Friday, October 26, 2007

This Sunday . . .

No artist interview this Sunday. My son is coming in from out of town and won't be here long so I'm spending my time with him. I will see to it you get your weekly freebie though.

A Couple More Layouts

These layouts were created with Cathie Alesia's Precious. It's available at Scrapbookersplayground:

I called this one "Girls . . . Why All The Fuss?' because that might be what this little boy is saying. I used lots of the girlie elements in the kit to make it look sweet and little girl fussy.
Precious One below shows my grandson's baby sister, Inara Grace, when she was just 3 months old. Tiny, isn't she? She was 2 months pre-mature but is doing just great!

Some heritage pages

The three pages below are of my paternal grandmother's family. I used Green Daze by AMB Designz for the layouts with a few additions. you can find the kit here at Scrapbookersplayground:

That's my grandmother, Lillian, standing beside her father, Herbert Owens Horton. Two of her brothers are shown: Raymond and Herbert. (Frame02 from Painted Pixels.) Papa Horton (as I called him) was still alive when I was a little girl. I believe his birthdate is around 1872 so he was in his nineties. He'd retired from Virginia Electric and Power where he was a streetcar conductor.
Although it was uncommon in those days, my great-grandfather ad been dovorced. In the brown leather frame from Princess Pamela is Papa Horton and his second wife. In the fancy frame by Artgrtaphix is Margaret, first wife and Lillian's mother. All I know about her is that she was German, Jewish, and remarried. She was still alive when I was a young girl but I never met her. However, my grandmother gave me a Dresden Plate quilt she made.

This is probably the last known photo of Papa Horton. He lived with my grandmother when I was a little girl until he needed additional care and went into a nursing home. This photo was taken at the nursing home on a day Nanny and I visited.
I have one other photo of Papa Horton that seems to fall between the second and the last photos. The company he worked for still exists under another name and they have some old photos of employees. I'm checking to see if they have one of Papa and a photo of the type of trolly he would have driven. If so, I will use those photos with the other one I have.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!

What Is Bright & Charming As A Warm Day?

Why, digital designs by April Day, of course! April is a thirty-something stay-at-home mom who lives with her husband and two children (son is eleven-years of age and daughter just two) in the state of Washington. Born and raised in southern California. April and her husband made the move to Washington about a dozen years ago.

April's mother loves to craft so April has always been involved in arts and crafts. She describes expressing her creativity as an important and necessary part of her life. She refuses to describe herself as an "artist," preferring to be called a "crafter," and has dabbled in many forms of creative expression. She has made candles, beaded, crafted jewelry, and has a great passion for sewing and quilting. Modest, she is quick to add that she may not be expert at these things but enjoys the process just the same.

Paper crafting has been a big part of April's life, from scrap booking in paper to altered arts. April says she scrapped in paper for about three years, then discovered digital scrap booking. That discovery led to a desire to create her own digital designs. For a little over six months now, April has been selling her designs under the trade name, April's Day Designs, in Tina Williams Designs store:

Asked to describe her style, April called it "ever-changing." Color is the base she works from and she loves to experiment so expects her style to reflect this. She says, for her, the most difficult part of creating a kit is deciding what to include so that the user will have plenty of choices in elements and papers to work with.

When asked what is her current favourite among her designs, April promptly replied: "Fairy Fodder." This lovely kit took more of her time and effort than those proceeding it and she is very pleased with the outcome. Below you can see the previews for the kit and there are links to the page in Tina's store.

The kit includes 24 papers and loads of embellishments!
When you're looking, be sure to view the rest of April's products.
I purchased a copy of "Fairy Fodder" because it's perfect to scrap photos of my young nieces and I also feel it can be used for altered art projects and greeting cards. In fact, I made a birthday party invitation which you can see here:

Half-fold card. Outside above; inside below.

And just to give you some idea of other art work by April, here are photos of an altered book and a paper bag book she made:

Above: cover of paper bag book; below: inside of paper bag book.

Below: cover of altered book.

I asked April what sort of formal training she has had in art in general and in digital design in particular. She laughed and gave an answer I can really relate to. April has had no formal training and continuing, says: "[I] don't think I could. I know that sounds funny, but I get the most enjoyment figuring things out for myself. I'm a great self teacher!" Here on the east coast, I was nodding my head in agreement and smiling. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from doing it on your own. However, we all know that there are moments we get frustrated when trying to learn something new. So, I asked April what advice she would give to those trying to learn digital design on their own. She gave some very sound advice: "know your tools. Get to know what your programs do. And . . . play with everything. Push all the buttons and mess with all the controls; don't be scared." After all, she reminds us, you can use the "revert" action if you don't like the result.. Most of all, Have Fun! if it's becomes too much like work, it stops being fun and that's whats it's all about, having fun and being creative."
My final question to April was, "What else would you like readers to know?" April replied: "I want people to know that they should encourage the designers they like. Leave that comment on their blog or at their store, or write that review .Tell us what you like the best . Tell us what you would like to see more of. Let us know and we will make it. The more feedback designers get, the more inspired they get." Take April's advice; we all need positive reinforcement, so make certain you express appreciation for those artists who share their work and expertise with us. Leave comments, especially comments of substance that express what their work means to you, what you especially enjoy, what a piece of art made you think of. If you create art or layouts using freebies from artist, why not e-mail them a copy so they can see ow you used it? Share some love!

In closing, April would like to share with you a freebie from a new kit she's working on. No preview for you, but you'll love it. Don't forget to leave some love! Download here:
Password is AprilDaze
You can visit April on her blog:

Also, scroll down for Sunday's freebies.

Attention: Maria of DigiFree

Thanks for listing me again on your freebie list! Hugs, SherryD

Recent Layouts

As you can see, I got a little scrapping done last week. The first layout is of my son, Jeremy, at 6 months old. I won in Imanita's first game on her blog ( and got this cute little kit. I decided to challenge myself to use every piece of it in a layout and remembered this old photo of Jeremy and thought the colors in his outfit would go well with the kit. What do you think?

For ScrapbookersPlayground, I was to create 2 layouts with AMB Designz kit, Traveler's Journal which can be found here:
I actually started by creating a layout for some photos of our honeymoon trip to Hoover Dam, as you'll see below, then decided the kit would work well for photos of the Monte Carlo where we stayed. One page lead into another so I ended up with a 2 page spread of the Monte Carlo as you see below.

Here are the Hoove Dam pages. The dusky blues and yellows made me think of sunshine and shadows which is what led me to scrap these photos. It was well over 100 degrees this day. The heat didn't bother me in Vegas because it was dry heat, but as soon as we stepped off the bus at Hoover Dam, all that humidity in the air combined withthe heat made me feel sick. What I mostly remember about the outside was looking for shade - not that it made much difference!
Here's me and John pulling faces for the camera he is holding at arms' length.

Moments after the photos below were taken, I'd turned red as a lobster from the heat and was a little faint. Once inside the building, a short rest before the tour put me to rights. The trip back was fine and I was up for the tour of a chocolate factory. Yummy!

Here are a couple vintage layouts created with Robin Ackler's kit, Vintage Keepsakes which can be found at Scrapbookersplayground:

I don't really know who this gentleman is, I just made up a name.

Don't know who these ladies are either but they looked as though they could be sisters. I named them Miss Ida (in bonnet) and Miss Emma.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Waiting on interviewee and 2 freebies for you

This week, I'm featuring April Day, a fairly new digital artist. I've sent the rough draft for her to look over but weekends are family time so we've been missing each other. As soon as April e-mails it back to me, I'll post and you'll be able to read about her.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go ahead and post the freebies for this week. Hope you're not sick of Halloween? Here's a spooky paper for you:

Download here:

And here's another quickpage.

Download here:

Writing Prompts

For those of you who journal or otherwise enjoy writing, here are a few prompts for you:

* A ribbon of sweat ran down his throat . . .
* On a dawn soft and gentle . . .
* I have tried to forget . . .
* There is no such thing as freedom of thought.

Another week has flown by. Tomorrow I've got errands to run: drive to Suffolk to deliver a gift to my neice, Kristina; take my father to the bank for an explanation of why he's been charged a $20 "Service fee" on an account which is supposed to be free of fees. Then the usual household stuff. If all goes well, I plan to post a lesson on clustering for those of you who may not have heard of this technique for breaking writer's block.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Caryl Hoobler - Outstanding Mixed Media Artist

Mixed media -- a rainbow of color, a world of textures, a plethora of materials. All of these things are true of mixed media art, but you could also describe mixed media art as art where the usual rules are suspended and happenstance is a welcome partner. In some media, a mistake can mean a disaster or at minimum require additional time and effect applied to correction before the artist can move on. In mixed media, "accidents" are part of the game. Something unexpected happens that alters whatever plan the artist may have started with, but rather than being seen as having a negative impact on the work, it's likely to be seen as an improvement. The element of the unexpected -- whether the fortuitous accident, the unusual combination of materials, use of found objects most would consider trash, or a startling perspective on life as we know it -- is, for this writer, one of the greatest pleasures of mixed media art. The unexpected pulls us out of our usual, customary, safe, world view and opens our eyes and minds.

The work of one of my favorite mixed media artist, Caryl Hoobler, exemplifies what is best in mixed media art. Whether she is creating ATCs, assemblage pieces, or altered books, Caryl is in tune with her muse. Throughout, you will see samples of Carol's work.

Married, mother to two daughters, grandmother to two grandchildren Caryl not only cares for her family but has worked full-time for 17 years for the Housing Authority. Those she encounters during her workday probably have little idea that the competent businesswoman is also a well known artist whose work brings pleasure to many.

Caryl has her own room devoted to art in the lovely Victorian home she shares with her husband and a cat named Kramer. Totally self-taught, Caryl began her artistic adventures by drawing. Her talent is such that she has been commissioned to do portraits. However, she found the precision, the exactitude necessary to create likenesses that please too confining. She ventured into mixed media art where she found the freedom her muse craves. It was a fortuitous step.
When asked what inspires her, Caryl mentions music and color. She loves to listen to music in her art room while she creates. And she confided that she carries a small notebook with her everywhere to make note of color combinations and patterns that catch her eye. I asked Caryl how she would describe her style and she was at a loss. Some might call it eclectic, as she draws on a wide variety of styles or, as she put it, uses elements of anything that she likes. Caryl puts a lot of herself into her work and not only draws on her life experiences in making her art, but uses her art to allow "the soul to express itself." Caryl gave two touching examples of how this works for her. She was working on a spread for an altered book when her grandmother passed away. That spread ended up as a sort of tribute to her grandmother. In the second example, Caryl was again trying to work on a spread for an altered book. This was during the time when her husband was in the hospital following the accident. He'd received a serious head injury during the accident and was in critical condition. Sitting by his side, it was nearly impossible to think about art. Yet, Caryl recalls that her eye was drawn to the shaved and stapled area of his head. She found herself amazed at the textures visible there and that led her to create using the letter "T" for textures and textbooks. A great example, I think, of how life experience influenced art and how art provided comfort at a difficult time. I appreciate her sharing this with us and I thought you would like to see the pages she produced during such a stressful time:

(above: pages Textbooks & textures pages from altered book)

Caryl's works speak to viewers on many levels as evidenced by the list of publications in which samples have appeared:
Artitude Zine, Somerset Studios, Stampington's Transparent Art, Take Ten, Stampers Sampler, Stamper's Sampler Catch Up Issue, Simply Sentiments, and Belle Armoire.
While this listing is impressive, nothing compares to viewing Caryl's art for yourself. Please visit her blog: for her recent work. See also Caryl's Flickr album:

And you can read about Caryl as ArtChix studios featured artist here:

Can you take classes with Caryl? Not at this time but teaching is an idea Caryl entertains for the future. Would you like to purchase some of C's work? She has an etsy store: where she normally has pieces for sale. However, her husband was seriously injured in an accident this past summer; she let the shop go empty will attending to his care. Thankfully, Caryl's husband is on the mend and that means that she'll have more opportunity to create works to fill the etsy store. So hold onto that address.

Below are some samples of Carol's art:

This altered kitchen drawer shrine won first prize in Art Chix Studios' bottle shrine contest.

Left: one of her whimsical drawings.

