Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When I grow up...

Apparently I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. You see, in my head I don't always feel like a grown up. I still see myself as a young person figuring out what they want to do. Don't get me wrong, I love my life. I love my husband and daughter and I love staying home. It gives me a lot of time to try things out. I learned how to knit, and I liked it but I didn't love it. I learned how to crochet and I liked that even more. However, I have learned I prefer to crochet for myself and not so much other people. 

I think maybe when you're afraid to say something out loud because it might not come true, that's when you know you really want it. Right now it's just a hobby but I've been thinking about going back to school. I want to learn how to do things the right way so when I do them the wrong way it will be because I like it that way and not because I didn't know any better. If I know how to do things I can CHOOSE to do them MY way. 

I will continue finding myself and maybe something else will come along, but maybe not. Maybe I have finally found the right path. Either way it's pretty exciting and I'm enjoying the journey! 

Thanks for your support and I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stuck inside a snow globe

About three years ago my grandmother got a snow globe of my cousin as a gift. He had taken a photo of himself arms outstretched, face to the sky trying to catch snowflakes on his tongue, cut it out and put it in one of those "add your own picture" snow globes. My grandma wanted me to get Hailey to do that so she could have one of her too. Well, at that time we were living in Texas and there was NO snow. Last year I got the picture of her doing that, but I couldn't find the snow globes anywhere!  This year I found the snow globes and decided to finally do it. I'm hoping that since MY memory isn't so great that my grandmothers might be even worse? Or maybe since time seems to go faster the older you get, maybe at her age it'll seem like she just asked me a couple of months ago? I can hope right? 

I had planned to use this photo I took last year with her arms out...

But it's from last year and I wanted something more current. So I *borrowed* this picture of my daughter from a friend. (See the previous blog on how to edit out things in the background.)

 I wanted to it to show on both sides of the snow globe. I hadn't decided if I was going to cut it to fit the globe yet, or cut around the photo so I had to make a mirror copy so they would line up when they were back to back. To do this I opened the photo in Photoshop, made a copy and then went to the "Image" menu at the top. I clicked on "image rotation" and then "flip canvas horizontal." Then I printed out both pictures, put then back to back and cut around the template that came with the snow globe. 

It's still not quite right because there is quite a bit of space where you insert the picture and you can see into it. I tried cutting a strip of paper, stuffing it with tissue paper but I think what I'm going to do is paint it from the inside. (see what I mean) 


That'll have to be a different day. I think since I found the snow globes pretty cheap I'm going to purchase some more and try the photo from last year, and try cutting around her so none of the background shows and see how they look. (I guess I didn't need to edit my husband out of the photo if I'm just going to cut around it anyway!) Oh well :) At least I learned how to do it!

If I get around to it I'll post an update with pictures...

Going, going gone! (The magic of Photoshop)

I've been teaching myself to use Photoshop for about 7 years now. A couple of times I have tried looking up a tutorial on how to do something specific, but mostly I just experiment and figure out how to do things by trial and error. I needed a photo of my daughter in the snow for a project but I only had a few to choose from. The one I liked the most wouldn't work because my husband is standing behind her....but what if I could erase him from the picture? So, this is what I did....

I opened a cute picture of my daughter that my friend Ally took yesterday...

I used the magnetic lasso to carefully trace around her

Then I went to the "select" menu and clicked on inverse.

This makes it easier to change the background without messing up the part of the picture you want to keep. The next step is going to take some practice. Click on the healing brush tool 

Then I selected a place in the snow to use to cover up my husband by pressing the alt button and clicking the spot in the snow I wanted to use.

Then I used it like a paint brush. ( I didn't have to be careful around my daughter because that part of the picture wasn't selected) 

I did have to be adjust my selection point several times and go over some spots multiple times to get them to look like snow. If you don't like how something turns out just click ctrl, alt, z together and it will take you back one step. (or go under the "Edit" menu and click "Step Backward.") 

Eventually you should be able to remove most of the image in the background that you don't want to show. Then you can do some adjustments (lightening, contrast, brightness, ect) to get it looking how you want it.

