Sunday, July 24, 2011

Last Week for The Altered Alice "Tea Things" Challenge!

I couldn't resist making another project with this wonderful collage sheets from One Crabapple; this is a hybrid project that started off digital and soon moved into the paper and scissors realm! The challenge this month is to have a teapot or teacup on your creation, and you need to get your entry in by Friday, July 29, to have a chance to win 5 collage sheets of your choice!

All elements shown are from these collage sheets - can you find all the elements?


I made a digital collage using Photoshop, which was lots of fun as I could resize or flip things to suit my composition. One of the elements was the fabulous nonsense quote, so I used that large in the background and small in the upper right corner. I thought it would be fun for Alice and the Caterpillar to have tea! I also wanted to include the frame as a nod to "Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There".  I lightened up my image a bit as it prints darker than you see it on the screen:

Then I printed out several copies on my *new* color LASER printer - you can color me happy, happy, happy! I have wanted a color laser for years!  I took an 8x10 inch stretched canvas, painted the edges black, and then used gel medium to paste one complete printout to the canvas.  Then I cut up all the elements - Alice with teacup, frame, mushrooms, hookah, teapot, caterpillar, and monogram - after first pasting the sheets to cardstock to make them more sturdy. 

Then I went into a pop-dot frenzy, using both eighth inch and sixteenth inch foam mounting tape to get different levels of dimension. The frame is popped up from the background and other elements are popped up higher. I think this angled photo shows some of the dimension. No where near the dizzying heights that Donna of Popsicle Toes achieves, but still a lot of dimension! ;-)

The completed piece, I am very happy with how this hybrid project turned out. My two One Crabapple projects are my first attempts at digital crafting, and I have discovered that unless the digital project moves into the paper realm I'm not happy - I need the satisfaction of cutting and gluing and making a fine mess!

Brother HL4570CDW Color Laser Printer with Wireless Networking and DuplexFor those of you thinking about a new color printer, consider a color laser/led printer. I purchased a Brother HL 4570CDW from Amazon and I am thrilled with it. Amazon offers a good discount on the Brother toner cartridges, and the printer is sold from Amazon so I got free shipping and the assurance of Amazon's customer service.  This printer is about $100+ more than the same model without the wireless feature, but I wanted to be able to print from my iPhone and the freedom to place the printer anywhere without needing to hook it up to my router.  Brother has a personal line of color laser/led printers and an office line - this is from the more robust office line which ships with fully charged toner cartridges instead of partially filled starter cartridges. I also love it that it is a duplex printer - I have been making my own double-sided patterned paper!

I did not use my color ink jet very often, so every time I needed to use it I had to clean the print heads to unclog the nozzles, wasting a lot of ink. My cost per page was astronomical as I was only getting partial use of the ink cartridges before they dried up.The toner will be much more cost effective as the toner cartidges won't dry up or clog.  I also discovered it was just as easy for me to print photos through an online service like Wal-Mart or Walgreens, so I don't need an inkjet for photo printing. The other problem with the ink jet was that it was not craft friendly - I couldn't get any glue or decoupage on the prints as it would mar the finish. That is not a problem with the color laser printouts! The toner printouts are more durable - I can use gel medium over them, spritz them with Perfect Pearls, decoupage them, all things that would mar the finish of inkjet printouts.

Winners will be posted next Sunday so be sure to check back on The Altered Alice.  To see the rest of this week's design team inspiration pieces, click HERE, there are some fantastic projects to see!

I'd love it if you'd leave a comment before you go!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I've Been Published in Ginger Scraps Street Magazine!

Look who's published. . .  ME!!!!
Jess Marin, our lovely guest designer on The Altered Alice, has more talents than her amazing coloring and wonderful paper craft creations. It turns out she is also a talented writer for Ginger Scraps Street Magazine, which is an online digital publication. I was so honored when she asked me to submit not one but TWO separate projects for her article on Alice in Wonderland.  Well, I sure have a few projects on this blog featuring Alice, LOL!

Jess writes the "Crafty Boutique" column which features Alice in Wonderland this month:

Please go check it out and then come back here and leave me a comment, I need some of you to jump up and down and laugh with me!!! 

Jess writes wonderful articles. I loved the one she did in the last issue on Twilight, it was great!  You can see all the issues of the Ginger Scraps Street Magazine.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CHAPTER 5 Challenge: Tea-Things

`And ever since that,' the Hatter went on in a mournful tone, `he won't do a thing I ask! It's always six o'clock now.' A bright idea came into Alice's head. `Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?' she asked. `Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: `it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.' `Then you keep moving round, I suppose?' said Alice. `Exactly so,' said the Hatter: `as the things get used up.' `But what happens when you come to the beginning again?' Alice ventured to ask. 
The Mad Hatter's tea table was full of tea-things, with place settings all the way around and many teapots and teacups. Your challenge this month is to have a teapot or teacup on your project, and, as an option, to use something OTHER than a stamped image as your focal point!

That's because The Altered Alice design team will be showing off with digital collage sheets from One Crabapple [Etsy Store | Blog], which has of the most interesting and different Alice in Wonderland categories I've seen! The owner and artist is taking care of some family priorities, so if the store is closed when you visit, just put in your email in to be notified when it reopens. It is well worth waiting for I promise; most of the design team members had a difficult time making  their choices and a couple of us needed all of everything in the Alice category! The winner will have their choice of five collage sheets from One Crabapple!

July is a long month, so you have almost four weeks to enter your project! Plenty of time for even our stragglers to play along, just be sure to enter by 11:59 p.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC -4:00) on Friday, July 29. The winner and honorable mentions will be announced the last Sunday of the month on July 31.

My creation uses the Mad Tea Party sheet and the diamonds from the Go Ask Alice sheet, and since I was on vacation away from my craft room, I decided to make it a completely digital creation using layers in Photoshop. You could use any image editing program with layers, including Photoshop Elements, which is much less expensive, or GIMP which is free.

I loved all the head gear on the Mad Tea Party sheet, so I copied the oval portrait and duplicated it three times, matching the plaid backgrounds, then pasted different hats on each Alice!  I was really taken with the rich burgundy and gold of the Mad Hatter hat, so I colorized the teapot and teacups to match, and the background is a burgundy to gold to burgundy gradient with noise added for texture. The captions are also from the collage sheet, but I reduced the opacity of the text layers to 65% so it looks like vellum. Lots of drop shadows were used to give a sense of depth, just think of them as virtual pop-dots!  Please click on the image to enlarge it so you can see these details.

Scoot on over to The Altered Alice to see the Week 1 and Week 2 inspiration from the design team, and to enter your own creation. Please leave a comment, I treasure every one!

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