A Daily Digi Year In Review

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It’s always interesting to take a look back at our year here at The Daily Digi. It is exciting for us to be approaching our 4th birthday (on January 1st). It is crazy to me that it’s only been FOUR years. The Daily Digi has been such a big part of my life for so long, it seems like it’s always been here.

Here are some additional items of interest not listed in the infographic above:

It’s been a busy year!  Thank you to our readers and especially the designers and members! It’s because of you that we get to do what we love on a daily basis! We are truly humbled that you invite us into your lives and days. We are looking forward to more amazing things in 2013!!

– Steph, Katie, and team

Holiday Gift Tags

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One of my favorite benefits of being a digital scrapbooker is that I always have access to wonderful designs at any time of day! When I decided to wrap some gifts the other night, I realized that I didn’t have any tags. No problem though, I just looked through my digi stash (and even did a little bit of quick shopping) to find just what I needed. Love that! All I had to do was print them out and trim them with a paper cutter. So easy!

I used the free LaurensScript font to add the names.

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This is the set I used for my nieces & nephew’s presents.

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I printed up some different tags for our family gifts.

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I used this set for Alex & Riley’s gifts – and this one comes in The Digi Files this month! Smile

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My guess is that you have some presents to wrap also right now. Here are some more of my favorite tags from digi land: (all images are linked)

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If you need tags for your holiday gifts, check your digi stash. You might even find some tucked in with some holiday kits. It’s fun & easy to add a personal touch to your presents!

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PS. Congratulations to this week’s readers who have won $10 to one of December’s featured designers: KarYn A (Snips and Snails), azika (Pink Poppy Press) and Teresa (mleCard). Thanks for commenting!

The most wonderful time of the week!

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Friday is the most wonderful time of the week in digiland so let’s celebrate with a Funtastic Friday post!

We recorded a brand new episode of The Digi Show podcast where we discussed all sorts of fun and interesting topics. Come have a listen!

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Scrapping with Liz has a few releases this week and this is just one of them. Check out her new Insta Square Templates! They are great for scrapping instagram photos (or any other for that matter) and there’s enough to quickly and easily put together a whole album. They are 20% off this week.

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A digital scrapbooking kit by Erica Zane at Sweet Shoppe Designs, Happy Shiny People is a super fun kit for that special nerd/geek in your life.

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Receive this free mini kit when you sign up for the SuzyQ Scraps newsletter!

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The A Year in Review template by Penny Springmann will showcase your family’s memories, your child’s development, or any project/special event that features photos and journaling.

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Piccolina has a lovely mini Christmas kit freebie at her site, and a coordinating alpha set can be found on her Facebook page.

PD Let the Season Shine Preview

 

Chelle’s Creations has a free alpha for you when you buy this kit. On sale until 12-26!

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ValC designs is getting a new kit out. It is call “My Way” She even have a FREE addon with it that you can grab at her Facebook Fan Page!!

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ViVa Artistry has a set of brushes and wordart that features the ubiquitous bee. Use it with the Field Journal kit for more outdoor memory fun or for your mixed media art. There are 10 brushes along with an ABR file for Photoshop and a special ABR file for CS6 with extra large images, 5 painted bees and 5 quotation wordart also included to add to the creativity.

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One Little Bird is adding some Creative Team members! See her website for more details.

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Mye De Leon is having a fantabulous product retirement sale at her guest store, Scrapbookbytes! It’s a good time to stock up before these goodies are gone for good!

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Fayette’s adorable snowmen and skating creatures will melt your heart and help you create amazing winter & frosty projects. Use the code TDD-Extra20 to save an extra 20% on your order from her shop at Pickleberrypop!

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Here are some other favorites I found this week:

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I think it’s time to do a little holiday shopping for myself! Winking smile

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P.S. The title graphic was created with Penny Springmann’s This Life: December. Also, congratulations to the readers who have won $10 to one of December’s featured designers: Kris (Polka Dot Pixels) and flowersgal (Kimeric Kreations). Thanks for commenting!

mleCard: Almost Magical

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Emily is one of the designers I’ve been blessed to meet in real life. I was so impressed with how sweet and genuine she is. I felt as if she would give me the last penny she had if she thought you might need it. It’s always wonderful to like a designers products and then find out they are amazing people as well as designers and artists. One of the things that sets Emily apart is her very own hand-drawn doodles that she includes in her kits, they are adorable! I was super excited to see her contribution this month! It is very timely, as The Daily Digi will be celebrating a birthday in just a few days (January 1st)! I also LOVE the two page spread template she included! Let’s take a closer look at “Birthday Bash” that is included in The Digi Files this month:

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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 mle Card’s contribution:

LO1Layout by Ronnie. Supplies: Birthday Bash by mle Card.
LO2Layout by Lauren. Supplies: Birthday Bash by mle Card; Gesso Jar v1 and Tech Support by Lauren Reid; Fonts: Blackout, Soymilk, Lullaby, DJB Gimme Space.
LO3Layout by Trina. Supplies: Birthday Bash by mle Card; Anise (template) by Sara Gleason.
LO4Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Birthday Bash by mle Card; Fonts: DJB JenLin.

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Layout by SharonS, additional supplies: Template: TDD Collab, MLOA, Fiddle Dee Dee, Font: Arsenale White

Name
Emily Card resides in Massachusetts with her husband, 2 kids (and another one due at the end of February), 1 dog and 1 cat.

STORE

BLOG

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

layout
I am very behind in my scrapping, so there are not very many pages of my son (who just turned 2). I took him outside not long after creating this kit with Tracie Stroud and he just laid in the grass staring up at the leaves as they fell to the ground around him. It was such a quiet and almost magical moment. I happened to have my good camera on hand and he turned and looked at me and I captured this shot. I just knew that I was going to use this kit, Autumn Splendor, even before I had a chance to download it. I also made a template from this kit and posted it for free on my blog. The link to grab it is here:

DesignerLO
started
I started to Digital Scrapbook in 2008 after having my first child. I was home all day with her, so I took many pictures. I knew I wanted to do something with them and I sort of just stumbled across an ivillage digital scrapbook forum. I quickly found a ton of sites that sold products and that was the start of it all. In April 2009 I snagged a guest spot on Krystal Hartley’s team and she encouraged me to pursue designing and(god bless her) she collabed with me. Someone who knew virtually nothing about design(though much about painting). She helped me find my first shop and I have loved every minute of this business since then.

inspired
My kids inspire me alot. But sometimes just an image/graphic from pinterest will inspire me and set the wheels into motion.

tools

Computer: I have a samsung laptop running windows 7, 2.3 Ghz processor, 16 GB Ram, 1.5 TB harddrive.
Program: Photoshop and Illustrator CS6.
Camera: Nikon D7000
Anything Else: wacom intuos4
tipstricks
When using paint splats on your layouts I find the best results come from playing with the blending modes. I love being able to see the paper behind the splats.

favorite
Every year our family goes apple picking at a local orchard. Some of my favorite pictures are from this farm. The kids love it and I wanted to create a fun and happy kit reflecting this event in our lives. It is one of those products that I had a clear picture of in my head and actually came out just how I pictured.

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popular
Though I have somewhat departed from the style of work I used in this kit, Pretty Ponies, still remains very popular. I’d be interested to try a handpainted watercolor version of this kit.

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Here are some of my favorite products by mle Card:

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

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Go have a look in mle Card’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)!

Pink Poppy Press: Back in 1985

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It’s always fun to watch a designer’s journey as an artist and see how their styles evolve. Joyce has contributed to The Digi Files before under a different brand and I am happy to welcome her back again. This time, under the Pink Poppy Press brand with a very artsy, art journaling design asthetic. Our team members had a lot of using these products. Many of them stepped outside of their normal style and really enjoyed the process.  Let’s take a closer look at “Flower Field, Brush Stamps Set 5 and Brush Stamps Set 6” that is included in The Digi Files this month:

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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 Pink Poppy Press’s contribution:

LO1
Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Flower Field, Brush Stamps Set 5 and Brush Stamps Set 6 by Pink Poppy Press; Glass Pebbles by Rina Kroes; Everyday Love Words by Sahlin Studio; Torn Photo Frames 2 by Anna Aspnes; Twine Bow (recolored) by Amy Wolff; Font: The Teenage Dream by Heather Hess.
LO2
Layout by Lauren. Supplies: Flower Field, Brush Stamps Set 5 and Brush Stamps Set 6 by Pink Poppy Press; Fonts: arsenal white, blackout.
LO3
Layout by Wendy. Supplies: Flower Field, Brush Stamps Set 5 and Brush Stamps Set 6 by Pink Poppy Press.
LO4
Layout by Katie. Supplies: Flower Field, Brush Stamps Set 5 and Brush Stamps Set 6 by Pink Poppy Press; Photo Mask by Catherine Designs; Font: Caflish Script Pro.
LO5
Layout by Kimberly K. Supplies: Flower Field, Brush Stamps Set 5 and Brush Stamps Set 6 by Pink Poppy Press; Stunning Single Full 1 Template by Scrapbook Lady; Fonts: Blackout, Here.

