Incense Cones and Sticks Photo Shoot

One thing I know to be true is that on Etsy (and anywhere else online) you must have product photos that dazzle the eyes and make people want to add them to their favorites and treasuries. I already have some nice incense cone photos that I took over a year+ up in my shop but I recently got some incense STICKS to soak and sell so I needed photos of them. I’ve learned that when in the mood — shoot, shoot, shoot! Shoot I did… I am very happy with my results. Here are a few… but check out my Etsy shop – Virtualdistortion – to see them in action!

Incense Sticks

Incense Sticks

Incense Cones

Incense Cones

Incense Cones

Now for a couple out-takes so you can see the set in an interesting way!…
Incense Out-Take

Incense Out-Take

Exercise: Getting Into The Routine ….

Last fall I was doing some jogging during the evening hours at my property, round and round the driveway that has a hill. How wonderful that felt! Too bad I live in Minnesota for the fact that fall abruptly turns to winter and I’m not so in love with jogging in my snow boots. During the winter I bundled up and went on walks, shoveled snow to music and hauled my snowboard up and down the hills a handful of times… but overall I haven’t been making myself follow an exercise pattern since fall. So far this spring & summer I’ve ridden my horse 5-6 times, gone swimming 2-3 times (nothing strenuous though), biked about 10 miles total (woopdee!) and sporadically gone out walking and jogging up the hills at the conservation land across the road. I do not like being so out of shape!

So on Sunday (July 3) I told myself I was going to get back into the routine of exercising. That day turned to night in a blink of an eye and I didn’t get out there and go. That made me kind of mad at myself. I held on to that anger and pent up energy and used it the next day when I DID get out to walk and jog for FIFTY FIVE MINUTES!
Then the next day I got out there again for 35 minutes!
And this evening I went for another 35 minutes!

My muscles are a little bit sore which is a constant reminder of my progress. I love it! I have been sleeping really well each night since I started and I have less of an appetite (however that works!) so I’m on the road to being more healthy on the inside and out. I’m going to keep it up. Maybe next week I can do the 7 mile loop that is near my home. =)


Do you believe in it? I sure do.

At night I love to smell crushed lavender buds. It instantly relaxes me. Perhaps I have sort of trained myself to clam down and sleep once I smell that scent. FOOD is a common favorite too.

Other than that I make and burn a lot of charcoal incense cones. I make small batches about once a month so they are very fresh and ready to ship! I have these scents in stock at this time: Blackberry Sage, Patchouli, Indian Sandalwood, Delicious, Tibetian Amber, Sandalwood.

6 Blackberry and Sage / 6 Indian Sandalwood – Incense Cones

12 Patchouli Incense Cones

The cones burn very well in/on my copper burners:
Abstract Handmade Copper Incense Cone Burner
Rose Leaf Handmade Copper Incense Cone Burner
and of course you can custom order one of these… It is a handmade copper ROSE incense cone burner. The inside lifts out and the cone is lit and set in side and then you replace the inside bud and watch the scented smoke billow out into your environment. It looks cool while in use or while it’s just sitting around.
Copper Rose Incense Burner - Product Photo
Copper Rose Incense Cone Burner by Virtualdistortion on Etsy

I think I’ll go light a blackberry sage cone right now. (;

Spring in Full Swing

I walk around barefoot a lot.
I’ve been on some pretty amazing bike rides.
Had a nice garden salad and raw asparagus.
Art Season! Time to get some feedback.

Swimming Raft

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

All Your Base


Handmade stencils for “ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US”.. used for spray painting on to our own swimming raft. Woot! Finally!

Successfully Convert .aa3 to .mp3 (in Ubuntu)

A friend had some audio files on a flash drive in .aa3 format, which is a Sony “ATRAC Audio File”. He wanted them to play in his Sony car stereo and it says on there that it’s supposed to play the format but it really doesn’t. So he wanted them in a more universal format in order to listen to them in the car. I run Ubuntu Linux and said “I can do it!” since he was having a lot of trouble figuring out a program that would do it in Windows.

After a bit of internet scouring on the topic and trying a few different converters I found a combo of programs that worked for me.

1. Open up your Ubunutu software center. Search for “soundconverter” and install it. Next, search for “XCFA” (X Convert File Audio) and install it.

2. Run XCFA. Import the .aa3 files (or any other format you want to convert) into the program. I selected and dragged my files into the main window. It then analyzes the files and lists them with what options you have for conversion. I selected all of them under the WAV category, chose my destination folder and then click on “apply the changes” and waited for them to convert. You are done with XCFA.

3. Run Sound Converter. Import the .wav files you just created. I selected and dragged my files into the main window. Go up to Edit >Preferences and change the output format to whatever format you want — .mp3 in my case. Hit convert and wait for the magic to happen.

That’s how you can easily convert .aa3 sony file format files to .mp3.
Leave a comment if this was helpful!

Made From Scratch Art Boutique – 2011 Grand Season Opening

Join us as we open for the 2011 season!

Saturday June 4 …. 10am – 5pm
Sunday June 5 …… 12pm – 5pm
* Open the first weekend of each month June – November
Or by appointment throughout the season!
Art by:
Charlene Paulson
Ginger Halverson
Darnell and Mary Halverson
Jesse Halverson
Carmen Halverson
Dean Johnson

Including but not limited to… Stained glass, jewelry, ceramics, scarves, floral arrangements, copper scupture, wool sculpture, soap, leather, woodworking, deer antler lamps…

Studio Tour — Refreshments served just down a beautiful path through the woods at the Charlene Paulson studio! A once a year treat.

For more information, directions, etc.please leave a comment, email or call.

2011 Made From Scratch Art Boutique Poster - Season Opener

Handmade Hollow Book Making

The first step is to find cool books to hollow out. I like antiques or ones with interesting titles, nice colors, textures and high quality pages. I prefer ones with all of said attributes the most. I’ve found a few good ones so far and see many more in my future.
Handmade Hollow Book Handmade Hollow Book

Cut, cut, cut…
Hollow Book Making

Hollow Book Making

Glue, dry, paint, dry, add finishing touches…
Handmade Hollow Book

Handmade Hollow Book Handmade Hollow Book

Handmade Hollow Book

I’m really enjoying making hollow book secret stash box safes! My favorite parts are finding the right books and choosing the paint colors and decorative paper, and finishing the overall look. Cutting the pages out hurts my fingers after awhile and I go through a lot of razor knife blades.

Another favorite thing is taking photos, editing and listing on Etsy. This is my hollow book section to see what I currently have in stock: