Monday, June 30, 2008


Brace yourself. Did you know that all photos are taken in your digital camera at 72dpi? That's a fact as stated by a member of a message board. ORLY? A cheap, old digital camera will crank out a 72dpi image, but frankly, my cell phone can do better than that. We won't even think about what the Nikon can do.

There are times when message boards have good information and answers and there are times when the information is out and out wrong. I hope that the person who asked the question has enough sense not to trust that horrible information as fact.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Struggle

I've got plenty of paper, I've got plenty of photos, but I haven't got an idea. Not a clue, not a hint. No dream guided layout today. I had one of those last week and it still took me all day to finish it. I pulled out my idea books and did I get any ideas? Just the idea to take a photo of the stack and blog about how I have no ideas. That isn't helping. I think part of my trouble is that I've got too many photos to scrap from our recent trip to Disney and I can't decide which set to scrap next. I had to give up on scrapping in chronological order. That dream guided layout? I could NOT do anything else until I finished it and it has thrown me all out of whack.

Does it help that I've got a cold? Not in the least. I've got one of those runny nose that makes you want to cough and sore throat that makes you not want to cough kind of colds. I can't decide if it's better to be on cold medicine or not. The cold medicine helps the symptoms, but not my ability to think. Thus I have sat in my studio most of the day, looking through idea books and getting nothing done.

Oh, Wonderful Husband did drag me out to the hardware store, where I spotted some chair rail molding that I will cut up to make a frame on the wall for my rail system in my scrap studio-to-be. Another brick in the wall of progress towards a much nicer studio. The one I have now isn't large enough and I have run out of stamp storage space. I'm really looking forward to using that set of shelves that I put up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Trash and Productivity

I've noticed recently that if I spend a lot of time scrapping, I have to empty the trashcan in my studio on a daily basis. I don't think I toss a lot of paper scraps, but I must toss a lot of something, because the trashcan sure gets full! I save grocery bags to line that trashcan and I put bags from craft shopping into my bag basket as well. I'm one of those neat freaks and a messy scrapping space will clog up my ability to create. I cannot work in a mess.

Recently the bag basket is getting low. Demand is outpacing supply. For a couple of days, I didn't believe it, then I started thinking.

There are only two of us and I go shopping once a week, getting about three bags of groceries. Yes, I can feed two people for a week on three bags of groceries. But I can't always save all three of those bags. They are wet with meat juices, or they tear. Three bags incoming does not equal daily trash bag outgoing. The only reason I haven't run out of bags earlier is that I go shopping for craft things and save those bags.

If I can't empty the trash, my work area is messy and I cannot create in a mess. Therefore, because my bag basket is getting empty, I must go shopping to re-stock my supply.

If you believe that, I've got a bridge listed on e-bay that you might be interested in...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Free Digital Scrapping Tutorials

What a teaser title! But I just wanted to point out that there is a lot of free digital scrapping instruction out there. You just have to search it out, download it and start going through the information. Here's a start.

Jessica has a blog. She puts up a Photoshop Friday entry and has an index to past entries.

Scrap Girls has a free e-book you can download with some basic tips and also has a daily newsletter with tips (and freebies) that you can sign up for.

Scrapper's Guide has a page of free tutorials and links.

Digital Scrapbooking Pages
has a link to their tutorials on the top left of the home page.

Digital Scrapbook Place has classes, a forum and a shop. Scroll down on the home page to find the tutorials on the left side of the page.

There are also plenty of podcasts on how to use Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, but these podcasts are targeted towards photographers or graphic artists. I'm a photographer, so I like the information, but it isn't often what a digiscrapper wants to know.

Just about every major digital scrapping site has a forum, where you can ask questions. Most have a newbie section, where you can ask newbie questions, or search for answers to questions that other newbies asked before you joined.

In short, if you don't know how, there's someone eager to teach you how, and a lot of the instruction is free. There is a caveat. Much of the free instruction is mixed in with a sales pitch. They are hoping that you will follow their instructions, buy the products that they suggest and become a loyal, regular customer.

I'm going to see how far I can get on free instruction. The digital class that I signed up for was a good one, but not the right one for me with the old, outdated software I own. Since I can't afford an upgrade, I've got to learn how to use what I've got. I think I can get pretty darned good, without paying for classes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Page Maps Two-Pagers

I've downloaded a lot of the archived Page Maps that are posted monthly on Becky's site. I pounced on the book when I saw it, knowing that the maps were different from the ones that were on the site. I've looked through them and I can't help but think that a lot of her two-page spreads are very, very similar. Stripe at the top, stripe at the bottom, photos in the middle.

I do a lot of two-page layouts and a lot of the time I create them by using similar paper in two one-page layouts. That works quite well and it gets me out of the 12 x 24 type of thinking. These photos are examples. The first two two-page spreads are taken from the Recollections class, 'Disney Scrapbook in a Day.' I had to make a few changes, because a lot of the paper isn't available any longer and I don't want to purchase all of the embellies. The last two-page spread is taken from a Page Map two-page layout. I think it was December of '07.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Craft Space Planning and Progress

I got my stamp shelving up. I bought two 10' lengths of 1" x 4"manufactured wood and cut them to 40" pieces or 6 shelves. Then I sanded and painted them. I've seen them with molding attached to the front of the shelf, but I know me, and the project wouldn't get done. I used angle brackets, not shelf brackets to attach them to the wall. Shelf brackets are too large.To get the shelves evenly spaced, I hung two and then made a jig out of a scrap of bookboard that fit exactly between the two shelves. I used it instead of a ruler, but I still double checked with my level. While it might look as if the shelves are hanging in the middle of nothing, my L shaped work table will fit underneath them and they will be behind me and to my right when I'm working. I'll sit facing the window, with work surface in front and to my right.

I've been thinking carefully about the rest of my layout and storage. I have a workspace that isn't laid out well for the way that I work. I did my best, but ended up fitting what I had into the space that I had and making the best of it. This time, I hope to plan ahead, find things that will work together, and solve the problems I discovered in my current workspace. My goal is to solve these problems without spending heaps of money.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Silly me! I responded to a request for help on the Cricut Forum for a shop that would be at the Great American Scrapbook Convention this weekend. They wanted someone to help out in the booth. They would pay, it wasn't a volunteer job. However, I thought I was signing up for perhaps four hours each day. I was hoping that I'd earn enough to cover what I spent shopping and I had a very short list of things I was looking for, and didn't expect to spend much at all.

I put in 26 hours in three days. I got paid a lot more than I'd hoped I would earn, but I barely had time to shop the show and I didn't take any classes. Will I help out again? Probably not. In fact, I could go so far as to say, No way!

I did sign up for the crop on Friday night. Not the paper crop, I didn't feel like lugging a crop tote, so I signed up for the laptop crop. I think it was the worst crop I have ever attended. They didn't understand digital and gave us goodie bags with paper and stickers. For a digital crop? There was no Internet, we almost didn't have a moderator and the door prizes were along the lines of the goodie bags. I got an eyelet setter and A Technique Tuesday tote and some stamps to go with it. But some of the stamps were inkstained, indicating that they were used. Used door prizes? What were they thinking? I later was told that the goodie bags were leftovers from Thursday night's crop. Don't I feel special? Not!

Will I go to GASC again? I don't think I will. It's just not that well run a show. They placed the Pazzles and the Cricut booths right next to each other. They are direct competitors. The people I was working for, who sell Cricut, consider a Pazzles machine to be a knock-off. I don't know what the Pazzles folks think. I didn't talk to them.

I learned quite a lot while demonstrating the Expression and the Design Studio Software. I can use the pens, and I learned a few tricks with Design Studio. The Technique Tuesday case and stamps are nice, even though some of the stamps have been used. I earned a lot more than I spent, the show was a profit for me overall. But I'm tired, my feet hurt and I didn't get enough time to shop at all. The crop was not well run.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

By Request... Disney!

I made this little red book to keep notes in. I had reservation numbers, times, addresses and phone numbers, all sorts of things went into my little red book. It is considered 'glue free' because the covers are put together by folding and wrapping the paper in such a way that the ends all tuck in and it holds together without glue! I used my Cricut to make the embellie of The Mouse.

This is a countdown page that I made as a gift for the couple that traveled with us. It's based on the countdown page made by Kathy Fesmire in the Sandylion book, The Essential Disney Idea Book. I used my Cricut again for the title and the characters and purchased stickers for the camping Mickey and Donald. I ended up having to sew the vellum down because it was the easiest way to get nice, tidy pockets that would stand the strain of the tags. The tags are paper that I ran through the printer using a Disney-like Font I downloaded from I know not where. Then I cut the paper up and glued it to a light cardboard and inked the edges. I put the eyelets in with the CAD.

I've got a few Disney 12 x 12 pages finished, but not photographed yet. It's too hot in my studio to do a whole lot of moving around. I'm sipping ice water and tapping idly on a keyboard. FWIW, Britt-ish Designs, on Scrap Matters has a lot of digital Disney-like kits and embellies. I've got a couple of her kits and when I run out of Disney paper (hah!) I'll go to doing Disney Digital pages.

Busy, Busy!

Not so much me, as it is Disney Scrapping. I'm getting a handle on it and have been designing a few of my own pages. I'm mixing them in with pages from a 'professional' designer and I'm having trouble telling the two apart. That's good. I think.

Disney style is extremely busy and detailed. It's rather Victorian, in the 'too much is not enough' style. There isn't a lot of whitespace on a page. Disney is color, pattern, layers, brights, textures and action. Wow! I have to be careful, or you can't find the photos in all the stuff on the page. And that's even true with the 'professional' pages.

Here's what I've found:
  • Mattes are useful, in solid, bright colors that call your attention to the photo.
  • The colors on the page must work using the color wheel to accent the photos. A bright red page calls for green photos.
  • Inking edges on mattes can add to either the confusion or to the ability of the matte to call attention to the photo. Ink with caution.
  • Printed mattes will work, if the print is an overall one and if it is small. Tone on tone prints work well.
  • Combining a light page with dark photos, or a dark page with bright photos helps to call attention to the photos.
  • It's OK to cut photos into shapes on these pages. Usually, I avoid this. Just circles, no mouse-eared cuts, please.
  • Many stickers should be stuck down to white cardstock, then cut out and glued into place on patterned backgrounds. The stickers are translucent and the background will show through.
  • Stamping is good. Embossing is better.
With all the details, Disney pages are very time consuming. Just as you think you are done, there's something else you have yet to complete and it will be something with multiple steps. Disney scrapping calls for every technique I know and every tool I've got, from heat guns for embossing, to eyelet setters, to my craft knife and cutting mat.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Class Frustration

I'm using an older version of Photoshop than the class supports. I have had to do work-arounds to complete a couple of the steps. I knew that was going to happen and it wasn't upsetting. But this one, the brushes one, I'm going nuts. Versions of Photoshop don't have reverse compatible brushes when you go back far enough. So, the brushes that were sent out aren't working for me. I've got to convert them to a .png file and then create new brushes from those .png files.

The class materials don't cover this. Do I know how to use a brush? Nope, that's why I wanted to take this class. I can't use the brushes that were included in the course materials and the course doesn't cover how to make new ones. I'm not happy. I'm really not happy. I've gotten part of the way through the process, I've gotten files I can't open converted to files that I can open. That's step one. I don't even know how many other steps there are in the process.

When I post a question to the forum, I'm getting answers from other students. Some of them are using my version of Photoshop and most of them aren't. I don't trust their directions, though I know they are posting information to the best of their ability and knowledge. I HATE digging through a thread for an answer. I can do it, but I don't like it at all. That's why I took the class. I thought I would be following a set of directions from one person, not random advice from a group. I don't want to be taught by committee.

Jessica has had a lightning strike near her house and is running on one laptop, problably at greatly diminished speed and she has to share access with her hubby, who is administrator of her site. At some point, I know, she'll be back in and handling these questions. Right now, I'm dead in the water and ready to walk away from my computer for a while.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Digital Class and Paper Shipments

Today is Day 1 of Jessica's digital scrapping class. I've got mixed feelings. The start of the class has been plagued with technical glitches. Links to freebies that aren't for free any more and access given to an archive from the last class instead of files specific to our class. But the video instruction has been excellent. As I'd suspected, she's also a 'brain dump' kind of instructor and you get side note descriptions with a lot of extra information in them. I want to watch the videos more than once, they are so full of information. I am usually bored while watching instructional videos, because they are covering what I already know.

Club Scrap sends me regular shipments of paper, stamps and embellishments each month. Over time, I've increased my monthly order until I'm getting a large pile of paper each month. I hadn't realized how much paper I got until I stopped following the guide they have each month for making layouts and just let the paper collect. At the end of the month, I had a lot of paper!

There have been months where I've not only used up all the paper they sent, I've ordered extra and used that as well. I'm creating a lot of layouts. I'm not putting them into albums. I don't own enough albums to put them into. I'm not quite sure how or when, but I really need to fix that.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Effort for Results

I am continually creating not only things, but myself. I have been working very hard lately on keeping a positive mental attitude. This would amaze folks who think of me as a perpetual sunny day kind of person. But this sunny day person gets grumpy at times. Often I get grumpy at the wrong things, or for the wrong reasons. I've been practicing doing things to make myself think happy thoughts instead of becoming grumpy for the wrong reasons. I listen to happy music, I repeat happy phrases to myself or I just think of one of my many, many blessings. I'm not getting grumpy nearly as often for the wrong reasons. In fact, some things are losing their power to make me upset at all. I like realizing that.

On another front, I'm also creating a scrapping/papercrafting space in my basement, where I can work and be closer to my Wonderful Husband. The first step was going into the basement and moving things around a little, so I'd have space to work with. Now, I'm working on creating shelving for stamp display and storage. We got two ten foot lengths of 1 x 4 and I'll be painting them white after I cut them to length and sand them a little. Then Wonderful Husband will hang them on the wall and I'll have stamp storage.

For all that I will have 20 feet of shelf space for stamps, I can fill that much and more. I've just finished measuring my collection, which is currently in rows four to six deep on the meager shelving that I have now. I might not have gotten enough wood.

Here is the space at the start of this project, as it looks right now. The walls are a pale blue, the carpeting is gray. The opposite corner of the room contains my sewing furniture and the ironing board. You can see less than half of the room in this photo, it's more like 1/3.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Classes in Digital Scrapping

I signed up for a digital scrapping class from Jessica Sprague. Jessica's class isn't cheap, but I think it will cover a lot of material. It's full, but she offers these classes regularly. It will start on Monday, and run for a month. It's a self paced, video guided class and having listened to and watched videos from her, I think she has a good speaking voice and she can explain things well. While she's not so specific as to make you feel like you are in a remedial class, she gives detail and explains what you need to know.

Years and years ago, my mother and I took a summer school class on calligraphy. We worked our fingers to the bone and learned at least five different hands in one class. A year later, we looked at the course descriptions and realized that to learn the same amount, we would have to take four classes. And the class we'd taken was the same cost as one of the newer classes.

As my mother would say, "You don't have to hit me in the face with a wet mop." I have ever after been careful about selecting classes for content as well as for price. A set of cheap classes that don't cover much isn't a bargain compared to a more expensive class that covers a lot of material.

My only concern is that I will not be able to keep up. Because I am self taught, I have odd 'holes' in my skills. I might know a few advanced techniques, but not know a basic one. And I'm working with an older version of Photoshop, which I still haven't updated. I could dash out and grab a copy of Elements, but I want Bridge to manage my files, and I don't think Elements comes with Bridge. I haven't ever bothered to check. I do enough photo editing that I really want the full version of Photoshop.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not One More Step!

I've gotten to the point in my digital scrapping that I need to get my files organized. I want to use Bridge to keep paper, embellishments and such filed in a way that I can get to them when I want to. But I don't yet own Bridge. It looks like today is a shopping day. I will not allow myself to buy or download for free another digital scrapping object unless it is a download of CS3. If I keep getting one kit here, a set of paper there, just one really kewl group of embellishments, then eventually, I'll have this gigantic pile of items that I must tag and enter into Bridge, as a catch-up task. I hate trying to catch up.

Until I get Bridge, I'll continue to work on Disney projects. I got some progress made on Friday at the crop, then I went off to the graduation. Yesterday, I made a little more progress and I'd like to keep that up. One or two pages each day would be wonderful, but I doubt I'll be that productive. There's too much to do around the house.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not Bad for 2.5 Days

I took 383 photos for one graduation. I wasn't at all of the events, there were things going on Friday and Saturday that I didn't get pictures of, but I did get pictures of the school, the halls, her locker, and I got photos of her getting her actual diploma. This photo is one of my favorites. Her dad is usually a well. Silent, deep, inscrutable. He is visibly proud and loving here. it's just a peek, but that's all you ever get with him. Still, I like this photo a lot.

Minor Project

I had the motor drive on again. Six shots per second add up quickly. I don't know how many photos Ive taken this weekend, but I do know that I got a few good ones. Graduation was a typical high school graduation, but there were a few extra speeches. Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I thought of the paper and the layouts that I'd be making and I planned a couple in my head. I can't make a minibook of this, I need to do full sized pages. I might do a minibook as an additional thing, but right now, I'm thinking in 12 x 12.

So I've now got a second project that I need to think about putting into the schedule and I'm still thinking about moving the workspace. At least it isn't as big a project as Disney.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Major and Minor

Minor- I forgot a card reader and will have to simply save my graduation photos on the card until I can get them home. I can't share them, I can't really even look at them. Drat.

