Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Home

Hello Everyone!

The Laughing Cat blog is moving... same cat-blog, but a different cat-place! (Yes that was a dorky batman reference. *bows*)

So find the new blog HERE!

Don't forget the dash! tutsuite was already taken. T.T

Die Cuts and Yard Sales

Every time I drive into town on the weekends, I pass at least five different signs for yard sales. It's torture! I can just imagine all the broken watches I could take apart and use in steampunk jewelry, or the old books with colorful pages, or interesting jewelry I could take apart, just waiting to be discovered... AND I HAVE NO MONEY!

So go buy something from my shop, before garage sale season is over! LOL.

Aaaand now... as promised... examples of what you can do with book pages!

I went to the local Ben Franklin craft store today... they have two different die-cutting setups, and I make good use of them. =) Here's what I made today...

Over 20 small envelopes like these:

And a lot of these adorable little heart boxes - the PERFECT size for the rings I make!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How to Take Apart a Book Without Ripping the Pages

This may not seem like the most useful skill right now, but just wait until I put up all the different things you can make with these pages - you won't want to lose a centimeter of the paper to ripping!

Ok, so first step... You Will Need:

A book you no longer want to read
A knife. A craft knife is probably best but a kitchen knife will work too... just any knife that's handy.

You can use any type of book, because of course thin paper book pages are useful for decoupage and other crafts, but in this tutorial and others I will be using a book with large, thick, shiny pages... a coffee-table book, essentially.

Ok. If you want to know how to take apart a book, you need to know how it's put together.

If you look at any book that's actually bound, and not just stapled together, and look closely at the paper where it meets the spine, you will see little groups of pages folded in half.

When a book is bound, a certain amount of pages are stacked, sewn down the middle, and folded in half. Then these packets are glued into the spine.

In this picture, the pages on the left have had the insides of the packets removed, leaving only the outer page of the packets, which is glued to the spine.

So step one is to find the packets in your book!

Once you do find a packet, find the inside pages of the packet - the ones not glued to the spine.

Open the book to the front or back of this inner packet, so that one of the pages you're looking at is the one glued to the spine, and one of them is the front or back page of the inner packet.

Taking your knife, run it along the crease where the pages meet.

This will cut the threads that hold the inner packet to the outer pages. It may help if you grip the inner packet and pull with one hand and use the knife with the other. I'd show this in my pictures but I'm using the other hand to hold the camera, lol.

Soon you should be able to pull the inner packet away. Open the inner packet.

The pages in the packet should come apart very easily, as the threads holding them together have already been cut.

Et voila! Beautiful, unripped pages twice as big as if you'd ripped them out!

Coming up next... what the heck to do with them!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Upcoming Tuts

I've taken photos for three new tutorials, and have some photos I can use for a fourth. So keep your eye out for these upcoming tuts:

~Editing product photos without fancy software
~Removing pages from a book without ripping them
~Upcycled envelopes
~Upcycled Good-as-Aanraku bails

Stay tuned, y'all!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Etsy Listing Tips: Lighting and the Evils of Flash

I link to this tutorial on the etsy forums all the time, so I though I should put it on the new blog:

A recent edition of the email newsletter for Etsy Sellers commented on the evil that is flash, but I would like to expand on why it is evil, and also address the horrors of tungsten lighting and the importance of white balance.

I've photographed a pair of earrings that I made. Because I made them for myself, they are clip-ons. However, if people like them enough, I may remake them and sell them.

We'll start with flash.

Flash vs. Natural Light

OK, the difference is clear. But I'll point a few things out.

In the photo with the flash, the colors are different, and the shadows are harsher. And the photo with flash is actually darker than the photo without! But more than all that - is that the kind of lighting you'd normally see the item in?

Unless the item is something that would normally appear in harsh light - and I can't think of anything that would - don't photograph it using that light.

This does not apply for artistic photography - flash can produce some interesting results by accident or if you know how to use it.

OK. Now to lighting in general.


Tungsten is Evil.

Tungsten makes everything orange. Even when using tungsten white balance, the colors are off.

That being said, bright daylight is very bright and will create some pretty harsh shadows. Cloudy days are your friend.

I'm lucky. I have a sort of frosted plastic covering the outside of my window for additional insulation. I always have great photography light.

Windows are your friends. Set up your photos on the windowsill, maybe early in the day when the sunlight isn't as harsh.

White balance is very important as well. Your photos will look blue or orange with the wrong white balance - and you CAN'T rely on auto-white balance. The colors on your items need to be true to life.

Photos taken in tungsten with different white balances:

Big differences, right?

Various white balances in natural daylight:

Once more, a big difference.

The completely blue one is tungsten white balance. Maybe that gives you an idea of how warm tungsten light is. ((shudder))

So pay attention! Bring out the booklet that came with your camera, find out how to adjust the white balance, and then play with it until the results match reality.

I'll be doing more posts like this soon... For my next I plan on talking about the different types of natural light, or maybe how to edit photos without fancy software. Stay tuned!