Month: October 2016

Happy Halloween

A little butterfly emerged from her chrysalis this evening just in time for Halloween!!!







Trick or Treat!!

Blending Multiple Photos

A trip to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is an opportunity for everyone to play. It’s a dusty, ramshackle cluster of exhibits, animals to pet, mechanical shows, a train ride around a ghost town and the classic hayride into the pumpkin patch. So I attached one zoom lens to my camera before leaving the house because it is never a good idea to change lens with the wind blowing dust. However, it is a fun place with lots of things for kids of all ages, even grandmas with cameras.


I had set my camera on continuous mode trying to capture some good photographs of four grandchildren. In case you are wondering about the large photo on the right, I used three different shots and switched heads, blending them together so that everyone was facing front with eyes open and a good expression. I worked with a composite on my two page spread.

I captured the original photo on a platform stage. 2016-10-28-125343-editTry to visualize my granddaughter dancing to music on her mom’s iPhone and the boys wrestling together, everyone doing their own thing before sitting down on the edge of the stage for me to photograph them together. However, it’s really only a snapshot, nothing out of the ordinary even after replacing two heads.

In order to create a more artistic setting for my grandchildren, I combined photos and transfers to build a background. At one of our stops, there was a rickety ladder that two at a time could climb to a windmill platform.  The green in the trees and silver colored blades looked perfect with ArtPlay MiniPalette Twilight. With a layer mask, I blended that photo into my background paper. Note, that I rotated the photo and repeated it on the left side using AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 3. My grandson will disappear in the blending process.


Next, I blended a photo of pumpkins using the multilayered fotoblendz mask from the bonus materials included with ArtPlay MiniPalette Twilight. I placed it below the windmill photo and reduced the opacity to 60% with the blend mode on normal. I changed the photo to black and white using a hue and saturation adjustment layer. Note: I didn’t see an easy way to work with orange pumpkins and all the colors my grandchildren were wearing. A few pages of black and white photos will balance with more colorful pages in my book.


After reducing the size of the photo of my grandchildren together, I attached a layer mask and blended out the parts that I didn’t want. I extended the platform across the gutter of the two page spread by attaching a layer mask to another photo and blending it into the scene.


With my four photos blended, I added transfer 2, the silver leaves, overlays 1 (recolored) and 2 as well as some brushes and splatters to my page. I then placed file 4 from Stitching by Anna No. 2 between the photo of my grandchildren and the windmill to emphasize the wire circle in the photo. The blades of the windmill and circle stitching create an informal frame drawing the eye toward my focal photo.


With the addition of a few elements, journaling and a title, I finished the right side of my two page spread. I filled in the space on the left with frames and masks with template 12 from Travel Template Album No. 2. I added another photo frame to the template but was only able to accommodate 10 of the more than 600 photos that I captured.


Blending multiple photos with transfers and overlays isn’t as complicated as you might think.

Creating a Cluster

Fall color in our area is supposed to be at its best this weekend. So I will be outside with my camera tomorrow afternoon, hoping today’s wind will diminish. In the meantime, today I played with a photo of a neighbor’s beautiful fall display that I captured a year ago. I began by placing frames from Artsy Layered Template No. 236 on a new blank document. Next I clipped copies of my photo to the two masks and duplicated one mask to create a set of three. I then started building a background for the frames with an art stroke and Artsy Transfers Hinterland. At that point, I grouped elements to create clusters to act as a visual triangle to not only direct the eye around my page but also balance the weight on the right side.

Clusters take different shapes. The acorn cluster on the right side follows the horizontal line of the frame. File 1 from MultiMedia Pumpkins No. 2, a more rounded shape, provided a ready made cluster over the frame and background transfer below. Note, I added a branch and stitching just below the flower in the psd file for more dimension. However, all of the clusters on this page have three components: a foundation, dimensional elements and an anchor.


I might have kept the left side of my page blank, but I thought my page wasn’t quite balanced without something on that side. If anyone else has ever struggled grouping elements to create clusters, I though I would share my thinking about grouping elements on this page to form clusters. Based on my page design, I decided to create a vertical shaped cluster to repeat the shape of the frames.


First, every cluster needs a foundation or a background. I placed overlay 2 from ArtPlay Palette Hinterland to create the foundation for my cluster of elements. I reduced the size of the overlay about 15%.


Next I positioned a button next to the leaves on the overlay. That button serves as my anchor for all the other elements that I used to create the cluster. I gave the button a shadow. I placed a transfer from another multimedia pumpkin file just below the button to build more depth on my foundation.


