Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wanderlust in My Bones & a Gypsy Soul

I've always dreamt about being a gypsy. Something about their nomadic lifestyle has always fascinated me, even as a kid. Although as a kid, I wasn't exposed to many gypsies in my fairly tame suburban life, so I latched onto the next best thing, Carnies! Carnies were far more accessible, kind of like the suburban gypsy, not quite as exotic, but just as interesting. Breezing into small towns all over the country, setting up shop for a few days, then simply vanishing in the middle of the night..with only the remains of a deflated balloon or an empty popcorn container to prove they were ever there. Something about the way they seemed to magically appear and disappear, within the blink of an eye, was always hauntingly fascinating to me. You would see their trailers set up along the perimeter of the midway and I always wondered what went on after hours. It all seemed very mysterious to me at the time. As a teenager I hatched this plan that I was going to disguise myself and somehow join a Carnival family, living amongst them in hopes of learning their secrets. I would travel with them throughout the country for one year and then write a book detailing my adventures. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time, although my mom was quick to point out that I probably wouldn't have much luck convincing them I was a true Carny, and also that it would be unethical to pose as something I'm not in hopes of infiltrating their camp and writing an expose on their way of life. (I also had a similar plan around that time, same scenario except that I was going to disguise myself and live in one of the "hollers" in Appalachia, live there for one year, write a book, blah blah, blah, my mom shot that one down as well). As an adult I realize the unethical nature of my old plan and now know that their are cultural anthropologists that do that sort of thing for a living (without all the clandestine cloak & dagger disguising business, of course). I never did get to join a Carnival family, or live in Appalachia for that matter, but I continue to be fascinated with those kinds of small, fringe, subcultures. And I did have an encounter with real gypsies several years ago when I was visiting Florence. Well not an encounter "per se", but I did SEE them (encounter just sounded more interesting). There was a whole gypsy clan, men, women, and children, spanning an entire sidewalk while we were shopping one day, sitting on several blankets strewn about. The women kind of looked how you would expect a gypsy to look. They weren't wearing bandanas on their heads, large gold hoop earrings, and handkerchief hem skirts, like I used to wear when I would dress up as a gypsy for a, not how you would expect in THAT way, but rather they were wearing lots of layers of clothing. They had dark features, complexion, and hair, one of the shop owners told my friend and I that they were from Romania. I remember that they had several chihuahuas with them and I was disappointed that one of them was on a cell phone...(in my fantasy gypsies DO NOT use cell phones) They had the children begging for money from all the tourists shopping, it was actually very sad, a more exotic version of our country's homeless population. Definitely not the romanticized vision I had as a child. But despite this knowledge, there's still a part of me that's intrigued by their nomadic spirit, enchanted by the seemingly simple nature of their lifestyle...not being constrained by physical possessions, homes, mortgages, car payments, etc. and having the ability to go wherever the spirit moves them...I guess in that way, I'll always have a bit of wanderlust in my bones...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Me + Clipping Masks = ♥ True Love ♥ & a Giveaway for YOU! (ps. that means FREE!)

Ok, so I'm no quick draw mcgraw, but believe or not, I just discovered the beauty of clipping masks a few months ago. Despite using photoshop for years (completely self-taught), I've somehow let this little wonder tool escape my radar. Now that me and clipping masks have been formally introduced, it's been love at first sight and we are currently involved in a pretty racy affair...I mean I use them every night just about, I can't get enough of them! Do you guys know what clipping masks are? The answer is probably yes, you've probably all known since like kindergarten, but for those of you like myself, let me explain. The clipping mask tool in photoshop is this fabulous little function that allows you to literally "clip" select layers to a base layer. In doing so, any layer that you "clip" to your base layer will stay contained within the shape of that base layer. For instance, if your base layer is a heart shape and the layer above your base layer is a scanned piece of antique lace, you simply "click" the lace layer to the heart shape and it becomes a lacy heart! Amazing I tell you! Did that make any sense? I'm not always the best tutorialist, ( I'm pretty sure I just made that word up, but I like it, so I'm going with it ). In essence, the lace layer will only be visible within the confine's of the heart's shape. And it's very simple to do, I'm not sure how it works on a PC, but on a Mac you simply highlight the layer you want to "clip"and press the "option" key while left clicking on your mouse. When you do that you will see a little icon appear that looks like two interlocked circles, and voila! You've clipped two layers together! Very simple in theory and process, but the possibilities in using this function are truly endless, allowing you to create little worlds within the shape of your base layer. The two designs featured above this post were created using multiple clipping masks and "clipping" several layers to the base layer of the silhouette. Can you tell what is making up the profile of the 2nd design? Most people I've asked have a hard time at first and really need to look at it a few times before they get it. Post your comments on what you think it is and the 1st person to get the correct answer will receive one FREE Dollface Design Digital Download of their choice from my etsy shop , yippee! Is that bribing you for comments? I'm pretty sure it is, and I'm ok with that...there's no shame in my game ♥

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

♥ 20% Off EVERYTHING In My Etsy Shop! ♥

Ok, It's now March 16th, 2011, or at least I THINK it's March 16th, 2011...if it's not I'm sure I'm only off about a day or so...but that means I have officially not blogged in over a month! Super sad, I know...I may be just about the worst blogger in the blogosphere, or at least the worst blogger in town...either way I'm up there. But I think I'm safe because I'm pretty sure no one is reading this anyway, so I guess I can be an irresponsible blogger without's kind of liberating. I was just about to make some potentially false promises about "being a better blogger" blah blah blah, but decided against it in the nick of time. That way I can keep on being a slacker and if I actually do get my act together my one reader (Hi Mom!) will actually be surprised...I like to keep you guys on your toes. I actually do have some important information today, I bet you were wondering if all this rambling would eventually go somewhere and it will, lucky you! In honor of my cultural heritage I'm offering 20% off EVERYTHING in my shop to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, whoopee! Take a stroll over to my etsy shop, make a purchase (fingers crossed) and simply enter coupon code ErinGoBraless20 upon checkout and YOU will receive 20% of your entire order! Why? Because I LOVE YOU! Oh yeah, and I was lying about my heritage, I'm actually Portuguese and Italian, not even a tiny bit Irish, although I do love leprechauns and rainbows, which should count for something. So that was a lie...but there really is a coupon code, I swear! Happy March 16th (I think) ♥