How I Moved From Scrapbook Pages that Sucked to Pages that Kicked Butt

Last week, I shared why I felt my first scrapbook pages sucked. Today, I’ll share how I moved from scrapbook pages that sucked to pages that kicked butt.

My Secret Truth

2005 was a very weird year for me as a scrapbooker. I submitted my first digital scrapbooking pages as an entry for the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame, and won. Mind freaking blown! Why? Well being recognized as one of the top 25 entries was incredible and quite humbling. The highlight of the event came from Lisa Bernson who complimented me on my storytelling and journaling — the focus of most of my pages.

But here’s the stinking truth: not one of the pages I created for my entry made it into my scrapbook albums! Honestly, I designed them for the contest, not for me. And because of this honest truth, I felt undeserving of the honor at the time. It feels good to get it off my chest by sharing here.

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Why My First Scrapbook Page SUCKED!

For all of the Scrapper’s Style Interviews I’ve conducted, the one person’s story I haven’t told is my own. Thus begins the tale of my scrapbooking journey.

My Beginnings

Look, I’m going to be straight-up honest. Keep it one hundred, as the young folks like to say. I had no clue what I was doing when I crafted my first scrapbook page. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my photos, where they should go, how many photos I should use, what background paper would help my photos shine, or what the hell an embellishment was and why I should, could, or would use it. I was clueless. Lost!

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5 Things a Paper Scrapbooker Can Teach a Digital Scrapbooker

It’s been seven years since I made the switch to digital scrapbooking. I’ve picked up some wisdoms along the way, which I think other digital scrapbooker’s value. One such wisdom is to not complete an entire digital page without saving. Dude, don’t do that! Photoshop will deliberately crash two minutes before you  complete your layout. Some how it knows. It always knows.

Paper scrapbookers know a thing or too about our craft as well. And we can learn from them! Here are five things a paper scrapbooker can teach a digital scrapbooker.

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DSLR vs. Smartphone Camera | What’s a Scrapbooker to Do?

Somewhere in ole’ two thousand and ‘leven, my right hand fell off. That is to say, “In 2011, my Canon 30D DSLR broke.” It actually still works but displays an ERR99 code after a random number of shots. It was a terrible, sad day.

Soon after, my 2nd generation iPod bit the dust. And I found myself at the crossroads of a decision. Replace the DSLR + iPod or invest in one of those swanky, digitally-inclined devices called a smartphone. The smartphone, an iPhone 4S to be exact, became my new right hand. It also came equipped with a right eye and a femur — but I don’t show them off. Much.

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Pinterest | My Personal Digi Scrapbooking Shopping Bag

Happy iNSD everyone! As Betty and Wilma use to say, CHARGE! Or wait perhaps we aren’t quite ready yet.

In years past, I use to spend serious wads of cash on scrapbook goodies … paper and digital products. I had the crop bag, the crop tote, the crop cropadile, crops growing in my yard, cops, and crap. I have filled up EHDs and back up CDs with enough digital scrapbooking supplies to support a small country.

Fast forward to the here & now and I’ve got to be seriously selective with my scrap-happy, purchasing decisions. Nothing says bad mommy like spending my daughter’s lunch money on scrap supplies.

And how do I keep from  burning a hole in my digital pockets? Using Pinterest, of course!

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Back That Thang Up

Yesterday, during some routine time-wasting on Facebook, my computer suddenly and without warning displayed a question mark. And it never went away! I felt like someone shot off my pinky toe.

Yes folks, I experienced the demon-folder screen of death. It’s fangs gnashed at my soul with gruesome, hideousness. All of my files and folders, gone. The operating system, gone. Everything I’ve created, gone. In two seconds.

There weren’t enough tears.

But before I completely curled up into the fetal position, I remembered this. Remember that? That post when I described my NEW resolution to back up my files every Sunday on a dedicated external hard drive? Well, I had forgotten more like ignored my reminders to back up my files since mid-January except for this past Sunday!

This past Sunday, on a whim, I plugged my computer in for the night and ran a time machine snapshot of everything on the computer. Just because, somehow, I knew it was time. Some small part of me said, “you know, just in case, you might wanna. Just do it!”

Halleluja! Little voices rock!

I only lost files from this week, which were (or will be when I can) easy to replicate. I’m so proud of myself. So very thankful. So very blessed. Not just because I backed that thang up. But because, for now, the hard drive seems to be in working order. I avoided losing my work and personal artifacts like photos and what not. And all because I backed that thang up. It took six hours to restore the system, but saved me a lifetime of regret.

So let this serve as a service announcement of love to you: BACK THAT THANG UP! Back it up like your life depends on it! Back it up like no one’s watching. Back it up because all good, wholesome women should.

Once in awhile.

Sale at DHD | This Weekend Only


All of my products are 25% off from now through Sunday evening at DHD. Newsletter subscribers received a coupon code for an additional 10% savings in their inbox Thursday morning. Stock up and save!

Break Those Bad Digital Scrapbooking Habits


I’ve been a digital scrapbooker since 2004, which makes me an OG (original gansta) of the genre. I’m not the original — but I play one on TV. One would think, with that much gansta-ness behind me, I possess the best digital photo-editing tactics. Well, I confess: I don’t. I simply don’t take the time to do what I’m supposed to do. And that bites.

The fact is I follow methods I learned as a beginning digi-scrapper I should have outgrown. Some are bad habits I think save time but don’t. Others are processes that haven’t evolved with the ever-evolving photo-editors. Perhaps my bad habits are your bad habits too. So let’s discuss my top three, shall we?

Bad Habit no. 1 | Not Backing Up Digital Photos (or Files)

With all the existing options for backing up digital files, one would think this was a no-brainer. But I’m bad at this dude. Really, really bad. Know what’s even worse? I paid for Mozy’s annual subscription plan! I know, I know. Don’t throw your hands up in disgust and write me off yet.

I do have a second backup system using Time Machine for Mac and an external hard drive (EHD). I’ve mapped Time Machine to this drive and when they’re connected, Time Machine saves the most recent snapshot of my system. Actually connecting my Mac to the external only takes a few seconds but I always forget. And therein lies my problem: a pure, bad habit.

The Fix | Hitlist is my ultimate scheduling app. On Jan 1, I created a reoccurring reminder to plug-in my Mac to the EHD on Sunday afternoons. I’m less likely to use/need my computer during those times so it’s perfect. So far so good! I haven’t missed a back up and at least I can rest knowing I’ve got one failsafe in place just in case I experience Mac Death.

Bad Habit no. 2 | Not Using Masks for Edits

With the addition of the “Create New Layer’s Mask” button/icon in PSE 9, no one — and I do mean no one — should be erasing, painting, or just plain destroying objects in their layouts. Seriously. But time to time, I find myself opting for the Eraser tool because I believe I won’t need to make changes later. One hour into the layout, two seconds from its completion, I realize I DO need to make changes. And because I used that stupid Eraser, I have to start over. It’s the end of the world as we know it.

The Fix | Always use a mask. They are non-destructive and using them shaves time off your digital scrapbooking process.

Bad Habit no. 3 | Not Using Preset Manager

Dude, this is my Bad Habit numero Major. And I TEACH digi scrappers how to use the Preset Manager so I have absolutely no excuse. The Preset Manager in Adobe Photoshop Elements allows you to catalogue and save your custom brushes, swatches, gradients and patterns (plus a few more major options in Adobe Photoshop). That means:

  • If PS/PSE suddenly crashes and recovers, you’ll still have access to brush tips that mysteriously vanished pre-crash.
  • If you finally create that perfect acrylic style in PS, you won’t have to remember your settings two months later.
  • If you you create a set of contours that’s the baddest contour set ever, you can save them all and offer them for sale on your blog.
  • And many more.

That’s a lot of good options from a single good thing.

The Fix | Become familiar with the Preset Manager especially if you use Brushes, Swatches, and Styles. And if you do know how to use the manager, save your favorite swatch groups. Or brush sets. Or style combinations. Or something.

And there you have it. Feels good to share. So … what are your top bad habits of digital scrapbooking? What would you add to this list? Please tell me I’m not alone!

2012 One Little Word | Grow

2011 | Passion

Last year I chose passion as my word. I wanted to reconnect with parts of me and the world around me that I was most passionate about. Sometimes the choices were simple like picking up a NookColor and connecting with my long-lost passion of reading. I didn’t read as much as I desired in 2011 but I opened the door and made it to the coat check desk. I’ll join the party in the next room soon enough.

Other passions I found were completely new, like Yoga. Practicing yoga, meditating, and deep-breathing settled my mind and stabilized my energy. It opened my senses and offered a self-awareness I hadn’t realized existed. Nothing opens you up more than a deep fire-breathing dragon pose after you’ve injured your groin years ago during childbirth. Nothing.

But I digress.

My entire 2011 was based on a single premise of reconnecting with myself. Loving myself and the world around me. Finding passion in who I am rather than looking at anyone else or honoring their needs first. Well, everyone else besides my children.

That single one little word helped me make little choices everyday that summed up to great rewards. Time to choose another.

2012 | The Dead Tree

Earlier in the year, Hurricane Irene decimated one specifically large tree in the ravine next to my home. The tree was once tall and beautiful with huge roots growing into the riverbed underneath and the tips of its leaves high as the eye could see. Now it looms over the grass in my front yard, lopsided with tips near to the ground and exposed roots barely clutching the soil.

I thought for sure it was a-goner so I called the city to have it removed. When the workers arrived, they did an amazing thing: they simply pruned the tree. They sheared off the parts touching the ground and nurtured the few remaining areas clinging to life. They were careful to only snip limbs which absolutely had to go. And they treated this simple tree with love and care.

The tree ain’t dead. She’s certainly not youthful. Actually, she’s better.

2012 | Grow

The tree inspired my word for 2012: grow. I am the tree. I encountered one (more like two) of the strongest and longest storms of my life. The storm pulled at the very roots, the core, of my being. And I was nearly knocked off my foundation. But I managed to hang on.

The storm is over; a rainbow shines. I stand, pruned. And now I can grow again in a different direction with new winds to feel upon my branches. I’ve got new things to learn, new places to visit, and new people to meet. Time to grow.

Hey you, have a Happy New Year! What’s your word for 2012?

One Little Word

It’s never too late to choose one little word. For more inspiration visit:

Scrapbooktology and the Scrapbooktologist Who Made it Happen

Who invented scrapbooking? Seriously. Do you ever stop and wonder as you create your page layouts? I do on occasion when I’ve stolen a moment for myself or the wind walks by. Who was the first person to document a memory on paper and did it qualify as a scrapbook?

Perhaps it’s late and I’ll wake up hours from now and ask, “What was I talking about?!”

Or perhaps an interesting discussion is underfoot:

  • What is scrapbooking? The modern-day encyclopedia — and I write this with a bit ‘o sarcasm — Wikipedia offers a fair amount of information about the subject here. Ye ole’ Wiki credits the birth of the modern day scrapbook to a woman from Spanish Fork, Utah in the late 70’s to early 80’s. No wonder Utah is the center of scrapbook civilization! Do you agree with the Wiki definition?
  • What’s the difference between a scrapbook album and a photo album? Is it the truly the scraps? Is the separation from photo album to scrapbook confined to the addition of some newspaper clippings and memorabilia?
  • Should all forms of memory capture/recording qualify? For example, if words and photos are the qualifiers for scrapbooking, wouldn’t ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics count too? Or would we call it “wall-booking”? Are the two interrelated?
  • And finally, my favorite question: where does “scrapbooking” go from here? Video-booking seems the next logical trend as it’s already happening. But why not consider “Pensieve-booking” as originally seen in the Harry Potter movies. Certainly, that form of memory keeping is not as creative as others. It’s possible to color our pensieves and tie them up with pretty bows. Anything is possible in the future, right?

Considering all the above, would YOU still record your memories in the scrapbook format if all the pretty papers and embellis disappeared?

I uber-love having the option to add doo-hickies and fraum-fraums to my pages. It certainly satisfies a creative need. But even without the hicks and fraums, I’d still desire recording everyday moments, big and small, even if my creative obsession wasn’t satisfied. How about you?

New Layouts

supplies: papers and elements (Candy Shop by Sahlin Studio) • page template (52 Thursday no. 10 by Simply Tiffany) • font (Teletype)

supplies: papers and elements (Scarlet’s Letter by Basic Grey) • page template (Stuffy no. 2 by Simply Tiffany) • fonts (Dominique & Teletype)

My Gluteus Maximus is Smokin’ Hot

For the first time in the 52 Thursday Template series, I will not feature a template on Thursday. Maybe tomorrow, or Saturday. But not today. Why? Because my ass is smokin’ hot.

Actually, my stove caught on fire last night and I used a fire extinguisher to put-out the flames. And I’ve never burned down my place before. It’s not on my daily to-do list. Was I supposed to know that an acid cloud would engulf the entire kitchen from ceiling to tile floor? Or move into my adjacent office where my entire world of electronics and gidgets blink with their little fluorescent lights? Who know … who freaking knew!?

I didn’t. And I usually make it my business to know such common things.

And that’s why my ass is smokin’ hot. I’ve been sitting on it for hours cleaning or scooting and scrubbing then scraping. All because of a fire I didn’t even start — food wasn’t even in the oven folks. But THAT’s a story for another day.

For now do know 52 Thursdays will resume tomorrow or Saturday as soon as I’ve licked the last piece of acid residue off the breadbox.

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