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Layout by SharonS, additional supplies: Template: Brandy Murry, Scrapgirls, paint brush: Rachel Young, Fonts: CK Frosting, The Only Exception

 

Name
I’m Joyce, 29 years old and I live in a small village in the south of The Netherlands. I’ve got a lovely boyfriend and gorgeous baby boy who was born in March 2012.

STORE

BLOG

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

layout
I used to create pages with small photos on them, but after seeing Jen’s (justjen) and Linda’s (Hondachicc) big picture layouts I was intrigued and wanted to try it myself. Love the result! This is me and my baby sister on the photo way back in 1985! 🙂

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SUPPLIES: Pieces of Me by Vinnie Pearce

started
I love to craft and always tell people I started crafting while I was still in my Mother’s Womb! Giggles. I started designing in 2007 because I didn’t have much money to spend on getting digi supplies, so decided to give it a go myself and have been hooked ever since! In 2010 I decided to set up my own digi store (mscraps.com). I formerly designed under the name Joyce Paul Designs, but decided to change it to Pink Poppy Press last year.

inspired
Usually I get inspired by cushion pillows, curtains (fabric patterns) at the store. I always go and look for them!!

tools
Computer: Windows 7, 3 GB RAM (I need more!!), flatscreen.
Program: Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5, PostworkShop 3 and ArtRage Pro.
Camera: Canon EOS450D
Anything Else: Wacom Bamboo Fun S

tipstricks
I always tell people not to force creating a page or product. If the inspiration isn’t there at the moment, it just isn’t there. Put your layout or whatever you are working on away and get back to it later. You’ll see that you’ll be able to finish it off in no time. But don’t try to force yourself, because it will not work and you’ll only create something that you are not proud of!

favorite
I created this product not long after the birth of my Son. I love the colours and it took me so long to create it. (It was my first product in a long time)

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popular
I had no idea that these would be so popular when I created them!

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Here are some of my favorite products by Pink Poppy Press:

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Here are some more inspirational layouts using Pink Poppy Press’s products. All of the layouts are linked to the originals with credits.

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Coupon
Take 35% off anything in Pink Poppy Press’s store through January 31, 2013 with code TDD35OFF!

Go have a look in Pink Poppy Press’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)!

Keeping it Simple – more photo tricks

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Hopefully you found some time since my (Jacki’s) last post to experiment with simple tricks to improve your photos. In this post I’m going to show you two more fairly simple ways to give your photos a little facelift – improving the coloring of your photo and brightening teeth.

1. Improve the color. All three of my kids play sports so I take quite a few photos of sporting events. The ones outside (such as soccer) usually turn out really well. However, the indoor ones, for basketball and volleyball, can be a challenge. This is especially true since our school gym is dark and the lighting is very yellow. I use a 50 mm lens when shooting in the gym and I set my camera to Shutter Priority. I typically keep my shutter speed around 500 and my ISO at 1600-2500 depending on whether it’s afternoon or evening. When processing my photos in Photoshop Elements I use four steps:

a. Try auto color correct.

b. Lighten the shadows.

c. Use a photo filter.

d. Brighten the image.

My very first step is to try to use the software’s Auto Color Correction option. In Photoshop Elements, go to Enhance on the upper tool bar and select Auto Color Correction from the pull down tab. Sometimes this works well enough to my liking that I’m done. But sometimes it doesn’t. That’s when I use the following three steps in succession (the order does matter).

To lighten the shadows, go to Enhance, Adjust Lighting, and select Shadows/Highlights. The software will automatically lighten the shadows by 25%. Sometimes that works well but sometimes it doesn’t. You’ll have to judge. The beauty is that you have a sliding bar that will allow you to see your adjustments. Slide the bar until you like what you see. I want to see faces but not remove so much of the shadow that it makes the photo look ‘flat.’

