Monday, August 30, 2010

Something to write about

Or actually I should something to write ON, not about.

I found this odd sized frame at Goodwill. (Boy I've typed that store name a lot in my recent posts) Since I didn't have a tape measure with me at the store, I hoped that it would be a size that would fit a print that I could order online. But of course, not so. It's only 9 3/4" tall and 27 1/4" long.

It didn't even have anything in the frame besides a cardboard backing. Oh and the paint was chipped in several spots.
It sat in my bedroom for a couple weeks, waiting for me to find it's purpose. It's reason for being. And I think I've done just that.

Instead of getting out the big can of black paint that I used to paint our dresser, I simply used a jar of black acrylic paint. Worked like a charm!

As for the contents of the frame. I thought it would make a good size for a custom dry erase board. I did a search for a blank calendar sheet. I found this one......blank calendar. Using photoshop I replaced the days of the week with a different font that I liked a little more. I couldn't really just use it as is right? Oh and added little boxes to write in the dates.

And then using scraps from my canvas wall art that would hanging across the hall from it, I decorated the rest of the background.

I hung it on the wall and then had the idea to attach some $1 wired ribbon from Michael's bargain ribbon bin to make the appearance of it being hung from it.

So what do you think?
In case you are wondering, the letters represent us....Stephen, Amber, and Brianna. My husband couldn't figure out what they were for. No clue! I might go back in and put miniature pics of us beside them. I haven't decided yet.

But for now, I have a fully function dry erase board that is customized to our needs. And can be changed if ever those needs change. I love things that aren't permanent. I have an addiction to changing and

With the completion of this project, my hallway isn't a blank slate anymore. Yay!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Can you spot the differences?

The idea for this post was inspired by a trip to the movie theater. As I was taking a shower to freshen up, I was trying to plan out what to wear in my head. I've been in a pretty schlumpy mood lately, with no where to really go. So I felt like dressing a little nicer than jeans and a tshirt. Just at that moment the outfit popped in my head. Oh I'll wear that outfit I wore when....blah blah....yea! That's it. Oh and I'll  make Stephen take a picture of me in it. No reason to waste a dressed up moment. Right? Oh...but wait. I had him take one the last time I wore it. Hmmm...what to do? Wait a sec! I had my hair cut since then...and I'll change it up a little. I'll post both pictures to show how important a hair cut can be to the overall look of an outfit....and how easy it would be to change one or two pieces to change the feel. Yea....that's what I'll do. :)

So without further ado....

So on the left it was pre-hair cut. (Thanks Cap'n Obvious!) My husband and I were headed out for a date night to a local comedy club. It was the first time I had put the outfit together. I'm usually an earrings and necklace type of gal. Without them, I feel naked. But this time, I couldn't come up with a suitable necklace. Insert black and white striped scarf tied similar to a man's tie. LOVE! And it wouldn't be complete if it showed at the bottom as well. So I only kept one button buttoned.
I felt fashion forward. For the moment at Some may or may not agree with me, but for the moment I was happy. So today I was wanting the same feeling. I'm usually the one out in public that wishes I looked like that woman over there. You know the one...the one that always looks so put together and polished. The one that makes you feel like a schlumpy mess.

So while I may have not uncovered a big fashion find...I feel good about it. And it's a little eery that I posed in just about the same exact pose the second time around.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Before and After with Pixel Perfect

Recently I stumbled upon a new really cool blog, Pixel Perfect.

And over there she has a really cool, reoccurring theme that she does. She asks people to post a before and after shot of a picture. You start with showing an SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot. And then to share the image after editing. I LOVE this idea! I love being able to see that you don't have to have the most perfect picture to start with, to get a really beautiful final picture! So here is my first time sharing a before/after post.

So here is a picture that I took of our dog, Tucker. He had been laying on the couch with my husband. So I reached for my camera to play around. I took several, but this one was at the beginning before I changed to better settings. But I still held on to it because of his cute face.

I shot the before picture with a Canon Rebel. And edited with Photoshop CS3.

I didn't use a flash and it was taken in manual mode, inside a dark room. Before seeing this challenge this picture sat in a folder most likely to never be touched again. It is dark, too yellow, and I had other shots that were closer to what I wanted. But I love the outcome.

A quick rundown of my editing process:
-duplicate background layer
-set new layer's blending mode to screen
-used color balance to take away some of the yellow and greens
-played with curves to lighten and add some blue tint
-added a texture, blending mode set to Hard Light at 58% opacity
-painted away texture from his face using a layer mask
-a little more playing with curves til I liked the results

Do you have any pictures that could use a little love?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Everyone Loves an Indiana girl

Today's internet adventure started with an e-mail from Flickr telling me that one of my contacts had uploaded new pictures. I usually don't browse around on flickr, but I make an exception when a certain contact of mine shares her pictures. You see...she lives in my home state of Indiana. And not only just in the same state, but very close to where I grew up. She takes pictures all around the countryside and shares them with the rest of the world via flickr. I can't quite recall how I came across her photostream, but I do know that I won't ever want to leave.

