Monday, January 31, 2011

I Heart Faces| Best Face Photo in January

This week the challenge at I Heart Faces is "Best Face in January".  When I saw the theme, I had no hesitation.  This is my favorite picture from this month.  I love that he is just being himself and his amazing sense of humor is shining through.  It's not posed or planned.  I just took out the camera and started taking pictures of him as we were unloading the car after grocery shopping.  He was making a funny face in every shot that I got! 

This is his "shark face".  It's not unusual for him to give this face to random people who approach him in the grocery store.  And its never failed to get a laugh, even from the sweet old men who hand out pennies for the coin-operated horse at the local store.  I ♥ this kid!!

Head on over to I Heart Faces for more January favorites!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Photo Edit #3

Two kids were watching a movie and one was sleeping so I decided to work on another edit.

Here is the before picture.  We were working on a picture for a Valentine's Day card and I took this one when she looked away for a second.

And here is my edit.  I'm not sure who this kid is.  Certainly not my baby anymore.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photo Edit #2

This poor little guy had a bad rash a few weeks ago. I didn't know if I could save any of the pictures that I took of him during that time. I thought I would give it a shot. Here is my edit:

Before:  Wow, that looks even worse than I thought it did at the time.

After:  Maybe I overdid the skin smoothing.  Still, its a lot better than the rash!  BTW, his rash is gone and he is all baby-faced again!

I Heart Faces | Fix it Friday #84

Today is Fix it Friday at I Heart Faces.  I love Fix it Friday!  I'm learning so many new editing techniques.  I feel like my Photoshop skills have improved so much in the last few weeks.  Since I was starting at zero skills, I still have a LONG way to go :)

Here is the image provided for edit by I Heart Faces.

Here is my first edit.  I used the dodge and burn tool (for the first time!) to lighten the shadows on her face.

Here is my 2nd edit, I used the Vintage Blush action from The CoffeeShop Blog.  I've been wanting to practice with this action.  I like the feminine antique look.

My next edit is a black and white conversion.

 And here is my last edit.  With this one I started over with the SOOC photo.  I dodged the shadows off her face, cloned away some of the spit, got a closer crop, and used the Perfect Portrait 2 action from The CoffeeShop Blog.  This is my favorite edit for this week.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Innocent Wonder

The theme for the weekly photo challenge at I Heart Faces is Innocent Wonder.  I had a few different photos that I was considering using for this.  But yesterday when we were playing in the snow I got a shot that I really like.  She looks so contemplative.  And innocent.  Just the way I want her to stay forever.

Head on over to I Heart Faces to see more Innocent Wonder entries!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photo Edit #1

Since I didn't participate in the Fix it Fridays photo editing challenge from I Heart Faces this week, I thought I would post a few of my own edits over the course of this week.

Here is the picture Straight out of the camera.  Which I've just learned from reading all these awesome photography blogs is also known as SOOC.  LOL, I feel so knowledgeable! 

Here was my first edit which I love!  I didn't know how much I was going to be able to brighten it up coming out of my point and shoot. 

And my favorite, just because I prefer Black and Whites.  Only I think he looks a little too pretty here.  Don't tell his dad that I said that!  Maybe I need to add some texture to roughen him up :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project 52/ Week 3

 The theme this week for Project 52 is shades of grey.  I LOVE this theme. I just really like black and white pictures.  Here is my favorite shot from the week.  He's pouting because he couldn't have any chocolate!  He did his best to avoid looking at the camera.  Which I think is what made the shot work.

And here are some other black and whites from this week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Wonderland

This week's challenge at I Heart Faces is Winter Wonderland.
What you can't see in this picture is that there is a snowball aimed right at me.  And though it looks like she's giving me a dirty look, she's just in the moment of a serious snowball fight!

Head on over to I Heart Faces for more Winter Wonderland photos!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fix-it Friday #82

I'm so glad that I found the website I Heart Faces!  In addition to the weekly themed challenges they also host Fix-it Fridays. This is great for me since one of my goals this year is to finally learn more than just the basics of Photoshop.  I love the tutorials that they post to go with the photos!

Here is the original photo provided for edit by I Heart Faces.

Edit #1:  Cropped, brightened the eyes, and sharpened it to add some definition to the freckles.  I just messed around with levels until I got a look that I liked.  I don't know Photoshop well enough to list out all the steps that I took.

Edit #2:  This is my favorite.  I love black and white photos. 

Project 52/Week 2

The theme for Project 52/week 2 is "Illustrate a Song".  

The song is "SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE".  Because to a 6-year old girl on a snowy and cold winter day, a cup of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows definitely qualifies as irresistible! 

