New Dresses for the Innaugural Ball and for Your Antique Doll

Victorian pin cushion
Victorian pin cushion doll dressed in ribbons and lace

“Yes! We get to get a dress for the inaugural ball!” was one of my favorite quotes from Tuesday night’s mid-term victory speeches. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s win meant much to many and for the two darling daughters of Lieutenant Governor Sherry Kleeficsh and Representative Joel Kleeficsh that meant new dresses. Finally, politics I can understand.

Bleuette in original dress
Antique Bluette doll in original dress

Speaking of dresses, a vintage dress in pristine condition can add to the price tag of a collectible doll. Original clothing and in good condition can add to the value of a doll. The description original or appropriate clothing in a price guide on antique dolls indicates prices for a doll dressed either in its original clothing or wearing clothing designed and stitched as the doll might have worn at the time of production; thus appropriate.

Shoulder head on kid body
Shoulder head on a  kid body

Today, when we buy a doll, it comes dressed, but that wasn’t always the case. In the 1800s, shoulder head dolls were available without clothes and/or a body and clothing, which the mother could buy or make separately. The shoulder head included a shoulder plate with holes that could be latched to a cloth body or molded without holes and glued to a kid-leather body. Shoulder head dolls were a less expensive solution to German and French dolls made of bisque and composition. (Click for shoulder head dress patterns, either in the style of the Civil War or the American Revolution.) Continue reading New Dresses for the Innaugural Ball and for Your Antique Doll

Yummy Frankenstein Cake for Boss Franky

Frankenstein cake
Hallmark inspired Frankenstein cake

Decorating my Frankenstein cake for Franky was inspired by art on a Hallmark gift bag.

Legendary Boss Inspires Cake

I baked a Frankenstein cake for my Boss’s birthday. He earned himself the nickname Franky, aka, Frankenstein, from his boss.

Franky’s career in journalism was noteworthy, but his transition to the corporate world was bumpy. He embellished his reports to an extent that his articles, though fascinating reading, no longer passed the fact-checking test. His writing created nightmares in the board room. On those occasions, the company president who hired him, exclaimed he had created a monster, Franky.

For Franky’s office party, I baked a chocolate, Frankenstein cake with my go-to chocolate cake recipe, Hershey’s Chocolatetown Special Cake.

I whipped up some green butter-cream frosting. Topped the butter-cream with drizzles of melted, milk-chocolate chips for Franky’s face, and covered marshmallows with chocolate for his ear bolts.

SPOOKY: For cobwebs on your Halloween desserts, partially melt marshmallows on stove top or in microwave. Stir for a uniform texture. Pull apart and finely string across your dessert. Don’t heat it too hot to handle.

My $300 Italian Butter Cream Frosting Continue reading Yummy Frankenstein Cake for Boss Franky

Bearnadette Goes Mardi Gras

Miss Bearnadette attends Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday in New Orleans
Globe trotter Miss Bearnadette was spotted at Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday in New Orleans.

Bearnadette loves beads, candy, confetti and parades. She began as a doodle for March. I follow artist Ello Lovey, who publishes a Doodle-a-Day list each month. Day 4, Fat Tuesday, was all about Mardi Gras.
When I get an idea and start doodling on my iPad, I can’t stop until the fun is over. After spending eight hours on the design, I had made a friend. Bearnadette.  I posted a digital image of Bernadette for sale on Etsy in the spirit of Mardi Gras and a city that is rebuilding its history.
My how to: Continue reading Bearnadette Goes Mardi Gras

Hey, Cupid, Stop Picking on Me!

Stupid Cupid Song Title ValentineCupid Love!

Stupid Cupid, Stop Picking on Me spins round in my head when I think Valentine. And that song inspired this Valentine art, along with another Valentine great, Brach’s candy hearts. I wax poetic with Brach’s candy hearts on Valentine’s  Day.

Bored with love?

Pink heart with the word snooze on it
Bored with Love?

This Valentine is for those bored with love or have love on hold.

Just kidding. Happy Valentine’s Day !

Funny Candy Hearts
Sweet Heart Love

Love is the essence of all happiness.  I found my true love at sweet 16! 

Valentines from the Family Vault

Valentine at the Olympics

I was drawing Valentines on my iPad while watching the Olympics 2014. It was sweet to see snowboarder Jenny Jones in Slope-style at Sochi taking Bronze for Great Britain [Feb. 9].

Olympics XXII
Snowboarder Jenny Jones in Slope-style at Sochi takes Bronze for Great Britain

NOTE:  Stupid Cupid, Stop Picking on Me is a classic song by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, charting out at #14 on the Top 100 in days gone by.

Happy New Year!

Happy New YearKiss 2013 goodbye!  Friends were posting mini flipagram videos on Instagram to commemorate the new year, so I decided to dive into my photo files and make one as well.
I was an hour into the process and was about to jump ship and not finish, but I forged on and completed the video out of pure stubbornness. I limited myself to 84 photos for the video, which was like watching 2013 flash before my eyes.
After spending two hours on a self-absorbed video, I nearly felt guilty for wasting time, but in the process I saw all of the wonderful moments I’ve shared with friends and family
during the year and I was renewed seeing how much I have to be thankful for, so that I got excited about my first little flipagram and uploaded it to YouTubeFollow me on Instagram at patriciawiskur, as no snazzy nickname came to mind when I registered.
How To TutorialMy How To (top image):
There are three images layered for the end image. I scanned a vintage, beaded purse and layered it with a tie-dye decorated cake top in Photoshop. I set the top tie-dye layer to “color.”
I placed the carnival doll photo (after I deleted the background) on the top layer and gave it a gold outline with a gold color sampled from the background gold beads.
I made two additional copies of that doll and overlapped the three images in graduating sizes. For the text, I made a wavy line with the pen tool that curved in the opposite direction as the top hats and typed the text on the curving path in the Sybil Green font.

Happy New Year Tutorial ImagesI love the googly eyes on this vintage celluloid doll, dressed in a top hat and cane, ready  to welcome in the New Year with glitz.

Here’s to 2014!

Early Snowfall and Pillowcase Art

Snowy art for pillowcases by Darrell Wiskur to color
Snowfall in the Ozarks

 A dreamy, deep snow came early to Arkansas, 2013.

We hope for snow in the Ozarks

We woke one morning to a mid-December snow, 10-inches deep, over a slick layer of ice. We were glad for the surprise snowfall.

It is always super nice not having to fret about if or if-not we will have a Hallmark snow before Christmas Day … always a quandary in the Arkansas Ozarks.

Snowbound and off school, the grandchildren went sledding, built snowmen, and decorated gingerbread houses … putting everyone in a holiday state of mind.

School buses, parked. Our world stood still.

As we were on the verge of cabin fever, the sun came out and melted the snow. Alas, we were as happy to see the snow go as to see it come.

How To Tutorial

Pillowcase art for a snowy Christmas

The snowy woodland scene is an illustration by hubby Darrell Wiskur for a book daughter Wendy O’Dell wrote and designed.

The book, Mommy’s Days, Planning Daily Activities with Infants and Toddlers, was published in 1998 by Heir Press.

Darrell’s illustrations were pencil line-drawings. The book was printed in black & white. I wanted to color it, so I scanned the art and turned it into a vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator.

I created shapes, which I filled with color, then added a gradient to the background in Photoshop.

I love the art and the verse:

Stars shining brightly
Soft snow on the trees
The ornaments of God
All nature can see!

Art for a pillowcase

So much in love with the art, I printed the snowy woodland scene on pillowcases for our grandchildren to color.

Our family likes a calming craft for the children before Christmas dinner. I thought this wonderful verse and snowy woodland scene would make a perfect Christmas craft.

I had the line-drawing printed on pillowcases at a specialty printing shop.

Oops, didn’t think that through

Grandchildren paint pillowcases on Christmas Day
Drew coloring a pillowcase with washable fabric pens.
Grandchildren paint pillowcases before Christmas dinner
Stephanie loves art and working hard
Painting a snow pillowcase on Christmas
You would have to be a surrealist to paint snow anything but white.

Coloring snow is less than a perfect idea. After-all, snow is white. Fortunately, we have creative grandchildren.

Merry Christmas to All, and to All, a Good Night!

Merry Christmas‘Tis the joyous Christmas season

A favorite Christmas quote from A Christmas Carol, says …

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.
-Charles Dickens

The key to happiness is to hold on to that child-like wonder at Christmas.

Bah Humbug! cross stitch needlework
Bah Humbug!

Alas, the holiday season can bring a mix of good and bad memories. Once, during my  Bah Humbug! period, I cross-stitched another Dickens quote, Bah Humbug! And beautified it with a gilded frame.

Foremost this Christmas, cherish the simple things of the heart.

Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes. -Charles Dickens

Merry  Christmas to all, and to all, a good life!

How To TutorialMy digital how-to artwork for story illustration:

In Adobe Illustrator, I penned a blue gradient for my snow bank.
rolling_snow300x
I created layers of art in Photoshop. On top of the snow, I layered my Santa art, created in Illustrator.
Then, I duplicated Santa and skewed him, dialing back the transparency for a red shadow on the snow. I imagined Santa’s suit would reflect a jolly red on the snow rather than gray.
Santa and his Shadow
To complete the illustration, I added a lens flair above the snow for a heavenly light.

Christmas Greetings illustration of the nativity
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.” -Dickens

And cropped line work of the Nativity by hubby Darrell Wiskur  from a Merry Christmas letter he designed years ago, commissioned by a dentist for his office Christmas letter. 

Read Luke 21:1-40, a Biblical record of the incarnation of Christ … Emmanuel, God is with us.

 

Christmas Stockings Hung With Care

 Dear Santa ... Christmas stockings‘Tis the season to be merry!

Christmas stockings are a tradition in our family, and Santa, with the assistance of Mrs. Santa, fills the stockings on the Eve of Christmas while our children are fast asleep. It’s a lovely tradition.

Of course, we like our stockings brimming with good cheer. In my childhood, we were delighted with a stocking filled with an apple, an orange, a popcorn ball, and a candy cane.

As the acting Mrs. Santa one year when I was on a health kick, I baked cookies with a sugar substitute and attempted to bring back the apple, orange, popcorn ball, and candy cane idea from childhood.

While the children were all snug in their beds, with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, I, unfortunately, filled their stockings with fruit and trinkets.

Imagine the children’s dismay Christmas morning waking up to fruit.  No chocolate Santa wrapped in foil, no sweet and sour gummy worms, no M&Ms, no Reese’s PBCups — none of the children’s favorite candies.

And this naive act of mine took place at a time when stores were closed on Christmas morning. Nothing was open. There was no way to reprieve myself.  Mr. Santa couldn’t sneak out the back door and run to the candy store.

Santa had cautioned me about no candy, but I thought an old fashioned Christmas stocking would be as endearing to my children as it was to me as a child. Looking in the rear view mirror, I was clueless.

This is a cautionary tale: Never underestimate the power of  a well-filled stocking!
decorative flourishMy How-To Method for this graphic includes one paper and one frame from my Zany Design Kit on Etsy. There are 21 elements in my Zany Design Kit and two of those are gold, cut-out frames. The frames are easily modified in Elements or  Photoshop so that they can be any color you need to suit your graphic.

In Photoshop, I added a blue Adjustment Layer to a frame. Next, I threw on a Santa vector image I completed a few years back and three photos of Christmas stockings my daughter had painted for an open house.
The final touch was the text, Dear Santa … stuff it!

Surprise Me! And Wrap It With a Bow!

Surprise Me Art TagThe official gift-giving season draweth nigh, which threatens to be stressful, but then I remember the best gifts are the little, unexpected surprises from friends and family who simply know what you like and love you. It doesn’t need to be extravagant, although, extravagant gifts have their place.
Often, it’s the journal, the mittens, the pens, the slippers – those comfort gifts that linger on after all the wrappings and ribbons are in the trash. Or, something no one else can give, like a piece of  art or other personal workmanship.
So, surprise them! It’s always the best gift.

For this graphic, I took two silver elements from my Glitz collection. I colorized one and gave it a blue hue and added a Layer Effect to the other for a gold look.
Also, I made my first Chevron with a Shape layer in Photoshop, which I put over a vector created from a brooch I had scanned. The yellow duck is in my Swim Yellow Duck collection, and the sun is from a personal Illustrator tutorial.
And, my iPad travels with me at all times, so I doodle words and phrases in the Inkpad App because I love the pen tool in InkPad. I can save or send my doodles from Inkpad to my computer.

Then I open the text in Illustrator and make any edits I want with the pen tool.
Surprise me started in Inkpad. Next step, Illustrator. Then, in Photoshop, I treated Surprise me like a graphic and added a bevel, outline and drop shadow.
My How-To elements for this graphic, before adding layer effects in Photoshop!
Design components for Surprise Me graphic

Applause for our troops and patriots!

US Flag, flown with pride
US Flag, Chicago Skyline

Thanks for the Service of Many!

Veteran’s Day 2013, and our gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our veteran’s is at unparalleled heights. Thanks to all the veterans and patriots who fly our flag with pride; for citizens who place their hands over their heart and salute the flag for the Pledge of Allegiance and are moved to tears at the singing of our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

God Bless America!

Zany Cousins, Once Upon a Time, a Tutorial

Zany Frame and grandchildren riding in a jeep having zany fun
Grandkids in a gilded frame from my Zany Design Kit

Cousins at Play

Flashback: Grandchildren, Cousins Drew, Stephanie and Emma, zooming around the yard. This photo makes me smile every time I see it. The occasion was a reception for my granddaughter Julie’s high school graduation. It was May in the Ozarks. Spring fever had struck, and everyone was happy to celebrate a milestone event.

On the computer …

Play time: In Photoshop, I grabbed the photo, two backgrounds, a frame, and Peter Rabbit. The composition soon turned cartoonish, which I thought suited the photo. I chose a Comic font and a word balloon for Kapow. I’ve always wanted to say Kapow, and I’ve always adored the word balloons found in comic strips.
Method: I clipped a photo to a frame with a layer mask. Next, I layered two papers and added a Blending Mode for a rich, dimensional background. Finally, I added the Word Balloon Kapow and Peter Rabbit.

ZanyBroochFramePW200px
Gilded Zany Frame
ZanyBroochFrameMaskPW200
Zany mask

It’s all rather Zany

The frame is a vintage gold brooch. The frame and the frame-mask are part of my Zany Design Collection on Etsy. I clipped the black oval frame mask to the photo to confine the photo within the frame.
I layered two teal blue backgrounds and added a Difference Blending Mode to create a dimensional, red background.

It’s fun exploring Blending Modes in Photoshop. It was a happy accident when I clicked Difference and two blues made a red. I had an entirely different look in mind when I began my Photoshop work, but when the red popped up, I fell in love and went to finish.

Teal Zig Zag Pattern
Background layer one

 

Teal Clouds Pattern
Background layer two

It was spring in the Ozarks, and the grass was green. A perfect home for Peter Rabbit.

Peter Rabbit Tin Toy by Mattel
Peter Rabbit tin toy by Mattel

Pumpkin Face Jack-O-Lantern This Halloween

Happy Halloween greeting with a pumpkin jack-o-lantern
Happy Halloween from Pumpkin Face

Put on a Pumpkin face – Happy Halloween

Autumn is here, bringing with it Halloween and Thanksgiving Day.

I know it’s officially autumn when Starbucks brings back one of my favorites, Pumpkin Spice Latte. Bring ’em on!  I am an equal opportunity pumpkin eater: Pumpkin Almonds (thank you, Planter’s), Pumpkin Bagels and Autumn Soup (thank you Panera), and Pumpkin Pie Blizzards (thank you, DQ!).

I love pumpkins so much that I grow my own pumpkins. My daughter gave me a blown glass pumpkin because of my love for pumpkins.

I decorated this pumpkin in Photoshop to wish you a Happy Halloween. I took a photo of a pumpkin my hubby carved and added layer mask and layer effects in Photoshop. I clipped those to the carved pumpkin image and Voila.

Pen tool, in action

My first step for my art was to isolate the pumpkin from its background with the pen tool so that the pumpkin had a transparent background. I used the  pen tool again to create a path for my text. I placed a photograph of my pansies on the bottom layer to complete my image.

It’s fun to start with a photograph of a pumpkin and end up with a jack-o-lantern.

Photoshop after all is a lot like playing in a sandbox.

Happy Halloween to all …