Here and Now

Are you looking for a kit that has a little bit of everything, one that will suit any type of occasion or style of page, an all around 'go to' great to have in your stash kit? Well I have great news as Rachel and Ru of Studio Basic Designs have teamed up once again and created just that type of kit for you. Here and Now is the kit you will reach for time and time again becoming a staple in your stash and available in the shoppe this weekend at Sweet Shoppe.

Take a peek at this fun kit:

Some lovely pages by the Captivating Sistas:

Inspiration from the Sugarbabes and some of the Sweet Shoppe Designers!

A fun way to earn discounts to the Sweet Shoppe is to participate in our monthly Bingo Challenges, check out the April card, one of the challenges is list related so this weeks new release would be perfect!

Have a great weekend!

Extra Extra . . . My Life Unscripted 1

That's right, I am here to announce that Rachel has created some delicious add ons for her My Life Unscripted 1 collection. If you haven't purchased the bundle yet, then I have great news as Rachel now has the ULTIMATE bundle available. This means you get the original four packs PLUS all the new extras and with extra savings. Already have the original bundle? No worries as Rachel has the new goodies together in the Extras Bundle and as always each item is also available to purchase separately.  Go run to the shop and load up your cart with these new goodies, you won't regret it, trust me. 


Check them out here:

Some beautiful pages from the Captivating Sistas

And some lovely pages from the Sugarbabes

A little while back Rachel had a special offer in her shop where her Messy Marks: Dates 2017 were free with a purchase, if you didn't grab them these are now available separately and Rachel and the Captivating Sistas have made some lovely pages with them!

Have a fabulous weekend!!

Never Enough Hours

Hey everyone jaye here again with the scoop on Rachel's latest collection to hit the store.  What a scoop I have for you as it is a new collaboration!! Rachel teamed up with Anja of On a Whimsical Adventure to bring you Never Enough Time. This bundle will easily become a classic that you will use time after time (no pun intended) with it's classic colours, fun elements, word art and rich papers. Your pages be it classic, grungy and/or artsy will be a fabulous documentation of how busy you are or that you are taking time for yourself. 

Save the most by grabbing the bundle, or you can get the Kit, Transfers and Cards individually.

Some lovely pages from the Captivating Sistas:

And lovely pages from the Sugarbabes as well:

My Life Unscripted 1

Hello everyone, jaye here to introduce you to the first of a new series Rachel will be creating.

My life unscripted is designed to help you tell your everyday stories, memories you want to record, funny comments, thoughts etc.. Each collection will be packed with various mixed media, hand crafted papers made in Rachel's studio, unique sketches, hand made and richly textured elements.

This collection has a variety of elements and mediums ideal for those who create traditional pages, pocket pages and art journalers alike.  As always you can purchase the bundle to save the most or grab the elements, collage art papers, transfers and painted papers individually.

Take a look at this fresh new bundle:

And bonus, head to Rachel's shop this weekend to pick up this super cute matching freebie!

The Captivating Sistas created some lovely pages with the My Life Unscripted 1 Bundle.

A couple of pages from the sugarbabes

Have a wonderful weekend!

Note to Self: Live Your Dream

Hard to believe we are already in the second month of the new year. They say this is usually when people start to have a hard time keeping up on their resolutions and give up. I know many others have decided that they would make short term goals instead to keep it attainable and have a feeling of success. I know I have done the short term goal route with them leading up to the long term goal.  What does all this have to do with Rachel's new kit? Read further and you will see.

Note to Self: Live Your Dream is a perfect kit to scrap all about me pages, goals, hopes, dreams, memories, family the list goes on. Note to Self: Live Your Dreams was created with a soft colour palette, florals and lovely stamps adding to the mix is a nice chunky wood like alpha. Rachel has really started the year off with a bang with this kit. She intends to add to the "Note to self" series making it easier for you to tell your personal stories alongside scrapbooking your families memories.

Special Offers

Rachel's new Make Your Mark: date stamps 2017 are free with your purchase of Live your dream through Feb 17th. Purchase the Kit before Feb 13th and you'll also grab it on sale at 25% off. I'm not done yet! Crystal Livesay has also made a set of beautiful coordinating templates to make creating your lovely pages with Note to Self: Live Your Dream even easier.  You will definitely want to add this one to your Captivated Visions stash.

Some gorgeous pages by the Captivating Sistas and Rachel herself!

The sugarbabes and designers (Wendy P and Crystal) added some gorgeous pages as well!

Crystal has a fun journaling project in the works which Rachel will share more about with you really soon!

Have a great weekend :) 

Silent Battles: Negative Thoughts + 25-48% SALE

I don't know about you but when I am asked to choose a positive about myself I am always stumped,  yet I can very easily give a list of all my negatives. Why do most of us think that way? Or if I do come up with something positive it's very generic such as; I have nice calves (all that dog walking, lol) or I am a hard worker. We need to give ourselves a break and focus on the fact that we all have good qualities and a lot of positives about us. 

This latest collection in the Silent Battles series from Rachel and Ru (Studio Basic Designs) is called Negative Thoughts and is filled with genuine word art highlighting our battles within ourselves. Silent Battles: Negative Thoughts is jam pack full of amazing elements, mixed media and rich papers perfect to continue or start your journey of self discovery.

Silent Battles: Negative Thoughts is available this weekend at Sweet Shoppe Designs as a bundle or individual parts. 25% off until 6am Sunday 18th December, PLUS this weekend ALL of Rachel's Collaborations (known as scoops and dips) with in house Sweet Shoppe Designers are on Sale at 25% off. This also includes her already discounted bundles so savings can be had of up to 48%!! Have a look through Rachel's store here.

Here are some fabulous layouts by the Captivating Sistas;

have a wonderful weekend!


High Cool by Captivated Visions & Studio Basic Designs

Hi everyone, Rach here!

Rubia of Studio Basic Designs was sharing a peek on Facebook recently of something she was working on and I instantly fell in love with it! She subsequently invited me to collaborate with her on the same project and I didn't hesitate to accept!

High Cool was inspired by a song and for the love of our boys. I love this artsy and edgy boyish collection!!

Save the most by grabbing all parts as a bundle, or pick up each part individually. 

High Cool Bundle

Some inspiration from the Captivating Sistas and Sugarbabes

And when you spend $10 before December 15th you'll receive my recent collaboration with Ru of Studio Basic and Studio Flergs Free!

Black Friday Sales, Commercial Use Products + More!

Joanne here bringing you news of Rachel's offerings this Black Friday weekend.

New at Sweet Shoppe is Fa la la la la.  A stunning Mixed Media Digital Scrapbook Collection by Captivated Visions. Packed with hand sketched papers, elements and stamps and complimented with gorgeous dimensional elements to adorn your holiday or winter pages and projects. PLUS Rachel has designed some fun stamps and journal cards to match.

Fa la la la la Bundle, Kit, Cards and Stamps & Brushes

Here is what the Captivating Sistas have created using Fa la la la la

Save 40% at Sweet Shoppe Designs until 6am on November 29th. Spend $10 before December 1st and receive Rachel's featured designer collaboration Kit FREE! 

Rachel is thrilled to announce that she now has Commercial Use products available for Digital Scrapbook Designers at Sugarhill Co! They have a tempting sale right now, plus a grab bag for a limited time.

Finally, you might have noticed that Rachel has updated her site with information on positions available with the Captivating Sistas Team. To read more and get the link to apply see her page here.

A Happy Thanksgiving to our American Friends and good luck if you are braving the shops!

Featured Designer at Sweet Shoppe Designs + New Goodies

Hi everyone,

Rach here to share this weeks news with you. I had the pleasure of working with Ru again of Studio Basic Designs to bring you a fresh new featured designer Digital Scrapbook Kit which is free with a purchase of $10 or more from now until December 1st 2016.

I had a vision of an artsy black and white kit with greys and pops of colour and Ru helped me bring my vision to life with 'Mistakes don't define you' and I love the result! So much so that i've scrapped with it four times already!

I was also inspired to work on more black and white products and some templates. I'll be adding to this series of black and white 'Captivating Basics' over the coming weeks and months. It's a really fun way to add to your stash and mix and match with other designs you already own!

Here's a closer look at the new products available this weekend, find them all in my shop here.

And my pages using both the new templates, Captivating Basics and the featured designer kit.

Some more inspiration from the Captivating Sistas using the new templates and Captivating Basics.

If you were planning on doing a bit more shopping this week check out this 'mystery bag' offer!

Attitude of Gratitude is an incredible mystery bag jam packed with absolutely gorgeous digital scrapbooking products from the designers at Sweet Shoppe Designs. This scrumptious mega-collection features one digital scrapbook product from each of our 27 designers, and we promise you won't be disappointed in this spectacular collection. From Alphabets to Mini Kits, Pocket Scrapping Cards to Templates and MORE, this fantastic mystery bag is one you won't want to miss!

Attitude of Gratitude is FREE with any $20 Purchase made now through November 24th, 2016 when our Black Friday new releases go live. Simply add $20 worth of sweet treats to your cart and the 2016 Attitude of Gratitude Mystery Bag will be automatically added to your order if it qualifies.

That's all from me this week, I have lots to share with you next week and if you're interested in joining the Captivating Sistas keep your eyes open for a Creative Team Call coming very soon.


A Quiet Place

Have you ever had a quiet place? Somewhere you just love to escape to and have some quiet time? Somewhere just for you to get away from everything? 

I am fortunate to live across from an island that I can jump on the ferry with Harlow and spend hours walking, exploring and letting her swim to her hearts content. I always feel at peace there among the canopy of trees or watching the waves gently roll in from a secluded beach area. The only sounds are birds singing, leaves rustling and the occasional whoosh noise as herons fly above our heads. 

Everyone needs a quiet place and time to rest and re-charge, weather it's your favourite place at home or in nature, or a favourite place to holiday and get away from it all. 'A Quiet Place' is a mixed media digital scrapbooking collection by Captivated Visions put together with care and attention to detail. It's packed with richly textured hand crafted collaged papers and more than fifty five elements which comprise of contemporary hand sketched and water-coloured flowers, scribbles, stamps and paint, paperie and dimensional elements.

Made to match are a pack of gesso stamps and soft watercolour washed backgrounds which can be purchased separately or as a collective bundle with the collage papers and elements. See the bundle here or visit here to see all of the parts separately in Rachel's shop

Here are some fabulous pages by the Captivating Sistas using A Quiet Place.

Enjoy your weekend!


Going Going Gone Sale 2016

It's that time of year at Sweet Shoppe where the designers are taking a look over their stores and making room for fresh new designs in 2017. It's always sad to see beautiful products retire and I was on the fence for a long time about which designs to keep and which to let go.

I'm excited to see where my designs go in the next year and for now I'm saying goodbye to the following goodies. Click on through to my Pinterest Board to see them all, you can then click on the images to visit them at the Sweet Shoppe and you'll save 50% until Midnight Eastern on November 4th. Grab them now before they are gone for good!

Here is a selection of inspiration using the retiring products.

Digital Scrapbook Tutorial | Using Smart Objects

Hello everyone, Ona here to bring you another tutorial featuring products from Captivated Visions. 

This tutorial is the result of a request about Smart Objects, what they are and how can they be utilised in Photoshop. Please note that I am using Photoshop CC 2015 so some of the information may not apply if you are using a different version of PS but the capabilities of Smart Objects will certainly be applicable.

PSE 13 and 14 have Smart Objects but they do not behave the same as in Photoshop CC. Some items that are dragged from the Photo Bin onto a layer will turn into a Smart Object but the only function they have is to prevent loss of quality if they are resized continuously. So while you can resize a Smart Object in PSE 13 & 14 without loss of graphical quality, you can not edit them as in deleting a part of the item, painting it or using a gallery filter on it. To carry out any of those editing processes you need to Simplify the layer by going to Layers>Simplify. For PSE users this can be both frustrating and confusing to say the least when they hear of how great Smart Objects can be in Photoshop! All is not lost however, there are a few plug-ins that can be used to give PSE users some tangible assistance.  One particular plug-in that I use in my PSE14 and recommend is called Elements XXL. This will give you a basic version of the Smart Objects capability available in PS CC. Elements XXL works quite well and gives PSE users the ability to create a Smart Object and then to edit the items as you would normally, but of course it will not have the full capabilities associated with PS CC. The plug-in is affordable, easily installed and integrates into the PSE user interface seamlessly. If you want to find out more about it then simply Google Elements XXL.

Smart Objects were introduced in Photoshop CS2 and have become a useful tool for photographers and digital scrapbookers alike. It's main claim to fame is the ability to allow non-destructive editing of not only the images but of the filters applied to an image as well. It is also an invaluable tool when a number of like images need to be edited or the image replaced completely without losing any effects you have already applied to it.

I use Smart Objects a lot and here is a page I created. It may not look any different initially but since I have started using Smart Objects I find my workflow to be a lot faster and I know that the resolution will not have diminished when I go to print my pages out as I am continuously resizing stuff as I create as I love to experiment!

What are Smart Objects?
When an image is converted to a Smart Object, the raw data for the image is saved within the Photoshop PSD file itself. This means that any type of editing that is carried out on the image can be undone without losing the original quality of the image. When editing an ordinary Photoshop layer, most editing is destructive in the sense that a certain amount of quality is lost and can not be reclaimed when you undo the edit. 

Why Use Smart Objects?
Using Smart Objects for your images in most cases makes sense, especially when you will be editing the image using various techniques. For instance, resizing an image to a smaller size and then enlarging it again can make your image look less sharp or pixelated.  This is because a certain amount of image data is deleted when an image is resized to a smaller size. If you then want to enlarge it again, Photoshop cannot replace the original deleted data and can only take a guess at what data was lost. Converting the image to a Smart Object first and then carrying out the resizing will not degrade the image data at all as all the original information is contained in the PSD layer itself.

The example below shows a Sunflower PNG file from Rachel's  Stand Tall Darling: Kit  that I resized. The flower on the left was left as is while the one on the right was changed to a Smart Object. Using the transform tool I resized both images to around a 1" square and applied the transform. I then resized them back to their original size and you can see the loss of quality quite clearly. 

After confirming the transform I enlarged the flower and had a closer look and the the flower on the left (not a Smart Object) has certainly lost its original sharpness.

The point here is that if you are planning on resizing your photo or an element/embellishment a lot during your creative process then it would be better to convert it to a Smart Object before doing so, especially if you plan to print the layout out at some time.

Converting a layer to a Smart Object.
Creating a Smart Object is as simple as right-clicking on the layer and selecting the Convert to Smart Object command. On the layer panel you will then note that a small symbol has been placed in the corner, as shown below. This symbol can be double-clicked to edit the Smart Object instead of accessing from a drop down menu as I have mentioned further on.

You can also create them by simply dragging and dropping items onto your canvas if you change your Preferences as shown below:

I have mine set with this preference so I don't forget to convert them myself.

I have mine set with this preference so I don't forget to convert them myself.

As with most Photoshop techniques, once you learn the basics of Smart Objects and start to use them on a daily basis, you can then move on to explore the more powerful ways that Smart Objects can be used to give you that creative edge. 

Smart Objects and Smart Filters.
Smart Objects come into their own when used in conjunction with Smart Filters as they can really give you a lot more control over your editing choices, allowing you to go back to tweak and change various changes whenever you need to. In the previous tutorial we looked at applying various Filters and Effects Basics that were available in Photoshop and I mentioned the fact that once you apply a filter to a layer it could not be changed unless it was first converted to a Smart Object. So if you are planning to apply filters to a particular layer then it would make a whole lot of sense to convert it to a Smart Object first.

When a filter gallery effect has been used on the Smart Object layer, you will notice an additional white rectangle/square below the layer's thumbnail in the layers panel, this is the Smart Filter Masking area. The white square is a MASK which can be used to mask out the effects of the gallery filter/s applied to that particular layer.

In the example below I applied a drop shadow effect,  four gallery filters and a Levels adjustment:

(1) The area designated by the RED border (above) will display all the effects/adjustments that have been assigned to the Smart Object layer. The white square with the words 'Smart Filters' next to it indicates that filters from the Filter Gallery have been applied and when clicked will take you back into the Filter Gallery to edit of any of those filters, or to apply another one. 

(2) These small double rings also indicate that filter effects have been applied to this layer and will be seen if the Smart Filter area has been minimised. It will appear next to the Fx symbol if you also have a style effect on that layer. The little arrow to the right is used to either hide (minimise) or show the Smart Filters area (within the red border above). 

(3) The eye symbol is used in the same way as for a normal layer, clicking it to either hide or show the various effects you have used on that layer. Double clicking on the actual text will open the effect for editing. 

Editing a Smart Object.
There are two types of Smart Objects that can be created in PS CC, a Linked Smart Object Layer or a NON-Linked one. The differences are explained below.

Linked Smart Object Layers
A powerful feature of Smart Objects is the ability to selectively edit a number of items by only editing one of them. Think of those clusters you create, you bring a flower in and duplicate it a few times and position them on your page. As you progress you realise that the flower would have looked better in a different colour or with a different drop shadow OR even a different flower! By converting the first flower layer into a Smart Object and then duplicating that layer you are able to edit them all at the same time or change the flower for another item completely, simply by editing just one of the flower layers. Pretty awesome I think!

In Photoshop CC Smart Objects are linked by default so when you edit any one of those layers, the other layers will be changed accordingly.

Editing a Linked Smart Object Layer:
1. Create a Smart Object layer and duplicate it (how many times you like). I have duplicated a flower four times, moved the flowers into a different position and then resized some of them, just as I would if I was creating a layout.

**NOW think about the type of editing you want to do. Remember that these layers are all automatically linked so any editing you do in the next step will be carried out on ALL of the other layers. For instance if I change the colour in the editing screen, ALL of the other layers will end up the same colour. If you want the flowers to be individually coloured then you need to do that as you would normally. With drop shadows, if you add them in the editing screen then all the other layers will have the same shadow. So just have a think about what you actually want to do first.**

2. To edit the smart object right click on one of the layers and select the Edit Contents command from the menu.

OR simply double click on the Smart Object symbol in the bottom right corner of the layer.

OR simply double click on the Smart Object symbol in the bottom right corner of the layer.

3. This layer will now (1) open in its own window for you to carry out your changes. (2) Treat this as a mini PSD file within your layout file. You can edit the original item OR replace it with something totally different at this stage but there is another way of replacing which is even quicker which I will cover in the next step. This is really a time saver!

4. When you are finished, use the Close X in the top right hand corner of the object's window (3 above), PSCC will ask whether you want to save this, click Yes.

5. PS CC will then take you back to your layout and all your other Smart Object layers will now be changed. In my example I changed the colour of the flower.

Tip: If you are using Smart Objects for cluster work, you can keep your layout tidy by placing all 'alike' layers in their own folder.

Replacing a Linked Smart Object Layer.
As I mentioned earlier, if you want to replace the contents completely on a Smart Object layer, not just edit it, the command to use is the Replace Contents. It is accessed the same way as for the Edit Content command, right click on the layer and select Replace Contents. This time you will be directed to your folders to select another item to replace the item you already have. 

In the example below I opened a little orange paper flower from Rachel's  Stand Tall Darling: Kit converted it to a Smart Object and duplicated the layers 3 times. I then moved the flowers around and changed some of the colours and resized a couple of them in the normal way. Using the Replace Contents command I then replaced the flower with a yellow button from the same kit, note how the button retains the colours I had applied and the sizes, resizing in ratio to its own size as well.

Create a NON-Linked Smart Object Layer.
In some instances you may want to work with each Smart Object layer individually. For example, you may have a photo that you want to transform using a plug-in, as well as another copy to use with another filter gallery effect, thinking to then combine the two with blending or masking options (see example below).  You wouldn't duplicate the Smart Object layer as before as changing one photo would also change the second copy. 

To create a copy of the Smart Object layer without linking, right click on the layer in the layers palette and select the New Smart Object Via Copy command.

Editing a NON-Linked Smart Object Layer:
Edit the Smart Object following the steps above for the linked Smart Object, but remember that the edits will only be carried out on the layer you selected, the other Smart Object layer will not be affected.

As always let me finish this tutorial off with some Captivating Sista inspiration!

By Anja: "When I start a layout I never know from the start where I want to end up. Smart Objects allow me to play around with sizes and filters in a non-destructive way and that gives me maximum flexibility. Filters applied to Smart Objects become Smart Filters and you can turn them on and off to see what would look best... or edit them again if you're not happy with them."

Smart Objects are a very useful and powerful tool in PS CC.  As well as retaining the quality of your images, they can also speed up your workflow. In the future I will explore Smart Objects a little bit more but I hope you have found this tutorial useful in getting started in using them yourselves. 

Until next time,


Cattitude by Captivated Visions

In watching my cat perched like he owns the place early this morning, the name of this new kit sounds quite fitting. Alas I had to take the dog for her morning jaunt, then of course I had to get ready for work and actually go to work,  

So Sketchy: Cattitude is a fun and whimsy kit purrrfect to show off your feline friend. Now don't fret thinking, "oh no I don't have a cat but I really want this fabulous new kit by Rachel" because you can have this sweet little kit and create wonderful non cat pages with it as you will see from some of the pages by the Captivating Sistas.

Some wonderful pages created by the Captivating Sistas;

Have a wonderful weekend!!


Happy (early) DSD 2016 and New Goodies

As I am sure many of you are aware Digital Scrapbook Day celebrations have been moved from the first weekend in November to the first weekend in October so it's not as close to Black Friday. That means you can spend spend this weekend and recover your scrap budget for next month--it's a win/win in my book. On to what Rachel has for you this weekend. . .

Rachel and Ru have the next collection in their Silent Battles series available this weekend and they tackled the sensitive subject of grief. The Canadian Mental Health Association describes grief as; Grief (also called bereavement) is the experience of loss. Many people associate grief with the death of an important person or pet. However, people experience grief after any important loss that affects their life, such as the loss of a job or relationship. It is something we all experience many times through the course of our life and in different ways.

Scrapping and journaling are how we choose make ourselves heard – our tools of self-expression. Loss and grief need to be felt and worked through, and doing this creatively has to be one of the most cathartic things we can do for ourselves. 

Let the Silent Battles Grief collection help you to tell this emotionally hard chapter of your story, and let you begin to move forward. This kit is comprised of 16 inky patterned papers, 7 textured solids, 110 elements and 2 alphas. Purchase the bundle to also receive the extra inked faces, mixed media elements and extras from Ru. You'll save the most by purchasing the bundle especially whilst it's included in the Sweet Shoppe 40% DSD Sale!

Silent Battles: Grief

The Captivating Sistas created some gorgeous and touching pages with this collection. 


Rachel has another release this weekend, yay for more Captivated Visions goodies!!  Rachel teamed up with Amanda Yi and Brooke Magee again to create this fun and uplifting kit called Colour Your Happy.

This kit is full of bright colours, happy thoughts and celebrating life. Colour Your Happy is ideal to show off those wonderful days, positive feelings and good things happening around you. 

The Captivating Sistas created some vibrant pages with Colour Your Happy.  Have a look. . .

Be sure to check out Rachel's shop whilst the Sweet Shoppe DSD Sale is running this weekend and save 40% on everything, even new releases and already discounted bundles, have fun!



Change is Beautiful by Captivated Visions

Here in my part of the world we are gearing up for the fall season and after the very hot, humid summer I am ready! Soon the air will be filled with crisp scents and the colours will burst through from the trees. Not to mention crunchy apples, pumpkin spice and open windows, oh how I love fall! 

Rachel has teamed up with Simone of Two Tiny Turtles and created 'Change is Beautiful'. inspired by the season of Autumn/Fall but also the deeper story of how change makes us feel in our day to day lives.

Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. When we are faced with change it can be a scary thing and often it's really hard at first, horribly messy in the middle but for the most part gorgeous at the end. Don't focus on what you have to give up, focus on what you have to gain. Check out this new kit here!

The Captivating Sistas have created some beautiful pages with this kit, take a look. . .

To celebrate this upcoming change of season I will be grabbing my camera and taking my dad to the Hawk Festival this weekend. Hopefully I get some great shots of these amazing birds.

Have a great weekend!


You are an Explorer by Captivated Visions

Explorer; someone who travels to places where no one has ever been in order to find out what is there. 

So much of who we are is where we've been and sometimes we must take adventures to know where we truly belong.

This was the inspiration behind you are an explorer, a digital scrapbook collaboration by Blagovesta Gosheva and Captivated Visions. Save 25% on this Kit through Saturday Sept 10th 2016!

You are an explorer

Here's what the Captivating Sistas have created:

You can find lots more inspiration in the shop!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Digital Scrapbook Tutorial | Filters and Effects Basics

Hi all, Ona here with a tutorial on Photoshop Filters and Effects. You can use filters to clean up or retouch your photos, apply special art effects that give your image the appearance of a sketch or impressionistic painting, or create unique transformations using distortions and lighting effects. The filters are located under the Filter menu. Some filters are created by third-party developers and are known as plug-ins. After downloading and installing a plug-in it is then available at the bottom of the Filter menu.

Effects is another name for a Style. A common style that digital scrapbookers use is the Drop Shadow style but there are other types of styles that can apply a texture, glitter or a colour to an active layer. Photoshop comes with its own styles but like plug-ins, styles can be purchased or downloaded for free from a lot of internet sites. 

This is my completed layout using the photo that I have applied filters and an effect to, read on to see the steps that I took in creating it.

This tutorial will just cover some of the basics things you need to know about using filters and effects and in coming tutorials I will explore some of them individually as they can be used extensively to create unique and creative layouts.

 Using a Filter (things to know):
- Filters are applied to the active, visible layer or a selection. 
- Once you apply a filter you cannot go back and change or tweak the filter (unless you change your layer to a Smart Object - this will be covered in my next tutorial).
- You can stack filters on top of one another in the Filter Gallery but again, you can not change or tweak the individual filters unless they are applied to a Smart Object.
- Filters cannot be applied to Bitmap-mode or indexed-color images.
- Some filters work only on RGB images.
- Some filters are processed entirely in RAM. If you don’t have enough available RAM to process a filter effect, you may get an error message.
- Most of the filters will open in the Filter Gallery where you can play around with the settings, change to a different filter or even stack more than one filter on top of each other.

Using a Style Effect (things to know):
- Style effects are applied to the active layer by clicking on the style button in the Style Panel.
- Style effects can be tweaked by going back into its style effect panel.
- A style effect can be deleted if it's not needed.
- Style effects can be installed/loaded through the Styles panel.

Working and applying Filters and Effects:
Let's work through the general steps in applying a filter and a style effect to a photograph.

My finished photo appears below, I have applied the Crosshatch and Texturizer filters to it, as well as a Colour Overlay style effect.

This was the original photo that I started with:

Here are the steps on how I created this photo.

Step 1. Duplicate the original photo layer! - this is really very important, ALWAYS work on a duplicate so that you have the original to go back to in case you need to start over again.

Step 2. CHECK that the default Foreground (black) and Background (white) colours are active. From the Filters menu select the Filters Gallery command (or press CTRL+F).

Step 3. At this point I played around with all of the filters to find one that I wanted to use. Simply click on the filter and then play around with settings in the right hand side of the panel. Filters will give you different effects depending on the type of photo you are using so at times the filters may well give you some very strange or weird results.

I finally decided on the Crosshatch filter, the settings I used are shown below:

Step 4. I wanted to add another filter from the Texture group. I had two options, add a texture filter on top of the Crosshatch filter in the Filter Gallery itself, or apply the texture filter to another duplicated layer of the original photo and then use the Photoshop blending modes to blend the two filters together. I went with the second option and here is why.

This is how the photo looked in the Filters Gallery with -
a. the Texture filter stacked on top of the Crosshatch filter - not too bad but I couldn't lower the opacity of the texture at all.

b. the Crosshatch filter stacked on top of the Texture filter - this wasn't what I was after.

So I went back to my original photo layer and duplicated it and then went back to the Filters Gallery to apply the Texture filter to it, the settings I used are shown below.

Step 5. Back in Photoshop I then played with the blending modes and layer opacity on the Texture filter layer until I was happy with it.

Step 6. Next I created a composite merged layer (of the two filter layers) so I could apply a style effect. To create a composite merged layer, click on the very top layer and use the keyboard combination of CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E

Step 7. Working on the merged layer I then headed over to the Styles panel. If it is not showing for you, go to the Windows menu and click the Styles option - the Styles panel should then open. 

As I have mentioned you can search the internet for various styles which can be purchased or available for free, but don't forget that Photoshop does come with some basic styles that are quite handy. Again, you need to spend some time just playing with these to see what they do and again, the resulting effect will also depend on the photo (or item) you are applying the style to.

For this example I will keep it simple and just go with a Color Overlay style. On the Styles panel, click the little settings icon in the top right corner, it looks like a series of small horizontal lines on top of each other. From the drop down menu  I selected the Photographic Effects group and then chose the Orange Tone color

.By the way, if you download a style from the internet, you would use the Load Styles command that I have marked on the menu above.

Step 8. Tweaking a style effect is easily done and can be changed if needed. As you can see in the screen shot below, Photoshop alerts you that a style has been applied to that layer by placing a small  FX symbol (1) to the right hand side of the layer, and underneath the object it will place the name of the Effects (2) you used, in this case the Colour Overlay (3) - if you used more than one effect they will all be listed.

 When you want to work on the effect just click on any of the spots - 1, 2 or 3 above. Clicking 1 or 2 will open the Layers panel first, whereas clicking on the actual effect will take you to straight to that effects panel.

Layers panel - refers to the layer as a whole:
This is what you see if you clicked on the FX symbol (1)  or the word Effects (2):

This panel refers to the layer in general (A) and you can change the blend mode, opacity and other things in this spot (B). Click on the effect you want to work with (C). You can also add or delete filters in this panel as well (D).

Effects panel - refers to the effect itself:
Whether you clicked on the effect text on the layer (3), or selected the effect in the Layers panel (C) the panel for the effect will now open.

In this panel you can tweak the specific effect (E) to suit your needs. Depending on the style effect you used the settings (F) will differ. For the Color Overlay effect I can change the colour, its blending mode and opacity - be aware these settings will only be used on the effect, NOT the general layer as a whole. You do need to play and experiment to see how it all works together.

As I mentioned at the start of this tutorial, there are quite a few filters and effects that ship with Photoshop and I will look at some of these in more depth in future tutorials. Hopefully you now have enough information to start playing around with filters and effects and have some creative fun!

In closing I would like share an inspiring layout done by Captivating Sista Ellen:

Ellen's comments: "I took the photo and applied the Find Lines filter. Enlarged it, layered it above the background paper and applied a darken blend. I then extracted the statue, clipped paper from Those Wings to it and used a Hard Light blend.  I also added a border from Wake Up And Be Awesome, colored it a coral color to match the flower and gave it a linear burn blend.

Rachel and I would love to see any layouts you complete using this tutorial, post them into the Captivated Visions Gallery at Sweet Shoppe Designs and remember to link us up here as well.

If you have any questions then please ask here, I am only too happy to help you.

Until next time,








Silent Battles: Stress by Captivated Visions & Studio Basic Designs

Silent battles, what a powerful statement that says so much about what so many of us know and understand. They come in many shapes, forms, and encompass a variety of emotions that we all wear differently. We deal with them in many ways, through many mediums, silently or out loud.

Rachel has started a new collection with Ru of Studio Basics that is an artsy way to express yourself and your stories. The first collection of Silent Battles is themed around stress and is chock full of items including Rachel's gorgeous inked faces to make expressing yourself easier. 

Through Saturday only new Releases at Sweet Shoppe Designs are 25% off to take advantage of the extra discount, especially on the bundle! Find all of the parts to this bundle here

Have a fabulous weekend!


Some beautiful pages from the Captivating Sistas:

Sneak Peek | Silent Battles - Stress

I mentioned in my recent blog post that I've been working on a project with the talented Rubia of Studio Basic. I always love working with Ru, she's a great friend, has a great sense of humour and is always there to support me at times of creative woopsies or lulls!

We are creating a new artsy collection titled silent battles. We all have them and we wanted to create something that helps us all to tell our stories expressively.

The first collection is themed around stress, here is a peek of the different parts in the collection. If you want to see layouts by the Captivated Sistas before this product goes live in my shop keep an eye out over on my facebook page!

Inked Faces | Studio Art

I've always admired artists who could draw people, it's always been one of the hardest things for me but lately i've been experimenting drawing with different tools and my current favourite is the dropper tool from a bottle of ink. 

Trying to draw a face with a paintbrush feels so limiting for me, the fear of making perfect strokes and the perfect painting prevents me from getting very far but I've found drawing with the dropper tool feels loose and free and the end result is always a surprise. Sometimes the ink splodges in a way I didn't expect it to and for the most part it adds more character to the drawing. Of course it can be tricky for little areas like the ends of the nose and the lips but I'm really enjoying in this more casual and abstract way. 

Here are some of my drawings. 

I've also been working on a project with the talented Rubia of Studio Basic. I always love working with Ru, she's a great friend, has a great sense of humour and is always there to support me at times of creative woopsies or lulls! 

We are creating a new artsy collection titled silent battles. We all have them and we wanted to create something that helps us all to tell our stories expressively. The first collection is themed around stress and I thought my painted females were quite fitting so I'll be including them in our new release this coming weekend. 

I'll be posting more peeks soon!