She’s Got Her Daddy’s Eyes

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When anyone looks at the eyes of either of my girls, they always comment that they have beautiful eyes. Wanting to close my eyes so they don’t see the muddled grey/hazel combo I have going on I quickly tell them, “She’s got her Daddy’s eyes.” Both of my girls were blessed with their daddy’s beautiful blue eyes. I love looking at them! Sometimes, especially with my oldest who is so busy talking that she doesn’t notice, I just sit and stare into her eyes. I look at my reflection. They are big and blue and bright and they amaze me. However, I find that when I photograph them they don’t have the same affect on me. Even though I work hard to focus on the eyes when I compose my shot, the final photos seem to lack some of the brightness that usually captivates me.

So, in my editing process, if the photo calls for it, I have started to sharpen the eyes a bit. Just enough to make them pop and to draw the veiwer straight to the eye — the way it happens in real life. As with anything in Photoshop, there are MANY ways to do this. But I am always a fan of easy and fast, so that is what I am going to share. I’ve got two for you!

Reader and friend Whitney (the one who made the great vignette action for you) shares the best method for her: a Photoshop action by Pioneer Woman. Here is what Whtiney says:

They are free on her site, in set 2 there is a Bring on the Eyes action. The trick is after you run that action to run the Sharpen This action in the same pack. I reduce both opacities to 20% unless the eyes are dark and then I might bring up the bring on the eyes action just a bit. This has worked the best of anything I have found, adding a little lightness and some sharpening in an easy to use action. Here’s a before and after…”

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HERE is a link to Pioneer Woman’s set 2 of Photoshop Actions (scroll down to the bottom of the post where you will see a link for “Download Pioneer Woman Action Set 2.”

If you don’t have Photoshop or you want to learn how to do it without an action, here is a fast and easy method I use in Photoshop Elements.

First, here is the same picture I used for the black and white tutorial and the picture that was the prelude to the onslaught of requests for the eye sharpening tutorial 🙂 The picture on the left is the orginal (SOOC) and the one on the right is after being color/light corrected.

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The photo is good, but I just want to make those beautiful eyes sparkle a bit more — the way they do in real life! So here is what I do:

1. Make a loose selection around the eyes. I use my quick selection tool but you could use the regular lasso tool as well. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and I usually am happy to grab those eye lashes as well.

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2. Copy and past this section to put it on its own layer

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3. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass

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4. Change the radius to around 4 pixels

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5. Don’t get scared! Your eyes will now be a crazy grey color and you will think you screwed up. You didn’t.

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6. Change the blending mode on the eye layer to OVERLAY

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7. Adjust to opacity of the eye layer so that it looks natural and then merge your layers. Easy! See what a difference it makes?

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SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER:

1. Any editing you do to photos is to make good photos better. Editing, actions, etc. are not for saving bad pictures. This technique will not make seriously out of focus eyes clear. It works best on photos where the eyes are already sharp, but just need a little more pop.

2. Do all other editing before sharpening the eyes. If needed, you can use the dodge tool a bit in the whites of the eyes to lighten them up.

3. Although it can be fun to see the amazing difference with this tutorial, don’t go overboard! Don’t keep the opacity of the sharpened layer so high that your kid now looks like a space alien because his eyes are so bright and so white. Go easy on the kid (and the sharpening!)

4. Eye sharpening is best for photos where the eyes and the face are the subject of the photo. Due to its subtleties, eyes that have been sharpened instantly draw the viewer in. If the main emphasis of the photo is supposed to be on something other than the eyes, leave this technique for another photo.

5. In order to get better eye photos to begin with, make sure you focus on the eye when you compose your shot. Your camera needs to grab hold of a spot to focus on, and it needs some contrast to do that. So, it is best to set your focus point on the corner of the eye, lock focus (if you don’t know how to do this consult your camera manual), and recompose if necessary. Then shoot!

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Hey, that’s us!

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Ha ha…I couldn’t resist putting our little name there in the spotlight.  We aren’t really doing a sponsor spotlight, since I think you know all about us as a site, but I did want to show you what we contributed THE DIGI FILES 2 (affectionately referred to by Steph and I as TDF2 — I seriously feel like I am speaking in some sort of cool code 🙂 )

As much as I usually get bored of things, I have not yet tired of the look of THE DAILY DIGI.  When I was designing the site, I had something else in mind. I was working hard on a site design when I saw the image of the folders on istockphoto. I fell in love with the colors and threw out everything I had been working on and started over.  And you know what?  I still love it. I love the colors.  I love the design.  And anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the font — Giggles by Fontologie @ Scrapbook Graphics.  That font is actually how Steph and I teamed up on this site — I was asking permission to use the font and everything just steam rolled from there!

Anyway (sorry, I am rambling today), because I love the design so much I wanted to create something that I could use for my scrapping.  I wanted to keep with the “DAILY” theme of the site, so I created an “EVERYDAY” element set.

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This set includes 51 pieces PLUS an alpha and number set. It also includes blanks of the glass buttons and alpha pieces so you can create your own. I also included my sweet little heart that I use for a signature in my posts. Nothing fancy (I am NOT a designer)…just something fun with the cool site colors and Steph’s awesome font 🙂  We hope you enjoy!  Here are a few more things I have done with the set…( I keep trying to find excuses to use it 🙂

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With four kids, a full time work-at-home job, and all of the other things life throws at me, I needed SOME way of starting to keep track of some things.  I feel like I am forgetting more than I am remembering lately.  So I created some easy calendars for myself.  The weekly one will be printed out each week, leaving on the stuff that happens every week (PE days, library days, etc) and then will add in other things as they come up.  For the monthly page I used a template from my 2009 calendar set. The full calendar set isn’t available anymore but if you want the basic page you can download it HERE. It already has the days of the week in the Giggles font, so it worked well!

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I also did one other quick page (the paper is by Jen Wilson)

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We hope you are enjoying THE DIGI FILES 2 so far…we are SO excited to show you everything inside.  Be sure to check out “LOOKING FOR” page (it has been updated) and submit those TDF2 layouts and more!  And be sure to check back tomorrow when the requested “eye sharpening tutorial” is shared!

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P.S.  We want to wish a SWEET congratulations to the following winners of the SWEET SHOPPE DESIGNS comment contest!  Woo Hoo!  Email me at janet AT thedailydigi DOT com to claim your prize!

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Rochell789 (post #96)

ShawnaleeH (post # 112)

Kelly (mZ Kelley) (post # 117)

Ginny Tallent (post # 130)

Jenn Page (post #188)

We interrupt this episode of the UN-digi…

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….to bring you something VERY digi. That’s right, THE DIGI FILES 2 are here! And we are SOOOO excited! Some amazing desginers have been working hard to bring you a fantastic collection of mini kits, element sets, templates, and hybrid projects. For $5…you CAN’T beat it. Check out our INCREDIBLE designers and contributors:

Kate Hadfield
Misty Cato
Michelle Filo
Doris Castle
Amanda Heimann
Fontologie (Steph)
Janet Phillips
The Lilypad

Inside THE DIGI FILES 2 you will find something from everyone listed above. I was totally blown away by what these designers packed inside! Trust us, you WANT to get this now. But if you don’t like buying sight unseen…no worries. Throughout the month each of the designers will have a day in the spotlight. Not only will you get to learn more about them, but also you will get to see their contributions. So, by the end of the month (February 15 – March 14) you will have seen everything! GRAB IT HERE!

Since I got a sneak peak at everything, I jumped at the opportunity to do a little scrapping this weekend. And since this weekend is all about Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t resist doing some lovey pages (with some heartfelt and honest journaling thrown in 🙂 Everything used is from THE DIGI FILES 2 (except the blue paper which was made using an overlay by Pineapple Plantation from THE DIGI FILES 1.) Photos are by the amazing Shari Barnes.

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Stick around all month long as we see what these designers came up with, see what people scrap with it, see the MORE WITH FOUR challenge, and get to know the fabulous ladies behind the designs. We’ll have LOTS of coupons to give away to designers stores and we’ve got great upcoming articles, cool tutorials, and a whole lot more! So come on…it’s gonna be a good one!

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With Lots of LOVE…

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Awww…it’s Valentine’s Day.  I know most people have mixed feelings about this day.  Some LOVE it.  Some dread it.  Some hate the commercialism of it. Some are too busy eating chocolates to notice.  The day has come to mean many things for many people, but for most, the one thing we can agree on is that it is about LOVE. Usually, this means love for a significant other.  However, for me, since having kids it is a day about love for anything and anyone.  I love to celebrate love.  The people, the places, the things I love. It is a day to reflect and cherish my life.

As I have looked through the submissions for our call for LOVE PAGES, I can see that you all love to love too!  It has been amazing to look at all your layouts and read your journaling and learn about the things that make you happy.  I so wish I could post everyone’s layout!  They were all so beautiful and so heartfelt!  But, we would be here all day if I did that and I know that on a day like Valentine’s Day, most of you have other plans.  So I went through and chose a variety of layouts.  There are layouts from people who have been scrapping a long time and some from digital newbies.  There are those who celebrate their love of their spouse and some for their love of a musician.  Look through these layouts and be inspired! (Please excuse the lack of credits on some of the pages.  I have since revamped our submission guidelines and approval process so that we are able to post full credits to all layouts).

Okay, now on to the LOVE…

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What’s not to LOVE about this page from Leslie?  The layered LOVE letters with the “O” being a photo in the shape of a heart is genius!  I also like how she made the photo black and white to make it pop against all the color! (credits: White Almond Kiss by ah! Designs, Holiday Helpers: Valentine LOVE tag book by Cafe J, photo by Julie Burleson)

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I LOVE the design of this layout by Christine. The wrapped paper shapes and the little black and white photo are so fun! (credits: All papers and shapes from Shy Guy by Queen of Quirk. Hearts on strings by Lili from For Mom collab at Scrap Artist. Heart from Acrylic Shapes by Nancie Rowe Janitz.  Bracket Stitching by Emily Merritt @ {we are} storytellers.Font is Another Typewriter.)

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How cool is this layout by Brittany?  Here is celebrates her love of musician TOBY MAC.  I LOVE the fun colors and thought bubble with all the reasons to LOVE the music!  The numbers on the side are super cool too! (credits: My Boy Wonder collab – Emily Powers + Jenna Desai (WST) kraft paper – Amy Wolff (TLP), drop shadows – Traci Murphy (FPD) )

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This sweet layout is a gift from Alex to her husband Mark for Valentine’s Day.  I LOVE how she included similar photos from different seasons.  This emphasizes her theme of “through the seasons of life.” (credits: Splendid by Shabby Princess and Lighter Shades of Pale by Michelle Coleman)

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This layout by Ina is so full of beautiful color and richness.  It celebrates the love she feels for her not-yet-born child. I couldn’t LOVE it more!  Here is journaling in case you can’t read it: It continues to amaze me that God allows us to play a part in the process of creation. From a tiny seed within each of us forms a miracle that is more than the sum of its parts. Then it is nurtured within me as new life begins to grow. And while the nurturing occurs, so does the love begin to blossom. How can you love someone you’ve never seen and haven’t met yet? You just do, more than life itself.” (Credits: By Jofia Devoe: Artist Workshop, Painted with the Autumn Sun, Time of Joy, Christmas Warm Different Strokes by FeiFei Stuff; Fonts: MOnbijoux, PeaSteph)

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This sweet page by Michelle is a tribute to her little boy.  I LOVE all the little circles in oh-so-fun colors! (credits: Freebie Template 13 by Chrissy W, All You Need Is Love by Dani Mogstad, Zoo Day by Gina Cabrera, Font is CK Ali’s Writing)

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I just LOVE this layout by Gabi.  That photo is totally priceless and the words are to a favorite song (they celebrate the carefree nature of kids and their desire to be happy). (Credits: beaded Strings by Lili (ScrapArtist), BG Paper from Greyson Kit by Micheline Martin (ScrapArtist), Frame, Lace and Measuring Tape from Country Chic by Laurie Ann (ScrapArtist), Shmootzy Mod Florishes by Nancie Rowe Janitz (ScrapArtist), Tab from Ribbon Bin Satin Striped by Amber Clegg (ScrapArtist), Wordbits from Flight of Fancy Kit (May Collab @ ScrapArtist), Butterfly from Once Upon A Dream Kit by Lili and Emily Merritt (ScrapArtist),Bow from Awakening of Spring by Edeline (TDC), Fonts: Bebete and DJB MERRY.
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This is a super cool layout by Holly!  It is a tribute to all of the pets she has had (and LOVED!)   I LOVE how she has all of their photos and dates of when she had them.  Such a cool way to document such and important part of life (and LOVE!) (Credits: papers by Jen Wilson, Worn Overlays by Danielle at Catscraps, Stitched frame by Amy Hutchinson
Photo cluster frame by Katie Pertiet, Flowers by Annie Manning, Leaves by Shabby Princess, Ribbon by Christina Renee, Fabric hearts and antique button by Michelle Coleman, Yellow flower and blue heart bling borders by Amy Wolff for Lilypad BYOC, Pets alpha by Dani Mogstad, Loved alpha by Holly Designs, Loved glass button by Amber Clegg for Lilypad BYOC, Glitter heart by Gina Cabrera, Felt flower circle and title mat by Sweet Digi Scraps)

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Look at this sweet moment, capture forever, by Sarah.  I just LOVE watching the interation of siblings and I know their whole family will cherish this layout for a long time!  I LOVE how she chose muted colors for the background to really let the photo pop!

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If you are stuck on what kind of LOVE layouts you can create , try some of these ideas:

  • A tribute to your spouse
  • A Love Letter to your kids
  • A layout celebrating things you are loving right now
  • A fun page about your love of digi scrapping
  • A layout all about pets
  • Try a page about your favorite holiday
  • Celebrate your favorite foods
  • Write a love note to your favorite activities
  • Showcase your love of your wardrobe
  • Tell your parents what they mean to you
  • Tell and old friend how much you loved the times you had together
  • Talk about your best and/or worst Valentine’s Day
  • A layout about all the things you would love to do if you had all the time in the world

Life is full of things to LOVE!  Celebrate some of them today!

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SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT — Heather Ann Designs

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THE DAILY DIGI is excited have Heather Ann Melzer with us this month.  Heather has been in the digi community from the early days and has been involved actively ever since.  Her clean style and soft color pallettes are so pretty.  In addition to creating beautiful products and wonderful pages, Heather runs her own Etsy Shop and has worked as a contributing editor for Scrapbooks, Etc. Magazine.  In fact, my first “we want to publish your layout” email came to me from Heather herself (I doubt she had any idea who I was at the time!)  I’ve had the chance to meet Heather a few times since then (at CHA in Chicago as well as a random siting outside a hotel in Vegas ) and I can say that she has great smile, fun personality, and a contagious laughter.  Before we get to know Heather a bit better, let’s see what she created especially for THE DIGI FILES.

had_preview_desktopimagesThis is a great set of coordinating Desktop images for your computer.  I love that you can just plop a few pictures behind them and put them on your desktop.  There is a ton of room for icons and all the papers and elements are gorgeous to look at.  And because all of the designs are the same, you don’t have to move all your desktop icons around each month!  You can grab this set and everything else in the THE DIGI FILES HERE.

And remember…today is the 13th which means you have just two more days to get all of THIS for just $5!

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Okay, and now on to the star of the show…

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Hi!  My name is Heather Melzer (aka Heather Ann) and I’ve lived in and around Chicago, IL my whole life – a true midwestern gal.  I’ve been married to my husband, Tom, for 10 years and we have 3 children – Mackenzie (6), Katie (4), and Jack(1).  I’ve been scrapbooking for the last 7 years and have had crafty hobbies for as long as I can remember.

STORE:  www.heatheranndesigns.com

BLOG: www.heatherannmelzer.typepad.com

ETSY STORE:  www.heatheranndesigns.etsy.com

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I started designing shortly after I started digi scrapping.  Once I became comfortable with my graphics program, I wanted to do more.  I had so many ideas that I had to give it a try.

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I’ve been designing since October 2004

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Both! 🙂

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Managing my site takes an extraordinay amount of time (several hours/day), and I always try to spend at least one full day/week working on new product.  When I release new product, I’ll work for 3-4 days straight (morning, noon, and night)!

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That’s a tough one because my most recent product is always my favorite.  Right now it’s my Lovebirds Kit and coordinating Treat Set.  My favorite product of all time is probably my Monthly Memories Kit.

