Tutorial Tuesday | Getting Creative with Alphas

Hey everyone! and welcome to yet another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! I hope you enjoy reading the tips/tricks and ideas that the our creative team members share here every week. I certainly am always on the hunt for new techniques/ideas, and these tutorials never disappoint!

Today I’m going to talk a bit about using digital alphas — especially ideas related to using them creatively / a bit differently than possibly intended. There are some other similar tutorials on the topic that you’ll fine in our archives; check out How to use alpha sheets by Erin, and Titles Matter by Heidi. There is also a Pinterest board with all of The Digital Press’s tutorials in one place, displayed visually. Now isn’t that handy?!

What comes to your mind when you think of alphas? Creating titles, right? Of course! That is the most common way alphas are used. And yes, they are great for creating nice, bold, impactful titles. We have an amazing selecting of alphas at The Digital Press — available both as part of some coordinated kits, and also available as standalone products (see those here).

So what can we possibly do differently with alphas? Well, a lot actually. Let’s dig in and look at some ideas…

USE ALPHAS AS DESIGN ELEMENTS

Very simply, alphas can be used as purely design elements, without being in the title.  In the first example below, I have used alphas as stamps to scatter about on my background paper. Of course, if you look closely, they form words like guide, book, map. So that adds so much movement to the layout and a hidden word search challenge!

 

 

DRESS UP YOUR ALPHAS

Simply clipping papers on to alphas can also give a very different look. CT member Maribel created this striking layout by using a big, bold title and clipping patterned papers to it. I just love the eye-popping result!

 

 

USE ALPHAS TO BOOST TO YOUR JOURNALING

You can use alphas to label/number your photos and/or journaling or as part of your journaling. In my first example here, I have used the alphas as starter to my words and arranged them in a pattern (ADVENTURE) to add to the interest in the layout.

 

 

In my second example, I have used an alpha as my first letter in  my journaling – nothing too drastic but does make you stop and take notice, right? Also naming photos with these wonderful stamped alphas (by Dawn by Design) makes your eye move along the layout and take in all the details.

 

MIX UP YOUR ALPHAS

Mix and match different alpha types in your title – we have some great selections of mix and match alphas in the shop. Mix and Match series by Dunia Designs is quite terrific if you want to create a quirky mixed up title -like I have done below.

 

USE ALPHAS TO CREATE CUT OUTS

Cut out alphas on your layout/photo to create a graphic style. In my example, I used Nini Goes Digi’s Pencil Play alpha, aligned it to my photo and then cut out the words from the photo. Adding a shadow, then, to the cut out photo enhances that effect further.

 

 

MIX ALPHAS AND WORD ART

Mix alpha up with fonts (especially handwritten ones) to get a nice eclectic feel to your layouts. I am sharing two examples from layouts I did some time back.

 

So, there it is 6 easy ways to give a twist to your alphas.

Hope you enjoyed looking through these examples and it has given you some ideas of your own. Please share any of your ideas as comments to this post or in the galleries – I’d love to see them.

Till next time then, happy scrapping!


Profile pic avatar small

About the Author Shivani 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 | Shrink Plastic Bracelets

Hi, everyone! Kate here with another edition of our Hybrid How-To series here on The Digital Press blog. Today I am going to show you how to make these cute summer bracelets using printable shrink plastic and embellishments/etc. from your digital scrapbooking stash!

Supplies Needed

  • Digital elements of your choice (I used This Life: Summer Elements by Juno Designs)
  • Photo editing program (such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, etc.)
  • Printable shrink plastic
  • Cutting machine or scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Tin foil or parchment paper
  • Jump rings, clasps, crimp tubes, and a pair of needle nose pliers (optional, but gives jewelry a finished look)
  • Beads (optional)
  • Cord or elastic

The first thing to do is pull your chosen elements into your photo editing program and size them…

Every brand of shrink plastic is different, so check the packaging to determine how much bigger your shapes need to be to allow for shrinking. Mine needed to be 3x the finished size, as shown here…

At this point, I also added the holes for the jump rings. You can do this with a hole punch after you’ve printed and cut, but you have to punch the holes before you bake the pieces.

The next step is to print and cut. I used my Silhouette for this part, but I also used scissors to finish cutting through the plastic, in the end.

