Thursday, February 14, 2013

Photo Phrustration

Hi, everyone!  A few days ago a fellow Etsian and friend, Victoria, emailed me with a suggestion to remove the grayish background that has stubbornly remained in a few of my Shop photos despite zealous attempts on my part to get rid of it by using photo editing programs.  My first thoughts were, "Well, I've done everything I could and can do no more." 

This morning I had a change of heart.  Something I can justifiably call divine inspiration came over me, a moment of truth, so I sat in front of my computer, pulled up a no-brainer photo editing site, and went to work.  Some of the pics turned out really well, but in the case of a few others, President Obama would have declared them a disaster area - manipulation of the Contrast lever with my mouse yielded the most ghastly hues of purple, red and yellow imaginable.  I took to using various exposure levers, with mixed results.  At least there was some improvement.  Feeling discouraged, I pulled up Picasa, which produced a better outcome, but not to the degree ofimprovement I'd hoped for.  Persistent gray remains in a few, white tinged with green or yellow in a few others.

I started to wrack my brain for a viable solution.  A memory of the old Pepsodent toothpaste commercial came to mind: "You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent."  I wished I could put a little of the toothpaste on my toothbrush and swipe the computer screen over the photos with the yellow-tinged background.  But what about bleach?  That won't work either.  That's sheer desperation for you!

Victoria had suggested use of FotoFuze.  A more practical idea than toothpaste or bleach, but for me that won't work, either.  I say that only because I tried going that route a while back, and it made no difference whatsoever (I followed the directions to the letter,).

I take comfort in knowing that quite a few Etsy Shops have pics with gray backgrounds, yet they're selling like hotcakes.  But since "Perfectionist" should be my middle name, I'm still determined to have white backgrounds in all my photos, so I may just sooner or later reshoot the offending ones and hope for the best.

Onto a more tantalizing subject than that rather disgusting gray color in photos: cuisine.  In the email Victoria sent a few days ago, she also asked me about my culinary background, since my recipes seem to reveal that I'm an accomplished chef.  I've never attended culinary school nor was either of my parents a chef (my mother worked, so dinner was, more often than not, out of a box), but I've always enjoyed cooking for guests, and years ago I subscribed to the now-defunct Gourmet magazine.  To me a gourmet dish is like a work of art, calling for the right brushstrokes and color, and the sense of accomplishment a gourmet cook feels when something comes out of the oven is similar to what I feel when I've put the final stitch in a pet garment.

Speaking of dog/cat apparel, business has picked up, and I put a doggie dress in yesterday's mail for a 2 1/2-pound Chihuahua.  What fun it was sewing that little dress!  This dog is my smallest client to date.  To me there's something especially appealing about teacup dogs and their clothes.  Here's a pic of the dress:

 This is the pic I sent to the buyer for approval prior to shipping, so I felt no need to perfect it to the point of readiness for use in an Etsy listing, but you get the idea.  It's the Poky Little Puppy print and stripe, with a D-ring for attachment of the dog's leash, and a bow topped with a pink and white polka dotted ribbon.  It was my first attempt ever to make a bow of this type, and the buyer and I think it came out really well.  For safety's sake I sewed them on with enough thread to sink a sub.

Now for the recipe I promised in my last post: Lemon Thyme Chicken:

1 3/4-lb. boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. canola oil
2 TBSP lemon juice
3/4 cup white wine
1 14-oz. can chicken broth
8-10 whole sprigs fresh thyme
4-6 whole sprigs fresh oregano
1 TBSP cornstarch
2 TBSP. water

Preheat large pan on medium-high heat 2-3 minutes.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Place oil in pan and add chicken.  Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.  Stir in lemon juice, wine, broth, thyme and oregano.  Cover and cook 8-10 minutes or until 165 F is reached,, turning chicken occasionally.  Remove chicken, oregano and thyme from pan.  Do not wash pan. 

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; pour into pan and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened.  Slice chicken,

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