A Freebie Gift & a Couple of Tips

Wow!  Two posts, back-to-back! LOL  I have several things I have been wanting to get posted, so, I thought I better do just that!  There are a couple of tips that I want to share with you and there is the matter of a little gift that I have been promising for over a month.  I wanted to make something that was truly Suruha.  I did.  LOL  I guarantee there is not another like it online!  The only thing I wish is that I could give you these things for real.  The folks that come here say the kindest things and I appreciate it.  I don’t expect it, so, it is so nice when someone leaves a kind word.  Those of you who left messages when I was out, I thank you.  It really means a lot to me.  Thank you!

I’m going to jump right in here.  Did you know that the “Color Range” feature in Photoshop can help you in extracting something from an image?  Well, it can!  LOL  I use CS3, but, other program versions surely have a similar feature.  In CS3, it is located under the “Select” menu.  Anyway, click on “Color Range” and a box pops-up.  Typical PS!

I whipped up a simple greeting to show you what I mean.  Feel free to copy it and follow along.

Say that I want to remove the orange background and keep just the text and flourishes.  There are several tools in Photoshop that will help remove a large background expanse such as this one.  The “Lasso” and “Quick Select” come to mind.  But, the hard part is selecting the spaces in and among the swirls and leaves of the ornaments.  By using the “Color Range” feature, you can eliminate all of the color you don’t want. 

 Open the “Color Range” box.

Your cursor will turn into an eye dropper for you to sample anywhere on the orange color.  The sample tells PS what color to select.

 If there were several shades of orange, you would hold down the “Shift” key as you sample all of the shades of that color.  

When you select a color, that part of the preview will turn white everywhere that is ‘selected’.  
You can adjust the “Fuzziness” if you like.  This feature will cause the selected area to go from sharper to a little blurry, it looks like to me.  Anyway, around 60 is usually good.  Play with it and see.
Click on “OK”.
Every place that is orange will now be high-lighted with marching ants.  This means it is selected.  Click on “Delete” and watch all the orange disappear.

Easy-Peasy!!  LOL  If you wanted to remove another color, simple repeat, but, click on that color.  This feature works really good for extracting a tree from it’s background, providing the background is a different color.  Or, if you want to actually change the color, still using my example, after all the orange is selected and I’ve clicked “OK” on the “Color Range” box, just open an adjustment layer to the color settings of your choice.  (The “Adjustment Layer” button is the half-black half-white circle at the bottom of the “Layers Palette”.)  When you click “OK”, all of the orange will be the new color.  There’s another little tip for you to store away.  You may even use it one day!  LOL
Next, did you ever want to link to a site in someone’s comments and didn’t know how?  All there is to it is one small bit of code.  The code is in red, the URL and the Text will be yours:
The ‘URL’ is, of course, the address of the site to go to.  For the text, you would type the name of the site or some other bit of text.  Here is how it should look if I wanted to link to my blog:

It ends up looking like this in the comment:

My Blog
(Click it, if you like.  It will just bring you back here.  LOL)

 And, that is all there is to it!  Be sure to include the apostrophe(‘) before and after the URL.  The words “My Blog” are all that will show when done, but, those words will be clickable to my blog.  You can use this in typing a comment on someone else’s blog or website, where you want to direct the folks to some place else.  This code will work in almost any place where HTML code is used.  (I had to post the code examples as images since they were code.  It wouldn’t show up if they were typed in text.  All you would see is “My Blog”, because the code would take effect.)

I have been promising a gift for you all for forever!  LOL  There really is a gift!  I finally got it finished up for you.  It started out to be my contribution to the monthly Gothic Inspirations blog train.   For the month of February, Jessica gave the theme and the colors for a CU freebie.  What ever we made had to be CU friendly.  I started out with her color scheme, but, after missing the deadline, I put it all on hold.  When I returned and went to wrap it up, I found myself leaning towards the colors in this month’s freebie collaboration with Miss Edna, “My Fair Lady”, that we began posting yesterday.  I used a lot of the same pinks and light greenish-blues, as well as some other colors. 

If you folks are anything like me, you love keeping a diary, saving little ephemera from special days.  (I have every card my children ever gave me!)  I’ve always used some kind of book for posting my ‘secret stash’.  My own personal diary is always a work in progress, with papers and other tid-bits stuck between it’s pages all haphazardly.  I love it that way, though.  When I open up my diary, all of those ‘stashed’ items fall out and I have to handle them, thus, looking at them.  LOL  They send me on a little sentimental journey.  It’s just one of my ‘cheap thrills’.  LOL
My diary is actually a bound “Journal” book.  I’ve used spiral calendar books, as well.  The bound books come in lots of colours and have pages that are lined so I can write neater.  There is a ribbon attached for a page marker, like I need one.  I can find almost anything in those pages, because I only post special stuff.  If I wanted to gripe about something or blow off steam, there are other ways.  My diary is a kind and gentle, happy place.  I try to keep it like that.  Who wants to pick up a book and find it full of misery?  Some day, my children may read it.  I want there to be happy memories.  It may not be the prettiest thing they have ever seen, but, it will be nice.
When making this gift, I put together some ‘diary’ pages for you.  They are all old-fashioned fancy-schmancy, gaudy as hell, and all that good stuff.  LOL  They’re done up as though I put together whatever was handy at the time – a scrap of pretty stationary, a pretty picture that I like, a fancy decoration or ornament I found, a bit of lace and pearls, etc.  I include some embellishments for you to decorate your pages with.  I also put in some pretty patterned ‘notes’ papers with fancy trims.  Feathers.  Yup!  Feathers!  LOL  Not all feathers, just on one.  You’ve got to check it out.  It isn’t full-size or tagger-size, but, everything was made based on full-sized.  None of it matches and there aren’t any specific pieces, except for the “diary” pages and the notes papers.  There are a few scrapbooking pages, some simple silk to show off your writing.  Throughout, there are a few scattering of hearts, since this month is Valentine’s Day.  Everything is done vintage, so, it will appeal to many.  Since I made it all, you can use it for anything you want!  There are a few clip-art pieces from the internet, but, these particular ones are so universal, attributing credit to someone is all but impossible.   Believe me, I looked!  That being said, if I am wrong about any of them and they do belong to you, please, let me know.

There are 4 separate links.  They range from 40 to 50 mbs each, so, they’re pretty hefty.  The files don’t have that much in them; it’s just because everything is huge!  I make everything BIG.  I figure you can always resize it down.  I resized nearly everything in the preview way down.  In the files, everything is larger.

Here ya go!  I hope you enjoy!



Novelty Papers


I still have more to share, but, I have to get up.  I’ve sat too still for too long and I’m stiff.  Have fun with this stuff!  Add to it, throw in some of your own favorite goodies.  I “collect” odds and ends online, even, and have some of them in a few of my Photo accounts.  This is sort of like that stuff, only I can use this in my art, on my blog, in a layout, and even print it out.  So, Thank You!




SU CheshireCat

Gator Football Kicks Off, Art & a Freebie

Hiya!  I can’t believe Gator football starts tomorrow!  My goodness!  Everyone will be in a party mood around here.  It’s a pretty big deal.  Here’s hoping this season is somewhere close to the past few, all championship seasons.  LOL  We’re spoiled!  What can I say?
If you look real close, you can see me in the 78th row on the student side.  LOL  I’m wearing an orange t-shirt.
At Digital Whisper we have been busy with all kinds of challenges.  It really stretches my inspiration!  Kimmie seems to know just what to give us to inspire us.  You ought to see some of the folks’ art!  My goodness!  The talent is amazing!  I have a lot of stuff that I want to share, but, I am going to have to add it later.  I just wanted to show you this one.
The challenge was based on the art of Fabien Barral.  He really is an awesome artist.  He has a website which shows many of his ads, which was the focus of the challenge.  We were to make one of his ads.  I chose this one:
My result:
His is much subtler than mine.  I had to learn that term.  LOL  It is foreign to me.  But, it was a fun challenge.  I had fun!  It was different, doing all the design in white, just changing the backgrounds and the content.   So, I went one step further and just made a few papers in the same style.  I offer them to you, here.  Just click on the image to go to Box.net to download.

I have so much more to show you.  I’m still recovering from the specials the other day!  LOL  I promise to do a presentation of my art.  For now, most of it is in my DeviantArt Gallery, if you want to see.
So, until next time,

SU CheshireCat

Freebie, DD, ICE & a S l o w PC

This week has been one hell of a week!  My pc has been acting up.  Talk about s l o w !  I went in and removed some stuff I didn’t use or need and tweeked things a bit.  I ran the registry cleaner and actually sped it up some.  LOL  I have the fast internet, at least, that is what I am paying for.  There have been a lot of storms and lots of outages in the past few weeks, so, maybe that is a part of it.  I got a little panicky earlier when I had to re-boot, after almost every piece of e-mail I read.  That sucked.
On the home front, everyone seems to be just a tad out of sorts.  The two little ones have been teary-eyed alot, especially Jaela, the drama queen.  She figured out that her high-pitched, obnoxious scream bugs the hell out of everyone.  Sometimes, she is hoarse afterwards.  I guess they have been giving in to her when she does it because it actually hurts your ears.  I am putting the skids on that.  Nicky started to give in to her the other day when she shrieked for her way.  I stopped him.  He said he didn’t want to hear her scream.  That was the point, I told him.  She knows you are going to give in to her if she does that.  So, we’re toughing it out.  We’ve had a few sessions that didn’t ever seem they would end, but, overall, I think she is getting the point.  Her scream sessions are shorter.
Nicky has been ornery.  (Maybe it is from hearing Jaela scream.  LOL)  I think it is that time of the year when school kids don’t think the last few weeks of school will ever pass.  Summer break is almost upon us.  They have already been going to the beach and the springs, plus, we have the pool.  They are ready for some time off! 
I kept Kaleb one morning so my DIL could do the shopping.  He is such a good little guy.  He loves to sit and listen to you talk.  His mommy and I were talking about stuff when she dropped him off.  He was in his seat on the sofa.  I looked down at him and he was just a smilin’ at his mom.  She wasn’t even looking at him, yet, he was tickled to pieces, watching her!  I took a couple of photos with my daughter’s camera, but, I can’t find the cord to upload them.  When I do, I will post them.  Kids!
Meanwhile, I found the coolest software!  Microsoft has come up with a program that takes a group of your images and splices them together in a panoramic image.  It is awesome!  It’s called ICE, for Image Composite Editor.  It takes the appropriate images that you load into the program and stitches them together where they look like one big panorama view.  I read the review on it and the writer did his own experiment with the program.  It seemed like it would be pretty cool, so, I downloaded it and grabbed my camera.  I stood on my front steps and shot a series of five(5) photos from left to right.  I didn’t even use a tripod.  Click, click.  Came inside, uploaded them into ICE and sat back. 
Here is what it did:

I think it is cool that, in one photo frame, you can see both ways down the street.  Neat!  Maybe no one else can see the implications where a shot like this would come in handy.  I can!  See?

I took this photo the day my son and his bride were married.  They are all a bunch of comedians!  It was an extremely casual and laid back affair, thank goodness!  But, the shot would have been improved greatly had I been able to take several shots and stitch them together.   Think of how terrific some nice outdoors shots would be.  Mountains, or the beach, perhaps.  Wow!  Have a look-see for yourself.  The program is free and it is from Microsoft.  Here is the link.

As of this point in this post, it has taken me three days and multiple reboots just to get this far.  Sheesh!

For all that, I have a little something for ya.  Several people commented on the background of my recent art challenge piece for Digital Whisper.  Since I saved it in .psd, in layers, I took all of the subject matter images off and left just the background.  Here it is if anyone else would like it.  Click to enlarge, then right-click and save to disk.

The DD at Magickal Scraps is coming along great.  All of the links, back to the first of May, are still active, as of this writing.  Snowy is in the process of working on the store.  I know I can’t wait until things are up and running once again.  Go pick up some lovelies in this colorful kit, “May Flowers”.  (Slide show at top of page)

I have something else, but, if I don’t get this posted, it won’t matter.  I’m just having too many pc issues.  It takes forever to upload anything.  I’ll see what I can do.  Either way, I will be back soon.

Take care and don’t forget to smile.  It’s better than any make-up.



SU CheshireCat

DD Freebie, Garden, & May Poles

Greetings, this fine evening.  LOL  The moon is full as of last night and Beltane is coming. In my neck of the woods it is well into spring.  The flowers are beginning to fade and fall from the stems, ensuring reproduction next year.  My dogwood, azaleas and bottle brush tree have already passed their prime, their discarded flowers no longer good for much but compost and memories.  Beltane is all about the birth and re-birth of elements of nature.  In days of old a May Pole ceremony marked this same celebration.
Some folks still do the May Pole thing, particularly of late with the rise in popularity of what we call ‘New Age religions’.  The elementary school I attended had a May Day celebration every year.  I loved to watch the pretty colored ribbons, winding over and under, that ended up in a lovely patterned ‘pole’.  I don’t mean to be disrespectful or raunchy, but, there was a certain phallic symbolism in the May Pole.  Actually, there is quite a bit of sexual reference in this sabbat, Beltane.  The whole selection/reproduction cycle sounds a lot like something on a dating website.  Flirt and date to find a proper mate(selection), “engage”, then, reproduce.  It is the same the world over.  
I plan to chill out and maybe have a walk around my garden,  It’s about time to start maintenance on all the new growth!  I have a pile of stones and broken-up cement sidewalk pieces.  They were going to make a little path of stepping stones to a ‘faerie garden’.  I will post pictures when I get it done enough to recognize what it is.  LOL
The last thing today is the daily download.  Since there is only one more day to April, I am still posting them in my blog.  However, beginning Mai 1, with the new DD, they will go back to the forum.  Several of us hosted the DD’s when the store was messed up.  The forum is still okay to use.  Now that Snowy has some time off, perhaps we can get the store back up online and running smoothly.
Mai’s DD is the one where I chose the colors and the theme.  Here is that logo:
This DD will start on Mai(May) 1(first)
The last two days of April are all that’s left.  I will post the 29th now and the 30th late tonight.

Until then, have fun today!  A person can change the direction of a moment just by their facial expressions.  Smile today and see what may go better.  I can almost guarantee a better day!  After a couple of well-timed smiles, I always feel good!

SU CheshireCat

Tornadoes, Kaleb, Doors & DD Freebie

Here’s hoping everyone had a wonderful weekend.  It was sure lovely here in Florida.  Until the (tornado) storms.  The news called it a storm, but, as it was coming through, there were tornado warnings.  The storms are the same ones that swept through Mississippi, killing something like 10 people, a day or so prior.
I don’t normally get concerned over high winds and storms.  You do what you have to do to protect yourself and the rest is out of your control.  This one was weird.  I was trying to nap.  I heard what sounded like someone suddenly running water full blast.  But, when I looked up at the window, instead of seeing the tops of trees, it was solid grey!  I jumped up and went to the children, who were starting to freak out.  We gathered in the center hallway of my house, where overhead supports would protect us the most from falling ceilings.  It didn’t last long, but, long enough to scare the peewiddle out of the family.
When the wind and rain settled down, we ventured outside.  The first thing we saw was my neighbor’s house.  An huge oak tree was felled on top of the roof, covering almost the entire house.  I ran over there knocking on the door and calling out, but, they weren’t home.  The first photo is his roof from my yard.  It is visible just above the fence.
This is the base of the huge tree that fell on his house:
And, finally, this is what fell in my yard.  These branches just missed the children’s trampoline:
We were really fortunate.  The worst part was not having power for a couple of hours.  The storms came through around 2 in the afternoon.  At 10 o’clock last night, crews were still clearing a portion of street by my house.  Trees and power lines were felled all over the place.  Our power was out until about 5 in the afternoon, so, about three hours without power.  My daughter took the little ones and drove around a bit.  By this time, people had located the obstructions and were working to clear them.  Otherwise, her jaunt could have been a bad move.  One thing that was noticeable everywhere you looked.  Little sprigs of new growth from the trees were all over everything.  It was almost beautiful.  Imagine a rain where sprigs of greenery fell instead of water.  That is what it looked like.  It’s pretty much all blown away or I would get a photo of that.
Sarah had just cleaned the pool and got it all set up again for the warmer days.  Now, look!
I’ll say it again,  “We were blessed!”
I had joined in on a progressive scrap at another site.  I went through the entire week of adding all the goodies.  It turned out really nice.  But, I missed turning it in on time.  I didn’t want to waste the layout, so, here it is:


The kit is the April Collab, “Gentle Rain”, from the SAS Design Team.  Click image for the complete list of artists in a zip file for you)

On one of Kaleb’s visits with me, he was in a particularly good mood.  I snapped a few more shots of him being all smiley-cute and made a layout for them:

He’s such a cutie pie!  But, then, I am prejudiced!  LOL

Next, I ‘cut-out’ and colored these doors.  They can be used for anything one wishes.  I thought they were neat.  I set them up in the ‘collage sheet’ format as it seems like a good idea for a single object like the door.  Have at ’em.  Enjoy!
(Click image to enlarge, then, right click and ‘save as’)

Last, but, not least, here is the Day 27 “Feathered Friends” daily download from Magickal Scraps.
(Click on preview to go to download)

So, until next time, smile!



SU CheshireCat