Tutorial Tuesday | Gradient Paper Blending

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today we are talking paper blending!

Have you ever wanted to use more than one of those gorgeous background papers you have in a kit but don’t want the harsh line of stacking them? Do you have two or more papers that you think would work beautifully together? Blending papers for a background is something I do fairly often and there are actually several ways you can go about it.

One way is to use the gradient tool, which is what this tutorial is all about. It’s a fairly quick and simple way to achieve and beautiful new look.

Start by layering the the two papers you want to blend:

With the top paper layer selected, click the layer mask icon:

Making sure the mask is selected, choose the gradient tool. Drag your gradient line from the top edge of the image to the bottom, or bottom to top, or side to side, or even diagonally, depending on the way you want the gradient to go. You can play around with different directions to see which effect you like best. You can also start in the anywhere on the paper to move the gradient closer to one edge or corner.

For this one, I first went from bottom to top and then moved to the center of the paper and pulled up again. And just like that, your papers are beautifully blended!

You can also play around with different gradients to get different blending effects.

If you wish, you can add more paper layers and blend them as well.

Typically, I will then take it a step further in PS and adjust the blending options (click the fx button at the bottom and choose blending options), especially on a woodgrain to bring out the texture a bit more. Adjusting the underlying layer just adds a little more blending. You can hold the alt key while sliding to separate the pieces of the triangle for different blending effects.

There is a more detailed Tutorial Tuesday all about that method of blending here – Blending Papers in Photoshop and one on using gradients to blend photo masks here – Masking with Gradient Tool.

Here’s a page I did where I blended two background papers. I used You Are Here Elements and Papers by Dawn by Design.

I hope this will help you to create beautifully blended and unique background papers! Have fun and be sure to link us up to your creations if you try it out!


JanAbout the Author  Jan is a high school teacher, wife, mom, and grandma who spends most every little bit of free time she gets documenting her family’s memories through digital scrapbooking. She is a summertime sunshine and beach lover who gets her energy from being outdoors. She is currently looking forward to retirement and a beach chair with her name on it and someone bringing her fruity drinks on command!

Hybrid How-To | Starting a Traveler’s Notebook

Hi everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! I’m here today to show you how you can start a Traveler’s Notebook and use it for your memory keeping.

Everywhere I look, I am seeing people using Traveler’s Notebooks (also called TN’s) to document all kinds of things… not just trips and vacations! If you look on Pinterest, ETSY, Amazon, or even if you just google “traveler’s notebooks” …you will get a wide display of manufacturers, sizes, and different ways people are using them. Today I would like to show you a bit about the traveler’s notebooks I am using, and how/why I decided to start using them for all sorts of scrapbooking and memory keeping projects!

Here’s just one example of the types of things you can do with a TN, with regard to memory-keeping…

Here are a few of the reasons I decided to give traveler’s notebooks a try:

  • quick, flexible memory keeping
  • no pressure to do a weekly or monthly layout
  • easy way to break into doing a hybrid project
  • no plastic pockets (unless you want them as accessories)
  • simplicity — photos, journaling, and maybe some stickers & washi tape
  • great for quick topics (vacations, food, recipes) or to record ongoing progress (weight loss, pregnancy, etc.)
  • I, personally, am drawn to the vertical orientation
  • easy to use to document things while on-the-go
  • great way to use digital templates, patterned papers, & supplies

Here’s a look at the Traveler’s Notebooks I am currently using…

I picked a few of them up at my local scrapbook store, and one is from a scrapbooking subscription club. As you can see, two of them are the “standard or regular” size (on the right), and one is a smaller size that is often referred to as the “passport” size (on the left). I didn’t spend too much money on any of them, because I wasn’t sure how often I was going to use them. It turns out, though, that I am documenting in them quite often and may eventually splurge for one of the real leather notebooks. For now, however, I am happy with these less expensive TN’s! They are made of a soft “plether” (plastic/leather) type of material, and come with the elastic bands inside that hold the inserts, and also a band that goes around the book to hold it closed.

Most TN’s come with at least one paper insert. The inserts can be made out of different colors, weights and styles of paper. Here’s a closer look at the inserts from the three TN’s I showed you, above…

The type of paper insert is important depending on how you are going to use them. For instance, f you do a lot of painting or stamping, then a thicker paper maybe needed. If you are mostly journaling in them, maybe you will want plain or lined paper instead of a dot or grid pattern. The color of the paper is important, too, if you want to work directly on that paper; for instance, up above you can see that one of these paper inserts is very cream in color, as opposed to a more pure white — but since I usually cover the insert with patterned paper, that worked for me.

One of mine came with a craft folder that has a place to put supplies and/or keepsakes, as shown here…

Some inserts are stitched together, and some are stapled… and this is also something to consider. The first TN I used had an insert that was stapled together… which enabled me to take the staples out and have flexibility moving the papers and getting them to lay perfectly flat while stamping or gluing things in place, which was nice! Since that first book, I have just left the inserts intact. Both ways work really well, and I think it is just a matter of personal preference.

There are many types of accessories and extra options you can purchase to use with your TN. Extra elastics, charms to put on the outside bands, tags, plastic pockets, zipper cases, and pen loops are all very popular and help you customize your TN…

I love the zipper pocket! Although I don’t scrapbook on-the-go very much, I often will stick in supplies that I want to use just to keep track of everything!

To give you a little more inspiration and let you see the kinds of things you can do with your TN… here are a couple of pages from my Summer 2018 Traveler’s Notebook…

And trust me, it’s all so easy! I simply printed some photos and products I liked, and then played around with putting them together on the pages. As you can see, this format works well for multi-photo pages and also for large photos. I use Epson Premium Presentation Matte paper and a Canon Pixma printer.

For the projects I’ve shown you, above, I printed digital products from these beautiful kits that you can find at The Digital Press…

The great thing about a TN is that you can use your favorite digital products and edit/alter the contents, re-size things, and even change a few colors here and there, before printing… in order to have your own personalized scrapbooking supplies ready to add to the TN. And as we discussed above, there are a lot of options to choose from when selecting and beginning a Traveler’s Notebook. Here are a few final thoughts you might consider, as you get ready to give this a try…

  • the cost — you can spend a lot or a little
  • the size — standard or regular is used by most scrapbookers (it is approximately 8.5″ tall by 4.25″ wide)
  • the paper inserts/refills — the color, weight and the style; grid, dot and lined patterns are popular
  • the topic — decide whether you want your book to be about a specific topic or just a bunch of random photos & stories you love
  • the record-keeping — TN’s are a great way to journal your thoughts, and many people use their own handwriting rather than typing
  • the supplies — use your digital supplies in a whole new way; journal cards, labels & pattern papers work well
  • the contents — large, full-size photos are dramatic and pair well with papers, journaling and embellishments
  • the rules — there are really NO rules! Just play around and find out what works for you!
  • the starting point — really, just get started! it’s so much fun to print, touch, and play around with the items you add to your TN

The important thing is to have fun with it and make it work for you. We would love to see what you create using products from The Digital Press, so please feel free to leave us comments and link us up to any projects you load into the hybrid gallery here at TDP!

 


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About the Author  KerriAnne is a homebody who resides in the desert SW. She started scrapbooking when her kids were little and hasn’t stopped despite the teenagers rolling their eyes and sticking out their tongues!  When not scrapping or being a chauffeur, she can be found consuming large amounts of iced coffee.

 

Tutorial Tuesday | Fun With Fonts

Hello, and welcome to a new edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here at The Digital Press Blog!

I am Corrin, and I am a font hoarder! I know that I am not alone in this, and so I hope that today’s tutorial will help all of us find some fun new ways to use all of those fabulous fonts.

I have recently been trying to put titles on my pages more often, and so I have been looking for ways to make my titles stand out — even while I am using the fonts and alphas that I love and use all the time. For the examples I will show you today, I will use the same page, but will change the treatment of the font that I have used for the title.

Here are the different ways I have tried using the same font today…

  1. Stack it
  2. Add a Stroke
  3. Clip a paper to it
  4. Erase from a brush background

Stack It

First, I rasterized the font (Layer–Rasterize–Type), which is actually the first step for all of these techniques I’ll be showing you today. Then, I duplicated the layer and moved one of the layers across and up or down just a little. You can play around with how far apart to have the two titles, and how similar to have the colors, as well. I chose to use a deep black title, to echo the deep black image on my page, and then contrasted that with a lighter pink for the layer behind it…


Add a Stroke

Again, I began by rasterizing the font… and then I added a stroke to it. You can choose to add the stroke to the outside of your text, the inside, or a bit of both (the center); it is really just about personal preference, so just try them all out and see which one you like best. Adding a stroke gives the font a really nice crisp and clean edge, and helps it stand out from the background paper. You can easily change the color of the stroke, so I chose to use a pink stroke around my white text. I think that leaving the layer with no shadow makes the title look like it has been printed right onto the page…

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Clip a Paper to It

Once the font is rasterized, you can clip a paper to it — a technique that can add color or texture for a fun look. Adding a small shadow to a plain paper/font can make it look like the title is a stylish vinyl sticker or die-cut paper pieces… while a deeper shadow can create the impression of chunkier letters (maybe foam, thicker cardstock, or even woodchip). You can clip a plain paper or a patterned paper — both work really well with a small shadow if you want to create the impression that you cut the letters (very neatly!) out of paper to create your title…

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Erase the Title From a Brush

Lots of kits have a painty brush included — or you can also find separate sets of brushes in the store, as well — and these can make a great background on which to put your title. In this example, I layered some brushes in different shades of pink and white, and then I laid my white title layer over the top. This made it look as though my title was erased from the pink paint/brush – as though, in real life, I’d used a stencil and painted around it. I think this is quite a nice artsy look…

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You can combine some of these ideas together, as well… perhaps clipping a pretty paper to the rasterized font, and then add a thicker stroke to make your title look like a fun sticker. Or, use a plain title with a thin stroke, and stack a layer below it for a clean, graphic style title… it is really up to you! Endless possibilities.

In the end, I chose to clip a white paper to my title font, and stack it over an aqua font, with a pink painty mask too! Here is a look at the final page I created…
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[I used Flamingo Love by Rachel Etrog Designs, Sakura Stitches by ninigoesdigi, and Words & Bits – Two by Dunia Designs]

 

I hope this gives you some ideas of ways to play and have fun with your fonts, and these ideas would work with many alphas too. I hope you will have a go and see what techniques and combinations appeal to you, and maybe even link me up to your own creations (or leave some of your own font/title suggestions?) with a comment here on the blog. 🙂

 


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 or flip flops when the sun finally shines! She lives in the breezy South of England with her husband and 4 crazy kids, who regularly discover & plunder her secret chocolate stashes, and hopes that maybe this will be the year she reaches the bottom of the laundry pile!

Tutorial Tuesday | Get Organized with Trello

I’ve recently discovered a new way to organize the stories and projects that I want to track for my scrapbooking. The tool that I’ve been using to help organize my scrapbooking life is called Trello! This is a free online tool, and it has really been a game-changer for me and how I scrapbook.

Trello is essentially a list full of lists, which are filled with cards that you can use to organize any project. You simply create a board (mine is entitled “Memory Keeping”) to manage your scrapbooking needs. Once you have a board created, you can add as many lists as you’d like & then each list can be filled with cards. Cards can then be used to create checklists, add labels & due dates, upload files, and add comments.

Tracking Stories

In my Trello account, I have a list for each year, which allows me to track specific stories within a particular year. For example, there are still stories in 2009 that I want to capture in our family scrapbook album. Within the yearly list, I have created a card for each month of the year… and then I use a checklist to contain all of the specific stories from that month that I still want to tell. There is also a description section in each card that allows you to add notes to yourself (or other information you’ll want handy as you work through these stories).

Here are a couple of examples of these annual cards and the monthly checklists that I use to ensure I don’t miss any stories…


Then, whenever I have time to scrapbook, I can look into the various years and decide which story I want to tell. This keeps me from having to search all over the place to find the photos and stories that I want to scrapbook! It saves me time and it makes organizing everything so much easier. And… I’m also finding that I’m actually inspired to go in and get these stories told, since I’m not overwhelmed with the idea of finding things to scrapbook. Another tip that I offer is that you can add in the photos, template or kit previews for stories via the file attachment functionality. You can also use Trello’s labeling function to create a variety of labels to help you track things even more easily!

Tracking Projects

Here is a glimpse into my Memory Keeping board, showing you three of the projects that I’m currently working on. I use these project lists to help me track my progress on the specific memory keeping projects I am actively working on. I have a list for each of them and then I’ve added cards under each list that allow me to track the bits and pieces of each project.

Additionally, here is a look at one of the cards in my “Girl Scout Book” list…

I’m working on getting all of the pages for my daughter’s Girl Scout experiences into an album. This particular card outlines all of the pages that I want to create for my daughter’s second year as a Brownie. I created a checklist for each layout (and the date so I can easily find the photos when I’m ready to scrapbook a particular page. As I finish a page, I simply check off that page from the list. Once I’m finished with a particular card, I simply archive that card so my list only shows the cards with active items to work on. You can also add the photos or other files that will help you with the project. They will be right there, ready for you when it’s time to scrapbook.

What I love about Trello is that it allows me to create a visual tracking system for the important things I want to be sure to stay on top of with my memory keeping activities. Tracking stories and projects are the primary ways that I’m currently using Trello but I am in the midst of creating new lists that will help me track other aspects of my creative life such as creative team responsibilities and tracking the scrapbook supplies that I want to use. Another idea is to create a list for scraplifting which allows you to track the layouts you’d like to scraplift at some point. And lastly, you can track the challenges at The Digital Press that you want to participate in each month. As you can see, Trello offers so many different ways for you to manage your memory keeping life! I hope this tool might be able to help you stay on track with your scrapbooking activities!

By the way, you can use Trello to track anything… recipes, job searches, an editorial calendar for your blog, tracking books and reading, planning a wedding, managing a move or vacation, home renovation, etc. It’s very versatile!


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 is finishing up graduate school at Clemson! 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 | Fun Mini Book

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 very fun and easy mini book that you can make to keep your memories in a small and beautiful way.

For my project today, I will be using the digital kit (and also cards) Just Be You by Julia Makotinsky, shown here…

Let’s get started on our our mini book!

The first thing to do is to choose (a) the size of your mini book, and (b) the digital papers that you want to use.

I chose to make my mini book in the size of 4.5″ x 6″.  I also chose several elements and cards that I planned to use to embellish my project. 

As seen in the photos below, after choosing the papers, I printed them  in the size corresponding to the mini book. Then I cut and folded each sheet in half…


I wanted to make a fun cover for my mini book and use sequins for a magical unicorn effect. To do so, I decided to use a plastic page protector to put my sequins/embellishments inside and make my cover. First, I added a fun dimensional title onto one of my printed pages…

Then I added sequins and decorations into the protector, and used embroidery floss to sew it shut…
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To close the cover, I hand sewed the page protector with an embroidery chain stitch. If desired, you could also use a sewing machine or a fuse tool…

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Once I had my cover ready… it was time to make the inner pages of my mini book. The first thing I did was adjust the page sizes and cut off the excesses, as you can see here…

Before I could decorate any of my book’s pages, I needed to assemble my mini book.

*TIP* Make sure all your pages are folded down the middle and arranged in the order that you want them. Use two clips to hold the pages in place. Put an old catalog or a foam mat under your pages and line up their centers. This makes it really easy and safe to punch through all the pages. You’re going to punch three holes using a paper piercing tool. Use a ruler to mark where you’ll punch these holes. My mini book is 6″ tall, so I punched the center hole at 3″, as shown here…

I used the holes I’d punched into my book to attach all of the pages/cover together using embroidery floss…

How To Stitch Your Journal:

  1. You should have already punched your three holes. Thread your needle with a long piece of cotton and thin crochet thread. Start at the center hole, insert the needle from the inside of the journal, and pull the needle through but leave a long tail.
  2. Push the needle from the outside of the journal through the top hole.
  3. Next, push the needle from the inside of the journal through the center hole again
  4. Next, push the needle from the outside of the journal through the bottom hole.
  5. Bring the bottom hole thread to the center hole and tie both ends. You are done! The book is bound and it’s time to insert our photos and embellishments.

I printed several elements and cards, as you can see here…

Here is a look at a few of my pages once I’d started embellishing them with all of my printed goodies. As you can see, I also used vellum and watercolor paper in order to make my project more fun…

Finally, I also used some mixed media techniques along  my project., like watercolors and acrylic paints.

Isn’t this mini book fun? And it’s a very beautiful way to have fun with your memory keeping, as well!

If you’re feeling inspired to give this a try, as well… don’t forget that you can earn challenge points at The Digital Press! 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). 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!


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

 

Tutorial Tuesday | Making A Smart Move

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m going to teach you how to use smart objects in managing your layers within Photoshop.

Have you ever found yourself needing to sit back and take a break in the middle of a creating a digital masterpiece in order to contemplate the “how do I do that?” question? I have. Of course, with digital techniques, there’s often more than one way to approach something (gotta love digital!). I ran into a dilemma while working on a page recently, and then had an ah-ha moment; the solution to my problem was the use of smart objects.

Smart objects are layers, just like any other layer that you might use in your layers palette in Photoshop… except that they always retain the original data and file properties, no matter how you alter them. Alterations to smart objects (like changes in hue and saturation, addition of filters, warping, or resizing) are non-destructive… as compared to destructive (permanent) edits like flattening, simplifying, or rasterizing. For example, you can shrink a smart object… save it… and enlarge it again — without losing any of the original picture quality.

You can also treat smart objects as mini layouts embedded within a larger file. That’s how I wanted to use them. (I’ll be using Photoshop CC in this tutorial)

Let me start by explaining the look I was trying to achieve. A photo in a horizontal rectangular-shaped frame, with another photo also in that shape, but clipped to a mask. So, clipping a photo… to a mask… to a mask… that has a photo! Confused?

What I was trying to figure out was how to combine two mask-clipped-images into one. In the example above, imagine the red line is my photo frame, and the blue mask/photo combination extends beyond the edges of the frame. The lighter blue portion is what I want to hide or remove.

Remember how I said there are usually multiple ways to tackle problems in digital scrapbooking? Sure, I could have masked off the excess and painted it away, or I could have simply chosen a different mask shape in the first place. But, no. Of course, I couldn’t do that. I have a bad habit of challenging myself — and heaven help anyone who says I can’t do something!

So, let’s jump back to smart objects and the idea of layouts embedded within layouts.

The pink rectangle is the size I needed everything to be, so it would fit within my selected photo frame. However, I really liked the edging on the mask and wanted to include that as a design element. One photo on the pink section, and one on the black mask – but both in the rectangle. Here’s a step-by-step guide on achieving this look. If you’re not using smart objects, this is a lot easier than it looks, trust me! *wink*

Start by clipping the pictures you would like to use to the shapes or masks. At this point, your layers palette will look “normal” by all accounts…

To help delineate the masked images, I converted photo #2 by clicking on that image and running a black and white action (the action I used is called “Ansel,” if you like it). Because the action has been added at the top of the layers palette it turned everything below it – all the way to the background layer – black and white. That’s okay, for now. (Secretly, I kind of like this version, too!)

Enter Smart Objects! Select the action layer, photo #2 and its corresponding mask, then right click (in the layers palette) and select Convert to Smart Object…

Stop for just a minute and look at how the layers now appear. The three layers of photo #2 (the action, the the image, and the mask) have become one. If I had simplified or rasterized the layers, merging them together, I would have a black and white image in my mask shape… and that would be all. It would not be editable any more.

Take a closer look at the thumbnail in the layers palette, though. I encourage you to open up Photoshop and look at your own layouts, too, especially if you drag ‘n’ drop files into your layouts. In the lower right-hand corner of the thumbnail is what appears to be some mini images layered on top of one another. Double-click on them — I dare you.

This is what you’ll see…

Um. #mindblown

Remember at the start, I said to think of smart objects as layouts within layouts? When you open up a smart object, as I did here, all of the original layers are available. You can edit them in any way you wish. I could change out the picture, use a different mask, hide the black and white action – or change it altogether. When I close the tab or file, it will update back to the main file — the one this mini-layout is embedded in…

I can now simply clip the smart object layer to the one beneath it — and both images, the original, color butterfly, and the black-and-white-clipped-to-a-pretty-mask one have blended together and taken on the shape of the rectangle. Because the smart object layer has everything nicely bundled together, I can resize things, move them around, and play without destroying any of the original pieces. I made a few adjustments, including changing the color of the underlying rectangle shape (to help it blend in a bit more in sections where it was bleeding through from the smart object’s mask). Here’s the finished image…

I’ve shown just one way I use smart objects… but there are so many more. Let’s take title work, for example. Say you’ve created an awesome title, with alphas or fonts, paint, masks … anything really … and it’s a lot of layers, just by itself. If you convert that grouping to a smart object you can (1) move it around as a single piece, without having to worry about locking and unlocking layers, (2) resize it without any loss of pixelation, and (3) most importantly, open it up to make non-destructive changes.

I hope you’ll give smart objects a try. They are great tools to add to your digital scrapbooking arsenal!


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.