Monday Minis {week four}

Spot Lit Wall

We are back for our final week of the MONDAY MINIS — shining the light on all the wonderful designers who were part of the AMAZING collab, SCRAPPING & SNAPPING. The kit has been so fun, so versatile, and so jam packed with unique stuff. And with the size of it, I know I will continue to use it for a long time. Today is THE LAST DAY to grab this amazing kit…so hurry, get it NOW.


In addition to the kit packed FULL of papers and elements there are also some cool hidden treasures!




And now on to our mini spotlights…



Leora has a great kit called HAZY FALL out…I love the deep, rich colors!


She also has this super fun clay alpha set. SO cute!



Studio Wendy has this AMAZING new action out! Here is the desciption:

“Create stunning layouts almost instantly with these revolutionary new actions. These actions will lead you through all the steps you need to scraplift the layout shown in the preview. Choose any paper or element in your stash. You can control the exact size and placement of each item as you go along. And, the resulting 12×12 layout is left in layers for you to adjust and edit.”



Studio Arisu has this really neat heart action…just open your photos and it turns it into a heart collage. There is also one for Photoshop Elements.

Alice is also giving THE DAILY DIGI readers a coupon:

25% off until September 7, 2009




Stephanie2 has a new doodle collection that can be used for many different kinds of layouts!

Celebrate is 40% off for TDD readers, no coupon necessary!!

MGL Scraps


MGL Sraps has this GORGEOUS mini kit out…I love the soft colors with that pop of red!


Saturdays are always great days….New Releases at Sweet Shoppe Designs! Here are a few things that caught my eye this week!






My Lunch Didn’t Look Like That!


Lunch was always a source of contention when I was growing up.  When I was little, my mom always packed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (which I hated!).  So, I didn’t eat.  When I got to middle school, I was responsible for packing my own lunch (which I wasn’t organized enough with my time to do!)  So, I didn’t eat.  It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that my mother finally realized that I never ate lunch and finally decided to just give me money to buy something at school. I had a lot of french fries and chocolate chip cookie days but I did look forward to the wonderful days when they had shredded lettuce on the salad bar!  (For some reason, I ADORE finely shredded lettuce in a salad.)  Needless to say, my school lunch time was never anything to get excited about.

Times are changing and long gone are the days of mushy PB&J.  The web is crawling with fun and creative lunch ideas for kids.  Even I might eat a prepacked  sandwich if it looked like this:

These are sandwiches that were created by Funky Lunch, a site dedicated to encouraging kids to try something new and fun (and healthy!)

The other fun lunch option that is gaining wide-spread popularity are the amazing bento boxes.





“O-bento’ is what the Japanese call a packed meal, usually lunch. Bento boxes have internal dividers, and sometimes several stacked layers, so different kinds of food sit in their own little compartments. The whole thing is usually wrapped together with chopsticks in a cloth or special bag, and the goal is to make the whole package as attractive as possible – from considering the colour combinations of the food and presenting and garnishing it as neatly and artfully as you can, to co-ordinating the box, chopsticks and wrapper, and any other items like paper napkins, knife and fork or spoon, drink flask or thermos.”

Read more at Air and Angels

The Bento concept is spreading and moms are going out of their way to create the most amazing lunch boxes I have ever seen.  Everything from the containers, to the food choices, to the artistic arrangement of the items is carefully selected and put together in a way that is fun to look at and fun to eat.

Just look at all the images from a Flickr pool!


Do you have any fun lunch ideas we should see?


Converting to Black and White

Black and whites are not all created equal. There are nice crisp black and whites where the black are blacks and the whites are white. There are also “black and whites” that are anything BUT black and white — they are muddled grey with no life. These photos are usually produced by doing a standard “remove color” or desaturate to a photo.


With this photo, if I were to change it to black and white by choosing desaturate in Photoshop (Image > adjustments> desaturate) it would look like this:


As you can see, there is no black or white in this photo…just lots of grey. To make a better image we are going to convert to black and white using a GRADIENT MAP conversion. Don’t worry about what it means…I will show you the steps.

1. Open your image (File > Open)

2. Make sure your layers palette is in view (Window > Layers) or click F7


3. With your layer highlighted, click on the adjustment layer icon (the black and white circle) and choose LEVELS



4. When the levels dialogue box pops up, just click okay without making any adjustments. We will come back to this.


5. Next, click on the adjustment layer icon (the black and white circle) and choose GRADIENT MAP.


6. A dialogue box will appear that looks like this. Choose the box that goes from black to white (NOT black to transparent). Click OK. Your image will turn to black and white (this conversion is already better than the default one, but we will make it even better).


