A Christmas Card for SQSC14

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This week’s Stampin’ Queens Sketch Challenge (SQSC14) is another series of rectangles. Here’s the original sketch:

SQSC12 Design

I knew I would never come up with something as clever as my Mime card for SQSC13, so I just went for coordinated papers from the Letters to Santa Designer Series Paper. I tried to go with simple solids, as some of the example cards had, but it just looked too flat. That is one of the challenges of working exclusively with the My Digital Studio software. It’s nearly impossible to pull off something as elegant and lovely as Simply Sara Stampin’s all white anniversary card.

I found that I had to play with the papers a bit. If I didn’t use patterns, it just looked silly, but if I just used two patterns of Designer Series Paper in this sketch layout, it was far too busy. I ultimately settled on this design, a mix of three patterns and a solid:

Christmas Card for SQSC14

Here’s the breakdown on the elements:

  • Background: Letters to Santa—3
  • Large Square (pink): Letters to Santa—11
  • Borders and Long Rectangle: Letters to Santa—2
  • Solid: Very Vanilla
  • Stamp Brush Sets: Merry & Type—small post, and All Holidays—Christmas, both in Early Espresso
  • Embellishments: Grosgrain Ribbon and Bow, both in Old Olive

Making Homemade Glitter Paper

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I made the homemade glitter paper I have been using in my projects with Photoshop CS5. I’m sure you can use a similar process to make your own glitter paper using another version of Photoshop or another image editor. This is just the software that I happen to have and use most often.

I will provide the most basic instructions here. The process is not very complicated, but you could play with the filters extensively to try to fine tune the look. I will leave the fun of playing with the tools to you. Here is what I did to create the basic files:

  1. Create a new file in Photoshop that is 12" by 12" (or whatever size you like), with 300 pixels/inch, and with the background set to Transparent.
  2. In My Digital Studio, choose the Color Fill option and choose the color you want.
  3. Click the RGB tab in the Choose Color dialog to get the values for the color you have chosen. It should look something like this:
    RGB Tab in Choose Color dialog
  4. Go back to Photoshop and set the foreground color to the RGB values for your color.
  5. For most colors you want, set the background color to white (RGB values 255, 255, 255). See the note below for more info.
  6. Fill the 12" by 12" image with your foreground color.
  7. From the Filter menu, choose Texture » Grain…
  8. Set Intensity to 100.
  9. Set Contrast to 50.
  10. Set Grain Type to Enlarged.
  11. Click OK.
  12. From the Filter menu, choose Noise » Add Noise…
  13. Set Amount to 4%.
  14. Choose Uniform Distribution.
  15. Check the Monochromatic checkbox.
  16. Click OK.
  17. Save the file as a JPG with your photos or following Stampin’ Up’s suggestion and saving in a new folder for your glitter paper in one of these locations:
    • For a PC: Program Files>My Digital Studio>Components>Backgrounds>Designer Series Paper.
    • For a Mac: Applications>My Digital Studio>Components>Backgrounds>Designer Series Paper.

That’s it. It looks complicated than it is because I broke the steps down so much.

Let me add a couple of notes however. First, I suggest setting the background color to white. That works for most colors to create a sort of shine. For very light colors, however, you may need to choose a light gray for your background color. For my white glitter paper, for instance, I set the background to RGB values 238, 238, 238. You may have to experiment to find a suitable contrast.

Second, try experimenting with any of the settings above to get the effect you want. You may find that increasing the amount of Noise works better for you. It’s ultimately about whatever you want, so once you understand the basic idea you can play around to customize the look.

Using Homemade Glitter Paper in My Digital Studio

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Once you have some homemade glitter paper, the process to using it is basically the same as adding any photo to a punch. If you have followed Stampin’ Up suggestion and saved the glitter paper files in a new folder with the other Designer Series Paper in your Backgrounds, it’s extremely easy:

  1. Add a punch to your project.
  2. Click Paper Fill.
  3. Navigate to the location where you saved the glitter paper. If it’s with your other backgrounds, it will look something like this:
    Paper Fill Dialog in My Digital Studio
  4. Choose the color you want and click OK.
  5. See the notes on Zoom and printing at the end of this post for more details.

If you’ve saved the glitter paper somewhere else, the process is a little more complicated.

  1. Add a punch to your project.
  2. Click Paper Fill, and choose any random paper. It won’t matter what design.
  3. Double-click on the punched image and the Punch Image Editor comes up.
  4. Click on the Replace Image button (shown below):
    Replace Image Dialog in My Digital Studio
  5. Navigate to the location where you saved the glitter paper. The glitter paper will load.
  6. Click the Reset button at the bottom of the dialog to remove any zooming that My Digital Studio has added to the image.

Note that you can play with the Zoom buttons in this Editor, but I found the best results were to use the Reset button and leave it as it was originally. If it is reduced too much, the glitter seems to disappear and you are left with a sort of flocked look. If it is enlarged too much, the glitter turns into over-sized splotches and pixels.

Finally, I should add a word about printing. The glitter paper works best on the screen. It is not meant for printouts. When you print it out on regular paper, it looks flatter. You can experiment with your printer, but you will never achieve an actual Glimmer Paper look. I did find that if you print on glossy paper (like photo paper), the shine of the paper makes the printout look much better than on general paper or cardstock. You may find a use that works for you, but I would definitely test things before committing to any large printout!

How to Download Homemade Glitter Paper

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CherryGlitter_9x9Sadly Stampin’ Up hasn’t released Glimmer Paper for the My Digital Studio software. Partially, I think, that they are concerned about the difficulty of printing a page that looks glimmery without any real glitter on the page. Most of my work is online, so I took a stab at creating my own glittery-look paper. The cherry color to the right began as the same shade as Cherry Cobbler and then I modified it in Photoshop to get the glitter effect on the screen. I’m writing a series of posts on how to download the paper, how to use it in My Digital Studio, and how to make your own.

If you do not have Photoshop or just want a color that I have already made, you can find all of the glitter paper that I have made on my Flickr account. To download the images, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Glitter Paper on Flickr.
  2. Click on the image for the color you want. The names are similar to (but not the same as) the SU color names.
  3. Go to the Actions menu on the upper left (under the words Flickr and Home).
  4. Choose the View all sizes link.
  5. Click on Original (2700 x 2700). It will be the right-most link.
  6. Right click on the 2700 x 2700 image and choose Save Image As….
  7. Note that you should be saving a JPG file. You can also change the name from the odd string of letters and numbers that Flickr assigns to something understandable.
  8. Choose a location on your computer for the file. The security or anti-virus software on your computer may mean that you need to save the file to a Downloads folder or to your Desktop. You can move the file later if necessary. If you can, save (or later move) the file to the folder with other background files used by My Digital Studio, as Stampin’ Up suggests. You may want to create a new folder for your glitter paper if desired in one of these locations:
    ——For a PC: Program Files>My Digital Studio>Components>Backgrounds>Designer Series Paper.
    ——For a Mac: Applications>My Digital Studio>Components>Backgrounds>Designer Series Paper.

That’s all you need to do to get a copy of the glitter paper on your computer. Note that the images have a Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial license. That means that you can use the images freely in your designs, but you may not sell the paper. I don’t want to get into any trouble with Stampin’ Up by selling this paper!

Check the next post for instructions on how to use the paper in My Digital Studio.

Butterfly Punch Turkey Thanksgiving Card

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Butterfly Punch Turkey Thanksgiving CardI found a very cute turkey card made with the Owl Punch and the Butterfly Punch on Cindy Washington’s site. I decided to see if I could accomplish the same thing with My Digital Studio, and this card is the result. I didn’t like the different colors for the Butterfly Punches for the tail feathers. It sort of lost something in my version, perhaps because there was less of a paper feel in the digital version. To make my tail feathers, I stacked Butterfly Punches in a series of colors—Crumb Cake, Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, and Creamy Caramel (shown on the left).Butterfly Punch Stack Detail for Thanksgiving Card

The rest of the card is fairly straightforward. The turkey’s body is an elongated Circle Punch (don’t have the Owl Punch yet), Full Heart Punch for wings, resized Square Punch for the hat. The hat’s brim is Basic Black Grosgrain Ribbon, and its decorations are More Mustard Grosgrain Ribbon and Styled Silver Hodgepodge Hardware—square. The turkey’s wattle is an upside down Small Heart Punch. The eyes are Whisper White Circle Punches with Basic Black Brads. The beak is a very small Square Punch in Summer Sun. The legs are All in the Family—right arm.

I don’t have Twine yet for MDS, so I used Chocolate Chip—Stitching Straight. The border at the bottom is Torn Edges—Eyelet Border in Soft Suede, with two pieces of Soft Suede Grosgrain Ribbon and Chocolate Chip—Stitching Zigzag. More Mustard Brocade Square behind the turkey, and the card background is Wild Wasabi. The sentiment is text, using the Kirsten ITC font in Chocolate Chip.