Today’s Frost & Stars Digital Layout

We’ve had a few frosty mornings where the trees and bushes are covered in a thin layer of snow making them appear almost ethereal like.  This morning I decide to capture some of that beauty in case it doesn’t return again.

Digital Layout: Stars

This layout is for the Digital Whisper theme challenge.  For more info (including credits) and a short wonderful story go to Theme #34: Stars. ♥

Mary’s Baked Salmon & Ballet Dreams Digital Layout

My sister makes a really simple baked salmon.  I went over her place one time and she made the baked salmon for my daughters and it was really tasty.  Then, I had my sister over and made my version with added mushrooms, white wine, mustard, butter, etc.  It was a fancied up version of hers but it pretty much tasted the same with just a little more kick.  I like her version for every day eating because it is simple and quick and seriously, tastes awesome. Oh, and my daughters love her’s.

Digital Layout: Ballet Dreams

This layout was made for Digital Whisper’s 100 theme #39: Dreams.  For more information and credits, visit ♥

Digital Layouts in ’07 and Hybrid Photo Album

Happy Monday.  The day is almost over though.  Kida has a ballet performance in a bit here so I’m going to try to get this in before I leave.

I’m trying to hype myself up for my idea of a hybrid photo album.  Hybrid scrapbooks and photo albums are not new.  It’s been around for awhile but I’ve only heard about it a couple of years ago.  It’s the process of combining scrapbook pages with photos.

For me, sometimes I take thousands of photos a month and sometimes barely any.  For the thousands of photos, they pretty much sit on my computer drive for years.  I’ve got tons of digital photos dating back to 2002 and because there are so many I get overwhelmed as to what to do with them.  After a year of thinking and planning and learning about hybrid scrapbooks I decided to try it out.  My idea is to create a main page for each section using the traditional scrapbook method or digital for a 12×12 page.  The pages after will be in sleeves of various options.

For instance, I’ll take the digital layout above and print it into a 12×12 and will go into a 12×12 plastic sleeve.  Then, in the next sleeve (and more than one sleeve if needed-due to lots of photos that I’d like to print), I will arrange printed 4×6 photos in a normal photo book fashion.  Like this:

This way, I am able to print all the 4×6 photos I want and keep the theme together.  When scrapbooking the traditional way, I always had so many photos leftover and didn’t quite know what to do with them.  Putting them in a separate photo album just didn’t feel right.  I wanted to be able to see the scrapbook design as well as all the other photos that are of the same theme.

I’ve got three hybrid photo albums so far and have only begun.  I will post my albums as soon as I have more in them, which I hope will be soon.

Digital layout credits: Irene Aleexeva Designs for the free digital page.  Nothing but freebies for the stamped white flowers.♥

Digital Layout: Beautiful Angel

ElEOldest daughter wanted a digital layout similar to her younger sister so I searched old photos and found one with her around the same age.  The photo was from 2006.  She picked some of the elements and wanted flowers too so I searched old photos for some flowers that would stand out a bit.  Last but not least, she wanted a halo around her head…very creative I think.

Background and elements all by Irene Aleexeva Designs.

Hmoob Dawb Colors

This was done for Digital Whisper’s challenge.  The White Hmong (Hmoob Dawb) dress outfit really doesn’t have a lot of color but I’m really liking the belts.

The photo was taken in July 2005 when the Nkauj Zaj Hmoob dance group was preparing for the Dragon Boat Festival performance stage.

[Added 2/23]

Just thought I’d put these two photos together since they both seem to give an aura of what Hmoob is.  The black and white photo was posted before, here. ♥

Mom’s Sweet Flatcakes

Late last year my sister and I had this idea that we would blog about Mom’s cooking but we never had the time so I’m going to talk about it here instead.

Mom used to make these wonderful tasty flat cakes I used to stuff my face with.  She used very basic ingredients: flour, sugar, milk, egg and water.  That was about it.  Then she would fry it in a pan in vegetable oil until they were golden yellow.  Sometimes she’ll mash some banana’s and stir it into the mix and that was also really good.  The flat cakes tastes exactly like a flattened version of the funnel cake.  My sister and I attempted Mom’s recipe not too long ago and it turned out great.  I made a strawberry jam to go with it and oh my…it was so yummy! The combo of mildly sweetened flat cakes with the sweet and sour from the strawberry jam is like fireworks in the mouth.

Recipe: Mom’s Flatcakes

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 egg

Mix everything.  Heat up the frying pan with enough oil to submerge the mixture.  Use a measuring cup and scoop up 1/3 of the mixture into the pan.  They will flatten out as they hit the oil and float as they are cooked.  A medium pan should fit about 4 scoops.  Cook on each side for about 2 minutes until golden yellow.

Strawberry Jam Recipe

Note:  This is a really quick and simple strawberry jam. I make it liquidity purposely but you can add less water if you want it thicker.

2 cups of sliced strawberries

2 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix everything together over high heat stirring often.  Allow the strawberries to soften…about 15 to 20 minutes.  Let jam cool before using.  Store leftovers in a glass container in the fridge.  ♥

Valentine Digital Page: Kida

I decided to buy the full set from Irene Alexeeva Designs since just downloading the free one used for Kylie’s wasn’t enough.  I could have used it again with Kida’s but I wanted the designs for each girl’s to be different.  I had no idea that the elements came separately from the background pages.  It was quite overwhelming at first trying to decide how to put everything together but eventually I went ahead and gave it a try.  I came up with the design above.  The text were downloaded from a free site about two or three years ago.  You can definitely tell I’m a newbie.  My frame is pretty generic. I need to work on that.

The great thing about Irene’s pages is that they are 12×12 so they fit into those 12×12 plastic scrapbook cover sheets.  They can always be resized but they are perfect for what I am doing.

If you forgot how Kylie’s looked like, go here. ♥

Valentine Digital Scrapbook Page

The digital layout is from Irene Alexeeva Designs.  I added the photos and the cursive text.  The cursive text was from…gosh, I can’t remember.  They’re from a website I used to frequent. The text is called DearJoe.

Late last night, Kylie was trying to make a house on the couch with the couch pillows and a thin blanket.  I normally help her with it.  Once, I built her house like 10 times because she kept destroying them.  It got to the point where I refused to do it anymore.  She stopped asking and seemed to have forgotten about her house for awhile until last night.  Instead of asking for help, she went at it on her own.  She had some difficulty with the heavy pillows and blanket so she came over to me to ask if I could help her.  This was our conversation:

KYLIE: Mom, can you make my house?

ME [Busy reading something on the Internet]: Why don’t you ask Dad?

KYLIE: Okay.

[She goes over to her dad.]


DAD: Yeah?

KYLIE: Can Mom make my house?

[I’m laughing hard.  Her dad starts to laugh trying not to be too obvious.  He puts his head down on his desk to get the laugh out without doing it in her face.]

DAD: Sure.

[Kylie comes back to me.  She’s been serious all this time…no smile, laughs or anything.  Just a very serious expression.]

KYLIE: Mom, Dad said, “Yeah!”

MOM:  Okay…let’s go build your house.

[Kylie smiles and jumps up with her fists in the air and screams, “Yay!”]

I ended up giving her a bath before building her house since after I agreed, she was complaining that her bum bum was hurting.  She was only in her house for a little while before tearing it down and heading to bed.

About her bum bum hurting.  Kida went through the same thing and would take two baths a day.  They just aren’t wiping good but I think that’s just normal for toddlers. ♥

Photo Enchancements Using Photoshop CS4

My sister, who used to work with Mac computers at work showed me how to do a screen shot on my Mac a few months back.  Yeah, I’m still pretty new to Mac’s even though I’ve been religiously using my Mac book for about 5 years now.  With this new knowledge, I am now able to do screen shots of my photoshopping talent…haha…kidding.

I really wanted to share how a photo can easily go from plain to a soft bluish tone to a sepia grainy look.

This is the original taken with a Nikon D90 set at manual.  It’s not so bad the way it is but I think it’s a little pink.

Here, I’ve added some blue.

Here, I’ve made it more yellowish/sepia and added graininess.  I also gave it a little glow and brightened her face and chest a bit.

This is a screen shot showing the tools I mainly used on the photos: Color balance, sharpen tool, and dodge tool.  I did use the burn tool too to add a slight shadow in the corners and in her hair.  Click on the screen shot image to view larger in new window.

It’s pretty fun to play around and learn different techniques to enhance a photo.  Sometimes it’s not necessary but when you want to give a photo a certain feel, it’s nice to be able to do it yourself.  Of course, the software (Adobe Photoshop) is pricey but there are other much more cheaper software out there that can do exactly what Photoshop does.  I don’t even have the latest Photoshop software (I think it is CS5 now – I have CS4) but what I have works for now.  My husband uses iPhoto which comes with the Mac book.

I hope this inspired you to learn or play around with the software you have. ♥