My brother and his spectacular +1 started a blog yo! So excited to see where they take it! Are you in need of a serious Minnesota vacation? These two are spectacular at seeing the sights, hiking the hikes and reporting back with the nitty gritty!
Plug them into your BlogLovin' and grab their button! It's on my sidebar for sure!
Sexy Taters - It's what's for dinner!
Step 1: Buy mixed Potatoes at a Farmers Market near you.
Step 2: Cut with a sexy crinkle cutter.
Step 3: Add spice (salt, peper, Season All)
Step 4: Crock Pot - Low - 6 hours or so
Yum. What are you cooking on this autumn day?
It's no secret that we chose our house based on the nature trail and neighborhood that surround it. There's a paved path that goes over a river (creek) and through the woods to Axels school. We enjoy it every day on our way there.
A few weeks ago a wreath showed up. A simply wound natural wreath was hung "just so" on a branch along our path. I could never figure out who made it but was sure it had to be someone who frequents the woods. I decided to make a banner for it, as a "Thank You" for making our woods beautiful. I stitched one up of fabric scraps and tied it on.
The next day, two more wreaths showed up.
On the way home from dropping Axel off yesterday, my neighbor and walking buddy said, "The wreaths are almost creepy. It reminds me of that one movie...the kids...up in Maine or something...it was a true story...they filmed it themselves. Never mind, I can't remember."
I wasn't really paying attention and didn't know what she was talking about since I was focusing on Oliver NOT losing his shoes along the route that time.
My friend and I parted ways in our usual spot and about 20 yards up the road I noticed something familiar in the yard of the "creepy" neighbor. The one everyone says is wiccan. Looking a little closer I recognized not one, but dozens of the same wreaths hanging from the trees on her property.
Wulp. I guess one moms treasure is another's Blair Witch Project. I am standing firm on my belief that the wreaths are purely for decoration.
It may not be polite for women to talk about money but it's completely necessary that someone does. Why spend when you can save? Challenge yourself to reduce your bills, save a few bucks and take some pride in working for your own best interests this Holiday Season!
Thanks for stopping by!
I may have mentioned a few posts ago that I would be taking back control of my space here and focusing once again on what put me on the inter-webs...the craving to write. As I type this, my brain is firing on all cylinders while I prepare dinner, act as circus ringmaster and try to shut down certain parts of my brain that are JUST PLAIN IRRITATED by what's all going on here. It's times like these, right before I feel my rubber band SNAP (as I often do when the noise around here gets overwhelming), I wonder: what would be the best parenting move right now?
While pondering what the BEST POSSIBLE strategy and outcome would be, I can't help but revert to my nurtured beliefs - the advice constantly thrown at me from parents and strangers alike - and my brain quotes, "Just ignore it." IGNORE IT? How the hell are you supposed to ignore anything when it's right in front of you.
Here is what the logophile (person who LOVES words/speech) has to say about all this. Does "ignorance" come from "ignore" or vice versa? To me they are two completely different things. Ignorance to me suggests a complete lack of knowledge, as if I had no idea that my boys sound like baboons in a feeding frenzy...all the time. Ignorance would suggest that I have no knowledge of the clock or the fact that my hungry zoo will start dismembering me if I don't produce sustenance. Ignorance is not something you can honestly attain in parenting.
"Ignore" then is almost a waste of a letters. Ignore suggests more of an "in passing" - something you may not be completely "ignorant" of, but something you are choosing not to pay attention to. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE. You have to at first notice the act/thing/annoyance in order to decide you will ignore it. I DON'T GET IT?!
Is it the children I should ignore? That is physically impossible. Whatever the "annoying thing of the moment" is, they do it to get some sort of reaction. While attempting to "ignore," I will never be able to "Keep Calm and Carry On" because the little clones notice ANY change in my behavior. Maybe I flinch or re-route to avoid them, either way, my body and mind react in a way that is different than before and thus I AM NOT IGNORING THEM. THEY CAN TELL.
For example: Say my FRIEND was driving a car - facing the windshield, listening to the radio. Child A is making disgusting mouth noises in the back seat to make Child B laugh hysterically. Mouth noises just happen to be my FRIENDS detonator switch. It drives her mad. Now - she is facing away from the children, not expected to be minding them, however - her shoulders begin to tense (which children can smell) and she may subconsciously turn up the music or sing louder. She may breathe a bit more aggressively and send lasers through her eyes (the ones in the back of her head) and right up til the moment she snaps the children will be having a grand old time while she is stewing in agony.
I'm going to give this FRIEND some advice. IGNORING gets you nowhere. If your life is as easy as turning on the IGNORANT switch - you are truly blessed - stick with that plan. If you are like me and will bottle it until you burst, just skip the games and PUNISH from the get-go. PUNISH, PUNISH, PUNISH. It will take you half the time to get rid of this weeks irritations if you are up-front. Next week will bring something new - recognize, react accordingly, and then REST!
What's your philosophy on ignore vs ignorance? T
Has it taken you FOREVER to figure out Photoshop? Does it seem like you need to watch a million YouTube videos just to figure out one simple thing? I can relate.
Today for your frugal pleasure I am going to give you a few tips on creating the perfect Holiday photo card that will save you time and money this holiday season.
A few basics first. I'm using Photoshop Elements. It's a few years old, one of the cheaper Photoshop packages, but it works just fine. If you don't have the money to buy Photoshop at full sticker price I would look into buying an older version of the software, you don't always have to have the latest and greatest. Also, make sure you have the photos you would like to use and your wording planned out so you can just plug and go.
Step one. Gather your digital elements and photos. Place them in a folder or on your desktop so they are all in one place. My favorite place to buy DIGITAL ELEMENTS is on Etsy. There are tons of shops out there selling "scrapbook" type icons for between $1 and $5. They are DARLING. Here are a couple of the shops where I bought mine for this card.
District 9 Design (Etsy)
sahlink (Washi Tape)
michLgstudios (Minnesota shape)
Kelly Jane Creative (arrow under "with love")
I LOVE the "Fonts for Peas" from kevinandamanda.com. I get nearly all my fun fonts from her!
I purchased several different sets of digital elements, spending about $10. Once you buy these, you can always use them for non-holiday purposes, but I didn't have many so I invested a bit of dough.
FIRST STEP: You'll open Photoshop and select FILE > NEW > BLANK FILE. This is where you will select the size. I decided on a 5x7 card which will be easy to print if I choose to do so.
Next you are going to add a bunch of elements to this blank white rectangle. The best way to do this is by: FILE > PLACE > [select either the digital elements or the pictures].
Add TONS of elements. You may add things you don't end up using and you may also need to add more things later. Make a "collage" right there on your computer to see how they look together.
I decided that I wanted my main image in a frame. To do this I opened a NEW BLANK FILE and framed the picture in there. I used the same method of FILE > PLACE - to get both the frame and the picture together in this file.
Above is the frame I added through FILE > PLACE. You can see that my picture is hanging off the bottom of the screen. I placed this as well but wanted you to see both pieces for now.
I centered the image over the grey circle and in the LAYERS panel to the right of the screen I made sure that my picture was above the grey frame template. The other two layers came with this digital element. One has the white stitches and the other is just a transparent background (appears checkered in Photoshop).
Next is the REALLY IMPORTANT PART!
To make the picture cut out to the shape of the frame - highlight in blue (click on) your picture and click (from the top bar): LAYER > CREATE CLIPPING MASK. Clipping mask will ALWAYS clip the layer you have highlighted (your picture) to whatever layer is underneath (your frame). If it does something wonky, undo and start again.
No I have my picture framed and I need to condense the image for use on my card. Click: LAYER > MERGE VISIBLE. Then SAVE AS (give a name) on your desktop. If anything has TEXT - save as a PNG.
Next I will FILE > PLACE my photo onto the collage I have started.
Now it's just a matter of moving the elements around until you feel comfortable with it. As you can see I was initially going to use the triangle paper for the background and switched to the chalkboard. I LOVE the decorative "tapes."
I decided to make one other framed element. This time not a photo, just a piece of "digital scrapbooking paper" which I will place text on top of. I used the same method for framing the photo. I also added it in a similar way to my collage.
