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) ♥

Monday, February 14, 2011

♥ Dollface Design's Valentines~ Digital Download Delights That Will Make Your Heart Swoon! ♥

Love is in the air over at Dollface Design! And I've got a bevy of Valentine Treats that can't be beat over at my etsy shop, including a whole bunch of Valentine Digital Downloads that you can download and print lickety split! And if you're a bit of a procrastinator such as I am (just ordered my husband's Valentine's Day present last night, yikes!) then these digital downloads are the perfect antidote! Why subject yourself to getting bumped and bamboozled in the card aisle of your local big box store (with all the other last minute lucys!) when you can get an original handmade Valentine from the cozy comfort of your casa? Perfect for the non-traditonal Valentine enthusiast, each design is lovingly collaged and created by me for YOU! And you can be sure that you're sweet will be getting a Valentine just as unique and original as they are ♥ And if love's not your thing this year, I've even got an Anti-Valentine perfect for those folks in your life that just can't seem to get the hint (you know who I'm talking about!). Above designs are just a small sampling to whet your whistle, but you can bet there's more love where that came from, take a peek!

What are you guys doing for Valentine's Day? Me and my BB4L (best bud for life, aka. husband) are staying in and he's cooking me my favorite meal, shrimp scampi with homemade pasta, yum! I'll be picking up a delicious desert for us to share, I'm thinking I'll get this mongo chocolate peanut butter cupcake I saw at Whole Foods over the weekend, and we'll just gorge ourselves on sweet treats and love! Are you puking yet? Sickening yes, but we are still newlyweds :) Wishing you all a wonderful day full of sweetness and love!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why Sometimes, I've Believed as Many as Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast!

After a long hiatus, (too long), I'm back. I seemed to have separated from my art in the last two years, wandering down a different path, but now that we've found each other again, things seem to be even better...I believe that creativity and the process that inevitably follows, feeds your imagination and one idea seems to bloom into another, and another...and another...and before you know it, your mind is swirling with all the impossibilities you dream of making possible. When I truly began making art two years ago, I was at a bit of a crossroads with myself, it was a time of transition, exciting and unsettling all at forward two years later and I seemed to have settled into myself. I met the love of my life, fell in love, moved in together, got married, and have a fantastically amazing five year old stepson. All of a sudden it wasn't just me anymore, I had a family, and responsibilities to people other than myself. I thought it would be difficult to settle into, I always thought of myself as a bit selfish...sleeping till noon, wandering wherever I pleased, whenever I pleased, without a care...but it was a role I fell into easily...I guess that's the way it goes when things work out as they're meant to be. But all of those experiences led me back to where I am today...exactly where I'm supposed to be, and I've never felt as settled or as ME as I do right now. I guess I needed that time and that space, uninterrupted by the creative process and the tempest of thoughts and ideas that follow (as I tend to be rather obsessive that way) to allow myself to believe in something other than the possibility of art... and believe in the possibility of love, trust, and family...But in retrospect I realize that it's really not that separate after all intertwines and weaves together, forming a tiny path that you can only see if you look really hard and and believe in the possibility that it might lead somewhere...I'm glad I was paying attention.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Makes Me So Sad :(

THEIF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2
THIEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1
got an email today from a fellow etsy seller/flickr friend that someone who sells on ebay UK (Seller name Patina-Blue to be exact) is selling notebooks with my artwork on them, currently she/he is using two of my sad....she/he is also selling notebooks with the artwork of another etsy seller, who i've notified as well...i contacted the seller and asked her/him to immediately remove the listings, but i haven't gotten a response and the listings are still there...i've also contacted ebay and am waiting for their response and hopefully some guidance as to how i should proceed....i'm pretty angry about this...the nerve of people never ceases to amaze me...i usually am a firm believer in the goodness of others, but stuff like this just makes me think that sometimes people really do SUCK! sorry for the rant :( and sorry for the absence too...things have been a wee bit crazy as of late...i'll be back...i promise...until then, hope everyone is enjoying some sunshine and feelin' fine! miss you guys ♥

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Me - Plotting against the evils of time!

