Monday, August 31, 2009

New LO's to Share....

I have been busy this afternoon editing LO's to update my gallery. I guess I need to keep my mind off of my little man's first day of Pre K! Even though it's in the same building and there are a ton of teachers that know exactly what Colin can and cannot have....I still worry that there is a learning curve and tend to carry my phone with me everywhere I go. But considering we got this far into today without any phone calls I'm sure that I had no reason to worry, lol!

I wanted to share this LO that I finished up last night. For some reason I have been stuck lately in the mojo department and I have a feeling it has to do with the lack of edited photos to work with. I am setting a goal to at least edit one or two a day. Honestly I can do a ton more than that but for some reason my brain just sees how many photos that I have to work with and becomes overwhelmed. This is generally followed by mindless internet surfing.

Speaking of mindless internet surfing I finally joined Facebook. I have no idea what I am doing to please request to be my friend and give me some guidance, lol! I have no idea who is talking to who with all of those posts.

Oh right the LO....


This was fun to put together and I only used one sheet of Studio Calico paper and a few scraps to complete it! So not a major dent buster LO but fun nonetheless!

See I used one sheet so I most certainly need to replace it, right?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to Take Photos of Scrapbook Layouts...

So before I get started please read this disclaimer. I AM NOT A PHOTOSHOP EXPERT! I, like many of you, searched the internet looking for tips to make my LO's look like the ones I would see in galleries that were so sharp and crisp. I believe in paying it forward and love all of the information that others were willing to share. So it is in that spirit that this post was born :-)

Here are a few links that you may want to check out before getting started. I currently use Photoshop Elements 3.0 and a few actions to do most of my editing. I will be using these actions for this LO but will edit another one without the actions. There are a ton of different ways to get the same result so it is just personal preference.

Mindy's Photoshop Actions
Actions for Elements
Curves Plug In

My current work flow time from start to finish, (this includes taking the photo and uploading it), is about 10 minutes. Honestly it's a lot of work but in the end, it really is the difference between your LO being considered over an equally designed LO with poor presentation.

STEP ONE: So the first thing I do is take 2-3 photos of my LO's in natural light. I generally use my landscape mode on my camera to get everything in focus and turn off my flash.

STEP TWO I generally pick the best of the photos to work with. I choose whichever photo is in better focus, and requires the least amount of effort to make it straight.

STEP THREE: At this point I check to see if I need to rotate my image at all. I use the rectangular marquee tool to check. I then use Custom settings, located under Image, to rotate the image .1 or .2 if needed. At this point I am not looking for it to be perfect but close enough that when I crop it, I won't loose too much of the LO to make it straight.

STEP FOUR: I use my Curves Plug In to improve the lighting on the LO. I generally run an Auto Layer to improve midtones. Sometimes it helps a little, and sometimes a lot. It depends on how well the lighting for image was in the first place.

STEP FIVE: A very small difference with this LO.

STEP SIX: I then usually use my Sharpen Action here mostly because it flattens the layers for me and it's under my Curves Plug In.

STEP SEVEN: This is the point that I try to adjust the color so that it looks as close to the original LO as possible. One way to do this is to use the Adjust Color then Adjust Hue Saturation Feature. Sometimes I use this and other times I will use my Warming Action. They are essentially the same thing.

STEP EIGHT: Usually when I adjust my saturation over the entire LO I need to lighten it. Again I use an action for this but the same thing can be accomplished in Levels. This fixed what increasing the saturation did for the reds in my LO and pulled out the skin issues that the Warming Action created. However, overall the image is too light and this is where the "art" of using actions comes in. I changed the opacity on this layer to about 73%. I used the slider to do this until it just "felt right."

STEP NINE: Again, now I need to "fix" the lightening adjustment a little more by increasing the saturation of my background. I went to Adjust Color, then Adjust Hue Saturation. For this step I only selected Yellows so I could warm up my background.

STEP TEN: Now that the LO I took a photo of now looks like the LO that I made, I crop it. I use the Rectangular Marquee tool since it is the most forgiving since I rarely get the LO completely straight. If I am a little off I will try to find part of the LO that I won't miss and just try to make up the difference. I then use a Resize for Web Action. This is important because when you post LO's on the web they loose some detail. Actions that are designed for this purpose include an extra sharpening step.

And here's the finished product. I have been using my photobucket account to upload LO's since I enjoy the larger size and then I don't have to deal with image compression issues with blogger.


I hope this post was helpful and if you have any questions, please let me know. I'll do my best to answer them!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Paper Collecting...

I really try to avoid purchasing more pattern paper than I could ever possibly use. I only buy what I love and want to use every single piece of it. However, I'm beginning to become concerned that I couldn't ever use all of the lovely patterns that I have acquired no matter how much I scrapped. Will they be outdated when I get to them or will they be considered an "oldy but goody?"

The forecast is for a rainy weekend so I'm hoping to turn that into a scrap fest that may possibly make a dent in my ever growing stash.

I wonder if there is a midnight crop tomorrow?!

Since no post is really complete without a photo....


So when you need to make some space in your scraproom what do you do?

Do you purge and give to friends or create LO's with as much stuff on them as possible?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Joy Ride and A Sneaky Pea....

So first things first. Collage Press is beginning to show their next lines that will begin to ship the end of September. Be sure to head over to the blog to see all of the new products as they are revealed.

Now about that sneaky pea....
I got an email requesting my address for a surprise. I usually don't just hand out my address to just anyone but this girl is pretty cool and honestly...who's going to turn down a surprise?!

So anyway, patience is not one of my strengths and I was worried that the wait and anticipation would be painful.

I had a thought about what it may be but I dared not ask because....could it be true. Could they have really been found?!

Oh yes sirree! My friend Chris answered my SOS from this post.

And let me just tell you...the empty bag looks great in my garbage can :-)

Thanks so much for thinking of me and answering the call!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Tips....


I planned to blog about all of the funny things that Colin said this weekend but I can't think of a single one right now. Which is a shame because they were pretty funny. I will make a mental note to write them down as soon as he says them.

Some other random tips in no particular order...
1. Store your chip clips on the edges of your wire shelves in your pantry.
2. If you have oily skin and use Bare Minerals Foundation, put the Mineral Veil under and over your foundation.
3. Instead of cutting coupons out that you think you will use, keep them intact and bring scissors to the grocery store. I cut out the ones I know I will use and the ones that I might I just bring with me. It's much easier to keep track of a letter sized piece of paper than an envelope of scraps. I write the date on the front of the coupon insert to match it up with the Money Saving Mom posts.
4. Check out super cute blogs for gift ideas, I am making a cute end of the year thank you for Colin's teachers based on an idea from Bakerella.
5. If you need to get gum or some other sticky substance off of clothing, stick it in the freezer. It's much easier to peel off frozen then in little gooey pieces.
6. Always answer a 407 area code number since it is probably someone from Disney.

Told you they were random.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

5 Product Challenge

I got a pretty cool email from Emily Pitts asking if I would participate in her 5 Product Challenge for the Studio Calico Blog.

Umm hello! Of course I will, Studio Calico is only like my new favorite obsession! I enjoyed this challenge even though it was a little out of my comfort zone and included paint! I was very good though and didn't spill any on my photos.

Be sure to head over to the blog to see a little bit about my process and how I made my little "gift boxes" on the bottom of my LO.


I'm not sure what me and the little man will be doing today. Hubby's at work so Colin and I will have most of the day to ourselves.

I wonder what kind of trouble we can get into before Dad gets home :-)

Take care and has always thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So Why Is It So Hard To Find A Pole Dancing Class?

Especially one that is within 30 mins of here. The best I can do is Townson, MD which is still about an hour. A few girls from work and I thought it would be fun to have some Mommy time while getting in better shape.

I secretly just want to develop enough upper arm strength so I could swing around the pole.

Maybe just once...or twice :-)

If anyone knows of a class in the Central PA area that I am missing, please let me know.

This is almost as important as the licorice .

Although if I find the licorice I will really need the class.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So Let's Talk About Disney....

Whether you have been reading awhile or just got started, it's pretty obvious that I'm a tad obsessed with Disney. There are quite a few reasons that I enjoy this magical place and some of them are even related to bringing my son, however I have realized that one of the reasons that we go to Disney is because,

I need it!

To many people that may sound strange but I can assure you that the Disney bug has captured me fair and square. I don't talk a lot about what I do for a living, mostly because I'm too busy talking about scrapbooking, but the type of work that I do lends itself to needing a bit of make believe magic in my life.

That's where Disney comes in.

We planned our first trip because we heard that they had Rice Milk and other crazy things that Colin eats and we were thrilled with the idea of eating out while taking Colin when he was little enough to believe the magic is real.

Then I walked on Main Street and realized that the magic was real!

So for a week I pretend that all is right with the world, we go for ice cream like any other family and I'm reminded that people are nice...even if they are being paid to be nice to you. :-)

So I guess I'm feeling the pressure a little at work since so many people are struggling right now and when an opportunity opened up (work related) to take a bonus trip in a few months, well I jumped on it.

So we will be headed there this October and I'll be honest, it's a bit of a stretch for us since we are planning this so close to when the final payment is due.

So we made a plan and are sticking to it.

1. No extra purchases, period. If it's not in the budget, we're not doing it. So no Starbucks, scrap supplies, clothing, odds and ends for the house, eating out, fancy hair cuts, cosmetics, etc.
2. No extras while on the trip. We are bringing ears, glow sticks, and those fan water bottles from last year.
3. We are eating what's on the free dining meal plan and nothing extra. No dinner shows that take 2 meal credits, no 2 sit down meals in the same day, nothing extra.
4. No...well for just a few dollars more we could... We are staying at Pop Century (A value resort) and while it is tempting to stay at a nicer resort since things are much cheaper right now, we don't need it and are appreciative enough of the opportunity to just see the mouse. We don't really care where we sleep.
5. And most importantly, no credit. This is all cash and whatever we decide to bring for spending money while there is all we will spend, that's it.

So to do this I have to cut some corners and think a little differently. Anybody else interested in a challenge? So I thought it would be fun to post some of the ways our family is saving money and links that I have found to be helpful.

Money Saving Mom
This website has inspired me to spend less money on groceries. I am learning how to "CVS" and remembering how to cut coupons. This woman has a family of 6 and spends $40 a week on groceries. There are just 3 of us here and I spend WAY more than that. I am pleased to report that I saved $40 by using coupons on my last shopping trip.

I wasn't even close to only spending $40 but a girl has to start somewhere :-)

CVS Store Circular
I have been studying these and doing the math to determine how to get "free money" and still only purchase things that I actually need. Last week I earned $11 in "free money."

Okay that was a long post but I will be back soon with a crafty post. I am working on a LO and a mini and should have photos of both soon.

As always thanks for stopping by and if you have any questions I'll do my best to answer them!

RAK Winner!

GLOANN said...
That's a great boy LO! I'm always looking for ideas for those since I have two little grandsons! Would love to win the Swiss Dots folder.

August 17, 2009 12:14 PM

Gloria email me your addy to kck182 at comcast dot com and I'll get this in the mail to you!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A LO and A Giveaway!

So it's been awhile since we have done a RAK here on the blog and guess what I found...

While using my Cuttlebug last night I found my missing Swiss Dot Folder. I had bought another one since after a serious clean fest, I was still unable to locate it. So I thought I would share this extra one with a lovely blog reader. Just comment below if you are interested in the giveaway...and if you have it already and just want to say hi that's okay too!

Below is a scraplift of the wonderful Lisa Truesdell's LO of the week on the Studio Calico Blog. You can see it here.

I have been a huge fan of her work for awhile now and am always excited to new LO. Thanks for the inspiration Lisa!

We don't go out to eat often, mostly only on vacation in Disney and the occasional trip to Chili's since they do a good job preparing Colin's food. It's just too hard sometimes and the other times that it's not that hard, I'm just not up for the possibility of someone making a mistake. So needless to say, Colin hasn't had a ton of experience learning how to behave in a restaurant. So if you are ever out and about and see a monkey who swallowed a Mexican jumping bean that's probably us and I apologize in advance :-)!
Happy Saturday everyone and I will keep the giveaway open to Monday or so. Take care and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 14, 2009

So I Guess I Was Taking A Break...

from blogging. Things really haven't been that busy but for some reason I have been pretty tired lately. I have loads of photos to share but wanted to make sure that I let you know that today is Design Team day at the Collage Press Blog. Be sure to head on over for your chance to win a paper pack. I can't tell you how much I love working with this stuff so I will be crossing my fingers that you get a chance to win. Here's my additions to this month's gallery. I finished these the weekend I was at CKC Valley Forge and finally get to share them!

Well that's it for today, thanks for stopping by today and have a great weekend!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quick Post and New LO...

Just wanted to stop by and say hi! Hope everyone is enjoying beautiful weather this weekend. We have a full weekend planned that includes lots of time outside. But before I go I wanted to share a new LO. A few weeks ago Colin dressed himself before going to school. I agreed with his choices as long as I got to take a few photos. See a win/win. So when Cosmo Cricket released the boyfriend line and it included that cute little clothesline, I knew I wanted to use this photo.


That's it for now. Enjoy your weekend and remember to take lots of photos!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So Apparently We Have A Baby...

Colin decided yesterday that he wanted to bring home a baby from school. He told his grandparents that she was in his playroom but she was very shy. He would go in to see if she would come out. He went into his playroom, closed the door behind him and when PaPa went in to see what he was doing he asked that no one come in since he was trying to get her out. He comes out of the playroom a few minutes later and states that she is too shy to come out and that maybe he would try later.

(Hopefully you realize by now that Colin has his first imaginary friend/baby and that we aren't randomly taking daycare babies home with us and locking them in the playroom).

Delanie did however come out for bathtime and needed her own bath, help with brushing her teeth, her own PJ's, and her own spot on the bed. Colin very lovingly carried the baby to bed and picked out a stuff animal for her to sleep with.

This evening was complete with jealously that the baby was sleeping too close to me and that Colin couldn't sleep because the baby was being too loud.

He was very concerned that the baby was going to make him late for swim day today. We had to feed the baby breakfast this morning and make sure she was buckled into the van right next to Colin.

I think my favorite part of this whole thing is that he knows he is being silly when he asks me to buckle the baby in yet he giggles when I actually do it like I can see her too.

I love that he thinks I'm the crazy one, lol!

So when did your child's imaginary friend pop up and were they a same age peer or a seemingly sly request for a sibling.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm Back and I Have Lots to Share...

Hey ladies how are ya?!
Let me just start this post off by saying that things are going really well in the Faust household and I am the most relaxed that I have been in a long time. It's very possible that may change but I wanted to post it so I remember that it was real, lol!

On to the important stuff!

I had to do a little searching but I found the link to where I purchased my Thicker Storage Container in the previous post.

Here's the link at the Office Depot website. I was able to buy this in the store but recently our Office Depot closed so I don't know how many stores are still around. Thanks for the comment Anjanette, trust me I understand how imperative it is to get an answer when you find the thing that feels like it will solve a Thicker emergency! Hopefully you are able to find it soon!

And I also wanted to give a shout out to erink88 and say thank you for loving my blog! I am working on my photoshop post about how to take photos of LO's. I hope to post that this week.

So have you guys seen this?

Oh my gosh, I can't even explain to you how excited I am to see the rest of this release. So stinkin' excited!

I also want to share a little about my trip to Valley Forge this weekend. So I helped with about 8 classes this weekend including 4 for Creating Keepsakes and Papercrafts. I will say that they CK and PC classes were really well done and the products in the kits were the most current. I was truly impressed with both sessions and how well prepared the teachers were. I have to say that the best one was Susan Opel's class that she taught for Paper Crafts. You can definitely tell that she was a teacher in a past life and did a great job keeping the class on track with the materials. She even had me thinking about making a few cards, lol.

Since it's late I will keep the rest of this short. Some other highlights from this weekend include....
-Shopping with Cassie and getting some dinner at the Mall.
-Running into other CKMBer's and getting to catch up a bit.
-Staying up late in the hotel scrapbooking and watching Comedy Central.
-Shopping at King of Prussia Mall, okay mostly eating.
-Getting my teeth whitened since I had about an hour to kill before going to the crop. Gotta love all of the stuff that pops up in a mall these days!
-Getting an extra issue of the July Issue of CK at the Send Off Crop.
-Everyone else getting copies too and some very lovely ladies asking me for my autograph. *blush*
-Sitting with some lovely ladies who made me laugh and welcomed me into their group.
-Realizing that I NEED to buy a new printer. A Cannon, large format, 9000 series to be exact. During the show they had some Cannon reps demoing their stuff at the crop. I figured that I would bite. I had my thumb drive with all 3000 of my photos on it. The rep printed that fabulous photo of Colin flying that vintage plane at Knobels. imagine that as a 13 by 18 print on high quality glossy photo paper. was that good. I think they sold quite a few of those printers that night.
-Finishing 2 Collage Press LO's that I hope to share soon.

All in all it was an awesome weekend that provided some much need rest, made a dent in my scrapbook stash and allowed me to hang with other women who are just as passionate about this stuff as I am. Life. Is. Good.

Now if I can just find a frame....