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Next, use a Photo Filter to adjust the coloring of your photo. In Photoshop Elements click on Filter on your upper tool bar, select Adjustments, and Photo Filter. The software offers several different shades of warming filters and several cooling filters along with various color filters. I have found that for our school gym the Blue Filter works best. Experiment and find what works for you.

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The color filter adjusts the overall tone of your photo. I want the kids’ skin to look normal and not have the yellow cast set off by the wall color and overhead lights so using the blue filter allows me to do that. You can do the same for any indoor photo that has an unwanted hue.

The last step is for me to brighten the photo. This step was explained in the last post about simple tricks to improve your photos. In your upper tool bar go to Enhance, Adjust Lighting, Levels and work with your little ‘mountain.’ Slide the arrows on the left and right until you like the result. I often go past the edges of the mountain and give my photos extra light.

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Now you can see the difference from the ‘before’ image to the ‘after’ image. The whites are whiter and the skin looks more normal.

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The same process was used for a photo of the boys after winning their tournament:

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Try these four steps with your holiday photos or other photos taken indoors. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes!

2. Brighten teeth. Oftentimes teeth make the smile. J If teeth look bright and clean the smile looks all the nicer. Obviously we don’t want to alter photos so much that they look fake or that teeth look like they’ll glow in the dark! But a little lightening can go a long ways in improving the overall look of your photo.

There are two simple options in brightening teeth:

a. Use the Dodge Tool.

b. Use the Magic Wand and alter the saturation and brightness.

Both are simple, easy and quick.

First, to use the Doge Tool option, simply select the Dodge Tool for the side tool bar in Photoshop Elements. Typically it’s at the bottom of the tool bar and looks like a round push pin.

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Select the size and opacity of your brush in the upper tool bar. Be conservative and lower your opacity and make sure the brush is not too big. Then lightly “brush” over the teeth, taking care not to get the gums or lips. You’ll notice the teeth will immediately brighten. Now only if it were that simple in real life!

The second option requires an extra step. Select the Magic Wand tool from the side tool bar. It looks like a magic wand.

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Then click on the teeth while holding down the space bar until the area of teeth are selected.

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Then go to Enhance (upper tool bar), Adjust Color, Adjust Hue/Saturation.

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Decrease the saturation a little (to remove the yellow) and increase the brightness just a little (maybe +2 or +3).

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Keep an eye on your photo as you make these adjustments so that it looks natural and nice.

My daughter’s teeth are actually pretty white so I rarely have to brighten them, however, when she’s with a friend, sometimes the difference is noticeable and distracting. For these close-ups I adjusted her friend’s teeth just a little so that they didn’t look ‘yellow’ in comparison. Do you notice the difference? Hopefully it’s subtle and gives him a little extra sparkle. Winking smile

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Go ahead and try using a photo filter and brighten those teeth – small changes that may make your photos a little extra nice. You’ll get plenty of practice on all those indoor holiday photos!

P.S. the title graphic was created with Kaye Winiecki’s Framed Affection elements kit.

Snips And Snails: So Versatile

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I’m so happy to be welcoming Snips and Snails to The Digi Files this month! I adore Stephanne’s great sense of color and her ability to use it throughout her collections. She creates beautiful multi-colored, patterned papers that showcase these colors perfectly! Her style is super versatile with a slight retro vibe. Let’s take a closer look at “Winter Frost” that is included in The Digi Files this month:

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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 Snips and Snails Designs’s contribution:

LO1
Layout by Jacki. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs; Messy Date Stamp by Michelle Coleman; Font: Rub This!
LO2Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs; Fonts: The CD Writer by Heather Hess and Waterfalls.
LO3
Layout by Lauren. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs; Gesso Jar v1 by Lauren Reid; Doodles handdrawn by me; Fonts: arsenal white, mari&david.
LO4
Layout by Heddy. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs.

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Layout by SharonS, additional supplies: Template: Darcy Baldwin, Fonts: DJB I Love Me Some Lizzy, DJB Play Misty for Me

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

Name
Hi everyone! I’m Stephanne of Snips and Snails Designs! I currently live in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan. I’ve been married to my husband, Andrew, for 11 years. We have two fun little boys. Samuel is 6 and started Kindergarten this year. Nolan is 3.5 and is excited to be doing preschool 3 mornings a week. Besides designing, I am a SAHM and I also do some print design, social media, and web work for the daycare where my mom is the director. We were super excited to relocate back to Michigan from Indiana in July of this year when Andrew received a job offer here in June. We now live less than a mile from my parents and grandparents and a couple of miles from my brother and sister-in-law. We love being close to family again!

STORE

BLOG

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

layout
This is a 24×20 print that is hanging on our wall at home and on my mom’s wall. It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve done. I used pictures that my mom took of my boys picking cherries and used photo actions and editing on them to bring out the red and give them that vintage color. Then I used digital scrapbooking supplies to complete the LO. I had it printed through a professional printing house. I have another that I did of the boys on the beach in San Diego in the same size that I love as well. Digital scrapbooking supplies are so versatile beyond a regular 12×12 LO. I enjoy creating a variety of things to preserve our memories.

DesignerLO

started
I was first made aware of digital scrapbooking when I was pregnant with my youngest son. I joined a parents forum and all the ladies had beautiful signatures using digital scrapbooking supplies to show off their children. So I purchased my first kits in order to decorate my own signature. Eventually some of the ladies at the site started trying their hand at designing and I decided to give it a try as well. So shortly after Nolan was born in 2009 I designed my first kit as part of a blog train and was hooked! When I started designing I had never even made a traditional LO. I started to scrap shortly after that because it was only natural to branch out into that if I was going to design.

inspired
This is something that I do for me because I love it. I think color is probably the thing that inspires me most to create. A color pallette is usually what starts my creative process. I will see a color or colors and my kit theme is usually born from there.

tools

Computer: I do all of my work on an Asus laptop with a fairly large screen. I think I’m one of the few designers who does not use a desktop. I just can’t imagine sitting at a desk to work. I usually work from the living room in the recliner or on the couch! We travel a lot so it’s nice to be able to take my normal designing tools right with me! I run Windows 7 and have a 600 GB hard drive which is almost half full! I also have 3 external hard drives that I back up to regularly and store things that I don’t use as often and completed collections etc. The computer had 6 GB of RAM.
Program: I design in CS 5 Extended and I also have Elements 6 which still has a few useful items.
Camera: I just have a little point and shoot Cannon Powershot. My mom has a really nice DSLR and she takes enough pictures for both of us! She’s super involved with my boys and what we do so 75% of the time I leave the picture taking to her.
Anything Else: I also have Wacom Bamboo Pen tablet.
tipstricks
This tip is good for both designers and scrappers. Recoloring elements often leads to washed out or poor contrast in the element. Scrappers may want to recolor elements to a different color in the kit pallette, to match a different kit that doesn’t have a desired element or may find an existing element in a kit that isn’t up to par.

1. Duplicate the original element

2. Recolor one copy of the element by the method of your choice. Some people like to use the replace color tool, others may grayscale the element and clip a color to it and use a blending mode like color or overlay to acheive the recolor.

3. Turn the original duplicate to grayscale

4. Place the grayscale layer over your recolored layer

5. Use a blending mode on the grayscale layer – I usually use soft light but sometimes overlay works better, you can try several out.

6. If you still aren’t getting enough definition you can use the contrast adjustment on the grayscale layer to gain more contrast. If there is too much contrast making it look unnatural you can lower the opacity of the grayscale layer.

Every element is different and lighter colors can be the most difficult. With a little patience, you’ll find the right combination of blending mode, contrast, and opacity to achieve the most realistic looking recolor that you can.

favorite
My favorite is Letters from Tuscany. I really love the colors and I’m particularly partial to my vintage themed kits. Letter writing is a lost art today but back when my grandpa served in WWII getting a letter was the highlight of my grandmother’s day/week. She’s told me many times how important those letters were. There’s just a romantic nostalgia when I think about those letters going back and forth across the ocean as their only means of communication while they were seperated. When I chose the colors, they immedaitely called out Italy, Tuscany so that’s what I went with.

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popular
My best selling collection is my Fading Fall collection. It’s a traditional fall kit and colors with my touch of shabby/vintage to it. I think that the rich palette is very appealing and it’s just full of lots of tradition fall elements for layering that can be used for fall, Halloween, or Thanksgiving layouts. It’s very versatile.

Pop

Here are some of my favorite products by Snips and Snails Designs:

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

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CT3
CT4
CT5
Coupon
30% off Snips and Snails Designs’s store with coupon code tdd30off (expires: 1/31/13).

