Sunday, August 24, 2014

GraphicStock - for work and for fun!

A review of GraphicStock:

So perhaps I've mentioned this before, but I am a social media manager for a restaurant group.  For many observances and holidays - I like to create special images/graphics that are customized for each restaurant.  When these moments present themselves - I go to GraphicStock! They have hundreds of thousands of images to choose from!

For Father's Day this year, I downloaded this vector of these ties:

Then I dressed them up for our restaurants:
The Bancroft has the "qbert' pattern in menus and on our website.

This cow is in the logo for the restaurant at Gibbet, and the beets silhouette are part of our farm logo!
I don't just use them for work - I also sit on a committee for our local Habitat for Humanity chapter They had an online auction this summer so I whipped up this flyer to promote the auction.  I knew what I had in mind so I used GraphicStock's rich search feature and pulled down a computer mouse and a monitor:

And created these little icons, inserting info on items that were available for bidding:

But wait - there's more!!  I don't just use GraphicStock for work and volunteerism....I use it for FUN too!!!  For work projects, I typically work in vector art and Adobe Illustrator, but for personal use, I typically just download pngs or jpgs and use PicMonkey to edit and play around with the images for my liking!

I used this image on a recent blog post:

I wanted to feature this Dr. Seuss quote, but felt it would be more fun and pack more punch if it was on an image.  So I downloaded this fun picture from GraphicStock and then used PicMonkey's editing features to enhance the color and add text(I used the "clone" feature on PicMonkey to remove the text)!

Back in May, I made my mom a graphic and posted it to her page on FB!

Using the "clone" feature I removed the text, and then I use the "Add Text" feature to write "Happy Mother's Day Mom"

So you see, GraphicStock is great for anyone who is interested in spicing up their world of images and graphics!!   The best part is you can try it yourself for FREE! That's right, GraphicStock offers a free 7 day trial if you want to try it out. Click HERE to learn more!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary 6mo membership to GraphicStock so I could review their services.  I was not compensated to write this post, these opinions are my own. So far I have used the heck out of this service and I think it’s awesome and I’m sorry I didn’t get to this review sooner. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 34

Whoa!  It just hit me when I wrote the title that I can't believe we are 34 weeks into this year already!!

This week's focus is "About the ground."  Sally wrote: "This week draw your focus about the ground you may be surprised at what you find." 

Her words couldn't be more true!  We have this hydrangea plant that is not the most cared for plant in the world....this year only two blooms...and they are both pretty much on the ground.
So needless to say, my eyes tend to be drawn there.  Then one day recently I noticed something on the leaves near the blooms.  And to my surprise, met this darling little frog!
The first day I saw him, he was on a leaf just above one of the blooms.  Now I am totally obsessed with taking pictures of him.
My son named him George.  
And then, either there are a lot of gray tree frogs hanging around my deck, or this same little guy moved over to the basil plant which is on the deck!

I hope he stays forever!! Of course that wish is ridiculous given the weather in New England, but he's so darn cute I can't even stand it!!!!

Check out below what other folks are Focusing on this week!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Road to...... does that saying go?? The road to hell, is paved with good intentions!!??

I had some grand intentions of beading like crazy this week!  But things like the beach, the boardwalk, birdwatching, beach combing, dog walking, nature photography, family board games, grilling, geocaching and so on, just got in the way!

The extent of my beading so far this week happened on a beach combing expedition where I declared, "Jackson - that is an object with a hole in it.  It's a bead.  Save that."

It's really quite a lovely find!  Hard to see in this photograph, but it's got tons of gold flecks and is so pearly!!

It's good to be back here in south Jersey.  A couple years ago I lived here with my son for a few months while we transitioned from Maryland to Massachusetts.  The house we have (which isn't fancy - think camping with a somewhat working roof, and questionable running water) is in a complex, which on one side leads to the Delaware Bay and two other sides of the complex border wildlife preserves. It's a little piece of nature paradise, in my opinion!  And it's only a 10 minute drive to the beach!

So I had planned to work on a few beaded projects this week.  I got a shirt a few weeks ago and thought it would be great to finally create a lariat to go with it.

Brought all the supplies with me to keep plugging away at those beaded beads, but haven't even opened the bead bag I brought with me! And OH the care and time I took packing that thing to make sure I had everything I needed and then some! LOL!

Well anyway - here is a little pic sample of how I've been spending time here in NJ!

See you this Saturday for a Focus on Life post! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Focus on Life | Week 33

This week's theme for Focus on Life is: LOOK UP! Change your photo taking perspective, look up!  Looking up is one of the simple exercises in focusing on your surroundings.  This day in age with all the wonderful modern technology we tend to miss things going on around us because we are simply not looking up.   This week take a glance up at the world around and see what you may have been missing.

The Super Moon earlier this week had me looking up like crazy!!  And trying to learn new things about how to use my dslr camera!! 

On this night I had wished I had a more natural setting to grab this photo of the moon, but when I got back to my desk an downloaded the photos I rather enjoyed the industrial look! 
Our family is on vacation this week!!!  We are visiting the Jersey shore in south New Jersey and we are so enjoying this time off together and all the area has to offer!  I plan to blog and bead as much as I can this week!!

Oh my!  I think my boy got taller than me when I wasn't looking!!!

See below what other folks are posting for this week's Focus on Life theme!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Focus on Life • Week 30

It's been a few weeks since I've participated in Focus On Life - and I'm glad to be back in the saddle!

Here is this week's prompt:
...let's slow down a moment and capture what  focus on life is all about; document a moment of life!  
The theme for July: Celebrate!
Week 30: Celebrate YOU by documenting a moment of life. 

 Whenever I need to find a moment in life, I simply start scrolling through my iPhone, where there will inevitably be moments I felt worth capturing!!  So many!!  Here are a couple stand-outs for this week's prompt.

A couple weeks ago, I spent the day at my son's boy scout camp as a chaperone.  I took the day off work, knowing I wouldn't have any cell access that day and frankly I was looking forward to the day of unplugging!  The previous year I heard about a five mile hike around Thorndike Pond, and thought that would be a perfect activity while the boys were in classes in the morning.  And while my hamstring tendons (especially my left one) are still paying for it, the hike was one of the most lovely, quiet, and beautiful two hours I've spent in ages!  Here was one of the many spectacular views I had throughout the walk!

Another little moment came when the most recent issue of Bead & Button came out, and a little blurb mentioned that I'm taking over the Bead-It-Forward project, complete with a pic of a pattern for next year's theme!

There are more patterns and information on the project if you click here!

Check out what other Focus-On-Lifers are blogging about here:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Creative Spark Summer 2014 Blog Reveal

(Graphic made from a download! I love this site and I'm late also in doing a review for them! Coming very soon though...)

This quote above tells it exactly how I feel lately!! I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in the ZNet Shows summer challenge with the theme of Summer Days & Nights.  I was delighted to receive my package from ZNet which had the most awesome selection of sea glass!

Then I was darn proud of myself for finishing my pieces on time (with even a few days to spare!!)....but then it all broke down and I missed the blog reveal and hop that took place over this past weekend.  So my apologies to ZNet, Hope, and my fellow blogging participants:

If you can't visit their blogs, you may want to check this summer edition of Creative Spark

It's a great piece of inspiration and all the ladies' creations are in this issue...along with lots of other fun tidbits! 

And so, without further ado, I want to share what I made from my awesome haul!  

Here was my evening set....I had weddings on the brain (from work), and thought it would be neat to focus on the crystal sea glass...and I added some crystal, which gave it the bling it needed for an evening feel...  (photographing this color was a bit on the challenging photographing clear crystal, white etc... advice is welcome!)
 Here was my casual set...I have already worn this bracelet and earrings a ton - orange is my favorite color!!! I knew when I saw this strand of orange "pebbles" that I wanted to do something with free form beadweaving and this is the result!
I currently have the purple cylinder beads on my bead table and am working them up with some super shiny, purple charlottes....I can't wait to see where that piece will go! 

In the meanwhile - here are the links to some of the products in my Summer Days & Nights pieces if you are interested in checking them out. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bead-It-Forward 2015

Let's talk about Bead-It-Forward today!!!  I've mentioned this a few times in other posts over the last couple months, but wanted to give this fun and important subject a dedicated post! 

In case you haven't heard, I have taken over the Bead-It-Forward Quilt project!! To summarize, Bead-It-Forward is a project where beaders from around the world donate 2x2 inch beaded squares, which are then put together as quilts, shadow boxes, ornaments, and other crafted objects, then auctioned off to raise money for breast cancer research and care.

There are a myriad of reasons I decided to take on this project.  As a participant, I always thought this was a very fun and cool idea!  I've donated many squares over the last three years.

And I've always enjoyed seeing the amazing creativity of other beaders....
I think it's amazing that so many beaders come together for this project. Seeing groups collaborate to make beaded donations is awesome too (I'm looking at you Bead Soup in Savage, MD, Bead Society of Central New York, Operation Tackle That Bead Stash.....and I'm only scratching the surface here!)

At the heart of it though, I love having the ability to do something (with beads!) to help and honor those who have been affected by breast cancer. 

Friends and family of mine...a precious few survivors ....but there are so many more!!

I'll never forget the day, a few years ago, one of my girlfriends texted me that she needed to tell me something, could she call....I texted back that I was in the forest with the cub scouts at the moment and I'd call her when we were back to civilization in the next hour or so.  She responded with this dreaded text...."I have breast cancer".  At age 36.  Good grief.   Thank God, she is now cancer free for the past two years, but what a scary time. As it is for all victims of this disease.  How many victims can you name?  If you can name one, it is one too many!!!

So it is with great pleasure I took on Bead-It-Forward.  Two of my best girlfriends are officially on board with this project, my husband and son both committed to do what they can as well, I've already had several of my blogger friends offer to help....really a gal couldn't feel more supported than this!  With the help I already have and the hope that we'll continue to get thousands of beaders on board to donate squares, I plan to continue the Bead-It-Forward tradition in full force and aspire to make this project as successful, if not more, in the coming years!!

The theme for 2015 is Animals: "Wild about finding a cure".  There are new patterns on the "Patterns" page of this blog, and also on the "Patterns" page of the new Bead-It-Forward website.  And here are some other links if you are interested in getting involved!!!

Well that's all for now!  I hope to see many square in the P.O. Box in the coming months!!! HAPPY SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!