Little Book Adventure

This month on The Little Bookcase, Little Book Adventure the challenge was to recreate a book cover. The kids and I sorted through some of our favourites, and some books with vibrant covers, and we ended up with these two. They chose a few more but these ones we actually did :) First, Where is the Green Sheep? An old favourite, rhythmic and funny book. The kids painted their own sheep bodies a couple of weeks ago, and today I bundled them outside to get a quick shot.

This prompted Sienna to read the book to Cedar on the couch, for Ash to pretend to be a sheep for awhile and for all of them to spend a little longer outside.

We love Stephen Michael King's illustrative style, and have lots of books he has written and/or illustrated. This one is quirky and funny, and includes Prudence adopting 'Formal Footwear' as a pet for a few days, which rather took Sienna's fancy. I'm pretty sure her version of our not-so-formal footwear is still in the kitchen with a bowl of leaves for dinner!

At the moment I'm editing, getting ready to pack to go to Adelaide, preparing some artwork for hanging next week, making a little progress on a graphic design project and wondering if I will manage to get to the post office today with an Outback Pride order...

Tomorrow we have an appointment and a playdate, reviewing my workshop notes and preparing my equipment for travel plus an early night before our day of driving to Adelaide on Friday!

Scrappity catch up

This first page was for a blog post introducing new brand Carta Bella, supplied by Aussie Scrap Source, my favourite Australian scrapbooking wholesaler, funnily enough ;)

I loved making this layout for Aussie Scrap Source's mixed media focus on collage. It was messy and intuitive and fun. Plus I love these greens and the patchwork alphabet.

This one was for an October Afternoon weekend inspiration post, with a cute old print from the first time we went to Europe. This is Sienna, just under a year and a half, in a cafe in Notting Hill, London :)

These two pages above were from a highs and lows focus on the Aussie blog, where you scrapped something positive and something not so positive.

Wonder Girl is one of my layouts in the current issue of Scrapbook Creations. This one was for a project feature about using acetone to rub on the pattern from an overlay. I have a colour layout in this issue but I can't find the picture right now.

OK just a quick catch up there :) We are on school holidays now, and the kids are on the tail end of a gastro sort of bug, lots of fun there :P On Friday we head to Adelaide for a few days, and on Monday I have a photography workshop in Mount Barker scheduled for the whole day, in two parts though. So far it looks like it will be a one on one mentor session with one attendee, but I'm cool with that too ;)

I will need volunteer subjects for a photo session that Monday, a family would be ideal I think... I have my sources but if anyone is particularly keen to volunteer, let me know ASAP!

Travelling travelling

I just used a handy little online tool to create our itinerary. Sienna and I are going on a big adventure in November, and now that I have just finished booking all our hotels and trains and flight etc, I am getting rather excited!

Twenty minutes away

Miss Sienna is away tonight, and tomorrow night, at her first school camp. The year 3 and 4 class at her school - 18 kids total - is at a Log Cabin getaway with archery, go carts, mini golf, ropes course, giant slide and trampoline.

They were all very excited, and although Sienna had originally wanted me to come with her, she settled for having me driving her and her friend to the camp. We agreed she would call if she really couldn't settle, since I can always go and get her. The camp is only a 20 minute drive from our house, after all :) One of the perks of living on the outskirts of the metropolitan area!

It was funny getting ready for the camp, with a few little details we worked on to make it easier for her. She has her polar bear teddy 'lullaby' which is also a wheat bag. This way she could leave at home her other teddies and her hot water bottle, to save space. I told her this is practice, as she won't be able to bring all her bedtime accessories to Europe with us :) I tightly braided her hair in pigtails, so that she won't need to brush her hair (there's a bit of an art to brushing her hair without tears and so on) and can leave it in until Friday. She has sketchbooks and pencils for quiet time. A couple of other tweaks. The aides and teachers know her and will be looking out for her, in particular at night when she finds it harder to switch off.

She's going to have a fun time, I'm looking forward to hearing about it :)

Magnolia, how I edit (part 1)

Not for anything in particular, I decided to edit this photo I took of a magnolia branch in a friend's garden last week. Or the week before. Anyhow, this first picture is the finished image. Below is the straight out of camera (shot raw) version, photographed using my 24-105mm f/4 lens on my Canon 7D body. About 5pm.

Straight out of camera

First I imported it into Lightroom 4 and adjusted the white balance. I raised the shadows a bit and reduced the highlights slightly, then went to 'edit in photoshop'. BTW, this is all done on my laptop, rather than using my lovely colour-calibrated monitor, as I am actually in the middle of entering last financial year's accounts and am blogging instead. Procrastination, you know ;) This does mean that it would look different if I was editing properly, as the colour and light is much better on my big monitor. But this is just for fun, so c'est la vie!

After a quick Lightroom adjustment

OK where was I? Into Photoshop (I use CS5) now. First I tweak the levels, deliberately lightening the whole thing. Then I create a bit more of an S-curve in the 'curves' adjustment window, making the magnolia flower pop. I add a colour overlay in effect, using #fcff9c (light yellow) at 8%. These aren't habitual settings or anything, and sometimes I'd use actions instead (purchased or previously created). Today I'm just playing :)

Speaking of actions, I then run a 'Sharpen' action from one of the Itty Bitty Action sets I have installed, and also 'Reduce Noise'. After this I shift back into Lightroom for some finishing tweaks.

After Photoshop edits

Back in Lightroom, I play with the curve again a bit more, and increase the exposure, as I want a lighter, barely there feel. I increase the clarity a bit, though, I don't want the magnolia to disappear into the background. Under 'white balance' I adjust it to +10 in tint. Post-crop vignetting is set to -24. Vibrance to +12. Um, a little more tweaking of shadows and highlights. Technically it's blown out where the sun is, but I like it.

Hmm, yes I think that's done.

Finished version

Of course, if I knew what I wanted it for, I might process it quite differently ;) This one might make a nice wall art someday...

These girls

These girls make my heart happy... I am grateful that Sienna has found such a lovely friend, but I'm also grateful that both of them get to enjoy the creative, free play and imaginative games that they come up with together. They've been best friends for 3 years now. It's very cool :)

I kind of had paragraphs in my head about how valuable this friendship is to Sienna developmentally, but I might just leave that alone for now. Regardless of the reasons why, everyone is different in some way or other, and some more than most, but the true acceptance of your friends simply as who they are is the most beautiful thing about love and companionship. Sienna has that, as does her friend, and it is a pretty fantastic thing.