Sorta like my wardrobe…

Let’s talk about my clothes. Anyone who sees me can instantly tell a few things about me: They can tell I am a simple person. They can tell I am comfort driven. They can tell that I am a creature of habit. They can tell that while I am laid back and unassuming, I also like little things that make me happy. My daily routine of jeans, a plain colored short sleeved shirt, ever-present flip flops, and the same silver hoop earrings and necklace let people know who I am and what is important to me.

Design is important. The design of a wardrobe (or house, office space, or scrapbook layout) makes a statement. It tells the person who is looking at it what is important to the person using/wearing/living it. It creates a feeling to everyone who sees it. It speaks about who the person is, what they care about, and what they want others to know about them.

With scrapbooking, we are making a statement. Through our pages we are telling people about who we are, what we love, and what we think is important in life. Whether we realize it or not, every item we place on a page and the place where we put it says something to the viewer. You can take the same papers, photos, and elements and put them all in different places and you will create totally different viewing experiences and therefore, different feelings (just like you will see in tomorrow’s MORE WITH FOUR challenge!)

In DESIGN 101 we are going to be looking at various design principles and how we can use them on our page to help us tell our stories. So much of the information we take in about the world is not through words, but rather, through colors, feelings, sizes, beauty, and more. Through our page design and the choices we make related to it, we can more effectively convey the feelings and tell the stories that are in our heart.

Just to get you thinking, here are some basic definintions of the design principles we are going to be looking at. An article on Design Principles from Wikepedia actually does a nice job of explaining them in simple terms. These are the (slightly modified) definitions that they gave. If you don’t understand them right away, don’t worry. We will be looking at each of the principles individually in the coming weeks, along with examples and ideas of how to implement them on your pages.

UNITY: Unity refers to a sense that everything in the artwork belongs there, and makes a whole piece. It is achieved by the use of balance and repetition.

BALANCE: Can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical depending on if the right or left side is identical or not. Also refers to a sense that dominant focal points are balanced and don’t give a feeling of being pulled too much to any part of the artwork.

HARMONY: Harmony is achieved through the sensitive balance of variety and unity. Color harmony may be achieved using complementary or analogous colors. Harmony in design is similarity of components or objects looking like they belong together. Harmony is when some or many the components share a common trait or two. A common trait could be: color(s), shape(s), texture, pattern(s), material, theme, style, size, or functionality. Harmony and unity generally make designs more visually appealing and interesting.

CONTRAST: Contrast is the occurrence of contrasting elements, such as color, value, size, etc. It creates interest and pulls the attention toward the focal point.

REPETITION (Rhythm, Pattern): The recurrence of elements within a piece: colors, lines, shapes, values, etc. Any element that occurs is generally echoed, often with some variation to keep interest.

VARIETY (Alternation): The use of dissimilar elements, which creates interest.

EMPHASIS (Dominance, Focal Point): Areas of interest. Guides the eye into, through and out of the image through the use of sequence of various levels of focal points, primary focal point, secondary, tertiary, etc. Emphasis or dominance of an object can be increased by making the object larger, more sophisticated, more ornate, by placing it in the foreground, or have it standout visually more than other objects in a project.

PROPORTION (Scale): Proportion involves the relationship of size between objects.

ATTRACTION: Attraction is how much an observer is attracted to a particular design such as a particular style of a page. May involve studying the psychology why certain people are attracted more to particular designs than other designs.

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Now, I have to ask that pesky little question I always dreaded in school?

“Did you do your homework?”

Remember? I asked you to look at some layouts and write down (or think about) what you like about them, what drew you in. If you didn’t get a chance to do it, don’t worry. I want to show them to you again and point out some of the design principles they represent.

(Note: The artists probably weren’t thinking in terms of design principles when they created the page, but nonetheless they demonstrated them. Over time, these principles become part of us. They are what cause thoughts like, “Oh something just doesn’t feel right on this page!” or “what am I missing?”)

DRAGON RIDER: (by littlehiccup). This page immediately jumped out at me. In looking at it more closely, I can see why. The page shows:

  • Unity: Due to the simple embellishing, nothing seems out of place or unnecessary.
  • Balance: your eyes aren’t pulled away from the main focal point. If the colored blocks had been lower down or her journaling had been bigger or in a brighter color, if might have pulled the eye away from the great photo.
  • Harmony: The analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel) hold interest to the viewer and bring out the colors of the carousel ride.
  • Repetition: the patterned paper blocks and the consistent alpha provide interest for the viewer and keep the eye moving across the page
  • Emphasis: It is easy to see that the main point of the page is the photo of her son and husband. The title and embellishment work to support the emphasis rather that detract from it

ELEPHANT TUB SHENANIGANS (by kayleigh): I just adore this page. The design is so fun and pleasing to the eye and makes you want to look closely to see all the little details.

  • Unity: the animals along the “ground” of her layout obviously belong on a layout about playing with an elephant in the tub. Makes you feel like her son was on a little safari in the bath!
  • Balance: With five photos on her page, she did a great job of keeping your eye from being pulled too much in any one direction. The eye naturally flows from one photo to another.
  • Harmony: the use of orange, green, tan and yellow all work together to provide one harmonious color palette
  • Repetition: the repeated use of square photos and patterned paper pieces along with the repeated animal theme help tie her page together
  • Variety: I love the little bit of hardware (staples) on an otherwise “soft” feeling page

ADORE (by Chris Turnbull): This layout is so pretty. I love the beautiful and flowing feel of this page. The design of the layout makes the viewer feel like the subject of the photo is living life carefree in a field full of flowers. It shouts happiness, love, and laughter.

