Monday, March 30, 2009

i think i need to get him some wranglers

It might look more authentic, don't you think?

We've been spending lots of afternoons at the farm lately. The barn is coming down, slower than we thought due to rainy weather, but should be gone by the end of the week. The unusable lumber from the barn will be burned, so Greg had to move the fence so it wouldn't burn along with the barn.

We're inching closer and closer to buying cows and a tractor. The grass is growing like crazy and we need something to keep it in check. Do ya'll know anything about Zetors? And, while you're at it, any cow advice would be helpful, too. We're thinking we won't buy heifers, that we want cows who've had at least one calf, since we're inexperienced at pulling a calf.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

pure delight

Meet Joshua.

My mom and her brother, Jody, are 13 years apart. Surprisingly, he was the planned child for my grandparents. He and I grew up together since we're only 11 years apart, so we're less like uncle-niece and more like cousins.

When he and his wife had children, they became more like my nephews than my cousins, and my mom says she feels like their grandmother. Scary, but I'm glad she's got someone to practice on :)

So, my cousin Joshua turned 7 in February, but due to being ill (plus a lack of organization from his parents), we celebrated his birthday this month. Luckily, it was a beautiful day and all the boys enjoyed playing football, basketball and tie-dying shirts. Below are some photos of the event.

The photo above is my favorite of the whole day. He had gotten a movie, Big Tin (or something like that) and squealed with delight when he opened it.

And, even though my aunt and uncle may give belated parties, they sure know how to raise sweet and grateful boys. On our way to the car, Joshua left all his friends and ran to give Mom and I a hug and told us, "Thank you for coming to my party," completely of his own free will. So, in about 13 years, (hopefully not sooner) I think he's going to have his pick of the ladies!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

coming down

It's a bit sad to see this old stock-barn coming down. I'm sure it brought the previous owners lots of joy, but so far it's only brought us rusted bikes, molded hay, and aged manure.

In a couple of days it will be completely gone, but I'm happy to report that after it's treated for various bugs, it will be making it's way to the children's wing of St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. They've requested it and I'm sure it will bring them much more joy than it did us.
Greg also opted to keep a couple of doors and to give one to the previous owner who is a photographer and backyard neighbor of ours. After we had taken photos in front of the barn, he decided we needed to keep back a piece for future photo ops.

Here I am upset that he couldn't frame a photo correctly. (pretending of course)
I was so frustrated because I would take a photo of him and show him how he was the subject of the photo and filled the frame, then he would take a photo of me and it looked like he was taking a photo of the barnwood instead, and my head just happened to get in the way. Silly guy.

By the way, I did buy these actions that I mentioned earlier and used the Color Pop one on the photo above.

Hope you're having a great week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

i got caught up in this typical greg moment

I was scrapbooking late at the office one night (while we're living with the 'rents, I have no place at "home" to scrapbook), and G came back from playing cards with some friends wearing these. I think they helped him keep a poker face so he couldn't be read by his opponents even though they were only playing with pennies.

After I was reassured he hadn't spent over $1 on these (he got them at the dollar store), I relaxed and had fun with him.

Nice, huh?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

happy and sad

Happy that we closed on the farm. I can now breathe a sigh of relief and give G-man a huge kiss for being so persistent in making sure the sellers didn't back out.

Sad that Western didn't make it to the Sweet Sixteen. If you watched the game tonight, you would know that I went from a state of exhilaration to utter disbelief in a matter of 6 seconds.

Friday, March 20, 2009


For our birthdays (both of ours were last week), Greg and I decided to head to Nashville to eat out and shop in lieu of getting each other gifts. It's rare that we have these sort of "dates" and it was really pleasant and relaxing.

He was kind enough to wait around for me while I was in Anthropologie for the first time ever. Mind you, he was taking photos of all the industrial shelving with his iPhone the entire time, but nevertheless, he didn't rush me and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

After Anthropologie, I had worked up an appetite so we headed to Jack's BBQ on 21st. If you're ever in Nashville, it's a must to eat here. Most people in Kentucky and Tennessee think that the words "Bar-b-que" and "pork" are one and the same. But, I'm from Texas and I know how good some link sausage and brisket is and Jack's is the one place within a days journey that does both extremely well. In addition, they have 3 sauces to choose from, so Greg, being the dip that he is, loves the variety.

