Wednesday

Kicking Off Spring with Picasa Flowers

Picasa is a wonderful little photo editing tool made by Google. If you can't afford Photoshop and other similar programs Picasa is a great tool. 


Sometimes once in a while you get an AMAZING photo, like this one my husband took, right from the click. For every other time, which for me is just about every time, there's photo editing software.

Now, this one I am particularly because I took it with my cell phone. For a cell phone picture, I think it turned out pretty good.

Now if I add just a tiny bit of saturation and some sharpening to bring out the little hairs I get this:


It's not a mega change but enough to make it really POP!


Here's another example:


It's a really sweet picture but I think I just favor it because I really loved my fuchsias last year.


If I had Photoshop I would probably go over the edges a little and maybe blur the background some but for a free, Picasa gets the job done. I love how it played up the water droplets. Even though in the shadow of winter the second picture looks almost surreal I swear that it is a truer depiction of what color they were, I love these flowers!


I saved the biggest change for last. This is one of my all time favorite pictures from last year.I could have stopped with pulling out some of the shadows and warmifying the picture but I decided to spice things up a little with a focal black and white, a soft focus and then a warmify on top of it all. 


I love it! Now, what would I do with any of these pictures? I would probably use them as a small detail in a large gallery wall type setting. 

What about you? Do you go bold? Prefer to just leave 'em like they are? What software do you use?

Spring?

I think I'll call it spring when a little more of that white stuff is gone. For those of you suffering through breakup  with me here in Alaska that black stuff, yeah that stuff up by the drive way, that's called asphalt. I know, it's been a while. I had to look up how to spell it. And ya, I'm the lucky one that get's the drainage sign in front of my house. Last year the neighborhood kids used it to catapult snowballs off of. Glad somebody's a fan 'cause my neighbor two houses down is not. See how the fence on the left slopes down? That means that my house is not the lowest point which really stinks if you're the guy that is but doesn't have a drain. 


This 6 inch thick ice covered area is what I will be working on the most as soon as I can actually feel the pavers under my feet. On the bright side, the dogs love using the holes formed by the melting ice as water bowls.


Lucky for me the two large garden beds right around the front of the house have melted out. Maybe we will see some bulbs coming up soon? A few perennials?




In the mean time I am willing the spring to me with all kinds of plants growing indoors. I can NOT wait to get them outside and in the ground!



To end on a happy note this is my first bloom of the season. My Fuchsia managed to survive even after I left the poor thing out in a half snow/ half rain last year!  Now that's my kind of plant.

Happy spring to you all, even if it may not look like it where ever you are.

Monday

Brought to You by the Letter P

Well, it's been a while but I finally got off my duff and finished up my daffodil project. I had to buy some moss for about $1 after coupons and everything else was stuff I had on hand. 

First I dug through my toilet paper roll stash. I promise that toilet paper rolls aren't the only medium that I use but use 'em if you got 'em, right?


For the long part of the "P" I put a smaller roll inside of two paper towel rolls and hot glued it all together for some strength. 



Where the two paper towel rolls intersected I cut a semicircle into one of the rolls to make it fit snug. For the corners I just cut on a diagonal.



I went back and hot glues around all the pieces that went together. Since this will be going outside and subject the the wind and what not I wanted to make good and sure that everything would hold up. 



This was my first time I had ever used moss. It was SO messy! You kind of have to stretch it out on like that fake spiderweb stuff an then hot glue it all down. Since the rolls are a pretty natural color it won't matter much if you have a little peeking through. 



The great thing about the moss is that it's pretty forgiving. You just piece what you want on there. If you need a little fill in here or there just go ahead and paste it right where you need it.


I got out my little flowers I made earlier this week and hot glued them down too. If you missed it you can check out how to make the flowers here.



I added a little string and hung it up on a nail next to my door:) 



Now to get moving on painting that door. We hung it last fall and it's still there primed and begging for paint. I think I just want it to match the trim. Any suggestions?


I linked to Centsatinal Girl's Spring Projects Link Party. While you are there you just have to check out her idea for a DIY waterproof picnic blanket! I am totally going to make one of my own, so long as I can get the sewing machine to cooperate of course:)

I also linked to:

Sunday

Spring Cleaning

So, I was blog browsing the other day,  hiding from my crafting mess and looking for a little inspiration, when I happened on this little idea from Clover Lane : 40 Bags In 40 Days

The goal is to go through the house and attempt to get rid of, donate or sell anything that you can live without. Basically, spring cleaning. I have trouble with spring cleaning. I tend to look at things as a whole. I could spend the whole day spot cleaning the carpet and making it look amazing but then when I look up the couch needs cleaned too, the kids have made a mess all over the table, the kitchen still needs swept, and on and on and then my clean carpet doesn't seem so awesome anymore. It doesn't seem like I actually accomplished anything. So, I'm gonna give this a whirl. 1 bag a day. I can do that and if I get more, bonus points for me!

