Friday, June 29, 2012

Crow! Shoes! Gifts! and Free Word Art Creators

At times, a lot of my art energy goes into making gifts and cards.  I like to do collages as special cards for friends and sometimes, create pieces for a specific person. My husband Dennis just had a major birthday and I created a 50 page photo book for him of his life.  A big photo project is like a large collage, but additionally, I had great fun creating thematic collages from stories he has told me about his life - favorite childhood things, favorite music and collages representing certain times of his life - college, career, his era as a firefighter, etc.  At the behest of my best buddy, Deb, I also created a DVD using most of the photos and some of the collages, all backed by a Dylan soundtrack.  Sweet.  

This was my first DVD project and I look forward to making some art inspired DVDs.   The software Deb recommended is PhotoDVDMakerPro by AnvSoft.  It is easy to use, very intuitive and will save into several formats, including YouTube.  You can get a free trial  to see how it works.  The trial allows you to use a maximum of 30 photos and although you can save the project, you cannot actually burn it to a DVD.  I started working on my project in the trial, saved it and then purchased the software by download.  I did not buy it directly through the trial software since I found a 'deal' at TigerDirect.  The link above is to CNET, where there is a good review but it also is offering a deal on the download. 


But even when I'm living in digital art, our monthly Art Girls day gets me back into the studio.  Poking around, I found  a wonderful glittered crow and was inspired to do a crow-themed doll.  Crows are a special totem to me and appear often as inspiration.  I couldn't find the 'just right' head for this piece until I found on a shelf the wonderful black wire shoe.  A perfect resting place for the crow and a great 'head'.  I filled the toe of the shoe with white porcelain hands and added some mirror shards to the back to offset all the black.  

A flow of hanging stars [old earrings & yep, I actually wore them back-in-the-day], crow feathers & fabric bits for her skirt, silver micro beads and other bits and pieces and she came together.  The final touch, the pink rhinestones, appeared a couple days after she was completed and set off all that black perfectly.  

Stella ShoeCrow altered doll 11 inches

Came across the other day.  Wordle is an online site for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide.  It's free and easy to use.  Just type in your word selection and click on Randomize and Wordle will create many options of the words.  You can customize with a choice of color palettes, fonts, etc.  If you want to use a phrase, use dashes, as in Altered-E-Art or periods, as in to have Wordle read it as a single word.   The type window did not seem to read underscores as letter links, like Altered_E, so use the dash.

In the end you are given the option to send your design to your printer.  Save it as a PDF so you have a copy.  Actually, I had trouble getting the print window to pop up, so I used my clip tool and just captured the screen image and saved it as a jpg.  Great tool for custom text, cards, etc. is another great word designer - more sophisticated than Wordle.  Here you can enter text or you can capture text off the web.  The two sample designs I created used text from my blog.  You type in the url of a website or article and Tagxedo will capture the words.  As you can see from the samples, Tagxedo also offers an array of design shapes to import your text into, as well as a text block.  As with Wordle, you have color and design palettes to choose from and can customize both.  Tagxedo also lets you take your image directly to Zazzle where you can have it printed on an array of items- mugs, t-shirts etc.  I liked Tagxedo so much I made a donation.