Saturday, October 22, 2016

Danse Macabre Halloween Party

Good morning ghosts & ghouls. I've been rather quiet with my head down & creating like crazy as the winds of change blow like a cyclone all around me. Danse Macabre has been the Halloween theme for a good share of October. The history behind it is just too fascinating. So let's talk Halloween decorations, parties, & just a bit of the story behind the theme.

Danse Macabre
The French phrase became known during the mid 1400s when Danse Macabre became an artistic genre found on murals & in religious texts. The Black Death or bubonic plague was a horrific time when 1/3 of the total population of Europe ceased to exist. This catastrophe colored the world in a cloak of darkness that became part of the collective consciousness for generations to come. Art, poetry, & music have embraced the theme. Have you ever listened to Camille Saint-Saens orchestral composition, Danse Macabre? Stop for a moment & listen HERE.  The music is based on French text by Henri Cazalis. The story goes that at midnight on Halloween skeletons rise from their graves with death playing the violin & all the others dancing until dawn. Disney based an animation from 1929 on Danse Macabre that is so much fun to watch. See it HERE.

Party Time!

Studio on the Corner based a Halloween party theme on Danse Macabre beginning with tags.

The skeletons on the tags are going about their dance in various ways. Tags are great for more than just gifts. Tie the tags around bottles of wine, beer or soft drinks. Give the beverage a scary name. You can write it by hand or add text in Adobe Acrobat Reader. The font used on the tags is Saucy Jack. You will find a link to the font in the TOU of the Danse Macabre Tags.

Something Wicked Banner
A banner draped across a  mantle, wall or window adds more ambiance.

Yep, that's a plague doctor on one of the banner flags. The colors go great with the Danse Macabre theme. Just print, cut, punch holes & string the flags together using ribbon, string, or jute.

Danse Macabre Centerpiece
Every party needs a little something on the table. How about stacking poison packets from the apothecary? The Danse Macabre Halloween Packet kit has everything you need to create a centerpiece that's unique & fits the theme.

Four aged papers & a sheet of various sized labels are included in this package.

You Need: Printer, scissors, ribbon, string or jute twine & something soft to wrap. The packages in the image are pieces of folded fabric. You could wrap boxes, but if you think poison powders, it's likely the packet would have been soft rather than hard-edged. The labels are text editable in Adobe Acrobat Reader or just use your own beautiful handwriting.

Directions: Fold fabric into small, thick sizes & wrap. No tape needed because scotch tape was not invented until 1930. Parcels were wrapped & tied with string. Which brings me to a SAVE YOUR INK suggestion. If you prefer, you can tea dye standard printing paper to add age to your packets rather than print the papers. Don't want to mess with tea dying? Cut brown bags so they lie flat & use those. You can add a bit of age by crushing the bags & smoothing them out before wrapping.

Print the labels & cut out. Crush labels in your hand & smooth out along with making tiny tears on the edges of the labels to give them more age & grunge.

The above packets were tied with jute twine, but string works just fine. Again, age white string by tea dying. Black ribbon would look great, too!

Stack your finished packets in a way that looks fun. I used a glass bell jar sitting on old Harper's Weekly newspapers from the 1860s. Candles, pumpkins, gourds, a witch's hat, a raven would all add frightening flair to your centerpiece.

To keep this post from running long, the last piece will be in tomorrow's direction post. The Danse Macabre favor bags. There will be more ideas on how to create using these packages without running out of ink in your printer. See you then!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Little Gorey

Good Morning, October friends.  There's a tree outside my window & just cross the road beginning to change's quite lovely in the morning light. It's been busy around here trying to round up the loose ends of Halloween listings. Believe it or not, it's time to start on those red & green holiday offerings. Yikes!

Before we go there let's talk about Edward Gorey. Do you know his work?  If you ever watched PBS's Mystery you would have seen his haunting, black drawings. Got a minute? Take a look at the opening of Mystery.

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He lived in Yarmouth Port on Cape Cod & his home is now a museum dedicated to his life, his books, his drawings, his love for animals & their well-being.  Here's a link so you can take a look at his house for yourself.
This image is from a rather macabre book Gorey wrote & illustrated, Gashlycrumb Tinies: A very Gorey alphabet. I find it humorous & fun. It certainly is the season to be gorey, spooky, & fun. 

Do you have an artistic pattern? I am drawn (pun intended) to a more simplistic style of art often with a touch of the dark side ala Edward Gorey, Tim Burton & the Lilliput kids illustrations from the 1890s.  

The Lilliput girl is yelling or singing, either way I think she's great fun. 

There's a new paper pack in SotC Etsy shop. It's grungey, aged, distressed, beat up, & ready to be used as backgrounds in your digital & paper projects. 

