Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! I'm looking forward to a night of hard cider and Trick-or-Treating at the house. All of our neighbors come out and I love seeing all of the kids' cute costumes. I seriously look forward to Halloween all year! I'm a dork.

Hope you all have something fun planned, or at least have some treats to enjoy tonight. I've been eating so much candy corn lately that it's showing up in my doodles—so I went ahead and channeled my craving into this pattern.

Happy haunting!

Monday, October 28, 2013

What Scares You?

I've been on a major ghost story kick this week—from reading this thread on Jezebel to watching episodes of Celebrity Ghost Stories (don't laugh, it's amazing). I guess it's Halloween taking it's hold on me, but I've also always been interested in "the unexplainable"... I'm getting chills just talking about it.

I'm curious to hear about your creepy fears—are you afraid of ghosts? Clowns? The dark? Or are spiders pretty much your only fear? (I mean seriously, who actually isn't afraid of spiders).

One of the things that creeped me out the most growing up was my grandmother's basement. She was a ceramic artist and held classes once a week in her studio, which was in the basement of her house. She had two kilns down there, so she would use molds and fire a bunch of "blank" pieces to keep in stock for her students (and my siblings) to paint. The main room was lined with shelves from floor to ceiling, filled with white ceramic pieces. There were piggy banks, animals, figurines, decorative dolls...everything you could imagine. And it was creepy as hell. I would always be afraid to go down there by myself—it felt like everything was watching you. All of these smiling cartoon Easter bunnies, with their frozen expressions, were like an image out of a murderer doll-maker's shop. Obviously my grandma wasn't a murderer, but I don't think she had any idea how creeped out I was by that room. It was always so quiet down there too, and unless she was down there with me, helping me paint, I never felt at ease.

I  can't believe I was able to find a photo of the basement. See what I mean? To this day, I'm still a little weirded out by dolls.

So, what creepy things are you avoiding this Halloween? And even better—have you ever seen a ghost?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ride On

Just riding on in to the new week with some new artwork...happy Monday y'all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Etsy Hearts: Autumn Warmth

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Fall has finally come to Ohio—the leaves are falling in crunchy piles, the mornings are cool, and the houses in our neighborhood are decked out for Halloween. I love this time of year! My go-to evening routine usually includes a cheese plate and a pumpkin ale, so this card from red cruiser spoke to my heart (and stomach). Hope you all are enjoying the season!

Monday, October 14, 2013

iPhoneography: 5 Favorite Photo Apps

It's no secret: I love me some Instagram. It's perfect for sharing those memorable moments when the closest camera is our trusty iPhone. I also love following my favorite bloggers, musicians, and style icons to get a sneak peek into their everyday lives. It all feels very off-the-cuff and exclusive, and it's fun to see everyday shots you would otherwise never see. 

When if comes to sharing my own photos, the only beef I have with Instagram is that the filters are terrible. There are really no other tools (besides the tilt-shift and "enhance" buttons) to help you make any adjustments, so you're left to do a little pre-work before. Now, I know what you're all thinking—this is supposed to be "instant" and of-the-moment, and you shouldn't overthink this. And for most of us, you're totally right. You can put up your photo with no filter, or filter it...who cares. But there is a camp of visually-obsessive people out there who want to give a good shot the attention it deserves, so this post is for you. This is especially true if you're a blogger, creative professional, or business owner who relies on social media to establish a brand or grow your network. It's true that image is {almost} everything.

In my opinion, the extra steps are totally worth the result and don't take much time. And the editing apps are great for more than sharing purposes—if you ever send your photos to print directly from your phone, these will add the final touches.

There are hundreds of iPhone photo editing apps out there, but these are five of my favorite and most-used (and range from free to $1.99). 

Useful features:
- Can adjust brightness, exposure, contrast, temperature, highlight/shadow color, and more in great detail. This is probably my most commonly used photo editing tool, because of its versatility and range of functions.
- Nice built-in filters, which are all adjustable
- Crop, rotate, add borders

The bottom panel contains the master navigation, and the buttons on top are your options within that set. Shown here are the slider adjustments for brightness, exposure, contrast, etc.

A brief look at some of the filters available
VSCO CAM (free)
Useful features:
- Can adjust brightness, exposure, contrast, temperature with simple interface
- Limited (but nice)  built-in filters, which are all adjustable
- Crop + rotate tools

 A glimpse at the filters—there are only 8 or so, but they keep the interface simple.

A slider bar allows you to control how strong you'd like the filter to be. 

Simple adjustment options: brightness, temperature, contrast, rotate and crop.

CAMERA+ ($1.99)
Useful features:
- A collection photo-enhancing presets that provide a more natural look than standard filters—these are great for when you already have a great shot, and want to preserve the color or other elements of your photo.
- Wide range of filters and effects, if you're looking for a more highly-edited look
- Crop, rotate, add borders
- Adjustable self-timer—clutch!

PIC FX ($1.99)
Useful features:
- Wide range of filters and effects—including textures, light filters, and bokeh arranged in "album" sets to keep things organized
- Crop, rotate, add borders
- Can layer multiple effects on top of each other

PICLAY ($0.99)
Useful features:
- This app is funky and gives a highly-edited output. It has two basic functions: Overlay and Mirror. Mirror is self-explanatory; Overlay allows you to select two photos to make a composite shot. The two layers are adjustable, and you can apply effects to change the look of the overlay.
- Can layer pre-set light effects and textures over your image

 Mirror Mode: You can use this bottom row of buttons to add different types of lighting and texture enhancements.

Overlay Mode: Adjust the look of your overlay with a few pre-set filters.

There are a few other photo apps that I use sparingly, but these are my favorites. Do you guys pre-edit your photos before Instagramming? What apps do you like?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pumpkin Recipe Round-up

 I think everyone's favorite thing about fall is PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. Who can blame us? Pumpkin is amazing and I use every excuse I can to incorporate it into my baking repertoire. I made this Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread a while back and have made it every year since. It takes a bit of prep time, but the warm, ooey-gooey goodness is so worth it.

Here are some of my favorite pumpkin recipes; some I have made, others are on my must-try list. Now that it's finally cooling down outside, it feels like the perfect time to get in the mood for fall. Enjoy!

The frozen yogurt actually looks really easy–I think that's next on my list. Are you big into pumpkin baking? Or is a Pumpkin Spice Latte all you need?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tribe Vibes

Who's going to the game tonight? I have a feeling it's going to be magic...