Thursday, June 26, 2008

My "New" Blog

Like my new look on my blog? After several years of dark, dramatic colors, it was time for a change, and here it is - lots of earthy and happy colors, larger and easier to read type, and several additions to my sidebar, including my new Twitter feed and even a picture of me.

I'm still heavily involved in antiques, and you will see lots of antiques-related info here. But I will also be writing about my photography adventures too.

As I expand in my photography career, you'll be seeing more photo sites where I sell my work. Any one can buy my photos - whether you are a professional designer needing images for your clients' websites or brochures, a newspaper writer searching for a story-related photo, or a church secretary needing just the right picture for the weekly bulletin, there's a perfect image for your project.

Even better, the prices are really right. Buying photos at any of these sites is very inexpensive. If you need photographs, millions are available - and you can sign up on any of these sites for free!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Twitter - Short Blips of My Life

Just added Twitter to my blog, my Facebook page, and to my Red Moon Antiques webshop on Ruby Lane. (Just click on "Twitter" or "Red Moon Antiques webshop" for more info.

Twitter is an application which allows you to write a quickie note (limit 140 characters) which can be set to show on your blog, your website, or several other internet places you use.

I'm just getting started with it and haven't learned all the different possibilities, but it's fairly simple to set up and allows me to keep in touch with my friends, family and business contacts.

It's sort of like a mini-blog - no photos, not a lot of room for writing - just a short few words to tell folks what you are up to. You can even work Twitter from your cell phone (that's a bit too complicated for me, though). Fun application, easy to use, nice way to stay in quick contact with the people you like - I give it a big thumbs-up!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June = Weddings, Vintage Style

For those who are traditional, June always means weddings. Since I love early photography, I thought I'd share some late 19th century wedding pictures with you.

Early wedding photo documentation is not easy to find. These were cabinet cards meant to last a lifetime, and in this case, they lasted much longer as they are more than 110 years old.

The first pair of photos shows a studio shot of about-to-be-husband and bride, dressed in their finest. Only those enjoying financial comfort could afford a professional studio photographer to document the beginnings of their new life.

The second pair of photos shows a very young bride - she looks so tiny and so delicate. She's almost child-like, and probably not much older than 17. A whole new world is facing her as a young married woman, and you can see that determination on her face as she faces her new life.

Collecting early photography is fascinating. The subject matter is endless - portraiture, everyday life, special occasions, clothing styles, early homes, animals, babies and children, occupational - if there's a particular topic you love, it can be found.

Some subjects are easier to find than others. If you like "instant ancestors", it's simple to locate studio photos of men, women and children, whether in single portraits, or in family groups. Possibly you yourself are a twin, and would enjoy hunting for early photos of twins - they can definitely be found. Or maybe you like photos of young children with their toys - keep a sharp eye, for they are available.

Wedding-related cabinet cards are a bit of a challenge to find, but if you hunt regularly, they cand be found in antiques shops and shows, on the Internet, and even can be discovered at estate sales. If you find an antiques dealer who specializes in early photography, that's even better - let them know you are searching for specific topics, and be sure to give them your phone number or email address so they can contact you when they find something.

Collecting cabinet cards is a fun hobby, and they don't take up much space when on display. Cabinet cards are 4-1/4 inches by 6-1/2" inches in size, and look grand when displayed in a group. Fill a little niche corner with these small pieces of art - you'll be amazed at the attention they'll attract from family and friends. Framed or unframed, these cards are a documentation of early times throughout America, and wonderful to see.

Look for clarity and sharpness in these photos.
In pictures of adults, it's usually not a problem when the shot was taken by a studio photographer in a controlled environment.
Outdoor photos were another matter - weather, groups of people, and animals all presented the possibility of unexpected movement and complications.

Children's cards regularly show a bit of movement - fidgeting babies just don't cooperate (even today!!!). Motion showing in children's cards is not uncommon, and if it's otherwise a good-looking card, don't pass it by because it might have a touch of softness or motion. Good quality, interesting children's photos are very desirable, so if it speaks to you, buy it!

One of the nice surprises about collecting cabinet cards is that they are generally not expensive. They can be had for under $10 regularly for the more common portrait photos. Uncommon subjects - outdoor scenes, large groups of people, occupational photos, animals, just to name a few categories - can range upwards of $50 to $100 each. But compared to other types of antiques, these cards still lean towards the more affordable range in the world of collecting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

About Me

I just received an email from someone who had read my blog and wanted to know what I looked like, also a bit about my background.

Yikes! It's hard to write about yourself, but I'll give it my best without being horribly boring. Posted at the left is a recent photo of me, taken by my husband on a glorious Spring day. We were out shooting, as we are both photographers specializing in selling our photos on the Internet. Not my best photo, but at least you get the idea of what I look like.

