​Good News for Memory Keepers

There are lots of reason to be a memory keeper. I’ve talked about my personal reasons for scrapbooking: HERE, HERE, and in one of the lessons of my WATCH ME SCRAP class.

Some people do it for the creative outlet and some for the community of other women, but the majority of memory keepers do it because they want to preserve their memories for their kids and families. In short, they want to share their story.

And that’s good news!

According to the New York Times bestseller, The Secrets of Happy Families, research shows that the number one predictor of a child’s emotional well-being is if a child knows his or her family history.

Isn’t that amazing? According to the author,

“Researchers showed that the kids who know more about their family history had a greater belief that they could control there world and a higher degree of self-confidence. It was was the number one predictor of emotional well-being.”

The article I read goes on to say,

“But here’s what really interesting:recounting your family history is not just telling kids, ‘Our family is awesome.’ Recounting the tough times, the challenges your family faced and overcame, is key.”

Isn’t that just what we as scrapbookers do? We share the good times. We share the hard times. We tell our family stories. And according to research, our children will be better for it.

Click & Create Classes from The Daily Digi

We are so excited to share with all of you that we are now offering CLASSES on The Daily Digi! Yes, CLASSES! It has been two very long years in the process to get here, it feels a little surreal.

Click & Create Classes from The Daily Digi are ready for you, when you are ready to learn! They are fashioned similar to our Playbooks, in that the lessons are in PDF format with written instructions and the videos are embedded right there. Just click PLAY on the PDF page and the video will open. It’s easy! You can also print the PDF, if you like to have it as reference while you work.

We have a class to help you get your photos organized by Melissa Shanhun. Helping you get all of your photos organized across all of your cameras, devices, and harddrives.:

In this class, you will learn:

  • Gathering photos from all your cameras and devices
  • Importing them into Photoshop Elements Organizer
  • Setting up a system for new photos
  • Documenting who, what, where and when automagically
  • Setting you up for success so you have your photos in hand when you are ready to scrap

Then we have an introduction to digital scrapbooking by Janet Phillips (but don’t let the introduction part fool you, I learned several things while I was going through her lessons):

In this class, you will learn everything you need to know to:

  • install Photoshop Elements on your computer
  • find and download products
  • start creating layouts (using templates, quick pages, and creating your very own layout from scratch).
  • how to use many digital scrapbooking tools and techniques in your scrapping.

One of the things that I LOVE about both of these instructors is that the make it so EASY! They break the lessons down into a digital dose that make it possible for everyone to have success! Janet and Melissa both LOVE the topics that they are teaching and KNOW them inside and out!

I’m thrilled to be welcoming them as teachers at The Daily Digi! Keep an eye out, they both have more classes in the works (woot woot!)

Do you have a topic you would love to see taught, here at The Daily Digi? Click “contact us” at the top of the page and let us know your thoughts!

Daily Digi by The Numbers 2009-2013

In just a few days, The Daily Digi will celebrate FIVE YEARS of daily digital scrapbooking goodness. We have a lot of fun things planned for January, but before the celebrating begins, it’s time to reflect. This is something I do every year, as I’m sure we all do for life changing events, and The Daily Digi has been a game changer for me.

I’ve had a lot of dreams for this site and look forward to continuing to see the dreams become plans and the plans become reality. The biggest thing that has changed me in the past 5 years, has been the friendships and relationships I cherish with the many designers, team members, readers, and listeners. The stories you’ve shared with how digital scrapbooking has changed your life; I love connecting with all of you through the emails and comments. I love visiting with the contributing designers on the new “Daily Digi Digest” podcast and connecting with them in a way we haven’t before. I know all of you enjoy it just as much as I do! THANK YOU for listening and supporting us and our designers, we appreciate it!

Thank you for the ongoing support and allowing me to have my dream job!

It’s Not Too Late for a Happy New Year

I have a confession to make:

I have never sent a family Christmas Card.

Shocking, I know.

I could list all kinds of excuses such as living overseas, friends all over the world, and just being too busy. But really, I just never get around to it. I think this year, though, it may be too late to get Christmas cards in the mail but a Happy New Year card might just happen. The way I figure, any time in January would still be appropriate for a New Year card. Right?

So who is with me?

Let’s send everyone we know a bit of Merry Christmas Happy 2014!

Here is some inspiration for you. You can still order cards or be inspired to make your own. All images are linked to their original sources.

This card from Shutterfly is perfect!

I love the simple lists on this card. In a world full of chaos and busyness, this calm and serene card would be a welcome gift.

Chalkboards are still very popular and this card from Etsy is stunning with the black and pops of color. I love the top ten list as well.

Nothing says Happy New Year like bright and happy colors!

I think that this New Years Resolution card is such a fun idea!

If you have a lot of information to give, an infographic like this is sure to please!

I love this coutning down to a happy new year card and think it would be easy to make with my digi stash!

This card is so fun! Love the black hands with the gold cuff links.

Extracting a Photo

Extracting a photo is a fun way to highlight it on your page and a great way to get rid of a cluttered, distracting background. In paper scrapping it’s like taking scissors and carefully cutting around the subject of a photo. In digital scrapbooking, we can create the same effect using the eraser to “cut” around the subject.

Here are a few examples:

There are many ways to extract a person from a photo and you can find a number of tutorials on YouTube (e.g. Gavin Hoey’s Photoshop video tutorials). However, if you use a simple photo editing program, there is a simple way. The first step is to crop your photo to include the area you want to work on. Next you can use the Magic Wand to select the background you want to erase. However, if the background blends in a bit with your subject, you’re going to have to resort to simply erasing. Don’t fear – this isn’t that hard. Using a large eraser, erase broadly around the photo. (Be sure to use an eraser with a hard edge, not a soft edge. The hard eraser will give you a more precise line or edge.)

If you’re lucky, you can use the Magic Eraser to erase parts of the photo. Be careful that the Magic Eraser doesn’t inadvertently erase parts of the photo you want to keep. (In this sample I couldn’t use the Magic Eraser because the background colors were too close to the subject’s skin color or clothing.)

Finally, using a small eraser with a hard edge, go around the subject carefully. This is the most time-consuming but most important part of the process. The more carefully and precisely you do it, the better it’ll look in the end. (You might be able to try using the Magic Eraser again as you get down to small areas like between fingers or around the subject’s hair.) Using the Shift key, you can speed up the process. Click and then holding the Shift key, click at the next location and the computer will draw the line for you. This works especially well in areas that are long and straight but it works well with circles and curves as long as you click at each turn. It will cut down on your time and make your edges more precise.

Once you’re happy with the results, save your image as a PNG. This will preserve the transparency of your background. If you save it as a JPEG, the background will turn white (or black, depending on your settings) and you’ll have to erase again.

The final step is to give your subject a shadow. Keep in mind which direction your want the light to come from and how dark and deep you want your shadow to be. Play around with it a bit until you like what you have. (When you give it a shadow, you may find little bits and pieces where you didn’t erase. The shadow will help these areas show up.)

Here is the original photo with the extracted photo:

Extracting photos may take a little time, but it’s a fun option to use especially if you want to highlight action or show off the subject without the distractions in the background.

Here are a couple super-cute samples by TDD member Jennifer Lindsey to help you get inspired:

(Title made with Jacque Larsen’s Summer Safari and Make the Grade. Font is Giggles by Fontologie.)

10 Things To Look For While Carrying Your Camera

Do you find yourself carrying your camera more during the summer? Mine comes out more often with the activities and abundant light. It’s the perfect time of the year to sharpen your photo skills.

How do you go about sharpening your skills without investing in a class or taking time away from your family? Easy. Look for things.

When I launched CaptureYour365 two years ago, I began writing daily prompt lists. The intent of those lists was to get people looking. Not for daily subjects, but for photographic opportunities. Through finding things that photograph well, you begin to improve your eye for composition, tell better stories, and learn to work the angles and the light.

You can grab a prompt list (I have many) or you can turn your camera toward the 1o things I find most photographically interesting. Focus on finding them all or focus on finding one of them over and over. Either way will help to develop your photographer’s eye.


I love to find reflections in mirrors, windows, and on still body’s of water.


You can find repetition in brick walls, rows in the garden or in fields you pass from the roadside. You can create repetition with produce in the kitchen or crayons from your child’s collection.


In the bright light of summer days, backlit situations seem to pop up everywhere. They are a great way to practice your technical skills while creating interesting photos. You can create them with people, buildings, or objects.

Read how to create silhouettes. And see how to have silhouette fun with the entire family!


Pick one that you focus on all summer. When you find it, photograph it. Or select a color combination to look for. Want a really big challenge? Find a color you don’t normally photograph and try to find it.


Ahh, beautiful light. Photography is light, so what better subject?! Look for indirect light. Look for the color of light. If this is THE ONE item from the list to look for this summer, your photography will improve!

Read how to see the light.


Look for shadows in bright midday light. This is a great time to avoid taking photos of faces in unflattering, harsh light.

Try photographing your own shadow, or creating a fun photo with several people’s shadows together. Even non-human subjects can work!


Oh sweet texture. It is the reach out and try to touch it part of photographs I love. I love to find texture in brick walls, fences, the leaves of squash plants, sidewalks, tables, and walls. Think about filling your frame with texture to really emphasize the details. Go wider when you want to capture texture and pattern.

The Sky

I love how the sky changes through summer. I love the big blue sky with fake looking clouds or the stark cloudless skies that seem to happen in August at my house. The sky at night with beautiful oranges and pinks can be a great contrast to the midday sky or the morning tones in the opposite direction. Try capturing your sky with nothing else in the frame or positioning a tree or post to provide a focal point. Notice how using the sky can help you create a correct exposure for an added technical challenge.

If your sky will include fireworks, read how to capture them on a budget!


Lines create movement and order in photographs. They can lead the viewer’s eye through a frame. They can be used powerfully to help tell a story.


Following the red rule has never failed me. The idea? If you see red, photograph it. It’s a beautiful color that provides great contrast.

A few of my favorite reds to photograph:

  • Strawberries
  • Flags
  • Candy
  • Stop signs
  • Tomatoes (of course)

Bonus #11 – Something You Love

This category of seeing can be just about anything. One summer I photographed every beer I drank. Your love might be human or of the four legged variety. Combine your love with one of the other ten ideas and you’ll have a photo you can treasure.

Photography is about seeing. The more you practice looking for interesting photographic subjects, the more you will begin to find them in your everyday photos.

What do you love looking for when carrying your camera?

Daring Greatly in Digiland – It’s Not The Critic Who Counts

“It’s not the critic who counts” has become my mantra that I chant to myself almost daily. As I read
“Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, I saw changes in my thinking happening almost instantly. The way I perceive others and myself. The way I interact and talk with other people. I will go as far as saying that this book has changed my life more than any other. Is that bold?

Here is the video (you will need to
come to the site if you are in email or a reader) that had a lightening bolt zipping through my body as I realized that the topics covered in the book relate directly to creativity, innovation, why we get stuck (and reasons we “lose our mojo”). It is also the reason I decided to do a “book club” on The Digi Show about this book:

Daring Greatly Book Trailer from Brené Brown on Vimeo.

Brene says in the Ted Talk below that “Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change.” I believe it. I have seen it in myself and others. I FEEL it almost everyday.

Ali Edwards and Brene are friends, (which Ali tells us about in our first episode about Daring Greatly), so Ali was naturally who I turned to have on the show to talk about this. You can listen to the shows by clicking through the links (or download in iTunes or Stitcher). You can find our discussion in the comments of each show, linked up in the show titles. We will be doing one more show, sharing some experiences of listeners in July:

Episode 81: Creativity and Daring Greatly

Episode 86: Daring For All of Us

It’s not too late to join us! Grab the book
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook)

and join in the discussion. If you read it, you will be changed. Yes, I do feel that confident!

Simple Tricks to Improve Your Photos

Do you like to convert some of your photos to black and white? Maybe you need a particular photo for a layout and the colors in the photo don’t match nicely with your kit. Maybe you want a black and white photo for a yearbook submission, advertisement, or to place in a picture frame. Whatever your reasons, black and white is a nice option.

There are a couple of easy black and white conversions you can use. In Photoshop Elements you can try one of the following:
1. Go to Image>Mode>Grayscale. It’ll remove the color from your photo. You can play with the lighting levels, brightness and contrast until you like it.
2. Create a new adjustment level in your Layers Palette. This will create a new layer over top of your photo that gives it a crisp black and white look.

First I used the grayscale mode. Go to the top menu bar and select Image, choose Mode and click on Grayscale.

This will remove the color. Here is a before and after sample.

I’m not terribly fond of the gray tones, so I played with the lighting a little until I liked it more.

If you like the result, you’re done. If you’re like me, I like a little crisper black and white and almost always use option #2, the Gradient Map. To do so, go to your Layers Palette. At the bottom you’ll find a little circle that is half dark and half light.

Click on Gradient Map in the pull-down menu. It creates a layer on top of your photo. (It might go to the default setting which is black, so you’ll need to go one more step and select the black and white map.)

This is what the before and after look like.

If you like the results, merge the layers and save your photo with a new name (so that you don’t lose your original). I usually use a suffix of BW.

Finally, one more comparison for you. Here is the difference between grayscale (which was adjusted a little) and the gradient map option.

Play around and see what you like!

Super easy collages with Pic Monkey

make photo collages in pic monkey

I love using online resources for creative and easy photo editing and most of these sources have great tools for making collages as well. There are many reasons why you might enjoy making collages such as:

  • Creating a unique image to use on a digital scrapbook page
  • Combining several photos into one image to use for a blog post
  • Recapping an event with multiple photos in a small space
  • Sharing several images at once in a social media environment (instagram, twitter, facebook, etc.)
  • Compiling many photos into one image to use on a photobook page
  • Just for fun!

With Memorial Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about our 2012 summer trip to Washington D.C. I still have so many photos that have not made it into my albums yet because I took hundreds of pictures! I decided to pull together some of my favorites to create a collage.

Here’s a collage I created with Pic Monkey. There are many free options to use on the site, and even more if you become a paid member for as little as $2.75 a month. I used a template under the “square deal” collage category for this one.

PicMonkey Collage

Even using a free collage, I was able to save a full size 3600×3600 resolution of my creation. Now all I have to do is print it out for my travel album!

picmonkey save

I tried several other free online photo collage sites and I honestly can’t recommend very many of them in comparison to Pic Monkey. The other sites don’t have as many free options and it is much more difficult to get your photos imported as well as saving the finished collage to a high resolution file suitable for digi scrapping. Pic Monkey is my go-to source for creating collages online.

Here’s another collage I created with a free template at Pic Monkey in the “Biggie Smalls” category.

PicMonkey Collage (1)

I went ahead and upgraded to the Royale membership and I created this collage using a Jigsaw template.

PicMonkey Collage (2)

It is also super easy to create a collage image to use as a facebook timeline cover. They do the sizing for you!

PicMonkey Collage (3)

There are also other sizes available under the “cards” category such as 5”x7” which would be great to use in those pocket scrapping albums!

PicMonkey Collage (4)

I love that it is so easy to change the spacing between photos and you can even round the corners with the slide of a button!

picmonkey options

You can also write on your photos (and collages) using Pic Monkey by following the instructions in Steph’s post. For more information on how to create easy collages with photo editing programs, be sure to check out this past post. Have fun making collages!


Sharing The 411 on Adobe Creative Cloud and New Features

We talked last week on The Digi Show about Adobe Creative Cloud, the new changes, and the impact it could have on digi scrappers. We talked more about it this week (that show will be released tomorrow or Thursday).  In a nutshell: Adobe is moving their Creative Suite of products to the cloud in a subscription based format.

More on the subscriptions at the end of this post, but one of the things that has been lost in all of hullabaloo about the subscriptions, are the new features that were announced. Remember my post about why I don’t delete photos and the video I shared about upcoming Adobe technology?  It’s HERE (click through to site to see videos):

Here are few other features in Photoshop CC I think digital scrappers will LOVE:

  • editable rounded rectangles (you can draw the rounded rectangle and then change the radius on canvas, without having to redraw it)
  • the ability to edit multiple paths at one time
  • improved anti-aliasing options for type (yay!)
  • conditional actions (these use if/then statements and this will be BIG if it works like we are hoping)
  • intelligent upsampling (resizing an image up without losing quality)
  • Upright Tool that will automatically straighten photos

Here’s an overview video that includes a few examples:

If you would like to read about the new features in other programs, here are some resources:

What does Creative Cloud mean?

The Adobe Creative Cloud products will no longer be sold in boxed sets (as individual products or as a suite). If you want to use Photoshop, you will have to subscribe.  There’s a lot of information out there on this topic, but I found this post by Scott Kelby to be the most helpful and factual (including cost analysis to see if it’s right for you).

I’ll be honest and I’ve been on Creative Cloud for almost a year now and really like it, but I use multiple Adobe products (three on a regular basis). I mentioned in The Digi Show that the only time it’s been a problem for me was when I was sitting on a tight deadline and for some reason, it was saying my payment hadn’t gone through, so it wouldn’t let me work. My payment had gone through and after several closing/openings of the program and a restart, it finally started communicating with Adobe and I was able to finish my work.

I have seen a lot of unhappy digital scrapbookers that use Photoshop and only Photoshop and don’t want to subscribe because they will end up paying more. I think we will see some digital scrappers that will downgrade to Photoshop Elements. I also think we will see some scrappers that will upgrade to Photoshop because the monthly payment is much easier to swallow than a the larger cost to buy it outright all at once.

Either way, it will be interesting to see what Adobe does and how they respond. If you are one of the scrappers that is outraged (or just upset) by this, there is a petition on that you can sign.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, but please be nice, it’s not my fault. 😉