The Tree

I’m trying to stay up-to-date with December Daily this year. It’s been pretty exciting and I think it’s because I’ve got new gadgets: the new computer, new Selphy printer (my previous one died in August), and new Canon 12×12 printer; and new software. I went for it. Got Photoshop CC. It comes with Lightroom which I am clueless to. Not sure how I’ll find the time to learn it. Photoshop is, for the most part, similar to CS6. There are a few things that are different but I just need to explore. I’m mostly thrown off by the size of the computer screen. I don’t normally fill the whole screen with one app. I section it out, otherwise I’d have to sit pretty far back. With Photoshop, I do fill the screen (which I like), but then it makes the photo I’m editing look tiny. Anyway, I’m not complaining. Just getting used to technology.

We went and got a Christmas tree at Costco this morning. Before that, daughter came home from school for lunch. We got a quick glance of her before we headed out and she headed back to school.

Hope this holiday month is treating you well.

Mother’s Day Wonderfulness

If you celebrate Mother’s Day, I hope you had a great one.  I always enjoy going over my mom’s house to see my parents and siblings and to catch up on life.  A lot of times, the siblings and I like to talk and debate about politics and entertainment, and at times things can get a little heated, but we’re siblings so we always forgive each other, and accept each other for what we believe.  What I find funny is that each of us still call our parents, “my mom,” or “my dad,” even when we are together as if we each had our own parents.

Mother’s Day at home with my husband and kids was really sweet.  My youngest made a special gift for me at school and was so good about keeping it a secret that even when I tried to pry it out of her, she wouldn’t admit it.  Husband got me a very special gift: a Sony Extra Bass Bluetooth Headset.  I had wanted one for a very long time, just a simple one, but he went the extra mile and got a bluetooth!

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This headpset is really amazing.  The sound quality is clean and crisp and the bass is really nice.  I’ve been listening to Danny Rayel with the headset and the music sounds even more beautiful.  Here’s a few of my favorites from Danny:

Cold Memores

Blossoming Heart

Travel With Me

I tend to listen to epic and trailer music when I’m painting in Photoshop or when I’m writing.  Goals is to have a writing blog but I’m still waiting for courage to put my writing up.  It will happen soon, I hope.  Anyway, for about two weeks now I’ve been working on a concept environment painting I’m calling, “Turtle Land”.  I’m hoping to share more of my progress on my Fairytale and Fantasy Art blog, but here’s an image of where I’m at currently.

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Practice Matte Painting

An old frozen rusty ship matte painting.  I followed the Youtube tutorial here.

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For the skyline, I used this photo I took of the Miami skyline during a family cruise to the Bahamas a couple years ago.

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Other photos used from a free photo stock site:

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I began by making a sketch.

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Then, I layered the photos.

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Adjusted the colors, masked textures onto the ship, painted the snow all the way to the skyline, and painted snow on the buildings as well as on the ship.

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Added filters.

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Added snow.

SnowedShip7_800Close up of completed ship.

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How to Make Sticker Sheets Using the Silhouette + Photos

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When I was younger I collected sticker sheets.  I still have those stickers stored somewhere in the house.  I decided to make my own stickers using the Silhouette Portrait (mentioned here, here, and here.) and they turned out pretty good.  Here’s a tutorial on how I accomplished these stickers.

What you’ll need:

  • Printer
  • Silhouette Portrait or Cameo machine and software.
  • Photoshop (or editing software of your choice that can save in PNG.)
  • Elements from a digital scrapbooking kit or your own.
  • Sticker papers.  I use Avery 8.5×11 full sheet labels.
  • Scissors or a paper cutter.

1. In Photoshop, create a 4×6 document (or any size of your choice) and layer elements on top.  Merge the layers and save the document as a PNG file.  I used the kit, Piccadilly, by the designers at Pixel’s and Co.  It was a free kit during Digital Scrapbooking Day (DSD) fall 2013.

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2. Open the PNG file you’ve created in Silhouette.

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3. I like to make sure my PNG file is aligned correctly with the registration marks so I turn that on before moving forward.  I also do this in case I forget and accidentally print before putting on the marks (the marks tell the machine where to cut).  You want to select Type 1 (CAMEO, Portrait) otherwise when the cutting starts, it won’t align correctly or cut at all.

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4. This is what the registration marks look like.  Ignore the red lines around the elements.  I had already traced the elements and went back to screen shot this image to show the registration marks.

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5. Trace the elements.  There are other ways to trace but I’ve found this way to be the cleanest + it gets what I want done, like creating a trace off the element so that it looks like a sticker.  The pink text will tell you the tools I use to trace or draw.

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6.  Once all the elements are traced make a copy and drag the copy just below it.

howtostickersheet67. It should look like this.

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8. Now PRINT directly from Silhouette to your printer.  Once you have your sheet printed put it on your Silhouette cutting mat and insert it into your machine.

9. Select the cut icon on your Silhouette software screen and make sure “No Cut” and “Copy Paper” are selected.  Click “Send to Silhouette.”  See below for a larger view of what to select.

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10. You know it’s printing when status says, “Cutting,” plus, your machine will start to cut.

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It doesn’t take very long before your stickers are made.  Cut them out and you’ve got your very own homemade stickers!  Here are some photos of the silhouette at work + finished product.

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October Random

Another month gone by too quickly.  I’ve:

  1. Been reading A LOT.
  2. Learned couponing.  It’s not what I thought it was so it will take me a long time to fully grasp it.
  3. Not been feeling well these couple of weeks.  Low Vitamin D (again), etc.
  4. Continued to volunteer teaching catechism and singing in the Sunday choir.
  5. Voted.

Kids were on fall break.  Today’s the last day so they return to school next week.

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In her funky glasses (I think she got them from McDonald’s).

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It snowed for the 2nd time.

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Baked some really yummy strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  It was a bake-out-of-the box, so it was quick and easy.

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Sent out some happy mail.  Made these stickers using elements from Echo Park.  I’ll post another blog about how I made them soon.

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I’ve been loving these collectors stamps and have started to collect again.  I used to collect stamps in high school and college.  The Batman circle stamps are so cool!

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On her Galaxy S2 24-7 watching movies and stuff.  Her latest love is the movie, “The City of Bones.”

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Wanted to play more with Photoshop but the kids want to spend time with me so quickly made this image using textures and a photo I took of the decoration in our front yard.

In Disguise Batgirl Rework

Last year I created this concept for a challenge and didn’t really use anything to smooth out my skin.  There was a process I used to use (using blur, noise, dust/stratch, etc.) but it was too time consuming so I skipped it and just cleaned up a few spots.  I learned a better way to smooth out skin by using what’s called frequency separation.  Learned this method through PHLEARN on YouTube.

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I love the creamy-ness of the reworked image.  Let me know what you think.

 

 

Pepsi Trade

Yesterday, my sister and her fiance had an engagement party.  It was more of a Hmong “traditional” well-wishing-string-tying-ceremony but it would be considered an engagement in the western world.  I took over 200 photos, and hope to go through all of them soon, but for now there was this one photo that really stood out.  It’s of my daughter with her pouty expression.  She had wanted me to get her a Pepsi from a cooler just outside the door and I asked her to get it herself.  She refused yet begged me to get it for her so I said, “How about we trade?  I get you the Pepsi and you stay there (by the door), so I can get a photo of you?”  Siblings and friends who were listening to us laughed and that got her upset.  She said, “No.  I want the Pepsi,” but when I gave her the Pepsi, she actually stood there for a few seconds for me to take the photo.  I think I see a little smile in that pout.

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EXIF: Nikon D90, 50mm, 1/1600 sec, f/1.8, ISO 500, Aperture priority, Matrix Metering, no flash.

Here is the RAW file as is and when I edited in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw).  The photo above was then edited in Photoshop CS6.

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