Inspired by Travel: Paris

I've had some questions and comments lately specifically about my Eiffel Tower and
Venice images, I realized I'd never shared the stories about those photos. Today I'll focus on the Paris photos, then on Monday, I'll share the Venice story.

Eiffel Tower Ornament
To answer the most asked question bluntly: Yes, I took these photos myself. No, they are not stock or purchased images from someone else.

In 2001, I won a trip to Venice through an online trivia contest sponsored by an airline and a major hotel chain that had just renovated several properties worldwide. I came in second in the contest (first place was a million airline miles, if I remember correctly). For my second place win, I had a choice of several locations but I didn't even think twice when I saw Venice as one of the options.

The only problem was - the airline didn't fly into the Venice airport, so our journey was rather intensive and involved a 24-hour layover in Paris. Definitely no complaints!

I knew jet lag would be an issue, so I reserved a hotel room in the 7th arrondissement in Paris so we could rest a bit, but my plan was to absorb as much of the city as I could in those 24 hours.

The city captured my heart, like it has for so many others.

My mother had given me a weird kind of camera before the trip. In 2001, of course it wasn't digital, but it had some weird "automatic" film cartridges in it, and took panoramic photos, so it was the latest rage at the time.

I snapped dozens of photos, but was always cautious about how many I was shooting, because I had only brought a limited number of those cartridges, and I was sure I couldn't find others elsewhere. (One reason I really love digital cameras now - I never run out of film!)

I was mesmerized by so much of the architecture in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.





When I got home, I had the film developed, and I chose my favorites to put in a special photo album of our trip. I stored the other photos in their pouches with the film cartridges. We moved a couple of times after that, and somewhere in the move, I lost all the photos except those in the photo album, so these images are precious to me.

But with time and aging of the photos, the quality is disappearing, so when I began creating art, I selected a few of my photos and digitally enhanced them to use on Zazzle.

The Gare D'Orsay image in graphic detail makes a great jigsaw puzzle, doesn't it?


These two Eiffel Tower images have turned into some of my best selling merchandise on tote bags, wall art, notebooks, and keepsake boxes!

Eiffel Tower Canvas

Eiffel Tower Keepsake Box






Twenty-four hours in Paris was definitely not long enough, but I'm grateful for the time I spent there. 

We finally made it to Venice, by way of plane and train. On Monday, I'll share those stories. 


Recent posts:

Inspired by Travel: Venice Fishing Memories and Tall Tales
We're Growing
A Sticky Note, a Road Trip, and Determination
Black Friday through Cyber Week Deals on Books and Art
Button Day Patterns
We're Celebrating Buttons
Peppermint Party in Pink
Pattern Stories Part 2
Behind the Scenes with Pattern Designs


Be sure to check out all our art and merchandise on

Zazzle and Amazon.


We appreciate your support!





Recent Posts from TMP Books:


Latest Post from Tracy Ruckman:

Holiday Recipes: Appetizers
Exciting News: Changes, New Releases, and a Contest


Come join us during the Holiday Recipes Blog Hop:

Links below activate on the scheduled date.

FRI, Nov 30: Holiday Appetizers – Tracy Ruckman
SAT, Dec 2: Holiday Beverages – Rachel Hartsfield
MON, Dec 3: International Holiday Foods – Peggy Cunningham
TUES, Dec 4: Holiday Breakfasts & Brunches – Betty Thomason Owens
WED, Dec 5: Holiday Main Courses – Sheryl Holmes
THURS, Dec 6: Holiday Sides / Potluck / Buffets – Tracy Ruckman
FRI, Dec 7: Holiday Sweets – Rachel Hartsfield

SAT, Dec 8: Holiday Recipes Master List – Tracy Ruckman






Fishing Memories and Tall Tales

Every fisherman has at least one story of "the one that got away," don't we?

I've fished all my life and have entirely too many of those stories. Once, I landed a fish so big, it kept turning the boat in circles. No lie. No exaggeration. I still know the exact spot, time of year, and the lure I lost that day when the line finally broke.

My dad was the consummate fisherman. We lived on the lake, and he went fishing almost every single day when I was growing up. He'd take us kids with him - one per day - every evening after work.

Recently, my sister discovered some of his old fishing journals, where he recorded fishing days, weather, water depth, tackle used, locations, catches, and even an occasional personal note that gave us great joy as we read over them. He told about acquiring a new boat, or he'd mention one of us and the fish we caught or a conversation we had. A precious find.

This week, TMPixArt is proud to announce the release of their own Fishing Journal: Record Conditions, Catches, Tackles, and Tales.



This book is 5" x 8" - small enough to fit into the bottom of a tackle box (I suggest tucking it inside a waterproof bag) or your lunch box, but with enough pages to record 100 fishing days. 

The interior pages allow you to document the date, body of water, weather, moon phase, fishing holes of the day, catches, water conditions and depth, tackle, tales, and notes. 


Who knows? Your recordings could eventually become a treasured family heirloom. Or at least provide some evidence to back up your stories about the fish that got away!


Recent posts:

We're Growing
A Sticky Note, a Road Trip, and Determination
Black Friday through Cyber Week Deals on Books and Art
Button Day Patterns
We're Celebrating Buttons
Peppermint Party in Pink
Pattern Stories Part 2
Behind the Scenes with Pattern Designs


Be sure to check out all our art and merchandise on

Zazzle and Amazon.


We appreciate your support!





Recent Posts from TMP Books:


Latest Post from Tracy Ruckman:

Exciting News: Changes, New Releases, and a Contest






We're Growing!

TMPixArt has taken on a life of its own and we're growing, so we're setting up a new website. On my Tracy Ruckman blog, I'll continue posting about my books, my writing,
and other general posts. This new TMPixArt blog will be devoted to art, photography, and design. I'll continue to invite guests to visit, to introduce you to other artists I meet in my journey.

As I've set up the blog here today, I've brought in most of the art posts of this year from my Tracy Ruckman blog. I've put a note at the top of each one, so you'll know I've republished it here. But from this point forward, all posts will be new and exclusive to this blog.

Thanks for traveling with us on this exciting journey!

For anyone new to the blog, a little more information:

TMPixArt is the artistic branch of TMP Books, a book publishing company I founded in 2014. In addition to the art, patterns, designs, and merchandise, TMPixArt is now also publishing several lines of specialty books. I'll announce those in future posts.

You can learn more about TMP Books on our website: www.TMPbooks.com and more about our founder, Tracy Ruckman, on her personal blog at www.TracyRuckman.com.

TMPixArt can be found on Zazzle, and Amazon. We also custom design our images, and create logos and merchandise for marketing clients.

You can also find us on social media:

Facebook:
TMPixArt
TMP Books
Tracy Ruckman, Author
Tracy Ruckman

Twitter:
Tracy Ruckman
TMP Books

Pinterest:
Tracy Ruckman

Instagram:
Tracy Ruckman



Recent posts:

We're Growing
A Sticky Note, a Road Trip, and Determination
Black Friday through Cyber Week Deals on Books and Art
Button Day Patterns
We're Celebrating Buttons
Peppermint Party in Pink
Pattern Stories Part 2
Behind the Scenes with Pattern Designs


Be sure to check out all our art and merchandise on

Zazzle and Amazon.


We appreciate your support!





A Sticky Note, a Road Trip, and Determination

NOTE: As I transition my art efforts to this TMPixArt blog from my personal blog at TracyRuckman.com, I will be sharing art posts that were originally published on that site earlier this year. While the posts may be duplicates, my body of art, and the body of art created by my guests has grown and expanded. Because of this, I invite you to visit their websites and explore their art even if you read the blog post previously - you might be surprised to find a new favorite somewhere along the way!

A Sticky Note, a Road Trip, and Determination
by Tracy Ruckman
(originally posted here)

Good Morning on this Cyber Monday! Did you survive Thanksgiving and Black Friday and all the college football rivalries?

Today, my photo and pattern stories are rather random but fun.

The first isn't yet a pattern, although eventually, one of the throw-away photos from this same photo shoot might just become one.

We have a Japanese maple tree in our front yard. I love that tree. Every year, I watch it as the seasons change, noting the different colors of its leaves and how it changes so gracefully, yet - just like life - sometimes at lightning speed.

A couple of years ago, I took a photo that I eventually turned into a paint-like print.

That year, the leaves were large.

Available on 
Zazzle
(also available as a jigsaw puzzle)

This year, however, the leaves were tiny. I wanted a different kind of image, but never could get a good one. The wind took away leaves one by one, until there were only a few left. Most of those were already shriveling up, but I looked at every angle of the tree, every leaf, determined to capture at least one photograph.

Then I found a single perfect leaf.

But it was in such a position on the tree that I could not get a good shot. Desperate, and knowing that leaf would likely blow away within the next 24 hours, I plucked it.

I placed it on a wooden rail and liked the image, but it wasn't as dramatic as I felt the leaf deserved. So I tried placing the leaf on other surfaces: a wooden step, the ground - with and without other leaves around it. As I played with all these different settings, the sunlight changed.

Our house is surrounded by trees, and our front door gets directly sunlight only for a brief time each day. Almost ready to give up on the leaf, I made my way to the front door. I decided to place the leaf on the marble step to see if I could get a decent shot.

I don't believe in magic, but I do believe in God's timing. And God's timing - as always, with everything, was just with this image. This is the original, untouched, unedited, uncropped photo.



The light cast just the right shadow to make the leaf appear to be floating above the step, but in reality, the leaf propped on its stem on its own.

I digitally enhanced the image just a bit for merchandise:

Canvas prints on 




And these beautiful


As determined as I was with that photo, I must admit that sometimes, I have accidents. One accident resulted in a beautiful pattern that I'm now selling on a pillow and a reversible duvet cover:





I love this pattern and even more so since it was an "accident."

One day - most likely before coffee - I was playing with my camera phone while I was sitting at my desk. I accidentally snapped a photo of a sticky note that was stuck to the corner of my laptop. Later that evening, I was toying with the pattern program, and accidentally clicked on that sticky note photo. I liked the colors, so I began playing with the patterns. Because I had written only on one corner of the sticky note, I had a big chunk of blue to play with in the pattern, and ended up with two that you see above.

Road trips always produce some fun photos.

A few years ago, we drove into the mountains during the fall. We stumbled upon a roadside market loaded with a late harvest. On one side of the property, we found this old fire truck. I digitally enhanced it with some artistic effects to get this:



This image is now my bestselling and most viewed product - 

  
  



Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week sales continue through tonight, with savings as much as 75% on some products!

As a small business owner and artist, please know how much we all appreciate your business. And we appreciate word of mouth advertising for our businesses and art, too, so be sure to tell your family and friends where they can get some great deals on unique gifts.

I was given two special codes for FREE shipping on Zazzle that can be used up to three times each. Try either of these codes to see if they are still available. There have been purchases made, so I'm not sure how many times they've been used, but try:

RORRIOBHUAQVWWLLXNJK

QJEYUTTDJOIUNCSMDYIC



Thank you for supporting authors, small businesses, and artists during the busy holiday season! We are grateful for your business!


Hooray for Holidays Series by Peggy Cunningham

Button Day Patterns

NOTE: As I transition my art efforts to this TMPixArt blog from my personal blog at TracyRuckman.com, I will be sharing art posts that were originally published on that site earlier this year. While the posts may be duplicates, my body of art, and the body of art created by my guests has grown and expanded. Because of this, I invite you to visit their websites and explore their art even if you read the blog post previously - you might be surprised to find a new favorite somewhere along the way!

Button Day Patterns
by Tracy Ruckman
(originally published here)


Today, November 16, 2018 is Button Day. My friend, Fay Lamb, joined us in my previous post, explaining our fascination with buttons today, and shares a fun story about buttons on her own blog. This morning, she shared her own button story on her Inner Source blog along with the stories of some of her other friends; this afternoon, she shares the post I sent her.

For my contribution, I told about a small button tub that my husband's sister gave to us shortly after we were married. When Fay mentioned buttons, I brought out our tub and decided to take some photos to create some art.

From this photo, I created different styles and colors of patterns and put them on merchandise:

  
(This pattern is also available as a table runner, blanket, and lamp.)

(This pattern also available as a tote bag.)






This pattern making can be addictive, but I'm trying to put them to good use. I'll be adding new products each week, so bookmark my TMPixArt store and drop by often!

While you're Christmas shopping, please explore my collections! You may find just the perfect gift for someone.

A Few of My Collections:





Recent posts:

We're Growing
A Sticky Note, a Road Trip, and Determination
Black Friday through Cyber Week Deals on Books and Art
Button Day Patterns
We're Celebrating Buttons
Peppermint Party in Pink
Pattern Stories Part 2
Behind the Scenes with Pattern Designs


Be sure to check out all our art and merchandise on

Zazzle and Amazon.


