I’m just a sucker for photo fun. Usually it’s more so on my computer, but I do dabble in iPhone fine art.
A few days ago Zach got himself a new smartphone. Granted, his other one was almost two years old, but it wasn’t the ‘most recent’ release of the line when we purchased it at the time. I mean, c’mon, the ‘most recent’ changes like every two months.
But he got a nice new phone with a great screen and introduced me to the VSCOcam app (or website+video) that he was so excited to now have access to. This came out last May, I believe. Now, I’m not a big filter girl, but man, they just have a way of pulling you in! In general, I like the look of filters, but wind up going with the natural enhanced shots most of the time.
The app itself is free, but you can buy a pack of a few filters that you want for .99, give or take. Then they had a bundle of 38 for 5.99 vs. getting the 3 or 4 for .99. And when they make it look like this?
Bought the 5.99 set–as indicated by the ‘In Bundle’ sign.
I’m not a big app buyer in general, so it didn’t seem like much of a big deal to just have a little fun.
Like I say, I can get sucked into this stuff on a whim. That being said, my most favorite app ever is still, and will probably always be, PicTapGo. Love that thing and use it all the time.
But this app is incredibly powerful! I love choices….variety….and this baby has a ton! Even from the Library view after importing the photos that you want to work on, you have three viewing choices. (And these are screen shots on my iPhone, so they aren’t the sharpest of photos. :) )
So the first thing you do is import your photo from your Camera Roll (or take your own photo) and then pick a filter. I like it because the filter indicator pops up on your screen momentarily.
If you notice in the middle photo, once you’ve picked your filter, it has a little slider on it. If you push on it again, you’ll get a slider for the intensity of the filter.
Again with the choices. love.
But that’s just the beginning. In the right photo you’ll see the various options for altering your photo–each one with its own slider. They include: Exposure, Temperature, Contrast, Rotate (love this), Crop, Fade, Vignette, Tint, Saturation, Shadows, Highlights, Sharpen, Grain, Highlight Tint, Shadow Tint, and Skin Tone (a free filter add on).
And what I really love about this app is that the changes are always there for you to modify again if you want. So if I exit this and decide I no longer want the vignette and I want to Sharpen and Rotate it…done. If I rotated it too far. I can fix it. And when I say rotate, I mean rotate. Most apps only let you rotate in 90 degree increments. This one has a slider (of course) that you click and drag and it will rotate it for you. LOVE!
So on this last Yankees Stadium photo, I took the Exposure to -1, Temperature -2, Contrast +1, Saturation -1, and then of course added a Vignette and Rotated. it.
And that’s just touching the surface of it all. Here’s some things I did with a photo of a little corner flower shop in NYC. We bought flowers for the kids and the music teacher and piano player here to give to them after singing in Carnegie Hall last year.
(oops. typo. ignore it.)
And this is where it gets kind of cool. With Shadow/Highlight Tints, you can add a tint to the shadows or the highlights of the photo.
It’s just subtle change, but fun. Here’s the final shot with a couple other edits.
The possibilities with this app are endless. I think one could get a bit carried away. Which is probably why I usually shy away from filter apps and stick to make a photo shine in its original–but enhanced–state. I usually don’t have time to mess around. But it’s fun to have when you do want to play. Oh, and I also like being able to filter your library by Edited, Unedited, All or even Flagged ones. Pretty sweet.
And speaking of playing, here’s a before and after of the Santa Monica Pier. I was playing with this last night. :)
The one bad thing about using photo editing on my phone is the fact that my vision changes from time to time so I may have to get my glasses. Oh how I hate that. Taking out my contacts and holding it close is dreamy though. I can see it clearly that way.
Anywho. It’s a fun app to play with. :)
When I make a design, I may have some idea of how it’s going to be used. But I gotta say, my creative team surprises me time and time again.
Case in point.
The thought never occurred to me to use the cameras from the Click kit on a card. So when Nichol shared these little lovelies with me, I was absolutely delighted!
[ Designs | Click (cameras) / Just My Type (heart, 'I Like You') / Design Team Picks (thought bubble, 'hello') / Life Additions: Backgrounds (diagonal background) / Sliders (frame) / This+That: Family (instant frame) ]
Love all the itty bitty details and how Nichol dressed up her cuts with stamps! And did you notice the subtle cut background behind the vellum? Yeah. Great idea! And the colors….divine…happy.
The question is, will I be lucky enough to be the recipient of one of these cards? ;)
Here’s what Nichol has to say:
I thought it would be fun to take the new camera cut files from Kerri’s Click Kit and create a couple of cards out of nothing but cardstock + cut files + a bit of stamping to give the cameras a unique dressed up look!
I cut the camera from some fresh, fun colors of cardstock and added subtle stamping in tone-on-tone colors with simple border stamps. I added hearts die cut from the Just My Type Kit and embellished them with tiny rhinestones and Glossy Accents. Foam adhesive behind some of the elements gives dimension.
I wanted to “frame up” my cameras and what better than a slide frame from the Sliders Kit and the instant frame from the This & That Family Kit! I felt like the background behind the camera needed a little somethin’ but I didn’t want it to overpower the cute cameras or greetings. I cut the diagonal background from the Life Additions Backgrounds from white cardstock, layered some vellum over the top and popped them behind the frames for a touch of texture and a tone-on-tone background.
I added a bit of stamping and embossing along with my die cut greetings for added interest.
This mix of ten hand-drawn brush script words will give you the perfect ‘something to say’ on any page!
It comes in the usual cut files as well as the usual black PNG file. Of course you can change the color of the PNG file to whatever color tickles your fancy or print it on a card for Project Life.
Lots of fun to be had! I decided to put it on this photo that Jordan just sent me from San Mateo, Florida today. It is beautiful, isn’t it? She loooooves it there.
Is there nothing prettier than seeing your cardstock lined up all neatly in a row?
That is an absolutely delightful sight to me!
I’ve always, always, kept my paper+cardstock stored vertically. It is, by far, the easiest way to store your paper and use it. Add to it the Cropper Hopper Paper Holders and it’s complete heaven. I’ve had mine for years, so they do look a little different than what you get now.
I can’t live without them. In fact, back when my supplies were in [over] abundance, I didn’t have enough. *gasp!* I know. So I had opted to take the cardstock–which resided in the cabinets above my desk–out of their sleeves so they could be used elsewhere. It was fine. It worked.
All I can say is I’m so glad to have them back in their warm and cozy little sleeves where they belong. (Ignore the labels on them. I can’t find my UnDu and they don’t come off easily. ;) )
Makes it not only so purdy, but convenient too!
I love being able to slide those little holders of joy out and easily flip through them. Or, I even take them out completely and thumb through them as needed. I also store my Silhouette mats along side my cardstock there as you can see in the lower-left corner. Mats+Cardstock go hand in hand.
And of course this all sits under the drawer with my cardstock scraps.
I know I’ve shown this drawer before, but this little section of my new space is truly pure delight for me. I love the new scrap organization that’s here. Again. Easy to use, flip through and put scraps away. Maximum height is 5″ and width can be 13″, but of course 12″ is all that I have. :)
To be honest, I don’t use much patterned paper, so most of those scraps end up going back where they belong. The cupboard to the left of this one is full of patterned paper.
Well, that concludes my week of office faves. There’s no greater feeling than being organized. So far I’ve been good about putting things away as I go. I hope I can keep up that routine.
The grand tour video of the place will be coming, I promise. :)
One thing I’ve come to realize over time:
Working from home doesn’t mean you have to sit at home.
I’ve been in this industry a long time. I’ve been paid to scrapbook on a regular basis or create art since 1999. We’re talkin’ 15 years.
As a person who works from home, I had always made my office as ‘convenient’ as possible. Everything I used most needed to be at my fingertips so that I had to get out of my chair very little. Here are a couple photos of what my office used to look like.
(This was after QVC. And I still had another tall cabinet that stood on the wall just to the right.
This is where my green credenza now sits.)
Years of this ‘sitting with things at the fingertips’ thing.
All I have to say now is, What was I thinking???
I can’t tell you how many times I referred to that chair with contempt and disdain. I hated sitting in that chair.
Or maybe it was more resented. That might be a better word.
Sometimes I felt like my ‘behind’ was permanently glued to it.
When my job scope changed a bit–meaning, no more QVC that I did for six years–and I could scale back on product in my office, I was feeling more free. More space.
But still, too much stuff. I had stuff stuffed everywhere. Dan was floored at how much stuff I had packed way in the drawers and cabinets! Even in the corner behind the filing cabinet drawers that matched the desk. Great place for hiding oodles of empty albums.
Then came the remodel–which is still a work in progress.
(that chair doesn’t deserve to be in this photo. it’s gonna be replaced.)
I had certain criteria in mind. The first being that I wanted my desk to stand just a few inches taller (32.5”) than your average desk (29”) so that if I stood at it to make a page, I wouldn’t have to hunch over as much like you normally would at a standard desk. Not only that, I can stand to type on my computer and feel comfortable. Now, I most likely wouldn’t design on my computer that way, but I can do other busy work and not need to sit down or hunch over. And I’m only 5’ 4”, by the way.
The second thing I wanted was for it to be open so that when we had parties then there’d be plenty of space in our family room and office area. Before, I had a section of desk that separated the two areas.
In addition, I wanted a large cabinet that housed not only my printers and electronics so they’d be out of site (they are such an eyesore, aren’t they?), but it needed to be tall enough to handle two shelves of 12×12 cardstock as well as some nice drawers for storage. All combined, it brings it to about 42” tall.
That’s pretty tall for a cabinet, but I love it! I’ve worked at that surface with my Silhouette and my laptop and it’s awesome. I’ve written just about all my History Project journal there and it’s like I’m sitting at a desk…only I’m standing. And I’m finding that I like creating my pages here, actually.
And then the last piece we added was the green garden credenza, that we refinished, by the way. (That’s what it was labeled and I like it. :) )
It sits at an even different height–a little higher than my desk. Perfect spot for my Genesis Trimmer (also love), which is just a little turn after cutting on my Silhouette so I can trim what I need to and put the cardstock away. I loved this piece not only for its design but that amazing surface! Three completely different surfaces, great for photographing on–and it just adds character to the place instead of having the Danish furniture that I had (way pre-IKEA).
I wanted my office to be an extension of the family room, which sits on the opposite side. I wanted it be more furniture and less ‘office.’
And now that it’s done, I have three words to say:
I love standing.
Why didn’t I do this before? Not only is it just fun to stand from time to time, but moving is so much better for you (okay, at least it’s better for me). I like moving from surface to surface. And I love the space.
I can’t explain it, but it just plain ol’ makes me happy.
I love feeling free and not being tied to that chair.
I love feeling that I’m getting more ‘exercise’ because I’m moving and working.
Just to be clear though, I can–and do–sit plenty of work time too. I can’t design standing up, but I can create pages or craft or type standing up. I can email standing up or peruse the internet. It makes for a good mix. Plus I can dance when a good song comes on. ;)
So that’s my new philosophy: Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you have to sit at home. And you don’t have to remodel to do it either. If you want to explore height possibilities, find ways of altering your current setup. You could maybe set your desk on bed extender legs or a 2×4 piece of wood or something. Try it. See if you like it. And if you can’t or don’t need to adjust furniture, just try standing to mix it up.
I feel completely content with this new way of work. It’s been a long time coming.
It’s happiness for me.
It works for me….and I don’t have to sit to do it.
Because I know I’ll be asked. the cabinets and desk were custom made. The credenza was a one-of-a-kind piece purchased from Osmond Designs. The desk idea I got from HERE, but I had them add shallow drawers to it. Love it. Love the openness of it. The cords will be hidden behind the legs eventually, by the way. I hate seeing cords. :)
I thought it might be a fun twist to continue on this week with what I’m liking in my office right now. I know I still have yet to give the big tour of the makeover. It’ll come soon, I hope.
Right now, this is my new favorite thing.
I looooove my trackpad!
I never ever thought I’d say that. But after using a laptop for much of last year, I really got accustomed to it. There’s nothing to grab and nothing to click. And I can even design on it–no problem at all. I love that I don’t have to put my fingers around a mouse and use my forefinger in a bent-ish position. I was feeling–what I was thinking might be–carpal tunnel on my wrist from all the designing and working with a mouse for all those years. It didn’t even occur to me for quite some time that the sensation of that had gone away after being on a laptop and using a trackpad with my hand in more of a flat position. I haven’t felt anything for almost a year now.
And you know what else? I can mix it up and use it left-handed too!
It gives the right hand even more of a break, if so desired. And this is going to sound a little silly, but I’m nervous about anything harming my right hand. My right hand is my livelihood. If I don’t have it, I can’t design. So I’m actually trying to do more little things on the computer with my left hand just to get comfortable.
Silly, but it is a practical thing. :) And it’s so much easier to maneuver my left hand on a track pad rather than getting used to having it wrapped around a mouse. I actually use my left hand a lot–particularly on my laptop–especially, when I’m just perusing the internet.
And no, I’m not out to subliminally promote Silhouette in that photo. ;) I made that jacket back when I worked for them–gosh, has it been four years ago? Even though it was like 60 degrees outside when I took that photo, I needed a jacket on our third level (halfway kind of basement) because it’s chilly down there and that just happened to be the attire for the day.
Additionally, while I initially refused to use my cordless keyboard for years because I loved all the side buttons of an extended keyboard, again, I got used to the other keyboard on my laptop. So to keep with consistency, I changed over and I looooove the cleaner look! No cords at all. love. I just wish that they’d make a wireless extended keyboard too. We’ll see if I still like it over time, but so far so good. And I still have my extended keyboard too….just in case.
The other thing I like about a trackpad is that I’m not moving my hand all about with my mouse and I never have to worry about it losing mousability on my desk…and I don’t need a mouse pad that will clutter up my desk either (not that I really ever used one before). But I did notice that on my new desk the mouse wasn’t working as smoothly as it had been on my old desk. Wasn’t looking forward to probably having to get one and added to the reason for getting a trackpad too.
Oh, and watching Dave Cross use a pen+tablet on the CreativeLive Photoshop classes? Yeah, that makes my hand hurt even more just looking at holding a ‘pen’ to work all day. That’s all he uses. I think that if I did painting and artwork, it might be a different story. I might like one for using occasionally, but not as a full-time option. But that’s just my personal preference. In the end, everyone has to use what works best for them.
Now, in case you are wondering, yes, I still do have my mouse and will bring it out if I ever need it. It’s neatly tucked in the drawer right in front of me…along with my other essentials, including my Blistex, dental floss and ponytail holders. ;) That’s the mouse in the bottom center of the photo. Kind of blends in, but it’s there.
I’m sure the mouse will be used on the rare occasion. But right now?
You can’t make me get rid of my lovely trackpad. :)
If any of you are interested in my settings for my trackpad, here they are.
I don’t use anything under More Gestures (I think just about everything is checked, but I don’t use it). I do take full advantage of the three-finger options for clicking+dragging….even though technically I never ‘click’ anything (push down) on the trackpad. And I use the two-finger tap for ‘right-click’ on menus all the time.
Otherwise entitled: The Great Debate.
This past Christmas season I kept hearing all about the Canon Selphy printer. It seemed like everywhere I turned, there was someone raving about how much they loved it. I did some more research, saw that it was reasonably priced, and thought, Why not?
I got that tiny little bundle of joy, set it up with my iPhone and printed my first photo. Oooooh, ahhhh. It wasn’t until then that I realized that it wasn’t a true 4×6 photo.
That made no sense.
So I thought about Plan B. All this stuff is a write off (cheesy grin here) and Jordan was leaving for Florida, so wouldn’t this be a great thing to send with her–tiny and portable–and I’ll get the Epson PictureMate Charm instead?
