Instagram – My latest creative discovery

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I’ve seen a lot of instagram photos around lately and I’ll admit I was curious. But my LG phone just wasn’t equipped to take decent photos nor did it have a flash. It also wasn’t the most intuitive phone in the world. So when my phone suddenly stopped working after only 5 months of use – my boyfriend has also gone through two LG phones with little success – I decided it was worth paying a little more to buy an HTC Android. After all, I not only use my phone for emergencies, but my business and at work as well. I stuck with the regular last year’s 3G model and saved a hundred bucks, but still got what so far is turning out to be a great product. It’s like when buying a used VCR would cost you $800 (back when VCRs were the latest and greatest) but that sucker lasted for 20 years before breaking while the modern $50 versions killed over in about two. Or how Atari’s in all their retro wonder glory continue to work while my son’s original XBox crapped out due to overheating. Or all those PC’s that died in 3 years, while my macbook just keeps on truckin’. You get the picture.

So now that I have a decent phone, my own picture has gotten even bigger. And I’m having fun exploring the world through my camera phone. My goal is to try to find at least one creative shot a day and post it to instagram, my personal facebook page, twitter and my tumblr.
I started with the dead beetle at work, then had my boyfriend take a shot of me. Then I took a photo on my daily walk through the neighborhood followed by a game of Clue at my parents’ house. Here are the photos I’ve taken so far (with captions.)
Our mascot at work. Everyone needs a dead beetle to vent to. http://instagr.am/p/M9UzElwlet/
A very happy me. Scott registered for college classes today. http://instagr.am/p/M9aKG8QlSF/
Our neighborhood yards are often full of interesting surprises. http://instagr.am/p/M_09NTQlUT/
Clue. Sometimes you wish people would just get one. http://instagr.am/p/NEV5HvQlRL/
I’m excited by the prospect of building a portfolio of my very own through instagram. Do you use instagram? Love it? Hate it? And how are you using it to stay creative?

Artistic Inspiration

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Looking for a diy craft project or maybe an instructional art lesson to liven up your free time? Here are a few of my favorite art instructional blog posts to inspire you!
What are some of your favorite art projects?

Before there was soap. Handmade cards and other paper crafts.

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Around the time I started selling soap on etsy during beta in 2005 I was also selling handmade note cards. They were my first big “sell” before I finally switched over to selling only bath and body products. At that time I had a huge paper fetish and was always on the look out for interesting scrapbooking papers. It was also around the time I first discovered ACEO’s. So my first note cards were of designs I created from collages using various papers. My owls series was my favorite.
Everyday Birds Note Cards
These are my Everyday Bird Note Cards. I sold these in packs of four with one of each design. These actually came after my Seasonal Bird Note Card Set which you can still see on etsy from a sold transaction in 2008. The owl with the blue snowflake and mittens was always my favorite.
Valentine Note Card Set
My final collection in the owl series note cards was for Valentine’s Day and featured two different cards of owls in love. One card featured an owl delivering a love letter while the other was of two owls kissing in front of a giant heart on a branch. All of my card sets came in sets of four with envelopes and sold for $6 each. I also sold a Siberian Husky note card set in the same style.
Tree Art Collage Print
In addition to note cards I also created and sold art prints. My most popular was the one featured above titled “Tree Art Collage.” I also sold another similar art work called “Autumn Dreams.”
The closet I ever got back around to making prints after the collages was with a few ACEO’s in 2008 that I made from marker but never sold.
Husband ACEO
This ACEO was a portrait of my now ex-husband. I actually described this one as “An original art card created from pencil and ink. Check out the husband in his happy blue eyeglasses. Everyone hates him because he has curls to die for.” And then I also drew one I called “Shiny Red Boots.”
My favorite love however is photography. Unfortunately, because I loathe product photography so much – mostly because I suck at it – my photo skills have fallen by the way side and I’ve lost interest in artistically photographing interesting subject matter. My favorite photograph in recent years, though, has to be the following.
Orchid
I took this photograph of an orchid one afternoon downtown on my local farmer’s market – the Roanoke City Market – on an unusually warm day in February. The soft sky background which is almost turquoise in color is actually the backdrop of the awnings we had to protect ourselves from the sun and weather while selling. I love how the orchid looks so strong and yet so delicate at the same time. This shot was taken with a Digital Canon Rebel XT and was not altered in any way.
Recently I purchased some chalk pastels and did a few sketches with those, but other than that I haven’t done anything artistic lately other than to play with soap and spend time writing for my blog. You can see my pastel chalk drawings of a hamster and Cockatiel here and drawings of the now defunct Roanoke band Earndheart, a fox, and a barn owl here.  I’m really hoping to have the chance to play around with my new watercolors before the year is out.
What about you? Do you have any artistic endeavors? And if so, what’s your favorite medium?

Shake it like a Polaroid picture.

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Yesterday evening I was watching a sort of twisted romantic, indie comedy called Camille on Netflix instant queue. It was strange for more than one reason but the main ones being a.) I don’t watch comedies, b.) Camille is pretty much dead through most of the love affair, and c.) she has a fascination with her Polaroid camera.
Camille is a newly wed who takes photos of absolutely everything from the planning of her wedding – a photo of a magazine couple in their wedding garb with the faces replaced with cut outs of hers and her fiance’s – to the day of the wedding when she carries the camera up the aisle with her – to the journey to Niagra Falls for the couple’s honeymoon where she shoots the strangers she meets in a diner along the way.
Anyway, the movie made me miss Polaroid cameras. And it kills me that the neither the film nor the cameras are being produced any longer. I have hopes that in the next decade or so when all of the film has been extinguished from ebay, some sentimental company will pop up and take on the journey of reinventing the nostalgia of our “young adulthood” again. I mean, haven’t they done that already with the many toys and movies of our childhood?
In the meantime, I discovered this diy project for creating Tiny Polaroid Magnets over at Ambrosia Girl Blog. While the final product isn’t actually a Polaroid picture – the song “Hey Ya” is coursing through my brain now – it does offer the semblance of that once popular trend. The Polaroids are created in Photoshop, though Gimp is a free option that I use, and can be manipulated for any photograph you’ve uploaded to your computer. The author of this craft tutorial even offers a .zip file for download of a Polaroid frame you can use. You can find instructions for this entire project over at Ambrosia Girl Blog here.
In the meantime, I want to see more Polaroid shots! Should you know of a Polaroid craft or photo, please share a link! I’d love to see any craft projects, pictures, or products for sale that are related to or inspired by the long lost Polaroid!

Rain rain go away, enjoy a flower inside today!

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It’s another rainy Saturday afternoon, but I suppose that’s April for you. After all, we can’t have May flowers without a few April showers. My dad planted the tomato plants I bought him yesterday so they’d get a good soaking today. They were already blooming and a good two and a half feet high. Still, while the rain helps all those gorgeous flowers and crops grow, it is quite dreary when you’ve just spent a week enjoying the sun and the slowly developing warmer weather.
I have really enjoyed all of the new spring flowers popping up since early spring. Pictured above are some of my mom’s tulips I photographed last week. I took the shot outside in the middle of the afternoon – note the sun glinting off the leaves and petals – but ended up with what I think looks more like a studio shot. I love how it turned out and I didn’t use any Photoshop. I mean, really, isn’t that sort of cheating? To me Photoshop separates the photographer from the digital artist. Both are fabulous and necessary but each have their own skill set.
Anyhow, it’s days like these that make me wish I’d thought to pick a bouquet before the rain started falling. Fortunately, I found this awesome diy project for crafting a bouquet that never dies.
Hooray Blog has a beautiful tutorial for making these billy button flowers (pictured above.) You can create them yourself with a handful of dried flower balls from the craft store, some wire sticks, and floral tape. And the really fabulous part? Once you craft them they never die. Plus they look quite cheerful no matter the weather outside!