Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bookmark my new site!!!

My new website, Holly Anissa!

And my first post!
Hello, hello! Welcome to my new site!!!

I've invested in a real website and I'm using a self-hosted WordPress blogsite powered by ProPhoto Blogs as my interface. I am so excited to share it with everyone! This blog is being retired, so bookmark my new website!!! I hope you all follow me there! Holly Anissa is my first and middle name. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

i heart faces ~ cell phone photo

This week's photo challenge at i heart faces is to show your best cell phone photo! I took this photo of Dominic with my mom's iPhone yesterday. I was pretty impressed with the camera on the iPhone! I did very little editing except for converting to black and white. My sweet boy is so stinkin' cute!

(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!

Friday, February 18, 2011

New new new at 9th & Bloom!

We have SIX new designers debuting today at 9th & Bloom! Isn't that exciting??? I got a chance to scrap with one of Mary Pop's kits, Spring Garden. It is seriously luscious! I love the soft color palette and dreamy elements. It was perfect for this photo of Dominic!

Spring Garden

My Layout

Head over to 9th & Bloom to check out all of the new designers! And hop over to the blog for a blog train!!!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow day and candy heart photos

We had a snow day here last week. The kids were so excited. Poor Anna was sick (again) so she didn't really get to play... plus the snow only lasted about 5 hours, lol.

Dominic had a great time playing in the snow! He built a little snowman and threw many, many snowballs at his father.

Jenny brought Charlie out to play too! Curtis threw him a few snowballs and I attempted some continuous shots to try to capture the fun. Focus fell on the street behind him, but you still get the idea.

It had been so long since I had a good opportunity to get my camera out. I'm still recovering from knee surgery and it's going so slowly (and painfully). I got inspired to take some shots just for fun. This is our fence.

Jenny noticed these cat paw prints by her car and I wanted to get a shot of them. So cute!

The snow really accumulated the most on on my van. I like how you can see the snow on the windshield through the window and the colors are great too.

This is our deck railing so show how much we got. I like the bokeh in this shot.

The sun was out in full force by mid-day so it didn't last long, but it was fun!

I also wanted to share a fun contest that I participated on Clickin' Moms a couple of days ago. I didn't win (it was whoever could post first and I came in third) but it was fun and got my creative juices flowing. Sarah prompted us last week to pick up some conversation candy hearts, you know those little Valentine candy hearts with words printed on them? I have to say that I've eaten way more than I've photographed!

So the first challenge was the first 15 people to post an image with one conversation heart moved onto the next round.

Then it was the first 10 people to post a 5 word phrase made with conversation hearts moved onto the next round.

Round three was the first 7 people to post an image of 7 stacked conversation hearts moved onto the next round.

Things started to get more nervewracking as the first 5 people to post an image with three pink and one yellow conversation heart moved onto the next round. Hurry!

Getting closer now! The first 3 people to post an image of a heart shape made out of conversation hearts moved on to the final round.

Made it to the final round! The first to post a shot of a conversation heart with a large aperture and a creative depth of field won a gift card. I was too slow!

It was a lot of fun and I noticed that my camera delivers pretty good results SOOC. I only adjusted white balance slightly in ACR, then resized them in Photoshop before uploading them to Flickr. I did not sharpen for web and I'm really pleased with the clarity. Some of the shots are underexposed but I like the composition in them and the DOF also. If you are looking for a way to get your creativity sparked, try something like this. I've hardly been able to put down my camera since!


Friday, February 4, 2011

It's a BIG day at 9th & Bloom!

If you are a digiscrapper, you will want to head over to 9th & Bloom! We have four new designers making their debut today and all new releases are 30% off to celebrate! Please help us welcome Mary Pop Designs, NatashaNaST Designs, Agnesingap Designs, and Chris Greiser Designs. We are also hosting a blog train with tons of freebies from all of our designers, so check out the 9th & Bloom Blog to get the full list of participants!

