I bought a new book today and just had to try out some things in it using Photoshop Elements . I used Feathering, the Gaussian Blur Filter, Impressionist Brush and layers. I took my original photo and applied Feathering and the Gaussian Blur Filter to blur everything but the American Horse. Then I created a new file and used the Impressionist Brush and painted a background with various colors. Then I brought in the American Horse with about 90% opacity just so I could get a little bit of the background effect. Next step was creating another layer, used the rectangle marque tool to create a frame and inverted the selection. The paint bucket tool was used to fill the "frame" with a color I had selected from the American Horse. Not sure I am 100% satisfied but it's a learning experience. I see that red shirt needed to be toned down.
"Spend a semester in Spain." "Acquire the world's largest shoe collection." "Lose five pounds." These are some of the life dreams young Vicki Brightman and her best friend Rebecca giddily scribble on a paper tablecloth one night at the Till Midnight Cafe. A charmed childhood and a semester of college behind her, Vicki thought she had all the time in the world to pursue her own sweet pleasures. But a single event later that night shocks Vicki into putting aside her "to-do" list and confronting her mortality. The ensuing six-month journey -- at times harrowing, uplifting, and enlightening -- send Vicki to a remote island, Spain, and deep into her soul. Her experiences and the colorful strangers she meets -- a happy-go-lucky Spaniard named Nacho, the ever-charming but mysterious Rafael, a courageous matador, a saucy senora -- challenge her views and alter the dreams she once held dear on her list. This novel has all the elements that readers have come to love from Christine Lemmon, namely life-changing moments that demand women re-examine their priorities and live life with gusto.
This book took a little while to get moving but by the 2nd half I could not put it down. One of the reasons I bought this book was that two of the places the Vicki lived was Holland, MI and Sanibel Island, FL. Holland is close to me and I've been to Sanibel Island. I found the book in a gift shop in Fort Myers, FL.
The author states at the beginning of the book that she did not have an editor and had self-published it. That shows occasionally in the book but it didn't bother me because I had been warned by the author.
Since Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times announced her Whatcha Reading? I've really started reading more. In fact, I've read 2 books in less than a week. Violets in March: A Novel is my 2nd book. Finished it tonight after starting it Friday. It was a page turner. Following is what Amazon said about it.
A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its
anonymous author. In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the
world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of
GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.
Ten years later,
the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites
her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily
accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily
discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling
connections to her own life.
A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting
and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio
as a writer to watch. Here's my additional 2 cents worth:
It's a story within a story. The reader gets to read the diary along with Emily. It got a little confusing with a lot of names starting with an E but I was able to finally keep them all straight. The ending was not at all what I thought it would be. Lots of surprises (for me anyway) along the way in this book. One of the things that made me want to read it was the location -- Bainbridge Island in WA. I've been there and I always enjoy reading books that take place in locations where I've been. Oh, and did I say it was also a love story within a love story.
This week I am reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. It is the story of a four year WW I veteran, Tom, who becomes a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock off the shores of Australia. I'll give you a little bit of the blurb on the inside front cover.
"To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
"Against Tom's judgement, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them."
At this point I am almost half through the book where they have decided to keep the baby as their own. In the beginning of the book there are little vignettes that make me wonder why they are included but I'm told, by a friend who loaned the book to me, that these are important to the rest of the book. From what I understand, it is the author's first novel. So far, I am loving this book. A nice read at 343 pages.
I've decided to try to get back into this blogging thing again. We'll see how it goes.
This has been a very strange winter. It took a long time for it to get cold. I mean really cold. Then last week we had temps in the single digits and we finally got some snow. Yesterday it started to warm up and then last night we had thunderstorms with rain. Today was more rain and thunderstorms and temps in the upper 50s. Needless to say, the snow is gone except for the piles. By tomorrow night, it is supposed to be snowing again and back into the 20s. Like I said, strange. But that is Michigan for you.
Finally, after 4, 5, I don' know how many years I have finished one of my most favorite quilts. I started it with no particular recipient in mind. It was my vacation project at my friend Mary's house. She has a machine that I could do the embroidery on. I got all the blocks done there and maybe even the top done. I don't remember that long ago. My #3 (in age) niece was visiting and asked what my latest project was. I showed it to her. She immediately fell in love with it and asked who it was for. I just said for a special baby. She assumed it was intended for someone already. I decided right then and there it would be for her baby whenever that time would come. Her dad told me that last summer she commented to him about the quilt and wondered if I would make another one like it. I won't have to. I have decided to give it to her when she graduates from her Master's program in May. She can put it in her hope chest. Or who knows, maybe she will want it hanging in her home. One of my prayers for her is that one of these days she will meet her Prince Charming, they will marry and have one or more babies who will enjoy the quilt. Now I worry that I might have to make something similar for her brothers when they begin having kids. Maybe I should start real soon.