I so admire the folks who can think of some clever little comment, or otherwise, every day on their blog.  Oh, I don’t have a problem coming up with something.  It is just that my life is so unorganized, I couldn’t stick to it on any kind of routine.  Each morning I read my e-mail, so, as it is often inspirational, I thought I’d try jotting a few lines after reading each day.
 
Recently, I have been writing about getting my house back and having time for me.  I’ve managed to cease some of the interferences in my day.  My daughter and I are having a hard time with it, though.  She’s still here all the time!  We are talking about it, at least.  Still, she and the children are family.  I have a built-in tolerance for almost every thing that comes along.  I was totally caught off guard by some of my ‘friends’ responses, though.
 
I was not prepared for the reaction of two people, who seemingly ignored my requests entirely.  I may as well have been talking to the moon.  One, a guy who was my roommate, here, for a long, long time.  He moved out last summer.  Yep, last summer!  Every since then, he comes by almost every afternoon to collect his mail.  I don’t know why he didn’t have his mail forwarded to his new address.  He still has a key, so, he stops in, collects his mail, then, usually comes back to my rooms to talk with me.  I don’t much care for knowing someone might walk in on me at any time without any warning.  Not only that, but, it interrupts what I am doing completely!  He just walks in to my room, out of the blue, and starts talking to me.  It goes without saying that I jump out of my skin every single time!!  I ask him why he doesn’t knock, he says he is afraid he’ll disturb me.  Hmmm!  I am totally disturbed by any and all of it!  What if I was undressed?  What if I don’t want company!?!  The guy lived here for almost 10 years – he knows how I am better than most folks!  He hemmed and hawed for several weeks until I demanded my key back.
The other one, a friend who likes to come over and hang out, was as difficult, if not more.    This one seems to think all of my ‘rules’ don’t apply to him.  When I get in a funk, I don’t answer my door or the phone.  I want to be left alone to work through it.  I must have explained this a dozen times.  Actually, it was precisely 3 times.  What he does is call me, waits about half an hour and calls me again.  He has told me he always keeps trying whenever he doesn’t get an answer on a phone.  He leaves messages on my machine, of course, along the lines of him hollering out for me to answer.   I’ve told him over and over not to do this with me.  This will go on and on until I finally grab the phone and yell at him.  This is when he thinks it is okay to start talking to me about whatever.  It is usually some thing he wants and he will not sit back.  He is determined to get his way!  Never mind that I am depressed and in need of dealing with it.  He just doesn’t care!  He and his mom have been having some hard times lately, so, I was trying to be friendly with him.  Not any more!  I just don’t need a ‘friend’ who will not respect my wishes.  That is no friend!
These two are people who have been close friends to me, so, I was hoping they would understand my wishes.  Evidently, they weren’t my friends at all.  I was theirs, they just weren’t mine.  Anyway, I dealt with both guys and I’m hoping I can find more time in my day.  Rather than field visits and phone calls all day, maybe I will actually find the time to work on my own projects.  I feel like I’m being petty to some degree.  I have held my friendships with the utmost esteem.  They are important to me.  But, this stuff has been eating away at me for a while, now.  Hopefully, this is it with these two. 
If you’ve read along, thank you.  I appreciate your patience.  To show it, I have something for you.

SU CheshireCat

Freebie, My Art, Inpaint, Links & the Usual Prattle

My goodness!  It seems like forever since I posted last.  Over a month!  Sheesh!  I finally finished the online course that was consuming so much of my time.  At the same time, it has been a battle with the depression.  Once I reclaimed my ‘space’, it got better for me.  I have spent the last week, or two, designing up a storm.  I missed playing on Photoshop!  I had several things to work on for Magickal Scraps and I wanted to do a challenge at my Digital Whisper group.  So, I have been busy!  The difference, now, is that the stuff I do is for me!  I have my grandson with me this summer, too.  This is his first summer that he didn’t go to daycare.  He’s going to turn eight(8) next month.  The boy is eating me out of house and home!  He must be going through a ‘growth spurt’!  He had a full breakfast, which included grits and bacon, plus two pb&j sandwiches, all for lunch today!
I joined in with the designers on July’s Daily Download at Magickal Scraps.  Unless something changes, I will be working on all of the monthly kits for the DD.   I really enjoy it and have a lot of fun with it and the ladies who all collaborate on it.  Some of the color palettes and themes are too cool, too!  Check out the slide show above.  That is July’s DD.  To get any or all of the past DD’s, just go to MS Forum, to the Daily Download section.  The links are left up for a while, so, you should be able to get what you want.  Also, the ladies all have little goodies they give away on their blogs.  Snowy, Edna, Kyra and Nana all have their own blogs.  I linked each one for you.  Check them out!
A lot of my time is spent working on the challenges from both, Magickal Scraps and Digital Whisper.  Snowy and a couple of the ladies post challenges for us, like, the Colour Challenge, Template, Brush, and Quote Challenges.  But, then, there are the Story Challenge and the Photo Challenge.  The Story Challenge has us writing our own story in a layout each month.  It is supposed to be a ‘highlight’ of our year, month by month.  The Photo Challenge varies, but, this month we are taking any photo we have taken, such as a flower, and extracting it to make elements.  The challenges give you a lesson while working on it, as a rule.  I learn something every time!

With the Digital Whisper group’s challenges, Kimmie posts a new image every Sunday.  I have really been inspired by some of them.  (DW is an invite only group, but, if anyone would like to give them a try, e-mail me and I will happily send an invite to you.)  Here is a recent one I worked with.  We started out with the image of the bridge.  This is where I went with it:

(click to view larger image)
This next piece was for the challenge during the week of the 4th of July, so, “Freedom” was quite an appropriate title for this one.  Right away, after seeing the image of the cage Kimmie gave us, I thought of that song from years ago, “White Bird”, by The Joy of Cooking.  Here’s a YouTube video of that song.

