A new generation of e-cards

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I’ve never been a fan of e-cards (electronic greeting cards) in the past because they never looked all that great. Things sure have changed in the past few years and there are some really nice designs and fun apps to use for sending photos & greetings to anyone at anytime!

My favorite app is one I used as a pick on episode #24 (Feed Your Disease) of the digi show. It’s called Red Stamp and at this time it’s available only for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It’s free to download and use. If you want to send a physical card, it does cost $3.99 to do that.

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Here are some creations I made with this app:

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I decided to order a physical copy of one of my cards so I could see what the quality was like. It was printed up like a nice sturdy postcard and the image was very clear and crisp (unlike my photo). My only concern was that it didn’t arrive in an envelope, it was shipped just like a postcard. Mine arrived in perfect condition, but for $3.99 I did expect an envelope. You certainly can’t beat the free app and free e-sending. If you want to send a physical card, I would still recommend Red Stamp, just be aware that it arrives postcard style.

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What if you don’t use an iPhone or related device? If you use an Android, you can search for ecard apps. It’s also the perfect opportunity to use those digi supplies and photoshop skills to create your own fun e-greetings to send via email. This post will come in handy: Birthday cards from digital supplies.

Have fun sending your e-creations!

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Putting Sharpening To the {Print} Test

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Image created by Steph, supplies include: Fontologie Printing Primer font, School Days College by WMsquared

On a recent episode of The Digi Show (Episode 25: Photos that Capture Your Life), the panel discussed photo sharpening. Later, Lissa posted a comment on the episode asking if I (Wendy) had ever printed test layouts to see how sharpening affected the end result. Since I hadn’t, I decided to put Persnickety Prints and MyPicTales to the test to see how an un-sharpened layout would compare to a sharpened one. Would I get what I saw on the screen? Would their software or processing interfaces add additional sharpening? Did a 12×12 layout really need sharpening? All great questions, so I formed my hypothesis and set out to get some empirical evidence.

The Questions: Do 12×12 layouts really need sharpening? Will print labs add additional sharpening, resulting in over-sharpening of layouts? Does the print method make a difference (ie. photographic process versus process color CMYK).

The Hypothesis: 8×8 layouts should definitely be sharpened because reducing them in size will introduce blurring. 12×12 layouts may not need sharpening. Photolab prints might not need as much sharpening as process CMYK prints due to the different nature of the printing.

The Supplies: One dolphin layout created with Dawn Inksips Above & Beyond Template 22 (which is part template part quick page and non-objectively quite amazing).

The Method: I flattened my layout as a 12×12 and saved a copy without any sharpening. Then, I ran my Sharpen It action and saved a copy. (Note: Every time you save and reserve a JPG, it loses quality, so I always return to the original.) Next, I returned to the original layout and resized to 8×8, with the standard bicubic method, which does not add any extra sharpening. I saved an 8×8 copy as is. Then, I ran my sharpening action on the layout and saved a copy. So, now I have a 12×12, a sharpened 12×12, an 8×8 and a sharpened 8×8.

I uploaded all 4 images to Persnickety Prints and placed my order. It shipped the next day and was on my step a few days later. I uploaded my images to MyPicTales using both their Web Uploader and their book software. I wanted to see if I got a different result going through their software. The order shipped in 2 days and was on my doorstep two days later.


The Observations: All 12 layouts were gorgeous. The Persnickety ones were slightly glossier and brighter, which would be expected from the photographic process and glossier paper versus the CMYK process on the satin paper. All the unsharpened layouts looked great on their own. If I saw them by themselves, I would not have thought they needed any sharpening. However, when I laid them beside the sharpened versions, I noticed a subtle difference in the glitter, the dolphin eyes and the sketched doodles. The difference was slightly more evident on the Persnickety prints than it was on the MyPicTales prints which also did not surprise me. The photographic process lends itself to a sharper image to begin with.

The Results: Although the difference was slight and probably only noticeable by a trained eye, I much preferred the sharpened layouts. The size, and printer did not seem to make a difference in my mind’s eye. I preferred the sharpened images in both sizes and from both printers. If I made any adjustment at all, it would be to sharpen a wee bit more when choosing a process CMYK printer.

