Hybrid How-To | Gift Card Holder

Hello everyone, It’s Tanya here for this week’s Hybrid How-to.  I’m going to show you how to create this cute and easy recycled project.   It’s  one way to show your child’s teacher ” THANK YOU” for all they do.   I loved creating things for my kid’s teachers when they were in school.  There are many opportunities throughout the year….the first day of school, teacher appreciation day, the last day of school, their birthday….just to name a few.  Today we are creating this project for the last day of school.


  • digital kit of your choice ( I used School Rules by Mari Koegelenbern and Land of the learning by Anita Designs)
  • empty gum container
  • double sided tape
  • pop up dots
  • punches
  • scrap piece of cardstock
  • shredded paper
  • gift card

These are the two kits that I chose, but there are many more fun “school” kits at The Digital Press shop to choose from.

I created the tags and note cards using the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software using the print and cut feature.   It can be done in any photo editing program, print and cut with a pair of scissors.

I love my Silhouette and even when things are probably easier just to cut out  Old School, I still use my Silhouette instead.  It’s kinda addicting!!

Use the big scallop to punch out the bottom piece.  Continue using the different punches for the layered tag.

Add pop dots to the apple for dimension.  I have tons of pop dots on hand because I love the layered look.

Use the tiny circle punch to punch a hole for the ribbon to go through.

Before adding the gift card, add some of the shredded tissue to the bottom.  There are so many different colors and you can find them for a $1.00 a bag at the Dollar Tree.

After adding the gift card, attach the tag with ribbon of your choice.   Isn’t this a super cute way to give your child’s teacher a gift card?

Oh and don’t forget the bus driver.  Because of them, the kiddos get to and from school safe and sound.

For this one, I created little note cards for the teacher to use next year.   Imagine them stapled to the top of your child’s work.   This simple gift even without a gift card would be very sweet.

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s Hybrid How-To here on The Digital Press’ Blog.  Now it’s your turn to create something fun!

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s Hybrid How-To here on The Digital Press’s blog. Now it’s your turn to create something fun (with or without a cutting machine)! If you would like to earn points toward TDP’s monthly challenge system, visit the corresponding monthly Hybrid Challenge in the forum’s CROSSWORD SECTION (you’ll find it stickied up near the top during May 2017). We’d love to see your creations!


About the Author  Tanya is a part of the hybrid team here at The Digital Press. She has been hybrid crafting for at least 14 years now, and loves creating and sharing those creations with others. Her all-time favorite tool is her Silhouette Cameo. She has been married for 28 years to her high school sweetheart, Richard and has two sons: Chris, 25 and Chance, 20. She also enjoys crocheting, photography and woodworking

Feature Friday | k.becca

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for another edition of our Feature Friday series here on The Digital Press blog… and this week, we get to learn a little bit about one of our beloved TDP designers — Kristen of k.becca!

This is Kristen’s first feature here on the blog (she is one of our newest resident designers at The Digital Press, and I’ve fallen completely in love with her style since she arrived in March!)… and whereas last year we used our feature series to help you get to know some fun trivia about your favorite designers, this year we’ve been using our designer feature series to give you a little peek into our designers’ creative spaces and more insight into their creative processes.

With that in mind, we asked Kristen to show us her creative space — where she works to come up with all of her fantastic digital designs. We’re loving the bold colors she surrounds herself with as she works…

This is what Kristen had to say about her space… “After over a decade of apartment living in the city, my husband and I moved out to the country a few years ago and bought our first house — a 100-year old fixer-upper. This is the first time that I’ve had a dedicated space to design and craft in, which is awesome, but I have to admit that I’m still trying to get used to it. I move furniture and supplies around on a semi-regular basis, trying to find just the right setup. It’s definitely a work in progress! Right now, my computer desk is on one side of the room, and there’s a small alcove on the other side of the room with a desk where I draw, paint, and craft. I keep most of my coloring supplies and adhesives in two IKEA Raskog carts that sit right beside the “crafting desk” …and I love the little containers that hook onto the sides of the carts because I can just pick up a container or markers, colored pencils, etc. and sit it right beside me as I work. There are also a few multi-drawer pieces of furniture where I store inks, paper, and other supplies. I love color, but I actually like the space that I work in to be pretty neutral, so there’s a lot of grey and white going on in the room. Between the art and craft supplies around the room and the work that I do on the computer, I still get my color fix!”

Well I, for one, am so jealous of Kristen’s crafting space! Its sure is filled with oodles of awesome and colorful treasures! 🙂

We also asked Kristen to share with us a Top 5 list that is representative of herself at this point in her life, and this is what she came up with — her Top 5 Current Favorite Things

  1. Daffodils — The previous owner of our house was known in the neighborhood as the “Daffodil Lady,” and she planted hundreds of the flowers (if not a thousand or more!) around the property. They’ve had to deal with some pretty volatile weather the past couple of years, but they’re some tough little flowers and it makes me happy to see them bloom because I know that warmer weather is coming soon!
  2. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies — I’m not a big fan of white chocolate on its own, but when it’s paired with macadamia nuts something magical happens. Mmm… so delicious!
  3. All Things Foil — I’m on a mission to Foil All the Things, and the Minc has been one of my “can’t do without” crafting tools lately, along with lots and lots of reactive foil. Rose gold and  pewter are two of my current faves.
  4. Hand Lettering — I cannot get enough when it comes to hand lettering and modern calligraphy, and one of my goals over the past couple of years has been to improve my lettering skills. I still have a long way to go, but the journey has been a lot of fun.
  5. Stickers — Okay, so there’s never been a time where I haven’t been lovin’ stickers. My sticker book from back in the day is one of my prized possessions, and my love for 80’s scratch and sniff stickers knows no bounds. You can imagine how happy I was when I first discovered the print & cut feature on my die cutting machine. Woohoo, DIY stickers!


As for Kristen’s products… her shop is filled with lovely digital kits, elements, word art, and journal cards — and she has a knack for putting colors and patterns together with unique elements that work seamlessly with traditional ‘paper-style’ scrapbooking, as well as pocket scrapbooking. You are sure to find something that works for any photo and memory that you want to document and treasure! You will find a good array of products to suit just about any need. Her products gel very well with my personal style, and her journal cards tend to be my special favorites!

I’ve shared just a small sampling of my favorite products from the k.becca shop here…

Additionally, here are some of the projects that have made using k.becca’s designs…

I trust that you have enjoyed getting to know Kristen of k.becca a little better, including the chance to see a peek of her creative space and appreciate her creative process! Remember that the k.becca shop at The Digital Press Co will be on sale 30% OFF all week long (sale will end at 11:59pm ET on Thurs 5/4). Surely that’s all the excuse you’ll need to visit her shop and clear out your wish-list! 🙂

Additionally, this week only — you can snag the following FREE COLLECTION with any $10+ purchase in the k.becca shop at The Digital Press! Exciting stuff…


About the Author Pallavi resides in the United Kingdom with her husband and their son, Rajveer. She has previously lived in Calcutta, Pune, San Francisco, Chicago, London, and Mexico City. She reflects all these places in her pages as she captures her everyday stories. She is an alumnus of Northwestern University, and currently she is learning photography and working towards getting to a healthy weight. Her days are full and she loves it that way!


Tutorial Tuesday | Multiple Photo Layouts


Hello everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am going to share a few very simple (yet quite useful!) tips for fitting multiple photos onto a layout.

If you’re like me, one of the most difficult parts of scrapbooking is choosing photos with which to scrap. I suffer from ‘separation’ and ‘abandonment’ anxiety when it comes to discarding some of the photos that don’t make the ‘cut’. 🙂

Whilst good selection may be essential for effective storytelling, I often find that I am trying to fit more photos onto my pages — especially when there is a back-story to those photos. Therefore, I went back through my gallery to see how I’ve solved this issue in the past, and to compile a list of some useful tips and tricks I could share with you. And believe it or not, I found there actually is a method to my madness, when I scrap! LOL

So without further ado… the following are my thoughts on “how to work multiple photos into your layouts”…


1. Make pocket pages

The first obvious approach is to make a pocket style page. The beauty of this scrapping style is that the canvas is neatly divided into spots that you can then fill with your photos, journaling, papers, embellishments or a combination of all of these. Here is an example from one of my favourite pages.


Credits:Beats Journalers by Creashens, Template is Duo 10 Go anywhere by LBVD Designs, Blue skies ahead alpha and papers by River Rose Designs

There is also an awesome tutorial about pocket scrapping and how to go about it if you are new to it :).

It becomes even more effortless if you can find pocket style templates that work for you. One doesn’t need to be a Project Life scrapper or even a Pocket scrapper to dabble in this style. The key is to have fun and adapt these to suit your own style and needs. Here at the Press we have an amazing selection of these. Check them out here.
2. Use unusual photo spots
Here are some examples to do this. In this first layout I have clipped photos to photo spots in the template but also layered with patterned papers. The various shapes were a good way to show different crops on multiple photos I had of my girls ‘rowing the boat’.
 Credits:  Drawing blanks template by Sandy Pie Creations, A lot by Creashens

In the next one, whilst there was just one photo spot in the template, I wanted to show a long shot of where the kids were. I adjusted the template to insert a big photo in the background.

Credits: Everything from April shop collab – Fresh Air

In this final example I have literally added more photo spots. Simple and effective 🙂 Varying the photos between black and white and colour also adds a great deal of interest to the page.


 Credits: To remember album, This is everyday wordart, Time stood still all by Sabrina’s Creations
3. Clip photos to other shapes
Photos don’t always have to be rectangular or square in shape. It is great fun to use some different shapes to add a varied flavour to your style. In this example below, I have slipped one of the photos to a watermark star shape – probably not meant to be used as such but worked for me!
 Credits: 31 days of December by Meg designs, Thanksgiving by Rachel Hodge,Plus Side by Sahin Designs
4. Create a background of photos
This is my favourite go to method. Especially when I have nice pictures to show off. Putting that pivotal picture in the background not only creates a great canvas for the layout but also sets the context and lets you be more creative and experimental with the other photos. Here are some examples.


Credits:Tranquil by Sahin Designs, Chinese Whispers template by Jimbo Jambo designs, Found papers by Creashens


  Credits:Forever by Little Lamm and Co, Family Love templates by Sabrina’s Creations
5.Change the crop to tell a different story (a.k.a. working with multiple similar shots)
So what happens when you have great photos but they look quite like one another? Fear not, there are a few ways to approach this, as well.

In the following examples, I have simply used different crops of similar shots – some in colour and some in black and white. I also used full length big photo on the left hand side.

All-of--me-loves-all-of-you-copy-for-web Credits: Hello February by Dunia Designs, Choices template by Meg Designs
Trisha-running-pg1copy-for-web Credits: Documented papers and templates by Anita Designs, Love is in the air elements by Mommyish and Mari K
something kinda wonderful
 Credits:Clean and Simple templates 24 by Sabrina’s Creations Also used by Meg Designs: Its the Little Things, Spring Song papers, Recharged JCs, Melliflous JCs
6. Use templates
As mentioned before templates are a great booster.Using the right template can get you to a great start! There are many interesting multi-photo templates available here at the Press. See some examples for yourself.
 Credits:Scraptime vol 9 templates and Awakening Bundle by France M Designs
layout 1
Credits: May 2016 Templates and Grad bundle by Sahin Designs
7. Use templates, but don’t be afraid to change them up
Whilst templates can be great for a great start, feel free to play around with them to accommodate your photos – e.g. creating more spots if required or altering their position, shape and sizes.

If you look at the following layout and the template I have used as a starter, it is only but a small proportion of my overall design. In other words the template is hardly recognisable but I still had a great start using it and take it further from there.

 Credits:XO Cards by Dunia Designs, Hey love stamp sheet by Karla Dudley, Love is in the air elements by Mari Koegelenberg, Hello February elements by Dunia Designs and Cynosure templates by Meg Designs


So that’s it! …seven (7) easy ways to approach scrapping when you have lots of photos you need to include on a single page. I hope you find these ideas to be useful! Meanwhile, if you have ideas of your own for solving the “fitting multiple photos onto one layout” issue… I would love to see your own hacks! I’m always looking for more ideas. Please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Until next time… stay creative! Ciao!

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About the Author Shivani Sohal is a donner of many alter-egos. A finance professional by day in busy London, she morphs into a seemingly normal mum of two in the evenings and weekends. She is constantly found with her fingers in too many pies and juggling the metaphorical balls. That is living on the edge for her; aided by the two ankle biters and a darling hubby who define the warm and mushy for her. She is ferociously dedicated to memory keeping — almost immune to any nay-sayers (or equally-disruptive crying children or annoying house fires!); keeping her head down and forging ahead at all times.


Hybrid How-To | Mother’s Day Mini-Album


Hello everyone! It’s Saturday, and therefore time for another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I’m going to show you how make a beautiful mini-album as a gift for Mother’s Day.

Supplies Needed:

  • digital kit of your choice (I used For Mom By Little Lamm & Co)
  • white cardstock paper
  • any physical supplies/embelishments from your stash (I used only wood veneers and washi tape)


First, you will need two pieces of white cardstock, sized/formatted like the images below…


Next, after cutting the papers, you will need to score and fold them as shown below (to ensure they look like the format of the images just above this)…

You’ll want to glue the middle section (shown above) of the top paper to the same area of the bottom paper. This will create a thicker center section, along with multiple pages on each side that fold inward.

Next, it’s time to assemble and decorate the album. I chose digital patterned papers that I wanted to use in my mini-album, printed them, and then cut them to look like the images below…

*NOTE* These patterned papers, when printed, are a little bit smaller than the white cardstock sections, to enable us to glue them down on each section, as shown in the following image (below).

Glue your patterned papers down as a base on each section, and then decorate with photos, printed digital embellishments, and physical supplies!


Decorating your album is the most fun part of the process. Enjoy it!

Here’s a look at my album as I added photos and embellishments and it took shape…

I think this is a beautiful way to honor our mothers, isn’t it? And a beautiful and delicate gift. 🙂

If you’d like to give this a try, too, don’t forget that you can earn challenge points at TDP! Come visit the CROSSWORD SECTION in The Digital Press forum, and you’ll find this month’s Hybrid Challenge thread (*NOTE* for each month’s Hybrid Challenge at TDP, you get to choose one of the two (2) “Hybrid How-To” tutorial posts from here on the blog for that month, and then you get to make your own version of that chosen project). If you choose to give today’s project a try… all you have to do is make a mini-album like mine using some digital elements and papers. Give it a shot, and share your final results with us! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Have a great weekend, you guys… and happy scrapping!

AndreaAbout the Author  Andrea Albuquerque is part of the Hybrid Creative Team here at Digital Press. Andrea has been a scrapper since 2010 and a photographer since 2012. Although she adores the flexibility and creativity of digital, she can’t resist playing with paper, paint, and embellishments… so hybrid scrapping is the perfect medium for her! She lives in Brazil with her hubby.

Feature Friday | Tracie Stroud

It’s time for another edition of our Feature Friday series here at The Digital Press… and this week, we are excited to feature Tracie Stroud here on The Digital Press blog! This is Tracie’s second feature here on the blog (you can find her first feature from August  2016 HERE)… and whereas last year we used our feature series to help you get to know some fun trivia about your favorite designers, this year we’re going to use our designer feature series to give you a little peek into our designers’ creative spaces and more insight into their creative processes.

With that in mind, we asked Tracie to show us her creative space — where she works to come up with all of her fantastic digital designs. This is such a great work space, eclectic and bright, busy and cluttered, but she loves it! Tracie says that she does all her mixed media and watercolor artwork here, as well as her scrapbook design work. When she is doing mixed media work, she just moves her laptop and tablet out of the way, and all her art supplies are within arm’s reach.

We also asked Tracie to give us a “Top 5” list that is representative of herself at this point in life, and she gave us a list of her Top 5 Essential Oils She Can’t Live Without…

According to Tracie, “we try to avoid medications and chemicals as much as possible, so we use essential oils a lot. It was hard to narrow it down, but these are the 5 I absolutely couldn’t live without…”

  1. Lavender — we use this for any skin issues: rashes, insect bites, minor burns, eczema, etc. I also put it in an essential oil diffuser every night in our boys’ room to help them settle down to sleep.
  2. Peppermint — This is a must-have for me when I feel a headache coming on, or when I need a mid-afternoon boost without breaking out the coffee maker.
  3. Eucalyptus — This one is fantastic for colds and congestion. Be careful, though… it shouldn’t be used for small kiddos.
  4. Lemon — Lemon oil is a great stain remover, air freshener, and cleaning agent. I make a general cleaning mix with lemon oil, peppermint oil, a little white vinegar, and water and keep it in a spray bottle. I use it for everything, and I haven’t bought a chemical cleaning spray in years.
  5. Frankincense — This one can be a little pricey, but it’s worth it to us. I’m never without it. It’s a vital immune support oil. Anytime we feel a cold coming on, we put this oil on the bottoms of our feet, where the skin is thinnest, and it almost always keeps the worst of the symptoms away and shortens the lifespan of the cold. I also use it in place of Neosporin on open cuts and wounds.

As for her digital design style…Tracie creates fun products that look like real-world papers and elements from an art journal. She’s been designing for over eight years, and she loves the flexibility that the digital medium offers — letting her incorporate her art into her designs. The best part is that Tracie’s artsy designs let customers play around and express themselves, too! Personally, I love her “Rock the Shadows” layer styles, which can be found in her shop… and I use them on every single layout I create!

Here are just a few of my favorite items from Tracie’s shop at The Digital Press

Tracie’s products are super versatile and easy to use for all kinds of projects. Here’s a look at a few of our favorite projects that use Tracie’s designs…

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Tracie today, as well as getting a look at her work space and at some of her amazing products! And as if that wasn’t enough fun… Tracie Stroud’s entire shop will be 30% OFF throughout this coming week during her Feature week (the sale will end at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 4/27). It’s a great time to clear out your wish list of any items from her shop, at a discount!

Additionally, this week only — you can snag Tracie’s “Dance In the Rain” kit for FREE with any $10+ purchase in the Tracie Stroud shop at The Digital Press (this offer also ends at 11:59pm ET on Thurs 4/27)…


JenniferHigniteJennifer Hignite is a mom of three boys and new homeowner with her fiance in the mitten state of Michigan. When she is not scrapbooking, she enjoys photography, decorating, and shopping at Target.





Tutorial Tuesday | Getting Kids to Smile at the Camera

Ever wish you had a few tricks up your sleeve for getting kids to smile at the camera? I’m here today to help!

It’s often hard to get natural smiles from kids… and let’s face it, simply saying “cheese” often leads to the some of the cheesiest of smiles. So what to do?

I’m the first to admit that bribery goes a long way, but the last thing we really need is blurry photos due to a sugar high and smiles covered in chocolate. Right? So… instead, here are a few tips that will help you get some natural smiles.

  1. Chit Chat — I have found that some kids are shy or nervous about making sure they smile, just like the practiced at home, which can look fake or forced. If I just randomly bring my camera down and start chatting about school or what they ate for breakfast or who their favorite super hero is, I can get them talking and they’ll smile without thinking about it and then the don’t even notice when I bring my camera back up and start snapping away.
  2. Catch them off guard — On occasion, I will say something out of the blue that kids aren’t expecting or make it seem that I’m trying to get a cute smile out of one of the children and end up getting great smiles out of everyone because it lightens the mood and takes the focus off of having to force a smile. This helps to get great natural smiles.
  3. Distraction — Distraction works really well when kids aren’t cooperating at all. My favorite technique is to ask them to make a silly face or a tiger face and I make faces too. The kids get distracted and start laughing or smiling on their own.
  4. A little humor — My son always makes a funny face when I go to take his photo. Always. He always looks constipated, but as soon as I say the word, he can’t help laughing hysterically. Of course, I’d never say that to a client, but other jokes work great. For example, if a kid is picking his nose, I ask if he has some tasty cheese-boogars that he can share.
  5. It is what it is — Many of my clients want picture perfect smiles, but I’m more of a lifestyle type person myself. I absolutely love photos where my kids aren’t smiling, whether is a posed shot or just a quick capture. I’m drawn more to eyes than mouths, so I’d rather avoid squinting eyes from big smiles. Sometimes kids just are who they are and I strive to capture them in the moment. If I don’t get smiles, it’s no biggie… I get a lot of great shots anyways.

Want some examples of these tricks in action? Here is a layout I created using a few photos of the silly faces my daughter makes…

Next time you are photographing kids and find that you’re struggling to get a natural smile from your subject… give a few of these tips a try, and see if they don’t help you capture a fantastic shot or two!

FarrahAbout the Author  Farrah Jobling is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Denver with her amazing family — Mike, Nicholas (9), Claire (7), Hope (2 yr old puppy) & Kringle (9 mo old bunny). She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.


Feature Friday | Karla Noél

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Feature Friday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am super excited to be showcasing the very talented Karla Noél! This is Karla’s second feature here at TDP (you can find her first feature article from October 2016 HERE)… and whereas last year we used our feature series to help you get to know some fun trivia about your favorite designers — this year, we’re going to use our designer feature series to give you a little peek into our designers’ creative spaces, and more insight into their creative processes.

With that in mind, we asked Karla to give us a little peek into her creative workspace. She just recently moved, however, and so nowadays her “current workspace” is actually just her sketchbook, according to her. Here’s a little look at some of her creative magic taking place with pen and paper…

We also asked Karla to share with us a Top 5 list that is representative of her at this point in her life, and this is what she came up with…

Karla’s Top 5 List of Tunes She Loves to Listen To While Designing…

  1. When It’s Only Me and the Music by Jem and the Holograms
  2. Nicotine by Panic at the Disco
  3. One Moment in Time by Whitney Houston
  4. Middle Finger by Bohnes
  5. Go the Distance by Michael Bolton

She also shared some fun trivia/information about herself, for those who are new to her designs, given that she’s been on a design hiatus for the better part of this past year or two. So as a bonus, for those who don’t already know Karla… here’s an update! 🙂

  • I’m a self-taught jack-of-all-trades designer since 2003. Thanks to Google, coffee, and the passion for creative everything.
  • Since then, I have had my biggest blessings… 5 wonderful children, including 2 sets (!) of twins.
  • With digital designs and scrapbook pages… I only make pages with my own designs. Not because I don’t like the design of others… but because I know exactly what I like, and so I just make it myself! LOL
  • I was going strong for years… but since 2007, my personal life was falling apart, and after 11 years of marriage, my husband left us in September 2014. That’s when I stopped designing regularly 🙁 …and lost so much, from my belongings, to my van, my home, and my children.
  • I’m slowly working on coming back! Taking my time… making sure it feels right… finding myself after all these years. I’m finding that I have naturally evolved into a new designer with a different outlook. A new me… hoping that I will be accepted by the creative community once more, when I make it back. It helps having a creative fiancé, too! <3 hehe

As for Karla’s design style… it is distinctly her own. From her use of color to her fantastic hand-drawn elements and word art stamps… you can always recognize Karla’s products as being hers!

Here are just a few of my favorite products by Karla Noél

Also, here’s a look at just a small sampling of the gorgeous projects that have been created using Karla’s products…

Isn’t it all so fun and inspiring? 🙂

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Karla and looking into her creative space! I have great news — because during her entire feature week, you will find all of Karla’s products on sale 30% OFF in her shop at The Digital Press! (the sale will end at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 4/20). Check your wishlist, and don’t miss out on this great chance to clear your favorite items off it — at a discount!

Additionally, this week only — you can snag Karla’s “Epic.Ness” Collection for FREE with any $10+ purchase in the Karla Noél shop at The Digital Press (this offer also ends at 11:59pm ET on Thurs 4/20)…

Gaelle About the author Gaelle is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in France with her hubby, her two sons and her kitty. She loves digiscrap and discovered this activity in 2012, since she’s totally addict and scrap to keep memory her everyday life. Her family is definitively her principal source of inspiration.






Tutorial Tuesday | Creating Keyword Sets in Lightroom

I love using Lightroom. When I first began using it, it was solely for the purpose of photo editing; I do almost all of my photo editing in Lightroom. After playing around in the program for a while, though, I started using it for keywording (a.k.a. tagging) my photos for organizational purposes — and eventually I also began using it to tag my digital scrapbooking supplies. The more I use Lightroom, the more I love it. Keywording in Lightroom is quick and easy… and helpful! …and that’s what I am here to share with you today.

For a long time, I did all of my keywording simply by typing in the keywords I wanted to use (saving to the file’s metadata)… and/or by clicking on the keywords that showed up in the “Recent Keywords” set. One day, however, for whatever reason… I noticed there were up and down arrows immediately to right of the “Recent Keywords” set. Hmmm. Why had I never noticed that before? Nested under “Recent Keywords” was a option to save and edit a keyword set. Finding that option was a great time-saver for me. Keywording is definitely not one of my favorite tasks, but I consider it a necessary part of my scrapbooking/photo-editing process and I welcome any and all shortcuts I find to speed up the process. I bet you will too!

So, before I show you how to create a keyword set, in case you haven’t been using Lightroom for keywording I first want to give you a quick how-to for basic keywording:

  • When you’re in the Library Panel press CMD/CTRL+K to access the Keywording Panel.
  • From there you just type in the keywords you want added to the metadata of your photo. *NOTE* You can add multiple keywords to a photo, simply by separating the keywords with a comma. For my example, I used the keywords “Barbara, BAU, Grant, Lauren, Scott, Stonehenge, UK” because these are the words I will most likely use to search for this photo at some point.


As I mentioned above, I find that creating Keyword Sets is a big timesaver. I’ve got a couple of standard keyword sets that I use. Some standard sets I find useful are for different sets of family members. I like to tag all the individual family members in my photos so I can quickly access photos of individual people. Yes, that is very detailed and perhaps more detailed than some people would want to go with their keywording… but the process actually goes quickly, and it saves me so much time down the road when I’m looking for photos.

I have three basic sets that I use all the time:

  1. “Us At Home” is a set of keywords I use all the time for my core family (my husband, kids, dog and at home keywords)
  2. “May Family” is a set of keywords of the names of people on my side of the family.
  3. “Unzen Family” is a set of keywords of the names of people on my husband’s side of the family.


From there, I’ll create keyword sets for individual holidays and events, vacations, etc. — any keywords that I feel I’ll use over and over for a particular set of photos. I’ll save these keywords to a temporary (or permanent) keyword set. It saves me time and speeds up my keywording process.

So, now you probably want to know how to create a Keyword Set. This is the very simple process:

  • Click on the little up/down arrows to the right of “Recent Keywords”
  • Click on “Edit Set”
  • Type in the keywords you want included in the set (each set can hold 9 keywords). Hit Tab to move from box to box.
  • When you’ve entered in the 9 keywords you want included in the set click on the down arrow next to Preset and choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset”
  • Type in a name for your preset


That’s it! So easy, right?

And the benefit is that after doing this, when you’re keywording images at a later point in time you can choose between using your “Recent Keywords” and any of the other Keyword Sets you’ve created. Such a time-saver! Give it a try. I hope you find that creating and using Keyword Sets in Lightroom speeds up your keywording/tagging process, as well.

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments of this post and I’ll get back to you. Also … if you’ve got any Lightroom shortcuts of your own that you’d like to share with us, feel free to share them with us in the comments, as well!

Barbara UnzenAbout the Author:  Barbara Unzen is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She’s a mom to two teenage kids, a 19 year old son and a 17 year old daughter. In her free time she loves to digi scrap, take photos and hang out with her family.

Hybrid How-To | Custom Watercolor Tags

Hello everyone! It’s Saturday, and time for another edition of Hybrid How-To… and today I’m going to show you how to use digital stamps to create customized tags (and/or other projects).

Supplies Needed

  • Digital stamps (I used stamps from Speechies and Love This by Rachel Hodge, and also This Life March Stamps from the Juno Designs shop)
  • Digital Kit (I used In Living Colour by KimB Designs)
  • Watercolor paints or distress inks
  • Laser printer
  • Optional — Minc foiling machine


I used Microsoft Word to create my project… but of course you can use just about any word processing or image editing software. You will need to arrange your elements (stamps, etc.) on the page in a way that is conducive to printing. Don’t forget to leave some white space around each element (and around the outer edge of the page as a margin).

*TIP*  In Word, I set the ‘Wrap Text’ option to ‘In Front of Text’ so as to be able to easily move the elements around on the page.

If  you have access to a laser printer, then you can print your document before painting. However, if you only have an inkjet printer, you must decorate your page first before printing or your images will run.

Once you have your stamps printed… you can let your creativity run wild! Use watercolor paints (or similarly-styled inks) to create unique backgrounds. Here’s a look at what I did…

*TIP* Use washi tape or masking tape to secure your page to a board or desk. This will help the paper stay flat (rather than curling).

Color your tags as you wish — use ombre effects, splotches, etc. — it’s up to you. I even left a few of my images blank so that I could color them in after I had cut out the pieces.

When you’ve finished, carefully remove the tape and allow to dry. It’s a good idea to place a heavy book on top to keep the paper flat.

OPTIONAL EXTRA STEP — Because I used a laser printer, I could add foil to my pieces using a Minc machine. To do this, you place the foil on top of the paper and feed it through the machine. The foil reacts with the toner… which melts and grabs the foil. Foil is available in a rainbow of colour and adds a real luxury to your pieces. Check this out…

Finally, you will cut out your pieces (adding extra color or ink as you wish). You can die cut or use a cutting machine to get really creative if you wish.

Here, you can see that I created a card with one of my tags…

You can also add them to scrapbook pages, pocket scrapping projects, or even planner pages! Here’s a look at a few pieces I thought could work well in a memory planner…

Isn’t this easy and fun? Now you can create something unique with your digital stamps, and hold the end-product in your hands!

Want to give this project a try? You can earn challenge points towards the April 2017 challenges here at The Digital Press if you share your finished projects with us. Check out our monthly challenge information in the CROSSWORD SECTION of the forum.

MoragAbout the Author  Morag Cutts is part of the Hybrid Creative Team here at Digital Press. Morag has been an avid scrapper and photographer for ten years.  Although she adores the flexibility and creativity of digital, Morag can’t resist playing with paper and embellishments – so hybrid scrapping is the perfect medium for her!  Morag lives in the UK with her hubby, two kids and recently adopted puppy.


Feature Friday | Dunia Designs

It’s time for another edition of our Feature Friday series here at The Digital Press… and this week, we are excited to feature Dunia from Dunia Designs here on The Digital Press blog! This is Dunia’s  second feature here on the blog (you can find her first feature from September  2016 HERE)… and whereas last year we used our feature series to help you get to know some fun trivia about your favorite designers… this year, we’re going to use our designer feature series to give you a little peek into our designers’ creative spaces and more insight into their creative processes.

With that in mind, we asked Dunia to show us her creative space — where she works to come up with all of her fantastic digital designs. This is such a great, clean, simple work space (you should see mine, in comparison!).  And doesn’t this space perfectly reflect her design style, which is also clean and simple?! 🙂

We also asked Dunia to give us a “Top 5” list that is representative of her at this point in life, and she gave us a list of her Top 5 of her Favorite Pastimes:

  1. Reading: At the moment, she reads “The Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allan Poe.” Since she wants to improve her English, she reads a lot at the moment.
  2. Walking: She loves to walk with her friends in her neighborhood.
  3. Playing: She loves playing with her kids. During the winter, they play a lot of board games… like Clue, Monopoly, Jingo, etc.
  4.  Netflix: She is addicted to Netflix. A few of her favorite series and films are: Sherlock, House of Cards, and Stranger Things (among others).
  5. Listen to music: She is a Rock-n-Roll person, and especially loves older music from artists like Led  Zeppelin, Metallica, Motorhead, ACDC, etc.


As for her digital design style… Dunia creates beautiful kits and collections that are perfect for traditional digital scrapbooking pages, as well as for pocket scrapping-style layouts and projects. She is known for her fantastic pocket cards. Whether you are a scrapper who is documenting everyday life… or individual holidays, vacations, or events… her products are perfect for clean and simple-style scrappers.

Here are just a few of my favorite items from Dunia’s shop at The Digital Press

Dunia Designs products are super versatile and easy to use for all kinds of projects. Here is a look at a sampling of just a few of our favorite projects using Dunia’s products…

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Dunia Designs, as well as getting a look at her work space and some of her amazing products! And as if that wasn’t enough fun… her entire shop will be 30% OFF throughout this coming week (the sale will end at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 4/13)!

Additionally, this week only — you can snag Dunia’s “My Kind of Day” Collection for FREE with any $10+ purchase in the Dunia Design shop at The Digital Press (this offer also ends at 11:59pm ET on Thurs 4/13)…


About the author  Astrid is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives with her husband and her 2 teenage/adult kids in Germany. As a mini-jobber with only 10 hours/week, she has plenty of time for her digital scrapbooking hobby. She has Netflix and Amazon Prime, and is addicted to nearly all series. Vampires, zombies, vikings… it doesn’t matter; she likes everything. She loves the ocean and the summer heat, but lives in the opposite: mountains. Therefore, she loves visiting her family in Algeria or the south of France.








Tutorial Tuesday | Scraplifting Yourself

Welcome to another installment of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am here to advocate for a simple technique that will help you create more scrapbook pages (and faster, and more easily!) — scraplifting yourself.

I would like to use this post to encourage you to be gentle on yourself and not feel as though every layout you create has to be a masterpiece… while also helping you to avoid feeling as though creating layouts leaves you feeling drained. It’s a hobby and it should be fun, right?

Let’s be honest… life is busy, and there are so many things that have to be done all the time. Often we find that by the time we sit down at the computer to take advantage of a few moments of crafty “me time,” our creative energy seems to have dissipated.

How to solve this?

You can always turn to your tried-and-true sources for inspiration. I love The Digital Press Gallery; Pinterest is another fun source of ideas (as is Instagram, as people are posting their scrapbooking creations there more and more often all the time nowadays!). Sometimes, though, I find that I use up all of my scrapping time just looking at other people’s layouts without doing anything with my own photos and getting any of my stories told. Oops! This ends up leaving me feeling despondent and uncreative.

An easy fix for me is to choose the photos I want to scrapbook, and then look at my own arsenal of previous layouts… with the goal being to re-create one that uses the same number of photos, along w/ a new/different kit or collection. I just clip (Ctrl-G) the new papers and photos over the existing ones, and swap out the embellishments with new items from the kit I am working with the second time around.

For example, let’s take this layout that I created for TDP’s 3-for-3 challenge in March 2017…

Characteristics of This Layout:

  • 3 photos
  • 3 different patterned papers
  • visual triangle of clusters
  • engaging title
  • complimentary colours of red and blue
  • right-aligned journaling

I still love this layout, and so for the next layout I had just 30 minutes to create and I started with 3 photos of my grandnieces playing outside of the holiday house we shared in December.

I kept the placement of just about everything exactly the same –the photos, papers and journaling — and I changed up the date, etc. Instead of creating a new title, I used a pre-designed piece of word art from the newest TDP Designer Collaboration “Fresh Air“. I still have foundation layers of paint and a scatter. Three points of orange, with a fourth embellishment spot that is tone-on-tone blue to break boundaries and add a different shaped element for interest. I added shadows as I went along… and in 30 minutes, it was finished and ready to be printed!

Here’s a look…

Again, Characteristics of This Layout:

  • 3 photos
  • 3 patterned papers
  • visual triangle of orange
  • wordart title
  • complimentary colours of blue and orange
  • centered journaling

I decided to use this page’s composition one more time. For this last layout, we had a family BBQ on the day before we left Johannesburg and I wanted to highlight the men’s role in cooking and that the women had a relaxed off duty kind of day. 🙂

For this newest page, I wanted to include a 4th photo of my hubby grilling the meat… so I nudged the photos to the right and squeezed him in there. You can see more similarities with the second layout than the first, including white piece of word art layered over the photo, and centered journaling. Of course, these layouts look strikingly similar — but you could also mix things up by turning the design 90 degrees, or by flipping the paper layers found at the top to the bottom of the page, instead (or changing up the font, etc.). I went for speed over creativity, though, and as these layouts will be separated within the family album of 2016 with different opposing layouts I can almost bet that no one will even notice that they’re almost the same…

Characteristics of This Third Layout:

  • 4 photos
  • 3 patterned papers
  • diagonal/asymmetrical points of pink
  • Blue, green and pink
  • wordart title and sub-titles
  • centered journaling

What do you think? Do you have 30 minutes to spare, in which you want to complete a brand-new layout in just that short time? This technique will help you do so! Just turn to a tried-and-true layout design that you already love… open that PSD or TIF file… remove the papers and embellishments… and start again!

If you give this a try, I’d love to see your results! Feel free to load your layouts to The Digital Press Gallery, and you can even link us up to the original layout in your credits/description if you want to.

 About the Author  Stefanie is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press Co. She is a mom of three older children, all living in Cape Town, South Africa, with her hubby of 29 years and their two cats. In her free time she loves digital scrapbooking, dabbling in photography and reading.

Feature Friday | Laura Banasiak

It’s time for another edition of our Feature Friday series here at The Digital Press… and this week, I am excited to feature Laura Banasiak here on the blog! This is Laura’s second feature here on the blog (you can find her first feature from June 2016 HERE), and whereas last year we used our feature series to help you get to know some fun trivia about your favorite designers… this year, we’re using our designer feature series to give you a little peek into our designers’ creative spaces, as well as more insight into their creative processes.

With that in mind, we asked Laura to give us a peek into her creative space (a.k.a. “where the magic happens”!)… but she did even better than that! Just wait until you see this! 🙂

According to Laura, “My work space is really wherever I can manage to hide away from my kids for a few minutes with my laptop. Someday maybe I’ll work at a desk again… but in the meantime… my computer’s desktop background (above) is a photo from this past weekend’s “Heroes and Villains Fan Fest” in Chicago. My boyfriend and I have been working disability services at the conventions for the last three years… although last year’s convention didn’t go as planned, as we ended up missing out on it after my water broke at the venue and our little guy Ryker (in photo, above, held by actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan of The Walking Dead) was born that day. We like to keep things interesting! Ryker is now the unofficial adorable Chicago convention mascot!”

Here are a few other photos Laura shared with us from the most recent convention she just attended… how fun is this?!

We also asked Laura to give us a “Top 5” list that is representative of her at this point in life, and this was what she came up with… Laura’s Top 5 Bands!

  1. Walk Off the Earth
  2. Deftones
  3. Incubus
  4. Avanged Sevenfold
  5. 10 Years

As for Laura’s designs… her kits are always full of colorful and funky elements, loads of hand-drawn doodles, and various hand-crafted artsy elements. In addition to digital kits, she also creates awesome fonts, alphas, and word art sets… all of which have a very special style that is all her own, and you can usually recognize her products without even seeing her name on the packaging. I love working with her products, because Laura creates all kinds of goodies!

I picked some of my favorite products to share with you from Laura Banasiak’s store here at The Digital Press…

Her products are super versatile and easy to use for all kinds of projects. Aren’t they fun?

I also pulled together a sampling of some really fantastic, creative projects that use Laura’s products…


I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Laura Banasiak and getting a peek into her creative space! To celebrate her week as our Featured Designer here at The Digital Press, her entire store will be 30% OFF all week long (the sale will end at 11:59 ET on Thursday 4/6).

Additionally, this week only — you can snag Laura’s brand-new, just-released “Little Crab” Mini Kit for FREE with any $10+ purchase in the Laura Banasiak shop at The Digital Press (this offer also ends at 11:59pm ET on Thurs 4/6)…


About the Author  Miranda is mom of two teenage boys, aged 14 and 16 years old, and is also a fur-mummy for her 3 Bernese Mountain Dogs. She lives in the South of the Netherlands, close to the beach where she loves to walk with her dogs. In real life she is HSE-responsible for few companies in the construction industry. She loves to read Danielle Steel novels, long walks at the beach and she loves Italy; and has been digiscrap-addicted since 2007.

Tutorial Tuesday | Blend Modes

Welcome to another installment of our Tutorial Tuesday series! Today, I want to share a few ways I use blend modes in Photoshop in order to blend my own custom background papers for my layouts!

Layer blend modes can be quite confusing, and honestly I think that simply playing around with them & trying out different opacities is the best way to learn what fits your style. In general, though, layer blend modes change the way layers (or their colors) react with each other.

The modes that I use the most are:

  • Linear Burn & Multiply (the 2nd group of blend modes make things darker; eliminates whites)
  • Screen (3rd group of blend modes make things lighter; eliminates blacks)
  • Overlay & Soft Light (4th group of blend modes generally make things lighter; they work with the gray tones, and results depend on the colors of your base layer)

The Blend mode panel is found just above the layers in the Layer panel. The default is always ‘normal’ and clicking on the small ‘v’  will bring down the rest of the blending options, as shown here…

Here are a few examples of how I used the blend modes mentioned above to combine two papers together in order to make my own unique background papers. I’ve shown my final layout (top left), the original paper files from the kit I used (bottom left and right), and also the blended version (top right) along with information about the modes/opacities I used…

In the next example, the text paper (lower left) was super fun & I really wanted to use it… but as a background on its own, it was a tiny bit too distracting. Blending it into the starburst paper (lower right) & then lowering the opacity almost all the way down solved that problem. You can still see & read the words on the new version (top right)… but it doesn’t overpower the layout (top left) any longer…

In the next example, I loved the swirly paper (lower right) and wanted to use it for my background, but it was a bit too bright. When I lowered the opacity, however, it seemed to wash out the pretty greens in the paper. My solution was to use a solid green background paper (lower left) because it helped to keep that color nice & sharp, while still decreasing how bold the pattern looks on my layout (top left)…

The next example highlights a useful tip I want to share — which is that if you can’t get it just right with one blend mode, you can always combine it with another mode and/or duplicate the layer that you’re blending. In the following example, I wanted that hexagon paper (lower right) to pop, even despite the darker paper I combined it with. Duplicating the paper and lowering its opacity gave me the defined hexagons I was going for…

Moral to the story: if you love a certain pattern, but you need a darker/different color for your layout… or if you want to tone down the brightness… or if you simply need a certain color to tie your photos together with a kit… blend modes can be your new B.F.F.! Through the use of blend modes, the possibilities are endless!

It’s also a great technique that can help you stretch your scrapping stash! The sky is the limit when it comes to making something unique and creating your own style with just a few clicks of the mouse! 🙂

AmieAbout the Author  Amie is a craft-loving dental hygienist who lives in Washington state. She loves her husband, her two kids (ages 9 & 5), and her English Bulldog… as well as coffee, baking cupcakes, daffodils, glitter & sprinkles, reading a good book, and lip gloss — not necessarily in that order.

Feature Friday | Wildheart Designs

It’s time for another edition of Feature Friday here at The Digital Press… and this week, I am excited to feature Lisa Sisneros of Wildheart Designs here on the blog! This is Lisa’s second feature here on the blog (you can find her first feature from August 2016 HERE), and whereas last year we used our feature series to help you get to know some fun trivia about your favorite designers, this year we’re using our designer feature series to give you a little peek into our designers’ creative spaces and also some more insight into their creative processes.

With that in mind, check out Lisa’s creative space… isn’t it great?! I can definitely see how this space would be conducive to the creative flow…


We also asked Lisa for a “Top 5” list related to things that define her at this point in her life, and this was what she came up with — the “Top 5 List of Things She Loves(I’m sure we can all relate to most all of these! Her love of “hot pink anything” certainly speaks for itself in her creative space)…

  1. Hot Pink anything
  2. The Red Queen book series
  3. Naps
  4. This Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffin Recipe
  5. Unicorns (still!)


As for Lisa’s design style… she creates digital products that are “paper-realistic” in style, with lots of fun themed items and textured elements that are perfect for layering. Here is just a small sampling of what you will find in the Wildheart Designs shop at The Digital Press…


And here are just a handful of sample layouts using Lisa’s designs, so you can get a peek at her fantastic designs in action…


I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Lisa (and looking into her fabulous creative space!), and I am sure that you will have no problem finding some new favorites in her shop at The Digital Press which will be 30% OFF all week long during her Feature week (the sale will end at 11:59 EST on Thursday 3/30)! Check your wishlist, and don’t miss out on this great chance to clear it out at a discounted rate!

Additionally, this week only — you can snag Lisa’s “Oh, Joy!” Kit for FREE with any $10+ purchase in the Wildheart Designs shop at The Digital Press (this offer also ends at 11:59pm ET on Thurs 3/30)…

About the author   Rae is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a Mom of three daughters, grandmother to 2. She lives in west central Indiana with her hubby of almost 24 years and their youngest daughter. She is a digi-scrap addict and a bit of a computer software geek, having worked for several years as a software/IT administrator/architect. She loves any opportunity to travel with her hubby who travels most every week for work. Her family are definitely the loves of her life and she is loving life as a “MomMom” as her grandchildren lovingly refer to her.

Tutorial Tuesday | Brightening Dark or Dull Photos

Have you ever just been browsing through the gallery and seen a page that really just POPPED right out at you? More often than not, that page popped like that because of a gorgeous photograph that the scrapper used. Photographs, and I mean really good photographs, can really make even the most simple page shine!

I hear scrappers comment “Well, I am not a professional photographer, and I don’t have time to learn, so I just use whatever photos I have!” Believe me when I say, “I GET THAT!”  Life is crazy!  At least I know mine is, and I don’t want to spend hours tweaking every single photo I put into our memory books either.

But what if I told you that you could tweak most photos, even the photos you take on your phone, just a little, and improve their appeal incredibly?  Would you be interested to learn how?

Here at The Digital Press we are starting a simple Tutorial Tuesday Series entitled Quick Photo Fixes.  Little tips and tricks to help you step up your everyday photos quickly and easily, so they shine on your layouts and even make those layouts pop right out of the galleries.

Today I want to start with something simple – brightening dark/dull photos.  We all have photos that we took (often with our phone) that are just too dark and drab feeling.  Sometimes they are WAY too dark and you can barely make out the subject matter, but a lot of the time photos are just dark enough to look muddy and dull. They are still usable, but they don’t say WOW! Today I want to show you three simple ways you can brighten those photos and make them stand out just a bit more.

Now, before we start, I want to say that in the world of photography, how under or over exposed a photo is has really become a very personal and artistic thing.  Some photographers swear by certain levels and others just go with what makes them happy.

Here are two different portraits taken from a popular photography site – both are beautiful, and tell their story well, but have different levels of brightness/exposure and so create a different feel.

Since we are working on photos to use in our family memory keeping, I want you to feel free to go with whatever level of brightness makes you happy or fits the mood of your layout.  I personally tend to lean towards brighter, lighter photos with lots of contrast, and sometimes get told mine are “overexposed.” But that is OK with me, because I like the way they feel.  Unless you are a professional photographer and make a living on other people’s desires and opinions, don’t let other people’s aesthetics make you doubt yourself. These are your memories, you make them as bright and happy as you want!

Now, for the fun stuff.

These days I find I am taking a lot of photos with my phone, mostly because my favorite DSLR is starting to die on me and I can’t face the pain of admitting that. But also because I almost always have my phone with me, but my big bulky camera, not so much.  Camera phones really have come a long way, but I find mine still tends to struggle with getting the brightness levels right – especially when we are indoors, and I currently live in the Pacific Northwest where rainy season has taken on a new meaning – even for this Southeast Asian Tropical family – so most days we are inside.

However, I have found that most of the time I can correct the dark drab look of my photos, through one of these three different methods.


The quickest and easiest method is to play with the Brightness and Contrast.  Granted, this won’t always do the trick, but it is a good place to start if you are new to photo editing or get overwhelmed in PS or PSE when playing around with photos.  It is pretty quick and simple, but it will still make a lovely difference in your photo.

Take this photo for example.

I took this photo of my daughter in a little shop outside a Thai village up in the mountains somewhere.  It was the middle of the day, very hot, very bright outside, but there was no lighting inside the shop except what came through the windows. That made the shop nice and cool, but it also meant that my photos ended up pretty dark.

To correct this, I opened up the brightness/contrast control panel.  You can find it under Image>Ajustments>Brightness/Contrast.

That will open up this little box with sliders for both brightness and contrast.

I brightened my image just enough to bring her face to the right skin tone and leave behind that grey tinge.

Then I added some contrast to bump the shadows back up and bring some pop to the photo.

You will notice that this washed out the background a bit – after all there is a LOT of bright sunshine poring in from those windows.  In this case, I don’t really care, because the background was not so important to this photo, but there are techniques that allow you to adjust for that.  We will cover those at a later date.

Here is a side by side of the original and final photo.

The whole process took less than a minute, and now I can plop this photo into a page.  The photo is not that great to begin with, a bit grainy because my phone was an older model, but the final product has much more appeal to me than the original photo.


A second way to brighten up dark dull photos is by playing with the Levels.  This method is my personal favorite, and although it can seem a bit scary if it is unfamiliar to you, it is really not that difficult to get the hang of.  I like adjusting the levels because it gives you more control over all sections of your image, from shadows to highlights, while allowing you to make more subtle adjustments, and yet it stays pretty simple if you want it to.

I took this photo of my youngest on our front porch during a rain storm.  While there is obviously some light, the photo still ended up dark and dull feeling.  We can easily fix that with levels.

To adjust your levels go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and you will get a little box like this.

The graph that comes up that looks like a mountain range is called a histogram.  A histogram is nothing more than a graphical representation of the tonal values of your image – so basically it shows the amount of tones of a particular brightness found in your image.  Simply speaking, the blacker, or darker tones, are to your left while the whiter, or lighter tones, are to your right.  A good image will have a “mountain range” that spreads pretty evenly through all the values, stretching from left to right.  You can see from my histogram above, that this photograph is missing most of the lighter values to the farthest right.  We correct that by adjusting the sliders that you see at the bottom of the histogram.

For my photo I started with the right most slider, and pulled it towards the left, until it was right at the edge of my “mountain range”  That brightened up the lighter areas of my photo.

I then pulled the leftmost slider over to the right a little, to deepen the darker areas back up a touch.

You can also adjust the middle slider to correct the mid-tones if you feel the need.  I adjusted mine just a bit to bring back the facial features and little details of the photo I wanted to capture.

And again, in just a minute or so we have taken a dull photo up a notch to a fun, colorful capture of a playful moment. There is a lot more you can do with levels if you really want to learn, but this simple step will give you a bit more control over your photos.


Finally, the third way to quickly brighten dark/dull photos is to use Curves.  You find curves in the same place, go to Image>Adjustments>Curves.

Now, there is a whole lot that you can do with curves, and it can get complicated.  However, for the sake of today’s tutorial we are going to keep it simple.

This time I am using an image that my oldest took in the car.  The selfie camera on his phone is not good at all, and it came out really dark!

So I open my image and go to adjust the curves. Again, a little graph will pop up, this time showing both your histogram, and a line running diagonally through it.

To adjust your curves for brightness, you want to make sure that the RGB path is selected in the channel drop down menu and then you are going to place your cursor on the mid-point of the line and drag it slightly higher.  You generally don’t need to move the line too far in order to change up the image, but you can move it around a bit, both up and down from the starting line, to get an idea of what happens when you do.

Here they are side by side, still not the best image in the world (what kind of face is that anyway ) but much better than the original don’t you think?

So, I hope that gave you a few new ideas on how to quickly brighten up dark or dull photos and really help them pop.  If you find one method does not give you the results you want on a particular photo, then try one of the other two and see if that works better.  Or, if you really want to have some fun tweaking your images, you can combine two or even all three of these techniques to really add contrast and color to your dull photos. If all of that still seems like too much work, you might want to look into some Photoshop Actions.  There are some really fun ones out there for the daring, and just plain simple ones as well for everyday fixes like this one. Some are free, and others cost a bit of money, but actions really do make photo edits quick and easy.  I use actions for a lot of my photo helps, so feel free to ask for recommendations if you don’t know where to look.

Thanks so much for following along with me, and have fun making those everyday photos just a bit more appealing!

ErinErin is an artsy crafty kind of girl who is currently dabbling in far too many things, but is working hard to enjoy every moment of it, while avoiding the rain, which is difficult due to living in the land of many rains.  She is slowly learning to use her smart phone to capture all the fun little bits of life that would otherwise go unremembered in the busy,craziness that is raising a family!

Hybrid How-To | Paper Pouches

Hello, everyone! Kate here to show you how to create these fun paper pouches — just in time for Easter!


  • Digital kit of your choice (I used It’s a Spring Thing, found in the Juno Designs shop here at TDP)
  • Scissors or a straight cutter
  • Adhesive (for this project, I prefer glue dot strips OR hot glue)
  • Sewing Machine


1. Print your chosen digital papers and cut into rectangles. Mine are 4″x5″ and 3″x5″…

2. Add the adhesive of your choice to the short edge of the rectangle and roll the paper up, adhering to the other short edge. You’re basically making a bunch of paper tubes.

3. Pinch one open end of the tube together and sew along the edge. Fill with candy, but don’t overfill or you will have trouble getting the other side to close. Once it’s filled, pinch the other end together — in the opposite direction (see below) — and sew along the edge…

And that’s all there is to it! I like to display these in a glass bowl on the coffee table, but they would also make an awesome edition to an Easter basket.

Want to give this a try (and earn challenge points toward the March 2017 challenges here at The Digital Press)? Come check out our monthly hybrid challenge information in the forum HERE.

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, and a dog named Gracie. 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.

Feature Friday | Rachel Hodge

Yay! Once again, it is Friday! That means it is time for a new Feature Friday post here on the TDP blog, and today we are featuring Rachel Hodge!

Rachel lives in Australia with her husband and 4 kids, and aside from family, her loves are… photographing the everyday, scrapbooking, finding hints and ideas that make her say “that’s clever!”, home decor, and holiday planning! It sounds like a busy life, and yet Rachel still finds some time to design the gorgeous assortment of digital stamps and cut files that we all adore!

This is Rachel’s second designer feature here on TDP’s blog (you can find her first feature article from August 2016 HERE)… and whereas last year we used our feature series to help you get to know some fun trivia about your favorite designers — this year, we’re going to use our designer feature series to give you a little peek into our designers’ creative spaces and more insight into their creative processes.

We asked Rachel to show us a peek of her creative space, and maybe tell us a little about her creative process. As such, here’s a quick look at the space in which Rachel gets creative…

Of her workspace, Rachel says, “OK, my desk space is pretty much (well, actually it’s not “pretty much” — it IS!) my dining table! I like to plonk myself at one end and sit down with my diary & my coffee and just design away!”

It definitely sounds like a practical place to work, for a stay-at-home mum with small children. And just look at that “HAPPY SNAPS” wall art, too! Love it! 🙂

We also asked Rachel to give us a Top 5 list that is representative of her at this point in her life, and she chose to share these 5 Things That Are “Me” Right Now

  1. My Lightbox — which displays the current events in our household. Right now, it’s set to “the everyday chaos” …because a house of 6 is pretty much that! Between school, kinder, playgroup, groceries, cleaning, trainings, sports on the weekend, drum lessons, cooking dinner, and scrolling on Instagram — chaos sums it all up perfectly!
  2. Chocolate — I think I may have said this before, but I seriously CANNOT STRESS IT ENOUGH… chocolate for me is not a “need” but a “NECESSITY,” people! A NECESSITY!
  3. Instagram — I’m loving Instagram at the moment! It’s where I seem to be getting a lot of inspiration… for not only craft related things, but also for everything from home decor, to food, to holiday destinations (oh yeah!).
  4. Coffee — If the family is to function, and survive, and make it to the next day… then I need my coffee!
  5. My iPad — I love getting to the end of the day, when the kids are in bed (I don’t care if they aren’t asleep as long as they are QUIET AND IN THEIR BED)… I fluff up the pillows and sit on the couch with my iPad, watching my shows/movies/anything with Chris Hemsworth in it… 🙂

Oh, I think many of us can relate to the chaos and the chocolate! And maybe one day Rachel will make a cutting file of Chris Hemsworth… but until then, here’s a peek at some of the other fun and fabulous creations that you will find in her store at The Digital Press

Aren’t her products fun?! I love Rachel’s designs! They are so versatile, and she has something for just about every occasion.

Here are some crafty projects that were made using Rachel’s creations (you can see her designs on the following layouts as stamps, stickers, word art, titles, journal/filler cards, illustration elements, and more… even repeated to make wordy papers, at lower-left… so many fun options!)…

I hope you have enjoyed seeing her workspace, as well as finding out a little more about her creative process. To celebrate her feature week, her entire shop at The Digital Press will be 30% OFF all week long (sale ends at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 3/23)… so if you’ve got any of her products on your TDP wish-list, now’s a great time to clear them off!

Additionally, Rachel has a special Free-With-Purchase offer for everyone this week! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to stock up on your favorite products from Rachel Hodge , and you can snag her brand-new “Month by Month” Set for FREE with any $10+ purchase in her shop — this week only!

CorrinAbout the Author  Corrin is on the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a fan of the Big Bang Theory and a lover of cozy pajamas. She lives in the breezy South of England with her husband and 4 crazy kids, who regularly discover & plunder her secret chocolate stashes! She is still trying to get the house straight after moving 3 years ago. Who knows… maybe this will be the year she reaches the bottom of the laundry pile!

Tutorial Tuesday | Quick & Easy Photo Collage in Lightroom

I love creating pocket pages, and I just recently discovered that I could quickly and easily create photo collages in Lightroom to use on my layouts. It’s a fantastic time-saver, and I’m here today to show you how to do it, too!

First, I collect all the papers and photos that I want to use in my collage, and place them in a single folder on my computer’s desktop.

Next, I import all these files into Lightroom. For my example, I chose to only use patterned paper… but you could use journal cards, too!

Next, I went to the Print Panel. You can see that I have a bunch of pre-made templates (the best thing is that I found them free on the web, but you can also create your own)! These templates can be edited to fit your needs or you can create your own!

In the Print Job drop-down area, input the dimensions you like. In this example, I chose 9″ x 8″ for my size. In the Print To field, make sure it says JPEG file and that the file resolution is set to 300ppi.

In the Cells drop-down area, I edited one of the sizes in the Add to Package area to 4″ x 3″ (the size of most journaling cards).

Then I added six 4″ x 3″ boxes to my photo collage by continually clicking on the 4″ x 3″…

Next, I added the photos and paper I wanted to use simply by clicking and dragging the photos and paper onto the collage…

And finally, here is a look at my finished photo collage.

I clicked on Print to File in the lower right hand corner and saved my collage…

Then, I opened up my collage image in Photoshop to complete my Pocket Page with some embellishments/etc…

[ products used –My Garden elements, papers, and extra papers by Meagan’s Creations ]

And that’s it! It’s so simple… and such a great time-saver. 🙂



About the Author  Krista Lund is a mom of 3, married to her high school sweetheart and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of her favorite things are brownies, chips ‘n’ dip, taking pictures, and documenting her family’s story.