Then I added the set of leaves from ArtPlay Palette Hinterland below the button but above the overlay and transfer for more dimension. I gave the leaves a shadow.


To extend the vertical shape, I added the twig (psd file that included a shadow) below the button and set of leaves, but above the overlay and transfer. I placed a button thread from ButtonThreads No. 2 below the button to make it look like I had tied down the elements.


I think that the left cluster not only moves the eye across my page, but it also helps balance my page, despite the fact that it isn’t as large or heavy as the two clusters on the right side of my asymmetrical page design. I encourage you to experiment by creating a cluster with a foundation, dimensional elements and an anchor.


Combining Templates

One of the nice things about working with a 24×12 inch document for a two page spread rather than trying to piece together two 12×12 pages, is the possibility for easily placing a photo across the two pages. That is what I wanted to do with this photo of Kate 2016-10-07-114112that I captured just before we left the pumpkin patch last Friday. Another useful technique, especially when I have a lot of journaling, is to place  journaling over the background of a photo. After adjusting the light in this photo with adjustment layers and glows, I was able to place my journaling over the background of my photo and to ensure my granddaughter stood out on my layout. I think the title and text box on the left page balances the extraction on the right side.


To mask the background for my extraction, I placed the mask layers from template 4 of Autumn Album Template No. 2. I clipped copies of my photo to the layers. Then I added leaves and stains from other templates from the same album. To each leaf or stain, I clipped a copy of my photo.


I then extracted Kate from the photo and gave her a custom shadow. You may not have noticed that in the original photo, her toes were cut off by the mat. So I extracted her right foot from another photo and rotated it into position. To simulate the sunlight behind Kate, I placed several glows, reduced their opacity and changed the blend modes.


To accommodate all the photos I wanted to include on these pages, I simply dragged over the frames and masks from templates 15 and 19 in Travel Template Album No. 2. It was quicker for me to drag over a set of frames rather than recreating/duplicating/positioning frames so that I would have enough spaces for photos.

After clipping my photos to the masks, I added the layers of file 3 from MultiMedia Pumpkins No. 1 on the left. Then to mimic the look of the multimedia pumpkin, I created masks for the sections of the stitching file 4 from UrbanStitchez Pumpkin No. 1. To each of those masks, I clipped the transfers from the multimedia pumpkin file.


After clipping all of the photos to the frames, I added more leaves from the Autumn Template Album No. 2 below the frames and clipped additional copies of my background photo. I added a black and white adjustment layer to two photos to create a visual triangle with my title. Finally I added a few more elements and finishing my journaling. I created a composite of my two page spread which I then placed on two 12×12 pages. I imported those pages into Lightroom and added them to the book section.


Combining frames and masks from Anna’s templates is an easy way to pull together a two page spread.

Warm Fall Sunlight

In September, I wrote in a post, Then and Now, that “…There are layouts that I created early in my art play that I still love. There are also layouts that I’ve actually deleted from my Oscraps gallery.” Below is one of those layouts that I created last fall but still love for a number of reasons. I love the white space, the asymmetrical but centered design, the depth and interest created with two versions of one photo, the fall color and texture. I also like the mix of fonts in the title. I hope this tutorial inspires you to create a page of your own.

Fall is a beautiful time of year here in Nebraska, although it isn’t at it’s best until November. I captured the photograph 2015-11-07-174352that I used for the page below early in November last year. I no longer worry that I am staying current on my scrapbooking. I simply use photos and products that inspire me at the moment. For this photo, I used ArtPlay Palette Gentle Morning to create a page simply for the sake of art.


Select a Photo

Select a photo, duplicate it and link the copies. Give one copy a high-key lighting effect using either a plugin filter like Topaz’s Adjust or adjusting the curves with an adjustment layer. Resize mask 1 from 12×12 Page FotoBlendz No. 9 and the photo as needed. Clip solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Soul and the high-key photo copy to the mask. Change the blend mode of the high key photo to multiply. Add another copy of the high-key photo on blend mode soft light or overlay at 30%.

Note: High-key lighting refers to photos in which the mid-tones are much brighter because there are fewer blacks and there are more light tones. A skilled studio photographer uses fill light and backlight to create low contrast between brighter and darker areas in daylight and night scenes. I haven’t reached that level in my photography yet, but I have learned that this artistic lighting look can be recreated in Photoshop using a curves adjustment layer and a hue and saturation adjustment layer. Desaturate and reduce the opacity with the hue and saturation layer by dragging the saturation slider to -100. Play with the curves adjustment. It may look like an S or a bow. You want brighter tones and whites, fewer blacks and midtones without losing the detail in the image. The settings depend on your photo. For more information, see this post, Using Lighting Style to Create Mood.


Frame a Second Copy of the Photo

Place the frame and clip another copy of the photo to the frame’s mask. Increase the saturation on this copy of the original photo with the Camera Raw filter. Position taped textures 5 and 9 from TapedTextures No. 4 below the framed photo and trees on the right side.


Add Texture and Interest

Place brush 5, transfer 4 and overlay 2 from ArtPlay Palette Gentle Morning above the photo clipped to the fotoblendz mask. Add the layers of file 2 from MultiMedia Birds No. 1.

Note: I turned off some of the layers, added a color adjustment layer and erased a few of the birds using a layer mask.


Create a Cluster and Title

Create a small cluster with leaves and a bow from the ArtPlay Palette to anchor the frame to the page. Mix fonts and word art to create a title summarizing what you might have said with more detailed journaling. Place a quote from Rise WordArt Mix No. 1. Above the quote, extend the title with a phrase. Add a wood style to one word in the title and give it a small drop shadow. Add the date and place.

Note: For this page, in addition to the quote below my title, I used Boho Sans and Boho Script.


I hope that I have inspired you to create a layout based on this tutorial. I encourage you to create a page with white space, an asymmetrical centered design or repetition of a photo with different treatments. Say something about the photo on your page with fonts and word art rather than traditional journaling.

Pumpkin Patch and Mud

Our drive to a pumpkin patch yesterday seemed like an easy route according to Maps. However, when I looked down at the unpaved, downhill, muddy road, I wondered how this could be the entrance. It was only after I started back up the hill with my wheels spinning in low drive that I realized that I might need a tow truck to get out of the mud. Fortunately, a staff member watching me offered to help, explaining this was a service road for trucks. He tried pushing from the back of my Honda, but I still couldn’t get far enough up the hill. So he helped reroute my car through the pumpkin patch and out the real entrance.

Run it through a carwash he suggested when I wondered aloud what my husband was going to think about all the mud on my car. The man had to be laughing inside despite his serious expression.

After that little mud adventure, Kate and I enjoyed ourselves at Skinny Bones Pumpkin Patch. First, Kate jumped.


She wouldn’t go down the big slide although she liked the big, stuffed Frankenstein figure on stairs up the slide.


Then she road the cow train. I’m not sure what it says about Kate that all the boys were sitting in their cars while she stood during her second ride. However, she does have three older brothers.



Then Kate and I rode a pedal car together.


Kate climbed up on the bicycle with ET in the basket. She really wanted to take him home. I will have to rent the movie for her so that she will know the story of the plush animal she wanted to take home with her.


Next, Kate had her face painted. She chose a pink butterfly.


She held hands with some little girls as they jumped into a corn pool.


Kate chose cotton candy for a snack before we walked through the corn maze. I think the kettle corn might have been a cleaner choice. Fortunately, another staff member offered us wet paper towels to clean off her hands.


Kate was still eating cotton candy when she sat on a bench among the pumpkins.


Before going home, Kate wanted to jump one more time.


Later, as we went through the carwash twice with Bill grumbling the entire time, “how in the world did you get all this mud on the car”, I laughed, quietly of course. Kate loved the carwash too!

Change Is Beautiful

Have you read Adryane’s post, Create an Autumn Collage? In that post she explains how she combined several fotoblendz masks to create a collage of transfers, papers, and word art by clipping them to the masks. I always admire her work; she thinks so creatively with Anna’s designs. Needless to say I wondered what I could do with Adryane’s mask idea using a photograph of my hydrangeas’ fall color without recreating exactly the same page that Adryane created.


I began by overlapping mask 3 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 2 and masks 3 and 4 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 3 on my page. I adjusted the size of mask 4 and blended out part of it using a layer mask. I flipped mask 3 horizontally.

Note: I used the png versions of the masks rather than the psd versions.


To those masks, I clipped copies of the same photograph to create a background with the masks. 2016-10-07-150244Initially, I linked the photo copies, but that didn’t allow me the flexibility to focus on showing the flowers with the masks rather than the green leaves. So I unlinked them and positioned them so they looked like they blended together. Above the masks, I extracted a single panicle from another copy of the same photo.

Note: I captured this photo at 1/420 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800, 60mm so I had a lovely blurred background with which to work. The contrast between the flower and background made it very easy to extract one panicle. I also adjusted the green in the photograph with a hue and saturation adjustment layer so that it blended with the paper. I created a custom shadow by manipulating a style layer.


To intensify the fall color, I placed copies of a glow from MultiMedia Leaves No. 5 above the hydrangea extraction.


I then placed copies of transfer 8 from ArtPlay Palette Fallen Blush below the extraction and masks. I changed the blend mode on some copies to color burn at 60%. On the top left I placed transfer 4 and overlay 1 on normal blend mode, reducing the opacity of only the overlay.


I then used pieces from file 4 of MultiMedia Leaves No. 5 to focus the eye on my title, word art from Autumn WordArt Mix No. 2. I added the button from ArtPlay Palette Fallen Blush and another thread from UrbanThreadz No. 12.


To finish my page, I added journaling, separating the paragraphs to highlight the dialogue between my husband and I about when to clip off the hydrangea blooms. The cooler temperatures make the green panicles of my Little Lime hydrangeas take on a beautiful warm pink hue. I’ve learned the hard way that allowing the blooms to dry naturally actually helps the plants harden ahead of winter’s cold. I also know he wouldn’t be happy if he has to dig more holes to replant next spring.

My page isn’t a collage with five distinct spaces in the sense of Adryane’s piece of art, but I adapted the concept of using multiple masks. How about you? What would you create by combining and overlapping a few masks?

A Simple Process

My photography defines my current approach to scrapbooking. At the moment my grandchildren are young and I want them to have access to the photos that I make with my Fuji X-T and then store in Lightroom on my computer. This year, I am again focusing less on artsy pages for the sake of art and more on creating pages for another book using Anna’s templates.

I’m actually mixing templates from several albums for this year’s book, templates with informally arranged simple white frames, fotoblendz masks, stains, textures and white space. Sometimes I rearrange or switch out frames or masks. The similarity in template basics, i.e. frames, masks and elements, gives me lots of flexibility and makes my process for creating a two page spread much easier. However, every once in a while, I capture a photo I love so much that I want to include it in my book as a full page photo on one side of a two page spread with a template on the other side.


2016-09-30_photoThat is the case for this photo. When I made this photo, I placed my granddaughter in the center of my camera frame anticipating that I would want space to crop the photo for 8×10 and 5×7 framed prints. However, photographers generally place a subject in the frame using the rule of thirds. After making an adjustment in exposure, I cropped and printed from Lightroom.

In order to add this photo to my book, I dragged the photo to a new 24×12 inch document. I enlarged the photo just a little to fit the 12 inch height of my page and adjusted it’s position using Photoshop’s guide lines. That meant part of the photo extended onto the right page. To cover the part that extended onto the right side, I placed solid paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette Take Flight above the photo.


Next, I dragged the layers of page 12 from Travel Template Album No. 2 to the right side of my page. I added my title in the same position as the original title included with the template. Otherwise, I made no changes to this template.


I clipped my photos to the frames, masks and stains. I clipped adjustment layers to the photos as needed to lighten and/or increase the contrast.


Below all the template layers, I placed the pink stain and splatter from ArtPlay Mini Breeze (free with $5 purchase during the sale). I recolored the stain and adjusted the splatter’s color to blend with Kate’s tutu.


I then placed additional stitching from ButtonThreadz No. 1, two buttons and a butterfly from ArtPlay Palette Studious. To mimic Kate’s butterfly wings, I clipped a hue and saturation layer and fotoglow from ArtPlay Mini Breeze (recolored) to the butterfly. I dragged another copy of the pink glow above those layers, reduced it’s size and clipped it to the butterfly. I attached a layer mask to retain the black body of the butterfly. Note: I also clipped that pink glow on linear light at 35% above the top two framed photos to intensify the pink.


Once I finished both sides of my two page spread, I created a composite by pressing the keys command + option + shift + E. I then created two new 12×12 documents and dragged that composite on to those pages for my book and adjusted its position. I saved them by page number, pages 50 and 51, for this two page spread.


I then imported those pages into Lightroom and placed them in a collection folder that I use for the book module. Note: the faint lines mark boundaries in Lightroom as a reminder to not place anything important on your page beyond those lines for printing purposes.


I am planning on using this two page design with photos I captured of my grandsons in mid September as well. At the end of the year, when I have all my book pages ready, I will send the pages to Blurb through Lightroom. I could also use these 12×12 pages to publish a book through a different service.

The photographs and stories are all different, but I think these templates, light backgrounds, stitching, buttons, a consistent journaling font and informal titles on each two page spread will unify the final outcome. This is a project I am creating over a year so I don’t expect every page to look exactly the same. However, I think the style of templates, the white space and the informality will unify my book at the end of the year. Key to this photo book project is my emphasis on photography, wanting to share these photos is the reason I am creating these pages.


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