Designer Sneak Peeks – September 9, 2016

Happy Friday!! It’s time for a few sneak peeks from our designers. I’m starting to see some fall colors and themes make their way into the kits.

Make sure to stop into the store on Friday and go shopping.

 

Tutorial Tuesday: Use a Basic Template (Photoshop Elements)

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Happy Tuesday Gingerscrappers! Here’s the second in what I hope will be a series of tutorials to help you get the most out of your digi-scrapping stash and to grow your skills. So if you have an idea for what I should write about, please drop by the GS Facebook page and leave a comment on this thread.

Annette asked for some help using templates, so that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Every month there are two free Challenge templates provided by Gingerscraps designers, one on the first and the second halfway through the month. The reasons I mention this: they’re FREE and they’re readily available, plus they fulfill two challenges each month! Templates are a great way to speed up your workflow and to stimulate creativity.  First, they take some of the decision-making out of the process by showing where to put papers and elements. Some templates are also pre-shadowed, so that’s one fewer step to take in building a layout. But they’re not set in concrete, so there’s a lot of opportunity for making the template truly your own. Today we’re only going to stick with the basics.

There are several forms of template available out there and I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in any of them. I work with PSE12 – Photoshop Elements version 12 (it presents some challenges, but I’m too cheap and suspicious to go with Creative Cloud so I’ve learned to deal with them) which is fairly versatile. You can work with PSD, TIFF or PNG files equally with PSE. The steps I’m going to show you in this tut will work with both PSD and TIFF formats. Let’s get started!

First, I choose a template that will work with the photos I want to scrap. For this lesson I’ve used the challenge template so graciously provided by Maggie of Mag’s Graphics. I used it pretty much exactly as it was presented, but you’ll soon see there are lots of ways to customize and alter any template. Stay tuned!

Preview

I open up the preview in an image viewer so I can figure out what I need to build my layout. I count up the different papers and elements then go to my Gingerscraps stash and start choosing what to use. For this layout I used September Buffet kits from Ooh La La Scraps (Autumn Chill) and Seatrout Scraps (Autumn Odyssey). I make a folder to hold the items I want to use so they’re all in one place and I can see how they look together. (Please bear in mind that this is MY workflow and I’m only making suggestions. Please don’t feel like I’m telling you the only way to do things… do what’s comfortable for you.)

Layout folder

One advantage to doing things this way is that if you then double-click on the PSD template file in this folder, it opens automatically in PSE and is at the very top of the photo bin. Another advantage is when you click on Open Files, the software takes you right to this folder. Once I have all the items I’m planning to use open on my workspace, I select the background paper layer in the layers panel and work my way up, the same way I would if I was using real paper and elements. You can choose to work in any order that suits you best, but this provides an orderly way of proceeding.

workspace

Start adding in your papers. The background paper is full sized in this template so it’s just a matter of dragging and dropping the paper you like onto the workspace. Mine is a tan paper. The next layer in the template’s layers panel is coloured gray and is a bit smaller than the background. You can drag and drop a paper on top of it then resize it to fit, but a much easier way is to use a clipping mask. Below you’ll note I’ve dropped a dark green paper on top of the gray layer in the layers panel. To create a clipping mask, which “clips” the paper to the shape below it, right-click on the layer and select Create Clipping Mask from the menu, or CTRL/CMD+G will accomplish the same action.

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Voilà! The green paper is now neatly clipped to the gray paper layer and there is now a lovely border around the layout. I wanted to use a painted wood paper from Mandy King’s Buffet kit Autumn Skies for the most visible background layer so I dropped it on top of the white paper layer in the panel. But I also wanted the painted edges to show and that wasn’t going to work if I just clipped the paper to the layer. So I used the Move tool to select the edges and resized the paper to 93%. The best and easiest way to do this with papers like this is to click in the box at one corner of the paper and then type in the dimensions in the little tool panel boxes underneath. This method automatically centers your paper. Make sure you’ve got the Constrain Proportions box clicked so you get a uniform resize. Then you can go ahead and clip the paper to the layer below it and not lose much of the painted edge.

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The next three layers in the template are papers or photos with rounded corners. Maggie has each of these paper blocks on their own layer so you can clip different papers to each one if you choose. I wanted them all the same, so I selected all three layers and merged them together, then clipped a single aqua polka dotted paper to the resulting layer in the palette. I could have copied the paper three times and done each layer individually but I’m lazy.

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I did the same thing with the two rounded rectangles on the right side of the template and clipped a tan, polka dot paper to it. But when I looked at it, my first reaction was BLAHHH!

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So I deleted that layer and went with a lovely burgundy plaid paper instead. Ah, MUCH better! That’s one of the beauties of using templates. You can clip 15 different papers to a shape then turn them on one at a time to see which one you like best, then delete the ones you don’t.

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The dark green strip along the left edge of the template could be a paper strip, a ribbon, ricrac or stitches… or even a combination of all of them. I decided to use a piece of ricrac.

I really wanted to have the same dark green matting my photos as was used for the second layer of the border, but the template didn’t have separate mats for the photos, as I discovered when I clipped my green paper to one of the photo spots.

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To get around that, I copied the photo layers – right-click, select Duplicate Layer then click OK on the pop-up menu, or simply CTRL/CMD+J – then resized the copy layers to make a nice mat border around what would become my photos.

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Clipping photos to photo spots is just the same as for clipping papers to shapes. I like to use the corner of the photo spot to line up my photo when the photo spot is tilted, like these are, unless I’m not worried about how the photo crops. Don’t worry too much about the size of the photo at this step, because you can resize it and position it once you’ve clipped it to the spot.

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Things will start to move a lot faster once the background and photos are in place. This template, being a simple one, has only 3 different elements positioned in each corner. I chose a string flower with a button center, a flower that looks somewhat like a chrysanthemum and a grapevine ring. I decided that both clusters would contain the same items, as shown in the template through the use of identical shapes, but feel free to use whatever elements in whatever combo you want. Working from the bottom up, the next layer is the tan daisy shape. Drop an element onto your workspace and resize it a bit so you can see what you’re doing, then move it in place under the shape on the template, as shown. This will help with positioning and sizing. If you’re using a pre-shadowed template, you can copy the template’s shadow for that layer by right-clicking on the shape layer in the layers palette and selecting Copy Layer Style from the menu. Sorry, no keyboard shortcut for that. Once you’re happy with it, you can go ahead and delete or turn off the shape layer. (I ALWAYS work with copies of files so I don’t accidentally throw out something I might want to use again, so I can delete.)

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The template showed a circular element with an open centre so I thought I’d use a grapevine ring for that.

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But… it wasn’t working for me once I did it. So I swapped it out for a dried orange slice. It looked a little funny lying overtop of a fairly fluffy flower, so I moved it down a couple of layers to where it sat flush against the paper, then repositioned it a little.

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For the cluster in the opposite corner, I duplicated the three layers I just placed as described above and moved them up and into position, using the shapes provided by the template for placement. Took all of about 3 seconds! Then I dropped some buttons on the layout – lo! and behold… that brought me to the top of the template’s layers. Almost done.

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Now that all of the papers, photos and elements are in place, it’s time to shadow. I use a set of shadow styles by Mommyish most often, but you can use the drop shadows supplied with your software. (Getting into how to obtain realistic shadows in detail is beyond the scope of this tutorial.) I like to do this task in the most efficient way possible, so I select like layers and shadow them all at once. Then later, if I find it looks a bit funny, I can go back and tweak only the layers necessary.

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The final steps are title and journaling. The challenge template doesn’t have a defined area for either but there are some nice open spots so I chose to journal on the upper burgundy paper and put my title on the lower aqua paper. If you’d like to see the final result, it’s in my gallery.

In the coming weeks, I’ll share some tips on how to get the most out of templates so keep an eye on the blog!

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September Featured Designer – Across the Pond

Welcome to September. Seems like the turn of the calendar to September brought cooler weather to my part of the US, but rumor has it the heat is back this week. I have a great treat for you today. I have an interview with our featured designer – Across the Pond. You might be wondering who this is. It’s an awesome collaboration of Seatrout Scraps and Mandy King. I was able to “talk” to both ladies this past week and they have answered my questions. I hope you enjoy getting to know each of them a bit better.

Let’s talk to Mandy first.

How did you get started in digital scrapbooking?

I’ve always been fascinated with digital graphics – I distinctly remember being amazed when I discovered that a PNG existed! When my children were very small, paper scrapping seemed messy and overwhelming and I was blown away when I realized the world of digital scrapbooking existed.

What made you decide to design?

I don’t think there was any one thing – I just knew I wanted to from the time I realized it existed.

What do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

Photoshop, Art Rage and a nifty little program called Photo Scissors

Describe your design workplace.

Most of the time it’s one of those boring, white folding tables that’s set up in my bedroom, although I have a laptop, so am often found in other parts of the house as well.

What is your favorite thing about designing?

I love coming up with an eclectic mix of things and then seeing how it all comes together.

What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

That’s tough…probably Bohemian Spirit. I love the colors and the mix of vintage and bright…the whole mindset behind it was so free and, well…bohemian!

What do you do when you are feeling very sad or depressed?

Pray.

Which is the best vacation you’ve ever had in your life?

I love the mountains – my family used to drive out to Colorado every summer. This past summer my girls and I traveled to the Smoky Mountains and I was able to meet my friend and fellow designer, Rachel Pearce and her husband, Nev. That was special!

Which is your most cherished childhood memory?

I have so many…it’s hard to choose! After losing my mother nine years ago, I’d have to say that anything with her in it is special and cherished.

Do you believe in ghosts?

No.

Who is your celebrity crush?

I don’t really have one, but if you twist my arm, I’d have to say Matthew McConaughey.

What do you order when you go to Starbucks?

I don’t, lol. You may find me driving my daughters to the drive thru, but I’m not a big outside-the-house coffee drinker.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.

How old were you when you had your first kiss?

15.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Optimist.

Would you change your name if you could? If so, what would you change it to?

Fiona Treymore. This was the “stage name” I chose as a child when I thought I’d run away and become a broadway star.

What is your favorite pizza topping?

Pepperoni or green olives.

What do you do to wake up in the morning?

Coffee and quiet time with a devotional.

What is a small luxury that you treat yourself to?

Hmm…I guess I’d say a fountain Diet Coke – although it’s more of a daily staple than a treat!

What did you want to be when you were small?

A stay-at-home-mom.

Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?

Mow the lawn.

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

None of the above…I want someone to do my laundry!!

What would you do if you won the lottery?

See the above question!

What’s the most interesting thing you can see out of your office or kitchen window?

Woods.

Share your favorite recipe with us.

Aunt Patti’s Potato Salad

1 cup Hellman’s Mayo (not Miracle Whip)
2 tablespoons vinegar
1-½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 cups cubed, peeled potatoes (5-6), boil with skins on
1 cup celery
½ cup onion
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

In large bowl stir first 5 ingredients until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. Cover and chill. Makes 5 cups.

For larger groups, cook 5# potatoes and triple above recipe.

Thanks Mandy!! Be sure to check out her GS Store, her FB page, and her FB Group.

Now let’s chat with Rachel of Seatrout Scraps.

How did you get started in digital scrapbooking?

I was a paper scrapper for a few years and discovered digital scrapbooking by looking at galleries online.

What made you decide to design?

I was doing a lot of layout pages and people started asking me to make templates for them to use from the pages I had made .. and it went from there.

What do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

Photoshop CC and Illustrator.

Describe your design workplace.

Corner of the sofa.

What is your favorite thing about designing?

Being able to have a creative idea and actually put it into action.

What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

Usually the last one I make but I do love Lavender and Lace.

What do you do when you are feeling very sad or depressed?

I’m a glass half full kinda gal so tend not to get that way too often.

Which is the best vacation you’ve ever had in your life?

We do a road trip in the USA every year and I love them all, but maybe Wyoming based one where we saw Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore etc.

Do you believe in ghosts?

No.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Timothy Olyphant.

What do you order when you go to Starbucks?

Nearest Starbucks is about 40 miles away + I am not a coffee drinker !!

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Not into cookies, love a cheese cracker though.

How old were you when you had your first kiss?

Maybe 13 ?

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Optimist.

Would you change your name if you could? If so, what would you change it to?

No.

What is your favorite pizza topping?

Ham and Pineapple.

If you could give the world one piece of advice, what would it be?

Stop killing each other.

What do you do to wake up in the morning?

I usually get licked on the face by a small dog .. that wakes me up.

What is a small luxury that you treat yourself to?

Diet Coke.

Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?

None of the above. Loathe housework.

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

My husband does all of these so I am covered !!

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Pass Out !!

What’s the most interesting thing you can see out of your office or kitchen window?

My lovely garden, there is always something new.

Thanks Rachel!! Check out her GS Store, her FB page, and her FB group!

And don’t forget to grab the Daily Download each day from our blog. At the end of the month you will have a wonderful kit designed by Mandy and Rachel. Here’s a sneak peek!

Whew! What a post, but how much fun are these two ladies? Have a great day!!

Let’s Celebrate! Back to School

It is that time of year again here in the states. Well, actually my kiddo has been back in school for nearly a month. So, I would say that it is about time to get those photos scrapped! Right?! Today we are going to take a look at some great back-to-school digital scrapbooking supplies. There are pages and pages of great back-to-school digital scrappboking supplies here at GingerScraps. There is an entire section dedicated just to that. Today though, I am going to showcase just a few of them. Kind of like taking the hard work of searching out of your shopping. Doing the “hard work” for you. Truly though…I really love looking through the store. 🙂 Images are all linked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Baked: September 02, 2016

It’s FRIDAY! So many goodies today, even after an amazing amount of goodies that were just released yesterday! The designers are definitely in the mood for designing. A new month and season seems to do that for them!

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great collab!

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http://store.gingerscraps.net/GingerBread-Ladies-Collab-Lets-Fall-In-Love.html [Read more…]

Sneak Peeks September 1, 2016

Holy Cow!!! It’s September! Where did the time go? Most kids are back in school and soon fall will be upon us! Even though the designers debuted wonderful buffet collections today, there’s more goodies debuting tomorrow! Lets see some of them!

From Amy Stoffel

From Magical Scraps Galore

From Neia Scraps

Come back tomorrow to see even more goodies to play with over this long weekend!

Fresh Baked: September 01, 2016

It’s SEPTEMBER! The month that fall starts. The start of all things pumpkin. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the colors of fall. I’m ready for the reds, the oranges, even the browns. This month’s buffet theme colors are the perfect mix of summer fading into fall!

It is the First of the month, and that means the revel of our new Buffet!! Don’t forget the new Buffet items will all be 50% off (from the 1-5th of the month)!

*NEW Buffet Bundles* Take a look at our all new Buffet Bundles! Each buffet for 2016 will have a sub category for our Buffet Bundles. One easy click to add bunches of Buffet goodies to your cart, and an amazing value too!

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The designers all had their own take on what the colors and theme said to them! I love the variety!

The designers definitely each made the palette their own and came up with some gorgeous designs, each unique but working so well with the other designers’ creations

[Read more…]

DD: Sept 01

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it’s already September! Time for a new Daily Download!

Of course, you know the drill. I can’t show you September’s until I show the full preview of August’s. This one was designed by Connie Prince and oh my goodness, it’s perfect for the sports fan of almost any sport!

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http://store.gingerscraps.net/Play-Ball-Kit.html

And here’s this month’s, created by Seatrout Scraps and Mandy King!

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http://bit.ly/2boRuaR

Remember, the download is kept up for 5 days, and then it is taken down. If you miss pieces, the kit will be available for purchase on the first day of the following month.

Designer Sneak Peeks – Buffet and Fresh Baked

Are you ready for the first of September. It’s time for school, football, and fall. Let’s see what we have coming out tomorrow in the Buffet.

And now for new Fresh Baked sneak peeks for Friday!

Time to go shopping!!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Turn a FONT into a STICKER!

Gingerscrapper Heather requested some help with creating eye-catching titles, so this little lesson will focus on turning a font into an outstanding sticker. Over the next few weeks we’ll go into more detail on how to really jazz up your layouts, so stay tuned!

The very first step is to figure out what to call your layout. You want to choose something that works with the topic, but you don’t want it to be “Joey’s 8th Birthday”… where’s the excitement in that? Instead you could go with “Today He’s 8!” For the layout I created to help with this lesson, I looked up some surfing terms, looking for a hook. I came up with “Rippin’ the Foam”.

I like to build my titles on their own work space – there are fewer distractions and I can see clearly what I’m doing – so I always open a new file <CTRL/CMD+N>. (I use keyboard shortcuts, they really speed things up, but if you’re not comfortable with them, go ahead and do things as you usually do.) The size of the work space can be whatever you want, because you’ll be able to resize your title when you’re ready to use it.

As you can see, I’ve already chosen the colour for my title. I decided to work with the two fonts selected by Jennifer of Leaving a Legacy Designs for the August challenge, since I hadn’t done it yet. Using Sacramento I typed out “Rippin'” but found it to be a little anemic for a title. To beef it up a bit, I simplified the text <right-click on the layer and select Simplify Layer from the drop-down menu> then I selected the text by <CTRL/CMD+click> on the thumbnail (the little image in the layers panel). Once I got those little ants marching around my text, I went to the SELECT menu and chose Modify > Expand and put the number 3 in the box.

That pushed the line of ants out by 3 pixels, which was just enough. (Sometimes you have to play around to get it right, so don’t forget that CTRL/CMD+Z is your best friend.) Next I used the Fill tool (the paint bucket) to fill in the space created in the last step. You’ll notice that there’s a very thin line inside the filled space so just keep moving the paint bucket around and clicking until all the space is filled in. Now I had a nice, fat word but it was a little umm… meh. So my next step was to change the foreground colour in my colour picker to a medium-dark gray.

In the EDIT menu, I chose Stroke (Outline) Selection, set the value to 1 and chose Center.

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That puts a very thin gray line around the edge of the text. To continue on achieving the sticker look, I changed the colour of my foreground to white (ffffff) and I again selected the EDIT menu, only this time I put 6 as the value and selected Outside for the location.

Now we’re cookin’! I changed the font to the other featured font for August, RNS Camelia and added the rest of my title in black. It needed a little nudging to get it where I wanted it – that’s part of the process. deciding what looks good. I chose not to include that part in the sticker because I wanted it to look like I’d written it on the layout.  At this point, I had two layers on my work space. With the Rippin’ layer selected, I added a drop shadow and tweaked it so it was close to the sticker, sort of sharp and fairly dark. <Double-click on the fx icon on the layer in the layers palette, then use the sliders to adjust the size – sharpness of the edge, distance -width of the shadow and opacity – darkness of the shadow until it looks good to your eye.>

Once that was done, I merged the two layers together so I could move the title in one piece onto my layout. Now, knowing that I didn’t want my title to “float”, I selected the background paper layer of my layout to drop the title onto. It needed to be adjusted for size and placed where it looked best then ta-da! it was done! As you can see in the very first photo above, if I’d just used the font by itself, my title would have been lost against the patterned paper in the background. With a few simple steps, I made it so much better!

There you have one very basic method of adding interest to your titles. The tutorials to follow will build on this lesson and add a lot of cool techniques to your skill set. I hope you’ll continue to suggest topics for future lessons so you can grow your skills to match your imagination.