The Joy of Digital Collage

17 08 2013

Back in the 80’s I used to make collages for myself by using scissors to carefully, carefully cut images from magazines we had bought or been given at home, and then blast whatever song was filling me up at the time while I played with the arrangement and placement of the images and how I wanted them to come together to present as a whole.  I had a wall that I had placed poster board backing on, and just kept adding images to until the whole wall was full – but not crowded; if space was required in certain areas in certain ways, I paid attention to the balance of it to let it breathe and draw the eye to all the lines and colours and images so that nothing was overshadowed by something else, unless I’d intended for something to be more emphasized than something else.  For that, I just curled little pieces of tape over to make sure that enough of the image that I’d cut would not curl but remain affixed and smooth.  Once I started using a scrapbook, I sometimes used glue, sometimes tape.  And in the scrapbook I could write in between the images, drawings, doodles and pictures, place personal photos as well, etc.  The images were mostly fashion and the arts, sometimes science, as well as great design in any area.  It was a lot of fun, and enormously satisfying.

FAST FORWARD yea, many years, and then came Apple – and Thank God for Steve Jobs and every genius who helped create everything that is noble and good at Apple!

Through the use of the Pages app and an iPad (though any touch device will do this, I just find the screen size easier to work with for this purpose), I was able to save images from a variety of sources on the Internet, much like people do at Pinterest, etc., as well as from newsletters, resize them, arrange them, tilt them, move them around, until they sat as I wished them to, in a digital collage, which I would then have to screen shot to save in my photo library so that the images would not move around while looking at them (in the Pages app, once you’ve made a collage, sometimes while scrolling through the image the images will move around by virtue of it being a touch device; trying, but solve-able by either emailing it to yourself as a pdf and then saving in your iTunes library or tilting the iPad to portrait view and then taking a screen shot to save in your photo library).

What’s great about looking at the collages I make for myself is that on the iPad, I can expand any part of the collage that I want to look at more closely, and then zoom out again.  I like making my collages in silence, and I also like making my collages while listening to music that I feel like listening to in the moment, and letting it carry me.  I make them entirely by feel, going through thousands of images and randomly accepting and discarding which images I will use for the feel of the piece while I am working on it.  Some of the images may not be as readily understood for their inclusion in the collage I created that I am showing here, as they may be referentially evocative only to me, though don’t let that dissuade you from being inspired to create your own collage for yourself, nor is it intended to be exclusive.

This collage is actually quite ‘busy’, in comparison to some of my other ones, but when I look at it, read it, explore it, zoom in and zoom out, scan it, and just let it wash over me, I feel it, and it both informs and inspires me, which is the point.  The nice thing about collages, too, is that you can do whatever you want with it, and once it’s in your photo library, you can use the Over app in the iTunes App Store, and even select artwork or a font, font colour, and font size and placement, and write over top of the image – SO cool!!

You could choose a theme, like comedy, or like happiness, or like childhood, or a dream or goal, or just thinking of another person and, endeavouring to uplift them, create something so inspired that it just sends love and/or supports them in a meaningful way where they now have it to be able to refer to for themselves, over and over again, as often as they wish.

And because the creator is always greater than the thing made, you will bubble up with more and more ideas that grab your attention, especially as you continue to grow and evolve.  So while you are limited to the size of the overall piece while creating, what does not end up in one collage can end up in another; it is not exhaustive, nor is any one collage, and so nothing is lost, there  is simply more to come.

My Gifts Collage


Tonto & The Lone Ranger – THUNDER TYPING!!!

16 08 2013

I am not sure how to say it; it is such a heavy, light movie.  And like a truly great movie, I left the theatre transformed.  I am sincerely grateful to everyone involved with that project for doing everything it took to bring it to fruition:  it is a marvel of each person’s genius.

Our oldest son gave my husband and I his movie theatre gift card that his Aunt and Grandmother had given him as part of his birthday present, saying that he wanted us to use it to go to a movie together; not so he could get us out and about so he could get up to something, but because he is a genuinely caring, and giving person, and just wanted to do something nice for us.  (Thank You, honey – I deeply appreciate it, and I love you, too:)  And wow, what a movie!!

I watched the trailers for this movie so many times that everyone in the family would just smile at me, shake their heads slightly, and leave the room.  Our second eldest can quote the trailers, and which trailer contains what.  That’s how much I just enjoyed the trailers, alone!

When I was trying to tell the kids about it, they panicked and said, “NO SPOILERS!!  DON’T WRECK IT!!”  Which is a bit tricky and a total bummer if you’ve actually seen The Lone Ranger, I loved it that much.  The performances were stellar – dagnabbit, everything was stellar!   I had really been looking forward to seeing it with our kids and with friends, and with, like, anyone who would like to go see it because I want to see it again.  And again.  I am so disappointed at the length of time they kept it in the theatre for here, and also that it was fairly briskly moved to a once per day showing of 9:40pm , and then that they finished that run at that late showing on a Wednesday in only one theatre in about 45 minutes outside of the city.  What’s up with that?!  Once it’s available to own, I am watching it as many times as I like before resting it and then watching it again because I don’t want to diminish any of the feeling.   There are a lot of movies I love, but this is the first one ever to strike me as a song that I want to play over and over just to savour its perfection.  It’s just The Lone Ranger, right; it’s just a movie.  But if it’s just a movie, why is it being criticized and treated so unjustly?

Out of respect for people who do NOT like spoilers, I will just say the things I liked about this movie, and hope that I have remembered everything because I certainly loved everything, even the parts that I didn’t like – that no one likes – injustice, unfairness, bigotry, mistreatment, disrespect, etc. – they just got everything right, and I love them for it.

Ok: here’s what’s right with this movie, in no particular order:

  • casting
  • writing, directing, overseeing – everything necessary to this – I won’t even go into breaking this down into further details
  • acting
  • quirks, irony, comic moments, subtleties
  • costumes, jewlery
  • sets – ALL the sets, trains, buildings, desert
  • stunts, special effects
  • makeup – and aging makeup!
  • music
  • elderly storytelling lapses
  • San Francisco circus
  • “It came to me in a vision.”  then:  “Hi, Tonto!”, said in passing, just as he’s answered John Reid about why they’re where they are in that moment (ok; not really a spoiler, right?  I couldn’t resist that clever funny bit!)
  • railroad
  • railroad barons
  • the variety of characters and purposes of those employed by the railroad barons
  • Red’s ivory leg with gun barrels and the painting of her previous career
  • Comanche charge
  • cavalry, gatling guns
  • loss of innocence
  • Tonto & LR got baddies that they’d been dealing directly with
  • There were really good nods to the spaghetti westerns
  • This list feels seriously incomplete, that’s now much I love this movie.

They captured everything.  And the quirks and life breathed into all the characters, spoken and unspoken, were so vibrant and engaging.  This is the kind of movie that I think most people’s soul’s cry for – I know mine did.  How critics can be panning it is (thankfully) beyond me – and thankfully I am not paid to criticize the work of another or others.  I am grateful for this movie, also, because it seriously updated the Lone Ranger story that had been fed to everyone watching the original television show of yesteryear, adding more dimension, wholeness, and dignity to the characters; much more appreciative and respectful, a well-written and well played story, and to great effect.

See this movie with family.  See it with friends.  See it with acquaintances! Discuss!

Again, I LOVE this movie, and I think it gives and says so much – and still manages to be very entertaining.  I am so glad that I totally disregarded any and all criticism of this movie, including any expressed lack of interest in it, and just watched the trailers and gave it a chance in order to decide for myself; I carry it in my heart.  I hope it’s successful in iTunes & DVD sales; whether or not it is, I am going to have a copy, and keep it in my library.

I thought this Lone Ranger interview that our daughter sent me was good, too:–critics-“slit-the-jugular”-of-lone-ranger-141408705.html


Happy Canada Day!

1 07 2013

Happy Canada Day!

One thing that happens in all countries are families.  I read something in the I Ching which I found particularly moving in this regard.  The I Ching states (among other things),

“The family is society in embryo; it is the native soil on which performance of moral duty is made easy through natural affection; so that within a small circle a basis of moral practice is created, and this is later widened to include human relationships in general.  The family must form a well-defined unit within which each member knows their place.”

This post is not about dysfunction that unfortunately occurs sometimes, nor about personal life choices such as whether or not a person decides to/not to have children; they are still someone’s child, possibly sister or brother, grandchild, niece/nephew, you get the idea.

Tony Robbins has said that people won’t remember everything in their lives, but they will remember moments in time of significance to them.  And Maya Angelou has said that while we may not remember everything a person has said, we will remember how they made us feel.

In our family, I have to say that our children are very feeling people, who genuinely care and try to do the right thing as best they know at the time, and are very loving.  And yet there are those crazy kid stories!

I remember years ago when our oldest was little, and her sister came upon her lying still, face up, on the floor on the landing at the top of the stairs, and asked her what she was doing; she was told to please leave her alone because she was trying to levitate.  Or when she told her sister that she was intuitive, and the same sister immediately asked what time it was; when she was told, “I don’t know,” and as she watched her go consult a clock, she said, “I thought so!”, showing her disbelief.  But then, sister number 2 is also a card.  Trying to take her grocery shopping when she was little was always adventurous, said lovingly in retrospect.  I won’t even go into all the stories which curiously revolved around grocery shopping (apparently she thought that was her audience, I can only wonder), but will say that one of the milder moments was her shouting in perfect mimicry, lisp and all, quoting The Princess Bride: “NEVER TRUST A SICILIAN WHEN DEATH IS ON THE LINE!!!  AHAHAHA-AHAHAHA-AHAAAAaa…”  More of those vignettes another time – I am drafting children’s books, as we speak.

Our boys are just as dear as their sisters.  Our older son, when little, would always “rescue” his sisters from their Dad when they would all be playing “Alligator”, in which he would mostly make loud roaring sounds and make fearsome alligator faces at them, and tickle them.  The girls would laugh and scream, and call for their baby brother to rescue them!  And he was only about two and a half, but he would call, “I’m coming!  I’ll help you!!”, and quickly grabbed the plush hobby horse (that whinnied and played folk and western tunes when you pressed his right ear), and ran to where they all were, and was whacking his Dad’s back and anywhere he could hit (it was a bit to wield that horse, for a 2.5 year old) – which made his Dad and all of us laugh uncontrollably, as none of us were expecting that reaction.  He just took his sisters at their word that they needed rescuing, and that was how he had translated that moment at the time.  His younger brother, diagnosed with ASD at about 4.5, put his arms out to give me a hug as he approached me while I was sitting cross-legged on the floor.  He is very affectionate, so this did not surprise me.  What did surprise me was that as he put his arms around me to hug me, I heard the whoosh and snip of the scissor blades to the left side of my head as all my senses became immediately alert.  I pulled back, and he smilingly said, “haircut?”, to which I said that perhaps another time I would agree, but not at this time, and then followed through with all the usual redirecting his attention to better and safer pursuits while deftly retrieving the scissors and putting them away.  He gave me a kiss and a hug and carried on with his next interests of the moment.  I love our kids.

It has been said that the years teach us much which the days never know.

This Canada Day, I just want to say that I am grateful for my husband and our children, our families and friends.

I also want to say that my Aunt is in hospital, and that her family is surrounding her and supporting her along with my Mom, Sister, and other Aunt who were able to drive there to be there for her and for her husband and family.  I have not heard further, but I know it is serious, and that she has been suffering debilitating pain.  I send my love, our love, to her and to everyone there.

Great Old Video & Photo Effects App, and Still Free:)

24 06 2013

I know this app is only for the iPod touch/iPhone, but I still love it and still use it. (It’s also old; however, there are always tons of apps in the App Store – more than we know about or what to do with, and always being added to!  Generally the only apps you know about are those featured on the homepage or that you find out about.)  I made a short YouTube, embedded below, to show all the effects it can produce for both video and photos by simply touching/tapping the screen (video comes with; photos are an in-app upgrade @ .99 cents – fabulously, you can also have an option to have little snowflakes flutter across the screen while filming, though I did not include that in the YouTube:)  It’s a nice change from the standard video or photo, and is fascinating to see an animated effect in contrast to the usual way of doing things.

Imagine if you read a public domain poem (such as from this app) and filmed it with Cartoonatic and sent it to someone – a gift that keeps on giving! (As always, know your purpose in advance (as well as your audience, or at least well enough to know that your selection would be well met), choose wisely, practice, and express yourself!)

Download the Cartoonatic app for FREE here on the App Store.

WOW! New Likes And Follows!!

24 06 2013

5 followers_5 likes

Screen Shot 2013-06-22 at 10.14.10 PM

Screen Shot 2013-06-22 at 10.14.23 PM


WOW!!  Yesterday and today I had been running around doing errandserrandserrands for one of our son’s birthdays, and my WordPress App kept giving off the most delightful chime that I could not check while I was driving, nor while methodically moving through my lists and mental hamster-wheel of tasks to stay on top of, relegating it to “later”.  WELL.  GUESS WHAT?!  I am well chuffed and if I may say so, floored, that I have been receiving “likes” and a couple of new subscribers to the old ittybittyomniblog, here!!  WOW, You guys!  WOW!  It was not even my birthday, today, but I am humbled by receiving such responses.  ThankYouThankYouThankYou!!!  You are all beautiful, fabulous, and wonderful, and don’t let nobody tell you any different!


