Listen to someone’s story and get connected

I recently completed a family history project and had so many letters that ancestors had written and family members have kept. I started to think about how many letters I’ve actually written in the last year and the answer is ZERO!  The days of writing long letters to send to loved ones on the other side of the world are long gone and have been replaced with emails, texts and quick chats.  It’s important to stay connected, to listen to the stories of those we care about, no matter how we do it.  I may not write pages of handwritten text, but I’m great at sending off quick emails, texts and Facebook messages.

My husband’s family is spread all over the world and it’s the best feeling to be able to Skype with them. We also have friends from coast to coast on every continent.  Skype offers so much more than just a telephone call or a written piece. To actually be able to see our friends and family in real time gives us the feeling that they aren’t so far away after all.

This month’s Shop Collaboration is themed towards listening to our loved ones and staying connected. The challenge is to make a new layout using the March Shop Collab- Get Connected. The full kit is on sale until March 4 for $4, and don’t forget to hop on over to our Facebook page for a sample.




Now, for the rules…

  1. Pages must be created using 100% TDP Products and loaded in the gallery no later than midnight EST on March 31st, 2015.
  2. Please link your gallery listing in this challenge’s thread
  3. Link your comment in this thread in the monthly challenge tracker thread. You can find it here: March Tracking Thread
  4. Have fun!!!

Here is my LO of Mike and Claire on Skype with Mike’s family in England.


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 (8), Claire (5) and Hope (7 mo puppy).  She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

Listen to Your Creative Voice this March

Welcome to March. Spring is on the horizon now! The thought of spring always makes me feel more alive…

Our word for this month is “listen,” one little word that can mean so many things…

listen to your creative voice :: the digital press

via Pinterest: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

We have gathered even more inspiration for you here on Pinterest: Listen to Your Creative Voice

Here at The Digital Press, we are going to be talking about listening to your own creative voice and listening to the stories of those around you. We are story-tellers and memory-keepers… as scrapbookers, we are listeners. But don’t be afraid to shake off your fears as you create the types of pages that make YOU happy. Make sure that you are always following your own creative voice and staying true to your heart as well.

We have some amazing and inspirational posts coming your way right here on the blog. You will also find new challenges on the forums to spark your creativity and help you to make pages you really love!

You’ll find all the details of our challenge system laid out for you here: Everything You Need to Know about Challenges

Our new month of challenges starts tomorrow. We hope you’ll join us then!

Nicole About the Author: Nicole Seitler is a designer here at The Digital Press, creating kits under the name Sugarplum Paperie. In her free time, she loves to to work on her Project Life album, knit or craft with her kids. But she doesn’t have much free time, since she’s also a stay-at-home homeschoolin’ momma of four. Her life may be a little crazy, but she wouldn’t want it any other way!

Pursue your subject: 10 photography composition rules

Pursue your subject: 10 photography composition rules


Have you been drawn to a piece of art and wondered what is it about that particular piece that you love over any other? There are lots of reasons why you might be attracted, but the most likely reason is in the subconscious. Sometimes you’re drawn in by things you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s all about composition!

In photography, it’s not just what you shoot that counts – the way that you shoot it is also important. Poor photo composition can make a beautiful subject look boring, but with a little thought, you can create a wonderful image from the most ordinary of situations. Don’t feel that you’ve got to remember every rule and apply them to every photo you take. Instead, spend a little time getting familiar with each one one of them individually and they’ll become second nature. You’ll soon learn to spot situations where the different rules can be applied to the best effect.

Here are the top rules of composition to think about:

  1. Rule of Thirds – probably the most common rule you’ll hear about from photographers. Imagine that your image is divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines. Try to position the most important elements in your scene along these lines, at the points where the imaginary lines intersect. This will add balance and interest.
  1. Balance – Placing your main subject off-center, as with the Rule of Thirds, creates a more interesting composition, but it can leave a void in the scene, which can make it feel empty. Try to balance the weight of your subject by including another object of lesser importance in the empty space.
  1. Leading Lines – When we look at a photo, our eye is naturally drawn along lines. By thinking about how you place lines in your composition, you can affect the way the viewer sees the image, pulling them into the scene and towards the subject. This gives the viewer a virtual journey through the scene.
  1. Viewpoint – The viewpoint has a tremendous impact on the composition of a photo. As a result it can greatly affect the message that the photo conveys. Rather than just shooting from eye level, consider shooting from high above, down low, from one side or the other, from afar, or close up.
  1. Background – The eye is great at distinguishing between different elements in a scene, but a camera will naturally flatten the image into a two-dimensional image. Pay attention to what is in the background, and try shooting at a wider aperture to add dimension to the scene.
  1. Symmetry and Pattern – We are surrounded by symmetry and patterns, both in nature and man-made. They can make for very eye-catching compositions, particularly in situations where they are not expected. Another great idea is to break up the symmetry or pattern with your subject to create tension or a focal point in the scene.
  1. Depth – Depth can be created in a photo by including objects in the foreground, middle ground, and background. Another way to create depth is by overlapping or deliberately obscure part of an object, in focus, or out of focus. Either way, the viewer will naturally recognize an overlap and mentally separate the layers, creating more depth.
  1. Framing – Sometimes, we all need a boundary. By using natural frames, such as trees, archways, or holes, you can isolate your subject and focus the main point of interest.
  1. Cropping – The crop of your photo can greatly change the mood of your overall image. An image at full crop can give the viewer a sense of the whole scene, while cropping in tight will result in the undivided attention on the subject. Don’t be afraid to fill the frame with your subject.
  1. Breaking the rules through experimentation – now that you know the rules, you can practice each of them and find situations in which each will work the best. You can also experiment and try new things. Try combining them, making your own, or throwing them all out of the window! It’s really about personal preference and having fun!

Here are a few examples of the rules above:

Rule of Thirds
Rule of Thirds



The challenge is to make a new layout using a photo that follows one of the first NINE composition rules above

Now, for the rules…

  1. Pages must be created using 100% TDP Products and loaded in the gallery no later than midnight EST on February 28, 2015.
  2. Please link your gallery listing in this thread: CHALLENGE
  3. Link your comment in this thread in the monthly challenge tracker thread. You can find it here: February’s Tracking Thread.
  4. Have fun!!!

For my LO, I’ve decided to go with “fill the frame” I LOVE close-ups of my kids’ eyes and this one is no exception.  I used Scotty Girl’s All Geared Up kit.


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 (8), Claire (5) and Hope (7 mo puppy).  She works from home as a photographer and enjoys scrapping her personal photos.

Pursue Custom Shapes


I love to use brushes/stamps on my photos, just to give them that little bit of extra. I love it when these are included in kits, but even when they’re not, it’s super easy to create your own using fun fonts and the custom shapes tool.

Take a look at the two pages below. They are the same page, but the first one doesn’t have the little extras I created using shapes and fonts. On the second page, I added a little, chevron arrow pattern (repeated a few times) and some custom text.

Cards from Project Weekly and The Simple Life by Amanda Yi Designs
Cards from Project Weekly and The Simple Life by Amanda Yi Designs

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use custom shapes to make your own stamps to use on your own photos.

  1. Create a blank document. I usually use a 4×6 or 3×4 document, since those are typically the size of the “pockets” I use for my scrapbooking.
  2. Over on the tool bar, click on the corner of the shapes tool to bring out the flyout menu, and click on the one that says “custom shapes tool.”


  1. The shape options will show up on your top toolbar. If all the shapes aren’t showing up, you can click on the little tool icon to bring up this menu. I like all of my shapes to be showing, so I select “ALL”.


  1. For the page above, I chose to use this cute, little chevron-shaped arrow. Click and drag on your page to draw the shape. If you hold down shift at the same time, it will keep the same proportions (which matters for some shapes and doesn’t for others).


  1. For this one, I duplicated the arrow so I had five copies of it. Here’s one of my favorite tricks. Select all 5 arrows, and make sure your move tool is selected. Then, push the icon at the top that says “distribute horizontal centers” when you hover over it. It makes your arrows evenly spaced!



  1. At this point, I like to merge the shapes together. To do this, select all the arrows, right-click, and select “Merge Layers”. I also like to rasterize the shape (right-click and select “Rasterize Layer”). Now, you can drag the arrows over to your layout and use them however you want.


  1. For the top right pocket on this page, I rotated the arrows, made them smaller, and changed them to a blue color that matched my layout. I felt like I needed something next to the picture on the card, so I put the arrows there. I duplicated the arrows for the moccasin pic, but I decided that five arrows was too many, so I used the lasso tool to select two of the arrows, and deleted them. I also changed them to white for that pic and lowered the opacity to about 75%.


  1. The final step I took for this page was to add text to the bottom left pic. I had converted that photo to black and white, and I felt like it needed a little more. I just added some text boxes directly on top of the picture. Sometimes I will lower the opacity, or change the blending mode, but for this one I just changed the text to the same color as the top arrows. I liked it, so I left it that way.

Here is the final layout:

Cards from Project Weekly and The Simply Life by Amanda Yi Designs
Cards from Project Weekly and The Simple Life by Amanda Yi Design

There are so many fun shapes to play around with, so the next time you think your photo or page needs a little something extra, check them out! Here are a few more of my favorites:


JaimeAbout the Author: Jaime is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She is a stay-at-home mom to 4 boys and 1 girl. When she’s not chauffeuring, volunteering at school, or helping with play costumes, she likes to digitally record her family’s memories, improve her photography skills, and read (there’s always a stack of books on her nightstand).

Pursue Your Happiness Color


When I look out my window right now all I see is White. I have to say I love winter, but there are some days I would love to see some more bright blue skies. I should take a walk through a stand of pine trees and pursue the color green from the needles.

Do you have a favorite color? Does it change depending on what time of year it is? I know mine sure does. My Happiness color right now is Blue. In the spring I love all those pretty pastel colors. Summer, hot pink calls to me. And in the Fall all those beautiful earthy oranges. Christmas season is all on its own and I’m the traditional girl of the bright red.


This room is a great example of using a monotone color scheme to any layout or card you create.  See how dark blue the chairs and cabinets are, and how they pop against the white of the lower part of the wall! Then they placed a wallpaper on top that uses a pattern of many different shades of blue.  Use this concept for the project.


The hues used in this photograph are a great example for you to go by. See how the top color is white. Then they have added different colors of green going from the softest to the very darkest of the hunter green on the bottom of the scale.

Maybe you are using your photograph as your jumping off point for your color. In my layout I have these photos of my grand niece (isn’t she adorable!) she is wearing blue and the background is also blue.

So for my layout I picked a white background but also used white pattern for my squares of paper too, then used elements ranging from white to a royal blue,  baby blue and decided to add a blue/green tint to make it have more depth.


But sometimes the easiest way to add the color you want to a layout is to just convert your photograph to black and white. Or maybe you want to add color to your layout by using your color with papers, and all white elements. It is all up to you. Just remember for this challenge you need to use a white background and then a monotone color scheme. As long as your colors used on your layout are all within one color family your are good to go, and have fun playing with this design feature. This is a great way to compliment your photographs. And most of the time that is what we should remember. Showcasing our photographs!

a couple of quotes to ponder:

Expand your vision. Often we have blinders on. We’re concerned with just getting uptown or downtown. If I expand my vision by even 10 degrees, I notice new details, new color harmonies.  by Cindy Coleman

I wonder if any element of interior design is more personal than color? Nothing can more quicly reveal aspect of personality and character than the choice – or absence – of color.

by Van Day Truex
People have often said to me, “But you don’t use much color.” This is not so at all. I build a simple background – usually of white or of a very light shade – for the use of color.

by Michael Taylor

So come and play! You can find the Pursue Your Happiness Color challenge  HERE


Barbara About the Author: I started paper scrapbooking in 2001, then in 2009ish I had an online friend who dared me to give digital a try. Wow! life changing in my busy day of being a stay at home mom to six children. In my free time I also love to visit antique malls for treasures, reading, meeting friends for tea and then my woman’s bible study group is a highlight of my week.


Hybrid Pockets Made Easy

Hybrid Pockets Made Easy

I never loved traditional paper scrapbooking. Mostly for all the same reasons you usually hear about why someone fell in love with digital; no mess, not spending an arm & a leg on supplies or tools, and the speed at which you can finish layouts! After several years of creating strictly digital pages I realized I had nothing to show for it. I had only printed a handful of layouts. I also found that I was only recording the big moments such as birthdays, holidays, and happy events. The snapshots, out-takes, and less than happy moments weren’t included and that was a big problem for me because I wasn’t being authentic in my memory keeping. I knew I had to make a change.

After taking a moment to assess where I was and where I wanted to be I decided that the best thing for me was to start printing at home. I also decided to jump on the pocket scrapbooking bandwagon because it felt like a great fit that would allow me to include pictures that I might not want to devote a whole 12×12 layout to, but were still important parts of my family’s daily real life.

When I set out to create my first hybrid pocket page I spent way too much time trying to get going. I really wasn’t sure where to start, but after a bit of trial & error over the course of several attempts I finally found a workflow that made hybrid easy for me. Today I’m sharing my process for making quick, but beautiful, hybrid pocket pages.

Step 1: Start With Your Layout

I find it’s easiest to create a template which matches the pocket page layout you’ll be using. For my example layout I’m creating for my 6×8” album and the pages are two 4×6” spots on the left and four 3×4” spots on the right. Create the appropriately sized boxes and arrange them in the correct places. These will be your clipping masks for creating your cards.

Hybrid Pockets Made Easy

Step 2: Add pre-made cards or papers & embellish

I like to treat each card as a mini layout. I look through the cards that come with the digital kit I’m using and drag them onto my layout. Sometimes I’ll also fill a space with a patterned paper. Then I look for frames in the kit that will work with the pictures I’m using. Once I’ve laid out where I’ll be putting my pictures I work on embellishing each card with some of the kit’s elements.

Hybrid Pockets Made Easy

Step 3: Add Photos and Text

Now I edit & add my pictures to the cards. Finish things off with some text and I’m almost ready to print.

Hybrid Pockets Made Easy

Step 4: Merge & Print

Once all the individual cards are ready it’s time to merge the layers. I hold down CTRL while clicking on each layer that I used for one of my cards. When they are all selected I hit CTRL+E to merge the selected layers. After I’ve merged all the cards I then create a new document sized to the print dimensions. I almost always print on 4×6” photo paper because it let’s me get away with the least amount of cutting. At this point I select & drag each card into my new document. The 3×4” cards fit 2 to a page nicely. Set your printer settings and print. I go down the layers list hiding the cards as I print them.

Tip: You only need to do the printer settings on the first print job. After that you can choose File>Print One Copy to bypass the print dialogue box!

Hybrid Pockets Made Easy

Step 5: Cut & Put Cards in Pockets

Cut your 2-Up 3×4” cards in half and pop it all into your pockets. All done!

Hybrid Pockets Made Easy
Real Life in Pockets | I Love You Harder by Mommyish and Just Jaimee


Hybrid style scrapbooking can be overwhelming at the start, but the instant gratification of having something tangible in your hands right away makes it well worth the effort in my book! I hope I’ve inspired you to give hybrid and/or pocket scrapbooking a try. I’d love to help you overcome any hurdles to hybrid that you’re facing. Leave a comment if you have a question or comment!


Amber About the Author: Amber Funk enjoys a vast assortment of interests such as scrapbooking, photography, getting crafty with her Silhouette Cameo, reading, and playing video games. She is a Wife and Mother of 2 living in Northern California and blogs her crafty adventures at