Saturday, November 8, 2008

Idea for ATC's -- Black Jewel Trilogy

Well here is my idea this morning...

It comes from 2 things...Pokey Bolton (from Quilting Arts) said in her blog yesterday that she wanted to make a Soprano's quilt.

Well, I don't want to make a quilt for a show -- but I am completely stuck on a series of books: The Dark Jewels trilogy. by Anne Bishop. This is a fantasy book with lots of sex and violence. It is not my usual style because it is way too bloody and grim. I usually read light fantasy. I almost didn't make it past the first chapter. But I am just stuck. I've read the entire trilogy 4 Times since July when my daughter suggested it. I've now read every book by the author and I know when the next book is due out. Really, really stuck.

And I thought I could make a quilt about that ... then I thought No, quilts are too much work... so how about a series of ATC's about the books. The author has requested no fan-fiction, but surely trading cards would be all right.I haven't decided to do it yet, but isn't it a lovely idea.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tin Eye -- Image Searching

I have heard enough stories about people finding images of their artwork on other people's sites -- or even in somebody else Cafe Press store that I am investigating protecting my online images. I just learned about a new tool that could be useful...

Its name is Tineye and you can find it at

The way it works is that you give it an image and it looks through its database of images on the web for matches. It is supposed to match off the way the image looks.

You don't have to register the image ahead of time, you give it an image and it goes and looks for duplicates. They do warn you that it is new and they haven't got nearly all of the web scanned yet.

I registered on their site and tried it out. I gave it some images that are on my website and some I have on renderosity and on this blog. It didn't find any of them. Not even where I knew they were.

I figure that is because they aren't indexed yet. I would think they would index things that have a lot of traffic first and I don't get a lot of traffic yet.

Anyway I am curious if this would work better for anyone else. Especially someone that gets more traffic than me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Quilt Festival

I went to Quilt Festival last week and had a lovely time. I went on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. On Thursday I went by myself, Friday and Sunday I met people and wandered with them.

The main thing about the International Quilt Festival is that it is overwhelming: the number of quilts is overwhelming; the quality of quilts is overwhelming; the vender room is overwhelming and I haven't even tried taking classes there yet.

I spoke to Terry White who wrote "Thread Painting" at the Festival. And I spoke to her a lot... first I wandered by and watched her thread paint. Then I got lost and wandered back by accidentally and she helped me get turned around again. Next I helped find her booth for one of my friends and last I went back and actually bought her book. She was nice every single time.

She sews slower than I would have guessed, her needle was going up and down maybe twice a second. Obviously she was moving her fabric slowly too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fractal Fiber Trading Cards

I made some Artist Trading Cards to bring to the International Quilt Festival tomorrow. The way I did it was this. I created fractal images using the program Ultra-Fractal. I printed them onto cotton fabric; then I free-motion embroidered them using my sewing machine.
I made about a dozen, and I expect I will be able to trade them to get ones made by others.
Artist Trading Cards are small pieces of artwork that are the same size as Baseball cards. They are created for trading by artists and craftspeople. They can be made either with paper or with fabric. I usually prefer fabric ones. There are swaps set up, both in person and online where you can trade ones you have made for ones others have made. This will be my first time for an in-person swap but I have done quite a few online before.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Printing to Fabric Sheets

Well I printed my picture from last time. The fabric sheets I am using are Cotton Poplin sheets from VV's Victorian Prints. I bought a package last year at the International Quilt Festival.

It came out washed out compared to the image on my computer, so I messed with it to make it have more contrast and printed it again. This time I asked for heavy ink. The second one came out a lot darker. Then I rinsed them and let them dry. I thought the color softened a little bit too in the rinse too.

Here are the two prints

I was hoping to make trading cards with these and exchange them at Festival this year...

But I remembered belatedly that I needed to use a holiday theme. So I decided to make them green and red and try again. I also decided that a softer image would work better so I am trying to soften my image a bit. I'll try to report on that tomorrow.

The URL for festival is

The URL for the printer sheets I am using is

And the URL for QuiltingArts which is sponsoring the trade is

Monday, October 20, 2008

ATC for International Quilt Festival

Today, besides getting my roof replaced and taking the dog to the vet and other such mundanities, I've decided to make some ATC's to trade at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I am printing off one of my fractals on fabric sheets and am planning on embellishing it.
Here is the one I'm using.

