Monday, November 29, 2010

i heart faces ~ scenic b/w

This week's photo challenge at i heart faces is scenic black and white. From the i heart faces website:

"We have had several B&W themes in the past, but this one will be a bit different. In this portrait photo challenge, we are looking to see how you incorporate an interesting scenic background into your entry.

Your entry must also have a human face in it somewhere, BUT the face does not have to be clearly showing... it can even be the back of the person’s head that is showing. Please focus more on showing off beautiful scenery in your photo entry than on the actual face this week.

So fun!"

So for this challenge, I chose to enter this shot of the Denver airport. I figured everyone would be showing off scenic photos of landscapes, so I wanted to add something different. I went on a women's retreat weekend in Colorado in August with a group of women I met nearly 8 years ago. We all have children with special needs and we try to meet every summer. This year we went to Keystone, Colorado. Arriving at the Denver airport, I dug my camera out of my bag and just held it up and looked around. I'm drawn to lines and I love the lines in this photo. There are a few people visible up on the mezzanine.

Image is clickable to see it larger and this photo is stunning in its large form.


Thanks for looking! And go check out all of the other fabulous entries at i heart faces this week!

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Black Friday at 9th & Bloom!

So many new delicious releases today for Black Friday! You can't miss the incredible deals today at 9th & Bloom!

First up, a beautiful, hand-painted traditional kit by Fly Pixel Studio called When Santa Comes. This is so pretty!

When Santa Comes

My Layout

Next an adorable, hand-painted whimsical kit by Holly Designs called Santa's Little Helpers with a matching alpha called Whimsy Candy Letters. You have to see this, it's so cute!

Santa's Little Helpers

Whimsy Candy Letters

My Layout

And finally, a new collab from By Becca at 9th & Bloom and Stolen Moments at ScrapMatters called Joyeux Noel. This is a stunning, rich, versatile holiday kit filled with amazing, realistic elements that you will use again and again. This is a must-have for your holiday scrapping!

Joyeux Noel

My Layout

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are so many blessings in my life that it is easy to take them for granted. So many people are struggling in the world, struggling to survive let alone thrive. So I want to take a moment to pause, to breathe deeply, and give thanks for some special things in my life. Clickin' Moms, the photography forum where I've been hanging out, had a Thanksgiving challenge. Our challenge was to take seven photos between November 3rd and 25th of things we are thankful for. These are my seven things.

(Image is clickable to see it larger.)

Gratitude 2010

1. Holding Hands
This is a photo of Dominic and Anna holding hands. I am thankful that they love each other and at the age of six, Dominic already understands that he had to take care of his big sister. He loves her unconditionally.

2. Family
This is a photo of my family (missing Jenny though!)... Anna, Curtis, and Dominic. I am thankful for my family, thankful for a wonderful husband that is also a wonderful father to my children, and thankful to have them all in my life.

3. Medicine
This is a photo of my medicine. I have fibromyalgia and connective tissue disease and without this medicine, I would be unable to function everyday. I am also grateful for all of the medications that help Anna thrive.

4. Anna
This is a photo of my daughter, Anna. She is 9 years old and has autism, epilepsy, hypotonia, and is cognitively challenged. I am thankful everyday to be her mother. She has taught me more about loving with my full heart and soul than anyone else I've ever met.

5. Coffee
This is a photo of my favorite coffee, freshly ground Sumatra from Starbucks. Without at least 2-3 cups everyday, I would be a walking zombie. I drink it black. And strong. My husband calls it my turpentine.

6. Chris and Jenny
This is a photo of my daughter, Jenny and her boyfriend, Chris. I am thankful that I got the honor of being Jenny's mom. She has been my little angel on earth from the moment she was born and now she is in college! She is smart, funny, perceptive, empathetic, strong, and mature. I am grateful she found Chris and that he treats her so well. I love them both very much.

7. Dominic
And finally, this is a photo of my son, Dominic. My adorable little pickle. I am thankful beyond words to be his mother. He is so funny, crazy smart, goofy, silly, and sweet. I love that I can talk to him like an adult and that he still wants to snuggle with me. I am crazy about this little boy.

I am living in gratitude. :)

I also want to shout out to my mom who is in Pennsylvania visiting her sister and brother-in-law. Happy Thanksgiving mom, Beanie, and Charles!!! I am incredibly grateful for my mother; she is my best friend, my confidant, my cheerleader, the shoulder I cry on. She helps with the children an enormous amount, despite working a full-time job during the day. She has invested so much of herself into my family and I am so thankful.

And finally, a moment of gratitude for Clickin' Moms who has opened my heart to photography. I love taking photographs and capturing memories... and learning to do it with proper technical skills has allowed me to explore my artistic and creative side too.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Photoshop 101 Giveaway

Clickin' Moms is a wonderful community of women who share a passion for photography. They also have some pretty rockin' workshops! Lisa Harrison is offering a spot in the next PS101 workshop. Check it out!

In the Spirit of Thanks and Giving


Friday, November 19, 2010

Fix-it Friday #78 at i heart faces

This Fix-it Friday photo was submitted by Susan Keller, an IHF contributor. What gorgeous bokeh!!! Here is the original photo:


And here is my edit (image is clickable to see it larger):


Using ACR and PS CS5:
~ adjusted the exposure and white balance
~ cloned some green and bokeh to cover the white blobs at the top of the photo
~added a curves layer set to screen at 30% opacity, masked just on the boy's face to brighten (similar to center fill light)
~ran Noiseware at low opacity
~ran Florabella Luxe's Sweet Sunshine action, lowered to 40% opacity to add warmth
~added a vignette at 20% opacity, erased over boy's face

Thanks for looking and come check out the other edits at i heart faces!

New release today from By Becca!

Becca has a new release today at 9th & Bloom just in time for the upcoming holidays. It's called Magic Moments and has a dreamy palette of winter whites, sparkling golds with touches of aqua, mint and cranberry to bring the magic of the season to your pages. This is a truly stunning holiday kit. To make collection even more enticing, Becca is offering a cluster pack as well as a bundle.

Magic Moments

Magic Moments Clusters

Magic Moments Bundle

My Layout

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Jenny was home this weekend and mentioned that I haven't written anything personal on my personal blog in quite a while. Um, yup... busted! That is so very true. With the photography-induced passion setting its claws in me as well as the increase in digital scrapbooking commitments, my blog has become more of a show-off and buy-me type of place. I'm really sorry about that.

Today Curtis and I went to see our marriage counselor. We're not in a bad place right now but we're not in a good place either. We want to be in a good place, so we are ready to do some work again. We had a really interesting session where our therapist brought up a couple of books by Julia Cameron... The Artist's Way and Walking in the World. They are about living a more purposeful, spiritual, present, and creative life in the everyday, day-to-day world. We have quite a bit of homework including some "artist's dates" with each other and by ourselves. I'm really looking forward to starting this journey to keep chasing down some balance in my life as well as that ever elusive tranquility. I'm even thinking about starting a weekly project for this next year that will include photography, writing, and digital art... and I'm even flirting with the idea of inviting others to join me in an online community type of format. I wonder if anyone would be interested?

So onto the updates!

Jenny is going through a rough spot including true misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and wicked homesickness. Sweetheart, I love you, I believe in you, I'm proud of you and how you are handling your life. Chin up, 'k? My mom has been very sick for the last four days. It's been years since she was down like this. Poor baby. I have an online friend battling cancer and another who found a lump today on a mammogram. My SIL's ex had a stroke on Sunday, our nephew is devastated. Any prayers for all of them you could spare would be much appreciated.

The kids are doing well right now, knock on wood. Anna and Dominic have had mostly good weeks at school for the last week+ and after nearly a month of bad days for Pickle, the respite is so very welcome. Curtis had an incredible trip to India with many adventures, including riding an elephant bareback! He is committed to finding more joy in his everyday life now too. As for me, I'm doing okay... a bit overwhelmed and maybe a tiny bit overcommitted (insert heavy sarcasm!), but I always love having too much to do. It makes my whacked type-A personality a happy girl. I've been having some right knee pain and saw my ortho today for a follow-up from the MRI I had last week. (I had surgery on my left knee three years ago to trim out a mensical tear and to have a microfracture done on the patella where they poke holes in the back of the kneecap to create artificial cartilage). He said my right knee would need attention within 5 years and we are getting there. The arthritis went from mild to severe and the joint is full of fluid, it's really tight, with a lot of pain and pressure. I also have a cyst that's formed because of the swelling and a lesion in the femur that is benign. Oy! So today I got two injections in my knee, cortisone and a lubricant. Ouch! Hopefully that will relieve some of the discomfort for a few months but I might be facing a partial knee replacement next year. :(

I am coming up on a busy season, like everyone else. Siggies, holiday cards, and layouts will be taking up all of my spare time through the end of the year. I've so enjoyed doing Project-365 and have learned so much and captured (almost!) an entire year of memories. For anyone thinking of doing this, it has taken me at least an hour a day of committed time every single day to take the photo(s), download, edit, and post them. But I'm really glad I did it.

Remember that almost everything in your worry bucket is trivial. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, someone will always be there to help you when you stumble. Don't be consumed by petty things, don't let drama take over your normally sweet personality, stay true to yourself, and love love love your family and friends. I love all of you!

Do you like the new blog? I love Lily Designs and she had this template pre-made with her new kit, Winter Walk. It seemed perfect for me.

Man, I cannot write a short post for the life of me!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm in the Art Crew!!!

9th & Bloom is a digiscrap store that hosts my favorite designers, including By Becca, for whom I CT. Recently, 9&B held an open site CT call... basically this means that as a site creative team member, you have full access to the store and you design layouts for all of the designers. It's highly competitive and a very coveted position. I was shocked and giddy to get the news yesterday that I made the Art Crew and I'm now a site CT member for 9th & Bloom! Oh my gosh, you have no idea how excited I am!!!

So one of the first things I wanted to do was create a layout with a new release this week. FeelGood is by FruitLoOp Sally and has such an attractive color palette that I would have purchased this kit if I hadn't made the site CT yesterday. I love the mixture of realistic elements and hand-drawn doodled elements. Isn't it fun?


My Layout

Thanks for looking and sharing in my exciting news!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New release by AnnaBV Designs

Have you started dreaming of Christmas yet? Dominic has! I was so pleased to see this kit come out... AnnaBV Designs is releasing a new kit today at ScrapOrchard called Letter to Santa. I love this color palette and it some truly adorable elements. I had fun with this one!

Letter to Santa

My Layout

Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our Halloween

I am so late in posting about our Halloween, ack! But this year was the best yet! The only bummer was that Daddy was in India and missed all the fun. In year's past, Anna sometimes wanted to trick-or-treat and sometimes not. She used to find the holiday too scary and unpredictable to enjoy so she would stay with my mom while I took Dominic out. This year, she wanted to trick-or-treat right from the start and she even knew what she wanted to be... a butterfly! Dominic wanted to be a vampire and we even found some plastic fangs for him to wear. Jenny came home from college for the weekend and she dressed up as a cat while her boyfriend, Chris, dressed up as a princess. Ha! We had so much fun!!! It was really nice that the time change hadn't happened yet, so we had more light. I still had trouble with my shutter speed being too low, so I tried using the Speedlite on my camera, but I need to read some tutorials on how to use it. Anyway, here are a few snapshots of the kids on Halloween. Enjoy!















Thanks for looking!


So we got this dog last summer... a Labradoodle puppy from Cheyenne Valley Labradoodles. We named him Charlie. The breeder donated him to our family because of Anna's special needs. I was hoping he would bond with her and I was planning on taking him all the way through delta training to be a service dog for her. But he bonded with me more intensely and he also ended up much bigger than we anticipated, so he's really turned into my dog. Last week, I upgraded my camera from a Nikon D40 to a Nikon D300 and the very first picture I took for that day's photo-of-the-day for my P365 project was this one of Charlie:


Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond, regularly hosts photography contests on her blog and last week she started one for four-legged creatures. So of course, I submitted this shot of Charlie. She gets thousands of entries and I've been submitting photos for months and months for all of her previous contests. This time, my photo made her blog! Check it out here: Group One. My photo is last in the group. I was so tickled that I danced all weekend! :)

Thanks for indulging my woot!

i heart faces ~ orange

This week's photo challenge at i heart faces is orange. The photo entry should include a human face and the color orange! I had such a hard time choosing which photo to submit this week because I have several of Dominic wearing orange that are pretty good. Ultimately, I decided to go with him in his Boy Scouts uniform. The color orange here is so vibrant and really represents childhood at so many different levels.

Image is clickable to see it larger.


Thanks for looking! And go check out all of the other fabulous entries at i heart faces this week!
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