Saturday, January 31, 2009

In a New York state of mind

I've been delving into my photo files lately and playing around with my new addiction: texture layers. I wanted to see how architecture would look if I used some of the different techniques. Maybe it's a little too processed looking, but I still think it's cool.

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I took this photo from the roof of my son's apartment building last August. The sky was a brilliant blue and I actually posted this same picture here.

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These are just some architectural details on some of the buildings I saw. I was amazed at all the buildings. It's not often I get to see so many.

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I took this shot from Trinity Church graveyard. My son works in one of these buildings.  

Hoping you all have a lovely weekend doing whatever it is that floats your boat. I've got to work Sunday afternoon, as we're having our annual Open House at the school. And before I go, I'd just like to tell you how much your support and your kind words mean to me. Let me just stop there before I go and get all mushy.


And on that note, until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, January 30, 2009

Excuse me while I kiss the sky

Last year, when I was new to Photoshop, I would get all these free tutorials in my e-mail box every day from Photoshop Roadmap. Some of them were pretty interesting, and some of them were junk that I'd never use, but the best part was that I was learning new things.

One of the many tutorials that I found fun was turning a photo into an illustration. And I found just the right picture to use for this technique. This is a photo I took of my husband in the fall of 2006 using my little Sony Cybershot point & shoot. He's riding a bike down the South Beach Road in Ocracoke, North Carolina. The original photo sort of made me yawn. But I liked how it looked after using the illustration techniques I'd learned. And maybe it's just me, but I love what it looks like now that I've added texture to this photo.


This is the original SOOC.                                      This is the illustrated version.


I want to get it printed on canvas and keep it forever.


Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

PS ~ Extra points if you can name the artist in the post title. And no cheating, either.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A trying day, in more ways than one

I've been trying out some new textures for my photographs this afternoon. We had a snow day today, our second in a row. As I mentioned on today's post, I found the instructions while visiting Mary on this post at In A Soft Light. She also sent me a link to a wonderful array of textures available in Flickr.

Here are a few photos I've been working on. Please remember that these are only first attempts. I have a long way to go. These aren't going to be up everyone's alley, but it's up mine. So here we go.

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This is a bloom from an impatiens that I was never crazy about. I am crazy about the groovy texture it's now wearing. Or maybe I'm just crazy.

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Queen Anne's Lace. I like it.

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I think I love this one. But I can't remember what I did to it. I hate when that happens. This is a tiny little volunteer from one of my many spider plants. And speaking of my spider plants, I think I killed them all. Sometimes, I am a plant murderer. It's just what I do when I'm depressed. I kill my plants with my indifference to their lives. It's happened twice in my life where I just let all my plants die. It's something that hurts me to even tell you.

Dear spider plants and all you other plants I've killed, I am deeply sorry. Honest I am. Amen.

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I'm really not sure about this one. I took it this morning. The tree branches are full of ice and there's snow on the ground. And my own personal jury is out on this one for now.

And speaking of trying, these times are trying too.

Oh, why do I listen to the news?

Well, I listen because it's important. The ice storms that have left more than a million people in this country without power and 23 deaths so far, the US Postal Service who is thinking of cutting down mail delivery to five days a week rather than six. And after I listen, and after I get sad about it all, I then thank God for my job, my house, the heat, the food, and I pray for those who don't.

My husband has had a trying day as well. It's the day after his most recent chemo treatment and he's not very well. He has been so glad to have my company these past two days while school has been closed, but I really can't do much for him. I just feel so helpless sometimes.

It's a good thing I don't have any more plants around to kill, isn't it? I am not kidding.

To all of those who are trying to get through this winter, or who have lost their jobs, or their health, I offer you my prayers.

To all those who are reading this and wondering where I got the instructions and the textures, here are the links:

Here's a tutorial on how to add texture.

Here's a link to some textures at Deviant Art.

Here's a link to some more on Flickr.

There's also a comment from Christopher on yesterday's post that tells how to go a little further than just adjusting the opacity like the tutorial tells you. So check into that as well. In fact, you should visit his blog. He has cute pictures of puppies. And they're border collies!!

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Adding texture on a snow day

Another day off from school due to ice and snow. This morning, I took advantage of the time off and scheduled a couple of medical appointments my doctor had ordered. Routine stuff, no worries here. The roads were fine when I left at 7:45 but the walkways were icy and they remain so. Driving is fine but a thick coat of ice still clings to everything.

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When I got home, I visited a few blogs and got all kinds of excited over a beautiful photo with texture that I saw on Mary's blog. Mary explained where she found it and I visited that blog too, quickly adding it to my blogroll. I've been wanting to try to incorporate texture into my photography and now I know how. I still have an awful lot of learning to do, and this is only my first attempt. But, like Mary said, it's much easier than I thought it would be. The instructions are here. I think the most difficult part is choosing a photo that will lend itself well to the many textures that are available.


I tried it first with a couple of other pictures but didn't like the results until I came to this one. The original photo wasn't anything to write home about and I thought it was even a little out of focus. But I like it with this effect.

I'm afraid I've found another addiction. As if mosaics aren't enough.

Until later, my friends . . .

Fabric giveaway and an award. Or two.

Like to sew? I used to quilt quite a long time ago and have since forgotten why I gave it up. While traveling about the blogosphere this evening, I came across a giveaway I'd like to share with you. Fabric, Family & Fun is the blog that's holding the contest, so head on over there to enter. The contest, which runs until February 1st, is to celebrate the first anniversary of her online fabric store, Above All Fabric.


If you post the contest on your blog, you get extra chances to win. If you post your fabric creations (of which I have none) on her flickr group, you get even more chances.




Now on to the first award. Thank you to Kristina at Words to Live By for bestowing the Love Blog's Spreader of Love Award on me. Now, I know what you're thinking. Especially you, Rich. You are thinking and laughing because you don't really believe I am a spreader of love. Well, I am. Kristen believes it, and I think many others do as well. So wipe that smirk right off of your face, and spread that love just like I'm about to do.

There are quite a few blogs that I read daily and I'm going to send the love to some newbies who are either new to blogging who are new to my site. Kristen chose four, so I will as well. And they are:

The_Spreader_of_Love_Award Amber, A Small Peek Into My World

Natarojo, Just Horsin' Around . . .

Di, The Blue Ridge Gal

Chris1, Dory's Family

Congratulations on your award, all. Please choose four others to pass this on to and spread the love.

The second award was given to me by my blogging friend, Deb at Drivin' 55. It's the Friends award and the following explanatory paragraph is to be used when posting about the award on your blog:

friends award "The Friends Award isn't about being the most popular blogger or having the most read blog. It is just because you are a friend.

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

My problem lies in the fact that I can't choose 8 blogging friends that I haven't already bestowed an award upon at some point. So I am choosing one tonight. It's a new friend I've made online and actually, I already know the person in real life. This person is


And readers ~ you need to go and start reading Leif's Story. From the first post. I love historical fiction and I am so addicted to this.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's for lunch

Today was a snow day from school. It snowed nicely this morning but it's since stopped, leaving us with very little accumulation. It's supposed to pick up again but right now it's pretty quiet. I was thinking of getting in the car and going to work, but when I told my husband this and his face fell, I decided to just stay home and continue to keep him company.

For those of you new to this site who are wondering why my husband is home, you can click here if your heart desires.

I ventured out this morning in the snow and headed to the WalMart which is only about 5 minutes away. WalMart is not my favorite place by a long stretch, but it's convenient and cheap and at 8 o'clock on a snowy morning, the place was empty. I picked up a snow shovel, just in case we might need it, some food supplies and then while strolling through the produce section, decided to get some fruits and veggies that looked good. That's when I started to think about this salad, so I grabbed some goat cheese as well.

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Autumnal Salad with Red Wine Viniagrette

Please click on the link above for the recipe at Noble Pig that includes beautifully photographed instructions for this salad.

This became one of my favorite salads after seeing it at Noble Pig. If you haven't been there yet, you're missing out on a lot. I love Cathy's site, and after I found this salad last fall, I find myself craving it every now and then because it is just so GOOD!

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

More of the same

Before I begin, let me tell you that once again, these are not my photos. My husband has been at it again with the camera.

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He loves feeding the squirrels and has discovered that they'll eat pretty much anything. Here's one healthy fellow getting his daily requirement of vitamin C.

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If you look closely at what's strewn about the picnic table, you'll see little bits of red. Those are Fruit Snacks. My husband accidentally picked them up at the WalMart last November and he's trying to get rid of them.

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I say more of the same because even though I enjoy wintertime, I'm just getting sick of a lot of things. The nightly news is depressing me no end and I am so thankful to have my job. We're still waiting to hear about the disability for my husband and with only one income, it's a little tough sometimes.

And that's what I mean by more of the same.

On a happier note, there's a Photo Contest over at Kacey's Wine On the Keyboard. This monthly challenge is open to anyone with a camera who wants to join in on the fun. January's theme is "Cold". Kacey tells us that we need to depict what cold means to us, either by the icy weather, or keeping warm inside with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket by the fire. Head on over to check out what it's all about.

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I liked this one that he took of the blue jay. It's sitting on top of the lawn rake.

Oh, and before I go, I'd like to share with you a photograph that simply took my breath away today. Olivia at Parvum Opus takes the most awe-inspiring images. And this one warmed my soul. It was exactly what I needed on this dreary little Monday. So, enjoy! And tell her I said hello. I like saying hello.


Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook for January 26

For Today


Outside my window is a cold gray day.

I am thinking that I need much more sun than what's been available lately.

I am thankful for my job.

From the kitchen I am drinking a hot cup of Earl Grey tea.

I am wearing jeans, a long sleeved cotton tee, a white sweater and the necklace I just won over at Two Dog Pond.

I am creating a mosaic to add to this post.

I am going on a diet. Soon. I've promised myself.

I am reading a Vanity Fair magazine.

I am hoping to be able to visit friends in NYC this Spring.

I am hearing voices in my head. They are telling me to go get a cookie. I'm ignoring them.

Around the house it's nice and clean.

One of my favorite things is sleeping on flannel sheets in the wintertime.

A few plans for the rest of the week include a hike to a lighthouse. And hopefully some good photos.

Here is picture thought I am sharing . . .


I'm also posting this same picture today on my Picture A Day blog. I've been into the Mosaic Maker at Big Huge Labs. I've found it's much easier to do if I upload my photos into flickr first. It's a piece of cake. A piece of crumb cake.

You are invited to participate in The Simple Woman's Daybook, where you will see many others doing as you are, sharing little aspects of their day.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The beauty of the morning

Today when I came home, one of the things that my husband told me was that there were photos on the computer for me to see. He'd begun taking pictures this morning while I was getting ready for work. And then he continued taking pictures all day long.

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He said something odd, though. He told me that he was sorry he kept using my camera.

And I said, "Darling, don't you know that love means never having to say you're sorry?"

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Nah. I didn't say that. I mean, seriously, can you hear me saying that?

I don't think so.

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What I said to him was that I didn't mind at all if he wanted to use the camera. Use it all you want, I told him. I love your pictures!

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So after I got dinner started, I sat down here with the laptop and looked at all of his pictures. And I fell in love with the few I posted here. He took them in the early morning light as the moon was setting.

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I think they're really beautiful. And there's no need for apologies of any kind.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, January 23, 2009

The dog does the post today

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Hi. George here again.

Today was nice. I fetched frisbee. I fetched a lot.





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I fetched stick, too.







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I posed for pictures. Dad took them.


Mom was at work.






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Dad lets me sleep on the furniture.

When mom comes in the room, I get down.




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I love sleeping on the furniture.

I love dog yummies. Dad gives them to me. I love dad.

Ok. Gotta go now.

c ya.




George says until tomorrow, mom's friends . . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Always bringing you new things

As most of you know, I'm a seller on It's billed as "a place to buy & sell all things handmade". I'm fairly new to the whole etsy thing, and I've got about 30 items for sale, all photography. Have many of you visited yet? Oh, my! There is a cornucopia of offerings, so much so that it boggles the mind.

Every now and then on this blog, I'd like to show you a couple of items that I find interesting, if you don't mind. The items I'll feature will be affordable and fun. (Not like my fantasy cooking apron with the exorbitantly high price tag). So let's begin with someone who just visited my blog the other day. Her comment led me to her blog , which led to me to her etsy site, which led me to actually make a purchase, which isn't really like me. I like to mull things over awhile.

Well, okay, sometimes I do.



Welcome to Boutique by Bonnie, which offers handmade jewelry featuring many items made with natural stones. The holiday earrings pictured below are a steal at only $2.00. I always wear fun little things like this to school in December.

The pendant above on the left is an oval Paintbrush Jasper on a brown suede lariat. It's only $14.00. And the cool beads are Poppy Jasper in swirls of brown, brick red and cream. This is actually one of her most expensive items, at $39.00.


Just so you know, I'm not advocating the spending of money that one does not have. I am advocating the gazing upon of pretty things, which is something I'm wont to do occasionally. And if the mood and the finances work, well then have at it.

I love saying wont to do occasionally. Just so's you know.


And with that, I'll say until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Sharing the camera

We've been sharing the camera, my husband and I. And as he gets more comfortable with it, I'm still liking that he's found something that makes him happy. You see, there was a time when he would barely touch this camera unless it was to turn it on and take a quick picture or two. He never changed settings and he never in a million years (or so I thought) would change a lens.

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But now that he seems to be becoming a little more adept with photography in general, he's actually changing lenses. And as much as we'd both love to get a new Nikon zoom lens, we have to wait and put up with the Quantaray, which we're lucky to have, don't get me wrong. With the economy the way it is and only one of us working, it makes zero sense to spend money we don't have just because we want something that's better.

My husband took the first photo here. It was taken in the front yard early Monday morning before I was awake. It was snowing lightly and very foggy and cold. The tops of the trees in the distance are iced over.

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He also took this photo, without a macro lens, using the close-up setting on the auto dial.

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I went out later on in the day. It was still snowing lightly but a little more bright. I didn't know at the time that he had taken other photos and looking at them later, was surprised that we took some of the very same things. I took this with the macro lens.

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Then I took this one. Now before you get too overworked with the sheer excitement going on here, I'll explain something to you. I think we're very similar in the things that we like to photograph. And I think my favorite so far here was the one with the yellow berries on the bare branch that my husband took with the kit lens that came with the camera.

But then I saw this picture he had taken.

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The SOOC (straight out of camera) wasn't that exciting. But so many of mine aren't either. I just liked the composition, and the red of the barn. So I ran a couple of Photoshop actions on it, cropped it some and decided to post it here.


Here's what the original photo looked like. Very gray and faded. I ran Pioneer Woman's Soft & Faded action on it and then her Boost action, lowering the opacity on each of them. Her actions are free and they work with Photoshop. To clarify for those who aren't sure what an 'action' is, it's basically a series of things you would do to a photo all rolled up into one simple push of a button.

To get a little bit bigger of a picture on actions, check out this post written by PW last year. She calls it One Barn, Ten Ways. I mean, if you're into it.

And on that note, I bid you farewell on this historic day in the history of our nation.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .