Friday, February 5, 2016

{Friday Photo Bliss}

On Fridays I like to post my favorite snapshots of the week. This week the weather was gorgeous and we were able to spend so much time outdoors enjoying it.


We went on a five-mile hike at Huntsville State Park.


We haven't had much rain the last month and the dam overflow was completely dry so we were able to hike right over it. I think this weekend we are going to go back and rent canoes.


My guys.


I love pines.


I also love how the water sparkles on the lake.

Unfortunately we did not see any alligators or snakes.


Yesterday after school we headed out to the woods at the end of our subdivision. I fenced up the kids so I could enjoy a peaceful walk, but those rascals managed to escape.


We visited the super-scary swamp and didn't see any snakes or alligators. Sigh.


We hiked (well, mostly crawled) through incredibly dense brush. I brought quite a bit of nature home in my hair that afternoon and even found a small piece of vine in there this morning.

Note to self: Brush hair before going to bed.


We returned to the place of the giant hamster wheels and this time no children were harmed in the making of these images.


We found trees that had grown around hay bale rope.  Pretty cool.


When we got home we had quite the appetite, so I made goat-cheese/fresh basil/grass-fed hamburger pizza on an almond flour crust.

This crust recipe was sent to me by my sister Heather who is also gluten-free/primal and it is the best crust I have ever eaten. Simple to make and delicious!


After our long day my youngest was really exhausted and fell asleep on "his" leather recliner while watching the news. His snores were very distracting, they almost covered up my husband's snores. Snores in stereo, you can't beat that!

Have a great weekend!!!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Thursday, February 4, 2016

CoffeeShop "Valentine Scribbles" Digital Paper Pack!


I wanted to start off this post by letting you know about an exciting new addition to my CoffeeShop Action/Preset Download Pack.  I have well over 200 actions included in the pack so it can be difficult to choose which action you wish to run on each image. Now the download includes a pdf with before/after examples of the actions in alphabetical order. In addition, each action example is a clickable link that goes directly to step-by-step action instructions. Keep the pdf open while using the CoffeeShop actions so you can see what each action does and also instantly get step-by-step instructions on running it on your own image.

If you already ordered the action pack, just email me  and I will send you a link to the pdf instructions. And don't forget to check out my Digital  Design pack, it is HUGE! A perk of your purchase (besides the convenience and helping support this site) is that you can download the newest packs for free if your initial purchase was within two years. Simply email me and let me know you want it. I update these packs weekly with new goodies!

This week is really flying by. The weather has been gorgeous here, sunny and not too cold.  Last week it was in the 70's during the day, this week it is in the 50's-60's. We haven't even had a hard freeze yet and it is February. Weather is always crazy and unpredictable, but I am not going to complain about being able to wear shorts during February. Our summers are so hot and humid we actually spend more time outdoors during the winter.

I have a new Valentine-inspired digital paper pack to share with you today. I used some graphics from The Graphics Fairy to add the "hand-drawn" designs on these papers. Use these any way you like!

Download the CoffeeShop "Valentine Scribbles" Digital Paper Pack. You can also grab it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Editing Tutorial: Matching Colors Between Images!


I really want to start posting more editing tutorials on my blog. Today I wanted to show you one quick way in Photoshop and PSE to change the color on an image to match another image. This is such a helpful technique when you have an image or series of images for a storyboard where clothing colors clash.

I used some gorgeous images from Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) in this tutorial.


As you can see on this lovely storyboard (download it here for free!), all of the pink dresses match.


But they didn't at first! Originally some of the dresses are a pale peachy pink (left), while others are a bright bubblegum pink (right). I wanted to make them all peachy pink for this storyboard.

CoffeeShop Matching Colors Photoshop/PSE Tutorial:

Open your images.


Make a background copy of the image you are adjusting (Ctrl-J). Work on the new layer, not the original one.

Photoshop: Go to Image, Adjustments, Replace Color.


PSE: Go to Enhance, Adjust Color, Replace Color.


Click on the top Color square and click on the color in the image you wish to replace (the bubblegum pinks in this image). You can use the eyedroppers to add (+) or remove (-) from your selection. Set the Fuzziness slider to taste.

Don't worry if you select too much, we copied the original and can use the copied layer's layer mask to remove any excess.


Click on the bottom Color square and click on the first image with the peachy pink dress. The bubblegum dress should turn a peachy pink. You can adjust the Fuzziness slider and Lightness slider until you are satisfied with the color replacement.

Don't worry if the selection is not perfect, you will fix it in the next step.


Finally, add a layer mask to your edited layer and use a black soft brush to paint off any areas that were adversely affected by the Color Replacement. In this case I painted it off her face and hair.



They are both "pretty in pink". ;-) Wasn't that easy!!!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CoffeeShop Photographer Storyboard #39: 8x10, for Print or Web!


Today I have a lovely new 8x10 storyboard for print or web. Add your images by clipping masks (tutorial and free action),  customize the color of the stripes and white background, or even add your own digital papers/textures behind the images.

In the example above I used some beautiful images from Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay). 

In the original storyboard all of the pinks in the images did not match (they were peachy pink and bubblegum pink). I have posted an editing tutorial showing you a simple technique to make all of the pinks the same, read it here.


The top five layers marked in red are the clipping mask. The layers marked in green are the stripe colors and white background. 

Download the CoffeeShop "Storyboard #39". You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Sunday, January 31, 2016

CoffeeShop "Fashionista Luxe" Photoshop/PSE Action!



Today I wanted to share a really stunning new action I called "Fashionista Luxe". This action is perfect for high fashion portraits but can also be beautiful on still life images or landscapes.



