Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding

My friend Katharine hosted a Royal Wedding themed dinner party. It was such fun; we wore hats, gave ourselves titles, had canapes, and watched the wedding. It could have only been more fun if we had actually been there!
 Katharine and I
(my friend Georgina lent me the hat...wasn't it perfect?!)
I brought the Bacon Butties 
(guests leaving the dance at the real wedding got these on their way out)
 the group
Katharine and (another) Kristen

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter, Birthday #1, and a Staycation

We celebrated in a big way last weekend: Easter egg hunt, Easter basket goodies, Easter Mass, Birthday Dinner (Caroline will be 5. F-I-V-E!!!), playing in the sprinklers, birthday cake, and birthday presents...and that was just from Saturday to Sunday! Matt and I came back home sans kids and had a staycation. We had a great time and enjoyed going to the outlets, eating in restaurants each night, and deep spring cleaning the house (all the things that kids make a little more difficult). I got the kids back today and love hearing about all the fun things that they did while at Nonna and Papa's (more on that later from guest blogger Caroline). 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Miss them!

We spent this past weekend at my parents and I have lots of great pictures to share, although with my newfound Photoshop love, it takes longer to get them blog-ready. For now, I'll share this cute one of the kids with my it!
My kids are spending a few days with my parents (and grandparents for that matter) and I miss them! While my house has never been cleaner (or clean for this length of time), I miss the sounds of playing and laughing. Cannot wait until tomorrow when I finally get them back!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Silhouettes Tutorial

I can't help myself...I can't stop making new things in Photoshop Elements. In case that isn't why you visit this blog, I've made a new page just for my photoshop escapades. Today's tutorial is about silhouettes. It is so easy to turn a profile picture into a silhouette. The button for the new page is over on your lower right {Photoshop for your Nest}. See you there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Graphics tutorial

 I am the last person who should be giving a tutorial, but I have to share with you how simple it is to make a graphic into a picture frame, which can then be used a blog header, button, or just to dress up your posts.
Here are my step-by-step directions and screen shots (they were made on a Mac, but nothing I am doing here is mac specific):

1. Find a graphic you love (the Internet is filled with free ones) and download it. The one I am using is from dry icons.
2. Open photoshop elements and the graphic you just downloaded.
3. Go to the bottom right under your layers. Click your layer and name it. See "lock" and a picture of a checkerboard? Click the checkerboard. Now, use the "quick selection tool" to highlight an area that you want to remove. I have better luck using a very small brush size.
4. Cut this portion {edit > cut}. You should now see the gray and white checkerboard pattern indicating that this layer has a "hole" in it.
5. Open a picture that you wish to use (edit it to your liking first).
6. Drag picture to the checkboard
7. Resize it to fit your frame.
  8. Send it to the back {layer > arrange > send back}.
  9. Flatten image
10. Add text if you like and flatten again (if you don't flatten the image when you are finished, you won't be able to save it as a jpeg file).

there are probably many ways to accomplish this for a project and they may in fact work better, quicker, and easier...but this is they way that I happen to know, so I use it. Let me know if it works for you (or if it doesn't!).

Photoshop Action Sets

I will start this post off by saying that I know little to nothing about Photoshop Elements. I downloaded the free trial a few weeks ago and immediately knew that I wasn't quite smart enough to figure it all out. It took a lot of reading up, online tutorials, and The Pioneer Woman (yes, she even figures into the equation outside of the kitchen...told you I LOVE her). Fast forward a few weeks and I have figured out a few things, found some really cool places for help, and don't feel quite so illiterate about the program.

In Photoshop Elements, you use layers to change, sharpen, and bring out colors. Action sets create and adjust these layers for you automatically. That is especially helpful in the beginning while you are learning (and by you, I mean me). Here is an original, straight-out-of-camera shot and the picture when action sets have been applied to it.

The action sets are fun and really help if you have a half-decent picture but terrible lighting. I've also removed scratches and bruises from faces, juice box squirts from tee-shirts, and ice cream from chins. 

Two great resources for action sets are The Coffee Shop Blog and The Pioneer Woman. I think the best instructions in how to install these come from Rita at The Coffee Shop Blog. 

All fonts used in the pictures come from Amanda. There are literally hundreds of fonts on her sites and they install very easily (click them once downloaded and they install themselves). 

Oh, one more thing...everything I've mentioned here is F-R-E-E! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Maybe, my baby

took me awhile (and the help of big sister Caroline) to decipher that "mybaby" means "maybe"

Monday, April 18, 2011

1000 gifts

I started a new book, 1000 gifts, and am feeling pretty grateful and reflective. It is a beautiful book and truly gets you thinking about your life and the blessings you've been given. Here are 6 of my 1000 gifts...

Thanks Doc and M for visiting us this weekend. Time spent with family is a gift (can I count that as number 7?).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just stay little

When Caroline was a baby, she wore lots of clothes from Carter's and many of the pieces had a saying on them; "just stay little". As a hormonal new mother, this line used to choke me up. Even holding my newborn, I had a sense that this was all going to go way to fast. There are some days that I am more than ready to enter into the next phase of life (the sassiness, messiness, whininess can wear on you) but then there are days like yesterday that I wish I could freeze. 
After school, the kids and I stayed and played on the playground. It is a beautiful area with trees and mulch and flowers...just lovely. It was one of those times where they all three played together, got along, shared snacks, and enjoyed being with one another. Fresh air and vitamin D sometimes are just what you need. On days like these, it was never more true that I wish they would just stay little.