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May 2006

Oscar Mayer had a WHAT?!?

Trendy_500kOut of the mouths of babes...

Alex was singing the Oscar Mayer wiener song earlier today and he accidentally said, "Oscar Mayer had a WIENER"! Talk about hard to contain a laugh!! I tried extremely hard to hide our snickers while he quickly corrected himself and said, "Oscar Mayer had a way with B-O-G-N-A"... " and this really threw Domonique into fits of laughter since he misspelled "bologna". Which was good, as it took emphasis off of the Wiener comment. LOL! It was really hilarious!

So I did this layout for The Scrapbook Stand using the April kit. I an addicted to random, wavy stitching on my pages, as of late! If you like the products, head over there and grab you a kit before they are sold out!

I am off to bed. Still have a stupid, stinkin' runny snoot and the Benadryl is kicking in! No wave of creativity tonight!

It is official.

Dayatthepark_500kIt is official that taking this cold medicine has boosted my creativity. HAHA! I have had some horrible bronchitis and allergies since Sunday and in the midst of blowing my nose and coughing up lovely sputum (great mental picture, right?!?) I have actually produced a few decent pages! This one was the first time I used Basic Grey, and now I am somewhat addicted to the bright, vibrant colors of the papers. I love how it turned out! Now if I could only realize that there are other colors aside from black to use as a background. There is just something about black cardstock that makes the colors jump right out! Now if only I could stay creative after the cold meds wear off...

My friend Janna is a genius, and has created the most awesome product ever! I am so excited about it! She is sending me a very large wooden "J" to alter and I cannot wait! You must check out her blog and see what I am talking about. Aside from being the sweetest person ever, she is just a GENIUS!!

I am finishing up the article I am working on for BHG and am very excited about it. I am also finishing up some pages for The Scrapbook Stand, and I was asked to be the May Featured Designer for My Daughter's Wish! I am so excited! I also had a page requested a few days ago by BHG and another one yesterday for Scrapbook Trends, so I am very excited about those.

I am off to scrap!


Project1Domonique had a basketball game this morning and scored her first basket! It was really awesome! After her game, we went to the park and I got a few really good shots of Domonique and Alex playing outside. The picture here of Alex was one of my favorites from the day, and considering that the lighting was harsh mid-day sun, it wasn't too bad!  :) The shot of Domonique here on the left was taken yesterday. She came home from school and I just thought she looked so cute in her skirt and pretty wavy hair, so I pulled out the camera and started shooting! The picture is a little blown out, but I still like the effect.

Some cool news for us today! Back when Katrina hit, all three of our cats survived but one (T.J.) ran off shortly after and we couldn't find him anywhere. We had to leave Mississippi without him, and when we went back for our FEMA inspection, we still couldn't find him. Well, the next door neighbor (in Biloxi) called us here in texas in December and said that T.J. came back and they would feed him and look after him until we could get him. Today, my mother in law drove over there to our old neighborhood and got him for us! She is going to keep him at her FEMA trailer until she makes a trip out here to Texas, so he is in good hands and we will be reunited with him very soon. Our kids are ecstatic! It will be so good to see him again.

Another photography pointer, while I am thinking of it:

Whenever you sharpen your images, make sure this is the last adjustment you make, so you can properly judge the results! Also, make sure that in your photo editing software, you have the image zoomed at 100% before sharpening. If you don't the final result may look different that you expect.

See you tomorrow!

What a day.

I got a ticket today! I can't believe it! I have a perfect driving record, but I got pulled over right down the street from our house because we still have Mississippi tags. Yes, I know, I need to get Texas tags, but they are so expensive and I just haven't had the extra funds to make it a priority. Not trying to make an excuse, but I am trying to get everything in order in our life, and that was on the list, but I just haven't got it done yet. The officer wasn't amused, and even though I tried to explain my circumstances to him, he still handed me a big, FAT ticket. *sigh* I came home and cried. Sometimes I feel like it is one step forward and two steps back, no matter how hard we work.

HeartsI love these chipboard hearts and can't wait to order some! I am really loving some of the chipboard items by Pressed Petals. The new letters are really cool, too!

This is to help you learn how to turn regular color photos into professional black and white photos. There are many other techniques of doing this but this one is surprisingly simple and is very effective.

Ok, I promised to post the "Channel Mixer" method of changing a photo from color to Black/White in Photoshop:

Open your picture in photoshop and then open a new Channel Mixer adjustment layer.

Next, check the box that says "Monochrome" (on the bottom left corner of the box) to make the picture black and white. Don't click on "ok" just yet - there are more adjustments to make!

3. Next, you are going to adjust the brightness percentages to alter the colors in the photograph. With the channel mixer controls you can accent the brightness of the different colors in the photo by adjusting their percentages. To adjust the balance of colors, click on the sliders for each color and drag them to the right or left.

For example, if you increase the blue percentage, anything in the picture that is blue  will get brighter. 

Experiment and play around with the color adjustments until you get a vivid image that you like. The big secret is to make sure that no matter what adjustments you make, all three channels should always numerically add up to 100%. This will create the best results for the photograph.

It is really easy and a fun way to convert the image! Try it and see how it goes!

An altered Bazzill coaster for your viewing (pleasure I hope?) - LOL!

MattandlindseyalwaysI made this for Matthew's best friend, Lindsey, who he had to leave behind in Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina. I had made her a layout of the two of them about a year or so ago, but it was ruined by water so this is just a little replacement for her.  :) I am going to mail it to her tomorrow; hope she likes it! I am addicted to these 5" Bazzill coasters. They make the perfect sized little layouts! You can purchase a tiny plate easel at Michael's or Joann's, etc. for around a dollar or two, and they display nicely on them! Of course, I got the Bazzill coasters at Scrappers Bliss!

Ok, I had a ton of e-mails today from people on Two Peas wanting to know how my layouts always look so crisp and sharp. Well, my big huge secret (LOL!) is simply to always sharpen the image AFTER resizing for posting on the web. I resize my images to around 650 x 650 pixels (for a 12 x 12" layout) then I sharpen after I am finished making any other necessary corrections to the image. Adding the final "sharpen" makes the image look crisp and clear.  :)

Another tip: if you have black paper/cardstock on your layouts but they don't scan a rick black, you can go to curves in Photoshop, Elements, or whatever image editing software you are using and bump either side of the curve until the blacks look rich and deep. I usually bump it darker first, then bump the opposite side to brighten. Just experiment with it and you will get better black colors on your pages.  :)

So I got this really cool e-mail from one of the editors at Creating Keepsakes after I had submitted a page this morning, and she told me that my son had grown up fast and that I did a good job on the page! The compliment made my day, but I wish they would just PICK UP A PAGE ALREADY!! LOL! I haven't submitted to CK in a long time because they stopped picking up my work. So, this morning I decided to submit another page and then received that e-mail. It was a nice compliment, anyhow, even if they don't ask for the layout.  :)

Thanks for reading! I am off to scrap!

Another layout finished!

IlovethiskidDid this one just for me! Not for any assignment, page call, or anything like that.  :) Feels great! I love this picture of Matthew, so I had to scrap it using Chatterbox Rec Room papers. The top of the scan is a little wonky - but I am too lazy to fix it.

So I have received quite a few requests for some step by step directions on a black and white conversion, so I will get the steps together and post them in the next couple of days! Please keep in mind that there are many different methods of converting from color to black and white. You can desaturate, but unfortunately you lose a lot of color (shade) detail with that method.

If you are up for a quick photography challenge, check out this one.  :)


Messing around with pictures today!

Domonique2bw_april10th_2006I love this picture of Domonique. She is growing up so fast! I took the color version of this picture from a few days ago and I converted it to black and white using the channel mixer method and I love the results! If you would like to know how to do this and create a great black and white conversion, let me know and I will post the steps! If you click on the picture of her, it will pull up larger so you can see more detail.

How was your Easter? Here we got up at 7 AM, the kids found their Easter baskets and goodies, then hunted eggs for the next hour. They played with the fun things that the bunny left behind while I prepared to cook the ham. Matthew and Domonique peeled the eggs (too many of them!) so that I could make up deviled eggs, and we ate our dinner around 3:30 PM. Of course, after all that Easter candy, they didn't have a whole lot of room for food, but we always snack on it all evening. After that, they spent the day relaxing and lounging around the house. Domonique went swimming yesterday at her friend's house and got a pretty bad sunburn on her face, despite all the preaching I had given her about sunblock, so she hasn't felt real well since. They are out of school tomorrow, then they go back Tuesday.

I get asked alot about giving tips for taking good pictures. I will start sharing some of my favorite tips for those who are interested. One of the biggest things I have done to change the quality of my picture-taking is to change the angle of which I compose the shot. Instead of holding the camera normally and creating a horizontal photo, I try to take well-composed vertical shots to better capture more of my subject. Try moving in closer - MUCH closer - to what you are photographing. It is ok to cut off the top part of hair to get a great face shot with less distracting background elements! You can capture so much more expression by moving in very close to your subjects (assuming they are people - not sure how much expression you can get out of a flower, bird, etc.! LOL!). Try using a diagonal angle for your shots. Some of my best photos have been taken by using this method!

Ok, more on another post! Hope your Easter was fantastic!

Happy Easter, everybody!

Eggs5 dozen eggs later, we have completed coloring our eggs and will soon leave out the ceremonial carrot for the Easter Bunny to nibble on when he arrives. Let me also say that the "marbled eggs" kit that is for sale at Wal-Mart produces gorgeous eggs, but is a very messy and sticky procedure that was performed only by us parents this year. There was no way I was gonna hand over some eggs and PAINT to the kids to create those shiny, sticky masterpieces. They stuck with the PAAS! LOL!

Good grief, everyone and their brothers wanted to make ham dinner for Easter around here, as made apparent by the number of times we had to return to the grocery store to look for a ham! Every time we went, they were sold out! We finally snagged one today, so we will have glazed ham, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, and lots of deviled eggs to feast on tomorrow!

So I am on the prowl for people who take great black and white film shots. Is this you? E-mail me! You just might be glad you did!  ;)

Happy Easter, everyone! May it be full of peace and love.  :)

Scrapsubmit up and kickin'!

Scrapsubmit is up and kickin' again! We are still in the process of adding calls and listings, but things are going to be bigger and better than ever! We have some new things coming, and some changes will be implemented to make the site even better. Thanks for being so patient! I really appreciate all the kind comments, e-mails, and wishes. We have received several offers to purchase Scrapsubmit and its patents. We are very flattered to know that we must be doing something right!  :)

Got another page picked up today by Scrapbooks, Etc. (BHG) so that was really cool! Definitely made my day!

Whoever did it ~

I certainly hope you are happy.

Someone hacked Scrapsubmit. Not sure who, but you can bet we will do our best to find out. Erased layouts, bios, submission info, registrations, etc. I am glad we have backups of the calls/listings, but I am not happy that someone would do something like this.

Why me? Why us? Why our site? I just can't figure it out. I keep asking myself why someone would do something like this to us?

I am so, so sorry to everyone. I feel like we have let everyone down. Please know that we are working as quickly as possible to restore the site and everything that we can possibly do will be done. Just hang in there with us.