playing with family photos

the guys (2004) before
Playing around with some inferior family photos last night. I got rid of the chair on the upper left & with hints from Susan Tuttle's Toy Camera Effects class gave the whole thing a senior photo-type vibe. 

the guys (2004) after

The lesson was for more of a "Diana" camera effect, but I didn't pick the right photo for that look... So I decided to go for a mid-80's over lit, furry "awww" feeling.  I could have done a better job hiding the chair & the hat is wayyy to hot, (note to self, fix hot spots 1st next time) but it was a lot of fun to play with.


A Perfect Day

Greenfest 2012

If you a curious, here's a link to who sings what on Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day' above


Visit with Chris O's Creations + Enter Jewelry Giveaway

Set of 2 personalized wrapped crochet bracelets (mix & match) from ChrisO'sCreations

One thing I love about Etsy.com is meeting artisans from around the globe. Today we are visiting with  Chris Only from ChrisO's Creations on etsy. She's popping over from Athens, Greece to share her her thoughts and creations .... and she's brought prizes! 


But first let's enjoy a chat. Please note that clicking the captions below the photos will open a new window with more details about the piece.

Hi Chris. Thanks for stopping in today.

CO: Hi all! I'm Christine and I love crafts. I'm a university student (I hope not for very long). When I have free time i mix colors and materials! Crafts are my sanctuary since I remember myself. I barely make the same piece twice. I don't know, I just like variety. Every piece I create is part of my soul. 

Carnelian Tree of Life soft leather bracelet from ChrisO'sCreations

When did you first become interested in art, jewelry design & crafting your own items?

CO: I can't remember myself as being idle, I was always messing around, colors, pastels, sketching and so many other things. I designed my first pair of earrings 10 years ago, I just couldn't find the perfect dark blue pair for my dress and that was the beginning, since then I've been experimenting and trying new techniques.

Earrings with Flourite beads & guitar chord discs from ChrisO'sCreations

What are your favorite materials & why?

CO: I like working with polymer clay and semi-precious stones. I like transforming the clay as I work. As for the semi-precious stones I like their feeling when i have them in my hands, a little heavy and cold.

Gothic Black Rose Necklace (polymer clay & hematite beads) from ChrisO'sCreations

Where do you find inspiration?

CO: Everywhere. Life, nature, music , colors, fairy-tales, everything can be inspiring! 

Tree of Life soft brown suede leather bracelet from ChrisO'sCreations

What is the last book you read?

CO: The last book I read was The Halfling's Gem by R.A.Salvatore, just amazing!

Do you listen to anything while creating?

CO: Almost always. I usually listen to Blind Guardian & Grave Digger and recently Amorphis as well.

In your Etsy shop, you have a lovely mix of hand-crafted pieces at very reasonable prices 

CO: The prices of my creations do not reflect the quality of the materials I use. I just want everyone to be able to enjoy my creations. As a student there are many times I hesitate to buy something because of its price, so I want my creations to be more approachable.

Handmade polymer clay one of a kind buttons from ChrisO'sCreations

How long have you been selling your creations? Any advice for sellers new to Etsy.com?

CO: Let me think, almost 10 years, but only the last 7 months at Etsy. I'm not the best person for advice... just be yourself :-)

this photo © Pelagos Institute

I see that you that you donate 100% of the profits from some of your listings to a favorite environmental cause.

I support the PELAGOS - "ΠΕΛΑΓΟΣ" Cetacean Research Institute (www.pelagosinstitute.gr), a scientific non-profit NGO for the conservation of Mediterranean whales and dolphins. Some items, such as this Set of 2 beautiful black wrap crochet friendship bracelets with handmade polymer clay beads have 100% of the sale going to this important cause.

Set of 2 friendship bracelets with handmade polymer clay beads 

What do you like to do when you are not creating?

CO: A little bit of everything! Long walks, cooking (actually, I think I create chaos in the kitchen rather than cook ), watching movies with my boyfriend and other relaxing things.

Chris, thanks so much for sharing your lovely pieces with us today! And thank you for sponsoring the new giveaway... 

Christine has brought by some fabulous bracelets for one very lucky winner! Ready for the details?