It's a package of just black & aged-white/ cream with damask patterns, checkered, polka dots, stripe, & a couple solids. It's one of those packs that has the potential to become go-to in your creating tool box.  

Typical 12-inch x 12-inch, 300 dpi, 12 JPGs. Look for Time Worn Paper Pack.

That's it for this morning! 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Welcome October!

October is one of my favorite months of the year. The air cools, frost is on the pumpkin & witches on switches fly across the sky. Cooler weather suits me & there's just so much eye candy out there right now with chrysanthemums in every color, portly pumpkins, & let's not forget Hallowe'en decorating.

So many Halloween printable ideas are floating amounts the cobwebs in my head that I think shiney ball syndrome has hit me. I start one thing & then the light bulb comes on & whoosh...I'm starting something new.

Yesterday, Danse Macabre Halloween Packet Kit was listed in Studio on the Corner Etsy shop. What is a packet kit? Well...pretend like you're a resident of Victorian London & in need of some 'medicinal' powders from Fester & Rott Apothecary. The delivery boy brings you a stack of soft wrapped packets labeled with the contents & tied with string.

Danse Macabre Halloween packets under a bell jar, stacked, or in a basket makes a great conversation piece for a dining table or anywhere you want to add a bit of the mysterious & macabre. 

Easy to put together! Just print, cut, wrap, glue on a label & tie with string, jute twine or black ribbon. 

The kit has 4 distressed & aged papers along with 1 sheet of 8 labels & each label individually. A quick informational note: the papers are 8.5-inches x 11-inches, standard print paper size. 

  • Add more age:  
  • Crush the papers & then smooth them out.before wrapping
  • Soak cotton string in strong tea to grunge it up a bit. Hang to dry.
  • Add another color & texture crushing a sheet of white paper & then soaking in strong tea. Let dry before using

 When it comes to decorating your home for Halloween think creatively & if you love vintage think about those who lived & celebrated 100 years ago. What could you turn into something different, scary, & out of the ordinary for Halloween decorating?  

There's more to come,  but for now get the Danse Macabre Halloween Packet Kit HERE

Monday, September 26, 2016

Be Yourself

Rainy days &'s both & as usual it's hard to get back into the regularly scheduled program. Let's call today inspirational Monday, get the fanny moving, gotta get up & go.

I spent a wee bit of time this weekend surfing for nothing in particular, researching no topic, just clicking away. That's when the above quote captured my eye on tumblr. The imagery is vibrant & speaks to me. Does it you? When it comes to inspiration it's amazing what does the trick, what encourages us to move forward, to take that risky first step, reclaim a long lost love, or continue marching to the drum that beats in your own soul. Stacey Anne Murphy gives us permission to be ourselves when that little friend sitting on the shoulder points toward the masses. This Monday, be yourself because you're pretty damn wonderful.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Handwritten with Love

So I was wondering, after hearing a woman on Jeopardy say that she wanted to bring back the US Postal Service by writing letters & mailing them, how many people actually send cards or letters via snail mail? A wee bit of research turned up a few statistics:

  • From the USPS 2016 stats: 154.2 BILLION pieces of mail were processed & delivered (I'm guessing that was in 2015 because how could they know for 2016 since the year isn't over yet?)
  • Only 22% of American households send Christmas cards 
  • A single US stamp costs 49¢

I'm ashamed to say that I don't know the date of the last time I handwrote & mailed a letter. It's a dying art.  Heck, I've even jumped on the bandwagon for using the computer to sign cards, tags, etc rather than write them out using a favorite pen.

When I look at these wonderful writings, each a part of my growing collection of ephemera, I am amazed. Someone wrote that letter that travelled from France to this little corner of Ohio in the US. Someone penned that recipe to send to a family member faraway. A friend mailed a post card with a pretty image on the front to brighten someone's day. And finally, a little girl named Ruth, Helen, Naomi, or Clara practiced until her penmanship became as lovely as she was. It's a testament to the spirit of those who came before. They were busy, too, in fact life simply took more time. More time to get where they wanted to go, more time to do the simple tasks that take us only a few minutes.

