Oct 17 2017

Tech Tuesday: Opening Closed Eyes In Photoshop Elements 2018


As promised, I’m back with some tips on using multiple images at the same time in Photoshop Elements. Let’s start by reviewing why you would want to work with more than one image at a time.

  • You took a group photo, but in each one someone’s eyes were closed.
  • You want to create calendars or books, but you don’t like the layout choices.
  • You want to print a strip of fabric on the bias (diagonal), but you don’t want a lot of fabric waste.
  • You want to print a test of several images on one piece of fabric.

Today, let’s look at the first option: Opening closed eyes. A brand new feature in Photoshop Elements 2018 automatically opens eyes. I guess I’m not the only one who takes family photos where one person has closed eyes. So here’s my family eating the cookies that brother-in-law Harry sent to my dear husband. (We are all so happy he shared them with us.) Everyone looks good except my step-daughter has her eyes closed.

closed eyes

Closed eyes

Fortunately, I take a few photos when I take a group shot … just in case. To open her eyes, the first thing you do is open the closed-eye photo in Photoshop Elements 2018. Then go to the menu and choose Enhance > Open Closed Eyes….

enhance screenshot

Choose Enhance

A new window will open with circles around faces (or what Photoshop thinks are faces). Click inside the circle of the one you want to fix. The circle will turn cyan (aqua).

choose a face

Choose a face

Then you will choose a source for the open eyes. If you use Photoshop Elements Organizer, you can simply click on the Organizer icon and find your photo that way. If you don’t use Organizer, you have to know where your photo is. Click on the Computer icon and select the photo.

choose photo with opened eyes

Choose photos with opened eyes

Photoshop will look for faces with open eyes for you to choose from. Click on the appropriate image.

choose a face

Choose a face

Like magic, the closed eyes of your subject will be replaced with the new opened eyes. You can click on the magnifying glass with a plus underneath the main photo to zoom in, and click the Before/After button to look at each version. If you like it, click OK. The Open Closed Eyes window will close and you’ll have a great new group photo! Click on the image below to see my step-daughter “finally” open her eyes.

Animated gif with eyes

Click to see before and after

It’s great when it works like it’s supposed to. But sometimes no matter how hard you try, the automated method just doesn’t work, and you have to go back to fixing it manually. Click on the image below to see how the automation does not quite work with my grandson.

animated opening eyes

Click to see before and after

To learn more about Photoshop Elements 2018, click here. Take one of our online Photoshop classes to learn the skills you’ll need to manually open eyes. Click here for more information.

Oct 10 2017

Tech Tuesday: Inspiration, Spoonflower and Photoshop


This started out to be a post on working with multiple images in Photoshop, but it has turned into a post about inspiration and why I allow my inbox to be filled with promotions for this product or that service. Most of you know that I’m a saver. Kris thinks I’m a boarderline hoarder, but I can still walk in all the rooms in my house. The barn is another story. Lucky for me, it doesn’t take up much space to save digital stuff. But I digress. A while back I received an email from Spoonflower, an online fabric printing company, announcing their new Fill-A-Yard™ feature.

Spoonflower's Fill-A-Yard

Spoonflower’s Fill-A-Yard

You can put multiple designs into a yard of fabric to be printed. “Well, that’s silly,” I thought to myself. Just use Photoshop, create a “canvas” that’s 42” wide (or whatever the width of the fabric is) and 36” (1 yard) high. Create whatever you want on that canvas, upload it and let Spoonflower (or any other company, for that matter) print it. It’s nothing new. Spoonflower just created an automated way for you to fill that yard with any of the designs in their marketplace. Brilliant marketing, I say!

Because it’s a template, making up your own yard of fabric is easy. But it’s still a template. If you use Photoshop to create your own canvas, you aren’t limited to a specific template. We’ve even created bias strips of fabric that won’t waste a lot of fabric.* For you non-fabric people, bias strips are strips of fabric cut on the diagonal. In a woven fabric that doesn’t stretch, the bias will stretch a bit. When you want woven fabric to curve around things, that bit of stretch can come in handy.

Fabric design

A square of fabric that includes bias strips.


CyberInsecurity Necklace

Bias strips used in “Cyber Insecurity”

Why don’t you check out Spoonflower Magazine for some inspiration**, put your name on our contact list for the next Pixeladies Photoshop class, and come back next week when I’ll talk about working with multiple images in Photoshop.

Photoshop Elements 2018

Photoshop Elements 2018

By the way, Photoshop Elements 2018 (what would have been version 16) is available and has some nifty features for combining more than one image.

* The thing about cutting strips of fabric on the bias is that to get a long strip, you have to “waste” a lot of fabric. To get a bias strip that’s 2” wide by 36” long from a 42” wide piece of fabric, you need to buy x inches of fabric. What’s x? Approximately 28¼”. Here is the formula I used: √(22+22) + 36sin⁡45° = 28.27. I know what you’re thinking. Either

      • that’s a lot of fabric, or
      • she must have a degree in math (no, but my math teachers would be proud).

** Check out pages 40-41 for a really cool idea for wallpaper and 56-57 for bedsheets. I can hardly wait! (Use the zoom tool to see the actual magazine page numbers.)

Apr 3 2017

Digital Designing Is Finally Here!


Several years ago we taught an “intermediate” online Photoshop Elements course. We enjoyed teaching it very much, but we knew that what we really wanted to do was to get our students to the point where they could unleash their creativity through Photoshop. Ever since we revamped our PSE 1 & 2 classes, our students have been asking for the next step. Well, we finally decided it was time to teach a design course. We have the course divided into four units that cover the elements of design: line, color, shape, and texture. Students will work with the different tools – and layers, of course! – to create and manipulate these elements. Here’s one sample that Deb worked on. Using a photograph as a starting point, she “drew” a fuchsia.

We’re already looking forward to seeing everyone’s portfolio. Please join us for this four-week course. Class begins May 1. Click here for more information.

Feb 1 2017

Pixeladies Class Contest: We Have A Winner!


Last week we held a contest to give away a Pixeladies online class. We asked our readers to leave a comment on our blog post about inspiration and documentation. Well, today we randomly drew* a winner: Kit Vincent! Kit wins a Pixeladies online class. Now, Kit can enroll in any Pixeladies class she wants to, but we think she might be interested in our Digital Designing class because:

  • she already knows how to use of the basic tools of Photoshop Elements
  • she is a fabulous fiber artist and might enjoy learning how to digitally create the elements of design
  • she would meet other students and get as inspired by their work as much as we do
  • and she’s from Canada. Actually, that’s not really a reason to take the class; we just love having students from all over the world!

Some of our scarf designs

If you are interested in enrolling in “Digital Designing,” registration starts April 1 for the class that begins May 1. Click here for more information. Thanks again for everyone who left comments. You’ve really inspired us!


* This is how we made our random draw:

  1. We cut and pasted everyone’s email address into a spreadsheet.
  2. We then used a random number generator to assign a number to everyone.
  3. Then we sorted the list by the random number.
  4. Then Kris pulled out her telephone book (yes, she still has a few in the living room!).
  5. Deb, who was at her home talking to Kris on the phone, told her to open the phone book to a particular page.
  6. Deb then called out a random column and then a random row, like “seventh row from the top.”
  7. Kris then called off the last two digits of that phone number, and voilà, we had our winner!

Total silliness but some retro fun with the telephone book!

Jan 17 2017

Inspiration and Documentation


Kris and I are revamping our Digital Designing class. Sometimes it takes us quite a while to formulate a class, but this one came together in an afternoon. I just love it when that happens. So while Kris was fleshing out the outline, I was looking for inspiration for projects. I’d really love to have our students submit images of what they’d like to learn to create, but sometimes when a student is given such an open assignment, they freeze up. It’s sort of like having a new sketchbook; sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Someone once told me they took an art class where the instructor made a mark in the student’s sketch book, just so it wasn’t blank. But I digress.

I keep folders of ideas. I’ve never been a journal-type person. I wish I were, but it’s just not in my DNA. I scrawl notes on scraps of paper, rip ideas out of magazines, keep Pinterest boards, make written and audio memos on my phone, etc.


Last year I did manage to put most of the ideas on paper into a large binder, but it’s not organized at all.

Idea Binder

Idea Binder

Here are a few of the things from my idea book I thought might be helpful for our design class.






How do you document your inspiration? What would you want to learn in our Digital Designing class? Leave us a comment below by January 31, and we’ll enter you into a drawing for a free class! The winner will be announced on February 1, 2017.

Dec 28 2016

The Power Of Word Of Mouth & Ohio


We’re in the middle of registration for our next series of Photoshop Elements classes, and we’ve noticed a curious thing. The last time we taught online, we had several Canadians enroll. This time around, 26% of the Elements 1 students are from Ohio. Ohio!! Over 1/4 of our students . . . so far . . . from the same state. We don’t know if folks in Ohio have been talking about us, but we do find it extraordinary to get so many students from one US state. This is the fun part about teaching online. We get to meet people from all over. Besides the US and Canada, we’ve had students from as far away as Sweden, Australia, and Greece. And in 2017 we’ll have our first student from the Dutch Caribbean. (By the way, the Dutch Caribbean has quite an interesting geopolitical history. Read about it here.) Needless to say, we don’t have the marketing budget to reach out to all these countries, so we have relied heavily on word of mouth. When students talk about their good learning experiences in our classes, it makes all the difference. Take fiber artist Kathy Loomis, for example. Her blog entries have steered several students our way. Read one of her entries about our classes here. Thanks, Kathy!

Back to Ohio. Ohio is special to us not only for the online students we have had. Some of our first exhibition opportunities happened in Ohio. Since it’s the end of the year, we thought it would be fun to talk a quick look back.

In 2007, when Sacred Threads was still located in Reynoldsburg, “Owuo Atwedee” enjoyed its premiere. Some nice person even sent us a review of the exhibition in the local paper because they had published a photo of our quilt with the review! We have another quilt traveling with Sacred Threads 2016 because our first experience was so wonderful.

Owuo Atweedee

Owuo Atweedee

In 2010, we had the honor of having “The Picture is Only Half the Story” exhibited in “The Journey of Hope in America: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama” at the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center in Wilberforce. We felt so welcomed. This artwork has recently sold, marking the end of a special time for us.

The Picture is Only Half the Story

The Picture is Only Half the Story

In 2013, “American Still Life: The Weight of the Nation” premiered at the Dairy Barn’s Quilt National ’13 in Athens. We loved the artist reception and the opportunity to meet and network with such talented artists.

American Still Life: The Weight of the Nation

American Still Life: The Weight of the Nation

We’re looking forward to teaching again in 2017. Photoshop Elements 1 begins January 16. Whether you are from Ohio, Europe, or Timbuktu, we’d love to have you join us. Click here for more class information. And if you are a student who has posted about our classes, thank you for spreading the word! Your good word is our best recommendation. Here’s to a creative, productive, and remarkable 2017!

Sep 13 2016

Photoshop Essentials 3? Help Us With Our Next Online Photoshop Course


We’re taking a hiatus from online teaching until the new year so that we can work on revamping our design class. After a cursory review of the course, we realized that we had a bit of a dilemma, so we thought we would ask you for some help. Of course, we’ll intersperse our questions with some images to make the post prettier.

Design Elements

Design Elements

Question #1: the class needs a new name. “Designing Fabric with Adobe Photoshop Elements,” while descriptive, seems limiting. After all, while you learn how to create designs, the course is not limited to designing fabric. In fact, in this class you build upon what you learned in Photoshop Essentials 1 and 2 by working on:

  • review of layers and layer styles
  • blend modes
  • define pattern and seamless repeat
  • filter galleries
  • custom gradients
  • complex text tool manipulations
  • panorama stitching

4 Layers: map, color, pebbles, photo

4 Layers: map, gradient, doodle, photo

Understanding layers and blend modes, for example, is useful for any user of PSE, from fabric designers to photographers. Digital scrapbookers would benefit from learning how to define patterns and make seamless repeats – all those wonderful backgrounds can be so much fun to create. And that’s just a couple of examples. So, now you can see that “Designing Fabric” won’t appeal to all the people who would otherwise take the class. Any ideas for a new name? We’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment at the end of the post.

Gradients Explained

Gradients Explained

Question #2: Content. We’ve summarized the main areas of the class above, but it is very helpful to know what YOU want to learn. If you want to learn something specific, we might be able to add it to the class agenda. At the very least, your request might become the topic of one of our Tech Tuesday entries! Again, just add a comment at the end of this post, and we’ll see what we can do! Thanks for your help.

Finished scarf design

Finished Scarf Design

May 10 2016

Tech Tuesday: 5 Things To Learn About The Photoshop Grid


Whether you are using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, knowing that you can turn on a grid and use it to suit your needs can really facilitate your project. Here are 5 things to remember:

1. Turn on/off the grid. From the Menu bar, click on View > Grid to turn on/off the grid. The handy shortcut is Ctrl + ‘ (the apostrophe). Mac users will use Command + ‘.

2. Use the snap-to-grid function. When you are lining up objects, it is often handy to have the objects line up to the grid. To turn on Snap to Grid, from the Menu bar click View > Snap to > Grid. Using the Move tool, move an object near a gridline to see it snap to grid. Sometimes you need to zoom in to clearly see this function in action.

3. Turn off grid when using the Brush tool. If you have the grid on while drawing with the Brush tool, the strokes will try and snap to grid, causing a jiggy-jaggy effect. Turn off the grid to draw a smooth line . . . unless, of course, you like that jiggy-jaggy look!


4. Change grid preferences. By default, the gridlines are dark gray, with 4 subdivisions per gridline. However, you can make all kinds of changes to the appearance of the grid. To access the Grid Dialog Box, from the Menu bar click Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid. Mac users will click Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor > Preferences > Guides & Grid.


  • To change the color of the grid, click on the Color drop-down menu (red arrow). Choose from pre-selected colors or select Custom to choose your own.
  • To change the style of the grid, click on the Style drop-down menu (green arrow). Choose from lines, dashed lines, or dots.
  • To change the unit of measurement of the grid, click on Measurement drop-down menu (blue arrow). Choose between pixels, inches, cm, mm, points, picas, percent.
  • You can also change the frequency of the gridlines by clicking in the Number box to the left of the Measurement menu.
  • To change the subdivisions of the grid, click in the Number box next to Subdivisons (yellow arrow).
  • The current color of the grid is shown in the color swatch (purple arrow). In this example, the grid color is a medium gray.

5. Grid does not print. The grid is designed to help you place your objects and therefore does not print, even when you have the grid turned on. If you want to print a grid, you can draw individual lines on top of the Photoshop grid. If you want to learn how to do this and more, you should sign up for our Photoshop Essentials class. Photoshop Essentials 2 starts on May 23, 2016.

We hope you will use the grid more often now. It’s a big help!

Apr 8 2016

Two Cool Features Of Photoshop’s Move Tool


We’re getting ready to teach our Photoshop Essentials 1 & 2 again, and this is the time we remember how powerful Photoshop is and how difficult it is to decide what to teach in these classes. Here are a couple of nifty features of the Move tool that we think really help our students speed up the creative process.

1. Automatically Switch to Move Tool after Writing Text

It often happens that after you write some text, you need to position it somewhere else. You can set your preferences so that the Move tool is automatically selected after you commit some text. From the Menu Bar, click Edit > Preferences > General (Mac users = Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor > Preferences > General). Make sure you check the box next to “Select Move tool after committing text” (see red arrow).


2. Move a Really Tiny Object

Sometimes you want to move a something that’s so small you can’t quite grab it with your Move tool. Sure, you can zoom in, but sometimes when you do that, you lose sight of the “bigger picture” and aren’t quite sure where to move the object. There’s a great trick for this. All you have to do is place your Move tool cursor anywhere outside of those squares around the object (AKA the bounding box), and it will still move the object.* Try it. Click on the image below to note the location of the Move tool in relation to the “crown” it is moving.


*Make sure you have “Auto-Select Layer” off. This is the default setting in Photoshop. We hate Auto-Select because we don’t need Photoshop trying to find the layer for us. We know what we’re looking for! The setting is in your Move Tool Options bar, seen here in Photoshop Elements:


The cool Move tool is one of the things we cover in the Photoshop Essentials classes, and you’ll learn plenty of other nifty tips and tricks. Click here to learn more about our classes.

Sep 3 2015

Registration For Photoshop Essentials Starts Sep 5!


It’s that time again – registration for Photoshop Essentials 1 and 2 starts on September 5. Photoshop Essentials 1 starts on October 5, while Essentials 2 starts on November 2. We have so much fun teaching these online classes because we get to meet people from all over the US, Canada, and the world. Our last class had students from Sweden, Germany, Australia, some Canadians, Floridians, and Alaskans! It’s a great community. So, what kinds of things will you learn? Lots! Besides the 10 tricks in Essentials 1 like straightening images (think quilts, buildings, and gravestones), designing quilting lines, and changing resolution, you’ll learn in Essentials 2 about the importance of layers and selections. Click here to read more about these upcoming classes. Here’s an idea of what we’ll do:

Okay, so the “original” image was created with the stuff of Essentials 3 (we’re working on that class for the spring!), but you will learn how to use layers to create quilting lines. (If you don’t quilt, think how you can create line drawings on top of original photos. That’s lots of fun, too.) That means you’ll learn: the Brush tool, change brush color, create layers, layer visibility, and lots more. It sounds a bit complicated, but that’s where we come in. We’re pretty good at translating “Photoshop” into language you understand. Hope to “see” you in class soon!