Monday, May 29, 2017

Photoshopping in Hong Kong

This Memorial Day weekend was full of travel for our family. My younger brother got to join our dad in Hong Kong visiting our older brother and his family. My muse went to visit his parents and scout craft room relocations for yours truly in North Carolina, and even the girls and I enjoyed a day with my grandma and an overnight with theirs, followed by a day of play with friends at a local-ish swimming hole.
Being a big fan of travel via airplane, I couldn't help but to be a little bit jealous of my family who got to venture forth by air. So I channeled those feelings into a little app I like called PhotoGrid!
With a picture of my honey loving on our budding baby bump, two of my family hi-jinking around Hong Kong, and a few free downloaded sticker overlays, it looks like I saved myself about $1,000 of plane tickets and got a terrific family photo too!

Created on and then sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone- a Note3

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tangled Try-outs

In April I was introduced to the simple but fascinating art of Zentangle. I have always loved to draw-by-instruction, and there are plenty of patterns to choose from on the now favorited site I found,, hosted by Linda Farmer.
After cutting a few cardstock squares, I grab a pen and go from there. Sometimes I am inspired to try the featured "tangle" from the free weekly email newsletter I signed up to receive, I'm not always impressed by my results, but often times, I am. My pen is not fancy, I've used everything from a blue Sound Credit Union handout to a pink Zig fine-tip marker to a red ball point, and the results are always the same... a small dose of creativity which requires me to flex my skills in a new direction.
I have found that the patience required to follow through with each step of the drawing can be challenging, as I generally prefer to spread my creativity over many projects simultaneously (I read more than 3 books at a time for the same reason- I get bored!)
I have found that I am more at peace with the possibility of a "mistake" than most. Score one point for the CraftWithAnna indoctrination table! For one thing, hardly anyone you present with a hand drawn item will notice, let alone comment on your boo-boo. Second, in a twisted mass of lines and shading, the distraction of an overdrawn line here or there is simply not relevant to the viewer. Heck, a lot of times, I can't believe I've drawn something so ethereal!
In a way, I don't really feel as though it is me that has done the drawing; I'm following the step-by-step patterns largely designed by others, my general array of tools are absent, and my mind sometimes successfully achieves the quiet and reflective mindlessness that Zentangle-ing should result in. Some cards, I can't wait to finish because I'm not enjoying the process, and other cards have to be extended as I just have to continue this adventurous form of  doodling :-) So, it's kind of like the internal, more inclined to follow directions to the letter instead of taking an idea and making it my own ME is at work on these little pieces of art.
With the support of Two Waters Arts Alliance, earlier this month I was able to take teach a Meditative Doodling class at my favorite spot to hang with the teens, Key Center's Red Barn Youth Center. Over three one hour sessions, we explored umpteen designs and created some really cool keepsakes including a birdhouse, flower pot, and picture frame. I encouraged the students to give their intriguing doodle-scapes away, but we all laughed about the suggestion each time it was made because, it is kind of hard to do. The overlapping scenes, organic flow of designs worked, rigid encapsulation of each expressed element; well they are all part of the our internal mind-flow, made visible. Except instead of being a jumble of unexpressed turmoil, these tangibly tantalizing tangles hint at the greatest executioner of artistic possibility that lies within each of us.
So go ahead, grab a moment, something to draw on, and a pen and try your hand at Zentangle-ing awhile. I can almost promise you, the moment will expand and fill you with a quiet rest that will reside in the future viewing of that attempt. And of course, if you happen to tag a pic of your try with a #CraftWithAnna, I'll be able to applaud you from afar!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Celebrating Spring!

 The sun was shining brightly enough for us to set up our lawn chairs and table with umbrella for an afternoon card making session this afternoon, huzzah!
Here's one of the messy cards we'll be creating in week two of my Seasonal Greeters cardmaking class at TCC's Gig Harbor campus. After embossing the Celebrate sentiment, we dragged it through a mix of Tim Holz Distress Inks misted with water. The watercolor effect around the edges is dreamy and I love how the raised image picks up those same variations in color. A spray inked back ground and washi tape borders and added punches of star shapes make this a fun and festive card just right for a summer birthday or wedding.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bootlegged Besties Page

Making scrapbook pages for others has been a creative kick in the pants for me this year. From the pregnancy and newborn albums I assembled for my cousin, to the gift I'm sending overseas for my older brother next week, downloading other people's pictures from facebook and creating scrapbook layouts for them fills my heart with the same type of joy that committing my own family's memories does.
Since I never (ok, hardly ever) make two of anything the same, I've learned to enhance my satisfaction over creating for others by creating scrapbook pages without photos as part of the process. Not only does this leave room for additional photos I may not have on hand to be included, leaves room for the recipient to add their own journaling too, and sometimes invites some otherwise unconsidered cropping, but then I have a blank template to overlay my own digital images upon!

If you look closely at the background of this two page layout of my best friend and I at sleepover camp in April, you'll notice it is practically the same image, just rotated. In the picture on the left, I simply laid a piece of yellow-green polka-dotted paper that was nearby down on top of the grid background. I didn't have to use any adhesive! And it helped bring the photos I grouped digitally on top together harmoniously. The ink splatters I had adorned that single page with mimic the handholds on the climbing wall photos featured on the opposite side.
 Adding titles is a breeze, and mixing fonts in perfectly color matched hues is no problema- this one reads, "above all, relax reach & remain fearless." Good advice that is hard to follow once you step out of your comfort zone and start climbing a sheer wall of wood. I pushed myself to my limit and then gave into the cheering of my comrades as the shouted, "keep going! you can do it! don't give up yet!" Wow, that was like hearing my internal monologue in stereo lol. Although I was shaking, sweating and stammering, I did reach a little further and in a surging leap of faith upward, grasped the next hand hold successfully before repelling down to the graveled safety of the ground below.
Breathless, smiling with exhilaration, and warmed by the adventure and the friendly encouragement I'd received. Add the knowledge of a few photos taken for me to document the experience waiting for service to be sent, and I had all the makings for an inspiring rest of the day teaching others to play with paper and embrace their self-expressions.

The app I used was Photo Grid btw :-)