Wednesday, March 31, 2010

free art from the graphics fairy = personalized copyright watermark

I have been following The Graphics Fairy blog for a while ... it is written by a very talented woman named Karen and she shares {for free} graphic art that can be used in craft projects, on blogs, etc. She recently posted a picture of an antique camera http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/2010/03/thursday-is-request-day-bee-babies.html that I loved.


I knew that I could use Karen's graphic along with a few of my own graphic elements (the sitting wren and my logo) to make it my own little personalized copyright watermark for my photography.  I created the art in Photoshop CS3 and then turned it into a "brush" so that I could add it to my photos in whatever colour worked best for the shot.

I tested the watermark on a bunch of my recent photos from St. Lucia ... I'm pretty happy with the way that it turned out and now I will have to remember to add the watermark to all of the photos that I post ... I'm sure that will make my husband smile - he is a lawyer and specializes in patent, trademark and copyright law :)










Monday, March 29, 2010

easter in a jar ... it's a good thing


I was reading the April 2010 Martha Stewart Living magazine on the weekend and just knew that I had to make the easter candy-jar gift that was featured on page 51 for a friend that I was going to visit this morning.

I used an assortment of m&m easter candies and a small chocolate bunny inside a simple cookie jar. I tied a small blue ribbon on the bunny and a larger striped ribbon on the jar. I found a small "ticket" from my scrapbooking supplies that I was able to make into a tag to hang from the ribbon ... I added the words "have a hoppy day" to the ticket and tied it to the ribbon with a piece of string.




This was so easy to make ... but if you have to drive the finished project somewhere ... drive slowly so that the candies don't move around too much!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

camera fun with the kids - part 2

I just created the "letters" alphabet that my daughters and their friends helped me photograph when we were on vacation last week. I wrote earlier about Shona Coles' idea http://shonastudio.blogspot.com/2010/02/fun-photo-exercise-to-do-with-kids.html and here is my take on the activity ...


I pulled the letters together in a stamp format. The stamps were modified from a digital kit that I purchased on line at http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/ so that it would fit 28 images.

I'm now working creating 8x10 pictures for each of the 13 children that were with us on vacation and using the letters we photographed to spell out each of their names. Here's the first 3 that I have completed ...







I had to take a few extra pictures of different letters so that I'd have some options when putting the kid's names together and I am happy with the way that they have turned out so far. Three done ... ten more to go!!! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

personalized gift bags


Every once in a while, I like to decorate simple gift bags. It makes the gift seem that much more "special" when you know that you took the extra time to wrap it in something that you personalized for the occasion. 


    

I picked up this really cute burlap gift bag at the dollar store yesterday ... I loved the colours & the wooden handle and it was the perfect size for the present that we were giving to our wonderful neighbors. The bag just needed that extra little "heartfelt" touch. I attached a handmade "flower" to the bag with two small pieces of wire and then tied velvet ribbon over the wire to create "leaves" and hide the wire.


   

The flower is made from a metal light reflector and recycled stir sticks from Starbucks. I make a bunch of these every once in a while to keep on hand for gift bags and to add to potted flowers. I create small graphic designs on my computer for the centre of the flower ... this one says "thank you". You don't have to make the flowers out of metal light reflectors. You could easily cut flower shapes out of fabric, felt or coloured foam and simply glue or sew a decorative button in the centre.   




Monday, March 22, 2010

Michaels handmade holiday contest



I opened my emails this morning and was sooo excited to receive an email from the Martha Stewart Show confirming my tickets for two in April. http://www.marthastewart.com/tv  I was one of the two grand prize winners of the Michaels Handmade Holiday Contest. I won a trip for two to New York City to see the Martha Stewart Show as well as a $250 gift certificate to Michaels. I'm taking one of my crafty girlfriends, Karen, with me to the show and we are both looking forward to seeing Martha in person.  



Here's my entry for the contest! I designed these holiday countdown calendars out of wooden elements and scrapbooking papers that I bought at Michaels. http://www.michaels.com/art/online/home   I decorated the wooden frame, base and cubes with co-ordinating scrapbooking papers. The wooden cubes were stamped with numbers to use for the countdown. I stamped the numbers 0-1-2-3-4-5 on one cube and 0-1-2-6-7-8 on the other cube ... the 6 doubles as a 9 when it is turned upside down. I made a bunch of these and personalized each of them for family and friends last Christmas. I even had a crafting afternoon with my youngest daughter and some of her girlfriends before the holidays and this was the craft that each of the girls wanted to make.

I think that these countdown calendars could also be adapted to other uses - like birthday countdown calendars or even a yearly calendar that could be created to match your home decor.

I'm doing research later today on hotels in New York City. If you have ever attended the Martha Stewart Show and can recommend a nice hotel in New York that is close enough for us to walk to the studio please let me know!

Friday, March 12, 2010

camera games


My girls were very excited when they left for school this morning. Today is the last day of school before March Break and we are going away this year. The girls are more than ready to trade in their winter coats and boots for swimsuits and flip flops. We haven't been away to somewhere hot for two years ... these photos are some of my digital scrapbooking photos from that trip.

I found a great exercise to do with the kids on Shona Coles' blog last month and I'm planning on doing it with the kids when we are away. http://shonastudio.blogspot.com/2010/02/fun-photo-exercise-to-do-with-kids.html  Shona had the kids take pictures of things that looked like letters ... they basically did a photoshoot of the alphabet!! How cool is that? Afterwards, she cropped all of the photos into a collage. I was thinking that I would take it one step further and crop the letters so that they spell out each of the kids'
names for their bedrooms. We are going away with 7 other families so I will have about 14 children's names to play around with when we get home. I think that once I have all of the letters cropped for the alphabet collage it will be easy to make up the names with the same files.



I will be back in a week!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

stationery designs


I started some "spring cleaning" on my computer this morning ...
deleting files, organizing, etc ... but as often happens when I start
working on my computer, I get an idea and start creating more files.
Take for example this collection of pictures that I just put
together to highlight some of the stationery designs that I created
prior to getting sick and having brain surgery last spring.


... these were created after a trip to Paris with my daughter Haley ...


... as were these ...


... a little more colour and a little more vintage with these ...


... I love nature - especially birds - and our cottage is
always a wonderful source of inspiration ...


... love the look of printing on kraft paper - so organic ...




... maybe it's from so many years studying
typography - but i looove letters ...


... baby announcements and mommie/family cards
 are my favourite kinds of stationery to design because
they are so personal and they just make you smile ...


... I started making these little cd calendars a couple of years ago
- they look so cute sitting on your desk - the one I made for 2010 has
the saying "Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal." on this month's
page - love that saying but I don't know who wrote the quote ...


... sometimes I wish that it was Christmas all year long
- not the presents - just the spirit ...



... and a little more holiday! ...
We are going on holidays next week with the kids for March
Break and I think that I may need to pack a sketch book and my
watercolour pencils because I'm suddenly in the mood to do
some more designing!

Monday, March 8, 2010

flower pens

The weather was so beautiful this past weekend ... the snow has melted away except for the one spot where my daughter's snowman stood guard ... the winter coats were left behind as the kids play on the street and rode their bikes for the first time this year ... and I'm starting to dream about spring flowers.


I noticed that Michaels had spring (silk) flowers on the front page of this week's flyer and I'm going to make a bouquet of flower pens for my studio office desk. I created a bunch of these flower pens a couple of years ago for my youngest daughter's school. They sat in the school office in small clay pots and everyone commented on them. I was so pleased to find out that a number of the school staff were inspired to make more of them to decorate their desks as well!



Here's what you need to get started:
inexpensive ball point pens (the ones that you can remove the end cap), small silk flowers (with or without leaves), green floral tape

Let's make it:
1. Remove the end caps from the pens.
2. Use a pair of wire cutters to cut the stem of the silk flowers about 1/4" from the base of the flower (or long enough to fit into the empty space at the end of the pen). You may want to cut a couple of leaves off to add to the pen - optional.
3. Place a bit of glue in the open end of each pen and add one flower. Allow the glue to completely dry before continuing.


4. Starting close to the flower at the top of the pen, wrap the floral tape around the pen. Continue to wind the tape all the way down to completely cover the pen and create a "stem". You can add a leaf or two as you wrap the floral tape ... keeping in mind the placement and where you will hold the pen when it is in use. 

I like to display a bunch of pens in glass jars or clay pots. 

Welcome spring!! 

Friday, March 5, 2010

believe



believe 
... a word that inspires me.


believe ... a word that was in my thoughts on June 15th, 2009 when I was having brain surgery

believe ... a word that gave me the determination to get past my illness and fight to regain my life

believe ... a word that has given me the confidence to set up this creative blog

believe in yourself always!