Hybrid How-To | It’s All About the GRL PWR

Wait! First, let’s take a selfie, get ready, smile, pose….

Oh, before we dive into the selfie details, let me introduce myself.  I’m Wendy Morris-Saponaro.  I’m a “seasoned” hybrid memory keeper and super excited to be on the Creative Team for The Digital Press as a Hybrid Artist.  I’ve been a scrapbooker for about 20 years in designing for many scrapbooking manufacturer companies from Prima Marketing to several online scrapbooking companies.  Yes, long long time…within the past few years with the changes in the scrapbooking industry, I’ve leaned more to hybrid scrapbooking and typically in the Traveler’s Notebook format.  I never see my addiction ending anytime soon. HA!

You know you are as guilty as self in grabbing your phone that is pretty much always glued in your hand to snap that necessary selfie before picking up the fork and knife, jump on this or that ride or stand in front of a landmark sign. My husband would have his fair share on comments for my selfie shots that consist of about 20 takes before I pick only one from the batch that I like. Ha!

Now let’s dive into a few ways that you can use your never-ending stream of phone selfies to incorporate into your next digital or hybrid scrapbook layout.

Browse Through All Those Selfies

You might be amazed how many selfie photos are sitting on your phone that you are planning to scrapbook but never print out.  In selecting my photos, I browsed through my iPhone (i.e. “solo” selfie, selfies with others, etc.).  The auto Selfies folder on the iPhone is a great jumpstart to see what is sorted there to select photos.  I use an Epson XP-6000 printer and just arranged them in a collage format on a 4×6 photo sheet in the Epson app and printed out my top three of choice.   Don’t be afraid to use duplicate photos if they are your favorites.  Just do you! Ha!

Also, to add, my two-page layout is a Traveler’s Notebook size spread, so I was focusing on selfies that would fit a vertical style for the flow of layout. However, you could easily adapt to a horizontal format if that is your preference.

Frame it Up 

I’ll give you a clue…. look for a collection over at The Digital Press that has photo frames in the kit. I chose the GRL PWR kit from ninigoesdigital for my layout. The photo frames in the package of Elements from the kit were just perfect for framing my selfie photos.   I used the Cricut Design Space software to re-size the photo frames to a mini version.  Then, I used my Canon printer and Cricut Explore Air 2 to “print and cut” the frames to the perfect size for my photos.

When you choose to print your digital papers, elements, and journal cards, you can re-size to a preference for the size of your project.

As a Hybrid Artist, I love this functionality to customize the digitals to the size needed for my project.  I grabbed up some of the items from the Elements pack in the kit to print and add as fun bits here and there.

Compliments that Pack the Punch

As you will usually find in 99.9% of my layouts, I use stamping as a compliment to “telling the story” around my photos.  I have MANY stamps (no shame in that)!  HA! I used some stamps to compliment around the theme of girl power in my layout.

Also, as a fun touch, I love the ombre effect to the paper in the GRL PWR kit and the letters, GRL PWR, were already in the ombre effect in the Elements pack.  So, I wanted that bold effect of the letters as the title.

Then, I accented the title with stamped phrases and wording here and there.

Also, I used a ticket stub stamp and bits of pattern paper from the GRL PWR kit to add to some of the ticket stubs as accents and variety.

Did you find this article helpful?  I challenge YOU to look through your phone and grab up a few selfies to scrapbook either in digital or a hybrid format.  Share with me your thoughts in the comments section of this post after trying out my tips for inspiration.

About the Author

Wendy has a strong passion for the arts, lots of creative spirit, and fearless in working with new products and techniques. During the day, she works full-time as an Audit Manager. Wendy and her family live on the Gulf coast of emerald waters in Navarre, Florida.  Her husband is from Italy and an amazing Executive Chef at an Italian restaurant in Navarre. Her daughter is a Yorkie named Principessa.  Wendy has over 20 years of experience in the scrapbooking industry. She has been published several times in print and online scrapbook magazines and designed for several manufacturer creative teams. Wendy is currently designing for The Digital Press as a Hybrid Artist.

Friday Favorites | Calista’s Stuff

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our designer feature series on The Digital Press blog in 2019 — Friday Favorites! This year, as you know, we’ve been learning a bit more about each of our amazingly-talented designers by having them share some of their favorite things with us each week.

This week, the spotlight is on the creative designer behind Calista’s Stuff… Meta Wulandari! You may remember Meta from her previous features here on the blog (you can find her first feature from May 2017 HERE …her Foodie Friday article with delicious recipes from March 2018 HERE …and her most recent feature from July 2018 HERE).

This time around, in order to learn even more about Meta, we asked her to share one of her favorite things with our readers… and here’s what she had to say!

“Since I have a baby, I like to sometimes add a cute touch to my photos. The way I do that is to make the photo of my baby look like a comic. My favorite app that helps me do that easily is called MomentCam Cartoons & Stickers. In this app you just need to have a photo with a face, and the app does the rest!

Here’s a look at how this app works…

In the image above, going counter clockwise from top left, shows… (A) the app interface, (B) adding a face photo, (C) customizing the face features, and (D) choosing a theme.

You can easily change the shape of the face shape, change the hair style, add accessories like glasses… and more! There are dozens of themes you can choose to find one that best suits the project you’re working on.

Here’s an example layout that I created using this app…

You can then save the images and use them in your own projects.”

I’m thinking that Meta’s favorite thing could easily become one of mine, too!

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to take a look at Meta’s digital collections, she has a very distinct style — including design elements that feature brilliant watercolors, vibrant patterns, fun hand-drawn elements, and something I can really appreciate… masculine patterns and designs!

Here is a sampling of some of the items you’ll find in the Calista’s Stuff shop at the Digital Press

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a peek at these fantastic projects that were made with Calista’s Stuff products…


Can you see why Meta is one of my favorite designers? Whether you are looking for colorful papers, realistic hand-drawn elements, or splashes of color, Calista’s Stuff has it all!

Hopefully, today’s Friday Favorites article has allowed you a sneak peek into Meta’s creative style (and again, if you want to know even more about her — scroll up and use the links to her previous features here on TDP’s blog, where’s there’s lots of good stuff!).

And the best news of all?! …during Meta’s upcoming feature week here at The Digital Press, you can enjoy the chance to score an amazing deal in her shop if you use the following coupon code when purchasing her digital goodies (this code/sale will be valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 3/28). Don’t miss it!

[ if you have trouble seeing the coupon image, above, the codes are as follows: “save $2 off any purchase of $5+” by using code = M3T4-2OFF5 . . . or “save $5 off any purchase of $10+” by using code = M3T4-5OFF10 ]

About the Author No need to adjust your computer screen, it really is a GUY hanging out here at The Digital Press! Sean is a native New Mexican who fell in love with a Utah girl 25+ years ago and never went home! He is the designated scrapbooker in his family, preserving the memories of his wife, two sons, and dog Muffin. He loves all things Disney, Harry Potter, and anything related to his favorite animal, the duck! When he’s not scrapbooking on his phone or computer, he develops curriculum to teach people how to use dental practice management software. He joined the Creative Team at TDP in February 2019.

Tutorial Tuesday | Photography with Window Light

Hello, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I’m here to show you ways that you can capture photos using the light from the windows in your home.

Have you ever avoided taking photos in your home because the lighting isn’t great? Or looked around and wished you had gorgeous natural light flooding in, as with the beautiful homes we see in magazine spreads? Me too! I love our current home, but it has several rooms that are rather dark. As I eventually discovered, myself, window lighting has so much potential — even if it’s hard to see at first.

A few tips before we begin:

  • I highly recommend pulling out your DSLR if you have one. If all you have is a cell phone camera, however, that’s OK! Explore all the options and controls available in your camera app and ensure you’re making the most of your images.
  • Turn out the artificial lights! These techniques rely on having only the light from the window affecting your subject.

Ready? Let’s go!

Where’s The Light?

I love our kitchen, but it’s dark. There’s one window behind the sink, but it only gets indirect sunlight and the rest of the kitchen pretty much stays in shadow…

While it’s true that good light makes an image, the same can be said for shadows. Having both shadow and light gives much more depth to an image,  and shadows can help hide the junk in the background that you don’t want to see anyway! As you’ll soon see, this kitchen window has become my absolute favorite spot to capture photos in my home.

Once I even had to stop mid-chop to capture a photo of cilantro as I was preparing dinner!

Now that we’ve focused on figuring out where the light is… let’s explore all the ways we can utilize the windows in our home to capture amazing photos.

Photograph At An Angle To The Window

Stand perpendicular to the window. This means to stand so that one of your shoulders is toward the window, and one of your shoulders is away from it. The subject should be right in front of the window. This allows you to capture strong directional light and shadows moving across your subject.

Here is my son standing in front of the kitchen window, and my left shoulder was toward the window. Notice how the light falls off and the right side of his face and body is in shadow?

Here are two more examples using the same kitchen window. I placed these flowers in a cup on the kitchen floor and pulled out my macro lens! I love how the light just kisses the flowers and then dies off, leaving the rest of the image in shadow. You can’t even see the floor just a few inches below.

*TIP* If you do product photography, for an Etsy shop or another type of online sales listing, consider using lighting like this!

And just to show that I do have more than one window in my house, here’s my daughter and our cat Tiggy. In this instance, my right shoulder was toward the window. These windows happen to be much larger than my kitchen window, so you can see that the image overall is pretty well lit even though we still have those awesome shadows in there…

And one more of yet another cat, Pinkie Pie (we have four cats!). This is a window in my daughter’s bedroom…

Photograph Straight On To The Window

OK, so now you know how to use the window when you are standing perpendicular to it. But you can also shoot straight on to the window, as well. Here’s another shot of the cats in my daughter’s window… only this time, I was directly facing the window…

This presents challenges, as the outside will often be much brighter than the inside. In this example, I used the meter of my DSLR to set the exposure for the front yard, which resulted in the cats being in shadow. I focused on their ears so I could capture the outline of their ears in focus. I think this works because cats have a distinctive silhouette and this lets me tell the story of two cats staring out into the trees in the front yard.

And now, back to my favorite kitchen window. You’ll notice my kitchen’s a mess, dishes all around, even a dead plant off to the left! I want my kids to look back on our photos and connect with what they see, so I don’t stress over clutter or creating a perfect frame. I just had my daughter hop up on the counter and I snapped this. Took just a few minutes!

A few things to note:

  • While I am facing straight to the window, my daughter’s body is at an angle to the window so the light can touch her face. I had her slowly turn her head back towards the window just until I saw the light outline her sweet face and then I took the photo. If she was sitting with her back fully to the window and looking directly at us, her entire face would be in shadow and we wouldn’t be able to see her.
  • It’s totally OK if the window itself is blown out when you attempt this type of photo (“blown out” meaning that the image data is so bright that it has become fully white and lost all detail).
  • I set exposure off her face — that little patch of skin on her left cheek — to get the results here. You can easily play around with the exposure in your editing software later.
  • It’s very difficult to capture this type of an image with a cell phone. Most cell phones will try to auto-meter and it’s nearly impossible for the phone to determine what it should be metering for (and thus, it will probably over-expose the image — i.e. make the interior of the home appear fully lit).

Get Out There And Practice!

I took these photos in a camper we rented over spring break last year…

Once you learn to manage window light, you’ll see opportunities everywhere! At stores… restaurants… even in campers!

There’s no substitute for practice. If some of these techniques seem confusing, pull out your camera and try to replicate the setups from the sample images. I’ve been known to use a doll in place of a child because the doll listens to my directions much better than my kids do. As you practice, really focus on “seeing” the light and shadow, and notice how small changes in positioning can make a huge difference in the impact of the photo.

A few things to consider:

  • What is the story you’re trying to convey? Are things properly illuminated (or hidden!) to support that message?
  • Editing is key. Remember that what I’m showing here are edited images! Now, I’m pretty lazy… so the editing on these is pretty basic. But I do like to enhance contrast a bit so my images pop.
  • Explore black and white. The high-contrast images you get from directional lighting naturally lend themselves to gorgeous black and white edits.

I hope that I’ve inspired you to try using window lighting in your home in new ways when taking photographs. I’ll be back later to show you tips on creating amazing photos using the artificial light in your home!

About the Author  Beckie is a creative team member at The Digital Press and who lives near Austin, Texas. In addition to scrapping and photography, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and ignoring household chores. 

Friday Favorites | Dawn by Design

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our designer feature series here on The Digital Press blog in 2019 — Friday Favorites! This year, we are learning a bit more about each of our fantastic designers by having them share some of their favorite things with us each week (so much fun!).

This week, the spotlight is on the super talented Dawn Farias of Dawn by Design! This is actually Dawn’s 3rd feature here on the blog (you can find her most recent feature article from March 2018 HERE… and/or her Foodie Friday article from September 2017 HERE w/ yummy food ideas/recipes).

This time around, in order to learn even more about Dawn, we asked her to share one (or more) of her favorite things with us… and this is what she had to say…

“I’ve always had straight hair, but wished for curly. In the 80s that meant perms, but thankfully that time has passed and we don’t really talk about it anymore. Nowadays, it means that I rely on my wand curling iron to get the job done.

About a year ago, I came across a tip for doing this really quickly. You simply put your hair in a high ponytail, curl it in sections, and then let it down. It takes me less than five minutes to curl, shake out, do a random re-curl here and there, and spray my hair. Considering I work outside the home and have a family to get up and out of the house each morning, this hair hack makes me very happy! It’s also easier on my arms.

Here, you’ll see my entire hair/make-up routine from start to finish (and I timed it! — less than 10 minutes! — see lower-right image)… “


For those of you who aren’t already familiar with Dawn’s design work, she creates an awesome collection of kits, templates, pocket cards and stand-alone element sets. I love the color schemes she uses in her kits and how she includes a nice mix of dimensional and artsy elements so her kits will work well with any style layout you’re creating. And, if you haven’t checked out her office style date stamps, you really should; they’re super fun! And if you’re into alphas … you’ll find a bunch of fun options in her shop as well!

Here is a sampling of some of the items you’ll find in Dawn’s shop here at The Digital Press

And to give you just a glimpse of how versatile her products are, and show you many of the fun ways they can be used… here’s a look at just a few of my favorite projects from the gallery at TDP, which is always full of beauties from Dawn’s shop


Aren’t those layouts super inspiring?!

Hopefully, today’s Friday Favorites article has given you even more insight into Dawn’s persona and creative style (and again, if you want to know even more about her — scroll up and use the links to her previous features here on TDP’s blog, where’s there’s lots of good stuff!).

And the best news of all?! …during Dawn’s upcoming feature week here at The Digital Press, you can enjoy the chance to score an amazing deal in her shop if you use the following coupon code when purchasing her digital goodies (this code/sale will be valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 3/21). Don’t miss it!


[ if you have trouble seeing the coupon image, above, the codes are as follows: “save $2 off any purchase of $5+” by using code = 2OFF5-DAWN . . . or “save $5 off any purchase of $10+” by using code = 5OFF10-DAWN ]


About the Author  Barbara is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Minnesota, is married (coming up on 25 years!) and has two awesome kids (a 22 year old son and a 19 year old daughter) as well as an adorable 12 year old Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier. In her free time she loves to play in Photoshop (you can learn a little something new every time you use PS right?!), take photos, and try out new recipes for healthy dishes. Life is good!

Tutorial Tuesday | Photo Repetition

Greetings happy scrappers, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! This week, I am going to share some creative ways to use the same photo multiple times on your layout in order to draw attention to and highlight the important details, and more!

Using the same photo repetitively on your page is also a fantastic way to bring cohesiveness and interest to your project. As with every aspect of scrapping, there is no right or wrong way to use a photo more than once on your page… and it is fun to try different techniques!

Therefore, I’ve compiled the following list of tips/ideas for doing so…

Blended photo | In the two examples shown here, the duplicated photo has been subtly blended into the background. Placement of the blended photo is important, because you want the viewer to be able to see the main subject of the photo…

Whether the blended photo takes up a portion of the background, or fills the entire background, the effect gives the page a soft, airy feeling…

Cropped photo | Cropping the duplicated photo is a great way to emphasize your favorite part of the picture. The cropped photo can be laid on your page as a shape (square, rectangle, triangle, etc.), or the cropped area can be blended into the background. Either way, the duplicated photo provides a path for the viewer to follow on your layout…

In each of these two examples, the most important part of each photo has been cropped and placed strategically on each page, creating visual triangle…

Here’s another example in which the image on the left is simply a cropped/zoomed-in version of the same photo on the right…

Creative cropping | In the next example, not only is the cropping super creative, but changing the photo to black and white gives the page some added interest. Think outside of the box when duplicating your photo!

Macro cropping | Cropping the photo so it appears that it was taken using a macro lens really adds a fun aspect to the layout. When using this technique it can appear that you have used two totally different photos, when in fact it is the same one duplicated…

KIT & TEMPLATE: As the Leaves Turn by Designed by Irma: http://shop.thedigitalpress.co/As-the-leaves-turn-bundle.html
FONT: Touch by Karla Noel: http://shop.thedigitalpress.co/KN-Font-Touch.html

As you can see, using repetitive photos on your page is a great way to add interest to your pages… and really, the sky is the limit as to the ways the duplicated photo can be scrapped. Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I hope you’ll find this installment of Tutorial Tuesday to be useful the next time you work on a project!

Until next time… happy scrapping!!

About the Author  Jill W is a creative team member at The Digital Press and has been scrapping for over 13 years. She resides in Northwest Illinois. In addition to scrapping, she enjoys spending time with her family — especially her three young grandchildren (ages 6, 4 and 2). Retirement is getting closer for her, and she is anxious to travel the country with her husband, taking photos and scrapping them as they journey across the USA.

Hybrid How-To | Decorative Peat Pots

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I am going to show you how to print digital elements on tissue paper to make these pretty peat pots.

This tutorial is about making the peat pots, yes… but really, it is going to teach you the trick for printing on tissue paper — a skill which opens up a bunch of new crafty possibilities. Peat pots are the object I chose for this, but you could use the tissue paper on lots of other mediums — from those cute metal buckets, to the glass inside a picture frame, to bowls or plates, etc. So many options!

Supplies Needed

  • Digital elements of your choice (I used Starting Fresh | Blendable by Calista’s Stuff)
  • Photo-editing program such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • White tissue paper
  • Cardstock
  • Tape
  • Peat pots
  • White acrylic paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint brush & foam brush


  1. First, we need to size the elements for the peat pots. Mine needed to be about 2.5″ in height (but it didn’t matter how wide)…

2. Next is the printing. Cut the tissue paper down to about 1″ smaller than what your printer will allow. The trick to printing on tissue paper is to tape it to a piece of cardstock and send it through the printer that way.

Here’s a look at my tissue paper after I’d sent it through the printer, with the painty elements printed onto it…

You’ll note that I had a little ink spray on my page, but it didn’t matter because I knew I’d be cutting all of that away.

3. The next step is to paint the peat pots. The white acrylic paint will help hide the edges of the tissue paper. I just used a big paint brush and criss-crossed a pretty thick layer all over the pots, leaving some of the brown color showing.

4. Next, cut the images out of the tissue paper. Nothing precise, just follow the basic shape of the image…

5. After that, we’ll Mod Podge the tissue paper images onto the peat pots with a foam brush. Once the tissue paper is wet, it will rip easily… so make sure you brush carefully.

That’s it! So easy, right?

Here’s a look at the final project. The Mod Podge finish makes them shiny and so pretty…

Another look…

These peat pots took me less than an hour to make, and they will make a perfect addition to my spring decor. I think I’m going to fill mine with some fake nests and eggs. 🙂

I hope you’ll give this project a try!

Kate About the Author  Kate is on the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She lives on the Utah/Colorado border with her husband, 5 kids, 10 chickens, a dog named Gracie, and a cat named Kit. She’s a city-born girl who found she’s really a country girl at heart. She can be found outside, barefoot, and probably in her garden.