Pleased to Announce Book 7 in The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos

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While waiting on the next proof of Critter Tales, I sat down and put the finishing touches on this little eBook, the seventh in my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos.

“What better cheese for your homemade pizza than homemade mozzarella? This little eBook tells you not only how to make a quick mozzarella cheese from goats’ milk (no microwave necessary), but also gives you the science behind working with goats’ milk to make high quality cheeses. Explains the difference between quick and cultured mozzarella, how to pasteurize your milk if desired, how to make brine, how to make the cheese, and numerous uses for whey including how to make a true whey ricotta with no additional milk.”

Like the other books in this series, it sells for only 99 cents. Click here to go to this book’s webpage with a list of websites where it can be purchased.

Unsharp Mask – Woot!

After what seems like forever, I was finally able to order my first print proof of Critter Tales. Besides checking things like page numbering, formatting consistencies, overlooked typos, or even blatant mistakes, this is my first look at the photos, both cover and interior. Like 5 Acres and A Dream The Book, the cover was too dark, but the interior photos were better than I hoped. Still, they all needed some work.

What needed to be done to most of them was to increase contrast. I do this with the “Brightness-Contrast” tool in Gimp. Both are increased to give a sharper contrast, which translates as better grayscale images in print. For the record, I’m increasing brightness by 30 and contrast by 20. Only a second print proof will tell me if this was right. I should mention that I save the adjusted image with a different name by simply adding a “b” to to it. I’ve learned the hard way to always preserve the original images, plus each of the changes.

Photos that were taken with a camera set for a sharper photo were the easiest to do, but some of them were taken as 640 by 480 pixel images for email or the internet. I’ve learned how to enlarge these by first increasing PPI (pixels per inch) to 300 and then resizing to, say, 4.5 by 3 inches. Most of the times that works, although some still end up looking rather pixelated.

I was researching this the other day, and learned about “Unsharp Mask.” ¬†In Gimp it’s found under ¬†Filters > Enhance > Unsharp Mask. It’s a tool folks use to sharpen photos that are soft-looking. For print, the recommended settings are 1.5 for radius, and 1.0 for amount. I’m leaving threshold at 0, because I don’t know what it does. I don’t actually know what any of them do, although I found an excellent article explaining it – “Understanding Unsharp Mask.” Once I’m not pressed for time, I’ll give it a read so I know what it is that I’m doing!

Here’s an example from “Kitty Tales” to show you the difference that the tweaks have made.

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After I finish tweaking all the images, I’ll order another proof. Hopefully no further adjustments will need to be made, but I’m not holding my breath.