Archives for April 2020

Challenge Spotlight: Desktop and Inspiration

Happy Monday! Today is the last of my April spotlights. We’re focusing on the Desktop Challenge and the Inspiration Challenge.

April’s Desktop Challenge is hosted by The Cherry On Top. Each month we are provided with a template that can be used as a desktop background on your computer. I LOVE this template. It’s gorgeous.

Let’s see the beautiful layouts I picked from the forum.

From cutiejo1:

From MarilynZ:

From sltppr:

And from constablec:

So lovely.

And finally, the Inspiration Challenge hosted by Sweet Pea Designs. Each month, we are given something to use as an inspiration for our layout. This month, the following picture was the inspiration.

Let’s see what I found.

From 01lousmith:

From alexandergirl68:

From lilholmes6:

And from roxana:

I love all of these.

Remember, 10 completed challenges gives you this kit:

Check back on Wednesday for a wrap up. How have you done this week?


Challenge Spotlight: Template #2 and Signature

Hey y’all. Tonight we’re focusing on two of the favorite challenges in the forum, the second template challenge and the signature challenge.

The second template challenge is hosted by Miss Fish Templates. The following template is provided for you to download and use.

Now here are a few samples from the forum. These are all so lovely.

From digiscrapmomma:

From Jill:

From momto4:

And from Yvonne55:

I love this template.

Next up is the signature challenge hosted by Boomersgirl Designs. Each month the host designer gives us a topic to use. This month, it’s to use animals.

From greenfiend27:

From ktmoonblue:

From rosecca:

And from shawnarenee31:

Remember that when you complete 10 challenges, you get this awesome full kit as a reward:

Let’s {bloom & grow}!!

Fresh Baked: April 24, 2020

Welcome to Friday. Can you believe we are almost the end of April. 2020 is flying by. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Remember you get this beautiful kit when you spend at least $10 in the store.

Now for our new releases.

Remember, if you complete 10 challenges, you get this awesome kit.

It’s time to {bloom & grow}.

Keep your eye on the blog, forum, and store for next week. iNSD is coming. Are you ready?

Challenge Spotlight – Update

Just wanted to pop in with an update. I was doing so well and then I crashed and burned this week. I tried to do to much at once and it caught up with me. So I have a new plan. I’ll have some more spotlights this weekend and then I have a new plan beginning in May.

I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Be A-Frayed, Be Very A-Frayed!

When I asked the GingerScrappers on Facebook for tutorial topics, I got some great suggestions. This tutorial was inspired by Lisa, who asked me to figure out how to fray paper like fabric. I had a couple of ideas, but I wanted to be sure it would work, so I used a FABRIC object to test my theory. This is the outcome. I’m pretty sure I’ve also solved the paper-fraying goal as well. If, at the end of this tutorial you’d like me to do a follow-up with paper, leave me a note in the comments and I’ll do it. It’ll involve filters……

My fabric object is this sweet denim pocket from Laurie’s Scraps (one of our April Featured Designers!) Toy Chest kit. I plan to put a hole in it and then patch it. So let’s get after it! (Yes, I have Cuomo Prime Time on in the background.)

Something about the very narrow margins around this pocket bothered me. I like to have a bit more transparent workspace so I’m just going to enlarge the “canvas size”. CTRL/CMD>ALT>C for you keyboard shortcutters, or Image>Resize>Canvas Size for the ones who are new to Work Smart Not Hard.

The margins don’t have to be huge so I just pulled 6×6 out of the air and typed it into the boxes. Now, see that tic-tac-toe board near the bottom of the menu box? Well, it lets you decide where the extra canvas goes! You can add it to one side or the other, top or bottom, depending on why you’re adding workspace. If I was making a cluster, for example, I would have an idea of where things in the cluster would be added and put the extra space where it would do the most good simply by clicking one the associated square to set the new Anchor Point. (I was yesterday old when I noticed that…)

For the sake of clarity I chose to use just an elliptical shape with the Marquee tool to make my hole. But whatever your vision tells you is what you should do. I could have used a custom shape or polygon of any kind, and that might make a really interesting look on a layout. Once I had my ellipse pulled out, I Cut the area inside it out. Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X.

So now I have a hole in my pocket. How am I going to make it look like a REAL hole? With the Eraser tool to start with. I have the Brush selected as my Eraser type, and a very small size with 100% Opacity to completely erase my threads. Zoom is your friend for this technique.

Denim is a twill weave, with diagonal grain, so my “threads” are following that direction. I used the Eraser to remove bits of the fabric past the edge of the cutout. There’s no need for precision for this step – actually for any of it! – so I just randomly Erased sections of random lengths, and some of them are quite squiggly. That’s good! I worked my way around the hole; I went clockwise but it doesn’t matter how you do it.

So this is what I had once I’d created my threads. The bones are there, now to put the flesh on them!

Next I chose the Smudge tool (the one that looks like a finger) to soften and stretch the threads into the hole. Again, I used a small diameter brush, and not-quite-full Strength to make my threads threadier.

