I am not a photographer

I have found something that’s harder to take pictures of than black velvet dragons in a house with white cats: chrome vinyl.

I ran across this awhile back and picked up a yard of it, and decided to see how it stitched up. Verdict: pretty well. It’s a soft backing with a stuff surface – much heavier than, say, Duro-Last’s reflective vinyl, or the adhesive-backed stuff that you’re much more likely to find mirror finishes in. Stitching tends to cause it to bubble but that actually works well for “burnout”/debossing effects. Getting a good photograph of that is hard, though: either you get a nice reflection of the backdrop and can’t tell that there’s dimension there:

Or you get dark reflections that blend right into the stitching:

The work light doesn’t fit inside the light tent, so if I use that I end up with lovely diffuse lighting that makes the chrome look matte. Also, the light tent is just too small.

I have a handful of 1/2″ styrofoam insulation sheets because the gas fireplace in the family-room-turned-workroom blows a cold draft all winter long so it’s wrapped in plastic and has a shelf full of nice insulating fabric in front of it. So I built a comical foam-sheet fort around my photography area, and that’s how I got the top picture. It needs some tweaking, but I think I’ll get passable product shots out of it.

I’ll probably be adding the vinyl itself to the Etsy shop soon, because it’s fun stuff.

Aldi is selling fabric now?

(Totally not a sponsored post; I just found it interesting.)

I have liked Aldi since I lived in Wichita; they’ve been making inroads in South Jersey and there’s now one five minutes from my house. If you aren’t an Aldi regular, know this: they are tiny stores with limited selections, but they have a couple of aisles of changes-on-a-weekly-basis specials so if you wait long enough, everything you might ever need will pass through. Usually there’s a theme, often seasonal.

This batch was sewing, which I think they’ve had before. A $15 house-brand sewing machine. The Single Simple 3232 (I think) for $80 which beats the Amazon and Walmart prices. This is pretty typical when Aldi gets a name-brand item; they’ll sell out fast, and although these are listed in “Upcoming” on the Aldi site, stores get things at varying times. My store usually has new things out on Wednesdays and Sundays, which is to say most of the “Upcoming” items are out the day they turn up on the website, and the rest come out a few days later.

I have more than enough sewing machines though, so I was curious about the fat quarters. They’re about what I expect at $5 for 6 quarters (so, a yard and a half): a little thin, a little coarse, and will probably shrink so pre-wash them. But I don’t have much in the way of coordinated cottons, so I picked up a pack just for the novelty value. There are five more colorways, all of them somewhat retro-feeling.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to make with them. Maybe a fat quarter wallet, since my existing wallet doesn’t fit in the interchangeable-flap purse (yes, working on that tutorial). We’ll see.