March 31, 2013

Blog Hops & Facebook (have you read Facebook’s terms)?

I heard some alarming news on one of my blogging networks last week.  A blogger had posted they participated in a blog hop and after leaving a message on someone’s Facebook timeline asking for a follow back and/or to like their page, their Facebook account was suspended for thirty days!  To be fair, I do not know this person, nor am I familiar with their Facebook activity, so I can not be sure of the actual reason for suspension.  However, for the sake of this post, let’s explore the possibility that it was related to their timeline post.

March 28, 2013

4 Free Customizable Photo Bookmarks (to print)!

I’ve got a little something different for you today!  Customizable photo bookmarks!  The template is a .psd file and can be opened in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.  It is an 8.5 x 11 inch wide template and includes 4 different designs.  Each bookmark contains frames for 3 images to be inserted into.  The images of my samples were printed on HP 8.5 x 11 premium soft gloss photo paper.  I recommend using photo paper for best results as you want them to be thicker and more durable than your standard paper.  

March 27, 2013

Managing your social networks (how many do you belong to)?

I don’t know about you, but I can get overwhelmed sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) when it comes to networking especially belonging to 13 social networks.  No, that’s not a typo.  I belong to 13 social networks (see below).  Using them to meet new people with common interests and to maintain existing relationships/friendships is, although fun, VERY time consuming.  Before I know it, I’ve been on my computer for hours (headache from staring at a bright screen and hand cramps from continuous typing included).  Just when I think I’m finished and am about to log out, I still have to link up my most current blog post.  I’m tired just thinking about it.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to copy your blog post url and paste it into a message that, once sent, would get distributed across all of your social networks at the same time?  You know, sort of like magic.  You do believe in magic right?  Well, I certainly do which is what prompted my search for something that would, for the love of God, help me do just this!

March 26, 2013

Welcome to Like Me on Facebook Wednesday!

Welcome to Like Me on Facebook

Would you like to be the next Co-Host?

Educational Toy Recommendations

First, I’d like to invite you to join the Like Me on Facebook link up I’ll be Co-Hosting tomorrow with The Naptime Review.  If you want to increase your Facebook likes, then come party with us!   Feel free to check it out in advance!

March 24, 2013

Button Swap Anyone!

It’s that time again and I just have to ask…
Do you want to swap bloggy buttons?  You know, I’ll post your button in my sidebar and you do the same for me!  A little like scratching each others back I guess!  If you are interested, feel free to drop me a comment and we can discuss.  My buttons are readily available on my buttons page in a variety of sizes.  If, however, you need a different size just let me know and I’d be happy to customize it for your site.  Just be sure to contact me first so that I can grab your button as well!  

March 23, 2013

NEW Vera Bradley collection at Tiny Prints!

You've got to check this out...the new Vera Bradley Collection from Tiny Prints.

You know Vera Bradley for their colorful bags, totes, luggage and more. They are known around the world for their dazzling colors, playful patterns and stylish designs.

Now, you can buy stationery with Vera Bradley-inspired designs from Tiny Prints. Check out some of the awesome designs below.

March 21, 2013

HTML to insert images into your posts!

You know when my bloggy life changed?  The day I realized I should be using html to insert my images into posts. 

I was having some major issues with the insertion of images into my posts.  Whether I used my hosting server (Blogger) or blogging tool (Windows Live Writer), the image quality always suffered.  It used to drive me absolutely bonkers!  There is nothing worse than spending the time to process a beautiful image just to have it be compressed during insertion.  The scary thing?  I was even resizing my images and saving them as maximum quality .jpgs thinking it would make a difference!  You would think resizing them would negate the servers necessity to decrease the image file.  Unfortunately this is not the case and they were still being compressed.  Do you know what happens to an image during compression?  Pixellization (I promise, it’s a word).  In a larger image, the pixels are difficult to see since there are more of them and they are smaller.  With compression, you start to lose pixels and they become larger (and more visible).  This usually results in a block type appearance which can be confused as an out of focus image.  And let’s face it, there is nothing worse than a blurry/fuzzy image especially when your subject is a person.  Is it too much to ask that my blog readers see the beautiful, crisp, un-pixelated (okay, I’m not sure if this one’s a word) images I see in my photo editing software?  I don’t think so.

March 20, 2013

4 free grunge frames for PS and PSE!

