Lucky SEVEN Again, If You Join In

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It’s that time of month where I am a little sad to be saying goodbye to the designers that spent the month with us!  I don’t REALLY say goodbye because once a designer has contributed to The Digi Files, we get to work together more often, but not typically as closely as we do the month they are featured.  I love getting to know the designers each month and this month is no different!  I want to say a BIG THANKS to:

Ange Designs

Nettio Designs

Heather T.

Ashalee Wall

Shawna Clingerman

Meghan Mullens

WM[squared]

We have really enjoyed working with them and their designs!  Speaking of their designs…did you see EVERYTHING that was included in February’s Digi Files?  If you grab the Digi Game subscription, you get everything that is pictured above PLUS the Playbook for this month!

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Today is the LAST day though, so HURRY because once they are gone, they are GONE (and we aren’t kidding)!!  Each month, I always get a few emails asking if people can purchase last months goodies and legally and logistically, I can’t sell them once the month is over!  The best way to prevent missing anything is to sign up for a subscription!!

As you are reading this, I am working hard putting the last touches on The Digi Files #27 and getting them ready to go!  Hopefully, it won’t be an all-nighter! 🙂 You will not be disappointed though, they will knock your socks off!!!

We would love to hear what you enjoyed at The Daily Digi this month and if there is something you want to see, or want to see more of, let us know that too!  We will be drawing SEVEN random winners from the comments!  Thanks for coming back for your daily dose of digital scrapbooking each day!

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I care about this alot

My son loves to find “bloopers” and speech errors online. He has the sense of humor of a future editor! When he told me about a special mythical creature that he found on the Mental Floss Blog, I knew I had to share it for an un-digi post!

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Allie Brosh created the lovable creature we know as the alot, in order to cope with the very common mistake of making “a lot” into one word.

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We had some good giggles over these funny things!

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Alot of SPAM

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I also like embroidery alot.

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Chickens eat alot. Poor little alot!

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Alot better.

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Alot to be worried about!

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The Grammar Monster explains the difference between a lot, allot, and alot (which is not a word).

Hope you have alot of fun today! Winking smile

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Fast photo fixes

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Photo editing is an art form all it’s own, with a wide range of tricks and techniques that can take years to master. Software programs are very powerful these days, and the choices for enhancing your photographs is nearly endless. There are also many opinions about how much photo manipulation is too much? Some purists believe the photo should remain as the camera captured it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who love photoshop for painless plastic surgery. lol!  Most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle on that debate.

As digital scrapbookers, there are many easy photo “fixes” that we can use to help us present our pictures in the way that we want them to enhance the stories we tell on our pages. While there are numerous programs, actions, presets, and techniques out there to use for photo editing, I (Katie) thought it would be helpful to cover a few quick and basic photo fixes.

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I’m going to use this photo of a cloudy Oregon water scene to demonstrate some common ways to edit a photo in various programs. This picture is SOOC – which stands for “straight out of the camera” in photography speak. This means that there has been no editing done on this photo, it is just as the camera captured it. While it was a gloomy day on the Oregon coast when this picture was taken, it really was much more beautiful than this photo represents. It seems overly dark to me and I would really like to edit it before using it on a layout or sharing it with others.

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photoshop

I’m using the term “photoshop” to refer to both Adobe Photoshop Elements programs and Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite editions. I only have PSE installed on my computer but I will list resources for both types of software. Elements is generally more user-friendly and aimed at the hobbyist consumer. The full Photoshop Creative Suite program is used by professional photographers and artists. It has a higher learning curve, but more powerful editing tools. When you are working in a program that uses layers (like the photoshop products), the most important photo editing tip is to duplicate your original photo on a different layer and then apply the edits. Be sure to save as a new file to preserve the original picture.

The more recent versions of photoshop elements have very user-friendly guides to photo editing. You can choose quick or guided edits and simply use sliders to adjust your photo as desired. So easy!

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Using the quick tools in PSE, I edited this photo in about 10 seconds. I didn’t do anything creative here, just used the smart fix auto slider to make the photo look a little nicer.

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You can also control your own editing by using adjustment layers and making your own changes. I adjusted the levels, brightness, and hue/saturation for this one. I worked on this photo for about 2 minutes. It ended up being pretty close the easy edit I did above.

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What if you want to edit several photos using the same settings? This is where actions can really save you some time. Instead of having to start from scratch on every picture you edit, simply use a loaded action in your program to get the same results every time. Once you get the actions installed (which can be a bit tedious the first few times), it’s as easy as pressing a button to run the action on your photo. This is also a great way to get creative and have some fun! I used Pioneer Woman’s Seventies action for this one.

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Great resources and tutorials for photo editing in adobe photoshop programs:

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lightroom

In the develop module, you can use sliders and tools to adjust your photographs.

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I worked on tone curve, white balance, and highlights to edit this photo in Lightroom. I have to admit that Lightroom is my favorite program for photo editing!

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Lightroom has presets (similar to actions) to use on photographs and they are very easy to install. Lightroom comes loaded with some presets, and there are plenty of extra ones to install as well. Once they are installed, it’s as easy as pressing a button to run the action on your photo. This is also a great way to get creative and have some fun! I used Matt Klowoski’s “City Nights” preset for this.

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Great resources and tutorials for photo editing in lightroom:

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picasa

Google Picasa is a free photo editing program that has basic edits and some fun effects. There are auto fixes and sliders to make adjustments to your photos.

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I had fun with a graduated tint on this one.

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Great resources and tutorials for photo editing in Picasa:

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There are many more options for photo editing software out there. Many digi scrappers love using iphoto and Apple Aperture (both are Mac only). There are also programs like Paint Shop Pro, Gimp, and more. You can compare and read reviews on different photo editing software here.

Here are a few more general links to great resources for photo editing information:

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What’s your favorite way to edit photos? Do you have any great resources you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear about them!

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Good Life and Funtastic Friday

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Welcome to a special edition of Funtastic Friday! Today we want to say a big “THANK YOU!” to all the amazing designers who contributed to the Good Life, which is the 2nd kit our subscribers receive when they purchase either a monthly OR an annual DIGI GAME subscription! I (Katie) just love this huge collab kit and I have used it for several projects already. The colors are so easy to scrap with!

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When you have been a Digi Game subscriber for 4 consecutive months, you will receive this huge kit as a free bonus in your account. AND you will receive another huge kit every 4 months you remain subscribed.   The exclusive kits come in the same order for everyone, no matter when you subscribe!

Of course, we wouldn’t be able to give you this amazing gift, if it wasn’t for the generosity of these fabulous designers: Melissa Bennett, SugarPlum Paperie, Danielle Engebretson, Tracie Stroud, Wetfish Designs, Scrapping with Liz, Danielle Young, Chelle’s Creations, Pamela Donnis, Eva Kipler, Shabby Miss Jenn, Jenn Lindsey, Jennifer Labre, Mari Koegelenberg, Kristin Rice, Michelle Batton, Studio Flergs, Allison Pennington, Katie the Scrapbook Lady, Kelleigh Ratzlaff, Suzy Q Scraps, Mel Wilson, Steph,  and some additional goodies by team member Heddy.

As a thank you to these contributors, we are focusing our Funtastic Friday on great finds and deals from these designers.

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Tracie Stroud has this generous coupon for us to get 30% off a purchase of $3.00 or more in her store.

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Danielle Engebretson is offering 30% off her designs from February 24-27.

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Chelle’s Creations has a lot of sales, free bonuses and goodies to share!

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Michelle Batton has several new sets of PAPERCUTS available. These look so neat!

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Kristin Rice has this great coupon code: good_kStudio_TDD Expires: 2/28/11 Good for 35% off any K Studio purchase at CatScrap!

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Jennifer Labre has a fun coupon for these items in her shop at Scrapmatters.

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Suzy Q Scraps has a new collab this week — the 3rd collection in the Project: Love, Me series. So fun!

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Danielle Young is offering a set of templates FREE with $5 purchase of her designs at Oscraps.

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Scrapping with Liz is offering a fabulous 30% off coupon!

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Although we’re all sad about the close of Little Dreamer Designs, there is a major benefit to YOU–and that is a 50% off sale until the virtual doors close on March 15th. If there is something you’ve been eyeing from Pamela Donnis, it’s definitely a good time to stock up!!

50% off Pamela Donnis

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Jenn Lindsey has an awesome coupon for 25% off in her After Five shop.

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Finally, don’t forget to listen to the newest podcast!

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This week’s episode is all about the digi tools we HAVE to have! Come listen to Wendyzine, Aaron Morris (Sir Scrapalot), Steph, Izzy, and me (Katie) as we discuss our favorites, answer questions, and share our picks. I’m excited about all of the great resources I learned about in this show!

You can listen below or in iTunes; Izzy has a video on his site explaining how to do that OR you can see our tutorial with screenshots: Tutorial for Listening in iTunes.  You can join in the discussion about the show after listening if you want.  You can listen below, subscribe in iTunes, or subscribe through our RSS feed.

[audio: http://traffic.libsyn.com/digishow/pds037_vvt.mp3]

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Hope you have a Funtastic Friday!

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P.S. Calvina is the random winner from yesterday’s post and won $10 in product from WM squared.  Check your email!

IN THE DESIGNER’S STUDIO WITH WM SQUARED

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I started noticing WM[squared] designs quite a while ago and instantly fell in love! I love her super fun theming and her bold yet slightly muted colors! I really can stare at her previews for the longest time admiring all of the unique things included! I’m really excited to finally have her joining us in The Digi Files this month! Let’s take a closer look at her contribution, “Crazy Love”:

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Here are some layouts created using “Crazy Love”:

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Layout by Heddy, additional supplies:Page Jumper 23 by Crystal Livesay available at OScraps
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Layout by Jenn Lindsey, additional supplies: Pea Miss Mary font
KarenLayout by Karen, additional supplies: DJB Joan Euro
Trina
Layout by Trina, additional supplies: Crazy Love kit – The Digi Files 26 – WM Squared; Template – Fun & Funky Vol. 1 – WM Squared; DJB Tweenybopper
Lauren
Layout by Lauren, additional supplies: tape by Lauren Reid Designs

Card by Cathy

You can see more inspirational layouts using this collection on the Team Inspiration page.

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InTheStudioWithWM

I’m Wendy aka: WM[squared], 34 years young, and live in South Texas with my hubby of 11 years! We don’t have kids, but we do have 2 furry babies!

STORE

BLOG

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

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This sounds rather odd, but investing in an EHD and/or investing in an online backup can be the best tip I can give you! I have an EHD that I store all my design stuff, My LO’s, photo’s etc and I also back my EHD up on Mozy. Too many things can go wrong with technology these days, and you think you have time. But disaster can strike at any moment, when you least expect it. We spend so much time working on documenting our lives, take some time to make sure those memories can be retrieved! Back up all your goodies!

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I’ve always loved to save things from special events – cards, etc. I started scrapbooking in the 90’s, and up until about 3 years ago, I was a hard core Paper Scrapper. I still have all my Paper supplies, but I rarely drag them out. It’s much easier to digi scrap, and less messy too!

I started designing about 3 or 4 years ago while living in California. In an effort to keep costs low with Paper Scrapping, I discovered Digi Scrapping! I have always been good with Photoshop, so I decided to give Designing a go. I cringe when I look at my old kits, but we all have to start somewhere!

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Almost anything! Magazines, design blogs, anything with color and a catchy theme!

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I use a HP PC, 8GB Ram, 1TB Hard Drive.

The programs I use are PS CS4, AI.

My camera is a Nikon D3000

I use an HP Scanner as well as a Bamboo Pen Tablet

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Here are some of my favorite products by Wendy:

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

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Go have a look in Wendy’s Store and leave a comment! We will randomly select a winner from those comments to win $10 in product from her store! (Comments must be posted before midnight EST to qualify)!

As a thank you to our readers, Wendy has created this coupon to share with all of us!

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Inspired by Crazy Love

The following layouts were created with “Crazy Love” by WM[squared] and included in The Digi Files during February.  You can grab it in the store or through subscription:

Jackie

Layout by Jacki
Karen Layout by Karen
AnneLayout by Anne
image Layout by SharonS, additional supplies: Miss Kim Designs, Fonts: Pea Picky Panda, Smiley Monster
heddy
Layout by Heddy, additional supplies:Page Jumper 23 by Crystal Livesay available at OScraps
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Layout by Jenn Lindsey, additional supplies: Pea Miss Mary font
Karen
Layout by Karen, additional supplies: DJB Joan Euro
Trina
Layout by Trina, additional supplies: Crazy Love kit – The Digi Files 26 – WM Squared; Template – Fun & Funky Vol. 1 – WM Squared; DJB Tweenybopper
Lauren
Layout by Lauren, additional supplies: tape by Lauren Reid Designs

Improve Your Photos Without Buying A Thing

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Would you like to improve your photography without making another purchase?

If you are using a point and shoot, dSLR or even your phone, there is one simple and FREE thing that will dramatically improve your photos.

Great photos happen with great light.

Last month we covered creating light with flash, often more time and frustration than most of us want to spend on our everyday photos.

You know morning light and late afternoon light give the most even, beautiful light to shoot in. When the sun is at an angle, rather than overhead, you get a more indirect, diffused light. You can’t always shoot at those perfect times though.

So, where can you find light?

  • Inside, near a window
  • Place your back to the window and put your subject in front of you, be careful not to shadow your subject, or
  • Place your shoulder and your subject’s shoulder toward the window, creating side lighting.
  • North facing windows give the best indirect light, but any window can work.
  • Avoid bright, direct sunlight through a window. Step into the light beside the window or place a sheer curtain over the window.

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Using my phone, I captured the light on his face from a large window to his right side.

In open shade (when weather permits, of course)

  • Find a tree outside with even (non dappled) shade.
  • The light at the very edge of the tree is typically best.

Open your garage door

  • Shoot just inside the door. The light will bounce off the driveway onto your subject.
  • Place your subject facing toward the driveway to get even light on them.

Overcast days

  • White overcast days act as a huge diffuser for the sun.

Natural reflectors

  • Alleys are great spots for light, as they tend to block direct sunlight bouncing it off of the walls. You probably don’t find yourself in an alley on your typical day though!
  • Look for sides of buildings where light is bouncing off of the ground or adjoining walls.
  • See a large concrete slab? It naturally bounces light up and right into the face of your subject.

Car Interiors

  • When light is harsh outside, get into your car. This works extremely well with light interiors. The light bounces around covering your subject in beautiful light.

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You may find yourself in a few light situations that call for a little creativity.

Restaurants

  • ALWAYS choose the seat with your back to a window. You will get the benefit of beautiful light filtered in on your subject. This is always my spot. Family members don’t even question it anymore.
  • Do you frequent the same restaurant? Find THE table with the best light. Always try to get it for the best results! (I am obsessive about this at our local spot.)

Birthday Parties

  • Try to seat the birthday girl or boy in a chair so that window light is in front of them. Avoid placing them somewhere with a huge, bright window or light behind them.
  • No windows? Lights out? Give them a lot of candles! You’ll need to get a bit more technically tricky with this situation. The low light lesson will help.

image Sometimes finding the light means moving your camera just a few inches to change the angle. If possible, move around your subject before you shoot. See where the light looks best.

When you can see the catch lights in your subjects eyes – those little white reflective spots – you know you’ve found the light.

Notice the light in my new photo? Bathroom light. Yes. My bathroom lights are directed at the ceiling, bouncing off the ceiling, creating even diffused light without a lot of shadows. Perfect. Light can be found in so many unexpected places!

Have fun looking for the light!

Katrina

image “I eat, breathe, write and teach Photography! My camera is my most often worn accessory. I am a mom with a camera who feels compelled to capture my son’s life. I was frustrated by my search to learn how to use my camera and knew I had to pass on the knowledge I gathered to help other moms capture their favorite subjects. I started out with a film SLR years ago, on auto. Moved to a dSLR in 2002 on auto and in 2005 finally decided I needed to know what TV actually stood for!”

Katrina teaches photography classes at Get It Scrapped. Writes photography tutorials for DesignerDigitals and blogs about her life through the lens at About A Boy.

Play it Again! Guy Time

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I (Katie) am so excited to bring you another round of “Play it Again” and share with you many different ways to digi scrap the same memory. This is a great way to illustrate some of the many possibilities that exist when it comes to digital scrapbooking! Here at The Daily Digi we really want to emphasize that there is not a “right way” or a “wrong way” to put together a layout. It’s more about capturing the memory, finding your own style(s), and PLAYING! Yes, it’s ok to play and have fun!

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THE INSTRUCTIONS:

Many scrappers feel that the hardest subject to scrap for is older boys/men.  I gave some of the best scrappers in the digi community a photo of my teenage son to work with so they could inspire us with some male-based layouts. I decided to give them a photo that has no theme – I didn’t want to make it easier by using a school or video game type of photo, this way the emphasis was simply on him being a guy. The only rule they had to follow was to include my journaling. Everything else (including the title) was up to them!

THE JOURNALING:

I love this picture of Alex because he is mid-giggle. His whole face lights up when he laughs and I can’t help but feel like life is wonderful when he is happy. He is growing up so fast, but I love being a part of the journey he is on to becoming an amazing young man!

THE RESULTS:

I was thrilled to see all the different ways this photo was scrapped – all of them are amazing!

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Who says you can’t use flowers on a guy layout? The flowers and foilage are a fun mix with the metal elements and title work. This page feels very masculine, but also sweet and cheery. I love the stitching in back of the clustered papers and embellishments. Fabulous!

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Layout by Britanee Jean. Gallery link. Credits: ‘It’s About Him’ by Captivated Visions.

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I love the cutout of my son on this one, it really makes his handsome face pop. I love the effect of him coming out of the frame to smile at us. The rich accent colors in opposing corners creates a very nice page design and the background is just so cool. Love this!

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Layout by Jenn Lindsey. Gallery link. Credits: On The Front Porch and Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow by Plum Dumpling Designs
You Define Me word tag by Chelle’s Creations. Big Ruckus AOE font

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I love repeating photos on a layout, it’s a great way to emphasize the importance of the subject. This page is filled with guy-style goodness – the stars & metal accents are great embellishments for a male page. I absolutely adore the title work!

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Layout by Tracy Ducar (aka Tracyfish). Gallery link. Credits: Wish Upon A Star by Melissa Bennett. Frame Masks Set #8 by Penny Springmann. Font-Traveling Typewriter

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The blending and the cool clustered embellishments make this a stunning page! I love the splatters along the edge of the page as well. Incredible!

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Layout by Beth Santos-Gugol aka kewl_jive. Gallery link. Credits: Old cars by Marta Designs.

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I’m so in love with the papers on this layout, especially that leafy canvas looking background paper. The fun layers of frames, stitching, buttons, and torn journaling paper around the photo really bring the viewer in to linger on the memory. Beautiful page!

Layout by Brenda (3LittleKs). Gallery link. Credits: Live. Love. Learn. Grow – MScraps Collaboration.

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This layout design is so happy and fun! I love the word strips mixed in with bits of paper and embellishments and the color scheme is a favorite of mine. Wonderful page!

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Layout by Heather Hess (talktoheather). Gallery link. About a Boy by Designs by Lili and Leora Sanford, Bugga and Frogger by Amy Martin and Zinnias and Swallowtails, The Sara by Heather Hess, Shadow Like Me by One Little Bird, and Totally Rad Photoshop Actions

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I love the “Danger – Future Heartbreaker” sign! All the metal pieces on this are just really cool. Totally guy and totally awesome!

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Layout by HollyinJapan. Gallerylink. Credits: Industrial Bundle by ViVa Artistry and Studio Gypsy. Font is 1942 Report.

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The black and white treatment of this photo is such a great way to keep the focus on my son. I also LOVE that little stamped image of him! The page composition is well thought out because the viewer’s eye moves easily throughout the layout to enjoy each part of it. Wonderful!

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Layout by Lorilei Murphy. Gallery Link. Credits: Smile Word Art by Studio Bethany, Of Earth and Sky by Studio Vivarant, Just a Boy by Studio Boutique Cute Dolls

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These layouts are all completely different from each other, but every one of them is fantastic! Each scrapper captured my son’s personality and created a great masculine page. There’s no reason to feel intimidated by guy themed layouts, just enjoy the process. Thanks so much to the talented digi scrappers who helped us see all the different ways to PLAY!

Look through each layout again and think about which one you prefer. Think about why that one stands out to you and what you like about it. It’s a great exercise to help you learn about yourself as a scrapper and your own preferred style. It also might help you explore some new styles that you haven’t tried before.  Its perfectly OK to use several different styles and methods in your own scrapbooking – I do it all the time!  When you get ready to work on your next layout, take some time to think about all the ways you could play with that memory and have some fun!

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P.S. Lucrecia is the random winner from yesterday’s post and won $10 in product from Meghan Mullens.  Check your email!

IN THE DESIGNER’S STUDIO WITH MEGHAN MULLENS

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I’m super excited to be welcoming back Meghan Mullens of Wild Dandelion Designs to The Digi Files this month!  I adore Meghan’s designs!  I love the bright colors that she uses and her mix of florals, stripes, plaids, and damasks (especially when they are all in the same kit)!  Let’s take a closer look at her contribution this month:

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This is just ONE of the awesome collections included in The Digi Files this month!  You can grab them in the store or through subscription!  They are the best deal in digital and a great way to try new-to-you designers!!  Here are some layouts created using “Social Butterfly”:

image Layout by Melissa L. additional supplies: Traci Reed Round n Round stitches; Kids are Cool word art by Ali Edwards; Font is LD Cotton Candy
image Layout by Trina, additional supplies: Template – Color Pops Vol. 6 – Queen of Hearts; A Little Offset Alpha – Christy Lyle; Font – Augie
image Layout by Karen, additional supplies: Janet Phillips template
image Layout by Katie, additional supplies: template by Emily Powers. Fonts are Impact and Gill Sans MT
image Layout by Steph, additional supplies: fonts Everytime I Miss You and Fontologie Printing Primer

You can see more inspirational layouts using this collection on the Team Inspiration page.clip_image001_thumb312

InTheStudioWithMEGAN

Meghan Mullens..WAHM and wife near Atlanta, Georgia.

Store

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

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I think it’s important to scrap how YOU like to scrap. Don’t conform to the latest trends if they aren’t YOUR style. It’s easy to get wrapped up in being a “popular” scrapper but if the process isn’t fun for you and the page isn’t meaningful then it doesn’t matter in the end who likes your pages. Scrap for YOURSELF first!

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I started scrapping in 2007. I bought scrap kits to make sigs on a board I was on. I eventually made a layout then discovered a digi home at Sweet Shoppe and have been there since! I started dabbling in designing in 2008 with a couple of collabs with some designer friends. I got pretty serious about it in 2009 (I designed with a friend as a duo then eventually went out on my own) I moved to SSD in October 2010 and Robin will never be able to get rid of me 😉

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Kid’s clothes! I can look at an outfit and see a kit 🙂

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Well..I have two (pc and Mac) but I’m not good with change and CS5 scares me not to mention I can’t pry my DH off the Mac..I’m trying to use it daily but I give up and go back to CS2 on my PC…sooo I’m using CS2 on a Dell desktop with 3gb of RAM for now…

I do open Inksape occasionally (like Illustrator..but free!)

My camera is a Canon Rebel (old school DSLR)

I use a bamboo tablet and a Canon Pixma scanner sometimes

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Here are some of my favorite products by Meghan

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

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DaisyADay

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Go have a look in Meghan’s Store! We will randomly select a winner from those comments to win $10 in product from her store! (Comments must be posted before midnight EST to qualify)!

As a thank you to our readers, Meghan has created this coupon to share with all of us!

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Inspired by Social Butterfly

The following layouts were created using “Social Butterfly” by Meghan Mullens and included in The Digi files during February.  You can grab them in the store or through a subscription:

image Layout by SharonS, additional supplies: AlphaGiant, Heart Border: Heather T., Scallops: Crystal Wilkerson, Mask: Jenn Lindsey, Fonts: Pea Mystie, Pea Panda’s Doodles
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Layout by Melissa L. additional supplies: Traci Reed Round n Round stitches; Kids are Cool word art by Ali Edwards; Font is LD Cotton Candy
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Layout by Trina, additional supplies: Template – Color Pops Vol. 6 – Queen of Hearts; A Little Offset Alpha – Christy Lyle; Font – Augie
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Layout by Karen, additional supplies: Janet Phillips template
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Layout by Katie, additional supplies: template by Emily Powers. Fonts are Impact and Gill Sans MT
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Layout by Steph, additional supplies: fonts Everytime I Miss You and Fontologie Printing Primer