Listen to what everyone’s talking about

Listen to what everyone's talking about

Design trends, by definition, come and go. What’s super-hot right now may be incomprehensibly old-fashioned in a few years time. One thing you’ll hear a lot if you watch many home makeover type shows is the term “a bit dated.” Usually meaning that when you walk into a room, you get this instant sense that it was decorated in precisely 1978 or 1992. Although that’s something that we tend to see in a negative light (who doesn’t want to be surrounded by this season’s latest Pantone color picks or the coolest patterns?), it’s also a really important part of placing our memories at a point in time – giving context to our photos, and adding to that nostalgic feeling when we look back. There will come a time when we’ll have to explain to our grandkids that grey chevron and mismatched vintage was all the rage! Today’s post is actually inspired by this old family photo of me with grandfather at around age 4:

Listen to what everyone's talking about


Amazeballs. From the brown velour to the floral wallpaper to the terrarium peeking out in the corner, every last detail of this screams that it’s from another time. I was completely inspired to document elements of design – be it things that we’re visually inspired by (hello, Pinterest) or things that we have around us – that will one day create that same nostalgic feeling by sparking a memory of what was ‘so hot right then’. Maybe because there are so many more places for us to access design inspiration, it’s easy to spot when everyone is talking about some new trend or style (I’m looking at you, gold foil!). I recently created this layout using the new Peccadillo collection from Dawn by Design (coming Friday 6 March) to remind me of the artsy, hipster design influences that we have added to our new nursery:

Listen to what everyone's talking about

If you’re looking for ways to meaningfully incorporate current design influences into your memory keeping, how about these ideas:

  • scrap a new, so-hot-right-now purchase, and explain why you wanted it
  • scrap a collection of things you think define this time, such as a list of what you have on your desk, or the ingredients of a standard outfit for you at the moment
  • coordinate scrap goodies with one of your fave design trends (for example, use an amazing floral like the one I’ve used above to document your obsession with floral fabrics)

Hopefully you’re inspired to consider where today’s design influences are most present in your life, and how you can document that. Don’t forget to hop on over to our challenge forum, where there is a design-trend challenge for 6 March.

Listen to Your Children

Listen to Your Kids


Kids say the cutest things. They also change their minds very quickly regarding things that they like in their lives. In the past I have scrapped interviews I have given my children and love to look back on those and read all about what was important to them at those times in their lives.


5 Favorites at 5


Favorites at 3


The above are just a couple of examples of such interview pages. My how things have changed with my kiddos, while some have stayed the same.


This is not just limited to kids. Why not interview your spouse or another family member and capture a moment in time with them? I have, in the past, done just this thing and scrapped a conversation I had with my husband regarding his perspective on how we met. I love it!


So, what can you ask? Of course, there are the basics – colors, foods, books, toys, etc. You may choose to use the same questions year after year or the limit the questions as I have above to the number that corresponds with their age. There is no specific way this must be done – you are limited only by your information.


Recently, I decided I was going to start asking more questions of my children. I have also decided that I am going to stick with these same questions going forward because I feel like it covers most everything. The fact is, as long as I am capturing these little looks into their lives, I am accomplishing something amazing.


Here are recent pages where I did this.


Maxwell at 6

Materials used: All Boy Kit by Dawn by Design


Madeline at 8

Materials used: Pretend Kit by Creashens 


What are you waiting for? Go out there and start interviewing people and documenting it. In fact, if you join us in the forum, we have a challenge all about this. You can find it here: March 4: Listen to Your Children


About the Author: Rachel Alles is on the Creative Team here at The Digital Press.  She is fortunate to share her life with her loving husband, Doug, and two blessings: Madeline and Maxwell.  The three of them are her main source of inspiration for her pocket and traditional style pages.  When she’s not scrapping, she enjoys anything Disney related, learning more about photography (and attempting to turn the dial off Auto) and dabbling in home decor projects.

Listen to your Inner Artist



It is good to occasionally step out of your comfort zone and do something different on your layouts, right? Today, I’m going to show you how you can easily turn a photo into a pencil sketch in Photoshop and an idea on how to use the finished sketch on a layout.

First, open the photo you want to work with – mine is my favorite selfie (it was a fantastic hair day!). Then, duplicate the photo into a new layer. I like to use Ctrl-J (cmd-J on a Mac).


Change the blending mode for the duplicated layer to Color Dodge.

Blending Mode

Your photo will look a bit washed out, like this:


With the duplicated layer still selected in the Layers panel, we want to invert the image (Ctrl/cmd-I). Your photo will now look really strange.


We are now going to blur the layer, which produces the pencil lines. Using Gaussian Blur (from the top menu choose Filter, Blur, then Gaussian Blur). Play with the blur settings a bit until the fake pencil lines on your photo look the way you want. I used a setting of 37.4, but your results may vary widely.


Now, we need to convert the layer to black and white. In the layers panel, choose the half-filled/half empty circle icon at the bottom (Create new fill or adjustment layer) and choose Hue/Saturation. In the panel, turn the saturation down to -100.


Your photo will now look similar to this:


I think this might look good as a drawn-in background on a layout. I flattened the image and copied it over to my background paper (lighter-colored and plain backgrounds seem to work best).  I used a gradient fill as a clipping mask behind my photo, and then the eraser tool (brush mode, 5% flow) to blend the edges on the clipped layer to get the photo to blend into the background seamlessly. I use a low flow on the eraser brush because it’s harder to mess it up when you are only erasing 5% for each brush pass.  😉



My photo, blended into the background, looks like this:


I added some journaling and embellishments, and I’m done!

Almost 39

A Day in the Life:  Solids
by Sugarplum Paperie
A Day in the Life:  Essentials by Sugarplum Paperie
Hello, I Love You by The Digital Press Designers

Kacy About the Author:  Kacy is an Environmental Engineer living in Arizona with a elderly, cranky, pudgy, but insanely cute calico kitty.  She enjoys scrapbooking, crocheting, dancing awkwardly to electronic dance music, Grumpy Cat, Scottish accents, drag queens, cupcakes, bacon,  Stephen King books, smirking, very crude inside jokes, and men in kilts.

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.