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Hello and welcome to another Friday Photoshare! I’ve written a lot about the conceptual aspects of photography and some creative editing, so today I wanted take a look at image orientation for Instagram and Facebook. I think bloggers pretty universally want a greater social media reach, so hopefully this little bit of insight will help you!

For ages, I saw Instagram as a place to post square images because, well, it was. This was frustrating when I first got into landscape photography until some friends told me about an app that added white bars to make a “square” with your landscape image. I was so super excited! Even after Instagram introduced the ability to natively upload landscape, portrait, and square images, I kept on keeping on with landscape for a long time. It was a ratio that naturally fit many of my images and I saw no reason to change. I gleefully continued uploading landscape and square images until I watched a CreativeLive class in January that told me I was doing it all wrong. 😱

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Upcycled Painted Glass Bottle Vase

Oh, upcylcling jars and bottles! I should probably just claim that as a favorite hobby instead of “crafting.” As I’ve shared repeatedly, I have a very hard time tossing out perfectly nice glass jars and bottles. It seems like such a waste! I recently got some lemonade on sale and the bottle was so nice I knew I had to keep it! With lovely textures around the neck, it was a prime candidate for painting so I turned it into this upcycled painted glass bottle vase!

I, of course, went with a beachy theme for my glass bottle vase, but it would be so easy to take things in a different direction. This project would be so sweet with twine, lace, and paper flowers like these: [click to continue…]


Wellbeing Wednesday – I Sound my Barbaric Yawlp

I love the movie Dead Poets Society. It was released over ten years before the first time I watched it, but I instantly fell in love. I’m not even sure how many times I watched our VHS copy! It isn’t any particular anniversary of anything pertaining to the movie, but this week a Walt Whitman quotation featured in the movie really spoke to me, so here it is 🙂

Isn’t it so much fun to imagine standing there and letting loose with your “barbaric yawlp?” Even picturing it feels so free, so empowering.

On probably our third date ever (I think it was), I told my husband about Thoreau and one of my other favorite quotations in Dead Poets Society {{“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.}} I was either very convincing in my description of the transcendentalist movement or, more likely, he was hoping to impress because he went out and bought a copy of Walden! (Incidentally, you can get Walden for free on Kindle. Yay!) He even read some of it 😉

And just in case you’re not familiar with Thoreau, Walden, and the transcendentalists, the basic premise of transcendentalism is that people and nature are inherently good, you should trust your intuition, and that all people possess a piece of the “Over-soul” and are, therefore connected. Amos Bronson Alcott was a transcendentalist, and so was his daughter Louisa May of Little Women fame. (Some readers may also be interested to learn that Amos Alcott was an advocate of a vegan diet long before the term was coined!)

As always, this week’s Wellbeing Wednesday image is available as an 8×10 printable in the members’ tab above, but I hope everyone who sees it enjoys!

Anyone else out there a big Dead Poets Society fan?


Spring is officially here! Evenings are noticeably longer for us now, and sunrise keeps getting earlier and earlier. You might not guess it, but certain flowers do have seasons here in Hawaii, and I love all the plumeria I’ve seen in bloom lately. Plumeria are one of my favorite scented flowers, and they come in a lovely variety of colors. To celebrate spring’s arrival, I created a new, softer set of texture overlays, Spring Romance. This collection has 25 high resolution files in a variety of soft, but still slightly ‘grungy’ and perfect for adding a soft, dreamy feel to images.

Because I love giving samples and previews, there’s also a mini preview pack of Spring Romance available for free to anyone who enrolls in my weekly newsletter either with the signup box at the bottom of a photography post or by downloading another freebie from the texture store. (If you’re already on the newsletter, I’ll be sending out the free download link this Friday. Don’t worry – you aren’t going to miss out!) These are the textures available in the sample pack: [click to continue…]


Hello and welcome to another Friday Photoshare! I’m really excited about today because I’m sharing my first ever Photoshop tutorial, How to Make Layered Textures. Yay!

I’ve talked a lot about textures lately and demonstrated a bit of how I use them in last Friday’s post and this Wednesday’s post. When I first began using textures, I only applied single layer textures, like something with cracks in it or with a particular pattern to add the feel of brush strokes or fabric. Here are a couple of examples so you can see what I mean:

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Easy Beachy Ombre Monogram Letter Tutorial

Do you ever happen upon a project when you originally had something else in mind? That’s exactly what happened with this beachy ombre monogram! I had something else in mind, but the project changed along the way and this is what I ended up with:

easy beachy ombre monogram tutorial

I’d recently thrown away all our plastic plates, and I didn’t want to contaminate my watercolor palette with acrylics, so I played around a bit and realized it is completely possible to paint an ombre effect without mixing the paint ahead of time! It’s easiest if you have two or three brushes, but the effect can be accomplished with a single brush if you work quickly. Of course, I added some tiny shells and a starfish to my letter, but everyone knows I love the beachy vibe! If this isn’t your thing, it’s very easy to modify the colors and accents to suit your personal style. [click to continue…]


