Monthly Archives: December 2011

Introducing Tech Tuesday . . .

Yes, actually, I do know it’s Thursday, but odd time-warp things are not unusual around here.

Why not call it Tech Thursday? Just doesn’t sound as good. So, the fact that our first Tech Tuesday is a Thursday will just go down as one of those interesting things.

I started Sunday Morning Coffee seven weeks ago, and it has been very well-loved. I thought an additional theme might be fun, and I know that these days *everyone* is connected in some way to technology. You can’t get away from it, and you shouldn’t try. The gifts abound – especially the gifts for artists and artisans.

So, every Tuesday, I will talk about things that connect our creative lives to technology. It may be something about the iPad or iPhone, or digital photography, or reading Kindle Books, or Photoshop/Elements things, or . . . well. you get the idea.

Don’t think you will be left out of these conversations because you are not tech-savvy, because the point of this is to help you increase your “savvy” and comfort level with all of this new magic.

Creating with Elements/Photoshop is now a WHENEVER Workshop.

When I created this workshop as the last scheduled workshop for 2011, I got lots of emails from folks who wanted to take it, but had scheduling problems. Those who did take it REALLY loved it, so I decided to move it to the WHENEVER line-up so you could take it when it does fit your schedule.

The photo above is a Cyanotype created by Photoshop/Elements techniques instead of the usual coated paper, sun, and water method of real life Cyanoptypes. There is a beauty and mystery to this look that turn any photo into an intriguing art image. This one is from a line of greeting cards I created with Cyanotypes, which I call Southwest Blue. They pretty much stop traffic in the gallery.

The workshop also teaches you how to make fake Polaroid Transfers which look just like the real ones, and “distressed” photos created with an additive rather than destructive approach.

The other three lessons teach you how to create projects – original art pieces that I make for my gallery. I don’t publish them outside the workshop, because I don’t want the world copying the ideas, but take my word for it, they are cool.

Here is the link to the Workshop Description page, or you can click Whenever Workshops in the sidebar.

Creating with Photoshop/Elements

Reading Kindle Books . . .

Do you need to own a Kindle? No.

I have an iPad, but all my ebooks are Kindle. That is because there is a Kindle App for the iPad. With it, you can Sample, Purchase, and Read any books from the Kindle Store.

But, you don’t need to own an iPad either.

You can download the Kindle Reading App for any of the devices shown above, and you effectively have a “Kindle” embedded in your device. Get your apps at this link . . .

Get Your Kindle APP

While iBooks does a better job with illustrated books, I prefer Kindle for the specials offered, the Samples sent instantly, and the prices – which are much better than iBook prices.

And don’t forget the great link I gave you last Sunday for keeping up with the Kindle specials.


How to Pull a Perfect Color Scheme from Photoshop or Elements . . .

Lots of times, it is not easy to come up with a color scheme for a project. Maybe we are challenged choosing colors that go together, or more often, we just run dry thinking of a new, fresh palette.

Here is a trick to solve that problem.

1. Open a photo in Photoshop or Elements

2.Crop a small area of pleasing color . . .

3. Choose Mosaic Tiles from the Filter Menu . . .

4. In the Filter Gallery that opens, choose Stained Glass and a cell size of 20 . . .

5. The result is a harmonious color scheme . . .

Any color here will harmonize with your photo, obviously, in case you wanted to add borders or layers of color behind it. And all these colors will work together in any art piece.

Print this out and find or mix matching paint colors or find similar colored pencil or pastel colors etc. You may have to enlarge before printing if you picked a very small area in step 2.

Or, to use the scheme in a digital artwork, Save As this file with a name (maybe like “Desert Rock” for this one), and have it open as an alternative Swatch collection while working on your piece. You need only click on a color to make it the foreground color and use it in your artwork window.

For even more fun, and a number of additional, harmonious color schemes, use the Hue Slider (Command or Control-U) to change things up a bit. All the colors will change and all will still harmonize with each other. (Not with your photo any longer, however!)

Big fun – and happy harmony!

Sunday (Christmas) Morning Coffee . . . #7

For all of you, here is my Christmas Card for 2011.