After that, it’s time to bake the pieces. Check the shrink plastic packaging for the specific instructions. I baked mine on foil at 325 degrees F for 2-3 minutes. While baking, they will shrivel up a bit and eventually go almost flat…

Immediately after pulling them out of the oven, I covered them with a sheet paper and used a piece of cardboard to push them down flat. To get the word art pieces to be rounded, however (see image above), I put them back in the oven for 20 seconds and then used a hot pad to wrap them around a pop can until they cooled.

The next step is to assemble the bracelets. I attached jump rings to each side of the shapes and then threaded the cord/elastic band through the rings, using a crimp tube to complete the loop on the back of the bracelet.

I added beads to the bracelets with elastic band to help keep the band in place. I used clasps the back of the word art bracelets.

And there they are! Using your favorite elements from a digital kit, you can have a cute set of coordinating bracelets.

I hope that you have enjoyed this edition of Hybrid How-To. Don’t forget to visit the CROSSWORD SECTION in The Digital Press forum, and jump into this month’s Hybrid Challenge if you are thinking of trying this project. You can earn points toward discounts & FREEBIES! I hope that you will join in!


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 | Tracie Stroud

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Feature Friday series here on The Digital Press blog! This week, I’m excited to spotlight Tracie Stroud! This is Tracie’s fourth feature article here on The Digital Press blog (you can find her first feature from August 2016 HERE, another from April 2017 HERE, and her Foodie Friday post from November 2017 HERE).

In order to learn a little bit more about Tracie, I asked her to share 5 things we might not already know about her…

  1. I have a degree in elementary education, and I homeschool two of our children. I taught 5th grade for several years, but as soon as our oldest was born, my husband and I decided that I should stay home with her and any future kiddos, and homeschool all of them, eventually. Homeschooling is exhausting, but incredibly rewarding. I absolutely love taking the reins of their education.
  2. Our middle child, Noah, has moderate-severe autism. He was diagnosed when he was 3, and luckily we live in a great school district that is able to place him in special, very small autism classrooms. Every day is a challenge, but he has made a lot of progress with the help of school, private therapy, and a great support system from our family, friends, and church.
  3. I’m addicted to volunteer work. OK, maybe “addiction” isn’t the best word to use here… but my family and I are committed to volunteering in our community. We are honored to be able to serve several hours each week through my daughter’s American Heritage Girls troop, and in volunteer opportunities through our local Catholic diocese.
  4. I live in near-constant pain from fibromyalgia and debilitating migraines. Sometimes they are easy to manage, but most days are a constant juggling act to figure out what I can and can’t get accomplished that day. I’ve learned the hard way that if I push myself too hard, I’ll pay for it twofold later. The conditions also cause chronic brain fog, so I’ve learned to keep constant lists just to remember things that should be easy for most people.
  5. I am extremely introverted. I actually have sometimes-crippling social anxiety. While I love to help wherever I’m needed, I need to be in the background to be able to function. Tell me what to do and I’ll get it done… but ask me to speak or teach publicly, and I’m paralyzed. The phone ringing or someone knocking on the door when I wasn’t expecting a call or visit terrifies me. If I’m in a situation where I have to be around a lot of people for an extended period of time, I need to have some serious alone time afterwards to recharge.

When you check out Tracie’s designs in her store at TDP, you will notice that her products are a great mix of colors and styles. At first glance, you may notice that her designs lean toward the artsy side… but when you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that she always includes a lot of great dimensional elements, as well. Her designs are perfect for artsy as well as traditional/dimensional scrapbook pages. You will find tons of paints and doodles, and also beautiful dimensional flowers, brads, epoxy buttons, ribbons, and more. I dare you to check out Tracie’s store and not leave in a mood to scrap using her beautiful designs! (guess what I’m doing as soon as I finish this post?!)  😉

To show you what I mean… I have compiled a small sampling of the type of products you will find in Tracie’s shop…

Additionally, to show you her products in action… here are a few layouts that were made using her awesome creations…

I hope that you have enjoyed learning a little more about Tracie today! To celebrate her upcoming week as our Featured Designer at The Digital Press, her entire shop will be 30% OFF all week long (the sale will end at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 5/24).

