Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

November Challenge Spotlight: Template Challenge

Is the timing for our Challenge Spotlight perfect this month, or what? This week nobody has to try following Jan’s twisted and tangled directions! Because who’s got time for that right now? This month I’m shining a light on one of my faves, the Template Challenge. I LOVE templates… and for those who think they stifle creativity… well that’s simply not true. Templates enhance creativity! I look at them as a foundation, not something to follow slavishly; the template designer takes some of the guesswork out of layout creation, but leaves the scrapper in the driver’s seat. Sure, if you love a template exactly as you see it, you can faithfully duplicate the designer’s vision to create a beautiful layout. But if you’re like me, you see a template as more of a springboard; I often flip or rotate my templates, resize or reposition photo spots, add, subtract or substitute elements and make my layout uniquely mine. Let’s look at some examples of what can be done with a single template and how amazing the results are.

Before I forget, I’d like to welcome Dagi back to the family. Dagi has been designing templates for many years; her nom-de-plume was originally Dagi’s TEMPtations, then more recently Dagilicious. She’s taken a couple of sabbaticals from designing when life has required, and now she’s back again with lots of fresh looks. She has provided the November challenge template (did I forget to mention they’re FREE every month?) and it’s fantastic! Here’s a peek, in case you haven’t seen it.

Her Creative Team member Karen took the template and created this layout with it. As you can see, Karen kept her layout true to the template, and it’s gorgeous.

Now on to the Gallery! [PS… Each Challenge has its own Gallery. You can find the Template Challenge Gallery here. Each layout is also linked: click on the scrapper’s username!] First up is a cute layout by Yvonne55. She stayed pretty faithful to the template, but has blended some papers, added a stitched border, substituted some string for wordstrips, stitched down the journal card and added that little clothespin to anchor her single wordstrip.

I’m going to guess that Cinna doesn’t like bows… she’s substituted wings for one and some brass elements for the other. She tossed in some sequins, some scribbles and extra paint, but the bones of the template are easily identified.

KatherineWoodin is a storyteller. Her layouts are daily diary entries and she does a beautiful job of enhancing those stories with her choices. Here, she’s rotated the template 90° to the left. The large photo spot became her notepaper and the journal card is replaced with a photo. She added some scattered flowers and butterflies too. And check out that cool font for her title!

I admire people who can capture good photos of birds. granny5pics subbed a tag for the journal card, some fine curly ribbon for one of the bows and some wooden bird cutouts for wordstrips. She added some twigs behind the paper/photo stack.

Look at this little cutey! Got2Scrap has added a photo in the upper right, a grungy brush behind all the paper and photos, eliminated the wordstrips and perched a cowboy hat on the photo stack. The template is recognizable, but not in a cookie-cutter way.

This layout from Glee is a significant departure, but the bones are still there. She eliminated the paint splatters, going with a patterned paper instead. Her focal photo is long and skinny, and she’s filled the space with doodles. Then she tied the ribbon cluster to the photo/paper stack with a hot air balloon. She’s used word art rather than wordstrips. Very cool!

When I look at Jill‘s layout, the template influence isn’t really obvious, but the more I look at it the better I can see it. She’s made the photo spot smaller and framed it in black rather than white. She moved one of the large clusters to the opposite corner and tucked it underneath. She deleted the journal card, filling it instead with paper. Her stitched border and the addition of a pair of buttons to it is a deft touch. And what can I say about the rubber ducky?

There are SO MANY creative tweaks to the template in cinderella‘s layout. She’s turned the photo spot into a cut-out and has that amazing extracted photo popping up from inside it. The elements in her clusters are positioned with the template’s placement as a guide, but she has a very different look with the die-cuts. Tucking some strong into the background and scattering some beads rounds out a interesting and eye-catching layout.

At the most basic, makeyesup‘s layout has the look of the template, but not. I know that’s not really sensible, but she’s made a lot of choices that really sets her layout apart. Her dark background and muted colours are visually pleasing. Rather than use a journal card, she’s created a dialog box to describe her photo. The primitive bird atop the paper immediately made me think of “plain” folks, like the ones who settled Salem more than three centuries ago.

Derby Wharf

Now, where have I seen that background paper before? Oh yes… in the first layout I showed you. And the template’s form is quite apparent. But the layouts couldn’t be more different! greenfiend127 replaced the journal card with a circular tag and it works beautifully. She replicated the stitched border on each of her papers and her photo, giving the layout such an organic look. Exchanging the zigzag paper strip borders for a narrower papercut border is another way she’s made the template her own.

I hope you’ll find some inspiration in these layouts and begin to see templates with a new perspective. If you see the Challenge layout I’m going to post later, see if you can identify the changes I’ve made. What are some ways you can bring your unique style to a template? Give it a whirl!

Next week I hope to have something really different to show you. If my experimentation works the way I think it will… Meanwhile, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the USA. While y’all are watching football, I’ll be binge-watching Yellowstone. See you soon!

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3IbAXo7

Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Use It All! Challenge Spotlight

The response to my Jumpstart Your Layout Challenge post showcasing YOUR layouts and YOUR individual style was so good, I’m going to choose one Challenge each month and shine a Spotlight on it. It’ll be the last post of the month and I think it’ll be really a lot of fun! This month I’ve chosen another Challenge that includes a FREE mini-kit, the Use It All Challenge with Karen Schulz.

Each month Karen provides a mini kit – shown above – but for this Challenge, ALL the items in the mini MUST be included in your layout. Karen’s Challenge minis are add-ons to larger kits she has in her store, so if you like the mini you’ll LOVE the full collection! (Find Trick or Treat here!) [Pssst… Karen has a little surprise in the download, but I’m not going to include it in the upcoming layout showcase. Only those layouts using the 6 papers, 5 elements and 1 word art in the preview are shown.] Let’s have a look at how YOU have been inspired by this mini!!

In this layout, willow has given us a layout that isn’t about Hallowe’en. I had to really look to see how she blended the arty background paper with the much brighter orange-and-plaid paper, so skillfully was it done. Her beaded flower clusters frame her masked photo and the graffiti piece grounds it.

Sweetpea2020 has used a variety of paper shapes to mat her photos. The pops of orange draw the eye and the curly ribbon provides a frame for them.

Here, Flighty-188 has also blended the arty paper with the brighter orange-plaid paper but in reverse, and she’s given the graffiti the look of an actual piece of screen. Add in the raffia bow in the upper left corner of her photo and the cluster in the opposite corner, and she’s made great use of a visual triangle to create movement around the layout.

AlyciaIN‘s layout made me smile. Her little Hermione looks like she’s levitating! The basics of her layout are similar to Flighty-188‘s but with the paper borders’ straight edges, it looks quite different. Can you see a visual triangle here?

This simple layout isn’t as simple as it looks! khoskins has stacked the papers in a pleasing arrangement, and turned the graffiti into a pretty anchor for her photos. I like how she framed her photos with black paper to bring them into focus. She also created her own custom tag using the brighter orange paper and word art very creatively.

By clipping the lighter-coloured paper to a mask on a black background, KatL has cleverly drawn the eye right to that grinning Jack. Placing the beaded flower off-centre on the raffia bow adds interest to the cluster and tilting the word art is a nice, informal touch.


The way galaviktor has spread out the sheets of paper form a pattern that frames her photos nicely. Creating a brushed border for the word art, she’s pulled the colour variations from the arty paper into focus.

Isn’t Zelda just the cutest girl on four legs? For all its simplicity, NHSoxGirl‘s layout is very eye-catching, and the heart paper behind the word art has a lot to do with it.

The interlocking paper-strip squares AJRandom has created here both ground and highlight her photos. I like how she’s tucked the ribbon between the photos and then anchored them with the beaded flowers. I just noticed that she’s positioned the paper with all the eyes on it so that only one set of eyes is peeking at us. LOVE it!!

What can I say about greenfiend27‘s layout? It’s genius! Her paper borders are shadowed beautifully to give the appearance of papers overlying each other. Blending the graffiti into the paper behind it and using it to anchor her cluster shows her creativity. Having the ribbon dangle adds focus to her cat’s beautiful eyes and her clever alterations to the word art is just the right whimsical touch. A+!

Can you believe that October will be over the next time we meet? There’s snow on the mountains already but none here in the valley yet. It’s crazy how quickly time flies. Considering how awful this year has been for so many people, I’m thinking the sooner 2021 is in the rearview mirror, the better.

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


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 (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


Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Selectively Colouring your Photos

This month’s Color Challenge is a bit different; instead of being presented with a swatch and asked to use those colours, Ivonne (Craft-tastrophic) has asked for layouts in black-and-white, with just some pops of colour. The examples she shows in the Forum are great inspiration, but what if you don’t know how to achieve “selective colour” in your photos? That was what Glee asked me. I thought I had a tutorial on the subject, but turns out I didn’t. So I set out to remedy that. I’m going to show you three different ways to accomplish it, at least one of which should work for you regardless of which version of Elements you have.

Some advice: This task is a lot easier if you have a photo with a lot of contrast between the item(s) you want to colour and the rest of the image. Let’s get started!

I chose this Pixabay photo for my example, a choice I came to regret just a little. More about that later. The first method I’ll show you is the Guided Edit version. I tried to find out when it was added to Elements, but didn’t succeed. I think it was likely Elements 14 or 15, but can’t confirm. I tried it first using the B&W Color Pop edit, which allows you to select a colour from the photo and it’ll automatically convert the rest of the photo to black-and-white, but it’s a lot restrictive. Super easy, but only good for a single colour. So I went on to use the B&W Selection edit.

The Edit comes up with this interface, and it literally tells you what to do first. The B&W Selection brush goes on the part of the photo you don’t want to stay in colour. For this step you can use a pretty big brush to make quick work of the bulk of the background.

The cool part of this Edit is that if you oops and accidentally desaturate some of the part you want to stay coloured, you can toggle from Add to Subtract and just return the colour to the image.

Yep, I got carried away with my big brush and messed it all up.

With a smaller brush I put the yellow back into the chick. But it’s not quite getting all the details… those darned little feathers! So I’m going to go on to Refine Edge.

You’ll be able to see what effect the Edge Dectection slider makes on the photo. Did you notice there’s one fingertip in colour?

Next I’ll use the B&W Detail Brush to fix up the beak and feathers.

I ZOOMed in a LOT so I could be more precise, and used a small brush.

If you want to check your results, you can Invert the effect and it’ll show you where you’re still not quite there. When all the details have been fine-tuned, revert it so your coloured area is the actually desired area, and click on the Next arrow. Then you can Save it for later, or Continue Editing.

The second method I want to show you uses the Magnetic Lasso Tool, first seen in Elements 12. It’s a bit less automatic, but can give you great results. Not familiar with the Magnetic Lasso? It looks for contrast between the object you’re selecting and what’s beside it. Pick a spot to start from and click on the edge. You don’t have to hold down the mouse button, just draw a line around the edge of your object. Elements will add attachment points as you go. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be pretty good. When you get back to your starting point, you’ll see the marching ants appear around the outline of your object. As you can see in the Tool Options box, there are many ways to tidy things up. I Added the tiny feathers into the selection area using a smaller tip.

The next step is to Invert the selection. Select>Inverse or CTRL/CMD>SHIFT>I will move the edges of the selection to the background, ignoring the chick in the centre.

