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Scrapbooking – Turn your photos into a family story instead of just a stack of pictures

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Project 52

Posted by PatriciaD on January 8, 2010

Many start the new year with a 365 project but personally I would be very happy with a layout a week so that’s why I’ve chosen the Project 52…that’s one layout a week.  You with me on this?  At the end of the year you will have a whole years worth of photos and 52 layouts…TOTALLY AWESOME!!

Here are some tips that might help you as you get going –

* take your camera with you everywhere, I literally don’t leave home without my camera

* take a really close-up shots and whole scene picture of all events

* you might create a logbook and write down the information about your photos, places, people present, etc.

* ask someone to hold you accountable, someone who will buy into your project (mom, sister, good friend, spouse, etc.) and won’t let you get lax for too many days or weeks

* you might want to choose a theme, a word, subject, etc. to take a photo of/from each day…it could be a monthly theme, weekly whatever works for you

* make every day special and special days every week!!  Don’t wait to use the special linens or the special soaps or the special dishes…celebrate life!!

*  if you were to miss a day here or there don’t give up on the whole project just take a couple more photos today or better yet write something down (journaling) about what you didn’t take photos of

* Set aside time on a weekly basis to update your scrapbook(s), put it on your calendar

Posted in Digital photos | Leave a Comment »

WOW!! 2010…What will this year bring to your scrapbooking?

Posted by PatriciaD on January 6, 2010

Do you have a plan to put scrapbook pages in your books?  Are you gonna do the 52 pages this year with me?  If so we need to be thinking about that first page for this first week. 

We’ve had a bit more snow here than usual and it’s staying longer and they’re predicting more snow tonight so I am thinking my first layout of the year needs to be about the snow and sledding and snowmen and hopefully NOT getting stuck in it.  Missouri is a far cry from Alaska.  In Alaska it was just your normal winter, here in Missouri it’s like a whole new phenomenon!!  Funny, that!!

Here’s the template I’m going to use…you can download the template if you’d like by going here: which is the Photoshop layered version and this is the jpeg version if you want to see the page but don’t have Photoshop

Let me know what you think and then I’d so love to see what you do…I’ll post mine here in a day or two.


Posted in Photoshop, Templates | Leave a Comment »

Scrapping 52 layouts starts with photographs, usually

Posted by PatriciaD on December 17, 2009

I mentioned in the last two blogs about doing 52 layouts this next year.  I hope you will consider doing that with me.  But today I thought I’d pass on some information to help you with your photos.  There are lots of reasons to take photos every single day.  One to record the moment.  Two to improve your photos-just natural after a while.  Three to get in the habit of recording everything.  Four if you have little ones they grow up so fast…this moment will not be here tomorrow.  Five it’s fun – get the whole family involved.  Six, if you’re gonna do those layouts you’re gonna need photos.

In this day and age of the digital camera and cheap, if not free, photos there’s no excuse for not getting out that camera and DO IT!!

Check out the site above and get in the habit early, TODAY, don’t wait for January 1st.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Take photos everyday for 2010

Posted by PatriciaD on December 15, 2009

Hey I mentioned taking photos every day in my previous post.  It’s a good idea if you’re going to do 52 scrapbook layouts in a year so I thought I’d pass along a link to a great site for photography tips…

Check it out…and get clicking!!

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

2010 Scrapping 52 Layouts

Posted by PatriciaD on December 15, 2009

2010 Scrapping 52 Layouts

I’m going to commit to making one layout per week of 2010.  At the end of the year I will have 52 layouts.  Wanna join me?  This will be fun.  Some of my layouts will be from previous years and some from the current year.  I’m not going to restrict myself to any particular time period but I do want to do at least one layout a week.  I hope you will, too.

 In order to do this there are some things I’ll need to do – and if you choose to do this with me you may want to consider doing, too.  Take photos on a daily basis

Here’s a list of things to consider scrapping:

Scrap daily life

        What are your goals or plans for the year?

        What is a typical day like for you?

        What is a typical week like for you?

        Where do you go to church, school, shop, work, library, etc.?

        What is a day in the life of your family, children like?

        What TV shows, movies, songs, and books are current this year?

        What are prices for common things this year where you live?

        What are the news events this year? (these last 3 items are a good idea to scrap every year)

Scrap any traveling done by you or your family

Scrap birthdays, holidays, other major events

Think about scrapping some of the events in your life that haven’t been done yet – children, holidays, previous homes, etc.

Scrap your parents, grandparents or other ancestors

How about scrapping previous jobs – what was your first job?  Your favorite job?  What have you done interesting at jobs that might be worthy of scrapping?

You could even just scrap a photo from every single day of the month onto a single scrapbook page.  I’ll create a layout to show you what this might look like.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Lessons I Learned from a Computer Crash

Posted by PatriciaD on December 10, 2009

Things I’ve Learned About A Computer Crash

We all think things like this can’t happen to us but they do and if you’re prepared whether it’s a hardware crash or a software crash (as mine was) you will be prepared if the worst happens.  Don’t wait another day to be prepared.

  1. It can happen at any time with no warning

  2. It will be a lot better if you’ve prepared ahead of time
    1. Know where all your program CDs are stored

                            i.      Recovery disks that came with your computer

                           ii.      Programs that you use or have purchased 

                 2.   Photo on CDs or other backups

                 3.  Store them all in one place

                 4.  Look thru your computer now while it is still running and list ALL the programs you use on a regular basis and wouldn’t want to have to do without including the ones that are downloads (free or paid)

                 5.  Here’s my list

                          i.      Operating system – Windows XT (have disks) and download service packs

                         ii.      MS Office Professional (have disks)

                        iii.      MS Publisher (have disks)

                         iv.      Adobe Photoshop CS3 (have disks)

                           v.      Adobe Reader (download) latest version

                          vi.      Mosy backup (download)

                          vii.      Seagate FreeAgent (external hard drive software & hardware)

                          viii.      Mozilla Firefox (download)

                             ix.      Internet Explorer (on OS disks, download latest version)

                                       1.       plus anything like Google toolbar (download)

                                        2.     4shared toolbar (download)

                              x.      McAfee Virus protection (download w/password)

                             xi.      SnapZip (download)

                            xii.      Bamboo Drawing Pad (have disk & hardware)

                            xiii.      ScanSoft Paper Port (have disks)

                             xiv.      Printer driver (have disks & printer)

                              xv.      Forex, ThinkorSwim and other investment software (download)

                             xvi.      ftp software (download) 

                 6.  List all the web sites you don’t want to lose the address for – the Favorites folder won’t be there when you have to restore your computer to factory condition

                 7.  If you’re using your computer to remember your passwords – all your passwords will be gone because the cookies on your computer will all be wiped clean

    3.  Backup, backup, backup

                 1.  Have a backup

                 2.  Know where it/they are

                 3.  Have a backup of your backup

                         i.      I have an external hard drive but it can crash, too

                        ii.      So I have it backed up on CDs and even another external hard drive

                        iii.      Use an Internet storage service –

     4.  Now having said all that you’re gonna think, “well, it’s never happened to me so what are the chances that it will now”…if your computer is out of warranty (and possibly even if not) it will happen sooner or later but it will eventually crash.  My computer just fell out of warranty three months ago. 

And even more than that it’s human nature to ignore or put off what doesn’t feel eminent but I can tell you this would have been a simple enough thing to get through if I’d done all the things I listed above to plan for and prepare for a crash.  I did, fortunately have my external hard drive and only lost a few files.  But instead of taking 1 day or so to re-load it took me 5 days plus another couple of days to recreate the files I lost and some cannot be recreated.

      5.   Now if you’re really paranoid the next step would be to get copies of all the CDs listed above and keep them in a safe deposit box.  Barring that I would suggest a firebox.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Creating your first page…

Posted by PatriciaD on December 2, 2009

Step-by-step instructions

Creating your First Scrapbook Page

I’m using PS CS3 but I’ve tried to include all shortcuts and those tend to work across the board with whichever version of Photoshop you happen to use even PS Elements.

Open Photoshop – Double click on PS icon on desktop.

Create a new blank document:  File, New

       Select or enter size of page (12×12, 8×8, 11.5×8, 8×11.5 OR 8×10) I’ve used 12×12
       300 pixels
       Color – RGB

 Open 2 coordinating Background papers in PS (download these – many times free – from any of the web sites listed or do a search for digital scrapbooking kits).  BTW, these two papers are visible in the screen shot below of the finished page.  The two papers are the rock wall on the left and the crackle page that covers about 2/3rds of the page on the right.

Click on the background paper to activate that document in PS.  With the Move tool (V) selected drag the background paper to your new blank document.  If you hold the ShifSamplet key while dragging (let go of the shift key after letting go of your mouse button) the paper will drop exactly in the middle of your page.

We’re going to use a 2nd background paper, select the rectangular marquee tool and drag a rectangle about 1/4 to 1/3 the size of your page on the second background.  Drag to your scrapbook page and move to the desired location.

Now you will need to pull in or open your photos.

You may either drag them from wherever you store your files – or select the file name from File, Open and open the file or if you’ve used Bridge you can open them there, too.  (If this is your first digital scrapbook page in Photoshop I would go with the first option for now.)

Once your photo is open go to Image, Image Size to verify that it is 300 pixels.  If it is not 300 pixels – unselect the last option (Resample Image) and change to pixels to 300.  DO NOT do it all at once.  Change the resolution 10% at a time and click OK, redo until you reach 300.

Close the window.

Now drag the photo to the page with the background you have already created.

Adding pictures and elements to your scrapbook page:

Re-select the move tool (V).  Drag your photos onto your scrapbook page.

Move to desired location.

If you choose you may re-size the photos.  That is resize on the page not the resizing of pixels .  Free Transform Tool (Ctrl + T) will give you selection handles around the edge of the photo.  Move your mouse over a corner handle and when the double headed arrow appears, hold the Shift key and drag either in (smaller) or out (larger).  The Shift key maintains the integrity or ratio of your photo while resizing.

Working with Layers:  Add a mat to your photo

Select the layer in the layers palette that is below the photo you want to add the mat to.  Select the Rectangle tool (M).  Drag a rectangle slightly larger than your photo.  While drawing the rectangle (mat in this case) and before letting go of your mouse use the Space Bar to move your rectangle into place.  This action will add a new layer below your photo but above the background layer. 

When using layers (especially when you are going back and forth quite a bit) it may be helpful to put a check mark in the Auto Select Layer in the top menu (note:  you’ll only be able to see this when the Move tool (V) is active).

Decorate your page:  Adding elements, and shadows

First let’s add shadows to your photos and possibly even the mat.  Select the photo layer in the layers palette.  Now select Layer, Layer Style, Drop Shadow in the tool bar at the top of your screen.   You can play around with the settings.  Note that you will see a preview of your drop shadow if you move the window out of the way of your photo.  One thing to warn of…don’t be too dramatic you want your shadows to look as real as possible.  The shadow is only the shadow of a paper.

You will see from the example that I’ve tilted the photo and mat behind it on the smaller photo.  You may want to do something similar with your scrapbook page.

Now, let’s add an alpha.  In this case let’s choose a 4 letter word (or thereabouts) that describes your layout.  I’m going to choose HOME.  Select each letter (these again are from the kit mentioned in the first pargraph) and open or drag to your PS window.  Note that it doesn’t matter how you open a document (drag over to PS window; click File, Open; Select from within the Bridge).  They all accomplish the same thing.  NOTE:  the alternative to using an Alpha from a kit is using a large font.

Drag each letter onto your document and close each letter.  Now place the letters in the location you wish.  First we will line up our letters to make sure they’re even.  With the Move tool (V) selected note the align tools options in the tool bar.  Select all the letters of your alpha in the layers palette.  Click on the first one and hold the shift key while you click on the last one.  This will highlight or select all the layers of your word.  Click on either the top align or bottom align button whichever works better for your word.

In our example we’re going to move the whole alpha to the left side of the page.  So keep all layers selected (from the above step) and click Ctrl + T so that you have selection handles around your whole word.  Move your mouse outside the selection handles and it will change to a tiny curved double ended arrow.  Drag around until your word is the direction you want.  In this case it will be perpendicular to our page and we will place it on our left side paper (see finished page above).  Note that in the information bar at the top of your window there is an angle ticker.  We want a perfect -90° angle.  You can play around with it and try to get a perfect square or work with the angles.  When you have the alpha where you want it – click the check mark (Commit transform) in the upper right hand area of the tool bar to accept.

Play with the options until you’re satisfied with the look.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Scrapbooking 101 – Steps 5 & 6

Posted by PatriciaD on November 18, 2009

Step 5:  Telling a Story – Journaling

Great scrapbook pages tell a story. Why do you want to tell the story of the photo(s) you’re scrapping?  Is it to share with those who were there in the photo or family and friends far away or some other reason?  There are many reasons to scrapbook.  Sometimes I scrapbook a page just because I like a photo I’ve taken or I want to enter a challenge I’ve found on one of the scrapbook sites I mentioned earlier.  Or my favorite reason: to tell my family story? 

Or it could be because you want to create a genealogical story of your families past?  So, you will want to think about who is going to see the page(s).  Do the prospective viewers know all the people in the photos?  What about family two generations from now and what if the people in the photo are gone?  Who’s gonna tell who those people are?  What if it’s a few years from now and you can’t remember if that person was Bob or Joe, you know how much they looked alike as kids? 

