Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! It's time celebrate all that Dad's are! And I have the best Dad ever!
He's just turned 83 years young. I've been working on his Memoirs, scrapping them digitally, so as to put a slide show together for him. The process is long, and seems to take forever, but it's a labour of love, to be sure, and through it all, I have certainly gained so much more knowledge of who he is and the life he's lived, had I not taken on this project!

We've heard the stories all of our lives, but there is something so special about getting it all down on paper, and supported with photographs. The project will end up as a multimedia presentation, with sound, and visuals. He's still working on it all, with every new big event in his life getting documented. He's saved so many old documents, passports, papers, birth and death announcements, and family history, it's mind boggling.

He keeps bugging me about getting his books back, but I've barely scratched the surface of this huge project! I need to seriously get going on it! I had hoped that I would have something for him as a gift for Father's Day, not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe a sneak peak??
Here are a few of the layouts I've done:

The thing is, Dad has Age Related Macular Degeneration. This is what got me started to begin with, he can't even see the stuff he's putting into his books without the help of his reading machine! He can, however, see the large screen TV, if he sits real close, and sits at an angle to it. People with Macular Degeneration usually retain some peripheral vision, the centre of the their vision is what's been impaired. So, I decided to put his pictures onto a Dvd, to be viewed on the TV. And of course, I can't just do things simply, being an artist, and creative person, I have to put my stamp on it, and I want it to be special for my Dad, 'cause he's special!

This picture is of a much newer type, but similar in design, they are kind of like the old microfiche machines we used to use in the library. Do they even still have them?

Dad was always the one you went to if you wanted something, 'cause Mom just said no anyway. At least that's how it seemed as a child! But my Dad has always had a very long fuse, he's slow to get impatient, and angry, and has a great sense of humour! But boy oh boy, watch out if he gets to end of that fuse, 'cause a big kaboom is waiting at the end of it! Thankfully, there's not been many of those, and it was usually our own fault anyway!

Dad loves the Lord, loves his family, Mom, his kids, grand kids, and now 3 great grand kids! And we have large extended families too. It's a crazy loud bunch when we all get together, a bit overwhelming if you first come onto the scene!

They have a great house for visiting, and love to garden, and take excellent care of everything.
They've made a point to make their house a home, and one that all feel welcome to enter. They've never taken the "spiritual gifts" test, but I am 100% positive that both my mom and dad have the gift of hospitality! Everyone is made to feel as welcome as possible.

They've also taken care to make it very kid friendly, (not kid proof, mind you! kids have to learn what they can can't touch!!), having a basement that has video games, board games and lots of stuff to do, a backyard that rivals any resort, with a large heated swimming pool, a hot tub, gazebo and lovely deck. My kids never complained about going to visit, as a matter of fact, it was a good one to use as a consequence for undesirable behaviour: Watch out, or you won't be going swimming, playing video games....

We're spending Father's Day at my brother's place this year, as he's singing (my brother, Dad can't carry a tune in a bucket, seems that's where I get my own singing ability from!) with the "Nylons" on Sunday at a Barbershop show. A little different, as Mom and Dad usually do all the hosting of parties. I think they deserve a break! It should be fun!

They have had company from Holland, and more to come next week! They love it, but it's tiring none the less! My Parent's gift of hospitality will be stretched once again this summer! My Mom and Dad's gracious gift is gladly shared, but I do worry how tired they get. Dad's 83, Mom's going to be 75 this year, but still their stamina puts me to shame!! I hope I'll be able to keep up! I'm looking forward to spending some time with my Dad's family, getting some great photos, then scrapping them!!

Thanks for stopping by,
Happy scrapping to all, and especially, a very Happy Father's Day to all the great dad's,
And to my Dad: I love you lots, you're the best Dad ever!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Texture plates and digital scrapbooking paper:

Textures aren't just for changing the look of a photograph! You can also use textures to change the look of your digital scrapbooking paper.

I have just completed a new set of texture plates that resemble different fabrics and fabric patterns.

These are great to use in layouts and paper that you'd want to look like its been printed on various types of fabric! In the following example, I've used the texture "herringbone-distressed", with a blend mode set to "overlay". The 'before' looks like paper, the after looks more like fabric:

Original "paper" +
Texture Plate "herringbone-distressed" =

"After", digital "paper" now has a fabric look to it!

In this example, I've used paper from an add-on freebie from an earlier post, you can get it here.
I used the texture plate twice on this paper,  set at "overlay" and "soft light" blending modes. Doing this has given this paper more of that textured look. Since the texture itself has some distressing added, this transfers to the paper as well.

Original "paper" +
Texture Plate "Cotton distressed" =

 "After", digital scrapbooking paper that now looks more like fabric!

Thanks for dropping by,
Happy Scrapping!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Using textures in photography, 3 easy steps to take your photo from commonplace to compelling.

A few of weeks ago, I took some pictures of blossoms in our beautiful Niagara region. My DD lives just outside of the city, and on the street to get to her place are many orchards. During blossom season, the trees are just exploding with colour! Every day just gets more beautiful, until they reach their peak, and before you know it, it's all over!
I took some time to slow down, stop at the side of the road, and take pictures! I made sure to take my camera's manual with me, because I knew I would want to play with exposure and aperture. I still have a lot to learn about photography, but the best way to learn is to do it!

I still don't know what kind of trees I was taking pictures of! I did know they were pretty, and I wanted to capture that. I also wanted to create a fine art print, using some the of the new textures I've designed.

3 Easy steps to go from commonplace to compelling:
     1. The first step is to open your photo in photoshop, or photoshop elements. Make sure that you do all of the editing, cropping, and adjustments that you want to do at this stage.
     2.  The next step is to add the texture layer. There are always several ways to accomplish anything you want to do in photoshop. You could (a) go to "file" and "place" the texture layer, (b) open the texture, drag and drop it onto your photo. Holding down the shift key while doing this will ensure that it will be centred over your photo, (c) open the texture, drag and drop the layer in the layers palette onto the photo, or (d) select the texture, go to "edit" and click "copy", then "paste" it onto the photo. Using keyboard shortcuts is great with this technique.
Once you have the texture layer over the photo layer, you will need to adjust the texture's size to fit over the photo. Go to "edit" and "transform", holding the shift key will keep the aspect ratio when pulling the handles on the corners, or just grab the handles on the sides, and stretch to fit.
     3. The next step is to adjust the blend mode and opacity. This is where it gets exiting! My favourite blend modes so far have been, multiply, linear light, overlay, and soft light, when texturing my photos. I have had some success as well with duplicating a texture layer, and choosing 2 different blend modes at different opacities.
Opacity will also make a huge difference in the final outcome. You will most likely need to adjust the opacity so as not to overwhelm the photo.


Experimenting with the blend modes and opacity is fun and exciting. It's great to see how much the mood, colour and lighting are transformed before your eyes as you do this. I usually duplicate the layers I'm working on, try a few different blend modes, and see which layers I like and want to keep, and get rid of the ones that aren't working. Sometimes it's a combination that's works out the best.
In my example, I used 3 separate layers to make my texture. I used texture layers from my new "Summer Sun Kissed Texture" pack.

The first layer is "lavender mist", which has the blend mode set at soft light, and opacity is at 100%. The second layer is "TexturePlate-painterly", it's blend mode is overlay, and the opacity is at 85%, and the last layer, is "Sun Kissed Edge". The blend mode is linear light, and the opacity is at 40%.

A few more examples:

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, and as always, please feel free to leave a comment, tell me what you think, or share a link to your own textured photos.
Happy Editing!