To change the background to black-and-white, click Enhance>Convert to Black and White… or CTRL/CMD>ALT>B. If you don’t have that option in your version of Elements, instead click Adjust Color>Adjust Saturation and pull the Saturation slider all the way to the left.

Did you know there were a variety of B&W styles? If you have the time, try the options. It’s fun! Each of these styles can be further adjusted with the color channel sliders. You can watch what happens to your image in the After pane.

For a quick selection this isn’t too bad! If your object has very smooth edges, this method can work really well and be as effortless as the Guided Edit.

This final method is achievable with all versions of Elements. It’s the most labour-intensive, and if you’ve got a very irregular edge on your desired object, it’s the one that will give you the best results. First things first – make a Copy of your photo and do all your adjustments on the Copy. You can right-click on the photo and choose Duplicate Layer, or click Layer>New> New Layer via Copy or CTRL/CMD>J. Then convert the Copy layer to B&W as I showed you above.

I wanted this B&W layer to have an even higher contrast to make the Selection part easier, so these are the adjustments I made.

ZOOMed in you can see how much easier it is to see those little feathers. Now to add a Layer Mask.

The easiest way to add a Layer Mask is to use the Layer Mask button. (Duh.) It’s the one that looks like a circle divided into two halves, one blue and one white. When you click on it, the mask appears to the right of the photo. To be positive you’re working on the MASK and not the photo itself, look for the blue outline around the blank mask.

Layer Masks are considered non-destructive edits, because they don’t Erase the image, they only conceal it – even though I’m using the Eraser Tool! If the foreground colour is white, whatever I Erase will be concealed. If I make a misstep, I can toggle the foreground colour to black and un-Erase it. I like to use a Brush tip with the Eraser Tool when working on Layer Masks because the edges are softer. The Pencil tip is more pixelated. I’ve made the original photo layer invisible. See the transparent area where I’ve removed the bird? I prefer to do that for the initial scrubbing, where I can use a big tip and go as quickly as my laptop will allow.

For the detailed areas, having the original layer visible helps to see where more touching up is needed.

I ZOOM right in so I can see exactly what I’m doing, and bring all those darned feathers back into colour. The beak and feet need attention too.

Up this close, I can see a dark edge to the beak and some of the feathers. That tells me I’ve got the precise edge where the chick meets skin. It’s not going to be noticeable when it’s back at a more usual size.

Yes, I used a 3 pixel Brush tip on some of these feathers. I actually went all the way down to 1 pixel, because that’s how I’m made. In later versions of Elements Adobe has introduced a Refine Selection Brush that I haven’t mastered yet, so I still do it the hard way. Later…

Almost there!

And this is the final result. I do like this method best for really detailed images, but isn’t it great to have some options?

As I mentioned in my last tutorial, my laptop is literally crumbling, but it still lets me get things done. I have a new one coming next week; I’m dreading the setting-up but have backed up all my important files so it should be okay. If you haven’t backed up YOUR important files, you might want to do it now, so it doesn’t get forgotten. Who wants to lose everything?!

PDF Link: https://bit.ly/3cM8l6E


Tutorial Tuesday – GingerScraps

New Year, New Challenges!

2021 has gotten off to a smashing start at GingerScraps. There have been a lot of “new” ladies joining our Facebook group and that tells me we’re doing something right. I truly believe GingerScraps IS the “friendliest place in the Digi Scrapping world“. Participation in our Forum has grown so much over the last year, especially in the Welcome! subforum. Of course, each of us is looking for something specific when we embark on a new adventure. For me, I came to GS as a creative team member for one of the GingerBread Ladies; this was my “assigned” store. I spent some time looking around, trying to find a way to engage myself and discovered the GingerScraps Challenges. Bonanza!!!

For those of you who have been GingerScrapping for awhile, you probably already have an established Challenge routine and likely won’t feel the need to read on. That’s cool… no pressure! But if you’re still getting comfortable here, you might not have looked into the Challenges and could maybe use some pointers. AND……. there are NEW challenges beginning this month so I want everybody to know about them.

Let’s begin with some general Challenge info. Challenges are one of the best ways of building your skills, and they also provide a framework to build them on by giving specific guidance such as a topic, a technique, a template or a word art. They’re also a good kick-start when you’re not really sure what you’re going to scrap, or when you’ve lost your mojo. But at GS, Challenges also provide a method of growing your stash! Several of the Challenges include access to high-quality freebies, such as brushes, mini-kits, templates and word art – you just have to download them! Even better than that though is the Challenge Reward! These Rewards are mega-kits created in collaboration by several of the GingerBread Ladies and there’s a new one every month. The January Reward looks like this:

Missi (missdamsel) does a really good job of explaining how Challenge Rewards work in the Cookie Jar – the Challenge tracking thread where you link to the layouts you’ve created for the Challenges. More about that later. But I’ll give you a little recap: You must create a different layout for each Challenge. Your Challenge layouts generally must contain at least 50% GingerScraps content – things available in the GS store – although the Designer Spotlight Challenge has a higher required content rule, 90% to be product from the Spotlight Designer(s) only. Another must is that you also post your layout in the Challenge thread. When you upload your layout to the Gallery, please also include the Challenge category in your description so it goes into that Challenge’s Gallery too. There’s a detailed set of instructions for this process in the tutorial A Road Map for Newbies. (**Just had a thought when I was talking to my hubby about this tut… MAKE SURE YOU’RE UPLOADING TO THE CORRECT YEAR’S CHALLENGE GALLERY!) When you’ve completed TEN Challenges and recorded them in your Cookie Jar, you’ll receive the Challenge Reward kit for the month you hit that milestone. Missi keeps track of all the Cookie Jar entries and sends out a Private Message with the coupon code for the Reward to the scrappers who qualify. One thing that can be confusing is that if you go OVER ten layouts in a given month, those “extra” ones aren’t carried over for the next month. If you create ten layouts every month, you get all the Rewards! Okay, that’s the important 411 on general Challenge stuff. Now let’s talk about some of the new ones!! (Each of the Challenges will be linked in the description so you can just click on the red text and go right to the Challenge. All coloured, bold text in this tutorial has a link attached.)

The Challenges are listed in the Forum in alphabetical order, so that’s how I’m going to discuss them. First up is Jumpstart Your Layouts: with Jumpstart Designs. GingerBread Lady Sheri provides each Challenger with a free product – this month it’s a really cute mini-kit – and the “rules” for the Challenge, which will change each month. For January she wants each scrapper to scrap their inner thoughts about the coming year, and include a selfie somewhere on the page. For some of us, the selfie IS the challenge!

Connie Prince has changed the focus of her monthly Challenge so I’m considering it to be a new one. Life Chronicled is a way to scrap about the more ordinary parts of our lives to give our future generations glimpses of our lives as they were every day, to let them into our heads a little so they “know” us. She gives some talking points to help decide where the layout will go. She also includes a mini-kit, that coordinates with one of her larger kits, for inspiration. (It’s not a required component, though.)

Marina brings us our third new challenge, Magical Scraps Galore’s Surprise Challenge. Each month the focus of the Challenge will be a complete surprise. For January she’s requiring a ten-item overlapping cluster on your layout with a list of each of the 10 objects included when you post your layout to the thread. Clusters can be really intimidating to new scrappers, and if you need some support, there’s a tut for that: Creating Clusters… Not Clutter

While it’s technically not new, the Mix It Up Challenge is now being hosted by Mish Fish every month. It’s similar to the Surprise Challenge in the sense that every month the goals will be a surprise. For January, Juli has given us a 1-2-3-4 list of ingredients for our layouts. 1 word title, 2 photos, 3 flower/element clusters (clusters again!) and 4 (or more) lines of journaling. Piece of cake, right?

This next one is bound to be a huge hit. My Favorite Things with CathyK is another opportunity for personal layouts, focusing on YOU and what you take pleasure in. Cathy would like us to think about, then scrap, some positive moment from 2020 for her inaugural Challenge. It wasn’t the most uplifting of years for far too many people, but there’s always at least some good mixed in with the bad. When I read Cathy’s post, I knew immediately where my layout will go.

Scraps N Pieces is bringing us a Pinterest Challenge. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to get into Pinterest, she’s done it for you!) Each month she’ll provide a mood board created from images she’s pinned, each with a related theme, to provide you with some inspiration. Your layout can take its cues from any aspect of the pinned images that pop into your head. January’s images are about food and how we relate to it. Who hasn’t started a new weight loss plan in January?

And the final new Challenge for 2021 is the Quote Challenge with BoomersGirl Designs. Each month Lori will provide us with a quotation she’s found meaningful. The challenge is to use it as a basis for a layout, but it doesn’t have to INCLUDE the quote. January’s quote is about the gift of time, and what we do with it. Layouts will end up related, but unique, because our personal stories will take us each in a different direction.

I have my personal favourites when it comes to Challenges and I have my own process for doing them. Having worked as an ICU nurse for 25 years, process for me is like breathing! It helps me organize myself and keep myself on track. I start off at the beginning of the month by looking at each of the Challenges I enjoy doing to see if they spark anything. If they do, I right away create a folder for them. (I have folders for everything!) The folder’s name will include the Challenge name and some clues about the topic so I can see at a glance what I should be looking for later when I’m ready to work. If the Challenge includes a freebie like a brush or a mini-kit, I extract the zipped folder right into my Challenge folder. Then when I’m ready to create, I Copy all the photos, elements, paper and whatever else I expect to use into the folder too so it’s all in one place. Once the layout is finished and I’ve posted it to the Gallery, I change the name of the folder by adding a simple hyphen at the front of it that tells me it’s complete. You can see in the screenshot (you had to know there’d be a screenshot!) none of the folders have a hyphen… I haven’t done any work yet. But I’m going to start right away, because I WANT the Challenge Reward!! You might also have noticed that half of those folders are for the new Challenges. Because they’re awesome!

On a more tutorial note, my plan for the coming year going forward is to have the tutorials available as PDF files. It’s a work-in-progress as Ginger and I try to work out the logistics, but we wanted you to know the work is happening to make it a reality! Unfortunately, the amount of time required to convert all 200 previous tutorials would be huge, so they won’t be converted. Stay tuned!


Here is a link to this tutorial in PDF version! https://bit.ly/3biN5FP

Challenge Spotlight: Mini Kit Challenge

Hey there scrappers. How is your iNSD going? Are you enjoying all the fun and games?

Today I’m focusing on the Mini Kit Challenge hosted by Alexis Design Studio. She is providing this gorgeous mini kit to use:

These colors are amazing. Reminded me of spring flowers. Photo credit to my hubby on this one. He loves to take pictures for me to scrap.

And I found these beautiful layouts as well.

From moorefarmcrafts:

From pagefrocks:

And from poki04:

The colors in this kit are just gorgeous.

Remember when you complete 10 challenges, you get this amazing kit:

Challenge Spotlight: Desktop and Inspiration

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

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

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

From cutiejo1:

From MarilynZ:

From sltppr:

And from constablec:

So lovely.

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

Let’s see what I found.

From 01lousmith:

From alexandergirl68:

From lilholmes6:

And from roxana:

I love all of these.

Remember, 10 completed challenges gives you this kit:

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


Challenge Spotlight: Template #2 and Signature

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

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

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

From digiscrapmomma:

From Jill:

From momto4:

And from Yvonne55:

I love this template.

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

From greenfiend27:

From ktmoonblue:

From rosecca:

And from shawnarenee31:

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

Let’s {bloom & grow}!!

Challenge Spotlight – Update

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

I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy!