Shoot and Edit: week 51 edit

My edits for this week ...

For the plane shot, I used Ashley's Nice & Easy action tweaking layers to taste. Cropped the photo to remove the light posts and added a vignette.

Week 51: New Year 1 edit

For the observation deck photo, I again started with Ashley's Nice & Easy action. Merged all layers. Then used the Gold Glory action from Momaziggy's Jewel Tone Wash Collection, again adjusting the layers to taste, to add a warmer feel.

Week 51: New Year 2 edit

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Shoot and Edit: week 51

Last Friday, the weather was gorgeous so Dylan & I headed to RDU's Observation Park to play and watch airplanes. He had a great time in the sand box while I got a chance to experiment with the new 55-200mm lens my dad gave me for Christmas. I had a hard time choosing one photo this week so I'm sharing two here.

It was fun being able to finally zoom in better on the planes! (My other lens is 18-55mm.)

Week 51: New Year 1 SOOC
ISO 100, ss 1/250, f5.6

And, I played around with a number of shots of the observation deck. Need to experiment further to get the flare how I want it, but still liking this shot:

Week 51: New Year 2 SOOC
ISO 3200, ss 1/1000, f5.6
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Knitting Needle Roll

My mom started knitting again a couple of years ago. She's made a number of beautiful items including sweaters and hats for Dylan. For Christmas, I decided to make her a Knitting Needle Roll to store some of her needles and other tools in.

Rolled up.


Flap lifted back
I used this tutorial from the blog at Warehouse Fabrics Inc. Be aware that the tutorial was based on fabric in 54" and 56" widths. Plan to buy slightly more fabric if you use 44" width like I did.

Supplies: fabric; Coats & Clark thread; velcro; American Crafts ribbon; D-rings.


Saying Goodbye

After Cali's safe return to us a week ago, I breathed a sigh of relief and was ready to move on to Christmas celebrations. Sadly, things turned bleak again just a few short days later. Friday night Trent & I realized that something wasn't quite right with our other cat, Chester (his paws grace the banner at the top and inspired the name). After a quick online search and a phone call to a friend, Trent took him to the emergency vet closest to our home. Our initial thoughts, and the vet's, was that it was simply a case of a blockage in his urinary track and he should be home by Christmas Day.

I was shockingly calm and collected as I put him in the carrier for Trent to take him as well as when Trent returned home later. It wasn't until a call at midnight, just 2 hours after he had left our house, that things began to take a different turn. I won't go into the details. Suffice to say, as we learned more, it became more evident the path we should choose. We loved him immensely, but didn't want him to physically suffer more as well as, selfishly enough, us to suffer more emotionally or financially. We are grateful for the staff at the emergency vet. Grateful we noticed something soon enough that his pain could be managed in his last hours. Grateful we got to spend some time holding, rubbing, and talking to our sweet boy. Telling him much he was loved and how sorry we were that we wouldn't have more time with him but how blessed he was to get the best gift this Christmas - the gift of Heaven.

There are so many things we will remember about him ... his loud purr, his pokey-paws, how he loved to snuggle in our bed on cold nights, the way he'd lay across my hands at times while I was trying to type on the computer or walk back & forth in front of the monitor leaning his head toward me for a kiss, the way he'd sit in Trent's lap and hug his leg ... and so many other little details.

He was sorely missed yesterday and will continue to be. Each of our cats has their own stocking with a small frame ornament attached. I removed Chester's on Christmas Eve and hung it on our tree. He will be with us in memory especially in that simple way each Christmas season. Rest in peace our sweet boy. Thank you for ten and a half wonderful years.


Shoot and Edit: Holiday Traditions edit

I loved Dylan's smile, but disliked the darkness of my SOOC shot this week. For my edit, I started with Ashley's Nice & Easy action - adjusting the layers to taste. Merged all. Then used The CoffeeShop Blog's Storybook Vintage action to give the image a softer, warmer look.

Week 50: Holiday Traditions edit
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Gift Idea: Fat Quarter Bag

With a couple of fat quarters and coordinating ribbons, I made these cute bags for my nieces by following a tutorial at Make & Takes. They turned out so cute I almost wanted to keep them for myself! They are large enough to use for a bag to tote dolls and other treasures or as a purse.

Supplies: Heather Bailey fabrics; Coats & Clark thread; grosgrain ribbon.


Shoot and Edit: Holiday Traditions

One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking ginger snaps. I let Dylan "help" me last year (mostly play next to me with a bowl of flour - see Day 14). Yesterday, he was much more hands on. Donning his craft apron and standing next to me on a chair. He helped pour ingredients and even do a little hand mixing of the flour & spices (without too much of a mess!).

I decided to use this photo this week simply because it does capture our fun and, amazingly, he really did look at the camera & smile! Maybe I've taken too many photos? He definitely shies away whenever he can so this was a big moment. I dislike the darkness and hope to brighten it up during my editing later this week.

Week 50: Holiday Traditions SOOC
ISO 3200, ss 1/80, f5.6
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Saturday night, after a fun party with friends and Dylan tucked into bed, Trent & I realized something wasn't right. Both of our cats "disappear" when Dylan is around, but usually show up during nap times and after he's gone to bed. Chester was with us. Cali was no where to be found. We literally turned our entire house upside down looking. We realized she must have slipped out the door on us and I went out into the cold to look around our yard and call for her. Nothing. To say that was a restless night for me would be an understatement.

Flyers - grateful to have been able to pull these down!
Sunday I spent the entire day emailing neighbors, knocking on doors & handing out flyers to other neighbors, posting online notices, searching alone and with Trent & Dylan as well as making a visit to the county animal shelter. Around 5 I had a gut feeling that I should go look again and was about to do so when Trent told me a lady had just called saying she had seen a cat marking Cali's description on Saturday evening - a slight ray of hope! But further searching and knocking on doors afterward ended empty handed again.

Dylan (right) and friend searching. No, she wasn't in these mailboxes. ;)
Yesterday, started off with me searching our yard and calling for her. Once the temperature was above 40, I strapped Dylan into his stroller, bundled up, and we went searching again. We bumped into one of his 2.5 year old neighborhood buddies and grandfather out for a walk looking for her as well - so blessed we were to have friends helping us!! After an hour and all of us cold, we began walking back to our homes. I knocked on a couple more doors I had previously missed down the street from us. After her sighting in the neighborhood behind us, my focus had been there. I spoke to one man who was home with his son. Nothing then, but within an hour this man would be the one to call and tell me he thought he saw her go into his neighbor's backyard! A neighbor I never met before yesterday. A true Christmas blessing. I retrieved my sweet, scared girl from under a grill. Tucked in behind the gas tank and under a grill cover - a safe spot from the elements. She relaxed in my arms immediately.

Finally home!!
We're all so relieved to have her home. She and Chester are still readjusting (I guess he had gotten used to being *the* cat of the house in her absence). Otherwise we're pretty much back to normal. I am so grateful for that and that I can finally answer the question Dylan repeatedly asked on Sunday, "Mama, where Calicat go?"


Gift Idea: Fabric I Spy Book

I feel like I'm swimming in fabric remnants from various sewing projects. I've searched Pinterest for ideas of what to do with them. One idea shared on Skip To My Lou was to create a Fabric I Spy Book. Following the tutorial, I created this book for Dylan with a mix of solid and pieced fabric squares:

Pages 1-2
Pages 3-4
Pages 5-6
Pages 7-8
Pages 9-10
I am pleased with how it turned out, but, I confess, if I make another, I might try changing it up a bit to relocate the closure tab to the far side of the fabric square adjacent to the cover. This way all the pages could be folded to the inside and a spine created. Following the tutorial, my book ended up with "spine" side being open so it does not remain fully closed when fastened.

Supplies: fabric remnants; freezer paper; thread; velcro.


Shoot and Edit: Bokeh Lights

I wasn't happy with my Bokeh shots of the tree in our house, so I ventured out into the cold last night to take a few photos of the little tomato cage tree Dylan & I created last week for our front porch (idea on Pinterest here).

Week 49: Bokeh SOOC
ISO 3200, ss 1/60, f5.6
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Shoot and Edit: Holiday - Christmas edit

Another quick & easy editing week as I was pretty pleased with my SOOC shot. I used Ashley's Nice & Easy action - adjusting the layers to taste. Then added a vignette via steps in this video.

Week 48: Christmas edit
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And, many thanks to all who voted for my SOOC shot as best of November


Gift Idea: Decorated Sketchpad

Since I was making a gift for my sister last year, I thought I should make my brother's as well. The first half of his gift was a sketchpad I decorated. It was inspired by Mod Podged Notebooks at the Crafting Chicks.

Supplies (minus the masking tape - honestly not sure now why I had that out!)
I scanned in a photo of him from the early 90s. Edited it in Photoshop using Totally Rad Bitchin B&W and Coffeeshop Vintage actions. Printed it onto white cardstock. Then I roughed up the edges with my edge scraper.

I used Mod Podge to adhere a patterned paper I had cut to size and the photo to the cover. Then added another layer on top to seal it all.

The completed sketchbook:

Supplies: sketchpad; Cosmo Cricket patterned paper; white cardstock; Making Memories edge scraper; Mod Podge.


Christmas Lights

We've had a pretty typical North Carolina late fall here - cold enough for a coat, hat & gloves one day and warm enough for short sleeves the next. Yesterday fell into the latter category. Dylan & I spent a good bit of time outdoors enjoying the warm 70 degree temps and sun in the afternoon. After dinner, all 3 of us did my favorite thing on a warm December evening - took a walk to look a Christmas lights. To me it's so much more relaxing and enjoyable than driving. Dylan loved every moment, he kept exclaiming, "more lights! More lights!"

Here are two of my favorite SOOC (well, minus cropping) shots from our walk ...

Did you spot the airplane in the first one? Loving the cross one neighbor put in their yard. It looks especially gorgeous lit up at night casting a large shadow on the house behind it.


Wedding Card & Ornament

I made the card and gift I gave to my sister and husband this weekend. I kept the card simple using a piece of elegant patterned paper from American Crafts. Handwrote the sentiment. And used an ink pad to color the chipboard heart.

Supplies - card: Recollections card & white cardstock; American Crafts patterned paper; Micron black pen; Making Memories chipboard heart; Stampin' Up! ink pad.

The gift idea came from this post. I cut their wedding invitation into small strips, curled them around a pencil and added to a clear ball ornament. I added a few strips of complementary cardstock as well to help fill the ornament entirely. Then finished it off with a satin ribbon bow and tie.

Supplies - ornament: clear ornament; ribbon; wedding invitation.


Shoot and Edit: Holiday - Christmas

I took this photo before my sister's wedding on Saturday. The sanctuary looked so beautiful in the late afternoon light.

Christmas SOOC
ISO 3200, ss 1/30, f5.6
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Shoot and Edit: Thanksgiving edit

I ran through this edit pretty quickly last night with the help of a couple of actions...
  • Ashley's Nice & Easy action - adjusted layers to taste;
  • HDR action minus the HDR_for_Dummies2 portion - I only used the shadow portions, as I didn't like what the other part did to the photo;
  • added a new Hue/Saturation layer and adjusted;
  • rotated the image (not too unusual for me - my shot was crooked! Sure the subjects were straight, but we were on an incline and it was pretty obvious distraction to me to see the white house in the background tilted.) and cropped.
Thanksgiving edit
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Gift Idea: Root Beer Reindeer

It's December 1st so I'm turning the page to Christmas. Here's a fun gift idea for you. I came across Root Beer Reindeer at Betty Crocker Wannabe blog last year. I immediately marked it as a "to make" for my sister. She has loved IBC Rootbeer since we were kids and used to have (maybe still does?) a huge collection of bottle caps from the drinks.

These were so fun and easy to make. And, best of all, she got a good laugh out of the gift (not to mention some tasty drinks if she'll ever crack them open!).

Supplies: six-pack of IBC Rootbeer; 10mm googly eyes; pipe cleaners; 10mm red pom poms.