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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Inspiration: Sweet Hearts

DIY: Star Garland

Star Garland
{ via Creature Comforts }

Check out these super amazing (and super easy!) star garlands from Creature Comforts! Click on the image above to read all about how to make these adorable little decorations. They're great for your tree, centerpieces, adding a little extra spruce to your pine garland or your mantle. They're also perfect for gift wrapping!

Freebies: Holly Holiday Gift Tags

Mary Veterano Designs
To & From Tag, Download PDF
Happy Holidays Tag, Download PDF

I have two more free holiday gift tags for you! These ones are round with a scalloped edge. I would suggest punching them out with a large hole punch if you have one, these tags measure 4"x4" or you can scale them when you print (make sure you have constrained proportions) to make them 2"x2".

For best results print these on card stock, or a thick textured paper. Check back later for examples of uses once you've printed them out in my gift wrapping post!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Knitting: Craft Fair


{ via Google }

This weekend I got an email from one of the ladies in my knit group and she invited me to get a table at the Burlington Craft Fair. I was so excited! It was very sweet of her to think of me, especially since I barely remember mentioning that I was prepping knits for sale, but unfortunately I don't even have the spare funds for a one-day table rental fee ($75) nor enough merchandise to be ready for this Saturday! She had hoped I would bring my spinning wheel and do a demonstration, so I might be heading down there on Saturday to do that.

Cooking: Cran-Apple Walnut Stuffing Recipe

Mary Veterano Photography

I made some delicious stuffing for the holidays! The dish behind the yams is 3lbs of cran-apple walnut stuffing. It was the hit of the dinner!

Mary Veterano Photography

Ingredients:
  • Pepperidge farm stuffing breadcrumbs (I used 2 1lb bags)
  • 2.5c chicken/vegetable/mushroom stock
  • 2c chopped walnuts (Or whichever nut you prefer)
  • 6 apples
  • 2.5-3c cranberries
  • 2-3 heaping dollops sour cream (optional)
  • 1 egg per 1lb of breadcrumbs
  • 1 stick of butter/margarine per 1lb of breadcrumbs


  • Directions:

    1. Bring butter/margarine and stock to a boil. Add breadcrumbs, fluff, and remove from heat.

    2. Fold in apples, walnuts, and cranberries. If your stuffing gets too gummy or difficult to mix add more water or stock.

    3. Beat eggs (I used 2) and mix into stuffing.

    4. Add sour cream to balance sweetness. You could also use applesauce.

    5. Transfer to baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes covered, 15-20 minutes uncovered at 350 degrees.

    Holiday Weekend

    Mary Veterano Photography

    We had a great holiday weekend. There was even flurries on Thanksgiving morning! We had about 15 people over between my cousin's family, our family, and my grandparents. My aunt also stopped by with her two daughters, as well as my boyfriend and my friend.

    Mary Veterano Photography

    Mary Veterano Photography
    My parents admired their handiwork with the bird.

    Mary Veterano Photography
    We lured the baby into the house with goldfish.

    Mary Veterano Photography
    We had to put three tables together to fit everyone!

    Mary Veterano Photography
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    All of our food was wonderful! I made the pumpkin whoopie pies from the BAKED cookbook, as well as some pumpkin pecan bread and the stuffing. I'm going to share the recipe with you since it was so tasty!

    I hope all of you had a great weekend!

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Mary Veterano Photography

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    After baking these for several hours today (busting out Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from the recipe in the BAKED cookbook) and with lots more cooking to do tomorrow I need to get some shut-eye! Especially since I've been asked to go shopping on Black Friday (a day I usually never go out on) with Roy's mom and his sister.

    I hope those of you in the states have a wonderful holiday weekend! And those of you outside of the states, have a great rest of the week and a lovely weekend as well!

    And, on a side note, welcome to the new followers this week! Thank you for following me!

    Music: Sophie Madeleine



    I am head over heels for this song (and this video!) it's so sweet!

    Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving in the states? What are you thankful for? How are you preparing for tomorrow?

    I am thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life - friends, family, and my boyfriend - they make me happy and we all love each other. I would not be here today without them.

    I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes for the holiday weekend. I'll be back Monday!

    The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Working on: Knits, T-Day, and Ukes!

    Mary Veterano Photography

    I've been a busy, busy little bee. Last week I updated the logo for my shop, preparing for my re-open in January! It's all been very exciting - planning and making new products and giving the shop a new focus, and creating an updated identity for the shop! These little seed stitch infinity scarves have been flying off my needles. I've got a bunch ready to be sold in divine colors, but this one is mine and I finished it last night. See more of it on flickr.

    Mary Veterano Photography

    We've been in full-on Thanksgiving mode in my house. This weekend we procured most of our groceries, just need to get a few more things for dessert. I am in charge of stuffing, biscuits, and some dessert. We've got 17 people coming for dinner! What are you doing to prepare for your holiday festivities?

