Special Offer

For a limited time I am offering 10% off your purchase at my Gallery when you spend $25.00. There are also additional discounts when you purchase more. 15% off when you spend $50.00 and 20% off when you spend $75.00.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I ♥ Faces - Fix It Friday #56

Yes it is Friday again, and besides the fact that I get two whole days off in a row now, it is Fix-It-Friday over at I ♥ Faces. I love to participate in these but don't always get to every week. This week's image is of the cutest little twins...well, they may not be the cutest anymore since my niece and nephew were born. ;) Here is the original image:

The submitter of this image loves the interaction of the twins, but thinks it's a bit dull. I agree...while I like the pattern of the background, I didn't care for the dingy gray tones it produces. Here is my fix:

Now for what I did, please keep in mind that I do not use Photoshop, but a program called PhotoImpact. If you wish to follow my steps I am sure that there is something compatable to the actions and such that I used to get these results.

First I went to Smart Curves as I usually do but I could not find a preset that worked well.
Having failed on Smart Curves I went to Brightness and Contrast and increased those to B +20 C +15.
I then went into Color Cast and added just a touch of green to diffuse the red in the image.
I applied a mask to the babies and the white cushion then cut them out.
I opened a picture I took a while back and cut out a little piece of the sky then pasted it to the original image.
I then returned the babies to the original.
I merged all the layers and used clone and blur tool to clean up the edges where I made the cuts.
Lastly I used a font called KRDecoFrames and added the frame to the image.

That's it...hope you enjoyed my fix and to see more click the I ♥ Faces logo below!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Been Pretty Busy

I apologize for not 'being here' much lately. I am working on quite a few things at the moment so my blog is being put on the back burner it seems. As you may have read in my Post #100 I will be moving to New York in early July. Therefore I am working on preparations for that, trying to find a buyer for my house, packing (well the kids have been packing), finishing projects before the move (such as completing my son's new dresser, pics to come soon), working on my business (feel free to visit my Gallery and help me out with that one! lol), and numerous other tasks. I have been trying to get someone hired at my job to take over as manager. I am leery about just anyone taking over that store as I and my employees have worked very hard to get it to where it is right now. I also want to make sure that whoever takes over doesn't turn into a crazed person with a God complex and end up driving my employees to point of quitting. It's a lot of work to make a move, especially one this far.

Here in the household, we are all doing well. The snakes are growing beautifully, the frog is...well sitting there cause that's about all he does. The cats just got bathed, treated for earmites and sprayed for fleas...needless to say they are not too happy with me right now. Obad-Hai, the water dragon, will be getting a new home. Not that we don't love him, but Kevin has no room for him where he is staying right now and he also needs the funds to help pay for the enormous vet bills that Bruno has been racking up. Which reminds me...anyone interested in buying a Quaker Parrot? He wants to find a good home for her as well as he has little time to give her the attention she requires. The kids are out of school and have been spending the days working on packing and doing there chores in the midst of playing and goofing off. But I didn't really expect them to do differently. They grow weary with the long time I am at work while they have nothing much to do here at home. This next week they will be with their fathers so perhaps they will not be so bored.

I guess that's all for now. I hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful day, weekend, week, month, etc. I will hopefully have some nice pics of the progress on Ashe's new dresser soon!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This Week's Featured Image Week 16

Another week has gone by and soon I'll be making the move from Texas to New York. Here is last week's featured image:

I took this image at the park of some racoon prints I found near the tank there. As I was playing with them, I wanted to make the prints stand out and red was the best choice. Thus the name, Caught Red Handed. This image is part of my ABS Photography Series. I hope you enjoyed this week's image, and that you will also enjoy next week's. Once again, remember that all the images you see on the Featured Image, and more are available to purchase as prints by visiting my Gallery. Also, I am still offering a discount on purchases at this time so be sure to take advantage of that.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Post #100!!!

This is it...my 100th post. I started my blog a little over 6 months ago. I have grown to having 40 followers, not bad in my opinion, and I like to think I have put up some interesting stuff in 99 previous posts. I'll make a list of some of my favorite posts, but first, an announcement.

My kids and I will be moving the first part of July. We are going from our small town here in Texas to an even smaller town in New York. Why so far away you ask? Well, I lived in New York for the last 3 years of High School and I really liked it there. The town was small, had lots of trees, and a great school. I think it's time to get my kids out of this crappy town we're in right now. It's full of drugs and crime, and it is very predjudice againt people who don't have the "right" last name. We are all very excited about the move, the chance to 'start over' and try something new. I will be continuing my blog of course, it is one way for my friends here to keep up with my goings on once I move and I have come to love blogging. It may be a few days or more once we start the move before I can get online and give an update, but I'll be sure to post something once I am able.

Now, here are some of my favorite posts from the past 6 months. Thanks to everyone who has stuck around and helped me grow.

My first post, and some information about me and my family can be found HERE.
Some personal feelings about the Attorney General.
A list of things you can do to Alleviate Boredom.
A true winner can be found HERE.
Another list, this once centering more on working in a Convinient Store.
The time I got bitten by a snake complete with pictures is HERE.
My daughter and her Twisted Sense of Humor.
An interesting look at some 'Old Pictures'.

Also, for anyone who hasn't seen my Gallery, feel free to head on over and take a look at the images I've got available. I am currently running a sale, so if you are looking for some new wall art, now is the time to buy!

And if you are looking to start a business or expand your current business, there are a lot of really awesome products available to assist you at Unconventional Guides. Look on the inside left bar of my blog for some of the available items.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. New Featured Image will be up tomorrow, so be sure to come back and check it out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Build Your Empire in ONE Year!

Now is the time to act! For 24 hours only you have the opportunity to get in on an awesome empire building tool. This tool, or program if you prefer, will assist you in taking the steps you need to sucessfully build your personal business. There are three levels of the program offered for businesses in different stages, so don't think you are too small or too big to get some use from this. If that's all you need, then scroll down to the link at the bottom of the page and act now.

If you are looking for more information about the Empire Building Kit, let me see if I can break it down for you. You will recieve daily e-mails with all sorts of helpful information, access to 15+ case studies of people who have built their very own lifestyle business and succeeded in ways most would only dream about, plus so much more.

The daily e-mails, for me, are a way to keep myself going when times seem down. I appreciate seeing that e-mail in my inbox everyday, and I know that I will continue to do all that I can to create my business. If you are tired of working for someone else, or waiting for the corporate office to decide when you should make more or advance, then this is for you! The EBK is like a strategy guide to that super hard video game that almost no one ever beats, it gives you the information, the assistance, and the ability to create your dream.

Please, keep in mind, that this product may not be for everyone. There is no pressure to buy, this is simply my way of letting you know about this awesome product. I feel that this product has helped me quite a bit, not only by keeping me on track (as I am easily distracted), but by offering some incredible insight to the world of self-employment. I don't want you to buy this product because I say so, I want you to buy it because you feel the need to take yourself to the next level.

Build Your Own Empire in 1 Year

That is the link to use to get your copy of the EBK for this 24 hour period -Starting 9am PST / 12pm EST

Now, I know some of you skeptics must be thinking that I am getting something out of this, right? The answer is yes I am. If you click on that link above and order I will earn a commission. I am an affiliate for Unconventional Guides. So if you want to bypass me altogether, if you believe that I am only pitching this to earn some money for myself, then go to empirebuildingkit.com You can copy and paste that into your address bar and you will be taken to the site where you can get more information and purchase your own copy without me getting anything for it. For any of you who think I'm crazy for offering a way around me, I do so because I believe in the products myself. If I make a little due to being an affiliate, great! If someone is skeptical because they think that is my only motivation, they will never see the wonderful products that are available to them at this site. Either way you choose, click the affiliate link, enter the address directly, or decide this isn't for you (or not for you at this time) I hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, May 17, 2010

This Week's Featured Image Week 15

The featured image for last week was one of the newest from my Tree Series. I shot this tree (with the camera only) at the lake a few weeks ago. I really liked the composition with it, but I was having difficulty with my editing. When I would try one thing, it looked really neat on one side, but not so much on the other side, then I would try something else and the same would occur. That is when I got the idea to split the image. The left side (as you look at it) has had contrast and brightness adjusted and a monotone coloring of blue. The right side was simply the same, but inverted. I decided not to leave the edges of the image itself square, I felt the rough and unusual edge would create more interest with the texured background behind it. I have to say that this is possibly one of my favorite images at this time.

Here is the original image:

As you can see in this image the right side of the sky got washed out by the sun and thus caused a lot of the difficulty I had with the editing. All in all I am happy with the finished image. Keep in mind that all my featured images, and more are available to purchase prints at my Gallery. There is still time to take advantage of the current discounts as well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I ♥ Faces - Fix It Friday #54

Yes, it is that time again. Can you believe I have missed out on this wonderful fun for the past TWO weeks? Well, as they say "life got in the way". Here I am this week though to share my process for fixing this photo. The original is very washed out and there is a bad highlight across the boy's face. I decided to be brave and did some retouching on the highlight to make it 'disappear'. So here is the original image:

And here is my 'fix':

So here is what I did to get here (As usual I must post my disclaimer that I do not use Photoshop, but PhotoImpact. I will be listing actions as they are in my program and hope that you, if you decide to follow my steps, can find similar ones in the program that you use.)

Smart Curves - the Kodak preset gave me the best initial lighting adjustment
Cone Tool- I used this tool to 'reconstruct' the area of his face and hair that were 'whited out'
                   I also used the clone tool to remove/reduce the blemishes on his face.
Colorize Pen- I used a deep blue at 75% transparency to brighten up his eyes a little
Contrast- increased to +10
Colorize Pen- I greened up the grass some to make it stand out better against his white shirt
Mask Mode- I masked off the background for the next step
Enhance Lighting- Increased Fill Flash to +40
Deselect All (to remove the mask)
Enhance Lighting- Increased Fill Flash +20
Contrast- increased to +24

And there you have it, a nice bright image of an adorable boy! To see additional fixes be sure to click the Fix-It-Friday logo below. Also, to see a 'reverse fix', check out my post When Was I?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When Was I?

I have a couple of images here to show you. A before and after. The question is...is this a photo from the 50s/60s era that I have retouched or is this a photo taken yesterday that I made look old?

OK...here is a hint...my retouching skills aren't THAT good...yet.

This is my daughter, dressed up for her band concert last night. The dress was very vintage looking so I fixed her hair and makeup to match. I am not a make up or hair artist so forgive me if they aren't quite right for the period. Either way, she looks fabulous, don't you think!

And for any of you who don't know...she's only 12. She tends to look older in her pictures.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

This Week's Featured Image Week 14

Last week's featured image was of a rose from my backyard. The rosebush this one was on is a huge bush, it has been trimmed and it is still rather large. It stands taller than me, and I'm 5' 7". The roses on this bush are pink, I'm not a big fan of the color pink, but these are just gorgeous! And the scent they give off is heavenly. For this image, I decided to color the rose a different color. I have some other images in my Flower Series from this rosebush that I left pink and I wanted to do something a little different. I was actually asked where I found a blue rose by a commenter, so I guess I colored it pretty well. Here is the original image.
Hope you enjoyed last week's image and that you will enjoy this week's as well. Have a wonderful day and Happy Mother's Day!

Special Offer

For a limited time I am offering 10% off your purchase at my Gallery when you spend $25.00. There are also additional discounts when you purchase more. 15% off when you spend $50.00 and 20% off when you spend $75.00. It's not too late to purchase a beautiful print for the special Mother in your life, or just for yourself or a friend. Be sure to visit today and find that perfect print! All if my Art Photography is included in this discount, the Tree Series, Flower Series, Farm Life Series, and ABC Photography!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Are You Doing For Mother's Day?

Last night I was texting with my wonderful boyfriend and he asks me "What do you have planned for mama's day?" To which I replied "I got nuttin, when is it?" Apparently, for those of you like me who don't already know, it's THIS Sunday! So, I really have nothing planned. I don't speak to my mother or have any other contact with her for that matter. (long story) My daughter has already asked to go to her father's this weekend to help with a garage sale there and my son I guess will be sticking around at home this weekend. I do have a suprise coming for the kids, hopefully tomorrow, though it's not really for Mother's Day, it just worked out to happen about this time. Can you keep a secret? (we're all getting new phones!) SHHHHHH! Don't tell them, I have a whole scare tactic planned for them before I reveal the phones to them. We all three have been using AT&T GoPhones for a while now, due to circumstances that are not entirely my fault, I was unable to get a contract plan with AT&T. Well, I go this e-mail about Verizon wireless and I decided, why not try, the worst that will happen is they'll say no right? Wrong, they said yes! So now I will have 3 brand new phones for us, and the kids will have unlimited texting for the first time. Exciting right?

Now, back to the story at hand. My boyfriend lives about 30 minutes away and with my work, kids, his stuff, and both our pets, we don't get to spend a whole lot of time together except on the weekend when I don't have to work. So after the conversation we had yesterday, I had assumed we'd spend some time together this weekend, be it for Mother's Day or just because. Here is the text conversation (just a short snippet of it) that played out this afternoon.

Kevin: You never really said if you're doing anything this weekend
Jayde: Yes I did, lots of time. I said I'm doin nuttin. Silly boy.
Kevin: see, thats not telling me what you are doin'. Nuffin aint doin nuffin. Youz gots to say what youz is doin. Not what ya aint. (yes that is how he typed it)
Jayde:How can I say what I AM doing, when I am NOT doing anything. How about, I'll be dressing up in leather and lace, rubbing myself with baby oil and watching NCIS.
Kevin: hmmmm, NCIS you say?

I love my man, he always makes me laugh! So, after some further commenting about the leather/lace & NCIS (of which I will spare you) we decided that we will be BBQing Saturday! YAY! I just love my Kevin's BBQ! He's spoilt me on BBQ ribs, I have not found any at a restaurant that I like near as much as his. I will also be making my famous (at least it's famous in my circle of friends) pasta salad. Can't wait! So what will you be doing for Mother's Day?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Future Emperors Wanted

29 days ago, I made the choice to purchase a year long program to help me build my own empire. I have been trying, unsuccesfully I might add, for many years to work for myself and this program is helping me do just that. The Empire Building Kit is full of case studies, examples of people who made their business work, resources and so much helpful information it is well worth the cost. There are 3 levels of the EBK, for those just starting out, those who have been at it a while, and those who already have a good business start and are looking for that extra edge.

The reason I am writing about the EBK is that Chris Guillebeau (the author) is planning his second launch of this program on May the 18th for 24 hours only. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to start a lifestyle business (that is, doing what you love to make money so that you can do what you love!) Me, I'm a photographer and digital artist, I have always wanted to be a photographer and I have grown to love digital art (post processing images). To see my work you can visit my Gallery. (I know, shameless plug right, but what is a girl to do?)

So, if you are interested in starting your own business, working for yourself, having freedom to choose your lifestyle and your hours, then stay tuned right here. (You can also go to http://www.chrisguillebeau.com/ and watch for the launch there.) Chris is offering this second launch to his partners mainly, meaning that those who have become affiliates will have the unique opportunity to promote this second launch. Since little ole me has been deemed worthy to be an affiliate I am shouting from the rooftops about this product. Am I doing it just so I can make some money through the affiliate program? Not at all! I would promote this product regardless. However, should I pass up the opportunity to make a little money by promoting a product that I think is totally awesome? I think that would be stupid! So, however you go about it, either through me, another affiliate, or straight from Chris's site, be sure to check it out. If you aren't ready to take the plunge just yet, you can at least take a look at his blog and the awesome FREE information he offers there.

As we get closer to the launch date I will be posting additional information about this product and how you can get it for yourself.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I ♥ Faces - "Then & Now"

It's an interesting challenge at I ♥ Faces this week. I almost didn't participate, because I wasn't sure I'd have time to do this and get an accurate representation. For those who don't know what this week's challenge is, it is Then & Now. Meaning, you find a picture of yourself as a child, then try to recreate it in present time. I had to settle for some pretty uninteresting pictures since the cuter ones had a whole lot of people who live a bit too far away, or props that I don't have. So here are my entries....since this is not a challenge with winners selected, we are allowed to put up multiple attempts.

This picture is of me when I was in 6th grade, probably I was about 11 or 12. I was working on my homework and I think my brother took the shot, he and I shared a room. Notice the stone-washed jeans (that didn't reach my shoes). I didn't have any jeans that were that light or that short on me, since I can now purchase pants that DO reach my shoes!

This shot was taken in my son's bedroom, since his was set up the closest to how the original picture looked. I even hiked my pants up to show my socks to make it as accurate as possible, but then once I had it on the computer, I realised I forgot the pencil.

This was a school picture from 7th grade. My mother was meticulous about dating pictures so I know that it was taken in 1989 and I was 12 years old. (The same age my daughter is now.) Funnily enough though, at this age, my son more closely resembles me than my daughter (minus the make-up.)

Take into account, the fact that I unfortunately do not have studio lighting. Now in this picture, my daughter looks more like me. It's weird how that works.

I hope you enjoyed my Then & Now images. I would like to thank I ♥ Faces for offering up this challenge, my son for the use of his room, and my daughter for taking the pictures for me. She didn't mind too much though since she got a chance to get her hands on my DSLR for this. To see more Then & Now pictures, click the I ♥ Faces logo below.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This Week's Featured Image Week 13

Had a god week, this week. A little rocky with the heartworm case with Bruno. He's doing better now (and so is Kevin). Last week's image was shot during our walk at the lake. My son, Ashe, and Bruno were walking ahead of me on the trail. It was a peaceful day, the sun was bright, the wind was calm. I saw this shot as the two began to head around that bend and even then, before I raised my camera, I saw it as you see it now.
I knew it would be sepia toned, and I knew it would look aged and distressed. To get that effect from the original picture took a little time and playing around with ideas. This image is one where I began to expirament with what I could accomplish using layers. I've used them before, but not in this way. Usually all I have done with layers is to cut a specific object and paste it onto a new background, sometimes add a shadow. However, to create this image, and to keep the focal point of the image clear, I began by creating seperate layers to get the desired effect. All in all, there were only 3 layers, but I think the result looks great. I look forward to learning more as I teach myself all the neat things I can accomplish with digital art. I hope you enjoyed the Featured Image last week, and this week's as well. Have a great week!

P.S. Don't forget, all my Featured Images (and more) are available as prints by visiting my Gallery.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Unconventional Guides

A few months ago, not long after I started my blog, I ran across this blog called The Art of Non-Conformity. I was immediately attraced to it, given the name, so I went and took a look. What I discovered there was some really awesome information. The owner of this blog, Chris Guillebeau, is a genius, and he shares his genius with everyone! He offers a wide range of e-book to help you start your own business and break out of the corporate shell, he's on a mission to visit every country in the world, and he still posts regularly and produces new content for his e-books.

I have been wanting to be my own boss for as long as I can remember. Now, I don't mind working hard, or working long hours. I feel that doing my job well is a reflection of my personality. I do however mind that I have been passed up THREE times for a promotion, and that I must follow all the insane and rediculous rules that are set by the corporation who (half the time, in my opinion) don't really think these things through, and that my advancement is dependant on the whims of someone who has meet me maybe once, is willing to praise me over the phone and in e-mail, yet will promote someone who's been in the company only a few months (as opposed to my 3+ years) simply because they are (to my understanding) friends or family.

The only reason I am still at this job is because it offers me a rather nice paycheck given my other options in this small town. I have tried: MLM programs (I don't recommend them AT ALL!!), offering my creative side as a business, I have looked into (and still haven't given up the idea) of a reptile breeding business, and I have even been known to research or read about the 'get rich quick' scams in my inbox occasionally (I haven't fallen for any of that BS though).

So what did I have left to try? Well, I fell back to my creativeness. It is my strongest trait, something that I have always had a passion for, and something that I LOVE to do. That would be photography. I can paint well, but I don't draw very good at all. I can sew, but only with a purchased pattern. I can do a multitude of other interesting artsy crafty things, but none that equal my skill as a photographer and digital artist. And even that is still only in the novice stage.

I opened a gallery, I've even had visitors to it. I started a photography blog and have a few followers. I have yet to make a sale. People will tell me that I have beautiful stuff, but no one, in the current economy, that has visited my site has purchased anything. Have I priced my art too high? I don't think so, given the time and effort that I put into my images. I think that it is a reasonable price that one could expect for art. So where am I going wrong? This was a question that I could not answer on my own.

Enter, Chris Guillebeau and his newest project, The Empire Building Kit. I read about it's upcoming release and thought to myself, that could be useful, but can I afford it? The initial launch was set to stay open for only 24 hours, and he offered a bonus to all the Emporers that got thier copy in the first launch, an invitation only webinar where he will answer EVERY question that the Emporers ask him. I debated off and on about purchasing it. I had my mind made that I could not afford it and was going to pass. Then launch day came, I read the information about the program and I was back on the fence. Do I spend the money or do I tough it out on my own and see if I can make this work? That pretty much settiled it. I knew I couldn't create the business I wanted without help, so I took the plunge and purchased the program.

This program is based around building your very own lifestyle business within a year. People who have purchased the program will recieve daily e-mails with information, suggestions, general helpful information, what NOT to do lists, and case studies from several other entreprenuers who have created 5 figure incomes doing something they love. I am on day 25 as of today and I have found a lot of very useful information and look forward to each day's e-mail with new information. I still haven't made a sale, but I am hopeful.

Chris will be offering an Affiliate launch on May 18th for, again, only 24 hours. What is an Affiliate launch, you ask? Well, one of the other really cool things about Chris and his business, is that he offers an affiliate program. I'm sure everyone knows what an affiliate is by now, it's where you team up with a company to promote their products and they pay you a comission for referring sales. Not a bad deal, if I do say so myself. The difficulty I have had with affiliates thus far is a few things. Either I am not 'established' enough to be considered a good candidate for the program, or I don't really care to push the products of most places. With Chris Guillebeau and The Art of Non-Conformity, neither is the case. I got approved as an affiliate, and I think his products are amazing.

So, if you are looking to start your own business, or expand your current business, then I suggest you visit AONC and see all that he has to offer. One of the greatest things about Chris is that he doesnt push you to buy everything he puts out. He says truthfully and sincerely, that if you don't feel the product will work for you, then don't get it. If you would like to purchase one of his guides, then take a look at my links to the left. I would appreciate the additional income, but don't buy something just for that reason. You should only purchase one (or more) of Chris' Unconventional Guides, if it feels like something that would help you. At the very least, you should check out his website, and take a look at the free (yes, free) information that he offers.