Here is the original image by Asif Akbar of India and the extracted cage.

I extracted the cage so I could alter the door on it.

I thought the cage was the perfect image for ‘freedom’.  I used masking and the clone tool to change the cage door from being closed to being open.  It was good experience for me.  The challenges are fantastic!  And, here is that piece that I did:

The text says, “White Bird Must Fly or She Will Die”, a verse from that song.  I’m not real sure about the song’s meaning, but, hey, I think it goes without saying that we have to live life and experience all it has to offer us – good or bad.

I love doing these kind of images!  I devote my DeviantArt account for my art, more or less.  I place all this sort of stuff in there.  There isn’t a whole lot of art that I haven’t shown here, in there, but, it is growing.  One day, I might prepare a portfolio.  LOL  I’ve also made a few ‘resources’ for download, there.  They are all free terms.
I’m excited to share something that I found.  Photoshop has recently come out with CS5.  The major new addition to their vast array of PS tools is “Content Aware”.  Ya’ll probably know what that is, but, just in case, it is a feature that let’s you remove a part of an image and fill in its place with the surrounding background.  It’s pretty awesome!  You can see a short video on this particular feature when you click the link, above.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but, I don’t have that much money to spring for the new version, CS5.  As much as I would adore having it, I must be sensible.  I must!  I must!  LOL  So, I had resigned myself to the fact that my ‘clone tool’ was going to have to do the job, if and when, I need to remove an object from an image.  Which, actually, is more often than I realized.   Well!  Let me tell you!  Just the other day, I stumbled upon a peachy little program that performs a function with results much as the new Photoshop’s tool has.

Inpaint is a program that will remove an object from an image.  Plain and simple.
 Doesn’t that sound cool?!  I tried it myself and it really did the trick.  I used an image of a Monte Verde Toad, from P D Images.com.  Below, I show the before shot and the final image.  Not too shabby!  What impressed me most of all were the reviews I read on it at Giveaway of the Day.com.  From several comments it appeared the program went over very well.  Many said it was quicker than Adobe’s newest feature.  Though the program is no longer available for free at the Giveaway of the Day website, you can still download it for free at the Teorex.com site.  Here are my results:

BEFORE INPAINT

AFTER INPAINT

Visual by www.PDImages.com

What this little jewel does is it recognize the pixels bordering an area you mark off with a ‘selection tool’.  Then, all you do is click ‘Run’ and watch it go!  It will remove the pixels you want out and replace them by matching similar pixels from that surrounding area you marked off.  In the image of the frog, above, his foot touches the edge of the image.  That may be why that corner of the ‘after’ image is a little discolored.  It still looks quite natural.  I experimented with several images and this one turned out good.  Another image that I tried was of a solid blue sky with the tower Big Ben over to one side.  It didn’t fill in with the blue quite as it I had hoped.  It got darker down near the bottom.  I realize, however, that the tower touched the bottom edge of the image.  There were no pixels, or very few, for the program to ‘copy’.  That, and the fact that, in the sky, there were numerous color variations.  So, in my humble opinion, I should try to use this tool away from the very edge of images from here on out.

I’m sure you can imagine how sweet it would be to have this tool.  You could remove your ex from all those great shots of you.  Or, perhaps, take an unsightly sign, or some trash, for example, from an otherwise great shot.  Um, I guess that is all the same thing as removing one’s ex.  ROFL!!!!  You could remove about anything from an image.  Inpaint is a free program, however, in order to register it and be able to save your images, there is a fee.  It is very reasonable, though, particularly when you consider your options.  There are a couple of license options for you to choose from, personal and business.  Both are very reasonably priced!  Finally, I might add, there is also a way for you to get it for free which is not bad, at all.  I’ll let you find that out for yourselves at Teorex.com.  LOL

I’d like to take a minute to mention the “Giveaway of the Day” website.  If you sign up for daily e-mails, you get daily featured product offers which are always free for that day only – 24 hours.  They offer some awesome programs, with honest reviews, plus reader comments, to help you decide if you want it or not.  The folks posting there are brutally honest.  They give it a whirl and give their feedback.  But, isn’t that what we want?  I’ve gotten quite a few really nice ‘must have’ programs for free.  I should let you know that the programs, though free, come with no support.  It is but a small concession for all I have received.  Inpaint was one of them.

Last, but, not least, I have some things for you all.  One of my efforts to ‘streamline’ things is to get my files in better order.  I have an almost full external hard-drive that really should be weeded out.  With one program, WinOptimizer6, I removed over 6gigs of junk the first time I ran it!  “6” gigs!  (click link if you would like to try this wonderful ‘optimizing tool’.  It’s FREE!)  So, I have been doing some each day, condensing, deleting, archiving old stuff, etc, and I found some goodies you might like.  Do have fun and enjoy yourself!  As usual, click on the image to go to 4Shared for download.

They would be good for collages, ATC’s, scrapbooking, or whatever! 

Next are some simple, but colorful, old wooden doors.  I originally used the door image for “grunge” practice.  I included the ‘greyscale’, too.

Both of these are CU and completely free to do what ever your little heart desires.  TOU’s are included in file.  Thank you for being so good to, and for me!

I guess that is it.  I do want to remind you that I have updated the “Resources” page.  Click on it at the page menu at the top of the page.  There are more ‘vintage’ links.  Until next time, which shouldn’t be as long, I bid all adieu.  NO MORE ONLINE COLLEGE COURSES FOR ME!
Generously give out smiles.  They’re always free and can be returned.
Hugs,
Su

SU CheshireCat