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Little Lime Hydrangeas

Three years ago, I was looking for some hydrangeas that would live through the cold winters in Nebraska better than the Endless Summer variety I had grown in my yard until all but two died. I found this variety: Little Lime. The plants are no longer little but this green bloom changes to a beautiful rose color in the fall. And they live through long cold winters.

My hydrangeas are in full bloom right now, so I went out with my Fuji XT-3 and 60mm f/2.4 macro lens. In order to deal with a mild breeze, I set my shutter speed to 1000, put the ISO on 800 and placed the aperture at 2.4 so that I could blur the background. With my arms tucked close into my sides and patience, I captured some fairly sharp photos even with the large aperture.

As much as I love my little camera, including a very sharp LCD display, I went inside to upload the photos for viewing on my computer screen. I reviewed and then went back outside to photograph again and again, changing my angle and waiting for the still moments.

Template

Initially, I had already chosen a different template from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2L to print and display my photos. I changed my mind. I decided to use template 8 from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2L.

  • Open template 8 and place on a new blank layout.
  • Reduce the size to 85%.
  • Enlarge the mask on on the top left by dragging to the right.
  • Delete the mask to the right.

Note: At some point I will publish a book of flowers, all using the format of FotoInspired Templates. I have already completed nine pages.

Photos
  • Adjust Clarity and Saturation on photos in Lightroom to sharpen just a little. No other adjustments were made.
  • Clip the photos to masks, adjusting size and focusing on details.
  • Below the text, clip a blurred portion of a photo and place Transfer 5 from ArtPlay Palette Summer Days above it.

Note: I captured the photo on the right side of this 24×12 page on a white board on my deck where the lighting was different.

Add Color with Transfers
  • Place Transfer 4 from ArtPlay Palette Summer Breeze on the right.
  • Use the warp tool to arrange.
  • Duplicate the transfer, flip horizontally and place on the left side of the template.
  • Warp again.
Adapt MultiMedia
  • Open .psd file 2 of MultiMedia Spring No. 3. Place below the template layers on the right side.
  • Delete the flowers.
  • Recolor paint layers to blend with leaves in photos.
  • Erase lines as needed.
  • Above the template layers, place three copies of the brown art strokes and angle as desired.
  • Duplicate layers, placing set on the left.
Place Splatters
  • Place a copy of the splatter from ArtPlay Mountain High on the right below the leaf but above the green transfer.
  • On the left, rotate a copy of the splatter and arrange it on the left so that it looks different from the right side.
Embellish

I’m definitely going to have to create another page in the fall when the color of these hydrangeas changes.

Up Not Down

Every Wednesday, I have a play date with Kate. She takes the lead on these afternoons. First she decides where we are going to lunch, often Chick-fil-A or McDonalds. Sometimes we paint, build with Legos, go to the park or read. Today we walked up to the school playground. If you have the strength, climbing up poles is just as easy as sliding down. I captured these shots with my iPhone as I sat under the equipment in the shade.

Choose a Template

Since all of the shots were vertical, I chose vertical template 7 from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2K to help me get started. Then I made some adjustments.

  • Reduce the size of all template layers to 85%.
  • Lengthen three masks and eliminated the others.
  • Move the frame, staples and shadow on the right.
  • Adjust the size of the tags on both frames to accommodate photos.
Create Background
  • Reduce the size of paper 7 from ArtPlay Palette Playout to 85%
  • Duplicate paper twice.
  • Clip a copy to each mask and adjust position.

Note: This paper is from a retired ArtPlay Palette, but any other blue will work to mimic the sky.

Extract Subject
  • Use the Quick Selection Tool to extract the little pole climber.
  • Place one extraction over each mask.
  • Give each extraction a custom shadow.

Note: I changed the size of the second and third extractions to accommodate not only the third photo but also the photo I wanted in the frame on the right. I adjusted photos in Lightroom before exporting to Photoshop CC 2019. Inside Photoshop, I added Levels Adjustment Layers as needed.

Use Brushes
  • Load Park Play No. 1 into the Brush Panel.
  • Create three new blank layers.
  • Stamp brushes 2, 6 and 9 each on a separate layer in a dark gray.
  • Change the blend mode of each to Linear Light at 100%.
  • Adjust position and mask any parts necessary to recreate the look of playground equipment.
Add Splatters and Stitching
  • Load Splatters No. 6 into the Brush Panel.
  • Stamp in a dark gray brushes 3, 4, 5 and 13 on separate layers.
  • Place stitch 3 from UrbanStitchez No. 9 above the splatters to ground extracted foot.

My little climber is going to love these photos; I know I enjoyed capturing her climb on our play date. I’m still not sure how she held on long enough with one foot on the pole and the other against the equipment for me to capture that shot on the lower left.

A Template and an Old Photo

Relationships with older fathers are not always easy to describe, especially by their sons. My husband remembers his father telling stories about hopping trains around the country as a young man. The photos tell another story, but there aren’t many words on this page. From my husband’s perspective it’s enough; I’m smiling as I call the page done.

I am still working on the other side of this double page spread, using photos about my husband’s mother. As I near the end of my anniversary project, I am relying on templates to get me started.

Place Layers of Template
  • Drag layers of template 5 from Travel Album Template No. 5 on to a new blank 24×12 in Photoshop document.
  • Turn off the postage stamp layer and small frames.
Use a Heritage Photo
  • Drag an old photo below the template’s small frames but above the the fotoblendz mask.
  • Resize as needed.
Extract Around the Frame
  • Use the Quick Selection tool to extract the framed portion of the photo.
  • Clean up edges with the Magic Wand tool.
  • Add a shadow to the framed photo.
Artsy Transfer and Small Frames
  • Below the extracted frame but above the fotoblendz layer place the layers psd file 1 from Artsy Transfers Airy.
  • Clip photos to the small frames and add adjustment layers as needed.
  • To each small photo mask add a 20px white stroke.
Add Texture and an Element
  • Below the photo on the top right, place Overlay 2 and the Gold Paint from ArtPlay Palette Airy.
  • Place the Tape from ArtPlay Palette Airy just below the Gold Paint.
  • Below the bottom photo, place another copy of the Tape.
  • Add the Daisy, warp the stem a little and tuck below the top frame.

One wouldn’t expect that a travel template would work for an old photo, but in this case placing the layers from an artsy transfer file below the old photo creates a soft and modern background. I encourage you to try using your old photos with modern templates.

Parties

Creating a book based on events fifty years ago has its challenges. For example, I don’t have photos from the first two showers given in my honor. I have the dates and names, but I can’t remember many of the details. Maybe that’s why I treasure the photos that I do have because they help me remember. There is no way I will forget the crepe paper dress that my mother and mother-in-law created for me. For one thing, I can’t believe that two mothers would shorten the hemline that much in 1968.

I am getting close to finishing my anniversary project, so I am looking for ways to simplify my process to keep the momentum going. For this two page spread, I combined two templates from WaterColor Template Album No. 8, substituting the small frames from another album on the right side.

Components From Template

Place the layers of template template 13 from WaterColor Template Album No. 8 on the left and template 5 on the right. Change the alignment of the second text box of template 13 to match the top text box. Rearrange the frames, deleting one to accommodate photos. On the right, delete the small frames.

Note: I included the stitching from the templates, moving it as needed. I added a 20px white stroke to each frame for consistency throughout my book project. I also reduced the size of all template layers to 85%% instead of 100%.

Clip Photos to Masks and Stains

Duplicate the focal photo on the left and clip it to the fotoblendz mask and one of the stains. Adjust exposure using Camera Raw Filter within Photoshop and add a Soft Light adjustment layer at 100% opacity. Repeat with the photo on the right, duplicating and clipping the copies to six stains included in the template.

Clip Photos to Small Frames

On the left, resize and clip three photos to the small frames. Add adjustment layers as needed. On the right, place the small frames from template 6 of Travel Album No. 2, reducing the size to 85%. Adjust the positioning of the thread. Clip small photos to the frames and add adjustment layers as needed.

Add Artsy Transfers and Stains

Below the fotoblendz mask and small frames on the right, place overlay 1, transfer 2 and transfer 6 from ArtPlay Palette Glance, reducing the size to 85%. On the left, place stain overlay from ArtPlay MiniPalette Opacus, transfer 3 from ArtPlay MiniPalette Honor, 7 layers from Artsy Transfers Summery and two copies of overlay 1 (Linear Burn blend mode) from ArtPlay MiniPalette Honor.

Two Buttons

Place a yellow gold button from ArtPlay Palette Glance on the right and tack down with thread 2 from ButtonThreadz No. 2. Place a pink button from ArtPlay Palette Infatuated on the left along with thread 6 from ButtonThreadz No. 1.

I am within three pages of finishing this project. Using templates to create the basic design and switching out small frames or fotoblendz masks will help me maintain my momentum. Although Anna Aspnes provides information about this technique in her earlier project classes, I recommend two of her most recent classes, Artsy Doubles and AA Project 2018, for detailed instructions on what I have shared in this post.

Fifty Years Later

It seems like yesterday, not fifty years ago, that we honeymooned in San Francisco. We didn’t stay at the same hotel, the American Motor Lodge, but instead chose Hotel Zoe Fisherman’s Wharf this time, with its ultra modern decor. I hoped we would be able to replicate some of the photos from 1968 on this trip as we remembered our honeymoon.

We searched for the Fisherman’s Wharf sign and finally found a man who recognized it in copy of the photo where I sat. He told us it had been removed a long time ago. Even though we couldn’t access the balcony at the top of Ghiradelli Square, we found the sign at the top of the building. We posed on Pier 39, a tourist trap or a Pokemon player’s dream, depending on your perspective.

For the focal photo, I used frame set 3 from UrbanThreadz FotoBlendz Frames No. 2 in order to tie the two pages together. The photo I clipped to the mask is actually a blended composite so that I could have the entire heart behind us.

I chose the frames, threads and text box from template 10 in Travel Album No. 2 to accommodate the photos I wanted to include on my page. I reduced the size to 85%, before clipping my photos to the masks and adding adjustment layers.

Note: Because I am reducing the size of frames, masks and shadows from different templates, I am deleting the frames and giving each mask a stroke style of 20px so that all frames are consistent throughout my book.

I placed transfer 3 from ArtPlay Palete Riant just above the paper as well as layers from files 3 and 4 of Artsy Transfers Riant.

Note: I added a Hue and Saturation Layer to adjust the color of two layers.

Finally, I tucked a button from ArtPlay MiniPalette Blithe under the threads above the frames.

I want to thank my friend Adryane and her husband for helping us replicate some old photos for this page. It was Adryane’s idea to capture some shots holding our wedding photo. What a wonderful day searching for landmarks and remembering!

Christmas

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday; celebrating the birth of Christ by exchanging gifts, decorating a tree, dinner with family, the music and the lights. As a child I remember a tree appearing on Christmas morning decorated with lights and strings of silver tinsel, but when I was older my dad would bring home a tree on Christmas Eve for us to decorate.

On our first Christmas, Bill and I decorated a tree with lights, round balls Bill’s mother gave us and silver tinsel. On the top we placed a little red angel, thinking that we’d have a collection of ornaments some day.

For these two layouts, I began by placing templates from Project Album Template No. 4 above solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Rejoice that I had clipped to the masks from Heritage Live template. On the left I placed the layers from template 15 and on the right I placed the layers of template 5. I turned off all but the fotoblendz masks from both templates.

I clipped my photos to the large fotoblendz masks but gave them each a sepia look with a Hue and Saturation layer. The color in my photos didn’t work well together.

Note: On the left I used the basic arrangement of the fotoblendz mask and text boxes, but on the right, I moved the mask to accommodate my overall page design.

Before deciding how to arrange the small photos that I wanted to include, I worked with layers from transfers 2, 4 and 5 of Artsy Transfers Rejoice. I placed all the layers for each psd file and began to turn off layers and move some around. On the right I used a combination of layers from psd files 4 and 5. On the left, I combined layers from psd files 2 and 4.

Next, I turned back on the frames on the left and deleted all but two square frames to accommodate the photo format of a Kodak Instamatic camera. On the right, I selected similar frames from those included in the template but moved them down below the fotoblendz mask. I clipped my photos to the small frames and added adjustment layers.

Note: I toned down the color in the two photos on the right by adding a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer for a sepia tone but reduced the opacity to 50%.

I filled the area to the left of the small frames on the right with two layers from transfer 4 of Artsy Transfers Rejoice.

To finish my layout I opened frame 3 from MultiMedia Frames No. 5 and placed only the deer included in the file on my layout. On the right, I used the heart, word art and branch from file 1 of MultiMedia Frames No. 5. I added the red and green paint from file 4. I completed my journaling, changing the size of one of the text boxes included with the template. With a title and a little more of the red and green paint, I finished my layout.

You may not be old enough to remember 1968, but gold was a very popular color. Anna’s new palette, ArtPlay Palette Rejoice, was perfect for remembering our first Christmas.

Summer 1970

We hadn’t been married two years when we volunteered to serve as leaders for a group of college students on a summer long trip to promote a singing group from our church, Van Nuys Baptist. We spent most of our time in the Philippines. I kept a journal in summer, 1970, handwritten pages tied together with yarn, filled with details about the Philippines: waking up to the sound of jeepneys, shopping for meat in open air markets, cooking in a pressure cooker, listening to the daily rain on a tin roof collected for cold showers, riding a bus out of the city, walking to a small village into a corn field to find a bathroom, laughing at our caribou ride, hearing Bill preach on David and Goliath in a little dirt floor church.The words tell a story not seen in these photos, my thoughts and feelings. Now that I think about it, summers before we had children, a detail about which Philippinos questioned us, are some of our best memories.

I continue to work on my heritage project, deciding which photos to include, what to write and simply remembering what it was like 50 years ago. It’s not as easy as I thought to create a page that conveys the essence of an experience in our early marriage. I took some time to think and plan before beginning this two page spread.

I began by reducing the size of templates 7 and 8 from Hipster Plume Album Template No. 2 to about 85% and placing them above solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Palette Sage on the template provided in Heritage Live.

Note: I deleted the masks included with the template for the small photos. To each matte, I added a stroke style to keep the framing consistent through my project.

Next, I clipped a photo to each of the fotoblendz masks and some of the stains. I also extracted us from the photos and created a custom shadow.

Note: The photos on these pages are from old slides and required some work in Lightroom as well as adjustments in Photoshop.

On the left, I placed the layers from transfer 5 of Artsy Transfers Sage between the extraction and the photo copy clipped to the fotoblendz mask. I placed layers from transfer 1 below the cluster of frames on the far left. On the right, layers from transfer 4 of Artsy Transfers Sage are below both the extraction and the fotoblendz mask.

To accommodate one additional photo, I duplicated the square matte and shadow on the right and moved it to the place where the text box was originally. I gave the matte the same stroke style and clipped my photo to it.

Finally, I photographed the handwritten journal I kept that summer, reduced the size and gave it a shadow. I tucked it next to one of the small photos. I gave the gold yarn, a popular color then, it’s own custom shadow.

After rereading my journal, I decided that if my family wants more details about the summer of 1970, they can read my journal too.

Start with a Brush

Sometimes all you need to begin a piece of art is just one brush as I share below.

Stamp brush 1 of San Francisco No. 1 on a new blank document.

Drag the frames, stitching and one text box from template 3 of Travel Album No. 4 on to the document above the brush.

Clip a photo to each mask. In this case I used just one photo, but changed the crop for each mask.

Below the brush place transfers 1, 3 and 4 from ArtPlay Mini Palette Harken.

Add heart and button from mini palette. Create title and write journaling.

