Good Bye 2011

Its been fun but it’s time to look forward to fresh experiences, reach for more goals and meet new challenges.

Year End Wrap-up

My photos of the gender reveal party weren’t all that great. What a coinkydink, I just took a new Photoshop Elements course and I’ve been working on them this last week. I should have them up by this Monday or Tuesday at the latest. I didn’t use a flash and didn’t stop to check what was happening and they were a little dark and off in color. The lighting really was awful in that room.

Everyone was either looked like a zombie or had huge shadows around their eyes. ¬†Not a problem but it’s taking a bit of time to fix them. Yeah, I’m enjoying myself. ūüôā Otherwise, we had fun at the party and I can’t wait to share.

Let’s see, what else? Oh, yeah. I revised To Touch a Unicorn one last time (I swear!) and submitted it to a magazine a couple of days before Christmas. I’m still cringing over it but I promised a friend I would and I did. Wish me luck! Also, I started the sequel to the short story called Whispers of the Unicorns.

Hmmn. I finished up the Photoshop Elements course just after Christmas. I am not doing that again. What was I thinking to start a class just before the holidays? I ended up with a 94 on the final exam that I’m extremely happy with. The funny thing is I did great on the hard stuff and missed two simple questions. One question I still think was subjective but I’m not quibbling cause I got the hard stuff.

The last couple of lessons had some really cool stuff like denuding tigers and making polar bears disappear. It was a lot of fun but I felt so sorry for the poor tiger I gave his stripes back.  I gotta work on that technique anyway.

No goals were really set for this year.  I ended up 2010 sick and started 2011 sick.  January 2nd has not been good to us these past two years.  Resolutions were forgotten or not started because of that and Paul lost first his sister and then his uncle on January 2nd of 2010 and 2011. This year I am going to believe that January 2012 will be a month to remember for good things not sad.

But I can say that it has been a good year in spite of its rockiness and sad times. I went to my first con and met Terry Bane there. It took us over six months to hook up again but it’s been a pleasure to get to know her. Terry and her husband are role-playing gamers. Glenn actually designs his own games. They invited Tracey to play his new game and Terry told her she will be credited for that. She plans to join another session with them early in January.

Health wise I finally managed to kick the virus that hung of for so long to the curb. ¬†All I gotta say is Sage tea is awesome, if you’re congested it’s the way to go. Green tea is a great substitute or addition.

Even though I signed up for the worst possible time of year I still loved the Photoshop Elements class. Fun, fun, fun. I learned lots and I want to take the second class if I can.

The best of this year was when we found out Holly is expecting. The second best was when we got to see the first sonogram of The Peanut. Nothing can beat that. Holly’s belly is rounding nicely.


Layers, Adjusting Color and Light With Photoshop Elements 9

I’m sort of caught up on my Photoshop Class. ¬†The classes on sizing images for email or the internet and on printing were not ones I could really show on the blog but the next one about layers was pretty good. The photo was provided by the instructor.

Here we have a hot air balloon with no layers.

Now we get fancy. First we make a5x7 purple for the bottom layer, then make a 4.5×6.5 gold layer to be laid down next, last the4x6 photo of the hot air balloon is put on top.

The next class was about adjusting color or to be more specific: using color to enhance black and white photos. Again the photos were provided by the instructor.

The first photo on the left is the original.

I really got a kick out of this next one. Don’t ask me why. ¬†Again the photo is provided by the instructor.


Next I changed to black and white with salt shaker highlighted in color. Cool huh?

Lesson Seven is about adjusting colors and light. As usual the photos are provided by the instructor.

This photo is very dark and needs to be vertical.


This original is washed out and needs some color.

Photos with different methods used to add contrast and color.

Lesson Eight is the one I just did about Photoshop Elements Organizer. Not anything I can show either. Honestly, I just yawned through it. It will come in useful, I think, but it’s nothing exciting either.
That’s it for now. ¬†I have some more pics from the class to put up. I hope it will be next week but we’ll see. I have a lot of things to do between now and Christmas including the last three lessons and a final exam. Not too thrilled about that but it has to be done.
I’m listening to 99.5 Magic, my fav Christmas station and I wanna share one of my favorite Christmas songs:


…to be thankful for what you have.

Today I give thanks for:

– My lovely daughters and handsome son-in-law. They make it all worth while. Besides they’re awesome.

– My mom and dad. They are always there for me.

– All of my animals. They make me laugh even when I want to strangle one of them. It’s like having a bunch of four-year olds running around.

– Paul. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

– My camera. ¬†I don’t always get the shot I want but when I do it’s the best.

– Adobe Photoshop Elements. When the shot doesn’t come out I can photoshop it. Yay.

– My friends. I’ve been blessed with some good ones even though I don’t always deserve them.

– Turkey and stuffing. Yum.

– Christmas music. One of the reasons I look forward to this time of year is the music. The music is ageless and makes me smile in my heart if not on my face. Magic 99.5 starts playing Christmas music beginning in November. I start listening around Thanksgiving. Bliss.

– My computer. If I didn’t have one I couldn’t write this post.

– Last, definitely not least, ¬†I’m thankful for The Peanut who is due to arrive April 30, 2012. ¬†Yay!

This lovely video has quotes by famous folks reminding you to be thankful and why.

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!


Making Magic with Adobe Photoshop

I really do have awesome daughters. They bought me an online course to take for my birthday this year from Randolph Community College. I had the option of which photography class I wanted to take and decided I wanted to start with the photoshop class because I have a lot of photos that could use some help.

Besides I’ve had Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 for nearly a year now and decided it’s time I learned how to use it. Taking the class¬†is the best way to go about doing that.

The classes are¬†on Wednesdays and Fridays until the end of December. As of now I’ve had two whole lessons. So far so good.

I’ve decided I want to share what I’m learning, if I can, each week. So this week there was the introduction to Photoshop. We learned¬†where things were and how to arrange things to suit ourselves.

Lesson Two introduced some of the tools. The first¬†two¬†were tools¬†I have used with the dinky Adobe Photoshop I’ve had for years, the crop and auto fix. It allows you to cut parts of the image out that you don’t like. The image being used is one provided by the instructor.

¬†Let’s talk about the auto fix first. The original photo is dark¬†and the image is not¬†clear.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†




 I corrected the picture using the auto fix manually. Meaning instead of just clicking on auto fix I used a scroll button to decide how much fixing I wanted. The image is clearer and lighter. 




¬†The cropping tool is important. Here you can see there’s no real focus in the photo, it’s not very good.¬†Cropping makes the¬†difference as to whether your image is crap¬†or¬†glorious.¬†¬†




 Not glorious but a nicer composition.


















¬†I liked this but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.¬†






 Yes! It almost has a 3D quality to it.





¬†The cropped pictures are different pictures from the original, aren’t they? It has occurred to me that cropping a photo is a good deal like editing a story or book. What you start out with doesn’t necessarily mean it will resemble the final product.¬† If for no other reason than curiosity, we owe it to ourselves to complete our stories or projects just to see how it ends.


¬†The next¬†thing we learned¬†about is the straighten tool. It does exactly that, it straightens. I wish I’d know about this years ago.





¬†It’s magic. Lol. Cool, isn’t it?¬†





Do you use photoshop? Did you teach yourself or did you have some help? What do you use photoshop for? Business, pleasure or both?

Magic Music:






Curio’s Past, Shhh.