Tutorial! Smoothing Skin in Photoshop Elements

1. Open a photo of a person – a fairly close up photo works best for this. Remove any major blemishes with the healing brush tool or however you usually do it. When you’re photo is almost ready to save, do this technique.

2. Duplicate the photo layer by clicking on Layer>Duplicate Layer OR just click on the thumbnail of your photo on your layers palette and drag it onto the “create a new layer” icon to the bottom right. What you will see is a duplicate of your image on your layers palette. You can name this layer “Smooth Skin” if you’d like.

3. Now you will add the “Surface Blur” filter which will smooth and kind of blur the entire photo. Don’t worry about that – we’ll be fixing it soon. So, click at the top of the screen on Filter>Blur>Surface Blur.

You’ll see a little screen pop up that looks like this:
Where it says “Radius” enter a number around 15. Set the “Threshold” to around 20. Click OK

4. Now your photo will look smooth ALL OVER. We don’t want that, right? We just want the skin to be smooth! And, we definitely don’t want it to look PLASTIC, so we are going to add a little bit of “noise” (or grain) to the photo to get rid of the plastic look. Click on Filter>Noise>Add Noise

5. Enter “2”, and make sure that “Monochrome” is checked. Click OK.

6. Now you’ll have a “smooth skin” layer on top of your background layer. If you click on the little “eyeball” to the left of your “smooth skin” layer on your layers palette, you’ll be able to see the difference already. However, this has smoothed and blurred the entire photo, and we just want the skin, so we have to create another duplicate of the background layer by clicking on the background thumbnail on your layers palette. It’s the one on the bottom. Then repeat the steps in step 2. Layer>Duplicate layer. Now you’ll have another layer called “Background copy” right above your background layer on your layers palette. Drag that copy to the top of your layers palette. So, now your layers will be in this order:

7. Select the eraser tool on your tools palette and set the opacity to 100%. Now, you can erase over the skin on your “background copy” layer and watch as the smooth skin layer magically shows! Be careful to avoid eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, nostrils, hair etc. JUST do the skin. If the smoothing is too much, then just lower the opacity of the skin smoothing layer in your layers palette until you like how it looks. When you are happy with the results, you can flatten your image!

Happy smoothing!!

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Resizing Printables For Projects

Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a great start 🙂 
I have had some friends ask me HOW to resize my printables for other uses – such as fridge magnets (smart!) or cards. I love hearing of fun ways that people are using my printables, so I am more than happy to share a short video tutorial on ONE way to do this. So, open Photoshop, open one image (a printable if you’d like) and play along!
Disclaimer – my computer is SO sluggish these days, so at one point the ctl+T command doesn’t work right away, but it DOES work :)It brings up the “Transform” tool so I could rotate one of the layers. Hope that part makes sense 🙂
Disclaimer 2: the audio gets a little ahead of the video, so I hope you can follow it. If not, just ask. Or you can follow similar steps as this tutorial I did a while back:
Fitting 4 smaller images on one 4X6 print
So, once you have resized your printable and dragged and dropped it onto an 8.5X11 canvas, simply print and start creating! Here are my printable fridge magnets, ready to give away and (hopefully) inspire 🙂

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Ruffled Tote Tutorial

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am so excited to share something that I created – and because it worked for ME, I want to share HOW I did it so you can see if it will work for YOU! Here is what we are going to make:

Here is what you’ll need to make it:
I found my fabric at a thrift store for $0.99! SCORE! I’ll have enough to actually make 2 bags, or ONE bag and one of something else. We’ll see 🙂 I chose the grey fabric for the outside of the bag, so I cut my 5 strips (for the ruffles) and the long strip (for the handles) out of the grey. If you want your ruffles out of a contrasting fabric, just cut those 5 strips out of that.

 

First we are going to work on the ruffles. Take one of the 5 strips of fabric and fold in the edges about 1/4 of an inch. Iron flat, then straight stitch down the length to secure the fold. Repeat on the opposite side. This is just to make the ruffle edges more finished. If you want your ruffles to be a little more “shabby” just skip this step and leave the raw edges on the strips of fabric.

 
Now we are going to turn this flat, straight strip of fabric into a ruffle by changing your machine to the longest stitch it can do. Then stitch straight down the middle of the strip of fabric. Do NOT backstitch!
 
Your strip should look like this:
Now, grab onto the end of the TOP thread and slowly start to pull the fabric so it gathers. It should look like this:
 
You will want to gather the full length of the strip, then pin one end to the edge of the RIGHT side of one of the outer bag pieces. Adjust the gathered strip so it fits the width of the panel with the ends of the ruffle sticking out slightly on each end. Pin all along. Oh, and repeat with the other 4 strips. Leave about a 1/2″ to 1″ space in between each ruffle.
When you are done with all five ruffles, your panel should look something like this:
Switch your machine back to a regular stitch and stitch along each ruffle, stitching it right onto the fabric beneath it.
Okay, the hardest part is done! Now, take that ruffly piece of fabric and pin it to the matching fabric panel with RIGHT sides together. Pin the two long edges and the bottom. Repeat with the 2 lining pieces. Then stitch along the sides and bottom.

Before we stitch the insides of the bag to the outsides, we want to finish off the corners so we get more of a flat bottom to the bag. To do this, simple pinch the corner about a 1/2″ to 1″  in like so:

Then stitch across. Repeat with the other corner of the lining, and the two corners of the outside bag piece.
Now we need to do the handle before we sew all of the pieces together. Iron the 44in peice in half (width wise) then open it up again so you can see the ironed crease:
Fold one edge in to meet the crease in the middle. Iron down.
Repeat with the opposite side so the two unfinished edges meet in the middle.
Now fold the entire thing in half again so that you now have a thin 44″ strip with no rough edges showing, like so:
Top stitch along each edge down the entire length of the strip. When that is done, cut the strip in half to form two 22″ strips. These will be  your handles!
Okay, this part is hard to explain, but easy to do. Trust me 🙂 Turn your lining “bag” right side out and slip inside the (still inside out) outer bag piece. Line up the seams as well as you can. Then, take one of the handle pieces, loop it into a “u” shape, and stick the curved part in between the RIGHT sides of the lining and the outer piece so it is in between, like so:
Then, take the two ends of that one handle piece and pin them about 2-3″ from each corner, with the edges slightly sticking out above the raw edges of the lining and outer pieces. Repeat on the other side of the bag with the other handle piece. Make sure the handle isn’t slipped into the MIDDLE of the four layers of fabric, but is in between the outermost layer and the lining piece on each side. I hope this makes sense. Now you will stitch along the edges- all around the bag – leaving about a 2″ gap so you can turn the bag right-side out again!
Turn your bag right side out. It should now look something like this:
Stuff the lining into the bag and carefully fold the edges in the gap. Iron the whole thing flat, then top stitch all around the top edge of the bag – stitching closed the gap while you are doing it.
Lastly, carefully pick out the basting stitch out of the ruffles with a seam ripper so you only have one stitch holding them on to the bag.
Voila! You are finished your cute ruffled bag! If you make one, I’d love for you to share a link so I can see it! You can change the dimensions of the bag by simply changing the size you cut the four larger pieces of fabric, then making sure you adjust the length of the ruffle strips to match 🙂 Happy sewing!

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