SierraScrapper Digi Adventures

an experiment in all that is digital~

What’s a Character Map??? January 28, 2010

Filed under: Digital Scrapbooking,Helpful Tips,Uncategorized — sierrascrapper @ 9:38 pm

I finally was able to save enough money to buy myself a Silhouette machine from Quickutz.  I bought a used model of the classic version.  I am pretty happy with it so far.  I still have LOTS to learn on it…but thankfully since I have already quite a bit of graphic editing experience with Corel PhotoPaint and Adobe PhotoShop, the learning curve isn’t so difficult to keep up with.  I also have a WONDERFUL darling husband to thank who can show me tips and tricks related to using a digital cutter since he works with an industrial-sized one at work.

Since the Silhouette can use any True-Type font, there are so many possibilities out there.  One of the GREATEST things about the Silhouette using True-Type fonts is that there are a lot of shapes available to you also.  If there is a dingbat font that you LOVE LOVE LOVE…then I will tell you more about how to use this for your Silhouette machine and teach you a few tricks that you can use in your digital scrapbooking too!

If you are using the RoboMaster software, and you are trying to find a neato dingbat using a TT Font, it may be a little difficult to see the graphic that you want to use from that font.  This is where the CHARACTER MAP comes in super duper handy! 

The Character Map is part of Windows Software and is a separate little program that can be opened up.  I can’t exactly tell you where it is because many of us organize our files on our computers differently.  However, if you press the WINDOWS key, your START MENU will come up and you can click on ALL PROGRAMS.  From there you will mostly likely find the CHARACTER MAP program under the heading ACCESSORIES.  When you open up the Character Map program…you will be able to choose a font that you like and it will show all the characters available in that font.  For example if I was using the Dingbats font…all the dingbats that are available would show up on that Character Map. 

I feel that the Character Map program has a drawback in that you can’t resize the window to get a better view of the characters that are available.  However, if you click on a square that has a character in it…it will bring up a larger view of the character.  If you want to choose a different font, click on the pull down arrow where it says FONT and choose the font you want to use.  If you want the graphic in that character set…double click on it OR click on the graphic you like and click the SELECT button.  The graphic will now show up in the Characters to Copy box in the program.  From this point…highlight the graphic in that same box and click COPY.  This will now copy the graphic onto your clipboard for easy pasting.  

If you haven’t already opened your RoboMaster software, do so and start a new file.  When you are ready, you can do a CTRL-V for pasting into the program, or choose EDIT and then PASTE.  Your graphic will show up on the screen.  From here, you can resize it and manipulate it however you like and then cut the graphic as usual.

PRETTY COOL eh???  Now…if you are doing digital scrapbooking…the CHARACTER MAP can come in handy for that too as you can do the same COPY and PASTE into your graphics editing program.  You will be amazed at how many COOL dingbats are out there for you to use and now you’ve increased your Silhouette graphics library at the same time because you can save those graphics as a GSD file for future use.



Birdie I Made February 5, 2009

Filed under: Digital Scrapbooking,Helpful Tips,Hybrid Projects — sierrascrapper @ 6:45 am

Here is the birdie and the page I designed using patterned papers that coordinated with the Tough Guy album and the paisley die cut from QuicKutz.  Isn’t he the cutest little bird ever?  I also designed the branch and painted it with my Making Memories paint.  I am in love with this pocket page in the middle of the mini album.  Actually, I’m in LOVE with the ENTIRE album!  I can’t wait to add pics to make it complete. 



Working on a New Class January 22, 2009

Filed under: Digital Scrapbooking,Helpful Tips,Hybrid Projects — sierrascrapper @ 9:12 pm

Well I just started working on a new class project for my lss.  We are going to be making a mini album that fits into a CD case.  It’s called Tough Guy.  I got the inspiration for the class from an Adornits class that they had in their gallery here:  They used a CD case and they called it Tough Guy.  Other than that, the rest of the album is all my idea, as usual 🙂  I am using the Basic Grey Granola line for the basis of the album.  Thanks to the secret santa recipient that was assigned to me this year, she requested it in her wish list and it made me see it up close.  I love this new paper line!  I have most of the album finished as I want to get a sample into Treasured Memories and More aka TMM so that I can entice people to sign up for the class which is on Feb 7th just before Valentines Day.  It’s not V-Day related, but it’s a nice album to make about him.  I still have about 3 more pages to complete as I’m waiting for the store to get in some of the papers that were sold out from the line already.  While waiting for that to arrive, I have been embellishing the pages I have already designed and making my own Word Art.  I am going to give each student a sheet or two of Word Art so they can choose which words they would like to put in their album.  It will be all Guy related, but at least if they don’t want to use something that I used, they can use something more relevant.  I think it’s kinda cool.  So…I guess in a way, this is a hybrid book.  I should add a few more digital elements.  It might turn out pretty fascinating.  Hmmmm.  The Word Art is coming along really well.  I made a HUGE list of guy phrases, they just all came popping into my head, so I made a list in Microsoft Word so I wouldn’t forget them.  I decided to do my designing with Corel Draw for my Word Art because I am more familiar with the program over Adobe.  I need to teach myself to use Adobe, but for now I want to get it finished instead of fiddling around with it.  I’m pretty good at manipulating text and getting the effects I want when I use Corel, so I went with it.  Here is a view of what I have created so far:



Now for some tips on how I made some of these happen.   Word Art is all about manipulating text and using different fonts.  It’s easy to do these days.  There are TONS of free font websites on the internet as well as fabulous collections that you can purchase.   If you have Corel then you most likely have Bitstream Font Navigator so that you can manage your fonts.  You don’t need to install every font you have on your system.  Bitstream Font Navigator will have them all in one place for your and you can install and un-install fonts as you like.  The cool thing is you can preview the fonts on Bitstream too, which makes it easier to find what you really need for your project.

Now onto the meat of what I did to make some of this Word Art.  In Corel Draw, I used the shape maker tool to make all the shapes I used for this project.  You can make squares or rectangles with the square tool.  You can make ovals or circles with the circle tool.   For the trapezoid and the triangle, I used the shape tool.  The shape tool will give you the option to choose which kind of shape you want to make in the upper tool bar.  I think the choices are quite limited, but they worked for project.  I made the rounded rectangle by manipulating the rounded corner option in the upper tool bar.  There is an option for changing corner roundness and it’s so cool! 

Now to explain how I made the circle element and the oval element.  I first made a one circle then I made a second circle with the circle shape tool.  I then made a rectangle the size I wanted to be inside the smaller circle.  With the retangle selected, I then chose PowerClip under the Effects command to fit it inside the circle.  When you choose that option, a dark arrow will appear to ask you what shape you want it to fit in.  You can do this with shapes or text or whatever you want to fit into an object.  It’s quite a handy tool for creating your own stuff.   To add the definition inside the circle I first typed up the text and chose my font.  I then chose to Fit Text To Path under the Text command.  Once again a dark arrow will appear and you will need to choose the path you want it to follow.  I clicked on the outer circle.  At the top, a tool bar will appear with different text options.  I chose to  have the text fall below the path of the circle which made it go inside the larger circle.  I can then choose how close or far I want it from the circle outline.  I then rotated the text to begin where I wanted it.  Sometimes you have to experiment with the size of your text when you do this technique as sometimes the text is too large to fit along the path and it will overlap.  It’s a trial and error process, but thankfully, the commands are quick and easy. 

For the oval element I basically used the same set of steps to fit the rectangle inside the oval.  I then made my own lines using the drawing tool to put the lines under the rectangle.  I just sized my font to fill the whole space.  Simple, quick and super cool looking! 

The barcode words are just a font believe it or not.  In fact the font is called barcode font.  Here is the link if you want to download it:  I have found this font useful many times.  Oh and that website has TONS of awesome fonts for downloading. 

If you ever need inspiration for making your own Word Art, go online and look around on the digital scrapbooking websites.  Sometimes just seeing one thing will inspire you to make your own Word Art.  It’s simple and easy and makes your pages stand out so much.  I still have many more phrases to design and I think I am going to print some on transparencies and some on CS in different colors so that the students have many options for their books.  I can’t wait to share my album with everyone when I am finished with it.  It is so cool!  I hope that my friends who live nearby will sign up for this class, as I promise you don’t want to miss it!  Most of the people who know my classes know it’s all about the techniques!  haha


Helpful Digi Tips~Part 1 September 4, 2008

Filed under: Digital Scrapbooking,Helpful Tips — sierrascrapper @ 6:37 pm
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As I am learning new things about digital scrapbooking, I think it’s only fair to share with my friends.  As a newbie, there are things that are brand new to me, but aren’t new to the digi pros.  Either way, I know many of my friends have questions just like I do about digitat scrapbooking.  So…in case you don’t want to search all over the WWW , I will try to share some of the most useful tips I have learned so far.

Many digital designers request that we give them credit for the products we use to make our layouts.  I know a lot of us only scrap for ourselves and don’t share with online groups, so…that may not be important to you.  However, there are many of us who participate in online groups and submit LOs to magazines and websites.  When you are putting a digital LO together, sometimes you can grab elements and papers from all different kinds of designers.  That makes it hard to remember who you got your stuff from.  Trust me, when I go back to give credit to a designer, I can’t remember where I found the item.  And…sometimes you look through your collection so much you can’t remember what folders you were digging into.  It’s not fun to go back and search through all those folders.  To help get through this, I found a GREAT tip from  The tutorial there shows you how to keep track of the designers and elements that you use in a particular layout.  The cool thing is this “sticky note” stays with the PSD file, but doesn’t show up in any other formats that are saved for sharing online.  Every time you open that PSD file, that little note will still be there and you can continue to edit it as needed.

In your toolbox on the sidebar in Photoshop there is a Notepad Icon.  When you click on it, you will be allowed to open a notepad window in your current document.  Stretch out the size of the box to your needs.  Now, you can add info about the products you are using to make your digital layouts.  It is up to you to choose how much or how little information you want to include in this notepad.  To minimize the notepad, click on the tiny box in the upper right hand corner of your notepad editing screen.  A little notepad will be visible on top of your project.  Feel free to move the notepad icon out to the edge of your screen so it doesn’t interfere with your workspace.

I hope this simple little tip will help you with your digi adventures.  I plan on inserting other helpful digi tips in the near future for your pleasure.  Happy Scrapping!