Stretching your Digi Stash!

Hello! I’m Jen, known in the digi-world as supergirljennie, and this  is my first blog post as a member of Wendy’s CT. I’m a big fan of themed digital scrapbooking kits! There’s something incredibly satisfying about finding the perfect kit with unique elements to scrapbook your event or moment, and once you find just the right one, nothing else will do. Of course, I don’t have unlimited funds to purchase every kit I like (though I wish I did), and I’m sure that many of you don’t either. That’s why it’s awesome to go “shopping” within your kit stash. So many times I’ve thought I needed to buy a new kit for something and overlooked ones I had because the theme wasn’t right. But those themed kits can make amazing off-theme layouts! Let’s see what I mean…

First up is a layout I made with my youngest son’s 1 year portraits.

I actually wasn’t sure I had anything that would go with the photo colors and struggled with scrapbooking them for a while. It was awesome when I found Wendy’s Feel the Magic bundle. It’s a glorious Disney-filled bundle, perfect for scrapbooking the most magical of memories.  It also created the layout above that I just love!

Next up is a wonderful layout created by wmgirl. She used Boys Only pieces to design this fun page about her little Guitar Hero. The colors work amazingly with the fantastic photography! Love what she has created here!

Boys only has several pieces that make up its awesome collection!

 And lastly, another layout by wxgirl! She’s got the off-theme thing down pat. This time she used School Days bundle to create this page about her little guy eating his first whole apple.  Though the bundle is school-themed, it works so well for this sweet apple-y page, don’t you think?

 Here’s the School Days bundle. Good for so much more than back-to-school photos!

When shopping for kits, it’s so easy to say, “Oh I’ll never use that theme,” or “But I only need it for one layout,” but generally kits and bundles have more than enough goodies to make them work for many other layouts than for what they are themed. I encourage you to look beyond the theme and explore all the possibilities!

Tip/Trick: Using CU Overlays to dress up a solid paper

Hi everyone. Leah here with a great TIP for you today…

I really love using WM[Squared] Designs’ CU Overlays. When I have a kit paper I want to dress up these Overlays are great for the job and it is really a simple process. Let me show you…

This is a set of CU Overlays called Petite Ornamental CU Overlays V6.

I recently used them on a paper from the Bookworm kit and this is the result…

I use Photoshop 5 but it works the same in Photoshop Elements. This is how I did it.

Open a solid or plain paper like this olive piece I chose from the Bookworm kit. I really love the color but I wanted to fancy it up a bit.

Next you pull in one of the Overlay papers right above of on top of it, like this. If you can’t see the Overlay you have probably pulled it into Photoshop underneath the solid paper. Just rearrange them in the Layers Panel.

 

At the top of the Layers Panel is a drop down window that had NORMAL in the box. This is what it looks like…

Make sure you have the Overlay Layer selected! If you click on the down arrow in the right hand corner the window opens and you get a wonderful list of BLENDING MODES. When you choose one of these it caused the layer you apply it to, to effect the layer beneath. For the layout I did I used the Overlay Blending Mode. Here is an example of how it changes…

Wow! See the difference!

You can use this with various elements as well. I also added a wintery tree from Wendy’s Family Matters kit and used the Multiply on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Tree with the Multiply Blending Mode on it. This tree layer with the Blending Mode on it will affect all the layers beneath it so it makes a change on the olive paper I have at the bottom.

Please, play with these Blending Modes! Some make the layer lighter such as the Screen Blending Mode and some make it darker as with the Multiply Blending Mode. It is one of my favorite tools in Photoshop!

April 15 Tip/Trick – DIY Vintage Photo

Carrie here, hoping that you’ve gotten your taxes filed and that you’re enjoying this fine spring day.  It’s 85 degrees in Miami, but about 60 degrees colder and snowing in Denver.  The snow outside my window has driven me indoors, where I’ve been fiddling with Photoshop trying to figure out how to make my own photo filters, a la Instagram or even those old Polaroid cameras.  This brings us to today’s tutorial – how to make a modern digital photo look like it was taken with an old school camera using color fill layers in Photoshop.

I started with this photo of my son.  It’s a nice photo on it’s own, with a good range of colors, lots of neutral or white space, and a definite point that draws the eye – his red hat. But I want to turn this photo into something a little more trendy…..something vintage.

Step 1: open your image in Photoshop, and make a duplicate.  Double click on the duplicate photo in the Layers palette to open the Blending Options menu.  Change the Blend Mode to Soft Light.

