Sunday, January 31, 2010

365 Project - Day 183

Today we woke up to fresh snow and blue skies. I love these type of winter days when the snow crunches under your feet as you walk and the sun reflects so bright off the snow that you wonder why you forgot your sun glasses! I took quite a few pictures today, but will only add two of them here for today's post:


Friday, January 29, 2010

365 Project - Day 181


I ♥ Faces fix-it friday - 42

This is really a beautiful picture.

Since it's texture week at i heart faces and since the picture is already fantastic just the way it is, I did not do any basic editing on it.  I just had lots of fun experimenting with textures!

Here my edit:

I started off by adding a texture that I got here:, set the mode to multiply and masked off the girl with the snowman. I duplicated the texture again, on multiply mode again, and then masked off only the girl's face, most of her hair and most of the snowman and reduced the opacity on the whole layer quite a bit.

Then I added a soft omni light on her face, masking that layer and then revealing only her face area, adjusting it so that the lighting on her face was how I liked it. Then duplicated the picture and did another soft omni light on the little snow man, again masking that layer and revealing only the snow man and adjusting the light how I liked it. My goal was to really bring the focus to her face and the little snow man in her hands without having to darken the light in the picture itself.

I added another texture that was a picture of frost taken by a fantastic photographer from a forum I'm on: and also set the mode to multiply and masked off the girl with the snow man.

I actually really like both the texture edits as they are, but since it's "fix-it Friday" and I was having so much fun just playing with the picture, I decided to try something different with it. I selected just the middle part of the picture and put it onto it's own layer. I added a drop shadow and a bevel&emboss to it. Then on the layer behind it I experimented with adding a slight gradient overlay, duplicated that layer and put it on pin light mode and reduced the opacity until it was how I liked it. I also slightly masked off some of the pin light layer where it was just too bright for my liking. Then to end everything I made a new layer and added two tiny strips to each side of the middle picture, filled with a blue from the picture and used one of the standard pattern overlays on top of it.

It was just a really fun picture to play with and a perfect picture for adding textures to! To see what others have done having fun with this picture, be sure to head on over to i heart faces:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

365 Project - Day 180

Take a good look at the above picture. Do you like it? Is the quality of the picture ok? Do you want to see what it looked like straight out of my camera?

If you've been following my blog at all, you know that I am big fan of photoshop and firmly believe that a decent picture plus photoshop can produce WOW! results!

This was my challenge I set for myself today. I took a picture of Niklas from a dark hallway with him sitting in front of a window and I used no flash. I knew that his face would be dark and I wanted to see how much I would be able to "rescue" this picture.

This is the result of the first stage of my editing:

From here, I ran a great action on it, "AMP Pastel Skies" (Amy creates some fantastic actions!), tweaked some of the settings and ended up with a picture light years away from what originally came out of my camera. It's not going to win me any prizes, but I love being able to "rescue" pictures and just think what photoshop can do if you start off with an amazing picture straight out of your camera!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

365 Project - Day 179

For beauty being the best of all we know
Sums up the unsearchable and secret aims
Of nature, and on joys whose earthly names
Were never told can form and sense bestow;
And man has sped his instinct to outgo
The step of science; and against her shames
Imagination stakes out heavenly claims,
Building a tower above the head of woe.
Nor is there fairer work for beauty found
Than that she win in nature her release
From all the woes that in the world abound;
Nay with his sorrow may his love increase,
If from man's greater need beauty redound,
And claim his tears for homage of his peace.

~Robert Bridges~

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

365 Project - Day 178

Then come the wild weather, come sleet or come snow, we will stand by each other, however it blow.
~Simon Dach~

Monday, January 25, 2010

365 Project - Day 177

We woke up to snow again this morning. I've been wanting to take some pictures from a great friend of mine for a long time. When I saw the snow, I decided to call her and see if she was up to a photo shoot in the snow! She agreed, and you have just seen a few of the pictures we took today. I will be adding more later in an album that I set up on Flickr:

iheartfaces "texture" photo challenge

This week's photo challenge theme at i heart faces is "texture" whether in nature, on a building or added into the picture. My picture is from my very first newborn photo shoot that I did in October 2009. This little girl is exactly one week old in the picture and she was as inexperienced as I was with photo shoots, but we both managed to calm our nerves and relax and enjoy the shoot. She fought hard to stay awake for the entire shoot (despite me hoping she'd fall asleep for a few pictures!). We had already called it quits and we had put her in this basket just to let her relax while her mom was taking care of her big sister and I was starting to pack up everything. When I saw her sleeping so peacefully in this basket, I could not resist taking a few final shots. I love all the textures going on with the basket and the scarf and the fluffy nursing pillow that she is sleeping on so I decided to enter this picture for today's challenge. I also had lots of fun in photoshop adding a number of other texture overlays into the picture.

To see more entries, be sure to head on over to i heart faces at:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

365 Project - Day 175

What you see on this plate is now resting comfortably in my stomach.

Saturday evenings, Niklas in bed, the older kids off to whatever party they're off to: It's a time when Mirko and I often make ourselves something special to eat and enjoy a good wine. Sometimes it's self-made sushi, sometimes "Flammkuchen" with a "Kristallweizen" and sometimes, like tonight, ostrich steaks topped with fried red onions and with lamb's salad (I had to look up what "feldsalat" was in english, I often just translate it literally and call it "field salad" lol)

It was sooooooooo yummy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 174 - I ♥ Faces fix-it friday

Today is a special fix-it Friday at  i heart faces. Here is a quote from their site:

"To go along with our "We Are Family" theme, we wanted to highlight a family that is very special to us - the Zwart family. Angie (co-founder of i heart faces) is friends with Jeff and Adrienne...and Adrienne is also an active participant in our weekly challenges.

The dad in this family has been struggling with cancer for years and they found out the devastating news in December that his cancer is now terminal. They are now doing everything they can to enjoy the rest of the time they have together on this earth."

My heart goes out to this family and it was with tears in my eyes, that I worked on the picture for today. My prayers are with them as they go through this difficult time.

Here is the original:

I love this picture and other than bumping the contrast a bit, I did nothing in terms of basic editing. Then I used different papers and textures to try to create a bit of a nostalgic photo album look. The quote was one I found online from the TV show, "The Wonder Years".

Here is my edit:

To see more "fix-its", head on over to i heart faces:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

365 Project - Day 171

Today I am posting a slideshow to the pictures I just edited and uploaded to a flickr album from our weekend in Lo├čburg. It was so beautiful there!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Website

Introducing my new website:

Free website -

Right now the site is only in english, but my husband and I are busy working on a german translation and the german version of the site should be up and running within a couple of days!

365 Project - Day 170

Sunday, January 17, 2010

365 Project - Day 169

This was the view that Mirko and I saw as we took a horse & carriage ride through the country side by Lossburg on our romantic weekend get-away. It was a beautiful weekend and since I love horses, I especially loved the norwegian fjord horses that drew our carriage. Their owner breeds them and owns about 30 mares/foals and a very gentle loving stallion:

Norwegian Fjord

also Known By: Fjord, Norges Fjordhest (Norwegian), Fjording, Nordbag, Nordfjord, Northern Dun, Norwegian Dun, Norwegian Pony, Vestland, West Norway, West Norwegian

The Norwegian Fjord (pronounced Fee-ord) Horse is Norway's oldest horse breed. It is estimated that the original Fjords migrated to Norway and the Scandinavian peninsula over 4,000 years ago and they were domesticated about 2,000 B.C. They have been selectively bred in Norway for over 2,000 years and the first directed selection program began in the mid-1880's. The original Norwegian Fjord varied in color and averaged 12.1 hands in size. Selection has increased the height to 13 to 14.1 hands and the breed is one of the few modern breeds exhibiting only the primitive or dun coloration.
This pony was used by the Vikings for war mounts and they were also thought to be the first western Europeans to use horses for farming and the horses they used were the versatile Fjord pony. It is thought that all present-day draft breeds in western Europe are descended in part from the Norwegian Fjord.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

365 Project - Day 168

Just a bit of a peek into my weekend so far...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

365 Project - Day 166

 And he's off! Today Christopher left for Paraguay for three weeks to visit his girlfriend, who is doing a volunteer year there. I am happy for him, excited that he has the opportunity to do this! I hope he takes LOTS of pictures!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

365 Project - Day 165

FUN in the snow!! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

365 Project - Day 164

Just a couple of viewpoints from our walk today...

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things,
but just look what they do when they stick together.

Verna M. Kelly

Monday, January 11, 2010

365 Project - Day 163

Cappuccino Cheesecake

As you know, yesterday we celebrated my birthday (for the 44th time!). I did not take any pictures yesterday other than this quick snap of the cappuccino cheesecake as my guests were walking in the door (before it got devoured!). I actually really enjoyed just celebrating my birthday with no camera in my hands! Since I've had a couple of requests for the recipe, I decided I would just post it for today's post. It is a recipe that I got from the canadian Reader's Digest years ago and I can't even tell you which year since I just have a page torn out and laid in between the pages of another cookbook. I can tell you though, that it is extremely YUMMY!! I won't list the brand names that were listed in the original recipe. Living in Germany, I can't buy those brand names anyways and have had to make a few minor adjustments because some ingredients just can't be found here.

Cappucino Cheesecake

325 mL (1-1/3 cups) chocolate wafer or graham crumbs (I made crumbs out of some come crispy caramel cookies)
50 mL (1/4 cup) sugar (I used no sugar since the cookies I used to make the crumbs were quite sweet)
75 mL (1/3 cup) butter or margarine, melted

Combine crust ingredients. Press onto bottom and halfway up sides of 22.5 cm (9 inch) springform pan. Set aside.

3 pkgs (250 g each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese (you can get that in Germany!)
125 mL (1/2 cup) sugar
125 mL (1/2 cup) brown sugar (since you can't get "real" brown sugar in Germany, I use normal sugar and add a tbsp of molasses (Zuckerr├╝bensirup) to it)
30 mL (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
10 mL (2 tsp) coffee liqueur or vanilla (I used Latte Machiatto Coffee&Cream 17% liqueur and about double the amount as the recipe called for)
3 eggs, at room temperature
50 mL (1/4 cup) milk
15 mL (1 tbsp) instant coffee granules

whipped cream, cinnamon, or chocolate coffee beans.
(I sprinkled with a chocolate/cinnamon/sugar mix I had and then put chocolate covered coffee beans on it)

Using electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugars, flour and ligueur until smooth. Add eggs, beating on low speed just until blended. Combine milk and instant coffee stirring until dissolved, stir into cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust and bake at 230°C (450°F) 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 120°C (250°F) and continue baking 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven and run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake and prevent cracking. Cool thoroughly at room temperature. Chill 8 hours or overnight. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon or chocolate coffee beans.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.

I ♥ Faces WEEK 2 "Best Face Photo"

As you can see, I'm not the only one who is celebrating a birthday!
I Faces is turning 1 and is celebrating this week!

The theme for this weeks photo challenge is "Best Face Photo" and we are to enter our favorite face photo taken in the months of December 2009 or January 2010.

On December 13th, 2009, I took this picture of Niklas and I love his face in this picture!

To see more entries and/or just be a part of the birthday celebration going on this week at I Faces just click here:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

365 Project - Day 162

Happy Birthday to me!
Birthdays are great to celebrate, to think about what has all happened during the last year, to consider and dream about what we want to accomplish during the next year. I am just so curious what this next year will hold for me!!

I am so excited to have gotten my own little working area in the living room. We set this up 2 days ago and now I can finally take my laptop away from the dining room table (where it was ALWAYS in the way) and have a place to store MY stuff!

and because this was finished just in time for my birthday, I am considering it my birthday present to me! Today it will have the honor of displaying the gifts I get. I started off with putting the presents on it that I got from Mirko. Mirko has been so supportive of me and my dream to start getting into photography seriously, I appreciate it so much. My Nikon D90, although I got it in October, was an early Christmas/birthday present from him and this morning there were also a few "extras" from him added to it:

There is so much more I could write about my husband, about my children, my family, extended family, my friends (real life and internet friends!), and everyone else who I feel so supported from, but, right now I really want to get offline and just enjoy my birthday!

So I will just say a big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

365 Project - Day 161

Today, I am going to post two pictures that I actually took yesterday. I have the good fortune of being friends with someone who has started to make actions for photoshop... and she does a FANTASTIC job at it!! Those of us who are lucky enough to be in a photography group with her, get to test her actions!

This picture of Niklas enjoying the lounge chairs in the snow (this cracked me up!) was edited using AMP's Jett Blue & Khaki Slacks action. Here is a direct comparison of the original edit and with the action:

and here is another picture using another action: "Apricot Cream"

and again, the direct comparison:

Amy has the Apricot Cream action as a freebie on her blog! Go here to read about it and download it: