Archives for December 2022

December 30, 2022: Fresh Baked

It’s the last Friday in 2022. This year has flown past. We cannot wait for you to see all the wonderful things in store for GingerScraps for 2023!

Have a very Happy New Year!!

Spend $10 in the store and get this great kit for free!

Let’s see what our designers have for this last week Fresh Baked in December.

Just a couple more days to get our challenges done. Complete any 10 challenges and get this kit as your reward.

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Quick Trick Tuesday: Close All

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I hope everyone who celebrates at this time of year has some great memories made and new stories to tell. I won’t keep you with a long, drawn-out, convoluted, complicated tutorial for the last one of 2022. This Quick Trick is literally 4-clicks-and-done… a true WSNH trick. (*Work Smart Not Hard) Let’s proceed.

I know I’m not the only one who often has about a million objects open in my Elements Photo Bin while I’m working on a layout. The thought of putting away my toys then takes on quite an unhappy aspect, and I might want to start into a new project right away, so I don’t want to just shut down Elements then restart it… bleaah! But then I found this Trick and it’s been a life-saver!

This 4-click process is so easy! File>Close All… (Keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD>ALT/OPT>W) opens a little submenu where it asks you what you want to do with the files. I always Save As the files I’ve changed that I want to save my efforts for later first, just as a good habit. For example, photos I’ve edited and layouts I’ve completed are Saved as I go along, but that button I Resized or that ribbon I recoloured? They don’t need to be Saved as changed. With this menu, I can use one click to tell Elements to do the same thing with everything in the Photo Bin.

And voilà! Everything is closed, Elements is waiting for the next project and woohoo! Time saved, effort saved.

As we say goodbye to 2022, I hope you all have some happy memories to soften the harshness this year has battered us all with. I hope all of you and those you love are safe from the extreme weather being experienced in so many parts of the world. And I hope you have much to look forward to in 2023!

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December 23, 2022: Fresh Baked

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! It’s crazy that it is already Christmas. We here at GingerScraps hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday!

Spend $10 in the store and get this great kit for free!

There are so many Christmas kits in the store this week.

Are you getting those challenges done? Complete any 10 challenges and get this kit as your reward.


Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Challenge Spotlight: Scraplift

I’ll admit that I’m a purist when it comes to scraplifting another scrapper’s layout. I think that if I like a layout enough to want to lift it, I should try to stay as faithful to the original as I can while still making it my own. I also know that scrapping is an intensely personal craft and we all approach it from our own points of view; this is very true when it comes to scraplifting. There are so many options! Let’s take a look at this month’s layouts and analyze them a bit to see if we can figure out what the scrapper chose to emulate. But first, the Scraplift Challenge is hosted by Dagi; she chooses the layout inspiration and this month she chose this layout by Effie3047. Each of the Challenge layouts is linked to the Gallery so you can pop in and offer the scrapper some praise. Just click on the scrapper’s “handle”. This is the inspiration layout for reference.

These layouts are in the order they were posted to the Gallery. First is this blue confection from dhariana. She chose to follow the blueprint of the layout fairly closely, with the photo, journal card and elements in the same arrangement. The doodle circles are her own touch.

kristal has also stayed close to the blueprint, but kept her layout crisp by increasing white space. She also has used a wooden background like the original has.

For her layout, lulutoo chose a much brighter palette, but stayed true to the basic layout and the wood background. I like that she went with a narrower paper strip behind her elements and tilted her photo a smidge… an original touch.

Tbear‘s layout is quite different, but you can see the basic shape of the Challenge layout. A single photo, a journal card, a Christmas theme with carefully-constructed clusters and a similar palette are what ties her layout to Effie‘s.

I can see the bones of the Challenge layout here in robinoes66‘ entry. She’s gone with a dark palette, positioned her photo in the same place but omitted the journal card. She used a good amount of paint and her primary colours are beautifully supported by her black background.

To me, ayla63‘s layout looks more like a scraplift of robinoes66‘s layout than it does Effie‘s! And that’s alright. Their visions are very similar. I like that she chose to turn her photo into a sketch, which makes her layout unique.

I love what Jill has done; she went with a portrait-oriented photo rather than a landscape and used gears instead of paper circles, while adding a couple of extra paper pennants. Her layout looks quite different than the original, but still has the important components.

Pippin has stayed true to the original layout in most ways. Her blended background is beautiful, but can we talk about that photo? So cute!!

For her layout, pinklily went bigger with her photo and paper strip base, supersized her title, flipped the script horizontally and kept her clusters small.

AJsRandom chose to increase the size of her photo but has kept most other aspects faithful to Effie‘s layout. The twined strings that anchor her journal card are a great substitute for the strings of lights Effie used.

I like that breoni chose to place a row of circular photos across the lower third of her layout rather than clusters. That krafty background really makes her photos pop off the page.

The choices Kristi Martin made of a large photo and minimal embellishments against a black canvas really gives her layout presence in the Gallery.

Our second Hanukkah layout by zanthia is another faithful lift. She made her title really do the heavy lifting here! The word-cloud journal card is a clever twist too.

Treemoon took a really different approach by enlarging EVERYTHING. She kept the horizontal aspect and the basics of the design. Her palette compliments her photo so nicely and I love the clusters she’s anchored her banner with.

We’ve had some really miserable weather here in the BC Interior. We have a ridiculous amount of snow and it’s bitterly cold. I was planning a road trip to see my parents and bring them a box full of treats for the holidays but we were snowed in! I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re celebrating, you’re warm and safe!


December 16, 2022: Fresh Baked

Happy Friday Everyone!! How is your Christmas shopping going? For the first time in years I think I’m almost done. I’m usually that crazy person out on Christmas Eve trying to find those things. Or utilizing my prime shipping on Amazon. 

Have you gotten the Free With Purchase yet? Spend $10 in the store and get this great kit for free!

Let’s seet the new items in the store!

Have you grabbed the December Monthly Mix. I just love this kit!

And how are your challenges going? Complete any 10 challenges and get this kit as a reward.

$1.00 Bake Sale & Last Chance Buffet Blowout @ GingerScraps!

Hello scrappers, I hope you are all having a wonderful December. We have 2 exciting sales to tell you about to day. The Buffet Blowout and the December Bake Sale

Today is the last day of our big Buffet Blowout in the store! 50% off ALL Buffets, ends December 15!! 

We also have our $1.00 Bake Sale! December 15-20, you can grab all these goodies for only $1.00!

Remember spend $10 in the store and get this great kit for free!

How are your challenges going? Complete 10 challenges in December and get this kit as a reward!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Coloured and Patterned Shadows

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When I saw this technique on another site, I was intriqued. The scrapper was using Photoshop, but I knew I could make it work just as well in Elements so I had to prove it to myself. This is the result!

This tutorial will be a review of how I create custom shadows, but with a twist. It will work best with a white/light coloured alpha or meaty font against a white or light-coloured solid background. The alpha I used is from the GingerBread LadiesDream Big collab and will be part of a layout created with JB Studio’s Farmhouse Winter. My layout was also created with this month’s Challenge template from Scrabookcrazy Creations by Robyn.

When I create a title with alphas, I usually put it together on its own canvas so I can easily tweak whatever needs tweaking without the distraction of all the rest of the layout. I usually go with a straight line +/- some individual height or angle changes for interest. But because this technique is a shadow trick, this time my working title is on an angle. The shadows on the title must lie in the same direction as the rest of the layout and the title will be on an angle on the finished layout. So…

Typically, once I’ve got the title the way I want it I shadow any overlapping areas and Merge the characters. But you’ll see that I’ve kept each character on its own layer and will keep them separate. This is important for later.* (If you’re using a font, you may want to put each letter on its own layer. Skip ahead to the * to see if that’s what you need to do.) The first step to a custom shadow is to Select the outline of the object. CTRL/CMD>click on the Layer Thumbnail – that little image of what you’ve put on a layer that shows at the left side of the layer in the Layers Panel.

Next, I add a new blank layer UNDER the working layer. The quickest way to do that is to hold down the CTRL/CMD key and click on the Create New Layer icon – the one that looks like a sheet of paper with one corner turned up.

Next, I set the foreground colour in the Color Picker to the colour I want for my shadows. If I’m using a template, I’ll match that to whatever the template designer has used. In this case, it’s just black. Using the Paint Bucket tool, I fill the outline of the letter on the blank layer. This is the Shadow layer.

Don’t be concerned that you can see a thin rim of black around your letter. It’s not going to make any difference to the final product.

Here is where this technique departs a bit from my usual custom shadow routine. I made a Copy layer of the SHADOW: right-click on the layer and choose Duplicate Layer… then click OK on the pop-up menu. The keyboard shortcut is CTRL/CMD>J.

I renamed the two shadow layers; the first, bottom one is Shadow, the top one just below the actual letter is Narrow Shadow. If you want to rename your layers, go to the Layers Panel and double-click on the name of the layer that you can see. Type in what you want it to be called and Enter. Then I turned the visibility of the NARROW SHADOW layer off.

I did this process for each of the letters in my title, creating two shadow layers and turning visibility for the one just underneath the letter itself off.

Now to give the Shadows an offset, which is a regular step in my custom shadow process: Activate each of the visible, bottom SHADOW layers by holding down the CTRL/CMD key and clicking on each layer all the way up the pile. This lets me move all the Shadows in one movement so they match.

For the most realistic look all the shadows on a layout lie in the same direction and give dimension to the objects above them. The shadow Styles on the template I used are at 60° (I flipped the template horizontally, and the shadows flipped too.) To know the exact angle of light on a template double-click on the fx symbol on one of the template’s layers and it’ll show up in the pop-up.

Now to soften the Shadows. So far I haven’t found a way to do this step in a batch, so I processed each layer individually. First step is to add a Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur…

Elements provides a Preview of the Filter effect. If you don’t see anything in the Preview pane, click your cursor on the edge of your Shadow. It’ll appear in the pane. Or you can just watch what’s happening on the canvas. Using the slider, adjust the amount of Blur the Filter adds. I want them to be quite soft, so I used a Radius of 6.5 pixels. Elements also “saves” the settings of the most recent Filter used, which makes it easy to add that Filter to multiple layers. Simply click Filter>Last Filter. The keyboard shortcut for that is CTRL/CMD>F. One step!

Next, I changed the Blend Mode to Linear Burn. This mode makes the shadow transparent so the layers below are visible – just like a real shadow!

Then to tone the harshness down a bit more, I decreased the Opacity of the Shadow layer to 70%. This step is also subject to personal preference. If you try this and 70% doesn’t look good to you, find what does! It can also be further adjusted later.

This is what the title looks like with each of the Shadow layers Blurred and lightened. I could stop here and be quite happy. But this tutorial is about coloured and patterned shadows, so onward ho!

Yes. You’re not seeing things. I’m going to Clip a patterned paper to the Shadow layer under my “O”.

Doesn’t that look neat?

I Clipped a different* patterned paper to each letter, using the same paper for the two “E”s and went with the green houndstooth for the ellipsis at the end. If you want to use the same patterned paper for all your letters, you could Merge all the alpha layers/not separate the characters if using a font then do all of the preceding steps on your title as a unit.

Okay, so once I had all the Shadows coloured, I decided they looked a little anemic. So I increased the Opacity of each Shadow layer to 80%. That looks better to me.

Now to add just a tiny bit more definition to that alpha. I’ve made all the Narrow Shadow layers visible again and activated them by CTRL/CMD>clicking on each layer. A little nudging in the same 60° direction as the coloured shadows – just a little! – gives each letter an actual shadow.

Again, they’re pretty sharp and harsh so Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur first.

But because these ones are a lot closer to the objects they’re shadowing, the Blur should be less pronounced. I went with a Radius of 3.0 pixels.

I didn’t need to decrease the Opacity of these shadows. They look just right to me!

Here’s my finished layout. The technique isn’t really obvious, so you might want to work on a larger scale, with a bit more space around your title if you choose to try this. I’m really pleased with my layout as is.

Five days until the first night of Hanukkah, twelve days until Christmas, thirteen until Kwanzaa and nineteen until next year… is everybody as behind on EVERYTHING as I am? Thinking about it exhausts me. But I have an amusing little anecdote I want to share. On Saturday one of my former coworkers (the very last one I saw before I moved away, to be exact) posted to Facebook that her maternal grandmother had passed away. She linked to her Baba’s obituary. Where’s the fun part, you ask? Well, it turns out we’re RELATED! Distantly and by marriage, but still!! Her maternal great-grandfather’s first wife was my great-grand-aunt’s sister-in-law. There are a couple of other spots where our roots intertwine too, that I’ll be untangling over the next while. We ended up talking on the phone for an hour and a half; she said finding out we’re “cousins” was the best thing to happen to her all month.

Before I forget… There was a comment on the cardmaking tut from a few weeks back from Lisa. She said she uses Royal Brites Matte Photo paper to print hers. I couldn’t find any locally, but was able to buy some Staples premium matte photo paper and printed my cards with it. OMG!!!! The difference00 is HUGE!! Thanks and a shout-out to Lisa!!

Next week we’ll be checking out the Challenge Spotlight and the final tutorial of the year is a Quick Trick you’re going to LOVE! See you soon!!

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December 9, 2022: Fresh Baked and BUFFET BLOWOUT

Oh boy do we have fun for you! Today starts our big Buffet Blowout in the store! 50% off all buffets today through December 15!! 

Remember spend $10 in the store and get this great kit for free!

Let’s see what our designers have for us this week!

How are your challenges going? Complete 10 challenges and get this kit as a reward!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Don’t Let Your Text “FLOAT”!

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Have you ever wanted to run some text across an element, like a piece of washi tape, a paper ribbon, or even just over a crease in your digital paper, but then look at it and think, “Well that looks like garbage…”? Odds are you feel that way because the text isn’t grounded to the element and looks like it’s floating. Kathi (granny5pics) was in that situation and asked if I could help. This is it!

My example uses a piece of crumpled washi from Cheré Kaye‘s portion of the Beautiful Struggle collab she created with Aimee Harrison and Cindy Ritter, and a very creased label from Cindy Ritter‘s Autumn Treasures. Killing two birds with one stone, as it were.

After I typed out my text and positioned it where I wanted it, I Simplified the layer so that Elements will allow my changes. My method for Simplifying is to right-click on the layer then choose Simplify Layer. It can also be achieved by clicking Layer>Simplify Layer.

Next, I chose the Dodge Tool – the one that looks like the paddle the optometrist uses to close one of your eyes. This tool lightens the area it’s used upon; I like to start with less, then work my way up to more. My settings were Range: Highlights, Exposure: 30% (I adjusted that after I took the screenshot) and 45 pixels for my brush size. Note that I’m working on the text layer, not the tape layer, so the changes I make will only affect the text. I ran the Dodge brush over the parts of the text that are over top of areas where the light creates highlights, the creases on both the tape and the label. For straight lines like the creases in the label, click your Tool at one end of the area you’re working on, hold down the SHIFT key and click just past the other end. Don’t worry about going past the edges of the text; the Tool will only affect the layer you’re on. If you have text that crosses the same crease on multiple lines, you can do all of them in one pass.

Next I switched to the Burn Tool, the “OK” sign, and used similar settings. This tool darkens areas where it’s used. Again, I like to build the effect, because it’s easier to see when to stop. This time, I ran the brush over areas where the text crosses shadowed areas of the tape and the label. I adjusted the Size of the brush to suit the width of the shadowed areas by using the [ key to make it smaller, the ] key to make it larger. Zooming in and out let me see if I needed to go over any areas again.

Here’s a close-up. The arrows point out the areas where I’ve made my adjustments. I can see some dimension beginning to be visible.

I kept Dodging and Burning until I was satisfied. Then I planned how I was going to show the edge of the tape where the ink from my pen wouldn’t have reached the paper below.

The tear at the left edge of the tape is jagged so to help me out, I CTRL/CMD>clicked on the tape layer’s thumbnail to Select the edge, but kept the text layer as my active layer. Then I used a very small Eraser brush to erase a narrow bit of my text. I also shaved a thin strip along the bottom edge of the tape.

If I’d decided it still needed something, I could have used the Smudge Tool – the flying fickle finger of Fate – to gently push the top edge of the text toward the high crease on the tape, knowing that the Smudge Tool blurs the image a bit. But it looked right to me so this is what I’m happy with.

Here’s a Zoomed out look. Can you see the way the text seems to follow the contours of the tape and the creases in the label?

Here they are, side-by-side. I think you’ll all see it now!

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Designer Spotlight (December 2022)

Scrappin’ Serenity (aka Christie)

How can it be the end of the year already? But here we are… getting to know Christie, whose business name is Scrappin’ Serenity and trying to slow down the clock. We recently chatted about what she’d like you all to know about her, and as usual we started with the essential stuff. Here’s a transcript of our conversation.

J: So tell us Christie, how long have you been designing?
C: I started out doing Freebies in 2009 and opened my first shop in March 2010! Wow! I can’t believe it’s actually been that long already!

J: That IS a long time! It’s about when I started giving digital scrapbooking a serious look. Time sure flies! What made you decide to design?
C: I loved making Scrapbook pages, so I decided to dabble in design. And then it became a self supported hobby!

J: It’s always a good thing when your hobby pays for itself. What does your design workplace look like?
C: Currently my workspace is on my laptop, wherever the puppy is. It’s all eyes and hands on deck with her! lol.

J: Oh boy, don’t I know exactly what you mean! They’re cute and cuddly… and can’t be trusted for a second. That segués nicely into asking you to describe your perfect vacation.
C: Anywhere there is a large body of water, my husband, and not a lot of people!

J: Have you found such a place? It sounds exactly like my son-in-law;s happy place. He’s been known to swim in the Atlantic Ocean in April. Is that what would you’d do if you won the lottery?
C: First I would pay off our house, cars, camper, and any other debt. Put money aside for my kids to go to college and start their adult lives. Sell my house, and live a nomad life in my camper. 🙂

J: On an isolate beach somewhere! Are you more likely to dance or sing in the shower?
C: Definitely Singing! lol.

J: Whenever I ask that question I flash back to myself doing both at the same time. I have a Bluetooth speaker in my bathroom that I play my favourite music with and there really is room in the shower enclosure for me to dance! If I remember correctly, the last time was to Walker Hayes’ song AA. But back to you! If time travel was possible, would you go back in time or ahead? Why?
C: I would go back in time and visit with my Grandma and tell her all that she’s missed.

J: I think most of us would love to have the chance to see people we really miss. What are your most favorite and least favorite colors?
C: I LOVE Purples, Teals, and Black. I always tend to shy away from Yellows and Oranges.

J: I don’t love yellow or orange at all, so I’m with you! What would your dream car be?
C: We actually bought my dream car a couple years ago. A 1967 Mustang…just need to get her fixed up, and running, and a new paint job!

J: No kidding?!! That’s incredible. I drove my sister’s boyfriend’s ’67 Mustang convertible once. Such a cool car. If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
C: Runs on Coffee, Chaos, and is Fluent in Sarcasm!

Thank you for sharing these glimpses into your life, Christie! I’m going to remind our readers that Christie is providing the December Daily Download this month, in addition to hosting the Designer Spotlight Challenge and her usual monthly Font Challenge. AND… she’s got a coupon at the same time that her entire store is on sale at HALF PRICE for the entire month!! Check it out… there are some gems in there.

See you all in January for the next installment of Designer Spotlight!