Next we’ll start adding color filter layers to this image.  So, for step 2, go to Layers (in the menu bar at the top of the screen), then select New Fill Layer, and then Solid Color.  Give it a name (I called mine Dark Blue). In the Fill Layer drop down menu, scroll down and choose Exclusion.  Click Enter (or Okay), and the color picker window should pop up.  Choose a dark blue shade.  In this example I’ve used #070142.  Click Okay to apply the layer.

We also want to make those middle shades pop, so open the Layers menu again.  Choose New Adjustment Layer, and then Levels.  Name your layer, and click on Okay.  The Adjustments tab should open in the palette on the right side of your screen.  Right near the top of this tab it says Layers, and there’s a drop down menu.  Click on the drop down menu and select Midtones Darker to bring up the mid-tones in your image.

Third we’ll add another color fill layer, this time light orange.  Go to Layers>New Fill Layer>Solid Color.  Give it a name (I called mine Orange), set the Mode to Soft Light, and the opacity to 75%.  Click on Okay, and when the color picker pops up pick a light orange shade (I used #de9b82) and click Okay.  Don’t get distressed that the colors seem a little overwhelming at this point.  We’ll tone it down before we finish.

Step 4 is another color fill layer, but in pale pink.  Go to Layers>New Fill Layer>Solid Color.  Give it a name (I called mine Pink), set the Mode to Soft Light and the opacity to to 50%.  Click on Okay, and when the color picker opens, pick a pale pink shade (I used #fed1eb), and click Okay to apply the filter. At this point your photo should be starting to look like those taken in the mid to late 1970s – a little too much red, but we’ll take that down a notch in the next step.

 

In the next step (#5) we’ll add another dark blue layer to tone down those bright reds.  Go to Layers>New Fill Layer>Solid Color, give this new layer a name (I called mine Dark Blue 2), and set the Mode to Exclusion.  Leave the opacity at 100%.  Click on Okay, and when the color picker opens, set the color to a nice dark blue (this time I used #070044), and click on Okay to apply the filter.

 

At this point your photo should have 5 layers on top of the original duplicate.  it should be a little heavy on the reds, and the blues should look a little yellowish.

The very last step (#6) in the process is to duplicate your original image again, then move this second duplicate to the top of your Layers palette.  Double click on the layer to open the Blending Modes menu, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.  This is your final image – a vintage (circa 1977) photo.

 

 

 

Now what would be a better way to show of your image than with a photo frame that would have been available at the time your vintage photo was supposedly taken?  Wendy has generously made a sweet Polaroid-style frame for you!  Click here to download, and make sure to show us your own DIY vintage photos!

Chevron

One big new trend in scrapbooking are the use of chevrons. Have you seen them on layouts? Are you using them in your layouts? I love the mix of elements and paper that are out there right now.

Here is a layout I did with Live Life by wm [squared]

Here are few more that I found in the gallery-


(by Fonnetta- using Take Note)


(by melanie3boys- using Summer Breeze)

Share your layouts with us using any chevrons on your layouts.

DIY Digital Letterpress

Good morning, y’all. Carrie (aka wxgirl) here to share a neat Photoshop trick with you: letterpress. Letterpress is when the letters or shapes are pressed into the paper deeply enough that you could feel the depressions if you ran your finger over the letters. I’ve seen letterpress on thank you cards, wedding invitations, and stationery, and have been looking forward to sitting down at the computer to see if I could recreate this technique digitally. So, with that and a little assistance from puglypixel.com, here goes….

First, open up a new document or one in progress that’s just waiting for this awesome technique, and select the Text tool. Make the font size something large, change the color to black (#010101) and choose a font with clean lines. For this tutorial I will use a font called American Typewriter in 72 pt.

Type in your text, then open the Layer Style menu (I do this by double clicking on the layer in the Layers palette). Check the box next to Inner Shadow. Change the Blending Mode to Overlay, decrease the Opacity to 60%, and change the Distance and Size to 3 px. Also, change the Angle to whatever you normally use for your shadows (here I’m using 50 degrees). If you want a second line of letterpressed text in your final product, copy this layer and modify it with your text. If you do have more than one line of text, you’ll want to merge those layers (CTRL + E).

Next, add a background paper. The red paper I’m using is from Wendy’s True Love – the Kit.

Now select your original merged (text) layer, and click on the Magic Wand tool. Select all the negative space (just click outside of the text), then from the Select menu at the top of your screen, choose Inverse to highlight only your text. Make sure that you also include the space inside the letters. To do this, hold down the Shift key and click on those areas. When you’re done, you should have marching ants around your text letters. Click on your background paper in the Layers palette, then delete the selection (Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection). If you hide your text layer, you should see the document background peeking through the background paper, as in the image below.

With your background paper selected, open the Layer Style menu and check the box next to Bevel and Emboss. In the Structure section, change the Style to Inner Bevel, the Technique to Smooth, the Depth to 55%, and the Size to 3 px. In the Shading section, the Angle should be the same you used earlier, and change the Altitude to about 48 degrees.

Since we want this to look as realistic as possible, a little distressing is in order. Make a new layer (CTRL + N), name it, and select the Brush tool. You’ll need to change the foreground color to something very similar to your background paper, and use a large distressing brush. The one I’m using is a freebie that I found online. Making sure your new layer is selected, click around on top of your text until you like the look of your distressing. You might want to vary the opacity of the brush if you go over the same spot more than once. Clip the distressed layer to the text layer, and voila, your letterpressed text.

Now, I didn’t like the extra white around the text – that’s the document background peeking through – so I copied my background paper, disabled the Layer Style (Bevel and Emboss) and dragged this slick layer to the bottom of the Layers palette (see image below).

And a little bit of playing later, I decided that I liked my finished product even more when I made one last tweak. In Layer Style > Bevel and Emboss, I changed the color of the Highlight Mode to one from my background paper. (Click on the top color box, then mouse over your paper until you see the eyedropper, then click on your background paper to select a new color, click OK, and then OK again.)

 

I hope that you’ve learned something new with this tutorial. You might want to play a little more with the settings and colorings and brushes, make your letterpress your own or to your liking. I’d love to see what you create.

Shadowing Overlapping Alphas

Hello everyone.  I’m excited to be bringing you this fun trick to use in your shadowing.  Have you ever shadowed your alphas and then overlapped them and not liked the result?  The problem that comes up is that the part of the shadow over the background paper should be larger while the part of the shadow that falls onto the overlapped letter should be smaller.  I have a video tutorial that will show you what I mean and walk you through a trick on how to fix it.  I think it really helps make your shadowing more realistic.  For this tutorial I’m using Photoshop Elements, so if you have a different software program you may have to adjust the techniques a bit.

So did that make sense?  I hope that it helps you in your shadowing.  And if it hasn’t already occurred to you, you can use the same trick on elements that you overlap, not just with alphas.  Just make sure to arrange them exactly where you want them before you use this trick since you are merging layers.

In case you were wondering, here is the kit I used in the video and the fabulously colorful bonus alphas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 26 Tip/Trick – Digital Crayons

Aloha y’all. Carrie (wxgirl) here to reminisce about childhood on this fine Saturday morning. As a kid I loved to color, and thus I have very fond and vivid childhood memories of fresh boxes of crayons and hours spent coloring in pages of my favorite cartoon characters. I even once used a brand new orange crayon to add some fish to the painting of a babbling brook my parents had hanging on the wall over the living room sofa (needless to say they were not pleased with that particular artistic endeavor). And now my daughter has been bitten by the coloring bug, and she spends time each day coloring in pictures of her favorite characters, or drawing rainbows. I wanted to make a digital layout to capture the artwork that’s hanging off my refrigerator before something catastrophic happens to it (or she gets bored and decides to practice her scissor skills). Since this layout is about crayons and coloring, crayon-drawn elements are a perfect fit. After some searching, I discovered through a tutorial by Jen White at Scrapper’s Guide that Photoshop has a waxy crayon brush. The tutorial below explains how you can access this brush to draw on your page or create your own custom elements.

1. Open a new layout (300 dpi) or one that’s ready for an awesome crayon embellishment.

2. Open the Horizontal Type tool (the T or text button), and change the font to something with clean lines like Century Schoolbook (I picked this one because I really like the bracket), and increase the font size to 350.  Type the bracket onto your layout.

3. Select the bracket shape by pushing control and then clicking on the icon of your text layer in the layers panel.  This will pop open a small menu, scroll down and select “Select Pixels”.  Alternatively, you can push Control and click on the gray part of the text layer in the Layers palette, and then select Rasterize Layer, then choose the Magic Wand tool to highlight the shape.  Whichever method you choose, you should get the marching ants around the bracket shape.  You can also hide the text layer at this point (click on the eyeball next to that layer in the Layers palette).

4. Make a new layer (shift + command + N on a Mac), and give it a name (I called mine crayon bracket).  Then zoom in to between 50 and 100%, and center the marching ants in your screen.

5. Time to get the crayon started.  Select the Brush tool (the icon has a little paintbrush), and if the Brushes tool doesn’t open, click on the drop down menu next to the brush to get the tool to open (it’s the screen in the image below).

Click on the little arrow in the upper right corner of the Brushes menu, then scroll down until you find Dry Media Brushes.  Select this option, then click Append when prompted.  This will add the dry media brushes to whatever you currently have in your Brushes menu.

Scroll down to almost the bottom and select the Heavy Wax Smear Crayon brush (bottom arrow in the image), then change the master diameter to 10 pixels (top arrow).  A 6-pixel crayon looks like really sharp eyeliner, while a 15-pixel crayon looks like it was drawn with a flattened crayon stub.  After some experimentation, I decided I prefer an 8-pixel crayon for making the brackets, and a 12-pixel crayon for making straighter lines (more on this later).

6. Your crayon will appear the same color as your foreground (the front of those two little squares in your Color palette), but it’s easily changed.  Click on the front square and either select a color from the color picker or use the eyedropper to select a color from within your layout.  Because it’s easier to see here, I picked black (#000000), but you can easily change the color later on using Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

7. Next, make sure that the active layer is that new one you created in Step 4.  Trace the outline of the bracket by clicking and dragging your mouse.  The marching ants will keep you from coloring outside the lines, but if you want to achieve a natural look, trace just inside the marching ants without actually touching them, like in the image below.  Unless your have a really steady mouse-hand, your lines will likely not be perfectly straight.

 

8. Once you’ve traced the outline of your entire bracket, it’s time to fill it in.  Resist the urge to scribble, and instead make short strokes that don’t overlap, as in the image below.

And there you have it, a bracket crayon.  You can move it wherever you want on your layout, and since it’s crayon and theoretically drawn straight on the paper, no drop shadow is necessary.

 

 

 

 

As mentioned previously, I was making this bracket to use on a layout about my daughter’s crayon drawings, so I’ve posted it below.  Since the black bracket didn’t quite fit with the colors in the layout (I used WM[squared] Designs’ Rainy Days – the Mega Mini kit, and the background paper is from Just the Basics – Neutral Paper Pack), I changed the crayon color to white (#fdfdfd) by adjusting the saturation.  I also made a chipboard bracket (select the original text bracket, then Select > Modify > Expand > Expand by 25 pixels, then making a layer mask on a colored paper), and the “family” title (the font is called Georgia).  I was having so much fun with these digital crayons that I also “traced” the line around the edge of the paper, on the frame, and on the banner using a wider (12 pixel) crayon.  I also traced a handwriting font (Wendy’s got so many awesome ones!) for the date.

I had such a blast using digital crayons on this layout, and I hope that you do too!  I’d love to see what you create!  Link us up here or post your layouts into this thread at Scrap Orchard.

tips and tricks – a hybrid holiday countdown calendar

Good morning, y’all. I (Carrie) am hoping this fine Saturday finds you well and in the holiday spirit, or at least looking forward to getting a little crafty. If you’re like me, you grew up with those candy-filled advent calendars – you know, the ones with the icky, deformed globs of chocolate behind the little doors that you fought over with your little brother. This year rather than go with the chocolates, I decided combine my love of digi-scrap with my love of tactile crafts to make my own countdown calendar. The base project for this is a wreath of paper-covered wooden clothespins.

So here’s what you’ll need for the wreath:
- a wire wreath form about 8 inches in diameter
- approximately 60 wooden clothespins (you can find these at a craft store, or for about half the price at Target in the aisle where they keep the irons and other “laundry solutions”)
- double-sided tape
- craft knife & something to cut on (like a memory mat)
- an awesome digi-scrap kit with papers you *LOVE*

First things first. You’ll have to print out strips of those wonderful patterned papers to adhere to your clothespins. I chose to use Christmas Wishes – the Kit mainly because I adore the papers, but also because of the great elements and extra bits that we’ll get to in a little bit. To make my “template” for the strips, I made a 3.5-inch-long by .5-inch-wide (just a little bigger than the size of the clothespin) rectangle using the shape tool in Photoshop.  I copied it three times, and arranged the three blocks so they all lined up and had about an eighth of an inch between, then merged them into a single layer and clipped my paper to that block of three nine times, and clipped different papers to each block (see step 1 photo).  I added a few extra “singles” too, and clipped some of the solid papers to them. I printed the strips onto regular craft-store-variety white medium-weight cardstock. Clip your papers to the strips, and print (step 1).

Next, cut your paper into lots of strips (step 2). Since you’ll have to trim the strips again, don’t worry about being super precise with your cuts, but it might make things simpler down the road if you make sure one of the short ends is trimmed flush with the colorful printer paper. So, trim away and build yourself a big pile of colorful strips.

At this point I opted to involve a randomizer – my 4-year-old. She handed me a clothespin and whatever strip of paper she’d picked from the pile (step 3a, notice in the picture how the short end on the left side is trimmed flush with the patterned paper). This assistance lasted all of about 10 minutes before she decided she’d had enough and (taking half my clothespins) wandered off to randomize the throw pillows on the sofa and apply the clothespins to them.

To adhere the paper to the clothespin, take your selected paper strip, and flip it over. Apply a piece of double sided tape that’s just a smidge longer than the clothespin (I just eyeballed it), as in Step 3b. I also lined up the edge of the tape with that same left side of the paper strip.

Lay the nose of the clothespin against the already trimmed edge of the paper strip, and use your craft knife to trim away the excess paper and tape (step 3c). Trimming around the metal bits is a little challenging; I found that it was easiest for me to hold the clothespin up and use the knife to trim this from the side.

The paper-covered clothespin looks pretty good at this point, but to clean up any rough cuts, I used a file to sand and distress the edges (step 3d).

And there you have it.  One distressed hybrid clothespin.  Repeat 59 times.

Once you’ve completed your clothespins, or as you’re completing them, clip them to the wreath form. The wreath form I used was metal (green, essentially 4 skinny concentric rings, found in the wreath-making section at the craft store….with the 40% off coupon, less than $2), and since the original was much bigger than I wanted, I used wire cutters to remove the outer two concentric rings (saving the remnants for another project down the road). Clip the clothespins over both wire rings – otherwise they’ll slip. I didn’t use any glue to hold them in place, so I can re-randomize them if the urge strikes.

To turn my wreath into a countdown calendar, I added a little cluster.  To do this, I made my cluster in Photoshop, printed it out onto cardstock, and then cut it out with scissors and a craft knife.  To ensure that it wouldn’t flop over on me, I cut out a piece of thin cardboard (actually, I used part of the packaging that came with my clothespins), and adhered it to the back of the cluster with a few strips of double sided tape.  I then adhered a strip of double sided tape to a clothespin, and mounted the whole thing onto the back of the cluster.  Then I just replaced one of the clothespins on the wreath with this new clustered one.

Don’t you just love that cluster?  It’s made using papers, elements and the alpha from the Christmas Wishes bundle, plus the Christmas Wishes – Bonus Alpha.  And I’m giving it (the cluster) to you!

Click on the image above or here to download.

And now onto those awesome countdown numbers – they’re part of the Christmas Wishes bundle!  I just printed them out onto a sheet of that same medium white cardstock, then cut them out and inked the edges using black chalk ink.  The plan is to swap them out each day….each number is then attached to the cluster with a small clothespin.

To hang the wreath, I threaded half-inch grosgrain ribbon through two of the clothespins (at about 11 and 1, on a clock face), and knotted them at the top. And there you have it – one awesome hybrid clothespin Christmas countdown wreath!

 

Tips and Tricks–Creating a ‘Bin’ in CS5

hi everyone, jaye here with a little tip for those using CS and missing the bin of PSE.  I discovered that there is a script built right in that creates a new canvas and loads everything I want onto it in separate layers really saving me time and only having to look at one window.
I have created this tutorial for you and hope you find the pictures useful.  I use a PC and this tutorial was created with CS5.

step 1. We are going to open our canvas, choose our papers and then go to FILE–>Scripts–>Load Files onto Stack.


step 2. You are going to click on your Browse button.


step 3. You are going to choose the folder you wish to pick your papers/elements/ alpha from.  As you see I opened my WM[squared] folder and picked the kit Boys Only. Select your elements and click OK, just remember you have to have at least two.


step 4. As you can see all the elements I selected are in the box.  Click OK and let the script run.


step 5. After the script has run you now have a canvas will all the items you chose in separate layers.  I usually make this smaller so I can see all my elements and my main canvas.


step 6. You can now drag your chosen element over to your page and hide layers as you wish.  This works great for alphas as well.

I hope you find this tip helpful and a time saver in your daily scrapping.

I’ll Give You a HAND!

Hi everyone! Emilee here with a quick tip to make your scrapping smoother. We are going to find out a little bit more about the Hand Tool–that little white hand in PSE. The little hand icon has been around in many computer programs for as long as I can remember, but I don’t ever remember it being too helpful. But in PSE that little hand can be quite useful.

You can access the Hand Tool by clicking “H” or by holding down the space bar. You then use the little hand to move around your project. When you are using another tool you can always temporarily switch to the Hand Tool–which is why I want to make sure everyone knows this secret–by simply holding down the space bar on your keyboard. When you are zoomed in extracting an image, altering a shadow or whatever the case may be; you can switch to the Hand Tool by holding down the space bar, then use the little hand to move around to your next desired location, release the space bar and you are back to the previous tool. Brilliant! And so easy. Try it out and let me know if you have any q’s.