Friday, January 29, 2010


One of the things that I have noticed as I have gone through my pictures looking for photos that I would like to spend the time doing the extra editing this month is that in my pictures I've been wearing the same clothes for several years. I decided that since I basically have the material, thread, buttons, patterns and all the sewing equipment I need that I would try sewing my own clothes again. This is something I have enjoyed in the past, I like to sew and I like having clothes that are creative and one of a kind. However I found that I was having a terrible time cutting out the patterns, but fortunately I have a friend who will do that for me. Hooray for talented friends. But since it had been several years since I had sewn I decided maybe I should update my patterns and hooray for serendipity there was a sale on brand name patterns for 99cents. I sure like that price better than the regular price of between $12-15. I like it when things work out like that.
While I was at the craft store I couldn't resist looking around. A real weakness of mine. While I was looking around another stroke of serendipity; I found the stamp pictured above which I also couldn't resist. It really resonated with me and my feelings about my life. I hope that there are others that this little quote will touch like it touched me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Last Thursday as I was driving to my IVIG appointment I made a realization of a change that I have made in my life; a positive change and a long term change. The day turned out to be a day of change too. The day started out with me getting up late and dragging; it's an early morning appt. with a long drive and I ended up leaving late. I went outside into the pouring rain. I got in the car only to realize that I needed gas, so I stopped at the local gas station only to have my debit card rejected at the pump. I had to go inside where there was no problem with my card, just a waste of time outside. Then I got caught in the school bus traffic because I was late which made me later. Then I got caught in the longest line I've ever been in at the Hill St. four way stop. At which point I pulled out my camera (a change) and took a picture of the colorful truck in front of me. As I continued on my drive I realized that I was NOT upset in spite of all the aggravations of the mornings. Not too long ago I would have been upset, uptight and muttering under my breathe; but this time I was thinking oh well I'll just watch the time and if it gets too late I'll just pull over and call and let them know I'm on my way. No biggie. Pat me on the back. To top off the morning when I went to gather my things my purse fell on the floor of the car and every thing spilled out, right down to all my cards and money out of my wallet. I just picked them up and went in. No getting upset.
When I came out surprise, surprise the weather had changed. It was a beautiful sunshiny day. I took several pictures. I was really impressed with the clouds and the reflections in the windows so I paid particular attention to them. Loved the way that pic turned out. Photo taking really makes me feel good- it's good for my psyche. Not too long ago; before the photography habit I would not have noticed how wonderfully the day had changed. Another positive change for me.
On the way home I made another wonderful realization and that is that I can recognize and acknowledge these changes in my life. At one point in my life I was in a therapy group and we were asked to write down a couple of good things about ourselves. I couldn't think of a single thing. All I wanted to do was wad up the paper and throw it as hard as I could because I couldn't think of anything. Now not only can I recognize my good points, my improvements, my good changes, but I can write them down, pat myself on the back, toot my own horn, and I can do it on this blog for the world to see and read. TOOT-TOOT good for me my life is getting better, changing for the better, BIG pat on the back for me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A beautiful day for planning a garden

A beautiful sunshiny day. I've been getting all kinds of seed and gardening catalogs in the mail and I've been having fun looking through them and planning for this years gardens. Last year we had really good gardens both flower and vegetable gardens. We've had a flower garden for years, but it had been a while since we have had a vegetable garden. Tom made me a raised garden last spring so I could have fresh veggies and herbs. He made it tall enough so I would not have to get down on the ground or stoop down. It worked great. So I am excited to do another garden this year. I've gotten my little pots to start my seeds and have seeds from last year and now I've got picked out what seeds I'd like to buy. I've included just a few of the pictures I took of my two gardens from last year. My Mom's day garden that my family plants for me every Mother's Day. I love this garden, I see my flower garden every time I come and it makes me feel loved. My veggie garden gives me satisfaction in growing and eating my own home grown food and herbs. It's wonderful.
What makes this a good day for planning a garden instead of preparing a garden is the fact that I have been very sick for almost a week, which is why I haven't posted for a while. I've been trying to make some lifestyle changes and got carried away and changes even good ones cause stress and I over-stressed myself. Since I have Addison's disease I don't make stress hormones and could not cope with my self imposed changes. I was getting sicker and weaker as the week went by and by last night I was fighting going into shock and had to call Tom home from work to give me a steroid shot, it saved me an ER trip. I am still feeling dragged out even with having gotten the shot. I am still learning to listen to my body and pacing myself accordingly. I'm trying again and continuing to learn. It's something that is hard to do and with chronic medical problems even harder. I have learned not to beat myself over it and to replan so next time maybe I'll be able to handle things better and not over-stress myself next time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Migraine distraction

This edit with directions is brought to you by my migraine. I did the edit in an effort to distract myself from the pain. Got enough pain killers in me so it was tolerable but unfortunately I slept for the next day and a half. N ow I'm awake and the pain is back full force and once again I need a distraction so I'm putting down the directions. You however do not have to have a migraine to follow my directions.
Edit directions:
Picture #1 is the original I chose it because of the central figure and the bright distinct colors. But this might be a good time to use an out of focus or very blurred photo you were going to throw out.
Picture #2 I used the CPS (Corel Paint Shop Pro Ultimate-30 day free trial) curves program. I left the red, blue and green together. It looks like a graph with a diagonal line across it. Approximately 1/3 of the way across I pulled the line to the top of the graph and about 2/3 of the way I pull the line to the bottom of the graph. I adjust from there till I get the colors I like. Save the photo. For one it makes a nice pic all by itself but also because you are about to change programs. I did not like the tools on this program for smudging. Each program works a little different which is why I use so many.
Picture #3 Next I used Gimp (freeware I downloaded from I used the smudge tool set at large brush size; directions for use are across the bottom of the screen. I went across the screen at a 45* angle, covering well but not worrying about being perfect. Next I went over it horizontally than the opposite direction at a 45* angle then vertically. At this point I zoomed to 100% and taking the photo square by square and overlapping slightly I go horizontally over the whole picture this is where you work on making the whole picture smooth and work out any missed spots. Go back to 25% and check to make sure your overlaps are smooth. Save the Photo.
Picture #4 Go back to CPS go to effects, go to artist effects, go to bubbles and balls. Set bubble size to 75%. Set opacity to a low setting. Set bump map to stone. Set environment to electic. This is a fun place to play to get whatever effect you want. There are too many settings to list them all here most I left at default anyway. I then went to Picasa 3 (freeware downloaded from for text and signed it. I then went to picnic (free on the Internet, small charge for upgrade) for border. Save Photo

Monday, January 18, 2010

Song of the Heart

Even though I was in a lot of pain and not feeling well; I went to church today. I decided that if I can go to the doctors office sick and in pain and spend a couple of hours there to feel better; I could go to church sick and in pain to feel better. Believe me going to church and feeling of the spirit of the Lord and partaking of the sacrament really does much toward making me feel better.
A couple of weeks ago we had a particularly uplifting sacrament meeting. A couple of times a year we have a special meeting where the members are invited up to the podium to tell what their favorite hymn is and then we sing their favorite verse. It's truly great. In the scriptures we read "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the heart is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." My favorite hymn is "I know That My Redeemer Lives". This has been my favorite hymn ever since I was kid.


I know that my redeemer lives,
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives who once was dead.
He lives, my ever living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in times of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my souls complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessing to impart.

He lives, my kind wise heavenly friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives I'll sing.
He lives my Prophet, Priest and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives, my mansions to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh sweet, the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
~Samuel Medley~

Friday, January 15, 2010

Free trial software

I had downloaded a free trial version of Corel Paint Shop Pro Ultimate just before Christmas. It's only a 30 day trial and I've been playing around with it. At first I had a real hard time getting it to work properly and than download to my computer the results. This really cut down on my time to see what kind of editing software it contained. I downloaded this particular program because it was in my price range and it had an HDR program. I spent a day going though the effects library with the same picture to see what this program would do. I have found that even if the effects are labeled the same or are supposed to be the same every program is indeed different. There is either a difference in ease of using or of how much fine tuning is available or sometimes the effect looks entirely different. Each program has it's own set of effects also. The idea of a free trial is a real good idea, now that I know how to use it better I really like it and would like to purchase it when I get the money.
Edit notes:
Photo 1-Depth of field-Text, signature
Photo 2-Geometric effects-Circle-Text, signature
Photo 3-Artistic effect-Colored foil-Border-Text, signature
Photo 4-Reflection-Kaleidoscope #4-Adjust Brightness and Contrast-Border-Text, signature
Photo 5-Adjusted curves-Border-Text, signature
Photo 6-Reflection-Kaleidoscope #10-Adjust Brightness and Contrast-Border-Text, signature
Photo 7-Artistic effect-Colored edges-Border-Text, signature
Photo 8-Crop-Border-Text, signature

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fall trees in the rain

I used Picasa 3 to crop and sign. I used the clone tool from (freeware downloaded from to remove the lamp post.


