Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Story Behind the Collection: Ladies in White

Ladies in White...

Painted by Men with Mustachios...

from top left: Whistler: Lowell, MA; Sargent, old Gloucester, MA family; Hassam, Dorchester, MA; Tarbell, West Groton, MA; Hale, Boston, MA; Reid, Stockbridge, MA; Benson, Salem, MA; Chadwick, Holyoke, MA.

...from Massachusetts??????

What a wonderfully peculiar collection this is! The idea for Ladies in White comes from MC Waldrep, the Editor-in-Chief of Dover Publications. As she was making the selection my only interest was in the visuals–I didn't realize that there might be a curious back-story...

It was when I started thinking about this post that I began snooping around–checking out the artists. Doing so, I noticed a real peculiarity—the vast majority of painters of these white-clad women:
  • were men (no surprise, it was around the turn of the 19th century, after all)
  • had mustaches (again, no surprise given the era)
  • were from Massachusetts –huh?
I've been a student of art history,  I like to think that I know a little bit about painting, and I'm from Massachusetts, myself. But if there were some sort of tangible movement that was being memorialized in this collection–I'd never heard of it.

So I called up MC Waldrep and asked her. She was as surprised as I was, and guaranteed me that it wasn't part of her editorial plan to focus on men of Massachusetts with a proclivity for facial hair and painting women clad in white—it had just happened. So what's the deal? Do guys from my home state just have an inclination for this kind of thing? Thus ensued a period of self-scrutiny; had I ever painted a lady in white? No. Had I ever wanted to? Perhaps, but nothing I'd divulge here. Had I ever had a mustache? Yes, but all photos were carefully collected and destroyed.
   I called my brother Robert, he denied ever having done so (though there was a slight hesitation), had Karl? I asked of our other sibling. Not that he knew.

Well, it's a mystery. Ponder it as you peruse the collection. Let me know if anything occurs to you.

In parting, let me leave you with this image. I stumbled on it while looking for pictures of the painters.

Childe Hassam, apparently on the lookout for a lady in white to paint.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: 6 Steps For Making Collage ATCs (Art Trading Cards)

ATCs or Art Trading Cards are miniature works of art that are a lot of fun to create, collect and swap. Originally meant to help artists share samples of their work, the practice has become a popular hobby for crafters and there are ATC workshops and trading events held worldwide.

While most ATCs are the same size as other trading cards (usually 2.5 X 3.5 inches) the limitations end there. You can paint, draw, or collage your cards- even add 3-D elements.

John Dyhouse created a wonderful ATC tutorial for that features one of our lovely ladies in white! Here we've reposted the 6 basic steps he outlines for ATC success, but he goes into much greater detail so be sure to visit the full page: A Simple Collaged ATC Tutorial.

1. Find Or Create A Background Image
This could be :
  • a printed image such as a photograph
  • a downloaded digital image
  • a page from a book or magazine
  • a coloured card or piece of wall paper
  • commercial patterned craft paper
  • an off-cut of fabric
  • a painted image
  • a stamped image
  • a collage itself
  • or anything else which you find interesting

2. Find & Select The Main Image For the Collage

This image of a "victorian women violinist" seemed to me to complement the vintage patterned paper, and so decided to use it as my main image. It was actually downloaded from Dover Publications samples, printed and cut out from the sheet of paper.

3. Select Potential Images To Enhance The Artwork
Choose from paper based images, stamped images, ribbons or threads or even small 3-D embellishments; the range is only limited by your creative imagination. Anything which helps to bring out a "theme" or "story" which the ATC is trying to convey to the viewer.

Step 4. (Optional) Select Text to Enhance The Theme Of The ATC
Maybe a quote or famous saying or some philosophical gem.

5. Compose The collage On the ATC 
Now you have all the graphic elements in place it is time to finalise the design of the card...Lay out the background and move the other elements around until you achieve a pleasing appearance.

6. Time To Get Out The Glue and Create Your Masterpiece

When you are satisfied with the composition, and only then - get out the glue!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Win this Week's Featured Collection: Ladies in White

Romantic summer days, languid summer nights...our spectacular new collection of royalty-free clip art, Ladies in White, features carefully curated images drawn from gorgeous full-color paintings from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

From a formal portrait of a society lady to leisurely scenes of picnics and boat rides, our Ladies in White collection features a wealth of women in white, portrayed by artists such as Sargent, Monet, Whistler, Reid, Hassam, Benson, Chase, and others.

You can download the full collection of 26 images for $7.99 or any individual image sheet for just $0.99 and add a little breezy summer romance to your projects!

Want this great collection added to your DoverPictura account absolutely free? Comment on this post any time throughout the week and on Friday afternoon we'll choose 5 comments at random to win the entire Ladies in White collection. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

This Week's Contest Winners Plus Nifty Gifties From Dover Pinterest Boards

First, congratulations to this week's contest winners- Christina and gcogman! They will each have our Nature Stencil Designs collection added to their DoverPictura account absolutely free!

We hope this week we've given you that little bit of motivation you need to get your gift planning off to a great (and early enough) start so that your holidays can be relaxed and joyful. But, if you need a little more inspiration to get you going, here are some lovely crafts created by our wonderful and talented customers:

Holly Seeger says "This is a gift box I made using a cast-off cigar box, again using Dover clip art; the dancers and flowers. It is a variation on the same theme as my book safe. Thanks again Dover Books for the image inspiration!"

Jo Bauman: "This clutch, with a fabric front printed with art from 'Children's Book Illustrations,' is lined, and the back is leather."

Here's a work-in-progress photo by Esther Paris. "A baby blanket I crocheted using angel clip art...I scanned it into PC Stitch software and created a chart. Then I crocheted a baby blanket the size of my kitchen table (which seats six)."

Naomi Lipsky creating this amazing piece of art as a gift for her daughter, who loves dragons. "My work uses quilling, which is the craft of rolled paper, or paper filigree. In this piece, the 3-d hot air balloon is 2 1/2" deep. It is all paper, except for the blue "jewels". I am also a gilder, so some of the rolled paper is edged with 23k gold leaf. The castle wall stones are also rolled paper antiqued with gouache, and the bricks are painted with gouache. The dragon in the balloon is from the Dragons and Wizards collection and the castle dragon is from Monsters and Dragons."

Looking for even more inspiration? Be sure to have a look at our Heartwarming Holidays Craft Contest entries from last'll find all sorts of amazing gift, wrapping, and decor ideas!

What will YOU make for the holidays this year? Tell us in the comments. Have a crafty weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guest Post: Christmas in July is about planning!

Hi! I’m Wendy Zingher, and I’m the project manager for Dover Pictura. I was asked to write a guest blog post this week, with Christmas in July as our guiding theme. This week we are all about starting early! 

Why am I posting? I’m not a terribly good DIY-er, and I celebrate Chanukah. But I do have a lot of experience with project management, and what Christmas giving and technology management have in common is planning!  These are my top 5 tips for planning your DIY activities.

Top 5 Planning Tips

#1: Identify the recipients!
In software projects, we identify the need. What is the business need of our customers? In a crafting project, we’d ask – who am I making gifts for? Make a list of your recipients. As much as I like napkins and the backs of envelopes, for planning, I’m a fan of spreadsheets. I’d put the list on a spreadsheet, and the gift next to it.

#2: What do you need?
In a tech project, you want to know who is doing the development, and what training and tools they need. For a crafting activity, you’ll need to know what you need, and where you are going to get your supplies. Make that shopping list! If  you are using tutorials, they’ll have the list of supplies up front. I like keeping links to my online tutorials, or a note to the book/magazine, and I write down the page – still on my spreadsheet.

#3: Do the hard stuff first.
Figure out the parts of the project that are risky. Is there something you don’t know how to do? I say that’s risky! For me, that’s the knitting project. So, try putting that first, so you give yourself time to figure it out, and learn from mistakes.

#4: Pad your timeline.
Leave more time than you need. In software projects, optimism is sometimes not a good strategy. So, add extra time to your timeline, because you will run into snags.

#5: Plan for finishing touches.
In a software project, that means testing and more testing. For DIY’ers, that means creating that perfect wrapping so your gift looks as special unwrapped as it does when your recipient opens the box and oohs and ahhs.

Here’s a simple spreadsheet, that will make your planning easy:

While I was putting together the spreadsheet, it helped me spread my DIY wings. There are so many easy and beautiful gifts you can make with stencils. I had no idea!  I found some fabulous stenciling ideas, in keeping with our theme this week. Did you see our collections of stencil images on DoverPictura this week? 

With DoverPictura stencil images, you can make great stuff like this tablecloth and napkin from Design Sponge.

Or awesome wall decals from Homemade Simple
(wall decals sell for $22 each on

Or a placemat for your pet's food bowls! Really.

How do you plan for gift making? Please share your story. Comments welcome!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Newest Collection: It's a Prince!

We had planned on a post about our stenciling collections, but a happy occasion has interrupted! Can you image the fortuitous circumstance that allows us to publish our newest set of images —
Great Portraits of Kings, Queens and Courtiers just as the brand-new royal prince is debuted in public? On the cover we've even got a picture of Henry VIII, who was something like his first cousin, sixteen times removed!

Why, we must be psychic–or lucky–or both.

DoverPictura's Kings, Queens and Courtiers collection

Anyway, to celebrate we're offering this superb collection at a fantastic sale price of $12.99 (regular price $15.99), but just until they announce the new prince's name. Best bet is that you probably have a week—it took Princess Di and Prince Charles that long to announce Prince William's name. (update at 1:40 EST)  Ok, this collection will be on sale for a week anyway, through July 31!

Great Portraits of Kings, Queens and Courtiers
So what's this collection really about? Painting and Power. If you skip the church, the next major proponents of the art of painting were the monarchy and the aristocracy. Besides the obvious utility of flattering portraits as a means of self-perpetuation and self-aggrandizement, it is fascinating the uses to which the royals put portraiture.  A favorite example concerns Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII, half-sister to Queen Elizabeth I; it's an early variant of a bait-and-switch con game—a portrait serves as kind of a photoshopped Facebook photo:

Around 1553, in an effort to secure a marriage between Queen Mary of England and Prince Phillip of Spain, it was decided that a portrait should be made of Mary, to be sent to Phillip, so that he could see who he'd be marrying. The English commissioned one of the great painters of the day, Antonis Mor, to make the portrait. Upon completion, and after great debate, it was decided that Mor's painting might not be presenting the Queen in the best light. In the painting (from our collection) her visage is stern—she appears a middle-aged woman of 37 years. This wouldn't do.!/&sheet=56758

Quickly, it was arranged to have another, perhaps more pliant painter, execute a more flattering portrait of the Queen; Hans Eworth was chosen. In the resulting painting the Queen seems to have shed 15 years, and presents a more buoyant, almost cheerful demeanor. They were wed in 1554.

The art historical consensus seems to be that Mor's was the more accurate, and certainly the better of the two portraits. Here's a painting of Phillip of Spain by Titian (also from our collection)—just in case you were wondering...

Great Portraits of Kings, Queens and Courtiers is comprised 120 of the best portraits of European royalty and their attendant courts, painted by some of the greatest painters of the western tradition. The collection kicks off with a beautiful portrait of Mad King George III of England, painted by William Beechey; in it you will also find fine portraits by Raphael, Titian, Holbein, Goya, Cranach, and Gainsborough, to name just a few.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Antiqued Crackle Ornaments

In case you need a little help getting into the holiday spirit in July, here's a tutorial for for quick and easy "instant heirloom" holiday ornaments that you can help your children make, or whip up yourself!

Antique Crackle Paper Ornaments

You'll need:
your favorite Dover holiday clip art
craft glue
gold cording for the hanger
needle and thread or sewing machine
stuffing (batting, paper scraps, etc)
paint brush
crackle medium
water-based wood stain


1. Print your clip art onto plain white cardstock and cut out, leaving enough of a border around the image to allow space for stitching. For the ornament backing you may either print out the reverse of the image you have chosen, use plain white cardstock…or your imagination! Leather scraps or any stiff fabric can also be used.

2. Stitching around the image, sew the front and backing together, leaving a small gap at the top so you can add the hanger and stuff the ornament.

3. Poke a small amount of stuffing through the opening at the top of your ornament- just enough to puff out your ornament slightly…not so much it will burst!

4. Stitch the ornament closed, sewing in a small loop of gold cording for the hanger.

5. Coat both the front and back of your ornament with craft glue and allow to dry completely. Next, lightly brush on crackle medium and allow to dry. Then paint your ornament with a light-colored water-based wood stain. As the stain dries you'll notice the crackling effect happening!

Notes: You can make this project even more kid friendly by using a tiny hole punch to create guide holes that embroidery thread can be stitched through. You can also experiment with creating an antiqued look by dipping the cardstock in tea before sewing it together. While this project is suitable for the whole family to pitch in, the wood stain should only be handled by adults and older kids.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Win This Week's Featured Collection: Nature Stencil Designs

This week our featured collection is Nature Stencil Designsand you'll be able to embellish pillows, cards, stockings hung by the chimney with care, and more this upcoming holiday season with black-and-white stencils of a peacock, dragonfly, sea horse, morning glories, poinsettias, acorns, berries, and other flora and fauna. 
You can download the entire collection of more than 560 images for $12.99 or any individual image sheet for just $0.99 and get to work on your holiday gift list right away!

Want this great collection added to your DoverPictura account absolutely free? Comment on this post any time throughout the week and on Friday afternoon we'll choose 5 comments at random to win the entire Nature Stencil Designs collection.

Tutorial: From Clip Art to Knitting Chart

Hi! I’m M. C. Waldrep, needlework enthusiast and editor-in-chief of Dover Publications. There are only 155 days until Christmas...and every year I formulate ambitious plans to start making all of my Christmas gifts in July! Well this year, inspired by the great images on, I am determined to do it – and at the same time demonstrate how you can turn a piece of clip art into a knitting chart with just a printer and Photoshop Elements.

For my Christmas gift, I decided to make knitted pillows for a friend who just bought a new house. Because her new living room has a nautical theme, I thought a scallop shell was the perfect motif for her pillows.

I found a great shell in the Nature Stencil Designs collection (sheet 45). For my yarn, I chose Caron’s Simply Soft. I decided I wanted the shell to be about 10 to 10½ inches wide to make a 14-inch square pillow. Since the original image is close to square, the height would be about 10 inches as well. My first step was to knit a swatch to determine my gauge, which worked out to be 5 stitches and 6½ rows to an inch. This meant that my shell would be about 50 stitches wide.

The easiest way to get the image onto a grid is to print it onto knitter’s graph paper. Since a knit stitch is wider than it is tall, knitter’s graph paper has rectangles, not squares (Fig. 1). You can find the paper in some knit stores and online. Some sites even let you create the paper to your exact gauge rather than to a standard proportion.

Printed graph paper

Most of the graph paper is sized to fit on a letter size sheet of paper, so my shell was not going to fit on a single sheet at actual size. So, a little arithmetic was called for. Since I had already determined that my shell would be about 50 stitches wide, I measured the printed graph paper to see how wide 50 stitches would be. On my sheet 50 stitches measured a shade under 6¼ inches.

I opened my image in Photoshop Elements and cropped the image as close as possible to edges of the actual motif, eliminating any white space. I resized the image to 6¼ inches wide (keeping the ratio of the width and height linked). Because I wanted to see the underlying grid on the printed chart, I recolored the image to medium red.

Then I printed the image onto the graph paper (Fig. 2).

However, as you can see (Fig. 3), I still had a bit of work to do. 

Whenever you place a curved design on a rectangular grid, you will have to make adjustments. In this case the shell often covered only part of a rectangle, and I had to decide whether to make the stitch colored or plain. I outlined the edge of the motif with a felt tip marker to define the areas of color. This may sound tedious, but it makes the knitting so much easier. As I outline, I can tweak the chart to get the result I want. (Fig 4)

Now I was ready to start knitting. I worked up the design in two versions so you can see the different effects you can achieve.

On the solid color pillow, the shell is defined by texture alone – a stockinette stitch shell on a reverse stockinette background.

A third color could easily be added to the multicolor pillow by closing in the outer edge and working the ribs in a darker or lighter shade of coral. I also think this particular design would look beautiful with the shell worked in a variegated yarn.

The  method I used works best on simple designs with very clearly defined shapes. If you want to try more complicated designs with more colors, make your design larger and use thinner yarn so you have more stitches to work with. The larger your motif in relation to your gauge, the more detail you can add.

Now that you know how to create your own chart, you can use them to guide you through many other types of crafting projects, too – everything from tile work to needlepoint to painting!

- New to DoverPictura? Take advantage of our registration bonus. Click here to register and get three free image sheets!

Friday, July 19, 2013

This Week's Contest Winners Plus Some Extra Pinspiration

Congratulations to the winners of our first weekly featured collection giveaway:

Back Porch Extras: This collection is perfect in our area as we live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Unknown: These are great images. Living in Western Montana, I am always looking for images for my vintage creations. I would love to have these!

Nicole McCalister: I love this collection very much. It reminds me of my Grandfather, whom I am very close with. It brought back memories of him hunting, and fishing. This summer I plan to go camping and explore with my family. 

rcgirl_ma: Wyeth and Homer - how cool! I tend to stay local for my trips to the great outdoors: letchworth state park was always a beautiful getaway in autumn to see the leaves, I lived in the Catskills for 6 months, and there are wonderful little areas to explore in the parks and Audabon places surrounding Boston.

We'll be in touch shortly for information on how to claim your prize!

Whether your idea of the perfect getaway is a cabin in the woods, a house by the sea, or a bit of "glamping" (glamour camping) here are some Pinterest boards to inspire your decor:

Be sure to come back next week, as we'll be delving into Christmas in July...that is, how to motivate yourself to start your homemade holiday gifts NOW so you're not rushing last minute! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guest Post: Quilter Patty Swatzell on living in "The Great Outdoors"

Each Thursday we're opening our blog to hear from talented crafters in our community. This week's guest blogger is quilter Patty Swatzell, who explains how living near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has inspired her work.

I am one of those fortunate quilters living in “The Great Outdoors.” For the last 25 plus years, we have lived near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and spend a lot of time visiting our favorite place…Cades Cove, a valley with an 11-mile loop perfect for sightseeing.

In the springtime, we love seeing the yellow jonquils blooming where old homesteads once stood, surrounded by Dogwoods and Mountain Laurel in bloom. Deer can be seen in the open fields where crops once grew. The black bears and their young cubs are beginning to roam and seeing them is a real treat. There is nothing prettier than a big Momma Bear running with her 3 cubs trailing behind.

We take our RV to the campground during spring and autumn. It’s these times of the year that I get most of my ideas for my quilts or do hand sewing. Evenings we find ourselves sitting by the campfire and I find myself thinking about future projects and what fabrics I will be using but then it’s roasting marshmallow time.

Back home, the view from my sewing room is looking out at those mountains I love. Every moment I spend in my sewing room I am in my happy place enjoying a quilter’s life.


Most of the quilts I make are donated to various individuals that have touched my life. The quilt I am working on now includes memories of our time living in Fairbanks, Alaska with the USAF. I am also into sewing small wall hangings of the mountains using a rotary cutter, Ombre and landscape fabrics. I like to blend and fade the colors into each other. This leaves a lot to my imagination and with the mountains forever changing, each day is more beautiful than the last.  --Patty