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Probably my Quick Fill Sets – they’re a great jumping off point for layouts. (These quick fill pages come in BUNDLES as well as SINGLES)
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1. That my husband and I are truly a team
2. Kenzie’s creativity
3. Katie’s eagerness to help
4. Jack’s sweet nature
5. That my family lives so close by
6. Owning my own business
7. Vanilla Capuccinos
8. Crocs
9. Short hair
10. Etsy

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1. Pessimism
2. Chicago winters
3. Mean people
4. The country’s current economic situation
5. Disorganization
6. Not having enough hours in the day
7. That Reese’s peanut butter eggs are only around at Easter time
8. Always forgetting one thing on my grocery list
9. That chocolate makes you gain weight
10. Having more ideas than I do time to see them through

Now let’s see some of Heather’s other gorgeous stuff…

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With Valentine’s Day almost done is is time to start thinking spring, bunnies, and EASTER.  This is a cool 2-mini kit set!

recipe_album450I LOVE this recipe album — perfect for saving those great family favorites in a beautiful and easy format!

sketchy_alpha450Isn’t this alpha so fun!  I love alphas that can be used on any pages!

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I also love this font! I especially love the look of the uppercase letters!

And here are a few of Heathers GORGEOUS Etsy pieces!

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And here are some great layouts, all made with HEATHER ANN DESIGNS

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Thanks, Heather, for being a part of THE DAILY DIGI this month.  We look forward to seeing what else you create in your digital designs as well as your Etsy shop!  As a THANK YOU to YOU as readers, Heather has this to say:

For a limited time take 15% off orders of $10 or more with code FABFEB!


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Just For Beginners – Brushes

When I (Steph) first started using a photo editing program for my digital scrapping, I soon learned how to make my own brushes. I then went through a “phase” where I made brushes from everything. I took photos of rocks, dirt, bricks, and wood to make my own brushes with. I used brushes a lot on my layouts as well during this time. Then, I slowly stopped using them as much, but after seeing some great uses for brushes in the galleries, I think I need to go back to using them again– and soon!!

First up, is this layout by Jsgus (images are linked to galleries for credits):

the-art-of-discoveryJanelle used an alpha brush set for her title. I love how it makes it look like it was hand stamped. The “altered” album was actually all created digitally.

Scarlettmcd had this great layout:week-6

The acrylic brush strokes under the title really help to set it apart from the rest of the layout.

I was really excited to see the great technique Nettio applied with brushes here:

dd119_vacationNettio used some circle brushes to add a color-on-color pattern to her green paper. What a fun way to add some depth and also carry the circle theme throughout the layout!

I was totally smitten with this layout:

becool_jmjaquezSweeet used a brush to create a snowflake cut-out look on the photo. There are two ways this could be done: one is to use a layer mask; the other is to stamp on the photo with the brush, but put it on it’s own layer, select the magic wand and click on the outside of the stamp, select the photo layer and edit>cut. This will remove all of the area outside of the stamp. Pretty easy, but adds soooo much to the layout!

So, how do you use those brushes? You probably already have some brushes in your stash, even if you don’t know how to use them. If you don’t have any (or if you do, but would love to have more) I found this site that is a great place to find PS and PSP brushes! If you would like to learn how to make and install your own brushes in PSP, this is a great tutorial. You can find a tutorial for making Photoshop brushes here and installing Photoshop brushes here. There are several indepth Photoshop video tutorials for free here. Here is a tutorial for our friends using Photo Impact.

If you have ACDSee, then you probably already know that you can organize, view, and install your brushes into your photo editing program, right from the organizer. If you dind’t know that, but would like to learn how to do it, you can watch the video under “Browse and Organize Your Brushes” (scroll down to see it). If you use ACDSee and would like how to turn ABR (Photoshop brush) files into brushes you can use in ACDSee, there is a great tutorial for you here.

It’s time to load those brushes and PLAY!! Try using the dodge/burn tool with your brushes or maybe the eraser instead of the brush tool. Don’t be affraid to try different settings and see what happens after all, you can always UNDO!

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A Note From Me…

THE DAILY DIGI wants to apologize to Sweet Shoppe Designs for the problems with yesterday’s post.  Due to the crazy world of computers and html issues, *I* could see all the images for all layouts and kits but apparently, no one else could.  The post has been fixed and will be left up for an extra day so EVERYONE can see all the yummy goodness that Sweet Shoppe Designs has to offer! The next new post will be  up on Thursday, February 12.  We apologize for the problem!  We are going to throw in two more $10 coupons to SSD so be sure to comment and now FIVE people will get to enjoy some yummy SSD sweetness!

