October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
...like my Photoshop zombies?

I was a kitty... meow!

We had a fun weekend. Hubby and I went to see Odyssey Dance Theater's "Thriller" on Friday night, went to a friend's Halloween party on Saturday, and watched scary movies in between :) Too bad I have school tonight or else I would be handing out candy!

How was your weekend? Anything spooky happen? What did you dress up as?



FYI... my new blog challenge "Inspired by Moments" starts tomorrow!
Stay tuned! :)

October 30, 2011

Inspired by Moments: Introduction

So I've had this idea brewing in my head for a couple weeks now...

It all started during a special night in my Humanities class. I got the opportunity to watch an extraordinary documentary called, "Chased by the Light- A Photographic Journey with Jim Brandenburg"



As usual, I was a little skeptical at first. I always like some good convincing before I show a real interest in something, and this was no exception...

But, I also pride myself in keeping an open mind, so even though it was 9:00 PM and I longed to be wrapped in the warm covers of my bed, I watched and I listened carefully.


I was absolutely blown away


Please read the description provided by Amazon.com:

"This DVD includes a beautiful and evocative 60 minute documentary which tells the story of how one of the world's greatest nature photographers immersed himself in a Zen-like exploration of his craft and the untamed landscape of the rugged north woods of Minnesota.
For 90 days Brandenburg took only a single picture each day - one click of the shutter. The stunning images resulted in a National Geographic cover story as well as the best selling book by the same name. The documentary travels with Jim to revisit many of the locations of the most memorable photographs in the project. On-camera, Jim reveals the stories behind the decisions to press the shutter at particular moments.The hour long Emmy Award nominated documentary has played on PBS stations throughout the country."



I walked out of class that night influenced by Jim's commitment, creativity, and depth of mind. It truly inspired me, and I didn't want to let it just sit on the back burner of my brain. I felt the need to apply it to my life in some way.

So many times we can get caught up in life and miss the special moments as they pass us by. We may think about it for a second or two, but it's quickly forgotten and the moment is gone. Then years pass by and we wonder how we have grown and what we paid attention to that influenced us to get where we are today. 

See, I could have watched this documentary, did my journaling as I was supposed to, and went on with my life... but something in me was ignited.  I've been feeling the need to do something more; to truly challenge myself in a way that will benefit and possibly change my life. 

So I've thought about it, and I've come up with a challenge of my own...

For exactly {30 days} I'm going to blog every day about a single moment that inspired me. There may be pictures, there might be a story, but there will be a post for every day in November

That's right... every day. From my previous post widget you can see that I've never done that before... I'm more of a 2-3 posts per week type of blogger, sometimes less than that. So finding the time to blog will be a challenge in its own.

I hope to discover deeper parts of myself that I didn't know were there before. I hope to dig deep, connect with the world around me, and follow through. I hope to see the world as an artist and not just an ordinary person. I hope to find beauty all around, and by inspiring myself I hope to motivate others to challenge themselves, as Jim's journey did for me. 
So now the only question is... are YOU ready to challenge yourself?

I would love friends to join in on my journey, and strongly encourage you to do so!

If you are up for it (and you should be!) apply this button to your blog's sidebar and share a post about what your 30 day challenge will be about...






Here's to courage, beauty, and moments! GOOD LUCK :D

October 26, 2011

Celebrity Portrait

Good morning, my lovely readers!

I have a treat for you today :)

Remember way back when I first started school and I had the "Stupid Pretty Girl" experience during my first traumatizing encounter with Illustrator?

I've come a long way since then...
That is all me, my friends... and of course the trusty pen tool :) 
I believe I'm making progress, wouldn't you agree?

What programs or techniques have you mastered 
after overcoming a learning curve?

October 22, 2011

Sleepy Saturday Stories

WOW.

I was effing tired today.

I woke up at 9:30, stayed in bed til 10:30, got up for an hour to take the dogs out and make coffee, went back to bed to cuddle, and ended up falling asleep and woke up at 12:30. So I basically took a nap after an hour of movement. And all I've done since then was move myself to our computer room so I could sit under a blanket with my laptop and blog :) I love being lazy sometimes, it's the best.

In my defense, it's my schedule's fault. Going to work from 8-1 and then school from 5-10 Monday through Thursday gets pretty exhausting, so I have to regain my sleepy time on the weekends.

Only one more year of this and then I can go back to being a normal human being.



Last term was a drag, so I ended up skipping a LOT of class... and it showed in my grades since attendance and participation take up a large chunk of your grade.

This term has been really amazing though. I may get a wave of sleepiness right before I go, but I've been forcing myself to get there. Because I know once I get there, it's always worth it.

The best nights are Mondays and Wednesdays when I have Illustrator and Photoshop back to back. Those are always great. Most of the time we are working on a project, so I can sit in my corner with my laptop, headphones and Starbucks and get in my groove. It's so much fun to be in that zone, and the more I do it the more it's apparent how much I'm craving this as something I do every day. And I'm so excited to show you guys my first Illustrator project... eeeeek! It's pretty much gonna blow your socks off :)

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Skills for Success and Humanities. The Skills class is a series of videos taught by Lou Tice, a motivational speaker specializing in teaching students about the way successful minds work and how they think. This class is usually taken when you first start school, as a way to help you stay and graduate, but for some reason I'm taking it in my fifth term. It's kind of nice to be around the freshies though; they are newly motivated and take it ΓΌber seriously. I've been getting a lot out of it and want to share all of my epiphanies... but I will post more on that later!

My Humanities class is interesting and enlightening. Anyone know what the humanities are? I shall ask Google...
"Those branches of knowledge, such as philosophy, literature, and art, that are concerned with human thought and culture; the liberal arts"
Sounds boring to most people, but I'm loving it! We watched Fantasia on the first night.. is that not the best Disney movie ever?! We listen to a lot of music, watch old movies, and observe a lot of art. My favorite has been watching a biographical documentary about Michelangelo. I left feeling so inspired and just in awe of his achievements. There are such amazing people that have lived on this earth and have left legacies behind that keep their spirit living on forever. I want to be like that.

I've had an overload of inspiration lately, and I've been dying to share but it's hard to put it into words. They're coming though... pinky swear!!

Well, since I need to start my day I will leave you with a song that helps me get "in my zone"... enjoy :)

October 20, 2011

Photoshop Fix!

Do you have old, damaged family photos that you wish could be fixed?

I found the answer... Photoshop!

I knew it was possible, but didn't realize exactly how to pull it off until my last project. We had to find an old photo and enhance it; mostly through color correction, hiding damages, and erasing imperfections. 

A friend of mine from work happened to have an old damaged photo of her boyfriend from 1980! It had rips, tears, discoloration... it was a big challenge!

Check out the before and after shots:


I loved doing this for a friend, but I can't wait to fix photos of my own!

Isn't technology amazing?!

October 16, 2011

Fall Color Fixation

Ever just feel like getting up and driving somewhere?

I do.

I miss Connecticut so much around this time of year. When you practically live in a desert, trying to find fall colors that can compare to New England can be a challenge.

So my hubby and I decided to take a drive through Park City and Heber to get some fall color fixation...


I was impressed! This season is full of color inspiration. Every way I looked I thought of a Bob Ross painting ("happy trees!"). I especially wanted to paint the white birch trees whose leaves had turned a spectacular yellow. And that orange foliage against the bright blue sky... oh, how I swoon

Sometimes I forget how beautiful Utah is.

I guess every so often you have to adjust your perspective to appreciate the beauty surrounding you.

What season are you most inspired by?

October 14, 2011

Advertise with a GDS!




Woop! I finally decided on a great way to advertise with my fellow bloggers... button swapping!

Now realize, I haven't been living under a rock... I know this has existed for quite a while. I've just been trying to figure out a way to introduce advertising in a way that works for everyone.

I kept wondering and stressing if I should charge for ad spots, and if so how much? And then what, do I promise spotlights? Guest posts? Interviews? HUH?

I decided to not mess around with the money stuff, I mean, at least not until this blog is dedicated to my official business. The less stress I have while going to school, the better.

So, no matter if your blog is just starting out or beyond popular, I would love to swap buttons so we can both spread the word about our awesomeness :)

{CLICK FOR DETAILS}

oh yeah, and i got some extensions :) like 'em? 

October 12, 2011

A Little Wisdom...









Hope you are having a very wisdomful wednesday :)

October 10, 2011

Paper Flower Tutorial

Happy Monday, blogosphere! 

I thought today I would share some details on a recent craft project I took on. It was introduced as an assignment in my Color Theory project during last term. The idea was to create a sculpture using any kind of material we wanted using color as our design inspiration.

So I had the idea of making a vase of flowers out of paper and cardboard. I ended up using lots of mixed media including: newspaper, old book paper, cardstock, cardboard, Styrofoam, masking tape, red paint, several printing scraps from my work including vinyl and adhesive backing, plus jewels and sequins that fell off my shirt in the wash, and a pair of plastic white rose earrings that broke a long time ago. 

Oh, and glue. Lots and lots of hot glue!!! 

I ended up only using recycled materials, minus the hot glue gun, but it was about time I got one of those! What do you think of the finished piece?


