Sunday, April 26, 2009

Plan on not making plans

You would think that at my age I would have learned by now that whenever I make plans for something they almost always fall through. Friday after my appointment I was going to take my camera to the dock and the beach and get some pictures. Well when I finished up with my appointment and went outside, it was raining. Just my luck. So, no trip to the dock or the beach. I headed home, which is roughly a 45 minute drive. Halfway home, the sun comes out and I discover that I don't have my prescription sun glasses with me anymore. That can mean only one thing, I somehow lost them at my first stop of the day, because I had them on when I went in (the sun was out then). Now not only did I NOT get the pictures I wanted to take but my mood has done a nose dive because I lost the glasses. I called the place where I had my appointment and asked if they had a lost and found. They did, told me they would look around for them and call me back if they located them. I haven't heard from them so I'm assuming they are gone for good now. Sometimes I could just kick myself.
The weather, from the time I got home till this post, has been beautiful. However, I lost my momentum Friday morning and haven't done anything I planned on.
What I did manage to do was play around with pse and make a couple things.
This was a picture of stones and shells that I took last summer. I took it on a plain white background. I extracted the shells and made a new background. I was going for something that looked like sand. This came pretty close. Not perfect but I got bored with it so I quit here

I made a few kaleidoscopes with Dazzling Reflections then opened them up in pse and made this.

Last but not least I did some minor adjustments on some pictures I took to use as textures. I put together a set of 9 different ones and was hoping that some of you might be able to use them.

You can download them HERE
So what's next? It's hard to say, but I can tell you that I'm planning on NOT planning

A great new look or a bad choice

I gave up on trying to make my own background and went ahead and used one of the free backgrounds from The cutest blog on the block. Then I just made a header to kind of sort of match. I'm not so sure if I like it or not though. Opinions would be greatly appreciated, good or bad.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An early start to my weekend

I get to start my weekend a day early this week. Last weekend I had said that I had to work Sunday, well the pay off is I get tomorrow off. The weather is supposed to be beautiful, so I plan on getting outside and taking some pictures. First I have a morning appointment to go to but then the rest of the day is mine. Hopefully the appointment won't take too long. The plan is, that after I get done, since I'm going to be right near the public dock, to take a drive there and see what I can find to take pictures of. Then, a drive to the beach may be in order.
The whole weekend is supposed to be really nice with temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's so I should be able to get tons of pictures. I just hope I get some that are worth putting up to show you.
Tomorrow night DH and I are planning on going out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. It was Wednesday. It's been 3 years already.
Enough about me and the weather. You're probably more interested in what I'm offering today. Well I've been working on a couple different things and today I've got a scalloped frame template for you. Everything is in png format. There's a basic shape so you can add your own color, texture, bevels or whatever. There's also one with holes in it with a ribbon to lace through the holes. I've also included one with a bevel already added. To complete the set there is one finished frame and one finished piece of vellum with a ribbon laced through. Hope you like it.

You can download the set HERE

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wonderful Wedsnesday

So what's so wonderful about this Wednesday? Beats me. I just couldn't come up with a witty and clever title for this blog post, so that's what I went with.

Just a few shares today. First I have some edits that I did this week for my cafe mom groups.
This of course is Duke last summer. He loves the water. He's got his own raft for the pool because we got tired of either sharing or giving ours up so that he could have one. He was already eyeing up the water last weekend and thinking about taking a dip.

This was for a black and white conversion. Just a picture of the sun dial in my back yard

Here is my sons latest addition to his tattoo collection. This edit was for a black and white with color edit. The one in color is the new one, I guess he thought that was pretty witty since he was born in Pennsylvania in 1987. Where does the kid get his sense of humor The one above that he got because my father was a cadet in the army air corp (now called the air force) He has my dads last name and the year he was born and the year he died on either side.

And finally we have a little something I made for you. This is a set of 5 kaleidoscope buttons. Each one is in color and also in black and white so you can recolor however you want to match your layouts.

You can get the freebie right HERE
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What a beautiful day it was here in northwestern Pennsylvania. According to my computer it was 71 around 4:00. I've been waiting for this kind of weather. I got outside and actually spotted some signs of spring. It seems like it takes so long to show itself here.
I found this flower in one of my flower beds. They are all in desperate need of attention. There's more weeds than anything else in them right now.

The trees even have buds on them. Yeah!

Oh look at the time. Guess I better think about getting ready to take Duke for his hair cut.

I have daffodils. I'm so excited.

The forsythia are in bloom too

So Duke is back from the groomers. I took a picture of him this morning and one when we got back home. Side by side comparison, does he look like the same dog? Of course he's as cute as can be either way, but, I just love the way he looks after he gets the hair cut. This groomer didn't cut it exactly like the other one did but I think he looks great and this one is closer to home and easier to find. I think we'll be going back.

A special request

Just a quick post this morning with a special request.
This is Dixie. She's entered in the "Crawford County's Favorite Pet" contest. Dixie's owner, Debbie, has been putting on a spectacular email campaign, soliciting votes and sending daily updates on Dixie's progress. Right now Dixie is running in 2ND place with 300 votes. The leader has been getting mysterious late night/early morning bulk votes and perhaps they are legit, perhaps not. Either way, it would mean so much to Debbie and Dixie if you could take a minute to stop by and cast a vote.
You do need to register to vote, but it only takes a minute. Dixie is on the bottom of page 4.

Won't you please stop and vote for Dixie? How can you say no to that adorable little face?

Friday, April 17, 2009


There's no better feeling than 2:30 on a Friday afternoon. Yes, I work until 2:30 and that's when my weekend begins. The only thing bad about this weekend is that instead of having until Monday morning before I have to go back to work, this weekend I'm working Sunday. YUCK! Oh well, at least it's not an every week thing.
So, it's Friday night and I have a few things to ramble on about.
First of all I want to thank Keyfra so much for the wonderful surprise I found waiting for me on cafe mom today when I got home from work. She made me this awesome new siggy. Isn't she the sweetest? I just love it. If you want to check out her blog you can find her at

My favorite cafe mom group, Photo editing beginners runs challenges all the time. There are weekday challenges and weekend challenges. When I get home from work on Fridays I usually sit down and start working on the weekend challenges. My unwinding time. This one was pretty fun. You had to paint a graffiti wall. This is the one that I did.

I recently bought myself a book that I saw online somewhere. The book is, "How to cheat in Photoshop elements 7". I haven't really spent too much time going through it yet but I've seen quite a few things I want to try out. I did learn how to use the background eraser though using this book. I can't believe I've ignored that tool. Now that I know how to use it I'm sure I'll be relying on it much more often.

They authors of the book also have a forum to discuss photoshop elements. You can find the forum at
I also found the website for one of the authors. He's got a few tutorials posted on his site. You should check it out. His website is

Tomorrow my shaggy little Duke is going to visit the groomer. I guess I'm a bad mom because he hasn't had a hair cut since last July. He looked so darn cute the last time I took him with his perfect Westie cut. I'm trying a different groomer this time, one that is closer to home and I'm hoping she does as good a job as the other one did. I'm sure I'll have pictures after I get him home. Tomorrow, look for before and after pictures of Duke.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Someone asked

Jody posted a comment on my recent post "better late than never" asking where she could find Annie's tips. Well, Jody, and anyone else who is interested, you can find Annie steps in the Photo editing beginners group on cafe mom at this link
Check out our group and browse through the posts. I don't think that the group is set to private, but I'm not 100% sure on that. Would love to have any of you join in though. If you do let me know.


This has been a test of my emergency blogcast system. To verify that this test is working properly please leave a comment. Had this been an actual emergency, I don't think I would have been

If at first you don't succeed

I'm attempting to live up to the age old adage "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again". I'm absolutely fascinated by the moon and have been on a quest to capture the perfect picture despite my lack of skill and the right equipment. I've made numerous attempts to get just the right shot but have not been able to come up with anything that I'm satisfied with. I'll probably embarrass myself here but I've got attempts to show you. This is by no means all of the results of my endeavor. This is merely the ones that have yet to fall victim to the recycle bin.
This one, although it's not what I was looking for, is kind of fascinating. I took this through the sliding glass door and I think that the extra moons were reflections in the glass.

Ha ha, this one is just pitiful.

This is probably the best one I've gotten so far. If I only had a bigger zoom on my camera, it may have been what I've been trying for.

Oops, another

Here's one of a daytime moon. Not so bad, but again, need more zoom.

All of these attempts have not been a total loss. Aside from having fun experimenting with my camera, picture number 2 was transformed into today's freebie. After opening up that picture and playing around with it for awhile, I came up with something that sort of resembled an old piece of slate. A little more playing and fine tuning, a little dodge here and little burn there, add some texture and some bevel and voila. So here it is, my interpretation of a piece of slate. There is one plain and one that I added some flowers to. I always thought that those slates with the pictures painted on them looked pretty cool.
Nothing left to say but if you want the freebie the download is HERE

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

better late than never?

A month or so ago, I took on a little project at the suggestion of the group owner of Photo editing beginners on cafe mom. Ok so maybe the suggestion was more of a hint, but I got the hint and went for it. She was interested in learning how to make scrap kits and thought that perhaps I could give some helpful tips. A section of the group was designated as "Annie steps". I put up posts giving my steps and tips for creating scrap kits. Several of the group members have started on theirs but one enthusiastic student has already completed her first kit. Miawa, our lovely group owner, went full force on her kit. I asked her about a week ago if she would mind if I posted a preview and the download link here. Of course she didn't mind but me being mindless some times totally forgot to do it. I'm not even going to try and make an excuse, I just plain forgot. So my apologies Miawa and here it is. Check it out. I think she did fantastic for the first time around.

If you would like to download the kit you can get it HERE
She's already working on a second one and gave us a little preview the other day. I must say I think it's going to be spectacular.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Just a quick post today to wish you all a Happy Easter in 2 different ways

The first, for those who just like the bunny and chocolate part of the day

And the second for those of you who celebrate the real meaning of the day

However you choose to spend your day, enjoy and have fun.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An edit with a tutorial

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Living in Northwestern Pennsylvania, you need to be prepared for unpredictable weather. Sunday was a beautiful day with temperatures in the mid 50's. Monday it was cold and rainy and by last night the snow was falling. Today we are once again under a blanket of snow. Thank goodness it's not the foot that the weather report forecasted, but what we have is more than enough. After all it's April, we should be seeing sunshine and flowers by now.
Ok so on to the point of the post. I took advantage of the weather on Sunday and went for a walk with my camera. So today I'm going to show you how I took this photo

and turned it into this.

First I opened up the picture in photoshop elements. I adjusted the levels to begin with by using the levels adjustment layer. Click ok and merge down.

Next I went to Enhance > adjust color > Adjust color curves and chose increase contrast. Depending on the picture you use, choose whichever gives you the look you want.

Now I duplicated layer 1 twice. The second layer I named screen and changed the blending mode to screen. Layer 3 I named blur. Then I went to Filter > blur > gaussian blur and set the radius to 18.7. What you are going for here is to blur so that you can just barely make out the features on the picture. What you set the radius at will depend on your picture. I changed the blending mode on layer 3 to multiply

When this was complete I right clicked in the layers palette and clicked merge visible
Next I went to photo effects, chose pencil sketch. This will put a pencil sketched layer above your picture. I then duplicated the pencil sketch layer, changed the blending mode to multiply and merged down

Now you are back to layer 1, which is your picture, layer 2 which is your pencil sketch. I changed the blending mode to soft light, merged down.

The next step was to go to Filter > artistic > rough pastels

The settings were as follows: stroke length 7, detail 4, scaling 67, relief 22, light bottom. I'm a little confused here though. Those are the settings I wrote on the piece of paper when I was taking notes on my edit, but in the screen shot below the numbers are totally I'm not quite sure what happened there. If you try this you can try using both sets of numbers or just come up with your own. (sorry about that one)
And that's it. Go ahead and give it a try and see what you can come up with for your pictures.
As a side note. The first part of this tutorial, which would be everything up to the pencil sketch part, is what's known as the Orton effect. That alone will make a picture look really awesome. I can't remember where I found that tutorial so my apologies to whomever I got it from for not sharing your link here.

Hope you enjoyed my little tutorial.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Is that even a word? I suppose when I finish my post and use my spellcheck I'll find out won't I?
Today is a beautiful spring day in northwestern Pennsylvania. The temperature is 56 degrees, the sun is shining and the wind isn't too bad. Living here, you learn quickly to take advantage of weather like this when you can because tomorrow it could be snowing. Believe it or not, that is in the forecast.
Here's an edit I did last night on a picture of Amanda and me. I had one similar to this with me and my son, sort of a compare the eyes kind of picture, so I needed one with Amanda too. This one didn't turn out as well as the one with Brad, that one you could definitely tell he's got my eyes. But I liked this picture of the two of us and I like the way the edit turned out.

Here's an edit I did for a challenge in one of my groups. The subject was glass texture. I used a photo that I took some time last year on one of my walks. I really like the way the effect looks on this.

DH's dad and step mom have the most talented and adorable dog. I can't remember what kind it is, but I know that she has said that it's one of those new designer breeds. The tricks he can do are awesome. They are in Florida right now and she sent this picture yesterday because Kibo won first place in a contest. The theme was "tropical paradise" (or something like that). Lynn has also said that Kibo has quite a wardrobe. He's the best dressed dog around.

Whenever someone sends me a picture I can't help myself, I have to play with it. I'm so obsessed it's pitiful. I'm sure it probably gets annoying to the people sending the pictures too, but I'm afraid they'll just have to deal with So this is the edit I did to Kibo's picture. The background was courtesy of I didn't want the background to look like an actual photograph so I did some playing around with it. I used either the smart blur or the surface blur, I can't remember which. Then I played around with different filters.
That's it for now. The weekend is almost over and there are still so many things I wanted to get done and I haven't even started. I'm off to try and accomplish at least a couple things before the day is done.

