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Scrap Girls Project Life: Set Yourself Up for Success

There are many different ways to create Project Life-styled albums to document your year. You can take daily photos, scrap weekly layouts, monthly layouts, or do whatever works best for you! Whichever way you choose, it works for our year-long Project Life Challenge. You can find the details for our 2016 challenge and associated prizes here.

It’s never too late in the year to start your album!

Confession: While I have finished my albums every year since 2009, I am never up-to-date on the current year and do some major catch-up scrapping the week after Christmas every single year. 

In this tutorial, I’ll give you some tips on how to set yourself up for success in creating your album and show a few ways you can switch up templates to keep your pages fresh along the way.

1. Organize your photos.

I have photo folders for each week of the year because that is the way I scrap my pages. (I used to organize them differently, but adapted my folders to make it easier to get my layouts done.) You’ll want to organize your photos the way that works best for you. When I upload photos from my camera and phone, or when I grab my kids’ photos from Facebook, I drop the photos into the folder for whatever week it was taken. When I go to work on the page for that week, all the photos are in one place!

2. Keep up with the journaling, even if you don’t have time to scrap.

Writing my journaling while it’s still fresh is a must for me. I keep a Word document open on my computer and try to update the journaling at least once a month. If I go longer than that (and I sometimes do), I tend to forget things! I always open the photo folder for the week (see Step 1) to get myself started. Using my appointment calendar is another great way to jog my memory if I’ve forgotten to journal.

3. Use the same font for journaling throughout the entire album.

Choose a font that is easy to read and make sure the font has any special characters you regularly use. You will also want to keep the font size consistent from page to page. This year, I used Lettering Delights Scrap Casual Font for my journaling.

4. Keep the embellishments simple. 

This is especially important when using a lot of photos on your page. It not only keeps the focus of your page on the photos, it also takes less time! For my pages, I like to anchor the journaling paper with simple embellishments or a small cluster.

5. Use templates and don’t be afraid to alter them to fit your photos. 

There are a lot of templates in the Boutique that are designed for weekly or monthly pages. Choose the ones that work best for you. To get extra mileage out of your templates, you can rotate or flip the entire template, or you can remove a horizontal photo and replace it with two verticals. You can replace vertical photos with multiple horizontals as well. This simple method keeps your pages looking fresh. The examples below use templates from ScrapSimple Digital Layout Album Templates: Album Series 5 by Angie Briggs.

6. Format your pages for the printing method you plan to use.

Most printing sites have a template you can use to see the trim lines and make sure nothing important is cut off your pages. The first year I created an album of weekly pages, I chose the printing site at the end of the year when I was ready to print. Unfortunately, I hadn’t factored in the trim lines and had to open and edit each page before I could upload it for printing. You might have noticed that my layouts have wider margins than their corresponding templates in the screenshots. That is because, when I create my pages, I use a template showing the trim lines from the site I plan to use for printing so I won’t have to fix each page later.

7. Have fun and ask for help if you need it!

Enjoy the process of creating your pages. If you have questions or need help with anything scrapping-related, just ask on the Scrap Girls Forum. We love to answer your questions and we’d love to see your completed pages in the Scrap Girls Project Life 2016 Gallery.

We have a special Project Life Blinkie that you can put in your Signature on the SG message board.

Grab it here:

Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

Oh-So-Easy Cut-Out Accents

We’re excited to show you a fun look for your digital scrapbooking pages – the cut-out! This easy technique allows you to show a little preview of a photo or paper in the shape of an embellishment or from under your text, similar to the ad we’ve used for Digital Scrapbooking Day “Sneak Peek”.

While this may look like it would be a complicated technique to learn, our designers have made it super simple with some Styles and Actions that they have for sale in the Scrap Girls store.

The first one is from Syndee Nuckles, and it’s available as an Action and as a Style.

ScrapSimple Tools – Actions: Punch Out 6301
ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Punched Out 6301
Both of these come with a terrific BONUS video tutorial that shows you the ways they can be used. PLUS, you also receive FREE paper texture style, that you can use on your cut-out layers to add a bit of realism to your punched out text and shapes.

I love working with styles so I was excited to give this one a try! The set comes with several different styles, each giving a different depth to the cut-out. The other thing that’s great about this set is that the punched-out item will take the look of the background paper, as seen in my layout below.

The next product you should check out is from Brandy Murry:

ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Cut Out
These Styles will give you a finished look similar to Syndee’s. However, the great thing about this style is that it allows you to keep the original pattern and/or color of the item it’s applied to intact.

What does that mean? If you add a patterned paper or photo to a custom shape or font and then apply the style, the style will not change the look of the item it’s applied to. This allows you to get creative and do things like having each letter of a title be in a different pattern as shown below.

And finally, we have this style from Amanda Fraijo-Tobin:

ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Cut Out Shadows
Here’s what makes Amanda’s set unique from the other two we’ve featured: Amanda includes styles that feature outer and inner glow and other effects. This product will work great on your embellishments and word art, as well as work perfectly with Amanda’s entire series of cut-out paper templates

ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Ornate Cutouts
No matter which set you choose (why pick just one? Take advantage of our DSD Sneak Peek Sale!), you can’t go wrong! To help you create your first layout, we’re offering the free Celebrate Special Collection for a few days only. Besides four background papers and three embellishments, this collection comes with three large word art pieces that you can use as-is or apply a cut-out style to create your own unique layout!

Product Review by Angie Briggs

Showcase Your Creativity with Mixbook

What do you do with your beautiful digital scrapbook layouts? Are they hiding on your hard drive, just hoping to see the light of day? Well, hide no more! Today, I wanted to show you an easy way to bring your creativity to light – and show you how to enjoy the memories more often. I’m going to share with you an easy way to create a photo book in Mixbook to showcase digital scrapbook layouts.

I print all of my digital scrapbooking layouts in photo books. My friends and family are impressed with the hardcover books filled with colorful pages created from different Scrap Girls collections and value packs. One of my favorite features of Mixbook is that I can share the digital version of my Mixbooks online with family and friends at no cost.

Let’s get started on your Mixbook now! First, log into and click Photo Books > Start Your Book> Start a Blank Book.

Next, select the size and cover type of the photobook. I like to order 8.5×8.5-inch hardcover books because they fit nicely on my bookshelf. Even though I design my layouts sized at 12×12 inches, they scale correctly in the smaller book.

After the ordering selections are made, click the Minimize button on the the Upload Photos screen.

This will take you to the blank canvas screen where your high resolution JPG layouts can be uploaded as backgrounds.
Next, click Backgrounds > Browse Backgrounds > Upload Backgrounds. Select the layouts you want to add and begin the upload process. When the backgrounds are uploaded, they will be stored in the Project Backgrounds tab.

To add a layout to a page, click a page located on the bottom scroll bar to highlight it with a yellow border and then click on the layout you want to add to that page.

Notice what happened to the layout on the left side. When a background is added to the left side of a two-page spread, the layout is flipped. To fix this, click the page at the bottom to highlight it. Click the More button and check the Flip Background box. Be sure to flip the backgrounds on all of the layouts added to the left side of two-page spreads.

When you are ready to order a book, you will get a blank page warning message. Just click OK at the bottom of the page to ignore the message.
If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to receive emails of special offers so that you can take advantage of huge Mixbook discounts. Don’t let your hard work hide on your hard drive! Create a Mixbook and display your digital scrapbooking and share your memories with family and friends today!

Tutorial written by Pam Zeman

Unleash Your Creativity with Blending Modes

This month’s Scrap Girls Club includes a variety of beautiful papers. You can get even more use out of these papers by mixing them together using Photoshop’s Blending modes. This tutorial shows you how to use Blending modes to combine papers. Let’s get started!

1. Select two or more papers you want to combine.

I often select several papers that I think might work well together and turn some layers off and on while I am working.

2. Place the papers into a new 12×12-inch page.

I placed my floral paper over my solid paper. Stacking them the other way (solid over floral) will give a different look.

3. Select the top paper layer and choose a Blending mode.

Hint: Try out different Blending modes by selecting a Blend mode first, and then, with your cursor over the Blend mode, use the up and down arrows or the scroll wheel of your mouse to cycle through the different modes.

I played with various paper combinations and came up with three different looks.



You can also layer several papers using a Blend mode for each layer except the background (bottom) layer. You can create lots of fun, new looks by blending different papers together with Blend modes. We’d love to see the pages you create using this technique with this month’s Scrap Girls Club. Post your pages in the Scrap Girls Club Gallery and let us take a peek at your creativity!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $27.64 and we offer it to you for just $9.99 a month!
Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

Five Steps to ‘Watercolor Fabulous’ Templates!

This month’s ScrapSimple Club by Emily Abramson has an assortment of templates and brushes with a vintage ephemera feel. While the templates are lovely in their original black and white, they can look fabulous in color. In this tutorial, I’ll show you a fun way to color the ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Ephemera Overlays using a watercolor brush.

Note: The watercolor brush I used is from a bonus brush set that is included with the ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Watercolor Fabulous 6301.

Let’s get started!

1.  Select and open the overlay you wish to work with. 

It’s always a good idea to either save the template as a copy or drag it into a new document before you start working to protect your original file. (In order to see the effect of the painting against the background paper I planned to use, I added a paper from Emily’s Antiquities Collection Biggie below the transparency layer.)

2.  Create a new layer above the transparency layer (Shift+Ctrl+N). 

This is the layer you will be painting on. Set the Blending mode of your new watercolor layer to Overlay. If you want to change the name of the layer in the Layers panel, just double-click on the layer name and type the new name.

3.  Select the Brush Tool and reduce the flow percentage.

I set mine to 10%, but the number you choose will depend on your brush, the color you are using, and the effect you like. I used the Watercolor Fabulous Bonus Brush 2 on my page.

4.  Choose a color for your brush.

After you choose a color, then with your new layer selected, simply paint color on the flowers and leaves. I used several shades of the colors I used for leaves and flowers to give them a bit more depth. If desired, you can create a new layer for each color to make it easier to edit your painting.

Tip: For even faster painting, use the bracket keys [ ] to quickly change your brush size. The right bracket ] enlarges the brush; the left bracket [ reduces it. If you accidentally paint out of the lines with the watercolor brush, you can either embrace the natural watercolor look (like I did) or simply erase the excess.

The screenshot below shows what my color layer looked like when I was done coloring it. The finished paper is on the right.

5.  Add your finishing touches.

For my finished layout, I used the colored paper overlay with a mask from the ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Ephemera Mask Overlays. To get the same look, slightly reduce the opacity of the floral paper to make it blend better with your background paper.

Find a few extra minutes while the kids are back at school and try painting the flowers in some of this month’s ScrapSimple Club offerings. We’d love to see your work in the ScrapSimple Club Gallery!

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $19.15 and we offer it to you for just $6.99 a month!
Article written by April Martell
Tutorial written using Photoshop CS6 with Windows 7

3 Quick Tips for Summer Layouts

Have you seen August’s Scrap Girls Club?! If not, drop what you’re doing and go check out Sweet Summer right now! It’s perfect for all those end-of-summer parties, trips to the pool, and playing-in-the-sprinkler afternoons that our phones and cameras are full of right now. I love the saturated colors and the oversized word art that Brandy created. But most of all, I love the papers. The patterns pieced together, the combination of bright colors with worn and distressed parts – they perfectly sum up this season.

With all that to love, I have to admit that this style of scrapping is slightly outside my comfort zone. But I decided to jump right in and see what happened! Score! If you see elements like these and think, “I love it, but I don’t know how to use it,” then this article is for you! Here are some hints I can share with you from what I learned:

1. Faux-blending pictures into the background

The papers in this club have lots of color, but a number of them also have big patches of white. These spots are the perfect places to experiment with blending pictures into the background. I started by cropping and resizing my picture to cover the white portion. Add a mask to the photo and cover any portions that cover parts of the paper that you want visible. This masking step doesn’t need to be too exact – it looks cool if the edges are a little irregular.

Personally, one of my complaints about blending photos into a background is that you tend to lose detail. To get around this, make a copy of the photo layer and apply the Blending style to the copy layer. Then adjust the opacity of that layer – enough to get the blended look without losing the detail. The picture on the left is set on “Linear Light” Blending mode. The picture on the left has an unblended picture layer underneath with the blended layer set at 30% opacity.

2. Journaling cards with patterns

I love all of the journaling cards in this club. They would be awesome for Project Life-style layouts. But for those of us not doing Project Life, they are still super useful. I love using them to anchor my journaling to my page because it helps to set it apart and make it stand out. Most of the journaling cards have a lot of pattern or distressing on them, which can make the writing difficult to read. But not to worry — a little brush work can make all the difference! Place your journaling card on your layout, then type your journaling. Next, make a new layer and place it between the journaling card layer and the text layer. Use the Eyedropper tool to select the main color from the journaling card. Using a soft-edged brush, apply the color behind the text anywhere it’s difficult to read. You can reduce the opacity to make it even more subtle.

3. Don’t hesitate to make changes!

Resize and recolor things! The Big Quotes word art in this club are so cool, and they have so many fun possibilities for your layouts. I resized one of the Big Quotes and colored it hot pink. I also re-colored the alpha to bring more green to the page. The beauty of digital scrapbooking is that things can always be adjusted or tweaked to make them work perfectly.

An Amazing Deal!
If you were to buy all of the items in the club individually from the Boutique they would cost $27.64 and we offer it to you for just $9.99 a month!
Article written by Anna Mansfield
Using  Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 with Windows 8

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