Saturday, December 26, 2009
Unfortunately it's taking a while for DH and I to really get into enjoying it all as we both came down with some sort of stomach bug. In many ways, I've had it the worst and all I had strength for yesterday was laying in bed and running to the bathroom! DH seems to have gotten all the aches along with the total lack of appetite. Poor thing, spent a good share of the day cooking a turkey and we just looked at it and thought "Yech!" We each tried a bite or two and I can tell you it was cooked to perfection, very juicey. It's going to make great sandwiches!
Well, I will try to post a picture or two soon. After I feel like I can hold my head up that is!
Monday, December 21, 2009
The kids got a big surprise last night when Santa came to our door (played very convincingly by a friend of ours). They were so excited we were sure it would be ages before they fell asleep. But it will also be a memory they will have forever. His real beard (colored grey with stage makeup), his bushy brows, and his wonderful laugh all helped to make the whole thing real. I can't thank him enough for giving this special gift to my children!
I also got to go on a photo shoot of Christmas lights. Hopefully I can find the time this afternoon to post the one or two good ones I got.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
He said this was his first mustache and I wonder now if he will ever be able to grow one that doesn't have a 1/2 inch bare spot right under his nose!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
All kit items are by Christine Gundersen and can be purchased at Digital Scrapbook Place. The graffitti was all me with my Wacom tablet (thanks to a friend for the gift). On my final version I have added DS#2's name.
Thanks for looking!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
We are excited to be celebrating with family. And the kids are thrilled - we had several inches of snow last night. They have spent the morning playing and so far I've heard that they were building snow tunnels. (I'll need to talk to Daddy and make sure he taught them that they don't do that unless we are present!)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Before doing an extraction you need to look carefully at where the natural shadow falls. This will tell you where the light source was in the photo and therefore where you need to arrange the light source in the layout. Some times you can fudge this a little, but remember, if you want the shadows to look right through out the layout, they all need to have a common light source. Once you figure out where that light source is coming from, you can create shadows that feel more natural. The more you work the light source to match the original of the photo, the more realistic all the shadows become.
The following are for Photoshop:
OK, now do your extraction and add your shadow. Play with your settings here first. Increase or decrease size, distance and opacity until you are somewhat happy with the look. Then, go to your layer and Create Layer (right click and go toward the bottom of the menu to find this option). You will get a message warning that not all settings will follow the layer, just click OK. Now you can play with your shadow even more. Try Edit > Transform > Perspective and move your shadow to match your light source even further. Think, my light is coming from the upper left, so my shadow will go in a line to the lower right or which ever direction necessary. Add a Guassian blur (between 5 and 10 usually is plenty, but I've used higher). Reduce the opacity even further. Try each of these in succession and only keep the ones that match your light source and the other shadows on your LO.
The following are for Photoshop Elements:
After doing your extraction, make a new layer below your photo layer or mask layer. Select the extraction (if you have used a mask, you will need to select the mask layer) by CTRL (CMD) Clicking the layer thumbnail so that you have the marching ants around the extracted item. Do a fill color of 50% grey. Add a Guassian blur of between 6 and 10. Try your noise filter, it may add to the look and it may not. Now add some perspective, Image > Transform > Perspective so that the shadow goes in the direction needed. Try lowering the perspective if the color is still too dark.
Again, play! Keep what works and discard the steps that don't for each project as each time you do this something different works.
Here is an example of an extraction where I really played with the shadow. Look carefully as it's not behind the subject, it falls according to the light source and drapes across the book and the floor!
I think we finally have everything fixed that broke a couple weeks ago. The new/used washing machine is now functioning. Even the funny noise it made has stopped and I suspect it's because DH finally got it level. After 2 trips to the shop, his car seems to run fine again. I kind of feel like we've sunk into it all we can afford though so if it dies again, it will have to just be dead! That is yet to be determined though and we are thankful that the latest round wasn't hideously expensive.
