Optimizing For Web and Email

size-for-webLayout supplies from Dani Mogstad

I (Steph) remember when I first started digi scrapping, I would email completed layouts to family members and they would say the the file was too big for them to download. WHAT? My dad told me that I would need to change the file size and make it smaller…but I had no idea how to do that. I finally learned how to “resize” after attending a speedscrap chat and having the moderator walk me through it so I could post my layout and get the freebie. 😉 Today, I was able to find some great resources for learning how to use the “Save for web” feature in PS and PSE and the “Jpeg Optimizer” in PSP.

I am a little embarrassed that there is a much easier way to use this tool than how I have been doing it. Most galleries have a file size limit (usually around 200k) and did you know there is a way to input the filesize you want to stay under and “save for web” will resize your image within that number you input? Well, I did not know that until today…haha. So, let’s get started.

FIRST, let me share this interesting information, RESIZING (which most of us call what we do when we make a photo smaller in resolution) is actually RESAMPLING —-GASP—-I know! Who would have thought!?

RESIZING is changing the PRINT size of an image but not the resolution or dpi.

RESAMPLING is changing the resolution or dpi of an image.

You can read more about resizing, resampling and the differences here.

SECOND, the highest resolution that most computer monitors can see is 72 dpi. However, some of the newer monitors can see as high as 100 dpi. You can read more about that starting on the 3rd page of this article.

Some reasons you might want to resize and typical sizes:

Blog post: A smaller file size will help the image load more quickly. I like to resize images on my blog because I don’t really want people to be able to pull up the full sized image and see the dirt on my floor…haha 🙂 At TDD I usually size my images between 400-500 pixels and I’m pretty sure Janet does the same. For my personal blog, I have a 3 column layout and the middle column is 500 pixels, so I usually size those to 400 pixels or smaller.

Email: A smaller file will make it so you can actually send the attachment and people will also receive it. It will also make it so the image will appear in the body of the email and fit on the screen, so the receiver will not have to scroll from side to side or up and down in order to view the entire layout. I usually size images for email at 600-800 pixels.

Gallery Post: If you want to post your layouts in an online gallery, you will need to resize it. Most galleries allow a maximum file size around 200kb.

Images for avatars in forums, blogs, or social networking sites: Most forums or social networking sites allow a maximum file size for this. This will take a lot of time and guessing out of getting the filesize right!

Backgrounds for blogs/social networking sites: I just recently signed up for Twitter, after my dad sent me an invite to follow him…no, I am not kidding. So, I resized one of my favorite digi papers to use as my background. I resized it to 800 pixels wide and made sure it was under the filesize limit and them uploaded it to Twitter. I selected the tile effect and there is a small seam, but it is very hard to see.

“Save For Web” (PhotoShop) and the “Jpeg Optimizer” (Paint Shop Pro) are much more than just an image resizer. They help images to be much more crisp and clear and eliminates jaggies on vector layers while keeping the files size low. They also take the guess work out pf sizing files within a specific range. Here are the tutorials to help you get the most from these tools:

Bestechvideos has a GREAT video tutorial on Save For Web HERE

Spanglefish has a PDF tutorial for Jpeg Optimizer HERE.

One side note…you may need to change the image size before using these tools depending on the size and resolution of your original layout.

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Dream Big Dreams

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You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

C.S. LEWIS

Dreaming dreams and having goals are important things.  They are what push us, what give us a destination, and help us filter experiences along the way.  Living life without dreaming dreams and having goals is like trudging along, having no idea where you are going.  And if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you have (or haven’t) gotten there?

In scrapbooking we have the opportunity to not only celebrate the milestones of life but also we have a chance to tell ourselves — and others — of our dreams.  It allows us a way to document our journey…both  where we are and where we want to go. Writing our dreams and goals down is like making  a declaration — “I WILL do this.”  And when we see those dreams written down we are more likely to remember what we want — to strive for it, to grasp for it, to give it all we have.  Scrapbooking our dreams can be a great motivation.

Over the years I have done a number of layouts that incorporate dreams and goals that I have at the moment.  I love being able to look back and see how I was feeling at a particular time, what was important, and what themes reoccur (like finding balance in my life!) Some of these layouts I can look at and say, “I did it!” and some, like the one below, will be a constant motivation throughout the rest of my life.

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Journaling Reads: I dream so much for all of you.  I dream that you will grow up and know what love feels like.  I dream that you will love God with all your heart and understand His sovereignty.  I dream that you will continue to love each other the way you do now.  I dream that you will look back and say you had the happiest childhood.  I dream that your childhood will be filled with running and playing and exploring, not wasting away in front of a TV. I dream that you will grow to love the the world and its amazing diversity. I dream that you will have hearts of compassion for the lost and the poor. I dream that you will learn to love the Word of God and find it trustworthy.  I dream that you will learn that eternity it what matters and therefore sometimes we have to make decisions that aren’t easy or fun.  I dream that you will find the mate that God has planned for you and that you will learn to love as Christ loved the church.  I dream that you will one day have your own children and then finally be able to grasp the depth of love that I have for you. I dream with all that is in me.

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Here are some ideas for scrapbooking about your dreams and goals:

1. Pick one thing that you really want to change in your life.  Be specific. Print out the page and put it in a spot you will see often.

2. Journal about specific goals you want to complete this week. It will give you a record of where you are right now and what is going on in your life.

3. Create a layout (like mine above) that lists dreams you have for your children.  It will help you put words to thoughts and feelings and give you something to filter experiences through.  When we know what we really want for our children we can ask ourselves, “Will this opportunity or experience help me achieve what I am aiming for?

4. Scrap a page about a goal you set and have already achieved.  It is a great way to record your success!  I did this a few years ago when I lost 25 pounds and I love seeing a goal set and achieved.  It also inspires me to do it again!

5. Have your kids tell you what kinds of goals they have and create a page together about it.  This will help “freeze in time” where their hearts and minds are right now and also give you a way to be involved in helping them realize their dreams.

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“The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.”

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

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That Zen Guy Has Some Good Ideas

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I’ll admit it.  My inbox is usually overflowing.  And that is not with junk mail and spam (my beloved gmail keeps all that stuff out of my inbox).  There are, of course, lots of emails that I don’t need to read and do not need to respond to: store newsletters, lists of students absent from school, Facebook updates.  But there are lots that I do need to read, lots I do need to respond to, and lots of other stuff that should be taken care of to keep that little number to the right of “inbox” at zero.  That is rarely the case.  So, I thought I would share a great article for you on The Simplest Way to Clear Out Your Email Inbox.  This article, written by Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits, is reprinted with permission.

In a sentence: Don’t reply or even read most of your emails.

Your inbox can be cleared in minutes with that method.

Here’s how I suggest you do it:

  1. Select all junk mail, newsletters, routine notifications, auto-replies, joke emails, chain mail, ads, anything else not super important. Delete em.
  2. Select about half (or more) of the other emails that you know are not important, just from the subject line. Archive em.
  3. Quickly read through the rest, archiving almost every one of them. Select a few to reply to or act on (5 at the most). Those will be your most important.
  4. Reply to them in three sentences or less, act on them immediately, or put them on your calendar to do later.

Done.

Following this method, you can process your inbox in  less than 5 minutes if you’re quick (use keyboard shortcuts).

What? But … what about all those emails I need to reply to? President Obama gets thousands of letters a day, and only reads 10 of them. This method forces you to simplify, to focus on what’s really and truly important.

Then, when you’ve saved all that time you might normally spend on email, go and Do Something Amazing. Oh, and only do this once or twice a day at most — the rest of the day, stay out of email.

Try it for a day or two. Tell me if the world falls apart. I bet it won’t. If it does, I’ll buy you a beer. If it doesn’t, you owe me one.

This is about something a bit deeper: our need to reply and act on every single request that comes in, rather than to take control of our work days and do what we know is important. You don’t need to respond to every email, act on every request, or even read everything that comes your way. You can choose the essential ones, and then get to work on what really matters. And if you tell others that you’re doing this, that you’re not going to reply to every email, they’ll eventually stop expecting you to reply.

Note: I realize this method won’t work for everyone … but I did say this would be a simple method. You can use it to get even simpler than the steps I listed above — just choose 1-5 emails to respond to/act on, and archive all the rest.

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I think I need to give this method a try.  Goodness knows my inbox is not at zero right now.  I need to do something to control the chaos.  What about you?

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Top 10 Reasons to Love Templates — Part 2

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Last week I shared with you part one of the Top 10 Reasons to Love Templates. This is what we have so far:

1. Templates give you a starting point
2. Templates are great for beginner scrappers
3. Templates can help you do things that you don’t know how to do

Today we are going to add some more great reasons to love templates!

tdd-everyday_4Templates are very versatile. You can flip them, rotate them, move them around, delete stuff, add stuff, shrink things, and more. I just love that I can take a template and truly make it mine (and I do change templates a lot, even if they are really mine!)

I wanted to work with one of the templates from this pack. I came across a group of pictures that I thought would work well, but I thought the “story” was better told by having the photos go horizontally, rather than vertically. Easy — I just rotated my template 90 degrees and was ready to go!

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Templates help you try new things or things that you struggle with. It is easy to get stuck in a rut with our scrapping. I sometimes get to the point where all of my pages look the same. While I like the continuity, I also like some variety. Templates can help you try new things like better use of patterned paper, ways to use multiple photos, or how to create that perfect “white space” layout. I used a template from Jen Wilson to help me scrap a lot of photos on one page. I had so many photos from this photo shoot that my daughter had but I didn’t want multiple pages. This was the perfect solution and it kept me from having to think of a design on my own.

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Templates aren’t just for page designs. Although they originally started as a digitized page sketch, templates have evolved and now you can get templates to help you do all sorts of cool things. You can get some for page borders, doodles, cut pages, photo masks, and more. On this layout I used two different cool template sets: one from Stephanie2 here at The Daily Digi and one from Emily Merritt at We are Storytellers. Both of these made my pages come together super fast and make it totally unique!

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Have you tried templates lately?

To Be Continued…Again

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P.S. Today is the last day for you to get your ARTIST TEAM application in. Check HERE for details!

If You Plan to Go to Disney World

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Our family  has been to Disney World over 50 times. Now before you think we are crazy, let me explain that we lived in Orlando for a year and had season passes for 7 months of that.  My husband and I also both worked from home and had days off (we worked mornings, evenings, and weekends).  So, with three (at the time) little ones, what better way to keep them occupied than by going to Disney World?  It was perfect — we could go for a few hours and come home. We all loved it!

One of the really good things about all the time we spent at Disney is that we learned a LOT about the place and have been able to help others who are planning a trip.  So, since I seem to answer questions a lot I thought I would just share my top ten tips for a trip to Disney World (please note that I am going to assume for the sake of these tips that you are traveling with small children.  I know there are adults who go without kids, but really, Disney is usually a kid trip).

1.  Pick your dates wisely.  Don’t go in the summer or over Spring Break.  Now I know that some of you aren’t able to avoid these times.  However, if you have any say in it at all do NOT choose to go in either of the times.  Summer is HOT HOT HOT.  Seriously hot. And spring break is CROWDED .  So, so, SO  many people. Check HERE for some other tips of when to go, including average temperature for various times of the year.
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2. Make reservations for character meals early.  The more popular character meals fill up fast (especially places like Cinderella’s Castle).  Disney allows you to make reservations up to 90 days in advance (a change from a previous 180 days).  If these meals are important to you, make your reservations early!  On a side note, I would HIGHLY recommend the Play ‘N Dine meal at Hollywood and Vine.  For preschoolers it is just so much fun!  Little Einsteins and Jo Jo and Goliath spent LOTS of time with the kids, there is a ton of fun music, the kids get to dance, and more.  Some of the other meals allow you just a minute or two with the characters and then you just sit there.

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3. Plan to bring or rent strollers.  I think most people know to do this, but I thought I should mention it anyway.  Obviously you would need something for the wee little ones but I mean plan to bring or rent strollers even for bigger kids.  There is so much walking/waiting involved that even older kids — 5, 6, 7 — get so tired.  You can rent nice big ones at the park, both singles and doubles.  We brought our duo stroller every day (and used it for all three kids!)

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4. Set a money limit for yourselves.  A place like Disney can drain your wallet very fast if you aren’t careful.  Decide ahead of time what you want to spend on the whole vacation and then stick to it.  Don’t get sucked into tons of souvenirs (really, how many Disney hats and mugs and sweatshirts do you need?) You don’t have to eat everything at the park, either.  We always brought lunch with us and found a bench and ate.  It saved us so much money!  Remember, too, that sometimes less is more.  The kids don’t need to go to character meals every day.  They are more likely to remember one really good one then going to six or seven in one week.  If there is too much going on, they don’t know what to enjoy. I would suggest choosing one or two special meals and one or two special souvenirs.  In our whole seven months we did two meals — Princess Lunch at the Castle in Epcot and the Play ‘N Dine Meal. We bought one souvenir — a Mickey and Minnie ornament to remember our time there (we also won quite a few things like Mickey Ears and pins for pin trading).

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5. Set a spending limit for your kids.  We always said that if we were coming for a week we would decide how much each kid could spend on extras.  Decide on an amount for each child and then make sure you stay within that budget.  If the kids just has to have a set of Mickey Ears then that comes out of their total.  If they really “need” a Mickey shaped ice cream bar then okay, but when the money is gone it is gone.  This helps the kids realize that they can’t have everything, helps them be in control of what they get, and helps keep you from going broke.  It also helps with the constant whine of, “But I want it!”  (a little P.S. on this one — stay out of gift shops.  If you don’t go in the shops you won’t see stuff you don’t need!)

