February 2011

6 posts.

Guest Post: Creating Photo Strips

Please welcome former Creative Team member (and frequent SBE contributor) Shannon Zickel as the guest blogger this week!

If you would have asked me last year if I would be able to resize photos and create photo strips all by myself I would have thought you were delusional—especially if you had said I would be able to do it without taking any special classes or buying a book.  But after a little trial and error, I’ve come up with a formula that works well for me (and hopefully for you too). It allows me to quickly create photo strips to use in my layouts.  This has become my go to page design because it allows me to fit lots of pictures on a page.  These types of photo strips are great for vacation, sports seasons, and school and holiday recap pages.  You can use the photo strips alone, in a group or you can combine them with a larger focal photo for even more impact.

In the instructions below I am using the very ancient Photoshop Elements 2.0. I actually have newer versions but find myself gravitating to this version. While I have not tested these instructions on other versions, my guess would be that the instructions are very similar.  I also am sure that I am not doing this the professional way—as I said, I just learned this all on my own.  So there may be shortcuts I am missing or other thoughts on ways to improve. If you have one make sure to share it in the comments!

I begin by opening all the photos I want to scrap for an event.  Probably the hardest part of this process is the photo selection.  I find for me strips with four vertical photos, five horizontal photos, or one focal vertical combined with three horizontal photos work best.  For the example I am showing I used two strips of four vertical pictures and one strip of a combination of three horizontal and one larger vertical photo.

Now I am ready to start cropping and resizing my photos.  I choose the crop tool in PSE  and then I set the dimensions.  When I am working on a four vertical strip I set the dimensions at 1.75″ for the width and 2.25″ for the height.  I then set the resolution to 300 pixels/inch.  This setting is the standard for printing and allows for all photos to remain the same relative size when we transfer them to the new document for printing.  Once the dimensions are set I use the crop tool to crop my photo.

I then work through all the vertical photos(with the exception of the one that will be my larger focal photo) sizing them in the same way.

With the vertical photos all resized I move onto the horizontal photos.  I simply change the dimensions to a width of 2.25″ and a height of 1.75″ keeping the resolution the same at 300 pixels/inch. Once the dimensions are set I crop each of the horizontal photos.

The order in which you resize the pictures is not important; you just want to resize them all the appropriate sizes.  If you are using a larger vertical photo in combination with horizontal photos to complete a strip, then you will want to use the dimensions of 2.5″ as the width and 3.75″ as the height.  This will create a slightly larger photo that will match the width of the horizontal photos chosen for your photo strip.

With all the photos resized I quickly pull them all to the left of my workspace.

Now you are ready to open a new document to create your photo strips.  Start by selecting File and choosing new document.  You will want to create this document as an 8.5×11″ document for printing and set the resolution at 300 pixels/inch.  Make sure the drop down boxes on the right are set to inches and pixels/inch.

With your new document over you are now ready to begin moving pictures into this new document.  You will use the Move tool to do this.  After clicking on the Move tool, move your cursor to the photo you want and right-click and hold as you drag the photo to the new document.  Once you have the photo placed on the new document you can release the mouse to drop the photo.

After I move the picture, I minimize the original photo on the right, just part of my own process that allows me to work through all the photos quickly.  I am careful not to close the photo just in case I have made an error on my dimensions or pixel settings.  I also don’t want to save these resized photos, as I do not want to lose my original photo settings. I work through all the photos moving them one at a time to the new document.  At this point I don’t pay any particular attention to where they go on the new document; I just want to get them all over there.

Once all the photos have been moved I group them in the order I want them to appear on the photo strips.

I then increase my viewing ratio up to around 75% so I can align the pictures to be even on the edges.  While you could choose to place the photos and then crop them to create even edges, I choose to do this visual alignment as a shortcut.

With all the photos aligned I can reduce my viewing back down and get ready for the final step before printing, flattening your images.  Choose Layer from the top menu bar and scroll down to choose flatten image. Now you are ready to print!

Don’t’ let the number of screen shots intimidate you.  This really is a very simple process, and after you have tried it once you will see just how easy it is.

Now comes the fun part, time to create!

Personally, I like to trim my photo strips leaving a very small white border around the edges. That is certainly not a requirement, do what makes you happy.  And I also find myself overlapping several photo strips, again a personal choice.  As mentioned earlier, these photo strips are great for getting a lot of pictures into a layout.  Whether you choose to use one strip alone or combine three or four steps, once you get the hang of creating these photo strips I have a feeling you will be as addicted as I am to them!


Categories: Tutorials | Tags:

Guest Post: Card Sketch 2

This week, the guest blog post is from Valerie Salmon. Valerie’s previous sketches are still available on our blog—check out her first card sketch, multiphoto layout sketch, and her first sketch post.

Cardmakers, we’ve got a new sketch for you to tackle!

Even with very little time, you can put together a card in a snap with basic supplies and tools from your stash.  Try it!

Coincidentally, my friends and I all did birthday-themed cards as examples!  Totally unplanned.

Don’t you agree that one can never have enough extra birthday cards to hand out?  :)   I like to pre-make several ahead of time to grab-and-go or mail out when I need one.

“Happy Birthday”

Designed by Valerie Salmon

SOURCES  Scarlet Lime – February ’11 kit.  Cupcake punch:  Fiskars.  Scallop circle punch:  Marvy Uchida.  Border punch:  EK Success.  Font:  Century Gothic.

Designer’s Notes:
I’m really loving cupcakes right now, more than ever.  So, there is no surprise that I put my Fiskars cupcake punch to use when I put this birthday card together.  I created the circular accent first, then the rest of the card just fell into place—thanks to the sketch.  It was so easy!



Designed by Ingrid Danvers

SOURCES  Cardstock, patterned paper, ribbon, stamps: Papertrey Ink. Stickers: American Crafts. Ink: Papertrey Ink (Hawaiian Shores), Versafine by Tsukineko (Onyx Black).   Adhesive dots: Zva Creative.  Die-cutting tool: Big Shot by Sizzix.  Dies: Papertrey Ink (Mat Stack 3, Limitless Labels: 1-3/4″ Circle Collection), MFT Stamps (Die-namics Open Scallop Border).

Designer’s Notes:
I followed the sketch closely. I’ve chosen a different shape for the labels. I used adhesive dots to adhere the different die-cut shapes to create more depth. Sewing is one of my favorite techniques as stitching adds more texture to a project. I chose the polka dot stamps to match the polka dot patterned paper to create a well balanced design.



Designed by Rae Barthel

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper.  Patterned paper:, die cut Teresa Collins Designs.  Ribbon: Hobby Lobby.  Rhinestone: Prima Marketing, Inc.  Pen: Sharpie.  Punch: EK Success.

Designer’s Notes:
I just love Valerie’s sketches, they are always so approachable, and I am always pleased with my completed cards.
On this card, I went with a clean and simple approach. I felt that adding the black cardstock added a bold punch to the already bold primary colors of the Teresa Collins patterned paper.


“Happy Birthday”

Designed by Lisette Gibbons

SOURCES  Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper, Papertrey Ink.  Patterned Paper: October Afternoon. Font: Breathe off the Internet.  Die, stamps: Papertrey Ink. Ink: Papertrey Ink (Chamomile), Stampin’ Up! (Certainly Celery).  Ribbon: Vandoros.  Punch: Marvy Uchida.  Twine: Martha Stewart Crafts.

Designer’s Notes:
The give the sketch a little bit more depth, I stuck the green paper on the top and bottom down with 3D dots. I also adhered the borders to the green paper. Instead of using a stamp for the sentiment, I choose to create it on the computer with a font I recently purchased and absolutely adore. I made a double bow in the ribbon to give it that extra luxury feeling.


Have fun!


Visit Valerie’s sketch blog, Got Sketch?, for 100+ sketches ideas and classes!

Categories: Sketches | Tags:
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DIY Flowers

Brighten up your pages and projects with these handmade flowers found on the opener of our “DIY Flowers” story in the April issue.

Scalloped Puffs

  1. Punch five scalloped circles from cardstock.
  2. Soak the circles in water for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the scalloped circles from the bowl and blot the excess water with a paper towel.
  4. Stack the five scalloped circles and stick a brad through the center.
  5. Beginning with the top layer, scrunch all the sides up together. Repeat with each layer until the flower is formed. Let it dry completely.

Fringed Flowers

  1. Cut a long strip of cardstock, and fringe-cut 2/3 of one side.
  2. Gently fold down the first few fringed pieces on one end and begin rolling strip with these folds inside.
  3. Once rolled, gently fold back all remaining fringes outward and add an adhesive dot at the end of the strip to secure.

Spiral Flowers

  1. With a pencil, lightly draw a 4″ circle and a spiral from the outside to the center of the circle. (Increase or decrease the size of the circle to change the size of the resulting flower.)
  2. Cut out the spiral using decorative-edge scissors.  Be sure the decorative edge faces the outside of the circle.
  3. Bend the tips of the decorative-edge down and roll into a spiral, beginning at the outer end of the spiral. Be sure to bend the tips toward the side with pencil marks (so they will be hidden on the back of the flower).  Let the flower relax and adhere at the center/end of the spiral to secure.

What’s your favorite paper flower to make?

Categories: Scraps | Tags:

A contributing editor goes to CHA…

Hi everyone, and Happy Valentine’s Day! Polly here. If there’s one thing I love any day of the year, it’s a behind-the-scenes look into just about anything. So, I thought you might enjoy just a little bit of what it’s like going to CHA as a contributing editor.

If you haven’t heard of it, CHA stands for Crafts and Hobby Association. Twice a year the association holds a conference and trade show where manufacturers of all kinds of craft products basically come and set up little storefronts to sell their new products. Buyers for stores, and others interested (like us in the media), get to go check out the new goodies. Classes are also taught, receptions are held, and there’s a keynote speaker each time. You might’ve heard people throwing around the word “CHAW”, and that just means its CHA-Winter…this season’s version of the show. (The summer show takes place in July, usually in Chicago.) This year the winter show was in Los Angeles (which was a breath of fresh air for those of us living in the snowbelt.)

Manufacturers large and small set up booths that reflect their company’s personality. Some are decorated simply, and others elaborately. It’s always a so fun to see how they embellish their space, and its no small feat transporting all the products and everything that goes into the booths (carpet, shelving, décor, etc.). The creative folks at Melissa Frances, known for their beautiful vintage products, brought an insanely cute pink oven to display in their booth in honor of their Kitschy Kitchen collection. (Can you imagine shipping the oven all the way to the show?)

The Die Cuts With a View booth was beautifully decorated with paper dresses displayed on mannequins, and festive tabletops nestled beneath paper-covered chandeliers using their products. So. Darn. Cool. Every year I come away feeling like I got a double dose shot of inspiration. Its easy to see why.

As a contributing editor its my job to see as much as I can, paying close attention to the manufacturers I’m assigned to cover, and then report back to the rest of the Scrapbooks etc. crew at our daily meetings. Everyone comes prepared with their “Top 5” favorites of the day (sometimes it nearly impossible to limit ourselves to just five so we sneak in a 6thpick).  We talk about trends, ideas for things we think you’d like to see in the magazine, and anything else that caught our attention as we scoured the show. There are inevitably products that trip everyone’s triggers like the new SMASHbook from EK Success. (Stay tuned for more on that!)

Some of our favorite finds, though, reflect our different personalities and scrapbooking styles. I hoard good, solid, not-too-crazy letter stickers. These 12×12 sheets of cardstock stickers from Bella Blvd.’s new Sophisticates line have three different fonts (one with sort of a cool Techno-feel, one straight sans serif, and then a mini at the bottom). I will be stocking up.

Not only are we looking at new products, but we get treated to the work of many talented designers whose work is displayed in the booths. Its like walking through a 3D idea book. We saw this cute creation at the Studio Calico booth.

At the end of each day, we’ve seen lots of great new products, made some make-and-takes, talked with many creative people, and appreciated a really, really good pair of walking shoes. (I fare pretty well in my favorite Danskos.) And, the best thing about the shows? Getting to spend time with the very creative, fun, kind, and downright awesome people I work with. Here we are getting our picture taken in the photo booth Doodlebug Design set up to celebrate their 10th anniversary. (Left to right…Michelle Rubin, Leah Fung, me, Brittany Hopkins, and Deb Berger. We missed you, Candi!)

It always takes me a day or two to recover from the show, but it never fails to be a worthwhile trip. As they say on SNL’s Delicious Dish….”Good times.”

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Guest Post: Crafty Valentines

Please welcome Contributing Editor Candi Gershon as this week’s guest blogger!

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s time to start on those Valentine gifts if you haven’t already.  I love making valentines, but with two school-aged children, we are making 40. I want them to be cute and clever, but I need them to be easy and simple enough to mass produce.

On top of those, we have teacher’s gifts that we like to make special as well.  My kids love to bring in special things for their teachers, and valentines are no exception.

This year, while strolling through my local craft store, my son and I spotted these heart shaped cookie cutters and we had to have them. Immediately I thought they would make cute Valentine’s Day ornaments and a fun craft. We punched a couple holes in the top with our trusty Crop-a-dile, attached a  photo covered in Mod Podge to the back, added a sticker for a shadow box effect, and strung some ribbon through it. Voila! I know a few grandparents who would love to have some of these.

For the teachers this year, I decided to make clipboards.  What teacher can’t use a clipboard?  I have been painting a lot lately and knew this would be a fun way to create an original gift that is useful as well.  I started by applying  a layer of gesso (found at your craft store) on the clipboards (just to be sure the paint had a toothed surface to stick to). Once that was dry, I added a coat of white paint, then a coat of green, then pressed pink painted bubble wrap onto the surface, then we scraped some blue and brown on the edges for added color (using an old credit card to scrape the paint). Finally, I used trusty Mod Podge to add a bird and quotes I had printed onto cardstock. I also added a branch that I cut out from brown patterned paper, and a heart I punched out.  I then added letter stickers spelling the teachers names and a final coat of Mod Podge.  Ribbon was the final touch.  The kids love these clipboards and can’t wait to give them to their teachers.

Once the clipboards were finished, it was time to work on the classroom valentines.  My kids like to give out candy, so our first step is always to find the candy we are passing out. This year we were very excited to see heart-shaped chocolate-covered  Peeps.  We knew instantly what our gift tag would say. Every year I take a picture of the kids holding a sign of some sort (sometimes it’s a large shaped felt heart, this year it was a blank poster board). I add the text through my photo-editing program, as my kids have completely different font choices.

My son is getting to the age where the valentine has to be “cool” or he’s not into it.  This year he requested I forgo a ribbon and just staple his card on because ribbons are too “girlie”. I thought this was a great idea (and actually quite the timesaver). The cards we attached are just wallet sized, so they are easy and reasonable to make quite a few.

The important thing is to just have fun. We always lean on the simple side as between homework, afterschool activities, and just life in general, there isn’t always a ton of time for detailed craft work. Not to mention, when you are crafting with kids, they tend to lose interest completely if things get too difficult.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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April Issue Preview


Coming soon to a newsstand or mailbox near you!

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