I put the Brush down on the denim then click-dragged the Smudger over the thread and out into the hole. To make a longer thread, start a little farther from the edge. Again, randomness and imperfection are the right things here, so make sure they’re not the same length or going in the same direction.

Everything about this technique is what you’re happy with, so don’t be too fussy about any of it. Just keep working it until you’ve got a good collection of stringy things in there.

Yep, you can criss-cross some of your threads! Those holes in your jeans will have some criss-crossed threads so why not?!

It’s starting to look more real by the minute, but there are still some things needed to get it right. The places where I Erased into the denim look too symmetrical and sharp so that has to be fixed. I’ll use the Smudge tool for that too.

But I’m skipping ahead here. Those threads are still too dark to look like a real hole, so I chose the Dodge tool to lighten them up. Remember Dodge lightens, Burn darkens? Well, just make sure you’ve got DODGE selected. Again a small diameter, 50% Exposure and Midtones will be the settings. Now I’m just going to brush that Dodge tool over the threads and into the denim around the hole a bit.

Better already! But not quite there. Close…

I moved back to the Smudge tool to soften up the edges. Same settings as before makes it simple to switch between tools.

I was most definitely NOT precise with the Smudge tool here, running it up into the denim to soften the areas where I’d already Dodged. Now it’s looking like a real hole in real denim!

I just switched back and forth between the Smudge and Dodge tools until I was happy with my holey jeans. It looks pretty good!

Then I put a piece if this pretty pink patterned paper from Connie Prince’s Denim and Pearls extra paper pack behind the hole like a patch. A drop shadow layer in between and I think it’s darned near perfect!

Please let me know in the comments if you’d like me to do this again with paper to show you the tricks for that. Kellie, I haven’t forgotten your scene cleaner request, but it’ll take quite a bit more time to put together than I have just now. I promise, it’s coming!

I’ll be taking a month off while we’re moving – the movers are here next Wednesday already! Look for a new tutorial – maybe the paper version of this one – around the end of May. Stay home, wear a mask, wash your hands!

Fresh Baked & $1.00 Bake Sale NOW OPEN!

Welcome to Friday. We have a boatload of new releases this week and I’m just going to jump right in. Remember you get this beautiful kit when you spend at least $10 in the store.

And now the new goodness:

And look at all these goodies in the April Bake Sale!!

Remember, if you complete 10 challenges, you get this awesome kit.

It’s time to {bloom & grow}.

Sneak Peeks :: April 17, 2020

So, for parts of the States, the weather is very confused. One area is getting tornadoes. Another area is now prepping for snow after near 80F temps. At least the ever changing weather is giving us some chances for unique pictures. Something to take our mind off the other things going on.

Now, for some adorable layouts to showcase some awesome new stuff coming out!

Snickerdoodle Designs wants you to capture life!



Tinci is making it easy to scrap!



JB Studio has two kits. One is a re-release and one is about blooming in adversity!



CarolW Designs is adding a little here and a little there.



Aimee Harrison is ready to welcome Spring … if it ever arrives!



Dagilicious wants you to keep holding on. Now am I the only one with Avril stuck in their head now?



Lindsay Jane thinks it might be birthday time!



Enjoy the rest of your Thursday. And check out the store for even more goodies tomorrow! It’s gonna be a great day.


Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

In the Background – Harnessing the Power of Your Software

I hope you weren’t thinking I jammed on you again this week. I made some serious miscalculations… My son had a liver biopsy today and although I knew we’d be at the hospital for several hours, I underestimated both the amount of time we’d spend sitting and waiting, as well as how draining it would be on both of us. And I overestimated my enthusiasm for going all day without food, fluid or a bathroom!

Susan said she’d like to try her hand at making her own custom backgrounds and I just happened to be fooling around with a few ideas for a layout that would work into a tutorial on using ordinary items in extraordinary ways. So this is the result. I’ve put most of the instructions right on the screenshots (there are 37 of them but don’t let that intimidate you – I’ve shown literally every step) so I’m not going to add a lot of text in between them. I hope you like the final result! I started by choosing a solid paper, a patterned paper that fit into the desired theme, a mask and an edge mask.

My paper is going to be soft and faded, but all the things I’ve done here can be customized to whatever look you want. I think it could easily be bent to a very bold, colourful, evocative layout, or boho’d up for an art journal layout. The limit is your imagination!

I love using Fill Layers to change colours on “flat” items like this edge mask.

I’m planning to use a heritage photo for my layout and opted for a sort of sepia palette.

This is the most important thing to remember when you’re changing colours with Fill Layers. Check that box!

Merging layers is the best way to ensure the changes you make are going to actually be applied where you want them.

I changed the Blend Mode to Pin Light. (I tried them all to see what each did before I settled. That’s the fun part of this process!) Then I thought, “How would this look with a Filter applied to it?” So I opened up the Filter menu.

Again I tried a few, but decided Texture>Patchwork would look good.

Okay, I know this change is really subtle, but you can see that it changed the colour and added a nice depth to it.

On to the mask. I love Irina’s masks. They’re just gorgeous and can be used so many ways.

Rather than clip a photo to the mask, I clipped a patterned paper to it.

Okay, that’s nice, but not exactly what I want.

Tweak, tweak.

Once I had it kinda-sorta where I liked it, I Merged the two layers so all the rest of the changes were sure to go where I wanted them.

Something as simple as changing the Blend Mode to Overlay makes it look completely different.

I decided it needed a little more presence so I copied the pattern/mask layer. That layer I left untouched.

Okay! Now for the really fun part!! Brushes. If you don’t have many, you should check out the sources for free ones online so you can build a collection. Remember, ALWAYS put your brushes on their own layer. You need to be able to make adjustments JUST to the brush.

I have a collection of brushes, some I bought and some I didn’t. This set of handwritten ones was a purchase years ago… store has been long forgotten so I can’t even point you to it.

It was too stark so I changed the Blend Mode to Color Burn.

I want the writing to be there, but not “THERE”. So I also decreased the Opacity to 35%.

In keeping with my theme, I added a swirly brush in one corner.

And Copied it…

For symmetry, I flipped the copy and them moved it up into the top corner.

… then Merged the two layers.

And I Copied the new merged layer so I could put swirls into the other corners too. But after that, I’m done with symmetry!

There they go…

Do you need some hints?

The fact that I moved the swirly layer under the handwriting layer isn’t a crucial point, but I did want my handwriting to sit on top of the swirls. Then I went with Overlay on the Blend Mode.

They were still too obvious so I turned them down to 50%.

I had this goal of creating something that looked aged and a little distressed so naturally, I wanted a coffee ring on it somewhere!

But where? By putting it on its own layer, I can move it around until I like it.

I think this is the spot for it.

This brush set is amazing! It has about 8 different styles of lace and can be used in so many ways.

But it couldn’t be so in-your-face. Overlay at 37% is where I stopped.

I stopped playing with it and just looked at it for awhile. What was missing? What didn’t need to be there? Well that bald spot to the right of the masked paper needed some attention. So I added a grid brush that sort of follows the contours of the mask’s edge.

Some fine-tuning …

and a little resizing and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Now to do the layout………

Challenge Spotlight: Buffet and Back It Up with ADB Designs

Happy Monday my friends. It’s hard to believe it’s the beginning of another week. I hope you had an enjoyable Easter weekend.

Today we’re going to start with the the Buffet Challenge. This month the challenge is hosted by Trixie Scraps. The only requirement is that you use kits and/or templates from this month’s buffet. Each month the designers create kits using a color pallet provided to them. By using the same colors, it allows easy mixing of the kits. This month’s colors are definitely Spring inspired:

Let’s see some of the layouts these kits inspired:

From basketladyaudrey:

From Grace.:

From greenfiend27;

And from kimb:

I’m so in love with these colors.

Now for the Back It Up Challenge hosted by ADB Designs. Each month, Diane encourages you to back up those photos on your camera, tablet, or phone so you don’t lose them. Then she gives you a challenge to use those photos. For April the theme is: Spring break, staycation, family vacation, etc.

The layouts for this challenge are gorgeous.

From Elynnia:

From Lisa Campbell:

From msbrad:

And from poki-04:

See what I mean? They are gorgeous.

Are you close to getting your 10 challenges done? If not, don’t fret. For one, it’s not even the middle of  April yet (although it feels like it), and for another, if you don’t get them all done this month, they roll over until the next month until you get 10. Here’s a peek at the reward waiting for you for April.

Have a great week. I’ll be back on Saturday with more!!

Challenge Spotlight: Brush and Storytelling with Dandelion Dust Designs

Happy Easter!! Today we’re looking at two more forum challenges. I originally thought I would have some days that had only one challenge, but we offer so many in the forum, once I put them all in planner to schedule them, I realized I would have to double them up. I think it’s awesome we offer so many ways for you to earn the free collab.

First up today is the Brush Challenge. This month it is hosted by PrelestnayaP. She’s provided a brush to use in both .png and .abr formats. It’s an awesome paint splatter:

Let’s see what some of our members have done with it.

From AriadnesClue:

From dhariana:

From digiscrapmomma:

And from jjaprice:

It’s always so exciting to see how each scrapper chooses to use the brush in their layout.

Now let’s look at the Storytelling Challenge hosted by Dandelion Dust Designs. If you love to journal, this challenge is for you. Each month you are given a focus word and an optional idea. Here is the requirements for April:

  • 50 Word Minimum with at least 1 photo
  • Focus Word: Outside
  • Idea (Optional): What is your favorite thing to do outside? Walk, hike, go to the park, ride bikes, garden, etc.

Here are some of the submissions from the forum and gallery.

From bkasko:

From emscraps:

From Firstoscartgrouch:

And from ktmoonblue:

Absolutely wonderful.

You only have to complete 10 of these awesome challenges to get the full collab kit. It’s always so beautiful and full of goodies.

Come back tomorrow for two more challenges. Are you finding anything new to try?