Friday, July 30, 2010

Fix It Friday #64

Today is Fix it Friday over at I Heart Faces, so I thought I'd give it a go! I used Photoshop Elements 8.0, and my first step was to crop the pic, and then run the Coffee Shop Perfect Portrait action. Then I added a texture from Shadowhouse Creations as my background. I'm not in love with the way it turned out, so I may play some more, but I like the way the texture warmed up the whole pic. Click to enlarge.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yaddo Gardens and Other Stuff I Saw While My Kid Was at Six Flags

I brought Kathleen and three of her friends up to Lake George to Six Flags Great Escape yesterday. She had a great idea for me: Instead of me paying $40 to go into the park and park my butt somewhere to read for 9 hours, why didn't I just drop them off and go DO something?! Well, I thought that was a swell idea, so I dropped them off--two girls, two boys, all 15 yrs old (but NOT a double-date or anything like that!)--and I went cruising!

I had to go back down to Saratoga Springs to drop off some cushions and bedskirts for a customer, so while I was down there, I pulled into Yaddo Gardens, which I haven't visited in a few years.

There were koi fish in the large center fountain!
This picture was rather foggy, so I went with it, and put it behind this awesome glassy water texture. Cool, right?: are out of order....this pic is the view from my chair at Moreau Lake State Park, where I spent the majority of my day reading books and leafing through decor magazines. It was within 15 minutes or so of the park, in case the kids needed me, and it was cool and peaceful in the shade of the trees, with my water view:
There were lots of pretty things to take pictures of at Yaddo:
These girls were there for a photo shoot of some sort. They looked so cute in their little white dresses, I couldn't resist sneaking a shot:
This pergola was long and pretty!
...and I made it spooky with a texture from Shadowhouse Creations!
There were four of these statues at the perimeter of the rose garden:

This one was in the center of a quatrefoil shaped fountain at the beginning of the garden, and I played with three textures, and posted them all for you! Click to enlarge any of these can see the differences better that way:

That's it for today! I'm going to the movies in a few hours with my friends, and then hopefully out for a nice cool beverage and some girl talk afterwards. In the mean time, I've got sewing to do up in my sweatshop! ;) Have I ever shown my sweatshop to my bloggy buddies? I don't think so. Well, it's due for a big time makeover, so maybe I'll add that to my list for the summer/fall.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Playing With Textures in PSE8

Jerry, over at Shadowhouse Creations, uploaded some new textures today, and I thought I'd play around a bit. I took this picture of a yellow swallowtail butterfly last week when I was working on my headboard:
We had a family party in Windham this past Sunday, and I got some great shots of Kathleen that I've been playing with too:

This is a hens 'n chick pic from a couple of years ago, with one of Jerry's aged photo textures:
...and some pansies
...and a hosta flower
What kills me, is that I've been adding textures on TOP of my photos, with the photo as the background layer, and then using different blending modes to get a certain look. Well, Jerry posted some examples today and said that he used the texture as the background, then added the photos on top, using the Overlay layer style. Genius! Why hadn't I tried that before? It's the simple things, sometimes, that thrill me!


In other news, I have finished "Running with Scissors", by Augusten Burroughs, and oh my, what a life that guy has led! The story was a bit of a surprise, after having read his brother's book "Look Me in the Eye" a few weeks ago. The brothers have very different writing styles, and I guess I was thinking that "Running" was going to be a little lighter for some reason, but I found that it was really quite dark and disturbing at times. I loved it, though, and followed it up with "Magical Thinking", which is a collection of stories mostly from his adulthood. I've got the "Running with Scissors" movie in my Netflix fact, it may be coming tomorrow...not sure. I've also got "Dry" and "A Wolf at the Table" (both books by Augusten Burroughs) on order at the library. I'll be all Burroughs'd out by the time I'm done reading everything he's written! :)

I've been a reading fiend this summer. I've read "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" after seeing the first in the trio ("The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo") at the movies. They're great action/adventure/intrigue reads, and the next movie is coming out this week, and I'm seeing it Thursday with the girls.

I've also read "Island Beneath the Sea" which follows a slave's life from Haiti to New Orleans over a span of 40 years. It's beautifully written, and if you're a fan of historical novels, it's a real winner. I also finally read "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the age of 44. Pathetic, I know. Especially for an English major. Whatever. Better late than never, right? "The Help" was an earlier read, which I think I may have mentioned here, but it's in the same genre of race relations as the two above, so I thought it was worth another mention. It was one of the more beautifully written books I've read in a while.

Rose, I just finished a book that I think you should read! (I'm hoping you made it this far in my blabbery post to see this! LOL!) It's "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte Taylor. She's a neuroanatomist who had a stroke at the age of 37, and it's the story of her experience during the actual stroke, and of her recovery over a span of I think seven years, and her discovery of her right brain's capacity for nirvana, when unencumbered by her left brain's linear, more logical thought. I just kept thinking of you and how you seem to have found a way around your left brain that brings you very close to what Jill Bolte Taylor is describing as her newfound way of looking at the world. It's very interesting, and I'm strongly suggesting that you grab it from the library and tell me what you think! I would also like to thank my invisible friend for the unwitting recommendation. You know who you are.

Ok, that's it for my book recommendations for now. It's funny. I feel like I'm definitely making up for lost time with all this reading I've been doing this year. The only TV I've been indulging in is The Bachelorette (Frank! I miss you! And Ali was in love with you, you idiot!) and Design Star, which has been a HUGE let-down this season. I don't even know why I'm bothering. The challenges are lame, and the execution and judging even moreso. I think I'll just go read a book.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Vintage Door Headboard Project

So...this is one of last weekend's projects. My friend Sandra gave me this door two years ago, because I wouldn't let her throw it away. She said "What are YOU going to do with it?" and I said "I don't know, but I'll think of SOMEthng!"
So....I've been letting it weather outdoors next to the garage through 8 tumultuous seasons, and this is what has become of it:
Yes, I agree. It's kind of gross. But I can totally see the potential in gross.
So I started scraping and sanding.
I love my king sized bed, even though it pretty much eats this tiny bedroom for lunch:
Oh, and I hardly ever make my bed. Unless company is coming. (Which was this past I actually broke down and made it on Saturday....but I digress)
I went down into my basement, which is also set up with my chop saw, and found some old chippy molding hanging out in the rafters. I pulled it down, and put it under a 1 x 6 board that I had screwed to the top edge of the door:
This is the front of the headboard, all screwed together. I just put 1 x 3" legs on the back. I probably should have put one in the middle for more stability, but I didn't.
Because really, I'm just lazy, and always looking for the quick fix.
This is the back side of the door, which I thought I was going to like for a cottagy look in my bedroom, but really, it just looked like a hot mess. So I painted the other side.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that no matter what I did, I couldn't get that darn handle hardware off? So I just worked with it, and hung a tassel.
I was impressed with how all that crappy wood could clean up so well! See? :
Now I can read in bed without worrying about all 72 of my pillows falling down into the black hole behind the bed. It's pretty cool like that. Also, I don't have to have a curtain that keeps getting bunched up behind my pillows, and I don't have to worry about breaking that window any more. It's all good! And since I've taken these final pictures, I've moved the painting on the right up, and added another on the left, to balance things out.

You like?

Join the Transformation Thursday party over at The Shabby Chic Cottage and see lots of other projects, big and small! Also, at Beyond the Picket Fence, you can see lots of projects that were done for under $100! Mine, as you can see, was free! (But that's just because I have lots of crap lying around here waiting to be dealt with.) ;)

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Patio Afters, Garden Gifts, and Fountain Projects

Sometimes I find myself wondering when Blogger is going to give me the big boot because I use up so much bandwidth with all my pics. Oh well. Until that day comes, I'll keep posting photos, because I can't help myself.

First up, my new Rose of Sharon from my friend Jennifer. Birthday gift. I've got great friends, don't I? It's all white, and I'm thinking a supporting white garden is in order. What do you think?

This is an almost-after shot of my new-to-me rattan furniture. The seats are covered in a stripe that matches the floral on the couch, but I still need to cover all the back cushions (which I bought ready-made for $10 each, because I can't make them for that) in the floral, which was back-ordered and which I have finally received.
The stripe that's on the seat of the chair above, will then be going on these back cushions on the sofa below. Did you hear me when I told you I got the couch, two chairs, and the ottoman for $50? Bargain! I think I paid a total of $110 or so on fabric, and $50 on those back cushions, so all told, I got comfy new outdoor furniture for $210. Not bad!
I can't get over how tall my coneflower is this year! It's so pretty, and obviously VERY happy where it is!
I finally potted the little trees that I left in their original pots for a year. It's a miracle they survived, and I love them flanking my front door in those pots from Lowe's.
This is my new Japanese maple, which was a birthday present from my friend Pat. I love it SO much I can hardly contain myself. My plan for the front yard is to put up a fence along the top edge of the hill to enclose a little cottage garden, so I planted the tree on what would be the outside corner of the fenced in area. I hope I can get that fence up this year.
So here's what you've been waiting for, Diane! My new patio pics! I wet the stones, so that you could get the full effect of how awesome it all is. I'm so happy. I spend a LOT of time out there now.

When I took my sad little pine trees out of these tall planters, I inserted a reasonably sized square planter inside them so that I could actually plant them this year. I'm happy with the way they came out. The lilies were burgundy when they were blooming, and were lovely. I'm going to transfer them to a garden bed, and plant the begonias in their place now.

Here's what I have so far at the back of the house. I basically threw in some plants that I hadn't put in the ground last year, so it's a little sad. I also haven't curved it out or edged it with anything. All things in time, right?

Here's a fountain that I fashioned from what I think was supposed to be some sort of floor vase. I bought it at a garage sale for $5. I then filled it with pea gravel and a pump, and voila! Instant fountain! :) When I told the lady at the garage sale my plan, I could see her disappointment that she hadn't thought of it first! Ha! C'est la vie!

These are some pics for Rose. This one below of The Kiss is unretouched. I took it through the lens of my polarized sunglasses:
I did manipulate this one, but I think it looks REALLY cool like this:
I did this next one in b&w too, because it just felt right:
And here is the sailboat pic that I manipulated on my last blog post. This is the original shot, pretty much. I think I did some vignetting on it, but you get the idea:
...and here is the original shot of the kiss photo that I went crazy with on my last post. It too is a nice shot, but I like having fun with Photoshop too! :)
Thanks for looking, y'all! I just got back from the library, where I picked up another four books! I tell ya', I'm on a roll! I'm in the middle of "The Girl Who Played with Fire" by Steig Larsson. I saw the movie "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" a few months ago, and this is book two in the series. I like it! Is anybody else out there reading? What's on your book list?

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