Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

More Fun with Blend Modes

When I started playing with Blend Modes for my Memory Mix It Up challenge layout, I wasn’t sure it would be worthy of a tutorial, but the comments in the Gallery soon changed my mind. Before I start the step-by-step, I want to assure you all that although this layout took me two days to complete, it wasn’t because the technical aspects were time-consuming. I was under the weather – literally AND figuratively – so I took my time. When you see the process, start to finish, you’ll see it’s really a quick but dramatic effect. I must also give credit where credit is due: I modified a technique presented by Nancy Adams, who is a creative team member for Anna Aspnes. Let’s dig in!

First, let’s talk about Blend Modes for a minute. New-to-digiscrapping readers are feeling a little overwhelmed, I can tell. In short, Blend Modes can lighten, darken, or alter the transparency of a layer without changing that layer’s Opacity. To change the Blend Mode, click on the bar at the upper left corner of the Layers panel where it says “Normal” and find the mode you’re seeking. We looked at all the options in this tutorial: Blend Modes? Say What? 

I’m so fortunate to have these professional photos of my great-grandfather Will and his siblings. They were taken shortly after the youngest, Geoff, was inducted into the British Army just after his 18th birthday. I’ve wanted to create a layout with them for awhile, and this challenge template was just perfect for the job. In order to recreate my workflow for this tutorial, I deconstructed my layout, stripping it down to just the layers that create the arty effect. The background paper is a simple “solid” gray from Jumpstart DesignsNo Ordinary Love collection. Other than the alpha I used for my title, all the elements of this layout are from that collection (because I liked the title!). My title alpha is from the GingerBread Ladies collab Spice of Life. The screenshot shows that all the other layers have been turned off, and I’ll turn them back on one layer at a time, working from the paper layer up.

In the Gallery comments, Jill pondered whether I’d done any (labour-intensive) extractions or other witchery to obtain my results, but I didn’t. I used the mask exactly how Juli (Miss Fish) designed it, in the exact spot she’d put it on the template. The Blend Mode was left at Normal, Opacity at 100%.

 

I positioned my large photo of Will and George over the mask layer, resized it to be sure it completely covered the mask and repositioned it so their faces were clearly visible. Then I clipped it to the mask. [Right-click on the photo layer and select Create Clipping Mask or CTRL/CMD>G for versions prior to PSE 15 or CTRL/CMD>ALT>G for later versions.] The first photo layer is Normal at 100%.

Next, I dropped a gray paint splatter on top of the photo layer, clipped to it. I left this layer’s Blend Mode and Opacity at the default, Normal and 100% as well.

I made a Copy [CTRL/CMD>J] of the photo layer, ensuring it was clipped to the mask as well. This time I changed the Blend Mode to Hard Light and left the Opacity at 100%. It makes the sepia tone even more vivid. Also, see how this layer brings more of the variations in the background paper into view.

I wanted to add some green hints to the layout, but not bash-you-over-the-head-visible. The uniforms in the photos were a khaki colour, not really brown, not really green. I added a green paint blotch on top of the second photo layer, but not clipped. I wanted it to extend onto the background paper too. Then I changed the Blend Mode to Screen (which lightens) and dropped the Opacity to 40%. Now the green looks more khaki, and it’s transparent so the detail in the photo shows through beautifully.

Adding a pink paint blotch layer on top of both the photo layer and the green paint layer without resizing, I changed the Blend Mode to Overlay (which lightens and increases transparency) and decreased the Opacity to 46%. See how the tonal changes make the photo more visually interesting? If the changes I make seem random, it’s because this is a very experimental process. I tried more than one Blend Mode and tweaked layer Opacity until I liked the way it looked. So it IS random! Don’t be afraid to play with your software. It’s how you figure out what you like and how to achieve it!

I made a Copy [CTRL/CMD>J] of the pink paint blotch layer and repositioned it. I made it quite a bit smaller than the first pink blotch, left the Blend Mode at Overlay and really decreased the Opacity to 21%. There’s a hint of colour, and the two other paint layers blend into the whole.

I was satisfied with the way the masked photo was looking so it was time to add in the second photo of Will’s siblings. I left the photo spot in precisely the place Juli put it, made no changes to it at all.

I clipped the photo to the spot and adjusted it to fit. I wish I could’ve gotten a bit more of Lily’s shoulders in there, but it wasn’t a big deal. For this layer, the Blend Mode is Darken and the Opacity is 61%. I played with the order of the layers a little; this one originally was the top photo layer, but it looked better as the bottom one.

This Copy layer of the second photo ended up with the same tonal quality as my large photo totally because of the Blend Mode change to Hard Light. With the Opacity at 100%, it’s tack-sharp and the sepia in the photo’s backdrop pops. From there, I finished my layout, adding in the other elements and applying custom shadows to each layer.

This is my finished layout. I LOVE how it turned out. The title reflects how although the three older brothers enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canada’s involvement in WWI was automatic when Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914; George V was the titular head of Canada at the time. They all spent a significant part of their time overseas in Britain, which made their parents – who were still living there – ecstatic. Lily and Geoff served with the British Army; Lily became a nurse and Geoff was part of the Short-Service branch. Geoff enlisted at 17 1/2 and was forced to wait until after he turned 18 to be inducted. He looks like a baby to me… Okay, enough with the history lesson!

There may not be a tutorial next week; my dad is unwell again and is undergoing a procedure on Monday. I may be tied up for a few days… and I know all of you won’t mind if I’m MIA. Have a good week, stay safe and stay healthy!

PDF Version: https://bit.ly/3x0382c

 

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Jan’s Like a Broken Record… or “Everything on its Own Layer”

Those of you who read these tutorials regularly will know what I’m talking about. I really flog the “everything on its own layer” as a Work Smart Not Hard tip. It recently occurred to me that I should explain that mantra a little more clearly. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Let’s start with Brushes. Brushes are fantastic tools and can really take your layouts to the next level. There are so many ways to to customize them and make them work for you. But if you don’t put them on their own layer, whatever you do to them – adding a style, changing colour, resizing them, rotating them or even repositioning them, for example – you will also do to the other thing(s) on that layer. Let’s say you want a paint splatter behind your photo(s). If you splatter that paint right on your background paper layer, then decide you need to move it so it peeks out more from behind your photo(s) your paper is going with it. Then you’ll need to UndoUndoUndo until you’re back at the beginning.

By creating a new blank layer and dropping your paint splatter on it, you can move it around to your heart’s content.

For border Brushes, you may want to flip that brush horizontally to make a top-and-bottom border. If it’s on the same layer as a button, you’re bringing the button along too.

If that border Brush is by itself, it’s easy enough to Copy that layer then flip it.

 

 

Another example: this month’s Challenge brush from Alexis Design Studio has two starbursts and they’d look stunning in different colours. But if you add your brush to a layer that has a flower on it, you won’t be able to Copy just the brush to change the colour of one of the starbursts, because the flower will be Copied as well.

And you couldn’t apply a glitter Style to the starbursts either, because the flower would get glittered up too. Do that a few times and you’ll be a convert!

While we’re talking about Styles, the benefit of applying a Style to an element on a separate layer let’s you pile Styles on top of each other. In this instance, you’d be Copying the layer you want to alter, then adding the Style to the Copy layer. Imagine I created a Custom Shape of a flower.

By making a Copy layer, I can add an acrylic gel Style to the petals and a glitter Style to the centre, removing the parts of each layer that conflict with each other.

A slight variation of putting things on their own layer is one I use for titles, whether I use a font or an alpha. I create an new document where only the title will be manipulated. Sometimes it takes a little imagination to decide how to align the letters or the words, but the advantage of the new document method is that when I like how the title looks, I’ll Merge each word. Then I can select all the layers and Duplicate them onto my layout, where each layer is still intact but can be nudged into the most appropriate spot. To Duplicate those layers, click on the first layer in the stack, hold down the Shift key and click on the top layer. That “selects” all the layers. Then right-click and choose Duplicate Layers.

Look for whatever you’ve named (or not named!) your layout and choose it from the menu and click OK.

There, all three of my title layers are there and I can move them around individually, resize them, rotate them or whatever I think they need.

I couldn’t resist. I had to apply some styles to my title so you can see how easy it is to turn a font into an alpha.

Essentially, you want to have as much control over the things that make up your layout as you possibly can. These tricks have streamlined my creative process quite a bit – in addition to using all those keyboard shortcuts I show you each week. When I’m squeezing a little bit of time out of an otherwise busy day because the creative bug just won’t stop biting me, whatever will help me move things along is vital!

I hope this has helped with understanding ObiJan’s Golden Rule!

PDF Version: https://bit.ly/36C3YaN

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Exploring Uncharted Territory (Elements Features)

Something about Elements popped up on my Pinterest feed the other night that had me scratching my head. How had I not explored this before? I’m talking about the Graphics menu. It’s a treasure trove! And I think it’ll be really useful for those new-to-digiscrapping who are still building up their stash. I know when I was first finding my way, I downloaded a lot of freebies – because they were free, I had nothing and I was on a budget – that I ended up never using. The things to be found in the Graphics menu will be a bit like that for a lot of us, but without having a look we’d never know. So let’s explore!

If your workspace doesn’t look like mine, you might not have that Graphics button down in the lower right corner. Not to worry. You can find the goodies by clicking Window>Graphics (or by clicking F7). The menu includes two dropdowns chock full of options.

 

I think top-to-bottom-left-to-right makes the most sense, so we’ll start with By Type: Backgrounds. You can think of Backgrounds as papers. There are a TON of them in this menu. They’re rectangular and in landscape orientation so if you prefer to scrap in a square configuration, you may need to move the Background to give you the section you want visible. They aren’t necessarily as elegant as designer papers, but they’ll do in a pinch!

 

Okay, so when you see this, don’t panic! Most of these Graphics don’t live inside your computer. You’ll need an internet connection so they can be downloaded into your software for the session at hand. Elements is a real resource hog already, so this is a bonus.

 

I’m not going to show you a lot of these. I liked the name of this one when I hovered my cursor over it, so I opened it.

 

Next up are the Frames. I WILL show you a few of these, because they’re pretty awesome! I don’t often use frames of any kind for my layouts, but I may start now that I’ve found these! It took me a minute (or ten) to figure out how to make them work but once I got it, I ran with it! For them to work properly, your photo CANNOT be a “Background“, it has to be a “layer“. Right-click on your photo layer in the Layers panel and select Layer from Background and you’re on your way.

 

This is the composite photo I created awhile back in the tutorial on compositing. I’m going to use it as my example.

 

Once you’ve selected a Frame from the menu and clicked on it to apply, you’ll see this. See the transparent background around it? No need for cropping or cutting it out with the Marquee tool! The slider lets you make your photo bigger or smaller so that the area of it you want in the frame can be fine-tuned. And the circular arrows are for rotating the photo 90° left or right.

 

After you’ve tweaked, hit the green checkmark and carry on!

 

I tried a few of these Frames. I like the look of this black glossy one for panoramic photos… like the millions of sunset photos I have.

 

This one didn’t excite me much!

But the collage Frame? I LOVE it!!

This rustic one would be great for an Old-West layout, or a heritage layout of pioneering ancestors.

The late 1950s and early 1960s were the heyday for deckle edges. There’s another one right next to it on the menu that also has a postmark, to give the photo a postage stamp appearance.

Then there are the two stitched borders. Quicker than sorting through my stash to find some stitches…

I do actually have a bin full of vintage photos. These four vintage Frames could be lovely additions to the ones I’ve scanned and cropped.

The Graphics group is also huge. There are all sorts of goodies in here!

Like this fabulous gold filigree photo corner (or is it a corbel? I’m watching DIY shows on HGTV as I work).

If I cropped out those brilliantly-lit houses in the lower left corner of my photo these filigrees would be even more amazing.

Looking for something more traditional? My mom had a box of black paper photo corners. Bet yours did too!

The white ones are a bit more modern-looking, but still traditional.

The Shapes menu is exactly the same as the Custom Shapes/Cookie Cutter one.

The Shape layer is under the photo, with the edge Selected by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the Shape thumbnail. The photo layer is the active layer and I’m going to add a white stroke to the outline.

Cheesy? Yeah, a bit. But it was fun to turn the moon into a flower! If I put this Stroke on its own layer I might Erase the parts of the petals that overlap the trees. What do you think?

The Text options are many! Several variations of effect in every colour. Only drawback is there’s no choice of font.

I think this might look equally “right” if I’d gone with one of the soft yellow gradients like the one two spaces down to the left. But the grey pulls its look from the moon.

Here are a few more samples.

So let’s recap a bit by going over the categories one by one, starting with By Type. Each of the categories will include all the Graphics from each of the groups that correspond to the tag.

Then By Activity.

And By Color.

By Event offers some great choices!

Which of us isn’t moody at times? All the appropriate Graphics here are sorted By Mood.

It might be quicker to find exactly what you’re looking for by choosing By Object.

So many people scrap by the season so this By Season sort takes the guesswork out of finding all the right stuff.

Here, By Style means something different than the usual Elements Styles. There are literally more than two dozen Graphics styles here.

You may never use any of these but isn’t it nice to know they’re there?

The saga of the crumbling laptop continues. The replacement I ordered arrived but it doesn’t work! Turns out it isn’t new (as I thought it was) and hadn’t been factory reset. I’m a bit tech-savvy so I did a factory reset but wasn’t able to go any further. I’ll be shipping it back and waiting on a different machine I ordered that might not be here until some time in August – it’s coming right from the plant. Meanwhile, I’ll limp along with this one, hoping it doesn’t completely die before I have a functioning replacement. Sigh.

PDF Version: https://bit.ly/2SXRK99

Designer Spotlight: March 2021

North Meets South Studios!

Well, February sure flew by at our house, and March is upon us. This month’s Designer Spotlight is shining on the creative minds behind North Meets South Studios: Connie Prince and Tracy Anderson, aka Trixie Scraps. Their design styles blend so flawlessly, which only serves to reflect on their very long, strong friendship. Let’s get to know them a bit better. Ladies, get ready!

J: How long have you been designing?

T: I’ll celebrate my 13th year in business this October

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

J: Ah, so you both came to designing around the same time! Connie, what made you decide to start designing?

C: 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: I think that’s fairly common, and it’s definitely part of my motivation to learn digital scrapbooking. What other craft let’s you have your cake (your digi supplies) and eat it too (use the same things over and over!)? Connie, what do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

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

J: I have 2 scanners and I don’t think I could live without them. Describe your design workplace for us?

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

J: I work on a laptop in my living room, about as minimalist as you can get! So, what motivates and inspires you as a designer?

C: 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: That’s how I feel about my tutorials. I love browsing the Gallery and seeing layouts using some technique I’ve written about. Tracy, you’ve been awfully quiet… so it’s your turn! What’s your favourite kit currently in the GS shop, and why?

T: My recent “She Shall Not Be Moved” is my favorite because it speaks to my faith. And I love the colors!

J: What would your perfect vacation look like?

T: Sitting on a beach somewhere next to Connie with our guys. And preferably with some of the “mommy juice” she makes in my tumbler.

J: Hmm, that sounds… interesting! Maybe we need a recipe for that! Tracy, are you more likely to sing, or to dance in the shower?

T: Sing… I love to sing and serve on the praise team at my church monthly.

J: I love music. It’s a big part of my every day. I’m listening to folk music right now in fact! Let’s talk about another favourite of mine… food! If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

C: 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.

T: Anything Italian, provided I make it.

J: I never used to like wings, and then my friend Patti’s hubby cooked some and I too was hooked. I love Italian food too. While we’re on a favourites roll, Tracy, what are your most and least favourite colours?

T: Least favorite is easy: orange Favorite is harder to choose… I like blue, purple and pink pretty equally.

J: I’m not overly fond of orange either, but yellow… ICK! Connie, what did you want to be when you were small?

C: 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: Teachers are so under-appreciated. I think they’re super-heroes! Tracy, if you could have a super power, what would you like it to be?

T: Mind-reading. I am often too trusting and also often unsure of where I stand with people. It would be nice to always know what someone was really thinking!

J: Ooh, I don’t think I’d want that. I tend to think everybody is just tolerating me, and to have that confirmed would be pretty awful. Have you ever met anyone who’s famous?

T: Yes, I’ve met a handful of athletes because my husband owned and operated a sports memorabilia company for over 10 years. Among the list are Joe Frazier, Magic Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Joe Torre, and Julius Erving. But there were a bunch more, too!

J: Cool! The famous people I’ve met are only famous in narrow circles, but that didn’t stop me from fan-girling all over them. That’s a good segué into this: Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

C: Cameron Diaz, she’s just quirky enough!

J: And she looks like you a bit, so that would be believable! Tracy, can you play a musical instrument?

T: When the pandemic started, I began taking piano lessons. I’ve come a long way in the last 10 months or so!

J: I took piano lessons when I was a kid, but we didn’t actually have a piano, so practicing was a problem. Same with learning to drive… While we’re talking about celebrities, what celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee Connie?

C: Dolly Parton, she’s a hoot!

J: She definitely is. I feel like she needs a warning label: Liable to make you laugh and cry in the same moment. If you had a warning label what would it say?

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

J: I’m there with you! Tracy, the last question is yours. Aside from necessities, what’s one thing you couldn’t go a day without?

T: Coffee. I mean, I *could* go without it, but I wouldn’t want to!

J: And why should you have to?? Thanks so much ladies for sitting down and chatting with me. Our GingerScrappers have gotten a glimpse into your worlds and I hope those who aren’t already huge fans are converts now.

Before I sign off for today. I want to make sure you all remember that Connie and Tracy are hosting the Daily Download and the Designer Spotlight Challenge for March. To go along with their month in the spotlight, the North Meets South Studios‘ entire store (bundles excluded) is 40% off the whole month of March!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Creating a Shadow Box Layout

Editor’s note: This is an intermediate level technique, with as much detail as I can get in here so it’s achievable by most.

Let’s see if I can get this finished and posted before our dog barfs again… She apparently ate two cotton bandannas (and I’m not positive that’s all!) and luckily for her, she was able to bring them back up before they created a surgical emergency. She’s not impressed with the forced crate rest or the fasting, but there’s been no vomiting now for about 4 hours. Cross your fingers!

Steph has once again brought me an idea for a tutorial that will blow you away. She found it in the challenges at another store and she (quite correctly) thought it would make a great topic. In fact, I had to it split up into two parts to avoid overwhelming the new-to-digi gals. But you’re gonna love it! And it dovetails with the custom shapes tut from last week, in a way. So let’s get after it!

I started by choosing a photo I wanted to showcase but this technique can absolutely be photoless, with a quote or word art as the focal point, or any combo of elements. Then I decided I’d use a heart shape. But not a boring, typical PSE heart. I used the Custom Shape heart as my starting point, then I changed it. A lot. Remember, to be able to do anything other than resizing, Custom Shapes have to be Simplified. I used the Transform tools, a Basic Brush and the Eraser tool to arrive at my final shape. You could use any shape that tickles your fancy, one of the preset ones in your software or a freehand geometric shape… whatever you like! Before we move on, let’s talk about the Transform tools (Image>Transform) a bit. If you haven’t played with them, DO IT!! It’s fun! There are several options in the dropdown menu: Free Transform, Skew, Distort and Perspective. You can use one or all of them on a single image, but not as a single step. I started with the Skew tool. The bounding box comes up with “handles” at the corners and at the midpoint of each side. Skew only moves in one direction at a time; if you grab a corner handle and drag it up, the side of the image the corner is attached to will stretch, while the rest stays the same. You can move the handle in any direction and for any distance you like. Distort is similar to Skew, but allows the image to look like you’ve turned it on its axis while maintaining the basic shape. Perspective moves the whole side of the Bounding Box. If you grab the top corner and drag it up, the bottom corner will move in the opposite direction in the same amount. We’re going to revisit the Perspective tool in a tutorial coming in a couple of weeks. But back to my heart – as I mentioned, I put a photo on my canvas and adjusted the shape of my heart so that all the parts of the photo I wanted to be visible would be visible. It was a bit of a process, moving back and forth between tools until I got it right.

Here I’m showing you how I got the photo part right. I wanted all the hands and feet in there, but not so much of the background. I switched between Selecting the edge of the shape by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the shape so the edge was visible on my photo, hiding the shape layer, deciding what I needed to do to the shape and then making those changes. Lather, rinse, repeat. I finally got it just right, with a relatively smooth edge and could move to the next step.

The first paper layer will be this hot pink. It matches my grandsons’ capes and my granddaughter’s mask and pants. (Their other grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and they’ve been doing the Walk for the Cure every year of their lives.) For this layout I used Jumpstart Designs Jumpstart Your February kit, which is free in the Challenge forum for the rest of the month. As you can see, the marching ants are still there from the last time I checked my fit.

I had to be sure my paper layer was active because I want to cut that shape out of the paper.

Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X will cut the shape out and the photo will be visible again. We’re going to do this step 5 times, one for each of my papers.

See what I mean? Perfect colour match!!

For the next step I resized the shape by clicking one of the corner handles and then typing the amount of increase I wanted into one of the size boxes. I chose 20% because it would be enough to be easily visible and it was easy to remember, because I’ll be doing this step 3 more times. But you do you. Make sure the Constrain Proportions is checked, unless you only want your change to go in one direction. That would also work with this technique, and give a really cool result.

For the next paper layer I went with this polka dot paper for contrast. CTRL/CMD>click on the shape layer, with the paper layer active and CTRL/CMD>X and there’s another cut done!

Here’s how it looks with 2 paper layers.

Then again, I increased the size of the shape by 20%.

Now, the shape layer doesn’t have to be directly under the paper you’re cutting. It can be anywhere in the layer stack. It’s the selection that Elements cares about, not where it is. I added another grungy pink paper to the pile.

On to the cutting part.

If you want to see how it all looks without the black shape in the way, just turn that layer’s visibility off.

I went ahead and added two more paper layers, increasing the size of the shape layer by 20% each time. Now to add the shadows so it looks like I’ve stacked all these papers on top of my photo, and used those foam strips in between to give me a big offset. I’m going to create my own shadows for each layer and will take you through that process. But you can absolutely use an inside shadow style like these ones from Karen Schulz if you’d rather. That’ll reduce the number of steps for you quite significantly.

That shape layer isn’t needed any more so I’m just going to delete it. Right-click on the layer and choose Delete Layer, of just hit the Delete key. Either method will work.

If you’re still reading along, we’re going to run through my method of creating customized shadows on a separate layer. There’s a tut for that here. The first step is to add a blank layer UNDERNEATH the layer you want to shadow, in this case my first paper. To do that quickly and easily, hold down the CTRL/CMD key and click on the sheet of paper icon at the top left of the Layers panel.

Then select the layer you’re shadowing by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the layer thumbnail (not the layer, because that’ll mess up your next step!). Using the Paint Bucket tool (click>K), fill the blank layer with your shadow colour. The colour will only go inside the selection, as shown in the Layers panel. I used pure black for simplicity but you can use a brown or gray if you’d rather. (There’s another way of filling this layer with your shadow colour, but this is the quickest with the fewest steps.) Decide where your light source is coming from (upper left corner for this example) and nudge your shadow so that it appears where the light source dictates it would appear in real life.

Now, real shadows can be harsh and sharp-edged, but that’s not pretty. So let’s not do that! The way to make your shadows look more realistic starts with adding a bit of Gaussian Blur Filter to them. Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur

We want the shadow to make the paper look like it’s quite a distance from whatever is under it, so the Blur can be significant. I went with 10.0 pixels.

This step isn’t essential. I change the Blend Mode of my shadow layers to Linear Burn. It makes them a little darker but more transparent, if that makes sense. You don’t have to take this step, but if you do, make sure you do it BEFORE you adjust your Opacity. If you do it AFTER the Opacity change, next time you go to nudge something, Elements is going to change the Blend Mode instead!

This screenshot shows the Blend Mode is Linear Burn and the Opacity has been lowered to 45%. Look at the shadow now, as it’s cast on the photo. The colours in the photo are still easily visible and unaltered by the shadow. I’m going to shadow all the paper layers in exactly this manner.

To review Step One: Blank layer behind that paper layer. Edges of the paper Selected by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the layer thumbnail.

Step Two: Fill the shadow layer with the Paint Bucket (click K) and click inside the canvas.

Step Three: Add a Gaussian Blur Filter. If you’re happy using the same amount of blur from the last step, the keyboard shortcut is CTRL/CMD>F and it’s done!

Step Four: Change the Blend Mode to Linear Burn. then decrease the Opacity.

I found that an Opacity of 45% was too harsh against a solid paper so I went down to 35% and it looks right to my eyes.

Follow the same four steps for each of the paper layers. This image shows 3 shadow layers finished.

And now all of them are done. Don’t you think the shadow-box effect works?!

For the second part of this technique, I’ll add some embellishments and show you how I shadowed each of them to achieve the final, cohesive look. My layout is here so you can check it out. See you in a week!

PDF Download: https://bit.ly/2ZqQ73D

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

Designer Spotlight January 2021

Wow… it’s already 2021! I know we’ve all been relieved to see the last of 2020, and are hoping for a much better year ahead. Let’s start it off right with some conversation. I’d like you all to get to know the two amazing women who are in the Designer Spotlight this month: Aimee Harrison and Cheré Kaye. Be sure to read to the end, because these lovely ladies have a little gift for you!

Let’s get comfy and chat, shall we? (I’m not really a Grand Inquisitor, I just play one on TV.)

Jan: How long have you been designing?

Aimee: I have been designing since June of 2009, two weeks after I discovered digital scrapbooking. I knew it was what I wanted to do right away.

Cheré: I’ve been designing since 2007, with a short break in there to bring home my daughter.

Jan: You’ve both been doing this a lot longer than I have! No wonder you’re so good at it! Next question… Cheré, what made you decide to design?

Cheré: When I first started, I was doing paper scrapping, but wanted something specific to print out for my page and couldn’t find it.  I started playing around, and my design career was born.

Jan: I can relate! That’s how I’ve built my tutorial business. Aimee‘s turn… what motivates and inspires you as a designer?

Aimee: My motivation and inspiration is color and my own photos. I love color and it inspires me in so many ways. Color combos, photos that showcase a scheme, Ginger’s spectacular palettes to us each month. They all inspire me completely. I love color and you can probably tell by the bright colors in some of my collections.

Jan: I love the way you use colour; your kits have a definite elegance. Cheré, you’re up! Please describe your design workplace.

Cheré: I have a small corner of our living room.  I love my setup. There are two walls so I have a bulletin board and a calendar, and pictures of my family.  My computer is on a small corner of the desk, and I have bits of paper everywhere because I’m always writing myself a note or sketching something out. It’s perfect for me.

Jan: I work in my living room too, but I don’t have a setup like that! Just a laptop, a zillion scraps of paper and a good lamp. How about you, Aimee?

Aimee: I work at a big table in front of four big windows in my bedroom. I love this space because it has plenty of room and I can look out over our front yard and watch the birds and squirrels. It’s also lovely to watch the sunrise, which really inspires me.

Jan: I have 4 big windows in my space but I see sunsets. I’m okay with that! Cheré, next question is for you. What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

Cheré: My favorite is probably Dear Prudence, shortly followed by Star of Wonder.  I love the muted colors of both sets, and how they really showcase your photos.

Jan: You’re right, they are such soft and versatile kits. (Click on the titles to see the kits!) This one is for both of you. What one word would your friends and family use to describe you?

Aimee: Sleepy, lol! I have narcolepsy and sleepy is how I am 100% of the time. But I try to not let it get me down. One of the reasons I love designing is because I can make my own hours. I need a lot of naps. But I can work at any time that I am awake and that makes a huge difference in my quality of life.

Cheré: Hopefully, it’s kind.  I put a high value on being kind to other people.

Jan: Wow… narcolepsy! I was always sleepy, but it was from shift work. Cheré, I know you’re kind. You’re one of the first people who reached out to me when I came to GingerScraps in those Night Owl chats. So tell me, what would you do if you won the lottery?

Cheré: I’d pay off bills and treat my family to a nice vacation.  (Then go straight back to designing, because I love it!)

Jan: They say that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Aimee, this is a weird question, but enquiring minds want to know… If time travel was possible, would you go back in time or ahead? Why?

Aimee: I think I would go back in time. I am not sure if I would go back so many years. I think I would go back in time to where my parents were alive and other family members so I could appreciate them all the more. I may be a huge history buff but I would want to live the life I have been given over any others.

Jan: I think a lot of us would do the same, love the people in our lives more obviously. So let’s give Cheré an odd question now, to keep things fair. Are you more likely to dance or sing in the shower?

Cheré: If I tried to dance, it would end badly.  Haha.  I do love to sing, though.

Jan: I’ll let you know how dancing in my shower works out… Speaking of physical, Aimee… What is your favorite game or sport to watch or play?

Aimee: I love to watch soccer. I wish it were a big sport here in the US as it is all over the rest of the world. It gets me fired up like no other. I love the Spanish team Barcelona and Leo Messi is my favorite player. I also love to watch Greco-Roman wrestling. In high school or college. I was the wrestling manager when I was growing up and have a great love for that sport.

Jan: Nope. Not a fan of either. I worked with a lot of doctors from South America so soccer was always on in the breakroom, and my grandmother loved wrestling so it’s not like I haven’t been exposed. Cheré, I love gardening so do you have a green thumb? What do you grow?

Cheré: I have ONE plant I can keep alive here on my desk.  The rest of them I either kill or my cat eats them.  My mother tried to teach me about plants – she could grow anything – but it must have skipped the generation!

Jan: I’m doing the same with my daughter! Here’s one for both of you. Can you play a musical instrument?

Aimee: I used to play the French Horn. I still think it is the most beautiful instrument there is. When I hear it, it stops my breath.

Cheré: I can play the piano, the guitar, the trombone and the flute.  I also love to sing.

Jan: Such talent! Some of my favourite pieces of music have French horn in the intros. A friend from high school played the flute in our orchestra and me? I can listen to music all day long. Now, what did you want to be when you were small?

Aimee: I wanted to be an archaeologist. I was very passionate. Still am. I pursued that dream well into college and when my narcolepsy became too bad to be able to pursue it any longer I decided to design scrapbooking kits.

Cheré: I wanted to be a musician of some sort.  I did that for a while, and now I just sing for my family.

Jan: Archaeology would be fascinating! But not a great profession if you’re not awake to enjoy it. I sing, sometimes at the top of my lungs, but I don’t have any talent. Now I have one of those dreaded job interview questions. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Cheré: I would lessen my anxiety.  I’m a pretty chill person – I don’t get angry easily at all – but the anxiety thing sometimes drains my energy.

Aimee: I would get rid of narcolepsy. If that was impossible, I would change how easily I get stressed out, lol. I think that is directly related to how tired I can get, though.

Jan: Stress, anxiety – two sides of the same coin, I think. I know them both well. And that’s a great segué into our last topic. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

Aimee: My Kindle. I listen to videos with it while I work and I read it when I’m done. I get so much use out of it that it could have been named after me. I go everywhere with it.

Cheré: Probably my iPad.  It plays music, I can keep up with the people I love, and I do most of my artwork on it.

Jan: You two are more alike than you are different. But your design styles are so different. I’m excited for the Daily Download. It’s going to be epic! Now before we rinse out our mugs and head for home, remember I mentioned Aimee and Cheré had something for you for sticking with this post to the end? Both of them have coupons for 50% off EVERYTHING in their stores for the entire month of January- excluding bundles, of course. Aimee‘s coupon code is: aimeeh-GS-SL-50 and Cheré‘s is CKH-SL-GS21. Their stores are linked at the top of the post by clicking on their names. If you’re not flat broke after the holidays, maybe you should take a look!

See you all right here again at the beginning of February with a brand-new Designer Spotlight.

 

 

Tutorial Tuesday (Fonts)

Christmas is Coming… Get Your Fancy Fonts HERE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Stuffing that Envelope!

Did you ladies enjoy the tutorial on Reflections, Perspective and Shadows from a few weeks back? I hope you did. I know the ladies on the creative team for Ginger at Dandelion Dust Designs did, and becky_a wound up with a Layout of the Week with her version of the scraplift. After such success, the team has brought me another technique challenge after they found this beautiful layout by Blackkathy.

That envelope is to die for, isn’t it? It looks three dimensional and so real! So challenge accepted. Let’s hit it!

I looked and looked through my stash for an envelope or pocket I could transform and came up empty. So I created a template, which I’ve zipped up for you to download if you like. You can find it here. Then I clipped a paper from CathyK‘s Christmas Delight kit to it. (It’s rotated 90° to have the stripes running diagonally instead of the original vertical.) When you go to use the template, clip your paper to the base layer BEFORE you move your envelope onto you layout. That way you’ll have both the paper layer and the stitching together.

Then I loaded up the envelope with pretty seasonal goodies that will work with my photo. (It’s from Pixabay, the photographer is Terri Cnudde.) I used more of the elements in Christmas Delight as well as from a couple of CathyK‘s other kits. Remember when you’re putting objects “inside” pockets or envelopes that are stitched down that your objects have to sit within the stitched border. They shouldn’t rest UNDER the stitching, unless they’re flat or you plan to warp your pocket/envelope around them. In this screenshot you can sort of see the bounding box for the crocheted snowflake I’ve tucked in there. (More about THAT choice later…)

To achieve the dimensional look of a stuffed envelope we’re going to use the Dodge and Burn tools. I’ve shown several ways to use these tools before and if you’re already comfortable using them, you’ve probably figured out where I’m going. first up is the Burn tool. If you remember the basics, Burning darkens or burns the where you apply it, while Dodging lightens. I’m going to use a LARGE (367 pixels) soft brush with the Burn tool with the Range set to Shadows and the Exposure set to 55%.

Make sure the active layer is the ENVELOPE and keep it the active layer all the way to the end! I’m right handed and work toward myself rather than away, but you’re welcome to start with either corner, depending on your own preference. I’ve placed the cursor as shown to centre the tool over the actual corner of the envelope. Click and drag the brush down, across and back up along the edge of the envelope to darken it where it would be more tightly attached to the background.

Now you can see the difference. It already looks more contoured. And you could stop here and it would be just fine!

But that’s not my jam… so I’m going to highlight areas where the paper of the envelope would be stretched by the things inside it. I started with the chocolate dipped spoon. To know exactly where the handle is touching the paper on the inside of the envelope, I CTRL/CMD>clicked inside the layer thumbnail for the spoon – don’t click on the layer itself, just the thumbnail. You don’t want to change your active layer! The marching ants show me where the edges of the handle are and I can adjust the size of my brush to fit inside. This time I’m using the Dodge tool with the Range set to Midtones, the brush size is much smaller (65 pixels) and the Exposure is 30%. I click-dragged the brush down the centre of the handle.

And this is the effect it gave me.

Then I moved on to the candy cane, which is sitting underneath the spoon. It *might* be pushing the spoon into the paper a little harder so the area where they intersect is a smidge lighter.

This springerle cookie mold is a bit more complex. It has a significant ridge in the centre of the outline and so I’m going to do the Dodging in two steps. First I’ll do the whole width of the metal, then with a smaller brush I’ll go over the high ridge again. I’m not going to be too picky here, just close enough.

I think it still needs something. So I’m going back to the Burn tool with a smaller brush and I’ll go around the outside of the star to add a bit of shading.

It doesn’t have to be right there in your face, but perceptible if you know what you’re looking for.

This little gingerbread house cookie has holes in it. So I think it needs the same treatment.

See what I mean? It’s subtle, but definite.

I kept working down the layers, adding contour as I went. This paper strip really only needed a tiny bit of shading/Burning along the edge, since it’s flat and probably a bit stiff.

Ah yes. The crocheted snowflake. What was I thinking? Dodge the high spots, burn the low spots. Zoom out. Look at it. Zoom in and add a bit more. Zoom back out. Repeat until I’m happy.

There, I think that’s good enough!

Here’s how it’s looking so far. I think I might add a bit more shading to the outside edges of the envelope, and in between the thicker objects.

I’m really pleased with how it looks. So now to finish the layout!

 

 

 

Designer Spotlight: November 2020

Wimpychompers!

Here we are in November already. 2020 has, in so many ways, definitely been an annus horribilus, to steal from the Queen. Hopefully there are better days ahead!

I’d like to introduce you all to Christina, the creative genius behind Wimpychompers. (I just wish I would have thought to ask her how she came up with that name… I’m sure there’s a story there!) She’s in the Designer Spotlight this month and has gifted all of us with a fabulous Daily Download. Make sure you’re picking up your pieces while they’re available.

J: How long have you been designing?

C: I want to say 10 or 11 years

J: What made you decide to design?

C: I got really interested in making signatures in forums actually. I started messing around with Paint Shop Pro (ha) and ended up writing tutorials for signature making. I swore I would never start digital scrapbooking as I did paper scrapping at the time but soon changed my mind. Once I started figuring out the program I switched to digital, then decided I loved designing.

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

C: Mostly Photoshop but I have recently gotten my hands on Procreate so we will see if I add my own drawings to my items

J: Describe your design workplace.

C: My couch. (laughs). I sit on the couch with a lap desk, it’s the most comfortable and especially helpful now that my kids are doing school from home and have taken all of our desks.

J: What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

C: I love looking at colors on Pinterest but mostly I am theme driven. I especially love to do kits I know I could use.

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

C: Can I say all of them? (ha). I would say the entire When I Grow Up series, it’s not technically one kit but that one took a lot of time and makes me smile, each kit being so different.

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

C: Ooh, dangerous. Cinnamon rolls probably although my waistline may not appreciate that one

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

C: I don’t watch sports but I love playing Lego video games with my kids, it can be therapeutic to smash everything in the game.

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

C: A children’s book author, a teacher, and a ballerina

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

C: Hugs from my kids, they are teens so it’s not as often anymore and I take them when I can!

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

C: I’ve never considered this one. Maybe someone like Kristin Bell

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

C: Caution: Can go off on a tangent with no warning!

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

C: Maybe Reese Witherspoon

Before we say thanks and see ya to Christina, I think I should tell you that she’s put everything in her store on sale at 30% off for the WHOLE MONTH of November!! That’s really generous, and I bet it boosts her sales pretty nicely, just in time for Black Friday and Christmas. I’m going to check it out right now!