Additionally, Tracie 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 Tracie Stroud, and you can also snag her gorgeous kit — Hello Happiness — for FREE with any $10+ purchase in her shop! (again, the offer is valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 5/24).


BarbaraAbout the Author  Barbara is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She’s married, has two awesome kids (a 21 year old son and an 18 year old daughter) as well as an adorable Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier. With her “baby” off to college in a couple months and her son already in college she and her husband are soon to be empty nesters. It’s so weird. How did that happen so quickly?! Barbara is looking forward to this summer because as of a week ago she is on vacation. She is taking the summer off work (for the first time ever!) before she starts a new job in the city in the fall. She’s excited to have a couple months to hang out with her family, scrap (of course!), organize, visit friends and extended family, cook, go for walks and simply to relax (and maybe hang out in her jammies a little longer than she ever has before on weekday mornings). Life is good!

Tutorial Tuesday | Documenting the Passage of Time

Welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I thought it would be helpful if I shared a few ideas for documenting the passage of time within our scrapbooks! This is my favorite way to scrapbook. I love seeing, at a quick glance, how life has changed throughout the years… and how my boys have grown up before my eyes.

There are many different ways to achieve the goal of documenting time, and I hope this tutorial inspires you to dig through all those years’ worth of photos and start creating!


Document the Passage of Time by Day

Documenting a day in the life — or even a week in the life — is a simple and effective way to pull together a photo summary of a certain period of time. You can document your day by taking a photo on the hour, every hour… or by taking a photo of each new activity throughout the day… or by simply taking photos of most everything, all day long! Once you have all the photos, go through them and pick your favorites (or the ones that will help tell the story of your subject); multi-photo templates are a great tool to help showcase multiple photos on a single layout!

For this layout I documented a simple day in our family’s life…

And here, I documented two days (a.k.a. a weekend)…


Document the Passage of Time by Month

Month-in-Review layouts are a great way to wrap up a time period in your life. I have noticed that many scrapbookers seem to be gravitating to this form of memory keeping (choosing it over the “daily” style of pocket scrapbooking, etc.)! Documenting each and every day can start to be overwhelming, and some days are just not the best to document. So why not showcase the highlights of an entire month?

You could even focus on the 4 seasons, if 12 individual months seems like too much to document… as I’ve done here…

You could even document an entire sports season, or the passage of time within a given event in a persons life, as shown here…


Document the Passage of Time by Year

At the end of every year, I try to compile a single layout (which can be either single or double page in format) that showcases the highlights of our year and/or favorite photos from that year. These are some of my most treasured layouts, and the ones that deserve a place in everyone’s scrapbook! There is just something awe-inspiring about seeing a whole year of photos together in one place.

Here’s an example of one of my two-page spreads…

You can also document a year by subject. To complete a project like this, you have to start off with the end in mind. Yearly photo projects are time consuming but so worth it in the end! For the next layout, shown below, I pulled together all my photos from my Instagram feed. I started the year randomly documenting my feet and where they took me throughout the year… and hashtagged the photos #whereistand. I’ve found that Instagram and other social media sites are super helpful when pulling together a year long photo project (especially because you can search by hashtag; you can create your own hashtag and use it to help sort through all of the photos later!)…

Another method is to document a year “by person.” I try to do this for each of my boys, to wrap up their yearly albums. I like to pull together photos from each month and all the highlights in between; the big things and the little things that made a year in that person’s life special. A simple photo-filled layout with dates and simple blurbs make for a wonderful year-in-review page for a child’s scrapbook album!

Check out this example…


Document the passage of time by years.

This is a fun way to literally see the passage of long stretches of time on one page! To achieve this look, you will have to spend some time going through all of your photos & pull out a favorite (or two, etc.) from each year. This can be done easily if you have your photos organized; I organize my photos by month & year, so it is somewhat easy to find what I am searching for — but this can still be a long process. I don’t mind it, though. Going through older photos always brings back memories and I enjoy the process of finding photos I have yet to scrapbook! Additionally, you can always plan ahead and take the same photo each and every year at the same time. Back to school, birthdays, holidays… these are all times when photo-taking happens at similar times / in similar places / etc. Use these photos together on a layout to showcase just how quickly your subject has grown!

For instance, here’s an example of documenting a child’s growth with a timeline of many years, and simple tidbits (in text format) about who they were at a certain age…

You can even showcase the same person over a period of years, with a similar theme to the photos. Whether it be a certain place, a certain toy, or a specific sport/activity… the similarities within life exist, and it is fun as memory-keepers to bring those moments together on our scrapbook pages…

Holidays are also a simple way to showcase the passage of time. You can compile all of the photos from many years into a simple grid, and marvel at just how fast time does fly…

 

Another idea… you can document relationships using a photo from each year together…

There you have it! Whether you document the passage of time by day, by week, by month, or by year… it is always fun and interesting to record the passage of time on one page, where it’s possible to see the subtle (or not-so-subtle) differences throughout those treasured memories of life. Creating pages like this will bring you joy when you see them in your scrapbooks for years to come!


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, watching her boys play sports, decorating, and shopping at Target.

Feature Friday | Meagan’s Creations

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for another edition of our Feature Friday series here on The Digital Press blog… and this week, I’m thrilled to put the spotlight on Meagan of Meagan’s Creations! This is Meagan’s fourth feature at TDP (you can find her first feature from January 2017 HERE, another from June 2017 HERE, and her Foodie Friday post from November 2017 HERE).

In order to learn a little bit more about Meagan, so I asked her to share 5 things we might not already know about her. I loved reading her responses!

    1. While I love music, I can’t play any instruments. I took some piano lessons in middle school but unfortunately didn’t keep up with it. Still, if I’m listening to music while I’m typing on my keyboard, I often like to pretend I’m playing the piano as I type on the keys!
    2. I’m a bargain hunter. I’m not an extreme couponer by any means, but I do often stack coupons with sales, find ways to get a few freebies, and like to make the dollars stretch. My favorite tool? Giftcard Granny. It searches through “used” gift cards and finds the best deals. I’m currently eye-balling the 30% discounted AMC gift cards to go on a movie date with my husband here soon.
    3. I’m a mom of 4, with my 4th child being born just this past February! All four were born via c-section, and I am done! This last recovery was definitely the hardest!
    4. I am not athletically inclined but I did love taking Karate as a teenager. I held my own pretty well when grappling (or wrestling)… even against the boys.
    5. I’m a math nerd and my kids are turning into math nerds, too. My 7 year-old came home excitedly the other day because he found a calculator on the sidewalk. My 9-year old loves to ask me huge math problems and now the 3-year is asking me (simpler) math problems. He claps after I give my answer, even if it’s not right. So glad my kids think I’m some superhuman computer! I do love Sudoku though.

See what I mean? She’s real and simply amazing! Check out Meagan’s designs in her store here at TDP, and you will notice that her products are perfect for scrapping everyday moments. I love that Meagan is the queen of using bright and bold colors, and that she’s also super talented at making word art and templates too! She makes my scrapping life so much easier.

Here is a small sampling of the products you’ll find in Meagan’s shop, so you can see what I mean…

And here you can see some lovely layouts made using her products…

I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about Meagan of Meagan’s Creations today! To celebrate her week as our Featured Designer at The Digital Press, her entire shop will be 30% OFF all week long (the sale will end at 11:59pm ET on Thursday 5/17).

Additionally, Meagan 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 Meagan’s Creations …and you can also snag this gorgeous brand-new kit — Countryside — for FREE with any $10+ purchase in her shop! (again, the offer is valid through 11:59pm ET on Thurs 5/17).


Robin

About the author  Robin is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. A wife of 25 years and a mom of 4 crazy children (3 in college and 1 still at home), she says that her life occurs mostly in the car as she transports said crazy kids to their many, many homeschool activities. When not driving, Robin loves to make her family cringe by pulling out her camera again (and again, and again…).

Tutorial Tuesday | Digital Mini Albums (Part 3)

It’s time for another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today’s post is Part 3 in a series on creating a digital mini album (you can find Part 1, from March 2018, HERE and Part 2, from April 2018 HERE on the blog).

In that first part of the series, I shared that mini albums are handy for…

  • Scrapping a family vacation
  • Creating a special gift for someone
  • Marking a special holiday
  • Documenting a specific family tradition
  • Capturing a sports season
  • Life Events such as adoption, graduation, birthday, wedding, birth, or death

I also shared that I have found there to be four main steps in the process of creating a mini album…

  1. Planning
  2. Organizing
  3. Filling & Finishing
  4. Printing

  In Part 1 we looked at the first step: PLANNING. Part 2 I shared with you 4 different areas you could ORGANIZE to make the creation portion more streamlined.  And TODAY we get to do the fun part  . . .

Step 3: Filling and Finishing

Filling and Finishing is where all the magic happens.  This is where you get to see your pages take shape and fill in all the little details you have been wanting to add.  IT can be daunting, especially if you have a LOT of pictures to use and pages to make (can you say Baby Album??!!)

However, if you have taken care of all the prep-work in Steps 1 & 2 that we talked about, you should have everything right at hand and ready to go.

In reality, there is NO wrong way to do Step 3, as most of it comes down to your own personal scrapping style.  Some people like to completely finish on page, from photo to shadow treatment, before going on to the next.  However, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, or the project looks daunting, having a plan and batching your work can help break things up for you and make the process go smoother.

In batching, you do a series of activities or jobs that are all similar at the same time.  This creates a work flow that actually saves you time in the end because you are not having to transition from one task to the next, which (in my case) wastes valuable brain activity.  So when I batch the tasks for my mini album, I do a single task all at once for every page in my album.  This is the method I use.

Start with your PHOTOS

You have already organized your photos into folders so why not start there.

In step 2 we created some BASE PAGES, or templates that we will use over and over for our mini album.  Open up some of these and pull your photos onto pages or templates and save them as Page 1, Page 2, etc.  (Or if you would rather, you can give them actual names.)  This will allow you to make sure you have all the pages you need and also show you if you need to condense some pages, “fix” or create a few additional pages to complete your book, or if there are any other problems you did not expect.  Some people like to do this page by page in the same order the mini album will be in once finished, but that is not necessary.

Here is what one of my pages looked like after filling the photos for the page.

Decide on Two Page Spreads

Since you are already working on your photos and numbering pages, go ahead and figure out your page spreads.

Sometimes this will be easy, for example, when you have a number of photos for one event, you will need both pages.  However, other times you only have one photo, and you will need to decide if you want to pair it with another topic/event or perhaps create a journaling or decorative page to go with it instead.  Make sure you keep in mind how many total pages you planned for during this stage.  You don’t want your mini album growing into a novel!

Also, consider diversifying your pages a bit to create interest.  Here I have combined a full page photo with a journaling page, because there is quite a story behind all the events leading up to this photo, and I wanted my sister to have room to tell it.

Paper and Backgrounds

After I have all my photos in and all my pages made up and ready to go, I start adding my background papers.

I wait to add papers because I often end up switching some pages around during the above two steps.  Adding the papers now makes sure that my double page spreads still compliment each other, and I don’t have to waste time switching out papers that no longer work well together because of page moves.

Elements

Once the backgrounds are settled I go to town adding my elements.

As mentioned in Step 2, I try to stick to a certain set of elements that I have already chosen as this creates cohesion and balance in my mini album.  Also, I don’t want to add too many elements, as this will be a smaller than normal book and can easlily get cluttered, but I do want enough to highlght my photos and rerally tell my story.

If you like to tweak your shadows you can also go ahead do that here, or you can wait to the very end if you prefer.

Journaling

Don’t forget to add your journaling.

It can be as simple as names and dates, or as detailed as whole page stories.  If you have already written and compiled your journaling you can simply copy and paste it in.  If you still need to write your journaling, let your own journaling style shine through here.  If you run out of ideas – look through the blog.  There have been some amazing inspiration and tutorial posts about journaling that can give you some ideas.

Finishing Touches

And finally add your finishing touches.

Maybe you like to tweak your shadows, or create a cover or dedication.  Any of those little things that really FINISH off your mini album should be done now.  Take time to flip through your pages in order and make sure they flow.  Look for events, or pages that got left out, or maybe pages that don’t fit.  See if there are certain elements you should repeat in a few more places to really bring everything together.

Once you have done all that, you are almost finished.  All that is left if to make sure it is print ready and have those pages printed out.  We will talk about that next month.

In the meantime, happy scrapping, and keep an eye out for our final installment – PRINTING!!

See you next time!


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!