Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Social Icons Tutorial

I had a link in my credits section to another blogger who had a great tutorial on how to make social icons on your site.  (like the ones on my sidebar)  Unfortunately they have since taken the post down. So, I have decided I will just make a tutorial here.  Since my knowledge of coding is fairly limited I'm confident I can keep it simple enough for anyone to understand.  :)  

Images can be clicked to be enlarged.

Part One-

(you can skip to part two if you have already found or made social icons and just need to know how to do the codes!)

Find social icons!  You can find free social icons on many sites.  I got the ones I used in my sidebar from here.

(Note- Please be sure to credit the people you use social icons from.  It takes a lot of work to make things like this and it's pretty awesome people are willing to offer them for free.)  

If you have the fortitude to make your own social media icons I will give you some quick tips on how to best do that.  I will be using CS5 for the purpose of this demonstration but it should work in a similar fashion with any version of photoshop and probably other similar programs such as Gimp or

1. Locate social network icon pngs.  I found some here.

2. Once you've located them save and extract (in this case they're in a zipped file).  

3. Open with your photo editing program of choice. 

4. Make a new file and go to layer > new > layer 

Then you will have this.

5. Staying on the new layer use the custom shapes tool to make a shape.

6.  Next you want to drag the vector image of the social icon on top of the other image.

7.  This particular set of vectors comes in black only.  If you want to change it to white you can do the following.  While the layer the "f" is on is selected click image > adjustments > brightness/contrast.  

Slide both sliders to "100" and viola, you've got a white "f".

8. Unless you want to do anything else fancy to it like textures, gradients, or embossing you're finished and may proceed to the the next step!  If not here's how you can do those things.

To make gradients, textures, or embossing you need to right click the layer you want to change and click blending options.  Here you can change most anything you like.  Here are some examples.

Using bevel and emboss on both layers separately.

Using a gradient overlay on the heart shape layer only.

Using a pattern overlay on the heart layer only.  Texture from Lost and Taken.

Using stroke on each layer separately.  

The possibilities are pretty endless these are just some suggestions of variations you can try with your own stuff.  :)

Now on to the next step!

9. You want to merge the first two layers together and delete the background.  Right click the top layer and click merge down.  

Once you've done that right click the background and click delete layer.

10.  Save the image as a .png.  This part is important because if you do not save it as a .png it will not have a transparent background and will have a white background when you upload it to another site for use.  

Part Two-

1.  You need to upload your images someplace so you can have a url to use.  Some people use image hosting sites like imageshack.  Personally I just used my tumblr and set the post to private so no one but me could see it. 

2.  Now to the code!

<a href="url of where you want the social icon to lead to goes here"target="_blank" ><img src="url of your image you're using for your social icon goes here" height="48" width="48" /></a>

Height and width determine how many pixels tall and wide your image shows up as.  You will probably want to play with it a bit to find a size that works best for your site.  

To get the url of the image you want to use for the icon you need to go to the site where you uploaded your images and right click the particular image you want to use.  After you right click scroll down and click copy image url.

3. How to use this on blogger- 

Go to the layout tab.  Once you're there you will see this. 

Click add a gadget. 

You will want to use the html/java script gadget.

Now all you have to do is copy and paste the code and add in your site and image urls and pick a title.  Then be sure to click save and click save arrangement in the upper right corner of the layout tab and you're done!  :D  

I have also successfully used this code on tumblr for my "I sell on" badges.  Which can be seen here.  All I did was use the same exact code and put it in the description box.  :)

I have not used this code on any other sites but I assume it will work on any site that allows you to add your own html codes.  

I hope this is helpful and easy to understand.  If it is not please feel free to ask any questions.  


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Lies Perfectionism Tells You

I picked up a copy of psychology today a couple weeks ago because it had an article that piqued my interest.  The cover article was titled, When Virtue Becomes Vice (you can read the whole article online).  Initially I thought, okay this is going to be something dumb about how being nice is overrated etc.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that's not what it was about at all.  

One particular part of the article really struck a chord with me.  The flipside of being a perfectionist is nothing will ever be good enough.  You will never be happy with your work.  You will also likely become a huge procrastinator.  

The danger in perfectionism is that it's something we see as a virtue.  "Oh, they're a perfectionist so they will strive harder to better themselves."  When we hear the word perfectionist we typically think things like, hard worker, good work, excellence.  

The truth of the matter is being a perfectionist is essentially shooting yourself in the foot.  This is something I've had to learn the hard way.  I always felt like being a perfectionist when it came to myself and my work was a good thing.  It meant I wanted perfection.  The problem lies in the truth that no one is perfect.  I find myself putting things off and being overwhelmed by them more often than not because I get hung up on being "perfect".  If I can't do it perfectly then I don't want to do it.  If the process doesn't go smoothly then it really upsets me.  

An excellent point brought up in the article is how in the end it does not matter if the process is perfect.  What matters most is the result of the process.
Perfectionism is a trap.  You wind yourself up when the process or result isn't perfect even if it's still wonderful.  

A prime example of this was my initial struggle with figuring out how to do clay transfers.  

Pictured first real success after about ten or so failures

It took me a lot of tries before I got a process down that worked.  It is especially frustrating with limited energy and chronic pain.  When you have a very finite amount of energy it's deeply frustrating to feel like it was wasted.  Learning the lesson that failures lead to understanding and success has been a really important lesson for me.  

Pictured several failures 

I asked the advice of a couple of people and got some answers that were helpful.  I usually have a rough time asking for help or accepting constructive criticism.  I finally set it aside for this project though.  I got some advice that helped me improve my process and finally get some consistent success! 

Success!  :D

I learned a lot from this particular project.  That while failure is indeed frustrating I can't let it stop me from trying again.  No one ever starts off perfect with anything.  We start with scribbles an work our way up.  Being kind to others comes easy for me but being kind to myself has always been harder.  My new phrase I repeat to myself whenever I find myself feeling down about my work or wanting to procrastinate is, "Strive for excellence not perfection."  I have also had to learn that if I push myself too hard and get too worn out my quality goes down the drain.  I've had to give myself permission to do things in smaller batches so I don't sacrifice the quality and that's okay.  

Process pics!  -  

                                                                       FINAL!  :D

I still struggle a lot.  There are still times I get very down on myself.  This is an important lesson so I'm going to keep going.  Hope you enjoyed this post!  <3  :D  


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration is something we all seek in one way or another.  It's also very personal and a broad topic. Ask several people how they get inspired and I can guarantee there will be some very different answers.  So today I'm going to talk about what inspires me and break down my creative process a bit.

Inspiration and creativity have always been nebulous concepts to me.  Probably because I feel the same about art in general.  It's difficult to give art a concrete definition.  If you ask one person they'll tell you there is nothing artistic about post minimalist sculpture you ask another person and they will tell you it's the highest art form.  

For me, inspiration, much like art, comes in all sorts of packages.  I find inspiration in the vast majority of things.  I have a collection of pictures I've taken while out and about that range from fabrics and produce to broken glass and classic cars.  I take all these pictures because there's a lot of beautiful colors, patterns, and even great lighting references to be found all over the place.  I'm inspired by anything that I find to be aesthetically pleasing or anything that speaks to me on some level or another.  

Music is another thing that is a huge source of inspiration for me and emotion is a big driving force behind my art.  Especially anything that is very poetic sounding.  I also love instrumental music as well.  A lot of times I close my eyes and just let my imagination go.  I picture so many different things in my head when I listen to music.  

Surrounding myself with images from other artists I really admire is another way I stay inspired.  When I look at things that are really beautiful it makes me want to go and apply myself and hone my own artistic skills.  Being really open minded with what sort of art you like helps you to be more flexible in your own work.  Or at least that's how it's worked for me. haha.  Being open to many different aesthetics and not just one style, look, or feel can be very instrumental in helping an artist define their own style.  

Here's some examples of pieces that really inspire me- (all of these are links on deviantart and all are clean and safe for work!!!  Just fyi haha)
Honeysuckle Moon by Coyote Mange, Insecurities by Astridle, Mandarin Fish 2171 by Sooper DeviantL'aurore by BluminaThe Last Snow by PixieCold, Orion by ApofissUse The Experience Wisely by Starwalt DesignWater Dreams by Aeternum-ArtTears In Heaven by KuschelirmelTime Never Lost by Emerald DepthsOrange and Blue by Katie AlvesXVIII by KiwixSleeping Beauty by Charlie BowaterPainting Pictures by PhatPuppy ArtRio Cool by BurtnSyoku by KoyamoriSomeone Like You by Rona KellerSketchbook Page by Lady 2Tea Spirit July French Earl Grey by MobilePants.  

For me a huge part of art is trying to show others how you see the world.  Van Gogh, Dali, and Monet are classic artists I really admire for this reason.  They all had such different views of the world around them.  Viewing the world through a different lens is a big part of being an artist.  To see the beauty and complexity in things that others find to be mundane is really brilliant and lovely.  When I make art that's what I want to bring to the table.  I have a lot of cool pictures in my head that I want to share with others.  I love bringing the visions in my head into the real world.    

Well, that's a bit about how I feel about inspiration and art in general.  I feel like I barely scratched the surface but that's enough for now.  :)  



Monday, February 25, 2013


This post is about the announcements I made on facebook.  I'm going to address them in order in more detail.  

 1. I will be taking down all the earrings I presently have in my shop. If there's any you want I suggest buy it in the next couple of days.

These were made in a rush for a craft fair.  While I can assure you they are of the utmost quality structurally I don't feel that the design work is there like it ought to be.  Basically from a design standpoint I don't feel like it's my best work.  Unfortunately the craft fair did not pan out due to unforeseen circumstances which is okay, life happens.  They're just taking up space, not selling, and I don't feel it's my best work so I will be deconstructing them in the near future to make new earrings and necklaces with them.  I like making scrap necklaces, they're probably my favorite.  These will be perfect for this!  Scrap necklace- when I take left over beads and match them up, typically by color, and string together a bunch of different beads.  

2. I will be bringing some of my inventory back to etsy. 

I'll preface this by defining a reseller in the context of what I'm using the word for.  On etsy it is supposed to be only for handmade products (barring crafting supplies and vintage items).  A resller is someone who buys mass produced product and passes it off as handmade and blatantly claims it is handmade.  For me art theft falls under this as well in the context of speaking about etsy.    

This one took a lot of thought.  I left etsy due to the rampant reseller issue.  I have really strong principles and the idea that etsy did not care about the resellers really got to me in a bad way.  The site is just swamped with them.  One of the worst was a particularity infamous event involving them featuring someone who was selling supposedly handmade, designed by herself, furniture and it turned out she was a reseller.  This coupled with being scolded by the etsy team and told art theft was not an adequate reason to flag a shop and a very flippant attitude from the ceo about theft and reselling just really did me in.   

I felt like leaving would make some sort of statement.  I really believed that by doing that I would no longer be supporting their morally bankrupt ideals and cheating.  I finally came to realize I can't live my entire life trying to avoid every unpleasant person and corporation or I'd have to become a hermit.  Hermits do not run successful small businesses.  I was getting a lot more attention for my work on etsy than storenvy.  By leaps and bounds.  I guess storenvy is just too little known and to be perfectly honest, as much as I love that site, their category system is really lacking.  

TL;DR (too long didn't read)- 

I let my anger and my principles overrule my sense when it came to keeping my business on the right track.  They're there to make a buck and so am I.  If I avoid every business/person who is willing to cheat to line their pockets then I won't get anywhere with my business.  I'm going to have to bite my tongue and deal with people/businesses I'm not overly fond of if I want to get anywhere.  At the same time that doesn't mean I have to compromise my principles and beliefs in the process.  The best I can do is not be like them.  


I will be putting just a few things from storenvy up there from every category.  I will have links in the descriptions to storevny where people can find more like items for sale.  Nothing will change on storenvy I will just be moving a few of my products over there for more surface and so I can have my work in two places.  

3. The sale on my jewelry I have up on storenvy will be ending in the next couple of days.   

This one is pretty self explanatory.  I don't see any reason to keep it going when it's not gotten anything sold.  I've started making new products again and will just continue on with the way I've been doing things.  I will have more space for storage freed up when I deconstruct the earrings so it's not really an issue anymore.  

4. I will be expanding my inventory to include hair accessories. 

This is also pretty self explanatory.  I have a few pictures of what I presently have made on The Gilded Butterfly's page.  I need to retake the pictures because I don't feel like they're up to par with what I can do now.  Some of them are even a bit blurry.  That was back when my arms were weaker.  Having a bigger camera and doing fairly frequent photography have both helped take care of that. lol  I also have a tripod for taking product pictures and night photography.  So that ensures the pictures will be extra clear.  

On the accessories themselves-

Right now what I have in stock are headbands with flowers I clipped and glued to them.  They're actually from a scrapbooking kit and they're fabric flowers with feathers on them. I even made one for myself because I like them so much.  :)  I'm trying to incorporate some easier to make things into my repertoire because making jewelry is really hard on my back and I want to produce more products and get more things up in my store.  I found some nice headbands at hobby lobby that are thin and soft (they don't pinch or hurt at all!) and attached the flower clips I made to them.  :)  

I want to try making some more complicated things in the future but I think these will be a good first run.  :)  

Well, that's all for now.  Thanks for taking time to read this!