10 Holiday Tips & Tricks | Day One

Hello there! Carrie here, wishing you a very Happy December and welcoming you to Day One of the 2018 edition of our always-popular 10 Holiday Tips & Tricks series here on The Digital Press blog!

I have a fun, quick ornament project for you today.

You will need a couple of things, some of which you may already have on hand: half a piece of red cardstock, a 10″ strip of 1/2″ black ribbon, a 1/2″ (diameter) button, and a glass ornament with a removable top. You will also need scissors (or optionally, a paper cutter), a glue stick, and a hot glue gun.

The first step is to trim that red paper into 1/4″ strips. I cut mine from the 11″ edge of the paper, so they are 1/4″ wide by 8 1/2″ long. You will need about 20-22 of these (half the sheet of cardstock). I’d recommend using a paper cutter, but you could also cut the strips by hand with scissors. Once you have a pile of 1/4″ strips, roll each one into a spiral. I found it easiest and quickest to roll them tightly around the barrel of a smooth pen as shown in the photo below (using a pencil or just my fingers left creases in the paper). The coils will spring loose when you pull them off the pen, which is fine.

Next you’ll need to get all those little coils into the ornament. Remove the prong cap (just pull gently), and insert the coils. I found it easiest to wind each coil a little tighter when I pulled it off the pen and then drop it straight into the ornament. You can fill the ornament as full as you want, but you’ll probably want to use at least 20 of those 1/4″ strips.

Once your ornament is filled with coiled paper strips, put the prong cap back on. Measure the circumference of your ornament by wrapping the ribbon around it. Add another 1/2 – 1″ for overlap. Trim your ribbon, and lay it right side down on your work table. The classic DIY way to adhere a ribbon belt is to hot glue it, but that’ll leave a lumpy line underneath the ribbon that is especially noticeable with satin, shiny or clear ribbons. I recommend using a glue stick instead. Just drag that glue stick down the wrong side of the ribbon, making sure to get even coverage all the way out to the edges. If you want the last 1/2″ or so of your ribbon belt to hang loose, be sure to stop applying glue about 3/4 – 1″ from what will be the exposed end.

This may be the trickiest part of this whole thing: applying the ribbon belt. Starting with the end of the ribbon that will be completely covered, stick it, glue side down, to the center of the ornament. Working your way around, smooth the ribbon against the ornament, working out any puckers or bubbles. You may find as you finish that the ribbon will need to dip into a slight “v” where it overlaps which is fine as long as the rest of the ribbon belt is smooth. You may also want to trim the exposed end of the ribbon if it seems a little too long. In my example below, the ribbon is cut on an angle to look like the loose end of a belt.

The last thing to do is apply the button. Place a healthy dollop of hot glue on the back of the button, and stick it on top of the ribbon belt. You can use the button to cover up the overlap, or offset it slightly to look like it’s a belt buckle (mine has the latter option). There you go, one simple Santa ornament.

You can apply this same trick to other themes as well: white paper and black ribbon for a snowman, green paper and striped ribbon for an elf, turquoise paper and silver ribbon (and a jewel button), etc. I’d love to see any other variations that you come up with!

Speaking of which… if you’re thinking of trying this, head over to The Digital Press’s challenge forum and get the details about how you can earn challenge points for December 2018 at TDP if you try any of our “Holiday Tips & Tricks” throughout the month as they appear here in this blog series! Additionally, we’d love to see any photos of your December/holiday projects using TDP goodies in the gallery this month, so link us up after you’re finished creating and uploading! 🙂


caliten About the Author  Carrie is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. She and her family enjoy spending time outdoors, year-round, near their home in Colorado. In addition to scrapbooking and the occasional hybrid home decor project, Carrie also reads voraciously, accumulates fabric, makes soap, brews beer, grows hops, and tries to keep indoor plants alive.

Tutorial Tuesday | Photographing an event

Hey there! With Holiday season upon us, we thought it might be a fun idea to give you some tips on how to photograph an event, whether it is Christmas (as in my examples below), a birthday party, a baby shower, a family reunion, a professional event or anything you could think of!

Capture the “big picture”

This is the most “obvious” thing, that we usually all do, so it’s an easy one to remember. Take a couple images of the whole event, the whole room (or rooms if it’s a big event). This will help record the location, but also the weather, the time of day. Of course, you will have most of the guests on those photos, even the shy ones that won’t agree to be photographed alone or in smaller groups! Remember to change your points of view so that all those pictures don’t look the same. If you can find a higher position (from a scene, for example, or even by stepping on a chair), it’ll be easier to have the whole room in your image. Use the widest lens you have (18mm in the image below).

Focus on the relationships

Those events’s main interest is usually to be together, so remember to capture that in your images. The moment people arrive at the location and greet each other is a perfect opportunity to capture those happy reunions. Don’t hesitate to photograph people hugging, talking, laughing with each other. That’s the whole point of being together, right?

Take some “documentary” images

This is another great tip to help take photos of the shy guests: take their photo without them noticing, without directing the scene you’re photographing, as if you were a fly on the wall. Capturing them that way will help you getting relaxed, natural photos of them. Of course, if they ask you to delete the photos, you have to respect that… but try showing them how awesome they look first, they might change their mind! LOL

Take some posed photos

If it works with the kind of event, have a little “photo session” with traditional, posed photos of the guests. I have a tradition like that with my mom, brother, sister-in-law and now my niece when we celebrate my mom’s birthday on December 26th. It’s almost the only photo I have every year of my brother who hates to have his picture taken and is awfully good to avoid my camera… but at least I have one good yearly photo of him! LOL

Photograph the details

Remember to photograph all the details of the event. Decor, food, piles of gifts, the games that are played during the event, the flowers, the activities (below my family watching old photos my mom had scanned and my cousin playing some music), the invite and more! Those details make the “personality” of an event, what’s special about THAT event, they deserve to be remembered!

Don’t stress too much about technique and be present

As you can see from my pictures above, technical perfection wasn’t my main concern there. I made sure I recorded those memories, even though my white balance was a mess and some pictures were blurry, but the most important thing for me was to be present, enjoy my family (that I don’t get to see very often) and have a good night making memories with them. Don’t get too caught up in getting the “perfect” settings or trying to figure out a new photographic technique but remember to make and record memories, even if the pictures are far from being perfect!

EXTRA TIP: take videos!

Last but not least, remember that pretty much all cameras can take videos so use that awesome feature. It’s especially great for speeches, music, dancing, candles blowing, gifts opening and anything with movement! And if you want to add these videos to your scrapbooking pages of the event, here’s another tutorial on how to use QR codes on your layouts.

Here is a page I created using last year’s Christmas pictures and the beautiful kit “Traditionally Festive” by KimB Designs.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful to capture all those fun memories on the next event you attend!


ChloéAbout the author  Chloé is in charge of PR and communication for her small town by day, is a digiscrapper “by night,” and a photographer whenever the light is beautiful. She lives with her man and dog Kira in a small town of Alsace (in the northeast of France), where she loves to read, watch good TV shows (TWD being her absolute favorite), and just hang out with her friends — no matter if they are close by, online, or away in her Swiss hometown. She recently became quite obsessed with Bullet Journaling, FlyLady and Zero Waste.

Tutorial Tuesday | Documenting Pop Culture

Welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! I’m so excited to be here with you today to talk about one of my favorite things… pop culture (and how to incorporate it into your scrapbooking)!

Ever since taking a pop culture course in college, I’ve been fascinated by the ideas, perspectives, attitudes, and images that are within the mainstream of our culture. From advertising to literature to music, it all has a huge impact on our day-to-day lives. I think it’s really important to document the various aspects of pop culture in my scrapbooking, because I know I will love to look back and see how pop culture has changed over time in our lives. It gives me a glimpse into the details of our lives and the things that have made them unique and interesting.

With that in mind, here are just a few ways that you can document pop culture and all of its impact on your life …

  1. Create a ‘snapshot of today’ by scrapbooking about the realities of life today. You can include things like the major news events, the popular TV shows, the music on the pop charts, and the political realities that your country is facing. The world changes so fast today that having those details in your scrapbooks can help you remember what life was like for you and your family at any given time.
  2. Outline your favorite books and literature from your current lives. What books have you loved? What books have been made into movies? What book-related events have you attended? What magazines do you read? What are the genres that you enjoy?
  3. Create a page about your personal style. What clothing brands do you wear? What style do you wear your hair in? What are the fashion trends that you love (or those which make no sense to you)?
  4. Scrapbook about your musical tastes. Are you a music person? Do you listen to the radio in your car? Spotify or Pandora? Do you listen to podcasts? Do you have a theme song that gets you through your day to day?
  5. Document the different things in your life that make your life more interesting — TV shows, movies, slang/expressions, the technology/apps you depend on or use on a regular basis.

Here are a couple of example layouts that I’ve created, each of which document my own connection to pop culture. The first one outlines all of the podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis (it will be interesting to go back later and see what I was listening to in 2017!)…

[ credits: Mellifluous Kit by MEG Designs ]

This second page documents the fact that I am a huge reader and a lover of all things books and reading! I make a point of creating a page at the end of every year that documents my favorite books from that year, because I love going back later to look at what I was reading in any given year…

[ credits: One More Chapter Kit by Anita Designs and Designs by Soco ]

 

I hope that these tips will help to inspire you to begin capturing pop culture, and documenting its place in your life! I think that you will find it adds a little something special to your pages and helps transport you back to an exact timeframe to add to your memory keeping!


Amy

About the Author  Amy lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and their 13-year-old boy/girl twins. Their 22-year-old daughter has finished up graduate school at Clemson and is starting her first full-time job! She has been scrapbooking since the early 1990s, but discovered digital scrapbooking in 2005 when her twins were born… and has primarily scrapped digitally since that time. She is passionate about telling her family’s stories and documenting their life together. She is also a huge reader (mostly literary fiction), a pop culture junkie, and LOVES all things beauty & makeup!

Hybrid How-To | Thankful Tree

Hello, everyone! Kate here to show you how to use your digital paper to make a lovely center piece that also doubles as a gratitude reminder. It’s the perfect project for November!

Supplies

  • Digital kit of your choice. I used Felicity by Little Lamm Co.
  • Photo editing program such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • Cardstock
  • Cutting machine or scissors
  • branches – real or fake. I used some fake light-up branches that I can use year after year.
  • Container like a vase or a jar
  • mini clothespins or string

Instructions

I found some leaf shapes in my digi stash that served as templates. I clipped the digital paper to the leaf templates, then printed and cut everything. Felicity had some cute tags that I printed as well. And I think I used every single paper in that kit – they were all so pretty!

Next, I arranged the branches in my container and added some pinecones and other filler. I put all the leaves, tags, clothespins and a pen into a bucket next to the tree. We’ve asked the whole family to write down what they’re grateful for on the different leaves and tags and then pin them on the tree branches as the month goes on.

I want to make this a yearly tradition for our family! And my hope is that it will be a reminder for all of us about the things that truly matter as we go into this holiday season.


Kate About the Author  Kate is on the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She lives on the Utah/Colorado border with her husband, 5 kids, 10 chickens, a dog named Gracie, and a cat named Kit. She’s a city-born girl who found she’s really a country girl at heart. She can be found outside, barefoot, and probably in her garden.

Tutorial Tuesday | Converting PSD to TIFF

Welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m going to share a really simple trick for saving space on your computer’s hard drive… converting PSD files to TIFF format!

If you have templates or layouts saved on your computer in PSD format, you know that those PSD files can take up a lot of space on your hard drive. Did you know that TIFF files take up less space if saved correctly — and they are just as high-quality, and work just as well? Today, I’m going to show you how you can easily and quickly convert all of your PSD files into TIFFs simultaneously! That’s right! With Photoshop, you can batch-convert all of them in one fell swoop. I kid you not! It’s easy if you follow these step-by-step instructions… so let’s begin…

1. You need to create an action that saves files in TIFF format correctly. To do that, open one of your layered PSD image files.

2. With that file open, go to your actions panel and click on the ‘Create New Action’ button, name it something like ‘Save As TIFF,’ and hit the Record button.

3. Next go to File > Save As > Select Format ‘TIFF’ …select both ‘LZW’ (for Image Compression) and ‘ZIP (slower saves, smaller files)’ for Layer Compression (the other settings can be left at their defaults — Interleaved for Pixel Order, and IBM PC or Macintosh for Byte Order)… and then click ‘OK.’ Save your new TIFF template.

4. Next, you want to finish the action you were recording… by clicking on the square ‘Stop Action’ button. You have just created your action.

5. Now, to use that action to help with the batch process… go to File > Automate > Batch.

6. Select the action you just created in the ‘Action’ drop-down list.

7. I put all of the PSD templates I wanted to convert in one folder on my hard drive; this made it much easier to do all of them at one time. Once you know where your templates are, go to ‘Source’ and select the folder that contains the layered PSD files you want to convert. If you have subfolders with files in them, you could also check ‘Include All Subfolders’ (see image example, below).

8. Select where you want the new TIFF files to go, once converted. I put them in a separate folder, but you don’t have to.

9. Please make sure you check ‘Override Action “Save As” Commands’ — to ensure that it ignores the filename and destination folder used to create the action.

10. Click OK to start the batch process. If you have a lot of files to convert (like me!), this could take quite a bit of time to complete.

 

Once the action finishes running and all of your files have been converted — that’s it! You are done! For this tutorial, I have converted templates from TDP Designer Akizo Designs… but you can obviously convert any PSD files. I even converted all my layouts from PSD to TIFF, and it worked beautifully (such a great space-saver!)!

You can see in my screenshot, below, that my PSD files were a total of 676 MB… but after converting, my TIFF files were only 272 MB. I saved a ton of space on my hard drive by doing this!  Also, I have the added benefit of being able to see my templates and layouts as thumbnails (without the generic PS icon). That in itself was a great reason for me to convert these files!

If you’re storing a bunch of templates and/or digital layouts in layered format… you will definitely want to give this a try! 🙂


Robin

About the author  Robin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. A wife of 26 years and a mom of 4 crazy children (3 in college and 1 still at home), she says that her life occurs mostly in the car as she transports said crazy kids to their many, many homeschool activities. When not driving, Robin loves to make her family cringe by pulling out her camera again (and again, and again…).

 

Tutorial Tuesday | How to Make Rain Drops

Hello and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog… this time, from the rainy Pacific Northwest! I’m here today to show you a fun trip for creating digital rain drops to add to your projects.

Rain is nothing new to me; having lived in the tropics most of my adult life, I am well accustomed to monsoons! I only recently realized, however, how fun it would be to add “rain” to some of my scrapbooking layouts! In today’s tutorial, I am going to show you an easy way to add a realistic raindrop (or 5) to your projects.

Here is an example, on a layout that I created (see the clear raindrops at the top right, middle left, and lower center-right of the main cluster?)…

[ this layout uses “November” Papers and Elements, by Dunia Designs]

To show you how to do this technique, I am using Photoshop CC (PSCC)… but it should be similar on other versions of Photoshop, as well.

Also, there are a LOT of different ways to do this — but this is one of the easiest methods for beginners (read: it has fewer steps). There are certainly more things you can do to make it look even more realistic, but once you make one, you can easily save it as a PSD file to experiment on.

The beauty of this method is that we are going to leave our little rain drop as a smart object so we can easily move it, rotate it, adjust it, and even duplicate it to create more drops or various shapes and sizes!

So, here we go…

STEP 1:

You can either start this on your finished flattened page, or in your layered working document.

Either way, find the layer you want to add your droplet to and ‘create a new layer.’

For this example, I am adding water drops to the wood background, so I have selected that layer.

STEP 2:

Select the Elliptical SHAPE tool (not the marquee at the top) and set the settings to NO stroke – with a black to white gradient fill. You can choose the direction depending on your light source, but here are mine…

If you want your drop to have a more organic shape, select the layer your Ellipse is on, go to Edit > Transform > Warp. You can then manipulate the circle to create a more flattened or oblong shape like I did below.

STEP 3:

Once you have your shape the way you want it to be,  we are ready to give it a 3D effect.

Open the BLENDING MODES/LAYER STYLE control panel by right clicking on your droplet layer in the layers panel, and selecting Blending Options. We will do the next few steps in this panel…

First, change your layer Style to OVERLAY (you can see below I forgot to do this in some of my images – it is much easier to see the effects you are creating if you have your layer blending mode set correctly!)…

Now, add a small Drop Shadow to your shape. The direction of your shadow for your drop should match the light source and shadows from the rest of your page.

You can play with the settings to get the shadow just right for your shape, or simply use these…

Drop Shadow: blending mode = linear burn, opacity = 32, angle = 90, distance = 8, spread = 0, size = 6.

You can also always go back and change it later if you need to.

STEP 4:

Now we are going to give it an Inner Glow – to start shaping a more rounded 3D look. Keep playing with those settings.

Inner Glow: blending mode = linear burn, opacity = 33, noise = 0, choke = 0, size = 2.

STEP 5:

Still in your LAYER STYLE panel… we will add an Inner Shadow.

Again, you can play with the settings to see what makes it look the most realistic or go with these

Inner Shadow: blending mode = linear burn, opacity = 16, angle = -53, distance = 3, size = 3 and press OK

STEP 6:

Finally, to finish off our droplet we will add some highlights.

To do this add another new layer above your droplet and using a small soft edged paint brush add a few white highlights to the edge of your droplet where the light source should be coming from.  The size will vary depending on the size of your droplet, but you definitely want the hardness set to 0.

If you find that your painted highlights look too harsh, you can soften them with a blur filter in your filter gallery.

STEP 10:

Play around with it!

I will be honest with you… every time I make a new one of these droplets, something looks weird at first. For example — as I walked through this one the first time, I realized I didn’t like it (which is why you might see a few different shapes in the images, above!).

I want to encourage you to play around with the settings from above. Resize your shape — warp it into a different shape — change the size of the shadows or the blending modes to see what works best with your background image — etc.

You might notice in my finished page, above, the droplets look a little different on the lighter background paper than they do on top of the the darker one; that is one of the things that will affect your creation settings.

I gave you the basic steps, but you can definitely make little changes that really will make big differences in your droplet.

I really think that has to do with the fact that different sized and shaped droplets need different settings, so if something is looking off – play around with your different layer style settings until you get a droplet that you really like.  Change the inner glow color to white, or the blending mode to screen.  Move your droplets to different layers in your layout. Duplicate the layer and change the shape.  The options are almost endless!

Just keep duplicating that image and changing settings to see what works best for you!

Here are some changes I made pretty quickly by copying and altering my first droplet. All of these droplets came from that first shape.

Also, keep in mind that what is behind the droplet will also change the look. If your droplet is over text, or an image, you might want to create a birds-eye effect to create that magnified look water gives… etc. (but that is another tutorial for another day!). 🙂

I hope you’ll give this fun technique a try! Have fun experimenting… and see just how fun it can be to “play in the water”!


ErinErin is an artsy crafty kind of girl who is currently dabbling in far too many things, but is working hard to enjoy every moment of it, while avoiding the rain, which is difficult due to living in the land of many rains. She is slowly learning to use her smart phone to capture all the fun little bits of life that would otherwise go unremembered in the busy craziness that is raising a family!