Wednesday, December 31, 2014

15 Goals in 2015

Happy New Year!

A friend of mine (Susan of ByGrace) posted recently about 15 goals to complete before 2015.  I liked the idea, but I knew it would be impossible for me to complete what with all the Christmas prep, illnesses, and everything else going on.  However, I then thought that it would be fun to come up with 15 goals to complete next year.

Here is a list of my goals.  I brainstormed the other day and then finally honed them into a list this morning.  Granted, it's a little more involved than a simple list, but

1.  To read the Bible consistently and all the way through.

2.  To participate in a personal Bible study.

3.  To declutter and organize the house, garage, and shed.
     a.  Declutter 365 (Facebook Group, Webpage for January)

4.  To increase opportunities to grow my photo business.
     a.  3 new clients
     b.  Prints to sell for home decorating and postcards
     c.  Garage studio
     d.  Themed mini sessions

5.  To improve my photography taking and editing skills.
      a.  Project 365 (My facebook group)
      b.  Shoot in manual mode more often.
      c.  Go through book tutorials (Digital Photography Masterclass)
      d.  Study photography tutorials on Pinterest.
      e.  Edit using Lightroom.

6.  To complete 15 crafts or projects (and blog about them).
      1.  Two to three photo books.
      2.  A dress for Gracie
      3-15.  To be determined.

7.  To read 15 mentally-stimulating books (i.e. not fiction) (and blog about them).
      a.  Free to Choose by Milton Freidman
      b.  A book by David McCullough
      c.  41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush
      d.  Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
      e.  Pioneer Girl:  The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder
      f.   A Little House Traveler:  Writings from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Journeys Across America by Laura Ingalls Wilder
      g.  Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson
      h.  Laughs, Luck...and Lucy:  How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time by Jess Oppenheimer
      i.   Life Skills for Kids:  Equipping Your Child for the Real World by Christine M. Field
      j.   The Lost Colony of Roanoke by Jean Fritz
      k.  To be determined (please comment with suggestions)

8.  To begin reading all of the Caldecott Medal books in order.
     Next year, we may read the honor books, and when Gracie is older, we will read all of the Newberry Medal books.

9.  To lose 15 pounds.
     a.  No sugar, starch, or soda. (When I say "no," I mean heavily restrict.)
     b.  Drink more water.
     c.  Begin exercise program. (Kettle Worx, Jillian Michaels, walking)

10.  To provide 15 social interactions with Gracie's and my friends.
       a.  Play dates
       b.  Game parties
       c.  Craft parties
       d.  Gracie's birthday party

11. To increase opportunities to serve others.
       a.  Help Mama declutter and with large projects.
       b.  Write notes.
       c.  Visit shut-ins.
       d.  Operation Christmas Child

12.  To complete K4 and begin K5 (Abeka Homeschool).

13.  To increase opportunities for Gracie's extra-curricular activities.
        a.  Swimming lessons in the summer
        b.  Violin lessons (maybe this spring, but possibly beginning in the fall)
        c.  American Heritage Girls in February
        d.  Soccer in spring and/or fall

14.  To prepare for unexpected events. 
       a.  House inventory
       b.  Will
       c.  Emergency prep

15.  To begin writing a book.
I have no idea how many of these goals I will successfully complete, but I think that it will make 2015 a fun, productive year!
I will try to give weekly updates on Saturday nights.
Will you be attempting any goals this year?
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Every year, I take Gracie's photo behind the Santa display at the Mall, and, usually, I use it in our Christmas Card.  Gracie will be 5 in January.

 The family photo was taken by my niece Kaylee when we visited California for her high school graduation.  She is studying photography and has her own Facebook page.

My baby girl is now in K-4.  I have been homeschooling her this year using the Abeka curriculum.  We enjoy it very much!  I had been wanting to take photos at the Davies Plantation which is located 10-15 minutes away.  I finally took the opportunity just days before they closed for the winter.  I look forward to going back in the spring to take more photos!

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

How to Add a Gray Box for Text in Your Graphic Using Photoshop Elements



Here is a tutorial for adding a gray box for text in your graphic using Photoshop Elements.  I have Photoshop Elements 10, but the same procedure can most likely be used for other versions as well.

Please excuse the weird echo in the audio.  I didn't know how to fix it and didn't want to do it over.

video

One thing I neglected to mention is about the layers.  There are three layers in this file.  From bottom to top, they are:  the photo, the box, and the text.  Whatever is on top is what will show up on top of the others.  You can easily move the layers by clicking and dragging into their new spots if necessary.

I hope you find the tutorial useful.  This is my first screenshot tutorial.  I've watched many others and thought it would be fun to make my own.  If you have any ideas for future tutorials, let me know!
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