Do you know the Scrap Professor?

This morning I received an email from one of the scrabbooking lists that I'm on. One of the topics it covered was Scrap professor and their 2ND birthday celebration. I've never seen that site so I decided to check it out and snag the wonderful freebie they are giving away. This is a really awesome kit IMHO. I just loved the colors and all the elements that are included in it. Also right now, through midnight tonight, they are having a sale. Almost everything in the store is only $2.00. I may go back and do some shopping before the day is over.
This is the kit they are giving away.

Anyway, after I downloaded the freebie I decided to sign up for the forum. I've signed up for several in the past but I tend to be a bit brain dead when it comes to forums. I sign up, browse, maybe create a profile, then very rarely return. Why? Because I usually can't figure out how to navigate around. This forum though, seemed to me, to be quite user friendly and I was able to find everything pretty easily. I even managed to upload a picture for my avatar. Something I've always had trouble with on other forums. (Hey I said I'm a brain dead forum After I finished looking around, I noticed I had a new message in my email. It was from Scrap professor. For joining their forum, they send you download links to MORE freebies. I haven't checked them out yet because I wanted to let all of you know about them first. Go check them out, I'm off to download some freebies!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Before and after

Have you taken any pictures recently that when you got them on the computer they just didn't look as great as you thought they would? Well don't write them off as a total loss. There is hope for them.
Here I have a couple of before and after shots that I took today. Ok so I'm not so great with the camera, but I sure do have fun with it. I find myself taking pictures of some of the strangest things sometimes though. And it really gets annoying everytime I try to take a picture of something living, whatever it is, if it's alive, it knows when I'm getting my camera, and it takes off.
Oh sorry, back to the point of my post. Like I said, before and after. The picture of the bird I took through the front window. It didn't look too bad but it was kind of on the dull side. The picture of the dog is a little on the blue side and it's not because he's an unhappy I actually used the manual setting on my camera when I took that one and I think I had the white balance set on the wrong thing. I don't know, when it comes to all the technical stuff on my camera I'm still a little brain dead.

So how do we fix these problems? Actually it's only going to take a couple of clicks. For the bird picture all I did was adjust the levels. On the picture of the dog I did the same thing but also removed the color cast.
If you aren't familiar with either one of these I have a quick and easy explanation.
First to remove a color cast. In pse you go to enhance > adjust color > remove color cast. A window will pop up and tell you to click on something in the picture that is supposed to be either white, gray or black. After you do that click OK and just like magic, no more blue color cast.

Now for the levels. Click on your picture in the layers palette. Now click on the adjustment layer icon and select levels. A window will come up like in the picture below. You'll see I circled the black and white pointers under the histogram. What you want to do is slide each of those over just to where the histogram starts to rise on either side. So you would move the black pointer to the right and the white pointer to the left. Actually in this case the black pointer was fine it was just the white one that needed to be moved to the left (notice where I moved it to). You may also want to slide the middle pointer either way to see what changes that makes. Play around with it until you get something that you like.

And there you have it. Quick and easy and your pictures now look fabulous.

Cleaning or lazy Saturday morning

It's all in how you look at things. You could say that I'm being lazy this morning and not being very productive. Or you could say that I'm working very hard at cleaning up my computer files. I prefer the second option. Some time ago I had a great idea to make a cookbook of sorts. I was going to take pictures of things I cooked or baked and then turn them into recipe cards. I got as far as 3 which doesn't make for a very good book. Anyway, I decided this morning to just delete them and if I ever decide to try the project again I'll just start from scratch. Before they go to the recycle bin I'll share them here just in case anyone is hungry for something sweet.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I almost forgot about these

I made a couple of quick pages with the hoppy easter kit I did for the hippity hop blog train. I left them out of the download because they made the file too large for me to do in one upload on 4 shared. I only have the free account so maximum size for upload is 100 MB
If you like them get the download HERE


I just noticed I have one fewer follower than I did yesterday. I hope that someone didn't take my last post seriously. As a couple of you commented, it's addictive and in my blood, I can't give it up even if I

Just to share a couple of edits I did recently for challenges.
This was for a collage about your pets. I really liked how it looked until I noticed AFTER I saved it as a jpeg that I had a typo in it. I missed one little s in the quote. That's what I get for rushing through things and not double checking myself. Ah live and learn. (I have the live thing down but learning is something I seem to have a problem

For this challenge all you had to do was split a picture into at least 3 pieces. Then do whatever else you wanted to with it.

Yes, near or far, together or apart, they'll always be a part of me. Even when I turn them into fairies and
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