Monday, February 28, 2011

Digi Tip February 2011: On the Edge

Good day!  Cathy here to share this month's Digi Tip.  Today I'm going to show you how you can make some cool edges for your photos in Photoshop Elements. You can also do this in the full version of Photoshop, but since many of you use Photoshop Elements, I thought I would use that for my examples today.

If you recall, in last month's Digi Tip post we created clipping masks for photos and elements with rounded corners. Well, the idea of "clipping" is going to be used in today's lesson as well.  Only this time instead of clipping to a shape, we are going to clip to an adjustment layer!  Ready?  Here we go....

Open a photo in Photoshop Elements. Now select File>Save As and save a copy of your photo with a new name.  This will keep us from accidentally overwriting our original photo. This is a photo of my darling bull dog. Isn't she the cutest?

If you want to crop your photo, go ahead and use the crop tool to do so, Just be certain to leave enough room around the subject of your photo for your decorative edge.

Double-click your photo layer in the Layers palette to make it a regular (not background) layer. The above dialog box will open. Just click OK.

Next hold the Ctrl key and click the Create a New Layer icon on the Layers Palette. This will add a new layer below your active layer.  Or you can select Layer > New from the menu, then drag the new layer beneath your photo layer in the Layers Palette. Click this new layer to make it active.

Choose white for your foreground color and press Alt-Backspace to fill this layer with white.
What you have now is two layers: Your photo layer and a layer of white as shown above.

Now we are going to select an area of the photo that you want to draw attention to. Click the photo layer in the Layers palette. Using the Marquee tool, (looks like dashed lines) make a selection around your focal subject in your photo. Leave a bit of margin so you don't cause your edge treatment to infringe on your subject.
Note: Turn off the Feather option in the Options bar by setting it to 0 pixels before you make your selection.

Click the icon for Create a New Adjustment Layer. It's a half-black half-white circle in the Layers Palette tools. Choose Levels and click OK without changing anything. You're not applying any adjustment to your photo so it will not change, but the selection markers will go away.  Your Layers palette will look like mine above, with your selected part showing up in white on a black background on the square next to your Levels icon. That square is going to be your clipping mask. Basically in this clipping mask, the white area allows the item clipped to it to show, the black area will hide those parts of the clipped item.

Now clip your photo layer to the adjustment layer by positioning your mouse in the layers panel on the line between the photo layer and the adjustment layer, press and hold the Alt key, you'll see the mouse cursor change to a symbol of intersecting circles, click and you will "clip" the photo layer to the clipping mask (adjustment layer). 

Now comes the really fun part!  You are going to choose a filter and apply it. But first... I know that you are going to want to play with different options and try several of them. To make it easier for you to compare how they look. I'm going to suggest that you first make copies of the clipping mask so you can apply different filters to each.  To copy a layer, click on it in the layers palette, then press and hold the Alt key while you click and drag the layer in the layers palette to a new location. This will copy the layer and place it in the stack where you have dragged it to.  You can also copy a layer by selecting Layer> Duplicate Layer from the menu or by right-clicking on the layer in the layers palette and then select Duplicate Layer and click OK. There is often more than one way to do things in Photoshop/Elements.  Just get comfortable with what works best for you.

Make several copies of the adjustment layer, then turn off the visibility on all but one of those layers. Click on that layer to make it active.  You'll need to un-clip your photo from layers you are not currently using (simply pressing alt-click between the layers will also un-clip/un-group them) and then clip it to the active mask layer.  Now let's try applying a filter!

In my first example, I created a simple vignette, by selecting Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. I set the radius to 45. You can play with that by sliding the selector in the preview panel that displays.

When I was ready to apply a new filter to my next clipping layer, I ungrouped my photo from the blur layer, turned off the visibility to the blur layer, then dragged my photo layer down to be directly on top of the next clipping mask. I turned on the new clipping mask visibility and clipped my photo to it.

For this example I chose Filter>Pixelate>Cyrstalize
 I have a rather large photo so I set the cell size to 75. But you can use the slider in the preview panel to decide how you want yours set. 

In this sample, I chose Filter>Distort>Glass

Once you have an edge treatment that you are happy with, you can trim down the white border around the photo.  Use the crop tool to outline the area that you want to keep.  Save your newly edged photo.

I hope you have fun trying out some new edge treatments for your photos.  Join me next month for another Digi-tip.  If there are any Photoshop or Photoshop Elements techniques that you would like to see featured in the monthly Digi-tips, please email me at:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Heather's February Template Two

I've created another sketch and some layouts to share with the fabulous readers here at IFS! The sketch features a vertical 5x7 photo and room for lots of journaling. Here is a preview of the sketch/template... Don't forget, if you just want to save the sketch feel free to right click on the image and click "Save As". If you want the layered digital template please scroll to the bottom of this post for the download link.

I created this first layout with the super cute Cosmo Cricket "Get Happy" digital collection that will be released at on March 7th. I really loved the color combination. 

On my paper layout I went off on a bit of a tangent and used a ton of bling to dress up the Echo Park Little Girl papers that were featured in this month's Scraptastic Club "Princess For A Day" kit. I think my iRock and I are going to be the very best of friends! I made a ribbon medallion to mat the cupcake on too.

I sent a call out for example layouts from my friends and Juliann came through for me! I love that she scrapped her daughter's birthday with these papers too! The little banner she created is adorable.  Thank  you so much for your help Juliann!

Here is the link for the layered digital template that I created in Photoshop Elements. I hope you enjoy it! Don't forget that if you use the template or sketch you can email your creations to Pammy to be featured here on the blog!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cool Stuff - Feb. 26

Happy Saturday and it's time fore another "Cool Stuff" post! I hope you are enjoying the "cool" things I am showcasing on the blog! I love featuring sites, it is such a treat and honor for me!
Note: If you are the owner, design team member, or just a fan of an online scrapbook store, scrapbook company, kit club, etsy shop, digital store, free idea/sketch blog, OR scrapbook class and you want to showcase cool stuff for free, please read over this post, follow the directions and I will feature your cool stuff!

1. The first cool thing I am sharing today is a challenge blog run by Sara (IFS contributor) named ScrapFIT! It is such a cool challenge blog to jump start your creativity with challenges and prizes! Check this out!

ScrapFIT is a challenge blog that is here to push and motivate you to be in tip-top scrappin shape! We have 2 Workouts (challenges) per month. With each workout we have a sponsor that has donated an awesome prize! We are all about keeping you actively scrappin'!

Our 'Workout Challenges' are issued on the 1st and 15th of each month and you will have until the last day of each month to add your layout to each challenges Mr. Linky! We have 2 fabulous prizes each month from either sponsors or from ScrapFIT its self! We will select the winners of both challenges at the end of the month! If you participate in both challenges you have double the chance of being a winner.

2. The second cool place I am sharing is a brand new place to purchase beautiful Dusty Attic chipboard sold by Vicky (IFS contributor)! If you haven't seen the designs, make sure you check them out! Here is more information on the product and how to get yours!

Dusty Attic Retailer

I am thrilled to announce that I am officially a chipboard retailer for The Dusty Attic ( I will be selling through my Etsy shop ( in 4-6 weeks when my shipment arrives from Australia. In the meantime while I patiently wait for the goodies to arrive... as an appreciation to help me spread the word, I am drawing for a Dusty Attic pack from my personal stash.

What you need to do...

a. FOLLOW my blog (if you don't already)

b. WRITE a post about me being a new DA retailer and my blog candy - please include BOTH the prize image posted on my blog and my Etsy shop address - - on your blog (or Facebook page if you don't have a blog)

c. Leave me a message at the bottom of my giveaway post on my blog, with the LINK to your post, and tell me what DA piece is at the very top of your "wish list" (so that I know what you want me to carry)

The winner will be randomly drawn on April 1st.

As a fun BONUS... if my blog following more than doubles, reaching over 600 followers by the time my order arrives, I will draw for a second DA pack (when I announce that the product is available for purchase).
Since I will be shipping product anywhere, this giveaway is also open to all countries. Good luck to all that participate!
You can view more details on my blog at


I hope you have enjoyed today's COOL STUFF!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Featured Artist Friday: Fancy Flowers by Jessica S.

Happy Friday! I hope you have having a happy day wherever you are! Today I am sharing a fabulously talented artist and scrapbooker named Jessica. She is sharing a very easy to follow and beautiful flower tutorial. This will spark your inspiration for creating your own floral embellishments if you are not already creating them yourself ;) . Jessica not only scrapbooks but she owns a kit club with lots of fun stuff to purchase. Take a peek at her store! You can also see some beautiful scrapbook projects on Jessica's blog! Let's get to know her better ...

Hi! I'm Jessica, a full time working mom of two kiddos - Andrew (11) and Sophia (7). I met my husband, Michael, when I was just 14 and I spent the summer visiting my aunt's family in a small town in Colorado. We'll celebrate our 12 year anniversary in March - after all this time he's still my best friend. In addition to working full time, I own Lucky Girl Crafts, an on-line kit store that specializes in affordable kits and providing project inspiration to crafters of all levels.

I've been scrapping since 1996, but really developed my craft after the birth of my son. So much has changed in that time! No matter what products I use, the pictures are always the star. To me, scrapbooking is not just a great way to preserve your cherished memories, but allows you to tell your story in your own, special way. I don't scrap in any particular order - so even though I have more than 10 full albums, none of them are complete (or necessarily chronological...)   

Fancy Flower Tutorial by Jessica

I'm definitely more of a traditional scrapper, mostly because I love the tactile joy I get from creating different textures and dimensions from my scrap products. Some of my favorite embellies are flowers - the fancier, the better! It seems like my fanciest flowers always go first, so I came up with a great way to add more personality to the single blossoms in my stash. Not only do they look fabulous, but it's also an inexpensive way to personalize and dress up your projects since most of the items you need you likely already have. Beware, these are really addicting!

Fancy Flowers tool kit:
* A variety of flat flowers in several sizes (fabric, organza, paper or flowers created with die cutting materials are all fantastic!)
* A variety of buttons in different colors & sizes 
* Brads (bling, epoxy, glittered, patterned or plain)
* Precision (stick) file tools (like Close To My Heart or Basic Grey's precision file sets) - these are perfect for widening the button holes if the brad is too large
* Glue Dots
* Needle nose pliers (though I usually make do without these)

Start by sorting your blossoms, buttons and brads into groups that compliment your project.

 Once you've got that done, take your brad and open the prongs fully. 

Insert your brad through your button holes.

Once your brad is through the button, close the prongs of the brad to allow it to poke through your flowers easily.


Layer your flowers as desired.

Set the brad - either on your project or just set your brad and toss it into your flower stash to be used later. (Like I said, these are addicting!)

You can also layer several buttons for more height and visual interest. For this, most brads will only fit through the two buttons, but (usually) no further.

Insert your brad through the smaller of the two buttons, then the second one. Set your brad by opening the prongs.

Using a Glue Dot, add this to the back of your button, then on each of your layered flowers to create your fanciflower.

This type of flower turns out just as fun as the single button blooms!

Lastly, if you have a brad that is too large for the button holes, you can use precision files to widen the holes.

Carefully twist your file back and forth to enlarge the button hole.

Tada! About a minute later you'll have button holes that fit your larger brad quite nicely!

These flowers are so easy to make - before you know it you'll have your own little, unique flowers ready to go on your favorite projects.

Here's a few of my favorite fancy flowers in action:

Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to show you something new! I hope you enjoy creating your own fantastic, fancy flowers!


Thank you so much, Jessica, for sharing such a great tutorial on creating such beautiful flowers!!

Few Ways To Stay Organized

It can often be a daunting challenge to keep our scrapbook space and supplies organized.  Today I have 2 storage ideas I want to share with you.

I purchased this cart from BJ's (my local wholesale store) over a year ago and it has proved to be the best organizational piece I have ever bought for my scrapbook supplies.

 I like to use the small drawers to hold my stickles, glitter, chalk ink and paint.  I also have some shallow bowls in one of the drawers to hold some odds and end embellishments.  These are drawers are also sturdy enough to hold punches!

 The larger drawers are much deeper and are great for holding dies, tools and other goodies.

Here are the reasons I love this cart so much:

* Its on wheels!
*The extra surface area on top to put your supplies or tools on.
*It easy to transport your supplies to a crop.
*It is very sturdy and durable.

I found one at Amazon that is similar to mine.

Here is the second storage idea. I like this little case to sort out my odd flowers, felt and chip board (I find once you use most of a package you need a place to store the left overs). I purchased this at Lowes.

I hope this ideas help you stay organized and productive!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winner of Chip Art Tool + Designer Showcase!

Hi everyone!! Today I am announcing who wins the Chip Art Tool giveaway.. here are the results ;)

#9 is
Elisabeth said...
Flower petal! For sure. this way one always has enough to make flowers!!!Thanks for the chance to win

Congrats Elisabeth!! Please send me your mailing address to


On to the designer showcase for the day which is RIBBON projects!! Do you like ribbon? Have you used it on a page or project? I like using ribbon for various effects on my page! I am sharing lots of cool projects by the contributors using ribbon on their projects!! Check out these fun examples!

First, I am sharing two beautiful pages by Dolores! Look at how beautiful the ribbon weaving is on the first page! I frames the photo so nicely! On the second page, Dolores used ribbon at the end of her tags and as border for a neat look.

Next up is a couple gorgeous pages by Nancy! She used a neat ribbon technique to create that beautiful red rose on her page! On her second page, she added to gorgeous nature of the page by adding ribbon right below her photos. This is soo pretty!!

Sara is sharing two fabulous ribbon ribbon! On Sara's first layout, she used the beautiful ribbon as trim right in between her photos making it a great focal point for her page.  Sara's second page shows us how to use ribbon as a cool border! Check these out!!

Next up is Vicky sharing two beautiful pages featuring ribbon!  As you can see she used the ribbon to paper pleat on the bottom and corner of her first page. This is such a neat effect. On her second page, Vicky created a large burgundy bow! Love this!

Lastly, I am sharing two great pages by Heather!  On her first layout, Heather used a small red ribbon to be the border of her paper! Cool border! On her second page, she used a days of the week ribbon as a bottom border! Great use of ribbon on boy pages :)

Don't forget to try some different techniques with your ribbon on your next page :)