Category Archives: Photoshop

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You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)


I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.


the making of a BOOK COVER

When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for the design of my book cover, I had a very clear vision of what I thought it should look like. Close-up of a teenage boy with his arms crossed over his chest in the sign language for “love”. This is something that the characters do in the book and I thought that would connect the cover with the story. Drew also carries around this worn leather notebook all the time, and I knew I wanted to incorporate that as well.

And shooting my own cover, well, that was no problem with my years of photography experience. So I wrangled Zach, my thirteen year old son, into being my “Drew” for the cover and we shot two sets of pictures. One of him wearing an aqua/teal blue shirt and another wearing a red shirt. Obviously, I went with the blue for the cover, but the leather of the journal looked pretty nice next to the red shirt, so you just never know until you shoot it.

Once I loaded the images and took a look at them, I knew it had to be the blue shirt. It looked much better with his skin tone and it just popped. Plus, I love that color.

Another thing I knew … the journal was too small. While writing the book, I always envisioned Drew’s notebook to be larger, like 8×10 or something closer to those dimensions, but the only one we could find that looked similar to my imaginings was this small one from B&N. And I didn’t want to drop a small fortune on a larger one and didn’t really like the styles, so I went with it. I knew that I had the photoshop skills to alter the size of the notebook, thanks again to all my years of editing wedding photographs (I have literally swapped heads from one photo to another to make sure everyone’s smiling in family and bridal party photos.) ;)

You might also notice that the backdrop is the siding of my parents’ house. I erased the background to make that white, then went about resizing the journal. I will not explain all the many steps it took for me to do that. I don’t even remember half of them. I will just say that it took many hours to get it to look just right. ;)

Here is the before and after:

Once that was finished, I used the template that Createspace gives for authors to design their covers and worked on the layout.

I hand wrote Drew’s name on my iPad using the Paper app and sent it to my husband, Jake, who turned it into a vector graphic for me using Adobe Illustrator. (I don’t have the program and have never used it before, but he does and has, and the letters were nice and smooth-edged when he was done with them.) I love the look of hand written words on covers and, because “Drew” is always writing in his notebook, I thought that would be a nice touch to have his “signature” on the front of the book.

So these were my first two versions. I decided that the blue background was too much, so I went with the white when I ordered my first proof copy. It was just too plain once it was printed. (The big gap at the bottom is the space for the UPC code, by the way.)

Another thing I noticed was the words “the” and “about” were too light and blended into the background a little too much. So I made those a little bolder and added a darker drop shadow. My name was also not properly centered, so I fixed that. And then I decided to go with a mix of the first two designs and add a gradient to the blue background and I liked that much better. A little bit of color, but not overwhelmingly so.

But still … something was missing. And then I remembered that when I originally doodled the name “Drew” onto my iPad, I liked that the “D” looked like a cross at the top (tying in with the Bible verses Drew is always quoting), but it also looked like the tip of a pen at the bottom. So I pulled out the iPad again and drew a swirly line to look like the tip of the “pen” had drawn it, and sent it off to Jake for some more vector graphic magic. I dropped it onto my cover design and loved it.

And this is the finished cover for the paperback version of my book! To take an idea from my head and make it a reality is pretty awesome. I’m proud of how it turned out and it looks great in print, too. :)

So … I told Zach, who will probably kill me for sharing these, that he didn’t need to smile while I took the cover pictures, because his face would not be seen in the finished product. This is what he did while I was shooting.

What a kid! Thanks, bud, for being my cover model. :P

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my cover design process. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below.

project life | vertical photos

There are a bazillion styles of page protectors available for Project Life, but I have used Design A since the beginning and want to keep all my albums uniform, so I’m sticking with that style. The layout of Design A fits horizontal 4x6s and 3×4 journaling cards.

So when I want to use vertical photos on my pages, I put two together onto one 4×6 using Photoshop.

Here’s what I do (you can use other photo editing programs, but these directions are specific to Photoshop):
• File > New
• Size = 6 inches x 4 inches. Resolution: 300
• Open the two vertical photos I want to use.
• Resize them to:
    Resolution: 300
    Width: 3 inches
• Copy and paste them each into the new canvas.
• Depending on the photo size (different cameras size images differently) the resized image may be slightly taller than 4″, so move image up and down to get the photo how I want it in the canvas.
• Layer > Flatten Image
• Save As > choose a name for the file and save it in Project Life prints folder

Easy! This is what works for me and I can get more photos on my layouts this way, too. I sometimes substitute 3×4 photos for some of the journaling card spaces as well, depending on how many photos I have for the week. :)

Happy Project Life’ing! :D

out west prep

I think it’s time to get all our lovely vacation photos from our trip out west last summer into a photobook, so I’ve been looking through my stash of digital products, choosing papers and cards from Project Life kits to use in the design. I’m thinking neutrals and wood for that western feel. I like how the title page turned out. Used wood design paper from One Little Bird Retrospective kit and the font Jellyka Western Princess. I found a couple more great neutral papers from the same One Little Bird kit I used for the title page.

And a couple more I like from Paislee Press Daydreamer kit.

I’m sure I will find more that I like, but these are just a few that I plan to use. There were also lots of cards in the Project Life kits that I plan to use. They are so versatile and, even though these three cards (below) are from the Project Life Yellow Baby Kit, I think they will work perfect for things we said during the trip or quotes I want to include.

These two from the Bridgeport Childhood Mini Kit are fun to document our travels as well.

I’m getting really excited to start working on it. Now to find some extra time. ;)


most of these were made with Heather Ann Designs kits. The 2012 cover used Project Life Seafoam digital kit paper. The 2011 used a kit from One Little Bird.

I have been making “year in review” books for my mom for several years now. Some have been very simple, two-page layout per month books. Some have been filled with pictures from every event in our year. Some were hard cover, some soft cover. Some thin and some very thick. I enjoy putting these together and looking back at the year. Today, I pulled the cover images from the past six years and put them side by side. Awwww, look at how my kids have grown.

I recently got the digital version of a couple of Project Life kits and I thought I would try out the Olive kit on my 2013 year-in-review. So I made a title page. Will probably add a family photo to that at the end of the year when I put together my cover image.

Then I made a page for each month’s section of the book using the cute little filler cards and some of the papers. My idea is to add one photo to each month’s page (like above). The photo above was from last year in January, but I did it as an example. I think each month’s photos will just be simple grids of photos – 4 or 6 or 9 depending on how many photos I want to include on each layout. We’ll see how it goes.

Guess this book’s design won’t be much of a surprise for you, Mom! ;)

old photo love

I love this picture so much. Look how cute my Dad was at age one. Here he is with his dad, my Grandpa.

Yesterday, my entire day was spent scanning old photos for a project I’m working on. This little gem was among them. There is just nothing like those old black & white prints from film. I’m so thankful for every picture we have from both of my parents’ childhoods.

I don’t think I ever shared any pictures of the book I put together last Christmas for my mom’s side of the family. We have a nice collection of letters that my Grandpa sent to my Grandma during his time in WWII. I scanned all of them and designed a soft cover photo book for everyone that my Mom gifted to all the aunts and cousins at our family Christmas.

I only wish we had Grandma’s letters back to him, but sadly those were lost when things were divided after my grandparents passed away. boohoo. We’re very thankful for the letters we do have, though. It gives a little bit of insight into what Grandpa went through in the war and also tells us just how much he really loved Grandma.

On a completely unrelated note, I hope everyone will get out to the polls and vote today in this very important election. I voted this morning and was so happy I went early in the morning when there were no lines. PLEASE VOTE!!!!

a digital layout share

A few pictures from the first day of summer break.
Did a quick little layout last night.
Been a while since I made a page.
Feeling inspired to do more.

If only my back didn’t hurt so bad that I can’t sit at my computer for more than fifteen minutes at a time. :(

a list on monday

• Going through pictures from Scarlett’s bday party and found this one of Chloe. Played with a bunch of textures using Photoshop and got a few fun versions. I think I like the one on the lower right the best.

• Went to an anniversary party on Saturday for Laurel & Steve, my neighbors growing up. It was nice to see them and their daughters, April and Holly. We had a good time reminiscing about the good ol’ days.

• Did something to my back this weekend. Not sure what, but I am in a lot of pain. My lower back is extremely stiff and sore. Hurts to sit for long periods of time and when I do sit and then try to get up … it makes me wants to cry. Hope it gets better quickly.

• Watched “Facing the Giants” yesterday. A little family time! That movie is so wonderful.

• Lots of storms this morning, so we’re having a quiet day indoors watching TV, knitting, playing on the computer. Chloe and I sat on our front porch for a while watching the storms. She read some books and I knitted her a headband. It was nice.

• Hoping for some nice sunshine this week so we can spend some time in our beloved “Big Blue” pool.

Happy Monday everyone!

cowgirl chloe

Today is Cowboy/Cowgirl day at school. Caught a quick picture this morning of my little cowgirl. :)

For anyone interested, the vintage look I used on the photo is from Pioneer Woman’s free action set.

Have a happy Wednesday everybody! Yeeeeeeehaaaaaa!

spring break 2008

I have been wanting to make a photobook from our ’08 trip to Florida for a long time and I finally finished it last week. Here are a few of my favorite layouts from the book:

To view a slideshow of the entire book, CLICK HERE then choose the full screen option to see it best.

I used several of Heather Ann Designs quick fill templates and papers for the design.

AJAXed with AWP