Category Archives: Creative

Wit & Whistle Holiday Cards 2017

Here are the new holiday cards I came up with for this year! I’ve got some sketchbook process peeks for you below. I’m going to have to figure out a different way to photograph my sketchbook at the new house. It turns out the floors are too dark to use as a backdrop, doh!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun working on these. Confession, I usually hate designing holiday cards, but this year I worked on them a bit earlier instead of beating myself over the head with Christmas stuff during my summer slump. It worked out so much better! Is anybody else a useless blob during the oppressive heat of July and August? My creative juices ebb and flow from season to season, and summer is not a creative time for me.

My Black Friday discount coupon will be posted later this week, but I’m offering an even better discount exclusively to my newsletter subscribers! If you don’t want to miss out, sign up for my newsletter right here.

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

funny holiday cards

Light Box Review

For nearly eight years I used the same product photography setup—propped up foam core next to a window. It was cheap and worked for my purposes, but it had some drawbacks. My old setup relied heavily on the weather, and I often had to delay my shoots on gloomy days. My photos were also heavily affected by the leaves on the trees outside reflecting green or yellow light on my setup during spring, summer, and fall. Editing photos took forever, because I had to manually adjust each one. Due to the changing light conditions I couldn’t automate any part of the editing process.

After years of debating I decided I will be changing my greeting cards from A7 to A2 size, which means updating all my product photos. Talk about daunting! I’m switching to a white background for individual product shots, while keeping my usual burlap texture for styled shots. I spent hours reading way too many reviews, and finally bought this light box.

My light box folds flat for storage and easily pops up when I need it. The inside is lined with LED lights, and there’s a white backdrop built in. The box seals the light in with velcro, and there are openings with flaps on the top and front so you can poke your camera in to get your shot. I don’t like that there’s no on/off switch. You have to plug and unplug it to turn it on and off. Also, the white backdrop has a crease in it from being folded for storage. Lucky for me the crease isn’t a problem for flat lay product photos.

My process for re-shooting my cards was to photograph each one with the same camera settings in the same placement in the light box. Then I created a Photoshop action to automatically edit each photo as much as possible. (Here’s a tutorial from Adobe demonstrating how to create Photoshop actions.)

Here’s a raw unedited photo straight from my light box:

light box review

After I ran my custom Photoshop action I was left with this:

light box review

Then I just had to adjust it slightly to finish up:

light box review

I can’t tell you how much time this new process has saved me! I was able to photograph and edit 85 cards in one day! I don’t even want to think about how long that would’ve taken with my old photography set up. At least a week I’m sure.

If you’ve been on my site you know I haven’t switched over to the new product photos yet. I’ll be gradually making the change in late December/early January when the new card size is available.

One other downside, if you have a toddler you will probably have to share the light box.

light box review

Latest Pottery Haul

I’m still making pottery and loving it! Here are some of my latest pieces. I’ve been trying all sorts of different things—marbling clay, carving patterns, making stamps to add texture, experimenting with glazes, Sgraffito, etc… All these pieces are hand-built with my trusty rolling pin and a few other tools—no wheel throwing for me. I can’t seem to make enough mugs and planters!

I’m starting to get a feel for my personal aesthetic when it comes to ceramics, and it’s really exciting! I definitely want to keep it as a hobby for now, but thank you SO much to those of you who’ve asked about buying my pots. You’re such an encouragement!

hand-built pottery

hand-built pottery

hand-built pottery

hand-built pottery

hand-built pottery

hand-built pottery

hand-built pottery

hand-built pottery

Get a Hobby

I’ve been cranking out cards and paper products for Wit & Whistle for almost 8 years. 8 YEARS. At this point, running Wit & Whistle feels like work. It’s work I absolutely love doing, but it’s still work. Deadlines, payroll, invoicing, marketing, customer service, accounting, shipping… you get the gist. There are a lot of non-creative aspects of running a creative business.

The time I get to spend coming up with new products has been enough to satisfy my creative urges for a long time, but lately I’ve needed a new challenge. Something fresh, fun, and creative that isn’t work related.

Thanks to my Cary Arts Center pottery studio pass, I’ve been regularly playing with clay. The ability to switch between pen and ink and clay is flexing my creativity in new ways, and I’m having a blast with it. When I grab my sketchbook and get back to work after a clay break, I feel refreshed and inspiration seems to strike so effortlessly. Who knew investing time in an unrelated hobby would benefit my business?

I’m not an amazing potter, but I don’t suck as badly as I did in the beginning! I feel like I have good ideas but still lack the technical skills to make what I’m envisioning. Sometimes my pottery turns out exactly like I planned though, like this little pencil cup dude…

wit & whistle pottery hobby

…these plates…

wit & whistle pottery hobby

…and this mug.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

Other times the glaze turns out splotchy and weird for no apparent reason, like these three dud mugs.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

I loved the way my happy cactus spoon rest looked until I glazed it. Now, not so much. It’s a learning process.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

On the other hand my studded, speckled planter turned out just right. I see more planters in my future.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

wit & whistle pottery hobby

Do those of you who do creative work find that you also need a creative outlet on the side? If so, is your hobby completely different than your work or is it similar?