Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Photo Editing- Using the Healing Tool

Please enjoy another installment of the photography series written by Melanie from Violet's Buds!

Few things are more frustrating than concluding a photo shoot and noticing you had a dust spot on your lens, stray fuzzball on your product, or that the model had a smudge on her face.

Similar to the cloning tool (which you can read about here), the healing tool can be a lifesaver for product photos.  The healing tool works by sampling the surrounding pixels to blend the imperfection away, which is why it will work on textured areas such as skin or hair. 

Please Note: It is never okay to edit out actual blemishes on your product like stains, discolorations, or rips. This tutorial is intended solely to help you remove fuzz, floating dust spots, skin blemishes, or stray fibers that floated into your product photo shoot. You should always use a lint remover on products before photographing items, which reduces the need to edit! 

My friend has allowed me to use her arm as an example to remove blemishes and freckles for this tutorial.

Start by opening your favorite photo editing program. For this tutorial, I used Adobe Photoshop, but both Pixlr and PicMonkey are free editing programs that also have this feature available.

Select the healing tool, which resembles a little bandage. Next, (depending on your program) you may need to define a source point. This is where the editing program will select pixels from. Do so by holding down the ALT key while clicking.

Zoom in on the photo, and begin clicking around to "erase" the blemishes. If necessary, you can change the size and shape of the healing tool brush. Remember, that if you make mistakes you can always go back in the image history or click Edit>Undo (or press CTRL+Z to quickly undo your last step). 

The healing tool can take a little time getting used to, but is a great option to fix minor issues.

Editing Photos
No matter how practiced you at at taking photos, its safe to say that the majority of photos will need some editing. With a well-exposed photo, you can make it pop with a few adjustments.

Here is the image- straight from the camera. The subject is adequately lit, the background nice and smooth, but everything seems flat and dull.

Using your preferred editing software, go into the Curves menu.

Using this tool in RGB mode, you can adjust the brightness and the contrast by moving the shape of the line. Basically, the steeper the line, the higher the contrast. Moving the center curve of the line will change the brightness.

After adjusting in RGB mode, you can then adjust the individual Red, Green, or Blue channels. Starting at the center point, moving it up or down will add or subtract the color of that channel.
I find that its best to adjust in the Red and Blue channels only. 

It can take some getting used to, so give yourself time to experiment. If you mess up, you can always cancel and start over. One great way to see if you have edited too much, is to look away from your screen briefly then glance back. If your first reaction is "woah! that's too red!" then you know you need to make further adjustments.

When are happy with the brightness, contrast, and color of the photo, crop it to the size and shape that will work best for your product listings.

With a few adjustments in the Curves menu, and a square crop, this photo is ready for product listing and to share on social media!

Check out this post for a list of 3 free photo editing programs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Inspirations from Handmade in KC

Spring looked like it was coming early, but mother nature reminded us that it is not quite spring yet. We walk outside and daffodils are blooming, trees have buds starting to emerge, and robins are starting to appear. If you have the winter blues and you are looking for a little bit of sunshine, check-out of few inspirations from Handmade in KC artists!

Spring Accessories
Medium Pinwheel earrings - upcycled gift cards

Catch the wind with up-cycled earrings from X37 Adventures! Be careful that you don't blow away.

BC204 UPCycled Belt Wrist Cuff

Add a little color to your Easter or Spring outfit with an up-cycled cuff from Gypsy Soup. 

Easter or May Day Basket Surprises

Once you are done picking out an accessory to brighten your day, help cheer up the little ones who have become a little stir crazy due to the sudden cold weather! Whether it be a surprise for good behavior, a new friend at Easter or a special May Day basket treat, there are so many handmade options to choose from!

Get ready to take off and ride the winds in a hand-made Chinook helicopter from Creations by M and J!

Hop on over to Kiser Krafts and pick up Kimi bunny or one of her friends!

Crochet City KC

Not for the meek of heart, instead of a bunny, how about the king of the jungle from Crochet City KC for a spring time friend

Add a little bit of rainbows and sunshine to any spring time outfit with colorful pigtail clips from Violet's Buds.

Finding Inspiration In Nature

Spring time is a time of birth and renewal. Take time to enjoy nature and see what inspires you. Maybe it is a splash of color from a budding flower, a inspiration from the birth of new animal, or discovering a new way to up-cycle an every day item to celebrate life; inspirations can be found all around us, if we just take a second to observe and listen!

Thank you Kjrsten from Demeter's Charisma for this week's post!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Are you ready for a side hustle?

Part one: What in the world is a side hustle?

