Good Stuff This Week

First, many of y’all have complimented me on various tutorials and help I’ve given here on the blog and elsewhere, and thank you! There will be more of that from me in the future, so stay tuned for sure! If you’ve missed them, here are a couple posts I’ve written for other blogs: one on rectanglification, and one on a hybrid card I made.

I’ve had a good week for scrapping. Here are my layouts using some brand new kits released yesterday or today.

Project Spring: Hippity Hop by Amanda Yi and Juno Designs available at The Digichick; Sketchy vol 8 by GeniaBenia; Fonts: KGIWantCrazy

Project Spring: Hippity Hop by Amanda Yi and Juno Designs available at The Digichick; Sketchy vol 8 by GeniaBenia; Fonts: KGIWantCrazy

Wildwood by Sweet Caroline Studio available at Pixels & Co.; Fonts: DJBMARIANNEscript,BreadyC-ClockwiseDemo

Wildwood by Sweet Caroline Studio available at Pixels & Co.; Fonts: DJBMARIANNEscript,BreadyC-ClockwiseDemo

Community of Tomorrow by Scotty Girl Designs available at Pixels & Co.; Fonts: ArchitectsDaughter

Community of Tomorrow by Scotty Girl Designs available at Pixels & Co.; Fonts: ArchitectsDaughter

Love the Life You Live by Pink Reptile Designs available at The Lilypad; Fonts: EastMarket

Love the Life You Live by Pink Reptile Designs available at The Lilypad; Fonts: EastMarket

Blueprint No. 15 by Gennifer Bursett available at Pixels & Co.; Simply Adore You by Gennifer Bursett and Jennifer Labre available at Pixels & Co.;

Blueprint No. 15 by Gennifer Bursett available at Pixels & Co.; Simply Adore You by Gennifer Bursett and Jennifer Labre available at Pixels & Co.;

Kate and Company by Pixels and Company Design Team; Chevron Kaleidoscope by Sweet Caroline Studio; Steel Magnolias | Painted Leaves by Gennifer Bursett; Julep by Gennifer Bursett; Alina\'s Buttons and Blooms by Kelleigh Ratzlaff; gold doily from Fortitude Basics by HGD by Laurie Ann; Fonts: LovedbytheKing,KGHardCandyStriped

Kate and Company by Pixels and Company Design Team; Chevron Kaleidoscope by Sweet Caroline Studio; Steel Magnolias | Painted Leaves by Gennifer Bursett; Julep by Gennifer Bursett; Alina\’s Buttons and Blooms by Kelleigh Ratzlaff; gold doily from Fortitude Basics by HGD by Laurie Ann; Fonts: LovedbytheKing,KGHardCandyStriped

Can you believe the chevron papers on that last one are FREE? Yeah, so click my layout to get yours!

Speaking of free, there’s some word art and the chance to win even more free goodies over on Mirjam’s blog. Here’s what I did with the word art myself. Happiness is… going to Tivoli, of course!

What a Wonderful Day by Michelle Godin and Pink Reptile Designs; April blog challenge word art by Pink Reptile Designs; Template Revisited 22 by Scrapping With Liz; Fonts: PeaAnna-Banana,ItAin\'tRocketScience

What a Wonderful Day by Michelle Godin and Pink Reptile Designs; April blog challenge word art by Pink Reptile Designs; Template Revisited 22 by Scrapping With Liz; Fonts: PeaAnna-Banana,ItAin\’tRocketScience

I hope you’ll join in the challenge and share your happy! Until next time….

Color Management

Have you ever made something look amazing on your computer screen, and then you print it and it’s just meh?

Why, yes! Yes, that happens to me all the time!

There are a number of reasons your home prints might not look the best. It could be bad ink, bad paper, or a bad printer, for example, but before you chuck that printer out the window, let’s see if it might actually just be color management.

Color managewhat?

First, let me just say I am not an expert in color management. I am just a person who sees a problem and gets obsessed with it until she solves it. One such problem from my recent past was bad prints from my printer, and I solved it, and I hope that my endeavors might also help others, so I’m sharing them. But if anyone out there is a Ph.D. in Color or something and can tell me more, feel free to chime in.