After eating, we headed to Green Hills mall for some more shopping, but this was more of the bargain type that I love. I had all types of coupons and stuff was already on sale. For instance, I got this top, which was originally $54 for $14.

Looks great with my new white jeans I got the same day. (on sale + a coupon, so I ended up paying 1/2 price)

Aaaahhhh, the thrill of saving money. At least that's how I look at it :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

vibrant eye PSE tutorial + answers to your questions

In this tutorial, you'll learn a quick, easy way to adjust eye color to make them more vibrant. For this tutorial, I used PSE6 along with some actions that can be purchased here. If you're looking for an eye tutorial for PS or PSCreativeSuite, I suggest you look here.

Below is my original photo, shot with my Canon 50mm 1.4 lens, using all auto settings. (remember, I'm going to be taking a photography class, so until then, auto is the only way to go)

Next, I added the Color Saturation Action. If you've never used actions before, let me explain. You download the action and the seller gives you instructions for installing them with your software (that's the hardest part of actions). After they're installed, you select the action you want and click the "apply" button in the editor workspace. Then, the action does it's magic on the photo and you can adjust the levels once it's finished. On this photo, I adjusted the Contrast Color to 20% and the Color to 70%. Don't memorize these numbers, because each photo is slightly different, so just adjust and play around with it, until it looks the way you want it to.
Next, I added the Turn The Lights On action at 13% (ever so slight difference here)
Now, the photo is ready for the tutorial: Making Natalee's blue eyes appear as bright and brilliant as they really are.

And, here you have it the end result (I've reposted the original directly below so you can compare the two)

That's it for the tutorial, but please, please let me know if you have any questions. I'm a newbie at all this, so no question is too dumb, I assure you ;)

To answer your questions from the last post:

Q: Hannah asked how I decided which photography class to take because there are so many available.
A: I've been wanting to take a photography class for the last year and a half, ever since I got my Canon40D, but continued to put it off because I thought I was too busy. I had contemplated taking Candice or Karen's classes, but never quite took the plunge. I've heard great reviews about their classes, so I don't think you'd go wrong with either. However, when Maggie Holmes first announced she was planning an online workshop, I knew that was the one I wanted to take. I love how colorful and cheerful her photos are and I've admired her work for a long time. Plus, it doesn't hurt that she's a designer at Studio Calico, so I can hold her scrapbooking supplies for ransom if she doesn't teach me how to be a fabulous photographer like herself. heehee, JK. Both Maggie's and Karen's classes are currently full at the moment, but your best bet is to email them and get on their waiting list if you're interested in taking their next class. They fill up fast!

Q: Vanessa asked, "Where did you get that top?"
A: Actually, my top from the last post is a dress that I got 50% off at Anthropologie. I plan to wear it on Easter, what do you think?

Q: Lindsay asked, "I was just looking at your directions for the ttv. when you say bring the image into editor (step 2), what does that mean? i just got pse 6.0 "
A: Yay! A photoshop question that I can answer!!! When you load photos into PSE, they're on the organizer screen. To take a photo into Editor, right-click the photo and go to "Full Edit." Also, there's a tab at the top that says "Editor" that you can click to open that window, but photos aren't automatically dumped there. You have to tell them to go there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

more sneaks + a photo shoot

Scarlet texted me this morning, after I was already dressed (in a different outfit), and it said, "Pictures today. Definitely." I knew she meant business, so I scurried to change into something cuter for photos and off we went to Fountain Square Park, just around the corner from our office. We got lots of great shots, so I wanted to share a few.

To create the photo above with the TTV frame, I followed my own tutorial here.

The sun was definitely shining today, so for most of the photos, I looked like this: (it was painful...)
I've been playing around a lot with PSE actions lately, and since I'm an amateur, I figured others could benefit from my limited knowledge, because all the professional stuff just goes over my head.

Mostly, I use actions from here, and they're very affordable. I really want her actions for PSE, and I'll probably get them in a week or two when I start her photography workshop.

The photo below is the original. Kind of boring, right?
I used the color saturate action from Mindy, and adjusted the color opacity down a bit. Then, I flattened the image and used the turn-the-lights-on action and adjusted the opacity to about 20%. What a difference, huh? I think I look much more springy and less washed out.
Now for Scarlet's original:
For this photo, I used the colorful kick action and then the turn-the-lights-on action (adjusted to about 60%). Then, I tried a new technique to adjust Scarlet's eye color, which I hope to have a tutorial for very soon, so check back tomorrow or Friday for that.
Isn't she so much more beautiful in this photo?

And, lastly, the sneaks I promised you:

(all items from the Hey Diddle add-on except the grid chipboard.
(all items except the green cardstock from the Peter Piper add-on)

Monday, March 16, 2009

my husband is shopping for a tractor

Well, that's one sentence I never thought I'd ever type.

With farms, come tractors, so he and dad have been shopping online for them and decided to go today to the tractor store (so help me, i don't even know the name of it!).

Another sentence I never thought would leave my mouth:
My husband is at the cattle auction.

Which, he was, on Friday. Then, on Saturday, we went to Nashville and he had a cheek full of sunflower seeds the whole way there and back. I asked him about his "habit" and he said he felt left out at the cattle auction, so he needed something between his cheek and gum....okay. Apparently the auctioneer did the entire thing with a dip.

Ah, the joys of living a country life.

We plan to close on the farm on Friday, and then the fun of demolition and renovation will begin.

For now, I'll leave you with a small sneak. I have more, but I'm waiting for the sun to come out, tomorrow (bet your bottom dollar)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

i still have it

Sunday was my 29th birthday, but I felt like my birthday was better celebrated on Monday.

Cara made me this

Then, she and Lorie surprised me by bringing Natalee and Carter up to the office to eat it with me. So sweet (literally) and thoughtful of them. I seriously have the best friends, because they know I'm horrible at remembering dates, yet they still remember the dates important to me.

Then, around 4:00 I got a phone call from Greg saying that we were going to go to the rock wall in Nashville with some of the college kids from church.

Fiona belaying Cody.
The next images that follow, keep in mind it's been more than 10 years since I've done this. (I'm following only the white markers over that ledge)

To get to that next hold, I had to hang by my arms and hoist myself to move my right foot to that small hold to the right of my right knee. I was feeling very Tom-ish from MI2.

And, here I was wishing I had stuck with Pilates so I would have been elongated to reach. Nevertheless, I made it to the top.

Fun times were had by all and sore muscles will follow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

a name for the farm

We closed on our old house on Friday and are now planted in the guest bedroom at my parents' house while we wait to close on the farm and do some remodeling.

My family settled on the name "Pemberley Farms" although it doesn't quite look like Jane Austen's version:

My dad came home from working at the farm yesterday and proudly brought in his camera stating he had taken lots of photos at the farm. And, as we all know, quantity is better than quality, so I thought I'd share a few in their unedited form.

I think we need a bush-hog (Did I spell that correctly? If I'm going to live on a farm, I at least need to know how the equipment names are spelled)
Greg and Addy down at Drakes Creek. There's a perfect spot to launch a canoe or kayak where they're at.

This is the old horse barn (see I told you we need a bush-hog). The plan is to tear down this barn and build a new one that's more usable for our purposes. Also, we plan to plane the barnwood and use it as flooring in the remodeled house.
This is a brook that runs along the other side of the property. Much smaller than Drake's Creek, but just as pretty.

Yesterday was my birthday and I was happy to celebrate with lots of friend from church who embarrassed me at our favorite Mexican food restaurant. Yes, I had to wear the sombrero while they sang "Feliz Cumpleanos" to me. Other than that, it was very low-key and I enjoyed a wonderful birthday nap :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

how could i forget about this typical greg moment?

If you've ever walked by an Oxygen bar in an airport and wondered how they can possibly stay in business, these photos are for you.

Seemingly smart adults pay for oxygen, so while he sat here breathing in his $8 concoction, I sat a few feet away and took about 49 breaths for free.