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Leading: It’s all About Space

Leading. Right now, the voice in your head is probably pronouncing it as “leeding,” right? As in “leading a parade” or “leading with distinction.” But when we’re talking about graphic elements, leading is pronounced “ledding.”

Now that we’ve got that out of the way and the voice in your head knows how to say it, let’s talk about what leading is and what it offers you in digital scrapbooking terms.

According to Wikipedia, leading refers to the “distance between the baselines of successive lines of type.” Or in simplest terms – the line spacing, the space between lines of type. The term leading originated in the days of handset type – when strips of metal (lead) were inserted between rows of metal letters in the printing presses to increase the space and improve legibility.

Photo Credit:
Most of us are familiar with line spacing from typewriter use – single spacing and double spacing. We are also used to leading in Microsoft Word and equivalent programs where we can select single spacing, 1.5 spacing, double spacing, and more.

We also come across leading in our scrapbooking programs. In Photoshop Elements 12, it appears after you click the Text tool.

In the dialogue section that appears, there is the option to adjust the leading.

Often, it will say (Auto) in the leading box. This is based on a default formula of “font size + 20%” (e.g., a font of size 10 will have a default leading of size 12). This is a good default and works in many cases, making it easy for the eye to track between lines and preserving legibility.

However, it doesn’t always work. For example, cursive and decorative fonts often require a larger leading to allow for the “busy-ness” of their designs. Serif fonts may also need adjustments in leading, as well as text with lots of ascenders and descenders.

Furthermore, as scrapbookers, we sometimes need to adjust our leading to fit a design item. An example of this is lined paper. Sometimes the spacing of our text results in it falling directly on the line or floating aimlessly. To improve legibility and overall aesthetics, the text needs to be on the line. This is incredibly easy to do and gives a much more polished feel to the page. Let me show you how:

1. Place your design item. In this case, I have chosen the Notebook paper from the Simple Joys Collection Biggie by Elisha Barnett.

2. Choose your font. I like to try a few fonts to find one that suits the subject of my journaling and the style of my page. Once you’ve settled on a font and size, you can start making adjustments.

3. Select a size for your text that fits the lines in your paper. In my case, this was a size 28. My font is Butcher and Block. Using trial and error, I settled on a leading of 49.5.

As a matter of interest, this was the same setting that worked for the font CK Ali’s Hand also.

The same method works for non-notebook style papers. On this page, I tilted my text to suit a diagonally-striped paper from Perfection Collection Mini by Angie Briggs. This example uses the font LDJ Mother’s Typewriter in size 17 with a leading of 24.

Another example of the importance of tweaking leading is when making a recipe card. This time I used Ginny Whitcomb’s Grandma’s Kitchen Embellishment Biggie and chose a blank recipe card. Selecting Gist Upright as my font, and after some trial and error, I settled on a size of 24 with leading of 32.5.

Clearly, don’t limit yourself to the default setting for leading. On a blank page, it looks great, but sometimes you need to tweak things to get them looking their best. You spend time adjusting shadows, recoloring items, and carefully choosing a font, so by checking your leading, you give your page that final, perfectly-polished feel.

There are no magic numbers; it’s all personal preference, so have-a-go and play with the leading setting! Then load your “leading-adjusted” pages to the Scrap Girls Gallery for us to admire and be inspired by your creativity!

(Click on the images below to be taken to their product page)
jody west
Tutorial written by Jody West
Tutorial written using Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 with Windows 7

A Quick Way to Age a Photo

Ginny Whitcomb’s Scrap Girls Club Family Ties is rich with everything a scrapper needs for making memory pages. The Club provides charming designs, colors, and antique-looking elements — everything we need to motivate us to finally make those family heritage pages we’ve been wanting to put together. However, while you are gathering and scanning those precious old family photos, you can enjoy Family Ties with today’s photos, too. I’d like to show you a couple of ways to “age” your current photos and give them an authentic heritage look. Tip: Sometimes giving photos an aged look can save an otherwise not-so-great photo. When you’re finished, you can use the aged photos in a layout as usual or use them in greeting cards, party invitations, etc.

Age your photos using Photoshop Elements

1. Open your photo and go to File > Duplicate. Close the original.
2. Make your photo black and white using your favorite method. I used Enhance > Convert to Black and White.
3. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter. Click OK. The default photo filter is Warming Filter (85) and the default density is 25%. However, for that “olde-tyme” look, use the drop-down arrow and click on sepia. Slide the density all the way to 100%.

4. You’ll probably want to tone down the sepia at this point. Just adjust the Opacity of the sepia photo filter layer. For the photo of my granddaughter, I adjusted the sepia photo filter layer to 80% Opacity.

5. Optional: Add a new blank layer above the photo and adjustment layers and fill it with white. Reduce the Opacity of this white layer to about 10% to 15% just to add an extra faded look to your photo. The aged photo looks right at home with the colors and elements in Family Ties. Here it is inside the Family Ties Green Frame, ready to be used in a layout.

Age your photo the easy way

For an even easier and more authentic aged look, there are many wonderful styles and actions in the Scrap Girls Boutique to do the work for you. Here are some examples that I used in my sample greeting cards.

ScrapSimple Styles: Antique Effects 6401

ScrapSimple Style: Sepia Magic 6301

Tools Action: Retro Photo 6301

Several ScrapSimple papers also have shabby-looking textures that can add a worn look to a new photo. For example, I used ScrapSimple Paper Textured Creases on the photo of a turtle which I used in my sample greeting card. The Scrap Girls Club Family Ties is the perfect resource. Once you’ve aged your photos, just think what creative ways you can use them! Here, I used the Family Ties collection and my newly “old” photos to make fun birthday cards.

I hope I’ve inspired you and that you’ll show us both the heritage pages and other pages you make with this wonderful collection by uploading them to the Scrap Girls Gallery!

(Click on the images below to be taken to their product page)
ScrapSimple Paper: Textured Creases
ScrapSimple Digital Layout Template: Blended Grunge
Tutorial written by Diane Lardieri
Tutorial written using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 with Windows 8.1

July 26th Challenge Winners & Forum Schedule

Sisters Walk by Heather (teabaglady)
Congratulations Heather! You may claim your gift certificate by emailing
Want a chance to win Scrap Girls’ Weekly Layout Contest?
Simply post your digital or paper layouts that use Scrap Girls products in our online Gallery; if we choose yours, you’ll win a prize! To be considered, don’t forget to list the Scrap Girls products that you used in your layout.
Want to see past winners of the Weekly Layout Contest? Visit the Weekly Layout Winners Gallery on our Forum!
Fairy Falls by Jane in N.Z.
You may claim your gift certificate by emailing
Join us this week on our Forum where we have a week of Water-Inspired Challenges for you to try.
Monday, July 27th - Curves challenge by Andrea

We’ll play with curves to get your feet wet.

Tuesday, July 28th - Water Inspired challenge by Carla

Wade in with this water inspired layout.

Thursday, July 30th –  Colors challenge by Theresa G.

Diving into the beautiful blue/green water. 
Weekend - Water Photos by April

Swim out in your favorite lake, river or ocean.

July Monthly Game Challenge:

Join us on the forum in July for a Retreat, Scrap Girls style.

Enhance Photos Fast Class Review

We gave a few of the members of the Scrap Girls Creative Team the opportunity to try out Digital Scrapper’s New Class - Enhance Photos FAST to see what it was all about. We got four glowing reviews, but one of them was just too good to paraphrase – so we wanted to share the whole thing with you. 

We are offering a Early Bird sale on the class this weekend. Find out all the details here.

Here is the full review of the class from Jody West, a Tutorial Writer and Layout Artist for Scrap Girls:

Let me start with full disclosure.  I edit most of my photos in some way.  I do a lot of it manually, using techniques I have picked up along the way and perfected via trial and error over the last 5 years.  Some edits are quick whilst others can take a lot longer.  I don’t claim to know all the techniques and I am sure I do a lot of things the long way. I have spent hundreds of hours and dollars over the years taking classes and buying the related actions/brushes/overlays to help my photos shine.  To me, the photos are the most important part of any scrapbooking page. 

I do have other (and more expensive) Editing actions, which I admit I rarely use.  They work well but they are not as logical as Linda’s and they certainly didn’t come with the instruction Linda provides.  They have been relegated to the ‘rarely’ used category as I can never find the one that does what I want it to, and I am not adept at getting the results I want.

When I sat down to watch Linda’s videos the first thing that struck me was how capable I felt.  She had the class set out to show a slideshow of the ‘before and afters’ which led on to a video of how she edited the photos.  Each edit was clearly explained as to ‘what’ she was trying to fix, followed by a ‘how’ to do it.  For each edit she gives several examples, which not only shows the various photos each action may work with but also gives the student the chance to recognise the flaws in the photo and to begin to predict which action she will run.  This gives a lot of confidence as you find you are selecting the correct action before she does, and then you get to see her expertly apply it.  Some photos which looked ‘good’ before she explains the flaws and how to correct them, now look amazing!  Following Linda’s examples and playing with my own similarly composed photos I was able to not only replicate some of her results but also achieve some wonders of my own.

The next thing that struck me was the logical naming protocol Linda follows as well as the ordered sequence of her actions.  She presents them in a way that makes sense and allows you to correct one aspect before attempting the next.  The actions range from Quick edits which correct common flaws, through to ‘Beauty’ edits which smooth the skin and enhance features, through to Artistic effects, colour variations and correction.  They are all labelled to fit with the video which demonstrates how to use them, and are easily recognisable in the Actions panel by their descriptive names.  Each step makes perfect sense as the videos follow a pattern and the clearly explained videos show the results, giving the student the confidence to tackle the next section.  You get a real feeling of accomplishment as you work through each class with her and feel your skill level climbing.

The third major revelation I had was gradients.  I use them a bit but nowhere near as much as I will from here on! The gradients Linda applied to layer masks allowed her to not only blend in her edits but also to isolate them to selections.  Learning to copy these layer masks and manipulate them was a major eye opener.  For beginners she explains what the masks do and how they work so all skill levels can benefit from this section.

So would I recommend this class to my friends?  The answer is a resounding yes.  If you want to take your photo edits to the next level, or simply want to learn ways to make your photos have more impact, this is the class for you.  Linda is a gifted teacher and a Photoshop/Photoshop Elements Whiz – and she makes you feel a little smarter and more capable just from spending the time taking her classes. - Jody West

If Jody has convinced you that Enhance Photos FAST is the class for you, you can learn more here.

P.S. – If you missed our sale on the Fix Photos FAST class that is the perfect companion to the new class you can still buy it here: Learn more here.

July 19th Challenge Winners & Forum Schedule

Special Moments by Hilary (englishrose) 
Congratulations Hilary! You may claim your gift certificate by emailing
Want a chance to win Scrap Girls’ Weekly Layout Contest?
Simply post your digital or paper layouts that use Scrap Girls products in our online Gallery; if we choose yours, you’ll win a prize! To be considered, don’t forget to list the Scrap Girls products that you used in your layout.
Want to see past winners of the Weekly Layout Contest? Visit the Weekly Layout Winners Gallery on our Forum!
CONGRATULATIONS! Midsummer’s Night Challenge Layout by PixelPam!
It was really hard to choose this week! Honorable mentions go out:
Nanscraps & Bonnie D!
You may claim your gift certificate by emailing
Join us this week on our Forum for Challenges inspired by the natural world and how you like to interact with it.
Monday, July 20th - Specific Image challenge by Monica

We’ll provide the images, your create the layout

Tuesday, July 21st - Favorite Thing challenge by Conda

What is the last thing you did outside? Catch a quick pic of it for this month’s Right Now challenge.

Thursday, July 23rd –  Specific Image challenge by

Everyone has a favorite thing to do outside. What’s yours?
Weekend - What Do You See? by Marilyn

Look out your door – what do you see outside?

July Monthly Game Challenge:

Join us on the forum in July for a Retreat, Scrap Girls style.

5 Creative Ways to Use Ribbon on Your Layouts

Ribbons are one of my go-to scrapping supplies. I use at least one ribbon on most of the pages I create. Since I don’t have room to list all the ways I’ve used ribbon on scrapbook pages, I’ll review five of my favorites in this tutorial.

1.  Add dimension and texture to your clusters.

Ribbons are an essential part of my clusters. Whether you’re creating a cluster with flowers, leaves or photos, you can use a ribbon to tie the embellishments together visually. Try wrapping a curled ribbon around another embellishment using a layer mask. To create the look below, place the branch layer above the ribbon layer in the Layers palette. Create a layer mask on the branch layer and brush away the parts of the branch that intersect the outer curls of the ribbon.

Hint: To get the branch’s drop shadow to look right, be sure to check “Layer Mask Hides Effects” in Blending Options of the Layer Style Panel.

2.  Add a vertical or horizontal anchor on your page.

When used this way, the ribbon creates a border that can visually anchor your photo and embellishments to the page. Try layering different ribbons or even tucking photos under the ribbon border to add even more depth to your layout. In the screenshot below, you can see that I used the masking technique mentioned earlier to wrap the twine around the ribbon.

3.  Create photo corners with ribbon strips.

To create the photo corner, I placed the ribbon at the desired angle over my photo. Next, I made a direct selection of the photo layer. Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail of the photo in the Layers palette to get the selection. With the ribbon layer active, create a layer mask. You will have a photo corner-shaped piece of ribbon. Nudge it up or down and to the side a few pixels to make it sit slightly outside the photo’s frame.

Hint: Use the Dodge and Burn tools to make a ribbon edge look like it is curling around the edge of the photo. Use the Burn tool to darken the curved edge and then use the Dodge tool to add a smaller highlight.

4.  Add text to the ribbon.

When you need to add the name, date, or place to your page, add the text right on top of the ribbon. To make the lettering look like it is printed on, try using a Blending mode or reducing the opacity of the text layer.

5.  Create custom embellishments or monograms using ribbons.

First, create a custom shape or type a letter using a clear, bold font. Next, choose a variety of straight ribbons and line them up parallel to each other on your page. Make sure all the ribbon layers are above your shape or letter in the Layers palette. Select all the ribbon layers and then clip them to your shape or letter using a clipping mask.

Try using ribbons in a new way on your next scrapbook page or greeting card. Post your pages in the SG Blog Challenge Layout Gallery on the Scrap Girls Forum. We’d love to see what you’ve created!

Product Credits for Layout:
Value Pack: Dogwood Days
Rustic Prepster Collection Biggie
Faded Rose Paper Mini
Bless This Nest Collection Biggie
ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Grungalicious Scratched Super Biggie 8501
Product Credits for Layout:
Value Pack: Dogwood Days
Faded Rose Paper Mini
Happy Birthday Collection Biggie
Rub A Dub Dub Collection Biggie
Article written by April Martell

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