You’re In The Digital Age, Baby!

One of the fun things about digital photography, is that you get to see immediate results of your photo. You’re in the digital age baby, so no more using those old film cameras, finishing off a roll, rewinding, then taking them to get developed, then wait to pick up your pics. Boy have a lot of things changed since I was younger.

Popart Effect Used

Popart Effect Used

This is the normal photograph

This is the normal photograph

I love it how I can take a photo, plug my USB cord into my laptop and upload my pics within seconds. Now that is satisfaction!

One of the other great things about being in the digital age, are all of the photo editors that are available to us online. I use quite a few of them to enhance my photographs, and they are free to use. The majority of them do have subscriptions that you can pay for that give you access to more awesome effects, but most of the time, you can get the effect & enhancement you are looking for without having to pay a dime.

The one photo editor that I am currently using is called BeFunky. As with all the other photo editors out there, BeFunky gives you a plethora of choices to enhance your photo, add text, photo frames, and much more.

Using a photo editor gives you lots of options that you can use on your blog:

  • Enhance your photo from normal to black & white, or sepia to give it that nice aged look
  • Special effects can be added to make your photo look like an oil painting
  • Got a blemish? Your photo editor can erase that!
  • Want a tan without the harmful rays of the sun? Yep, your photo editor can give you a golden tan too!
  • Want to make a header for your blog? You can do so with a photo editor
  • Ever want to create a widget for your blog? You can resize a photo to 300 x 300 and add it to your sidebar as a widget
  • Adding text to a photo is a breeze too
  • Ever want to create a watermark to add to your photos with your blogs name? You can use a photo editor to do this too
DSC_0195

This is the normal photograph

 

This is the enhanced photograph (Impressionist Effect used)

This is the enhanced photograph (Impressionist Effect used)

Now, with all of these great enhancements you have at hand, why are you still placing thumbnail sized photographs on your blog? Show off your photographs on your blog!! When you upload them for your posts, use the LARGE size option (584 x 388), and center them on the page!

I have seen so many blogs still using those thumbnail sized pics and while yes, we are actually reading what you write in your blogs, we also want to see the photographs too! So ENLARGE them on your next post, everyone will thank you!

The one last thing that I want to touch on is how do you store your digital photographs? I used to just have a file folder on my laptop where I saved, well….every photo I ever took. Then came the day that I was looking for a specific photo and could not find it. I needed to do something about that! I pain-stakingly went through each and every photo by date and moved them into a) year folder (2015, 2014 etc.), and then inside each of the year folders I created b) by month folders (January, February etc.).  Now, if I needed to find a photograph that happened last July (like my birthday pics), I can find them in a flash! (all I would need to do is click on the 2014 folder, then open up the July folder)

So there you have it, my quick down & dirty photo editing tips for the day! What are you going to tweak today?

A Is For Answers

Here are the answers to the little gardening plant quiz in my post “G Is For Gardening”, just in case you were wondering if your guesses were correct or not!

A IS FOR ANSWERS

If you head back to my “G Is For Gardening” post, and look at our plants, the answers are as follows in correct order:

  1. Tomatoes (Juliet and Big Boys)
  2. Romaine Lettuce
  3. Marigolds
  4. Cilantro
  5. Celery
  6. Flat Dutch Cabbage
  7. Zucchini
  8. Cucumber

So, how many of these plants were you able to identify? Yes it is true, that some plants like the pumpkin, do look like the zucchini, so it can be hard to identify those that are that close to being identical. I added the marigolds in there to fool you a bit, but marigolds should be planted in your garden to ward off bugs on your plants. So by planting a row of marigolds around your garden, you will be helping out your plants, not to mention the beauty of the marigolds blooming will look beautiful around your garden!

I hope you had fun with this little garden plant quiz, so look forward to some more interesting quizzes as the gardening season continues!

Fixing Winter Messes

When one season ends, another one starts. Hopefully our Winter has finally left us and Spring and regrowth can start, although we woke to find the ground lightly covered with snow on Saturday. But the good news is that we can see that the grass is slightly getting greener day by day and the temps are slightly climbing.

With the arrival of a new season, there is always things that need attention from the aftermath of the prior season. With no doubt, we had a horrible winter and we are so happy to say a final farewell to it. With Winter finally behind us (I hope), I can finally start getting out in the yard to get it all fixed up.

FIXING THE LAWN

The first thing on my agenda is getting the lawn back into shape. Since my infamous poop pit was dug out in the snow for the dogs, it left me a huge spot in the backyard that is crying for my attention. The nice green grass that was once so nice and plush, is now burned out and dead. I know that this is what I have to deal with when Spring arrives, so I am not overwhelmed by this task, rather all I need is a few bags of good soil and a huge bag of grass seed to get the job done, not to mention my handy rake.

FIXING WINTER DAMAGE

Getting the lawn back to “normal” doesn’t really take that much time at all. I spread the soil all over the spots that need it, fill in any dips in the lawn to level it out, then lay a good layer of grass seed over it. Then I wait. I don’t have to water the seed normally at this time of year because it usually rains enough so I don’t have to waste our garden water. And, before you know it, you can see the seed germination in process and then one day you walk outside and notice that the once yellowed pee spots are now all nice and green.

BACKYARD LAST YEAR

Here’s a photo of how I got our backyard back into shape last year after our Winter ended. What a difference, right? See, it can be fixed!

FIXING THE GARDEN GATE & FENCE

After I fix the lawn, the garden gate and fence is in dire need of my attention. With the melting of our snow and rain we have had, it has made the ground really soaked, so the garden poles that hold up the gate and fence have moved quite a bit.

GARDEN DOOR AND FENCE

I am planning on building a new garden door and make it a bit wider. I found out the hard way that I could not get the wheelbarrow through the door of the garden after I made the door a few years ago, so I am going to fix that problem this year.

I have done extensive research on Pinterest for garden fences and gates, and I think I know what I am going to do. I will keep you in the dark though on what I am going to do!

One thing for sure that I am going to be using this year to fix our garden fence are these things called EZ Spikes from Home Depot. They are long metal spikes that go into the ground and then you insert your wood into the spike and secure it with screws. These will hold the fence in place nicely.

EZ SPIKES

Check out a few of my Pinterest Boards here for inspiration:
Privacy Fences
Garden Fences
Flower Containers

FLOWER CONTAINERS

After working on all of the above, my next fun project will be creating new flower containers to add some height and interest in our backyard. I saw on Pinterest where you can purchase some nice flat stone or slate pieces, glue them together with some sort of cement adhesive, then just fill them with dirt and plants! I would have never thought of this idea ever before, but what a great idea it is! Since these would be heavy, I would suggest that you build them where you want them in your yard first because I bet you won’t be able to pick them up afterwards. Aren’t they just beautiful?

SLATE FLOWER CONTAINERS

We only have to wait to get the right weather conditions so I can head outside and get to work on the backyard whipping it back into shape. In no time at all, all will be good in the backyard and harmony will resume. Just in time for grilling season because I know my Sweetie can’t wait to enjoy his time in front of the grill!

What plans do you have on your plate to get your yard back into shape? What have you been putting off fixing in your yard that you should put on your to do list?

G Is For Gardening

Yes it is true that “G” is for gardening, but it is also for germination, growth, and green!

G IS FOR GARDENING

Our plants are coming along nicely under the warmth of the grow lights, their safe little haven in their seed cells.

Some of the plants have already been transplanted into larger pots, due to their fast rooting systems, and need the extra room in a larger pot to expand their growth. While the other plants are still growing, their roots are still not yet to the stage of being transplanted. Wonder how I check if they are ready to be transplanted? I take a small thin butter knife and slide it down the side of the seed cell, then slightly pull up the soil around the plant. If I see roots all around the sides, it is ready to be transplanted, if not, I drop it back into the seed cell and check on it at a later date.

One thing when starting your plants indoors yourself, you don’t want to disturb the growth of the plant until it is ready. Plants are tender and need lots of love and attention to grow into a nice sized plant.

Also, you never want to over water your small plants either. Watch their leaves! Their leaves will tell you everything. If they are yellow, they are getting too much water, but some plants require that their soil is always moist, but this is something that you learn when you have been a gardener for awhile. If you are just starting out, I would suggest that you water your plants in small amounts until you learn the best amount of water that they need.

One last important note when starting your plants indoors, is to check on them many times during the day, and once again before you head to bed. Since the grow lights stay on 24/7 until the plants get bigger, you need to always make sure that your plants soil does not dry out. Once the plants get transplanted because their root systems are in need of a larger pot, this is the time to get your plants used to “sleeping”. By sleeping, I mean that you turn your grow lights off for a certain amount of time, which tells the plants that they need to learn how to sleep. Then you turn the lights back on for a few more hours, but this step is only done when your plants have been transplanted and are getting bigger in growth.

How well do you know your garden plants? Can you name the eight plants below? 

4-2-15 t

4-2-15 r

4-2-15 m

4-2-15 ci

4-2-15 ce

4-2-15 ca

4-2-15 z

4-2-15

Do you think you named all eight plants properly? As always, we love sharing our gardening experiences with you!

Pay It Forward

This edition of Pay It Forward is very special. A good friend of ours is a police officer in our town and his birthday was this past Sunday, which he had to work. We wanted to do something awesome for him on his special day and since we knew he was working, we went to work immediately on our surprise.

MARCH 29 2015 SIMPSONS BIRTHDAY

During the week, I hand drew a police car onto cardboard from a photo I took and tried to recreate this vehicle. It took a few times to get the portions correct, but I finally got it just right.

PAINTING POLICE CAR

I went to work painting the cardboard police car and matching the gray color of the actual car. This was supposed to be a fun little gift for him that he would not expect. I got the windows painted, 911 on the back side, and even made sure that the front of the car had the push bar too! I think it turned out awesome for my first attempt.

POLICE CAR OUTSIDE

We also found out that our other friend who is on the force was working as well, and we decided that we would do something special for both of them. So, we pulled out the grill and cooked dinner for them! We made hamburgers and hot dogs, homemade french fries & beans for them for dinner. We texted them when everything was ready and they pulled up in front of the house to get their warm dinner. These guys were so appreciative of our generosity, it was overwhelming!

Before they left to eat, we handed them both a brown bag filled with snacks and something to drink while they continued on with their shift. I even wrote on the banannas in their bag too “backup pistol”! They chuckled when they saw that!

We take care of our guys in blue because they risk their life everyday on the job keeping our town safe, and we want them to know that we appreciate all that they do.

GIFTS

But, before our friend left we handed him the hand painted cardboard police car, a gift basket with birthday presents, balloons, and even a cake, which he picked up after work.

SIMPSONS CAKE

Paying It Forward is really fun to do because the look on their faces was priceless.

A great big thanks for our friends over at Pig Love for being involved in the Pay It Forward program with us, because without them, none of this would be possible! What have you done to Pay It Forward?

Taking Care of Our Future Produce

Nine days. It’s been nine days, from a seed to a little sprout, that’s all it took. Well, for some of our plants. Each seed we have planted has some sort of action going on with them, each germinate and grow at different rates.

ZUCCHINI 3-15-15

Obviously, the zucchini plants are growing up nicely! They are already getting secondary leaves! At this rate, I will be transplanting them into bigger pots soon.

CUCUMBERS 3-15-15

The cucumbers are standing at attention and coming along nicely too. Secondary leaves are starting on them as well.

BIG BOYS AND JULIETS 3-15-15

I love watching our little tomato plants grow. I love how they go through so many stages and right now, they are in the lanky stage, but they are coming along nicely. I love that the stems look furry, but my favorite part of growing tomatoes is when I touch the leaves and get that “tomato” smell aroma!

PUMPKINS 3-15-15

I think our pumpkins have taken some drugs! OMG, I can’t believe how big they have grown in nine days! Geez!  Big secondary leaves have already formed and they are definitely ready next week to be transplanted into bigger pots!

ROMAINE 3-15-15

Finally, we are starting to see little baby Romaine sprouts popping up! Oh how I can’t wait to watch them grow!  We planted Romaine lettuce for the first time last year, and definitely loved it! Romaine is so much better than regular leaf lettuce for sure! If you have never tried growing Romaine, you should consider it!

CELERY 3-15-15

Today, we got our first sight of some of our celery popping up. We love celery! This will be our first time ever that we have attempted to grow celery, so this will be quite an adventure for us.  I remember when we first tasted a celery stalk from a gardener friend of ours a few years ago, and when he told us to taste it, it tasted like it already was lightly salted. It was so awesome to munch on that piece of celery that day, and we have always wanted to try growing some of our own, so this year will be an awesome adventure.

We still have more plants that are coming along, germinating at their own slow pace, but that is how you roll when you start your own seeds indoors. Everything just does not pop up at the same time, they all grow individually, at their own pace. And, like I have mentioned before, we always plant extra seeds just in case some of the seeds don’t germinate, but if all the seeds do, then we’ll have extra.

Nothing is wrong with having too much fresh produce, right?

Wordless Wednesday

Nothing escapes the dogs around here, not even this guy who decided to sit on top of the garage to drive the dogs crazy.

SQUIRREL

OMG, can you see how full this guys belly is? He must have been storing his nuts over the winter for sure! Time to get on the treadmill little man, or I can open the back door and the dogs can chase you!

SQUIRREL2

What do your doggies see outside the window that drive them crazy?

Seed To Green In Three Days

One of the most exciting parts of gardening is watching your plants grow, the other is eating what you grew! I know that we are a long way off to picking any veggies yet, but I can dream of them being in my belly!

GREEN SEEDLINGS 3-10-15

Late Friday afternoon I finally got all of our seeds planted. When I checked in on them on Monday, I was shocked at what I found! I saw “green” and lots of green under the seed cell clear covers! I was doing a happy dance in the laundry room.

CUCUMBERS 3-10-15

As you scroll through these photographs, you can see that some seeds germinate quicker than others. Don’t fret, if you are watching & waiting for yours to sprout, just give them time!

PUMPKINS 3-10-15

Another thing that I love about watching our plants grow, are the shapes they form while popping out of the soil. I get so excited when I see the secondary leaves forming too.

JULIET TOMATO 3-10-15

This is the first Juliet Tomato that popped up, and although it looks like a little green stick now, this baby (once grown) can produce tons of tomatoes!

CABBAGE 3-10-15

I love watching our cabbage plants grow, because when they are little, their leaves always remind me of little hearts, and I love hearts!

BIG BOY TOMATOES 3-10-15

This little Big Boy Tomato plant has just emerged from the soil, reaching for the warmth of the grow light.

ZUCCHINI 3-10-15

The zucchini plants look a lot like a cucumber or a pumpkin when they are small, and this is one of the reasons I always keep our plants labeled.

When we start our gardening season, it is always started indoors while the outdoors is still cold & snowy. I always get a nice workout throughout the day, and every day, as I run up and down our stairs to check in on the plants. When the plants get a lot bigger, the grow lights will be shut off at night so the plants can start learning how to sleep, but that is awhile away for them now. Right now, they need the warmth of the grow lights for germination & growth.

I just realized that I forgot to mention all of the veggies that we will have in our garden this year. They are as follows:  9 Juliet Tomatoes, 9 Big Boy Tomatoes, 9 Colossal Peppers, 9 Red Peppers, 9 Zucchini, 18 Romaine Lettuce, 9 Flat Dutch Cabbage, 18 Cucumbers, Celery and we will also be planting those Loofah Seeds too!  Just so you know how gardening works for us, not all of these plants will be planted in the garden, as we always start & germinate more seeds than needed just in case.

What are you going to grow this year?