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Color me Illuminated!

Hey, look at this great-looking blog that is using one of my favorite background tiles! Very nice - bravo, Blue Pencil!

Today I have something just a little bit different for you that started with this very interesting site about iconography that I'm having a good time exploring. Most of the images here are from illuminated manuscripts, which I love, and so I decided to borrow a portion of an illustrated border I found here to create a repeating design. Although they will tiles both horizontally and vertically, these patterns are really meant to be used as border tiles. I've made these 120 pixels wide, but they will look great in any border space from 85 to 180 pixels wide (you can go narrower or wider - I just don't like how they look as much). Now, let me explain the tiles that you see on the download page: the first one basically keeps the the original colors of the original manuscript, including background color, the second is an intensity-inverted version, and I gave the third one a typical web-page-white background.

The next two, however, are horses of a different color, which is to say that they these are examples showing how you can key one of the basic tiles to fit in with whatever color you are using on your site. For example, for these last two tiles I imagined that I had a site that was using #336699 as a main color, so, in PhotoShop, I began with the black-background tile, and with my first color on the toolbar set at #336699, I used Image: Adjust: Hue/Saturation, and clicked on the "Colorize" box, then I went to Edit: Fade Colorize, and faded the effect to 54%. Then I did exactly the same thing with the white-background tile. Of course you will need to change the mode of the .gif image first (under "Image") to RGB.

By the way, you may have trouble opening images in the site I linked to using Mozilla - I had to switch to IE to get the nice little drop-down image box (which you can enlarge).

Posted by taz on May 31, 2004 at 04:41 AM in Art, Collections, Patterns, Tips | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Head of Cheese?

Today's Blogliner asks, "Have you ever received a gift that you absolutely hated?" . Well... not that I hated it, but I just have to comment on my last gift from my husband, who came back from an out-of-town shoot (he's a "sound man") bearing gifts. But he's Greek, and you know what they say about Greeks and gifts, don't you? Anyway, he proudly presented me with, and I quote, "A Head of Cheese" (since this village where they were shooting is famous for its cheese. Plus I think the mayor gave these out to all the crew members as a goodwill gesture, so it was a pretty easy gift...).

The loveliest thing about this offering is really just his use of the precise term "A Head of Cheese", which as far as I know is a perfectly respectable, but incredibly archaic term for "a block of cheese" (I'll have to ask Languagehat about this). So, how does he come up with these phrases? That's what I want to know. Was he an 18th Century English burgher in another life? Anyway, this Blogliner inspiration not only gives me the opportunity to embarrass my husband (and isn't that what love is all about?), it also gives me the chance to present you with this actually quite wonderful memorial "head of cheese" pattern. Please enjoy it every bit as much as I have.

Posted by taz on May 30, 2004 at 07:03 AM in Blogliners | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Alternative History of Art?

I have a couple of brand new tiles up that I like a lot; I love the subtle, shaded pattern-within-a pattern of these, so be sure to click on them to see how they repeat.

I'd also like to point an intriguing new spot that I stumbled upon recently:, which seems to be all about art history and mysticism, with lots of interesting places to poke around in, including a gallery of images anda couple of online books.

Posted by taz on May 28, 2004 at 08:14 AM in Art | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blogging from Olympus

Well. before we go any futher, there are a few things you should know about me. Firstly, I'm great at giving gifts, and as a result, it so happens that I have an entire city named after me - and not just any city - but the freaking cradle of western civilization. Which, of course, is as it should be. I had my eye on that little town for a long time, but then my stupid uncle (such a copycat) decides he wants to be the patron of the city's people, so he tried to bribe them by creating a great a spring of water; but of course, he's an idiot, so he makes it saltwater, which is his favorite thing, but what were those poor mortals supposed to do with that? I, on the other hand, gave them the gift that keeps on giving - the olive tree! With this one little twig that I planted in their midst, they received food, oil, wood, and shade. Plus, it's pretty. So here's one just for you. I've made these in the colors that those nice people, my adoring fans, were famous for using to create art that celebrated my wisdom and glory.

The other thing you should know is that it's just dumb to turn down my gifts. Remember that guy, Paris? I offered him wisdom and victory, but nooooo, he wants some hot model-type chick instead. So what happens? Ten years of war, everyone dying and starving - what a mess. And of course he ends up dead as a doornail. I had to laugh. So the moral of this story is you should just let me do the thinking for both of us, because I've been at this for a long time, and I'm really good at it. Take what I give you and you might just spawn a great civilization. Turn it down, and you'll probably end up with an arrow in your chest and your girlfriend gallavanting off with some other guy. Just a word to the wise.

So. In case you haven't figured it out already (and if not, what do I have to do? hit you over the head?), today I am speaking to you as Athena, also known as "Minerva", the Goddess of Wisdom and Victory, as well as Crafts, and many more things. And yes, this is a plug for today's Blogliner. I sort of figured I was best suited to be Athena, but then I took the Quizzilla's Which of the Greek Gods are You? and Paleothea's Which Greek Goddess are You?, and they both came up "Athena". Fun.

Posted by taz on May 26, 2004 at 05:06 AM in Blogliners | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I need to do a little catching up on posting some patterns, so let me dig into the pile a bit with Fisherking (I really love the small one. Very.), and a nice, big, sloppy Retrostrawberry. I could tell you some stories about these, if only I could remember back to the ancient mists of about two weeks ago when I made them. But since I can't, let me just assure you that they have absolutely fascinating histories and come from the very best families.

I haven't been swimming in the big digiweb sea at all lately, so I don't have much to share, except to say that I really, really love this great .gif animation (found at, a link I'm sure I must have picked up from Anne) and that if you are the sort of shallow person who finds silly "what X are you" quizzes somehow irresistable, you should check out Tam's nicely filtered meme blog. I'm not saying I'm that kind of person or anything, but this hat did sort me into Ravenclaw, and I always knew that Ravenclaw was where I would end up. Er, if, that is, I were the sort of person to ever read a Harry Potter novel and, you know, imagine myself at Hogwarts. Which I'm not. And don't.

Posted by taz on May 25, 2004 at 07:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Introducing.... Blogliners!

Okay. Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! But here's my excuse: Blogliners, a new project I've been putting together along with Anne and Daisy. Blogliners is meant to provide a possible kickstart of inspiration for bloggers who are feeling a bit blank and casting about for a post topic. We'll be updating it every day, and though (of course) there's only the one entry so far, we have some fun things planned, so after a while, Blogliners should constitute a pretty nice archive of (hopefully) zingy posting ideas.

As for today's bit of inspiration, well, I'll just say that I'm "bonny, blithe, good and gay." Bonny? Okay, sure. Not as bonny as I was 15 pounds and 15 years ago, but, as old ladies go, I'm pretty darn bonny. Blithe? Look: in the dictionary? Under "blithe"? It says "taz". Good? Gee. How to answer this? I'm pretty good, I guess, for a spoiled, self-indulgent, willful type. (Could that possibly translate to "not good"? Nah.) Which leaves us with "gay". Let's just say I'm a very happy sort, and I've spent a whole lot of time, in the past, in a whole lot of gay and gayish bars (*waves* "Hello, Big Easy; where y'at?!"), but nevertheless, I'm pretty straight. So really, I'm just sorta bonnyish, goodish, and gayish, but - hey - I'm, like, super-super-blithe. Does that work for you?

Posted by taz on May 24, 2004 at 05:47 AM in Blogliners | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Prodigal returns... with gifts!

I'm sorry I've been away so long! I've been busy, of course, and then, it's always hard for me to recapture the blog momentum after an extended leave, so part of it was just inertia. But I come bearing gifts! I have a slew of new patterns, and though of course I'm prejudiced, I really like all of these. First of all, we some nice, lighthearted retro patterns for spring: Unsquare in both a light and dark version; peachy keen Little Dora (this one also looks great if you change the color 180 degrees); and my favorite, Cindylou, with an example box here. And with summer creeping up, you may be interested in my hot, hot, hot Bahia Baby (with example box). I really like the stripe-y, fabric-y look of the first tile. Finally, I have a couple of lovely "designer-sheets"-style patterns, which may sound kind of strange, but some of the nicest patterns I see around can be found on sheets that are much too expensive for me to buy! Anyway, take a look at Fleurbelle and Sedonia, with example boxes here and here.

And if all that wasn't enough to get back on your good side, let me just point out two other great pattern sites: Pattern-Bomb, with wonderful little small-scale designs, and Barracuda, with some really lovely tiles offered in a selection of colors. I've listed both of these spots in the LinkBlog, but wanted to point them out here in case you missed them; you should spend some time poking around the other pages of both of those sites to find other cool treats. So, there you go. Are we friends again?

Posted by taz on May 19, 2004 at 02:40 AM in Patterns | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Portraits of the "Big Bee" (or, "Love for Ludwig")

Dropping in quickly here to deliver a new tile couple, "Alberto's Defence'" - tiny, art deco-ish, nesting patterns (I saved in 256 colors, you can resave in 16 for really bitty file sizes), with an example square on this page.

I also just wanted to mention that I ran across a really interesting web collection of portraits of the Big Bee, Ludwig Van Beethoven, with pages and pages of images under the categories "drawings and engravings", "ex libris", "modern", "postcards", "sculptures", and "music". This is really quite fascinating to peruse; check out number 43 under "ex libris", for example - a fairly bizarre combo portrait of Lenin and LvB. And, I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't even know that there are portraits of Beethoven by Andy Warhol and Gustav Klimt, among others...

Posted by taz on May 10, 2004 at 03:30 AM in Collections, Projects | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Site Design and the Color Blind

You know what? I really liked my old link color, it was a great sort of slightly smoky rose color that I love (it's now the hover color). You know what else? It was just about perfectly indistinguishable from the surrounding text to someone with color blindness, and that's estimated to be at least one in 20, or as high as one in 12. If you want to check out your pages to see if they are useable to someone with a color deficiency, or if you want to plan a new site with this consideration in mind, there are some really good tools and tips on the web.

This color vision page will show you how color charts look to people with different types of color blindness, and so does this special colorlab palette. And there's a great 216 color web palette showing an approximation of the hues seen by colour deficient dichromats at Exact Technologies, along with a PDF guide to designing for color-blind users. Really, really helpful is this Vischeck site that allows you to run simulation color checks on web pages or files on your own drive. It also offers downloadable Vischeck plugins. Finally, here's another great page that lets you check pages on the web, with a sticky menu that allows you to toggle between the various types of color problems; here's an applet that lets you enter hex colors for text and background and see how they would be perceived by people in three different groups of color deficiency; and here's a good page about designing with the color blind in mind.

and PS: new tiles! Slightly deco, I think, and kind of yummy... (plus - oh, yes - a box).

Posted by taz on May 7, 2004 at 07:23 AM in Color, Site design | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

the Master & Margarita

Okay, I'm very, very busy (or as an ex-English language student of mine used to write, "v., v. busy". For some reason, I liked that. In fact, I liked that v., v. much). So, anyhoo... Yes, I'm working on an "ultra-ultra, top-secret, super-secret, you-don't-know-and-I-do-neener-neener!" project., so I just stopped by to drop off The Master & Margarita, patterns inspired by a book I recently read (thank you, Hanan!) that I love. Obligatory example square here. You can see some illustrations that have been created for various editions of "The Master and Magarita" at this interesting site that I found via MetaFilter. Now, I must rub on some magic ointment, mount my trusty broomstick and rush away into the deep, dark ecstasy of the moonlit night, because I have a party to go to...

(Never mind if you don't get those last few references; that's what the book is for! And as for the secret - you will be finding that out, too, soon enough!)

Posted by taz on May 6, 2004 at 08:15 AM in Books, Site News | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack