Polar Vortex 10% off Sale // We wish it was at least 10 degrees warmer so take 10% off in shop. Link in bio! 🧦.My slipper and sock knitting is in full swing during our cold snap. I popped outside to take this video and the temp report is -30 C (“realfeel” at -38C) and I can confirm: I was not picky about video details with a bare hand! Brrrrr! Shown in the video are our “ultra thin” Heels and Toes slipper soles, a smidge thinner than our regular soles. .Our vehicles have given up even trying to run as this weather was the breaking point, one demanding a battery replacement and the other a trip to the mechanic after we have been asking it to stumble onward with that glowing check engine light (so many electrical problems) for far too long. You’ll find our humans now warm at home, cutting suede and buried in woolens instead. I hope you are warm and cozy where you are!. #slippersoles #suedepatches #soles #socksoles #sockpatches #polarvortex [Image description: a video of a white hand holding a grouped pile of olive brown suede leather slipper soles, flapping them side to side to show flexibility. You can see the snow in the background.) Posted by Intagrate Lite
Mail Run // On my way to get my social time aka time with the Canada Post staff! Even with the crush on the postal system, they are still joyful and a highlight during my week. Small blessings are the ones I'm counting: the great support we get from continuing orders and these lovely ladies that I visit weekly..What small blessings are you counting today?..#buyhandmade #CanadaPost #SocialTime #MadeInAlberta #SlipperSoles.[image description: Two hands in handmade knit gloves holding a stack of yellow padded envelopes with a return address stamp "Chasing Fire Studio".] Posted by Intagrate Lite
Mail // Those who can sense the weather turning have been busy ordering slipper soles and buttons for their autumn projects. Thank you for your continued support of our very literal Ma and Pop business.🤗We started tracking the where of packages since we started mailing in 2012. I am fascinated by the amazing places that our work goes to live. You can find a map on our website with a dot to every city we've ever mailed to as of Sept 12, 2020. 🤗May Canada Post, USPS, and Australia Post carry these safely to their new homes…[Image description: a stack of yellow bubble envelopes with Chasing Fire Studio return address stickers, piled on a blue shag pillow. So fancy.]..#mailrun #smallbusiness #buysmall #buyhandmade Posted by Intagrate Lite
Product Photography in our kitchen We have been spending our Sunday mornings hosting Instagram and Facebook LIVE from our studio. On May 24, 2020, we took everyone behind the scenes to watch how we create our photos for our Etsy shop. LINK HERE–> Correction: we use compact flourescents, not LEDs as mentioned in that video. Resources: Overall plus camera settingsI love this bang on post about product photography from Shopify. It covers lighting if you don’t have lights, using reflectors, images to capture, and camera settings like ISO, F-stop, and white balance. I reset my white balance before every session which greatly reduces my time needed in post-processing in Photoshop. I do need to crop and resize photos for Etsy after each session and I do not want to do any other editing because it takes TIME and that’s not something we have enough of, so I try to get the photos right the first time. Resources for Light Boxes:The Camera Store – In this time where small local businesses are suffering, I really encourage you to look at your local brick and mortar camera shops for light boxes. In Calgary, we have the Camera Store, and they have many models. The one closest to the one we demoed is the 60cm x 60cm. They also have a 100cmx100cm and 150cm x 150cm for larger projects Amazon – if you can’t find anything local, this is a good option. Or… make your own lightbox with instructions from a post we wrote quite some time ago: We hope you enjoyed the video! If you have any questions, drop us a line at cara at chasingfirestudio dot com or through Instagram.com/chasingfirestudio
T O G E T H E R // I've made some bookmarks to mail out with orders, putting my emptier schedule to better use this week with more useful activity and less useless worry. I'm very lucky to still be working during the day, however, our evenings of hustling to rinks, field houses, art classes, knit nights, and errands has softened to a slower rhythm of walking the dogs, playing board games, making art, making food, knitting and crocheting. I've never sat so much in my life. We are learning A New Way, Together.#covidart #zendoodle #bookmark #ink Posted by Intagrate Lite
The one labourious drawback to online retail is adding items to the shop. The process is referred to as “listing items”. Each item for sale needs five photographs so that I can show detail, size, and every angle for a buyer that can’t pick up the product to inspect it. It’s a long process, then I upload the photos and create keywords and a detailed description for each. With hundreds of items to photograph and list on Etsy = I will be looking at this setup every evening and weekend for the near future. The laptop that I use to upload photos and create listings is to the right of the lightbox pictured below, and the entire setup is on a rolling cart so that I’m always ready for a photo + listing session. I can roll it to a warmer area of the studio, grab myself a tea, and get to work. You’ll hear me talking to myself with the occasional “oooooh! This glaze worked out so PRETTY!” because no matter how long it takes to inspect and photograph every button, I enjoy it because I’m a ceramic geek at heart.
The Etsy shop is OPEN! I’ve taken my shop out of “vacation mode” and I’m photographing and listing buttons as quickly as I can. With hundreds of buttons in stock, it’ll take some time to get everything updated, but I’m excited to be open! Tonight I calibrated my camera and light box, and listed a handful of buttons to get the ball rolling. Tomorrow evening, I’ll be living next to my camera and laptop to bring buttons to the Internet shopping public. Here’s a two inch dragonfly button that kicked off things today:
Spring cleaning started early on this website, and welcome to the new site design! I’m working out some interesting bugs (where did those photos from 2011 disappear to??) however I’m happy to have a responsive, stable website with usability across platforms. The biggest bonus for me is the additional new ease to post photos and ideas. Bye bye, grey unresponsive site. You were lovely but if users can’t navigate from mobile devices, you’re outta here. Helloooo purple!
The vast majority of items that I create are sold online, and for that to be a successful venture, my photos have to be eye catching, colour-true, and show every angle for the remote customer. It is incredibly challenging to attempt to capture every angle in 5 photos to give that potential customer enough information so that they’ll be compelled to press the “Add to Cart” button. Each listing has a description however, the photos that display in searches are what will bring a person into the listing, into my shop, and into my “Sold” listing. I started taking product photos (the fancy term for “pictures of my buttons”) while crouching in the garden. When winter hit, and this is Alberta Canada where -20C (-4 F) is the standard, garden photos were difficult because my hands kept freezing. I started procrastinating about photographing my items, my shop started to empty because I wasn’t adding new items and… it was time to research another photography solution. My home is surprisingly lacking in natural light, something I’d never noticed until I had my camera out in an attempt to take these photos inside. As I balanced myself on the only window sill that had the right light, buttons falling everywhere as the precarious setup I was attempting fell over, I decided there had to be another solution. To be honest, I swore quite a bit while crawling about searching for the strewn buttons that had fallen off the box that had been balanced on the back of my couch. THEN I sat back and knew I had to find another way. There was: a light box. These boxes reflect light within, reduce glare, and make for a repeatable set of conditions for taking photos of smaller items. Since researching light boxes, or light tents, I’ve learned about light temperatures, background staging, reflection, and consistency. If someone shows up in the Etsy shop and all of my photos appear slightly different, I’d imagine confidence drops that the photos aren’t really an accurate reflection of the item up for sale. With that in mind, my goal was to 1) make every photo consistent, 2) make every photo true to the item, 3) reduce or eliminate the time I am spending in Photoshop to modify the photos so that they fit goals #1 & #2. With a very limited knowledge of my manual settings on my camera, I set out to learn about using a light box, and how to use my camera to get the best results. My lightbox isn’t anything stellar or spectacular. I used these instructions to build my own DIY lightbox, which recommend a cardboard box, a couple of meters of white cloth, an exacto knife, tape, glue stick, and a large sheet of white bristle board. I’m crafty (I make tiny buttons out of clay!) and it was an easy and inexpensive build. I then added three inexpensive floodlights with 6500K bulbs. The entire setup was so easy to create that I kick myself for not doing it sooner. I set the box up, lights on, used the white bristol board to set the white balance on my camera, and VOILA! Beautiful, true photos of my tiny little buttons that require NO EDITING. No editing means I take photos and upload them without having to spend extra time (aka labour) to edit each photo for colour/brightness. With this, my profit margin moves up a smidge and I don’t have to increase prices. Ode to my lightbox, a saving grace for me.