How I Tag Kits in ACDSee

How I Tag Kits In ACDSee

How to organize digital scrapbook supplies is a popular topic in digi community forums. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with supplies and to lose purchases in the hundreds and hundreds of files on our computers.

For many years now, I have been organizing my digital supplies using the ACDSee software. I like that it works much like the Windows File Explorer in that it automatically allows us to browse files without having to import them into the database first. (This is in contrast to Adobe Lightroom which requires that files be imported into the Lightroom database before they can be viewed.)

Organizing Kits

I organize all of my kits in the exact same way. Let’s look at my folder of Kristin Cronin-Barrow kits. You can see that I have folders for each kit and that the preview shows up on the folder icon. (I love this feature because I can quickly visually scan the folders to find the right product for my scrapbook page.)

To have that kit preview show up on the folder icon, it has to be stored in the top-level folder and not any of the sub-folders. Here is everything in my folder:

  • Alpha sub-folder
  • Elements sub-folder
  • Papers sub-folder
  • Kit preview

The next step is to tag the preview image with the Designer’s Name, Store and Product Type. In the image below, you can see that I’ve tagged this preview with Kristin’s name because it has a check mark beside it. In this example, I have not yet tagged it with the store name:

Now, if I select Kristin’s name in my category list, ACDSee pulls up all images tagged with her name. Because I tag only the previews, my results look almost like a mini-store, full of product previews. I can right-click on any of them and select “Go to file…” to browse individual product files.

And that’s it! I organize and tag kits as soon as I download them and it takes less than a minute to do each kit. This system works for me because it isn’t overly complicated and because it suits my one-kit-per-page scrapbooking style.

How do you organize your kits?

Keeping Track of Your Unused Digi Supplies

Keeping Track of Your Unused Digi Supplies

How do you keep track of your digital scrapbooking supply purchases? I have an organization system that I find very helpful. In a nutshell, I tag all of my previews in ACDSee with the store name, designer name and type of product (i.e. kit, alpha, journal cards, etc.). It helps me to find supplies in my giant digi supply stash pretty quickly and easily.

One thing I haven’t touched on is how I track my newest purchases so that I can tell which products I have never used before. That’s important for me both because I am on a creative teams and I need to keep track of what to scrap next and because it’s just nice to be able to play with my fun new supplies!

My “system” isn’t really all that sophisticated – but it works for me!

Basically, I organize all of my supplies by Store and then I have a folder for every Designer. Within the Store directory, I have a “_to use next” folder. The underscore at the beginning means that it is always the first folder in the directory.

To Use Next Folder

I unzip all of my new supplies in the “_to use next” folder and tag the previews with the store, designer name and product type. Then, after I’ve used the product, I move it to the Designer folder. This way, I know that any products in the “_to use next” folder are unused.

Do you keep track of your unused digi supplies?

Font plus Layer Style for Titles

Font plus Layer Style for Titles

When I see a scrapbook page, the title is often the first thing that catches my eye. I love good title work! I also happen to find making my own titles really challenging. Luckily, we have a lot of different options for creating titles in digital scrapbooking.

A Lot of Great Title Options

The most obvious option for title work is perhaps using alphas. Many kits includes alphas and there are certainly a lot for sale individually. Some scrapbookers are masters at mixing alphas to make truly unique and creative titles. But, I don’t think I’m alone in finding alphas hard to work with on pages! When they work, they work though. Check out these tutorials for working with alphas:

My usual go-to for scrapbook titles is pre-made word art. Beautiful word art is enough to make me purchase a kit. In fact, I am often inspired by word art to create a page on the same topic as the word art! Sometimes though the word art included in a kit doesn’t go with the theme of my page. In those cases, I find it helpful to make my own word art strips:

Font + Styles = Winning Combination

But, by far, the easiest and fastest titles for me are made using nothing more than a pretty font and pairing it with a Photoshop Style (or two). I already own 1000+ fonts so it is a pretty safe bet that I’ll have one font that will suit my title and page design. Over the years I have also collected a fair number of Photoshop styles. If you are new to Photoshop styles, check out:

Here are a few example titles that I made using the same font (League Spartan) and various layer styles that I have purchased over the years:

Supplies: Papers from My Life Online which is a TDD member exclusive kit. Drop Shadows are by One Little Bird Designs. All other styles are by Mommyish Designs as listed in the graphic.

It’s amazing how many different looks can be created using Photoshop styles! Best of all, it is easy to test out dozens of style options just by clicking the different styles until you find one you like.

Do you have a go-to title trick?

7 Creative Ideas for March

7 Creative Ideas for March

I’m from a part of Canada where March can either miraculously turn from winter to spring, or the winter can endure the entire month long. It’s also the time of year where I often come out of a scrapbooking rut caused by winter. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that my scrapbooking rut is a direct result of taking very few photos in January and February. (When there’s no light, I don’t think to take out my camera very often.)

Happily, it’s March now and the sun is shining and the snow is melting and I feel like taking photos and scrapbooking more. Here are seven scrapbooking ideas (and related activities) that I had for the month of March – what would you add to the list?

1. Weather: If March comes in like a lion, will it go out like a lamb? Talking about weather is a national pastime where I’m from – scrapbooking about the weather is fun too.

2. Astrology: People born in March are Pieces or Aries. What’s your sign? Do you believe in astrology? That might make for an interesting AAM scrapbook page.

3. Organizing: On a day when dreary weather just won’t let up, grab a cup of tea and spend some time organizing those digital supplies. Then, when you are done, enjoy your work by scrapbooking with some of your organized stash.

4. Seasonal Activities: Where I am from, the sap starts running in the maple trees in March and it is time to head to the sugar shack to enjoy pancakes and maple syrup. What seasonal activity do you enjoy doing in March that you could scrapbook?

5. Rainbows and Flowers: When I think of spring, I imagine rainbows after rain showers and the first blooms in the garden. Happily, both rainbows and flowers are popular scrapbooking elements. I could scrap a page filled to the brim with flowers. Or, take inspiration from Jenn Shepherd, and use flowers to create something magical!


6. St. Patrick’s Day: In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, scrapbook a monochromatic green page.

7. Easter: All the Easter dresses, baskets full of eggs, and a mountains of chocolate! Scrapbooking Easter usually means beautiful pastels and adorable pictures.

Do you have something special you are scrapbooking this March? Or any creative projects that you are working on this month?

Making a Quote the Star of the Page

Making a Quote the Star of the Page

My young son is full of quotable sayings. He says so many cute and funny things that I keep a Google Doc file just to capture some of it. I’ve shared before how like to turn his quotes into little word art images using the Word Swag app.

So my little son, who is six years old, recently said,

“I know how to make a girl fall in love with a boy. Be nice to her and give her stuff she likes, like chocolate. But if she’s allergic to chocolate, don’t buy her chocolate.”

He said it genuinely and with such sweetness too.

Obviously I had to capture this – I need to share it with his future wife, of course.

I decided to make a scrapbook page for just this quote. (I mention this because I will often just incorporate stuff like this in my Project 52 pocket album.)

To make the quote the star of the page, I typed it in a much larger font than I usually use. It was a good start, but it needed a bit of punch. I broke the journalling into two text boxes and deleted the word “love”. Then I used the alpha included with the kit to write out the word “love”, keeping it relatively large on the page. Now it stands out!

Supplies: Lucky by Erica Zane

Emphasizing just one (or a handful) of words really adds punch and makes the quote visually important on the page. It’s a design element now and a part of the overall flow of the page.

If you have a lot of quotes to capture, check out Scrapbooking a Conversation and Scrapping Great Quotes for more ideas.

Choose Your Own Background

Choose Your Own Background

The background on a scrapbook is an important design choice. It is the foundation of the page, after all. Just swapping out the background can change the feeling of the entire page. Today I’m sharing one page, but with 11 different background options. The only difference between these pages is the background. Take a look and see which one you would pick and think about why that background is the most appealing design choice for you.


Solids are my favourite backgrounds because they let the photos and journalling and other design elements stand out.

I like a few of these a lot – like the beige one – but others don’t work for me. Take a look and see what you think:

This blue is pretty, but I don’t think there’s enough similar blue on the page because it looks out of place to me:

Dark brown grounds the page. I like this version – there is good contrast between the background and the newspaper paper strip:

This one is nice – like a slightly stronger choice than the beige, but still neutral overall:

The pale blue is fresh and pretty. I would have to change out the pale blue tag though:

I think the red is a better accent colour on this page than as the main colour:

Similar story for the yellow here:

Textures are fun!

I like the wooden papers included in this kit – especially the darker one. This surprises me because I tend to lean towards brighter pages.

Patterns are a bold choice!

Some people use patterns as backgrounds all the time and know how to make it work. But for me, it is something I find very challenging. This lightly patterned paper works though.

Mixing papers

And for a final option, here’s the page with a few strips of paper layered to make a background.

All versions of this page were made using Life Is an Adventure by Digital Scrapbook Ingredients.

Which background would you pick? Do you have a go-to style for your pages?

Adding Emphasis with Frames and More!

Adding Emphasis with Frames and More!

I love blocked pages, especially for multi-photo designs. They usually come together easily and each little block is an opportunity to show off something – whether it is a photo, journalling, paper or elements.

To add emphasis and highlight aspects of this page, I used some common framing techniques and products.

Supplies: Life 2016: February by Melissa Bennett, E.Z. album v.9 by Erica Zane


First up is, of course, the ever-popular frame! Often seen framing photos, it is equally useful at framing paper and as a layering piece in clusters.


Matting layouts on cardstock is an easy way to frame the page and put focus on the central design. I often create a double-mat to really add emphasis, but on this page I went with a single mat.

White Stroke

Adding a white border around pictures is my go-to way to help them stand out against the background.

Thin Border Outline

The line border around the journalling adds interest to an otherwise plain piece of cardstock and it is a quick finishing touch.

Stitching Frame

On this page, I used a purchased template with a stitched border. It beautifully separates each part of the grid.

That’s five different ways of adding emphasis to a layout! What are some of your best tricks for making parts of your layouts stand out?

Never Save Over A Template Again!

Never Save Over A Template Again!

Have you ever made a page from a template and then accidentally saved over the original template file?

I have! Let’s look at how easy it is to make this common mistake. First I’ll start a page using a template. For this page, I’m using a template by Two Tiny Turtles from her This Journey Called Life 2 set. This is the template as originally purchased:

Let’s pretend that I start working on a new scrapbook page using this template file. I clip some papers and add some journal cards.

If I like where the page is going, I want to save as-I-go so that I don’t lose any work. But what would happen if I hit save right now? That’s right! I’d save right over top of my purchased template!

It’s not the end of the world, of course. But it is a bit annoying. I’d much rather keep my templates pristine so that I can easily use them again on another page.

Two 2-Second Fixes

The first fix is obvious – as soon as you open the template, immediately re-save it with a new file name. It is efficient and definitely will save you from saving over your templates.

I do something a bit different though because I start and then stop a lot of pages. I generally don’t know if a particular kit and template combination is going to work for me until I’m about 1/4 to 1/2 way through a page. So I like to experiment a bit before saving.

To avoid saving over my template, I create a blank canvas. Then, moving to the template file, I select all of the layers, like this:

Then I just drag all of the layers onto the blank canvas. Now you can see on the file name, is “untitled”. I can close the template file, which remains completely unmodified. I can work on the untitled file until I’m ready to commit to the template and kit at which point I can do a “File Save As…” and name the document.

I hope this little workflow trick will help you never save over a template file again!

Lifting An Old Page

Lifting An Old Page

Have you ever lifted one of your old pages? It’s fun and we should do it more often! After all, if you are starting with a page you love, you will probably like the lift! Some page designs just feel right and should definitely be repeated.

The 2010 Page

Back in 2010, I made this page about finances for a digital scrapbooking journaling challenge. It’s one of those pages that came together effortlessly. That’s how I know it’s my style. Simple, linear designs work for me. They’re easy to put together and this page was especially easy because I started with a template. It was simply a matter of clipping papers and adding a few finishing touches.

Supplies: Page template (modified) from The Fat Pack 3 by Janet Phillips, Papers, alpha and elements from The Reason Why by Kristen Cronin-Barrow and Meghan Mullins, Date from Label Maker Dates by Shawna Clingerman

The 2016 Page

Blocked pages designs are still popular today – maybe even more so! I love that the design has held up over the years. Simple blocked designs are a classic for a reason. Here’s my new 2016 page, inspired by the 2010 page:

Supplies: Page template (modified) from The Fat Pack 3 by Janet Phillips, TDD member exclusive My Life Online

To bring this page into 2016, I only had to make some minor adjustments. I changed the alignment of the design, centering the kraft mat on the page which is more in keeping with my current preferences. I lightened the background paper too. These days I like plain backgrounds, but the light gray stripes are very subtle. For the title, I chose a simple typed font rather than an alpha. Over the years, I have mostly moved away from alphas. Finally, I added bigger clusters this time, with more elements in them.

But the overall design is clearly based on the 2010 page – and I was even able to keep the kraft mat. I’m declaring this a successful lift!

Tone on Tone Title

Tone on Tone Title

When you want a title on your page, but you don’t want it to overwhelm your design, using a subtle tone-on-tone colour trick can help.

Here are a few different ways to achieve a tone-on-tone title on your digital scrapbook pages.

Shadowed Paper

I typed out my title in a large font, filling all of the white space on the page. I clipped the same off-white paper that I had used on the background to the text, and shadowed it using my usual paper shadow settings. The shadow gives it just a bit of separation from the background, but overall the look is still uncluttered even though the page itself it full.

Slightly Darker Text

I wanted a simple typed title on this page, but when I used a dark font or red or yellow font, it threw off the balance of the design. To solve this problem, I changed the colour of the title font to the background colour (using the eye dropper tool) and then manually adjusted it to be just a tiny bit darker. It is a subtle title, but definitely there.


Like above, I typed out the title in a similar colour font, just slightly darker. On this page though I added a slight letterpress effect. If letterpress is new to you, Janet did a post about achieving it in PSE here. There are also commercial use letterpress PS styles available for purchase.

I hope some of these title tips help you on a future page. Happy scrapping!