Bits and Bytes: April


Supplies: Kraft Edition Becky Higgins’ Project Life

Hello! I’m here with another month’s edition of Bits and Bytes. Some amazing resources relevant to digi scrapbookers are linked-up so that you can enjoy some of the best of the web in one convenient spot.

Let’s get started!

Photoshop Essentials File Format Guide

Have you ever noticed how many file type options there are when you hit “save as” in Photoshop? This handy guide explains the handful that the average user is likely to need.

Basic Recolouring Video Tutorial


Chelle’s Creations put together a clear and easy video tutorial about how to recolour elements. You should definitely check out her entire YouTube channel! Such a great wealth of information to be found on techniques like embossing, internal shadows, and so much more!

Project Life Planning in Lightroom


Christine Newman (aka Listgirl) put together an amazing video tutorial about how she uses Lightroom for planning her Project Life pages. (Bonus – she provides her PL Lightroom template!) For anyone doing Project Life in physical format, this is a great way to “check” if a design works before taking the time to edit, print and crop your photos.

Adjustment Brush in Lightroom

Evidently this is a month for videos for me! One of the best but least understood Lightroom tools is the adjustment brush. This detailed video will take you through many of the great ways that you can work on specific portions of an image without having to go into Photoshop.

Advanced Drop Shadows Tutorial


Suzie is an amazing scrapbooker – and part of her secret is amazing shadows. Check out her gallery here to see what I mean. She put together this great tutorial about how to take drop shadows to the next level.

Google Afterlife

Do you have a Google account? If you’re a planner, you might consider visiting your account page to set up what happens to your account if it’s been inactive for a specified amount of time. Here’s what Google says:

…you can choose to have your data deleted — after three, six, nine or 12 months of inactivity. Or you can select trusted contacts to receive data from some or all of the following services: +1s; Blogger; Contacts and Circles; Drive; Gmail; Google+ Profiles, Pages and Streams; Picasa Web Albums; Google Voice and YouTube. Before our systems take any action, we’ll first warn you by sending a text message to your cellphone and email to the secondary address you’ve provided.

So, whether you want your stuff to disappear or be sent to your spouse, you get to decide.

I hope you found something interesting today!

Inspired by Vintage Finds


Supplies: Carpe Diem by Forever Joy Designs, The Silver Reed font by Heather Joyce

Have you noticed all those great kits that include drawings from around the 1960s and earlier? I love this trend! Sometimes just one “old” piece can make a modern kit stand out and make a page unique.

I toured a few stores and found these fun, vintage-inspired products:










Check out these inspiring pages using  a few vintage touches:


In This Life by mommy2boys


BFF Lunch by YellowPeep


Be Mine by estir_bune

Happy scrapping!

Bits and Bytes: March


Supplies: Amour by Forever Joy Designs, Worn Paper Edges by Lynn Grieveson

Every month, I hunt for great finds on the Internet and share them with you on a Bits and Bytes article here at The Daily Digi. I look for great tutorials and articles on everything from photography to inspirational scrapbook pages to sites that are just interesting. It one of my favourite posts to write because there are so many amazing sites to share!

1. Motivated Moms App

Are you familiar with Motivated Moms? It my “secret” weapon for staying on top of household chores. The site offers a chore calendar that simplifies home maintenance so that no one day is spent on cleaning.

This unique and straightforward chore planning system is for moms who are trying to balance creative endeavours with their desire to have an orderly and organized environment in their homes. Initially offered in traditional ‘book’ format, it is now a printable chore list in e-book format for readers to download and print, as well as an app for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch and Android.

The system is designed to help you complete chores and tasks throughout the year so that you don’t spend your entire day doing housework. To help you organize your priorities, the printable chore lists has the daily necessities listed as chores, and the less frequent duties listed as tasks. If, while pursuing other goals, you miss the tasks scheduled for a particular day, you don’t have to ‘transfer’ those tasks to the next day. Just remain focused on completing daily chores and do the weekly scheduled tasks as they fit into your schedule and family lifestyle. The tasks you miss will come up again on another day.

I was thrilled to learn that there is a Motivated Moms app – and for various platforms. I can check off the to-dos and even assign them to family members. It’s so handy!

2. 25 Romantic Free Fonts

This site put together a list of links to 25 great romantic free fonts. I was surprised that I had a number of them already – but this visual list made me see them in a whole new light!

3. Selective Colour

I am not normally a huge fan of selective colour in photographs, but I thought this one was neat. It made me think of ways to use selective colour for vacation photos.

4. Take Better Pictures with Your iPhone

This site provides a great list of ways to improve your smartphone photography. I saw it pinned many times on Pinterest and when I checked it out, I was astonished at the quality of the photographer’s smartphone photos!

5. 100 Family Conversation Starters

This site provides a list of 100 family conversation starters.

The main purpose of these questions is to foster healthy relationships with my kids and challenge them to think about why they have their opinions and why they make the choices that they do.

I think they’d be so useful in Project Life, to fill in journaling spots. Even outside of scrapbooking, they’d make for a great addition to dinner conversation with the kids. Very thought provoking!

6. Shadowing Wood Grain Paper

This tutorial teaches how to shadow wood grain paper to make it look like it was actually cut wood. Check it out!

Steph: Where Do You Print Your Photobooks?

Probably the biggest question I see in my inbox from readers is, “Steph, where do you print your Photobooks now?”  It’s usually written after someone reads the Photobook Printing Review post I did a while back.

My answer has always been the same: I still print my photo books with Adoramapix. I did print one book with another company since I wrote that review, but I was so disappointed, I’ve since stuck with Adoramapix.

Here’s the list of why I still choose Adoramapix for printing my photobooks:

Print Quality

It always matches what I see on my monitor. There aren’t any surprises (note: I calibrate my monitor). The prints are photo quality and don’t have the graininess or noise that so many other photo books have.

A Custom Cover That Is Easy To Design

I love that I can design the cover to wrap all the way around the spine of the book and what I see in the Adoramapix software, is how it will print. I don’t need to use any templates or anything special to have the cover look exactly the way I want.

Custom Inside Covers

It’s so fun to be able to design the inside of the covers to coordinate with the opposite pages and/or the cover.

Thick Pages

I love how thick the pages of the book are!  There will be no bent pages in this book!


Lay Flat Binding

After having photo books with lay flat binding, I don’t think I can ever go back!  Sometimes, I have to look hard to see the seems.

Double Page Spreads

I can upload a 24×12 double page layout and drag and drop the whole thing onto a page and just click on “fit to page” and that’s it! I don’t have to divide the layout into two 12×12 layouts in Photoshop first.  No worrying about lining up the center seems on two 12×12 layouts.


One of the only concerns I hear from readers (before they try Adorampix) is the price. I promise you, considering the quality of their books, it is a VALUE! But, they do quite often run HUGE sales, so sign up for their newsletter (I think you have to register to get on the list). I have found that when they show the sale price for a 14 page 8×8, the same discount usually applies to the same size with more pages.

There is a sale going on now (ends 2/14) and you can get a 14 page 8×8 book for $9.99 (WOW!) (regular price is $25.95) using the coupon code: PXLOVE8x8

You might want to check out their blog, where you will find links to all of the different places you can connect with them to find out about sales.

From the readers that have tried Adoramapix photo books for their printing, I usually hear that they are converts too.


Photo-A-Day Challenges


I spent the month of January doing something I have never done before. A guided photo-a-day challenge! I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with you.

Basically, a guided photo-a-day challenge is when the host of the challenge provides brief prompts for each day of the month and participants take a photo to represent that particular theme. Here are some that I’ve seen:

During the month of January, I decided to participate in One Story Down’s Photo-A-Day Challenge. It’s funny how quickly it became a part of my daily routine. I really looked forward to spending 10 minutes each evening hunting down something to shoot.

For me, in this cold Canadian winter, January is a time of limited light and typically one of my lowest shooting months. Not this year! I took a ton of photos for the challenges and, I think because I had the camera out anyway, I took a lot more photos in general.

I’m going to share some of the photos I took and resulting thoughts I had about each one.



For me, the morning starts with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. I like it hot, topped with a splash of milk. It helps my brain get going! In the afternoon, I drink green tea. It’s warm and refreshing. It may even be healthy, too. In the evening, I have a cup of orange pekoe or earl grey tea. So that mug you see above is an important part of my day. A cup o’ comfort.



I used to burn candles all the time. In our first little apartment, my husband and I had candlelit dinners every night. We used to burn candles on the mantle or window sill in the evenings, while we puttered around or watched TV.

As the years went by, and we had our first baby, we stopped lighting candles. Dinners with our firstborn were rushed because she had evening colic. As she grew older, we worried about the safety of lit candles near a toddler so we put most of them away.

Now our kids are three and six and a half years old. I have two big, deep hurricane-style candle holders on the dining table. During dinner, I light the candles deep inside the hurricanes and dim the overhead lights. The kids are fascinated by the candles. Some of our dinners last thirty or forty minutes – a record with small children! We have one rule: The candles cannot be blown out until everyone at the table is finished eating (and my husband and I take our time!). The kids won’t leave because they both want to have a chance to blow out one candle each (while we supervise closely, of course). Our candlelit dinners are back – and promote a nice family meal.



Sundays are pretty typical around here. House cleaning, meal planning, groceries, laundry – all the little things that need to get done before the week ahead. So, when I saw that the photo prompt word for Sunday was “people”, I was a bit nervous. This is my den-day where it’s just my little family. At first, I was going to include a photo of my people (my husband and kids), but because of nap time and a must-watch showing of the Little Prince on television, that wasn’t going to happen.

Then I remembered the other peeps who live in our house: the Little People. They’ve been residing in a big bucket in our playroom for several years. The kids go through phases where they love to play with them and other times where they don’t remember they exist. With my son turning three years old, I wonder how much longer the Little People will live here? It’ll be the end of an era.



The challenge was to find something old. This is my Sweet Sixteen ring. It’s impossible to capture the beautiful fire in the opal and the sparkle of the two diamonds. I’ve loved it ever since the first moment I received it, almost 18 years ago. And I can’t believe it was that long ago!



The prompt was “round”. I wasn’t up for anything too labour-intensive to set up so I present to you a shot of the round decorative texture thing-y that lives in a vase in my office. It serves no purpose – except for when it saved my photo-a-day streak!



I took a photo of the change from my purse and realized that those brown pennies wouldn’t be a part of my life any more because Canada just retired the penny from circulation. It’s the end of an era!

Here are some of my observations about the challenge:

  • The prompts helped me take photos of things I would never have thought to take photos of on my own. This stretched my photography skills in a good way.
  • The prompts made me think about parts of my daily life that I had not thought to scrapbook before. I was actively on the hunt for meaningful photos for each prompt all month long. It is amazing how one word each day can bring forward great memories to document.
  • I took plenty of family photos during the challenge – but the majority of my challenge photos were shots of objects around my house.
  • Most of my photos were taken in the evening, long after the kids went to bed. I enjoyed a chance to photograph using a macro lens and setting up the best lighting I could.
  • I found myself playing with the post-processing of the images in a way that I wouldn’t with regular family photos. I used a lot of RadLab stylets and matte Lightroom presets from Bellevue Avenue.

And, in the end, I was so happy to be able to put this together, showcasing all the photos together:


It was a great month!

The Daily Digi Changed My Scrapbooking!


The Daily Digi has been a part of my everyday life since the very first day it opened its virtual doors on January 1, 2009. I reflected on what I have learned from the site and was amazed by all the ways that TDD has changed my scrapbooking for the better!

The Daily Digi Gave Me More Time

TDD showed me how to unzip supplies faster: Without TDD, I wouldn’t have known about unzipping software. I use UnzipThemAll and it’s amazing! It’s a real time saver after taking advantage of a big sale. I especially love the option to automatically send the zips to the recycle bin after extracting all the files.

TDD does the Shopping for Me: I love the Funtastic Friday posts where Steph and Katie sum up some of the week’s best deals and new products. So many great new digi supplies, highlighted in one spot every week!

TDD taught me all about templates: Without a doubt, templates make me a faster scrapper. They are such a great creativity starter! For new digi scrapbooker, learning how to use clipping masks, as used with templates, is a key milestone on the path to creating great pages.

The Daily Digi Made Me More Organized

TDD taught me about organization software: When I first started reading the TDD, I was at the point in my digital scrapbooking where I knew I needed to get organized, but hadn’t done it yet. Through TDD, I eventually settled on ACDSee and a keyword tagging system.

TDD encouraged me to use photo organization software: TDD gave me the push I needed to buy Lightroom – and I haven’t looked back! I can’t imagine trying to organize my photos without it now. It’s even become my primary photo editor! (Recently I posted about how I use Lightroom for photo management.)

TDD provided me with information to find a good back-up system: TDD has talked about back-ups many times. After my EHD failed, I was so happy that I had a back-up plan in place!

TDD showed me a better browser: I was stuck on Internet Explorer for a long, long time. It wasn’t that I loved it – rather the time of switching my bookmarks and re-associating all my user names and passwords seemed too daunting. One day, I got brave and switched to Google Chrome. It’s wonderful! Everything Katie said about it and more!

TDD helped me use Google Calendar: My whole life became more organized when I started using Google Calendar. Now I have calendars for myself, my kids, and creative teams. I can see at a glance what’s coming up and it’s accessible on any of my devices.

TDD gave me ideas on how to save my stories: Because of Katie’s post about her way of tracking memories, I keep a running list of stories to tell and leave it on my Google Drive. I can access it from anywhere and add items to the list. Now, when I go to scrapbook, I can always find a story or topic on the list that I want to scrap.

The Daily Digi Made Me a Better Scrapper

TDD taught me how to shadow: My first digi layouts were flat, as in no shadows at all! TDD has tons of great articles on shadowing. Great shadows are possible!

TDD showed me some great tricks: My all-time-favourite Photoshop tricks for digi scrappers are highlighted in TDD articles:

TDD inspired me with examples of great scrapbooking: Every time Katie hosts one her Play It Again scrapbooking articles, I get excited! I love to see the different takes on the same photos and journaling.

TDD showed me where to print: I loved the printer comparison that Steph did – and now I’m sold on Persnickety Prints. I’ve been so pleased with the quality of my pages – and with their speedy shipping, even to Canada. I also learned that a little page sharpening goes a long way!

TDD showed me some great fonts: I love to journal on my pages. I want them to be legible and easy to read. TDD showed me some great journaling fonts and reminded me that larger journaling is easier to read – because my vision isn’t getting any better as I get older! Winking smile

The Daily Digi Keeps Me Informed About Hot Trends

I have been introduced to so many great web sites, projects and products through TDD. Here are just a a few:

The Daily Digi Saves Me Money

TDD has the The Digi Files (still the best deal in digital scrapbooking!): You get SO much for only $7.50. I love to “try on” different styles each month and be inspired by the new kits and templates. When I look my scrapbook album, many of my favourite pages are made with products that appeared in The Digi Files.

TDD shows me the sales: Whether its on the regular Funtastic Friday posts or on special event days like Digital Scrapbooking Day, TDD is right there, telling me where the best deals can be found.

The Daily Digi Makes Me Happy

I’ve been reading TDD since day 1 and it is still the first place I go every morning. I can’t wait to see what new tips, products and inspiration the team is going to share that day. And even though I contribute to the monthly Playbook, I still read it from beginning to end to see what tips the rest of the team is sharing that month.

This post just shows you the “highlights” of The Daily Digi! There is so much more! Many of the most informative articles are listed in the Tutorials section above. I encourage you to browse through TDD archives (in the right column), especially if you’re new to the site. You’re certain to discover some new tips and tricks to help you with your memory keeping.

Thank you for reading!

Creative Teams 101


If you are new to digital scrapbooking, you may be curious about creative teams. You will have see talented scrapbookers with signature blocks indicating that they “create for” a variety of designers. But, what does that involve? Today, let’s go over some of the basics about creative teams.

In the world of digital scrapbooking, many product designers host a team of scrapbookers called their creative teams (CTs). The creative team member (CTMs) create beautiful sample pages showcasing the designers’ products in exchange for free access to those supplies. It’s a win-win for the designers and scrapbookers.


How does a scrapbooker get on a CT? Occasionally there is no application at all! Sometimes a particular scrapbooker will catch a designer’s eye because of their complementary style or how they are already working with the designer’s products. In this case, the designer will send out a private message to the scrapbooker and invite them to join their CT. That’s a fun message to receive!

Many designers host CT calls. Usually there is a requirement to fill out a small application. This can include providing:

  • A short bio
  • Why you want to be on this particular CT
  • A listing of which teams you are currently on and their requirements
  • A link to your most complete gallery

There are also guest CTM calls. A guest CTM is just like a regular CTM, but for a specific duration of time – perhaps one or two months.

If you’re interested in applying to a CT, Sweet Shoppe designer Traci Reed put together an article you might find useful on How to Knock Your CT Application Out of the Park and Get On All Your Dream Teams.


Before a scrapbooker is accepted onto a team, they usually have to agree to the team requirements and rules. For example, most teams require that each scrapbooker work with a certain number of products per month and post their work in a certain number of galleries. Some teams have requirements for writing a number of blog posts, hosting challenges or commenting in the designer’s gallery that are in addition to creating sample pages.

The rules on CTs are common sense. For example, if a CTM downloads a product, they should use it within a reasonable timeframe and provide a sample page to the designer. CTMs should not post sample pages until the product is actually released in the store, unless asked to by the designer. The designer’s product Terms of Use (TOU) also applies to CTMs – no file sharing, no claiming as your own work, no using Personal Use products for Commercial Use, etc.


Once a scrapbooker accepts the terms of the agreement, they’re on the team! The designer will set them up in the team forum. For an individual designer this can be a private site completely separate from the designer’s store or it can be a “hidden” forum within a store’s forum. I remember when I first starting CT-ing, I was amazed by all that went on in store forums, almost literally behind the scenes!

Team forums usually include sections for:

  • New  and archived products
  • CT pages
  • Team preparations for events (like Digital Scrapbooking Day, for example)
  • Team chit chat

The team forum is a very supportive place for the designer and CTMs. For example, team members share when they receive a Gallery Standout with the designer’s products and leave praise for each other’s pages and the upcoming new products.


CTMs receive free access to the designer’s products, or the entire store in the case of store CTMs. Individual designers usually issue coupons to their CTs for products. Some upload their products to a file sharing service and provide access links to the CT. Store CTs are usually set up so that the CTM’s user account provides them with free access to the store. (And yes, this is seriously awesome.)


Designers try to provide the CTMs with as much lead time as possible before the product release date so that the CTMs can create sample pages showcasing the product. Time also needs to be allowed for the designer to incorporate all the sample pages into the product previews, their newsletter, the store newsletter, and their blog.

Creating pages with gorgeous products is the best part about being on a CT! It also stretches CTMs creatively – the CT can be scrapping with an ultra-girly kit one week and a dog theme kit the next. It’s all part of the fun!


Once the product is released in the store, CTMs are asked to post their sample pages to the galleries as soon as possible. Most designers require that the CTMs post to their store site and a minimum number of other open galleries. Open galleries are places like MyScrapbookArt, DigiShopTalk, and ScrapStacks that allow users to post pages using any designer’s products. (In contrast, closed galleries only allow posted pages to contain their own designer’s products.)

And that’s a quick look at creative teams!


PS – The title graphic was made using Smart Aleck by Sweet Shoppe Designs

Bits & Bytes: January


It’s a new month so I am very happy to bring to you a new batch of Bits and Bytes! I hope you find something interesting and inspiring here. I always have great fun searching for new things to share on The Daily Digi.

30 Days of Gratitude Quotes


Crystal Wilkerson has a list of 30 Days of Gratitude Quotes and related journaling prompts. Not only are they very pretty, I think they would be great jumping off points for a scrapbook page or to use for journaling card text in a Project Life page.

CMPro Daily Project

Are you considering a Project 365? Or maybe you just want to take better photos of the everyday? ClickinMom’s Pro photographers share one photo from their daily life each day. It is an excellent and inspirational photo resource. It’s a site that I love viewing in my Feedly!

Kid Quotes as Subway Art

There are a lot of us who love subway art. How about turning some kid quotes into subway art for the walls? Check out this article for some inspiration. Although I love the canvas, I think I’d do it digitally and size it at 8×10. Then I’d just print at someplace inexpensive so that they could be swapped out of the same frame every now and then.

(PS – Steph did a great post showing how to make your own subway art.)

A Year In the Life of an Art Journal


For anybody considering getting into digital art journaling, here is a site full of paper art journaling for inspiration. I would love to see some digi spins on some of these ideas!

Photoshopping Tilt Shift Photos

Tilt-shift lenses let you take photos that make things appear miniaturized. You need an SLR camera and tilt-shift lenses aren’t inexpensive. For fun though, you can fake a tilt-shift photo relatively easily. Check out a tutorial (and link to a tutorial video) here.

The Book Cover Archive

Don’t judge a book by its cover! But, feel free to be inspired by book covers! The Book Cover Archive is an awesome site that displays some amazing examples of book cover art.

The site was featured in a Sweet Shoppe Designs challenge and I liked it so much that I bookmarked it to refer back to again and again. Through the Book Cover Archive, I noticed a neat design that I thought would translate well into a scrapbook page because it had a ton of thread running across it. I liked it and decided to scrap a version using stitching. Here’s the result:


Inspiration can truly come from anywhere!

PS – The title graphic was made using Outdoor Adventure by Erica Zwart and Simple Browns by Heather T.



Credits: The Silver Reed by Heather Joyce and I Believe In Miracles by Pink Reptile Designs

With the new year just around the corner, many scrapbookers are planning on starting a new project. Here is a list of a few ways to consider documenting your 2013.


To do Project 365, you commit to taking at least one photo every single day for an entire year. (Hint – go easy on yourself if you miss a day here and there!)

I’ve seen Project 52 interpreted as a photography challenge (52 weekly photos) and as a scrapbooking challenge (52 layouts). It’s whatever works for you!


Project Life was created by Becky Higgins. Using a simple grid format and pre-sized journaling cards, you can document your life quickly and consistently. It can be paired with P365, but it does not have to be! Some scrappers do a 2 page spread every week and others scrap as they have material. You could even do it on a monthly basis. Project Life is whatever you want it to be.

NEW 52


Peppermint Granberg of One Little Bird Designs and Christine Newman of Listgirl started the New 52 project. Basically, you try something new-to-you each week, take a picture and write about it. You can note it on your blog or scrapbook about it.


The “Take Twelve” challenge encourages you to take 12 photos on the 12th day of each month.



    At the end of every month, Katie answers a standard set of questions. It’s a wonderful keepsake to see what has happened each month – and can even be the starting point for future scrapbook pages. I haven’t done a round-up every month, but I have scrapped a few and I love how easy it is to answer the simple questions and document an entire month.


    Lynette at NettioDesigns documents her favourite things and moments from each month. What a great and positive gratitude project!


    Ali Edwards documents a Week In the Life each year. This project aims to capture all the little moments in a typical family life through photography and journaling.


    I love to follow Ali Edwards’ December Daily album as she documents her family’s December days.

    Are there any other projects that you would enjoy learning more about? What projects are you considering for 2013?

    Bits and Bytes


    I have another edition of Bits and Bytes to share with you today! In Bits and Bytes we share some of our favourite finds on the Internet, mostly related to scrapbooking and photography.


    Every month, the good people at Get It Scrapped! provide a list of questions to answer. What a wonderful (and extensive!) set of prompts!


    This site provides links to what they call “70 of the Best Photoshop Actions for Enhancing Photos”. The before and afters on the photos look amazing!


    The Simple As That blog put together a really great questionnaire for you to answer as mom, to provide responses for your kids. You could also use it to interview your own mom.


    Wouldn’t a post mark stamp on a travel scrapbook page be a neat touch – especially if it said where you were actually at and when? This tutorial walks you through everything you need to do to create the effect.



    Want to lose 10 pounds? Sorry – no real life advice here, but I can point you to this video tutorial to help you virtually lose it in photos! The liquify tool in Photoshop is a personal favourite for editing photos!


    Follow this simple tutorial to make a dotted line in Photoshop. Once you start, you can’t stop!

    At the same time you’re learning that, you can also learn how to make scalloped edges in Photoshop on another tutorial at Sweet Shoppe Designs. It’s a very similar technique.


    In Canada right now, it is winter hat season. You know what happens when you pull a fuzzy hat off a kid and try to take their picture? That’s right – static that makes their hair stand up and look crazy! Here’s a link to a tutorial to help you de-static that hair.


    I hope you have fun trying out some new tricks and scrapbooking ideas!

    PS – The title graphic was made using Outdoor Adventure by Erica Zwart and Simple Browns by Heather T.