Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I think one of the most exciting trends to come out of the paper crafting world in awhile was the addition of home letterpressing.  Letterpress items seem to be everywhere these days and the fact that you can now do it at home is just so cool.  When Studio Calico offered their first Letterpress class last year I signed up immediately.  It was one of the funnest classes and I loved learning about how to do it at home and I loved how easy it was. 

Fast forward a few months and Letterpress classes are back at Studio Calico with Letterpress 2.0!  This class will be taught by one of my favorite Paper Crafters, Geralyn Sy and I cannot wait!

This is what you will get with the class
  • Detailed PDF from Geralyn with insight into how she fits Letterpress into her creative process
  • 1 video and 4 PDF tutorials sharing new techniques for Letterpress from Geralyn
  • Access to a class message board where you can discuss Letterpress with Geralyn and your fellow students
  • Challenges to keep you inspired and creating all month long! 

This is what you will need as far as supplies go
  • Lifestyle Crafts L Letterpress platform bundle
  • Studio Calico letterpress plates – Many of the techniques and inspiration pieces will use more than one design.
  • Manual diecut machine (The Cuttlebug, Epic, Big Shot and Evolution will all work with the platform. I have the Cuttlebug and its worked great for me)
  • Letterpress Paper (you'll want plenty on hand believe me!)
  • Letterpress Ink 

These are some additional items that would be nice to have
  • Cleaning Cloths – these cut thru the ink and make clean up so much easier
  • A large brayer – The letterpress bundle comes with an ink brayer, but you’ll find a larger brayer makes even inking on larger plates that much easier.

This class will also come with these printables and digital files so you can make complete projects.

Because the Letterpress 2.0 class will not include the basic how to's of home letterpressing they are also offering a Letterpress Class Bundle where you'll receive access to Letterpress 2.0 AND the introductory Letterpress class taught by Tina Aszmus in September 2013 . The introductory class includes 8 full tutorials, 6 videos and 30 great projects to get you started & is available only through the bundle purchase.  So if you didn't take that first class and want to learn the basic how to's first I would really suggest signing up for the bundle, you can do that right here.

Signs ups for both the Letterpress 2.0 class and the Two Class Bundle are open until 11:59pm EST on May 31st so make sure you sign up while you still can.  I can't wait for Letterpress 2.0 so I look forward to seeing you in the classroom on June 1st.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hello Hello the full reveal

I hope you have all recovered from your long weekend!  It's hard to believe we are already in to the June kits, its gone so fast for me.  The summer kits are always some of my favorites and like I mentioned the other day, these were so much fun to work with.

Just a reminder that all links below will work as of right not 9:00am PST for subscribers.  Non subscribers can start shopping for the kits tonight at 9:00pm PST.

Here is my spread made exclusively with the Hello Hello Project Life® kit only.

I could not resist the orange and pink combo and luckily my photos from this week paired nicely.  I loved the little pink alpha and how it blended so well with the pink stripe on that one card, and the wood veneer & is so cool, love that font.  I covered it and the 5 with the Gold Wink of Stella brush pen and in person its so pretty.  I added quite a few digital brushes to my photos before printing them off.  I love how just a little accent here or there makes it that much better.  You can see all of the digital brush sets for the month here.

Shanna created a really great set of digital templates this month and I used one of them to create a focus on the top half of the right side of my spread.  I just adjusted the size of the photo blocks so they would work when cut apart. I also used the rainbow stripes on the two bottom slots and just changed the orientation to create my own cards.  That High Five card was one of my favorites this month.

My second spread was made with a few more cards from the Main Kit and lots of embellishments from the two Addons; Guten Tag and G'Day.  I loved the blue and green color combo and it paired just great with my week 20 photos.

More Digital Stamps printed right on cards or used to make my own, more wood veneer covered in Gold Wink of Stella and some amazing Kal chipboard stickers from Guten Tag.

Paige created two amazing cut files this month that I knew I really wanted to use, you can see them here.  I loved the circle cut file and opted to shrink the circles down for my title card and punched 1" circles from a few sheets of the 4x6 paper pad and even from the gold doily that came in the G'Day addon.  I layered them under the cut file on top of a sheet of paper and I love how the different patterns all work together.

The wood veneer sequins in the Guten Tag addon were so fun to work with.  I even stamped with them for some added dimension.  I just cut a tiny piece of double sided foam tape and stuck the sequin to the back end of my xacto knife.  I used a gold pigment ink and got a really great stamped image.  It definitely worked best on a smooth paper instead of a textured cardstock so keep that in mind if you try it.  I also added a bit of shine to the veneer with the Clear Glitter Wink of Stella Brush pen.

The & cut file was a last minute addition, I didn't know how to end the spread and was pouring over a few photos that I just didn't have space for and then it hit me, print them small and tuck them in the slats. I cut the & from one of the sheets of the 4x6 paper pad and and I loved how this worked out. The photos are super tiny in case you are wondering about 1/2" by 3/4" I just created a small template in Photoshop Elements and printed them out.

I think you will be so excited when the kits hit your door and I can't wait to see what everyone does with them.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the scrapbook and card kits this month, you can see everything here.  I especially Love the Stamp addons this month; Aloha and Howdy which even comes with a die!  Wafer thin dies are my new favorite thing to work with these days.

Enjoy the reveal and have a great week!

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Hello Hello its Studio Calico sneak time

What a month, Hello Hello just rocked! I loved, I mean LOVED the main kit cards this month and the two distinctive color combos was amazing.  I made two Project Life® spreads because I loved them so much and my photos just happened to work really well.

Here are my main kit only sneaks.  That striped card, loved it so much and it pretty much dictated the whole spread.

I kind of went a bit crazy for the digital templates this month and these next two shots show them a bit.

My second spread focused on the second color combo and another version of the striped card I loved.

This & cut file from Paige is so awesome, I shrunk it down and made some super tiny photos to tuck in to it.

Paige's circle cut file was a must use as well.  I shrank it down as well for my title card.  The wood veneer sequins are amazing and I even stamped a bit with them which was lots of fun.

You can see some more sneaks for all of the Studio Calico kits right here, they really are fantastic this month. It's going to be another super busy reveal morning on Tuesday so if you are a subscriber, you will definitely want an early crack at all of the kits and addons and some extra special companion items you will see at reveal.

You can still get in on the early shopping by starting a subscription today to any of the kits.  There is even a risk free offer that is still in effect thru Monday 5/26.

Click here to subscribe but don't forget to add that code at checkout.

Have a wonderful long weekend and I will see you back here on Tuesday for my full reveal.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Digital Scrapbooking Classes at Studio Calico

This week has been crazy busy for me, I've been at my desk writing some tutorials for the latest FREE Class at Studio Calico that launched this week, its called Digital Basis and if you have ever wanted to learn about Digital Scrapbooking now is the time to do it.

Here is what is being covered in the class

Getting Started :
  • What’s the difference between Photoshop and PSE? We’ll show you how to download a trial of PSE so you give digital a try!
  • Downloading and opening files
  • Saving files

 Organization :
  • Organizing your SC digital files on the dashboard
  • Organizing files on your computer

 Printing Basics :
  • Setting Up Documents
  • Flattening Layers & Saving Files
  • CYMK vs RGB
  • Print Settings

There will also be tutorials on working with the Studio Calico Digital files, in particular;

Stamp Brushes : 
  • How to load the brushes
  • resizing and recoloring brushes

  • Working with layers
  • Using a clipping mask

  Printables : 
  • Printing printable elements
  • Using printable cards and accents individual digital elements

  Digital cardstock : 
  • Ideas for using digital cardstock
  • How to edit and resize digital cardstock

  Cut Files : 
  • Setting up the workspace and blade / cut settings in Silhouette Studio
  • What’s the difference between .PNG, .SVG & .STUDIO?
  • How to trace a .PNG
  • How to turn on cut lines on a .SVG with Silhouette Studio’s Designers software

  BONUS : 
  • Incorporating text on photos and printables
  • Using SC digital with PicMonkey (a free program)

The tutorials I worked on for this class are Organizing your Digital Files (which is already live) and Working with Digital Templates and with Digital Cardstock (which will be posted 5/21).  They were a lot of fun to put together and I hope the information is really helpful to get you going with Digital Scrapbooking.

Here one version of the Templates that are being offered with the class files

Here is a sneak peak at the Project Life® spread I made for the class.

Learning how to incorporate Digital into my process was the best thing I ever did.  It seems these days that every single thing I make starts on my computer and I love how much versatility using digital elements provides.  I can turn any item into any color, any size and anything I need it to be with just a few clicks of my mouse and I love that about digital scrapbooking.

To sign up and get started with the Digital Basics Class click here.

And while you are at it I would suggest signing up for the next class being taught by Shanna Noel

Beyond the Digital Basics will continue along but get a bit more in depth with the ideas and instruction.  Here is what you will receive and a list of all of the digital files included when you sign up for this class.

What you'll get:
  • 10 how to videos from Shanna covering techniques for templates, stamp brushes, digital paper, printables and digital die cut files
  • 10 tutorials from the contributors covering techniques for templates, stamp brushes, digital paper, printables and digital die cut files
  • 20 new digital / hybrid projects to inspire you
  • a class message board to interact with Shanna and your fellow students
  • new challenges each week

Bonus Digital Files:
  • Digital patterned paper (Shanna Noel for Studio Calico)
  • Digital Templates (Shanna Noel for Studio Calico)
  • Digital Alphabet Stamp Set (Shanna Noel for Studio Calico)
  • Digital Stamps (Shanna Noel for Studio Calico)
  • Digital Embellishments (Shanna Noel for Studio Calico)
  • Digital Die Cut Files (Shanna Noel for Studio Calico)
  • Digital Washi Photo Frames (Shanna Noel for Studio Calico)

Here is a look at just a few of the digital files you are getting with this class.  Shanna did such as amazing job designing the items for the class.

Shanna has a really great intro video for this class and you can see more images and sign up right here.  

I sure hope to see you in both classrooms!

Have a great weekend!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

How to make a Infographic using Photoshop Elements

When I was researching where to go and what to do on our recent Road Trip on Pinterest I kept seeing some really cool travel themed Infographics.  I pinned a few thinking how cool it would be to incorporate one into my road trip mini album when we returned.  When we returned from our trip my husband and I sat down to come up with a list of some things we could put on it.  I took some fairly detailed notes while we were on the trip but we still sat down to write our list the day after we got home.  It helped because the trip was fresh and we were able to write some stuff down that I didn't necessarily have in my trip notes that might have been forgotten when I finally had time to work on the album.

Fast forward a few months and I now had some time to work on the album.  My first big hurdle was figuring out how to make the Infographic.  I knew I could probably muddle my way thru using Photoshop Elements and I think I must have started at least 4 different times over the past few weeks.  Getting discouraged and frustrated each time and deleting everything and walking away from it saying to myself 'clearly you need to come up with another idea.'  But I just couldn't let it go, so I did Google search after Google search hoping to find some how to's that might help.  I did find a couple of really cool sites out there where you can build Infographics using their hosted platform but the templates weren't to my taste, or the graphics they had to use weren't what I wanted, or I found editing to be way too difficult for me to understand.  After a few failures in that direction I finally I said, 'you can do this' and went back to Photoshop Elements one last time determined to make it happen.

I decided for this last attempt I would break it down into manageable steps because I think my earlier attempts I was trying to do too much at once and it just wasn't working.  Below is a basic tutorial of how I went about making the above Infographic.  Hopefully this inspires you to make one and takes some of the guess work out of laying it all out.  Just so you know I'm using a PC and Photoshop Elements 12 for all the screen grabs you will see below.  I would say this falls on a scale of Moderate as far as difficulty goes.  It helps if you have a good understanding of working with layers, working with .png files, working with text and that you are comfortable moving items in and around your document.  I'm hoping that my tutorial is clear and helps guide you thru the steps in an efficient and easy to understand manner.

Let's get started.

1. Your first step is to come up with a list of items you would like to show on your Infographic.  This was my list of things;
  1. states we visited
  2. total miles traveled
  3. how many gas stops we made and how many gallons we bought
  4. how many other Simone's we met (that was kind of cool)
  5. elevations of the places we visited
  6. how many National Parks we went to
  7. how many baseball games we went to
  8. number of hotels we stayed in
  9. weather high and lows
  10. bug splats on the car
  11. how many different license plates we saw
  12. how many photos I took
  13. how many are we there yet's
I covered all but one of the items on my list, I eliminated the number of hotels we stayed in because I didn't find a graphic I liked enough to make it work.

I found it easiest to have all of the data tabulated, researched and written down. Especially for the items I didn't have written down in my notes like the elevations.  Starting and stopping to do research and calculations was making it cumbersome the first few times I tried this.

2. Next you need to create your document in Photoshop Elements.  The size I'm working with is specific to my mini album so I started with a blank document sized 6.25" x 8.25" with 300 dpi.

3. Then I started working down my list.  I decided that instead of worrying about the end result as I went that I would just work on each item and take it a little at a time laying each one out on my page.  Leaving the make it pretty work to the end. Here is what the document looked like after I worked on each piece.  I'll show details below but basically I would create each piece, link the separate layers together so they would stay together and move to the next item on my list.

Here is how I would go about working with the graphics and adding my text.

4. My first step was to find an icon to use if I didn't have one already.  In this case I needed a car for the miles driven.  I would just do a Google search for 'Car Icon' and search the images to find one that worked or that I liked.  A lot of time icons are already saved as .png files and will look like this, with a transparent background when its opened in Photoshop Elements.

That grey and white checked background means that there is no backing on the graphic, you can lay it on top of anything and the surrounding areas will be open.  As you can see in my sample above you can see my photo thru all of the open spaces and that is what a transparent backgound allows.

This image is the same icon but because the background of the image is white, when its laid on top of something else, like a photo the white square would be present as well.  Because of this all of that white space will need to be removed.

5.  To make an icon transparent you will need to select your Eraser Tool

6. then select the Magic Eraser tool in the tool menu

7. and then you will click on each white portion of the background until you have just the black remaining.

For this specific icon I had to touch these areas to clear all of the background.

Once you get the hang of this you will be deleting backgrounds on everything, I mean everything!  I love this technique because once its a transparent background you can recolor it so much easier and even clip paper or patterns to the item but that's a whole other topic.

8. Next I would worry about my text.  The font I used for all of my text on this piece was Gudea, I ended up making all of the text bold after I finished my piece because in some cases the thinner lines did not show up as well. It's completely up to you what you decided to do and really will be driven by the photo you are using as your base.  If it has a lot of white, a bolder line will be needed.

When I'm working with Photoshop Elements and making things on my own I typically make sure that each time I do something like create text or something, I like to make sure that each element is on their own layer. If you are not familiar with working with layers there are a ton of tutorials out there if needed. Keeping each element on its own layer just allows me to move things around freely and independently.  If I had typed my text on the same layer as the car icon, I would not be able to move the text independently of the car.  This will come in to play later when you are working with your final layout.

9. at this point I would link the two layers together move it out of my way and start on my next item.

I'm not going to show how I created each item because its basically exactly the same process.  Picking an icon if I had one I liked and adding the text.  As you can see in some cases I didn't use an icon and I think that's okay.  For those items I would just make the number large and it became my icon.  

10. My next step once I had all of the pieces they way I liked them I started moving them around on my background. Varying the layout as much as possible so it wasn't too much of a grid shape.  I wanted it to be as irregular as I could make it.  You can see it starting to shape up below. In some cases I increased the size of the items so it would take up more space and fill in all the gaps.  If you linked all of the parts together like I suggested above you can select the group, click on the move tool, pull from the corner and increase it to the desired size.  Because the pieces are linked they will increase proportionally.  Just make sure you don't pull from the middle or the piece will get distorted.  

Once I was happy with the basic layout I needed to start adding in my lines.  There are a few ways to make lines in Photoshop Elements.  The easiest being to just grab your line tool and start drawing them in.  I decided that I wanted to make dotted lines to separate my sections and that's a bit more work but not too difficult.

11.  The first step is start with a fresh layer at the top of your layers pallet, select the brush tool and then make sure that the plain brush is selected from the tool menu.

12. If its not defaulting to a small hard brush you'll want to make sure you have one selected, from the brush pull down menu choose a small hard brush.  For my dotted lines I picked a 13 px size brush.

13. The next steps will be where you define the spacing of your dotted line.  This involves a few more steps just to set up the parameters.  Select the brush settings button, make sure the top three items are set to 0, them adjust your spacing using the slider.  My spacing was set at 145%. Once you make that selection you will see a sample of the pattern appear.  Keep adjusting the spacing slider until it looks the way you want it to look.

14. Once the spacing is complete you need to draw the line. Unfortunately this part is hard to show via a screen grab but what you need to do is click with your mouse where you want the line to start, press and hold the shift key, move your mouse to where you want the line to end and click with your mouse.  Voila, you will have a dotted line!

15. The beauty of this is once you have your first line exactly where you want it, you can just duplicate that layer and move the lines in place.  You would just right click on the first layer you made, select duplicate layer, click on that duplicated layer and select the move tool and slide it in position.  I put all of my horizontal lines in place before adding in the vertical lines.

Because I new I wanted to have a photo under my Infographic and that I would want my photo to appear to have a white border along the edge I made sure my horizontal dotted lines stopped .25 inches away from the edge of my document.

16. Next you would just need to add in all of the vertical lines the same way you did the horizontal lines in steps 11-15 above.  Make one and then just duplicate and move it into place.  If you need to increase or decrease the length of your lines just click on the line so its highlighted and grab one of the selection points and the end of the line and drag it larger or smaller depending on what you need.

17. Next you would want to add a title to the top.

18. I would save the document at this point if you haven't already done so. Its always a good idea to save after each step just in case something happens along the way, believe me on that.  I would typically leave this document alone, with all of the layers separated in case I wanted to go back and make changes later. I never, ever merge my layers down in any document without saving a copy of that original layered version first.  You might find a typo or decide you want to remove something or make edits and its always nice to have your original layers left in tact.  Otherwise guess what, you will have to recreate the document or go thru a ton of editing maneuvers, and its a nightmare, trust me.

19. So that being said, working with a duplicate copy, you will then need to merge all of your layers down. The purpose of merging down all of your layers is so you have one seamless piece to work with.  To do that you would just grab the very top layer, press and hold the shift key, scroll down to the bottom layer (you don't need to grab the background) and click on it. Right click with your mouse and select merge layers.

Here you can see you now have one single layer instead of a whole bunch of separate ones.  You can also no longer edit anything independently....kind of scary.

And Hooray for your almost completed Infographic!

20. The next step is layering a photo underneath your graphic so pick one that you think will work nicely or help further tell your story.  You can also leave it plain and just color the background or leave it white, it's completely up to you.  I sized my photo to 6"x8" to fit right underneath leaving a white border around the edge.  You will want to make sure that your photo is on top of the background layer but below your graphic layer.

21. I personally liked the look of white text on top of the photo so to do that you just need to change the color of the graphic layer to white.  You can do this by making sure you have your graphic layer selected, then in the top menu choose Edit, Fill Layer.

Then in the pull down menu choose white, or color and then pick any color you would like and click okay.

As you can see here my top layer is now white and I think it stands out much better on this photo.  I did add a drop shadow to the graphic layer that I had purchased online but you could also add a custom drop shadow by selecting the layer with your graphic and from the top Layer menu, choose Layer Style, then Style Setting and select Drop Shadow.  You can customize the size, color and direction of the drop shadow from this menu.

At this point you are done!  Make sure you save it one more time so you can print it out and enjoy it. I do hope that this tutorial was informative and helps alleviate any apprehension you might have in trying one yourself.  It was a ton of fun and I'm so happy I was able to stick with it and make it work in a somewhat easy way.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments and I'll respond back as quickly as I can.

See you soon!

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