So the point with all this is that you need to tell the story of the photo so that anyone could get the story.  Many times the photo tells a great deal of the story but it can’t tell it all.  Some things to include are the names of all the people in the photo(s) and maybe even those who were there but aren’t in the photo(s) like the photographer and baby Joey who was taking a nap.  Include the date.  It doesn’t have to be the exact date but it should probably at least include the month and year.   Something else to include would be the location.  It is possible to forget where a photo was taken but even more importantly remember the relative who’s looking at your scrapbooks in 20 years and wants to know about the photo.  I have photos in a scrapbook from Europe and another from Hawaii and I can’t remember where either one was actually taken.  Not only would I love to visit the one in Hawaii again but I don’t even know where I’ve actually been AND it’s just incomplete in my scrapbook.

Step 6:  Design

The story comes through more clearly when the page has a defined focal point, a place where the eye naturally rests as you look at the scrapbook page layout. The following tips may help you as you create pages so you have a focal point and a clear layout.

Start with the focal point – which photo or element of the page is to be your main focus?  As in decorating a room you have a focal point you need that on a page, too.  If you want a photo to be the focal point it might be the largest photo or placed by itself whereas other photos are stacked.

For example look at this sample page layout.

It’s obvious which is the main photo or the focal point.  Your eye naturally rests here.  Then check out the “supporting” photos.

The elements of your page that will help it to have a cohesive feel are the color, texture and value.  Also, balance, repetition, contrast are aspects of your layout to keep in mind.

Color – to find complementary colors using the color wheel I thought I’d list the color combinations that seem to work best.

            Complimentary – two colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel such as red and green, or yellow and violet.  The strong contrast of these colors gives a bold feel to your layout

            Split complementary – this is when one color of the above is combined with the two colors on opposite sides of its complementary color

            Triad – is when three colors of equal distance to each other on the color wheel are used.  Red, yellow and blue are the most basic triad.

            Tetrad – is when you combine two pairs of complimentary colors

            Analogous – is when colors are next to each other on the color wheel

            Monochromatic – using the same color with different shades, tints and tones.  Texture can be especially effective with this type of color scheme to add interest and keep it from being boring.

Additionally, if you want to add warmth use red, yellow and orange or if want to add a cooler feel to your layout use blue, green and violet.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Scrapbooking 101 – Steps 3 & 4

Posted by PatriciaD on November 13, 2009

Step 3: Scrapbook Kits

Kits usually include papers (usually lots of them, some that are fairly plain, some with decorations and some that are actual scenes), elements (sometimes called embellishments, these are all the little things you add to a page for artistic expression like flowers, buttons, ribbon, and all the stuff), alphas (which are similar to fonts in that they’re letters and numbers but you can’t type them), frames (used to outline your photos – these are not always included but can be), sometimes kits will also include word art (which is words or phrases in some artist fashion), grunge, textures, overlays and masks.  These last four are used to add interest to your pages by adding grunge and swirls and things that are so creative.  We’ll see more about what each of these are how to use them as we look at these lessons.

One of the last things that a kit might contain is/are templates.  Templates are basically patterns that allow you to focus on the parts of the scrapbook page listed up to this point the photos, papers, elements, etc. but the design of the page is done for you.  Templates usually follow the rules of design so you don’t have to think about that part of creating.  That doesn’t mean you can’t change things in the template.  Most templates are layered so you can add, delete or move any elements of the template but at least you have a place to start.  And there are times that that is what you need.

One last part of some kits are Quick Pages (QPs).  These are pre-designed scrapbook pages with all the papers and elements and grunge or whatever is used already on the page and all you have to do is add your own photos.  They are great for doing an entire scrapbook very quickly but they really are personalized because they have your own photos.  And even if you don’t like exactly what is on a QP you can get ideas from them.  I personally am not a real fan of QPs because I like to do my own thing but some of them are so awesome it’s hard not to use one every now and again.

Okay on to finding a kit or kits now that you know what it might or should contain.  Kits can be found all over the Internet.  If you go to your particular search engine, like Google and enter “digital scrapbooking kits” you will find hundreds and hundreds of sites with kits for free or purchase.  But since that can be so overwhelming I thought I’d list a few of my favorite sites and then if you like those, fine, if not go look through some of the hundreds and eventually you will find something you like.  Having said that I should give a word of warning here.  It can be so addicting when you start finding and downloading all those kits.  I mean there are some sites that have a new FREE kit every month.  Oh my goodness, who knew!!  And just because they’re free does not mean they’re mediocre.  Some of them are truly fantastic.  And some sites are only about $20 a year with a new kit every month.  Some sites are quite a bit more than that to join their subscription program but you don’t always have to join in order to buy kits.

Here are some sites to check for yourself: (free Mega kit each month plus lots and lots of challenges and fun stuff) (really great lessons from Linda Sattgast and her crew.  Their monthly kit and lessons are fairly pricey but excellent) (I especially like their gallery because you can search by the type of layout you’re looking for an example of whether it’s technique, by size, by color, or whatever there’s quite a list.

Many of these have a daily, weekly or monthly newsletter you can sign-up for to have sent to your email.  This is nice if you would forget to check the web site periodically but frequently they send either free kits, pieces of kits or free lessons or other things.

Step 4:  Size and Printing

Once you have your photos and your program you’re ready to go.  It’s FUN time.  Well almost…

One of the first things you will want to decide is the size of pages you want to create.  Probably the easiest for various reasons is the standard (in the US) of 8.5 by 11.  This is easiest because it’s the conventional size paper but most scrapbookers seem to use the 12×12 page size.  Most of your difficulties will arise from the printing aspect if you choose the 12×12 size, which by the way is my preferred size.  I do not print all the pages I create.  Many times I just share my pages digitally either by email or up-linking to a scrapbooking site.  Having said that there are large size printers that have come down drastically in price to around $400 to $700.  I have to admit I have not purchased one yet but I am seriously considering the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Photo Printer.  But what if you don’t want to spend that much money on a printer even somewhere in the future?  You can print these larger sizes at many printers.  I have found a place near me that will print 12×12 in full color for $1 a page and there are places on the Internet that print them for anywhere from $1.50 to $2.  I could print 400 pages and not have to worry about ink, paper or the machine having problems and not having to fork out the $400 up front.  That’s a huge consideration, too.

So back to 8.5 x 11 size pages, if this is the size you go with (which many do) you can print on most any color printer.  For archival purposes you may want to choose a better paper than the ones most people use for just ordinary printing.  I like at least a brightness of 110 International absolute minimum.  If you have never compared the brightness of paper you should just have a look, the difference is just amazing in how your scrapbook pages will look.  The glossy or matte finish is very personal but it is a consideration.  Prices vary widely on the exact same product with the exact same brand so check around at the places available in your local area and then check the Internet because sometimes even with paying shipping you may get a better price.  It is at least worth checking it out.

Posted in Digital Intro | Leave a Comment »

Digital Scrapbooking 101 – Steps 1 & 2

Posted by PatriciaD on November 12, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking 101

Have you considered getting into digital scrapbooking but don’t know how or where to start?

Step 1: Photos

You have basically three choices here for photos.  Either take your photos with a digital camera and download directly from your camera to your computer (by far the easiest and most convenient choice) or take your photos with a film camera and when you have your film developed ask for the photos to be placed on a CD and/or finally you can scan the printed photos.  This latter choice may be your only option for your older photos that are sitting in a box somewhere.  You might also be able to take your old film to your photo developer to have them converted to CD depending on the quality of the film.  (see more on previous post)

Step 2: Software

Your scrapping software must have two basic functions.  It will need to be a layout program and a photo editing program.  Some only do one or the other of these very necessary functions so do not qualify as scrapbooking software.  Whichever program you eventually decide on it must support .png files and support layers.  It must be allow for settings of between 200 – 300 dpi for printing quality layouts and it must be able to create custom shadows.  Photo editing must allow for lighting changes, color changes, and a whole multitude of things like masking, red eye correction, patching and healing.

My personal favorite, by far, is Photoshop (PS) or Photoshop Elements.  The downside of Photoshop is that there is a sharp learning curve but you CAN learn it and once learned you can do just about anything you can imagine.  It is an extremely powerful program.  To decide which of the two programs to get is essentially a fiscal question.  PS Elements is the consumer version of PS which is the professional version.  As I write this PS Elements is usually about $80 (I’ve seen it for as low as $50) or so and PS is around $600 (but I’ve seen it for as little as $360).  That is a huge difference so unless you’re going to be or are a professional there may not be a question of which one.  But the really good news is that you can download a FREE 30-day trial version.

There are other programs but to be perfectly frank I would not suggest most of them.  There are several reasons.  PS Elements is not much if any more expensive than most.  PS or PS Elements is the standard in the industry.  If you were ever to decide to move from PS Elements to PS someday you would already know the basics.  Most of the tutorials you can find on the Internet are for PS and PS Elements.  By the way, Elements 8 just came out and if you buy it from Costco you can get a free tutorial CD from Linda Satgast with it.  Awesome deal!

Having said all that there is a program which I’ve heard is fairly decent, it’s free, but it will not do some things you will find you may want to do eventually.  Google’s Picasa is that program.  I’d rather dish out the eighty bucks for a proven program and one you can grow with.  But that is up to you, obviously.

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