Scrapbook Ideas

Tips & Tricks. Ideas & Inspiration. Resources for Scrapbookers.

Category Archives: Challenges

A Happy Place for Inspiration

“It is time for me to only focus on that which is good, create uplifting designs, and do my best to live life to the fullest!”

That’s one of the first thoughts I read on Gina’s new blog, Barefoot in the Grass, and I would like to think it is a goal all scrappers should aspire to!! I can really identify with Gina’s words, because they go hand in hand with one of my favorite verses from the Bible:

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

If you are looking for inspiration, awesome freebies, challenges (that make you think) and lots of warm fuzzies, you have to go check it out!! It is worth adding to your daily reading list too :)

P.S. Gina featured one of my digital pages today – how sweet!  I have also decided to start featuring other scrapbookers here at Scrapbook Ideas, because there are SOOOO many talented scrappers out there that I learn from and am inspired by, and I just have to share them with you. The first gal on my list is A*M*A*Z*I*N*G, so be prepared to be wowed :)!

Technique: Blending a Photo and Paper Together

I am a regular reader of The Hub, the blog for, because it is just filled with inspiration! This week, the Mojo Monday challenge was to use one photo four different ways on your page. Here’s my take:

Those Eyes

For Credits, *Click Here* 

Photoshop Tips & Tricks

  • When arranging lots of small elements around on my page using the move tool, I like to select the “auto select layer” option and deselect “show bounding box”. This helps me quickly move things around and clearly see what they will look like. If I need to, I can always use ctrl+t (free transform) to bring back the bounding box.
  • For drop shadows, I like to use dark brown, rather than the standard black, it just looks more natural to me.
  • It’s easy to duplicate the same drop shadow for multiple objects. For the star buttons, I made a drop shadow for one (layer>layer style>drop shadow – then adjust as needed),  then, in the layers palette, I clicked and dragged the layer style icon beneath the thumbnail for that layer (which looks like a circle with an f in it) to the line just below the thumbnail of the next star button. When I released the mouse button, the drop shadow was duplicated for that button as well.  I just did the same thing for each button, so all the shadows would match.

Technique: Blending a Photo and Paper Together

The large photo on my page is blended with the background paper for a softer, dreamy look. Here’s what I did:

  1. I started with a white background, not transparent.
  2. I layered the patterned paper and my phot0 on top.
  3. In the layers palette, I reduced the opacity of the photo to 60%.
  4. Using the eraser tool, with a round brush (size=500, hardiness=0), I erased the outer edges of the photo, being very careful not to erase too closely.
  5. Then, with the eraser set to about 50% opacity, I erased some more, this time a little closer.
  6. Switching to the paper layer, I used the eraser (same settings) to lighten some of the areas below his face. This reveals the white background enough that you can see the details of his face well, but you can also still see a little bit of the patterned paper.

There are many ways to blend photos, but this is one of the ones I use the most. Now, I know you have some papers and photos that will blend well together, so go try this technique for a completely new look!

Summer Bright Combo KitBy-the-way, the buttons I used on this page are all from an amazing, HUGE set created by Heidi Williams of Weeds & Wildflowers Design. They are sold separately or as part of a combo kit that includes papers and alphas too. AND the combo kit is ON SALE right now at for $8 (it would cost $11 to buy all three separately). Check it out here.

My Entry for SBLS Challenge #3

Here is my two page layout for the third Scrapbook Lifestyle Viewer Challenge.  I really got creative with ribbon on this one :)!

Our Family

Our Family

Our Family

Credits Everything I used is from the Mulberry Lane set by Nancie Rowe Janitz from Fancy Pants Designs, except the cardstock, ribbons and mini brads. I used latex paint for the white hearts and a Black fine tip pen by Creative Memories for the writing and doodling. Font: Batik.

I am so happy with how these pages turned out, and I have LOTS to share with you about my process (three whole techniques this time)! These photos really don’t do the pages justice, so I hope my descriptions will help paint a better picture :).

Tips & Tricks

  • These lovely papers have a beautifully worn look to them, so I carried out that theme on the pages by using tearing, sanding and curled edges.
  • I used the shape tool in photoshop to draw out the two different sized heart shapes, then I printed them, cut them out and used them as templates to cut my patterned papers and photo.
  • I used foam squares to add a little “pop” to the smaller accent hearts on the two pages.
  • Inspired by all the swirls and flourishes in the patterned papers and accents, I doodled my own decorative swirls in the journaling circle.
  • Knotting the ends of short lengths of grosgrain ribbon added interesting texture and also made it easier to line the circle than using one long piece of ribbon.

Technique: Use Brads to Attach Gathered Ribbon

I love the look of bunched up ribbon on a page, and I’ve seen many use sewing to achieve this look. Because I don’t own a sewing machine (yet), I decided to improvise! Before I started, I did a little test-run using scraps of paper, cardstock and ribbon. I’m sure different types of paper and ribbon will yield different results. Satisfied with my method, I estimated how much ribbon I would need to complete the entire heart shape. I believe it took about twice as much ribbon as the actual size of the heart, due to all the gathering and folding. Then I used my hole punching tool (that came in my Making Memories Tool Kit) to punch tiny holes about 1 to 1.5 inches apart all the way around the heart. Next, I would gather or fold up some ribbon, and force the mini brad through. Then I just placed the brad into the pre-made hole and opened it up to secure the ribbon in place. To overlap sections of ribbon, I would force the brad though the gathered part first, then the end of the next section of ribbon before placing it in the hole. In a few spots I used my Creative Memories mini tape runner to secure the ribbon down where it wasn’t staying in place. That’s it!

Technique: Print Text in a Journaling Circle

I wanted my printed text to be positioned just right, so here is what I did:

  1. I measured on my page to see how big I wanted my journaling circle to be.
  2. In photoshop, with my grid turned on, I drew a white circle to the desired dimensions (using the shape tool). If you hold down the shift key while drawing, it be a perfect circle. BONUS TIP: to reposition your shape while still drawing, just press the space bar (without releasing the shift key or the mouse key) and reposition using the mouse, then release the space bar to continue drawing.
  3. Once the circle is drawn, you can use edit>stroke to add a thin black line (a few pixels) around the shape so you will have a cutting guide once it’s printed.
  4. Next, I just positioned a text box inside the circle where I wanted it and added my journaling, then printed the whole thing out on cardstock!    

Technique: Improvise Your Own Stencils

I have some latex paint in my “scrap studio” left over from a previous project, that I like to incorporate into my scrapbooking from time to time. In this case, I simply used a heart cut-out (left behind when I popped out one of the heart embellishments) as an improvised stencil. I positioned the stencil over the cardstock, dipped a make-up sponge into the latex paint (wiping off the excess paint) and dabbed the sponge over the stencil. Simple and free :). This technique could work with punched-out chipboard too – I’m sure there are all kinds of possibilities out there. If you know of one, please share it!!

More Info RE: SBLS Challenge

** EDITED to add: YAY! I made it to the next round, THANKS everyone!!!** 

A sweet friend contacted me to tell me she was having trouble voting in the SBLS Challenge, and I realized that I forgot to mention an important piece of information! Before you vote, you must be logged into the forum. If you don’t already have a login name, you can get one for free by clicking on the (tiny) word “join” on the top right side of the screen :). Thanks again for all your votes, I am facing some very tough competition!!  

SBLS Challenge: Multiple Photos (Vote for Me!)

Thanks again to all of you who voted for me and helped me make it to the second round of the Stylin’ Idol challenge at Scrapbook Lifestyle!

I have completed my layout for the next challenge, so if you’d like to vote for me (*wink*) for the next round, ~Click Here~ and vote for “Jessica Gordon – Our Wedding Party.” The challenge was to 1) create a one or two page layout using at least four photos, 2) be creative and 3) see how many photos we could fit on a page. Here is my entry: 




Credits Patterned papers by Anna Griffin; cardstock by Canson, Old Olive ink by Stampin’ Up; monogram stickers by Creative Memories; metal accents by K and Company, page pebbles by Making Memories; Font: Beautiful ES; other: ribbon and double-sided patterned cardstock.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Because it was important to get all my measurements just right, I planned everything out with a sketch before I began.
  • I thought the first page might look too busy if I labeled each photo, so I just numbered most of them and put all of the information in a column on the second page.  
  • In order to get the top row and bottom row of photos to all face the same direction, I reversed some in photoshop before printing. Even though I already had prints of many of these photos, I edited and sized them in photoshop and reprinted them to make sure they would match perfectly.
  • To achieve a more formal look on the first page, I used black and white photos that were all taken in similar locations at around the same time, and I tried to make sure they were all zoomed in at about the same size. The second page has more casual, color photos.

Technique: Create mini accordion albums for extra photos and journaling 

If you enjoy hidden journaling, you will want to try this easy and fun method for adding extra surface area to your page.

CloseUpTo make my mini albums, I simply used double-sided patterned cardstock cut into 2×6 inch strips. I used the scoring tool that fits on my paper trimmer to add vertical creases every 1.5 inches along the strip, then I fan-folded the paper strip at each crease (3 folds creating 4 panels). I attached a piece of ribbon to the back of the last panel and adhered the panel to the page.  When the mini album is open to the left, 4 panels are showing and 3 are showing when it is open to the right – plenty of little spots for extra photos, journaling and embellishments! The ribbon holds the album in place when it is closed. I think another neat way to keep the mini albums closed would be to use photo turns. Also try experimenting with different sizes and shapes!

OK, now that you see how much heart I have put into this challenge, don’t you want to go vote for my layout ;)?! Also, be sure to check out all of the other awesome layouts in the gallery!

Weeds and Wildflowers Update!

Wow – I have been traveling since last Thursday, and yesterday was my first day home – and just LOOK at all of the wonderful new products that have been released by Weeds and Wildflowers!!! Click the images to see more info :).

Being Me


Feeling Blue

Super Stars

I still haven’t shown you the 3 projects I have made recently with their other new releases! I just LOVE being on their creative team!!! 

Also: THANKS SO MUCH to all of you who voted for me in the “Stylin’ Idol” challenge (see below)! I made it to the next round – phew! But now I have to get going on my next challenge, a page using multiple photos… 

Vote For Me :)!

Here’s my first entry for the Stylin’ Idol Viewer Challenge :). I have to say I’m a bit nervous, because I’m up against some real pro (published) scrappers – I hope to at least make it through to the next challenge!! Please go vote for me – click here :)!!! To vote for my page, just choose the one that says “Jessica Gordon – You are Loved”. If you aren’t already a member of the Scrapbook Lifestyle forum, you will need to sign up to vote (it’s quick, easy and free!).

For Credits, Click Here :). 

Tips & Tricks:

  • The fabric covered chipboard letters on my page were actually part of a home decor item that I bought because I thought it could be a great scrapbooking embellishment :). The ribbons, buttons and paint are also things I had on hand that didn’t come from a scrapbook store.
  • I had fun dressing up the chipboard pieces, using paint and even a rub-on letter on the “L”. 
  • I wanted the paper “You” to match the rest of the title, so I drew it myself and cut it out by hand.  

Technique: Printing on small pieces of paper

If you have small bits of paper left over from previous projects (who doesn’t?), don’t toss them!  You can print on them even though they are way too small to run through your printer. Here’s what I do:

  1. I compose my text in word or photoshop, leaving spaces between words large enough to cut around, if need be.
  2. I print a “test run” on a regular piece of paper – this is a great way to make use of those unneeded papers left over from printing directions, etc.
  3. Using re-positionable adhesive, I place the scraps of paper over the words on the original print-out.
  4. Then I just run the whole thing through the printer again, exactly as I did the first time. When they are finished printing, I just remove the pieces from the print-out paper and stick them on my page. Try it :).

OK, now don’t forget to go vote for me :)!! Choose: Jessica Gordon -You are Loved  :)!!!

