Tutorial Tuesday (GingerScraps)

Giving Credit where Credit is Due

Or: Editing your Gallery images

Hi again ladies! Today I want to talk about something a bit more serious than usual. I’m going to do a Featured Challenge post next week, and have been perusing the Gallery to check out the layouts I want to include. I noticed that there are quite a few layouts that don’t include any credits; whether it’s an oversight or intentional, I don’t know. But I do know this. The Terms of Service at pretty much EVERY digiscrapping website that hosts a Gallery, and the Terms of Use included  by every designer in every kit include a requirement for providing proper credit to the designer(s) of the content the scrapper uses. I know that when I see a layout that’s exquisitely created, I’m going to look at credits to see which kit(s) the scrapper used so I can go shopping! If we think about it, giving credit to someone whose products inspire us and help us improve our skills should be automatic, as a courtesy if nothing else. And really, who wants to be accused of theft of intellectual property? Those who are new to our hobby may not realize they’re missing a step. And then there’s the well-known GingerScraps Gallery glitch that deletes some of the things we add to the first Upload screen that’s easy to overlook. (I think that might have been fixed, it hasn’t happened to me in a while.) But what can you do if your layout posts to the Gallery without that important information? Let me show you!

Here’s the layout I created for the Jumpstart Your Layout Challenge this month. At the bottom of the layout inside the red oval, the only detail that appears is the title I gave my layout. OOPS!

A quick word about titles… if you use a special character like a # or a @ or a ? for example, the Gallery uploader will lose everything you’ve typed AFTER the first of those characters. It’s going to mess up your Member Gallery but if you know ahead of time that will happen you can remember to follow these steps to fix it. Other things that may need to be changed in your layout’s details could be typos, omitted information, or an error on the layout itself that you’ve corrected already but the image you’re seeing is still the one with the mistake. When you click on My Photos and then choose the layout you need to fix, scroll down past the image until you see your avatar on the left, as shown. In that User Options box, click on Edit Photo.

When you upload a Challenge layout, if you want it to count for the Challenge Reward, it must be posted in the current month’s (and year’s!) Challenge Gallery. The website’s uploader default is to place uploaded images in the Member Gallery, which is fine, but not for being rewarded! (It’ll also sometimes default to the last Gallery you chose, or some other random Gallery, so check and see where it’s going!) This first change I’m making is to put my layout in the Jumpstart Your Layouts October 2021 album.

This next (optional) step is especially useful for people who create for designers on their Creative Teams. The layout can be Copied to other Galleries just by making a selection in the second dropdown. There’s also another advantage to using this Edit part of the uploader. If you put your layout into multiple albums when you first upload them, EACH of those copies will count as one of your 8 permitted daily uploads, but if you Copy them with the Edit feature, they only count once! Yeah, it’s an extra step and it’s a bit of a drag, but it’s a lot better than getting told you’ve already used up all your uploads for the day on only 2 or 3 layouts.

Okay, so let’s pretend you spotted a glaring typo in your title – maybe I spelled my title OTCBREO because I was tired, in a hurry and wanted to get my layout into the Gallery so I could go to bed. I get up this morning to several comments on my layout, all of them politely ignoring OTCBREO, but I’m still upset with myself that I didn’t notice it. So I open up my saved PSD version of my layout, fix my title, save it with a slightly different file name (more about that in a second) and now I want to post the corrected version instead of the trashed one. I can click on the Choose File button and select the corrected version to replace the other one. [If I didn’t Save my corrected layout with a slightly different file name, the uploader won’t know the image has been changed, and it’ll use the original one. So if you end up having to do this kind of big correction, add a number to the end of your file name and the uploader won’t be confused.] I can also fix the title if I notice it’s missing some special characters, or if in my addled, sleep-deprived state, I used the mis-spelled title here too. I also have the ability to add my credits here too, in the Photo Description section. Last, if I’ve changed my mind and don’t want to share my layout with the world after all, I can Delete it. It and everything I’ve typed about it will disappear forever. There’s no way to UNDO this step, so be really sure you can’t Edit it before you take this drastic step. When all the needed adjustments have been made, Submit changes.

Now everybody can see which kit and template I’ve used for my layout. The only time it’s not necessary to include credits is if you’re using Commercial Use products. Oh darn… I just realized I forgot one very important credit! Back to the Edit screen…

I neglected to give credit to my dear friend Sandy, the photographer who rescued Beau so that Beau could rescue her. She has graciously given me permission to use her photos for scrapping and deserves to be recognized for her talents too!

Now, which of this month’s Challenges should I Feature next week?

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Custom Word Art using Only Fonts!

Greetings and salutations! Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada, which isn’t quite the event our neighbours to the south have grown into, but I still spent part of the day in a food coma. Let me offer you a little tip – don’t wait too long to buy your turkeys. Demand here was significantly greater than supply; even Costco didn’t have any turkeys this weekend. If you see turkeys in your supermarket, grab one! But I digress…

As you may recall, at the end of my last tutorial (with the childish fonts and dingbats) I said I’d show you how to use fonts and dingbats to create your own word art. You might also recall my inspiration was my grand-daughter. The little girl who eats like a lumberjack… I’m using Cookie Dough, Amateur Comic Regular and MTF Sweet Dings Regular today. For more guidance on how to choose fonts that will look good together, I have a tutorial for you here.

When I’m creating things like this I always use a 12×12 canvas with a transparent background. I like the larger image so I can see better how it all works together and the extra room for tweaking. The end result can easily be resized later.

I’m going to start with Amateur Comic Regular. It doesn’t matter what colour I use, because I’m going to change it later. But I do want it centered and I want both Asian Text and Anti-aliasing on. The Asian Text control helps with kerning – spacing between individual characters. In later versions there is a kerning control, labeled Spacing but it doesn’t work quite as well as actual kerning. The Anti-aliasing control gives your fonts smooth, clean edges; it just diminishes the jaggedy pixels you’d see with larger text.

When using fonts the resulting layers need to be Simplified before you can manipulate them, so that any changes to that layer only affect that layer. If I typed out this text but didn’t Simplify the layer, then changed the font (as I’ll be doing in a minute) this layer would change to that font too. So always remember to spell-check. grammar-check then Simplify by right-clicking on the layer in the Layers Panel and choosing Simplify Layer from the dropdown menu.

I may need to make some further placement adjustments to this text, so I opted to break up the layer into two chunks of text. With the Rectangular Marquee tool, I outlined the second line.

Next, I Cut that line away from the first line: Edit>Cut [keyboard shortcut: CTRL/CMD>X]

And then without any further ado, I Pasted it back onto the canvas: Edit>Paste [CTRL/CMD>V]

Now I can move each line around, resize and reposition as needed.

I changed my font to Cookie Dough. For this word, I’m going to put each letter on its own layer for now. (If you don’t intend to make many changes to the text, you won’t need to do these steps.) So I typed a D, Committed the Operation and then carried on. You can toggle between the Move Tool and the Text Tool by clicking [V] for Move, [T] for Text.

I wanted the letters to be a little off-kilter and shifted them around until I was happy with their positions.

At this point, I’m planning to turn the letters into donuts so I’ll need to Simplify each layer. Because I was only rotating the letters before, I could wait until everybody was where I wanted them then I could Simplify in one step instead of 6. I Activated all 6 layers by clicking on the top letter layer, holding down the SHIFT key and clicking on the bottom letter layer. Then I right-clicked and chose Simplify Layer. Boom!

The layers can now be Merged into a single layer.

I added a MTF Sweet Dings Regular donut. Dingbats are drawings that correspond to the alphabet. The donut’s the letter W.

And of course, I Simplified the layer…

… made a Copy layer: right-click>Duplicate Layer>OK [CTRL/CMD>J] and used the Paint Bucket tool [K] to Fill the bare donut part with a golden brown colour. More about that step in a bit. I made some Copies of the DONUTS layer [CTRL/CMD>J] so I can separate out certain elements of the text for enhancement. I added a Layer Mask – click on the icon at the top of the Layers panel that looks like a blue square with a white circle in the centre – to the bottom DONUTS layer so I can remove parts of the image without actually deleting the pixels. This is the best way to remove parts of an image because if there’s an OOPS!, the accidentally-erased part can be painted back in. Remember, black conceals, white reveals – THE BACKGROUND. Using the Eraser tool and with white in the foreground I removed all the sprinkles. To paint back an OOPS, toggle to black in the foreground [X] and fix it.

To make the Layer Mask part of the layer just Simplify Layer. Right-click in between the mask and the image thumbnail.

Next, I just want an outline of the frosted area of each letter. With a Layer Mask, I removed the sprinkles and the cakey parts. It doesn’t have to be perfect because the other layers will conceal any wobbles.

I like to make more Copy layers than I think I’m going to need, which usually is a good idea. Here I’m going to just leave the sprinkles, but I’ve already done the hard work.


I CTRL/CMD>clicked on the layer thumbnail (the tiny image of what’s on each layer at the far left of the layer in the Layers panel) for the first DONUTS layer with no sprinkles. That Selected the edges of that layer. See the marching ants?

Then with the topmost Copy layer active, I just Deleted what I Selected. [CTRL/CMD>D or just hit Delete] and voilà! All that’s left are the sprinkles.

Now to get some colour into the picture. With the first of our DONUTS layer active, I’m going to add a Fill Layer. The reason for this is that the results are much cleaner than if I used the Paint Bucket. Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color.

Tick that Use Previous Layer to Create a Clipping Mask box and let Elements do the work.

The Color Picker opens and I chose a nice golden brown.


The Fill Layer and the layer it’s clipped to need to be Merged, so click>SHIFT>click on the two layers, right-click and choose Merge Layers [CTRL/CMD>E]

The frosting layer will be Filled with white using the Paint Bucket tool [K].

Make sure you’re not going to leak!

I also used a Fill Layer to make the sprinkles layer pink. I won’t show screenshots of those steps because that’s unnecessarily repetitive! But I will show you screenshots of the Fill Layer for the Amateur Comic text. I want it to be pink too.

I decided the pink text lacked a bit of presence so I’ve chosen to add a white Stroke to the outside. Edit>Stroke (Outline) Selection.

8 pixels makes a nice stroke for titles. I’ll position it to the Outside so it doesn’t hide any of the pink.

I think it looks good now.

I went on to use the Paint Bucket to frost the dingbat donuts, change some of the sprinkles to purple and position the layers so they look right. Then I Merged all the layers. To have my word art (and work!) saved for later, I’m going to Save As> [CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>S].

I have a Jan’s Elements folder on my laptop, so that’s where I’ll put it. I named the file Donuts Word Art and will save it as a PNG so the background stays transparent.

Smallest/Slow Compression and No Interlace will preserve the word art for me in the cleanest and neatest format so I can use it as the title for my layout.

I’ve been told there are a LOT of new members of the GingerScraps family, so I’m going to do a few basic tutorials in the coming weeks to help them feel more comfortable here. Stay tuned!

PDF Version: https://bit.ly/3FNtvOy

Tutorial Tuesday (Fonts)

Fun Fonts for Layouts about Kids

It’s been a while since I did a post about fonts. I didn’t really think there were that many more “types” of fonts to explore but Ellen (gmae) pointed out to me that there are categories I’ve overlooked. I have to tell you about this because it blew my mind totally. Ellen has created a spreadsheet of ALL the tutorials I’ve posted here – all 240-some – and made it sortable by a bunch of different terms. The amount of work she put in just boggles my mind! An unintended result of all her work is that she’s made some very important suggestions about where I could take you all next. One of those suggestions was to explore some fonts specifically suited to layouts about children. So I spent some time at dafont.com, looking at hundreds of fonts and selected this baker’s dozen along with five sets of dingbats I think you’ll like. (And while I was there, I came up with some new categories to share later!) Okay so let’s get a look at what I like. PS… each font name is linked to the website for one-click access. And they’re all FREE!

First up is Cookie Dough. What kid doesn’t love cookies (other than my second daughter)? This would be a great choice for a title or for some custom word art.

Eye Monsta made me think of my two grandsons right away, especially A-boy. J-man is more cerebral and a bit less inclined toward monster-like behaviour. It’s another title-suitable font but is legible enough that it could be used for both subtitles and journaling too.

I like how solid Childhood is. It looks like it’s been filled in by a child and has a bit of grubby awesomeness too. Multi-use fonts are worth the download.

Space Out comes in two different styles. It’s another good title/word art font, don’t you think?

This font, Crayon Kids, looks like an older child was the writer. It can be fun for journaling and subtitles. It would also be a good choice for word art, when combined by a more fancy font.

I LOVE Calvin and Hobbes!! Did you see the cross-over to Bloom County? An adult Calvin (click to view) is tracked down by Opus and it’s perfect!

This cute font would make a good title, but is also legible enough for journaling. Helloo Kidos will be joining my collection.

Tiny Friends is like Eye Monsta… very child-oriented and fun. And it has so much potential for creative alterations!

I think Childhood Memories looks like it was hand=printed by an older child/teen. Great choice for journaling.

I like Amateur Comic for journaling too. It’s a bit less organized than Childhood Memories, but still easily read.

Another good font for journaling and subtitles is Gilles’ Comic Handwriting. It’s a nice blend of careful and a bit rushed.

Who doesn’t adore Lego? Toys comes with four different versions and has a lot of potential.

I think the name of this last font is totally appropriate. It’s Kindergarten!

Now I’ve got some dingbat collections for you. What are dingbats? They’re accessed as fonts, but instead of letters, each character is a drawing. They’re really a lot of fun and have a multitude of possibilities. The first set is called Seaside Things. The drawings are child-like, but not necessarily childish.

When my own kids were small, they all loved the Mr Men books. We had a box full of them and when I saw this set of dingbats, I was transported back to bedtime stories.

We can’t leave the girls out. Little Miss is a companion set to the Mr Men books and the dingbats too!

DT Rachel’s Toys is a bit more of a detailed set. I think there are a lot of ways these can be used.

And our last dingbat collection is MTF Sweet Dings. They’re all so cute!!

I’ve barely scratched the surface of the incredible choices you can find at dafont.com. There are other sources for free fonts too, if you’re interested. Next week I’m going to use two of the fonts and one of the dingbats to show you how to create your own word art. See if you can guess which ones. [Hint: I’m going to use it as a title for a layout featuring my granddaughter.] See you soon!

PDF Tutorial: https://bit.ly/3iBte7w

Designer Spotlight October 2021

Have You Met Christie (Scrappin’ Serenity)?

I’d like to introduce you all to Christie Dawn, whose wonderful designs are sold at GingerScraps under the Scrappin’ Serenity banner. We had a nice chat so I could know what to tell you about her. Here’s a transcript of our chat for your perusal.

J: Christie! So nice to see you! Let’s get comfy and get to know each other. First, tell me, how long have you been designing?

C: I started dabbling in 2009 and opened my first store in 2010! Wow…hard to believe it’s been 11 years!

J: Hey, that’s about the same time I started learning about digital scrapbooking. When I look at those first layouts, I cringe. I know why I wanted to start digiscrapping – saving money, not having to clean up, and being able to use kits over and over and over. What made you decide to design?

C: I was a stay at home mom, and I just needed an outlet.  I loved Scrapbooking, so I figured I might as well try it.

J: I didn’t actually start paper scrapping until 2005, long after my kiddos were grown up. When they were little I did things like counted cross-stitch and crochet. If digiscrapping would have been a thing then, I’d have been all over it! What do you use to create your designs?

C: I mostly design in Photoshop Elements 13, I should probably upgrade, but it still works, so why change!?

J: No kidding! If it ain’t broke… I do all of my digital stuff on a Dell laptop, sitting in a wing chair in my living room. Would you mind describing your design workplace?

C: Most of the time I work at home, downstairs, on my desktop.  But I do have a laptop I bring when we go camping and have worked from the RV many times.

J: My “other” creative space is a work-in-progress; I have so many boxes I haven’t even opened after our move… 17 months ago. Organizing it all is a big job! But back to you. Which of your current kits in the GS shop is your favourite? What makes it so?

C: Currently my Favorite Kit is – Gamer Girl.  We are big time gamers in my family!

J: My husband is a big gamer too. I’m not. Words with Friends is enough for me! Do you sing, or dance in the shower? I’ve been known to dance in mine a time or two…

C: Definitely Sing!  If I were to dance in the shower it would probably lead to a visit to the ER. lol.

J: I can relate – it didn’t end up in the ER but I discovered the shower base needed some no-skid strips that way. Here’s another odd-ball question: If time travel was possible, would you go back in time or ahead? Why?

C: I would go back in time and spend more time with my Granma.  Miss that lady so much!

J: I’d love to spend a few hours with my mom’s paternal grandmother. Maybe then I’d know more about her than just her name… Do you have a favourite colour? Are there any colours you really DON’T like?

C: Purple, Pink, Teal or Black are my favorite colors.  I tend to dislike oranges, yellows, and reds.

J: We’re kindred spirits! What would your dream car be?

C: A 1967 Mustang! We actually found one on FB market place and bought it about a year ago…but it still needs a lot of work!

J: How awesome is that?! Will you paint it purple? You don’t have to answer that. Last nosy question. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

C: Love me some Sushi!!

J: You can have ALL of mine. Thanks for letting us peek into your world. Now I should spend some time outside before it gets too cold. Enjoy your month in the Spotlight!

Faithful readers, Christie is hosting the Designer Spotlight Challenge this month and is providing all of us with her Daily Download kit. And… she has this little gift for everybody. Check it out!!

Well. 2021 is 3/4 over already! I know most of us will be happy to have this year in the rear view mirror. See you again soon!


Tutorial Tuesday (Tips and Tricks)


Hey all you GingerScrappers! Digital Scrapbooking Day is coming up fast!! It’s on Saturday, October 2 and it’s going to be a blast. But don’t let “Day” throw you off. It’s not just a day, it’s a week-long celebration of our hobby and it’s always epic. This year’s theme is just perfect. Ginger has given me the go-ahead to share this sneak peak with you. Drum roll please!

All the digital scrapbooking stores around the worldwide web have special events and sales. Here at GingerScraps, there are a bunch of grab bags specifically designed for DSD, special challenges, another scavenger hunt, and a free-with-$20-purchase MEGA collab. (I’ve seen the MEGA collab… you’re going to love it!!!! It has about 100 papers… and the palette is beautiful.) Other stores will have designer blog hops and special events on their sites too…

So start with a PLAN! Don’t just jump into the deep end. Check out the forums at your favourite stores to see what they have going on. Then make yourself a calendar of events. Set some reminders so you don’t miss the entry deadlines, speed scraps or chats. If you’ve ever missed out on something amazing by a matter of an hour, you’ll understand the need for some nudges.

Make sure you have hard drive space for your purchases and freebies. Or invest in some thumb drives or an EHD to transfer some of your older stuff to so you have lots of room for your downloads. That MEGA is going to need a bunch of room. Label this extra storage right away so you don’t forget what you’ve put on it. Forgetting to label them could mean you lose track of all the awesome kits you’ve moved and you don’t want that! I have a brand new 6TB EHD just waiting for me to fill it up.

Set a BUDGET! It’s way too easy to overspend when you’re surrounded by smokin’ hot deals, and PayPal makes it painless… until later. Figure out how much you have to spend, and stick with it. I usually save a bit of money so I can spend $20-25 per favourite digishop (I have 3 that I like a lot) without feeling guilty. (With the slightly stronger Canadian dollar this week, I might be able to make my money go a bit farther. As long as there isn’t some catastrophe here that causes our currency to tank. ‘Cause that’s never happened before….. 😉 )

Don’t feel obligated to participate in anything that isn’t going to make you happy. If you don’t have time to join in on the games in the Forum, don’t worry about it! If you aren’t into speed scraps, that’s great! Extra challenges might be fun, but if you have better things to do, you have better things to do. Freebies take up a lot of space, both on your computer and in your head; if you don’t think you’ll ever use what the designer is giving away, you don’t have to take it. This is especially true of blog hop freebies; the topic and palette may be really exciting, but there will be some designers’ contributions that don’t fit into your style of scrapping, so don’t download them. Believe me, you won’t miss them.

While you’re waiting for the festivities to begin, go through your photos and choose some for those challenges you just won’t be able to resist. Let your family know when you’re going to need some uninterrupted time and don’t stay up too late! Because there’s still Black Friday next month – we have to pace ourselves!

Sharing our stories is important, both for us now and for those who come after us. The last 18 months have had quite an impact on all of us in one way or another. Some of us have lost loved ones, some of us have been sick ourselves, some of us have worked harder than ever before to help others and some of us have channeled our energies in new directions. But we all have learned what matters and what doesn’t. Let’s celebrate ourselves!

Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Jumpstart Your Layouts!

So how many of you are Challenge fans? If you aren’t, you should be!! The GingerBread Ladies designers are incredibly generous with their talents both through their participation in the GingerBread Ladies‘ collaborations: Monthly Mix, Free-with-Purchase and Challenge rewards, and within the Challenges themselves. Did you know there are freebies included in several Challenges EVERY month? Brushes, templates, word art, mini kits, add-ons – so many gifts!! Sheri, whose design handle is Jumpstart Designs, provides a mini kit every month in the Jumpstart Your Layouts Challenge (although these minis are the same size as some designers’ full kits…) and they’re amazing. I posted my JSYL Challenge layout to the thread in the Forum and couldn’t help but notice how every scrapper’s layout – using the identical collection of supplies – looked SO different. So I thought we could talk a bit about how we all have such individual approaches to creativity.

This is the preview for the Jumpstart Your Layout Challenge. Like all of Sheri‘s kits, the colour palette is versatile, it’s a bit grungy, a bit pretty, a bit sophisticated and 100% awesome.

A-M chose to use only the cream and brown parts of the kit. Her layout is simple, but eye-catching. Having a black-and-white photo as the centerpiece was genius.

Breoni too chose mainly the neutrals, but added a couple of aqua pops… which are the perfect accompaniments for her photo. Her positioning of the metal tag and ribbon element frames her face and really leads the eye to her photo.

In keeping with the mostly cream background, next up is this beauty. What makes this layout by nimble4u truly stunning is the way she’s used her photo. She embellished with restraint and the sentimental feel of the photo is the star of the show.

Roxana has added a bit more of the aqua to her layout. The large word art is perfectly displayed against the aqua paper and the photo she chose adds a bit of whimsy. I think she’s used every single item in the kit as well, even though it’s not a requirement.

Kristal’s background is also mainly cream, but with some taupe details that adds to the seaside impact of her photos. Masking the boat photo with some aqua behind it makes it look like the water continues outside the photo. Genius!

Maskyra used the papers with such panache! The grungy, rubbed, torn and splattered background is a masterpiece! Her layout is a bit of a segué from mostly neutral/cream background into more colour detail.

This layout by beckturn moves us to an aqua background with a beautiful tear revealing the shades-of-brown striped paper behind it. I love the way she repeated her heritage photo with a tighter crop on the girls’ faces.

What immediately caught my eye about jcfdelaware‘s layout is the undulating anchor behind her photos. With aqua paint behind all the brown paper hexagons, it moves the eye across the page. and the large word art tucks into the lower left corner so neatly.

LisaCampbell‘s layout doesn’t really use a lot of aqua elements, but it “reads” as an aqua background, thanks to the curved paper cuts and aqua paint wrapping around her photos. (

Alasandra‘s layout just screams HAPPY to me! The aqua elements pop right off the paper.

I love how Pippin has turned her photo to sepia and makes it look like it grew out of the paper behind it. The dark brown border draws the eye, the bokeh leads it to the photo and the clusters keep it moving.

This layout is so perfect in every respect! It’s from the creative mind of kabrak1207 and is gently shifting us toward a darker brown palette. Her use of the scalloped borders is clever, and really frames the focal photo perfectly.

MomDoc_99 went monochromatic with the browns and it works very well. The scatters echo the circles on the background paper  and by framing the photos inside a circular paper mat and creating a similar frame for her title, her repeating shapes create a pleasing layout.

Here, DebraB has given us a grid-style layout on a deep brown background that makes the photos stand out. The border along the left draws attention to her journaling. I love how she used only part of the word art on a paper strip to customize her look.

And last… this layout by galavictor is completely different! She’s changed the Blend Mode on the striped paper and the floral aqua paper to accent the orange in her photo, created a bokeh effect with the scatters while also making brilliant use of masking to blend papers together and fade the photo into them. She applied some Layer Styles to the word art too. So much creativity!!

There you have it, fifteen unique layouts using a single kit. (You can see my own vision for this kit here. And yes, my granddaughter does eat non-stop.) What might YOU do with this FRE-E-E-E-E-E-E kit?


PS… What do you think about a Challenge spotlight post every once in awhile?

PDF Version: https://bit.ly/2ZeFvb3



Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Anchors Aweigh! (Reverse Masking)

Hey GingerScrappers! It’s raining in the Okanagan… something that hasn’t happened much around here for months. That makes today a perfect day to do some scrapping.

I want to talk a little bit about anchors though. Not the heavy iron pieces that keep ships from floating away. The kind that help bring cohesion and polish to our layouts by keeping our photos from floating away! Think for a minute about how template designers create their templates and what draws your eye to them. There are lots of factors that come into play when choosing a template, and consciously or unconsciously, anchors are usually involved. They can take many forms. Paper strips and stacks are likely the most common anchors. But paint splats, brushes, masks, scatters and ephemera can all play that supporting role. Even a grungy paper itself can provide an anchoring effect when there’s a faded area that sort of frames your photo. But what if you want something a little different? Let me show you how to create an anchor point using paper, brushes and a reverse mask. The suggestion for this topic came from Ellen [gmae], with a hat-tip to AnnieA for the example she provided in the Gallery.

In my demo, I’ll be using a semi-solid paper and a patterned paper from Aprilisa‘s (retired) Captured Romance kit. [I chose it because my layout will be showcasing a heritage wedding photo.] If you choose to use this technique, you can use whatever combo you like: solid/solid, solid/patterned, patterned/patterned or any other combination you like. I’m using a freeform method in my demo; if you choose to use a template, turn visibility to all layers but the background and your focal photo spot off so you can see what you’re doing while we work through it. My photo spot is sized to the wedding photo I’m going to use.

I stacked the semi-solid gray paper behind the photo spot and popped the patterned paper above it.

If you’re a faithful follower [thank you!!] you’ll already know I love layer masks. They’re considered a non-destructive way of removing parts of a layer; you’ll see that the colour pickers change to white and black when you add a layer mask. White reveals, black conceals. But whatever you’ve concealed is still there, lurking in the background, just in case you want it to reappear. That’s the definition of non-destructive in the Photoshop/Elements context. If you’re concealing some part of a photo or an object and you oops, all is not lost. Just click the X key to swap conceal for reveal and paint it back in! The uses for layer masks are infinite, limited only by your imagination. So to create a layer mask, click on the blue square icon with the circle in the centre, found across the top of the layers panel. You’ll see the mask appear to the right of the layer you’re masking, and it’ll have a blue box around it indicating that’s the part of the layer that is active.

Elements has a default selection of brushes already installed in the software when you download it. They’re pretty basic brushes but are useful for a lot of things. My assumption is that we’re not making a nice straight, crisp edge on our contrasting papers so for this demo I’m going to use a Wet Media Brush. The number at the bottom of the thumbnail is the default size of the brush. You can ignore that. [Yeah. I have a lot of brushes. Many of them were free.]

Resize the brush so it’s manageable but not too big. 200 pixels is a good place to start. The default brush settings are shown in the Brush Settings menu.

Before using the brush, the layer mask must be inverted. We want it to conceal everything then reveal only the parts we want to see. The mask thumbnail will be black and the paper/object being masked will be invisible. To get there, just click CTRL/CMD>I. Make sure the foreground colour in the Color Picker is white… otherwise nothing will happen!

My first version is a simple oblong heart shape. I just dragged the brush to draw out a heart! Check out the layer mask. See what happened?

Here I’ve just dragged my brush in a sort of swath, cutting off a corner of the gray paper.

Zig-zags can look pretty cool.

Or making several vertical passes frames the photo as well as anchors it.

But what if we go horizontally?

Following are a few examples of using a brush as a stamp to create an anchor. To do this, make the brush as large as you can. With this butterfly brush, I think it would look better under a smaller, squarer photo. See how the polka dots on the paper show up?

This star scatter [a challenge brush from CathyK a long time ago] would work better with a much smaller, more obvious pattern, don’t you think?

Ooh, I like the idea of this one. Not necessarily the execution though… I used three different brushes from a free set called Corners with Birds. I’d want to make sure the brushes don’t overlap because the contours are muddied.

Then there’s this filigree floral corner. I really like this one! But which version will I settle on? You’ll have to look for my layout in the Gallery to find out. I’m still on the fence!!

If you’ve seen something you’d love to emulate but aren’t sure how to get there, just shoot me a message and I’ll see what I can do to make it work for you!

PDF Version: https://bit.ly/39cdrH3

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

How Did They Do That? (Outlining a Title with Paper Cuts)

Are the kids all back to school now? Are you able to just sit in silence for a while? I remember how that feels! This week’s tutorial is a short snapper, not too complicated, since I don’t want to distract you from your relaxation. Sherry (spenny) messaged me a couple of weeks back, asking for some help. She’d seen some really interesting titles in the Gallery where the scrapper had lined her title up so it overlapped a series of paper/photo strips. Then she cut some of the paper strips away, leaving a background paper border visible around the alpha she used. Sherry wanted some input on how it’s done. This is what I’ve come up with. Now remember, you don’t have to follow my instructions to the letter; do what looks good to your eyes. I’m offering guidance only!

This technique can be used at any angle. Vertical, horizontal, diagonal… all the same steps. If you want a crisp look, choose a sans-serif (no extensions on the terminal strokes) alpha with some substance and clean lines. I went with a bit more of a fun alpha from the GingerBread Ladies‘ collab Happiness Is. My papers are also from this collab. Here you can see I have 8 paper strips, one for each letter in my title. I’ve resized the alpha so each letter is the same height as the paper strip. If you want to, you could double up some of the letters to a single strip for a really unique look. To make the steps easier, I’ve sandwiched the letters between the paper strip layers.

I decided how far over I wanted to move my letters so that they sit on top of the paper then I dragged out a Guideline to snug them up against. Guidelines are really useful for precision. All you need to do is ensure the Rulers are active [View>Rulers] then with your cursor inside one of them, click-hold and drag the cursor to the place where you want the Guideline. The actual Guideline won’t be this obvious. I’ve enhanced it for better visibility.

Next, I nudged the first letter over so it’s just touching my Guideline, and then I CTRL/CMD>clicked inside the LETTER‘s layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel to Select the edges of the letter. See the marching ants?

I need to make the area inside the marching ants a bit bigger. Otherwise there won’t be a border around the letter later, right? Select>Modify>Expand will make the Selection grow.

Here’s where personal preference comes into play. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for this step, and it may take some experimentation to find the right number of pixels to go with. I ended up at 15 pixels, but 20 or 25 might have worked well too.

Here you can see where the new line of marching ants, the new Selection, is.

Now, with the turquoise paper layer active, I Cut some of the paper away. Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X will work for that.

I followed the same process with each of the letters in the title. Where there are little bits of paper completely disconnected from the paper strip, I used the Eraser tool and got rid of them.

Where the paper bits are still attached, like inside the C, the S and the E, I left them there.

Then I shadowed up each layer and my title is done!

The layouts Sherry showed me as examples can be seen here, here and here.

If you try this tip, let me know so I can leave you some Gallery love!!

PDF Tutorial: https://bit.ly/3kYGNyg

Designer Spotlight: September 2121

It’s HeartMade Scrapbook!

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of our newest designers, HeartMade Scrapbook – who is also known as Ngoc! She very graciously agreed to let me pick her brain, and now I get to share what I’ve learned about her with all of you.

J: So tell me, how long have you been designing?

N: I’ve been designing since May last year (2020).

J: Ah, another CoVid convert! Welcome to GingerScraps!! What made you decide it was time to hang up your Creative Team hat and jump into designing?

N: In 2020, the CoVid-19 epidemic broke out, I have more time and I want to try a whole new field. And there’s really a lot to learn, but I’m very happy with the design.

J: I think all of us would be thrilled to have more time. What tools do you use in your design process?

N: I use Photoshop and Illustrator.

J: Well, you’re way ahead of me. I’m still plodding along with Elements. What’s your design motivation/inspiration ?

N: My main motivation and inspiration are my kids and the life around me. I want to be a memory keeper!

J: Most of us would say the same. It’s pretty much the whole purpose of our community. Now I’d like to know which of your kits currently in the GingerScraps shop is your favourite, and why.

N: Cool Summer: Because I like pastel colors and summer is my favorite season!

J: Abrupt subject change!! What would you do if you won the lottery today?

N: I will buy a farm in the countryside to grow vegetables and flowers.

J: That sounds like a LOT of work! Are you more likely to sing, or to dance, in the shower?

N: Yes, I will sing sometimes, even though I’m not very good at it.

J: Everybody is a star in the shower! Weird question… If time travel was possible, would you go forward in time or back, and why?

N: I would go to the future, I want to know when covid-19 will end.

J: You and all the rest of us! 🙂 It has really turned the world upside down, hasn’t it? Design-y question again. What colours do you love, or NOT love?

N: My most favorite colors are pastel & bright colors. My least favorite colors are dark and heavy colors.

J: I love jewel tones most. And I’m so happy there are designers who do too. Last question, another one about favourites. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

N: It’s PHO Vietnam, widely known as Vietnamese noodle soup, is a highlight of Vietnamese cuisine. I can eat it everyday and never get bored – Vietnamese people love eating PHO for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Despite looking simple outside, PHO has the fascinating complexity of textures and flavors. Normally, PHO Vietnam is made of rice soft noodles called “banh pho”, some slices of meat, traditional herbs and is served with consommé which is made by the simmering bone of the chicken, pork or beef.

J: I’m missing out, clearly! I’ve never had pho. But to do it justice, I think I’ll wait until my CoVid-damaged sense of taste goes back to normal (if it ever does…) since all of a sudden I’ve developed an extreme distaste for anything containing onions.

Now, before we go, Ngoc has a gift for us! She’s got a 50% off coupon for her store. Thank you so much for visiting with us, sharing your talent, and for the gift!





The coupon code is HMS-SPOTLIGHT and it’s valid until midnight September 30th.

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Colour Palettes, Swatches and How to Use Them

Hey ladies! Welcome back!! Did you know that my very first Tutorial Tuesday Blog post appeared FIVE years ago yesterday? I never dreamed we’d still be here, learning new things together after this long. It’s amazing! [And I already have topics lined up for the next two tuts. Crazy!!]

This week I’d like to shine the light on colour – challenges, swatches, palettes and colour codes. I had a request for this info, but I can’t find the original correspondence so I can’t remember who asked for it. My apologies. Essentially, her questions were how she could save swatches and how she could make better use of those alpha-numeric colour codes the Color Picker assigns to the rainbow. [It’s raining here today – something that hasn’t happened much for more than four months. Rain is on my brain.] So let’s talk.

Our friendly GingerScraps designers host the Forum Challenges, as you know. Each month there’s a Color Challenge, where the hostess provides the Challenge palette, most often by supplying a swatch, but sometimes it’s a photo or simply a list. I’m a Color Challenge nerd, 100%. If there’s a swatch in the Forum thread, there will be a swatch somewhere on my layout. I typically tuck it under the edge of a paper or photo, but it’s there if you look for it. This is how I make it part of my workflow. I right-click on the image in the thread and select Save Image As from the dropdown.

Usually at this point I’ve already decided I’m doing a Color Challenge and have created a subfolder to put all my pieces-parts into for ease of access. So it’s easy for me to decide where I’ll put the swatch image. I renamed it here for clarity but I don’t bother when it’s just for me.

Now that it’s in my Challenge folder I can go to my stash and pick my papers and elements. This palette reminds me of my daughter’s wedding, so I chose some photos from that folder then paired them with Ooh La La ScrapsJust Breathe and Pocket Full of Sunshine. The colours aren’t a perfect match but they’re in the ballpark.

I’ve already done a tutorial on recolouring so this next part will be mostly just review. If you want a more detailed look at the subject, you can look here. In the context of this tutorial you’ll see how I use the swatch to get my chosen elements to match the colours as closely as I can.

I start by dropping the swatch on top of whatever it is I want to adjust and moving it around so the colours touch. Sometimes no adjustment is necessary. To easily adjust colour, click Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation… [CTRL/CMD>U] then play with the sliders. For this orange brad, I just needed a minor tweak of Lightness and it slid right into place. Once I’m happy with the change, I Delete the swatch layer – it’s still in my Photo Bin so don’t worry about it getting lost. The changes I’ve made to the brad will be kept until I close Elements.

Here I’m adjusting the brown flower. It took a bit more convincing to change. Just remember that any colour adjustments you make to something composite like this flower will be made to the entire object unless you exclude some parts.

Can you believe this paper was originally a bright off-white?

I was happy to see that making these adjustments to this paper didn’t touch the white flowers. I like the contrast.

This button looks pretty good too!

Here’s a quick refresher on selective recolouring; I don’t want to change the button in the middle of this flower. I used the Magic Wand took to outline it with those marching ants.

Without this step ALL that would be altered is the button. So I Inverted the Selection: Select>Inverse [CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>I]

Here you can see the marching ants around the button Selection. It’s not being touched by the adjustments made to the petals. They needed a lot of persuading!

Now let’s make a swatch of our own! It’s easy to do, and can really make a difference to your work. This photo has a lot of neutrals in it, but the Ball jar, flowers, hat… they’re all beautiful.

Start off with a blank New Document [CTRL/CMD>N] of whatever size you think will work based on how many colours you plan to add to your palette and with a transparent background. Make it something that is easy to divide. I’m making a grid with six columns and four rows, for a total of 24 colour blocks.

Elements has many hidden tools like the Grid. It’s activated by clicking View>Grid [CTRL/CMD>’] The parameters of your grid can be personalized in the Edit>Preferences menu. Mine are set to a major division every inch with guidelines every 1/4 inch. Using the Pencil tool with a diameter of 30 pixels and white in the foreground, I clicked at the top of the canvas at the 1 inch mark then held down the SHIFT key and clicked again at the bottom at the 1 inch mark. Then I worked across the canvas in the same way until I had 6 columns all 1 inch wide. Then I worked across, putting my lines at 1 1/2 inches apart.

I used the Eye Dropper tool [CTRL/CMD>I] to choose a spot on the darker, shadowed area of the Ball jar.

Next I used the Paint Bucket tool [CTRL/CMD>K] to fill the first block on my grid with that blue colour. I want to include the colour code on my swatch so then I clicked on the foreground colour – the darker blue – and made a note of the code in the box shown. If you trust your memory you don’t need to write the code down… I typed the colour code on top of the block in white and then Simplified the text layer – right-click and Simplify Layer. Why? If I didn’t, and I later needed to change the colour of my text for better visibility, ALL the unsimple text boxes would change too. No bueno!



Following the same process I used the Eye Dropper to pick a spot of lighter blue.

And filled the second colour block with the Paint Bucket.

Then getting the colour code from the Color Picker.

And here’s my palette derived from my Pixabay photo. I picked colours from the Ball jar, the tulips and the satin clutch purse. You might have chosen differently, and isn’t it grand that we’re all unique?!

Curious about the layout I built this tutorial around? It’s here.

Have fun with colour!

PFD Version: https://bit.ly/2WDWxyi