A Final Gift
As I write this, it is Ash Wednesday (March 9), the day when Christians around the world begin the journey of Lent with the reminder, "you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Our culture rarely invites us to think about our own mortality, despite the horrifying images surrounding us in the news and in our "entertainment." Yet such thoughts are inevitable, not only at the death of loved ones, but even in our marriage ceremony, when we make vows to one another, "until we are parted by death."
As I think on these things, I am reminded of my parents' deaths. They had been married over 60 years and died within a year of each other. They had decided to will their bodies to science, a selfless gift to a nearby medical school. At the time of their deaths, this made fewer decisions for me. We had memorial services, one in our town where they had lived out their last days and one "up north" where the extended family gathered. The familiar words of Jesus helped me to see past their deaths: "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die" (John 11:25, New International Version).
After I began to recover from my parents and my mother-in-law all dying within 18 months of one another, I had a sense of something unfinished. My parents' burial was delayed until the time when their ashes would be returned to me over a year after their deaths. We decided to bury their ashes together on our land on Lake Superior, which was my father's birthplace, the site of family gatherings over many years and generations and a land dearly loved by them both.
The time finally came when I received a notice from the medical school that my father's ashes were ready to be retrieved. I carried the black plastic box up to the cabin where it stayed in the cellar until I buried it in a suitable place. We planted a plum tree by the grave; a similar tree had grown by my grandmother's house. Over a year later, I brought my mother's ashes. With fear and trembling, I dug up my father's plastic box and enlarged the hole in the earth. Then I opened both boxes and carefully poured their ashes together into the ground.
What I had approached as a gruesome task quickly became a holy moment. As the sun came out and shone on the ashes, they sparkled silver. No simple fireplace ashes these: Here was the gift of life entering the earth to give life again.
Muse: To be absorbed in one's thoughts; engage in meditation. Not intended to solve the world's problems, another person's problems, or to cover topics completely. One does not have to agree with musings to enjoy them, just as one does not have to be the same as someone else to appreciate who they are.
Would you like to earn a $20 Gift Certificate? Send your own muse to [email protected]. If it is selected for publication in the Scrap Girls newsletter, you'll get to have fun shopping!
Paint Shop Pro Tutorial: Just Insert A Photo
Note: Tutorial uses Paint Shop Pro X2 on Windows 7
One of the significant differences between Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro is the ability to use clipping masks. Paint Shop Pro does not have the ability to "clip" one layer to the layer below it. But this doesn't mean that Paint Shop Pro users can't use JIF 6 or JIFFY Easy Pages from the Scrap Girls Boutique!
This tutorial will teach you an easy way to add your photos to these beautiful, pre-designed layouts in just a few simple steps.
Step One: Select the JIF 6 layout you wish to use. I am using the JIF 6 by Amanda Sok in my example. Open the PSD file that is included with the product download. Recent versions of Paint Shop Pro have the ability to open layered PSD files. Click on File> Save As and save your layout as a Paint Shop Pro file to another folder on your computer (it will have a .pspimage file extension). This step prevents you from accidently saving over the original PSD file.
Next, select and open the photo you wish to use on your layout.
Step Two: With the photo active, click on Edit> Copy or hit Ctrl+C. Now maximize the window for your layout and click on the photo mask layer to make it the active layer. To paste your photo into the layout, click on Edit> Paste as a New Layer or hit Ctrl+L.
Your photo is now placed in its own layer above the photo mask layer. Using the Pick Tool, move your photo around until the part you want to keep is within the photo's frame.
Step Three: Next, make the photo mask layer active in the Layers Palette. Using the Magic Wand Tool with the options set to "Mode: Replace" and "Match Mode: Color," click somewhere outside of the black photo mask on your layout. This will put "marching ants" around the area outside of the photo mask.
Step Four: With the "marching ants" active, click on the photo layer in your Layers Palette to make it the active layer. Click on Edit> Cut or hit Ctrl+X. This will "cut" away the excess part of the photo that appears outside of the area of the photo mask.
Your photo now fits perfectly within the frame!
My final few steps for this layout include adding some subtle drop shadows and the date to remember when I took this photo. That's the beauty of JIF 6 pages... you can have a gorgeous layout in just a few minutes - even if your software of choice is Paint Shop Pro!
See you next week,
Layout by Becca Hauck
Technology Saturday is a weekly column focusing on all sorts of gear, gadgets, and software from the digital scrapbooking world. Stay tuned each week as Becca Hauck, Scrap Girls Newsletter Woman, brings you software reviews, organizing tips, printing and scanning techniques, and much more!
Join the ScrapSimple Monthly Club and you can enjoy the newest ScrapSimple looks while saving! (A $13.95 value for $6.99 or less!)
The new ScrapSimple Club contents are released on the 15th day of the month (or the closest business day to the 15th).
With the ScrapSimple Club, you will receive:
- 1 ScrapSimple Paper Template Set
- 1 ScrapSimple Embellishment Template
- 1 Brush Set
- 2 Designer's Choice Item
A commercially licensed version of the ScrapSimple Club is also available here.
March's ScrapSimple Club has been created for you by Julie White and Amanda Sok
Basic Photo Editing: Cropping
A photo, all by itself, has the power to evoke strong feelings; it is after all, a window to the soul.
When I am looking for photos to add to my digital scrapbook layouts, I look at several things. Does the picture or series of pictures tell a story? Or even more basically... are the pictures in focus? Is the main subject obvious?
For me, cropping the photo, either as I'm taking a picture or as part of the process of creating my layout, can make all the difference in whether or not the story is told. Obviously there are times when your subject is moving too quickly or the moment is too fleeting for you to crop "in camera" when taking the picture, but whenever possible, this will give you the very best result. It can be done by simply getting physically closer or if you have a zoom lens, just zoom in to get closer.
For instance, in the photo below, which is obviously posed, I was standing on a stool trying to get my son's whole body and longboard in focus. While I managed to do that, I also captured the corner of my desk and the bottom of my not-yet-trimmed wall. I could remove those things in Photoshop and make a decent photo, but the whole purpose of this photo session was to capture the proud moment when he finished the long process of building the longboard. But because of the distractions, this photo doesn't do that for me.
I could have cropped the photo (see above image) in my editing program before creating my layout, but there's that harsh shadow on the wall. Fixing that shadow was the deal-breaker on this photo.
I fixed the giant shadow by closing the curtains, moved in closer, and took another photo.
Below is my finished layout using the new photo, which gives you an example of how cropping your photos can really help you focus on the main subject, create the feeling you want, and ultimately give you a great layout.
Layout by Janine Buckles
Article written by Janine Buckles
Learn to make digital scrapbooking layouts and more! – Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed
Find out how easy it can be to learn how to create digital scrapbook layouts, edit photos, use and make brushes, recolor papers and embellishments, make your own simple backgrounds and embellishments, save and share your layouts and much more!
Ready to learn advanced techniques? – MORE Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed
Learn to use paper templates, embellishment templates, custom shapes, styles, and brushes to make your own supplies. Learn advanced clipping mask and lighting blend techniques. Learn to make and use patterns. Learn to make brushes from your own doodles. Learn to extract images from photos. Learn work flow techniques that will speed up the layout creation process and advanced photo editing skills and much, much more!
Weekly Layout Winners
Layout by Belle
Layout by GrannieAnnie
Want to see your layouts make an appearance in the Scrap Girls newsletter?
Simply post your digital or paper layouts that use Scrap Girls products in our online Gallery, and if we choose your layout to be featured in the newsletter, you'll win a prize! To be considered, don't forget to list the Scrap Girls products that you used in your layout.
Congratulations to this week's selectees. Please email [email protected] to receive your gift!
Want to see past winners of the Weekly Layout Contest? Visit the Weekly Layout Winners gallery on our message board here!
Member of the Month: April 2011
Congratulations Barb (goodqueenbee)! The Scrap Girls Team has chosen Barb as the Member of the Month for April!
Barb has been a faithful member of Scrap Girls since June 2007! She arranges her schedule so she can attend the weekly High Noon Crops. Barb is friendly and welcomes new members to Scrap Girls. She is very knowledgeable and a good photographer. Scrap Girls just wouldn't be the same without her!
Barb will receive a $10 gift certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique and has the honor of wearing the Member of the Month blinkie!
When you have a few minutes, Barb, please tell us a little about yourself and share a link to your favorite layout! Thank you for making Scrap Girls a wonderful, friendly place! Congratulations!!
Layout by Theresa Kavouras
Designer Freebie by Theresa Kavouras coordinates with her I Gotta Run Collection Mini
Today's freebie designed by Theresa Kavouras
* There is a "free download" button on the details page for each gift. You don't need to put them in your shopping cart unless you are shopping for other items. Also note that if you are slow reading your newsletter, you may find this freebie has already been retired, as the freebies are only available as gifts for about two newsletter cycles.
ScrapSimple Clubbers Chat
Monday, April 4th - 5:00PM MT
Join April (April Showers) and Angela (angelaNussbaum) on Monday, April 4th at 5pm MT for a chat and challenge using this month's ScrapSimple Club. Did you know that every time you create a layout with the ScrapSimple Club and upload it into the ScrapSimple Club Gallery that you could be chosen to be featured in the Newsletter and receive a prize? Well, join us for the chat so we can encourage and inspire you and help with any questions that you may have. Let's get those ScrapSimple Club layouts done and uploaded!
Monday, April 4th - 7:00PM MT
What is NSBR? It's a non-scrapbooking related chat! We talk about everything, including some scrapbooking and usually chocolate. It's a great chance to meet new friends, catch up on what everyone is up to, and just relax. If you have a problem, we'll lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. Have some great news to share? We'd love to celebrate with you. So join us, Carla (CRS) and Lei (Bride) at 7pm MT!
Life Moments Chat and Crop
Tuesday, April 5th - 12:00Noon MT
Join Debbie (B&K Mom) in the chat room on April 5th at Noon MT for the Life Moments Chat and Crop. These chats are focused on building a scrapbook all about you - one layout at a time. This week we will be scrapping Family Traits: Do you have your Mom's eyes, Dad's height, Aunt Gerty's sense of humor? Do you and your sister sound exactly the same on the phone? Did your child look just like you as a baby? Let's give credit where credit is due and scrap the Family Traits you possess or have passed on. So dig through your files, write down your memories, and be sure to join us in the chat room!
Creative Cards Chat
Tuesday, April 5th - 6:00PM MT
Do you use your digital supplies to make cards? Do you want to? Instead of going to the store every time you need a card, you can save money and have fun making cards with your digi-stash! Make a note of any cards you might need for the upcoming month and join April (April Showers) and Theresa (tiza126) for the once-a-month Card Chat on the first Tuesday of each month at 6pm MT. Can't wait to see you there!
Project SG Chat
Tuesday, April 5th - 7:00PM MT
Join April (April Showers) and Shannon (tinkerbell11) to hear all the details about Project SG! You can win prizes for taking part in this Challenge. It is never too late to start - see you in the chatroom at 7pm MT on Tuesday, April 5th!
April Message Board Game: BINGO!
Join us for an exciting game of Springtime BINGO on the Message Board Forum in April! Pick 25 words from the list provided and send them in an email to [email protected] with a subject line that says "BINGO CARD - your Scrap Girls Message Board username" by Saturday, April 2nd at Midnight MST in order to play in the first round. The first round will begin on Monday, April 4th. If you miss the first round deadline, you can still play! Just send in your BINGO card at any time during the month, and you'll be eligible to begin playing when the next new round starts.
Each day, a member of the Welcoming Committee will call five random words from the BINGO list. Match just 15 of those words to win a BINGO. You must be first to call "BINGO!" in the game thread to win that round. After a winner is called, the boards will be cleared and a new round will begin the following day.
Each winner will receive a $5 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique! We like to see lots of winners, so please remember that each person can only win one round during the month. Have fun!
For complete details, visit the Monthly Message Board Games folder on the Scrap Girls Message Board.
April Monthly Layout Contest: Earth Day was started in the United States in 1970 and it went global in 1990. For April's Monthly Layout Contest, we want you to show us what Earth Day means to you or what you are doing to make our precious world a little greener. Post your layouts in the April Monthly Layout Gallery before Midnight MT on April 30th. Be sure to list your credits in the description or under the EXIF Properties. If your layout is one of the two chosen, you will win a $10 gift certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!
Club Concepts Layout Contest: Post your new layout using the current club selection (either the Scrap Girls Club or the ScrapSimple Club) in our Scrap Girls Club Members Gallery or the ScrapSimple Club Members' Gallery. Be sure to list all of the Scrap Girls products you used. If your layout is chosen, it will be showcased as a Club Concepts layout winner, and you will win a $5 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!
Check our message board calendar if you have any questions about what is happening at Scrap Girls. All event times are given in Mountain Time Zone unless otherwise noted. Need help converting time zones? Check out the World Clock - Time Zone Converter. (Use 'USA-Utah-Salt Lake City' as the location for the Mountain time zone.)
Haven't received your prize as a contest winner? Please send an email to [email protected] and we'll get it out to you right away!