Category Archives: Living & Creating

Featured Shop: Starzyia

Standard

Featured Shop: Starzyia.

Advertisements

finding the right Starzyia jewelry for your gift recipient has never been easier

Standard
Earth Mother gift guide

for the Earth Mother archetype

In preparation for holiday shoppers, I created a little catalogue for my business Starzyia, to help handmade shoppers find the right jewelry to suit their gift recipients, I hope you find it helpful and inspiring! Everything is handmade and will be lovingly wrapped and sent around the world from my home in Australia. My holiday shipping deadlines for 2013 (for pre Christmas delivery) are 1st December for orders outside of Australia, and December 17th for Australian domestic orders. You can find my jewelry in store at etsy and madeit

The Earth Mother featured items are all available in my etsy store, except Tree of Life With White Duck (madeit) and Running Hare Brooch with Epidote (madeit)

The Woodland Wanderer collection is created to enchant the woodland enthusiast in your life – she loves to stroll through the woods, loves the wild birds and animals, and the designs are available in the Starzyia etsy store

romantic cottage chic gift guide

for the romantic cottage dweller

This collection is handmade especially for the romantic cottage dweller – she lives in, or would love to live in a shabby chic cottage with a floral garden – these designs are available in the Starzyia etsy and madeit stores, with new designs added as often as possible.

romantic fench inspired jewelry

romantic French pendants by Starzyia

Does her heart skip a little beat for anything French? Well I have some beautiful, unique, French inspired jewelry so you can tell her how you feel in French! I have French jewelry sections in both my etsy and madeit stores.

beach jewelry gift guide

jewelry for beach lovers

If she is a real free spirited beach lover, then how about some nautical jewelry to treasure always? The jewelry featured above is from my etsy store, and as it will soon be Summer in Australia, I’m bound to add a few more interesting designs to celebrate!

I am thinking about designing my first range of beatnik jewelry, and I have lots of other styles already available in store, I honestly have something for every woman in your world, if she is your friend, your sister, your mother, your girlfriend, your wife, your daughter, your grandmother, your boss, your teacher, your co-worker, she is someone who matters to me too as I have all these wonderful people in my life and they inspire me to create every piece.

 

 

 

 

 

Creative and Compelling Product Photography for online sales

Standard

Here is my original product photography post from back in 2011 https://starzyia.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/creating-artistic-product-photographs-for-online-selling/ I still stand by my advice of analyzing photographs that grab your attention online, and of exploring your home, don’t rely on your memory alone at this point, really look through your belongings with a new pair of eyes and make a list of everything that can potentially be used in a photo shoot. Then you need to think about each individual product you want to photograph, remember this isn’t going to be a K-mart pamphlet this should be somewhat artful and emotional – your best photographs are ones that show your product in the best light and that includes evoking feeling, you know how you want your customer feel when using your product, so let’s try and create that feeling in them right here and now just by looking at the photograph.

I thought I’d show you some of my thought process for my photography, not because I am under the illusion that I’m the best in the world at photography (of course not!) but it is much easier for me to use my photographs and share what I was trying to achieve, you can be your own judge of the photographs and the statement they make.

running hare brooch with natural epidote

running hare brooch with natural epidote

running hare brooch - freedom shot

running hare brooch – freedom shot

 

With the running hare brooch, my original thought was that it is symbolic jewelry, a wild animal, with leaves and natural epidote beads so I thought: woodland, nature, freedom, and of course… grass! So I went and snipped some of the long grass we have in the backyard and attempted to artfully arrange it on the neutral silver grey fabric I use in many of my photo shoots. The first photograph is usually my lead photograph, it is like an eye, and draws your eye to the brooch and I can tell you it is very effective on my shop pages even though other jewellery on my page is brightly coloured. But I always include the second photograph with the grass opened, this is much freer, and gives the hare room to run, which hopefully is joyful and liberating to the soul.

What do you think, do you like the association of the grass, do you like the feeling that the hare is running and possibly leaping over the leaf and bead, clearing all obstacles in its way?

Can you brainstorm a similar process using different props for your own unique product – what do you associate with each of your creations? How can you depict that?

 

 

chiyogami pendant

chiyogami pendant

kokeshi doll pendant

kokeshi doll pendant

With these pendants, one using chiyogami paper, the other a popular altered art image of a kokeshi doll, I decided to use a small doll prop that I had, with this kind of thing you do need to be careful about whether the prop enhances the product, or steals affection away from the product – the last thing you want is someone contacting you to ask where they can buy the doll from, while ignoring your hard work creating your product! You can probably tell I have been much more successful with the first image, with the chiyogami paper pendant, and the second photograph is also over exposed and not flattering shot of the actual pendant art. In both photographs though, it has been the right decision to have the pendant in front of the doll.