Once you are sure you don't need to do anything more to the background (because using the magnetic lasso again can be a pain!!) you can deselect the area so you can work with the entire photo again. I went around her hat and carefully removed any stray black. I did this by using the eyedropper tool and picking up the snow color right next to the hat. I fixed a tiny spot by painting over the black. Then I moved up and used the eyedropper again to select the color of the snow in that area right next to what I was fixing. This is important to do this each time since the color of the snow changes through out the photo and you don't want a noticeable halo around your subject. 

When you are done you can take the blur tool and go just around the edge to blur the edges where you painted. That way the color variations will blur together and look natural. 

The picture was looking pretty much like I wanted at this point but I wanted to see if I could make the colors pop just a bit so I ran some more adjustments on the entire photo. This isn't necessary but it's usually fun. But that is a whole different post!
So....we went from this....
To this....
To this...

(I'm sure with some more practice it would look even better. )
Obviously I'm not a professional. This was my first time editing a photo this way but I was so pleased that it worked I thought I would share my experience for the other novices out there :D
Feel free to share any tips, changes you would make or shortcuts you know of!

Next blog....the project this photo is for!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kaiserslautern Christmas Market

Saturday we went to the Kaiserslautern Christmas Market. We got there a little late and it was getting dark, and starting to rain before we left. I didn't realize how dark the pictures were coming out so you can't really see everything but I'll post what I have. There were a lot of food and gluhwein booths but not as much shopping as the other markets we've been to. There were a couple of rides for the children but being mean parents we didn't take Hailey on them. Mwahahaha!

The Kaiserslautern Market is open from November 21 - December 30 2011
Mon to Wed 10:00 – 21:00, Thu to Sat 10:00 – 22:00, Sun 13:00 – 21:00

Can't have a Christmas Market without Gluhwein...

More Chocolate balls!

The Nativity Scene

These nuts smelled like heaven!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa, Santa, ho ho ho!

Does your child believe in Santa? My daughter has gotten a letter from Santa postmarked at the North Pole every year and she loves it. She talks about him almost non-stop during the holidays. She has even gotten an e-mail from him the past two years (make your own)  and she lights up when he talks to her (from a safe computer screen distance away)... but try to get her to talk to him in person and you would think he was a serial killer coming to take all her toys away! We have no pictures of her with Santa for her first two Christmas's so either something horrible happened and I have blocked it out, or we didn't even try. (or both!) Here is a sampling of what we go through every year.

This took some coaxing, but not too bad. See how she is eyeing the present on the floor? 

And now she is maintaining a safe distance from Santa as she snatches her present. 

This photo took a lot of tears and approximately 2 hours to get, and although it appears we are right next to Santa, we are actually about 3 feet in front of him. She didn't speak to him at all. 

This was the same year, but a week or two later. She held my hand until we got right next to him but then she seemed happy to sit in his lap. We figured maybe it's because he looked more convincing? She also called him "Grandpa Santa"...he does kinda look like my dad ;)

This year she again wanted absolutely nothing to do with this Santa and since there were a ton of people in line behind us we had a very limited time to whimper next to Santa. She did give him a high five, but she wouldn't detach herself from my leg so I could try to take a photo of my own. 

It's Grandpa Santa again. She's smiling. There were no tears today so I guess that's progress! We did have to wander around the PX for an hour and a half until she agreed to go give him a high five. Once she got close to him she did told him what she wanted and sat with him for a photo. It made me happy anyway. She kept saying, "I'm shy mom!" I'm afraid by the time she outgrows this stage she won't believe anymore.

When she was done she asked where her present was. I couldn't figure out why she thought she would get her present from Santa today, but looking at the pictures from 2 years ago I think I figured it out. Who says kids can't remember things? Just the things you want them to remember right?

Are you children scared of Santa? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

They grow so fast you don't even notice it...

I have to confess that I did not take this one ^ but I did buy the disk!

To be continued....

"My entry to win a free Canon 5D Mk III via @CameraBag 2 ( #cb2giveaway"