This year, I allowed myself one little splurge, and one not-so-little splurge. First, the little splurge.
This delightful book, My Rag Doll, by Corinne Crasbercu was published by David and Charles. You can find other craft projects and free projects at this website: www.stitchcraftcreate.co.uk.
I just couldn't resist the little freckle-faced redhead on the cover. (My daughter had auburn hair and freckles.) All of the dolls are adorable, and there are patterns for hats, boots, shoes, jackets, adorable dresses and pinafores, a little backpack -- and more! The patterns need to be enlarged to 140% to make a full-sized doll, but I may make some un-enlarged ones for a smaller, toddler-friendly version.
My only complaint is that only one of the 11 dolls was non-Caucasian. There is one adorable Oriental doll with a kimono, but no black or brown dolls. That is easily fixed, of course, by using appropriate skin-toned fabrics and adapting the hairstyles. SO---I'll add dollmaking to my long list of Someday Projects. (I actually have a Pinterest Board - Someday Projects.)
My husband's grandmother made handmade Iso Aiti dolls for all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Although our youngest granddaughter is almost 10 years old, just past the doll stage, I am hoping to make some rag dolls as new baby gifts to help continue that tradition. (We're expecting a great-niece or -nephew in December!)
My not-so-little splurge was a new camera, a Canon PowerShot SX170 IS.
(This picture was obviously taken with the old camera. The new camera isn't fancy enough to take its own selfie. I am SO ready to say goodbye to those grayed backgrounds!!)
One of my Etsy goals for 2014 was to improve product photography. I had been using the photo editing function more as a crutch than a tool. And even then, with maximum brightness, my photos often had dingy gray backgrounds. (Sigh.)
After taking a fabulous non-credit photography class at our local community college, taught by Khara Plicanic, I decided to make the investment in a camera with more settings. I am hoping to see some noticeable improvement in the quality of my listing photos in the near future.
Khara's book, Your Camera Loves You: Learn to Love It Back, was very readable, and just what I needed to conquer my fear of moving up to a slightly-more-sophisticated camera.
Written in an engagingly conversational style, the book is jam-packed full of examples with clear, simple explanations.
I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is a beginner to intermediate level photographer.
The mysteries of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO have been revealed (at least in part). In theory, at least, I "get it."
Now I need to learn how to apply that new found knowledge with my new camera! I bought a new toner cartridge just so I could print all 135 pages of the manual. I need to take a BIG deep breath and go off "Auto" to experiment with some of my new settings options. I may become a shutterbug yet!