Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements 2019+)

Jan has a Challenge for All Y’ALL!

We’re living in interesting times. I know we’re all afraid and worried about what’s happening and what’s yet to come. And we have no control over any of it. I also know that humans are remarkably resilient, we’ve lived thorough hard times before and come out of it stronger, and that this is temporary. While we stay in our homes (or, because we provide an essential service, we’re going to work anyway) we all have lots of time for our thoughts to add to our stress. Rather than throw the Serenity Prayer your way, instead I want to extend a challenge to you. I’d like you to find a photo that speaks to the part of you that isn’t afraid, the part that still has hope. It can be a photo you’ve taken, or someone you love has taken or one you found on an open-source photo website like Pixabay. (Just looking through those sites is a terrific distraction!) Then I want you to find an inspirational quote to match the optimism or spiritualism of your photo. And then I want you to create a meme with it! (No, you don’t have to share it with anyone unless you want to, but it might be a comfort to somebody you know who seems to be doing okay but really isn’t.)

Photoshop Elements 2019 and 2020 have a Guided Edit that makes memes easy to create. It’s found in the Fun Edits menu as shown below. But don’t worry if you’re working with an older version. The same steps can all be done manually.

This is the photo I chose to work with. I had quite a few from Pixabay that would have worked but I like the thumbs-up gesture and the sunbeams that to me represent God’s love. The Edit menu looks like the screenshot below. One warning: don’t hit the Cancel button at the bottom unless you really like starting over from scratch!

First step is to click on the Create Meme Template button. Then a progress bar pops up.

Oh… hmmmm. Let’s keep going. There has to be a way to change that border!

The next step is to add the text. My quote is one from Benjamin Disraeli and it’s pretty spot-on. Once you’ve clicked on the Text Tool button, the same Text interface we’re all comfortable with opens up.

The default text is Impact Regular, but I want a script font so I looked through my vast collection and tried Hysteria Regular on for size. (See the image above for what it looks like.) I thought it was weirdly appropriate.

But it wasn’t quite the look I was after so I went back to my fonts and chose Steady Style Script Regular (another appropriate choice!) instead. In later versions of Photoshop Elements, it’s easy to find a script, or a typewriter or a sans serif font just by typing the style of font you’re looking for in the box. I typed in “scrip” and all the fonts in my collection with “script” in their name were displayed.

After I typed in the first part of my quote at the top of the meme, I clicked on the checkmark to Commit the Current Operation. The software needs that instruction to move to the next step.

Then I typed in the second part of my quote. The Edit allows for moving the text, and knowing I wanted to include the author’s name as credit for the thought, I moved the second line of text up a smidge. Then I Committed the Current Operation again. Without taking that step, I couldn’t move on with the Edit.

Aha! Here’s where I can do something about that border that I don’t think suits my meme. I moved the slider to make the photo bigger, then noticed the Fit Photo to Canvas tick box. So I ticked that box!

If I’d decided I still wanted a border, just not THAT border, this is where I could have changed it. And there’s an option to add an Effect to the photo. I like the photo as is. I apologize, I didn’t actually play with those steps so I can’t show you what the options look like. But you can always experiment if you like!

Now that I was happy (more or less) with my meme and having not been able to add the author’s name onto the meme, I clicked on the Next button and then chose Continue Editing in Expert.

When the Expert work space opens, you can see all the layers Elements has added to the image. Now I can decide where I want to put my author’s name.

But first, to protect my other text from accidental messing up, I Simplified both text layers. Then I moved them closer together, bracketing the sunbeams.

After I changed the font to a typewriter one, I added Disraeli’s name onto the image. To make sure the text layers were properly centred, I selected all three text layers and the (invisible) background layer, then Aligned the layers by the Middle.

And here is my finished meme. To all the folks who are still standing between us and disaster, I salute you.

Edited to add: The typo in my original version was bothering some readers enough that they pointed it out to me. So I’ve cleaned it up and replaced the final image. (I didn’t do ALL the screenshots – there are 9 of them in all – and it would have been a ton of work.) Keep on swimming, friends!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Jazzing Up a Font

Wow, how much the world has changed in one short week! Our provincial government has declared a state of emergency, although the total number of cases of COVID-19 in our province is still under 100. We’ve been sticking close to home since last Thursday night, which is giving me time to do all the things on my task list. This post is late because I got sidetracked painting the family room… hope the buyer – whoever that ends up being -approves! But let’s get into distraction mode for a bit.

Maybe you’ve seen my layout in the Gallery, the one where my granddaughter is eating her peas with her tongue. This is how I created my title. I started with one of the fonts I linked you up with last week Floral Capitals. Everything I’ve done in this tutorial has been shown to you at least a couple of times before, so if you’re a faithful reader, you might even predict what’s coming next as we work through. There are a lot of steps but I’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you. Whenever I do something that I’m making up as I go along, I like to make some copies of the original layer so I’ll still have one untouched one should I need it. Here I made 2 copies and turned their visibility off.

I analyzed the font’s appearance and had an idea of what I wanted to do. I knew the border would be different so I started off on the bottom layer by Erasing the middle parts of each letter, leaving just the border. Then I made a copy so I could quickly reset if I did something I didn’t like.

Next, I Selected the edges of the floral design by Clicking on the Layer Thumbnail of the lower copy of the original.

Now the Marching Ants come into play.

Now that Elements knew I wanted to work with just the Selected areas of my title, I added a new blank layer between the copy of the border layer and the lower copy of the entire title.

With the new blank layer active, I hit Select>Modify>Expand. I want to adjust the areas selected just a tiny bit.

But I only needed to adjust it a smidge, 1 pixel wide.

Still on that blank layer, I added a Stroke to the Selection. Edit>Stroke (Outline Selected Area).

Again, I went with a skinny stroke, only 2 pixels wide, and I chose this carnation pink, pulled from one of the papers I planned to use for my layout. (Diva-tude from Jumpstart Designs.)

Here you can see the pink a little if you squint.

When I turned off the rest of the layers, now I could see clearly where the Stroke went.

Using the Paint Bucket, I filled in all the letters with the same pink.

Yep, then I Erased the fancy parts, leaving just the pink letters.

I zoomed in quite a lot so I could clean it up to the best of my ability.

To give the letters some more presence I went to the Styles menu and chose Bevels.

I like to use Simple Pillow Emboss, because it’s pretty predictable.

See how it adds weight to the letters, and puts a bit of shading around them too?

The Bevel default is 21 pixels, which is a bit too much for the look I’m after, so I decreased the size down to 7 pixels. Now the letters look like die cuts.

One way to check for stray pixels after you’ve extracted something, as I’ve done with the letters, is to apply a Style or a Shadow. Those stray pixels pop out like zits before a big date. That makes them easier to remove. (If you’re only looking for stray pixels, you can clear the Layer Style when you’re done by right-clicking on the layer in the Layers panel and selecting Clear Layer Style from the menu.)

Okay, mission accomplished. Onward and upward! I turned off all but one of the layers, the lower copy of the original title. I Erased the borders on this layer, since I have plans for the ones I’ve saved down at the bottom of the pile.

As I was getting the screenshots edited I discovered I’d missed one… an important one. I added a black chipboard Layer Style from Ooh La La Scraps’ All Hallows Eve to this layer. It adds just a bit of a flocked look to the outline. I played with the Layer Style settings.

But all I did was increase the Bevel a bit, from 10 pixels to 15. That sharpened the edges just a bit.

Next, using the Rectangular Marquee tool I dragged out a box just inside the outline of the first letter and used the Paint Bucket to Fill it with this dark olive green, also from Diva-tude.

And I did the same with all the rest of the letters.

It’s looking pretty good but it still wasn’t where I wanted it so I added a few more little tweaks.

I turned the border boxes layer back on and took a good look at them.

They needed to be punched up just a tad, so I added a Stroke.

It had to be a narrow one so the border didn’t run into the fancy part. 3 pixels worked. I could have put the Stroke outside the boxes, but then the boxes might have coalesced. Instead I centered the Stroke on the lines.

I found this perfect pink Glitter style in ADB Designs’ Holiday Joy styles kit. So it went on the borders.

OOH! So close!

Last thing I did was to add an epoxy Style (from Mommyish at another store) to just the pink letters.

And then I was happy!

You can use these tips on other detailed fonts, and experimenting is fun! I hope you give it a try!

Designer Spotlight: NMSS

Greetings and salutations! I know you’re all wondering why I’m popping up and it’s not Tuesday. Well, I’m stepping in to bring you the March Designer Spotlight. We’re chatting with the lovely Connie Prince, the South half of North Meets South Studios. Let’s get to know her a bit better, shall we?

