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19 posts from January 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How To Erase A Background From An Image In Photoshop - Pt. 2 ©


Since I seem to be on the subject of erasing a background from an image, I thought I would share with you one of the other ways to achieve this successfully.  But, that all depends on the image you are working with.  Let me explain.  Take this image for instance - I am going to show you how to erase the sky from the image, leaving only the trees, the barn, and the foreground.

This can be challenging, especially since I want to also erase the small remnants of sky that are visible between the branches.  This is where the Background Eraser Tool can come in handy over the Magic Eraser Tool.  Keep in mind, though, that the Magic Eraser Tool is great for when you want to erase a color that is prominent in the background and can be erased in one click as described in Pt. 1 of this tutorial.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How To Erase A Background From An Image In Photoshop - Pt. 1 ©


Since I've been messing with the re-design of my site, I've had to learn a few new tricks in Photoshop to create the images and effects that I wanted.  And, I thought that since I was learning all these cool new tricks, I would share them with you.  Take this image for instance.  I'll call it "Stack of Pictures."  I know the background is white, but the background is still part of the picture.  So, if I were to move the image to a darker background, the image would still be framed by the white background.  Instead, I want the foreground image of the Stack of Pictures to be the only part of the image that I use.  Okay, so how to do this in Photoshop? 

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Web Designer I Am Not


Nope.  I am not a web designer.  Far from it.  But, I will tell you this, I have spent the best part of the last month redesigning my site, and although you can't see any changes yet, you will on February 1st.  If your browser crashes, or your computer blows off some sparks when you load my page on February 1st, please let me know.  Fortunately, my designing prowess has not caused TypePad servers to crash, so I suppose I may be onto something - web designing?

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

You Made A Pledge


In my last post: I Pledge To Make A Difference - How About You I asked you to consider making a pledge that would make a positive difference somehow, and a few of you came through.  This pledge, if it is sincere, could never be more important than it is now.  And, I believe that all pledges should begin with prayer. 

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Pledge to Make a Difference - How About You?


"If My People"
by Jack E. Dawson

Look for the neglect, warfare, sacrifice tragedy and the evil...
then look for the hope, healing, life and prayer.  Who is mending the flag?

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

Monday, January 19, 2009

Crock Pot Beef and Bean Burritos - For the Big Game! ©


Yes, I LOVE football.  Yes, I am a maniac when my team scores a touchdown, high-five'n everyone.  I think I even have that "ew baby baby" stiring dance step down pat.  Did anyone see yesterday's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens?  I was sad when Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee hit helmet-to-helmet with Steelers' Ryan Clark in yesterday's AFC Championship Game.  I was so happy to see the comradery between both teams during this scary moment and after the game.  A few were praying on the field.  I thought for sure that McGahee was paralyzed.  His head flipped back sharply and then he fell.  Clark was dazed walking off the field.  I know, I know, this is guy stuff, but I grew up with 2 older brothers and football is in my blood.  No, I take that back, REDSKINS football is in my blood!  But since I moved to Charlotte, now we all love the PANTHERS too! Who, by the way, played a stinky game last week and that is why they didn't make it to the next game in the playoffs. 

Yesterday, my Big Bear and I were watching the games.  And in the event you didn't see it, here is the video of the hit that sent chills down our spine ...

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

So You Want to Publish a Cookbook?


My dear friend, Beth, was on her way to Kinkos.  No! Stop!  You can't pay retail!  You can't let them print that cookbook, Beth!  Not Kinkos!  Aaaaacckkk!  Gag!  NOT!  I stopped her in her tracks, dagnammit and I am glad I did.  Shish, that was a close one - as I wipe my brow in relief. 

Beth has been working on a cookbook for months now.  I know, so has Ree, our wonderful cowboy food cookin' friend over at the PioneerWoman.com.  Still, I've known Beth for about 25 years and she's been cookin' up a storm that whole time.  And not just anything either, she's been making everything from the most delicious casseroles, to cakes, to bread from scratch, to ... to ... to meals that would make Rachel Ray want to come to dinner. 

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Death, Dying, and Such


By my hilariously funny, pragmatic, sometimes serious, Charlotte blogger friend:

Charlie Pratt ...

Hiccups, or synchronous diaphragmatic flutter, happen when the diaphragm gets spastic, causing the epiglottis to close involuntarily. Everyone seems to have a different remedy for these, ranging from holding one’s breath to drinking water from the wrong side of the cup to dumping copious amounts of sugar down one’s gullet. The remedies are always much funnier and weirder than the hiccups themselves, providing entertainment for passersby and reminding us that sometimes, life does what it wants with us.

I was thinking about this yesterday, as I watched a US Airways passenger jet bobbing in the frigid Hudson. Seeing that no one was killed, I allowed myself a moment of levity and began thinking about the normal things that happen just before something terribly abnormal.

I wondered if anyone on board had a bout of the hiccups just before the engines blew.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Anniversary Darling ...


Sixteen years ago today, I had spent my first night in an apartment in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and my last night as a single woman.  Bob and I married on January 15, 1993, in a beautiful evening wedding with votives of candles lining the isle of the church where we married, and were surrounded by family and friends in what, just 7 weeks earlier, would seem to have been an impossibility.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Lucky Guys

This video was too crazy not to share. 

