An Elf among the Bluebells

1_Canterbury Bell

Good morning from a sunny and warm Hastings day.

I have been working on my Photoshop skills lately.  I found this book with CD ROM of designs for fairies and elves and thought it a great way to learn more about Photoshop Elements and working with layers.  I did find using a tablet a lot more satisfying that with a mouse.  I can magnify it and then work on it with more accuracy.  This is a Canterbury bells Elf.  I used different layers to add the shading and to give it a roundness to the figure.  I then used the feathering lasso to fade out the periphery in order to make it come out in the photo a bit better.

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I searched through my archives to find a good photo and found these bluebells with a lone tulip.

Blue bells

It was over to All Vintage Studio for a old photo look.

Canturbury Fairy among the Blue Bells

Back to Photoshop to adjust the tone to a blue tone and then I added the elf.  It would have been better to have Canterbury Bells around but I haven’t found any so the bluebells had to do.

I used the photos taken by the girls early last century who faked the fairy photos as my inspiration.  Today we can do a far better job of combining fantasy with reality.  So this is my humble effort.  Any comments on how to improve merging photos would be greatly appreciated.

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Ese’s Weekly Shoot and Quote Challenge – Spread

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Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can fly.

Unknown.

This weeks challenge for  Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Spread .     As I have been having problems with my photos I  have decided to use these iScrapbooking pages for my quote.  I love butterflies but they are notoriously hard to take.  The good photos I do have I have scrapbooked them for my Words of Inspiration blog.  I also love  this quote.  We have so many talents and gifts but many of us are too scared to use them, so it is time to spread our wings and see how far we can go.

Page 12Life is Beautiful

Page 7Beauty of dreams

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Monarch butterfly

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Learning wisdom

lilacs

 

Good morning from a rather chilly, but sunny Hastings day.  Just when you think the weather is getting warm we get hit by these spring storms.  At least it isn’t snowing here like down in the South Island.

By going out with my camera I am really starting to take notice of and learning about flowers.  I am not a gardener, I am actually allergic to a lot  of weeds and am prone to infections should I even go near a garden.  But I do appreciate the lovely gardens around me.  I must apologise for getting ranunculus mixed up with  peonies.  Now I must google the flowers to check that I actually  have the right name to the flower.  I do know that this image is of lilacs as I bumped into a horticulturalist who showed my what to look out for.  When I do my quotes I try to keep to the meaning of the flowers.  For example lilacs are both whimsical and childlike according to the website flower choice.com.  It is full of a gentle, sophisticated promise of wisdom, celebrating a growth of innocence into experience – from childhood into adulthood.  so I chose this quote from Confucious about the experience of gaining wisdom.

I cropped this image of some sunlit lilacs that I had taken.

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Then I made these three embellishments out of other photos from other lilac trees I have seen.

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To give a more three dimensional look I changed the opacity of two of the embellishments, one at 70% and the other at 85%, while the third one was at 100%.  It was just a matter of resizing and arranging to suit the image I had in my mind.

The text is Dumbledore 1 – chosen for it’s wise quality – I love Harry Potter.

 

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

 

Satisfaction of life

Satisfaction of living

 

Good morning from a lovely sunny Hastings.

I love going out for walks just to see how beautiful the world is through my camera lens.  I love to see the bright colours of the flowers and to smell them and really appreciate the beauty around us.  It is a wonderful way to relieve stress.  I put my favourite songs on and just go for it.  A couple of hours later I arrive home uplifted by some of the beautiful sights I have seen and hopefully have on my memory card.  I am getting well known along the routes I go as I stop and take photos of colourful gardens.  I have had the owners come out and talk to me which is a little bit embarrassing but generally people are really nice about it.  It is the men who get quite uptight that I am standing on the footpath zooming in on some flowers, but the women have been really nice.

I have an idea in my mind usually when I am taking the photos as to how I would like to show up the beauty.  Not always successful but the success rate is improving.  This is a lovely garden just full of snapdragons.  All the embellishments were taken there as well.  Firstly I had the background image of the garden itself.

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I had some trouble with the opacity of the background when it came time to add the text.  In the end I just deleted the layer and started again.  I right clicked on the small lock icon on the right in the layers panel and then I found the opacity button.

Because I didn’t want to lose the embellishment arrangement and text I saved it and added it to the image.

Living well

I find it is less stressful to save as I go to avoid the problem of starting all over again.  Learnt that the hard way.

I have also learnt about adding a three dimensional look to the embellishments by adding shadows.  It is amazing the difference it makes when the shadows are added.  My daughter said it wasn’t necessary but then watched as I added some shadows and then she said it does matter.  I still get amazed at the transformations from flat images to a more three dimensional look.  I have been studying the Dummies Guide to Photoshop Elements 10 just to learn my way around the different functions and brushes.  Here are the individual embellishments.

SnapdragonWhite snapdragonsSnapdragons pink

 

Here is what I mean about the shadows.  Here is the ivy I did the other day.

 

Ivy 2

 

Ivy 2

 

Now you can see the difference it makes with the shadowing.  It is rather dramatic to see the transformation.  That is what I love about photography and editing.  It is very addictive.

Cheers and have a nice day,

Raewyn

 

Working on my photoshop skills.

Rich interests

 

Good morning from a beautiful sunny Hastings.

Thanks to Unique So Chic  I have learnt to use layers with Photoshop which I did yesterday for my grandchild.  Last night I did some more work on this technique for this image above.

My daughter then suggested I do a gothic image for a friend of hers who is into all things gothic.  As it is coming up to Halloween I thought I would give it a go using the techniques I had just learnt.

Alex's duck nightmare

 

But it is funny where you can get advice.  I went down to our local chemist (drug store) to get some photos printed off.  There is a lovely man there who just happened to be working on Photoshop enhancing old photos and I got talking to him about what I was doing, but I wasn’t happy with how it was obvious that I had added the images onto the background. So he showed me how to add images and then erase the parts that you don’t want. So I have just been trying it out and this is the second version.

Revenge of the ducks mark II

They are a composite of about 5 photos which I edited into black and white and sketched.  I am not sure what exactly I did but just went with the flow as to how I liked the images.

Alex loved it. I called it Revenge of the Ducks.

So have fun trying new techniques out.

Cheers, and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

Embellishments made easy

Good morning from a sunny Hastings this morning.

I am so excited that I have learnt a quick and easy way of doing digital embellishments.  I have spent the past week working on Photoshop and Preview trying to find a quick and easy way of doing them.  I would do one but then I would forget to how I did it so it was basically back to square one again.  Then late Friday night I suddenly clicked – in other words I clicked on the right icon and it was then soooooo easy.  So then I spent the weekend doing embellishments.  I use a mac but I would imagine Windows is very similar.

I asked my son how to video it and he showed me how to use screen capture to film what I was doing on screen and voila.  I had a video, which I then uploaded to YouTube.

Red and white geraniums

 

This is the embellishment I did with the video.

A rich world

And this is the finished result.  The background, photo and embellishment are all from the same photo.

Here are some of the other embellishments I did over the weekend.  I did found out that a good mouse and mouse pad is essential.  My son  has promised to get me a good mousepad for Christmas – so that he can get his one back.  I ultimate wish is a drawing pad.  Sigh.

striped roserose - orangeRose budsred rosemulticoloured roseMonarch Butterfly 1IvyIvy 2

 

I found that having a distinct outline of the image makes it a lot easier to trace around, whether freehand or using the magic wand.

So have fun trying this out.  I am.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

Birds of a feather

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Good morning from a calmer, sunnier Hastings this morning.  Daylight savings started last night so it was a much later start to the day.  I am not so keen on the time changing but do love the longer evenings.

Yesterday was incredibly windy.  Hard to take photos of flowers when they are blowing in the wind so to speak.  I did mange to get some nice shots of the birdlife at Cornwall Park. The sparrows were much more accommodating than usual.  Maybe the wind blew away all the noises and scents so that they didn’t fly away like they normally do.

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These photos were taken on the Toamoana Road entrance at the duck pond.  The sparrows are hard case, they hang around the pond as they know that people will be coming to feed the ducks and they scrounge around for the crumbs.  It also means that they are not as flighty as in my garden.

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These photos were taken around the back of the park where there is a manmade canal there for the ducks.  If you look closely at the second photo there is a dead duckling behind the sparrows.  As I had taken these photos with the maximum lens I didn’t see it until I looked at it more closely on the computer.  The law of nature I’m afraid.  I have noticed that the number of ducklings is shrinking.

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Around this canal I spotted this sparrow on this leaf fan.  Again it obliged me by staying put just long enough for me to take a couple of photos.

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But that blur in the centre of this photo is the elusive fantail.  I have been trying to take a photo of one for several weeks now but they are like butterflies.  The don’t stay still for very long and flit around me, teasing me.  I need a shutter speed of at least 1/500 but it is hard when they mostly fly around the canopies of the trees and so it is darker.  By the time I have focused on them, they are gone anyway.  Watch this space.

I thought that the first photo is ideal to make into an embellishment.  I have tried different ways to make embellishments, using both Photoshop and the Mac’s Preview app.  It was longwinded and the Mac didn’t like doing too many and would stop on me.  So I spent several hours last night playing around with Photoshop and reading the book – Photoshop for Dummies and then with one simple click, by accident I found a very quick and simple way.  After I load the image I think click on the information layer to the right of the programme and change the layer to ). Voila.  Just go around the image with the magic wand or the lasso brush, push the delete button and there I was.  Soooo simple.

