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I am not a graphics designer but I do try to make all of my own graphics because I really can’t afford to pay a graphics designer to do it for me. I usually like to have a whole new banner image for the holidays and I think I’ve finally gotten my banner the way I want it.

I’m using GIMP as my Photoshop program and I’m using brushes for all of my other graphics like the Christmas decorations and snow from Obsidian Dawn.

I’m not very good at it yet but I think it’s fun working with brushes. The only issue I had with these particular brushes is that when you click the brush pattern onto the image, it’s very light. You can’t even see it unless you click it several times and even then it loses all of the details and texture in the image. What I have figured out is that if I make it white then click it on the image about 10 times, it gives me a base, that way I can use a color and click it down again and you can see it better.

Take the Snowman for example. I created a layer for the snowman then I used white and I created my base then I erased the arms.  I created another layer but moved that layer down under the white layer and I used a dark brown color then stamped the snowman back down about 10 times. That way you can see the arms but not the dark brown snowman because that was all hidden behind my white base. Then to give it texture I just stamped it down (still with the brown) on top of itself on the base layer. The only issue is that in the Obsidian Dawn website when they show the snowman in the image for all the brushes, he has a red scarf. I really don’t care about his scarf but it would be nice to be able to just stamp it once and have all the details like the red scarf.

I did the same thing with the Christmas tree (although it may be a little bit overkill), all the decorations, the presents and the Santa hat on my head in the picture of me when I was 16. Then I added the snowflakes and then the snow but I didn’t click many times, I only clicked once for the snowflakes and the snow because I didn’t want it to overpower the image.

You can go to the Obsidian Dawn website and download some brushes for your own graphics. They have tutorials for using these brushes in Photoshop and Gimp but they are mostly for Photoshop which is why I’m still clueless. Maybe they work better in Photoshop than they do in Gimp so you don’t have to go that extra mile that I have to go. Who knows. Actually tell me if you know so I can beat my head against the wall if I’m doing it the hard way lol.

I hope that some day I might get better at using GIMP because I really love creating my own graphics. Maybe some day I might be so good that I can start making desktop themes to add to my downloads page. Probably not so don’t hold your breath on that one.

Target Commercials with Maria Bamford

wwwvh.youtube.com/watch?v=NCLyOdoBcE0

Ever wonder who this lady is in the new Target commercials?  She is comedian Maria Bamford.  I think I’ve seen all of her stand up specials on Comedy Central over the years, although she hasn’t had one in a long time.

What I love about her is her voices.  Her “normal” voice is like a little child, or at least that’s the voice she uses as her regular voice but we all know that it’s part of the joke.  She does these other voices that I’m pretty sure is her real normal voice.  I think she’s hilarious and I’m glad she’sworking at least even if it is for Target.

It’s COLD Brrr

Last year our central heating stopped working and the estimate was thousands of dollars to repair so we went out and got some space heaters. I don’t mind space heaters because I can’t really afford to heat a whole house when I’m going to be in my bedroom all day long.

This year I decided that I’m not going to turn my heater on at all unless it gets really bad and I absolutely need it. Well, I absolutely need it now.

It’s been in the 30′s lately early in the morning and late at night. It’s in the 50′s outside right now but it’s still in the 30′s inside the house. My bedroom is nice and toasty because of my space heater which is actually a radiator.

I always say in the summer time that you can bundle up in the winter, add more clothing and you’re warm but when it’s as hot as it is in the summer time (usually when it’s 100+°F) you can be totally naked and still be miserable. Well, there is no amount of bundling up inside the house that is going to be good enough, we need the heater on lol.

One other reason I need the heater on is because of my hands. I have carpel tunnel syndrome and it gets really bad this time of year. Both my hands start pinching in the palms and then they get numb with pins and needles. During the hot months or even the nice months my hands are fine. It’s when it’s cold out (and in) that my hands really start to hurt.

I still have to finish embroidering a Christmas stocking and I have less than 1 month to do it so I hope that my hands will allow me to do it. Now is the time that I wish that I had just finished it when I was working on it instead of giving up on it. I gave up on it because I was getting burned out on embroidering. I’ll get it finished, I just need the motivation to start it up again that’s all. Unfortunately, I think that with my hands being in the pain that they are in that I won’t be able to finish it but I have to try. I’ve already announced that they are coming this Christmas and I can’t go back on that.

Well, I’m so glad that Winter is almost here but now that it is here I kind of miss the heat of summer lol.

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a day that most people spend with their families, watching football, having uncomfortable conversations about their love life or gossiping about the black sheep (that’s me) who did or said what to who. Eat great food and open the button on their pants and unzip their zipper to let their stomach expand so they can breathe and it’s perfectly normal. There might be a fight, someone might come out of the closet, but at least you are with the ones you love.

I miss that.

We’re going to Hometown Buffet today with Venda then we’re gonna go see the movie Unstoppable. I have seen a commercial or 2 about it but I think it came out a long time ago so it’s probably in the little tiny theater. It’s not my choice but that’s what we’re going to see.

On Thanksgiving people usually say what they are thankful for. Well, I am thankful for my health (generic I know but it’s true) and my freedom. I am thankful that I have little drama in my life. You know us gays, always with the drama. Well, not this one. I try to keep all the drama out because what’s the point really? I am thankful that we have the cutest dog in the world who loves us. I am also very thankful that we have a home, a roof over our head with food in our pantry and fridge. And most of all I am thankful that I am in a relationship with the most wonderful person and that relationship has lasted over 16.5 years and is still going strong.

Well, it’s time to go. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Thanksgiving day with your families wherever you are. Stay safe and don’t drink and drive!

Turkey Day Is Almost Here

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already here again. The months go by so fast. Next thing you know we will be decorating the tree. Actually, I’ll be doing that the day after tomorrow lol.

Since Darrin is working again, we’re not going out of town so we’re just gonna go to Hometown Buffet like we always do. I don’t mind going there, in fact I love that they are open because frankly I’d rather not have to cook as if we’re having 10 people over for just the 2 of us then have to do all those dishes. I’m quite content going out where all I have to do is get up, grab a plate then fill it up with good food, eat and repeat until I’m about to explode.

I do miss the traditional visit to a family members house (minus all the drama that comes with that) but I think I like it better with just the 2 of us. The holidays seem to be more for kids than they do for me. I guess that’s how you start to feel when you get older, unless of course you have a family to take care of.

As I said, the day after Thanksgiving I’m gonna be decorating the Christmas tree. It’s in the garage, it’s a pre-lit 8 foot tree. I actually have a video on YouTube of me putting it together using time-lapse photography.

Now some people might say that it’s not Christmas with a fake tree. Pahleez! It’s still Christmas to me and I don’t have to pick out a new one every year and pay the high prices that they charge at the tree lots. It’s such a rip off and I have a fear of fire so that’s another reason for me to want a fake one. Some people say they like the smell of the tree, I don’t really care for it all that much. Even if I did like the smell, I’d rather just light a Christmas tree scented candle.

I have several boxes of decorations to get from the garage and who knows, it might put me in the spirit enough to finish making that last stocking that I started earlier this year. I have 3 stockings to send to Chips nephews. Only one of them is complete, another one just needs it’s red felt back sewn on and the 3rd one needs me to finish embroidering it then put it’s felt back on. I have a little bag of bells that I’m thinking of sewing to the stockings in various places. It’s just not a stocking until it jingles.

So tomorrow morning I’ll get up and have a very light breakfast, maybe I’ll get some pop tarts then starve myself until it’s time to go to Hometown Buffet which will probably be around 1-3pm. One thing I look forward to is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that will be on in the morning.

Oh joy, I can’t wait.

Anytime Scarves

A Scarf is a timeless treasure that doesn’t need an occasion. It can be below 0°F or it can be 100°F outside and a scarf still looks good. Then again, that all depends on the type of scarf you are wearing whether it’s silk or knit.

AnytimeScarf.com literally has hundreds of scarves to choose from. They’ve got designer scarves for those of you who have money to spend, affordable scarves for those of you who can appreciate a good bargain and then they have the cheap scarf for those of you who are on a strict budget like me.

Everybody needs a scarf to keep them warm or make them look cool. You just have to know where to look to find the perfect one and who knows, you might find the perfect one at AnytimeScarf.com. Happy hunting.

My Computer is Back to Normal

I have finally finished installing all the useful programs back on my computer. I decided against some programs that were too slow and not very helpful and downloaded some free programs that seem to be more help than the others.

I am not going to use Adobe Photoshop Elements v1 anymore which I got it for free with my camera many years ago. I found a new program that has way more features called Gimp. Gimp is free and it has so many cool things in it so I’ll be using that from now on. I went to the Adobe website to find out what the new version of PhotoShop is and it’s CS5 and it’s $600 so um… no thanks. $600 is a lot of money to be able to fix the red eye in my pictures lol.

I’m going to be using Google Picasa to download the pictures off of my SD card via my printer where I can straighten the picture, fix the lighting etc but I will use Gimp for other daunting tasks like creating banners for my blog or whatever it is I feel the need to do that doesn’t cost $600 lol.

Before I reformatted my computer, I discovered a bunch of new free programs like Gimp that I could download to replace all my old software. But there were some programs that I didn’t have and now I do.

There are a couple of video programs that I am finding useful now such as WinFX Video Converter which does what it’s name suggests. You can convert videos to different formats like for your PSP, cell phone or mp3 player. That helps for me because I like to put my edited home videos on my PSP because sometimes when I play them for people on their DVD player, the DVD doesn’t play right and they can’t see it. They can see it on my PSP if the DVD doesn’t work.

When I turn my edited home videos into DVD files in the past, I had to use a program that added watermarks to my videos because I couldn’t afford to pay the $50 for the software but then I found Free DVD Creator. I haven’t used it yet so I’m not completely sure it’s what I want but it makes menu’s and turns my videos to DVD files for free and that’s all I can afford. Since I haven’t used it yet, my worst fear is that it will put my videos out of sync but I will have to do a test soon to see how it works out. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

I’ve been using Wordpad for years to type letters, not that I type many letters but it’s the only word processor that comes with Windows for free. But, I found Open Office has a bunch more options than Wordpad and it’s free. I’ve actually known about it for quite some time but I never really tried it until now. I love it! I will definitely be using this from now on. Especially for my book. I’ve written a few chapters so far and now that I have Open Office, I can finally write them with a good spell check since I downloaded the add on called “After the Deadline” which is actually a plugin I use here on my blog.

Look, I’m not a cheap skate who refuses to spend money on software, I just can’t afford the high prices that these companies charge. Like take Adobe for example. They keep coming out with upgrades for their software that costs $600. Who can afford to keep buying the upgrades at $150 a pop every time they have a new version? Not me! Even a $50 program is out of my price range. If I have $50 it’s going towards groceries, you can bet on that.

Anyway, I didn’t install everything that I used to have because it’s too much on my computer and it was making everything so slow. Why have all this useless software on my computer that I never even use? So… it’s gone. Finally. Now I can go on with my life with a faster computer again.