Friday, March 9, 2012

Creating a dreamy, hazy image

Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers Day 16 challenge was to create a dreamy, hazy image using the new techniques she presented to us in her video.  Here's what I did with a image of an orchid that I recently shot at the Koele Lodge in Lanai, Hawaii.
  • Added lens flare to a blank layer, soft light, 50% gray
  • Added a Levels Adjustment layer and adjusted the output slider 
  • KK texture, "Flouish", Screen, 24%. Used layer mask to remove some of the texture from the orchid.
  • KK texture, "Veil", Soft Light, 38%. Used layer mask to remove some of the texture from the orchid.
  • Two text layers - Engravers MT for the main font and Century Gothic for the name.

My dreamy, hazy image of an orchid

Before Image

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Maj Jongg is Gaining Popularity

Knitting, playing mah jongg...OMG I have become my mother!  But, in retrospect, I guess my mom must have been one happenin' woman.  Mah jongg ( National Mah Jongg League rules) just happens to be one of my very favorite pastimes.  I play twice a week with two different groups and have been doing so for several years now; I've in fact taught most of the women in both of the groups how to play.  Many of the gals have gotten so good that they're already playing in tournaments.  Mah jongg is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and is a strategic, social, addictive and entertaining tile game.  Furthermore it engages several areas of the brain simultaneously and studies have shown that playing mah jongg reduces the risk of ever developing dementia.  For more info about how to play mah jongg, check out Sloperama.

The table is set up for four players.  On the left are two Susans, on the right is Lyn and I'm taking the shot.  All 152 tiles are initially placed face down on the table; each player then builds a wall 18 tiles wide by two tiles high.  Each player takes 13 tiles from the wall into her hand with an extra tile for the east player, then collects and discards tiles in order to build a hand on the annual card. 

 The goal of the game is to get a mah jongg by making one of the hands on the annual rule card.

A mah jongg for Susan using lots of jokers.

Dessert was from what else, my new Power Foods cook book.  This lemon cream was made with silken tofu so it was low in calories and fat but delicious.   It's garnished with fresh blucberries, blackberries and lemon peel.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Whisper at Uluru

Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers Day 15 challenge was to prompt us with the word "whisper".  Immediately Uluru came to mind, that sacred ground in the Australian outback.  I had the opportunity to visit Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) a few years ago and all I wanted to do while there was to listen to the spirits of the land and speak only in a quiet whisper.  I took this photo at a shallow pool between the rocks.  I enhanced the image with Kim's Textures: Simplicity using Overlay 57% and two layers of Revolution one at Subtract at 46% and the other at Overlay 100%. 

Talk about Eating Healthy!

A few weeks ago my friend Stephanie turned me on to a new cookbook called "Power Foods".  I thought I was about done with cookbooks given that I have a zillion and pretty much just make up most of my 'recipes' these days but I found out otherwise.  This is one awesome cookbook packed with healthy, easy, delicious foods focusing on recipes using the 38 healthiest ingredients on the planet (why they couldn't come up with two more and make it an even 40 is beyond me!). It's the way I like to cook and eat (or at least aspire to most of the time) but this cookbook has given me some new inspiration. Tonight I had my cousin Rochelle over for dinner I made a bunch of recipes from the cookbook.  All were delicious and easy.  My maj girls are coming over tomorrow and will hopefully enjoy the nuts, the dips, the cookies and a few other goodies I still plan to make.  

Sweet potato and edamame hummus with lentil chips and blanched green beans with lemon zest

Watch that knife in your hand cousin Rochelle!

I'm taking the baked nuts and seeds out of the oven

This is one healthy nut mixture packed with almonds, walnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, quinoa, honey and spices - yum, yum.

Ok - this wasn't  a recipe in the cookbook but we roasted some Brussel sprouts in the oven and added a touch of grated parmesan cheese

Roasted wild Alaskan salmon and parsnips with ginger along with the roasted Brussel sprouts

Double dark chocolate and ginger biscotti - rich but not overly sweet.

Ok if you've read this far, you deserve at least one recipe.  Here's the one for this delicious biscotti:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
 1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (3 oz) coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (at least 70%)
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
I also added some dried blueberries but the recipe didn't call for it.

1.  Preheat the over to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.  In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
2.  In an electric mixer, beat egg and egg yolk and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the vanilla and oil.
3.  On low, beat in the flour mixture until combined.  Mix in walnuts, chocolate and ginger
4.  With moistened hands, shape the dough into tow longs.  Bake about 25 minutes.  Let cool.
5.  Reduce oven temp to 325.  With a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal.  Bake about 20 minutes flipping halfway through.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Aloha from Lanai

Orange Orchid by jpbeth
KIM KLASSEN'S TEXTURE TUESDAY - Before heading to the Lanai Airport for my trip back to Honolulu and then back to LAX, I had breakfast at the beautiful Four Seasons Koele Lodge followed by a peaceful walk through the gorgeous gardens. The grounds are simply beautiful and there was a huge hot house filled with nothing but orchids in luscious colors.  I combined two different photos of the orange orchid for this image.  I used a layer mask to delete some portions of the second image.   I added two layers of Kim's texture Happy Heart, one at Multiply 80% and the second at Overlay 80%. The font is Callie Hand.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Las Vegas Weekend

Quick turn around overnight in Las Vegas with good friends Susie and Raul.  Each couple flew into Henderson Airport (Raul and Susie in their Comanche) and arrived within 10 minutes of each other.  Took the shuttle to the new M Resort where we hung out the whole time eating, drinking and losing money but had a blast doing it.  Actually I won $2.50 net, yep that $2 dollars and $.50 for this big gambler!

 Joe, aren't you a little old for that Affliction shirt?

 Long Beach from the air.  That green area with all the trees in the dog park where we just walked to/from.

 M Resort

 M Resort lobby

 Susie, Raul, Beth and Joe

M Resort from the air on departure

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