There is a huge new collab avaialable called Paper Hearts, a new month of challenges in the Challenge District, and we have two guest designers, Re Kniepp Designs and Stolen Moments Designs, making their debut today too! I got a chance to work with Re Kniepp Designs this week and I love his style. This kit, Oh! That's a Sweet Love, has fun, whimsical elements and I love his textures and colors. I also used a template from Summer Daze Templates by FizzyPop Designs to make this layout.

Oh! That's a Sweet Love!
from Re Kniepp Designs

Summer Daze Templates from FizzyPop Designs

My Layout

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Challenge time at 9th & Bloom!

The first of the month unleashes a whole new set of challenges at 9th & Bloom! If you are unfamiliar with our challenges, they are a fun and easy way to earn cash to the store. Every month, we offer 5 new challenges in our Challenge District. For each challenge you complete, you earn one point. Save 12 points to redeem for a $10 gift certificate to 9th & Bloom! The challenges include: Inspired Impressions, Template Fusion, Vintage Corner, Trendsetter, and Shutterbug. Trust me, these are fun, easy, and can really inspire you to push your creativity!

This month, I am participating in the February Vintage Corner challenge called Cherish the Love. "As you all know, February is the month of love. I offer you a chance to dedicate a page in this challenge to people who had been in love for ages. It can be pretty much anyone – your parents, grandparents, or your own wedding memories. Important is that it has to be related to pure love, faithfulness and trust."

I chose to scrap about my father's parents, whom I called Nanny and Grandpa.

For this layout, I used Touch by Damayanti Studio available at 9th & Bloom.

I'm also really proud to announce that I'm now the permanent host of the Shutterbug Challenge at 9th & Bloom!!!

I just love photography so much and I'm really excited to be offering new challenges for your photographs each month. After all, scrapping is all about the photos! For the February Shutterbug Challenge, my challenge to you is to find a way to incorporate love into a photograph. It can be interpreted any way you like... romantic, platonic, with candy, with a sign, with a kiss. Let's see some love!

So come play with us! We have such a lovely forum and we'd love to have some new friends. See you there!

i heart faces ~ best face photo VOTE

Dominic's photo is #107. If you think it's good enough to be considered for the best face photo in January at i heart faces, would you please vote for me? Thank you!



Monday, January 31, 2011

i heart faces ~ best face photo

This week's photo challenge at i heart faces is a contest! It's a People's Choice Voting Challenge for the Best Face Photo in January 2011. I'm not sure I'll get many votes, but I'll come back tomorrow with the link for voting. I took this photo of Dominic while I was recovering from knee surgery. My bedroom is dark, so I had to use a high ISO. I decided to convert this to black and white and participate in the Clickin' Moms Photoshop challenge of creating my own black and white action. I think the shallow DOF and grain work well together.

(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! And if you really like my photo, please come back tomorrow for the link to vote. Thanks!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: The Annual ARD

Next week brings Anna's annual ARD meeting. For the uninitiated, this is a meeting that takes place once a year whereupon a vast team of people get together and decide what goals your special needs/special education child should work on for the following year. It can be a daunting, humbling, scary, and overwhelming meeting, especially in the early years. Our ARD meetings usually have 10-14 people in attendance! We started this process when Anna turned three and was placed in the PPCD program (argh, lots of acronyms right? PPCD = preschool program for children with disabilities, ARD = annual review and dismissal). This will be our 7th meeting... the 4th at our current school with her current team. Luckily for me (and through a lot of hard work and research), I have a great team surrounding Anna and there is no friction in the group. I got the first pass of new goals yesterday to review and had a discussion with her Life Skills teacher this morning about them.

I want to take a moment to interject how happy I am that we moved Anna from Inclusion to Life Skills earlier this year. I was scared about this move (remember THIS post?) and was skeptical that it would be good for her. Well, long story short, it has been a good move. She is much happier, her behavior has vastly improved, and she is able to learn and work on her goals.

All in all, the new goals look fine. There are some that are too simple (like in Social Studies, recite the city and state in which she resides) so I pushed back on those and they will be updated, but most of them are fine. Her speech therapist feels like Anna has met most of her speech goals and is now going to focus on social skills. I think her articulation still needs work so I'll inquire about that during the meeting. Her ST is very progressive and is constantly on the look out for new techniques and therapies, so we feel pretty blessed to have her on our side.

It sounds cliché, but it really does take a village to raise a child, especially one with special needs. It's important to have a group of professionals working in the best interests of your child, so as parents it's equally important to advocate for what those interests are. Since Anna is now in third grade and about to turn ten, I've started including her in these discussions. At our last meeting when we changed her placement, I had her join us during the last few minutes. We told her about the plan and got her input and buy-in. We cannot forget that SHE is the center of these meetings, yknow?

I'm glad we're at a place where the annual ARD doesn't beget dread but instead is a relatively easy discourse on how best to help my daughter at school. That's the way it should be.


New release from AnnaBV Designs plus one more!

AnnaBV Designs brings you Lonely Hearts today at ScrapOrchard. It's a soft and dreamy feeling kit that is versatile enough to celebrate the love in your life or even the lack of love. I used it to scrap about a painful time in my marriage. There is a coordinating alpha and even some quickpages, all on sale now.

Lonely Hearts

Lonely Hearts Alpha

Lonely Hearts Quickpages

My Layout

I also had the chance of working with an older kit from Megan Fisher Designs at 9th & Bloom called My Sweet Valentine. I had a photo of my daughter Jenny and her boyfriend Chris that worked perfectly with this adorable, grungy feeling kit.

My Sweet Valentine

My Layout

Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 24, 2011

i heart faces ~ innocent wonder

This week's photo challenge at i heart faces is innocent wonder! Outside playing in early December, Dominic spied an airplane way up in the sky. I swear he gets as excited about seeing one as he did when he was two! You can see the wonder in his eyes... maybe he'll be a pilot when he grows up. Though right now he wants to be a fireman. :) I'm so happy that I captured the beauty of his innocence and curiosity. This turned out to be one of my favorite photos from last year!

(Image is clickable to see it larger... it looks even better at the original size.)


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

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fix-it Friday #83 at i heart faces

This Fix-it Friday photo was submitted by Angie Arthur, an IHF contributor. Here is the original photo:


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


I'm so proud of myself! I did this edit using no actions of any kind. My workflow using PS CS5:

~First I duplicated the original and renamed it.
~Cloned out distracting bit (big leaf, bottle?) from the lower left.
~Levels adjustment layer to brighten image and lighten midtones, 0/1.47/241.
~Brightness/contrast adjustment layer, increased contrast +50.
~Select->Color Range->Highlights, copy to new layer. Put a blue to white gradient overlay set to multiply over the highlights to change the sky to blue, then masked off highlights on leaves and boy.
~Added center fill light at 20%.
~Hue/saturation adjustment layer, increased saturation +30, decreased brightness -5.
~Vignette set to overlay at 20%.
~High pass sharpening layer.

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

New Releases from By Becca and AnnaBV Designs!

I have lots of goodies to show off today and it's been a while since I've gotten to promote both Becca and Anna, woot! First I bring you Snowkissed from By Becca at 9th & Bloom. It's a gorgeous winter kit comprised of a soft brown and rose colored palette and filled with beautiful elements.

Snowkissed from By Becca

My Layout

I also got the pleasure of working with an older kit from Kelley Mickus at 9th & Bloom called Fairytale Ending. It's a charming hand-drawn, doodled kit filled with storybook elements. This was fun to play with.

Fairytale Ending

My Layout

And finally, AnnaBV Designs released an adorable bath time kit called Captain of the Bathtub at ScrapOrchard. Anna's whimsical style really shines through with the hippo and all of the bath time elements!

Captain of the Bathtub

My Layout

Thanks for looking!
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