Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Project Life 2013 - week 21

I'm so late getting this post up today, having a holiday on Monday always screws up my schedule plus I decided I needed to make a little mini album insert so that totally made me get everything done in a timely manner....Not!

Here's the full spread

The spread and insert ended up going very pink which I love!  I posted a photo on Instagram because initially I had 46 photos I wanted in the weeks spread which I knew wasn't going to happen.  I edited a lot out and ended up making the mini for our Fair photos.  There's a lot of Studio Calico Atlantic in this spread and I used a ton of the May Project Life kit cards in the spread and in the mini.

The Mommy card above was supposed to be used for Mother's Day but since I did the layout I still had it. It was perfect for this little party Simone had for me.

Here is the right hand side. The Studio Calico neon sequins are addicting, I'm glad I got a few packs. I love having my typewriter up and running, I typed quite a bit this week. 

I struggled for awhile for a plan for the little mini I wanted to make, especially when it came to size. I wanted to have lots of pages, not be thick and still maximize my 12x12 sheets of paper. I ended up with a 6x6 mini that was a lot thicker than I wanted but I love it.  I cut 6 sheets down the middle horizontally. Some I wanted to use both pieces others I only used one half so I could save the rest for later. I then folded each piece in have horizontally again.  I attached the sheets back to back only on one side if that makes sense.

Like I said above I used a lot of cards from the May Studio Calico kit, especially anything yellow. There were several this past month and they all seemed perfect for what I was doing. A few also came from a limited kit they sold last month too.

supplies for the cover: paper, alpha, ribbon clip - Studio Calico; gold glitter arrows - Freckled Fawn; doily and tag - my stash

supplies: wood card - Amy Tangerine; washi, vellum bubble, paper, journaling card, small alpha all Studio Calico; enamel dots - My Minds Eye for Studio Calico

supplies: paper - Tim & Beck; journaling card - Studio Calico; dot washi - Doodlebug; dot alpha - October Afternoon Midway

I adore this paper, the typed words were printed on it and I used the whole sheet, it was perfect for this.

supplies: paper - Elle's Studio; journaling card trimmed down - Studio Calico; sequin heart and stars - Heidi Swapp; crystals - Prima; roller stamp - Dear Lizzy

supplies: paper - Elle's Studio; journaling card - Studio Calico; sequin heart - Heidi Swapp; gold glitter arrow - Freckled Fawn; roller stamp - Dear Lizzy; yellow alpha - Jillibean Soup

This is my new favorite photo. I held my breath when I took it because I could hear her but couldn't see her face because I was standing in a shadow. I clicked at exactly the right time and it wasn't blurry.

supplies: paper - Glitz Design; washi, journaling card, ribbon paper clip - Studio Calico; enamel dots - My Minds Eye for Studio Calico; roller stamp - Dear Lizzy

supplies: paper, journaling cards - Studio Calico; pink alpha - Jillibean Soup; glitter alpha - Dear Lizzy

These are a close second for favorites. I snapped a similar shot last year at the same fair and hoped I could get a repeat shot. I got so lucky! The first half dozen times she went down the slide she was wearing her hat, these were at the end and I could see her face more. The peace signs at the bottom, classic!

supplies: paper - Cosmo Cricket; journaling card - Studio Calico; enamel dots - Basic Grey for Studio Calico and Basic Grey; roller stamp - Dear Lizzy

All photos were taken with my iPhone 4s. They were edited with the Pic Tap Go app and some were given further edits with Rad Lab.

I saved my journaling for the back of the album. I also added a piece of the Bazzil plastic paper between the last two pages so I could punch holes and have it be part of the album.

supplies: paper - Tim & Beck; washi tape - Freckled Fawn; vellum - Joann's; font - Wendy Medium

Thanks for sticking with me, I know this post was a doosey!

Monday, May 27, 2013

So I updated my blog header...

First let me say, Happy Memorial Day to everyone! Please make sure you take a moment today to say thank you to all the men and woman who have served or are serving in the military. I have two current family members serving and several other family members that are former military. They and their families sacrifice so much for all of us. So thank you so very much for all that you do and did do for us.

I had a few hours alone last week and I've been kicking around ideas in my head for a blog header update.  I get tired of things and wasn't really digging what I had that much anymore so hey why not right!

I knew I wanted to add some sequins or glitter or something shiny somehow and I always wanted to update the basket image.  I looked online for some line drawings but everything I liked was not free and I was kind of stuck. I decided to see if I could draw something myself, crazy! But after a few tries, probably at least a few dozen I had one that didn't look too terrible or at list looked kind of cute. I drew it on my ipad on a drawing app and snapped a screen shot of it and it found its way to my icloud.

I designed the whole header in Photoshop Elements and it's actually not as hard as it might seem. I think the hardest part is coming up with the idea and then making it happen.

I created a document that was 1100 pixels wide by 350 pixels high.  My blog is pretty wide so of course you'll need to play around with sizing for your particular blog layout. 

I scanned a bunch of sequins (Studio Calico Atlantic the woodgrain, silver and light pink and some other ones I had on hand), erased the background and started layering until I had what looked like a pretty descent random scatter of sequins.  I added in my drawn picnic basket and the title, using the free font 'Ever After.'

I wrestled for awhile on whether I should add the word 'the' I omitted it because I couldn't figure out how to put it on there without it looking odd so let me know if you think its a) weird that its not there or b) okay that I left it off.

After the design was done I saved it as a .jpg and then from my Blogger dashboard clicked on Design in the upper right hand corner, choose layout on the left side, then choose the edit button for the Blog Header area, select remove image for whatever is there, then choose browse to where you saved your .jpg copy of your new header, once it's open make sure you select the button below it that says Placement, "Instead of Title and Description."  That way it will replace whatever is already part of the template you chose when you initially set up your blog.

I see a few sequins that need some fixing so I need to get on that but all in all I love how it turned out.

It's funny that I've never had one person comment or say "Um, did you know that you've misspelled the word Picnic...?" Perhaps its clear from my about statement up on the right hand side but yes, totally intentional.

I hope you give designing a blog header a try, if you need any help, just let me know.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Project Life 2013 - week 20

I cannot believe I'm saying week 20 already!

This past week was super hectic, seemed like I was running every day. On Friday I took a trip in to San Francisco and had dinner with friends. It was a long but super fun day and I got to see some folks I haven't seen in a really long time.  I decided to focus my whole left side of the spread on that one day and had some fun with it.

Here is the whole spread

The top two photos are from my first stop in San Francisco. It was so good to see everyone, my former boss and amazing co-workers. I miss my job everyday and they really are such inspiring amazing people. Well worth the trip in for sure!

The bottom three shots are from dinner with some friends at the cutest little place. We had a blast and talked way too much and for way to long but it was an awesome night.

One of the biggest things about my day on Friday was the amount of driving I did and how long I was gone. I wanted to show that in some way with my journaling and since I had already used a map element (seen here) that I totally could have done again, I wanted to do something different. I made a piece that I had initially planned on attaching to the outside of the protector that covered three of the horizontal 4 x 3 slots. The paper is a white woodgrain 110 lb. cardstock that I absolutely love. It's my favorite neutral background and the texture is divine. I usually buy it from Studio Calico but it looks like they are out of stock. I really wanted to print on it and decided to give it a go. I planned out my text roughly keeping in mind where the breaks would normally occur for the slots and sent it off to print. I loaded it in my rear tray where my photo paper normally goes (I have a Canon Pixma MG5320 inkjet printer). It fed no problem and printed perfectly, even down into the little crevices of the woodgrain.

I added some stitching with two colors of embroidery floss to show my path. I added three wood veneer geotags that I inked with a cranberry pigment ink and then embossed like 6 times with clear embossing powder to get the super thick shiny surface.

In the end I didn't like the way the piece looked sitting on top so I opted to cut it apart. Since I had already done the stitching I adhered a piece of thin cardstock to the back to seal in the stitches basically and cut through both. I did add a few little drops of glue to smooth out the cut thread so it wouldn't look like it was cut through.

Here are some more detailed shots so you can see the printing and the stitching.

I had to use the right side to fit the rest of the week in and really had to edit down my photos. The title card is a cut file from the Silhouette store of  the San Francisco skyline, so perfect for this week. I cut it from craft paper and placed in on top of more white woodgrain and added some white letters for the date.

For the rest of the spread we have Simone wearing a hat from her Uncle, me and Kari at Hobby Lobby (two visits in a week, CRAZY!), Larry doing some gardening, me and my sister in law and niece seeing Gatsby in 3D (loved it even more than the regular version). A card from Life Love Paper leftover from Christmas, a sprucing up of our master bath, the end of The Office (I totally cried), a field trip that Simone had on Friday and a day out with Dad on Sunday.

One thing I'm really loving lately is leaving some spots blank meaning no photo, just a decorative card. Sometimes I get stuck thinking I have to put a photo in every slot and that's just not the case, it's been fun mixing it up a bit.
We'll have to see where I end up next week!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tutorial - Lifted Letters on a Silhouette

A few weeks back I posted this project for my This is Me album. I got a lot of feedback and quite a few people asked how it was done. I finally had a chance to sit down and work up this tutorial for everyone who asked.  I'm sorry I wasn't able to do a video, I'm sure it would have been easier for you but I've never made one so I'll just tell you step by step with photos.

Here's a look at my original piece, posted back in April.  Again, completely inspired by How About Orange's original idea that she did by hand that you can see here.

First let me say, I by no means want to imply that this is the only way to go about doing this with a computer and a Silhouette Cameo, its simply the way I got it to work with the software that I own and with my skill level associated with both items. It's possible that if you had the Designer Silhouette Cameo software it might be easier, the same goes for different graphics program.  The only thing I can say was it did take me a few hours to figure it all out and make the cuts as clean as I could get them. I'm happy with how it turned out and I'm happy to share with you the steps if you want to try it yourself.

I'm using Photoshop Elements 9 and Silhouette Studio Release 2.7.18 for this tutorial.

1. Create a new document in PSE the size you would like, mine is 8.5"x8.5" and make sure the background is transparent. Type your phrase or quote in the size you want using the font you want. A nice straight edge font is best, this is Novecento Wide Bold that How About Orange recommended in her post, my size shown here is 79 pt.

 2.  Next you'll want to add a stroke outline to the font, select Layer, Layer Style, Style Settings

3.  Select Stroke and change the size to 5 px and the color to black.

4.  Next you'll need to change the color of your text to white so the stroke outline shows. Select your text layer,


5.  over on the bottom left side, select the color changer and make sure White is on top, click okay through the prompts


6.  You should have a nicely outlined batch of text

7.  You can now delete the background layer. Select it on the layer pallet, right click and select delete layer.

8.  You will now have the text layer on a transparent background by itself. You'll want to Simplify the Text Layer for the next steps. Right click and select Simplify Layer.

9.  The next step is to delete the white area from the Text area. Select your text layer in the layer pallet and on the left side, click on the eraser and select the magic eraser tool.

10.  Click the white area only of each letter removing the white parts.

11.  You'll be left with the stroke outline only.

12.  For the next steps zoom in closely on the text.

13.  On the left side select the Rectangle Marquee Tool

14.  Click down and drag the areas of the stroke outline that need to be removed.  Remember we don't want to cut everything, we only want parts of the letters cut

15. Select the area of the letter to be removed and hit delete.

16. Repeat this step for every letter.

17.  Here is what my finished piece looks like after my deletions.

18.  You'll want to save this now as a .jpg file to your computer.  You'll then open your Silhouette Studio software, navigate to where its saved make sure to select show all files and open your .jpg file.

19. Now we need to trace it, select the blue trace button on the upper right hand corner.

20. Select the trace area

21. I found the settings that worked best were to first turn off the High Pass Filter, and adjust the threshold to 42%.  Any higher and the lines become jagged.  You may need to play with this a few times to dial in the correct number for your font choice and size if different.

22. Once it's traced you can remove your .jpg file to the side.

23.  Now you could certainly stop here and cut and you would be fine but I found that what was happening with my trace was it traced all the way around my line and not just the line. Here is where I struggled the most with this, it took me awhile to find out that the software cannot function the way I wanted it too and must trace with a circular motion meaning the lines must start and stop and join together.  You cannot have a cut line that has an open beginning and an open end.  I did cut my file at this point and it looked okay, there was just a gap between the edges of the letters and it didn't have quite the same affect as the original piece.

24. Therefore if you want what appears to be a single cut line you need to edit the points. What you'll need to do is select the text area and then on the left side at the top, click on the edit points button.  Once you do you see all these little dots on your lines.

25. This takes some time but you'll need to go point by point and pinch them together basically.

26. Here you can see where I started moving the lines together on the top of the D. The middle of the letters is much easier since there are two distinct lines you can just erase one.

27. By clicking on the right hand side, delete point and continue to do that until the line is gone.

28. Here you can see my letters with the lines pinched together.  There are clearly two lines still but they will be more snug and less of a gap between them when it's cut.

29. At this point you are ready to cut and gently bend your pieces back to create the fold.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions please let me know.

If you are a fan of the 80's and you'd like a copy of my completed file its available to download here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Project Life 2013 - week 19

Mother's Day this past week, I hope if you're a mom, even the soon to be's and the hope to be's you all had a great day!

Here is the full spread

As  you can see I saw Gatsby this past week, they day it opened in fact and I loved it. The fashion, the makeup, they styling, the sets, the cast, it was perfection.  It inspired my title card this week too. I loved the parts of the movie when the typed words flew up on the screen so I typed my card info and added a sprinkle of Studio Calico Atlantic sequins. The rest of this side is a lot of little bits from the week. Some crazy weather, a lunch out, a random like on IG from a former BB contestant, loved that. Daddy bought Simone a car track, she loved her friends wall track but he steered her in this direction instead. Some fun words to remind her to seek her own path. A dinner out for Larry, some fro yo for us on Saturday (love the veneer frames from Freckled Fawn), and a fun contest at the grocery store for Simone.

Here's a close up of the title card.

On the right I highlighted a few favorites from the week, a favorite afternoon treat, a new ribbon for the typewriter, perfect timing too. A new nail color, and the Gatsby bits. The top two center cards are from the May Studio Calico Project Life kit, the little glitter arrows are from Freckled Fawn. I added the white foam stickers.

I decided to make a layout for my Mother's Day insert and used textured watercolor paper as the base so I could paint on it. I was heavily influenced by this layout from Shanna Noel. Her watercolor work is so inspiring.  I use the Peerless Transparent Watercolors which I just love and added some drops of gold color shine and little tiny heart sequins that just arrived in my May Studio Calico project life kit.

Thanks for stopping by, have a great rest of the week.