When your photo just clicks

stars without the bucks

A few weeks ago, I took this photo at a little breakfast place in Atlanta while visiting with my friend Carey.

Being a photographer (and on Flickr), I find that so many things are subjective. Choosing what to upload and what to showcase is sometimes really hard. It’s hard to know what people will like.

But sometimes there are moments when you and the camera just click, like in this photo. I’m sure you have those photos too even if you aren’t what you consider yourself a photographer…you just feel really proud of a photo you took on a whim. It’s so nice to capture something that makes you feel good when you see it.

It’s esp. nice when you see a photo that invokes an emotion and reminds you of a good time. Even though I’m far away, the time I spend now with my friends is something I cherish and that day with Carey was really special. I relish in my moments with my far away friends even more now that I’m across the country. I’m super excited, because she’s coming next month to Laguna Beach (if you’ve been following my blog, she was here way back in February). It will be my birthday month, so I hope to get to share the week following my actual birthday (October 1st) with her. I’m really looking forward to it.

OK, I’m rambling now! I hope you have a great hump day! BTW, I have a friend who named her daughter Wednesday and I asked her if she was going to give her the nickname “hump day”. Harhar.

Until next time Swellions!


30 reasons you may be a Flickr addict

136/365 You might be a flickr addict if...

Sometimes I get on random creative kicks and today was one of those days! Inspired by Vickie Howell’s iLoveToCreate post, I wrote up this blog post for the iLoveToCreate blog and I wanted to do one for my Flickr friends to enjoy as well. Below is a list of 30 reasons you may be a Flickr addict. I’m assuming some of you guys aren’t totally aware of Flickr, but it is where all my photos I post on my blog are housed and it also is a social media venue where I’ve made friends all over the world! It’s a really cool way to meet people and connect with other photographers who share my same style, profession, views, etc. I mean, there’s a Girl with Glasses group! That fits me to a T! By the way, the photo above is of me wearing buttons in the color of the Flickr logo. If you weren’t an avid Flickr user, you prob. wouldn’t understand it, thus why I compiled this list! So now…onto the show!


30 Reasons you may be a Flickr addict…

1. You check your Flickr account at least 10 times a day to see if you have any new comments.

2. You see people and places in public that you would like to "fave".

3. The screen "Hold your clicks a moment…Flickr has hiccups. We are looking into the problem right now." sends you into a state of panic.

4. You have ever attended a local Flickr walk on multiple occasions.

5. You are closer with your Flickr friends than you are with your real life friends.

6. Your real life friends don’t know the secrets you tell to your "Only friends can see this" group.

7. You put your photo in more than 5 groups in the hopes that it will make "Explore".

8. You tag your photo with naughty tags just so it gets more views.

9. When you meet your Flickr friends in real life, you refer to them by their Flickr screen name.

10. You would rather stay in on a Saturday night and surf your Flickr contacts over going out with friends to a dinner and a movie.

11. You and the Flickr contacts you do know gossip about other Flickr contacts that you have.

12. You have to sneak to check your stream when you are around your friends and family and when they realize you are gone, they ask, "Are you on Flickr again?"

13. You have www.bighugelabs.com’s Scout page bookmarked and you visit it every day to see if any of your photos have made Explore.

14. Depression sets in if you spend several hours hours color correcting an image only to find it gets little to no comments.

15. Your self esteem plummets or excels based on the number of faves your photos get.

You take photos of certain subject matters (candy, shoes, feet) or do special effects like HDR on your photos because you know it will be more likely to make Explore.

17. You feel really guilty if you go a few days without replying to comments or commenting on your Flickr friends pages. ( www.flickr.com/photos/garris this is for you)

18. You actually fill out Flickr testimonials for your contacts.

19. You actually participate and follow the rules in the Post 1, Comment 2 photo groups.

20. If someone mentions the phrase "365", "100 strangers", "What’s in my bag?", etc. you immediately know what they mean.

21. You’ve upgraded your camera to impress your Flickr friends (or I guess you could just want to take better photos).

22. You have put yourself in a law-breaking, death defying situation just so you could get the "shot" that’s going to get your photo noticed on Flickr.

23. You’ve ever created your own off the wall/niché Flickr group and you administer it religiously and hold the members by strict guidelines.

24. If you meet a fellow photographer, the first thing you ask is "Are you on Flickr?"

25. You actually welcome bad clipart and twinkly graphics because it means more hits to your photo.

26. You actually research/google ways to get more of your photos into Explore (ex. posting at certain peak hours).

27. When you go on vacation, you forego staying at a hotel, opting to spend the night with your Flickr friends instead.

28. You have a Flickr twin(s) or soulmate that likes everything you like and shares your same sensibilities, profession, beliefs. You know that if you met in person, you would be best friends (mine are www.flickr.com/photos/starrdesign/ & www.flickr.com/photos/peptogirl/

29. You send your other Flickr friends actual snail mail filled with goodies cause you know they’ll like it and also photograph it and share it with others.

30. Your goal in life is for you photo to be featured on the Flickr home page (that is, if they ever do change the ones that have been up there forever).

And now a few Flickr tidbits (for all my non-Flickr friends)

– What is Explore you ask? Read about it on Big Huge Lab’s FAQ section. There’s some simple,common language explanations for Scout (the program that lets you know if you made the Flickr Explore pages) as well.

– If you really want a full rundown of Flickr, visit their help section and get schooled. Like most programs, it’s the type of thing, you need to go play around with, upload, and then research to get a full grasp of.

How do I use Flickr?

– I love using it for trend/idea research. For example, look at these amazing photos that popped up when I typed in “Craft + Supplies” in the search engine. If you’re into fashion, for example, you may be inspired by Flickr groups like Wardrobe Remix.

– I love getting inspiration from there. If I were to do an engagement photo session, I would research photo ideas before I go out in the field. Check out the amazing ones I found in a simple search.

– It’s great photo storage. Admittedly, I don’t save every photo I take on my hard drive or a disk, but Flickr backs up my photos and stores them if I need them. My stream goes back almost 2 and a half years now, so I know where to go if I need to find a photo I took on the fly.

– As a graphic designer, there are so many times when I use a photo blown up in the background for texture and appeal. If I need something red for example, I simply search in my archives for a red image to use. I don’t always find exactly what I need, but it’s there as a possibility if I need it!

Do you love Flickr and have a “You might be a flickr addict” comment to add? Post it below!

Until next time Swellions!


Get more for your social media mileage!

So, last night, I figured out how to link my flickr account to my twitter account. It’s relatively pretty easy to do. When I posted my Flickr picture to the Twitter account, I immediately got a large handful of views to my photos as well as a lot of new Facebook comments (my Twitter is then liked to update my Facebook status). I know this may sound kinda overwhelming and confusing, but if you are on the internet a lot and are trying to build traffic and hits to your various sites, it’s a great to link all your social media apps to each other. You just cover a lot more bases doing this and it saves you a lot of time and work! I thought I would share how-to’s I compiled on how to do this as well as some other helpful social media streamlining articles if you are interested. There are still a lot of kinks I need to work out to streamline my web usage, but these are some great social media tools that have helped me out!

How to link your Flickr and Twitter Accounts

How to link your Twitter and Facebook Accounts

How to post to Blogger from your Iphone

And for my Etsy and crafty friends, thought you might like to check out these resourceful articles…

Twitter- Branding Your Etsy Business 140 Characters at a Time This article features some cool Twitter tools you may want to try.

How to use Flickr to get exposure in your Etsy shop

Social media articles on Handmadenews.org marketing section

Oh and I wanted to share a shoutout I got on Curbly’s newsletter. It was so sweet. Check it out below!

curbly shoutout

Well, gotta get to bed. Hope you found these articles informative!

Until next time Swellions!


Explored photos

31 explored photos
If you use Flickr, you probably know about Explore. They are the top 500 photos uploaded to during a specific day. This is determined by how many times people fave a photo (clicking on it as one of their favorites), the number of comments is made, or how many people have viewed the photo.