No – no Photoshopping here. This Angel is untouched and looked exactly like this as I drove to work on October 24 this year. I call her the Angel of Santa Fe (or the Angel of Eldorado for the residents of our village of Eldorado at Santa Fe). Eldorado means “the gold” and so Angel of Gold is good too.

This is a prime example of why one must never be without a camera!

It is the “Whew!” part of Christmas around here. We will still cook a meal later in the day, but the moving of our stores is over, the frenetic shopping is over, the Christmas Eve festivities are over, and it’s time to let relaxation do its thing.

We did the traditional Farolito walk on Canyon Road last night with friends old and new. There is nothing quite like it. The streets of Santa Fe streaming with residents and visitors, the Plaza and all the buildings outlined with lighted candles, the bells of the Saint Francis Cathedral filling the chill night air with the spirit of Christmas. Amazing – as always. A wonderful place to be for the holidays.

I do have a few good things to share this Sunday as usual . . .

Do You Love to Read?

I do. And I love anything that will help lead me to the next treasured book. So, I was very excited to find Goodreads.

You sign-up for free, choose your favorite categories, and then rate a few titles you have read in those categories. From there, Goodreads starts suggesting books you might like. Or, you can just browse categories. Each book has a short description, and then you can click through to read reviews by other folks who have read the book. You can keep a wish list of books you want to read, and one of books you’ve read. Great fun.

WARNING: You can get lost here for hours

And there’s also an app, so you can use Goodreads on your iPad or iPhone. Maybe there is an Android version too?

Kindle Books

Kindle books can be read on an actual Kindle, an iPad or iPhone, your Mac or PC, and most other mobile devices.

Amazon offers great pricing on many books, and these specials change all the time. Problem is that finding them is not easy.

So, this site is really great. They feature an ebook per day – either on special or free.


Unbelievable Book Carving . . .

Guy Laramee’s book carving is beyond describing in words.

Because his actual website does a bit too much describing with words, and is not easy to navigate, I will send you to this blog post which features several easy-to-view photos of his work. You can then click through to the artist’s site to get background and some insight into the process.

Christmas Spirit at its best . . .

If you have not seen this, you are in for a big treat. If you have, watch it again today to put you in just the right mood for the day . . .

Love to you all . . . and a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday Morning Coffee #6

No, I did not create this graphic. It is a stock cut, but I think it is really well done. Fonts are so much more than a collection of letters. I love collecting them, and with that in mind, here is another collection of free fonts you might like. The Journal font shows up here again, but the rest are different. I especially like that there are a couple of big black fonts, because those are hard to come by.

See which ones you might be interested in . . .

Thanks to Nancy for this font link, but do not miss the rest of the great stuff on this blog by Jerry Jones. I adore his narrative photography (especially the one with the dog on the railroad tracks!), and he offers all kinds of texture files, photo tint files, and Photoshop brushes for free download. His usage policy is most generous. He has a Donate button and it would be a nice way to says thanks.


In early 1990, I was deeply immersed in the new world of tech. I owned a graphic design and advertising firm, worked closely with many of the new Silicon Valley companies, and was fascinated by all the new magic that seemed to come along every day.

I forked aver about $1200 to attend one of the earliest TED conferences in Monterey, CA that Spring. The bad news – I got the only real FLU I ever had, and spent half the time in bed in the hotel. The good news . . . that conference still shines as one of the highlights of my life. I don’t think I have ever been so creatively and intellectually challenged, and so completely entertained at the same time. Even attending half of the talks was worth twice the price!

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, but the scope has broadened over the years to include great ideas from all fields.

And, these wonderful talks are now available online for everybody at this link:

One of my recent favorites is this one called “How I Became 100 Artists”. You won’t believe what Shea Hembrey was able to do to create a biennial show of 100 international artists’ works – and he made them all up and created all the different pieces himself. Talk about multi media! He is also a guy with a great sense of humor and you will so enjoy this video.. Click the button top right on the screen to expand to full screen view.

Those of you with iPads, there is a TED app and you can watch these talks on your iPad!

Let It Snow . . .

Google does cute and creative stuff around holidays and I hope this one is still happening. Type . . .

Let it snow

into the Google search box, and watch what happens as your screen freezes over.


If you haven’t come around since last Sunday, check out my last post for a template to make slipcovers for your Moleskine Sketchbooks.

And the Whenever Workshop 2 for 1 Sale ends at midnight tonight (PST).

I know you are all busy doing holiday stuff, so I am not going to distract you anymore today. What I have provided already can take up a whole afternoon – and then some! Sorry . . . just enjoy yourself. The elves will take care of that to-do list.


ms finiah back

Sheer Heaven Moleskine Art Journal Cover


So far, my continuing quest for the perfect art journal always leads me back to the Moleskine Large Sketchbook. Heaven knows I try to fall in love with another, but something is always missing. Not that the Moleskine is perfect, but it does the best over all.

I keep my journals on a bookshelf, and in this drawer in my garden room.

Obviously, they all look alike, and when I want to find something in a particular volume, I have to go through each one until I come across it. Not so efficient.

I know that many folks paint on their covers, but I don’t ¬†like the look, and there is something I do like a lot about these plain black covers hiding all the brightly colored stories of my life.

So, I came up with a slip cover template, which I am giving all you journalers as a Holiday Gift (See the link below).

I wanted the slipcover to be indestructible because it would be handled so much. Also easy to fold, and illustrate.

The perfect answer was Sheer Heaven, of course, but my template would not fit on a letter size sheet. So, as I mentioned last time, I had some Legal size Sheer Heaven cut.

In all the transfer hoopla, we often forget that Sheer Heaven is an awesome art paper for any and all media, so this cover is a great blank canvas for art and lettering.

Since the template is already a digital file, however, I illustrated my first one right in Photoshop.

The template is outlined in light blue so the fold lines are visible, but not obnoxious in the finished piece.

With the template open in Photoshop, I opened a scan of my favorite page from my first Art Journal in another window, and dragged it into the template window, where I resized it to fit the front cover . . .

Next, I used the Type Tool to add the Volume Number and Date the volume was begun . . .

I created a table of contents, also using the Type tool, for the back cover. This will tell me at a glance which life events are in this volume. . .

Once the table of contents was done, I knew how much room was left on the back cover to add a couple of my other favorite illustrations from this journal. . .

The next step is to print the illustrated template onto the right side of a legal sheet of Sheer Heaven . . . and cut it out, using the light blue lines as a guide. You can cut the lines off the edges, and they are really inconspicuous on the folds.

If you score the fold lines, do so on the back side (you can see the lines through the translucent Sheer Heaven of course).

However, I find it much easier and more accurate to simple fold along the lines using my fingers. Sheer Heaven does not have grain and is really friendly and forgiving to the folding process. I use both hands, but my right hand was taking this picture and couldn’t be in it at the same time. Just work along the folds with both index fingers and thumbs and you will get flawless folds.

Final folded piece . . .

Apply double-stick adhesive to the flap at the bottom of the front panel . . .

And to the flap on the left of the back cover . . .

Attach the side panels first. The one with the tab is inside, obviously. Stick your fingers inside to press the two panels together.

Put the Moleskine into the sleeve and press the bottom panels closed. Stand the book upright in the slipcover and press against the table to stick the panels well.

This gives you an art journal volume you can truly judge by its cover!

So, here is your gift template:

And, here is where you can get the Legal Size Sheer Heaven (until I run out).

Sale Alert-

The 2 for 1 Whenever Workshop Sale lasts only through Sunday!! Buy two and the least expensive one is free! (Discount will be applied before your charge is put through.)

Enjoy this project, and see you for coffee on Sunday!

Sunday Morning Coffee #5

Sheer Heaven is Legal . . . at least for a short time . . .

Many of you may recall that I used to offer Sheer Heaven in larger sheet sizes. One day, I stopped, and never really said why.

When the transfer craze hit, it changed things. Most people buying the product were now doing it to make transfers. But the problem is, the Sheer Heaven transfer won’t work on larger sheets because the alcohol evaporates too quickly, and you can’t keep the entire sheet evenly wet. That means spotty, blotchy transfers. I got tired of arguing with folks about it, and just started having my mill rolls converted 100% to 8.5×11 sized sheets.

Only one problem . . . one of my favorite things to make for my gallery is a small lamp called a “luminaria”. Some may remember that these lamps actually led to the creation of Sheer Heaven.

But, making a Luminaria from a letter size sheet of Sheer Heaven, results in a shade that is too small for my lamp bases. Hmmm . . .

Then one day, I created a template for a slip cover for my art journals, because they are all black Moleskine Sketchbooks and I can’t tell them apart. I have to go through all the volumes whenever I want to find a specific thing. I want the slip covers to be made of Sheer Heaven because I don’t want them tearing. And guess what . . . the template would not quite fit on a letter size sheet.

So, with my last mill roll, I had a small portion cut to 8.5 x 14 Legal size sheets. The Art Journal slip cover fit on there, and the sheet made a perfect sized Luminaria shade. Yippee.

I don’t have too much, but I have enough to share with you – to see if this is a size I should add to the line up in the Spring when my next roll comes up for conversion (they are BIG rolls).

Here is my latest Winter Luminaria design.

Of course, you can print anything on the Sheer Heaven, and the Legal sheets will go through any and all desktop inkjets. But I haven’t done any tutorials in awhile, so I am gifting you with not only this design file, but a PDF Tutorial on making perfect Luminarias from Legal Size sheets of Sheer Heaven.

Here they are for download:

and here is the place to get the Legal Sheer Heaven (while it lasts!)

Yes, it is a bit more expensive ($20/10 Pack), not only because of the extra material (25 square inches extra per sheet), but because the converters have to be reconfigured to cut this size.

These Luminarias stand 8.25″ tall and each side measures 3.25″ across. Plenty of room for a candle in a good sized glass, or my preference is one of these (shown lit above) . . . no cords necesssary . . .

You can find them at Amazon and at all the hardware stores. They run on AAA batteries which can be replaced.

Another cool idea for this time of year is to bunch a small string of those tiny Christmas lights (with a white cord) and put the bunch inside the shade. Cut a small notch at the bottom of the back panel for the cord to go out without tilting the shade.

These make WONDERFUL gifts and are fast as can be!

News About the Art Market . . .

I am not thrilled with the response so far, but I am not giving up. I have made the ads free indefinitely and increased the run time to 14 days until I see what happens given some more time. If you don’t have anything to sell or promote – please show support to those who do. Just click the logo in the sidebar. And a big thank you to those who jumped on the bandwagon. Let them know somebody is looking.

BIG Job Ahead . . .

We are moving the two stores into one today and tomorrow, so I don;t have a lot of blog time today. I will share pics when it looks like something.

Great Gift for Creative Types . . .

This is like a rubber clay that sticks to itself and everything else, and allows you to make little fixes and invent new parts for stuff. It hardens (cures) at room temperature in 24 hours. I love the idea of customizing some of my jewelry tools! And fixing my glasses. It’s some kind of silicone derivative and remains flexible after curing.

I really need to explore this one . . .

Don’t Forget the 2 for 1 Workshop Sale!

Goes through the 18th.

Have a wonderful Sunday . . .

12 Days of Christmas Sale!

Every December, I have a BIG SALE for my blog Subscribers. Usually, that is a 20/20 Sheer Heaven Sale, but alas, I cannot do that this year. For the first time, our conversion mill must do some retooling and shut down for a large part of January. For the first time ever, I face the possibility that I will temporarily run out of Sheer Heaven, so having a big sale on it right now makes no sense at all.

It has been my experience that when folks take one of my workshops, they want another.

It has also been true that when someone enjoys a workshop, they often buy one for a friend.

So, I have decided that having a 2 for 1 Sale on WHENEVER Workshops might be a sale that is earthshaking enough.

Here’s how it works: You buy two workshops and the second one is free.

Two for you – or buy one for you, and the second as a gift for a friend.

