Photoshop Play

A bit of a long stretch since last post again… I ended up in NJ for nearly a month finding out that a mother never forgets how to care for newborns no matter the age, but with that age, I found that it’s REALLY tiring. I was helping care for a set of twins- Great grandbabies (can’t share more than that)… a new thing for me, and one was a girl! I had never changed a newborn girl’s diaper… I had all boys and there are more grandsons than daughters.

I was participating in an Instagram sketchbook challenge during February, and did keep up for the first 17 days. The 18th day, the prompt was envelopes, which I had no idea what to sketch, until watching the twins swaddled next to each other…. in their little “envelopes”. This is the last sketch I did due to total lack of sleep and hands full with the little ones.

Nine of the sketches I did get posted to Instagram

Since returning home, and after catching up on sleep, I began again with playing in Photoshop. I did manage to keep up with a few more Spoonflower challenges while I was away, and once home… there were three in a row that fit in with “my” thing.

Hibiscus and Ferns… for Bohemian Paradise… A later version than the one I entered, due to lack of time, but very similar.
The entered version for Moody Florals…. Moody Peonies, Poppies and Iris
Blue Flower Show for the Maximalist challenge, inspired by a trip to the Philly Flower Show
A pillow mock-up with Peep Feathers on the wind, done for the Feathers Challenge.

I did the last two- Blue Flower Show Trellis, and Peep Feathers after home. Peep Feathers used sketches I did during the challenge of a few feathers with photos of some of my Peep’s (Guinea) feathers. I debated whether I would leave the feathers stark black and white or add color. I left it black and white for the entry. After, I did some playing with different versions with and without color. Below is one of the first versions- feather color inverted, placed over a background of one of my sunprinted fabric images that I manipulated.

Pink Peep Feather Pillow

Playing with the image of the sunprint, started me doing more with other prints I have photos of. I found I could end up with interesting tone on tone designs by duplicating the images, turning them, offsetting then and stacking them with various opacities… fun to see what happens.

Orange Maidenhair Ferns and Phlox Sunprints Original made repeatable
Color changed to pinks and lavenders
Layers done, color changed a bit more to make this soft raspberry version.
Blue Green Maples Ferns Cosmos Original
Tone on tone finished pattern made from the Blue Green Maples Ferns Cosmos Original

Even though i am not able to do the actual painting right now, it is great to be able to take photos of some of my favorite prints and turn them into some pretty fabrics or patterns to be used on various products. A new batch of proofs has been ordered from Spoonflower and I hope to soon announce the availability of them for purchase.

It’s Winter… Sort of…

Walnut Trees with Snow

It’s winter in Pennsylvania… which means we could have snow, rain, mud or ice. In recent years, it seems that the heaviest precipitation ends up being rain and not snow. The good thing about that is that we don’t get buried under feet of snow. The bad… we can end up with lots of slush, or major puddles that later freeze into sheets of ice. A week ago, we had the coldest temps so far this winter with lows below zero and highs barely above. Sheets of thick ice and bumpy frozen slush. Now it is raining… all the snow we had is gone and in the place of the ice is a LOT of mud.

Bella in Snow

Bella appreciated the lowered snow depth after a meltdown of one of our big snowstorms, so she could run around again. She loves to chase squirrels and have the freedom of not being stuck to the shoveled paths. Now that things are muddy again, she really loves the outdoors to sniff out more critters. She also tracks a lot of mud inside for such little paws.

Bella and the Peeps in a little snow

The Peeps (Guineas that aren’t so little, but still peep a bit) don’t care for the rain and mud… They will run about and pick at the grass when there is some snow. During the deepest snows and coldest days, they were left in their coop, so when weather is nicer, they enjoy their freedom. Bella looks as if she’s hunting them down in the above photo, but seems to want to play with them… they take turns running at each other.

An early draft of Coral Flowers and Swirls

Since gardening outdoors is out of the question in winter, I have to get my “fix” playing with flowers indoors… on the computer for now. I did a design using some sketches I did for the latest Spoonflower challenge. The theme is a limited palette of coral, midnight blue, goldenrod and gray. All four colors were to be used, and unlike some limited palette challenges in the past, no black or white were allowed. A definite Challenge! The gray makes a good background color, even if it looks a bit dingy. In the first few versions of the design, I tried the yellow in different areas of the flowers. After stepping back and looking at a mockup, I didn’t like that, so I took the yellow out of the center parts of the flowers. I like it much better now.

Final Version Coral Flowers and Swirls
Coral Flowers and Swirls on a Pillow
Swirls and Splashes Coral and Gray

So far I have only done one coordinating design, just using the swirls and splashes (or Fleur-de-lis). I hope to be getting these designs and others that I have done in the past months proofed so they can be available for purchase on fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap on Spoonflower. You can check out my Spoonflower Shop- AndrusGardens to see what is available now. I am up to well over 200 designs so far.

In the month of February, I am participating in an Instagram sketchbook challenge. It is getting me to continue to do some things I would not have normally done. I will share some of those sketches in a future post.

Getting Better at This???

Another blog post… and it’s still January! With this year’s goals including blogging regularly again, and getting my website and online shops updated, I am getting a bit better doing some things… Other things have left me with my head about to explode and feeling super helpless. This post is about those things driving me up a wall right now. On with the venting… after a photo of our snow…

Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Buried Juniper

I will admit it…. I am no tech geek! In the past I have been able to deal with website updates and minor network glitches, but this time I am totally frustrated from trying to do some of the things I wanted to. I did manage to get my new computer set up with it’s dual monitors and got my PenTablet installed and working well. What I haven’t been able to do is to get the laptop and new desktop (or big computer) “talking” to each other. Windows 10 has made connecting through our home network nearly impossible.

I still have days where I feel like I’ve been slammed by a train, and on those days, the laptop gives me a way to accomplish something. Using my Photoshop and Inkscape programs on the desktop computer is much faster as far as saving files and working with large images goes. The laptop just doesn’t have the memory or processor speed needed to do the big stuff well. I still want to use it on my bad days, while “vegging” on the couch. And with that, it would make my life soooo much easier if I could pull the files I want to use from the big computer’s hard drive, and then save them back on that same drive in the right places (so I can keep track of where everything is). It is a real pain to have to try to remember which folders I put modified files into on the laptop, to be sure I move them manually to the big computer. I get confused enough having things in only one place. It seems like it should be such an easy thing to do… I can see the name of the big computer on the network screen on my laptop, but I just get an error that Windows can’t find it… GRrrr….

I blew a whole week or more trying different “fixes”. I usually can find answers to my problems using google and YouTube, but no matter how many of the “sure fix” instructions I followed, I still can’t do what I want to do. I did somehow manage to access the laptop files from the big computer, but that only helps me to manually update things. It seems if I can move files in one direction, I should be able to do it in the opposite direction… So far, No Luck! Time to get a couple sons to hopefully find time to work together to maybe do a fix remotely… They are both so busy with work, etc. that it might be a long wait. I have given up on being able to fix the problem myself… so on to other goals…

A sea of snow under a blue sky… view from the Peep Coop.

The next thing I wanted to do is to get this blog updated. Writing blog posts is just a start. This is proving as easy as the networking issue… My email address has changed a couple times since I was regularly posting here, so I tried to update to the new one… Should be easy right?? NOT! Go to settings page in my account, type in new address, and just wait a few minutes for a confirmation email…. yea, right… no email… spam folder checked, nothing… cancel the change request and re-do it… nope… nothing still… Back to Google…. Yes others have had the same issue and some have fixed the problem with a simple plugin or something, but so far I’m coming up blank there, too. It’s amazing how fried one can get from trying to do things that look like they should be so simple, but turn out to be total time drains. Did I say I’m no tech geek???

The next thing I need to do is to update my website… I think the front page says it was updated in 2013… I’ve wanted to fix some links in the recent past, but have not been able to access the “inner guts” of my site (AKA the code). That requires a fix or lesson from one of the geek sons, but we’re back to his available time to deal with my stuff. At least for now I guess I’m not supposed to get what I want to do done… There are gobs of other things I need to do, time to pick something else to work on. The deadline for the next Spoonflower challenge I want to enter (another limited palette one) is about a week away, so I should get back to Photoshop. I also need to organize and update a number of online shops, then start to seriously promote them so I can get some sales. Maybe stepping away from the tech geek stuff will help me feel less frustrated…..

Orchid is Booming!!!

This photo shows some of the flowers on my Orchid plant that is blooming by the kitchen sink. I am usually bad with houseplants, but this Orchid seems to thrive on mostly neglect. I just throw a bit of water on it every few days and it is happy. There are six blooms open so far and more buds getting close to popping. These flowers may be inspiration for a fabric design.

I’ve blabbed on enough for now… Hopefully, by my next post, I will have had better luck doing what I want to…

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