Prizes include this Autumn-Colored Hand Painted Leather Cuff, designed with pyrography- click here for more photos & info about this piece

Autumn cuff front
& back

PLUS a mix & match set of 2 boho wrap friendship bracelets (like the ones in the photo at the top of the post). Winner chooses which 2 colors to take home. Click for details & more photos of sets

And all these goodies are for 1 very lucky winner!! So, how can you enter? 

Simply leave a comment on this blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on 4/5 to get your name in the hat (actually random.org). If your contact info is not in your profile, please leave an email address. This random drawing is open worldwide with free shipping to the winner.

Want to see more of Chris O's wonderful work? 

Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts. Your interest keeps the giveaways coming! Also, many featured artists & artisans have told me just how much your comments mean to them. Getting feedback from friends & strangers can be very encouraging, as well as provide some important ideas to push the envelope further.


Before you go today, I am also hosting another random drawing for PrintRunner.com . They are giving away 100 custom printed postcards to one lucky (USA only) winner. Click Here for details.


Win 100 custom postcards from PrintRunner - ends 4/5

postcard printing from PrintRunner

Feeling Lucky? I hope so because the folks over at PrintRunner.com are sponsoring a new random drawing. On April 5 one lucky winner will be picked to receive 100 custom printed postcards.  It could be you!

Prize Details:

Details of the giveaway prize: Postcards
Postcard Size : Postcards 5"x 7"
Quantity : 100
Colors : 4/0 Front Only Printing
Paper : 14 PT. UV Coating on Front, 
Rounded Corners : Yes
Proof : None
Ready to Ship In : 4 Business Days

How do you enter? 

Simply leave a comment on this blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on 4/5 to put your name in the hat. On April 5th I will use random.org to select the lucky winner. I will announce the winner on my blog & also contact them via email. If your email is not in your profile, please leave it in your comment.

Please note giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above. 

International readers - Be sure to pop back in the next week or so since I will soon announce a (jewelry) drawing that will be open to all regions.

Many thanks to PrintRunner both for sponsoring this giveaway and for offering me the same reward for hosting. I was just thinking the other day that it's time to print postcards .... when their offer arrived ... perfect timing! Now I just need to decide which image to go with. While I like my old designs, it is time to freshen things up a bit.

my previous postcards

Plus big thank yous to all who enter this random drawing! It is your interest that keeps these giveaways coming.

If you win the prize, what will you put on your postcards? Do you have a special event or a shop to promote? Perhaps a fun family announcement or even a vacation photo you would love to share?

Want to find out more about this online printing company? 
visit their website:  PrintRunner.com 
check out their Facebook Page: facebook.com/printrunner
follow on Twitter: twitter.com/printrunner

Good Luck!


Winner of They Draw & Cook Cookbook is....

They Draw & Cook, the cookbook
Squeaking this post in at the end of the day - thanks for your patience. The kid is on vacation this week & we've been playing tourist around Florida - having great fun but coming home tuckered out. Today we visited the Edison & Ford Winter Estates which has been on the to-do list for ages.  Definitely recommend  to garden, architecture, inventor, history fans who find themselves in Fort Myers. But details will have to wait for another day.... we have an awesome prize to giveaway!

I raved about my love for this cookbook & website in this post a couple of weeks ago. Many thanks to those who left their enthusiastic comments since then! With help from random.org the winner is....

Anonymous Vasoula!

Congratulations, Vasoula! I will email you with instructions for claiming your cookbook.

For folks who didn't win, you can still enjoy many tasty, colorful recipes (including new ones shared after the book was published) over at TheyDrawAndCook.com. You can also read about the $7,000 illustration recipe contest  & the sister project TheyDrawAndTravel.com.


On a final note, I'm trying out my first TopHatter.com auction tomorrow.  If you haven't checked out the site & like an auction style format check it out. The art auction starts at 9 am (PT), you can sign up ahead of time, preview the auction & even have Top Hatter text you when bidding starts on a specific item. Since I am new there, they only let me start with one item -

Blue Alchemy Original Digital Art

So, I'm trying out a 5" x 7" print of my original digital art, Blue Alchemy. I'm offering it super low with discounted shipping.  Bidding starts at $5 with Free US shipping (ships worldwide for $3 to $5). This piece normally retails for $15. If you want to preview Friday's art auction click here.


Last chance to enter They Draw & Cook cookbook random drawing

Caponatata recipe from Diego Haupenthal  

You've still a little time to enter my random drawing for a copy of the fantabulous They Draw & Cook cookbook. Between work & the kidlet's vacation I haven't done any promotion & the entries are super-duper low. Just leave a comment before 1 am EST & your name goes into the chef's hat. For cookbook or entry details click here


Musical Monday - all about the ladies

Medusa or A Woman Scorned

Fave female songstress is the new Musical Monday prompt.

time traveler - early 90s self portrait

Never really thought about it, but I generally listen to the dudes

When I roll into auto-play creative mode
worn out

Dido pops up more than the other ladies in the itunes

Veiled Dreamer

So, what are you listening to today? Want to catch some more hip-chicks? Pop on over to Xmas Dolly's musical hop. Have a listen & share your own. 



He's Looking At You...

He's Looking At U by The Dude

Our guest artist today is my 2nd grader, previously known as Little Dude. As he tells me regularly he is not little any more - so from now on, he's just The Dude. (anybody else getting Lebowski visions here?)

So, here we have the TV as big brother - watching you as you watch it. It is supposed to be "kinda creepy" but it seems like a pretty cheerful noise-box to me.


Illustration Friday - Intention

Intention (Work In Progress)
It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done. 
- Oscar Wilde

A quickie scan of my unfinished entry for last week's IllustrationFriday.com prompt, Intention.  I intend to finish it one of these days - but it has quite a way to go yet. Also inspired in part by this Lyle Lovette earworm  ... scroll forward to the 1:111 min. mark  for a listen.


Music Monday - its all about the art

Ready for some Musical Monday? I have been humming Crash Test Dummies "When I Go Out With Artists" for the last 2 days. It kept tumbling around in my head as I walked the 42nd annual Gasparilla Festival of the Arts  on Sunday. I always enjoy this juried show - the almost $75,000 in prize money (& possibilities of some good sales) draws an interesting mix of artists & artisans. 

It was great fun scoping out the booths with Holly Hancock (from BeautyAndTheBeads.etsy.com & ebeads.com), K.C.Bird (from BirdNestSupplyShop.etsy.com), Allison Barkley (ThatGirlAllie.com) & Greg Hilferding.  I always enjoy these shows more when traveling whith creative folks. Each has their own specialty and eye for details that I may have otherwise overlooked. This year we were checking out the jewelry  much more closely than I would have on my own. I think I came away with a new appreciation for what goes into the crafting of unique ornamental accessories.

I'd hoped to share some of my faves & the few pieces I blew my budget on today... but a non-sleeping kiddo, plus a drawing that has been clawing at the edges of my spinal column for days, are calling. Will share the goodies later this week - promise.


Looking for some more ear-candy today? Pop over to Xmas Dolly's for the Musical Monday blog hop and catch what everyone else is listening to today. Feel free to link to your own tunes while you are there.

Have you entered the random drawing for the colorful cookbook They Draw & Cook, 107 Recipes Illustrated From Around The World? If not, click here for details and some sample recipes. To enter, simply leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on March 15.


Enter to win a copy of They Draw And Cook, The Book! - ends 3/15

They Draw & Cook, the cookbook 

I Love Love Love this cookbook!

They Draw And Cook - 107 Recipes Illustrated by Artists from Around the World is two pounds of belly busting eye-candy. Yes, I weighed it, couldn't resist its tantalizing heft. Eclectic recipes and vibrant art are bound together in one colorful compendium.  Seriously now, how cool is that ?! Even better ..... later in this post you will get a chance to enter the random drawing for a free copy of this taste-filled tome.

Chicken with Olives, Figs and Balsamic Vinegar by Sharon Wagner

Last year I followed an artist's link from IllustrationFriday.com to their creative contribution over at the TheyDrawAndCook.com. I had so much fun scrolling though the variety of styles and foods on the site. It is a truly wonder-filled space if you like your cookbooks with a splash of personality.  TDAC has really grown since then, with tons going on.... but more about that later - first a little background:

The website and book creators, Nate Padavick & Salli Swindwell are siblings & illustrators who have been designing together for over a decade. Their work has appeared in a variety of print media. The spark behind TDAC ignited during a family vacation: "Nate was trying to recreate a favorite dish - fettuccine with figs in a balsamic butter sauce - while Salli sat at the counter with her watercolors painting the crate of figs. This led them to realize how fun it was to illustrate food. They then started talking about creating a little recipe book for friends, family, and clients. They asked some of their artist pals to help, but never got enough recipes to justify printing a book, so Nate built a quick blog and Salli started to spread the word - it spread fast! They Draw & Cook now contains the biggest and best collection of illustrated recipes anywhere."

Red Velvet Cookies by Jennifer Weber

Please note: you can click on any of the captions in the recipes featured here - the title takes you to the recipe at TDAC & the contributor's name takes you to the artist's website.

In the last year TDAC has taken off.  Anyone can still submit their creations - whether illustrations, recipes, or both. Someone with a hungry eye (or tummy) can spend hours absorbing the colorful fun. Feeling Famished? There is also a speedy search function which goes beyond looking for a specific recipe; a bit of typing or checking a few boxes lets you search by ingredient for some tasty inspirations. There is also a great blog, a shop ... plus an ever changing map that marks the locations of the global participants.

TDAC  map of chefs & illustrators

And let's not forget "Dial-a-Dinner" - a recipe slot machine for foodies who desire a little extra-spicy  random action.

yes, it does continue....

There is also a delightful sister project They Draw and Travel. However that adventure deserves a whole post to itself, so back the giveaway:

How can you win a copy of this gustatory guidebook, They Draw & Cook?   It is easy peasy!  

Simple leave a comment on my blog in the next two weeks and your name goes into the chef's hat. Please leave an email address (if it is not in your profile) so that I can reach you if you win.

Want a second entry? Just pop over to TDAC and return here with the title of a favorite recipe that tempts your senses.

You have until 1 a.m. (EST) to enter. Later that day I will randomly select and announce one lucky winner. Prize ships free worldwide. 

Watermelon Soup by Emilia Dziubak

Just a wee bit more before I go... while I have not been compensated to provide this promotion, I want to mention that last summer I won an advance copy of this cookbook in TDAC's Facebook drawing. I'd enjoyed visiting the site for a while and was absolutely thrilled to win. When I mentioned to Nate that I would love to host a giveaway, he generously sent over a copy once it printed. But, slacker that I am, it has taken me this long to share it with to you. (Yes I deserve 20 lashes with a wet - but beautifully drawn - noodle). 

Fideau by Alexandre Aldeguer

By the way, have you signed up for the TDAC emails yet?

If you enjoy the site & concept, I highly recommend you click here. Nate & Salli regularly send updates on their rapidly spreading creative endeavors. These updates arrived today. Click the links for more info:

"$7,000 KRAFT RECIPE CONTEST  The deadline for entries into this contest is March 25, so you have plenty of time! Click here for details. (While anyone can submit a recipe, only US Residents are eligible for winning this contest....sorrrrry everyone else!)

THE TDAC LIBRARY  We've updated the TDAC Library with a fresh batch of books illustrated by TDAC Artists! Kids can never have too many books, right?!

STUFF WE LOVE  We love the recipes in this cookbook: Plenty: Vibrant Recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi. We love Lucile Prache's delicious Etsy site: LucilesKitchen. We love Geninne Zlatkis' blog: Geninne's Art Blog.

TDAT GETAWAY GUIDES  Over on They Draw & Travel we just launched something new: TDAT Getaway Guides. The 1st one is dedicated to Big Sur, California and is loaded with fun photos, great recommendations, and, of course, an illustrated map. Sign up for the TDAT Newsletter to receive the next Getaway Guide: Barcelona!

DID YOU KNOW  You can now dig through a thumbnail archive of all our past Featured Collections? It's a super fun way to quickly scan some of the best recipes on TDAC. Take a peak!

Thanks everyone! Happy drawing and yummy cooking from Nate & Salli!"