So why don't we write letters or send cards anymore? Technology is supposed to lighten our load, yet it seems we're busier than ever.  Now don't get me wrong...I depend on my iMac & I'm as guilty as the next person, but I LOVE getting a card or letter in the mail that someone took the time to write their signature.  Don't you smile huge when a card or letter comes in the mail? 
Read more of the quote HERE
I'm going to challenge myself & I'm going to take a first tiny step & you are welcome to join me. I'm going to write a letter. That sounds so simple & it is by carving out 30 minutes to do it. Hmmm...perhaps skip Jeopardy one night?  Then, I'm going to mail that letter. How about you?  Will you write a letter, too?  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Just Three Words

As Studio on the Corner moves into the future it's important to pinpoint just what makes my Etsy shop different from other shops selling the same types of  digital items. I've been thinking a lot about this question & done a bit of research. The 3 words that come to mind when I break it down are:

Creating is the best part of having an Etsy shop. I know I've said this many times, but what does one more time hurt?  I love combining time-worn antique & vintage ephemera & my passion for Photoshop to create.  I get lost in the journey & at the end of the day feel wonderful contentment when it all comes together.  Along with the creativity comes my own high standards. Every image is created & saved in 300 dpi so it's high quality when printed. I truly want every file, every package, every image under the Studio on the Corner banner to be beautiful & created with excellence in mind.

Being versatile is what I want my listings to be & I want you to see the added value of 1 file or image in different formats. So let me count the ways...

  1. PDF. A quick & easy way to add your information via text. Just bring up the image or sheet in Adobe Reader & type in your information & save. 
  2. JPGs  Sheets of tags, labels, cards, etc.  formatted as JPGs. You can print the standard print size, 8.5-inch x 11-inch sheet of tags as is & handwrite your information for a personal touch. 
  3. PNGs  Individual tags in PNG form (no background) Why include no background images? So many reasons, but here's 2: For those who want to add the images to blogs, websites, on banners, in their digital art of all kinds.  I'm a-ok with small businesses using my images including printables. And...with PNG images you can create your own sheets of tags. Let's say you love the little girl witch tags. Just open your editing program that supports layers or go to Create a new file 8.5-inches x 11-inches, 300 dpi, RGB color. Pull  up just the tags you want to use & place on the sheet. Save & print. 
  4. PNG sheets of tags. WHAT? Yep, some packages have the ink-saving PNG sheets. That means you choose a colored or patterned paper to print your tags on. By going that route you use less ink & still have a fantastic-looking tag.  
Versatility is a great thing & something Studio on the Corner takes great pride in offering you. The next time you're on the hunt for a DIY gift tag, card, stationery or the like, check the options.  You may notice not everyone offers as much versatility. 

A famous, oft-argued retail quote, The customer is always right, has good intentions & while I don't necessarily agree every time I do believe that to satisfy those who believe in my creations enough to purchase them should be treated with the utmost care & respect. Digital items carry a certain risk to them. It's easy for others to take advantage of what's out there in the internet world. Having said that, Studio on the Corner prefers that every customer smiles with satisfaction before & after purchasing. Being treated well no matter what the circumstances is something I do with kindness & often generosity.

So there you have it the three words that I strive to attain each time I create & list an item. Creativity, Versatility, & Satisfaction.

It's in the shop: Witches & Broomsticks Tags were recently listed. These are little more 'sophisticated' than the package with the little girl witches.

Coming soon to SotC: Cauldron Cookery Halloween Recipe Cards 
There you have thoughts on a sunny, September Sunday.  I hope your Sunday is wonderful! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Test

Perhaps this will be a test in lack of images.  A new website/blog is down the road so of course you'll continue to find musings here for the time being, but I wonder how many are ok with a blog that sports no images. Gosh darn it...I can't get images to load so I'll just have to paint pictures with words. Just for fun...let's see how this goes.

Witches & Broomsticks Halloween Tags
 The latest tags on Studio on the Corner focus on witches from vintage post cards & magazines that were sent & received in the early 1920s. Six tags in all in several formats: all 6 on 1 sheet, individual, & as PNGs & PDFs so you can edit the sheet or each tag on it's own.

Tag 1: Standing Witch with Owl - a yellow over skirt that gathers at the waist & parts gracefully to  reveal a softly-hued, barn-red, quilted skirt decorated with black snakes & toads begins the ensemble that this sweet faced witch wears. A black corseted bodice with ruffles at the elbows & a ruff at her neck give this witch attire a modestly feminine appeal. Lacy fingerless, elbow length gloves add witchy elegance. Her blunt-peaked witch hat sports bat wings to complete the look. She holds her broom to her side with an owl sprouting from the broom corn looking regal & menacing at the same time. The background of faded text, aged texture & a splash of faded black & red checked pattern creates an overall look of time-worn & aged.

Yes, you may laugh out loud! The time it took to write that voguesque description & then you read it says it all  A picture tells an immediate story, something that in this age of speedy connections is all-important. I believe 8 seconds is the amount of time the average person surfing the internet takes to make a decision to stay or go.  That photo becomes paramount to success.  I'm going to try one more time...

Ha! And we have success!  You can find the Witches & Broomstick tags at Studio on the Corner Etsy shop.