Major- Wonderful Hubby and I are in agreement that I'm going to move my scrapping/papercrafting workspace into the basement. The room is huge and I'll have everything in one area. That will be great. I'll have enough space to set up my tables the way I originally wanted. There is wall space for my stamp storage. But, there isn't very good cell phone reception in the basement.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Making Things Neat

Now that I have the big bug, I needed to have a place for it. I have just spent a few minutes arranging things in my craft space, which I actually like to do. I can't work in a messy space and the longer I work in a space, the neater that space gets. Sometimes I make neat things and sometimes I make things neat. Today, I'm hoping for a little of both.

Yesterday, I spent a good bit of the day preparing to make Disney pages. I gathered my papers, I sorted through embellishments and put them all together in neat page planner pockets. Tonight, I'll head out to a crop and get to work on those pages.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Careful Shopping Success

I wanted a Cricut Expression. I shopped on-line and though I might find it at a cheaper price, I'd have to pay shipping and it would end up to be more. I had my pennies put aside and just waited for a local sale. Patience paid off today. There was a notice in my in-box about a local sale (check the link for Paris) and I have just gotten home with a big Bug, four cartridges, five inks, one cutting mat and an instruction manual on a CD. I feel like that should be set to the tune of a holiday carol...

It's out of the packing, set up on the able and I feel like a bit of a fool, because I don't know how to get it to open up. My little bug has a button I press and then it pops open so i can use it. I don't see a button on the big bug. I will simply stare at it a bit longer and something will present itself, I'm sure. When all else fails, I'll read the directions.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Big Project Progress

Scrapping Disney is my latest Big Project. I keep printing photos, much to the amazement of my Wonderful Husband. I'm putting them into the accordion folders I mentioned earlier and I'm sorting them by event and day. Sometimes, I'll put photos into an event category from a different day, just because the event was significant. I'm debating on continuing to do that, but in the long run, I don't think it will make that much difference and I can still find the photos when I want them. It's a molehill, not a mountain.

Another molehill is paper selection. What? Blasphemy! But it has to be a molehill. If I allow it to become a mountain, I'll spend all of my time selecting paper and I won't get anything done. I like to have a big pile of paper that all goes together, with some lights, some darks and an accent or two. Embellishments that go with the paper are required. Then all I have to do is select a layout plan and start cutting paper. For Disney, I can't glue much down before I test embellishments. That's my basic plan. We'll see how things work out in practice.

Today, I want to start creating actual layouts, instead of just printing photos and thinking about layouts. I also want to put the final layer of paper onto my shaker frame. I had a little problem with the glue earlier and I'll be using a different adhesive for my second try.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Knew That

When gluing paper to bookboard, apply the glue to the bookboard, not the paper. Every so often I forget that and I regret forgetting each and every time that I do. Fortunately, I have more paper. And more bookboard.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Animal Kingdom Photos

Nikon. Need I say more?

The Key to Success

My mother always said that organization was the key to success. My organization is variable and so is my success. Getting Disney photos organized is ticking right along. I had a few of the expandable photo holders and they were not the right size for the boxes I had, but they were the right size for Disney. I'm printing out in order, sorting mostly by event and date and putting the prints into these Cropper Hopper expandable organizers. They were on sale, so I got a few. I'll probably need to get more. I have that many photos.

It feels good to get them printed out and organized. That's the just first step, but it's a big one. I've started looking through my idea books and making notes of the layouts that I'll use as base ideas. I've got plenty of patterned paper, I just need more plain paper that will match the patterned stuff. That might take careful shopping at a crop.

While I am working on getting my photos printed, I'm still working on Club Scrap kits. I used to be up to date, but I am now one month behind. On June 2, they will ship the new kit and I have not gotten a bit of the May kit done. I'm still working on April. Hmmm... There's usually a reason why something like that happens to me and I don't think it was the Disney trip that took up all my time. Club Scrap uses a system they call Assembly Line ScrapBooking, or ALSB. With their system, you get a set of instructions to create a set of layouts that uses up a kit with very little scrap paper. A scrap leftover from layout four will be used up in layout eight, for example.

Wonderful Husband doesn't like ALSB style that much. When I think about how much fun I have with the creative side of scrapping, I agree with him. That slowdown in working through the kits with the ALSB system is a clear signal that I want to return to the time intensive, more demanding, more creative layouts I used to do.