Friday, May 30, 2014

I am so excited to be continuing for another year on the Get It Scrapped creative team. The women I work with are so talented and creative and inspiring! The articles on the blog are super informative, and the community on the forums is so kind and welcoming. It's a great place to get educated and form friendships at the same time. Check out the announcement at Get It Scrapped, and while you're at it, visit the blogs of my teammates (many of them are MUCH more prolific bloggers that I!)

There's more...
To welcome the new CT team members and get to know them a bit better, pop over to the Get It Scrapped Forums and join in on the CT Trivia contest. (scroll down to CT Celebration, then click on the various CT Trivia subjects). 
We'll have a few rounds of CT trivia going on throughout the weekend to help you get to know our team a little better. And thanks to current team member Amanda Robinson of Amanda Robinson Studio and team alumnus, Jana Morton of Pixels2Passion we've got some fabulous prizes for a few lucky winners.

Get It Scrapped has also joined Instagram, so to kick off the "new year" they're having a photo challenge. It's nice, because it's not necessarily a daily thing, but one that you can do when you have time throughout the month - sort of a scavenger hunt! And there's a prize for one lucky participant :) Check it out here: http://debbiehodge.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/GISPhotoChallenge01.pdf

The blog at Get It Scrapped is free, but there is also a membership available which gets you access to all of their incredible classes at Masterful Scrapbook Design. Whether you're a new OR experienced scrapbooker, if you want to take your design skills to a new level this is definitely the place to learn - so much information presented in a really easy-to-learn manner! AND if you sign up by June 2nd there's a special offer. 


Check out all of the details for everything going on at Get It Scrapped.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Non-digi-Scrapbooker's Guide to Creating your own Photo-a-Day template for January

My poor blog has been so sorely neglected, but I'm back for another LOAD (LayOut-A-Day) month and had several questions as to how I created my layout for Day 6. I started to leave a really long comment on Flickr, but then decided that it would work better if I could show a bit more, so it was a good excuse to get back to my blog! Here's my layout, so that you know where I'm heading:

Capture Your 365 - Jan 2014


First let me say, there are probably templates like this out on the internet somewhere. But honestly if you have even a little bit of knowledge on using Photoshop Elements (or Photoshop), it may be faster to create your own than to spend time searching! This is digi and pretty easy to create. I used Photoshop Elements 12 (PSE12), but this can definitely be done with earlier versions (unless you have a REALLY old one that doesn't use layers). And although I'm far from an expert, I was working in "Expert" mode (this might be unique to PSE12). I also turned on the grid and enlarged the view so I could see the top corner better.

1) I started with a 12x12 canvas. (File>New>Blank File, then chose 12"x12")
2) Using the rectangle tool,  create one 2x2 square in the top left corner, then copy that square five more times. (Layer>Duplicate Layer>click OK - you can rename it here or later. There are shortcuts, too, but I want to keep this simple.)


3) Move the squares across the top of the canvas. And just to make sure they are lined up, selected all six and Align the Tops and Distribute using the Middle (horizontal centers).
 (at this point I renamed my layers just to make things easier for me). 

 4) Select all six layers and copy those, then move the whole group below the first row.
 
You now have two rows of 6 squares across.

At this point you may want to recolor alternating blocks with a different color - it's not really necessary, but it makes it easier to see exactly where you're adding the photos later on. (Make sure that blocks bordering each other are different colors, like a checkerboard.)
 
 

5) Next select all twelve blocks and copy those again and move that group below the second row. You should now have four rows for photos.


6) Go back to the third row and copy those six blocks (so the colors are in the right order) and move them below the 4th row.
 
 (That last group of layers are probably in between rows 3 and 4 so you may want to move the layers to the top of the list - it's not critical, but easier to keep things straight. [The previous photo shows the layers already moved.])
 
7) And finally choose one block to put on the bottom row for the 31st photo.
 

 8) Once you have the basic template done, SAVE IT (in case you want to use it for next month!)
 Then go and open the photos you want to put on your layout. (At this point you can also turn off the grid [Ctrl-'] since you won't really need it anymore...I didn't think of it until later.)
 
9) To add your photos to the layout, start with the top block (the first layer above the background) and select that layer by clicking on the layer in the Layers Panel or by just clicking on the block in the layout.
 

Then open the Photo Bin and single-click on the first photo you want and drag it up to your layout. (And yes, I'm shamelessly showing off pictures of my adorable 3-month-old grandson!!)
 
Move it over the first square and resize it until it fits the way you want it to and click the green checkmark (or click the red circle thing if you want to start over with resizing it!). Finally you'll want to "Clip" this layer to the one below it - in PSE you can use Ctrl-G (Cmd-G on a Mac?). This isn't super important with the top row, but it will make a difference in lower rows if your picture isn't already square.

10) Repeat this process for all of the rest of the squares by clicking on a Layer (or block), selecting a photo from the Photo Bin, moving it onto the canvas, resizing the photo, and clipping it to the layer below.

(Here's where I finally thought to turn off my grid :P)

You can actually fill in the squares in any order. Just select the layer you want and then move the photo in - Photoshop will automatically put the photo in a layer just above the one you've selected
.
 
The last thing I did was select the background layer (all the way at the bottom of the list), chose the "bucket tool" and filled in the background with black.
 
I also wanted a thin border around the edge, so I switched back to the "move tool," selected ALL of the layers except the background (click on the first layer, then Shift-click on the last layer to select everything in between), and made the whole thing just slightly smaller and centered it on the canvas.


I added my title (using the Text tool) and it was done!

Writing the directions took way longer than creating the layout! It looks long, but it's really quite simple, particularly if you know anything about PSE. And once you've created one template, you can adapt these directions to any size photo or grid that you want. I wish I could just show you, but I couldn't figure out how to create a video :/

Try it out and let me know what you think. If you have any questions, leave me a comment below and I'll try to help. I'm not super experienced with Photoshop, but I have worked with templates a bit and I'd be happy to share what I know.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Have you taken inventory lately?

I know it may be strange, but I noticed one day (probably after tripping over some of them) that the shoes in our house tell a lot about who's home and who's not. My boys have always gone barefoot in the house and as soon as they walk in the back door, they take their shoes off. So if they're home their shoes are in the kitchen; if their shoes aren't there, they're not home. This summer there tend to be a lot of shoes by our back door because Nathan and Zack are home for the summer - Yeah!!
So when I was assigned a layout with the subject of "Inventory" for Get It Scrapped, I knew this would be perfect. As I started to put it together, I decided that since I had several photos I would keep things simple and let the shoes speak for themselves - by using speech bubbles, of course! I had a bunch of speech bubbles from Studio Calico and I used some of those. But I also needed more that were, perhaps, a different color or needed to be pointing in a different direction; so I also cut some of them freehand - really very simple! I also outlined all of them to give a little more definition and punch and also to make them all a bit more cohesive. Here's the result:


My favorite one is the "shoe graveyard" on our back porch. It does get out of hand at times, and sometimes I'm annoyed by the mess. But then I remember that like most kid messes, it won't always be there...and then I'll be sad (sort of :P). In a few short weeks the pathway into the house will again be clear---not necessarily a good thing, since it will mean that summer is over and the boys have gone back to Minneapolis for college. But I know that, at least for a little while longer, it will return again at Christmas time :D

Check out how other designers at Get It Scrapped have interpreted this assignment in this article: Ideas for Scrapbooking Inventory Photos that Record Your Everyday Life. There are some very clever ways to take inventory.

Then leave me a comment - what do your things say about YOUR life?

Friday, August 9, 2013

I was charged with scraplifting...

No, really - my assignment for Get It Scrapped was to scraplift myself, that is to take a layout I had previously done and use that as my inspiration for a new scrapbook page.  I could use the design layout, an element of the page, color inspiration, whatever. The hard part was choosing a layout; I had several scrapbook pages that were candidates as ones I particularly liked. But I finally decided on this layout about Aaron:

Original layout
This was a fun layout I did right after he bought this HUGE Lego set - it was his graduation gift to himself when he earned his Master's degree. I was with him when he purchased it, and the whole experience was a lot of fun as he was the envy of every guy (young and old!) in the store.

Besides the story and the basic design, one of my favorite things about this layout was the Simple Stories patterned paper I used. I loved the arrows and banners printed along the edge, and I knew that I could get a similar look by using strips of various washi (decorative) tapes. So when the same son asked his girlfriend of 5-1/2 years to marry him, I decided to scraplift this design to create a layout documenting this special event. 
Scraplifted layout


Fortunately Aaron had planned ahead and had his brother and sister-in-law nearby to take pictures of the proposal. (In fact, they were e-mailing pictures to me as it happened!) With the second layout I wanted a soft, romantic feel. This was a little tricky since the colors in the photos were quite bright, so to balance the contrast between the soft background and the bright photos I used a mix of muted and dark washi tapes. Since I knew that the darker and brighter tapes would be the first to draw the viewer's eye, I concentrated those in the vertical center of the page, pointing towards the photos. I also highlighted a few of the photos by framing them with subtle vellum frames.

It's easy to see from this that the same basic design can yield two very different looks. The basic framework is the same on both pages, but by changing the colors, photos, and story, and making some adjustments for more photos and less journaling, I could create two pages that are unique.
For more information about these layouts and to see how other designers approach their scraplifting process, check out this article at Get It Scrapped: "14 Scrapbookers Lift Their Own Scrapbook Designs and Show You How"

Just a note about the final layout: I love the new vellum-type photo frames (these are from Basic Grey), but I didn't have one large enough for my focal photo, so I cut my own from patterned vellum and darkened it slightly with Distress Ink so that it would coordinate better with the others. I also altered the purchase ones just a bit to cover some colors that didn't coordinate, and I flipped them over to the "wrong" side so that they were matte instead of shiny. Finally, for the smallest frame I used a stamp from Studio Calico on vellum to frame Kylie's beautiful engagement ring.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Time to Get a "Real Job"

Cityscapes are one of the newest trends in scrapbooking. One of my first assignments for the Get It Scrapped Creative Team was to make a layout using the cityscape trend in an interesting way (something other than a photo of a city skyline). Check out this article, Scrapbooking Ideas for Using the Trendy Cityscape Motif, showing my take on the assignment along with other Creative Team members' interpretations. It's fun to see how different designers with different styles interpret the assignment so differently.
For my assignment I knew that I wanted to do a layout about my oldest son, Aaron, entering the "real world" workforce on a full-time basis for the first time. I'm so proud of his accomplishments and wanted to brag on him just a bit :) So many college graduates have difficulty finding a full-time job in their field, either because the market is bad or because they still really don't know what they want to do. So I think it's pretty awesome that he was able to get a couple of good job offers and was able to choose one that he feels suits him well in a company that has done well at weathering the ups and downs of the economy. Aaron will be working as a structural engineer - that is, designing buildings and other structures - and he will be working in the Twin Cities (MN), so I felt that a cityscape background was very appropriate. I know that there are several patterned papers that show cityscapes, but I decided to make my own background paper. My background would show the impression of a city without being very specific to any one city. I've used this technique in the past with other shapes and knew it would work well here. So here is what I did:
video
As you can see, I did experiment a bit first on plain cardstock and I loved how it turned out, but I decided I wanted to use a subtle print as my base. I have some grid papers from Studio Calico that I just love (I love graph paper and shapes in general); I chose one that had straight and diagonal lines that reminded me of the connectors that Aaron was designing during his internship. The pattern is dark enough to add interest, but also subtle enough to work with my stenciling. I left off the triangles at the top - it was supposed to be another bridge but I felt it looked more like pyramids.

 Once I completed my layout I added windows on some of the buildings. I felt that it needed something because it seemed to me that the cityscape was a little lost (I wish that I'd made the buildings just a bit taller) and the windows were just the thing. I only put them on some of the buildings, partly because I was lazy! but more because I wanted to keep the attention centered on the photos and journaling, and really only a few were needed to create the impression of the cityscape. Here is my final layout:


Just a note: When I did the experimenting I used a Colorbox cat's eye shaped chalk ink pad (since that's what I had handy). Although I kind of liked the subtle streaks that it produced, it was harder to hang onto so a couple of times it was pulled out of my fingers - that's what created the dark splotches - and before too long the pad pulled apart from the base. So for my final layout I used Distress Inks (I blended Black Soot and Iced Spruce) on an ink blending tool (from Ranger) and that was much easier to handle. I really think it could be done with pretty much any ink pad as long as you're sure to start on the template. Different pads would probably produce different amounts of streaking (which could be cool) but for the smoothest result I think the ink blending tool works best.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Inspired by Art Deco - my first layout for Get It Scrapped!

I'm so excited to be able to share my first Creative Team assignment published at Get It Scrapped! The assignment was to create a layout inspired by some aspect of art deco design. I love the art deco style, especially the architecture, so I knew that it would be easy to find inspiration there. I immediately knew that I wanted to do a layout about Cleveland's West Side Market. My son Aaron and I had recently visited there when he was home for a couple of weeks, and I had some really great pictures that I wanted to showcase.

Pinterest was a great source for art deco images, and as I browsed the images several trends became apparent: a lot of metals mixed with black and/or bright colors; symmetrical designs with clean, geometric lines; unique typefaces. I wanted to include a lot of small photos, but also needed to keep it very clean and streamlined to reflect the art deco style.

I chose to use this piece as my primary source of inspiration: http://how-do-it.inf...o_texture_idea/. By using a design such as this, keeping the layout symmetrical and the elements in strict vertical lines, I knew I could use many photos without it looking chaotic. I used solid cardstock in colors that kept popping up in the Pinterest galleries - blue, accents of red, and silver outlined in black - to keep the focus on the photos and the story I wanted to tell. Here is what I came up with:



For more information about my layout and art deco design and to see how other designers used their art deco inspiration, check out the article, Scrapbook Page Design Inspired by the Art Deco Style at Get It Scrapped.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Attending Office Hours

     I've been very busy lately with creating layouts for Get It Scrapped, but I can't show those yet. You'll have to check back in a few weeks to see what I've come up with, but I will say, I love the layouts! Between Get It Scrapped's weekly articles, the design classes (there and at Masterful Scrapbook Design), the galleries, and their Pinterest boards, there is SO much inspiration to be found! Although I was a bit stressed out (there are some incredibly talented ladies on this creative team!), I have one month under my belt and feel a bit better now.
     Anyhow, despite the fact that I can't share my assignment layouts yet, I have also been attending most of the webinars and "office hours" that are included in Masterful Scrapbook Design's bimonthly seminars. This month's seminar was "Make It Mean" and focused on really adding meaning to a scrapbook page through journaling, of course, but also with the other elements on the page such as photos, embellishments, title, etc. -- making all aspects of the page support and enhance the overall message of the page to give it more meaning. (Click here to view more details) THESE. ARE. AWESOME! Besides getting to "hang out" with talented and knowledgeable ladies, it's so interesting to listen to the contributing designers and find out why they designed a layout in the way they did. And during Office Hours, anyone who wants to can share a layout to get helpful critiques, suggestions for improvement, help when they're stuck for ideas, or just to show what they've done. It's a no-stress, supportive environment, but if you want it to, it goes beyond just the "nice layout" comments; Debbie Hodge, the guest instructor(s), and the other attendees discuss not only what they like but why they like it (and knowing the 'why' helps to apply the same principles in the future!), and if you want (but only if you want) they'll also give suggestions for improvement. And the awesome thing is, they do it without forcing their particular style on anyone else; instead they give suggestions that work with any style.
     Can you tell that I'm hooked??? My favorite Office Hours so far took place yesterday. It featured the awesome Emily Pitts and Paula Gilarde - okay I'm partial to them since they taught the Guided Design Critique Workshops of which I was a part, but they are so good at explaining the what's and why's of what makes a great layout, and I've learned a ton from them. Despite some rare technical difficulties and an outburst from me (I was actually talking to my son about a deer in our backyard but didn't realize that my microphone had been turned on at just that second!) which hopefully was edited from the recording (insert embarrassed face!), it was an awesome session. They always have such helpful ideas for tweaking a good layout and making it great, and this session was no exception! I was able to share a layout of mine, which incidentally was inspired by an inspiration challenge on Paula's blog - a design and layout I've had in mind to do for several weeks and finally put together. Here's the original layout I shared, which I think was pretty good:



It went together very quickly and certainly told my story, but I knew it could use a few adjustments. Based on the critiques I received, here is the final layout - not much different, but definitely better. For instance, I love these Thickers from American Crafts that I used for the title, but they were a bit difficult to read; so I cut little slits in the e's, f, and g and now they are much more readable. (Just goes to show that you don't have to settle for exactly what you get in letters - they can be colored, cut, combined, and altered in lots of ways to make them fit your purpose.)


It often helps to have someone else look at it with fresh eyes. They'll point out things to change that I'll think, "Duh, why didn't I see that? - now it's so obvious!"

Click here to check out Get It Scrapped...you can even get a free e-book to get started and get a feel for what they have to offer! Also check out Masterful Scrapbook Design for the "Make It Mean" and other seminars - monthly, 6-month, and 12-month subscriptions, as well as back issues, are available.