7. Double click on the levels icon in your layers palette. This will bring up your levels dialogue.


8. When the levels dialogue box pops up, adjust the the black slider to the right until it hits the “black mountain” and the white slider to the left until it hits the “black mountain” (making sure the PREVIEW box is checked). If needed, adjust the midtones slider until you achieve the look you are going for. In this example I moved the midtone slider quite a bit to the left to achieve a light and airy feel.


This was the result:



For BAIS Photography Class…SCREEN LAYER


Sometimes your exposure is so far off that you need more than a simple levels adjustment. Often, a really underexposed (dark) photo is better left alone and thrown away. However, there are times when a photo is important enough that it is worth saving. In this example photo we are going to save an otherwise too-dark photo using a SCREEN LAYER.

1. Open your photo (File > Open)

2. Make sure you layers palette is in view (Window > Layers) or click F7.


3. With your background layer highlighted, click Control J (Command J on a Mac). This will duplicate your layer. Alternatively, you can grab the layer and drag it to the new layer icon and it will duplicate.


4. You should now have two layers that are exactly the same.


5. With your BACKGROUND copy layer highlighted, you are going to click the blending mode box (that will by default say NORMAL). Blending modes tell the computer how the pixels in the top photo should interact with the pixels in the bottom photo. We are going to choose SCREEN MODE. Screen blending mode brightens the underlying layers depending on how bright the screened layer’s pixels are.



6. You should see your photo lighten up considerably. At this point, you can either stop and save or if it isn’t light enough for you liking, you can add another screen layer. With the BACKGROUND COPY layer highlighted, click Control J to duplicate. If this makes your photo TOO light, you can adjust the opacity of the layer.




For another example with further details, you can see THIS article


For BAIS Photography Class…Brightness and Contrast


Sometimes a photo just needs a little “pop.” A photo that is fairly well exposed can be made more alive and vivid with a simple adjustment of BRIGHTNESS and CONTRAST.

1. Open your image (File > Open)

2. Make sure your layers palette is in view (Window > Layers) or press F7


3. Click on the adjustment layer icon (the black and white circle) and choose Brightness and Contrast



4. A dialogue box will appear that looks like this:


5. With your photo in view and the PREVIEW box checked in the dialogue box, adjust the sliders to your liking (most often you will need to increase brightness and contrast).

6. Be careful to avoid overdoing it — you don’t want neon colors or to have the whites so bright that the color details are lost. In this example there was way too much brightness and contrast added. Notice the neon green in the leaves and the way the areas around the head are so bright that there is no longer any detail.


Instead, more subtle amounts were added to give a final photo that looks like this:



For BAIS Photography Class…Working with Levels

The Levels tool in Photoshop adjusts the brightness of an image at three points: black, white, and midtones. It is great for brightening up dull images.


This example image is dark and lifeless. We will use the levels tool to brighten it up.

1. Make sure your layers palette is in view. Go to Window > Layers (or press F7).


2. Open your image. You layers palette should should one layer (your photo).


3. Click on the adjustment layer icon (the black and white circle) and choose LEVELS.



4. A Levels dialogue box will appear that looks like this


5. Don’t be intimidated by the box…the levels represent the color points in your image. The goal of a photo is to have the “curve” of colors extend all the to the blacks (the left) and all the way to the whites (right) with a peak in the center (midtones). That would create a photo with the full color range. However, if your photo doesn’t do that you can “help” it.


Our example photo is missing colors in the white (light) areas.

6. In order to fix that, we are going to drag the white slider to the point that it meets the “black mountain.”


7. In one quick and easy step your photo will improve dramatically.



Two Page Layouts {Using Templates}

Yesterday we looked at creating two page layouts for your albums. Two page layouts allow you more room for more pictures and journaling and they also help give a cohesive look to your pages.

Today we are going to look at using templates to help you create two page layouts. If you are unfamiliar with templates, then you should start with our article USING LAYERED TEMPLATES. It is no secret that I LOVE templates…I love creating them, I love using them, and I love seeing how people can make them their own. If you want to know my reasons why you can check out my series of posts on “10 Reasons to Love Templates” part one, two, and three. Ever since I first starting selling templates (in September 2006!) I have created two pagers for people to use. And in my own scrapping I reach for them all the time.

Today I am going to show you three ways to use templates:

  • Using a two-page template
  • Cropping a two page template to make one page layout
  • Using a one page template to create a two-page layout



A two page template can be used just like any other template. Just open the psd or tiff file, prepare your page, and then crop to separate and prepare for printing as I explained yesterday. I opened up this two pager (coming soon to a DIGI FILES near you) and about 15 minutes later I had this:

week-two_2page_webImagination by Dani Mogstad, staples by Shabby Princess, template by Janet Phillips, font is Typewriter scribbled



Sometimes you have a great two page template but you really only want half of it…easy peasy! Just select your crop tool and set it to crop 12 inches by 12 inches at 300 dpi and select the side you want to keep.


Just note that in your layers palette the layers from the side you cropped off will still appear — they will just be blank. I usually just throw them out.


After cropping my two page template I ended up with this simple and quick layout:

this-is-it_webScrapping and Snapping kit from THE DAILY DIGI, template by Janet Phillips


If you can’t find that perfect two page template you can create your own!


I created this one page template but then decided that I wanted to use it for a two pager. In order to modify it, I went to Image > Resize > Canvas Size and changed the dimensions to 24 x 12.


After my canvas was resized, I selected all layers and then dragged all the the layers up the the new layer icon to duplicate them all.


With all the layers still highlighted, I went to Image > Rotate > Flip Layer Horizontal to create a mirror image


I then moved the new layers over to the right side of my page, did a little tweaking (stretching paper, adding a photo spot) and then in about another 20 minutes ended up with this layout:

the-graduate_2page_webScrapping and Snapping kit from THE DAILY DIGI, stitching by Lisa Whitney, template by Janet Phillips, fonts are Clementine and CK Handprint


Happy two page scrapping!


Two Page Layouts


I love two page layouts! I love the look of them in my albums, I love how many photos I can get on one layout, I love the “complete” stories they can tell that are too much for a regular one pager. I would say that 1/3 to 1/2 of my layouts are two pagers…I love them! I have been planning on doing a post on two page layouts for a while now. And then we got a number of reader questions about them and I was excited to tell them it was already on the schedule. I am a huge fan of two pages spreads and so I am very excited to share a few things with you!

Here are a few things we will look at today:

  • Creating a two-page layout
  • Saving and printing a two-page layout
  • Two page layouts in your album

And then tomorrow we are going to look at using two page templates!


There are two main ways to work on a two page layout in your photo editing program:

  1. as one large canvas (usually 24 x 12)
  2. as two 12 x 12 inch canvases.

I prefer working as one large canvas so that I can see what the whole thing looks like at once. I create a new document, sized 24 x 12 (I almost always print my pages 8×8 but I always scrap in 12 x 12 so that I don’t have to resize everything).


The next thing I do is to create a midline for myself so that I have a constant visual of where my page will be cut. Many scrappers don’t mind if a photo is cut down the middle or a title is broken up but I prefer my two page layouts to not split anything. By adding the midline, I can always know where there need to be breaks between photos, where journaling should end, etc. I create a new layer, turn my grid on (view > grid), and then use a square brush (sized about 20 pixels) make a line right on the 12 inch mark.


I then create my page like I would any other scrapbook page — adding photos, papers, elements, title, and journaling, being careful to keep things off the center line. My final page looks like this:

week-one_twopageforwebImagination kit by Dani Mogstad, brush strokes by Michelle Coleman, fonts are Typewrite Scribbled and Clementine


The first thing I do is save my 24 x 12 canvas as a psd file. That way, any changes I make from here on out won’t risk changing my layout.

After saving, I prepare for printing.

First, I remove the midline so that it doesn’t show up on my final print.

Then, in order to prevent photos/elements near the middle from being cut off, I usually nudge them over about 5 pixels. Everything in the right side of the page goes 5 pixels to the right, everything on the left goes 5 pixels to the left. It looks like this:


Next, I flatten my layout. I then need to separate my two pages in order to print. I choose the crop tool and set it to crop 12 x 12 at 300 dpi


And then, starting in the left corner, I crop the left hand page to 12 x 12


After cropping, I save the 12 x 12 page as a jpeg and it is ready to print. I then undo my crop and then crop the right hand page the same way. Now they are just like any other 12 x 12 page, ready to be uploaded to your favorite printer!


One of the most often asked questions about two page spreads is “How do they look in your albums?” My answer is always, ” I LOVE them!” I love how they present a cohesive look and story as I flip through my albums.

When I first bought my albums, I bought all post bound. My reasoning behind this was that I wanted my two page spreads to line up next to each other as close as possible when I opened the album. They look like this:



Because I don’t scrap in order, I started to get really frustrated with the post bound albums. They look great, but they are a pain to take apart and rearrange. So, the next time I ordered albums I decided to go with the d-ring binder style. When they arrived I had a little freak-out moment: I had totally forgotten about two page layouts and how they would look in a binder-style album. However, once I put some in, my fears were relieved and while they don’t look as good as the post bound albums, they certainly don’t look bad. I’m still on the fence about what I will order the next time I need albums.



If you haven’t given two page layouts a try, you really should! There are so many possibilities with them! If you are having trouble from a design standpoint, be sure to come back tomorrow and see how templates can help you in your quest to create a great two page layout!


Grayscales Are Going to Clear Up

The title is my corny take on a song from “Bye-Bye Birdie”, sorry, I just couldn’t resist!!

I (Steph) have received many emails since the site began from people wanting to learn how to color grayscale images. For each email there were at least two people IRL that have asked me about it. So, I decided that my post for today would be a little tutorial covering this.

First, let’s make a grayscale image so we can recolor it! 🙂

1) Open a ribbon or something else that you would like to recolor. I am going to use one of Melissa Bennett’s ribbons from August’s Snapping & Scrapping kit (hurry and get it before it’s gone, if you haven’t). Here’s what it looks like in Photoshop:


2) Next, we are going to take the color out of the ribbon by going to image>adjustments>desaturate as seen below.


Now your image should look like this:


3) We need to add a new layer now. There a few ways to do this, I usually just click on the new layer button in the layers pallet, then make sure the new layer is selected.


4) Now, select your foreground color as the color you want the ribbon to be. I am going to use the green from the Snapping & Scrapping kit.


5) Now, you will need to select the flood-fill bucket from the tools pallet.


This will be the result:


6) Once again make sure the new colored layer is selected (as seen above). Now, just ctrl+alt+g (for PSCS2, PSCS3, PSCS4 and probably later;)) OR ctrl+g (for PSE and PSCS1). Now you this is how things should look (there will not be texture on the ribbon yet):


7) Now, we will add some texture to the ribbon by changing the blend mode. There are many different ways to do this, I usually like to use overlay and then change the opacity if I need to in order to get more detail.


You should now have some great looking ribbon in a different color:


Now, to get this ribbon on a layout in one piece, ctrl+a will select everything and then shift+ctrl+c (or edit>copy merged) will copy it as if it were one png file. Then, go to your layout and ctrl+v or edit>paste to add it there. If I want to be able to use this on another layout later, then I do file>save as and select the file name for the red ribbon, but change the color in the name to green. Then it is saved with all of the designer information as well as being saved right next to the original ribbon it came from.

This is a really great way to be able to use what you have and what you love (that favorite solid paper, favorite ribbon, stitching, etc.). It’s really fun to play with different settings and see what you can come up with, so go ahead, give it a try!!


Take a Look Through Your Albums

I have a challenge for you today: I want you to look through your albums (assuming you have actually printed some of your pages — if you haven’t, your challenge ends there. GO PRINT NOW!)

I want you to look through you albums, taking notice of the pages you like, the pages that you don’t like, and the overall feel of your album. When we stop to look at our pages as a whole, we can get a better idea of the story we are telling. You can see if there are major gaps in your albums — either time periods, people, or types of stories.You may not realize that as you scrap away using the newest kit or the latest fad that you are neglecting things (or people) that are important to you.


As I look through my albums it is very clear to me that the pages I love

  • Have journaling that tells a story (not just a random word like “dream” or “wonder”)
  • Tell real “moments in time” stories — things that I would have completely forgotten about had I not scrapped about them
  • Are honest — sharing even the hard times
  • Are consistent with my style (I am not good with using lots of elements and don’t like the pages when I try)
  • Are often two pages spreads (more about two page layouts on Friday!)
  • Often have numerous photos on them, often from different days, time periods
  • Are dated

What I don’t really care about when I see my pages:

  • Who created the kit
  • How many comments I got on it
  • What CT it was for
  • If I had used the kit before
  • If my kids clothes match the kit I used
  • If the photo is technically perfect
  • If my kids hair is messy and their are crumbs around ( I live with four kids age 6 and under…what can you expect?)

We all scrapbook for different reasons so your reasons for loving/not loving your pages might be different, but it is still good to look through and see what jumps out at you. You might be surprised and it might change the way you scrapbook.

Here are a few of my favorite pages:


This one, titled “Waiting for Someone To Call Me Mom” is about my journey of infertility and miscarriages. Those three years were defining years for me and I love that I have shared the story.


Even though this page contains no journaling (very rare for me) I LOVE it because it is, in one page, a snapshot of my life at a certain time period. Each of these photos brings back a specific memory and I love being flooded with emotions when I look at them.


I love this page! The pictures are FAR from technically perfect but I just love the real emotion that they capture. It’s just me, piled high with kids, loving every minute. THAT is my life right now and I love that it has been captured and preserved.


I love this two page spread because it totally conveys the energy and excitement that went into our day. I also got 31 photos on one layout!


Here are some of the things that THE DAILY DIGI artist team had to say about their albums:

KAREN:When I first fell in love with scrapping, I felt completely compelled to use every unique element that came in a kit. I found after looking through my pages that they were too cluttered for my taste… I kept getting distracted from the photos and stories I was trying to showcase/tell.”

JACKI: “I’m still just having so much fun with all the beautiful kits out there. I try to do double pages so that facing pages in the album look nice together, but that’s not always the case. Nowadays I’m enjoying making Shutterfly books using just one kit and a template kit. The pages coordinate nicely and it looks very put together. I’m trying to do that for vacations. Ultimately I’d love to make one simple book for each of my kids with my most favorite photos. That way they’ll have something neat and tidy and not so overwhelming. In the meantime, I’m just having fun creating a hodge podge of pages and filling up my albums awfully quickly! Smiley

DUNIA: “My first albums look like a mess Embarrassed Nothing matches — photos, pages, kits, etc. I have hard time making double pages but I think if I could do it, I will have more harmony in my albums. For me it’s hard to make a full album with only one kit, so I try to have something in common with all pages, like a white background, the same font, etc.”

AMY: “I just sorted through my albums again and it frustrates me that I didn’t really scrap the stories. My favorite pages are the ones that give a glimpse into our life at the moment…because our lives change constantly, from week to week, season to season, and year to year. You think you’ll remember the details but you don’t (at least I don’t). I also fell into the trap of scrapping a pretty page just for a CT assignment. Those pages are gorgeous to look at but have no journaling, no details, just a picture, the date, and pretty papers and elements.

I’m a big fan of Stacy Julian’s method of scrapping (I highly recommend her library of memories class at big picture scrapbooking and her book Photo Freedom). Once you focus on the things you do, the place you go, and the people you love, it all falls into place and your scrapbooks become a reflection of your life, not a showcase of the popular designers at the time.”

AGGIE: “The most celebrated pages I did ever were the ones I never thought my kids would appreciate – and these were the day to day events and little things they did way back that they don’t remember anymore. I sometimes forget that, going along with scrapping for a kit instead scrapping for a story or a picture.

And I obviously need to date my pages. I’m still in the process of deciding how to archive my pages so at this time everything goes into protectors as they are printed. I have close to 400 printed already and I don’t have dates on almost half of them!”

KATIE: “Of course there has been a learning curve with my pages. I don’t like some of the earlier pages as much because I didn’t understand about shadowing, recoloring, photo-editing, and some of the other tricks that make a difference. I find that my favorites are always the layouts with the most journaling on them. They are rewarding to read and I feel good that I took the time to tell the story that went with the memory.

I’m finding that I love 2 page spreads or coordinating layouts over the 2 page area. It just feels more organized.

I was looking through my oldest layouts online and found this one. The layout is very simple and I know a lot more tricks now, but I still love this one as it is because I told the story behind the photo.”

KELLY: “I think the best decision I ever made regarding my scrapbooking was to be “me”. Once I quit worrying about what I was “supposed to” do and went with my simple linear style it all came together. I’ve found that the pages I create in “my style” are still “in style” years later. I love most of the pages I’ve created since 2005 but my family loves them ALL. They even love the crazy ones where I cropped pictures into stars and scalloped circles! LOL! I love looking through my old pages but even more than that, I love watching my family look through my pages. My kids are now grown and their appreciation for the memories I’ve scrapped is a total thrill to me. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that part.”


So what do YOU see when you look through your albums?