Tutorial Tuesday | Simplifying Yearly Album Projects

Happy New Year, scrappers! It’s time for another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series… and I’m here today to share a few easy tips for simplifying the process of creating an annual album (thus making it possible to stick with these long-term projects!).

As we embark on a new year, I know many ofus are planning on creating some sort of yearly pocket scrapbooking album. Whether you choose to do weekly or monthly layouts, it is important to think about setting yourself up to be successful for the whole year. Many times in the past, I have started out with grand plans to do a weekly pocket layout… only to get burned-out by the end of the second month due to over-complicating my layouts.

This year, though, I am going to try to simplify my weekly layouts in order to make it through the year and have a finished album as the clock strikes midnight and brings 2018 to a close. I thought I would share some of my simplification ideas with you, too, in case you are planning a similar project!

Yearly Pocket-Style Album Tips

1. Choose a few templates and reuse them throughout the year — I find that I sometimes spend as much time looking for templates as I do actually scrapping the layout. This year, I am going to try to stick to a few templates in order to speed up my scrapping. You can always rotate the templates if you need to mix things up a bit. A template collection makes this really easy! My all-time favorite pocket scrapping template collection is Laura Passage’s Project Twenty Fifteen Template Bundle. There are templates in there for so many different combinations and they are very versatile (including options for stitching).

2. Use one kit for multiple layouts — If I used a different kit for each weekly spread, I would spend a LOT of time sorting through papers, embellishments and cards. By using the same kit for multiple layouts, you can streamline the process of sorting through kits and simplify your scrapping. For example, for January, I might use a monthly kit like the amazing Monthly Chronicles | FROST for all of my January layouts. These types of kits give me plenty of choices, so that my layouts have variety but I am still only sorting through one kit per month

3. Schedule a set scrapping time for these layouts — I am going to do Monday-Sunday layouts, so I set a reminder in my calendar so that I remember to scrap my weekly spreads on Monday evenings. I find that getting behind stresses me out and then I am more likely to give up on my projects. By setting aside dedicated scrap time for these special layouts, I will stay up to date. Whether you are doing a weekly or monthly format, schedule time to complete your layouts to stay up to date.

4. Embrace the ‘less is more’ ideal — Don’t we want to use all those gorgeous embellishments and papers? But, it takes lots of time to get each one placed just right. Instead, try using a few favorite cards, papers, and elements and let your photos be the stars of the layouts. It will speed up the process and get those layouts complete in no time.

And finally, the one tip that I think is the most important…

5. Be flexible — Did you have a busy week and not take enough photos? Run out of time to do a layout one week or month? NO BIG DEAL! Forgive yourself and do what works. Maybe you combine two weeks together in one spread or just do a monthly layout instead if you feel like you are falling behind. Know that whatever you do to save those memories for your family is enough! Scrap whatever you can proudly!

I wish you a very happy 2018, and hope that you find success with your scrapping goals!


KatieAbout the Author  Katie is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and their four sweet but crazy boys. When she’s not dodging Nerf bullets or trying to dig out from under the never-ending pile of laundry, she enjoys photography, cooking, going to Disney World with her family, and, of course, digital scrapbooking.

Tutorial Tuesday | Adding Your Handwriting to Digital Layouts

Hello, and welcome to the very first Tutorial Tuesday post of 2018, here on The Digital Press blog!

Today I am visiting the blog to share with you a really quick, simple, and fun (!) procedure for adding your own handwriting (or that of your children, other family members, friends, etc.) to your digital scrapbook pages.

It’s much quicker and easier than you’d think! Here’s a short 3-ish minute video to show you exactly how it’s done…

Yes, it’s really that easy! I hope you’ll give it a try.


Dawn Farias

About the Author  Dawn Farias is school teacher, a mom of 5, and the designer behind the Dawn by Design brand at The Digital Press. She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family.

Tutorial Tuesday | How to Use Alpha Sheets

Welcome to another edition of Tutorial Tuesday here on The Digital Press blog!

Today, I am going to show you how to use that full-page alpha sheet that comes with some digital products.  If you are not sure what I mean by that, I am referring to the .PNG file that contains ALL of the letters/numbers/punctuation in one place (as opposed to the individual .PNG files you sometimes get for each of those items).

Full alpha sheets are really simple to use, but it just takes a little knowledge of the tricks behind doing so. You’ve probably realized, over time, that if you simply try to click and drag a single letter over to your layout, you will end up getting ALL of the letters. But fear not! I’m here today to help you learn how to easily select and use just the letters/numbers you need.

So, lets get started…

Today, for this tutorial, I am using products by Dawn by Design. She has some lovely alphas to mix and match in your layouts, and many of those alphas include a full-page alpha sheet.

When I open the alpha sheet in Photoshop (PS), it looks like this:

You will notice that this is a .PNG file, which means it has a transparent background and the individual letters arranged across the canvas.

In order to arrange these letters into words on my layout, I will need to first select and copy individual letters. I can either drag the entire alphabet onto my layout and work from there, or I can copy individual letters from the original file and drag them over to my layout one at a time. Either way… in order to grab just ONE letter, first I have to select the letter I want to use. There are many ways to do this, but I will share with you some of the easier ways!

First, you are going to need to know how to use some of your selection tools… so let’s get familiar with the Marquee Tool, the Lasso Tool, and the Magic Wand Tool.

Here is how to use each one.

1. Marquee Tool — this is perhaps the easiest method, as you simply click and drag to draw out a box surrounding the letter you wish to select…

2. Lasso Tool — sometimes the letters are too close together to use the marquee tool easily.  In these instances, the lasso tool works wonders. I prefer to use the polygonal lasso, as I can control where the lines go.  You simply left-click to anchor a line into a point, and then click and drag to draw out a shape around the letter you want to use…

3. Magic Wand Tool — this one is a little trickier because there are more variables to consider, but some people prefer to use it. It is a good tool to use in really ornate (or messy) alphas, as well. To use the magic wand, you want to zoom in a bit on the letter you want to select. Then, using your little wand, click on the letter…

You should see the marching ants form around the letter. If you see marching ants on ALL of the letters, you will need to go up and check the box next to the word contiguous. This constrains the selection to pixels that touch each other…

Whichever method you chose, you should now have your letter selected. At this point, you can simply hit Control-J (or Command-J for Mac users) and it will automatically copy your letter onto a new layer. Now, simply drag that layer over to where you want to place your letter…

Repeat this for each letter you need to use on your layout.

And there you have it! Now you know exactly how to handle those full alpha sheets like a pro!

The beautiful thing with using these full sheets is that instead of having to go back into to your folders and open a new letter file for each letter  you need, you can simply open this one file and select the letters you need as you form your words. This will save you time, and it will save your computer from having to switch back and forth all the time.

And just for fun, here is the layout I made using Dawn’s Sophisticate Kit and San Serif Stamp Alphas, I also used Legacy Templates from Calista’s Stuff…

Now go give it a try, yourself, and show us in the gallery all of your beautiful pages!


Erin 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 | Creating Photoshop Actions

Welcome to another edition of Tutorial Tuesday here on The Digital Press blog! Today, I am going to talk to you about quickly creating actions in Photoshop — cutting down the time it takes to perform repetitive tasks, and leaving you more time to scrap! If having more time to scrap interests you, creating actions is a really simple answer. They are easy to create — and can be used for simple as well as complex tasks.

First off, you’ll want to create your own Action Set to house all of the bright and shiny new actions you are going to create once you fall in love with actions (and you will!). Creating your own Action Set will allow you to find your actions quickly.

How to Create Your Own Action Set

1.  Start with a blank Photoshop canvas or open up a scrapbook page or photo.

It doesn’t matter what you start out with when you’re creating an Action Set. You just need something open.

2. Open the Action panel

Open the Action panel by clicking Window > Actions.

3.  Click on the icon on the top right of the Actions panel. It looks like 4 lines atop each other.

A pop-up window will appear. Choose “New Set.”

4.  Name your Action Set

A dialog box will appear. Here you will type in the a name for your Action Set (your name perhaps?). Then click OK.

5. That’s it!

And now that you’ve got your action set created… let’s move on to actually creating an action or two…


How to Create an Action

1. Begin with a blank Photoshop window, a photo or a scrapbook page

What you start with is completely up to you and depends what you want your action to do.

TIP | Out of an abundance of caution, I make sure that whatever layout or photo I have open is a copy, or that I’ve saved it before I write my action so that I don’t inadvertently write over my original file.

2. Open the Actions panel

Open the Actions panel by clicking Window > Actions.

3. Now you are going to begin writing your Action

Click the Create New Action button on the bottom of the Actions panel (it looks like a piece of paper with a folded corner). An alternative is to choose New Action from the Actions panel menu.

3. You will now name your Action, choose where it’s going to be saved, and begin recording

  • The name I chose for my sample action was “Save for Web 900px” (the name you choose will obviously depend on the action you are going to create). Examples of actions you may want to write may be to “Save to JPG,” “Save to Web,” “Add guides to a layout,” “Change a photo to black and white,” “Warp a shadow,” “Frame a photo,” etc. You get it… the sky’s the limit!
  • I placed my action in the Action Set I created above — “Barbara’s Actions.”
  • NOTE: there are other options you can choose in this dialog box, but it’s ok to leave them at their defaults, which is what I do.
  • Then, click Record to begin recording your action.

7. Now the fun (recording) begins!

Any steps you take from this point on will be recorded in the Actions panel. Perform all of the commands and operations you want your action to record.

FYI, if you look at the bottom of the Actions panel at this point you will see a Red Dot which indicates that you are recording an action.

RecordButton

8. Stop Recording

When you’ve finished recording all the steps you want included in your action, you can either click the Stop Recording button at the bottom of the Actions panel (it looks like a filled in white square) OR you can choose Stop Recording from the Actions panel menu.

That’s it — the basic “how-to” of recording an action!


So as not to ignore the obvious, let’s go over the steps of how to play/use the action you just recorded!

Play the Action You’ve Just Recorded

1. Have a file open in Photoshop

2. Open the Actions panel.

The Action panel is opened by clicking Window > Actions.

3. Navigate to the action you want to play and hit the PLAY SELECTION button.

The Play Selection button is the right pointing triangle button on the bottom of the Actions panel.

So, what do you think? Recording actions is not so difficult, right? It’s basically just the act of coming up with an idea for an action, naming it, clicking record when you’re ready to start recording, and stopping the recording when you’re done — just like you would on a tape recorder. [NOTE, I  know, I said tape recorder. That’s because I’m old. LOL!]

Enjoy. They sky’s the limit … really! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them here in the comments — or in The Digital Press forums — and I (or one of the many other scrappers in The Digital Press world) will be happy to help you out!

Happy early Thanksgiving everyone!


BarbaraAbout the Author:  Barbara is a member of the creative team here at The Digital Press. She’s a mom to two adult “kids” (an almost 21 year old son and an 18 year old daughter). In her free time (since her kids are adults, like it or not she has plenty of free time) she loves to tell her family’s stories through digital scrapbooking, learn all she can about Photoshop and Lightroom, take photos, travel and hang out with her family. Life is good!

Hybrid How-To | Napkin Rings

Hi, everyone! Kate here, bringing you another edition of our Hybrid How-To series on The Digital Press blog!

Today, I am going to show you how to use your digital scrapbooking stash to make some really cute paper napkin rings. It’s so easy!

Thanksgiving is next week for those of us in the United States, but this would make a fun addition to any table setting. There are so many digital kits to choose from… and you could easily find one that matches the theme of just about any dinner party!

Supplies Needed

–White cardstock paper
–Scissors or a cutting machine (I used a Silhouette)
–Adhesive or fastener of your choice (I used a stapler)
–Photo editing software (such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, etc.)
–Digital scrapbooking kit of your choice (I used Gather by Dunia Designs and Little Lamb & Co., shown below)

Instructions

1. Use your photo editing software to design your rings. I made mine 1.5″ wide and the length of the paper I was using (11″). If you don’t plan on using a cutting machine, my tip is to keep the design really simple so it’s easier to cut by hand…

2. Print and cut. I used a Silhouette for mine because the wreath has a lot of intricate details and the whole inside needed to be cut out…

3. Wrap the long edges together and adhere to form a ring. I used a stapler for this, but you could use double-sided tape, or even glue. Then, you’ll use adhesive (glue dots, tape, etc.) to attach your decorative piece to the ring you’ve created…

4. Once you’re finished, fold the napkins however you like, slip the rings over them, and you’re all finished. They’re ready for your table! So easy, right?

I hope that you have enjoyed this edition of Hybrid How-To, and that you will give this a try and come up with some of your own napkin rings! 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!


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.

Tutorial Tuesday | Frame It Up

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of our Tutorial Tuesday series here on The Digital Press blog!

So what are we talking about today? Good old frames.

What comes to your mind when you run across a frame or set of frames in kit? Put a photo within it? Well, yes, that’s what I do too! Mostly. But then… frames can also be so much more, and I am hoping I can illustrate some examples for you today. I am using the term “frames” loosely — the same tips can apply to simple photo borders, etc.

So… let’s dive right in! Here are a few of my favorite ways to use frames while scrapping a page…

1. Doing what it says on the box

Frames, when used correctly, can add so much to a digital layout — just framing your beautiful photos and adding prominence. Take at look at the example shown below; it wouldn’t quite look the same without the white border frame around the photo, would it?

Frames don’t have to just be boring rectangles or square, though. Other shapes work just as well. I experimented with triangular frames in the next example, moving them around to suit my photos (and also splitting one photo between two overlapping frames; more about this later)…

2. Showing off details/key parts of your photo

I am sure you emply a lot of different means to bring out the details in your stories. Sometimes I like to do that by repeating a series of photos, and also highlighting some aspects using frames. In the following example, the different frames (and especially the one with multiple colored arrows) worked really well to show the dynamics between the sisters…

3. Adding dimension & focal points

I love that a frame can be used to add dimension to a layout. One of my favorite techniques is to clip a photo to a mask but use the frame on top of that to selectively show off some part of the photo or generally use it for a ‘cool’ effect. Here are few different examples of this technique…

In that first example, above, I used the “stack” of frames to add dimension to this 100% digital (flat) page. Stacking the frames is a fun way to create that effect. Here’s another example of that…

I love the effect that’s created here, of a stack of framed photos (arranged slightly askew, as though the photos were casually left on a table). It really creates a great dimensional effect with minimal effort, don’t you think?

In the next example, though, I used a combination of a frame and a mask; this helps add a focal point onto the layout and also ensures that the two duplicate photos — one clipped to the paint mask, and other to the frame — are linked so any adjustments are consistent between the two.

4. Using frames as design elements

Frames can also be used as design elements to accessorize your layouts.

In the next example, TDP creative team member Corrin used the frame on top of her cute photo (slightly askew) to draw attention to the photo. And it looks brilliant, doesn’t it? It definitely adds to the fun quotient of this layout…

In the next layout, I have used couple of frames — one for the photo and other just to add layering as well as partially show off the journal card underneath…

And in this next example… loads of frames! Looks like I have gone overboard! …but I love the quirkiness it adds to my layout…

 

5. Frames on pocket pages(?!) Yes! Why not?

So far, we have largely gone through examples of using frames on traditional layouts. But what about pocket pages? Well, they are definitely not out of bounds!

In the next example, I have used some photo borders and a few other frames placed here and there. It definitely adds so much detail to the layout and helps move the eye around — taking in all the different aspects of the story captured…

6. Splitting a photo into multiple frames or putting multiple photos in a frame

You can play around with how you want the photos split — it may be a subtle effect, as in the first layout… or a more dramatic split, as in the second layout…

Hugging-arms-Christmas-Day-2015-copy-for-web

Conversely, sometimes I struggle with cropping my photos just right to match the frame I’m using. Fret not! Creative freedom to the rescue! You may choose to use a photo and a Journal card together in a frame like TDP Creative Team member Anika has done here…

Or you can crop and size multiple photos in one big frame…

So these were just a few tips to enhance your layouts with frames! Hope you found them useful. I think the most important rule to remember is that there are no rules! It’s all about your interpretation, and if it works for you.

I can’t wait to see some of your creative uses for frames — do share your layouts with us in the gallery, and link us up in the comments below this post! As always, happy scrapping!


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