Technique: Altering Digital Elements

As much as I enjoyed making this page, I can’t take much credit for it! I created this page for a Weeds & Wildflowers CT challenge: to scraplift one of Dixi’s pages. It was difficult to choose just one to lift, because they are all SO inspiring :). But I ended up basing this page on this layout from Dixi’s gallery. And I can’t take credit for the great photos either, they belong to one of my online friends – I couldn’t resist making a page of her and her little cutie! 

I mostly used the Cosmos kit by Patricia (from W&W) for this page. For full credits, click here.

Tips & Tricks:

  • I converted the main photo to B&W, so I was able to use colorful papers and elements without trying to match the photo.
  • Even though I just used small strips of paper, they still have impact, because I chose ones with bold colors and patterns.
  • I turned one of the elements from the kit into a “photo” by placing it over a solid background and framing it.
  • In order to make room for a title, I made one of the frames look like a Polaroid by adding a rectangle shape to the bottom that matched the color of the frame. Then I used the clone stamp tool in photoshop to help it blend with the rest of the frame. 

Technique: Altering digital elements:

rose buds

I really love these little ribbon rose buds in the Cosmos kit! I couldn’t use just one, so I decided to make a little border out of them. But I thought it would look best if some had leaves that were pointing down, and some had leaves that were straight. Since all of the rose buds in the kit come with the leaves pointing down, I altered the leaves on the red rosebud. It was SOOO simple: with the red rosebud layer active, I just drew a selection around one of the leaves (using the lasso tool in photoshop), then I right-clicked inside the selection and chose “layer via cut”. This took the leaf I selected and placed it on its own layer. Then all I had to do was rotate the new layer into the position I wanted it in, by using the move tool! Then I made the rosebud layer active again and did the same thing with the other leaf.  When I was done, I merged the three layers together to create the altered element. If need instructions on how to link and/or merge layers, let me know – I’d be happy to help :).

Technique: Using an Element as a Shape Cutter.


Click here to see the credits for this page.  Some of the cool supplies I used were freebies found on other sites :).

Here’s a page I did for yet another Weeds & Wildflowers CT challenge :).  Can you tell I’m really into challenges lately?? Speaking of which, I just finished my first page for the “Stylin’ Idol” one!  I can’t show it to you until it’s time to start voting though ;). Anyway, I enjoyed making this, and I tried to really let my personality show in the page!

Tips & Tricks:

  • I used layers upon layers of elements to give the page an eclectic look.
  • Using the eyedropper tool in photoshop, I picked up some pink from a button and red and brown from the flowers to recolor several other elements on the page.
  • I turned the cool W&W freebie stamp into a brush so I could easily manipulate the size and color before placing it behind the photo.
  • In order to help it fit in with the rest of the page, I lightly “distressed” parts of my title with various eraser brushes.

Technique: Using an element as a shape cutter.

Using a torn cardboard element, I shaped the flower patterned paper along the left side of my page, to reveal the white lacy paper below. It was really simple to do in photoshop, and added to the shabby chic look :). Here’s what I did: with my flower paper aligned to the edge of my page, I placed the edge of my cardboard element right where I wanted the flower paper to be cut. With the cardboard layer still active, I used the magic wand tool to select the empty area between the cardboard and the left edge of the page (NOTE: the cardboard must be touching both the top and the bottom edges of the page in order for this to work).  Next I made my flower paper the active layer, and cleared the selection (some ways to do this are to press delete or select edit>clear). Then, I moved the cardboard layer behind the flower paper and rotated it a tiny bit and moved it to the left a little.  There you have it! There are MANY ways to use this idea – you just have get creative :).

“Stylin’ Idol” Challenge at Scrapbook Lifestyle!

Do you like to be challenged creatively?  Are you interested in winning some cool prizes? Then you might be interested in the Viewer Challenge being hosted by Wendy at Scrapbook Lifestyle! I’m going to join in, and I was excited to find out that hybrid projects are also allowed :). There will be 6 weeks of challenges (one per week) starting on May 30th, but you have to sign up by Sunday (May 27th), so run on over there and check it out!


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