So, I'm hoping that we can now move into the holiday season with a true sense of thankfulness! Here's praying that it stays that way for a while.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
To find this wonderful software start at JessicaSprague.com. She has all the lowdown and even a good tutorial to get you started. Then follow her link, or go to Inkscape.org to download this wonderful open source software and give it a try. (I've not done it yet, but plan on it as it has a Mac version too!)
Have fun and let me know how it goes!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Create Your World
(I've updated the link and verified that it works. Thanks for letting me know!)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Then there is the saga of the flu shots! OK, I admit, by Friday I was pretty wiped. There had been so many little things all week that this one just sent me over the edge. I had tried on Tuesday to get the kids their flu shots after nearly a month of trying to find where I could get them. The Doctors office won't do them unless they are "established" patients, ie: they've seen them for at least a physical. Well, we can't take them unless there is something wrong, because the insurance won't pay for second physicals in the same year. Needless to say, we can't afford $200 or more times 2 (DS#2 had that ear infection, so he's been seen) just to get flu shots. Any way, I take them to the Health Department - nope can't do them on Tuesday, have to come back Friday (after being told they do them 5 days a week). So I come back Friday to "Yep, we can do the boys, but not DD!" The vaccine they had was restricted to 4 and above for some reason. Oh, and we won't be getting the H1N1 at all but you can get that here (and they gave me a phone number). I have DH call, and yes, we can do the H1N1 but not the seasonal for DD because she's "not established". Arghhh!!!! OK, well lets at least get the one that could be dangerous, right. I proceed to the clinic and fill out the paperwork and wait. And wait! And wait! And watch at least 3 people get called ahead of us that came in after us and all for shots (confirmed by one woman that I spoke to after she and her husband were given their shots even though they came in way after us). So I complain, and the second time I complain rather loudly. Hey, did I miss something! Well, in the end, and after I totally lost it and started crying (a sad fact that when I'm mad I cry) they finally agree to give all the kids the H1N1 and DD her seasonal even though she's not established.
Saturday I did nothing but read and lay in bed! I just didn't have the strength! The kids would come and cuddle and we laughed and had a good time.
Then Monday came. There is this strange stain right on the edge of the carpet next to the door into the kitchen where the fridge is. We figure it's from one of the dogs, so I shampoo that area and move on. But that night it's still wet and it looks dirty again. We attempt to "suck" it up with paper towel and a phone book. Well, the book was ruined by the next morning because it was not the dogs, but a leak from the fridge. DH and the landlord got it fixed last night. The water hose for the ice maker was a very small copper tube with a hole in it! Now I have to shampoo again, but I think I'll let it be until tomorrow!
And as for disasters! No More!!!!!! Please? (picture me on my knees in prayer!)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Bad news: the kids were cranky from the moment they got out of bed, and I wasn't a whole lot better than they were!
Good news: We managed to get through a lot of math, now if some of it sticks it will be even better!
Bad news: The washing machine died and leaked an inch of water across the bathroom floor!
Good news: It waited until the very last load was completely done and ready to go into the dryer (or at least it ran all the way through, not sure when it started leaking)!
Bad news: The kids barely made it through lunch in one piece!
Good news: They all napped for an hour and a half!
Bad news: I have an entire load of towels that are wet and dirty from cleaning up after the washing machine!
Good news: The landlady decided to simply replace the washer with a brand new front loader that should be delivered today!
Bad news: DHs car blew up, well it was certainly steaming from under the hood, had just moved into the red zone on the temperature gauge and there was no way he could drive it this morning until we can figure out how to get it in to be fixed!
Good news: It didn't stop dead in the road and waited until I pulled into the drive before really blowing badly!
Bad news: I really blew it with my sister-in-law!
Good news: (I hope?) She forgives me!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Been a pretty slow week in some ways. DH took some extra days off work, but it doesn't mean we got much done. The schooling went about normal. Today we went to the library and spent some time on "shopping math" (we window shopped and Target and the boys read the sale signs). My photography class has been postponed until tomorrow will be on Saturdays now as far as I know. Mostly I've worked with the kids and worked on lesson plans.
So, same old, same old! Hugs to all!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Isn't that interesting?
Friday, October 16, 2009
I also had my homework to complete for my photography class. The one big disappointment was learning that the little tripod that I have won't hold the camera. Amazing that it would hold the big film SLR but won't stand with the little point and shoot digital. Why? Because the connection for the P&S is off to one side, making it lopsided. So, I used a dish towel. (No great art so I won't be posting here, but look for homework photo's as I get better!)
DH is taking a couple of extra days off this weekend. We won't be using it to do anything really fun as there are way to many chores to take care of. I'm hoping he will get some of the leaves cleaned up as I haven't gotten to it since I did the first 5 bags worth, as well as a little more of the garage cleaned out. Plus he needs to get his snow tires on the car (they are sitting at his brothers house) and we have things to accomplish with the boys for Cub Scouts. You know, as I read this I realize that we probably won't get half of the stuff done that I would like to, but that's really how life goes! LOL
Happy Alaska Day all! (and for those who don't know - Alaska Day is Sunday, October 18th)
Sunday, October 11, 2009
This one works in both PSE and PS with one small adjustment for PSE. As usual, please let me know if you find any errors in this tutorial or have questions.
This tutorial is based on “Simple Bubbles in Photoshop” by Tyler Jordan which can be found here. I have altered the tutorial to use photo’s behind the bubbles so it looks like the item is “inside” the bubble.
- Start with a blank page and fill it with a background that is not white (until bubbles are constructed a plain color fill works best so that you can see your bubbles).
- Make a new layer to make your bubbles on.
- Select the Circle Marquee Tool with no feather and make a medium sized circle. (You can, while holding down Shift, make as many circles as you wish. If you don't like a circle you've made, hold down the Option/Alt Key and deselect it with the Circle Marquee Tool. NOTE: If I’m going to make multiple bubbles, I tend to put each on it’s own layer so that it can be moved or changed independent of all the the others.)
- Once you’ve made your circles, fill them with white.
- If using a photo behind the bubble, now is the time to clip it to the same size and shape as your bubble. Place photo on Layer directly beneath the circle. With photo layer selected, point to the thumbnail of the bubble layer with your mouse, hold the CMD/CTRL key and click, You should now have dancing ants in the size/shape of your circle. Create a feathered Mask*.
- Return to the circle layer. Using the Eraser tool with a feathered brush set to an opacity of 100%, start to erase the middles of the white balls you've made. For this I adjust my brush size to about 75% of each ball and simply click inside each of them three times. That's all you'll need to erase to create your basic bubble. Just make sure you adjust your brush size for each bubble.
- Now it's time to take your bubbles to the next level. Using the Paintbrush, set to feathered and 100% opacity, make short sweeping strokes on the upper corner. Be sure to adjust your brush size for each bubble. Remember, if you are making more than one bubble to place this in the same approximate location of each bubble.
- Add a slight Burn to the bottom, opposite the spot painted above using a feathered Burn tool.
*To create the Mask in PSE:
- Select Layer below photo.
- Point to thumbnail of circle and hold the CMD/CTRL key then click. You will now see the dancing ants.
- Make sure your colors are Default Black/White by pressing D on your keyboard. (If white is the foreground color, press X to switch them).
- Add a ‘Solid Color’ Adjustment layer. Point to the two-toned circle at the top of your layers palette. Click and Select ‘Solid Color’ from the drop down menu.
- Clip the photo layer to the new Adjustment layer by pointing your mouse to the line between the two layers. Hold your Option/Alt key and click when you see the arrow with the yin/yang circle.
- To add feathering, Select a medium to large feathered brush, lower opacity to around 50%. Lightly stroke around the outer edge.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Thank you dear friend (and sorry it took two days to get this written!)
