Monday, December 19, 2011

2 More Winter Textures

I am just having so much fun making these wintery magic textures! I have 2 more to share with you, Jack Frost, and Iced Over. As with most "Magic" textures, these will give the best effect when used in screen blend mode. Click on the images to go to my Zenfolio site where you can download them for free using the password "SiennaFreebie"


I used "Iced Over" in this picture of my Gingerbread Christmas Trees...and "iced-over" they are :) Check out my previous post for the recipe for these yummy cookies.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

If I ever ask my family what kind of cookies they would like me to bake, the answer is always the same. "Can you please make your gingerbread cookies"? I have been making these ever since my kids were toddlers. They are in college now and still ask for gingerbread cookies. Holidays just wouldn't be the same without them.

Making these cookies is usually a multi-day event for me.

Day 1 I make the cookie dough and chill it in the fridge.

Day 2 I roll out the dough, cut the cookies, and bake them.

Day 3 I make the icing and decorate the cookies.

One of my favorite memories making these cookies was when my youngest son was 2 years old. He was helping me decorate the cookies. After some time he piped up, all excited, "Look mommy, he has a wee wee!". Sure enough, I look over and he has created an anatomically correct gingerbread man. Kids do the darndest things! It was all I could do to keep a straight face.

GingerbreadMen2Christmas Tree CookiesMittenCookies

If you want to make these yummy cookies, here is the recipe I use:

Gingerbread Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ginger

Cream sugar and butter in mixing bowl. Beat in molasses and buttermilk. Stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed. Chill several hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with floured cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are set. Decorate with Spiced Vanilla Icing.

Spiced Vanilla Icing

4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 tablespoons light cream or Milk
1/4 teaspoon Cloves (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
Food Coloring (optional)

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, butter and enough cream until it has a very soft, spreadable consistency. Use it just like this if you want to decorate white cookies. Add all or any combination of the cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon to make a delicious spiced icing. Separate it into different bowls and add food coloring if desired.

I doubled the icing recipe since I usually need at least 2 batches to decorate the cookies; however, I originally forgot to double some of the ingredients. That has been corrected. Sorry about that!

Happy Baking!!

Some of these images have been processed using Kim Klassen's Day 6 and Day 7 magic textures. Many thanks to Kim for hosting her 12 days of textures!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 5 - Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures

I hope you are doing well this fine Saturday morning. I have been thoroughly enjoying Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures. If you have not yet done so I encourage you to check it out.I have been playing around with Kim's Day 5 texture, "ZuZu" and I came up with 2 different versions of this Frosted Pine image. I couldn't decide which one I liked better so I decided to post both. I hope you like :)

1 layer of kk_zuzu, multiply, 36%
1 layer of kk_anabelle, soft light, 100%, Slightly desaturated the outer edges

1 layer of kk_zuzu, multiply, 36%
1 layer of my own Snowflakes texture, soft light, 100%
1 layer of my own Snowflakes texture, multiply, 20%

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 4 - Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures

A capture from my archives. This lovely tropical flower was seen in the Conservatory Garden at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

I processed this using Kim's Day 4 texture called "Edward". My Recipe:
1 layer of Edward in Soft Light blend mode at 100%
1 layer of Edward in Overlay blend mode at 22%

Day 4 of Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 3 - Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures

I took this picture at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden a couple of summers ago. I loved the way the flowering plant framed this Ruby-throated Hummingbird. I thought this would be a good candidate for Kim's new Cosmos texture. It really makes the silhouette of the bird stand out and it gives a feeling of air movement. The recipe:
1 layer of Kim's "Cosmos" texture using the Overlay blend mode at 100%
1 Layer of my own "Dirty Chalkboard" texture using the Soft Light blend mode at 100%


Day 2 - Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures

Day 2 of Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures features her new Anabelle texture. The recipe for my raspberry picture below is:
1 layer of Thursday in soft light blend mode at 100%
1 layer of Crackerjack in soft light blend mode at 91%
1 layer of Anabelle, converted to grey scale, inverted, screen blend mode at 100%


Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 1 - Kim Klassen's 12 Days of Textures

What an exciting idea! Starting today, Kim will be sharing a new texture each day for 12 days over at the Kim Klassen Cafe. Today's beautiful texture is "Lilly". Here I converted the texture to grey scale, inverted it, and applied a layer to my dragonfly shot in Screen Blend mode at 56% opacity for some dreamy musical edges.

Thank you Kim!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Holiday Mood

Today will be a day of holiday decorating, shopping, baking cookies, and later visiting with friends. I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season...especially when I am not stressing out about work.

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday season so far!


I processed this image using my Soft Grunge texture (shared over on my Flickr Site) and one of my new holiday textures, "Winter Wonderland". Check out my previous post if you are interested in downloading my freebie holiday textures.

Have a great Saturday!!

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Couple of Fun Winter Texture Freebies

I have a couple of new textures to share with you, "Let It Snow!" and "Winter Wonderland", which works well using a screen blend mode. I think these have some fun possibilities! Click the image below to go to the site where you can download these textures for free using the password "SiennaFreebie".

Have fun! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Celebrating the Beauty of Nature in Winter

This week's theme in Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday is "Celebrate". Some of us are already experiencing winter...even though winter is still 2 weeks away. Winter brings a special beauty all of its own. Take a moment to notice those little winter birds flitting through the trees, and foraging on the ground, the beauty of the frost on the leaves or lingering flowers, the peaceful beauty of a snowy landscapes. Lets "celebrate" the beauty of nature in winter.

I processed this image using a very subtle layer of Kim Klassen's "KK_LovinLayers" texture, with a darken blend mode at 25% opacity to give a little atmosphere.

Celebrating the Beauty of Nature in Winter

Happy Texture Tuesday! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Experimenting with RadLab

In Photo Art Friday, the theme is to work with a tool, method or style that we have been wanting to try. I have been seeing some buzz around about RadLab and I wanted to give it a try. I downloaded the free 30-day trial and discovered that the tool has a nice interface allowing you to see the results of different filters on your image, with different options on how to display the filter results. The tool has a nice plug-in for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, which allows you to add a RadLab layer, with your filter selections. You can set the opacity for your RadLab layer just like you can any layer. I was excited to see the number of filters you can choose from, some affect color, some affect sharpness, some are different variations of monochrome. It is similar in a way to the things you can do with Adobe Lightroom pre-sets. I'm not sure if you can create your own RadLab filters the way you can create your own Lightroom pre-sets, but I found it to be very powerful and convenient.

In my image below, I played around with several RadLab filters and topped it off with the Pixel Dust, "pdpa Linen Blind" texture. I LOVE this texture!! Thank you Bonnie for sharing it!

Dill in a Bottle With Artistic Liberties

Photo Art Friday