Friday, July 27, 2012

Disappearing. I've been busy.

Holy crap, this summer as FLOWN by. It feels like I've been running consistently. Whew.
But here's just a couple things that have happened.

First, I FINALLY got to repaint this lamp that we got for free.

Still not sure how I'm feeling about it, but I'll figure it out eventually. I hope.

Me, Kyle, Amanda, Selena, and Gabey went to the Zoo in St. Louis.

My favorite exhibit?

And yes, it's "pengins". I can't say "penguins" correctly.

Seriously, they were the best thing about the zoo.

Especially the fact that their building was SO much cooler than the 100+ F heat we had.
Gabe was in love with the anaconda.

He tried to hug and kiss it through the glass, all the while having the snake following his every movement. Gabey even had an audience, laughing away. He made it a point to tell everyone "HI!" and then "BYEEE!" while blowing them kisses.

The hippos were pretty cool, too.

Luckily for the kids and Amanda, the zoo had a huge waterfall thing to play in.

I stayed away, but I used one of their misters and stood in front of one of their big fans.

OH. And then today?
Today this happened.

We still need to give it a name.
Hell, we need to find out for sure if it's a male or female. >.<

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How I Edit My Photos

When I upload photos onto Facebook, it's no surprise that the quality drops. But that's okay. I deal with it.
I typically upload them into an album, and then I upload the edits into another album, one I made specifically for edited photos. Pretty often, I get messages from people asking what I do to my photos and what programs I use. It's kind of mind boggling, to be honest. I've seen professional photos and mine aren't there. But I figure I could just post this for the people who are curious.

I'm using a MacBook Pro and Adobe Lightroom.

First, I upload my photo into Lightroom.

All of my photos are shot RAW. Because of this I can change the white balance if I choose.
You cannot do this with JPEG.
I almost always select "Auto Tone". I can always undo it if I don't like it.

From here, I click "Develop". I can choose a preset if I feel like it, but I only use them if I'm wanting to achieve a certain look. There are hundreds of presets you can download for free online, or you can buy them.

Typically, I will boost up the blacks and contrast. I like a lot of contrast in my photos.

I also bring up the clarity. Sometimes the vibrance and brightness, but not always.

Then I always boost up the sharpening and detail. I also throw up the luminance to kind of remove the grain/noise. Not a ton, though. You don't want the photo looking like you smudged it all over the place.

You can end it here, or you can throw a vignette on it. For a vignette, I like using a preset. You don't have to, of course.

Then simply click File > Export.

Type in all the info you want/need.

Then you just click Export and wait for it to finish.
Pretty simple, not near as elaborate as most photographers, I'm sure. But it works for me.

And there you go. Easy peasy.
And now you know exactly what I do and how I do it.
Don't be scared to experiment with your photos. That's how you learn the best, in my opinion.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I'm slacking. For real.
I haven't been crafting a lot.
I haven't been trying new meals.
All in all - I'm sucking at life right now. But it's for a good reason.

My SIL is visiting from California! *squeeee*
There's a 5 year age difference between the two of us, but I'm just immature enough that it works. And things have been pretty fun. Kyle and I attempted to prank her with saran wrap (NOT on the toilet) and it would've worked, if it hadn't have been for Kyle's cat. That was a huge disappointment.

And she's been ordered that she's not allowed back home without pierced ears.


So then..I just had to make something.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Infuriating Mommy Moments.

I'm going to take a minute to get serious here. From a mom POV.
I know. I don't do that a lot.

When I was pregnant with Myriah, I met a lot of fantastic people on a parenting/pregnancy forum. I still talk to some occasionally. The kids are all huge now, I have no idea when that happened.

Some of those kids are autistic.

If you don't know much about autism, I suggest you read some things. There are a TON of stereotypes out there about it that are just WRONG. I can tell you that I, personally, met one of these kids and he stole my heart. He's amazing in every way possible. I've talked about him. You can read his story here.

His mother is a brilliant writer. She has a way with words that I could only dream of having.
She also hardly wears pants but, to be honest, most days I don't, either.

And then, this happened.
It enraged me. A lot. I personally haven't been on the journey that Kristy and Logan have been on, so I can't honestly 100% feel the way that they do. I know that, and I'm not claiming to. But seriously guy? As if your "music" didn't suck enough, you're really showing your true colors. And it's ridiculous.

And then? Then I saw this on Facebook. And I became even more outraged.
This is from another mother that I met while pregnant. Her son also has autism. He was supposed to be in the care of a teacher SPECIFICALLY set to work with children that learn a little differently than others. That teacher was supposed to understand that these kids have some triggers, sometimes can't get the words out that they want to, but are still so effing intelligent that they can comprehend everything in their surroundings. Autism isn't something that holds them back. Autism shows them a view of the world that others aren't lucky enough to see.
But the fact that a TEACHER is hurting a CHILD? That's wrong. Just so very wrong.

A teacher is supposed to be someone a child can confide in. Remember back in the days of grade school when we were encouraged to talk to our teachers if something was wrong? Apparently, our kids don't have that luxury. Nope. They open their mouth with the high risk of being hit, bullied, or God knows what else.

And the worst part? No one is sharing their story.
Well I am.

The media needs to start writing about this. Not about what the Kardashians are doing this weekend. Not about how Tom and Katie's divorce is going. No. Those stories are a dime a dozen. Let's get the REAL story out for the world to see. They need to see it. They need to hear it.

We all need to take a stand on this. It can just as easily be you getting the phone call.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quickie: Photoshopping.

I play around a lot in Adobe Photoshop.
I used to use it exclusively for photos. Now I use Adobe Lightroom for most of my photo edits. I occasionally use Photoshop for fixing things (like when Gabe got a freaking black eye from his "dancing" in the living room), but Lightroom pretty much does everything I want it to/need it to.

Recently, literally about a few minutes ago, I finished one of the most epic things I've done in Photoshop in a long time...

Yup. That's right. A custom St. Louis Monopoly board.

Red = St. Louis Cardinals (Ozzie Smith, Yadier Molina, Lou Brock)
Yellow/Gold = St. Lous Rams (Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce)
Green = Areas of St. Louis (Forest Park, Botanical Gardens, St. Louis Zoo)
Dark Blue = St. Louis Blues (Tony Twist, Bernie Federko)
Brown = Rival Schools (Hazelwood East, Hazelwood Central)
Light Blue = St. Louis Celebrities (Nelly, Randy Ortin, Big Foot)
Pink = Concert Venues (Pop's, The Pageant, Riverport)
Orange = Important Places (Hazelwood West, Gateway Arch, Union Station)
Go To Jail = Go To Anaheim (with a photo of Albert Pujols)
Jail = Anaheim Statium
Railroads = MetroLink Stops
Water Works = Budweiser
Electric Company = Bud Light
Luxury Tax = Drop The Puck (Will Arnet spoof of Brendan Shanahan)

We're planning on printing everything on cardstock, then adhering it to a sturdy piece of wood, so that the board can actually be hung on the wall for decoration when not in use. Then, I'll be making some game pieces from polymer clay. I'll also be having to make some custom Chance and Community Chest cards to print off to go with it. And who knows. Maybe Kyle will force me into making St. Louis money.

All I know is it'll be tedious.
I kind of regret having the idea in the first place...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Quickie: I Need To Wear These.

I found a new technique to use with polymer clay.

It's to make faux turquoise. Or at the very least, get something close to the look.

I tried it, and I was pretty pleased with the outcome. Not gonna lie, I wasn't expecting much.
Then I remembered I had some feathers in my craft room and..well...

These earrings have grown on me. So much. They aren't too big, they're perfect as a statement piece of jewelry.

At first, I was just "eh" about them.

Now? Now I need another silicone flesh tube so I can actually wear them.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lonely Girl Nights

Kyle's shifts at work leave me home alone a lot of nights. On those nights, I never feel like cooking a huge meal for me and the kids. Typically, we'll just get the kids something quick to eat and then I'll get something to throw in the microwave. It gets old. Quick. So I'm forever trying new things to make a quick, simple meal for myself.

Also, it's a well known fact that I love honey mustard way too much.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Quickie: Wire Wrapping.

First attempt at wire wrapping ANYTHING.

Need some practice, ofcourse.

It'll get better with time.

I think smaller beads would've helped.

All in all, I'm okay with it.

Summer = Zucchini

I think this started when I lived with my sister.
Actually, I'm almost positive that's where it started.

You see, I never really ate veggies growing up, no matter what they were in. I always thought they were disgusting and my stomach would wretch just thinking about them.
My sister made some zucchini bread one summer and I tried it.
And I liked it. A lot.

Ever since then, my mouth watered every summer for it.

And now, it's a summer thing in our house. Every summer, almost. And thank God my mom grows zucchini.