Yes, I left my heart in San Francisco and I’d go back to see all the things I didn’t see.

Fifty Years of Friendship

It’s been six years since we were last all together. We’ve shared more than fifty years of friendship with Bill and Sue Woods and Stu and Patty Macy. We’ve attended weddings and baby showers for one another, traveled together, i.e. the zoo, San Diego, Disneyland, even as far as the Philippines. We watched the Olympic Soccer finals in 1984 and numerous fireworks shows together. We made one more memory when we had lunch at Azul Latina Kitchen in South Lake Tahoe. For me the contrast between the photo of us all now and a few snapshots from the past are a treasure.

To create this page, I began with the template from Heritage Live and psd file 4 from Feuillemort FotoBlendz No 1.

I clipped a copy of the photo from our trip to the fotoblendz mask. I could have left it at that, but I wanted the photo to pop with depth.

I extracted parts of us from the photo and gave that extraction a shadow. Then I added two adjustment layers, one on Soft Light blend mode at 40% and the other on Screen blend mode at 30%. Between the two layers angled transfer 1 from ArtPlay Palette Feuillemort.

Note: I clipped copies of the photo to the stains included in the psd fotoblendz file.

Below those layers, I placed a combination of layers from Artsy Transfers Feuillemort 4 and 5.

On the right side, I used template 16 from WaterColor Template Album No. 3, deleting some of the stains included with the template. First, I clipped another photo to the fotoblendz mask included in the template and added an adjustment layer.

I clipped my photos to the small frames and added a stroke layer style to make the photos look as if they had the same frames used on the previous pages.

Note: the frames on the template are different from those that I’ve used for the other pages in this book. I deleted the masked included in the template, leaving just the frames. I added the stoke to the frames of the template by clicking the styles button at the bottom of my layers panel. Each frame has a style attached.

To finish my page, I added transfers from ArtPlay Palette Feuillemort and layers from transfer 5 of Artsy Transfers Feuillemort. I added a title with a thread from UrbanThreads No. 17.

I really didn’t take many photos with our friends over lunch, but that one was enough to tell this story.

Honeymoon

Bill’s brother handcuffed us together as we left the church following our wedding, but his dad unlocked the cuffs on the way to the airport to catch our flight to San Francisco for a short honeymoon. We only had a few days before I began my first teaching assignment at Langdon Elementary. I didn’t capture many photos on our trip; I can’t remember what kind of camera I used. However, I will have my Fuji X-T2 when we return to San Francisco in a few weeks.

To create the right side of this layout, I clipped solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Riant to both sides of the template that I received in Anna’s class, Heritage Live. On the right edge, I placed the layers of frame 1 from UrbanThreadz FotoBlendz Frames No. 2.

Next, I clipped my photo to the fotoblendz mask included in the psd file. I used a brush to darken parts to reveal more of my photo. I extracted myself from the photo and gave the extraction a custom shadow. I also duplicated the entire photo twice, one on Screen blend mode at 50% and the other on Soft Light at 50%.

Note: I blended my legs into the mask to disguise the way my feet were cut off in the original photo.

I placed the frames from template 10 of WaterColor Template Album No. 7 on my page and adjusted the placement of one frame to accommodate one of my photos.

Note The thread and text boxes was included in the template. The button is from ArtPlay Palette Riant.

After adjusting the position of the frame grouping, I clipped my photos to the frames. I adjusted the exposure by duplicating the photo copies and changing the blend modes to Screen or Soft Light.

Below the group of frames, I placed most of the layers of psd file 3 from Artsy Transfers Riant, adjusting the position of the layers to line up with the top frame.

Below the circular frame, I placed transfers 3 and 7 from ArtPlay Palette Riant.

Note: I adjusted the yellow in transfer 7 with a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer after I rotated it. I had already created the textbox on the left before adding the transfers so all I needed to do was adjust its position.

My friend, Adryane, is going to help us recreate a couple of these photos for the opposing page of this layout when we are in San Francisco. We are really looking forward to our trip.

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