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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More artsy links!

 
Creative Dreamer
The snow and dreariness had me hemmed in...so what else to do but make a book? Part one of making a hand bound book.

Gadabout Media DIY
Statement necklaces are a big trend right now, but they can sell for thousands of dollars - so why not make your own with these easy patterns? 

Hankering for yarn
It's time for the Teddy Bear's Picnic! Noreen designed a darling, easy to make teddy bear to weave on the potholder loom. 

The Artful Crafter
If you’ve done metal embossing in the past or would like to learn about this art form, let Eileen bring you up to date. 

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Buy at Art.com
Paisley Taj
Hope Smith
20x28 Fine ...
Buy From Art.com




Friday, February 26, 2010

Beading Arts is running a sponsorship contest


Up to four people will be picked to have a banner ad running on Beading Arts for one month, free!  You do not have to run a jewelry or art related site to be considered.   
Deadline: March 27, 2010

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Artsy blogging round-up!

 
The Crochet Dude
Drew reveals his favorite cookbooks and answers 8 important questions.

About Family Crafts
Sherri challenges you to create your own leprechaun trap. Use her tips and the photos that have been submitted so far for inspiration. 

Aileen's Musings
Come journey with Aileen along her creative process as she transforms a paper napkin into 3 whimsical pieces of art! 

Cathie Filian
Turn a hardware store washer into a papered necklace with Cathie's tutorial.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
At Craftside there is tutorial on turning a box into a book, how to paint a bunny rabbit and carrot Chinese brush style, putting words on a spoon and a sneak peek into the new book 1000 ideas from 100 Fashion Designers with my own fashion star sighting. 

Crafty Princess Diaries
Looking for a little crafting encouragement? Tammy found it through an Etsian jewelry designer.

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Organization in her creative space isn't Linda's forte, so check out a "before" shot. Any ideas on getting her craft room organized are welcome--post a comment with your ideas.  

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Make a fab mixed media journal cover with Madge in this week's post for iLoveToCreate!

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
Mixed Media Greeting Card Album using embellishment ideas from the book The Scrapbook Embellishment Handbook by Sherry Steveson

The Artful Crafter
Eileen shares directions for making flowers from fabric scraps or from paper coffee filters.  

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Online mixed media art tutorials


Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to go somewhere to take a class. There’s so much to be said for classes…being able to see the technique demonstrated, being able to ask questions, mixing and mingling and meeting new people. It’s all good. But it just doesn’t work out for everyone.

Fortunately, there is the internet!

There are three categories of posts on this very blog that will lead you to lots of techniques, tips, tutorials, and fun new projects to try. There are also lots of new sources that I’ll be adding to these categories pretty regularly.  There will be some overlap on these lists. Sorry, but it’s unavoidable:-)

Book Arts Techniques

Collage and Quilt Techniques

Creating Background Papers for Artwork

Digital Effects

Fabric Painting Techniques

Image Transfer Methods

Tutorials and Techniques - a complete list



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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book review: Embellished Mini-Quilts

Embellished Mini-Quilts
by Jamie Fingal
This is a great book for eye-candy, but not one that I would recommend to someone who is looking for the basics of making art quilts. If you’ve got experience, you’ll find it a treasure trove of ideas. If you haven’t, you’ll find it beautiful and lush, but frustrating in the details it leaves out.

Actually, the book briefly profiles some amazing quilt artists and then moves directly into specific quilts that they’ve made, outlining the process. Due to this, the directions are of variable detail, as to be expected with multiple authors.

I really don’t intend this warning as a criticism of the book: no book can be all things to all people. Still, if you’re unsure about your own proficiency, you might want to take a look at a copy first before you splurge on it. Some of my favorite artists are in here (Frances Holliday Alford, Larkin Jean Van Horn), so to me it’s quite worth it!

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Spoonflower experiments


I told you about Spoonflower, the site for custom-printed fabrics quite awhile ago, but I only recently got around to trying them out.  I learned a few things in the process!

Have a sample printed!  That's actually all I did, and I'm really glad, because for just $5 each, I got little 8x8 inch tests of two prints.  Very reasonable price to try out your design, I think. 

Don't use an image that has too much detail.  It just won't come out.  Wherever detail is subtle or begins to pile up, the fabric will just appear to be printed with a solid muddy color.  This is not their fault!  I needed to pay more attention to the image size and the printing resolution.

Color is tricky.  I will need to do color calibration on my monitor before having anything else printed.  Also, remember that there will not be light shining through your fabric like there is on your monitor, so the colors will not be quite as bright. 

Read up on fabric design. This series deserves a special place in your bookmarks: Mama Made Designs has a FABULOUS tutorial series for aspiring fabric designers.  Start with the link above, and then just click to the next in the series near the top of the page:
- Part 1: Thinking About and Creating Your Design
- Part 2: Computer Art Programs and What They Do
- Part 3: Getting to know Inkscape, a Vector Art Program
- Part 4: Finishing Your Design and Creating the Perfect Tile
- Part 5: Color Calibration Part A & B


Here are some other services to try out:
Pixeladies

Karma Kraft

True Up does a digital fabric printing guide, comparing 4 companies

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

More artsy links!

 
Beading Arts
Cyndi's new bead embroidered necklace has everything but a name!

Creative Dreamer
I'm inviting everyone to knit (or crochet) some boobies...come see this GREAT project I've found!  

Gadabout Media DIY
Making crafts with kids can be a lot of fun, but it can also be frustrating. Here are a few tips from Chloe to make your next project with the little ones go smoothly.  

Hankering for yarn
Noreen has designed a beautiful crocheted rosebud that is a perfect gift for Mother's Day or a wedding or graduation or...

The Artful Crafter
Eileen shares directions for making flowers from fabric scraps or from paper coffee filters. 

  

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Buy at Art.com
Belle Jardin II
Kimberly Poloson
14x11 Fine Art Print
Buy From Art.com




Friday, February 19, 2010

Artsy blogging round-up!

 
The Artful Crafter
If you’ve done metal embossing in the past or would like to learn about this art form, let Eileen bring you up to date.

About Family Crafts
Sherri shows you how you can transform ordinary flower pots into a variety of fun craft projects. 

Aileen's Musings
This week Aileen has a fabulous dollar store find she wants to share with you! Stop by and see what she's created and take part in her challenge. 

Cathie Filian
Check out Cathie's blog for 11 DIY wedding favor ideas.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside has an inside peek into how to choose the right color for a design, a free pattern for knitting cuffs with the boy/girl icons on them, a fun logo made with a scribble, a tutorial on how to make a Steampunk style necklace with a recycled soda can and polymer clay heart and some Lisa Kettell news about her Art Opera.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy gives you an update about the new jewelry book she's working on plus a little inside scoop.  

Cross Stitch at About.com
Connie's added more stitchable signs to her Laundry Room Collection - add a little humor to a household chore.  

Farm Girl Roots, City Girl Style
Being creative for a cause is great inspiration. Check out what Linda did with some t-shirts for Camp Shaw's silent auction.  

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Madge is so ready for spring, how about you? Here's a tutorial for a yarn flower loom embellished frame that's sure to cure the winter blues.  

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how to make a Chain Soup and Photo necklace inspired by the fab book Chain Style by Jane Dickerson  

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Online color training and tools


Color is important to every artist, but as a bead or jewelry artist, you probably haven’t been classically trained like a painter would be. Not to fear! There are a plethora of wonderful online sources to help you learn the terminology on your own and to teach you how to train your eye. Here are some of the best:

Informational Articles on Color:
The Color Wheel and Itten’s Color Theory
Brown University’s Color Theory Course
Margie Deeb’s Color Articles
Best Books on Color

Color Scheme Tools:
WellStyled
Tool is designed primarily for web designers but useful for anyone.

Steel Dolphin
Designed with the digital artist in mind.

ColorBlender
A fun to use tool with sliders.

