Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Very Dark Side of Steampunk

This is my entry for the Dark Side of Steampunk challenge at Smudgy Antics.
As I was turning over in my mind what I considered the dark side of Steampunk, I was coming up with parallels between Victorian times and some aspects of contemporary life: now the child labor laws are being bandied about in US politics, the pollution is from fracking in addition to coal burning, state supported mental institutions were closed en masse in the seventies and eighties. Okay, maybe a little too dark, until I read in the paper they are going to starting a fracking well about 6 miles up the road. So this isn't nearly dark enough!!

Even the whimsical drawing (Digital Things on Etsy) by Alfred Robida from 1883 showing his vision of the future on steam portrays plenty of pollution. Prostitute #1 and crying girl with dog are from 100 Proof Press, charitable child is ALA Art, architectural drawing is from Artful Illusions, the rest of the figures are from Dover clip art books. The quote I found online. this too dark or not dark enough??

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Empress of Useless Feelings

While playing a Big Fish game "Puppet Show: Lost Town" I came across this box man and grabbed my camera. Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to do it at that point because once you found his head and put it on, you couldn't get a close up.

I knew I had to make a box person for a good friend for Christmas. Mine turned out to be a box Empress and I made it a receptacle for some dark things I'd been thinking about.

I bought a wooden box to use but after I'd made the head, it was much too small for the original box and I found this paper mache one in a drawer of alterable containers. You know - Altoid tins in two sizes, candy boxes, interesting cardboard boxes someone will wonder why I saved! I've never used so much glue on a single project in my life.

In a nod of the hat to Big Fish Games, I photographed her on a couch and in my animal chair where she becomes a "Hidden Object".

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spinach Asiago Pizza

One day last week we were going to get a hard frost. There's not much left in the garden that would bother - kale is okay with it - but there were several spinach plants left so I decided to make spinach pizza - one of our favorites. I picked and cleaned the spinach and we only had 16 ounces but it just seemed more weighty than the grocery store stuff we ususally use so decided to go with less. If you don't like spinach, I'm sure this won't convince you but spinach fresh from the garden is like asparagus fresh fom the garden - unbelievable!! It has a hint of apple flavor and it it sweet! In our three years of gardening with this huge garden, this is the first time I've managed to get spinach planted.
Anyway, back to the pizza. I had checked and we had the asiago and some mozzarella to substitute for the monterey jack. At the last minute, we couldn't find any rosemary so had to go out to the garden with a flashlight and pick some. I made the crust from scratch with a recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. We don't eat vegetarian all the time but this cookbook is loaded with so many yummy recipes.
The pizza stone is almost brand new - Todd got it for us when he was home early in October, but you can see it's already well loved (and used).
The pizza was wonderful!! And we got an extra crust for the freezer!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Little Steamy

This is another one of my BJD, Sophia. She is 43 cm and made by Customhouse, a Korean company. I spent last December making Steampunk outfits for this size doll, some as Christmas presents. So she has been all dressed up with nowhere to go until this hop.

Stamps are the steamy train by Lost Coast, lace by Our Daily Bread, gears by Artfull Illusions and also from one of those clear sets that never put their names on anything you might conceiveably keep unless you're a masochist. The gears and lace were beveled and embossed which doesn't involve powder when you do it digitally. The subway pix are from the internet. The black and white one actually gave me the idea for this layout. Digital brushes are Spiky_Swirls_by_ Melemel. I adore Steampunk stuff and am looking forward to seeing what everyone has done. If you landed here from somewhere other than the hop, check out the blog list for Smeared and Smudged's November Bloghop.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This is the studio about two thirds of the way through October. I still had not quite worked myself into a 6" x 6" working space on the table.

The studio is in the attached garage and is the best working space I've ever had because it holds everything but the computer. The light isn't wonderful but we use daylight flourescents in the big fixtures hanging over the tables so it suffices. The only area that's really dark is in the bookcase corner and when I get a fixture over there, it will be fine. The old fashioned stove is getting replaced by a newer woodburner this winter that hopefully will be cleaner and more efficient but I really love this one. Actually, I'm crazy about every nook and cranny of this place - love going out with my doggies and creating!

