Waiting on a package.

I'm waiting for a shipment of prints. Maybe it will be here tomorrow.
I'm preoccupied with deadlines for MFA programs in creative writing.
I'm waiting on a writing prompt for tonight's bout of story troubles.
There was an article that said people who lacked confidence used "I" more often than those who had high self-esteem. Most of my time on the train is spent rephrasing sentences to remove the first person pronoun.



My friends,

I've been gone too long. But graduation and other silly school commitments got in the way. Now, I'm out, and of course, like many college graduates, looking for a job. It's not very satisfying to send out dozens of applications, resumes, cover letters only to hear nothing back in some cases. But it's still early. There's no need to panic, and luckily, I've got a number of chores and obligations to keep me busy for some time.

Tonight, I promised I would write a story about a spider stuck to the outside windshield of a car as it speeds up on a highway. It's called "It's worse for the spider, now." Maybe I'll post it. Open the floor up for some critique.

Hello to new followers and to those who are sticking around even though I've been the worst at updating.


a cloudy day at the beach

Sometimes, the best days in the tropics (or subtropics) are not those filled with glaring sunlight that washes out color. Cloudy days, still warm and relaxing, allow us to open our eyes a tiny bit wider to actually see those plants that unfurl around us.
Here's a little bit of an homage to that and a hope that the Florida summer (where two of our artists now live) will be a little more forgiving this year:


photography tips from a photography beginner

My dad and my brother (the other shop owners of FourElephants) are great with cameras. Unfortunately, we don't live together while I'm away at college, and as a result, a lot of my own item photography has to be done by me in a poorly-lit dorm room with windows that only face north.

Here's a list of tips I've picked up from around the web, or invented myself to help me take treasury-worthy pictures. It's not at all exhaustive, but I hope it helps.

1. Never ever ever ever use flash. It always leaves a shadow and it's impossible to get rid of it without washing out the other brilliant colors of your items. Flash results in pictures that make your item look cheap or your background look too dark like this picture I took over a year ago:

2. Pay attention to what's in your background. Nothing is more distracting to a buyer than a strange object or dirt in the background of an item photo. Because of my unfortunate window situation, I spent a lot of time photographing items on my windowsill which is white and black (not necessarily the best color combination for my felt items). One day, I decided that what I had wouldn't do, and I set out to find a surface near a window that wouldn't compete with the item itself. For me, it was as easy as the top of a bookshelf I could clear off. For you, it might be easier to set up a permanent photo station.

3. Provide a variety of views. It's not just about filling in the five photo slots. It's about offering a slightly different feel for your item each time. I suck at doing this, and I know it's easier said than done. Some of the best jewelry photography can capture both how you can dress up or dress down an outfit with that particular pair of earrings. For photography, some sellers choose to show how a photo looks in a living room, to give our imaginations a kick. It's part of the way we compensate for not being able to have our customers feel our items.

4. It doesn't hurt to check brightness on another computer. For a few months, I thought my shots were sufficiently bright, until a seller in the critiques section said they looked a tad too dark. I checked it out on a friend's laptop, and unsurprisingly, I saw myself staring at a slightly grayer and blander version of the photos I uploaded. It never hurts to check to make sure that your settings aren't affecting the way you display your items.


Giveaway Treasury: Comment to Enter

The Treasury Friends Team on Etsy has started a giveaway treasury in conjunction with receiving a 300 dollar Etsy Team Grant to donate to the Red Cross for Japan's earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. All you have to do to win every item in the treasury is comment on it.

We do also strongly encourage you to donate if you haven't yet. The news outlets have stopped covering the tragedy in many ways, but efforts are still underway to aid those without homes and to rebuild the devastated areas.



I keep referring to myself as Forever Bald in my Honors Project. It's true that I was bald for a long time. It made my head look bigger than it already was. I'd scan a picture in, but it would only be embarrassing.

In good news, Four Elephants has officially been accepted to Poletsy, a team of Polish sellers living around the globe. It's very exciting to me among those sellers, and to hopefully use that network to convince my aunt who makes beautiful clothes to try her hand on Etsy.

In other, related news, I've got a new treasury up, which I'm really excited about. My second TFTeam treasury of the month, full of items I really wish I could buy. Take a look:

In other other TFTeam news, we are the recipients of an Etsy grant to donate 300 dollars to the Red Cross for Tsunami Relief in Japan. In order to promote and get more people involved, we'll be donating items to a giveaway treasury that will be up soon. Keep an eye out for that.


one whole week of freedom

This winter term is done officially. I finished my history final just in time, and now I will make myself some celebratory tea and get rid of my notebook which is falling apart.

In Etsy news, Marcin will spend this week taking new photos for FourElephants. We're excited to get some more tropical, lush scenes posted, hopefully expanding to include colors we haven't yet captured.

I've been keeping a review for Take Me Home Tonight in my back pocket to eventually post on here, and I'm shopping around for some really great earwires for my next wave of felt earrings. If you know of any shops, please leave me a comment or shoot me on convo on etsy.


Inception Cake.

For Micah's birthday, our friend Gena made an Inception cake. It depicts the scene in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt fights with a projection in the floaty hallway. I can't wait to have some of it later tonight, but right now, it's Celebrity Apprentice time.

Note the loaded dice along the sides. :)

JGL is the skinny one flying.


I caved.

I ordered an iPhone mostly because I needed something that would actually work in Chicago after I graduate but also mostly because I was sick of everyone else being able to check their e-mails everywhere.

Now, I feel a little guilty, especially after reading all of those articles about how our brains never get a second to process all of the information we feed them. We do not give them a break to contemplate.

My rules for smartphone usage:
no walking and reading the news.
no walking and sending e-mails.
no walking and playing traffic rush.
it is okay to stare outside the window on the orange line and not at a screen.
it is okay to leave an e-mail hanging for some hours.

I hope I don't overwork my brain.


It has been quite some time.

It turns out that college and tutoring have taken up a huge chunk of my time, and now that I've had a few weeks to settle back in, I' trying to figure out a viable Etsy schedule. Most of that is difficult because my tutoring hours are variable, and I should be working on my honors project (which is about my hazy memories of immigration).
I listed some new photos today that had been sitting around on my computer. Marcin is extremely excited for his first photo sale. It has fired him up to take more.
And here's a treasury I just made for your viewing pleasure.

It felt nice to get back into the swing of treasury-making.
But now I'm off to be an official band photographer.


New Year

I'm having some trouble packing up for school. We're leaving at 10am tomorrow, and I'm not entirely sure that I'm ready. Because it's senior year, I keep checking off things on that list that could be titled "Last Whatevers." This is my last winter term, my last time really packing to go back, my last term tutoring freshman studies. I don't mind feeling nostalgic for these kinds of things, but I do mind feeling inexplicably guilty (?).

-Clothes are packed (except for the already dirty or half-dirty)
-Craft things are almost packed.
-Food is packed, but I'm missing some Polish tea and multivitamin juice. I don't know how I'll get them.
-I don't have anything to put into my backpack?

My January 2011 Car Mix is almost finished, and because the new year seems to be a time of confession and new beginnings, I would like to post the tracklist in an attempt to make myself think about my place as a music consumer and distributor of something like musical recommendations. There's an essay kind of about this in Chuck Klosterman's book Eating the Dinosaur, but I'll save that train of thought for my book review.

Beirut- Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)
Liam Finn- Second Chances
Manchester Orchestra- Wolves at Night (Acoustic and Live)
Yeasayer- Final Path
Iron & Wine- Woman King
Kurt Vile- Breathin Out
Modest Mouse- Bukowski
Duran Duran- The Chauffeur
Arcade Fire- Ready to Start
Freelance Whales- Broken Horse
Foals- What Remains
The National- England
Liars- Proud Evolution
Wolf Parade- What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)
Bad Books- Baby Shoes

It's short because most of these songs are a little longer. Also, my other two or three possibilities don't match these songs in tone. And now I have officially committed to this song order. Time to finish up.