We appreciate your support!





We're Celebrating Buttons

NOTE: As I transition my art efforts to this TMPixArt blog from my personal blog at TracyRuckman.com, I will be sharing art posts that were originally published on that site earlier this year. While the posts may be duplicates, my body of art, and the body of art created by my guests has grown and expanded. Because of this, I invite you to visit their websites and explore their art even if you read the blog post previously - you might be surprised to find a new favorite somewhere along the way!



We're Celebrating Buttons

by Tracy Ruckman and Special Guest Fay Lamb
(originally published here)

I love trivia so when I saw that today was Button Day, I had to celebrate! With two special blog posts, too: the one here, and this one, which tells about the button patterns I designed that were inspired by this whole conversation.

Why?

Because of my friend Fay Lamb's button collection and the story of how it came to be. (Warning: if there's ever a salt-and-pepper-shaker day, Fay will be my first interview! I hear rumors she has a vast collection!)

Fay, when we were last together, you had discovered a few buttons (few being relative?) Tell us about those buttons. How did you come in possession of them?

 A few? That's an understatement. I found enough buttons to fill five jars completely full. They just happen to be old zinc lid "Ball" jars, too. 

My mother-in-law was a master seamstress and a quilter. When she fell ill in Florida, I went to her vacation home in North Carolina, where she had practically lived. 

My plan was to clean the place because we knew we weren't going to be able to be there much. That's when you graciously came to help me sort through things. Even before that cleaning, we realized that my dear mother-in-law was beyond the capability of sewing or even crafting any longer, and I made the hard decision to get rid of all of her fabric, her tools, everything, and give them to charities ... 

But then I found the buttons. And more buttons. I began putting them into jars. The journey of finding all the buttons I could kept me going. I even discovered buttons that her grandmother had saved and had written on what they had been used to make (in the 1800s). 

As I discovered each button, I discovered a connection to my mother-in-law. As the materials began to disappear from the house, I realized I'd begun the process of grieving because with Alzheimer's the individual is gone long before they leave this place. 

The night before you came to help, I remember opening up a drawer I thought I'd gone through. I found it filled with craft materials, material, buttons, and a plethora of other items. I wanted to give up, but the quest for buttons kept me going. At the bottom of that drawer, I didn't find buttons. I found one special gift from God, and my desire to collect the buttons led right to it. 

I'm a tatter--a maker of lace--and in the very bottom of the last drawer, I found a tatted collar. My mother-in-law never tatted, but I had discovered the art while attending a craft show with her. I understood without a doubt that the collar had been meant for me--a gift forgotten. I sank to the floor clutching that gift and crying for all my memories that were no longer shared with this dear woman. 

I also found healing, and I continue to find that healing when I look at the jars filled with unique buttons.

What's the significance of the buttons in your own life? 

One of the joys of my childhood was my mother's button jar. She didn't sew, but my grandmother had sown out of necessity. She had seven children to clothe. I can still smell the musty smell of aged buttons. Somewhere in my mother's moves, the jar was lost, so when I found the numerous buttons in my mother-in-law's home, I began to think of them as a special gift to me, a way to remember her even while she was losing her memory of me and a way to replace the forgotten memories of my childhood.

What are your future plans for the buttons? 

Right now, they sit in their antique jars on my dresser. I eventually plan to move them into six jars and share the memory with my six grandchildren as I gift them each with one, not only as a way to remember my husband's mother but also to link them to a special memory of my mother and my grandmother.

I know these buttons tie into one of your books, too. How did that happen?

Well before I found my mother-in-law's buttons, I mourned the loss of my mother's button jar. When I wrote my novel, Stalking Willow, one of the most important characters in the novel was Willow's grandmother who was deceased. Her grandmother had been a lot like my Grandmother New, and many things included in that novel are a wink at my many cousins who would realize where I came by them. 

Willow discovers a similar button jar and sits down and pulls out her memories of her grandmother. Something else is in the jar, but I'll let readers discover that poignant portion of the story in the book.

I delve into detail about Stalking Willow and the importance of the button jar in my post on Inner Source

Thanks so much for sharing about your buttons, Fay. We had fun during that visit, didn't we? 

Readers:

Visit Fay's Amazon Author Page to check out all her books! (Hint: They make AWESOME gifts for the readers in your family!)



You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and BookBub! Sign up for her newsletter to receive advance notice of her latest antics.


About Fay:

Fay Lamb is the only daughter of a rebel genius father and a hard-working, tow-the-line mom. She is not only a fifth-generation Floridian, she has lived her life in Titusville, where her grandmother was born in 1899.

Since an early age, storytelling has been Fay’s greatest desire. She seeks to create memorable characters that touch her readers’ heart. She says of her writing, “If I can’t laugh or cry at the words written on the pages of my manuscript, the story is not ready for the reader.” Fay writes in various genres, including romance, romantic suspense, and contemporary fiction.

Peppermint Party in Pink Collection

NOTE: As I transition my art efforts to this TMPixArt blog from my personal blog at TracyRuckman.com, I will be sharing art posts that were originally published on that site earlier this year. While the posts may be duplicates, my body of art, and the body of art created by my guests has grown and expanded. Because of this, I invite you to visit their websites and explore their art even if you read the blog post previously - you might be surprised to find a new favorite somewhere along the way!


Peppermint Party in Pink
by Tracy Ruckman
(originally published here)

When I began creating patterns, I did so rather randomly, which helped me learn. In the process, I created some fun designs I never expected or planned.

One series of designs came from one of my favorite flower photos:


Like many of my earlier photos, this one was too small to use as is, so I first enhanced it digitally to get this image that I've used on greeting cards and this paperweight:


Then I got pattern happy and came up with several unusual patterns perfect for any of the pink lovers in your life! Because of the stripes and the color, I created a new collection that I'm calling the Peppermint Party!




I love the way these reversible duvet covers came out with the Peppermint Party patterns:

Front and Back
and

Front and Back






I love that all my designs can be personalized with names, initials, phrases to make it your very own. 

I custom design merchandise for clients, too, adding patterns or logos to products for their use personally or professionally. Last week, one client requested a pattern design from a photo they provided; another client asked for a logo design and then we put that logo and images of some of their business products on merchandise. Feel free to send me an email if you have need of a custom project.




Pattern Stories Part 2

NOTE: As I transition my art efforts to this TMPixArt blog from my personal blog at TracyRuckman.com, I will be sharing art posts that were originally published on that site earlier this year. While the posts may be duplicates, my body of art, and the body of art created by my guests has grown and expanded. Because of this, I invite you to visit their websites and explore their art even if you read the blog post previously - you might be surprised to find a new favorite somewhere along the way!



Pattern Stories Part 2

by Tracy Ruckman
(originally published here)

I continue to have great fun with patterns and then sharing them here with you. In last week's post, I promised some Christmas patterns so we'll start with some of those this week.

My favorite color combination is green and pink - a wide variety of shades to create so many different looks. My blog banner at the top of this page is one of my favorite combinations, so I started toying with patterns and came up with two that I love and put them on pillows, table runners, wrapping paper, and even neck ties!


One of Tim's favorite Christmas decorations over the years (okay, it's actually his very favorite of all time!) was a blow-up Santa on a motorcycle with a snowman in the sidecar.

Unfortunately, leaves got under the blower motor one year and burned it up. All we have left is this photo:



This year, I brought it back to life through art. Because the photo is old and small, I couldn't use it as is, so I gave it a fun paint effect. Then I turned that image into several patterns to use on wrapping paper and gift bags.




I liked the Santa patterns and colors so much, I'll be adding them to more products this week. 

A few months ago, I took a picture of some roses that had passed their prime but their colors were magnificent and I wanted to capture that. 


From that photo, I created this pattern and used it in designs for t-shirts, socks, and even a box of chocolates for an anniversary!



This pattern making can be addictive, but I'm trying to put them to good use. I'll be adding new products each week, so bookmark my TMPixArt store and drop by often!

While you're Christmas shopping, please explore my collections! You may find just the perfect gift for someone.

A Few of My Collections:




Recent posts:

We're Growing
A Sticky Note, a Road Trip, and Determination
Black Friday through Cyber Week Deals on Books and Art
Button Day Patterns
We're Celebrating Buttons
Peppermint Party in Pink
Pattern Stories Part 2
Behind the Scenes with Pattern Designs


Be sure to check out all our art and merchandise onZazzleEtsy, and Amazon.


We appreciate your support!