Granted, I didn’t just jump into it lightly. My cute little friend Cathy Zielske had just gotten herself one as well. She told me all about it and I decided, Okay, this baby is coming to my house too.
I’ve had it for a few weeks now.
And well, I’d like you to meet my new BFF.
I have printed more photos in the past few weeks than I probably did all last year.
I love it!
Did I say I love it?
It’s so convenient. It’s so fast. It’s so brilliant.
It’s just awesome!
So since I have them both, I thought perhaps I might share my two cents on a little side-by-side comparison:
Canon Selphy: Pros+Cons
- Love the tininess factor.
- Love that I can print directly from my phone. Great for parties or with friends! Teenagers would love it!
- There’s an app for it for your phone. Not hard to use.
- Can print over wi-fi.
- Prints a good photo.
- Don’t like that it’s not true 4×6.
- Don’t like that the paper tray sticks out the way it does. Gets dusty.
- Don’t like that it prints each CMYK one pass at a time–prints Cyan, slides back in, prints, Magenta, slides back in, etc.
- If you print from your phone–which is a 4.5×6, you don’t have control over what gets ‘cut off’. (At least as far as I can tell.)
- The cost factor–around $75–is very reasonable, especially for kids. (Okay, I see that there’s a new one out and the cost is a little more–maybe $20.)
Epson PictureMate Charm: Pros+Cons
- Compact, but a little bigger/bulkier than the Selphy.
- Love that it folds up to keep the dust out!
- Plugs into your computer and supposedly I can plug it into my Time Capsule and turn it into a wi-fi printer. Haven’t done that yet. On my list of things to do
- Don’t like that it’s not a wi-fi already, in this day and age. But you can purchase a bluetooth adapter.
- Prints a pretty awesome photo.
- Prints true 4×6.
- Prints all CMYK at one time.
- Because you’re probably printing from something like Photoshop, you’ll have greater control over anything that’s cropped. You get to decide.
- Costs about $100 more than the Selphy.
- If it were only slightly bigger to print 5×7 too, I’d be in complete heaven. It’s just an inch. ;)
The Printout Results
And in case you were wondering about print samples, here’s a side by side comparison of the complete printouts.
Granted, this is a picture of pictures, but work with me here. This is the exact same photo printed on both machines.
As you can see here, the Selphy on the left has perforated edges that you can remove. The Selphy’s printout isn’t quite as rich as the PictureMate. I found the PictureMate to be a little sharper and deeper in color. The Selphy still looks pretty good, but the PictureMate is just a little bit better in my opinion. And notice that the Canon photos on the left are slightly smaller than the Epson photos on the right. I’m still just shaking my head over that fact.
I really can’t say enough great things about the Epson PictureMate Charm printer. I’ve used it so many times because it’s so convenient and gives such great results! No more chopping letter-size photo paper. No more having to clean my print heads on my big mama Epson printer because the Yellow keeps getting dirty. It’s portable. It’s simple. Just this weekend I printed those brush script photos for Jordan and Kass printed a photo of her and her cousin and they looked great! A couple weeks before that I needed to print a couple photos for a bridal shower and voila! Done. Loved it! And Kass, who’s become a printing snob–being the photo major that she is–was quite impressed with its color.
This weekend I’ve been playing with my brush script skills…or rather, learning some brush script skills. And the first thing I wanted to make was some words of encouragement for my daughter who’s out in Florida right now. Of course, it kind of turned into my own mantra as I was getting used to how all that brush script stuff worked.
And this was the fruit of my labor.
It comes as both a printable in the original brushy-looking art form as well as a cut file that’s been modified for better cutting.
And right now you can get it for free if you’ve signed up for the newsletter that will go out tomorrow (Monday). On Tuesday it’ll be available in the store.
To be sure you’re on the newsletter list, go to the My Account in the upper right and scroll down to the Newsletter section. The newsletter is different than getting blog updates by email.
The first newsletter with my first brush script project goes out tomorrow! :)
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