As far as shots of after the cleanup, they don't really exist. It only gets to that state by special request. I'm not a neatnik and put one major mess away only so I have room to pull out the next!

Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 31

While I was playing with the Distress stains and the new star thingie, I came up with six tags that almost matched in twos. They were sitting on the table sort of thumbing their noses at me so I decided to use some things I had in pairs. The top pair are skellies are from Flickr Commons. The middle pair are digis from Tickled Pink. The last set of girlies were drawn by my friend Pam for our weekend of playing but neither of us got to them then. Swirls on all edges by Inkadinkado. To honor a prevalent style here on Smeared and Smudged of using lots of embellishments I gave it a try. Not exactly up to snuff but not bad at all. I have drawers full of cool stuff but never really got the hang of using it. Buttons and ribbon from sewing stuff. Little gear looking things are some kind of cheap washers from Home Depot. They are silver out of the package so I colored a few with gold and copper Sharpie pens. And that's a wrap. It's been a riot and a half!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 30

We all know television can be a bad influence on children. Morbidia has had this particular obsession since she saw the Amazing Racers on the Island of Broken Dolls. If truth be told though, in Morbidia's case, the townsfolk breathed a sigh of relief at her latest project.

Witch by Inkadinkado, town by Zettiology, front grave by Inkums, dolls by 100 proof Press, path with brown trees by I Love Rubber Stamps. All the PS brushes used including trees, graves, grass from EErie_Pack_by_wyckedBrush.

This is the weirdest thing I've ever stamped although I've come close before. Hope you get a good laugh from it!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 29

Stay with me....only this and one more of these to go. Even I am bored posting them, but still loving doing them. And having them nearly ready has given me time to help a little bit (very little bit) outside getting ready for the fall and help a lot in the kitchen.
This is another one of my witches, drawn using BJD pictures as models, steps traced and PS distorted from a treehouse calendar, spooky tree from Third coast, scenery right side from Beeswax (two stamps), haunted house from Stampendous, rocks left side from Stampscapes. Foreground maybe some small foliage stamps but mostly PS brushes.
This has been quite an experience for me - starting to get to know all of the Bloggers, learning so much from every one of you, and even learning a lot from the work I've been doing. There are still so many ideas percolating in my brain about Halloween! Great projects yesterday!! Don't you gals and guy ever slack off??

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 28

This is one of the first ones I did and I see that I broke that rule about treating actual rubber as digital. The fence from I Love Rubber Stamps has been distorted and embossed and the stones at the bottom of the house(?) were warped to fit. The house itself is also I Love Rubber Stamps and beautiful Willa is from Third Coast.
Check out the foreground! After the scene was nearly done and I had no suitable stamp fot it, I used a bunch of filters on a bunch of kale and got that!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 27

WARNING: The following images contain pictures of DOLLS. You may get creeped out!! I'm taking another day off from the Witches pages because I really want to publish these pictures on Flickr and know they should be here first. I found this coffin at Michaels along with the paper-mache ones everyone has used. This one fit my smallest BJD so this was my choice. Painted purple, stamped and embellished with metal stuff!! A totally unnecessary shot but I love it!!

Uh-oh! Here she comes!

Showing her with two different wigs because that is just one of the fun things about these dolls! You can also change their eyes, their "faceups", and clothes of course. This lavender skinned doll was produced by Dream High Studio and stands an amazing 11 cm tall. She's in a class called tinies and actually is not the smallest doll available. When I was making the polymer clay ornaments, lots of them were about this size but they were figures whereas this sweetie is completely jointed and posable. Other than papercrafting, they are totally my current passion.

Great projects yesterday from everyone!! I did enjoy seeing so many with one theme (especially since I'm nutso about Steampunk stuff) and thought theming certain days might really be fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 26

This Where Witches Dwell might be my favorite. I adore Terra Bidlespacher's sweet little girls and witches and thought right away about having Grandalyn live in a bat cave. She is from Sweet Pea Stamps. The cave and the fire are from Third Coast and the bats are from Inkadinkado.

The second piece is a card for Millicent, of course. I'll be sending it along to Tori to forward to Kapree, but I wanted to put it up here because the background is done with my new Tim Holtz Distress Stains and I think I like them a lot. That spiky star is from Stampers Anonymous and the dress and dresser are from My Sentiments Exactly with some tiny Halloween touches added.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 25

I'm reading on the blogs a bit of sadness that the 31 Days are nearly over and how many ideas are still floating around in your heads. My theory is that while you are creating the ideas just flow and while you are sitting around trying to think of something to do, forget it. My solution when October comes to a close will be to take notes on some of the better ideas, put them where maybe I can find them again, and then move on!

Boy, you just can't plan anything on Blogger, can you? The Family Tree is kind of a big project, like 7 x 9 and the other one is regular card size. I made these after I discovered the October Challenges on S&S. The Family Tree uses lids -these are canning lids - so I guess that would be the JUNK FUNK challenge and I used the card sketch from the VERY SKETCHY challenge for the Spell On You card . Stamps are Inkadinkado webs and swirls and tree, Zettiology alphabet and dots from Stamps by Judith.

Thanks for all of the really warm and complimentary comments about the witch houses! They really make my day!! I have a few more but thought it was time for a break from them.

We have been playing with our new stuff in the studio - I am (and always have been) slow as molasses in January but my friend Pam is a graphic designer and her skills are evident. I'm trying to get her to post some of her great Halloween stuff on S&S.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 24

The house and fence today are not stamps either rubber or digital. They are from an old tole painting book by Rebecca Carter and this is the first time I've painted them (digitally as it happens). I have noticed that Penny Black has licensed some of the images from that book but not these two. And I bought the book a long time ago so feel okay to use them. I did use the warp tool on the house. The witch and cat are from Sweet Pea Stamps and were drawn by Elaine Cox.

31 Days of Halloween - Day 23

This is the scene I made to depict my friend Pam and her "witchy life". All the details are right except the number of cats. I have plans to do my close friends and myself but unfortunately the Days are coming to a close.

Witch is Ching-chou Kuik's from Sweet Pea Stamps, cats from 100 Proof Press, Inkadinkado, Hero Arts, tiny sets, house from Good Stamps Stamp Goods, fence from Artful Illusions, trees and clouds from previously mentioned PS brushes.

Pam and I went to the Adventures In Stamping convention yesterday, both of us convinced that since it was so small we would get away on the cheap but we were wrong - so much good stuff! I felt lucky to have enough money left for lunch. Then we stopped at Hallos, a strange little store in Brunswick where they have a gazillion colors of cardstock that you can buy by the pound.

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 22

This scene was one I just thought up. I drew the witch. The ghost town is in the backyard of an estate for sale and I may have gotten the photo from the realtor's page. It had numerous PS filters applied to make it look like a stamp. The stamps I used were Willow the ghost girl from Tickled Pink and the other ghost is from Third Coast.

31 Days of Halloween - Day 21

Don't know how I missed that ugly white line (oh well). I'm sorry I let my enthusiasm for Photoshop overtake my good sense yesterday (oh well) but it's virtually the only thing I know how to do on a computer and I love it.
I happened to find Sweet Pea Stamps while gorging myself on all of the internet stamp companies I had never heard of before and bought some of Ching-chou Kuik's lovely ladies and also some Elaine Cox and Terra Bidlespacher witches. I also tried drawing a few of my own witches with limited success. So that all fed my obsession with this project. I actually think they are going to get a bit boring to look at but they are super fun to create. I don't know if Violetta's less than total witchiness is genetic or a matter of choice - I just knew she wasn't a complete and total witch. I have a kitty named Sunny too!
Ching-chou Kuik's witch by Sweet Pea Stamps, rocks, water texture and foreground road by Stampscapes, mid ground road with cliffs by Third Coast, little house by 100 Proof Press. The clouds were done with a PS brush by Obsidian Dawn.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 20

Okay, I promised yesterday I wouldn't go on and on but...The first thing I did in making these scenes was scour the web. My best results came from "witch house" which turned up some fantastic stuff. I like to see how closely I can mimic a photo or piece of art given a finite number of stamps. The goal is to transcend what I'm looking at and make something completely different which happened here but not always. I set the ground rule that no actual rubber would be treated like digitals, i.e., scaled, flipped, or distorted. However, I did discover the warp tool during this process and warped the hell out of most everything else. That said, I'm not going to say it again.

Witch by Penny Black, demon by 100 Proof Press, fence by Old Island Stamps, rocks by Beeswax, path by Alex Stamping, background trees by 100 Proof Press, Beeswax and Stampscapes. I drew the little house sort of like one in a tole painting book. Foreground trees are two separate sets of PS brushes, Trees by Horhew and Memory_of_Trees_v1_0_5_by_dejahofmars. I found both sets of brushes by seaching for PS brushes spooky trees.

One of my favorite PS tips is that a black and white layer, say line art, can lose the white parts by making the blending mode into multiply. Then you can color on the layer beneath that and still retain sharp black lines.

The posts from day 19 hit so many high points that it was more like a mountain ridge than a mountain peak! Wonderful projects, one and all!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 19

I got to take my time yesterday, start cleaning my studio for my friend Pam's visit, watch two episodes of Survivor - all because my next 10 posts are an idea I had before I decided whether I was going to play the Days. I had noticed that I had bought a lot of witch and haunted house stamps last year and this year and wanted to put them together so I had the theme Where Witches Live.
I have 8 of them done and one more in progress and ideas for a lot more. But they took longer than I had time for once the scramble started and I put them on the back burner so I would have time to spend with Pam this week . We've going to a smallish stamp convention in Strongsville on Saturday and then crafting for a few days!
Back to the project. This is only one of several possible covers for my pages: Lifestyles of the Witch and Notorious, Where are They Now (a witch academy alumni publication), extended family photograph album, Horned Devil's Little Black Book. I had in mind that the book would be beat up, dirty, and heavily distressed but the pages are not in that shape now. Enough, I promise I won't go on and on about the pages every day - just to introduce them. Oh, and no humor this time, well, maybe one quirky label.
Face by Carmen's Veranda, hat by PSX, boots by Northwoods, arms by A Stamp in the Hand, spider and web by Inkadinkado.
I had a great day hopping yesterday without the pressure of knowing I had to get a project ready. You may see longer than usual comments from me for day or two at least! Now that could get scary!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 18

I guess they missed the last waltz! But it was a ball that will be talked about for a long time by all of my freaky stamps.
Credits: 100 Proof Press, naked devil,Poe head; Stamping Ground: hallway with doors; I Love Rubber Stamps, skeleton on steps, mummy, grim reaper, Come and Get it witch; Zettiology, death, pointing guy, guy in elephant hat; Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, vampire body; Stampers Anonymous, very sick snail man; Stamp Out cute, little russian man; Commotion, troll; Artful Illusions, wafting kettle; DJ Inkers, bubbling kettle; PSX, three witches' heads. I drew the confused dwarf and had him and the fool from one of Ford's fairy books made into rubber stamps.
I've very much enjoyed working on the faux scrapbook pages and am very glad the story is done!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 17

Fantastic projects yesterday!! I'm still having a great time (the various bugs making everyone sick out there have been stopped by my virus protection) and commenting is one of the best parts. When I almost stopped commenting 'cause the first few days took 8 or 10 hours, my husband asked if I liked getting all of the comments and of course I do.
Every great ball has a photo booth where for a little less than a pound of flesh you can get your picture taken with your date. In this case the photographer was in cahoots with Seetharaman and made notes of what the couples were discussing. Plus our diligent scrapbooker has an ear for gossip!
The photo background is an arch from Stampers Anonymous. Chubby Venus from Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, Frankie from I Love Rubber Stamps, Monkey Man from Carmen's Veranda, flutist from Judikins, Susie's date and Simon Smith from Zettiology, Susie, Nosty, and bear from 100 Proof Press, Willa Witch from Third Coast. The bear didn't want to stand up and dance so he required major surgery and isn't dancing as well as usual. Don't know where that background paper is from. The images were colored with FaberCastell watercolor pencils before being scanned and in the process of being scanned got all scratchy looking. I liked that but fixed their skin coloring.
Tomorrow's post will be the end of the Monster's Ball and explain why the ball broke up a little early.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 16

Seetharaman Skeleton is back with page 3 of the Monster's Ball faux scrapbook. The page features a double fold program and the music playlist from the back of the program. Believe it or not, this took all day yesterday and it was almost done before yesterday. If you're wanting to go digital to speed things up, it's kind of like getting into rubber stamping to save money on greeting cards. Just not going to happen!

The music play list was mostly nicked from a Tender Thoughts greeting card my hubby thought might be useful. It was! However Moondance by Van Morrison and Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival were in the movie "American Werewolf in London", a great Halloween movie but not for kids, and Eye of the Zombie is an ear-splitting trip by John Fogerty.

Stamps include a free digi from Stampers Best, Happy Halloween House, Martha Stewart's Dracula, chair, lil bird, Third Coast's desk, 100 Proof Press's bookshelf, chandalier, clock, band members, maybe window, Artful Illusion's grand staircase, skeletons, Stamper's Anonymous' program greeter, various and sundry things by Inkadinkado. I know I've missed a lot. Sorry all you wonderful stamp companies! The ballroom scene elements were stamped and scanned and then composited in Photoshop.

I showed two shots of the ballroom, one a photograph taken without enough light for any depth of field and the second using the PS file and warping it to match the shape of the first one. The difference in color is all in the printing.

Reading through everyone's posts yesterday, it seems like a bit of exhaustion is setting in. I know that I didn't think I would get this done in time and I see it's getting close. Hang in there, we'll probably get our collective third breath any time now!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 15

This is the spooky ATC I found incomplete from last Halloween. I was not able to find the skeleton I had used which is a total shame as I love his face. I did find a similar body on and I suppose I could still use this face on it. The swirly stamp in the corner is from Inkadinkado. I made the background which includes that spider web from my garden.
I am in a complete fuzz this morning starting with fixing this ATC and then having to do it again because I couldn't find the file and then being completely confused about Terra's sponsor message today (or maybe that was yesterday) which couldn't have been more clear. So if my comments on your posts today don't make any sense......that's why!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 14

The Monster's Ball is on hold for a day or two as I will be out of town all day tomorrow, although I should be back in time to comment. That meant I had to get two projects ready today and they had to be quick. Both of these cards have vintage images from Lunagirl's Victorian Edwardian Vintage Children's Photos CD. Witch hat (removed from a cute bear) by PSX, witch shoes from Northwoods, broom from one of those mini sets, owl from I Love Rubber Stamps.

Another great day of projects - Day 13. You are all such creative people with so many ideas and skills I've not encountered before. I'm having such a good time!!

31 Days of Halloween - Day 13

The Monster's Ball, Page 2, Before the Ball. The "photos" for this page were fun. Two of the sets were purchased to go together, the pumpkin heads from Crackerbox Palace and the bathroom couple from Rubber Buggy Baby Bumpers. I got them when RBBB was a separate company and now they are a division of Stamp Francisco. The third couple is mixed - he's from Third Coast and she's from Zettiology. Her question, "What do we have in common?" was the fun part of choosing the mixed couples. Unfortunately, I never write down who makes background stamps so I just don't know. The bottom background was assembled from Stampscape stamps.

My question yesterday reflects my total nerdiness. I love collecting, in my head, unusual names, the longer the better. Seetharaman somebody or the other is one of the developers of Photoshop and I see the name every time I open the program. I thought that perhaps someone else had noticed it and would get a kick out of it.

Well, if you got here following the blog listings, you're all done now. Otherwise you should go check out everyone else's great projects!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 12

Click to enlarge

When I got the idea for a Monster's Ball scrapbook, I wanted to do one of my favorite things to do when combining digital and hand stamping, which is to print small compositions on gloss photo paper and use them as if they were actual photos - make scrapbooks, whatever. I did want to do most of the work by hand coloring with watercolor pencils. But I hit a snag because the part of the project I was thinking about the most was the story of the Monster's Ball. I realized that story would be told by the photo captions and the photo captions would be less readable printed and rephotographed that just posted digitally.

So.. no shiny photos, just another digital project (sigh) although I did do the stamping and coloring by hand. Being a bit of an old school scrapbooker, I like black pages and photo corners and cute captions but I tried to add a bit of glamour by digitally tearing some digital paper and layering it in there. I think I can tell this story in three or four more pages.

I made the stamps come to the ball in couples thinking it would be fun to pick out some of the less obvious couples but am finding I have more weird guy stamps than girl stamps. Go figure! Do you know the namesake of the scrapbooker? Hey , Kristy, you are right. I meant who is the scrapbooker named for, not who is named after him! Sorry!

31 Days of Halloween - Day 11

After a kind of crazy day of two steps forward, two and a half steps back, I found myself with nothing to post for Day 11. I had been working on stuff but it was almost like there were too many ideas and I couldn't calm down enough to get any one of them ready.

I remembered this ATC that I had worked on last Halloween but never really finished so I found it and thought about what stamp or stamps I could add that would work. The space on the fence seemed right for a pumpkin and this one just fit. I was going to print out the card, cut and paste the pumpkin but it worked better to stamp and scan as I was able to make the colors match the file.

The real bonus was that while I was hunting for the clown image to credit it, I was looking through my Tallulah and Lunagirl image discs and found some doozies. I never found this particular clown so I must have borrowed him from the web. Background is my photo, two textures from Ghostbones. That was a Flickr site with bunches of textures he or she allowed you to download. I didn't feel like being greedy so got these two and the next time I looked the site was gone. A real loss as you can see from the viney texture on the fence and the spooky one above the fence line. I found one more ATC I may use tomorrow that is super spooky but I need to see if I can find where I got the images. your house as awfully dirty as mine? Have you been living on pizza? Can you still find your Aidirondack stamp pads? Gosh, you must be knee deep in the "Days" too. Ah hahahahaha!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 10

We are almost a third of the way done! Just a third of a project to go to hit that milestone. I am amazed, every day I go hopping, how wonderful the projects are, that each and every one of us (yep, including myself in that US) are coming up with!!!

Yesterday I needed something new and instead of stretching myself, I decided to crawl back into an old box. Little guys like this witch are what I took to craft shows for 26 years. I retired in February 2010 after a really stressful show season and have had a lot of fun playing with all my other toys, including rubber stamping, since then. So while I feel like this is almost cheating, at least I've touched my polymer clay again when I made the dead crow and now this little girl dressed as a witch to go Trick or Treating.

Spider (my favorite this year) and Trick or Treat are from Inkadinkado, web from DJ Inkers and bat from a Hero Arts set. They were stamped in StazOn ink on a 30 cent tile from Home Depot.

Darn, darn ,darn. I thought Blogger would let me add another image after my post but no, there it is hogging up the top line. Sorry! This is the spider and title I promised yesterday. And most of the s*** I was referring to yesterday was external, like camera batteries being on their last legs with half an hour to go. Pages scanning whopper-jawed, PS refusing to save my PSD file as a JPG. Stuff like that which is only mind numbing when it happens at the last minute.