Friday, March 30, 2012

Pinterest #19

I'm coming down with a bit of a sniffle--which always seems to happen when I'm busy--and I was on the computer last night "taking it easy" with plans to add some more stuff to the shops. What actually happened? I got sucked into a Pinterest black hole.

This handbag tutorial is waaaay too advanced for my basic sewing skillz, but maybe someday I'll get there:

I drink a lot of tea (and will be consuming more than usual for the next few days), so these cookies are right up my alley. Sadly, the recipe is in French, so if anybody can help a girl out with the translation...

How cute is this solid perfume necklace? Tutorial right here.

BHLDN has outdone themselves again with more pretty dresses. Expect a full post about them next week, but in the meantime, a sunny preview:

Ikea bookcases are the most amazing products ever. This is an entire wall of built-in Billy shelves, and they look totally custom (instead of like they only cost $80 each, which they do):

What goodies did you find on Pinterest this week? Anybody else mesmerized by the versatile Ikea shelving? Or a new DIY project? Who else has a spring cold cramping their style? Stupid post-nasal drip...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tutorial: Photo Editing for Busy People

The other day I assaulted your poor little eyeballs with pictures from Day 1 of my Etsy shop (for those wondering, today is 874). Things are light years ahead of where they used to be, and there was some interest in my doing a little tutorial about photo editing.

So that's what we're doing today!

The better your pictures are to begin with, the less editing you have to do on the computer. Why make more work for yourself, right?

I'm a firm believer that 80% of photo problems can be fixed by doing three things: taking pictures on a sunny day, setting up next to a window, and using the macro setting. You'll notice that I didn't say anything about having a fancy camera, because I really don't think it's necessary. I use a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot and I love it.

To get started, make sure it's sunny. When it is, grab your props and/or backgrounds and set up next to a window. Really get up in there, like this:

Become one with the window.

Now find the macro setting on your camera (essential for getting details!) and take a bunch of pictures. Try different angles, get some detail shots, if applicable get a picture of the item on a person, etc. I usually take 5 or 6 shots for each piece and then narrow down to the best ones in post production.

And speaking of post production, there are about 8,000 different programs and websites you can use to edit your pictures. Since all of them have different names for the same feature, I'll try to be as general as possible when explaining the main fixes I make.

Here's a shot I took yesterday, completely untouched:

Not too shabby! It's a tad on the dark side, though, so we need to brighten things up. Look for something called exposure, brightness, or contrast in your program. Let there be light!

That's what I'm talkin' about. Easy peasy.

This one is a little trickier--not my best shot ever, but still totally usable:

I see a lot of details, but it's way too dark. Again, exposure, brightness, or contrast will fix that.

Almost there, but now it's kind of blue. I need to counteract it with some red. Look for temperature, hue, or color balance to help.

Ta da! Two steps and you're done. You should never have to spend 5 minutes trying to make a picture work. I think that if you can't get it right in under 30 seconds, then you probably need to adjust your overall setup. Try moving to a different window or taking pictures another time of day.

Aside from brightness and color balance, the main thing I use is the crop tool. And that's about it. Again, having a good setup for your pictures will make it a lot easier for you when editing time comes.

Platforms I've used: Photoshop,, and the editor that comes with iPhoto. All of them are awesome.

That's really all there is to it! Hopefully this will be helpful. Do you have any other tips to share? How do you edit your photos? Does anybody actually LIKE doing it? (barf)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shop Update: Shimmer

I was going to work the word "bling" into the title, but I feel like I use that a lot. Since I have this nice vocabulary from reading all the time, I might as well bust out some synonyms!

Sparkle. Glitter. Shine. Specifically, things have been getting all rhinestone-y up in Little White Chapel. I added a few new things to the lineup, but I also went through and redid some of the photography on one of the freakishly sunny days we had:

Cluster hair pins, $25.

Drop earrings, $35.

Filigree drop necklace, $35.

Oooooh, twinkles! For the sake of comparison (don't laugh too hard!), here's a picture of the very first item I sold in the shop. I took it sitting at the dining room table, using artificial light, and I didn't know what the macro setting was:

It's like night and day, almost literally because that old one is so dark (and I probably DID take it at night). This just goes to show you that even if you start out being really bad at pictures like I was, you'll get better.

I still use the same point-and-shoot digital camera that I had back then, so all of these changes are based on props, lighting, and figuring out how to edit. Should I post a tutorial? I could call it Photo Editing For Impatient People, because that's how I roll.

So let me know if anybody would be interested in that. What's new in your shop? Or on your blog? Anybody else working with some sparkle lately?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pinterest #18

Yay, weekend! Well, almost weekend. Nobody gets much done on Fridays, anyway, so let's just look at some goodies I found via Pinterest--one of my old standbys when I needed to look busy in my cube. Sometimes I'd get so absorbed people would startle me when they walked by. Oops.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I need a better tote bag for school. Maybe I should stop looking at them online and actually buy one...


This is a fabulous idea: turning an old vanity into a desk.


We got a toaster oven as a wedding gift, and therefore don't use our "real" one very much. But after seeing this chicken enchilada casserole, I might have to change things up.


I hate (haaaaate) our laminate countertops, and I'm itching to change them. In case I ever get an ambitious streak and several days of free time, I might use this DIY to replace them with wood:


Look at this dress! Technically it's for a wedding, but maybe I can make fancy white gowns trendy for everyday. It'll be like bringing back hats, but better.


So what are you up to this weekend? Aside from seeing the Hunger Games and watching Mad Men, of course.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mad Men Returns! (Plus, the Hunger Games!)

This weekend will be big as far as my visual entertainment is concerned. First, can I get a holla for the Hunger Games movie?! I'm not going at midnight, but I'll be seeing it ASAP. Team Peeta!

That by itself is exciting enough, but on Sunday we also have the glorious return of Mad Men! Aaaah! Get ready for more drama at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce! So many exclamation points!

Let's go retro (obviously, I couldn't narrow it down):

1. Mod office chair, $400
2. Vintage polka dot dress, $40
3. Vintage 1950s cat eye glasses, $75
4. Navy pencil skirt, $48
5. Vintage A-line dress, $67
6. Vintage velvet pumps, $38
7. Midcentury typewriter, $164
8. Vintage silver rim drinking glasses, $32

So. Excited. Are you a Mad Men watcher? Are you going to see the Hunger Games? At midnight?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Interior Design School Is Like

Since I started College 2.0 a couple of months ago, I've been getting some questions about my interior design degree and what we actually do in class. So I thought I'd take a little detour from my usual topics today and show you what's up.

First let me say that I'm nowhere near the decorating part of the program. We start with drafting--which is taught in epic 4-hour classes.

We've had to do a handful of floor plans, each taking between 5 and 7 hours to finish (not counting lab time in class--this is straight up homework).

They might look simple, but that's how they get you. Drafting isn't just making the house look good, the drawing has to be precise, too. Depending on the scale, I have to be accurate down to 1/4".

Even our wording has to be written in a specific style. It's called architectural lettering:

The lettering is actually my favorite part. Although, it's the last thing you add to a drawing, so I could just be feeling the sweet, sweet relief of being done. Either way, me likey.

It's weird to think that I have this much work to do and I'm not even going half-time. Just two classes for 5 credits, but I actually spend almost 6 in the classroom and another 8-ish doing homework. It's like having a side job. A side job I enjoy, but a side job nonetheless.

Anyway, this is what I'm learning! Now you know what I'm doing when I randomly skip a day on the blog.

Is there a degree you want to go back and get? Anybody else ever do any drafting? Or take some design classes?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Nap Town

I kind of wish there was a place you went specifically for taking naps (aside from the couch), but Nap Town is what some people call Indianapolis. And that's where I was this weekend! Visiting my sister was a nice way to end a stressful few days.

We did a smattering of vintage-themed activities, including a mid-century modern furniture store, a vintage clothing shop, and a meandering walk around a historical neighborhood.

I started playing my favorite game in the furniture store: Where Would I Put This If We Had A House? This sweet orange love seat would be great in a foyer, or in my forthcoming giant workspace. Neither of which exist right now. And that's too bad, because it was only $195. 

Some fun dishware, and they appeared to have the entire set:

I've never seen a TV like this before! I couldn't get a good picture because of other furniture in front of it, but it was sitting on cool spindly legs. Kind of like a giant spider, but not terrifying.

My sister and I (plus Mom!) took a turn around the historic North Side of town. That imaginary future house of mine has a wrought iron fence like this one:

I love everything about this one: the windows, the pergola, the brick siding, the bits of green near the roof...

Amidst the homes of yore was a distinctively modern design. I like it! I'd be curious to see how they finished the inside.

And finally, there was THIS situation at the vintage clothing store. Note how it gives me that attractive bobble head look:

And wouldn't ya know, it was one of the few things that came close to fitting me. My sister had better luck and bought a dress that would belong in Joan's closet on Mad Men. Very fabulous.

So how was your weekend? Anybody else take a little trip? Or find some awesomely bad vintage clothes? Or a couch you don't have room for?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Eleven Things

Whew! It's been a long week. As much as I like being back in school, the homework for drafting is a huge time suck. Couple that with a big jewelry order and the fact that Hubsey is out of town for work AGAIN (just when there's condo business to be dealt with, too) and you've got one tired girl.

I was worried I wouldn't have anything fun to write about today, but luckily Heidi tagged me yesterday and now it's my turn for...

Eleven Things!

one Post these rules.
two Post a photo and the eleven random things.
three Answer the questions provided by the one who tagged you.
four Create eleven new questions for the people you tag.
five Go to their blog (or Facebook or Twitter) and tell them they’ve been tagged.

Random x 11:

1. Before Hubsey and I started dating for real, we went on a date without me realizing it. We went to Second City for some comedy, and on the train back to campus he was being all smiley and like, "So, should we do this again?" And I was all, "Do what?" It was his birthday, too.

2.  I used to be on the radio! My degree is actually in broadcasting (with a minor in journalism), and I was on the air for a little over 4 years. Radio turned out to be one of those things you need to LOVE if you're going to do it, and it just wasn't for me.

3. I watch a lot of terrible TV while I work, including but not limited to: Teen Mom, The Real Housewives of [Insert City Here], and Hoarders. There are a few legitimately good shows sprinkled in too, like Parks and Recreation and Mad Men (which returns on the 25th!)

4. I only cut my hair two or three times a year. It's so frizzy and weird that leaving it alone works better than too much maintenance. It only took me most of my life to figure that out.

5. Hello, my name is Paige and I'm a control freak. I don't work well in groups, I hate it when I'm not in charge, and I never feel like other people will do it right.

6. I've never had a pet.

7. I love beer, especially of the European variety. Stella and Peroni are favorites.

8. I am afraid of the following things: clowns, spiders, bees (never been stung!), and marionettes. On a more rational level, I'm afraid of my business not growing the way I want it to.

9. I've lived in the Midwest my entire life. I was born in Iowa, then we moved to Indiana, and now I'm on my 5th city in Illinois. We moved around a lot when I was younger, and I never really know what to say when people ask me where I'm from. I've started saying Chicago just to keep it simple, but that's not totally accurate.

10. I could give up meat tomorrow and not miss it. Well, maybe turkey. I could make an exception for turkey.

11. The scariest movie I've ever seen was The Strangers. I foolishly saw it when I lived alone, and I was so freaked out that I slept with the lights on for over a week.

My paparazzi husband. I didn't even hear the camera.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here are my answers to Heidi's questions:

1. Where is your favorite place in the whole world?
I have a few: Hawaii, Chicago, and the upper peninsula of Michigan.

2. Do you call it soda or pop?


3. What is your favorite song of all time?

This is nearly impossible to narrow down, but I guess I'll say "Konstantine" by Something Corporate.

4. Do you prefer cooking or dining out?

Dining out. Which is weird because I watch the Food Network like it's my job, but I don't love to cook.

5. What 's the best experience you've ever had in your lifetime?

It's a tie between getting married and starting my jewelry business.

6. Any pets?

Sadly, no. Hubsey is allergic to most pet fur.

7. What's the most important part of your day?

I really like hanging out with the Hubs after work. Even if we're not really doing much, it's still fun.

8. Favorite artist?

Caravaggio, for his use of light.

9. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

I want to be the next Martha Stewart, except without the insider trading. CEO of a major lifestyle brand would be pretty sweet.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My questions:

1. What's your favorite word?
2. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
3. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
4. If your computer vanished tomorrow, what would you miss the most about it?
5. When's your birthday?
6. What's your earliest memory?
7. One thing you love about yourself?
8. What's your favorite blog (besides your own, of course)?
9. Where do you want to be in five years?
10. Favorite color?
11. Your best advice?

Tag! You're it: Jenna, Rose, Marilyn, and Anabel.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Warming Up

Nevermind that my twiggy noodle arms are pale like spaghetti! The weather has been GLORIOUS this week, so yesterday it was time to bust out the first sleeveless top of 2012:

blouse: F21
jeans: F21
shoes: Payless (several years ago)
necklace: I made it

I think this was also the first day I wore pants that aren't skinny jeans. How adventurous of me.

Even though we had a really mild winter without much snow, this was still the one of the first days I spent some time outside by myself. I wandered around the historical neighborhood for a while, rockin' my sunglasses that take up half my face:

I wasn't kidding.

I like how huge they are, but the main reason I bought them? My eyelashes don't hit the lenses. I don't know if mine are freakishly long or what, but I have trouble finding shades where the lenses are far enough away from my face. I feel like that's a weird problem to have.

Anyway, how's the weather in your neck of the woods? (We're supposed to hit 75 today!) Anybody else busting out some sleeveless tops and giant sunglasses? Or enjoying some outdoorsy activities?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Guess what? I'm one of the new contributors over at Kanelstrand and my first post is up today!

Pop on over to read more about a cool upcycled clothing shop I found on Etsy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

DIY: Terrarium Tutorial

I'm glad terrariums are making a comeback. They're great for adding a little green to your space without any of that pesky sun and water business. (Fun fact: when I first moved in with the Hubs, he owned this scary vine that got a lot of sun and started tentacle-ing itself around the entertainment center. No thank you.)

Anyway, terrariums are great, and I decided to make myself one this weekend. I even took it a step further and used fake plants to keep it ultra low-maintenance:

This is one of my cheapest projects to date. All I had to buy were the glass parts, everything else I already had laying around the house. I headed to a thrift store that's not part of my usual rotation and I got lucky--the tumbler and coaster were only 50 cents each!

That's right. This is my $1 terrarium.

As for my other materials, I had a flower arrangement that never quite looked right no matter what room I tried it in. So it got sent to the linen closet to live out the rest of its days in shame. Until now.

Once I gathered the flowers (and the miniature deer a friend gifted me a couple of years ago), it was party time. I pulled out several leaves and some moss, and just fiddled around with different combinations until I found something I liked. I placed the parts on top of the coaster and carefully lowered the glass. No adhesives, at least for now. I like that I can change it up in the future if I want to.

I ended up using dark green moss, two branches of flower buds, and one creeper vine in the back. And the itty bitty deer, of course.

It's so cute it makes me baby talk.

Here's a shot of it next to my iPhone for size comparison. It's quite wee:

So easy, right? If you want to make your own, you only need two main materials: some kind of glass enclosure and fake plants. You can obviously make a terrarium with real leaves and moss, but I'm no gardening expert--so this tutorial is for the faux variety only. See this pin if you want the real deal.

Who else loves terrariums? Ever made one? What other projects are you working on lately?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pinterest #18

We all know I love me some Pinterest. It's one of my all-time favorite sites, but since this article has been making the rounds, I've been a little more cautious. Out of the millions and millions of pins on there, it's unlikely that anybody will get up in arms about one of my 2,400, but I'm going to be more careful (read: paranoid) about where I get my pins anyway.

Haven't seen the article? Basically, Pinterest's TOUs say that if somebody gets angry at you for having one of their images on a board and decides to sue, you not only have to pay for your lawyer, but you also have to cover the legal fees for Pinterest.

So that's a bummer. I'm still pinning for now and hopefully that won't change, but I'll be keeping an ear out for more about this.

Anyway, let's look at some things I found on there, shall we? First of all, Martha has demonstrated her brilliance once again. Spray painted bricks as bookends:

Now THIS is how you do colorful cabinets. It makes the room interesting, but not eye-wateringly so:

How cute is this candle in a vintage tin? I see stuff like this at Anthropologie all the time for like, $18, but now I can just make my own:

I've tried to make that dish where you fry an egg inside a cut-out piece of toast (I know it has a real name... anybody?), but I always mess it up. This looks a little easier, and just as tasty:

I have some weird colors of leftover acrylic paint, and I think I'll use them to make some pretty chalkboards (maybe for craft shows?). An easy-peasy tutorial for doing just that:

What have you been pinning this week? Have you read that article too? What do you think about Pinterestgate? Are you sticking around or are you doing the big delete?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stuff I've Been Doing

Sometimes I feel less productive when I get a weird mishmash of stuff done instead of doing several related things. I was in my office yesterday morning going over my to do list like, "THERE IS TOO MUCH!" but then I looked around and realized I actually got some pretty big tasks out of the way last week.

First, I got a slight handle on our abundance of artwork. I actually made that bulletin board by wrapping fabric around two pieces of foam board. I was thinking about posting a tutorial, but that's literally all there was to it.

There's been some new jewelry for Oh Nostalgia popping up, too. (And yes, that's a scarab. He says hello.)

And one cannot forget the large amount of homework I get in my drafting class. Tragically, this will keep happening every week until May, so I never get too excited when I finish it. Le sigh.

On deck for today: I have some button ads to make, several orders to start, more of that pesky homework, and maybe I should wash some clothes...

What are you up to? Have you gotten any big projects out of the way lately?