Brainchild Update: It’s A Girl!

Remember the brainchild I told you about a few weeks ago?  The raise-money-for-adoptions-via-online-thrift-store baby of mine? 

Well, she’s alive and growing.

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Just kidding!  That’s not really her.  And I’m not really pregnant.  But some days, a girl’s just got to do what a girl’s got to do, right?

If you’re confused, read on:
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As many of you so kindly pointed out, buying used clothing online has some drawbacks.  You can’t examine it for stains, you can’t try it on, you can’t match the colors…etc, etc, etc. 

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BUT, you said if I could somehow manage to post good pictures…you might consider it.

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So yesterday, since I was tired of web design and not in the mood to go out scavenging bargains…I decided to do a little experimenting with my (new!! thanks, Tim) camera.

My early attempts were pitiful.

Absolutely pitiful.

I decided to start with my stash of maternity clothes, mostly because they were all washed and ready to go (I did two huge loads of laundry while photo shooting and now have a whole closet full of ‘normal’ clothes to experiment with another day).

Here’s a few examples from take one:

Needless to say, I quickly realized that the ‘lay out on an air-mattress approach’ wasn’t going to cut it.  But what else was I to do?!  All my pregnant friends are at least 2 states removed.  And I sure don’t have a baby belly, even though I did overeat at Christmas.

Enter a plastic bag, three pillowcases, a belt, two bras, and a skin-colored cami.

Oh, yes.  Extra padding in all the right places.  Maternity model coming right up!

I still had a few more kinks to work out, though.  First, I tried taking pictures of my reflection in the mirror. 

Note to self: when taking pictures of one’s reflection in one’s guest bedroom mirror, one must disable the flash on one’s camera.  Once I realized that, the pictures turned out…okay.  Still not great–a little fuzzy, a little mirror distortion, a lot of awkward arm angles.  All in all–a self-portrait fail.

Next I tried positioning the camera so that the lens faced out into the room and the picture screen was reflected in the mirror.  I used this handy dandy little antique delft bowl (turned upside down) that just so happened to be on the bedside table to make a tripod of sorts. And you know what?  It worked fairly well.  All I had to do was set the 10 second self timer, position myself so that I was in the picture (I could see the projected image in the mirror), and let the camera do its thing!  Of course, I dinked around a little bit with the zoom and the room lighting–but here’s what I ended up with straight out of the camera:

Still not exactly professional, but a huge improvement from my initial air mattress idea, don’t you think?  I was pretty pleased with myself by the time I put my camera away for the day.

Later on, when I was looking through all the shots, I decided to get really brave.  I’ve never done much with photo editing software–but with nothing to lose, I figured I might as well see what the ‘edit photo’ button on Microsoft Office Picture Manager could do for me.  Quite a bit, actually! 

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Oh, I’m sure I’ll continue tweeking and re-photo-shooting…but I’m pretty excited about my progress. 

Lastly (but not leastly) I opened an account on flickr so I can store my photos online, which will cut down on downloading time both from my end (blogging) and your end (loading my blogging).

Soooo, what do you think?  Any self portrait and/or modeling tips?  Would you buy that cute denim maternity top for oh, say, $3-$4, even if you couldn’t try it on?  Am I totally crazy?  Or just totally cute with a pillow-case belly?  (I e-mailed a picture to Tim, and he said it was pregolicious.  I’m taking that as a good sign, even though when I showed them to Pop, he just laughed and laughed and said, “Well, I guess you can’t believe much of what you see anymore!”.) 

Continuing on, my brainchild still needs a good name (the working title is currently Adopt Me Thrift), a good website (there is absolutely no way I’m going to be able to create what I have pictured in my head.  No way.  But maybe with Tim’s help?), and a bunch more inventory bought, photographed, and posted.  Sigh.  Can anyone say 11 month gestation?  That’s my goal: up and operating (assuming I’m still gung ho about the whole thing) next November 1, just in time for National Adoption Month 2011 (think of the potential publicity!).

Until then, you can find me at the drawing board.

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  1. #1 by Angela Starosta on January 5, 2011 - 8:23 am

    Those pics are absolutely adorable! and absolutely believable.

  2. #2 by Angela Starosta on January 5, 2011 - 8:43 am

    Ignoring the fact that nothing you model could come close to fitting me, I would be totally tempted to buy with those pics at those prices. My biggest concern, were I a customer, would be the cost of shipping.

    • #3 by Cristy on January 5, 2011 - 8:47 am

      Yay!! Thanks for the feedback. For right now I’m mostly stocking things that fit me, since I’m still not 100% positive I’ll actually follow through with all my schemes. But absolutely as soon as I figure out a for sure go ahead, I’ll be doing my best to accumulate all sizes and styles!!

      I’m still working out shipping costs, but I actually don’t think on clothes it will end up being that expensive…maybe around $.50/item?

  3. #4 by Grace on January 5, 2011 - 9:20 am

    OH MY GOSH, Cristy, you had me going there for a little while. You sure know how to make my heart beat quickly!

    Anyway, you could cut down on shipping costs by using those polymailer envelopes. That way you’re not paying to ship a box. http://www.amazon.com/California-Office-Supply-12×15-5-ENVELOPES/dp/B000HG8720 It’s like a non-padded plastic envelope.

    Love you, chick!

    • #5 by Cristy on January 5, 2011 - 9:42 am

      Oh, yes, I like to milk this whole young-married-thing for all it’s worth!! 🙂 DON’T worry, Grace, you won’t have to find out for real on my blog…

      Those envelopes look perfect. I was thinking something along those lines…or maybe making my own envelopes?!?!

  4. #6 by Susan H on January 5, 2011 - 9:22 am

    first off… you look GOOD pregnant!!! (it had to be said! 😉 )

    secondly, I meant to tell you this before but I’d probably have a lot to donate should you get this up and running (like, “make a trip to see me so I don’t have to ship all of this” a lot)…

    • #7 by Cristy on January 5, 2011 - 9:43 am

      Oh, save ’em, save ’em for me!!! I’ll happily count a trip out to visit as a ‘business expense’…..

  5. #8 by Laura on January 5, 2011 - 10:28 am

    You’re adorable, and so are the tops you picked out! It might be helpful for you to state your usual shirt size for comparison on shoulders etc. I’d be comfortable purchasing them from the pictures, though!

    • #9 by Cristy on January 5, 2011 - 11:23 am

      Great idea–I was thinking of also trying to post some measurements once I get a cloth measuring tape.

  6. #10 by Susan H on January 5, 2011 - 11:39 am

    also wanted to comment on the envelopes that Grace recommended… I’ve ordered clothes online and they are often mailed to me in those types of envelopes and I’ve never had problems with them….

  7. #11 by Mollie on January 5, 2011 - 1:32 pm

    CRISTY CARR!!! You make me laugh out loud! I love reading your posts because I always end up laughing. All by myself. I’m all over this with you. You tell me what kind of help you want/need and I’m in. You had two years in a row where you could have had a pregnant model. I’m done for now, thank you very much! And you DO look super cute pregnant. If only we gained weight ONLY in the belly!

    There’s another blogger (liferearranged.com) who is raising money for one particular orphan in Europe. He has special needs and when his adoptive parents come along, she doesn’t want them to have to pay a penny. So, she’s working to get that 5 digit figure covered. And it totally made me think of you.

    So, yeah. Tell me what kind of stuff you want/need and I’ll go digging. Or I’ll just help you in other ways. It’ll be a fun Richmond thing. We really should hang out more often. Come over and play sometime!!

    • #12 by Cristy on January 5, 2011 - 4:10 pm

      Yay!! I would LOVE to have a fellow schemer/shopper/photo-shooter. As I continue to get my act together, I’ll give you a call and head over for a ‘play-date’….

  8. #13 by Anna C on January 5, 2011 - 2:11 pm

    Oh Cristy, you are hilarious. The pictures turned out fantastic and they look so real! I bet Pop had no idea when he moved in that he would be getting free entertainment;)
    As far as prices, if you can really charge as little as 50 cents a shirt for shipping, I would think you could probably charge more for tops like these. You can’t usually get something in the $3-4 range even new at Wal-mart, and I don’t think they have maternity. So if they’re in good shape I wonder if you could go up to $5-6. Just a guess, of course.

    • #14 by Cristy on January 5, 2011 - 4:14 pm

      I was thinking I might have to charge $1 shipping for the first item then $.50 each additional item up to a certain point. I think I can ship one shirt for $.60ish, two for $1.20–and that’s without looking into the Post Office’s ‘nonprofit’ rates. Also, I’m wondering if I could make my own envelopes out of old calendars? Still thinking how that might work.

      And Pop definitely had no idea what he was in for when he moved in with us… 🙂

      I actually got the jean maternity top at Page One. THANKS for helping me dig that day!!!

      • #15 by Anna C on January 5, 2011 - 5:28 pm

        Hmm, you’re welcome. I’m not sure how much help I was with the clothes. I’m just not good at seeing potential on a dirty, cluttered and over-filled thrift store rack (another plus to the online version)!
        As far as making your envelopes goes, I guess that could work to start out, but you also don’t want to overdo it. You’ll just have to weigh the extra time to make them vs. the cost of envelopes. And you might want to make sure the post office would be ok with them?

  9. #16 by Naomi on January 5, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    These pictures look great, Cristy! You’re very cute “pregnant.” 🙂

    Being actually pregnant myself at the moment, I’ve realized how few stores sell maternity clothes! Even big department stores like Kohl’s or J.C. Penney’s have a pitiful selection if they do have a maternity section–it usually consists of a couple choices of pants and a few tops limited to 2-3 racks. I don’t want to pay the steep prices of specialty stores, so I’ve thus far ended up borrowing a few things and buying from thrift stores. Anyway, all that is to say, I would certainly consider supporting such a business as you’re proposing for the good cause and for the cute and low-cost clothes. I’m usually wary about buying online because I can’t try the stuff on, but shirts are pretty low-risk. If I see pictures and know the sizes, I’d probably buy.

    A maternity shirt in good condition for up to $5-7 including shipping sounds pretty reasonable to me. You could probably charge more for pants, skirts, and dresses. But I for one would be less likely to purchase pants online unless I already had a pair of the same brand/size that I liked.

  10. #17 by Sally on January 5, 2011 - 10:23 pm

    O.k., this is a mom who has a reflux baby who started screaming with her heartburn yesterday (and continued today), has lots of laundry, is trying to figure out what to fix for the main meal tomorrow, and well, you’re a great gal but how do you ever have time for all this?! You are amazing! I didn’t have that kind of time even before kids, but that’s because I chose to use it differently. You have talent and imagination, and somehow find the time to use it creatively! BTW, you do look great with a baby belly!

  11. #18 by Kristen on January 11, 2011 - 10:11 pm

    This is a great idea! I would SO buy things from you Cristy! Your pictures are fabulous! So cute!

  12. #19 by Kristen on January 11, 2011 - 10:12 pm

    I want the plaid one, if it’s not already sold!

    Kristen

  13. #20 by Courtney M on March 14, 2011 - 6:05 pm

    Cristy,

    I think this idea is great. I can’t believe how hard it is to find maternity clothes and at a decent price. I’m use to shopping clearance racks but that means that it is all past season and too large of sizes. I’m definitely interested whenever you’re up and running. If you have more pictures somewhere, let me know!

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