Not a lot to report chez Shosh this week I’m afraid – a combination of things have kept me pretty busy. Apart from feeling somewhat exhausted after all this, another huge factor in Shoshi’s non-productive desk is the “O” word – I’m pretty much glued to the telly at the moment! (This has also resulted in me being pathetic at visiting people’s desks, I’m afraid!) (To find out what this is all about, click the WOYWW link in my sidebar.)
Add to this the fact that the power adaptor on my large laptop (with all my graphics stuff on it) has failed and I’m awaiting the arrival of a replacement. This means there is no photo of my desk for this week – but never mind, there isn’t anything worth photographing on there anyway – just boring office papers!
Last week in all the lovely comments I received – thanks everybody! – two main questions came up. One was about my annotated photo – so glad you all enjoyed that so much!! – how did I do it? If you have got access to a desk-top publishing program it’s a doddle, because every element on your page is treated as a separate unit and can be moved and re-sized at will, whether it’s pictures, text frames, lines – these can have arrow heads added on their ends, and made thicker and a different colour so they show up.
If you’ve got Microsoft Office installed on your computer, Microsoft Publisher should be included, which is a desktop publishing application. I haven’t used this, but most of these programs behave in much the same way, although obviously the interface will vary between them.If you haven’t got access to this, or another DTP application, I recently came across an open-source (free) DTP program called Scribus, which again I haven’t tried.
I used Serif PagePlus. I started a new A4 landscape page with a white background, and imported the photo of my desk, re-sized it appropriately, and centred it in the middle of my white sheet, using the Alignment feature. I then started to create the text frames, dragging them out to what I thought was a good size, and typing in the appropriate text, and adjusted the font size till it would be large enough to read when posted on my blog, but not too large that it would take up too much room. Some of the frames needed re-sizing to accommodate the text. I moved the frames around so that they were placed near the objects which they related to, and made sure that the line around each frame was removed. Then I proceeded to draw straight lines from the frames to the objects in the picture. In the lines menu you can choose how wide you want your lines (I think I did mine 5 pts) and you can also opt to add an arrow head. I coloured the lines orange, using the colour palette – this seemed to show up best against both the photo and the white background. I finally checked the placement of everything till I was satisfied, and then I exported and saved the page as a graphic (jpg), uploaded it to my Photobucket album and completed my blog post.
You could, at a pinch, do this sort of thing in Word, but Word really doesn’t lend itself well to desktop publishing – it’s a pain to use as the frames don’t want to stay put, and you can’t see what you are getting properly either.
The other question that came up was about my used kitchen towels! A lot of people use kitchen paper to mop up mess on their desks, and just throw it away. However, this is very wasteful of ink, and also a missed opportunity for creating art. Ever since I’ve used Distress Inks, I’ve always water-spritzed what’s left on the craft sheet, and either smooshed some card around in it to blot it up, and create interesting backgrounds, or used kitchen paper if I am in a hurry. When using the latter, I always try to use the same piece for different colour schemes (e.g. reds, blues – or mixing colours that blend well, e.g. reds/browns/yellows, etc.)– if you just use the same piece for everything you tend to end up with a mucky brown colour! Gradually the colour will build up on the paper, and when there’s enough on there, just start again with a fresh sheet, and store the other one away until it’s needed. Since getting my Dylusions Ink Sprays, this issue has become much more important to me, because you do a lot of mopping up, and you quickly become aware of the potential for waste!
So – what to do with this kitchen paper? I have made “hand-made” paper with it in the past, by layering small bits of it with gel medium to create a new paper, and added gilding flakes etc. – you could add scraps of other interesting fragments too, such as threads. This can then be used for projects – backgrounds etc.
You can also make flowers out of it, by cutting simple shapes and layering them up.
You might want to build it up around objects rather than working flat – for covering boxes etc. Just tear into small strips or scraps and mould it round. Here’s a small box I altered by adding tissue paper with mat gel medium.
I used a particularly delicious piece for the background in my recent project, the mixed media birthday card with the floating butterflies.
You could weave strips of the paper, or overlay them in different arrangements to make patterns with the different colours. Really, the only thing to limit you is your imagination! Have fun and be creative.
I’m hoping to do a blog post about using our rubbish in our art soon. Watch this space! Meantime, happy WOYWW, everybody.