20 06 2013

Ok!  I just got the If Poems App recently in the iTunes App Store, and it is both cool and delightful!  You can read poems, listen to a selection of the poems being read professionally to you – including some by Helena Bonham Carter! and also some by Tom Hiddleston! – AND some you can even read aloud, record in your own voice, AND email to friends and family (these would be public domain ones).

(Should you have an iDevice (iPod/iPhone/iPad, etc.) and are a lover of poetry, please do note that the app is not universal, here meaning that if you purchase it for your iPod/iPhone, and you happen to also have an iPad, you cannot just download it to your iPad, but must purchase the iPad version separately.)

Ok!  After I listened to Bill Nighey read “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, I decided to have some fun with the kids and put a playful, silly twist on the same poem.  So I threw on a Scottish accent with a bit of a crusty character feeling, and read it aloud to the kids who, I found, both enjoyed it and were embarrassed by it, depending on the age of the child, and some, a measure of both (enjoying it but not wanting to admit it to me;D).  And if they listened to the end, they were rewarded with a surprise mashup of the last three pages of the Berenstain Bears’ The B Book, in which the group bumped into Black Bug’s Banana Boxes (a great book for alliteration!), which broke Baby Bird’s Balloon.

Now, be gentle with me, dear reader(s – hope springs eternal), as clearly, the embedded recording shares that I can benefit from both a voice and language coach, here:

Clearly, Baby Bird is in shock.

Clearly, Baby Bird is in shock.

Edit:  I forgot to mention that I think this app would also make an ideal gift for children to send to their parents, siblings, extended family, and friends – imagine a parent helping their child to record themselves reading one of these poems aloud to send as a gift for a dear aunt or uncle – and to listen to poetry being read aloud professionally, as it’s very different from reading prose – what a wonderful, wonderful gift!  And really, it doesn’t have to be only children reading – anyone can do this, and who wouldn’t enjoy receiving something like that?  All relationships can be enriched by poetry, and we can all use poetry in our lives – I’m putting mine on an mp3 to enjoy the pleasure of hearing it whenever I want:)

Super #A-1 Blogger

17 06 2013

My Mom was de-cluttering in preparation for her big move, some years ago, when she decided to downsize. As I opened one of the boxes while helping her, I had a full scene flashback to grade 3 and eagerly sorted through the top papers to get to my Snowy White Owl Report, which I did not know she still had.

I had (fittingly) used a snowy, white duotang (read: a white, malleable, soft card stock cover with three bendy metal bits inside for the purpose of securing your three-hole punched papers) for the project. Back then we had to have a title page, table of contents, etc., and then lots of written content to back it up. It was always a fun challenge to take what was in the school library’s books and encyclopaedias and switch up the sentences and vocabulary to say essentially what I’d just read, but “without plagiarizing!”. Regardless, it wasn’t as fun as all that at the time, because I saved most of the research for last every time, and not because I considered it to be the best part, being 8 years old at the time. No, for me the best part was choosing my colours and slowly, carefully, painstakingly spending hours drawing the Snowy White Owl from a photograph in pencil, and then

  • slowly entering the coloured detail work, and then
  • slowly and carefully creating a fancy lettering style with complimentary colours to adorn the title page, then
  • admiring my work repeatedly and
  • showing it around at home to my family (it was something to be worked on at home, not actually at school, though it was for marks).

My Mom told me almost everything I did was wonderful, and my Dad would give me the absentminded, “That’s nice, honey!” while he was reading. Siblings gave varying replies depending on the state of our relationship at the time, but sisters could generally be relied on to say something nice, like we’d been trained to do 😀

Then my Mom had to get stern with me (!?) so that I’d finished the project because my teacher told her that I hadn’t done the written part of yet. (I had to be reminded that it wasn’t an art project but a “research report”.) So I completed it under the self-induced duress of procrastination at the time (I only wanted to do the part I was interested in). I don’t even remember what mark I got as it was the remarks that stuck with me. But I do remember deciding that I was keeping it forever because it was the “BEST thing I have ever done and that Snowy White Owl looks EXACTLY like a REAL ONE!!”

Finally closing in on it, I opened the white duotang to behold my grade 3 artistic genius, of which I had entirely strong, confident feelings of pride in my work.

Hm. It turns out my memory was more impressed with the drawing I did than I was, as an adult. Interestingly, it did not diminish the feeling I had inside for my joy of creation, even though seeing it now years later did not hold the same feeling: I remain intact!

The End. A+