Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I have been working on putting a new section in my Etsy Shop to design custom banners, avatars and business cards. It is open now.

I will be adding pre made banners, avatars and business cards this week.

We have survived the storm last week with 4 days of heavy rain and wind gusts up to 60 MPI.
The temperatures differ so much here. When it is rainy it is pretty warm 48 to 50 degrees but when the skies are clear it is cold 28 to 25 degrees. Today it is beautiful !

I watched the movie A Dolphin Tale this weekend and it was fantastic. Based on a true story.
If you want a good heartwarming story, this one is amazing!

(Photo: Alcon Entertainment)The movie "Dolphin Tale" is based on a true story about a dolphin that survives a horrific accident thanks to the help of a small band of dedicated scientists. Though the poster for the film includes the likes of Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, and Morgan Freeman, the true star of the flick is Winter the dolphin, who is playing herself in the movie.

Back in the winter of 2005 when Winter was a mere three months old, she became entangled in a crab trap. A rope from the trap became wrapped around her tail and all of her efforts to escape just made the injuries worse. Normally, this would have been the end of Winter -- thousands of dolphins die every year in the same way — but she was lucky. Winter was discovered by a fisherman and eventually transported to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. There marine biologists were forced to remove the mangled tail. They also named her Winter for the season when she was discovered.

The odds of survival for a dolphin with a missing tail are very low. The rear fins are like legs for a human; they get the marine mammals from point A to point B. If Winter were to survive, even in an aquarium, she needed a prosthetic. Many of the challenges of making an artificial leg and making an artificial tail are similar: The design and geometry of the prosthetic has to work for the amputee and it need to attach comfortably and snugly. The only difference is that no one had ever tried to make an artificial limb for a dolphin.

Winter the Dolphin (Photo: Alcon Entertainment)After months of redesigns and rehabilitation, the staff at Clearwater Marine Aquarium managed to make a tail that worked. In the process they invented a soft, rubbery material -- which they dubbed "Winter's Gel" -- to be worn with the artificial limb, which greatly reduces the chafing and pain associated with a prosthetic. It's an invention that had significant applications outside of the aquarium, helping thousands of veterans and amputees.

Fortunately, in spite of the pain and physical therapy, Winter took to the tail and soon began thriving. It was the sort of inspiring story that the media can't resist. News articles and local segments were soon followed by interest from Hollywood.

Though Winter soon became used to the occasional news camera, shooting a feature film is whole different beast. As producer Richard Ingber stated in the press notes, "One thing we knew going in was that Winter is not an actor. She is not a captive animal that is trained to perform. She's been through so much in her life already, so we had to be respectful of that and of her."

In the weeks leading up to the production of "Dolphin Tale," the staff of CMA set up lights, boom mics, and a fake camera around Winter's aquarium to get her used to life on-set. Like the tail, Winter soon took to being in front of the camera. With the exception of a couple of shots that used an animatronic dolphin, the dolphin you're seeing in the movie is Winter.

Over the course of making the movie, many of the crew and cast members found themselves inspired by Winter's very strong personality. Director Charles Martin Smith, who met Winter multiple times prior to production, developed a particularly strong connection to her.

"The one thing that you do see about her is that she has absolutely no quit in her," he said in an interview with Collider. "She is an optimistic, very intelligent, very mischievous, wonderful, bright, juvenile animal who has a lot of lessons to teach about perseverance. The fact that she can barely swim is something that you'd never get the feeling has gotten her down or that she's ever been depressed about it. To see how inspiring she is for people around her meant a lot to me. I just thought, "This is one of the wonderful things about film. When on Earth would I ever form such a close bond with a dolphin?"

"Dolphin Tale" is now playing in 2D and 3D.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Today one of my all time favorite singers passed away.
I am so sad but I am sure she is singing in heaven with the Angels! I love her music and admire her talent.

Rest in Peach Etta. The world has lost another icon.

This is a tin I created two years ago.

This post in lengthy but well worth the read if you love Etta James

Her manager, Lupe De Leon, said that the cause was complications of leukemia. Ms. James, who died at Riverside Community Hospital, had been undergoing treatment for some time for a number of conditions, including leukemia and dementia. She also lived in Riverside.

Ms. James was not easy to pigeonhole. She is most often referred to as a rhythm and blues singer, and that is how she made her name in the 1950s with records like “Good Rockin’ Daddy.” She is in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame

She was also comfortable, and convincing, singing pop standards, as she did in 1961 with “At Last,” which was written in 1941 and originally recorded by Glenn Miller’s orchestra. And among her four Grammy Awards(including a lifetime-achievement honor in 2003) was one for best jazz vocal performance, which she won in 1995 for the album “Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday.”

Regardless of how she was categorized, she was admired. Expressing a common sentiment, Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote in 1990 that she had “one of the great voices in American popular music, with a huge range, a multiplicity of tones and vast reserves of volume.”

For all her accomplishments, Ms. James had an up-and-down career, partly because of changing audience tastes but largely because of drug problems. She developed a heroin habit in the 1960s; after she overcame it in the 1970s, she began using cocaine. She candidly described her struggles with addiction and her many trips to rehab in her autobiography, “Rage to Survive,” written with David Ritz(1995).

Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles on Jan. 25, 1938. Her mother, Dorothy Hawkins, was 14 at the time; her father was long gone, and Ms. James never knew for sure who he was, although she recalled her mother telling her that he was the celebrated pool player Rudolf Wanderone, better known as Minnesota Fats. She was reared by foster parents and moved to San Francisco with her mother when she was 12.

She began singing at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles at 5 and turned to secular music as a teenager, forming a vocal group with two friends. She was 15 when she made her first record, “Roll With Me Henry,” which set her own lyrics to the tune of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ recent hit “Work With Me Annie.” When some disc jockeys complained that the title was too suggestive, the name was changed to “The Wallflower,” although the record itself was not.

“The Wallflower” rose to No. 2 on the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1954. As was often the case in those days with records by black performers, a toned-down version was soon recorded by a white singer and found a wider audience: Georgia Gibbs’s version, with the title and lyric changed to “Dance With Me, Henry,” was a No. 1 pop hit in 1955. (Its success was not entirely bad news for Ms. James. She shared the songwriting royalties with Mr. Ballard and the bandleader and talent scout Johnny Otis, who had arranged for her recording session. (Mr. Otis died on Tuesday.)

In 1960 Ms. James was signed by Chess Records, the Chicago label that was home to Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and other leading lights of black music. She quickly had a string of hits, including “All I Could Do Was Cry,” “Trust in Me” and “At Last,” which established her as Chess’s first major female star.

She remained with Chess well into the 1970s, reappearing on the charts after a long absence in 1967 with the funky and high-spirited “Tell Mama.” In the late ’70s and early ’80s she was an opening act for the Rolling Stones.

After decades of touring, recording for various labels and drifting in and out of the public eye, Ms. James found herself in the news in 2009 after BeyoncĂ© Knowles recorded a version of “At Last” closely modeled on hers. (Ms. Knowles played Ms. James in the 2008 movie “Cadillac Records,” a fictionalized account of the rise and fall of Chess.) Ms. Knowles also performed “At Last” at an inaugural ball for President Obama in Washington.

When the movie was released, Ms. James had kind words for Ms. Knowles’s portrayal. But in February 2009, referring specifically to the Washington performance, she told an audience, “I can’t stand BeyoncĂ©,” and threatened to “whip” the younger singer for singing “At Last.” She later said she had been joking, but she did add that she wished she had been invited to sing the song herself for the new president.

Ms. James’s survivors include her husband of 42 years, Artis Mills; two sons, Donto and Sametto James; and four grandchildren.

Though her life had its share of troubles to the end — her husband and sons were locked in a long-running battle over control of her estate, which was resolved in her husband’s favor only weeks before her death — Ms. James said she wanted her music to transcend unhappiness rather than reflect it.

“A lot of people think the blues is depressing,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 1992, “but that’s not the blues I’m singing. When I’m singing blues, I’m singing life. People that can’t stand to listen to the blues, they’ve got to be phonies.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WHAT THE ....?

What happened to my dogs? Have they turned into tigers?
No, they just caught the sunshine on their fur while napping in front of the window with blinds.
I thought this a unique picture and wanted to share with you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This past week I altered some heart shaped tins to put in my Etsy Shop for Valentine's Day.

As promised I tried to take photos as I went (glue on fingers and all) to show you the process.

Preparing to alter. I need wax paper or something to protect my granite top desk, Gesso, Modge Podge to glue and seal with and a jar of water to soak my brushes, oh and lots of paper towels to clean up and dry the brush before using it.

First of all I have to primer with Gesso so that things will stick to the tin.
This my first step. Then I wait for about 30 minute for the Gesso to dry.

I usually do all of the tins I plan to use at the same time.
In this case I altered 4 mini tins also.

I use the primer on all areas I am going to cover with paper.
While the primer is drying I choose which paper I will want to use and then start cutting the pattern out. I just trace around the tin for top, bottom and sides and then cut out all the pieces.

I also cut thicker card stock paper to place on both sides
of the lid to help cover the word "Altoid"

Once I have glued all the paper in place I then seal the paper with the same Modge Podge.

While I am waiting for this to dry I try to choose what design I want and what I will use to embellish the tin.

I usually always cover the inside of the tins.
In this photo you see regular card stock with glitter. These were for the mini tins. I did not cover the inside of the heart shaped boxes

By this time, no matter how hard I try, my desk is a disaster!
boxes, paper, scissors, glue, trim, etc etc etc. It gets pretty scary for awhile!

Once I have decided how I want to embellish my tin I cut the pieces to fit and get out my favorite tacky glue !

Here is the finished product and it only took me all day!
NO really, it usually only takes about an hour if I have no interruptions or lunch breaks for my hubby or potty breaks for my doggies.

The following are all the tins I created in one whole day.
Oh, and I am working on a Steampunk Heart Tin today

Friday, January 13, 2012


This Month at Blissful ATC Swap my partner was Lynn Fox.
This is the card she sent to me, the theme was Jane Austen.
Thanks Jane !

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Magazine Cover

Digital Whisper is going to be publishing a magazine three times a year. They are doing this to raise money to keep the network open to digital artist such as myself.

Last year I became an administrator for this network doing Artist Interviews each month. Digital Whisper founder Kim Draper designed and published the Digital Whisper 2012 calendar book giving 12 members who participated in this project a choice of which month they wanted to work on. Mine was June. The calendar came out just before Christmas 2011. I was honored to have some of my art published in this beautiful book.

This year Digital Whisper will give all Digital Whisper Artists the opportunity to help create the covers for this magazine.

This is my design.

If any of you are interested in joining Digital Whisper the link is here on the left of my page.
I have learned so much from the challenges they have each week and with so many groups that share ideas and tutorials. It is free to join Digital Whisper so if you are looking for a fun network that is chuck full of good go take a look.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Here are some tins I have accumulated over the past year. My hubby finds most of these tins for me.
I will be turning these tins in to beautiful hand decorated Valentine Tins to add to my Etsy Shop,
Altered State of Tin

I will show you step by step as I go. Plan to start on this project next week.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Guardian Angels
My latest digital collage

Okay I guess you have all made your New Years Resolutions by now. How many of you will keep them?
If you are like me your intentions when you make them are sincere and you really plan to do them but as the days go by you don't

I really need to make some and stick with them. Here are a couple that I am going to do my best to follow through with.

  • I will try to go to bed earlier than 2AM. This is a habit that I have fallen into over the past two years. I just can't go to sleep! My mind is racing with things I want to create or that email I forgot to answer or did I check Facebook today or things I need to do the next day. I have to learn to turn it all off and go to sleep. It really is a habit. Nothing that won't be there in the morning right? How many of you have this problem?

Since I retired with my husband back in 2006 being together 24/7 is sometimes nerve wracking!! I used to work 10 to 12 hours a day and my husband traveled a lot back East. He would be gone 10 days at a time three of four times a month and when he was home he was at a car show with his wares every other weekend. We retired and now we are together mostly 24/7. How many of you are retired and spending every day together?

My husband has lots of medical problems and I try to be patient with him but some times I get cranky and wish I had time to myself. He goes fishing many times during the late summer and I spend at least 10 days a year visiting my kids in CA plus I have my Etsy meetings every Thursday and I go workout every day for an hour at 4PM. This is the only thing that keeps me sane !!

How many of you women out there feel like this? Am I the only one? Am I selfish? Am I spoiled? If the truth was known I think my hubby feels the same way. I feel everyone needs time to themselves. These are just a few things that we do to have our "alone time".

It is funny, I will be cleaning house all day or doing laundry and the minute I sit down at my computer he is there just standing and looking at me. "What? I say" . "Want some lunch?" Even though we just had breakfast a couple of hours ago he wants lunch? Just a example here :)

  • So another resolution is that I need to be more patient with him and be happy that I was able to retire at such an early age. Stop complaining and be thankful that I have him standing and looking at me.

I am a nice person, really, I am. So those are my most important resolutions and I will work on them.

What are your resolutions?