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The "A.B." in ABCreations stands for Anmarie Bowden, that's me! My favorite ice cream is Mississippi Mud from Baskin Robbins, altho I'm partial to Oreos crumbled on top of Vanilla Bean ice cream too! I was born on Super Bowl Sunday. I have been digiscraping since 2000. I live in beautiful sunny California. I am married to my soul mate and we have two gorgeous children. My favorite saying is, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!”


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: September

September's Question: I want to be a designer and make kits. How do you make your kits?

September's Answer: I get this question a lot. First I get the theme, then I create the color palette. Then I like to start by creating the papers. I like making papers best, so I make as many as I feel like I would want if I were a customer purchasing the kit and had lots of photos I wanted to scrap. Then I create twice as many embellishments. (That's a recipe for a good kit:  twice as many embellishments as papers). 

I start out in Adobe Photoshop with a blank slate that is 12x12 inch at 300ppi. Then I add the background color, then a design (like stripes or flowers or dots etc,) then I add a texture or two or three, like crumpled paper or sweater knit, or whatever. I almost always add more than one texture.

I always do the textures last because sometimes I like the paper without any texture for creating embellishments. The embellishments don't come as easily for me as the papers, sometimes I don't make it all the way to 'twice as many' but I'm usually really close. I like to hand-create most of my embellishments. Sometimes this is called mouse-drawn because I use a mouse or pen tablet to draw my own embellishments. This is a big selling point because customers won't find your unique embellishments in any kit anywhere else. 

When I'm done with all the papers and embellishments, I scrap with the kit to see what I'm missing, and then I create that as well and add it to the kit. Next, I send everything through a Quality Control program.

Finally, I create a preview of the kit, as well as a preview of the papers and put them all into my brand-specific packaging, and into my store.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: August

August's Question: Ok, I've got the digital glitter, but I need it to be seamless.

August's Answer: I've figured out how to do this a few different ways with the help of my friend Spencer Aloysius.

A. Offset with Paint Shop Pro

Go to Effects > Image Effects > Offset.

Horizontal offset = 300 (Or 50% the width of your image)
Vertical offset = 300 (Or 50% the height of your image)
Center = checked
Edge Mode = Wrap

NOTE: When you select center, the horizontal and vertical offset numbers will automatically change to be half of your image size.

B. Offset with Photoshop

Go to Filter > Other > Offset.

Horizontal = +300 (or 50% of your image width)
Vertical = +300 (or 50% of your image height)
Undefined Areas = Wrap Around

C. Simple Filters - Half Wrap

Simple Filters is a plugin for PSP (and perhaps Photoshop as well). The Half Wrap moves the image 50% down and 50% to the right.

D. Teph's Tricks - Wrap Filters

The Offset Wrap filter from Teph's Tricks is a plugin for PSP and Photoshop.

X Offset = 128
Y Offset = 128

Or you can use Slide X 50% filter followed by the Slide Y 50% filter. Both of these are also available from Teph's Tricks.

E. Offset with Gimp

Go to Layer > Transform > Offset. Click Offset by x/2, y/2. When you click Offset by x/2, y/2, Gimp will automatically fill in X and Y with the correct numbers.

Edge Behaviour = Wrap Around

F. ImageMagick

The command line option for offsetting in ImageMagick is -roll {+-}x{+-}y

Though, if you are using ImageMagick, then you shouldn't be reading this tutorial because you already know far about image manipulation than this tutorial can provide.

5. Once the image has been offset so that the edges are now in the center, save it and import the image back into ArtRage (File > Import Image). Set Pressure to 14%. This will prevent the glitter from going off the edge of the canvas.

6. Put the glitter cursor at the top center of the image, directly over the seam, but without going over the edge of the canvas.

7. Glitter down the seam to the bottom of the canvas. Make sure not to go off the edge of the canvas. Repeat along the horizontal seam.

Now you have a seamless glitter tile.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: July

July's Question: I want to make digital glitter in whatever color or shape I desire, please help!

June's Answer: This is a tough question, but I wanted to give it a thorough explanation. You will need the software called ArtRage. My friend Spencer Aloysiuis wrote the article below, and it's perfect!

Metallic Glitter in ArtRage by Spencer Aloysius

This tutorial will show you how to make a the popular metallic glitter in Art Rage 2.5 which can then be used as a fill in Paint Shop Pro or a style in Photoshop.

1. Open up a new painting in Art Rage. The example uses a 400 x 400 canvas at 300 dpi. Select Cell as your preset so that you can have a transparent background.

2. If you want to use a palette for color selection, import the palette as a layer. This will place the palette as the top layer. Skip steps 2, 3 and 4 if you are not using a color palette and select a color by clicking on the color wheel in the bottom right corner.

3. Click the bottom layer to make it active, then click the color picker in the lower left-hand corner. Click on the canvas to select your color of choice.

4. Click the eye next to the color palette layer to hide it.

5. To make the glitter metallic, go to the bottom right-hand corner and slide the metallic slider all the way to the right. Go to the bottom left-hand corner and select the glitter tool. After selecting the glitter tool, you can change the size of the glitter brush, click the +/- tabs located on the bottom and side of the quarter moon of this menu. The settings for the glitter are in the menu on the left side of the screen. This tutorial will focus on the effects of different glitter shapes.

Pressure = Density of the glitter. Higher pressure means greater density.
Glitter size = The size of the individual glitter pieces.
Glitter shape = Changes the shape of the glitter.
Multicolor = Changes the amount of other colors in the glitter. Lower percentage means addition of close, complimentary colors to your chosen color. Higher percentage means more hues.

6. To choose a glitter shape either click on the little crescents surrounding the circle or click on the circle and a menu will appear with all the choices.
7. Here is a comparison of the 5 different types of glitter shapes at 100% size.






8. Fill your canvas with glitter.

9. Export the painting as a PNG file for use in Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: June

June's Question: Help me stay motivated. I can't find my mojo!

June's AnswerSteps To Keep You Energized While You Scrap

I spent this past weekend at a wonderful scrapbooking retreat. It was such a relaxing time. But, I spent a lot of time sitting in my chair, hunched over my layouts and getting up to stiff knees, achy shoulders, and a very angry lower back. My wonderful sister sent me periodic text messages reminding me to get up and stretch, especially since I have bursitis in my hip. These reminders got me up and out of the building for a climb up and down the stairs and a walk around the grounds where I was staying.

As scrapbookers, we tend to forget that scrapbooking is a very sedentary hobby, which means we don't move around much when we're doing it. We spend hours and hours sitting (and sometimes standing) and pondering our projects and we tend to forget how long we've been in the same spot. 

Staying a bit more active will help keep you motivated and create mojo. Getting away from your project will give you time to think about it, and you will be excited to get back to it to try the new things you've been pondering!

Set a timer on your phone for 45 minutes. When it goes off, get up and do some simple stretches to get the blood flowing. Take a walk to get a fresh beverage. Take a trip to the restroom, if only to wash your hands. Take a short walk out to the parking lot or around the property where you're cropping. Be safe!

Take the stairs, if you can. This weekend, I was able to unload all of stuff in the crop room via the elevator, then I was able to take the stairs for the rest of the weekend to reach the crop room. Just that little jaunt gave me the chance to stretch and move around and get some time away from whatever the design conundrum was that was stumping me.

Stay hydrated! Sore and cramped muscles are also a sign that you need hydration, and maybe even a small snack such as a banana or carrot stick. Be sure to drink a lot of water. We tend to get lost in our projects and forget to take care of ourselves. Remember to eat Our bodies need fuel to keep going. Munch on healthy snacks between designated meal times. And maybe some chocolate very now and then, lol!

Step outside to call your family/friends, or take a short walk outside and let your family/friends know that you're having a great time. They'll appreciate hearing from you and you'll get a break away from your table.

Stand up while you're scrapping, if you can. Standing up while you scrap can be a viable option to keep you moving around. I've seen a few scrappers use shelves on top of their tables to create a stand-up station for their crafting. Totally genius idea!

Be aware of your posture. Scrapbookers tend to have the worst posture because we hunch over our projects. Take the time to be aware of your posture. I know it can be hard to scrap and sit upright, but we're not doing our backs and shoulders any favors. I've seen some scrappers bring their own chairs or chair pads that help them to sit up better.

I hope these tips get you thinking about your scrapping routine. We have to keep the energy flowing to keep the mojo going. We can't do one without the other!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: May

May's Question: My kids are always in my scrapbooking stuff, so I rarely scrapbook. I want to scrapbook more often, any suggestions?

May's Answer: Get the kids involved! 
I know it's a little bit scary to think about the kiddos with your favorite stickers, good papers, and fancy scissors. But our most precious memories come from the ones that we love. For most scrapbookers, our albums are filled with the memories of our children. To see their progress and growth over the years is wonderful, but we tend to forget to include their perspective. All of the photos include them, but their voice is rarely included. Here are five ways to involve your children in your memory keeping:

1. Include their artwork in your albums, even if it is just a photo of the artwork. Record them telling you the story of the artwork. Just ask them to tell you about it. You'd be amazed what they come up with, lol! For the older kids, have them tell you why they chose that particular animal, flower, color, etc. Let them explain the process of how they created their artwork from start to finish. Then you can transcribe the video and include the story, along with the artwork in your album. Most importantly, transcribe the story word for word, even if it’s complete gibberish. It’s their story to tell and the memory of how it was told will be priceless.

2. When the kiddos are old enough to write, have them fill out a journaling card after certain events or activities or celebrations. For example: their first day of school. Let them document how they felt about their school, teachers, classes, etc. Seeing their progress through the years will be a source of pride and a means to have them see how they’ve grown and matured. Their school years are more than posed photos and report cards. Their own words will speak volumes over time. And this means less journaling for you!

3. At the beginning of each year, or at the end of each year, or on their birthday have your children make a list of things they want to accomplish in the coming year or before their next birthday. This will give them a set of goals to help them see the future and also maintains a record of how certain things will shift in importance. Toys and games will become clothes and cars sooner than you think. Our children grow up way too fast. We need these records of their growth and vision more than we’ll ever know!

4. Include some top ten lists. Favorite TV shows, favorite books, best friends, favorite colors, favorite stuffed animals, favorite foods, etc. These lists will be a valuable source of information, not only as a memory of their favorite things, but also a record of the time period. And a great reference list when grandma asks what to buy for the holidays!

5. Last, but not least, have them take pictures.Hand your children the camera and let them take pictures of things that they see as wonderful in their world. Their perspective of things will astound you. Letting them capture life from their level is a gift that will keep on giving to all of us for many years to come. I bought my son a cheap little camera to carry around and take photos with. Some of them are blurry images of his favorite TV show, lol, but others are shockingly brilliant!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: April

April's Question: In digital scrapbooking, do I really need to use shadows? I don't know how!

April's Answer: Yes, you really do need to use them to make your items look like real individual items, instead of like they are all plastered down on top of each other.

Shadowing is IMPORTANT and should be done on EVERY paper AND element except the very bottom paper. Shadows help your digital projects look 'real' or 'touchable' and not flat.

Scrapkit Previews have shadows, but the elements and papers enclosed in the kit do not so that you can make the shadows where ever you want them (to coordinate with your photo's lighting) or according to where the element is located above or below other elements.

Basically, things like staples, low-profile frames, flat photos and stitching will have darker, smaller, and tighter shadows.
Things like buttons will have a slightly lighter and more cast shadow.
Things like curled ribbon, string and leaves that have some height will have even lighter shadows, but with more depth -- they'll cast a shadow larger than a staple or button.

Most photo manipulation programs have shadows you can use, but you can also create your own shadows:

Both PhotoShop and PhotoShop Elements have drop shadow settings - all you need to do with them are adjust the sliders or rotate the axis (which sets the direction your "light" is coming from).Typical settings in Photoshop might be 120 angle OR 30 angle with the size between 5 to 10. The most important thing is to keep your light source the same through the layout so if you want all light to be from the upper left you would be sure the angle is the same for all elements.

In Gimp go to Filters -> light and shadow -> drop shadow
There are presets and you just play with the numbers around the image, it does the blur for you and you can set the percent of blur. when you are duplicating the same shadow on lots of layers, you can use shortcut control F and it just lays it right down for you over and over.

PSP has plug-ins you can use, or you canSelect "Add Mask" with "Source Luminance" selected and "Invert Mask Data" Not selected. Then Split the mask.
Then use the blur function to get the grayscale image to look like a shadow.
Switch the Grayscale image to 16.7M colors. Go back the source image, pick the "magic wand" from the tool palette. Now hold down the shift key and click on the background. This will select the image and not the background. Now use ctrl-c to copy the image. Switch back the shadow and hit ctrl-e, now you'll have the position the image so it looks like the shadow is under it.

click Preferences
click Shadow
Opacity - Higher values on the slider make the shadow darker, lower values make it more transparent. 
Blur - Lower values for the slider make the shadow darker around the edges, higher values lighten the shadow edge.
Click on the Shadow Color square to adjust the color of the shadow.
To move the shadow left-click and drag the shadow in the preview on the right, or use arrow keys.
Select or deselect the check box to Add shadows to photos by default.
To apply shadow settings to Photos, Embellishments, Shapes, Text, and Imprints click the check box, then click Apply.
To reset shadow settings, click Reset to System Default.
Click OK to apply the default shadow settings.

Good luck, and remember to have fun!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: March

March's Question: What on earth is ephemera and how do you say it?

March's AnswerThe link HERE is google helping us pronounce and understand the general definition of the word, however for the specific scrapbooking definition, let me give you a little more detail...

Scrapbooking and ephemera go hand-in-hand. Adding ephemera you have saved from your event or trip helps tell the whole story on your layout. Remember that rock concert where you had the best time? Putting your tickets with the photos and journaling makes the memories come alive again. Using vacation maps and brochures brings a whole new level of information to your pages without the extra journaling or photos. Then there are the awards and ribbons that fit nicely onto your layouts to celebrate accomplishments and milestones. Whether it's keepsakes from your new born baby or a luggage tag from the trip of a lifetime, saving ephemera in your scrapbooks helps you reminisce about all those happy moments. So don't be afraid to save that old napkin, used map, or random ticket stub! Those are epherma at their finest and scrapbooking gold!

Image result for ephemera

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: February

February's Question: When creating a layout, should I just use whatever colors are in my photos? How many colors is too many and how many is not enough?

February's AnswerFor each page, you need, at a minimum, one background color, a bright accent, and a third color that works with both. Choosing colors is easy for some people but difficult for others. I can look at a piece of khaki-colored paper and know immediately that it will look quite good with a bright turquoise and a related shade of cream. Or I could take a deep cranberry red to combine it with a pale pink and a warm grey, and have a very different-looking page, even though the layout might be exactly the same. 

Warm gray? Yes, colors have temperatures. Reds, yellows, oranges, and even browns, are all warm colors. If you were doing a page about a day at the beach, you might want to try mixing red, yellow, and orange to stress the heat of the sun and sand. Cool colors, like blues, greens, and violet tones, suggest cooler temperatures; perhaps cool water or leafy forest leaves. Warm greys have a touch of one of the warm colors in them. Cool greys include some blue or purple to cool them off. In-between is neutral gray, which doesn't lean toward either warm or cool. 

Colors also have moods and even cultural associations attached to them. Hot colors are bright, bold, and jazzy. Cool colors are restful and calming. Some colors are associated with particular holidays, and some with moods or places. For instance, purple and yellow together always make me think of Easter. Red and green suggest Christmas. Blue and white suggest Hanukkah. One good way to experiment with color schemes is to drop by your local Lowe's or Home Depot or other store with a large paint department. Grab a handful of those color chip strips. Go for a broad color range from pastels to brights. When you get home, cut them into single colors and then just move them around on a piece of white paper until you find color combinations that please you, or that remind you of moods or places that suggests photos you want to use in your layout.

Many avid scrapbookers keep a color wheel to refer to. Colors on the color wheel are divided into three categories, primary, secondary, and tertiary. The primaries are red, blue, and yellow. These are the pure colors. Secondary colors are an equal mix of two adjacent primaries. Red and blue make purple. Red and yellow make orange. Blue and yellow make green. It's fair to say that any combination of a primary color and a related secondary color, light blue with purple or blue with green, harmonize nicely. 

Tertiaries are the colors that would be wedged in between the adjacent primary and secondary. For example, blue green and blue violet. They harmonize with the colors that make them so you can happily combined turquoise blue and lime green, because they have green in common, or dark blue and any shade of violet because they have blue in common.

Complementary colors are the ones that are opposite each other on the color wheel, like red and green, blue and orange, and so on. They can also work as combinations, either in their bright forms, or happily as pastels. Red and green can be an effective combination, but can come on too strong for some uses. Instead, think pink and pale mint green. Remember there's more to color than just the color. There are tints and shades and differences in brightness. Think of mixing white with a color to reduce the amount of pure color, giving you a pastel. Mix black and gray with a bright color to darken it or mute it. Grayed colors are particularly effective with a country or victorian look. 

If your photos are in color, make sure that the colors you choose for your pages are similar to the colors in the photo. For instance, suppose you have a picture of your daughter finding her first geocache. She is wearing blue and is outside in the summer time where there is some green shrubbery but mostly brown grasses. Try using blue, green, and brown for your color scheme, but add a bit of red to really make the page pop! Sounds rather strange, but it works nicely!

Now that you've done some thinking about your scrapbook layouts, you can start putting together a page. Ask yourself: what's the page about? what are the colors in the photo? is there a theme that will help you choose stickers and other embellishments? what could a possible title be? Let's say you have a photo of your daughter's first pedicure. She is wearing a top with pink roses, the background is blue and beige, and her cute little toes are pink. Try using muted shades of the pink, blue and beige, plus an accent of green to really make things shine! 

Good luck and remember to have fun!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pantone's color of 2018!

Pantone's color of the year is Ultra Violet!

Pantone says, "As individuals around the world become more fascinated with color and realize its ability to convey deep messages and meanings, [people] should feel empowered to use color to inspire and influence.

Color of the Year 2018 - Quote from Lee Eiseman

I used it to make my word of the year extra meaningful and inspiring to me...