On My Way to 100

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A few weeks ago I got a newsletter from We Are Storytellers. In it, Emily Powers talks about how her sister Angela created a list of 100 things they wanted to do this summer.  Not only will this process inspire new and fun activities, but it will also help in beating the “what should we do today?” problem.  I was immediately inspired and started my list.  I want to do a lot of things this summer — a lot of them just for fun and some because they need to get done.  I am thinking of writing these all out on pieces of paper and when we have time on our hands grabbing one and going for it!

I don’t have 100 things yet…I am keeping a list on my computer and as I think of new things to do, things that I need to do, or just ideas that sound fun, I write them down (and add a link if applicable).  I tried to pick specific things that could actually be done without much preparation.  Generic things like, “eat healthy” are better left for a different list.  My hope is that we’ll have a great (and productive!) summer.  Here is my list so far:

100 things I want to do this summer

make colorburst cupcakes
have a breakfast picnic
go to the zoo
build a sand castle
get a good family photo
get photos framed and arranged
scan in kids artwork
make millionaire’s shortbread again
go to the coffee shop on Dago again
have a donut date with the kids
have a make your own pizza night
host a 4th of july party
build soccer goals
paint the club house
buy a sewing machine
make some dresses for Katelynn
get up early and take pictures around town
have the kids make family picture canvases
run
make ice brewed coffee
buy a new lens
make goodbye gifts
make welcome gifts
buy craft supplies from downtown
take a spontaneous trip
buy a dog
reinstate tea time
teach Caleb to ride a bike
clean up my hard drive
go shopping for me and not buy anything for the kids
have a cooking party
have a mexican pot luck
build a balance beam for the kids
read my camera manual again
get my layouts printed
read a book I was supposed to read in high school, but didn’t
find a good pedicure place
plant a garden
make birthday cards for the year — and get them addressed and ready to send
do some “quizzes” with the kids to cement this moment in time
scrap older photos
write out the “big” stories — birth of babies, how Jason and I met
get an internet phone
muffin tin monday
organize important papers
make fresh salsa
try the silhouette photo I have been wanting to do
video the jammie song
get a work bench for Jason
camp out in the new yard
fly a kite
try a new restaurant
work on allowance/chore plan for kids
write notes to people to tell them that I appreciate them
make homemade donuts
go away overnight with Jason
work on special work projects
buy a full length mirror
start yoga
make yogurt
get a new mighty mouse
take a trip to KL
have a Christmas in July party
back up my itunes library
back up my hard drives

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So, what’s on your list?

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P.S.  Today is the last day to pick up THE DIGI FILES 4 (you can see full previews HERE).  It is also the last day of the sale at Scrapbook Pictures.

Getting Out of Auto

Camera Controls

The sun is out, the temperatures have warmed up, and the kids are playing outside. For many of us, this is the time we want to start pulling out our cameras more and trying to capture the fun of summer through our lenses.  And the more we play with our cameras, the more we want to learn.  Maybe this is the time you have decided to get out of auto mode.  However, there is one little problem.  You don’t know what any of those other little pictures mean!  That little green camera image has been your friend for so long…you just don’t know if you can leave it.  Well, I am here to tell you that you CAN.  You can do it!  You can explore the world of little men who look like they are running and that cute little tulip picture.  Come on, you know you want to try.

I remember the first time I turned that little dial away from green. I was sitting on the beach with my family and decided to give portrait mode a try.  I read that it helped keep your foreground in focus and your background blurry, and that is totally what I wanted.  For a LONG time I thought this was the coolest shot ever. Three years later I shoot in full manual mode but it took me a while to get there.

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Most camera dials look somewhat similar — many of the icons are the same regardless of the kind of camera you have.  Let me briefly explain the three types of shooting modes and then I am going to send you to a great article that explains each of the choices within each mode.

1. Fully Automatic:  This is that little green square/camera that you love so much.  The camera chooses everything for you.  It chooses your focus, white balance, ISO, and more by taking in the information it gets from your viewfinder and doing its best to take the picture that it thinks you want.  Sometimes it works great, and sometimes it makes you want to cry.  At least there were no decisions involved (well, except where to point the camera — it can’t do everything for you!)  Within this mode are the choices of portrait, landscape, night, macro, sports, and sometimes even ones like beach and fireworks.

2. Semi-Automatic: These choices include Aperture-Priority Mode, Shutter-Priority Mode, and sometimes Program Mode.  With each of these options the camera allows you to choose one dynamic of the photo (shutter speed or aperture) and then the camera chooses everything else in order to get a correct exposure.

3. Fully Manual: This options is just what is says — fully manual.  You, the photographer, choose everything. You decide on your ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and focus.  This is a powerful mode that allows you to get the exact shot you want — assuming, of course, that you know what all these things mean and you know how to make them work together.

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For a great (and simple) article on learning what each of the individual dial choices mean, check out THIS tutorial at Digital Photography School.  The author does a great job and explaining each of the options.  My hope is that those of you who want to learn more about their camera and want to try something out of auto will feel like they learned enough to give it a shot (pun fully intended).

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SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Scrap Orchard

Spot Lit Wall

May is coming to end and so our our Sponsor Spotlights!  It has been so good to get to all of these great designers more.  Their creativity and talent inspires me on a daily basis.  And our final Sponsor Spotlight is no exception.  Today, we have the honor of spotlighting a great digi store — Scrap Orchard!  It is fun-filled with store with lots of great products, layouts, and more!  Scrap Orchard is one of my favorite stores to visit just because it is a happy place!  I love looking at the site design itself!  Isn’t is just so cute??

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Before we get to take a peek inside the store, let’s see what the designers came up with for THE DIGI FILES 4!  They put together such a fun and happy kit!

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And here is a page I made with it!  I love how it turned out!

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Scrap Orchard was the brain child and creation of it’s three owners: Kami Leonard (of Ziggle Designs), Melissa Nishi (of Pixel Geek Designs) and Shauna Burke-Smith (of Pineapple Plantation Designs).  All three of us came from another store, and after leaving decided that they’d give a go at opening a store of our own!  From the beginning we wanted to create a store where we could showcase high quality designs from a wide range of designer styles.  Starting small, over the past year we’ve seen our “little orchard” grow into a full and fabulous place to shop, hang out and chat or to post digital layouts! We have a wide range of challenges throughout the month and we’ve been known to post some pretty great layouts in our Freebie Gallery too!

Scrap Orchard also has a really cool MYSTERY MEGA. It is  released each month in a grab bag format and contains both personal use and commercial use items.  It’s usually around 35.00 worth of products for only 3.00 before the reveal!  Check out their past megas!

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And now for some great products! (All images are linked)

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gardenquickpages

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inchbyinch

lucky

paperrain

sobec

photowordart

believer

girlygirl

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alternednumbers

tickets

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The store is jammed packed with all sorts of things including their mega kits, blinkie services, commercial use products, blog packs, and MORE!  And once you have shopped till you dropped, look what you can make:

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everytingtime

amandagoofygirl

whatever

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Thanks to all the designers at Scrap Orchard for being with us here at THE DAILY DIGI this month!  It has bene fun looking at and playing with all your fun products!

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For Beginners – Inked Edges

Jen Caputo - Digital Sketch

(Layout by Rachael Giallongo click here for credits)

I LOVE inked edges! I think they add so much pop and pizazz to a layout without very much effort. Interestingly enough, I never used the technique when I was a paper scrapper, I’m not sure it was around “back in the day”). But, I do remember seeing inked edges on a layout for the first time and staring and wondering…and then staring some more, trying to figure out just “how they did that”!

Adding inked edges is super duper easy using the Inner Glow layer style. There is a great tutorial for it at Scrapbook Bytes. The tutorial was written for Photoshop, but will easily work for PSE and other programs as well. Here is a video tutorial by Hummie for PSE. Take a peek and then try it!

There are also some pretty neat products out there to help achieve different kinds of inked edge effects. There are some GREAT actions for PS and PSE the will create many different types of inked edges (thick, think, wet, sponged, etc.) at Atomic Cupcake. Nancie Rowe-Janitz has some great brushes that will work for inked edges in this digital distressing kit:

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Inked edges only take a few extra clicks, but they add so much dimension and depth to items on a layout. Go ahead, give it a try, you just might find yourself addicted like me! 🙂

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P.S. Hummie just posted in the comments that she has a video tutorial on her site for how to do this in PSE. THANKS for letting us know! I love it when you guys share resources that we might have missed!

Thank You, Teacher

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Well, it’s that time of year (well, at least in the northern hemisphere!) School is ending and summer is just around the corner. Our school finishes next week and I have been on the lookout for some great teacher appreciation gifts. Or course I want to make something and so I asked our awesome team for some ideas. Here is what they showed me!

Dani Mogstad’s Girl Talk blog has some cute treat holders

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Heidi Swapp’s blog has some fun cards and other ideas

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There are a ton of possibilities with the Spring Confetti Collection by Shabby Princess

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Team member Jacki whipped up these great gifts

“I whipped this up in about 15 min. I bought dark chocolate candy bars, unwrapped the outer paper wrap and measured it. Then I created a layout based on those measurements and used the Digi Darers exclusive kit “Over the Rainbow” from this month’s DIGI FILES. Printed them and cut them out then glued them on to the silver wrapping and placed them back in their plastic covers. Added a little curly ribbon for fun and viola! – done! I think they turned out cute. Wouldn’t mind one for myself! :)”

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There are some great Boxed Card sets HERE with a video tutorial HERE

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You can make the cutest little pen and pencil case like THIS one

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All of THESE gifts are so fun!

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There are some adorable ideas on the BoBunny blog

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Or what about a custom font by Darcy Baldwin?

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If you are looking for some school themed kits, why not try these?

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Steph also posted some great kits/supplies in her ABC’s and 123’s post

So, what you are making??

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As a free gift to you the two Stephanies have whipped up this awesome pack! Totally perfect for gift bags, cards, layouts and MORE! It even includes a printable .pdf file for you paper gals 🙂 Download it HERE.

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P.S. For those of you who are already out of school, some of these same ideas can be used to fill up your summer days and you’ll be ready to greet your new teachers with style in the fall!

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Kristin Cronin-Barrow

Spot Lit Wall

It’s another SPOTLIGHT day and today we get the privilege of spotlighting an amazing designer — Kristin Cronin-Barrow (often just called Kristin CB).  I love Kristin’s designs! She is one of those designers that has always been very talented and once she found her niche in the designing world — at Sweet Shoppe Designs — she has just grown by leaps and bounds.  She is comfortable in her style and she puts out the most darling kids.  Her gorgeous color palettes always jump right out at my on Saturdays when I browse through the SSD new products section.  I am excited to share Kristin’s work with you.  Just look what she created for THE DIGI FILES 4!

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It’s it just SO pretty?  I love the pinks and blues mixed with the browns and tan. LOVE it.  Here is a page I made using it:

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You can get this awesome kit and a ton more stuff in THE DIGI FILES 4…available for just a few more days!

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My name is Kristin Cronin-Barrow. I live in Southeastern BC, Canada in a very small mountain town! I just love it here, I am not a city girl! I have been married almost 8 years to Darcy and we have two children. Lily is 6 and Lucas is 14 months. I have been doing digital scrapbooking since may of 2003 and haven’t looked back!  I had previous experience with photoshop in Illustrator from work in a printing shop as well as from college where I did an art certificate program.

STORE: Kristin CB at Sweet Shoppe Designs

BLOG: Kristin CB Designs

NEWSLETTER:  If you sign up for Kristin’s newsletter before Saturday, you will get this brag book for free! Sign up HERE.

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I found digital scrapbooking really early, before the shops opened up. Many of us were already designing since often you would create what you wanted when scrapping a layout so for me designing sort of just happened, it was pretty easy to just decide to give it a shot. I did stop designing for around 6 months but learned that it was too hard for me to sit and watch everyone else design so started back up again. I have been at sweet shoppe since the end of 07 and I am over the moon happy there – its hard to believe sometimes that I really am there!

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I began designing in the fall of 2004 and my first store was at scrapbook-bytes.

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am both. I don’t scrap nearly as frequently as I would like to. Since having my baby boy last year time has definitely been split with how much time I have to work and scrap. When I do scrap its almost always with templates – I’m a HUGE template lover and its about the only way these days that I am able to manage getting a page done.

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Way too many.. I don’t want to think about that! LOL

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I have a couple favorites:

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CHERRY SWEET: This one is pretty recent, I had so much fun making it and I love how it turned out

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LITTLE SAILOR: It is not all that often I do a boy kit so this was definitely a nice change and I had lots of fun making it.

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I think my best selling kit is LOVE IS IN THE AIR

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My best selling element is SHIMMER DUST

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1.   My Family & Friends
2.   mac computers
3.   Project 365
4.   Quiet
5.   Frozen Dark Chocolate
6.   VIVA salad from Joey’s Global here in Canada – best salad ever
7.   Thunderstorms
8.   Movie nights at home
9.   Daytrips
10. Sleep

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1.   noise
2.   anxiety
3.   Hot weather
4.   Dishonesty
5.   Washing Dishes
6.   Being so Shy
7.   Bugs
9.   Drama
10. My impatience

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Okay, now that we have gotten to know Kristin a bit better let’s look at some of her ADORABLE products! It was so hard to choose! (all images are clickable)

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cherryblossoms

cozykitchen

delilah

familyties

giggle

myhappygarden

natural-beauty

partyputback

whereflowersgrow

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And now for some beautiful inspiration

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Thank you SO MUCH Kristin for being with us here at THE DAILY DIGI this month.  You designs are fun, fresh, and totally cute!

As a thank you to TDD readers, Kristin has a special coupon for you!

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MORE WITH FOUR — The Digi Files 4

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WOO HOO! We’re back with a new MORE WITH FOUR! And not only that, we get to show off our first team layouts!

MORE WITH FOUR is a product challenge where we give scrappers just FOUR products and they have to create a layout with them. Here are the “official” rules:

  • You will be given four digital products.
  • You are to create a layout or hybrid project using these four products only
  • For a digital layout, in addition to these items you can use paint/inking, paper tears or tearing actions, and fonts
  • You can alter the items shown as long as the item is still recognizable.

You need to use some of each of the items.

This month we have chosen some fun products from THE DIGI FILES 4. Here they are:

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And here are the fabulous layouts some of our team created:

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DUNIA: Kaye Winecki’s papers, Sketched Borders by Creashens, Flower buttons by Kristin CB, Curve Templates by Loreta Labarca, Fonts: BookmanOldStyle, Chowderhear and Greer.

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JACKI: I choose to use the DigiDare #1 – what you wake up to in the morning. I just got a brand new bedroom set which I’m just loving. The color scheme is completely new to me and it’s fresh and fun. With a new comforter and pillows, it makes it awfully hard to crawl out of bed in the morning – especially at 6:15, ugh! Kaye’s gorgeous papers were just the perfect colors and I loved the dreamy clouds (especially how they fell right over my alarm clock – LOL! 🙂. I recolored Creashens sketch borders to white to add to that dreamy feel and layered them several times to give a little extra impact and I also used her cheery green glitter border. The background photo is a repeat of the featured photo and is set on Overlay at 77% opacity. Using the burn tool, I darkened the edges of the background paper to add to the feeling of frames and layers. When I think of beds, I think of lots of layers of sheets, covers, pillows. Kristin’s flowers were the perfect addition and I also cropped the center flower of the button for a little extra variety. Fonts used are Doodlie Beans (for wake-up time) and Smarty Pants, both from Darcy Baldwin.

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ANA: The challenge was really difficult for me, as I always use stitches in my pages (or staples). At least we had the buttons to tie the elements! 🙂 I didn’t need to recolor any element (except for the border, I colored it brown) as the colors of the products kinda matched my picture. I had a hard time using fonts for the title, as I always use alpha, but I thought it was interesting because I searched for a font that was similar to stamp. Credits:Papers, Kaye Winecki, Sketched Borders, Creashens (colored), Flower buttons, Kristin CB, DJB Libby Fizzed Out, Darcy Baldwin (journaling) and Downcome (title)

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KAREN: I didn’t quite realize the depth of my element addiction until I started this challenge! Instead of using lots of different elements, I focused on using Creashen’s borders in several different ways to draw attention to my photo. I also found myself drawn to the “dare flair” part of the challenge that requires texture on the layout. I spent a lot of time experimenting with paint and ink to get just the look I wanted, which was lots of character on the paper, but nothing that would take away from the photo itself or the framing.

(In addition to the four elements of the challenge, I used Anna Aspnes kraft paper tears and Two Sister’s Artist’s Canvas paint/chalk. The fonts you probably recognize: Fontologie Giggles and Printing Primer)

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RACHAEL: The challenge was a lot of fun, but I found that creating a layout without photos was more difficult than I thought it would be!

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AMY: When faced with limited supplies I always turn to the papers to make up the bulk of the layout. Using the polygonal lasso tool is perfect for “cutting” out irregular rectangles from paper. I also used the rectangular marquee tool to cut labels from the white paper (any light solid colored paper works well). Finally, you can extract pieces of layered or clustered elements to use them separately. I removed the smallest flower part of the buttons to use as accents on my labels.

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Thanks, ladies, for creating some gorgeous pages that are totally inspiring!

Now it’s YOUR turn — open up your DIGI FILES 4, pull out the 4 products, and get scrapping! Leave a link here before Friday and we’ll be giving away some great coupons!

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P.S. To all my American readers out there, have a great Memorial Day. Take at least a few minutes to really remember what this day is about and about the men and woman who risk their lives daily to guarantee our freedom. And enjoy the BBQ!

You Get up at WHAT time??

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People often ask what time I get up.  When I say, “around 5:00 am” they mumble all sorts of surprised comments and questions.  They just can’t believe it.

When I was little my mom always went to bed really early (like 8:30 or 9:00) and then got up really early (like 5:00 am).  I didn’t think much of it.  It is just how things were.  And then as I became an adult myself and watched the habits of those around me, I realized how unusual her schedule was.  As the years have gone by, I have also watched my sister live in those same hours — 4:00 or 5:00 am wake up and a very early bedtime.  It really amazed me.  It wasn’t that I was a night owl — I knew morning was my most productive part of my day — but my work schedule always set my schedule.  We worked in boarding schools and children’s homes and you get up when it is time to work and you go to bed when you are done working.  It was that simple (and that tiring!)

Over the past year I have had — for the first time in my married life — the opportunity to set my own schedule (well, apart from the 4 little kiddos I have running around).  I can go to bed when I want and get up when I want.  And slowly — I am not really sure how — I have turned into my mother.  I go to bed early, and get up early.  The kids go down at 7pm, we usually check email and watch one TV show, talk for a little, and go to bed.  Most nights our lights are off no later than 9pm.  And then, at 5:00 am or so, I wake up, totally on my own, and enjoy and hour or hour and a half of blissful quiet as the rest of my family sleeps.  Did I mention how BLISSFUL that quiet time is?  Going to bed early, and waking up early, has been one of the BEST changes I have ever made.  I almost never feel tired, and I am twice as productive in the wee hours of the morning than I would be if I were staying up late. My day starts out peaceful, quiet, and productive.  I think my mother knew what she was doing!

I know that this kind of schedule is not for everyone. However, I think for many people, it might just be the change they need.  The article below talks about 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It.  It was written by Leo Babauta and is reprinted with permission.

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Recently, reader Rob asked me about my habit of waking at 4:30 a.m. each day, and asked me to write about the health benefits of rising early, which I thought was an excellent question. Unfortunately, there are none, that I know of.

However, there are a ton of other great benefits.

Now, let me first say that if you are a night owl, and that works for you, I think that’s great. There’s no reason to change, especially if you’re happy with it. But for me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a godsend. It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back. Here are just a few:

  1. Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “
  2. Amazing start. I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself and the kids ready, and rushing to drop them to school and come in to work late. I would walk into work, looking rumpled and barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to your day. Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., my kids are early and so am I, and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience.
  3. Quietude. No kids yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.
  4. Sunrise. People who wake late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colors start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colors. I like doing my early morning run during this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!” Really. I really do that. Corny, I know.
  5. Breakfast. Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the betterier. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk.
  6. Exercise. There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be canceled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never canceled.
  7. Productivity. Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family.
  8. Goal time. Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.
  9. Commute. No one likes rush-hour traffic, except for Big Oil. Commute early, and the traffic is much lighter, and you get to work faster, and thus save yourself more time. Or better yet, commute by bike. (Or even better yet, work from home.)
  10. Appointments. It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. Showing up late for those appointments is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare.

How to Become an Early Riser

  • Don’t make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
  • Allow yourself to sleep earlier. You might be used to staying up late, perhaps watching TV or surfing the Internet. But if you continue this habit, while trying to get up earlier, sooner or later one is going to give. And if it is the early rising that gives, then you will crash and sleep late and have to start over. I suggest going to bed earlier, even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, and read while in bed. If you’re really tired, you just might fall asleep much sooner than you think.
  • Put your alarm clock far from you bed. If it’s right next to your bed, you’ll shut it off or hit snooze. Never hit snooze. If it’s far from your bed, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off. By then, you’re up. Now you just have to stay up.
  • Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. Don’t allow yourself to rationalize going back to bed. Just force yourself to go out of the room. My habit is to stumble into the bathroom and go pee. By the time I’ve done that, and flushed the toilet and washed my hands and looked at my ugly mug in the mirror, I’m awake enough to face the day.
  • Do not rationalize. If you allow your brain to talk you out of getting up early, you’ll never do it. Don’t make getting back in bed an option.
  • Have a good reason. Set something to do early in the morning that’s important. This reason will motivate you to get up. I like to write in the morning, so that’s my reason. Also, when I’m done with that, I like to read all of your comments!
  • Make waking up early a reward. Yes, it might seem at first that you’re forcing yourself to do something hard, but if you make it pleasurable, soon you will look forward to waking up early. A good reward is to make a hot cup of coffee or tea and read a book. Other rewards might be a tasty treat for breakfast (smoothies! yum!) or watching the sunrise, or meditating. Find something that’s pleasurable for you, and allow yourself to do it as part of your morning routine.
  • Take advantage of all that extra time. Don’t wake up an hour or two early just to read your blogs, unless that’s a major goal of yours. Don’t wake up early and waste that extra time. Get a jump start on your day! I like to use that time to get a head start on preparing my kids’ lunches, on planning for the rest of the day (when I set my MITs), on exercising or meditating, and on reading. By the time 6:30 rolls around, I’ve done more than many people do the entire day.

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So there you have it — some great ideas of why getting up earlier is good for you and how you can start doing it.  I LOVE my mornings 🙂

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Just One More Week

It’s almost the end of May and that means that you have just one more week to pick up this months THE DIGI FILES. This collection is packed full of some amazing products…kind of hard to believe you can get it all for just $5.00!

A number of people have asked about the proceeds of THE DIGI FILES. “Where does it go?” they ask.

Well, here’s the answer! THE DIGI FILES are the only source of income for the site. We don’t accept paid advertising and as you can see, we don’t have blinkies and banners taking away from the content of the site. We want your viewing and reading experience to be good — and that means looking at something pretty! Because of the fact that we don’t have paid advertising spots, we have to have an alternate source of income.

Running a website costs money. There are hosting fees, advertising fees, overhead office expenses, software expenses, money that goes towards technological changes/advances for the site, money to pay our staff for their time, and bandwidth fees. Did you know that every time someone views our site — or any site for that matter — it uses up bandwidth, which costs money?

When I first planned on starting this site I tried very hard to think of a means of revenue for the site (because I couldn’t pay for it all out of my own pocket). I wanted the site to be different. I wanted to have it content driven and to only feature products and designers we truly believed in. This was not an easy task! And then one day it came to me — THE DIGI FILES. It would be a mutually beneficial relationship. THE DIGI FILES would bring in the needed income for the site, it would expose readers to new-to-them designers, would offer them fantastic deals on tons of products, and it would allow us to show off designers who are offering quality product and customer service. Everyone wins. You, the reader, get access to the site for free and we get to continue doing what we love.

So there’s your answer — THE DIGI FILES are the only way the site can run. Without the income they bring, the site would not be possible. Your purchase of THE DIGI FILES not only gives you some great deals but also allows US to bring YOU the best information and inspiration in the digi world…each and every day.

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With that said, let’s take a look at this months products. We still have two more Sponsor Spotlights coming up, but we wanted to give you all a chance to see everything inside while still having some time to make your purchase. So here you go…you get ALL OF THIS for just $5.00. And you can feel good that you are doing your part to support the site and its dreams for serving the digi community.

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TOP TEN REASONS TO LOVE TEMPLATES — part 3

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Templates…I love them and that is no secret. I love making them, I love using them, and I love seeing how they help other people scrap. A while back we started looking at the TOP TEN WAYS TO USE TEMPLATES.

In Part One we saw that:

1. Templates give you a starting point
2. Templates are great for beginner scrappers
3. Templates can help you do things you don’t know how to do

In Part Two we looked at the fact that:

4. Templates are very versatile
5. Templates help you try new things or things that you struggle with
6. Templates aren’t just for page designs.

Today we are going to finish up our Top Ten List.

tdd-everyday_7There are a lot of great template artists out there! Templates are only as good as the artists that created them. Thankfully, there are so many amazing designers out there creating templates to fit every style. Almost every digi store has someone designing and selling templates. If you are in need of some fresh inspiration try these ladies: Kaye Winiecki, Jen Caputo, Tiffany Tillman, Kelleigh Ratzlaff, Jen Wilson, and Ali Edwards.

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tdd-everyday_8Templates are easy to make and a great design tool. Oftentimes, when I am creating a page “from scratch” I actually start by creating a template. If I know how many photos I want to use and/or the style I am going for, creating a template first is a great way to focus on the design aspect before working with actual photos and papers. For instance, when I wanted to scraplift Jen Jockish’s page for Wednesday’s post, I first created the template. That way, I could just place things where I wanted them and then start adding photos, papers, and embellishments. And the bonus? Now I have the template if I ever want to create a similar style page.

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tdd-everyday_9Even your kids can scrap with templates! My six year old daughter LOVES to create (and then show off!) scrapbook pages! Templates are the perfect way for her to learn basic Photoshop skills. She sits on my lap, we choose a template, and then we go from there. She will see how many photos it needs, how many papers, etc. Once she chooses her pictures I will select a kit that I think would go well with it. And then she plays! Over the past year she has gotten really good! She knows how to resize, recolor, move, add new files, do a clipping mask, and more. Templates are a great way to help kids who want to learn! Here is one of the pages she created using a template:

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10Templates make putting an album together easy-peasy! One of the best times to use templates are when you are trying to create an album. Templates make things so easy for you by having pre-cut shapes, cohesive designs, and a terrific starting point. If you want to put something together fast, start with a template! This album took me just over an hour to create:

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So go on, give templates a try! They are such an amazing tool and resource. If you want to learn more about how to use templates, check out our template page HERE.

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