September Porch Scene

September 20th, 2012

There’s a fall outdoor decor party over at Rhoda’s place today which was the perfect kick in the pants I needed to spruce up our porch for the season.  I wanted something  simple, but then foolishly declared I was using only white and green pumpkins on the porch this year.  Then I was told after a dozen phone calls to vendors that “there are no white or green Cinderella pumpkins this early”.  So then I just used faux instead and it all worked out. 

fall porch mums centsational girl

 

Shades of purple and green dominate with scattered potted perennials and purple mums, I also added tall willow branches inside the mums for height.

sept front door centsational girl

 

This year’s fall wreath is an adaptation of my spring willow wreath – I recycled it and wedged in some preserved green oak leaves from the supermarket, white berry stems, and a few pinecones.  Boom.  It’s what I call my “ten minutes because I’m tired and the kids have soccer practice” fall wreath. 

fall wreath centsational girl

 

Tall purple fountain grasses sit next to purple mums filled with tall willow branches.

purple mums and willow branches

 

hmm

 

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Quick Blemish Removal!

September 19th, 2012

Oh did you think I was talking about beauty products?  Sorry to disappoint!

No no no, I’m talking about removing blemishes or small imperfections in pictures!  I know some people consider image boosting or tweaking a hush-hush subject but I don’t.  Every now and then you shoot a great image, upload it to your computer and think, oh darn, if only I could get rid of that spot/pimple/speck of dust.  Well there are some free tools out there that let you do just that – remove those spots or blemishes or specks of dust from your images.  They’re free, easy to use, and pretty handy!

Let’s practice on this basket filled with pumpkins, ‘tis the season, you know.  There is a “Blemish Fix” tool in PicMonkey – a new and improved version of once popular Picnik that closed, and the tool will remove smaller imperfections like these brown spots on these little white pumpkins.

This shot is straight out of the camera, notice the tiny brown spots on the pumpkins in the center and in the upper right?

pumpkins in basket

Upload your image to PicMonkey and use the Blemish Fix tool to remove the spots:

blemish fix with  picmonkey

A few clicks later, those tiny spots are gone, easy peasy.

pumpkins in basket no blemishes

 

Another more advanced tool, and also free, is the spot healing brush in Pixlr, which mimics the same tool in Photoshop.   I’ve praised the Pixlr tools before (here and here).  It’s a simplified version of Photoshop Elements and it’s an online program that’s completely free – all you need is an internet connection.

You can use the Clone Tool just like in Photoshop to grab nearby pixels and cover blemishes, but the Spot Heal Tool is easier.   Here’s an image I posted earlier this week from the Tomato Festival, notice the hole on the front tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes

 

I left it in the image because it looks natural to me, but if I had wanted to remove it here’s how to do it in Pixlr.   Open your image in Pixlr Editor (Advanced) and select the Spot Heal tool highlighted below – it looks like a Band Aid.

choose spot heal tool

 

Select the size and hover over the spot and start drawing on top where you want to heal the image.

select size hover on spot

 

Use your mouse to click or draw on the spot and it will magically “heal” the image with the surrounding pixels.  Here’s the image with the “repaired” tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes pixlr

 

I do prefer when photographs are real and actually depict the subject, but sometimes you may want to tweak your image to remove a tiny imperfection (like a pimple!) or an unwanted speck and these two tools help you do it, plus they’re easy and free!

What are your favorite photo boosting or editing tools?

 

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