~~April Bake Sale!!~~

Good morning GingerScrappers!! It’s time for the April Bake Sale. This month (and year) is flying along.

Remember each of these kits or template packs are available for $1 each from today until April 20.

Look at all those goodies. Time to head to the GingerScraps store and do some shopping.

Sneak Peeks April 12, 2018

Happy Friday the 13th Eve! The designers have been hard at work churning out another great week of new releases and I have an exclusive look at some of the goodies! Let’s get started!

From Mags Graphics

From Heather Z

From Ponytails

From Aimee Harrison

From Key Lime Digi Designs

From Miss Fish

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday – General

UNZIP Me Dahling!

I don’t know about you but I will never have too many digikits!! But being a digikit hoarder has its downside… All those kits have to be unzipped and organized. Who has time for that? And then there’s National Scrapbooking Day (well, more like NSWeek!) coming up in no time, with all the fantastic new products it brings with it. That you’re going to want to play with right away. What to do, what to do?

I’ll be the first to admit that my downloads folder is a mess. I’m trying to develop some better work habits, and keeping on top of unzipping is one thing that would really make a difference. So I’m going to show you a terrific app I found that lets me unzip multiple files with only a few keystrokes. It’s called Extract Now (clickable link) and it’s FREE! I work in Windows, but there’s a Mac version too. I’m guessing it’s similar in layout and behaviour, but I can’t say that for sure. I’ve tried a few others, one of which carried a virus… and this is the one I liked best for its ease of use. It’s on my taskbar now for ease of access. The menu looks like the image below.

There are several ways you can customize the performance of the app. I don’t use a lot of them, but the ones I do use include letting it check for its own updates and turning off the sounds. I’m surrounded by noise all day every day (if you’ve ever been on an intensive care unit, you’ll know what I mean), so I don’t want a bunch of added noise in my environment if I can turn it off.

In the Process tab, you can tell it what to do with the zip folders after they’ve been extracted. At first I had the app delete them as soon as they were extracted, but I had to retrieve some stuff and now I manually delete them.

This is where Extract Now really shines. You can designate exactly where your unzipped files are sent by using the Destination tab. I had it set up to extract everything into a Downloads subfolder, but found I left things in there forever and eventually forgot about them. The Help button is really useful at showing you how to customize the app for your purposes.

I create a new folder for each kit I’ve downloaded. If you’re into keyboard shortcuts, hit CTRL/Shift>N (Windows) and you’ll have a new folder you can call whatever you want.

Over the years I’ve refined how I manage my digikits. They all go into their own folder, which later becomes a subfolder within my store folders. I name them all with the same format, designer’s name and kit name spelled out in full. That makes it so much easier to find what I’m looking for later, and it helps too with credits when I post my layouts to various galleries.

I select all the zipped folders for each kit by clicking on the first one on the list, CTRL/CMD>clicking on the last one and voilà!! Then I can open up Extract Now and drag them onto the menu.

When I click on Extract, a submenu opens asking me where I want the files to go. This is when I find the new folder I’ve created for the kit in my Downloads folder and click on it.

Click on OK to All and the app goes to work.

You can watch the progress as your files are extracted. When all the files are successfully unzipped, you’ll see green check-marks next to each one and there’s a new button activated at the bottom right. Click on Clear and all the files are removed from your app workspace. I can extract several dozen files in a matter of a couple of minutes with this useful tool.

Like I said, I choose to manually delete the zipped folders from my kit folder, which is super-simple because they’re all still selected. After I minimize or close Extract Now, I only have to right-click on the selected files and choose Delete from the menu.

We all have much better things to do with our time than extract one file at a time, right?! Give it a try and see what you think. (You can always remove the app if it doesn’t work out for you.) May 5 will be here before we know it. Now go get your scrap on!

Sneak Peeks April 5th, 2018

Happy Thursday! How is the first week of April treating you? Our designers are fully embracing spring and have a bunch of new releases for you this week!

From Heather Z

From Mags Graphics

From CathyK

From Tinci

From Lindsay Jane

From Aimee Harrison

Have a great weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday – Photoshop Elements

Totally TACKY!

We’ve moved into the second quarter of 2018 already! And with a new month comes new challenges at GingerScraps… Don’t you love them?? This month, Marina (Magical Scraps Galore) has a really different spin on the Mix It Up challenge. She wants us to use at least 3 different silver or chrome elements on a layout. Well. When I saw “chrome”, it was like a bell went off! I had planned to show you how to create a dotted border the quick-and-easy way, and it very quickly morphed into a tacky border instead. (Well, it’s a couple of additional steps.)

I chose this fabulous bandana-style paper as my background. It’s from Just So Scrappy‘s Let Freedom Ring collection. Then I popped a new layer on top of it for my border layer.

Next step was to choose a round brush from the Brush tool menu. I resized it to 75 pixels (to give it some presence) and set the Opacity to 100%. The colour really doesn’t matter but you should choose something that will show up against your background. I’m going to turn the visibility of my paper layer off for the next few steps. You can do whatever works for you.

After making sure I was working on the BLANK layer at the top, I went on to my next step.

I went back to my Brush menu and clicked on the Brush Settings button. Here I made sure my Fade was set to 0, Hue Jitter also to 0 and Scatter to 0. Spacing needs to be a big number. It’s a percentage of the brush’s size and will determine how much space is between the dots. Since I have a 75 pixel brush, I set this number to 400%. But feel free to experiment. Hardness (determines how sharp the edge of the brush will be) and Roundness both need to be at 100% (unless you’re faking a stitched border but we’re not going to go there today).

I turned on my Grid (View>Grid or CTRL/CMD>’) to save myself some effort. I decided my border should be 1/2 inch in from the corner. Then I clicked my Brush at that spot.

Do you remember how to draw a straight line in Elements? Hold down the Shift key and click at the spot where you want your line to end!

To make the rest of the border, it’s simply holding down the Shift key and clicking in the other three corners. It literally will take you 15 seconds. You can stop here if you just want a dotted border.

Now, to turn that dotted border into a tack border. I went to my Styles button down at the bottom of the Layers panel then chose Wow Chrome. In that menu I selected Wow-Chrome Shiny Edge. This Style set is one of the default styles that come with the Elements software right out of the box.

I liked the effect but thought it looked too umm… domed. If I’m smacking tacks with a hammer, they’re gonna flatten a bit. So I right-clicked on the fx on the layer and decreased the Bevel to about 6 pixels. I left the drop shadow alone.

This is how the finished border looked with the paper behind it.

To give you a better idea of scale, here’s the entire 12×12 canvas.

I wanted to see what other effects I could get using default Styles. So I copied the border layer and turned the Visibility of that layer off. It’s possible to add multiple Styles to an object or text as long as you work on individual layers with each.

This time I chose Bevels from the Styles menu and went with the Scalloped Edge bevel. Now the dots look like fancy tacks.

Next I selected the top layer and turned the Visibility back on.

I used the very same Wow-Chrome Shiny Edge style, but dropped the Opacity of that layer to 70%. Now the tacks look more like those pearl-inlaid buttons you see on Western shirts.

The different isn’t blatant, but it’s definitely there.

Another of the default Styles that came with Elements is Complex. I tried a couple of the choices here and settled on the Diamond Plate style. It has a funky industrial look to it.

When I decreased the amount of Bevel on this style, the effect became somewhat more matte and there wasn’t as much detail. It really looks like hand-cut nail heads to me now.

And here it is with the paper behind it. I’m not sure which one I like best. They’re all so neat!

There’s one more thing I played with and that’s turning the dotted border into holes in the paper. So I Selected the Layer thumbnail of the dotted border layer by clicking on the thumbnail in the Layers panel. That gave me my marching ants.

I turned off Visibility for the border layer and made sure I was working on the paper layer.

Then I Cut the selected dots out of the paper. (Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X)

That gave me perfectly spaced holes in my paper to perhaps weave a ribbon through.

I bet you can think of a few more ways to make this technique work for you. I’d love to see what you do with it!

Sneak Peeks March 29th 2018

It’s the last Thursday in March! Since the Buffet starts on Sunday, I am giving you a double sneak peek today!! Sunday will be a busy day with it being Easter and a new Buffet, I have a sneaky suspicion Ginger has something else up her sleeves that day. Make sure to check back and see all the new releases coming tomorrow and the awesomeness of a Buffet on Sunday! Let’s check out a few peeks of tomorrow’s new releases first.

From Tinci

From Aimee Harrison

From Miss Fish

And now for a peek at the Buffet!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

DIAMONDS are a Girl’s Best Friend

My dear friend Glee has been very helpful in providing me with topics and this is another one that came from her. She pointed me to this GORGEOUS layout by Imperio and asked if I could tell her how the diamond-shaped frame was created. Wait until you see how easy it is… you’re going to be looking for shapes to do it with.

I started with a 12×12 canvas – everything is resizable, right? Then I opened the Pencil tool and selected a hard, round brush from the PSE-default Basic Brush menu and set the Opacity at 100%. I used black for demonstration purposes, but you can use any colour you want. Make sure you turn on the Grid (View>Grid or CTRL/CMD>’) so you have defined dimensions. You can set your parameters in the Edit>Preferences>Units & Rulers. I chose inches because although Canada has been on the metric system of more than 40 years, I still think in inches.

If you’ve read the tutorial about giving stickers some dimension, you might remember how to draw a straight line with Elements. It’s pretty easy. Click on the spot where you want your line to start, then hold down the Shift key and click on the spot where you want it to end. The grid will make these next steps a lot easier by giving you reference points.

There’s my first straight line. The intersections of the major lines are obvious choices for this task.

I kept moving around the outside.

Then I took it to a point in the centre of the canvas, 1 inch from the bottom.

And back up, using the same reference points on the other side.

Now the shape is enclosed and looks kind like the insignia on Superman’s cape. (Maybe somebody wants to try that?)

I kept adding lines as shown in the screenshots.

You’ll see that I didn’t quite WSNH here… see the next screenshot for proof.

This will save you a step – just take that diagonal line all the way to the top corner.

Now there are only two more lines to put in there and you have that great diamond shape.

And a one-a…

… and a two-a! (Any Lawrence Welk fans here?)

Now I’ll show you how to make the clipping masks for the different papers, as Imperio‘s layout has. Add a new layer on top of your shape layer. Then click on the Layer Thumbnail for the shape layer.

Your selection will have those marching ants.

To invert the selection, either click on the Select tab and choose Inverse, or CTRL/CMD>Shift>I which will now select everything BUT the shape outline.

Choose another colour and fill the selected areas with the Paint Bucket tool.

And now your canvas looks like the screenshot, but not for long.

Turn off the visibility on the shape outline layer.

Now to get rid of the parts we don’t need to keep. I started by using the Rectangular Marquee tool and Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X to cut away some of it.

Then I went to the Erase tool and used it with abandon.

Just erase what you aren’t going to need.

You’ll be left with something that looks like this. If you’re only going to use one paper for all the sections, you can quit now.

But if you want to use different papers for each section, make 8 copies of the filled-in layer as shown. CTRL/CMD>J is quick and easy, but you can right-click and select Duplicate Layer, then click OK on the pop-up menu if you’re into taking extra steps.

Turn off the visibility of all the layers but the one you’re working on. Now, go one layer at a time and erase all but one segment.

Here’s an example of two layers with only a single segment on each.

Use a BIG brush so you can do this quickly.

When you have only one segment on each of your 8 layers, you have a template! Each segment is its own clipping mask.

The second-to-last last step is to make the outline layer a little beefier. The easiest way is to add a stroke to it. I used 10 pixels and Centered it on the shape layer.

Then just move the shape outline layer to the top of the Layers panel and your template is complete. If you like, you can save it as a .psd file and use it over and over and over!

There are all kinds of ways you can make this technique work for you. Easter eggs? Flower petals? Pie? Have some fun with it… I sure did! Make sure you leave Imperio some love in the gallery. (Click on her user name anywhere in this post to go right to her layout.)

Sneak Peeks March 22nd, 2018

 

Happy Thursday!!! It’s finally Spring! And of course the first day in Spring here in Florida was cold. Well cold to a Floridian. Hopefully warmer temps are coming for everyone! Our designers have some great Spring themed kits and templates this week!

From Ponytails

From Tinci

From Miss Fish

From JoCee

From Memories by Digital Design

From Aimee Harrison

From Aprilisa

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

From Clever Monkey Graphics

From Luv Ewe Designs

From Heartstrings Scrap Art

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Uniquely YOURS

Life at my house has been a tad bit hectic lately so today’s tutorial will be a quick-and-easy one. I don’t know about you but I just love Connie Prince‘s collections. She often includes some absolutely fabulous clustered word art titles, and she ALWAYS includes at least one alpha set. Her new collection, My Lucky Stars, is no exception. There are six clustered titles in the bundle… but what if none of the included titles really works for your layout? Well, it’s not difficult to make your own. I don’t know how Connie does it, but I’ll show you how Jan does!

I start with a new project workspace of roughly the size of the area I want to cover with my title cluster.

I like to start by placing one of the larger elements I plan to use into my space and moving it around a smidge. That will form the base for placement of everything else.

Then I usually add in my alpha. I’ve already decided what my title will say, and copied the various letters into my layout folder. As you can see, my title for this layout is “Sisters”. Make sure your letters are in the correct order! Then resize them all as a group. Guestimate how much space they’re going to take on your canvas.

Getting the size right isn’t always immediate. I adjusted mine a couple of times before I used the Distribute tool. This is similar to the Align tool. It simply moves everything between two spaces as I’ve shown you below and distributes them based on what parameter you choose. I went with Distribute>Middle. You could choose the right edge or the left edge depending on the look you’re after.

As you can see below, I didn’t get the size right even after I resized a couple of times. So I resized, moved the last S over to the right edge again and Redistributed until I had enough space to read what my title says.

There were a couple of letters that I needed to nudge individually because the algorithm the software uses to determine the middle of a letter doesn’t account for skinny letters like I or wide letters like W.

Once I had the letters arranged the way I wanted them, I added more of my elements onto the workspace. Layer them in a way that makes sense to you and for your layout. I usually have some idea of how I plan to use the things I’ve chosen, but sometimes I get a happy little surprise.

I moved the letters and string up a bit so all five points of the star were visible. I tucked the bow in behind the I and a little on top of the first S.

I knew from the beginning that I’d be using one of the Celtic knots from the kit, but wasn’t sure where I was putting it. I decided it looked really nice behind everything else, so that’s where it went. And since I was creating this layout on March 17th, I had to include a shamrock.

Then came time to shadow everything. All the items in this type of cluster should be shadowed separately so they look right where they overlap once you move them onto your layout. I started with the first S in Sisters and used a shadow style for paper. Then I made some minor adjustments so it looked the way I wanted it. Can you see it in the screenshot? To use the same settings on all the letters I right-clicked on the first S layer in the Layers panel and selected Copy Layer Style.

Then I selected all of the other alpha layers. (If they’re on on top of the next, click on the first layer, hold down the shift key and then click on the last layer. If they’re staggered throughout the Layers panel, hold down the CTRL/CMD key and click on each one separately.) Right-click brings the layers menu back up and this time I chose Paste Layer Style.

Now all the letters are shadowed and have definition and dimension.

I made custom shadows for the string and the bow, bringing the shadow in close where the object touches what’s underneath it and pulling it away where things could be lifted off the paper.

The last step is to link all the layers together so when I move the title cluster onto my layout, everything goes, and it all stays where I’ve put it. To link the layers, select them all as you did for shadowing multiple layers in one click. Click on the little link icon to the left of any one of the selected layers in the Layers panel and the links will turn yellow. That’s how you know the layers are linked together and will move together when the time comes.

Once you’ve added your title cluster to your layout, look at it at several different magnifications to see if you need to add a drop shadow to the whole shebang. I found that mine looked better with an added shadow. The finished layout is built on a template called My Lucky Charm from Heartstrings Scrap Art.

That’s how Jan does it. Nothing to it!

Sneak Peeks March 15th 2018

Happy Thursday! We only have 5 more days until Spring!!! Whether it is already spring in your area or you are until a few feet of the white stuff, hopefully some of the new goodies our designers are releasing, gives you some inspiration.

From Clever Monkey Graphics

From Laurie’s Scraps

From Tinci

From Memories by Digital Design

From Lindsay Jane

From Aimee Harrison

From Heather Z

 

From JoCee Designs

 

Have a great weekend!