(Check out the detail in the dolphin’s tail. There is more texture and color visible.)

(Above is the un-sharpened layout. Below is the sharpened one. There is a noticable difference in the glitter texture and color.)

My Conclusion: Sharpening can add a subtle touch to your layout, making those eyes pop out from the page. It can make that glitter have just a bit more sparkle. And, now I can confidently say, “Yes! I tested the sharpening and I’m a believer.” That said, I highly recommend you do your own test! Printing is so subjective. The end result you want can be totally different than what I want. It only cost me a few dollars to compare the prints. Add an extra sharpened or un-sharpened layout to your next order and see what you think! We’d love to hear your results!

(DISCLAIMER: It is very hard to take an accurate photo of a photo! The colors here do not do the images justice. The images were correctly slightly for color and for sharpening only when reduced. The up-close swatches are shown at 100%.)

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Fabulous Friday in February

Did you know The Daily Digi has an iPhone app? We released our iPhone app almost two years ago (can it be?!) We were then, and still are today, the only dynamic, information based app in scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking.  You can find out more about what it is does. We are in development (and have been for a while) on an update that will hopefully land in the app store in the next few months (just keeping it real…it would be awesome for it to be weeks, but these things take time).

Don’t forget to check out our contest if you haven’t:

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You have really been missing out if you haven’t been able to catch an episode of The Digi Show! Just this week a brand new listener (that is also a designer) said she started listening and couldn’t believe how much she had been missing out on. She’s going back and listening to all of the old shows now too. This week, Sarah Cornish from My Four Hens Photography joins Katie, Peppermint, and I to discuss our Photography toolbox.

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Let’s take a look around digiland!

Studio Basic has a new template collection:

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Gearhead is a masculine styled kit, slightly grungy, slightly steampunk and slightly vintage. Full of textures, gears and tools, this kit is perfect for car enthusiasts, masculine layouts, steampunk art journal and whatever else you can set your gearhead mind to.

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Lynne-Marie teamed up with her son Caleb to create this fun charity kit for a school project he has.  All profits will be donated to World Vision.  There is a full kit, a set of printable Valentine’s Day cards, and a set of printable home decor posters!

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Grab this sweet mini kit that coordinates with Just My Type the Kit – free for a limited time!

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Mye De Leon is having a Special Feature sale until February 12th! Check it out because there are new goodies included in this fabulous sale!

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Two super cute (and quick) ideas for Valentines day! Turn an old deck of cards into a meaningful custom gift. This one has been a real hit with the hubbies! Just add your own text to the customizable templates. Also includes PDF print-ready fill-in-the-blank cards which makes a great project for the kids to hand write their own! Plus don’t miss the iPhone Candy Bar Wrappers. Send your kids to class with the coolest candy bar wrappers around. Customize with your own picture (as an app) and greeting. Templates to fit a variety of different candy bars.

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Krisi’s Kreations has a new candy cover template out this week – perfect for Tic Tac’s – create a quick and easy Valentine gift for someone!  Plus if you go to Monday’s blog post she has a free Valentine printable and Tuesday she posts a weekly Project Life blog linkup!

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Amanda Heimann has a brand new kit with some super fun colors:

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Heather has some cool splattery brushes out–Numbers 3 & 4 complete the collection with sprays and paint strokes.

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Dunia has some new journaling cards:

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Kate Hadfield has a created a new set of digital stamps that are perfect for kids to color themselves to create their own Valentine gifts and messages! Sized at 3×4 inches they also fit Project Life page protectors! Color in Valentines are new in the store today and 20% off all weekend!

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Mscraps is having a designer call:

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Everyone needs a night on the Town. Dress yourself up to the nines or just throw on that Little Black Dress. This Digital Scrapbook bundle is all dressed up with classy papers, designer elements and romantic colors. Perfect for Prom, Weddings, Engagements, Dances, Dates, Church, Cruises, Girls Night Out or just a Night on the Town!

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Kristin Aagard has a brand new kit out called Bear Hugs. It is 20% off through February 10th. Daily Digi readers can take an extra 15% off by using coupon code: TDD_BEARHUGS_15

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We’re getting a NEW DO this week with Chelle’s Mane Event! Perfect for all those first haircuts, new haircuts, BAD haircuts or your favorite Do’s! On Sale this week!

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Childhood is about adventure, exploring, playing and most important having fun without a care in the world. Document your family stories with these awesome papers & elements from the Dirty Footprints Collection.

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Anna Aspnes and I have a collaboration kit coming out tomorrow, 20% off for the first week from release. ArtPLay Pallette Love = Life

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Designs by Lili has these 3×4 photo templates that are perfect for Project Life! On sale at 20% off all weekend!

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Tracie Stroud and Jady Day Studio have a super-cute collab releasing this weekend. It’s 20% off for one week only!

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Jennifer Labre has a gorgeous new kit out today that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Forever is 20% off all weekend!

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Ju Kneipp has this new collection out:

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Karla Dudley has this new goodie out:

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Studio Flergs has re-released Urban Grunge, and there are even some brand new matching products.

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Today is the last chance to take advantage of Sweet Shoppe Designs’s free gifts when you spend $10 or more in a single purchase.  Spend $20 and receive all 3 gifts!

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Alpha Duos from Misty Cato are sets of digital scrapbooking alphabets that work great on their own, but can be paired to create stylish, innovative titlework and journaling.  Check out her first release in the series, Watercolor Bliss today!

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Finally, I will be at Digiscrapapalooza, in Vegas! I’m looking forward to meeting some readers and listeners of The Digi Show! Come join us for a digital scrapbooking good time! (If you check The Digi Show site, you can find a discount coupon (coupon at TheDigiShow.com is an affiliate code))

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P.S. Rags was the random winner chosen from the comments left on yesterday’s feature on Darcy Baldwin.

Darcy Baldwin: Reluctant Daughter of a Crafter

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Darcy has been a member of the digital community for as long as I can remember. I remember being in my office (two houses ago) the day she announced she was going to start selling fonts and being so excited for her. Darcy specializes in turning handwriting into fonts (yours, a friends, a parent, etc.), but she also creates other fun and cute fonts too.  Let’s take a closer look at “The Daily Digi Girls” fonts created from the handwriting of our own team members, included in The Digi Files this month:

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Here are some layouts created using Darcy Baldwin {fontography}’s contribution:

LO1Layout by Trina. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; Mr. Mustachio – Micheline Martin; A Little Help (template) by Lizzy Reiber.
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Layout by Kim. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; Template by Cathy Zielske; Cardstock by Katie Pertiet; Fonts: DJB Digi Kim and DJB Mouseketeer Kim.
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Layout by Amelia. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; A New Day by Makita Studio; Silver (template) by Simply Tiffany; BOY Verbiage (word art) by Persnickety Prints; Additional Font: Marcelle Script.

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Layout by Karen. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; All The Small Things by Something Blue Studios; Topography template by Valorie Wibbens.

You can see more layouts created with this kit on our “Team Inspiration” page.

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InTheStudioWith
I’m Darcy Baldwin, fontographer @ Sweet Shoppe Designs. I live in Texas with my family of geeky boys. We’re nerds at heart and love it! We are wanna homesteaders living in suburbia, watching the stars, studying science and history with a passion, and enjoying adventures in food, Doctor Who and Legos!

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I love scrapping all aspects of our lives. We’re budding foodies – not in a snooty way – but in that we love food and love to experiment and love moving towards a whole foods lifestyle, so we track meals we love. Eventually, these layouts and recipes will make it into the “An Introduction to My Son” package for each of the boys when they get married. It was an idea that I thought of when we received recipe cards from all of our family and friends for our shower. It would’ve been great to have a collection of recipes from my MIL on those things my husband really likes (he’s a bit picky), and it would’ve saved a few ruined meals and tears early on!

This is a fun collection of our food adventures, and the boys love looking through them and helping choose our meals during meal planning time.

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I always thought scrapping was such a lame hobby (bear with me LOL). I’d only ever seen it done with huge photo cutouts, stickers on vast plains of white. When I had my youngest, I ran into a lady who took scrapping a little further, more creatively, less elementary-school-ish. I thought – That’s more my style! So one day I tried it out, and found while i hated journaling in a book, I loved the process of pictures+story to capture our lives.

I turned to digi about 3 years later when creating a project for a swap on a paper scrapping board. I didn’t want to take the time to do each of the pieces by hand, so played around with a photo editing program and found that I LOVED how I didn’t have to waste paper, I could ALT-Z, and never went back.

When I found an online community of other digital scrappers, I made friends with a fontographer who took me under her wings, taught me the ropes, and sent me on my way – into the great unknown of running my own business. I’ve been doing this since 2007 (wow, coming up on 5 years!)

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Our stories. I’m the reluctant daughter of a crafter – meaning my mom crafted a lot to fill her time, and occasionally I’d do something along with her, but crafting just isn’t my thing (I’d rather read). But as I get older, and our stories become more precious to me, creating something to remember them by is what makes me want to craft.

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Computer: Windows machine created by my amazing in-house Geek, with more oomph than I can ever remember because it changes as new products come out and he ramps up the power!

Program: I currently use Photoshop C3 for my scrapping.

Camera: I have a Canon Powershot X10. I crave a pocket sized great camera so that I don’t have to lug this one around, though!

Anything Else: Monoprice Tablet (switched from Wacom when we just couldn’t beat the price and my pen broke for the last time, and the pen cost as much as a new tablet).
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One great tip I have on your journaling – give it some depth, not height! Written words should never have a shadow – but you can add a little depth as if you were writing with a ball point pen on a stack of papers by adding a simple pillow emboss (in Photoshop, click pillow emboss, choose chisel hard, bring your depth down to about 30, Highlight Mode to about 25 and Shadow mode to about 38.

This will give your text a bit of depth, as if you’ve pressed firmly on your paper. Play around with those numbers as color of paper and font thickness/color will make a difference.

 

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I love that I get to play a part in so many people bringing their stories to life in their own handwriting. Whether it’s a professional who wants to be able to write to parents or clients in a more personable way, scrappers who want to be able to bring their own personality to their pages without the process of hand writing them, or capturing a love one’s handwriting to preserve (I’ve got to say doing kid fonts are SO much fun!), I am honored to be a part of the process of their stories.

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This is actually a collection of some of my most popular fonts, together in one package.

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Here are some of my favorite products by Darcy Baldwin:

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Here are some more inspirational layouts using Darcy Baldwin’s products. All of the layouts are linked to the originals with credits.

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35% off Darcy’s products (not valid during store-wide sales or on font services) through February 29th.

Go have a look in Darcy Baldwin’s store! We will randomly select a winner from the comments to win $10.00 in product from her store! (Comments must be posted before midnight EST to qualify)!

Inspired by Darcy Baldwin

The following layouts were created using “The Daily Digi Girls” fonts created by Darcy Baldwin from a few of our team members handwriting:

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Layout by Heddy, supplies include: DJB Digi Jenlin font by Darcy Baldwin, Pasted and Pinned: Big Bundle by Amy Stoffel and Jenny Davey, Journal Bling by Jenn Barrette
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Layout by Jenn, additional supplies: My Life in Print by TDD,  DJB Digi Tara
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Layout by SharonS, supplies: February_2012_MyseryMega, Scrap Orchard, Photo Mask: Julia Makotinsky, Frame: Scrapgirls, Font: DJB Digi Tara
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Layout by Trina. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; Mr. Mustachio – Micheline Martin; A Little Help (template) by Lizzy Reiber.
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Layout by Kim. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; Template by Cathy Zielske; Cardstock by Katie Pertiet; Fonts: DJB Digi Kim and DJB Mouseketeer Kim.
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Layout by Amelia. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; A New Day by Makita Studio; Silver (template) by Simply Tiffany; BOY Verbiage (word art) by Persnickety Prints; Additional Font: Marcelle Script.

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Layout by Karen. Supplies: The Daily Digi Girls by Darcy Baldwin {fontography}; All The Small Things by Something Blue Studios; Topography template by Valorie Wibbens.

I’m a writer because I’m a scrapbooker

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Just my type by Mari Koegelenberg. The typewriter font by Heather Hess.

When I was younger, I had dreams of being a writer. I was sure that I would live in the English countryside (don’t know how I was going to get there from Utah?) where I would plunk away on my typewriter for hours every day. It was a ridiculously romanticized image of what the life of a writer would be and I’ve come to understand that is not likely to ever be what my life looks like. The best part is that I’ve since realized I don’t want that type of existence. Sure, the English countryside part still sounds wonderful, but I definitely want more out of my world than just a one on one relationship with words and paper. I want to live life each day and experience it. That means that I have to squeeze in bits and pieces of writing when I can.

Sometimes, when I discuss my love of scrapbook journaling with others, they seem to have an idealized notion of what it must be like to be one of “those people” who write a lot on their layouts. They act as if I have more time or talent than they do because I’ve put a few paragraphs on a page. What they might not realize it that it comes out word by little word, and it often takes many tries to simply jot down a few sentences.

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I’ll open a word document and type a few thoughts, then I need to drive my daughter somewhere. That document stays open in the background of my computer while I answer emails, teach my children in homeschool, and balance our checkbook. I play around with the layout. It’s much more fun to arrange flowers than it is to extract words from my busy brain.

I remind myself that the page will not be complete without the story, so I go back to my word document. I switch back and forth between photos and thoughts. I stare at the pictures and try to remember what I want to say. I type a few words. I look at the clock and realize that dinner time is right around the corner. I forget about the journaling. Hours later, the kids are finally in bed, and I have a few minutes. But, I’m exhausted and I have other things that need to get done before morning. Those tasks come first, but I type a few more lines to explain the memories.

This process can last for days at times. It all depends on what interrupts me. I have a real life. I’m needed by actual people. I don’t give up. I write when I can. I take any little chunk of time that falls into my lap and I use it. That’s what writers do.

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My new image of a writer is not someone who sits alone for hours in a quiet room, but it is someone who makes notes on her smartphone, works on ideas when she has a few minutes, types captions into her photo uploads, shares thoughts on social media, and post pictures and thoughts in blog posts. She can type memories while her son plays rock band in the other room, or in a quick dash as she fits in some time before a friend drops by.

When the time comes to pull it all together, a writer gathers the breadcrumbs she’s been leaving behind and gives them a home. In my case, the finished product is not a novel, but a scrapbook page. Bits and pieces at a time. Line by line, I’m writing the story of my life and I call it scrapbooking. Not in a cottage overlooking an English garden, but in a house full of people, cooking dinner, teaching school, wearing sweatpants, at 11 p.m. at night, or on my phone at the breakfast table.

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I’m a writer because I stick with it. I keep going until those words are on the piece of paper. It’s not glamorous. It’s not even particularly talented. It’s persistent, and it pays off in the long run. I’m a writer because I’m a scrapbooker. I’m a writer because I keep trying to be one. The key is to just chip away at it until you have something down on paper, and when you do – put it on a layout!

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Steph & Katie’s Lightroom Showdown

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I love editing my photos in Lightroom and I’ve shared that passion in this post here at The Daily Digi and in several episodes of The Digi Show. Presets are my best friend when it comes to making my photos shine and it really is my favorite method for photo editing. I keep telling Steph that “she will love editing photos in Lightroom” but she hasn’t been all that interested since she kind of dreads photo editing. She has enjoyed using Lightroom for tagging her digital scrapbook supply previews and has shared that passion in this post and also on The Digi Show. She keeps telling me that it’s so fast and easy and I “really need to try it.” I’ve made a big point about how I really don’t like to tag supplies. I’ve had bad experiences in the past and I’ve been very happy with my trusty folder system. We found that we both were passionate about different parts of Lightroom and wanted to share what we loved with each other. I’m not sure who issued the first “challenge”, but somehow it became an idea that I would try tagging previews, if she would try photo editing with presets. We started referring to it as a “showdown” and we decided our readers would also enjoy seeing this epic battle. LOL!

The Anti-Tagger (aka Katie)

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I took a deep breath and imported all the images from my misc. kits preview folder into Lightroom. I applied the keyword “preview” to each of them as they imported which meant all I had to do was to type that word once and it was automatically applied to all 515 previews as they were imported into the program. (Yes, I realize I have a slight addiction!)

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That was super easy, (and fast) but I needed to see how it worked if I wanted to tag each preview with the designer’s name. The whole point of tagging for me would be to make it easier to search for something specific. I went through and selected all the kits by a certain designer and then applied a keyword of their name. In this case, I chose Lauren Reid’s kits and added the keyword “laurenreid”.

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This was a very easy and quick process since the previews were already organized by designer name in my folder. I was able to keyword all 515 previews in less than 18 minutes! Suddenly, it made sense for me to apply tags to my supplies because the process was fast and painless. The keywords are applied as metadata so I don’t have to worry about losing them or that they are only useful in Lightroom because that information is written to the file’s metadata. Now my previews are all tagged with the designer’s name from Anita Designs to Zoe Pearn! (A to Z) I could also easily add keywords based on the kit’s theme or other relevant factors. For the first time in years, I’m excited about tagging!

The Editing Hater (a.k.a. Steph)

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I hate editing photos! That is not news to you at all if you listen to The Digi Show. The problem is, I can’t put a photo on a layout without editing it first, no matter how I try. Editing photos just takes too long, which makes me not like it.

Katie has been telling me for a very long time that if I edited my photos in Lightroom, I would like it, but I have remained skeptical. I bought Lightroom a long time ago and did a bit of photo editing and admitted that I could probably start to hate it less. However, I didn’t really understand the program that well and I didn’t want to take the time to learn it, just to edit photos.

After getting my supplies organized in Lightroom, I could see the advantage it would be in my workflow to edit in Lightroom as well. When Katie agreed to my challenge, I dug in and started learning how to edit in Lightroom. I went through the Basic Develop Module Workflow video at Lynda.com (Chapter 26 video 1). It was a seven minute video and enough to get me going!

I already knew how to import my photos from doing all of my product previews, so I got to work importing all 35,548 photos taken over the past 5 years (yes, I still have another harddrive that includes photos taken between 2000 and 2006).

I had an album in mind that I wanted to work on and decided to process those photos. I selected several photos at time that had similar lighting conditions and used my Totally Rad Presets to edit them. I also applied tags to the photos based on event:

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I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to batch edit these photos. I would have never sat and batch processed this many photos in Photoshop…ever. It took me 3 hours to edit almost 300 photos. While I won’t say that I LOVED it, I will say that I didn’t hate it. I would even go as far as saying I liked it (I had to have at least liked it in order to sit there for 3 hours editing).

What I’m most excited about is now that I have my photos in Lightroom and my supply previews organized and tagged in Lightroom; I can batch edit some photos, select a few for a layout, and add a layout keyword to the photos as well as the supply preview I want to use.

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Here’s a closer look at the keywords on the above images:

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When I am ready to scrap, I can export those photos into Photoshop. I can right click on the preview and select “Show in Explorer” and the folder containing those supplies will open; from there, I can drag and drop the supplies I want to use into Photoshop.

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I am excited about being able to quickly edit my photos in Lightroom and have them looking “good enough” to go on my layouts. I am super excited about the way I will be able to incorporate all of this into my workflow and save time.

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If you are having a hard time getting excited about a technique that someone else loves, try going head-to-head with them in a challenge. Help each other by sharing tips and tricks. Ask each other questions. If you don’t have a digi buddy, try posting in a forum to ask for some inspiration. Or create your own challenge by deciding something like “I’m going to to try Katrina’s technique for photographing people with glasses” or “I’m going to start a pinboard for pages just like Heddy did.” We love to share our passions here at The Daily Digi and we are often inspired by something YOU tell us about in the comments. It’s fun to learn from each other. I’m sure glad Steph challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new!

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P.S. Noelle was the random winner chose from the comments on Sabrina’s Creations feature last Thursday. She won $10 in product from Sabrina’s Creations!

P.S.S. Ophelia was the random winner selected from yesterday’s feature on Stolen Moments Designs. She won $10 in product from Stolen Moment Designs

Stolen Moments Designs: Part Time by Night

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Sometimes, when I come across a new designer, their designs really jump out at me and I remember them for a long time. If I find myself going back again and again to see what’s new, I know I’m hooked. That’s what happened after I found Stolen Moments Designs. I love her great color sense and unique elements that can always be found. So many fun things that inspire me to scrap my memories! Let’s take a closer look at “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” that is included in The Digi Files this month:

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This is just ONE of the collections you get this month when you become a  member of The Digi Files OR Digi Game! This month, we have EIGHT full collections for a total of $7.50 and that includes our Playbook with ideas for putting the products into action!

Here are some layouts created using Stolen Moments’s contribution:

LO1Layout by Karen. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments; Fonts: .
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Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments; Fonts: DJB DigiKim.
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Layout by Anne. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments; Fonts: Noteworthy.
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Layout by Lauren. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments.

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Layout by SharonS

You can see more layouts created with this kit on our “Team Inspiration” page.

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InTheStudioWith
I’m Amber, a 27-yo mom of 1-and-a-half boys, who works full time by day and scraps part time by night. I’m back living in northern Utah after having been away for 3 years while DH completed his MFA in theatre in Missouri. My degree is also in theatre, and my “real job” is in arts administration. BTW, I hate these types of intros – I’m never witty or clever enough to make them interesting.. 😉

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These are some little boxes I made to give homemade gifts in for Christmas of 2010. My favorite thing about them is that they were my first true dive into hybrid crafting. I never paper scrapped before starting digi, and it was really fun to “get my hands dirty” in a way I never really had before.

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I was first introduced to digital scrapping the summer of 2008 when my husband’s cousin blogged about it. I had a new baby at the time, missed having a creative outlet now that I was a SAHM, and had always been intimidated by “real” scrapbooking because I’m too much of a perfectionist. The idea of being able to ctrl+z whenever I needed was a perfect solution! I surfed around the freebie sites for a couple weeks and decided I wanted to try my hand at designing, and the rest is history.

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The first thing that always speaks to me when I’m looking for inspiration is color. I’ll see an image – DS’s clothes, a family photo, an ad in a magazine – and the colors will immediately pop out at me and say something. The final product may not have anything to do with the image I pulled the colors from, but the feelings evoked by that combination of colors is always there.

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Computer: I do all of my work on my 15″ Dell Inspiron 1564 that I bought back in 2009. She’s in desperate need of a new battery (as in, the moment it comes unplugged she dies), hasn’t had any RAM or other upgrades (although she needs them) and is running Windows 7 – which I love! 🙂 Before getting Stella I worked from DH’s desktop with a 17″ monitor and never thought I’d be able to comfortably work on a laptop – now, though, I can’t ever image going back!

Program: My primary program for designing is Photoshop CS3. I do a bit in Illustrator, but not enough to make any great claims to fame. I also occasionally use ArtRage, and all of my fonts are built in FontCreator.

Camera: Just a simple P&S – the Panasonic Lumix that we bought just before DS was born in 2008. It does a decent enough job – I didn’t know at the time what good really was. We keep saying we’ll save up for a DSLR, but somehow something else always sneaks in to use the cash instead.. One day, though… 😉

Anything Else: I have a Bamboo Fun tablet that I really enjoyed playing with when I first purchased it. But DS got his hands on the stylus once a while back and it’s just never been the same since. Luckily my design style doesn’t really use a whole lot of doodling, so I don’t find that I’m missing out too terribly often.

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The BIGGEST time saver I’ve come across in scrapping is the function in PS to “load files into stack.” Go to File –> Scripts –> Load Files into Stack. From there, navigate to the folder you’d like your images to come from and select as many as you like by ctrl+clicking or shift+clicking. The beauty of this is that it keeps the file names of each item in tact in your document (great for those of you who aren’t one-kit scrappers and need to keep track of things for credits) – it also loads them alphabetically, (which always comes in handy as I’m doing product previews). As I’m working, I only need to have two windows open – one with my loaded files and one with the page I’m working on. Once I’ve used a certain piece on my page, I’ll delete that layer from the loaded files document and can easily see if I’ve used everything I wanted to.

A few other time savers in PS that I’m ALWAYS using is to hold down the shift key while I’m dragging a layer from one document to the other. This will always center your layer within your page and make it easy to find. Another one is rather than digging through layer after layer in your palette to select an object, simply ctrl+click on it on your page and that layer will automatically be selected. If you want to select several things – a photo and frame, for example – ctrl+click the first item, then while still holding down the ctrl key, shift+click each other item. This selects everything you click on and you can now treat them as one as long as they are all selected (applying the same layer style, moving them around on the page, etc.)

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It seems that my favorite kit is always my most recent – however The Sweetest Season has managed to stand the test of time a bit more than most. I was inspired by an image of a beautifully decked out Christmas tree while I was spending some quality time on Pinterest.. 😉 The colors in the photo were so vibrant, but the feel was still very vintage. I wanted to create something a little more kitschy than I normally do, and while I still have a lot to learn in that area, I loved the journey I took in creating the kit and the challenge it presented me to think outside my normal designer box. And hello – that snowman – does it get any cuter than that?!?

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The colors and theme for Makin’ Me Happy were inspired by a bouquet of flowers DH randomly brought home to me for no special reason at all.. Nearly 2 years after its release, I’m still getting fairly regular sales of the kit, and I think the biggest reason is that it’s so versatile. The primary colors with a good neutral base can be used for a variety of different types of pages, and there is enough variety within the kit itself that each page I’ve seen with it is different – so no matter your scrapping style, you’ll find something in there for you.. Another reason I think people pick it up is that it just so happens to have a “mouse-inspired” add-on as well.. 😉

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Here are some of my favorite products by Stolen Moments:

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Here are some more inspirational layouts using Stolen Moments’s products. All of the layouts are linked to the originals with credits.

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Use the code DIGIFILES at Stolen Moments’ Scrapmatters store to receive 25% off your purchase (expires 03/01/12). You will also receive an extra coupon via email for 10% off every $5 you spend on the original purchase – i.e. spend $10 get 20% off your next purchase, spend $20 get 40% off your next purchase.

Go have a look in Stolen Moments’s store! We will randomly select a winner from the comments to win $10.00 in product from her store! (Comments must be posted before midnight EST to qualify)!

Inspired by Stolen Moments Designs

The following layouts were created using “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” by Stolen Moments Designs and included in The Digi Files during February, 2012:

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Layout by Yolanda
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Layout by Amanda
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Layout by Cheryl
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Layout by Debby
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Layout by Leeandra
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Layout by Marlen
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Layout by Mimontiero
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Layout by Patti
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Layout by Tanya
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Layout by Karen. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments; Fonts: .
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Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments; Fonts: DJB DigiKim.
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Layout by Anne. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments; Fonts: Noteworthy.
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Layout by Lauren. Supplies: Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Stolen Moments.

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Layout by SharonS

How to create your own infographics

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Infographic by Katie. Light bulb icon from Wikimedia commons. Fonts are varying forms of Arial.

 

I’ve been fascinated with infographics for some time now. I love the visual representation of data and facts and I really see it as another form of digital scrapbooking. When Steph posted this amazing infographic at the beginning of the year, I knew I had to figure out how to work on my own graphic design skills so I could make my own creation!

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The most important ingredients for an effective infographic include; data that can be represented visually, a clean & organized design, and good typography. Study infographic images that are appealing to you and make note of how the information was presented and what design techniques were used. Here are a few that I love:

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source: daily infographic

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source: daily infographic

I especially love these infographics because they represent personal data shared in a fun & beautiful way. These would be great for scrapbook layouts!

 

When you’re ready to create your own infographic, there are several great resources you’ll want to explore.

If you create any infographic-inspired layouts, we’d love to see them! Just upload them to our flickr group or leave a link here in the comments.

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