Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm a Fan of...

Julie Magers Soulen of Julie Magers Soulen Photography on Etsy, is an artist who has lived in Colorado for many years, capturing the beauty of her natural surroundings professionally for the last 10 years after a lifetime of learning and honing her skills. Together with her husband, with whom she colllaborates at times, they live off the grid in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. (To me an interesting and impressive feat in itself!) Julie's beautiful work has been published in magazines and other publications and recently was published in an art book: Paws for Charity.

Although Julie and I have never met in person, we've developed a friendly online relationship and "chat" often, and are part of a small group of artists/artisans that support one another in our efforts to succeed in our chosen businesses. The kindness and warmth that are reflected in her photography are genuine.

Please visit her Etsy shop and browse through her beautiful photographs and blank note cards, as well as check out her shops on 1000 Markets and Artfire. On Facebook you can become a fan here and I know that she'd love for you to follow her on Twitter, too! And last, but not least, visit her wonderful blog, which she updates frequently.

Visit Made by SwirlyGirl, too!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Favorite Things

A couple of days ago, my friend Julie Magers Soulen of Julie Magers Soulen Photography sent me a link to a site that I had previously been introduced to but had yet to explore. I had seen her "framed" photography in her Etsy shop and asked her how she took those without glare or reflection and was beside myself with joy when I learned that I, too, could have those perfectly framed images with minimal effort!

So, in the same spirit of sharing that she has shown me, I would like to pass on to my readers some of my favorite links and things in a new segment that I will add to my rotation! I will start with this link: Big Huge Labs . It is the place to go for all sorts of photo tools, from creating mosaics and Twitter backgrounds to purchasing prints, creating photo jigsaw puzzles, and adding special effects to your photographs. Here are some examples of a few of their tools using some of my images:

Whether you are using this site (did I say it's FREE?) for personal or professional use, undoubtedly you will find it an easy and fast way to enhance your photographs and have some fun creating your art!

Thanks for the tip, Julie! (And readers, next Friday you will learn more about Julie Magers Soulen in my "I'm a Fan of..." blog segment!)

Visit Made by SwirlyGirl, too!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm a Fan of...

Bill Fantini, photographer extraordinaire and owner of House of Six Cats, has recently become one of my online "buddies", and I am so thrilled to have such an accomplished and knowledgeable source to go to for advice and support. Based in Portland, OR (one of my favorite cities in the country!), Bill can be found participating as a vendor in various arts and crafts shows in the Northwest, as well as having his work featured in a permanent display in Love Art Gallery in Portland. Bill has developed quite an online presence, as well, and his work can be found in several online shops, listed below. He has diversified by creating unique products using his images--something I've been thinking of doing with my own images at some point. Coasters, lightswitch plates, nightlights and jewelry,...Bill's work looks spectacular on all of it!

See for yourself:

To view more work from House of Six Cats or to purchase any of the items you see pictured here, click on these links:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Theme of the Day Thursday

Fun 'n Games:

Alphabet Fun - Fabric Felt Letters

Playground Scavenger Hunt Cards

1,2,3 Memory Game with Fun Doodles

Wee Wood Bowl of STARS and Scoop

Roy G Biv tic tac toe

Fun and Games Collage Journal Kit

Fabric Balloon Ball Toy

Double Track Marble Run / Raceway

Treasure Hunt Wooden Monster I Spy Box

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Made by SwirlyGirl Video Slide Show 2009

Set to J.S.Bach's Double Violin Concerto, I've put together a little slide show presentation of some of my work demonstrating the photo transformations I create. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ten More Things About Me...

I'm going to share 10 more tidbits of information about myself today because I've really been enjoying learning more about the people I have met online and whom I follow on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook. For those of you who know me, feel free to add comments by clicking on the comment link below---for better or worse! :-) I can take a little ribbing!

1. I began taking dance class at the age of 3 and didn't like ballet at all, and for the first few years only took it because it was required by the studio in order to take the other styles.

2. When I was 13, I broke both wrists shortly after moving to a new school in a new state when I attempted to show off my gymnastics skills after having not done any gymnastics in many months. The upside: with two casts on my arms, a couple of sweet boys in my class generously helped me carry my books around! AND a photo of me and my casts holding a toy rifle as I rehearsed to be a soldier in The Nutcracker appeared in the paper with the caption: "Wounded Soldier"!

3. I moved out on my own at the age of 16 to become an apprentice with the Pennsylvania Ballet. A year later, I joined the company.

4. In anything I do I prefer minimal effort and high reward. (That's one reason I love to make cards!) I do realize the irony of this, having spent much of my life in a profession that requires so much effort!
5. I hate to cry. I'm not talking about being moved to tears--that happens all the time. But I will avoid sad, angry, hurt, frustrated or any other kinds of tears at all costs.

6. I was the Acting Artistic Director of a professional ballet company when I was 25. (An experience for which I'm grateful, but would not want to relive.)

7. At one point in my life, I thought I might want to pursue a career in advertising. This notion followed an episode of "20/20", or some such television show, which featured a segment about how people are influenced by color in advertising. I found it fascinating that the color of a coffee can could determine whether or not people would buy it.

8. As a child, I used to weave pot holders and paint the backs of sea shells and sold them door-to-door, along with toothbrushes (my father, a salesman, kept boxes of them for giveaways), and personalized greeting cards. Our neighbors were generous and tolerant people.

9. I hate conflict--especially arguments. I only argue when I know I'm right.

10. As a young adult I had few strong opinions and considered that to be a weakness. Having formed a few strong opinions since then and observing the strong opinions of others, I am now trying to be more like the young adult I once was: open to different viewpoints and ideas. The world could use a little less judgement, I think. (Is that a judgement?)

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm a Fan of...

Theresa Kwong, of Studio618, is a practicing licensed architect and a jewelry artisan/metalsmith and one of my favorite Etsians! Residing in northern California, Theresa's inspiration comes from her past experiences in life, her cultures, her environment, and specific moments in time. She uses the highest quality of materials in her creations and all gemstones and pearls are hand selected. Theresa guarantees her workmanship, offering to fix any problems (other than misuse) for free for the life of the piece of jewelry. (So far, no one has approached for a re-do and she says she intends to keep it that way!)

You can also find Studio618 at the following web addresses:

Online Store -
Blog -
flickr -
Facebook -
Etsy Team Shop -

Visit Made by Swirly Girl's site and Etsy shop!