I have been trying to cut my computer time down to no more than 3 hours total a day. Partly to save my back and eyes and partly to increase my real-world productivity.
You know - stuff like washing dishes, feeding children and sweeping up gobs of shed dog fur. I can announce some success in this area. My children aren't looking quite so gaunt anymore, There are 5 clean cups in the cupboard and there is only enough dog hair on the living room floor to make two whole new puppies. Last week, there was enough for ten puppies.
The down side to this is that I haven't had as much time for my blog as I would like because I have been learning how to use GIMP - the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a free image creation and manipulation software with a ton of powerful tools. I'm discovering that amazing things can be done with it. I used to covet my own full version of JASC's Paint Shop Pro, but GIMP has saved me from having to spend hundreds of dollars on software Yay!
The main reason I've been learning how to use it is so that I can produce my own banners, promotional "stickers" and avatars for my Etsy stores. But Molly, Bryan & I all want to learn to use it to enhance our hiking photos to make greeting cards and prints to enjoy at home. In the photo at the top of the post, taken by Molly Bryn on a recent hike at Harper's Falls, I added a black border and some lens flare to Molly's image of tree trunks and deepened some of the color and contrast. It was a lovely photo to begin with and now I think it is really nifty. I think this software will help me overcome some of the frustrations I have with digital cameras. I simply cannot get my digital camera to do the same things that my old, manual 35 mm used to do and I can't seem to find a replacement or reasonable repair for my old camera. I really miss it and lament the fact that I never had an opportunity to run my own darkroom. I must admit that playing with photo re-touching software is almost as much fun as playing in the darkroom. Fewer chemicals, too.
I've managed to make some preliminary banners - the images I used for my banners are from (GoblinsMarket) an Arthur Rackham art and fonts package that I got from the Scriptorium at Fontcraft and (LunasBaublebilities) fairytale images from Sur le Lune's website.
I'm sure my banners will get more interesting as I learn how to use the logo extension - in the meantime, let me know what you think of them!