“Homemade” Vellum

When I was a paper scrapper (or at least pretended to be!), I was in love with vellum! I loved the light and airy quality it had and how it allowed papers underneath to show through. I was obsessed with it!

And now as a digi scrapper, I still love vellum! While it is occasionally contained in kits, most often I just have to make it myself! Thankfully, it’s really easy!

I loved this kit by Little Lamm Co. in this month’s DIGI FILES.

The soft colors with pops of brighter tones made me ridiculously happy! And the dark grey paper (not seen in the kit preview), with its thick textures, made me swoon!

I knew I wanted it to take center stage on my layout, but I also wanted other papers to adds some interest. After trying a number of different papers, I decided on vellum. It would add some contrast to the page but it would also allow the grey paper to still have maximum impact!

I chose the awesome paper with the gorgeous writing on it to make my vellum with.

And this was my final result:

These are the steps I took to make the vellum:

1. Open the paper and duplicate the layer (since the background layer is locked). Then I put the bottom layer in the trashcan (alternatively, you could duplicate the file in order to avoid accidentally saving over the original paper).

2. With my magic wand tool, I clicked on the light grey background. I set my tolerance around 10 in case there was a subtle texture to the paper.

3. With the words paper still selected, I went to select > select similar. This would ensure I got all the little bits within the letters.

4. I then deleted the selected area, just leaving me with the words on a transparent background.

5. Next, I created a solid white layer underneath my letter layer.

6. I then cropped the papers (using my crop tool rather than my marquee tool so that both layers would be cropped.

7. Next, I dragged these two layers onto the grey paper I was using for my background.

8. As I looked at the letters closely, I decided they didn’t quite show up enough (they were on off-white). I added a layer of white above the letters and did a clipping mask to make the letter layer a bright white. I then hid the white paper background to check to see the letter layer looked right. It did.

9. Next, I reduced the opacity of the white paper layer to 18%.

10. I then merged the layers and added a drop shadow. My style settings are above. Here is the result up close:

11. Finally, played around with the layer size and cropped it to work on my layer. I then completed the rest of my layout, leaving me with this: (scissors are from a retired kit by Heather Roselli, My Other Loves.)

Breathing Room

My love of white space can’t be overemphasized. White space—or as often called, negative space—is a term for the aesthetic design principle of leaving “white” (aka relatively empty) space in your art. The space serves as a resting place for the eyes as well as a means to balance a page.

Whether it is in decorating my home, putting outfits together, taking photos, or designing layouts, I need space! I need places where my eyes (and heart!) can rest, unhurried and uncluttered. I dress in mostly solid colors, I have big open spaces on my walls, and the subjects of my photos often only take up a small part of an image.

I admire photographers and scrappers (and fashionistas!) who can pull off a full layout or a dazzling and decorated outfit. I just can’t do it.

Oh to have that talent. Heddy’s page above is incredible. It is full and fun!

However, when I scrap, I just need my space. But, I often create my page with everything where I want it, often filling the whole page. At the end, I adjust the size of my papers and elements until I feel like I can breathe.

Take this layout, for example. I used Sweetiekins kit by Traci Reed & Erica Zane. I am trying to be a little less of a simple scrapper, taking advantage of more of the awesome papers and elements in a kit.

I put the layout together, filling almost all of the page. I liked the placement of everything, but as often happens, I knew I needed more space.

To do this, I simply select all layers (select > all layers) and then I deselect my background layer, since I don’t want to resize it. Then I just grab one of the corners and I shrink the contents of the layout until I feel I have given the page enough room to breathe.

Once I am happy, I click the green check mark to confirm the pages, and then I save my layout and breathe easy.

After scrapping for eleven years, my style continues to evolve, but there are certain aspects I don’t think will ever change. Breathing room is just one of those things I will always need — in life and in art.

How about you? Do you use a lot of white space? Do you find that your scrapping style mimics your style in other areas of life?

Scrapping Rut Be Gone!

{post image was made using Erica Zane’s Super EZ}

I’ll admit it. 2015 was the year of the great scrapping rut. When I usually scrap hundreds of pages each year, I don’t think I did more than about a dozen pages in 2015. Eek! This was due in part, I am sure, to my decision to not do photo-a-day. Fewer photos = fewer scrapbook pages.

But really, it was more than that. 2015 was a really hard year personally. I should have read Katie’s How to Scrap When Life’s Not Picture Perfect! I’m okay with taking a break now and then, but this was far too long and I have missed it.

Even more, my family has missed it. They love to look through my albums and even my husband told me he wished I was scrapping more. He has seen the value of saving our memories over the last ten years and it is something he now really values.

So, I have been willing myself out of this rut. It hasn’t been easy and I have a long way to go, but here are a few things I am doing to help get myself back into the swing of things.

I have a lot of digital scrapbooking materials. A lot. And it has been a long time since I have looked through my stash. When I did that (along with some much-needed organizing), it was so easy to be inspired. I am such a visual person and seeing all the beautiful kits made be get excited to start scrapping again!

Although my scrapping skills were definitely out of shape, I knew I would struggle if I didn’t make myself just get started. Sometimes that is all it takes. It also helps that I am okay with not-so-great pages. In the end, it isn’t the art that makes me want this, it is the preserved memories. If I focus on the joy of one more memory saved rather than the creativity aspect, it is easier to step into it. And then often, once I just get going, the creativity starts flowing. Win-win!

After seeing my children go through our albums recently, I picked them up and started looking through them as well. Reading all the stories and seeing old pictures made me so happy that I have chronicled our life through thousands of layouts. As happy as those pages made me, I also felt sad because so many of our recents memories have gone undocumented. The little stories, especially of my younger kids, aren’t getting told and therefore they won’t be remembered. That sure lit a fire under me to get scrapping!


I know there are many of you who have stopped scrapping and want to get started again. It’s tough, for sure, but not impossible. Together we can do this!

Check out some of these posts for further inspiration:

It’s Okay to Take a Break

Taking it Easy

Get Inspired from Your Old Archives

Worth Checking Out!

There are so many great digital scrapbooking resources. I try to stay current and follow as many blogs as I can, but there are far more articles than I can read in the time I have. But that’s not to say that I don’t give it my best effort! Today I thought I would round up a few fun tutorials and articles about our favourite hobby. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

5 Great Tips for Purging Your Stash

5 Great Tips for Purging Your Stash: I love the tips that Aaron put together for decluttering your digital stash. Are you a digital hoarder? These tips may be just what you need to help you streamline your supplies.

Find this article at The LilyPad blog.

Mini Tag Album Tutorial

Paper Crafts Mini Tag Album Tutorial: How adorable is this mini tag album? I’m so impressed with all of the adorable little details and the bow that finishes off the project.

Find this tutorial at the Peppermint Creative blog.

Pattern Paper Cut Outs

Pattern Paper Cut Outs: This clear tutorial takes you through how to cut out (digital) patterned paper using the magic wand tool.

Find this tutorial at the Forever Joy Designs blog.

6 Ways of Using the Same Photo More Than Once on a Layout

6 Ways of Using the Same Photo More Than Once on a Layout: I love these tips! I think they’re especially useful when you want to use a template with more than one photo spot, but you only have one relevant photo.

Find this article at the Traci Reed Designs blog.

Creating Digital Confetti

Creating Digital Confetti: This is a new-to-me technique and I’m super excited to try it out.

Find this tutorial at the Captivated Visions blog.

Technique Talk

Technique Talk

Hello! This is my first post of 2015 and I am so excited to start another year of memory keeping!

It’s no secret that I love revisiting baby photos and scrapbooking them. Some of them I’ve scrapbooked before, but that’s okay. I like spending time with these cute pictures!

I found a sweet picture of my son when he was a baby. I scrapped the entire page using the black and white image before deciding that I like the colour version better. That’s the beauty of digital though – it was super easy to swap out and re-save the completed layout.


Forever My Baby

Black and white:

I started making the page with a neutral background to let the design take centre stage. I love how the paper included some paint along the edges for interest.

I added my journaling and title using the Claire Hand font. By blending the font, it allows the texture of the paper to show though. (See the tutorial on Fonts Don’t Float for more on this technique.) I also added staples to hold down the ribbon strip.

I placed a paper strip, some paint dots and a paper element to the bottom edge of the page to ground the design. I added some red washi tape to add more red to the bottom part of the page which links it to the top part of the design.

I tried to use the placement of the red elements to help to establish the flow of the page:

For this page, I worked with Blagovesta’s beautiful Captured kit which was included in the Digi Files #69 and is now available at her store.

Captured kit by Blagovesta

I’m so happy with how the page came out and that I was able to scrap this little memory for my son.

Adding a Thin Border for Emphasis

Adding a Thin Border for Emphasis

I made a page recently and for some reason it made me remember some of the challenges I had when I was a newbie scrapbooker and I didn’t know Photoshop very well yet. Take a look at my page that is just below this paragraph. Do you see that thin black line around the central design? When I first started scrapbooking, I couldn’t figure out how to do that at all! I used to take a small brush, and while holding down SHIFT to keep the line straight, I’d draw the box. Then I’d go in with an eraser to neaten up the corners. It was a time-consuming and messy process. There is a much easier way!

Online Shopping

Supplies: Retail Therapy by Jady Day Studio & Libby Pritchett

The Easy Line Outline

Here’s my layout without the box outline. It looks fine, I just wanted a little extra emphasis on the page by adding an outline.

Online Shopping - No outline

Draw a box: Create a new layer just above the background paper. Using the Shape tool, draw a box where you would like the outline to be.

Add a stroke and remove the box fill: First, add a stroke around the box. The settings I used are: Size 3 px, Inside position, and 100% opacity. I used the eye dropper tool to select the colour of the black “Free Shipping” label.

Then remove the fill layer of the rectange box in the layers palette:

Now the outline will look like this:

Soften the Outline: Using the blend mode on the layer, I adjusted the Blending Options to soften the line. (You can read more about this step in Fonts Don’t Float.)

This made the line appear softer, like it was truly on paper:

It’s a pretty simple and effective way to add emphasis and ground a page design. Let me know if you have any questions!

In Which We Document The Days of December On Our Phone – for the overwhelmed and underachieved – (Android too)

Supplies: by Sahlin Studio and Brittish Designs (see below)

During the “holidays” (roughly October through the first of January), I am probably one of the most overwhelmed an underachieved people there is. I’ve said many, many times that just the thought of doing a December Daily project makes me want to crawl in a corner and cry. It’s always been completely overwhelming.

This week though, I have found myself thinking about December Daily, and thinking about how easy it would be to do on my phone. Soooooo, I’m jumping on board, I’m drinking the Kool-aid. I think I’m making it easy enough that I can actually do this and maybe you will too! I would LOVE to have some of YOU join in (#decembersuccess)!

I’ve posted before about using the Project Life App with DropBox, but I was really wanted to find an app that I could use that was available in iOS and Android. I wasn’t able to find ONE app that had everything I wanted that was dual platform friendly. I did, however, find an app that had everything I wanted for iOS and another one with the same features I was looking for in Android. Two apps, different platforms, similar features. Here’s a list of the features I wanted (for iOS and Android):

  • predesigned gridded collages
  • square format with four spots (two journal cards, two photos)
  • ability to access journal cards saved to DropBox, directly from the app (I didn’t want to have to save the cards to my phone, creating an extra step, and filling up my memory on my phone)
  • an export resolution that I could have printed into a small photo book (4×4) without compromising quality


I’m planning on using combinations of these products:

I’ve saved all of the journal cards from each collection to a folder in my DropBox on my computer called _DaysOfDecember (I started it with the _ so the folder will always be at the top). This folder automatically shows up on my phone. For more information about setting up DropBox on your phone, check out this iPhone tutorial or this Android tutorial.

My layout will be:

  • 2 journal/filler cards 3×4 (one that will include the number that correlates to the date)
  • 2 photos per day 4×6 (approximate size)
  • I’ll be using these collages in my app:

I am incredibly (INCREDIBLY) forgetful, so I will set an alarm on my phone for midday to remind me to take my photos and then another alarm at 9pm to remind me to put the page together. My plan (hope) is to create a page a day, as I go, so everything is done and ready to be uploaded for printing on January 1st.

An App For Android

Photo Grid is actually available on both iOS and Android. However, it does not have all of the features I was looking for in the iOS version, only the Android version (from what I could see). It is actually a very powerful app on the Android platform and seems really slick to use! I’m kind of, sort of jealous of it!

I found this tutorial that should help you get up and running pretty quickly (I’m not on Android, so I can’t do a step-by-step using digital products, sorry). The tutorial below for a different app on iOS, should help give you an idea of the process and workflow using digital supplies.

Images in Photo Grid can be exported at either720P, 1024P,1080P,1660P,1920P,2048P with both .JPG and .PNG format.

An App For iOS

Pic Stitch is an app I’ve been using for a very long time and it just so happens, that it does everything I wanted it to do.

Once in the app, select the template style you want to use:

You can see the collages I will be using in the middle row, above.

Once the collage is open, tap the photo spot you want to edit:

This is the menu that comes up:

My journal cards are saved in DropBox, so that’s what I will tap and show you here. The first time you tap Dropbox, you will need to login and enable access to your account by the app.

As stated above, my journaling cards for this project are in the _DaysOfDecember folder (just as an FYI, the _QR Code folder below contains the videos that have QR codes associated with them in photo books). I saved the journaling cards and filler cards to Dropbox from my computer; this step cannot be done from the phone unless you download the zip file from the store, on your phone, save it to Dropbox and use another app to unzip…easier just to do that part on your computer, I think.

Tap the folder that contains your filler cards and journaling cards and navigate to the card you want to use:

Here’s how it looks with the image added:

Adding a photo is the same; you can select photos from any Photo Album on your phone or Dropbox if you have them there. All of my photos were from my phone (and probably will be for this project, cause I’m lazy like that)

Here’s a look with both photos added:

Here’s a look with all of the collage spots filled in:

I also changed the size of the white stroke around the collage:

This app also has drop shadows (upper right corner), which were surprisingly, really, really good! There are a lot of other options you can play with too. Here’s a look at my completed layout:

This one has a number filler card so you could see what it would look like, I also applied a super subtle drop shadow:

I will be posting my progress on my personal Instagram @regardingsteph (yes, I’m having a little bit of anxiety committing myself like this…okay…more than a little).

So, come join in the fun I would LOVE to support you by double tapping your photos! Let’s use the #DecemberSuccess tag to make our posts easy to find and share love!

Be sure to watch The Daily Digi Instagram feed @dailydigi where I will be reposting and tagging others #decembersuccess posts

Adding a Cluster to a Collage

Supplies: photo collage template by Janet Phillips (adjusted for Lightroom); cluster and paper layer template by Scrapping with Liz (pulled from template); papers and elements by Kristin Cronin Barrow and Jenn Barrette. Font is TypewriterScribbled. Mickey and Minnie “magic shot” created using image from Google.

I have been enjoying creating my photo collages in Lightroom and then bringing them into Photoshop to add my papers, embelishments, and fun stuff. I have been doing this for several months and have been shocked at how fast I’ve been able to complete layouts. I have, however, missed my paper layers and small clusters.

When I was visiting with Liz (Scrapping with Liz) for her podcast, I got the idea to use the clusters on her templates included in The Digi Files this month on my collage layouts. This is not really a new technique and it’s something we’ve discussed on The Daily Digi a few times over the years.

I was so excited when this ‘old idea’ popped into my head, because I really do LOVE Liz’s talent and ability for layering papers. It truly makes my heart happy! It’s not something I do as easily and naturally on my own.

I started with my layout collage created in Lightroom and brought it into Photoshop on a blank canvas:

I opened Liz’s template and selected the cluster and paper layers:

With the move tool selected, just dragged and dropped them onto my collage canvas:

Then, I moved those layers to the far edge, where I wanted them:

I needed to turn a few layers off that were in the way (notice the word strips at the bottom):

Last, I added all of my papers and goodies to the layout:

I’ve used this technique on many layouts since and it’s been so much fun!! I always enjoy trying new techniques or recycling old ones in a new way to change things up. What have you been doing to change things up?

Using Adobe Shape to Add Your Handwriting to Your Digital Scrapbook Pages

Using Adobe Shape to Add Your Handwriting to Your Digital Scrapbook Pages

Adobe released a suite of mobile apps and a few of them look like they might be very interesting to digital scrapbookers. The Adobe Shapes CC app in particular has great potential for memory keepers.

The Shapes app is designed to let you create custom vector shapes out of almost any high-contrast design. It immediately made me think about creating custom word art for my scrapbook pages so I gave it a try and it was super easy to do! I’ll share how I did it below, but first a few caveats:

  • The Adobe Shapes CC app is only available in the iTunes app store.
  • All of the Adobe CC apps, Shapes included, only work if you are a current free or paid member of the Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). (I have the Photography package, which is $9.99 US/month, for both Photoshop and Lightroom.)

Text to Image

To start, I pulled out a piece of white printer paper and a fine Sharpie marker in black. Then I hesitated because I hardly ever write or draw! Pre-computers (yes, kids, I’m that old), I had hand-writing so beautiful that even my school book reports were pieces of art. However, after many years of regular computer use, my hand-writing has regressed.

I do love the look of hand-written text on a page though, and I have to hope that my kids will appreciate seeing Mom’s handwriting one day, so I gave it a try and sketched out a little phrase a few times:

Then I opened the Adobe Shapes CC app and took a picture of my hand-written phrase. (Tip: Write it a little larger than you’re used to writing so that the app picks up all the details that you want to include.)

The app has sliders to let you adjust the amount of detail captured. I couldn’t get a screenshot of it, but if you watch the short Adobe promo video, you’ll get a good idea of how it works.

Once the app saves the file, it become available in your My Library across all of your internet-connected devices. I opened Adobe Photoshop CC and the word art was available in my the Libraries panel:

When I opened it on a blank white canvas, it looked like this:

It can easily be resized and recolored (using a color overlay) and then added to a scrapbook layout. Here I’ve added it to a 4×6 photo to add to my pocket album: