Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Card Time!!

This year all the creative parts of my card were done on Photoshop... no fun textures or doodads added. Which was honestly a little hard for me, but I really liked the final print, so I guess it's okay =)
I took a cool sky, some great water, a picture of me, a spyglass, and the old cast iron tub in the back yard (because cast iron tubs are really cool, and you can't just get rid of it!).
Those shoes made me 6'2" tall! It was fun and really weird all at the same time. While it was fun for a bit, my toes were really happy when I took them off. Having my hair up in a 40's style victory rolls was the most fun for me in this year's card. If I become a hipster in the next year, I am definitely going to wear my hair like that every day!

After I composited together all the elements of my photo, there was just a little more Photoshopping to do. I wanted the horizon to blend the water and sky together more, so I darkened it up. I decided the stripes on my top would work better red for a Christmas card. Of course I used a little handy cut and paste to exchange the paper roll I was holding with the spyglass =) And I did my best to make the water look like it was actually hitting the side of the boat tub (which I had highlighted the grudge).

Then I went over to my favorite program, Illustrator, and created a graphic from scripture. It's usually rather hard for me to choose a scripture (there are of course so many!) This year's is one that I has been my scripture for the year and so I smiled when I realized it would work well for my card. (I put the scripture on its own if you would like to save it for yourself.)
I printed them through with a fantastic deal I got. You should have seen me at 1am, as I was finalizing my order, and I realized that I got to put a full graphic on the back as well!!! I was super happy with the quality of the printing and the cards through them.
I truly hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sew a Felt Bunny Finger Puppet

Here is a pattern for a bunny shaped finger puppet I made from two shades of felt.

After you cut out the pieces from felt, start by attaching all the light color pieces onto the dark ones. I used a zigzag stitch around each to secure them. Being a seamstress, I prefer to sew things together than glue them, however you could glue on the light pieces to make this step easier.

Then again using a zigzag stitch, I attached the front and back body pieces (being sure to leave the bottom open). Then sewing the paws on top of the finished body. I would recommend sewing the body pieces together instead of gluing, but you could gluing the paws onto the body.

When it comes to painting on the face, my trick for nice round eyes is to use the other side of the paint brush. Dab the end of the paint brush handle in the paint, place on the felt and gently twist. After painting on a nose and mouth, I add some of my very own blush, using a cotton swab.

And that's all there is!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas Card 2013

When I decided that I wanted to do a woodland theme Christmas card for 2013, in order to use the foam fir tree stickers I had been holding on to, I actually thought it would be an easy card. But as I pondered the design to encapsulate my theme, I snowballed myself into hours of creating artwork. Truly though, it was a labor of love.
For me, this kind of artwork begins with paper and pencil. And well, my hand drawn style always ends up ready for the pages of a children's book. =)
After pencil, I retrace the designs in fine point marker, scan them into my computer, then use Illustrator to create vector outlines. I also use the program to color and shade the designs. Or another style I use is to just scan the smudgy pencil to create a texture, like I did for the green striped wallpaper background.

Once the Illustrator elements were put together, I pulled them into Photoshop. Photoshop allowed me to easily create colored textures for the frames, pull in photo images of fabrics for portrait backgrounds, and to add my picture as the final portrait.
At this point, now that all the artwork and images were together, I could print as many as I wanted! I used Costco's photo holiday card printing service. But I couldn't just leave it without a little texture, and as was the plan all along (remembering those tree stickers!) I added googly eyes to the owl (luckily they were stickers too), a balsa wood bird, and the fir tree sticker to my hand - which looked odd in my photo shoot to be holding an imaginary object.
Can I also say, suspenders are not as comfortable as I thought they would be =)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How to Make a Felt Holiday Garland

This garland is a simple sew project made from felt, fabric strips and ribbon.

Begin with cutting strips of felt 2 inches wide. Cutting these strips at an angle, you end up making diamond shape pieces. Every two pieces will give you about 3.25 inches of length toward your garland. Cut strips of fabric 1" by 5" and ribbon also in 5" lengths.
Place diamonds in pairs, to sew together length-wise. Sewing up to the last .25" of the diamond tip, overlap the next set of diamonds and keep sewing pairs together until you have reached your desired length. Take the strips of fabric and ribbon and tie them between each diamond set.

If you like you diamonds nice and symmetrical, you can use this template.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Christmas Card 2012

For my 2012 Christmas card I made myself an old fashion styled circus high-wire outfit. Then with the magic of Photoshop I added a backdrop to make it look like I was off the ground. After I printed out the image I strung through the print, going under my feet, a "high wire" string for a fun 3D effect. Washi and glitter tapes made for an easy way to add design elements to my card.

 On the back I found some fun circus theme fonts to use as I finished off the graphic design. The extra space gave me room to write a quick hello.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My handwriting - a font for you.

In graphic design I work with fonts a lot. Font styles are incredibly useful and can even say more than the actual words. There are quite a few handwriting fonts out right now and I thought it would be fun to have one too. It was back in middle school that I began paying attention to and changing up my handwriting. Mostly because I admired my friend Christie's handwriting so much, and also because I'm such a visual and artsy girl. So my font is very much "me" but now in quick type form.
It is named Wiggins Writing because I am known as Wiggins to several groups of friends and that named seemed fitting for my style of writing. The program I used was a free one, so there are a few issues with kerning (space proportions between letters) but I still wanted to share. Here are links to download the font for you to use too. I trust that you won't be writing any ransom notes with it :)
Download Here for PC
Download Here for Mac
(you have permission to use this font, however you may not sell it nor redistribute it)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Watermark for my Sister's Photography

My sister has been familiar with a camera for a long time, mostly because she is completely photogenic and has always enjoyed having her picture taken. This eventually led to her being captivated with the other side of the camera as well and now she enjoys being the photographer. I especially adore her outdoor photography with clients (or with her adorable kids!). She has the skill for outdoor lighting, and more importantly, she has an eye for balance. Last year as her photography business was beginning to grow, I asked if I could design a custom watermark graphic for her pictures. It serves as both copyright and promotion. (At the time her business name was simply typed on the side of the image.) Now she can mark her photos with a fun, logo-type design element that can help promote her contemporary style. If you are in the Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque areas, you can find out more about setting up a photo session here at her FB page.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let The 5th Graders Party

In April, a close friend emailed me that she was on her 5th grade son's (also a close friend of mine) grad party committee. She asked if I would help with a t-shirt design. There was just no way I could say "no" to that. T-shirt designs are a fun project for me... probably because it's clothing and graphics combined! Plus working on youthful graphics always makes me feel young.

At first I forgot to ask how many colors it would be printed in so I was playing in full-color. Luckily, they ended up using the colored ones for some posters and then I converted the design into two-color for the t-shirts. All the 5th graders got their own, each with the full list of their names. The school did a great job of decorating for the event and it sounded like a really fun time. I'm glad I got to be a part of a fun event for such a big moment in a kid's life =) 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Background Pattern Refresh - Freebie Tile

With Spring becoming Summer, and being inspired by a new friend’s cute blog, it was well past time to change out my black patterned background. Many of my color preferences tend to change with the seasons of the year, except for green… I always love some shade of green. I also often like a touch of texture. So with that, and my current adoration for simple repeating, trellis-like patterns, I made an image to seamlessly tile the blog background.

It is recommended that if you are going to put your own background on your blog, to keep the files size as small as possible so not to slow down the loading of your page. Repeating/tiling a small image is one of the best ways to achieve this. 

You are welcome to grab a tile for your background too! I made a few different color options.
(You may use a tile for personal use, but you may not sell or redistribute) 

Right-click on a tile to download the image then you can save it to your computer. When you find the design setting that lets you change the background on your blog, upload the image and be sure to have it set to tile image.

How to make a tile: To make the tile I first created a seamless background texture, then a repeating trellis pattern, and blended them together. Here is a general explanation of how to make a seamless background texture.

Using Photoshop I first created a texture that I liked. Unfortunately it would take longer to walk through that process. There are however many tutorials online or even free textures you can download. Basically, I kept layering several texture images and applied an image blend to each new layer (Image > Apply Image).

Although I want my final image to be rather small, I keep it large enough to work with, 300 x 360 pixels in this example. To make the texture seamlessly repeat, choose Filter > Other > Offset. The Offset needs to be set to be half the size of your image – in this case 150 x 180 pixels. My image now looks like image a.
Using the Clone Stamp Tool I blended out the seam lines, b.
Just to make sure it’s now seamless, I Offset the image again, c. You now have a seamless texture that can tile.
After I applied my repeating trellis pattern to the texture, I resized the image to a mere 100 x 120, for a nice and small 31k file.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Cut Paper Snowflakes

I was visiting some close friends in December when, after watching Elf, I thought it would be fun to cut paper snowflakes with the kids. I couldn't remember the last time I had tried but did remember that they never quite turned out like I hoped... until now! They were so fun and easy that they became the inspiration for my Christmas card this year.
There are two major steps to making paper snowflakes: folding and cutting.
This is how I fold my paper into 12 parts giving it a hexagonal shape when you’re done.
Start by folding one corner and edge up to the adjacent edge creating a triangle(1). Crease the fold to mark the center (1). Fold the triangle into thirds with the point at that center. I eye-ball it and adjust it until it is just right – a 30 degree angle (2).
The folds are just right when I fold the other side in and it matches the same size triangle created (3). (This is where I remind you that math really is cool and helpful in everyday life =). Once I FIND THIS ANGLE I STOP and use this paper as a template to fold the rest of my papers. My papers all now look like photo #4.
I then take each of the three triangles that were created and fold them in half (5-9). Taking the left side I fold it back inward then take the edge back to the left until it is aligned with the fold – and crease it (5).
I do this for the right side as well (6). If I open those folds back, you can see the new folds (7).
Just need to finish off by creasing the center triangle by folding the paper backwards (8). Now you have an accordion style fold (9).

Hold the folds together (10) and cut off the excess on top (11). Your paper is now ready (12) for the cutting part.

I happen to always cut the center because it will unfold and lay flat better when done. From there I cut one or two shapes on one side of the fold then flip it over and cut one to three shapes on the other side. Sometimes cut all the way over, getting close to the other edge.
The key is SIMPLE SHAPES. Almost every shape is only 2 or 3 cuts to make it! I CUT AWAY a lot of the paper, thinking more about the white part that I’m leaving then the shape I’m cutting out. I often have several shapes end near a similar spot. And remember to cut a chunk OFF THE TOP EDGE.
Here are examples of several snowflakes that are simply cut and how more detailed they become when they are unfolded.

Even just really simple triangle cuts back and forth makes for a cool snowflake. Or experiment with adding curved cuts. Enjoy!