Tutorial: Clipping Masks

This week, I worked with a new kit from Scotty Girl Design called Shipshape. It released in the shop today and it’s on sale!


The bold, bright colors and fun patterns were so much fun to work with. And I love yellow! I think this may have been the quickest turn around for me. I can’t remember a layout coming together this quickly!


When I first started digi scrapping, I didn’t know anything. And I didn’t know anyone who did it. I didn’t know where to go online to get help and the YouTube videos I tried to watch were way over my head – I mean, I didn’t even understand basic how-to videos for beginners. Mostly because I didn’t understand the terminology. So I got thinking about what would have really helped me back then and I knew instantly what this tutorial would be about: Clipping Masks.


I’ll be working in PSE 10.

A clipping mask is the digital equivalent to cutting a piece of paper. Only it’s non destructive. Meaning that if you don’t like the shape or size, you can change it without destroying the paper or starting over. A definite perk of digital scrapbooking!

So here’s the foundation of my layout:


You can see I’ve got my background paper picked out, tape at the bottom, and some splatter. Though I typically don’t add things like splatter to my layout until the very end – just because I don’t really know what it’s going to look like underneath everything until all the paper and “stuff” is actually there.

Now I’ll select the Rectangle Tool, click down on my layout, and draw the shape/size box that I want.



Now let’s clip some paper to the new clipping mask!

I’ve chosen the dark blue sailboat paper. Bring the paper onto your layout, making sure the paper is directly above the layer with the box you just drew (your mask). The paper will cover your whole layout right at first because we haven’t “cut” it yet.


Now all you do at this point is hold down the command key (or control on a PC) and press G. That will clip the paper to the mask. You can see there’s now a little arrow pointing down to the layer it’s clipped to. In PSE 10, you can also unclip a layer by pressing command G. I had PSE 6 before getting 10 and I couldn’t unclip a layer like that. I had to actually grab the clipped layer and either move it to someplace else in the layers palette or delete it altogether. Total pain.


The entire piece of paper is still there, it’s just only showing the part where you’ve put the mask. If you decide later on that you don’t like the shape – maybe you want your paper to be longer or wider or smaller or you want to move it somewhere else entirely – then you can select the mask layer and adjust it – without warping your paper at all. These types of masks are essential for me when creating a layout. In fact, clipping masks make up the bulk of this particular layout.

The next three layers of paper were done using the same process




Now add drop shadows to the mask layers and you’re done!

This is also how I cropped the photos and the triangle pieces on the left side.

Before I learned about clipping masks, I was bringing my paper onto the layout and then trying to resize the whole thing – warping it if necessary so that I could have a shape other than square. HA! I told you I didn’t know a thing! So then I figured out how to use the crop tool, but I found it frustrating when I wanted to make the paper just a teeny bit wider or something. I would have to delete the paper on my layout, go back to the original 12X12 paper, and start again. But with a clipping mask, you can adjust it so easily! You can even grab the paper once it’s been clipped and move it around in the mask until the pattern is showing exactly how you want.

Anyway, I hope this tutorial helps some of you who are just starting out! Happy scrapping!


2012-2013 School Year: Completed

It’s been such a busy year for us! The huge task of getting us all out here meant we weren’t super consistent with the school stuff while we were still in Upton. In fact, I had packed away all the school supplies early on because we thought we’d be moving a whole lot sooner. And then we decided to put them in public school so it made for a new and exciting transition. Lots of changes. But the kids thrived.

The report cards at the end of the year showed Bethany and Max above grade level on all counts. Liv was above grade level in math, but a little bit below in reading and comprehension – not a surprise. We’re going to continue to work with her over the summer, but she does learn a bit differently than the others. Plus I think she’s one of the youngest in her grade. We started her education at home without any concern about the public school cut off date for Kindergarten. So I think she was actually supposed to be finishing up Kindergarten this year, not first grade. Oh well. It’s done. And she’s doing really well so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

All three of them were sad the school year was coming to an end. I think they’ve made lots of friends and I know Bethany especially will miss the routine and the course work. She loved learning Russian and she embraced the challenge of filling in the gaps in her learning. She would bring home the math and science textbooks and study on her own. Funny girl! But I’m so proud of her.

As a surprise for the first day of summer vacation, Lucy and I conspired to start a water balloon war with them. As soon as they got on the bus for the last day of school, we started filling up water balloons and setting things up.

We set this up on the front porch:


150 water balloons, 3 squirt guns, 3 buckets

And I put this on the front door:


I stole this idea from someone on Pinterest.

And then we prepared for battle:


We failed at putting our serious game faces on. But how cute do we look?! We’re totally cute. AND! I made a layout about our cuteness.


Now all we had to do was wait for the unsuspecting kids to get home. Mwhahaha! Some of us were more patient than others. Lucy totally managed to empty our squirt gun three times before the war even started. We watched from behind the fence as they got home, walked up to the door, and read the sign. Bethany understood first and started to get her stuff together. There was much squealing and shouting. So fun!

So here’s the aftermath:


Lots of fun and hopefully something they’ll remember! And we were able to cross our very first item off our summer bucket list: Have a Water Balloon Fight.

Homeward Bound

Last week, I was going through Deena Rutter’s shop and I found a kit that I just adore! It’s called Homeward Bound and it’s so fun. The papers are all slightly distressed and textured.

I made a hybrid card using Deena’s kit and this week’s RetroSketch.


Supplies: Homeward Bound by Deena Rutter; Sydney by Robyn Meierotto

And I finally got around to documenting Liv’s first tooth coming out. The journaling is pretty much taken from the blog post I did about it.


full credits in the gallery

The B

I just love this photo of Lucy. I snapped it during a trip to Hogle Zoo in 2010. The angle is pretty awesome, the lighting was perfect, and I love the white hat and shirt. And look at those EYES! Wowza! I’ve pulled it into PSE a lot since it was taken. I was always hoping to use it on a layout, but something was never quite right. Well, last week, I downloaded a kit called “Zoey” by Scotty Girl Design (aka Shannon McNab) and I knew right away which photo to use!



Shannon is retiring from Design House Digital so her entire shop is 50% off through Wednesday! You can also enter to win “Zoey” by commenting on the DHD Blog.

Pixels & Company

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve been asked to be on the Creative Team at a new digital scrapbooking store called Pixels & Company! I’m just thrilled to be able to work with products from such amazing designers. And to be able to work alongside some of the most creative ladies in the business? Heck yeah!

Sign up for the P&Co. newsletter so you don’t miss out on anything! And when you sign up, you’ll get access to this beautiful collaboration, In Good Company.

In Good Company Preview


There will be dollar kits released all month long – all leading up to the Grand Opening in February!

Tutorial: Digital Pinking

I was addicted to scissors back in my paper scrapping days. Those scissors that made different edges on the paper? Yeah. They were my favorite. I had two dedicated drawers for my collection. I won’t tell you how many pairs I had. Enough to be embarrassing.

Over the years, my collection was whittled down to just three: two scallops and one pinked. They’re still my favorite scissors for paper projects, and even though I’m a digi girl these days, I still find myself wanting to add scalloped and pinked edges to my layouts.

I had the opportunity this week to work with a kit called Winter Cabin by Shannon McNab.

When I was building this layout, I wanted some visual interest at the bottom of the photos on the left side to offset all the busy going on in the top right-hand corner. Most of the time, I would just add a scallop. But on this particular layout, the scallop gave it a feminine feel that felt completely wrong against the papers and photos. But the pinked edge was just the right touch!


I’ll be working in PSE 10.

I have just a blank page, but normally, I would be doing this right on my layout on its own layer.

Start off by right clicking on the Rectangle Tool icon and selecting the Custom Shape Tool.

Up in the top left-hand corner, you’ll see a box that says “shape” with a picture next to it. That will drop down and give you loads of shape options. Find and select the diamond shape. You could do this with the triangle shape, too. I just prefer the diamond shape but I couldn’t even tell you why. Ha!

Now click down on the paper and drag the shape until it’s what you want. If you hold down “shift”, it will constrain the proportions. Or you can just play with the length and width until you’re satisfied.

Here’s my shape!

Okay. Let’s duplicate that. You can duplicate two ways.

1. Make sure the diamond shape layer is selected and then hover over the layer in the right side bar. Right click and select “duplicate”. Your duplicate will be right on top of the original shape and you can now move it over to the side.

2. Select the diamond shape on the background page. Hold down the “option” key on the keyboard (or the windows key on a PC) AND “shift” while you click and drag the duplicate shape over. The option (windows) key will duplicate while the shift key keeps the shape from going all over the place.

Whatever method you choose, make sure to keep duplicating until you have a line of diamonds across the page.

Now go to the right side bar (the Layers palette) and select all the diamond shape layers. You can do it quickly by selecting the very top shape layer, holding down “shift”, and selecting the very bottom shape layer. Once they’re selected, right click and choose “Merge Layers”.

At this point, you have yourself a clipping mask of a pinked edge. It’s ready to be resized (if needed) and tucked under some paper on your project. All it needs now is some paper clipped to it and, of course, a drop shadow! In my layout, I clipped the cream solid paper (from Winter Cabin) to the pinked shape.

But what if you don’t want just a pinked border? What if you want a mat or something to have a pinked edge? I’ll show you!

So I’ve made my border smaller and rotated it.

Select the Rectangle Tool and draw a rectangle next to the pinked border. Make sure to cover up the about half of the diamond shape.

Now select both the pinked layer and the rectangle layer over on the side bar. Right click and select “Merge Layers”. Now you can clip whatever paper you want to your pinked-edge mat! In this example, I’ve clipped some green, striped paper from the same collection to the mask. I’ve also added the “popped paper” drop shadow from Gennifer Bursett’s shadow styles.

Fun, right? And if you do decide to give this a go, link me up to your layout or project!

December Daily 2012: The Cover

December Daily is something that’s been going on for years now. It was thought up by a woman named Ali Edwards, but I’d never heard of any of this until about two weeks ago. I’m so out of it. Probably because I’ve been busy with this:


The idea is that you create a page (or two, if you want) for each day in December. Well. I assume just until December 25, but I suppose it can be whatever you want. In the past, Ali Edwards has given subject prompts or written a blog post each day to help you find direction.

Once I {kind of} understood what it was all about, I decided I really wanted to do this. And as things have just fallen apart with each house we’ve put an offer on, I thought how neat it would be to document the very last Christmas season we’ll ever have in Upton. It’s a bittersweet move for us.

I knew right away that I wanted to do it as a hybrid project. And as soon as I saw this:


I knew I’d found my December Daily kit. I LOVE the colors – the blues, pinks, and cream give it a vintage feel, but it’s blended with some really modern patterns.

So with my kit chosen, I set out to the nearest scrapbook store – an hour away – for supplies. I went in for some chipboard and walked out with adhesive (plus a refill), ribbon, brads, book rings, glitter, alphas, a pen…My poor parents were with me and when everyone realized I was gonna be a while, they were all, “We’ll be at Kohl’s.” Bwahaha! Sorry!

Here’s the sneak peek:


I’m really sorry about the blinding glitter. If I knew how to take a proper picture, I’m sure it wouldn’t look like that.Image

I thought a 6×6 book would be more manageable and I’m just using the chipboard as the background, but I’m not sure if all the pages will be like that. I’ll just decide as I go.


Here Comes Santa Claus Collaboration by Gennifer Bursett, Shannon McNab, Robyn Meierotto, and Mye De Leon

Thickers – I covered them with GLITTER! The other stuff I managed to cover in glitter? The table, the baby, the sewing machine, and later on, we found glitter in dinner. I’m sure there’s a right way to handle glitter. I did not do it that way.

My Mind’s Eye: All is Bright Brads

Digi Essentials: Alpha by Karla Dudley