Monday, June 28, 2010

Don't Blink

My "baby" turned 20 yesterday.  I'm not sure when or how that bubbly little girl turned into an adult, but she did.  I can no longer say I have three teenage daughters. I now have two teenage daughters and one young adult. Sarah has, in many ways, been such a delight to raise. She has always been curious, eager to learn, a good student, self-motivated and driven to succeed. She has a kind heart and a generous spirit. She can also be a bit of a drama queen and tends to live her life convinced that Murphy's Law applies more strongly to her than to anyone else in the Universe. But that is part of what makes Sarah who she is. To say I love this girl beyond all compare is an understatement. I couldn't be more proud of the young woman Sarah has become.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Honey, I'm Home.....

And so glad to be back in the blogging world!  Well, it has been another week.  And I still have a cold.  I know this is my body's way of telling me to slow down and take a little breather. Ok, a honkin' BIG ass breather.  Unfortunately, the body's logic is a bit faulty. Because, as we all know, moms don't get sick time.  And with as crazy as things have been at work lately - well, no sick time there either.  Even though I have felt like crap, I worked, cooked, and did laundry and shopping through it all.  Admittedly, I didn't do much else. I haven't picked up a camera in two weeks. TWO weeks people!  I didn't go to the gym for a full ten days. I didn't finish Creative Boot Camp.  In fact, I didn't do anything creativeAnd I was too tired to care!  I did spend time chilling in front of the television. What a waste. 

Well guess what body? You suck.  Every single stinkin' thing that was on my "to do" list two weeks ago before you shut me down is STILL THERE... waiting for me. mocking me.   So thanks so much for the "rest" - NOT! 

Thankfully, I am finally starting to feel better. Better enough even to go to the gym. I finally made it out on Tuesday. And you know, when you've been away for ten days... well, the body seems to think you've never exercised before. Like ever. It wants to start back at square one. No such thing as picking up where you left off!  Today I managed 27 minutes on the elliptical and 10 on the bike, with a total of 360 calories burned. That felt like a major accomplishment.

And now I'm starting to feel the creative fever creeping back into my bones, my marrow, my soul. I'm ready to feel alive again. I'm ready to unleash my inner artist and let her tell my body where to go. (Of course I mean that in the nicest way, right?  Unless you know me well enough to feel the sarcasm dripping from my tongue.)  Today I downloaded actions for PSE8 from Pioneer Woman.  Thanks for the link Karen!  And then I went through a tutorial on installing them and managed to get it right the first time.  Sweet!  Then I played.  Here's my results:

I know you've seen this photo before, but I haven't taken any new pictures, remember?  And I needed something to play with!  So, this is my original photo, after I cropped it close, desaturated the color and then brought back color to the eyes.  Which I thought was pretty good and have used for a couple of things.

Photo #1 with Pioneer Woman's "Lovely" and "Bring Out the Eyes" actions applied. And sharpening of the eyelashes.  I love how this brightens and softens skin tone and really makes the eye pop.

Photo #2 with Pioneer Woman's "Seventies" action added on top.

It felt so good to finally "play" again.  So, which is your favorite???  And what are those eyes telling you?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

will always get squashed by a cold!   Yes, my sore throat has blossomed into a full-blown head cold complete with stuffy nose (literally can not breathe), sinus pressure, headaches, naggy little cough - the works. I was out most of today and had no tissues with me, so spent the day blowing my poor nose with napkins.  Needless to say right now my nose is none too happy with me! Since I've been home, at least I'm using tissues. But my computer desk is starting to look like this:

I'm determined not to let it slow me down. Too much. So for today, I'm here to document my summer line-up of classes. Creativity Boot Camp ends tomorrow and I am now a full four prompts behind. I haven't touched my camera in days.  But I'm going to use the last two weeks of June to catch up on CBC and on my other photography course "Captured Through The Lens" which I am woefully behind on and which ends June 30th.

Beyond that I've signed myself up for:

Computer Tricks For Cards - This is a week long FREE class at that runs June 28 -July 4th. It perfectly fills the time while waiting for Shimelle's new class to start!

Picture Summer - This 30 day course (running the month of July) over at Big Picture Scrapbooking is going to be so much fun! I ADORED Picture Spring and honestly was happier during those 30 days of seeing my little world in new ways than I had been for quite some time. Tracey Clark is a wonderful, involved, teacher.  Seriously I can't wait! - her "new" class - the details of which haven't even been fully disclosed yet - runs July 5th - 31st. This overlaps with Picture Summer, but heck, I can't resist a Shimelle class!  Especially one with an early-bird discount - if you hurry on over, you can probably still get it!  And the class will still be there in August if I need to play catch-up - I do intend to focus on Picture Summer first.

Inspiration StayCation - this week long FREE class over at Kim Klassen's blog runs August 2-6.  I figure for free it is worth checking out. It sounds interesting anyway. I've only recently discovered Kim's blog, so have no experience there, but I'm game.

So that's my run-down. My girls are happily trading information on their course loads for next year to see who is in their classes. So are any of you in my classes????

image credit

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp - Nine

The word "drizzle" conjures up so many images in the mind - from a light rain to chocolate sauce swirled ever so finely on top of whipped cream sitting atop your favorite dessert.  Yum.  Drizzle is just a nice word.

So would you have ever considered these images for "drizzle"? It wouldn't have occurred to me until I saw these jellyfish at the Adventure Aquarium.  The lighting for taking photos was absolutely terrible, but I thought these still captured the beauty of these odd creatures.  And if I could have gotten them on video, they would have aptly demonstrated the true meaning of the term "fluid" for you as well!

Creativity Boot Camp - Eight

Ornamental lucky bamboo plant.

Ornamental plate.

I'm all out of order again - we had a busy weekend and now a crazier week on tap, and I have a really bad sore throat that is keeping me from sleeping properly.  I've skipped seven - awaiting a chance to do an art journal page for that. These are my photos for "ornament."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp - Five

Growth cannot occur unless you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone and be different than the crowd...

Credits:  All elements are from Tangie Baxter's Art Journal Caravan

Creativity Boot Camp - Six

Let me start with a disclaimer. Yes, I can count! And yes, I know I skipped "Five" - and that is because I am still mulling what I want to do for the "grow" prompt. So, it is coming. I've just been swamped with deadlines at work and little time left to create!

Fluid #1

Fluid #2 - I love how the raindrops really bring out the veins in the leaves!

Fluid #3 - same shot as #2 with a PSE8 action added.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp - Four

Creativity Boot Camp - Three

I have purposely avoided the Flickr gallery and the CBC boot camp site, as I did not want my interpretation of the "multi-layered" prompt to be affected by what other campers might be doing. My first thought with "multi-layered" was to open the Pampered Chef Trifle Bowl I bought and make a strawberry shortcake! But I had neither the ingredients nor the inspiration to do so and thought it way too obvious anyway.

So I did this. From what I've seen among my blog friends, the concept that we, as women, are multi-layered creatures is not an original thought. But I combined that concept with my work in PSE8 where everything is based on layers - layers upon layers to create a single image that hopefully conveys the feeling and emotion I was striving for.  What do you think?

Credits:  All papers are from Vicki Stegal's "Tattered and Torn Templates".

Monday, June 7, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp - Two

This prompt really was difficult for me - so this looks more like a scrapbook page than an art journal page, but it documents the word "picnic" in the only way I could think of to relate it to my life.

All papers and elements are Jessica Sprague's "Strawberry Lemonade" kit.

Set it Sunday

Last Week's Goals:

1) gym three times. done.

2) at least one Gratitude and one Art Journal layout. Gratitude done. AJ - not done.
3) Order all unprinted digital layouts sitting on my external hard drive. not done. (change of computers slowed this process down)
4) do the Week 3 (aperture) assignments for Get Out of Auto Mode - done.
5) do the Week 1 assignments for Your Life: Captured Through the Lens - done.

This Week's Goals:
1) gym three times.
2) one Gratitude layout.
3) keep up with Creativity Boot Camp.
4) Week 2 & 3 assignments for Your Life: Captured.
5) schedule a hair cut
6) order all unprinted digi layouts

Creativity Boot Camp - One

Since I've been depriving myself of my art journaling for too long (or I've been in a slump, not sure which), I decided to combine photography and art journaling as my "medium" for Boot Camp. I may have days where it is just one or the other, depending on how the prompt moves me.  Here is my page for the "ivory" prompt.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Three Things

1. Check this out! I am the featured student of the month over at Big Picture Scrapbooking!  Now, to be fair, I filled out the questionairre over a year ago. So I'm 49 (not 48) and Jay and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary this August! But otherwise, all the answers are still valid.

2. Why was yesterday's "perfectly contented moment" so worthy of a blog post?  Because of this:

This is the new laptop I just got from work. I traded in the old desktop and the old laptop, for this single machine and a docking station.  Why?  Because the old desktop had gotten so painfully slow, despite defragging, deleting, storing all of my images and scrapbooking stuff on a separate external hard drive, and every other clean up I could think of.   Neither of the old machines had a processor or RAM sufficient to operate the programs I play with on a daily basis. So it was time. 

Anyone who has purchased (willingly or under forced circumstances) a new computer knows all too well that it takes time to get the new toy up and running the way the old one was. Even if the old one was crap.  I got this baby on Thursday. I spent Wednesday backing up all my emails, internet favorites, documents, etc. so it could all be transferred to this new baby. Then I spent more time deleting everything from the machines that were being returned to the office.  It sounds like I had it all under control and getting up and running should be simple right?

Ha! It never is! My first rookie mistake was thinking that because I had my ACDSee database stored on my external hard drive that I didn't need to do a backup of that. Apparently I was wrong.  All the tagging and organization that I've done to date is gone. I have to start over. :(  And my email is totally messed up. My personal mail is going into my work folder.  And I can't see my work email unless I sign into remote serv. The tech guys at the office tried to put it all into one Outlook profile.  Guess what? It didn't work! Hopefully Jay can fix that for me this weekend.  And the docking station? Never had one before. And it didn't come with instructions. I thought it was plug and play. Um, not. Turns out you have to install a driver for it.  And I still can't get the resolution on my big monitor correct.  With all this "stuff" going on in the background of my life, it is no small wonder that yesterday's perfectly contented moment was blog-worthy!

3) I took Karen's advice on the "aperture" issue that was totally confounding me.  I went outside, sat in the grass, and shot consecutive photos of the same flower from the same position, changing the f.stop one click between each photo. I took a total of 48 shots - 3 series. I noticed that as the aperture number got smaller (wider opening, more light - so counter-intuitive!) that my camera automatically increased the shutter speed to make up for the extra light coming through. Smart camera. I could not see any difference as I took the photos, but when I loaded them up to my computer,I could literally see more and more of the background coming in focus as the aperture number gets larger (smaller opening, less light).  So here are just a couple from one series to illustrate:

This first one was taken at 1/160s, f/32. Almost the entire photo is in focus. This aperture setting would work great for landscapes when you want it all in focus.
Second shot - 1/1000 s, f/13. You can see the background beginning to blur, but almost all of the flower remains in focus.
And finally, 1/4000s, f/5.6. The entire background and even some parts of the upper flower are out of focus. For me this is the best shot for flowers - or anything when you want good detail, but don't want the distraction of the background.  So thanks Karen! I get it now!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Perfectly Contented Moment

I had gone to the gym and had a marvelous workout - 2 miles, 300 calories burned on the elliptical, 2 miles and another 50 calories on the bike.  I had stopped at the grocery store and picked up bananas, orange juice, milk - just a few items that couldn't wait for a full-on grocery shopping trip. And I was on my way home, feeling pretty good about what I had just accomplished. When on the radio comes Shania Twain "Man, I Feel Like A Woman"

and there I was with the music cranked, driving home, singing "Shania karaoke" at the top of my lungs (hey, I take advantage when there is nobody in the car to hear me!). And for a few moments all was right with the world and I felt perfectly content.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get Out of Auto Mode

Week 3 was a study of aperture. And honestly, I still don't really get it. Here's some photos of what I was doing:

Fish bowl at f/10. Larger number = smaller aperture = less light. And that has something to do with how much of the photo is blurry? I think. Anyway, fish one in focus, screen (closest thing to camera) in focus, fish 2 and the rock fairly blurred. The screening is so the cat won't drink from the fish bowl!

Fish bowl at f/5.6.  Wider aperture equals more light.  Fish is in focus, but everything else is blurred.  And truthfully, I don't even care about the fish! I'm loving the reflection of the sunroom and me in the bowl.
Kira at f/25 aperture. It is all blurred. The camera allowed a much longer shutter opening to make up for the low light situation and no, I did not have a tripod.
Kira at f/5.6. She's in focus. And begging for attention. So what did I learn? I'm not really sure. I'm finding this all terribly confusing and I know I will need a lot more practice for it to make sense and for me to know when/how to use the various settings. And honestly, I don't know if I have the patience for it. (Sorry Krystal!). But I still have more lessons from this class and another one, so maybe I'll catch on yet. Stay tuned.

Weekly Gratitude

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Set it Sunday & A WINNER!

I know I missed a week (losing my EHD for a few days really threw me off kilter), and I know it is Tuesday already (my excuse was that it was my birthday/holiday weekend), so I'm just going to start fresh with a new list for what remains of this week. Here goes:

1) gym three times.
2) at least one Gratitude and one Art Journal layout. I'm way behind on these and miss it.
3) Order all unprinted digital layouts sitting on my external hard drive.
4) do the Week 3 (aperture) assignments for Get Out of Auto Mode
5) do the Week 1 assignments for Your Life: Captured Through the Lens (Week 2 posts tomorrow - I really need to get it in gear!).

And MY WINNER...  I had 16 comments on Saturday's post. I put that into and it gave me the number "12".  The 12th comment was .....


Congratulations Kelly! Please e-mail me your address so I can get the DVD out to you.