers and others never seen before. All photos are professionally printed on Kodak Endura Paper with Luster finish. Each month is an actual photograph mounted to black stock, with the final size at 4.5" x 5.5". It fits perfectly into the included jewel case, which can be folded back for easy display. Or you can hang the calendar pages on a fridge, bulletin board, or in other creative ways.

I only created five, so they are very much a limited edition item! This morning I was greeted with a sale and another pending sale for the calendar!

Tuck one into your holiday stocking! :)


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Slump

I think I've hit an official photography slump.

The past few days, I haven't even been compelled to tote my camera along with me. I've been relying on my iPhone to shoot the photo of the day over at the 365 blog (bad Jen! Bad!)

It's been cold. It's been cloudy. And I'm sick of trying to get the lighting right to shoot indoors. I need something fresh to look at.

What do you do when you've hit the slump?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter Blues

I'm not feeling very "Christmasy" this year.

Maybe it's the recent cold snap; it was 14 degrees when I woke up!

Or maybe it's working long hours, which means leaving in the dark and coming home in the dark.

I haven't decorated, and Rob and I are debating not putting up a tree at all this year. There's really no room for our usual (fake) 6 foot tree, and small trees usually don't do it for me.

The only holiday happenings going on at our place is the lighted tree we have outside our front door, accompanied by the pumpkin that seems to be flourishing (and now adorned with a jingle bell wreath). I just don't have the heart to throw him away.

The sky is gray. The wind is blowing.

The only pop of holiday color are these poinsettias I purchased at the garden center almost two weeks ago. They're lending some festive spirit.

I guess nothing beats the presents that are accruing around the Christmas cactus this year.

Maybe we don't need a tree after all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday card offerings from Team POE

Over the last few weeks, members of the Photographers of Etsy have been busy listing their holiday card offerings. There is still time to purchase unique, handmade holiday cards to send your good wishes this year. Below is a small sampling. Search for "Holiday Cards Team POE" on Etsy to discover more.



Black Cat in the Snow by Sungazer Photography and Images


Roses in the Snow by Julie Magers Soulen


Assorted Winter Horse Card Set by Ashely Jacobsen Photography


Little Button Bear by AllieArt4Children

Tall Trees by Judi Fitz Patrick

Minty Sweet by PhotoAmato

Winter on the Prairie by Celtic Cat Photos

Firethorn by Alison DuBois



And have you entered our December give away yet? Click here to enter!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Britney a ringleader of her own Circus - finally

At risk of offending my regular readership, I have a confession to make:

I am a Britney Spears fan.

And I like her new album.

The tracks on Circus - with the exception of the repackaged Radar from her Blackout album - are current, catchy and marketable to the club scene and Top 40 radio.

I've heard Circus at least a half dozen times since I purchased the standard edition on Thursday. (The deluxe edition is on its way.) Womanizer, Kill the Lights, and Unusual You stood out as the highlights to me. The first track, Womanizer, is pure Britney, complete with scandalous music video; Kill the Lights seems reminiscent of her current opening act, The Pussycat Dolls; and Unusual You has a new-age feel that is unique to Britney's recent offerings.

Two tracks on the album -- Out from Under and If You Seek Amy -- appear to allude to previous relationships, the former with Justin Timberlake and the latter with Kevin Federline. The lyrics from Out from Under read as an attempt at closure while If You Seek Amy broadcasts as an angst-filled breakup song.

I might be in the minority, but the song Circus seems like a miss. It's likely to show up in concert though, because early reports on the upcoming tour show a center-ring configuration. Circus fits the bill in that case. Mmm Papi and Blur are the weaker tracks. I wouldn't miss either of these if they weren't played live.

For the record, Blackout was a solid offering last year. Unfortunately, Britney was in no shape to promote it. It is encouraging to see that she is planning a full tour in support of Circus.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

'Mack the Knife' a fitting tribute

It is somewhat remarkable that 35 years after the death of Bobby Darin, that someone else -- namely one Chaz Esposito and his nine-piece band -- playing his music and singing his songs could fill a room in eastern Connecticut. But Esposito did just that on Friday night, and again on Saturday, with his show Mack the Knife - The Life and Music of Bobby Darin.

The performance itself resembled something that of a play, complete with a narrator and video clips from Darin's former manager and Wayne Newton (his protégé) setting up the songs. Esposito delivered a faithful tribute to many of Darin's greatest hits. Highlights from the set included Splish Splash, Beyond the Sea, Mack the Knife (twice), Simple Song of Freedom, If I Were a Carpenter, Clementine, and That's All.

The set was approximately 90 minutes, including a surprising 15 minute intermission. Esposito does a true-to-life impression of Darin, down the schtick from his comeback run in Las Vegas. If the show hits your area, it's definitely worth checking out.

And we won -- by far -- the award for youngest couple in attendance, which our table mates made sure to point out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

CameraBag is a sure bet

I've been playing with an application for the iPhone for the past month called CameraBag.

This nifty little program allows you to take photos using your camera phone in various classic camera and film simulations. It also allows you to access saved photos on your phone and apply the template to them. (In my case, I've mostly gone back and applied the settings to photos I've taken over the past few months on the phone.)

It's very simple to use. You're able to scroll through and apply the filter to each image. If you like it, you hit the diskette icon to save.

What do you get? I've offered samples below! (Quoted items are direct from the vendor.)

Helga: "A square-format toy camera feel with washed-out highlights and old-school vignetting." It desaturates and crops your photo and adds a faded border.


Instant: Think polariod. Oh yeah!

Ansel: This adds a white border and grayscales the image.
(Well, it would be wrong to apply this filter to something that wasn't a tree, correct?)

1962: "Dynamic black and whites from the photojournalists of a bygone era." Converts to black and white and bumps the contrast way up.


Fisheye:
For the bubbled look.


Infrared: Makes everything "alive" into shades of white (hey, that's how I learned it in school- it's the best I can explain it!)

Lolo:
"Offers vibrant, colorful shots."
* This is the filter applied to the photo at the top of today's entry as well.
(Notice anything peculiar on that gas pump above, by the way?)

Cinema: Gives a widescreen look.

1974:
"This is your father's camera. Faded, tinted and hip." Adds a white border and sepia tone to your image.
As you can see, I'm having way too much fun with it! The only glitch I've found so far is that the infrared, 1962, 1974 and cinema filters make the image extremely small, but hopefully there will be a patch that will correct that in the future.

In addition to applying filters, you can control what resolution you wish to use (400-1200). I have mine set to 800. (The higher the resolution, the slower the saving time.)

For $2.99 in the App Store, it's a fun feature to add to the phone. To learn more, visit this site.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's official

I am a pastry chef! I fulfilled all my requirements, so in the near future I'll be getting my official diploma in the mail.

:)

Much thanks to my kind friend Elise, who sent me a flower cupcake in celebration! Isn't it beautiful??

I've never seen these before-- it was waiting for me when I got home. What a lovely surprise. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NaNoWriMo Ups and Downs

Hahaha ... well... I just saw that Nicky noticed how I tried to *discreetly* slip the NaNoWriMo counter off the blog without notice... but I was caught!

The truth is, I didn't even make 13,000 words. As I struggled to write more and more down, it seemed as if the more photos I looked at to spark my memory, the more frustrated I became when I couldn't remember details from our time together. I thought it would be easy to write down the memories. While the memories aren't gone, I found that they don't respond well to being cued up and ready to go when I want them to be.

So I think the lesson I learned is that I should keep writing them down as they come to me.

One nice thing I did find out over Thanksgiving is what my Dad shared with me about my Mom. Apparently, she had toyed with the idea of going to culinary school as well, but gave up because she knew my Dad wouldn't eat anything she made (he has a very very plain palette).

Her mother (my grandmother) was a phenomenal cook. I never met her, but I've heard from other family members how great her potato dumplings and Sauerbraten was. I didn't know my mother had shown an interest as well.

I feel a newfound connection to the grandmother I never met and my mother. It's satisfying to know that through three generations of women, we all share something in common.

Perhaps that's the story worth writing.

:)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Featured on EFA Blog


I am featured on the EFA Blog today for my entry in the December Challenge. Every day will be a new entry into the challenge, which is "Peace to All Beings."