I am planning on adding some machine embroidery probably in gold. And then maybe a light layer of Angelina across the top. I might do a little painting too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fractal Class

I've mentioned a couple of times that I'm taking a class in creating fractals. Well it is coming to an end and I thought I would explain it some before I was done...

You don't draw a fractal yourself, you tell a computer program what to do and it actually does the drawing for you. The program I am using is Ultra-Fractal and you can get extremely elaborate in what you tell it to do. Because it is so elaborate many, many different things can be drawn.

It also makes it complicated to use -- therefore the classes. The ones I am taking are by Janet Parke. They are quite interesting and useful and I recommend them highly.
Here are some links:

The academy gives classes in more than just Ultra Fractal although I haven't taken any.

Here are some of my recent images.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Fractals

My knee is better, my darling daughter is off to college and I've survived Ike. So now to make art. I am taking one of Janet Parke's classes on Ultra Fractal. So here are some more fractal pictures.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fractal Image

Well my knee is mostly better and I took my DD up to college.

This is another fractal -- made in Ultra Fractal. Working on the computer is easier when I'm not getting around real well.

It also has the advantage that I don't need to take pictures.

Besides fractals I've been working on a scrapbook and soon - today maybe - I'll take pictures.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Purple Cabbage

This is an image that I created in Ultra-Fractal which is the fractal program I am using. It reminds me of cabbage thus the name.

In other news, I've torn my meniscus in my right knee. This is actually the second time I've done that. I did it in 2000 also. I'll be having surgery tomorrow.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Link to Paint Site

This is one of my all-time favorite links. It is all about Water Color -- Color Theory -- How the Eye works -- Mixing Paint. I am awed at how much information is here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Under the Spotlights

I've injured my knee -- I tore the meniscus and that is making things complicated. I have to use crutches so I cannot carry things. And my leg gets tired easily so I cannot go to the store. And I cannot climb stairs so I cannot get at my fabric. But I can still make fractals, so that is what I have been working on. I am calling this one Under the Spotlights.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vacation Bible School this week

I've been helping with Vacation Bible School at church this week. I have a class of first graders. We have been doing a bunch of crafts. We made Origami Frogs. The frogs are all up at church so I cannot take a picture today.

Here is a link to the instructions we used.

These were a little hard but everyone did manage to do at least one.

We made some Ojo de Dios also and they went very well. I used craft sticks. They are standard popsicle stick length but skinnier. A few kids made 5 or 6 Ojos.

Tomorrow we are making Dragonflies. I still have the sample home so I could take a picture. I made up the pattern my self. The black body is a paper towel roll spray painted black. The wings are one piece of paper each and they are decorated with stickers. It is all held together with massive quantities of Scotch tape. (The eyes are round circle stickers with the blue pupils colored in.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Fractal Image

I have been creating fractals and then using Photoshop to mess around with them. Here is one of my more successful ones.

I really like the background, I think it looks sort of like an old sidewalk.
If you are interested, the spiral is from the Mandelbrot set and I used
Ultra Fractal to render it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

White Trees Journal Quilt

Here is a Journal Quilt I made for a challenge at Quilting Arts. Sniff, they didn't publish it. I like it though. It is from a photograph I took at Yosemite.

More on Posting Images

Well, 3 different people contacted me about holes in my scheme for posting images on the web.

Here are the problems ...

If you grabbed the image in the last post by right-clicking on it and downloading it, you lost the file information.

It is trivial to crop out or blank out the visual copyright notice and someone -- like a school child -- could even do it with no evil intent.

It is also easy to rename the file -- ditto on the no evil intent thing.

It is easy to resize it to make it larger. You would not have as good a quality of an image as I started with, but you might not care.

No one so far actually managed to remove the digimarc information -- even with resizing, so that was good.

The little snippet of the file above -- which has been cropped, had its color changed and been scribbled on actually still has the digital watermark. So, if you are trying to actually use the image as is, the digital watermark is a little hard to get rid of. So that is good.

I thought that today, I would try to disable the right-click. So I looked that up. What I need to do is add a little bit of code to the HTML.

The bit of code is this:
oncontextmenu="return false;"
The way that I added it is to go into the HTML code and add the line just above right after
"img" tag. That is up in the top of the file with a bunch of hard to understand stuff. But it is right by the name of the file I uploaded so I can search on that to get close.

Like, all the other things I am doing, this won't stop someone who is determined. But it would help slow down people and make them think a little. Oh, and another bonus for this one, Blogger didn't have to resize the image I posted, so I still have my copyright notice in my file information on this one.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Posting an Image

Well, here is my first image post.

This is a digital painting that hasn't been displayed anywhere before. When I put images up on my website, I didn't worry about anyone taking them. So I didn't worry about copyright notices. I am still not extremely worried about it but with all the fuss over copyright recently, I have it on my mind. Also, I did hear of a woman who set up a Cafe Press shop using the cool images she had found on the web.

So, anyway, I figured I would add copyright notices to anything I uploaded from now on...

Here is what I have done in case you are interested.

I am protecting my image five ways, which is probably overkill but it won't hurt anything. (I hope.)

The first way is that I am only uploading a small image.

The second is that I added a copyright notice along the bottom of the image.

The third is that the filename includes my name. (This is one I am worrying about.)

The fourth way is that I added copyright information to the file information in the file. A lot of image formats have a place to put extra information. An example of that is the EXIF information that cameras write to their photo files. The EXIF information includes data about when the photo was taken and camera settings at the time.

There are also slots for copyright information there. So I used it. In Photoshop CS3 that is under File/File Info...

After I added the information I saved the file several ways to try it out. It was saved in .jpg and .tif formats but not in .gif. Also, all the information was there when I did a File/Save As but only the copyright information was saved when I did a File/Save for Web.

The last way I included the copyright information is that I used a digital watermarking plug-in (from to add a digital watermark. You register with them and then you can use their plug-in to magically hide your secret code in the actual image. You do have to pay for that, and I'm not sure it is worth the money yet. As of last night it cost $79 for the bottom end package. That's what I got. That lets me embed my code in up to 1000 images total and I have to renew once a year.

If I had gotten the top end package at $499 a year then their web spider that would look for my images while it crawled the web. If I ever get famous and want to upgrade my package then it should be able to find the images I am marking now.

That is not working quite as slickly as it ought to. You are supposed to add the watermark last, but on my very first try, I added my visual notice after I had added the watermark and promptly erased the watermark. (And that used up one of my 1000 watermarks.) There are two links to their website to look me up and one is acting flaky for me. The link in the file information (next to the copyright notice that I added) worked before I saved the file, but after I saved a file and re-opened it, that link didn't work anymore. There is another link that their mark reader shows and it did still work -- but to see that you would need to know to look me up.

There is a 14 day money-back guarantee which I might use.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hi, I'm here now

Hi, here are a few things about me that are relevant to this blog

I am an artist, I like to make things that look interesting (to me) and beautiful (again to me.) Two things permeate most of my work. These are fibers and computers… thus the blog name – Thread and Pixel. It covers nearly all of what I try to do.

So, you say, what are you talking about?

Well, I like to make digital paintings. That is where I start with a blank screen on my computer, and a mouse and some graphics software, probably Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and make an image. I am pretty proud of some of these and I have managed to have them shown in two different art galleries.

I also like to sew and I have been cheerfully making artist trading cards, or ATC’s, and trading them. These are tiny little cards, just the same size as baseball cards, that are individually made by an artist. I have made them using paper and also using fabric. I haven’t managed to put anything like this in a gallery yet – but I did teach a class on them to about 80 people.

I do a random assortment of other crafts, any of which might end up in here.

I worked as a computer programmer for fifteen years, so I find myself creating computer applications regularly. My parents just had their Golden Anniversary and so my latest big project was to create three Power Point slide shows of their lives so far. I ended up writing three Photoshop scripts to manipulate the photos and a program in Power Point that built the slide shows. It created a slide for each of the image files in a directory and added a caption for each of the slides. It had to read the captions from an Excel spreadsheet.