Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fancying Photos with Photoscape

dragon fly necklace gussied up, click on photos to enlarge

In yesterday's post, I showed you some free photo editing with Picnik. Thanks to Cam, I discovered Photoscape, another free download photo editing program. I used the the pre edited picnik holga-ish photo of my dragonfly necklace from yesterday, to turn it into this beauty with Photoscape, with my youngest toddler in my lap the whole time! It took me less than 10 minutes to download the program and finish this photo. For now, this little program will help with my graphic design learning bug.

before, stand back boys, this lady is taken, beware, do not click on photo to zoom!

Now, I want to see what it will do with beautifying a blemished photo of a person (if you remember, Picnik does a great job of that, but you have to pay for that feature). So, I took this photo of me and Isaac when he was a wee one. Note the haggard skin. Aside from cropping, all I really wanted was to erase some hormone induced imperfections... no need to say the actual word, it may summon them back (like the "he who must not be named" HP fans)!


First, I used "mole" to individually clear those areas, then I went under "filter" then "smart blur" (clear skin). I first tried the "noise reduction (clear skin)" but it really made it look too freakishly anime-like airbrushed. So, I still look like me, not ultra perfect, but not as yuckified either. And there you have it!

I much prefer Picnik Premium (not free) for the human edits, but for the other fun stuff, Pissaca 3 is wonderful for basic touch ups, Picnik is a most excellent for enhancing with features and playing with exposures and photoscape is best for layering on the goodies (limited options, but still good).

Here is a glorified version of mommy and first born yet to be potty trained 3.5 year old love of my life son. (In case you are wondering, the "1" is for "first-born"... I was going to do his birthday, but got lazy, so there!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Editing Your Photos With Picnik

holga-ish on my dragonfly necklace

Whether you have an online business and you would like to make your photos really pop, or you want to enhance your blog photos, or you enjoy photography as a hobby, or you just want to edit your family photos to make you look ultra hot, then you would love to try Picnik. It is a free program that is quite user friendly.

infrared film with yellow matte a signature and logo

Though only the basic edits are free, you still get some neat choices. I edited the same exact photo in this post using only the free tools for examples. Now, for basic editing, I really love Picassa 3 which is totally free does have lots of neat features and easy to use, but Picnik has lots of other features for more "play". You can really acheive the look of vintage photos, holga photography, and the style of film noir and a play on exposure that is just beautiful. Of course, this program is probably a nightmare to the true photographer that has studied and learned their own tricks and uses the lens and darkroom to capture these effects, but this is just for fun!

boost, vingette, 1960's round corners and a touch of film grain

Of course on the free version, you have limited uploads and for more advanced tools like "gritty" (so neat!), and photo editing for people, like eye and teeth whitening, sunless tanning, eye color brightening, red eye reduction, wrinkle softening, airbrushing, mascara highlighter!!, shine reducer... (wish I could get these and a belly roll reducer and a make dinner and do dishes tool in real life!). All of these tools are in the premium package that you have to sign up and pay for, but you can at least try them out (one at a time though) to see if you would like the investment.

touch of black and white, cross process and focal softening

I hope you have fun experimenting with your images. You can give your shop or blog an entire overhaul without ever having to retake photos. Unless your photos are very dark, overexposed, blurry or poorly staged, most can be saved with an artful flair with Picnik.

boost, filmgrain, vignette and orton-ish

Edited to add~
as you can see through my photos, the colors have changed drastically. For fun, artful purposes, this is totally acceptable and encouraged! But remember, if you are selling online you need to remember to keep the colors as close as possible to the real thing so that your buyers won't be mislead.

Monday, July 27, 2009

One Very Pink Party

a fanciful twist mad hatter tea party (all photos here)

Have you ever wanted to throw a party just for the sake of doing something pretty, and unexpected? Just to host a little get together to get your mind off of other things and relax, a chance to test your creativity and to get inspired, a chance to test your creativity ... to imagine the possiblities of new color combinations and infuse them with new (or old) favorites.

see more photos and ideas of this party here

pink ruffle cake
pink ruffle cake how to

fabric flower hair piece how to OR order yours from Handle & Spout

pink orange pom pom

pom pom how to

blue pink yellow garland spring wedding cake
garland wedding cake how to

butterfly straw decor how to

lollipop tree

Maybe only one or two other people will be in attendance, but the number doesn't matter because it is all about the joy of creating a lovely atmosphere. And to share a few laughs and sweets, to take some lovely photographs, in a lovely room, while wearing something smashing...

pink candy bag favor garland diy wedding party

favor bag garland how to

pink candle taper centerpiece wedding formal event decorating
floating taper candle table runner

martha stewart tissue balls crafts
Tissue Ball Falls how to

paper rosette how to
OR buy them here

Lots more cute pink party decor ideas at Stem Parties!

to learn how to set a lovely tablescape (step by step photos here) by Centsational Girl

vintage party dress from timeless vixen vintage

baby first birthday cupcake cake topper

bug and boo cupcake toppers

party inspirations at the party dress

With an abundance of ideas, easy craft kits and goodies, remarkable finds and ideas on Etsy and elsewhere, plan for a ladies retreat and host a dessert and pink strawberry lemonade party for once. So, what are you waiting for? and where's my invite ;)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Tisket A Tasket...

I found a room with a wire tiered basket and became obsessed so here are my ideas for you...

When I saw this photo of a gorgeous eclectic farmhouse style kitchen taken by photographer James Merrell (his website here), I fell in love. There were so many other great photos of this room, but alas I can't remember where I saw them, so this will have to suffice.

Ebay, looks a lot like the one in the above photo!

So many wonderful treasures can be stored within those perfectly rusted and delicately entwined metal weavery bliss. (I do realize that sentence made no "technical" sense, but considering the subject matter, does it really need to I ask?)

This idea is originally for an Easter setting by Better Homes and Gardens, but really, it can be adjusted for any season. Follow this link for more Easter setting ideas.

tiered wire metal basket easter setting idea
Here you can see how useful a tiered basket can be as a craft organizer (I wonder if it would make toy cars look more appealing?!) I found this photo at Pajama Mama in her post entitled Creatively Frugal Craft Space Organization... follow the link for some great ideas!

Pat Sloan's sewing room
can be seen on Stitchin' Heaven. She has TWO metal baskets for thread and crafts storage. Brilliant!

Country Living graces our eyes with this patriotic table setting, using a what? A tiered metal basket, of course! Here are the rest of the photos for this setting.

Gypsy Mermaid's lovely craft space is full of treasures, and two metal tiered baskets!

craft room shabby chic mermaid blue yellow white

fabric storage
These are not tiered baskets, but metal none the less and Mish Mash has an excellent vintage styled craft room that will make your heart melt, take a peek here!

Pretty Tasty Cakes has a buttercream springtime cake on an adorable metal bird stand. See here for more images and an extremely well made baking how to.

Bonne Fete has this lovely creame wire stand, look how lovely it is as a centerpiece with ornaments, gifts, flowers, and even popcorn!

Once again, Country Living provides us with this charming outdoor setting, with a glass tiered centerpiece. I would love to see some cupcakes and flowers on that! Image found here at this interesting little site.

Michelle of Mish Mas has done it again with this display, Gorgeous use of a bell jar, birds nest, moss, flowers, hanging baskets... perfection!

Here's Pottery Barn's take, use it for silverware, napkins and lemons!

Another Country Living craft room, great ideas here!

So, as you can see all of you non fruit eaters (tsk tsk), that wire baskets need not be only for healthy and yummy fleshy pieces of food, but for flowers, plants, eggs, crafts storage, centerpiece ideas... I found several on Etsy, Ebay, as well as looking through a Google image search, but I am sure you can also find some thrifting around! Happy hunting!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Fond Visit

After two ticks, a bajillion chigger bites (did I mention my grandparents live in the forest?), and a host of new memories I am back home, thrown into the whirlwind of being a stay at home mommy of 2 toddlers again. (click pictures for a larger view)

It was quite interesting being my mother's escort to her 35th high school reunion. With her being a widow for 7 years now after 24 years of a happy marriage (she has never gone on a date nor talked on the phone to any sort of gentlemen caller) it was quite interesting to see a couple of the singleton males be a little smitten with seeing her again. I gotta tell you though, I looked at her yearbook senior picture and the lady was hot. (I'll have to show a photo of it soon)...

35th high school reunion class of '74 1974 Lamar High School

We had a grand ole time, my grandparents feeding us constantly, watching the special on Walter Kronkite's passing and Paul Newman, old army stories and church doctrine and history, that's the way we pass the time at the grandfolk's house.

white cottage old home red roof

This is the home my mom lived in for her senior year.

old white manor cottage home house missouri

This was her first apartment (far left window). It was quite a beauty 35 years ago, I am told. I could definately see the potential. It reminds me of a Jane Austen manor, or a scene from Wuthering Heights, perhaps.

gazebo fountain restored old home victorian cottage

gazebo fountain restored victorian white house cottage missouri

This gorgeous home was down the street. It had several gazebos and grand arches and fountains, but I had to make picture taking quick since the neighbors kid's were watching me and they had a big ole Sheriff's truck in the driveway (whom I could only assume was their daddy).

dogwood tree

My grandparent's home is surrounded by acorn, pecan, freshly planted pine and other sorts of trees, but there are a lot of dogwoods as well that attract bumblebees and hummingbirds.

hummingbirds, nectar, hummingbird feeder

My grandpa fills hummingbird feeders with his own concoctions and they lap the sweet nectar up enthusiastically. At one point, there were at least a dozen of the little darlings on the feeders, but those things are so fast, I could only capture 5 of them at most.

hummingbirds, nectar, hummingbird feeder

Since my grandmother has health problems, it is a joyous and peaceful pass time to watch the humming birds flit around and nurse the red liquid all day. If you stand on the porch, the birds will zoom right past your head and the humming sound of the quick little wings always buzzes in your ears.

My dear grandpa, helped me drill holes in several metal stampings I have been wanting to use in my jewelry. He is such a great man and treats my grandmother like a princess! My oldest is smitten with his great grandpa and loved exploring with him too. He really enjoyed the nature walks and learned so much this weekend.

folk art, painting, valley, home, cabin, mountain, river, stream, jack butler

I love his little painting my grandpa did many years ago, that now hangs humbly in his workshop.

oklahoma, former world's largest mcdonald's

While on the road to Missouri, we always know we are getting close to arriving when we pass under the (former) world's largest McDonalds!

soup, stew, homemade, recipe, beef, vegetable, easy

When we arrived, we were greeted with my grandparent's tasty homemade soup. Here is my their soup recipe for safekeeping, it is truly delicious and can turn into a stew for leftovers later by thickening on the stove with a can of tomato paste!

*brown stew meat in a little oil
*boil in water, cover for about an hour, boil, stir occasionally
*add carrots and celery, simmer covered for 15 minutes
*add potatoes, simmer covered for about 5 minutes
*add diced or stewed tomatoes, peas, mushrooms, onions, corn (whatever you like) and 2 cans of tomato sauce
*add garlic powder and salt free Mrs. Dash Table blend (which is a blend of: onion, black pepper, chili pepper, parsley, celery seed, basil, bay, marajam, oregano, savory, thyme, corriander, cumin, mustard, rosemary, garlic, lemon)

I hope your weekend was as nice as mine!

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