How about you? Whistle while you work? What helps you get the job done?




Friday

Cardboard Yes, Expensive No

I am  absolutely positively head over heals for family trees.I think they are a great way to add some meaning to your decor. The best part is that there are so many ways to make one on the cheap. So when I got my Bed Bath and Beyond ad in the mail the other day and saw this: 

Wallverbs Family Tree 11-piece Fames and Plaque Set  

Drooling began.

I was ready to take my 20% off coupon and head to the store when reality sank in. $40? Coupon or not coupon it's not gonna happen. At first I asked my hubby if he would cut some shapes like these out if I drew them for him. He said he would! Then again he has been promising to build me a strawberry planter for over a year now, which turned out to be a good thing because now I have decided to make one out of recycled tires instead! Like the strawberry planter, with a little time I can come up with a million ways to make something for free. 

So I was browsing around blog land at Funky Junk Interiors last linky party when I saw this: 


The wheels started turning my friends! I already have like a million little black frames. I already had a large stash of toilet paper rolls...uh, huh, yeah, that's right. I have totally got this! Out came the paint brush and the toilet paper roll stash!


I started by cutting my toilet paper rolls into little sections, nothing scientific, I just eyeballed it. I also cut out a few branches from paper towel rolls.

I tried painting one whole, believe me it's easier to paint each little section.
I watered down my paint a little and painted the inside and out sides black. They got a little soggy but they stiffened back up as they dried.

See why I don't bother trying to make this table look pretty?
When they were dry I took them to my wall and hung them up using sticky tack.



I LOVE it. Eventually I'll actually get some pictures taken of the whole family, not just the girls. 


Total cost of this project was 1/4 of a bottle of paint, so about 50 cents. Gotta love that!

I linked to





Sunday

I LOVE Birthdays!

This weekend my family had a mass birthday party. My daughter, my brother, my sister in law, and myself all have birthdays within just a few weeks of each other so to simplify it all we just have one big family party. It's great for now, I'll let you know how that all goes over once my kids are old enough to actually want a party of their own:) For now I'm going to show you what I made for my sister in law. 

Since I was giving this to someone I used primer and I sanded my cabinet door down just a little. Normally I am too lazy to do something like this for myself. 


After the primer dried I filled in the cracks with joint compound just to give it a more finished look. As you can see this little project began running into lunch time:)  

After all of the compound is dry I gave it a couple coats of paint. I love wet paint, don't you!

I made vinyl letters and decals using my Cricut. 

I mixed just a little bit of brown acrylic paint and some clear glaze.

This is what it looked like after I brushed it on.

Then, I used an old shirt to white off any extras. It came off so well that I even dry brushed a little of the glaze on to keep it from looking so new.

After all was said and done I sprayed it with a flat coat of sealant and it's done!  
The total cost for this project wasn't much. Just the cost for the cabinet door, which I got at Habitat for Humanity. Everything else I had on hand!

A Little Bit of Spring

 I found this cute little stencil for daffodils while searching through blogs. I expected to be able to link back to their original post to show you what they did  but, I can't find their post. They used these little beauties as flowers in real grass with little chocolate eggs. It was so stink'n cute! If you know what I'm talking about let me know so I can give them credit!

 I took this template, opened it in InkScape to make in an SVG and t hen opened the SVG in my SCAL 2 software to make my own template so I could cut out multiple sets with my Cricut.  It sound really confusing but it's really not. I use You Tube to look up all of my crafting questions. They have a tutorial for EVERYTHING!!!
I used scraps of scrap-booking paper to cut the flowers using my Cricut.
Pair them together as you like.

Separate them, the bottom one with stay flat. The other ones get folded.



This close-up shows how where to fold your flower. I scored my heavier papers before folding it to make it easy.



This is how it should look when you are done folding it.

Layer all of your flowers together in whatever order you'd like. I used my Crop-A-Dile to  punch a hole through all the layers.

Add a little brad for the center to keep it all together and you're done!

What a sweet little idea! I can't wait to show you what I used them for!