Stopping over to her photostream, I came across a photo that I fell instantly in love with!
She titled the picture, "Which way do I go?" As you can imagine, when the corn fields get to this height you can't see anything past the fields. I can not even start to say just how perfect this picture captures southern Indiana. I even asked her if I had per permission to save it as my computer's desktop. I added a little text and love looking at it every time I see my desktop.
Indiana's official state motto is: The Crossroads of America
After having to google the state motto, it gave me the idea to look for those funny slogan shirt that include the states. You know the ones. But the only thing was, was that I didn't ever remember seeing one made for Indiana. But after some searching I found one that I thought was cute, and that I would actually wear. (Some of them can be vulgar.)
Yep, that would be me. Only thing that I didn't agree with was the asking price. This particular one was $25, and saw a few others on another site that were even more. And that didn't include tax and shipping. I didn't need the shirt that I bad! It was then that I remembered that I still had some t-shirt transfer paper left. Now I just needed a shirt. Looking through my closet and dresser, I found one white shirt. Sadly it was not what I was wanting. It was the white shirt that I used for an undershirt. The kind that is a little bit too see through for my tastes. So off to WalMart. I found a v neck on sale for only $3! Hey that's so much better than $25!

After searching through my plethora of fonts, I was able to find the exact fonts they used for the design. And went to this site for an outline of the state. Although I did find the fonts that matched these perfectly, I chose to change the one for Indiana. Mine reminded me of Indiana University. Just seemed a little more "Indiana-like" to me.

So what do ya think?

I love it! And I didn't have to spend more that $3 and wait for it to be shipped to me. Cute and cheap! my kind of project!

Oh....if you were wondering..the fonts used were : Brody and Athletic...both were free fonts that can be found at Urban Fonts.

Oh yea..AND if you ever find yourself wondering what the countryside of southern Indiana looks like, feeling homesick, or just plain want to see some awesome pictures....head on over to Cindy's photostream. You won't be disappointed. And tell her Amber sent ya! ;)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another birthday

Well although my last birthday of my 20's just passed, this post isn't about that. This one is to celebrate our puppy, Tucker's, birthday. He turned the big ONE today. I didn't know if I wanted to post his story or not. Before having any animals, I would normally roll my eyes at the people that doted on their pets. I still try not to boast and brag, and keep my comments to a minimum. As not to bore non-pet people to tears. But I do want to share a few pics for those who would like to see them.

Last year, my dad and step-mother called to ask if they could give my daughter a puppy. You see...they breed miniature schnauzers in beautiful southern Indiana. (and of course a shameless plug for them...their site is here) We had been toying with the idea of a dog, but we both agreed that we weren't "big" dog people. As in that we wanted a small dog. Oh and no shedding. No shedding was a big requirement. This breed was perfect for what we wanted. They are small and hypoallergenic, and NO SHEDDING!! None. Whatsoever. Sweet!

My step-mom told me to go to her site to look at the new puppies that had just been born. And we fell in love........
Just look at tha' face!! We had already told them that we wanted a salt-and-pepper male. And he was the ONLY one in their next litter. All of his siblings were solid white like their mom. That's what I call fate. He was meant for us.

So they planned a road trip to bring him out to us. Without Brianna knowing, of course. We already had his name picked. So they had been calling him by it so he could start getting used to it as much as he could.

Fast forward 10 months, and he's now officially 1 year old. And still only a little over 10 pounds! When he was a puppy and everyone would ask how big he would get, we'd reply around 14 to 18 pounds. Guess he decided that was a little too much weight for We sure did get our small dog, huh?

So now to share some pics from between then and now.
The day he arrived at our house. So tiny!
One of my all time favorite pictures of him.
I have it framed in the house. :)
He's always been a curious dog.
This one reminds me of "The Dog"
Our own Bad Santa.
He went through this phase of wanting to sit in the wind let his fur blow around. Once I shared this pic with friends, a few mentioned how cool it would be for him to have a cape. So I did what every other photoshop junkie would do...... I added one of course.

So as for today, I didn't plan to do a whole lot. We bought him some new toys to replace all the ones he's torn up. And at the last minute I decided to make a party hat just for pictures. He was OH so thrilled!
I call this one
"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to"
What he really thought of the hat
"You're putting these on your blog aren't you?"
Happy 1st Birthday to our Tucker. aka Puppy Rabbit ....cause he tends to be a little hoppy :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Something old, something new

While I was driving one day....when we lived in NC.....I spotted an antique store with some old windows propped against the building. On my way home, I envisioned having a couple of them hanging on my bedroom as wall art. Of course I had it all mapped out in my head.

Almost a year passed by, and I still hadn't gone back to get the windows. I kept telling myself that they had a ton of them, and that they'd still be there when I was ready to get them. Even though I thought about them ALL the time.

I really loved the idea of having something unexpected on the wall. And to reuse something that had been overlooked by a lot of people.

And out of no where, my husband got orders here to Texas.  WHAT?? And leave the store that has the cool old windows???? What if I can't find a place that has them in Texas? I would be crushed! So 2 days before the moving company came to pack up our house I finally went back to that store. Looking at them up close, I fell even more in love. Although I had misjudged how big they were. From the road they looked small enough to have 2 on the wall. But in reality one was enough.

So it got packed up and moved here with us. I hadn't found the right place for it just yet. But I unearthed it from the landfill I call our garage, and saved it from the cobwebs that would have eventually found it.

And it just so happens that I had a wall decal that I hadn't used yet, that would fit perfectly in our room. But didn't want to put on the wall. And then it hit me......put the decal on the window and then hang it in our bedroom!! That works for me. While working on it , I got more and more excited. My vision of having an old window frame hanging on one of my walls was coming closer to being true.

I hammered on some picture hanging saw tooth thingys ( I don't really know the name of them and am being too lazy to google, adhered the decal after cutting it to fit each pane of the window, and hung it on the wall. 

I love the chipped paint, the random rope hanging from the left side, and the rusty metal closure. All of which give the piece it's character.

To finish off the look, I added a couple 99 cent store frames with pictures of the husband and I. They started off as "framed art". I measured the opening of the mat and printed out 2 pictures of us that my friend had taken of us. I then disassembled the cardboard back and masking tape to remove their art, and replaced it with our lovely faces. And re-taped the back on.  In my opinion, they don't look like $1 frames.

                                                                   Before and After:

And on top, I added my recent silhouette frame of us as well. I can't wait for the hubby to see it when he gets home from work. When he left this morning, only the window was up.

Lesson? Stop to see the beauty in things.....w/o having to refinish them. Sometimes leaving things as they are helps you to find the true beauty and appreciate them for what they are. An old, cool, discarded window art piece.

Linking up to Hooking up to HOH #17

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What I call lazy

Don't worry, this post is not about you. It's about me. But it's lazy in a good way.

I'm gonna try something a little different this post. I'll start with the finished product.
Cute, right? It's my husband and I in silhouette form. In April of 2009, I got the idea to make silhouettes for all three of us. I was working at a portrait studio at the time and was having our family pictures taken. My boss was taking them for us and I told him that I wanted him to take a profile shot of each of us for me to use. I then used the pen tool in Photoshop to outline our features and made some cool artwork for the wall.

Here they are framed in one of our old houses.

They have prominently hung in each home since then. Here at this house, they greet you at the front door. I love the colors I chose. Green and teal for me, pink and green for my daughter, and orange and navy blue for the hubby. (He's a Chicago Bears fan)

So knowing that I would most likely like to use them again, I saved the silhouettes in a .psd file so that I could still have the layers to play with later.

So on to the project at hand. The frame was found at Goodwill for $1.99. Where else? I bought quite a few things that

So I knew I wanted to add scrapbooking paper as the background, and that I wanted our silhouettes facing each other. But what I also knew was that I DID NOT want to cut them out by hand!! Uh way. Remember the lazy part? Yep! I also didn't want to chance messing something up by printing on the scrapbooking paper. And just then...a lightbulb moment. What about printing on a transparency? That would work right?

I was hoping that I would get a glare to show the transparency, but of course it came out crystal clear. I added the red outline in Photoshop just to show the edges.

Using the glass from the frame, I cut the paper and transparency to fit. Once the frame was reassembled, you couldn't even tell the transparency was there! Just one more small project that worked out in my favor. Meaning that I didn't spend a lot of money, or time...and it turned out right the very first time.

The only draw back of this project is that I wouldn't be able to use the transparency idea very well with frames larger than 8x10, since they are printed on 8.5" x11" sheets. Ahh well....hakuna matata.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Why didn't I think of that??

On the same trip to Goodwill that I've been  posting about recently, I found another object that I normally would have passed by without a second glance. Before being introduced to the wonderful world of DIY blogs, I would not have been able to see the potential in pieces that had been tossed aside by their owners.

So let me try to describe the piece. It's a square thick piece of black wood, with 9 evenly placed holes in the top. Got a mental picture of it? Let's see how well you did.

As you can see, it doesn't look like much. It's exactly how I described. A piece of wood with holes in it. But I snatched that thing up as if i had found a $20 bill on the In my mind I saw it being a candle holder. And possibly even spray painted with my favorite green spray paint. (Yes that would be the 2nd thing I picked up that day with the intentions of painting green. Do you have a problem with that?

On my way home, I stopped at my local Dollar Tree store to find a picture frame that I needed for this project. Of course, I can never walk out of that store without picking up more than what I went there for. But in this case, the extra item would soon be united with my piece of wood. By accident of course.

I don't have a picture of the first time I tried them together. The package only contained 6. So there were 3 holes left open. I pictured filling the 3 leftover holes with candles. I just hadn't gotten around to finding the perfect ones just yet.

That's when we had some friends over.  They are an artistic family that seem to enjoy seeing all my recent projects. At least that's what I've told's my excuse to show off my stuff and have people tell me they like it. :) So while explaining all the above to them, my friend Nick came up with an ingenious idea.

Go buy 3 more.
Spray paint 5 of them green.
Now play Tic tac toe!! OMG....really? Did he really just say that? How freakin' cool!

And this is how it will look while not being played with. LOVE it! Pretty and functional as a game. How could it be any better? Oh I would've been better if I could have thought of it. But I guess I'll just have to live with giving him the credit.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

While I'm at it...

After covering the canvases for my daughter's room, I went ahead and started on some slightly bigger ones for our hallway. These canvases were bought at the Dollar Tree.

They definitely needed help in order to belong in our house. But for $1? Oh yea, that's do-able. Doing the same process as when I made these, and but chic wall art.

But once hanging them on the wall, there was just something missing. Like the wall just wasn't complete.
While looking for something in the abyss we call the hall closet, I found  the perfect companions for this grouping. Two small iron sconces I bought from Family Dollar for $2 each. And yet it still seemed to need something else. But sorry, no picture of that step.

But in order to show you the finished wall, I need to share another of my adventures. (Ok so maybe it wasn't really an adventure per say, but I needed a cool word. :)

On my last trip to Goodwill, I found this mirror....
Although a little overpriced for Goodwill at $9.99, I couldn't pass it up. But it needed to be "Amberized". Not a lot of people would know what that would entail. But my closest of friends would probably guess that it involves my favorite color. And what came to mind at the time was the paint that I used in this previous project.
So I headed outside to spray paint the mirror and a few other smaller things that will be revealed at a later date.

And I got this......

I'm in LOVE! And I totally love that it's visible from the living room as well. Now if only I could camouflage the thermostat and light switch. But at least it's not a blank wall anymore.

A touch of fun

On my very first time at a Hobby Lobby store (don't judge me. I've never even seen one of these stores before moving here), Brianna and I did some shopping for some ideas I had around the house. A good friend gave me a gift card there for my birthday. And I can say it was one AWESOME idea!! She knew I'd love the store, and boy was she right! The store seemed to have so much more then Michael's. And there is so much pretty stuff that I seemed to oooh and ahhh all around the store.

First on my list was a bigger paper cutter. Once upon a time I had two, a 6in and one that I believe was 12in. But for the longest time, I haven't been able to find the larger one. So I picked up one of these, just in a different design I guess.
So then we were off to the scrapbooking paper aisle. Yes..a whole aisle! We picked up several sheets for a couple projects. We then browsed around the ENTIRE store! Looking at everything! Wanting everything! Oh, except for the fabric section. Being that I don't seemed like a real waste of time.

And that's when it happened. My daughter came across a section of vinyl wall decals. I have to admit, they were cute! We already have a couple in the house. One being in the entryway, and one in her room. So the idea of them wasn't new. Her favorite one was a chandelier. But all the walls in this house are textured. Super textured. So these decals don't stick very well. So at first I dismissed the idea and told her she couldn't get it. But all the while was trying to come up with a way we could get it. After all, it really was cute!

My first idea was to get a poster sized frame and adhere it to the outside. And what better than a 50% sale on frames! Great! That was until I walked past a stock pile of foam core. And it was a third of the price.

So on to the pictures. Not too long after getting home I started on what could be separated into 2 projects.
The first being covering small $1 canvases from Michael's with scrapbooking paper.

If only I had a boy's room to decorate.
I thought they were super cute,
 but wouldn't work in our house
Combine those with these...
And the combine white foam core with this....

(a cool vinyl wall decal w/ crystals), and you get this........

It couldn't have been simpler to cover the canvases with paper. I actually just used double sided tape. It worked wonderfully. Although they are starting to unfold a little on the backside, so I'll be going back and adding a little glue to stick the paper back down. But my daughter loves it, and that's all that matters...right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Someone's been a busy bee!

That someone would me! In the last week I've accomplished quite a lot around this quaint little house. Trying to make it feel like home for the time that we'll be here. (military move)  I have so many projects to share with you all, that it's a little overwhelming. So for now I'll share some photo teasers.

Are you sitting on the edge of your seat yet? Mwah ha evil plan starts.

Ok maybe it's not evil, but it sure feels good to be on this side ; )

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