Thanks to Your Generosity …

A few weeks ago I put up my Donate to the Site button, and many, many of you clicked on it. It’s the second time I’ve put the “donate” button up in the history of this blog. I bet you wonder where that money goes. What I’m doing with it.

Is she into drugs? Or maybe gambling?

Am I investing in a touring carnival that features an illegal Mexican Jumping Bean Revue? Am I buying every non-fiction, murder/mystery book that begins with the letter “D” on Ebay? Am I purchasing fine silks with which to knit my cat a suit?

Well, I am happy to announce exactly what I did with the money you donated to The Art of Doing Stuff last month. I feel safe saying that I spent it wisely.

I bought riding lessons.

No I didn’t. I bought Photoshop.

I would like to thank each and every one of you who donated as well as everyone who just plain, old, takes the time to read this blog. Were it not for you I would be forced to show you a picture of me riding a boring old horse. Instead of a chicken. A chicken named Tuco. A chicken named Tuco who has an interesting tale to tell in an upcoming post.

Photoshop is one hell of a program. Do you remember when you first got a computer? How it would do things out of the blue and you had no idea why or how? And it would give you a headache, and you’d spend the next 3 hours trying to figure out how to get back the letter you were writing (’cause you felt stupid using the word email) that just up and disappeared? That’s what Photoshop is to the power of a billion trillion.

I started this blog a year ago without ever having taken a picture. I initially fooled myself into thinking I didn’t need good pictures to have a good blog. I believed writing was my skill and the photos weren’t important. Who needs pictures when your prose is as sparkling as mine? Heh, heh. I was so stupid.

The Internet is like television, or a magazine. You need words, and you need pictures.

And if you have pictures … you need Photoshop. I’d look at other websites that have stunning pictures like Homemade Crackers, or Centsational Girl and wonder why their pictures looked so different. So unique. So not even in need of words. They have Photoshop. And evidently they know how to use it. I, on other hand spent 3 weeks of my Photography course putting myself on a chicken. Kind of badly.

But with my handy dandy OCD and full bottles of Advil, Aleve and Axert, I’m sure to get this Photoshop thing figured out in no time. I give it 10 years. Tops. Yup.

Thank you again to everyone.


  1. Dee says:

    U r xciting and easy reading and spirit lifting w/your cool humor. Impressed and moved

  2. Tracy Gaydos says:

    My first experience using Photoshop was when I was a bartender and I started dating a musician. I started doing their flyers. I got good enough to start earning money by making flyers for other bands and now I work at a beer distributor making posters for a living. Thank you Photoshop!!!

  3. If you never use Photoshop again, it was worth buying for this one photo. Hilarious!

  4. Monique says:

    I took the Photoshop Elements course at Creative Live and it was the best thing I ever did. Books weren’t of much help but this class walked you through each step and the instructor thoroughly explains the what and why. A copy of this same class can be purchased rather inexpensively — two days of training — at

    By the way, you did a great job on your riding lesson photo.

  5. Liz says:

    Did you photoshop yourself into that cute little riding outfit too or did you actually have it?

    • Karen says:

      Liz – I competed for years. Hunter, then dressage, then 3 Day Eventing. My first horse was an Anglo Arab named Albany and my second was an 18 hand Hanovarian named Wolesco. (he was actually a friend’s horse who he was going to take to the Olympics, but the horse had a bad accident so I helped to rehab him for a couple of years after the accident) And that is the story of me and my riding outfit. ~ karen

  6. Thanks! If you ever need any advice, let me know! Especially if you’re trying to put yourself on a turkey. TOTALLY different ballgame.

  7. Jennifer Hamilton says:

    It makes me sad you didn’t know about GIMP before you dropped that much cashola.

    • Karen says:

      Jennifer – I actually tried Gimp and I didn’t like it. I know Photoshop isn’t all that intuitive, but Gimp seemed even less intuitive than Photoshop. Plus, if I want a tutorial on anything, there are a million and one Photoshop tutorials to choose from on the Internet. Plus most courses for photo correction etc. are for Photoshop, not Gimp. So, not to worry. Besides … it wasn’t my money … it was the money of everyone who donated. ;) ~ karen

  8. vanessa says:

    Hi Karen!
    If you ever need any pointers, I’m sort of a photoshop geek. I’ve been a photo retoucher for about 10 years now. I would be more than happy to help you with this overwhelming software. I know how frustrating it can be…

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Vanessa! I’ve saved your email address and comment for future reference! Which might just be as early as tonight. ;) ~ karen

  9. Gig says:

    It will be fun reading about future photoshop adventures, maybe give the rest of us courage. I am still figuring out ways to use paint.

  10. Jenn says:

    Wheee! Love the chicken pic.

    Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  11. Leanne says:

    Yay for you! and your blog! and me because I read your blog! You look great on a chicken by the way. I was thinking now that you have photoshop you should start a series. Sort of like “Dear Abby” (Or was it Ask Abby?) but instead you could call it “Karen Could ya…” (or “Karen Couldya” or couldja… you’re probably cool enough to get away with any of those.) We, your freakish stalkers… I mean loyal readers could submit questions. Like… “Karen could ya tell me how to prevent lampshades from developing brown spots?” or “Karen could ya tell me how you eat fries all the time and have abs like that?” or “Karen could ya tell us how to prevent hangnails?” Then even if you didn’t have the answer you could photoshop the spots off the lampshades, remove the shiny grease and salt from the fries, and make the hangnails disappear. Consider it. I really want to know the answer to all those things. I could google it but this would be better.

  12. Kristy says:

    Seriously.. LOVE the chicken! You have succeeded in starting my day with a smile, a smirk and a little giggle! Thanks! It’s a GREAT way to begin~
    I am seriously thinking of starting a blog.. I dink around doing crafty things, rearranging my house, filling said house with all my “finds” and coming up with crazy concoctions to cook (and they usually turn out pretty darn great)… AND I kinda wanna get in on all the fun you guys have ;)

  13. Pam says:

    Adobe CS is so much fun! It’s a whole new world of creativity- it looks like you’re having a good time with it too. Who knows, before long this might be a ‘the art of doing photoshop’ blog…

    Did you know you can do fun, stop-motion-type animations with photoshop? That’s my latest find…

    Good Luck Karen! We like you!

  14. Karen,
    What are you looking at? Is it the next jump or the giant fox you are hunting?

  15. Ali says:


    I’ve been working with Photoshop for more than 10 years and while I’d like to blame new versions on the fact that I still feel like I know nothing about the program, I think its just that there’s so many possibilities.

    As others have said layers has to be one of the most important things to learn/master. Another is Actions, I say this because it is really helpful in editing photos. If one of your main focuses is editing your photos I’d suggest looking at Totally Rad! actions, my favorite, as in I use it on every photo I take is “Boutwell Magic Glasses” it crisps things up nicely.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Ali! I’m familiar with using layers, but not so much with actions. I’ll take a look! I have weird problems because I’m not used to Photoshop. For instance, I tried to add noise (grain) to a photo and it just plain old doesn’t show up for some reason. I’m sure it’s something little I’m missing. :( Could drive a person to drink. ~ karen

  16. Marti says:

    Photoshop must be a lot more expensive in Canada than here in the U.S., or you bought the jumbo-mombo version, or wow, I shoulda coughed up more.

    What is Axert and how was the hosting transfer experience on YOUR end?

    • Karen says:

      Marti – Photoshop is around $700 give or take depending on what you buy and if you get a discount or not. I’m pretty sure it’s the same in the US. Axert is a prescription medication for migraines and I haven’t had to do anything with regards to the transfer experience. I just sat and waited patiently. Bit my nails a little bit with worry. WayLay has helped a lot with some weird issues that came up because of GoDaddy (my former host). ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        Thanks for your encouragement with WL. I’m looking forward to working with them, based in part on your experience. I didn’t buy PS pro. And now I feel a lot better about donation day! ;)

  17. Alexandra says:

    I have PS5 too! I mostly draw obscene things on images with my Wacom Tablet. Good job Photoshopping yourself onto a chicken! You’ve already surpassed my skills, and I’ve had PS5 for about half a year…

  18. Elise says:

    Tutorials have been a lifesaver for me. They’re everywhere on the interwebs (for FREE!). However, I remain interested in your carnival idea. Think of all the posts you could do with that!

  19. Lori says:

    Here is a really good tutorial website for Photoshop . You might also look into your local community college for classes. Photoshop is a very powerful application and you will be amazed at what you can do with it. Good Luck!

  20. allison says:

    You did a very good job putting yourself on a chicken!! all you need is a little shadow:) The best advice i can give about photoshop is to use it everyday! Even if you could edit a picture in iphoto, challenge yourself to do it in photoshop and before long you will be a pro! If you can, take a class! Definitely check to see if your local community college has a graphic design class that you could sit in on without getting the credits (but still all the knowledge!) for less then half the price!!

    • Karen says:

      Allison – Good tip. I don’t have time for another class right now, but the whole sitting in one, might be useful in the future! ~ karen

  21. gf says:

    Riding a chicken with the ‘buck buck buuucks’


  22. Susie Q says:

    Which version of photoshop did you get? I’m at the same place and really want to start!

    • Karen says:

      Susie – CS5. I got a student discount from taking my photography classes at an art school. ~ karen

      • Susie Q says:

        Just to let you or anyone else know, there is a website called that has most programs for a student discount. If you have a child or niece of nephew in any middle school, high school, or college you get a major discount that way! I will be looking for photoshop today and sucking it up and forcing myself to learn the thing! Thanks Karen!

        (PS the blog has some great photoshop tutorials and a beautiful blog… check her out! And she uses the Pioneer Womans free actions mentioned above all the time!)

  23. SK Farm Girl says:

    Well, Miss Karen! I must say, that if that is in fact you on the beast, your riding form is quite good. You appear to be seated quite squarely on your pelvic bones, great line from the hip down through to the ankle, heals down, toes in, maybe a leaning tad bit too forward, but still a nice line from the shoulder to the hip. I would suggest a more upright, straight back with your hips slightly tucked under while remaining good contact witht he pelvis for hack and dressage classes, but I don’t think you are too far forward for hunting/jumping. Chin is up and looking forward – good to see! Hands might be tucked a bit too close to the beast. But overall your position in the saddle looks quite good form. Would have to give a good mark. Oh how I miss riding :( Here’s an idea for a project – a potting bench from recycled materials. Me ‘n me man built one on the weekend – tad crude but works great. Some fine tuning and tweeking and I’ll love him – me man – for his help!

    • Karen says:

      SK Farm Girl – Well, clearly neither one of us is dressed for dressage. Plus, I’m riding a chicken so it’s obviously hunter. Duh. ~ karen

  24. Julianna says:

    Yep… Layers understanding=HUGE. Also, for simplicity’s sake, look into “actions”, which are basically single-click shortcuts that let loose a pocketful of fairies and turn your everyday pictures in fabulous lomo wonders, b&w masterpieces or what have you. Many are available for free, which is good, because I haven’t actually hit the donate button yet… figuring out how to install them is the hardest part.

  25. Hah! love the photo.
    Best thing ever for photoshop? The Pioneer Woman’s free actions. That has kept me from having to deal with learning how to really work my SLR for at least two years. ;)

    • marné says:

      Yes! Go get those free actions, then you won’t have to learn hardly anything else about Photoshop :)

      • Karen says:

        Marne – I love the idea of actions to start out with to give me some encouragement and feel like I’m doing something, but what with my being a bit obsessive and crazy and having to figure stuff out and all (to all of my fine reader’s benefit) I’ll have no choice but to learn Photoshop inside and out. I can’t help myself. It’s a sickness. :) ~ karen

        • Pam'a says:

          Some of us have to understand the WHY of things to learn them. :)

        • Karen says:

          Pam’a – Yes. That would be me. I find it especially helpful in cooking. For instance, salt releases moisture, so don’t salt your meat before you BBQ it or it won’t get a crisp outer coating. THAT I can remember. But plain old, don’t put salt on meat before you sear it? Can’t remember that. ~ karen

  26. Theresa Clarkson-Farrell says:

    TALLY HO!! Good for you – its never to late to blaze a new trail or tail, look forward to you documenting this new learning experience

  27. Teshia says:

    Oh crud!! I’ve been up to my eyeballs in things that I haven’t donated yet!! Woops!! I’m sorry! Will you ever forgive me?! PROMISE I will! Not that you know me from Adam but I promise I keep promises! Great job w/ the photoshop! Your picture reminds me of this blog I read recently that CRACKED me up. Have you read this one yet? You’ll LOVE it. Again, I promise!

  28. Jennifer says:

    omg. you’re riding a chicken!! LOVE!!

  29. Laura says:

    the magic word for me to understand photoshop was this: layers

    • Anita says:

      Layers are the entire point of Photoshop! :)

      Go Karen! I learned a lot of Photoshop just by pointing and clicking (and undoing…History, BEST THING EVER). Although I still have much to learn, but first things first!

  30. nancy (aka moneycoach) says:

    oh noes. I’m still in the “I think I can getaway without it” camp. And the “it’s the words, not the photos, that matter” camp.

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