If you would like to make your own paper flowers like the ones above click the following to be directed to each tutorial:

Rosette    Poppy    Daisy


I kinda just made up the peony as I went along, so here's the tutorial if you're interested:

"EASY PEONY CRUMPLE FLOWER" 
You will need... 
Scissors
Hot Glue Gun
Any kind of paper that will crumple easily (I used cut outs from newspaper advertisements)
1. Start by cutting out bumpy/wonky looking circles (use a pencil to trace it out first if you would like, but it's more fun without any lines to follow!) Cut in several different sizes; the goal is to go largest to smallest.
2. Layer 6-8 circles, largest to smallest, dabbing a small glob of glue in the middle to adhere them together.
3. Find a jewel (or anything that could be the center of the flower) and glue in the middle.
4. Once the glue is cooled, gather the layers upward and basically crumple it up to create the texture.
5. You can add leaves or floral wire for looks, but in this case I was just hot gluing the flowers to the Styrofoam base :)

You can also find 50+ paper flower tutorials by clicking here

Enjoy and stay crafty my friends :)

October 06, 2011

My Video's Premiere...

Last semester I took a video production class where I learned to create and edit videos with Premiere Pro and After Effects. At first I wasn't excited to take the class... I had never been interested in creating videos or considered using them in my future design career. Heck, I never even messed with putting a video on YouTube!

I was intimated to say the least, but as the class moved forward I realized I love film, love to watch movies, and I was pretty fascinated by how it all came together. Not to mention I pride myself on having excellent film critic skills ; ) 

So I gave it a shot... and seriously, I learned SO much.

Premiere Pro looks super scary when you first open it up, but it's honestly the most user friendly program I've ever used. The program does most of the complicated stuff for you so you are allowed to use your creativity instead of being bothered with the technical stuff. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

So for our final project we had to put together a thirty-second commercial of whatever we wanted. Over the semester we had several debates about whether or not the world will end in 2012, so I decided to do a spoof on that very subject, promoting a website that had instructions on how to survive 2012. I thought it would be a perfect way to use what I've learned and put together some interesting scenes.

Keep in mind, I didn't realize the website actually existed until after... but what do you think, should I pitch it to them? ; )

video

I created a lot of the scenes in After Effects, edited the images with Photoshop, added sound with Garage Band (love that program- try it out!), and arranged it all together in Premiere Pro. What do you think? I know it probably looks super amateur, but hey it's my first video, and dammit, I'm proud!  :D

NOTE:
If you want a really helpful zombie photoshop tutorial right in time for Halloween and way better than those crappy "zombify yourself" apps... visit this link
(my saving grace in making Don & Betty look like they were hungry for human flesh!)

Speaking of the Draper's, am I the only one absolutely OBSESSED with Mad Men right now?! I'm no longer getting anything done on Sundays due to Mad Men on Netflix marathons...


Damn you, Don!! Stop it! I have things to DO! 

October 05, 2011

Define "Work"


I hear this phrase all the time, especially at school; it's posted all over the place.

At first, I thought it was encouraging, especially the "never having to work another day" part... sounds amazing, right?

But, as I've thought about it more and more....  I'm wondering if it's better to separate what you love to do from what you do for a living. 

You see, the moment we have to do something to earn money, to be sheltered, to eat, to survive... it's work. 

We develop hobbies in our life because they are pure entertainment, they make us feel good, they are the diversion from work. There's no criticism, no annual review, no boss telling you exactly how to do it. They are simply there for your own personal amusement; an option to do at your leisure. 

When you add money and pressure into the mix... it stops being a hobby; it becomes a chore, a job, a process that is forced into your every day life, even when all you want to do is call out sick. The risk of choosing a job you love turns that charming hobby into something you might resent later on. 

So maybe we shouldn't be aiming to earn money for doing something we love... 

Maybe we should just find a job that is tolerable and brings in a decent amount of cash, and save the things we love to do as our special hobbies. 


I guess you could always find other hobbies... but, I'm just saying. 

It's worth thinking about. 

October 03, 2011

FREEBIE!

Can you believe it's already OCTOBER? I swear, just yesterday I was celebrating New Year's...

So here's the deal... I designed a 2011 calendar in my InDesign class a couple semesters ago. I've had this idea stuck in the back of my brain until it was convenient enough to follow through, so now that it is finally semi-convenient I will announce that everyone is getting a...

FREE DESKTOP CALENDAR! 
(and for every month during the next year! yayyyy!)

(Note: I've seen other bloggers share their calendar designs and they have all these multiple links and fancy options, but since I'm not quite sure how to do that I'm just going to provide a very simple set of instructions...)

1. Click on the photo below 
2. The link will bring you to another tab where the photo is enlarged 
3. Right click and set as your desktop image for the month of October.   
4. You might need to stretch it or whatever (found in your computer's desktop/personalization options), but it shouldn't look too warped. 


or you are more than welcome to use this version:



Let me know if you run into any issues. Enjoy!