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'Tis the season to be thankful! Here in the US and Canada, we're all celebrating the time of year when we can look at our lives and truly be grateful for what we have. Here at SSD this month, we're grateful to continue to inspire you month after month with some of the best scrappers in the community!

Our Treat of the Month for November is no exception and is truly one of the most inspirational scrappers out there. Beth Santos-Gugol (aka kewl_jive) has been a trendsetter in the scrapping world for years now with her use of bold color and patterns, gorgeous photography and stunning fantasy-inspired layouts, Beth consistently evolves her style with each masterpiece she creates! She is also a master in the art of embellishment. Each one of her pages is a work of art from her choice of elements to the shadow work that makes them pop, her layouts never fail to make you want to reach out to the page and touch them.

Beth tells us that she's been scrapping for the last year and a half non-stop! She creates all of her pages using Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Lightroom and her stunning photos are taken using the Nikon D70s.

We absoloutely love Beth and her work and we know you will love getting to know her a little bit better as she is a fantastic source of inspiration that you'll return to again and again!

Sweet Shoppe Designs: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

Beth Santos-Gugol: I just turned 33 last month. I'm happily married for more than 6 years, going on seven in January. We are blessed to have a daughter who is turning 4 in a couple of months and I'm 22 weeks pregnant with our second child. We are currently based in Tokyo, Japan but originally from Manila, Philippines. We lived in Bangkok, Thailand for three years prior to here and we fondly call that stage our second honeymoon.

SSD: What's your scrapping story? How did you begin?

BSG: I had been contemplating on starting my scrapping hobby when I was in Bangkok. But I was so preoccupied with other things and was traveling a lot out of the country with hubby. Also, I did not really have the inspiration to scrap since hubby is not into having his photos taken. When we moved to Tokyo, Rein was 5 months old already and I started to try and do a simple page using Rein's photos and some freebies which I got from the net. Little did I know that I will be hooked on this excellent hobby because my daughter is so cooperative everytime I take pictures of her. What I love about this hobby is that I get to meet a lot of wonderful people over the net and get the chance to chat with them. I also get the chance to meet some of them who visited Japan and who used to live in Japan.

SSD: What inspires you? Where do you get inspiration for your pages?

BSG: Basically, it's the photo, specifically Rein's. I always love to scrap with a photo that means something to me and my perfect subject is my lovely daughter. I want to document all of her milestones so when she is all grown up, she can re-live her life in my scrapbook. Some other times, it's the kit that inspires me or perhaps a random magazine ad's layout that I see.

SSD: How do you approach a blank page? How long do you spend on a page? What is your favorite "must have" element to use or one that you find yourself using over and over again?

BSG: It depends on my mood. Sometimes, 30 minutes will do and I am done. Other times, I spend a whole day without finishing anything and just put it in my "Work in progress" folder. I'd get back to it once I'm inspired. Other times, I would do a sketch and put it in my "sketch" folder and grab one which is suited for the kit and photo that I am working on. I always love to use strings, flowers and stitches, definite must haves in my pages.

SSD: What do you start with when you create a layout - a striking photo or would it be a kit you may have?

BSG: Both! I have a folder with edited photos and a little note about each one. These are the ones that I would scrap right away. Sometimes, I visit the pages of the designers I work with and look for a kit that matches the photo that I want to scrap.

SSD: Your photographs are always so stunning- do you use any actions to make them look so perfect? Have you had any formal training with photography? What do you recommend for enhancing photos?

BSG: I'm addicted to photo actions and Lightroom presets. I think I have over 100 in my folder for Photoshop and Lightroom. I tend to mix several actions which I think work best on my photos. I don't have a formal training but I do browse my favorite photophers for inspiration. It's always best to study the basic rules. I'm not a professional photographer but knowing the basic rules and some creativity will make your photos beautiful. Right now, I'm addicted to Totally RAD, Kubota, NicholeVan just to name a few. I also love black and white photography and most of my pages use b&w photos.

SSD: You are the master of shadows - can you give some tips to those who would like to create more realistic shadowing? Do you use any actions for these either?

BSG: I don't use actions but I manage to create my own shadows and save them as Styles in Photoshop CS. I just tweak it if needed. I always apply shadows once I'm satisfied with the whole layout. The good thing about Photoshop CS is that you can go back and forth and re-apply settings or just clear everything and start all over again. Sometimes it also depends on how I want my page to look. If it's a simple design, I would go for a very small amount of shadow.

SSD: Do you have any crafty hobbies outside of digital scrapbooking?

BSG: I'm into digital photography. I also bought some stuff for hybrid projects.

SSD: And for a little fun question - tell us a little known fact about you!

BSG: I'm an O.C. person. I guess it's my hubby who continue to say that. He says that I tend to plan things way ahead of time and refers to me as a perfectionist.

Sweet Shoppe Designs also asked Beth to share some of her favorite creations with our visitors. It's fascinating to look through someone's gallery with our own eyes but seeing what an artist particularly enjoys from her own collection is always intriguing...

























If you would like to see more of Beth's beautiful work, be sure to visit her Digishop Talk Gallery, where you'll find her amazing collection of inspiring pages. It's been such a pleasure to see the fabulous layouts our SugarBabes have created after spending some time looking through her gallery! Those layouts will be featured throughout the month on our homepage so be sure to check them out each time you visit!

Also, don't forget to Scrap with our SugarBabes the entire month of November by picking out a layout you want to lift from Beth's gallery! Once you're done, come back and share it with us in our special forum& gallery... just for playing along this month, you'll be entered into a drawing to win great stuff. Thanks for sharing yourself and your beautiful work with us Beth, it was wonderful getting to know one of our favorite scrappers better!
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