Non Album Vacation Album


Title graphic made using Just Beachy by Digital Design Essentials

Every summer my family and I take one “tourist” type summer vacation. This year, we travelled to Southern Ontario for 5 days (including 2 travel days). It was a quick trip but we were able to take in lots of sights in Niagara Falls and Toronto. We had an amazing week! I came back with 16 GB of photos during our 5 day excursion.


I made a promise to myself even before I went on the trip: I do NOT have to scrap my vacation in a coordinated album. That means:

  • No album template set to follow for 10+ pages
  • No picking one or two coordinating kits to use on all the pages
  • No bothering about a cohesive design.
  • No worrying if the left and right sides match.

I wasn’t even going to have a separate vacation book – all the pages would go in my main family album.

Do you know what happened? For the first time ever, I have a completely scrapped family vacation!*

(Pages are linked to credits.)














What do I have here:

  • A mix of kits. Some are theme kits and some are more general.
  • Every colour in the rainbow!
  • A wide variety of templates and styles. Some are clustered, some are linear…
  • A few 2 page layouts and lots of single page layouts.
  • Big pictures and small pictures.
  • Lots and lots of journaling to record our travel memories!

I’m just so happy to have these pages scrapped!

Lessons learned: Scrapbooking shouldn’t be stressful! Let go of the “I should…” (make an album, scrap chronologically, scrap every photo…) and embrace the “I want to…” mentality! Do what makes your heart happy.

* Should say almost completely scrapped album! I’m still looking for the perfect dinosaur kit for our trip to the dino museum. Smile

Elise’s Pieces Designs: Get the Girl Out


I am so happy to be welcoming back Elise of Elise’s Pieces to The Digi Files this month! I just LOVE Elise’s ability to select colors and her fun shabby style! They both make my heart sing and want to scrap! Elise has a great ability to create super fun and unique elements (check out the ribbon banner in this month’s contribution and the paper chain banners in the Christmas kit in my picks)! I happen to have a soft spot for school kits and was super excited when I unzipped her contribution this month!  Let’s take a closer look at “Learn & Grow” that is included in The Digi Files this month:


This is ONE of SEVEN collections you get when you become a member of The Digi Game this month. You also get an interactive Playbook (in PDF and iBooks formats) that has lots of ideas for using the supplies including techniques, tips, and tricks! All of that, including access to exclusive collaborations every four months you are a member, for only $7.50 total per month!

Here are some layouts created using Elise’s Pieces Designs’s contribution:

Layout by Jacki. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs.
Layout by Trina. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; July Facebook Freebie template – Little Green Frog Designs.
Layout by Heddy. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; Painted Paper Masks by Sugarplum Paperie.
Layout by Kimberly M. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; Fonts: Scruffy Angel by Darcy Baldwin.
Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; Fonts: Splatter Alpha by Brittish Designs, The Other Twin font by Heather Hess.

You can see more layouts created with this kit on our “Team Inspiration” page.
My name is Elise Hansen and I with my husband and three wild and brilliant sons in what we affectionately call the “Cowboys West” (Idaho). I keep pretty busy entertaining the boys and maintaining my spot as our family’s designated princess. I love spending time with my family, especially if we’re doing something fun outside, and I enjoy spending my downtime reading and cooking yummy things. I’ve been scrapping since high school and I still love to get my hands dirty with my paper stuff, but I’m totally in love with digi. I’ve been designing since 2008 and I absolutely love it!





My husband is away from home for business for about four weeks at a time, so I try to send him some little care packages while he’s gone. For this one, I let my sons pick out papers and elements from a Dad-themed kit and we used a really fun, kid-friendly template by my friend Kelleigh Ratzlaff. The boys wrote messages on the sides of their boxes, helped cut and paste, then we filled the finished boxes with treats. It was such a fun, easy project to do with kids, and my husband was thrilled!


When I was in high school, I organized all of my photos into a photo album and bought some stickers to accent some of the pictures. After that, I kept picking up little papers and stickers here and there, then started making my own albums. Now I have a huge collection of all sorts of paper items– it makes my husband a little nuts! 😉 In 2006, I was introduced to blogging by a friend, and one of her friends had the coolest looking blog. When I asked how she did it, she pointed me to a digital scrapbooking shop and I was immediately hooked. I had a version of Photoshop for my job at the time, so I learned to use it in a different way and started creating digital pages. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to design my own creations, so I started googling and playing… anyway, things eventually started clicking and I gave my first freebie away for Father’s Day in 2008. 🙂

I always joke that with all of these boys in my life, I need some kind of outlet to get the girl out! So of course, I’m totally inspired by girlie things like fabric, purses, fun home decor, etc. I’m also definitely inspired by my own scrapping needs and by what is going on with my own life, so I make sure to get some boy stuff in there, too!