You can look on wikipedia or something and read exactly what color management is if you want to really dive in, but simply put, it’s the thing that decides how to display or print the colors in your files. Super basic: you can send your picture or project to the printer and let the printer decide how to print the colors, OR you can use other software to make those decisions and then order your printer around. Typically, by default, the former happens.

This sounds fancy. Do I really need to care about this?

Here are some examples of the same exact file being printed on the same exact printer on the same exact kind of paper. The only difference is color management. Even on my horrible old mobile phone pictures, you can tell the difference.

color compare 1 color compare 2 color compare 3

Show me how to color manage from Lightroom, please!

Lightroom makes it really easy. When you’re in the Print module (up at the top, click “Print” instead of “Library”, “Develop”, etc. and you’ll be in the Print module) look over in the right hand column and scroll until you see the part called Color Management. Select something other than “Managed by Printer.” That’s it.

Lightroom drop down

 

Feel free to click “Other…” and pick some other things. You won’t break anything. It just adds options to the menu. The worst that happens is you add something to the menu that you won’t use again (and you can always remove it). I played around and printed the same image using several different options until I got one I was happy with. I ended up with “Wide Gamut RGB.” I can’t promise that this is the one you will be happy with too. Your printer, your screen, your files could be very different from mine. Just play around using the cheapest paper you have.

But I don’t have Lightroom! (Or, what if I don’t want to import something into Lightroom just to print it?)

Different software deals with this differently.  In Photoshop, you have to tell it what to do in the main Print… dialog box by selecting “Photoshop Manages Colors” next to “Color Handling”

Photoshop Print dialog

AND as that big yellow exclamation point tells us, we ALSO have to go into the print settings (the “Print Settings…” button in the “Printer Setup” section up top; note that your printer name is probably different from mine. It doesn’t matter.) Print Settings brings up something like this:

Print Settings

(Don’t get fussed if the details are different. Your paper size doesn’t matter right now, ok? If it looks super different, make sure you select the “Paper/Quality” tab.) Now you click “Advanced…”

Advanced Print Settings

ICM Method should be Disabled. Now you’re ready to print.

But, wait. It says “Color Management” right there under “Printer Features.”

Yup, and it does let me choose between two different options for my printer. Unfortunately I didn’t like either of them. Maybe your printer has better options than mine. Feel free to test that out. (You would just pick here in this box, and then go back and tell Photoshop that “Printer Manages Colors” in that original Print… dialog box.) Me, I’m sticking with Wide Gamut RGB, which I can only get if I let Photoshop manage the colors, or by going through Lightroom.

Great! Now I have awesome prints from Lightroom and Photoshop! What about Silhouette Studio? I love to get my Print and Cut on!

If you love hybrid crafting, there’s a decent chance you have a Silhouette Cameo or Silhouette Portrait. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, feel free to stop now. But if you love printing your creations from Silhouette Studio and then having them cut by your Silhouette, or at least you would if they didn’t print so mehtastic all the time, read on.

Silhouette Studio doesn’t have these fancy color management options. If you are lucky and you are happy with one of the options in that “Printer Features” area of the “Advanced” box, then you can get to that in Silhouette Studio pretty much the same way you did in Photoshop. But if you are like me, that isn’t good enough, and you can’t print what you want from Silhouette Studio.

WHAT? I CAN’T AT ALL? SO MY HYBRID LIFE IS OVER???

You can’t at all. BUT your hybrid life is not over! You can print from Photoshop and still cut with your Silhouette. Yes, seriously. Even with registration marks. I will show you how.

All you do is make your own registration marks. Silhouette Studio is kind enough to tell you exactly how long and thick they are right in the software, and exactly how far from the edge of the paper it puts them. Or, you can just take these. I did it for you. Included are files for using the following paper sizes: A4 (210 x 297 mm), US Letter (8.5 x 11 inches), US Legal (8.5 x 14 inches), and 12 x 12 inches square.

These are the settings I am mimicking with these files. Note I have made the “right” and “bottom” margins as small as possible, but everything else is the default. (My Silhouette seems to have trouble detecting the marks if I move the “top” or “left” margins too much, so I just leave that alone.)

Reg Mark settingsSo what do I do with this file??

I’ll show an example. Here, I’m making Kelleigh Ratzlaff’s Gable Box using one of her papers and a Wild Blueberry Ink label from the Pixels & Co collab Love, Actually part 1. All I did was open the PSD template and drag the paper and label on like I normally would. I threw on a journal card from Celeste Knight’s portion of the collab, and sized it down so I can use it as a to/from tag. Nothing special here, yet. This is what I would be doing no matter how I’m printing it, right?

Making stuff in Photoshop

 

Since I print A4, I resize my canvas to that size. If you’re doing US Letter,  it’ll already be that way, and hopefully by this point you have already downloaded the handy registration marks PNG file above. Just drag that right on your canvas (or use Place…). Do any resizing or shifting you may have to do to get your project out of the way of those marks.

now with reg marks

 

Print it! Remember to choose your favorite color management options so that Photoshop makes it super pretty for you. If you aren’t printing borderless, you’ll get a warning that the image will be clipped because it’s too big. That’s fine. It is only going to clip blank space. Your reg marks will still be intact. After you have it printed (or you can do it before, too – doesn’t really matter), delete or hide that white bg layer and save the whole thing as a big PNG.

For whatever reason, Silhouette Studio likes to resize JPGs, DXFs, SVGs, pretty much anything you drag into it, except PNGs. It always keeps PNGs true to size. So save that as a PNG and then open it in Silhouette Studio. Make sure you turn registration marks on and put the right settings in, with the smaller right and bottom margins, to match the reg mark PNG you have.

Sillhouette Studio

 

You’re not done yet. Zoom way in and make sure those reg marks line up! You may have to nudge your PNG a bit to get it right. Here’s what mine looked like before I did any moving at all.

reg mark misalignment

 

A few taps of my left and up arrow keys, and TADA!

reg marks aligned

 

Now you can drag on your cut files, trace any extras (like the to/from tag I made) and send to Silhouette like you always did before. Just make sure to skip the printing, of course. You already did that!

the gable box

My finished Gable Box!

I hope that helps someone out there get their prints just as pretty as they want them. Let me know if you have any questions! :)

Red is not pretty. Only pink, purple, and yellow. Grey is my favorite color. But it’s not pretty. So purple is also my favorite color. Also rainbows.

-Dagmar

How to make a siggy, updated

I’ve made an updated version of my siggy tutorial, for those on any ProBoards forum.

And my other screenshots will be on a Mac computer using a Chrome browser, but it will work fine on any computer, so ignore any subtle differences. K? K.

  1. Find a picture. You need a digital picture (ending in .jpg or .jpeg or .gif or .png) somewhere on your computer. It can be scanned in or fresh off your digital camera, or it can be something you edited beyond recognition. It doesn’t matter. It just needs to end in one of those extensions and you need to know where it is on your computer.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.42.28.png
    Personally, I like to mess with my pics. I’ll teach you that later in another lesson maybe. ;) Anyway, here is my pic in Finder (Explorer, in Windows-ese).
  2. Get it online. There are several sites out there that will let you do this, but let’s use tinypic. Go there, and fill in the form like so:
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.45.07.png
    You want to make sure you set the “resize” option so you don’t get a crazy big siggy. Hit “Upload now!” and prove you’re a human.
  3. Copy the IMG Code. Click on that very first box under “IMG Code for Forums and Message Boards” and copy it.
    Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 12.49.04.png
  4. Paste it into your siggy. Go to your profile using the “profile” icon up in the top banner.

    Click on “Modify Profile.”
    Go down under “Personal information” to the signature box and paste that IMG Code in.

    Scroll all the way down, hit the “Modify Profile” button, and you’re done! Enjoy! 
  5. Extra stuff! This is optional stuff you can add to your siggy now that you have a picture in there.
    • Want some text too? No problem! If you want it above your picture, start typing it before that code you just pasted in. If you want it below your picture, start typing it below that code.
    • How about a link?  Use this code: [url=(put the URL here)](thing you want linked)[/url] You can link text or images or both. In the image below, the “Text above pic.” will link to Google. Neither the image nor the text below will be linked.

Meme Fixers ‘R’ Us

Please be advised that the following post contains “the f word.”

I’ve had some people ask me how I correct spelling errors in meme images floating around Facebook. My intention is not to debate whether this is a worthy use of time. Suffice to say that it bugs ME enough to fix them. If it doesn’t bug you, then feel free to go somewhere else on the Internet. It’s a big place. If it bugs YOU, and you like to learn new things, stick around for a spell.

It’s a bit hard to generalize the process since it depends what the image looks like and what’s wrong with it, but here’s an example to get y’all started.

First, you need an image editor. I use Pixelmator, which is only available for the Mac (sorry Windows and *nix users), but if you happen to be a Mac user, I do highly recommend it. It’s not free, but it’s really cheap for as awesome as it is, and you can use it to touch up photos, make your own memes, or whatever. You can get it from the App Store. If you’re not a Mac user, or you’re broke, GIMP is free and available for Windows, *nix OSes, and Macs. A lot of people swear by it, and the price is hard to beat. I haven’t used it in about 10 years so I’m not sure I can give a fair comparison between it and Pixelmator. ;) Go ahead and try it first. You may already have an image editor. Sometimes scanners, tablets, or other accessories come with one. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements are popular image editors. If you are not using Pixelmator, my screenshots will look different from whatever you’re using, but as long as you’re using a layer-based editor, you should be able to do everything I’m doing.

I’m going to show how I added a letter and removed a letter in the following image.

There are two errors in the text. If you don’t see them, don’t worry. It’ll be obvious when I show you how I’m fixing them. ;)

First, let’s add a letter. I zoom in so I can get picky about pixels and select exactly what I want. In this case, the missing letter is in the middle of a word, so we need to make room for it. All the text on the image is left-justified and I’d like to keep true to that if possible. Although we need to make room in an already-long word, I think we can make it work. I select the part of the word that follows where our inserted letter will go. I used the rectangular selection tool twice. Once around the bulk of it, and then I added to the first selection to get around the cross of the ‘t’. After selecting, I copy and paste. This makes a second layer of just the part that I selected.

The letter that I need to insert, ‘i’, is already somewhere else on the image. Yay! This saves me some work. Sometimes I have to get creative and, for example, flip a ‘b’ around to make a ‘d’ or ‘p’ or ‘q’. If I’m adding a period, I might snag the dot off an ‘i’ or I might just draw one freehand. Every once in a while, I’ll recognize the font as one that I have and then I can type a new letter, but usually I copy an existing one or try to construct it from the existing letters. Since there’s already an ‘i’, I’ll select it, copy, and paste, just as I did before.

I now have three layers: the whole image, one with just ‘ties.’ and one with just ‘i’. When I select a layer in the layers list, I get little dots showing the boundaries of that layer. As I said before, it may look different in another program, but there should still be some way of seeing which layer you’re working with.

I move my ‘i’ layer over to where I need to insert my ‘i’.

I move my ‘ties.’ layer over and now you can see the whole word! Whew, it all fits. The ‘i’ layer is partially obscuring the cross of the ‘t’, so I select part of it and delete.

I like what I see, so I merge my layers.

Next, let’s remove a letter. I select the part of the word that follows the extra letter, copy, and paste. Sounds familiar, right?

I move the ‘nunciate’ layer over to cover up the extra letter. My word looks good now, but there’s an extra ‘e’ at the end! Don’t worry, we’ll fix that.

You can also see how the background is not a completely even color and you can see the righthand corners of my layer because the color is too dark.

Both of these things can be addressed with the rubber stamp tool. You can see it in the screenshot below, slightly larger than the other tools in my toolbox. It should look similar in other programs. The way this tool works is you select a spot on your canvas, and then you start brushing around somewhere else, and it copies from that first spot into your new spot. Confusing? If you play around with it a little bit, you’ll probably figure out what it’s doing. Pixelmator shows a little crosshairs at the spot where it’s copying from at any given moment.

It takes a bit sometimes to find a good spot to copy from. If it doesn’t look good the first try, you can ctrl-click somewhere else on your canvas to pick a new spot to copy from and try again. After I erase the extra ‘e’ this way, I merge the layers and tackle that darker corner issue. You can still tell it’s not perfect, but sometimes you have to say that enough is enough. Plus, I’m still zoomed in, so things are more obvious. It’s good to zoom out periodically and check if what you’re doing is even noticeable anymore.

There you have it! A lovely, spellchecked version of the original meme, and one you can be proud to share.

