Monday, January 21, 2013

Tyvek for Strength




Detail of my altered book.

The black center of these two pages, is a strip of Tyvek that I printed.  It's holding an added page, and also covers the stubs of a few pages I removed from the book.

I always loved using this material when I was working in my altered books.  It's very strong and won't tear easily, but can be cut with scissors,  It prints roughly, and that's perfect for my kind of books.  I used it to add pages and reinforce the edges of weaker ones.

It's a non woven polyethylene material that's used for many items - I save the odd envelope that comes in the mail, and cut it to letter size so it will print on my printer.  I print thin vertical-type designs and then cut the page into strips and feed through my Xyron machine.  I don't think I've tried other adhesives, but the Xyron glue is extremely strong with Tyvek.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ticket to Venice






This will be the third class I've taken with MaryAnn Moss, and if it's anything like the previous two, I know I'll stay happy and busy in months to come!
If you enjoy working with paper and scraps.  I urge you to take her Remains of the Day (ROTD) Journal Tutorial.   Mary Ann is such a good teacher and will help you bring a wonderful journal to life in simple steps.

Next is her Boogie Tilt Journal - three hardcover books that are a little more ambitious, but still attainable with her wonderful video instructions. I see this is on sale right now: Full Tilt Boogie

I should add that these classes have to be the most fun ones I've taken, and are very addicting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Afternoon at the Lake


What an enjoyable way to spend a lazy afternoon - reading a good book on our porch by the lake, a few years ago.  Angela's Ashes was such a well written book, I didn't want it to finish.  
I used Anna Aspnes and Katie Pertiet's brown paper for this page. Background paper is mine. The font is Signerica. Inspired by Maine Every day, by whatnext at Oscraps 

A small Japanese village, at the foot of Mount Fuji, May 1970




This tiny village was so small, so intimate, it felt as if we were trespassing.
As I glanced through the open doorways I noticed the ground of dirt and 
pebbles running right through to the living area of some of the homes.
My camera was far too invasive to take many pictures, so l only took this and
another of the beautiful windsock carps that flew strong and proud above the rooftops.
Tango no sekku is the celebration of Boys Day in Japan, and each carp 
symbolizes a son in the family, a very large one for the eldest and the rest ranging down in size.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Just testing the size for Blogger. Click to enlarge, it looks much better.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Yesterday at Jo-Ann's



So the darling great granddaughters came with us, I treasure them dearly, but not while shopping - they don’t help when I need to figure things out at the jewelry department.  They did have a good time with all the glittery and shiny goodies to enjoy.  Every few minute I’d hear “Nana. look at this lovely (whatever)” shouted at me in their loudest voices - just in caseI didn’t hear.
I came home with just a few things in my bag that inluded two Somerset books (I thought I was buying their magazines), and a couple of lovely reusable $1.99 totes. 
Between my daughter and I, we each had a basket, and often took different directions for our shopping, we were distracted a lot by the children and  kept changing and getting mixed up with our baskets.  Somehow, we must have gained a basket and lost another that held all my jewelry findings somewhere in the store.  I was so tired I didn’t even miss them until I got home.  I checked my receipt that was around $50 but they hadn't been added.

Howard helped me cook the supper and while he was clearing away the dishes, I fell asleep exhausted on the couch.  I had been pushing through the day with only about three hours of sleep from the evening before, so my brain power was at an all time low.
Today, Howard is taking me back to Jo-Ann.  Do you think we’ll find my basket?  I hate having to go through all that figuring what I need again.

Yesterday's post




My daughter will be driving me to JoAnn - she has to make a crazy hat for the Preakness (horse race) and it will be up for a prize. I'm going to buy some beading cord - or thread, whatever you call it, I sorted out some really nice necklaces I have that are in need of repair. I probably won't be able to work on them until after my eye surgery - hope it doesn't take as long recuperating as this last one did.




I'm also going to attend a meeting tonight about the big park that's being built behind our house. The plans have been going on for a number of years and now they're working on it in stages. In the last couple of weeks someone on the board sneaked in a couple of "dog parks" to be built within the park and they have no parking facility so cars will have to use our residential cul-de-sac that has barely enough parking space for the residents.


My comfy Bohemian Frump couch


I just had to get rid of my "Blob" picture sitting front and center of this blog. I do have some freebies coming up but am still looking for another place to upload them. I was playing with circles and had a lot of fun blending with some older flower photos. I think some of the designs are a bit too much for a full scrapbook page, but as borders or strips, they're pretty.

The papers I designed way back when, are still being worked on.  After a real close-up look at the design, I couldn't let them go with all the messed up pixels underneath the top surface.  Careless blending in Photoshop will do this, and I'm very guilty of getting carried away with all the lovely colors and textures I see on the  upper surface.

I've been out of sorts for many months with my eyes.  Even now I can only see by closing my left eye and squinting, so anything I design these days is a bit iffy, unless everyone else squints like me to view what I've done!  I had a detached retina, and after the surgery to fix it, I now have cataracts - very bad in the left eye, but I can see enough to get around a bit - no driving though.
We bought a 27 inch iMac to replace our 24 inch that crashed, but everything is twice as small instead of larger. The magnifying feature brings things closer and larger, but it gets pretty bad for moving around the page. I think I prefer my older mac - except for the lack of memory that's needed for working in Photoshop. Let's hope this typing doesn't end up gobbledygook! I'll edit it later with better eyes.
Oh, I was getting bored and decided to play around with our 24 inch crashed iMac.  After several weeks of Googling and trying out a variety of things, I got it up and working!  It wasn't the hard drive after all, so I ordered more memory so it won't crash again for a while (I put the memory and special screwdriver somewhere and with limited eyesight, can't find it).  
I think I'll dedicate one of these machines to my favorite Brit TV programs that I watch from YouTube.  I'll be able to relax downstairs in my living room on my comfy Bohemian Frump couch, with a nice cup of tea.  The couch has tassel  type fringe all around the bottom now  they omitted it from my order by mistake, but sent me heaps after I told them.  With fabric glue, it wasn't  difficult to glue on. I put the green trees on our deck - they make a great privacy screen!


Friday, February 03, 2012

The Blob

I had to defrost a packaged sauce in the microwave, but didn't check the directions since a previous sauce had said no need to pierce for steam. I saw it ballooning up, but instead of opening the door before it burst, I rushed upstairs to get my camera!
I was fast at taking a number of shots of this, and it wasn't until after that I realized my camera was on manual. As I checked each image in the viewer I adjusted the controls without thinking, so breaking in my photography book (see previous post) seems to be working, because having the book stay open is so comfortable, that I'm reading and learning from it daily!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I'd like to package more designs to give away, but don't want to use 4Shared, because I keep reading on DST about viruses coming from there. If anyone has a better place to upload to, I'd appreciate a link or something - thanks.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The darn book won't stay open!

I'm determined to learn all the buttons on my Canon camera.  The manual is okay to understand, but print is way too tiny for my aged eyes, and it won't stay open.  I  downloaded a copy from Canon that's easier to read on screen, but it's a bit of a pain when I want to lounge on the couch and read from the coffee table (in my case tea-cup table!) with the camera on my lap.  Printing pages was fine but with too many to print, I decided to purchase a Canon 7d Guide from Amazon.  The book is great, but the pages still wouldn't open flat.  I was just going to get it "spiral wire bound" from Staples, but found this guide for opening new books correctly and it really works to keep them open!

I love how this guide has been illustrated:    guide

and another guide:      How to open a new book

Monday, January 16, 2012

Frilly dilly bag


Frilly dilly bag, originally uploaded by kirsten67.
I love the mixture of pattern and color.

I decided to try to get the pattern from Kirsten67 and make several of these in different sizes with some of my fabric stash for my studio and workrooms.  I might sew a design on the front showing what I have inside the bag - ribbons, jewelry parts, etc.  They'd be a colorful addition.  Though knowing me, I'll make one or two then get tired of making them!

I just discovered the Frilly dilly bag came from....

I've checked her website and Etsy Shop and can't find a contact or a way to purchase the pattern from the US

Note:
Thank you Janelle for stopping by and letting me know where to buy your patterns.
The url  - here:  http://pursepatterns.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=91

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Original Chicago Metallic Popover Pan recipe



We always have a typical English dinner for Christmas, and it’s always my job to make the Yorkshire pudding.  My daughters bought me a couple of the Chicago Metallic popover pans that made my job so easy.  Although I’ve tried other recipes, I prefer the original one that came with the pans.  I keep losing it, but figured if I placed it here I'd never have to search again.

Original Chicago Metallic popovers from the packaging on the pans:

REGULAR POPOVERS

1            Chicago Metallic 6 cup Popover Pan            
1 1/4      cup flour            
1/4         teaspoon salt            
3            large eggs            
1 1/4      cup milk            
2            tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 even pieces            
1            tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Oil or spray (with nonstick vegetable oil spray) popover pan.
Preheat oven to 400' and set rack in middle of oven.
Preheat popover pan in oven about 2 minutes.
Blend flour, salt, eggs, milk and melted butter until mixture is the consistency of heavy cream, about 1 to 2 minutes. This can be mixed in a food processor, blender, electric mixer, or with a hand mixer.
The batter can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
Batter should be used at room temperature.

(Note from Chris:  The way I learned to make Yorkshire pudding in England, was never to over mix the batter.  It's okay to be a little lumpy - otherwise it will be too heavy and not light and crispy. Also to let the batter sit in the fridge several hours before cooking.)

Place 1 small piece of butter in each cup and place back in preheated oven until butter is bubbly, about 1 minute.
Fill each cup half full with Batter and bake 20 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 300' and continue baking 20 minutes.

Makes 6 popovers

Popovers are best right from the oven.
Serve with butter, jams, or other sweet or savory spreads.


I like to cook these like our British Yorkshire pudding, and serve with gravy made from the roast.
For a nice flavor, I place a little fat from the roast in the popover cups instead of butter, and I watch it carefully while pre-heating, it has to be hot before adding the batter, but too much heat could burn and give a scorched taste.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Frustrated by Blogger!

I tried the new designs and features in Blogger - didn't like them, and now I can't get back to my old design.  The header is centered over the posting block and not center of the page, the graphics aren't the way I set them originally.
It's just like Blogger was in the beginning, too hard to control. 
I have some experience and training hanging paintings in galleries, and I like to use the same concept on my blog - simple with a white background.  That way the colors have little competition.
I'm taking a workshop on Word Press next week, and might open another blog with Google Streets captures - of places we've lived or been.  I love Google Streets.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Banksy art - on the streets of Brick Lane, London. So cool.



Bansky is a British graffiti artist who does wonderful work on walls of Brick Lane, London.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, England

  We began our walk to the castle at sea level, then after a fairly hilly walk, we saw the steps all the way up to the actual castle,  I didn't think I would make it - but did.   The entrance, where the photographer is standing,  is the most interesting area, with all its nooks and crannies.

I finished this layout long ago but couldn't find my photo to go with it.  I finally remembered I used our camcorder at the time because it brought out more of the depth than my film camera  - this was before Digital.

I want to thank the following photographer for the use of his photograph, which is published under Creative Common License:  Phillip Fayers for Tintagel Castle

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning Photoshop

Photoshop CS5 has so many new features to learn, and I've been delighted to discover many of them through the teachings of Jason Hoppe last year, and last week I attended a 4-day Intensive Workshop with Lesa Snider.

I admit I was quite biased in favor of Jason, but then found that Lesa Snider's teachings complemented his, very nicely.

If you've never taken classes at CreativeLive, and you're a bit of a techie like me, you're missing out!   When they first have a workshop/class, it's real time and free.  Watching on the screen, typing in questions to be answered by the instructor, and chatting while making friends with others in the chatroom, takes on the feeling of being in an actual classroom.

They replay that days stream through the night so you can watch it again, and it remains free to watch until the class is completed.  The cost is low compared to similar classes online and at a discount if you buy while it's live. After purchasing the class and receiving the links from them, you can download to watch at any time or place of your choosing.  If you prefer to save the space, you can leave it on the CL site and watch from there any time you wish.
I won this e-book at a drawing during a previous class.
It's so much better to be able to view a class before buying, I wish more company's were this generous.

Click here to see the courses available:  CreativeLive Course Catalog

"Full Tilt Boogie" tutorial by Mary Ann Moss

I'm playing with my camera on manual in an attempt to get photos of my ROTD Journal.  I'll probably end up using my P&S outside to take them if it gets too complicated!

I signed up for the latest class by Mary Ann Moss, she is such a terrific teacher!  I checked out all the classes and videos and she lays everything out as clear as the ROTD one.  Lots of short steps makes one neat book with a variety of different binding stitches and techniques.  I won't begin it until I find some neat old book covers to use from the Antique shops of New England.  I'm so glad I didn't get rid of my scrap papers when I went digital, these journals will make make good use of them for nice gifts to someone.


The new class is called Full Tilt Boogie, such a fun loving name, just like it's owner, Mary Ann.
Check out her class description here:    Full Tilt Boogie by Mary Ann Moss

"Remainder of the Day" tutorial by Mary Ann Moss

I've been having so much fun making journals with the tutorial "Remainder of the Day" by Mary Ann Moss.  I could never be happy sitting back doing nothing, that's probably why I dislike beach vacations so much.  I loved exploring the undeveloped beaches of Guam and Hawaii years ago though.  Going back to these same spots on the Internet, I see all the changes and how commercial they've become.  I  wonder if they are as fun as we once had climbing the rocks down to the beach area, and finding all kinds of shells, and other things that washed ashore?  I wish I had a digital camera back then (way, way back!).

Check out  Remains of the Day Sneak Peak video HERE

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My new toy - Wacom Pen Tablet!

I finally broke down and bought a Wacom Tablet.  I had a windfall of a little money to play with and It was a choice between this or a new lens for my camera and this won out, plus I still have enough left over for another toy!  I've been doodling and playing with the new brushes in Photoshop with the pen of this tablet since I unwrapped it.  It's so much fun!
I doodled spots and scallops on a background paper that I showed earlier, and the butterflies are of a brush I made from a real butterfly I've had for years, and the little girl is my sweet granddaughter, Ally,  showing off her hair wrap!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blended and Textured design

I found a couple of the background blended papers that I had done with the help of Doug Landreth's  texture, and the techniques learned in his class last week, so Photoshop didn't eat the lot of them up after all.  These are more like my own, older style, but not as grungy.   I'd like to get some images and play more with texture and Photoshop.
I took this class: Beyond Photography - Artistic Post Production at Creative Live last week, and I'm so glad I purchased the course before the broadcast was finished - it was at a discount then.  I've been watching bits of it again whenever I have a free moment and although I've got a good grasp on Photoshop, I found many nuggets, throughout the class, just as Doug Landreth said I would!

I might start posting my blended photos one of these days…when I get one good enough to show…when I have enough guts.  I did blend one of my designs with a texture that Doug gave to us, and really liked it, unfortunately Photoshop crashed and ate it all up before I saved it.

I've got a few of my old photo blends somewhere hidden amongst my one-photo-a-day posts on my other blog:  A Snippet a Day - I'm not very good at sticking with things I don't want to stick with, and gave up that project so soon!

Blended Designs


These are two backgrounds that were basically the base
 of those below.  These were made in Photoshop
with brushes - mostly my own, a few other overlays,
gradients, and flowers that I drew with the
pen tool - all done in Photoshop.
I need to stop blending and making backgrounds
since my EHD's are filling up too quickly!

Blended Designs

Warning - you might need sunglasses for
some of these!
Click to enlarge and see the many layers.
 




Playing with the blends in Photoshop gets to be addictive
and somewhat dangerous to all those pixels that are mixed
together. There's a lot of patience needed and heaps of
repair work with so many layers placed in the
blender - but I love doing it!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brilliant colors

I'm designing background papers for greeting cards and art canvas blocks for the wall.  I have a little idea of the type of images I want on the cards, but need to work on it some more.

I'm still cleaning up the paper pack I promised way back when, but many of the papers weren't nice and clean when magnified.  I'll eventually finish cleaning some up and will place them in a mini kit.  The designs are coming out much clearer since I quit blending layers all together in Photoshop - a few layers at a time appear to work much better for what I'm doing.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vintage card display

Bringing out all the old Valentine's cards stirred up my interest in all my other cards I had stored in boxes.  There's one box filled with old cards and letters given to me by family, that were in an old trunk in the garage for about thirty years.  I brought them in the house a couple of years ago because they were smelling a bit musty, and since then I've tried everything to get rid of that smell with no luck.  I thought they would have to be thrown but held them in the box until some new remedy was invented.

I remembered the handful of vintage cards I'd bought a number of years ago that had the odor but after displaying them for a while it was gone, so I thought it would do no harm trying this out on the Valentine's cards for a while.  Not only did they look pretty, but I'm dead chuffed to have the mustiness all gone!  I've decided to leave them displayed in my work room along with all the other "musty" cards for a while longer.

I'm going to use my conchos and ribbon to hold the prettiest of the cards, and set the others up high on the cabinets.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine card for Saturday

This card turned out much prettier than it shows here, it isn't as red and doesn't show the Diamond Stickles I added to give it a little bling.

My friend Tam wanted me to show my Valentine's tree, but it isn't anywhere near grand enough to post, just a small artificial tree filled with paper cards and hearts that I  found around the house.  It was a good thing to do because it forced me to gather all the old cards together and I found a lot of cards (not hand made),  from my husband that sat in a trunk for about 30 years.  A little while ago I forced him to sit as I read out all the loving messages in each of them!

I'm going to design a special tree for next year, maybe of dowels or something to hang our cards.  Meanwhile, here's a link to a smashing Valentine Card wreath from Williams Sonoma ($39.95).  I have many of the scraps shown, in Victoriana Calendars that I've been saving so I might just try to make one like it.  I love Valentine's Day!

http://www.exoticexcess.com/decor/valentine-card-wreath/

Come Easter, if I remember, I'll post a picture of my Easter egg tree that has many of my hand crafted styrofoam egg ornaments.   Many moons ago, the galleries that sold some of my other crafts sold these for me as well.  I wonder if people still make them.

I'd love to see links to other people's hand crafted cards or ornaments!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine Card

Another card I made years ago for hubby. I cut the roses from a flimsy magazine so it's a little shabby chic right now.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Regent Street, London

Christmas is the time of year when cards start to arrive from home (London) and I have longings of Christmas past.

Journaling:
Card from Home "We went shopping down the West End"

Can there anywhere be a more beautiful and spectacular sight than London's Regent Street at Christmastime? In the early 1950's, London was dull and lifeless, with a grey depressing look because of the veil of dust that came from smog and the remains of bombings of the war, but several years later, before I left, to live in Hawaii, this long passageway from Oxford street to Piccadilly Circus had turned into a magical wonderland, and I believe all of London's Christmas charm began here.

I remember the one year when I had a little money saved so I could give gifts to all those I loved, I was pleased with myself and decided to give this street a go. I sauntered from one shop after another searching for that one special thing that would make each person happy. I know I spent more time looking at the window displays and decorations than my shopping, and In the end I spent my money closer to home where the costs were more within my range.

It was Regent Street that stole my heart that Christmas, and I realized that even though most of London still wore a tawdry cloak, and money was still scarce, that in all the world, London was still a good place to be.
Credits:
Photo by permission of freefoto
Katie Pertiet card from Letter Box Christmas Kit
Ali Edwards_DecemberDaily_LayeredTemplates

A YouTube Christmas


I need a break from all those hearts!
Stef's Creative topic in the Digishoptalk Forum for this week, is about creating layouts when there's no photo of the memory, story, or event, etc.  These are mine from a couple of years ago.


Journaling:
Holiday music began in the stores before thanksgiving, setting the mood for shoppers to get their lists crossed off before the big day, Most of us need it, that holiday feeling to get started with cookies and decorating.
I never realized music played such a big part of getting into the holiday spirit, and not being able to hear it well these past several years I found myself in an empty place I'd not experienced before. Then came my Bose headset. Plugged into the computer and with a search on Youtube, I was lost in the flood of nostalgia I'd been longing for.
The soft and velvet tones of Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby worked best.  Listening to these old friends brought fond memories of Christmases past.

credits:
Dana Zarling - Grungy little Christmas papers
Ali Edwards - TemplateNo13 with Font
Katie Pertiet - Brush from Days of December

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Another heart, for Thursday!

Some of these cards are a little repetitive, I never realized I had used a doily with so many.  The sunburst is made from clay - one segment has broken off.  I can't remember how I made this but it looks like I laid lace on top of the clay and rolled over it to get the  texture.  This card has a lot of dimension, but looks a lot flatter on screen.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Peacock for Wednesday


This is really old, I made it with clay and cardboard and think there were instructions in a magazine.  It's falling apart and the paper coils are loose.  It is a "card" not mounted to a background and a poem on the back.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Tuesday's Valentine

I cleaned this up in Photoshop for use in a layout sometime.  I made these and other ornaments years ago when Victorian was popular.  They're made of clay with added charms and tiny flowers of clay and silk.  A gallery sold them for me along with my dolls, jewelry, cards, and other items.  Another clay one tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Valentine's Card for Monday.


A Valentine card I made for my husband in 1993, not as old as some of my others.
The center cupid comes from a Victoriana Calendar.
I saw a heart of roses in one of my magazines and used it as the base of this card.  I lifted the center heart higher than normal,  so that silk roses would fit underneath and peak out.  I bet if I sent him this again this year, he wouldn't remember it!

Wallpaper book used for Valentine's cards.

 
A similar doily design to the previous one.  These cards are about 8" x 10" and I  found a wallpaper book to cut up for this one.  The frame was sprayed and covered with lace - also sprayed with silver.  I used thin foam strips to lift different areas this time.  This was before Scrapbooking, or the Internet to find papers of the right color or weight and I remember having the background papers all lined up so I could go over them with a roller and paint.  I think I cut up gift boxes for these.  Today I'm thankful for Bazzil's 500 colors and 7 textures.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Valentine Card

This was a Valentine's card I made for my husband years ago.  I used to love making the large Victorian style with lots of cupids, lace and flowers.  Later I made more modern cards, but I think I'll go back to the old style again, especially since I have the computer to help me with images.
The base paper was dull purple velour, I wonder if this paper is still available.  The gold rectangle frame was taken from a large Christmas card, and the lace was sprayed with gold paint - it's much duller now.  I cut out most of the flowers and cupids from cards and magazines except for the center cupid and heart - that was a small card. I made spring coils from gold wire and epoxied them to the pieces for a 3d layered effect.  Now there are all kinds of goodies in the scrapbook stores I could use.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Getting ready for Valentine's Day


I had a table tree that had been filled with gifts for the little ones at Christmas.  It's been sitting for the longest time waiting for Howard to help put it high in the garage, but he's too late because the tree is now filled with all kinds of Valentine hearts and cards from Valentine's past.  When Howard saw it, he said he'd never heard of a Valentine's tree, and I said he's not in the know then.  I searched the Google Images and sure enough, there are many Valentine's trees out there.  I'm not the first!

I don't think the I can print the image above that I made in Photoshop.  I want to make Valentine cards for all the family and friends who didn't receive a Christmas card from us this year.  I was too busy, and it just didn't feel right sending happy cards after loosing a sister and sister-in-law last year, so the Valentine's cards will be to honor them.

Note:  Feb 10,  I ended up printing this smaller than its 12 inches and with a little  Stickles, it turned out to be a very nice card.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What do digital stitches have to do with YouTube dancing?

I've been trying to finish one of the kits I started so long ago.  I kept feeling something was missing so I tweaked, then I'd leave it for a while and fiddled around with it some more, and now I want add some stitching, but then didn't like my own stitches (that I've used on my own layouts for many years!), so bought some CU stitches that could be used for freebies, but now I'm back to making my own!

I started working on the stitches yesterday but got all caught up in YouTube.  I learned how to make real neat ornaments with my old Christmas cards, and then I watched videos of "happenings" - the train station where a couple starts to dance and before you know it, the whole place is filled with dancers.  I will will myself away from YouTube today!

Tam, I need a new lens to do justice to my tiny dolls, and nobody goes down to my basement - except the grandchildren.  That is until they get old enough to make comments like "You needn't go to the art store for anything, it's all here!"

Friday, January 14, 2011

My ex-studio is almost organized again.

I'm almost finished organizing my basement room.  There are four rooms in the basement; the laundry  and small book room ("library" feels too pretentious for my basement even though there are enough books to fill one).  I also have a clean work studio for drawing, sculpting, and sewing.  Then a back room for messy work -- it was once my painting studio where I could pour acrylic paint over the large canvas and as the liquid missed the catcher and hit the floor, it would find it's way across to the sump pump well.   Later I used this room to clean greenware and fire porcelain dolls, now it's storage.

Along with my painting,  I started making simple breadcrumb dough ornaments so that my daughter could sell along with her own darling animal ornaments at a Christmas Show and make some Christmas money.  After her first show, she and her friend came home all excited, even though the show had very few customers because of the fairly heavy rain, she sold nearly everything to the other vendors!   The following year I signed up for a very popular juried show, and I had to figure something "different" to sell so we'd have a better chance to be picked out of all the others.  I made some breadcrumb doll ornaments in period "costumes" (very different back then).  These proved to be the right choice because we had orders even before getting selected - from the selection committee.  This was a good sign for us.  At the show, we sold all the doll ornaments within the first couple of hours, and the following year was same.  When my daughter went away to college, I knew I had a good thing going with these ornaments to help pay for my expensive painting supplies, so continued on my own by doing shows throughout the year.

Too much writing for now - tomorrow I'll go into how I became a porcelain doll artist!
I also promise to get some of my digital stuff ready for freebies again very soon, it's sitting waiting to be jaypegged (I think that is a made up word), zipped and sent.  I just have to find the flower elements that I made long ago, that go with the papers!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas decorations - out!

I was busy Monday and Tuesday trying to get the rest of the Christmas decorations put away so forgot all about my "line-a-day". 

Before Christmas I worked for ages clearing and cleaning my basement studio, but it was so worth it because with nice warm lighting. it became cozy and pleasant.  I even thought I'd start working down there again, but unfortunately, it became a nice haven for the Christmas stuff so now it's a  wreck again! 

We've been plagued with the new "stink bug" from China, and they say Maryland will have it even worse next year, so putting all the decorations in the garage again is out of the question,  I have a suspicion that's were the hoards of bugs hide.  Howard thinks I'm too paranoid - and he's right!

I'm determined to claim my space again!  Anyone want a used kiln for miniatures or jewelry?  Come get it and it's yours!  How about a million Gourmet magazines?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

“THE BIG MEAL”

It has been so much fun checking all my old haunts and trips in England through the Google Street View.  This morning I took a walk from my old home to my old school and noticed the many changes.  The Victorian house that I lived in is very pretty now, and all painted white with flower boxes and a tree in front!  Back when I lived there, nothing would grow because of the smog.  Everything in London had a film of soot before the "clean air act".  I'm thinking of setting up a special blog of captured pictures and my journal writings from over the years.

Today I found "The Hoops Inn" on Google Street View.  I wrote the following in my journal back in 6/18/99:

THE HOOPS INN, Devon, England 

We stopped off on the way home from Bideford and ate supper at the very impressive looking Hoop’s Inn.  I had Lamb’s shoulder set on the most delicious creamy mint sauce, along with baby new potatoes, a vegetable mix of broccoli, carrots, and squash.
Howie asked about the large mixed grill - she said it wasn’t large by American standards.......wrong!!
It was the largest meal on the largest dinner plate I ever did see.  Pork and Lamb chops, steak, gammon bacon, liver, kidney, sautéed mushrooms, tomato and onions, extra large steak fries...........and a fried egg on top!  He ate most of it, but left the kidney and liver.

The Inn was very charming, and we were lucky to be one of the first diners, so chose a cozy window seated area.  The grounds and the beer garden were especially attractive.  Flowers filled the garden and were in full bloom.  We didn’t want to leave, but it was getting late.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Don't you love Google Street Views?

I have to re-date these posts because I first do them on a text file and don't always post it to the blog on the same day as I write it!

When Google sent out their fleet of cars with the nine cameras mounted on the pole and ball to capture the world street views,  I think it was for someone like me!  I can spend hours re-living the past just by going back to places we once lived or visited. 


This evening I showed Howard how we could go back to Devon, England and drive down the country roads with the hedgerows on each side via the Google Street View maps.  I found the area and pulled down the little figure to the street and voila, we were transported to Bideford!

  Bideford was one of Britain's largest port in the 16th Century.  We loved to amble up and down the narrow streets and along the quay where the fishing vessels, cargo and pleasure boats all sat and waited for the tide to come in.  I think we did see the water on one of our visits.
It was  fast "driving" through the Google Streets, but I found the quay and also The Kings Arms, where we stopped whenever we came to town.




On our last visit to this 17th century Inn,  we shared a tiny table (just large enough to hold our mugs of beer) with a couple of girls in their mid twenties.  The one girl told us how she'd hitched a ride to Bideford in her teens, got a job. and never left.

I tried to Google drive up and down the very steep narrow streets, but it was difficult - I kept crashing into buildings!  On our real visit to Devon (about ten years ago) we spent hours walking all over this town.  I found the Cemetery - this place held Howard's fascination with the age of the headstones, I think he must have read the inscription on every last one of them - I left him there while I walked around a bit and when I came back, he was writing one that fascinated him.  I know I still have it somewhere.

Tomorrow, I'm going to look for The Hoop's Inn on Google - this is fun!!

Friday, January 07, 2011

I'm trying for at least a line a day,  just until I get back into blogging.  Hope it works!  I'll try adding photos later.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Kitchen Sponges

Hint from the weekend Parade Magazine
Kitchen sponge holds lots of bacteria and germs.  To eliminate them, wet the sponge and place in microwave for 2 minutes. 
I try to change my sponges before they get too bad, but it doesn't take long before they take on that kitchen odor.  I did the microwave method on two sponges and they came out looking new and smelling fresh.  I'll so this often now!

It was nice talking to dd, Lauren today.
Howard doesn't get "Lark Rise to Candleford".  It may be because he doesn't like costume shows, or maybe he naps or does a crossword and only listens to program.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Too Many deer

I counted 17 deer passing by in our back yard woods! 
And again the "Lark Rise to Candleford"  put Howie to sleep this afternoon!
This  evening, I watched Bourne something or other again for the umpteenth time, I never tire of these movies!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Another day!

Howie napped again through "Lark Rise to Candleford"

The dining area of our l-shaped open plan dining/living area always looked a bit crowded and cluttered, so when a designer gave me the hint to only place two chairs around the table if we don't use it everyday, that really freed up the space and I liked it.  For our family Christmas dinner, I completely emptied the area to fit the large table (with 2 leaves) to fit 9 - it did so pretty good, the children sat at an extra table set-up nearby.

Now I've pulled out the leaves and put away a few of the chairs I'm amazed at how well the remaining 6 chairs fit around the table so well, and yet still having a nice spacious area.  I think I'm going to leave all the extra bits of furniture and plants away from the space.  A couple of pictures on the wall is all it needs - plus a new lighting treatment over the round table.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lark Rise to Candleford

Jan 3
Monday
I loved the new Brit  show this afternoon on "Afternoon Tea",  Lark Rise to Candleford, a British costume drama.
Howard said he napped through most of it!

"The Hoarders" was on TV - it was pretty disgusting, A really strange man collected rabbits until they took over the  house, and the second hoarder was a woman who  had all kinds of farm animals.  Her house was so full she had to sleep in the trailer with some of them.  She abused the animals and her grown children!

This show does help me clear out my clutter though for fear I'll end up in this show!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A nice visit

Daughter Linda visited with our grandson, Joey.  Linda borrowed the car for a "few" days.  Hers is sick and Jim's truck needs paperwork.  It was a good visit though, I think I have a photo to be made into a scrap page - coming soon!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A New Year

After all these years I finally realized that ringing in the new year via T.V. activities at Time Square, NY.  is not for me!   Last year it was agony watching folks in the bitter cold get interviewed by equally shivering hosts.  This year I popped in and out and at least the hosts had some sort of shelter, but the music on each of the channels I switched to wasn't that great for a New Year's Eve!
Mind you my ears don't help,  seeing I have to use a Bose headset in order to hear the T.V.  but since hubby expressed the same feeling, we'll rent a good movie or two, next year, and settle in with our Bacardi eggnog.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Story of Leah

please click on layout for larger view

The journaling reads: "The story of Leah who came all the way
from China to live in this strange new world.  She had to put up with food
that she had never tasted before; words coming out of people's mouths
that she did not know. and visits to doctors who pricked her arm,
poked at her tummy and bound her feet and legs in plaster
making it difficult to get around. It would be years before she'd
understand this was all done for love for this sweet little girl so she
could walk tall and free.

Our granddaughter is having non surgical treatments for her club feet.
Her legs are in casts that have to be changed each week.

This first week she appears to be doing fine.

Another paper from my upcoming kit. The the frame with stitching isn't included.
The free stitches were made by GUNHILD STOREIDE
and found on her website: Gunhild Storeide

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Leah so cute

please click on layout for larger view

More papers for my next give away kit. The frame and recolored curly ribbons are not included.
They are free graphics made by the talented Gunhild Storeide
and found on her website: Gunhild Storeide
The frame is found on page 19, and the ribbon (Gingham Bows) are on page 2

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Leah's Second Birthday

please click on layout for larger view

Using my daughter and granddaughter to show one of the papers I've been working on. 
These past few years I've been getting all girlie and pretty! I used to love grunge and gritty.
Oh, the flowers in the paper are from a photo I took outside a McDonald's in Hazleton Pa.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh Hurtie Feet!