Daily Color Scheme
For a bit of serendipity!

ColourLovers
An entire community just for color lovers.

Color Picker from Adobe
Pick your own or examine what others have done.

Color Schemer Online
Picks a group of colors that compliment your original color choice.

Pic2Color
Creates a color palette from any image that you feed into it.

Eni Oken’s color scheme software
You can download her software free!

Big Huge Labs
Run your image through the palette generator to get html swatches

Color Palette Generator
Another image-based generator

Color Jack
A sphere that lets you pick your schemes

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A rose by any other name


My family are great ones for bestowing names on each other. No, not nasty names, silly! More like names that capture a part of our lives and personalities. One of our favorites is to come up with “Darth” names for each other. Maybe most people would prefer not to live on the darkside, but we’re just adventuresome that way! For the record, our Darth names are Darth Physicist (DH), Darth Humorous (DD), and Darth Pyro (me).

Sometimes the name your were given at birth just isn’t satisfying enough. Certain games, both online and IRL, demand alter egos. What do you do when your bag of ideas runs dry? Now you can turn to one of these fun name generators.

For extra fun, I’ve also included a couple of other online toys that might help to inspire your creativity.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book review: Collage, Assemblage, and Altered Art

Collage, Assemblage, and Altered Art
by Diane Maurer-Mathison 

This book is in three parts, as the title suggests, with each new part building upon the techniques and concepts of the earlier ones. Diane includes many interesting techniques and even some step-by-step projects, but my favorite parts of this book are the sections entitled, “Learning from the professionals”. My kind of stuff! Here we get to peek inside the heads of some remarkable and talented artists to learn what they were thinking when they created their fabulous works.

Lots of inspiration and solid information! This is not a completely comprehensive guide to every technique ever created for collage, but it’s a very creative and informative start :-)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Results: Bloggers to watch


My friend Eileen Bergen, aka The Artful Crafter, sent me a list of blogs that she finds inspirational in response to our Question of the Month.  Since Eileen was on my list, I would of course suggest that you add her to your own list of blogs to visit :-)



Faint Art Heart



Bueno Brushes


Cathie Filian


Lost and Taken



Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery

Tim Holtz

Beading Arts (in the name of full disclosure, I have to let you know that this blog is one of mine, and I feel very flattered that Eileen included it)



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A spooky tree



I tried a little Photoshop experiment that I'm still not sure about.  I think the look of this could be very effective for a spooky piece.  I know it's not Halloween season, but I was feeling a bit morbid because of the loooooong February we're having in New England.

What I'd really like to know is this: if February is the shortest month (and it is), why does it feel like the longest?

Harumph.



Anyway, the best I can figue out, I started with a picture of a tree in a graveyard, layered on a transparent layer of some of the tree detail, added a few morbid lines from Psalm 49, desaturated and played until I liked (sort of!) the look. 

At least I'll probably like it next October... 


Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

More artsy links!

 
Creative Dreamer
One hundred and twenty three Valentines...all for a great cause, come see!

Hankering for yarn
Noreen made her mom a darling wooden doll for Valentines Day, using a vintage photo of her mom. 

The Artful Crafter
How to make laminated tasseled bookmarks and personalize them for any occasion. And don’t miss Eileen’s follow-on tutorial on making your own tassels (should you run out mid-project as she did – lol). 

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Buy at Art.com
Aqua Blue Orchid Collage
T. Chiu
16x20 Fine ...
Buy From Art.com




Friday, February 12, 2010

Artsy blogging round-up!

 
Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
How to make a button covered headband with a recycled t-shirt inspired by a project from the book The Paper Bride by Esther K. Smith

The Artful Crafter
Do you dream of designing and making your own jewelry? Here are some tips from Eileen to help you get started.  

About Family Crafts
Need an easy, last-minute Valentine's Day gift or card? Sherri has some great ideas for you!  

Aileen's Musings
Aileen's offering some whimsical freebie postcards for you to download and send to a friend!  

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy reviews a new craft book she received: The Perfect Handmade Bag by Clare Youngs.  

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Valentine's Day is looming and Madge shares a swell idea for a combo pin/card your teen can whip up for Mom or Grandmom. These would be cute anytime of year! 

 

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Online training in the design elements


The Artist’s Toolkit is an amazing educational site. Set up and maintained by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, this incredible toy tool allows you to explore all of the different elements and principles of design in a fun and interactive way. Many of us in the mixed media world did not have a classical art education, and this tool will help to fill in some of the missing gaps about why some designs work better than others.
First you will get to watch an animation which explains each element. Next you will be able to explore how it was used in well-known works of art. Finally, you’ll get a chance to create your own composition to try out the things you just learned.
Very very cool :-)


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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Calls for entries and submissions


All three of the following calls are for submissions to different Stampington & Company magazines:
Altered Couture: deadline 03/15/10  
GreenCraft: deadline 03/15/10  
Somerset Home: deadline 03/15/10 

The Polymer Revolution, 2010: deadline 03/15/10 

New Fibers 2010: deadline 03/25/10  

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Foundations of Design and Typography

A fabulous online course that you can go through at your own pace. Written by Christine Castigliano, there’s a lot of meat in this course. Christine writes:
Why this course? There are a great many people today who practice design - and call themselves “web designers” - without training in design. Many know their way around PhotoShop and other software, but do not understand the basic principles of design. Naive business owners may pay them, but so much of their work is simply not effective. Don’t contribute to the noise! Learn to avoid their common pitfalls.
I love that line about not contributing to the noise…I’m also sure that I’m guilty of doing it!

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Monday, February 08, 2010

A Valentine’s Day plaque

I will freely admit it…I’m kind of a smarty pants when it comes to holidays like Valentine’s Day. Something perverse rises up in my nature, and I can’t help wanting to take the romantic impulse and twist it slightly. I guess I just can’t be romantic on demand. Or because the calendar (and Hallmark) tells me to.
I made this plaque to hang near my desk. It isn’t pointed at me ;-)

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

More artsy links!

 
Beading Arts
A beautiful glass bead becomes the focal point of a Valentine's Day necklace!

Creative Dreamer
I've been inspired to coordinate a fabric ATC swap...Everyone is welcome...come join us and be a part of the fun! 

Faint Heart Art
Vicki has a different take on inchies

Gadabout Media
Chloe has found some sweet Valentines Day projects to work in cross stitch or needlepoint  

Hankering for yarn
This week, Noreen designed sweet little Crocheted Love Hearts for Valentines day. Here's the pattern for them... 

The Artful Crafter
Do you dream of designing and making your own jewelry? Here are some tips from Eileen to help you get started.  

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Buy at Art.com
Asian Collage II
Mauro
10x13 Fine ...
Buy From Art.com



Friday, February 05, 2010

Artsy blogging round-up!

 
Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter
Make a romantic ribbon wristlet with The Impatient Crafter for iLoveToCreate.

Stefanie Girard's Sweater Surgery
See how to make a Paper Flower with a quilling paper fringer inspired by one from the beautiful book- Home, Paper, Scissors by Patricia Zapata 

The Artful Crafter
How to make laminated tasseled bookmarks and personalize them for any occasion. And don’t miss Eileen’s follow-on tutorial on making your own tassels (should you run out mid-project as she did – lol). 

About Family Crafts
Sherri wonders what you could create using buttons?

Aileen's Musings
Aileen has a funtastical mini tutorial on creating a mailable canvas valentine and birthday card! 

Cathie Filian
Enter win Cathie's HUGE 101 Snappy Fashions Giveaway!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
Craftside's got how-tos on making a double sided hanger out of a soda tab, burning the edges of silk, a good list of essential oils to add to homemade paints, a gift tote bag tutorial and some really wacky mannequin outfits from CHA! 

Crafty Princess Diaries
Tammy is so excited! She has some new craft books to read, yes!

