Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tinkering with Pixelmator (Attempt #1)

Like I said before, I am not aspiring to be a photographer. But I do like the idea that you can take a photo and make it look different. Better. Even artistic. I used Picnik for forever until it got sold to Google. Then I started using PicMonkey and absolutely love it. But I got curious. I wanted to try a better editor. Something that could enhance a photo and make a new image from scratch. Something that artsy photo editors and graphic designers use for their masterpieces.

Just not Photoshop. It's waaaaay too expensive, and I know I'm not exceptional enough with graphics to need it.

(And no, not GIMP, either. I've used it before, and it gives me a headache. Don't ask me why. It just does.)

Enter Pixelmator.

It cost me $15 from the Mac App Store, which is totally reasonable for a graphic novice like me. I spent all evening looking at YouTube tutorials and tutorials from their site before starting a project, and my brain is on overload. But I had to try out some of the things I learned before I slept for the night and forgot everything, so I pulled out a picture I took at my brother-in-law's wedding. Some of the tutorials were difficult to follow, and I realized that I'm better at reading instructions than watching instructions. Which is surprising because that's totally opposite in dancing. But when I followed the written instructions on Pixelmator's site, I found the process was much easier and I could remember it better.

I could've waited a few months to keep practicing until I got a really good product created, but this job took me so long to work on that I don't want to just leave it like it was nothing. Besides, this may be a good reference post for me to see my progress with utilizing this program. Like how you see on all those weight loss commercials testimonials with "Before" and "After" photos. Maybe this could be my "Before," you know?

Anyway, here is the original photo:

... and here is my first Pixelmator edit of this photo:

It's not much, but I'm proud. I have more photos of their wedding I want to edit and give to them, so I better hurry up on the others. Aren't my husband and his family so handsome? :-)

Pixelmator: so far, so good. I like all the features that I've learned it has so far, and I can't wait to see what else I can create with it.

Getting Back on Facebook

So, like I said in a previous post... I'm back on Facebook.
I know, I know, you're thinking, "of course you are. No one can stay away from Facebook. No one!

Ok, maybe you're not saying that.

But I digress.

Being back on Facebook is ... well, it's just as I expected. I see friends posting their opinions on gay marriage, or gun control, or Republicans. I see friends putting up photos of their latest weekend getaway to an exotic destination, or extreme aerial shots from their last skydive, or their latest supercuteandtotallytodiefor beauty and fashion haul, or their totally fit bodies and zen lifestyle. I see friends post the most scrumptious dish that they daintily whipped up for friends and family to ooh and aahh over. I see friends having fantastic careers and talking about their exciting business ventures and remodeling their home that they own.

And of course, I see lots of ads. If I sign up for the Color Run 5k, will they stop putting that up on my page?

Facebook is addicting, time-wasting, and depressing. And that's why I had no problem closing my account to begin with.

But there was something I didn't expect Facebook would be, and that is ... nostalgic.

I've been looking through the photos on my own page, and I couldn't believe how much of my life I forgot. I've only had FB for a decade, but man -- a lot had happened to me in that single decade.
(There I go, talking like I'm old. A decade is only 1/3 of my life.)

BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir tour to China and Mongolia, 2007.
My FB page is crammed with photos of this tour, thanks to all the choir members who took their cameras.
This was when the phrase "Facebook it!" was popular.
(Yes, that is the Great Wall. It's spectacular.)

Not only is the gospel true, but finding good company in others who share your beliefs is priceless.
FB helps with that, I've noticed.

People come into your life randomly it seems. But even after years of not seeing them again,
you still feel the effects they made on you when you were together as friends.

Who these people I call family are and what they've done make my own life seem insignificant.
But in actuality, I have done great work too; and it's because of what my family has blessed me with
that I've been able to. (Sapi, Tama, Grandpa -- I miss you.)

It's funny how pictures pop up on Facebook that are Pre-FB dated.
What are they called? Throwback? Either way, I'm glad to have reminders
of "the good ol' days."

I was just telling my mister that my childhood dream was to be on stage. Doing anything I could.
I realized that I fulfilled that dream already -- a lot.
Singing, dancing, acting, sharing my culture... I did them all. It was beautiful.

And I can't forget how this decade, with Facebook as our witness, was the decade said mister changed my life.
It took forever to choose all these photos, and even longer to organize them for this post. And even now I'm looking back and wishing I had picked this one or changed that one that was on my FB page. But in the end, it doesn't matter -- because, in the end, what matters is that I have these pictures because of Facebook. Thank goodness for technology that keeps ties bound, that keeps memories alive, and that keeps us smiling about the great lives that we really do have.

So if you are ever in a rut (as technology also makes us feel sometimes), please please PLEASE don't forget who you are. Don't forget how you came to be, and don't forget where you always knew you were meant to go. And if you do forget... remember. Find those things that will remind you. Pull those triggers that will get you back to who you are. And find the small miracles in the everyday. I look at these photos and remember exactly what happened to me during each time, and each experience, good or bad, is an influence to me even today. And even though other people's lives may seem better than mine (heck, they probably are better than mine right now!), it doesn't mean I have to lose hope.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jewelry Holders

My sister's room; my sister's jewelry; my sister's idea. 

Isn't she a genius?

Push pins. That's the secret! Push pins hang the necklaces, and push pins hang those square rack sides that hold the earrings. She even uses push pins to hold a lot of her purses!

Just had to share. The end.