Friday, August 31, 2007

enough already?

Are you getting sick of my book reviews yet? I know this says it's a scrapbooking blog but lately I have needed a serious break from that part of myself. I need a recharge and the intense reading is giving me just that. It always helps with my journaling when I feel well read. Having said that, I finished Twilight, and New Moon and now have started on Eclipse. It was so easy to fall in love with her characters. Twilight was such a romantic and thrilling indulgence. New Moon hit an entirely different chord with me and I actually don't feel like I can explain that one. Something about it felt all too familiar. Like remembering a dream. Please don't confuse what I've said; New Moon melted me to the core and I devoured it faster than the first. I think it is a book I will find myself going back to over and over again throughout my life. The saga continues with Eclipse but I just started that one today. I'm sure I will have more to say. I will preface my blog entry so that you will be forewarned before having to read any of my ramblings unknowingly. One thing is for sure, I am so glad I jumped on this bandwagon :)
I promise to write up the tut for fading a picture this week, k?
Have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Bandwagon, me, jumping...

Finishing the Harry Potter series has left a gaping hole in my brain and my heart. I know, I have issues. I was very pleased with the ending and that is all I have to say about that. So, now for the bandwagon. With my need for a good book almost as overwhelming as my need for air and water, I have found myself searching for something to fill that gaping hole. Everywhere I turn I am hearing about the book Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. At least 3 of my friends are reading it and I've seen numerous blogs talking about it. So, I bought it and now I need to steal away some time for myself to really dig into it. I also need to clean off my nightstand. I have no less than 14 books on it right now: the entire Chronicals of Narnia series, all of the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (some of my favorites. I never get tired of those!), Jesus the Christ by Talmage, The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery System by Kathleen DesMaisons Ph.D., and the list goes on and on.
Now to completely change the subject, I got an iPod Shuffle for my b-day. It's amazing what a difference really good music does when I'm working out. I cut 2 minutes of my mile time just by groovin' along. (Okay, for those really obervant people reading this, yes, I cut 2 whole minutes off my mile which means it was not a fast mile to begin with.) I love going to the gym. Those two hours for myself mean the difference between happy, smiling momma and cranky, grumpy momma. Now that school is back in session for Kaitlyn and Piper it will be easier to find the time to make it there on a regular basis. And, because I really feel like my blog needs a little sumpin' here is a completely random picture:

Me and Piper when she was just a little thing.
See ya!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

30 doesn't seem so old from this end

I had been seriously dreading turning 30. It always seemed so "grown up". But now that I'm finally here I guess I don't feel as old as I thought I would. Everyone tells me that the 30's are fantastic. Well, I sure hope so.
I had the best birthday on Saturday. Marc and I went to the temple early in the morning. We hadn't been in years. It's always been so hard to find babysitters for Alec and then to have to drive 2 hours each way on top of everything else made it pretty much impossible. Now we have a temple just 15 minutes from us and my wonderful mom has moved back to town so we have babysitting all the time. That has been a real treat - dates. Who knew? Well, after the temple Marc went to hapkido with the kids, and my mom and I went out to lunch. Did you know Red Robin will give you a free burger on your birthday? I love that place! After hapkido and lunch, Marc and I went out with our friends to see Harry Potter in IMAX 3D. If you are a Potter fan you must see it in 3D. There's nothing quite like seeing He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named larger than life. After that adventure we went out to eat at Cheesecake Factory. They have the best Thai Lettuce Wraps ever. Oh, and Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. I may have actually drooled when they brought it to me.
I had such a fantastic time hanging out with Jen and Chris. You ever meet someone and realize you have so much in common that it feels like you have known them your entire life? Their company is what made this birthday so great. Thanks guys!
Okay, off to more doctor appts for Alec. I wrote another PS tut for my cousin Jenny so I'll post it here when I get a chance. Have a great day!!!


Monday, August 6, 2007

busy much?

So, now that the Potter frenzy has subsided, I've gotten back on track with some scrapping goodness. I've done so many layouts this past month... it's felt wonderful! Hopefully I will be able to add them to my gallery soon. I recently had a friend ask me for help with extracting in Photoshop. I put together a tut for her and so I thought I would post it here. Please let me know if it was helpful for you. I will be giving away a little RAK to one person who link's me up to their layout using this technique!
First, duplicate the layer of your picture.
Next, check the box in your history palette that is directly left of the words Duplicate Layer. (This will take a picture of the current state of your document). You will see the History Brush Tool appear in the box.

Now, go to Filter>Extract
Your Highlighter tool should already be selected. You may need to adjust the brush size in the Tool Options on the right hand side. The key here is to use a brush small enough that you will be able to get the best detail but large enough that you will be able to overlap the edges of your subject with a portion of the background. This will allow the computer to recognize where to start the extraction. I usually use a brush size of 30. After you highlight the edges, switch to the Fill Tool and click once in the center of the highlighting to indicate the areas you want to keep. Anything not highlighted will be discarded. Click OK.

Now you are back to your document. Hide the first layer of the photograph and you will be able to see what was extracted.
Here is how to clean it up:
Choose the History Brush tool and set it to a small hard edge brush. I use 21-27. Fill in any areas that need it. Then switch to your Eraser tool and use a feathered brush set at 21-27 and erase any remaining edges that appear around your subject.

Here it an example of the layout I created using this technique:

Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2; Paper: Jen Wilson Designs - Apparent Happiness; Brushes: Jason Gaylor

Don't forget to link me up with your layout! I will be choosing a winner by Sunday night (8/12). I can't wait to see them!