11 Dec 2009

Photography Tutorials: Food

Selling baked goods online is almost as challenging as selling art: how do you make a customer fall in love with your cookies when they can’t smell them baking or see their yummy goodness in person? The answer, as always, is in the photography.

This was a tough assignment, but someone had to do it! I asked Tracy, the owner of Once Upon a Cookie (who, by the way, bakes the most ridiculously delicious cookie that you’ll ever eat in your life) to “lend” me a few samples to shoot for this tutorial.

In my humble opinion, the best images are the ones that let the cookies speak for themselves. No props, no busy background, no weird staging. These are cookies. You eat them. End of story.

1. Resist the temptation to photograph from far away. Get up close, use the macro function on your camera, and show people just how yummy these things really are.

2. Get creative with the layout. Shoot in a way that makes your product interesting, yet still shows the detail.

3. This happened quite by accident, but I’m certainly grateful to my two-year-old for showing me another great way to photograph food. A chubby little hand grabbing the cookie is a perfect way to show the scale of the item (Tracy’s cookies are mammoth, by the way) and gets the point across - these are too good to resist!

Keep your background clean and white (colours are distracting and the wrong ones can actually be unappetizing), find a natural light source, and get up close and personal with your food!

(I don’t know what happened to Tracy’s cookies after this photo shoot. They seem to have disappeared. How very odd...)

Written my Michelle of MKCPhotography

27 Nov 2009

Black Friday Handmade Deals

So today is Black Friday and I've noticed lots of handmade sellers are offering special deals. I thought I'd share a few of the ones I've seen. If you have having a sale, please feel free to add it in the comments on this post, if you are shopping for gifts, avoid the shop queues, get all of the goods delivered to your door and get your mouse clicking. Your feet, credit card and arms will thank you.

PiratePixieCrew- 10% discount on anything over US$ 10 until the end of November. Quote coupon code "Bring on the snow" at the checkout.

Chalk Hill Studio- 15% off when you spend £25 over

Adnagam Envelopes-Free shipping worldwide for orders over US$1

The House of Mouse-get up to $15 off a large selection of mice from The House of Mouse! Please check out the sale section in the shop.

Bella Headbands-2 for 3 offer on headbands until November 30th

Happy Christmas shopping people. Remember handmade goods make great gifts. It is very unlikely that the person receiving it will end up with 2 of the same thing and all the items are made with love and attention to detail. Have fun looking!

23 Nov 2009


It's getting cold outside and all the insects that spent the summer rushing about going about their business have disappeared from view. Where do they all go? Where do they hide away until the warmth of spring lets them know it's time to get busy again? Their disappearance is one of the reasons I get down in Winter. A garden full of chirping, buzzing, hopping, leaping insects looks so alive and vibrant. Once they go the garden looks tired, as if sleeping due to hypothermia. I want them to hurry back. Bring on Spring!


I want the insects back!

Written by Lynne of Hyperloop Hoops and Pirate Pixie Crew

21 Nov 2009

Flickr Friends Finds

All this time I've been away sick you lovely people have still been adding photos of your gorgeous handmade goodies to our Flickr group. Thank you so much for doing that. I've picked out a few to share with the other blog readers today. There were so many to choose from that it took me 3 hours to finally pick. Needless to say there are loads more I want to share, but it will have to wait until another day, or this blog post will be a mile long.

Adorable, beautiful, stylish, comedic, fantastic... the mixture of things you can find in the flickr group is amazing. Please go check it out and click through to the photostreams of the posters to the group to see even more amazing handmade items, but remember to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee before you do as you are sure to be there a long time being wowed by what you see.

Written by Lynne of Pirate Pixie Crew and Hyperloop Hoops

Hammered Metal

Just pictures and links today. I love the texture and simplicity of hammered metal, so feast your eyes on these beauties:-

Clicking on the image takes you to the items listing. Clicking on the name takes you to the shop. Check out other items from all these sellers. There is lots of gorgeous stuff you need to see.

Collated Lynne of Hyperloop Hoops and Pirate Pixie Crew

20 Nov 2009

My handmade Christmas wish list

Every year around this time people start to ask that question "What do you want for Christmas?" and to be honest most of me wants to say "Nothing thanks, give what you would have spent on a gift to the charity of your choice", but I'd be lying if some of me didn't want to say "Wooooo I'd love...." Now I'm going to stick with my first statement and tell people to give donations, but just for the fun of it I'm going to share with you some of my favourite handmade goodies that are on my imaginary Christmas list.

Mithi's work always makes me go "Wow!". She is such a talented lady and fabulous with it. Check out her shop for more beautiful embroidery pieces and her brilliant illustrations.

Vaisto's shop has so many clothes in it I would love to wear. Her asymmetrical skirts and trouser combo's are my favourite. This skirt's colours are just so bright, cheerful and fun that you could never be sad wearing it!

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across the artwork of Rima Staines and The Hermitage. This picture really grabbed me as it pictures perfectly how I feel about being trapped inside my malfunctioning body some days. The Hermitage website is beautiful, please do visit it.

PlaiderPillar shop is full of creations I'd love to fill my home with. The Giant Octopus McPaul Therman fills me with delight. He's stupendously grand! He is not alone either all the other creations in this shop are scrummy.
For all of you that think I don't have a girly bone in my body, you might be surprised by my choice of Alangcry pretty flowing skirt, but yes I do have some girlishness and this swirly skirt appeals to it.

Googlie Goggles! Yippeeeeeee. I love these vintage Austrian military glacier goggles from MorningBird. I always find it really hard to find sunglasses I like and when I do, I always manage to break them, so maybe goggles is the way to go.

Recycled handmade goods are not only are lovingly crafted but they are environmentally friendly too. Katcha bags made from recycled rubber inner tubes are soooooo stylish, well designed and useful, who wouldn't want to own one?

Add to this list in the comments by linking us to your favourite handmade shops.

18 Nov 2009

Are you making and selling handmade goods?

After a bit of a chat between fellow artisans that sell their handmade goods online, I've started up a forum, the Handmade Business Forum, that is independent of all the sell through sites, where people can come and chat about being in business, but mostly to discuss promotions and ad campaigns for their shops and websites.

We all know how hard it is to get our goods seen and sometimes it's hard to know where to start. This forum is a place where we can help each other with ideas and join up as teams to promote each other. The forum is set up so only members can read it, this allows you to chat about your ideas in private.

We will be using the forum to plan for group promotions, like the Coriandr Express that a group of us ran a few months ago, and to come up with new ideas that will get the handmade movement's message out there to a wider public and gain publicity for all of the forum members.

If you make and sell handmade goods and wish to join in, please sign up to the forum and come and chat.

10 Nov 2009

Monster name

Well after taking a lot of time talking to monster he decided he wanted to be called..... *drum roll*

Well you can find out by clicking this link.

Thank you all for getting involved. I will be in touch with the winner =flashpoint= to get an address to send mini monster to.

Yippeee for Monsters!!

Are you a knitter or fan of crocheting?

Hey all you lovely readers! This is a bit of a request post today.

I was linked to a site the other day that stirred my heart. The site is run by a group of people dedicated to an on going quest and they want everyone that can knit and crochet to join in. Basically what they need us to do is knit/crochet 8" squares that will be sewn together to make blankets for children that are made Orphans by Aids. There are so many dying of Aids in parts of Africa and.... well it would be easier if I just link you to the site to see for yourself. They explain exactly what they are doing and why. My request today is that you take the time to join in with this project.

If you don't know how to knit/crochet, this could be the perfect reason to start learning. There are lots of You Tube videos explaining how to do it. Nip over there and find one that suits you and get creating.

Learn to Knit
Learn to Crochet

Making squares really is very easy and once you know how to knit/crochet you'll be able to whip one up in a really short time. Please, please, please find it in your heart to set aside some time to join in with this project. Use your crafty skills to help make someone else's life a little better!

Thank you!

9 Nov 2009

Help me find this Monster's name!

This is my knitted monster and I need to name him. Despite giving him a big hug and taking him for a trip into the woods he still hasn't told me his name. Can any of you guess what it is. I'll read out all your suggestions to him and see which one makes him look over at me.

The person that gets the right name can claim a mini monster prize knitted from the same yarn. Put your suggestions in the comments on this blog.

8 Nov 2009

Monster headache

I was determined that today I would start up blogging again, and as I have woken up with a monster headache I thought I'd find some beautiful, but fierce handmade monsters to chase the pain in my head away. Not much typing for each one, but just take it as read I love them all.

Photos link to the item and name of the creator below links to their shop

So those are my picks for today.Magnificent monsters, one and all. Check out the rest of the items in these peoples shops to see lots more fantastic handmade goodies.

I'll be back soon with more.

Written by Lynne of Pirate Pixie Crew and Hyperloop Hoops

23 Oct 2009

I've been away for a while...

... due to ill health, I have been taking a break from Autonomous Artisans. I hope to be back with lots of great handmade goods really soon. Thanks for still stopping by.

11 Sept 2009

Photography Tutorials: Highly Reflective Items

Happy September, artisans! This month I’d like to focus a little more on a subject I touched on a few months back: photographing shiny or reflective surfaces. Those of you who work with metals know the challenge they present when it comes to photographing them for your website.

My very talented friend Layne of Layne Designs has kindly let me use several of her photographs to illustrate the challenges that come with photographing highly polished metals.

This is a gorgeous sterling silver rattle Layne made for her nephew when he was born. Anyone care to guess what color shirt she was wearing when she took this photo? Be careful to wear something white, pale grey, or beige lest it show up later in your photograph!

The dreaded flash...just don’t do it!

This would be a lovely image except for the portion of the rattle that “falls away” from the eye because it’s hidden in the shadow.

The rattle photographs perfectly once it’s turned around to catch the light. There’s still a tinge of pink (even after Layne changed into a white shirt!) from some other object in the room, but it’s barely noticeable because the rest of the photograph is so sharp and well-composed.

Be sure to review all your shots as you work so there are no surprises lurking when you load them up later than night - if you check as you go, you’ll be able to correct a problem like that hot pink shirt before you’ve invested hours of work.

Happy photographing!

Written by Michelle of MKC Photography

14 Aug 2009


This weekend we are off camping at the beach. I can't wait to be out in the open with the wind blowing the salty sea air through my hair. Walking on the sand barefoot and feeling the cool water wash over my toes is something I need right now. Things have been driving me a little crazy in the last few weeks, so many projects on the go and so little energy to get any of them properly started let alone completed. So leaving all that stress in the house and going off to be somewhere away from all that will be fantastic.

One of the most important things you need when camping is a way to get warm if you get wet or the temperature drops really low and John Tunger's portable beach burner is a perfectly stylish way to ensure you have a fire to keep you warm. I adore it!

When I'm camping the thing I hate is trying to keep your soap clean and stopping it making a gooey mess of my wash bag. Suds 'N' Such obviously has similar problems and thus came up with these fantastic twist top soaps that will close up and keep your soap safe in your backpack. What's even better is she sells refills so you don't ever have to throw the plastic case away!

When you are cooking in the wilderness it's great to be able to work on a table and Simply Rustic has created this chunky, sturdy folding table which would be great to have with you when you are preparing meals for hungry surfers or hikers. It would be a great thing to stow under a bed in a campervan, ready to whip out when you need it.

Taking kids camping is a great thing to do as it can teach them so much, but before you do it's a good idea to get them ready for whats to come. Bugga Bugs's felt box filled with camping toys is a great way of helping the little ones to understand where they are going and what they will be doing. You can take it with you when you go so they have something to play with on the journey.

One thing you really should never forget when you are off camping is a knife. DJReigel pretty pocket knife is a lovely knife to own. The engraving on it just adds to how special it is, both nice to look at and tactile too. A great combination of functionality and aesthetics. Fantastic!

I hope whatever you are doing this weekend you have fantastic fun. I plan on soaking up all the wild energy the sea and beach have to offer, so that I can come home refreshed and ready to proceed with so many of these projects rattling around in my head.

Written my Lynne of the PiratePixieCrew

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