Monthly Archives: March 2009

Postcards Grouped!


One good thing about long layovers at airports (at least those who are kind enough to have outlets for laptop users) … you get ‘stuff’ done while you wait … andthe bonus for the airport? with a laptop travelers much more patient!

After I finished my set of Postcards from the Edge (see yesterday’s entry) I got to thinking … (HEY! no snickering!) … I would probably LOVE to have groups of the postcards all set up and ready for adding to a layout. This is the result – what do you think?

Three groups of Postcards - Ready, Set, GO!

Three groups of Postcards - Ready, Set, GO!

I’m thinking I’ll go through my photo collection from last winter’s trip down PCH (ok … for you mid-continenters, that’s the TLA for Pacific Coast Highway … a trip I highly recommend – LA to San Francisco in Feb – beautiful!) and have several pages done LICKITY SPLIT!


Postcards from the Edge


While spending my day in one airport or another, one plane or another yesterday I decided to add to My Store! These postcards can be used individually to enhance a layout or they can be the focal point of your layout! There are seven inspirational words – all cards have a thin black line accenting the photo area. One set of the postcards includes staples. You can embellish the cards by adding a date or location in small print on the lower right corner … just like the cards you find in the gift shops when you are traveling!

Cards are ‘photo ready’ for any 4×6 image. They come in PSD and PNG format, with and without shadows.

Postcards from the Edge - Digital Elements

Postcards from the Edge - Digital Elements

Use your keyboard to manage Layers!


Okay … by now you know I LOVE Quick Keys, right?! So today I’m going to share 4 of my favorite quick keys that help me work with the Layers Palette without EVER moving my mouse over to it!

Changing the ORDER of my current layer

  • CTRL + [ will move my current layer down one layer at a time
  • CTRL + ] will move my current layer UP one layer at a time

Changing the ACTIVE layer

  • ALT + [ moves ME to the next layer down (changing the active layer to the layer below where I was)
  • ALT + ] moves me to the next layer UP (changing the active layer to the layer above where I was)

OK . . . I know . . . right now you are thinking WHY WOULD I CARE? I mean, really! How hard is it to just go to the Layers Palette and do this stuff there? Am I right? Well … here are a couple time I can say I totally depend on these tools!

Creating a new Text Layer – sometimes I quickly switch to the Text Tool, click, and start typing ONLY to discover that my text is BELOW something in my layout and I can’t see what I’m typing!!! Aargh! Well … no problem! I just press CTRL + ] until I can see the text and then I’m ready to continue typing!

When I need to make custom shadows . . . I definitely use these commands then (see my tutorial for details)

When I am duplicating layers (CTRL=J) and want to quickly change their order in the Layers Palette … no need to go get that mouse until I’m done.

I KNOW there are more so will come back and add them as I discover them! You may want to check this post off & on as it’s likely to change!

Changing Image Size quickly


DigiScrappers! This one’s for you. We all do it … once our page layout is done, we save several ‘versions’, right?

  1. Full-size, layered PSD file (300 ppi)
    This you keep just in case you need to make changes once the proofs are printed.
  2. Full-size JPG file (300 ppi)
    This is flattened and will be used for final printing. It must be printed on a square paper/book OR converted to an 8×10 canvas or a 12×18 canvas etc prior to being printed.
  3. Web-size JPG file (72 ppi)
    This file is for display in your online gallery(s)

So, you find yourself going to the Image>Resize>Image Size menu (Elements) or Edit>Image Size (CS) to change the ppi size right?  Well … see if these quick keys don’t speed things up for you just a bit!


Likewise, if you ever need to expand your canvas beyond your current size,

pops you into the Canvas Size dialog box!

Ms Scarlett’s First Page – Makeover!


I decided to do a makeover on the page I made for Ms. Scarlett last week. It’s not really ‘extreme’ … just a little different twist. The day we took the photos it was SO HOT in the bathroom we (baby, mama, grama) were all ‘buff’ … I told you it was a sweat lodge right?  Anyway, I decided to blend into the background a photo that “Mama” took of Grama (me) and Baby … seemed like a nice play on the title …

My baby was holding Her baby … and I was holding My baby’s Baby …  without further adieu … here it is …

Mother's Hands - A collection of memories from Ms Scarlett's first bath

Custom Shadows made easy!


Today, I’ve been working on some layouts and doing my quick custom shadows ‘thing’ and got to wondering . . . do you suppose anyone else would like to know a quick way to get them done? So, just in case you are interested . . . here’s myway . . . no explanations, no sidebar, just the steps!

  1. Click on the layer that is needing a custom shadow!
  2. Press V
  3. CTRL + J
  4. CTRL + [
  5. CTRL + U
  6. TAB 3 times, type -100
  8. Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur . . . type 5 (adjust as needed)
  10. CTRL + T (Free Transform . . . we are going to warp the shadow now)

    If PSCS … activate WARP (icon on top menu bar)

  11. Now, let’s bend, stretch, warp our shadow as desired (grab the control boxes to do this).

    If you are using Photoshop Elements … press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT and then click and pull the corners to warp as desired.
    If you need some tips on this, check out THIS tutorial (PSE users)

  12. Type a number between 3 and 7 until you get a shadow with appropriate ‘look’

That’s it!  I have it so memorized that I no longer really think about it … my fingers just have the ‘Rocking Motion’ d-o-w-n … bodda-bing-bodda-boom.

IF you wait and do all your custom shadows at the end of your design process it’s even quicker because your Filter can just be reapplied by typing CTRL+F (making step 8&9 ONE VERY QUICK STEP!)

So . . . go forth and create! Have fun! Tell your story!

Tutorial – Warp a photo frame in Elements

Have you seen those FAB warped photos people are putting in their digital layouts? Really wishing you could do that, but you don’t have the full blown version of Photoshop? Well … fret no more! Elements users CAN warp an image!!! I wrote this tutorial for our Annual Spring DigiChick Retreat (Mar 2009) and decided to share it with you, too. I walk you through the process one step at a time:

  1. Create the ‘frame’
  2. Warp the ‘frame’
  3. Add custom shadow for the ‘frame’

Here you go!

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