I have a little something different for you today!  I designed some new  frames in Photoshop!  Unfortunately I didn’t have any new pictures to use for my examples, but I wanted you to see them in use.  They are .psd files that can be opened in PS or PSE and are 850 px wide.  Once you open the file in your software, all you have to do is click on the ‘PLACE PHOTO HERE’ layer and go to File / Place to insert the image of your choice from your computer!  Hope you like them and if you are interested in some other goodies, be sure to stop by my Freebies page!

March 19, 2013

Just 1 picture of my baby!

I’m so excited!  She did pee pee in the potty yesterday!  She asked to sit on the potty which she’s done many times before.  Mostly she just sits on it and doesn’t go but I love the interest she’s been showing.  Yesterday, however, she was all business.  The minute she sat down I could hear her going.  I jumped for joy and smothered her with kisses!  Throughout the day I had randomly asked her if she’d like to try going on the potty again, but she didn’t seem too interested.  I explained to her that she went in the potty one time yesterday and that today it might be fun to try going two times (as I held up two fingers for her).  I figured once she went twice, than I would offer some type of reward.  I promised her a call to Santa and the Easter Bunny to make sure they knew how good she had been.  She loves to listen to me talking to Santa (yeah, it’s not my first time talking to Santa)!  My plan is to get her to go in the potty one more time than she did the day before until eventually she is only using the potty.  Not sure how it’s going to turn out, but I have high hopes and a lot of faith that she can do it.  We’ll see.  I’ll try to keep you posted and let you know if it works!

March 17, 2013

Make eyes pop in Photoshop! (video tutorial)

Are you looking for a quick and easy way to make eyes in your images pop?  If so, I have a great video tutorial for you today!

Duration: 11 minutes
Software: Photoshop CS6
Level: Beginner-Intermediate

Touches on the following topics:

- duplicating layers
- dodge/burn tool
- layer opacity changes
- using filters (unsharp mask)
- creating layer masks
- inverting masks (to reveal effects)
- brush tool (using white to reveal)

March 14, 2013

2 free phone applications for the kids!

As I sit here typing this post, my little one is using the Talking Tomcat 2 phone application.  For those that aren’t familiar with this application, it is a freaking riot!  It allows you to talk to an animated cat that will repeat everything you say in a munchkin type voice.  I think my tot thinks she’s having a two sided conversation with it when all it’s really doing is just copying her.  She keeps telling it everything she is doing.  As funny as the application is, though, I wouldn’t recommend it to children of all ages. 

With the touch of a button you can make a dog come into the room and, how can I say this nicely, release gas as the poor cat rolls his eyes and grabs his nose in disgust.  If that’s not enough, it also promotes some serious violence.  You can tap him on different parts of his body like you are hitting him.  Sometimes, depending on how hard you tap the screen, he can be knocked out.  Other buttons include having a dog hit the cat with a pillow and smashing a cake in his face!  With all that said, this is NOT one of the applications I am recommending to the younger kiddies but for the older ones and adults out there that could use a laugh, you’ve got to download this immediately!

March 13, 2013

Silliness with my phone camera!

I’m going to overwhelm you with phone pictures today!  It wasn’t really my plan but, before I knew it, my image gallery was busting at the seams with image randomness (some of which I don’t even remember taking).  Apparently I use my phone camera more than I thought.  I’d start to wonder if people were finding me obnoxious but luckily I only snap photos of the family and they are pretty used to me being attached to some sort of picture taking device (whether it be my DSLR or my Android)! 

March 12, 2013

Tone your images in Photoshop! (a video tutorial)

I don’t know how you prefer your images, but I usually like mine to have a lot of contrast.  I’m not talking about so much that the whites and blacks in the image have lost their detail, but I do like to make the shadows and highlights really pop!

Then there are times that I just want to tone everything down.  Do you ever feel that way?  It was taking me awhile to figure out why I wasn’t completely happy with the processing of an image but then it was like a light bulb went on over my head and I was certain of the look I was going for!  I know toning can mean a different things when it comes to photography so the type of toning I am speaking of is when the overall colors/shadows/highlights of the image blend together to create a smoother appearance.  I guess the opposite of the toning I am speaking of would be less contrast. 

March 11, 2013

Some camera applications (oh, and a freebie)!

I know what you’re thinking.  Have some freakin’ instagrams right?  I’ve been having fun with some new phone applications!  It’s funny that even with all the new applications I’ve tried, I still revert back to Line Camera.  It has so many great features and I find myself using the clear effect on almost all of my phone pictures.  It’s great at boosting the quality of the image especially for people that have, excuse my language here, CRAPPY phone cameras!  If you are interested, some other great camera applications are:

March 10, 2013

Want to make your own storyboard?

