DIY: Travel Inspired Art with Photoshop Elements

By Kate Riley January 10, 2019

I’m just putting the finishing touches on my new office, and I wanted some original art on the walls. As you know I looooove to travel and I always take a lot of pictures when I’m someplace new!

Last year I visited Oahu for a week and also had weekend getaway in Maya Riviera, Mexico. I love exotic botanicals so much so I took several pictures on my trips. To remind myself of these beautiful places, I turned them into original artwork for my office using Photoshop Elements.

If you’re unfamiliar with (or maybe a little intimidated by) Photoshop Elements, don’t be! Photoshop Elements is a more basic version of Photoshop CC. You can download a free trial on the Adobe website and play with the filters and tools on your own to create something original from your photographs too.

Maybe you have a nice picture of your flowers blooming in summer or a nice view from a place you visited? Tweak the orignial photo and turn it into a unique piece of art!

When in Mexico for a weekend, I took this picture of these giant palms (anyone know the species?), I just loved their fan like leaves.


In Photoshop Elements, I isolated the palm branch with the Polygonal Lasso Tool and erased everything outside of the leaves (making the bacground white) with the Eraser Tool.



I also patched some of the leaves with the Brush and Clone Stamp tools.  I copied and pasted the isolated palm branch into a new file and made it offset with a lot of white space. Then I had the new image enlarged to 16 x 20” at my local FedEx/Kinkos.


Easy large scale botanical art!



I took this next photo in Oahu when I was hiking up the Pillbox trail. (Don’t miss my article on cheap ways to travel in Oahu!). I loved the perspective of the botanical in the foreground and the view of the town of Kailua and the ocean below.


I used several tools to make this new painterly version: the Cutout Filter (Filter>Artistic>Cutout) to give the photograph a painterly effect.


I also used the Brush tool to eliminate the clouds and the little islands in the bay. I liked the idea of sky and ocean being one solid color, and leaving just the impressionist effect of the colors in the town and hills below. I also changed the hue of the color of the sky and the water with the Brush Tool and Color Picker tool.





This exotic flower I spied while walking around Oahu, I wish I knew what kind of flower it was (anyone know?).


I love it a vivid pink but then started playing with the Note Paper Filter which totally changed it and gave it a more abstract look.


After that, I used the Brush Tool to eliminate all the distraction in the background, changed the background it to a soft green with the Color Picker tool, and used the Gradient Tool to give the background an ombre effect.



Now every time I enter my office the first view is artwork I’ve created from places I’ve been. I love that so much!


If you download a free trial of Photoshop Elements, open your image in the Photoshop Elements Editor Workspace, also make sure you’re working in Expert Mode to have access to all the tools.

Just a word of encouragement if you’re inexperienced with Photoshop Elements, I’m totally self taught! I’ve learned everything about these filters and tools just by playing with them over time. There are many different ways to take ordinary photographs and turn them into original art with this program, so give it a try!

Those of you who use PE, what are your favorite tools? Do you have any tips to share?


Creative Uses for Rolling Carts

By Kate Riley January 8, 2019

One of my goals for 2019 was to spend more time making art. This wasn’t just a casual idea made on the fly, I’ve been thinking about this for months. I always feel so good when I’m channeling my inner artist, it’s therapeutic isn’t it? I think it’s connected to when we’re kids and we spent several hours a week being creative with art supplies. I also have a big project I’m launching this year, so I decided to create a corner for myself to bring it to life.

There’s a little corner of my design studio where the natural light is so perfect for this endeavor. Just outside the windows, there are pretty plants in view, and on a sunny day it’s a magical spot where the light streams in and warms this little corner of my world.



I invested in an art table, swivel stool, and a collection of art supplies to get me going. I’ve gathered acrylics and watercolor paints, markers and colored pencils, all contained in a rolling cart from Target. This is the spot where I’ll be spending several hours a week as part of my new commitment to create more art!




It got me thinking… aren’t rolling carts the best thing ever? They’re compact, versatile, and mobile and can serve so many purposes. I wrote about the IKEA Molger cart several years ago and styled it three ways: in the bathroom, in the playroom, and in the laundry room.

But there are so many other ways to use rolling utility carts!


Breakfast Stand

Wheel your coffee maker and small appliances wherever you wish to serve.




Bathroom Caddy

One of the most useful spots of all, a rolling cart can hold beauty products and towels for daily skincare.


ikea blog


world market


Catchall Nightstand

Keep one next to the bed for magazines, your markers for doodling, and to hold your books or cup of tea.


the everygirl


Creative Hobby Storage

Have a creative hobby? Like sewing, knitting, or crochet? Use it as your storage for your yarns and notions.




Clean Clothes Essentials

Laundry soap, cleaners, stain removers, and other cleaning products can be stored inside.


better homes & gardens


Herb Garden

Cooks, take a look! Use a cart for your indoor herb garden, wheel it into the sun by day and use it next to the range when you’re cooking by night.


this little street


Shoe Storage

In the entry or the closet, this cart is a great place to corral footwear!


ikea blog


Libation Station

Roll one around the party room when hosting a soiree!



chez larsson / the kitchn


Pantry Overflow

Kitchen extras or essentials can overflow into this hardworking storage cart.




Plant Stand

Spring is coming soon! But no need to wait, use a rolling cart for all your indoor plants and succulents too.




Office Supplies

A wider cart is useful in housing a printer and bins for paperwork in your home office.


sf girl by bay


January is the season for organization, and these are so versatile, aren’t they? Here are a dozen different carts to consider for your home organization projects!




wood trolley / matte gold / raskog by ikea

teal cart / gray round / chrome finish

red art cart (multiple colors) / acrylic & gold / gold wire

wood and gold / rose gold / black metal square 


Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)