Photo Editing with Picasa and Picnik

I usually use Picasa to edit my photos before I post them. I admit that I don't spend a lot of time on editing because I often just have enough time to pull a post together after work. But when I have extra time I love playing with Picasa and Picnik. I was inspired today by Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick to try a few new techinques.

This is my SOC (straight out of camera) photo, below. All the photos in this post originated from this one photo. I still need lots of practice on how to work my camera (Nikon D3000) but I think my skills are slowly improving.

 The same photo cropped a bit more in Picasa and with Boost applied in Picnik.

More cropping and a bit more Boost.

For this final photo I used Lomo-ish.

Both Picasa and Picnik are quite user friendly and are FREE. Do you use a photo editing program? My next photography goal is to learn how to use textures. What is yours?

Thanks for stopping by!


Some Summer Annuals for our Backyard

Today was our first full day of sunshine and warm weather in a very long time.
Our grass is still very wet from days and days of heavy rains, but it was nice to sit outside under the gazebo and enjoy the beginnings of our summer garden.

In between raindrops on the Victoria Day long weekend my sister and I shopped for plants and weeded her gardens (she will help shop for plants, but she doesn't 'do' gardening, so I do it for her.)

I managed to get my planters filled up before more rain came but have not had a chance to weed, thin out and mulch the backyard flowerbeds. I plan to add some annuals to the garden, too.
I planted lots of geraniums and petunias because our backyard gets so much sun. We also spread grass seed to try and deal with the dog 'p' spots. The little rattan and iron sidetables were $5 each at a yard sale last weekend.

I have more pillows that still need to be brought outside for our Muskoka chairs. Our son is using the farmhouse table we were using as a patio table, for his rabbit cages in the garage. I got rid of the windsor chairs from last summer because even though I primed them, the white spray paint came off in big sheets. I'm keeping my eye out for another option for more seating.

I'm really enjoying the lovely flowers (geraniums, dracana spikes, petunias, lobelia) in this pair of larger planters and look forward to them filling out more.

This iron stand with the zinc pots was on the front porch last year, but I'm trying it with geraniums and petunias on the patio this year.

It looks like K needs to weed wack better and this picture is cropped so much (see below) because we need to find room in the garage for the canoe that is currently on the patio! I know we have had a ton of rain, but not enough to use the canoe in the backyard. Just keeping it real!

 I guess if I can't find affordable patio chairs, we can always sit in the canoe!

I'm joining Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays at Coastal Charm because I think the little tables were a really good deal. There are always lots of great links at Linda's party.

I'm also joining Wow us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style. Thanks Kim!

I'm also linking to SNS at Funky Junk Interiors' Patio Decor.


Union Jack Shield Pillow

My little British Invasion table inspired my latest sewing project for our living room.

While I rarely use red in our decor, I couldn't resist this transfer from The Graphics Fairy. This is the first time I have attempted an ink jet transfer and except for the loss of a bit of red at the joint of the two images (it stuck to the iron), I think it turned out fairly well.

The pillow cover is made out of white denim and I added a down and feather pillow insert. I love how squishy it is. I chose the white denim over drop cloth for this one because the graphic has an antiqued cream in the cross of St. George and I didn't want it blending in to the drop cloth colour. The white denim also matches the chair slipcover to the left of the window and some of the stripes in my quilted pillows.

The project took about an hour from start to finish. I paid $7 for 3 transfer sheets at Michaels, and only used 2 sheets. I already had the pillow insert and the denim was leftover from my slipcovers.

Now I really need to come up with some ideas for artwork over the leather couch. I'm thinking of a gallery wall, but not just photos. Time will tell if the red stays in this room but I think it is a fun pillow and I'm enjoying it for now.

I love joining link parties because I get to see so many great ideas and find blogs I wouldn't have come across otherwise!

I'm joining transformation thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage.

I was invited to join the Creative Bloggers Party and Hop at Homemaker on a Dime. If you came by from the blog hop I would love for you to follow. Let me know in the comments and I will stop by and follow yout too. So many great parties to choose from, but they are a great way to meet bloggers. 


Frustrated with Blogger!

I'm wondering if anyone else has had trouble the past three days with Blogger?

Every time I try to comment on someone's post (especially if they have the dreaded word verification) it keeps asking me to sign in and shows my comment as anonymous. When I enter my email and password it keeps asking for it again. Over and over. I am so frustrated! Any ideas?

Edited to add: Thanks for all the great tips in the comments! I'm so glad I was not alone in this. I unchecked the 'keep me signed in' part and I can now comment! Yeah!


Our Pets

Up until two years ago we didn't have any pets, and I was quite happy about that.

Then our oldest son joined 4-H showing beef and dairy cows and asked if he could have a rabbit to join the rabbit club. We agreed to the rabbit.

K showed great maturity and after much convincing and pleading by both our boys, we agreed to get a family dog. Being pet owners was in neither hubby or my plans, in fact we were really opposed to it. There was the cost, and the responsibility, allergies and the potential for dog hair and messes.

My list was never ending it seemed. But sometimes as parents we have to put our kid's wants and needs before our own. We have to take risks. Hubby and I decided that we had to take a chance and let our boys prove that they were responsible enough. And I had to let go and learn to deal with the grass and the dog hair.They were growing up way too quickly and surely we could do this one thing for them. So the search began for our family dog.

Our sons really wanted a Lab or Retriever and we found a great breeder and became the owners of a registered chocolate Lab female, Remington 2nd. Of course there were some adjustments to our routine including that our youngest and I were both initially very nervous of her. But we got through them. K was a great help in making the transition.

Now we can't imagine not having her. And I'm almost learning to live with the dog hair :) . Our one rabbit now has a breeding mate, and her first litter of eight (K's new business.) Plus a new buck from my nephew in Sudbury is arriving this weekend. That will make 11 rabbits until some of the babies head to their new homes with other 4-H kids in the coming weeks. And yes, we live in town on a very small lot but we are coping. 

This girl is adding to some great family memories too. I'm joining the pet party feature at SNS Funky Junk Interiors. I still sometimes shake my head when I think back to how determined I was to not be a pet owner.

Hoping you have a great weekend! We finally have some sunshine and warmer weather.



I Caught A Bit Of British Invasion Bug!

I caught a bit of British invasion inspiration and decided to add a Union Jack Cross of St. George to a little table we had kicking around.

I loved the inspiration I was seeing on pillows and dressers in blogland, and since my dad's family originated in England and our Ontario flag has the Union Jack on it, I thought it would be a fun thing to try.

This is the first piece I have waxed and I love the results. I'm also enjoying the hits of colour added to our freshly painted white living room.The shutter was $5 at a yard sale and will soon be painted and that mirror propped in the corner is a work in progress.

I used BM Ocean Spray as the base coat with a light top coat of denim blue. The Cross of St. George was done in craft paints. I distressed it fairly heavily to fade the flag and let the pine show through. 


My plan with the taping didn't quite work out, but I think it hints at the Union Flag.

Before: a little IKEA stool used as a nightstand with our oldest son's first bedroom set 12 years ago.

Two shades of leftover paint, some craft paint stripes, sanding and wax paste and I now have a cute little table in our living room. The only new purchase was the paste finishing wax, $9.99 at Home Hardware.

We have had rain, rain and more rain all week and it is supposed to continue so I'm really struggling with the lighting on these dark days. At least I have my little table to brighten things up a bit.

I'm also linking to Primitive and Proper Piece of Work Wednesday!


Outdoor Sprucing

We are beginning some outdoor sprucing and it would be great if the weather would cooperate.

So far spring has been really cool and raining for over a week. Not a lot has been done outside yet but I did sew some new outdoor pillows for the front porch with fabric that coordinates with the ones I made for the backyard patio last year.

I'm keeping the Muskoka chairs and hope to add some other seating soon. I spray primed and spray painted the windsor chairs (in the photo below) last year, but the sun back here was too harsh and they began peeling. I need to find weather tolerant chairs for the farmhouse table.

We are really enjoying the new Unilock patio we added in late summer 2009.

I'm glad that my hydrangeas survived the winter and a chocolate Lab puppy, and are starting to show signs of looking like this in a month or so.

I can hardly wait for fresh cuttings and annuals filling our garden beds.

Sitting around the firepit and making s'mores is a favourite family activity and this little firepit will get a coat of fire safe paint if it ever stops raining. We are also spending a fair bit of time patching 'dog pee' spots in the grass.

Lots still to do, but this upcoming weekend is our long Victoria Day Weekend, also know as May 2-4 weekend. That means garden centres will be in full swing and if the rain quits we may actually get a bit of planting done.  Here's hoping!

I'm joining the HOME MAY'D Spring/Summer Link Party ~Outdoor Ideas party today at Centsational Girl.