Monday, September 29, 2014

Tutorial : Hand Stitching on a Photo

The amazing Paige Evans designed this really fun background Silhouette cut file for the Studio Calico The Underground kits and when I was working on my layouts this month, I knew I had to incorporate it somehow. I had several spreads with these big 6x8 photos and my first thought was to try to cut out the design on my photo. Nah - it needed something more, like texture.
After sleeping on it, I decided to experiment with using the file as a stitching template and it is so very easy. Let me show you how.
1. Open Photoshop. I'm using Photoshop Elements 9. You can download a free 30-day trial of version 13 here.
2. Open the photo you want to stitch on and do any necessary or desired editing. Mine was in the vertical orientation so I sized it down to 6" wide x 8" high for my Handbook. If you are using this particular background file, there are four sizes included - 12x12, 8.5x11, 6x8 and 4x6.
3. Next, open the .PNG of the background cut file in the same size as your photo. If you want to use the design as is (where the cross/plus pattern fills the entire page), move on to the next step. Otherwise, you can alter it here like I did. I used the Eraser Tool (the little pink eraser in the toolbar), set the brush size to 250 px and erased three diamonds in the lower portion of the design.
4. Toggle back to your photo. From the Project Bin, I dragged the .PNG up to the active window (my photo) to place the .PNG over the photo. In the Layers panel on the right, the background should be first, and your photo second. You'll see the .PNG looks like it is stamped over your photo. Next, with this design selected in the Layers panel, turn the opacity down (I went down to 73% to tone down the black background). The embroidery floss will be covering the design, but I wanted it to be just dark enough to pierce.
5. Print and trim your photo and collect your supplies. I'm using a paper piercer, a cutting mat to protect my work surface from all of the holes I'm going to make, a needle and embroidery floss in the color of your choice (I used gold) and scissors.
6. With your paper piercer, start making holes in your photo at the end of each (+) plus. Top, bottom, left and right until you get them all.
On my photo, it's easier to see the completed piercing from the backside.
7. Thread your needle with embroidery floss and start stitching. I usually begin with a pattern I want to follow. You can start from any end of each (+) plus - just be consistent. On my photo, I started on the underside, poked my needle UP through the right side of the (+) plus, then back DOWN through the left side, UP through the bottom hole, the DOWN through the top.
I had a few slip ups, but for the most part, the vertical stitch is over the horizontal stitch on each (+) plus. Keep stitching each (+) of the diamonds on your photo.
8. Keep going! This is a great project to work on while watching a movie since it takes a bit of time, but it's also easy to stop and start again if you need to.
I think it took me about 1.5 hours to complete all of the stitching on this photo. Not too bad considering I'm a novice hand stitcher. And I love the results. It's subtle. It added some awesome texture to this cozy fall photo. And well, it's gold.
Such a fun project for any season, any photo and any color stitching. I'd love to try this with a black and white photo and a bold (maybe neon?) floss. Oh, the wheels are turning now.

Here is my completed project. You can see a full supply list here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Handbook 2014 | 01 with The Underground

New season = a new Handbook and Studio Calico's The Underground kits could not have been more fitting. It's reveal day and today I'm sharing the first half of six spreads I made with the October kits. Clicking on the photos will take you to my gallery where you can see the layouts + closeups a bit larger than here on the blog.

Please note : at the time of this posting, links to kits and coordinating items will only work for Studio Calico subscribers. The Underground will be available to the general public at 12 midnight EST tonight, the evening of September 27th. 
Morgan's first day of 1st grade
The center insert is a 4 pocket page protector cut in half vertically.
Parker's first day of preschool
I went big with the kids first day of school spreads. A 6x8 photo plus a clipping from some artwork they brought home during those first few days were the base of each layout.
Staying In
This spread ended up being one of my favorites ever. On the large 6x8 photo, I used Paige's background cut file as a stitching template over this photo I snapped of my first PSL of the season. The gold embroidery floss ended up being the perfect subtle touch for this enlargement and it balanced the gold on the opposite side. I'll be sharing a start to finish tutorial here on my blog on Monday of how I did this.

So, that's the first three spreads. I'll share the rest next week, but until then you can see them all here in the Creative Team gallery. And since it's also time to shop, these are my favorites this month, as well as what I snagged to be bundled with my scrapbook kit subscription :
  • King's Cross add-on : I love the stamp set and bits of pink in this one. I have a mini album I'm going to start next month and the colors in this embellishment add on will be perfect. And of course, if you're a fan of LifeLovePaper and Hello Forever, this kit is a must.
  • Scarf stamp set : I've already used bits of this one on a page I'll share soon and the interchangeable pieces are awesome. This set is going to get a lot of action in the coming months. So cute.
  • Here + There Craft Die : I think this die would be perfect for any travel album and I love that these dies are separate. Cool font and I love the ampersand as well. Perfect for any paper scraps you have on hand, or a 4x6 paper pad.
  • Halloween Cards : Love love love. I've already set mine aside to document Halloween next month - trick or treating, as well as the kids classroom parties.
  • more 12x12 vellum

Happy shopping + enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Underground sneaks

Fall is officially here and I've started another Handbook to document the season. Studio Calico's October kit, The Underground, was a beautiful companion in helping me get these last few weeks in my Project Life album. Here's a peek at what I've created :
Want more, and a glimpse at all of the kits? Check out the sneaks page here. The Underground will be available to Studio Calico subscribers on Saturday September 27 at noon EST. The general public can snag kits later at midnight.

Friday, September 19, 2014

5 for Friday


  1. Loving Tiffany Han's new podcast. Episode 02 with Erin Loechner is a big fave.
  2. The Project Life app is available in the iTunes store! I'm going to use it for photographing + arranging Morgan's artwork so I can (finally) get them in photobooks.
  3. I've been pinning a lot of mini books lately and Jamaica's see it live mini is amazing. She always has the little details in mind.
  4. I sprung for my first Studio Calico subscriber sneak offer last weekend. I love adding transparent pieces to my projects and the designs in this paper pad are fantastic.
  5. I'm liquidating the few remaining unmounted rubber stamps in my shop. Now through Friday, September 26th, get 50% off your entire order with coupon code FALL50. If you see something you like, grab it now, as I will not be restocking any of these designs again. Nervous about mounting your own rubber stamps? I shared a tutorial here on how I do it.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

just us : a mini album

Hooray for finished projects! My latest is the mini album I made during Marcy's Mini Book Workshop at Studio Calico in August. I loved the format and the Jet kit and I'm really pleased with how my album turned out.
The theme of my mini was to collect my favorite photos of my husband, Mark, and I together, since we started dating in 1997. 17 years of photos and boy are there some doozies. Those early years kind of blurred together, but I was often able to figure out what year it was by my outfit or the length of my hair. Old, hilarious, embarrassing photos. Travel photos, selfies before they were even called selfies, and even a pimp and ho party for good measure. Good times.

I also made a video if you like to flip through the pages that way. Here I talked a bit about how I set it up my album as well :

Want just the photos? Well here you go :
Kit names were blurring together during the video because I was trying so hard not to blurt out the October kit name (which was a secret at the time), so here is a complete list of the extras I mentioned : 
Thanks so much for looking! Did I forget anything? Any questions?