Saturday, 19 October 2013


So now we have snow. Although it's now lighter and not pitch-black in the evening, I'm not feeling overly delighted about. I guess I might be happy about it if I didn't know that it'll be there now for the next six months. Yes, it might melt away for a while, but it'll be back, and the melting away is almost worse - although I don't love it, I don't dislike snow as such, but I do dislike slushy roads, slippery roads, icy roads and streets.  Also this means we'll be ploughing and shovelling snow for months and months. Better Half already did the first take yesterday afternoon, and today it was my turn to start. Again, it's not too bad, I actually like it, when it's not too heavy and wet and there's not too much of it, but it's the fact that you have to clear the snow, whether or not you have the time or inclination, if you are to move at all…

I'm off work for almost a week now. Might perhaps get a challenge or two done? Today I cleared one: day 60 at BL. Before I got so far, however, I did some serious pruning in my photo archives from this and last year, and got rid of about a thousand photos, and am feeling awfully accomplished. I got myself Lightroom last month, and don't regret it - it made doing away with the photos so much easier, although I'm only just beginning to learn to use the program.

Anyway, day 60 challenge at Beyond Layers was to use some scripted textures and follow another recipe by Kim. I was not overly enthusiastic about using the scripts on top of the images as such, but I thought I could do something with them if I found the right image. (Read: a photo with enough white space, not green, like most of my non-winter pictures…) So I dug up a picture of leaves that I took about a month ago when rummaging in our old house. The leaves have effectively mummified - they have been standing on the window-sill of our old abandoned house since before we moved away from there, and that was ten years ago. I did slight modification in Lightroom and then followed Kim's recipe as such, until the scripted textures. The first scripted one, Sonnet 2, I blurred at 25 px Gaussian blur, to get only the tone from it, no text. Then I added Sonnet Magic at blend mode screen but turned down the opacity to 68% and masked out most of the script. I didn't add any photo filters, although that was part of the recipe, since I found that would have taken away all depth from my photo.


- texture Sienna, Sonnet 2 & Sonnet Magic by Kim Klassen

Now to see if there'e enough for the birds to eat, when their last feeding rush for the evening starts. They have been crowding our feeding post ever since we started feeding them almost two weeks ago, and I have a feeling I need to do a refill, although I filled everything up to the brim in the morning.

Friday, 11 October 2013


Fun for Friday evening: tackled Beyond Layers challenge for day 59. Kim shared a recipe and three textures for us to try out. The problem (for me, at least) with these challenges is the huge amount of time it takes to decide which photo to process. Ordinarily, you'd start building with a picture. Now I'm always looking at the kind of processing done and trying to find a photo I imagine could benefit from it. I never find anything similar to Kim's examples, but somehow I always have to try to match it at least on some level.

This is the third picture I tried this particular recipe on. In the end, I of course tweaked the recipe, but at least I started with it and used the texture, called Paper-Stained Music.

Fragile, c'est son nom
- texture Paper-Stained Music by Kim Klassen

I took the photo in May in my little makeshift "studio". I have no idea what these flowers are called, but they opened beautifully from a bell-shape to this translucent disc, after standing for about two weeks in a vase. They were the last of the bouquet to survive.

The text on the picture just plopped from somewhere, when I was staring at the beautiful fragility of the flower on my screen. "Fragile, c'est son nom" I thought, and remembered things I did'nt know I remembered - it's a song by Patrick Juvet, which I suddenly remembered, too. Must be from somewhere early 1980s - the album was called Reves Immoraux, if I remember correctly. I think we had it on a C-cassette. I love how these things pop up, although I've been listening to Baroque Arias sung Andreas Scholl and Patricia Petibon the whole evening.

Sharing at Texture Tuesday.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Painting With Light

On day 58 at Beyond Layers Kim challenged us to watch another video lesson and either try the technique on a photo by her or on our own image, and of course I went for a photo of my own. The topic of the video was how to use light to draw focus on a subject.

With the dogs snoring around me this Saturday morning, I picked up a photo and started to process, following Kim's suggestions. This time I took a photo of Da Man about a month ago. He was sitting and watching by the back porch, with a dried yarrow funnily framing his face. Again, Kim's picture and mine were so different that I didn't create the effect she did for hers, but I do like what I got out of this picture with the recipe.

Dog and Yarrow
Photo taken on 7 September, 2013.

- texture Heartfelt by Kim Klassen

Sharing at Texture Tuesday.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Quote Challenge revisited

After a good while, I decided I'd play along the quote challenge from Beyond Layers day 39 anyway. I had already had a look at some quotes, so I went back and did some digging for photos. Seeing the results, I'm happy I did.

First Tulips

A picture of the first tulips pushing up, taken on 2 May 2013. Thought the quote was pretty apt for the image. The prompt word was "life".

- font KG Ways To Say Goodbye by Kimberly Geswein


The quote challenge word was "peace". This made me think of our latest little puppies when they were little puppies, in this picture less than a month old.

- textures from Shadowhouse October Square Texture Set 2 by Jerry Jones
- font Learning Curve Pro by Blue Vinyl Fonts

Foxy - Indian Summer

On reading the prompt word "change" I knew immediately what my quote would be: Dorothy Parker's poem Indian Summer. Ever since I first read it I've loved the poem. And I roughly knew what I wanted to do with the images, too - originally I associate the poem with our second-ever Dandie, Veera, whom we called Madame, because she was very dignified, self-assured and definitely not one to fool with. She was a businesslike, no-nonsense personality, but charming. However, since she left us years before the age of digital cameras and even the scans I have of her are not of very high quality, the dog in the photos is our present Madame, called Foxy. Totally different, with a lot more sense of humour (yes, Dandies come equipped with that), but certainly a lady who knows what she wants, who turned nine this week. In the last picture, by the way, she is not growling but actually smiling.

- template 018 by myself
- background papers from paper pack Green Finch and Linnet Bird by myself
- font Lavanderia by James T. Edmondson

By The Frozen River
The fourth prompt was "intentions" and for this, the Douglas Adams quote was my absolute favourite. It's so true for me in so many ways. The picture shows my home town since 1987, where I definitely didn't plan to move. When I first went to study, I somehow thought I'd end up in the south, Helsinki or thereabouts. And here I am, 600 kilometres north, and have been happy here for more than a quarter of a century. Oh my. I took the picture on a walk in the centre on 1 May this year. Yes, it was pretty cold.


The last prompt was "focus". I like the quote, and the photo is one of a series I managed to take on 8 June of a gang of Jackdaws, who landed on the grass and  were a bit shy of me, obviously thinking the treat on the ground might belong to me. They circled around, trying to appear nonchalant and uninterested, until one of them started the approach. Unfortunately none of the photos I took of the actual attack turned out any good but well, that's life, right?

Type Tricks

Another Beyond Layers post. On day 56 at BL Kim offered us a couple of new tricks, how to type text on a path and how to create a rounded rectangular frame. With the latter technique I've been working for years already, so I just played with the type.

For this is used a photo taken at the barbershop singing course me and three of my vocal group friends attended at the beginning if June. It was taken by our new friend Reija during our extra, ladies-only evening rehearsal.

How We Sang
- texture Musiclovin by Kim Klassen
- texture Savor by Kim Klassen
- font Tipbrush Script by Måns Grebäck
- font KG This Is Not Goodbye by Kimberly Geswein

This afternoon, in fact, we had a first meeting of our new barbershop quartet, consisting of the oldest singers in our vocal ensemble. New, because we have never actually sung four-part harmony just the four of us together, and I have certainly not been singing the tenor part. We cleared half the piece we were rehearsing, dwelled on some of the chords over and over again just because they sounded sooo sweet, and concluded happily that we most definitely have learned something in the dozen or so years we have been singing together. Which is nice to notice.

Friday, 27 September 2013


At BL day 54 was declared Instagram day. This old fart had to dig up what that meant. Instagram seems to be this online photo-sharing thingy where you upload your phone pictures and apply some filters on them. Oh and all the pictures are square. I tried it out, but couldn't for the life of me figure out how to use it on the browser. Obviously it's meant to be used only by phone, so I decided it wasn't for me. Anyway, for the challenge we were to try out some instagram-ish photoshop actions on our photos, and there was a scavenger hunt as well. As you might expect, I did the hunt in my archives again, but restricted myself to using photos from last summer only.

Also, when I started playing with the actions Kim suggested we use I was not awfully impressed by the way they were made - they didn't open a new document, as many, or create the action as editable layers, as many others I've used, so I had to use the history tool to go back to the original if I wanted to try out the action. Sure gave me good practice in using the history tool! In the end I decided I wouldn't be using only the given actions but some others, too.

There were five themes for the scavenger hunt: something pretty, something blue, something borrowed, water and dreamy. For the pretty one I chose a picture I took on my birthday as we were driving back home from Helsinki. We stopped at this new lay-by service place, and they had this little thing we call maitolaituri in Finnish. Literally you could translate it as "milk jetty" - it was a place where the farmers would leave their milk churns by the roadside where they could be collected by the dairy deliverers. There are none in that use anymore, but I thought this thing, although new and non-authentic, was pretty and nostalgic and definitely worth a photo.

Something Pretty

- Instagram filter action by Daniel Box
- framing action by Paint The Moon

My "something blue" photo is a photo taken by the river on a walk with the dogs.

Something Blue

Instagram filter action by Daniel Box 
- framing action by Paint The Moon

For "something borrowed" I chose a photo of our dandie Justiina, whom our friend Nunnu borrowed to cuddle with. I photographed them after the ring at the Terrier Specialty show, basking on the grass in the sunshine.

Something Borrowed

Instagram filter action by Daniel Box 
- framing action by Paint The Moon

The next prompt was "water". I had two I liked and couldn't decide which picture to choose, they were so different but they go well together. They also reflect well the difference between the dandies in them, the two sisters Justiina and Marleena. Justiina is approaching the water carefully and suspiciously and barely wets her nose there, whereas Marleena happily wades in the water, enjoying the refreshing coolness on a warm day. What the picture doesn't show, however, is her constant rushing in and out of the water. She has recently discovered that one can actually play in the water, but her sister still thinks water is only good for drinking.
Tasting the Water

Instagram filter action by Daniel Box 
- framing action by Paint The Moon

Wading in Water

Resources:- CoffeeShop Vintagram action by Rita @ The Coffee Shop Blog

- framing action by Paint The Moon

The last prompt was "dreamy". Here I ended up choosing two images taken in Lappajärvi during our DDT Club Show and summer camp at the beginning of August. The first photo is of a folly right on the lake shore, the other one is a shot to the lake - originally I tried to shoot the gull sitting on the navigation mark, but it turned into a shot of the type "there-is-a-gull-there-just-try-and-spot-it".

Folly on the Lake

- action Watermelon Blues by Sarah Lynn Cornish

- framing action by Paint The Moon

Lakeshore Rushes

- action Pretty Hazy by Sarah Lynn Cornish

Instagram filter action by Daniel Box 
- framing action by Paint The Moon

Lots of dogs and water in these pictures. Yes, we had a nice summer.

More fences

The challenge of day 53 at BL was to watch a video lesson and try it on an image by Kim. I didn't see much point in simply copying what she had done, so I went straight to the second part, testing the recipe and techniques on an image of my own. It wasn't actually a spoken part of the challenge, but the underlying idea seemed to be fences, so I decided to try the techniques on a fence image.

First I found a fence picture related to my previous post about our re-fenced yard last autumn. It's a photo of the fence on the northern side of our yard after some snowfall last December. Tried Kim's techniques here, but not the recipe, since warming up a snowy picture didn't feel like a good idea.

Snowy Fence
- framing action Simple by Chain

So I had to dig into the archives again, but after a while I found exactly what I needed: a photo of a fence around a church in Lübeck, photographed in May 2012. The dark fence against the red brick of the church was well suited for the warming and reddening Kim did in her recipe, so I used Kim's recipe almost as such, with minor adjustments, and followed the techniques as well.

Fence in Lübeck
- texture Pumpkin Grunge by Kim Klassen

- framing action Simple by Chain

And on to posting the next challenge. I'm determined to get all this stuff posted so I can start working on something new.

Finding Fences

Day 52 challenge at BL was to go and find some fences. The idea was to find some interesting (somehow I think they were meant to be pretty?) fences and photograph them. Well, this made me dig into my archives for something not so much pretty but what actually was precisely what we did last autumn. We went looking for fences.

At the end of October, tired of the little girls always finding their way on the fields and disappearing there to hunt for heaven knows what, we finally decided it had to stop. We had fenced a sizable part of our property back when we moved here in the 1990s, but back then, we had
a) a large dog
b) many dandies
c) unrealistic ideas about the need for space
d) illusions of how much time we'd be able to dedicate to taking care of our yard.

Over the years, we kept repairing the fence here and there, but had already come to realise that we had fenced much more than was either necessary or practical. Parts of the fence stood in the middle of untouched old fields, pushing up fireweed and willow, parts were rotting in the wet ground by the brookside. So we went to the bushes to find the old fence and dig it up and move it so that it could be planted closer to our actual garden.

Not so easily done, the two of us toiled away with it for a good while, but   after a couple of weeks, just before the the ground frost set in, we finished the project. The fence had to be revisited and the posts banged in again in the spring, and we'll have to do the same every spring after the ground frost melts, but there's significantly less fence to take care of now.

Resources used:
- template 27 by myself
- paper Cloudbusting 05 by myself
- font SF Arch Rival by ShyFonts
- font Janda Elegant Handwriting by Kimberly Geswein
- font KG Call Me Maybe by Kimberly Geswein


Got to day 51 at BL. Wow, I'm almost half-way through a course that actually finished five months ago. Go me.

This time the challenge was to use two of Kim's textures, Thursday and Yesteryear, and follow the recipe she gave on any image.

As the day I processed these photos marked the fourth anniversary of my father's death, I chose something that made me think of him as my first image. I took the photo when I was staying at father's flat after his death, helping my sister to clear it up. The flat never was a home to me, and only a few years to my father, but the objects there are soo familiar. I remember what meticulous care father took of the little flat, dusting and hoovering and tidying up and watering plants and washing each cup straight after use, and I remember teaching him to use the washing machine after mother died two years previously. There is the sofa and armchairs that used to belong to my grandmother and that father had reupholstered for her sometime in the seventies. There's the painting of the waterfall in our town - like all paintings in my parents' house, it was painted by an acquaintance. The painter was the boyfriend of our that time lodger, and I used to sit in their room and watch him paint and we'd talk about art. Father was very fond of the painting, me much less, but it was an essential part of the living room even in the old house. Here I followed Kim's recipe rather closely.

My Father's Living Room
- textures Thursday & Yesteryear by Kim Klassen
- photo frame by Rita @ The Coffee Shop Blog
- background paper Close to Ground 05 by myself

The second photo I tried the recipe on was chosen for similar reasons. It is a shot from my parents' summer cottage window, our second home in my childhood. It belongs to my sister now, and I was visiting the cottage quite probably for the last time in 2010. The July evening was like countless others I've spent there, except for the fact that I've never before been there all alone, not even waiting for anybody to arrive. The view is not what I would have seen as a child - the trees have grown, others have been cut down, the garden swing is a newer one. But the sauna and setting sun and lake are the same, as is the old bathtub grandmother started using as a flowerbed and the whole feel of the place.

Remembering Childhood Summers

- textures Thursday & Yesteryear by Kim Klassen
- framing action Simple px by Chain

I decided to try the recipe on a third photo as well. This is a recent one, I took it at the end of August when we were on our usual walk route with the dogs. I mainly wanted to see what the recipe would do to the blue sky of the original. Not bad. The feel is very much the same as in the previous image, although the originals differ quite a lot.

Path to River

- textures Thursday & Yesteryear by Kim Klassen
- framing action Simple px by Chain

A Tall Order

For day 50 at Beyond Layers we were asked to show where we live, and shoot landscapes in portrait format. I often do that, and originally I thought I'd pick something from the archives again.

But I didn't. For this challenge I actually didn't delve into my archives but instead took some time to go for a little walk to get some images of where I live. Not of the garden, not the doggies, but some shots on the riverside in the town centre.

As the opportunity more or less offered itself, I took it, and feel so good about it. About a month ago, I went to buy meat for the dogs from the truck the stops here every four weeks, and it was such a beautiful August evening. So instead of rushing home with the boxes of frozen meat in the boot of my car I took a few steps towards the river and took the first photos.

Riverside from Market Place

- ran action CoffeeShop 2020 by Rita @ The Coffee Shop Blog
- lowered layer opacity to 80% and masked out from the bottom
- applied texture Havana by Kim Klassen
- inverted texture colour and changed blend mode to 60% Color Dodge
- ran framing action Shadow by Chain

Then I grew even bolder - I drove a bit further along the riverside, parked the car for about ten minutes and walked to a park to take some photos towards the centre. I "wasted" perhaps a full fifteen minutes there, but it felt like a huge achievement. Which in a way it was, because I had taken a step out of my oh so well set ways.

Riverside Sunset
- straightened image in ACR
- corrected white balance in ACR
- ran action Fresh & Colourful by The Pioneer Woman
- ran framing action Shadow by Chain

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Colour Storyboards

Beyond Layer challenge for day 49 was to make something Kim calls a colour-storyboard. She offered two tutorials to do this.

Following the first tutorial, I sampled colours from a bouquet I photographed in April. On our way home from celebrating Marjo's birthday, we visited this Home, gardening and interior design fair at Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre. One event there was a bouquet auction, and this was one of the bouquets on display.

The processing steps were pretty simple:
1 blurred image: Gaussian blur 26,0 px
2 masked out blur from the bouquet
3 ran action Springtime by NightFateActions
4 enlarged canvas and made swatches
5 applied pattern overlay to swatches

My take on the second tutorial already ended up in use: this photo of a rose turned into a thank-you card for my fb friends after my birthday. I loved the whimsical splatter brushes and thought they brought a nice touch to the otherwise calm photo.

Processing steps:
1 enlarged canvas
2 made colour splatters with brushes by Dustin Schmieding
3 added texture Sunkissed by Kim Klassen at color burn 42%
4 typed text in Finnish, font KG Somebody That I Used to Know by Kimberly Geswein
5 typed text in English, font Janda Elegant Handwriting by Kimberly Geswein
6 flattened image
7 ran framing action Shadow by Chain

Monday, 23 September 2013

Of Travelling and Knitting

The challenge for day 48 at Beyond Layers: to have a loved one photograph you doing something you might consider mundane. This one was meant to made us think about our special gifts, that whatever we create and touch is of value and important. Kim took pictures of her friend Myriam making a salad, peeling and dicing and so on.

Another aspect of the challenge, as I see it, was using our hands, and that made it easy for me to choose how to tackle this one with photos I already had: my knitting. I don't know if I see it as mundane, but I definitely am happy for finding it again, and I suppose it could be considered a gift?

- template 25 by myself
- paper Happiest Search 05 by myself
- font SF Arch Rival by ShyFonts
- font Learning Curve Pro by Blue Vinyl Fonts
- brush Stitched Mess by Kim Klassen
- Post it sticker by Akizo

This layout actually meets another challenge demand, too: the photo of me grinning goofily and holding the finished sock was taken by my friend Marjo. The sock was a trial for a bigger project, to test out if I, who had not been knitting socks for the past thirty-five years or so, could knit some pairs of this pattern or not. I had the correct yarn for the pattern at home but not in the correct colours (grey, black and white) but who cares - the purpose was only to try out the pattern, and I had three colours anyway, orange, green and grey. So as we took a train to Helsinki to celebrate Marjo's birthday, I started knitting, and before we arrived back home, the sock was finished. The sock is actually rather crappy, but for a first effort after such a long time I'm mightily pleased with it. But no, I'm not going to knit more of them.

Which sort of brings me to the next layout. I got a new sock pattern to try out from my boss, and I really like it. She said it's a traditional Finnish pattern, and anyway, it's simple and pretty. These pictures were taken when I was celebrating the World Wide Knit in Public Day all by myself, knitting in public but without much more company than some cyclists, joggers, jackdaws, wagtails, thrushes and a heard-but-not-seen pheasant. The weather was wonderful and my knit-in-public days pleasant and relaxing.

- template 26 by myself
- brush by Mouritsa
- paper Blue Jean 02 by myself
- font Denigan by Måns Grebäck


Day 47 at Beyond Layers was called Polaroid Love. I was somewhat suspicious of the theme to start with. We've never had a Polaroid camera in our family, so I really cannot say I'd love Polaroid. I do remember somebody we knew had this cool camera with which you could take these instant photos, but they never were that popular with the people we knew. But then I thought about it from another point of view: what I remember very well are the first colour photos from the 70s that started very soon losing their colours and turning red and faded, especially in the plastic pockets where we used to place them. I shudder to think my Granny's large album with all plastic pages, little pockets full of reddened photos, some almost impossible to make out anymore…

Furthermore, there seem to be these actions for that sort of effect - blur, fading colours - floating around, so I thought perhaps I'd now get to try out some of them within these polaroid frames Kim urged us to download. So I did try out various actions, with pleasing results. Then I dediced to turn them into scrapbooking layouts, and also got the opportunity to use some scrapbooking papers from the Au coin de l'objectif website, which I has been my favourite scrapbooking resource for years. It's a treasure trove, though nowadays I tend to make my own papers.

All these photos were taken on 1 May on the now already traditional Mayday orienteering event in town. It's a lot of fun. The local orienteering club places these about 20 check points around the town, the map with the points is published in the local paper, and people go around punching the checkcards also published in the newspaper at the check points. You can find as many points as you wish and in the order you wish, but if you punch your card at at least six points, you can return your checkcard and take part in a draw of some little prize. Some people take it as a sports event, running or jogging the whole route, but for many it's either a nice walk or a family cycling tour. We take a walk with the dogs and of course I take the camera along, since there's always something nice to see. I thought these pictures were well suited to this challenge, because they were sort of timeless, places that certainly had been there in the seventies. And now I'm even happier to have taken and played with the pictures, because two of the photos couldn't be taken anymore - the buildings have been pulled down this summer.

- action Vanilla Peach by NightFateActions
- Polaroid frame by Fuzzimo
- paper from Bruissements d'un premier anniversaire by Au coin de l'objectif
- font Tusch Touch 1 by Måns Grebäck
- font Underwood Champion

- action Dusty Haze by Sarah Lynn Cornish
Polaroid frame by Fuzzimo
- paper from Bruissements de rentrée des classes by Au coin de l'objectif

- font Tusch Touch 2 by Måns Grebäck

- action Vintage by  NightFateActions
Polaroid frame by Fuzzimo
- paper from Bruissements de rentrée des classes by Au coin de l'objectif
- font Tusch Touch 4 by Måns Grebäck

- action Seventies by The Pioneer Woman
Polaroid frame by Fuzzimo
- paper from Bruissements de rentrée des classes by Au coin de l'objectif
- font Tusch Touch 3 by Måns Grebäck

Doesn't look too bad. Perhaps I'll do something like this later on, too.


Wow. Posting day 46 of Beyond Layers already. This time the challenge was to capture some cups during the week. I didn't use a week for this though - just one day.

First I thought I'd browse my archive, because I know there are some cups there, but then again, why not shoot some? So I grabbed the camera and went to my new small "studio" with a pile of mugs and started shooting. Taking many pictures of course meant I was going to scrapbook the results. Not to make the pictures tiny, I ended up making three layouts with the cups. Silly? Perhaps, but fun.  I was also rather self-sufficient this time, using my own resources, which makes me even more pleased with the results.

The first set was our dog-themed mugs, included are the Dandie Dinmont Terrier ones and some from special occasions: one from The European Winner Show in Helsinki 2006 and two from Helsinki Winner Show 2012.

- texture Mute Light 01 by myself
- papers Cloudbusting 03, 04, 05 & 06 by myself
- template 22 by myself
- fonts Love Ya Like A Sister  &  KG Call Me Maybe by Kimberly Geswein

The second layout starts with unique handmade mugs made by a colleague of mine, a teacher of pottery. Then there is our wooden mug-stand, which I absolutely love, with yellow Teema mugs by Arabia. There are also our two Moomin mugs, my Little My and Better Half's Stinky, our plastic mugs for travelling and Glühwein mugs I got as a present from my German students.

- papers Mellow Yellow 03 & 04 by myself
- stitches by Gunhild Storeide
- font Lavanderia by James T. Edmondson
- template 23 by myself

The third layout includes out two Russian tea sets and some rarer mugs, such as the hand-painted one in top-left corner.

- papers Lemonade Stand 03, 04 & 06 by myself
- font Simply Glamorous by Brittney Murphy
- font Seaside Resort NF by Nick's Fonts
- template 24 by myself

That was a nice bit of work for a rainy day in July, in between typing dog show critiques.  It's only apt that I post it after the most rainy day I've ever experienced... it doesn't often rain here without a single break the whole day through, but it did yesterday.

Will be posting a pile of other challenges today as well, some of which have been sitting on the computer since July.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Kim's Lilacs and our Dog

I'm posting days 44 and 45 of Beyond Layers here. In the day 44 challenge I was to process a photo by Kim to my liking. It was a pretty bunch of lilacs, and Kim seemed to have desaturated and toned down the original. I took another way and added more contrast and sharpness. This seems to be my way: adding clarity where I can, using bright colours. With a few exceptions, I don't seem to be too good at creating dreaminess or toning down - perhaps it just isn't my thing.

Here are both of the images side by side.

Here's the steps I took:
1 added texture 294 by Sirius-sdz
2 blurred the texture: Gaussian Blur 8 px
3 changed blending mode to soft light 100%
4 ran action Fresh & Colourful by The Pioneer Woman
5 changed action group opacity to 34%
6 added texture Now by Kim Klassen at Colour Burn 76%
7 added frame
8 resized image

Next I'll be off to see Kim's recipe to how she processed her own photo, I guess.


As I anticipated, on day 45 Kim shared how she processed her lilac image herself. But I have to say, I was astonished to realize she was sharing with us a technique I had just used in my own processing of her image! I swear I didn't have a peek at the video beforehand, just ended up using Gaussian blur on the texture on my own.

Anyway I decided to have another go according to Kim's suggestions. I picked up a photo taken of our youngest Dandie Justiina, taken on 29 May this year, when she was a bit over a year and a half. She's like many Dandies we've had in that she'll often stare right at you and the camera when you're taking a picture. Often, that is. Usually not when you'd absolutely want her to.

Here I kept the added noise Kim suggested at a minimum, added Gaussian blur to the first texture so that it only gave me the lighting and none of the actual texture, then added another texture for a painterly effect.

Resources used:
- texture Cool Grunge by Kim Klassen at soft light 100%
- texture Paint on Canvas II by Kerstin Franck at overlay 77%
- framing action Double by Chain

What I didn't do here was adding type and then adding gradient to the text, that'll have to wait for some other time, perhaps when I do some scrapbooking?

Flowers and Bugs

Still playing catch up. Day 43 challenge of Beyond Layers was to view two of Kim's recipes and use Kim's texture Peony in a photo. For the first task, I chose a picture that I took of one of the last tulips to blossom this summer in our garden. They were still in bloom on 19 June when I took this photo.  Here I followed Kim's first recipe very closely, the biggest difference was that I used layer masks to keep the background suitably desaturated and not too dark or too light  or contrasty. I even used the same font Kim used for her original photo of her book spine poetry, since I found it was one with European characters and therefore worth downloading to me.

Last of the Tulips

Resources used:
- font KG Somebody That I Used To Know by Kimberly Geswein
- framing action Shadow by Chain

The next photo was taken on a warm day in our garden, when me and Better Half were doing some gardening, and suddenly noticed this pair of very spectacular looking bugs mating on the blossoms of a Meadowsweet bush. They were obviously some kind of long-horned beetles (which in Finnish seems to be, delightfully, sarvijäärä or even more hilariously, hapsenkakkiainen). Anyway, they obligingly stayed there long enough for me to rush for the camera and I even managed to get a few quite tolerable shots of them.  To process, I followed Kim's second recipe, this time with a lot more deviation from hers, though.

Mating on Meadowsweet

- texture Framed by Kim Klassen
- framing action Double by Chain

The third challenge was to use Kim's pink texture called Peony. Since it was pink, I thought I'd dig up one of the photos I took in April of all the bouquets me and Better Half received at the end of the term. For this I had a brainwave: instead of going through all adjustments step by step I could try what the adjustments of the previous photo would do to this. So I duplicated the adjustment group of Mating on Meadowsweet, found it looked just fine, I just turned down the opacity another 10% and that was it. This made me a very happy camper indeed. So I just placed the texture there, added the frame and was pleased with the result.

Pink Bouquet

The workflow:
- duplicated adjustment group from Mating on Meadowsweet, turned down group opacity to 70%
- added texture Peony by Kim Klassen at multiply 33%
- flattened image
- added frame: framing action Double by Chain

Linking to Texture Tuesday.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Bookspine Poem

A quick post to catch up again, before I dash off.  Tuesdays are my busy days this autumn, but decided to post another picture, which I actually took and processed already in July, so that I can move it to my Done! folder.

Day 42 of BL was a challenge to create "bookspine poetry", that is, stack books so that their titles would make a "poem". You are supposed to read the book titles only, not the author's names.

In July, I took a quick look at our bookcases, dug up some books in English and piled them on our garden love seat. It was a 10-minute project, processing the photo took a bit longer, perhaps a quarter of an hour. I'm amazed I can make quick work of something!

Steps taken:
1 did some levels adjustment
2 added texture Pour Vous by Kim Klassen at hard light 45%
3 added frame: framing action White Frame V4 from Photographer's Toolkit 2 by WallStorm

Oh, and I read the "poem" with the following punctuation, but feel free to substitute your own.

Picture this
complete nonsense:
The hippopotamus,
birds, beasts and relatives
inside the Victorian home
discovering heraldry.
Through a glass, clearly
tears of the giraffe.

Yes, I meant it to be complete nonsense, but to me it sounded fine and made me giggle. I leave it to the reader to decide whether the poor giraffe was crying behind a window for not being included in the party or whether the whole merry bunch was raising glasses, realizing they were filled with giraffe tears. A sad story anyway, isn't it? ˆ--˜

Now off.  Must wake up the snoring dogs, kick them out and pack my stuff and dash for lessons.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

This & That

Day 41 of Beyond Layers offered two challenges that I totally enjoyed doing. Again, where I started from was not at all what Kim did, and I didn't want to create dreaminess, but used her recipe to add crispness and clarity to the photo. Here Misaki is standing at the front door, staring at me wide-eyed like she often does, asking me if I really mean what I'm telling her. So herself here, that's what she's like with her large nose and big dark eyes under the topknot.

Here's what I did to this image:
1 duplicated bg layer
2 added gradient map Pinkish by Kim Klassen, at soft light 100%
3 added a b&w gradient map at normal 30%
4 created text layer, font Shardee by Bright Ideas, applied stroke, turned fill to 19%
5 duplicated text layer, deleted stroke, turned fill back to 100%, set the text slightly off
6 flattened image & resized it for web
7 added frame: framing action Glass by Chain

The second image was an exercise in enlargening the canvas and using gradient fill. The photo is a detail of my belated birthday bouquet that I received last autumn. Since I was quite happy with the photo itself, I didn't do any processing to the actual photo, only enlarged the canvas, created and used a gradient fill and added the text. Can you tell warm orange is my favourite colour? Then I decided I'd like it better with a frame, so I made one using an action by WallStorm.

Editing steps:
1 used crop tool to make image canvas wider than original
2 created gradient fill (my own, warm orange)
3 added text layer with font La Belle Aurore by Kimberly Geswein, blending mode Vivid Light 64%
4 flattened image & resized it
5 added frame: framing action White Frame V4 from Photographer's Toolkit 2 by WallStorm

I'm very happy with both results here. Feels good to be achieving something satisfying with my pictures. And with two of my favourite photography subjects, too - dogs and flowers.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

One Little Dog, Basking

Followed Kim's recipe on Day 40 at Beyond Layers. Because the original image was so different, so was the result. Hers was a dreamy image of pastel colours, a still-life with lots of white - a notebook on white table, lilacs in a white vase next to it, some blurred greenness on the background. What she wanted to achieve was to create more warmth.

What I did was almost the opposite. I started with a picture of a pansy, but it was too different for it to benefit the least of the kind of cross-processing Kim did. I trashed the image and took up a very old one: a picture of Foxy being scratched on the sofa back in 2006, when she was a young girl. Don't ask why. Perhaps because this one at least had some very faint resemblance in colour to hers? Obviously I had to adjust Kim's recipe quite a lot again anyway, but at least this time I got some results and got the dreaminess I was looking for. And in the end, what matters is whether I get what I want out of a picture I choose, not whether the picture is like Kim's. Because my pictures just aren't.

One Little Dog, Basking

- framing action Shadow by Chain

Doesn't she look pleased? And uncannily like  her granddaughter...

Monday, 17 June 2013

Home again

Back at the computer again after a fabulous and wonderfully busy week.

On Thursday, 6th June, we left the doggies at the dog hotel and then me and M drove south to Järvenpää to attend the International Oriental Dance Festival there. M was busy, of course, first rushing off to do some dog judging training on Thursday evening and then having enrolled on altogether five courses during the weekend. For me it was a time of away-from-home-not-having-to-do-anything, in other words, holiday. We stayed at this nice peaceful hotel away from the town centre, with hares and squirrels and birds of many kinds right outside the window, and while M was on courses, I basked in the sun, listening to the birds and shooting photos and knitting. It was simply wonderful. The weather was fantastic all the time. In the evenings we went to see two Oriental Dance shows. The Friday show was something of a disappointment, and the Saturday show with 3,5 hours was simply too long, although most of the performers that day were top notch.

Schoolyard Folly
A folly or something on a schoolyard where I sat knitting in the warm sunshine. See my backpack and water bottle on the bench.

Resources used:
- texture 335 by Sirius-sdz
- framing action Simple by Chain

Then on Sunday we took the 500-odd-kilometre-drive back home, got the doggies home and I packed, since I was off again, had to be about 430 km south-west by 10 o'clock on Monday. So I got up at 3.45, drove off at 4.30 and picked my friends from the vocal ensemble up and headed southwards again, this time to a barbershop singing course.

It was another wonderful four days. We sang almost all our waking hours, when not having a meal. We worked really hard on quite a few new songs, and on our final day we gave a promenade concert of altogether nine songs. Our teachers, the barbershop quartet Carpe Diem, performed three songs in addition to ours, and it was all absolutely amazing. I just keep on hearing all the songs we sang together, they are ear-worming me one after another, and I don't mind a bit. I love it.

We drove back home on Thursday evening, singing, yes, but even more importantly, summing up our experiences from the course and planning the future.

Then on Saturday, there was another dog show to attend, this time only about 30 km from home. Me and M were working in the office, doggies travelled with us and happily snoozed in the car. It was a cool and cloudy day and we were fearing it would rain all day since that's what the weather forecasts had promised, but no. Just some drizzle early in the morning and then some in the afternoon. How lucky we were! It was only when we were driving back home that the rain began.

Now, since Sunday, I've been enjoying a flu. I'm sure I caught it from the other singers, since at least three of the tenors were ill during the course. But since I'm not working anyway at the moment, it's just a bore, nothing more. Just have to make sure I'll be ok again by the weekend, since I've promised to work in the traditional Midsummer dog show at the Arctic Circle.

At the Beyond Layers catch-up, for me it should be a week of quotes. I think I've stated before that I'm not really a quote person. At least not a great fan of inspirational quotes. Often they feel to me… either dry, flat or syrupy. Pasted-on or slightly icky. So I think I'll skip this challenge altogether.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Off stage

After a month on stage, I get back to the blog. First, there was our vocal ensemble concert & sing-along event, then in a few days, the Oriental Dance show where I was not dancing like my friends but acted as the hostess,  then a couple of weeks after that, my basic level vocal recital at the music school.

Now this is day 37 -- since the original course of Beyond Layers expired without my having time to finish it, I took on the challenge of Beyond Beyond with the access to the original BL, too. But here's a snag: MY course, BL2, was not available, so I had to take BL1. Mostly the same, but still a bit different, so I find myself going back to day 37 again. Oh well.

Anyway, here Kim gave a challenge of placing a photo inside bulky text. I had a look at this technique about a month ago, just before the concert our vocal ensemble gave this spring, so I made an "ad" of the concert for fb with the technique. I am rather pleased with the result. The picture is from our concert in 2011, and at the moment we were singing California Dreamin - which I thought was rather apt, since Kim's tutorial had California in it, too.

Vocal Ensemble Nais-Girls on stage

The original image was a video capture, awfully dark, so I processed it as follows:
- Levels adjustment preset Lighten Shadows
- Curves adjustment to cut down the yellows
- added my own texture Mute Light 01 at Screen 72%

Then I created a new document, following the tutorial, but added another layer of the same font with the words "on stage", at 66% Hard Light. That way I could display a bit more of the original picture.

- my own textures Mute Light 01 & Mute Light 02
- font Gill Sans Ultra Bold
- font Respective by Måns Grebäck

Monday, 22 April 2013

Our Newest Dandie

On day 37 of Beyond Layers, Kim gave us a recipe to try out. No texturing this time, just some Gaussian blur, light adjustments and cross processing.

Our Newest Dandie

I tried the recipe on this lovely statuette. He is our newest Dandie. He joined us at Crufts in March, where we first admired him at the stand, and then simply had to come back and give him a new home with us.

His expression is quite priceless. "Isn't this a pretty hole and I dug it all by myself!" Must really be thankful that our present pack isn't really that keen on digging. We've had some great diggers, especially Fanny, who always dug herself a hole to lie in when in the garden. Dandies can really be a gardener's happy little helpers… whether the gardener is happy afterwards, depends.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Into the Light

Here I'm posting a couple of images I worked with for day 36 at Beyond Layers. By now the ecourse is finished, except that I got myself extra time to get through all of this. I really want to finish the course, even though there are still almost 70 challenges waiting. But the way to tackle them is, naturally, one by one.

The challenge this time was to shoot into the light. When I originally took up the challenge, it was December, and shooting into the light was rather impossible, with so little light available at any time. Anyway, I managed to get  this shot of a dried-up cow parsley with snow flakes clinging to it. Then I started to follow Kim's tutorial, but had to deviate quite a lot, since my image was so different from hers.

Into the Light

- texture 3112 by Kim Klassen, masked with a sunburst brush by Rita @ The Coffee Shop Blog

Then I decided I needed an image that was at least somehow related to the whiteness of Kim's image and took a close-up of this white poinsettia we had received for Christmas. Here I managed to use both the tutorial and the textures provided so that they actually improved the original. I cut out the numbers from the overlay, though, since I didn't like them at all. But I'm really pleased with how this one turned out.

White Poinsettia

- overlay 123 by Kim Klassen
- texture Softly by Kim Klassen

Is it really any wonder it takes me so much time to get through these challenges, when I have to do at least two takes on everything? But then, if that's my way to learn, so be it.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Long time no see... well, better continue from where I left ages ago. The prompt for day 35 at Beyond Layers was about shaking things up, taking a new route… The big change at this very moment is typing this blog after such a long break, in the effort of finishing the eCourse sometime during the next two months when the material is still available.

But the sort-of-new thing I've done recently has been to rediscover old skills. I've taken up needlework again, after years and years of not touching any. Far easier than working with photos: doesn't require computer, there's hardly any brain effort needed, it's just simply relaxing, something you can do when you're in the half-braindead state you get to when you finish work late in the evening.

It started during the Christmas holidays. My friend was sitting in the armchair next to me knitting, and I was feeling restless, doing nothing next to those busy hands. I think she needed a crochet hook for finishing off something, so I went rummaging in the needlework baskets and boxes, and while I found what I was looking for I also discovered a hairpin loom. I faintly remembered having crocheted three shawls in this method ages ago, one for my mother and one for each granny, and had to go and dig on the net how you actually do it. To my great delight I found instructions and started working. To start with, I made a couple of scarves of left-over yarns, and then I actually went shopping for yarn for a new project! I ended up buying this lovely multi-coloured yarn called Peippo (Finch in English). It is actually rather heavy, meant for socks mainly, but I made a huge shawl with it.

Hairpin Lace
Here I photographed the two scarves, the loom, mother's old needlework basket, the fun yarn and the beginnings of the shawl. The photos were taken on 2nd January.

Resources used:
- background papers Road to Sunset 01 & 04 by myself
- brush from Bittbox
- template by Katie Pertiet

Will post some photos of the finished shawl later on, and other stuff I manage to make. Not if. When.