Computer: I work on a Mac OS X with a 2 GHZ processor and 2 GB of RAM. I also have a 2 TB external hard drive where I keep all of my goodies.
Program: I use Adobe CS3– I know, I know, I need to upgrade!– and mostly use Photoshop and a little bit of Illustrator for designing.
Camera: I have a Nikon D3100– love it!
Anything Else: I use a Wacom Bamboo tablet and I seriously love it. Sometimes my kids mistake my tablet pen for a real pen and take it somewhere, and it makes me nuts. 😉

I love the distressed, inky look on the edges of my papers when I’m paper scrapping, and I’ve learned a way to duplicate a similar look digitally with Photoshop. Simply use your Inner Glow style and change the color to whatever you’d like, then change the blend mode to Normal for a painted on look, or Overlay or Soft Light for a softer look. I like to use a dark orange and Overlay to get a tea-stained look. Play around with the size and opacity to get the look you want.

I can’t help it, I love LOVE! Nearly all of my kits have some kind of hearts in them, so when Valentine’s Day came around this year, I went a little nuts. I’m crazy about teal and blue-green, and I loved pairing that with pink and hearts and lovey-dovey goodness.


Affirmation was one of those kits that just came together on its own. The colors just worked together from the start and it seemed really fluid to come up with elements and paper ideas. I love the idea of a fresh start, setting goals, and focusing on the positive, and those thoughts really inspired the creation of this kit. I think people really like this kit because the colors are so natural and easy to work with, and because it has a theme we can all relate to.


Here are some of my favorite products by Elise’s Pieces Designs:





Here are some more inspirational layouts using Elise’s Pieces Designs’s products. All of the layouts are linked to the originals with credits.

Save 40% off Elise’s Pieces Designs through 9/30/12 with coupon code TDD_Save.

Go have a look in Elise’s Pieces 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 Elise’s Pieces

The following layouts were created using “Learn & Grow” by Elise’s Pieces and included in The Digi Files during September 2012:

Layout by Sula


Layout by SharonS



Layout by Stefanie Semple




Layout by Ashley Hilton





Layout by Chel



Layout by Carrin


Layout by Jacki. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs.
Layout by Trina. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; July Facebook Freebie template – Little Green Frog Designs.
Layout by Heddy. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; Painted Paper Masks by Sugarplum Paperie.
Layout by Kimberly M. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; Fonts: Scruffy Angel by Darcy Baldwin.
Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Learn & Grow by Elise’s Pieces Designs; Fonts: Splatter Alpha by Brittish Designs, The Other Twin font by Heather Hess.

Organize Your Online Life, Part One


We started school last Monday in my house which means my already hectic life just got even busier. My daughter uses an online virtual academy homeschool program so I’m her learning coach. My son started one class in college and we are also  taking some community ed classes together. It’s exciting (and a bit scary) to be starting a new chapter in our lives. It’s also very important that I’m organized! I can’t very well accomplish all the things I need to do each day if I’m scrambling to find the information and resources I need. For me, the beginning of the school year is a much better time than January 1st to refine my organizational skills. This is the time when the new year really begins for me and I know that many of you feel the same way.

Getting organized is not a one-time achievement, it’s an ongoing process! Even when you feel like you’ve finally “got it”, life has a way of changing it all up on you so you need to re-evaluate your own systems. That’s where I’m at right now and so I’ve been taking a hard look at what I do online and how I organize that part of my life. I thought I would share my game plan here in hopes that it might be of help to some of you.

Step One – Make a list of what you do online

This might seem too basic, but I promise that it’s a helpful exercise. The best way to do this is take a day (or even better, an entire week) and track where you go online. An easy way to do this is to just check your browser history. Here’s a link that tells how to do that in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. Here’s how you do it in Chrome. Or you can simply keep track of the sites you go to during the day and make a list of them or file them in a bookmarks folder.

I think it’s important to take some time to make a list of the places you visit and include what you do there and the reason you frequent that site. Here’s a list of the places I go online almost every single day along with links to related posts here at The Daily Digi.

There are also several other sites that I use on a regular basis that I like to use bookmarks for. I’ll cover those in the next section. The important part of this step is to spend time figuring out where you go online and prioritizing what is important about each of those sites. It’s a great time to cut out any that aren’t really valuable!

Step Two – Organize your shortcuts

Once you have your list of online stops, find a way to minimize the time you spend getting to them each day. It’s important to me that my system is accessible from any computer I work on so I like to use Chrome and save my settings. Then when I work on a different computer, I can login to my Google account and access all of my Chrome settings. If you don’t use Chrome, be sure to check to see if your browser has the same option.

All of the sites I use on a daily or almost daily basis are filed directly on my bookmark bar (I use Google Chrome) so that I can get to them in one easy click using the icon. Sometimes I shorten the name of the link so I can fit more on the toolbar. I love it when websites use a favicon because then I can recognize the site just by image.


These are listed in the order of most importance for me to check each day. I always need to check my email and calendar. I check The Daily Digi each day to make sure the post went up as scheduled and to keep on top of the content and comments. The Flickr group is another one I need to check out at least once or twice a day. Those are my priorities. After those are taken care of, then I read blogs, hang out on Pinterest, Facebook, etc. as my time allows. If you can’t stay off sites like Facebook when you should be doing other things online, you might want to consider not putting a shortcut to it right on your toolbar.

I’m very picky about what gets to take up real estate space on my toolbar! For a website to get it’s own icon bookmark on the bar, it has to be a site I visit nearly every single day.  The rest of my toolbar is filled with folders.


The folders store links to sites that I visit often enough to keep them easily accessible via bookmark, but they aren’t everyday stops for me. When I hover over the folder, I can quickly access the links inside of it.


I’m not going to list out the content of all of these folders, but I will give you a general idea of what they hold.

Blog: contains links to blog login pages and other resources relating to my own blog and The Daily Digi.

Digi: links to digi shops and online classes. If you need some ideas on where to shop for digi supplies, check out all the stores and designers who have contributed to The Digi Files in the past. You know they will have high quality designs!

Photograph: a few photography sites and Flickr – Where I keep all of my online photos. Also a favorite hangout for inspiration.

Read: A small handful of links of items I’m in the middle of reading or want to look at in the next week and then delete. I do not use this as long term storage for links because they would just get lost. Anything I want to keep goes into my Springpad or Pinterest accounts.

Computer: links to sites like Dropbox, Adobe, Linked In, Google accounts, etc.

Home: Items relating to home management such as my bank – I pay almost all my bills online and check my balances. I don’t receive any paper statements anymore. Also – my favorite site for organizing my finances.

Me: links to Oh Life, My Fitness Pal, and a few other websites that help me stay on track with my personal goals.

A folder for each of my children: I keep links to schoolwork, recreational activities, and other current projects relating to each child in a folder just for them. It helps keep us all organized.

I’ve put these in the order I use them from left to right, except for my kids folders on the end – I like to make them easily accessible. The important thing is to put your shortcuts and folders in a pattern that makes sense to you so you reduce time searching for them.

Step Three – Do the same for your mobile devices

If you use a smart phone or tablet, it’s worth taking some time and effort to evaluate what you do online with those devices. You can apply the very same principles to streamline your mobile workflow. In most cases, you will probably be able to use apps instead of having to rely on browser based bookmarks. You will probably find that you use your mobile devices to access online resources in a different way than you use your computer.

I prefer to use my iPad for watching movies and tv shows, reading, taking notes, and accessing social media sites. Because I use my iPad for more entertaining purposes, I’m more likely to get actual work done when I’m at my computer. I browse through sites like Pionterest and Feedly while I eat breakfast. I can easily check my calendar, mark our school attendance, or read a few paragraphs of a book when I have some down time. I love the portability of a tablet device!

I’ve bookmarked a few key sites in my Safari browser, but almost everything else is done through apps. I like to keep my most frequently used apps in the bottom icon dock. Then I make sure my most accessed apps and folders are along the edges of my screen.

Katie screen

The most used apps on my iPad are kept in the bottom dock:

  • Mail (gmail)
  • Calendar (google calendar)
  • Safari
  • Netflix
  • Videos

In the row above the dock:

  • Kindle app – for reading ebooks
  • Pinterest app
  • The Daily Digi app
  • Springpad app – so I can look over all those great things I’ve saved
  • Notability app – I can take notes and sync them through Dropbox

In the 2nd row up, I have mostly social media sites:

  • Portfolio to Go – a Flickr app for browsing your photos
  • Facebook
  • Pinstagram
  • Hootsuite
  • Feedly

Everything else is in folders by topic.

  • Multimedia – for all music and video related apps
  • Photography – Flickr, photo editing, photo learning apps
  • Creative Fun – fun stuff like Red Stamp, Skitch, Art Rage, and Notica
  • Two folders of games
  • Organization – settings, contacts, calculator, finances, etc.
  • Learn- learning tools, flash cards, index cards, etc.
  • Travel – not used very often on my iPad since my phone is my travel buddy
  • Shop – amazon app, itunes and app store, Ikea catalog, Target app, etc.
  • Good Eats – meal planning (if I ever get serious about that), My Fitness Pal, ebook cookbooks

My iPhone goes everywhere with me and it is the most condensed version of my online life. Maybe that’s why I love it so much? I don’t bother with any browser bookmarks on my phone. I figure if I’m going to sit down and read and explore websites in depth, I’d rather be on my iPad or computer. The main purpose of my phone is to keep me in touch with people and with what’s going on in my world. There are also some entertainment purposes involved and my favorite use for my phone centers around photography.

Katie phone

Again, I use the top and bottom rows for my most used apps and I keep the apps and folders I want to access most frequently around the edges of the screen. From top to bottom:

  • Camera – my most used application
  • Shazam – up on the top row because my son always wants to Shazam songs when we are in stores.
  • Weather – a girl’s gotta know what to wear!
  • Clock – another heavily used app, it’s my alarm clock each day
  • Multimedia folder – similar to the one on my iPad but used less frequently on my phone
  • Organize – boring stuff like settings, contacts, calculator, dropbox, etc.
  • Travel – map, compass, mapquest, Delta app, – all used for traveling
  • Surf – the websites I go to on my phone
  • Games and more games – mostly to keep my son entertained when we are waiting somewhere
  • Picture and Picture 2 – a huge array of photo apps. I love to play with my phone photos!
  • My Fitness Pal – so I can keep track of my food and exercise
  • Notes – in case I need to jot down a few things to get at the store
  • The Daily Digi app – great for reading blog entries and playing with the challenge feature!
  • Google calendar – keeps my life organized
  • Phone – oh yeah, you can make phone calls on this thing!
  • Mail – gmail, of course
  • Safari – for when I need to look something up
  • Messages – I text way more than I call

Do you see how I’ve analyzed the way I use each device and customized my organization to fit the use? It didn’t take me long to get everything set up, and now when I sit down to my computer, or pull out my iPad or iPhone, I have some direction on where to go and how to use it effectively.

If you want to organize your own online life, follow the steps I’ve outlined for you. Take some time to figure out what you do online and why and then think about the best way to get there. The approach will probably be different for each device you use.

I’ll post part 2 of this series in mid-September so try to spend the next few weeks whittling down your bookmarks and getting them organized. You’ll be glad you took the time to get organized!

katie big

P.S. The title graphic was created with The Tattered Pear Chalklet. The font is Sharpie.

The Digi Files #45 With a Fresh New Look


Don’t you love the new look for The Digi Files? I sure do! I owe a THANK YOU to Peppermint at One Little Bird Designs for crafting up these lovelies for us to use. This design will be carried throughout the designer features, the Playbook, and more.

As always, I ‘m super excited to reveal some old favorites returning this month as well as fresh faces:

Elise’s Pieces

Janet Phillips

Sugary Fancy

Laura Banasiak

Valorie Wibbens

Dream Big Designs

Amy Wolff

Our annual members were able to start downloading their goodies once the calendar turned to September 1st ET. Our monthly members will start downloading as soon as their payments process through PayPal.

Why don’t we show what’s in the files at the beginning of the month? There are lots of reasons, but the biggest is that our members LOVE the surprise! They have come to trust our quality and they love downloading and unzipping before knowing what’s in there.

Here’s what our members said in the comments yesterday:

“Continue to love the variety of products in the digi files every month. There really is something for everyone and I always love learning more about my favorite designers.” Terra

“I’ve been a DigiGame month-to-month member for almost a year now and finally got around to switching to an annual membership. I can’t wait for each new month to see all the new goodies!” AJ

“My membership here has to be the very best bang for the buck I have with digital scrapbooking supplies. Every month I get such a variety of scrapping supplies; I get introduced to new designers and reintroduced to some; and I can enjoy the Playbook on my iPad. This month is no exception. Wonderful variety, great quality, new designers, and yummy new digital goodness.” – Valerie

Here are the random winners selected from yesterday’s comments, each person won $10 in product from one of last month’s designers:

Sarah T
Terri H
Michelle D
Patsy Tabbert

Wendy will mail out your coupon codes today! 🙂