The Design Q: Vol. 2 - Black & White Photo with a POP of Color

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A quick and easy way to get a dramatic effect on a photo is to pop out a color. This creates a focal point in your picture.

Step 1: Open your color photo in Adobe Photoshop

Step 2: Duplicate the layer by dragging your layer to "Create a new layer" on the Layers Panel.

Step 3: Turn your top layer to a black and white photo. Go to Image/Adjustments/Desaturate (Command+shift+U).

Step 4:  Add a layer mask to the black and white layer. On the layers palette "Add vector mask". Pick a focal point. I used the flower on this cuties head.

Step 5:  Click on the layer mask (the white box now on your top layer). Choose the eraser tool. Hover over your photo where you want your pop of color to appear. Click on the photo to erase away at the black and white photo. The color photo below will show through. are done! Have a burning Photoshop question? Let me know.

A Valentine's Party in a Snap

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We invited friends over last weekend for a Pre-Valentine's Day party. It was an opportunity to hangout and get a jump on some Valentine's Day photos that we will send out to our family. I made snacks and we ordered pizza for lunch. I also designed a chalkboard background so I could snap some Valentine's pics of the kids.

Sawyer can be a picky eater, but when I cut his food in fun shapes and he loves it. I made almond butter and jelly sandwiches and for a nut-free option jelly sandwiches. I used a cookie cutter to make little X's and O's out of strawberries and to cut shapes into the bread so the red jelly picked through.

Yogurt topped with a little reduced sugar jelly and fresh strawberries.

Flower shaped cheese and crackers.

Annie's Animal Cookies. Don't you just love all the colors?

I created a Valentine's backdrop on my chalkboard door and we had a quick mini session with the kids.

I used props like these heart-shaped glasses to help distract my model.

I created a baby cupid by drawing wings in Illustrator and pasted them on the photo in Photoshop.

The only problem with this marshmallow lolly pop...I didn't buy enough!

I bribed big brother with a giant lolly!

A sweet reward. Just look at that face.

"Cheesy face" to mom and dad.

I just adore this picture. I turned a black and white photo into a stunner by adding some colorful drama. Click here for a tutorial on the process.

Gotta wear shades!

Physical Therapy - California Children's Services (CCS)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sawyer is 17 months and has recently started walking. Around 15 months he is starting to stand on his own, cruise, and walk with us holding his hands, but he needed more assistance to get him to walk on his own. At his one year checkup with our Orthopedic surgeon he recommended enrolling him in physical therapy. Every state has a program setup for children who qualify to see a physical therapist. In California it's called California Children's Services (CCS). Once your child is approved they are eligible for care until the age of 21. All of this is free of charge! Yup, you heard that right...FREE!

From my own experience this is a long process. My doctor told me from the beginning to make sure to followup as many times as needed to keep the ball rolling. We started by filling out paper work coinciding with our doctor to start the case. About two weeks later I was resent the paper work to fill out again. After I turned everything in I gave it a good week and called to make sure they had everything they needed from me. I was given an update at that time and it looked like we were just waiting for the therapist to decide if Sawyer qualified. I ended up calling two more times to push things along. Everyone I talked to was super helpful and nice. It took almost two months total to hear back, but Sawyer was approved! It was a really happy and tearful moment. Getting one on one attention is just what Sawyer needed.

We met with the physical therapist for the first time when Sawyer was 14 months. He did some activities with Sawyer to see how he moved and what he could do. We made goals of standing and walking. They look at a 6 month period of time if they decide therapy is needed. If they don't think therapy is needed they meet with you once a year. He recommended twice a week for 45 min sessions. It took another month to get a prescription over to our doctor and for the final go ahead. I'm really excited for Sawyer and super thankful this is a service the state provides. Having a child who needs more then the ordinary is costly. Any help is always appreciated. Plus, Sawyer LOVES going to therapy. To him it's playtime and he usually does not want to leave.

I'm writing this post for parents of children with Fibular Hemimelia (FH), but I also hope that it can help others as well. When I first learned about Sawyer's condition I searched the internet for any information I could find. Hearing from other parents in our situation helped me the most. I strive to do the same.


I want to end on a light note. I think it's super important to find humor in your everyday life. Fibular Hemimelia is no exception. In our everyday conversations I find myself pausing and thinking...did I just say that? Here is a list any parent with a child with a prosthetic can relate to...

"I can't find Sawyer's leg"

"His leg is in the baby bag, my purse, _____________ fill in the blank"

"Can you pick up Sawyer's leg it dropped under the table" Said frequently at restaurants.

This picture is a classic Where's Waldo moment. Can you spot Sawyer's leg? Apparently he thought mommy needed help cleaning out his baby bag.

Family Photos

Friday, January 9, 2015

It's my goal to have photos taken at least once a year by a professional photographer to document Sawyer growing up. When he was born we had newborn photos taken. I will always treasure that brief period of time when Sawyer slept all the time was so tiny. This year we used the talented photographer Mollie Jane for a quick mini session. In 20 minutes she was able to capture our little guy suspenders and all.

On a personal level I have long had a love of photography. The first time I picked up a camera that was not a point and shoot was back in high school. Everyone who was anyone wanted to take photography with Mr. Morehouse. I can still vividly remember his classroom plastered with black and white images taken by students and professional. He of course lectured on the basics of photography, but mainly he let us do our thing while rocking out to music. I truly believe a good teacher will inspire you for a lifetime.

I still have a great passion for photography and more recently have been photographing family and friends. For the holidays I shot three mini sessions that I am excited to share with you. First up, is my long time friend and her newest addition to the family.

When Lauren from Minute for Mom asked me to shoot photos to revel her pregnancy I was honored. I was so excited to be in on the surprise and help in sharing the news.

My last mini session was with my parents. We took these photos for their Christmas card. I have to say how lucky I am to have such an amazing family. Both of my parents are so supportive and wonderful grandparents to little Soybean.