Friday, February 15, 2013

Ugly Sketch 1-15: 4 Winter

I feel tremendous pressure to have a catchy first line with all the spelling, grammar and punctuation correct.  You see, this first line (as well as the first image) gets posted on my Facebook timeline as soon as I hit the "Publish" button.  While the rest of the post can fade away in anonymity, that first line (and image) might actually get seen.  That's a lot of pressure.

At any rate, it's the 15th of the month and I've got my Ugly Sketch layout to share:

It's funny how looking at the jpg version of these adds a new perspective.  This is true to the sketch, yes, but seeing it now, I'd like to have something to ground the three journaling blobs.  Or maybe just moving that bottom one up would help.  Hmmm.  

And here's the original sketch for comparison:
I'll be honest. This is an awful sketch. You don't have to be a really great scrapbooker to see that. But it's a start, right?  I'm sort of impressed with how well the actual layout turned out in spite of the sketch. 

And yet, still...those arrows still bug me.

Here's the sketch for March 1st:
I think this sketch has better bones.  :)

I used a stylus that we sell for drawing this - made it SO much easier to control.  Trying to do this with just my chubby finger made me question my fine motor skills.  This isn't exactly high art here, but at least it wasn't as frustrating as last month's was.

That border isn't supposed to be crooked, but I like it.  Expect to see that tilt exaggerated in the actual layout.

Last night Ted (my 14 year old) found out I have a blog.  It's not that I was hiding it, but I usually work on it late at night or occasionally from work between customers.  So he was scrolling through quickly, and asked with the most sincere incredulity "Mom, you wrote all that?!" and when I nodded yes he said laughingly "You're such a nerd!"  I love my kids. :P

So in the interest of staying wordy and nerdy, I have one more thing to add today.

Same layout, taken with two different cameras. The reason I'm putting them side by side and showing them to you is I wanted to talk a minute about barrel distortion.  The picture on the left was taken with a Nikon P7000, which is a top of the line point and shoot camera.  It retailed for $500.  It's my "pocket" camera - although nothing I own has pockets big enough for it, it's only a pocket camera when compared to my D7000.  And honestly, I love this camera.  The color in the left hand picture is actually truer than the colors in the picture on the right.  But what I wanted to point out was the way the picture on the left bows out in the middle.  It the photography world, that's referred to as barrel distortion, and you can see why - the sheet of cardstock here has a distinct whiskey barrel shape to it.  The distortion exists in most non-telephoto lenses, to some degree or another, at some focal lengths.  In more 'real world' shooting instances you'd have a harder time noticing it, but trying to take pictures of something that is very straight and rectangular - it's hard to hide that imperfection.  But look at the picture on the right.  I'm at work today, and I threw my P7000 in my bag to take this picture here (my store has really beautiful natural light), but I just couldn't get the layout to flatten out in Photoshop.  So I decided to reshoot it with one of the store's cameras.  I picked up the D600 because it has the Tamron 24-70 lens on it.  To be honest, I'm not in love with the D600 - it has one feature that just makes me batty.  But I am in love with the Tamron 24-70 lens, and this shot shows why.  Look at how straight those edges are!  Both shots are straight out of the camera with the exception of levels correction (to correct the exposure) and cropped in as you see here - but no attempt was made to 'fix' the barrel distortion on either.  I think that the one on the right is fantastic.

And here's an interesting tidbit. I have no idea how these images look to you (dear reader) color-wise. I just calibrated my monitor less than a week ago.  (That's a lie. My personal IT and manfriend calibrated it less than a week ago, while performing many magic tricks that healed my computer of several deadly diseases)  As I sit here and look at the images above, I'm not overly impressed with the color on either.  The one on the right appears to be too blue, the one on the left appears too green.  In both cases I did a custom white balance reading before taking the pictures - I'm kind of a stickler about that.  So that neither color is what I think it should be - that's very disappointing to me.  I turned my computer so that my fellow coworker (and fellow camera nerd) and explained my findings to her. She responded with "I think the one on the right is truer to the real life colors."  When I adjusted my monitor for her viewing angle she said "Oh, yeah, now I see the blue green difference!"  But when I turned it back and changed the angle for me, I put it at yet a different angle, wherein the one  on the right looked amazingly accurate. This digital stuff is tricky!

BTW, that Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 lens?  A bargain at $1200.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

love u.

Have you noticed? Today is Valentine's Day.  It's everywhere.  Love and hearts and pink and red and flowers and chocolate and all things romance.

I'm not with m'honey today.  He's sort of busy today. :)  And that's a good thing.  But I did mail him a card - which is CRAZY, because I am horrible about actually putting things in the mail. But I digress.

It's simple.  It's guy friendly. It's graphic. 

I love the scripty love word.  Love.

And the inside? I like that.  I made it - which isn't rocket science or anything.  But I'm not super creative, so the idea of putting those words with the arrow and welding together feels like whoa, I'm a design genius. :P  Not really, but I like to pretend.

And now, I have to dash.  It's Ian's (my oldest) birthday, and dinner is just about ready.  Thanks for stopping by.  Check back in the next day or two for the ugly sketch layout.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Music Videos...against my better judgement

Maggie asked for a mix CD for Christmas.  I can't adequately express how cool it is to have a teenager say that they like your offbeat taste in music so much that they want it (period) or enough to make it a Christmas gift. The one I made for her is my favorite ever (that I've made) and it went over very well - Maggie really liked it, too, which of course made me very happy.

In honor of the Grammy's tonight I'm going to share as many of the videos here as I can.  I haven't watched them all.  This maybe a bad idea.  But I have seen some, and they're catchy, funny, well we'll hope for the best on the others.

Disclaimer: This is a mix made for a 19 year old.  There's some inappropriate language...namely a bunch of f-bombs.  Oops.  Turn back now if that offends.

Skylar Grey: C'mon Let Me Ride

Sam and the Womp: Bom Bom 

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Thrift Shop

The Avett Brothers: Kick Drum Heart

Philip Philips: Home

Mumford and Sons: I Will Wait

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Same Love

The White Stripes: My Doorbell

Stephen Lynch: Beelz

Chrisette Michele: Best of Me

Imagine Dragons: It's Time

Flo Rida: I Cry

Pop Danthology 2012

Passion Pit: Take a Walk

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros: Home

This isn't the exact order.  And boy, I do believe that matters.  But alas, &%$# iTunes jumbled up as soon as I burned it.  Goofy iTunes.  At any rate,  I hope you heard a song or two you liked.  Or at the very least,  you don't think less of me for my goofy taste in music that might have some naughty language in it. 

Thanks for stopping by.  It's the 10th, so I'll have an ugly sketch-inspired layout for you at the end of the week.  Laters!

Friday, February 1, 2013

What I see

There she is.  Ugly Sketch 1-15: 2-1. This isn't my favorite so far.  I think there's something about doing layouts about men that requires that you reign it in, no frou-frou, colors have to be muted, embellishments kept to a minimum.  I think that part of my issue here is what you don't see - we were shooting at Squire's Castle and we were up to our knees in snow.  So for a solid hour I was dinking around with white background paper, light blue patterned paper, snow flakes...and none of that looked right with the picture.  For the second hour, I got sucked into watching The Unite States of Tara on Netflix, so solving the pressing what-paper-to-use dilemma faded off into the distance.  Eventually I snapped to and came up with the combo you see here.  The weird misting on the bottom is my nod to the wintry mix you don't see in the picture.  The next dilemma was the title.  I had already set myself on "What I see" but for some reason I was stuck on cursive.  And not just a handwriting type script, but scroll-y and flowing and formal.  Yeah. That did not work. I finally occurred to me that I needed to bring it down a notch.  I need to find some good, but casual handwriting cursive fonts.  And then I need a way to organize them, so I'm not wasting so much time looking for what I've got in mind.  If you have suggestions for that, or want to point me in the direction of a blog post or pin that could help me with that, by all means, leave me a comment.

Boy. These things just keep getting uglier and uglier. Yikes.

The thought here is that the three squares are Instagram shots.  The rectangles are corresponding journalling boxes, and the arrows are way to connect which picture goes with which box.

I might need to look into a way of making these a little less ugly and a little more accurate at conveying what I'm thinking.  But to be honest, this is meant to be quick and dirty, I'm not looking for a book deal, just something that keeps me scrapping a little here and there.

Looks like I'll see you in a couple of weeks.
Unless I manage to do something share worthy before then.  I've kind of got a hankering to do a mustard stain t-shirt...haven't been able to shake that thought. Maybe one of these days...