Thursday, February 19, 2009

photography tip: digital image storage

taking care of your photos is really important. i’m sure you all know someone who’s lost their data, crashed their hard drive, etc. so please consider taking care to archive your images properly.

i may not be the best one to talk, but at this point, i’m in pretty good shape with my photos, storage-wise that is.

i have probably upwards of 10,000 images on my computer & that’s just since i went digital, christmas 2003. i used to just download them to the computer & that was that. Of course, I started to get nervous about that & began burning cd’s for an additional copy. then i labeled them & put them on a shelf. now i am trying to do an even better job when it comes to archiving all those memories.

the first thing i do is import the images to my computer & external hard drive. the fastest & most reliable way to do this is to download the images from your memory card to the computer if possible. you can purchase a card reader pretty inexpensively these days if you don't have one built into your computer already. importing directly from your camera is the slowest & most dangerous way to import images.

external hard drives are really dropping in price these days, so it just makes sense to take the leap and get one. ideally, making a copy on a dvd-rw is my next step & if you don’t have an external hard drive, this is the next best alternative option for you. i use dvd-rw’s because they have greater capacity than a cd & can be rewritten to, for updates or edits or just to add & remove images. the price difference isn’t that much greater than the cd’s & to me it’s worth it.

now, when marking those cd’s or dvd’s, make sure to use a non-toxic marker. that would mean NOT A SHARPIE! sorry sharpie people, but you’re just no good for those disks! i use Slick Writer’s by American Crafts. i purchased mine at hobby lobby, but you can probably get them at most craft stores locally & online. they are great for scrapbooking, but also nice for writing on the disks because they are permanent, write on slick surfaces & are non-toxic too.

Monday, February 16, 2009

oatmeal cookies

we use a lot of oatmeal around here. i cook with oatmeal a lot, cookies, muffins, oatmeal for breakfast. all good. people are always hungry around here & oatmeal is good for filling you up fast.

there was a nice, short article about oatmeal is the jan/feb 2009 issue of health magazine. They list just a few good uses for oatmeal, maybe you know of them, maybe you don’t.

1. as a pore refiner - make a mask using: ½ c. oatmeal, ½ c. hot water, ¼ c. honey & blend in food processor; let cool & apply. Wait 10 mins. & rinse.
2. a diet helper - use homemade oat flour (grind in a food processor) instead of all-purpose flour for baking cookies, pancakes, quick breads, etc. you get 2x the fiber for you feel fuller with fewer calories!
3. an exercise booster – foods like oatmeal up endurance when eaten about three hours before exercise. And…oats trigger the body to burn fat more quickly to fuel muscles.
4. a cancer fighter – have oatmeal for breakfast & help prevent breast cancer. Premenopausal women on diets rich in fiber from whole grains (ie:oats) reduce the risk by up to 41%.
*points 1-4 paraphrased from health magazine jan/feb 2009

both of my favorite cookie recipes include oatmeal, so in light of this happy, healthy information, I’d like to share one of them with you today:

Banana chocolate chip cookies
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ stick butter
½ c. white sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 large banana
1 c. old fashioned oats
8 oz. chocolate chips
½ c. walnuts

cream butter & sugars. add egg & vanilla. mix in banana. add flours, salt & soda till just combined. stir in oats, chocolate chips & walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 mins. on middle oven rack on ungreased baking sheets. Makes approx. 24-30 cookies.

*if i have whole wheat flour, i use it, but if not, i substitute all-purpose in the same amount. i also don’t use walnuts. normally i double the recipe & for that i use 2 sticks of butter & 3 bananas (I’d rather have less butter, more banana & it evens out the moisture content, plus it’s healthier that way). i use about 12 oz. of choc. chips when i double it, otherwise it’s too much.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

wish i were here...

i know that a lot of you are enjoying the little "warm up" (tee hee) that we're havin' here...but it really kind of depresses me. it's not like it's going to be warm here or anything remotely like that & these rainy slash cloudy days depress me. the view here in good 'ol indiana is not exactly what i'd like it to be.

so... i've been thinkin'... wouldn't it be nice to be someplace more like this???

uh huh...thought so.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

photography tips

i will be putting up some photography & photo editing tips as i get the time, looking out for them!

in the meantime...

i've been asked what photo editing software i use so i thought that i would post a bit about it. i currently use photoshop cs3 by adobe.

many people (including myself) have or use adobe photoshop elements. that is a really useful, affordable choice for most people looking to do basic image editing/organizing or digital scrapbooking, etc. one great thing about using a "photoshop" brand product is that it is probably the most supported program out there, as far as trying to learn goes.

there are several other programs out there including picasa, which i hear is a really nice, FREE program to use. i haven't used it, but i hear good check it out.

i have learned most of what i know from getting on forums, searching for tutorials, reading books & even taking a rather overpriced college course (sadly, the least useful resource by far).

if you are looking to learn, i can suggest a few sources ~


other than typing in something like "photoshop elements tutorials" which is good & will find you lots of info, a place i have gone back to is there are tutorials for various versions of photoshop there.

another source is photoshop elements techniques. and last but not least is the adobe website. go to support, then knowledgebase, for whatever software you're using. of course, if you have the latest version of whatever they're peddling & you've registered your software (ie. you're not using it illegally... you wouldn't do that, now would you???) you can always call their tech support...they're actually pretty helpful people over there.


i like books. i have lots of them. anything by scott kelby is really helpful. he's a photoshop "guru" as they say. i have his photoshop cs3 for photographers book & it's well worn. mr. kelby has written books for most of the photoshop programs if you're looking for an elements book.

i also have adobe's "classroom in a book", but i don't really recommend it. tim grey has a series of books on photoshop workflow also that are pretty nice, he explains things totally differently than scott kelby does, and i also have another book called top 100 simplified tips & tricks for adobe cs3 & they have similar books for the elements programs also.

if i are just getting started & new to editing, i'd say the top 100 book might be the book for you...but that's just my semi-educated opinion.

Monday, February 2, 2009

manly "mistaken rib" scarf

after getting bit by the knitting bug, i really wanted to make sure everyone in the family had something that one of us knit (shhhhh...don't tell anybody, but my 12 yr. old son can knit too!).

i asked troy (my husband) if he'd like me to make him a scarf, to which he quickly & apparently without thinking said "i don't need another scarf, i already have 2!"... to which the look on my face must have made him think twice because he followed that by saying "it's not personal, it's just not necessary" (or something like that anyway). men. i just don't know...

so of course, i'm makin' him a scarf!

this is a really affordable, machine washable, good old acrylic/polyester blend yarn made by caron, simply soft eco, colorway: forest floor. yes, by "eco" they mean that 20% of the fibers in this yarn are made from 100% post-consumer recycled, plastic bottles. is that cool, or what?

yes, i'm a pretty serious recycler, so i find this pretty neat-o!

the neat thing about this rib pattern is that because it's uneven, or mistaken, it doesn't roll like most 2x2 or 4x4 ribbing would. it lays nice & flat. it has a really interesting look to it also, a little bit bulkier looking than your normal ribbing would look.

my pattern goes something like this:

3 skeins caron simply soft eco, worsted weight yarn

size 7 needles
worked in multiples of 4 stitches, plus 3 more

cast on 43 stitches (this makes my scarf about 5 1/2" wide)

every row: k2, p2. repeat until 3 stitches remain, k2, p1
(each row ends 1 purl stitch short)

repeat rows until you reach desired length

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