Month: June 2017

Time Enough

I love butterflies: photographing, extracting, and scrapbooking them. They are delicate and short lived, but so very beautiful. When I saw Anna’s new brush set, Butterflies No. 1, I wanted to create with them again.

I began by stamping brush 8 in a mid gray on a new 12×12 document. I changed the blend mode of the brush image to linear burn.

Then, I added color by stamping stains from ArtsyStains No. 2 and Artsy Stains No. 3. All are on blend mode linear burn.

Next, I extracted three butterflies from photos using the quick selection tool and an inverted layer mask. I experimented with the position of the color stains.

I added several twigs from ArtPlay Palette Tinge, ArtPlay Palette Yule, ArtPlay Palette Glance and ArtPlay Palette Swell.  Again, I experimented, adjusting the position of the twigs and stains until it looked right to me.

Next, I placed urban threads from ButtonThreadz No. 1, ButtonThreadz No. 2 and UrbanThreadz No. 9.  I adjusted their position. I also added glow 7 from Butterfly Glows No. 1 and changed the blend mode to linear burn at 70%.

Finally, I added a quote for a title to finish my very simple layout combining brushes and extractions, two strategies that I use often and that characterize my style. I love it when a layout is easy!






Play With Me Grandma!

I just finished sorting about 3000 photos from our trip last week down to more than eight hundred with which I might create pages for my annual book. Yesterday, while I was sorting, my daughter shared with me some of her memories as a child. Without even opening an old album, I remembered what she was describing. I also knew that despite not having many photos from when she was a child, the photos I had captured helped her remember things we did together as a family.

After my daughter called, I thought about my granddaughter Kate and how much I want her to remember our time playing together. In my last post, I wrote that I don’t often hand my camera off to anyone else. That’s the reason I’m not often in the family photos. I just don’t like having my picture taken. As I’ve gotten older the dislike has only gotten worse. However, on this trip, I handed my camera to my son twice and asked him to take a few pictures of me and Kate playing together. Since photos of me are rare, I decided to begin creating pages about our trip with these photos of the two of us.

If I can get beyond the dilemma of too many photos, creating pages with templates is the easy part of my process. I began this 24×12 inch page with mask 5 from Hipster Plume FotoBlendz No. 7 placed over solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Paraiso. To each layer of the psd mask, I clipped linked copies of my photo.

I did not know exactly which template I would use. Sometimes, I switch out the masks included in templates just for the variety. Sometimes, I just like the look of a mask and then search for small frames from a template that fit the shape of the mask.

Since I wanted to combine photos from both days on one two page spread, I looked for a template that would accommodate a vertical photo of me and Kate standing in the water. I loved Kate’s wave to her daddy in this photo. I clipped it to the mask included with template 3 from WaterColor Template Album No. 4 as well as some of the template stains.

However, rather than use the supplied small frames, I chose two from template 11 from the same album. I had already used template 3 once, but by switching out the small frames with those from template 11, I changed the look and better accommodated two more vertical photos. I added brush 7,overlay 2 and a little boat (recolored with a color overlay from the style menu) from ArtPlay Palette Paraiso.

Note: I extracted Kate’s foot for an out of bounds look on the left side.

For color balance on my page, I decided to mix the photos across both sides rather than separate them by date. I chose just the frames, text boxes and urban thread from Simple FotoBlendz Template Album No. 2. However, I tilted the small frames a little so that they looked more like the style on the left. I clipped my photos to the small frames and adjusted the exposure and color of the water with adjustment layers. Because the included frames were a little larger, I deleted those and added a stroke style in white to the masks to simulate frames.

To add interest on the page gutter and to tie the two pages together, I placed another mask from Hipster Plume FotoBlendz No. 7, png file 4.

My page style is consistent with the other pages I’ve already finished for my book this year: a light background, journaling, clear page edges, something across the page gutter, an informal font title, urban threadz, minimal elements, masks and blending. However, this page is extra special in that I am now pictured in my book; I’m not just the author and photographer. The next time Kate says, “Grandma, play with me,” I will remember this page of memories playing together: holding hands while floating on our backs, jumping in the waves, riding a boat and climbing ladders to slip down slides.








Hand Off Your Camera

It rained this morning, so we decided to walk downtown in search of some candy. I selected some healthy dark chocolate pecans. I wish I had bought more than two now.

While we were walking through some other souvenir shops, I heard a voice, loudly saying, “Pizza, pizza, pizza”. As I turned a corner, there stood Kate wearing a pizza hat, holding another and dramatizing a pizza seller with an appropriate Italian accent.

Mommy said no to the idea of Kate taking one home.

During a break in the rain, we walked out the Riverwalk so I could get a family photo.

As we started back, a heavy downpour made everyone run!

After lunch, we played in one of the water parks again. Kate held my hand, saying “I’ll help you grandma,” as we climbed up the structure and slid down. The only one I didn’t like was the green one because it was too low once I slid off the thing.

Kate wanted to ride the bumper boats, but since she’s not tall enough to ride by herself, I told her that I would drive. I don’t often hand off my camera, but I did today.

Jeff returned my camera and I captured a few more photos. This is about the only one I have of Owen’s face. He doesn’t want his photo taken any more. He turns around if he sees me trying to capture him.

Thankfully, Logan is still willing to pose for a moment.

I just have to be quick to capture Kate.

Corbin is also still willing to show me what he’s doing so I can make a photo.

Later, when I got back from swimming 30 laps, Kate was sound asleep next to Mommy, but the boys were still out with Daddy.

I am the family photographer. I don’t really like having my own photo taken. However, as I imported the photos tonight, I think that maybe I should try to hand it off again tomorrow. Have you thought about handing off your camera?


Water Play

We’re in Wisconsin Dells playing this week. The favorite today was the wave pool, even Kate went out to jump the waves. She and I held hands and floated on our backs together.

Kate sadly watched her brother and daddy ride down a tube slide. She wanted a turn. So I went down with Corbin, Daddy and Kate.

She loved it and went again with Corbin, Mommy and Daddy.

That helper was so kind letting me put my camera in her jacket so it wouldn’t get wet while I rode the tube slide with Kate.

Corbin and Kate played together in the kiddie play area, but Kate spent far more time in the wave pool. I think her swim lessons have given her a lot more confidence in the water.

One more capture to share, a pensive moment for Corbin. I hope to capture such a moment with each of my grandchildren this week.


Dance, Dance, Dance

It doesn’t matter whether music is playing or not, Kate dances through her day. We went to the zoo and she danced below me on the wooden slats of the pavillion for watching the elephants. We walked to McDonald’s and she danced along the sidewalk. We went to the museum and she danced with a princess. It makes me smile seeing her shoes on backwards and knowing nothing deters her dancing.

To create a double page spread with these photos I captured last week at the zoo, I dragged the layers of another page,  Oh the Places She’ll Go, to a new 24×12 inch document.

I then placed the layers of file 7 from Simple FotoBlendz Template Album No. 2. I replaced the fotoblendz template file with file 5 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 8. To that I clipped artsy paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Meadow. I also reduced the size of the paper and clipped that to a stain from the template.

After turning back on the frames, I clipped additional copies of artsy paper 4 to two frames. To the top frame, I clipped most of the layers of transfer 2 from Artsy Transfers Meadow.

I actually extracted each of the photos of my granddaughter dancing and added a custom drop shadow to each before placing them on my page. I gave each extraction the same photo treatment that I gave to the photo on the right. Finishing the extractions first helped me decide which template to use. These photos were all taken from above where she was dancing. Basically I used the frames and masks to ground the extractions and provide color for my page.

On the right side, I added two frames from Simple FotoBlendz Album No. 1. To each frame mask, I clipped layers from file 5 of Artsy Transfers Meadow arranging them to provide a background for the extraction. I also stamped a brush from ArtsyStains No. 6. To that I clipped additional layers from Artsy Transfers Meadow to extend the scene.

To finish my page, I added another copy of a flower from MultiMedia Flowers No. 4, rotated it and reduced it’s size. Above, I place png file 2 from MultiMedia Suns No. 1. I wrote my journaling and added a subtitle to tie the two pages together.






Oh the Places She’ll Go

Yesterday, I went to the zoo with my grandchildren. Sometimes they will stop and pose for me, generally they don’t. While there I captured a series of shots of Kate dramatically posing and twirling as she danced on the wooden planks in a pavilion for viewing the new elephants. I didn’t have a specific idea for a page as I played with my camera; I simply wanted to capture her fun movements as I quickly angled my camera in different directions following the lines in the wooden planks. I don’t think this was the best shot, but the perspective worked well for the page I created. It’s always a good idea to capture at least one shot from behind someone. You never know when it might be needed in a scene.

Generally, I begin my scrapbook pages with a photo. In this case I began this page by placing transfer 6 from ArtPlay Palette Meadow on a new 12×12 inch document. There is a meadow near our home that looks very much like this transfer and I simply wanted to play with it to create a scene.

I decided to place that photo from the back of Kate in my scene. I extracted her with the Quick Selection tool and applied a layer mask. I rotated the photo to get a better angle and reduced the photo size just a little so that her head appeared to be just above the horizon line on the transfer in order to create perspective. The transfer has a watercolor look so I duplicated the photo and applied a filter using Topaz Simplify. I added a drop shadow style, created a layer from the style, warped it and masked out a part that was too dark. I then added another drop shadow. In other words, there are two shadows giving my granddaughter dimension on this page.

To ground my granddaughter, I placed transfer 3 from APP Meadow below her and above transfer 6. I added an inverted mask and brought back in just enough to fill in the ground.

I added two copies of png file 2, each sized differently and rotated, from MultiMedia Flowers No. 4 for color and to create an unmatched visual triangle with Kate’s pink shoes. I could have recolored the blooms a pink, but I thought that was too soft for the vibrant blues and greens in the scene. I placed word art 5 from Summer WordArt Mix No. 1 and thread 12 from ButtonThreadz No. 2.

Finally, I added a title and another copy of the multimedia flower higher on the left side to create a diagonal visual line of flowers across my page.

I’m not usually so quick with my creative process, but once I saw that transfer, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.


I have some beautiful Sarah Bernhardt peonies blooming in my yard, but the variety growing at Lauritzen Gardens offered a far more spectacular show for a photography enthusiast like me. Peonies don’t bloom long, but I was able to capture these in the middle of May. Most of the photos included on this page are straight out of the camera.

The large photo on the left is my favorite; despite the mid afternoon sun, I love the bokeh in the background. I placed the photo on the left and placed 12×12 solid paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Soul on the right.

Next, I added the layers of FotoInspired DoubleTemplate No. 69 and reduced the size about 15%.

I clipped my photos to the small frames and made adjustments on two photos.

To finish my page, I recolored layers from FotoInspired EdgeTemplates No. 1 and lace from Artsy Transfers Authentic.

Creating a flower book with these templates seems almost too easy, but I think it’s going to be beautiful when finished.

Bleeding Hearts

If you had asked me ten years ago the name of these flowers, Dicentra ‘Bleeding Hearts’, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I have tried to grow them, but they don’t seem to like my gardening style. I have a gardening philosophy that if a plant is too picky in my yard, it is promptly replaced. I am actually more familiar with the phrase “bleeding heart” in reference to labeling someone, i.e. myself. However, that idea didn’t come to me until I was ready to write the journaling for this page. I do think the flowers are beautiful. I captured these bleeding hearts in April while walking Lauritzen Gardens.

There is nothing quite like a template to simplify my process for creating a page. For this one, I used Artsy Layered Template No. 237. Sometimes, I turn off all the background layers and use just the frames for a page. In fact, I store most templates with only the frames, stains, and artstrokes visible on my hard drive. In this case, I turned off the frames to get a better idea of the background layers and how I might use them.

To each of the stains I clipped a copy of one photo to which I had first applied a basic filter in Topaz Studio in order to brighten it. I linked all the duplicated photo copies after I applied the filter to the original. I deleted a few of the template layers and added layer masks to blend out some edges. I placed solid paper 3 from ArtPlay Across the Miles at the bottom of the layers panel. I chose the green background because I thought the photo blended better into the background than it did on white. I do love white backgrounds, but sometimes the contrast in color makes the edges too harsh.

I clipped three photos showing details of the bleeding hearts to each of the small frames.

Finally, I added some stitched hearts from UrbanStitched Hearts No. 3 to balance the black in my title and journaling.

As I mentioned above, the content of my journaling didn’t come to me until I had finished the page. I don’t think I am excessive in the way that some might use the words “bleeding heart”, although I do hope to leave the world a better place for my grandchildren. Yes, I am a bleeding heart in the sense that I think it would be a shame not to be a good steward of all we’ve been given.

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