Freebie, Links & Vintage Design

One of the things I love is surfing the design and resources sites on the web.  I have done quite a bit in the past few days, checking to see what is new.  One thing I found is Flick’rs new “photo page” design.  It is really an improvement over their old one.  In the past, if you wanted to download an image, you had to click on the image, then, the sizes, then, pick a size, then, download it, then, find your way back to the next image you want.  It took forever!  Well, today, I was at Flick’r to download the newest textures from “Lost and Taken”.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of Caleb Kimbrough’s  wonderful textures, you really must.  In addition to this website, where the downloads are all zipped up for you, Caleb also does texture freebies for several other websites, such as “BittBox’s Free Texture Tuesday.”  For these, you must click on the images to go to the source, which is Caleb’s images at Flick’r.  You can see all the nice textures this guy has done!  Wow!  
It was whilst downloading that I stumbled across the “photo page” feature.  Though it was nicer than before, one still had to do some maneuvering about to get to the correct-sized download.  Then, while hovering over one of the images, my cursor turned into a magnifying glass.  I right-clicked over the image to see what was up.  This message popped up:
If you click on the size you wish, it takes you straight to the download image!  When done, all you have to do is scroll on to your next image to download another!  So much easier and quicker than before! Be sure you let the page completely load before you right-click.  You’ll get the usual right-click menu otherwise.  I had to try a time or two, but, it was worth it.
I am almost positive this feature is pointed out in the ‘tour’ for this new “photo page” feature.  LOL  But, I only do those when I can’t figure something out.  You, too?  LOL  I just love finding anything that will make my time more my own.
So, I’m thinking if you are reading this, you are in to scrapbooking or some aspect of design and/or digital art.  My writing sure isn’t Pulitzer material.  LOL  So, if you are into the current trend of designs, you can’t help but notice all the vintage goodies that are the trend and are readily available all over scrapbookland and all the other design platforms, including web design.  With the extra-added bonus of “recycling” old images, anything Victorian is prize material.  Old stuff looks used and worn, so, grunge naturally goes along with it, which allowed more artistic freedom from ‘paint-by-numbers’ designs.  The world around us is not spit-spot, so, why should design be?  Another factor with old images is the copyright issues are expired.  Images from this period had what came down to a ’70 years after the death of the writer/artist’ copyright term, which, for many, has expired.  (See this PDF Document if you wish to know more about copyright laws.  Thanks to PublicDomainClip-Art for the link)  What this all amounts to is a more casual style of design, which is more comfortable to the masses.  This old, grungy style not only allows for, but, is great for hiding a multitude of sins, literally and in designing.  I think that there is just something so classically deviant as Victorian design, with all its decadent excess, under the guise of proper ladies and gents.  ‘Tis not hard to fantasize about spending leisurely afternoons, sipping tea in the conservatory, whilst flirting with one’s suitor, a handsome gent, with a twinkle in his eye.  LOL  Oh, listen to me.  You do it, too!  It’s like taking a mini-vacation, eh?
Anyway, my point in reminiscing about the good ol’ days is that I have some new links for you to resources, many of them vintage.  These, I have already added to my “Resources” page; link is at top of page:

Additionally, I found the following and will add them soon:
A vintage/retro stock resource group
Please mind each artists TOU’s
This last one is a ‘sister’ site to Vintage Vectors.  So, you know they will have some great stuff and it lends itself to vintage quite often.  Check it out!
Since I mentioned ‘vectors’, ya’ll do know that you can open and use vector images in Photoshop, don’t you?  I didn’t for a long time.  I would be so disappointed that some of the goodies I found were EPS or Illustrator.10.  I wouldn’t download them.  Then, I accidentally tried to open an EPS document and got the pop-up window that comes up.  PS wants to rasterize the image before it can work with it.  Anyway, on a lark I clicked ‘okay’ and a second or two later, I had the image, pretty as you please, in my PS workspace.  That really opened up a lot more possibilities for me.
Please, take a look at the slideshow at the top of the page.  I will be back tomorrow with some news about the marvelous design team at Magickal Scraps.

‘Til next time,






SU CheshireCat

Freebies, Brushes and Lorem Ipsum

Anyone who says they can’t wait until their children are grown, to you I say, “Ha-ha-ha!”  What parent hasn’t considered the rewards of raising a child to adulthood?  That is the golden moment, the prize, the ends that justify the means, the ‘grand illusion’!  LOL  If you think that ‘adulthood’ means your job is done and you can sail smoothly on to retirement, welcome to reality.  The only difference with grown children is that they have ‘grown-up’ issues.  Bless all the little children, but bless the parents of the big ones.  LOL  I have been wrapped up in some family-related things that have really blown this girl away.  But, as my support system says, this, too, shall pass.  Hurry up, already!  LOL
My cyber-home, my online place of refuge, “Magickal Scraps” has been hacked – viciously!  About a week ago, the owner, Snowy, advised us that the store had been hacked and that she was working on it.  Wow!  The poor girl has been through the ringer!  After finally being able to get into the store, another fiasco was waiting there for her.  Apparently,  there is some worm, or something, that has infected her IP number, or something of hers.  She is working with her host and all to try and remedy the situation.  She’s been keeping us all posted, bless her heart.  I’m glad, too.  I have been so lost!  
As a safety measure, we aren’t even using the forum.  The daily downloads, “Feathered Friends”, featured in the slide show at the top of the page, are being given out by a couple of our wonderful ladies on their blogs,
Go see them and collect your parts to this great kit!  Hopefully, real soon, we will be back up and running and we’ll see you there!  One way or another, we will survive!  Don’t forget I am a participant in May’s DD.  Just to keep you interested, I have a little ‘freebie’ for you.

 (Click on image to go MediaFire for download)

I used the cone and scoop for this layout of my Granddaughter, Jaela.

So, I will look for you in May!  LOL
In my continuous search of the web for cool stuff, I found a few things that might interest some.  If you are anything like me, you have a gazillion brushes.  I love brushes!  They are easy to work with, extremely versatile and they come in every imaginable shape, size and subject.  In the past, if I needed a certain type of brush, I would Google it.  There are some sites that feature brushes and I check them from time to time.  I usually find what I need after a bit of searching.  Now, I have found a search engine for brushes,  You type in what kind of brush you want and it takes you to a page with the brushes they have.  The best part, though, is the instant download.  Under each preview is the download button and it pops right up.  No traveling here and there.  You just seek, find and save.  LOL  Give it a whirl.  I found it very easy to use.
While on the topic of brushes, I located, yet, another cool site for them, Digital Art by DiaMara.  The brushes are phenomenal!  They are more like artwork, themselves.  There are also some textures, patterns and a few styles.  Do check out the artwork there, as well.  Nice!

Last week I was looking for a newsprint pattern to use when making backgrounds or just to incorporate into my design.  With the exception of the rare front page headline grabber, there just aren’t any.  I realized that images of newspaper text won’t do because any of the text would have to be copyright-free.  I actually found a cool-looking front page from an Israeli newspaper that would have worked fine.  Then, I got to thinking.  What if the headlines, being in Israeli and their translation unknown to me, described some horrific incident.  That would not work.  Then, I happened across something with ‘lorem ipsum’ text and had a brainstorm.  Well, light shower, at least.  LOL  Lorem Ipsum is dummy text that is used when there is a need to show that there is text in a spot, but, it is totally generic.  It is used a lot to show the text parts of a web design layout, among other things.  I’m sure you’ve seen it.

So, I Googled ‘lorem ipsum’ and, lo and behold, there is a site you can go to to create your very own lorem ipsum text!  I never knew that this text is actually 500 years old!  Some enterprising printer took a group of text and scrambled it around to use for a sampler.  It has survived this long! is a site with a generator.  You enter the number of paragraphs and words and it generates a page of lorem ipsum text.  First, I played with the paragraph and word count to where it began to resemble a newspaper page, with the columns.  Then, all I had to do was highlight, copy, take it to Photoshop and create a page.  I even used a font that resembled what I thought newsprint looked like.  A little tweeking, some color enhancement followed.  What I wound up with is the raw ‘sheet’ of newsprint text to use in designs.  Here is one sample of what I got:

If you click on the image and right click to save it, you can have it if you like.  This sheet was designed at 3600dpi, then, I reduced it to 1200dpi for web.  A blending mode, like “multiply” will get rid of the white background.  Duplicating it will deepen the text.  It is mostly to just give the impression of text, where words aren’t important.  Or, go visit Lorem Ipsum site and create a pattern all your own.  You might want to add a few images or advertisements.  Just keep them in column format for a realistic image.  And, the best part – no credit or attribution needed!  Yay!  We have so much to keep up with already, don’t we?  This is purely for my resources.
In closing, I want to share a little something with you.  My grandson, Kaleb, is doing real well.  He’s eating like a sport and gaining weight.  My son and the family all just went on vacation during the children’s spring break.  He got to go meet his other grandma, Danielle’s mom.  Upon returning, though, there was a ton of stuff the poor girl had to get done.  A week long vacation with 5 kids?  C’mon!  Even the best of us would be up to one’s ears.  There was shopping and laundry and errands in preparation for Danielle returning to work outside the home. Well, I’m sure you get the picture.

Needless to say, Granny came to the rescue.  LOL  I got to take Kaleb for a good part of the day.  He is three and a half months old and a pure joy!  He is at that point where he sits and watches you, very amused and content.  He grins so readily! Such a happy little guy!  Danielle is a terrific mom!  My son should count his blessings every day.

So, with Nicky, my other grandson, helping, we had a fun time.  Here’s a photo of the little guy.  As I was saying how happy he is, he didn’t like the sunglasses Nicky put on him.  LOL

I have several projects in the works.  I’ve been creating some art, some images from emotion.  It has helped me through the latest stuff that is happening.  Whatever works, right?  So, until the next time, I bid you adieu.



SU CheshireCat

Freebies, Spring, Gardening and Art

Today is the second day of spring.  It’s Equinox, the mid-point between straight up summer and winter, so, this is the opposite of the Fall equinox, celebrated by honoring the Pagan goddess, Ostara, She is known as the ‘rising sun’ and marks the turn of the seasons towards spring, birth and re-birth.  It is from Ostara, also called the goddess of the dawn, that we get the name, Easter.
Ostara (1884) by Johannes Gehrts. The goddess flies through the heavens surrounded by Roman-inspired putti, beams of light, and animals. Germanic people look up at the goddess from the realm below.
I always think of the first day of spring as being on March 22.  My youngest child was born on that day.  Interestingly, when I went into the hospital to have her, there was snow on the ground.  When we left the hospital, there were crocuses and tulips pushing their way up through the remaining snow.  So, my daughter’s birth has symbolized spring to me ever since.  LOL

One of my online friends, Stella, has started a new Yahoo group, “Wildwood Planet”, from her blog of the same name.  Stella was involved in the scrapbooking community with her shop, Cottage Scrapbooks.  Last year, the site crashed, but, it was at a time when Stella was making a move from Australia to Canada.  In a way, I gather, it was rather a blessing in disguise.  Leaving the scrapbooking pretty much behind her, she has struck out doing what her heart has longed for her to do since childhood.  She is becoming involved in mother nature in every way possible.  Stella works, or did, with plants, she keeps a safe place for birds to come rest and feed, so she can snap their photos, and she is writing, all on her land in New Brunswick, Canada.  She was meant to live in the country!  Now, Stella has become involved with some local nature conservation groups and the Yahoo group.   From what I can tell, she is happier than ever!  
For the group, Wildwood Planet, in addition to some fascinating blog posts, Stella sends out ‘reminders’ to water our plants, to hug a plant, even a little spiritual blessings for all living things.  Birds, butterflies, plants and flowers rank waaaay up there.  We acknowledged our dear ‘mother’ – earth.  This is my cup of tea.  I place most of my spirituality in the living earth.  That’s all I will say, though.  LOL  Politics and religion discussions are two big no-nos in my book.
In her endless zeal, Stella wanted us to keep a journal and write about our plants and plans, garden designs, problems, thoughts, etc.  I am just getting around to doing so, myself.  I had to confess to her the other day that the extent of my plant care all winter long was trying not to forget to water my African violet.  LOL  
I do have a garden, but, for reasons that I highlighted in my last kit, “Sunny Morning”, it isn’t great.  Kids and pets, plus the construction crew when I had my house worked on, have all beat down any plant worth keeping.  Since my youngest daughter has come to live here with her two small children, too, the yard is currently landscaped with a pool, a trampoline, a 4-wheeler and various sundry bicycles.  That, to me, is what a garden/yard is for, though – a place for the family to play.  We’ve had many a cook-out and party in our back garden.
I learned a long time ago to only attempt to grow extremely durable, or hardy, plants for the outside garden.  As it is, the philodendron family works great for this.  You see a lot of the heart-shaped leafed vine in flower arrangements with a plant.  This plant is very hardy.  I had been given a ceramic container with a flower, or two, and several smaller greenery plants for a hospital stay.  After the flowers died, I put the container in the flower bed around a maple tree in my back yard.  I pretty much forgot it and let ‘mother nature’ take it from there.  And, that, she did.  The next time I noticed, the philodendron vine had climbed right out of that container and was running nilly-willy all through the flower bed.  It was beautiful!  Even our Florida winters didn’t kill it completely.  If we have a freeze, it will die back, but, it comes out again in the spring.
When I was first striking out on my own, getting a place with a friend and moving out of my parent’s house, I was on a tight budget, obviously.  Everyone, new to living out on their own for the first time, must be cautious of their budget.  At that time, I was discovering my love for plants.  I just didn’t have the money to purchase any.  I read books and scanned page after page of a ‘houseplant encyclopedia’, until I was quite good at identifying plants and naming them. 
I also payed attention to the various forms of propagation, since, on my budget, the best way to add to my garden was to pinch off a cutting from a plant I saw while out and about.  LOL  I’d clip off a cutting, wrap it in a damp paper towel, if possible, and, upon arriving home, I’d place it in water until I could get to it.  Often, the sprig would root in the water I placed it in and I could transplant it into dirt in a pot after that.  I learned that plants, when ‘interrupted’, go through a period of shock.  The best thing for it is to leave the sprig or any plant alone that has been replanted or trimmed back, even.  Give it a day, or so, to recover, then water and whatever you would normally do.
In giving my cuttings a few days of recovery, I tended to forget them.  This is when I learned they can root in the water.  What I found was that the plants fared much better if I just left them alone!  Obviously, I couldn’t do this with every species, but, for the durable plants I have discovered, this works wonderfully!  I have a pretty fair success rate with my garden, other than the pets and children.  I think one of the reasons for this is my relationship with nature.  I ‘feel’ the vibrations of life in the greenery.  Anyone can, once you learn to listen to it.  
Plants feel.  Haven’t you ever seen an image of a tree, or an actual tree, that has grown around a foreign object, like a wire?  It recognized the wire as a foreign body and it rejected it.  This ‘antibiotic’ action is evident by the large bulge of a scar around the spot where the wire is grown into the tree.  There used to be a lot of belief that talking to your plants was good for them.  Actually, it is, but, not because they can understand.  What happens is that we breathe out carbon dioxide and that is what plants thrive on.  So, getting close to a plant and talking to it/breathing on it is good for the plant.  LOL
I could write on and on about plants.  Best if I leave any actual directions to the volumes of plant care books and websites.  I only wish to write and celebrate what the living plant means to me.   I did a layout in honor of Ostara.  I used an image of Demeter, though.  Demeter is considered the ‘Mother Earth’ goddess.  That’s why I used her image in this layout.  Apparently, Demeter is more a goddess of the harvest, rather than the spring.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt to celebrate ‘mother’, but, I want to be sure to give credit to Ostara for her role as the goddess of the dawn and light, the rising sun, in the spiritual sense.
From Jacob Grimm @ Wikipedia:
Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian’s God.”
Here, then, is my erroneous(ha-ha) layout:
This layout was made using the template from the Magickal Scraps Template Challenge in the forum.  It’s yet another of the cool challenges Snowy puts on.  I love those folks!  LOL
So, in my adventures around the web, I came upon an art form that I particularly like.  I love digital scrapbooking design, dearly.  I’ll never stop making kits and/or elements, if only to scrap my own photos.  But, my true love is art, expression through the visual art mediums.  Expression is the key word, here.  I express my fears, joys, whatever in my art. It has always been therapeutic for me.   With scrapbooking, few recognize, or appreciate, the ‘art’ behind the kit.  It doesn’t matter that they don’t, but, because of this, I try to tailor my art towards a scrap theme, rather than my expressionism.  By doing this, though, I’m cutting myself short of doing my art of expression.  I’m just concerned that the average person won’t understand my art.  But, I also recognize that I do my art for me, not others.  Hmmmm…  Such turmoil!  I want to please everyone, but, I want to do my thing, too.  So, I decided I will do both.
I basically got started in scrapbooking to learn Photoshop.  I found that I adored the scrapping community when I got involved in it.  That will never change.  But, in the art form I am interested in, I can continue to provide goodies for people, while expressing myself.  First off, I don’t have to give away everything I make.  Secondly, I can give away the components that I used, myself, in my own art!  I’m referring to digital ephemera collage design to express my feelings.  I plan to put it into an online gallery.  If you are familiar with collage sheets, they are a layout of the elements one is planning to use in a design or artwork.  There are a gazillion websites devoted to this art form, with ‘collage sheets’ being quite popular.  Some sheets have a collection of related elements, while others have a series of the same item in different colors.
Below, are two examples of what I am writing about.  The first is a set of ‘snails’ that I ‘colored’ in Photoshop.  I put them together in a file for downloading.  They can be used in any layout or in a piece of art.  The second is a couple of backgrounds.  I made these, originally, as resource offerings to this new group I joined, “Digital Whisper”.  They do the most amazing art there!  The folks are super creative and all bring something original to the group and often share it.  There is ATC art, contest entries, art for art’s sake, it’s all there.  The company that I keep there is phenomenal.  They are all talented in their own right.  They do have weekly challenges, which are a bit different, but, that is what makes them intriguing.  If you think this might be ‘your cup of tea’, have a visit.  You’ll be welcomed with open arms.
Anyway, here are my freebie offerings:
(Individual .png files.  Click on image to go to MediaFire for download.)

(right click to open in new window and copy for full size-2400x2400px)

If you would like the backgrounds in a larger size, I have them both in 3600x3600px.  They are stored in MediaFire, too, HERE.

One last thing.  While I was playing with the ‘linguini’ above, LOL, I made this “grass”.  It could be used for an Easter layout, if wanted.  Help yourself.  All of this is CU, no credit.
(The “grass” is 3600×3600.  Right-click to open in a new window, then right-click and save.)

With spring comes thoughts of a fresh new beginning to warm weather or to whatever else you may think of.  Flora and Fauna are meant to co-exist on this planet.  As we have the brains, it is up to us to take care of our earthly treasures.  Enjoy the outdoors.  Take plenty of photos and leave only your footprints when you are done.  No matter what faith you follow, we all can benefit from the bounties of which are there for the taking, with a little care in return.

With that, I bow my head to you,



SU CheshireCat

My Back Pages

So, what do you think of Blogger allowing up to 10 pages you can add to your blog?  There is a tutorial that explains how to, if you are interested, HERE.  I was thinking that it would be a good way to show off all my resources.  I could use the blinkies I have for so many of my friends and acquaintences.  Then, I could list some sources, with brief notations and links.  I could add those that folks send me, too.  Divided into sections by interest or style, it could be quite a resource.
So, at the top of my blog page, there is a ‘menu bar’, with “Home” and “Resources”.  These are the two pages I have, for now.  Click on “Resources’ as I already have some in there.
Thanks for your interest.  I’ll have a more comprehensive list up and at ’em in no time.  That’s one thing I’m good about collecting and storing things.  LOL
Thanks for your interest!

SU CheshireCat