Sunday, January 29, 2012

Photoshop Fun- Selecting Color Palettes

There are so many fun things you can do with Photoshop.  And now there is another great tool available for free!

I ran across this very cool freebie, The Coffee Shop Instant Color Bar Photoshop Action  on The Coffee Shop Blog this morning.  Rita, of The Coffee Shop Blog, develops and gives away all  sorts of cool freebies to use in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

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This tool allows you to select colors from a photo and create a color palette.  Great for designing all sorts of things- from web-pages to digital scrap booking pages to decorating projects! (Or in my case, just playing!)

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Thanks, Rita!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

That's What I'm Going With

A bit of bleach + a t-shirt= ruined t-shirt
Therefore, I shouldn't clean!

However, lots of bleach + some rubber bands + a ruined t-shirt= a cool, reverse tie-dyed shirt!

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Therefore, I shouldn't clean, I should just bleach shirts! (At least that's what I'm going with.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mini Dress Forms

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Oh, Tommy- how I have loved you.  Okay- that deserves some explanation!

These mini-dress forms were a main part of my jewelry display at art and craft shows. They catch the eye of shoppers and really stand out. My customers would come to shows looking for my display. Recently, I decided to stop doing  shows, having moved on to other creative outlets. So, I no longer need 90 Tommies. (Tommy is the name my daughter gave them. All. Of. Them.)

Each dress form is approximately 9 1/2 inches tall, 2 1/4 inches wide (at the hips and base). All vary slightly, having been hand-painted and distressed.

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Although bracelets will fit 'belt style' around the forms waist, they, more often then not, slip off her skinny hips. This is easily remedied with a tack in the back to keep it from slipping.

Necklaces wrap nicely around her body.

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The price is $15 each, shipping included (to addresses in the US only), jewelry NOT included. The price is discounted when purchasing up to four.  I will give a discount for higher quantities. Please contact me at with the quantity you might be interested in purchasing and I will get back to you with a price.

Monday, January 23, 2012


 It's nice when the simple things in life can make you smile.

 And fill your afternoon with wonder. 

Taking turns.

Going slow and easy.

Wrapped in beauty.
 Being amazed.

 Holding on to the good things.

Trying to make the moment last longer.

Enjoying the beauty, even if it is fleeting.

 Enjoy the beauty and wonder all around you.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Little Glimpse

For almost the past 5 years I have been making and selling my jewelry at craft and art shows and online with my sister as UnStrungSisters. Of late, I haven't been feeling the pull of my jewelry tools and have been exercising my creative abilities in other areas. However, when a family member asked me to make jewelry for her bridesmaids I quickly put my tools to use.

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Sterling and Keishi Pearl Necklace.

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I paired the necklace with a blouse I own for a quick photo and really like this look.  Hmmm- I may need to make another necklace for myself!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What's Cooking? Shrimp!

The first time I cooked this recipe, I was looking for something for a New  Year's Eve progressive dinner.  

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We were celebrating with two other families and we were hosting the entrée course. I knew we would be out of the house right up until the time for the entrée course (enjoying the appetizer course at another house). So, I needed something that I could make ahead of time and cook quickly when all of the families arrived at our house. This recipe fit the bill. What I didn't know was that it would be well loved by everyone in my family and become a regular in our house!

The first step of this recipe is to cure the raw shrimp in a sugar and salt mixture. 

I usually do this for no more than 30 to 45 minutes.  Before you proceed, the shrimp should be rinsed very well. The shrimp will retain some of its salty-sweet taste.

The next step involves blending a simple and quick marinade.   Fresh parsley is great, but dried works well too.  I have also substituted rosemary.  (If you have a rosemary plant with woody stems, you can make your own skewers for even more flavor!)

I like to let my shrimp marinate for awhile, another 30 minutes or so. Then, I thread the raw shrimp on to the skewers.  You can store the uncooked shrimp skewers in the refrigerator to cook later in the day. 

The last step - grilling!  These only take 3-4 minutes per side and they are ready to serve.   

You can find the recipe here: Lemon- Garlic Shrimp Skewers

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Revisiting Old Friends

I had a love affair with my sewing machine for many years and was, for awhile, a prolific quilter. Then I was bit by the jewelry making bug and my sewing machine was cast aside. Recently, I have heard it calling to me.


Digging through my fabric scraps I ran across a large piece of fabric that I had embellished with luscious yarns and other fibers.

The process of this type of embellishment is quite easy. 

  • Create a quilt sandwich- layer backing fabric, batting and your front fabric and pin together.  
  • Lay an interesting piece of yarn or fiber and zig-zag stitch over it. This process is called couching.  I chose to use a decorative metalic thread.  
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Enjoy your embellished fabric and make something cool with it.

Originally, I had made a few sets of coaster and decided to make another set and a couple of coffee cup cozies.

In-between the couched fibers I choose to add some free-style quilting to add more detail.

I love the organic look of these edges- created with a zig-zag stitch around the edge of the fabric.
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I would love to give away a set of coasters.  Leave a comment and you will earn a chance to win.

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The winner will be randomly choose in about a week!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Renewed Interest

Lately, I've been enjoying a renewed interest in photography using my digital SLR, a Canon Rebel T1i.  There's something kind of addicting about trying to get that perfect shot.  Last fall, I began taking an online Photoshop course that has helped me take my photos to a new level.  Below are some of my recent favorites, one with before and after.

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Taken last night and processed to get the Blue Moon effect. This was taken in aperture priority mode, at f/5.7 and ISO at 3200. I increased the ISO and reduced the aperture as much as possible to get the faster shutter speed- for this it was 1/25th.

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An alligator at the Jacksonville Zoo. Aperture priority mode, f/5.7, auto ISO. Slight adjustments in Photoshop, sharpening, increased contrast and increased saturation

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This is a finch that flew into my window one day and was saved from the dog.  Aperture priority mode, f/5.7, auto ISO. I applied a custom, third party action set to this photo to get the great retro look.

This photo of my younger son was taken at the old fort in St. Augustine, Florida.  This was taken in aperture priority mode, f/4, auto ISO. Also processed with a third-party action set.  The distracting design on his t- shirt was removed in Photoshop.

I took this photo of my sweet daughter in our backyard while we were playing photo shoot.  This was taken in aperture priority mode, f/4.6, auto ISO.  It was also processed with a third party action set in Photoshop.

This is my oldest son and I was having a blast trying out my new Canon 50MM, f/1.8 lens that was  a Christmas gift from my husband:).  This was taken at the beach in the shade of one of the walkways. This was taken in aperture priority mode, f/1.8, auto ISO.  This was also processed in Photoshop with a third party action set.

As you can see- I like to shoot in aperture priority mode.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How did you...

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.. get those pictures on your stairs so perfectly staggered?

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About every other person who walks into my house (and my previous house) asks me this question.  I started collecting ACEO's  a few years back, unsure at the time what exactly what I do with them. ACEO's are little works of art about the size of a playing card.

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Finally I decided to frame them in matching 4 by 6 inch frames and display them on the wall going up my stairs. It's fun to watch my visitors linger on the stairs to check out each little piece of art.

How did I get them so perfectly staggered?  Easy- decide how high to hang one while standing on the step that it will be above and hammer in your nail. (I decided these look best at eye-level for an average height person.)  Next, measured up from the step to the nail. Hang each piece at the exact same height above it's corresponding step.   That's it.  Below are a few of my favorites.

   Jodie Hurt-  Original Vintage Inspired Collage And Mixed Media Art

pinkmilkstudio On Etsy

 Lindy Longhurst Mandalas, Cards, Prints & Paintings