Sunday, December 30, 2012

Beyond Layers Day 67 : Texture Tweaking

For today's lesson, Kim offered a simple recipe for de-saturating an image.   I think I finally get this concept now.  I even wrote up the steps on a card so I can do it again in future, if I so desire.  ;-)  The only thing I added above was a Vingette in Picassa.  It just needed a little something more--that being a frame.

Here's the image after I finished tweaking it in PSE.  This includes the addition of Kim's texture Random Inspiration.  It's a texture that includes words on it.  You can just barely see the word believe on the water jug.

Here's the original image straight out of my camera : A still life of a simple supper in Samoens, France, last April when we were visiting Pierre and Genevieve in the mountains.   It is lit with natural light through the windows.   Makes me wish I had some crusty baguette and saucisson right now!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creative Jumpstarts 2013

I watched all the videos last year and took copious notes.  I even tried a few of the techniques.  Even though I didn't share much of my experimenting here on SLN, I did look forward to each new video and the ideas to kick-start creativity.

It's a worthwhile project, and I encourage anyone interested to sign up.

Some Techniques presented apply to creativity in all its forms.    Many are geared more toward paper and art-journaling techniques.   Something I'd like to "break" into!

Handmade Holiday Gift Exchange 2012

This year, I participated in a Handmade Gift Exchange coordinated by Julia Wilkins at Henhouse Pottery.

I'm at the point in my life where I don't really need any thing.  The house is full; I'm comfortable; My needs are taken care of.  I was looking for the sweet experience of opening the mailbox this month with all the anticipation and expectation of a package filled with  something handmade.

So I sent off my gifts (Sweet Leaf Notebook Journals, silk scarves, and a glove doll), hoping to spread a little holiday cheer for the recipients, and wondering what would come back to me ...

Here's what came :

Pottery spoon rest with an antique spoon from Julia Wilkins.  So practical and earthy and pretty!

Crocheted Bell Ornament from Lilley Tibbitts in Utah.
Reminds me of the crocheted snowflakes and ornaments my Gramma used to make.  Nice memory!


Knitted scarf and cap by Cyndi Fowler in UT.
Beautiful!  I never did learn to knit--never got past the stage of impossibly tight stitches. 

The funny thing is : As soon as I opened the scarf and hat, my husband claimed the scarf!  He's a difficult person to get gifts for, as he doesn't need or want anything either.  I think he loved this handmade gift exchange even more than I did!

The spoon rest has been in my studio for a few days awaiting pictures for this blog post.  He is anxious to put it into service ; "I have spoons that need a place to rest!"  He's the cook at our house, and he will use it!

Thank you Everyone who participated and sent mail to a stranger. 
Until next year ...

Beyond Layers Day 66 : Comfort & Joy

One of my favorite parts of this holiday season is the cutout cookies.  This is the ultimate in comfort food and a welcome treat after 2 hours of cross-country skiing!

The lesson today in Beyond Layers was about Brushes in PhotoShop Elements.  I used the dotted-circle brush Kim provided, then added the words.  This picture also utilizes 3 of Kim's luscious textures :  Be Still, Evolve, and Warm Vingette (soft light blend mode at 50%, 70%, and 38% respective opacities).

Enjoy the Season!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tea with Genevieve : Another Quilt Finished


 I'm not quite sure where the name came from.  The Genevieve I know prefers coffee!  ;-)  All the years I've been working on this quilt, I've just referred to it as Tea Leaves. 

I am pleased to say that my new free-motion setup works very nicely!  Thanks to my Sweetie for making the custom-built table for me earlier this year.   No struggling with the quilt getting stuck on the edges of the table either.    ;-)

Here it is with no quilt to cover the table.  It gives me a big flat surface to push the quilt sandwich around on.  Also on the left, you can see additional surfaces to support the weight of the quilt-in-process.  It's a big improvement over it dragging on the floor. 

Here are some close-ups of the quilting :

View from the back.

I love to use Hobbs  Heirloom 80/20 cotton poly batting, because it puckers up and makes my quilts look antique after washing them that first time.  It's the moment of truth when I pull it out of the dryer -- all warm and  puckered.  Delayed gratification finally fulfilled!

This quilt has been in the works for about 8 years.  It's one of the first ones I started after I learned to quilt.  It was around that time that my sister got married and moved to Japan.  The fabrics are mostly Asian-style 10-in squares.   I could easily cut 2 tea leaves from each "dime."    Every time I would finish one stage in the making of the quilt, I was so tired of looking at it, doing that task, I had to put it away for another year.  Now I think one of those die cut machines would make cutting out all those leaves (and corresponding interfacing leaves) a lot easier.   I thought I had a post about how I appliqued the tea leaves, but it doesn't look like I ever wrote and posted that entry.  Another symptom of being so tired of each stage that I couldn't even write about it through the years.  It was the interfacing applique method.  Maybe I'll write that up over the weekend ... 

The pattern is Tea Leaves from More Quilts from The Quilt Maker's Gift by Joanne Larsen Line.

The Quiltmaker's Gift  by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marcken
They also have a website where you can see many of the quilts as illustrated in the storybook. 

Quilts from The Quiltmaker's Gift and More Quilts from The Quiltmaker's Gift by Joanne Larsen Line.   I thought there used to be a website where the author posted corrections to the patterns etc., but I can't seem to locate it now ...

These quilt books are still some of my favorites for classic quilt patterns.  Beautiful quilts tied in with a beautiful story of creativity and generosity.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice

After the storm this week, we had a wonderful bright and crisp, clear winter day where the sky was the perfect Winter blue.  This is the pine tree out the our kitchen window.  I managed to catch the sun peeking through the branches laden with snow.

When I was a kid, I used to love checking out a certain LP record (vinyl for you young whipper-snappers) from the local public library.  It was called something like "All the Music of Russia."  The album is long gone.  I haven't been able to find it since.  The cover art was a pine tree laden with snow, sun shining with a bright blue sky ...  I know I've seen days like that living in Northern climes, but I don't think I've ever taken a picture of it myself--until now!

Happy Winter Solstice, Everyone.  Thanks for stopping by my corner of the web. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beyond Layers Day 64 : Warmth and Light

In today's lesson, Kim gave us some options for masking out the texture from a section of the image.  In this case, I erased some of the texture from the old milk bottle vase.  I followed Kim's recipe pretty faithfully, but added an additional layer of texture.

I used two of Kim Klassen's lovely textures : Jay and Kristin.

Here's my original photo straight out of the camera,  taken in natural, but diffused light earlier this fall.  I had actually purchased the bouquet of dried milkweeds at Farmer's Market one day.  After that was I seeing dried milkweed pods everywhere ...  I wouldn't mind at all if they grew in my yard.  This is what monarch butterfly caterpillars live on.


Beyond Layers Day 63 : Truth and Shapes

The lesson today was to look around and concentrate on finding squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, and converging lines.  Most of the pictures I took for this lesson are pragmatic, and not beautiful, so I won't bore you with pictures of paint cracking into squares and rectangles.    I'm a huge fan of Texture, so this lesson was kind of a natural extentsion of how I see the world anyway.

Since I did so well with selling journals this year at the Craft Sale a few weeks ago, I decided to take some of the proceeds to restock some of my supplies--so I can make more journals!  I found this lovely set of vintage buttons on Etsy.  I had some black felt and painted cheesecloth out on my work surface at the time I was looking over my new bling!  I really liked the juxtoposition of the geometric buttons with the organic ocean wave-like quality of the cheesecloth.   So I took a picture.    ;-)    This is the image pretty much as it was taken.  No additional processing needed.   Enjoy!

These buttons will keep me in journal closures for quite some time!


Saturday, December 08, 2012

Beyond Layers Day 60 : Scripted Images

My theme for 2012 has been Story.   The open milkweed pod is perfect for text.  Even the old milkweed pod has a story to tell at the end of it's season. 

 This version follows Kim's recipe a little more closely.   
Maya Angelou's quote seemed fitting, though it was a little tricky to get it to fit in the alotted space.   Even if you're not ready to tell someone else your story, it helps to get it out on the pages of a journal at the very least.  

Here's the original image straight out of my camera.  It's my photography journal--ironically, it contains not a single photograph.  Just notes and sketches for photos I want to capture/create.  I've been struggling with this particular image for weeks now, adding textures, playing with Actions but nothing really quite worked -- until now.  The scripted textures Kim gave us for this lesson were just the thing!  What better way to honor the pages of a journal than with a scripted texture!


Thursday, December 06, 2012

Beyond Layers Day 59 : Strengths & Weaknesses

This is a lighthouse on Lake Winnebago a few miles from our house.  

Kim asked us to think about our strengths and weaknesses.    The first thing I thought of with this assignment was all those do-it-yourself projects around the house that I SHOULD be doing, but never get around to because I choose to quilt or make pretty pictures instead.   Yes--I could rip out the bathroom tiles and re-do them, but I know that will take longer than a weekend, and no less than 6 trips to the hardware store.  I'll finally master the task when I place the last tile.  Nevermind the first tiles (and most of the ones thereafter) will look like crap.

Sometimes, it's better to call a professional. 

Sometimes, it's good to push yourself to learn something new. 
Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly at first.
It's a conscious choice NOT to do DIY home repair projects.  Though This Old House makes it look so easy!

I was also thinking about Cora and Regina (from ABC's Once Upon a Time) who are of the old-school opinion that "Love is Weakness."  Fortunately, Rumplestiltskin, Emma, and many of the other characters are learning (or already know) that Love is a great Strength.   "Love is the most powerful Magic," says Rumple at one point.  He's not quite there yet in his own life, but he's learning ...  Belle has patience enough to get him there.

Then there's the whole lighthouse symbolism.  Lighthouses are placed where the waters are treacherous.  It's a warning for sailors to beware.  Just knowing you need to be cautious at the right time can be a tremendous help.  The light is also a beacon of hope.  So this photo has a lot of layers on the meaning level, too.

Photo Processing :
Layer 1 : Background Layer
Layer 2 : Copy Background Layer
Layer 3 : Kim Klassen's Paper-Stained Music Texture - Multiply blend mode ; 56% opacity
Layer 4 : Kim Klassen's Break Free Texture - Multiply Blend Mode ; 48% opacity
Layer 5 : Kim Klassen's Cherish Texture - Multiply ; 100% opacity
Layer 6 : Text - Apple Chancery Font - Joseph Campbell quote

Here it is without Layer 5 (No Cherish Texture).

Here's the original photo for comparison.


Monday, December 03, 2012

Composed Fabric : New Works from Old Scraps

 I had my best day ever at the UU  Craft Sale in Appleton on Saturday.  Thank you to everyone who turned out to buy my wares!  The economy must be picking up.  Hurray!

When I got back home to my studio, I was anxious to re-stock, so I worked on some composed fabric sheets to use for journal covers (or fabric post cards or ATCs or anything else I want to do with 'em).

Here are the basic instructions for making Sweet Leaf Composed Fabric.  I tried a few things different with this batch :
1) I used sheer black silk instead of tulle to capture all the bits.  The tulle has a strange inorganic / synthetic feel to it.  I was looking for something smoother and silkier.
2) I used E Felt as the base layer for 2 of these.  This is kind of a starched felt that is easy to work with as the base layer.  99 cents a sheet at Hobby Lobby.  It works well--I just wish it was cut large enough to get 2 covers out of it.
3) Regular felt also works well.  And the beauty is that I can cut it to whatever size I like.

Scraps from the Red Spice / Marsh Sunset Quilt, which has yet to be quilted.  Ah--someday maybe in 2013?