Picasa is My Friend

December 21st, 2009

OK peeps, I think it’s time I spill the beans on how I take and manipulate my photos.  Several of you have sent me emails asking me about the camera and the software I use on this site.  I’m here to share.  Sharing is what I do.  I love to share, especially with those of you just starting out.  Ha, that’s funny.  “Just starting out.”  That’s me, like, nine months ago.  Strange, surreal, and completely true. 

But first, before I share, I have a few confessions to make. 

First confession:  Believe me when I tell you I am a complete amateur when it comes to photography.  (Some of you are saying, “Um, yes, we know that.”)  In fact, if you said the word “aperture” to me a few months ago, I’d have looked at you cross-eyed. 

Second confession:  I have a really killer camera that does half the work for me.  My weapon of choice is a Nikon D60 and it totally rocks.  Mr. CG bought it for me two years ago when I complained about my flimsy digital never taking pictures when I wanted it to.  You know that 3/4 second delay that misses the moment ?  That fleeting precious moment when your kid is doing the cutest thing ever ?  Then your camera never captures it ?  Hated that.  I complained constantly.  Tears welled.  I might have thrown my old camera a few times.  Then hubby bought me my Nikon. 

Yes, they’re expensive, but oh my goodness gracious darling, are they ever so worth it.  Mine has paid for itself tenfold with the quality of pictures it has given me.

nikon d60 

For example, take this most recent picture of chocolate covered biscotti from yesterday.  My friends, I simply set the camera to “no flash” and shot this beauty.  The camera did 80% of the work. 

biscotti up close

Third confession:  I’ve learned to never ever ever use a flash.  The flash is not your friend when taking up close and personal shots of your latest craft, project, recipe, or kid.  Turn it off, that’s all I can say.  Turn.Off.The.Flash.  Light is your friend.  The flash is not. 

Fourth confession:  I do not use Photoshop for my everyday blog editing.  I don’t have the patience, time, or in depth knowledge of Photoshop to manipulate every single photo.  Yes, I’m learning the program slowly, but I never turn to Photoshop for my everyday blog photos. 

I use Picasa.  Picasa is free.

Picasa is my friend !  Read the rest of this entry »

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Christmas Cookies for Chocolate Lovers

December 20th, 2009

Whenever we’re invited to Christmas parties, I try to bring something sweet, homemade, and chocolate.  On Christmas day, I also prefer to serve a medley of Christmas cookies with coffee, instead of one single dessert after the big feast.  I spent this past weekend frolicking with my family, attending holiday parties, and making four of my absolute favorite cookies to give and share.  Here are two of those cookies I make that are sure to please any chocolate lover on your list !

Chocolate Dipped Handmade Biscotti

chocolate dipped biscotti

and Chocolate Wafers with Peppermint Buttercream Filling

chocolate wafers on plate

  Read the rest of this entry »

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Before & Afters of 2009

December 17th, 2009

Hiya friends.  I was just looking back through the archives doing a little blog housekeeping.  In looking back to February to the beginning of this little online adventure of mine, it seems I’ve been a teensy bit busy.  In hindsight, all I can say is I should have bought stock in some home improvement and fabric stores, cause I sure spent a few cents throughout the year sprucing up some stuff. 

A few folks have been asking for a roundup, and perhaps a few of you who are new around here may have missed some of these crazy schemes eager projects. 

So here’s a look back at thirty of my Before and Afters from this past year.  These were all completed by yours truly and include a range of projects, from the smaller afternoon paint transformations to some totally overhauled spaces.  They’re in no special order of importance. 

For the full articles, just click on the titles . . 

. . . and away we go !

# 30 – Garage Sale Benches

This pair of mismatched benches were forced to coordinate with some gel stain, and then recovered with some bright fabric and pom pom trim to create tea party perches in my daughter’s room. 

tea party benches


#29 – Balcony Upgrades in One Afternoon

Mr. CG’s office mates had a plain balcony until I upgraded it in an afternoon as a birthday present. 


patio before


patio after

This use of river rocks was featured by Apartment Therapy as a great way to mulch plants. 

river rocks and rug

For the full tour of the entire balcony space, click here.    Read the rest of this entry »

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