Monday, October 5, 2009
But now I've added: 2 active mentees on my digital scrapbooking web site (DSP) and 5, yes - 5, Adopted New Kids on the same site. A couple times a year the site runs a "contest" for brand new scrappers called New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) that helps them learn and this time they have asked us "old timers to follow 5 with comments and constructive criticism! I'm beginning to think I'm crazy! How am I ever going to keep up with 7 scrappers with comments, tips, and tutorials! LOL
Oh well, I need to add tutorials here so maybe I will write for both at the same time!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I also need to get some scrapping done, but evenings are spent with DH and building lessons for the next day. When I finally have all my materials, I'm hoping to do most of that on Sunday afternoons and ease up on the week day evenings. My mantra is "I will get a schedule that works for all!"
Monday, September 28, 2009
I also seem to need to research some music lessons of some sort. The boys want to learn trombone and trumpet, but they have agreed to start with piano to give them a foundation in reading music. We'll see how that goes over time. LOL
Now a peaceful afternoon and then knitting guild tonight!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
DD and I spent our last girl only day at the library this morning. It may be the only "story time" she gets to attend as I'm afraid the boys will not be too enthusiastic. We will have to continue our little family story times here at home with a mix of books and songs of the kids choosing to off set not attending the overcrowded time at the library. I don't think she will miss it too much as long as she still gets to go and pick books. I think that was her favorite part anyway!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
I have also determined that we have a bigger problem than just the curriculum not meeting the needs of our sons. This is appearing to be a bit of a teacher issue. Her method of dealing with our children has proven to be thoughtless and neglectful. I was compelled to speak with the principal of the school regarding her actions after she sent one son to the empty and locked classroom by himself when she was supposed to have sent him to the office to meet with me. For any of you thinking this was minor, all you had to do was see my sons tear-streaked face and heard the desperation in his voice and you would understand the severity of this action. He is only 6 years old after all, and was devastated that he was unable to complete the task he had been sent to do. He also never received the message that he was to go to the office. Had he been able to get into that classroom he would have proceeded to the parking lot, while I waited for him in the in the building and around a corner unable to see him. As a note: I have hesitated to write about this here, but feel my thoughts and reasons for the actions we are taking need to be understood by all.
So, I meet with the teacher this afternoon and anxiously await some form of apology for her lapse. I will also be taking a closer look at the work that is yet to come. We will be making our decision this weekend. Please say a prayer for us that we make the right one.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
DS#2 is a little ill today and we will be headed to the Doctors soon. Seems he has a bit of an ear infection, but he's not in horrible pain. It interfered with sleep last night until we got the Ibuprofin in him, then he settled right down and slept through the night.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Open Bridge and select photos for your grid. Click the Output workspace, found on the upper right next to Essentials, Filmstrip, and Metadata.
On the Output Palette (right side of your workspace) make your document selections; size, resolution and layout. In my case I chose 12 x 12 inches so that my pictures would fit a standard scrapbook layout, 300 ppi to match my layout resolution, and seven columns (this number will match the number of photos chosen, or if you want multiples of one picture, how many images you need across your paper) and one row (my choice makes a filmstrip type layout, you may want more rows to achieve the type grid you desire).
Click PDF at the top of the Output Palette then click the save button at the bottom, choose a location where it is easy to find. You will receive a message when the process is done. Now Open this file in Photoshop. You will get an import dialogue box, leave all settings as they are and click OK.
Notice that you now have perfectly sized photos on a transparent background ready to add to your scrapbook page.
Hope you have fun working on your Grid Layouts!
(as the photo's are hard to see, if you would like a PDF copy, please post a comment with an email address and I will send it to you. Thanks)
Friday, September 11, 2009
How many times in our history have man-made disasters like this been wrought upon unsuspecting and undeserving people? How many men, women and children have suffered at the hands of others so that a wicked few could prove a point? We are none of us innocent. Even our own have created disasters of this kind and perpetrated these evils in the guise of good. How many tears do the innocent have to shed for the world to finally realize true and lasting peace? Will we ever get it through our heads that war will not solve what ails us?
I pray that some day, maybe even in my children's lifetime, we can finally live in a world that thinks more about taking care of one another than about how different we all are. In a world that smiles instead of cries.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
I also want to do a photo shoot of the dogs. I will add the family in and hopefully will get some of all of us together. I haven't used the timer before and with 7 living beings we will have to see what happens. But we are supposed to have good weather, so we can do them outside where I might get some decent shots. Who knows, we might be creating our Christmas photo's this weekend.
Add to all that, the software upgrades arrived yesterday, I seem to have a pretty full weekend ahead. As a matter of fact, it might be Monday before I really get to finish the computer.
Here's hoping you all have a lovely holiday! (And for those of you outside the U.S., have a wonderful weekend and don't work too hard!)
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I'm sitting on pins and needles hoping to have big news, but it will be at least another day before it comes in. Just say a little prayer that it all goes well and we will leave it at that!
Monday, August 31, 2009
The boys enjoyed their first weekend away from school. They like school here, but I'm afraid it's for reasons their Dad and I aren't quite sure of. They keep saying that it is the "lack of papers". In other words, the lack of real work. We'll see how this plays out. They brought home a very few things, none of it really looked like work and what did, one boy hadn't even finished. We will be keeping an eye on things. They have P.E. three times per week, go to the library on Tuesdays and have art thrown in there somewhere. I didn't here anything about music, but I'm sure they will be talking about that soon too. They still don't know the names of any of the kids, but one of the boys did holler goodbye to them as we left on Friday.
Well, off to continue "cleaning". The new software shipped today, so I need to get ready.
Friday, August 28, 2009
My male Sheltie, Chaos is getting older and with that comes difficulties that no one can predict. Although, at 12, he really isn't so old that I was expecting problems just yet. Shortly after the move, he had a really bad infection in some of his teeth. (Seems both these dogs are prone to such problems even with regular brushing!) Well, in order to anesthetize him to do the cleaning and tooth removal, they had to do blood work. For some reason, his kidney levels were high. Additional blood tests had to wait until he was off the antibiotics, but even those were not good. So, an ultrasound was recommended. This took a while to accomplish, but on Wednesday we finally were able to get it and another UA completed. And the results are not good.
His kidneys are shrinking. I guess this happens sometimes, but it means that he will never be well again. Right now, we are trying medications and we have to give him IV fluids at least every other day. Two weeks of this and more tests. It is possible that at least part of this will have to be done for the rest of his life. And that will mean a big decision. Besides that, they found a mass of some sort in his bladder. The vet did not give much idea of what this mass could be. She did say, it might even be cancer. For now though, the kidneys are the most important thing. The decision to do surgery to see what that mass is will have to wait.
All of this has been very hard to come to grips with. I have had Chaos since he was 7 weeks old and just weaned from his Mama. He has been a constant companion, who sleeps at my side and wants to know my every move. I plan on doing a photo shoot soon so that I can really get all of this down and dealt with.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Mostly, I was surprised at how I felt as my daughter and I walked back home. I had been looking forward to a little "quiet" around the house, but it was so silent on the way home even with her little voice singing away. Then she played happily on my bed all morning while I "fought" the computer hardly making a sound. I think I was actually a little lonely with just her here. We will have to find some good ways to entertain ourselves. And I will get used to the quiet and appreciate it again soon.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Well, it's time for them to go back to school. They start on Tuesday. So, of course, that means school shopping. And this year, that means buying a pair of 'gym shoes'. Boy, if that's not an adventure, I don't know what is.
We actually started out quite early, earlier than I figured the shoe store would be open and with all three kids and Dad as well. But we had some grocery shopping to do so we headed for Costco (nothing that can't sit in the car for a while from there). First problem - Costco doesn't open until 9:00. So Carr's instead. Chris decides to speed shop. That left me trying to entertain the kids. Not fun! In a grocery store and all of a sudden they want every toy there. Done, now back to Costco! Oops, they don't open until 9:30. So we will take the other groceries home and head back. Now, don't rush Daddy, the other store still won't open for half an hour. Kids aren't too bad, but it still is easier by myself. Off to get shoes, or at least to see if we need them. I really don't think the boy’s need new every day shoes just yet. When we find the store, it is small, crammed and has very little selection out where you can see them. The prices are ridiculous on clothes (so only shoe shopping here I’m afraid). My daughter is the only one to walk out with new shoes and I swear the sales clerk charged me $10 more than she read off the box while trying them on. Well, it’s now lunchtime, so home to eat, and then the boys and I can go back out while my daughter naps.
