Friday, January 30, 2009
Even zoo animals have celebrity vanity! I went to the Santa Barbara zoo last week to take a few animal photos for a project I'm working on. I decided to do a quick layout with a few of my favorites. I had to laugh when I got a good look at the ones I finally selected (of course, with a vertical format, I was looking for photos that fit my rectangles), I could see a definite trend... these critters all seemed to be showing off their fabulous profile, their noble beaks, their regal posture. Too bad they haven't yet figured out how to give autographs to their adoring public.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:55 PM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
In 1984 I created my first computer art: I was assigned a job of developing a line of 'clip art' for a friend, who then planned on marketing it. He loaned me a new Apple computer, and the cutting edge MacPaint software program. I had never touched a computer, and had absolutely no idea how to use this program. But I muddled through, and figured out how to draw, shade, and use the fill patterns provided in the software. I still have a few samples of that primitive artwork. After my friend picked up that computer a few weeks later, I never touched another computer for at least ten years. Of course, when I finally did find my way back to computer design, I chose a Mac.
I found some old Apple ads online, from the time, and so I decided to recreate the feel of the ad, using a similar font & graphic style of the Apple ad campaign. The photo is me in 1984.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 8:45 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This is definitely my favorite time of year... maybe where you live it's snowy, icy, cloudy and dreary. But here in Southern California, the hillsides are green, the oranges are getting big, and the skies are clear and blue. I went out early this morning with my camera, and discovered a lovely canyon near my home. Ok, so it was a golf course. But still, it didn't have that manicured, fake look of so many golf courses. It looks like they just happened to put a golf course in the middle of a spectacularly pretty valley, and left the wild-ness there.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 5:26 PM
Monday, January 26, 2009
I don't know... the light bulb seems a little cliche and obvious, but hey, it's better than no image at all! This week's bright idea is a challenge! A challenge to make your designs, layouts and photos more personal. More uniquely yours, more 'relevant', to use an old 60s phrase. I don't mean necessarily more symbolic, meaningful or deep. After all, most of our scrapbook layouts are rather mundane and ordinary in their subject matter. Real life. Everyday happenings. But I do think we need to consider what we are trying to communicate with our work. A moment in time? A story? A memorable event? An emotion? If that's the case, how do our layouts communicate that? In ways that are meaningful to us, or are we just trying to make pretty pages? There's nothing wrong with pretty pages, but pretty pages that are empty of personal or family significance will someday mean very little to us. I think of my layouts as a body of work memorializing my personal and family life, rather than a series of decorative designs that show off my photography or Photoshop skills. Ok, I'll say it in plainer language. The layouts that I love the best, either my own, or others', are those that communicate clearly a story, a memory, or a feeling. NOT just a photo. I hope these are the designs that will stand the test of time.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 11:29 AM
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I created this layout for my monthly posting at It Takes All Kinds blog here.
I was waxing philosophical about the metaphorical roads and paths of our lives. I was so young when this photo was taken...it's been over 35 years, and so much has happened in my life since that young college student sat next to the railroad track in Provo Canyon. I'm pretty happy with the path my life has taken since that day!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 11:18 PM
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I try to add something to my blog at least every other day, and I've been too busy to scrap or do much creative. But Saturday I drove up to Santa Barbara to take some zoo photos, and I had to pull off the freeway in Montecito to photograph this sunset. Of course, my humble camera doesn't do it justice, but I still think the colors are lovely. Today in Southern California is a gray and rainy day, so I wanted to remember that beautiful Saturday Sunset. One thing that always humbles me is knowing that no matter where you live (unless it's winter and you are in some deep dark northern country) the sun rises and sets every day. It's a universal pleasure that supersedes wealth or poverty, class, ethnicity, nationality. I hope I never forget to look for these simple treasures of life.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 1:53 PM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I've been administrating a website for my high school class, and it's been such a lot of fun catching up with old friends, reading about their lives and memories, and getting acquainted with those that I wasn't close to. One of the advantages of basically controlling the content, is that I get to post all the photos to the appropriate photo pages. Yesterday, one of my oldest school friends, sent me some photos of our time together as Brownie & Girl Scouts. What a treat! I had never seen these photos before, and had often lamented that I didn't have a single picture of me in my Brownie uniform. Since I had a small cache of old Brownie stuff, including my old handbook, beanie and Brownie pin, I made a layout. It's funny how some things you never forget... like the words to a certain little song. Thanks for the memories, Paulie!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 6:06 AM
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Bruce doesn't like the photo of me that I use for the Weekly Bright Idea, so I've decided to retire it. Not the Bright Idea, just the photo. Maybe next week I'll have a new photo or something clever...
