Friday, July 13

{Friday Photo Bliss}: Snakes, Snails, Rain, and Funny Crashes

On Friday I like to post recent snapshots that make me  happy.


I was so excited when I saw this snail on the mailbox flag and I told the kids I would caption this photo "Snail Mail". 

They looked at me blankly. I guess they are too young to know that we old geezers call real mail "Snail Mail".


We have had quite a bit of rain the last weeks. Rain during the summer not involving flooding or hurricanes makes me happy.


Paul forgot he isn't a kid anymore and was riding Imp's scooter and skidded through a puddle and had a spectacular crash.

It was scary AND fascinating since the crash was in two parts.

The first part of the crash had him flying through the air gracefully onto the blacktop.

Then for some unknown reason he rolled over a few times and then flew into the ditch. It was really weird and I have no idea why he was still flinging around the road like a chicken with its head cut off.

I just knew he had broken something.  Probably his right hand so he wouldn't be able to work.


Thankfully he only had a small cut on his palm. But he decided he didn't want to ride the scooter anymore.

I am going to hide the boys' RipStiks.


We had dinner at my parent's house for 4th of July and I looked out their sliding glass door and saw a little friend peeking in.

Even though he probably wouldn't eat much he was not invited to join our party.


Imp enjoyed our redneck swimming pool. Add some water balloons and it is a "Staycation".


Duke was away all week on his Civil Air Patrol Encampment so I had to keep the other guys busy.

They did a great job cleaning my Grannymobile. I love my big old tank-of-a-car.


This is a vintage match holder from Paul's mom. It sits on the back of my stove, glaring at me. Seriously, look at it for a while and you can see it is possessed by an evil entity who wants to use those matches to burn down my house. 


We had to fight the fog to pick up Duke from his week away.


The graduation was really impressive. I am in awe of all of these kids. 


And yes, Imp is usually this happy.

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.

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Wednesday, July 11

CoffeeShop "Golden Sun Rays" Fine Art Photoshop/PSE Action!


I am so excited I finally finished this post for you!!! I want to post more fine art editing tutorials, textures, and actions, and this week I figured out a way to add gorgeous sun rays and golden light to images WITHOUT using overlays. I call this Photoshop/PSE action "Golden Sun Rays" and it is so easy to use and I hope you love it as much as I do! I have posted a step-by-step tutorial below.

This action, like most of the actions I created for this blog, can run in Photoshop AND Photoshop Elements. If you don't want to spend the monthly fee for Photoshop yet want to edit like a professional, check out (affiliate link) Photoshop Elements. It is very affordable and you can use pretty much everything on my blog in that program except the Lightroom Presets. 

This action, along with hundreds of others including exclusive sets you can't find anywhere else, can be found in my Action Download Pack. If you purchase this pack you can get free updates up to two years after your purchase, so please don't hesitate to visit that page and email me if you want the newest version with all my newest actions, presets, and designs. You can also upgrade to my Mega Download Pack that includes hundreds and hundreds of professional photographer storyboards, textures, frames and digital papers for only $4 more. Read all about it here! Thank you for supporting my site!




Original images used in this post: (Boy, Cat).


CoffeeShop "Golden Sun Rays" Fine Art Photoshop/PSE Action Tutorial:


Open your image and run the CoffeeShop "Golden Sun Rays" action.


When the Gradient Fill 1 prompt comes up, click "OK".




This Gradient Fill pane will pop up that allows you to automatically and easily add the beautiful sun rays.


Click on the sun rays in the image and move them over to an area on the image that you think they look best. In this case I dragged them over to the upper right side.


Then adjust the "Scale" to taste.


Press "OK" to accept your changes. This is what the image looked like after the action finished running.


I clicked to select the top "Sun Rays" layer's mask and used a soft low-opacity black brush to gently paint some of the bright sun off of his face and hair.

You can also open up the "Drama" layer and further adjust the contrast. I was happy with it in this image so I made no changes.


If you want to remove the golden tint, simply turn off the "Golden Tint" layer or reduce the opacity.


I would love to see your own edits using this action! Feel free to post them on my Facebook page. I might even ask you if I can post it over here on my blog so I can show off your amazing work. :-)

Download the CoffeeShop "Golden Sun Rays" Fine Art Photoshop/PSE Action.

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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Monday, July 9

CoffeeShop "Distressed Painted Wall" Fine Art Texture/Overlay Set!


Sorry I have been gone a week. I was busy with the holiday and then my husband's mother became sick so we have had much on our mind. She is doing better now thank goodness, but it has been a stressful week.

I did design a gorgeous new action I plan on posting tomorrow. Plus I have some editing tutorials coming out. Today I wanted to share a beautiful set of Fine Art overlays/textures. Add these over your images in soft light, multiply, overlay, or screen blending mode to create beautiful art.




You can click to see the original images: (Flower, Field).

Download the CoffeeShop "Distressed Painted Wall" Fine Art Texture Set.

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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Monday, July 2

Coffeeshop "Gilded Vintage" Paper Pack!


I haven't had time to create any new 4th of July designs, but I wanted to link some of my favorites. Click on the image to be directed to the post!

And Pretty Presets, a sponsor of my blog and the only presets I use besides my own, has a 4th of July sale going on! Click on the image below to read more. 

Today I wanted to post a new digital paper pack. This one has eight gorgeous custom vintage papers with gilded gold.

I created these with designs elements from The Graphics Fairy. I am a part-time instructor there, so if you join you can read all of my tutorials. :-)







These papers would be gorgeous on cards, album pages, storyboards, etc. They come with free commercial terms of use, so have fun using them anyway you want!!!

Download the CoffeeShop "Gilded Vintage Paper Pack".

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, June 29

{Friday Photo Bliss}: Long Summer Daze

On Fridays I like to post snapshots I took during the week that make me happy.


We have incredibly hot and humid summers here. The boys are really into baseball thanks to the Astros winning the World Series last year so they spend a lot of time in the front yard playing ball. They also love water ballon fights. However, they can't spend all day outside and I don't like them glued to screens watching movies/playing video games for hours when they are inside.

I am blessed and they both love to read, but they also enjoy projects. I finally splurged and purchased a small card table and white backboard so they could set up a "permanent" Lego stop-motion setup. They usually make their stop-motion Minecraft and Lego movies on the ground which means more mess I have to jump over when I go into their rooms. All moms know how pleasant it feels to step on those darn Legos...

Once they make some good (according to Imp) movies I will share them with you guys!


They also love a good contest. I told them they both had to make a Lego basketball hoop and I would judge them and pick the best. Boys love to compete, right? Actually, Duke is very very very competitive and Imp really doesn't care about winning (in most cases). I think this is a defense mechanism for Imp since Duke is very good in games, especially strategy ones, and almost always beats everyone.

Imp's hoop is on the left. It took him five minutes to put this together. It is simple and adequate.

Luke's hoop is on the right and it took him fifteen minutes but it was a very creative use of tiny Lego joysticks as a net, so he won the contest. 

Imp wasn't surprised.


I am working on creating a simple homemade soap (follow my adventures in these posts) using only inexpensive ingredients you can buy from Walmart/grocery stores and I found a winner! I will post the recipe in a few days. This one contains olive oil, coconut oil, lard, and castor oil and I colored it with honey! All natural and it is so conditioning and bubbly. 

I found this set of two small (affiliate link) silicon soap molds that make exactly one-pound loafs of soap which can be cut into 5-6 perfect size pieces. This size loaf pan is perfect when you want to make small test batches or have too much soap on hand already because you have already gifted your friends and relatives so much soap you worry they think you are trying to tell them something. 





I love roasted chicken (this is the recipe I use). I made some amazing grain-free tortillas that taste exactly like flour ones (affiliate link) using this a recipe in this amazing book. I also made tahini sauce and added feta cheese to make authentic Greek-Mexican tacos. ;-) Yummy!


It is hot but we still go visit the parks. Duke is not much into playing on the swings and slides anymore when it is so hot, but Imp loves it and always makes new friends.


Of course I am all about hiking/walking even when the heat index is over 100. Once you get sweaty you just get used to it.


Paul fortunately will go hiking with us since he is really enjoys working out and staying in shape. The "primal" lifestyle has been good for our family.


And if your father is an optometrist you get (are forced) to try on contact lenses. Paul had to put them in Duke's and my eyes, but Imp just plopped one right in. That kid is fearless!

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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Wednesday, June 27

CoffeeShop "Dramatic Skies" Fine Art Sky/Cloud Overlay and Tutorial: Part 1


I know that times are changing and if you want to edit your photos, there is an "app for that". And that is true, you can apply all types of fancy filters to your images using your smartphone.

But what about those times you want to add drama to your images with overlays/textures/special effects to create digital art that go beyond color tints and contrast? What about those times you want complete editing control? For this reason I still depend on good old Photoshop/PSE/Lightroom. No app out there can compare to these three programs for full creative control.



I am going to start posting more editing tutorials so that you can create your own custom photo art worthy of hanging on your walls. Even a newbie to editing can create stunning images! Today I am posting Part 1 of a two part tutorial called "Dramatic Sky". In this editing tutorial I will show you how to turn a cool-toned landscape/portrait into a warm-toned gorgeous evening sunset with a dramatic sky.

Today you can grab the cloud overlays I made for this tutorial, and in Part 2 I will walk you through the editing method. Feel free to use the overlays right away, you can use them with actions or simply apply them directly to your own image without any changes.


In this edit I turned a blah cool-toned afternoon into a stunning sunset effect with a very dramatic sky. I will show you step-by-step how I edited this image without any actions and added this cloud overlay in Part 2 of this series.

Images used in this post: (Woman, Landscape).

Download the CoffeeShop "Dramatic Sky Overlays".  And check back tomorrow for the tutorial!

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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