Sunday, November 29, 2009

A really cool LO! (If I do say so myself!)

I did some scrapping yesterday for a change (have been doing so many other things that the scrapping has taken a back burner)! Any way, I did a page that was totally outside my comfort zone and I really like the way it turned out. So, I thought I would just share it here.

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

Loving Alaska!

It's true! I really am! Even though my arms are about to fall off from shoveling 3 inches of very wet, heavy snow! Even though teaching the kids to take their boots off before they track snow all over the place is harder than I thought it would be! Even though it's 3 PM and the sun is nearly gone (oops! just looked out the window and it is really making it's only appearance for the day as we have had a steady stream of snow and clouds all day)! I'm still loving being home, where their is family to spend the holidays with and where there is love surrounding us! OK, enough mush! (but I really do love it here!)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just wanted to say...

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Extractions and their shadows!

I was asked today how to get the shadow on an extracted item to look right so I thought I would share a few tips. Most of these will be determined by the subject and lighting both in the photo and the LO, so remember, not all of these will be applied all the time.

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!

Oh, how the time doth fly!

I've not been on the computer much this week. DS#2 and I both had a bit of a stomach bug early in the week. It wasn't bad and neither of us got really sick, just sort of uncomfortable for a day or so. Then, I finally get over that and end up with a near migraine type headache. Well, that took a couple days to recuperate from as well. All in all, I just had no interest in sitting in front of the computer.

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

Oh, the coolest thing!

I love having friends! And I love that we all find things around this great big world wide web that others have yet to find! Well, a friend shared a link with me today and I just can't help but share it with all of you! Especially for those of you who are interested in Digital Scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements. One of the drawbacks of elements is it's lack of a simple tool. (Well, to be honest, it's a tool that takes some getting used to, but is so totally addictive once you get the hang of it!) That's the Pen Tool available in both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. This one small omission is why so many of us grit our teeth and spend the money to upgrade to PS from PSE. The simple act of doing text on a path leads so many of us down the road to this bigger and much more expensive pieces of software. (Right, I know there is way more it can do, but isn't this the one that peaked your interest most?) Well, there is now an answer to this dilemma! And even better, it's free!

To find this wonderful software start at She has all the lowdown and even a good tutorial to get you started. Then follow her link, or go to 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

I need your help!

I have entered a contest and need as many votes as I can get! Thing is, if I win, I get to give a really wonderful gift to a friend! So please, visit the following link and cast your vote for me!

Create Your World

(I've updated the link and verified that it works. Thanks for letting me know!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy! And the saga continues!

Sorry I've not been around, I really have wanted to post. Unfortunately the saga's from last week have continued. Yes, we got the washer, but no, it's still not "usable". Turns out the reason there was no book with it is they bought it second hand. The hoses need to be replaced and the connections are bad and really should be replaced as well. DH insisted it was "good enough" to use, but when I tried I got a bad enough leak from the hoses to need to towel the floor again. Also, the darn thing rocks back and forth so bad the noise is ridiculous.

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!)