Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Handwritten with Love

So I was wondering, after hearing a woman on Jeopardy say that she wanted to bring back the US Postal Service by writing letters & mailing them, how many people actually send cards or letters via snail mail? A wee bit of research turned up a few statistics:

  • From the USPS 2016 stats: 154.2 BILLION pieces of mail were processed & delivered (I'm guessing that was in 2015 because how could they know for 2016 since the year isn't over yet?)
  • Only 22% of American households send Christmas cards 
  • A single US stamp costs 49¢

I'm ashamed to say that I don't know the date of the last time I handwrote & mailed a letter. It's a dying art.  Heck, I've even jumped on the bandwagon for using the computer to sign cards, tags, etc rather than write them out using a favorite pen.

When I look at these wonderful writings, each a part of my growing collection of ephemera, I am amazed. Someone wrote that letter that travelled from France to this little corner of Ohio in the US. Someone penned that recipe to send to a family member faraway. A friend mailed a post card with a pretty image on the front to brighten someone's day. And finally, a little girl named Ruth, Helen, Naomi, or Clara practiced until her penmanship became as lovely as she was. It's a testament to the spirit of those who came before. They were busy, too, in fact life simply took more time. More time to get where they wanted to go, more time to do the simple tasks that take us only a few minutes.

So why don't we write letters or send cards anymore? Technology is supposed to lighten our load, yet it seems we're busier than ever.  Now don't get me wrong...I depend on my iMac & I'm as guilty as the next person, but I LOVE getting a card or letter in the mail that someone took the time to write their signature.  Don't you smile huge when a card or letter comes in the mail? 
Read more of the quote HERE
I'm going to challenge myself & I'm going to take a first tiny step & you are welcome to join me. I'm going to write a letter. That sounds so simple & it is by carving out 30 minutes to do it. Hmmm...perhaps skip Jeopardy one night?  Then, I'm going to mail that letter. How about you?  Will you write a letter, too?  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Just Three Words

As Studio on the Corner moves into the future it's important to pinpoint just what makes my Etsy shop different from other shops selling the same types of  digital items. I've been thinking a lot about this question & done a bit of research. The 3 words that come to mind when I break it down are:

Creating is the best part of having an Etsy shop. I know I've said this many times, but what does one more time hurt?  I love combining time-worn antique & vintage ephemera & my passion for Photoshop to create.  I get lost in the journey & at the end of the day feel wonderful contentment when it all comes together.  Along with the creativity comes my own high standards. Every image is created & saved in 300 dpi so it's high quality when printed. I truly want every file, every package, every image under the Studio on the Corner banner to be beautiful & created with excellence in mind.

Being versatile is what I want my listings to be & I want you to see the added value of 1 file or image in different formats. So let me count the ways...

  1. PDF. A quick & easy way to add your information via text. Just bring up the image or sheet in Adobe Reader & type in your information & save. 
  2. JPGs  Sheets of tags, labels, cards, etc.  formatted as JPGs. You can print the standard print size, 8.5-inch x 11-inch sheet of tags as is & handwrite your information for a personal touch. 
  3. PNGs  Individual tags in PNG form (no background) Why include no background images? So many reasons, but here's 2: For those who want to add the images to blogs, websites, on banners, in their digital art of all kinds.  I'm a-ok with small businesses using my images including printables. And...with PNG images you can create your own sheets of tags. Let's say you love the little girl witch tags. Just open your editing program that supports layers or go to Create a new file 8.5-inches x 11-inches, 300 dpi, RGB color. Pull  up just the tags you want to use & place on the sheet. Save & print. 
  4. PNG sheets of tags. WHAT? Yep, some packages have the ink-saving PNG sheets. That means you choose a colored or patterned paper to print your tags on. By going that route you use less ink & still have a fantastic-looking tag.  
Versatility is a great thing & something Studio on the Corner takes great pride in offering you. The next time you're on the hunt for a DIY gift tag, card, stationery or the like, check the options.  You may notice not everyone offers as much versatility. 

A famous, oft-argued retail quote, The customer is always right, has good intentions & while I don't necessarily agree every time I do believe that to satisfy those who believe in my creations enough to purchase them should be treated with the utmost care & respect. Digital items carry a certain risk to them. It's easy for others to take advantage of what's out there in the internet world. Having said that, Studio on the Corner prefers that every customer smiles with satisfaction before & after purchasing. Being treated well no matter what the circumstances is something I do with kindness & often generosity.

So there you have it the three words that I strive to attain each time I create & list an item. Creativity, Versatility, & Satisfaction.

It's in the shop: Witches & Broomsticks Tags were recently listed. These are little more 'sophisticated' than the package with the little girl witches.

Coming soon to SotC: Cauldron Cookery Halloween Recipe Cards 
There you have thoughts on a sunny, September Sunday.  I hope your Sunday is wonderful! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Test

Perhaps this will be a test in lack of images.  A new website/blog is down the road so of course you'll continue to find musings here for the time being, but I wonder how many are ok with a blog that sports no images. Gosh darn it...I can't get images to load so I'll just have to paint pictures with words. Just for fun...let's see how this goes.

Witches & Broomsticks Halloween Tags
 The latest tags on Studio on the Corner focus on witches from vintage post cards & magazines that were sent & received in the early 1920s. Six tags in all in several formats: all 6 on 1 sheet, individual, & as PNGs & PDFs so you can edit the sheet or each tag on it's own.

Tag 1: Standing Witch with Owl - a yellow over skirt that gathers at the waist & parts gracefully to  reveal a softly-hued, barn-red, quilted skirt decorated with black snakes & toads begins the ensemble that this sweet faced witch wears. A black corseted bodice with ruffles at the elbows & a ruff at her neck give this witch attire a modestly feminine appeal. Lacy fingerless, elbow length gloves add witchy elegance. Her blunt-peaked witch hat sports bat wings to complete the look. She holds her broom to her side with an owl sprouting from the broom corn looking regal & menacing at the same time. The background of faded text, aged texture & a splash of faded black & red checked pattern creates an overall look of time-worn & aged.

Yes, you may laugh out loud! The time it took to write that voguesque description & then you read it says it all  A picture tells an immediate story, something that in this age of speedy connections is all-important. I believe 8 seconds is the amount of time the average person surfing the internet takes to make a decision to stay or go.  That photo becomes paramount to success.  I'm going to try one more time...

Ha! And we have success!  You can find the Witches & Broomstick tags at Studio on the Corner Etsy shop.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Big News! Big Move!

Big News!

There's been a whole lot going on lately & even though most has turned out for the best,
I'm not finished slashing through my world of vintage, digital, printables.  After many years of being on Blogger I've decided to move to a new platform.  Yes, Studio on the Corner will become a member of the Wordpress family of websites & blogs.

This is a decision I've been pondering for some time now, but lately Blogger has been frustrating to work with especially when it comes to uploading images. I've researched, sent an email (with no response) & tried to figure out what the problem is. Also, every time I begin writing a new post I get error messages that cause some funky malfunctions. The end result is that it's time to move.  This weekend is all about beginning the transition. There's much to do & while I know it's going to be an inconvenience, I also believe this is the right decision. Soo... if you've been following Studio on the Corner, please watch here, on my Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram for updates & the new link. There will also be a link on my Etsy About page.

This is just one more step in the evolution of my online shop, Studio on the Corner.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Open for Business

Studio on the Corner Etsy shop has been closed a for a bit over a week & is ready to swing the doors wide open. I've missed having my shop open, but closing was much needed.  The dpi/ppi  problem has been sorted out & there are other changes being made, too.

I want everything I sell to be everything you need it to be!  I am excited to share with you that files that require writing like invitations, labels, tags, cards, planners, & journals will be editable in Acrobat Reader!  While I think the most personal way to share via paper is to handwrite it, I also know not everyone feels the same. Let's face deserve options! Going forward, if you purchase labels, tags, cards, planners or journal pages you'll discover each JPG or PNG image & sheet in another file format as well:  PDF. All you do is load the PDF file into Acrobat Reader & add the text you wish.

 Included in the TOU, if necessary, will be the font & colors used so you can keep it the same or even better experiment to come up with your own look. Just to clarify...the only editable sections will be for text. You cannot change the basic design of the file such as shape, colors, images used, etc. Keep an eye out for the PDF symbol
This mark will be on all listings that ARE editable. If you don't see it then it's not editable, but eventually all the labels, tags, planners, etc will be.

You may notice that there are fewer listings on Studio on the Corner. Some of the missing listings are items that weren't garnering much, if any, attention. I'll either revamp or discard those listings. Others are going to take time to get up to snuff. I'll be listing new items like this unfinished Halloween tag...

The Halloween tags are based on Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, where 3 witches conjure up a brew using ingredients such as howlet's wing aka wing of an owl. The brew also includes such fantastical ingredients as: eye of a newt, toe of frog, root of hemlock, gall of goat, & even the mummy of a witch! If you've never read Macbeth, give it a go.  It's a good read, but expect the language of the Elizabethan era to entice you as well as frustrate from time to time. BTW...  you can find Elizabethan dictionaries online like this ONE that makes reading Shakespeare a bit easier.

I am relieved & happy that Studio on the Corner is open again. I didn't get as much completed as I'd hoped, but I feel so much better knowing that what's in my shop right now meets the high-quality standards that printables require.

And now my alderliefest friends, have a most wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

An Explanation & Solution

It's not easy to admit when I've messed up big time, but I have! You may have noticed that Studio on the Corner Etsy shop is on vacation. It's not really a vacation, but I had no choice but to close the virtual door until I fix a problem a watchful customer found.

Creating in 300 dpi/ppi is all-important for making every image in every kit a high-quality printable. That has always been my standard & will continue to be going forward. Now, Etsy has a file size limit of 20 MB.  If a folder larger than 20 MB is uploaded, it will not be accepted. Often times, individual  papers become HUGE files into the 30s & higher. One paper would not fit in a folder according to Etsy limits. In an attempt to keep the file size within Etsy parameters, I used the save for web option. What I didn't do was check to see if the dpi/ppi had did indeed. Almost every image I created in 2016 is of lesser quality or 72 dpi/ppi.  For the web 72 dpi is fantastic, for printing... not so much.

After getting over the shock that I'd spent 8 months listing 72 dpi images & kits I closed Studio on the Corner to straighten out the mess. The only thing to do was to check every listing on the site, remove or deactivate the problematic ones, fix them or toss them.

There is a silver lining to this frustrating problem, it's made me check my listings with a fine-tooth comb & fix problems. Also, I've come to realize that I lack a true-north focus that is in keeping with my original plans for Studio on the Corner.  I've used three words to describe my shop: VINTAGE   TIME-WORN   WELL-LOVED & don't forget my tagline that I don't use like I should:  Putting YESTERDAY on the page. I've strayed away from this focus & into a hodgepodge of styles. While drawing & creating from scratch has become a wonderful way to express myself, that was never my intention with Studio on the Corner.

I'm going back to my shop roots...the place that I love so much that I prefer to surround myself with vintage, time-worn, well-loved, yes...antique & old things from ephemera to furniture to simple things like a jar full of buttons. There will be fewer listings on Studio on the Corner for now, but I guarantee what you see will be more focused.

Future Plans
Sometime in the future I hope to open a second shop that is just my own clipart. It won't be any time soon as I really want to concentrate all my efforts on Studio on the Corner. Paying homage to wonderful images from the past that were born in books, newspapers, post cards, photographs, writings, etc & turning them into something different & usable today is where I am. Look for more grunge, aged, steampunk, & delightful images that have stood the test of time in future listings.

The Studio on the Corner will reopen SEPTEMBER 1st.  As I said, there will be fewer listings & some that have been in the shop will be gone for now. October 6th will see Scraps, the Studio on the Corner Newsletter come alive again. Freebies, which may at times include my own clipart will be offered through Scraps. If you'd like to receive freebies & more, just subscribe. You'll find the subscription button in the right sidebar.

Thanks dear friends for reading & understanding my shortcomings.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Of Water, Family & the Kindness of Neighbors

Just when you think life is going to settle down something happens. This summer has been so darn busy with the little man's involvements with theater & STEM camp. Then came a wonderful visit from my sister & brother-in-law from Montana. My son & daughter-in-law arrived on Friday. Waking up early Saturday morning with all my children under one roof brought so much contentment that I shed a tear or three. On Monday morning & excuse my salty language, all hell broke loose! At first it was just low pressure, then it was a trickle until with a swoosh some kind of nasty, gray-oozey stuff came out of the kitchen faucet! Then....nothing. No water dripped from any of the faucets. Uh oh!

Let me say this...never have I had more appreciation for those hard-working folks born before indoor plumbing than I do now. Living without water is not an option, it's a must have.  So we gathered & talked...talked some more with water professionals.  Yep, the well has truly run dry. A new well will be drilled, new pipes will once again give us free flowing H2O, but until then it's going to be somewhat of a chore.  Laundromat here I come!  Don't be surprised if I come knocking on your door with a soap on a rope around my neck, a towel in one hand & shower caddy in the other.
UPDATE: I started this blog a couple days ago & am happy to report that a gracious neighbor is allowing us to tap into their water source via hoses that stretch from their outdoor spigot to ours. It's an amazing feat of water olympics! We have running water all through the house with enough pressure to put us in awe of the wonders of nature.  It's so good to have running water while we wait on a list for our well to be drilled.

Beyond the water situation, life must continue to be as normal as possible.  The 100 sale in Studio on the Corner Etsy shop has come & gone. And a new listing is up. Beautiful fall tags are ready for you to use any way you wish.
Six tags as individual PNG tags & one sheet with all six make up the time-worn, grunged package of Autumn Tags.

I'm going to digress a the fates my son & his wife, who live in Colorado, were here during this water emergency.  They both jumped in & helped lessening the load for the rest of us. Digging a 4 feet hole, removing cement, & using his highly honed skills as an electrician was such a blessing. Ton Saturday they flew home & I miss them so much. With hands pressed together I thank the powers that be for loving, caring family & friends who opened their doors for showers, water, & a shoulder to cry on, & generous neighbors who help without one iota of concern.  Each of you possesses a grace that is too often rare these days & renews my belief in an oft-times not-so-nice world.

Thanks for letting me vent a bit about the current situation in my corner of the world.  Until next time...