Wednesday, October 29, 2008

it's the great pumpkin!!

The school carnival was last week and I was asked to help volunteer...
with a new baby... that was going to be a bit difficult..
I can bake in between nursing, diapering and overseeing homework...
This was one of the 2 cakes I sent in for each Queen V and Lady G's classes.
They were both pumpkin cakes... it's what Lady G asked for
so on I went to figure out how to create such a cake...
white cake mix 50 cents
frosting $1.50/ can
gel for coloring $5
pumpkin cake for school carnival and envy from other mommies...
mwahahahahaha (evil mommy laugh)

so I don't have the huge wallet that some mamas seem to have around here but I have creativity, kids that think I can do all with frosting.... wonder if I can create the medallion to go above my chandelier in my dining room with it... hahahahahaha and time.. who needs sleep when your oldest tells you to splurge on good coffee beans and yummy fru-fru cream??

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

little this once

so little

just this once....

how precious

how loving...

how accepting...

her love is never ending and I find myself at more peace with this one

she makes me take a step back and remember to just breathe

to enjoy

to take the moment in and savor it

I also find myself questioning my behavior with my others...

do they get enough love?

do they get enough understanding?

do they get enough attention that is positive...

do they feel loved... know they are loved... for everything they do.....

what a great gift I have been given in this little one...

who will be little just this once...

Ellie Lash QP
WA by Elegant WA

Monday, October 20, 2008

photoshop and digital insights

So I have listed some resources that I use from time to time to help me out. I hope this helps some of you out!!

hybrid tshirts
love this idea! I have seen it in magazines before but wanted to share here too
this is what the kids will get for my dds' birthday parties

layers and histograms
I found some really great tutorials here dealing with levels and histograms to show what part of your photos is under or overexposed- makes processing your photos so much easier
crop using the rule of thirds
soft focus
STEP by STEP how to make and out of bounds photo
this link will give you (if you have Photoshop Elements) a boost in creating those stunning black and white photos from a color one!
for CS2:


digital scrapping
for learning how to add depth to your letters:
why reinvent the wheel??
these are some simple lessons...
how to stitch
index of sorts:
fiber filter tutorial

how to make your own digital swirls
creating grass:
more control lessons here
click on the presets of the brush itself..
I kept opening presets and expecting them there
I clicked on the "dynamics" not checking the box and it came up!!
did you know there was a hidden world under all those words in the preset box?? click on them and find out!!!
to make your subject pop while blurring the environment around it
again with the blur

creating your own brushes
have made my own signature brush that I place on my photos and on my sketches (look in my gallery)
I used a few dingbats and a font I like, a few layers, defined the brush and it is mine!!!
if you want a link to some photos of how to make your own in your own photoshop here you go:

this one is so up Twistedsoda's alley!

this one is a video that requires flash

one more that uses your photos to find a pattern you like
Cinda gave me this tip: You can use your magic background eraser to get rid of the white. If you save as a jpg you'll get the white, but psd or png should maintain the transparency.
and from Rikki: Create the image you want to use as your brush. Everything that is white in the image is transparent in your future brush. Max. siez is 2500 x 2500 px.
Select the area with the marquee tool or another slection tool
Go to Edite -> define brush preset
Don't forget to save the brush in an existing or a new preset. Otherwise if you replace the existing preset, it will be gone.
That's it.
Now you can use your brush to stamp anywhere.

how to make a photo a circle (by Rikki)

Just use the marquee tool, draw out a circle, place it over the part of the photo you want to keep, inverse the selection (in PS Ctrl+Shift+I) and hit delete.


A frame is made to lay over your photo while a mask you line it up with your paper and/or photo and (if using PSE) click ctrl-g to group them together - then your paper is in the shape of those pretty swirls You could actually do the same thing on the frames, but only the frame would fill and your photo underneath would still show through.
You can do the same thing with text and "cut" your text out of any paper or photo.
One of the many things I love about Photoshop!

and from Rikki

A frame is an embellishment that you actually use as is on your page. You put it there, and maybe re-colorize it, and that's it.
A mask like Shandy's you use to change the look of something else. You can use it for example as a clipping mask to clip papers or photos to the shape of the mask.
You can use anything you want as a clipping mask. One example:
You could take the shape of a star and use it as a clipping mask to clip a square piece of paper into the shape of that very star.



grograin ribbon
I saw on the blog that Michele is a contirbuting editor for how to make a striped ribbon but I want a different texture.. is that all there is to it? making a different texture??
there's a good grosgrain tut at SBB: (thanks ChrisGr)

make your own flourishes

some more tips for brushes

special digi thanks goes to Michele, Cinda, Rikki, and Chris for helping me learn so much while we all played at The Shaker Box the last 5 years.
I don't think I would have learnes and researched so much without you guys helping me out and cheering me on!

photography insights

I need a place to put all of the ideas and links I have gathered to share in scrapping, photography and stamping...
it's a long list and will be added to throughout the next few days..

window light:

sharpening a photo:
there are many ways to do this..
I know Jane does a defog using her USM
I use USM at different scale
but now I found this tutorial.. had to share!
I am just getting the hang of this... my focus fell slightly on some recent photos and I wanted to get them back- the capture was so cute.. but how to make it look right??

well, use your USM in your photoshop. It's called UNSHARP MASK but it does seem to sharpen.. It has to do with how it was done in a real darkroom versus how we do it in a computer digitally. "It gets it's name because it unsharpens (de-focuses) the image and uses the difference with the original image ..." (this quote from Focus Magic)
there are 3 things to understand.
The first being amount which is measured by percentage.
The second being radius which is measured by pixels.
The third being threshold which is measured by levels.

I have some links to some sites and I would really like to get a discussion going on this great filter!!! What do you say?? are you ready to clear up some of your photos that are soft on focus??
this one is studied by a lot of people. He is right on in his explaining- some times a little technical but you might be into that!

maybe you want a quick once over??

photos and diagrams here:

this guy is really clear and explains it very well!! I love this site!

clear and concise with photos to go with the information! He shows you with the filter pulled down

explains different ways of how to use USM (from global to detailed to parts of a photo)

another explanation with great photos for visual learners (tips inside this one!!)

about dot com always has tons of references!

another quick description:

in podcast form:

another great tutorial:

for those of you using PaintShop Pro

tutorial with comments from others so you can learn from their mistakes:

to show you that you can go TOO FAR with this

and the last tutorial/article came from the great Lone Star State!!

curves tutorial:
so you want more from your photographs, more umph, more contrast??
if you have gotten the hang of levels then try curves.
Matt Greer has a great tutorial on his blog

Depth of Field (DOF)
do you know how to get a background blurry??
do you know how to get good bokeh?
do you know how to get the background in focus but the foreground out of focus (OOF)???
well, here, check out this DOF calculator and play away!! it will tell you how to get the look you want, good exposure and where to place your subject from your camera.. amazing

fine tuning your photos:

taking your own school photo:
it is possible for you to try and do this yourself!!!
place your child at a 45* angle from the light
have your child sit up straight and lean over their belt buckle
have them slightly twist towards you
move eyes directly at the camera for eye contact
tilt a girl's head but never a boys!!! (makes them look efeminite)
have them sit on a stool with a pleasant background.. try your clean garage wall or even outside- do this when the sun is not directly overhead or you will wind up with shadows that are too harsh
the school playground before dusk...
need a reflector? get a piece of foam core board (HObby Lobby sells it for about $5) and place close to your subject.. move it so it catches the light and reflects this on your subjects shadow...
ok.. seriously.. try this.. do you photograph a face 2 dimensionally or 3??

smooth skin:
I thought this tutorial was really cool
dig how NOT to use the gaussian blur.. I did this forever.. glad to see another technique
don't forget to erase back the eyes

creaeting sepia:
great with fall photos...

great bloggers:
love her style!!! teaches

yep, a class online
you have to check out- it will give you so much info in what will help you become a better photographer


over the water fireworks:

super help tips:

tips from the Smithsonian:

digital photography school

Bob Atkin's description

Better Photo dot com

Gary Black Photog.,

The Imaging Resource

great shots (photos)

Dobson Central

to add wings to your photo
sites I have visited while on this adventure: (you have to pay for the brushes but how cool are they!) (this is the site I was looking for first!)

balancing shaddows

Oronton Technique
it takes a photo and puts a fairytale like quality to it- facinating!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

bugs and boys

dead bugs
pockets of overalls

getting a picture here??
yea, so my dryer eats socks and deposits dead bugs on the rim to scare the bajeebers out of me when I open the door...
I knew Mr. T liked bugs but did not know that he was sticking bugs in his pockets of his overalls...
and when I go to wash and then dry the bugs can no longer handle a spin cycle or the heat of the dryer...

so what is a mama to do???
take a pic of a daddy long legs for her boy... one that is alive but NOT crawling or spinning or being dryed to death!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dude!!

Here's to one cool dude... uh, dad.. lol!
Happy birthday to the coolest brother in law a girl could ask for!
I am so greatful you are a part of our crazy family and that we get to be friends for a long time now!!
I just wish we got to party together more often than a few times a year!!!
I hope all your birthday wishes come true and that you have many more!!!

A special happy birthday also to your darling daughter and my lovely niece!!! I can't wait to see her walk!!!

Lots of love,
your favorite American sister in law ;)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

last day being 40

alarm/radio sings me awake
nurse baby
check on Queen V to see if she made it into clothes yet
close Mr. T's door so he continues to sleep
breakfast for kids (all different cereals)
make lunches
draw on napkins and write notes to each girlie girl
set bags by garage door
take pic of Lady G in her rocker chick costume
load kids in van and drive to school
come home and take a look at pics I took
organize photos and surf photogs for inspiration
get things ready for Princess A's Thusday photoshoot
meet Mom and Queen V at library
photos of baby
back to school for testing of Queen V... she needs a little help in rhyming...
pick up Lady G
discuss scool
snuggle sleeping baby
find orange hair spray paint for Lady G pretending to be rocker chick
get ready for play
back to school for evening performance
rock out!!!
showers for kids
rock baby to sleep
now time to dream
good night

textures: Joy St. Clair
WA: Elegant Word Art by Bethany