J: How long have you been designing?

I began designing digital scrapbooking products in 2004-2005ish, but officially selling in 2006.

J: What made you decide to design?

At the time the offerings were so limited, I was a paper scrapper and want to add unique elements to my layouts which I began to make digitally and print. It didn’t take long to realize I could do the whole thing digitally so much easier!

J: What led you to decide to design together?

Tracy & I developed a friendship early on. I think the progression into forming a brand together just happened. At the time she lived in the northeast and I am of course from the south. We named our brand North Meets South Studios. She’s in the midwest now, but you really can’t take the New Jersey out of a girl so we are sticking with our original name lol.

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

I use Photoshop CC, Illustrator. I also have a scanner that I use pretty often to scan things to extract.

J: Describe your design workplace.

It’s pretty minimalistic. I have a double monitor setup, that’s the most exciting thing about it lol.

J: What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

I enjoy the process, coming up with an idea and creating it. The most rewarding part is seeing someone else use something that I’ve created to preserve their own memories.

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

About A Boy is my current favorite (usually my latest is my favorite lol).

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

Chicken wings, hands down I am obsessed! However, if I could only eat at one restaurant the rest of my life it would be Waffle House.

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

None of them? lol I’ll watch some when the Olympics are on.

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

I can’t really remember wanting to be anything in particular, I played school a lot so maybe a teacher? I did grow up and get a degree in education, but I didn’t really enjoy teaching very much so I retired early 🙂

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

My phone or computer!

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

Cameron Diaz, she’s just quirky enough!

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

I would have a bunch, but definitely: If you leave cookies unattended she will eat them!

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

Dolly Parton, she’s a hoot!

J: These two designers are very talented. I hope you’ll give their store a look and that you’ll take part in the Designer Spotlight challenge. And don’t forget to pick up your Daily Download here on the Blog!

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Spring-y Fonts (Part 2)

Are you ready for some fresh new spring-y fonts? I last did a spring font post a year ago and figured it was time. (Plus I’ve been so busy trying pretty much single-handedly to get our current house ready moving out of. I’m getting tired of the smell of paint!)

All the fonts below are free for personal use at Dafont. They’re ones I haven’t shown you before, and there are a couple that would be perfect for titles. See what you think!

CF Springtime is one that I might use for a title or two. It’s got good weight and with the leaves, it’s just a bit different.

This isn’t a font but it’s so pretty! These wreaths, or whatever we want to call them, can be used as photo overlays, to frame photos, to frame other fonts and so many other possibilities. You’re looking for Spring Romance.

Here’s another font just screaming to be used in titles. It lends itself well to multiple modifications, and if I can find some time, I’ll play with it so you can see what I mean. Floral Dawn sounds so poetic!


Can you see this one as a title font? How much fun it would be to deconstruct it and use multiple colours to make it really pop. Floral Capitals might be my favourite of the bunch.

This is just a cute little romantic script with curlicues and everything! Flower Shop could be a journal font, don’t you think?

I like the graphic effect this one has. Imagine it clipped to a pretty green paper, maybe with a glitter style added on top. I’m not really loving the name the designer gave it though… Forced Flowers.

Sweet Duck has three different options and all of them are pretty awesome.

I threw this one in just for fun, for all of us arctic blonde hippie chicks. The 70s were the BEST decade ever… LMS Hippy Chick says so!

How do they come up with these names? LRT Chickenhawk… it’s cuter than its name, for sure.

And last but not least, I’ve got a dingbat for you. KR Spring Me has an assortment of spring-y images you could use as stamps.

I’ve linked up each font for you so if you see one you love, go and grab it! I have a couple of ideas for tuts for next week but haven’t decided which one I’ll go with. Stay tuned!


Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Is Exhaustion a Thing?

Well, last week was a total whirlwind! It still feels a lot like a dream, but we now own a beautiful new house in a surreal setting, even though we’re not moving into it until early May. The trip itself was pretty exhausting, both mentally and physically. Somehow we got to the airport without our son’s photo ID, without which he couldn’t board the plane. (We live 30 miles away, on the other side of a major city…) The airline was amazing and got us on a later flight so I could run home and get it. We ended up getting there 5 hours later than originally planned, but in the end that was fine. All the things that needed to happen to get us into the house happened, and I’m planning and scheming every minute of the day. All of this is leading up to me apologizing for not having a tutorial for you today, but in its place I’m going to give you a sneak peak at some of the photos you’ll see in my layouts in the coming weeks. And then I have a couple of little challenges for y’all.

What do you think??

Okay. Your first challenge is to find one of your layouts where you’ve used something you learned from Tutorial Tuesday and send me a private message (JaninAlberta) with a link to it. Don’t tell me what you did, I’m going to see if I can figure it out! Next week I’ll compile all the layouts I get from you into a blog post and share your successes with everybody else.

Your second challenge is to help me come up with a new user name. When we move, I’ll no longer be Jan in Alberta… I’ll still be Jan, but living in Kelowna, British Columbia. Ginger has told me I can change my user name when the time comes and I’d like it to be a bit more creative! Help?

Have a great week!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Effect? Affect? What’s the Difference?

Today’s tutorial has some common elements with last week’s. I’m going to show you how to turn a photo into a work of art, and to blend it into a layout. But that’s where the similarities end! I played around for quite awhile before I got the look I was after, but lucky for you, I kept track of what I did so you can skip the experimentation and go right to the good part.

There are so many ways to make Photoshop Elements do fantastic things. I first played with the Filter Gallery, but didn’t get what I wanted. So then I started looking at the Effects Gallery. There’s where I found the pot of gold.

First I made a copy layer of my photo. (I actually tried to work right on the background photo layer but didn’t like where I ended up – no control!)

Then I clicked on the Effects button down at the bottom right of the work space. From the Effects Gallery I chose Vintage and then Pencil Sketch. (Yes, I’ve done a couple of sketch tutorials before, but this one is different. And a lot easier!)

One click and this is where I went.

Elements has created another Copy layer and then added the Sketch effect to yet another separate layer.

I tried out each of the Blend Modes until I found one I liked – Hard Light. It brought back some of the colour but kept the sketchy look.

I made another copy, of the very topmost layer and it lightened up the image and blew out some highlights.

Blend Mode change to the rescue! I changed it to Multiply, and got a really arty looking image. I Merged all the layers and saved my new image as Sketch Edit.

I don’t think anybody can guess what I did when I added the Sketch Edit copy of the photo to this blended template from Heartstrings Scrap Art. I decided to try some Blend Modes and settled on Luminosity. I love how it turned out.

I hope you’re having as much fun as I am when you try my techniques. But I feel it’s only fair that I let you know I may be MIA a bit in the next while. We’re closing on our brand-new house (in another province) next Tuesday!! It’s been a long haul since we signed the construction contract, and in some ways it feels a little surreal now that it’s finally done. We’ll be out of town tying up all those loose ends next week but I’ll try to have something for you for the following week… even if it’s just photos of the new house. We won’t be moving for a few weeks yet, and I’ll make sure you have a heads-up for that. Thank you for supporting me in this amazing hobby we share!


Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

A-Tinting We Will Go 

How did it get to be February already? The older I get the faster time flies. The last week has really kicked my butt, let me tell you. So I thought we’d try something very simple but incredibly beautiful today. I love this photo (from Pixabay) but I think it could be even prettier in black and white. With a little hint of tint…

In Photoshop Elements there are several ways you can convert a colour photo to black and white. Probably the easiest is to click on Enhance>Convert to Black and White (CTRL/CMD>ALT>B) as shown. Or you could use Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation then pull the Saturation slider all the way to the left. But… using the method shown gives you some added options that don’t involve fiddling.

When you use the Enhance>Convert to Black and White tool, this menu opens. The default setting is for Scenic Landscape, but there are multiple style options you can choose from.

There’s a slight but visible difference when I change the style to Portrait. The image is a little sharper and the contrast is a little higher. For this technique, that’s perfect.

I plan to blend this photo into the paper shown below. It’s from January 2020’s Daily Download, Toujours from Key Lime Digi Designs and The Cherry on Top. I’m going to choose a colour from it to tint my photo.

I decided that the soft green would be lovely, so I grabbed my Eye Dropper tool and clicked on the spot shown.

Next I clicked Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color. The green that I chose is the foreground colour so it will be the colour used.

I made sure the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask was selected.

The Color Picker still opened so I had the chance to verify the green is what I want.

And there it is… the Fill Layer. Now what?? As you can see there are two separate layers there, with the colour layer on top. I changed the Blend Mode to Color.

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember the days when the colour on those old tube TVs would go wonky and everything was really green. Look familiar?

So I lowered the Opacity of the Fill Layer to 51%. Now there’s just a faint green glow.

I had already chosen a masked template that would work nicely with this photo. It was a freebie from Promethean Concepts in the A Love for Layout Templates Facebook group in December 2019.

Here’s a tip for ensuring the part of your photo you most want included within a mask makes it onto your layout. Rather than dragging and dropping it ON TOP of the mask, clipping and fiddling with it, try dragging and dropping it UNDERNEATH the mask and moving it around.

It isn’t exactly perfect, and I know I don’t want any harsh edges visible. I didn’t know this trick until just recently, but when using a mask like this it’s possible to use the Clone Stamp tool to extend a photo out to the edges of your mask.

I wanted more of the pearls and her hair inside the mask, so before I started playing with the Clone Stamp, I clicked Image>Transform>Skew to adjust the shape of the mask just a bit by pulling the lower left corner down and to the left, the lower right corner just over more to the right.

Then I moved the photo layer ON TOP of the mask and clipped it in place. I’m going to Clone the window, curtains and the top of her head to cover up all that pink that’s still visible from the mask. Once I’ve done that, I’ll use the Healing Brush tool to make the Cloned areas less obvious.

And there’s my finished blend. I’m pretty pleased with it, and with how little time it actually took to get the effect. I’d say 20 minutes, tops!

My finished layout looks like this:

Will you give this a try? Shout-out to Ulla-May for the inspiration.

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

It’s a Total Eclipse!

Greetings! As promised, today I’m going to show you a paper-to-digi technique that CalGirl (Steph) brought to my attention. It’s called the Eclipse Technique, and I’ll tell you, the digi version is a LOT less work than the paper one. To get this effect with paper, first the letters need to be cut from the foreground paper. Then several layers of each letter are cut from the background paper, stacked and glued together onto the back of the foreground paper letters. Then some foam adhesive pieces are added to the bottom of the stack, the stack is stuck into the cut-out areas and it looks like this card created by Amy Koenders from Stampin’ Up. It’s a really pretty look, and so simple to obtain digitally.

I think the best choice for a background paper for this technique will be a solid, but a paper with a tiny print might work well too. To look really fabulous, the foreground paper should have some sort of design. In the card image above, the pine branches and cones were stamped onto the foreground paper. Digitally, that’s a step you can skip unless you really want to do it. When you see my finished layout you’ll know how I went on that. I planned to use a template for my layout so I did the process with the papers I planned to use, in the way I planned to use them. The solid is from the GingerBread Ladies Warm and Cozy January gift-with-purchase collab, and the foreground paper is from Ilonka DesignsRejoice kit.

The font I used is called Amadeust Regular. Choose a font that has some oomph to it, so you get the full effect. (Although we’re not gluing together skinny little strips of paper so I bet it would be fine to go with something more scripty or delicate too.) Make sure you have two copies of your foreground paper before you go on to the following steps. Turn the visibility of your top layer off so you can see what’s happening.

You can use any colour you want for your text because that layer is going to be deleted later. This it the title for my layout. At this stage, your text layer needs to be underneath your lower paper layer; I’ve made it visible here just for clarity.

Now Select your text by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the Layer Thumbnail. That will turn on the marching ants.

Make sure your active layer is the lower paper layer now. You’re going to Edit>Cut the text out of your lower paper layer. Keyboard shortcut for this is CTRL/CMD>X.

With both the text layer and upper paper layer visibility turned off, you can see the background paper through the “holes”. When you add a drop shadow to that upper paper layer, the appearance of your cut-outs will change.

If you want to, you can move your text layer up to just underneath the upper paper layer, but it’s not essential. Again, Select the outline of your text the same way. CTRL/CMD>Click on the text layer thumbnail. But this time we’re going to shrink the selected area just a tiny bit. Select>Modify>Contract is shown.

In the dialog box for that task type in the number 2, which will move the marching ants toward the centre by 2 pixels. It doesn’t have to be much, just a wee little bit.

The next step is to Invert the Selection. Select>Inverse or CTRL/CMD>shift>I.

With this step we’re going to cut away everything BUT the letters themselves. Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X.

Aha! See the red outline of my text? That’s exactly what I wanted to see.

The original text layer has served its purpose, so you can go ahead and delete it, or simply turn it off.

I made a copy of the INSIDE letter layer and will be working on the very topmost layer in the next step.

Here’s the fun part. We’re going to apply a Bevel Style to that topmost layer. Click on the Styles button at the lower right of your workspace and choose Bevels from the Styles menu.

I tried almost all of the Bevels on for size before settling on the Scalloped Edge style shown below.

It’s not exactly what I was looking for so I made some adjustments.

To adjust any Style or Effect on a layer, double-click on the fx to the far right of the layer in the layers panel. The menu box has several options you can change. I adjusted the Lighting Angle to 120°, which is the angle my template uses. The default setting for Bevels is 21 pixels, but that’s not the look I want so I decreased the amount of Bevel down to 5 pixels.

Then to make the offset look a little more obvious, I added a solid colour Fill Layer in the same turquoise as my background paper to the bottom letters-only layer. Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color.

Ensure the box next to Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask is checked and that the Opacity of the fill layer is 100%.

Then I Merged the two layers together.

Here the only layer not visible is the original text layer. I think it looks pretty awesome! I know it seems like even more work than the paper version, but it’s an illusion. Explaining it all makes it look like more work than it is.

When I put my layout together, I decided to add some brushes and some glossy glitter to the patterned paper layer. See how the white brush crosses the edge of the “O”? I love this technique and I think I’ll be using it a lot more.

Thanks Steph!

Tutorial Tuesday (Windows and Elements)

Following Up for Donna

Last week’s organization tips drew some great comments. Many of you have good systems for sorting and retrieving your digi goodies. But… there are some things that still prove elusive.

Donna had this to say: Dragging from all different folders from the finder is a pain in the ***, it was so much easier dragging from the searched results in photos.. Because I usually copy the files I plan to use and place them in a subfolder of my digiscrapping master folder, I hadn’t worked out a trick for that process that might streamline it a bit for those of you who prefer to drag-and-drop right from your folders into your scrapping software. Read on!

First I’ve shown my folder method using the search box in Windows. (Sorry, I’m not a Mac girl so I don’t have any tips for that platform.) I ran a simple search for “buttons“. The search box is at the upper right of the window and the progress bar runs from left to right as Windows does the work for you.

Once the search was done, I selected 4 buttons with a similar colour scheme, from 4 different folders. Remember, to make multiple selections, hold down the CTRL/CMD key while you’re clicking on the items you’re choosing.

Next, I Copied all 4 of the buttons.

Finally, I Pasted those buttons into a new Button folder I’d created within my Digiscrapping folder. Now, when I’m ready to use them in Elements, I can open that Button folder with the Open tool on the main screen. But that seems to be a little involved. Is there a way to select the same 4 buttons and open them in Elements without the extra steps? Work Smart, Not Hard, right??

OF COURSE!! I got Elements up and running. Then I activated that big Open button at the left of the main screen. But instead of having a dedicated folder with my buttons in it, I instead opened my Digikits folder and USED THE SEARCH BOX! It was something that had never occurred to me before. I typed “button” into the search box and waited.

Then I went through the results in the same way I would any other time. I Selected the same 4 buttons as before. (The image below shows the search results as a list. I did my selections using medium icons so I could see the actual images then I changed the display to a list so I could show you multiple selections.) When I had all 4 selected, I just hit that Open button at the bottom right of the menu.

And there they are! All from different folders and in fewer steps! I hope this is what Donna was looking for.

Her second organizational challenge reads like this: Having switched to using my cellphone as my primary camera these last few years has actually made it more difficult to group as events, etc because of all the random photos, notes, screenshots etc that I also take photos of. Open to any suggestions there…? This one is actually an easy fix. Both iPhone and Android have the ability to build albums with our photos. My Android phone creates some of its own albums, but I can make more to suit myself. Moving photos into the albums is as easy as clicking on them, going to the gallery menu and moving or copying the selected photos over. The key here is to sort them soon after you take them so it doesn’t become an all-day job. If you’re planning to use a group of photos taken on a specific day, make an album for that day. Sending the photos to the platform upon which you do your scrapping is the same process as whatever you’re doing now. If you’re using the iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive or some other cyber-sharing device, that will allow you access to all your phone folders. Give it a try and see if it makes life easier!

Next week I’ll be showing you another paper-to-digi technique courtesy of Steph Barry. I think you’re going to love it!

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Decluttering Isn’t Just for Homes

It’s January. It’s bone-chillingly cold in some parts of the world (like HERE!) and unseasonably warm in others. The holidays are over, and winter stretches out in front of us like a long and bumpy road. There’re no truly exciting events on the horizon, so what’s a girl to do? Well, the flyers are filled with supplies for organizing our stuff… But for digiscrappers, we don’t need to buy anything. It’s all right in front of us! I think now is a good time to talk about organizing our stuff, and maybe actually making some effort to get ‘er done. This is how I do it, but I know y’all have your own way of doing things, The important part is to DO it!

It’s not as important where we start as that we actually DO start. For me, the place to begin will be with all the new kits I’ve amassed but haven’t unzipped. This is actually my New Year’s Resolution, to unzip and relocate my supplies as soon as I download them. I was keeping up just fine until my dogs started fighting in the house and I had to spend a lot of time keeping them away from each other. I have a backlog, and I WILL attend to it ASAP. I use Extract Now, a free rapid unzipping app that makes the unzipping part pretty easy. I make folders within my download folder into which I unzip the new goodies, which eliminates a couple of steps in the process, and it works pretty well. I still go through each of the subfolders, deleting all the duplicate previews and things I know I’m not going to use (like alpha sheets!). If the kit is templates, I delete the PNG files and the TIFF files, and I add to the name of the previews to include single or double and the number of photo spots the template includes. That lets me put a keyword like “single4” in the search bar and Windows will find all the previews with 4 photo spots. Once I’ve arranged my folders the way I like them, I move them en bloc to my digikit folder for the store or designer as appropriate. Then my download folder should be empty. Until I fill it up again!

The way I sort my digikits is primarily by store or by designer’s creative team, with the exception of Heartstrings Scrap Arts… I have so many of Bryony’s kits I need a separate folder just for them. Having said that, my GingerScraps folder is ENORMOUS!  (24.6GB without the kits sitting in my downloads folder. Thank heaven I have a 2TB drive on this laptop!) I rename each kit’s folder: DesignerNameKitName, unless it’s a Buffet kit, then it’s MonthYearBufDesignerNameKitName. That makes it easier when I’m doing a store challenge.

I try to organize my photos as I take them, so the job isn’t too daunting. I don’t care for the Organizer that comes with Photoshop Elements so I don’t use it. But it can be very useful for both organizing and retrieving your photos. The Help menu can give you some ideas about how to maximize your efficiency. The way I file my photos is in folders… what else? I create a new folder for the current year, and a subfolder for each month. I download a lot of photos from my daughter’s Tiny Beans album where she posts pics of my grandchildren. Those I rename with a suitable tag so I can run a keyword search later. If I’m looking for photos of Aaron, I just type in his name. These photos go into the folder for the month and year they were taken so I have some frame of reference later. I have a folder for the photos my friend Sandy takes and graciously allows me to ‘steal’ and one for the photos I download from Pixabay. My Pixabay folder is broken down into subfolders by topic: Kids, Insects/Flowers, Animals, Portraits, Scenic and such. This method of filing makes it a lot faster to find what I’m looking for.

I also organize my layouts. I have folders for each month’s challenges, with subfolders for the challenges themselves. When the year is over, they all collectively are filed in a folder for the whole year. Then again, I have some folders that have copies of the finished layouts for my daughters’ weddings, my grandkids’ first years, all of my Ireland layouts and for the creative teams I’m on. It’s all about finding things later!

Since I set up this new(ish) laptop back in September, I haven’t taken the time to go through my 1400+ fonts and retag them for MainType. That’s something I really need to get on with! It’s a daunting task, but you know what they say. Focus on the first step. I know the time I spend on it now will decrease the time it takes me to find the one font I’m looking for later. The best part of MainType is that I decide what my tags are, based on MY workflow – how I search for things. And like everything else, if I work at it as I add new fonts, the amount of time I spend on it will go way down. But just writing about it is giving me a rash, so let’s move on!

One caveat. If you’re going to delete duplicate files, make sure you only delete the ones you’re not going to want to search for later. I made the mistake of using a Windows utility and chose the wrong metric so it removed a LOT of my original templates and left me with the PSD files for the last layout I used them for. Retrieving the original template takes a lot of time but is necessary when I use the search feature to find previews for my desired number of photos.

I’m interested to hear how YOU organize your stuff. So please, share your secrets!!