Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Make your photo images look like a model!

I love those tv commercials with the effect that makes the normal images look like a model.  Wondered how they did it.  Guess it's called tilt-shift photography, and you can do this with your still photos.  I think the key is finding a photo with depth.  This example could be better, but I had fun creating it and it is easy with Photoshop.
There are some tutorials out there for this effect.  This one is my favorite.
Have a great week!  And, go UNI!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Use Your Talents! Free Printable!

Use What Talents
Found this today at Sweet Blessings at http://cookingwiths.blogspot.com/

She has a lot of great free printables!!

Have a great Thursday!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fear Not Girl Print!

A girl Fear Not print available on Etsy!!

Have a great weekend!!  Laura

Fear Not print

A new print available at the Etsy shop.  
Next one will feature a girl!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Photoshop Tutorials for Iowa State Fair photo- lomo and paint

We love the Iowa State Fair! 
There are so many great photo opportunities at the fair! 

Here's a photo of my sons Chris and Mike with their second cousin, Kelsie.  
We love the signs of the fair.  Everything is on a stick!

Check out these two tutorials.  One is to create the painted effect and the other is another tutorial on the lomo effect. 


Hope you have fun with your photos!
Here is the "before" photo!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mocha Cake Balls

So simple, but sooooo good.  It's my favorite from all of the cake balls I have made. 

What is great about cake balls?  Well, their flavor, cute size, AND you can make each step on a different day or throughout the day.......  bake cake....  mix cake with frosting...  scoop mixture...  roll...  dip and decorate.  My day is usually interrupted, so the stop and start technique works for me. 

1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup of instant coffee granules divided in half
1 can of dk chocolate or fudge frosting
Candy coating pieces
Sprinkles or melted chocolate to drizzle
Double boiler, fork, cookie sheets, large bowl, large spoon, 9 x 13 cake pan, parchment paper (or wax paper) wooden skewers 

Add a 1/4 cup of coffee granules to the amount of water called for in your cake mix directions.  Dissolve.  Finish making cake as directed.  
For frosting, add the remaining 1/4 cup of coffee granules.  (I'm not concerned about pieces of coffee left in the frosting, as it will continue to melt when mixed with the cake later.  Plus, I love a good coffee flavor kick here and there.) 

When the cake has cooled enough to touch you can chop up the cake in a large bowl.  I usually use a large spoon, but you can use whatever is easy for you.  Make sure it is finely chopped.  If pieces are too large, the ball may fall apart after they are rolled.
Gradually add your coffee infused frosting into the chopped cake and mix very well.  You want it moist but not gooey.  Depending on your mix, you may not need an entire can of frosting.  Next, I use a small cookie scoop and scoop all of the dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.  Lightly cover and refrigerate.  This makes them much easier to roll and dip.  After they have chilled, roll each between the palms of your hands and place back on the cookie sheet.  Chill again if needed.

Melt a small portion of your candy coating.  I have used a microwave, but I prefer a double boiler on low heat.  It keeps an even temperature.  Continue to add candy as needed to your double broiler throughout the dipping process.  This helps prevent overcooking your candy and also protects your supply of candy if crumbs should fall into your melted candy.  

To dip the cake balls I use a fork and a wooden kabob skewer to gently slide it from my fork onto a clean, parchment-lined cookie sheet.  (If you are getting too much candy coating on your cake balls, gently tap your fork on the edge of pan and the excess will drip back into the double broiler.) Immediately sprinkle to decorate.  As another option, I place a few candy coating pieces in a plastic bag, microwave briefly, snip a SMALL corner from the bag, then drizzle over the cake balls.  This option can be done at a later time too.  Trim excess coating from around the cake balls with a sharp, non-serrated knife.

And that's it!  

Other sources and ideas
http://www.bakerella.com/  - great decorating! 
http://www.cakemixdoctor.com/  - recipes!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Free iloveu! Print

This free i love u! 8 x 10 can be used as a print or resized for your cards!  Just click on the title and you will link to scribd. for the download.  Enjoy and thank you for visiting my blog!  Laura

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Paint Your Own Pottery

What a fun night!  It started out as Reed and I going to Pursuing Picasso downtown to paint pottery in honor of Karen's last night of work.  Monte, Mike and Braden thought it would be fun to go too!  We had a great time talking, painting, and listening to music.
Here's sweet Karen!  We will miss her when she heads back to college.   
You begin by choosing your pottery.  Karen reserved this travel coffee cup.  She knows what I like! Then you can use a pencil and draw your design before you paint.  The pencil marks burn away in the kiln.  Of course I made a heart and added yellow and green!

Here's Mike's tiki pottery.  He gave it a lot of color and added some detail work.

Braden made a small cup for his Mountain Dew and Monte made a switchplate cover with a guitar theme.  Reed finished a bowl with a brick pattern and loads of color.  These guys are creative!!  (And Reed, we will miss you too when you head to college!!)   
When you're done painting, it is dipped into glaze and then fired in their kiln.   It's ready to be picked up in a few days.  The glaze feels thick and smooth and is very shiny.  Love it!  This has become my favorite coffee cup!   Pricing includes a $6 sitting fee for materials plus the cost of your pottery piece.  
Pursuing Picasso has a Facebook page at 
Check out your local listing for a similar business.  You will love it!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Recycle Your Package Art!

Ok, so I buy generic brands most of the time.  But, if there is a sale, I enjoy some of the fun images on packaging.  Must be the artist in me!  I can take the lightweight cardboard to the recycling bin, OR, I could make something out of it!  Above, are some tags I have for sale at my upcycledbylaurab Etsy site....but you can make them easily!
Only supplies needed are some, fun lightweight boxes, a pattern, pencil for tracing, 1/4 hole punch and utility scissors.  I used my 1.) Revolution die cutting machine http://lifestylecrafts.com/ and 2.) tag die, also from Lifestyle Crafts.  If you are worried about running the heavy stock through your machine just 3.) trace your pattern and cut!  Finish by punching a hole at the smaller end attaching twine http://thetwinery.com/ or a circle ring.
I also made a small notebook for sketches out of an Oreo Cakesters box.  It was a perfect size.  The ribbon is recycled from some Christmas packaging.  It adds more color, can be used to hold a pencil, and give you a place to hang on a hook to hold your shopping list.  I used copy paper for the interior, but you could also recycle scrapbooking paper scraps or school papers.  I will place mine in my purse for quick sketches while waiting in the car for the kids.  You know, back-to-school is just around the corner.  This would make a great item to stash as a quiet activity for the kids during church or lessons.  Maybe for grandpa and grandma too!  The circle rings allow you to add or subtract pages as needed.
5.) The reverse side of the tags are rustic and give you more flexible uses.  And, don't forget about the sides of the boxes.  6.) This bookmark was made from the side of a Cars 2 cereal box.  Some schools also collect Box Tops for Education.  Might as well cut and collect those for you local school too! http://www.boxtops4education.com/ And lastly, 8.) when I used my Revolution machine I saved the area around the cut and used it as a picture frame for the fridge!

Thanks for checking out my blog and have a super weekend!  Laura

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Personalized Coffee Cozy Tutorial

Coffee cozies are not only eco-friendly, they can be fun!  This one is reversible and I personalized it with my email address and portfolio website.  I used it as a leave-behind during a portfolio review day.  But, the possibilities are endless....kid's artwork, photos, various fabrics, positive sayings, etc. :)

Supplies:  Paper, pencil, scissors, cardboard cozy from your local coffee shop, white 100% cotton fabric or any light colored fabric, patterned fabric, thin fusible batting (I used Pellon), iron-on transfer paper, velcro, an iron and sewing machine.  I purchased my transfer paper at Hobby Lobby and used my 40% off coupon.  Yahoo! Also, there are some tutorials on the web for running fabric thru your printer but my printer seemed to repel everything I put thru it except  these transfer papers.  Plus, I liked the sheen it gave my finished product.
First, make your pattern.  I made one pattern.  Just remember to flip your pattern for the front (personalized) and then for the back (patterned fabric.)  I added a 5/8" around the original for the pattern and used a 1/4" seam allowance when sewing.  I changed the angle of the end of the cozy.  I purchased inexpensive fabric for practice.  The transfer paper is a little pricey so I wanted to get the right shape before cutting.
You can make anything for your transfer.  If you use type, make sure you flip it in your program before printing onto your transfer paper or it will be backward when you iron it to your fabric.  After creating your personalized fabric, adhere your batting to the back of your patterned fabric, cut your pieces and sew your pieces, right sides together, leaving about 2" along the bottom for turning. 
Turn it right side out, press, then top stitch around all edges.  This will enclose the gap and give it a finished look.  I used my paper cup from the coffee shop to decide the placement for the velcro. Sew on the velcro.
For this design, I wanted something a little extra.  I transferred another design onto these small, canvas pennant tags from Maya Road.  I spray painted some safety pins black and attached it to the cozy.
I wanted more photos, but the these were already made and my sewing machine is in the shop.  :(  If you have any questions, just send me a note at heartworkbylaura@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Photos from the week

I had fun taking some photos in and around our home.  Loved the tiny bug on this mushroom growing in our backyard.  This mushroom was only an inch tall!  THAT is a little bug!

Our new small birdbath.  So far the dogs like it as a water dish more than the steamy birds. :)

While having my morning cup of coffee, this critter was creeping past me on the deck.

And for anyone that works with me at Panera Bread, yes, I make lists at home too.  And, they completed all of the tasks while I was at work. Awesome!  Pay raises for all!  Ha ha.