The less expensive of the two is the free one. If both are the same price, one of them is free.

The Shopping Cart cannot figure this out, but I can. I will subtract the free workshop BEFORE processing your charge.

I cannot figure out how to make PayPal work for this, however, so you have to use a VISA or Mastercard through the Shopping Cart this time. If you cannot do that, email me and we will figure something out.

If you are giving a Workshop as a Gift, you must tell me the recipient’s Name and Email address in the Comments section of the order, so I can set up their registration and access to the workshop files, and they will then be eligible to send me questions and get answers as well.

You can then go ahead and Download both Workshop Guides and email one to your friend.


Here is the link to the WHENEVER Workshop page (and you can always find it in the sidebar as well.

Sunday Morning Coffee #4 . . .

A Dog With A Bone . . .

You’ve heard this expression, right? Have you ever tried getting a good bone away from a dog? It’s not pretty.

I am like a dog with a bone. When I have what I think is a good or great idea, I can’t let go of it. If it is stalled, or derailed for some reason or another, it stays on my back burner and simmers. Sometimes, it simmers right into a solution.

I have been thinking about an Artist Classifieds site for two years. I actively worked on it for six months. I did a little test with you awhile back and the results did not justify the massive amount of my time it would consume. It went on the back burner, but it did not go away.

Yesterday morning, I discovered something I had never run across before Рa way to do this whole concept WITHOUT it taking up all my time. It was possible to create a dedicated classifieds site that could pretty much run itself  - because you just create your own ads whenever you want. This meant that the ads could be cheaper. This meant that we could have FREE ads for stuff that is being given away FREE.

So I set it up – I could not stop myself. My friend, Sue, and I played with it yesterday, and it is EASY and fun.

I decided to let everybody have a go at it for free through December 10, 2011.

After that, the Fee Schedule for Ads and pictures will be amazingly affordable – starting at $3.50 for a week long ad!

Now, I need your Help. This is your big chance to give back to our online art community for all the great gifts you receive.

We need to give this its initial life force.

We need you to go place a free ad. Most everybody has something they can advertise. Go get that beautiful art piece you made for the next craft show. Put it out there for sale. It might make a perfect Christmas gift for someone.

Advertise your website, your blog, your friend’s website or Etsy store. Sell off your art supplies and books that you are no longer using. Or give them away.

The Ads are ALL FREE right now and good for a week. The form you fill out is amazingly easy, and creating an ad takes about 5 minutes or less (I know – I have been practicing.)

AND THEN . . . go forth and blab! Tell every person you know who has interest in things creative. Spread the word in the Groups and communities you belong to. All artists and crafts folks can benefit from this exchange.

Feel free to right-click the Art Market graphic in the sidebar and put it on your site or blog. Blog about advertising in the Art Market so traffic comes back the other way.

Last time we talked about this, some of you worried about showing your ideas to other artists, but you shouldn’t be worried about that. In my experience, it is other artists who appreciate and BUY art more than any other folks. Other artists may just be the best audience for your art. Look at the success of

I am counting on you. Here’s the link (and it will always be in the sidebar):

Can You See Anybody in this Photo?

If you haven’t spotted him yet, look carefully at the front of the front tire.

Is that amazing or what?! Artist, Liu Bolin, works with two assistants to paint himself into a scene and then makes a photograph. I cannot begin to think how you go about planning this. The statement of the art is that man is invisible in the everyday world.

There are 18 samples of Liu’s work here:

Invisible Man

And Speaking of Works of Art . . .

Did you know that the second season of the TV show by that name is well underway on the Bravo channel? I would have told you sooner, but I didn’t know either. Still several episodes to go.

I Like this Sketchy Free Font . . .

The casual look is just right for so many things, and I love the bulkiness of this one:

Sketchy Rockwell Bold

And, Who Says Traditional Crafts and New Technology Don’t Mix?

For Apple fans, they do. How cute is this Finder pillow? And there’s lots more where that came from:

Apple Craft Stuff


Well, that’s it for this Sunday. Have a wonderful day, and go place some Classifieds! Let’s make this idea work!