Plotting & Scheming
Originally uploaded by ms_mod
I've been away from my little ol' blog for about a month now...feels like just yesterday I was posting about my big adventure to Artfest...time has a way of slipping away from me...I have this wierd sense of timelessness in my life, which is sometimes wonderful and other times frightening...I think it's kind of a like a self-imposed oblivion, created sheerly for the purpose of self-preservation because the idea of time passing is so scary to me...It's wonderful in the sense that I rarely feel that sense of urgency that things need to be done NOW! It allows me to buoyantly float through life with my own gentle rhythym...taking as much or as little time to simply do as I please...You may be thinking it sounds like a fancy pants way of saying I'm a procrastinator...well, I'm that too, but this is different somehow...this is almost like a denial of time itself...denouncing it's very passage by refusing to move at it's frighteningly quick speed...time has no consideration for the moment whatsoever, regardless of how magical, poignant, or important...each moment is just like any other and time shows no favoritism, quickly moving from one moment to the next...this denouncement of time can be a bit peculiar and scary as sense of time is so often skewed and warped that sometimes I will find myself in situations or relationships that I tend to languish in...long after I should, later lamenting why I didn't move on sooner...this fact is sometimes just the jolt of fear that I need to start taking time a bit more seriously...I never want to be that person that wakes up twenty years from now wondering where the last twenty years went...that, to me, would be something unforgivable...I struggle with finding that balance between timelessness and a sense of time's passing...balance is something I struggle with in general, but that's a different post for a different time...I guess I'll continue to buoyantly float, occasionally reminding myself to pick up the pace at least to a dog paddle, in an effort to both deny and embrace time...and find that balance I so desperately crave...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Artfest Here I Come!!!!

i've been such a bad little blogger lately, but there have been so many changes afoot, that i've had trouble keeping up with them myself. most of them really good and exciting, a bit unknown about how it will all turn out, but i guess that's all part of the excitement, right? i feel like i'm in for a really big transition in my life, a major turning point, and i'm really welcoming it and looking forward to all the possibilities it may bring.
i've also been frantically getting ready for my trip to washington to go to artfest 2008, yay! if you don't know about artfest, google artfest 2008 and check out the's this fantastic 4 day retreat full of art making, workshops by fabulous instructors, and lots of friend making too....i'm a bit nervous, as i'm going into it not really knowing a soul, but i think it's going to be amazing and i'm sure i'll meet all sorts of wonderfully creative people....i've been trying to really push myself this past year to do/try things that scare me...things that i fear...and a year ago, i would never have been able to do this...a year ago this would have been a sweet little pipe dream in my brain, something i would dream about, fantastize about, "wish" i could do, "wish" i could be the type of fearless person that would pick up and travel across the country to spend 4 days with 600 strangers in pursuit of something they loved, always wishing to be that person...hoping to be that person, but never really able to envision how i would become that person....and now, about a year later...i am that person. still with fears, anxiety, and a bit of trepidation, but not the type that keeps you frozen in place, stagnant, unchanging, stilted, a concubine of your own mental/emotional fears , no, not that kind of fear...just a normal healthy dose of everday fear, the kind that gives you butterflies in your stomach and quickens your heartbeat for a moment or so, the kind that makes your palms a bit sweaty and your mouth a tad dry...that's usually the kind of fear i experience these days. so off i will go to artfest on tuesday, with butterflies in my stomach, a quick beat to my heart, a slick palm, and a dry to do the undoable and be the person i never thought i would become. ♥

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Once I Was A Bird

Once I Was A Bird
Originally uploaded by ms_mod
Large 19 x 24 inch original mixed media collage created upon 100 lb. Strathmore Bristol Paper. Created in shades of warm sepia, creamy vanilla, antique lace, and snowy white, with hints of cool blue and pale pink, this collage has a very soft, surreal, dream-like quality to it. It features the rather curious connection between humans and birds and the avian fascination many of us posess. Truly a mixed media piece, this collage was created with a melange of techniques and materials, including image transfers, found paper, vintage seam binding, a variety of antique papers, and a vintage photograph. All of these delicate snips and scraps work together to create a beautifully muted palette with loads of texture and dimension.

Once I Was A Bird ~ detail 1

Once I Was A Bird ~ detail 1
Originally uploaded by ms_mod