Archives for April 2011

How can you resist?

Twisted Sketches launches its 98th sketch today, and the twist this time is “paint.” The sketch and the design team’s interpretations are awaiting you at Twisted Sketches’ site…and here is my design team contribution using the new sketch:


That's me, wearing Daddy's clip-on sunglasses and enjoying the Ohio sunshine.

This is the sketch:


Twisted Sketch #98 calls for 2 photos

For the “paint” twist I was inspired to try a resist technique on the talk bubble using white shimmer paint. I have done resist techniques with ink and embossing powder before but had not yet tried paint resist, so I thought I would show a quick step-by-step just in case it might inspire you to try it on a future layout.

  1. Gather your supplies: Acrylic paint, rubber stamp, Distress Inks and foam applicators.


    This technique doesn't take much in the way of supplies.

  2. Apply paint (shimmer paint in my example) to the stamp image and stamp it carefully (don’t smear it) on a spare bit of cardstock.
  3. Immediately take your rubber stamp to a sink and clean it well with soap and water. It’s best not to let the acrylic paint dry on the stamp as it may be harder to remove.
  4. If you’re patient wait until the paint thoroughly dries. If not, hit it with your heat tool for a minute or two.
  5. Start applying the Distress Inks with a circular motion and blend your colors a little where they meet. I used the three colors shown in the photo, but of course there are no rules about how many you use.
  6. Slightly mist a paper towel with water and gently buff off the extra ink from the painted areas to reveal the true color!

Here is a close-up of the final effect. I think I like it!


This close-up photo shows how the shimmer paint resisted the inks.

If you decide to try this quick technique after reading my post, have your people call my people please leave a comment and a link so I can see what you’ve done!

My day in photos


See more days here.

April showers bring Easter flowers

This is the first time I have decided to participate in the sketch challenge at the My Mind’s Eye blog. The sketch was inspiring to me and the theme was “April showers,” so I pulled out these great photos of my mom and brother from last year’s Easter photo shoot among the gorgeous flowers at the Duke Gardens in Durham, NC.


Duke Gardens always looks lovely, but the flowers were especially beautiful last April for Easter.

Scrapper on the edge: Part 2 + FREEBIE

If you haven’t already read Part 1, you can get the background story here.

The other day I ranted a bit about a problem that I believe must affect other scrappers as it does me. I’m talking about sending your photos out to be printed (at Walgreens, Costco, Snapfish, etc.) and getting them back with the edges cut off. Unacceptable!

Now, if I printed my photos just as they come from my camera I probably wouldn’t notice this problem (as the woman at the Walgreens photo counter pointed out, nobody else had ever seemed bothered by it). But I don’t; I spend a good deal of time in the process of preparing to print them:

  1. I choose which photos I’m going to work with on a layout.
  2. I decide in what size I’ll need each of them.
  3. I color correct them.
  4. I crop them to size.
  5. And sometimes I even put special frames on them.

So nothing about my photos—when they’re finally uploaded to the printer—is accidental. Which is why I don’t want all that effort to feel like a waste of time when I see what the photo labs do once they get hold of them!

On a side note: One of my sweet readers, SammyD, works in a photo lab and left me some really helpful information in the comments on my Part 1 post. She explained that the cropping happens because most cameras take photos with a 6×8 ratio (compared to the 2×3 ratio of most of the photos we print). She suggests adding a small border (she says 2 mm.; I say 0.0625 in., or 1/16th) to your photos before submitting them may help with this problem. Want more of an explanation of aspect ratios in still photography? Read here.

My reaction, though, was to devise a test image that I could upload to various printers in order to determine:

  • where I can get my photos printed that will return to me something that looks more like what I submitted without enlarging my original and then cutting off the edges…or barring that
  • how I can adjust my photo prep to account for the crap photo labs do with them

The test image I created includes four 1/16th-inch frames in varying colors, making it is easy to determine what has been cut off by the printer. I submitted this test image to three photo labs in town (labs that I thought many towns are likely to have), and here are the results. Please click on each image to really see the cropping details/differences. Also, you’ll probably notice that there’s quite a bit of variation in the colors that came back from each lab. Let’s save that conversation for another day! :-)


The original test image that I sent to the printers

Notice how on the Walgreens photo most of the outer blue border is missing, and the image is tilted. The left edge has also been cropped closer than the right.


This is the result from Walgreens.

The photo I received from Costco was cut off more at the top than the bottom and lost pretty much the whole outer 1/16th-inch border and part of the second border.


This is the result from Costco

Archiver's version came out missing all of the outer border and almost all of the second!


This is the result from Archiver's

So, it’s time for the FREEBIE: download the full-resolution version of the test image I created and send it to your printer of choice. I recommend sending it with each of your next several orders just to establish for yourself what kind of cropping they do and with what consistency. Then you can make adjustments that will lead to getting your photos back more as you envisioned them to begin with.

If you download this file please leave me a comment to let me know. I do hope this is helpful to you.

There, now I feel a little better! :-)

Spanning a score of years

I really appreciate the layouts I see that compare people at different times in their life. So I pulled out two photos of Matt’s nephew, Aaron, at the ages of 4 and 24 and got to work on a layout to compare them.

The hardest part about this layout for me was finding products that would work well for both times in a boy’s life. But once I did, the sketch I found on helped it all come together. Following is the resulting layout as well as the sketch.


Aaron at 4 & 24: A boy grows into a man

The sketch calls for one large or two smaller photos and lots of attention on the border.