Go have a look in Snips and Snails Designs’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 Snips and Snails

The following layouts were created using “Winter Frost” by Snips and Snails and included in The Digi Files during December, 2012:

snipsnsnails_wf_emmy

Layout by Emmy

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Layout by Brenda

snipsnsnails_wf_heather

Layout by Heather

snipsnsnails_wf_kim

Layout by Kim

snipsnsnails_wf_laura

Layout by Laura

snipsnsnails_wf_lyn

Layout by Lyn

 

LO1
Layout by Jacki. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs; Messy Date Stamp by Michelle Coleman; Font: Rub This!
LO2Layout by Jenn. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs; Fonts: The CD Writer by Heather Hess and Waterfalls.
LO3
Layout by Lauren. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs; Gesso Jar v1 by Lauren Reid; Doodles handdrawn by me; Fonts: arsenal white, mari&david.
LO4
Layout by Heddy. Supplies: Winter Frost by Snips and Snails Designs.

showgirl-webcopy[2]

Layout by SharonS, additional supplies: Template: Darcy Baldwin, Fonts: DJB I Love Me Some Lizzy, DJB Play Misty for Me

UN-Digi: Time Savers

TimeSavers

Who couldn’t use a bit more time? I have been slowly working to automate some of my personal tasks, to make life a bit simpler. So, with that in mind, I did some research about the various ways that people have automated their banking, cooking, leisure time and more. I haven’t implemented all of them, but I will give quite a few of them a try.

PAPER REDUCTION

It’s easy to sign up for e-Bills to stop receiving paper copies, which means no more shredding or filing.

BILL PAYMENTS

No need to manually pay bills – in many cases, automated payments can be set up through the bank.

MANAGING MULTIPLE E-MAILS

Checking multiple email accounts can be time consuming. Luckily, you can set them up to all come into one account — and auto sort into folders, if you want. You can also use a service like FetchMail.

MEAL PLANNING

Weekly meal planning can be simplified on busy weeks by keeping a few pre-made weekly meal plans (and shopping lists) for family favourites. Just grab the list and head to the grocery store.

MEAL PREPARATION

Weeknight meals are sometimes rushed. Preparing a few frozen meals in advance can be a life saver. So is the slow cooker.

BLOG READING

You don’t have to go to individual blogs to read – you can view them all through Feedly or Google eReader

HOME TEMPERATURE

No need to change your thermostat in the morning/at night – you can use a programmable thermostat to do it for you. (And save you some money too!)

TELEVISION WATCHING

The DVR had changed my life! I never watch shows when they’re originally running. My favourite shows automatically record on a schedule so they can be watched when I have time.

PS – The title image was made using This and That 2 by Valorie Wibbens and Lauren Reid

Noticing and Treasuring

A note from Steph: Katrina emailed me yesterday and said she wrote this post prior to the tragedy in Conneticut. The post was scheduled to go live next week and she was questioning if it might be too much. I told her I thought the post was perfect and decided last night, it would be appropriate to run it today. Katrina’s words profoundly say so well, what each of us have thought since we heard of the evil events. Our hearts are broken for those families, friends, and loved ones impacted by these choices, they are in our thoughts and prayers. May each of us take time to notice and treasure our loved ones a little more.

 

As we say goodbye to 2012 and welcome in 2013, will you indulge me as I step away from the technical?

Each month I share photography tips and techniques. Things like

But really, photography is about seeing. It is about taking the time to look around with awareness. It is about taking the time to notice the details, the colors, the textures, and the beauty that surrounds us.

Noticing slows us down. Noticing makes us breathe in a little extra oxygen. Noticing requires us to take a break from the frantic pace life can thrust upon us.

Photography is about your life. And treasuring it.

It is about knowing that this moment. This precious, precious moment will not arrive again. There is no do over.

So what if the aperture is just a bit off. Or if there is just a bit of camera shake or motion blur.

What matters?

You noticed.

You watched your child as they discovered Disneyland for the first time. You held your breath as the sky filled with beautiful morning light. You stepped back to let a bigger picture into your lens. You slowed to see how the dew danced on a single blade of grass.

That is what photography is about.

Whether you take one photo next year or a photo every single day. Whether you take it with your phone or a fancy dSLR. Remember noticing is most important.

 

Visit Elliot Erwitt’s Website for beautiful examples of noticing the world.