I finally feel like I am making progress in the right direction. I accomplished more yesterday than I have in any day for months. I washed 2 loads of laundry, clipped the nails and brushed out Felicity our 100# very fluffy shedding dog. Her fur gets confused because she lives inside when it gets cold outside we turn on the heat so she sheds, she sheds puppy size hair balls. However she looks so much better when she's brushed and it keeps that hair from turning the carpet white, clogging the drains when Jeremy bathes her or keeps her from gagging up hairballs from licking herself. It needed to be done and I was glad that I was able to do it. I took some still life pics and edited a photo. I also wrote my blog. I know this does not sound like a whole lot to accomplish but for me these were MAJOR accomplishments even if I was not able to go on MSS or Facebook except to post the picture I edited. I remember when these were minor things squeezed in amongst all the other things I had to do that day.
However, there is something I realized today that make me feel great about the progress I have made. I have made great stride in my reading abilities. I used to keep anywhere from 3 to 4 books stashed around the house so that whenever I had a few minutes I had a book nearby that I could just pick up and read. I was able to keep all the plots straight and know what was going on in each book without backtracking. Then medications and fibro-fog hit. Fibromyalsia doesn't just make you hurt it also causes many other symptoms among them confusion, forgetfulness, and other mental conditions. In my case forgetfulness and confusion were real bad. At one time I ran into a friend (no I didn't hurt her ha-ha) at the store and she was in a panic because she could not remember were her car was. I had the same problem but had learned to hit the panic button on my key ring as I wandered the parking lot till I heard my car alarm go off. She thought that was a wonderful idea and it helped her calm down. It's amazing all the little coping skills one can learn to help keep oneself functioning.
My fibro-fog problem that bothered me the most was not being able to read I could not keep track of what was going on in one book much less 3 or 4. I would have to backtrack and reread many times to understand a book. So what I did was I started reading for my grandchildren more than I had in the past. In fact I didn't read hardly anything above a fourth or fifth grade level, because it was nearly impossible. Yesterday while I was taking my photos of my still lifes which was of what I am currently reading; I realized that I was reading adult books and three of them. I am reading "The Story of Pi" because Emily recommended it and was planning to read it this weekend and I wanted to be able to talk to her intelligently about it. I am rereading "The Light Fantastic" as my practice book for speed reading that Emily taught my how to do over the Holidays. You are supposed to read a book you have previously read to start out your speed reading practice. You will notice that I said I am learning to speed read quite an accomplishment even without the fibro-fog. Then I am also reading a book on perspective in drawing and I will have a picture of the book and a drawing to show you when I am done with that one.
I am so glad to have had this realization; It has definitely buoyed my spirits.
Photo edit notes:
My hands shake a lot and the book pic are done in HDR so they are pictures that are aligned and layered. The first attempt at this I could not get the pictures to line up even though I was using a tripod. I tried again using the tripod but also using the cameras timer set at 2 seconds so my hands were no where near the camera when it took the photo. This worked. I was using the free trial of Corel Paint Shop Pro Ultimate for the HDR process

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fake Lake

I have quite a few photos of sunsets that I really like, but I don't have any with lakes in them. I really love sunsets and lakes so I decided to make one.
The original that I started with is on the top. I think that it is a pretty nice sunset photo.
1-I started out using Picasa 3 (freeware) and used it to crop my picture. I wanted the tall tree to frame the right side of the photo and cropped it to the highest point. Then I saved it.
2-Next I went to MGI Photosuite 4 and went to compose and the art edit then to Mirage (other software has this feature sometimes called mirror or reflection) and placed the mirage divider at the 1/3 point on the photo. Then I saved it.
3-The next program I used was Gimp (freeware). I started out with using the pencil tool with a very small circle and yellow-white color and looked to see where a little extra highlight in the lake might be nice then using short strokes I placed the strokes where I thought they should go.
4-Then I used the smudge tool set to a much larger circle (#15) and started to smudge the lake going horizontally across the lake going up to the trees. Carefully I start pulling little bits of tree color into the lake. I get it smudged to approximately what I what it to look like.
5-Next I zoomed to 100% and slowly going from side to side going horizontally occasionally pulling down some color from above. I continue to smudge and smooth the colors until I was satisfied.
6-I zoomed back to 25% and checked to make sure I it looked the way I wanted, everything blended evenly and reflecting the sunset above (not blended to far away from where it should be)
7-Went to Picnic (free on Internet) to sign and frame it.
I always use to download my freeware.
This took me several tries and several hours to do. If you want to try it - this should save you some tries and time. Enjoy

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frustration calmed

I have been very frustrated lately almost to the point of being depressed. I have had a real hard time recuperating from this last hospital stay and illness. If I think and add up how long I've been sick or rather sicker than normal it's been over 2 months. My health has been somewhat up and down but even on the up side I've been sicker than normal. I don't know why and lately I've been getting tired of the struggle. I wish I had felt better when my family was here so I could have spent more time with them; as it was they went and did things without me. Although in some ways it was good and some of it I would have done anyway so the siblings could spend time together without Mom around. Emily and Laura have not spent time together for well over a year and it was good for them to be alone together but there were times I wish I could have joined them. Even now I'm still having really rough days where all I want to do is sleep. I had several days last week were maybe I was awake for 3 or 4 hours and even for that time I had to struggle to stay awake. I've wanted to catch up with my friends both here and on the Internet and I've felt guilty for not answering their good wishes and inquiries and because I felt guilty it made it harder to do, the old guilt cycle that does no one any good. I've also missed taking photos. Normally I can go out and take some pictures and get out of my funk, but between being sick and the cold that has not happened like I would like. To top things off our Internet connection has been iffy at best. I would be doing or trying to get caught up and the Internet would go down. Thank goodness the blog saves itself every couple of minutes so I haven't lost to much on my blog but I've lost many a photo download or comment. Anyway enough of the POM I'll tell you what I did today to pull myself out of it with the help of the Lord and my friends, my serendipity.
I woke up today not feeling well and having slept wrong on my ankle so I was in pain and having a HARD time walking, pop, pop, pop. I took care of the ankle, ice and wrap, and got my meds and breakfast. I got back into bed and read my church lessons so even though I could not go I could still get in touch with the spirit and learn what I would have learned at church. It's not as good but still MUCH better than moping and doing nothing. I felt much better after doing the reading; my spirit was lifted up by focusing on the Lord. I napped for a little while than I decided to catch up with some of my friends. I made great progress still not done but progress is being made. This helped relieve the guilt cycle. In catching up with my friends I was reminded of looking at the posted photos and commenting more than just "nice photo" which I had started to do because it's easy and fast. In doing the quick look and comment I was not getting anything out of the pictures. So today I went back to really looking at the photo and analyzing what I like about them and writing that in the comments. What a difference it made; I felt better, I learned more and those I made comments to responded so much better. I even got friend requests from out of the blue, people I'd never had contact with. Serendipity or if you put good vibes out you get good back. There was a new group started today to help with analyzing photos and being able to make meaningful comments, I was one of the first invited to join and I am really looking forward to it. Even the Internet interruptions didn't bother me as bad when the Internet went down I just edited a photo or napped. Just short naps today. The picture above is the photo I edited today.
Photo edit:
I used Corel paint shop ultimate that I download a free trial on I used the HDR edit program that comes with the complete program. This was my second try at HDR, but it still didn't seem right to me. This is a picture of a stream that drains a swamp by my house. I drove by it the day before and it was frozen, but on this day it was sunny and the swamp was thawing. As I was standing there taking the picture I could hear the ice cracking; it was very LOUD and kind of scary. I kept experimenting with the editing program and when I came across this edit my brain said that's it. In looking at it I realized that the photo edit looked like what I would think the BOOM of the ice cracking further up the swamp would look like. Again Serendipity.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fire in the sky

I've been working on using the cloning tool in the (freeware go to to download). I took out the powerline, one of the things that is distracting and since I take many of my pictures from the roadside they often appear in my photos. I think for a second attempt this came out pretty well.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

33 YEARS !!!!

Today Tom and I have been married for 33 years, which I think is quite the accomplishment. I can't imagine not being married to him anymore and our marriage just keeps getting better. However as anyone with a chronic, unpredictable disease knows just because it is a day for celebration does not mean your body will co-operate. Today due to weather changes, extra exercise yesterday and just plain unpredictability I was feeling too sick to celebrate. This is disappointing to me and I'm sure to Tom, also. One thing about a chronic illness it interrupts and causes disappointments in my own life but also in the lives of those around me. Especially my loved ones, both family and friends, which sometimes makes me feel even worse. I have spent almost all day sleeping, if I sit down I go to sleep, which actually has been kind of nice because I've also had a horrible sinius migraine and every muscle in my body hurts. Tom however has been terrific. He made me french toast for breakfast and served it to me in bed and tonight he made homemade fried chicken strips and mashed potatoes. He is really getting to be a very good cook.
I'm just putting up a pretty picture that I like, an art edit that I did before I started writing down how I did them. It is still one of my favorite photos.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January Goals

To start out the new year most people make these grandiose goals for the next year. I personally like to make monthly goal, smaller more manageable goal. I have found that if I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish for the year, for example improving my artistic talents; then the monthly goals become more specific such as I have been doing the last several months on my blog. Keeping it on a monthly basis also allows me to revise and redo without feeling guilty about messing up my goals for the year.
My two basic goals this year are to continue to develop my artistic talents and to develop healthier habits. With my artistic talents I am going back to my Dec. goals and revising them somewhat. With being sick and the hospital stay and visiting family; I did work on my goals somewhat but not enough. My priorities changed; with little energy from being sick I decided that I needed to make my family my first priority while they were here. I'm glad I did I love them all dearly and they certainly should be my first priority. However my energy level was way down so basically that's all I got done. I did do enough editing that when asked how I edited a picture I couldn't remember how I did it; so now I'm adding writing down as I go so I will remember. I've already learned from the sunrise picture above that even with knowing exactly how I edited a picture; each picture still needs to be edited in it's own way. I wanted the sunrise to look more like the waterway picture, but in following the same steps the sunrise looked horrible so I went back and revised and really like the new version so much better .My health goals for this month is to add lots more veggies to my diet. Last month I changed what I ate when I got up at night. I often get up and get the munchies and sometimes I get up in pain and have to eat with the pain killer pills and I was eating the wrong things and gaining weight. With a few simple changes at night and cutting back on the sodas and ice cream I've lost 10 pounds in the last 3 weeks and that was over the holidays. Pat on the back for me.

Photo edits:
Sunrise-Picasa 3- Crop, color temp set toward the red slightly, glow, signature
Photoscape- film effects, cross process, gradient border
Waterway- Picasa 3- Crop, Signature
Photoscape- Catoonize, cellophane, gradient border

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Finished last night

Emily brought this book with her for me to read. She is an English lit. major with a sense of humor. We both have the same slightly bizarre sense of humor and enjoy books like this, authors like Neil Gaiman, and movies such as Nightmare Before Christmas and Monty Python's Holy Grail. I enjoyed this book; it is good satire of "Pride and Prejudice" and the morals and manners of the times. One good example is that the zombies are never referred to as zombies they are unmentionables. Even the publisher has the appropriate name of Quirk Classics.
I probably would not have finished last night but I was using it as a distraction from the fibro pain. This is a good indication of how good the book is and how much I enjoyed it because if it wasn't good enough it would not have been a good distraction.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

More Christmas Jackson homes

More Christmas decorated homes from Emily and my trip to Jackson. I love these old homes.

Family Christmas

I have had lots of family visiting and between having been in the hospital and trying to recuperate from being sick and having the family visiting I have not had a lot of time to spend on the computer. Emily flew here from BYU were she is a senior. We have spend lots of time talking and getting to know each other on a different level. It is wonderful to get to know your children on an adult level. Laura is down here from Virginia with her two boys Hayden (2 1/2) and Wyatt (6 mon.). She is doing so well as a mother especially with one in his terrible twos and a little one. My house is not very well child-proofed which adds to the challenge. We now have locks on all the doors so as to limit access which helps. Benn has been down and spent a couple of nights. Of course than there's Tom, Jeremy and myself. What a houseful. We've all had a good time, but it has been stressful for all. I learned a long time ago that any change even a good change causes stress. I love them all and am glad they came and stayed. Everyone of the visiting family was gone yesterday and things are much quieter and it is nice that things are getting back to normal.

Holiday views

Took Emily to the Doctor in Jackson just before Christmas; saw this house liked it's old-fashioned charm.