Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter pillows

To celebrate Easter, I made a few bunny pillows yesterday.

This was a really simple project and only took a few minutes to complete.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Key magnets

So I recently had the good fortune of buying a lot of 72 office furniture keys. 

Why did I do it?  Well it was eBay and I thought "of course I can find something to do with these."  Well, when I got them in the mail, they weren't as cute as I expected.  But then again, who thinks office keys are cute anyway?  I blame it on the 3am impulse buy...

So here is what I ended up doing with my 72 keys.  Hint, they're MUCH cuter now!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Figuring out fonts

I'm quite font obsessed.  I love making art from simple sayings in a really cool font.

It's really frustrating when I see a font I fall in love with and then spend the next 3 hours on fontspace trying to match it I can't figure out the font.  I've had this issue with calligraphy fonts I've seen on invitations and unusual script fonts I've wanted to use.

I came across this website {} that will let you upload an image and then will give you a list of possible fonts.

{1} First, I typed up some text I wanted to test out.  You could easily scan in an image of text you want to figure out.

{2}  The next step is to go to and upload the image of your font.

{3}  After you upload, the site will try to decipher the text from the picture you uploaded.  There are instructions on the page, but basically I chose the letters that were most distinct so the site would have an easier time figuring out the font {read the TIP at the bottom of the page too for an explanation}. At the bottom of the screen I also chose to display only results for "free fonts" because I didn't want results returned where I would have to pay for a font when I got the right one.

 {4}  Here are the results returned.  My test font is one of my favorite free old typewriter typefaces - My Underwood.  The site found it correctly and it was in the top three results - cool huh?

TIP:  when you're doing my step #3 above, be sure to pick the more unusual letters {the ones with unusual serifs etc.}  If the font looks just like Times New Roman except the S, J and V's have really unusual flairs on them - pick those letters in step #3.  Why?  If you don't distinguish the font with the unusual letters, you'll get 100 results back that all look just like Times New Roman and you'll be scrolling all day trying to find the one with unusual S, J & V's.  Trust me, I did this the first time and my test font was MUCH lower in the results list when I chose any letter.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Friday 5 - vintage letters

{1} Letters from a 1900's marquee

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

I'm totally smitten with vintage letters - porcelain, metal, rusty, whatever.   

They're great to display alongside your books, on a mantle, or hanging in your living room or bedrooom. 

Here are a few of my favorites this week...

{2} Lovely porcelain letter found on eBay
Source: via Emily on Pinterest

{3} I love how the bulbs were removed from this sign.  How perfect would this be in a kitchen?

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

{4} Great 10" high metal letter  I love the patina on this one!

{5} I've always been partial to wood block letters.  So many variations and fonts.  I love this display of zzzzz - how great would this be in my bedroom?
Source: via Emily on Pinterest

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Digital collage basics {making transparent images}

Earlier this week, I posted a tutorial {and craft fail} for my fish canvas project.  I've had a few comments in the past on the blog, asking about how to make digital collages.

The fish canvas project was a good simple project to share because it used a limited number of images and used a black and white image with a colored image.

I figured I'd post a few tips on how I create and layer the images in Photoshop Elements and MS Publisher.  I had a heck of a time figuring this out, so hopefully it helps someone out there.

{1} Open Photoshop Elements.  Click File > Open and select your copyright free image {shown below}.

{2} For Adobe Photoshop Elements users, use the magic wand tool {the one with the yellow star at the end of the wand} to select the white background aka what you want to get rid of.  {Tip: if the graphic has a pretty distinct colored background, a tolerance of 50 usually works for me. I check the anti-alias, contiguous, and sample all layers buttons as shown below.  If you have a background that isn't as distinct or a patterned background, you'll need to play with these levels, or else you may be selecting too much or too little of what you want}.  The only difference between this image and the one above is that this image has dotted lines around the fish, showing that the white background is selected.  

{3} Lots of steps in this one, so pay close attention..I then go to Select > Inverse {to select the fish now since that's what I'm interested in}.  I then go to File > Copy {which puts the colored fish portion on your clipboard}, then File > Paste > New Document {to start a new document with just my colored fish}.  When the new document pop up box comes up {see below}, you're going to want to make sure "Background Contents" at the bottom is set to "Transparent".

{4} Here is what your new file will look like.  You have just pasted the image part that you want in to a new file and the background is clear which means you can now layer images as you please...but only if you do a few more things, so keep following along...

{5} OPTIONAL:  It's a little tough to find projects where I'm going to want all three fish in this plate together.  So to increase my options for layouts, I break apart plates that have multiple images in each scan, and save them separately.  Using the crop tool, select the fish you want and crop close to it.  Click the green check mark when you're ready.   Your file will now just show the one fish with a transparent background {sorry no picture of a single fish}.

{6} It's important that you save your new file as one that is compatible with transparency.  At this point, if you save your painstakingly created transparent image file as a .jpg or .bmp, you're going to end up with a white background.  So, go to File > Save As.  Choose a file name, and then in the drop down, select .PNG.  This file format will preserve your transparent background.

{7} Repeat this process for all graphics you want to use in your project.  Now open your graphics editing program {I like MS Publisher for some reason, maybe because I'm not an Adobe Photoshop Elements expert}. Insert all the images you want to use and begin moving them around on the page, on top of each other {use the "bring to front" option to get an image in front of another one}, etc.  Don't forget that images look really nice and more realistic if some graphics are half on/half off the page.

Here is a really simple two image layering I did for the fish canvas project.  I put the script graphic in the back and centered my transparent fish graphic on top.  The finished fish canvases are back at the top of this post.

I know there are probably better ways to create these images and better software, but this is how I do it, using cobbled together instructions from the Internet and some of my trial and error techniques.  If you have any tips, please leave me a comment!

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