Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fun with Photoshop

It's a goal of mine to someday learn to unlock the power of Photoshop. I know I have only just barely scratched the surface.

Today when I was struggling with what to use for a background for an artist card, Megan suggested taking a photo from our trip to Europe and using a simple filter on it.

Results? Très cool!

This first picture is one of my favorites from the trip, and certainly one of the favorites from Venice. This is the morning we were leaving, so we were out and about pretty early, long before most tourists awake or arrive. It was a beautiful morning, clear and crisp, with a breeze rocking the gondolas moored along the Grand Canal lagoon. A characteristic pink-globed lamppost is in the foreground, and in the distance is San Giorgio Maggiore.

The first effect is a simple mosaic filter, very appropriate for what I have in mind (stay tuned for tomorrow's reveal).

The second effect is a "photocopy", creating a wonderful "skyline".

And because it was so fun and easy, I also tried the mosaic effect on one of the pictures of the leaning tower of Pisa, after applying poster edges.

Now to turn these into something wonderful for tomorrow's Theme Week, which is International Places or Cultures.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bonjour Gratitude

My day was brightened by the arrival of a small box with a treasure inside! From my new favorite eBay artist In the Light of the Moon, comes a Gratitude Journal, beautifully altered with objects and imagery that speak to my heart!

What is a gratitude journal?
A place for "recognizing the blessings in your life and acting upon them regularly", which "increases your awareness and appreciation."

"Sharing your gratitude improves the quality of your life because it can only result in positive emotions. Learning to appreciate what you have also makes life more valuable and meaningful."
Who can argue with that? Thank you, Kat!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October Roses

Just one of the many things I love about living in California...roses in October!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And Treasures in Nature

Yesterday I wrote about finding a treasure in the dust of our cleaning and packing adventures.

Today I am buried even deeper in paper, shreds, dust, dirt, old clothes and other non-inspiring, non-creative amalgams of the years.

I am sorely tempted to be blue, but I've got to have heart!

It was only a few weekends ago that we were hiking in the woods at Kirkwood, peeping at the leaves of the quaking aspens as they began their journey to autumnal gold.

Just ahead of me on the path, a lovely piece of quartz caught my eye. One end of it was so clear and polished I could see right through it.

Well, that piece of quartz made it's way into my pocket, then onto the table once we got home, then into my bag to be brought to short, the rock accompanied me in my appointed rounds for the next several days.

Then one day at work, while waiting for something or other as I usually am, I picked up the rock and gasped out loud. For this is what I saw...

Heart in Quartz

There is a message there I am sure, and it's...I must keep heart!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finding Treasures in the Dust

We've decided to move. We've known for some time now that we would move someday, but have decided the someday is sooner rather than later. We do not have a new house, and our current house is weighted under the dust and accumulation of 12 years.

But, no apologies, because my inner french girl revels in the fact that we LIVE in our house. It is not a showcase, it's always messy, but I can sew, mosaic, do jigsaw puzzles, scrapbook, create ATCs, paint, and in other ways feed my creative instincts at a second's notice because all the supplies for creativity are out and available, and not just in my studio, but also spilling out into the family room, kitchen, dining room, of course garage.

But that means a lot of work to clean up and get ready to sell, without compromising the creative instinct which needs more nourishment than usual during this stressful process.

So, what a treat to find, while groping along the top of a china cabinet in the dining room, dust bunnies flying up and falling down all around me, a treasure!


"What are these?" I asked.
"Candlesticks", was the factual reply.
"I know, but where did they come from?"
"They were my grandparents'", voice now trailing, wondering if I was going to demand they be banished from the house, "and used to sit on the dining room table..."
"Well, you are in luck, because I LOVE them!"

Ooh I can see these on the mantelpiece of my shabby chic French-inspired cream, black and colorful dressing room. Oh, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and treasures to be found in the dust!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Gorgeous Canvas Print

I love it when the mail brings pretty happy fun stuff!

Yesterday a box at my door was opened to find my canvas print!

It's hard to express, especially in a scan, just how gorgeous this can practically smell the flowers (well, I think that's ink I smell, but I love the smell of ink). The colors are so rich and saturated, the quality fabulous, the canvas, frame and wrapping all beautifully and professionally done.

Try it (link to the left or here)!

Keukenhof Canvas Print

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Picture, Many Techniques

A trend in scrapbooking seems to be the creation of a page around a single photo. While this is just too inefficient for me, I'm willing to try it in the interest of learning techniques. And learn techniques was exactly what I did in creating this page today at Memories Live On.

1 Hour Layout

The photo is from our wine tasting tour of Montalcino. The techniques and products ...
  • single-step crackle paint
  • fussy cutting
  • vellum over paper
  • 3D photo mounting
  • color core paper scraping
  • distress inking
  • Glimmer Mist dying
  • paper sewing
  • distress sparkles
  • 3D leaves, buttons, frames, bows
  • Tim Holtz metal photo corners
Not sure what I am going to do with it...that is, how to handle it or put it into an album, but I love it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Raven

A few weeks ago, while out on a walk past the local elementary school, I spied some pages from a book lying under a bush. I cannot pass up such ephemeral treasure! It was a chapter from a book...Chapter 4 The Raven. But it was not Poe. It seemed to be a King Arthur story.

Last night I attended a Make-It-and-Take-It ATC session at Memories Live On, and while learning how best to blend and stamp with distress ink, and the different effects of distress ink versus permanent ink, I created a Halloween-themed card featuring a raven.

And so incorporating pieces from the book pages (some directly, some via digital scan and digital collage) and new techniques with inks and overlays, I created the artist card, "The Raven".

The background is a melange of a variety of Tin Holtz Ranger distress inks, stamped with an uber-cool Tim Holtz poison stamp. Onto this I collaged the piece from the book. The raven is stamped onto the acetate overlay with StazOn ink and embellished with a crystal eye.

On the back I digitally collaged part of the story featuring the raven, using my distress ink for both stamping and a vintage look around the edges. The crown in distressed and traditionally collaged with gel medium. Everything is held together with straight edge stitching with copper-colored thread.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eiffel Tower ACEO #6

I love each one better than the last!

Oh how perfect is the typography background of the fabric and the Eiffel Tower...
the fuchsia color of the silk layer between the background and the paper...
the perfect gilding on the edges of the Tower slide, extending to the lace (each time I use that lace I distinctly remember buying it in that tiny little shop near Faubourg St Dennis),...
and topping off the serendipitous perfection...
finding the phrase 'Le coup de coeur' in fuchsia pink, with a heart!

Oui, c'est le coup de coeur pour moi et Paris, le coup de coeur pour moi et la tour, le coup de coeur pour moi et ma petite carte!

Luck was with me on this one, as I mixed the paints attempting to get that fuchsia color, and hand painted the back around a stamped heart.

Ah, I am so enjoying this series...each one telling a little story, and capturing a little piece de ma coeur.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

During...the Cleanup Continues

I didn't get a picture before...there may be one somewhere...but I did get a few pictures "during"...during the project that was supposed to take a day, then stretched into two days, and oh but no, it can't be finished until next week.

So here are the floors "during" the redo. Note the conspicuous absence of the refrigerator...because it's outside on the back patio.

No toilet in the bathroom? The toilet is also on the back patio.

But, it's gonna be great!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ACEO Collection Additions

This next ACEO of which I am the proud owner is from another of my favorite artists, Beata Sasik.

Beata paints in oils, a medium of which I am in awe. She also has a very distinctive thick-stroke pallette-knife style, and frequently paints rainy scenes to offer wonderful reflections. I am very fortunate to own an ACEO original oil, but mostly I buy her giclee prints, more affordable, and beautifully printed.

This is the latest..oh look, it's a painting of the Eiffel Tower :-)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ACEO Collection Additions

At what point does the non-collection become a collection? Or perhaps even 1 item constitutes a collection? Whatever the definition, the acknowledgment of a collection or lack thereof, one thing I can say with certainly is that I am very please with my latest artist cards purchased.

This first is from one of my favorite new artists, Cat from In the Light of the Moon.
Cat is a kindred spirit, doing beautiful mixed media altered art collage, often with elements that I love, comme le vielle Tour Eiffel.

As if the Eiffel Tower was not enough, I was smitten from the moment I laid eyes on the BONJOUR tag. The cute little girl avec la parapluie was the icing on the cake.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Photos on Canvas

I'm excited to learn about this capability to have photos printed on canvas. I can't wait to try it...trouble is, which of the 1000's of photos that I took this year should I select as my first sample??

Unfortunately, because we mostly just view and share photos online, I don't take them at the highest quality, so that limited the selection.

After an agonizing hour or so, I settled on this one taken at Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands last spring.

Keukenhof Gardens

Check out Zaza Gallery here or there's a link just to the left.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eiffel Tower #5

Before we started cleaning, before we started ripping weeds and wild ivy from the yard, before we started painting the front door and packing up all the extraneous stuff in our bedroom, before we started going through boxes and filling up the garbage and recycle bins with stuff...before all that, I created Eiffel Tower ATC #5, this one, "lusciously inspired".

The background is a purple dupioni silk, free-motion quilted with gold metallic thread. The Eiffel Tower image is mounted into a Hambly gold overlay. The 'lusciously inspired' is from a magazine. Everything stitched into place with gold metallic thread.

On the back is some of my favorite scrapbook paper, embellished with a butterfly sticker (from the same collection as the bird on the front) and gold metallic paint.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eiffel Tower #4

I have a lot of different typography fabric, and a lot of images of the Eiffel here is another combination, this one with ribbons and lace to make it "GLAMOROUS".

On the back I used one of the mother collages I made in my ATC class a few weeks ago.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eiffel Tower #3

The nice thing about series is that they have things in common...while that might sound like something Yogi Bera would say, it is true, and for me it means I can work a little faster.

I just love these Eiffel Tower images from Cupcake Cutiees, and they go so well with the variety of typography fabric that I have, this one in gold on red. I'm also loving the way the paper elements, with a bit of ink on the edges, look zig-zag stitched to the backgrounds and each other.

I'm getting down to the last of the pink on black polka dot ribbon that I bought in Montemarte in January...I will have to go back and get more.

I'm also really pleased with the back of this card. The background is a digital collage from DigitalCollageSheets, (who have beautiful ephemera collections!) and onto this I stitched a Metro ticket (no chance of running out of those any time soon) treated with vintage ink and a couple of French postage stamps mounted onto yellow for contrast, and stitched into place.

And on to #4!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eiffel Tower #2

It's rare for me to create this quickly in a series, so I take it as a good sign that I was able to create Eiffel Tower #2 ATC immediately after #1.

This one also uses a typography fabric in the background, an Eiffel Tower image from Cupcake Cutiees, combined with a French postage stamp and a fabric butterfly.

On the back I used a collage I created months ago and didn't know what to do with...vellum on bristol with some stamped images, covered with gold glitter metallic paint.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Or the Eiffel Tower - New ATC Series

Recently I had the opportunity to create a free flip book on Snapfish. I have so many book creations in blog books, my summer book, my French alphabet ABC book, Europe 2009, and the Kirkwood book, that I wasn't sure which pictures to use.

Then I looked back at all the cards I made both in and about Paris this year, and decided that would be my flipbook. I love this flip book, as much for the cute format from Snapfish as for the content. No, more for the content.

And that's what convinced me to do another ATC series on the Eiffel Tower.

I bought some wonderful collaged imagery from Cupcake Cutiees on Etsy.

For the first few in the series, I am using my treasured typography fabric, which goes beautifully with the Eiffel Tower images.

Everything is stitched in place, and some gold beads highlight the center of the flower. I love the colors in this piece, red and coral and pink on black and white.

On the back I used some fleur-de-lis paper I snagged from a restaurant in Florence (it was the was going to go in the garbage if I didn't take it), stamped with "Pour Vous".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Or a Bird - Artist Card #4

Besides butterflies, birds seem to have quite the imagery draw for me, perhaps because of the texture of feathers!

When John Carlos moved out of the downstairs apartment at 218 Connecticut, he got rid of a veritable dumster full of decorator samples. Now, that is not to say anyone went dumpster diving for fabric and trim...ahem...but somehow these wonderful feather samples ended up in my possession, which are just the perfect size for artist trading cards.

Once again we have the "mother collage" background, the fourth in the series.

Over the background collage I added several pieces of paper ephemera, gold fabric with leaf motifs, a brown-feathered bird with a crystal eye, and a metal clock face, along with the words "Time to Fly" spelled out in faux paper typewriter letters (yes, I cut these out individually with tiny scissors!).

On the back is the same gold leaf fabric, and a piece of the feathery trim, secured in place with glue and stitching.

The front and back are mounted onto timtex interfacing and stitched along the sides with gold thread in a zig-zag stitch.