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OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU
Customer Muses: Would you like to share your own Life Muse with our readers? To have your own essay considered for publication as a muse in the column for our special Saturday newsletter, send your essay to [email protected]. If your essay is selected, you will receive a $20 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique.
Way Cool Scrap Girl: We are so excited to have all of you meet some of the amazing people that have become Scrap Girls! If you would like to be spotlighted and win a $25 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique, send the following items to [email protected]:
Project SG Challenge: Stay motivated to scrap your current photos! Post your 2011 layouts in the Project SG Challenge Gallery to earn one point per layout each month. You can earn up to four points per month this way! Earn a bonus point each month by attending the monthly Project SG Chat! Each point gives you an entry into a quarterly drawing for a special prize! And at the end of the year, each month that you participated in will earn you an entry into the Grand Prize drawing for a 12 X 12, 52 page Keepsakes photobook from Color, Inc! Our second quarterly drawing winner will be announced in the Saturday, July 9th Newsletter.
Suggest a Challenge, Win a Prize! Have a great idea for a Gallery layout challenge? Submit it to [email protected]. If your challenge idea is chosen, you will win a prize! Friday will be Customer Challenge Day, so keep an eye out on the Message Board calendar. It will be fun to see what YOU come up with for us to do!
Scrap Girls is giving away birthday gifts to our Message Board members!
Of course, it is a surprise what you will get because birthday presents are always surprises! But you will like it for sure because most people like money.... Anyway, make sure your Message Board email address is current and that you have the correct date entered into your profile to participate.
Today, I'm going to share my experience with a brain injury I sustained in July 2010. Truthfully, it's kind of scary to talk about it. But I'm hopeful that reading my experience will help someone who has either had a brain injury, knows someone who has a brain injury, or will prevent a brain injury because you will become more serious about putting your seat belt on before you move your car.
Have you ever fainted? If you have, you know that the first indication that you're in trouble is when you hear a ringing sound in your head. At first, you may think the sound is entering your ears, but then you release that the sound is coming from your brain.
You hear the sound – in my case, a high D - a voice reminiscent of electricity. The sound grows louder and louder and louder until it blocks out everything around you as it demands attention in the same way that a colicky baby screams at the unfairness of the world. The louder the sound grows, the more you feel your surroundings slip away, and then finally, it comes - blackout and collapse.
Ever since my car accident a year ago, my head buzzes in this same way. Sometimes, the sound is so still that I forget it's there. Other times – when I am stressed or overworked – it becomes so loud that it blocks out the sounds of life – such as the scratching of my pen across the page as I journal. Occasionally, it becomes loud enough that it interferes with my concentration. It is louder than the electric storm of a fainting spell's first appearance, but softer than the overwhelming feeling that makes one fall in a heap on the dining room floor.
This brain-electrical storm was caused by a minor fender-bender in my driveway. My brain injury was caused by a sharp side-to-side jostle because I didn't put my seatbelt on before I backed out of the driveway. (My usual pattern was to pull it on once I was in the circle.)
During the first six months of my recovery, people often said things to me (while rolling their eyes) such as, "How could a little fender bender give you such a bad concussion? Your car was going slow and it didn't roll. You didn't hit your head on the windshield."
At first, I couldn't answer their questions. It was embarrassing for me to try to explain that I needed help and that I couldn't do things in my usual way. (No one likes to say, "My brain isn't working correctly. It's a scary thing for me to live through. It hurts me that you don't believe me. It makes me feel bad that you won't hear me when I say that I need help because I really do need help.")
I'm afraid that some people blew me off when I tried to describe what I was experiencing because they had trouble believing what I said. They thought I had become a slacker. Because I was in such bad shape, I wasn't up to pushing them into understanding how hard things were for me, so I just did what I could to keep up with my life the best that I could. I was doing the best I could to survive.
This was complicated by the fact that I agreed with them that it seemed idiotic that I could become so messed up in such a small accident. But as I searched for information about concussions, I learned that, sometimes, side-to-side movements can be worse than when your head is thrown forward. Our heads weren't built to move side-to-side.
Most concussions go away on their own within a couple of days – or weeks. But in my case, I developed post-concussive syndrome (PCS), also known as Traumatic Brain Injury, which has a complex set of symptoms that can last weeks, months, or even years after the injury.
As a little more background about possible contributing factors: Throughout my life, my head has been banged about quite a bit. When I was small, I was hit by a baseball bat on the forehead so hard that it knocked me off my tricycle (long story). I was dropped six feet onto the top of my head onto a stage (long story). I was in four different car accidents in which I sustained injuries (rear-ended in most of them. I think this last accident was just the final straw, and my brain cried, "Uncle!"
The symptoms that plague me include:
Headaches. I had excruciating headaches for months. I still get them sometimes – mostly when I get overly tired. They are always located in the same spot on my head – the spot that was injured.
Sensitivity to light and noise. I still have this one – particularly when I am tired or stressed.
Fatigue. Since I have fibromyalgia, it is often confusing to me when I feel fatigued. Which disorder is causing it? I have to look at which other clump of symptoms have appeared to know for sure.
Blurred vision. It is a sure sign that I have overdone it when my eyes start betraying me. It appears mostly late in the evening.
Mental dullness. This was the hardest symptom to cope with. A month after the accident, I went to my book club and started to cry because I couldn't think right. I've always been such a "thinker" that it was a humiliating and humbling experience. My friends were very supportive, but I'll never forget the scared looks on their faces as I told them that the one thing I have always been able to count on – my ability to think – had disappeared.
Thankfully, this one has largely gone away, and I don't suffer from it unless I severely overwork myself. When it appears, I know that I have to take a few days off to give my brain a rest.
You may be wondering how I managed to write muses during my recovery. Writing takes a lot of brainpower, right? The truth is, I didn't write one. I have a large library of muses to draw from – nearly six years' worth – and I was forced to publish re-runs for nearly six months. It was all I could do to sort through my library and pick things out.
Finally – after I had taken some steps to relieve myself of some major stressors and had given myself a chance to rest – my ability to write returned, and I've been writing new muses ever since (four months now). Since I love to write, this has been a cause of celebration.
Memory loss. I still can't remember all of the details surrounding my accident. It's just a big blank.
Brain ringing. My worst-best friend.
This last year has been a period of change and upheaval, and I can't help but wonder if my brain injury has had something to do with it. For instance, certain situations that I tolerated for years became intolerable, and I gradually came to realize that I had to fix them as part of my de-stressing program.
I also had to face the fact that I pay dearly when I push myself too hard, which has forced me to learn how to stop working at a reasonable hour. I've had to be better about taking days off when I become overtired because I've learned that the only way back is to rest.
I've also discovered that I absolutely need time alone each day. I've learned that if a good idea comes along, I need to quickly write it down or I'll completely forget it. My PCS-ringing brain doesn't want to maintain anything but sound.
I don't often share my struggle about my brain injury. Instead, I try to go on, acting as if everything is the same as it was before the sunny July morning when my carelessness dented my yellow Mini Cooper and my mental steering wheel. But the truth is, it isn't – at least, not yet. People do recover from PCS, and I'm hopeful that, in time, it will completely go away because I have seen a lot of progress during the last five months.
I've searched the Internet many times for answers – or some quick fix - but so far, haven't found anything. Most of the articles talk about the injured learning to deal with the effects of such injuries instead of finding a cure. They advise that the individual learn coping tricks, like writing things down and getting email reminders of appointments, all of which I do.
I've been involved in multiple car accidents over the years. A couple of times, my life was saved because I was wearing my seat belt. But this time, the stupid act of not putting my seat belt on before I started to back out of my driveway got me, and I've paid dearly for it.
When should you wear a seat belt?
Anytime a car is moving.
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!
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Using a ScrapSimple Card Template to Make a Father's Day Card
Note: Tutorial created using Adobe Photoshop CS4 with Microsoft Windows 7.
Here at Scrap Girls, our ScrapSimple Templates are designed to be user-friendly, drag-and-drop, and fun to use. ScrapSimple Templates are predesigned templates which come in two different formats: One PSD file (which is my personal favorite, because it has all of the separate layers in one file), and various separate PNG files.
For this tutorial, I am using a Father's Day card template designed by Syndee Nuckles, ScrapSimple Card Templates: Dad. Let me show you how to get started.
First, open up the PSD file (in this case, the file is named SNU_SSCard_Dad_vestcard_PSD.psd).
After your card file opens, take a look at the Layers Palette, generally in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. It looks like this:
When you look at your Layers Palette, you'll notice that you've got several different available layers. You've got a layer for the background (the bottom-most layer in your palate), two layers for your tie (a background layer, and an outline layer), and so on.
After the card template is open, the next step is to bring in your background paper, and use a clipping mask (Ctrl+G for Photoshop Elements, Shift+Ctrl+G for Photoshop) to attach it to the background layer.
Design Tip: I generally concentrate on the biggest, most important elements of my template first, and then focus on the smaller elements second. By designing your template by order of importance, your colors and patterns will flow together.
Now, it's just a matter of making your decisions on which papers you want to use for your card. Think outside the box, and use a style on a template layer – simply select a style from the Styles Palette, and see the magic happen. (Incidentally, my vest element on this card is an Elephant Skin style.)
When your card is designed to your liking, think about adding drop shadows to your layers for more realism.
Finally, print out your card and cut it out – and that's it! It doesn't get much easier than a ScrapSimple template!
Article written by Joann Brown
Join the Scrap Girls Monthly Club and you can have fun with the newest traditional digital and printable scrapbooking looks while saving! (A $40.87 value for $9.99 or less!)
The Scrap Girls Club contents are released on the 1st day of the month (or the closest business day to the 1st).
With the Scrap Girls Club, you will receive:
June's Scrap Girls Club designed for you by Amanda Fraijo-Tobin
But that's not all! Scrap Girls Club members now receive these exclusive, club-only items!
and a Club Exclusive Color Palette
Layout by Amanda Fraijo-Tobin using June's Scrap Girls Club
Layout by Amanda Fraijo-Tobin using June's Scrap Girls Club
Layout by Amanda Fraijo-Tobin using June's Scrap Girls Club
Fast and Easy Layouts using ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Crepe Paper
Note: Tutorial created using Photoshop CS5 with Mac OS X
I don't know about you, but I always have more photos than I have time to scrap them. I recently received a call from one of our daughters who was working on a digital scrapbook as an anniversary gift for her husband. There were some pages she wanted to add, but she didn't have much time, so I agreed to help. I thought maybe you would like to see how fast and easy it is to create a page. Here is the photo that I wanted to scrap.
As I looked through my stash, I didn't have any products that were specific to the 4th of July. Hmmm... I remembered that when we were kids, we loved to decorate our bicycles with crepe paper for the neighborhood 4th of July parade. I have some fun crepe paper embellishments in my digital scrapbooking supplies. I'll show you how easy it is to color them to match any photo that you want to scrap. They look so realistic and add great texture to your page. I'm using ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Crepe Paper Flowers.
First, open a new 12x12-inch document and bring in your photo to provide the color set for your embellishments. Next, add a ScrapSimple crepe paper element. As you can see from the next image, the ScrapSimple products are grayscale. The middle sample was colored by using the pull-down menu: Image> Adjustments> Hue/Saturation. When you select the Hue/Saturation option, a box pops up. When you select the "Colorize" box, your sample will turn a color, but probably not the color that you ultimately want. Just slide the middle slider to add more intense color. See how easy it was to go from gray to a beautiful red?
I know the red looks good, but here is a designer secret to making it look even better.
Here is the red from the original example above. Before you color an item, duplicate the layer. Color the duplicated layer, leaving a grey layer below it as in the sample on the right. Then go to the Layers Palette on the bottom right side of your screen. With the colored layer active, select the Blending Mode "Overlay" from the pull-down Blending Modes. Suddenly, there is rich texture, contrast, and detail. As you can see, I also boosted the Saturation again. This was to counterbalance the gray color added from the layer below. Overlay adds transparency to the color layer. You may also want to lighten or darken either the colored or gray layer depending on your project.
Now all you have to do is duplicate the crepe paper circles and rotate each one a little. You might choose to add a fringed crepe paper frame and maybe some different-colored centers for the circles.
There is a fun banner paper in the So Big Collection Biggie that carried out the theme of the July banner in the photo. Just a few more elements were added - and within just a few minutes, a layout is ready for your scrapbook.
Commercial license versions of ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Crepe Paper, ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Crepe Paper Flowers and Dynamic Brush Set: Straight Stitch 5001 are also available.
Article written by Paula Wright
Learn to make digital scrapbooking layouts and more! – Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed
Ready to learn advanced techniques? – MORE Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed
Commercial license versions of Beautiful Black Paper are also available.
Today's freebie designed by Brandy Murry
* 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.
East Coast High Noon Crop
Wednesday, June 15th - 10:00AM MT
Join April (April Showers) each Wednesday at 10am MT for the East Coast High Noon Crop. All coasts and time zones are welcome! These crops are designed to allow you to work on your own photos and themes simply giving participants a one hour goal and a fun, new challenge each week. On June 15th, we'll do a stripes challenge. Create a layout on any theme, any topic and any colors using stripes! Use a paper, create your own - it is up to you! Create your layout and upload it to the special High Noon Crop Gallery. You'll be amazed what you can get done in just one hour, but there is no High Noon Sheriff timing you! Hope to see you in the chat room!
Hybrid Craft Chat
Wednesday, June 15th - 7:00PM MT
Join Carla (CRS) and Shannon (tinkerbell11) for this month's Hybrid Craft Chat! Not sure what a hybrid craft is? Come and join us on Wednesday, June 15th at 7pm MT and we will let you in a the secret!
NSBR Chat - Early Edition
Thursday, June 16th - 2:00PM 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 Pat (PBarnes) at 2pm MT in the chat room Lobby! Hope to see you there!
Heritage Crop and Chat
Thursday, June 16th - 6:00PM MT
Do you have boxes of heritage photos just waiting to be restored and scrapped? Are there family stories just waiting for you to write down and preserve? Then this is the crop for you! Join Carla (CRS) and Shannon (tinkerbell11) at 6pm MT for the Heritage Crop and Chat! We'll help you get motivated to scrap those heritage photos and record your family stories for future generations to enjoy.
What's New in the Scrap Girls Boutique Chat
Friday, June 17th - 9:00AM MT
Join April (April Showers) and Theresa (teecee) at 9am MT on Friday mornings to chat about all the wonderful new products in the Scrap Girls Boutique! What are your favorite new items? Is your shopping basket full? What did you kaboodle? Have you already done layouts or other projects with your new goodies? Come tell the designers how much you love their work! You never know who will show up. There's a thread every Thursday, and now there's a chat too!
June Message Board Game: Re-JUNE-venate!
We helped you jumpstart your January and now it's time to re-JUNE-venate your focus on scrapbooking! Join us on the Forum this month for "Re-JUNE-venate!" This is a Meassage Board game and challenge that focuses on taking time to scrapbook regularly despite the little speedbumps of life. When the month is over, you'll have several completed layouts and will have been challenged and treated to some fun along the way... with prize opportunities thrown in as well!
A member of the Welcoming Committee will post a mini-challenge or task each day Monday through Saturday from June 1st - 30th. The tasks will be formatted in LARGE PURPLE FONT for ease of locating them in the game thread as it grows. Some tasks will require Message Board participation, email responses or gallery posting. Read each daily task carefully to see what is required of you.
Those who complete all tasks and submit or post required participation will be entered in a drawing to win one of three $10 Gift Certificates to the Scrap Girls Boutique! Those who complete just the layouts will be entered in a drawing to win one of two $5 Gift Certificates. Those who complete just the speedbumps will be entered in a drawing for one of two $3 Gift Certificates. (Those who complete all tasks will have their name entered in all three drawings!)
Join us in June for some serious scrapbooking re-JUNE-venation!
For complete details, visit the Monthly Message Board Games folder on the Scrap Girls Forum.
June Monthly Layout Contest: Father's Day is celebrated in June in the United States, but a day set aside to honor our male parent is celebrated in many countries on different dates throughout the year. For June's layout contest, we want you to do a layout honoring your father, whether he is living or not. Post your layouts in the June Monthly Layout Gallery before Midnight MT on June 30th. Be sure to list your credits in the description or under the EXIF Properties. If your layout is one of the two chosen winners, you will receive 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!
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