  • Unity: Although there are a lot of elements on the page, they each serve a purpose. None of them detract from the theme of the page
  • Balance: By grouping all of her elements around the photo the eye isn’t tempted to be pulled elsewhere
  • Contrast: the complementary colors of green and red add interest and keeps the page from feeling monotonous
  • Emphasis: the one large photo with all the elements surrounding it show that the photo is supposed to take center stage

WATCH No. 9 (by Birgit): This page is just stunning. With the black background and perfectly shadowed elements, it just begs you to stare at it in wonder!

  • Balance: although there are lots of little elements on this page, the stitched border contains the viewer’s interest and then the eye is free to move towards the large photo. The elements do not distract.
  • Contrast: the black cardstock is the perfect backdrop for the red, green, and white colors of the photo and elements. It immediately grabs your attention.
  • Repetition: the repeated use of red, green, and yellow make the page feel unified and whole and creates visual triangles that guide the eye back to the photo.
  • Attraction: this page just looks awesome!

SILLY SADIE (by Gina Miller): This page is just too cute. The varied journaling, great use of multiple elements, and the sweet puppy dog eyes just draw you in!

  • Unity: Although there is “a lot going on” on this layout, the elements and other things “fit” on the page. The little paw prints and the “woof” element make sure the viewer knows this page is all about their sweet (and silly!) canine friend.
  • Balance: Since the journaling for the page spans the entire width on the bottom half, she wisely had her elements span the top of the page. If the elements stopped where the photo did, there would be a gaping “hole” on the top left of the page and it would have been distracting to the viewer.
  • Contrast: the black, orange, and blue provide visual interest to the page
  • Repetition: the puppy paw prints across the page: The fact that they are facing different directions not only provides a sense of realism (as if the puppy truly walked across the page) but also provides visual interest instead of monotony.
  • Variety: Gina is always very good at using a lot of elements and using them well. On this page she combined papers, stamps, buttons, stitching, hardware, cardboard, and ribbons in a way that still keeps the whole page unified.

DREAM (by Teresa): Being pregnant herself, it is no wonder Teresa wants to scrap pictures of her sweet little neice. I adore this page. The colors and playful design just bring a feeling of happiness and satisfaction, much the same way a new baby does.

  • Unity: There are many varied things on the page but they all have a sense of belonging.
  • Balance: Even though Teresa used some larger elements (the big title, the circle acrylic pieces, and list of words down the side) the page maintains balance. By using more than one large element it keeps any single element from drawing attention away from the sweet photo.
  • Harmony: Teresa used a variety of elements on this page and yet they harmonize. By repeatedly using black, red, and yellow the pieces all feel like they were meant to go together.
  • Contrast: the black and red against the neutral kraft paper really makes a statement and begs you to take a peek.
  • Emphasis: Because all of the elements are grouped together and create a frame around the photo, the viewers eye naturally still goes to the photo. If the large elements had been placed elsewhere, they might have been distracting. In addition, due to their placement, they naturally draw the eye in a specific path: the large title, then up to the photo, then to the “dreams” (stars), and then to the journaling with acrylic stickers.

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I know that this is a lot to take in at once, but I wanted to give you an overview so you can start to grasp why these design principles are important and how they affect your page. In time, they become part of the artistic process — so much so that you don’t know they are there. You just start to notice that things that “aren’t quite right” on your pages and then you will be able to ask yourself why…and know the answer!

And that is exactly what your homework is. I am sure we all have a pages that we have done that we just adore and others that never seemed to work the way we wanted them to. I want you to take a look at both. For the pages you love the look of (we are leaving the specific memories aside right now), look closely at them and try to pinpoint what design principles were used that makes the page “work.” On the pages you don’t love, look and see what you could implement from a design perspective that would improve the overall look of the page.

Okay, breathe deep, school’s out and future classes won’t bring nearly as much information. Just soak it in and then come back tomorrow to see what four AMAZING scrappers have done with our MORE WITH FOUR challenge.

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SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT — Flergs

Spot Lit Wall

Today we get the honor of spotlighting a fabulous designer…known and loved my many… FLERGS.  Flergs (aka the glitter queen) sells at Scrapbook Graphics.  She is known for her fun kits, gorgeous glitter, and her designer resources.  We are so excited to have her with THE DAILY DIGI this month!  Before we get to know her a bit more, let’s peek at what she contributed to this month’s THE DIGI FILES.

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Isn’t it fun?  I love the mix of colors…it is obviously “boyish” but with the greens and cream it could easily be used for a girl, too. I also LOVE that it comes with a full, neutral-colored alpha.  I am such a sucker for alphas that I can use on lots of different pages! It also has a set of glitter so if you have been curious about trying styles, here is your chance.  I tried it and it was much easier (and much cooler!) than I thought it would be.   You can pick up this mini kit, along with LOTS of other stuff, right HERE.

Alrighty, let’s get to know Flergs a bit better!

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bio

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Her first freebie

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Alpha Maker (which, since its release has been shown it CAN be used on a Mac)

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Glitter Mega Pack 2

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Flergs and I used to work together at Scrapbook Graphics and I always loved her happy and carefree attitude.  She is one of those people who always seems like she is having fun and making everyone around her smile.  I hope you have enjoyed a peek into who she is as a designer.  Now, let’s look at some of the FABULOUS things this lady has made.

First of all is this AMAZING and brand new collab with Tangie, also at SBG.  It is called 17 CHERRY TREE LANE and I just LOVE it!  So bright and cheerful.

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She also has to soft and gorgeous collab with Sugarplum Paperie called FIRST KISS OF SPRING.  I just love the soft feel of it and can envision spring pages or pages of my baby girls!

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And, since we seem to be on a collab roll, how about this super fun one with Mgl scraps called SQUEEEE! I just adore the little birdies and flowers!

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And if that hasn’t inspired you, check out some amazing LO’s I found using stuff from Flergs!

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Flergs, being the sweet gal that she is, has a special coupon for our DAILY DIGI readers.  So have fun and go shopping!

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Thanks, Megan, for being a part of THE DAILY DIGI this month.  Your mini-kit TROUBLEMAKER is so great and I have loved getting to show off your designs!  Hope you have enjoyed your day in the spotlight!

 

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P.S.  Remember that you have until until 12:01 am EST on January 23 to purchase THE DIGI FILES for your chance to win one of the Lisa Leonard necklaces, the tutu from Frill er Up, the camera strap cover from Baubles and Bits, the camera strap from Cotton Candy, and the $10 coupons from this month’s sponsors.  I can’t wait to see who the lucky winners are! For pictures of the cool prizes, see the DIGI FILE post right HERE.

“I need a new camera!”

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I am sure we have all been there. We are looking at some breathtaking photos taken by one of our friends. We see big fancy camera around their neck and then shyly look at the little point and shoot camera in our hand and think, “I NEED a new camera!”

Or maybe it went like this…we finally got the DSLR we had been dreaming of. We waited and we waited and finally the day arrived. We had our new camera all charged and ready to go. We just KNEW that we would FINALLY be able to take pictures like ________ (fill in name of awesome photographer here). We get ready, we breath deep, and we snap or first photo. And then before we know it we have snapped a hundred. We hurry to our computer, download the photos, and see dark blobs and fuzzy faces and think, “My camera must be broken! I need a new camera!”

It is a natural desire in most of us to want the best, to be the best. When it comes to photography, the desire to take the best photos usually leads us down a path of wanting a DSLR camera. We think “all the great photographers out there have them and I want one!” However, many of us find ourselves disappointed and frustrated that our pictures didn’t turn out like we had imagined. Is it the camera’s fault? Probably not.

A DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera is a great piece of equipment, It offers you better picture quality, more adaptability, faster speed, and total control. They are capable of capturing truly amazing photos in truly amazing places. For those that know how to use them, they are worth their weight in gold.

However, a DSLR is not for everyone. I have had so many people ask me what kind of camera I use and what they should buy. And I always respond to them by saying, “It depends.” Yes, a DSLR is a great camera, but it all depends on the time and money you are truly willing to put into it.

Since I would venture to guess that most of you reading this don’t have to be convinced of the good things about owning a DSLR, let’s look at the reasons NOT to buy. Be honest with yourself as you read these. There are some really great advanced point and shoot cameras on the market that might work really well for you, maybe even better than a DSLR.

I had nifty plans of a top ten list, but as I really think on it, I can see three main reasons that a DSLR may NOT be for you:

1. The Price: DSLR cameras are more expensive and generally come with really cheap (bad) lenses or no lens at all. To get the most out of your (expensive) DSLR, not only will you have to pay for the camera, but you will have to pay for new lenses.

2. The Size: DSLR’s are big and bulky. Do you love the idea of taking pictures wherever you go? Do you also love the idea of carrying a big and heavy camera with you? It isn’t easy and it isn’t fun. So either it needs to stay at home (in which case you won’t get those great photos you have been dreaming of) or you will have to bring a point and shoot (in which case you start to wonder why you bought a DSLR in the first place). And remember, just because YOU think it is fun to lug it around, hubby and kiddos may not agree.

3. The Complexity: Even though DSLR’s have an auto mode on them, they were not designed for this purpose. They were designed to be used in manual mode. If you are not ready to invest a lot of time reading your manual and other books to properly know how to work your camera out of auto (or even AV) mode, then a DSLR may not be for you. Advanced point and shoot cameras often take MUCH better photos in auto mode.
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Now, I don’t want you to think that I am anti-DSLR. In fact, quite the opposite. I have owned and used a Rebel Xti and a Canon 20D. My 20D is slowly dying and I am secretly hoping its complete demise is soon so I can get this or maybe even this. I love DSLR cameras and all they are capable of. They just aren’t for everyone, and honestly, I bought one long before I was ready. I spent months being frustrated with my photos and those same months working hard in Photoshop to make those photos useable.

So, if you can’t buy a DSLR camera right now or you realize that you aren’t sure you will really take the time to learn how to use it properly, let’s look at a few great high end point and shoot cameras that might better suit your needs (or your budget). Some of these cameras even have some manual controls on them, allowing you more freedom than a traditional compact point and shoot. And in the price range of under $500, your budget will thank you.

(prices listed below are current bhphotovideo.com prices. Prices may vary depending on country and store of purchase)

Canon PowerShot G10 ($415.95)

canon-powershot

  • 14.7 megapixels
  • Image Stabilizer
  • Supports RAW images
  • High Speed auto-focus
  • Motion Detection Technology
  • Face Detection
  • PureColor LCD II
  • i-Contrast boosts brightness and retains detail in dark areas
  • 26 shooting modes with manual control and custom settings
  • 30fps VGA movies

Kodak Easyshare Z8612 IS ($159.95)

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  • 8.1 megapixels
  • Image Stabilizer
  • Shoots HD video
  • 12x optical zoom
  • Up to 3200 ISO
  • Apertures up to 2.8
  • Offers full manual control

Nikon Coolpix P6000 (499.95)

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  • 13.5 megapixel
  • 4x wide-angle zoom lens (28 – 112 mm equiv.) with optical stabilization
  • 2.7″ LCD monitor (230,000 pixels)
  • ISO 64 – 1600 at full resolution (3200 and 6400 at lowered resolution)
  • NRW RAW format (although “Windows Imaging Component” and “Windows only”)
  • Built-in GPS receiver records location (latitude and longitude for automatic geotagging)
  • External flash and lens accessories
  • Face-priority AF

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (409.95)

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  • 10.1 Megapixels
  • 2.5x Optical Zoom
  • 3.0″ LCD Display
  • 24mm Wide-Angle Leica Lens
  • Enhanced CCD Technology
  • MEGA O.I.S. Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Intelligent Auto Technology
  • High Sensitivity (ISO 3200)
  • High Speed Response
  • Can shoot HD Videos
  • 23 scene modes (including fireworks, candlelight, beach, and self-portrait)
  • Full Manual Operation (and is easy to use!)

While the DMC-LX3 allows full manual control for more advanced photography, the camera also allows user to take perfect shots with outstanding ease. This is made possible by Panasonic Lumix’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode. In iA mode the camera does all the work, activating Mega O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Detection, and Intelligent Exposure. This leaves the user free to simply compose the shot and press the shutter button, with the assurance that the image will be clear, beautiful and properly exposed. Source.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ50 (319.95)

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  • 9.1 Megapixel
  • 10x Wide-angle Leica Zoom Lens
  • 3.0″ Intelligent LCD Display
  • MEGA O.I.S. Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection AF/AE
  • Intelligent Auto Technology
  • High Sensitivity (ISO 6400)
  • High Speed Response
  • HD Video Capture & Output
  • Wi-Fi Capable: Seriously, this is so cool: you can upload your photos directly from camera to photosite (like Picasa). It also comes with a year’s free use of T-Mobile’s Hotspot service in the US. No more worries of losing pictures before you download them!

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You really need to ask yourself if a DSLR is really what you need. If it isn’t, don’t feel bad. Instead, learn to get the most out of the camera you already have and/or look into what advanced P&S might better suit your needs.

And remember, before you buy any camera, it is good to read review from review sites and actual customers. Here are some that you can check out:

Digital Photography Review
Digital Camera Resource
Epinions
Amazon (good for customer reviews)
BHphotovideo (good for customer reviews)

And if you already have a DSLR, are you really learning to use it? To get the full benefits out of a DSLR, you need to understand how to use the camera and its controls. In future posts in PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS, we will start to look at how to use your camera out of auto mode. We will look at the the three key ingredients to great photos (exposure, focus, and composition).

No matter what camera you use, PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS will help you get the most out of your camera. However, I will be the first to say I am NOT a professional — I am a total MWAC (mom with a camera). I do not claim to be an expert. However, I have learned a lot over the past few years and I know a lot of people who know a lot more than I do, and I will work to bring that information to you in ways that you can understand.

Happy Photo taking today!

janet_sig16

More Tutorials

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Are you looking for some great tutorials? We have gathered some resources here of sites that have great tutorials, organized by software. Remember that even though some tutorials are not written specifically for scrapbooking, the techniques can be applied when you are making layouts. Also, as a user of PS, PSE, and PSP, I know that many tutorials can cross soft-ware platforms fairly easily…so be willing to try tutorials even if they aren’t specific to your program. If you know of some tutorials (or have some of your own) that we can add to our list email them to steph@thedailydigi.com

Learn to Digiscrap with Video Tutorials

Online Scrapbooking Classes

PHOTOSHOP

The Shabby Shoppe

Scrapbook-bytes

Lynda

Misty Cato

Designer Digitals

A post here at TDD

PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS

Hummies World

Digi Scrapping Tutorials

The Shabby Shoppe

Scrapbook -bytes

Jessica Sprague classes on-demand

Jessica Sprague free tutorials

Designer Digitals

Lynda

Misty Cato

A post on TDD

Paint Shop Pro

Digi Scrapping Tutorials

Scrapbook-bytes

Digi Scrapping.net

Lynda

Designer Digitals

ACDSee

Digi Scrapping Tutorials

Digi Scrap Info.

Designer Digitals

FotoFusion

FotoSraps

Lumapix

Designer Digitals

Photo Impact

Scrapbook-bytes

Stephanie’s PhotoImpact Tuorials

Gimp

Gimp Tutorials

Gimp-Tutorials.net

We Must Be Happy People

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I was all set to post today about Valentine’s crafts you can do with your kids (or with your hubby, friends, or puppy :). My kids absolutely LOVE to make crafts and there are a lot of really fun and simple things you can do.  I think later today we will pull out the glue and scissors and paints and lovey up our house.

However, as I was pulling together some links for you I came across an article from Yes! Magazine that I thought was very interesting.  It is called 10 THINGS SCIENCE SAYS WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY. I was intrigued as I read through the list, often nodding my head in agreement as I looked at my own life and times when I really, truly “felt” happy.  Now I won’t get into the differences of “joy” versus “happiness” here. Suffice it to say that the happiness we are referring to here is the feeling of being happy.

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You should definitely check out the whole article and read through the ten items. It was good to be reminded that things like exercise and not focusing on money can seriously enhance our happiness.  However, what I want to look closer at today is the number one thing listed:

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As scrapbookers (I know, I know, ssshhh…this isn’t supposed to be about digi…it isn’t, really, it is about happiness!) we must be some of the happiest people around!  I mean, isn’t this what scrapbooking is really all about??  Savoring the everyday moments, moments that are “normally hurried through.”  When we scrapbook, when we take photos, when we stop to think about how those photos make us feel, we are SAVORING the everyday and in the process, becoming happier people.

I know that in the last four years my level of “happiness” has gone way, way up.  I know there are other things involved in this — personal changes I have made, watching my family grow from two kids to four kids, learning more about who I am and what I do best — but I also KNOW that scrapbooking has a lot to do with this. As I look through my albums, as I view photos of my family and friends, I can’t help but stop and realize how truly blessed I am. When I look through the 17 photos I have taken so far  for my photo a day project, I smile thinking of those 17 “everyday” or otherwise “would have missed” moments forever recorded. And yes, I feel happy.

I encourage you to take some time today to read through the other nine items and look at your own life and how those things fit in.  You can download a full size 11×17 pdf file of the poster.  I think I may cut out a few of the ones  I need to be reminded of most often (like exercising!) and frame them and put them in a place I can always see them. Think about what you can do TODAY to bring a little happiness into your life.

And if you have time left over and still want to do some Valentine’s crafts, here are some great ideas:

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Heart and Lillipop flowers from Martha Stewart

 

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Heart Pencil Toppers

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Puffy Heart

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Clothes Pin Fasteners

Or try these:

Valentine Candy Dish

Recycled Egg Carton Heart

Pop Up Cards

Heart Stitched Card

Handprint Wall Hanging

and MORE

 

Hope that everyone has a very HAPPY Sunday!

janet_sig16

 

 

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SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT — Shabby Miss Jenn

Spot Lit Wall

Welcome to our first SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT where we are featuring the talented SHABBY MISS JENN of SHABBY MISS JENN DESIGNS!  All month long we will be showcasing the amazing talent of our contributing sponsors. We want to show you all the great stuff they have as well as let you get to know them a bit! They are a fabulous group of designers and we know you will be inspired after seeing their work and getting a peek into their lives.

But first, since we know some of you are just itching to see inside the DIGI FILES, here is what the fabulous SHABBY MISS JENN designed exclusively for THE DAILY DIGI.

smj_preview_vintage_linens

Isn’t it exquisite?  I just love SMJ and everything she creates! When I saw this I had to scrap with it right away! You can get this kit along with a ton more in this months THE DIGI FILES right here.

I will be showing  you some more of of my favorite stuff of SMJ’s but first let’s get to know her a bit better!

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rockstarboyROCK STAR BOY EDITION

rockstargirlROCK STAR GIRL EDITION

 

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xmasmarketXMAS MARKET KIT

 

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And now to show you some of her totally fantastic designs.  I was browsing around her store and was struck with two things:

1. There is some stuff of hers that I MUST have NOW (oh my dear paypal!)
2. It is almost impossible to pick a favorite.

However, since showing you EVERYTHING of hers is rather pointless since you could just go to her shop, I have limited my showcase to just a few of my all-time favorite and most used kits:

loveshack2LOVE SHACK

 

smj_preview_flower_standFLOWER STAND by SMJ and ScrapKitchen Designs

SMJ also has a bunch of amazing blog packs! They come with a banner, banner for a photo, 3 background images, picture frame, border divider, journal mat, tab buttons with text and blank tab buttons. Banners and graphics can easily be sized down.

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They also come with FULL instructions for Typepad and Blogspot blogs with screenshots and codes attached. So it’s very easy to follow along and make your blog in an instant. Video tutorials on blog installations can be viewed here.

And this just in….look at these FABULOUS new releases from SMJ!

potion_zoom1LOVE POTION

potion_brag_1LOVE POTION brag book

treats_potion_1LOVE POTION sweet treats

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treats_loveshack2_1LOVE SHACK sweet treats volume 2

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365 Day template sets — FREE

AND, to top it all off, she is offering a coupon for TDD readers

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If you aren’t inspired yet then take a quick look at these layouts with SMJ goodness all over them!

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I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to Shabby Miss Jenn for being a part of this months sponsoring designers!

 

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P.S.  I’ve added the fan blinkie and flair piece over to our FAQ page.  Feel free to grab them there!

P.P. S
.  A number of people commented and emailed that they would like to switch from IE to Firefox but don’t want to have to rebookmark everything.  Well, there is good news.  It is EASY to import your bookmarks (or so I have heard!)

Firefox includes an Import Wizard that can be accessed via “File -> Import”. You can use the Firefox Import Wizard to automatically import bookmarks and other data from installed browsers such as Internet Explorer, Opera, and Netscape 6-7-Mozilla Suite (which includes SeaMonkey 1.x).

If for some reason that does not work, follow the instructions listed HERE.

P.P.P.S. We’ve added some stuff to our LOOKING FOR PAGE…check it out!

P.P.P.P.S. I got the coolest PM the other day — SUPERTWINKLE, the master behind the infamous ’08 layout is GIVING AWAY HER TEMPLATE. Woo Hoo!  You can get it HERE.

P.P.P.P.P.S. According to this article, I have poor form.  I should have included these notes in the main section of my entry 🙂

 

 

Drop Shadows

Drop shadows are something that changed the look of my (Steph’s) layouts when I started using them. Since discovering them, I have spent probably more time than I care to admit studying the look of drop shadows on paper layouts in magazines. I get a huge sense of accomplishment by creating a realistic shadow on a layout. I also love to admire shadows in the galleries as much as I do the layouts themselves. I have gathered some fun examples of drop shadows, some tutorials on how to create your own great shadows, and finally some tips and tools (and a goodie or two ;))to make your shadows LOOK great without spending very much time on them at all!

First, some drop shadow eye candy:

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I love this layout, “Pug Love”, by Scarletheels! The drop shadows are perfect! Notice how she used a larger shadow for larger items, keeping everything in proportion. Mi says she usually uses a brown shade and puts the shadow on its’ own layer, then uses the warp tool (see tutorials below).

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KayM’s “Giggles” is a great example of shadowing layered items. I especially like how the bottom orange/brown flower has a smaller shadow than the gold flower that is layered on several other items. Notice how the frame around the photo has a much larger shadow on the left side, where there would be a larger gap than there is on the bottom because of the items layered under the frame (see the tutorials below for using the warp and liquefy tools).

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I thought the drop shadows on “Your Smile” by JennV were fab! I love how she shadowed the string to make it look like it was lifting away from the paper! Notice though, that as the string goes under the element cluster on the right, the shadow is very close to the string because logically, the string would be closer to the paper there (see tutorials below on using the warp and liquefy tools).

Top Tips — for great shadows:

1) Keep the direction of light the same.

2) Keep the size proportional for the size of the object

3) The bigger the space between the object and its’ shadow, the lighter the shadow will be (the shadow for a piece of paper placed directly on top of another paper will be darker and less opaque than a button or flowers).

4) Play with the blend mode. Using the color burn mode when applying a shadow to acrylic works best.

Some great tutorials for creating perfect drop shadows:

PSCS – This tutorial changed the way I do drop shadows, love it!

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PSCS – using the warp tool

PSCS – using the warp tool (video)

PSCS and PSE – some different settings by Liz

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PSE – using liquefy

PSE – using liquefy (video)

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Shadowing Acrylic

Shadowing Acrylic and opaque items (video) PSE

Shadowing Acrylic

Shadowing in PSCS (video)

Tips for Great Shadows (any software) and free styles

Tools for Making it FAST

It is always a good idea to know how to do these things in your program, but if you would like some tools to make it easier, they are out there!

Tool 1) Copy/Paste the layer style. Once you have created the perfect drop shadow, you can right click on that layer> copy layer style and then select all other layers and right click>paste layer style. I will often create my paper shadow first and then just increse the distance and size for the larger items after pasting the layer style.

Tool 2) Kristen Rice has some great shadow layer styles.

Tool 3) Flergs has some FREE layer styles to get the look she creates with her drop shadows.

Tool 4) Megan has some FREE layer styles on her blog.

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My browser is HOT, HOT, HOT

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One of the cool things about running my own website is getting to see the “back end” of things. I am able to get all kinds of information on my site, who reads it, when they read it, what they click on, how long they visit, and more. I really had no idea that website owners can see this information. It is really very useful, though. I am able to learn about my readers and what they like (and don’t like).

One of the many things that I am able to see is what browser my readers are using. The other day I was looking at the stats and I was astounded to find out that almost half of you still use Internet Explorer. I really, really thought that everyone knew of the advantages of Firefox over Internet Explorer, but apparently, that is not the case.

So, today’s COMPUTER TIPS AND TRICKS is all about Firefox. If you think your web browser doesn’t matter, then keep reading. And if you already use Firefox, then scroll down to see some of the amazing add-ons that will make your web experience even better!

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There is so much information on the web about Firefox and its superior features for safe (and fun!) web browsing. The latest version, Firefox 3, has some truly amazing features. I won’t go into great detail here because there is so much already out there. Do a quick Google search and it is easy to see why more and more people are choosing Firefox (and I really want my readers to be some of them!)

There is a great review of the most recent version of Firefox HERE.

Here is what computer critic Paul Thurrott says about it:

“Mozilla Firefox 3 is the fastest, safest, and most feature-rich Web browser available on any platform and I recommend it to one and all. This is one area where Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux users can simply agree: Firefox is without peer, and regardless of which browser you’re currently using–be it a previous version of Firefox, any version of Internet Explorer, or, heaven forbid, Apple’s buggy Safari–you need to upgrade to Firefox 3 immediately. I recommend Firefox 3 without hesitation and without caveat, as it is one of those very rare software products, and a key tool in my own personal computing arsenal. No software is perfect, but Firefox is close enough. Highly recommended.”

Another in depth review of the top browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, and Safari) while they were all in beta, had this to say: “Firefox remains the best browser on the whole, with great features, impressive improvements all-round, a revised bookmarking system and thousands of add-ons to make it easy to perfectly customize. The improvements in performance are stellar, it’s got some well-integrated features that everyone will use (resumable download manager, tag-ready bookmarking) and it offers, overall, a better, richer Web experience.

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If you are already using Firefox then here are some great ways to make your use of Firefox even better!

One of my favorite features of Firefox features is the new Star icon. It is located at the end of the address bar, right next to the RSS icon. Click it once to store the page’s URL as a bookmark; click it twice to assign the bookmark to a new or existing folder. You can also give it tags: short keywords to help when searching through your bookmarks. Use the new Library feature to create and store searches. It makes bookmarking so easy!

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Firefox is most widely known for its endless ability to customize your browsing experience. Add-on after add-on are available to do some pretty amazing things. I want to show you some of the great ways you can use Firefox. Here are some of the most popular (or just coolest!) ad-ons. Try one (or ten!) today!

Themes: Check out all this cool themes you can have to make your viewing experience better or even just prettier 🙂

Look at my pretty pink browser bar!

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Ad block Plus: Ever been annoyed by all those ads and banners on the internet that often take longer to download than everything else on the page? Install Adblock Plus now and get rid of them. (Just note that this will disable all banner ads at places like DST so if you like the banners, don’t use this. You CAN disable and enable with a click of a button, though.)

DownThemAll: The first and only download manager/accelerator built inside Firefox! (Never be annoyed with multi-part downloads at your favorite scrapping sites again!)

FoxMarks Bookmark Syncronizer: If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you’ll want Foxmarks. Install Foxmarks on each computer, and it works silently in the background to keep your bookmarks and (optionally) passwords synchronized. Foxmarks also keeps your data backed up and safe from computer failures. If you’re away from your computer, Foxmarks allows you to access your bookmarks online by logging into my.foxmarks.com. (Okay, this is so, so, so hot and I just learned about it. Just the other day, I had to get out my laptop and email myself links to some bookmarked sites because I didn’t have them on my desktop. No more of that nonsense for me!)

StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests, learns what you like and brings you more.

Cool Iris: Full-Screen, 3D — Cooliris (formerly PicLens) transforms your browser into a visually stunning, lightning fast way to search, discover, view and share online photos, videos and more. Our unique “3D Wall” lets you effortlessly zoom your way around thousands items on a single, ever-expansive wall. It’s the fastest way to search and enjoy Google Images, YouTube, Flickr, Hulu, and hundreds of other sites. See HERE for a list of all features and supported sites. (Check this out…you can do a search for something like cribs, Hawaii, or alphas and it will bring up images from all over the web in a cool 3D wall of photos. Here is a search I did for “Project 365” with a search in just Flikr.)

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WOT: WOT, Web of Trust, warns you about risky websites that try to scam visitors, deliver malware or send spam. Protect your computer against online threats by using WOT as your front-line layer of protection when browsing or searching in unfamiliar territory. WOT’s color-coded icons show you ratings for 20 million websites – green to go, yellow for caution and red to stop – helping you avoid the dangerous sites. Surf safer and add WOT to your Firefox now.

InterClue: Ever wanted to know what was behind the link before you clicked? Interclue tells you everything you need to know before you open yet another tab.

Read It Later: Read It Later allows you to save pages of interest to read later. It eliminates cluttering of bookmarks with sites that are merely of a one-time interest.

Morning Coffee: Keeps track of daily routine websites and opens them in tabs…(Seriously, could this be any more hot?? I go to the SAME places EVERY day…what a time saver this will be for me!)

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PermaTabs: Turn tabs of your choice into permanent tabs. PermaTabs can’t be closed accidentally no matter what you click (even actions like “Close other tabs” will not affect them) and will stick around between sessions.

ColorZilla: With ColorZilla you can get a color reading from any point in your browser, quickly adjust this color and paste it into another program. You can Zoom the page you are viewing and measure distances between any two points on the page. The built-in palette browser allows choosing colors from pre-defined color sets and saving the most used colors in custom palettes.

Session Manager: Session Manager saves and restores the state of all windows – either when you want it or automatically at startup and after crashes. Additionally it offers you to reopen (accidentally) closed windows and tabs.

ColorFul Tabs: The most beautiful yet the simplest add-on that makes a strong colorful appeal. Colors every tab in a different color and makes them easy to distinguish while beautifying the overall appearance of the interface. An essential…

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And finally, the IE tab. For those ancient sites that still insist you use IE (because they don’t know how much cooler Firefox is!) you can install the IE tab which eliminates all the other reasons to keep using IE by forcing Firefox to render a page using the Internet Explorer engine. You must have IE installed on your machine for this plug-in to work, but the convenience and saved resources can’t be beaten.

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One thing I LOVE is that I can enable and disable these add-ons with a click of a button. Sometimes I am in the mood and sometimes I am not!

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So, are you convinced yet? There are SO MANY reasons to use Firefox. I hope that you are intrigued enough to try it! If you do it for no other reason…at LEAST do it for security reasons. With anti-malware, parental controls, anti-virus software, clear private data, customize security settings, add-ons, password manager, pop up blocker and MORE, Firefox is by far the safest (and hottest!) way to surf the web!

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The Digi Files

The time has finally come…THE DAILY DIGI is fully up and running and we are ready to have FUN! We have spent the last two weeks introducing the site and the vision behind it and now we are ready to dive in and get started!

I wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone who has stopped by, left a comment, emailed us, and shouted out their support for us. I never would have guessed that the response to the site would be this overwhelming. I am truly humbled by your encouragement and in awe of the talent that is in the community. We will do our best to live up to the love you have offered and provide you a place where you can soak up all the information and inspiration that you desire.

What you can expect
: Every day we will continue to post relevant and fun information from around the digi world. Tips, tricks, inspiration, and more will be brought to you each and every day. There is no set schedule — so you will have to check back every day to see what we have for you! Over the coming weeks we will be seeking some feedback from you on the kind of information you are most interested in. We want to bring what people need and want.

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Something else BIG is happening today….the release of THE DIGI FILES. I can’t tell you how excited I am to show you what a group of great designers have for you! I was blessed to have nine designers/stores take a chance on me and this site and offer their time and talent to support my dream.

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The DIGI FILES, a “grab bag” of sorts, is made up of contributions from these fabulous designers:

Shabby Miss Jenn Designs
Melissa Bennett Designs
Flergs
Vera Lim Designs
Jen Caputo
be Audacious Designs (Audrey Neal)
Pineapple Plantation
Heather Ann Designs
Sweet Shoppe Designs

Each of the above designers have created something special just for THE DIGI FILES. These products (mini-kits, element sets, etc) are new and never-before-released. The hope is that you can safely and inexpensively try new-to-you designers as well as stock up on stuff from your tried-and-true favorites. We worked hard to bring you a range of styles and stores and we hope that you will be THRILLED with your purchase!

We won’t be showing you the contents of THE DIGI FILES right away (that’s part of the fun!) However, throughout the month that TDF are available, we will be spotlighting the individual designers. You will get to know a little about them, about their work, AND you will get to see what they contributed to TDF. So, if you are unsure about buying “sight unseen” you can wait and watch throughout the month. TDF will be available from January 15-February 14.

However, if surprises are more your style, then keep reading. We have something really special planned for those who buy in the first week (January 15-January 22)! Everyone who purchases during that time will be entered into a drawing to win some really amazing stuff! Here is what you can win!

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1. Lisa Leonard is generously donating necklaces for TWO people to win! Lisa Leonard is known for her beautiful handcrafted necklaces. I have purchased from her MANY times and have always been blown away by her art and her heart. Everywhere I go I get comments about the necklaces I wear. I am always excited to tell them where I got them! Check our her amazing designs HERE.

A little about Lisa: “I have been making jewelry since high school but I decided to get serious after my first son was born. I wanted to build a small business that would enable me to quit my job and stay home with my boys. I have never taken any formal classes or received special training in jewelry making. I am kind of the ‘jump in and learn as you go’ type. Making jewelry is a great creative outlet for me, and I love it!I am inspired by other artists–painters, scrapbookers, clothing designers and poets. I also love to soak up nature-the sky, the sea, the green hills. I let all these ideas and images swirl around in my mind and then I create.

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2. Angela from Frill ‘er Up Couture is giving away a custom tutu! I cannot tell you how much I LOVE these and am tempted to buy THE DIGI FILES just so I can be entered to win 😉 Any little girl would be THRILLED to wear one of these beauties!

About the tutus: “We use nylon tulle made in the good ‘ol US of A to ensure safety and quality. Satin ribbon is made in Switzerland. Only the highest quality materials are used.”

Angela, the talented designer of these tutus, is part of the fight to SAVE HANDMADE. A new law will go into effect on February 10, 2009 that will basically stop all sellers of homemade children’s items from being able to sell. No more custom tutus, no more hand-carved wooden toys, no more custom clothes. Angela and some other children’s item designers have drafted this amazing brochure to simply explain the law and how it will affect everyone. You can download it HERE.

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3. Jamie Young…better known in the digi world as Jooms, is giving away this great camera strap cover! Jamie is the master behind the BAUBLES AND BITS Etsy Shop. I love that her designs are camera strap covers, allowing you to change them to match your outfit, the event, or your current mood!

The above camera strap cover is made of Amy Butler Ginger Bliss fabric on one side and Sandi Henderson Ginger Blossom fabric on the other. So pretty! And if you want to see in her shop, you will see some of these gorgeous options.

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A few words from Jamie: “I am a WAHM of two, I love to craft etc. I always welcome custom orders and requests. If anyone purchases a strap cover from me in between the 15th and 20th and tell me in the notes section that they were referred by THE DAILY DIGI I will send them a revised bill for 15% off their purchase.”

4. If a camera strap (as opposed to a cover) is more what you are looking for, Natalie Putnam, scrapper and designer extraordinaire of COTTON CANDY is giving away one camera strap of the winners choice from her Etsy shop. I love all the bright and fun colors Natalie uses and think that these straps would make any camera look fabulous!

cottoncandy1The winner will get to choose one camera strap from her store, including a cute point and shoot strap (if you don’t have a DSLR). She also says that all her camera straps are $2 off until January 16th.

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A few words from Natalie: “My name is Natalie Putnam, I am a stay at home mom to 2 beautiful children. I love to digital scrapbook and take photo’s of my children. About 6 months ago I decided to open my own etsy shop. I sell custom made camera straps for SLR cameras. It has been a very fun and exciting adventure. I feel like it has given my life more purpose. Recently I also opened my own fabric shop (justfabric.etsy.com) but it is still in the making!

5. One lucky customer will win coupons to EVERY PARTICIPATING DESIGNERS STORE. Imagine waking up to this in your inbox:

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So…what are you waiting for! Pick up THE DIGI FILES, month 1, and be inspired to scrap and be entered to win one of these fabulous prizes.

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the drawing for Traci’s drop shadow actions! I printed up all of the comments and WordPress did a really nice thing and put numbers to the sides of each post along with a date and time stamp (and printed them in the order they were received). So, the winners are falwyn and Melissa! Check your inbox, I already sent you your prize! 🙂

the SCHOOL of SCRAPPING

schoolofscrapping

We are almost getting to the end of our introductory two weeks of posts here at THE DAILY DIGI. Tomorrow (January 15th) kicks off regular posts, the DIGI files, and a whole lot of fun! I am very excited to delve deeper into some of the categories that we have talked about over the last few weeks.

But before we do, there is still one main area of interest that we have not looked at yet. It is the most obvious: scrapping. Sure, we’ve touched on photography, journaling, computer tips and tricks, “beginners” info, and even crafting and hybrid scrapping. But we haven’t yet looked at scrapbooking itself.

And that is what the SCHOOL of SCRAPPING (SOS) will be all about.

Scrapbooking…what it is, why we do it, and how we can do it well. In the SOS, we will dive a bit deeper into the reasons behind scrapbooking, the people who love it, and the art behind it. Scrapbooking is so much more than just a hobby or a place to put a photo. There is an art and a heart behind what we do and it is important to allow both the chance to shine.

So get ready to head back to school….the SCHOOL of SCRAPPING!

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Have you ever wondered what makes a “good” layout “good”? Do you wonder why you are naturally drawn towards some pages and others just don’t grab your attention? Does it confuse you when you see two people using the same kit and yet the pages they create are so different? Well, then you better get to class!

The first class we are going to take in the SCHOOL of SCRAPPING is DESIGN 101. Design is “the organized arrangement of one or more elements and principles for a purpose”. Design principals (whether intuitive or learned) are crucial in the making of “good” pages. I use the word “good” in quotes because we all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Obviously, any memory of your friends or family that is preserved in your scrapbook deserves to be called “good.” However, what we are talking about here is pages that are visually pleasing to people…pages that make people want to look longer, to look deeper. These are the pages that draw you in and beg for you to reminisce. Behind the photos and the new kit and the even the journaling is a page design. And that design can change the entire feeling, and therefore the meaning, of a page.

In time, our DESIGN 101 class will look at topics such as unity, balance, harmony, contrast, repetition, variety, emphasis, proportion, and attraction. We will learn how to implement these design principles in our scrapping process so that the final outcome not only holds a special memory, but also is pleasing to look at!
Just to get you interested, here are some examples of layouts that are incredible from a design perspective. Remember, good design doesn’t necessarily mean one specific style. Minimalists and element-lovers alike can both produce pages that hold true to design principles. It isn’t about how much you put on a page, it is about where and why you put it there!

dragon-rider-web

DRAGON RIDER by littlehiccup

elephant_bath

Elephant Tub Shenanigans by kayleigh

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ADORE by Chris Turnbull

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WATCH no. 9 by Birgit

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SILLY SADIE by Gina

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TO DREAM by Teresa

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(Yes! You have homework! Don’t you remember what school is like??) Your homework for today is this: Look at the above layouts. Look at them closely and write down (oh okay, you can just think about it if you want!) what you notice about the layout. What do you like about the layout? What draws you in? How do the colors, elements, and design reinforce the theme of the page? What makes it a “good” layout to you?

One of the best things that we can do to improve our own scrapping (or photography) is to look at the work of other artists. In seeing others peoples work we train our eye to know good from the not-as-good. We learn what makes OUR eyes happy and that leads into us being able to recreate that pleasing design on our own pages.

Okay! There’s the bell…you are dismissed from class today. Just be sure to return when class is in session again!

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