Monday, April 26, 2010

A Few More Digital Pages from Classes

I've got quite a few of my Jessica Sprague classes that I still need to finish up and I've been trying to make that a project this complete class projects. When I get a few minutes I try to work through another lesson. I'm currently taking her "This Old Photo" class and hope to learn a little bit about fixing some of my old photos. It should be another great Jessica class. She hasn't disappointed me yet. I haven't put any of my layouts on here in awhile so I thought I was due for adding some new projects on here. This "Beautiful" Layout was from the Now We're Rocking Class, I think. It was a template for a quickpage. I took the picture with my new camera while playing with some settings from taking the "Get out of Auto Mode" class at Big Picture Scrapbooking. It's one of my favorite pictures from my Hannah photo shoot. The next two are from the Pen Tablet Class which I loved. I bought my pen tablet in 2008 and had not used it much until this class. Now I find that I love using it for all my digital scrapping classes.
It took me forever to get the writing around the pictures the way I wanted it. I was looking at my "Scrapbookers Handwriting Workshop" book to learn a new font for the journaling so I was trying to master that as well as the pen tablet pen. I liked the way the page came out. We made the leaf pattern paper, the bird sticker and learned to merge the title onto a white shadow background. Very fun. Will have to do it a few times before I totally remember how to do it on my own. She also taught us how to whiten teeth and soften skin in photos which I thought was "way cool". I certainly had fun with that new bit of knowledge. The Cory page was one of my favorites. I liked the way we brushed a photo into the background paper on this layout. Somehow during this part of the class I did something to my settings to where everything came out with a low opacity even though my opacity levels were set to 100%. I played and played and couldn't figure out what I'd done to change the settings. A friend finally told me how to reset the tools so I did that and it fixed everything. I should go back and fix all the opaque things on this one now that I've got them reset. The stitching around the layout is supposed to be way darker and the writing under the title as well. I loved the page though and learned a lot with each one we did in that class. She packed a lot of new techniques on each page.
It's always a challenge to change out the themes on the pages since hers are usually geared towards her younger kids and mine are geared towards my older ones. The Russ page was from the Now We're Rockin' Class and it's the same layout I'd done previously on the Cliff Dwellings in Colorado. I started back at the beginning of the classes and tried to redo all of them so that I could add onto my knowledge as I went. It was fun making the same layouts with different pictures this time. I've got one more new layout to do in the NWR class and then will move onto my Digi In Deep class which I've done none of the layouts in. I then will go onto the Type+Writer 2 class which I also have not done any layouts in yet. I probably have a few to finish in Type + Writer 1 too. It's nice because it gives me something to do when I travel with Russ for his job. I sometimes sit in the hotel rooms for days while he works and we go out at nighttime. As long as the hotel has internet, I'm good to go for hours working on my undone classes. The next layout is also from the NWR class with Amber as the subject of the layout. I just finished this one while in Jekyll Island for vacation. The weather was too nice for me to spend too much time on the computer so I only got one page done that week. Again, Jessica's layout was of her son playing with cars and she focused on his hands so I needed to come up with a theme that would allow me to focus on her hands. She's my baker girl and likes to make pies when she comes home which we, of course, love. When I searched back through I found other pie baking pictures where I could focus on her hands so I was pleased with the way this came out as well. When she was little I used to call her "Tweeters". I think it started when I compared her to Tweety Bird with one of her expressions. I then started calling her my "Sweet Tweet". She's still a sweet one who is always doing Sweet things for random people. One more layout to go in the NWR class and I will have completed another one. (I did the first two lessons twice). The Fall page is from NWR and is the same layout done previously of Amber holding a yellow balloon at the Pigley Wigley. This is take two of the week one layout. In this lesson we learned to turn the photo to black and white and bring the color back on something in the photo. In this case it was the pumpkins. We also learned to do the column journaling and how to grunge out the page. The last page I'll share for today is the week two layout from NWR class. I love the way this one came out as well. Jessica's layout was from a "Rock" Concert so I had to come up with another theme that would work with the circle of pictures. I hadn't done any layouts on Cory's wedding yet so that worked out good. The pictures were taken by a friend, Molly Taylor and she took them all in black and white which I loved. I changed the paper colors too since Jessica used reds and blacks to highlight the rock band. I chose the light blue because it seemed more "wedding friendly". I added in a few other elements that I had like the "today and always" stamp. Hers had journaling strips where that is and I thought the stamp fit there better. Loved typing the journaling around the pictures too. That was fun. That's all the sharing for today. I will try to post some of my other "non-digital layouts" in the near future. I think I'm in the mood to scrapbook tonight now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gotta Love Relaxing Vacations

For our first big vacation of the year, Russ planned a trip for us to Jekyll Island, GA. He rented a condo which was just the right size for the two of us. I packed all the food we'd need for the week and we've basically been enjoying a pretty relaxing vacation here. I love the island. It's very picturesque with it's large cedar trees (or whatever they are). They look like the perfect climbing trees and I could envision Cory having a blast climbing them if he were here 15 years ago. We went on daily 4 or 5 mile walks along the beach. We had to time them for when the tide was low. One day we had gone for a walk and took too long looking for sand dollars and by the time we got almost back to our section of beach, the tide had come in and we were walking in water trying to get to the nearest dock to climb up to dry land. It came in fast and by the tide tables, the high tide wasn't due for two more hours. We had to dry our shoes out after that walk. Each day we would go on a hunt for sand dollars and would each find about 8-10 good ones. On our last day here we each found about 35 a piece. It was a jackpot day for sand dollars. We kept them on our deck to dry out and hopefully will get them home all in one piece. We went to the dock area and watched the sunset every night and a few mornings I got up to catch the sunrise too. Our afternoons we would find open chairs on one of the piers and spend the afternoon reading. I would also do some writing in my travel journal. I've thoroughly enjoyed this week and feel so relaxed. I also got to experience a first while here. Russ bought me a kite to fly and taught me how to fly a kite. At 50, this was the first time I've ever flown a kite before. It was fun and the wind was perfect for it. We also built a sand castle and it was fun being a kid again. Tonight we went to the driftwood beach area and took some photos with my camera. I love taking pictures right before sunset because the lighting is so much more dynamic. I got some really great pictures of Russ. It's rare that he will pose for me to take pictures of him. I usually get the "put the camera away" looks. Tomorrow we leave to drive back home but plan to spend the morning and early afternoon here before driving home. It's been a wonderful week of relaxing and togetherness with my wonderful husband. I would love to make this a yearly trip. It's close to home and such a nice area. We had the beach to ourselves most of the week. I think this was probably the perfect week to rent here. The weather was even wonderful the entire trip. It's been a happy week.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So Much to Learn

For my 50th birthday last October, Russ gave me a new digital SLR camera (A Nikon D3000) and for my Christmas gift gave me a new lens with a little more zoom capabilities. Since that time I've been determined to learn how to use the camera. I started out just keeping it in Auto Mode and then started playing with some of the other automatic settings but I knew there was so much more that it could do. In November we took a trip with some friends to San Antonio, Texas and my friend, Paula has a Canon camera similar to mine. We both wanted to practice with our cameras but as we started playing we realized how little we knew about them. We went to a museum that had a sign up that said "NO FLASH" and we didn't even know how to turn our flashes off. So I decided after that that it was time for me to start reading the manual. My daughter, Amber gave me a book for Christmas on my camera and I've been reading that as well as other photography books that I have here. I took two classes at Big Picture Scrapbooking (which were a little disappointing to me) in January. One was called "Get Out of Auto Mode" and the other was "Moving into Manual" mode. I learned a little from them but not as much as I had hoped. I've been watching every photography video I can find and reading books and it's gradually starting to click a little bit. I thought I'd post a few of my favorite photos I've taken so far. I'm still learning about light and shutter speeds and aperatures but it is starting to make a little more sense now. I am definitely enjoying the learning process though. I take a lot of pictures of a lot of random things but each time I end up with a few that I'm really happy with. My friend Paula and I went out on a Sunday afternoon and took a bunch of pictures of each other and of Stars Mill so we could try the various shutter speeds. We will have to do this more often so we can master these things. It is so nice to have the depth of field that you get with a digital SLR camera. I'm looking forward to taking it to Colorado this summer and taking pictures of my mountains and places we loved there. I'm sure I'll find plenty more uses for my new camera in the years to come. It will definitely make my scrapbook pages better when I can enhance them with better photos. I'm looking forward to adding in more lenses and equipment as I get more acquainted with the camera. It's one of my goals for this summer to get comfortable with the new camera enough to where I don't have to think about settings each time. They should just come naturally so I can be more spontaneous with my pictures. I'm hoping to find a photography group in town that I can link up with to learn from other photographers.