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Seth Apter is a superb mixed media artist and I was lucky enough to take part in his art collaboration project ‘The Pulse’. The Pulse is an interview with artists from around the world.

This sunday my comments were included in the latest part of The Pulse to be published; The Masterclass 5; Familiar Faces.

Master Class: Part of Seth Apter's mixed media art collaboration project; The Pulse

The question was asked: ‘If you could take a class from one artist from anytime in history, including the present, who would it be and why?’

To find out which artist I chose, please visit Seth’s blog, the link is shown below. I am also super excited for the publication of Seth’s book in March; The Pulse of Mixed Media, as he’s told me something I submitted will be included in it.

Links

Do stop by Seth’s amazing blog, his art is fantastic and really inspires me to get the paint out, every time I visit.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Happy New Year

Welcome Back

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, hubby and I had a quiet one at home this year (I’ve had a sinus infection for 3 weeks and didn’t want to inflict it on anyone).

Had some wonderfully inspiring books for Christmas, a collage book, a sewing book from my best friend. DH gave me an awesome book about Tuner after I’d been so inspired after seeing his work at Petworth this summer. MIL gave me a couple of books about flower painting, which I hope to try when the weather and light improves.

Looking forward to getting back to making more tutorials again, need some good light for filming and then I’ll get busy. Really want to make some using Craft Artist software by Serif, but need to work out how to get screen shots and shorten LONG descriptions that my notes currently use with it. I’ve had more practice with the software now, so looking forward to making some more complex projects with it this year.

Keeping the reviews coming, when budgets allow, and of course there will still be inspiration with challenges and pictures of my finished projects too. Look forward to sharing ideas with you all and to see what you are creating too.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and hoping that you can make your creative dreams come true.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

To conclude the review of the year kinda week, I’d like to share;

My Favorite Tutorials of 2011

They have to be working with Kuretake products and the video tutorials I made using a selection of their pens.

Rock n Roll Flowers with Zig Art & Graphic pens

Rock n Roll Flowers with Zig Art & Graphic pens

Rock n Roll flowers were my most favorite as after creating these with their Brushables range, I discovered their Art & Graphic pens, which gave a different more subtle effect which is beautiful. I hope to spend more time playing with these products next year and share some more ideas with you for how to use them.

How about you?

What has been the tutorial that you most enjoyed in 2011, doesn’t have to be one of mine ;) Would love to hear what really got your creative juices flowing.

Links

Video tutorials will be back in 2012, I have plans for several and just need to wait for good light to be able to film.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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As the year comes to a close I thought it would be a good time to look  back at some of my favorite things of 2011. Today I’d like to share;

My favorite products of 2011

Like last time there are two products that stood out for me this year.

First place by a country mile is; Serif Craft Artist software.

Craft Artist Platinum Edition by Serif

Craft Artist Platinum Edition by Serif

I adore this product as it is so simple to use but has so much versatility and superb digikits. It has a lot of the features of products like Adobe Photoshop Elements but without the HUGE learning curve.

My wonderful husband gave me a copy of this and I’ve had so much fun with it this year and have collected lots of digikits. I love to use it to try out ideas and techniques and especially love that all the wonderful elements can be used over and over again, which when you are on a small budget makes a big difference. Serif have digi kits on their Daisy Trail site and some of them are even free :) Perfect when you want to treat yourself but the budget says no.

In second place; Brittany Birch knitting needles

Brittany; Birch knitting needles

Brittany; Birch knitting needles

Trying to knit with RSI is foolish! It hurts, but if you are mad enough to risk it, try these birch needles. I can only knit a row or two at a time and have to rest for some time between attempts but these needles are warm to the touch and so much kinder to the hands than anything else. Super smooth like metal no drag like plastic and they are nice and light to hold too.

How about you?

Those were my favourites of the year, but how about you, what product have you tried this year and now love? Would love to hear about it.

Links

To find out more about the items I’ve mentioned, follow the links below to their original posts.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

As the year comes to a close I thought it would be a good time to look  back at some of my favorite things of 2011. Today I’d like to share;

My favorite projects of 2011

I have two favorites;

First place goes to. Gift Bags.

Holly Gift Bags with handles and tags

Holly Gift Bags with handles and tags

This was a project I started only recently and its a favorite, as I can see a lot of potential for designing different styles and shapes with it as well as lots of different papers for it too.

A close second goes to; Hand Warmers

Hand warmer, with gift bag and instructions tag

Hand warmer, with gift bag and instructions tag

This is a personal favorite with me, as thanks to RSI and bad circulation they are a simple project to put together but also using them makes a huge difference to pain levels. So a winner for several reasons :)

How about you?

What project have you most enjoyed creating or reading about this year? Would love to hear about it or see pictures of your finished pieces.

Links

To find out more about the gift bags and the hand-warmers here are link to their original posts.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Merry Christmas 2011

Welcome Back

Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Cool Yule.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and continuing support of this blog. It is you, who make all the hard work and long hours worth while.

Hope you all have a peaceful, healthy and happy holiday and here’s to 2012.

Best wishes and thanks for reading

Billie :)

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I was just on Twitter and discovered that it is Dyslexia Action Week, who knew there was an action week for it? Any way thought this would be a good excuse to share some links to items and coping strategies that make living with dyslexia easier for me. Hope they help you too.

Perhaps dyslexia didn’t exist in the 1970’s and 80s, no one I knew had heard of it. School started ok, nice big print nice fat letters. The once you got a bit older you were expected to go onto the harder books, thing was the fonts used changed. No more thick letters, now they were thin and had little sticky out bits on? It was like learning a new language all over again. The font of fashion back then was like Times New Roman and I’ve since found out the sticky out parts are called Serif’s.

I found reading VERY hard, the new letters looked strange, had halos around them and they moved! No one would believe me, teachers had lots of pupils in the class and I just had to struggle on as best I could. Bad handwriting, took ages to complete tasks as I spent half the time trying to work out what I was reading and the rest of the time trying to understand what was meant by it. I was keen to learn but low marks and humiliation at the hands of teachers back then taught me to keep my head down and just do my time at school.

My parents knew I was trying so they didn’t give me a hard time, and encouraged me. They took me to the optician, where I explained the halos round the letters, the bright likes off them, the fact that every time there was a space between words my eyes would fall down the gap and play pin ball rally with the rest of the spaces. They didn’t believe me, not just that but I was told in no uncertain terms that ‘You can’t possibly be seeing that’. I gave up at that point, did my best and gave up trying to get people to understand what I was seeing.

Secondary school was worse, reading aloud was painful as I would lose my place and be embarrassed, add to that sarcastic comments from teachers and once again, it was just a matter of do your time till you can leave.

Remembering things, or not.

Life was different when I left school, I found I could teach myself how to do things, in my own way.

I knew I wouldn’t remember if people told me how to do something and experience had shown if you ask them to repeat it frequently they get annoyed.

Coping strategy. Write it down! Simple as that, if I need to remember something I write it down. This includes all kinds of things, I have recipes for most things in my life :) That way someone tells me once and when I forget, I can look it up.

Loosing things

I spend days or more looking for stuff! If I put it down, I will forget where it is and then spend endless amounts of time looking for things.

My strategy is to have dedicated areas for things. Labelled or see through boxes for storage.

I have a mug on my desk for pens pencils rulers etc. If it’s not in my hand that’s where it goes, otherwise I’ll put something on top of it or leave it else where in the house and spend ages looking for it. I have a box on the desk too, anything I’ll need goes in there, note pads, stuff I need to file that kind of thing.

People think I’m OCD organized, I’m not but without a place for everything and being disciplined about things only going there, things quickly descend into time-consuming chaos. Inks live in a particular box, all things art related live in a box and they all live in a particular cupboard. I’ll remember which cupboard and the labelling narrows down the search from there ;) As the meerkat says ‘Simples’.

Reading and Writing

The first time I found out about dyslexia was from a colleague at work, we had just returned from a company eye test because computers were being introduced. Once again I had told the optician about the reading issues I had and once again they couldn’t believe me or give me a reason for it.

My colleague asked me how the eye test had gone, I said ok but they never believe me when I tell them what I see. When he asked me about it and I told him, he said ‘That’s Irlin’s, I’ve got that’. He explained about having different coloured paper for work and he was the only other person I knew who also wrote everything down. I left that job and lost contact and couldn’t spell Irlins to search online but DH asked about it in his opticians once and they suggested reading rulers. I searched that online and sure enough you could buy coloured overlays and they were said to help.

Found Crossbow education and ordered a multi coloured pack of overlays. OMG the overlays changed my life! As soon as I placed the orange overlay onto a page of text, the change was immediate. The text stopped moving, the flashing lights reduced and pinball rally down the spaces reduced too! I ordered a pack of the orange overlays and haven’t looked back since. I print out onto green paper, which is less contrast than the black text on white and that makes it easier to read as well.

Writing

Found that if I use green pens I can read back what I’ve written more easily. Try different coloured paper and pen combinations till you find one that works for you. Its cheap, simple and easy to try out at home.

Computers

Using coloured overlays on the screen is good too. Crossbow education have software which lets you open an on-screen reading ruler, which you can set to your own colour choice. It also has the option of having a nice black line which you can vary the position and size which helps you keep track of what line you are on.

Acessability settings

Check these out on your computer, you can alter the background colours that boxes open on your screen, which makes a huge difference. I’ll borrow hubby and write a post soon for how to do that.

Links

Life with dyslexia is like jogging with those strap on weights on your ankles. Not impossible, just time consuming and hard work. Thankfully now there is a lot more known about it and a lot more resources available. Here are a couple that I’ve found really useful.

I want to thank Crossbow Education for their excellent products, they really did change my life. Without their overlays I couldn’t see the words. Suddenly in my 30s letters began to make sence again. Not since I moved from the very young kids books had I made propper sence of words on a page.

There is an excellent project about a dyslexia font at Project Dyslexie I truely wish this could be  made available for home users. If my computer would display in that and I could print in that, life would be much easier.

People are suprised by the amount of detail I go into when I write my tutorials, simple thing is that I make notes to that level for my own use because I’ll forget how I did a technique by the time I come to use it again. So it frequently only takes a short amount of extra work to tidy those notes up into a tutorial.

If you or someone you know is struggling try different colour papers, different coloured pens and get a set of coloured overlays. It could change their life!

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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