March 29, 2011

Master con artists: John Drewe, John Myatt


Scotland Yard called it the biggest art fraud of the 20th century. Amazing that, since many of the forgeries involved were made with emulsion paint and K-Y Jelly.

Between 1986 and 1994, British conman John Drewe flooded the art market with more than 200 bogus masterpieces supposedly by modern master, deceiving collectors, art dealers and auction houses in London, Paris and New York. Among the luminaries he fooled: Tate Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Christie's, Sotheby's.

His accomplice was artist John Myatt, whom he'd found through an ad in Private Eye in 1983. While Myatt forged paintings by masters like Giacometti and Matisse, Drewe faked provenances, scammed his way into the art world and London archives, where he stole documents and replaced them with new "old" ones he had created himself.

The masquerade came to an end in 1995 when Drewe's wife, from whom he was separated, outed him. Only about 80 of the phoney works have been recovered.

I wonder how people who're so obviously smart go so badly wrong. What they could accomplish if they put their brains to good use! The story's not new of course, but I just watched the Masterminds documentary on TV. You can watch it here at YouTube so you can see for yourself how the pair did it.  

Mehmet Ozgur smoke art


I discovered the incredible art works of Mehmet Ozgur yesterday.
Here are some photos from his Smoke Works collections.

Cutting Edge
[ all photos © Mehmet Ozgur used with permission ]

Aquarium © Mehmet Ozgur

Ignorance Blooming © Mehmet Ozgur

Splash © Mehmet Ozgur

Creation © Mehmet Ozgur

Rise © Mehmet Ozgur

Decline © Mehmet Ozgur

this one is my favorite
Jaws © Mehmet Ozgur

By day, Turkish-born Mehmet Ozgur is an engineer working in RF and microwave applications in MEMS and nanotechnology. His fascination with nature led him to pursue photography as a serious hobby. For his Smoke series, he photographed thousands of images of smoke, then reworked them digitally, layering photos on top of one another. The result: surreal figures, abstract scenes and shapes that are easily identified.
"It takes many tangible, and intangible things to put together an original photographic artwork. Obvious tangible elements include camera, lenses, studio, models, computers, software, travel to remote destinations, and long arduous hikes. My inspiration has been to make something completely different than what the camera captures." Mehmet Ozgur tells Environmental Graffiti.
Ozgur, who has won several photography awards including the 2006 Popular Photography magazine contest,  also has evocative landscape shots like these in his repertoire:

Old rag 1 © Mehmet Ozgur

Fire and Peace © Mehmet Ozgur

Moondance 1 - Moon in a well © Mehmet Ozgur

[ all photos copyright Mehmet Ozgur, used with permission ]  found at Fubiz

Please visit Mehmet Ozgur's website to see more of his works. If you like these photos here, click on the photo caption to get to the specific photo's page.

I'm working on another post on smoke art... an installation piece. Come back and visit!

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related posts on photo art you may like
Fulvio Bonavia: A Matter of Taste
Invisible Man: Liu Bolin
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15 amazing smoke creatures (Environmental Graffiti)

by liberal sprinkles

March 28, 2011

Infographic: How US government spends tax dollars


It's tax time, it's tax reform debate time. Want to know how the US federal government spends tax dollars? Check out this cool interactive graphic designed by Column Five Media for TurboTax. It tracks tax revenue spendings and proposed spendings over a decade.

Free Tax Filing, Efile Taxes, Income Tax Returns –

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March 27, 2011

my first quilt top


I took the plunge. I'm making my first quilt! I've been thinking about doing it for a while but I've never tackled such a big sewing project (the biggest thing I've ever sewn are bags), I've been sewing for only a year and a half, I'm a very slow sewer and I don't always sew straight! I'm also very impatient and easily distracted. I have 3 bag projects that I started about a year ago but haven't finished. I just get excited by other ideas, sewing and otherwise.

But I wanted to try making a quilt this year. I was tempted to join a quilt-along but that Dresden circle would  have been a crazy project for a beginner. Best to start with something easy and which doesn't require a lot of measuring and cutting (my most hated part about sewing). Pre-cuts! I decided on charm squares. I'm hopeless at reading patterns and following directions, so I'm winging it as I go along.

I'm using this

Moda Tranquility charm pack

I got two of these for US$8 last year at Some Art Fabric! They sometimes have 2-for1 offers and I got some really great deals there. I did some math (I hate math) and figured I could get a sort of twin-sized quilt out of 20 blocks of 4 charms (I will soon find out how crazy I go trying to manoeuver the whole quilt around my sewing machine!).

jigsaw puzzling...

That's me trying to decide what goes where. I didn't have enough floor space so I did one charm pack first, then the other blocks (that lone square in the bottom right corner was an extra in the first pack I opened :) I spent quite a bit of time on my knees, I had fun moving those squares around, visualizing what my finished quilt would look like. Imagine if I hadn't used a charm pack. I would never have gotten to the sewing stage!

organized ... so very un-me!

All arranged, organized and ready to go. I took a lot of photos of this stack from different angles, I just love looking at fabric and the pinked edges are so cute!

They look like pennants!
Maybe I should make a
fabric pennant banner
just for the fun of it... 
quilt blocks sewn!

The block on top is my first ever quilt block!! I sewed pretty straight this time! I can't put into words how excited I was when I finished that block. And when I finished all 20, wow. Satisfaction! I poured myself a drink ... heheh.

back to the floor...

I moved some furniture around so I had enough space to audition fabric for the sashing. This took me forever. I tried more than five solids but didn't find anything that really struck me immediately as IT but since I want to use only fabric from my stash, I settled on a green. I would have liked a yellow sashing and green border but I don't have any yellow solids. I think I'll use the pink in the photo above for the border (? any thoughts on this?) but I have no idea what fabric I'll be using for the binding and the back, though I'll probably sew the remaining squares into one long strip. I haven't counted to see if they'll run down the length of the quilt. I probably should have chosen all my fabrics and done all the math right at the start but I'm not very organized! If you're a quilter and you're appalled at how I'm going about this...sorry!

Dealing with the project in stages makes it less intimidating for me. When I try reading patterns, I give up before I get to the end or figure out how everything would come together. I also like to improvise as I go along, it allows me room to manoeuver. But it can get me in trouble. I had already cut into my green sashing fabric before I realized that I wouldn't have enough to cut the side strips in one complete length. Oops.

time to rip it up!
And I spoke too soon, I didn't sew quite straight!

Should I, should I not? I knew I should take it apart but I'm very lazy and I hate ripping seams although I seem to do it a lot. OK, I gave in, turned on the TV and started ripping. I'd sewed in very small stitches so that took a long time too. I took 2 sections apart. The resewing was fast, but I had to rip one up again because it just wasn't right.

One other thing I hate: ironing. I really did iron after piecing each part; I don't know why it doesn't look it though... Sewing has reintroduced me to ironing. I've ironed my clothes maybe twice a year in the last 3 years!

i think this needs better pressing...

Finally! My quilt top! It's a bit dark as I finished sewing late at night. I got around the fabric problem for the sides by making the lengths of the two middle horizontal strips the width of the quilt top. I got to this stage over 2 weekends. I was motivate by

Amy's Creative Side

Next week: border and charm square strip for the back?

Meanwhile, I'm watching some quilting videos at YouTube for inspiration. Free motion quilting is amazing, maybe I'll get there one day. I'm aiming for just straight line quilting for now. If you haven't seen the works of Judi Madsen, check out the incredible eye candy at Green Fairy Quilts. Her quilting is exquisite, I'm a big fan. You can also get Moda pre-cuts at nice prices at her store.

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toys and comics


how is this
postcard from the Netherlands

linked to this?
USPS July 2010 Sunday funnies comic strip stamps, via

by liberal sprinkles

Japan quake, tsunami, nuclear crisis: Heartwarming stories and footnotes in history


March 2011 Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis:
Heartwarming stories and interesting footnotes in history

click HERE for a detailed post on the March 2011 Japan disaster, with general info, info on damage and destruction, fast facts on earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disasters

1. An 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson were found on March 20, nine days after the disaster. Jin Abe, 16, had crawled out of the debris of the family home in Ishinomaki City, about 1 km inland and 45 km (30 miles) north-east of the city of Sendai, and was sitting on what remained of the house when he was spotted by local police. They called rescuers to free his grandmother, Sumi Abe, NHK reported. Both were suffering from hypothermia and

March 25, 2011

Book Blurb Friday - Path of Dreams


I never thought I would be writing fiction when I started this blog but I'm always game for adventures. There have been many firsts for me this year, blogging is fun that way.

This is my entry for this week's Book Blurb Friday. The meme was the idea of Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff. Every week, she posts a photo that acts as the cover of the fictional book you'll be promoting. You have a week to study the photo, write your blurb and then show off your masterpiece of 150 words or less a week later.

I was inspired into writing my first book blurb last week by a photo taken by Kathy Matthews of Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy. This week's photo came from Kathy, too.

Path of Dreams

Leanna gasped. She had seen this in her dreams. Dreams that had come to her every night for the past week. Every door in the corridor would lead her down a different path: adventure, romance, fantasy or glory. In her dreams, she had caught a glimpse of where each would lead but the kaleidoscope views always faded as she stood on the periphery, uncertain and hesitant.

Her conscious mind told her she should turn around. But she couldn’t ignore the excitement she felt at the possibilities the unknown presented. Yes, it was time to move on and leave behind her familiar but passionless and prosaic life.

Which door will Leanna choose? Join her as she moves down her Path of Dreams.

(124 words with title)

Please visit Lisa's blogpost to see what other creative souls saw in the photo!

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by liberal sprinkles

March 24, 2011

Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap


the envelope before it was stamped

my great big stitched postcard!

yay my postcard has arrived in North Carolina. I made this for my swap partner in the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap organised by Beth of Do What You Love. It was my first time stitching a card and sewing on paper. I used vintage fabric I'd bought on Etsy for the background and that cute Lecien stamp fabric I saw in a craft shop when I wasn't supposed to be adding anymore fabric to my stash. I couldn't resist!  I thought it was perfect for a postcard swap. I added some embellishments: embroidered seed beads and buttons. For the envelope, I looked up the address online and printed the map, making sure I could fold it so I could point the address label to the town it was to go to :)

the back

This is the back of the card, all paper. The theme of the swap was "love" and I used a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian independence leader who advocated non-violence and peaceful resistance in the struggle against British rule:
Where there is love, there is life.
So true, don't you think? The card was sent to Antoinette Vogt. I have to say I felt a bit intimidated when I found out who get my card. Antoinette is an artist! WOW! You can see her lovely works at her Facebook page, I especially love the tree series.

Take a look at the Great Big Stitched Postcard's Flickr page to see the other gorgeous creations made for the swap. I've yet to receive mine, will post about it when I do.

I searched the Internet for love quotes when I was making the card. I wanted something that had universal appeal, signified friendship and would be an inspiration to me. I often stumble my way through life, I don't always succeed in making love rather than war, but I like to think I'll always keep trying to see, feel and share love in my life. There are some of the quotes that I liked best.

"Love is shown in your deeds, not in your words."
Father Jerome Cummings

"Love never claims, it ever gives; love never suffers, never resents, never revenges itself.
Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction."
Mahatma Gandhi

"There is only one happiness in life - to love and to be loved."
George Sand

"Hate the sin and love the sinner."
Mahatma Gandi
(this is a tough one!)

"Love opens the door that hate created."

"Come live in my heart, and pay no rent."
Samuel Lover
(I do so love this one...)

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

"Paradise is always where love dwells."
Jean Richter

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians, The Bible

"Love is the voice under all silences,
the hope which has no opposite in fear;
the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:
the truth more first than sun, more last than star."
E. E. Cummings
{ e.e. cummings poems }

"Love is a dream that comes alive when we meet."
Do you have a favorite love quote? Drop me a line :)

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by liberal sprinkles

March 18, 2011

doodling with Pea Maia and Pea Mumble


Hello! That's a "good MORNING!" in Pea Maia's Doodles
to my Pink Saturday and Blue Monday visitors.

Just a little something to share a couple of fonts I found at Fonts for Peas. They're cute, they're fun and they're free to download. You can even use them to personalize your blogs but you'll need to convert the files first. Details at the website. The fonts I used in the photo of handmade bars of soaps (yumm, I love these!) are Pea Maia's Doodles and Pea Mumble and Jen's Doodles. Have fun!

On a more serious note, if you're wondering how you can contribute to the Japan disaster relief efforts, please take a look at my post Japan earthquake tsunami: How to help. For as little as US$5-10 in some cases, you can do a good deed and maybe even win something wonderful. There are links in the post to resources, places to donate and more than 20 raffles and auctions by artists and crafters for prints, photos, pottery pieces and some gorgeous quilts.
please visit: Japan earthquake tsunami: How to help

If you want to know more about the disaster, please visit my facts post
FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011

I'm linking to Beverly at How Sweet The Sound for Pink Saturday and Sally at SmilingSally for Blue Monday. Thanks for hosting these parties, ladies.

Thank you all for visiting.

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by liberal sprinkles

Book Blurb Friday


I’ve been reading entries for Book Blurb Friday the past few Fridays. Lisa Ricard Claro of Writing in the Buff started the meme (I didn’t even know what this was until I discovered Lisa’s blog a few weeks ago!). She posts a photo every Friday that’s the cover of the book you get to write a blurb for. You have a week to study the photo, write your blurb and then show off your 150-word-or-less masterpiece the following Friday.

I’ve had so much fun reading everyone’s writings, the creativity out there is just incredible and I get so hooked by some of the blurbs that I feel deprived I won’t get to read the whole book!

I knew I had to join Book Blurb Friday when I saw this photo by Kathy Matthews of Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, a very prolific blogging grandmother who incidentally, has 49 (yup, 49!) blogs (read more about that here).

The idea came straight to me, but I didn’t get to put it in words until today. Now, I’ve never written a book blurb in my life. I’m pretty good at researching and writing about facts but I’ve never dared try my hand at fiction. I may just fall flat on my face but here goes…

Not all it’s Kraked up to be

Sarah Krakowski knows a good photo when she sees one. This, she told herself, was a beauty. And perfect for the mystery places photo contest at the Pastime Food Review. The editors at the magazine thought so too. They awarded Sarah first prize; the photo was published.

Within a week, Sarah’s apartment was broken into and her car engine exploded. Then she receives a note while contemplating her misfortune at the diner brought to current fame by the photo. “Forget this place if you know what’s good for you.”

The note was written on the magazine page where the award-winning photo appeared. Who was the man in white? What had Sarah witnessed? Did she hold a clue to a mystery, or a mystery photo that was going to get her killed?

(138 words including title, Microsoft Word count)

Go on over to Writing in the Buff to see what everyone else read in the photo :)

I'm going to take the opportunity to urge my readers to visit my earlier post on how you can help in the relief efforts for the disaster in Japan. There are links to resources, places to donate and over 20 raffles and auctions by artists and crafters. For as little as a few dollars, you can help. Please
click here: Japan earthquake tsunami: How to help

If you want to know more about the disaster, please visit my facts post
FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011

Thanks for reading!

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postcrossing & bookcrossing ~ liberal sprinkles

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March 17, 2011

FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011


Facts about Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis of March 2011
first posted March 15, updated several times since

[ please scroll down past video for information in bite-size and categorized format or go to these separate posts listed here. More updates after April are in the shorter posts ]

* DAMAGE CAUSED, click here to read or scroll down past video
* ECONOMIC IMPACT, click here to read or scroll down
* facts on earthquakes (with an infographic on the Japan quake's global reach)
* facts on tsunamis (includes a documentary on how the Japan tsunami happened)
* facts on nuclear disasters
* HOW YOU CAN HELP (link to resources, places to donate, raffles and fundraisers by artists and crafters. With as little as US$5, you get a chance at some raffles)

If you find this useful, please give credit and link back. Thanks!

MARCH 11, 2011

{trembling earth}. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes off the coast of Honshu, Japan's most populous island.  

{raging waters} The earthquake churns up a 10 meter (33 feet)-high tsunami that sweeps away towns and farmland in its path, devastates cities in the north and threatens coastal areas throughout the Pacific.  

{poisened air?} Japan is also facing a nuclear crisis: The quake damaged a nuclear power plant on the coast 240 km (150 miles) north-east of Tokyo. Radiation levels are rising after four explosions at the plant and at least three reactors are in danger of total meltdown.

The coast was hit by more than 150 aftershocks in the three days after the quake, including a 6.2 magnitude quake on March 14, hampering relief efforts. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has described this as Japan’s worst crisis since World War II.


* DEATH TOLL: The official death toll on April 8 was 12,690. More than 14,700 are still unaccounted for. In the small port town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture, some 10,000 people are missing, more than half its 17,500 population. On March 14, 1,000 bodies washed up on shores on Ojika peninsula and another 1,000 were spotted in Minamisanriku.

* EVACUATED: About 500,000 people were evacuated up to March 15, including 70,000 within a 20 km (12 mile) radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. One week after the disaster, some 400,000 people - many elderly - were still homeless and living in shelters in near-freezing temperatures.

* INFRASTRUCTURE: Entire towns

Japan earthquake, tsunami: How to help


Japan earthquake/ tsunami disaster: How to help

(first published March 16, last edited April 5)

If you would like to help in the Japan earthquake/tsunami relief efforts, here are a few links that you can check out. For a small amount, you can help and try your luck in raffles organised by crafters, too.

Buy 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake: 100% of procceds go to the Japanese Red Cross Society

1.Google Person Finder 2011 Japan Earthquake (you can use this to locate or provide info about a victim)
2. Volunteer interpreters (Japan Association of Translators)

1. Donate with PayPal: Japan earthquake and tsunami relief (100% goes to charity of your choice; 8 participating non-profits)
2. Yahoo! link to where you can donate: Japan earthquake and tsunami: How to help
3. Google Crisis Response: resources, Japan earthquake donation page for Japanese Red Cross, Unicef, Save The Children
4. How to help: Earthquake relief options (Huffington Post)
5. donate via GlobalGiving GlobalGiving is working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground to provide support
6. You can also start your own fundraiser at FirstGiving or JustGiving
7. Japan Society earthquake relief fund
8. Save the Children Japan emergency relief fund
charitynavigator's advice on donating + charities rated

(list of those that are over at the bottom of post)

1. Buy #Quakebook or 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake, a book on the stories and experiences of people on the ground during the earthquake. The Quakebook project started with one tweet and led to over 200 people getting involved. The book was written in a week. It will be available any time now as an online download for $9.99, then in print. Proceed to the Japanese Red Cross. Read about the project at the Quakebook blog.

2:46 Quakebook project

 2. one thousand wishes - an initiative by Ali at the dotted line. 100% or proceeds from sales at the shop will go to the Canadian Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Fund.
If you have any craft items you can donate to the shop, please contact her.

3. Pikaland - Mogu Takahashi’s Chotto Omoshiroi poster
4. Submit your work to Illustration Rally to help fund donation efforts for Japan via the Ganbare Nippon project (via Pikaland)
5. Buy US$5 Lady Gaga 'We Pray for Japan' prayer bracelet
6. Help Japan poster and raffle at YHBHS
7. limited edition photos by Alicia Bock for the Red Cross
8. links at Jean Snow's site to more arty fundraisers
9. Etsy stores ("Japan relief" search) donating partial or full amount of sale of handmade products to relief efforts.
10. Global PechaKucha Day on April 16. Many PechaKucha cities around the world will hold events broadcasting to the world and Japan over multipule Ustreams 20x20 presentations (20 images x 20 seconds). Donate at the door or online. Proceeds go to Architecture for Humanity.
11. Heather from A La Mode fabric is organising a raffle of quilts donated by crafters. Details at Modern Relief Japan (April 4-May16). One ticket for every US$10 donation to Mercy Corps.

If you know of any other fundraisers or ways of helping, please just add in a comment below. If you would like to know more about the disaster, please see my earlier post where you can find bite-sized information broken down into categories, and links to news and educational resources. FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011

If you found this useful, please consider linking back to this post to spread the word. Thank you.

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[all photos published with permission ] 

26. raffle for this quilt (not the dog!) by Stephanie of Loft Creations. Donate $10 directly to American Red Cross. (to March 26)

quilt for Japan, by Stephanie of Loft Creations

OVER raffle at Pink Penguin (book and magazine from Ayumi, quilt patterns and fabric craft kits from other crafters)
OVER raffle for Tokyo Subway Map quilt by Oh Fransson for American Red Cross (to March 23)
OVER raffle for quilt by Tallgrass Prairie Studio for American Red Cross 
1. Handmade for Japan auctions on ebay March 24-27. 100% net proceeds to relief efforts. items from various artists.
2. raffle for 4 quilts at Pleasentree. Donate $10 directly to American Red Cross, 1 entry for every $10 (to March 26)
one of the quilts being raffled at Pleasentree

3. raffle for fabric at Tokyo Textiles (to March 23). £3.00 per ticket. 100% proceeds to Japanese Red Cross Society
6. Mike Perry studio 100% online sales in March to help Japan
23. raffle for bag, magazine, painting at verypurpleperson (to March25). donate directly to GlobalGiving
8. auction for fabric, book, sewing patterns by Toni at Make It Perfect (to March 26). Winner donates directly to Save the Children Japan emergency fund. (Toni organized the Queensland appeal which raised A$99,089)
Toni is auctioning a signed copy of her book and other goodies
11. auction for art quilt by Lisa Call (march 21-29)
auctions of prints at Print Okushon from various illustrators and designers. 100 proceeds to relief fund
4. Tiny Showcase - 'Rising Sun' screen print by Jesse LeDoux
5. The Working Proof - Susan Schwake print for Médecins Sans Frontières
9. raffle for yarn etc by kitchen sink dyeworks for AmeriCares (winner announced April 2)
10. raffle carved crayons by The Pleasure of Tiny Things - 100% to Japanese Red Cross Society
12. raffle for blouse by nettevivante (Burda Style member). donate $10 directly to Global Giving
13. raffle for playsuit by molly-made (Burda Style member). donate $10 directly to Global Giving
17. Buy $5 Hello Sandwich Giftwrapping Zine pdf to help Japan. info on the zine
11. a list of bloggers who've joined the Japan Quake Appeal organised by A bit of this and a bit of that.

Education Week 1 Year [44 issues/year]
Education Week