I've had lots of fun during the summer making papers. I used the blender in Photoshop to combine and mix some photos from my nice new camera with some of the sketches and brushes I'd previously done, but the finished images remain in a frozen state on my computer desktop.

Of course it didn't help move things along when I sprained my foot, became immobile, and had to rely on my dear hubby for everything. At first, he'd occasionally forget I was upstairs and couldn't move, so I just breathed in the whiffs from his Stouffer's lunch as it heated in the microwave. I knew it wouldn't be long before he'd bring me a cup of tea - he's always been thoughtful like that even when I can move around, and since we've always eaten separate lunches, this was an easy forget. I didn't want to be one of those constant complainers or a "get me this" and "get me that" sort of invalid. Mind you, I found myself turning into one of these with very little effort.

My first bit of independence came with the desk chair on wheels Howard so brilliantly thought up. It felt so good to be able to get off the bed and wheel myself around upstairs for the short spurts my foot didn't hurt. I even braved the crawl down the stairs and up again (warning: don't try this for more than a day, it's murder on tender knees!). Howard would carry the chair downstairs for me to move around in the living room and kitchen until we remembered another unused chair in the basement, so now I had one on each floor. It was pure luxury to be able to crawl downstairs, pull myself up (I need to lose some weight!) without slipping on the tiled floor, and use this second chair to manipulate myself around the kitchen to get breakfast and lunch for myself.

As my injured foot started to heal, the other one flared up - what pain! It was probably because of the extra use and twisting I gave it while "wheeling" myself around. But each day my feet grew a little stronger and the pain milder. It took weeks before I could actually limp down the stairs using both my feet. Then I did the whole ten yards and walked (ever so slowly) all the way to the basement and back without aid of chairs to wheel me. Today I removed my elastic bandages and feel very little pain, what joy!

Although my feet are not completely healed, I'm back at my main computer and looking through all the papers I previously made, but still I can't seem to let them go. They just aren't good enough, they're too pretty-pretty, have no texture, the colors are too safe. etc. etc....and that's why they sit there frozen.

Maybe I'll post a couple on this blog for a few days to see how they look in another setting......

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Leah Freebie Digital Pack.

Please click for a larger view

I hope you enjoy this pack. It has 12 papers and a few extra items. I enjoyed playing with some of my flower and texture photos in Photoshop's blending modes, then added some watercolor brushwork. These came out a little bright, but I have a more subdued pastel pack and also some graphic style papers, suitable for minimalist layouts in the works for my next give aways. Unfortunately I won't be able to get them finished until the end of the month, summer is very busy right now.

Sorry, the Digital Paper Freebies are no longer available. 

~~ chris



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leah Papers. I would love a hint - Do you prefer the pastel or bright?

Please click image for a larger size    

I want to celebrate the flower because they're celebrating The Chelsea Flower Show in London right now, and I would so love to be there. I also want to celebrate our new granddaughter whom we met for the first time a few days ago and she's as pretty as a perfect flower. Welcome to your new country and your new family Leah.
----------------------------------
This is a peek at the papers I'm working on named Leah to celebrate the flower and this sweet little girl. I've many of the same design but different colors and I understand people not liking re-colored papers, but these have been re-colored through a process of blending and adding a variety of multicolored layers and textures, and not simply re-colored in Photoshop's Hue and Saturation mode. I wonder if this is realized? Anyway I'm trying to get a few more different papers to to with these. They'll be free as usual.

The Chelsea Flower Show is put on by the Royal Horticultural Society in Chelsea, London each May. This is possibly the most famous gardening event in the world and because it's so popular, tickets have to be bought in advance. The first couple of days is only open to RHS members.



Sorry, the Digital Paper Freebies are no longer available. 
~~ chris

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Free Photography classes all weekend starting Friday 14th 1pm

I'm one of their junkies, but otherwise have nothing to do with Creative Live

(formerly Creative Tech) except I want to spread the word about their terrific classes.

This weekend there's going to be a rewatch of the first six weeks of The Fundamentals of Digital Photography Course, with John Greengo.

He's a part of the team with Art Wolfe's "Travels to the Edge" TV series and is a very intelligent and knowledgeable teacher who has a unique style of teaching with his own terrific graphics. These really help simplify the understanding of the many photography concepts.

It's free unless you want to download the classes to re-watch later. Me and my new camera will probably be there the whole weekend so I'd better get some meals made ahead of time!
Check out Creative Live

- A Live Worldwide Creative Classroom

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Devon Cottage freebie

Please click image for a larger size

A bit of shabby chic that remind me of the worn, but clean, linens that covered the tables of the tea shops, where we would stop in the afternoons for our cream teas, in Devon, England. 

I hope you enjoy this pack that include papers, pattern and plain, a couple of masks, and a few extras. Scroll down to see examples of it in use under "Shabby Chic"   http://britthing.blogspot.com/ Along with other freebie papers.


Sorry, the Digital Paper Freebies are no longer available. 
~~ chris