And since I'm practicing using texture overlays, here's another song.  Monster Mash.  Yeah, its a bit of a stretch.  The overlay is a bit exaggerated but this was just practice.  I wanted it to look monster-ish.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This Week's Challenges

The two photo challenges that I'm participating in this week are "Winter Wonderland" and "Illustrate a Song".  I haven't had much of a chance to really think about what pictures I want to take yet.  This morning I thought that maybe I could get a picture of "winter wonderland" without having to leave the house.  Wishful thinking on my part!  I tried sticking the camera out the window to get some pictures of the icicles.  The result was not what I was looking for...

I don't think this picture portrays a winter wonderland as much as it does an icicle prison!  Which is kind of accurate in my feelings toward winter.  But not what I was looking for.  I guess I will have to actually go outside to look for a better shot.

The cat couldn't figure out why I was hanging halfway out the window.  Above she was looking very inquisitive.  Below she was looking a little like a psychopath! 

Monday, January 10, 2011



I'm really excited to start doing some photo challenges.  Here is my first one!  The theme is SMILES. 

The reason I'm participating in photo challenges this year is so that I can get some practice with my camera and learn some new Photoshop techniques.  For this challenge, I learned how to use the surface blur filter to smooth some areas of his skin.  I think I went a little overboard with it.  I guess I still have some practicing to do!

Check out I ♥ Faces for more SMILES!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I am super excited to participate in some reading challenges this year!  Reading is something I really enjoy and I read a lot of books.  Or I should say that I used to read a lot of books.  2010 was a very slow reading year for me.  I didn't keep track of how many books I read but I'm sure it was less than 20.  Normally I read at least a book or two a week.  But 2010 just wasn't my year.  I could list the reasons why I was too busy but I'll spare you from reading my excuses.  Everyone is busy not just me.  In order to keep myself accountable for the books I read, I've decided to participate in 5 reading challenges.  They are hosted by various book lovers in the blogging world.

  1. YOUNG READERS CHALLENGE   The basic explanation of this one is to read 12 children's books.  Not picture books but chapter books.   
  2. FAIRY TALE CHALLENGE The challenge is to read 6 Fairy Tales.
  3. DEWEY DECIMAL CHALLENGE  The challenge is to read 3 non-fiction books.
  4. TAKE A CHANCE CHALLENGE  This is my personal favorite of the challenges!  The challenge is to read 10 (but I'm going for 12) books that you find in different and random ways.  Click on the link to read them, its very interesting!
  5. 100 + READING CHALLENGE  Pretty self-explanatory, just read 100 or more books.  The 33 books that I'm reading for the other 4 challenges will count towards this so I only need 67 more.  I'm open to suggestions!    

Let the reading begin!!

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011


    Young Readers Challenge

    Young Readers ChallengeHosted by Becky of Becky's Book Reviews
    January - December 2011
    Read 12 Children's Books

    Think of this as referring to the "E" (Easy) and "J" (Juvenile or Junior) sections of the library.

    Sign up by leaving a comment.
    You do not have to have a blog.
    You may keep in touch and leave links to your reviews.
    *But* no reviews are required.

    A list is not required. Choose what you like. Choose as you go. Or plan it all out now. Whatever you want.


    This is a good challenge for me because Emma is at an age where she loves listening to "chapter books".  We  just finished The Magic Tree House #1:  Dinosaurs Before Dark.  And tomorrow we are going to start the 2nd book in the series so that will be my first selection for this challenge. 



    Hosted by Jen at The Introverted Reader
    Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult. That's it. You can choose anything. Poetry? Yes. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge.

    I always like levels in my challenges, so here are mine:

    Dilettante--Read 1 non-fiction book.

    Explorer--Read 2

    Seeker--Read 3

    Master--Read 4

    This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2011.

    I am not limiting the challenge to bloggers. You can also link to a review you wrote on another site, such as GoodReads or LibraryThing.


    I'm very excited about this challenge!  I am very much a fiction reader.  I will read just about any fiction that I can get my hands on.  But I have a hard time getting myself to read non-fiction.  I'm not sure why.  I usually enjoy the non-fiction books that I do read.   So this challenge will hopefully encourage me to explore some books outside my comfort zone.  I am challenging myself to be a Seeker and read 3 non-fiction books in 2011.



    It is my pleasure to present to you the 
    100+ Reading Challenge for 2011! 

    *This challenge is usually hosted over at J. Kaye's Book Blog, but I haven't heard anything from her about hosting it.

    As of today, I have read and reviewed 278 books for 2010.  I have many more to post before the finish date of December 31, 2010.  I know that I will be able to finish this challenge next year, but I am challenging you to beat your 2010 record this year! Can you read over 100 books this year?

    1. The goal is to read 100 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Posting on GoodReads or wherever you post your reviews is good enough.

    2. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.

    What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible.

    3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

    4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

    5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2011. Books started before the 1st do not count. You can join at anytime.

    6. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your post where your books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.




    Several of you asked if I’d be hosting the Take A Chance Challenge again. At first, I wasn’t sure, but once I started thinking about it, I got all excited.  So here are the details for the 2011 version of the challenge.
    Basic Information
    • The concept of the challenge is to take chances with your reading by finding books to read in unusual or random ways. I’ve listed 10 different ways to find books below. Feel free to complete at many as you want. However, anyone completing all 10 challenges by December 31, 2011 will be entered in a prize drawing to win a book of their choice from Amazon.
    • The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 until December 31, 2011.
    • Crossover books from other challenges is fine. You can read books in any format.
    • On January 1, 2011, I will post pages for each of the 10 challenges so you can link up your completed posts.
    The 2011 Challenges
    1: Staff  Member’s Choice: Go to a bookstore or library that has a “Staff Picks” section. Read one of the picks from that section.
    2: Loved One’s Choice: Ask a loved one to pick a book for you to read. (If you can convince them to buy it for you, that is even better!)
    3: Blogger’s Choice: Find a “Best Books Read” post from a favorite blogger. Read a book from their list.
    4: Critic’s Choice: Find a “Best of the Year” list from a magazine, newspaper or professional critic. Read a book from their Top 10 list.
    5: Blurb Book: Find a book that has a blurb on it from another author. Read a book by the author that wrote the blurb.
    6: Book Seer Pick: Go to The Book Seer and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.
    7: What Should I Read Next Pick : Go to What Should I Read Next and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.
    8: Which Book Pick: Go to Which Book and use the software to generate a list of books. Read a book from that list.
    9: LibraryThing Pick: Go to LibraryThing’s Zeitgeist page. Look at the lists for 25 Most Reviewed Books or Top Books and pick a book you’ve never read. Read the book. (Yes … you can click on MORE if you have to.)
    10: Pick A Method: Pick a method for finding a book from the choices listed below (used in previous versions of the challenge).
    • Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)
    • Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.
    • Random Bestseller. Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2010 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.


    This is the Challenge that I'm looking most forward to!  I wasn't going to participate in any more challenges but when I read the descriptions for finding the books, I just couldn't help myself!  Maybe it was the Public Spying...that sounds mysterious and fun.  My goal for this challenge is to complete all 12 challenges listed.  I'm super-excited to start this one!




    Special Thanks to my Personal Faery Friend for the Button Art: Ye Olde Faery Shoppe 

    Hosted by Tif Talks Books

    During Fairy Tale Fridays, we had the opportunity to read the short tales, explore the longer ones, and even watch a film or two; therefore, in this challenge, we will be exploring any or all of the above, depending upon the level you wish to participate in.  Let's take a look at the levels . . .
    • Fairy (Level 1):  Read 1 original tale.  Read 1 modern tale.  Watch 1 film. (Total of 3 selections.)
    • Dwarf (Level 2):  Read/watch any combination of original tales, modern tales, or films, resulting in 6 total selections.
    • Royal Prince or Princess (Level 3):  Read/watch any combination of original tales, modern tales, or films, resulting in 9 total selections.
    • Happily Ever After (Level 4):  Read/watch any combination of original tales, modern tales, or films, resulting in 12 total selections.

    Here are a few other thoughts to share that may or may not be important to you . . . 
    • The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.
    • Selections can include any age level or genre, from picture books and classics to young adult and even graphic novels.  Creativity is completely acceptable here!
    • You do not need to determine your list of fairy tales.  Go with what moves you at the time!
    • You need not have participated in Fairy Tale Fridays to participate in the 2011 Fairy Tale Challenge.  It is open to everyone interested!
    • A blog is not required, but it is encouraged.  You are also welcome to keep track of your selections via Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, or simply the comments section.
    • Reviews are not required, but are encouraged . . . I just really want to hear your thoughts and recommendations on what you read!  That is just me being selfish!
    • A Mr. Linky will be posted at the beginning of every month for you to share your selections if you do choose to review them.  Comments are also fine for sharing as well.  You will be able to refer to the direct links to these posts on the sidebar for easy reference.
    • You can overlap your choices with other challenges.
    • Prizes and guest posts will randomly appear in the monthly review posts to share some fairy tale love with participants.
    I think I have covered all of the details, but if you have additional questions, just comment below.

    Where to go from here?

    • Post about it on your blog, announcing which level you hope to achieve and linking back to this post.  Feel free to grab the beautiful button art (courtesy of my own special fairy friend)!
    • Post your direct link to your announcement post in the Mr. Linky below.  If you have no blog, then post your profile to your social book network or announce in the comment section.
    • Experience happily ever after in your choice of tales (or not, depending on the tale)!
    • Come back during the month you read a selection and share it with us.
    For this challenge, I'm going with Level 2--Dwarf.  That means 6 Fairy Tales.  Truth be told, I'm not sure I've ever read a Fairy Tale that wasn't a picture book.  But then again, I'm not sure what makes a book fall into the category of Fairy Tale.  Which is exactly why I felt like this was a great challenge for me!