No problem.  Since I’m always creating storyboards/collages for my readers, I thought it would be fun to share my knowledge so that you can create your very own!  It’s actually pretty simple.  My recommendations for viewing this video tutorial at its maximum quality are:

1. Make sure the volume is up on the video.
2. Make sure the volume is up on your computer.
3. Change the viewing quality to 720p HD (the first button/icon on the bottom right side of the video).
4. Use the large player on YouTube (the fourth button/icon on the bottom right side of the video).  Viewing at full screen tends to look a little blurry/fuzzy.

March 7, 2013

Dijon maple chicken anyone?

Can I get a “HELL YEAH”?

I have a little something different for you today.  I recently made a chicken recipe for the family this past week and it came out great!  After searching my Pinterest boards for the pin, I realized that apparently it didn’t come from there.  And the sad thing is, I have no idea of the source to give credit.  From my print out, however, it does read:

“I adapted this recipe from The I heart Trader Joe’s Cookbook”.  So, I guess that’s a little something.  Of course I don’t know who the original poster was.  It’s way too good not to share though, so here it is:

Image Editing Tutorial 2 (Photoshop CS6)

See.  I told you I’d be posting another video tutorial.  I’m proud to say this one is only 20 minutes long!  I improved by a whole 10 minutes!  Go me!  In case you missed my last video tutorial, you can find it HERE.  Before I leave you, I have a few recommendations for viewing this video at it’s maximum quality.

1. Make sure the volume on the video is up (second icon/button from the right at the bottom of the video).
2. Make sure the volume on your computer is up.
3. Be sure to view in 720p HD (second icon/button on the left at the bottom of the video).
4. Viewing it with the large player, instead of full screen, comes in more crisp & clear (fifth icon/button on the left at the bottom of the video).

March 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday (sort of)

A wordless Wednesday in Instagrams!  Image descriptions don’t count as words do they?

From left to right:
1st row – Livi sleeping on Daddy (and hiding from Mommy).  She didn’t want her picture taken anymore. / Livi with Nana playing with her toy cupcakes (but she calls them muffins). / Someone bought these beautiful flowers for my sister.
2nd row – My beautiful mommy. / My nephew’s birthday cake. / A lighting fixture I happen to love! (Yes, random, I know).
3rd row – My girl Carrie from Sex & the City (did it really need explaining)? / Hungry hungry hippo. / Patching Livi’s eye before bedtime.

It’s not your birthday!

I was doing the laundry the other day and Livi happened to spot a hat on the shelf above my washing machine and dryer.  It was a hat shaped like a birthday cake with one candle sticking out of the top and read “fun to be 1”.  Yeah, I had bought this for Livi’s first birthday.  Of course, then, it was a tad BIG for her little noggin so she wasn’t really able to wear it.  Now at the age of 2 1/2, it fits perfectly.  Not even tight either.  She absolutely loved it!  When I tell you I couldn’t get her to take that hat off, that would be putting it mildly.  She didn’t even want me to touch it.  It didn’t matter if she had it on backwards or not.  She walked around the house singing birthday songs, telling me it was her birthday, and that we were going to a party!  That hat entertained her for the entire day.  I’m lucky I got it off before I put her down for the night.

March 4, 2013

An image editing tutorial (in Photoshop CS6)

I’ve received some inquiries about how I am editing my photos and I’d love nothing more than to share my process with those that are interested.  Of course, this was my first time recording a video on my computer so it was quite the experience. And can I be totally honest?  I sort of hate the sound of my own voice on video.  I feel like it doesn’t even sound like me.  Also, I apologize in advance for the background noise.  I recorded in complete silence but for some reason my video contains a little white noise.  I’m not really sure what it is.  All I can think of is that it may have been caused by the microphone.  It is also a whoppin’ 30 minutes long.  I know what you are thinking.  Boy what a snooze fest.  I didn’t mean to go on and on and on but let me just tell you how easy it was.  Seriously, I had more to say.  Thank heavens I chose to leave some things out.  I also tend to be a little repetitive, but I wasn’t sure how familiar with Photoshop my audience would be so I wanted to be sure to be thorough.  Anyhow, here are few pointers to view the video at its best quality.

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