Scrapbook Ideas

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

Category Archives: Product Review

WW Discovering You – Redo!

While I’m on a roll getting caught up with blog posts today, I thought I’d show you a Weeds and Wildflowers page I hadn’t had a chance to blog about. Heidi Williams revamped her kit Discovering You: she made some improvements here and there, added some things and refreshed the look by adding some pink (who can argue with that? LOL!). I got a lot of use out of the first version, and I know I will get even MORE out of this one :). Here’s a page I made using Discovering You: Revised:

So Beautiful

*Click Here For Credits*

Photo Texturizing Technique (Photoshop)

WW Discovering You Paper

Using a coordinating paper from the kit (shown at left), I had fun playing with a technique for adding some texture to my photo on this page. First I changed the paper to black and white (shown below, left), and increased the brightness and contract a bit. Depending on the pattern and texture of the paper you use, you may need to vary your adjustments a bit, but basically you are trying to create an interesting black and white texture that will work nicely with your photo. Some papers and/or photos will work better than others, so you will just have to experiment a bit :). Next I Photo Texture from WW Paperplaced the black and white texture in a new layer over the photo. Then, all I did was to go into the layers palette, and change the blend mode to soft light, and the opacity to about 23%. Try other blend modes and opacities too – there are lots of different possible effects! TIP: Another technique I used for this photo was to lightly “burn” the edges with the burn tool (from the tool palette), set to a very low opacity and using a large, soft brush.  It just helps draw your eye into the center of the photo a bit :). If you try this technique out, let me know – I’d love to see what kinds of results you can get :)!

Shutterfly 12×12 Memory Book

I had my very first 12×12 Shutterfly Memory Book printed a while back, and I’ve been wanting to share my photos and experience, so I’m glad to finally have the chance :). I had printed some of the other sizes in the past and loved them (see the end of this post for more information about those), so I was really excited to see how the larger size would turn out! 

Ready for some photos? Here’s the cover I designed – as you can see, I made a mosaic of some of the pages contained in the book, which I think turned out well:

Shutterfly 12x12 Memory Book Cover

This is what the inside cover looks like. The image from the front cover wraps around to the inside. That’s why it is important that you don’t have any important details of your cover image right on the edge, because they won’t be showing on the front of the book.

Shutterfly 12x12 Memory Book Inside Cover

Here’s the first page of my book, I was amazed at how much more beautiful this page looks printed than on my computer screen!!!! In fact, all of my pages looked so much better to me in print :).

Shutterfly 12x12 Memory Book Inside

A Couple of Tips:

Tip # 1: Like the front cover image, the images in your book will be cut off a bit around the outside edges (although not to that extent). For this reason, it is recommended that you not include important details or text right on the edge of your pages. HOWEVER, many of the pages I included in this book had been made before I knew I would be printing them in a Shutterfly book, so (as you can see in the bottom right of the image below) I had text going right up to the edge. My solution to this problem was to size down all of my images slightly, and place them on a black background. I was happy with the look and very glad nothing got cut from my pages :).

Shutterfly 12x12 Memory Book Tip

Tip # 2: Even WITH the added border, text on the edge of the page will be difficult to read if it is on the inside border, because the pages curl in toward the binding, as seen below. So just keep that in mind :).

Shutterfly 12x12 Memory Book Tip

A Couple of Ideas:

Idea # 1: I really wanted to include ALL of my pages in this book that had not been previously printed, but there was one problem, some of my pages were smaller than 12×12 size! The solution was to place four 6×6 layouts together on one page like the example below. I even made some of my 12×12 pages this size to save space (and money) in this book.

Shutterfly 12x12 Memory Book Idea

Idea # 2: I had made some of the beautiful calendars by Shabby Princess as Christmas gifts in December, so I decided to include the calendar tops as pages in my book as well. This way, they can be enjoyed beyond 2008 – and the calendars are so pretty that the tops really can work as stand-alone pages. Since they are 8.5×11 size instead of 12×12, I placed miniatures of some of my layouts along the bottoms of the pages. How? I designed the whole layout of these pages in advance, flattened them, and uploaded them to Shutterfly just as you see them here.

Shutterfly 12x12 Memory Book Idea

I am SO happy with this book, as with the other Shutterfly books I’ve made, and I KNOW I’ll be making more in the future :)! If you want to read more about Shutterfly photo books, you might like these other articles I’ve written:

Review: Shutterfly Photo Books (This one includes more info about the whole process, plus tips and tricks).

New Look and a Shutterfly Book (This is a post about one of the 8.5×11 books I did, but I guess I never posted photos of the actual book. I’ll have to do that, because this is my favorite of the books I’ve made so far!)

Adobe Photoshop Express (BETA) is FREE!!!!!!!!!

This is NOT an April fools joke people, I signed up for my own Adobe Photoshop Express account to make sure :)! If you are looking for a fast, easy, awesome and especially FREE way to edit, organize and share your digital photos, you MUST check this out!!

I have literally only played around with this tool for less than 10 minutes, and I think it’s great! It is NOT a program you can do digi scrapping or in depth editing with – it’s mostly just for quick photo fixes. In a couple of minutes you can transform your photo from drab to dramatic, here’s one I played with really quick:

Photoshop Express Example

Like I said, I’ve only played with it for a few minutes, but so far here’s what I love about Adobe Photoshop Express (BETA):

  • It’s free, and it is online, so I didn’t need to download a program or anything.
  • It works with other free online photo management programs I use (photobucket and Picasa), so I could access those photos without having to upload them again.
  • It is SUPER user friendly and automated – you select an editing mode, and Photoshop Express instantly gives you several versions of your photo to choose from, side-by-side so you can see what looks best.

Photoshop Express Example 2

Of course the full version of photoshop will still be my main editing program, but I think this will be my program of choice for quick photo edits for blogging, emailing and sharing online :).

If you want to learn more, check out this post by John Nack (Adobe Photoshop Senior Product Manager ).

Important: before you share any photos publicly through this site, make sure you read the terms of use (especially section 8)! Apparently Adobe IS working on revising the terms so they don’t sound so scary LOL, but I would still think twice before making a public gallery there :).

Photoshop Elements Book Recommendation

Digital and Hybrid Scrapbooking and Card-Making with Photoshop Elements by Patty DebowskiI can’t wait to tell you about this great resource for Photoshop Elements users: Digital and Hybrid Scrapbooking and Card-Making with Photoshop Elements by Patty Debowski!!! If I had this book when I started digi scraping my life would have been soooo much easier and I could have spent way more time scrapbooking and less time trying to figure out what I was doing. Even though I am no longer using Photoshop Elements (I won a free copy of Photoshop CS3 Extended), I’m so glad Patty sent me this book to review, because I can now recommend it to all my friends :).   Nobody should have to spend countless hours teaching themselves the hard way, like I did, when there is such a handy reference book available! I think it is well worth the $39.99 price tag.

What I like about this book: 
This is a wonderful book for Photoshop Elements users who are learning digital scrapbooking – it answers EVERY question I’ve ever heard from beginners, and offers plenty of great tips for advanced users as well! Even though this is a huge (384 page) reference book, it is easy to read and I read it from cover to cover. It’s the kind of book that’s great to keep on your computer desk so you can grab it and quickly look up a tip or technique (I’m sure you’ll find what you need in the 20 page index). I LOVE that there are lots of detailed instructions with screenshots and helpful photos, and I especially love the big chart of keyboard shortcuts!

For More Information: 
If you want to read more about the book, check out this press-release and this book review, and you can also see the book’s table of contents (and much more) at

I know Patty’s book is going to be treasured by so many Photoshop Elements users, now if only I had a book like this for Photoshop CS3…

Beautiful Bella Scraps Magazine!

LOOK how pretty!!!

Bella Scraps Magazine

OK, I had mentioned this beautiful new magazine, Bella Scraps, a few times last month – but I have been really wanting to highlight it more thoroughly because I want to make sure that none of you are missing out :). I have been poring over the Feb issue, and I am filled with ideas and inspiration! Just the look of the magazine alone is inspiring – it’s bright, cheery and easy to read. Holley does such a fantastic job putting this all together.  And this issue is PACKED!! It is a full 20 pages longer than the first issue, and it comes with TWO free kits (you can see the pages I made with the free kits below). In addition to the 60+ projects and pages to look at, there are so many useful tips and techniques in there for photography, digital scrapbooking, hybrid scrapbooking etc. I love the simple step-by-step tutorials and the challenges to get your creative juices flowing. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should – it’s lovely!

Run Play Climb

Seasons kit, by Doris Castle. Free with Bella Scraps purchase (Font: Vintage Press, by Fontologie; doodles are from my Hearts ‘n Doodles freebie).

Crazy Hair

Spring Sherbet kit by Holley VanDenBerg and Jennilyn, free with Bella Scraps purchase. Font: Century Gothic. Hearts are from my Hearts ‘n Doodles freebie :).

And I was so excited to have some of my pages published in the January issue of Bella Scraps (I was the featured scrapper)!!! Here they are too:

New Frontiers

Ciao Bella Kit by Christine Haskell, Fonts: Century Gothic, ChopinScript and Diane

 Grand Adventure

Loooove this kit, Lottie’s Trunk and the coordinating stamps, by Holley VanDenBerg! Fonts: JaneAusten and 1942 report.

News Items

Hi there! Just a quick post to share some news with you :).

The Meadow 

Firstly, I wanted to let you know about another awesome new blog by Weeds and Wildflowers Design! Well, the blog is actually by the W&W Creative Team  :)! It’s called The Meadow, and one of my pages was featured by Chere in the very first post (thanks again hon)! There will be posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday about all kinds of cool topics; tips, techniques, challenges, interviews and more! And of course, there will be lots of W&W freebies :)!

Jeannie Papai

I’m so happy to announce that Jeannie Papai has invited me onto her Creative Team :)! Her designs are SO fun and happy, she has a lot of really cute stuff! I’ve already made one page with her newest kit, but I can’t show you until October 1st, it’s a SECRET :). But I CAN tell you that there just might be a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) happening on here on Monday, so keep your eyes open :)!

Mini Product Review: SMJ – Cherrywood Farm Kit

If you’re looking for a YUMMY fall kit, you have to see this one by Shabby Miss Jenn!! I LOVE it! It is filled with gorgeous papers and unique elements – I’m SO glad my hubby was nice enough to give me this one – thanks sweetie!!!!

Here’s a page I made with it today:

Touches of Autumn

Credits Cherrywood Farm, by Shabby Miss Jenn Designs; Font: Jane Austen

I have another page planned with this kit, that shows off a couple on new FREEBIES I have in store for you :). Hehehe, so much fun stuff going on, can you tell I’m having good time with all this? And I have even more good news in the works, but I will save that for another post…I’m off to do some more scrappin’ :)!

Review: Shutterfly Photo Books

I’m finally ready to write the review I’ve been promising since July :)! I designed my first Shutterfly 8×8 photo book (using the Being Me Quick Album), ordered it on August 31st, it was printed and arrived at my doorstep on September 7th!

I am completely thrilled with my Shutterfly photo book! The process, the customer service, and the final product from Shutterfly are all top notch :)!  

Here are some photos of the finished book (NOTE: My photos hardly do this book justice, the color and quality of the book is much better than you can see here, but you can get a general idea of what the book looks like):

Can’t See the Slideshow? Click Here. 

If you saw the odd looking splotches on the front cover of the book, it is not due to a printing error – I photographed the book outdoors, and the cover is so glossy and shiny that the photo shows a reflection of some trees in my yard :).

I ordered a 20 page, 8×8 Story Book, under the “Print Your Digital Scrapbook” category. Shutterfly offers plenty of pre-designed options for the Story Books, but I wanted to print a book using the Being Me Quick Album I designed. The quick album comes in 8×8 size, but the actual dimensions of the Shutterfly pages are 7.95×7.95 – no worries, I just re-sized each page to 7.95×7.95 at 300 dpi before saving! If you are designing your own pages, be sure to use these templates provided by Shutterfly – they show the “bleed” areas on the page that might get cut off during printing (to insure that there are no white borders on the page). You can download the templates to your computer and open them right up in Photoshop! You’ll want to keep all the important info on your page within the boundaries they provide, and keep in mind that the pages curl inward where the binding is.

I love the customer service I received from Shutterfly – even though I read the step by step instructions provided, I still forgot to do an important step – but I emailed them through the site right away, and they cancelled my order for me before it was printed, so I could fix my error and reorder!

Tips and Tricks for Printing Shutterfly Photo Books

  • Make sure you use the templates provided by Shutterfly, so that you don’t lose any important details on your page – there are separate templates for the covers and binding as well.
  • Read the instructions provided, and follow them CAREFULLY for best results.
  • It is a lot faster if you turn off “Vividpics” and custom crop when you first upload your photos into an album then after you’ve already added them to the book.
  • Preview your work carefully to make sure your pages are in the correct order, etc.
  • Here is a PDF file provided by Shutterfly that contains even more design tips!

I am so happy with the Shutterfly photo books, and I am in the process of designing two others right now, a 12×12 Memory Book and a 8.5×11 Classic Book :).

Have you created a Shutterfly Photo Book? If so, please share your thoughts, tips, and/or links to your photos by commenting on this post (comment link can be found at the top of the post)!

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 5

Well, I guess it’s time to wrap up “Shabby Princess Week” :). I have had almost as much fun telling you all about my projects using the Occasions XL- Collection as I did making them :)! I know some of my readers aren’t the types to do hybrid projects, so the topic of this post is just for you – the scrapbook pages!! OK…. and I HAD to throw ONE more hybrid project in there too LOL :)!

Page 1

Digital Scrapbook Page

Page 2

Digital Scrapbook Page

Credits   Everything is from the Occasions XL- Collection by Shabby Princess! Fonts: Amaze (Page One), Marvelouz DSG and 2 Peas Goofball (Page Two)

Photoshop Tips and Tricks

  • On Page 1, the curled edges are part of the background paper. I made it look like some of the paper strips I used on the page are tucked under the curl by using the eraser tool with a small, soft edged brush to erase away the portions of the paper strips that were overlapping the curls. The trick is to actually erase a tiny bit of the paper that isn’t even overlapping, so that the shadow of the paper curl shows through a bit. You might want to use a Layer Mask for this technique, instead of the eraser if you are a bit unsure of yourself.
  • Sometimes it’s fun to create the look of stacked photos on your page (Page 1). Just create a few duplicates of the photo layer and tilt the different layers slightly off-center. Don’t forget to add drop shadows to all the layers :)!
  • I turned the “Make a Wish” word art into a brush, and used white as my foreground color to stamp the cool design on the black strip on paper at the bottom of Page 1.
  • I played around with different sizes and orientations of the three “ones” on Page 2, to achieve a kind of graphic looking title.

Technique: How to Wrap a Digital Ribbon Around a Photo

Here’s a simple way to make a ribbon look like it is wrapped around a photo on your page (as seen on Page 1).

Step 1  Place your digital ribbon in a layer above the layer the photo is on. Reposition, re-size and/or crop the ribbon as needed until the ends of the ribbon hang slightly over the edges of the photo.

Step 2  Using the burn tool set to the midtones range, darken the ends of the ribbon. The very end should be the darkest, and it should get progressively lighter until the point where the edge of the photo begins. I used a small, soft brush set to 50% exposure, but the settings will vary depending on the size, texture and color of your ribbon. That’s all there is to it!

Ribbon Wrap BeforeAfter Using Burn Tool

ETA: I just remembered about this post about wrapping ribbons – it’s worth checking out! Also – if you like freebies, you will LOVE this girl :)!! 

Last, But Not Least, Hybrid Thank You Cards!

The final project I wanted to show you is this batch of thank you cards I made – I just placed the “Thank U” stamp over a blue polka-dot rectangle, used edit>stroke to outline the stamp in white, and printed a bunch of those out. Then I used scallop edged scissors to trim the borders, and adhered them to the cards with the matted photo on top!

Thank You Cards

On that note, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to Shabby Princess for this awesome collection – which really made my little guy’s birthday great – and for all the other wonderful GIFTS she has shared over the last few years! Thanks girl, you’re the best!!

See also the other parts of this review:

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 1

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 2

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 3

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 4

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 4

Party DecorationsI’ve been gushing about this awesome kit by Shabby Princess for a few days now, and I still have even more ideas to share with you :)!  I think lots of moms like to make their baby’s first birthday a special day to remember. But as a scrappin’ mom, I was also thinking ahead about how to best preserve those cherished moments for years to come. How cool is it, then, that I was able to create my own customized party decorations so that my photos of the celebration perfectly match the digital kit I used for my scrapbook pages :)?! And it is WAY more simple and easy to do than you may think!

Photoshop Tips and Tricks

  • I created a template (included below) to make a very simple pennant banner printout – now I can use the same template to make different party decorations to suit any event!
  • Using the template helps save ink and paper – I only print what I need.
  • Templates also take the guesswork out of this project – no measuring or tracing needed, just layer, print and cut!

Technique: DIY Pennant Banner Party Decorations (Free Template Below)

This project was SO fast and I was very pleased with the happy looking decorations :)! NOTE: These steps work in Photoshop CS, but might be different in other versions.


Free Pennant Banner Template (below)

Photo editing software (I used Photoshop)

Printer, paper and ink


String (the length of your desired banner)

Stapler and staples

Steps For Making the Pennant Printout

  1. Open the pennant banner template (found below) in Photoshop, and in the layers palette, select the layer called “Pattern 1″.
  2. Open a digital patterned paper file you’d like to use for your banner. Type ctrl+a (select all) and ctrl+c (copy).
  3. Go back to the template file and type ctrl+v (paste), Alt+Ctrl+g (create clipping mask, or group with previous). At this point, you may want to use the move tool to position the patterned paper just right over the pennant pattern. Then type ctrl+e (merge down) when you are happy with how it looks.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 using coordinating patterned papers for the remaining two layers in the template.
  5. Flatten your image (Layer>flatten) and print  – make sure you are set up to print in landscape mode! I also included some circle “sticker” decorations in the extra space on the edges of my printouts, that I later used for making streamers hanging from the ends of the banners.

Pennant Banner Template Example

Steps for Assembling the Pennant Banner

  1. Once you have printed enough copies to make your desired banner, cut out all of the pennants and line them up in the order you’d like them to hang.
  2. Fold the top edge of each pennant over the string and staple each end, trimming any excess corners that are showing.

I added “Happy Birthday” word art to the center pennants that I had printed and cut out.  I also made streamers to decorate the edges by cutting out circle decorations and attaching them back-to-back to ribbon with double sided tape.

OK, so here is the pennant banner template you will need to make this project – it is in a layered .tif format. If any of you need a .psd format, let me know :). Enjoy!

Pennant Banner Template Preview

*Click Here to Download the Pennant Banner Template Freebie*

See also the other parts of this review:

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 1

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 2

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 3

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 5

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 3

Just a quick installment in my series of posts about the wonderful Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess. Everything I used to make the card below comes with this kit!

When I found out that my son was due in August, I was so happy – I instantly knew he would fit right in :)! There are SO many people in my family who have August birthdays, myself included, that it has become a tradition to have a big summer birthday bash to celebrate. Needless to say, I had a lot of birthday cards to hand out this summer :). I used this kit to make a bunch of them, but I forgot to take pictures of them all, so the only one I have a photo of is the one I made for Gabe (because I still have it, naturally). I kept the design nice and simple for this one – after all, he was way more interested in the gift it went with, his new blankie :)!

Birthday Card

Technique: To make this card, I simply printed the star patterned paper on a heavy piece of matte photo paper. I cropped it to fit an envelope I had on hand, and used my scoring tool (that comes with my Fiskars paper trimmer) to mark a line for folding the card over.  I used decorative edged scissors to trim the front bottom edge of the card, and to trim around the “Happy Birthday” word art I had also printed out. I cut a rectangle of the blue polka dot paper to fit the width of the card, and adhered that to the center of the card. I adhered the sentiment to the center of that, and voila! A cute, happy card to match all the rest of Gabe’s birthday stuff. Next up – fun party decorations that are easy to make using my FREE template :)! 

See also the other parts of this review:

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 1

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 2

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 4

Occasions – XL Collection by Shabby Princess; Review Part 5


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