CoffeeShop "Fashionista Luxe" Photoshop/PSE Action Tutorial:


This is the "before" image which I found on Pixabay. I love this image, but I removed some of the yellow hue in the original before starting my action.


This is the edited image after the action finishes, no adjustments.


In this edit I turned down the "Boost" layer Fill to 50% from 100% and dialed up "Vignette" to Fill 70%. I also used a soft black brush to remove all of the "Vignette" layer from the model.

The "Matte" layer is optional and can be turned off or adjusted to add more or less Matte-effect.


I love this edit! I think the colors are gorgeous and I love the soft Matte effect. I would love to see your own edits using this action on my Facebook page!

Download the CoffeeShop "Fashionista Luxe" Photoshop/PSE action. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Having Fun With Topaz Impression and Creating My Own Custom Zany Paintings!

I have an amazing new action coming out tomorrow, so be sure to come back and check it out! You are going to love this one. :-)


This fall during our trip to Las Vegas, we explored several art galleries. The boys and I were really inspired by all of the photos and paintings.

There was one artist (unfortunately I can't remember his name) who painted really funny paintings inspired by English idioms. So I thought it would be fun to make my own!

By the way, you can grab that gold frame here.


"Barking up the Wrong Tree"

I can't paint but I can Photoshop. Today I was having fun with the Topaz Impression plug-in filter (worth every penny!) and I decided to create my own art. I used this background, dog, and cat to make this digital painting. I cut out the dog and cat and adding them in their own layer above the background. Then I applied a custom Topaz filter on each layer until I was  happy with the effect.

I wanted to mention that Topaz Effects (another great plug-in) is on sale this weekend. Simply enter the coupon code "EASYTEXTURE" at checkout to get $20.


This is what the image looked like before I "painted" it.

This is such a fun way to create your own custom painted art without having to take any art lessons. This version was a quick and dirty edit which took about 10 minutes at the most. I am going to work on a series of these paintings to hang up in my house. I think they would be so cute printed on gallery wrapped canvases.

You can download the full-sized image I created here. It is 10x10 and can be printed and hung above your fireplace. Or used for paintball target practice. ;-)

If you create your own digital art I would love to see your results on my Facebook page

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Friday, January 29, 2016

{Friday Photo Bliss}

On Fridays I like to post some of my favorite snapshots I took during the week. Yesterday I realized I hadn't taken any photos this week at all (except for one of our new chimney cap, YAH?), but I made up for it the last two days. 


Disgusting yet enduring slobbery doggy kisses.


That tongue! He reminds me of Odie.


Odie-the-dog-formerly-known-as-Piper-or-Dumb Dog (by my husband) still has his heart-shaped spot, but it is slightly distorted now. The other day I decided to weigh him because I was sure he was over 100 pounds, but he is only a tiny 62 pounds (at 10 months).

Piper loves to dig for China in the backyard. Then my dear husband goes out there to do some yard work and ends up tripping in these giant holes and cursing the "Dumb Dog".

My mom, either brilliant or simply getting revenge for my teenage years, told me she had heard that you could throw the dog's poop in his hole and he would stop digging there.

So yesterday afternoon I spent twenty minutes picking up (and sometimes stepping in) giant piles of dog poop and throwing these poops in all of the holes about the back yard.

My life is very glamorous.

I just hope that my dear husband doesn't trip in and fall in one of my poop-filled dog holes because he won't be the only one in deep poop... ;-)

Oh, I guess I better post a few pics of my other kids. They might not be as cute as Piper, but they also don't leave piles of poop all over the backyard.


Pilates or brain seizure? A bit of both.


I can see you!

We homeschool and often we do a bit of unschooling, which basically means I let the kids learn what they want, on their own. Imp stole a few of my Amazon boxes and decided to build a simple rat maze. The boys wanted to test how long it would take their rats to complete the maze.

Since I was a scientist in a former life, I suggested that they run each of the three rats through three times, with a snack at the end (tasty pumpkin seeds), and record their times.


Duke, my little math nerd, was the data recorder.  Imp was the Rattie Handler.


At the end of the maze the little ratties enjoyed their reward.


This is the first graph Duke has made (he just handed it over to me). As you can see, the ratties took some time to get through the first time as they were frantically scratching/chewing on the blocked off entrance. But once they made it through the first time and found a yummy pumpkin seed, they were on fire!

Velvet (green) was obviously most hungry. And Charlotte (red) figured out how to get out of the maze fastest, but had less interest in the treat at the end. Lil' Charlotte (blue) took quite a bit of time to figure out the maze, but she was the first one in so Duke said perhaps she didn't have a scent trail to follow and that made a difference. Good theory!

They are plotting a few more graphs and then we are going to discuss their results. I love graphing, it makes me happy. This is the kind of science that is really fun!


Imp and Duke had their first drawing class last week and after one-full-hour of expensive one-on-one time, their drawings are EXACTLY the same.

But you know what, I love their art. Imp is always making me little love cards (swoon!) and when he handed this one over to me this week I almost cried. How sweet is this comic?


He also made me this lovely little card. I am hoarding them all away so I can pull them out when he goes off to college.

I wonder if homeschooling moms average more, less, or the same amount of empty-nest syndrome than moms who have always sent their kids off to school? I will probably just have empty-pocket syndrome. ;-)

My boys are like me and prefer to teach themselves most things, so I decide to save tons of money and bought this drawing book. They are both working on piano with a bit of help from me and this book. I figure if they show more interest and get serious about becoming better artists, then I will pay for professional lessons. Every penny counts.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
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