Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fixing Wrinkly Backgrounds

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So I’m going to show you the very simple steps I did to take my photo of Mason from this

to this
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Now, I’m not covering all the editing steps in depth, just how to clean up the background. Before I started cleaning up the background I went ahead and did all my regular editing so that my photo is now at this
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First, I’m going to duplicate my image and apply a guassiaun blur to the duplicate. You want a pretty good strong blur. I used a blur radius of 30.
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Next I’m going to add a layer mask and black out Mason.
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Then I took a light gray brush and went around the outline of him to soften the change from blur to focus some.
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After that I’m going to use my color dropper and select the primary color of my background and fill a blank layer with it.
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Create a layer mask on that layer and switch the layer mask color from white to black. (Your picture should now show back up and the solid color should vanish) Take a medium gray brush and start brushing over the wrinkles.
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Take the gray lighter and lighter to cover stronger shadows until you end up with a mostly smooth background.
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Of course you could take it further and completely smooth out the background, but I like to leave it with some texture left to it. Also if, like me, you used a background with texture (that isn’t just wrinkles lol) on it and you want some of that to show up either hide the gaussian blur layer or play with its opacity. For example here’s my finished picture with the guassian layer at 50%
DSCN7601 8

Well, I hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Why I take so many pictures.

You might be wondering why, on Mother’s Day, I am making a post dealing with my obsession over taking 100s of pictures of my kids doing the same thing. It’s like really? Do you really need to take 50+ pictures of them doing this one 10 minute activity? Didn’t the first 10 or so capture it well enough? To me, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to answer this. ((Because family and friends do ask me this quite often. lol))

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When you see my pictures and realize there are several shots of my children in one pose there is a reason for it.

See, what I am attempting to do is so simple and so difficult.
I’m trying to capture my children exactly the way I see them. The way I want to look back and say “This. This is exactly what I’m talking about. The sweet way he always covered one eye when sleeping.” And then I want the picture to be exactly from my perspective. The exact view that I would have when I would look down at Mason when he fell asleep while nursing and see his fist covering his eye.

Hmmm… this isn’t any easier typing out and explaining than it is to actually explain to someone verbally. I’m still sort of tripping over my words.

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In all those pictures I’m trying to get that one shot. The one that perfectly sums up and shows how I see the activity as the mom. That sweet, funny, or sad moment. The one where I see the joy of going fast and high on the swing spread over Bella’s face. The one that perfectly captures her smile and laugh as she goes. Or the one that captures perfectly that moment when I’m trying to get the kids together and looking and smiling so I can take their picture and Zach realizes his hand is being squished under Bella’s foot. The one where all the kids look up and watch the plane go by at the same time. The one that captures the look Ryan gets on his face, that look that says “Come on Mom, take my picture before I fall!” when he’s doing something he really knows he shouldn’t be doing.

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Or that baby smile that perfectly captures the “I love you” in his face.

All of these are the moments that I want to remember exactly. Not just the memory of an activity. The memory of how I, as their mom, saw the moment. They’re all physical moments that I can hold and say this is what motherhood is to me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Don’t and Doesn’t.

Things that I don’t want my boys to see:


This… this one doesn’t bother me at all.

Why doesn’t it bother me if my sons see this?
I’ve raised my sons to know what breasts are for, what their ONLY true function is. It’s a food source. That’s what they’re there for. Same way dogs, cats, and all other mammals feed their young. The only thing that bugs me about that cover is the whole “Are you mom enough?” bit.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Day in gDiapers

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John and I have been going back and forth on the whole cloth diapering thing since I got pregnant with Bella – so since late 2008. We think maybe we’d like, then again, we freaking hate doing laundry. It is seriously the most despised chore in our house, and with all the laundry we already do why would we want to add more to it? Then again… we like having money and oh holy mother… maybe we just forgot… but two kids in diapers/pull-ups… not cheap. On the weeks where it falls that we need to buy both Mason’s diapers and Bella’s pull-ups, that’s like an almost extra $20. Anyway, you can see why when I ended up pregnant with Mason we considered even more seriously the option of using cloth.

After reading around on the internet, talking to friends who use cloth, and discussing it between ourselves, John and I decided we really liked the whole hybrid diaper idea. Not just for the whole flushable inserts part either – doing just that would actually end up costing us more – but because of the being able to switch between the disposable and cloth inserts. This way we could do cloth the majority of the time, but when Mason goes to work with me or we go out for the day we can use the disposable inserts and not have to carry around the soiled cloth ones.

The problem inherent with this however was that, well, these suckers are freaking expensive!

Yeah, yeah. They end up paying for themselves in the long run – which is the goal for us, but when you live on a tight budget getting together the $100+ for a starter set is a little tough. Throw in that we really did not want to spend that kind of money on something we couldn’t guarantee that we’d like or have success with…. yeah, not happening. Many of my friends knew that we’d been looking into this and were seriously considering it and that our only hold back was just the cost. Well, one of my longtime mommy friends from JustMommies helped us out. When I was still pregnant with Mason she sent us two gDiapers, the inner liners to go with them, and some disposable liners.

Today I finally broke them out to try them.

The gDiapers she sent were mediums which are for 13 – 28 pounds. I had actually been considering picking up one or two smaller ones also to try with, but when Mason came out at almost 10 pounds we decided just to wait for him to grow into the mediums before giving them a go. At just around 13 pounds the medium was already a good fit. I was thinking it might be a bit loose around the legs or that I’d have to do the sides as tight as I could, but nope, it did good.

He was in it from about 7 am until roughly 10 pm, and in that time we went through 4 disposable pads. I wanted to go a little longer between changes than I normally would so that I could see how they did holding in the massive amounts of pee my boy produces. They did really well. He had no leaks (you can’t tell in the picture, but he was in a romper today so leaks would have been noticeable), which is amazing since usually just going three hours between changes with disposables and his huge amounts of pee have soaked through the diaper. So that alone has me extremely pleased. He didn’t have any major poops today though, so I have no idea how the hold up on that will be. And the other big plus to me, my boy who has gotten rashes from every other disposable we’ve tried had a clear not hurting bottom all day. Normally I’d have to lather his butt in bottom medicine for that. The only real downside I had with them was that it was hard to find an outfit to put him in that fit over the diaper, but then the 0-3 month is rather snug on him now anyway, so I imagine when I break down and move him to 3-6 month that shouldn’t be an issue.

I really did like these, and I was actually prepared to be a little frustrated or disappointed with them. I’d heard so many mixed and negative things about them that I felt sure I’d be glad I hadn’t invested any money in them yet. Instead by 4 pm I had already placed an order for more disposable inserts and some cloth ones. Once those come in I’ll come back with a report on how they do after a whole week of use. (I’m out of the few disposable inserts I had now. lol That’s why the wait.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

iNSD 2012 Wrap Up

I made it!!!
.
.
.
Barely.
lol

Be proud of me. I only spent a bit under $20 this weekend. I had it planned out. I was only picking one store (other than The Lilypad) to hang and do challenges and shop at this weekend. And then I wouldn’t even let myself do any shopping until I bought groceries so that I didn’t over-do it on the spending. This helped me not feel too frazzled by it all, though by last night my nerves were getting a little worn with it all.

And before I get into my iNSD pages and favorite purchases…

The Lilypad’s May BYOC premiered this weekend and is, as always, to die for.
My pages for it:
alltheanimals-MAYBYOC3nogreenthumbs-MAYBYOC4
MayCoversWEB

And the best part of this month’s BYOC (yeah – I’m spamming this bit everywhere)…
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That’s my Ryan’s handwriting.

Now… my favorite purchases are hands down these Lightroom preset sets from The Edits:
theedits_noirpresets_previewtheedits_essentials_preview
Both sets were on sale for only $1 each! And the Essentials one…. oh my sweet goodness.
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And now for my pages!
stillallofthatshinemay5mason
ourfamily2012
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Friday, May 4, 2012

It’s time!

1. It’s iNSD weekend!!
2. The Lilypad’s May BYOC released today!!

Some of The Lilypad’s going ons for this weekend:
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FYHO-2
BYOC-NSD-challengeweb
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And that’s just the stuff with ads – all those ads are clickable. To see all the other fun games, contests, give-aways, and challenges check out the forum’s iNSD Fun section!

I’ll be back with pages for this week’s new releases later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

“Hey baby…”

Angry_Birds_promo_art

“Hey baby, did you use Kindle last night or this morning and then put it back on my bedside table?”

“No. I fell asleep last night and you were using it. Didn’t see it this morning.”

“OK, cause it was dead and Angry Birds was open when I picked it up this morning.”

“Oh???”

“Yup. lol”

“Ryan was the only one up and awake this morning.”

“Yeah I already figured it was him. lol Just figured I should make sure you didn’t feel a raging desire to play Angry Birds last night.”

“I got hot and heavy last night and that was the only thing that would fix it… weeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

(text conversation between John and I this morning – I start it with “Hey baby”)