6. Don’t go to Magic Kingdom on Monday and Epcot on Tuesday.  Disney World has four parks.  Most people arrive in Orlando on the weekend and then see the parks in this order: Magic Kingdom on Monday, Epcot on Tuesday, and then Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on Wednesday and Thursday.  While I understand wanting to see “the good stuff” first, I disagree with the approach for two reasons.  1) Everyone does that making Magic Kingdom incredibly crowded on Monday.  You are better off going to another park early in the week where there will be few people and then hitting Magic Kingdom later in the week when the rest of the crowds have moved on. 2) Magic Kingdom and Epcot aren’t necessary “the good stuff.”  While the Magic Kingdom is the most “Disney” it is also the most crowded and not nearly as fun for older people. The rides and activities are more tame and geared for younger kids. Our favorite park — by far — was Animal Kingdom.  Great rides, great scenery, and not nearly as crowded.

7. Be prepared that you won’t get to see everything.  Even with over 50 trips to the parks, there are still a few things we haven’t seen.  Decide ahead of time what your priorities are.  If you really want to hit all the rides, don’t spend hours waiting in line to meet characters.  If riding in the front of the shuttle trains is what your kid would really love, forget other time consuming activities and head up to the front of the train and wait your turn. Just know that you cannot do everything in one week. Don’t let that disappoint you!

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8. Take breaks during the day.  While taking breaks may not seem like a good way to see as much you can, you will enjoy your trip much more if you get some rest.  I cannot tell you the number of parents we saw literally forcing their tired and worn out kids to just keep going and just see or do “one more thing.”  With the heat and the overload of sensory stimulation, kids get tired!  They don’t want to be dragged from character to character and ride to ride.  Don’t force it just to get the most of your trip.  Instead, plan on a few hour break in the afternoon.  Go back to the hotel, take naps if needed, play in the pool, and then if everyone is up for it, you can head back to the park. But be prepared that the kids may just want to stay at the hotel! Remember to ask yourself “Who is this trip really for?

9. Be prepared to split up.  With kids of different ages and the whole family with different ideas of what they want to see, be willing to split up.  If your little guy is willing to spend an hour in line to meet Lightning McQueen, don’t force your little girl if that is the last thing in the world she wants to do.  If one of your kids is tall enough the ride the big rides and the other is not, just take the opportunity for time with the the kids apart.  Mom and dad can split up and take kids (and themselves!) where they really want to go. Obviously you don’t want to spend your whole trip like this, but a few hours apart might be really good for you!

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10. Go see the Festival of the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom.  This was, hands down, the best part of my Disney experience all year.  It was free, incredibly well done, and fun for the WHOLE family!

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So there you have it — my best tips for a trip to Disney.  Whatever you do, think clearly, breath deeply, and love the experience. It truly is a Magical Place!

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Hybrid Hoopla

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The last few weeks have been very busy and very stressful. More and more I am finding that if I spend some time each day doing something creative, it really helps to bring down the stress and fill me up with happy creativeness. However, on the weekends I also want to be hanging out with my family instead hiding away at my computer. So I decided to take a peek into the hybrid galleries to see if I could find anything that would inspire me to create something fun and be able to do it at the dining table with the family all around. The result? Totally overwhelmed with so many cool projects and pages…I am just bursting to do something! Hopefully I can create something like these amazing pieces of art.

(all images are linked for full gallery credits)

strawberries_webLOVE this strawberry box set by kelleighr. What a fun, springy gift!

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This little hybrid card by livelys is so stinkin’ cute! I just love the little kids under the umbrella!

old-fashioned-bag-3Isn’t this bag by cindyg so gorgeous? The layered tag is just the perfect accent!

photo_hybrid_tank_copy_smallThis tank top by scrappinfishie is just so cool! What a fun idea!

stationary11I WANT one of these desk organizers for my office! I LOVE it! Mturnidge needs to come to my house and make me one! Here are some other angles.

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alb_12-27-07agreentree11This hybrid layout by Amy Martin (alb52) makes me want to give hybrid scrapping another chance. I hate the mess but I LOVE the results!

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This hybrid gift set makes such a beautiful and personal present for a friend. Thanks, ocmath, for the inspiration!

chick-onesiesIf these chick onsies by karistamps aren’t the cutest baby gift EVER, I don’t what are!

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new_home1This New Home Gift Album by Jen Tapler just makes the coolest gift for a new neighbor.

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Hopefully now we are all inspired to break away from our computer and — do we dare? — get our hands dirty! I have a bunch of ideas now of things I want to do. I just have to try and decide which one gets to come first! Happy weekend to you all!

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P.S. Don’t forget that Designer Digitals is having their quarterly sale and Little Dreamer Designs is celebrating their 2nd birthday!

Hiding your email addy from spambots

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Once in a while there comes a need for each of us to post our email address online.  It might be so we can enter a drawing,post it in a forum, or on our blog or website so people can contact us if they need to.  Most of us know that we don’t want to post the ACTUAL email address because we will start to get spam.  Did you know that there are spambots out there that crawl the web in search of email addresses?  Once you post your actual email address you will start receiving spam…unfortunately.

One way that people will post their email address (which I’m sure we have all seen) is to post it in code by using the words AT and DOT instead of the symbols.  Sometimes people will use (  ) as well.  This tip that I am going to share was shared with me a couple of years ago by Dianne Rigdon and it’s super easy too!

When I want to post my email online, I just go to THIS SITE and obfuscate my email, or in other words, make it so it works for people but not for the spambots.  Just enter your email addy in the box, click  on “Click to Obfuscate” and then copy the html into the comment portion of a blog, post in a forum, or the html portion of a blog post.  It will show up like this:
steph@thedailydigi.com

But only PEOPLE will be able to see it…NO BOTS!!

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Top 10 Reasons to Love Templates — part 1

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I love templates. I really, truly do. And I don’t just like creating them…I like scrapping with them too. However, it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, it was only my pregnancy induced creative slump last year that really made me turn to templates as a scrapping tool. But now, I can truly say that I love them. I want to pass on some of that love with a new series of top-ten lists. This one — 10 Reasons to Love Templates — will actually be in mini-series form. Gotta love a good mini-series!

TOP 10 REASONS TO LOVE TEMPLATES

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Templates give you a starting point. Sometimes I want to scrap but have no idea where to start. I love that templates give me a launching place. I find a template I love, pick out the number of photos it calls for, and watch my page start to evolve. That is what I did with a template from this cool template pack by Kaye Winiecki. I didn’t have an idea for a page but after pulling out the template the page started to emerge.

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Templates are great for beginner scrappers. They are easy to use and even someone who knows very little about their software can create a great page. There are lots of places to learn how to use them. Check out our USING LAYERED TEMPLATES article for some great tutorials.

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Templates can help you do things that you don’t know how to do. Things like curved paper, “off the page” shadows, and text on a path. With templates, you don’t have to know how do it…it is done for you! I do most of my scrapping in Photoshop Elements so I can’t make curved text on my own. This template by Jen Caputo was perfect. The premade text on a path gave my page that extra something special!

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Jen Caputo - Digital Sketch

TO BE CONTINUED…

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Don’t Explain it…Show them

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The scene is familiar — I am out with friends or family and we are chatting away. The discussion comes around to the fact that I scrapbook digitally. People have no idea what I am talking about. They ask lots of questions and I fumble around trying to come up with ways to explain what I do in a way that won’t confuse them. Once that fails, they move on to asking about what I do with the pages.

“Do you just leave them on your computer?”
“No, I print them.”

“Well what do they they look like?”

“Um, well, they look like scrapbook pages. I will have to show you sometime.”

The problem is, that “sometime” usually turned into a never. After one too many of scenes like this I had an idea. Rather than a, “I’ll show you next time” I can now say, “Well, I have some pages if you want to look at them.”

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I purchased a small, plain album and printed out about 25-30 of my favorite layouts, sized 5×5. I put the album together and started taking it to places where the subject might come up (seeing people I haven’t seen for a while, meeting new people, family outings, etc.) It has been so nice to be able to actually show people what I am talking about. They get really excited and want to learn more. When people can actually visually grasp digital scrapbooking and see how amazing the pages look, they become eager for more. I am able to take the discussion from what I do to telling them about what they can do. Scrapping is such a big part of my life and I love being able to share it with those around me.

Here is what you can do:

Purchase a small album (5×5 or 6×6 works great)
Print out some of your favorite layouts in the size of your album (choose layouts that don’t have a lot of journaling that would be hard to read when printed small). I printed all of my pages in 5×5 because Scrapbook Pictures does it for just $.35 (as opposed to 6×6 which are $1.00)

Put the album together and carry it along with you to playdates, evening at friends houses, even Saturday morning soccer games. The subject of scrapping won’t always come up, but when it does you are armed and ready!

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Another bonus of having a small album with you when you go out? Keeping the kids occupied while waiting for the doctor, to pick up siblings, or even waiting for a red light. They are the perfect size for little hands!

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