Friday, May 31, 2013

{Friday Photo Bliss}


Every Friday I like to post one image I took that week that makes me happy.  If you do the same please link your photo in my comments!

I have strange kids, and if they actually look at the camera long enough that I have time to focus on their eyes then I am happy.  Imp designed this "stash" from a tape dispenser and couldn't wait to show it off. This is his tough face.

I used the Pretty Presets Fine Art Presets on this image (not only beautiful on fine art prints, but great on snapshots!), along with a Flypaper texture from the Tintype set.

Happy Friday!


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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Free Kindle Photography Books Weekly Wrap-Up!


Too cool for school, right?  I have been playing with the new Pretty Presets Fine Arts presets and ended up using one of them (Velvetine) on this image.   This image is not "fine art", but it does crack me up.  ;-)



Here is an image I took yesterday in town and used the Bejeweled V1 Pretty Preset from the Fine Arts Collection.  Then I slightly darkened the darks in PS (selected the highlights  using Channels, inverting that selection, then copying it to a new layer and putting it in multiply mode and lowering the opacity) and then added the Tebula texture from the August Painterly texture set from Flypaper textures.  I use Photoshop/PSE and LR together all of the time and can't imagine being without them both.

Thank you so much for your comments on my last post about my new action. I love your advice/suggestions and will incorporate them in my action(s).  If you have additional suggestions don't hesitate to leave more comments.

I wanted to mention some free kindle photography books that just came up on Amazon this morning.  If you don't have a Kindle you can also download and read them on your phone, computer, and iPad with the free Amazon ap.  They are usually only free for a limited time, so go grab them while you can.

I haven't read any of these but they are downloaded on my Kindle and in my queue.  I don't know if they are any good, but they are worth checking out while they are on the free list.  The first two have really good reviews and the last one is new.  I am really excited about the posing guide since I don't have a clue how to pose anyone.



(I just added the text links in case you can't see the images above)
Essential Posing Secrets (On Target Photo Training)
Start a Successful Photography Business in 34 Days
Texture A Photo Training - learn how to texture a photo with Perfect Layers 2


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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Need Your Input for New "Tool Box, Fix-It" Action!




I realized that I don't really have a "tool box/fix it" action on my site yet, so I decided to start working on one.  I want to write an action that you can use on any image, whether it is a "bad" SOOC shot to a perfect  image that just needs a few tweaks.  In other words, just a basic "clean edit" type of action that doesn't do anything arty but makes your image as pretty as it could be without any bells and whistles.

I want this action to be useful to you, so I wanted to list what I have in it so far and see if you wanted anything else added.  Right now I have a levels adjustment layer for basic contrast adjustment, bright color pop, skin smoothing, express eye pop, vivid color pop, darken darks, brighten whites, Define, Warm it up, Cool it down, Brighten, Darken, B&W conversion, and Vignette.  This was supposed to be a simple action but as you can see I keep on adding to it.  :-)

Is there anything else you would like to see in this action?  It runs pretty quickly and I was able to edit this beautiful image from Amy Mize Photography in just a minute or two by turning on some of the layers and using layer masks.

Let me know in the comments what you think.  And I am stuck on a name for this basic action, so if you have any suggestions please make a note!  I love to hear what you want (and don't want) and please make any suggestions you want of freebies you would like to see posted here on my blog.  This blog is for you and I want to post things that make your life easier and more fun.  :-)

I have some more actions and vintage papers coming out in the next week and two, so please come back!


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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

CoffeeShop StarStruck Photoshop/PSE Action!


I noticed that Pretty Presets has a free video up for a Clean Edit in LR4 and you can find it here. I think it is free only for a limited time, so go watch it ASAP if you have LR4 and want to learn some great tips.  :-)

Today I am posting a new action, CoffeeShop StarStruck.  I used a beautiful image from Amy Mize Photography in the "ad" above.

This action gives a bright subtle pink enhancement to your image. Like most actions it won't work on all images, but can be a beautiful enhancement.  Run the action on an image color/contrast adjusted and then adjust the layers to taste.

I hope you enjoy this new action! Download the free CoffeeShop StarStruck action.  You can also download it 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.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

CoffeeShop Vintage Dotted Digital Paper Kit and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


Happy Memorial Day weekend and a special thanks to all of the men and women who have kept us safe.  I hope everyone is having fun.   Unfortunately we are all sick with summer colds, but at least I am getting to catch up on season 6 of Bones.  I love to watch NetFlix and Amazon Prime when I am sick.  And the boys love that they get to watch some of their own shows.  We keep the idiot-box shut off most of the time during the day, but when we are sick the television is my best friend.  :-)

I made some custom vintage dotted paper for this set of digital paper, and I had many people comment that they would like to have the original layered psd file so they could adjust the colors for their own designs.  So today I wanted to post the download for my original layered paper.


Open the dotted paper in Photoshop or PSE and then find a color palette that you want to use to pick colors.  I love the palettes at Design Seeds, and I used this one for this tutorial.  You can also make your own color palette using my Instant Color Bar action or grab colors from your website/blog or favorite image.


This is what you will see when you open the custom paper.  I usually make the background color the lightest color and then start at the Color Fill 5 layer and work my way down.  Click on the Color Fill square then click on the color in your image that you wish to "grab".


Here is a finished paper where I grabbed the colors from this beautiful Design Seeds palette.  You can also change the background texture to something different if you want.  Just drag you own texture over the Background texture in the layers and change the blending mode to taste.

This is such a fun and easy way to create your own custom digital papers.  After you are finished adjusting the colors/texture save as a jpg and you are done.

Download the free CoffeeShop Vintage Dot Paper Kit.  You can also download it 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.

Friday, May 24, 2013

{Friday Photo Bliss}



On Friday I like to post one image I took that week that makes me happy.  Today I wanted to post this image of the boys reading while eating their lunch (we eat and do school at the same table). Well, Imp is looking at the pictures, he doesn't read yet.  I think he is going to be like his brother and avoid reading like the plaque until sometime in first grade.

I am an avid reader, but I have heard horror stories that boys are not as likely to read for pleasure.  I make sure that my husband and I read around the kids, but it didn't seem to make a difference.   Both boys would listen to me read to them for hours, but no way were they going to read to themselves.

Then a friend mentioned that she got her kids to read by leaving interesting books all over the place, and when they got bored they would pick them up.  She suggested books that boys would like, such as neat science books with photos and comic books (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and Garfield work in our house).

Well, I am lazy and clutter is often an issue in this house and we have a lot of books, so I decided to give this a go.  And it worked!

Yesterday Duke was feeling under the weather and I was trying to avoid turning on the idiot-box.  He said he was bored and I told him to go and read. I didn't hear a peep from him almost all afternoon (he was in his bed in his room), and when I checked on him he was reading Roald Dahl's The BFG and had read 125 pages!!!  I had a happy mommy moment.  I love Roald Dahl and it is so exciting sharing him with my son.

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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

CoffeeShop Free Social Web Icons!


I was designing a blog for JJM Photography today (her photography is stunning, I want her to give me photography lessons) and I needed some new custom social icons.  I designed my own set where I could quickly adjust the colors/background and wanted to share them with you.    Yes, this website is possible because I don't like to bother with terms of use on any design elements in my commercial work so I try to create things that you don't have to bother with them either.  ;-)

I have included an Etsy, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (isn't my little camera precious?) button with both a circle and square background.  You can change the colors to anything you like and you may use these anywhere in your personal or commercial websites/blogs without worrying about giving me any credit.



This is a layered psd file for Photoshop/PSE.  When you open the icon file, resize it to your final button size and then simply turn on the background circle or square on the bottom and click on its color fill layer  to adjust the final color of your icon.  Then turn on the eyeball to the right by the icon you want to create, such as Instagram.

Save as a jpg if you are loading them on a white background or as a png if you are loading them on a colored background.  Then Edit, step backwards, and turn on the next icon.  As Imp would say, it is "easy as pie!".

If you want additional icons to go with this set, comment below and I will add them on a future post.  Yes, I am that nerdy...  And I am also going to post the adjustable dots vintage paper psd file and a new action in the next few days.  Thank you for your kind comments!

Download the free commercial/personal use CoffeeShop Social Icons.  You can also download them 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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

CoffeeShop Vintage 4 Digital Paper Pack!



I love designing vintage digital papers and I made these yesterday and wanted to share them with you.  This is a set of ten high resolution papers and I hope you like them!

On some of the papers I used design elements from The Graphics Fairy (and used my Graphic Art action to remove the white background) and Shadowhouse Creations.

I designed the psd layered template for the dots digital paper. If anyone is interested I could post it for download later.  Then you can customize the colors yourself.  Comment if you are interested!

Download the free CoffeeShop Vintage Papers 4. You can also download them 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. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Remodeling Stinks and the Wisdom of Young Children

I haven't been around blogging much the last week or two and I have missed it.  We have unfortunately had to do some unexpected remodeling on our house.


We noticed recently that one side of our front porch/balcony was sagging quite a bit.  The former owners had apparently added some new trim and repainted the front porch to hide the fact that the porch was rotting off the house.  And our inspector, once again, missed a very obvious major issue that involved costly repairs that should have been negotiated during the purchase of the house.

Luckily he did catch that the water heater needed to be raised a few inches...   What a champ.

What we initially thought would be a minor repair of replacing a few boards on the deck turned out to a complete ripping out and replacing of the entire bottom deck/supports.  The supports and bottom of the posts were completely wet and rotten and everything had to go.


After replacing the entire bottom deck we noticed that some trim on the top balcony was falling off too, and that involved tearing out the entire support on the sides and front of the top balcony to make it safe. We wanted to delay a full balcony replacement at this time (and I hope we made the right decision).

All of these unexpected but needed repairs stressed me out quite a bit (sticker shock), so I took a computer break and I hung out with the boys and their visiting cousin Mattie.


Here is my sweet husband with the boys and my niece Mattie at my mother's house.   (I used the Pretty Preset Matte B&W on this edit.)


Here I found all three of them cuddled together a few mornings ago.  I needed to see this to remind myself that though there will always be unexpected expenses and stresses in life; life is good.

I keep on reminding myself I need to live life more like a six or eight year old; appreciate and enjoy each day and not stress too much about the future.  Children are born wise.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

CoffeeShop Graphic Art Photoshop/PSE Action!


I love using vintage design elements in my designs, and one of my favorite sources of free ones are from The Graphics Fairy.  When you go visit Karen's site you will feel that you are in vintage design heaven.

Her downloads usually have a white background which I usually want to remove.  She has this great tutorial posted, but I decided to write my own version in an action so I could save time and also have the option to instantly change the color of the design element.

The design elements used in this tutorial are from her site.  Please go visit if you haven't already, she has such a huge resource of amazing free digital vintage art.

Once you remove the white background you can drag the design elements on your work or save it as a png for later use.

Note:  There are two actions, one that only works in Photoshop and one that works in both Photoshop and PSE.  They are both labeled (PS-Photoshop, PSE-Photoshop Elements).  None of the design elements seen in this post are included in the download, but you can find them here.

CoffeeShop Graphic Art Action Tutorial:

Step 1:



Photoshop action only (PSE users read below)!  Open the image and start the action.  Click on the white area of the design element when prompted (see above) and click OK.  This selects all of the white in the image.


PSE action only!  Open your image and make sure it is flat.  Then use the magic wand tool to select the white area (see image with bee above).  Adjust the tolerance and uncheck Contiguous.  Once the white is selected start the action.

Step 2:




PSE and Photoshop Action:  The action will run making a new document with your design element isolated without the white background on the bottom layer.  Please ignore the fact I called that layer Black Design.  I was supposed to update this part of the action and did not realize I hadn't until I uploaded everything.  So needless to say it is staying for now.

Turn on the middle layer if you want your image to be white or colored.

Step 3:



If you want a color other than white, simply click on the Color Fill 1 layer to pick a color.


Merge Visible and save as a png to keep the background transparent.


Your original image will also have a new layer with the original design element "cut-out" on the top.  You can save this one also as a png if you change the new version's color and want the original version.



Download the CoffeeShop Graphic Art action. You can also download it 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.

Friday, May 10, 2013

CoffeeShop Photo Brad Digital Freebie!



I designed little "metal" photo brads for this Facebook cover and wanted to share the brad with you today. It is a simple png file on a transparent background, so simply drag it on your digital designs and Ctrl-T (free transform) it to fit.  I love little scrapbooking creations, they can really add quite a bit to digital designs.

NOTE:  The frame does not come in this download, you can find it here.

Download the free CoffeeShop Photo Brad.  You can also download it here.  This is not an action!

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.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CoffeeShop Facebook Cover 8!


I made this little simple Facebook cover/header today and wanted to share it with you.  I created the little photo brads in photoshop and will post them tomorrow for download.  This is a simple png file which you should be able to open in any photo editing program.  Simply slip your images behind the frame and flatten.

Download the free CoffeeShop Facebook Cover 8.  You can also download it 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.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

CoffeeShop Aphrodite B&W PSE/Photoshop Action!


I am going to release at least one new action every week this month, and today I wanted to post CoffeeShop  Aphrodite B&W.  This action is a B&W twist on one of my favorite actions, Aphrodite, and is fully adjustable.

The beautiful image I used in this tutorial is not my own, but sent to me by Jenny Lynn Photography (Facebook).  Thank you Jenny!


Run this action on a flattened image.  I usually play around with the Color Tint layer's opacity, but you can adjust any of the layers to taste.  

Download the free CoffeeShop Aphrodite B&W PSE/Photoshop action. You can also download it here.  This is a instant direct download, so be sure to download it to your desktop and then unzip the file.

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.

Friday, May 3, 2013

{Friday Photo Bliss}


Every Friday I like to post one image that I took recently that makes me happy.  If you do the same please link your image in my comments!

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.