Tutorial Wednesday (Photoshop Elements)

Weaving – the Digital Way

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/428oL1i

Sorry to keep you waiting! When Ginger send me an idea for a tutorial that I really loved, I had no idea it would end up being much more complex than at first glance. I scrapped the first two attempts at making this a coherent process and I think you’ll find it’s not as bad as all the screenshots – and your faithful demonstrator – make it look. (However, this tutorial will require intermediate-to-expert familiarity with the Elements software.) It started with Ginger sending me a link to this layout by trinanne; she used this month’s brush and clipped her papers to it over and over. Of course, I had to take the long walk sown the garden path instead…

Now, obviously, if we’re weaving a bunch of papers or ribbons together, they’ll look best against a neutral solid background. I’m using 10 different patterned papers and a solid cardstock from the February 2023 Daily Download Noteworthy, from Miss Fish.

I decided it would work best for the way I was seeing this in my head if I created a bunch of paper strip Clipping Masks. If you’d rather use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to cut strips, that’s up to you. I want to have some variations in width, some crooked and torn edges, and one strip will have a deckle edge. (Instructions not included.) To make those individual features work best, the adjustments are made to the Mask to ensure the patterns on the papers aren’t distorted. I’ll be making a roughly 8 inch by 8 inch square, 10 strips in all. Here’s a tip: When using the Custom Shapes Tool you can specify dimensions and with only one click, you’ve got the desired shape in the desired size. I’m using a Width 8 inches, Height 1.5 inches for my first strip Mask.

Don’t forget that when using the Custom Shape Tool, the resulting shape is a Smart Object – it’s locked and can’t be altered unless you Simplify it. More recent versions of Elements includes a Simplify button bar in the Tool Options. If your version doesn’t show it there, right-click on the layer and choose Simplify Layer from the drop-down menu that appears.

Here I’ve created all 5 of my horizontal Clipping Mask layers. I’ve changed the foreground colour a bit for each to help keep them separate in my mind. You can see there are some thinner and some thicker strips. Next I’ll make 5 vertical strips the same way.

All 10 strips are there now. Let’s Clip some papers to them!

I know you all already know how to Clip papers to template spots but I’ll review anyway. With your paper right above the object you’re Clipping to, right-click on the paper layer and choose Create Clipping Mask. Alternately, you can use a keyboard shortcut. For versions 14 and earlier, CTRL/CMD>G will do it. For versions 15 and later, CTRL/CMD>ALT/OPT>G. My fingers just go there almost automatically now, I’ve used that shortcut so often.

Here are the 5 horizontal strips with their papers Clipped in place. The process is identical for the vertical strips.

Just like that.

I’ll show you how to make them look a little less deliberate in the next few screenshots. Here’s why I opted for Clipping Masks and not just Marqueeing out a bunch of strips. If I decided to Image>Transform>Skew a paper strip, the pattern would also Skew and it would look awful. So instead, I’ll Skew the Mask, giving it crooked ends, and the paper will stay unblemished. Skew only allows the corners to move in a single direction.

To make each paper strip more manageable, after I make my tweaks to the Mask, I’ll right-click>Merge the paper and Mask layers into a single layer. The shortcut is CTRL/CMD>E.


Here I’ve made a bit of a curved cut into the end of the Mask. The Smudge Tool will give that effect, or you could use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to Cut (CTRL/CMD>X) away a thin curved sliver. That method will give you a cleaner Cut.

Why not, indeed?

For this strip I used Image>Transform>Distort. With that command, each of the corners moves independently in all directions.

Another variation on the Smudge Tool.

Now let’s get to the WEAVE. First you’ll need to decide which strip to start with. I’m going to skip the first vertical strip and pass the pink striped strip then the multi-striped strip underneath my red-and-white horizontal strip. I Selected the edges of the first horizontal strip by CTRL/CMD>clicking on the layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel. Then I made the pink striped layer my active layer. To make it look like it passed behind the horizontal strip, Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X removes that Selection from the pink striped paper.


Alternate this process for each of the horizontal layers.

Here is what it looks like before the dimension of shadowing is added.

Add a new, blank layer at the top of the stack of layers. This is where you’ll put your shadows. Decide where your light source is. That will determine where your shadows will lie. I like my light to come from the upper left, at 120°. Because some of my paper strips don’t have sharp, straight edges, I created custom shadows for those layers. (Custom Shadows – Jan’s Method) If you’re going with straight edges you can ignore that. Instead, use the Pencil Tool. For the horizontal strips, you’ll be drawing in your shadows inside the edges of the paper horizontally. For the vertical layers, you’ll be drawing your shadows inside the edges of those papers vertically. The Radius for your Pencil lines can be fairly small, since the papers will be laying tightly together. I used 4 pixels but 5 or even 8 won’t be too big. Set your Foreground Colour to black (000000) Click the cursor right inside the corner of the paper square you’re working with.

Then hold down the SHIFT key and click the cursor in the opposite corner. Here I’ve made a horizontal line. Don’t be too fussy about making it perfectly straight, because it’s not going to be noticeable later.

After you’ve got all your paper rectangles outlined in black, add a Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur to that layer.


Don’t go overboard here. The Blur is to soften the lines, not make them blend right into the paper! If you can’t see anything in the Preview Pane, click your cursor in a spot where you know there’s a line. It’ll pop up in the Preview Pane and you can gauge how far to Blur. 2.3 pixels worked well for me.

Last thing to do is to change the Blend Mode to Linear Burn and drop the Opacity to about 60% and it’s done! Now to decide how to use the weave…

You can Save this weave as a PSD to allow for alterations later, or as a PNG to preserve the transparent layer behind. Or you can just go ahead and scrap on top and around it.

Til next Tuesday!

Designer Spotlight March 2023

North Meets South Studios

This month we have two designers in the spotlight, but only one was able to join me for a chat. North Meets South Studios is a collaboration between two best friends, Tracy Anderson (Trixie Scraps) – the northern half, and Connie Prince, the southern belle. Connie and I had a wee visit and this is what she shared.

J: Thanks for agreeing to let me pick your brain, Connie. Let’s get the formalities out of the way first. How long have you been designing?

C: I have been designing since 2006!

J: That’s a LONG time!! You must really love it. What made you decide to get into design?

C: There weren’t a lot of digital scrapbook options back then and I wanted specific things for our family albums. I started making things and it just spiraled from there!

J: That’s a familiar story, Connie. Can’t find what you want? Create it yourself! And here you are, crushing it! What tools do you use to create your designs?

C: I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and a program on my iPad called Procreate!

J: Ah, the usual suspects… What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

C: Currently, I’m getting tons of use out of my Happy Plans collection. I caught the planner bug this year and it’s been fun using it for that purpose, too.

J: When I think of your store, this is pretty much exactly what I see! Now, to get a touch more personal… What one word would your friends and family use to describe you?

C: Loyal.

J: What an essential and valuable trait to have! Next, I already know the answer to this question because I’ve been following you for 10 years, but maybe there are folks who haven’t caught on.
Describe your perfect vacation.

C: Anywhere with sugar white sand & gorgeous blue water is perfect for me!

J: Yep, called it!! I’m not much of a beach person. I’m more into museums and cooler climes. Okay, so this query typically gets the same response from everybody. Are you like me, or like them? Are you more likely to dance or sing in the shower?

C: Dance for sure, I dance all over the place so why not lol!

J: I actually do both, with my own personal country music playlist helping me out. Bluetooth speakers are amazing! On to food: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

C: Salad, I can never get enough of a great salad!

J: I enjoy salad, but living in Canada, in the winter salad greens aren’t easy to find and are expensive. I just signed up for an organic produce delivery service and they’re sending greens in my first order. Can’t wait! Can you play a musical instrument?

C: Yes! I played piano when I was younger and my husband gifted me with a new one last year so I’ve had a wonderful time “relearning”.

J: I took lessons when I was quite young. We didn’t have a piano so I would practice at the school after all the rest of the kids went home. When we moved I lost that opportunity and that was that. I wasn’t destined to be a concert pianist anyway, so it’s all good.
What did you want to be when you were small?

C: Honestly, I just wanted to be a mama! I had the best mom and I wanted to be just like her!

J: I’m pretty sure you met that goal. Thank you so much for helping me let our GingerScrappers get to know you better. Now, before I let you go, I just want to make sure to pass on the rest of the Important Information! Connie and Tracy (in absentia) are hosting the Designer Spotlight Challenge this month in addition to providing the Daily Download for March, right here on the Blog. Each piece of the DD is available for 5 days, but don’t worry if you miss some because the whole kit will be available for purchase in the Shop next month. Connie is also host to the monthly #2023 Challenge, and Tracy hosts the Show Us Your Hobby Challenge. Be sure to check them out!

Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Challenge Spotlight: Word Art

This month we’re looking at Word Art, the challenge sponsored and hosted by Cheré Kaye Designs. The supplied word art looks like this:

Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking you have no possible use for word art, but there are so many ways to be creative with it if you just give yourself permission. I’m going to show you, in the order they were posted, the first 16 layouts posted to the Word Art Challenge Gallery using this exact word art so you can see some of the ways it can be made your own. Each layout is linked to the Gallery so you can get a better look or offer some good vibes to the scrapper. Just click on the scrapper’s Forum handle!

The first layout is from demma_b13. She’s used the word art exactly as it was designed, pulling the colours for her layout from it and adding some photos of a very sweet little gnome to go with her kit selection. I like how she’s “painted” the big heart over the edge of the top photo. That touch of transparency is divine!

Here, trinanne has used the word art as is too, but made it the focal point of the layout, surrounded by photos of her loved ones.

As you can see, scrapcrazy has departed from the traditional. A simple layout about a very handsome dog needed something a little less “romantic”, so she recoloured everything to work with her photo and kit choice. I’m intrigued by the gradient effect she’s used on the outline for “love”. So cool!

Here again, the unaltered word art is supported by the colours in both the photos and the kit dkane has chosen. Just gorgeous!

For her layout, lulutoo has recoloured the letters in “love” to coordinate with the russet and peach tones of her kit. Those colours work so nicely with her vintage-looking photos.

When I first looked at alexandergirl68‘s layout, I didn’t notice that the mask she used makes a heart, I was so caught up in the photo of that precious baby! For the word art, she dispensed with the white border, pulled from the varied shades of russet ink for the letters, and added a shadow to make them look cut from cardstock.

branma has left the word art unchanged and used the same background paper as trinanne to show off her photos. Those pops of black add dimension and interest. The depth of her shadow gives the word art a embossed appearance.

Here, dhariana has recoloured the word art, ditched the white border and added a stitched border to the “love”. Clever!

Look at these kitties! The nuzzles! alasandra has clipped two different papers to the letters in “love”, while sticking closely to the original palette.

When creating her layout, firstoscartgrouch used the colours in the word art for inspiration, leaving it as it, but adding some flowers and a bunny sniffing them to replicate the subject of her photos.

I like how larkd has incorporated the word art into her clustered border. The purple in “hello” is the only place purple appears on the layout, causing it to draw the eye to her photo.

Here’s a novel idea! Not only has chigirl recoloured the word art to coordinate with her layout, she’s turned it into a tag.

The word art’s original colours wouldn’t work at all with ranchcreations‘ photos, so she clipped a paper to it. By using a brown paper for the word art and for the brad border under her square photo, she’s bringing the eye right to her large photo.

The word art on nimble4u‘s layout looks like it’s made from something very sturdy and offset with those foam tape things paper scrappers and card-makers use.

I would have known this is a KatherineWoodin layout anywhere! Katherine is so diligent about chronicling life every day; I stand in awe. She recoloured to pick up the colours of the boys’ uniforms and their basketballs. The way she’s shadowed it, it looks like it could be acrylic, not paper. Good job, Katherine!

We’ve seen quite a lot cats this time around! (I’m not a cat person, but know a few.) Our last layout is from lebjs, where the word art is as designed. She’s cleverly used strips of white as whiskers to give her main photo the appearance of a cat’s face. So sweet!

I wish someone would have used some layer styles to really customize the word art. Maybe I’ll do a mock-up to see how it would look.

I have a question for you all about dating your layouts. Do you include the date? How do you do that? Do you have a preferred method of including it, such as using a tab or paper strip? I’m working up an idea passed on to me by gmae (Ellen) and need your input. Please send me a private message (ObiJanKenobi) and share your wisdom!

Tutorial Tuesday (Fonts)

More Hearts and Flowers Fonts

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3k05qOr

It’s been a rough week at our house, meaning no time for me to do anything really inspiring. But I’ve been seeing a LOT of inspiring Valentine’s Day projects so I had a thought… Surely there are some great new Valentine’s Day fonts and dingbats that y’all can use those Styles we talked about last week to make REALLY fabulous. And there are!! I’ve got eleven FREE fonts and six dingbats for your scrapping pleasure, from dafont.com. (If you want any of these, just click on the font’s name and you’ll be linked up.) Ready?

Couple Valentine is a fancy, all-caps font that would be perfect for pretty much any application. Titles, subtitles, journaling – all of it! I love that.

This romantic script font, Mybook Again, is another multipurpose gem. I could see this on wedding invitations, all kinds of wedding favours and Valentines. It’s beautiful, don’t you think?

I really love these bubble fonts like Romantic Love. There are SO many ways to use them and so many things you can do to zhuzh them up.

Pink Valentine is so retro and cute! It brings me right back to my teenage years when I still had rose-coloured glasses.

This font could be right out of a fairy tale. Lovaline Story is another versatile font that is suitable for any purpose.

Candy Kisses would make beautiful titles. Beyond Valentine’s Day and weddings, I’d probably use it for baby layouts.

Beauty Heart is a lovely farmhouse-type font. I’d love to see it with a glossy Style so it looks like candy.

I like the heart ligatures on Finding Love. It’s yet another all-purpose font with infinite options.

Ooh, here’s a swashy script called Jully Julia. It’s perfect for subtitles and journaling.

I don’t know that I’d use You Are My Valentine for journaling, but it would be good for titles and subtitles.

I was looking for dingbats when I found Quirky Love. It’s already pretty fabulous, and has potential to be even more so! Doesn’t it look like leather?

Now for the dingbats. Heart Salads is the first set I’ve found that has an anatomical heart in it.

I can see so many things that can be done with Romantine Dingbat. Yes, most of them involve hitting them with a Style… or three.

I love these heart emoji dings, don’t you? Fluffy Hearts Ding just makes me smile.

PW Little Hearts covers the gamut of things we love. That heart-with-the-ball-of-yarn would make a great element for a cat layout.

These are pretty romantic hearts in Vanlentines Day TBF. I think my favourite is the solid heart with the stars along the right side.

Last, but not least, we have Merciful Heart Doodle. I might use this one to create a border. What would you do with it?

Now I must run… gotta deal with all the errands I’ve put off for the last week while my son has been sick. Hopefully I’ll get ’em done before the rain turns to snow…

Designer Spotlight: February 2023

It’s Miss Fish!

Many of you will already know Juli, aka Miss Fish. Lately she’s moved past mainly template designing and is bringing more of her talent to entire kits. I know I’m happy to see that! She’s also been in the Designer Spotlight before, so we talked about some different things this time to keep it fresh. (Since we both have the same first initial, I’m going by “O” today.)

O: Let’s get the bread and butter out of the way. What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

J: I love designing templates that make me want to stop what I’m doing and scrap a page. I often will plus in my own photos
and some elements to make sure designs will look good for my customers.

O: Segué ahead… What one word would your friends and family use to describe you?

J: Busy! Lol…I work full time, plus I design and we like to have fun with friends and travel. I’m not one to just plop down and relax.
I go all the time!

O: It can be exhausting, right? I enjoy traveling too, so why don’t you describe your perfect vacation.

J: Anywhere in Europe close to a train station so I could go on different adventures every day.

O: So is that what you would do if you won the lottery?

J: YES! I’d quit my day job and travel full time. I’d bring along my laptop so I could design and scrap in my free time.

O: Oddball question, that I can probably guess the answer to: are you more likely to dance or sing in the shower?

J: Sing.

O: Yep, called it! Do you have a green thumb? What do you grow?

J: Yes. Currently growing Brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes, peppers, arugula, and some herbs. Plus my cat’s favorite, carnations.

O: I’ve grown broccoli but never Brussels sprouts. Now I don’t have room for much but I have some flower boxes and a small bed in the front yard. Most of my blooms are purple, white or pink. What are your most favorite and least favorite colors?

J: My favorite color is blue. My least favorite color is orange.

O: Oh, I don’t like orange much either, or yellow. Hence they’re not prominent in my garden! {Except the Stella d’Oro lilies the developer planted. They can stay. What would your dream car be?

J: Something red and fast but in an SUV size, maybe a Porsche?

O: That would be amazing! My daughter had a BMW SUV, but didn’t love it so she’s driving a VW Tiguan now. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

J: I would make myself able to actually remember words and why I walked into a room.

O: I can definitely relate! Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

J: My phone. I’m embarrassed to say how attached I am to it.

O: I’m finding myself falling into that habit too, at least until my eyes start protesting. If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

J: Caution: probably crabby, feed for best results.

O: Hahahahaha!! Me too! Let me get you a snack, girl!

Before we disappear with our treats, I want to remind everybody that Juli is not just the IN the Designer Spotlight, she’s hosting the Designer Spotlight Challenge this month AND is providing the Daily Download on the Blog too. Each snippet of the Daily Download is available for 5 days; if you miss one or two and are heart-broken, don’t worry. The entire kit will be available for purchase in March. (Egad, did I really just say that?)

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Loading Those Styles Files

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

Back a couple of weeks, I said I’d put together a quick tut on how to load Styles into Elements. That’s where we’re going today. It’s really easy, but I can complicate anything! I’ll show you the easy way, and the more complicated way then let you decide how you’ll do it. Sound good?

But first, let’s talk about Styles a little bit. What are they, anyway? Essentially, they’re little automatic scripts that allow you to alter and enhance individual layers in your Photoshop Elements layouts. They include things like shadows, glitter, metal, fabric, gel, wood, cork, texture… so many different Styles exist and more are being created all the time. Several GingerScraps designers create Styles that coordinate with their kits. In fact, many of the GingerBread Ladies‘ collabs have Styles files in them, so you’ve probably got a bunch you aren’t even aware of! Let’s get you up to speed!

There are two ways to access your Styles portfolio. One is to click the Window tab along the top of the workspace then choose Styles from the drop-down menu. The second way – the one I use because it’s right there – is to click on the Styles button at the bottom of the Layers Panel. Once you’ve accessed them, there’s a Style Picker bar at the top of the Layers Panel.

Here’s the Style Picker. It will let you see all the Styles that are already Loaded. Elements includes several default Styles embedded in the software (Bevels, Complex, Drop Shadows, Glass Buttons, Image Effects, Inner Glows, Inner Shadows, Outer Glows, Patterns and more) That little stack of lines to the right of it is where the actual Styles Menu hides.

Let’s click on the stack of lines. Now choose Load Styles.

Here’s where I can complexify things… I learned how to find where my computer puts things and have worked out my own workflow using that knowledge. With Styles (and Brushes, which are Loaded in exactly the same way), I rename the files then move them into the folder where Elements will look for them first. I’ve outlined the path here. The path is C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements [Version #]\Presets\Styles. This makes it easier for me to find them later but it’s not the only way to manage them.

You can see that Styles files have the tag .ASL or .asl after the file name. Knowing that, you can let Windows search for your Styles. (Sorry Mac users, I know nothing about file searches in the Mac OS.)

Here you can see there’s at least one file I haven’t renamed. 😉 And it’s the file I’m going to use… To locate the folder it’s hiding in, I right-click on the file name and choose Open File Location from the drop-down.

Now I can go back to the Styles Menu, because I know where the file is, and retrieve it.

Click on the file and then Load. DONE!

The set is there, open and waiting for me to decide which one I want to use. Hovering the cursor over the thumbnail will tell you what the Style has been named by the designer.

I tried the two blues, but liked the black best. As I’ve shown in other tuts, the Style can then be adjusted by double-clicking on the fx icon on the layer and playing with the settings.

There are lots of sources of free Styles online. Some Photoshop Styles will work with Elements and some won’t. Brusheezy, which I’ve shared before, is pretty good at separating them out. I’ve linked you up if you’d like to explore.

See you in February!




Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Challenge Spotlight: Real Moments

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3DlA2Ay

Did you notice there are a couple of new Challenges for 2023? Today we’re going to check in on the Real Moments Challenge hosted by Cindy Ritter. This is how Cindy describes the Challenge: “There’s a quote that says “Life isn’t measured by time, it’s measured by moments.” and that’s what this new challenge is about, preserving those moments that stand out; the good, the bad and everything in between. Many of those moments in our lives are not accompanied by photos so feel free to experiment and think outside the box while making your layouts.

Each month I will give you a theme and prompt (it might be a quote, a song, a poem or something different) and you should create whatever you are moved to do.

This months theme is Change.
Please use the following quote to inspire your page.
“Sometimes change requires you to take a giant leap. But, you won’t be able to fly unless you are willing to transform.” ― Suzy Kassem

I love the idea of scrapping REAL moments, even the ordinary ones. Each of us has our own idea of what that means, and our Individual Style will guide how we approach the Challenge. I think as memory-keepers we tend to scrap the happy stuff and pretend the no-so-happy stuff even happened. But we all have REAL moments, and we shouldn’t shy away from them. The layouts in the Challenge Gallery cover the gamut; there are a couple of them that might be too REAL for some of our readers; if that’s you, no one will know if you skip over those ones. The layouts will appear in the order they were uploaded to the Gallery. You may notice that a number of them have been created using Cindy’s Real Moments – Metamorphosis collection, and each participant will be gifted a matching mini-kit. As always, each layout is linked to its spot in the Gallery so you can drop by and leave some love; just click on the member’s name. Ready?

First up is a layout by lulutoo; her journaling, paired with that Pinterest-worthy photo would fit in well with our discussion on resolutions, wouldn’t it? I love her vertical cluster and how she’s combined all the papers she’s stacked behind it. Tucking elements between papers always adds interest.

As a former military spouse, I found 01lousmith‘s journaling to be very familiar. Change can be really hard, and not always good. She’s created a beautiful but haunting photoless artsy layout.

We’re all our own worst critic! AJsRandom proves it. The smiles in her photos and the cheery-ness of her clusters is a little at odds with her journaling. But I commend her for taking such a personal approach to the Challenge.

I really think I need to buy this collection! This beautiful, simple layout from dkane has me really convinced. There’s so much warmth and optimism here.

Talk about making lemonade outta lemons! Look at how mafrerichs has transformed that dorm room! The colour palette of the kit coordinates beautifully with the photos and those clusters… total thirst trap for me.

This simple but celebratory layout from twizzle made me smile. Congratulations! Feeling good about oneself is the key to happiness.

How gorgeous is this?? I love the way kabrak1207 has blended the gold border into the background paper and how that stitched heart is SO 3D. The quote from Wicked really captures the theme of the Challenge without needing a photo.

As dorannmwin says, change can be scary. Kudos to her for going back to school! She looks so confident in her photo, and the way she’s surrounded it with ephemera and clusters keeps the feel-good going.

NHSoxGirl has infused some humour into her layout. I knew instantly what she was going to focus on when I saw those photos. In keeping with the  serious-but-still-funny-ish topic she kept her layout clean and linear.


Our own AimeeHarrison has chronicled a significant challenge that changed her whole life. Her layout reflects triumph and hope through the bouncy clustered swag and all the hearts. Strength is a good trait to have!

A-M kept her layout simple and clean. Downsizing is definitely a change! We UPsized… I can’t even imagine.

(Content-warning) Katherine Woodin has always been very open and comfortable with her journaling as she records daily life. She’s probably the most dedicated Project 365 scrapper I know. She doesn’t gloss over the tough stuff, and this layout is an example of that. Her beloved Fred passed on to his next life on Christmas Eve and she strips bare her feelings as she details the events of that day. My deepest condolences, Katherine.

I can’t even count all the ways basketladyaudrey has covered “change” in her layout. She chose the most perfect colour palette possible for her photos, which tell the story of becoming a grown-up. Love it!

Leaving home is one of the hardest changes we all go through. Blaise used a list as journaling, and her photo tells the rest of the story.

If you were to participate in this Challenge, what would be the change you feature? Seeing all these layouts has given me some ideas – on top of the absolute determination to acquire Cindy‘s kit. Off I go to sort through my photos…

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

It’s the Snowy Season! (Fancifying a Font)

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3jf6vBS

If you’ve thought about taking part in the Font Challenge this month, you probably live in North America and have lots of snowy photos you can work with. Snowy Season is a showy font with lots of visual interest. It’s an all-caps font with scaled lower-case characters, a full set of numerics and the most commonly-used punctuation, which makes it a great title option. I think it would make for difficult reading as a journaling font though. Today’s tutorial will show you how to make the snowy parts of the font look like actual snow! Read on…

Before we get into the meat of the tutorial I want to welcome all the new GingerScrappers who have joined us in the last while and give an overview of Tutorial Tuesday. The first two Tuesdays of the month will focus on techniques that elevate our 2 dimensional layouts into 3D masterpieces. The third Tuesday is Challenge Spotlight day, when I share YOUR layouts and discuss what makes them special and interesting. On the fourth Tuesday, I provide a Quick Trick that will speed up your workflow. When I create these tutorials I want them to be achievable by anyone, with any amount of experience with digital scrapping. To that end, I typically provide both written and visual instructions of every step in the process I’m demonstrating. If you already are proficient you have my blessing to skip over all the extra instruction. I try to use free or software default fonts and styles wherever possible so you’re not having to shop before you can play. Most tutorials are for Photoshop Elements, which is the most commonly used software and what I work with. There are usually multiple ways to accomplish a task. I like to Work Smart, Not Hard, so I’ll show you the easiest/fewest keystroke ways, and include keyboard shortcuts where they exist. I work in Windows but recognize that there are a lot of Mac people out there. So any keyboard shortcut will include the appropriate function keys for both PC and Mac. For example, the keyboard shortcut for Merge Layers is CTRL>E for PC users and CMD>E for Mac users. So when I include Merge Layers in a tutorial it will look like this: CTRL/CMD>E. The other function keys that are part of keyboard shortcuts are the ALT (PC) and OPT (Mac) keys. Make sense? Now for today’s tut!

Our winter began a full 6 weeks early than usual and brought us a LOT of snow. I like to think outside the box when it comes to titles for my layouts and sometimes will do a Google search for related words, phrases or synonyms. That’s how I came up with this one. Notice the transparency inside the snowy bits. If I just used the font as is, whatever is behind my title will show in the snowy areas. Not what I want!

Before I can manipulate this title, the text needs to be Simplified. The actual text itself will no longer be editable so make sure it’s spelled properly and it says what you want it to say before you Simplify. One way to do this is to click Layer tab on the taskbar that sits at the top of your workspace then choose Simplify Layer. Or right-click on the text layer and choose Simplify Layer from the drop-down menu.

I made a Copy Layer of the title so I could work on a Copy and not the original. There are several ways of doing this. Click Layer>Duplicate Layer… on the taskbar. Or right-click on the layer then choose Duplicate Layer… from the drop-down menu. Both these will open another menu where you’re asked where the duplicate layer will go. In this instance, it’ll go into this project, so all you’d need to do is click OK on that pop-up. Or easiest for copying layers within the same project, CTRL/CMD>J will just do it all.

Here’s the pop-up I mentioned above.

Now I’ve made the original title layer invisible so I can see what I’m doing to the Copy Layer. Just click on the eyeball to close it.

I’m going to remove everything but the snowy areas from the title. I added a Layer Mask to it by clicking on the icon at the top of the Layers Panel that looks like a gray circle in a blue square. Why a Layer Mask? It lets you hide parts of a layer but not make them actually disappear. It gives you the most control you can have over what happens to your image. More later.

This is where Elements puts the Layer Mask. You want to be sure you’re working on the MASK and not the LAYER itself. When you look at the Layers Panel you’ll see a blue line box around the active part of the layer. Be careful to make sure you’re on the MASK.

Next, activate the Eraser Tool. You’ll have another reminder that you’re working on a MASK because the Color Picker will show black and white. It there are any other colours there, you’re NOT on the mask. If you remember “White REVEALS and Black CONCEALS” it’ll help with your task… but this mnemonic is referring to what’s BEHIND the object you’re masking. The magic of Layer Masks is that it lets you erase things, but if you accidentally remove a part you wanted to keep, it’s not really gone. For example, sometimes my track-pad sticks and my cursor goes haywire, erasing EVERYTHING it touches. To recover that stuff, I just toggle my colour from white to black and reveal it again by rolling my cursor over the oops. Toggling between foreground and background colours is easy, just click the X key.

Make sure your snowy areas are completely enclosed with a thin border of your font colour. It’ll save you a lot of grief later.

This is what you’ll be left with on the Copy Layer once you’ve concealed all the non-snow areas. Zoom in and go over all of it while you still have the ability to correct any little issues. Once you’ve moved on to the next step it’ll be too late…

Now, to be able to play with this layer, the Layer Mask has to be integrated into the layer by Simplifying it. Same steps as for the initial title.

As soon as your Layer Mask was integrated, your Color Picker will have returned to whatever colours you’d had there before. Set your foreground colour to white: you can either click your cursor on the upper left corner of the palette or you can type “ffffff” into the hex code # box.

Now to fill the snowy areas with white. I tried my preferred method of New Fill Layer>Solid Color>Use Previous Layer as Clipping Mask but all it Filled was the outline. In retrospect, that might have worked just as well as what I ended up doing. Keep that in mind as we proceed. I used the Paint Bucket to click-and-fill the snowy areas. This method is imperfect, sometimes leaving areas unfilled around the edges. That can be overcome by Filling again. As you can see from the screenshot, there’s still a navy blue outline that detracts from the look I want. Here’s where it might have been better to use the Fill Layer process, THEN the Paint Bucket. Live and learn!! Instead, I worked unsmart…

I essentially did the same thing that using the Fill Layer>Paint Bucket method would have done but with WAY more steps. I covered up the blue outline with a Stroke. Edit>Stroke (Outline) Selection…

To expand on the EXTRA steps I took, I had to experiment to find the right size and location for the Stroke. I settled on 6 pixels and Inside to conform to the contours of each snowy shape.

Okay, that looks a lot better. Still a few areas where the Stroke didn’t quite cover the outline – another reason to advocate for using the Fill Layer>Paint Bucket route.

Now to add some dimension! I experimented to find the right combo for this step. Click the Styles button at the bottom of the Layers Panel then go up to the drop-down menu at the top of the Layers Panel and choose Bevels. These are stock Styles that came with the software.

I got the best results with the Simple Inner Bevel as shown. I know it makes the snow look like toothpaste, but Styles are adjustable! Double-click on the fx icon on the layer to open the adjustments menu then push the Size slider to the left until it stops looking like it’s sitting in your bathroom sink. To reduce the glaring shadows, decrease the Opacity of the beveled layer to 66% or so.

Now make another Copy Layer of the snow. We’ll add some glitter to it so it glistens like real snow. CTRL/CMD>J. (Learn the keyboard shortcuts! They’re amazing!!)

Ugh. Let’s get rid of the glop. Right-click on the layer then choose Clear Layer Style. That’ll remove the bevel from the Copy Layer.

You may already have some fine white glitter loaded into your Styles collection. I didn’t have the one I wanted so I went to my Styles folder by clicking on the stack of lines to the top left of the Styles Panel and chose Load Styles. This is where your software stores Styles; if you’ve purchased some to coordinate with your kits this is where Elements will look for them. I’ll put together a tutorial on managing Styles later. For right now I’ll just give you the bare bones.

Here’s the result of applying fine white glitter, then decreasing the Opacity of that layer to 60% so the contours of the layer below are visible.

The finished title! I’m really happy with how it looks. Next time I’ll learn from my errors and skip a few steps!

See you next week. Which Challenge will be in the Spotlight?


Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Challenge Spotlight: Created With Rewards

Here we are, at the third Tuesday of the month again. Crazy how time flies!! This month our Challenge Spotlight falls on Created With Rewards. For those unfamiliar, each month our GingerBread Ladies – the GingerScraps Design Team – work together to produce two Rewards kits, one for completing 10 Challenge layouts and one as a Free-with-Purchase. The Created With Rewards Challenge requires participants to use only the previous month’s Rewards kits; templates are the exception – they can come from anywhere. For October 2022, the Free With Purchase kit is called Bootiful; the Challenger Reward is We Are Family. Let’s see how our intrepid GingerScrappers have risen to the occasion. The layouts are in the order they were posted; each is linked to the Gallery – click on the scrapper’s nom de plume and you’ll jump right to the Gallery, where I hope you’ll leave some words of praise.

Our first layout is from Dovedesign. Her layout has a good portion of white space. She used Bootiful and took it off-theme, which is awesome!

Next up is this CUTE little Hallowe’en layout by Jill. I really like the spiderweb base for her paper cluster. She too used Bootiful.

For this layout, becky_a has used a block style to anchor her photos and added some seasonal clusters. Bootiful is getting lots of airtime!

Ah! Finally We Are Family makes an appearance. I like how hiddenartist has stacked papers in several ways and positioned her clusters to frame her photo.

I love how fontaine has used blended masks to such good effect here. The green and orange contrast beautifully and the little Bootiful witch and warlock are cute additions.

See how kabrak1207 has turned a very theme-specific kit into an all-purpose one? Without the word strip and sticker, it’s hard to tell this started out as a Hallowe’en kit.

This looks like greenfiend27 went to a lot of trouble adding all those little bats! I think they’ve been cut from the background paper and individually shadowed. Impressive!!

I love how Katherine Woodin used the Hallowe’eenie kit for a fall layout that has no Hallowe’en flavour at all.


What a clever riff on the donuts mum23ms has in her photos!

Here’s another mainly purple layout using Bootiful. The pops of orange breoni has added, along with vignetting some photos, give the layout depth.

Look at all the spookiness angbrey has injected into her layout! I love how the elements move the eye around and right back to the photos.

Here’s another look at We Are Family. The way gadawg83 has echoed the bluebonnets in her photo with her tiny-flower borders is perfection.


Tbear has used some incredibly inventive techniques here to give the impression that the beaker has bats painted onto the glass. And maybe I’ve been watching too much paranormal investigation TV, but I think I see a ghost flying out of the test tube!

Tamsin McAtee went for complementary colours here, with her orange and blue palette. I like how she picked out the brown from the ceiling in her photo and included it in the elements she used from We Are Family.

Our last layout comes from mom2triplets04. She too has used We Are Family and kept her layout simple, focusing on the photos and her journaling.

I find it fascinating that more than 75% of these layouts were created with the Free With Purchase kit. It tells me there was a lot of traffic in the shop in October, and that’s fantastic! It’s also really interesting to see how different scrappers’ visions are when it comes to using a single kit. It’s inspiring!!

See you next week for Quick Trick Tuesday.

Designer Spotlight: November 2022

Memory Mosaic and Polka Dot Chicks

Now that the first-of-the-month insanity dust has settled, let’s get to know this month’s Spotlight Designers, Joy aka Memory Mosaic, and Tammy aka Polka Dot Chicks. [Editor’s note: It’s Joy‘s birthday month!] These two ladies sat down with me (and Tammy‘s 18 month-old grandson) to do a little Q&A session. What follows is a transcript… to minimize confusion, I’m taking the “O”.

O: Thanks so much for chatting with me and letting me give our readers a peek into your lives. I like to get the meat-and-potatoes out of the way first, then get to the sweets after, so I’ll throw you a softball. How long have you been designing?


J: I started designing in 2015.

T: Since 2008

O: So a good, long time! Joy, what led you to designing?

J: I will admit, when I started digital scrapbooking, I didn’t think I had the ability to do design work. In 2013, I started as a CT member for a designer. She taught me a few basic things that started to give me more confidence, to try more. In 2015 I made my first kit. I will admit, when I look at it now, it wasn’t very good. But, it was the start, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

O: Boy can I relate! I came to digital scrapbooking in about 2010, and those first layouts were so… awful! When I found my first digi home and started working through their challenges, my skills grew and so did my confidence. I never dreamed that I’d be doing what I’m doing now. What does your design space look like? [Editor’s note: Tammy is wrangling her little person ATM.]

J: This past year, I have tried a couple different places. I now have a small office that I work in a lot. It has an old tall secretary, some books shelves and a dresser with some baskets and file organizers. I still take my laptop out to the living room and work and sit on the sofa while watching TV. I hardly ever can just sit, and watch TV, most of the time, I am always doing something else at the same time.

O: I’m the same! Multitasking is like breathing for me. Where do you find your inspiration?

J: A lot of my inspiration comes from my everyday life, childhood memories/experiences, and my family.

O: I think you’re speaking for most of us. Do you have a favourite kit in the GS Shop? I know, it’s like asking you which one of your kids is your favourite. It changes from day to day!

J: One of my favorite kits right now is “Artsy Bits #6“. I love making kits with a “vintage feel” and “grunge”. I was challenged last year to come up with some “Art Journaling” kits. And I started making my Artsy Bits collection. This last one is my favorite. I love the colors and just how it came together.

O: Art journaling is a difficult thing for me. I never feel like I’ve done it well. Strong work! Oh, Tammy‘s back. Hey Tammy, Are you more likely to dance or sing in the shower?

T: Sing – even though I can’t sing! What about you, Joy?

J: Sing. I am not the most coordinated, and I would probably fall if I tried to dance in the shower. LOL!

O: I’ve asked that question a few times. And I’ve done both. Immediately followed by a trip to the hardware store and some no-slip strips for the shower pan. 🙂 Here’s another softball. What colours do you like best, and which make you shudder?

T: My favorite colors are red, pink and black/gray – well technically my favorite color is plaid but I am quirky. My least favorite colors are orange and green.

J: I love blues. I like to mix it with red/burgundy. I also really like blue and yellow together. These colors feel calm and happy. My least favorite is mustard yellow.

O: I don’t love orange or yellow. Tammy, you know plaid’s technically not a colour, right? 😉 Do you have a green thumb, even though you don’t like green?

T: I can keep indoor plants alive. I have a philodendron that I received when my grandma passed away in 1992 and it’s still alive
and now has an offshoot. Big plant is named Papa Phil and the off shoot is Phil Jr.

O: I’ve gotten pretty good at gardening, indoors and out. I bought a foot-tall fiddle leaf fig at Costco a couple of years ago and now it’s four feet tall, with branches everywhere. But I waited to long to clean up my flowerbed and got caught by a snowstorm. Too late now. Pray for me? Crazy question alert: If you could only eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

T: Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans & creme’ brûlée for dessert.

O: Yum! If you could have a super power, what would you like it to be?

T: To clone myself to be able to help out my kids/grands when they all ask at same time…lol.

O: YES!! If I had a clone, one of us could be cleaning up the yard while the other grocery-shopped. Oh well. Can you play a musical instrument?

J: I play the piano… not very well, especially considering all the money my parents spent on lessons. I started taking lessons when I was 6 and pretty much took them off and on through college. I did play in church when we were missionaries in Ecuador.

T: The radio! Nope. Not musical at all unlike all my kids.

O: I took piano lessons for a couple of years but we didn’t have a piano so I practiced at the school. Didn’t work so well. What would your dream car be?

J: Honestly we have only had older used cars for a long time, so I would say, my “dream car” would be a “new car”. You know one with all the new “bells & whistles”. But, for now I am happy to have a car that runs. 🙂

O: Been there! My current vehicle is a seven-year-old SUV with room for both people and my son’s wheelchair. I think my next one – when the day comes – will be a hybrid. I travel too many backroads with no services to feel safe going all electric. What did you want to be when you were small?

T: A nurse or a teacher.

O: Did you know that nurses are also teachers? That was my favourite part of my job, teaching parents about what was making their child sick and what we were doing to fix it. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

J: My laptop. I am on it every day. It is what I use to make my designs, and I use it for other work.

O: Me too! If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

T: Caution: Will start snort laughing when cracking up…. lol.

O: Last question, I promise! What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?

T: Any of the actors who played James Bond but Pierce Brosnan would be at the top of the list.

O: <fans herself> I can see it! Well, thanks again for giving our GingerScraps community a little glimpse of yourselves. Before we go, I’d like to remind everybody that not only are the ladies providing this month’s Daily Download (found right here on the Blog!), they’re also hosting the Designer Spotlight Challenge and have some coupons for all of us! Check ’em out.

See you all again next month for the December Designer Spotlight.