    Mary Veterano Photography

    And finally, I am again testing my Jackette of All Trades skills and have decided to act on my dream of learning to play the ukelele. This beauty arrived today and I've already got some chords down!

    ETA: After a coule of hours practicing chords and strumming, I can now play "Home on the Range" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and I am enjoying myself very much!

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Photography: Darling Train Tracks E-Session

    Butterfly Photography
    { via Butterfly Photography }

    You have to see this absolutely darling engagement session I happened upon today. So cute! Photographer Kimberly Chorney is a genius - the bike is from a scrap yard!

    Inspiration: Grasping at Fall

    My lovelies I'm trying desperately to hold onto Fall, possibly my favorite season, and it's slipping away! Almost all of the leaves in New Jersey have fallen off of their trees.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Friday Etsy Picks: Harry Potter Edition

    Flying Key Necklace
    { via AnnieJack }

    This lovely necklace takes us back to the first book and movie when the magic first enchanted us. Great for gift giving to the HP fan on your list!

    Deathly Hallows Necklace
    { via SwingingMartinis }

    There is also this Deathly Hallows necklace, from the final book and movie where everything comes together. Style yourself like Mr. Lovegood himself with this necklace!

    Hogwarts Crest Decal
    { via SignsNDecals }

    If you don't want to wear jewelry, you can still show your Hogwarts pride with this crest decal for your laptop. These are removable, so you don't have to worry about leaving anything sticky on your computer.

    Stamped Cuff Bracelet
    { via MadamePoindextra }

    This gorgeous cuff bracelet is stamped with the Marauder's phrase "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" and would make a wonderful addition to your jewelry collection, or as a gift.

    Owl Post Gift Tags
    { via TheCrookedStitch1 }

    Finally, these little tags are great for giving gifts to add a little something extra.

    Have a happy weekend!

    DIY: Vintage Photography Tips, Part 3

    Mary Veterano Photography

    Welcome to the final installment of my 3-part vintage effects series! Almost all of the effects I'm talking about in today's tutorial can also be achieved with Picnik.

    Do you love vintage-looking photography with those soft colors and yellow-blue-red tints? Good. Do you like to take pictures? Good. Today I'm continuing the second of a three part series on how to get the above look, or similar, with your photos with different kinds of techniques and photo-editing software. Now don't fear, I have researched free tools and websites that will allow you to get very close, if not better, than the image above I have produced with Photoshop.

    I have been doing this for years and years to my photos, I've always been obsessed with color and have experimented with different ways to tweak my photos to evoke the mood I want to create. It's very easy to do and it creates a beautiful result!

    Before we begin I want to include a list of editing software and free tools available to you.

    Software:
    Adobe PhotoshopCS5 - this is what I use
    Adobe Lightroom - this is what I use
    Adobe Photoshop Elements - your best bet for using Photoshop without all of the bells and whistles, and for a fraction of the cost
    Pixelmator - Most affordable
    Corel Paint Shop Pro - I used to use this

    Free Tools:
    Photobucket - New and improved editing features
    Pixlr - Very similar to Photoshop and should be able to follow the tutorial closely
    Picnik - Easy to use
    Photoscape -
    Paint.NET - Very similar to Photoshop and should be able to follow the tutorial closely
    Picasa - Google's photo editing tool

    Vintage Effects: Part 3, Extra Effects - Vignettes, Rounded Edges, Polaroid, Filmstrip Frame
    For this tutorial I will be using Photoshop, but do not worry - I will include examples below each section for how you can create these effects if you don't own Photoshop.

    ***Important***: Every image is different! There are different colors, different lighting, and different subjects. Because of this I do not use exact number/setting examples when I write tutorials so that you can experiment and begin to understand how an image works and what will work to get the end result you want. Experimentation is important!

    Vignettes:
    Mary Veterano Photography

  • Open your image and create a new layer. Using the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) hold the shift key and create a circle around the center of your image. Be sure to set your feather - experiment to see which effect you like best. I used 150px for my feather. The larger the feather, the more your image will show through. You can also create a non-constrained circle by not holding the shift key when creating your selection.

  • Inverse your selection by going to Select->Inverse and fill in your selection with black (or another color of your choice).

  • Adjust the opacity of your new fill layer until you have a result you are pleased with.

    Rounded Edges:
    Mary Veterano Photography

  • For rounded edges I use the Rounded Rectangle tool. Create a new layer, then select your Rounded Rectangle tool (U) and set the radius for the rounded edges. I selected 100.

  • Select the area you want to be your new image. You can go as close to the edge as you like.

  • Right-click (PC)/option-click (Mac) on your shape and select "Make Selection" and click ok when the window pops up.

  • Select your base image and hid the delete button to delete the edges. You can now delete your shape layer. You now have snazzy rounded edges.

    Polaroid:
    Mary Veterano Photography

  • You can download a polaroid frame (look in the notes for download link), or you can make your own (which I do). Create a new image in the size that you want your polaroid to be. I've made mine 1400px x 1580px.

  • Using the fill bucket and setting your fill mode to pattern, fill your document with a tan or grey pattern. If you don't have one, here are a few that work well.

  • The next step can be done two ways. One: Select the area where you want your image to be on the polaroid and delete it, then replace the empty space with your image (resize it to fit there). Two: Simply resize your image and paste it over your document.

  • Crop your polaroid if it has too much lip at the bottom, which I have done for this example.

    Filmstrip:
    Mary Veterano Photography

  • Download a filmstrip frame. When using frames all you need to do is resize your image to fit the frame. You may need to crop your image to fit your frame.

    Other Site Examples:
  • Vintage Effects, Picnik - under "Create" tab
    Mary Veterano Photography
    Mary Veterano Photography
    Mary Veterano Photography

    This concludes the final part of this three-series post.

    I'd love to see what you come up with!
  • Photography: A Cat For Your Morning

    Mary Veterano Photography

    Here's a cat for your morning. My cat. One of my cats. Check back in a bit for the final part of the Vintage Photography Effects post (my apologies for having it for you at the end of the week) and my Friday Etsy picks!

    And in between I am being the biggest, most excited nerd ever about the opening of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. I'm all decked out in my Hufflepuff colors. Pictures may spring up here later today.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Fashion Trends: Vintage Capes

    Vintage Wool Cape
    { via FatRabbit1 }

    I just nabbed this darling vintage 60s navy wool cape! I've been dying for a cape for a long time and I've been having trouble finding one I liked.

    Here's two others I also looked at:

    Mustard Wool Coat
    { via Chikkie55 }

    Hooded Red Wool Coat
    { via Pamni7 }

    I really love the red one, maybe one day I'll be able to get one like it - I can be Lil' Red Riding Hood :)

    DIY: Fall Tablescapes

    Mary Veterano Photography

    I know Fall is beginning to ebb into Winter, but you can use this for Thanksgiving to spruce up your tables. It's very easy to create a Fall atmosphere, and a big part of it is the nature. Think about using acorns and leaves (the ones that won't crunch when you pick them up) and any gourds you may still have from Halloween. The other aspect I've used here is some of my glass bottle collection to put some flowers in. The sunflowers I've used are fake silk ones, which you can find at a craft store. Mine are from my mom's collection of Pottery Barn decorative flowers.

    Mary Veterano Photography

    Weddings: Charming Clutch Outdoor Wedding

    Phoebe Joy Photography
    { via Grey Likes Weddings }

    How awesome is this bag? I want to go to the Goodwill or the flea market and find a cute little clutch to bedazzle with buttons right now! Check out the rest of this super sweet wedding on Grey Likes Weddings from photography Phoebe Joy.

    Photography: Sweet Engagement Shoot

    Lev Kuperman Photography
    { via Brooklyn Bride }

    Photographer Lev Kuperman's work is featured today on Brooklyn Bride in a sweet, sweet engagement shoot. I'm totally coveting her skirt, boots, and leg warmers combo - j'adore!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Inspiration: Sweet Inspiration Board

    I saw this lovely inspiration board on Flickr today and thought I'd share it with you.

    I have a busy week ahead so I apologize in advance if my posting is slow/sparse. Today I'm going to finish the third part of my Photoshop Vintage Effects series and hopefully later this week I'll have some art, a DIY and maybe some free stuff for you all.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Inspiration: Gettin' Dirty with Paint

    Good morning lovelies! It's Monday. I have loads of work to do with week, but all I want to do is sit down and paint.

    How was everyone's weekend?

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Friday Etsy Picks: Holiday Decorations

    Burlap Pillow
    { via Jenilyons81 }

    This burlap pillow cover is repurposed from a coffee burlap bag and hand painted to bring a bit of French spirit to your Holiday season. Simply cover a pillow and part of your decorating is already done!

    Wood Snowflake Ornaments
    { via Timber Green Woods }

    These hand-crafted wood ornaments are gorgeous and would look great on your tree or around your home this year. They would also make a wonderful gift! This eco-friendly set is also available to be engraved for an extra $5.

    Holiday Wreath
    { via Bits and Barley }

    If your door is bare this year then consider this beautiful wreath to "deck your halls" with. Though it is not weather-proof for outdoors, it would be great for an apartment door or another door in your home. The hand-made flowers bring a real charm to this beautiful piece.

    Have a happy weekend!

    DIY: Vintage Photography Tips, Part 2

    Mary Veterano Photography

    Do you love vintage-looking photography with those soft colors and yellow-blue-red tints? Good. Do you like to take pictures? Good. Today I'm continuing the second of a three part series on how to get the above look, or similar, with your photos with different kinds of techniques and photo-editing software. Now don't fear, I have researched free tools and websites that will allow you to get very close, if not better, than the image above I have produced with Photoshop.

    I have been doing this for years and years to my photos, I've always been obsessed with color and have experimented with different ways to tweak my photos to evoke the mood I want to create. It's very easy to do and it creates a beautiful result!

    Before we begin I want to include a list of editing software and free tools available to you.

    Software:
    Adobe PhotoshopCS5 - this is what I use
    Adobe Lightroom - this is what I use
    Adobe Photoshop Elements - your best bet for using Photoshop without all of the bells and whistles, and for a fraction of the cost
    Pixelmator - Most affordable
    Corel Paint Shop Pro - I used to use this

    Free Tools:
    Photobucket - New and improved editing features
    Pixlr - Very similar to Photoshop and should be able to follow the tutorial closely
    Picnik - Easy to use
    Photoscape -
    Paint.NET - Very similar to Photoshop and should be able to follow the tutorial closely
    Picasa - Google's photo editing tool

    Vintage Effects: Part 2, Advanced Techniques - Curves + Selective Color
    For this tutorial I will be using Photoshop, but do not worry - I will include examples below each section for how you can create these effects if you don't own Photoshop.

    ***Important***: Every image is different! There are different colors, different lighting, and different subjects. Because of this I do not use exact number/setting examples when I write tutorials so that you can experiment and begin to understand how an image works and what will work to get the end result you want. Experimentation is important!

    Step 1 - Preparing the image:
    Mary Veterano Photography

  • Open your selected image(s) in your editor of choice. I'll be using a picture of an awesome classic car from a mini-car show. If you are in Photoshop, make sure you unlock your layer! (Window->Layers->Drag the lock icon to the trashcan icon)
  • If your image is dark or the white balance is off you're going to want to make it brighter. Create a brightness/contrast layer (Image->Adjustments->Brightness/Contrast) and adjust the brightness settings to make the image brighter. Not too much brighter, just give it a little extra something. I added about 30% brightness to mine.
  • Other ways to adjust the brightness/contrast settings include adjusting the exposure and levels (both under Image->Adjustments), experiment with your image settings.

    Step 2 - Adjusting Curves:
    Mary Veterano Photography

  • Add a new curves adjustment layer (Image->Adjustments->Curves). When the window opens you will have the option to adjust the RGB channel. When you add a positive output it will make the image brighter, and if you add a negative input it will make the image darker. With the drop down menu go through each channel - red, green, and blue and adjust the inputs. Add positive inputs to all of the color channels you want to emphasize in the image. For example, I want to emphasize red so I add positive red input of 65/100 and a negative input of 190/200 to pull back the red where I don't want it. Then I add positive blue input of 50/70 and a negative input of 195/175 to create that vintage tint. Negative blue creates a yellow tint, negative green creates a magenta tint, and negative red creates a COLOR tint. This creates the overall tint for the image.

    Step 3 - Selective Color + Saturation:
    Mary Veterano Photography

  • Now that we have our colors adjusted we want to make certain colors pop and dull other colors. Add a new selective color adjustment layer (Image->Adjustments->Selective Color). Selective color adjusts specific color temperatures and tones. Use the drop down menu to select which colors you want to adjust. For example: I adjusted the settings for the reds, yellows, cyans, whites, neutrals, and blacks. The whites, neutrals, and blacks adjust the brightness/contrast in a similar way to the levels adjustment layer. I wanted to make the red, yellow, and cyans pop so I adjusted the colors to reflect positive red (lowering the cyan, and adding magenta, yellow, and black for saturation of the red). Experiment with the settings to see the potential in using selective color.
  • Add a saturation adjustment layer (Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation) and add a positive saturation input if you want a more vibrant image of the 60s and 70s, or if you want that soft vintage glow then put a negative saturation input. You can also drag the sliders to experiment with the effect you want.

    Note: You can combine the techniques described here with the techniques described in the first part of this series, which is what I usually do. To create the final image from the before/after example I added a solid-color cyan layer set to screen at 10% opacity as well as a magenta solid-color layer set to screen at 10% opacity.

    Other Site Examples:
  • Curves + Exposure: Available in Photobucket, Pixelr
    Mary Veterano Photography Photobucket, (under geek tab)used curves
    Mary Veterano Photography Pixlr, used brightness/contrast, hue/saturation for color balance, and solid color layers.

    This concludes part two of this three-series post. In the third part of the series I will show you how to do some extra effects, like a vignette, to add little vintage touches to your images.

    I'd love to see what you come up with!
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