Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Coloring Book for Jack

As part of the hand-made Christmas, I'm making our little nephew, Jack, a coloring book from pictures we've taken throughout the year. Here are a few I've created so far. (See below for a quick how-to.)

Scott thought these might be too difficult for a 3 year old, but I thought Jack could make what he wanted of them and doesn't have to stay inside every line. Are they too tough?! Any thoughts...

By the way, if you know Jack, don't tell him about this. ;)

Indiana State Museum

Wrigley Field

A duck on the lake

A random barn

How-to (with a disclaimer):

Bring the picture into Photoshop. Select Filter-->Sketch-->Stamp. Inside the Stamp controls, turn the smoothness all the way down (1), then adjust the Light/Dark Balance until the picture has desirable detail. Some pictures worked better than others and there is no perfect Balance that works for all pictures. I also found it helpful to adjust the contrast before beginning the Filter work for some pictures with many shades of similar colors.

The fine print disclaimer: I used Photoshop Elements and am in no an expert or even an advanced user, I just play with settings until I get the effect I want, so this is only the way I did it. As always, I'd love to hear others ways to achieve the effect too!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The house work texture repeat! (finally...)

For awhile now, I've been wanting to experiment with texture repeats like those done by Daisy Janie. Finally, this weekend, while touching up some paint in the kitchen, I pulled out a can of paint dated 2005, which was suppose to be a mossy green. Low and behold, after so many years on the shelf the colors had separated out, and as I stirred the can, a beautiful swirl formed and within that my first texture repeat!

The original swirl

The finished product after 3 flips in photoshop.
(I really like the hearts that formed in the repeat.)

The next picture is just a shot I had to take today. After such a foggy, gloomy day, as soon as I got home, this was out my back door. The skies really rallied at the end!

Pink clouds on the horizon

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Almond Joy Hot Cocoa

Here is another great Hungry Girl recipe from today's newsletter. (Yes, I was so psyched, I stopped on the way home to get everything.) Think warm Almond Joy with a kick! This is a seriously splendid drink!!

1 package Hot Chocolate Mix
(I used the fat free mix and it was still great!)
Shot and a Half Coconut Rum
Drop of Almond Extract
Whipped Topping


Get Ingredients

Boil the Water

Mix together, top with whip, enjoy!

Small tip: Use a larger than normal coffee cup...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday - Happiness (a little late)

Finally posting my last picture of this photo week. Happiness is a being at home by the crackling fire on a relaxing Sunday. All day has been easy, easy like Sunday morning...

Yay for another great photo week! Thanks, Sara, for a inspirational one! This week made the glasses I see the world through a little rosier.

Side note: Saw an ad for this very mobile tripod in the new issue Popular Photography mag. This would be super handy for those shots with longer shutter speeds, without all the hassle of setting up a bigger tripod. I'm adding it to my wishlist! Also, this December issue has a great story about taking better holiday pictures, worth picking up if you're at the store. ( I checked the website, but the entire story isn't there...bummer.) Okay, enough of that plug.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday - Community (Boiler Up!)

My community for four and half years, the wonderful Purdue University. Just so happens, I was on campus today for a conference, and I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures at lunch with the point and shoot stashed in my purse.

A tree still full of leaves

The new Armstrong Hall

A replicate of Armstrong's footprints on the moon.

Are the college folks getting younger every year?! Still love visiting campus, BTFU!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday - Gratitude

In my book, gratitude is the most under used expression. Monday, I took this picture of a flag flying in the cemetery to honor our country's heroes. A simple and beautiful thank you for our veterans.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday - Exploration (at the Indiana State Museum)

A (holi)day spent exploring the Indiana State Museum. Yay for hometown exploration. As a side note, we also saw the Grand Canyon Adventure 3D at the IMAX, and it was amazing!!

Snowflakes for the Christmas exhibit currently being installed.
Best looking rope light around, right?!

The Foucault Pendlum that was moved from the old museum.

A collection of pins from the 1970's.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday - Acceptance

Photo week if off and running. Sara our gracious host has really thrown down the challenge this time. Get the details here!

Accepting where the wind takes you

Accepting the gym as a necessary evil

The thing I love about my gym is that everyone is very friendly and accepting. It's like we're all here grinding it out, doing our thing the best way we can,
and that creates an intrinsic comradery.

A Snappy Strap

A while back Amy found this great site for ribbons and we placed an order with the intentions of making some sweet camera strap modifications with our loot. Since then I've been thinking about how I wanted to do it, I knew wanted to use the strap that came with the camera, but I also wanted to be able to change it in the future. And of course, if you wait long enough (or surf the web long enough), the solution will find you. Voila, here it is on Made by Petchy.

I used my ribbon for one side and plain black fabric for the back side. My final product is a super tight fit, but I was limited by the width of the ribbon. I am happy with the finished strap cover now that I have it on there!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It only took 80 bottles of wine...

The finished cork board (as seen during photo week), a great place for a wine drinker to pin up all those great ideas that come do mind while enjoying a few glasses.

The frame is a simple wood frame I found at the craft store and stained dark. It happens to be a 12" x 12" frame to fit scrapbooking sheets, but it perfectly fit an even number of corks and already had hanging hardware on the back! The setup: The huge chemistry book was to place on top while the wood glue dried. The cutting board and old knife were used to cut the half pieces at the end of each row.

I thought this would also make a nice place to put hot pots and dishes on the table, probably make some smaller ones in the future just to use as hot pads. I'm also interested in trying to dye some of the corks with fabric dye or colored stain to create a pattern and add some punch!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Easiest Blueberry Muffins Ever!

The perfect blueberry muffin storm happened today. Well, it started brewing a week or so ago when Scott got a free box of cake mix at the store. Then Monday, I decided to make blueberry muffins, so I bought fresh blueberries. Finally today, I got my Hungry Girl newsletter, which Sara got me hooked on, and low and behold cake mix and diet soda recipe!

The light bulb moment: Cake mix + diet soda + blueberries = Easiest Blueberry Muffins EVER!

Instead of adding the oil, egg, and water to a box of cake mix, add a whole can of diet soda. (You can actually use any type of soda.) Mix for 2 minutes. Fold in blueberries before pouring into cupcake pan. (I added a butter/flour/sugar crumb topping to these.) Cook according to directions on box.

These puppies actually turned out great. They were really moist and had an almost caramel like taste.

Evidently you can do this with brownie mix also...in fact after some research, Scott the cynic found out you don't have to add the oil or the eggs to cake mix at all. A long time ago, they just added that to the directions so "bakers" thought they were contributing more to their "home cooking". Good to know!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Friday - Yesterday

Friday we spent our day off preparing the outdoors for
the all too long winter season. Above is the aftermath of a day of labor.

"Why she had to go, I don't know she wouldn't say."
Summer, I eagerly await your return!

And with that another photo week comes to an end. Thanks again, Sue, for a great week!

Thursday - Too Much of Nothing

All these corks and no wine...

I'm trying to create a cork board from all these wine corks,
don't worry, I had some help collecting these.
Hopefully within the next week I'll have a finished product to post!