Tuesday, November 30, 2010

nine days late but worth the wait!

my beastie's little bundle finally arrived on thanksgiving-after a nine day past her due day wait stella's bff is finally here and as cute as ever. meet hailey:


oh, hello little buggers that have been terrorizing us for the past week.

Monday, November 29, 2010

i heart faces: black and white scenic.

i posted a different spin to this weeks theme--my photo has a scene and a face, but just not maybe what you would first think of for this weeks challenge. this is rowan sitting with her late great grandparents on her great grandpa's birthday in california. there is something so magical about this photo despite it's cemetery setting. something she will cherish forever.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

muh week, in phone shots.

would you believe me if i told you that prior to this hop i was amazingly awesome at remembering to take photos at all times? including, times where only a phone was involved? so of course when this AWESOME idea that amy comes up with rolls around, i have a bunch of random crap on my phone. and, this may or may not be the only time you will hear me say i am jealous of iphoners...me wants some instagramhipstamatic goodness--now if you ever call me out on this jealousy i will deny deny deny. ok, onto my photos...
(which in no way represent any importance of my week or are in order or from every day.)
1. growing top teeth hurts and requires lots of snuggling and watching mommy play mario brothers on the wii.
2. 'we'll if you won't let me try the pho, i'll have some water instead.' -stella
3. it snowed, for reals.
4. oh, look more snow that may or may not have involved some slipping, a impossible hill, and chains.
5. tim thought he'd try out my fx camera.
6. more napping due to tooth growing.
7. our new wii! jealous?
8. napping with daddy--mommy was a puddle of joy watching this sight.
9. everyone must end their saturday with a mustache mirror photo. best $2 ever spent at urban outfitters.

now, you go:

Friday, November 26, 2010


we woke up to a white thanksgiving this year--i was over the moon, my parents had decided to give up on thanksgiving at their house and head our way. we, bundled up and headed to fred meyer to get some last minute things for dinner (little did we know, there would be twp more trips in our future. lol!)
we bundled stelly up and took her for a little walk around first, apparently it is borderline torture to wear a snowsuit--there were no tears, but if looks could kill...
is it sad that i couldn't stop laughing as she laid there totally immobile 'a christmas story' style with the most serious look on her face?!
after we got dinner going we got in a quick game of our newest pictonary man game. it is fun, but all the 'clues' are really hard and that game isn't cheap. oh, and there was some bad dancing to just dance 2 at some point.
after dinner my parents quick packed up and left us with pounds of leftovers. yumm.
fast forward...tim's best friend, his girlfriend adrienne, and brother luke headed up. adrienne and i headed right out to get in line for the 10pm opeing of toys'r'us...to you know what? buy a video game for our better halves. wait wha? it was so nuts, the line was almost a mile long-but i still got everything i was after!
then there was a lot of beer consumption. the end.
 ready to go out!
 stella's turtle on it's back impression. she's good, huh?
gah, melt muh heart. 
don't mess with my pickle! 
stella's very own turkey leg.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

some bunny hated the snow today.

stella was mad at the world today, first for the cold white stuff on the ground and then at mommy for making her sit in while she snapped a few photos--and, we may or may not be cutting our top teeth. no, wait...we are #wheresthevodka?
oh, and stella...your arm bones are showing. also, who let you outside with no shoes or coat on?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

hi, baby. you're eight months old!

hi, baby on your eight month birthday...that was yesterday.
you're sick today so photos were no fun for you and you're mad about the snow--but it's cool that it snowed before thanksgiving for your first of both, right?
you mostly crawl the right way now, your army days are over. as i type this you are SO close to figuring out how to stand. you get your foot down flat but you can't quite figure out what to do next.
your still a beefaroni, but your currently growing up instead of out. your cloth diapers are on the tightest snap right now. you are still 100% breastfed-go stella and mommy! but you are loving solids more and more, grandpa even let you have your first french fry.
i love you through and through my little baby!
happy eight months!

nursery tour: wall collage.

the newest installment in stella's nursery is done-a collage of frames and stuff! we're still waiting on a uncle sam original but the empty frame is holding it's place for now.
i am so close to having her room done and i am really excited-i just need to throw some paint up and replace her bookshelf with the 2x2 square one from ikea. then, finish it off with a couple of rugs and it'll be complete.
*we decided to sign another lease here-rental house hunting was depressing-anything good we found in our price range was rented before we even called our agent about it and the thought of packing up, moving, and then doing it all over again when we buy in a six months to a year made us antsy. so we're staying her for now. now is not the time to rent! prices are too high for what you get.

remember this photo from the 'nursery tour' page?
so the collage...i stole some inspiration from my favorite diy'ers blog http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/04/nursery-progress-adding-some-art/ and did my own spin on it! the first piece to go up was the moss 's'-i scored a discounted giant cardboard 's' from joann's and bought some sheet moss and when to town with my craft glue. the moss was REALLY smelly and it was a pain getting the edges right but in the end it turned out so good! and the moss doesn't even stink anymore. (feel free to ask, if your interest in making one-i will share my tips!)
after the 's' hung all alone for a bit i finally kicked my butt into gear and got the collage finished. i added two little floating shelfs and a balance of photos and art along with another little 's'.
I am on the mad serch for a ceramic owl or pair of owls in white to add to the little shelves and thinking about adding another form of a 's' to the wall or second shelf. so...what do you think?!
1. the finished piece! i might add one or two more frames and i have a little canvas piece in the works that spells out her whole name.
2. i made my own sillouhete and i LOVE how it turned out. http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/10/head-shot/. then, i had scored a 0.75 cent frame in the as-is department at michaels that was missing the glass-instantly i knew i wanted it to be some sort of 3-d piece. after trying to get a pair of cute baby socks to fit i gave up and threw on a piece or ribbon and clipped some of her bows on it. i love how it turned out and it is a practicle piece too.
3. i bought another 's' from joann's and wrapped turquoise yarn around it. there are a lot of glue spots but overall i like how it turned out.
4. i wanted to have a piece or either tim's or my childhood included-so right away i thought of this notebook his mom gave us from when tim was little and home-schooled. i tore a sheet out and mounted it in this shadowbox frame with some scrapbook paper behind.

i think all in all this whole things cost me under $50, now that is a score on such a cool part of her room that can grow with her!

i choose a sheet that read, 'my favorite room of all the rooms in my house, i like my room the best. i like it because it has all my stuff in it. my room is upstairs.' 
how perfect is that?! these entries were all directed by questions from his mom. there are some pretty hilarious ones in there-like one about being a puppeteer...what? haha, i might have to share more of the notebook in a whole different post.

thanks to http://thepapermama.blogspot.com/ and her great ideas-i stumbled across this AH-MAZING site: http://indiefixx.com/Feed_your_soul/downloads.html, you're welcome. they have FREE high resolution downloadable art...just for you! they are some awesome pieces on there and you can bet that i added it to stella's wall. i just printed at costco on luster paper for a fraction of what it would cost to track down some art like this from a store or pay site!

ps, my good friend dani made these bows-they are so cute and durable. http://www.cloudydaycreations.blogspot.com/

*moss letter tips (cause you asked):  i bought the sheet moss on a roll from michaels, and painted the 's' to match as closely as possible. then i laid the sheet moss, moss side down and used a sharpie to trace my cardboard 's' out (make sure you pay attention to which way you trace since your doing it on the back of the moss!), i had to cut it into a couple of pieces and the match up to cover the whole 's'. then i glued the front down and trimmed any extra that hung over to the side. next i measured the width of the side of the 's' and cut out strips. i covered the whole side in glue and just slowly rolled the strips on. last to cover any holes and the edges between the front of the 's' and the side i picked off a TON of extra moss from the leftover sheet and just went around gluing it into spots that looked funny or needed covering up-mostly along the visible edge. also, we had to leave the 's' outside for a few days-the moss i picked up was REALLY stinky, but now is just fine. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

hey, hey, hey!

it's snowing.
in november.

that's all...you may now return to your regular scheduled programing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

steppin' out saturday, *skips off to seattle

we had a busy fun filled weekend with tim's dad here-saturday was our turn to take him and his girlfriend around seattle (she had never been!) they did the market the day before so we showed them kerry park, gas works park, the troll, some other seattle art oddities, and then wrapped up the day with some red mill burgers. yumm.
it was ca-ooold on saturday with temps dropping to record lows for this time of year-it was the worst kind of cold too, the kind that makes your bones achey. poor stella was literally shivering-it was hard to enjoy my favorite seattle tourists spots but we all made the most of it!
hoodie- h&m
jeans- buckle, bke 'stella' skinny
boots- rocket dog, macy's

jeggings-old navy

 uncle sam
 kerry park on queen anne. what a view, huh?
 at gasworks park on lake union
we parked at golden gardens and watched some wind surfers for a bit. that sport is NUTS if you ask me. one guy was air-born for 45+ seconds doing flips in the air. it was really blustery out too!

i heart faces: paper.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

my week in phone pics.

hey you iphone users can go fly a kite-i have a android phone and will be staying married to it for a bit. so android fx cam photos you get.
ok ok, these photos are all from today. my old phone broke and i have been sort of boycotting it's replacement--including snapping less than normal photos with it. but i was busy today so you won't be left unsatisfied.
1. lunch and craft shopping date with my favortie mommy daughter pair! http://prettylittlebuzz.blogspot.com/
2. i die. this is the cutest thing i have ever made! http://www.younghouselove.com/2010/10/head-shot/ and it totally didn't even mean to have the exact same paper as them! i looked this tutorial up after i bought the stuff-weird!
3. we went to gas works park. one word: brrrrr.
4. my hot man driving while i play with fx camera from the android market.
5. i scooped up a sq. frame at michaels for .75 but it had no glass. so i turned it into a 3-d / practical piece for stella's wall collage (photos of that to come later)
6. i think you might have seen this already but this is stella stuck INSIDE of this toy.
7. hanging with her homies.
8. thank you jill http://thechroniclesofcorbin.blogspot.com/ for this amazing idea/tutorial. it was exactly what i needed for stella's room now that she has out grown side mounted mobiles. this is one she can totally grow with and have hanging in her room for awhile! http://bebehblog.com/baby-sandys-nursery-vintage-bib-ribbon-mobile-chalkboard-tray/
9. can't really tell-we parked at golden gardens and watched the crazy wind surfers on this blustry grey day. those guys are nuts! one guy was up in the air flipping around for a good 45 seconds!

ok, i suck at this and i can't wait until next week--i can actually work at getting some more phone shots and capturing more crazy momments in the life of me. till then...

link up yours too :)

i asked and the SUPER talented ashely sisk and she delivered. are you excited yet?

i am shakin' in my closet photographer boots right now-i asked ashley sisk to help us out with some editing tip--i asked her what some top things she could share to make photo editing easy for ANYONE and you know what? she gets asked this all the time so she was totally on board!
have you seen her photos? they are amazing!

i am sure she would love to hear your feedback on these tutorials and what else you have been wondering about when it comes to editing.
The other day, I received a request from Melissa to share my five to ten favorite Photoshop Elements tips. I sometimes take for granted that I have some experience with editing and that I've downloaded so many actions, tools, etc to make my life a little easier. All that said, I do have tools that I consistently use in Elements to edit photographs.

I personally use Photoshop Elements 7 (and Adobe Camera Raw) to do my editing - this is an older version. Photoshop Elements 8 and 9 are now out and can be yours for between $82 and $140. For most hobbyists, I believe that PSE is an incredible resource…especially if you don't want to spend more than $100 on your editing software. There are a few freebies available such as GIMP, but I honestly don't know how to use it.

Before I go to far, let’s first review the Photoshop Elements Tool Bar. http://ashleysisk.blogspot.com/2010/05/tutorial-pse-toolbar.html If you’re not familiar with the basic tools, click on that link for a description of each tool.

Now, with that said…if you’ve viewed any of my tutorials in the past, you'll notice that I refer to a few tools that you'll need to add to PSE such as layer masks and curve adjustment (I think they’ve been added in version 9). Go to Grants' Tools (http://www.cavesofice.org/~grant/Challenge/Tools/Files.html)  and download his Main Tools. Once you've downloaded, follow the installation instructions (http://www.cavesofice.org/~grant/Challenge/Tools/HowtTo.html). The instructions are written for PSE5 and older, but I used them for version 7 without a hitch. Texas Chicks (http://www.texaschicksblogsandpics.com/photography-page/) also offers good tutorials for installing instructions.

Now, let me talk about actions. An action is a series of tasks that you play back on a file - menu commands, palette options, tool actions, and so on. There are a ton of actions on the web for free and for sale. In Photoshop (not PSE), you can even create actions to either simply your everyday post-processing steps or add a special effect. Because I operate out of Photoshop Elements, I don't have the option to create my own actions (although I will be upgrading soon and plan to make and share my own actions)...instead, I've found a few great websites that offer what I believe are awesome (and free) PSE compatible actions. If you'll go to my Inspiration page (http://ashleysisk.blogspot.com/p/inspiration.html), I've listed them all...but I want to draw your attention to a few that you'll probably want to download (and if you have trouble, just let me know and we can "talk"):

·         Texas Chicks (http://www.texaschicksblogsandpics.com/free-actions-for-photoshop-elements/) offers an action called Perfect Workflow that is pretty awesome. This action is really great for basic post-processing. I continue to use an action called Squeaky Clean, but it’s no longer a freebie, so I won’t point you in that direction. However, if you sign up for the Texas Chicks newsletter, you’ll received Perfect Workflow along with several other freebie actions.
·         Coffeeshop's Baby Powder Room (http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.com/2009/11/coffeeshop-baby-powderroom-free-pspse.html) : I really like this action because it helps me even out skin tone and create that portrait finish for babies and children. Everyone has their own preferences as to how much they alter a child's skin. Personally, I believe in using really low opacity soft brushes to paint on the effect and then lowering the opacity on each individual layer even lower so it's gentle and natural.
·         Morgan Kervin’s Eye Love action (http://morgankervin.blogspot.com/2010/11/free-action-new-and-improved-eyelove2.html)  is my new favorite for brightening and then sharpening eyes. Pioneer Woman also offers an action called Bring out the Eyes (http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2009/08/how-to-use-bring-on-the-eyes/)  that is pretty great too.

Like I said, these are just a few of my favorite actions that I use for basic processing. Now, let’s talk about other tools/techniques that I consistently use:

1.      Layer Masks: I often refer to layer masks...especially as it relates to textures. Paint with a soft black brush with adjusted opacity to remove things from that layer, or fill the layer mask with black to completely mask out all of that layer's effect, then use a soft white brush with adjusted opacity to "paint" back in things. If you didn’t download Grant’s Tools earlier, Coffeeshop Photography also offers a layer mask action that does the same thing (http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.com/2008/11/coffeeshop-layer-mask-action.html). Here's a tutorial on how to use layer masks (http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.com/2008/09/coffeeshop-layer-masks-tutorial.html).

2.      Blending Modes. Blending  modes allow you to adjust how one layer or color mixes with the colors in the layers below. My go to blending mode is Soft Light which creates a really nice light. I also really like screen and multiply. Here’s a tip: create two copies of your background layer. Set one to screen and the other to multiply. You’ll want to use black layer masks on each layer (see tip #1). Use a soft white brush on your screen layer to lighten anything that needs lightening and use a soft white brush on your multiply layer to darken anything that needs to be darkened.

3.      High Pass Filter. Another way to use your soft light blending mode is to pair it with the high pass filter. You can find High Pass Filter at the top of screen – go to Filter>Other>High Pass Filter. Select how strong you want the filter to be and then set that layer’s blending mode to soft light. You can use your opacity slider to change how strong you want the effect or use a layer mask to paint on the effect where needed. I use this technique anytime I want a little extra pop.
4.      Stretching a canvas using the Marquee Tool: When I’m editing pictures, I often like to change the composition of the image. In some cases, this means that I need to fill in canvas space that you’ve either added by changing the canvas size or that you’ve created by over-cropping (selecting space outside of the original photo for a new crop). Use your marquee tool to select some of the blank space, click ctrl T (free transform) and then drag the side of it to fill in the space.

5.      Replacing backgrounds or swapping heads: If you have a background you don’t like or need to swap heads, it’s much easier to do than it sounds. Use your quick select tool to trace the space that needs to be changed. Click ctrl+J to lift that selection into it’s own layer. Then you can either create a duplicate of a background and move it to the top layer, and click ctrl+G to group the layers…then click ctrl+t to move the photo into place. OR, you can drag and drop a new background on top of the selection, click ctrl+G to group them and then merge the layers.

Dustyn Before and After

6.      I also tend to use a lot of textures. There was a period of time where I downloaded a lot of textures from various websites. Unfortunately, I don't know where they all came from, but I do have a few really good resources: Shadowhouse Creations (http://shadowhousecreations.blogspot.com), Johnna LaFaith Photography (http://johnnariddellphotography.blogspot.com), Kim Klassen (http://www.kimklassencafe.com/) and more. Find some you like and start experimenting. Textures are essentially jpg files that you drag on top of your photograph to create a new layer. Each of these layers can be given a blending mode and opacity. In the photo below, I'll tell you how I layered the textures, but I do encourage you to just experiment - that's how I learned.
      Fairy Garden Step

Well, I think I’ve made your heads spin enough for one day. Let me know if you have questions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

i heart faces: silhouette

my oldest babe dancing to the waves at our little piece of heaven on earth...seaside, or.

the paper mama photo challenge, cozy.

stella managed to find the coziest place in the house-drifting off to dream land while daddy plays her a song.

 The Paper Mama

Sunday, November 14, 2010

steppin' out-but mostly we stayed in.

another epic weekend in the books-and when i say epic, it was simple but i laughed so hard i cried and that = epic in my book. after a day of shopping for mommy and the kidlets christmas gifts we had some friends over for a game night. omg, i seriously laughed so hard-dylan and amy are hilarious! i am seriously wondering where they have been all this time. i think tim was hiding them from me, ha! cranium is really the best game for 6+ people and when you play guys against girls.
we made some nom-able crab dip too! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cheesy-Jalapeno-Crab-Dip/Detail.aspx, we totally used some imitation crab that we picked up at costco yesterday.
grey hoodie-target
stripe tank-urban outfitter's on clearance for $5 (seriously, best sale right now 50% off clearance and actually cute stuff for SUPER cheap!)
skinny jeans- 'stella skinny' (hehe) bke from buckle

the babe:
leisure suit-koala kids 'school girl' from babies'r'us, another GREAT sale right now 30% off clearance!

holy crap, my blonde is three! (so have a TON of photos, cause she's cute!)

hi, rowan:
to you on your third birthday-you make almost no sense when you talk and you're still terrible at the two's but my-oh-my how perfect you are. you are smooshie and snugglie and smart and cute. you're creative and caring and gentle and LOUD. you're my little helper and little mommy to your dolls. you'll eat anything we give you even if half of it ends up on the floor-your favs are oatmeal, bananas, yogurt, and cheese. 
you love your sisters and gma and gunka. you hate dogs right now you like to look at dogs from afar but hate when they come near. we lost your curly locks this year when we finally had to cut your hair-it is still a little wavy so i hope they come back some day! 
i love you, you sweet little lady. happy birthday to my most favorite little blonde!