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3 Steps to a Picture-less Layout

When I scrapbook, I almost always start with the pictures. But what do you do when you don’t have pictures for a story you want to scrapbook? Even in this day of cell phone cameras that are never out of our hands or pockets, some things happen so quickly we don’t get pictures. My kids say and do some hilarious stuff that I want to record, so even though a picture is how I usually start a layout, I decided that I needed to find a way to scrapbook without one. Here are my three steps to do just that:

1. Start with choosing a focal point. 

Every page needs a clear starting point. Our eyes are naturally drawn to pictures, so those are usually where we start. We spend time studying the pictures before we read the journaling. When you aren’t using pictures, pick something else for the eye to focus on first – a title, a piece of word art, etc.

In my example, I used a phrase from the story. This is something that my family says all the time, ever since my three-year-old mistakenly ate a spoonful of salt, thinking it was sugar. “Not ‘da suga’, Mama!” means “That was not what I expected!” in our household.

2. Make the focal point stand out.

Once you’ve picked your focus, the trick is making it the focus. Size, placement, and color are three great ways to pull the eye in. Again, we naturally look at the biggest element with the most differences first. Use that to your advantage:

- Make the quote the biggest part of the page.

- Use a fancy font or a different color.

- Use alphas for one wor

- Add a style to give it texture or depth. Anything to make it stand out!

3. Let everything else be in the background.

Let all of the other text elements take a step back. Pick a simple, easy-to-read font and a neutral color. Use a smaller point size. All of these things make it clear to someone looking at the page what you intended them to see first, second, third.

Challenge yourself today to create a layout without a photo. I would love to see how you make quotes the main feature of your page! And, of course, don’t forget to post your layout in the Scrap Girls Gallery!

Article written by Anna Mansfield
Using  Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 with Windows 8

Favorite Shortcuts for Photoshop Elements

When scrapping, I love to use keyboard shortcuts. They are exactly that – shortcuts – and they are great timesavers. It’s so simple to just press two or three keys to accomplish a task. Easy peasy! The alternative is to get my mouse, go to the menu bar, click on the menu I want, find the specific command I want to execute, then select it to get the results I want. Sometimes, that just takes too long for what I want to do!

You probably know some shortcuts already – like the ever-familiar Ctrl+Z = Undo, but there are many, many other shortcuts available to help you accomplish various tasks. Today, I’ll share a few of my favorites with you. I’ve provided a few screenshots highlighting some of these. Notice that the commands which have keyboard shortcuts will have the shortcut listed next to the command.

File Commands:

Ctrl+N = New Blank File

Ctrl+O = Open File (An alternative to this is to double-click on a blank area of the workspace, which I think works just as well as the keyboard shortcut.)

Enhance Commands:

Alt+Ctrl+B = Convert to Black and White

Ctrl+L = Levels Adjustment

Ctrl+U = Adjust Hue/Saturation

Shift+Ctrl+U = Remove Color

Layer Commands:

Ctrl+G = Create Clipping Mask

Ctrl+E = Merge Down

A few extra commands that I like to use are the Fill Commands:

Alt+Delete or Alt+Backspace = Fill background with Foreground Color

Ctrl+Delete or Ctrl+Backspace = Fill background with Background Color

There are many more shortcuts and cheat sheets available, including those for brushes, panel bin, rulers, selections, and tools. To learn more about these, do a search for Keyboard Shortcuts or Photoshop Elements Keyboard Shortcuts. Don’t forget that you can always post any questions in the Scrap Girls Forum. Someone is always available and happy to help. Happy scrapping with PSE shortcuts!

Article written by Theresa Guyer
Created using Photoshop Elements 11 with Windows 7

3 Fun Ways to Use Highlights & Scribbles

This month’s Scrap Girls Club includes the Highlights and Scribbles Embellishment Mini that coordinates with the Paper Pusher Collection Biggie. In this tutorial, we’ll explore some fun ways you can use them on your layouts and greeting cards!

  1. Slide Some Scribbles Behind Your Title

Titles and text can easily get lost when used with patterned papers. You can make the text stand out from the background by placing a highlighter-inspired scribble between the paper layer and your title.

2. Emphasize Your Journaling

The highlight embellishments are also a great way to emphasize specific words in your journaling. I used the yellow highlight twice, simply rotating it 180 degrees to make the second one look slightly different from the first. The highlight embellishments are somewhat transparent, so your text will show through, just like when using a real highlighter. To get a more realistic look, place the highlight layer below your text layer.

3. Create Scribble Art

After I finished my layout, I played around with the embellishment set and created a fun greeting card using some of the scribbles as flowers. I simply added paper rosette centers and used stitches for the stems.

We hope you find a few extra minutes to try some of these techniques with this month’s club! Then be sure to share your creativity with us by posting your layouts and greeting cards in the  Scrap Girls Gallery!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $27.64 and we offer it to you for just $9.99 a month!
Article and Projects by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

Catch a Wave With Gradients & Paper Templates

Sometimes you want to add a little variation to your ScrapSimple paper templates, but you don’t want to hunt for other templates to blend together or the perfect style to add on top. One quick, easy, and free (if you are using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements) way to mix it up a bit is with the Gradient tool. With the Gradient tool, you pick two or more colors, and it automatically fades your background from one color to the next for you. You won’t believe how easy it is! Let me show you how it works:
Start by clicking on the Gradient tool in the Tools palette. Then up at the top of the screen in the Options menu, you can change the basic shape of the gradient.

Next, click on the Edit button and the Gradient Editor window will open.

From here, you can make adjustments to the gradient. Double-click on the boxes (called Stops) below the colored bar and pick new colors. Add more Stops, etc.

Now, just click and drag on a layer and you’ll see your gradient appear. The farther you click and drag, the longer the “fade” between colors will be.
To take this to the next level, add a ScrapSimple paper template, and apply your gradient to it by using a clipping mask. I love this wavy paper template from June’s ScrapSimple Club: Beyond the Sea by Laura Louie. A gradient is perfect for this template because it accentuates the movement of the waves.

And just like that, your gradient-enhanced paper template is ready to use on a layout!
Grab this month’s ScrapSimple Club and create some waves of your own! I can’t wait to see how you combine gradients with ScrapSimple paper templates to make something totally new! Don’t forget to post your work in the Scrap Girls Gallery!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $19.15 and we offer it to you for just $6.99 a month!
Article written by Anna Mansfield
Using  Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 with Windows 8

3 Quick and Easy Ways to Mix Patterns

This month’s Scrap Girls Club: Summer Breeze by Jennifer Ziegler includes lots of fun patterned papers. Mixing patterns on your scrapbook pages can be a challenge, so in this tutorial, we’ll go over three different ways to use them on your pages without overwhelming your photos.

Paper strips are a fun way to use different patterned papers together. I created each paper strip by making a selection on the paper with either the Polygonal Lasso tool or the Rectangular Marquee tool and then adding a layer mask. Once the layer mask is applied, you can arrange the strips behind the photo to create a border with them. While this layout uses the strips horizontally, the look is just as effective with the strips placed vertically.

Stacking patterned papers is another simple technique you can use to mix several patterns on your page. You can even find layout templates with the stacked layers already in place. When you stack the papers, try alternating florals with solids, dots, or stripes to keep your page from looking too busy.

Finally, I used the patterned papers from this month’s club with the hexagon template from ScrapSimple Embellishment Templates: Take Shape. The template made it super easy to mix a lot of different papers. A technique like this usually requires minimal embellishment. When you add the different papers to the template, you can create visual triangles with the brighter colors like I did with the dotted red paper.

Try using strips, stacks or shapes to add a variety of patterned papers to your pages using this month’s Scrap Girls Club.

We’d love to see your pages in the Scrap Girls Gallery!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $27.64 and we offer it to you for just $9.99 a month!
Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

Using Florals on Father’s Day Layouts

If you’re anything like me, a quick glance through your digital scrapbook supplies would show that the feminine collections far outnumber the masculine ones. Let’s get some extra use out of those supplies! In this tutorial, we’ll go over some tips for using florals on Father’s Day layouts.

The first layout uses a photo of my grandfather holding my dad. Since it is a black-and-white photo, I chose a color palette with subdued neutrals and blues. The flowers have a bit of grunge, and I used them sparingly. The distressed frame and torn paper border add texture which can help create a more masculine feel.

For my second page, I used a photo of my other grandfather with all the grandchildren. The first thing I noticed when I looked at the photo was the floral drapes in the background. I decided to use flowers and a paper with similar colors on my page. To choose the paper, I perused my supplies until I found a floral print that tied in well with the drapes. While there are a lot of flowers on this page, I also added a few more masculine embellishments like buttons, stapes, wire, and string in the clusters.

Adding florals to Father’s Day layouts isn’t too hard as long as you keep some of these tips in mind:

  • Choose a more subdued or gender-neutral color palette.
  • Distressing and a little grunge can add a more masculine feel.
  • Tie the color and style of florals to something in the photo.
  • Add some masculine embellishments like metal, buttons, string, or wire in with the flower clusters.
  • Try using distressed and frayed flowers or flowers with more texture like those made of burlap or canvas.

Go ahead and give it a try! We’d love to see how you repurpose your floral products for masculine layouts when you share them with us in the Scrap Girls Gallery.

Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

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