If you’re having trouble, feel free to ask for help. I’m happy to lend assistance with Pixelmator or general image editing questions, though I cannot help with GIMP- (or other editor-) specific questions. Enjoy your new OCD hobby!

The dress, revisited

Remember the dress? Of course you do. It’s ADORABLE.

Well, not so long after I posted about the dress, I realized that I had two dresses and two daughters. And that my daughters were the right combination (a younger chubby one and an older skinny one) that I may be able to get them each to wear a dress at the same time.

Now, I’m not normally a “dress them up the same” kinda person. They’re very different people with very different personalities, and I love and respect that. But as a “once in a while for a photo shoot” kinda thing, I’m all over it like gravy on a biscuit.

First I tried to do it myself.

Then, I decided to take the dresses to the States and pay to have it done. Since everything is cheaper in the States, I figured it would be better to do it there.

We made an appointment at Olan Mills, but after waiting well over an hour past our appointment time and being continuously ignored, we left and went to Sears. Thank you, Olan Mills, for sucking so severely. I could not have possibly been happier with whatever you would have done, especially since I would have been really pissed off by the time you saw me, and probably not as photogenic.

It’s a good thing we went to the States when we did, because Maggie’s already outgrown the smaller dress. Pretty soon, she and Dagmar will be wearing the same size.

Television and stereotypes

It’s purely coincidence that Transatlantic Blonde mentioned Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when I was already planning to rant about it for today’s Feminist Friday. I had no idea she would! But as it happens, I’ve been steaming about it for a few days.

It’s just one little scene in one little episode, but I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. The gang is getting on a boat. Mickey hops on. Pete offers his hand to Minnie and Daisy. Then Donald reaches for Pete’s hand, and Pete gives Donald a dirty look. There’s enough pause and sound effects and whatnot to make it clear that this is supposed to be a joke.

Seriously? In 2011, people still make this junk? What is so ridiculous about a man needing or wanting help onto a boat? Do we seriously need to teach our kids that women need help onto boats but men can’t possibly need help onto boats? It really baffles me that enough people involved in the production of this cartoon think this is a valid use of their animation time. It isn’t as if Donald is known as a very physically strong character, and that’s what made it funny. The only context I can come up with is men vs. women.

Raising feminist children

My new site idea is taking a lot longer to implement than I want, because of a lot of other junk going on, so I’m just gonna hop back in here and make a new post. Melaina over at Transatlantic Blonde has been nagging me to join her Feminist Friday. And I say nagging in the most loving way possible, because I know she knows that I actually do want to participate and actually do need some prodding to get around to doing it. ;)

Forgive me, as I’m using an app on my iPad to blog this, and I have never used it before, so I might not figure out how to add links and pretty stuff just yet, but here we go.

This week’s topic is on raising feminist children. I want to address something I’ve read many times that really bugs me. I’m talking about comments that go something like this, “I don’t want to stay home with my children because I don’t want them to think that women NEED to stay home.”

If you don’t want to or can’t stay home with your children, then fair enough. But if this is really your only reason for not doing it, I kinda have to WTF for a minute here. If you are a doctor, will your kids think women NEED to be doctors? Or that women NEED to work outside the home? OF COURSE NOT. Surely you do not honestly believe that your career choice (or non-career choice) is the deciding factor in what your children will believe is possible for women. Whether you stay home or not, there are many other things you’ll be doing to show your kids what is possible.

At the present time, I’m a SAHM. I don’t know how long that will last, due to many reasons, but anyway, it’s true now. But my girls see their aunts who have jobs, their grandmothers who are retired from jobs, their friends’ mothers, some of whom have jobs, had jobs, are looking for jobs…. We go out to museums, amusement parks, restaurants, doctors’ offices, supermarkets, and shops where women are visibly employed. I have to say, I do not stress at all that my girls will think they have no choice but to stay home with their children in the years to come.

Actually, I am more worried that if they WANT to stay home, it won’t be an option. But perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

(There is something I do find myself having to work at, though, and that’s keeping other bias out of my parenting. I mean little things like, when we were at a zoo, and my gut reaction was to say “ew!” at an ugly insect. But I realized I don’t want my daughter saying “ew!” just because I think it’s nasty. She might like insects, and that’s ok. So I try to remember to say “look at this!” instead. She can decide if it’s nasty for herself.)