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT — Sweet Shoppe Designs

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It was almost three years ago and I was sitting my my office, staring at a countdown timer on my computer screen. I (like many others!) was anxiously awaiting the opening of Sweet Shoppe Designs. I couldn’t wait to see what a group of designers I loved (and was already CTing for a few) had up their sleeves. I wasn’t disappointed. And for the past three years, Sweet Shoppe Designs has truly been a SWEET place to be. I served on CT’s for a number of designers and I did a six month term as a Sugarbabe.  I have always, always been impressed with the attention to detail that they put into everything they do.  So when I got the idea to offer one Sponsor Spotlight to a store — it was easy to talk to the oh-so-sweet gals over at Sweet Shoppe Designs. I am so glad to have them here with us this month! Before we look closer at some of the great things over at SSD, let’s see what they have for us in THE DIGI FILES. I asked them to have a CT member create a few quick pages and fab scrapper Jacq created these beauties!

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Here is a little about Jacq: I’m a 26 year old mom to my adorable 2 year old daugther and a wife of 3 years to my wonderful husband. We’ve been leaving in Singapore for about 7 years now. I started scrapbooking in October 2005 and have never stopped since then. When I’m off the computer I spend my time with my family, I became a SAHM when I had my daughter so I can take care of her myself. I also like watching reality shows such as Amazing Race, American Idol and Survivor. I love Formula One Racing, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI and I’m a huge Twilight fan myself.

About her background as a quick page designer: I started making quickpages last year. I was asked by Christy Lyle if I could create a mini album for her using her kit and I said yes. It was my first time creating something like that and I loved it. From then on I started making quickpages for different designers and friends. HERE a link to all the QPs I’ve done. Right now I’m creating QPs and hybrid albums for Gina Miller Designs (you can checkout her store to see my projects there) and a designer at Pickleberrypop.

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Sweet Shoppe Designs was an idea born out of friendship and commitment to one another’s designs. Our staff believes in a tight knit and supportive environment where each designer and creative team member are invested in each others success and have a say in the future of the site and what happens on a day to day basis. The designers at SSD truly believe in each other and the digital community as a whole and we are excited and proud to be celebrating 3 years of bringing high quality designs, inspiration and a sense of community to scrappers around the world.

We started with just 8 designers on opening day in February 2006, including Robin Carlton, MandaBean & Christy Lyle and have grown to an incredibly talented team of 21 designers who are like family. We’re incredibly proud of our store as a whole and think our whimsical and colorful style appeals to a wide range of scrappers who are looking to create pages which could be mistaken for paper layouts. We offer top quality kits which are jam packed with goodies so that even a novice digital artist has the ability to open a single folder and put together a gorgeous page every time they scrap. Each of our designers brings something special to the table, so you’re sure to find the perfect something to serve as the backdrop for your precious memories in our store.

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Congratulations on 3 Sweet Years! How are you guys celebrating the big event?

We have so much planned for our month long celebration! Now through the 13th, when you spend $10 in our store, you’ll receive our gorgeous anniversary collaboration kit, Fresh and Festive, absolutely free! Here’s a peek…

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In addition to lots of gorgeous new releases which are always 20% off on Saturdays, we also have daily birthday goody bags coming up, the first volume of the 2009 Quarterly Assortment to be released and a slew of brand new Two Scoops and Triple Dips (kits our designers have collaborated with each other on), which will be hitting the store on the 21st! We’ll be finishing off the month with a super sweet bounceback offer too so we hope your readers will visit us all month long and help us celebrate.

Along with our great promotions in the shoppe, we also have some great games and activities hosted by our team of designers too! Visit our special Sweet Celebrations forum in our community for lots of fun ways to win sweet stuff from our team!

What else is going on at SSD?

We are really excited by the success of our Challenge-A-Day format which we rolled out to our community earlier this year. Every single day, our amazing SugarBabes post a brand new challenge which we hope will inspire people to think outside the box when scrapping their memories! Sometimes our challenges will really push you to think artistically and emotionally and other times they are just a way for our community to grow closer together by answering silly quizzes, taking fun photographs which capture people’s personalities and much more! Even more exciting is that every challenge completed earns the participant one of our Sweet Rewards points which can ultimately add up to a 40% discount in the shoppe every single month!

You also won’t want to miss checking out our Treat of the Month feature where we get to know a talented member of the digital community a little better. We’ve put some amazing talent in the spotlight at SSD in the past and we have some great treats lined up in the future too. Visit the Sweet Shoppe now to meet this month’s treat, Amy Stoffel and keep your eyes on the Sweet Shoppe Blog a little later this month where you’ll be able to take our monthly TOTM quiz and be entered to win a $15 gift certificate to the shoppe too.

We hear you’re now offering incentives for scrappers to get their work published in magazines, can you tell us a little more about that?

Yes! Each day we look through our gallery at the Sweet Shoppe and are so inspired by the gorgeous pages created by our community – we certainly think they’re magazine worthy and we feel our community has lots to offer the scrapping world in terms of inspiration. We know that many scrappers are intimidated by the thought that they aren’t good enough to be published and we couldn’t disagree more so we decided to offer some encouragement in the form of cash & free gifts if people submit pages using our products and end up published in Creating Keepsakes, Scrapbooks, Etc., Memory Makers and more! Click here for more details on our publishing incentives.

Speaking of inspiration take a look at some of our favorite recent layouts & hybrid projects by the Sweet Shoppe SugarBabes

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And the gorgeous layouts wouldn’t be possible without some fantastic kits to spark the inspiration. Check out some products which capture classic Sweet Shoppe Style…

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So after the celebration is over, what can we look forward to at SSD?

Well, you know we always have something up our sleeve and coming this Spring, our entire team is tackling an incredible project that will bring you more inspiration than ever! While we don’t want to give too much away, we can say that it will be Simply Sweet and you won’t want to miss it! With that, the girls at the Sweet Shoppe would love to hear your Birthday Wishes so leave a comment and they’ll be choosing 3 lucky winners at random to win a $10 gift certificate to the Sweet Shoppe!

THANK YOU, SO MUCH, SWEET SHOPPE DESIGNS FOR BEING WITH US THIS MONTH! We love all the amazing stuff in your shop and we hope that you continue to fill such a sweet spot in our community!

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P.S.  I just wanted to wish a huge congrats to RAJI, MANDY, AND CHARMAIN for winning the random draw from our weekend inspiration post. Thanks to everyone who got some scrapping done this weekend and showed us what they made!  Ladies, email me at janet AT thedailydigi DOT com for your $10 coupon to a sponsoring designers store!  WOO HOO!

Something is Missing

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Something is really, really missing.  As I have been travelling around the galleries in the digi world I have been noticing time and time again that there are no words. I see lots and lots of incredibly talented scrappers who are scrapping amazingly beautiful layouts, but I keep asking myself, where are the words?

I know people scrapbook for all different reasons. Some people do it purely for the artistic expression and creative release.  It really isn’t about the legacy they leave behind, but rather, for the experience of actually making the page.  But for most of us, the motivation to leave a legacy, a piece of our heart, drives (at least in part) the creation of our pages.  Without journaling, our pages are just pretty pictures and elements.  Future generations will look at them and not even know who is in the pictures, much less why we loved them.  Don’t you want to savor the feelings in your heart for others to see?

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When we released our 10 Reasons Art and Album last week, I really wanted to make something with it.  I knew I wasn’t going to have time for a whole album, but with Valentine’s Day approaching, wanted to make a page for my husband.

Look at these two layouts.  The first one is a tribute to my man.  It tells him that I love him (which is true!) It is a nice layout and a sweet sentiment.

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But you know what?  It is missing something!  For me, it isn’t enough to tell him I love him.  I want him to know why.  I want him to know the things about him that make me feel lucky to be with him.  And right now, the way he is with our kids is topping the list.  So this layout better portrays what is in my heart. And not only did I tell him I love the kind of dad he is, but also I was able to sneak in two other reasons.

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If journaling is hard for you, don’t worry!  The more you do it the more naturally it comes.   There is no “right” way to journal!  It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out mushy sentiments.  Journaling can take many forms.  As I looked through my own albums I saw that I journal in lots of different ways!  If you get stuck on some of your love pages, try some of these ideas:

1. List format: A simple  list can work well.  It gets the point across! Top ten lists keep you stretching and searching within your heart for more. In this two-page layout I listed a bunch of little things about my son that was loving at the time (and yes, I know, I am the queen of typos.  These were fixed before printing 🙂 )

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2. A letter to someone or something: Sometimes, talking “to” someone or something makes it easier to share what we are feeling.

3. Pretend like you are talking: written and spoken language tend to be different.  As your write, just imagine that you are just talking to a friend and sharing about something you love.  Write like you speak, even if it isn’t gramatically correct.

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4. Question and answer format: sometimes it is easier to answer a direct quesiton rather than “start from scratch.”

5. An acronym: Sometimes, using the first letters of a persons name or a place we love  helps us get creative when trying to share what is inside our hearts

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6. Record real conversations: Nothing is truer to life than the actual words spoken!

7.  Take 5 W’s approach: who? what? when? where? why?

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If the placing of your journaling on your scrapbook page is more of a problem, try some of these ideas:

1. Shaped journaling or text on a path: Sometimes we can help convey meaning through shape or flow. (For some great premade text paths try these by Jen Caputo! That is what I used on the two page layout below)

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2. Journaling as a border: sometimes there isn’t a great place to put our journaling.  Instead of using a frame or other border, why not use journaling?  That was the case in this layout.  I loved the TIC TAC TOE theme I had but I just felt like without words, it was missing something.  The journaled frame was the perfect accent and the perfect way to share how I felt about these people!

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3. Random words: Rather than writing out a lengthy journaling block, try putting random words on your page.  They can convey the same meaning and they are fun to read!

4. Add another page! Sometimes I get done with a layout and love it.  But then as I look at it I realize it is missing the story.  Rather than redo the whole page I just add another one! For example, this past weekend I made this page.  But as I looked at it, I realized that there was more to it. There were reasons that I wanted to make a page about being creative. So, I just flipped the page and added the story behind why the pictures are important to me.

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5. Journal on a photo.  From an artistic standpoint, it is sometimes hard to find the right place to put our journaling. Why not try adding journaling on top of a photo!

6. Hidden Journaling: If you are willing to give hybrid a try, you can take advantage of one of the great things about paper scrapping — hidden journaling.  In this layout all of my journaling is hidden underneath the photo.

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Go ahead, take a look through your albums.  Imagine yourself as your own grandchild and great grandchild a few generations from now.  What do you learn about yourself?  Are the stories there?  Do you know what the photos are about?  Think on your own grandparents. What do you wish you knew about them?  Do you ever look at photos of them and wonder what they are all about?  Yes, the pretty papers, unique embellishments, and cool photo treatments are FUN.  I love new digi supplies as much as the next person.  But I want to leave a story behind.  My story.  The story of my family.  And to do that, there have to be words.

So come on…try it out.  Look at one of the journaling ideas above and give it a try!

The Invisible Mom

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You might have read this before.  You might have read it a lot.  But, it is worth reading again. And again.  Every day I have to remind myself that what I do as a mother can not be checked off a to do list. Even though on most day it LOOKS like I did nothing all day long…the results will be seen some day.

For those of you who are mothers, this is for you.  For those of you aren’t (yet), read this so that 1) you won’t be surprised one day when you are a mom that you feel like no one sees you and 2) so that you can grasp how moms feel on an every day basis.  Reach out to a mom.  See how you can help. Tell her she is doing a good job…make her feel like the long hours, diaper changing, face washing, toy playing, book reading, hair brushing, question answering, booger picking, and fight refereeing is all worth it. If you can’t do that, don’t worry.  Just don’t ask her what she does all day.

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This is long, but worth reading and saving for a rainy day – you know, those days when you doubt if all the work you put into being a great mom is ever going to be noticed. The days where you think, “Oh, I used to be brilliant and cute and I used to look really good in jeans!” Save it for that day. Or if you’re having that day today, get your hankie out before you read on…

This is to all moms – and moms to be ———

“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible”

I’M INVISIBLE

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription:

‘To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

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That’s it for today. Nothing more to say.  Enjoy your Sunday and know that what you are doing matters.

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