Turning Photos Into Paintings Using Photoshop

It looks like this week is turning into a graphic design-focused one, huh? In case you missed Monday's post, I shared some pretty cute desktop and iPhone wallpapers for the month of February. You can check those out here!

Today I wanted to share a nifty little trick on how to turn your photographs into painterly-like works of art. It's no secret that that look is popular right now. A couple of weeks ago, I ran across this post from The Painted Hive that listed several ways to do just that to your photos. The results she showed were so neat that I decided to try my hand at one of the methods myself. I used Photoshop, which I know not everyone has access to, but if you DO, stop what you're doing right now and go play with some of your photos. It's kind of addicting once you get the hang of it. Read on to see how I gave that farm truck its painterly look.

In Photoshop, under the menu bar titled "Filter" there's an option called "Filter Gallery" that houses all kinds of effects that you can add to photos (most of them are terrible, FYI - yikes!). I tried all of them and my favorite, by far, to get the look I was going for was one called "Palette Knife."

For the tutorial, I'm going to use this landscape photo I took on our trip to Napa Valley a couple of summers ago. It was so beautiful there! Here's the original after I pulled it into Photoshop:

Then I pulled up the Filter Gallery and selected the Palette Knife filter. On the right side, there are three sliders that you can adjust to change the look of the filter. For the photo below, I chose 50 for the stroke size, 3 for the stroke detail and 0 for the softness.

After clicking OK, Photoshop took me back to the normal window with the new filter applied. I played around with the saturation to make the colors deeper and more exaggerated to add to the painterly effect. I love to use the Pioneer Woman's Photoshop actions for this. They're a free download and I use them all the time in my regular photo editing. For this photo, I used "boost" at 50% opacity.

That's it! Photoshop does most of the work for you and you can adjust the settings however you want to get the look you're going for. Here's a side-by-side before and after of the Napa Valley shot above so you can see the difference:

Pretty cool huh? Here are a couple more examples from some other photos - all using the same technique...

The old farm truck (this one might be my fave!):

And some lovely tomatoes from the farmer's market. Can you believe all those colors?

I'm no Photoshop pro, but I had a blast using it to turn these photos into paintings. I'd love to have a few of them printed out on canvases. If you find a good deal on those, this would be an inexpensive way to add some beautiful (and personal!) art to your home.

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February 2015 iPhone & Desktop Wallpapers

It's almost February, y'all, and I'm pumped about sharing this month's wallpaper designs with you! The creative juices were flowin' this month and I had a blast putting these together. I might even venture to say that these are my favorite designs yet. Heyo.

Right smack in the middle of this month is that holiday that people either love or hate: Valentine's Day. I wanted to design something that gave a nod to that but without going all hearts and cupids on y'all. So what did I come up with? Flowers. One might give or receive flowers on Valentine's day, but they certainly aren't tied exclusively to that day. Everyone loves flowers, right? I bought myself some lovely smelling hyacinths from Trader Joe's last week and man, the scent and the pop of purple they bring to our living room? Love it.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. I dug this floral pattern so much this month that I decided to use it for not only an iPhone calendar wallpaper like usual...

...but also for a desktop calendar...

...and a plain ole patterned iPhone wallpaper that you can keep around for longer than just the month of February. In fact, I already have the navy one below on my phone. Couldn't wait!

It comes in two colorways (obviously) - so take your pick!

It's free download, as always. Links to each, along with directions on how to install them as iPhone lock screen wallpapers, are below. Hope y'all enjoy these! Let me know which one is your favorite :).




How to set a wallpaper as your lock screen on an iPhone:
  • Click the link below to the download you'd like to use (from your phone). This will take you to the image in Dropbox, where I've set them up for you to download.
  • In the bottom left corner there is an icon that looks like a box with an upward-facing arrow coming out of it. Click that and choose "save image." It will download to your photos.
  • Go to your home screen and open your photos. 
  • Select the calendar image. 
  • Again click the button in the bottom left corner that looks like a box with an upward-facing arrow. Select the option that says "use as wallpaper."
  • Click set, then choose "lock screen."
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Lovely Links

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you've had good weeks. This week has been pretty slow for me - mostly in good ways thankfully. I'm trying to enjoy the coziness of winter even though cold weather and the early arrival of darkness each evening aren't exactly my favorite things. Lots of slow-paced indoor time means lots of blog perusing time (maybe too much?!), so I've got some good links to share with y'all this week. Enjoy!

1 | Emily Henderson has done it again with her quirky style - this time transforming Joy Cho's (you might recognize her from Oh Joy! or her recent Target collabs) office into a nursery-slash-office. The only thing I'm not too sure about are the curtains. I love the fabric, and I understand why she had to make them short, but I'm still not sure I love the high-water look.

2 | This is a great round-up of free Valentine's Day printables.

3 | We have a teensy living room, so this shotgun house living room makeover really struck a chord with me. So many good design tips here! Some of the style is a little too funky for me, but I've gotta admit, it's really fun!

4 | Have y'all heard about Dish's new service called SlingTV? It's almost a la carte TV, and I'm PUMPED about the potential of getting rid of regular cable and switching to that. If this sounds like an interesting concept to you too, check out this post from Our Freaking Budget that explains all kinds of options for getting rid of cable, including the new SlingTV option.

5 | YES. This is a great way to organize all those little rolls of washi tape. Fo free. (Yes, that was an intentional "fo".)

6 | Awesome IKEA hack alert! Lack tables are super cheap, but their short stature leaves something to be desired for most uses, so why not put two together to make it the right height? That's what Designing By Numbers did, and it's fantastic.

There you have it, folks! Hope y'all have a great weekend!

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Pretty Alternatives to the Not-So-Pretty Boob Light

So, you know those lists that pop up on blogs and your Facebook newsfeed like 10 of the Hottest Design Trends for 2015? Well, you know what I never see make those kinds of lists? Something affectionately known as the boob light. It appears in homes all over America and has sneakily become the go to flush mount ceiling fixture. In case you're unfamiliar with this style of ceiling fixture, here's a lovely example:

We have a total of have five - yes, five! - in our little rental. Oy. Since we rent, we're not allowed to take them down, so I'm just happily ignoring them, but that doesn't mean I can't dream about the pretty fixtures I'll put a future house someday :).

(P.S. No offense if you have these and like them! They're just not my favorite. To each his own, right?)

Many of us need to have flush mount or semi-flush mount ceiling fixtures in our homes, and I've got some good alternatives to the boob light to share with y'all today. Here are some of my favorites:

What do you think? Does seeing these make you want to replace the boob lights in your home? There are some real beauties out there and they can add such great style to a space!
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Chairish Color Challenge: Designing Around A Rug

Clockwise from top left:

Happy Monday, y'all! For today's post, I've teamed up with Chairish: an exclusive, curator approved, online marketplace for vintage and used furniture. If you're in the market for a one of a kind piece, you definitely need to check this site out! They challenged me to choose one of their fun rugs from a selection they provided and use it as inspiration to design a room full of color. {To see their current rug collection, check out this page.}

I stepped way out of my comfort zone for this challenge and chose this Grass Green Abrash Turkish rug (it's still available as of the publishing of this post!). Bright, overdyed rugs are definitely not my go-to style, so it was a stretch to start with that and design the rest of the room around it. Once I got going though, I must say, it was really fun to pull this living room inspiration board together. The style I decided to go for? Sophisticated and slightly feminine.

When it comes to designing a room - even a colorful one - I like to keep my "big pieces" neutral so that I can add pops of color in with things like pillows, lamps and other accessories. I tend to change my mind a lot about color palettes depending on the season (and my mood, ha!), and it's much easier to change out a pillow or a piece of art than a sofa. I chose a tailored, modern sofa from West Elm in a beautiful gray, and a whitewashed wood and metal coffee table (also from West Elm) as my base pieces. 

From there, I chose a piece of artwork from Minted that incorporated that beautiful grass green in the rug and used the rest of the colors in it as inspiration to add color to the other pieces in the room. Pinks, yellows, greens and blues dominate this space. That might sound like a lot of colors, but when used in proper proportions and mixed in with neutrals, they fit together quite nicely! And when you have something like that piece of artwork that includes many of the colors, it really ties the whole room together in my book :).

I absolutely love mix of colors and patterns in the pillows. Two are from one of my favorite textile designers, Caitlin Wilson, and the third is from H&M home - one of my favorite places for super affordable home items. I love mixing higher end and more affordable pieces together.

The other accessories in the room: the curvy gourd lamp, round mirror and woven storage basket complete the look by adding a little texture, sophistication, and softer edges to complement the sharper angles of the other pieces.

Putting together this style board really inspired me to add some more colors into our own living room. I'm in the process of changing out some accessories (hello, pillows!) and can't wait to show y'all some progress soon. Thanks, Chairish, for providing this rug challenge - I had a blast putting this room together!

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