Guess Who Came to Visit...

My nephew and sister in law!!!! Kaelyn was thrilled too! This was the first time we got to see this little guy since they live across the great big pond. It really isn't fun having your only sibling and family living on the other side of the world! It was about driving me nuts when this little guy arrived and I couldn't be there! But the good news is, they are here for a few weeks and we couldn't be happier about that! So this will explain why I may not be blogging as much for awhile.

Digital Photo Book: Photo Layouts

I'm getting so excited to see the book finished! I still have quite a ways to go but it is starting to go quicker. I found that after I have a section of photos retouched, that putting them all together on a page to see what goes together the best helps a lot. After Kaelyns first month was done I'm not so picky if the photos aren't exactly in order. I want the images to go well with what is going to be on the same page as well as the page next to it. (I do keep them in order by month.) I have a few of my favorite photos taking up the entire page... although I can't do this with all of them or my book would be HUGE! When I get to the end of the book I will have a tweaking stage where I'll revise what I've written below the photos and I'll test print the pages to see how they look. I may throw some out if I'm not completely happy with it. Anyway, here are a few of my newest pages...

I decided some of the pages didn't need text. There is always a section page saying the month so I didn't want to take away from the photos any more than I had to. Sometimes less is more.
I'm currently at 40 pages and am just starting month 4. If there isn't a holiday in a month they are pretty short. I'm trying to stick to just under 120 pages for the entire book... but we'll see, I'm glad I won't be paying per page!
I've really enjoyed going through my baby's photos! I still can't believe how quickly she's growing up. Although I miss her being so little I look forward to all the new experiences with her. Some of the smallest things excite her so... and I love it! She's my doll and I can't imagine my life without her.



Oh yes, Miss Kaelyn remembered the bubbles from last year, and mommy had to find them! (Those are little bubbles on her lips... she was determined to make big bubbles!)
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!


Featured in Studio Haus Favs Contest

I'm thrilled that Adrienne from the lovely blog, Studio Haus has featured one of my prints for her weekly favs contest. This weeks theme is Purple Punch. Click HERE to head on over there and vote for your favorite handmade item. If you don't know which to vote for you can always vote for my inspirational bird print, "Inner Strength"! Ha, ha, thanks!

{collection chosen by Studio Haus}

Digital Photo Book: Retouching

I honestly can't believe how quickly Wednesday keeps arriving!!! Since last weeks post I've mainly been working on retouching some photos. It's crazy how you can take an ordinary photograph and with a little manipulation in Photoshop it can look pretty amazing. So here are just a few of my before and afters for the next section I will be working on. Cropping and changing the lighting are the main things I did to change these photos for the better!


{after-I think this is my favorite photo now!}





I just have to say, I LOVE Photoshop and I love retouching!!! If there is something you see on my photos that your wondering how I did it, just let me know and I'd be glad to share.


Touches of a Magical World

An unexplainable excitement came when thinking of sharing something new with my daughter, something beautiful and in a warm setting, something that was almost like walking into a magical world to see some of God's amazing creations fluttering all around us. It was time to share the Butterfly House with Miss Kaelyn. David and I had been their once towards the beginning of our marriage and we captured some amazing sites! This time our little wonder was part of the photos. Hope you enjoy seeing a few of my favorite moments...

Daddy was trying to get a butterfly to walk up on his finger. Kaelyn loved looking at the butterflies but was a little frightened when the big ones flew right in front of her, and one large one flew on her shoulder... well she sure didn't want it to stay long! She liked to wander and find them on leaves and flowers.

God did such an amazing job didn't He!? (Yeah, I took that!)

After a sweet worker showed Kaelyn a big butterfly on her hand and the two of them went over the parts and just studied it for awhile, Kaelyn decided it was just fine for them to sit on her too.

One climbed up on my finger and when hubby was taking some shots another decided it wanted to sit on my arm too. Kaelyn thought that was pretty neat and tried to get them to walk on her finger.

Kaelyn's great aunt Sandy enjoyed the experience with us. It certainly was a special day!

Besides the Butterfly House we did some shopping, ate some yummy food at Panera and Johny Carinos and also saw some adorable creations by PoshTales. It's a new business started by our sister-in-law, Amy along with her sister and aunt. If your wanting to spoil a little girl check them out! Kaelyn came home with another adorable hat and a princess wand. She was a happy little girl!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. The Butterfly House made me excited for warm weather! It should be here soon! Happy Monday!


Fine Art Image Wrapped Art Blocks in the Shop!

I made an art block similar to this a few months ago, but couldn't part with it... so I finally got around to making another and getting it listed in my Enduring Arts shop. A high quality print is wrapped around the front and sides of a wooden block. The edges are distressed to make the print seem like it is part of the block. Hang or set this art piece where ever you choose. I love the clean sleek block design and that it replaces the need for a frame and matte. More details and photos are available HERE. A block print of "Peaceful Prairie" is also available in the shop if your interested. Hope your having a wonderful Thursday!


Digital Photo Book: Progression Stages

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Well, I was able to pull myself away from creating in the studio for a bit this last week and work on the photo book. I made some good progress. This is what I'm working on... first I retouch the photos; I divide my book by months so I'm only retouching the photos for that relevant month and then follow by designing the layouts. That seems to work well so I don't get tired of just doing all the retouching or all the designing at one time. You don't want to get overwhelmed, otherwise you won't want to come back to working on the book. Here are a few of my layout designs:

I am so thankful for all the photos my husband and I took. I wasn't even much into photography at the time but I wanted to remember every precious moment and all of Kaelyn's adorable little features. If it wasn't for the photos I wouldn't even remember her being so tiny... babies grow up so extremely fast!

I'll be working on finishing another month for next time. I hope you have been breaking your book down into stages and have been enjoying the process! Its finally coming together... that's an awesome feeling!


EXCITED to Share...

{Peaceful Prairie}

...my landscape done in pastel! This was something entirely new for me. One, I started out doing portraits and never thought I would enjoy doing a landscape. Two, I haven't used pastels in YEARS... probably not since high school or before.

I've had this idea in my head for sometime now. I first tried my idea by using acrylic paints but just wasn't happy with the result. I wanted to portray a soft somewhat whimsical feeling. Something my college professor said, was to create something you know. Well at the time I didn't think anything "I knew" seemed interesting. But his words kept ringing in my head. Then with all my graphic design courses you learn a lot about placement, white space and doing the unexpected... and well I think I was finally able to pull off everything that was in my head and can't be happier with the result!

Its funny how you grow and how much you learn from your surroundings. I am appreciating things a lot more lately. I've always wanted to live by the beach, but I've realized that where I live now is very beautiful in its own way. The wide open prairie is so peaceful... I love the openness... the freedom to move around... to see animals happily grazing... it is a treasure often taken for granted.

So I am planning on creating a series of countryside scenes that are similar to what I see everyday. I'm hoping to take the ordinary view a step further and give a bit of a magical feel to the world right outside my window.

I was able to get two print blocks made at the art group I attended last Saturday. (On the other one I used my "Weathering the Storm" print.) The print is adhered to the front as well as the sides and is distressed on the edges to make it seem as it is actually part of the block. I love the modern, clean feel. Either set it on a table, shelf, or hang it... no frame needed. I still need to drill a hole for hanging this one but then it will be available in my etsy shop.

Happy Monday!


Digital Photo Book: Organizing

Well, with all the craziness of the last week or so of completing my art room I haven't had much time to work on the digital book. But I have gone through all the photos that I have in folders on my desktop of Kaelyn's first year and now have all of the ones I like the most in a folder called digital scrapbook. That part was pretty time consuming since I had so many photos! My next step will be retouching them before I can work on more layouts. Most of them just need the lighting tweaked like what I shared in my tutorial HERE. If there is anything you would like me to share, please comment or shoot me an email. Thanks!

Oh, and there is another postcard giveaway from UPrinting going on at my other blog, Touched Creatively. Shipping is FREE this time! Enter to win if you would like to create custom thank you cards, invitations, baby or engagement announcements, business promotions... so many options. You have until Sunday at midnight to enter. (If you would like assistance with the design process I would be glad to help for a small fee.)


Before & After DIY Room Remodel

Okay, here they are... some nasty pictures along with some pretty nice ones. This room has come a long way and I'm so happy to now have an art room where I can create without anything getting in the way. I'm no longer taking up the kitchen table! Yippee!

Before I get to the photos I want to share that my husband and I have been redoing this old house from bottom to top for the last 2 and a half years. (My dad was a huge help on gutting out the basement and completely starting over!) We still have a little ways to go but we're getting there slowly... not so easy with a busy toddler under foot if you know what I mean! I debated about sharing the before pictures, and hubby said, "your not going to show the world our ugly house are you?", but you know what, I am. This is why... some people said we should have burned the place down and started over... yes it would have probably been easier and sure we had moments where we wondered why in the world did we move into this house. Most people would have never thought about buying it because it looked like a disaster and they wouldn't want to do the work, but when you don't have a load of cash laying around you... or at least I, look at things in a whole new way. I look at the not so pretty things and wonder how I can make it into something amazing. So I'm hoping to at least inspire someone with these photos... to look past what you first see... to look at the possibilities of what could be and to use your imagination. Now even though we have done a lot of work to this house it is far from perfect, but you know what, its the quirks of an old house that gives it character and a charm you won't find in a new one. So here it is before and afters before I moved furniture in:



{Yikes! Nasty water leak had been fixed years before but never cleaned up.}

{before-in progress}


{Another nasty before!}


{before-in progress}




Now this room is my favorite in the house, when I'm in it, I don't want to leave... I do have all of my art stuff/furniture in it now but it isn't decorated yet. Our hard work + a small amount of money = a beautiful room! Hope you enjoyed the photos! I'll be sharing the kitchen redo once my husband finishes the upper kitchen cabinets!


Workout Weekend

Oh what a weekend! Saturday was the Get Cyced Bike event that our family was a part of to raise money for Lutheran Social Services. THANK YOU so much to those who sponsored us!!! There were two teams from our church and we raised over $1000. Not too bad. So about this bikeathon... I imagined just biking as fast or as comfortable as we felt. Never did I think it would be an actual spin class!!! Ha! Boy, if you haven't tried one of those classes and are looking for a good workout... take a spin class. My legs were burning so... I thought they may come off. Our instructor was this buff chick... no seriously, David thought she might have bigger arms (all muscle of course) then he has! Here's how it went:

instructor: keep it at 80% speed, okay we're climbing a hill, crank your resistance a full turn, stand and bike!

me: thinking and doing-standing, trying... ouch seriously? I'm not meant to stand while biking!!!

instructor: stick your butt out over the seat while still standing

me: thinking-are you kidding? my legs are on fire now!!! ...as if they weren't before!... I tried for a bit... a couple seconds anyway.

She went on to other standing positions and holding your bike in different positions, but my legs seriously wouldn't take much more and I knew I had quite a bit of biking left so I sat for a bit and road. :) Good thing I was in the back of the group!

instructor: Ok, sit... lets go full speed, oh now we're going to go through mud, crank that resistance again!

me: thinking-I don't ride through mud, I stay on the dry pavement! (But I did it because I could sit... although I could definitely feel my butt bones!)

The class went on and on like that, so it was definitely a good workout. My husband being the bike fanatic he is wanted to do extra biking than what was required so I did bike longer than I had to. Every time I got back on the bike, the instructor would start again... I think she secretly had it in for me. :) It was fun though... a new experience. It definitely looks a lot easier than when your trying to do it. It was about 4 years ago that David took me on a 20 mile ride and my legs never burned as much as they did during that class! I didn't think I'd be able to walk after I left that day but amazingly it was just my butt that was sore! Ha!

Kaelyn did ride with her daddy for the first half hour. Here's what I captured on my camera phone...

{Kaelyn took over my bike for awhile}

{Kaelyn's cranking the resistance}

Afterwards we went to my favorite coffee shop that was across the street for lunch. I absolutely love Cottonwood. The atmosphere is perfectly me. They showcase new artists artwork every month on their walls. They have a corner with couches, magazines and games. Their dark brown leather couches were what made me have to buy them for our house and I wouldn't trade them for anything!

And of course the drinks and food are amazing! I've never had a better sandwich than their turkey panini! YUM! So if your in the Brookings, SD area and looking for a good place to grab a bite I suggest Cottonwood Coffee on the west side (main street) or Cottonwood Bistro on the east side. The Bistro has a little fancier atmosphere. They are owned by the same people and offer pretty much the same thing, so give it a try and let me know what you think.

Other exciting news, we finished my art room remodeling project!!! Sunday was busy moving stuff back in there and getting it somewhat organized. I still have a ways to go. I'll share a couple pictures next time otherwise this post would turn into quite a book.

Happy Monday!


Kaelyn's Adventures

We are certainly enjoying the warmer weather! We've had a snowman (the large one) in our front yard most of the winter... made by Kaelyn and her daddy. She loved telling everyone about the snowman they built together. The postman must have heard the story at least 10 times! Then when grandma watched Kaelyn last Saturday, four baby snowmen were made. I saw it as soon as we pulled into the driveway... it was adorable! I had wanted to get a picture of it, but never got a chance with so much going on. Then today it was so nice out and the snowmen were looking pretty ghostly due to all the melting so we decided to have some outdoor fun and add more snow to the little guys. Lookin pretty cute again don't you think? After working on the snowmen, I showed Kaelyn how to make snow angels. She loved it! She kept plopping down and saying "more angels!" She had a hard time getting back up though! Ha, ha!

While I'm busy working on a number of projects, Kaelyn stays busy drawing, pretending, watching Barney, drawing, reading, running, dancing... and more drawing. I'm not sure how many sheets of paper she has gone through... front and back and reusing; its quite a stack! Anyway she has her own little space in the kitchen buffet that is just for her with her colors, coloring books, play dough, papers... all the art stuff. And one day this is what she surprised mommy and daddy with... bet you can't guess which door belongs to her!

Yes, she had the urge to decorate her space. I asked her "What are you doing!?" She said, "I painting!" I said, "your supposed to do that on paper." She said, "No, my painting!" Apparently the paper ones are always for someone else... even though most of them are still in our house, so this was for her in her own little space.

I would have left it if not so much showed when the door was closed. Thanks to the Magic Eraser, it came off in only a couple swipes. I'm sure we'll have many more beautiful creations of Kaelyns around the house in the next few years. She is always so proud of them, I don't think I can ever really get mad at her. So create little girl until your heart is content, then someday you'll probably have to help me repaint if the Magic Eraser doesn't do its job!

Happy Weekend!