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.

Final watermark for blog

Weekly Photo challenge- Habit

Habit

This weeks  challenge from The Daily Post @ WordPress  is habit.  A hard one.  But every morning I get on the computer to check the blogs and read the local newspaper online.  I make my only cup of coffee for the day and then sit down to read and then do the puzzles, before doing my blog.  It is a routine I  have got into and find it a good way to start the day.

So this morning, my habitual routine got a rude awakening.   I took some photos of my computer and cup of coffee and then my computer decided that it had far too many photos on it and wouldn’t work.  So after much soul searching and the Time Capsule I then had to delete over 300 GB’s of photos.  Ouch.  Thus I am late today. I did do the puzzles but had to delay doing my blog.  But I got there in the end.  Serves me right for taking so many photos.  So if anyone else has some good tips for me I am all ears and eyes.

Anyway this photo is taken from 3 different photos, with one as the background, and then I made PNG images of all three to merge together.  Then it was over to FX Photoshop Pro for further editing.

Final watermark for blog

Learning about watermarking

Final watermark for blog

Good morning from a  grey Hastings morning.

You might have noticed that I have changed my blog.  For some reason my blog lost it’s background etc so I decided to change it.  I have also added a new PNG image at the bottom of each blog – The cheers and have a nice day.  I have been playing around with Photoshop to try and get my own watermark as all photos are my images and I don’t want others to use them without prior permission.  I googled how to do word art and then had a go.

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For this water mark I used three different layers for each letter and then resized them before placing them together.  I have been trying to remember what the font was but can’t find it again.  I also used some affects to make the three dimensional look.  Now I make sure all my images have a water mark.

Next, as I love roses I searched through some PNG images I had for this one.

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I then altered the opacity of it to fade into the background.

I added the writing _ Cheers and have a nice day – also using the same affects as the water mark. on a separate layer before adding to this rose.  The font of that is Zapfino.

For the butterfly I found this photo –

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and cut a butterfly shape using the cookie cutter.  I then added the water mark on top of it.

and voila –

Final watermark for blog

The colour red – Weekly Photo Challenge – The Hue of You

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Good morning from a very warm sunny day here in Hastings – sorry Amanda ♥ Unique So Chic, I know you are going into your winter.  We are expecting 25 Degrees.

Anyway this week I am just going to focus on colours so I went out yesterday focusing on what was around me.  As you can see today is red.

Red is a hard colour to take photos off.  It depends on the actual tones of the red as well as the light.  Even these reflections are as strong as the real deal.  But I gave it a go.

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Now I know for sure that these are peonies.  But the colour is a lot less intense than the deep red, with more of a black hue to them, that I saw.

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This poppy and the ranunculas are more true to the colours in real life but these were taken in full sunshine as well, while the peonies are more in the shade.  A totally different shade of red as well.

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These photos are more or less true as well.

It almost seems as if the black colour of the peonies was absorbed by the shaded light.  Whereas in the bright light the colours were more true.

It is a great challenge for me to go out and see how I can improve my photography based on colour tones and hues.

Cheers from Raewyn

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

 

 

Celebrating the All Blacks

All Black image

Good morning from a slightly grey Hastings day.

I make and sell these cute baby outfits on TradeMe, New Zealand’s equivalent to EBay.   I have just tweaked my design a bit so needed to update my image as well.  To start with the white logo on the outfits is my own design,  I used this unofficial flag as my inspiration.

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I then transferred that to a graph and simplified New Zealand to NZ.  I knit them on a knitting machine for speed and a nicer look, and also for the intarsia technique for the design.  After a couple of years I am getting rather good at it.  Anyway I did the bands a different way as I decided to change them to make them a bit quicker to knit, as well as less wool.  I have spent the last couple of weeks making some new outfits.  The booties also have black sprigs on them to look like real rugby boots.

So what better way to celebrate the All Blacks winning the Rugby Championship in style than redesigning my photo.

I love this image of the silver fern.

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And have used it many times.  It really just shows up the silver fern image.  This was my background which I also edited with Photoshop.

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I use a lifelike doll to make the outfits look more interesting.  My husband can’t stand the doll as it looks far to realistic for him.  I love it.  Anyway using the layers I added them onto the silver fern image.  Just to be more patriotic I googled flags and added a New Zealand flag to it as well.

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I chose this one as it was a little more realistic than just the flat image.

With Trademe the first image is free and then I have to pay for any further image so that by doing it all on one image I can show everything I want, plus say what the outfit entails – i.e. beanie, booties and jumper.

It is also on my website an my Facebook page for sale as well.

http://decocrafts.org/index.php/en/online-store#!/~/product/category=5592665&id=28529463

So check it out.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

 

 

Greensleeves

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Good morning from another beautiful Hastings day.

When I am out walking my eyes are everywhere. I’m not just looking for beautiful flowers and reflections.   leaves can be just as interesting and fascinating.  Especially when backlit.

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I love the strong colours and lines in this leaf.  The contours and thickness of the leaf also show up, from the sun shining through.

Brown and green fernAspiring to reach the top

 

As you can see from my first image, ferns are another favourite of mine.  There are so many ways to highlight the fronds and ways to use them as you can see from the second image.

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By pointing the camera skywards the image becomes black and white for a more interesting perspective.

 

Close to nature

 

They add a distinct New Zealand flavour and colour to my scrapbooking.

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Other leaves have strong lines to them.  These leaves just stood out as I went past them, so of course I had to stop for photos.

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I am constantly amazed at the way just small sun beams can highlight just one leaf out of many as in these two photos.  The leaves really stood out.

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The same goes for these branches against buildings.

Midges everywhere

 

This final photo was taken into the sun again, which shows the leaves and empty flower in relief.  The white spots are midges flying around.  I spent some time trying to see if I could capture these little critters, as you can see I managed to get them, but also managed to get bitten.  Ah! The life of a photographer.

Cheers and have a nice day.

Raewyn

Fair and Square

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Good morning from another glorious Hastings day.

Time for my weekly update on the quilt I am slowly doing each week.  This week it is the Fair and Square block.  This one is a very easy one to do as it is just the basic square and triangle pieces.  It only took about 10 minutes to do.

I like the fact that I am making blocks that have been used for centuries, such as this one which is found among the 19th century Amish community in Pennsylvania.  They used this block as a single large one as their quilt, but is really affective as a repeating motif.  It is also known as diamond in the square.  The square, when rotated 45degrees stands on one corner, or en pointe as they say in the ballet world.

This is the 18th block so far.  This is such a great way of learning about the traditions of quilting as well as improving my imaging skills.  I was explaining my love of quilting to someone early in the week.  I have just recently finished reading the Anne of Green Gables stories (never did read them all as a child).  In the turn of the century in that corner of the world quilting was a big part of their lives.  There was a quilting group in every town and everyone got together to make quilts for the needy, or whoever was getting married.  Commercial blankets did not exist back then.  A sign of social standing was indicated by how well the quilts were made.  But it was also a sign of love as well.  It was known as a comforter as well.  There is something in making by hand an item that will bring warmth and comfort to your loved ones.  But it was also a means of socialising, no doubt gossiping as well.  This is so sadly lacking today.

Enough of the philosophising.  The above image is from iScrapbooking. Then I decided to photoshop it and see what I can do with the same images.

Fair and Square

This is using the same images but this time I turned the image of the block into an PNG image and turned it around to make it more natural, that the girl is holding it up to present.  Again the machine embroidery is by Sue Fox.

There are a couple of new embellishments from last week as well.

pin wheelsBobbin

 

I think I will take some more photos of the original quilt and see if I can tweak it a bit.

So it is a beautiful day, time for some breakfast and then another photo hunt.

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

 

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