Tuesday, September 3, 2019

My Other Passion...

... is photography!  Ever since I commandeered my father's old box camera when I was nine years old, I have been fascinated with photography. I remember spending hours in a dark closet practicing changing the film with an old roll so I wouldn't ruin the film I bought with my hard earned berry picking money. (Yes, I worked in the berry fields when I was nine.  It was legal back then!).

OK, enough with the reminiscing.  What I really want to talk about today is photo editing. Yes, that's right.  Photo editing.  If you want to use your photos on cards or put them in an album, there will be times when you need to edit them first.

For instance, last weekend, I went to a wildlife refuge and one of the things I shot was a really cute squirrel. No, not THAT kind of shooting! The squirrel is fine, sheesh!  Anyway, I had just walked into the forest out of bright sunshine and I forgot to adjust my camera settings (I shoot mostly in manual mode).  I THOUGHT I was getting some great shots, but they all turned out more or less like this.

Oh no! I can't even see the squirrel, it's just a dark blob.
Rather than give up and delete the photo, I decided to pull the raw file into Luminar 3 and see if I could salvage a passable image. 
Guess what setting I adjusted first?  If you guessed exposure, you guessed wrong.  For a picture like this, adjusting the exposure so you can see the squirrel will blow out any bright spots including the sky. 
Instead, I started with highlights and shadows. I brought the shadows all the way up to 100, It was still a little dark, so I bumped the exposure by 0.78.  I also took the highlights down a tiny bit (-6) and adjusted the white and black points (-19 and -4 accordingly).   I made a few more minor changes, including cropping and this is what I ended up with:

Aha!  There's my furry little friend!  Pretty amazing, huh?

OK, I hear you, you'r saying, "But my camera doesn't shoot in raw..."  Well, don't despair.  You can make similar edits to a JPG, but it will take a little more work because you'll need to do your edits in layers and "paint" your changes onto the areas you want to lighten or darken.  It also will not have quite the depth of color as it would if you started with a raw file. But, still, not bad considering what I started with.

1. Always remember to check your settings before shooting!
2. If at all possible, shoot in raw format so you have more options for editing your photos.
3. Even if you don't shoot in raw, you can still make substantial edits with Luminar 3

If you'd like to get a copy of Luminar 3 for yourself, please use my link:
If do, and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Butterflies! Using up Old Embellishments and Papers

I've been digging in my embellishment pile again.  I don't remember how long ago I created this butterfly circle. It's cut from the Kaleidoscope paper collection by Hot Off The Press which has since been retired.  I backed it with some pink holographic foil and layered that on top of a paper doily from my stash (both purchased from a dollar store years ago.)  The background is also from my huge stash of paper.

The center is a round teabag tile from my site embellished with Pink Taffeta Stickles*.  I've been playing with brush pens and that's what i used for the sentiment.  I definitely need more practice!

Here's a close-up of the butterfly cut and tuck design.  I created it myself.  You can download the svg file from my website here: https://www.handcraftedgreetings.com/card.php?card_id=00268&page=1

I used Spellbinders' A2 Scalloped Borders One Card Creator Edged Die Set* for the border on the mat inside the card.  The butterflies are from a PaperArtist set by Hot Off The Press that has been retired.

How about you? Do you have anything in your embellishment pile that's begging to be used?

*If you follow a starred (*) link and purchase products, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a small commission.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

What Makes You Different...

I'm really loving Spellbinders Cut in Fold in Tuck dies! The Star Dreams Etched Die* featured here is on sale right now too! After cutting the designs out, I like to ink the backs to accentuate the folds.

For this card, I started out with a 5" x 6.5" ivory card blank. I cut the large triangle from Bubble Gum cardstock* and inked the back with Sweet Berry Ink*.  I mounted it on Raspberry Berry cardstock.  The small center motif was cut from Sweet Berry cardstock* and inked with Rasbpberry Berry ink*.

I used the Artomology Fair Feathers Eched Dies* to cut the feathers from Hucleberry Fusion* and Lemon Drop cardstock*. The sentiments are from the Artful Affirmations stamp set by Hot Off The Press.  I stamped them with Huckleberry Fusion ink* and fussy-cut around them.  The card background is from an older Colorbok collection called Neutral Basics. I popped the sentiment and the center motif up on Journey Foam Squares.

That's all there is to it! What do you think?

*If you use my links to purchase any of these products, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Who Doesn't Love a Unicorn?

I decided to try something different while I had my quilling kit out.  I've stuck to flowers in the past, but this time I decided to try a picture and what better subject than a unicorn? I found some clip art online and used it as the base. I started out by pinning a strip around the outline of the head, then filled it in. Figuring out just HOW to fill it in was quite the learning process.

If I were to do it over, I'd change the forelock to have larger, looser curls like the mane, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Birdhouse With Quilled Flowers

I was cleaning my craft room the other day and found my box of quilling papers.  I also re-discovered my birdhouse cutting die.  It seemed like a perfect pairing, so I got to work.

I cut the main part of the birdhouse from Pool Play cardstock* and the roof from Pumpkin Bread cardstock*.  The shingles were cut using the Border Basics die set*

Most of the quilling was done using Juya quilling paper. I used 3" strips for the flower petals and leaves.  The stems vary from 3" - 5".  They're all very basic shapes.  It had been quite a while since I had done any quilling, so they're not all consistent.  Here's a closer look.


I used up most of my black strips for the "hole" in the front of the birdhouse and I made a couple skinny pegs from brown paper and stacked them for the perch under the hole.

All in all, it was a fun project and I think the resulting birdhouse is adorable. I think I will fill it with treats and give it to one of my bird loving friends.

Item List

Juya quilling paper
Quilling tool
White glue

Monday, July 29, 2019

This Card May Look Difficut But It Isn't!

The cut an tuck technique has come a long way since I was first introduced to it years ago.  Back then it was called LacĂ© and it was done with a metal template and craft knife.  I am so glad I no longer have to do all that intricate cutting by hand!

The die I used for this card is the Shapeabilities Puzzle Effect Etched Die*. I used it to die cut the shape from some pink patterned paper I had in my stash and I backed it with Sweet Pear cardstock*. I layered that on top of a 5" paper Doily backed with Pool Play cardstock*.

I made a 6" x 6" easel card base with Whip Cream cardstock* and covered the outside with the pink plaid paper from the Create and Bloom Prints Paper Pack*.  I cut a 5.5 x 5.5 square from the other side of the same sheet of paper and used it to cover the inside of the card.

The sentiments are from the Birthday Greetings stamp set by Hot Off The Press. I stamped them on Whip Cream cardstock* using Sweet Berry ink*.  I used the Shapeabilities Ribbon Banners Etched Dies* to cut the top banner and an old die from my stash for the inside label.  I cut the flowers from  Pool Play cardstock* and leaves from Lemon Grass cardstock* using another retired die set. I added white Party Burst Enamel Dots* to the flower centers.

Materials list

Create and Bloom Prints Paper Pack*
Shapeabilities Puzzle Effect Etched Die*
Small flowers die
Birthday Greetings stamp set (HOTP)
Shapeabilities Ribbon Banners Etched Dies*
Party Burst Enamel Dots*
Pool Play cardstock*
Lemon Grass cardstock*
Sweet Pear cardstock*
5" paper doily
Pink patterned scrapbook paper
Whip Cream cardstock*
Sweet Berry ink pad*

*This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may be paid a small commission if you purchase items using these links - see my disclosure for details.