Archives for December 2020

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Creating a 3D Metallic Look on 2D Shapes

We made it! This is the last Tuesday of 2020… and I’m sure none of us thought we’d ever get here. It’s been a long, long year. This is also my 200th Tutorial Tuesday post! I definitely never thought I’d have that much to share with you, but thanks to the women who approach me with questions, I’m still going. This week’s tutorial is the result of a query from Bernice (bkasko). She’s a planner, and she found a beautiful planner template set created by Lisa, the Cherry on Top. She was particularly attracted to the template that looks like a multi-ring binder, but she wasn’t having any luck creating a realistic metal effect for the rings. She’d tried a bunch of things and wasn’t happy with the results so she asked me what she could try. Off I went to find out. I watched a bunch of videos based in Photoshop, which of course are useless to Elements users. But… because I’ve been learning all the ins and outs of Elements so I can teach them to you, I was able to come up with an Elements method by playing with some of the less-commonly accessed features in the software. Let’s see what I’ve done.

First I had to decide what kind of 2-dimensional image I was going to play with. I chose a brush (it’s NOT a reflection of anything, however!) that lends itself nicely to a metal effect.

A very important part of this technique is to work on a transparent background, with your 2D image on a new, blank workspace. As you see in the screenshot, my brush is on a transparent background; if you’re using a template, Duplicate the layer with the item you’re metallizing onto a new document, then move it back to the template when it’s finished. Now, this brush is a little anemic when it comes to presence. So I added some padding to it.

I used an 8 pixel Stroke centered over the brush to just beef it up a bit. Not so much that the clean lines were lost.

Yes! That’s more like it!

Then I made 3 copies (CTRL/CMD>J) of the original layer. To keep them straight in your mind you might want to rename the layers but that’s not essential. I also turned off visibility to all but the layer at the bottom.

I really find it helpful to Zoom in and out while I’m working on this kind of project. Keyboard shortcuts: Zoom In CTRL/CMD>+ and Zoom Out CTRL/CMD>-. The first adjustment I’m going to make to my image is to add a Bevel. Click on the Styles button at the lower right of the workspace then choose Bevels from the pull-down menu. The Bevel shown inside the red box is the Simple Inner Bevel and that’s what I used.

You can see that there’s now some rounded dimension to the brush. Cool, right?

Editing Layer Styles adds so much creativity and possibility to our work. To open up the Edit menu, double-click on the fx icon on the layer. The new menu shows you what you can change about that Layer Style. The defaults for Bevels are Lighting Angle 90°, Size 21 pixels and Up Direction. I adjusted the Lighting Angle to 120° and the Size to 40 pixels.

Next, I moved UP one layer to Layer 1 Copy. Visibility is on.

Still in the Styles menu, I chose the Inner Glows function.

From the Inner Glows options, I chose the Small Border Glow.

Huh! Look at that! There’s some definite dimension there now! (It looks a bit like epoxy right now.)

I’m going to Edit this Style too. Double-click on fx and adjust the Size and Opacity of the Glow. This is an active process and your preview will change as you make your adjustments so you can see what you’re doing. It’s also possible to change the colour of the Glow by clicking on the colour swatch and choosing another colour. Pure white is “ffffff” for those you like to be precise.

Now to change the Blend Mode for the Inner Glow layer to Screen. This lightens the layer and gives it the contours of the layer below.

Moving up to the Layer 1 Copy 2 layer, I turned the visibility back on. Don’t worry that all the work you’ve done so far isn’t visible. It will be!

For this layer I’m going to add a Wow Plastic Style.

The two layers at the bottom of the stack are off. The Wow Plastic style I used is the Clear Shadow style. Right now it looks ummmm… bad! But it’s easily fixed.

First thing I did in the Edit Style menu was to turn off that honking huge shadow. This style uses an Outer Glow, which I adjusted so that the Size is 18 pixels, the Opacity is 22% and the colour is pure white. Then I increased the Bevel on this layer to 75%.

Here’s where I sorta dropped the ball. I missed a screenshot. I’ve moved up to the Layer 1 Copy 3 layer and now I’m going to add another Inner Glow.

Again I used the Small Border Glow.

But this time I changed the Blend Mode to Multiply. This Blend Mode darkens but maintains the contours. Then I dropped the Opacity of the layer to 55%. Up close it doesn’t look too great.

But when I moved the Multiply layer down one space so it’s under the Wow Plastic layer, it looks a lot better!

Then when I pull the Zoom back, the full effect is much more visible. It’s shiny, but not liquidy-shiny. And it has 3 dimensions. 23

I popped a paper (from the December Mini Kit Challenge created by Jumpstart Designs) underneath it. Just to see how I like it. To me, it looks more like pewter than chrome or silver. What to do…?

I Zoomed back in and played with the Opacity of the Multiply layer and settled on 40%. It looks more silvery now.

Okay! I think that looks better. This technique will work on any template object you’d like to metallize. And if you apply it to a scripty font, you can create wire words!

Bernice, please let me know if this was the look you were seeking. To all of you, Happy New Year!! Let’s all hope 2021 is an improvement on all things. See you next year!



Fresh Baked: DECEMBER 25, 2020

Merry Christmas everyone!! Hopefully Santa brought you everything you wished for.

Hop over to the store and check out the great sale featuring the Christmas and Hanukkah categories.

40% off these two categories : December 21-31

When you spend $10 in the store, you get this great kit for free. Perfect for those tree photos.

Let’s see what the designers have for us this Christmas Day.

How are your challenges going? One more week to get them done. Any ten completed will get you this kit as a reward.

All of us at GingerScraps wish you and your families a happy holiday season and hope for a happy and healthy 2021.

Tutorial Tuesday – Happy Holidays!

Take a Break! You Deserve It!!

I know every last one of you is exhausted and looking at the next few days thinking you’re never going to make it. (Because that’s how I feel EVERY year!) I also know that nobody is interested in a long, wordy tutorial filled with new information right now. To be honest, I don’t have one ready, so it’s like fate. Instead, I’m going to revisit the last-tut-before-Christmas-2019 with you. Because although Christmas is definitely different this year, it’s not cancelled, and there will still be memories to preserve. And… there’s still time to make sure everything is ready for that. Beyond the Ordinary – Holiday Photos is filled with tips for making the most of your photo ops.

Next week, when the dust has settled and all those photos are demanding their moment in the sun, I’ll have a new tut for you (hopefully!) just in time for the beginning of a new and hopeful year.

Be kind to yourself. Take a break. Watch a Christmas rom-com, drink a glass of wine. Anything that doesn’t get done isn’t going to be noticed by anyone but you. It’s all good. From my house to yours, happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa! Belated Happy Chanukkah!

Designer Spotlight: CathyK Designs

We’re slipping Cathy in just under the wire here! I know we all understand how hectic December is… So settle in for a few minutes and get to know a little bit about CathyK.

J: How long have you been designing?

C: About 12 years.

J: What made you decide to design?

C: I started making some freebies just for fun, then got hooked!

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

C: I use Photoshop CS4 and Inkscape, though I am planning to move to Creative Cloud hopefully soon now that I have a new laptop.

J: Describe your design workplace.

C: I have a computer desk with a desktop computer and large display in our family room. My work area tends to be pretty cluttered, plus I always have my paper planner and paper notebook open on the desk to scribble down ideas.

J: What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

C: I like seeing an idea come to fruition and then seeing how people use that kit to scrap their precious memories. I get inspiration and ideas from color, everyday life, my sons’ activities and interests, magazines, Pinterest, textures, a song, a good quote, our camping trips. Really, anything can be the inspiration for a product!

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

C: It’s so hard to answer that! I guess my current favorite is my Nature Walk Collection. I absolutely love how the collection turned out! The peach and purple looked fantastic against all the neutral greens and browns. I think that nature/outdoor collections are my favorite to design.

J: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

C: Steak with Bourbon Peppercorn Sauce.

J: What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?

C: I like watching college football, especially Ohio State. Go Buckeyes!

J: What did you want to be when you were small?

C: An architect

J: Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

C: Well, if people are included, I’d say my hubby for sure. If not, then I’d say coffee.

J: Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

C: Um…maybe Sandra Bullock.

J: If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

C: Caution: tends to ramble on!

J: What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?

C: Tom Hanks

Thanks for sharing with our readers, Cathy! Before I forget, Cathy has generously put her ENTIRE STORE on sale at 30% off for the whole month of December and she has a terrific kit in the Daily Download. Don’t worry if you’re late to the party, because the whole kit will be in the store in January.

Next month the Designer Spotlight will be a little different. There are some fun new questions and our designers get to decide which ones they answer! I’ll be chatting with Cheré Kaye and Aimee Harrison New Year’s Day so be sure to check in.


Fresh Baked: DECEMBER 18, 2020

It’s ONE WEEK until Christmas. Are you done with your preparations? Sadly, I haven’t even started. My Christmas tree is up though. That definitely counts as something.

Before we jump into other goodies, remember the Bake Sale is on-going though Sunday. Some great full kits or template sets for just $1 each.

And also remember, when you spend $10 in the store you get this awesome kit for free.

Now let’s see what is new in the store for this week.

Have you picked up the Monthly Mix Collab for December? I think this kit will be very beneficial to scrappers in the northeast US this week.

How are those challenges coming? Just 10 completed challenges gets you this great kit as a reward.

Tutorial Tuesday (Fonts)

Christmas is Coming… Get Your Fancy Fonts HERE!

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one whose having a hectic time right now. Even though Christmas will be a little different this year, it’s still coming and there are still lots of jobs to take care of. I haven’t had much free time this week to do something wildly creative to share with you, so I went for the low-hanging fruit – free Christmasy fonts! (It’s been a while since I shared some wintertime fonts with you, after all.) I have a baker’s dozen for you, and four sets of dingbats that I think you’ll love. They’re all from and are 100% free for personal use. The bold blue test links you right to the download area, so have fun! (I won’t tell you how many I downloaded while I was doing my “research”.)

We’ll start with this brand new font called Christmas Bell. It has a bunch of glyphs (swirlicues, doodles and tiny ornaments) that turn the letters into something really special. If you’re unsure how to find those fancy add-ons, I have a tutorial for you called Unlocking the Secret Extras in Your Font Files and one for Mac users here.

Next up is Snowy Christmas. It’s a cute one, with lots of potential. It too has some little add-ons like that adorable snowman.

The third one has the very imaginative title of Merry Christmas. But those snowflakes! And the reindeer!!

Holly and Berries looks similar to Snowy Christmas, but it’s got lots of its own charm.

The Perfect Christmas is also similar, but is a cursive font that looks almost hand-drawn. And it has snowflakes.

Sorry, I got sidetracked there for a second. I was watching a red-tailed hawk looking for lunch! PW Joyeux Noel is font #6 on my list today. It’s more wintery than Christmasy, but it’s fun. (Joyeux Noël is Merry Christmas in French.)

This one has a delicious distressed, grunge look. Miraculous Christmas would be ideal for layouts with a farmhouse or rustic theme.

Christmas Lights is like a font/dingbat hybrid. It has two different looks: the “outside” version reminds me of all the times hubby and I were outside in the freezing cold, putting lights on the gutters without enough clips and freezing our fingers off. Yep, it’s good enough, now let’s get inside! Then the “inside” version looks like the lights have been carefully strung on a mantel or around a door, with plenty of attention to detail.

This one, Christmas Time, comes with two versions, one with stars and one without.

I think I might have shown you Candy Cane before. But it’s cute enough and has so many possibilities, so here it is (maybe) again.

Next Tuesday, December 21, is the first time in nearly 800 years that the “Bethlehem star” (a conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that will look like a huge star) will be visible to the whole world. (Astronomers say those living near the Equator will have the best view.) If you’d like to know more about why I’m calling it the “Bethlehem star”, drop me a comment and I’ll expound. What made me think of it is the way the stars in Christmas Sparkle look a lot like artistic portrayals of the original New Testament star.

I like this next one for its title-potential. Hello Christmas has a calligraphic style with a scatter of glitz.

What can I say about Christmas/Flakes? It’s a very formal, very upright, very elegant all-caps font with snowflakes!

Now on to the dingbats. There are so many things that can be done with these!! You could create a customized coloring book for a special little person, create a brush you can use over and over, turn them into Christmas cards or gift tags, really the only limit is your imagination.

Xmas TBF Christmas is filled with festive images. That reindeer cracks me up!

I think this one is really creative. The outlines can be done in one color, the fillers in another. Hello Christmas Icons is simple but interesting.

I think Merry Christmas Go would be perfect for the littlest kiddos as coloring pages. The outlines are thick and dark, the shapes aren’t overly fussy and they could be used to teach new words to little readers.

I saved the BEST dingbat set for last. It’s crammed with images both spiritual and fun. There are 3 dingbat sets in one collection called WM Christmas. Pro tip: This one takes a lot of time to queue up to install, so make sure you verify a successful install before you want to use it.

Hopefully next week I’ll have something new and creative for you, but I’m not making any promises. I’m going to make a drive-by visit at my parents’ house on Sunday, just to see them with my own eyes. It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive each way, but the weather should be good. Maybe inspiration will strike while I’m driving… To my Jewish friends out there, may the last days of Hanukkah be blessed.

$1.00 Bake Sale & $2.00 Tuesday NOW OPEN at GingerScraps!

 It’s one of those rare days when the $1.00 Bake Sale and $2.00 Tuesday both start at the same time!!

Come on over and check out what our designers are serving up for the $1.00 Bake Sale (December 15-20) AND $2.00 Tuesday (ends Tuesday at 11:59 pm Eastern Time)!

I promise you will not want to miss these deals!! 

$2.00 Tuesday LINK

$1.00 Bake Sale LINK

Have a wonderful day!

Fresh Baked: DECEMBER 11, 2020

Hey there. Welcome to another Friday. We’re so close to the end of the year. It’s hard to believe it’s finally here.

Remember you get this kit for free just for spending $10 in the store.

If you love Christmas, you are going to love the new kits this week. Christmas abounds.

Remember any 10 challenges completed gets you this awesome kit as a reward.

Tutorial Tuesday (GingerScraps)

Add Some Links to Your Signature!

Last week Missi, manager extraordinaire of the GingerScraps world, asked me if I had a tutorial for adding creative team or blog links to those fancy signatures a lot of our members create each month. It was a very timely question, since my siggy was still stuck back at Hallowe’en. I’m going to start with a refresher on adding signatures to forum posts and then show the simple steps to add links to them. Ready? (Pro tip: Open GingerScraps in two separate tabs, one for the Forum and one for the Gallery. Also open up the destination of your intended link in a separate tab.)

When you open up the Forum section of GingerScraps, over at the far right of the header there’s a Settings button. This is where we’ll find the Edit Signature option, so let’s click on it.

There it is! Click on that!!

See what I mean? Definitely time for a new siggy! Almost hidden at the top of the screen is the existing signature, and below is the Edit box. This is where we’ll be working.

Right-click on the old signature (if you’re changing it… if you’re loading one for the first time, skip ahead!) then choose Cut to remove it. Or you can simply click and hit Delete, or click and CTRL/CMD>X. Any of those methods will get rid of it.

Now move over to your Gallery tab. Click My Photos to go to your Gallery and find your signature in it.  Open it. Right-click on the image and choose Copy image address.

Go back to the Forum tab. As the screenshot shows, I like to center my signature under my posts, so I’ve got the Center Justification button clicked. To add the image of my signature to the box, I click on the icon in the middle line of options that looks like a photo being stretched from the corners.

Then I Paste the address I Copied from the Gallery into the command box and Clicked OK.

Here’s another pro tip. I save my signatures as PNGs so the background is transparent. That lets things like glitter, lace, leaves and branches appear to be sitting on the Forum page and the edges to have an organic look. If the signature is saved as a JPG, the background will be white and the rectangular edges will be visible.

Before I Save my new signature, I’m going to add a link to the GingerScraps Blog. (You, of course, can add a link to your personal blog, creative team gallery, Instagram or other desired space on the web.) There aren’t many font choices on the site, but that’s not a huge problem. I added text to describe what I’m linking to. You can vary the size and the color of the text to suit yourself.

Now go to the tab with your destination opened on it. Highlight the URL, right-click and Copy it.

Return to the Edit Signature screen and Highlight your text. Don’t worry, the URL is still copied and waiting. Click on the icon that looks like a globe with a couple of links of chain at its lower right.

Now Paste the URL into the box and click OK.

The screenshot isn’t quite large or clear enough for you to see that the text is underlined now, which indicates it has been hyperlinked. But it’s there. When you’re finished with that, all that’s left is to Save Signature.

And here is my new siggy as seen in the Forum. I tested the link just to be sure it works. Next month, if I create a new siggy and update it, I won’t have to add the Blog link again, because they’re separate processes in the Edit Signature box. That’s a bonus!!



Fresh Baked: DECEMBER 4, 2020

Happy Friday everyone!! I hope you all made it through the week happy and healthy.

Have you put up your Christmas tree? The Free with Purchase kit is perfect for those tree photos. It’s yours for just a $10 purchase in the store.

Let’s look at a few of the new kits available in the store this week.

Have you gotten started on your challenges this month? Any 10 completed challenges gets you this great kit as a reward