Thu 16 Jan 2014

Take More Pictures: New Year’s Resolutions

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resolve to take more photos

Continuing our series of New Year’s Resolutions from the previous Get In Shape article, Take More Pictures is next. Most people enjoy looking at pics on Facebook, Picasa (or other preferred photo viewing option) and reliving some great memories. As much as I enjoy doing this, I often wish I’d taken more pictures during trips, events, and especially everyday pics.

Here are some reasons I didn’t take more pictures throughout the year and the possible solutions. Maybe you can relate?

Problem: Wrong camera
If you’re bummed about how your camera is too slow, too bulky, poor-quality pics, not enough features, low battery life, etc., then a camera upgrade is going to be a weight off your shoulders. How do you know which camera is for you? Common sense wisdom: evaluate what your needs are and choose the best camera for you. Read the specifications and other people’s reviews and pay attention to their details (e.g. Did it capture good in low light? Quick to boot up? Easy to navigate menu?) Also, start asking your friends about what they do and don’t like about their digital cameras. The Amazon carousel o’ magic below can also help you find the perrrfect camera.

Problem: Don’t get to ENJOY digital photos
Not everyone is computer savvy and can manipulate digital photos into works of art, or simply print one out to frame. You can buy your own printer and photo paper and try it on your computer, or you can visit a web site, upload some pictures and have them delivered to you in many different forms. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy my digital photos are to have them printed out in different formats and displayed around the house to become a part of my everyday life.
- ImageKind: They offer framed prints, canvas, posters, cards, laptop skins, water bottles, and other fun surfaces for your favorite photos.
- Snapfish (first 50 prints FREE!)

Problem: Forgot the camera
Okay, this one’s easy. You always remember to bring your phone with you, right? Make sure your phone has a good camera, so even if you forget to bring your primary camera with you, you have a reliable backup.

Problem: I’m not a good photographer
Yes you are! You just don’t know it yet. I promise, the more you take pictures and flip through them with your favorite software the more you’ll become aware of what looks good and what doesn’t. Besides, the point of the photo is to capture a moment in time, not to see who can take the “best picture”. Believe me, getting an oddly cropped/slightly blurry photo is still better than getting no photo. But if you feel you need some training, you can take a FREE digital photography class online. How easy is that?

For more choices and crazy-awesome digital camera deals be sure to check out eBay!

Now get out there and take some pictures!

New Year’s Resolutions

Photo Credit: Edwin Pijpe

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Sun 20 Jun 2010

For the Curious Shopper

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the curiosity shoppe online store

Our favorite stores are often difficult to describe. Their offerings change quickly, and the selection can be as varied as the shoppers they attract. Talking Paintings one day, and an Eames House of Cards the next? Sounds good to us!

Enter San Francisco based The Curiosity Shoppe. Their tagline is “Crafts, Kits and Curious for the Creatively Inclined“, but we dare anybody to walk away without an item that tickles her fancy. Have you seen the USB drive that doubles as a comb? How about the hand printed tea towels featuring a pirate-inspired tall ship?

The store is owned and operated by Lauren & Derek who opened the Shoppe for one simple reason: they are “obsessed with beautiful things.” And what sorts of beautiful things might you find while browsing their hand picked wares? “Whether it’s a favorite art book, a vintage find, a carefully hand-crafted piece of jewelry or a one-of-a-kind painting, we guarantee everything you’ll find in the Shoppe is special.”

Like anything truly magical, their stock changes frequently, enticing you to come back for visit after visit. If you’re in San Francisco, you can drop by their store on Valencia Street, or head to their 24/7 web shop here. For extra fun, visit their blog Smarts & Crafts and say hello.

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Tue 19 Aug 2008

French Decor Art from ibride

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ibride decor
It was many months ago that I randomly discovered ibride. They were featured on several design blogs and I instantly fell in love with their line of ornate wall art trays. Since they were seemingly everywhere at the time, I didn’t bookmark any online stores. Of course the name ibride quickly slipped from my memory and I have spent the last few months keeping en eye peeled for those gorgeous baroque flourishes and collages of anthropomorphic animals. Quite a hybrid of style, eh? In fact, the name ibride is actually a play on words that is meant to represent “hybrid”. The company consists of 4 French relatives, Rachel, Benoit, and Carine, who I wish I could find more info about online. Their official website is in French and is Flash based so it doesn’t lend well to translating. Anybody know more about them?

ibride trays, unique wall art
Their stunning art trays come in 3 different themes; vintage ladies, animals in nature, and hybrid human/animals attired in exquisite vintage clothing. The imagery is simply amazing, but it’s the colors that really grab me: brooding, muted shades with splashes of vivid color. Everything they make is truly a hybrid of modern and classic. Better still, the laminated trays are made from a recycled wood core!

Joe Polar Bear Bookshelf by iBride And lest I forget to mention their newer offerings: furniture shaped like the lower half of an animal. The Basset Stool and Dog Stool (both shown above) are available in black or red. Joe the Polar Bear book shelf measures nearly 4′ tall and is super limited edition.

Available at Switch Modern.

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Mon 28 Jul 2008

Live Free: Handmade Wall Art Sculpture

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This handmade wall art from artisan Toby Fraley is like a breath of fresh air. The bold color usage drew me in, and the idea of learning from nature about freedom makes this piece so endearing to me. I love art that clearly communicates a message while remaining lighthearted and accessible.

Oh, and it features animals in clothes! Birds in suits and ties: is there a cuter metaphor for “living free”?


Check out more unique sculptures from UncommonGoods. Most pieces are either handmade, created with recycled materials, or both.

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Fri 07 Mar 2008

Nature Inspired Wall Stickers by Blik

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nature wall graphic by BlikBlik Surface Graphics provides awesome designs that we can easily affix to our walls, tables, mirrors, and other flat surfaces. Plus they are easily removable so it doesn’t ruin the surface it was once adhered to. They have many different designs to fit many decor styles, but I’m a big fan of bringing nature into our homes. My favorite nature inspired graphics is the 7.00 Wall Graphic which comes with seperate branches, branch nodes, leaves, and birds so you can arrange it all however you like. I really appreciate the modular setup Blik has with their wall stickers so the customer has more creative freedom with their decor. Buy some for your own place, or send them as a gift, either way they will surely bring a smile to those who get to enjoy them daily.

Other nature inspired wall stickers by Blik:

$36.00 – $50.00 per set

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Mon 07 May 2007

DNA Art: One of a Kind Artwork

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DNA PortraitsFile this under “what to get the person who has everything” because chances are they don’t have professionally framed artwork of their unique genetic makeup. Personalized abstract art is created from a sample of your DNA resulting in a truly timeless piece of art.

You might have seen them mentioned in Dwell magazine, HGTV, Metropolitan Home, MSNBC, and other popular media outlets, but now it’s time to visit their site and get that special someone a unique gift like no other. DNA 11 was founded by two people who combine business acumen, scientific knowledge, and art appreciation with a deep-rooted belief in the importance of philanthropic giving, as a portion of every sale is donated to charity.

See the many different styles of their DNA art in their gallery. These one-of-a-kind artworks are true expressions of your DNA and make for quite a conversation piece when people ask where they can get such a brilliant piece of artwork.

Learn more about how the process works and how to give custom art from DNA11 as a gift from their site.

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Sun 04 Mar 2007

Largest Write-On World Map Wall Mural

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The World's Largest Write-On Map MuralPlanning world domination is so much easier when you have the whole world laid flat upon your secret lair/war room wall. If you are the World Domineering type then you’ll appreciate the fact that this is the worlds largest write-on map mural. If you’re more like me, you just want to take in the big picture every now and then (or you’re secretly embarrassed about your knowledge of world geography). Either way this would bring the entire earth into perspective on a daily basis.

This is the only accurately detailed, eight-color mural of the world that covers nearly 9 by 13 feet of wall space. The entire map comes in 8 panels, each laminated for ease of writing and rewriting with dry erase markers (one included).


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Fri 23 Feb 2007

dVider Wall Decals

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During a late night perusal of some design blogs, I recently came across New York based dVider. As their name would suggest, their flagship product is a modular room divider. Highly customizable in size and optional printed design, these partitions are adjustable vertically and horizontally, and provide a clean look to open spaces.

Unsurprisingly though, what really caught my eye was their accompanying line of movable wall stickers that can be applied to either the room dividers or any smooth, flat surface, such as a wall. Where other manufacturers have focused their efforts into a niche set of designs, dVider has a wide assortment of art to adorn your walls. There are styles for kids, an “edgy” category, animals and insects, and my favorite, nature stickers. Looking at the organic forms found in the “nature” and “shapes” categories is reminiscent of flipping through a graphic design magazine or walking through an expensive boutique; applied in your room though, you’ll get the look without the pretense.

Each design comes in 12 vibrant colors, and combined with their extensive design choices, that gives you a lot of creative options. To further sweeten the deal, dVider’s prices are a bit more affordable than the better known brands, starting at just $19. Be sure to check out their gallery for inspiration, then put together a set of stickers that are perfect for your walls.

$19 and up

Related: Wall Candy Arts & Critter Walls

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Tue 23 Jan 2007

Wild Wall Art for Kids

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child wall art from Critter Wallschild wall art from Critter WallsReturn readers may recall the penchant we have for slightly unusual home decoration. While there are some areas in life where sophistication is required, we feel that decorating your personal room is not one of them. Whether it’s your bedroom, workshop/craft room, or child’s play room, a little bit of whimsy can add up to a lot of fun and creativity for your personal space. The folks at Critter Walls specialize in this area, and offer the most beautiful and detail-oriented wall art I have ever seen. Co-owner Dede Lifgen, artist and mother of 3 boys says, “I’ve tried to give the animals a feeling of realism mixed with their own individual personality. Since they are not cartoon-like and are not menacing, they can be enjoyed by both young and adult.”

All of their designs draw from the beauty of nature and feature the likes of undersea creatures, jungle plant life and wild animals, birds in flight, farm animals, and even dinosaurs. Their customer gallery shows complete room transformations, but one well chosen wall decal can easily become the focal point of a room.

I’m a huge fan of wall art so you’ll be seeing reviews of other brands like Blik and Wall Candy Arts in the near future. If you’re decorating with any of these gorgeous, movable wall decals we’d love to hear your experiences. Please leave us a comment!

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