12/29/10 All The World's A Stage ATC

The theme for the Paper whimsy ATC group for December lottery is "All the World's a Stage" - here's my entry.

I'm still working on a few things in PS Elements and hope to post them next week.

12/29/10 They really are geniuses

I took my computer to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store and it's back in working order!  They ran all  kinds of tests and patiently explained to me what they were doing and why.  It was just a bad file - not a hard drive problem.  So because I came so close to losing all my data, I bought an external hard drive and can now rest easy.


Almost there.....

So, just when I'm getting close to a break through in Photoshop, my MacBook dies. 
I was almost there - I've been organizing photos and images and was planning on spending a few days after Christmas to really sit down and see what I can do.
But, my screen is blank except for a file folder with a question mark on it. And of course, I haven't been great at backing things up, so I have an appointment tonight with one of the geniuses at the Apple Store and I'm hoping something can be saved.  Like my sanity.


12/8/10 Photoshop - What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

I've been trying to teach myself Photoshop Elements for awhile and it's just been frustrating.  I'm taking a class now - I've been in it for three weeks and several times each week I just want to stand up and scream "what the &%&$^$ are you talking about?"  But, because I was raised better, I haven't.
So, I brought my computer today and decided to work on the train.  Part of my brain heard about adjusting opacity, refining edges, changes/correcting colors, masks and layers. (the other parts of my brain heard blah, blah, blah)
I decided to focus on layers because even though they make sense on one level - I mean, you start with a piece of paper and when you add something on top, that's another layer.  Not really rocket science, but somehow on the computer I'm never sure what layer I'm on or what I'm trying to do with it.
I have digital collage images from Paper Whimsy  and decided to start.  I'm going to figure this out - even if it kills me.
I know there's a lot that should be done to these two collages- like maybe adding shadows, softening edges, adding some ground or a floor at the bottom, etc.  But I was just trying to take the different elements and layer them and hope that I would understand by doing it.  I can't say that's happened yet, but I might be a half a step closer.
This collage started with a textured background, and the separate elements are the jeweled star, the girl, the bird and the wrought iron railing.  I did something after I typed "the magic of christmas" which angled the type and so I kept it that way.
This collage started with a harlequin background and then I added the elements of the curtains, the girl and the jeweled star.  So, in both I was able to re-size the elements (not hard to do) and in this one I originally had the girl in front of the curtain, but I remembered something about clicking and dragging in the Layers Palette to place layers at a different level - so I was able to put her behind the curtain.
And, I used the zoom and the eraser tool to make the star look better in her hand.  Well, as good as it can look when you're working on a train with just a track pad.  Hey - a new excuse, it's the train's fault......
My grandfather always used to say "No honey, it's not you.  The whole world is wrong".  Hmmmm


11/2/10 Christmas Ornaments

These are sample ornaments using collage images, ribbons and frames from
Check out this website - they have three swaps going on now. 
 There is a Jolly Old St. Nick Tag Swap, Annual Ornament Swap and Angel Shrine Swap.  
If you're looking for some great Christmas collage sheets and other supplies, give this site a look.
Both frames are brass and have been dry brushed with acrylic paint.  Alpha Stamps has a huge variety of ribbons in silk, velvet, cotton - solid and patterned. 
The "crown" on top of the blue ornament is a Dresden Halo cut in half.


10/31/10 Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween and I just finished the Paper Whimsy Monthly ATC Lottery / Autumn Splendor
I just have to scan it in before midnight... in between the trick or treaters.



If there's anyone out there who hasn't visited Alpha Stamps website or blog, now is the time.

ALPHASTAMPS is having an "AUTUMN COLORS"  giveaway and it's wonderful!

Click on the link and visit their blog - the winning package has scrapbook/collage papers, charms,stickers, dresden scraps, and two sold out items.
Just visit their blog and leave a comment - it's that easy.

DEADLINE is 11:59 PST on OCTOBER 22nd.

10/10/10 It's Been Awhile.......

The last month has flown by - it's not NewYears but I am resolving to post more often.  Well, I'll try anyway.  Speaking of flying, the ATC shown below was for Paper Whimsy's Monthly ATC Lottery.
The other challenge due this month at Paper Whimsy was Chris Thuerks Day and Night Gothic Arch Swap.  A template was provided and "Begin the day......" was the theme for this one.

"When Nightfall comes....." was the theme for the arch below.


9/222/10 It's Halloween

Alpha Stamps has three swaps going on and I just finished two of them.. The first is the Skeletons in the Attic swap - this was a blank black book with kind of wavy edges and each page is a different size.  Alpha Stamps has some really cool Halloween themed collage sheets, rubber stamps and supplies
Skeletons in your closet


Front Cover (clear acrylic)

Death of a beautiful woman
Death throne

Believe nothing

The second swap is the Halloween Dwellings Slide Mailer -  slide mailers open like a book and for this the middle bar was removed and the front is supposed to be like the doorway to the haunted dwelling inside.
Front 1

Inside 1
Front 2

Inside 2

Front 3

Inside 3


9/1/10 The Digital World

I'm trying to teach myself Photoshop Elements and it's more than a little frustrating, but here's the first collage - images are all from Paper Whimsy.  Not exactly groundbreaking, but...... it's a start.  The biggest problem is that I really don't know how I did this! Can I do it again?  It seems I got lucky with this - I have no real understanding of it still.  Oh well, "they say" practice makes perfect.  Let's hope so.

8/31/10 Alphastamps Design Team

I'm thrilled to announce I was chosen as one of Alpha Stamps Design Team Members.  I have been an admirer of the other women on the team for awhile and am honored to be in their company.  Alpha Stamps carries a wide and ever changing variety of supplies for collage, rubber stamping and jewelry making. 
There are thirteen new collage papers for Halloween and two new swaps - Halloween Dwellings Slide Mailer Swap and Skeletons in the Attic Book Swap.  Check their website for these swaps and loads of great supplies and to read about the new design team.


8/9/10 Floral Studies

Floral Study #1 - acrylics on gessoed masonite board
Floral Study #2 acrylic on gessoed masonite board

I did these floral studies a while ago and wanted to try taking photos for this blog.  Usually I scan artwork - it's much easier, but it can't always be done.  And then there's putting the images into Photoshop Elements and cropping, etc.  Well, what's life without challenges!


8/4/10 Retro Art Cafe Blog Giveaway

Retro Art Cafe has wonderful images, shrine kits, doll parts and all kinds of retro inspired goodies.  Kristin is nearing her 500th post on her blog!  All you have to do is leave a comment.  Hurry.


7/10/10 Entering the Castle

Paper Whimsy hosts a monthly ATC lottery - the subject is chosen by whoever won the lottery the month before.  This month was "Entering the Castle" and inspired by a book by Carolyn Myss.
The image of the woman was from a free download offered to members who figured out a puzzle devised by Gale - it was a lot of fun and many goodies were won at the end.


7/9/10 Garden Variety

Lenna Andrews  is hosting an Alpha Stamps swap called "Garden Variety" Postcard swap.  Alpha Stamps has a wealth of images and supplies to chose from.  I do a lot of ATC's so the larger 4 x 6 postcard size is a nice change.  I used some of their collage sheets, german scrap and patterned papers for these cards.  Lenna hosts swaps all the time on her blog and they're always fabulous!


6/30/10 A Little Whimsy

The website Paper Whimsy is a site I've written about before - it has beautiful collage sheets.  Many of the images are available for download as well as hardcopies.  Gale has a large collection of old photos which she lovingly "restores/retouches" - her site has a look and feel all it's own.
The site hosts a monthly ATC Lottery - all images are due by the end of the month, a winner is chosen and they get all the ATC's that were done for that challenge.  The winner then decides on the theme for the following month, and on it goes.
This month the theme was Fruits of Life and my ATC is pictured below.
I used one of the collage sheets that had images of pears and some of them were arranged in the size of an ATC already.  I then too leaves from another floral sheet to make a hat and chose one of the many adorable children available on the site to place on top.  I then cut out another pear, covered it in clear Stickles and attached it with a dimensional square adhesive.  Hope I win.....


6/11/10 Summer is Here

Chicago heat has come early this year.  Even Memorial Day weekend was warm - almost unheard of.  So, it seemed fitting that a Summertime / Beach theme ATC challenge is being done through Alphastamps Yahoo Group.  I'm just getting ready to mail these in.

I also just mailed 10 Chunky Book pages -  Bird themed - to Lisa at Collage Stuff.  She's going to collect pages from everyone,  assemble/bind the books so each has the work of 10 different artists and make the cover for each.  I bought single sheets of paper from Michael's for the backgrounds and the images are from both collage sheets and german scrap I bought at Collagestuff. Here's the pages I sent in last week:



5/26/10 More Tags - Ginormous Tags

AlphaStamps Ginormous Tag Swap with a Mad Hatter's / Tea Party theme.  The subject matter had to be about tea and a tea party - with one of their collage sheets and an embellishment of some kind.


5/15/10 Tags and Postcards

This week I finished tags for an ArtChix swap - 6 tags using some new collage sheets.

I also sent an ATC for the "Sisters" swap on the fairly new ArtChix Sister-Site Yahoo Group.  It's featured on their home page!!!

And three postcards also through the Artchix Sister Site - swap themed "Sunnier Days" 4x6 postcards.

I found the Barbie images in some old Barbie Bazaar magazines I had in my studio.  They reminded me of summer days as a kid playing with dolls.