30 November 2011

GIVEAWAY from regan daniels !

"Harbor at Dusk" by Regan Daniels
{Pop back in tomorrow for the WINNER of the giveaway for 8 days of treasures!}

Featured on this lovely Wednesday is the equally-lovely photography of Regan Daniels.  Regan has a beautiful collection of fine art photography on Etsy and also offers portraiture and wedding photography for those of you in the Bay Area (DEFINITELY consider her for your wedding -- her images are breathtaking!).

"I try to be inspired by my daily life and constantly aware of what's around me," Regan says. "There is beauty in the every-day, and trying to live in each moment definitely helps me be inspired all the time. I am lucky to live in a beautiful area (Half Moon Bay, California) which definitely helps!"

Wedding photography by Regan Daniels
Regan also mentions that with three young kiddos, it's often a challenge to stick to a firm work schedule or office hours (here, here!).  "Trying to steal a moment away for work is sometimes a challenge!  I am usually working in utter chaos.  I do usually get to steal a few quiet hours after bed time to really focus. What I really need is about 10 more hours in each day!" (Don't we all?!)

"Up and Away" by Regan Daniels
Asked what she recommends for holiday shoppers, Regan one of her best-sellers: "My photo 'Up And Away' has been a favorite gift this holiday season -- this image is soon to be published in the forthcoming book, 2010 Worldwide Photography Gala Awards (coming soon).  It looks great in a frame but my favorite way to display it is on canvas."

Regan is also offering FREE SHIPPING (coupon code 'freeship') to help you out with your holiday shopping: "Anna Delores blog readers can take advantage of free shipping in my Etsy shop for the rest of November and the first week of December!"

You can also enter the giveaway for a chance to win an 8x8" or 8x10" print of the winners' choice from Regan Daniels' Etsy shop!  Regan is giving prints away to TWO (2) different winners!  Sounds even better now, right?!

To enter, become a fan of Regan's Facebook page and leave the comment "Anna Delores sent me" and Regan will choose two winners at random from these comments.  For an extra entry, add Regan's Etsy shop to your favorites.

Giveaway entries will close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7, 2011.

29 November 2011

some brief thoughts on photography.

"Vintage Rome" was photographed in 2009
So. I did some numbers on my photography and my two most popular prints are images I photographed before I got my big, pretty, shiny camera last year.

My initial reaction to this was one of disappointment at first, as though my decision to get more serious about photography was irrelevant and didn't really make a difference or improve my work as I'd hoped it would.

I actually focused more on the post-new-camera prints I was selling to try to make myself feel better (my 2011 typewriter series has been a solid best-seller) ... until I realized that the popularity of pre-2011 images could also be interpreted as evidence of creative talent I possess independent of fancy equipment.

I like explanation number two a bit better. :)

Separate notes:
  1. I have been sick since Thanksgiving so my faculties are weak and I'm behind on blog posts.  I'll do my best to get back up and running again by Wednesday at the latest. 
  2. This marks my 50th blog post.  Happy milestone to me!
I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. xoxo

27 November 2011

celebrating cyber monday.

Happy Sunday, everyone!  Hope you're revving up for a fun Cyber Monday (back at work for me ... boo!).  I've guest-blogged over at CCCOE (California Crafters Club of Etsy) and hope you'll stop by to check out some of the AMAZING sales my fellow team members are hosting for Cyber Monday.  Enjoy!

:: Celebrating Cyber Monday at CCCOE ::

Also a big CONGRATS to giveaway winner Nadia for scoring her choice of image in an 8x8" or 8x10" photo print from ooh pretty shiny... (Laura Evans) photography!

Still time to enter the other giveaways here (check out more photography up for grabs from 8 Days of Treasures).

26 November 2011

small business saturday

COUPON ALERT!  Now that y'all have gotten the Black Friday mall madness out of your system, it's time for Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday!  Woo hoo!  Know what that means?  LOTS of Etsy coupons and specials!

50% off from The Tea Rex!
First up :: my favorite scarves on the internet!  The Tea Rex is offering a 50% off coupon for Black Friday and it won't be valid for much longer, so get yours now!  "Like" Teascha on Facebook for access to the coupon.

Sketch Away (the lovely Suhita) is offering FREE SHIPPING on everything, which ALSO means if you're shipping to multiple destinations for gifts, she'll do that for free, too!  Score.  Check her out!

20% off at ooh pretty shiny
Next up :: some FABULOUS photography shops!  Stephanie of 8 Days of Treasures is offering 25% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY; Laura at ooh pretty shiny is offering 20% off everything with coupon code FPOE2011.

Last but not least: on Cyber Monday, Alayna from Piano Bench Designs jewelry will be offering FREE SHIPPING on everything!  I dare you to wait the weekend...

Happy holiday shopping!!

23 November 2011

handmade // j.danger jewelry

In July 2011 I went to my first-ever "peddlers' market" in Costa Mesa, CA.  I brought along all my photography in hopes someone would purchase a print or two, but this crowd was much more interested in yard sale-esque fare.  Which was fine, because I brought some of that, too.  I'd even purchased a clothes rack for the t-shirts and dresses I'd brought to sell from my closet; unfortunately, said clothes rack was a piece of crap and kept falling over.  Luckily for me, my next-door vendor neighbor was so sweet and helpful and did her best to keep my clothes off the dirty parking lot asphalt.

The lovely Ms. Danger!
That neighbor turned out to be the one-and-only Jessica Danger, and we ended up swapping clothes (mine) for handmade jewelry (hers) before the day was done.  Nearly six months later, the lovely JDanger and I are great Etsy/Facebook/random street fair buddies!

Did I mention the handmade jewelry?  Jess is an amazing craftswoman (how she balances her jewelry-making with three kiddos, a hubby, AND a day job, I can't figure out!).

"What first got me going with custom designs was actually finding a slew of discarded tattoo artist business cards that had been thrown out. I thought NO WAY can these go in the trash. So I took them home with me and just kind of sat on it for a red hot minute. Then I started placing them in settings and my custom designs started. I get a kick out of vintage stuff too! I could spend hours dismantling old costume jewelry and vintage pieces. I love incorporating them into a new design!"

Vibrant green & black feather earrings
And I love seeing what she creates with it!  My own collection now includes incredible feather dangle earrings and a long, one-of-a-kind AWESOME crimson pendant necklace, courtesy of JDanger designs!

"I really like jewelry that moves ... longer earrings flow and move with the person that is wearing them, and bracelets can make that pretty clinking sound when you're telling a story. Sometimes, I will hear my necklace bouncing and moving when I walk and I think, how awesome is that?!"

Pretty awesome!  Even more fun?  Jess's work is totally off-the-cuff: "each time I make something, I am never really quite sure what it will look like until I am done with. I kind of just GO and see where it takes me..."

Hand-patina brass earrings
And remember that stuff about kids and a job I mentioned?! "Sadly, I have no definite workspace!  I USED to have a workspace, then our oldest son got a computer and he needed a desk ... there went my workspace!"  Jess laments.  "What I do now is keep everything in baskets and haul it out every time I get a little stir-crazy! It seems like it would be a bad set-up, but actually its like a new surprise every time I take the baskets out! Surprise!! Surprise!!!"

Be sure you pop by Jessica's shop for the holidays; her stuff is truly one-of-a-kind and she'll love you forever!  "I always try to include a special little something for all my customers. I never know what it is until they order ... I try to keep it unique and somewhat catered to their tastes. I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS include a hand made thank you card! My customers are THE BEST and I LOVE THEM TO PIECES and I want them to know that! My most 'giftable' item right now is definitely my feather earrings! Feathers are not going anywhere anytime soon, and we all know that those puppies look great on everyone! Don't forget--you can custom order those, too!"

All of this and a GIVEAWAY too!  Jess is graciously offering WINNER'S CHOICE of bauble from her shop (up to $20 value) so find your favorite and leave a comment to let me know which one you covet!  Be sure to add Jess's shop to your faves on Etsy and let the games begin!

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday, November 30, so make sure you enter ASAP!

22 November 2011

handmade // sketch away

I'm at my desk at work in downtown Los Angeles with a cup of Earl Grey tea (it sounds a lot more relaxing and romantic than it actually is).  Meanwhile, I wish Suhita would draw me into one of her lovely sketches so I could instead be amongst the warm yellows and browns in Varanasi, India or nestled in the greens and blues of New York City in springtime.

New York watercolor by Suhita of Sketch Away
The works of art created by Suhita of Sketch Away give me a sense of serenity and evoke images of long, lazy days of creative freedom (I'm awfully poetic today, eh?).  But seriously -- her stuff is amazing, so I felt obligated to bring her shop to your attention so you can bask in the glow of her artwork like I have since I first stumbled upon her watercolor print of the Chrysler Building while wandering through the Etsy marketplace a few weeks ago.

"My biggest inspiration comes from travel," Suhita tells me. "It helps me look at the world around me with fresh eyes. But the great thing is that it also helps me learn to look at the everyday stuff like a traveler, which makes everything exciting and fun to draw: from a trip to India to the fire hydrant on the corner of our street."  Yes, she has a print of her sketch of a fire hydrant for sale in her shop.  And it's so beautiful!

"I almost completely work on location. My work is usually created in large and small watercolor sketchbooks I carry around everywhere," Suhita continues.  "A small portable watercolor kit, a bunch of brushes, and pens lives in my bag. This way, I can capture life as it happens: on a vacation, on the way to work, at the aquarium with my kids..."

Sketch Away
I'm sure the way it happens is less bohemian than what I'm imagining, but in my head, Suhita's life sounds so dreamy.  I can't wait to own a piece of her world, matted and framed in my own home.

And you can, too: Suhita is offering Free Shipping on all items in her store through the end of 2011. "This means you could buy stuff for friends and have it shipped directly to them at no extra cost," and she'll even include a little note to your gift recipient if you want her to.  For free shipping at Sketch Away, use coupon code FREESHIPPING2011 now until December 31.

21 November 2011

handmade // 8 days of treasures

8daysOfTreasures on Etsy
Time for another giveaway?!  You got that right!

Ms. Stephanie Tilmann of the Etsy photography shop 8 Days of Treasures is inspired by the natural elements around her, and it really shows through in her photographs.

Grab your chance to nab a couple of her lovely photographs to bring a little of that gorgeous natural whimsy into your home!  Stephanie is giving away winner's choice of TWO (yes, TWO) 5x7" photography prints from her shop!

8daysOfTreasures on Etsy
SO SIMPLE to enter!  All you have to do is pop by Stephanie's Facebook page and Etsy shop and add 'em both to your faves.  Leave us a comment on this blog post {don't forget to include your contact info so we can connect with you if you're the winner!} and you're ready to roll!

You've got 8 days to enter {get it?!} so make sure you do what you gotta do to score Christmas goodies for yourself {or those loved ones on your shopping list} by 11:59 p.m. PST on Tuesday, November 29, 2011.

Don't forget about the fabulous Laura Evans of "ooh pretty shiny" and her amazing giveaway!  Might as well enter that one too while you're here, right?
8daysOfTreasures on Etsy

And last but certainly not least -- Stephanie is offering an early Black Friday shopping discount RIGHT NOW!  Visit her shop, fill up your cart, and remember to add coupon code BLACKFRIDAY for 25% off until December 6!

Happy shopping!

18 November 2011

handmade // piano bench designs

"hello" necklace from Piano Bench Designs
A BIG theme for holiday gift-giving is personalization, so I couldn't resist a feature from our next guests: Piano Bench Designs. I was first drawn to the shop for its unique name, and I stuck around for the amazing jewelry they create: "wire jewelry that makes a statement," as the shop's tagline suggests.  From sweet one-liners you'd expect {like "wish," "believe," and "dance"} to the cheeky and adorable "necklace" necklace, Piano Bench Designs truly has something for everyone.

"crap" necklace in sterling silver
"My biggest source of inspiration is my customers! So many of my ideas have come from custom orders. I love seeing what other people have in mind," shop owner Alayna says. 

My own personal favorite is the "crap" necklace.  I love the irony of the lovely, feminine script contrasted with the curse of the word it spells! {Dear Santa!}

Piano Bench Designs also offers a plethora of earrings, rings, initial pendants, and non-word wire necklaces in shapes like bicycles and music notes, so even if you're shopping for a loved one without something to say {literally}, you can still find lovely gifts for everyone on your list.  Shop after Thanksgiving for a special bonus: "On Cyber Monday, I will be offering free shipping on all orders. Yay!"

5% of proceeds from purchase of "Love" necklace goes to the ACS
"The most giftable items in my shop have always been my sterling silver Love and Hope necklaces," Alayna says.  "These necklaces are a sweet sentiment for any special lady in your life. Additionally, 5% of the sale price is donated to the American Cancer Society, so you know that your gift is helping to make a difference."  Score!

Asked where her lovely designs are born, Alayna replies, "I do most of my work in the kitchen. My favorite piece in my workspace is an old headboard from a bed. The headboard is tall, so I am able to do some of my work standing. This is where I finish necklaces by adding pendants to chains, and carefully measuring the length of each one."

I don't think I'll be able to resist Piano Bench Designs' amazing creations for holiday gifting {and why should I?  Better yet, why should you?!}.  Pop on over to the shop and check out all the lovelies Alayna has to offer -- you won't be disappointed.

17 November 2011

photography // ooh pretty shiny ...

San Diego skyline from ooh pretty shiny
{keep reading for info on a photography giveaway!}

I'm not just being cheeky with the title of this post -- that's the actual name of Laura Evans' lovely photography biz!

The lovely Laura was kind enough to answer some of my obnoxious questions in preparation for holiday shopping goodness, even though she has a new baby boy to reckon with!  "Right now everything works around my son," Laura says.  "It's definitely my son who inspires me; he's seven months old and my little blessing."

Which pretty much answered one of my first questions for Laura: what inspires her amazing images?  She went on to say that "it's the things we see every day that inspire me ... it could be the light, or a flower, or an emotion or something out of the corner of my eye, screaming at me to photograph it.  And I really do have a 'pretty shiny' complex!"

book storefront from ooh pretty shiny
Laura's workspace sounds a lot like mine right now, too: "My workspace right now is my couch.  I only have a laptop and 'focusing issues' so I put the TV on and work in front of it. It drives my husband nuts but until I get a desktop {dear Santa ...} and as much as I try to have 'office hours' it doesn't happen."  Here, here, Laura!

I don't know about y'all, but I also love to know about the work that goes into a final product, especially with images as stunning as Laura's.  "Obviously the picture-taking comes first. Then I upload everything into Lightroom, where I do my first edit. This process is the same for both personal and client-based work. In Lightroom I get rid of everything that I 'hate' and then will make a couple of minor alterations before exporting. I then open in Photoshop for my final edit when I will get rid of a few more and put the 'Laura touch' on my work. This is the fun part which often involves a whole lot of play time and late hours!"
from Laura's other shop, levansphotography

The best part about it all for Laura?  The feeling she gets when a customer contacts her about her images: "Different people are always looking for different things.  I love when someone comes to me with a custom request or to let me know that a certain image brought back a memory for them--makes me giggle a little and do a little dance!"

In celebration of the holiday season, Laura has graciously agreed to host a giveaway for an 8x8" or 8x10" photo print of the winner's choice!  How's that for merry?
The rules for entering the giveaway are pretty standard:

1. Follow this blog. {join via Google Friend Connect}

2. Visit ooh pretty shiny and just TRY to narrow down your favorite image {go on, I dare ya to try!}

3. Leave a comment on this post about which image you'd select if you win the giveaway.

4. Please do one, some, or all of the following ::
(a) add ooh pretty shiny to your favorites on Etsy;
(b) "like" Laura Evans Photography on Facebook;
(c) follow Laura on Twitter @levansphoto.
(d) follow Laura on her blog.

Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment on this post so we know how to contact the winner!

Entries must be in by 11:59 p.m. PST on Thursday, November 24 {should be easy to remember -- it's Thanksgiving!}

Thanks so much, Laura! 
You can also see ooh pretty shiny on papernstitch this month!

16 November 2011

handmade // papernstitch

Have you heard of this fabulous website yet? Papernstitch :: it's a hand-curated monthly collection of the best artisans in the handmade community. The new exhibit debuted this morning, and I am captivated. The jewelry selection is downright dangerous for a girl with a tight pocketbook, such as myself -- exemplified by these earrings from Caposhi.

And I think we all know from my blog feature yesterday of the magnificent Teascha that I'm pretty obsessed with scarves at the moment.  This one from Fabricatedends is pretty rockin'. 

I also gotta give a shout-out to my lovely Los Angeles photographer friend myan soffia, whose lovely sixth & main is also featured on Papernstitch this month!  She's also got a sweet promo going on for Papernstitch customers, so you'd better pop on over and check it out to get your fix of fabulous Los Angeles photography {alas, her collection is better than mine!}.  ;)

And oh. My. God.  I'm obsessed with this photo and might just have to make a purchase.  Photographer mkendall has taken my breath away!  Her work takes the Photoshop effects I covet to the edge of extreme with results that are simply stunning.  This "Lights of Paris" photo is the result of three layered images.  LOVE.

And {you must've seen this coming} Anna Delores is part of the current exhibition, as well!  I'm offering 30% off to all Papernstitch customers, so be sure to stop by and peruse the gallery {and scoop up the coupon}.  Enjoy!

A few of my other familiar favorites are in the exhibit this month, too -- keep an eye out for september wren, belle hibou, and shannonblue.

14 November 2011

handmade // the tea rex.

The holiday shopping season here at Anna Delores kicks off with Teascha from The Tea Rex on Etsy!  One of my personal favorites, The Tea Rex offers some gorgeous, unique, versatile, and oh-so-comfy scarves made from the softest jersey and cutest fabrics ever.  

super-versatile and WAY too cute.
Teascha's inspiration for her fabulous wares are pretty straightforward: "Sometimes I just see a fabric or a print and fall in love with it and that alone will inspire me," she says.  "I spend a lot of time pulling fabric and trying to match it to something. I really like pairing things that you wouldn't normally think go together. I like my accessories a little funky and unconventional. I always try to make my final outcome something I'd be proud and excited to wear."  Consequently, all her customers are excited to wear her accessories, too.

nothing says "Christmas" like red plaid.
I was able to snag Teascha's attention before she became too busy with the holiday season, and you should too!  Check out her shop ASAP to pick up the sweetest scarves on the Internet and you'll be able to cross quite a few people off your holiday shopping list.  Lucky for you, you'll also get to snag some discounts while you're at it; Teascha told me, "I will be posting a pretty sweet coupon for Black Friday [on Facebook; "like" her now!] ...but it will only be available for a few hours. I will be posting a coupon on my Etsy page for Cyber Monday, but it won't be as good a coupon as the one that will be on my FB page on Black Friday."  

So don't dilly-dally!  No sleeping in after turkey for you.

Teascha describes her "workspace [as] out of control. I have stacks of fabric everywhere. At one point I tried to organize by color and print but I am constantly pulling fabric off my shelves in order to match it to other fabrics and I'm horrible at putting it back where it belongs. You would probably be terrified if you saw my sewing room."

navy stripe + antique gold = winning!
Nope, I think I'd be pretty damn excited to witness the magic!

Finally, I asked Teascha for her thoughts on best bets for the holidays (since there are so many amazing choices in her shop, maybe this will help you in deciding where to start): "The most popular scarf has been the navy and white sailor stripe with antique gold. It's bold and trendy and looks awesome with everything. I have recently put out some new scarves, the 'versatile three-way scarf' and the 'leather lasso' scarf, which I think are so cute and fun!"

You'll get no arguments from me, Teascha!  If anyone's looking to get Christmas presents for yours truly, I like the peach pinstripe fabric for a little pastel warmth during this mild California winter.  ;)

Don't forget to visit The Tea Rex on Etsy (and add to your favorites for easy revisiting!).  More places to find Teascha:

Many thanks to Teascha for humoring my questions and making such lovely contributions to the handmade community!

09 November 2011

photography // gallery 32

I wanted to give a "shout out" to a fellow Etsy photographer whose work I think is super lovely (so much talent on Etsy!). Her name is Trina and her shop is called Gallery 32.

One of her Facebook posts crept into my feed this afternoon and I am positively smitten with a handful of photos she recently snapped; she's calling them "November Greys" and I LOVE that she kept that hint of color in the images and didn't just make them black and white.  They have a ton of personality that way.  They are for sale in her Etsy shop so you better check 'em out!

08 November 2011

salted caramel & pumpkin pie.

So it's autumn, which means the BEST seasonal goodies are now available all over the place: Starbucks, for example, has the most amazing salted caramel hot chocolate (and this year they've spawned Frappuccino and hot mocha cousins).  

The lovely and amazing, albeit overpriced, Urth Caffe in downtown Los Angeles (also with locations in WeHo and Beverly Hills) has the very best pumpkin pie I've ever had, hands-down. I don't know WHAT they put in that crust, but it's marvelous.  There are no words to describe.  If you live in Los Angeles, you're really depriving yourself if you don't go to Urth RIGHT NOW and buy yourself a slice.  It also comes with its own cup full of whipped cream. 

We may not get the seasons here in Los Angeles, but at least we get to enjoy the treats.  :)

In other news, I'm playing with Anna Delores Photography and trying to make it both more holiday- and SEO-friendly.  This means I've retitled some of my Etsy shop sections phrases like "Pictures of Paris" and "Fine Art Los Angeles," which lacks considerably creativity, in my opinion.  The things we do to get noticed, eh?  What do y'all think?
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