Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Amazon Gift Card For FREE!!!

I've been doing online earning for a while. Surveys for well over a decade - as well as some other sites that involve searching on their search engine as well as doing various tasks and what not.

Recently I've joined InstaGC (insta gift card). You do a number of things to earn points - surveys, google search tasks, joining up for other survey sites, and many other things. 1 point = 1 cent and you can cash out as low as a $1.

There are many gift cards to choose from (and even a check can be sent to you if you prefer that). I prefer Amazon Gift Cards

And even better - the rewards are INSTANT (thus the name). You say yes, and it gives you the code for the gift card. And one more thing - it's unlimited. There's no cap. I have earned an incredible $95.00 since joining only 12 days ago!! Yeah - I've never earned so much so quickly - and so easily!!!

Well if you're still with me, then that means you haven't clicked on anything, so now's your chance! Join InstaGC and start earning amazon gift cards for free for Christmas or a birthday today!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I almost lost my son today...

This isn't gonna be about scrapbooking. It's gonna be about life... about the life of my oldest son Connor and how he almost lost it today...

Let me set the scene real quick...We were at a state park called Paradise Point.


It's a great little swimming place that always has a lot of people but never feels crowded. And on top of that -- the highlighted section below is ALL wading level (it doesn't go above 5ft)


And in the "glowing" section of the wading water, in the picture below -- that represents water that is mostly 2ft (sometime 3ft) deep. So it's great for the kiddos to run around and play :)


Well we got there around 1pm or so. And with the sun reaching its peek, we were ready to get wet. Our close friend Kevin immediately grabbed up my son Connor to go out and play (while Kevin's son finished getting ready). I was a little nervous letting Connor go out there without me since he doesn't have a life jacket, but Kevin is always great with Connor so I let my worries fade away and just tried to enjoy the day.


Eventually Kevin's 5yr old son Ray was finished and joined Connor and Kevin to play and have fun in the water. A quick heads up -- Connor was a water baby! He loves it - he would swim all day long if we'd let him, lol. He's great at going under and holding his breath. He loves to jump in our 3ft deep pool at my inlaws house. He's great in the water! Brave - oh so brave!


I eventually got Liam dressed and headed down to the water. Liam is NOT a water baby. He really doesn't like it all that much. And the colder it is - the more grumpy he gets with it. But for a while there in the beginning - he was having a blast so long as I was walking around with him.


So me & Liam are just walking around. Soon I got to ankle deep water and I let Liam go so he could walk around if he wanted to. He did but fell often, lol. I then realized that it was empty around me and I look to see that my hubby & Kevin's wife Krisstin had headed back up to the blanket (a good little hike up a pretty steep hill). Tom was gone getting dressed for swimming, and I'm really not sure where Krisstin went.

I wondered where Kevin had gone off with the kids, but wasn't too worried. I was facing the shore, and had my back to the water. I remember Liam standing at my feet, while I held onto his hands... Do I remember a tug at my soul, telling me to look closer... I don't know. Honestly, I had no reason to look... But I glanced back to see if I could spot Kevin. I didn't at first, but after a couple seconds I did. "There he is" I thought "All is well" ... I think Liam stumbled at that point. I'm not sure, but I remember I faced my head back towards the shore... But again, was there some pull that said "Look, damn you look!"

Cuz I thought in a split second "I saw Kevin, and I saw Ray, but I didn't see Connor" ... So I picked up Liam and turned back around to really get a good look. I'd say Kevin was a good 50 feet out there (or maybe it was only 20ft ... I really can't remember - but it was a good ways). "But where the hell is Connor" I thought, getting a little freaked, but not too much because I was sure I would see him around the shore line or something.

But yet I never looked towards the shore. Something kept my eyes glued to Kevin and the water around him. And that's when someone half way between me and Kevin moved a little more to the side, and I saw a bleach blond head above the surface, water up to his neck.

"Oh thank god, there's Connor!" I thought, breathing a huge sigh of relive and kinda laughing at my paranoid self. Connor went under the water and in a second or two, came back up. I smiled, knowing how much he loves to go under water. But as he surfaced, he went back down almost immediately again.... The first stirrings of unease gripped my stomach. When his little head surfaced again a couple seconds later, he had moved a few inches away from Kevin.

My feet moved on their own as I realized even if he could touch, he was moving away from Kevin. But when his head disappeared again, my feet moved faster and the full force of reality hit that my baby boy couldn't stand, couldn't swim, and was only alive because by some small miracle he knew to keep jumping to the surface so he could grab air.

"KEVIN!" I screamed. I've got a voice that carries. It's a voice that usually stops people in their tracks. I can get peoples attention across fields and beyond. But for some reason, Kevin couldn't hear me! "KEVIN!" I scremed again, watching Connor go down and thankfully come back up. "KEVIN!" and still he didn't hear. Kevin's back was to Connor - he was helping his son get the hang of swimming (a very normal occurance whenever we're in the water). "KEVIN YOU DEAF BASTARD!"

It seemed to be that comment that finally got people's attention. I heard someone behind me yell "Oh My God!" and I remember thinking "Good, maybe someone can help me cuz I can't run with an infant in my arms" ... I guess I should have started cursing the moment it all started, maybe someone would have heard me earlier.

Every step seems like an eternity. I can't seem to get closer and I fear I won't see his head pop through the surface again. The water is so murky and brown from the fine sand that you can't see a foot below the surface. If Connor stayed under I may never find him. "KEVIN!" I continue to scream, thinking he'll hear me any second now, because I'm not sure how much longer Connor can last! By now anywhere from 20 seconds to even up to a minute or two has passed. I'm not sure when Connor realized he couldn't touch... but it had been long enough that another child not as comfortable in water would most likely have been gone for good...

"KEVIN!!!" My eyes were wide with terror! I'm sure you could see it in my face as I tried my hardest to get to my baby who had continued to move down stream a foot or so with each push towards the surface. And then a hero in my eyes did what Kevin never did - he pulled my baby out of the water and handed him to me as I finally reached the spot that this horrible story took place. I'm not sure if the man heard me... Or maybe he saw me and saw where I was looking. Either way - he had Connor in his arms before Kevin ever realized what was happening.

A crying Connor clung to my neck, crying and shaking with fear. I just kept telling him how proud of him I was! How he did exactly what I told him - to just jump to the surface if it ever gets over his head... Did he remember what I told him? Or did instinct (angels) just take over... I'll never know. I won't ever ask him because I'm hoping he'll put this behind him and not let it give him nightmares (although if he does wake up screaming tonight, I'll be having a good long talk with him to help him work through his emotions... just like I'm working through my emotions now by writing this)...

In the end, I never figured out how long Connor was jumping to the surface for air. It had been a few minutes of quiet (I think) before I turned around to find out where they had gone. The water had been up to Kevin's chest (around 4-5ft deep) and I can't remember how far past the "safe zone" Connor was - but I know he was farther than a couple steps... And after swaping stories, Kevin and I learned that each thought the other was watching Connor. Kevin thought I was with him and Liam both, playing. And I just assumed Kevin still had Connor with him as he was showing Ray some more doggy paddle tricks, lol...

Calling it a lesson learned, and not letting the terror eat me away - we made due by grabbing a life jacket of Kevin's older son. Connor was hesitant at first - associating deeper water with bad stuff - but after showing him that the life jacket would keep him above water, he eventually was back to his old, brave self (almost - he kept asking for our hand every once in a while, but after a few seconds would let go saying he wanted to swim himself).

And I consider this a huge victory -- but towards the end of the day, I saw Tom playing with Connor. And I saw Tom dunk him under the water (a very common game for him and daddy to play in the pool). I smiled to myself, knowing that my son was fine. He was alive and well, and he was slowly but surly getting his confidence back with regards to water...

God was here this day, watching over my family. I should be curled in a ball right now, numb with grief over losing my Connor Bug. But by the grace of Him, I was able to tuck both of my very tired boys in bed tonight. Give them each a kiss. And tell them that I loved them so much. And my heart sang when I was allowed to hear "I love you too Mommy" from my precious Connor... Thank God for miracles, because I witnessed one today.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Edit -- Tube Removal

I feel the need to show off an edit today :) This is one of the hardest edits I've ever done... A mom wanted to know what her child would look like without the tubes and wires that he had needed to live, so I did my level best to let her see it :)


I kinda think I should have kept going and removed everything medical, but I had worked so long that I was getting burned out with these (there were 4 total).

Hold your mouse arrow over the image below!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cartoon Me!!!

Around a year ago, I decided that I wanted to make a cartoon image of myself. When I researched tutorials on this, I learned that it's also called vectoring. And I also learned that there are SO many levels to this. From basic, almost 2 dimensial cartoon, all they way to something that resembles an oil painting....

Well, my first go at this was NOT successful. I spent around a week or so doing this, and ended up with... well, a jagged looking picture that didn't look like a cartoon at all.



So there was my first attempt. I was really happy with it, but bummed all the same that it didn't look like a cartoon. ONE of my biggest mistakes was layers. I've noticed that the simple cartoons tend to focus on three main colors (for stuff like hair and skin). Highlights, midtones and shadows. You stick to mostly that (instead of the fricking 27 layers I had for skin colors) and you should be good, lol :)

So over a year later, I decide to try again. This time - it only took me around 4 hours, and boy howdy! Was I happy with my results!!



So needless to say, I am thrilled beyond reason!! I'm so excited that I was able to do this! I'm just waiting (on pins & needles, lol) to see what mama has to say about it!! :) I'll be sure to update what she thinks about it! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Scrap & Edit -- Getting back at it....

A couple days ago I was all gung-ho about telling you about my awesome NSD weekend... I left one last entry to catch up on and then woke up to some horrible news! I'm not even close to being in the mood to go into the the long, drawn out B.S. details - but I will tell you the worst news. Digital Candy (the place I finally felt accepted 100%!) is closing. I'm sad sometimes and mad others - ugh! It just sucks is all!! I really did enjoy Scrap Matters - but I still felt like I was on the outside yearning to be on the IN... Digital Candy was different (probably because I was accepted to my first CT gig there)...

Oh well - life moves on, and so do I ... FINALLY I made something after the NSD scrap hangover that I've had all week :)

First -- the edit. I had very few good pictures from Halloween '08, and of the few I liked - something was usually wrong (closed eyes, obstructions of some kind, etc). Well -- I decided to try and fix one:

Liam was finally willing to be held by Uncle Kevin (apparently it took Kevin being in a Grim Reaper costume to do it - okay...?). And I snapped this pic. Adorable! Except for the hand... I wasn't sure if I could fix it - but really all I needed was a good mouth replacement pic - and after many tries - I found one that worked:

It wasn't a 100% match up (maybe I'm the only one that can see it cuz my hubby sure couldn't tell! lol). And I was happy... Until I thought - okay, I'm gonna scrap with this and I've got a creepy hand in the shot... Grrr -- So I took the hand out too.

NOW I'm happy!!! And I move on to scrap! I'm not sure if I'm a 100% satisfied with my first layout since NSD, but that is okay by me! I'm just happy I did something other than mope! LOL ... It was a challenge actually to work with only yellow & black. The kit also had a light green with it, but every time I tried to add it - it just didn't fit. But I finished :)

Credits can be found by clicking on the image!

Okie-Dokie folks, I'm done for right now. I may be back later to finally finish up some old posts :) Happy Scrapping!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Edit -- Mother-In-Law Removal

I'm still (yes still) editing all those wedding pictures (I feel like the amount I have doubles while I sleep or something cuz I just can't seem to finish, lol). And yes - I'm peeved again about the poor quality of my partner's camera. Grrr! Some of these pictures are so bad that any tricks that I have for fixing stuff - NONE of them work...

So I need a confidence boost. And what better way than to show off a past edit that made me smile, lol. This request came from my great friend Jess. She's one of two friend's that I've met online that I consider a long-lost sister :)

Well - she wrote me asking if I could remove her mother-in-law from her picture. I don't think it was because she hates the woman or anything like that - I think it was more that she wanted to scrap with the picture - and wanted a winter picture of just her.


This was VERY easy to do for me. Why you ask? Well look at everything I have to work with. I've got greenery that I can clone -- brick, porch rail, Jess's coat, siding... Yeppers, there was MUCH for me to work with :) I'd say that when I was done - I only used maybe 20 layers :)

Anyhoo -- here's the after for ya :)


Tah-Dah!! All gone. The hardest part was actually the sleeve on Jess's coat that I had to rebuild (her arm was behind her MIL). Building it was pretty easy -- it was getting it to match the color that was the trickiest (because it wanted to look flat and not correctly 3D-ed).

OH MY NEWEST DISCOVERY! I've tried to find some mouse hovering codes that would allow me to do this - and now I have found it!! Run your mouse over the image below to see a before and after that is more obvious :D

Move your mouse arrow over the image below!

Ahhh... Much better! LOL... Now if I can only preform magic on my partner's pictures (at this rate - it may very well take actual magic to do this... to bad I broke my magic wand the other day, lol) :D

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Edit -- Wedding Pictures

If you stopped by here because you searched online for some tricks about editing wedding photos in Photoshop - alas, you have come to the wrong place. The post below is only about me editing some photos - and I have a note on the side that says I use Photoshop. That's why you get my blog in your search results. HOWEVER - if you have a question, please feel free to leave it in the comments below. You never know - I might know how to help you, or I might be able to direct you to the site that can help :)

And now - back to my original blog post :)

A few weeks ago, I stupidly agreed to partner up with my friend and help her photograph her brother-in-law's wedding. I am NOT a photographer! Oh no, no, no! I am a photo editor! LOL. I take a decent picture and make it better -- but I prefer taking someone else's picture and making that one better!

So for the last couple of weeks, I have been editing 500+ pictures. After sitting here for hours, editing one picture after another - being the perfectionist I am -- I now loathe everything about this wedding, lol.

But there are a few that I'm happy with...









So there are a FEW of the shots that I took. And only one of those was edited a LOT from its orginal version (that being the kissing picture -- I removed the smiling pastor from behind them so that there wasn't such a bad distraction from such a romantic picture, lol)



So SOON I will be done entirely with all these edits (I still have about 90 pictures from my partner to edit -- and her's are harder because her camera isn't as good, so it takes more to clean them up).

Why did I just write all of that... No real reason... I really just needed to vent a little so that I could release my pent up frustration over my partner's pictures... That way I'd have a relaxed frame of mind when I go to finish up her pictures, lol :)