Sparrow on rock

 

Of course I found some cute ducklings.

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I found these three, very much alive ducklings cuddling up to each other with no mother duck around which was unusual.

 

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

 

Nelson’s Victory

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Good morning from a windy Hastings this morning.  The spring winds have arrived to play havoc with my photography.  It is hard to take a photo when the bush is moving frantically in the wind.

So I moved indoors for this weekly quilting block.

It is called Nelson’s Victory and commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar and the flagship of Lord Nelson – HMS Victory.  It was first documented under this name in 1906. A century later! As the triangle and small square make up a larger square it can be changed around to make different designs including a three dimensional affect.  As you can see I am getting better at the set in squares and joining the points accurately.  This is a really great way of learning new skills with out the pressure of a full quilt at once.

So for the scrapbooking I looked at another hanging quilt I had done some years ago with machine embroidery.  The embroidery design is by Sue Fox.  I just love her designs as they are so accurate and well filled in.

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I then took photos of various designs of this and then edited them very slightly to make them into background paper.

Machine Embroidery 6

This one is just to the left of the first photo of the quilt.  I just love this little kitten worn out from playing with the wool.

Then I thought about what tools are needed for quilting and took photos of them.  I then spent all last night working on making the into embellishments in Photoshop.  Finally I managed it.

unpickersafety pinsafety pin 1Cotton reelS1ironc

 

I added the iron as that is  so important to get good lines and makes it easier to join the seams.  The unpicker is also crucial.  I use it constantly.  Sometimes the seams don’t join up accurately so of course it has to be undone.

Then I just added some lace at the bottom.

lace rose

The cream font is ‘Discover Beauty’ while the writing on the journal is ‘Noteworthy”.

Have fun with this block.

Time to brave the elements and go for a quick walk before my family get up.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

 

Pretty in Pink

Page 51

 

Good morning from a beautiful sunny Hastings this morning.

Yesterday I was feeling a bit blue with the America’s Cup result so while I was working on my digital scrapbooking last night I decided to cheer myself up with the colour pink.

On the other side of Cornwall Park there is an absolutely gorgeous garden full of peonies and poppies.  It is so alive with vibrant colours.  Roses are my favourite flowers but I have fallen in love with peonies.  They are such magnificent flower just bursting with life.  Of course I have taken a lot of photos there.

With the background paper I used a close up of this magnificent specimen in the photo and edited it with photoshop.

Pink Peony

I didn’t do too much to the image as I wanted the pinkness to be kept as well as the details of the petals.

Pink and Purple Hydrangeas

 

Coming back through the park there is a greenhouse or winter garden which is used to grow the plants for the various gardens around the park.  At the moment it is filled with hydrangeas and gerberas.  Close up shots of tightly packed petals make great papers as well which I used here as an accent paper.

Finally I added the embellishments which I created from other photos.

Pink peonies doublepeonie buds 2Purple peonie

 

I felt for the font it needed to be rather traditional so I used the Great Victorian Swashed font.

It certainly brightened up my night doing this page.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

The Chequer Star

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Good morning from a warm but slightly overcast Hastings.

Every time I have been patriotic with my posts our boys in San Francisco we lose.   So today I will just wish Dean Barker and his team all the best for today’s racing.  All of New Zealand are expecting you to win the Auld Mug today so no pressure!

Anyway this is the Chequer Star.  It is a combination of the double four patch which I did in the first week and the flying geese motif.  This design has been around since the 1900’s and is very popular today.  It is relatively easy as there are no set in seams but it requires some skills to match the seams and points.  There are a lot of pieces to cut out and having a cricut machine would be so great.  It is easier but also a lot more accurate.  So I would say if one pieces a lot then there is merit in getting one.  Me?  It is on my wish list.

For this page I have been using the Vintage Quilt set from iScrapbooking.  I want to now add my own touches to the book so yesterday I spent the afternoon going through my large button collection and took photos of them to make embellishments.  So here is a selection of them.

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I also did some ribbons and tried my hand at scissors.

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I also tried my hand at  a lace motif as well.

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So next week I should be a bit more personal.  I need to see what I can do for the papers as well.  I have a few quilts that I have made so maybe over the week I will take some photos of them.

I found that with the buttons that with Photoshop it was a lot easier and quicker to use the cookie cutter to do a nice even circle.  I was able to save it as a PNG file and that was it.  No need for any other programmes.  With the more intricate designs I used the Photoshop app to delete the background and then use the Mac’s Preview app to make the background transparent.  It is long winded but easier for me, while I am learning to navigate Photoshop.

Well the race is nearly on TV, must go.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn