Tutorial Tuesday | Creating a Stamped Title

Creating a Stamped Title

I’m a big believer in trying to make my more traditionally-styled digital scrapbook pages, well, traditional! Sure, there are a ton of things you can do in the digital realm that simply aren’t possible with supplies that you’d buy at a craft store, but I’m always looking for ways to create the illusion of something being “real.” I wanted to share with you an easy way to re-create the look of a stamped or painted title on your page that’s layered among papers, photos, or other flat elements.

Let’s stop for a minute and think about this: If you had a stack of papers or photos spread about on a table and you grabbed a wood block stamp, inked it up, and stamped away, what would the words look like? Some might be a little transparent, with patterns or images peeking through. Maybe the edges are fuzzy. If your stamps go over the edge of two or more papers or pictures, does everything line up exactly? Yes, folks, these are the kinds of things I think about when I’m creating my digital layouts and trying to get the finished product to look as realistic as possible.

As I placed this title on my page, I found that I wanted it sitting on the patterned paper and spilling over to the background. Realistically speaking, if this were truly stamped, I would see some of the pattern on the orange/brown paper bleeding through, and I’d see the bottom edge of the paper, too. As things stand right now, that’s not the case. Here’s how I changed that.

Step 1: Create a duplicate layer of the title, wordart or alpha.

Step 2: Place one copy of the title immediately above the paper on which the title sits; place the other copy underneath.

In my example, I have a copy of the word “Choice” right on top of my patterned paper, and another copy above the lines layer.

Step 3: Clip the title to the patterned paper. This will allow the bottom edge of the paper to be visible and reveal any shadowing you might have.

You could leave things just the way they are and be done. Personally, I still tweak things a bit more, and here’s why: Remember what a truly stamped image might look like if you were using ink and paper? I would still see some of the pattern on the paper coming through. The same goes for the dashed lines on the background paper. Read on

Step 4: Lower the opacity of the title layer that is clipped to the patterned paper, and play with blending modes to allow the pattern the bleed through.

I like to use Multiply or Linear Burn, depending on the color of the paper. This step is really a little bit of trial and error, so just play and see what you come up with. I ended up with a blend mode of Multiply, and Opacity of 65%. I also lowered the opacity on the bottom copy of the title (the one that’s sitting on top of the dashed lines), just a little, to allow the lines to peek through ever so slightly. These formatting options are in my Layers Palette (I’m using CS6), but you could also use the toolbar menus if you’re more comfortable with that, or if your desktop is configured differently. From the toolbar, I would select Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options to access these choices.

Once again, you can stop here, if you like … or not.

Step 5: Select one of the two title layers (either one is fine), and nudge just that layer a little to one side. The amount of movement really is very small; it’s just enough to add to the illusion that the stamping is on multiple layers.

TIP: Although not necessary, one last thing that I like to do is select the title layers, both of them, and link them together.
This way, if I need to move or resize the title, both layers change in unison.

Credits: Choices by MEG Designs

Credits: Real Life by Calista’s Stuff

As you can see in the second example that I’m sharing here, your title could spill over onto multiple photos and papers. Even if it seems complicated, the steps to creating the look of a stamped or painted title remain the same:

  1. Duplicate.
  2. Position.
  3. Clip.
  4. Blend and Opacity.
  5. Nudge.

I hope you’ll give this a go!


About the Author Kat Hansen is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. A Director of Human Resources by day, she loves the opportunity to spend a few hours each evening being creative. Vacation memories feature pretty heavily in Kat’s scrapbooking pages, as well as her health and fitness journey. Kat has quite the sense of humor (she “blames” her father for this), which she incorporates into her journaling and memory-keeping.

Foodie Friday | Calista’s Stuff

Thank goodness it’s Friday! Not only is the weekend almost here… but it’s time for another edition of our Foodie Friday series here on The Digital Press blog! This week we are featuring TDP designer Meta Wulandari — the name behind Calista’s Stuff.

Meta has already been featured once before on The Digital Press blog; if you would like to learn more about her, you can check out her first feature from May of 2017 HEREYou can also learn more about her design style by checking out her gorgeous store at TDP.

For our Foodie Friday series, though, it’s all about the food! Here is a glimpse of the yummy stuff Meta & I have for you this week…

[ photo credits: (1) Meta Wulandari, (2) Meta Wulandari, and (3) TDP creative team member Amie ]

What’s all of that deliciousness you see pictured above?

  1. Beef Semur (Beef Stew)
  2. Kolak Bola Ubi Ungu dan Pisang (Stewed Purple Sweet Potato Balls and Banana in Coconut Milk)
  3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Buttercream (on dark chocolate cupcakes)

Beef Semur

Meta says… “This is a recipe my family loves to eat and I really enjoy cooking, because it’s super easy to make!”

INGREDIENTS

  • 250 gram minced beef (about half a pound)
  • 1 large potato, cut into big chunks and fried
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 spoon unsalted butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 300 ml water (1 1/4 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet ketchup (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon salty ketchup (salt, nutmeg, pepper, sugar & 1 spoon tomato sauce)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Melt unsalted butter in a pot and add in onion, garlic, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaves.
  • Stir fry until fragrant.
  • Add the beef, and sweet soy sauce to the pot and let them brown a little bit for about 10 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil and lower the heat and slowly simmer for about 1 hour until the meat is tender.
  • Add in the tomatoes after 30 minutes of cooking and add the fried potatoes in 10 minutes before the end of cooking. Gently stir everything to mix.
  • Have a taste and season with salt. It should be slightly sweet from the sweet soy sauce

Kolak Bola Ubi Ungu dan Pisang

Meta explains… “Kolak is an Indonesian common dessert which is made from pisang (banana), ubi (sweet potato), and often labu (jackfruit). It has sweet and creamy flavor from coconut milk. My family loves to eat kolak during Ramadhan (fasting month for mosleem). In this recipe I used Purple sweet potato and banana.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pieces Banana, cut small pieces
  • 200 grams boiled purple sweet potato (1 cup)
  • 50 grams Javanese palm sugar/brown sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 1 can coconut milk, add 2 cups of water
  • 2 pandan leaves (screwpine leaf)
  • 4 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour, mix with 4 tablespoons of water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Pandan leaf

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Mash boiled purple sweet potato, add salt, tapioca flour and water. Make a small balls
  • Heat the coconut milk in a boiling pan, add palm sugar and stir until the sugar completely dissolved. You can adjust the sweetness according your taste.
  • Keep stirring the coconut milk to prevent from lumpiness. Then add the banana and purple sweet potato balls, bring to boil.
  • Add the pandan leaf and pinch of salt, stir again.
  • Taste the soup to make sure it’s sweet enough for you.
  • Serve it warm or with rice.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Buttercream

Amie says… “This frosting tastes like the real thing, but without the raw eggs! You can use it on any flavor of cake, or even between graham crackers for a yummy treat!”

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cubes (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (if worried about raw flour, omit & add additional 1/3 cup of powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Beat the butter with a mixer for at least 5 minutes (it’s what makes the buttercream light & fluffy!)
  • Add the brown sugar & mix until combined.
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar until smooth
  • Mix in the flour, salt & vanilla
  • Add in the cream 1 tbsp at a time until the desired consistency (smooth & creamy, thick enough to hold it’s shape, but not thin & runny)
  • Frost as you desire on your cooled cupcake (I baked Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, but you can use ANY cake mix or flavor with this frosting!)
  • Sprinkle Mini Chocolate chips on top to decorate & Enjoy!

Oh my… don’t those recipes all look amazing!? I’m totally adding to my shopping list this week — I’ll have to hunt down some of Meta’s ingredients! We hope you’ll give them a try, as well (and please feel free to leave us any questions or comments!). Happy Cooking!

Last but definitely not least — Meta is having a fantastic sale and is offering a special Free-With-Purchase offer! Not only is the entire Calista’s Stuff shop marked down 30% OFF throughout her entire feature week (sale prices will be valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 3/8)… but she also has the following Free-With-Purchase offer available in her shop all week long, as well — spend $10+ in the Calista’s Stuff shop at The Digital Press and get her entire Real Life Bundle completely FREE!


Amie

About the Author  Amie is a craft-loving dental hygienist who lives in Washington state. She loves her husband, her two crazy kids, and her English Bulldog… as well as coffee, baking cupcakes, daffodils, glitter & sprinkles, reading a good book, and lip gloss — not necessarily in that order.

 

Tutorial Tuesday | Protecting Privacy

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m here to share some tips and techniques for protecting your privacy when you share your digital layouts online (both in galleries and on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, etc.).

So many of us go to great lengths to protect our privacy — shredding anything with our names, addresses, or credit card numbers… or using screen names instead of real names, etc. — but not everyone goes to those same lengths to protect their own privacy in public scrapbook galleries or on social media (or maybe even realizes that personal information is being shared for anyone to see).  I know this is a very sensitive subject, and there are a multitude of opinions out there, but this tutorial focuses on techniques for protecting privacy — yours, your family’s, and also that of people you don’t know who may have inadvertently ended up in your photos or as part of your story — whenever you publicly post your digital layouts online.

First up, a couple of words on privacy, and what you ethically can and probably should not do. You can post any of your own information, details or photos – up to and including as much personal detail that you want. I’d say you can make this decision for your own immediate family too. You probably should not post identifying information or pictures of other people, and if you decide you are going to post information or photos about other people, you can easily avoid a potentially sticky situation by checking with them first. There are many reasons why people don’t want their name or face posted online without their permission, and accommodating those requests is not only courteous, but in keeping with the posted rules of many online galleries, including the gallery here at TDP.

Let’s start with about journaling.  I suppose the easiest way to protect privacy is just to leave out the salient details – exclude names, dates, places and any other identifying details.  But this kind of defeats the purpose if you scrapbook for memory keeping and you want those details recorded permanently. One option is to save and print your layout with the complete journaling, but post a modified version to the public galleries. In this scenario, there are many different ways to proceed.  First, assign aliases or nicknames to people or places in your journaling.  Second, use your original journaling, but obscure the pertinent details. There are several different techniques for hiding words or otherwise camouflaging your journaling that we’ll go over here:

  • use the Smudge tool to smear individual words (most commonly names and places);
  • use the Brush tool to “line out” words (those redacted military documents come to mind);
  • copy your text layer, then either flip it horizontally or apply a blurring filter.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these. First up, the Smudge and Brush tools. The Smudge tool icon looks like a finger pointing toward the lower left corner. Select that tool then choose a round brush and change the brush size to something slightly larger than your font size. I prefer to modify my journaling before flattening my layout into a single layer, so at this point I rasterize my text and work on that layer. You can run that smudging brush back and forth over the words you want to obscure using the mouse, or you can click on one end of the word, push the shift key, then click on the other end of the word to get a perfectly straight line between those two points you clicked. In the image below, I applied the smudge brush twice to the word Denver (in the journaling on the right). This technique is the most commonly applied privacy protection technique I’ve come across in the TDP gallery.

20180227_image1

The smudge technique is probably the most commonly used one for removing pertinent details from journaling. In the example below, TDP CT member Corrin smudged out a place name in the middle of her journaling.

The Brush tool, which has an icon that looks like a paint brush, can be used to line out or redact words, or, if you’ve got a uniform background color, “erase” selected words from your journaling. Your text layer does not need to be rasterized to apply this technique. Select a color darker than your text to make the redaction obvious (like the blue in the example above), or a color that matches your background layer to make it look as though the selected words have been erased. (Note that this same technique can be used to highlight words in your journaling; just put the brush layer under the text rather than on top of it.) Both the smudge and brush techniques are useful when you only want to obscure a handful of words.  These techniques can get time-consuming for removing more than a few words though, and there are easier techniques to apply to entire journaling blocks.

The third technique, useful for obscuring large blocks of journaling, includes copying and modifying your journaling layer. In the image below, I show two different techniques that can be applied to entire text layers – the horizontal flip and the blurring filter. To use the text-flip method, simply duplicate your journaling layer, then, with that new copied layer selected, click Edit from the top menu bar, then Transform, and Flip Horizontally. Don’t delete the original layer. This creates an effect like the one shown on the left side of the image below. This technique works well for scripty fonts, or fairly consistent and wide leading (spacing between the letters). You can see in the example below that some words are still legible, which may or may not be the desired effect.

20180227_image2

The final technique to obscure journaling is to blur all the text sufficiently that it cannot be read. To use this technique, first duplicate the text layer and rasterize it. Delete or hide the original text layer. Select the rasterized text layer, then select Filter from the top menu bar, then Blur, and choose from one of the myriad different blur techniques. The example below shows a 10-px Field Blur, but the Gaussian blur also works well and is a favorite of several members of the TDP CT. The blur filter is useful when you want all the journaling obscured, but still want to include it for placement on your final page.

TDP CT member Chloe applied a blur filter to her entire journaling layer in this example:

Other, non-destructive techniques for obscuring journaling include using a small font size (I prefer 10-pt font on my printed 12×12 layouts, but that often makes my journaling hard to read on screen), journaling in a color that is very close to the background paper color, or reducing the opacity of the journaling layer, and covering all or just crucial parts of your journaling with digital elements or photos. The possibilities seem nearly endless, but at the end of the day, protecting personal information, identifying details or routines is the name of the game here.

In this example, I used strategically placed elements (a button and some confetti) to cover up parts of the journaling that I didn’t want exposed.

caliten_control

Now let’s talk about photos. Protecting privacy in images may be something you’re more familiar with, but may not think to apply to the photos on your layout. From my experience, some people are more diligent about not showing their face online than they are about sharing personal information. For our purposes here though, we’ll include faces and any other unique identifying details, such as tattoos, license plates or car registration details, parking or access decals on vehicle windshields, and school or other establishment logos. There are times when it’s easy to just strategically crop your photo(s), or cover part of the image with an embellishment, journaling card or cluster, but also times when that just won’t work. Let’s focus on those latter cases. The techniques for obscuring these details in photos are similar to those discussed above for journaling: smudging, brushing, or applying a blurring filter.

To apply smudging to a photo, simply use the Smudge tool as you would for journaling, and go over the detail you want obscured. (With a small brush, this technique also works reasonably well for removing unsightly forehead wrinkles!) To use the brush technique, create a new layer, then select and apply a small brush area over the detail that you want hidden. I applied this technique in this layout of mine below to obscure the numbers and letters on the car’s license plate.

tdp_ad_goingplaces_caliten_aspens2015

Probably the most common technique for masking faces that I’ve noticed in the TDP gallery is using a blur filter on a small shaped mask layer.  To do this, create a new layer, then make a small oval to cover the face.  Ensure that the layer is similar color to the background (this technique is far less noticeable when applied to black and white images), rasterize it and apply a blurring filter (Filter > Blur > ….). If you have the time or inclination, you could also do a photo extraction (wherein you make a copy of your photo, and mask out all but the part that you want to have in focus), and then blur the background using a blur filter.

In this example, TDP CT member Corrin very subtly blurred one of the faces in the photo on her layout, below. Using a black and white photo really helped to draw attention away from that one blurred face.

corrin_25kB

And lastly, in the layout below I used a picture grabbed from my kids’ elementary school web page.  It was a grainy photo to start with which really helped the blurring mask to blend in. After placing the photo where I wanted it on my layout, I duplicated the photo layer. On top of the top photo layer, I created a new layer with an oval mask that only included the little girl in the orange shirt (she’s mine, and has given permission for me to show her unblurred in the photo), and moved it below the top photo layer.  I sharpened the photo, applied a color filter, and clipped it to the oval mask layer.  Then, on the original (bottom) photo layer, I added the same color filter then applied a standard Photoshop blur filter.  This particular one was Pixelate > Crystallize.

tdp_ad_mood_caliten_spellingBee

Protecting privacy in public galleries is a personal choice. Here we covered a handful of techniques for obscuring pertinent information in your journaling and faces or other identifying information in your photos. If this is something you do regularly, or something you’re now considering doing, I hope that you now have a new technique or two to try.


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.

Hybrid How-To | Using Watercolors On Layouts

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog!  Today, I’m here to show you how to create a physical layout using watercolors (using fun paint that you can make to perfectly match your digital kit).

If you’ve followed my posts here on the blog in the past, you know that I love working with paper and physical elements — and especially stamps. I also love to use watercolors on my scrapbook pages! Sometimes, I even scan my paints and turn them into digital printables. It’s so much fun, and I can match my paints with my digital stash and  stretch my crafty budget that much more.

The first thing I’ll tell you when it comes to using paint on your layouts… don’t be afraid! Trust me, it’s easy, fun, and even relaxing! Think of it like this: we’re not going to make a painting to go into a gallery… we only want to make pretty stuff for our own layouts!  🙂

For my project today, I will be using the digital collection Mood by Anita Designs…

When I first saw the gorgeous watercolor florals in this beautiful collection, I knew I wanted to paint something to match them. Then, I started thinking about painting some leaves below the printed florals. For my project, I actually didn’t make a previous digital version in Photoshop (which, sometimes, I do). This time, I simply chose my favorite elements, cards, and papers and then printed all of them, as shown in the image below…

I also printed some florals and cards onto vellum paper (see it on the right, above). Look how beautiful and soft they turned out! 🙂

When choosing these items and printing them out, I actually knew that I might not use all of the items… but it is not a problem. Now I have some pretties ready to use in my memory planner, which I love to play with as well!

After I printed all these goodies, I had some fun relaxing and fussy-cutting them, while planning out my spread. You’ll see below that I made a spread with a traditional scrapbook page and a pocket page.

Finally, after cutting it all out… here is the gorgeous stuff that I had in hand, ready to play with…

With all of these items in hand, I started thinking about my color palette… and then I grabbed my sketchbook and began testing some different greens…

After choose my color scheme, I painted some samples on my sketchbook, just to know how I’d like to arrange my leaves…

Here’s a look at my painted leaves underneath one of the pretty sticker elements from the digital kit I worked with…

When I was satisfied with my paint, I grabbed my white cardstock paper and arranged my photos and mats… just to make sure where to paint my leaves…

I made a mark on the middle of my page and just painted some leaves, branches, and berries… very similar to what I had done before in my sketchbook while practicing…

Here is a look at my 2-page spread after I had finished my paint and placed some floral stickers, word art pieces, and some other word bits in a simple design with the patterned paper as a border…

Then, after placing my photos and elements, you’ll see that I decided to paint some more leaves onto the upper left corner, in order to give more balance to my design.

I also used the vellum cards as the mats for my photos, and also placed some vellum florals as the first layer of my clusters.

Here’s a close-up view of a few different areas of the project…

Finally, to finish things off, I added some stamps, some wood veneers, and some gold stickers along with a gorgeous big gold heart.

I like to print my journaling and cut it into strips because I’m not a big fan of my handwriting directly on the page (and sometimes I ruin my work by making a big mess!). 🙂 Here’s a look…

As you know if you’ve followed me here on the blog, I love to add texture to my work… so I added a delicate doily, more wood veneer, glitter sitckers, and word stickers.

Finally, I think the “cherry on top” is a vellum floral which I just stapled on my soft pink card. I really loved how this spread turned out!

If you’d like to give this a try, too, don’t forget that you can earn challenge points at TDP! Come visit the CROSSWORD SECTION in The Digital Press forum, and you’ll find this month’s Hybrid Challenge thread (for each month’s Hybrid Challenge at TDP, you get to choose one of the month’s”Hybrid How-To” tutorial posts from here on the blog and make your own version). If you choose to give today’s project a try… all you have to do is make a hybrid page using some digital elements and papers and add some watercolor paint, as shown above (it doesn’t have to be leaves, though; you can paint what you want — whether circles, hearts, background washes — whatever your imagination comes up with!). You’ll see how fun it is! Give it a shot, and share your final results with us! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Have a great weekend you guys, and happy scrapping!


PERFIL TDPAbout the Author  Andrea Albuquerque is part of the Hybrid Creative Team here at Digital Press. Andrea has been a scrapper since 2010 and a photographer since 2012. Although she adores the flexibility and creativity of digital, she can’t resist playing with paper, paint, and embellishments… so hybrid scrapping is the perfect medium for her! She lives in Brazil with her hubby.

Foodie Friday | Laura Passage

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Foodie Friday series here on The Digital Press Blog! This week we are lucky to be featuring TDP Designer Laura Passage (formerly known and loved by many as the designer behind the Wishing Well Creations brand).

Laura has already been featured twice before, here on The Digital Press blog… so if you would like to learn a little more about her, check out her first feature from July 2016 HERE and her second feature article from July 2017 HERE. You can also learn a lot about her, and her design style, by having a browse around her fun and fabulous store at TDP,

But if you are really here at the blog for the food today — and keen to get to the delicious recipes — we won’t keep you waiting any longer! Here is a quick peek at the deliciousness we have each whipped up in the kitchen for you this week…

[ photo credits: (1) Hello Fresh, (2) A Sweet Pea Chef, and (3) TDP creative team member Corrin ]

What is all of that deliciousness you see pictured above, you ask?

  • Tomato and Zucchini Ragu
  • Faux Banana Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Luscious Lemon Cake

Tomato Zucchini Ragu

Says Laura… “This is one of our family’s favorites… and it’s awesome because it appeals to just about everyone (even the pickiest of eaters, like kids!), and it’s loaded with veggies! The secret to this recipe is the surprise ingredient — soy sauce — which turns a regular ho-hum tomato sauce into the most flavorful, perfect concoction ever. No joke… I don’t know why I never thought of adding soy sauce to something like pasta sauce before, but it’s AH-MAZE-ING.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti (or noodles of choice)
  • 2 small zucchini (each about 8″ long-ish?)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (or crushed, or whatever type you prefer)
  • 1/2 oz fresh thyme (can use 1 Tbsp-ish of dried thyme, if desired — but fresh is better, if you have it!)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (red pepper flakes)
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Wash and dry all fresh produce. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Cut zucchini lengthwise into quarters, and then slice into 1/4 or 1/3-inch pieces.
  • Halve, peel, and small-dice the onion.
  • Strip the fresh thyme leaves off the stems (skip this step if using dried thyme).
  • Peel the garlic and then finely mince… or put the peeled cloves into a garlic press and set aside for use later in recipe.
  • In a large (12+ inch) skillet or high-sided frying pan, cook the ground meat in about 1/2 Tbsp olive oil… breaking it up into smaller pieces while it cooks.
  • When meat is browned but not fully cooked, season with salt and pepper and then add onions and zucchini and cook it (stirring often) for about 5 more minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add the soy sauce, the thyme, and the minced garlic (or use garlic press, pressing straight into the pan).
  • Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to itself. Cook for about 10 minutes (until al dente), and then reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta boils, add the can of tomatoes to the pan of meat/vegetables, and then add the chili flakes (to taste! they’re hot… only add as much as you like, with regard to the spiciness). Stir constantly for a minute or so, until everything is coated in the tomatoes.
  • Add the pasta water to the sauce mixture until sauce is the desired thickness.
  • After draining pasta, add it to the sauce and toss to coat pasta completely in the ragu.
  • Serve the pasta topped with parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
[recipe tweaked and adapted from Hello Fresh by Laura Passage]

Faux Banana Chocolate Ice Cream

Says Laura… “OK, so… usually on Foodie Fridays, we offer up recipes for a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert. But you know what? Our family views that pasta sauce, up above, as a main dish AND a side dish because it’s so chock full of everything — protein, carbs, veggies, all of it! And so… clearly the only option here is to double up on dessert recipes, because it’s what we all want anyway. And this one? This one is so fun, because it’s sorta healthy! It’s free of added sugars, and it’s also dairy-free! And soooooo yummy (and even customizable).”

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large ripe bananas
  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • OPTIONAL: other variations could include a tablespoon or two of peanut butter (= chocolate peanut butter ice cream!)… or a cup of frozen strawberries (banana split ice cream!)… or you could skip the cocoa powder and instead mix in dark chocolate chips/chunks (= Chunky Monkey ice cream!)… or really, anything else your brain can dream up to go with banana ice cream!

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut the bananas into approximately 1/4-inch slices, and throw them onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet that will also fit into your freezer (IMPORTANT! haha). The slices don’t have to be lined up all neat and tidy or anything… you just want to be able to freeze them and have them remain in basically separate pieces.
  • Freeze the banana slices for a couple of hours… just long enough for them to harden so they’re not sticky when you run them through a food processor / blender.
  • Add the frozen banana slices into a food processor or blender, and process until the mixture has a thick, creamy consistency.
  • Add the cocoa powder and process again until totally blended together.
  • The mixture will be pretty soft at this point… so it’s usually best to re-freeze in an air-tight container for an hour or so, just to make the consistency more ice cream-like, before serving.
  • OPTIONAL: if, however, you were planning on adding another ingredient (see variations, above, at bottom of ingredients list)… add it after you’ve added/blended the cocoa powder, and process once again until well-blended.
[recipe tweaked and adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef by Laura Passage; makes about 6-8 servings ]

Luscious Lemon Cake

Says Corrin… “This is one of my own recipes… and it is something of an antique, having been given to me by my lovely neighbour not long after we moved into our current home. It has been a family favourite ever since!”

INGREDIENTS

  • 4oz/115g soft butter
  • 6oz/170g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 6oz/170g SR flour (sifted)
  • 4 Tbsp/60ml milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • the grated rind of 1 lemon

FOR THE SYRUP

  • 3 rounded Tbsp icing sugar (powdered/confectioner’s sugar)
  • 3 Tbsp/45ml of lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin, or a 7″ round tin.
  • Warm the oven to 350F (180C/gas mark 4).
  • Cream the buttter and sugar together in a bowl.
  • Add the eggs, grated lemon rind sifted flour and milk, and mix well to a soft dropping consistency.
  • Place into your baking tin smooth the top.
  • Bake for 40-45 min (until firm).
  • While the cake bakes, mix the sifted icing sugar with the lemon juice to make the syrup.
  • Pour the syrup over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  • Leave in the tin until completely cooled… and then, enjoy!

Doesn’t that all look so yummy?! I hope you have a chance to try out some of these dishes soon (you won’t be disappointed)! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comments, below… and if you try something and love it, we’d love to hear about that too! 🙂

Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be a designer feature week without a fantastic sale and a special Free-With-Purchase offer! Not only is Laura’s entire shop marked down 30% OFF throughout her entire feature week (sale prices will be valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 3/1)… but she also has the following Free-With-Purchase offer available in her shop all week long, as well — spend $10+ in the Laura Passage shop at The Digital Press and get her Flip Flop Season | Kit completely FREE!


CorrinAbout the Author  Corrin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a fan of the Big Bang Theory and a lover of cozy pajamas. She lives in the breezy South of England with her husband and 4 crazy kids, who regularly discover & plunder her secret chocolate stashes! She is still trying to get the house straight after moving nearly 4 years ago. Who knows… maybe this will be the year she reaches the bottom of the laundry pile!

Tutorial Tuesday | Documenting ‘Then and Now’

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today we are going to talk about scrapbooking ‘Then and Now’ pages. I have used this technique many times in the past… but was recently prompted to think about it again when my teenage step-daughter posted a stunning selfie on Instagram. I just stared at this beautiful young lady, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the cute little girl that walked into my life ten years ago. In that moment, I knew I had to create a layout comparing and contrasting the past and present.

There are several approaches to creating a ‘Then and Now’-themed layout, but I want to start with a few tips…

  1. Make Your Comparison Clear — When creating a layout that compares and contrasts, it’s important that the viewer clearly understands what is being compared.  For example, scrapping your photos at a distinctly different size can immediately convey that there is a comparison being made.  If you would rather keep the photos the same size, it helps to make sure the subject in the frame is also the same size.  You could use one black and white photo, and one colored.  Finally, you can clearly split your layout into two distinct sections to show the comparison.
  2. Embrace Your Photos — When using a technique such as this, you may hesitate to use older photos that may not be the best quality. Use them! The quality doesn’t matter as much as the connection you are making, and the memory you are documenting.
  3. Be Open-Minded About the Scope — The photos you are using do not have to be years apart. It could be that the photos are only weeks apart (or even yesterday/today — think: kids getting braces off their teeth, etc.)… but as long as the story is clear, the comparison can be easily made.

To begin giving you some examples and eye candy… we’ll begin with one of The Digital Press’s talented creative team members, Carrie, who created this lovely layout that clearly conveys the comparison of two people in the same spot, many years apart.  She did this by using a colored photo and a black and white photo… keeping the subjects the same size… and using journaling to tell her story. Take a look…

[ credits: Wanderlust Collection by Little Lamm Paper Co. and Then and Now | Photo Masks by Anita Designs ]

This next layout, created by TDP creative team member Chloe, uses both photos and journaling to show the connection between her ‘Then and Now’ comparison. This is a beautiful layout that clearly shows the journey that she has been on. In this instance, the journaling tells her story, and the photos show the time gap…

[ credits: Fresh Starts Papers and Elements by k. becca and Straight Up Alpha by Dawn by Design ]

Finally, here’s a look at my own layout — based on the comparison and memory I described up above, about my step-daughter Avery and a look at her present-day self as compared to the little girl I first met a decade ago…

[ credits: Quick Scraps Vol. 09 Templates and Shine by Anita Designs ]

Now that you’ve seen a few visual examples and have (hopefully!) been inspired to create a page like this of your own… I wanted to share a few ideas about approaches you can take when documenting these types of comparison memories.

Focus on current changes — This approach would be used when comparing, for example, the first day and last day of a school year.  It’s best used when there hasn’t been a lot of time that has passed between photos.  It’s contrasting your child, loved one, or pet when there hasn’t been significant physical changes, but there has been maturing or changes that are unseen.  You would definitely want journaling on your layout to tell the story, because in this approach, it’s often not as evident in the photos.

Focus on similarities or differences — This is a really fun approach, and to explain what I mean, I’m going to use an example.  I would use this approach if I wanted to compare and contrast a photo of myself at the age of seventeen, to a photo of my child at the same age.  Your journaling could talk about your likes and dislikes, or similarities and differences.  You could have a lot of fun with this by displaying the differences in your music playlists, favorite foods, hobbies, and I could go on and on…

Focus on the journey — This approach is probably the most commonly used.  I adapted this approach when creating this layout of Avery.  There are many years between the photos, and it’s quite evident that I’m comparing the two.  You can use journaling in this approach, but you could also forego the journaling, and just have the photos and a title.  It’s all about the journey between the photos in this approach.

 

My hope is, after learning about the schools of thought surrounding this type of layout, and seeing it in action, you are inspired to try it out. It’s truly fun, and the possibilities are endless when it comes to topics. Start with surveying your photos… and I bet you will find a myriad of photos that are rich with possible connections between yesterday and today!


HeidiAbout the Author  Heidi Nicole is happily married to an amazing man, a step mama to 2 wonderful kiddos, and mama to 3 sweet and sassy furbabies. She’s a radiation therapist by day, and creator of pretty things by night (she’s pretty confident that she’s hit superhero status, but refuses to wear a cape). She loves cats and huskies, coffee, audio books, “Friends” reruns, St. Louis Blues hockey, cooking, baking, and traveling. Oh, and wine… she really likes wine. She lives a normal and happy life, and enjoys all the absolutely extraordinary people she gets to share it with on a daily basis!