My friend Chris is always in Explore (mainly because his photos are fabulous). I’m not quite as lucky, but a few of my recent photos including my Wreck this Journal page, an abstract of a drinking glass I shot, and my mosaic wall, all were considered Explore-worthy, which makes me happy!

I think you can tell from my explored photos, that one of the reasons they were popular is because they are colorful. People REALLY like colorful photos on Flickr! They also like colorful shoes, crafts, and signage as you can see. I guess that is my niche. Actually, I think this little showcase of Explored photos tells a lot about my personal preferences. To see any of the photos above, just click on the links below 🙂

1. rings, 2. scrapbook paper mosaic wall, 3. WTJ: write one word over and over, 4. dotted tissue paper lantern, 5. pumpkin jump, 6. ornament swirls, 7. up against the wall, 8. not too pure to be pinky mini lunchbox

9. buttons & bows, 10. swell belt buckle, 11. SSSSSSSSSSSSSS, 12. idea notebook, 13. a swell easter bunny, 14. tell me about it, stud, 15. bead beauty, 16. sugar rush

17. a shocking discovery, 18. inc(red)ible, 19. step on up, 20. It’s 5 o’ clock somewhere, 21. festive me, 22. aluminum christmas tree, 23. paint-o-rama, 24. Illuminated

25. marilyn glasses, 26. parkette drive in, 27. catalina, 28. new skirt and flip flops, 29. Vortex, 30. Woodland art fair…here I come, 31. ky theatre

Until next time Swellions!

Thursday in Black & White

Went with my Flickr friend Chris tonight to take some cool artsy shots. I get in the mode from time to time to get in tune with my fine art photography. Tonight I felt a little off…must be because I’m really tired. Sorry to be so short in my post tonight, but I’m finished for the day. Just wanted to share a few of my shots (all of which I made black and white thanks to Daniel Diaz’s Black and White action in Photoshop, downloadable at Action Central’s site. I suggest you go over there and check out their actions if you do Photoshop on a daily basis like I do. This is the favorite action I’ve ever used.

Staring back at me
staring back at me
Shot at the UK library. I rode the elevator down and Chris stayed up there to photograph me at the bottom. Very triangular indeed!

Just Shoot Me
just shoot me
Chris in the elevator. I like how the slanted framing turned out.

That’s what my world is all about!!!

In the Round
in the round
I like this; however, I noticed that there’s some weird imperfections at the top left. I wonder how stuff gets jammed up in there/ripped off like that. This in the UK library and this is at the very, very top. The library has like 6 levels, so I have no clue how anyone even gets up there. Those windows must be really hard to clean!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pics. As I was uploading one of the pictures, I really fell asleep, so I better get some rest! It’s funny how you are fine and then BAM! (not refering to Emeril, by the way) you are out in the blink of an eye. Guess our bodies just work that way!

Until next time Swellions!


Fun with Flickr apps and plug-ins!

I love little apps like this that you discover online. Actually there is a lot at this link. I decided to check out a few that they showcased.

This site pulls letters from a flickr group and comes up with cool creations like this…

S Pastry Cutter W E L L

So, granted…I wish it were all on the same line, but it will do 🙂

At flickrvision you can see photos as they are uploaded at different locals all over the world…all in real time.

I went to Islands of Consciousness and frankly, it was a bit disturbing. I can respect what the artist was doing, but I came upon a kid juxtaposed with a haunting visual of a man. It kinda weirded me out. It’s totally random, though, so you nver know what you’re going to get. I do give them an A+ for the font they used on their page. I dig it a lot.

This little memory game at Pim Pam Pum was fun. You just type in a tag and it randomly comes up with a memory board. Hey, it beats playing with that lame Disney version.

flickr memory

This cool tag browser lets you search for a tag and then it branches out all kinds of related tags of that basic topic. Think of it kinda like those crazy brainstorm clouds you had to do back in school. Looks like it would be great if you weren’t sure exactly what you were going after.

tag browser

Man, the internet is a fascinating place!

Hope all your flickrites (hopefully you swellions are in that mix…if not what are you waiting for?) have fun playing around with these cool little toys. I sure did.

Places to go and things to see

In the world of swell, there is always something going on. Tonight, in fact, I am going with my friend Chris to take photos around downtown Lexington. Chris is an amazing photographer and we are Flickr compendres. If you aren’t familiar with Flickr, I suggest you get familiar! It’s a great way to meet like-minded creative folks who love to share photography and interests. So you are not into photography? Peruse the many craft groups, shoe groups, kitsch groups, fetish groups, etc. Whoops. Did I say fetish groups? No, there’s some truly bizarre stuff on there. I have found that out by randomly clicking on members icon (don’t let this scare you off, though, it’s not all bad). Who knew there was a fetish for old school Reeboks? I’m not saying just regular shoes, I’m talking a specific kind of Reeboks! Yikes. I find this out by clicking on a profile of someone complimenting my sexiness (ha ha) while sporting a pair.

Anyway, that should be super fun. Also, going to whip into shape and do a set the timer for a ten minute cleaning frenzy. Does anyone else do this? I just hurry and rush around and clean as fast as I can. Kinda reminds me of some skit from Sesame Street while “Flight of the Bumblebee’s” is playing. Wouldn’t it be pretty funny if we could have soundtracks like that in our life while we did stuff? It would make things a lot more interesting.

I was planning on my Tuesdays featuring products/trends I saw out in the marketplace, but I don’t want to force myself into following such a rigid blog schedule. I do want to incorporate that as much as I can, but I don’t think I have anything to prove to myself or my readers, so I will do as I darn please, when I darn please.

That being said, these things are so darn cool

that I just have to share…I’ll let the pictures do the talking…just click on the links below for more info…

Get Well Soon masks (from Samira Boon) for the sickly people around you…
Find it here…

Porcelain paper plates (by Virginia Sin)…a must for avoiding a baked bean catastrophe.
Find it here…

And is it so wrong that I want this organizer from Close to my Heart, cause it reminds me of Connect 4?
Find it here…

And finally, a crafty shout out to the Impatient Beader, Margot Potter in her completion of second crazy and fun craft video. Check it out…

I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna have to try some of that Utee for myself! This makes me want to video blog too! One of these days, one of these days.

Until tomorrow, loyal Swellions!


Ho hum


I’m in a little bit of a mood. I wasted another perfectly good night. I would be really hard on myself for the lack of accomplishment, but someone told me that yesterday was the day that people were most likely to commit suicide…so there just has to be something with moods and sadness with this time of year. Don’t worry about me in the least…I’m not that bad off. I just have been in your typical rut. Don’t want to create…don’t want to be productive on anything else for that matter. Just want to sit around, watch the tube (unfortunately, as you know, there’s nothing good on – though I did catch American Idol tonight), and take a photo or two.

I did attempt to look for shoes tonight for CHA at Kohls. I never find anything I like at Kohls. They have some cute accessories (love me some Relic brand and Candie’s Jewelry), but I get really frustrated with the clothing choices. It’s not just Kohls…I struggle with finding clothing places that reflect my style and body type. I’m not a junior, but I’m not a miss either. I feel like most of the Misses clothes are too conservative…I prefer the junior styles but they don’t fit me. There’s no one store that I really like that carries my sensibilities (bright and basic with a twist). Is this too much to ask for? This is another thing I am really bummed out about…I can’t find two of my most favorite pairs of black shoes, inparticular a pair of flats that I got at Target last year that I love. They are really comfortable and cute and I would like to wear them to the show, but for the life of me, I have no clue where they are. Actually, I questioned their whereabouts a couple of months back (thought I left them at a friends house), but he says they aren’t there and I have no other clue where they could be other than some nook and cranny in my house that I haven’t surveyed. I really don’t want to have to spend $40 or so bucks on another pair of mildly comfortable shoes. The other pair is a basic pair of pointy-toed dress pumps, and I love wearing them with jeans. What is a girl to do?

Also, something I am bummed out about is the fact that I ordered Photoshop Elements for my Mac and it hasn’t come in. I got highly suspicious and called Amazon about it…turns out I entered the wrong address. I had been hoping to have it to get a jumpstart on my CT projects, but I guess it is Murphy’s Law, huh? I just can’t seem to get it together. The reason I have to have this version is because I have to write step by step instructions using that program. The more advance Photoshop version that I normally use isn’t complicated to me, but it doesn’t use the same menu or functions that the Elements version does…it has caused me a headache in the past, so I just gave in and purchased it. Nothing can be easy.

I am going tomorrow night to my friend Retta’s house for Mexican. I’m looking forward to it. I have a group of friends, here in Lex, that I hang out and take photos with. They are my Flickr friends. I have made 5-7 friends locally through Flickr and it has lately been to blame for my photo obsession. I just need to come up with some really cool projects to do with them.

And on a final note, I was looking through a CHA magazine today, and there was a photo of Suze Ormen inside and she looked a little possessed. I don’t know. I’ve never been to CHA, but I would have no interest in seeing her speak. I guess she can give her insight on the business end of crafting, but eh, seems kinda boring to me. Maybe I might be proven wrong, I don’t know.

Fun Flickr Photo Ornaments

flickr photo ornaments

For my Ornament Thursday project, I made two Flickr mosaic ornaments in two different themes. The first theme is of the city I live in, Lexington (admittedly, I had a lot of landmark shots and this was a convenient topic to pick interesting photos from). The second theme is my friend Molly. I wanted to fill it with various images of her and people and pets that she loved.

Just a word to the wise, I used the BIG HUGE LABS mosaic maker to create these images. This site works with the web site Flickr, to create unique photo creations. If you are unfamiliar with Flickr, I suggest you check it out right now! It’s a great way to get ideas and information and you can log in and get a free account. With a basic free account, you will be able to upload photos (FYI – there’s a megabyte size limit per month for free account users, so size down your photos before uploading). Now onto how I made my creation…


– 2.5″ x 3.5″ flat wooden ornament (available at Hobby Lobby)

– Computer with Internet, Photoshop, and color inkjet printer
– black paint or ink pad
– small flat brush
– Preserve Your Memories II Spray sealer
– Thin ribbon (I used ribbon with a stitch design)
– Glue gun and glue sticks
– tacky or school glue
– white cardstock


1. Log into BIG HUGE LABS and select the Mosaic Maker Icon
2. For my designs, I chose the square tiles layout with a 3 column width and a 4 column height. I chose for the background color to be white and for the border color to be black. I selected 1 pixel for the space between the images.
3. Either go to your flickr photos and type in each individual URL (there will be 12 in all) or select from a photoset, favorites, or tags to get a random selection of photos. Note: I chose individual URLS, so I could place photos in an exact arrangement. As you play more with the mosaic maker, you will see what I mean.
4. Once finished, click the Create button to see your mosaic design. Save the mosaic design to your computer.
6. Open the image in Photoshop. Now create a new page and make use your guidelines to create a 2.5″ x 3.5″ rectangle. Copy your mosaic image into this blank document and use the Free transform tool to fit it exactly into the guideline box you have made. Note: If you need to stretch it just a bit – it’s not a big deal – that’s what I had to to create mine.
7. Print your image on white cardstock on your color inkjet printer.
8. Cut around the image. Use tacky glue to adhere it to ornament surface.
9. Use an black ink pad to go around your image, leaving no natural wood areas. (You can skip this step if you want, but I didn’t want the ribbon to somehow not lie smooth to reveal the wood areas).
10. Once dry, go around image with glue gun and thin ribbon. Create a loop with the ribbon and glue gun it onto the back for hanging.

OK, while we are on ornaments, for my work, I pretty much coordinated the ornaments for the Decoart ornament page. Click here to view them in their entirety. There’s also a lot of cute projects that our designer created and I uploaded as well in our project library.

Also, check out some of these other fabulous ornaments created by other artists! Just click on their name to be taken to their blog.

Rebecca Peck
Michelle McGee
Melissa Lee
Melanie Brooks Lukacs
Margot Potter
Lynn Kvigne
Linda Augsburg
Kriss Kramer
Katie Hacker
Jenny Harada
Jennifer Heynen
Hali Chambers
Candie Cooper
Art Bead Scene