Friday, January 30, 2015

Freebie Friday- vintage illustrations for you

Yay for free stuff!!

I just love searching for vintage books and photos to use in my journals.  This coming weekend my husband is taking me to our little cabin in the woods, which just happens to be nearby a big antique mall and I'm so excited to browse for a few hours!  I'm thinking I'll be putting together a little video to share, seek-and-find style, as I page through papers and books.  Unfortunately I won't be able to convey the wonderful smell of vintage book pages through a video.  {so sad, I know}

Anyway, I'm including a few more images from the book "Bird Stories, and Other Stories" from the early 1900's because they are just so beautiful.  As always, I'm pretty sure these are copyright free, but if you use them in a piece for sale, you'll need to double check for yourself in all the proper channels.  

Next week I'll dip into my vintage workbook stash!


{You can find all Freebie Friday posts here.}

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Top 5 Photo Editing Apps

I love Instagram.  

Loooooove it.  For this visual mama, who doesn't have all that much time to read a whole bunch of stuff on blogs or other wordier places, the photo bursts of everyday life and art on Instagram meet my needs perfectly.  It's home to me.  {{insert sappy group hug here}}

So for my Instagram photos I play around to find the best way to express what's on my heart and in my mind.  I know there are a zillion photo editing apps out there, but I'm a loyal gal and there are a small handful that I use nearly exclusively.  Here are my favorites in no particular order.

My Favorite Photo Editing Apps:

  • Color Splash- I got this one ages ago, and I still use it whenever I need to remove color from a photo and add back in one detail that pops.  It's very easy to use, it's cheap {$.99} and you can zoom in to the pixel level, making it very accurate in effect.

  • Over- this little app is so fun to use to add text.  There are many, many fonts {and clip art} to choose from even in the original $1.99 version.  There are in app purchases, but I haven't needed to use them yet.  

  • Picfx- this little gem is a layering filter app.  There are some pretty snazzy effects on this app, and though some of them are a bit out there for my normal editing preferences, the sheer amount of choices, plus the fact that you can continue to layer on filters to your heart's content, puts Picfx on the top of my list.  {$1.99}

  • Diana- this is a new one for me.  My friend Heather introduced me to this dual-image editing app and once I got over the learning curve {I'm not a techie, I only play one on TV} I fell in love with it.  {$1.99}

  • PicMonkey- while not officially an app, this is probably my favorite editing software, and the free version is awesome.  I edit back and forth on my iPhone and Macbook, emailing photos from one to the other when need be.  I've tossed around the idea of getting the paid version, but haven't taken the plunge yet.  There's plenty to keep me busy on the free version.  

Those are my favorites!  Hope you've found something to play with!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Freebie Friday {and a creative giveaway!}

This giveaway is closed.  Congrats, Georgi!  
I'll be in touch about your winnings!  

{See below for the giveaway!  
Three artsy books for your collection.}

This week's images are from one of my favorite vintage books in my stash.  It's an early 20th century children's reader called "Bird Stories" and the illustrations are gorgeous.  I think I'll share some more of these next week, since there are so many good ones.  Right click on the images and save to your computer.

As always, please note that while I am fairly certain these images are copyright free, if you use them in something you plan to sell, you will need to check the resource yourself.  I am not responsible for any copyright infringement as a result of usage.  Thanks, and enjoy!

Vintage illustrations for creative use

{smudges are present on the original}

The Ultimate DIY Bundle is on sale now through Monday (Want to see a vlog post about it?), and since the energy around here is so high, I though I'd offer the opportunity to win something extra from me.  Yay!  I love free stuff!  How about a little giveaway of some artsy books I have loved and now wish to pass on?  {And aren't those tulips purty?  My hubby bought them for me today. He's super sweet.}

To enter, simply leave a comment below.
For an extra entry, you can tweet the giveaway,
post on Facebook, pin it, or share on Instagram. 

Make sure you comment and let me know how many of those you completed!

{This giveaway ends at 8pm EST on Monday January 26, 2015}

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guest Post- Melissa Shanhun of Digital Scrapbooking HQ

I'm thrilled to introduce you to Melissa, who is the author of Photo Editing for Absolute Beginners, another course included in the Ultimate DIY Bundle.  The bundle is only on sale until Monday, so be sure to check it out and don't miss out on the deal!

Experts say the average person takes 150 photos a year.  Really?  I think that's an understatement.
Each day we are adding to the collections on our phones, cameras and tablets.  It can get a little overwhelming... BUT there's a way to keep all your photos safe and secure and easy to browse.

Photoshop Elements! Photoshop Elements is a program from Adobe that is available for both Mac and PC and it will make your life easier. (I promise!)

You can use Photoshop Elements to easily import and edit photos from your camera or phone, or tablet, or even a handy dandy negative/slide scanner.

But, first things first, how do you even get the photos into Photoshop Elements?
In today's video tutorial I'll step you through the process of pulling all the photos off a camera or other device and storing them safely on your computer. Plus I sneak in a quick little edit too!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you'll love Photo Editing for Absolute Beginners. This video course answers the most common questions that new Photoshop Elements users ask about cropping, printing and editing photos. Straight to the point, using the simplest method that will get you in and out of Photoshop Elements in a couple of minutes.

Photo Editing for Absolute Beginners is just one of the 76 ebooks and ecourses in The Ultimate DIY Bundle. Don't miss it!

Melissa-2013 crop

Gíday, I'm Melissa, Aussie mum, digital scrapbooker, professional organizer and teacher. I love pairing photos with memories of meaningful moments in my everyday life.

Here in Perth, I spend my everyday life with my husband, Phill, and our three little ones: Emily, Edward and Lucy. Digital scrapbooking helps me tell the stories in our life. I love the versatility of digi scrapping. I can go simple, using phone photos and a line of journaling. Or, I can spend time in Photoshop Elements embellishing layouts with digital paint, flowers and bling.

At Digital Scrapbooking HQ, I would love to introduce you to the joy of scrapbooking with your computer. I've been teaching and working with Adobe Photoshop Elements for many years, and my former career in education gives me the unique blend of skills needed to teach the technology skills, without the stress and fuss.

Learn more here

Monday, January 19, 2015

10 books to live in for 2015


"Live for a while in these books, learn from them what you feel is worth learning, but most of all love them.  This love will be returned to you thousands upon thousands of times, whatever your life may become – it will, I am sure, go through the whole fabric of your becoming, as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."  ~Rainer Marie Rilke

I have always had an affection for language.  Words, in any tongue, strung together to form beautiful phrases and touch deep places within me, compose an art form that weaves a lingering something.  They remain long after my mind has digested them.  And so, I have always loved to write, and to read, and long ago I decided not to read things that didn't feed my spirit, my heart, and my mind.  There has to be a reason.  There must be growth.  There needs to be pondering.  Or I will set it aside and seek something else to share my time.

I am committing to a goal of 30 books in 2015.  This does not include the Berenstain Bears, or even the Ralph S. Mouse variety of reading, though I love the books my children and I share together.  Instead I want to grow this year into books that have whet my appetite by their title, subject, and/or recommendation.  And though I've put 30 on my list, these are the ten that I am perhaps most excited about.

The Sound of Paper: {Julia CameronI am in the midst of The Artist's Way now, and have been inspired in my creative life to break boundaries and walls of my own making.  I am anticipating this more personal extension and hope it continues along this path of fulfillment and artistic inspiration.

The Cloister Walk: {Kathleen Norris} It wasn't until recently that I began to understand the draw for protestants to the mystery and depth of the life of the Catholic and mystic saints of centuries ago.  My faith life has been nothing if not surprising to me in the way it has meandered and stumbled and eventually bloomed into something more vibrant and soft than I've ever experienced before.  A large part of this metamorphosis has happened through the writings of authors such as Henri Nouwen, St. Teresa of Avila, and Thomas Merton.  Kathleen Norris' journey into this different life through stays in a monastery is fascinating to me and this is one book I am looking forward to immensely.

Daring Greatly: {Brene Brown} While Brene Brown's style of writing is not as much of a draw for me, her research and her heart are.  I read The Gifts of Imperfection and nodded and sighed my way through the "this is so me" revelations throughout.  I have high hopes for this book as well.

To Kill a Mockingbird: {Harper Lee} How I got through high school without reading this, I have no idea.  But since I purchased it for my son to read for his homeschool co-op class, I thought it was time.  And it satisfies my desire to read at least one classic each year. {Box checked.}

The Gift: {Hafiz} Poetry is not something that I read terribly often, but it is definitely a genre and way of experiencing life that I love to get into every now and then.  I have never read more than a few bits and pieces of this mystic poet, but I'm looking forward to the chance to dig in.

Learning to Walk in the Dark: {Barbara Brown Taylor} Last year I read Leaving Church and An Altar in the World, both of which left me aching from their beautiful language and raw honesty.  We don't often speak in the church of the little deaths along the path of faith.  And if we aren't experiencing little deaths, then I dare to suggest that we are not, perhaps, living an authentic thriving faith in the first place.  Barbara Brown Taylor speaks to this deep and yet not often shared truth.

A Timbered Choir: {Wendell Berry} I have seen quotes by Mr. Berry here and there scattered on friends' blogs and social media pages, and each time they make me catch my breath, and just sit with them for a while.  So his collection of Sabbath Poems have made my list for 2015.

Teach us to Want: {Jen Pollock Michel} This intrigues me.  This title, the spiritual topic of desire, and the promise of being led to understand how God wants to use the passions and wants he has placed inside me.  I am highly anticipating this one.

Escaping into the Open: {Elizabeth Berg} Probably one of the best books of my 2014 was Ms. Berg's The Pull of the Moon.  It was stunning.  And so, of course, I want to read what she says about writing.  Of course. 

Big Magic: {Elizabeth Gilbert} Another book on creativity, a topic that is always intriguing to me.  This will not be coming out until September, but I'm looking forward to reading it alongside a group of creative friends.

What are you reading this year?  Have you set goals, jotted down ideas, joined a book club?  I'd love to hear...

{This post contains affiliate links.}

Friday, January 16, 2015

Freebie Friday- vintage images

Free Vintage Images for you!

I have lots of stuff.  Especially old books.  And since I love finding free vintage images online that other kind artsy souls have shared, I thought I would join in the fun and share from my stash.

I use my vintage images in a number of ways.  First I scan them in and print them out, so I always have the original.  Then I glue them directly onto a collage, or I use them as background to create layers with meaning only I know about.  I also sometimes use gel medium to transfer the ink onto an art journal page or mixed media piece (you can find a tutorial here), giving the image a rough and worn look (LOVE that!)  Sometimes I add color, sometimes I cut out only a piece of the image to use.  These images are just so lovely no matter how you use them!

Each Friday I am going to post up a few scanned, edited, hi-resolution images from the books I have.  You can right click on the image and save it for use in your own artwork.  When possible, I will list the name and date of the publication, and to my knowledge each image will be copyright-free, BUT if you decide to use an image in a piece for sale, don't take my word for it, you'll need to double check on that yourself.

For the first Freebie Friday, here are a few images from the children's textbook "A Journey to Healthland" from 1924.

{and in black and white...}

Enjoy!  Happy creating!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Watercolor Crayons {Video Tutorial}

What do I do with watercolor crayons?

A set of watercolor crayons is my favorite art journaling tool.  I love them.  I use them all. the. time.  They add bold color that can be pushed around; they interact beautifully with water; and they are portable.  Mmmmmm... Enough said.

Like many other media, there are cheaper brands and more expensive ones.  By far my favorite brand is Caran d'Ache {and not just because the name is French} with their Neocolor ii set.  But my very first set was the Reeves brand and they are definitely sufficient.  The difference is in the saturation of color and the smoother, denser application.  The Caran d'Ache crayons also can be purchased one by one, so you can build your own personal color palette.  I definitely choose certain colors more often than others.

5 Ways to Use Watercolor Crayons Video Tutorial

Many artsy friends have asked me what to do with them, so I decided to put together a short video tutorial that gives my top five easy techniques for using watercolor crayons {also known as watercolor pastels.}  Enjoy!

Bare Branch Blooming Artful Newsletter!

I've been wanting to begin a newsletter for a long time and I am finally up and ready to go.  I am so excited for all the creative possibilities this offers: special printables, connecting in our faith and art, giveaways for subscribers, sharing favorite resources when they present themselves each month.  Sign up and receive my new mini-ebook 10 Steps to a Simple Gluebook Practice free just for joining me.

Click here to subscribe.  

Artful Newsletter

{this post contains affiliate links}

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Vo-luminous Year 2015

I have a thing for making up words, apparently, or at the very least altering them.  I won't flatter myself and compare this compulsion with Shakespeare's genius, but I will acknowledge that there is much in this life that simply doesn't have words that suffice.

I am overflowing with gratitude for Beth who created this image.
Last year, in my desire to keep an open hand and a healthy emotional inner space, to recognize beauty in the present and see God in everything, I created a word to guide my intentions.  That word was now-full, and it seeped into the cracks of my days and my moods and my frustrations until I couldn't help but cup each golden moment in the palm of my hand.

When I opened myself to the possibility of a word for 2015, I listened to the Holy Spirit as I prayed and as I read.  I asked for eyes to see where I needed to be filled and changed.  The fall was a hard one for our family and I was again struggling with a darkness around the edges of my days.

One word that kept appearing was the word "fullness."  I read it as I prepared a talk for an art journaling class; I came upon it in my prayer times over candlelight; I felt it as I breathed deeply on a difficult day.
"And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all the followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love.  Reach out and experience the breadth!  Test its length!  Plumb the depths!  Rise to the heights!  Live full lives, full in the fullness of God."
Living into the knowledge of the fullness of God already present within me takes a certain releasing of expectation and certainty.  It is a mystery that I cannot fully understand, nor do I want to.  Instead I practice breathe-ins, I look up at the stars and I feel the earth beneath my feet, I try to put aside the to-dos in favor of playing and creating.  Maybe this year is the year feeling the fullness of God-with-me becomes second nature.

The other word that spoke to me was "light."  Not the brightness of the sun in summer, but the tenacious, warm glow of a candle in winter.  A hopeful center of a womb-like darkness, always burning in me.  Henri Nouwen talks of the candle of God's presence in our inner room.  That's the light that I want to keep burning.
"What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.  The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out."  John 1:4-5

But "fullness" didn't feel like my word.  And "light" didn't either.  So I thought of the different root and foreign words that meant light, and lumen came to mind.  From lumen came luminous, and from luminous {which means "filled with light"} came voluminous {which means "very full"}, and finally, to separate the thoughts, I added an unassuming hyphen.  And my vo-luminous year was born.

This year I will purpose to live into fullness and I will turn inward to warm my face with the light of Christ's presence.  Then I will turn that glow outward, share that love in the quiet ways that God gives me to do so.


Do you have a word for 2015?  An intention?  A gentle purpose for yourself?  I don't just want to know the word, I want to know the why...  Share with me?

Monday, January 5, 2015

The odd mathematics of the open road


The open road,
a moon
driving distance,
where gravity
loses its 
and I lighten
with each

The open road, 
an equation
of subtraction,
x = life
and the
resulting number
of burdens
and worries
as pavement
in the
rear view 

The open road,
an odd sort of 
alchemical math,
the self
of the past
the self