Wellbeing Wednesday – New Beginnings

Hello and welcome to another Wellbeing Wednesday! I hope you all had a great Pi day yesterday and enjoyed some pie, if that’s you’re thing. March 14 is also Einstein’s birthday, so it’s a pretty good day for math and science nerds, as well as people who like sweets! If you didn’t realize yesterday was a great excuse to eat some pie, just remember it for next year. =)

With today’s Wellbeing Wednesday printable, I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone of a very important message:

This week’s quotation wasn’t inspired by a couple of things. Recently I’ve been re-reading The Power of Now. This quotation reminds me of the Ego’s struggle to survive, its fear of death, and the Ego’s identification with the pain-body. Tolle writes that we are likely to face resistance while disassociating ourselves from our pain-body. Ending this association can be a painful ending, as it were, but the new beginning is a greater sense of presence and a freedom from the destructive cycle of inflicting pain on yourself and others.  [click to continue…]


Seaside Sunset Bokeh Freebie Pack!

Hello and happy Tuesday! Lately Tuesdays have meant photography resources here on The Artisan Life, and today that trend continues with another bokeh freebie pack that I’m calling the “Seaside Sunset” bokeh pack. What does that mean? It means a combination of cute sea life shaped bokeh and some lovely colored bokeh I captured during Saturday’s sunset!

We went to a laid-back beach Saturday evening, mostly for the opportunity to use our hammock, but the light coming through the trees was so beautiful I had to start taking bokeh photos.

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Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies Recipe

As regular readers know, I’m not big on desserts but I occasionally give in and make something for my husband. I’d been promising him cookies for about two months, so last weekend I decided to draw up this chocolate chip pecan cookies recipe. It turned out to be such a success I was worried I wouldn’t have enough cookies left to photograph in the morning! I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did!

As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, I don’t eat many sweets. I find these cookies quite sweet, but people who eat more sugar may find them less sweet that what they’re accustomed to. I just want to give fair warning so no one with a major sweet tooth ends up disappointed!

Speaking of sweets – I’ve talked about them before, but I really love the Enjoy Life brand of chocolate chips. They have ‘normal’ sized ones, chunks, and minis, and they’re all dairy and soy free. These mini chips are the ones I used in this batch of pecan chocolate chip cookies! (As a side note, Enjoy Life also has chocolate bars, and some of their offerings are vegan. A lot of their products are on Amazon for a similar price to what I’ve found them in stores for!)

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Hello and welcome to another Friday Photoshare! This week I’m sharing a recent self portrait, In Hiding, and taking a look at textures & what they can add to an image. If you’ve been wondering what all this ‘texture’ stuff is, then you should find this post interesting!

First, let’s take a look at this week’s image:

So often we use our fears as a mask or a shield to hide behind. We hold to fears in order to protect ourselves, and we make excuses to avoid labeling and confronting out fears. “Oh, I’m no good at sports,” we might say when what we really mean is “I’m afraid of not being good enough and looking foolish.” The subject (me) is peeping through a cluster of eucalyptus leaves, and eucalyptus branches litter the ground. Did you know that ‘eucalyptus’ derives from a Greek term that means “well covered?” Now you do! Additionally, eucalyptus is associated with being shielded and protected. Unfortunately, in the case of fear, this shielding is a disservice that keeps us in hiding from the world and our true selves. However, yellow is the image’s predominant color. Yellow is associated with creativity, happiness, optimism, and enlightenment. The eucalyptus branches in my hands are red, a color that can symbolize determination, energy, and action. The ultimate message is one of hope – determined action can help us release fear and live with creating and optimism.

Or, at least, that’s what the image means to me. =)

Now let’s talk about textures! I’ve posted several textures for free this year, and on Tuesday I announced The Artisan Life texture store launch. So what are textures, anyway, and what can they do for you?

Textures are popular in fine art photography, digital art, digital scrapbooking, graphic design, and, I’m sure, other areas of art and design. They can be used to add, well, texture, like a paper texture or the suggestion of fabric, depth, and even color toning. I love using textures to give photos a more “painterly” feel. In graphic design pieces, I frequently add a subtle texture to the background to give more depth and dimension. To show what this image looked like after editing/compositing but before final textures, I created a little video! All three textures I used in this image are available in the distress pack in the texture store. =)

If you’re interested in learning more about textures – stay tuned! I’m planning a video tutorial showing how to make your own layered textures.

As always, I’m curious – what does this image say to you?

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