Monday, November 30, 2009

AEDM-Day 30, Steampunk Stuff and Giveaways

In one of my Yahoo! groups we are doing a great deal of talking about and providing links to a style of art called "steampunk". I have never made anything like it before, but I looked around and I think I have found some treasures to use to make this kind of thing. I think the first item that I will try will be a domino and when I have made it I will share it with you. Here are the treasures I rediscovered when I went through an old cigar box I bought last summer at an estate sale:

In another one of my groups we are working on a creative lettering class. I have begun the third assignment, but am planning to add more to each page to make it more interesting. Here is what I have so far:

And, I am fast approaching my 20,000 visitor (that is a lot of tea and cookies to serve) and think it is time for a giveaway. This time I will be giving away three things:

The first giveaway is a butterfly book kit I purchased from the wonderful and talented Ingrid Dijkers. You can see examples of finished books on her blog.  This kit is the mauve/brown one.

The second giveaway is a lovely origami book:

And the third, and final, prize is the book by the very talented and knowledgeable Tomoko Fuse called Origami Boxes:

All you have to do to have a chance at one of these beauties is leave a comment on this post. If you would like to increase your chances of winning, you can post about this giveaway and leave another comment with a link to your post.

I will draw the lucky winners using the random number generator on Thursday evening, December 3, and will make the announcement on Friday, December 4.

I am taking the hubster for a procedure this morning and have to wait there for about 3 hours before I can take him home. I am planning to take some little Zentangle papers my friend, Nancy, gave to me a long time ago and try to do one while I am waiting. I will also take my new Schaeffer fountain pen and my journal to play with the creative lettering pages. And, of course, I will take the iPod so that I can have music.

Gotta go!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

AEDM-Day 29 Woot! Woot!

I am down to the second to last day of AEDM and have so far done something creative every day. Some days I've actually done more than one creative endeavor.

Yesterday I had a lovely, unexpected get together with my friend Tina from Marshall. She was driving to Jackson to shop at JoAnn's and called me to see if I wanted to meet her there. I was thrilled. I wasn't planning to go anywhere, but with a chance to spend some time with a like-minded person (granted she is way more talented than I am and does a much wider variety of art than I do), I jumped at the chance. We had such fun.

When I got to JoAnn's, Tina was just finishing up at the cutting table. We then wandered over to the stamps and such and I bought a non-stick craft sheet (about a week ago, I bought one, but failed to notice that it was much smaller than the one I was trying to replace. This time I got the 15" x 18". I'd like to go into a craft store and find that they stocked that on a tube, like fabric, so you could buy a piece large enough to cover your work surface. I also bought a Stampendous stamp called a Follate Quad Cube. It has a different leafy stamp on each of four surfaces.

We then wandered around the scrapbooking area where Tina introduced me to the "Core Color" papers. I am in love. I bought a handful of them in various colors. It just so happens that there is a book display right next to the papers and since I had a 50% off coupon I bought a book called "4000 Alphabet & Letter Motifs" by Graham Leslie McCallum. I also bought a book called "Silhouettes" by Sharyn Sowell. I love them both.

From there, I took her over to Encore!, a second-hand store on Wildwood. She loved it and made even more purchases than I did. You'll have to read her blog to see if she shares with you what she bought. Meanwhile, I will tell you that I bought a lovely wreath of Christmas sleigh bells to hang on the front door knob, a cut wooden sleigh napkin holder (with napkins), a bingo game, the game Pit (I couldn't help myself - we used to play this game when I was a kid - even Mom and Dad would play and it was a lively and loud game). I also bought some picture hanging wire (I think this would be a good steampunk item),

After that browsing and purchasing fun, Tina told me that she was planning to go to Penney's, so I suggested Applebee's for lunch. We both were thinking about being "good" and having a salad, but we both decided instead to have a steak and take leftovers home to the hubsters. Yummy! Our waitress was extremely nice and friendly, so while we were visiting with her I found out she had just moved into an apartment and needed "things" so I pointed her in the direction of Encore! because I know she will find dishes and silverware in good shape there.

When we went to Penney's, Tina got nearly all of her Christmas shopping done. They had really wonderful deals and she had some coupons on top of it.

I finally did spend some time playing with art (but surely browsing and visiting with an arty friend counts as being creative) and decided to use the colors being used as the challenge at Play Date Cafe both to make a pattern and to color enhance a photo. What fun!


I am so enjoying these unexpectedly sunny and beautiful days in late November and am so thankful for the time I have, the friends I have, the internet friends I have who are so supportive and warm, and my wonderful hubster who supports my attempts to be creative and artful.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

AEDM-Day 28

I had a quiet, restful, and productive day yesterday and am hoping for another today.

I just learned through one of my Yahoo! groups that a steampunk tutorial is available for making dominoes with metal and bling. The tut can be found at Funky Time Art. I am looking forward to trying this style but first I have to find some two part resin for the finish. The tutorial actually gives a link to a source, so I don't really have to find it, but I have to purchase it.

I finished up my tags for a swap in another of my Yahoo! groups, but didn't really get much information about them. I posted a message asking about size, but didn't get an answer, so I made them a size that pleased me and am hoping that is good. Here they are:

I also finished up a card that I am swapping with a friend from one of my Yahoo! groups, but won't show it yet because she might read this and I don't want to spoil the surprise. Both this card and the tags will go out in Monday's mail.

I cannot believe it is so close to Christmas! This year has flown by and I don't feel ready. We are trying to have a "green" Christmas this year. By that I don't mean "without snow", but making and remaking items to give rather than buying new. I don't know if we will accomplish this completely, but with that as our mindset, we are sure to come up with some "from the heart" gifts that will be treasured by the receivers.

I am looking forward to lunch (I haven't had breakfast, yet) because I still have the hoarseness and cough which I will treat with a bowl of my homemade turkey rice soup. The secret to this years special flavor is just a bit of leftover gravy in the broth and just a pinch of tarragon at the end of the cooking process.

The picture is not so great, but the soup is delicious!

I am hoping to have an artful, productive day and will share it with you tomorrow.


Friday, November 27, 2009

AEDM-Day 27 and Black Friday

I wonder how many of you wait in line for hours for great deals today. I have never gone to a store on Black Friday, no matter the deals. I have also never had anyone else pick something up for me on Black Friday. I guess this is just one more item to add to the list that marks me as "not your typical American".

My poor daughter works at Toys 'R Us and will be working a 13 hour day today. This is one of the first times that I remember that she didn't have to be there at 4:30 AM. Today she will work from 11 AM to midnight and will have to be back tomorrow. My heart goes out to all of the retail workers at this time of year. You rock!

Meanwhile, I thought I had a chiropractic appointment this morning. I was sure it was for today. But last evening just before retiring for the night, I checked the card I was given and found that it was supposed to be Wednesday morning. I feel just awful! I am not one to miss an appointment without notice. I will call when they open this morning both to apologize and to see if I can get in this morning as I was planning.

Thanksgiving was very strange for us this year. It was just the four of us in my nuclear family. The hubster, myself, my daughter and my son. The grandgirls were at their other parent's family for the holiday. I was expecting to feel the loss and not enjoy, but it was actually quite nice to just be the four of us. The conversation was light, there was a bit of teasing, and things were very smooth. The clean up was even easy. We had a lovely meal: The star of the meal - the bird with traditional stuffing, cornbread stuffing baked in a pan, three kinds of squash mashed together, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pie. I am quite pleased with myself that except for a handful of almonds, I didn't eat between dinner (around 4 PM) and bed time. It was tempting, but I ate plenty at dinner.

I did find time for a little sketch. He really needs to be painted black with a bit of shine on his feathers, but for now he is just a sketch.

I suppose I should have drawn a turkey, but didn't think about it until just now. Maybe later today.

Gotta go, see you later!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

AEDM-Day 26 and Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I am so happy that my sister is home and feeling pretty good. I talked with her a couple of times yesterday and she sounded better each time that I did. On another note, I called my Mom in the morning to give her an update on the surgery and didn't get an answer. When I called later I asked her where she'd gone in the morning and she told me that she was home when I called, but she was on the floor. She had tripped and fallen and couldn't get herself up. Fortunately, another sister who lives next door arrived before much time had elapsed and was able to help her up. Mom sounded good, if a bit embarrassed, and agreed that she was too impulsive and tried to move too fast, but that she had only suffered a couple of bruises and they had actually gone into town after the fall to do some errands and she was feeling fine. I am thankful that nothing worse than that happened.

We are all getting a bit older so the hubster warns me that we are going to go through more and more health issues all the time. My Mom is 85; she has 14 children, including me; my oldest sister is 67 and my youngest sister is 42. I am afraid he is right. We are getting to the ages where things tend to happen. So far 13 of the 14 are alive and relatively well. We lost a brother to cancer last year - an awful experience!

On to art!

I had forgotten that one of the pieces of furniture that the hubster made for me for my artroom was designed to be a drafting table with a 45ยบ slant to the top. I had used it flat for years and it held my huge guillotine cutter. I moved the cutter into my walk in closet where I have a counter where I used to sew and got the hubster to help me adjust the table to its fullest slant. It is wonderful. Yesterday he cut a piece of wood to put along the bottom edge so that things wouldn't fall off and I used it to do some coloring. What a great piece of furniture and I think it will be the perfect place to practice my creative lettering and calligraphy.

Please ignore the mess around it. I am working on it.

Here is a closer picture of the birds I am coloring:

Here is a new sketch for today. He is called a honeyeater. I saw this picture somewhere and was caught by the posture and setting, so just had to try to draw it.

I think I'd better get on with my day. We are going to have turkey, mashed potatoes, two kinds of stuffing - one with bread crumbs and one with corn bread, squash, green bean casserole and pie.

Wishing all of you a glorious day and lots to be thankful for.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

AEDM-Day 25

I want to thank all of you for your wonderful support and the sending of all that positive energy and your prayers for my sister's surgery yesterday. I feel quite sure that it was helpful.

I just got off the phone with her and she sounds wonderful; I actually  heard her ordering breakfast of shredded wheat with soy milk and strawberry yogurt. Her surgeon had already been in this morning and told her she could go home today if she wanted to, but that she didn't need to. She is ecstatic! She has a husband very much like mine. He will take such good care of her. I am sure he will do the entire Thanksgiving dinner unless she feels like helping.

I can't wait to see her and if the weather holds, I may make a trip between now and Christmas to visit and play games.

This morning while I was waiting to call my sister, I drew an eagle to share as my art for Day 25 of this month. He is not perfect, but he will do. I will try again another day when I am more settled. I think it is time for me to try to paint my birds.

I also have a small project from the Creative Lettering class I am involved in. This is part of Assignment 2. I am enjoying this class, but need to start thinking outside the box. Some of the people  in this class have wonderful ideas and their writing is already so creative. I am happy with this one:

I have to go to Sam's this morning to get softener salt (we've been out for days), bottled water (our water is much too hard to drink), wine, almonds and a few other odds and ends that we prefer to buy in bulk. Then I think we have to decide what we are making this evening and the timing of the turkey and trimmings. We are planning to try a new stuffing/dressing recipe with corn bread and sausage.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate - and the rest of you, have a great day and rest of the week.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AEDM-Day 24

My sister is having a carotid endarterectomy (a scraping of the carotid artery) in about an hour. I have great faith that she will come through it with no problems, but am nervous and concerned. In this procedure, if I remember correctly how the doctor described it, they will go in through the neck and close off the artery, scrape it, and then reconnect it. If you are the kind of person who prays or who is good at sending positive energy into the universe, please do so this morning. I will be calling her around noon and am anxious for that time to arrive.

I tried to do an assignment for a creative lettering class I am taking in my A.R.T. Yahoo! group, but my heart is not in it. The assignment was to first make a curvy line and write on it and when the ink was dry to erase the line. And the second part was to incorporate the line into the writing. I may try to do it a bit more creatively later this morning. For now, for what it is worth, here it is:

In the second one I should have at lease made the lines red or some other color, and I made a mistake and wrote "the" when I was supposed to write "any".

I spent a good deal of time rearranging my art space yesterday and am about 1/2 done. When it is finished, I will post pix.

Meantime, I need to go grocery shopping this morning (hopefully it won't be too busy) and I am tutoring this afternoon.



Monday, November 23, 2009

AEDM-Day 23, Birds and a Health Update

I am home for now. My sister has had a boatload of tests and has a team of doctors, most of whom I met yesterday. What a great team and what a wonderful facility she is in. The concensus so far is that she is in great shape and her problem is some "jaggy" blockage in her right carotid artery. Apparently smooth blockage (< 70%) is not considered to be too dangerous, but the jaggy kind seems to be more likely to have renegade platelets break away and do damage. Surgery is being seriously considered. At first it sounded like they were going to do the surgery today. So I called the hubster and told him instead of returning on Sunday afternoon I would be staying until after the surgery. Then the neurosurgeon came by to visit and said there was one more test he wanted to do to be absolutely sure that the right carotid was the only culprit. She is having some kind of stress test this morning and is now looking at having the surgery early next week. So I drove home. The hubster was playing tennis, so I didn't call to tell him. Imagine his surprise when he arrived home! I talked with my sister this morning and she is back on an IV and has been NPO since midnight in preparation for this test. She is hungry and is hoping the test is sooner rather than later. I will be going over to stay again when she has her surgery.

I tried to catch up with my email and blogs that I subscribe to last evening and then sketched a couple of birds. I'll let you decide if they resemble what I have identified them to be.

Later this morning, the hubster and I are going up to the Maple Street Mall where he has a space to rearrange it for the holidays. Then we need to make a stop for softener salt, water, almonds, and flavored coffee.

I am meeting a freshman Geometry student in Stockbridge at 2:30 and have two Algebra students coming to my house at 4:00. Another busy day.

My art room is a total mess and needs a revamp. I may spend some time today  reorganizing it. That way I can get it clean and looking new.

I am quite hoarse this morning. No other symptoms. Either I picked up a bug while visiting my sister or this is how my body is choosing to handle the stress.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blog Award

The lovely Martine at Temps Libre has given me an award. Thanks, Martine

The rules are:

I need to pass this award on to five people (hard to limit to 5), leave a comment on their blog to let them know I have given them this award, and then I need to answer a list of questions in ONE word.

Here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone?...purse
2. Your hair?...short
3. Your mother?...sweetheart
4. Your father?...deceased
5. Your favorite food?...soup
6. Your dream last night?...unremembered
7. Your favorite drink?...water
8. Your dream/goal?...downsize
9. What room are you in?...workroom
10. Your hobby?
11. Your fear?...ill-health
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?...alive
13. Where were you last night?
14. Something that you aren't?...mean
15. Muffins?...banana
16. Wish list item?...Copics
17. Where did you grow up?...UP
18. Last thing you did?
19. What are you wearing?...sweats
20. Your TV?...old
21. Your pets?...none
22. Friends?...few
23. Your life?...good
24. Your mood?...even
25. Missing someone?
26. Vehicle?...Civic
27. Something you're not wearing?
28. Your favorite store?...Michael's
29. Your favorite color?...purple
30. When was the last time you laughed?
31. Last time you cried?
32. Your best friend?...bighearted
33. One place that I go over and over?...Mom's
34. Facebook?...infrequently
35. Favorite place to eat?...home

I pass this award on to:

AEDM-Day 22

I am away from home visiting at my sister's house. She suffered a TIA earlier this week and is in the hospital. Her husband called yesterday to let me know what had happened and that things looked quite good. She is fine and has no residual effects from the incident. They are doing lots of tests and have prescribed a blood thinner and a low dose cholesterol medicine.

Of course, when I found out, as soon as SIL was picked up, I packed a bag and drove over here. It takes about two hours and it wasn't a bad drive since I knew she was alright. When I got to her house I packed up the cribbage board, the Yahtzee dice, and the Scrabble game. We visited and played games until around 10 pm and then I came back here to her house to sleep.

I think I will probably go home later today as she is expecting to be released and I have tutoring to do tomorrow and Tuesday. Meanwhile, when I got back to her house last evening, I drew a kingfisher so that I would have something to post this morning. It is not my best drawing, nor is it my best photograph. Also I don't have photoshop or anything like that on this computer, so I don't know just how this is going to go. I am not totally pleased with this drawing. I think his head is supposed to be wider and more square, but it is what it is.

I used Preview which comes standard with this MacBook and am surprised to find that this version allows you to make adjustments including size. It is true you do learn something new everyday.

That is all I have for now. I will see you tomorrow.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

AEDM-Day 21, Play Date Cafe Challenge, and a Chicken

I got permission from the photographer to use a picture she had on her blog as a reference photo in order to draw a beautiful chicken. I am so sorry I don't remember her name, but her chicken, Henrietta is a beauty. I was unable to do justice to the pattern on her back, but I am not totally unhappy with my drawing.

I also ran into a cool blog (I believe I followed  a link from Peggy Gatto's blog) that has a challenge based on a color palette. Here is what I am going to enter in the week's challenge:

I made this in Photoshop using a birdie brush and grass brushes. I will send a link to Play Date Cafe Challenge so that I may be entered in the competition.

The hubster is participating in a pre-holiday craft show in Dansville today. His older sister has been staying with us for a few days and is being picked up by a younger brother today to go on to another household for a few days. There are eight children in his family, so she will make the rounds while she is in Michigan and then return to Wisconsin.

I've got to get a move on. I am planning to go up to Dansville and relieve the hubster so he can take a break, but I can't do that until around noon. Meanwhile, I think I will make a special breakfast once the SIL arises and gets ready for the next leg of her trip.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Apple: Think Different


This is such a thoughtful and nostalgic little video.

I hope you like it.


Photoshop Tutorial - Text on a Path, AEDM-Day 20

I've been asked by several readers to do a tutorial that shows how to put text on a path. I hadn't played with that aspect of Photoshop for a long time and it was such fun to work with it again. I had forgotten just how simple it is and how spectacular it looks when you are done.

File > New

I generally use an 8 in x 8 in size and then crop it as needed when I am finished.

Select the custom shape tool and in the drop down menu in the options select your shape. I chose the star. The most important step at this point is to make sure you choose the middle of the three options on the far left of the options bar. If you hover over it, it says "Paths". This is the one you want. It is circled in red in the screen shot below.

Draw out your shape. If you hold the shift key, you can constrain proportions and if you hold down the space bar you can move the path as you are drawing it. Of course, you can move this after we are all done as well.

Select the horizontal text tool.

As you bring the cursor toward your shape, you will see the cursor change from a bar with a short horizontal line on it to a bar with a curly shape on it. When you get this cursor, it is time to click and begin to type.

I had forgotten that screen shots don't include the cursor, so I've tried to draw how the cursor looks when you are ready to type on the path.

When I've finished typing, I like to make sure I am on the Move tool in the tool bar and then I open the Character palette and making sure I am on the text layer I highlight the name of the font and then I use the up and/or down arrow on the keyboard to try out different fonts until I get what I like. I can also change the size of the font in the Character palette.

Here is my finished product:

When I was satisfied with the font and size, I filled the background with a bright yellow and then used the Character palette to change the color of the text until I liked it.

You know me well enough by now to know that I am not going to just stop when I am done with the tutorial. There are any number of ways to get a path, so let me show you a couple more.

The top line was made using the freeform pen tool. You don't get the bezier curves that many of us are intimidated by, you just "draw" with the freeform pen tool to make any shape you like.

The square and circle shapes were made using the marquee tool. With this, you simply draw out your shape, then go to the paths palette and use the drop down menu to select "Make Work Path".


You can actually make a path out of anything you can make a selection out of. For example, I have bird brushes that are so cute, I just had to try it using a brush.

I selected my brush tool and chose one of the cute little birdy brushes. I made a new layer above the background. I need this little guy on his own layer so that I can make a selection out of him. I "stamped" just once on the background. Color doesn't matter because I am only going to use the outline to make a path.

However, I do notice one problem. It is going to be very difficult to wrap text around those little legs. So I am going in with the eraser tool and removing them.

Now comes the fun part:

Make a new blank layer above the birdy layer and with this new layer active, hold down the Command key (on a PC use the Ctl key) and click on the thumbnail of the little birdy in the layer below. See the screen shot below:

Click on the paths tab and use the drop down menu to "Make Work Path" like we did when using the marquee (about four screen shots above here). Then go back to your layer tab and throw away the layer right below, the one with the little birdy on it. You are left with just the path.

Now get the horizontal type tool and hover over the outline until you get the "curly" cursor and begin to type. You can then use the Character palette to fine tune it if you like. You can also use the Path Selection Tool to move your text around, but I find that more difficult, so I use the Character palette.

Here is my little birdy all done:

I added the beak using the "greater than" symbol and the legs using the character i.

I added the eye using a round brush.

I sure hope you have liked this tutorial. I know I had a great deal of fun writing it.

As usual, if you find any step in this process difficult or my instructions seem difficult to follow, please leave me a comment or send me an email and I will try to make it more clear.

Gotta go!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

AEDM-Day 19, Owl and Photoshop Tutorial

I am trying to draw at least one bird every day, but it is sometimes difficult to even find that little bit of time to sit quietly and concentrate on that small task. Here is an owl that I sketched some time in the last month or so that I haven't shared yet. I like him, but certainly could have done a better job on his eyes. But I will share him here, anyway:

I did find time to sit down and write a tutorial for stroking a path in Photoshop. I hope you find this to be as much fun as I do.

File < New

Edit < Fill Choose a color for your background. You can leave it white if you want.

Now let's get our brush ready. I am going to set the foreground color to the color I want my brush to be by clicking on the top color chip in the bottom of the tool bar and selecting a color when the color picker opens.

I then choose a brush. I want to make a dotted brush so I am choosing a small round brush and then I open the brush palette to make some adjustments.

I set my brush diameter at 7 and used 160% for the spacing. You can use whatever settings give you the look you want in the preview window.

Also click on shape dynamics and set all choices to 0% and Control to Off.

Next, you have to decide what you want to stroke. I chose some text. So I typed the text that I wanted...

This isn't the text I want to stroke, just part of the finished product.

This is the text I want to stroke so I made sure to type it on its own layer.

Now you want to make a new blank layer to put the stroke on so that you can manipulate it afterward if desired.

You can see my empty layer above the "dotted line" text layer in the layers palette.

Now, if you Control click (that's right click on a PC) on the blue part of the layer that you want to stroke you will get a menu that includes "make work path". That is what you will choose.

Make sure your new blank layer is selected (blue) and then go to the paths palette and click on the work path to make it active. Then go to the round circle at the bottom or the palette and click. If you hover over each of the choices at the bottom of the palette and have "tips" turned, text will appear to tell you what the button is for.

At this point you can see the dotted brush stroke (you may need to click on this picture to make it larger).

Now let's delete the path (we don't need it any more).

As a last step go back to the layers palette and put the text layer that you stroked into the trash. And here is what I have:

NOTE: when I first typed dotted line, the letters were the same size and spacing as the "Sign on the" layer above. To make the stroking stand out more, I changed the horizontal spacing in the Character palette.

I hope you liked this tutorial and if at any point in your attempt to follow along, you get confused, please email me or leave a comment and I will try to make it more clear.

Here are a couple more little things I played while in Photoshop:

This is more "text on a path" like the tutorial of a couple of days ago.

I need to choose less complex shapes to add text to. I tend to get overlap in the tight corners, but I so love birds.

And what would playing in Photoshop be without a new pattern???

As an aside, the patterns I have made make lovely wallpaper and because they are seamless repeating pattterns, choosing tile covers the whole desktop no matter the size of your screen seamlessly. Tada!!

Here is a current screen shot of my computer:

Time for a second mug of coffee and get in the shower to get this day started. One of the blogs I read is written by a very fine artist, Kal Barteski. If you don't know her, you owe it to yourself to go look at her art work, especially if you love birds. She ends most of her posts with Go! and I so love it, but I don't know that I particularly want to downright copy someone else. So, since that one is already taken, I think I will use Get Moving! What do you think??? (big smile grin)