A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: January 2013

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25 January 2013

The Elusive Emerald Garden Bucks the Color Trend

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I thought when I stepped outside my backdoor that the garden would be full top to bottom with emerald.  I mean, gardens are green, right?  I wanted to come up with interesting plant combinations with emerald accents, emerald shrubs to highlight yellow-green plants and emerald flowers to brighten, yet deepen the color story of bouquet.  well, the joke was on me.  You see, even though the garden does hold an abundance of green, a true emerald is hard to find.  A true emerald is found in the earth as a shiny jewel mined deep from within layers of rock.  It has shades of blue AND green in it, while it’s hue s a deeper green.  Lighter greens are actually called green beryl.  So when I stepped outside my backdoor with camera in hand, I was looking for that deep and lustrous blue-green with the tiniest hint of yellow.
I didn’t find it.

Instead I found a multitude of yellow-greens, from the chartreuse highlights on the new growth of boxwood to brilliant lime evergreens and even a pretty yellow-green berry hidden under still green leaves, there was plenty of yellow.  …but no true emerald.

DSC_1128emerald in garden amy renea against white yellowDSC_1134


















So I headed around the corner to seek out more greens and I stumbled upon a host of blue, from berries to needles to the ‘almost-but-not-quite’ emerald of the rhododendron leaves.  They were almost a tad too yellow still to be true emerald.  Disappointing really.

DSC_1133 emerald in garden amy renea blue emerald in garden amy renea rhododendron

















So I looked again and noticed that those same blueish pine needles looked more yellow when lit from above, and I noticed those green leaves took on a deeper bluish hue when contrasted with red berries instead of white and suddenly I realized that emerald WAS in the garden, but that it was just playing a little hide and seek.  For as the sun moves and our eyes wander, the greens of the garden takes on different hues.  It turns green into yellow and twists yellow into blue and somewhere, at some moment, there is true emerald.  It isn’t always there, it is illusive, but the green and yellows and the blues of garden make for a sea of emerald, if only you look closely.

emerald in garden amy renea against redDSC_1132DSC_1130















Perhaps that is why God made Emerald a jewel.  To teach us that the true beauty of color tones is only found after a hunt – after a search.  The sky is not always a beautiful red sunset and that cotton candy blue only lasts for a second.  The trees turn brilliant orange for a week or two each year, but attempt to find that color elsewhere in the garden each spring and you will be sorely disappointed.  For the garden is not a be all for every color every season.  The joy of the garden is the change and the mystery.  So don’t be disappointed this winter when you step into your garden and the trendy color of the year is no where to be found.  It is there – you just have to look – and then remember that the ever changing colors of the garden slam dunk any color trend square on its head.

For more of the hunt (and the most divine emerald garden door you’ve ever seen), you’ll want to check out my Emerald board on Pinterest!

A bunch of my blogging besties and I teamed up to showcase how you can make Emerald work for you: in your home, in your wardrobe, in your garden, and more.  Take a moment and visit one or two of these awesome ladies and say hi.  You're going to discover some new blogs to love, I'm sure of it!  Simply click on each photo below to open each post!

TakeTheColorCommittmentQuiz

10WaystoUseEmerald
EmeraldGreenChalkboard

ElusiveEmerald

The Elusive Emerald Garden Bucks the Color Trend

Pin It

I thought when I stepped outside my backdoor that the garden would be full top to bottom with emerald.  I mean, gardens are green, right?  I wanted to come up with interesting plant combinations with emerald accents, emerald shrubs to highlight yellow-green plants and emerald flowers to brighten, yet deepen the color story of bouquet.  well, the joke was on me.  You see, even though the garden does hold an abundance of green, a true emerald is hard to find.  A true emerald is found in the earth as a shiny jewel mined deep from within layers of rock.  It has shades of blue AND green in it, while it’s hue s a deeper green.  Lighter greens are actually called green beryl.  So when I stepped outside my backdoor with camera in hand, I was looking for that deep and lustrous blue-green with the tiniest hint of yellow.
I didn’t find it.

Instead I found a multitude of yellow-greens, from the chartreuse highlights on the new growth of boxwood to brilliant lime evergreens and even a pretty yellow-green berry hidden under still green leaves, there was plenty of yellow.  …but no true emerald.

DSC_1128emerald in garden amy renea against white yellowDSC_1134


















So I headed around the corner to seek out more greens and I stumbled upon a host of blue, from berries to needles to the ‘almost-but-not-quite’ emerald of the rhododendron leaves.  They were almost a tad too yellow still to be true emerald.  Disappointing really.

DSC_1133 emerald in garden amy renea blue emerald in garden amy renea rhododendron

















So I looked again and noticed that those same blueish pine needles looked more yellow when lit from above, and I noticed those green leaves took on a deeper bluish hue when contrasted with red berries instead of white and suddenly I realized that emerald WAS in the garden, but that it was just playing a little hide and seek.  For as the sun moves and our eyes wander, the greens of the garden takes on different hues.  It turns green into yellow and twists yellow into blue and somewhere, at some moment, there is true emerald.  It isn’t always there, it is illusive, but the green and yellows and the blues of garden make for a sea of emerald, if only you look closely.

emerald in garden amy renea against redDSC_1132DSC_1130















Perhaps that is why God made Emerald a jewel.  To teach us that the true beauty of color tones is only found after a hunt – after a search.  The sky is not always a beautiful red sunset and that cotton candy blue only lasts for a second.  The trees turn brilliant orange for a week or two each year, but attempt to find that color elsewhere in the garden each spring and you will be sorely disappointed.  For the garden is not a be all for every color every season.  The joy of the garden is the change and the mystery.  So don’t be disappointed this winter when you step into your garden and the trendy color of the year is no where to be found.  It is there – you just have to look – and then remember that the ever changing colors of the garden slam dunk any color trend square on its head.

For more of the hunt (and the most divine emerald garden door you’ve ever seen), you’ll want to check out my Emerald board on Pinterest!

A bunch of my blogging besties and I teamed up to showcase how you can make Emerald work for you: in your home, in your wardrobe, in your garden, and more.  Take a moment and visit one or two of these awesome ladies and say hi.  You're going to discover some new blogs to love, I'm sure of it!  Simply click on each photo below to open each post!

TakeTheColorCommittmentQuiz

10WaystoUseEmerald
EmeraldGreenChalkboard

ElusiveEmerald

22 January 2013

Chickens for Sale! One day old!

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It is chicken buying time again!  I know - I know -- it is cold outside and chicks will never survive this cold, so why on EARTH am I talking about chickens for sale?

Well, here's the thing -- rare breed chicks sell out fast, so if you want the cute ones, you have to order them NOW!  Like yesterday now!  They will run out of the cutest gals and you'll have to order your second, third, or fourth favorites, so if you want a cutey like this:

 


ORDER NOW!


I mean seriously?  Could they BE any cuter?

I buy my chickies from California Hatcheries where they not only have any chicken for sale you could dream of, but also have other poultry for sale including turkeys (turkeys!), peacocks and game birds.

Now down to the nitty gritty.  You want baby chicks, but how on Earth should you take care of them?  From downing in water pans to being swept off by a hawk to being pecked to death by older chickens, baby chicks have a  hard road ahead of them.  I'm giving you some practical tips as well as design tips over at Houzz today on how to raise those chicks up healthy and happy into adulthood!  CLICK HERE for the full article!


Pin It

Chickens for Sale! One day old!

Pin It

It is chicken buying time again!  I know - I know -- it is cold outside and chicks will never survive this cold, so why on EARTH am I talking about chickens for sale?

Well, here's the thing -- rare breed chicks sell out fast, so if you want the cute ones, you have to order them NOW!  Like yesterday now!  They will run out of the cutest gals and you'll have to order your second, third, or fourth favorites, so if you want a cutey like this:

 


ORDER NOW!


I mean seriously?  Could they BE any cuter?

I buy my chickies from California Hatcheries where they not only have any chicken for sale you could dream of, but also have other poultry for sale including turkeys (turkeys!), peacocks and game birds.

Now down to the nitty gritty.  You want baby chicks, but how on Earth should you take care of them?  From downing in water pans to being swept off by a hawk to being pecked to death by older chickens, baby chicks have a  hard road ahead of them.  I'm giving you some practical tips as well as design tips over at Houzz today on how to raise those chicks up healthy and happy into adulthood!  CLICK HERE for the full article!


Pin It

16 January 2013

Images of Parenting

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There are a few parenting images that weigh heavy on my heart.  Images that haunt me when I’m a “bad mom” and encourage me when I’m being a “good mom”.  The first is of my own mother.  I remember very vividly my mom putting together a presentation.  Even now, I don’t know what it was for, or where it was or how important it was.  This is what I remember.  My mom did something unexpected with her career and I was proud of her.

That was a new feeling for me.  You know parents are proud of their children all the time, but the other way around?  not so often.  I was in college, working in the basement of the library and my mom asked for help with her powerpoint.  For me, it was easy work, but for her, that darn power point was the stumbling block in her way towards a fabulous presentation.  I remember at the time I was a teensy bit irritated at having to do something for my mother (as if they weren't paying for my college education at the time…what a brat!), but deep under that emotion, I felt proud.  …of my mom. 

You see, my mom was a teacher all of her life.  She worked hard to get there and I should have been proud of the fact that she put herself through college with one little baby at home and one in her belly.  …but of course it took having a baby in MY belly to fully comprehend how hard that must have been.  Instead, I took it for granted that my mom was a teacher.  That is what she was the whole time I was growing up and that was her “thing”.  I didn't really consider her ambitions beyond it.  …but ambitions she did have.
She wanted to do more – she reached for a big goal – and she got it.  She got the presentation and I was proud of her.

As a mom now, I feel guilt for all the things I want to achieve.  It is a balance of leaving behind dreams, while not leaving behind myself.  I struggle with how much of myself I need to lose to be the best mom I can.  Lose all of myself and I will be the worst mother imaginable, but keep all my dreams and my kids dreams take the back burner.  When I err too far on the side of giving up all I dream of, I remember my mom and how proud I was of her.  My kids might get irritated with me now and then, but when they are old and grown, I want them to think back and have moments they are proud of me.  Just me.  My accomplishments.  Not out of love, but simply a moment that they are proud of what their mom accomplished.


Then there is the other side of the coin…   CONTINUE…

I remember a story told of a little girl (or perhaps it was a boy) that used to interrupt their father during his devotional time.   While I don’t remember the book or magazine or author or even whether the child was a boy or girl, I do remember this.  The Daddy closed his Bible, turned to his child and gave them the attention they needed.  No matter how good the thing was that the Daddy was doing, he still had time for his child.  That author remembers vividly the father that loved her enough to pull her on his lap during a moment of peace and quiet instead of shooing her away.

I’m a shooer.   When I have a thought, the words claw inside my soul for a few short minutes aching to get out.  If I don’t make it to a keyboard or a pad of paper, the words can’t stand it and fly the coop.  They are gone.  The thoughts, the direction, the whole articles goes poof! and it is gone.  So those moments of inspiration are like gold to me.  I want to hold onto them, squeeze them for all they are worth and then get back to the dailly chore and journey of mothering.  The problem is that sometimes the time my child most needs me are in those moments of inspiration.  I’m learning to let the thoughts fly some days and hold onto the little baby hearts that need my lap more than the paper needs my words.

For this I have learned:
You only have 10 years to make magic for your kids.  The art will wait.

Images of Parenting

Pin It

There are a few parenting images that weigh heavy on my heart.  Images that haunt me when I’m a “bad mom” and encourage me when I’m being a “good mom”.  The first is of my own mother.  I remember very vividly my mom putting together a presentation.  Even now, I don’t know what it was for, or where it was or how important it was.  This is what I remember.  My mom did something unexpected with her career and I was proud of her.

That was a new feeling for me.  You know parents are proud of their children all the time, but the other way around?  not so often.  I was in college, working in the basement of the library and my mom asked for help with her powerpoint.  For me, it was easy work, but for her, that darn power point was the stumbling block in her way towards a fabulous presentation.  I remember at the time I was a teensy bit irritated at having to do something for my mother (as if they weren't paying for my college education at the time…what a brat!), but deep under that emotion, I felt proud.  …of my mom. 

You see, my mom was a teacher all of her life.  She worked hard to get there and I should have been proud of the fact that she put herself through college with one little baby at home and one in her belly.  …but of course it took having a baby in MY belly to fully comprehend how hard that must have been.  Instead, I took it for granted that my mom was a teacher.  That is what she was the whole time I was growing up and that was her “thing”.  I didn't really consider her ambitions beyond it.  …but ambitions she did have.
She wanted to do more – she reached for a big goal – and she got it.  She got the presentation and I was proud of her.

As a mom now, I feel guilt for all the things I want to achieve.  It is a balance of leaving behind dreams, while not leaving behind myself.  I struggle with how much of myself I need to lose to be the best mom I can.  Lose all of myself and I will be the worst mother imaginable, but keep all my dreams and my kids dreams take the back burner.  When I err too far on the side of giving up all I dream of, I remember my mom and how proud I was of her.  My kids might get irritated with me now and then, but when they are old and grown, I want them to think back and have moments they are proud of me.  Just me.  My accomplishments.  Not out of love, but simply a moment that they are proud of what their mom accomplished.


Then there is the other side of the coin…   CONTINUE…

08 January 2013

PPP from Amy Renea | Topic: Vignette

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ppp button 500
It’s time to talk vignettes!  …and no, it is not the profile vignettes (PS - check back here for some cool charcoal ones later this month!) that are all the rage right now.  No, we are talking about a slight darkening around the edges of a photograph.

Interestingly enough, the word vignette is from the root word "vine" and referred to a border of vines around text in ancient books.  Photography adopted the term to mean a darkening of the edges while the center of the photo stays bright.  The effect can be made in camera, but is most often added in Photoshop (and other editing programs) or by "burning" the edges on film.

Confused?  Don't be - it is quite simple!

Let’s take a look at this photo of the oh-so-beautiful Kathleen of Grosgrain Fabulous.  This photo is technically a good photo, but it could use a little polishing.  At first glance, I like the color balance, but feel the center could use a little more light and the drama could be heightened by adding a little vignette around the outer edges.  I will probably also smooth out the skin just a tad and add the slightest pop of contrast and light to the eyes.
vignette 1

First things first though – let’s tackle that vignette.

The polishing actions (get your FREE Action Download HERE!) are very slight adjustments meant to be used several times on top of one another to get the desired look.  So look at the photo above (the original) and then the one below (ONE “darken the edges” click).  It is a barely noticeable difference isn’t it?  You might think that is odd considering most actions go crazy overboard and you have to dial the opacity down.  I’m approaching this from the opposite angle.

Consider hemming a dress.  It is much easier to take a dress IN that is a little big, than to let out a seam and attempt to make a smaller dress bigger.  Why?  When you let out a small seam to make the garment larger, there are often small damages to that interior fabric from sewing.  Go the opposite direction (large garment to small) and you don’t have to worry about that problem.

That is the same idea with these actions.  Press the button once and you get the slightest polishing effect.  Press it again and the effect is greater.  Press it again and again and again and THERE – perfect. 

vignette 2

Let me show you….

See the photo below?  Now I have darkened the edges 4 clicks.  See the difference in the corners from the first, original photo to this one?

vignette 4

After 7 clicks, the vignette looks like this:
vignette 7

At 7, the effect is just a bit overdone.  Notice how the photo starts to pull and look rounded?  I don’t want that “pulled”, forced look, so for this particular photo, 4-6 clicks of ‘Darken the Edges’ is just perfect.

Now it is time to lighten!

Sometimes, instead of deepening the edges and pulling the viewer in, you want to lighten the edges and make a sense of the photo pulling away a bit, almost a heavenly type of effect.  This effect goes overdone even more quickly than darkening, so beware!

lighten 1

The photo above is lightened 1 click ‘Lighten the Edges’ while the photo below has been clicked 4 times.  Notice that Kathleen’s shoulder in the lower photo is actually turning a bit bluish white.  That is the cue to STOP.  When whites start to turn blue, you’ve gone too far!  Step back until those white are white again, around 2 clicks for this particular photo.

lighten 4

Now it is time to learn the effect yourself.  Open up your photo-editing program and away we go!

How to create this effect in Photoshop CS5:
Open the photo>Click Filter> Lens Correction >Custom

grid amy renea vignette PPP

You will now have a grid open and various options on the right side.  Go down to ‘vignette’ and slide the ‘lightness’ and ‘darkness’ sliders up and down to get the desired effect. Click OK. Your photo will pop back up in the normal photoshop screen and the filter will run automatically.

vignetting amy Renea photography primer polish PPP

Want to skip all the work?  Download the FREE PPP Actions from Amy Renea and simply click “darken the edges” and “lighten the edges” however many times you need to until your photo is perfectly polished!

How to create this effect in PicMonkey:
Open your photo in Picmonkey .
Click the little beaker on the left toolbar  and scroll down to ‘darken the edges’.
Press the button and then PLEASE please adjust the sliders and FADE the effect!  It is WAY too strong with the initial action!


Questions?  Just ask!
Want to say thanks for the tutorial?  Then Pin or Stumble it using the buttons to the left.  I thank you!!!

Want the rest of the posts in this PPP series?  CLICK HERE!

PPP from Amy Renea | Topic: Vignette

Pin It

ppp button 500
It’s time to talk vignettes!  …and no, it is not the profile vignettes (PS - check back here for some cool charcoal ones later this month!) that are all the rage right now.  No, we are talking about a slight darkening around the edges of a photograph.

Interestingly enough, the word vignette is from the root word "vine" and referred to a border of vines around text in ancient books.  Photography adopted the term to mean a darkening of the edges while the center of the photo stays bright.  The effect can be made in camera, but is most often added in Photoshop (and other editing programs) or by "burning" the edges on film.

Confused?  Don't be - it is quite simple!

Let’s take a look at this photo of the oh-so-beautiful Kathleen of Grosgrain Fabulous.  This photo is technically a good photo, but it could use a little polishing.  At first glance, I like the color balance, but feel the center could use a little more light and the drama could be heightened by adding a little vignette around the outer edges.  I will probably also smooth out the skin just a tad and add the slightest pop of contrast and light to the eyes.
vignette 1

First things first though – let’s tackle that vignette.

The polishing actions (get your FREE Action Download HERE!) are very slight adjustments meant to be used several times on top of one another to get the desired look.  So look at the photo above (the original) and then the one below (ONE “darken the edges” click).  It is a barely noticeable difference isn’t it?  You might think that is odd considering most actions go crazy overboard and you have to dial the opacity down.  I’m approaching this from the opposite angle.

Consider hemming a dress.  It is much easier to take a dress IN that is a little big, than to let out a seam and attempt to make a smaller dress bigger.  Why?  When you let out a small seam to make the garment larger, there are often small damages to that interior fabric from sewing.  Go the opposite direction (large garment to small) and you don’t have to worry about that problem.

That is the same idea with these actions.  Press the button once and you get the slightest polishing effect.  Press it again and the effect is greater.  Press it again and again and again and THERE – perfect. 

vignette 2

Let me show you….

See the photo below?  Now I have darkened the edges 4 clicks.  See the difference in the corners from the first, original photo to this one?

vignette 4

After 7 clicks, the vignette looks like this:
vignette 7

At 7, the effect is just a bit overdone.  Notice how the photo starts to pull and look rounded?  I don’t want that “pulled”, forced look, so for this particular photo, 4-6 clicks of ‘Darken the Edges’ is just perfect.

Now it is time to lighten!

Sometimes, instead of deepening the edges and pulling the viewer in, you want to lighten the edges and make a sense of the photo pulling away a bit, almost a heavenly type of effect.  This effect goes overdone even more quickly than darkening, so beware!

lighten 1

The photo above is lightened 1 click ‘Lighten the Edges’ while the photo below has been clicked 4 times.  Notice that Kathleen’s shoulder in the lower photo is actually turning a bit bluish white.  That is the cue to STOP.  When whites start to turn blue, you’ve gone too far!  Step back until those white are white again, around 2 clicks for this particular photo.

lighten 4

Now it is time to learn the effect yourself.  Open up your photo-editing program and away we go!

How to create this effect in Photoshop CS5:
Open the photo>Click Filter> Lens Correction >Custom

grid amy renea vignette PPP

You will now have a grid open and various options on the right side.  Go down to ‘vignette’ and slide the ‘lightness’ and ‘darkness’ sliders up and down to get the desired effect. Click OK. Your photo will pop back up in the normal photoshop screen and the filter will run automatically.

vignetting amy Renea photography primer polish PPP

Want to skip all the work?  Download the FREE PPP Actions from Amy Renea and simply click “darken the edges” and “lighten the edges” however many times you need to until your photo is perfectly polished!

How to create this effect in PicMonkey:
Open your photo in Picmonkey .
Click the little beaker on the left toolbar  and scroll down to ‘darken the edges’.
Press the button and then PLEASE please adjust the sliders and FADE the effect!  It is WAY too strong with the initial action!


Questions?  Just ask!
Want to say thanks for the tutorial?  Then Pin or Stumble it using the buttons to the left.  I thank you!!!

Want the rest of the posts in this PPP series?  CLICK HERE!

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