Friday, November 26, 2010

5th Annual Original Printables Holiday Countdown!

What a mouthful! Let's call it the 5AOPHC. Sounds like a summit meeting of 5 obscure nations. But no - it's actually a great giveaway over at TenTwoStudios.  

Every day between Dec 1 and Dec  25, a new sheet of linkware printable images will be available. Linkware means that in order to download the sheets, you must post a link to the site someplace - your blog, twitter, etc. Go read the rules, post a link, and then get some great images for free! Yay! Thanks, Lisa!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I got mentioned...

...on the Creative Swaps blog. Lenna is hosting (hostessing?) a mail art swap and I joined in. Today she blogged about my envelopes. How fun to see them someplace other than my own studio. She stuck an extra 'n' in my last name, but I'll forgive her for the glory of getting my own post on her blog!

The second envelope she shows was the first one I made when I wasn't real sure if I could make a decorated envelope or not, so I was doing a test drive. It's a file folder, and I paged thru magazines looking for colors and images that grabbed me, then did the front and the back at the same time, going back and forth using bits of all the images on both sides. It's a little 'modern' for me, I guess. I prefer more traditional or vintage looks, but it was fun. Hopefully, whoever gets it will enjoy it.

The other were more the vintage look, using actual old pages from books and copies of vintage images. I quite enjoyed making them and can't wait to see what I get back. I have no idea how Lenna will choose who gets what, but I'm sure it'll be a great mix of styles. I'll be thrilled with pretty much any of the ones she's shown.

These are both about 5x7" and made using old file folders cut to size, decorated, then sewn up the sides and across the top. My sewing machine wasn't thrilled about sewing thru several layers of paper, but then it seemed to get a clue. I included some copies of vintage Christmas postcards in my envelopes. The cards had been mailed to my maternal grandmother in the years 1909 and 1910 when she was around 17 years old.

I am a student in the GreenPaper class she mentions, and have learned a lot. It's also really instructive for me to see the work of the other students using the same lesson and some of the same materials as me. The different things each of us creates is always neat to see.

theme thursday ATC with flowers

This is the first time I've participated in this blog's challenge. Each week a theme is posted and you make an ATC per the theme, then blog about it. So... here I am.

The image of the little girl was part of the package that some violet stamps came in at least 1-12 years ago. I love purple and orange together and she'd been sitting around waiting for a call to action - an ATC with flowers seemed perfect. The pansy at bottom left was cut from a sheet of stickers that I've had forever. It's amazing the things I keep coming across that I've had for a long time and were originally purchased for something else entirely. Collage seems to know no bounds when it comes to using stuff up. Excellent craft for a pack rat like me...

I stamped the 3 small pansies, (last one is out of line, damn it) then colored them in a bit. Wrote 'violets' when I really should have found the word in a magazine or something since my handwriting is pretty poor. But I like the overall look well enough. Really like the diagonal striped paper. I thought it might look a bit odd or make the whole thing look like it was leaning left, but I kept coming back to it and it seems to work.

I continue to love working small - an ATC is 2.5"x3.5" - and went ahead and cut up a bunch  of background paper into 2.5" wide strips so that I can get going a little quicker when the ATC urge strikes me. Gotta make an ATC NOW!

Friday, November 12, 2010

violet with bokeh and a fairy garden

Bokeh is the blurry background in a photo, often showing up as soft smudges of color. I love the look but could rarely get it to happen with my point and shoot. My DSLR, however, is another matter.

Using the idiot 'A for aperture' setting, I took this before I left for work this morning, right outside my own front door, in one of the planters I have by a bench.

The planter stands, by the way - which aren't in the picture - were out on the curb in front of a neighbor's house for the trash guy last summer and I dragged them home. They sat out at the side of the house for months, but I finally got them planted this spring and I enjoy them every morning as I walk to my car. One man's trash is another man's treasure...

Anyway, I love this shot. Super clear, great color, tons of bokeh!!!

While I was out there, I lay down on the cold hard sidewalk and snapped a few of what I think of as the fairy garden. It's just a patch of moss with some bulb shoots coming up, but it looks like a place fairies might hang out.

Autumn in Paris collage

One of the many blogs I follow (can't find it now <grrr>) issued a challenge to make something using a bit of nature. I picked up some leaves the other day while walking the dog and glued them to an old book cover. I didn't plan to end up with the two darkest ones together, but they changed color after I glued them, so I was stuck. I suppose I should have sealed them first, but I'm still a rookie at this glueing stuff.

Didn't have anything particular in mind yet, but then I came across a hand tinted image of a woman in autumn-y colors and decided she'd work well.

On the collage sheets from a GreenPaper class I'm taking were the postcard from Paris and an image of the Eiffel Tower, and so I ended up with this.

 I left the edges of the leaves hanging off the book cover but they're quite fragile, so I expect I'll end up breaking them off on purpose so that I can control what happens.

Autumn colors were never my favorites, but it's just amazing how your tastes change as you age. Mine, at least. All those colors my mom tried to dress me in that I fought tooth and nail, now all appeal to me. Greens, lavenders, rusts.

