Friday, February 25, 2011

{flashy} Beacon Rock

Pioneer Woman's Sunshine action
When we first moved to the Portland, OR area last summer we tried to spend a lot of time driving around the city discovering new areas and checking out all the city has to offer. Its been a while since we had done this. I suppose the winter weather deterred us a bit. This past Saturday, however, was a gorgeous day. It was about 45 degrees and sunny with blue skies. We decided to hop in the car after lunch and started driving north. We talked about maybe heading in to the Vancouver, WA area so I pulled out my phone to see what there was to do. I found out about a small hiking trail that takes you up to the top of the core of a volcano and once you get there, rewards you with panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. I'm in! An hour later we arrive and I stood at the base of Beacon Rock thinking "are you kidding me?"

I knew it had to be high to provide the views that were promised but standing there, staring at it, I started to think it wasn't the best idea. The trail was labeled as easy to moderate though, so we set out on our way. My, what felt like 20 pounds, camera bag on my shoulder and my husband carrying our 32 pound almost 4 year old. Let me tell ya, that hike would have been a lot easier without all the extra weight, and for once Im not talking about my own! My camera bag was killing my shoulders, but this was not the time to leave it behind. We made the 800 foot elevation climb and as soon as we made it to the top I started snapping away. It was a gorgeous view on a gorgeous day and some much needed family time outside of the home.

As we entered back in to OR territory the sun was setting amongst a gorgeous sea of clouds rimmed with golden light. I pulled out my camera, rolled down my window, and started shooting. This is one reason my husband always drives!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

{tasty} 2 things I never thought I'd say

I love canned chicken.
I love Brussels sprouts.

Oh yes, I sure do. And they often come together for a deliciously satisfying lunch, and I mean often.

The idea of eating canned chicken had never even crossed my mind before. Why? Im not sure. Its not like eating canned tuna is foreign to me. It just wasn't even on my radar apparently. While visiting with a friend one day she made us chicken salad sandwiches for lunch and I have been hooked ever since. She told me she keeps canned chicken in her pantry at all times not only for chicken salad but for quick dinners, like chicken enchiladas. The following Monday on grocery shopping day I had to buy a can. And the next time I went to Costco I had to buy a pallet full. Ok, really it was a 6-pack, but it is Costco after all. A pallet is totally believable. It is low in calories and fat and nicely but subtly flavored. What's not to love?

I don't recall ever trying Brussels sprouts as a kid. It was just one of those things I assumed I didn't like because I had never heard good things about them. I was continuously seeing them in the grocery store and finally decided I should give them a try. I hopped on and found this recipe. Oh, it was heaven! I could have eaten the entire pan of them. I have tried a few different ways to cook them, and so far I love them all.  They are as good simply roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper as they are sauteed with dried cranberries and walnuts. With or without carrots. But almost always with a little butter.

A chicken salad sandwich and Brussels sprouts has become my go-to lunch. I cant stop making it. Since I get 3 servings out of my chicken salad, which I love with dried cranberries, walnuts, and green onions, I often have this 3 times a week. I have yet to grow tired of it; its just that good. I suppose it doesn't hurt that I do try to switch it up every now and then. Sometimes I swap out the bread with lettuce, or crackers. Thats variety enough for me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

{crafty} Warning: Vinyl can be addicting

I have been wanting to try cutting vinyl on my Cricut for quite some time now but never wanted to pay the $10 for Cricut vinyl. A friend of mine told me about a site called and I'm so glad she did! I ended up purchasing a grab bag of 25 12x12 sheets, which is cut from the same vinyl Cricut uses, for $25 including shipping. If I had bought the same amount in the Cricut branded vinyl I would have spent $60 and only gotten 4 colors.

As soon as I got my vinyl I knew immediately what I wanted to do; my laptop needed a makeover!

I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to put on it, but I grabbed my Gypsy and ended up looking at the Cindy Loo cartridge. I loved "tree1" but thought it was a little bare, so I started adding more branches and leaves to it and grouped & welded everything together. I sized it at 12x11 (lots of negative surrounding space) and cut it out in paper first to see how it fit on my laptop. Then I decided I needed some birds to go along with it. I cut the bird, also from Cindy Loo, at 1" 1.3" 1.5" and 2" and again cut them on paper to see how everything worked together before cutting the vinyl.

I chose this gorgeous blue color and cut away! I set my blade depth to 5 and pressure to 4 and it cut perfectly. I cut down 5 separate pieces of transfer paper so I could line up each individual image exactly where I wanted it.

You could easily do separate layers in different colors as well, but for this purpose I really like the all one color look.

Now, as soon as my husband saw this he told me the birds look like fish. Of course, now thats all I can see when I look at it! I suppose it could be an underwater tree ;-)

Now I have many other ideas for vinyl! Hopefully I will have more new projects to share soon.

Friday, February 11, 2011

{flashy} Fix It Friday #86

I could not resist today's Fix It Friday picture over at I Heart Faces. This little girl is adorable and her expression is even more so!

Original photo

My first edit

I was imagining this picture as somewhat dark and dreamy and I am pretty happy with how it turned out in the limited time I had to work on it.

~ My Steps ~
  • opened in ACR and adjusted exposure
  • levels adjustment, on individual RGB channels
  • slight curves adjustment to bring up the midtones
  • black and white gradient map set to overlay blend mode
  • selected her cheek color and painted over her left cheek at a low opacity and flow to even out the shadows
  • very slight gaussian blur on the skin and hair
  • high pass sharpen
  • crop
  • duplicated layer, added rendered lighting
Rendered lighting isn't something I use often but it can be a very nice effect. Here is the same edit as above only without the rendered lighting

Honey Retro edit

I wish I could truly call this edit my own. With the same basic editing done on my first edit I ran the Coffeeshop Honey Retro action. I absolutely love this action. One of these days I will have to sit down and learn how to achieve the same look without it.

As always, if you would like to check out other edits done on this photo just click here!

Friday, February 4, 2011

{crafty} Feel the Love Blog Hop

If you have gotten here from Kathy's blog at Kathy & Kids you are in the right spot!

I started pulling paper for this card and had a pile of reds, pinks, black, and many others and ended up paring it down to red and this kind of khaki color. I think I spent more time picking paper than anything else, which is really nothing new for me.

I made the card base using my Gypsy and the Storybook cart. I chose a label, duplicated it twice and overlapped and lined them up so that it looked like a continuous border then welded it to a rectangle. Im sure if I searched a little bit more I could have found a border similar to what I made, but thats the genious of the Gypsy, right? I lined the inside of the card so the border of the card would stand out.

I also used Storybook for the frame. Designers Calendar for the "Be Mine" heart, and Create a Critter on the heart negatives. I stamped the sentiment with CTMH stamps and ink and finished the card off with silver pearls, red bling, and twine.

Hope you like it!

Your next stop on the hop is Michelle at Holy Cricut.

Here is the blogger list for this hop in case you get lost along the way.
1. Jamie at Glitter, Stamps, and Paper, Oh My!
2. Karel at One by One The Flamingos Are Stealing My Sanity
3. Nikki at The Glamorous Side of Scrapping
4. Elizabeth at Skittles and Scrapbooks
5. Brittni at Life's Musings
6. Jesi at Jesi's Things
7. Ellen at Card Monkey
8. Jessica at Overjoyed Scrapper
9. Casey at Simple Joy Crafting
10. Jenny at Crazy about Cricut
11. Shannon at My Scrappy Creations
12 Meagan at Beyond Paper
13. Jessica at Creative Stamper
14. Jill at The Scrapaholic
15. Katy at Crazy Mommy Katy
16. Aimee at Little P's Momma
17. Kathy at Kathy and 3 kids
18. Amanda at Something Sorta
19. Michelle at Holy Cricut
20. Kathy at The Beautiful Life
21. Angie at A Tuttle Time
22. Angela at Created with Joy

Happy Hopping!

{crafty} get whale soon

I recently picked up a bunch of paper and chipboard pieces from the MME Alphabet soup line. I am hoping to make a whole set of coordinating cards with it. I thought the chipboard pieces would be really cute for pun-type cards. 1 down, and several to go.

Supplies Used:
Paper and Chipboard - MME Alphabet Soup
Cardstock - Bazzill
Ball Fringe - Bazzill
CTMH Glossy Accents
CTMH Brown Ric Rac
Don Juan Cricut Cartridge (whale)
Cindy Loo Cricut Cartrdige (get & soon)
Pop Dots