Sunday, 30 May 2010

Recurring mermaids

If there's a theme that's recurring frequently in my work (this week's prompt at MMM) it has to be mermaids, and what's most interesting about these sea sirens is that most times they are never what I intended to create. They just sort of appear, rather like their mythical counterparts.

Take this purple creature. I was sitting on a balcony facing the sea last week watching the sun set and searching for a little artistic inspiration. I began by loosely copying a fabric pattern from a magazine but it lacked interest. However, I had planned for this and so with a swish of water rubbed in with fingers, the watersoluble wax pastels began to lift from the page and form little pools of colour. A squish of the pages together left and a delightfully soft mix of deep sea colour that just called out to be... well... mermaid... I drew her in with coloured pencils.

Other mermaids have grown from the page unexpectedly too. One began life as an angel, but she kept getting her wings wet. Another's dress took on such a scaled effect that she slithered off the page into the water before I could catch her. And a third simply wasn't happy until I'd painted out her legs and dripped diamond and pearl drops into her beautiful mane.

Of course, one shouldn't restrict ourselves to the female of the species. Here's a rather handsome merman I made last week too!

Postcards from Greece (1) - Meeting the Greek Gods

I rather missed blogging last week. Well, perhaps not when I was swimming in an azure sea, or twinkling my toes in the sparkling sand, or exploring winding alleys, or tucking into local delicacies... But I did miss it sufficiently that when the small boy was asleep I was lured to pick up my notebook and prepare a few words to share on my return...

A close encounter with Zeus

When on holiday I like to immerse myself in a spot of culture, soak up the atmosphere and imbibe a few local flavours and delicacies. Indeed, on arriving in Skiathos (on a somewhat disappointingly cloudy early evening), I managed immediately to take in a bit of local geography (courtesy of holiday rep on transfer bus), pick up a bit of the lingo (old lady in shop) and fill my belly with clefitiko (Marcos the chef).
What I wasn't expecting however was a close encounter with the ancient Greek Gods - notably those of flood and thunder, Posiedon and Zeus respectively. Who, after all, needs a thunderclap for a wake up call on their first morning in a supposedly sunny holiday destination (especially when the weather back in the UK was apparently glorious)?
Apparently the charming isle of Skiathos (part of the Sporades Group) enjoys a storm like this only once every five years or so. It was natural therefore that the arrival of a Lisa would prompt the long-awaited event. What a spectacle nature, Zeus and Poseidon put on for us on our first morning. Thunderbolt and lightening were very very frightening for about 5 hours. Rain fell not in drips or drops, it flowed like a mighty river from the heavens. Streets became torrents of mud and swathes of the beach were swept out to a churning brown sea that was far in colour from the promised turquoise.
And then... it stopped... and the sun came out! Tourists and locals paddled through the mud to survey the damage and begin the clear up. Diggers put the beach back to its former glory and re-opened the road. We hit the beach.. The Holiday began!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The post-holiday blues

(To be sung on a porch on with a guitar with a missing string and a glass of something alcoholic by your side)

Oooh I took me on holiday to the land of sun
I had such fun just me and my son
Skiathos was the name of the Greek Isle
It was so hot we couldn't walk a mile

Da na da na...

But now I'm back with no sand under my feet
It's raining here on my grey old street
I tried to smile but I said to my Muse
It's no dang good I got the post-holiday blues....

Enough of that nonsense!! Well, I came home from my Greek hols yesterday and found the theme I'd missed at Inspiration Ave was 'the blues'. First thought was the azure waters of the Aegean - or were they turquoise? Or perhaps a bit of both? Are you jealous yet? Well, I'm certainly jealous of the folks still there under that blue sky

I didn't drive or touch a computer all week. I slept loads. I discovered a beach that appeared to have been sprinkled in diamond dust. I have so much inspiration and many stories to share of my travels, but will leave you for now with this blue sea to dream upon... a blue door on a blue balcony topped by a blue railing and sky and some blue shoes (not suede, but plastic).

Now I have to catch up on what I missed in Blogland, before decide on which creative idea I brought back with me to act upon first... Hmm... decisions decisions....

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday

...Well, almost. I've seen lots of people posting on this theme and when I painted this I thought it said everything it needed to. But you see the problem is... I quite like to 'talk'. Wordless is not something that comes at all easy to me. So, I'll just try to keep it brief. This was painted using cocktail sticks, cotton buds, stick from the garden, a pom pom and tissue paper. It was inspired by experimental art course and a photo I saw on this blog - an aerial armadillo. There, that was fairly wordless was it?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


What a perfect art challenge for when I'm insanely busy yet still desperate to create!

Melange: noun, assortment, conglomeration, gallimaufy , hodgepodge, jumble, medley, miscellany, mishmash, mixed bag, mixture, olio, pasticcio, pastiche, patchwork, potpourri, salmagundi, variety.

This took me 10 minutes including the rummaging around in my stash for collage materials. Never throw any scrap away I say! All sits on a canvas board, various papers and fibres sculpted with a bit of gesso. I love creating :)
The little gecko is scampering through the litter and glitter - see his sparkling scales catch the sunlight!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Child's play

We're nearing the end of the experimental art course. It's been such a pleasure just playing - a return to childhood where art could be anything. I think my love of collage came from cutting up Mothercare catalogues and making pictures with a glue paste made from flour and water. Babies in prams, babies in warm clothes, babies in nappies, babies having fun, babies getting messy! Good old Mothercare!

Funny, my son loves a catalogue too - particularly anything involving lego or other toys... And I have become rather attached to the latest Boden catalogue. It's not just the lovely (but sadly over-priced) clothes; it's the pictures themselves, the locations; the style. I want to draw them all, cut them out and make ... well.... collages.

I present above a bit of a return to child's play. Tea stained page in my sketchbook with a simple cut out from the Boden catalogue. I got this far, intending to do more then stopped - cause I rather liked it! Sandals on the beach... Mmmm - don't you just wish your toes were scrunching through sand right now, shoes kicked off and running into the waves.
I wonder what happened to other six shoes from these pairs... I feel a short story coming on - perhaps involving six single lads searching for the owners of the missing sandals, a modern twist on Cinderella. Will the six single ladies ever be reunited with their footwear and will they welcome the addition of a handsome man returning it to them? I think that they'll just slip their shoes back on, laugh and head out along the beach arm in arm singing happily and swigging champagne!
PS: I guess this rather loosely fits with Mixed Media Monday's Child's Play theme too!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Concrete Poetry

My rushed entry for Inspiration Avenue's Architecture challenge.

I didn't really have time this week, but then suddenly a spare few minutes caught up with, boffed me on the head and said "slow down chickie" - relax and make some art. So I did!

Some more collage practice. A holiday home from Uruguay with delicious yellow walls set against the bluest of skies made abstract then given a bit of a colour and texture boost in photoshop to really. Funny how such a confusion of images still says 'South American'. Well, it does to me anyway.

I loved the headline - Concrete Poetry -a verse or two away from some of the monstrosities gracing our cities today. But it's true, there can be so much beauty in the unlikely.

I cut the images out of World of Interiors magazine. Gosh I love that publication. Imagine being a photographer and journalist for them, travelling the world in search of the most magical of abodes. I'm part way compiling a blog post on my dream house. I would be lying if I didn't admit to snippets of ideas making their way from these glossy pages. Country Life also makes its presence felt in my dreams.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Paint, glue, scissors, paper, tissue, crayons, paste...

Contemplation, trial, error ... FUN

Happy experimenting with my art!

A 'Friday Happy' celebrating the joy that is getting stuck into creating something, trying new things and finding new artistic pleasures.

Why weren't art lessons at school like this? Did our teachers have no imagination? Did they forget that we're supposed to enjoy ourselves too?

Why did I let art leave my life for so long?
Never mind, it's back now and welcome to stay. The missing part that makes me whole.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

An interview with my art teacher

If you're a regular reader here it won't have escaped your attention that I'm a bit of a magnet for online art courses and collaborations. Earlier in the year I came across artist Amelia Critchlow's blog and was drawn in by her storytelling. When she wrote that she was running her own experimental art course... well.... I just couldn't resist!

Am I having fun?
Am I getting messy, sticky and leaving a trail of destruction in my wake?
Am I learning, experimenting and developing as an artist?

Well, I have no hesitation in answering yes to the above. Amelia was kind enough to agree to an interview, so please join me in giving her a round of applause to artist extraordinaire - Amelia Critchlow - cue theme music...

Amelia Critchlow

I'm kind of imagining myself as a female Jonathan Ross here (complete with messy hair and loud suit). For those living away from these shores, Wossy (as he is affectionately known), is a chat show host.

Let's kick off...

Have you run online courses before?
Courses I’ve run previously have all been in museum, gallery, university, or community based settings, so this is the first time I have taken my art teaching on-line. It’s all very exciting because I can put forth exactly what I choose and love without having to tick any boxes!

by Slevek, student on Experimental art e-course

What was the inspiration behind this course?
My main inspiration stems from teaching family groups where parents want bring their kids and I noticed it’s often the parents that want to do art, but the most legitimate way is through their children as people often lack confidence or time to pursue their own interests. Also, the idea of it being on-line means that it can be accessed any time and there is no need to turn up at a set time and place each week, which suits people working and those that may need childcare to go to a college class – no childcare needed, just wait until the kids are in bed!

by Amelia Critchlow
This course also allows people to look at art in new ways, (experimental ways) as lots of people will not do art if they think they have to get it ‘correct’ – look at kids, they don’t worry about this, they just get down and get messy and play – I think adults should do this too. Who isn’t happiest when absorbed in something creative that one loves doing?

This course is a bit like a mini foundation too whereby you have a chance to try lots of different things and decide what you might like to pursue further. I am looking to run a second course when I know what people would like the most having done the first course . . . . .
by WrightStuff, student on Experimental Art e-course

What’s your personal art history?
I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a really ‘arty’ family. My father is a trained artist and now lectures, writes and teaches art, and my mother was a trained dressmaker and now patchwork and quilter. I saw nothing but creativity when growing up and was always encouraged to make, make, make. As a result I took art at GCSE and A level and although my first degree was meant to be in English and Art, it ended up being mainly academic. So when my eldest went to school I returned to Morley College in London to do a Foundation degree in Art and went on to Wimbledon School of Art to do a pure Fine Art Degree – it was both the hardest and the best thing I did! Throughout my life I have always attended evening and other art classes too. I adore learning with a passion and have had some amazing teachers. I am sharing a lot of what I have learnt on the experimental art e-course.

By Amelia Critchlow

What exhibitions or works by other artists have blown you away recently?
I particularly enjoy the work of Wangechi Mutu whose painterly collages are powerful, evocative and revealing depictions of womanhood and in particular the experiences of women of colour. I also happened to go and see Annette Messagers recent exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London and her obsessive collection of things, the stuffed animals, the hand-stitching on fabric was amazing. There was one room filled with nothing but huge sheets of red satin that spilled out of a small gap in the wall and then covered the entire floor, there was a machine billowing out air that made it ripple and move and light up and shift over hidden objects. It was so evocative and surreal, and one day I long to do a huge installation art piece too. I enjoy contemporary art for the way it pushes boundaries and makes us question ourselves and the world around us.
I also went to the Whitechapel Art Gallery not so long ago to see Sophie Calle, another female artist who pushes herself out as far as possible and involves others in her artistic interactions. I won’t say too much here, but do go and look these artists up. As you can tell I like female artists that draw on both their own personal experiences, but also question the world around them too.

What were you hoping participants would take away from this course?
My biggest hope for this course is that it would entice those who love being creative or who are really keen to be artistic in some way but lack confidence or don’t know where to begin. It gives me so much pleasure to see adults find something unique and special for them in amongst the stresses and strains of contending with life! I know what doing art has meant to me it’s been a life saver, particular over the last few years when I have had to deal with a horrible split from my ex partner and finding out my youngest has asperger syndrome, and dealing with all this entails. Art is therapy and pleasure and a means of expression.

I also hoped that people may get from the course that art is not just about painting or drawing something technically correct. The world is full of potential art materials and ways of being artistically expressive and it’s a fun journey to embark on. It’s also designed for those that are practicing artists who may want to try something new and get some fresh inspiration.

This course is all about giving ourselves permission to PLAY!

by KayaKutie, student on Experimental art e-course

How has it met or exceeded your expectations?
I am loving every moment of it, seeing what wonderful creations people are coming up with. What will appear next on the course group pool. Hearing people’s positive feedback and how they are getting so much from it. This means so much to me. I am still learning as I run it so I will have to give full feedback at the end of this first course!

How have your students inspired you?
My students have inspired me because they have risen to the challenge of being experimental and have come up with some of their own great ideas of materials to use in response to the assignments I have put out there, and people have made some of the most inspiring and interesting creations, and often I find myself wanting to go off and do the same thing too!

What are your plans for future courses?
My plans for a future course would be to go in to one of the weeks in more depth. At the end of this course I am keen to hear what people particularly enjoyed on the course, and ask them if they could do a second course what would it be in, ie. what would the like to re-visit in more depth. It’s much better that I give people what there is a need or asking for! I’m inclined to think it may be something along the lines of a mixed media and collage course. I am really interested in interesting methods of application and image transferral. I enjoy playing with surfaces and getting surprise effects and there are some very interesting ways of getting marks, surface effects and also applying one surface to another . . . .ooooh, I can feel the excitement just thinking about it!

Art makes the world go round!

The next course begins on 14th June. You can sign up here.

By Barbara Rae, Student on Experimental art e-course

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Legs like tree trunks

When I post up an art challenge entry I always like to add a few words inspired by the subject matter. This piece however is a challenge in itself - Legs. What do I write about legs?

I could confess that I am applying tinted moisturiser to mine to tone down the illuminous glow that threatens to announce everyone of my arrival now that summer is here. In fact, one dark summer evening many years ago while walking to the pub through the countryside, a friend commented that he was using my legs as his guiding light. It took me a while to live that one down. I was also once likened to a Swan Vesta after returning from a bike ride. My white limbs forming the body of the match and the red tip my face and crash helmet. Don't I just have the nicest friends?

Yes, I could talk about my own legs. Or I might mention that I've had the ZZ Top song of the same name rumbling round my head for the past 24 hours... I won't put a link to it, or you'll all be suffering alongside me.

To be completely cryptic I might explain that while I was cutting and snipping last night I was half watching a TV programme about start up businesses - the business experts were exploring which ideas had 'legs'...

Nah, after all that perhaps I'll just try and explain what this piece is trying to say. It's the result of some multi-tasking. My experimental art course collage homework and the The Three Muses challenge. I browsed my magazine pile for appendages and let inspiration guide me. I came up with this street in Beverley Hills - you know the one - lined with designer stores, palm trees and the beautiful. Glitz and glamour - and liberal amounts of tinted body moisturiser!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Sketching out

Sunday evening and I'm easing into next week. My eyelids are heavy and I'm ready for an early night, I feel like a bit of mindless TV, followed by cosying under the duvet with a book.

A little doodle over some background I made for Sunday Sketches. Lately art for me has become an addiction; but often I'm too busy or tired. Sophia's little prompt is perfect for those moments as it calls for not a full blown work of art, but just a wee sketch... So here is mine :)

Far, Far Away

When I set the creative challenge at Inspiration Avenue this week, I had been completely inspired by Heston Blumenthal's fairy tale feast where he created life-sized gingerbread houses and magic pumpkins and had dragons carry trays of delicacies to his diners. Well, I think that's what happened, or maybe my imagination is getting a little too carried away!

Suffice it to say that a Fairy Tale theme seemed perfect! As usual when I set the challenge I always start off the week with great plans (normally involving hours of work) and end up rushing at the last moment. This time was no disappointment. I mean if you're talking fairy tales then you must go over the top - what would have happened to Rapunzel if she couldn't be bothered growing her hair and stuck with a bob? And just suppose if Cinderella wasn't really that bothered about going to the ball and just wanted to sit at home with her feet up instead? No, this challenge called for some effort...

And so I present my homage to Princesses, dragons and magical castles in lands far, far away.

Mixed media on canvas - collaged background papers and then I painted the Princess and the dragon on top. Acrylics, coloured pencil, tissue, wrapping paper, ribbons, fibres and the magical stone of Amror...

Available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

After the party - Part 2

I was going to write "I don't really know many bloggers..." but of course that would be a total lie - I know hundreds! However, I'm sure you can follow where I was going with this. I am of course talking about the people I see on a regular basis, pick up the phone to - they've just never grasped the concept quite like I have. They don't feel that same urge to commit their words of wisdom to the world wide web. Nor do they spend their evenings travelling the globe via the written word and painted picture devouring the thoughts and creations of others and taking that inspiration to make something unique to them.

So, on Wednesday, when I was lucky enough to be in a room full of bloggers, writers and people passionate about both, I really did feel in my element! (see previous post for all the details)

It got me thinking though - about siezing opportunity. I wonder how many people saw the note posted on British Mummy Bloggers and were intrigued and would have loved to have been there, but just didn't bother. It's too easy to say no after all, to find the excuses so we don't have to make an effort and put ourselves out just a little bit.n But if we don't then how do we move forward? How can we possibily achieve our potential? What will we miss?

It wasn't that easy to go to this event. I had to arrange childcare and structure my working week around it. I knew I'd be tired the next day and the train fare wouldn't be cheap, but look at what I gained.

I met one of my favourite authors and came away inspired to write anew; I spent the evening talking about writing, blogging and creativity; I got to know some incredibly interesting new people and found even more new blogs to follow. I even got a few glasses of free wine and a scrummy goodie bag full of books - and chocolate! But most of all I took away a wonderful experience. So, if anyone out there wants to organise any more get-togethers, you can count on me to attend. Now, who would I like to meet...???
You can also read about the event at Adventures of an English Mum, Efe Fabulous and The Musings of Ondo Lady

Friday, 7 May 2010

After the party...

The perfect story for Happy Friday...

Would I like to go to London, meet one of my favourite authors and spend an evening in the company of bloggers? Hmm, not too difficult a decision to be made there then... Was I seriously ever likely to turn down such an opportunity? So, Wednesday saw me on a speeding train to my favourite City full of anticipation.

Lisa Jewell writes wonderful books - sort of chick lit but with more depth, a stronger sense of reality with characters that seem recognisable, that friends-of-friends feeling. I've grown up with her books and, in her latest book more than ever have found that I'm relating to her characters.

Ten years ago Lisa wrote her first novel - Ralph's party - in which Ralph, an artist struggling to capture his Muse, finds her in flatmate Jem. Naturally, numerous obstacles were to be climbed before they made it into each other's arms but make it they did and all seemed destined to live happily ever after. When I read this 10 years ago, I was right in the middle of what I thought would be my happy ending too - on the cusp of marriage. Mine didn't turn out as planned - would Ralph and Jem's?

Well, ten years later and in the sequel Ralph and Jem have done some growing. Two children increased the size of their family and a gaping chasm of failed communication, resentment, frustration and total lack of understanding pushes them apart. The book begins shortly after the birth of their second child. Ralph, not coping well with all that life throws at him decides he needs a holiday and heads off to Santa Monica to visit an old friend leaving Jem well and truly holding the baby...

I found this hard to read... Echos of my own past with a husband feeling the need to get away on holiday on his own leaving his exhausted wife at home with the baby came flooding all too painfully back. Here was a writer who it seemed had been inside my head and come face to face with my communication issues, my resentment and contempt. I wasn't expecting this. This isn't 20-something or even 30-something chick lit escapism. This is real life.

Ten years had done another thing to all of us. We weren't on the cusp of being 30 any more either! Jem and I, it seemed have both gone through the same freaking out over approaching the big 40. By now I was beginning to believe that Lisa Jewell had been reading my mind or was she just perhaps picking up on the issues of our time? Was I not alone after all?

This was a good, strong read. Clever, insightful and a little bit gritty also spring to mind. I wonder what a fresh-faced 25 year old would make of it? For a fresh-faced (but with a few wrinkles) 40 year old it was shockingly close to life. But, it also made me feel a bit better. Remember I said that Lisa's characters always felt familiar - like friends you just hadn't met yet. Well, this week I shared a good old chat with Jem and Ralph and we all learnt that you come out of the other side of experiences like these much stronger!

If you've never read Lisa's books, go check them out - great stuff!

As it's Friday, this is definitely my happy post for the week. I had such a wonderful time at this event in the company of some like-minded souls. In fact, there is so much more to say, but I must start my day... Part 2 coming up later.

Stay tooned...

Lisa & Lisa

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A fairy tale...

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin...

Once upon a time a group of Inspirational creatives held a challenge for they were sorely troubled in their Queendom by a terrifying dragon. This beast was intent on destroying everything in its path. The only thing that could appease it was to gaze upon beautiful pieces of art and listen to fine stories.

The weary inhabitants fed the dragon daily with their creative output but it became too much for them as its appetite for art grew and grew. Its lair was filled with paintings, fabrics, sculpture and woodcarvings and its scales adorned with sparkling jewellery. How could they keep up with demand let alone stop this creature? They held conference and called upon the wise ones of the land. At last they found the answer they sought. Why, they would turn to the citizens of Bloglandia itself.

Can you help us Citizens? Can you create a piece befitting a fairy tale? Will you save us from the dragon?

Is this finally a plot, or have I simply lost mine?

Well, probably neither. It is simply a creative challenge I am hosting this week over at Inspiration Avenue on the theme of Fairy Tales. Do pay us a visit and take away some creative inspiration. That dragon really is very hungry!

Monday, 3 May 2010

More than one story

It is pulling at me again - that story - you know, the one that's in me... waiting to come out. I keep finding little life indicators prodding and reminding me. It's time to start...

Once upon a time, I found a new arty challenge site but kept missing the deadlines for entry. Until now...

Mind Wide Open is one of those 'do something with this picture' challenges and as I gazed at the lady in question my imagination began to go on a ramble. As every artist creates their piece, each will form their own story around Emily (for I do believe that must be her name). Some will have her dreaming romantic notions of dashing Dukes proposing on horseback. Others may find her wrapped in an apron, arms folded in a Liverpool back street waiting for her drunken husband to return from the dockside pubs (my Mum loves a pinny-saga!). Maybe she herself is a frustrated artist; bound by society's conventions and forced into a role her soul was never made for?

And so, my piece took shape with the fragments of the stories as background and two of the faces of Emily. As I played with the paper of her dress, I saw butterfly wings in the fabric so was drawn to add some more of the creatures - helping her stories take flight.

Emily's story in pictures evolved before me as the whispered words of her past mixed with the hues of her moods and seasons. She was a delightful companion. Can't wait to 'read' her other histories.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

More tea Vicar?

I've been a-sketching, a-scribbling and a-swirling this weekend - but no a-scrubbing. I removed myself from the temptations of hoovering, ironing and other domestic duties by taking myself and a large quantity of my art studio to my boyfriend's house. With my son away, the artist did play. In fact, I found myself rather addicted. Play was the operative word. I didn't really create anything special. I just experimented and filled my sketchbook with colour. Colour is certainly something I have become much more brave about in the last year and layering. That's what gets me interested in art these days - peering into the depths of a picture and seeing what's hiding under all those layers and then creating that same sense of mystery with my own paintings. This weekend has been about layers of pencil, layers of colour and paper. Finding my depth.

The more observant among you readers will be recalling that I am taking an experimental art e-course. Clearly my lessons are translating to the page and my head is chock-a-block full of ideas from this play for more serious pieces - if only I could stop playing long enough to give them a go!------------------------------------------------- (cat just stepped on keyboard - thought I'd leave it in for amusement).

In fact, I can't really stop. You see I have this idea for a flower picture and I want to do something with maps... Thought I'd share these with the Sunday Sketches crew.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

That'll learn 'em

This weekend it's party time over at Inspiration Avenue. The ladies and I are hosting a tutorial party. You are of course all invited. Come on over and learn a few hot tips....

I've been wracking my brain for weeks trying to think up with the perfect tutorial for the party . Coming up with the invitation was a piece of party cake, but the content of my party bag something else entirely!

I so wanted something dainty and delicious to wrap up in a pretty serviette for you to take away and savour later but my mind is not exactly in party mood this week.

I hate to moan, but I have the most awful pain in more jaw - some form of inflammation in the joint apparently and I feel quite wretched. It throbs, it hurts in ear, cheek and general head area... My Muse decided to stay on the beach in Mexico.

So, what I have for you is quite small and simple, but nonetheless it's quite useful to know how to do this if you are a Photoshop Elements user.

I will now demonstrate how to put picture behind your text using this software (see sample above).

Step 1. Create some text.
Step 2. Open up the picture you want to use.
Step 3. Drag the picture over your text.
Step 4. Click on Layer>Group with previous - and sit back amazed as the magic happens
Step 5. You can drag the image (now behind the text) around until you get it just right. For me, it was when the Mad Hatter made an appearance in my party P. Et voila! I then filled the background black and gave it a nice bevel edge.
Step 6. Sit back and admire your handiwork!

Before I go and explore the other party tutorials, this is one which I'd like to share:

One of the most useful tips I learnt for blogger was how to remove the box around my title. You can find this and a myriad other handy hints by wandering down Inspiration Avenue, until just past the Jacaranda tree you'll find Plumrose Lane on your right.

Have fun at the party, play nicely and don't drink too much fizzy pop!

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