Saturday, May 30, 2009

Speed Scrap

A "SS" or Speed Scrap is a ton of fun. Here is how it works. Everyone gets together on a forum online. The host gives a set of instructions, such as "pick out three related pictures," every 10 minutes up to 7 sets of instructions. Then you get the remaining 50 minutes to wrap up your scrap page and post it to the gallery and forum. This is a total of two hours to complete an entire layout. And amazingly, with the pressure of the competition (and usuallly some small reward), you get it done!

As stated in my last post, I participated in a speed scrap last night at, but there are plenty of websites that host them on a regular basis.

I spent some time retouching my layout this morning, getting the shadows just right, etc., and am providing you a look at the speed scrap version and the retouched version below.

Home Coming
"Home Coming"
- Papers from "Spontaneous Delight" by Carrie Stephens
- Mat shape from "My Secret Garden" by creations by Rachael at
- Tag from "Happiness" by Summer Driggs
- Journal from "Enjoy the Day" by Simply Sweet Designs by Kim
- Title Alpha from "Date Night" by Aaron Moris of Sir Scrapalot Designs
- Journal/Tag Alpha "Pea Charmaine" from

Friday, May 29, 2009

My First Speed Scrap!

I competed in a speed scrap over at!!!!

I'm all excited after that intense, but fun, 2 hours. I'm so pleased with my results. Who knew I could scrap that fast? So that was my 5th or 6th layout ever. I'll give you a link and post it officially tomorrow with the proper credits.

And, if you don't know what a speed scrap is, I'll explain in my next post. Promise.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rule Of Thirds

Cropping photos using the "Rule of Thirds" makes photographs seem more appealing, interesting, and exciting. It is a technique that can be used not only when taking photographs, but also back home when prepping photos for use in scrapbooking layouts.

There is a great tip on Scrappers Guide that describes how to simply apply a grid already available in Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to help you line up the objects in your photo to create an interesting dynamic by using the "Rule of thirds".

There are separate tutorials. One for Adobe Photoshop, available here:
and one for Photoshop Elements, available here:

****In other news, my wonderful husband bought me a 1TB external harddrive. How awesome is that?!!!****

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Texture on Photographs

My favorite scrapbooking designer is Summer Driggs of Summertime Designs. She does such amazing work! Back in March she offered a tutorial on how to add texture on photographs. The trouble was that she did it using Photoshop while I only have Photoshop Elements. Therefore, I decided, once I figured out how to do it, to create a tutorial of the same thing for you specifically for Photoshop Elements.

Before Photo

After Photo

1. Start by opening your photo in Photoshop Elements.

opening window

2. Since I'm following Summer's tutorial, the next step she likes to do is adjust the levels. You can skip steps 2 and 3 if you would like. To do this make sure your picture is highlighted in the layers section to the right. Then click "Enhance" > "Adjust Lighting" > "Levels".

adjust levels

3. Move the tabs around to adjust the levels until you are pleased with your results. In Summer's tutorial she shows you exactly what she does. I will simply describe it. First, move the white tab on the right and move it slightly to the left. Next, move the black tab, on the left, over slightly to the right. Then move the middle gray tab to the left or right as needed. When you are done you can uncheck the "Preview" button to see the before picture to compare the changes.

4. To create a grungy look, you will need to find a texture to use to create an overlay. There are many textures available on the Internet. People also like to photograph textures themselves. For this tutorial I am using a texture that I found at It is called "Forgotten Texture" by Firesign24_7 from this link:

5. You should be viewing your picture on Photoshop Elements at this point. Next open the texture in Photoshop Elements. You need to be able to see both your picture and your texture at the same time. So if they are not both visible, click on the "Restore Down" in the upper-righthand corner of the viewing box, which is located to the left of the "X", it will have two small squares---one on top of the other. For the next step you need to click on the "Move Tool" on the top left of the toolbar.

open texture

6. Next you want to drag the texture onto the picture. Now that you are viewing both the texture and the picture AND have selected the "Move Tool", it is real simple to move the texture onto the picture. Just grab the texture and drag it over onto the picture. In the texture window (in my example it is on the right), click the "X" in the upper right corner of the viewing window to close the texture window. You will no longer need it.

drag texture onto pictures

7. Once you do this, you will just be viewing the picture window, which has both your picture and texture on it. In the layers panel you will see that the texture layer is above the picture layer.

drag texture onto pictures

8. Next you want to make sure that the entire texture is covering the picture. Since both of these are photographs, my texture fit perfectly over the picture. To adjust your texture, make sure that the texture layer is selected by choosing it in the layers panel. Then using the bounding boxes at the sides and corners of the texture adjust the texture so that it is the same size as the picture. After making the adjustments, you will need to select the green check mark or hit the enter key to affirm your changes. Now the texture is covering the whole background.

9. Now make sure the texture layer is selected by looking in the layer panel, and clicking on it if it is not selected. Then click the drop down blending mode, by clicking on the selection area that says "Normal" below the Layer Panel heading.

select the texture layer

10. From the list that appears, choose "Overlay". You can also play around with the other options in this group and see what effects they create. You can select: "Soft Light," "Hard Light," "Vivid Light," "Linear Light," "Pin Light," or "Hard Mix."

Select Overlay

11. You are almost finished.


12. Next we will remove the texture from the bodies of the people, which gives a cleaner fresher look. I only remove the texture from the people that the picture focuses on, not those in the background. Here is a close up. It helps to zoom in to make sure you are careful and stay along the edges.


13. The erasing takes place on the texture layer, revealing the picture beneath. Make sure that you have the texture layer selected in the layer panel. To erase, select the "Eraser Tool". You can adjust which brush is selected (choose a round one, for example), and the size of the brush at the top of the viewing window. A smaller size helps around details (here I am using size 23).

Eraser Tool

14. Tada! You are finished. Note: Summer uses the burn tool at the end of her tutorial, which you can do in Photoshop Elements. However, I did not use it because the texture I used created a similar effect on the edges of my picture that I was happy with.

Eraser Tool

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why We Scrapbook

This blog is not going to be only links to other blogs, but when I find something good, I want to share it!

Today, on Inkin' & Thinkin', there is a great entry on a reason to scrapbook. It's lengthy, but worth the read. It really struck a chord with me---what my goal should be when I scrapbook. It also made me want to go back and improve my journaling on the couple of pages that I have scrapped so far.

Please take the time to read this:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brushes in Photoshop Elements

As I have looked around at various blogs and digi-scrapping websites I have noticed that a lot of people's favorite device is "brushes" for altering their photographs, making pretty papers, and neat looking embellishments. And I have been asking myself, "what the heck are brushes?" for weeks now. I have read various people's descriptions of what brushes are and it has still been slow to sink in exactly what they are talking about, although along the way I have at least figured out how to find them in Photoshop Elements.

Well another problem I have run into is that I have Photoshop Elements, not Photoshop, and there are not many tutorials for Photoshop Elements. So I have not been sure when reading directions on brushes if they actually apply to Photoshop Elements or not. So, I have finally found a tutorial which actually explains what brushes ARE and not just how to use them and is specific to Photoshop Elements.

If you are wondering what brushes are too then you need to read this tutorial from

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Grandma and Her Girls

Last week my grandma passed away. My twin sister and I were her only granddaughters and we had a special relationship with her. She was an incredible woman that we loved so very much. The pictures here are from 1985 and 2007.

It was with a heavy heart that I put together this scrapbook page. Her memory will live on.

Love you, Grandma.

Grandma & Her Girls
"Grandma & Her Girls"
Lillian Herbrandt Stiefel
Nov. 2, 1923 - Apr. 28, 2009

Papers and Elements: Summer Driggs' Sweet Springtime Kit
Mask: Photo Mask #1 by Gunhild Storeide
Font: Pea Charmaine from

Picture frame of Grandma
Top Left: Ryan and Grandma (Aug. 2005);
Right: Grandma (1940s, Miami, Fla.) (I just love this picture!);
Bottom Left: Elise and Grandma (Aug. 2005)

Frame: Mad Genius Designs (Jewel Goodwin)

First Layout Using Photoshop Elements

Today, over at Simple Scrapper, there are great directions on how to create your first layout in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Check it out:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!

enjoy all of the freebies and great buys!