Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bright Lights for the New Year

With Christmas day behind us I am enjoying this slow week
before New Year's Eve.  I was playing with my camera the other evening and was reminded of a fun trick that my Mother-in-law taught me using the auto-focus mode on my digital camera.
Start with something like Christmas lights and  just point and shoot, hold down the button and move the camera around while shooting.  The auto-focus keeps the lens open while trying to find the focus, and thus.Creating these dazzling images. These pics are of the lights on our tree.  
They turned out quite cheery and bright. I added a colorful greeting....
And created a fancy looking image.
Perfect for sending a New Year's greeting to your friends and family.
The only limitation is your imagination and of course computer space.  It doesn't take long before you end up with about 50 or so of these playful pictures.  What did we do before digital cameras? 
To all of you, here is a New Year's greeting of peace and prosperity and of course many colorful lights.
Leave a note and let me know what you think.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Drive-By Blogging

I know I am not the only person short on time these holidays.  So here is a quick glimpse into my paper adventures within the last few days.  Music paper ornaments with a Victorian flair.  
I used some old music paper and I didn't need to distress this paper.
But I did find working with this paper is delicate and had to handle it gently.
And more gift tags came out of my little workshop.   

I hope you all find some moments to put some handmade items on your list, whether you make them or share those made by others.  Handmade means more.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Partridge in a Pear Tree

I get together once a month with my Hooker friends (yes that is rug hooking) and in December we do our holiday party.  We do a gift swap with a different theme each year and this year the theme was 12 Days of Christmas.  The gift has to be hand-made, either by yourself or another artisan.  As much as I wanted to do some kind of fiber art pillow or table mat in a primitive style that our group loves so much, I just couldn't get myself to the place of creating something inspired.  
So, I let myself be pulled into a natural direction of something I do love....yes, that certainly would be stamp carving, and there I again  found my inspiration. I played with several ideas after I got my partridge and pear carved.  The fiber did call me as well, I used some of that fabulous wool thread to machine stitch onto some manila shipping tags. I tried different attachments to the tags, brown satin ribbon or strips of this green damask fabric  I stayed with the satin ribbon and included this set of four tags in my gift. Using several colored inks on one stamp gives a great detail to the stamped impression.     
 Then for some quick and easy pieces I used the partridge and pear stamp and one of my flourish stamps for the tree branch. A similar stamp is available for sale in my Etsy shop. After stamping the text background I simply used one ink color for each stamp and edged the tags with creamy brown chalk ink.  For these I couldn't resist adding glitter, I sprayed each tag with a light coat of matte sealer and sprinkled with some clear iridescent glitter, it was the perfect bling effect.  You may see it slightly in the photo below. This set I gave to our hostess.
The gift that I ended up making was a set of eight Christmas cards, that have a folk art style tree made from strips of brown tweed wool.  I stitched the tree down on a white panel got busy stamping. I used the wool thread for attaching the panel to the card. I love the fibery look of the wool thread.  The partridge even got some shimmer with an accent of blue foil on her wings, sorry you cannot see that here. After I was done making the card I didn't think it looked very much like Christmas.

My son was visiting me in my studio right after I finished the set and asked him what he thought and he suggested stamping a holly sprig in the upper right corner.  I wasn't sure it would work in the composition.  I had a sample card I was working on and he got me to try it and it worked beautifully. 
 Thank you Abraham, you were right the holly made it look like a Christmas card.  I used the excess card stock  scraps and  created some more tags.  We all need gift tags this time of year and I made these quickly. These tags make great, easy gifts as you go for holiday visits and get togethers and you need something uniquely yours to give.
 I hope you are all inspired to make something for giving this season.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I love Etsy this time of Year.

Oh, how I do love thy Etsy this time of year.  Well truthfully, I love Etsy all year long. But, this time of year I am really pulled between making items and listing every day, in order to play the addictive Etsy game of entrepreneurial  pursuits  OR shopping in the endless worldwide store of hand-crafted. This time of year, they change the front page several times a day, and I don't want to miss any of the gems that land there. As much as I want to shop I was able to list some Holiday & Christmas items.....

Tags are the best thing to make and give as gifts themselves, everyone needs cool gift hang tags, ok not everyone but the cool people do.  lol. 

So if you are looking for some truly inspired gifts to give this year, try Etsy. You certainly don't have to be a seller to enjoy this shopping experience.  Simply become a free member and use your Favorites section to stash your favorite shops and items. If you make that account open to the public your family and friends will always know where to shop for you. Sweet! 
  Shopping on Etsy is never dull, you can shop several different ways. The Treasury, a ton of  listed collections curated by members; the TimeMachine2, where you can see what was just sold or listed;  the Pounce page where you where you get random doses of the undiscovered sellers, and the Colors page where you choose by color, this is a great one for kids or the kid in all of us.  Okay,  that is enough for now. I won't even go into the Blog, or the Virtual Labs, or anything else in their huge online creative communtiy, because I don't want to scare anyone.  Etsy is big, but if you visit there often you can easily discover this thoroughly one of a kind phenom in cyber land.   

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