Monday, February 28, 2011

{CoffeeShop ColorBar}


Well, it was late Sunday night, the kids were in bed, the husband was asleep in front of the TV (he spent most of the day entertaining the kids, bless him) and I had the sudden urge to create something new. If you have been following my blog for any time

Sunday, February 27, 2011

CoffeeShop Fabric Maker Action and Fabric Texture Pack


I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I wanted to post my newest action, CoffeeShop Fabric Maker. This action will create a custom-colored fabric texture/digital paper, perfect for texturing images or for using in digital design (like cards, storyboards, web backgrounds, scrapbooking, etc.).

CoffeeShop Fabric Maker Action Instructions:

1.   There are two actions in the download, one that is labeled PS for Photoshop Users, the other one for PSE (Photoshop Element) users.  Please make sure you install the correct action.  This action is an updated version that should work in PSE in Macs!

 2.  PSE users, you must have any random image(s) open BEFORE running the action or it won't work.  Once you have an image open in your program, start the action.  Photoshop users don't need to have anything open before running the action.

3.  Fabric Maker will create a new document and then prompt for the fabric color.  Select anything in the drop-down menu, and if you want to have a custom color, simply click on "Color..." and use the eyedropper and slider on the Color Picker.  Then press OK.



4.  The action will run and create a fabric texture.  Simply save this as any other texture or digital paper. 

I also included a set of fabric texture.jpgs with the download.  I used the Coffee with Cream paper on the image below.  I dragged the fabric on top of the image, Ctrl-Tto fit, and then put that layer in Overlay mode, 100%.  I dragged the fabric once more on top of the image and put that layer in Soft Light mode, 100%.  I added layer masks and used a soft low opacity brush to remove part of the texture off the flower.



This is a really easy technique and I love the results.  I hope you enjoy using these textures as much as I do.


Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one simple download 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.

Friday, February 25, 2011

{Friday Photo Bliss}

Inspired by the SouleMama blog's {this moment}, I am posting one image every Friday, taken that week, that really makes me happy. If you end up doing the same I would love to see your photo linked in my comments!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Newest Addiction and it Involves Hitting!

Ever since I had that horrible knock-me-on-my-heiny mono this summer I have not been very motivated to exercise. I am busy with the boys, life, and the computer so I keep on putting it off. "Tomorrow I will start exercising" I tell myself as I sit on the couch watching Netflix for hours while crunching on chips and chocolate-covered almonds.

I am pretty lucky and I don't gain much weight when I stop working out, but I get flabby and a bit bloated. Sorry, I refuse to post a photo even though I have one of myself in my undies for motivation.  One look at that photo will usually damper my snacking a bit.

Exercise also works like a mild anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drug for me. If I stop working out I start getting easily overwhelmed. I also feel lazy and tired and about twenty years older.

So the other day while I was hanging out in the backyard with the boys rereading The Stand: Expanded Edition for the third time, my husband (who works out several times a week and is in amazing shape) brought home his new toy.

I took one look at his new punching bag, stand and gloves and scoffed "What in the world did you buy?  You are never going to use that".

I have since eaten those words (which are much healthier than the chips/chocolate I was snacking on earlier).  For a lark I put on those big black gloves and gently hit the bag a few times.  "Don't hit like a girl!" he told me.  So I pulled back and gave that bag my everything. That bag was every horrid boss I had ever had, every mean girl who threw a ball at me in dodgeball, every crazy driver that cut me off while they were texting. 

And it felt AMAZING!

Since that mind-blowing day I have been hitting our "gym" daily (elliptical, exercise tapes, weights, and that lovely punching bag).  And I am starting to feel like my old self!  Who knew hitting something could feel so good?

I used my Grainy B&W action on that image and also a B&W texture from Chasing Dreams newest texture set, France. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

CoffeeShop Velvet Cream PS/PSE Action!


I am so excited to release my newest action, CoffeeShop Velvet Cream! In this action I combined two actions (Define and Pop, which has not been released yet and Velvet Truffle with the navy blue exclusion layer turned off) and I love the effect. I did not write the step-by-step tutorial "Action Unwrapped" yet for this action, but you can read the steps for the Velvet Truffle action here.

I left this action in layers so you could play with them and get different effects as seen below.  Like almost all of my actions, this works in Photoshop and PS Elements.

Instructions for using the CoffeeShop Velvet Cream Action:

1. Open your image and start the action.  The action will flatten your image and then a layers adjustment screen will open.  Adjust the highlight and shadow sliders until they are just under the start of the curves.  Adjust the midtones to taste.  I often bring up the midtones a bit so the skin will be brightened.


2.  The action will finish running and you will have five layers above your background.


3.  If you want to adjust the contrast you can double-click on the adjustment layer symbol on the Contrast Adjust layer and tweak the levels adjustment curve to taste.



4.  Turn down the top Color Fill layer to remove some of the creamy color, or dial it up for more.  The Define layer sharpens the darker parts of your image, so you can adjust this to taste or use the layer mask.  

This action isn't just for portraits.  I love to use it on still life images with light backgrounds such as the flowers seen below. 



I used Velvet Cream on this image (just a small adjustment of contrast) and Web Painted Borders to finish it up. 

I hope you enjoy playing with this action as much as I have!

Download the free  CoffeeShop Velvet Cream PS/PSE Action!

Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one simple download 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.

Friday, February 18, 2011

{Friday Photo Bliss}

Inspired by the SouleMama blog's {this moment}, I am posting one image every Friday, taken that week, that really makes me happy. If you end up doing the same I would love to see your photo linked in my comments!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CoffeeShop AutoH ColorBlock Web Action and Florabella Winner Announced!


Here is my newest web-ready action (you can find all of my other ones toward the bottom of this page) and I really love it.  This action is for horizontal images (I will be posting the vertical version next) and adds a custom color-block to the bottom, custom watermark and caption text, rounds the corners, resizes and sharpens for the web.  It is fast and fun!


CoffeeShop AutoH ColorBlock Web Action Instructions

1. Open your image and using your eyedropper tool, click on the image to select a color for the color block.  If you don't select a a color it will be white. (Note:  I used my Velvet Truffle action with some additional layers on this image and turned off the navy blue exclusion layer.  I will be releasing a new version of this action with a define/contrast layer).

2.  Start the action.  The action will flatten your image and then place free-transform bars on the upper left.  If you can't see them, hold down Ctrl-0 (zero) to zoom out (and to zoom back in do the same).  Drag the corner of the free transform box until your image is cropped to your satifaction, then click on the checkmark.

3.  The action will sharpen your image for the web, adjust the radius if you need more sharpening.

4.  You will be prompted to add the watermark text in the image (it will come up as "your name").  You can change the font/color/size/etc.  Once you add the text then press the checkmark to accept.  You can change this later.

5.  You will be prompted to add the second part of the watermark text in the image (it will come up as "photography"). You can change the font/color/size/etc. Once you add the text then press the checkmark to accept. You can change this later.

6.  You will be prompted to add the caption (labeled "caption").  Again, adjust the font to taste and then click the checkmark to accept.

7.  The image size prompt will come up, so just put in your final desired width in pixels on the top.  Your height should adjust automatically.  Your image will now be web ready.  You can change any of the text layers by clicking on them.  You can also turn these layers off if you would prefer no text.

8.  Flatten and save as a jpg if you want to post on a white background, merge visible and save as a .png if you are posting this on a background that is not white.

Download the CoffeeShop AutoH ColorBlock Web Action HERE!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions 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!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I want to wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day. I hope you can spend some time with your loved ones, even if it is not romantic. ;-)

I am trying to find a new affordable file hosting site for my actions

Saturday, February 12, 2011

EBooks vs Paper Books, Memory Loss, and Exploding Toilets

I completely forgot to post my {Friday Photo Bliss} photo yesterday, mainly because I had no idea it was Friday.  I have had so much going on that the days become a blur and I am really exhausted.   I think I will be a 100% housewife this weekend and my house in shape and worry only about my family.  Funny, I used to dream about being a successful rich businesswoman or famous scientist, and now I dream about being a simple housewife before computers. 

Thank you so much for all of your comments and advice on my post about whether I should invest in an EBook device.  So many great comments, and now I am more confused than ever. :-) I have to confess I went to the library yesterday and checked out a huge pile of books and felt so happy and serene, so perhaps I will wait on the electronic devices for now.  There is something to be said about holding a real book and I don't think I am ready to move on quite yet.  But when I make the plunge I will let you know what I ended up buying.

I found another great book from my husband's childhood stash.   I didn't think

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CoffeeShop CutOuts 9: Double Border and Blog Background!


Often when I make digital frames or cards I like to have a pretty border on the bottom. I decided to create a few that I could share with you. This one is a layered .psd file and is fully adjustable. You can adjust the colors or add textured paper (as seen above, digital paper from Sassy Designs and not included with the download) or resize to fit your own design elements.

You can see a screenshot of the download below.  To change the colors simply click on the Color Fill layers.  You can also turn off the drop-shadow effect.


If you want to add digital textured paper, simply turn off or delete the Color Fill Layers and drag a texture above the layer, group it, and Ctrl-T it to fit.  You can add paper to both the top and bottom border or mix and match solid color with texture.

Don't be afraid to play!  You can make web frames like the one I posted here.  You can also customize the size, but make sure you don't go much bigger or you will lose resolution.  :-)   You can also cut out just the borders, drag them on to your own design and Ctrl-T them to fit.  There are so many ways to play with borders and I hope you find a use for it.

I even used this border to make a blog background.  I made a layered .psd file where I could change the border color and background using Color Fill layers and turn on a Drop Shadow effect.  You can download this free adjustable blog or website background HERE.  The download link for the actual borders cutouts is below.  :-)




Download the free CoffeeShop CutOuts 9:  Double Border 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.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

{Friday Photo Bliss}

Inspired by the SouleMama blog's {this moment}, I am posting one image every Friday, taken that week, that really makes me happy. If you end up doing the same I would love to see your photo linked in my comments!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chicks and Need Help Naming My Newest Portrait Action!

We received our baby chicks this morning  and so far out of 28 only one is ill and probably won't live.  Of course, it is one of two silkies I bought for the boys... It is hanging on but I don't think it will make the night. I made some sugar water this morning (suggested by the chicken place) and have been dripping some in its little mouth throughout the day. 

It is sad, but I have had some of my own hatched chicks not make that first day or two... And these chicks were shipped in freezing cold weather.  I am amazed any of them made it.

I will post pics in a day or two of the remaining chicks. I can't tell you how exciting it is to pick up a small box full of peeping pooping fluffy chicks at the post office. I consider them my Valentine present from my husband. Who wants flowers, chocolates or jewelry when you can have baby chickens! I know, I am odd. ;-)  The boys are crazy about them and are working on making them tame.

I am almost finished with my newest portrait action. It is meant to be used on an image that is already color/contrast adjusted. It has my normal eye define and eye bright layers, but this time I figured out a way for it to soften skin automatically! Yes, no painting on layer masks in most cases.

This took forever for me to figure out, because I could do it using Color Range in Photoshop, but then found out PSE does not have this adjustment.  After hours I realized I could use Replace Color instead with a work-around. It was stressful but exciting figuring this out. I have this thing that everything I post must be able to work in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. I will explain what I did when I post the action for those of you who are nerds like me and want to know what is going on behind the scenes.  I am really proud I figured this one out, without even googling.

This action will also brighten the skin automatically and add some contrast to everything else. Everything is adjustable of course. And like all actions, it won't work on all images, but the portraits I have against darker background have turned out great. I posted a before/after (taken in my barn "studio") below.  I overdid the after so you could see the effect more, but you will probably want to have a more subtle effect.

So I need help naming this one.  I already have PowderRoom

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Log Movers and Baby Chicks

We love our dry-erase board. We use it for school, and the boys use it for drawing their art. This keeps me from hoarding millions of their pictures on paper (I already have too many as it is) since we admire and then erase. But sometimes I pull out my camera because I have to save a copy. This is one of those times.

Imp usually draws quite abstractly, so you can imagine my shock when I found this little jewel. He was quite proud of his work. "This is a log mover Mommy", he said. And I could actually see it!


I wanted to make a note of all of the parts