Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Flash makes me squint.

I know that sometimes it's absolutely impossible to get a decent photo without using the flash. Houses can be notoriously dark inside, especially older ones with smaller windows. However there are some things you can do to avoid having to use the fill flash, as I have done here to this poor child. First of all, remember that photography is all about light. A camera needs light, like we need food! So rule number one is to take command and position your subjects as close to a window as possible. Rule number two is to change your camera settings if you can, to accommodate a low light setting. Change the ISO to 800 or higher, use spot metering and if possible, increase the exposure compensation to +3 or +7. Read your camera manual if you don't know how to do this. Obviously a slow shutter speed will let in more light too but that can result in blurring if your subjects are moving around. When all else fails, the only thing to do is turn on the flash. If your subject is outside and half of their face is shaded, turn the camera so that the flash is facing the shaded side. This will help to even out the light.
Circles make great journaling spots. Just use your elliptical marquee tool to click and drag out a circle from your chosen paper, holding the shift key to constrain proportions, and copy to your page.
Fonts: Tall Drink and CK Becky.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Make your own calendar.

Making a calendar is not as time consuming as you might imagine. I made the size eight inches square instead of twelve so that I could print it out on A4 paper. I used a box calendar template for each month and just added my own special occasions. I printed an 8 x 8 inch layout on the back of each one so I have a lovely scrapbook page for each month. You could showcase all the pages you have created during the year or create a special page for whoever has a birthday that month. May is Katie's month (mine too but she's more important). For the cover, I have made a year in review page with a photo from every month from the previous year. Just remember that when you print out your box calendar, you need to flip it over so that the scrapbook page is facing the right way. I used Epson's double sided matt heavy weight paper and my "Zutter Bind It All" to hold it together. If I were you I would also put a little dot on the top of the pages where you want to punch a hole. I forgot and had to measure and do it later. It would have been much easier if I had centered a circle in Photoshop first on each page.

Credits: Background paper - Scrapper's Guide January Premier kit by Amanda Heimann. Year in review template No 3, My Memories Quick Page ,(from our class kit) Digitally pressed petals No 3, May Alpha from Botanist No 16 - Katie Pertiet. Days and Months Hand Drawn Brushes - Ali Edwards. Box Calendar template by Kellie Mize of We are storytellers. Fonts: CK_Ali's Hand (see right hand side link under free fonts, Olicana Smooth and Susie's Hand.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stretching photos to fit.

I keep forgetting to mention to my students about the Designer Digitals chats. So I thought I'd do a post on it and include a little tutorial for you to download on "Stretching Photos". The chats at Designer Digitals are very good value because, not only do you get to meet some of your fellow scrapbookers, you also receive a freebie from the store in the form of a download link while the chat is in progress. I took part in Cassie Jones "How do they do that" tutorial yesterday which was on the topic of using layer masks in Photoshop Elements. Although I already know how to do that I still like to take part and pick up a freebie. For any of you who don't know how to fake a layer mask in PSE, just scroll down the right hand side of this blog to find two tutorials on it by other people. The layout here is the one I created after the chat using the free mini kit that was included in the download. Cassie is a great teacher. You will be able to purchase this lesson in the DD store for future reference. It is called "How do they do that No 17 PSE Layer Masks".

Here are a few helpful hints when taking part in the chats, especially for those who are in different time zones. When you register with the DD website your personal time zone should be displayed. If you click on "Chat" follow the link to the Chat Schedule and this will bring up the calendar of the current month. If you live in Australia, for example a chat scheduled for Monday 10 pm will show up as Tuesday with the time changed at the top to 1pm which is our time here in Sydney. This works sometimes but not always during daylight saving. If you log in at 1pm as I did you'll find that it wasn't due to start till 2pm. Lots of other people signed in early too. Here's how to overcome the problem...

Firstly, click on the chat on the calendar you want to take part in and request a reminder for this event. I always choose 4 hours ahead of time. You'll receive an email reminding you that it's imminent.

The next step is to go to the Time Converter for New York (which is Eastern standard time in America), put in the details of the chat - ie Monday 5th January 10 pm - and do a conversion to your own city. You need to check this every time because daylight saving can be very confusing to work out.

When you go to the Chat page you need to login with your user name before you can enter the chat room. There are options there for changing fonts, colours, your avatar, etc. It is best to stay with black, standard fonts so that people do not get confused with the designer's instructions which will be in colour and bold type. Cassie always provides a PDF tutorial as part of the download so you don't have to try and remember all the instructions.

Obviously the time is not always going to be particularly convenient wherever you live especially if it takes place at 3am but there's no reason you can't login ahead of time, with a connection that doesn't drop out, and check the chat history when you wake up. It will all still be there.
Have fun chatting!

Credits: HDTDT No 17 (yet to appear in the DD store) Cassie Jones. Papers and frames by Katie Pertiet from the tutorial and Photo wraps No 9. Fonts: Kayleigh, New Pooh, Forelle and Carlotta.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rounded rectangles and using the stroke command.

Happy New Year everyone! To kick off January 2009 I’ve created two more quick pages for the Scrapper’s Guide Premier Members from the kit by Amanda Heimann called “Come Out and Play” made exclusively for Scrapper's Guide. I just love working with bright colours and my reading theme was perfect for this month. Some of you may know that I support the “Read Every Day” program at my local primary school. I love reading so much that I couldn’t bear the thought of a child not having the same opportunity to develop a love of books. To some children it comes naturally but others need help. If you have the time, the inclination and the opportunity to assist at your local school by listening to children read, I can assure you that you that the rewards are far greater than the effort required.

This is my niece, Emily on her first birthday. Notice how engaged she is! My sister reads to her children every day and has done so since birth. It’s never too early to introduce a child to books. Mem Fox is one of my favourite children’s authors. The words around the photo on the left are some of her “Ten read-aloud commandments”. Do visit her website for she is a very inspiring writer. Now I'll get off my soap box and give you a few scrapbooking ideas. Click on the image to get a closer look.

These layouts are very simple to create and here are a few tips.

To put a stroke outline around your alpha:-

Make sure that black is your foreground colour. Select your alpha by Control+clicking on the layer thumbnail to get a selection outline. Go to Edit, Stroke, choose 5 pixels and inside for the location. Click okay.

To create the rounded rectangle, stroke outline journaling frame:-

Click and drag out a rounded rectangle shape with a radius of 100 pixels and rasterize the layer. Create a new, blank layer above it. Control+click on the rounded rectangle layer thumbnail to get a selection outline and then click back on the new blank layer. Go to Edit, Stroke, choose 5 pixels, black for the colour and outside for the location. Click okay. Now delete the original rectangle layer because you were only using it as a guide. Now you have a stroked rectangle to use as a frame for anything you like.

The fonts I have used for this layout are: CK Ali’s Hand, Weirdo, Arno Pro and Century Gothic
These last two fonts came with Windows XP.