Some may be wondering…

…what a former Holiday Designer might use to decorate her own space…so I took a few shots.  As you approach my apartment door, you’ll find this spray, which is new this year:

I've incorporated a few of the 'faux' leaves I created.

I’ve incorporated a few of the ‘faux’ leaves I created.  Silver, ivory, and champagne-color, with three red jingle bells!

On the inside of the door, I’ve placed a copper and silver spray which I put together in 2007:

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

I really have no room for a tree, but I do have two large, 36″ wreaths, which I change every few years…next year, I’ll tear them apart, wash them down, and design something new and different!

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

And...here's the Red and Green on another wall.

And…here’s the Red and Green on another wall.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones...this one also contains gilded glass rocks.  Iadded some miniature gold gilded fruit, and a few pine boughs I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones…this one also contains gilded glass rocks. I added some miniature gold gilded fruit, large partially-gilded seed pods, and a few pine branches I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

Here’s the other vase:

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf...plus a few small pine branches.

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf…plus a few small pine branches.

Here’s what the pear ornament really looks like, as I had to ‘play’ to get some color in the image above:

I bought about two and a half dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece...some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded!  I got tired of the 'commercial' gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf.  The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I bought about two and a half-dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece…some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded! I got tired of the ‘commercial’ gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf. The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I think I’ve had to make ‘Christmas’ every month of the year in the past…whether it was decorating hotels and restaurants, painting and designing store and mall displays, or designing television commercials (in March!)…it’s normal for me to celebrate with decorations all year ’round (and to be forever vacuuming up little pieces of glitter!)!

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While walking, I found…

…just the one, growing at the base of a tree trunk.

Chinese Lantern–Physalis alkekengi

‘Playing’ with Photoshop (TM)

I took this photo the other day while walking home, feeling it would be a good one to ‘play’ with:

Tiny Rosebud–Original

And…of course it was!

Tiny Rosebud

I began by cropping, then lowering the Levels, and heightening the Brightness/Contrast several times.  It began to look better, so I used the Sharpen filter, and the Sharpen Edges filter, then took it into the Distort filter, where I enlarged the bud portion in Lens Correction and added some subtle Vignetting.  It was then ready for the Lighting Effects filter, which I do incrementally ( used it twice here).  Next came a transparent red, using the Brush menu, to define the edges of the petals a bit more.  I used Sharpen Edges again, then used the Blur filter at 36%…eh, voila, I finally had the image just the way I wanted it!  It takes a lot to get something ‘just right’, but it is oh, soooo satisfying!

Never be afraid to ‘play’ with Photoshop (TM) or other photography software…just make sure you keep the original!

Ah, the beauty of the H-es!

These images were taken not at the florist’s, but on the streets of downtown Evanston, Illinois.  I thank the Hibiscus and the Hosta for posing so beautifully for my simple, point-and-shoot camera!

Red Hibiscus

Variegated Hosta

Graceful Hosta Flowers