Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Sizzling Signatures!

It’s a brand new month, a brand new year and it’s time for a brand new siggie. Signatures… we all have one. Our online presence is greatly enhanced by having a pretty one, or an intriguing one, or a sizzling one. The January 2017 Signature Challenge hosted by CathyK Designs asks us to use glitter in our signature and there’s so many ways we can do that. (psst…. any text that is bold and green is linked to the very spot in the forum, store or gallery I’m talking about… you can just click on it and you’re there!) I know there are some of you who find creating signatures to be a daunting thought – largely due to the very teenytiny size required – so I’m going to give you some tips on making yours fabulous. The guidelines given for these files is that they can’t be bigger than 750 x 150 pixels. But who can create in a space that small? I sure can’t. So I start out with a file size FIVE TIMES the guideline size so I can see what the heck I’m doing.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is my own workflow and it works for me, so don’t feel like you have to follow these instructions to the letter – they aren’t INSTRUCTIONS, they’re SUGGESTIONS. Anyway, I like to make a folder for each of my challenge layouts where I collect all the items I want to use in one place. I copy the elements and alphas from their original folders into the new dedicated folder, as I’ve shown below. Then it’s a simple matter of highlighting all the items in the folder and opening them all at once, as a batch.

As you can see, I’m using a kit from Ooh La La Scraps called In the Frosty Air. I chose this one because it has glittery paper in it and because Katie almost always has an alphabet or six and a collection of styles that coordinate with her collections. My name is short, so I like to use an alpha or font with some presence. This one worked for me. If your name has quite a few letters, you can use a skinnier alpha and still make a statement about who you are. Spacing is up to you, whatever is pleasing to your eye. See that I have all three letter layers selected. This is because I want to centre the letters on my palette; I can move them all together without messing up my spacing.

The easiest way to centre a group of items like this is to pull a guideline out to the centre of the workspace. It’s a bit hard to see it in the image below so I used a honking huge arrow. If you’ve never used a guideline before here’s how: Put your cursor right on the edge of your workspace –  either the very top, where I have a ruler visible, or on the left side, where I also have a ruler that isn’t shown below – then click and drag until you’ve got it where you want it. You can also see that I’ve merged my letter layers into a single layer.

I want to put a glitter paper border around my alpha to jazz it up and to meet the challenge criteria. I messed up my screenshots, so let’s pretend I’ve already dragged my glittery paper onto the workspace. Now I’m going to create an outline of my alpha by selecting the edges – clicking on the Layer Thumbnail. That puts some marching ants around the edges.

Then I clicked on Select>Modify>Expand to create a nice border around my alpha.

The pop-up menu looks like this. I chose 20 pixels, after some trial and error. Just enter a number in the box then see what it looks like. You can always CTRL/CMD+Z out of anything you’re not happy with.

See where the marching ants are now? 20 pixels gives me a nice border, visible but not overpowering.

While I still had the alpha layer highlighted, I inverted the selection, since I want to “cut” the excess paper away from my outline. Clicking on Select>Inverse in the Tabs is the same as CTRL/CMD+Shift+I.

Don’t forget to change the selected layer to the glittery paper. If you forget, when you Edit>Cut (CTRL/CMD+X) you’ll just delete your alpha from its layer. Not what you’re going for.

So now I have a glittery border around my name. I went ahead and added the various elements I chose for my siggie and was pretty happy with it. BUT… I decided I wanted to glitter up one of the snowflakes in the scatter I used. So I duplicated (CTRL/CMD+J) the layer. Using the Elliptical Marquee tool I selected one of the large snowflakes from the duplicated layer then Cut it (CTRL/CMD+X) and Pasted (CTRL/CMD+V) it onto its own layer. I turned the visibility of the two scatter layers off so I could see what I had. Oh, there’s a sequin there. Don’t want to glitter that up, it’s already glittery! So I created a Layer Mask by clicking on the blue rectangle at the top of the Layers panel. The mask is that white strip to the right of the Layer Thumbnail. You’re probably asking why I didn’t just use the Eraser tool to erase the sequin. I could do that, but if I accidentally had a dog land on my laptop as I was erasing and I erased most of the snowflake too, I’d have to go back to the beginning of the process. This way, if I erase too much, I can paint whatever I didn’t want gone back in. Remember, white conceals and black reveals.

With the Eraser tool and a white foreground colour, I carefully erased the sequin. If I’d slipped and took off one of the points on my snowflake, changing the foreground colour to black (the X key does that for me without having to click on the little bidirectional arrow) and un-erasing over that spot will bring it back. Once I had the sequin erased and the snowflake all perfect, the layer had to be Simplified. Right-click somewhere in the blue area on the selected layer then choose Simplify Layer.

Next I opened up my Effects Panel and chose the Glitter Style from Ooh La La Scraps’ In the Frosty Air styles menu. I decided I wanted the aqua fine glitter style and double-clicked on it to apply it to my snowflake. Woohoo!

Then I went ahead and deleted the duplicated layer of the snowflake scatter… the one that I had cut the snowflake from. The original snowflake scatter layer is visible again too.

Then I shadowed all my layers so they’d have some nice oomph. Don’t forget this step! You still want your siggie to look three dimensional and pretty.

When you love how your name looks with all its finery around it, it’s time to shrink it to fit the guidelines. You can follow the steps shown below, or go the quick way with a keyboard shortcut (CTRL/CMD+ALT+I).

These are the settings I recommend. Make sure you’ve checked those boxes at the bottom. When you do it this way, you can change the pixel counts and all the other settings automatically change too. This is helpful for posting to the gallery, because you can just resize your image to 600×600 this way.

See how teensy the image is now? But I promise, the details have been totally preserved. I like my siggie to have a transparent background. If you save it as a JPEG, it will have a white background. So what I do is select Save As…  (CTRL/CMD+Shift+S).

In the Save As menu, I choose PNG and give it a name that I’ll be able to recognize later. And I save it into the same folder I had all my elements in already. Gotta keep it all together in one place…

The PNG menu looks like this. Just save it as I’ve shown.

Now you can add your signature to your GingerScraps Forum profile! First, post your siggie to your gallery. Open up GingerScraps in a new tab to save yourself some work. On that second tab, go to the Forum and select Settings from the upper right hand side of the screen just below the banner. Then select Edit Signature.

I already had a siggie that I’m now going to replace. So I clicked on the old siggie, turning it blue, then hit the Delete key.

Then go back to the first tab, where you have your siggie selected in your gallery. Right-click on the image and select Copy image address.

Flip back to the tab where you’ve got your settings open and click on the Image icon. If you want your siggie to be centred under your forum posts, make sure you have that control selected.

Then paste the image address in the URL box as shown, then click OK.

That’s all! When you see the image of your siggie appear, you just have to click on Save Signature and you’re all done!!

Some tips for eye-catching signature files:

  • Use a font or alpha with some weight to it so it stands out.
  • Balance your signature: if you centre your name, have something on each side of it so it looks somewhat symmetrical.
  • If you want your name at one side of the signature, have an element that leads the eye either to it or away from it.
  • Don’t forget your shadows! But keep scale in mind. You don’t want your shadows to be all people notice.
  • Adding CT information or other text to your siggie needs a bold font because it’s going to be very tiny when you’re done. You want people to be able to read what you’ve written.
  • Your name is more than just your name, it’s a representation of who you are! So make it fabulous!!

Last thoughts: Last week I mentioned an unofficial Tutorial Tuesday Challenge. There is now a Challenge Gallery on our GS Facebook Fan Page for those who have FB accounts. For those who don’t, a link to your layout in the GingerScraps Gallery in the comments here on the Blog will get you an entry too. At the beginning of each month I’ll check both places for participants and Mr Random will select the winner. So start thinking about what we can learn together.


GS Book Club – January – The Shack

Did you know that GingerScraps had a book club? Well, we do. Head over the forum and check out the Hey Good Bookin’ area of the forum. For January, specifically check out the Book of the Month. This month JoyLynn (our own Blue Heart Scraps) has chosen “The Shack by William P. Young“.

Want to read along with us? Pick up a copy of the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble   or your local library.

Watch in the middle of the month for a Scrap Your Read Challenge. One participating layout will receive a $5 giftcard to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and have their layout featured in next month’s blog post.

Want to help pick out February’s book? JoyLynn has added a poll to the forum. Click on over and add your vote. Don’t put it off. JoyLynn will close the poll on January 10 so that there is plenty of time for everyone to pick up the book voted on.

Happy reading!!


It’s a Fresh New Year @ Gingerscraps

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?

We seem to start every New Year’s newsletter that way. It’s a great tradition. This year, changes might happen, but some things will stay the same. We’ll add new designers, but we won’t lose that “it’s like family” feeling you’ll always find in the forums and gallery. Thank you, all of you, for a wonderful year at Gingerscraps, and here’s to a new one filled with so much more!


It is the First of the month, and that means the revel of our new Buffet!!

*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!


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

The CT did such a great job showing how well all of the kits blend. They all did wonderful work!

This is just a few of the layouts. Keep an eye out in future newsletters to see more. Maybe even one of yours, if you make sure you put it into the Buffet section of the gallery!

This month, we have several new designers joining the team, and our December Guest is staying through January!


Thank you for sticking around, Rhonda!


Please welcome Jennifer, of Word Art World!!

We asked Jennifer to give us a quick note about herself, and this is what she had to share:

Hello! My name is Jen Arbon and I design under the name Word Art World. I began creating word art designs over six years ago and fell in love with designing digital scrapbooking products and printable wall art. I am married to a wonderful, supportive husband and together we have three beautiful children. Currently, I am studying Web Design and want to teach Web Design at our local high school, against my two teenagers’ wishes. Years ago, I set a goal to "create" something new every day, and that is why I love designing because it gives me the opportunity to do just that.

Here are just a few things she has in her store:





Please welcome Kristina, of Kristmess Designs!

We asked Kristina to give us a quick note about herself, and this is what she had to share:

Hmm a bio? What can I tell you about myself? My name is Kristina Messier, I design under the name of Kristmess Designs, I have been selling at Gotta Pixel since the store opened a million years ago – okay so more like 10!! I am a very shy and quiet person, I was born and raised in England, travelled the world working on Cruiseships for 4 years where I met my husband, a French Canadian, and I now live in Montreal QC Canada, with him and our 3 sons. As you know I’ve been working as a designer for the past 10 years or so before that I worked at Sears PhotoStudio taking photos of the little kiddies! I have a degree in Photography but don’t really use it now since I found my passion is with Photoshop!!

Here are just a few things she has in her store:



And she has a great sale going on, as well.


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


This month’s Monthly Mix is called “Good Vibes Only”! It is a gorgeous kit created by Connie Prince, Amy Stoffel, Pretty In Green, and Trixie Scraps Designs. Don’t be afraid to be you!


A new year means a new Daily Download!

Before I show you this month’s, here was last month’s (last years’?)


A perfect kit for the holidays! Even more perfect for the start of a new year!

And here is this month’s:

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.

Remember, if you complete 10 challenges, just ten, you get a free kit as well!!


I know I’m going to make sure I do my 10 challenges for THIS, that’s for sure

DD: Jan 01

A new year means a new Daily Download!

Before I show you this month’s, here was last month’s (last years’?)


A perfect kit for the holidays! Even more perfect for the start of a new year!

And here is this month’s:

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.

Fresh Baked: December 30, 2016

The last newsletter of December! The last newsletter of 2016! We cannot believe how fast the year has flown by! 2016 had it’s ups and downs, but all in all, it went well. Here’s to the last few days of 2016 and some great new designs!

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


[Read more…]

GingerBread Ladies Sneak Peeks – 12/30/16

Are you ready for the last Fresh Baked of 2016? Where has the time gone? What are your scrapbooking resolutions for the New Year? Personally I want to get my stash organized (I say this every year) and then scrap more (which means getting other areas of my life organized). Leave a comment and let us know what your plans are for scrapping in 2017.

Let’s see what our designers have to offer this week.

This is just a sampling of what will be available this week. Make sure to head over to the store on Friday to see all the goodies.

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Kustomize Your Kits!

Are you all ready for another Tutorial Tuesday? You might recall that I mentioned I’m always looking for new ideas for these posts and that if you had something you’d like to try but didn’t know how to get started, you could post to the GingerScraps Facebook Fan Page. Well, Ellen (GingerScraps member name gmae) doesn’t have a Facebook account so she sent me a private message. She wants to know how to recolour elements to coordinate better with her photos. So I used this opportunity to put together a  for the December Inspiration Challenge while playing around with colours. I used a kit by  BoomersGirl Designs called Good Morning Sunshine and a Tinci Designs template from Autumn Stories 4.

There are several different techniques you can use that produce different results. Don’t be alarmed by the number of screenshots in this tut, most of them are results images. You can easily skim through the whole post and then come back to a specific technique later. These posts are always tagged Tutorial Tuesday and the posts don’t expire, so they’re easy to find. There will also be a link to each of them on the GS Facebook Fan Page.

Let’s start with a button. This one has a variety of different colours in it, and it’s the pink that I want to change a bit.

I selected a shade of pink from one of my photos that has a bit more orange in it for my change. Select the Color Picker (eye dropper) tool and then click on the spot on your photo that you want to pick up.

In the screenshot above, my new pink is in the foreground. It has to move to the background for the next step so to do that I clicked on that little two-pointed arrow and moved it to the background.

Then I selected Enhance>Adjust Color>Replace Color from the tabular menu at the top of my workspace.

This is what the pop-up menu for Replace Color looks like. With the Color Picker selected, I clicked on the pink of the button. Now both colour boxes have the same shade of pink in them.

**Here’s why the more orange-y pink had to be moved to the background. See how the foreground colour has also changed to the pink from the button? I used to always forget to move my desired colour to the background and made a lot of extra work for myself.

To change the button pink to my more orange-y pink, I clicked on the colour box in the Replacement section of the menu, then clicked on the BACKGROUND colour box.

The Color Picker menu pops up and shows how the colour will be changed. If I wasn’t totally happy with the colour I’d already put in the background, I could now adjust it with this menu by moving my cursor.

Once I clicked OK in the Color Picker menu this is how the Replace Color menu looked.

And here is the transformed button. The difference isn’t in your face, but it’s definitely noticeable. (I later decided to change the green a bit too, and used the same technique.)

Let’s do a fairly simple flower next. This is one of the easiest ways of adjusting a colour. If you need to, you can drag and drop the item you want to customize onto your photo so you can see the change and know when to stop tweaking. For this adjustment, I selected Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation (keyboard shortcut is CTRL/CMD+U).

The pop-up menu looks like this.

Sliding the Hue adjuster in the Master channel to the left did this:

And sliding it to the right did this:

To get a similar orange-y pink as I used before, these are the sliders I moved and their final positions. Notice that the gray and white area didn’t change, but the brad in the centre did. And the shading and highlights are adjusted for uniformity.

The next thing I played with was this spray of leaves. I wanted it to be a caramel colour. Same process as for the flower above to begin with, I did something a bit different in the next step.

This time I only want to change the Yellows, so I clicked on the little triangle of the Channel selector and chose Yellows. (Keyboard shortcut: CTRL/CMD+4)

I moved all of the sliders this time, until I had the colour I wanted.

Let’s change ONE COLOUR in a patterned paper! Using the Color Picker tool again I chose the colour I wanted to change by clicking on a green dot on the paper. When the Color Picker menu opened, I then moved the slider on the little rainbow toward the blue end a little. I didn’t change the saturation or value of the colour, only the hue.

Since I’m going to replace the olive-y green with a more minty shade, I moved my desired colour to the background, just like I did for the button. (Keyboard shortcut for switching foreground and background colours: simply the letter X)

And then I again selected Enhance>Adjust Color>Replace Color.

I had to tell the software what colour I was replacing, just as for the button.

See how there’s a scattering of dots? That’s where the magic will happen.

I then clicked on the bottom colour box in the Replacement section of the menu and clicked on my background colour over on the Tool panel.

Can you see the change?

Let’s look at yet another way of adjusting the appearance of our elements with this star. I used the Magic Wand selection tool to select the pink corrugated centre of this element because I don’t want to change the brown border. The next steps will only change what’s inside the marching ants.

This time I’m going to Adjust Color Curves in the Enhance menu.

This is what the pop-up menu looks like. I stayed with the Default curves to start with. When I moved the sliders for Highlights, Midtone Brightness, Midtone Contrast and Shadows, the graph on the right changed as well. The difference is obvious, but still subtle.

Another adjustment that can be made to slightly alter colour is to adjust the Lighting. I’ll show you how adjusting Levels changes the same area of the star. (Keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD+L)

This is the pop-up menu for this enhancement. You can change the channel you want to adjust, and you have both Input Levels and Output Levels to adjust. Play with them a bit so you can see what they do.

These are the settings I chose. You can see in the image behind the menu what the changes have done.

The title I wanted to use for my layout was the same bright pink as everything else. So I used Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation (CTRL/CMD+U) again. Once I had it on my layout I made a few more tweaks, since I could see it clearly close to the more orange-y pink of my other customizations.

These are my initial adjustments.

Last but not least, I wanted to show you how to customize fabric or natural flowers with gradations of colour and shadow. This is just a random flower I pulled from the GingerBread Ladies collab By the Dozen.

The images below are pretty self-explanatory. You can easily see how different adjustments change the colour and appearance of the flower.

Pulling the sliders all the way to one side or the other results in almost identical appearances.

Here are some examples of what little tweaks can do.

You may have noticed that the little centre of the flower also changes with each of these adjustments. You might not want that, especially if it’s a button, brad, or some other item that looks odd when recoloured. So here’s how to avoid that. Use the Magic Wand tool to select the area you DON’T want to change.

As you’ve probably noticed above, you can adjust only what is selected, as I showed you with the star. That’s NOT what we want to do here, so we’re going to INVERT our selection. (CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+I) That moves the marching ants to the rest of the image.

I did exactly the same adjustments on the Reds channel as above, but the centre isn’t touched. Cool, right?

We’ve only scratched the surface here, but I think you’ve got lots of options to be going on with. Give it a whirl!

Ellen also had another suggestion, which was sheer BRILLIANCE! She asked if it would be possible for me to run a monthly challenge, similar to but separate from, the GingerScraps monthly challenges that are already well-established. I mulled it over and this is what I’ve come up with. Each month there will be 4 or 5 different tutorials posted. Everyone who creates a layout using one of that month’s tutorials and posts their layout on the GS Facebook Fan Page, tagged Tutorial Tuesday Challenge, or posts a link in the comments below the month’s final tut, will be entered into a random draw. The results of the draw will be posted in both locations and the winner will get to pick the topic for one of the upcoming tutorials. How does that sound?

To recap:

  • Create a layout using one of the month’s tutorials
  • Post your layout to the GS Facebook Fan Page, or a link to it in the Blog post comments. Tag the post/comment with Tutorial Tuesday <insert month here> Challenge.
  • Think about what you’d like me to write about next.
  • Wait until the end of the month when Mr. Random chooses a winner.

Happy New Year, y’all!

Let’s Celebrate – Hanukkah!

Hanukkah! Last week we checked out all things Christmas. Merry Christmas Eve btw. However, this time of the year is also Hanukkah! Our store has some wonderful items to scrap those Hanukkah memories. Just last week, this post is image heavy. I am going to let the wonderful digital scrapbooking products do the talking. All images linked to the store.








Fresh Baked: December 23, 2016

The time for last minute shopping is upon us. Kids are getting antsy, staring at the trees. Parents are ready for the holiday break to be over! Escape for a bit and shop the store! There are some amazing new products added, and not just Christmas themed!

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


[Read more…]

Sneak Peeks December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays! I can’t believe its going to be Christmas in a few short days! Does Santa know all the Digi Scrap kits you want? Did you make your list? Maybe you should wait until tomorrow to give it to him! There’s some fantastic kits coming out tomorrow to celebrate the season as well as the end of the year!

From Mags Graphics

From Laurie’s Scraps


From JoCee Designs

From Miss Fish Templates

From Neia Scraps

From Tinci Designs

From Amy Stoffel


From Ponytails

From Keley Designs

Have a wonderful weekend, Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!