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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photoshop Tutorial

I thought I would finally attempt to give a step by step on how I create something in Photoshop. Many of the questions we most frequently get e-mails about are in regard to photography. I am a graphic designer, NOT a photographer (although I do absolutely love to take and edit photos), and so please know that this is just a step by step of how I do it and not by any means how it necessarily should be done.

I much prefer to work with photos that I take outdoors because they generally need far less work but for the sake of this tutorial I decided to use an indoor shot that required multiple steps so that I could show a tutorial that covered quite a few things. This photo was taken in Lillie's window seat in her bedroom so I was able to get some good natural light but it is just not the same as taking a photo outdoors, in my opinion. I have a Nikon D3000 and that is what I used for this shot. I took it using my Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8G lens. I took this photo back in January so I can't remember what I had my settings at (I always shoot in manual mode) but I know I had a pretty shallow depth of field to help blur out the window. Next time I do a photoshop tutorial I will try to take note of what my settings were. As far as Photoshop goes I use CS5.

Here is the photo I started with. The color is pretty dull and not that great of a shot.

Step 1. I ran Pioneer Woman's Boost Action at about 60%
This is what it looks like after Step 1:

2). Next I ran Pioneer Woman's "Bring on the Eyes" action at about 60%. When I use this action I often have to play around with it a bit depending on the photo. Sometimes I only use it at about 20% and sometimes as high as 75%.

3).Then I ran Pioneer Woman's "Sharpen This" action also at about 60%. I focused on her facial features with this action. Sometimes I only use it at about 50% and sometimes at the full 100%.

This is what it looks like after Steps 2 and 3:

Step 4. I then used the clone tool and got rid of some of the shadows on the wall and blurred out the background a bit more.

Here is what it looked like after Step 4:

Step 5. Then I ran Paint The Moon's "Make My Skin Perfect" at around 35%.

Here it is after Step 5:

6) Next I decided to make this a landscape of portrait so I changed my canvas size and then moved my photo over to the left side and used both the paint tool and clone tool to smooth things out.

Here is what it looked like after Step 6:

7). After that I cropped the photo a bit and then ran Florabella's Len's Flare.

Here is what it looked like after Step 7:

8). I then ran Pioneer Woman's Boost again, this time at 100%.

Here it is after Step 8:

9). Then I ran my final action on this shot to give it a vintage feel. I used Florabella's Retro Vintage action at 70%.

Here it is after Step 9:

Step 10. I actually used it as is after Step 9 to print out but then for fun played around with it a bit more. I added Florabella's Grunge Texture and then noticed a chunk of Lillie's hair that was sticking out so I cloned that out. That is normally something I would have done at the very beginning before I did anything else but I was doing this really quickly and didn't even notice it until the end! Whoops!

Here it is after Step 10:

Step 11. I actually originally added the words in Illustrator because I prefer to work in Illustrator whenever possible. However for the sake of this tutorial I did them in Photoshop and saved them as PNG files so that the background could remain transparent.

And there you have it!

And here you can see the side by side before and after:

I uploaded both of the texts as PNG files if you want to download them. However, I am afraid they will loose their transparency when you do download them. I am not sure how that works exactly when uploading and downloading PNG files over the internet.

For this tutorial I just stuck with basic instructions for a whole bunch of steps. If there are steps you would like to see in more detail or other things you would like to see in Photoshop let me know in the comments section and I will try to focus on those the next time I do a Photoshop post.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!


I am so sorry if you are having trouble commenting on this post or the Fiona and Twig one. Blogger seems to be acting up somewhat again! 


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fiona and Twig

Hello everyone! I am so excited to have the fabulous Anne Lorys of Fiona and Twig here to guest post today. I started reading her blog last summer and have been addicted ever since. Not only does she take stunning photographs but her writing is beautiful and oh so witty.  Her blog was recently featured in Romantic Homes and her photography was in the most recent issue of Romantic Country. I hope you will enjoy her post and then head on over and visit her blog - you will become addicted too!

Hello, Dear Lillie Readers!

I was so honored when sweet Jennifer asked me to do
a guest post for her, as I have been a huge fan of lovely Jen and her
inspiring blog for quite some time now.

I'm sharing a post that I did this past Summer, which addresses
many of the pressures we gals tend to place on ourselves.
It seemed to strike a chord with my readers then,
and I hope it does with you, too.


My blog isn't as pretty
as hers is

I don't have as many followers
as she does

My house isn't as ( clean, fancy, fabulous )
as hers is

My kids aren't as cute
as hers are

I don't have it all together
like she does

I haven't been published
like she has

I don't get as many comments
as she does

I haven't been to ( Paris, Italy, Hawaii )
like she has

I can't ( sew, paint, write, photograph, craft ) as well
as she can.

I'm not as good

I am lacking

I'm not enough.

And to that, I say....


I see and sense this all the time in blogging,
and I know that I've felt it on occasion myself.

The truth is

No one else out there can be you as well as you!

You are special and one-of-a-kind
and blogging is so much richer having you as a part of it.

We can't all be Martha
or The Pioneer Woman...

but do we really want to be?
How much fun would that be, hmmm?

Be yourself.

Embrace it!

And know that you have one cheerleader

right here
no matter what !

You are enough.

Friday, May 20, 2011

An Update on Miss Lorelei

Hello everyone. I hope you all are doing well. It has been a long couple of weeks here. I thought I would just try to pop in quickly, though, and give you all a quick update on Lorelei. The good news is we got the pathology report back and the tissue they removed was benign! YAY!!! The bad news is she has not been doing so well since her surgery. We still aren't sure if it is related to the surgery or not. We have been back and forth to the doctor's, emergency room and have even had another overnight hospital stay. She hasn't been gaining weight (in fact she has even lost an ounce since last week), and the poor thing has been through so many tests and has had her blood drawn several times and been hooked up to an IV. I don't want any of you panicking - it is not anything life-threatening, and in fact today was the first day she finally has shown some improvements so we hope the new medicine they started her on yesterday is helping. I will try to give you all another update soon but it has been extremely hard to get on the computer these past few weeks.

Also, I am about two months behind on e-mails. I had planned on spending the first two or three weeks after Lola was born not worrying about anything Dear Lillie related but then planned on diving in to catch up on e-mails and blog posts and tutorials. Well, needless to say, that hasn't been possible. Even with our shop closed and not doing many blog posts we still receive quite a lot of mail with questions and I don't want you all thinking that I am being rude or don't care. Unfortunately, it has been nearly impossible trying to find time to take a shower most days never mind write e-mails. Please know though, they are all saved in our inbox and eventually, once we get Lorelei better, we will start getting to work on them so I promise you will all get a response, I just don't know when it will be.

I do have some plans for some tutorials including some photo editing ones as we have been getting quite a few requests for those. I am not sure when I will get to those but I hope to have a few more guest posters over the next few weeks and then hopefully we will have Lorelei nice and healthy and life can return to normal here!

Thank you all so much for your prayers!

P.S. If you left a comment last week and are wondering why it is gone, don't worry, we didn't delete it.  Blogger ate a whole bunch of comments last week while it was down at the end of last week, but have said that they will eventually be restored.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oversized Moss Letter Tutorial and Some Photos of My Little Snuggle Bugs

I may have to let Jason guest post more often! I think he enjoyed reading your comments as much as I did. This summer he is going to be taking over the business side of Dear Lillie. Despite his claims, though, he will not be taking over the artistic side, but maybe I will let him do a guest post every now and again so he can exercise his writing skills and mock me...or maybe he can find another family member to pick on next time. Although I am sure after having me boss him around on a regular basis he will probably have lots of complaining to do about me again!

I also want to thank you all for your continued prayers for Lola Wren! We truly appreciate it and will be sure to let you know once we get the pathology report back.

Now onto the tutorial!

 A while back I mentioned how I loved the large moss letters that Pottery Barn was selling but they were sooooo expensive! ($79 each plus shipping and handling) We did a tutorial on how to make a smaller version of them and I used those in dining room. However, I still wanted to make a large one. I couldn't find a large enough base letter anywhere, though! I finally decided just to use what I had and make my own. I found a large cardboard box in the garage and cut out an "H". By using cardboard you can make the letter(s) any size you want. Mine is about two feet tall. It also allows you to make any assortment of letters you want - all for free! When I did my last post I wasn't able to use any of the words I wanted because the craft store was missing so many letters.  I also was FINALLY able to get my hands on the moss that comes in sheets! We just had a new craft store open in Williamsburg and they carried it. Before that I hadn't been able to find it anywhere.

1). First, draw your letter on a piece of cardboard. 
It's okay if you mess up because you are going to be covering it with moss anyway. It may help to use a ruler for any straight lines or to make guides for curves (I made a C for my mom and a D for one of my sisters to cut out and used a ruler to make sure my curves were the same width where I started as they were at the end).

2) Cut your letter out using scissors or a box cutter. 
I was lazy and didn't feel like getting up to get my box cutter so I just used scissors. It worked fine, but it would have gone much more quickly had I just gotten up and gone to the garage and gotten my box cutter. In my defense, though, I made this the day before I had Lorelei so I was not exactly full of energy!

3) Now start up in one corner and put some hot glue on the cardboard.
(Work in small sections so the glue doesn't harden before you attach the moss).

4) Now place the sheet of moss over the glue.  
You want it to overlap the cardboard - do NOT trim it!
(If you can't find moss in sheets like this you can refer to this tutorial on how to proceed with regular "clumps" of moss).

5) Cover the whole letter.  
 It doesn't need to be perfect or even close to it! Just make sure it is completely covered and you have enough around the edges to fold over onto the back.

 6) Now flip it over. 
In retrospect I wish I had even more moss overlapping but it was my first time and I was just "winging it" so I wasn't sure what I was doing. In the future I will have it overlap even more.
7) Use more hot glue and fold over the edges onto the back.

8) You'll have to slice the corner areas a bit to get them to fold over.

9) Once the edges are all folded and glued start adding glue and "patching in" the empty spots with strips of moss.

Keep going!

And there you have it!

As I mentioned I made "H" the day before Lorelei arrived. I also took a bunch of pictures of Lillie in an adorable dress my mom made her. She just made a matching one for Lorelei that arrived in the mail yesterday so I am going to take some photos of them wearing the dresses together at some point. Here's a shot of Lillie, though, on one of her last days of being an only child!

And here are some quick candid shots from this morning of the girls snuggling in bed. Although I am NOT a morning person, this past week I have really been enjoying my mornings as Lillie, Lola and I all snuggle up in bed. Lillie begs to hold Lola and it is so sweet watching them together. I wish I had taken a minute to tame Lillian's wild and crazy hair - oh well. I got it tucked behind her ear for one shot and then it went back to being everywhere!

This is long overdue but I wanted to announce the winner of the Baby Guessing Contest! Congratulations to Picture Perfect Pixies! 
She guessed the date and weight exactly! 
Send us an e-mail at to collect your prize!

I am hoping to work on another tutorial this weekend to share on Monday or Tuesday but I am learning with two little ones things don't always go according to the plan so we shall see if I actually get it done or not!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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