“I Love…” Freebie Parts and ‘Recovery’

A good Monday to all!  I hope everyone is staying warm.  For Florida, 20 degrees is cold!  It’s been in the 20’s two nights in a row.  During the day, it barely made it up to 40 degrees.  My drafty old ‘cracker’ house is cold!!  My house sits above the ground a foot to a foot and a half.  Nothing is protecting us from the cold drafts underneath.  It’s wonderful in the summertime, allowing breezes to flow all around the house.  Needless to say, come winter and we have to run the heat in excess.  We have to bundle up – indoors!  Everyone has slippers and ‘footies’.  You have to!  Even with the heat cranking, like it is now, my feet are like ice cubes!  Brrrr!
I want to tell ya’ll about something I found.  One of the wonderful ladies in my group, Digital Whisper, is offering a free course called, “Recovery”.   Stephanie has this to say in her opening, 
We are all in recovery from something…. and the entire human race is in spiritual recovery right now!
It does not matter what you need to recover from… the important thing is that you know you need to walk down this path for a while! 
You could be in recovery for drug or alcohol abuse, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, a difficult relationship, a difficult childhood, depression, grief, of not loving yourself, of enabling the people around you and many, many more things….

 “Recovery” sounds like just what I need!  There will be daily ‘lessons’ which are mailed to you in your inbox for a daily cleansing, as Stephanie so writes on the blog, “Inspiration for Life”. She is going to be using a text for the course, but, it isn’t necessary in order to take the course. She does give the info on obtaining a copy if you like. She suggests keeping a little notebook or perhaps a journal. The daily classes are real short so they can be done quickly, a plus for our busy lives, eh? I know I hemmed and hawed as to whether to sign up or not. As a rule, any self-exploration/discovery I have ever engaged in has been painful! It has been ‘good’ pain, but, pain, never the less. I am not looking forward to opening myself up, right now, anyway. But, I know from experience that this is what makes it or breaks it for me. You might say, the more painful the lesson, the more help it is to me. These things always take a certain amount of gumption to take on, but, if I can’t do this for me, no one else will. I think that is the key, here. This is not for anyone but me!  I don’t know about you guys, but, I have spent a lifetime waiting on others and making sure my loved ones had everything they needed.  What about me?  I need.  So, I signed up.  LOL  The classes start today, so, if you think you might be interested, go see and sign up, in the side bar, for this.  Like Stephanie told me, I can always ‘un-subscribe’ if I don’t like it.

Today, Miss Edna and I are giving out the next two(2) parts to our February kit, “I love…” Last week you got the QP’s. This week, as well as next, there are two parts, full of elements and papers so you can create your own pages. Typical of me, I forgot to add the TOU’s and Sources for this one.  My bad!  However, this one is for Personal Use only, please.  My supplies came from “123RF Stock Photos” and “Barry’s Place”, a wonderful place with all kinds of tubes and .pngs in stock.
Below are my two previews.  Click on the first one for Part 3 and the second one for Part 4.  Then, below that, you will see Miss Edna’s preview.  Click on it to go to her blog to see her parts and download them.

Part 3

Part 4
Miss Edna’s Place
As usual, all of my past links are still available.  My next project is to put all of my goodies up on one page with links.  Like a gallery, folks will be able to view a preview, then, click on it to go to that post.  I just have to figure out how to do that!  LOL
Until then,Funny Graphic #6
Keep Smiling!
SU CheshireCat

New Freebie Collaboration – “I Love…”

Happy Monday, folks!  Boy, this year is zipping right along, now, isn’t it?  I think time passes a lot quicker when you are old-er.  When we were kids, it seemed like it took forever for one’s birthday to roll around!  Or, Christmas!  Or, summer vacation!  Remember that?  Some school years, it seemed like June was never going to come!  I’m sure some of the teachers felt the same way.  LOL  But, now, as an older person, time just ZOOMS by!  What do you think?  
I’ve given you a couple of things in the past few weeks – a tutorial and some textures.  Now, I give you a couple of links to sites I know you will find of interest.  The first one is ‘Vintage Feed Sacks’.  If you fancy ‘The Graphics Fairy’ site, you’ll love ‘Feed Sacks’!  They are similar, in some ways, in that they both ‘clean up’ some of the images for you.  They also have ‘suggested uses’ in common, both offering sweet ideas to which to use the images.  But, the images are all different.  I think that, between the two sites, they have the vintage image ‘market’ cornered!  LOL  What one doesn’t have – the other has.  Not really, obviously, but, you really don’t need too much more than these two fab sites!  I’ve written about ‘Graphics Fairy’ in the past and, quite honestly, you’d have to live under a rock not to know about it!  Now, check out Feed Sacks
This next one is the perfect combination of resources for me!  Sugar Butt Designs, yes, Sugar Butt!  This perfect combination?  Tutorials AND resources!  OMG!  If you don’t heed any of my suggestions, do heed this one!  What she does is gives you a little, easy-to-follow tutorial that shows how to create say, a felt texture, for instance, in Photoshop.  She gives you the tutorial and samples to go with it for you to see what she means.  This post is all about felt, cardboard and metal textures, three different downloads.  

Each file has a sheet like the one above, then, any samples that might be included.  In addition to tuts, she also has a great list of links in her side bar!  Categorized links!!  LOL  She has other items and she sells at one of the shops, even.  So, her blog isn’t all just tutorials.  I wish I knew ‘her’ name, but, whatever it is, go check out her site!
This next site is what I refer to as a ‘PSD Blog’, meaning the site is aimed at Photoshop users as their main content.  PSD Dude is up there with some of the best.  If it isn’t, it soon will be!  It’s going great guns!  Every couple of days, I get an e-mail notification for some cool freebie or another.  Tutorials, brushes, patterns, templates, shapes, etc., they’re all available here.  Speaking of shapes, there doesn’t seem to be too many of those to download for free across the web.  But, here, they have a good selection!  There are several I have never seen before.  You have to register.  That is the only drawback as far as some folks go.  You can sign up for the e-mail alerts or the RSS stream.  Give them a whirl!  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Winding up today’s list is Best Photoshop Tutorials.  WAIT!  Don’t skip over this because of the name of the site.  Tutorials are just a mere section of this site.  They have everything you need for Photoshop!  If they don’t carry everything, they have the links to it all.  LOL  There is quite a page full of Photo Effects, such as cartoon, out-of-bounds, Andy Warhol, etc.  There are actions galore!  The textures are the ‘cream of the crop’, to me. Same as the brushes and the fonts.  Here is an image of the most recent brushes they offer:

There seems to be a good blend of actual downloads from this site and articles of images that link to at other sites.  This is fairly common.  I do it!  LOL  The folks who post have a good eye for what is popular in the design world. Pay these folks a visit and see what all they have!  Have fun!  LOL   
And, finally, this month’s freebie from Miss Edna and I.  This month we give you “I Love…”  It’s for whatever you love!  It doesn’t have to be a person – you can love horses, or chocolate, or diamonds.  You get the idea!  LOL  Today, we give you the QP’s, two(2) of them.  This is Parts 1 and 2.  Then, next Monday and the Monday after that, we’ll give away two parts each time for a total of six(6) parts from each of us.  Three Mondays, 12 parts total!  LOL  Click on the preview to go to the download.  Then, click on Miss Edna’s preview to go to her blog to download her parts.
Parts 1 and 2

Miss Edna’s Preview

And, that’s a gonna do it for this Monday!  I’ve been spending a little more time with my  blog, so, I may be back before next Monday.  Either way, be sure to come back for the rest of this fun kit.  I’ve seen Miss Edna’s parts and they are awesome!!
Until then…

Blessings and Hugs!

SU CheshireCat

Burn and Dodge ‘Non-Destructively’ Tutorial

It has been some time since I posted any kind of tutorial.  I think it is time.  I’ve been using a technique. lately, that I learned recently.  It is a tutorial for using the ‘Dodge’ and ‘Burn’ tools easily and ‘non-destructively’.  The goal in Photoshop, ideally, is to effect ‘non-destructive’ editing.  That is when all of the filters and adjustments are on separate layers, thus, making the editing of those layers a snap.  This is so that one can save the .PSD file and come back to it at a later time and still be able to affect changes to it.  Clear as mud, right?  LOL 
When one uses the ‘Burn’ tool, it affects the actual layer.  It darkens, or ‘burns’, the image layer, so that, if you changed your mind later, you would have to re-upload that image and start over.  For this reason, I seldom used either of these tools.  Supposedly, if you add too much ‘Burn’, you can undo it by going over it with ‘Dodge’.  It never looks right, though!  It’s hard to ‘Dodge’ over the same exact spots as the ‘Burn’, as well.  
With this technique, all of your ‘Burn’ and ‘Dodge’ effects are on their own layer, not the image layer.  When you use either of these tools, you can’t get any results by applying them to the empty layer just above the desired layer.  Unless, that is, that layer is filled.  Fill it with ‘Edit’ > ‘Fill’ > ‘50% Grey’ and change the blending mode to ‘Overlay’.  It will be as good as invisible.  Yet, when you apply ‘Burn’ and/or ‘Dodge’ to it, they will show up just as if you applied them to the image layer itself.  Try it!
Here are a couple of screen shots to show what I mean.  I’m using some vintage frames from Star Sunflower Studios, “CU4CU Frames 5 Freebie”, available HERE.  For the purposes of this tutorial, I am going to ‘age’ one a little more with the ‘Burn’ tool.
Here is what I start out with:(I am using CS5 for this tutorial)

While the layer I want to ‘Burn’ is highlighted/selected, click on the ‘New Layer’ tab at the bottom of the Layers Palette.

Go to ‘Edit’ > ‘Fill’ > ‘50% Grey’.

When the box pops-up, select ‘50% Grey’.

You will see this:

This is when you need to change the blending mode to ‘Overlay’.

And, voila!  Good as invisible!

But, as you see, because the frame is transparent, the ‘Grey’ is showing in the blank spaces surrounding it.  We need to clip the Gray layer onto the frame with a ‘Clipping Mask’.  Right-click over the Gray layer and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’.

This is what you end up with:

It looks just like it did when we started!  Yet, look at the Layers Palette.  Now, we have an invisible Grey layer in there and that is where we are going to add the ‘Burn’ and ‘Dodge’.  After selecting the ‘Burn’ tool, go up to the Menu Bar and set the ‘Range’ to Mid-tones and the ‘Exposure’ to 10% to start out.  
With a soft brush around 200px, burn around the edges, or where ever you wish to add the burn.  Here is just a wee example:

This isn’t a real good example, but, you can see that the ‘Burn’ tool worked great on the Gray layer.  Zoom in on the above image and see how the Gray layer is ‘Burnt’.  I simply ran it around the edge.  If you don’t like the results, delete that layer and create a new Gray layer.  Easy-peasy!  The ‘Dodge’ tool works, as well, though, I only added a little bit right in the middle of the frame.  Give it a whirl and see what you think!  If you use these two tools to add shading and highlighting to an image, this will give you a little more leeway.  Try different blending modes on the Gray layer, or leave it on ‘Overlay’.  You could even duplicate the Gray layer several times to get a heavier effect.  This image is with the Gray layer duplicated only once:

The original ‘Frame’ layer is completely intact, too!  We haven’t touched it.  If you save this file, as is, with the layers not merged, in .PSD format, you can return to it at any time and change any part of it to adapt to your needs.  Change the color, using the ‘Adjustment Layer’ feature, also at the bottom of the Layers Palette.  Those adjustments go to their own layer right above where you need it.  Here, I added a violet color adjustment layer with an ‘Hue’ blending mode applied to it.

I got this:

Font:  KingThings – ‘Willow’

Cool, huh?  LOL  And, if I ever need a green label, it’s simple a matter of turning off the violet color layer and adding a new ‘Color Adjustment Layer’ for my choice of green.  I can change any part of it!  This will certainly be useful for photo-manipulations, particularly, if you are having problems getting the light right.  You can try it out on a Gray layer until you get the results you like. 
I know that there are other ways to go about every thing I have shown you here.  There are keystrokes that could be used and other ways to ‘Fill’ a layer.  But, to try to keep this short enough so as to prevent ‘Novel-length’ status, I leave them out, this time.  See what I made?  I needed one for my blog, anyway.  I moved all of my ‘blinkies’ to their very own page and need a new button to click on to get there.

I hope this is understandable.  If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to ask in the comments below.  Be sure to stop by Star Sunflower Studios and get your own set of these frames.  By the way, there is a PS Shape in the file with the frames, too.  Say “Hi” to Sü for me!  LOL
FYICommon ‘Umlaut’ letters:Type ‘Alt’, then, the number combination.Alt + 129 = ü
Alt + 137 = ë
Alt + 148 = ö
Now, when ya’ll go see Sü, you can impress her by typing her name in the comments as she does!  LOL
I have a freebie in the works.  It will be up in a day or so.  Also, don’t forget Monday, Miss Edna and I come out with our February freebie.  It’s purdy!  LOL
Until then…
SU CheshireCat

Blog Changes and a Freebie

Good Tuesday, All!  You may notice I have been heeding Tom’s advice on my blog.  It was hard not to, since he gave such wonderful feedback.  I placed all of the blinkies, which once filled my side-bar, to a page all their own.  There is now a button, labeled ‘Blinkies’ in their place.  Click on it and go see all the wonderful friends and associates of mine.  
Next, I created a few more ‘Pages’.  These may be accessed from the ‘Menu Bar’ across the top of the page, right under the header.
‘Resources’ is for Photoshop pre-sets, such as brushes, styles, actions, etc, as well as textures, vectors, etc.  If it is used in Photoshop, those links are here.  In fact, this page has been here for a while now.  
‘Stock Resources’, is a listing of such sites as ‘Flickr’, ‘StockExchange’, ‘Deposit Photos’, etc.  These are sites that specialize in stock photos.  I have found a bunch of them!  I believe these are all free, too.  
‘Deviant-Art Stock Providers’ is just that. DA artists are often left out of ‘resource lists’ and they shouldn’t be.  A lot of lists mention DA, as a whole, but, rarely go into each of the artists/providers.  This list will be helpful if you like to do photo-manipulations, or want to incorporate artsy images/elements into a project.  DA is an artsy community, so, much of their offerings are geared towards art.  You can find patterns, brushes, actions, textures, and whatever else you need to be creative. 
Artistic Spirit is a page of my artwork.  My digital interests are split between Scrapbooking and my art.  Including both on my blog is something I have been wanting to do for a while.  While I just started this page, I haven’t posted but a few pieces.  I intend to add more.  I have them!  LOL
By creating separate pages for much of the content that was crammed into a skinny, little side-bar, I feel I have made the links easier to see and use.  They have become the ‘feature’, rather than a side note.  Accordingly, this left my blog posts much easier to see and read.    Next, I wanted to change out my blog’s design.  I have always loved the cluttered look as I am a kind of ‘sentimental and have to keep it near me’ sort of person.  I don’t necessarily horde things, but, I like to put things out to see and admire.  I also like bold colors.  But, there is a time and place for them.  Tom made a point to me and that was that the ‘content’ was paramount.  My own remark was that it did seem ironic to post all these links and banners to other folks blogs when I wanted folks to notice my posts.  I totally support the folks whose links I have posted!  I didn’t eliminate them entirely either.  I just moved them to place all their own!  This radically cleaned up my page!  
I left a few things in my side-bar: the RSS Feed, About Me, the Archives List, Followers, Labels, etc., all blog function related info.  I left only a couple of personal things, such as the DeviantArt banner and one group badge for Digital Whisper.  While I am proud to be associated with many wonderful sites, to me, that may not be something other folks are interested in.  They want to see what I have to offer them.  All the links to the sites I like are still here, just on their own page now. 
I went with a simple blog template.  Now, my posts literally ‘pop’!  Well, I think so.  LOL  The soft color is soothing to the eye.  While I was on eye-appeal, I took Tom’s advice and changed out my font.  I admit, it was hard to read.  I am pleased with the results.  
The next thing to work on is my header.  I have been experimenting with different ones.  I am still not sure what I want, but, I want it to reflect my own artistic personality.  You may see something different up there from time to time.
So, that is where I am.  Working on the blog will, hopefully, be good for readership, but, it has also been a good project for me while I am going through adjustments.  Working ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak, has been therapeutic.  It gives me time to be ‘pro-active’, rather than ‘re-active’ to my world.  I’ve not really been ‘here’ lately.  I don’t feel I am able to give anyone my all.  When I go through an adjustment phase, such as I am currently doing, it is best to keep to myself.  Some medications can affect one in certain manners, if you know what I mean.  There is no telling what I may post.  LOL  It’s just a precaution.
I’ve had these soft textures for while.  Today, you can have them if you like.  They’re all textured differently, and softly.  The colors are random, but, I included some neutral toned textures that you can color to your hearts content.  Or, you can use them with a blending mode to add just a hint of texture to a layout or page you create.  Just click on the preview to go to Minus to download.

Be sure to check back next Monday for the first of another neat set of our freebies kit from the collaboration with Miss Edna!
Until then…

Credit:  Shutter-Shooter@DA


SU CheshireCat

New Freebie – Ladies’ Night Out: Pts 1 and 2

Good Monday, all!  I hope all is well with everyone.  I’m hanging in there.  Getting through, then, past the holidays was hard.  We made it, though.  Another whole year and we do it all again.  Not!  I can’t do this anymore!  I hate the holidays and every year, I think, this year will be better.  It just seems like they get worse!  I’m a very emotional person and I am in a ‘state’ the entire month of December and into January.  This year, maybe I will just go somewhere that month.  LOL  The moon?  I dunno.  I just know I cannot keep doing things the way we’ve done them in the past.  So, my project(s) this year is/are working on improving every aspect of my life that I can.  
I’m not a drinker, but, there is a slogan I learned:  God, grant me the serenity to change the things I can, the courage to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Those words are so true to what I need to do.  Sometimes, I feel like I am ‘kicking a dead horse’, with some of the things I attempt to do.  Other times, I keep putting up with something that could be changed and I don’t.  I just keep putting up with it.  What I need to do is to make changes in some areas and accept things in others.  THAT is why I need the wisdom!  I guess everyone needs to do this.  This ought to be an interesting year, none the less!  LOL
I hope ‘Santa’ was good to you!  I got an external hard drive – another one.  I’ve filled two and I’m on the third.  LOL  Considering I have memberships to half a dozen sites with downloads, it’s no wonder!  Some memberships I have are those I’ve won.  Then, I pay for a couple, too, because I got a great deal or something.  LOL  I don’t think I pay full price for any of them.  That’s the way to do it, thought.  
I’ve been collecting some stock images, as well as, design-related goodies for Photoshop.  I use them to do photo-manipulations.  If you are ever interested, I have a DeviantArt account where I post the art I create.  I have definitely learned a lot more from doing photo-manips than scrapping.  But, I just love scrapping!
I apologize that I got this posted so late, well, for me.  I had pc problems this morning.  I tried uploading the zip to Minus, then, Box, then, 4Shared.  You know I was desperate to have tried 4Shared even!  LOL  I couldn’t get the file uploaded and it was these QP’s!  I notified Edna and then, started searching for a reason.  I think I got it.  I found something about a corrupt ActiveX file in my research.  So, I downloaded and installed an updated version.  I think it must have worked because I am able to upload now. Whatev!  LOL
So, this week starts a new collaboration with Miss Edna and I.  God Bless Her!  She had to call me and ‘shake me to’ a couple of times when I got overwhelmed.  She’s an awesome listener and always seems to know just what to say that will give me hope.  Thank you, Edna!  This month’s kit is “Ladies Night Out”.  It is a fun little kit with goodies that will appeal to the party scene or the ladies who love to have fun!  I think you will like it!  Today, as is our custom, we give you two(2) parts.  Then, each week, on Mondays, we give you two(2) more parts, for a total of three weeks.  The first parts are two(2) Quick Pages.  Then, subsequent parts will be design elements for you to make your own layouts.
Today, we give you Quick Pages.  Click on my preview below to go to the download.  Then, click on Miss Edna’s preview  to go to her blog for hers.  Have fun and enjoy!
Parts 1 & 2

Miss Edna’s Preview (Click to go to her blog)

Do come back next Monday!  Until then…


SU CheshireCat