Friday, August 3, 2012

Turn a Color Photograph into a Black and White Drawing

Using Gimp software, turn a color photo into black and white It's even more interesting to turn it into black and white line art.

Lets begin:

Open your picture in Gimp. Crop it getting rid of extra image you don't want.

I ALWAYS duplicate the image and close the original in the event I screw up in some capacity.
Next, desaturate the duplicate image.

This image shows desaturation using the "lightness" setting.

This setting is "luminosity" which is what I chose.

 I change the brightness and contrast to make the darks black and the lights white.

Now remove the background. Use what works best for you. Sometimes I use the eraser while other times I use one of the selection tools.

Now you have the option of selecting the flower then copying and pasting it onto a transparent background thus removing the white background as in the example below.

With it pasted onto a transparent background, I sometimes take the opportunity to adjust the black and white levels a bit more.

You can see this is a different example and not all of the background is removed.

For speed's sake, I simply wanted to show you what the black and white drawing can look like.

It takes me a good part of the day to complete one black and white line art.

Examples of ways to use your line art are below:

Retro sunflower picture Flower Store business cards

Schipperke dog ball cap (hat)

Schipperke Picture Mesh Hats 
Schipperke Picture Mesh Hats by Visages
Make your own personalized hats online at Zazzle.

Schipperke picture clock

Schipperke Dog Picture Wallclocks
Schipperke Dog Picture Wallclocks by Visages
View other Wall Clocks

Ferret picture tee 

Cute Ferret Picture T-shirts
Cute Ferret Picture T-shirts by Visages
Design unique custom printed t shirt at

Ferret picture playing cards

Cute Ferret Picture Card Decks
Cute Ferret Picture Card Decks by Visages
Browse more Playing Card Decks online at

Ferret picture clock

Cute Ferret Picture Clocks
Cute Ferret Picture Clocks by Visages
Look at more Clocks online at Zazzle

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Personalize Gifts & Cards to be Unique

Teddy Bear Baby Custom Invitations
Here are some great personalized gift and card ideas.

Teddy Bear: Know someone who's having a baby or had a baby? Why not give them baby announcements. The shower invitation (pictured) wording can be changed to suit your needs.

Teddy Bear Baby Custom Invitations by Visages
View other Black Invitations
Garden Fairy Folk Art Birthday Greeting Card

Garden Fairy: Change the messages on both the outside and inside to create your own unique card. You can even change the size of the card.

Garden Fairy Folk Art Birthday Greeting Card by Visages
Create cards on zazzle.
Spring Daisy Flowers & Butterflies Mother's Day Card

Butterflies: This card says "Happy Mother's Day" but you can  alter the message. Change it to "We're moving" then give a box to someone as a going away gift.

Use it for an invitation to a house warming...

Spring Daisy Flowers & Butterflies Mother's Day Card by Visages
Create personalized cards online at Zazzle.
Who da Man? 3 Retro Colored Owls Spiral Note Books

Owls: Personalize this spiral notebook with a message of your own. Makes a great birthday gift.

Who da Man? 3 Retro Colored Owls Spiral Note Books by Visages
More Red Notebooks
Schipperke Picture Iphone 4 Cover

 Schipperke cell phone case: Here's a great gift for a schipperke owner. Great for birthdays...

Schipperke Picture Iphone 4 Cover by Visages
Personalize iPhone case designs online.
Cute Country Bees to Personalize Poster

 Flowers and Bees Poster:  Personalize this poster then give as a baby shower gift or birthday to your granddaughter.

Cute Country Bees to Personalize Poster by Visages
See other Bumblebees Posters
The Crazy Aunt Tees

 Crazy Aunt Tee: This popular T shirt will bring a smile to anyone. Give to yourself or your own crazy aunt.

The Crazy Aunt Tees by Visages
Make t shirts at
Blue Stripes & Dots Birth Announcement Card Photo Card Template

 Blue and Black Stripes, Polka Dots: Add a photo and change the text then give as a baby shower gift or baby announcement. Add a book of stamps to complete a perfect gift for the new mom and dad.

Card Photo Card Template by Visages
See more Baby boy Photo Cards

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Crazy Aunt

The crazy aunt... Who is she? Does every family have one? What does she look like?

The crazy aunt is the odd sister or great aunt. Just a tad goofy and maybe laughs a little too much. She's the loud mouth, baby-talking nut who goes into a tirade of ootsie, cutsie, cootchie-cootchie-coo foolishness over the new baby and keeps it up until the baby is well into his or her thirties.

"Look at that adorable, itty bitty face. Aren't you just so cute?" she demands of the new baby.

Then it is here she pokes her husband or boyfriend - who is enduring the first viewing of the infant - in the ribs. "Just look at that eensie, weensie version of (sister's or brother's name)." she demands of the husband or boyfriend who rolls his eyes.

"Awwwww... did you see that? The baby yawned. How adorrrrrrable!"

"Ooodie, woodie, boodie, scootie, bee bee bee...," might be the gibberish dripping through the aunt's pursed lips as she wiggles and curls a finger in the baby's face. Again, the husband or boyfriend rolls his eyes while the crazy gal's sister or brother glows with pride.

Whether every family has one is anybody's guess. Probably not, is mine although I have an inkling they are more common than I could imagine. Or perhaps there's a crazy uncle, grandma or grandpa in the family rather than an aunt.

Pull Quote  

"Crazy aunts are no threat
to themselves,
the children
or parents..."

As for her looks, my imagination runs rampant here. Bouffant hair, ruby red lips and blazing blue eye-shadow come to mind but I'm from the fifties and that look is far outdated. Maybe she wears black and pink polka dots or zebra stripes, stiletto heels, has her hair cut short which she keeps in place with $20 hair spray, uses black fingernail polish and lip stick. In appearance, she's the opposite of her sister (or brother) who wears khaki pants or shorts and deck shoes or maybe flip-flops; someone I would pass on the sidewalk with but one glance and certainly not another.

Growing up, I had a crazy great aunt but hers was a sad story; driven to slight madness from tragedy in her life. She wasn't anything like the above description. Far from it, in fact. In Midwestern terms, I'd call her titched which I don't believe to be a word but we use it anyway as we squint an eye and tap our temple. Wink, wink... You know what I mean. Don't get me wrong. I'm not making fun of her, I'm only sayin'...

My best friend of nearly 32 years got a bit silly when around my kids when they were infants. Not much, just a little bit. The normal stuff, if you know what I mean. "Awwws" and "oooos" erupted from her mouth on occasion but she was more prone to helping them commit crimes (breaking household rules, that is) than she was to utter gibberish. Still, had I thought of it I would have given her a T-shirt with writing on it that said, "The Crazy God-mother". She'd have loved it.

But one has to have patience with them. Crazy aunts are no threat to themselves, the children or parents, and the memories the child or children will have of their crazy aunt (uncle, grandmother, or grandfather) will give them something to talk about for the rest of their lives. In fact, you might want to encourage the eccentric behavior just for that very reason because - face it - one day that kid is going to act a little loony once he or she is in their teens. Teen years give rise to the age old question: Are they clinically insane?

See The Crazy Aunt T-shirts at Visages Gift Store in cooperation with

The Crazy Aunt zazzle_shirt
The Crazy Aunt by Visages
Make t shirts on line at
The Crazy Aunt zazzle_shirt
The Crazy Aunt by Visages
Create unique custom printed t-shirts on zazzle.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Gift Items at Visages

April brings butterflies, tulips and a rag doll to Visages.

The butterfly - an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - was photographed right here in my own back yard where a lilac bush was in full blossom. Evening light softened the image allowing for a romantic feel.

The tulip photos were taken at a neighborhood house owned by an elderly couple who graciously allowed me on their property to shoot their flowers. The misses of the house lamented, however, "I wish you had come here a week ago when they were prettier. They're on their way out now." Ah, but they were still gorgeous.

The colorful primitive folk art rag doll I drew in pencil then scanned into the computer where I digitally gave it color and life. I originally called her Rag Doll with a Secret but is just as easily throwing a kiss. You'll find the art on a card. Very appropriate, I think.

You'll also find these three featured designs on coasters, necklaces, gel mouse pads and a whole lot more.

Red & Pink Tulips Pictures zazzle_mug
Red & Pink Tulips Pictures by Visages
Make a unique mug with picture from

Monday, March 19, 2012

Starting Business in Glasgow, MO

I've only been here three weeks. Fayette, MO, that is. Glasgow is about 12 miles from here (see map). How I came to be in Fayette is truly a long story; a love story gone bad.

"Don't know what happened but it snowballed into something ugly," I repeat.

Maybe one day I'll write it all down. Maybe. Not now though. Today I want to write about finding small privately owned gift shops where I rent a shelf to showcase gifts like my mini stick chairs, diaper baby, walking sticks and other such stuff while at the same time advertising Visages, my Zazzle gift shop. But before I do that I have to tell you about Glasgow.

Glasgow is historic and lies nestled along the Missouri river. It is unpretentious, is friendly and just plumb full of old homes and churches built in the 1800s. The streets are spread along rolling hills populated by small cottages and large mansions. Old brick buildings line the main street and gazing at them almost brings audible noise from their pasts as one imagines life in the hustle and bustle of steamboats, traders and growers of tobacco, hemp and cotton.

It is home of the very first steel bridge in the world. Yes, you read right: The first steel bridge ever built in the world. It was the home of many rich and important people none of whom you would recognize the name of if I were to repeat it. Still, influence of those who arrived, built their homes and prospered can be seen if one were to take the time to look.

New businesses are popping up and the proprietors are working to make Glasgow an attraction to anyone looking for a bit of Midwest history and scenic surroundings. You'll find both in Glasgow.

But enough about Glasgow. How I found Glasgow Trading Post gift shop at 609 1st St is unimportant. Suffice it to say that I did and before my next trip there the following week I packed up a large canvas bag of my crafts. The owner of the store, Donnie, and I sat in the middle of the store looking through my inventory. Mostly he was impressed with what I had brought to show but I was stuck by his willingness to take the time to look and talk. At one point, he jumped up from his cross-legged position on the floor to run to the counter and grab his price gun.

"What do you want for this?" he asked. After I told him what I thought was a fair but not at all unreasonable price, he twisted the gun's knobs, pulled the trigger and slapped the printed sticker onto the merchandise. It went like this until all the merchandise was priced.

Shelf rental is very reasonable and my merchandise is surrounded by awesome and unique gifts, many homemade.There are doll dresses with matching dresses for little girls, homemade boot protectors (you have to see them), hand painted gourds and last week I saw oodles of adorned flip-flops.

The following week I took in a few more items I had made then tagged with not only the price of the item but my Visages business card as well. I did the same the week after that. The outcome? Well, nothing has sold yet but I'm hopeful. It's only been two weeks since I placed items in his shop. Tourist and vacation season hasn't yet arrived so it'll be a bit before we find out if we make money.

Has Visages web site seen an increase in visits? I don't know for sure since I had no internet for nearly three weeks but it seems it has increased. I'm making a mental note to check Google tomorrow.

So, go visit Glasgow and be sure to visit Glasgow Trading Post (see their web site at You won't have a hard time finding it. Take in some history and have a good time doing it.