What? A Scrapbooking Post?

I know, I know… those of you who originally started following my blog to see scrapbooking related posts have probably gotten really disappointed in me lately… the scrapbooking has been rather absent.  As a matter of fact, if you’re still hanging around, I have a special message for you…

Thank you.

I know I have been rather lax in the scrapbooking department. But, I have no good excuses for you – Life just gets in the way sometimes, you know?

But, the good news is that I have two scrapbooking retreats this fall – one was this past weekend and one is in October.  I think I have found my scrapping mojo again – although it took me most of this past weekend to find it!

Here are a few pages I did over the weekend. For those of you who are Creative Memories software users, I’ll post some templates later in the week.

2010 Family Album - Page 018 2010 Family Album - Page 012 2010 Family Album - Page 013 2010 Family Album - Page 014 2010 Family Album - Page 015 2010 Family Album - Page 017 2010 Family Album - Page 016

These Hands

These Hands - Page 018

These Hands…

Are Strong and Tough
Yet Gentle and Loving
Work Hard and Rough
and Caress so Softly
Represent Making a Living
and Safety and Security
These Hands are Tough
… Yet Fragile.
We love these hands.

Sunday Scrapping

Hi, everyone,

My Sunday Scrapbooking post is up at The Lady’s site. Please check it out and I’ll see you tomorrow!


Scrapbook Layout Inspiration

Happy Tuesday, y’all…

It’s raining here. Nasty, wet and cold.  My youngest is at home with me – she has the sniffles. We are snuggled up in the house and I’m trying really hard to remember that I work full-time and stay focused on work.  What I really want to do is grab a blanket or two, light a fire, make some hot tea, and snuggle by the fire with my little Doodlebug.  Maybe that will come in just a little bit.  Must get a few more things done.

I thought today I would share a layout idea that has inspired me.  I found it over at Ella Publishing Company’s website. They have a neat new eZine that has some pretty awesome ideas in it. I’m finding great inspiration for layouts, color schemes, you name it.  One thing I’ve learned over the  years  is to always be on the lookout for things that catch my eye.  Once I find them, I either take a picture, save it on my PC, or put it in a folder I have of scrapbooking ideas.

Here’s my folder –


I just rip pages out of magazines and save them here. When I sit down to scrapbook and need a little inspiration or help getting the creative juices flowing, I just rummage around in the pile of ideas. That is usually a good way to get me started.

I used to subscribe to tons of scrapbook magazines.  Now, not so many.  I have found that I can get the same inspiration from looking at blogs and other scrapbook related websites (like Ella’s) to find (free) ideas.  So, I have started an electronic version of my idea “folder” as well.  This is a little simpler – it’s just a PowerPoint file that I copy/paste images into whenever I see an idea that inspires me.


Here are some places for you to consider as you search for ideas for yourself:

  • Designer Digitals – they have challenges that are awesome. If you are a digital scrapbooker, the downloads that come with the challenges are pretty awesome, too.  If you are traditional, consider getting the downloads anyway. You can always print them on your own cardstock or re-create the layout, etc. on your own.  The ladies at DD are really talented and I always find a few things I want to try over there.
  • Ali Edwards – always has awesome ideas.  Check her blog out (if you haven’t already) – it is well worth the visit.
  • Cathy Zielske – I love her no-nonsense style of scrapbooking. Clean lines, lots of whitespace and capturing the essence of a story.

Okay, enough rambling…. Here’s the original layout that inspired me:

Here’s my version:

my take

And, here’s a bonus for you – a link to a template you can use in StoryBook Creator + (3.0) if you are using that for your digital scrapbooking. (as soon as I get Photoshop Elements, I’ll include those, too. Not in the budget yet, though)

Send me your pages! I’d love to see what you do with the idea!

More of Me: The Abridged Version

Ok, so I found some time yesterday to do a little journaling in my Me: The Abridged Version book.  I also realized while I was working that I wanted more vibrant pages for the album.  The color scheme I had chosen was a little muted.  So, I’m amping things up a bit now.

Here’s a sample of a page I’ve completed.


I’m still considering removing the craft paper background and just doing it on white.  But I’m not sure yet.  (do you have an opinion?)


I’m finding this is actually pretty fun.  It’s an interesting change to write about myself – my thoughts, stories, etc. – as opposed to writing about my kids.  Being the centerpiece of the story instead of the background character who is chronicling the kids’ stories.  You should try it.

And, it’s interesting to me that my girls are very interested in reading the pages as I finish. And they want to know about me!  How cool is that?  As moms I think we get lost sometimes in just being “mom” and forget to be ourselves.  This project is reminding me of the need to focus on me some – focus on my story – and focus on things that make me happy. (like scrapbooking!)


I challenge you – do a page about yourself.  Pick a topic – list your five favorite movies or books, tell a story from your childhood, whatever gets your creative juices flowing.  And, remember, the picture is optional. It’s the story that counts.

Where’s the handbook, please?

Has anyone seen the handbook?

You know the one….

Parenting your Child: Part 2 (The Pre-Teen Years)

I don’t think I got that with my order…

(or any other handbooks for that matter) But I really, really need this one.

You see, I have this wonderful, beautiful, intelligent child.  And about every, oh, day or so, she is invaded by a creature that takes over her consciousness. You know the creature I’m talking about…  The one who thinks parents are so lame and don’t know anything.  The one who thinks little sisters (or brothers) are stupid and a pain.  The one who has the most irrational reactions (good and bad) about the most mundane of things.

When she gets like this I need to find the switch, lever, or button, that will change her back.  Because I’m not quite sure what to do with this other model.  I’m hoping the handbook will show me where the button is, or how to take the batteries out so I can do a reset. (works on my ipod, why not here?)

So, if you happen to have an unused or extra manual lying around, could you loan it to me?  I’m thinking I’ll only need it for the next, oh, eight to ten years… sigh.

“Power Layouts” (part two)

Yesterday, we talked about using StoryBook Creator Plus to scrapbook using the “Power Layout” method.  We started out organizing our photos and deciding which photos went on which pages.  If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here.

Now, let’s pick up where we left off…We’ve got our pictures placed on the pages and we’re ready to move ahead:

4. Go back and pick paper and embellishments for each page. Now that you have your pictures, you can browse through your content and pick the papers and embellishments you want to use for each page. I have found that when doing digital scrapbooking this is easier if you do the paper and embellishments all at the same time (especially in SBC+) because it is easy to click back and forth between the paper you have selected and the coordinating embellishments.

Again, like we did with the pictures, just drag and drop them on the page. Don’t get hung up with placing things here and there or cutting/cropping anything. That comes next.  For right now, focus on picking what color scheme you want, what papers fit the pictures, etc.

Think about what papers/colors will help you tell the story… what will help bring the photos to life?

5. NOW it’s time to do your digi-scrapbooking… make your page using the paper, pictures, and embellishments you have chosen.  This is the time to let your creative juices flow… make use of the cool features SBC+ has and recolor elements, add textures, layer things up.  Crop your pictures.  Design your page. And, while you are doing this, consider finding a cool layout in a scrapbook magazine (or one you have done in another scrapbook) and re-create it on your page.

6. Don’t forget to save (OFTEN!) I am almost afraid to write this… but I want to warn you…. Save frequently. I have been the unfortunate victim of a cantankerous computer and lost many hours’ worth of work before – on so many different things – books, courseware, scrapbook pages, you name it.  I am almost obsessive about saving.  But, the nice thing about saving frequently is that if you do have a crash, you have less work to recover!

7. Tell the story. Write about the event. You can do bullet-style journaling, capturing the who, what, where, when.  Or, you can go deeper and capture your own feelings and thoughts about what the photos represent.  But, take a few minutes and write something down.

The old adage of “a picture speaks a thousand words” may be true for some people, but I’ve found myself wishing I’d asked my grandmother more questions about the photo albums of hers that I am now the keeper of.  I have pictures of her as a young girl, posing next to other young people and I have no idea who they are…. family? friends? And the thing that makes me the most sad is that the story is lost for good.

I may not always tell every story, but I try to capture the basic essence. I want to be sure that when my grandkids are looking at these scrapbook pages waaaay in the future, they will at least have some idea of who was there and what was going on.

8. Walk away. This may sound a bit strange, but when you think you are finished with your page, save it and walk away.  Then, reopen the file a few days later. You may see something you missed before, or have a different perspective than you did the day you started the page.  I find that as my moods shift, so does my perspective on my scrapbook pages.  So, walking away and coming back often results in some minor modifications to my pages.

However, the trap you have to avoid is never finishing the page.  Which leads me to the final step…

9. Order your page prints! Don’t let the finished pages (or StoryBook) wither away on your laptop!  It only takes a few minutes to upload those pages to an online print service and have them printed.  Creative Memories has an awesome service (which I use and love) but there are a lot of others out there as well – Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc.

The key point here is to get the finished pages off of the computer and into your albums!!

Well, that’s it for now.

Next topic: Organizing your digital pictures in MemoryManager (or on your hard drive)

“Power Layouts” for Digital Scrapbookers

When I was exclusively a “Traditional” scrapbooker, I used the “Power Layout” method all the time. Especially when I had a big project I was working on.  It was a great way to take something that seemed overwhelming, daunting, even, and break it down into bite-sized chunks.  Now that I scrapbook both digitally and traditionally, I wondered how I could make the method work in the digital world. Here are the thoughts I had (and feel free to share your own ideas in the comments).

Note: I am using StoryBook Creator Plus 3.0 and Memory Manager 3.0 (which are Creative Memories products)  I’m not a Photoshop scrapbooker. Never will be. Photoshop is too complicated for me!  However, these concepts should work regardless of the tool you use.

1. Decide which photos you want to use. The first step is to figure out what pictures you want to use. If you are using Memory Manager, you can do this ahead of time by using the sort boxes and organizing your photos by project. In an upcoming post, I’ll offer some suggestions for organizing your digital photos.  For right now, though, pick out the photos you want to use.  In Memory Manager (MM) you can drag the pictures to the Work Area.

From there, you can click on Share and choose StoryBook Creator (SBC).  This should offer you the option of creating a new StoryBook or dropping the files in an existing StoryBook. If this is a new project, go ahead and create the new StoryBook. If it is for an existing project, be sure you already have SBC open and the StoryBook already open.

Here’s a tip: Create a StoryBook, not a Page Print document. If you create a StoryBook, you will still have the option to print pages individually.  However, you’ll also have the option to view two pages at a time (and bounce between the two pages easily to edit them).  This is a great feature which allows you to easily line things up across two pages and ensure that your layouts have balance.

Note that when you create a StoryBook, you get a default number of pages in your StoryBook (I think it is 20 pages).  You can always add or remove pages as you go so don’t worry about how many pages you think you may need in the StoryBook.

3. Set your view to “Two Pages” in SBC+ so that you can easily work between both pages in a two page spread. You can do this by going to View and selecting Two Pages.  You should also consider setting your speed to High Speed rather than High Quality.  It will speed up your work considerably and does not affect anything other than the way your pages are displayed onscreen.closeup

4. Drag and drop your pictures on the page. Don’t worry about putting things in any order or arranging them on the pages.  Just drag and drop the pictures you want grouped together on the page.  Then, move on to the next page (use the Previous/Next buttons on the top right for faster navigating between pages).  Don’t get hung up on deciding what should go where on a page. Just figure 4-6 pictures per page and move on to the next.

Here’s another tip: Set your picture view to Show: Photos Not Used. That way you don’t accidentally use a picture twice. I’ve done that before and didn’t notice it… even after I got the printed pages back! My kids noticed. I didn’t.

Tomorrow… the next steps.

Me: The Abridged Version (aka My latest project)

I have been a fan of Big Picture Scrapbooking almost from their inception. The concept is awesome.  Discrete project-based scrapbooking classes delivered over the web that you can work on according to your own schedule. They have live chats, message boards, downloads, templates, you name it. The projects are designed for digital or traditional scrapbookers, with adaptations for either style.

I have recently been attending the “Me: The Abridged Version” class that has been taught by Cathy Zielske.  She has been inspiring and has helped me to think “outside the box” in terms of scrapbooking.  I have been trying for a year or two to move out of the chronological-style of scrapbooking into capturing more moment-based memories.  But, it’s always felt a little awkward to me – and I have secretly felt like I was “cheating” and would eventually have to go back to catch up on the chronological albums.

Me: The Abridged Version has been the first project that hasn’t made me feel that way.  I have been excited to work on it and have had fun putting it together.  The premise is this – put together an album that is a simplified “encyclopedia” about you. (it’s based off of the book “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal)  It has been fun picking words to go with the letters of the alphabet that best describe me and my life.  It has been even more fun trying to figure out what pictures go best with the words. I have been taking pictures of things I never thought to take pictures of before!

As you may already know, I have been learning digital scrapbooking using Creative Memories’ StoryBook Creator+ software.  To do this workshop, I decided to create a digital scrapbook. The downloads on Big Picture’s website were all based on Photoshop, so this required some ingenuity on my part. I created my own template, eyeballing what had been set up in the PDF handouts and having fun creating my own page.

Once the template had been created, I picked a paper set (in this case Creative Memories’ Jewel Power Palette worked for me) and rotated papers each time the letter changed.

It’s not finished yet, but I’m having fun working on it.  Here is a sample of the page template I created.

Left PageRight Page

I will upload some finished pages in the next week or two so that you can see how it looks as it is filled in.

If you think you want to try your hand at this, here’s the template I created.  You will need StoryBook Creator+ 3.0. If you already have SBC+ 2.0, the upgrade is only $9.95 through October. Oh, and the file is zipped, so you will need to download WinZip or some other zip software to unzip the download.

A convert is made

I’ve been teaching myself digital scrapbooking.  I have to admit, I thought I would never get into scrapping digitally.  I spend all day working on a computer, why would I want to do something for fun on the computer as well?  But, then I started seeing other digital pages… and I went to a retreat where a gal was cropping only digitally.  I couldn’t believe how good her pages looked.  You almost couldn’t tell that they were not “traditional” scrapbook pages.  And… the big clincher – I realized nothing is consumable, everything is reusable.  I started to think about the economics of that, as well as the fact that there is WAY less mess, clutter, and stuff to cart around.  Going to a crop? Take your laptop and go. No more broken back!

BallerinaBallerina - Page 002

I’ve been using Creative Memories’ program (I just can’t get past the learning curve in PhotoShop)  and I love it.  It’s called StoryBook Creator.  There’s a free download version and a purchased version.  The free version only allows you to use predesigned pages and drop your pictures in.  That’s great if you don’t consider yourself technologically savvy.  The predesigned pages are really nice (there are even free ones you can download and use).  However, I quickly found that I wanted to tweak my pages a little bit.  The upgrade to the StoryBook Creator+ version is not that expensive and well worth the investment.

There are virtually unlimted options.  I am amazed at the fact that I keep finding new, cool things to do to my pages.  Like a diecut, but don’t like the color? Change it!

I have also discovered that I can download virtually any .png graphic and use it in SBC+.  This opens up the entire internet, which is full of all sorts of downloadable items for use in scrapbook pages. Scrapbook.com has some really nice page elements you can download – some are even free.  I also love the fact that everything I purchase from Creative Memories is color-coordinated by theme.  Makes it really easy to mix and match elements to achieve the custom look I like.

Ballerina - Page 003Ballerina - Page 004

So, I’m probably about 5 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to digital scrapbooking, but I have to say, I love it.  I don’t think I’ll ever give up traditonal scrapbooking completely, however. There’s something about the tactile sense of moving paper around and cutting/pasting things that is very relaxing to me.  But when I’m in the mood to scrap and not in the mood to make a mess, digital works for me.