In the first image, I like the simplicity, there is a simple expanse of my regularly featured light silver grey fabric, with just two sources of colour – the pendant and the doll. In the second photograph, although I had to reshoot, I liked the cascade of scarf fringing like cherry blossom.

This also shows you how it is worth having the right prop for your product – although I collect matryoshka dolls, I definitely wouldn’t team the Japanese pendants with them, like goes with like in the mind of the customer. The doll definitely indicates the world region and style of the jewellery and has a cuteness to it that grabs a customer who may be looking at an entire page (or pages) of search results – not always looking just at a page of your own products – you want to stand out from the other product images from the competition.

 

 

epic love postage stamp pendant

epic love postage stamp pendant

how do I love thee? pendant

how do I love thee? pendant

French Emily Dickinson quote pendant

French Emily Dickinson quote pendant

You’ve probably also been advised to show how your customers would hold or touch your product, since an online shopper cannot physically do this for themselves. I started photographing my jewellery in my hand to try and achieve this and also help show the size of each piece visually.

In the first photograph, I have the item flat on my hand, with my fingers stretched out and away from me, like I’m offering the piece to someone.

In the next photograph, I had started to show how it looks to hold the item in your own hand like you had just received it, or love it so much you just had to stop and look at it again and again.

In the last photograph I had started to think that holding it with my fingers curled around it made it look more treasured, held safe and fast in your hand like you are hugging it.

Do the three different photographs of me holding my jewellery make you feel differently? Can you see what I mean about the moods created just by the way you hold something in your hand?

So you can see how much I am continuing to grow, since all these photographs were taken this year, I went from focusing on props used, to composition of the shots, to even including body language in my photographs, and you can imagine what an impact all three elements would have for other types of products especially in fashion photography, children’s toys, and home decor – really you can spend the rest of your life growing the way you think about and execute your product photography and I hope you will do that and find it increasingly enjoyable rather than a stressful and difficult feat to achieve. I know so many people who have transitioned from a negative mindset about the demands of photographing their work to now enjoying it almost as much as they do creating their product to begin with.

How do you feel about your product photography? Is the way you feel about it different now than before you read this post?

 

 

 

 

 

 

My One Year Fizz-Aversary (anniversary with Fizzy my adopted dog)

Standard
my dog Fizzy, adopted one year ago

my dog Fizzy, adopted one year ago

On July 7th I celebrated my Fizz-aversary which in normal speak is my one year anniversary with my adopted dog Fizzy. I have seen my beautiful boy transform from 7 month old who had had the rug pulled out from under him (family opened the gate, drove away, moved house without him) to 19 or 20 month old who is positively joyful and knows his place in the world and that we will always be there for him. He is taller and stronger, his black spots a little darker, has lost his puppy hair and is glossy and silky. Everywhere we go he is praised, and I am proud to tell people I got him from K9 Rescue Group, the best dog rescue group in the state.

In one year we have learned so much about each other. I know he was never abused because he is not afraid of anyone being ever so friendly and eager to meet all people. I know whoever had him raised him right (up until the point they dumped him – and I don’t condone that!) but they must have known what they were doing because he was a saint in our home, house-trained, not a digger, and though young and a heavy chewer he never chewed anything but his own toys or rawhide bones, shoes and socks are safe with him, as are all my business supplies and boxes around the house. He doesn’t nuisance bark, though I am pleased to say he now thinks its worth alerting us to certain events going on around us, but stops barking as soon as he knows we are aware of and handling the situation. He didn’t know ‘stay’ and he had no idea how to play fetch or do anything except chew or tug, and now I can trust him with the gate open and he will sit and stay while I drag the bins back into the yard and get the mail. I have taught him everything myself, thankfully I didn’t need to pay a trainer because he is smart and willing to learn. I am now teaching him to pick up his discarded toys and put them in his space. I say “get your toy” he picks it up, I point to his bed and say “clean up” and he goes over and I say “drop” and he drops the toy there.

And if you read my Diary of a First Time Dog Owner way back when Fizzy and I were getting to know each other, I can proudly tell you it is now safe to come to dinner at my house and you won’t get a dog hair in your dinner, thank God.

We have had sickness together, and those moments when you wish cleaning horse manure out of their coat was someone else’s job, and our first very wonderful Christmas where he was spoiled rotten with a stocking full of toys. I am looking forward to a long and happy life together with my pride and joy.

Fizzy & Starry (me)

Fizzy & Starry (me)

I’m also hoping that as I grow my mailing list I will have enough readers to begin featuring reader’s pet photos and mini profile of their pet in the monthly newsletter. You can sign up to the newsletter using the tab here on the blog (under the banner image) and tomorrow I will be showing off the Christmas in July prize pack one lucky mailing list member will receive.

 

Repurposed Video Cassette Covers

Standard
repurposed video cassette cases by Starzyia

repurposed video cassette cases by Starzyia

This weekend I looked into upcycling or repurposing my cupboard full of VHS video tapes. Once I found a purpose for the actual cassettes, I had a mountain of cases… I ended up being more excited by the cases than the video tapes, first I made a special keepsake box for myself (pictured here) then I thought about how great the idea is for a little girl to hide her diary, or for someone to keep their photographs, love letters, or other treasured items inside. Then I outdid myself… I thought about the times that I get a bulk order for my jewellery from a lovely customer, and that these require larger packaging than my normal oversized letter in padded mailer and that I am often looking for a box to keep the order safe in transit – no more paying at the post office for a plain brown box – I will be treating customers with large orders to a decorated video case which they can keep and use any way they like!

If you are not already familiar with my work, my handmade jewellery is packed full of meaning, and make wonderful gifts with soul. I like to share the meaning and purpose of every piece, when you know what a symbol means, or that the stones are healing, or the colours effect your mood and energy, or feel uplifted by a quote or piece of altered art that I create then I know that you are on the path to understanding why you love the jewellery you have chosen and how it enriches your life.

You can visit my stores any time, Starzyia etsy and Starzyia madeit

a completed case

a completed case

wishing you a happy and creative weekend, Starry

Feel Good – new Starzyia jewelry designs that are positively joyful

Standard
feel good pendant range from Starzyia madeit store

feel good pendant range from Starzyia madeit store

I’ve been busy designing and creating a range of feel good pendants that combine inspirational quotes with altered art and they’ve already launched in my madeit store, Starzyia, and are currently on sale to coincide with paid advertising (sale ends Monday)
I’ve created these because it is more important than ever to me to know that my customers are feeling wonderful and thinking positively or are giving gifts to others that will make them feel that way too. We can all use a gentle reminder of how special we are and what the world has in store for us that is amazing and worth persevering for.

Pictured above are:

Keep Faith “keep your faith in all beautiful things”, pink edition (I have created the design in several other colours coming soon)

Be Yourself “be yourself, that’s when the magic happens”, purple edition (more colours to come in future)

The Wisdom of Tea “tea is steeped in wisdom”

A Thing of Beauty “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”

Japanese Proverb Pendant “fall down seven times, stand up eight”

jewelry for your true love by Starzyia

jewelry for your true love by Starzyia

And for your true love, there are some new romantic pendants that will make beautiful and original gifts.

Pictured above:

She Walks in Beauty “she walks in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies and all that’s best of dark and bright meets in her” available in the Starzyia madeit store

He Fancies Her, ooak vintage upcycled French-English dictionary, fancy, affection, he fancies her, one only available in the Starzyia etsy store

My True Love “my true love hath my heart and I have his”, pink, available in the Starzyia madeit store

It’s In His Kiss, song lyric pendant in French and English, one available each in my etsy and madeit stores

******************

So hopefully this will be spreading more positive energy, enjoyment, and inspiration from my heart to yours.

Coming Soon: I will be writing more about grief healing, connecting with your loved ones who have passed, and how I think calling cards and signs from your late loved ones work.

Thanks for you support, Starry

New seasonal offerings from Starzyia – winter & summer jewelry for you

Standard

I’ve been busy creating and photographing stock for the change of season, working extra hard because I want to provide summer jewelry for the northern hemisphere and winter jewelry here at home. My inspirations this year are sunshine and spice for summer, and a walk in the woods for winter.

new for summer, Starzyia etsy

new for summer, Starzyia etsy

new for winter, Starzyia, etsy

new for winter, Starzyia, etsy

All stock featured here is available in my etsy store Starzyia

River Mist, Winter 2013

River Mist, Winter 2013

I’ve been having fun walking the dog early in the morning already this winter, I especially love the looks on people’s faces when they are rugged up head to toe and I’m in shorts and tank top (with snow boots being all I need to keep my whole body warm) and being universally asked “aren’t you cold?”. Nope. Siberian blood in my veins. Much prefer the Australian winter to the Australian summer! Anyway whether it be turning summer or winter for you, I hope you make the best of the season, find lots of beauty all around you, and maybe if you’re in the mood create some beauty too.

 

Starzyia handmade Mother’s Day specials, save 15%

Standard
Starzyia etsy store Mother's Day

Starzyia etsy store Mother’s Day

Although I’ve been a bit busy, I haven’t forgotten Mother’s Day and here I am with a few examples of what you can find for mother or grandmother in my etsy and madeit stores, with 15% off until the day after Mother’s Day. Plus I really recommend my etsy store gift certificates if you are worried about delivery in time for the special day – my gift certificates land in your email inbox in under 24 hours, and are available as $20, $30 and $50 value.

To save 15% in the Starzyia etsy store, use the coupon code MOTHERLOVE15 at checkout.

If you are on my Starzyia mailing list you would have received a 20% discount code, so I highly recommend signing up for the next one! I only ever contact you once a month, that’s my promise to you.

Starzyia madeit store Mother's Day

Starzyia madeit store Mother’s Day

To save 15% off in the Starzyia madeit store, just fill your basket with items you love, the storewide sale is all set up, and you can see the original and sale price of each item.

I hope everyone is planning something special for this beautiful day, being together, or telling someone how you feel is still the best way of celebrating or commemorating.

 

 

The Top 10 Things that have contributed to my insanity

Standard
The Maniac's Portrait

portrait of a maniacal woman aka, me

You can either: pay no attention to the self-indulgent ramblings of a self-confessed mad woman, or you can go right ahead and find out what brought me to this point. Curious?

1. The insane way that my father had of handling my insane need to have a pet dog: There has never been a child more hysterically desperate for a pet dog than me. The closest I got was a bright blue tinsel haired stuffed toy with googly eyes, that I used to mess around with in the car and try to make the people in the other cars think was a real, living, dog. When we went out as a family, if I saw a dog, I was a crying, begging, somewhat delusional freak who made a massive fuss about how “the dog has no family! it’s starving! it has nowhere to go! we have to SAVE IT!!!!”. In reality the dog would have a collar on and its owners would be like 50 feet away – and probably casting worried looks my way and saying things like “quick Marge put the dog in the car and let’s get out of here!”. Interestingly, and I only put this together recently, My dad used to always, and I mean always hum or whistle the exact same song for years, and years without relief. The song was: How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? Say what? Was he an evil genius? Because that is torture my friend! So Dad, thanks for always feeding my feverish desire for a dog without ever providing one. Great job!

2. Rhett Halse and Beethoven’s 5th: In the fifth grade, I went to school with a boy (quite obviously) named Rhett. My only memory of Rhett is that for the duration of that year, he sat near me, and incessantly hummed Beethoven’s 5th, but not all of it, just the part he knew. The part that everyone knows. Da-Da-Da-Dahhhhh, Da-Da-Da-Dahhhhh! This he did, over and over. Not just in the comedically strategic places that modern television producer’s would insert it for effect: like the announcement of extra homework, or someone being sent to the principal’s office, he just did it all the time. At first I just sort of had this need to hum the next part, so maybe he could move on. Then I started to get a little bit gaga. Then by the end of the year the desperation to finish the symphony was making my head explode. So Rhett, you are indelibly linked with Beethoven’s 5th and that way, shall never be forgotten.

3. My highschool principal Mr Patterson: Going to school every day during Mr Patterson’s tenure was like being stalked in the corridors of the Death Star by the horrifying sound of Darth Vader’s deep breathing. I found it especially intimidating to have him stand behind me in class, lean down and speak into my ear “can you tell me what you’re doing?” (at the moment I’m pissing myself was not the appropriate answer) and when it was in maths class, I most certainly could not tell him, since I honestly did not know. He also exercised amazing mind control over the student body. School assemblies were no longer a simple file in, take a seat, kind of affair. There was a tremendous amount of training involved so that we, as a collective, responded to his commands “prepare to sit” (tortuous pause) “sit” and “prepare to rise” (tortuous pause) “rise”. Mr Patterson also thought of himself as an innovative kind of principal, as evidenced by his compulsory class named Thinking Lessons. I always wondered if the board of education took that as a declaration that in all our other classes we did no thinking of any kind.

4. The loss of a major food group and consumer innocence for all time: Having survived highschool (perhaps aided by the replacement of Mr Patterson as a principal) I went on to university where I lived from measly pay check to pay check and dwelt only in the realm of shared housing. One day I was enjoying a humble lunch of instant noodles when my housemate, Michael, came home and declared himself “starving” while eying the steaming bowl of leftovers I had on the counter. Since Michael often cooked dinner for me (real dinner with actual vegetables and nutritional content) I offered him the extra bowl. However, Michael was very particular and always read every single label in the entire grocery store before ever buying anything. Ever. So I continued eating my delicious noodles and he started to silently read the empty noodle packet. “What’s RNA?” he asked. “What?” I asked, while spitting my mouthful of noodles back into my bowl, I did not like where this was going. “What’s RNA?” he repeated while I sprang into action, snatching the packet out of his well-mannered little hand. “F*ck me there’s RNA in my noodles!” I screamed at him. He looked on helplessly (obviously his long days of label reading hadn’t taught him everything) so I explained that RNA works hand in hand with DNA and is a genetic type thing that I don’t want to be eating. Gross! I was on that day robbed of one of the five major food groups the student can afford to eat: tinned beans, instant noodles, potato chips, complimentary nuts in bars, and fish sticks (which I already did not eat, being vegetarian at the time), and am now also a paranoid reader of labels.

nuts, yes I am

nuts? yes, thank you, I am

5. The British Royal Family: Let me be clear, these people drive me positively wild but not with delight! I think that it is completely humiliating in this day and age that people still buy into the concept of royalty. Do you know that by my birth as an Australian I am automatically one of their subjects and worse than this a commoner? And they don’t mean common, as in, there are a few of them, and millions of us… they mean inferior common. They mean that and prove that daily by the myriad of ridiculous rules of how we are allowed to communicate with and approach them. How precious can you get? Do you realize it was a major scandal when a senior member of the British media, an icon, and respected journalist, announced the death of the Queen Mother while not wearing a neck tie! For God’s sake!

6. People saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”: Yes, where am I losing you? People invented guns, that is what makes me so suspicious of guns. People didn’t invent guns to go shoot clay pigeons. They invented guns to kill and maim more quickly and efficiently. They wanted to get better at warfare. They later found other things that guns might help out with – humanely destroying injured animals and such. But they didn’t invent guns for that reason. They invented them to kill humans. Yes they did.

7. A cockroach ran up the inside of my trouser leg on a crowded inner city bus: and all I wanted to do was rip those trousers off, scream and shout and shake them all about. I have never gotten over the horror.

8. The suspicion that the internet was invented by nerds as the greatest act of revenge in the world, ever: Think about it. Nerds invented the internet. Nerds got rich off it. Regular folks have never been more frustrated with their computers ever before; the usage of the internet has robbed companies of time and productivity that may never be able to be accurately measured; pornography has never been more easy to access; the internet allows us to spend vast amounts of money more rapidly than any other method including gambling because that is now also a major part of the online lifestyle; and we go crazy when the internet goes down, even for a few minutes, and when anything goes wrong, who do we call, the nerds – so they have never been more needed in their lives.

9. The perpetual neediness of facebook: The fact that every time I select ‘log out’ of facebook, the panic box comes up and says ‘you are not logged in, log in to continue’. Chill out facebook! don’t be such a Needy Nelly.

10. The suspicion that Where’s Wally and Freddy Krueger are the same person: I have a side by side picture, but I don’t want to get sued. But they both wear stripey jumpers, hats, and pants and I wouldn’t go to sleep now if I were you, Bahahaha!!!!!

 

Father-Daughter showcase Australian Native

Standard

Not long ago my father asked me to come out to his studio and photograph his latest completed painting, and I was happy to come and help out, and very excited when I saw that his painting included some native flowers I had only just photographed independently. I hadn’t seen his work in progress and he hadn’t seen my photos. In case you are wondering his painting includes bottle brush, banksia and eucalyptus macrocarpa (my photographs are solely of the mottlecah aka eucalyptus marcrocarpa) Here is a look at the art of Arthur Raston, and my photographs together…

art by Arthur Raston

art by Arthur Raston

by Arthur Raston

by Arthur Raston

left edge detail

left edge detail

detail

detail

by Starzyia

by Starzyia

detail painted by Arthur Raston

 

by Starzyia

by Starzyia