Back to the Bright Idea! I know this is Basic. I know this is Obvious. I know this is Sensible and Practical and Logical. Too bad so many people forget to do this, even I occasionally forget. Simple really, but here it is: DATE YOUR DESIGNS, layouts, photos, albums. Such a mundane thing. Perhaps it ruins the flow of your design. Maybe you don't think it matters. But, I guarantee, one day you, or someone you love, will say, "who the heck is this, and when was this picture taken?" To put it in a different context, suppose you found a box of old photos from your grandparents or great grandparents. Lovely old photos of people, places, more people. Suppose when you turned these photos over, each was carefully labeled with names, dates, and places. What a treasure! Now, suppose you look at these photos, and when you turn them over, they are blank. Who are these people? Where were the pictures taken? When? They are still a treasure, but partially worthless, since you don't know if the photos are your family, or just strangers. What seems obvious to you now, may some day be just a faded memory. And our poor children and grandchildren! They won't have a clue! Someday you'll thank me. And I intend to be around to hear you say it! Oh, and by the way, the handsome couple in the layout above is my oldest son Ian, and his sweetie Jessica.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 9:36 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
When Bruce & I were in Santa Barbara last week, we took lots of photos of a beautiful old 1920s building called the San Marcos Building. It had the most incredible sculptural relief along the sides, top, and other places. I'm working on a layout about the architecture, and thought I'd make my background a segment of the bas relief. Since my layout backgrounds are rarely seen, I thought I'd post this. Later, when I get it done, I'll post the completed layout. I used the Saturation blending mode, to blend a medium grayed teal into the photo layer, then I added a black vignette to the edges.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 12:52 PM
Monday, January 12, 2009
Here's the layout I did about my birthday. I created the background using a photo of the Art Museum, adding a blending mode, the Emboss filter, and added a Gradient. I made a digital brush out of a photo I took of some sculptural relief, and added it to the word 'DAY'.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 2:36 PM
Birthdays are such contradictory occasions.. on the one hand it's a day to celebrate OURSELVES- how often do we get a totally selfish day? One that allows us to receive gifts, be taken out to dinner, get endless phone calls and Facebook messages from well-wishers. On the other hand, the bad news is we are getting older and each birthday is a reminder that we are no longer as young & cute as we once were! Last week I passed such a milestone... I'm definitely not as young and cute as I once was, but I'm pretty happy with my life nonetheless. Bruce and I celebrated by spending the day in Santa Barbara. We went to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, walked on State Street, went for hot chocolate in Carpinteria (it was a cold, cloudy day) then went to a sushi restaurant for dinner. This photo was taken that day, and I think we look pretty young & cute. Here's to birthdays!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:33 AM
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Recently I have been working on putting together a website for my high school graduating class (thanks to Bruce for doing most of the work!) and that has put me in a rather nostalgic mood. So, my weekly bright idea is to encourage, browbeat, suggest, coerce, and otherwise recommend that you scrap your childhood & teen years. If you are scrapping for your children, they might be interested that Mom or Dad were young once, and it's cathartic for us as scrappers, to put down a memory or two before they are gone. (our minds, I mean!)
So here's to you, fellow Tigers (and Tigerettes!)
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 9:25 AM
Friday, January 9, 2009
Here's the layout I created with the colorized photo of my Father-in-law's childhood photo. The journaling is a little sappy, but I mean every word of it. To me, one of the most important reasons to do family history, is to make our ancestors come to life for us. The dates and events of our ancestor's lives are just the skeleton. The stories and history put flesh on those bones.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 8:43 PM
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
A few months ago, I posted several of my photo colorizing projects. You can see one of them here (more examples in October posts). Today I decided to try my hand at colorizing a sweet photo of my Father-in-law Henry Eskander, and his little brother George. Henry passed away in 1992, and we dearly miss him. The original photo was in fairly good shape except for some damage at the top of the photo. Little George moved a little in the photo session, and so his face was slightly blurry. I think it came out pretty good, I had some fun doing a little color work in the photo background to give it some depth. You can click on the photos to get a closer look.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 6:39 PM
Monday, January 5, 2009
We're so blessed to live in a beautiful place... every time I read about blizzards or ice storms, I am so thankful to live in California! (We paid our dues though, we struggled through quite a few winters in New England, Minnesota & Buffalo!) Between Christmas & New Year, I went up to the Reagan Library with my brother & sister, and took some photos of the view. Our home is out there somewhere, blocked by one of the little hills in the background. I just wanted to share a little bit of the beauty of the earth, and my gratitude for all that I have been given.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:44 AM
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Since it's the beginning of a New Year, naturally I've been thinking about some resolutions I would like to make. Since my job as Weekly Bright Idea Editor is to hopefully inspire, I thought perhaps a little New Year's Nudge might be in order. My Bright Idea is to encourage & inspire you to start your own blog. Or if you have one, update it more often. I'm certainly not the most prolific blogger on the planet, but I am pretty pleased that since I started my blog 4 months ago, I've averaged blogging at least every other day. For me, that's quite an accomplishment. Through my life, I've attempted to keep journals. When I was single, I was a fairly regular journal writer, but after the children started coming along, I really pooped out. I can count my journal entries on the fingers of one hand, after Ian was born nearly 30 years ago. Sooooo, so much of my life has pretty much disappeared, available only in my feeble memory. When my older kids began going on missions for our church, I wrote computer letters to them. These letters, of which I have copies filed away in nice little notebooks, are a fabulous journal of our family, and also my creativity. Creativity because I created designs, mastheads, and other Photoshop mini-masterpieces for them. In fact, those letters directly led me into digital scrapbooking, because it was a natural evolution from one to the other. So now we're back to blogging. This can be the modern form of writing in a journal. Or filling sketchbooks. Or just communicating with family and friends. I hope you (and I) take better advantage of this phenomenal creative opportunity! Happy New Year!
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 9:36 AM
Friday, January 2, 2009
Yesterday we enjoyed a lovely dinner at my sister Lynne's home, and we put Mom on the spot, begging for stories about her younger years. It was a special day, as it was my parent's 70th anniversary. Although my Dad passed away in 2002, it's still important to remember & celebrate! She told us more details about her wedding day & the events surrounding it, and somehow, she ended up telling us the story of when she was very small- under 5 years old, when her family was still living on their farm in Filer, Idaho. New Year's Eve would find her father & Uncle George shooting their guns up into the air... they said they were "Shooting the Old Year", meaning shooting that figurative old man of the old year- Father Time. She would hide under the bed or wherever, frightened that they were actually shooting someone! I probably never would have thought to scrap this story, except for the miraculous fact that I have a photo of Grandpa & George shooting their guns. I have a grand total of 6 photos of my Grandpa, how odd that one of them would be this one. You can't see his face clearly (he's the one on the left) but it seemed so perfect. It's also interesting to note that this was a very unusual photo in that Grandpa wasn't a hunter, and Mom never remembers him shooting any other time. It's doubtful this photo was taken on New Year's Eve, since it doesn't look like a wintry background, but still....
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 7:45 AM
Thursday, January 1, 2009
2008 was a great year for us in many ways, not-so-great in others. Like many people, we've had some financial struggles, and I don't anticipate that changing any time soon. But we have so many blessings for which to be grateful, one of which is living in a wonderful country with so many freedoms and opportunities. If anyone can get through this economic crisis, we Americans can find the strength and will to overcome adversity. This past week, I went to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library near our home, with my visiting brother & sister-in-law. My sister Lynne is a docent there, and while she was giving Gene & Joanne the grand tour, I was wandering about taking a couple hundred photos. In the back garden is a large segment of the Berlin Wall, reminding us how fragile our liberties can really be. It also reminds us that things can and do change for the better, with hard work and courage. I thought this would make a nice reminder at the beginning of a new year, to never take our freedoms for granted.
Posted by Stefanie Eskander at 8:07 AM