This week has taken an unplanned turn. My mother has been hospitalized and we both send you our New Year's wish from our wild and crazy hospital party here in the heart of North Carolina. (You haven't lived until you've tasted diet restricted hospital food!)
I hope that your New Year's celebration is wonderful and wish for you a happy, safe, healthy, and peaceful 2011.
Well, the time has come and Christmas is upon us! I'm ready to assume Santa's Assistant duty then play and relax for a few days with friends and family.
It's been an extremely interesting year here at Studio Waterstone and I want to thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart for spending time with me and sharing a little about yourselves. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and holiday time spent with loved ones.
P.S. I'm practically bursting at the seams already over what's in store for 2011! This R&R is amazingly wonderful for creativity. Hope you're doing a LOT of the same. See you in '11. Cheers!
Our history. The Christmas tree is filled with it - almost twenty four years worth. It's so filled that I'm afraid it will tip over! Yet I refuse to eliminate even one single, tiny bit. Does your tree tell a story?
If you asked me what I did this week, I may look like a deer caught in the headlights. We're continuing our "Where are we going to live next year? and What are we going to do next year? and Where will our children go to school next year?" adventure. That's been a little mind boggling. It's stressful but I know that it will work out.
Thinking back, however, I can scare up a couple of things. First and happily, I did ALL of my Christmas shopping on Tuesday. Yay! And we learned how to play with photo backgrounds on Tuesday.
I made this for a sweet friend who just got a new camera and somewhere in the midst of the sewing debacle I swore off ever making another camera case. Those little suckers are THICK! Here's the initial sketch...
The Materials - Dark Gray Recycled Cashmere & a Recycled Leather Belt
Finished. I really like the weathered belt.
This thing has enough velcro to...well, it's got a lot of velcro.
[ embroidered recycled sweater clutch ]
[ recycled wool clutch ]
I'm excited to begin a new weekly series on December 30th called Featuring Studio Spaces. FSS will include not only pictures of the artist's space but discussions about how the space works for them, some of their favorite storage tricks, various interesting/unusual storage work spaces, and what having their own space means to them creatively.
Featuring Studio Spaces will even be open to artists who have a space problem and are looking for suggestions from readers. More importantly, these spaces don't have to be magazine worthy! We're talking real creative spaces for real people.
Can you tell that I'm excited? Have you considered submitting your workspace? Currently we're accepting submissions for mid to late January. If you're intrigued... click that little link in the sidebar that says "contact lori" and let's talk!
Looking for something light in a season full of heavy...heavy.......heavy food? Try this out. It's easy and super quick. Just add a salad (or not - the snow peas pack a nice punch of veggie green!), your favorite glass of wine and you're set to go.
Fettuccine with Bacon and Roasted Red Peppers
What you'll need: 1 (7 oz.) bottle of roasted red bell peppers, drained 2-3 bacon slices, chopped - raw (it calls for 2. I like 3) 1 cup sliced onion 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup snow peas (or baby peas) 3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (we use gluten free) 4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (about 8 oz. uncooked pasta) 2 tbs. grated fresh parmesan cheese 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper red pepper flakes
What you'll do: 1. Cut the roasted red peppers into 1/4" wide strips. 2. Cook the bacon in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp (about 2 minutes). Remove and set aside for later. Add the onion and garlic, saute 1 minute. Add the bell peppers, peas, and broth; simmer 1 minute.
Stir in the pasta, reserved bacon, cheese, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
We have friends in high places - as in high atop the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and do they ever have a lovely home. Not only is it worthy of a magazine spread, it's as comfortable as a well worn glove. Thought I'd share a few snapshots.
Enjoy the tour...
Our sweet hostess, Kara. Doesn't she even have the look of a sweet person? I have never NOT seen her with a smile on her face.
Well, I take that back. We raised our kids together.
Even in full use, the kitchen is to die for!
The den (looking out from the kitchen).
Believe it or not, this is the basement.
I could SO curl up right here.
This is Mr. W (at the table) and our friend, Steve, in the basement. They were very clearly suffering greatly.
(Steve, I am buying you jeans for Christmas.)
The view from the patio - I wish it hadn't rained because the full view is breathtaking.
I don't know about you, but when the end of the year is in sight, I get this tingling excitement that, quite frankly, only happens once a year. Cleaning, arranging, and organization are not part of my vocabulary until late December and January. Toss in a generous amount of inspiration and there's no telling what can be accomplished.
In the spirit of inspiration, organization, and studio spaces that inspire...
I'm beginning a weekly post called "Featuring Studio Spaces". The first feature will be on Thursday, January 6th - just in time for the new year! Would you like for your space to be featured? We'll include pictures of your space and discuss a little about how and why it works for you, your favorite pieces, storage ideas, design, etc. You can even ask for reader suggestions with a studio issue you're facing and, hey, we all have issues. Right?
My Canon point and shoot camera has a manual option which I love. Using this option has enabled me to learn more about depth of field, iso, etc. Unfortunately, it's only capable of so much. That's where Photoshop comes in handy. Today, I'll show you how to easily blur an existing photo's background.
Allow me to preface by stating that I'm certainly no expert. I can only do simple tasks with Photoshop. Hopefully you'll find it useful - as a jumping off point to bigger things.
The Tutorials: Blur Your Background Using Photoshop
Step 1: Export your photo, saving it in your documents file at maximum quality, full size. I'm going to use this photo of Sophie - big surprise, right?
Open Photoshop and click File > Open.
Find your documents folder and import your photo.
Your tools are in the left (vertical) column. Click on the 4th tool down, the lasso tool. Now look at the second horzontal tool bar. Make sure that the plus (+) lasso is clicked. Using your mouse scroll around the area that you want to keep sharp. I've outlined Sophie's cone of shame.
Tip: You can zoom in and go back and forth between the plus (+) and minus (-) lasso until you achieve the desired result.
Once you've outlined your focal point, right click and click on "Layer via Copy" Next you'll notice your new layer along with the background in the lower right corner.
Down in the lower right box, click to highlight your background layer and then go to the top and click on Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur
This nifty little box pops up. Be sure to click the preview box and play around until you get the blur you're looking to achieve. Click OK.
Now go to the top and click File > Save As
If you want the ability to return and make adjustments later, save as .psd If not, then you can save as a jpeg.
Tip: I always want to keep my original picture, so I rename the photo xxxxblur.jpg rather than xxxx.jpg
The end! Sophie, however, still looks perfectly miserable.
Below is an example of a Studio Waterstone product shot.
After - I kept the hands and the bag original and blurred the rest.