January’s End – Challenge Kit Entries Completed

This blog was born, in a way, out of my desire to learn Photshop’s CS3. Lacking the funds to delve into some of the ‘guarateed’ learning tools, I jumped in with both feet. Actually, at the beginning of this month, January, I started a new round of challenges on a couple of the forums in which I subscribe. The nature of quite a few of the challenges were such that, each was a tutorial in some way or another. Not only that, but, the best folks to aks questions of are right there in the forum.

I set about to complete as many of the challeneges as I could. There are two, in particular, that I spent quite a bit of time on, each. I made kits for both, which were ‘color challenges’. With these, the color palette is provided and the participants can do a layout in those colors, or an entire kit. I chose to work on kits, mainly, for the experience.

The first challenge is Magickal Scraps January Color challenge. Here is the color palette:

I wasn’t too sure about pastels. For one reason, I wanted to experiment with ‘grunge’ effects. Grungy pastels, I thought, would wind up looking like someone’s dirty underwear. LOL It turned out pretty good. The challenge, to me, was in preventing it from looking too much like dirty underwear. I gained a lot of experience out of both of the kits I am posting today. However, I found the tuts and guided lessons offered at Magickal Scraps more involved. I spent the most time on this one, as it was pastels and not as easy as the other, with brighter, darker colors. That is just the way they do things. Here’s “Vintage Boudoir”:

Magickal Scraps January Color Challenge
(Images are clickable to MediaFire for downloading, if you like.)

ELEMENTS – click on image:
Frames – click HERE.

PAPERS – click on image:

The second challenge that I completed with a kit was for Cottage Scrapbooks’ Flavor of the Month Challenge. Kay C. offered the color palette, or ‘flavor’, to follow:

I did much the same with this kit, in that, I challenged myself to try some new effects, techniques, etc. I like the way much of this one turned out. Here is “Pampered Vintage Lady”:

Cottage Scrapbook’s January Flavor of the Month Challenge

and, the PAPERS, Image Part 1:


Thank you for looking.

On another note. one dear lady I know, Keryn at ScrappinShaddie, “tagged” me in a game called, “6 Picture Meme”. What fun!

The object of the game is this:

1. Go to where you store your pictures on your PC.

2. Navigate to the 6th folder, then, the 6th picture in that folder.

3. Post the picture on your blog, with a little background story on the picture.

4. Then, tag 6 more people to play along. Be sure to notify them you have tagged them.

Here is my 6th/6th picture:

It’s JAELA, my granddaughter!

Jaela’s mommy, my daughter, is a single mom. She has to work and, fortunately, has a good job. Her two little darlings, Jaela (above) and her son, Nicky, go to day care, Nicky only for after-school care, as he is in first grade. When one, or both, of the children become ill, they aren’t allowed to attend school or daycare. That’s where I come in.

In order to keep my daughter, Sarah, working as much as possible when the children are sick, I try to take care of them, myself. It isn’t hard to do, but, because of my back, it can become really taxing, really soon! LOL The picture is one such day, recently, when Jaela was staying at my house because of a bad cold.

You can see the “mustache” on her upper lip from drinking juice. What a mess, that girl. She’s a doll, but, she is a handful. It is also rare that she doesn’t have a top on. Jaela is a “fashon mogul”. She loves to put on clothes and sass around in them. She will just carry a cute dress around, sometimes. She loves cute things. She is all into jewelry and ribbons and bows.

Since she had been running a fever, she just wasn’t quite up to being herself, that day. She just didn’t feel good. Bless her heart.

NOW, who to TAG?



Doing What I Love

I’m not crazy. Nope. I am as disgustingly sane as one can be. So, about a year ago, when I saw a dark shape of what appeared to be a man in a cloak, glide from my sight around a corner of a wall, I doubted my sanity. Actually, I just figured it was an optical anomole . I blew it off the first time, but, it appeared to me 3 more times. In every case, the shape was moving, usually, away from me. It seemed as though it wanted me to follow.

The main part of my little house was originally officer’s quarters at a nearby Naval base, moved to it’s present location some years ago. We added on a master bedroom, bath and laundry room. As I began to entertain the idea that I was experiencing a ghostly phenomenon, I considered what I was seeing. Could it be the ghost of one of the officers? Perhaps, it might be the spirit of my ex-husband, who had lived in the house with me until our divorce. He had passed away just a year before I saw the shape, several years after the divorce.

With the current popularity of paranormal television shows, it wasn’t that difficult to find an online source of information. I wanted to know what was going on in my house. I found myself at the “Paranormal State” website and forum. Over the period of almost the entire year, last year, I asked questions and read anything, and everything, I could find online and in books.

What took place, for me, was an opening for me to start exploring my belief system. I won’t go in to that, but, suffice to say, it has been a wonderous journey. I kept a ‘diary’, of sorts, with a collection of articles that intrigued me in my journey. The results are that I have found my place in the scheme of things.

I’m an artist. I have drawn, painted, designed, and created many pieces through the years. Around the same time I started my spiritual journey, I acquired a computer which had Photoshop’s CS3 installed, already. One thing led to another and, eventually, I found another outlet for my creativity – digital (art) design.

I haven’t mastered Photoshop, by any means. I’m a granny, so, I had ventured in to the world of online scrapbooking. I have quite a collection of photos of my 2 little grandbabies. Perusing all the sites and seeing all of the beautiful layouts and designs, prompted me to plunge in to my own experiments with digital images. I am still learning the program.

Since so much of my beliefs revolve around nature, I am keen on creating my concepts. The whole process went hand-in-hand with my spirituality. So, not only am I relishing the beauty of my spirituality, I can ‘celebrate’ with my digital design.

On that note, I have created some layouts, using my spirituality as my theme, so to speak. I am a member of several online scapbooking forums, where they offer challenges in scrapbook layouts and/or design. They have been extremely educational for me. Not only that, but, the folks on these forums are just so darn sweet and helpful. Much of my education has come from these sites.

One, in particular, Magickal Scraps, is ‘right up my alley’. Here is one layout I just completed for “Magickal Scraps”. Their “January Click Challenge”, put on by Tutudragon, required that we explore the macro settings on our camera. There is no one right, or wrong, way to do this. The idea is to experiment and practive. Then, we put our photos in a layout and post them to the gallery. There is a posting bonus for participating in the challenges.

Here is the layout that I did:

My camera is new and I haven’t figured out the best shooting modes. There is a “macro” setting, but, I think I need to experiemnet with manual settings. This challenge showed me a few things, like, tweeking my images after I uploaded them to my PC. In the layout I experimented with some applications and techniques in order to enhance my images.

This next layout is from Magickal Scraps’ January Book of Shadows Challenge. Here, we were to do a layout in celebration of “Imbolc”, which is an old Celtic sabbat. The term comes from an old Irish term, thought to be derived from “ewe’s milk”. The earth has lie dormant throughout the winter. It is this time of year that the first stirrings of rebirth and a fresh new life is breathed into the earth. Bighid is the goddess of fire, an important element to increase the stremgth of the sun. It is the time for the fauna of this earth to reproduce, thus, the ewe’s milk reference. I chose to do a layout featuring Brighid.

The next two layouts are for their January Technique Challenge. I got kind of carried away, I was having so much fun, that I made two. Here, we were to create lace. Here is what I created.

The last one, at this time, is the January Template Challenge. Just as the name implies, we were given a template and asked to do a layout with it. Here is the template:

And, my layout, with a photo of my grandchildren:

It feels so right to be doing something with my creativity that, also, accompanies my spiritual growth. I’m currently working on their Color Challenge, which, if I don’t hurry up and turn it in, will be so huge, it won’t fit. I have just been tinkering with some Photoshop techniques for this kit that I am making. I got carried awqay. LOL

The dark shape? I performed a ‘smudging’ on my house and haven’t seen it in about six months, now. Whoever, whatever, it was, it appears it is gone. I don’t miss it, though it never caused me any fear or discomfort. However, in some way, I am grateful for it’s presence for that is what started me on my enlightening path to discovery of my own personal spiritual beliefs.

I am so blessed!

Who Am I Kidding?

New Year’s Day, 2009! Yay! Whoopee! Okay, enough of that. Somehow, the calendar fools us in to thinking we have to start fresh on January 1. A new beginning. As if, by tearing another page from the calendar will give us a brand new approach to living. People, including myself, tend to make ‘resolutions’ for the new year to come. We want to not do what we did last year, so that we may be a better person in the new year. We also like to make promises to ourselves to improve our lives and be happy. No stress there! LOL

Well, I, for one, resolve not to make any new year’s resolutions. I am going to be good to myself, which means not setting my personal ‘bar’ so high that I can’t begin to reach it. If I’m not spending enough quality time with my grandchildren, there is probably a darn good reason. Why guilt myself in to stressing that I don’t give them enough? I did that all the years my three children were coming up. Rather than count what I was able to do for them, I was dwelling on what they didn’t have and what I couldn’t give them.

When we are in our teens and twenties, we think we know so much and are savvy to all that life brings our way. In reality, we are still ‘wet behind the ears’, knowing only about those things in which we have had experiences. In our thirties and forties, we mellow some and begin to apply what we have learned in a series of ‘trials and errors’. As our bodies begin to show signs of wear and tear, we start to realise how valuable our wisdom is to us. We acknowledge the life’s lessons we have learned, so far, and use them to identify who we are and what we stand for.

Then, where I am at, middle age, or the fifties, comes along. I feel so full of wisdom. The hard knocks and fast living life style I was accustomed to when younger, impritted their lessons on my psyche and it feels nice. My skin is drying, my eye sight is waning, my gall bladder is gone, and I feel like I’m shrinking. But, the things that I have had the good fortune of learning about this world and about myself, have given me cause to feel ‘at one’ with me. I feel that I know myself more than I ever have and, probably, ever will. I am sure of many things – what I do not want and what I definitely do want. After raising a family, that was a feat in and of itself. LOL

Now, it is my time. I don’t mean to sound selfish, here, but, I have things I would like to do. I want to expand my knowledge of Photoshop. I want to continue studying my spirituality. I have discovered so much, thus far. So, rather than creating a list of “ideals” that I want to strive to accomplish, I refuse to promise me, or anyone else, anything. LOL Aside from my responsibilities, I am “going with the flow” of nature, and life, in general.

My paths, spiritual and artistic, run parallel, sometimes veering away from each other, sometime overlapping. With my PC and the time, finally, to spend on my personal ventures, I am on a full-scaled journey. Obviously, on an actual journey, one doesn’t experience a place until one arrives to it. So it is in life. I can use caution, practice all I have learned and protect myself in the glow of the ‘light’, all in an effort to prepare myself to receive what I encounter on my journey.

I hope everyone has a good year, full of successes and dreams that come true.