One store, absolutely no shoes in kids sizes at all, at least not for boys, and very few for girls. We did however find winter coats with snow pants that I think will do and for a decent price. Plus we got all but a couple of the things on the schools list. They were out of pencils and the markers I ended up getting the boys will have to just take a few and the rest will get added to the home stash.
Another customer recommended a different store for shoes and that meant going to Dimond Mall. I ended up parking at the wrong end of the mall and we had to walk all the way to the other side, and we were just going into one store! Yikes, not fun! And they had one pair, yes, just one pair of over priced shoes that were totally not what I wanted to send to school for P.E. The boys simply do not need shoes that flash for one hour per week. But the staff was great and they found one pair of simple, white sneakers at another store all the way across town. ‘Would I mind driving?’ ‘No, because I have to have them.’ ‘Well, we will give you a coupon for $3 off since you have to drive to another store.’ ‘Cool!’ Now, what about the other boy? We have to wait for the shipment to come in on Monday or maybe Wednesday. (Sure hope the teacher understands; I did all I could because I’m not going to any more stores.)
Now, back to the other store for pencils, oh, and we need lunch boxes too, because the lunch program here is “questionable”. I can’t get them to understand that we need soymilk for the boys. They figure if they can’t drink milk they will just give them juice. Well, sorry folks, but the kids don’t need sugar with lunch! They don’t get it at home, and they don’t need it at school. Still no boxes of pencils that meet the teacher’s request, but then I seriously doubt the boys will go through 24 pencils each!
Oh, I’m glad to be home!!!!!!!!!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Oh, and we did meet the boys new teacher yesterday. I'm a bit concerned that her classroom seems awful busy visually. I can only hope that it's not too much for the boys. But I think they did well on the placement testing and things will progress as they are supposed to.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
And if you have a special request, please leave a comment. I will always try to work in a tutorial that you asked for.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I am desperately trying to teach my children to turn off the lights in an unused room. This morning I set them down to the table for a snack and reminded them to turn off the light when they were done. I proceeded back up the stairs and waited to see what would happen. Of course, it was the youngest (only 3) that finished last and of course, she forgot to turn off the light. I asked her older brother to go and turn it off and she stomped into my room. "I am big enough to reach. See! See how much I've grown!" (as she spread her arms and pointed to herself trying to make her point). I couldn't help but laugh and give her a big hug. "Yes, honey, you are such a big girl. Next time, remember to turn off the light!"
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Maybe I can get a few photo's processed and added here to my blog later today. We'll see.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Today was an at home day, where I got a few chores done and then we took the kids to the playground where Carolyn attempted to teach the boys flag football. It didn't last long and they decided they would rather climb and slide on the play structure. Maybe we can try again later this week!
She is also letting me play with her very expensive camera! She owns a Nikon D300 professional series camera and a whole host of lenses. I've now shot with 3 different zoom lenses and a wide angle lens. I have to be careful I don't drool all over it! We also tried my old Nikon lenses on her body and discovered they would work. So we have narrowed down which body I should be looking at that would allow me to buy just the body and save a few bucks up front. Of course, I still need the chance to play with a comparable Canon, but if I don't have to buy new lenses right away, it might make it more feasible to buy sooner. We'll see.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Say a prayer that we have decent weather! Hugs all!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
So, here I am! And what to talk about. Well, of course, there will be digital scrapbooking news and probably some tutorials. Life with 3 kids in Alaska. And other interests such as education. No, I won't be talking politics or religion. One I don't know enough about and both are too controversial. Many topics will come from you, my readers. Ask questions, give me ideas. I have never been much of a journaler, so this will be a stretch for me. Oh, and any blaring errors - always feel free to point them out to me.
Hugs to all my friends!