Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bubble Gum & Licorice kit

Hello everyone! I feel like it's been awhile since I've posted. Life has been busy at our household, and I apologize to those of you who have sent me emails that I have not yet responded to. I hope each of you are doing well.

This next kit has no real significant meaning, aside from the fact that it is one of my favorite color combinations. I am a big fan of pink and black (which I know many of you are). My girls' room is this same color combo, however, theirs is a more girly pink. I wanted this kit to have a more romantic feel to it, so I went with a warmer shade of pink. I hope you have fun with it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Sweet Springtime" kit

Can you believe it's already time for Spring? I just love the springtime. There's nothing like seeing new buds begin to grow or listen to the birds come out to sing in the morning. This is when the grass grows on its own. This is when the flowers' perfume can be smelled throughout the neighborhoods. I just love it. I love it because there are fun times to spend with my kids. Next week is Spring Break and they will be home from school. And then, of course there's Easter. And who could forget Mother's Day? It seems that in the fall everything is on fast forward, gearing up for the big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. But then when the hustle and bustle subsides, everything just settles down. I hope you have a relaxing and wonderful beginning of spring and that you enjoy it's sweetness.
Download the free "Sweet Springtime" kit here:
Sweet Springtime: part 1
Sweet Springtime: part 2
Sweet Springtime: part 3

The Springtime Chicks in this kit were designed using templates from Scrappin Cop.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Texture on Photographs

Thank you everyone for your emails about my photographs. Many of you have wanted to know how I made Claire's pictures have that "texture" look on them. Since the technique is very similar to my previous post, I will do a quick tutorial about it; sorry that I am not returning each of your emails, this will just be faster for me. And a quick note, I think this tutorial works best if there is a big background and a small subject. For instance, you see Claire, and then there's a big wall.

Okay, so this tutorial is to teach how to get your pictures to make this transformation:

1. Start by opening your picture in Photoshop.
2. I always like to play with the levels of the photo to bring out the colors more vividly. To do this, make sure your picture is highlighted in the layers section. Then click "Image", "Adjustments", and finally "Levels." (Steps 2 & 3 you do not have to do; I just like to.)
3. Move the little buttons around like I've shown in the diagram. No one has ever taught me the correct way to do this, but I always start at the right with the white tab and I move it slightly to the left. Then I go all the way over to where the black tab is on the left, and I move it slightly to the right. And finally I play around with the middle gray tab. When you are done, if you want to you can "uncheck" the box next to the word "preview" and that will show you what your picture originally looked like. It amazes me how much gray my pictures always start out with.
4. The next part I am not going to type in detail because I already did it in my previous post, starting with step number 4. For this tutorial I am using an image that I found here: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/972210

Follow steps 4 through 9 from my previous post. I will post pictures here but will not go into detail:

5. We're almost finished. I personally don't like to texture on my baby's face and skin, so I want to erase that part of the texture.
6. I like to zoom in closely when I fine tune these details, so I will use my "Navigator" tool and slide the button to the right to zoom in to Claire's face. If your Navigator tool is not showing, then on your menu options click on "Window" and then "Navigator."
7. Erase the texture on her face and skin. On the smaller areas (like her legs) I changed my brush size from the "100" down to about "50." When you're done, slide the "Navigator" button (from step 6) back to the left so you can see your whole picture again.
8. The last step is to darken the edges. I do this by using the "burn tool" which is one of my all-time favorite tools in Photoshop. I use it when I create so many of my papers and I just love the look that it does. If you can envision taking a paper, lighting a match to it and watching the edges burn, that is exactly what this tool does. For this tutorial I will once again use that same soft round brush that we used for the "eraser" tool. But you can get creative with this and use other brush shapes as well. For instance, on this image I had done with her, I used a scroll brush at the bottom of the picture using the burn tool: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_rujJJ-dR2BI/SZuPlrfSO_I/AAAAAAAAAPg/JaWY_REEhfE/s1600-h/Claire_PinkDress_Stairs.jpg

9. And now, just go around the edges of your picture. Hint: if you want to keep it going in a straigt line, then hold down the shift key at the same time.

I hope you have fun with this. Get creative. Try all sorts of different textures. Good luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tutorial: Giving Paper a quick "Grunge" look

I get asked a lot, "How do you get your papers to have 'that look'?" So I am going to give an easy tutorial on one of the ways I give my papers a "grungy feel." The program that I use is Adobe Photoshop CS2, and that is the only program I know how to use. I also use a PC so I don't know how different this tutorial will need to be changed for any Mac users. Hopefully, for those of you wanting to learn to create your own papers, you'll be able to bend and tweak my tutorial to work with whatever program you use if it is not Photoshop CS2.

1. Okay, so I start with a blank document and create it to be an 8 inch by 8 inch size with a Resolution of 300 and the Color Mode set to RGB. (By the way, whenever I create papers, this is ALWAYS the first step that I do).
2. Choose whatever color you want for your foreground, and then select the paint bucket tool.

3. When you click on your document area, it will fill up with that foreground color.

4. So now we want a quick way to make this background have a grungy look. An easy way to do this is to use a grungy texture to create an overlay. I like to look at a website called www.sxc.hu where they have stock photos that are free to use (you will want to look for ones where "standard restrictions apply", otherwise you will have to contact the original owner to ask permission). You will need to sign up for a free membership to use this site. For this tutorial, I am using an image that I found at this link: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1153191

5. I will take the image that I have saved into my computer and open it up in Photoshop. I like to be able to see both pieces I am working with at this point, so in the upper righthand corner next to that red box with the "x" in it, there should be a button with two small squares. Click on that so you can see both the grunge background as well as your original color background. You will want to click on the "Move Tool" for the next step.

6. Now we want to drag that grunge background over to our original document. If you can see both images (like pictured above), AND you have clicked on the "Move Tool", then all you need to do is click on the grunge background and drag it onto the red background. In your layers palette, your grunge background should be on top of the red background.

7. Next we will want to make sure that the grunge background is covering all of the red. We will need to move the edges of the grunge layer a bit. Currently, the grunge layer should have a dotted line border. When the border is like that, then it means if you move the grunge background around, it will stay in its original size. But if you click on the edge then that dotted line becomes a solid line. This helps you manipulate the heighth and width to whatever you want it to be. (Quick note: if you hold down the "shift" key, and drag at the corners, then the image will stay in it's original shape, but you will be able to make it bigger or smaller). When you get it to the size you like, hit "enter" on your keyboard so it will go back to having the dotted edge border.

8. You're almost done! Now the whole red background should be covered by the grunge background. You want to click on the grunge background the make sure it is selected. Under the layers palette you should see the word "normal" with a little arrow next to it. Click on that arrow.

9. Under the dropdown list, find the word "Overlay" and click on it.

10. Abbracadabra!

Have fun with this. Try all sorts of different textures and colors and backgrounds. If any of you use this tutorial, please feel free to email me what you do.

Let me know what else you want to learn so that way the next time I feel like it, I can do another tutorial.