Hybrid How-To | Chore Chart

Hello, everyone! Kate here to show you how I made our family chore chart. Every couple of years our chore chart gets a reboot because things change a little bit. This year, I’m adding our youngest (who is now old enough to help) and taking away chicken chores because my oldest has taken that over as part of her involvement with FFA.

Supplies

– Digital kit of your choice. I used Monthly Chronicles: Carefree.

– Photo-editing program, such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

– Scissors

– Lamination paper

– Glue dots

– Binder clips

– Tacks

– Cork Board

The first thing I did was type out every single chore in all the rooms of our house. I like to have one room per day deep-cleaned and the rest of the rooms tidied up. Obviously that will vary depending on preference. This is what works for us. I printed this list out so it would be easy to refer to and check off when working on the cards.

I have five kids so I made five cards per room. I started assigning chores to each card. Once I had all the cards built, I clipped in fun paper and printed everything out. My kids requested a “for hire” section where they can earn some money doing non-required chores. We also rotate the chore cards so no one gets the same chores all the time. I added a little element that I can switch between names on the chore chart to keep track of who gets the Number 1 card each day. And I also needed a tab to keep track of who’s helping me with dinner and clean up each night, because we also rotate that between kids who are 8 years and older.

I used lamination paper to laminate everything except the name cards so we can check things off or write things down.

I used tacks to secure the binder clips to the cork board. I attached magnets to the back of the two tabs I need for rotation. The name tags and “for hire” arrow are secured to the cork with glue dots.

And here’s my finished chore chart. I hope you’ll give this customized chore chart a try!


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

Tutorial Tuesday | Combining Multiple Photos

 

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog! Today I hope to inspire you to try out combining multiple photos to tell a more complete story with just a single picture.

I always struggle a lot when it comes to choosing the one perfect photo to scrap into a page. I’m the type of photographer who is always running around with a camera around my neck, constantly trying to catch up with the people I’m with because of the many photographs I’m shooting. I often run a bit ahead and then stand still with my camera ready to photograph my loved ones as they walk towards me or as they are passing by. For this tutorial I had a couple of pictures that I took during a walk through the woods. Since they are quite similar (taken from the same position) and I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best, I thought it would create a fun effect to combine these photos to create one single picture that would show a more complete story of our walk.

A great way to start is to open one of the pictures in a photo-editing program like Photoshop. I’m using Photoshop CC for this tutorial. Once a new file is created you can quickly create a better overview before adding the other photos by enlarging the canvas using the cropping tool. Then you can easily drag and drop the other photos in the same file. By changing the opacity of the photos to around 50 percent you’ll be able to position them on top of each other in a way that they almost blend perfectly. When it comes to positioning the photos, aligning the surroundings of the subjects is more important than the borders of the photos.

When you turn the opacity of the photos back to a 100 percent, you’ll might see that the borders of the different photos don’t align perfectly or are too harsh to look perfectly merged. We can improve this by erasing some of the edges and making it softer. It’s possible to do this with the eraser tool, but I always prefer using masks so the alterations aren’t permanently. You can add a vector mask to the selected layer by clicking on the mask icon in the layers window at the lower right of the screen.

When the vector mask is added to the selected layer a white rectangle appears next to the image of the layer. By clicking on this rectangle, the vector mask is selected and now editable. A brush can be selected to start removing some parts of the photo. Make sure the foreground color is set to black, since everything that’s white in the vector mask remains visible and every part that is made black becomes invisible. I always prefer using a brush that has some softness so the blending border looks more natural, but not too much softness that it’s starting to look blurry. I would recommend setting the hardness of the brush on a number somewhere between 50 and 90 percent, depending on the sharpness of the photo and the alignment of the other photos underneath. With the black foreground color selected you can now start removing the outer parts of the photos to make their transitions invisible. By changing the transparency of the photos you’re not editing, you have better sight on what you’re doing. As you can see in the picture underneath I never remove bits in a straight line. By making the border irregular or following some distinct lines in the photo like a tree trunk, the overlapping border will become almost completely invisible.

To make sure no stray pixels remain after erasing you can always apply a stroke in a distinct color on the layers to make the unwanted bits visible. When you’re happy with the gained result after erasing the borders and unnecessary overlapping parts of the different photos, you can determine how big the final picture is going to be. By using the cropping tool you can alter the canvas to the maximum complete width and height of the picture or make it a bit smaller if desired.

After the cropping is applied you’ll see the complete result of the combined picture you have created. To make the picture even more aesthetically pleasing you can now play around with levels, curves and saturation. Because I found that the pictures always turn out a bit darker when printed, I like to increase the curves layer a bit to lighten the picture and make it pop a bit more. You can easily do this by moving the point in the graph of the Curves Properties panel. By adding more points to this graph by simply clicking on it you are also able to increase or decrease the contrast of the picture.

Now the picture you have created is completely finished and ready to be scrapped into a beautiful layout! Because I liked the effect of the picture I combined so much I chose to use it as big as possible on my layout. For the layout I created with this picture I used several scrapbook kits from the July 2018 Special Edition section of The Digital Press website, which proved to be a perfect match. The finished layout I created can be seen underneath.

(credits: Into The Woods | Collection by Little Lamm & Co and Hooray, It’s Saturday! | Kit by Ninigoesdigi)

 

I hope I have inspired you to try out combining your own photos into one complete picture and I hope you’ll have a lot of fun with it!

 

 


Sharon-DewiAbout the Author  Sharon-Dewi is an industrial engineer with her own design company and a teacher at a technical university in the Netherlands who loves to spend every little bit of free time she gets capturing and documenting the special moments of her life and that of her loved ones by creating scrapbooks. She can often be seen running around with a camera in her hands and she is a big fan of anything Disney-related. One day she hopes to be able to permanently live at the happiest place on Earth!

 

Tutorial Tuesday | Using Brushes

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I’m sure that you’ve noticed that some of the kits available in the store at The Digital Press include a file with a .abr extension. There’s even a whole section of the store, Brushes & Stamps, where you can find our designers’ stamp element packs that include these .abr files. Have you ever wondered what those are, .abr files, and what to do with them? (I hope you haven’t just deleted them!) I wondered the same thing myself, and I’m going to share what I’ve learned with you and what I think is the quickest way to load and use those dynamic brush files.

Let’s start with a kit that includes one (actually two) of these digital brush files, Audacity | Collection by Anita Designs & Karla Noél. If you open the folder with Karla’s stamps, you can see there are are 30 png files, each with a wonderful stamp that Karla has created. Each of these png files can be individually opened in Photoshop, and placed as a new layer in a digital layout. Once you get those pngs into your layout, you can adjust the size, the color, clip a paper to it, change the blending mode…..really whatever your heart desires. Easy enough, right?

However, if you want more than one or two of those pngs in your layout, there’s a faster way to get ALL the pngs from that StampSheet folder into your layout (and you can have them there in Photoshop forever, if you want): that .abr file. Now, I use a Mac, so the instructions might be a little different on a PC, but here’s what I do: in Preview, click once on that .abr file to select it; drag it over the Photoshop icon in the tray, and release the mouse button. The brushes automatically load into Photoshop. Seriously. That’s it.

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Now, in Photoshop, click SHIFT + COMMAND + N to make a new layer, then click B to select the Brush tool (or click on the paint brush icon circled in the image below). This will open up the Brush menu (did you notice that this bar at the top of the screen changes depending on which tool you have selected?). Click the second downward pointing arrow from the left to open the Brush menu (left red arrow in the image below). All the brushes from that .abr file should be loaded into your workspace. In my Brush menu below, Karla’s brushes start on the eighth line from the top. I also have loaded Anita’s .abr file from Audacity, and some excellent journaling doodles from Laura Passage (I used them to make the arrows on the image below). Select whatever brush you want, then click anywhere in that new blank layer to add the brush. The brush will show up in whatever color you have selected for your foreground (use the Color Picker to change that color if you want, it’s the blue square in the image below), so you can quickly get it to perfectly match the colors you’ve already got in your layout. The number underneath the little image of the brush in the menu gives you an idea of how big it’s going to be. You can change the size of the brush by typing a new number in that Size box (near the top of the Brush popup, where it says 378 px in the image below). You can add multiple brushes to a single layer, or make a new layer for each brush. Much like modifying the pngs, the options for customization are just about endless.

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I used this technique, loading the .abr files from the Audacity | Collection, to make the page below. I started with three brush layers (each is a slightly different shade of gray) with 8-10 individual brushes in each layer to make about 90% of the background for my page below. Only the bright black pieces (one phrase and two sets of stars), the “everything you are” stamp, and the paint splatters are pngs that I dragged over individually. My brush layers also have a blend mode applied – Dissolve at 85-95% opacity, depending on the layer.

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So next time you find yourself with an .abr file, try loading it into Photoshop and using the Brush tool to add one or more of those brushes to your digital project. You may just find that you prefer this technique to opening individual pngs. Happy scrapping!


caliten About the Author  Carrie is a creative team member here at The Digital Press. She and her family enjoy spending time outdoors year-round near their home in Colorado. In addition to scrapbooking and the occasional hybrid home decor project, Carrie also reads voraciously, accumulates fabric, makes soap, brews beer, grows hops, and tries to keep indoor plants alive.

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!

Tutorial Tuesday | Transforming Templates

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Welcome to another edition of Tutorial Tuesday here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I thought it would be helpful if I shared a few ways that you can creatively transform templates to fit your scrapbooking needs! These tips and tricks will help you get the most bang for your buck when purchasing and using templates!

More often than not I find I have more photos that I want to scrapbook, than the template allows for. To remedy this I often add in more photos in places on the template that are suggested to be papers. For this layout I use Anita Designs Quick Scraps Vol. 17:

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I altered the bottom left template by rotating & adding a photo to the spot that could have been background paper. I love the look of the larger unframed bottom photo behind the three framed photos. It gives the layout more dimension, helps tell the story & visually leads your eye across the page.

wicked-awesome_webJH

For this layout I used another template from the same pack (the top right template) and added a large photo underneath the layers of the template. Large photos help showcase the subject of a page and  are a a great way to catch the eye of the reader.

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Another way to use templates is to break up your single photo to fit multiple spots. For this layout I used another template by Anita Designs A December Story Captured (template 21)

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I placed a single photo in the three photo slots in the template. To get this look I merged the three photo layers (Command +E) in the template and then placed my photo on top of that layout and clipped it (Command +G) to the frames.  A super easy and unique look to make a template work to tell your story!

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You can also rotate and delete parts of a template to make them work for your layout. I did exactly that with the bottom left template by Dunia Designs:_dunia_soco_springdays_templates

Again a large photo takes center stage of the layout. I rotated the entire template and moved everything to the bottom quarter to make more room to showcase the large photo. You can always move and tweak a template to make it work. Start with the end in mind and you can make your vision come to life with a few little changes!

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Remember just because a template is set up one way by a designer, it doesn’t mean you have to keep it that way! Change those templates up and make them work for you and your personal style! Happy Scrapbooking!


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.

Summer Camp 2017 | Mess Hall | WEEK #4

Hello, and welcome to the fourth and final edition of our weekly “Mess Hall” feature during The Digital Press’s big SUMMER CAMP 2017 event that has been taking place throughout July!

If you haven’t already checked out the other “Mess Hall” meals that have been a part of SUMMER CAMP 2017 (and/or any of the other fun activities)… definitely swing through the forum, grab yourself a badge tracking card, and join the fun! We’ve got one week left in this month-long event, and there’s actually still plenty of time to jump in and earn a chance at some prizes! We’ve got events, challenges, tutorials, and more lined up throughout the final week of July! 🙂

As for today’s “Mess Hall” …as you know, throughout the month of July the members of our team have been here on the blog sharing a weekly meal with you — a main course, side dish, and dessert (or cocktail!) that are each tried-and-true (tested personally by members of our team!). Give any of this week’s meal items a try, and you could earn a SUMMER CAMP 2017 badge! Get the full details HERE.

So… let’s jump right into this week’s meal!

The WEEK #4 meal comes to you from TDP creative team member Carolyn, who hails from the Sunshine Coast of Australia… and you can definitely tell where she’s from by the tropical/beachy vibe you get from the meal she’s whipped up for us! Whereas our first week’s meal (WEEK #1, found HERE) was Italian-inspired… and the second week’s meal (WEEK #2, found HERE) was Mexican-inspired… and last week’s meal (WEEK #3, found HERE) was very comfort-food-inspired… this final meal is very island-inspired! And can we just say? …we think you’re going to love it. YUM!

photo credits for [1] [2] and [3] to TDP creative team member Carolyn

What is that up there, you ask?

  • Rice Paper Wraps with Chicken or Prawns
  • Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables
  • Mini Pavlovas

We keep saying it every week, and even though we might sound like a broken record… we’ll say it again — YUM! You truly won’t be disappointed if you give any of these recipes a try.


RICE PAPER WRAPS WITH CHICKEN OR PRAWNS

Carolyn had the following to say about this recipe: “We try to eat as healthy as possible and always cook from scratch. This, however, does not mean that we spend hours in the kitchen everyday… as no one has time for this. This recipe is wonderful to serve on a hot summer’s day and can either be prepped ahead of time*, or made at the table with your family. We find that it is a fun family dinner, as children just love rolling up their own wrappers. You can use a variety of fillings so just select ingredients that are familiar to your family..”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1 packet of Vietnamese rice paper wraps (see prep photo HERE)
—1 cup shredded barbecued chicken
—1 cup of peeled and de-veined prawns
—1 carrot (cut into short thin strips or shredded)
—1 small cucumber (cut into thin strips)
—1 cup bean shoots or sprouts
—1/2 cup fresh mint (or other herbs as desired)
—a few cabbage leaves (sliced finely)
—sweet chili sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

*these wraps should be made as close as possible to the time they are to be eaten; if preparing ahead of time, however, store on plastic wrap in fridge.

—Prepare all of the filling ingredients first (as noted above) by arranging each individually on separate plates or one very large plate.
—Fill a large bowl with hot water.
—Take one of the rice paper wrappers and dunk it into the water for a few seconds (just enough to soften it; do not soak the wrappers).
—Select desired filling ingredients and place in center of wet softened wrap (do not overfill).
—Add approximately 1 teaspoon of chili sauce over ingredients.
—Fold up the base of wrapper over ingredients; fold in both sides; and then roll it up (see prep photo HERE). Serve.

*TIP* I will often use a wet tea towel as my plate to do the wrapping, as I have found that it is easier to roll the wraps on the wet towel.


QUINOA SALAD WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES

Carolyn had the following to say about this recipe: “This is one of our favourite recipes, which we are lucky to make largely from fresh ingredients straight out of our garden. This salad is so easy, and a great way to use leftover vegetables and salad greens. It is perfect for summer, as you can prepare it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. It is also gluten-free and vegan.”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—1 cup quinoa (dark or white)
—2 cups water
—mixed vegetables for roasting (I used 1 beetroot, 1 large sweet potato, and 1 parsnip [see prep photo HERE]… but you can use just about any vegetable you have available)
—olive oil
—1 colander of mixed salad greens (I used rocket, parsley and lettuce)
—DRESSING: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper (I also usually add grated lemon rind; a.k.a. lemon zest)

INSTRUCTIONS

—Combine quinoa with water in a saucepan on stove and bring to boil; once boiling, put lid on saucepan and reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes.
—Remove saucepan from heat, and leave lid on for approximately 30 minutes for quinoa to finish steaming; then, fluff up quinoa with a fork.
—Prepare vegetables for roasting by peeling and dicing into small pieces. You will need approximately 2 trays for roasting. Drizzle veggies with olive oil. You can add herbs if you like (I also added some fresh thyme and oregano; see prep photo HERE).
—Bake vegetables at 190 degrees C (375 F) for about 25 minutes.
—Meanwhile, prepare the salad greens by cutting into strips.
—Prepare salad dressing by whisking together all of the “DRESSING” ingredients (listed above).
—Place the cooked quinoa into large salad bowl, add prepared greens, and mix in the dressing. Add roasted vegetables as the last ingredient. Serve.


MINI PAVLOVAS

Carolyn had the following to say about this recipe: “I had to include this recipe, as it is a traditional Australian recipe — although it is usually served as a large Pavlova, rather than as minis. You can use whatever fruit is in season. This recipe should make 6-8 minis.”

INGREDIENTS NEEDED

—4 egg whites (at room temperature)
—1 cup caster sugar (very fine granular sugar; otherwise you can use standard granular sugar but it will just take a little longer)
—fresh cream (approximately 1/2 cup)
—mixed fresh fruit, sliced (I used a combination of blueberries, strawberries and passionfruit; see photo, above, of the final product)

INSTRUCTIONS

—Cover oven tray with baking paper (a.k.a. parchment paper).
—If using whole eggs, separate the whites from yolk and beat egg whites in a bowl at medium speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form (see prep photo HERE).
—Gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating until dissolved between additions. Once the last of the sugar is dissolved, your mixture should be glossy and thick.
—To make the minis, you can use a cookie cutter as a shape guide. Add approximately 2 Tbsp of meringue mixture to inside of shape mounding more on the outer edges. Lift cutter for next shape.
—Bake at 150 degrees C (300 F) for 30 minutes. Then, turn off oven and leave in oven to dry and cool.
—Whip the fresh cream (I do not feel sugar is needed… but add if you prefer; I usually flavour the cream with rose water).
—Once cool, decorate the minis with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Serve.

* Per Carolyn: you will see in my photos that these mini pavlovas were a little flat; this can occur if you beat the egg whites too quickly / at too high a speed. They still tasted fantastic!

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Want to give one of these recipes a try and earn your WEEK #4 MESS HALL BADGE for TDP’s SUMMER CAMP 2017? Come get the details in the forum —> HERE.

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Laura Passage

About the Author  Laura Passage is the owner of The Digital Press, and also the designer behind Wishing Well Creations by Laura Passage (WWC). She works now as a graphic designer in both the digital and paper scrapbooking industries, but previously spent over a decade working as a college soccer coach. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two young sons (affectionately referred to as The Tiny Terrorists), and will rationalize eating coffee ice cream for breakfast to anyone who questions it.