For the last 28 years I've been an antiques dealer. Originally I concentrated on 19th century furniture and home accessories, but have expanded over the years to include textiles (everything from lace to quilts to hooked rugs), sewing tools (the more unusual the better), and anything country and old, especially in old paint. I just love the colors used long ago - the reds, greens and blues are so vibrant, and look so wonderful being used in a modern home for both decoration and for practical use.

I truly believe that antiques should be useful, and search diligently for old things which still can be used today. Shelves, bookcases, tables, mirrors, art, quilts, rugs - these are just some of the things I love to find. Little did those folks in the 1800s realize that their everyday items would be so cherished one hundred years later!

My latest somewhat-weird passion - vintage cufflinks. That one I can't really explain - I don't own a single blouse that will accommodate cufflinks - but there's just something about them that captures me. They are easy to collect, since they don't take up much space, yet fun because there are so many different kinds to be discovered, in so many different shapes and styles, and in so many different price ranges from expensive to quite reasonably priced.

I never tire of hunting for them. They are just one of those fun little treats, and lately have become quite popular in my webshop. Since I sell to customers all over the world, they ship so easily because they are small. Sold the set on the right not too long ago - they were 1930s, quite Art Deco in style, and made of mother-of-pearl in a goldtone setting.

If you like antiques, be sure to drop by my little webshop at Ruby Lane. I'm always adding new stuff, never know what I might find.

Here's the link - wander and browse, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Facebook Fun - Owned!

I've been playing on Facebook a bit, and discovered the application Owned, which is quite popular and offers photos from people all over the world.

Being a photographer, I see many of the photos are just plain-jane self-portraits, some good, some not so good. But the breadth of variety in subject matter has been absolutely amazing - pets, wild animals, scenics, studio work (some of it very good), fractals - it's been a fabulous source of ideas and just good old fun and laughter.

The dog photo above is one of those - can you remember the last time you saw a flying dog? And for a photographer to shoot at the exact moment that both dogs are flying in mid-stride?

If you want some good laughs and really interesting interaction with others across the world, take a look at Facebook. It's geared towards adults rather than teenagers, which is what attracted me in the first place. I've used Owned to show off some of my antiques, as well as some of my photography, and have had a lot of fun connecting to folks throughout the planet.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Identity Theft

After being stung - not once but twice - with identity theft on eBay, I finally moved on, giving up on selling on eBay for the past two years.

I was lucky - the first time my ID was stolen, I caught it almost immediately, and was able to cancel my credit cards and change my eBay info, so I didn't lose any money. It was just plain luck that it turned out that way, since the thieves certainly could have done me some serious harm.

The second time was a bit more stealthy. Instead of taking my credit card info, they (probably a different "they" since it was a year later) took over my eBay selling site, and attempted to sell a computer on my site, using my good feedback rating to create trust in potential buyers.

I was in the habit of checking my eBay sales daily, sometimes more than once a day. When I saw that there was a computer listed on my site selling for more than $1100, I immediately emailed eBay.

In almost 10 years of selling on eBay, I've never once sold a used computer. Ninety-five per cent of the time, i sell only antiques and collectibles. But trying to convince eBay to pull the computer listing took more than 45 minutes of emailing back and forth, since they were not convinced that bad guys had slipped into my eBay listings and selling a computer under my name.

They had listed the computer as a one-day sale, hoping to have it complete before I'd notice. They'd set it up so that payment would be made directly to them, not me. They even included single photo, shown in very poor lighting from the side, to encourage people to bid. More than likely, they shot a photo of the very computer they were using to perpetrate this fraud.

Finally, after 45 minutes of wrangling with eBay, I was able to convince them to stop the computer auction. The eBay representative even asked me, "How do I know you aren't the bad guys?" When I responded, "If I were the bad guys, would I be asking eBay to pull an auction that would bring me more than $11??", she didn't have an answer.

Again, I was lucky. the auction was closed by eBay, and my feedback and seller reputation was saved. Even better, the about-to-be bidder didn't wasn't scammed into buying a computer which I didn't have. After all that arguing with the eBay rep, she couldn't tell me how someone managed to get into my site and list that computer. I immediately changed my password, but then decided that maybe eBay just wasn't a good place for me to sell.

So I've moved on to a better selling location - Ruby Haven't had any problems there with scammers, fraud or bad guys. I've now been with Ruby Lane for nearly three years, and have met so many nice sellers and buyers. It's been a joy to sell to people from all over the world through Ruby Lane, and I hope you'll visit my little antiques webshop and browse around a bit!