A Little Contest – SEVEN Will Win

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Today is the LAST day to pick of THE DIGI FILES #17!  After today, these fabulous designers will be able to put these collections in their own stores for full retail value (worth well over $5 EACH). You can see close-ups of each collection in the product detail images in the store or on our contributors page (as well as finding links to the designers’ features and coupons).

As we bid farewell to these designers, we want to say a big THANK YOU to them for being with us this month!  We always enjoy sharing their talents with our readers!

We also thought on the last day of the month, we would love to hear from you, via the comments, what you enjoyed reading this month here at THE DAILY DIGI!!  We will randomly select SEVEN WINNERS from the comments left before 11p.m. ET.  Each person selected will win $10 in product from a this month’s contributor’s to THE DIGI FILES!

THANKS so much for your support!!  We really do love what we do! 🙂

Summer Fun

Summer is just around the corner for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere. Warmer weather and school vacations bring a whole new variety of activities into our schedules. This year I (Katie) am longing for some summer fun so I’ve been browsing the web for some great ideas to share. (All images are linked)

SUMMER FUN:

The Martha Stewart website is filled with crafts, recipes, and ideas for summer fun. You can even sign up for a free email newsletter to receive daily summer inspiration in your in-box for 60 days of Summer!

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One of the best things about summer is being able to eat outside. Go on a picnic, or eat out on a patio or deck to enjoy the fresh air while you eat. Allrecipes.com has an entire section of their site devoted to picnics.

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Don’t forget to fire up the grill for a barbeque. Yum! Find some fabulous grilling tips at the Better Homes & Gardens website.

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If you are looking for some fun crafts to keep the kids entertained be sure to check out Family Fun. They have oodles of ideas for summer crafts and activities!

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The weather doesn’t always cooperate with our plans and that can result in grumpy kids (and parents!) You will love Muffin Tin Mom’s ideas for indoor play on a rainy day.

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I’m ready for some summer fun now! 🙂  Hope you get a chance to enjoy some of these  ideas and activities soon!

katie

Tweet-le Deedle-Deet Tweet-le Deedle-Deet

(Think the tune to “Rockin’ Robin” when you read the title to this post)

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I thought it would be fun to do a Twitter round up and share with all of our readers some of the really cool things we have seen.  We regularly tweet about deals and sales going on around digiland as well as some resources like these:

Inspired By…

Happy Holiday weekend to you all.  Even though I (Janet) don’t live in the States anymore, we lucked out here with a long weekend as well (apparently we are celebrating Vesakha — a Buddhist holiday).  Either way — it’s a day off of school and off of work buy orlistat which means I have some time to cruise around the galleries and see what inspires me. And there was A LOT that inspired me!  Can’t wait for the kiddos to be in bed tonight so I can scrap!  Here are just a few of the layouts that caught my eye (images are linked to full gallery credits):

I just LOVE this layout!  What a fun way to get more use out of a Year in Review template!  I am sure her daughter will be thrilled with this recap of the year!

I don’t even know where to start here! I love the small photos mixed with small papers. I love all the “white” space.  And I am amazed with the title/date/journaling work.

Miss Kellie is at it again with a FABULOUS layout!  I love all the colors, the paper blocking, the stitching…everything!

This layout just makes me smile.  I love all the bright and happy colors!

EEEK!  Do you hear that squeal??  That is how much I LOVE this.  It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of journaling and telling stories.  I just love how she shared the story of how she chose her career!  What an AMAZING page!

I am SO glad to know that I am not alone in my crazy anxiety dreams!  My dreams are almost always about either 1) I stopped going to one of my college classes and then I had to take the final (often in the dream I forgot I was even registered for the class)  or 2) that I am naked in some public place.  I SO need to make one of these layouts.  I hope mine turns out even half as fantastic as this one.

WOW.  Just WOW. I ADORE this layout…from the awesome text work in the background to the bright and happy colors to the little graduation cap on the photo and the light bulb…perfection!  This is a great example of really letting the papers and elements help tell the story (rather than taking away from it).

INCREDIBLE element use….So cool!

So beautiful and perfect in every way.  I love the black and white photo with the pretty colored elements. Love the unique paper block placement.  LOVE it.

And could there be anything more perfect than a layout with sweet photos, gorgeous papers, fun elements, fabulous placement, and lots of journaling?  I think not!

I sure hope you are inspired as I am!  Happy holiday weekend….and Happy Scrapping!

Bringing Some Color to Doodles by SuzyQ Scraps

Have you ever come across a fun doodle pack that you just HAD to have … only to find that the doodles were all black? Maybe you bought them anyway, but still haven’t figured out how to customize them for your layouts. I (SuzyQ Scraps) am going to teach you some fun ways to color your doodles so you can match ANY layout! (Note: Screenshots are from PSCS4, but instructions work for PSE as well.)

CHANGING THE COLOR OF THE OUTLINE
1. Drag a doodle onto your layout. (For simplicity’s sake, I’m just showing the doodle in the screen shots.) This is a doodle from Oopsie-Doodle: Journaling 1 (if you purchased this month’s THE DIGI FILES there are some png files in Liz’s ‘Zine Style Templates’ that would as well (all those dots and arrows).

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2. Choose a color. Add a new layer above your doodle (click on the sticky note icon or hit SHIFT+CTRL+N). Fill the layer with your desired color by hitting CTRL+Backspace. Then “clip” the color to the doodle (PSE: CTRL+G; PSCS: SHIFT+CTRL+G). (Tip: To match a color in your layout, select the eyedropper and then “suck” the color from the picture/element/paper.)

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3. Alternatively, you can clip a background to the doodle. Instead of filling a new layer, just drag in a background above your doodle and clip it to the doodle. This can add more dimension to your doodle.

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COLORING INSIDE A DOODLE
1. Drag a doodle onto your layout. This is a doodle from Digital Stamps: Wedding.

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2. Select the magic wand tool. The default settings work beautifully.

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3. Click inside the area you want to color — you should see marching ants around your selection after you click.

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4. Expand the selection so it overlaps the doodle by going to Select > Modify > Expand.

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5. Choose a small value — 2 pixels is typically sufficient.

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6. Add a new layer BELOW the doodle (hold CTRL and click on the new layer icon) and fill it with your desired color (ALT+Backspace).

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7. Hit CTRL+D to deselect.

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8. If you want more depth or texture, try clipping a background to the fill layer.

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COLORING A DOODLE USING MULTIPLE COLORS
1. Drag a doodle onto your layout. This doodle is from Oopsie-Doodle: Borders 1. I chose to change the color of my doodle to brown, but you could leave it black if that worked with your layout.

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2. Select the magic wand too. To select multiple areas that will be the same color, click on the second option in the toolbar.

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3. Click inside each area that you want to color — you should see marching ants around each selection. Then follow steps 4-7 above for coloring inside a doodle (expand the selection, add a new layer below, and fill the layer with your desired color).

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4. Repeat these steps for each area you want colored, until your doodle is customized the way you want it.

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Go have some fun coloring and customizing your doodles. Try experimenting with different papers — maybe even try clipping some patterned papers and see what happens. 🙂 If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll try to answer them. And if you try this, please link us to your layout or post it in our Flickr group with the tag Doodle Color. 🙂 We’d love to see your creation!

Suzy

Suzy is a 28-year-old SAHM to a super rambunctious 2-year-old and wife my sweetheart for 4 years. We live in the middle-of-nowhere, which I absolutely love. My background is in biology but I now find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum designing digital scrapbooking supplies and I am LOVING the journey. 🙂

A note from Steph: Technically, you can use your ‘flood-fill’ tool (without using the selection wand) to fill the doodles as well, sometimes however, it will leave a a slight (1-2 mpx) area between the doodle and area you want filled, unfilled or transparent.  Suzy’s method is the best way to make sure you get the entire doodle filled)

Keeping Your Computer In Top Running Condition

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I (Katie) give my computer a pretty heavy workout each and every day. I expect it to take me all over the world with lightning fast speed, store and edit thousands of images, and create digital masterpieces. Oh, and there’s banking, record keeping, blogging, bookmarking, researching…. well, I don’t have to tell you because I bet your computer goes through the same rigorous routine as well! We require a lot out of these machines and they are usually more than willing to deliver. When something does go wrong, it disrupts our life in many ways.

Like most computer users, I’ve been on the receiving end of a crash and it is no fun! I’ve become a firm believer in keeping my computer maintained and protected as much as possible to avoid potential problems. Regular maintenance also improves the speed of a computer’s performance and provides you with a more organized and productive workspace.

Here are some of my tried and true tips (and a whole lot of links!) to help you keep your computer in tip-top working condition. I use a PC (windows based) so some of these tasks might only apply to those with a PC. I have also asked a few of our team members to help me include some tips for MAC users as well.

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If you have never had a hard drive (or external hard drive failure) before, you will. It seems to happen to everyone. For a long time I heard that MACS never crashed. I can tell you from hanging out in forums and reading designer blogs that they do. I’m not sure there has been a crash-proof computer invented. Even if your hardware never fails you, there are other calamities that might intervene. Theft, fire, flood, or even a simple coffee spill can wipe out your system. Protect your data, photos, and digi supplies by backing them up! There are so many options for backing up files, that there really is no excuse to not do this.

Tips & Resources for Backing Up:

  • Make backup copies of anything you don’t want to lose by using your computer’s CD or DVD burner. You don’t even need a special program to do this as most systems will let you simply drag and drop your files into the desired drive. An external hard drive is another great method for backing up files. I use 2 of them so if one fails, I will have the other as a backup of my backup. 🙂 If you are storing your backup CDs or EHD in the same place as your computer, you still might lose those if something were to happen to that location (such as a fire) so it is a good idea to consider some online options or an offsite storage spot like a safety deposit box, or a trusted relative’s home.
  • Even though all my photos are saved on my external hard drives, I feel even better that they are also stored on flickr. Because I have a pro account at flickr.com ($24.95) a year, the full resolution size of ALL of my photos is available to me at any time. Read our post about flickr for more details. There are other online photo storage sites, but I haven’t found any that offer full resolution storage for such a low price.
  • Online backups are another great way to protect against loss. Steph loves Mozy.com (she picked it as her product pick in the PaperClipping Roundtable podcast episode 18). Online backup sites keep a copy of your computer’s files on their server so you can restore the items your own system if something goes wrong. You can subscribe monthly for $4.95 a month or save money by purchasing an annual plan. There are other online backup sites out there. I have tried a few that I did not like, and I know that Steph tried several others before finding Mozy.
  • Keep your desktop and files clutter-free. If you know where everything is stored on your computer, you will be more likely to avoid duplicates and keep things backed up.

Whatever method you choose for backing up your files, be consistent with it. If you only burn CDs every few months, you could easily lose precious photos if your computer crashes between backups. I suggest you add a regular task to your calendar or to-do list to help you remember to back up.

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Keep your computer clean and free of viruses and spyware. These are the most prevalent causes of malfunction, so protecting your system against them is very important. Unfortunately, there are cyber-criminals out there who make it necessary to use virus protection programs to keep our computers safe. There are new threats every day and new methods of delivery. I believe a facebook virus compromised my computer a few months ago. Be very cautious about opening suspicious messages on facebook!

How to Protect Yourself Against Viruses:

  • Check to see if your computer has any pre-installed virus protection programs. Sometimes a newly purchased computer will also include a subscription to a service such as McAfee or Norton. If you already have something like this, be sure you are using it! Check your system folders to see what’s installed and make sure it is enabled and functional.
  • If you don’t have virus and spyware protection, consider adding it. Browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox have some anti-virus tools built in to them, but they are generally not adequate enough to block all malware on their own. PC Antivirus Reviews is a good site to go to for comparing various programs.
  • As digital scrapbookers, we often download files from all over the internet. Be careful to use reliable sites for freebies and downloads. Free isn’t worth it if you pick up a bad file along the way. If something looks suspicious, don’t download it. If your virus blocker finds a problem with a file, let the poster know. We want you to know that we here at The Daily Digi are very careful about the links we recommend!

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With all that we put our computers through, it’s actually amazing they don’t act up more. I’m always amazed that I can move my laptop around the house and haul it through road trips and airports and it still performs beautifully. A little prevention and maintenance goes a long way in keeping a computer running smoothly.

Maintenance and Prevention for the Computer:

  • Use the built in system tools to improve speed and functionality. Empty the recycle bin (garbage) regularly. Run disk cleanups and even disk defrags if needed. This article from Microsoft at Work has some great tips for both tools.
  • Don’t eat or drink over the keyboard. Crumbs can get lodged into openings, and liquids can seep through and destroy hardware.
  • If you are packing your computer around (laptop), use a padded case with plenty of protection. Don’t drop it. 😉
  • Use the proper electrical cords and/or batteries for your computer. Use surge protector cords to protect your system from electrical surges.
  • Occasionally clean the keyboard and fan in your computer. After powering off the computer, use a small amount of compressed air to remove debris. Keeping the fan clear of dust will help prevent the fan from overheating. See this list of computer cleaning no-nos for more information.

Now that I’ve cleaned up my computer, I think it’s ready for some new digi supplies. Seems like a nice reward for a job well done. 🙂 I’m off to shop!

katie

P.S. Our apologies for not posting the winner from the Kitschy Digitals post sooner! The random winner for Danielle’s gift is KirstyB – she said “Ooohhh….lovely scrap goodies!! This months digi files is STUFFED WITH GOODNESS!! Love the Woodland Book Lovers stuff from Danielle too!!” Thanks Kirsty! Check your inbox for your gift!

P.S.S. We updated the original post on Kitschy Digitals with a coupon code that is good for both of Danielle’s stores so be sure to check it out!

Hybrid Happiness

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Hybrid projects are so creative and fun, but I (Katie) often feel stumped for ideas when it comes to actually putting one together. This is one of those areas where I really need to SEE completed projects so I can get a feel for how they will come together. I can look at a digital template and imagine a layout, but for some reason I can’t do that with hybrid products. That is why I love browsing the galleries and our flick group for inspiration.

I thought it would be fun to share all the fun hybrid ideas I have found lately. (All images are linked)

Hybrid candy bar wrapper project from kpcphotography (via our flickr group pool)4585770630_4586d7ae9a

Cupcake Boxes by Chrismaris Mommy

Recipe Box on The Shabby Shoppe blog

Worms and Ladders game by livelys

Matchbook album & bag from Sunghee

Mini Tag album from The Hybrid Chick

Baseball treats from Shabby Miss Jenn’s blog

Hybrid soapbox from Scrappy Donna

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Book log notebook from laurabeanct (via our flickr group pool)

Critter Cupcake Toppers from Kathy Martin

Treasure boxes on the Hybrid Chick

Thank you card by wildblueeyez

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Mini Album by ScrappyDonna

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Gift Boxes from The Hybrid Chick

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I’m totally in the mood to rev up my printer now! We’d love to see your hybrid projects in our flickr group. Be sure to add the tag “hybrid” so we can be inspired by your creations!

katie

Granny’s Attic – Danielle Thompson

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Layout by Marie Lottermoser
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Layout by Marie Lottermoser
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by Georgia Visacri
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by Karine Courtemanche
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by Ranie O’dell

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by Cathy Pascual

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Layout by Sharon S

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Layout by Karen, additional supplies: Additional Crredits: Polly & Rufus alpha; My Four Hens photo action.
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Layout by Anna Backstrom
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Layout by Anna Backstrom
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by Marie Lottermoser
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Hybrid Projects by Sunghee: Bag template, Almost Square Bag by Sunghee. I simply cut a lot of elements from the kit in different sizes and layered it with 3-d foam adhesive.

In The Designer’s Studio With Kitschy Digitals by Danielle Thompson

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I am really excited to welcome the fabulous Danielle Thompson of Kitschy Digitals with us in THE DIGI FILES this month. Danielle has a signature retro style that is easily recognized in layouts and she is quite a fun girl too. Here’s a closer look at Danielle’s contribution to THE DIGI FILES:

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This is ONE of the SEVEN contributions (six kits and one template set) that you get in THE DIGI FILES 17!! It really is the best deal in digi! What a great way for you to get some high-qualtiy digi supplies by designers you love as well as designers that are new-to-you! You get to try them out at a very low risk! It’s also a great way to support THE DAILY DIGI and all we do! It will is a win-win! Here are some layouts created using Granny’s Attic:

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Layout by Karen, additional supplies: Additional Crredits: Polly & Rufus alpha; My Four Hens photo action.
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Layout by Anna Backstrom
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Layout by Anna Backstrom
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by Marie Lottermoser
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Hybrid Projects by Sunghee: Bag template, Almost Square Bag by Sunghee. I simply cut a lot of elements from the kit in different sizes and layered it with 3-d foam adhesive.

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KITSCHY

Hi! My name is Danielle Thompson and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I am married to Ethan and am “Mommy” to two little boys, Cooper and Campbell. I’ve been a graphic designer for 12 years and just recently quit my part-time graphic design job so that I can focus solely on my digital design (which is super exciting!). I love that I can design at home while the boys are at school, but I’m able to be there for them when they’re not. I feel like I have the best of both worlds and I feel very blessed for it. Aside from designing, I am interested in so many things (is there such thing as too many hobbies?) such as: interior decorating, crochet, photography, Blythe dolls, blogging and I just recently took my first quilt-making class (something I’ve been wanting to learn for ages!). I just love crafting in general. I’m always making things. My design style always centers around my love of vintage, color and pattern.

STORE AT JESSICA SPRAGUE

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PERSONAL BLOG

KITSCHY DIGITALS BLOG

TWITTER

FLICKR

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My designer tip is that some elements look much better photographed than scanned, especially very three-dimensional elements. If you have a good camera already, you should be using it for your designing as well! And even if you aren’t a designer, you can use your camera to photograph elements for your own scrapbook pages. I’ve found that only really flat elements look good scanned, like old photos, flat ribbon, etc. But anything with even the slightest thickness looks better photographed. I find that you get more natural looking lighting. Scanners tend to give three-dimensional elements not-so-flattering lighting and shadows. (This is just my experience.)

I use a Canon 30d and I always use my 50mm prime lens when photographing elements for my kits. This way you don’t get any distortion (like when you use wider lenses). Also, prime lenses yield a much sharper image (in my experience). I usually put the object on top of a white background on a flat surface, usually the ground (depending on how large your object is you could use plain white printer paper, or if it’s too big for that, white photography backdrop paper.) I usually experiment with different light, but most often the lighting looks best when the object is placed in a shady area, or any area will do if the sky is overcast.

Some items that are very thick, putting them in direct sun sometimes yields a better result (since the sun is coming from overhead and straight on, there aren’t as many cast shadows within the object). The key is to just experiment. Take photos of your object in different lighting and then see what you like best when you pull them up on your computer screen. For extracting, I do it the way I’ve been doing it for 12 years: manually drawing a path around my object with the pen tool. I also use the Quick Mask Mode and a small brush to select the area I’m extracting. Extracting can be very time consuming, but it’s totally worth it when you have a beautiful and meticulously extracted image. Find whatever works best for you!

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I first started scrapbooking in 2003 when my first son was born. I was a paper scrapper and I totally fell in love with it. I picked up a scrapbooking magazine, and then I was truly hooked. I got bit by the publishing bug and my scrapbooking took a more serious and professional turn when I started creating artwork for various publications and books. By the time I got pregnant with my second son in 2006, I was truly burned out and wasn’t enjoying it so much anymore. I wasn’t really documenting my family’s life, and even the “creating” part wasn’t fun anymore because I was having to force it for assignments. And I knew I couldn’t keep up that schedule anymore with a baby on the way (um, it used to take me like 5 hours on average to complete one layout! Just not practical!) I would also say that the clutter, expense and waste of paper scrapping really turned me off after a while and I just totally and completely stopped doing it, and haven’t created a paper scrapbook page since.

Getting into digital designing was really a fluke for me. A person in the scrapbooking industry that I had worked with previously approached me to design digital scrapbooking supplies for a new store that she was going to be a part of. It never really occurred to be that this is something I would want to do, but I was like “why not!”, so I did. We soon realized that my style wasn’t really a good fit for their brand, so I went out on my own. I started selling my first kits on my blog in 2008 and within a month Two Peas in a Bucket asked me to design for their store. It was a great way to get my feet wet and get more exposure. After a good while designing there, I decided that I wanted to go out on my own (again) and was selling from my blog again. Then after a good while doing that, I was asked by Jessica Sprague to design for her store! And it was an offer I couldn’t refuse for so many reasons. I LOVE having a “home” there. She and her team are absolutely delightful to work with. So I guess I owe the person that put the thought into my head about designing, a huge debt of gratitude. I’m doing something I never thought I would and I’m truly enjoying it! I’m growing as an artist and a designer through digital scrapbook design.

As far as scrapbooking goes, it was only natural that I started doing some digital scrapbooking. I don’t do it regularly just because I don’t have a lot of free time, but I’m a huge advocate of it and wish I could do more. I LOVE that is faster, less costly, reusable, less wasteful than paper scrapbooking. I could probably come up with even more reasons why it’s a better alternative for ME at least. I still love paper arts, don’t get me wrong. I love tangible crafting. But as far as scrapbooking goes, I’m a total digital convert. It just fits my busy lifestyle better.

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Color & pattern

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I have a Dell, running Windows Vista with 4 gig ram. I use Photoshop and Illustrator. My camera is a Canon 30d, 50mm lens, 28mm lens. I do not use a tablet yet (I know! Crazy!), but this is something I really want to learn. I actually have one that has sat in my drawer for probably 3 or more years. I’m so old school when it comes to designing, which still works, but I need to learn some new tricks!

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This Digi Files kit!

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Here are some of my favorite products by Danielle

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

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Layout by Karen, supplies: Kitschy Digitals Vintage Stacked Flowers, Washi Taped Frames, Granny’s Attic paper (from TDF17); Amy Hutchinson paper (from TDF17); Fizzy Pop Designs Sidekicks No. 15 template; Michelle Filo Retro alpha; Fonts are Marketing Script, Traveling Typewriter and Pea Darlin’Debclip_image001_thumb7

Go have a look in Danielle’s Store here and here and come back and tell her what you like, we will randomly select a winner from those comments to win $10 in product from her store! (Comments must be posted before midnight EST and must include a product name to qualify)!

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As a thank you to our readers, Danielle has created this coupons good at Jessica Sprague and 2peas:

20%offDDReadersCode at 2peas is: DailyDigi20