2014 iNSD Designer Blog Hop

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Hello, and welcome to my blog, and the last stop on the 2014 P&Co iNSD Designer Blog Hop! (Looking for the DigiScrap Parade? You might want to read this post first, and then click here.)

You’ve worked your way through the blogs, collecting numbers and letters and learning fabulous things along the way, right? (In case you ended up here by mistake, click here to start at the beginning.)

Before I give you the last bit of the coupon code, here’s a couple of things. First of all, I’d like to point you all in the direction of a recent recoloring tutorial I did on the P&Co blog, and the coordinating watercolor alpha freebie you can use to practice the technique. It’s a super fun one, and I hope you all enjoy it!

Next, I’ve got a great mix of Grab Bags in the shop, and you can get some great deals on many of my kits. Whether you want a Manstache (with bigger kits) or are content with a Boystache (with smaller kits), I’ve got you set!

manstash-600 boystash-600I’ve also got a new kit up for the May Stash, and it’s a fun one! Check out Gellies, v.1, and then go see the rest of the May Stash, too! There are some amazing products in there!

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Looking for a gift for Mom? If you place an order with Persnickety Prints this Saturday, you’ll get this 5×7 print free, and it’s ready-to-frame and gift!

persnickety_insd Like the looks? It coordinates with Julep, one of my favorite kits, and – like everything else – it’s on sale this weekend!

And lastly, I’m hosting a fun little game in the P&Co forum this weekend. Hop on over if you’re up for a challenge, because one person will win a $25 gift certificate to my store! That’s it for me, except… Oh, yes. That last bit of the coupon code! *wink* Just a couple of quick reminders:

  • You should have a total of 14 letters and 3 numbers, including the one you get here. If you missed one, click back through the list I included above.
  • Make sure that Bermuda Triangle is the only thing in your cart.
  • Use all uppercase letters, and no spaces.
  • Be sure you enter the coupon code in the “coupon” field, and not the “gift certificate” field.
  • If you have any issues, you can email me at helpme[at]pixelsandcompany[dot]com.
  • The coupon code is only valid through May 31, so don’t delay!bloghop2

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog hop as much as we have! Happy iNSD!

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May 2014 DigiScrap Parade Blog Hop

DSparade-Banner__May2014Welcome to my blog, and the next stop in the May 2014 DigiScrap Parade blog hop. If you’re following the Parade route from start to finish, you should have arrived here from my lovely friend Shannon’s, either Scotty Girl Design’s blog or Scotty Girl Design’s Facebook page.

For my contribution, I’ve created a little mini kit for you with 7 papers and 14 elements… I’m loving glitter right now, and it’s showing up in all my latest designs! To grab it, simply click on the image below, and it will take you directly to the P&Co shop. (Scroll down, and you’ll find the download link, no checkout required.)

Be sure to check out the rest of my post, though… I’ve got quite a few exciting things to share!

Playful | Mini Kit

While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of the P&Co shop… We’ve started our iNSD celebration, and the whole site is on sale for up to 50% off, including our brand-new May Stash!

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P&Co iNSD

We’ve also got fun promotions, contests, and challenges in our forums, plus we’re giving this fantastic mega collab away later today, so be sure to check back for that blog hop!

Bermuda Triangle

Your next stop will be the super talented Jill of Juno Designs’ Facebook page or Juno Designs’ blog. If you get lost along the way, simply head back to the main DigiScrap Parade site to view the master list and get back on track.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Creating a Custom Shadow

Hello there…I’m Angie from Gennifer’s creative team and I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks on how to create your own custom shadows.

Now you can always use the default shadow in Photoshop’s layer styles…and I do most of the time. But sometimes you just want a little something extra and that’s when I make my own shadow. It just gives the item a slightly more realistic feel.

I know there are probably 54 different ways to do this same process in Photoshop, but here’s how I’ve learned it. (Note: I am using CS5, so the steps may vary slightly depending on the version you are using.)

First, add a new layer UNDER the item you want to shadow. Now, with your blank layer highlighted in the layers panel, hold down the Command button (or Control button on a PC) and hover your curser over the SHAPE in the layer above. Note: it has to be over the shape and not the name of the layer. Click on the shape and you should get a set of marching ants around your object over in the layout.

Next go to Select – Modify – Feather. I usually feather it between 5 – 9 (pixels), but this will depend on the size of your canvas (mine is a 12 x 12) and what feels more realistic to you. I’m using a 9 pixel feather here.

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Your marching ants should have bumped out slightly, and now you need to fill your shape. Go to Edit – Fill. I default to using black with the normal mode, and 65% opacity. You can always drop the opacity on your layer later if you need to later. You could change the color to more closely match the color of the item you are shadowing. This would be more realistic since shadows tend to take on a tint of color. I’m lazy, though. I generally leave it at black unless my element is a very light color. (The lighter the color the less “real” my black shadow will look.)

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Hit Command + D to get rid of the marching ants (or Control + D on a PC), and your shadow is already looking fabulous. I usually bump the shape over two steps to the right and two steps down to start with…and then adjust the positioning of the shadow from there.

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And here is the final shadow layer on it’s own (the bow is from Gennifer Bursett’s “Far and Away” kit.)

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See, that wasn’t too hard! Now you can try some other fun stuff, like warping that shadow layer to make parts of the ribbon lift off the page. Have fun!

Misted and Masked Backgrounds

Hi there! I’m Kacy, and I’m excited to share a post with you today.

I am an engineer by trade, and therefore my scrapbook pages are normally simple, contain lots of white space, and squares, squares, squares!  I love using paint on my digital layouts… if the designer makes it and color-coordinates it for me.  Lately, I have been seeing misted backgrounds on scrapbook pages all over, and I really like the look (I have pinned some examples here), but I have never tried to do this digitally, or make my own custom painted/misted backgrounds.  It was fun to step out of my scrapbooking comfort zone a bit for this layout.  :-)

Here is a what a fairly typical layout for me looks like:

Typical
Woodgrain background?  Check.  Journaling in handwriting font?  Check.  Multiple background papers under the photo (either square or rectangle). Check! Black and white photo off-center?  Check. Smattering of elements and picture of my crazy ginger cat? Check and CHECK!

I am going to add a misted and masked layer over the background paper to add some visual interest to this layout with Gennifer’s Toolbox Mists, Version 1 and a set of Photoshop shapes I downloaded from the internet (please be careful where you download from!).

First, I am going to convert the digital mist into a brush so that I can brush with any color I want.  In Photoshop, go to File > Open, navigate to the brush you want to use, and click open.  I am using brush number 2 on my layout.

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While on the mist document, select all (using Ctrl-A or Select > All from the menu bar).  Then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and click ok on the dialogue box that pops up to add the mist to your brush palette.

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Then, choose your brush tool and find the brush you just defined.  I am going to keep the original size of 3432 pixels.

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To make the misting a little more realistic-looking, we are going to have Photoshop vary the how the brush is applied when we “spray”.  Open the brush palette (on the right hand side).  Click on “Shape Dynamics”.  I want the brush to slightly change size between sprays, so I set my size jitter to 20%.  I also want the brush to rotate to any different angle to make it look more realistic, so I set the angle jitter to 100%.  I turned off the smoothing feature, and turned on the “Build Up” feature to mimic layers of paint from an air brush.

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Make a new layer for your mist (don’t forget and spray on your background paper!), and select the brush color you want to use – I am using a light green from one of the background papers behind my photo.  “Spray” on this layer until you have the coverage that you want.  I thought mine was a little dark, so I also adjusted the fill of the mist layer down to 85%.  Here is what my misted layer over the background looks like:

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Now we are going to use the custom shape tool to cut out a stencil/mask shape from the mist – this will mimic the look of misting over a stencil.  On the left toolbar, right-click on the shape tool and select custom shape.

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On the brush toolbar at the top of the window, on the right side is a drop-down box – click on the dropdown box arrow and select the shape for the stencil you want to use.  I love these sunburst shapes I downloaded from a free Photoshop site.

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Using your mouse, click and drag across your layout until your shape is sized and laid out how you’d like (Photoshop automatically creates a new layer).  I wanted the center of the sunburst to end up underneath my photos, so I set the shape off to the right side.  This is what mine looks like:

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Now we want to select only the new shape.  While your shape layer is selected in the layer toolbar, hold your mouse in the layer thumbnail box, hold down the control key, and click inside the thumbnail box.  This will select everything contained on the selected layer only.  I wanted the shape I drew to be the shape of the mist that remains over the background paper, so I inverted the selection (Ctrl-Shift-I, or Select > Inverse from the top toolbar).

I’m going to feather the selection by 5 pixels to take some of the sharpness off of the edges of the sunburst shape – to this by going to Select > Modify > Feather, type in 5, and click “OK”.

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With the shape outline still selected (moving dashed line), select your misting layer in the layers toolbar.  Now hit your delete key – this deletes mist where your digital “stencil” would have been (you may need to turn the visibility of your stencil shape layer off to see the results).  This is what my background with a mist now looks like:

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Turning on all my elements, journaling and decorative background papers, and my layout now looks like this:

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I like this much better – a simple addition to the background jazzes up my layout and helps to focus the eye on my photo.  I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!

Supplies Used:

My Best Gift Ever

Hey!  Courtney here, bringing you some quick tips and info about scrapping a gift album for a loved one.  I know, sometimes it is hard to find the time to scrap our own life experiences let alone scrap for someone else right?  Well, this past Christmas I surprised my parents with an amazing album I created for them based on their trip out west to celebrate my father’s 65th birthday.  Not only was it my pleasure doing this for them, it was also their favorite gift I think they have ever received from me.  (Well, besides their granddaughter!)  When I saw the tears in their eyes I knew I nailed the album and also tugged on their heartstrings because they could relive their trip at the turn of a page.

Here are some of my tips for creating a meaningful album for someone else.

Tip#1- It doesn’t have to be a secret!  Let them know you are scrapping the experience.  Whether it is a trip, a birthday, or a new baby, if your loved one knows you are going to be working on something for them, they can help with the details of the experience.  You can ask them for quotes, favorite memories, funny moments, and make sure you have the best photos from the life event.  By doing this, they will see their own voice and memories on their pages. For example, I used my mother’s own words to document Zion National Park.  Gen’s kit Indian Summer, was the perfect fit for these amazing photos my mom took.

Zion

Tip #2-Scrap your Stash.  Dig deep!!!  I know, there is something about the thrill of downloading that new kit right?  Well, I bet you have all you need in your stash to scrap an awesome album for someone.  You might even end up LOVING scrapping some of your old favorites, I know I did.  If you do need a specific look, shop designers of the week and site sales.  Take all those papers and elements you think you will use and create a folder for them.  This will help you coordinate colors and patterns with your pictures.  I love this photo my mom sent me of the Bellagio Fountain and the kit Photo Bomb, with its glitter and glamour, was the perfect kit to scrap with!

Bellagio Fountain

Tip #3-Organize from the start.  When I offered to scrap my parents an album I began right away with organizing their trip into folders.  I asked for one email per important destination.  My mom helped by documenting each experience and attached a few photos.  This was a big help because all I had to do was copy and paste and play with font and size for the text!  I was able to scrap all of my pages in chronological order this way as well.  Here is another page on their arrival in Sedona.  I used Gen’s kit Far and Away to scrap this one.  I loved how it turned out.

Sedona

Tip #4- Get a Jump Start.  Many companies run photo book specials every month or two.  If you are done ahead of time you will be able to save money on printing.  I was able to create a 20 page album and received 50% off when the Christmas printing deals rolled in.  If you are done ahead of time, time and savings are on your side!  And lastly, budget your time.  I tried to create one or two pages a day and it took me about a month to make them an amazing trip album.  I am not going to lie and say it didn’t take time, of course it did, but nothing will ever compare to the amazing “Trip out West” album they received for Christmas this year.  The look in their eyes when they opened it reassured me that they LOVED my gift.

Thanks for reading and looking at my pages and I encourage you to scrap a gift from the heart, they won’t forget it!

 

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