Tutorial: The Shadow of your Style

When deciding upon the name for this blog post,  I just could not resist playing off the song title, ” The Shadow of your Smile,” a beautiful piece that has been recorded by so many fabulous vocalists.  But today I will not be talking about songs, but rather about shadows on Photoshop Styles.

Some Photoshop Styles come with shadows, and some do not. There are reasons to create styles both ways, and it’s truly a designer’s preference.

If you want to use a Photoshop Style that does not have a shadow, if you are using a Style that has a shadow that is not quite what you are looking for, or if you want to create your own custom shadow, you can easily make those changes!



New CU Product: Polished Stone Beads and String Photoshop Styles

I think I’ve always loved nature.  And stones. Or rocks.  Call them whatever you like. When I was about 10 years old, I had a red rock that I just loved.  It was probably about 4-5 inches in width, and about 1 – 1.5  inches in depth.  It was red with flecks of white, and it was smooth, with a lovely patina on it.  I don’t remember where I got it, but I remember carrying it around with me a lot. And I remember the day I couldn’t find it.  When I asked my Mom where it was, she told me that she had thrown it away.  She didn’t realize it was special to me. She thought it was just a rock.

I don’t know if that experience influenced me… or not… but I collect rocks.   From my favorite places, from places we go on vacation… from my front yard.  There’s just something about them… history, texture, character.  If they make me smile… or wonder when I look at them, chances are I’m going to pick them up.  Some deserve a special place on a display shelf, and some are sharing “living space” in a jar on my desk, where I can look at them when I want.

Two weeks ago, I released my Personal Use kit, Rocky Mountain Dreams.  In that kit I included an inspirational stone.  I loved it so much, I created a whole commercial-line of stones.   (Stones, and Stones, the Collection.)


This week, I just couldn’t get stones off my mind.  This time polished stones. Pretty stones. Stones that you could use as beads!

So I set to work creating two sets of Polished Stone Beads, as well as a String Photoshop Style, perfect for use in creating a string of beads, or just about anything!




To use the String Style, just create a straight or curvy line (thin, about 15 -  35 pixels works well), and then apply the Style color of your choice to create the perfect string to thread your beads.

Try the String Style on thin Text, or shapes, or stitches!  There is no limit to their use.  And the polished stone beads?  String them, or create a bead scatter with them; tuck them into your clusters for added interest.

If you would like a refresher on how to use layer masks to easily make your ‘threading’ look realistic, you might enjoy reading my tutorial:  Working with Layer Masks in Photoshop.

Take advantage of my Labor Day Weekend Sale and enjoy a 50% savings in my store, including my new items! 

Chalk Painting

As many of you know my husband and I recently moved.  Somehow it’s always a challenge moving furniture from one house to another.  My experience has been that not everything fits perfectly, and some things just don’t fit at all.

In our previous home I had built-ins in my office.  They were very space efficient, and I loved them.  The bad thing about built-ins is that you can’t take them with you when you move!

Before we moved, I went on the hunt for some reasonably priced, sturdy office furniture.  Failing in my attempt, I turned to garage and estate sales.  I eventually found a great set – all wood, very sturdy and well-built by an excellent manufacturer, at a great price.  The one problem was that the set had been in a child’s room for 25 years, so it had a lot of dings in it, and frankly looked 25 years old.  However, I could just visualize how I wanted this to look!  It would take some work, but it would be worth it.


My first step was to hire someone to chalk paint it with a light color.  From experience, I knew this  would take 2, maybe 3 coats of paint, and I just didn’t have the time (or desire) to do that.  Here is what it looked like after that was done:

DSC_3584 copy 2-web

The cabinets look really good… in the sunlight.  You know how paint picks up the color in a room, and also how paint looks different on pieces based upon the sunlight and shadows in a room?  In my office, these cabinets have a definite gray cast to them (not easily visible in the photograph).  I thought I could live with it.  I really tried…. but I just couldn’t.

So today I would like to share with you what I did, and how you can do the same. And if in-real-life painting is not for you, I have some digital “paint” tools you might find helpful!

Have you ever chalk-painted?  You can purchase chalk paint, but it’s quite expensive, especially if you plan on painting a large piece.  You can make your own, and it’s simple! Here’s the recipe:

1/2 Cup Plaster of Paris:  Mix with water until no lumps

Add 2 C Paint (flat or eggshell)

 Mix well. 

 Paint item of preference.  Paint will dry quickly.  Sand with fine grit (220). After 24 hours wax and buff with soft cloth

I knew I wanted the furniture to have some blue and green in it, but to be predominantly white. I also wanted it to be shabby in appearance.

First I removed the hardware,  took the pieces outside, and gave the entire cabinet a light sanding with a medium grit sandpaper.  Next I wiped the cabinet down to remove the fine dust.  I like to use a Tack Cloth (very inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware or craft stores).  If you don’t have a Tack Cloth, a rag will be fine.    I then painted areas of green and blue on the cabinets, trying to visualize where I would want the color showing through the white paint.  I like to focus on the edges of the piece, especially around the edges of any panels, as these doors have.

DSC_3593 web

When I was happy with what I had done, I gave a light sanding with fine grit sandpaper to the blue and green paint, then used my Tack Cloth again to remove the fine dust.

Next came the bigger job of painting the cabinet all white.  I took a picture halfway through that process.  Here on the front of the cabinet, you can see where I left some of the green and blue showing thru.

DSC_3596 web

After taking this picture, I finished painting white on the areas where the original (grayish)  paint was showing through.  Once I was finished, I gave the cabinets another light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper (220), then wiped them down with my Tack Cloth.  Now came the FUN part.

Still using my fine grit sandpaper, I started sanding the edges of the cabinets, and any place that I wanted to add some character. This removed the white paint and allowed both the blue paint, green paint, and the original dark color of the cabinets to add interest to the pieces.

DSC_3600 web


(The top of the cabinets are picking up the yellow in my wall paint, and you can see reflections of light from the window at the base of the cabinets.)

To finish off, I gave a nice coat of wax to the cabinets.  Any kind of paste wax will do. I just use the Home Depot brand, and it works fine.  I usually give 2-3 coats of wax, just to provide the best protection.

I don’t have a picture of the cabinets all put back together (like in my first pictures in this post).    My husband is out of town, and the tops are way too heavy for me to lift on my own.  Hopefully you can see the end results well enough with these pictures.

So why am I sharing all of this with you?  There are a few reasons!

First, I have no new products to show you this week…. because this is what I have been doing. :)   Also, because some of you who have communicated with me throughout the week asked me to explain the chalk-painting process; so I thought it might be helpful to share it with you all.  It’s super fun and can be a great way to restore some old furniture that doesn’t appeal to you anymore.  (The first time I did this, I purchased a very inexpensive little table at a garage sale. It was great to practice on and get a feel for what I was doing.)

Secondly, painting in-real-life just reminded me how much I love to paint digitally.  There are no paint brushes to clean up, no splotches of paint on my skin (yeah, I can get kind of messy), no pick-up-and-put-away of tools.  And the list goes on.  When I paint digitally, I can get up and walk away and not have to put the lid back on the paint can or worry that my brush is going to dry out if I take a short break.

So if you would like to in-real-life paint today, I hope the chalk recipe and these pictures have gotten your creative mind conjuring up all sorts of amazing projects!

If you prefer to digitally paint, I have put my Painterly Edge Brush Sets on sale for you.  Enjoy 30% off Painterly Edges, Sets 1, 2, 3, and 4; or save 50% on the Entire Collection.

Available at SnickerdoodleDesigns     |     theStudio     |     CUDigitals


Whichever way you choose to paint today, I hope you have a creative experience and enjoyable time!

Product Tutorial: How to use CU Stones with Imprint Styles

Good morning!  Today I would like to share with you how easy it is to create your own inspirational stones!

Yesterday, I released Rocky Mountain Dreams, a personal-use scrapbook kit.


One of the kit extras was Inspirational Stones.


As I was choosing which words I wanted to use for this project, I kept thinking that the words which were important for me to use might not be the words that YOU want for your own scrapbook pages.  So I went out into my yard, found some of the most interesting stones I could find, photographed, extracted them, and put together 3 sets of Stones for you. (These come with a CU license too, in case you are a designer.) Using the Stones in combination with my Imprint Styles will allow you to create stones to personalize your scrapbook layouts, or make unique elements for scrapbook kits.


Stone Sets 1, 2, and 3  come bundled together with the free BONUS of the Imprint Styles   This is your best value.

Additionally, each Stone Set is available individually, as are the Imprint Styles. 

All products are available at:     SnickerdoodleDesigns     |     theStudio     |     CUDigitals


Okay, now let’s get to work! I am going to assume that you are familiar with getting Styles loaded or installed into Photoshop.  If you would like a refresher, here are 2 previous tutorials that will help:

How to Load Photoshop Styles

How to Load Photoshop Styles in Photoshop Elements  

Here is a stone from Set 2 (stone 7), with a layer of text on top of it.  It doesn’t matter what color text you use, as it will not be detectable after you apply the Imprint Style to it.


Here is a copy of my Styles Panel, with the Imprint Styles outlined in red for you to see:


There are 15 Styles available for you to choose from.  The fun part is simply applying each style to your chosen text to see what works best with the color stone you are using, the font you are using, and the look you are going for.

I have applied 4 different Styles to the word “explore.”


I like the first style best on this stone color, so let’s work with that one (Style #11).

You have 2 method options now:

Method #1:

1. Rasterize your text (right-click on the Text layer and choose Rasterize Type).

2.  Right-click on either your Text or Stone layer and select Merge Visible (assuming these are the only 2 layers on your document). That’s it. You’re finished!



Method 2 (and my preferred method because it offers more flexibility):

1. Rasterize your text (right-click on the Text layer and choose Rasterize Type).

2. Rasterize the Imprint Style that has been applied to your text.  This will merge all of the effects.  To do this, right click  on your Text layer and choose “Rasterize Layer Style.”

3.  Having a rasterized text file to work with will give you increased flexibility as you search for the perfect look for your Stone. It will allow you to play with Blending Modes and Opacity Levels of the text layer, as well as duplicate that layer if you like for even more blending/opacity options.

In the image below, I duplicated the flattened text layer and changed the blending mode of the duplicated layer to Linear Dodge. I like how it gave a lighter edge to the left of the letters.  I’m happy with either of these results.

If I wanted to, I could duplicate the text layer yet another time for even more options, such as applying a 2nd Imprint Style to just that one duplicated layer.



Method 2 is really important when using lighter colored stones. In the image below, you will see 2 samples.  In the top sample, I have created the stone using Option #1. When the Style is rasterized, due to the nature of the style, you will see the gray tint in it. On darker stones, we don’t notice that; on lighter stones, we do.

In the bottom sample, I created the stone using Method #2.  Because I had a rasterized text layer on it’s own layer, I could change the blend mode of the Text to Overlay – which looks better on the light colored Stones.


The key – and the fun – is just to experiment until you are happy with your results!


Rocky Mountain Dreams

“What exactly does it take to live the life of your dreams?  Perfect  timing? Fortunate opportunities?  A million dollars in the bank?  Not even close. It takes a decision; a simple decision that will ultimately test the strength of your commitment and the depth of your faith.” – Karen Wright

I am a native Californian.  My husband was born in Detroit; but as the son of a military officer, he has lived all over the world. However, we have spent our entire married life in Southern California, within 60 miles of where I was born.

We both love nature, and it has always been a dream of ours to live in the “country” with a little land to call our own.  We didn’t think that was possible, for a lot of reasons.  Last December, we started re-evaluating.  If we wanted to live our dream, we needed to make a decision, make a plan, and then make that dream come true.

So we got started doing just that.  It is a very long story, but the end result is that on July 1st, we took possession of our dream house, in our dream location, 23 miles from Yosemite National Park.

We are enjoying long walks in the early morning, days filled with the wonder of our new environment, beautiful sunsets in the evening,  and a slower pace of life than what we were used to in busy Orange County.

It is exactly what we were looking for.

As we settled it, my need to get back to designing became overwhelming.  I NEEDED to capture what I was seeing.  So I started…. and Rocky Mountain Dreams is the result.


Do you see anything on my front porch that made it into the kit?

The majority of the papers were created and/or inspired by photographs of sunsets from our yard.


Whether you are recording your memories about your favorite nature spots or vacation sites, documenting goals and dreams, or creating pages you wish to infuse with rustic charm,  Rocky Mountain Dreams has something for you.  Additional Add-ons are also available to assist you with creative needs.

Rocky Mountain Dreams is currently being offered at Introductory Sale Pricing. Save 20% on individual products thru August 30th, or 50% on the entire Collection always.

Available @ SnickerdoodleDesigns     |     theStudio







Do you like the Inspirational Stones?  Do you want to create your own?  Come back here tomorrow for a quick tutorial on how to do that. It’s so easy!!!!

Do you have your own goals and dreams?  What’s keeping you from achieving them?  Is it time to re-evaluate? Is there any way at all to make them come true?

Here are 2 journal cards to assist you as you document your memories, record your goals, or set forth your dreams!

Click on the image below to download.


Ready for some inspiration from my Creative Team?

These ladies are amazing!