Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Grow Your Blog" ...and a GIVEAWAY!

to new visitors and old friends alike
For the 3rd annual "GROW YOUR BLOG" party!!
So glad to have you stop by as you go through the massive list of bloggers that Vicki at 2 Bags Full has generously compiled!  Hope you can stay a while and have a look around, and then enter my
at the end of this post!

"Hello again" to old friends who come by often, and "so glad to meet you" to my new visitors! You'll see old photos I've posted before, and a bunch new ones, too, that will give you an idea of what I blog about.  LOTS of photos ahead...
I love to make soldered is one of my signature shadow boxes

Let me introduce myself:
My name is Maggie, from beautiful Portland, Oregon.  I've been a professional illustrator and designer, mostly in the textile and home-sewing industry for many years.  I devote much of my free time to my love of crafting and painting. I enjoy blogging because it has introduced me to a great many kindred souls out there who share many of my passions.  I like to use my blog as a journal of sorts, to share the projects I'm working on.  It also serves as a doorway to my Etsy shop, which is woefully bare right now, but should be stocked again soon with the soldered jewelry and angel paintings that I love to create.

Painting folk art angels is a passion of mine, and sometimes I use miniature prints in my jewelry

more of my soldered mixed-media jewelry

I love to do paper crafting and this blog has also been a wonderful way to participate in various crafty swaps and challenges, and get to know the other participants through the sharing of our little creations:

It's fun to swap Artist Trading Cards at ArtJoyStuff (I love the wonderful swap themes that Kimberly comes up with!)...

...or to participate in the weekly challenges over at the Tag Tuesday blog...
...or to trade crafty projects at BlissfulArtSwaps

Sometimes I share tidbits about my family.  My only child is far away for her sophomore year at college (and I'm still adjusting to the empty nest!), and I share news about her, my husband, or my friends and family.

Here's where I do much of my graphic design work, but I've recently gotten a new bigger Mac

Sometimes I hold small soldering workshops here in my studio, but it has been a while.  Hoping to have one or two classes in the new year.  My workspace is rarely this tidy.  I'm lucky to have tons of natural light from the french doors, though sometimes that's rare in our rainy Pacific Northwest!

I've spent many years illustrating for Simplicity Pattern Company drawing mostly little girls' fashions such as this...sadly for me, they use photography almost exclusively these days, but I still do occasional jobs for them. This is an oldie, but a favorite: illustrating a furry kid AND a dog!  I was corporate art director at Daisy Kingdom for a zillion years, too....some of you may remember them for their crafts and kids' clothes.

The work that I do professionally includes illustration and graphic design.  I have my own company, Raguse Creative Services, and do artwork for a variety of clients.  Lately, I've been developing surface designs for a tote bag company, which is a lot of fun.  I'm really into vintage, collage-y images right now.
I recently found one of my new designs at our local Kroger affiliate, Fred Meyer...always a thrill to see it on the racks!
Here's what the final art looked like.  I created it in Photoshop...which I really just started learning when I did this design about 9 months ago. I'm still a 'newbie' and learning as I go!

 Here's a sneak preview of three new tote bags I designed.  Not on the market yet, but soon...You all get to see them here first!!
'retro bicycle'

'retro cowgirl'

'chalkboard dreams' 
(in the last blog post I did, below, you'll see the various hand-lettering projects I've worked on recently)

Well, hopefully you've gotten to know me a little bit through this post, and I can't wait to go through Vicki's list and get to know some of you better, too!!  I would LOVE for you to visit often and keep up with what I'm working on here in my studio either professionally, or just for fun...just click on the "Join This Site" button in my sidebar to follow along,  and I'll do the same for you!

And now, for my  GIVEAWAY! 
Actually, I'm doing TWO GIVEAWAYS, so you have two chances to win! To enter, please LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW on this post to let me know you've stopped by (make sure there's a way to contact you if your name is chosen).  Anyone can enter, and on February 15, 2015, I will randomly select two lucky winners. Here are the giveaways:

GIVEAWAY #1 -- The first name drawn from 'the hat' will receive one textured soldered heart necklace (I have hearts on my mind for Valentine's Day!) similar to these pictured.  Molten solder is impressed with a random swirly texture and given an antiqued patina, for a one-of-a-kind keepsake:

GIVEAWAY #2 -- A second winner will receive a hand-crafted blank greeting card featuring a high quality print of my original mixed-media Angel painting "Joy Within",  enhanced with touches of glitter to make the halo and wings sparkle, then further embellished with embossed gold foil trim:

Good luck to you and THANK YOU so much for stopping by!  Consider becoming a follower if you'd like, come back often and we'll get better acquainted! And thanks again, Vicki, for hosting the party!

Friday, January 23, 2015

I love Hand Lettering!

For as long as I've been able to hold a pencil, I have loved doodling and hand-lettering.  I love to make swirls and swashes and fit letters together like a puzzle.  And lately, I've been doing more lettering projects than usual.

I'm thrilled that chalkboard art is so popular right now!  This is a design I just did for the tote bag company I do a lot of work for, and it was just bought by a big store chain yesterday!  So, in about 6 months, it should be printed and shipped and in the stores as a large recycled poly tote bag. (and I think I'll make some prints and cards from it and offer them in my etsy shop).

Here's what it looked like when I was playing with the design:

I work out the "doodle" at about half size, doing a lot of scribbling and erasing until I like the result.  I like to work on tracing paper, which lets me jot out ideas and layer them, auditioning how they might look.

Here's another design I'm developing:

and one more:

Over the holidays, I did hand lettering on a mirror as a gift for a young friend.  The words are lyrics from a Justin Timberlake song that are meaningful to my daughter and her BFF:

I had some enamel paint pens that work great on glass.  HOWEVER,  working on that reflective surface about made me go NUTS.  It was hard to transfer a guide to the glass, and then hard to draw a line and have a doubled reflection of it show up underneath it.  Between the fumes from the paint pen and the double images, I ended up with one killer headache!!

And it was also really hard to photograph that mirror surface! I have to hand it to pro photographers who can do that so well.

Finally, one more lettering project I recently daughter is an RA at college and wanted to give her residents (all 32 of them!!) a little belated gift for Christmas.  She came up with the idea of a little stamped charm with each girl's initial.  The charms were super inexpensive, ordered from Fire Mountain Gems.  While she was home on winter break, we stamped and then gave each a hammered texture. (They had been very shiny bright silver plated brass, and the hammering made them look a lot richer.)
Anyway, back to the hand-lettering.  On dark blue cardstock (school color!), I used a white gel pen to script each name.  She also had to come up with new little "Door Dec" nametags for the new semester, so she was able to use these little cards to serve that purpose as well.   Two birds ~ one stone!!
 And that, dear readers, is the tale of my latest adventures in hand lettering!