Monday, November 8, 2010

pear with spoon

Well... just got done playing around with my camera and then photoshop, and I have an image I'm very happy with.

I took several pictures of a pear with some lace and an old spoon, then chose one and began to play with textures and layers. This is the original photo. Not bad but not very interesting.

Twenty minutes and lots of 'undo's later, I have this. Much more interesting.

more ATCs

I'm taking the Collage Basics class at GreenPaper. Our first assignment was to create an ATC, so I hauled out the many image sheets she'd supplied us with and, trying to pay attention to her lessons (scale, color, balance, etc) made a couple ATCs.

The first one is themeless, near as I can tell. A little girl, a stamp from Yugoslavia, a postmark from Paris, a couple pages torn from old books. ??? No common ground there that I can see. LOL

However, the colors are good and the whole things balances out pretty well. I darkened her necklace a little cause she's so plain, and gave her skin and dress and bow some color with blending chalks.

Not one of my favorites, but ok.

The second one I like. I'd been eyeing the image of the couple for several days but didn't have any idea what to do with them. That's where I'm really weak at this - thinking up the concept, the theme, the motivation.

But I'd just bought a pack of 4 paper place mats at Michaels for $0.20 and the background went with the couple, so I got started.

They're obviously dressed up, so I figured they were going out.

Night on the Town popped into my head. Took me forever to find all 4 words in the same old book. From there, I didn't have much trouble deciding to add the music and the fortune teller's card, which looks like an opera program, maybe.

It still looked sort of empty at the top, so I added the flourish stamp, then the words, and finally, a little star charm.

I'm still having fun with the ATC size. It's perfect for words from a book, it's not too large to intimidate me, and the smallness means almost instant gratification.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a couple ATCs

This is really a great little art form. Just as I loved miniature quilts and small crazy quilt projects like needlebooks,  I love the size of an ATC. 2.5" x 3.5". Enough room for an image or two, some writing, a doo-dad, a button, some lace.

The other day I cut up a bunch of cardboard into ATC size and tucked them into a spot up by the mugs that hold my pencils and markers. When I get the urge, I grab one and go. I'm so anal about planning things out that I'm really working on just going with the process, letting a picture set the tone, or a line of a poem.

The first one started with a floor plan of the Louvre. I love museums, but after a while I get tired of all that walking around. While looking for something else, I came across the image of the woman who looked like she needed to sit down. Or maybe something a bit more bracing, like a drink.

The real challenge was finding all the words. I ended up paging thru 3 different books cause I wanted a mismatched look. The tan paper under the woman is yet more of that Starbucks scone bag...
This one started with the image of the red-winged blackbird that I tore out of the Sunday paper. At the time, I had no idea what I'd do with it but I liked it enough to save. Today, after cranking out 4 more tags for the Christmas tag swap, I was tidying up and saw the bird. 

I grabbed a blank ATC and glued some torn paper to it. Then I got out my new Distress Ink pad and dabbed here and there. One of my weak areas is creating interesting backgrounds. I tend to like the 'old paper with brown edges' look, so I'm trying to branch out a bit. I liked the result. 

The bird was holding a ticket, so I cut around his head to get rid of that, then darkened his edges and glued him down. I'd been lusting after the postmark stamps and finally got them the other day at half price with a coupon from Michaels. I put a couple faint Paris postmarks on, then started thinking about words. I have a whole drawer of pages torn from various books, so I dug around and found this line from a poem. Perfect. 

I'm very happy with this one. The whole thing went together in about 20 minutes and it's the first one I've done that looks more 'artsy' to me than my usual stuff.

(Don't know what the hell's the matter with getting the text to fit around the second image... worked fine on the first one. <scratches head in confusion>)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

GreenPaper November Challenge

I'm not so sure about this one. The challenge was to use the image of the baby, the elephant and a small faintly lined sheet of paper with a spray of flowers - all in one collage. Baby and flowers - yes. The elephant? Not so much. but I needed to cover the front of the little book I'm using to do various challenges in and what could be more appropriate than a real challenge?

While leafing thru a book for inspiration, I passed by the copyright and publishing info at the front. Hmmm... publishing... pachyderm. At least they both started with a P. Anyway, I ended up doing this:

I reduced the size of the elephant image in Photoshop, then cut him from his background and did some layering with a strip of old book and a piece of my seemingly endless Starbucks scone bag from a couple weeks ago. (I've gotten more use from that scone bag) I'm not real sure what he's supposed to be doing down there but I was pretty stuck for ideas.

I see all sorts of things wrong with this now - too many different shapes, only the one element has any color - but live and learn. I guess I like the overall impression, but now that I'm done, all sorts of ideas have popped into my head. I may do another one or two using these 3 images, just to prove that I can! LOL

Anyway, this early in my collaging career, challenges are a great way to learn. Seeing what other people do with the same images is very inspirational. And a bit depressing cause they all seem much more creative than me. But I'm having fun, which is my goal for now, and hopefully I'll improve.