Right: a beautiful ATC

Above left: an optical lens charm. Above right: a formica chip keychain.

Although a little hard to see here, the photo below is of her Gypsy Accordian book which was published.

Above left: one of a number of published ATCs. Above right: a beautiful Valentine collage.

Here's one of my favorite pieces. For an Art Chix Studios contest with a Paris theme, Caryl altered a wooden box which houses wonderful Paris souveniers - made by Caryl, of course! This easily won first place. Don't you love it?

And here is a copy of a page in Stampimgton's book, Transparent Art showing Caryl's art doll shrine:

While we are on the subject of shrines, I couldn't resist adding photos of one of her shrines, opened & closed:

I hope this has given you some idea of the quality and variety of Caryl's work.

Meanwhile, Caryl has some advice to all who would like to explore their creative abilities. She suggests you browse blogs and magazine to see what you are drawn to, then "[J]ust dive in! See something you like on a blog or in a magazine? Go for it!" She reminds us that one of the things she loves about mixed media is especially helpful to beginning artists: "It allows you a freedom to use any paint, image, texture, found element or ephemera that lands in you art space."
So, what are you waiting for? Go visit Caryl's blog, get inspired, gather whatever materials you have available, and see what you can come up with. Enjoy!

I promised you freebies . . .

Had some computer trouble so really running late today, but I promised you two freebies and here they are. These were created from my new kit, Scrappy Halloween. Special thanks to Caroline Brown & KatScraps.

Download QP 1 (above) here:

I hope you like them. Also, it's come to my attention that the 4shared preview of the vintage Halloween dresden posted previously looks terrible. It sure does but it downloads properly.

Dainty ATCs for AlabamaStoneThrower Creations

There are such beautiful papers and elements in ASTCs "Blue Skies" kit and I just knew they would work beautifully with her "Altered Fairies." I combined the two kits to create the ATCs you see below.
Doesn't this baby have the sweetest expression? Wistful, a bit sad maybe, or perhaps he's thinking? I decided to call it "Wistful."

Here I borrowed some flowers in contrasting colors from my stash and added the cute cardboard strip at the bottom,, which is from Tina Williams.
The fairy below actually sits on a stool in the kit but I removed it so she could sit on this cute shoe from April Days' Nostalgic Mini kit.

You can find AlabamaStoneThrower Creations here at Tina Williams Designs:
Altered Fairies:

Most recent layouts for Scrapbookersplayground CT

The first two layouts below were created using Robin Ackler's Butterfly Sunrise. available here:

The background paper below suggested flower stems to me so I used Christine's Curves to cut a grass shape from another paper and PSE leaf shape to cut leaves for Robin's pretty flowers. The large flower was cut from two papers usiing a shape in PSE. Th center of the flower is a photo of my cousin Carol's youngest daughter, Jennifer.

Here I had fun using Janeal's Circular Fun template and more of Robin's pretty papers to scrap a cheerful layout for this vintage photo.
The following two layouts feature AMB Designz "Peaceful Moons" kit, which suggests both skies and water. You can find the kit at Scrapbookersplayground:
Here I played with the water effect to create a page for a vintage photo.
In this layout, I wanted a night sky for the photo of my (then) 4-day-old grandson, Tyler, asleep in his mother's arms. There aren't any stars in the kit but the metallic tag/button (see above) gave me a silver surface to cutt stars from.

Old photos of my mother and her older sister

I believe the photos below were taken by my father. In these photos my mother is about 16. I think this was not long before she married my father that year. The location in the first layout is the Hague in downtown Norfolk, VA. I used Carol Burns beutiful kit, "Golden Splendor" to scrap both the layouts below.

I tinted this photo of my Mom alittle to better go with the papers in Carol's kit.

You can find "Golden Splendor" here at Scrapbookersplayground:

Recent Layouts Featuring My Son

My son is a senior radiography student at St. Mary's in Richmond. this photo shows him in his ER scrubs.

I used Cari Lopez's beautiful kit, "Doctors", to scrap this dignified page. You can find the kit at Scrapbookersplayground:

Then, for fun, I did a humorous version with the same photo.

Here I used KatScraps "Medical Mayhem" kit. Also at Scrapbookersplayground: