Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alice AJ Page and Update

In response to this challenge at The Scrappy Tree, I made this Alice in Wonderland art journal page.  In terms of variety and creativity, there's been a terrific response to my Alice challenge.  So far,in blog land, there have been entries from:
Jacky who made these invitations to tea;
Mel who created this awesome mini book;
Cherry who made this amazing art journal page;
and Cindy who made a wonderful pin.

Folks who sent me pictures or posted in forums include:
Ruth Ann who created a terrific frame (above); and

Holly who made this magical digital ATC (above).

With one hour left to go, updated to add these blog posts:
Karen posted this rockin' card;
Gayle posted a terrific art journal page;
Connie jumped on to the House bandwagon and made this beauty;
and Deb posted this beautiful card with paper flowers.

And Mariana stepped outside her box to make this outside-the-lines ATC card:

There's still time to come and play.  Details in this post.  Entries close at 9:00 p.m. Sunday night.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Color or Black & White?

The most recent Develop on Friday assignment is to take a photograph and then simplify it, either through composition or color (or both). I've gotten pretty good at decreasing clutter to take a simple shot, but I had not thought much about color.  So, this post focuses on choosing between color or black and white. Here's an example:
I started with this photo:
And changed it to black and white to improve it because the orange light was unbearably distracting. Also,  No. 32 blended too much into the background wall and didn't stand out:
Interestingly, I think the following photo works better with the orange light than in black and white; the players aren't lost quite as much as in the prior photo and the color seems to add to the excitement:

I have a tougher time deciding on portraits in color or black and white.  My kids have such gorgeous skin tone that I tend to like them in color:
But here is one that I think works better in black and white because it does cut out some of the different colors in the deck and the grate.  I've found that light is much more critical for black and white as well:

Do you print black and white often?  Is it to simplify or just to cover mistakes?  I really like this lesson because I never really thought before about why some pictures work better in black and white.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Alice Art Challenge

Did you hear about the Alice art challenge I'm running?  It has a terrific prize - everything you need to make a couple of altered row houses.  Entries are due by Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. California time. Rules are posted here. Artwork today is a sample of Alice in Wonderland ATCs' I received in a swap I hosted.
Wishing you a creative weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Joy of a Shimelle Class

I have taken lots of on-line classes with Shimelle, including Journal Your Christmas, I Confess, Learn Something New Everyday, and Blogging for Scrapbookers.  I finished and loved those.  I generally find her classes to be easy to follow and complete.  The only class I've taken with her and not finished is called, "When I Grow Up."  I started it and planned out some art journal pages to complete it.  I even completed a couple pages - including the one in today's post.  I'm not sure when I'll get back to that project, so I hope she reruns it someday as a way to prompt me to complete it.  One Shimelle class I regret missing is "Here, There and Everywhere." I have so many travel photos and travel is such a big part of my life (as is my home) that I think I would have gotten a lot out of it.  I had trouble with the Two Peas registration, so gave up before it even started.  Maybe she'll rerun that one someplace easier for me to access.  In the meantime, Shimelle just posted a new class:  Something from (almost) Nothing.  It starts in March and is only $15.  I'm very tempted to sign up for it.  What about you?  Are you going to take Shimelle's new class?  Have you taken When I Grow Up or Here, There & Everywhere?  I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Alice Art and Images

Alice ATC's
I'm running a give-away for those who create some Alice in Wonderland art (theme loosely defined; any art format acceptable). You can find the details and how to enter at this post.  What if you want to enter, but don't have any Alice images?  Here's a few ATC's to help spur your imagination. Some are color copies or prints off the internet.  Some are not specifically Alice-related, but still work. Grab an Easter bunny stamp, a clock image, shout "I'm late!" and you're good to go! Pair a crown with a heart or grab a Queen of Hearts playing card, then yell, "off with her head!"  The possibilities are endless.
For those of you looking for real Alice images to use in art, here are some interesting links:
lovely vintage images 
long necked Alice (this whole site is fabulous!)
Disney images
Tiny pictures (may only be useful for digital stuff?)
Hope you come and play!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Joy of Art Journaling

Get Well Soon (art journal page)

Finally had time to play in my art journal again.  This one is a bit Frida Kahlo inspired (due to the color scheme of the top band and the topic - illness & recovery).  It's about being grateful for finally being well and about how panicked I am with everything I need to do.  I really like the finished product.  More importantly, I loved making it!  As I mentioned, I recently re-started art journaling through a class taught by Dina Wakley at Get it Scrapped.  You can read about my journey into art journaling here and here.  By the way, for those who asked, I used Strathmore spiral-bound Watercolor cold press 400 Series (140 lb.) pads for my current journals.  One is 11"x15" and the other is 9"x12."  I buy them at Michael's Craft store, either on sale or with a coupon. Since they're almost full, I just ordered some of these from Dick Blick.
Anyway, Dina just announced that she's offering her introductory class - Art Journaling 101- beginning on March 22nd.  Since I jumped into her courses mid-way and because I don't have any classes planned for March, I'm thinking of signing up for it.  It comes with a $10 off coupon for a digi-art journal class to be offered in April.  You can check out the announcement here.  Anyone else tempted?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Little Pink Houses . . .

Here's my last two rowhouses.  I'm not really a pink girl, but I can work with it if brown or black are thrown in (LOL!).  Anyway, the baggie for this house had everything on this house (except the little girl image).  It also had 4 other choices of patterned paper, another decorative brad, and more flowers and brads. Since there was a lot in the baggie, I figured the sender wanted an ornate house and went with it.  I had lots left-over, which was good because my last baggie only had five things in (3 small metal embellies, a flower girl image and a sentiment).  I used those things, an image from my stash and paper from the first house to make this house:
Since the sender didn't send too much, I decided to go with a more minimalist house.  I hope she likes it!

If you like the row houses and want the ingredients to make a couple of your own, enter my Alice Challenge, posted here.  You have almost a week to enter!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

An Alice Challenge with a Rowhouse Prize

Alice's House of Numbers (altered Rowhouse)
This may be my favorite row house yet! Today, I finished the last three houses for the rowhouse swap in which I'm involved and blogged about here.  The baggie for this house had the harlequin paper, black paper, orange paper, number stamped image (on the roof), count quote, postage stamp and bubble thing.  I decided to go with a "Number" theme and added the white wood numbers, bingo card, numbers inside bubble thing, the ribbon and the mad hatter image from my stash.  It reminded me house much I love Alice in Wonderland images.  Since it's been a while since I've done a give-away and since I've had such good responses to the rowhouses, here is the challenge:
1.  Create anything with an Alice in Wonderland theme (very loosely defined).
2.  Post your creation in your blog with a link back to this post (or send me a pix of your creation if you don't have a blog).  You can also post in a forum if that's better for you.
3.  Post a comment here letting me know where to find your creation.
4.  I'll pick a random winner next Sunday, Feb. 27 at 9:00 p.m. California time.  The winner will receive all the fixings they need to make a couple of row houses!
How fun will this be???

Friday, February 19, 2010

Scrapbook Saturday

I'm knee deep in sports pictures right now.  I'm still creating them with the lessons in Debbie Hodge's Building Pages class.  The left page of this layout uses her "shelf" idea. And this next page is based on the concept of dividing a page:
I used a sketch of hers for this layout.  I'm not sure I'm sold on her idea of overlapping photos (a technique she employs a lot) for this layout, but I'm glad I gave it a try.  The last layout uses the technique of stacking photos to create a column:
I like how it gave me a space for a nice and visually interesting journaling block. All-in-all, I scrapped 11 pages today!  It was fun, but my altered art muse is calling.  Hope to do some houses and art journal pages this weekend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rethinking a Confession

The Art Journal page above is based on this photograph.
Click on the following link to see my "I Confess" slide show:

Shimelle offered a free class once called "I Confess," and I really enjoyed making the minialbum in the slide show above. One of my confessions is that "I Want to be a Sports Photographer." You can click on the page when it comes by to pause the slide show and read the journaling. I've been rethinking that confession as I've been thinking more about photography and working to improve my photography skills.  I have always thought of myself as an art photographer, and I blogged here about how I use my photography in my art (a new example is above), and I posted one of my favorite art photographs here. And now I do think of myself as a sports photographer.  I love taking action shots and sports portraits for the reasons I journaled about in my confession, and I do it often.  But recently, things have changed. I've been rethinking family photography. I think I want to change my confession.  My new confession is that I want to become a family portrait photographer.  You see, although I take thousands of pictures of my family and friends to scrapbook, I have never really thought about applying my photography skills to making really beautiful family photographs.  My snow pictures, here and here, have proven to me that I can.  I'll still do art photography, and I'll still do sports photography, but I really want to add family photography to my resume as well.

What do you think? What sort of a photographer do you see yourself as?  Has this changed over time?  Any other confessions you want to share?

Using Angle in Photography

The Develop on Friday photo class had a great lesson recently on using angle as your storyteller.  The assignment was to take pictures with five different angles.  I worked on it when shooting some snowplay pictures last weekend.  The picture up top is my favorite.  I shot from below and zoomed in on the action.  It really gives you the perspective of DD as she built her snowman.  Compare that with this picture of DS, which was also shot from below, but from further away.  It gives the perspective of him as an individual in big world:
During a snowball fight, I took two pictures are eye-level or even with my subjects.  In the first one, I'm telling the story as an observer (loved capturing that smile on DS's face) and in the second one, I'm telling the story as a participant:
Finally, here's a photo I took from above, which gives a feeling of vulnerability.  It's DD with her snowman.  I posted another snow picture of DD taken from above earlier this week, and you can see it at the end of the post here.
I really enjoyed this lesson, and I feel like I learned a lot that I can bring to my sports photography, my travel photography and even my basic family photography.  How can you see yourself using angle as a storyteller in your photography?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Lion House

I'm really enjoying making row houses for a swap in which I'm involved. I wrote about the swap in this post. Each person sent a bag full of materials, and I was responsible for creating a house.  This baggie included the green paper, brown paper, striped paper, rust paper, swirl, "L" plaque, flowers, brads and ribbon.  The only things I added from my own stash were the lion image and the green/black patterned paper.  The baggie also had 3 other patterned papers, some colored washers, more flowers, more brads and blue paper!  It was a bit of a challenge to edit and then decide what to add, but I really enjoyed it.  I hope the recipient likes it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Scrapbook Tuesday - Lighter Side of Life

I'm continuing to enjoy the Debbie Hodge class.  One of the lessons last week was on asymmetrical balance, and I used one of her sketches to create this layout.  It also met the call for a layout focusing on "the lighter side of life" at the Scrap Weekly Challenge blog. It really shows everyone enjoying themselves at the Gingerbread House party last Christmas.  The prompt layout at Scrap Weekly is hilarious, and you can see it by clicking this link.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's Mardi Gras Time!

Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, but Mardi Gras has been going on for weeks in New Orleans, La.  I love New Orleans, and it's a place I would love to go and take my camera. I had a magical night there once with some good friends. We started with a crawdad boiled dinner and ended up spilling out of a little local bar, following a cajun band and dancing in the streets.  They survived Hurrican Katrina, rebuilt their house and still live in New Orleans, working to help rebuild that great city.

Over at Paper Artists Online, one of my friends is sponsoring a Mardi Gras challenge to create something with green, purple and gold, and I decided to make a Mardi Gras house for my row house swap.  I hope the recipient likes it!

Do you have any New Orleans, Mardi Gras or Carnival stories to share?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Photo Posts - Snow Play

Two weeks ago, Develop on Friday had a lesson about finding artists who inspire you, and I posted a photo based on Frida Kahlo's work. In the world of photography, I love Tara Whitney's photography.  It's unposed and filled with love. So, today at the snow park, I tried my hand at taking some Tara-like photos. My favorite is the one above, but I wanted to share a few others.

Here's DD Clara pulling her tube.

And with my good-looking husband, Paul.

 Another one with her tube.

Paul on the rope tow.

And the last run of the day.

Do you think I managed Tara-like shots?  The Develop on Friday assignment for this week is to work angles. I was able to take one shot of Clara with an intended interesting angle.  Here it is:
As always, feedback welcome.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Submitting artwork for publication ("What do you plan for it?" Series)

Cleaning up today, I came across this altered cabinet card.  I recently received it back from Somerset Studio, and it got buried on my desk.  I was so thrilled when it returned, but not for the obvious reason . . . more on that later.  The collage, "Little Boy Blue," got me thinking about submitting artwork for publication.  I used to do it a lot but not so much anymore.  Here's a list of some of my publications:

Mixed Media: Somerset Studio – “Envy”, altered domino, Jan./Feb. 2008; “Remembering Mom”, collage, Sep./Oct. 2006; Somerset Studio Gallery – “Time Flies”, collage, Summer 2007; “Patron”, collage, Winter 2007; Stacy Julien Altogether Too Happy blog, Feb.29, 2008 – “Can’t Stop Me”, Paint & Ink Panel
Rubber Stamped Cards: Rubber Stamper Magazine – Jan./Feb. 2007, Dec. 2003, March 2003; Club Scrap Gallery – various, online at
Scrapbook Layouts: Memory Makers Special Issue, Fast & Easy Scrapbooking; Club Scrap Gallery – various, online at

There were several reasons I used to submit my art work:
1.  It spurred me to create.  The calls placed in the magazines gave me new ideas and gave me a deadline by which I needed to create something to submit.
2. I like seeing my name and artwork in print.  I'm vain - what can I say?
3. I think publications look good on my artist resume, which I created when I was thinking about how to become more serious artist.

If you do want to submit work, I find that it really helps to find a publication whose style matches your own.  In both their magazine and on their website, most publications publish calls for specific artwork and describe the type of unsolicited, general artwork they are willing to consider.  Meet the published deadline, and follow their submission guidelines to the letter. I was very successful submitting to Somerset (they accepted about 70% of the artwork I sent them for publication) because my style matched theirs and I followed their guidelines.

In any event, I haven't submitted in a long time.  I think because I now feel the need to create art and make time to do it, even without a deadline. When I feel the need for inspiration, I can always answer a challenge on one of the wonderful blogs out there.  Also, I get to see my name in print and get fabulous feedback on my art here on my very own blog.  I hadn't looked at or thought about my artists resume in a long time - becoming a serious artists in that way just isn't in my plans right now, and that's okay.  The one thing I do miss is picking up magazines and looking at all the new artwork that's out there.  

What about you?  Do you submit your art for publication?  Why or why not?  Any hints for others who want to have their artwork published?

Oh, the reason I was so happy to get "Little Boy Blue" back was because Somerset held onto it for two years! Usually Somerset will send something back right away if they don't want it and will hold it for a while if they plan to use it.  But they never held anything for longer than a year before.  I had assumed it had been lost, and I would never get it back.  It's one of my favorite pieces because it reminds me of my little brother, Tom because my mother used to call him little boy blue and because of the quote on the collage (my sisters-in-law who read my blog will understand that).  I'm glad he's back - safe and sound on my messy desk.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Choosing an On-Line Class

Zoo Lions (layout made in Building Pages class)
Since my local scrapbook store closed, I've become more interested in taking on-line classes. In choosing an on-line class, here are some of the things I consider:
1.  What kind of a student am I? I am a jump right in with both feet and complete all the lessons kind of student.  It bothers me to sign up for a class and then not "do it."  I am also a student with a very varied, "to-do" list a mile long.  I only take classes that will help me accomplish something on my list (which includes everything from catching up in my scrapbooking to improving my photography to working on mixed media art).
2. What is the media?  I don't sew, and I don't do digital scrapbooking/art journaling, etc.  So, I don't sign up for classes that work extensively in those media.  That actually eliminates a lot of potential classes.
3. What is the duration of the class and how frequent are lessons posted? My attention span for a class runs about three weeks - four weeks max.  If it's longer than that, I don't think I'll stick with it.  I also like classes which post lessons two to three times a week.  More frequently than that, and it's hard for me to keep up.  Less frequently, and I get antsy.  Both of these are related to my answer to question #1.  I can handle shorter classes with daily posts, but they need to be shorter (Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas is a good example).
4. Cost.  This is tricky, and I'm still not sure what my price-point is.  I have never paid more than $50 for an on-line class, and I'm not sure I would.  Not sure why, but that seems to be a tipping point for me.
5. Community.  I really like to have a forum where I can post my creations and have people ooh and aah over them.  Conversely, I also like to be able to look at other people's creations and learn from them.  This usually means it helps to take the class "live," when it is offered, rather than an archived class from a site.  I find that forums like the one that Shimelle uses works well. I hate Flickr and have run into some other forums that are hard for me to use.
6. Instructor Feedback. It's so helpful to have an instructor who is on-line, participates and answers questions.  Again, not all archived classes offer this, but I have to give props to Dina who monitors all her archived art journaling classes.  Taking an archived class with her is almost like getting a private lesson!
7. Materials. I have noticed a move recently to PDF lessons and videos.  I find these both very helpful.  I prefer classes with long, meaty lessons and lots of explanations and examples.

What are your thoughts? What do you look for in on-line classes?  Have you taken any that you would really recommend?

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Valentine Card (or two)

I've mentioned before that I'm not that big into Valentine's Day, but I do like making Valentine's cards. Go figure!  Here's one I made with a Stampotique image (Daniel Torrente collection).  It features a collaged heart and a Stampin' Up sentiment.  It's based on a challenge sketch from Sunflowers and Dragonflies and colored with radiant pearls and twinkling H20's.  I made a second, similar card that's a bit more edgy for the challenge at Scrap Weekly in 2010.  You can see that card by visiting this link.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Scrapbook Sunday - Building Zoo Pages

This is the type of page I have always admired, but never really knew how to go about constructing.  In the "Building Pages" class by Debbie Hodge, there was a lesson about creating with white space, and I finally figured out how to make this work.  The class is based on lessons, each one using different design principles, and I'm really learning a lot.  Here's two pages about from the lesson about working with rectangles:

And one from a lesson on using columns and blocks:

Not bad for the first week of class!  All paper from Club Scrap.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Heartfelt Thanks and February Agenda

Thank you for all your well-wishes! I'm starting to feel a bit better, thanks to a second-round of broader spectrum antibiotics.  DH took some time off work to ensure I stayed in bed and rested once the Doctor started talking about putting me in the hospital.  I've been peeking around at your blogs but not really feeling up to commenting much.  I have been really enjoying the Debbie Hodge Building Pages class and have managed to work on those lessons. So, I'll have some layouts to show off tomorrow. Develop on Friday has an interesting lesson on working with nontraditional light sources that I find really intriguing - makes me want to take a photo of the soccer team, lit by car headlamps. I'm still finding that I love the challenges at Sunflowers and Dragonflies, including their new card sketch.  The folks at Something Completely Different are featuring ATC's this month. And I received my swap envelope to make some more row houses.  Haven't had a chance to do anything with any of those yet, but they're all on the February agenda.  In the meantime, here's a very February picture from our house.  DH bought me this bowl in November, filled with some autumnal gourds.  I've been trying to change it every month to reflect the current season.  I've never been very good at varying our home decor, but I am finding the project/challenge fun.  I filled it with red glass hearts.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'm under the weather . . .

In fact, I have pneumonia.  I'll be taking a few days off to sleep and get better.  Talk among yourselves while I'm gone.  Healing thoughts, wishes & prayers much appreciated.
P.S. I took this picture from our apartment window in Venice a few summers ago.  It's what gondolas do in the rain.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Scrapbook Tuesday

On Sunday, I got together with some friends and scrapped for a few hours.  I was able to do fourteen pages!  I scrapped all the family photos we received in Christmas cards this year.  How did I get so many done?  I used the "paper trio" prompt at the Scrap Weekly in 2010 Challenge blog.  You can check out a couple of my pages and my strategy by following this link.  
Here's the first page of the album for this year.  It has our Christmas card photo and a very cool embellishment created by my good friend Jacky. I love how it turned out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

January Class Review

First, a huge thank-you to everyone for all the wonderful comments you left yesterday.  They really made me feel terrific!!! I appreciate each and every comment and will treasure them.  Now, on to the review . . .
Glass Bead Gel (with Connie Anderson) - Connie is the Queen of Texture Mediums, and she has been leading a series of classes exploring the use of texture mediums in collage.  Glass bead gel is a beautiful medium that glistens, and Connie put a lot of thought into the various ways it can be used.  Everyone got two canvases on which to work, and we were encouraged to explore at least two different treatments with the glass beads.  Here's my first:
I have always loved glass, and I stenciled with the glass beads to suggest some of the  depression glass I have.  I call this piece "Childhood Portal." It's not finished yet.  I plan to put it in a black frame and add some adornment  to emphasize the "childhood" theme.  I'd love it if I could find a frame in the shape of a house.  I thought about making a "Narnia" reference, but I think it's implied.  The other piece I made used glass beads as a transfer medium.  Transfers are tough for me, but this worked pretty well.  That piece is very unfinished, but I may share it later.
All-in-all, another terrific class by Connie.

Masterful Art Journaling with Dina Wakley at Get it Scrapped - This was, simply put, an amazing class!  It was structured as a four week class, with each class focusing on a different "master" (Van Gogh, Picasso, Mary Cassatt and Frida Kahlo).  Each week supposedly had two lessons:  one full of art challenges and one full of journaling challenges.  I say "supposedly" because each individual "lesson" had between 4-6 different sub-lessons, any of which could keep you occupied for a week. Each lesson also included fascinating biographical information about the artist and 1-2 videos demonstrating techniques. It was truly a class jam-packed with new techniques, inspiration and information.  For instance, in the Mary Cassatt week, we were encouraged to explore pastels because Cassatt worked in pastels, create a page about the mother-child relationships because that was a recurring theme in her work, and use the not-quite-white background technique that was common in Cassatt's work.  The art journal page above incorporates all these ideas.  It is so different from anything I have done, but also very authentic to me.  I've posted lots of other pages from the class on my blog that you can check out.  I'm actually still working on the Frida Kahlo section, and I can see myself returning again and again to the lessons for inspiration in the surface.  I made over 20 art journal pages and just scratched the surface of the content in this course.

What's up next?  This month, I'm taking Building Pages with Debbie Hodge at Get it Scrapped and Develop on Fridays at Paislee Press.  There are two year-long art journal classes going on that look interesting, but that's too long a commitment for me.  You can find them at Art Journal Caravan  and Journal 365 with Pam Carriker.