Monthly Archives: June 2014

Taking pictures of your pet cat-Part 5

Getting the “Why are you taking my picture again?” look

So you’ve been reading along thinking to yourself, “My cat would NEVER let me do any of that to him…..sneak up on him…..give me any kind of decent expression”. Well, grab the camera anyway! The grouchy look is in!

Some cats who could care less about flashy noisy things:

Black and White Cat Mug mug
Black and White Cat Mug by Country1969

sour puss, I am not amused! magnet
sour puss, I am not amused! by TheHopefulRomantic

Long Haired Pet Cat shirt
Long Haired Pet Cat by JKcoder

Cat Birthday Card card
Cat Birthday Card by Lilleaf

Other cat pictures

Once you have a picture, you can import it into any number of photoediting softwares and add text, frames, more props, anything you’d like!

Possibilities:

Add a frame!

Black and white cat big yellow eyes looking right mousepad
Black and white cat big yellow eyes looking right by SusansZooCrew

Add a reallllllllly fancy frame….and some other elements……

natty the cat mousepad
natty the cat by alricciodesigns

Crop in some birthday cake! Or wedding cake…..or or or……….
Funny cat Birthday postcard
Funny cat Birthday by deemac1

Alternately, turn kitty into the frame!
Sunset Cats Poster print
Sunset Cats Poster by anuradesignstudio

Exaggerate those green eyes….
Boo button
Boo by animotaxis

Frame and prop!
Cat Island card
Cat Island by Jenlin01

My cat won’t look at the camera!

How do you get a cat to look into a camera lens?

……………………very carefully!

If you have been taking pictures of kitty for a while, like oh since the cute kitten days, chances are good that kitty will see the camera coming and give you a horrible look and the pointedly look away.

Now what?

Well, the only thing in my case that gives consistent results is new noises! Grab a noisy toy, get the picture ready to go, depress the shutter halfway to lock focus, and then shake toy! Hopefully Fuzzy turn around and look into the camera. Making strange “kissy” noises works too until you have done it 100x and the cat decides to ignore you. Having a helper waving their hands over your head is another idea….or just sit and wait and hope :).

If you use flash, taking a picture while kitty is looking the other way may get him to turn his head to see what the bright light is all about too. This works best if your camera recharges quickly!

Hope you learned something…….or at least enjoyed the show!

Well, we’re at the end. Perhaps you’ve already left and grabbed your camera to stalk your kitty….or maybe you’ve started digging through those old pictures. I hope you’ve learned something, or at the very least enjoyed all the great pictures and products! Thanks for reading, and feel free to send me any suggestions! If you enjoyed this, please “like” it and if you’d like leave a comment. Also please check out my other lenses at your leisure!

Remember, any item can be clicked on and you will be taken to that item on zazzle.com, a print-on-demand company with high quality printing. You can then leave as is or add text and order yourself anything from mousepads to stamps to shoes and shirts and mugs!

Thanks to everyone who let me use their great kitty pictures! My cat thanks you……I have plenty of the “grumpy kitty” shots to prove it!

Custom Guitar/Bass Pick Review, Part 2

If you missed part 1, it’s here: Part 1 of pick review

To give a quick review, these are the custom picks released by Zazzle. This review is for the standard shape (triangle is also available), and so far the printing is great and the picks themselves are medium weight.

The unanswered (yet) question is, will the printing stay on in playing?

For test 1, I tried bending the picks to see if the printing would flake off.

Quickly discovered that it’s actually part of the plastic of the pick, so it easily passed that test.

For Test 2, I tried scraping the image off with a fingernail.

I did not make a scratch in it!

Test 3, I tried scraping a pocket knife (not serrated) across the face with medium pressure, nada. So far so good……..

Now, out comes the guitar.

—- To reiterate, I’m a medium player, not a pro guitar player so my skill set is playing eighth and quarters on chords and hardly any picking. For this test, I played four rounds of “Mad World” plus a few warm up chords, so approxiamatly 15 minutes of playing chords, mostly eighths at 108bpm alternating up and downstrokes. I used two picks, one held with the printing up and the other held printing down to take into account the force of a downstroke versus an upstroke.

After 10 minutes of playing, this was the two picks. The one on the left was printing up, the one on the right was printing down.

customized guitar picks by susan l marsh

Guitar picks after a short burst of playing

As I expected, the image did indeed come off.

*add sad face here*

The first thing I noticed was how fast the pick itself wore down. It is hard to see in these images, but there are grooves in the plastic where the leading edge is wearing down. More than a few songs and I suspect you might be able to shave with the edge that forms…

Because of this, I wouldn’t be inclined to use these as gig picks unless you intend to casually drop them on the floor for the groupies. After every song maybe.

The great news is, only a millimeter or so of the leading edge wore off of the printing! That impressed me. From what I can tell, the pick itself wore out and not the printed layer.

Close view of worn off edge

Close view of worn off edge

I’m guessing that on thicker roundwould bass strings, these would shred apart even faster, so I’ll have to disagree that these would make even one song bass picks. Tapewound strings would stop the wearing issue, but the flexibility would be an issue there. I know I personally use at least 1mm on bass if I’m using a pick, and these aren’t that sturdy. My pick skills on bass are rather limited since I would normally rather play with four fingers than one pick, so I’d have to find a willing volunteer to test out how well they stand up on bass.

In summary, these would make a great gift for a musician, or a unique giveaway for a band/solo act. Crafters could also make a great set of jewelry out of these! They aren’t 100% full gig useable, but they aren’t cut out of lamination either :).

Tips and techniques on taking pictures of your pet cat-Part 4

How much is that kitty in the window?

Well, sometimes they just don’t cooperate!

Cat's-Eye View of the World postcard
Cat’s-Eye View of the World by Macie_Staples

oh hai Greeting Card card
oh hai Greeting Card by willowdewisp

Cat in the Window mug
Cat in the Window by Bebops

In this case, the “window” was a bunk bed……but he still wouldn’t budge…..
Brindled and white cat framed in wood card
Brindled and white cat framed in wood by SusansZooCrew

In the Christmas spirit

Kittens and cats alike *love* Christmas…when else is there a big green tree *in the house* with sparkly dangly playthings hanging off of it, setup in a nice corner just for the kitties amusement? Or how about all those crinkly boxes with ribbon hanging off of them? Kitty heaven!

(warning: hang all ornaments out of the cats’ reach…..and you might not want to let the cat near the tree, they can and do climb trees. If you do, I’d recommend securing the tree to something so it won’t topple over when a 10 lb furry weight streak up the trunk to attack the star……)

That said, you can get some neat shots, complete with props, at holiday time! See? :

Panda and Cat Christmas Card card
Panda and Cat Christmas Card by krystishollyhocks

Kitty with Presents Stamp stamp
Kitty with Presents Stamp by PRPrints

Cat and Panda Postage stamp
Cat and Panda Postage by krystishollyhocks

Kitty in Tree Gift Tag sticker
Kitty in Tree Gift Tag by PRPrints

Using props

If you’re lucky enough to have a calm cat, you can make use of props in your pictures. Wait until the cat is nice and comfortable, carefully and slowly add desired props, and capture the moment!

Be careful with plants that the cat doesn’t take a bite out of something poisonus (dumbcane and poinsettas come to mind).

Keep in mind that any props used may become property of the kitty if he or she so decides!

Roses are good:
Tortoiseshell cat with red flowers stamp
Tortoiseshell cat with red flowers by Bebops

Dress up! This only works with a really laid back cat……or a really tired one:

Kitty get well card card
Kitty get well card by deemac1

Like I said, really tired:
If the shoe fits print
If the shoe fits by deemac1

Another example:
Cat reading a book Bookmark profilecard
Cat reading a book Bookmark by Funcards

Custom Guitar Pick Review, Part 1

Custom Printed Guitar Pick Review, Part 1
(c) Susan L. Marsh
(Please link to this rather than copy any portion, thank you!)

When Zazzle introduced their new line of custom printed guitar picks, I had to try some! The price starts out a tad steep for just one, but when you do 10 at a time it’s a very reasonable $2.75 range each for single sided. If you do 50, it goes down to a tad over a dollar each single sided! This would be a great promotional item for bands or solo musicians. Next time a pick gets dropped, the person finding it was just shown an ad :). This also makes a great gift idea for the musician in the family! How about the jewelery makers? Punch a hole in the plastic and make a pair of earrings, charm bracelet, or necklace. Even a keyring! The craft possibilites are high …

Ok, now about the picks themselves and my limited playing test.

Zazzle’s offical description is:

Rock out with customized guitar picks! Made with high quality celluloid (a traditional pick material), these picks grip well and provide the flexibility and durability needed for a balanced, yet crisp tone. Choose between the standard and triangle shape and add your beautiful designs, photos, or text to the front and back for a professional grade custom guitar pick.
• Available in standard and triangle shapes.
• Dimensions: .98″w x 1.18″l (standard) , 1.22″w x 1.18″l (triangle)
• Medium gauge (.71mm).
• Made with celluloid. Ideal for Acoustic, Electric and Bass Guitars.
• Designs printed in vibrant full color on your choice of single or double side.

We’ll start picking this apart :). Here’s an image of several picks I checked them against, including the printed one (it’s the pretty one!). This is the “standard” shape, as the triangle one seemed odd for guitar.
guitar pick sample by Susan L. amrsh

Material: Celluloid. Ok, not much I can say here. I bent one in half and it did not snap and did go back to shape in a minute or so. So, it’s celluloid.

“Grips well”. I’m not sure what to say about this. The finish is , well, plastic. It is not gripped/ribbed like some picks, and it is not a glossy finish. I would say it “grips normal”. I have sweaty paws and did drop one after about 10 minutes of playing, so if you are prone to sweaty fingers and losing them order extra!

Tone: Urm, nothing special but nothing obnoxious, at least on the electric Strat that I used to test.

Guage/Flexibility: I have to say these seem sturdier than I thought for a .71? I do not have a micrometer to test, but in terms of “bendiness” side by side these seemed to be the same as a Fender Medium (clear blue) and a generic brand that says .88 nylon. Perhaps the difference in materials , but I’d definietly agree this is a medium pick. Comparison images shows the flexibility next to a Fender medium. Oh, and if you decide to test this at home, my range is about 6 feet when it slips out on the first few bend attempts. Luckily the cat found them for me…. Please note that that I am pushing harder on the zazzle pick in this picture, you can see my thumb is redder. Very hard to not lose the picks while taking a picture with the other hand!

Test flex of a Fender pick, medium

Test flex of a Fender pick, medium

zazzle flex

Flexxxxx those muscles!

“Ideal for Acoustic, Electric and Bass Guitars”-I’m going to have to disagree with part of this. Acoustic guitars and light electric guitar players, yes. Heavy metal or bass guitar? This is not the right pick for that in my opinion. Well, maybe for an acoustic bass but even then….(see “durability” in part 2).

Now for the fun part…………testing :).

My first test guitar is an electric Fender Stratocaster with standard roundwound 10′s on it.

I’m a medium strength player, not a “real” guitar player* so my skill set is playing eighth and quarters on chords with very little picking. I played three rounds of “Mad World” plus a few warm up chords, so approximately 10 minutes of playing chords, mostly eighths. I used two picks, one held with the printing up and the other held printing down.

This is my test image:

The original art is one of my spraypaint paintings, using guitar shapes as part of the design. I did not think about (my fault) how tiny the image would be. I recommend not using such a busy image! Simple is better.

Here’s the real pick in the palm of my hand:

Guitar pick susanszoocrew

Susan’s Zoo Crew Guitar pick, actual picture

The colors are pretty close, a tad on the dark side. I recommend making an image on the lighter and more contrast end of the spectrum. It did print the neon colors fairly close (which did surprise me as those are tricky). The darkness may be due to how far down the image has to be shrunk also. I would give the printing a 4.8 out of 5, highly recommended in terms of quality. Even a fine line logo will reproduce well, just reallllllllly small.

Part 2 answers the big question………will these survive being actually used? Stay tuned for part 2!

Edit: Find Part 2 here: Part 2 of Custom Guitar Pick review

(to keep you busy, here’s a few of my guitar designs :) )

dead tree purple yellow leaves sky guitar pickguitar outline image pink black bridge tee shirtsArm Playing Guitar Blue Psychadelic Colors Square Teesguitar neck stamp white and red instrument tees

Guitar Designs