Google side hustle… no really, I'll wait. Or better yet do a search on Pinterest and you will see the crazy amount of information you can get on how to start a side hustle, how to create a passive side hustle, why you should have a  side hustle. Side hustles you can start in winter. Or maybe you are not familiar with the term side hustle. A side hustle is an entrepreneurial endeavor that is in addition to a full-time job.
"A side hustle is a way to make some extra cash that allows you flexibility to pursue what you're most interested in. It can also be your true passion – a chance to delve into fashion, travel or whatever it is you care about the most without quitting your day job."-google definition

The side hustle mindset is becoming more and more common, it’s a way to make money doing the creative passionate work you would ideally be doing. This is in addition to a full-time job, or even multiple part-time jobs, a stay at home mom can have a side hustle, your retired parents could start one.  The side hustle and creative work go hand in hand.
Part two: Is the side hustle worth it?
That's the real question at the heart of this trend. While you will find a plethora of articles telling you success stories and break down a side hustle success into five easy steps, that is not always the case. Part of having a side hustle is that it is done in your free time, so if you value alone time, or you want to go out a do things some of that time is taken up with a side hustle. Your time has to be divided up by work, side hustle, family, fun, chores.  There is also the realization that you might truly love what you are doing with your side hustle and while your full-time job gives you the security of good pay, insurance, retirement, and the many other benefits of working a full-time job. For the creative types, those of us that make and create with our hands the dream is always to create for a living, the reality of that is sometimes it doesn't bring as much as you would like, or you don't have the time you wold like for your passions.  Then there's the mental problem of putting your creative work secondary to your job. when we have the idea that we work so we can create in whatever free time is have left. That can be a draining aspect of having a side hustle, one that might make an artist burn out or lose momentum. 

Part Three: A change in mindset is all it takes.

In a talk with my Avant Garde Professor, We discussed the power of changing the view of I work and create on the side. He mentioned that many artists worked to support themselves while creating their artworks. The main difference was that they had the mindset of ' I create art, and work on the side' This attitude is so important for creative types that have ye to turn their passion into a full-time job. Switching that labels on what is your job and what is your side hustle could be the thing to do, but the thing you love to do be for the thing you have to do.  words and mindsets have power, sometimes all we have to fight burnout is a mindset and attitude. 

If you want to see some local KC ''side hustles'' go check out handmade in KC on their website or the facebook page! and be sure to show the creators some love and go follow them on your favorite social media platform! ( I'm partial to Instagram) 

Love from,

The x37 A-Team!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lucky Green!

Hello! Is it spring like weather where you are? Here in KC, the weather has been crazy. Cold to hot and back again, but we are ready to celebrate some "Spring" holidays. With Valentine's Day over, we look forward to St. Patrick's Day and Easter. Personally, I (Kelly of Kiser Krafts Handmade) love the "Green" of St. Patrick's day. We makers of Handmade in KC have created so many wonderful "Green" products. And here are a few of my top favorites.

Handmade In Kc group Lucky Green Products #HandmadeinKc

We have a few NEW members within the Handmade In Kc Makers and I am happy to share a few of them with you. First, I would like to introduce Crochet City KC. They create the most adorable crochet amigurumi plushies. I personally love how cute this Four Leaf Clover is.

I love how "green" it is as well as it's cheerful personality. Second, I would like to introduce Strawberry Auburn. This sweet lady sews wonderful memory items. I love how she creates beautiful quilts from bridesmaid dresses. This little quilt from the beautiful "green" dress just makes my heart cheer.

Square Bridemaid Quilt by Strawberry Auburn

I love how she pair the sweet animal print with that beautiful "green". Third, I would like to introduce Green Utopia KC. This sweet lady creates unique and upcycled creations. Her creations are "green" for the environment. Her latest creation are these colorful Recycled Lego Crayon Set.

Recycled Lego Crayon Set by Green Utopia KC

Are they not so "green"ly colorful!?! Fourth, we will share a few of our amazing makers that have been with us for a bit. Remnants By RJ creates the most "green" upcycled robots! Each one has personality. Her newest creation Tater the Triceratops inspires the imagination of the dinosausar of the time past. He is created with such care and love, he would add to any home.

Tater the Triceratops by Remnants by RJ

That robot is "green" dino-tast-ic! Finally, we are happy to share FabTabulous. She creates amazing jewelry from so many wonderful things. And pop tabs are a top favorite! Each piece is unique, one of a kind, and recycled materials. FabTabulous is just "green" in nature.

Soda Tab Necklace by TabFabulous

Thit beautiful Soda Tab Necklace has a sweet pink and "green" bead detail making it a wonderful addition to any outfit. With any of the wonderful creations above, you will have no fear of recieving pinches this St. Patrick's Day.

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