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ABCreations Loves

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!”

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Friday, February 1, 2019

2019 Trend Watch: February



Newsprint has been around for a very long time and as the digital age continues to be ushered in, it is more and more important to remember our roots. Digital is here and then gone, print is forever (so to speak). Although we may not be reading the newspaper like we once did, there are still ways to keep it in our lives. Using newsprint in our paper crafting is a great way to do that! Afterall, scrapbooks used to be newspaper clippings and journaling about memorable events. Whether you are creating a modern, retro, or vintage-themed layout, newsprint makes every era distinctive!

My example for February is my daughter's girl scout cookie selling scrapbook page. She sold cookies on the 100th anniversary, so I used a newspaper clipping from 100 years ago as the back drop for this page! What a great way to be true to the craft while incorporating our modern lives!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Trend Watch: January


When I talk about scrapbooking trends, I'm really referring to paper crafting trends (both digital and traditional) because scrapbooking is a paper craft. I want to explore trends that perhaps extended out from scrapbooking into card making, bible journaling, multimedia, travel journal, planner pages, smashbooking, bullet journals, and etc.

Pantone's 2019 color of the year is Living Coral, its an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge. Using this color in your paper crafting is smart, classy, and always on fleek! Pantone has been engaged in the color of the year for over 20 years and their experience shows! This warm coral color gives the feeling of comfort in a familiar and lightly playful way. I prefer to go with several shades of the same color in a monotone-type display, I think it makes the page pretty, while still really focusing on the photos.



Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: December



December's Question: How did you become a digital scrapboook designer? 

December's AnswerAs a customer, I was always a bit disappointed after buying a $7-$10 kit to find I had 12 paper choices but wished I had at least 36 because the papers I liked were the wrong color or not the design I wanted. 

Usually customers buy a kit for the theme. If it's not a themed kit they buy it for the color, to match the photos they have and want to scrap. I was no different, I would buy a kit because it was the right theme only to find the paper I liked from the preview was only available in one color from the kit, not all the colors in the kit's palette. I had purchased that kit wanting the design from the preview on a particular colored paper, but that design was only offered in one color (not the color I wanted). And I thought to myself, why would a designer make that design in only one of the kit colors instead of all of them? I knew changing the background color was literally a 2 step process for a designer: click the background layer, and use the fill tool to fill it in a different color. I was really frustrated because trying to change the color after the file has been flattened is hit or miss at best.

I was a hybrid scrapper before I knew what digi scrapping was. I would use Word Docs to create titles or embellishments, and when I couldn't get Word to do what I wanted, I would code HTML to do what I wanted on a web page and print it out (totally time-consuming!) Then I discovered digi scrapping and as soon as I got my head around that concept, I excitedly bought a few kits. However, I was disappointed, as I explained above; and realized I had enough graphic design background that I could probably use Photoshop to make my own papers, so I set out to try my luck. 

I wanted to learn but couldn't find tutorials specific to digi scrapping, so I looked all over and asked people, and eventually (by accident) found a lady who sold scrapbook supplies from her living room who just happened to own a book on how to digiscrap, so I wrote down the name and searched for it online and bought it. That's how I learned about what sizes to make things, and how to use a lot of the Photoshop tools.

Eventually I started to learn the right places to hang out online, and digi scrap became more and more popular, and pretty soon I was asking designers if I could CT for them. The next step in my journey was to start selling my designs, so I sent my work to several stores, but no one was hiring. Then I heard about DST (digi shop talk) where all the info about digi scrap was located in a non-biased forum (non-biased meaning they didn't have a store or designers back then, they just had a forum full of super great info) and I found an entire thread on stores who were holding calls for designers. So I applied to a bunch and got in at two! 

At first I was worried they just hired anyone who applied, and that I would never sell anything because both were pretty small stores. But one of them grew fast and was a big store very soon. Unfortunately, it went out of business as quickly as it grew. I had to do something so I used my Minor in Advertising and got busy. The more I advertised in the digi scrap community, the more I sold. Soon I was making $200 a month and was the top seller every single month in my store. I was hoping the store would grow quickly, but there was no forum, so I suggested to the owner that she get one. She wasn't too keen on the idea, so I offered to help with her blog train instead hoping that would help get me more sales. 

I am a very hard worker and the owner noticed quickly that my plethora of papers and unique mouse-drawn embellishments were selling like hotcakes. Soon the owner asked me to be a store admin! Then when I pitched the forum idea again and said I would set up and run the entire thing, she was agreeable! I researched all the forums and eventually we found the one that worked best for our needs and was integratable with the store.


Digi scrap just kept growing. Eventually other store owners noticed my hard work, cute designs, and ingenuity and were asking me to sell my kits in their stores. Soon I was selling my kits in 10 different stores! It was an amazing time. I was pregnant and not working outside the home, so digi scrap was my life. I worked all day and most of the night to keep all 10 stores current with new kits, and to keep all my weekly and monthly requirements met. As my pregnancy progressed, I started getting all those pregnancy pains and I was exhausted. I wasn't able to keep up with all my stores and ended up having to leave several of them. Once my son was born, I couldn't keep up with anything. Soon after he was born, I was pregnant with my daughter. I resigned from all my stores but the one where I ran the forum. Digi scrap wasn't as popular as it had been the last several years, and for all the effort I was putting out, I was only making a few dollars a month. Eventually, my daughter was born and I had to resign from my last store. I really missed the digi scrap community so I decided to join a store that didn't have any weekly or monthly requirements. I joined Etsy. Now I can still do all the mom stuff I adore, but digi scrap whenever I have a spare minute or two! For me, it's the best of both worlds! 

All in all, I've learned the customer is always right, even when you yourself are the customer, lol! Check out some of my designs below, you won't be disappointed in the quantity or the quality! 













Thursday, November 15, 2018

My Perfect World

I saw this on imgur, posted by user 59ds3. With the holidays coming and everything feeling rushed and unorganized, it's comforting to see my perfect world: life organized by color, shape, size, and theme!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: November



November's Question: What does Tagger stand for in the digital scrapbooking community? 

November's Answer: A Tagger kit is a smaller version of a full size kit. 
full size = 300ppi (300ppi is the what a professional printer needs in order to print your layouts)
tagger size = 72ppi (for computer use only, if printed professionally it will look pixelated and blurry)
I'm sure you've seen graffiti on the side of a bridge or wall as you make your way to and from work or the store, the graffiti artwork is called 'tags' and the graffiti artists are called 'taggers.'
Often times the art includes big bold letters that are written in spray paint and are difficult to read, as well as skulls, sexy/naked ladies, and other things graffiti artists are 'into.' 
Tagging a part of a bridge or wall is how some graffiti artists express themselves, it's also how some gang members show which part of certain neighborhoods are 'theirs.'
In digi-land we have taggers and tags. We also have posers, which are the sexy/naked ladies so very essential to the graffiti artists' work. Digital taggers use tags similar to the way graffiti taggers use spray painted tags, but in digi-land taggers are less about marking territory and more about showing off their beautiful kits. Because these digital tags only show up on blogs or facebook or in forums, there is no need for them to be print quality, so taggers make kits at 72ppi which is optimal for internet usage and viewing. 

Sometimes, if I make a kit that I think taggers might like, I will size it down from 300ppi to 72ppi, and put both versions in my store, but I'm more into the 'cutsie' look than the graffiti look, so it doesn't happen very often. Take a look these tagger kits, you can see they are neon colors that are out of gamut, with grungy and emo embellishments like skulls, voodoo dolls, poison, handcuffs, and usually a poser or two (posers are the sexy ladies).

 

I tried to make a tag using a voodoo doll instead of a sexy lady, and some grungy emo embellishments, but it still turned out pretty cutsie, lol!


It's also customary when a tagger makes a tag, that she offers to change her name out for anyone else's name who might love that particular tag and want one of their own. This is a great way to advertise the tagger's kit. Some taggers will even put a tutorial on their blogs explaining how they made the tag, so if someone really likes the tag but wants to use a different kit or different poser, they can.

I've seen tags used as siggys (signatures in forums) but mostly I see them on people's blogs, sort of like they collect them (like my mom collects santa clause statues - i'm not really sure why, but for her, its important, lol). When someone makes me a tag, I put it as my email siggy (unless the poser is totally naked, lol) but what I really wish for is a tag with Johnny Depp or Jensen Ackles, LOL! Too bad they only seem to make them with naked woman (perhaps the woman they wish they looked like?) I don't know. anyway, that's my two cents.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Scrapbooking Coach: October



October's Question: What does CT stand for in the digital scrapbooking community? 

October's AnswerCT stands for a Creative Team, or a member of a Creative Team, depending on the context of the sentence. For example: Let's say I was having a call for my creative team. This means I want to hire people to be on my creative team. So I might say, "ABCreations is having a call for our Creative Team, we need people who will make 2 layouts and 2 freebies a month, and will be willing to advertise 5 times a week." So then let's say 100 people apply to be on the CT and when they get picked, they might say something like, "I'm going to CT for ABCreations!" or "I am CTing for ABCreations!" or "I am a CT for ABCreations!"

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.

Square:

Round:

Blob:

Grit:

Random:

8. Fill your canvas with glitter.

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