Cross Stitch at About.com
Stitch up some witty signs for your laundry room using patterns Connie created using help from the About.com Laundry Guide Mary. 




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Question of the Month: Bloggers to watch?

Darren Rowse over at Problogger posed the question a few weeks ago, who are the bloggers that you consider to be Bloggers to Watch?  Darren's world focuses on, of course, blogging itself, so while most of the suggestions he got are folks who blog about blogging, I started thinking that most of us probably prefer reading about paper, fabric, mixed media art...


So, do you want to share your list of  Bloggers to Watch?  If so, put together your top ten (please include their urls), plus an additional  link to your own site too, and send it to me to share with everyone.   I'll bet we can all find some great new blogs to follow this way.  Just send the links to cyndi @ mazeltovjewelry.com (remove the spaces).  Please put "MM bloggers to watch" in your subject line.

My top ten Bloggers to Watch list is easy.  It includes the blogs of artist friends of mine.  I also read a lot of industry blogs which are really great, but these are the ones I find the most inspirational.  In no particular order:

Margot Potter The Impatient Crafter 

Crafty Princess Diaries 

The Artful Crafter

Aileen's Musings   

About Family Crafts  

Creative Dreamer  

Hankering for yarn  

Danielle Hurley (my daughter and my best friend!)

Jen Worden

Beadlust



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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mixed media art classes and retreats

There are quite a few retreats or conferences or gatherings or whatever you want to call them (even shopping extravaganzas!) where Mixed Media artists get together to enjoy classes and fellowship. Here are some of the biggies. Do you know of more?

Art Unraveled
Phoenix, AZ

Art and Soul
International

The Art Nest
Utah

Quilt Surface Design Symposium
Columbus, Ohio

Hudson River Valley Fiber Arts Workshops
Greenville Arms Inn in New York


Artfest
Port Townsend, WA

Art Fiberfest
Portland, OR

Mixed Media Melange
Near Memphis, TN

Textile Evolution
Colorado Springs, CO

Art for Art Lovers Retreat
Fort Payne, AL

Art in the Rough
Charleston, ME

Artiscape
Columbus, OH

Create with Cloth Paper Scissors
Rosemont, IL

Idyllwild Arts
Southern CA


Textile Evolution
Monument, CO




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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Book review: Get Real Greetings

This book made me stop and look, laugh, flip through it and laugh some more. Out loud, even! Jessica Strawser has a wicked sense of humor that isn’t always found in the scrapbooking and cardmaking world. I want her to be one of my girlfriends. You get the feeling, reading her book, that she spends a good deal of time exchanging witticisms with her girlfriends!

Get Real Greetings
by Jessica Strawser
Here’s one card text that I especially liked, front cover and inside:
Good luck on your new job…May it have more doughnuts and less soul sucking than the last one.
Now who wouldn’t like to get a card like that?


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Monday, February 01, 2010

Snow painting



A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I used snow to paint some fabric that became part of my Spruces of Utah quilt.   Today I want to show you how screamingly easy it is to do this.  The only thing you really can't do without is snow...



 
Overly enthusiastic as usual, I shoveled up much more snow than I really needed.  Besides a piece of fabric (I used unbleached muslin torn to size), you'll need some paints, dyes, or other colorants.  If you use dyes, you'll get much stronger colors than I did.  I used acrylic paints, watered down a lot, so by the time the process was finished, only the softest haze of color was left in most areas.  That's what I wanted. 




It's nice to have a sheet of acrylic or glass and a pan for it to drain into, but it's really not necessary.  I angled the acrylic sheet so that the melting snow would collect in the pan.  Several times during the process, I went in and drained off the water, but that's not really necessary either.  See how few things are necessary?  Isn't this easy?

Scrunch up the fabric so that it fits on the sheet.  Cover it with snow, and pour on your dyes or thinned paints.


I used Quinacridone burnt orange, Quinacridone crimson, and Hansa yellow light in Golden's tube acrylics. 

 

After the snow has completely melted and your fabric has air dried over night, you can iron it to heat set if you'd like.







Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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