I guess when it's not your time, it's not your time. Now wasn't that fun? Dang.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fool Me Three Times

If you would like to add more suggestions for living a greener life and what you are doing to help the environment, please share in the comments below! 


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Send Off to Dub-Ya - Join the Conversation

This 23/6 video pretty much sums it up. however, the movie disappeared, oh well.  Someone in the other political party must have deleted it.  So, instead, here is a Mac ad ...

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Little Blog That Could

Race16 Race12

I think I can, I think I can ... rack up some votes in the Weblog Awards.  It's tough enough trying to compete against the political machine that seems to be voting for synthesis and Uppity Woman, but come on folks!  I really am the Best New Blog!!!

This being the last 24 hours to cast a vote, how about showing your love and voting for Raisin Toast for Best New Blog?  It's easy and won't take but a minute of your time.  Just go here:


And cast your vote by clicking on RAISIN TOAST!!  Let's see if this Little Blog can move on up the steep tracks a little before I get completely trampled by everyone else in the competition.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Managing Design Suite Workspaces in Photoshop CS4


I have spent this weekend learning a bit more about Photoshop CS4 and Dreamweaver CS4 if for no other reason than I am determined to learn how to create websites and blogs that are really nice, and the fact that this education is free makes it even more enticing - especially since I am currently broke.  But that's beside the point.  Anyone who knows me knows that when I get determined to do something, I usually do it.  Thanks to www.Lynda.com, and Adobe TV, I have been watching video after video tutorial on Photoshop CS4 and Dreamweaver CS4.  Some I understand, others I don't.  Sometimes the instructor speaks too fast, and other times the instructor is pretty darn good.  As in the case of the tutorial I have embedded in this post - I was starting to get a sore butt from sitting for hours watching videos when I came across this one.  The information is fairly basic, and the instruction is easy to understand, making this tutorial really good for understanding your workspace within CS4. 

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Never Satisfied


That's for sure.  I'm always looking for ways to grow, to improve, and I really do not like the layout of my blog anymore.  As a matter of fact, this months banner and background are so bad, in fact, that I am ready for something completely new.  Any weblog designers out there?  You're needed - bad.  Everything you see on this blog I've done myself, and some of it I like, but most of it I don't.  The bottom line is this, though - I need something with some pizazz, style, function, flair.  I need an education in Dreamweaver.  I need help. 

Anybody want to barter with me?  I'm sure we can figure out something.  Within reason, of course.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Gargle with Saltwater then Crash


That pretty much describes my past week.  Maybe my MacBook needed a saltwater gargle too.  Let this be a lesson to all of you out there who don't back up your computers on a regular basis.  Do.  Do back up your system.  Now.  Or forever lose your pictures, important documents, everything.  The thing that is so ridiculous about my experience, is that it didn't have to happen. 

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Facebook Status Etiquette, v 1.0


Don't get me started.  Or, better yet, please do.  There are a few blogs out there that haven't yet been completely unleashed on the reader world.  They are the great undiscovered and, well, daggone it, have I ever found one that is hilarious - one of the best reads that I enjoy almost daily.  That would be "Diary of An American Boy, or, A Life Worth Remembering," By Charlie Robert Pratt. 

Several times a week, I'll pop on over to Charlie's place and see what he's up to.  You see, he is writing a book and his blog "is" his book (more or less).  And I assure you that when his book is published, I'm going to be one of the first in line, behind his mother, of course, to buy it.  There is just something about his prose that inspires me to be a better writer.  Another neat thing, I might add, is that Charlie and I have become acquaintances over the course of the last few months since I discovered his writings, his ramblings, his blog.  And, we both live in Charlotte, this wonderful Queen city.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Composition in Photography ©


So many of us want to be better photographers, and so we point and shoot. Now that's a laugh, but really, especially since the invention of the digital camera, more of us find it to be a whole lot less frustrating not having to hand over our film for developing, then waiting a week to pick it up only to discover that we just paid for 8 out of 10 photographs that stink. I can even remember going through a number of packages of photos thinking "What the heck is this?"  

(Contributing Author - Dr. Sheila Cason)

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Friday, January 02, 2009

A Cathedral of Memories in 2008

Memories of 2008 from Susan Vaughn on Vimeo.

(Be sure you have your sound ON when you play the video.)

It took me 4 days, but I finally got my video of "Memories of 2008" completed.  I've cried way too much in the last 4 days and now it is time to move on to a year of being healthier and stronger.  I don't know that we could be much happier, although Big Bear finding a job would surely improve our stress level around here.  We're content.  We are comfortable.  We have each other and that means a hell of a lot when you get to be our age.

Bob said something profound to me the other day as we were getting ready to attend the funeral of someone very dear to me.  He said "I suppose we need more black clothes.  Looks like we are going to be attending more funerals as we get older."  I replied "That's a depressing thought." To which he replied, "It's only a matter of time before our movie of 'Four Funerals and a Wedding' comes out."  No laughter necessary, it was time to change the subject and leave home.

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