Eventually you will start adding text. Keep an eye on your LAYERS list on the right. If you are typing and cannot see it, it is likely that your text layer is beneath another layer. Play around with the layers until things are the way you like. As you can see, my photo layer is arranged above the framed scrapbook layer. The "tapes" are above everything.
You can see that I added a MINNESOTA digital element and also drew a heart over it with the custom shape tool. Then filled it in with red.
I like to add each word of text in a separate TEXT BOX. That way I can move them around individually.
You will end up with LOTS OF LAYERS. See my Layers panel below. Always keep in mind what is above what (that just means literally above it on the list (they can be moved with the "hand"). You can also click the little eyeball next to each layer to turn it "off" and see what the card will look like without it.
When you are satisfied with the look of your card. MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE DONE! This action cannot be rewound. WHEN YOU ARE DONE - Click: LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE. This will make all your Layers disappear - leaving just one - your finished product.
Now it's time to save. FILE > SAVE AS > HOLIDAY CARD 2013. Save it as a PNG, save it also as a PDF. Here is my finished product!
Was this helpful to you? Would you like to see more photoshop tutorials on J L Stephens Couture? Would you like a tutorial on making "digital buttons" to advertise your brand? Comment on this post to let me know what you think!
Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you are inspired to make your own card this year, for print or for email. It's a great way to save money and make it "personal" this Holiday season!
I was doing a bit of research on blogging privacy policies and what I came up with was this list of 5 (no 3) reasons why it's important.
1. Readers need to know what you are doing with their information. Let them know that you aren't storing the information that they give you. Whether or not they enter a lick of data into your sight, they are still leaving an e-footprint.
2. To protect YOURSELF legally.
3. Because 3rd party advertisers require you to have one. Google AdSense will close your account if they cannot find one on your site. Could explain a lot.
We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission.
Hey y'all! Yes, it is this time of year already! Our Minnesota Made Holiday Boutique will be happening in November! Start your shopping season by supporting local artisans and authors. This boutique was so much fun last year and again will be offering lovely pours of red and white while appealing to your gifting side (self gifting is of course allowed).
Mark your calendars. I know we've been saying, "We need to get together." Also, "I haven't seen you in forever." Well no more excuses. I will be at this address from 9-4 on Saturday, November 16th. Join us!
Want to collaborate with other MN artists and writers? Plan your trip to come and see us! Interested in joining me at my booth with your Minnesota Made books or items? I've got limited space so let me know ASAP if you are interested and on Friday, October 25th I will announce who I'm bringing. Express your interest by commenting on this post or tweet me @jlscouture! We'll be using #MNMadeBoutique on Twitter.
See you next month!
It's Thirty Thursday once again and today I have co-host. He's been dying to get his grubby mitts on my YouTube series since he had a cameo on my music video a few weeks ago.
At Bloggy Boot Camp last weekend I met Joy sitting at the "J" table during one of the sessions. When I asked what type of blogging she did, she said she was a "pet blogger." So AWESOME! I love the variety in blogs and was so excited when she mentioned that she was looking for bloggers to review her book.
Emma, the French Scent Hound, is the author of both their BLOG and BOOK. What an amazing network this pup has. She is one international diva moving across the ocean and even appearing on a Boots and Barkley product for Target.
Axel is of course taken by the fact that she one stole dirty underwear. We give this book 4 paws and invite you to submit your book reviews via comment or linked YouTube video.
You can purchase a copy of Emma's book here:
Barnes and Noble
See her Doggie Blog HERE.
Thanks Joy! We had a blast with this!
Rolling out a new ad campaign. Need social media love for your organization/site/blog/cause? I'm offering new ad opportunities on my "advertise" page.
The prices listed are 50% OFF until these first slots fill. Seriously my BBC girls - jump on it and I can offer your constant presence to my 11000+ (and growing) unique monthly visitors and send you plenty of twitter LOVE. What's more? You can get the chance to be a guest blogger! Yup, your voice, right here!
Grab your soap box and come on over.
NEW - I'm searchable!
Grab my button: