Heritage with a Twist

When you imagine a Heritage page scrapped, most people immediately think in terms of neutral beige, brown, off white, etc., along with loads of ephemera in layers throughout the page, sepia toned photos, and possibly torn and tattered elements.  Seldom does color come into play, unless it is that slight, unexpected splash that maybe leads your eye through the page.  I have to say that I love those pages as well, however, I also love to see something different thrown into the mix as well.

Every so often I have a photograph that is just so special that I want to make certain I do it justice when I scrap it, and this photograph is definitely one of those photos.  I used a great many kits to complete it, but the inspiration came from the new package released by Anna Aspnes this past week:  ArtPlay Palette Enroute, Enroute No. 1 (brushes), and Enroute Sampler.  The hues of dusty aqua, and grays were so inviting, that I immediately thought of this photo.  Here is the finished page:

School Girls

School Girls

I didn’t start out thinking the page would end up like this, but am so happy with the final result. I began with the background paper from the Palette, and placed upon it, the photograph in the torn frame. I began by blending the photograph within the frame, applying blend modes to see what looked best. I didn’t like the result, as the black and white blended image just didn’t look right.  I decided to try making the photo with a blue tint.  To do so, I first attached a textured blue solid to the fotomask, and then changed the blend mode of the photograph, attached to it, to luminosity.  This caused the photo to take on the hue of the paper. I blended from the photo, the children’s outlines, but I also wanted some of the background of the photo to show through as well, so I created a second photo layer, and again, using the luminosity blend mode, began blending in the entire photograph, just slightly, until I got enough of the background, thus giving a somewhat dreamy look.

using un-blended original photograph

using un-blended original photograph

I then begin dragging into the layout brushwork, transfers and elements that I believe would go well.  I added an edge overlay, changing it’s color to a pale yellow.  Under that I added two edge transfers, bringing in additional neutral colors to the right edge.  I began layering element to the bottom right corner of the photograph, plus a few fotomasks directly on top of the background paper, changings the color to a blue, and modifying the blend mode and opacity to deepen the color around the photo.

Added brushwork, transfers, elements and edgework

Added brushwork, transfers, elements and edgework

Once I am almost done with a layout, I typically look for what might be missing, or what items I could add to polish up a layout. I decided adding the brushwork of the tape measure numbers, the ScriptTease text along the right border, and the lace along the bottom edge of the photo would be perfect to finish it off. I can have the tendency to add too much, so I am often adding and removing items to find that right balance.

Finished Layout

Finished Layout

BECOMING FRIENDS

When scrapping, I try to do challenges when I can, but since I frequent a good many digital sites, I am usually overwhelmed by the magnitude of possibilities each month. One challenge that I do try to do each month is the template challenge. I love templates, although I usually change them up so they are often times far removed from the original template, but it is great seeing what I come up with compared to all the other scrapper’s doing the challenge. This is February’s Template Challenge at http://www.the-lilypad.com.

February's Template

Here is my take on the template:

Becoming Friends

I knew as soon as I saw the template, I wanted to create a page, and after a bit of searching in my digital photos, I found the one I had wanted to scrap for a while, but just hadn’t. I also immediately knew the background paper, because again, I had seen the paper, and was holding out to use it on the right page. This also is a page where as a Creative Team member of Amy Wolff at the-Lilypad, I was wanting to use her newest product, a great set of kraft paper date cutouts:

Date Cutouts

I just really fell in love with this background paper: I am usually taking a page, and modifying the main paper, adding grunge, adding folds, inking the edges, etc., but this paper was perfection.

For this page, the original template had loads of layering. This is something I find I can struggle with, as I can spend hours staring at the page, and slightly tweaking the elements until things look perfect. For me it is the right amount of layering. I often feel that people add way too much in the way of layered and clustered items on their pages that it can often overwhelm the photograph. I want to make the photo shine, and to hopefully have the elements lead your eye to the photo. The photo I chose was of my daughter walking our horse Dusty on the day we took delivery of him. He was getting acquainted with his 3 new owners, and checking out his new surroundings. Such a mellow horse – even though not quite 5 years old in this photo, nothing bothered him – he is always interested it checking out new things – never afraid, but ready to reach down and sniff, or gum any new item he comes along. We chose him for this reason, and we think it was a great reason to buy him, as he has turned into being a great horse – I think mainly because of this trait.
I also feel that I tend to be quite the traditional scrapbooker – seldom doing the unexpected – by adding that one quirky element. I am trying to add those items when I can, so for this one, I worked in the zigzag stitching with the button. I think it works, and it adds a bit of interest.

In the end, it is quite a bit removed from the original template, but like I said, I seldom stick with the template without modification. I am so happy with how it came out. I love the softness of the colors, especially the muted taupe colors on the background paper, and how I carried the color throughout the page.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Well we all know that Valentines Day is coming up.  As a scrapper, it is about this time that we are flooded with wonderful Valentine themed kits.  I am highlighting one of the kits just out.  It is a collaboration by Erica Zwart Designz and Anita Designs at Mscraps called Stuck On You.  The papers are wonderful, full of pinks of different hues, a wonderful variety of cardstock, a soft mix of patterned papers, and a great variety of elements.

Image 

 I had been wanting a kit with soft muted colors for a favorite photo of my daughter when she was a toddler.  This kit looked perfect.  I will love you forever
Some of the techniques I used on this kit were custom shadows all of the elements that had height, so the rolled flowers each had a custom shadow as did the ribbon.  I took the paper which was made of rows of hearts in all different colors:

Image

I cropped out a few rows, the length of the paper, thinking I would use it as a horizontal element under the lower portion of the photo grouping. I didn’t think it looked right, so I then decided to extract only the row of deep pink hearts, and use them. I used the magic wand tool, selected the pink hearts, I wanted to keep, then did an inverse selection, and hit the delete key. This allowed me to get rid of everything but the pink hearts.

The kit included a column of repeated text which was just of XOXOXOX, of varying lengths. I placed in on both sides of the top background paper, but blended it into the paper, and then used a mask to use it to add an almost grunge feel to the paper. I wanted more grunge, so I used two of Erica’s grunge border overlays, and recolored one to a deeper pink, the other I place just to the inside of the first and made that one white, to provide the look of another frame – each overlay has a blend mode used on it so that it looks like it is part of the paper, and not on top of the paper. I placed the repeated LOVE word art under my photo/element block. Although it was not long enough to go from top to bottom, I placed one at the top, copied it and dragged it to the bottom. I used the blend mode “linear burn” on it so that the texture of the paper would show through. I liked having a vertical element in contrast to the horizontal hearts. I place a swirling scribble underneath the photo, and at the tail end placed both a photo glow, and a flower from the it. Around the large loop of the swirl, I placed a quote which reads: I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for all days. As long as I’m Living, My baby you’ll be.

I love how it turned out. It was an old film photo I had been wanting to scrap for years. Any comments would be appreciated – especially any positive constructive criticism of things you would have done differently, and why. It is the best way to grow. Thanks for stopping by.

Finally Home

Last year I made the decision to push myself in the areas of photography and digital scrapbooking. That decision caused me to venture outside my scrapping world, and checking out the multitude of wonderful site out there with some really fabulous designers. There is certainly not a shortage of wonderful designers out there, and my stash has increased quite a bit. I have also ventured out into the world of being on designer creative teams (CT). I applied and was accepted to become part of two teams. I will try to showcase new products when I can for both of these designers, as well as an occasional product I may run across from time to time that I think are especially awesome. Like I said – there is no shortage of great designers out there, and boy, does it make scrapping so much more enjoyable.

I became a member of Amy Wolff’s CT back in mid-November 2011. Her products range from very traditional to funky, so it gives me the ability to go in any direction with my pages. These two kits were released on January 13:

11:00 am Paper Pack

11:00 am Element Pack

I went back and pulled from my old photos, one that was 20 years old – from when we bought our home. We were so excited about our first home that we asked our realtor to take our photo by the sold sign. Amy’s kit worked perfectly with the photo. I loved greens in the kit as well as the complimentary colors in the kit, but it was the fence from the element pack that immediately led me to the sold sign photo. The only thing I needed other than these two kits was an alpha.

Finally Home

Taking Things to the Next Level.

It has been quite a while since I have posted. I have been quite busy, but I have recently decided to set some goals for myself. The hope is that I up my game as far as the things I love in my life. I have decided that I would be more proactive in taking my interests to the next level. I do understand that I am quite the perfectionist. It takes me hours on some pages, to get to the final product that I am totally happy with. This does not mean that I never post a layout that is not perfect, but there are times when I look at a page and say that I know it is not perfection, but in my heart I feel I have done the page and subject justice, and have other pages in my head and heart that are waiting to be created.

In the past few months, I have taken two steps to better my skills. The first was a webcast which I have been listening to, where I hope to find out more in the way of new resources. Through this webcast I learned of Peppermint from One Little Bird. I am always looking for new and different designers out there, and upon seeking out her blog came across a fabulous tutorial on creating shadows. The biggest thing with me is that I want my pages to look like the items used on them are real – therefore they need impeccable shadows. True, Photoshop has a shadow fx, but I know they can often look even more natural. My method of creating shadows on my pages were to use a standard shadow as I placed each item. This gave me an idea of how I wanted the items to look. Once the page was complete, I would go back to many of the items, and replace the shadow with a custom one, allowing me to use the smudge tool to make it look more accurate.

I have to say, that I was impressed with Peppermints’ blog tutorial, and have been using her technique ever since. Here method uses a dual shadow, plus it creates te shadow in a color which mimics a true shadow (not just black with a lowered opacity). The page above was one I created using this tutorial, and I spent hours working on each and every item, until I was happy with them, and then decided I wanted to move the line of shells, and papers from the left edge to the right edge. This meant that I had to redo each and every shadow, but I think it was the right thing to do. I have been using this technique, without creating any actions for some time. I really wanted to cement the process in my brain, and to also gave myself some time to think about just how to go about creating a set of actions that will work for anything from thin paper to larger/deeper elements requiring larger shadows. I will do this shortly, and this will hopefully speed up the shadow making process.

This is a heritage photo of my mom and her brother and sister in law, and although the photo itself is a bit blurry, I have learned that sometimes those blurry photos are acceptable to scrap, especially when they tug at your heart, as this one does mine.

Beside learning this new shadow technique, I decided I would take classes online that would better my skills. I signed up for an 8 week class on scrapbook page design, and although I did come away from the class with a new tidbit here and there, most that was taught were things I already knew. In fact, I was surprised that many of the scrappers taking the class were ill prepared for this class, as the description of the class was one that would allow the digital scrapbooker to take things to a new level, which was what I was looking for. In the end, I believe those students came away from the class having learned quite a bit. It was kind of a sink or swim type thing for many, but I have the feeling they learned a lot. I walked away from the class with the reinforcement that I had those design skills down, it was just that much of the time I didn’t have a word for what they were teaching in the class, I just knew what worked and what didn’t. I also learned that I like a line layout, where there are more than one photo on the page, and on a page with just one photo, I liked a somewhat small photo usually in the lower left or lower right portion of the page with quite a bit of white space, as in the Myrtle Beach layout above.

The page below was created during this class. I had been loving the style of page where there were loads of layers, but would find that I would get caught up in how to put it all together. In addition, I had been using Adobe Bridge to find all my supplies, and I have come away from that with the realization that it just wasn’t working to my advantage, so it would often times take me hours to locate the elements that I had in my mind, but couldn’t remember what kit it came from. I have since begun using ACDSee 12, having learned you could in fact open items up in Photoshop rather than ACDSee. I am currently in the process of tagging all my supplies in catagories, and we will see when I am done, if it crashes the system. I am hoping that it will make pages like the one below much easier to put together.

Baby you can drive my car

I was really proud of this layout as I had used multiple layers of items, all of which needed custom shadows, and I had used a scallope edged mask to attach some crumpled paper unto, and then feel that I added custom shadows that worked well enough to make it look like real paper. I also tried to make the real look of a viewfinder film by adding the slight white highlights. I don’t feel they look as realistic as they could have been, but my hopes are that I can someday better that technique and go back and change the page.

This page caused me to not agonize over color as much. I struggled over the fact that my daughter’s dress was aqua, and that the car was bright red. In my mind I felt that color combo was a poor one. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get past the red and aqua, but I eventually just said to live with it, and added the brackets in red. What I didn’t notice was that many of the pages being created right now use the red and aqua or turquoise color combo – I am seeing these colors on many pages, so this taught me to be more observant of what is out there in the galleries. I was honored to have this page be chosen as a GSO for June 25th, as well it was chosed page of the week at designerdigitals.com, plus was listed as a favorite in their forum, and used as a scraplift page, so I found it funny to see a dozen or so pages similar to this – all using the slide reel in some way, and most with many layers. I have since found it on Pinterest as well, which surprised me, but I guess all in all, that website is for all things you like, so it was a compliment.