Restoring Memories

If you know me, you know I am always the one to say yes to new opportunities and tasks before I even know what it is. That is kind of how I became a graphic designer. When I was applying to colleges, someone suggested becoming a graphic designer since I had a knack for art. I thought "Sure. Art position that pays? Sounds like a great plan." And it was, but sometimes I bite off more than I can chew.

Over the the holidays my mother-in-law showed me this beautiful photo of her and my husband and told me she was going to have it restored.  She had been carrying it around with her for years and you could tell. Without thinking I said "I'll do it!" 


I thought "I know how to manipulate photos in photoshop. How hard could it be?"

If you've ever restored photos you know this is a much larger beast. Had I ever restored a photo in this condition before? Nope. Did I still take on the challenge? You bet I did!

Before this little self appointed project my photo manipulation skills consisted of putting basketball players in new uniforms, some "spot the difference" kids games, and removing chocolate from my little cousin's face.  There were a few other things here and there but nothing quite this hard.


Over the next few WEEKS I watched tutorial after tutorial on restoring photos and now the photo is finally done! Yet I ran into a lot of problems that tutorials couldn't help me with. Little things like dirt spots on the face, a small juice stain, tiny cracks and shadows that aren't really shadows. I think the most troublesome task has been making the photo look like it was never photoshopped.

As you can see, I sort of lose that realness in the last step. So I'm taking a couple steps back to recapture that. Though I dread taking steps back I can't help but think how gratifying this is.

I like to think that I'm not just restoring a photo but also a memory. That alone makes this task worthwhile. 

Tips and Tricks

I'm no expert on this subject but I hope some of the things I learned will come in handy for you.

1. Start Small

While retouching don't tackle the biggest crack on the photo just yet. You want to handle the small cracks first. These little details can easily be taken care of with the healing tool and it will be much easier for you to resample colors from this area when it comes time to tackle the big stuff.


2. There Are Other Tools

Don't think that restoring is just using the stamp tool and healing brush. At some point you may have to paint an eyebrow on or overlay some color to cover a stain. I found out blurring some areas was a great solution for places with tiny cracks bunched together. You have an array of tools at your disposal so test them all out. You'll be surprised at how much more you can do.

3. Work In Layers

NEVER work off the original file. Always duplicate the layer that way you'll be able to go back if you've made a mistake. Take my photo for example. After I cleaned up the background I duplicated the layer and worked off of that. When I finished restoring the shirts I did the same thing. Since the photo now seems a little to airbrushed for me I can go back to the previous step without having to start from the original photo all over again.


4. This Is A Guessing Game

Unless you have other photos of your subjects you may have to at guess a few things. Take my husband's nose for example. Since the crack was so large I had to guess the shape. Since I don't have any other photos of my husband when he was a boy I had to go with what felt right. This is also where the stamp tool was useless and I had to paint in the nose.

5. Take Your Time

Remember, this takes practice and patience. For your first photo don't expect to be done in a couple hours. With experience you will be able to work faster. The quality is always better when you don't rush yourself. You are restoring a memory. This is something very important to someone.

Take risks: If you win you will be happy; if you lose you will be wise.
— Annonymous

A Race to Canada

My husband and I have decided that our New Years Resolution is to race (it wasn't a race until yesterday) to Canada from Pensacola. We can run, walk, row, and swim our way to Niagra Falls which is a total of 1,150 miles. We've some how talked other people into doing this with us, so let us know if you'd like to join in the fun and we'll add you to our leaderboard!

Goodbye 2014

Today is the last day of 2014. I spent 2014 working for a baseball team, danced down Bourbon street, added another dog and cat to our family, and spent all my free time on the beach. I had an amazing year and this next year will be even better! 

My 5 New Year’s Resolutions

1: Get in Shape

Like everyone else on the planet I need to hit the gym. I am a very healthy eater and my body reflects that but this year I want to become stronger. I am happy with the way I look I just want to feel like I could out-run any man or climb any mountain. 

2: Run to Canada

Not literally. This goes along with my first resolution. My husband came up with the idea that this year we run, walk, row, and elliptical the distance it take to get from our home to Canada which is 1,170 miles. Thats about 3 mile per day. I'll update on our progress throughout the year. Which leads me to my next resolution.

3: Blog More

Most blogs are created and go unused which has sadly happened to mine. This year I will change that.

4: Get my Passport

So I can...

5: Travel More

Every year I want to do this! I have traveled a lot thats true. I have lived in the great skyscrapers of Chicago, survived winters in the great Appalachian mountains, and partied with the bright spirits of New Orleans but I long for bigger adventures. I crave to experience new cultures and lifestyles of the world. With my husband in the Navy we've had our limitations but this year we have found some new opportunities so that we can travel. It's going to take a lot of saving and planning but this one I will certainly make happen!

That's it you guys. Thats my 5! Have a Happy New Year! 

Shop Local With Love

Hello World!

I've got great news!

Yes, I have finally joined the world of Etsy! I'm putting some of my new found skills to work and screen printing totes and t-shirts. This is something I've wanted to do for a while but never had the skill set to do so. So for the past few months I have been working to get this little shop of mine going. My shop is based on promoting local shopping and eating healthy. I know, contradicts the idea of selling online but I'm hoping to actually start selling at my local farmers' market in Pensacola. Online is just the start of my little project. So come check out and see whats new at Local With Love!


FIFA World Cup Starts Tomorrow!

Who else is excited for the Brazil vs Croatia match tomorrow?! I know I am!

Soccer won my heart over when I started playing back in high school and its one of the few sports I truly enjoy watching. I think the thing I love most about soccer is the actual sense of the world coming together and competing. The only other event like this is the olympics but to me there is still an essence of separation because of the variety of events to watch. When a community watches soccer they have one team to give their full blown attention to. For many countries its not just a game but what defines who they are. All the players should be proud to represent each country. I love the fun and excitement of every game and I wish to someday be able to actually attend a World Cup match. But, for now I'll settle for the local sports bar downtown.

In honor of tomorrow's opening game I've posted my favorite FIFA videos that would get anyone pumped up for tomorrows game. Enjoy!

You’re not just affecting individuals; you’re changing an entire culture.”
— Sam Schweingruber

New Orleans is for Lovers

Last weekend, Sam and I escaped our busy lives in Florida to celebrate our two year anniversary in New Orleans! This was a spontaneous trip for us so we didn't know what to do in New Orleans until we got there. We discovered beignets, voodoo, jazz and a love of creole cooking.  The only complaint I have about the trip was that couldn't decide what to eat every meal! In two days I had tried gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee, crawfish, and fried alligator. With all the walking and exploring we really worked up an appetite. I could probably write a whole post on creole food but New Orleans is so much more than just their food. It is an exciting town with so much energy, and exciting people, that carried on well into the night. With all the little shops to explore during the day and all the partying on Bourbon Street at night, it was hard to just stop. Whether it be a jazz band around the corner or beautiful women dancing for peace, New Orleans never stopped entertaining.